Monday, March 8, 2010
FAREWELL PAK LAH – MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PEACE. (21.11.1929 to 6.3.2010)
That is how I have always thought of you, my friend and my professor. I know that you never considered yourself as anyone’s teacher and always cautioned me to think for my self.
I knew the inevitable moment will come and it did in the form of your daughter’s sms on 6.3.2010 saying that “Pak Lah meninggal jam 11.05pm”. The only thought that came to my mind at that moment was the fact that I could not bear to see you in the weak state that you were in when I last met you. I am just too used to listening to what you have to say. I always have to listen to every single word that you utter because it was too important for me. I am not used to seeing you silent.
I will always remember you as the true professor who professes faith based on reason and knowledge. Your life long dedication to the study and discussion of Quran has touched many people’s lives. You were the first to convincingly demonstrate to me the practical and applicative nature of the Quran in every sphere and aspect of life.
You have always maintained that a truly God-fearing person is a thinking person and that the Setan will always persuade humans to look upon thinking as a burden or an obstacle to faith.
I have learnt so much from you and much more that I wish I could have learnt from you. Your mastery of logic and thought processes baffles me considering the fact that you never went to university. I have met and discussed with many learned academics and as I have told the late Professor Syed Hussein Al-Attas, you are still number one as a thinker. You are proof that formal education is but a myth and academic qualifications are no guarantee of a person’s ability to think deeply. You are a genius Pak Lah and I could never tell you that personally because you told me that praises can be the devil’s workshop.
You have been very generous with your life, meeting many young people, academics, politicians and just about anybody who wants to share your knowledge and you gave it willingly. You shared great knowledge without charging a single cent while I know of many who pretend to teach and yet charge hefty fees. It did not even bother you that many academics took your ideas and did not even acknowledge you. I know Pak Lah, you have taught me that true knowledge belongs to God and it is never for sale. Everyone who is willing can partake of it.
I suppose you were a great thinker because you felt it was a divine duty and gift to think and was not trapped by man-made parameters which many academics and people have trapped themselves into. You had no one to serve except God. This I remember Pak Lah and I have been trying hard to emulate. I also learnt from you never to impose our own views on others even though we are passionate about ours. You were a living example of what “redha” means though you never ceased to be active till your last day.
Now I feel I have no one. You have retired from life and I should feel happy for you…but I still feel choked. I would have felt lost if not for your constant reminder that as long as we are alive, that means that our work on earth is not done.
I am eternally grateful to my dear friend, Ramlan for having introduced you to me. That first meeting with you changed my life dramatically. I was stunned by your brilliance, sincerity in pursuit of knowledge and your remarkable clarity of thought.
As you have pointed out, all people die one day but ideas live on. It is your ideas that make me feel that you are still alive. You have lived a path of righteousness and now you have returned to your Maker.
From Allah we come, to Allah we all must surely return.
I bid your farewell and May God bless you, my friend, my professor.