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Remembering Junaid Jamshed (ra)...& his message

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His message was something different. He wanted us to live a life that Allah had prescribed.

He wanted us to model ourselves after our Beloved Prophet (saw).



Remembering Junaid Jamshed...

Aatir Abdul Rauf | Facebook


I feel alone today. I don't know how to express the sadness inside me. Words don't seem enough to me. But that's all I have.
I guess words will have to do.
The shock waves of the news regarding the plane that took lives of 40 are far from settled. I’m in denial. The nation stands speechless as it lost its voice. A voice that carried us through one generation to another, weaving through every segment of society, through times of distress and times of joy.
I don't know why I feel this sad. It's strange. I don't know how to explain it. I didn't have intimate ties with Junaid. I didn't know him personally well enough. He wasn't related to me in any way. But why do I still feel a piece of me was ripped out of me without warning?
It hurts. It really, really does.
I thought I had it under control. I was going to be a man about this. But every time I heard the news throughout the day, it would hurt a little more. My heart would sink deeper. My heart would flinch. My body would cringe.
I knew something was wrong. My heart was trying to tell me something but I decided to ignore it. I didn't want to give to its desires. Death happens, right? It's the universal constant.
Finally, when I got up for Isha prayers, I understood what my heart was asking me to do.
It just wanted me to shed my tears alone. I cried hiding my tears in the water of the wudu that I had chosen not to dry off.
And I cried hard. I don't know why.
I didn't even know Junaid Jamshed that well. But why does it seem like I lost a lifelong companion that I've taken for granted for so long?
I tried remembering Junaid Jamshed in my memories.
I personally met Junaid Jamshed for the first time at Hajj back in 2011. My brother and I were planning for our first pilgrimage and had enrolled in the Hajj group that JJ sponsors. The experience was nothing short of amazing. Every person managing the logistics was intensely committed to serve the members of the group and it was a reflection of what Junaid Jamshed stood for.
Maulana Tariq Jameel and Junaid Jamshed were travelling with the group and would often grant the group time after each prayer. Maulana Tariq would share words of impeccable wisdom, while Junaid did what he did best. He would move hearts by presenting us a collection of thoughtful nasheeds that left us mesmerized. To hear them in person was something different. Why? Because he didn't just perform nasheeds for the sake of it. Up close, you could see how he put his entire existence behind every word he uttered. He packed it with heavy emotions. He meant every word he said. And most importantly, he made you feel the same way.
At Mina, after he had talked to swarms of fans at our camp, my brother and I took the opportunity to sit with Junaid keen to hear something inspirational from him. He didn't say much as he was clearly exhausted with the various conversations he had been having for hours. Few hours later, right before my brother and I were about to perform the ritual of "stoning the devil", Junaid made his way through the crowds and called out to us. We turned around and Junaid stood in front of us, told us how he didn't know what to say earlier but felt like he owed us some advice. He told us how momentous this occasion of Hajj was and we should take it as an opportunity to change for the better moving forward.
Truth is, he didn't owe us a single thing. But he wanted to give back. And he always did - at all levels. That was the sincerity of this man.
Later on in Mecca, my brother and I got lucky as our hotel room was on the same floor as both Junaid Jamshed and Maulana Tariq Jameel. We would often say salaam while crossing paths in the elevator down to offer the prayers at the Haram. It felt great to see his smiling face and greet him with his firm, warm handshake.
But that interaction is not the basis of why I'm sad. I'm sure that's not the reason. My perception of Junaid Jamshed was not made through those interactions at Hajj. Something else was bothering me.
He represented something larger than that. He was an immortal constant in many people’s lives.
He was there in my childhood as he swept the nation with patriotic tunes that rivaled the national anthem. His voice was there in my teen years as I grappled with the challenges of adolescence. He was there when I had to look up to someone when I wanted to transform my personal life to be closer to Islam. He was there when I had to share examples of how it's not impossible to change no matter what your circumstances are. He was there when I needed to listen to a voice that would heighten my spirit and melt my heart.
