Death of veteran Lahore Ahmadi journalist
Authority and reseacher into tomb of Jesus in Kashmir
Asked Quaid-i Azam at press conference “Who is a Muslim”
Obituary by Dr Khurshid Alam Tareen
With great sorrow and grief I am to inform you that one of the founding members of AAIIL (Kashmir) Mr Abdul Aziz Shora Alias Aziz Kashmir breathed his last on April 27, 2010 in SMHS Hospital after a brief illness. Mr Shora was 90 years old, and was born in 1919. He is survived by six sons and one daughter.
He joined journalism at the age of 19. Initially he worked with Urdu weekly ‘Al-Baraq’ and also with Khalsa Gazette. He founded Urdu paper Roshani in 1943, which was a weekly in the beginning but has come out as State’s reputed daily.
Mr Shora hailed from an Ahmadi Family. He had very strong convictions for the jamaat. When Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali appealed Ahmadi youth to come forward and get enrolled in Mubaligh Class. He also joined as an honorary member of the class. He was the only young man with a clean shave, all other members had beard. One of the old members questioned Late Hazrat Amir, Sir isn’t this a class of Ahmadiyya Mubalighs? He wanted to highlight the non-existence of Shora Sahib’s beard. To his question Hazrat Amir Replied aren’t you one of them?
Shora Sahib’s paper regularly published articles on Islam and Ahmadiyyat. He wanted to give this paper to Jamaat, but Jamaat didn’t have funds to run it. Hazrat Amir suggested that let Shora Sahib run the paper of his own since he is also spreading the light of Ahmadiyyat so Jamaat will give him some financial help. This was given in the shape of books.
Because of his sincerity and hard work he was chosen as General Secretary to the Press Forum of Jammu & Kashmir. Just before partition of India Hazrat Qaid-e-Azam Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent his holidays in Srinagar. The press people wanted to interview the Qaid. Mr Shora was also among the journalists who met the Qaid. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and his Ahrari counterparts had put a demand that Ahmadis should be declared Kafirs, and as such shouldn’t be allowed membership in Muslim League. Mr Shora posed same question to the Qaid-e-Azam to which he replied in English:
“What right I have to declare a person non-Muslim when he claims to be a Muslim. Any body who wants to get enrolled in Muslim League can do so irrespective of caste and creed.”
This interview was published in almost all leading papers of India including “Inqilaab” of Lahore. When Pakistan Assembly declared Ahmadis as Non-Muslims in 1973, the same article was reprinted in both Roshani and Paigham-e-Sulah Lahore.
Mr Shora Sahib was well read and had very good aptitude for research work. He also helped Khawja Nazir Ahmad during compilation of his monumental book “Jesus in Heaven on Earth.” Mr Kashmiri published his individual research as an independent venture under the title “Masi Kashmir Mein”, which was later translated into English with lot of new material. This English version bears the title “Christ in Kashmir.” This book has undergone several editions so far. He was acknowledged as a living authority on the Tomb of Jesus Christ at Rozabal Srinagar.
All the researchers who have worked on this subject met Mr Shora without fail. BBC team which was working on the Rozabal Tomb made a documentary of their research. YouTube has a video clip of the same, in which Mr Shora has been referred as an authority on the subject.
Mr Shora Sahib’s demise is great loss to Kashmir and Lahore Jamaat. May Allah bless his soul and grant him Jannat al-firdos. All Jamaat’s are requested to offer Namaaz Janaza for this noble soul.
At the time of our second South Africa case in the late 1980s, Abdul Aziz Shora made a sworn declaration (original in Urdu in my possession) about the reply given by Mr Jinnah at the press conference about Ahmadis. Details are as below.
In 1944, at a press conference in Srinagar, Kashmir, Mr. Jinnah gave his view on the issue of whether Ahmadis ought to be expelled from certain Muslim organisations. An Ahmadi journalist who was present, Mr. Abdul Aziz Shura, editor Roshni, has made a sworn statement, dated 15 January 1988, about the proceedings of this conference. We quote from this below:
“I, Abdul Aziz Shura, known as Aziz Kashmiri, editor of the daily Roshni, Srinagar, Kashmir, make the following declaration under oath.
“A delegation of the Kashmir Press Conference, Srinagar, which included several leading newspaper men, met Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, President of the Muslim League, at his appointed time, on 23 May 1944 at 11 a.m., at ‘Koshik’, Nishat, Srinagar, and asked various questions.
“I asked Quaid-i-Azam, Who can join the All-India Muslim League? At this, Mr. M. A. Sabir, editor of al-Barq, told the Quaid-i-Azam that the background to the question was probably that in Kashmir Ahmadis were not allowed to join the Muslim conference. Quaid-i-Azam smiled and recorded his reply as follows:
‘I have been asked a disturbing question, as to who among the Muslims can be a member of the Muslim Conference. It has been asked with particular reference to the Qadianis. My reply is that, as far as the constitution of the All-India Muslim League is concerned, it stipulates that any Muslim, without distinction of creed or sect, can become a member, provided he accepts the views, policy and programme of the Muslim League, signs the form of membership and pays the subscription. I appeal to the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir not to raise sectarian questions, but instead to unite on one platform under one banner. In this lies the welfare of the Muslims. In this way, not only can Muslims make political and social progress effectively, but so can other communities, and so also can the state of Kashmir as a whole.’
“Mr. M. A. Sabir tried as hard as he could to persuade the Quaid-i-Azam to declare Qadianis as being out of the fold of Islam. But the Quaid-i-Azam stuck resolutely to his principle and kept on replying: ‘What right have I to declare a person non-Muslim, when he claims to be a Muslim’.
“The proceedings of this press conference were published, under my signature, in the Riyasati of that time and the Lahore newspapers, especially Inqilab, Shahbaz, Zamindar, Siyasat etc.”
A brief report of this press conference is given in the Urdu book Tahrik Hurriyyat Kashmir, by Rashid Taseer, published by Muhafiz Publications, Srinagar, in volume 2 which covers the period 1936–1945 on pages 290–291. It refers to Mr. Jinnah’s reply on the Ahmadiyya issues as follows:
“Reporters asked him a question about Ahmadis, that they were not being permitted to join the Muslim Conference because they were considered to be non-Muslims. What was his view on this? Mr. Jinnah said: ‘Who am I to declare as non-Muslim a man who calls himself a Muslim?’ It was after this that almost all the Ahmadis of Kashmir joined the Muslim Conference.”
In a footnote, the names of several journalists are listed who attended this press conference. Among the names are: Mr. Ghulam Muhiyy-ud-Din Nur, editor Nur, Khawaja Sadr-ud-Din Mujahid, editor Khalid, Mr. Muhammad Ayub Sabir, editor al-Barq, and Mr. Abdul Aziz Shura, editor Roshni.
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