Innā lillāhi wa innā ʿilayhi rājiʿūn. Indeed, to Allāh we belong, and to Him we are returning.
We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Moazzam Begg whose father, Azmat Begg, passed away this Saturday morning.
This is surely a difficult time for the Begg family and their loved ones. Losing a parent is to lose a teacher, a supporter, a friend and a person’s connection to the past. This is reflected in Moazzam Begg’s own words about his father,
This morning my beloved father passed away and returned to his Lord. He showed me the way to dignity, hope, courage, resilience, patience and faith and fought for me in ways that few ever could during the darkest of times. I will never forget his teachings and will pass them down to future generations. He was loved by the inhabitants of this world. Let that love pass to the inhabitants of the next – may Allah ease his passage into it. Please remember him – and us – in your prayers.
إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون
Azmat Begg was a hard-working man who instilled similar values in his chilldren. Formerly a bank manager, he immigrated to the UK and, upon losing his wife in 1974, was left with the charge of raising his family on his own. Through his upbringing, Moazzam Begg would grow to get tube wells fixed in underdeveloped and war-torn countries and strive to establish schools and improve literacy rates around the world.
During his son’s wrongful incarceration, Azmat Begg campaigned tirelessly for Moazzam’s freedom and acquittal. Speaking with journalists he would recount stories of his son growing up and insisted on his innocence and good character,
‘I am worried like a father who would worry about his son […] He is a lovely and bright boy and obedient. He never tells lies and always does the right thing. He told me he wanted to start a school in Afghanistan to improve the literacy rates there.’
Alhamdulillah, it is by the mercy of Allah that father and son were able to reunite and enjoy a decade of Moazzam’s freedom. Difficult as it is to experience the passing of a loved one, it is a reminder of the reality of our ever-approaching appointment with our Lord and the allotted time we have left. Azmat Begg used his time living by his values, giving support to his family, fighting for justice and campaigning for truth. In a recent message, Sheikh Zahir Mahmood recounts,
Earlier on today, I went to see Moazzam Begg to pay my condolences on the demise of his father. I reminded him of what their father had told them on the demise of their mother, whilst he was only six. He said that he was thinking of the same thing earlier today.
I have lifted the discussion from his book, Enemy Combatant below;
‘On the day when she finally died of breast cancer, my father took us to the park and told us, “You mother is no more, she has gone to Allah.” We all cried. My father explained we are like passengers, waiting to embark on a train to take us to the next destination. She has embarked on that train earlier than people usually do, but someday, we would all have to get on board. He added that we had been the dearest things in her life, and her last wish had been for her sons to grow into men respected and well known in the world.’
I guess his mother’s wishes have been fulfilled. May Allah grant his father Jannatul Firdous and reunite them all therein.
We pray that Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) grant patience and strength to all his family. May Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) have mercy on him, forgive him and elevate his ranks in Jannah, Amīn.
Inna lillah wainna ilayhi rajiuuna.
He was a fighter for justice in an age where few stood up to be counted. May Allah swt save him and all of us from the fire. Ameen.
Innā lillāhi wa innā ʿilayhi rājiʿūn.
I remember as a teenager, coming home from school and watching Mr. Azmat Begg on the evening news advocating for his son’s return to the UK from Guantanamo and defending his reputation.
Though he probably didn’t articulate himself as well as he would have liked to (it takes considerable training to be media savvy), he nevertheless could convey to people watching, his son’s innocence and the injustice of his detention without trial.
Now that I’m a bit older and try to recall Mr. Begg’s Channel 4 news interviews, I appreciate even more the courage, stress and tenacity of a father with limited means beyond his own voice standing up against an international system of injustice, just so he can secure his son’s freedom and be reunited with him… subhanAllah.
Though I’ve never met the man, I really would have liked to. May Allah reward him for his tireless pursuit of justice.