I lost that "constant" yesterday. It's like losing a limb that you never thought you would live without. Even if it's a tiny finger, the whole body hurts uncontrollably.
It's a sick feeling. But it's also a grim reminder.
We go on and on and on planning our lives. We try to project our future and think about where we want to be in 5 or 7 or 10 years. We talk about Career Growth. We talk about savings. But it's events like these that abruptly ground us to the reality of how transient this life really is. We don't even know whether we will last another breath. I sometimes get so consumed about my future that I forget about making the present right. I forget about reflecting on my past.
It reminds me of this profound Ayah:
The question to ask is “Are we prepared to return to Him right now?”. No one has received a ticket to live a certain number of years. There is no guarantee. Every soul edges closer to his/her eventual demise every second. And we have no idea whether that day is a week away, years away or just moments away. Are we satisfied with the state of the relations we keep? Do we need to apologize to someone? Do we need to tell someone how much we love them? I just realized that there are no second chances. I might as well do it now. Yes. Now.
Our society for long has remained polarized in terms of beliefs and lifestyle. You will find free-thinking liberals and traditional conservatives living in the same neighborhood. The chasm between the two ends is a difficult one to bridge. And if anyone did manage to cross that bridge and win acceptance on both sides, it was Junaid Jamshed.
In the 90's, JJ rose to fame and Vital Signs was hailed as pioneers of the Pakistan's pop world. He touched the lives of his peers and thrilled fans all around the world. He became the national expression of Pakistanis and was thought to be synonymous to patriotism. He set the country ablaze with inspiration time and again. He had won hearts of millions.
When he took the turn towards religion and launched his first Nasheed album in 2005, he reached out to a different audience that he had not connected with before: the significant other half. Lots of people were skeptical at first. He was ridiculed and he was trolled. But that didn't stop "Jalwa-e-Jana", "Medina Medina", "Dil Badal De" and "Haram kee Muqaddas Hawaoon" from hitting a sensitive chord that we didn't even know existed.
He went out to preach Islam, sometimes to decrepit far-flung locations, calling one person at a time. He sacrificed the glamour he had worked so hard to garner and submitted to a task that he believed was his ultimate raison d'etre. Slowly and steadily, his actions spoke louder than words, and devout Muslims all over the country dropped their suspicious guard and finally accepted him. He had won their hearts as well.
He had done the unthinkable. He had crossed the chasm and won at both ends.
But what's amazing to me is that despite him switching his focus, he still retained the respect of his colleagues and friends of yesteryear. He didn't abandon them. He didn’t just turn his back on them as if he didn't know them. He continued to cherish those relationships and only strengthen those bonds. He called upon his old friends to work with him on the path of Allah. And he reciprocated by giving them company to share old time memories.
And that's what he symbolized: unity. That's what made the nation breathe. He was the glue between the broken pieces of Pakistan's puzzle. And now that that glue is gone, I'm feeling like I've lost part of my identity.
He was left bankrupt after he gave up his music life. But he had staunch conviction that Allah would not let his sacrifice go unrewarded. He launched his clothing line and within the space of years, it skyrocketed to immense success. The business grew unimaginably quickly and etched Junaid's name on the slate of entrepreneurial stardom. He led the way to show how leading a life for Islam doesn't mean you can't be successful professionally. Those two things are not antithetical to each other. He showed that "Maulvis" aren't starving anywhere or living off pitiful donations.
My personal journey in life left me conflicted and JJ seemed to be an sub-conscious source of inspiration. Leading a fairly liberal life in my childhood/teens, I found myself gravitating to the message of simplicity of Islam in my late 20s. I felt torn between two different forces. The transition to leading a more conservative life was not easy. And I looked up to Junaid Jamshed in that respect. He showed me that you don't need to think of it as a suffering, but rather a blessing. You don't need to burn bridges, but that this opportunity was to build new ones. His story told me that my transformative experience was not an end, rather it was just the beginning.
