10th Muharram fell on the 14th of November 2013 in Australia. I always try to attend some religious gathering on this date either at a masjid or an Imam bargah (Shiite masjid). Purpose is just to spend some time for improving my religious knowledge. This time I was very lucky that a friend informed me about the Islamic lecture by former Pakistani Test Cricketer Br Mushtaq Ahmed, who is visiting Australia with English Cricket Team as their bowling coach who is here for playing the Ashes Series against Australia.
Lecture was arranged at the Ernest Street Masjid Lakemba by the Pakistani Muslim community in Sydney. After the Maghrib prayer the guest speaker arrived. Masha Allah he has a proper Islamic style beard. He was wearing simple white Shalwar Qameez. A huge crowd was waiting for listening to their beloved brother. Mushtaq Ahmed gave a very good speech in easy to understand English as Bangali and Indian Muslims were also present at the occasion.
I took this photograph against the Masjid’s rules for which I apologise to the management of Ernest Street Masjid. Purpose was just to spread the good message by the great Islamic personality – (Shahid Javed)
Mushtaq told that after changing his lifestyle towards simplicity he got real peace of mind. He shared that when in 1992 Pakistan Cricket Team won the World Cup, of which Mushtaq was a part, how the players got differences on financial issues and formed groups within them. He shared that they used to boast in front of each other about their wealth, cars and kids’ schooling. However there was no end of an ever running useless competition. Mushtaq told that when he joined the English Team as their bowling coach in 2004 (as per his memory), Saeed Anwar and four other Pakistani cricketers came to England for playing a charity match against England from World XI. At that time Saeed Anwar had started following the Islamic lifestyle and had proper beard. During the interval Pakistani players offered prayer in the dressing room, and Mushtaq joined them too feeling embarrassed due to the presence of World XI players from other countries around them. However he was strange to see that one New Zealand player asked him about the Azaan and after knowing that it was the call for the player, he said, “I have never listened to such a beautiful song in my life”.
Mushtaq also shared a very inspirational story of a British girl Tara who was his big fan. When Tara met Mushtaq after he had adopted the Islamic lifestyle and started keeping the beard, she asked him about this change. Mushtaq told her that he was just following Allah’s path so that he could get the reward on the day of judgement. Tara was so much impressed by the talk that she requested him to help converting her to Islam. Mushtaq took him to Saqlain Mushtaq’s home where his wife helped her in reading the Shahadah and she became a Muslim. It took her 15 minutes to recite the Arabic words of Shahadah properly. She was given the name Ayesha. However she did not disclose it to her family. After about a year she had to be admitted in hospital for some treatment. Her mother was there for her care. When she was asked to tell her name and religion for the registration, she told her Islamic name. It was a shock for her mother and she thought that perhaps Ayesha had some psychological problem that she was telling her name wrongly. Ayesha (Tara) told firmly that her name was Ayesha. She also advised that her religion was Islam. At this her mother left her alone and walked out of the hospital in a very angry mood.
Mushtaq told many more similar incidents about converts and his fellow cricketers Saeed Anwar and Inzimam ul Haq. One worth mentioning incident was about the South African Muslim cricketer Hashim Amla. He told that once when England was touring South Africa for playing a Cricket series against them at their homeland, South African captain Graeme Smith called a meeting of his side at 6:00 pm for a meeting so that they could make their strategy for the match against England. He sent the invitation through mobile to all the players. Hashim replied that he was not able to attend the meeting at 6:00 pm as it was his prayer time. Mushtaq told delightedly that Graeme Smith sent another text to all teammates that as Hashim was unable to make, meeting would commence at 6:30 pm.
I really feel lucky to be there for listening to the great talk and after the talk I felt highly energised and proud on being a Muslim. Mushtaq told us that if we fear from Allah, non-Muslims will respect us, but if we try to become like them, fearing of them, then we will be facing more problems. I wish Br Mushtaq Ahmed a very happy and prosperous life and wish that I could also become a practicing Muslim.