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A memorial publication on the life and achievements of Allama Rasheed Turabi, an eminent scholar, orator and Zakir-i-Ahle-i-Bait is a memorable publication on his centenary.

Allama Rasheed Turabi (1908-1973) was educated at Osmania University, Hyderabad. He passed his formal education in the 1930s. He was a very good student of Khalifa Abdul Hakim, who directed his studies in philosophy and English.

Along with his formal studies, he drank deep at the fountain of Arabic and Persian literature. Ilm was his main forte. He was among the scholars of Islamic learning who learnt a great deal from Ayatollah Syed Hasan Brujardi, Ayatollah Mohsin Tabatabai, Ayatollah Mohsin Tehrani, Ayatollah-ul-Uzma, Abul Qasim Khoi and Ayatullah Shahrestani, etc.

All of the above named ulema issued ijazas (authority letters) to Allama Turabi to act as a scholar on Quran and traditions. It was one of the greatest achievements of any religious scholar of the subcontinent.

Allama Rasheed Turabi started his political career as a lieutenant of Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang. Later on, he became the chief of the All India State Muslim League. The Quaid nominated him as the information secretary of States Muslim League and it is from this platform that Allama rendered valuable service to the cause of Pakistan.

He migrated to Pakistan in 1949 and started addressing majalis at the imambargahs in Kharadar, Khaliqdina Hall and Martin Road in Karachi. He also addressed Eid Milad-un-Nabi gatherings at Arambagh and Jehangir Park and this went a long way in establishing his popularity with Sunnis and Shias alike. Later on he started addressing majalis in Nishtar Park and at Imambargah-i-Iranian in Kharadar.

His first Sham-i-Gareeban majlis was broadcast on the radio in 1951. It became an annual feature till his death. The last majlis he addressed was at Khaliqdina Hall where he had a heart attack in 1971. He continued to address majalis at Nishtar Park against his doctor’s advice till 1973.

The memorial publication, Turabiat, edited by his son Taha Turabi, is a well-produced document. One can glean from Taha Turabi’s main article the area of influence Allama exerted on a galaxy of eminent men of religion, literature, politics and the intelligentsia.

Among the contributors who have discussed Allama Turabi’s distinguished career as a scholar of Ahl-i-Bait, specifically the chronicle of Karbala tragedy, are Syed Hashim Raza, Dr Syed Taqi Abidi, Dr Hilal Naqvi, Prof Sahar Ansari, Firdous Alam, Syed Muhammad Abidi, Iftikhar Arif and Naseer Turabi.

The section of original contributions has been enormously beefed up by excerpts from published articles of a galaxy of eminent scholars from across the board.

A rich collection of photographs constituting the pictorial biography of Allama Rasheed Turabi is a great feast for the eyes. The pictures tell us all as to what made him so appealing to all sections of Muslims. Perhaps we need more scholars of his kind today. It is sad that they are in such short supply.

The memory of Allama Rasheed Turabi has become all the more instructive and therapeutic in view of the steadily increasing sectarian wedge in the country. Turabiat (MEMORIAL) Compiled and edited by Taha Turabi Allama Rasheed Turabi Memorial Centre, Karachi 143pp. Rs1,000