Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Inna Lilla Wa Inna Ilaihi Raji'oon


Professor Jamal Ashraf Ansari, RIP. 1934-2007

Please remember us in your prayers. My father passed away today. Apparently fell and hit his head at a shop in the neighbourhood. His passing was painless and in a state of fasting. (He decided to fast, if his blood sugar would allow--my brother, the doctor was literally calling about twice a day to check on his sugar level since Ramazan started a few days ago.) That's the reassuring part.

He was 73. Had a law degree but never practised. (Said he couldn't have lied enough, be devious enough, to be any good in that profession. Which was true.) Brought my brother and I up to be understand politics, law and religion better than most politicians, lawyers, and "clerics" I have ever met. Besides the Kalima, we could rattle off the three branches of government; rule of law; and "innocent till proven guilty" literally before I, at least, could read. All the while living through one empire and almost a dozen military regimes--and one civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator--in India, Pakistan, and Nigeria. (Which is why it isn't even novel for me to think of Muslims not being able to live under a constitutional democracy, for example.)

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