A Heart to Heart with Dr. Farhat Hashmi

two-hearts-overlap-hiIt was a usual sunny and bustling day of Karachi, when I reached my sister-in-law’s home in the heart of the city. A home that was always warm and welcoming to all, who were friends of Allah (swt). Her mum-in-law had very kindly invited me to meet with Dr. Farhat Hashmi visiting from Islamabad – the lady behind a magnificent brand called “Al-Huda International”.

I choose to call it a brand, because “Al-Huda” is truly a symbol of women entrepreneurship in obedience to the Lord (swt). It states what a Muslim woman ought to be: a doting daughter, a passionate and compassionate spouse, an inspiring mother and a self-aware and diligently contributing vital member of the Ummah. And this brand surfs forward against all tides of the time. And it is here to stay, by Allah’s (swt) grace.

Spotting Dr. Hashmi seated next to a perplexed young lady seeking her counsel, I noticed her body language – calm, composed and attentively listening to the heart felt miseries of someone, who sought valuable advice from her. No one would have guessed that this simple and serene lady was a source of spreading the love and knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah into the hearts and homes of unimaginable ailing souls.

Suddenly, I was shoved forward by a very sweet “Al-Huda” representative to take my seat as the next candidate; otherwise, I might miss my chance of a conversation. I quickly grabbed the chance I was offered and kept praying to Allah (swt) to enable me to make the most of this meeting with one of the Ashaab-e-Ilm (people of the knowledge). Amusingly at times, we are so mesmerized by certain personalities that we fear to make a fool out of ourselves. Thanks to the Lord (swt), Who saves ordinary people like me from utter humiliation and facilitates us in the best manner.

As I introduced myself to her, only wishing she remembered something about “Hiba”, Dr. Farhat stumped me by saying, “You wrote an e-mail to me some time ago and you have a sister in Dubai.” Only Allah (swt) helped me from stuttering and fumbling. I had only heard that a Hafizah has great memory. Here was a living testimony of it. My first lesson: pay attention to the people, whom you encounter, and don’t just brush them off, as merely a query or a complaint.

Her radiant and smiling face put me at ease, in spite of the fact that I was given little time with her due to a time pressured schedule of further meetings awaiting her. So I began …

Question: In your opinion, what are the top three things every Muslim should do today?

Dr. Farhat: First and foremost, every Muslim must rectify his/her relationship with Allah (swt) and ensure that his/her Iman and Aqueedah are correct. Next, he/she must possess Husn-e-Ikhlaq – a pleasing conduct and mannerism. Lastly, he/she must nurture a spirit of a well-wisher for all humanity in general. (I gathered that hate and undue anger has to depart from our lives!)

Question: How do you spend time with the kids in the family?

Dr. Farhat: My own kids have grown up, Masha’Allah. Hence, I spend time with my grandchildren. I personally adore kids and dearly love to hear them. It grants a deep insight into their feelings and thoughts. Tragically, adults today talk and tirade more and hardly listen to them patiently, which is why the gap is widening between them.

Question: But don’t you get itchy, when you hear them utter something wrong and the need to correct them suddenly takes over?

Dr. Farhat: I always let them question their choices. If they say something wrong or less correct, I ask them a reason for it, leading them to seek a solution for themselves. In that manner, they develop a sense of ownership of their actions and do not feel something is being imposed on them. It is my responsibility to educate them about Halal and Haram, but I cannot act for them. For example: When my grandson wants to pray at home, instead of the Masjid, I ask him, which act is greater in reward in the sight of Allah (swt)? He replies that praying in the Masjid is of course greater, and then I leave it to him to decide.

Question: How do you spend time with them?

Dr. Farhat: We talk and explore together. These days, I am reading a book by Iqbal Kilani Sahab “Kabeera Aur Sagheera Gunah” with my grandson. It opens ideas for discussion. I am not much of a screen person, as I belong to the earlier generation (chuckles merrily). But I love books. My grandchildren look forward to spending time with me, as much as I do with them.

Question: As a book lover, which publication would you like to recommend to the “Hiba” readers?

Dr. Farhat: “Fiqh Al Quloob” is written by Muhammad bin Ibrahim in Arabic. It relates to the understanding of the hearts. It also ingrains the majesty, magnificence and recognition of Allah (swt), which is the epitome of all relationships. This course is available on-line on our website as well as taking place at the Tariq Road branch of “Al-Huda” every Friday morning for those, who want to benefit from it.

Question: Jazak’Allah Khair for your valuable time and talk. As a concluding statement, what is your desire and dream for this Ummah?

Dr. Farhat: I pray to see every Muslim fulfill his covenant with Allah (swt). He/she should understand the reason, why he/she was sent to this world, because if something or someone does not fulfill his/her purpose in life, he/she is destroyed.

We are the inheritors of Anbiya (Prophets). They came with a mission to this world and have left it in our hands now to help heal the world. Hence, we must be committed to our obligation as a responsible believer.

“Hiba” is highly indebted to all those individuals, who arranged this interview and enabled the readers to catch a personal glimpse of Dr. Farhat Hashmi. It was, indeed, a reassurance to know that the Murabbis and coaches of the Ummah are striving very hard to uphold the principles of Islam; and they are truly the beacon of light that guide the society, when darkness overcomes our souls.

May Allah (swt) forgive all and guide all to become a source of pleasure for the Lord (swt). Ameen.

Dr. Farhat recites “Rabbi Zidni Ilma”, when she commences her travel. She believes that Allah (swt) transforms an ordinary journey of a traveller into a source of Ilm and Tarbiyah and grants profuse opportunities of learning, while one interacts with people around him/her. Such are the ways of people of wisdom and Hikmah. They don’t waste any moment of their lives. For they comprehend that every breath they take brings them closer to their death and meeting with Allah (swt). Hence, they stay alert and prepared.

This is a great and easy chance for those of us, who need to travel frequently, whether simply to collect our children from school, tuitions, etc., or to hustle back and forth for business needs. A simple Dua with a heart-felt emotion may transform our lives for the better, Insha’Allah.