Seminar on the Life of the Prophet
(PBUH) and the UMO under Dr. Pasha
Dr. Mozammel Haque
A Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was organised by the Union of Muslim Organisations of UK & Eire (UMO) on Thursday, the 7th of February, 2012 at Churchill Hotel, London. This is a legacy of Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, the former General Secretary of the UMO. Dr. Pasha passed away in November 2011. This is the second time the UMO is organising this Seminar on Thursday, 7th of February, 2013 at the same place where Dr. Pasha used to hold it for the last 40 years.
Being a devout, dedicated, practising Muslim, Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha devoted his entire octogenarian life for the spread of the Message of Islam through interfaith dialogue. To promote unity between the Muslims, to facilitate the upbringing of Muslim children in a moral and spiritual atmosphere and to spread the Message of Islam through interfaith dialogue in the wider circle were the guiding principles of Dr. Pasha’s life.
Born in an aristocratic Syed family of Madras, brought up in a country where Muslims are minority and having basic Islamic training at home, Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha developed an ideological commitment, a conviction and a mission to which he remained firm, unchangeable and unyielding till his death. He had a solid grounding to understand the importance of Dawah work to live peacefully and harmoniously with his cultural and religious identity.
This understanding and knowledge became more valuable and effective when he went to the United States of America for higher studies where he obtained SJD (Doctorate in Juridical Science) equivalent to Ph.D. in the United Kingdom. But when he came to this country, the first thing which he thought indispensable is to bring unity within the Muslim communities. But he also realised that to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony in a multicultural society, it is vital to understand each other, to know each other’s culture, belief, tradition and values.
Pasha chose once in a year to bring people of different religions, cultures, traditions and races under one roof to speak about the religion culture and belief of Muslims and their Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that is the background of holding this Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Since the formation of the UMO, Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, its former General Secretary, used to hold this Seminar on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for the past forty years without fail. This is one item which Dr. Pasha never missed. As early as in 2009, Dr. Pasha told me in an interview: “Once I was in hospital and I asked my assistant secretary to carry on and he held the function.”
The UMO’s last Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) organised by Dr. Pasha was in 2010. After that, he could not organise the Seminar in 2011. Since November, 2010, Dr. Pasha had been off and on hospitals and home. He died in the morning of Wednesday, the 23rd of November 2011.
In the Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) organised by Dr. Pasha, among the distinguished guests, there were, besides others, Rt. Hon. Mr. John Patten, M.P. the then Minister of State, Home Office in 1989, Rt. Hon. Mr. Robin Corbett, M.P. the then Shadow Minister on Home Affairs in 1990; Rt. Hon. Mr. Jack Straw, M.P., the then Shadow Education Secretary in 1991. In 1996, nearly forty nations were represented at this celebration.
In 2012, the UMO organised again the Seminar, on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the same place, Churchill Hotel, on Wednesday, the 29th of February, but this time the person who never failed to hold the Seminar to convey the Message of Islam to the Muslim community as well as to the wider society was not here. Both the Muslim and the wider society felt the physical absence of this dedicated pious Muslim, Dr. Pasha, who started and founded this organisation UMO to bring unity among the British Muslim community and also to foster and develop good cordial and harmonious relationship with the wider society through interfaith dialogue.
The purpose of holding this Seminar every year without fail was two fold. Dr. Pasha told me in an interview, “We organised this function every year without fail for two reasons, said Dr Pasha, one is spiritual and another is mundane; spiritual reason because the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the first of Creation. Allah created the Nur of the Prophet and then the other Creation. He gave the title Rahmatullil Alamin; Mercy of all the Creatures. He said that. Allah is Rabbul Alamin; Prophet is Rahmatullil Alamin. Then all the Prophets who subsequently came they had the same faith al-Islam which he brought. The latest Prophets - Musa (peace be upon him) and Issa (peace be upon him) - both of them had forecast the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And they said when he comes follow him.”
Secondly, while speaking on the mundane side, Dr. Pasha mentioned, “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought a system of life; a system of government and ideology which guarantees happiness on this earth and permanent felicity in the life Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the only Prophet who was given the honour of being transported bodily to witness all the seven Heavens and what happens to people after they die. The Paradise and the Hell they are realities.”
Dr. Pasha also mentioned, “The UMO, for the past 40 years, what we have tried to do is to promote unity between the Muslims and to facilitate the upbringing of Muslim children in a moral and spiritual atmosphere.”
Purpose of Holding Seminar onThe Life of Prophet (PBUH)
As the Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the last Seminar organised by the UMO under the leadership of Dr. Pasha in 2010, I am reproducing below in his own words the purpose of holding a Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Dr. Pasha said, “The UMO being the representative body of the British Muslims has, since its formation forty years ago, has maintained its tradition to celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) for two reasons, namely, 1. spiritual and 2. mundane. At a spiritual level ALLAH Subhanahu wa Ta’ala created the Noor (Light) of the Holy Prophet before any other Creation and designated him as the Seal of the Prophets and Mercy unto all creatures. This Noor was transmitted through all Prophets from Adam to all succeeding Prophets including Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them all. ALLAH ordered all these Prophets and their followers to accept Islam as their religion and way of life. As our Prophet is the last in the line of Prophets, the responsibility of conveying this Message to the British people lies on the Muslims and the UMO has been performing this duty on behalf of the Muslim Ummah.”
At a mundane level, said Dr. Pasha in his press release of 2010, “The Divine Message that the Prophet brought is for the guidance of the whole of humanity guaranteeing a life of peace and tranquillity in this transient world and eternal felicity in the Life Hereafter. Historians, both Muslims and non-Muslims and Orientalists, acclaim him as the greatest benefactor of humanity. He is renowned for his mercy, compassion and magnanimity. He even forgave his enemies after the conquest of Makkah al-Mukarramah. After his emigration to Madinah al-Munawwarah, he promulgated a Charter of Madinah guaranteeing freedom of religion to minorities. In the historic Sermon delivered at the Farewell Pilgrimage he declared a Charter of Human Rights establishing the brotherhood of all mankind regardless of race, colour or ethnicity, raising the status of women to one of legal equality with men, abolishing usury to prevent exploitation of the poor by the rich and banning the consumption of intoxicants.”
Dr. Pasha said in his last press release of the celebration of the Birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in 2010, “It has taken 1400 years of strife and suffering before the West has accepted the glorious Message of the Prophet and has adopted the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mankind owes a debt of gratitude to the Holy Prophet for his enormous contribution which has brought enlightenment and civilisation. Islam is making steady progress in Europe and desperate attempts are being made in the media to distort the image of Islam as a religion of peace, justice and brotherhood. The whole world is watching that Muslims are not terrorists but they are victims of terrorism. The UMO for the past forty years has been encouraging Muslims to play their full role in the mainstream while retaining their religious and cultural identity.” (UMO Press Release on 2 March 2010 on the Birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Picture: File Photo (from Left to Right: Rt. Hon. Councillor Alan Bradley, Lord Mayor of Westminster (locam tenens), Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, General Secretary of UMO and Rt. Hon. Lord Sheikh of Cornhill at the celebration of the Birth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), function at Churchill Hotel, London, 16 March 2009);