As Mosharraf Zaidi mentioned in his tweet, he truly was the quintessential Pakistani: "Junaid Jamshed's journey was so quintessentially Pakistani. Conflicted, passionate, devoted, ubersmart, and so, so talented. Tragic loss."
I've been pacing around my house since yesterday. It hurts. My heart aches. My eyes tear up. Why do I feel so much sorrow? Am I over-reacting?
I'm confused. I feel alone.
I felt for his children. Losing your parents completely crushes you. But losing your parents to an unthinkable tragedy like this delivers unbearable shock that no mortal can handle. It's like someone ripping out your heart through your throat. My wife told me that it reminded her of when she lost both her parents during 2005's earthquake in the Margalla Tower collapse. The ground had escaped her when she saw the fallen tower on her way back from college. She was left shattered, alone, hopeless, confused, abandoned. The world had gone pitch dark. There were no second chances. There were no goodbyes exchanged. There was no last "I love you". There was no time to apologize for the hurt caused to them. There was no closure. To this day, she feels wounded.
I hugged my little one a little tighter today. While he played around with his toys, I felt terribly odd how an innocent little child like him had no idea how grim the realities of life can be. I wanted him to retain that innocence and prayed that Allah protect us from every tragedy.
I've stopped following the news. I can't bear when somebody puts up his nasheed now. My heart swells with sadness when I know that I won't be hearing that voice again.
But when I see what's being aired about him, I ask myself. Is that how he wanted us to remember him?
His message was something different. He wanted us to live a life that Allah had prescribed. He wanted us to model ourselves after our Beloved Prophet (saw). People were quick in pointing out the gravity of the mistakes he made during his sermons last year. I see that. But I also see a man who begged for forgiveness. To the entire nation. How many of us are willing to go through that? In a world full of unapologetic, pompous liars, JJ set a different standard.
We make mistakes every day in our private lives. We say the most vile things to one another. We don't have people chasing us because we don't have cameras pointing at us to record the deed. Yet we have the audacity to continue to shame a person who has already sincerely apologized to us with. We didn't leave the matter for Allah to decide. We should learn from this. JJ left with a clean heart, whereas we still carry perpetual grudges and hate in ours.
His message was of unity. In one of his tweets he mentioned how it was better to lose the argument and win the person. That's what defined him. It wasn't about money, fame or glamour. It was about the joy of being together on the path of eternal prosperity. He didn't want to just succeed himself. He wanted everyone to win.
JJ left a legacy that cannot be replaced.
May Allah be raazi with you, Junaid Jamshed, and with every passenger on that unfortunate plane. May Allah forgive them all.
I also congratulate you, Junaid Jamshed, for securing a place among the ranks of shuhadah (martyrs). It’s not an easy feat to achieve in this era. In some ways, it feels that this is the appropriate rank that Allah wanted to grant you after all the adversities you faced.
Your life was like a person trying to wake up a dear friend from deep sleep. You kept jolting us with your voice. You kept reminding us with your words. You were patient with us while we enjoyed our slumber and when we’d push you away calling you names. We would, at times, wake up for a bit but then we’d go back to sleep. But then this happened. You chose to lay a proverbial mic drop on us. The sound of which was so loud that it rocked us to our core. And now we’re wide awake. But you’re no longer there. Well played.
Junaid Jamshed, you gave us love and didn't expect anything back. You taught me how to never give up. I wish we had time to say goodbye. But that is the Will of Allah, the Magnificent, the Master of all Worlds, the Merciful and Beneficient. To Him we belong. To Him we shall return. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajeoon.
InshaAllah, we all hope to meet you in Jannah, Junaid Jamshed. Perhaps you will grant us another opportunity to listen to one of your nasheeds there.

Every soul shall taste death....The question to ask is “Are we prepared to return to Him right now?”


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This is a nasheed in Urdu

Words of a nasheed sung by Junaid Jamshed ra which was in essence a du'a,

have been changed into a du'a for him asking Allah subhaanahu wata'ala to accept his efforts and forgive him

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Life of Junaid Jamshed

by Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf



Mufti Abdur-Rahman speaks on the inspirational life of brother Junaid Jamshed

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