went something like: “Abu Ben Adam (may his tribe increase) /Awoke one
night from his sleep." What he sees is "exceeding light" at the window
and somebody writing in a book. He asks the stranger who he was and
what he was doing. The stranger said that he was writing the names of
those who love God. "Is my name on the list," asks Abu Ben Adam, and
receives a reply in the negative. "Write my name in the list of those
who love man," he requests. The stranger vanishes.
next night Abu Ben Adam again wakes up and finds the same man with
light "far exceeding" than the previous night. The same question and
the stranger informs him that his name figures on top of the list.
than five days ago, I met a man, who I can say without exaggeration,
has been living the message conveyed in the Abu Ben Adam poem.
Jafry, President of Jafry Communications that is based in Scarborough,
Ontario, Canada, has been promoting multiculturalism, peace and harmony
between peoples of different religions and faiths.
service of society he has gone from weaving to air waves, and
progressed from entertainment to enlightenment.
my opinion, the best way to ease tension and hatred is to respect each
others’ faith and religion," Jafry, who was here with his wife Farida
Nuzhat to perform Umra, told Khaleej Times in an interview.
who was born in Jaipur, India, migrated to Pakistan, and later
immigrated to Canada. Before coming to Canada in 1966, he worked as a
weaving master in a textile mill in Karachi. Initially, he worked in
the same line in his adopted country.
the lack of avenues and opportunities for entertainment for people from
the sub-continent, he launched himself into entertainment business —
arranging movies and shows, including the first live show of Lata
Mangeshkar in Canada, and theatre programmes.
pioneers of Indo-Pak entertainment, we
started in 1969 with mainly presenting radio programmes. In 1978, we
started television programmes," he said.
his company has produced more than 3,100 one-hour radio programmes and
over 5,451 half-hour TV programmes.
has regularly produced inter-faith programmes — Islamic, Sikh and
Hindu, and his "ability to work with all faith groups" has been widely
he has been very active and productive in fund-raising for humanitarian
causes and purposes across international borders. So much so that he
was congratulated and appreciated in a statement by a member in the
Canadian House of Commons for being instrumental in raising $175,000 to
meet cost of surgery and care of the Hira and Nida Jamal twins.
January 23, 1995, a 23-member team of surgeons at the Toronto Hospital
for Sick Children performed the more than 15-hour "extremely delicate
surgery" on the two-year old twins from Pakistan who had been conjoined
at the head since birth. There have been only 30 such operations in the
world. In 60 per cent of the operations, only one of the twins
survives. Hira survived but her sister Nida did not.
closed entertainment in 2000. We are a national broadcaster presenting
three TV programmes — two on cable in Toronto, London (Ontario), and
Ottawa on the air, and one national all over Canada using CTS —
Christian Television Station and Vision TV Network," Jafry said.
said Muslims should create, develop and make use of the media properly
and reasonably. "The system of messengers is a long-established and
well-known tradition. The media is a powerful messenger, and Muslims
have to learn to use it effectively, especially in post-9/11 era," he
that post 9/11 situation has opened up more opportunities for the
has created an environment for reception of ideas. Questions are being
asked, which have to be answered in a well-reasoned manner," he added.
said in such a receptive environment, it was the duty of Muslims to use
the media to build bridges of understanding. "The media should
concentrate on explaining what real Islam is. For example, when we say
that we believe in all the prophets, it breaks the ice, and helps to
remove several mental blocks, and clear cobwebs of ignorance and
misunderstandings," he added.
people are not getting real Islamic education. Islam is a full set of
rules for the benefit of mankind.
said the Holy Quran talks about two kinds of duties — duties towards
the Creator and duties towards man or society, with a major portion
devoted to the latter duty.
problem is we do not give much attention to duties towards man. In the
post-9/11 situation, it is very important to explain how much
importance Islam attaches to the betterment of mankind and service to
mankind," he stressed.
started producing definitive information, like the rights of neighbours
(including non-Muslims), duties towards parents (who could be
non-Muslims), looking after the community (which includes non-Muslims
as well), honesty in dealings, why four wives, and so on," Jafry said.
other words, we try to explain to Muslims and non-Muslims what Islam
is. We do not preach Islam. Some strict scholars do not like this
format," he added.
said Muslims should try to understand the very first line of the holy
Quran wherein God is mentioned as Sustainer of the worlds.
"It does not
say Sustainer of Muslims," Jafry added.
presented one-hour specials on Muslim, Sikhs and Hindus, besides A
Century of Sikhs in Canada.
has also presented religious TV programme on the Internet, and
broadcast history of Saudi Arabia on its National Day in 1997, Rituals
of Haj, development of Makkah, a documentary on Zamzam, and a
documentary on Haj and Umra.
to Jafry, Rituals of Haj, produced by the Saudi government, was seen by
more than 2 million Muslims and 120 million non-Muslim homes in the UK,
Europe, Canada and Chicago.