In the battle of Badr there was a boy of fifteen ‘Umayr who stood amongst the ranks of the believers. His heart was full of fear as he stood amongst the taller, broader, stronger and more experienced soldiers. But this fear was not of war nor of death. It was the fear of being asked to turn back to Medina because he was too young to fight.
This was the love and devotion that was deserved by the character of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). When the Prophet inspected the ranks he discovered this young man and as expected asked him to turn back. With tears the boy begged until the Prophet resigned to allow him to come. The young community of Muslims were after all outnumbered disproportionately 313 against over a thousand with armed superiority.
The love of the people is one of the qualities that defines a true leader. This is where we can appreciate Heaven’s role because not every one is destined to be a leader; let alone a true leader. This is a quality that in our time Imran Khan is blessed with. He is not a shrewd politician, nor is he cunning but what he has is the will and the heart to deserve the love of his people.
On saturday morning when my father woke me up for us to join Khan for the Waziristan rally my heart was in it but my self-preserving mind was against it. Along with my own back injury and an unrelenting chest congestion; my one year old first born son Isa had been ill all night with high fever and vomiting. At 6 am after not having slept all night I was told by my father that I should stay with Isa and not proceed to Waziristan. At first my mind gave in but in my heart I remembered little ‘Umayr who fought bravely at Badr. I trembled with fear that what if one day that boy was Isa fighting for the independence of our nation that his father had not stood up for. I leapt to my feet kissed my son and wife goodbye and with my mothers prayers set sail for Waziristan with Abu.
Is it not unusual for a young man of 28 with all the luxuries of a rich upper class background to be willing to; with full knowledge of the consequences; be prepared to give his life for a leader he believes in? This is the love that Imran commands. I have no reason or desire to give my life for anything; but I know very well that all my luxuries would be of no satisfaction without the dignity of freedom. I sent an SMS to my elder brother with my will written in it and decided to join the protest against the drones and boycotting our government’s silent licensing of it.
Is it fair that while children die in Waziristan I should ignore it just because my children are relatively safer in Lahore? No. The children of Waziristan are like my children.
Every moment in the tribal belt I said a prayer of peace and protection in my heart for Khan as I know he must have prayed for us as well. There were reports of nine apparent suicide bombers deployed against Khan and his convoy. I was driving right behind Jehangir Tareen’s car which was respectively right behind Khan’s car as we blazed forth to Waziristan. It was a peace march but it felt no less than being on the front lines of an epic battle. Every moment there I knew could be my last. My mind was telling me that I should be right at the end of the convoy where it was safest but my heart was racing with Khan. The same feeling was there at Tank when he gave his address.
I stood right next to his truck as he spoke words of truth and plans of the future that won my heart and mind. When Khan got down from the truck there was a little boy atop another truck who could reach out for Khan as the overwhelming throngs of fans swarmed him. The boy stroked Imran’s hair lovingly in adoration. I stood before a leader who had the love of his people. A true leader.
Whether it was at the rally or whether it was at a meal at a Mehsud chieftain’s house, whenever I was next to Khan I could almost hear the time-bomb ticking. I wondered whether I would die at Tank or Kotkai?
By God’s Grace I am back in Lahore at home writing this letter with a fervent resolve that at as long as Imran stands for justice and truth I will happily give my life for him. I pray for his success and dominion in both worlds. My hero, the little ‘Umayr, is amongst the first martyrs of Islam. And as he looks down from the palaces and gardens promised to him; I pray that his prayers along with the Prophet’s are with Imran. I am glad I am writing this letter as a Textile Designer charged with fervour and not as the final letter of a misguided youth whose leaders made a suicide bomber out of him.
The 313 believers at Badr outnumbered the thousand-strong pagan Quraysh because they believed in the Prophet. Their hearts and minds were in it. When you stand for justice the help of heaven is always there.
As long as Khan stands firm on his principles and continually proves his sincerity; the next elections will be a sweeping victory insha’Allah.
God bless Imran.