Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla; True reflection of an enlightened life
It takes a huge time to turn into a remarkable human being. In this volatile world, it is genuinely tough to find out a man with exquisite ideologies. These great human beings, from their commencement of life till the last breathe, dedicated themselves for humanity, engaged themselves in various benevolent and noble activities and become an inevitable part of the society. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was truly such a collection of great virtues. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla is a revolutionary name, an outstanding genius, a legend and noted history.
This great human being hailed from Joriper Dangi village of the Char Bishnopur Union under Sadarpur Upazila of the Faridpur district on 2nd December of 1948. His grandfather was Abu Molla. Sanaullah Molla was his father while Baherunnesa was his mother. He was the 4th of his 9 siblings. Some days after his birth, his parents came to the Amirabad village of the Sadarpur Upazila and started living there permanently.
Who knew that with the transition of time, this Abdul Quader Molla would launch a new era of Islamic movement in this country. Who knew before that this Abdul Quader Molla would be appeared as a savior, a glittering star of the darken world or turned into a volcano after being executed by an oppressor regime. Who knew that his great spirit of sacrifice and dedication would bring the ultimate collapse of the empire of repression?
Childhood and Youth
From his childhood, Abdul Quader Molla gained reputation in his locality and academic institutions as a brilliant and meritorious student. He obtained primary scholarship in 1959 and secondary scholarship in 1961. He stood first division in the secondary examination from Amirabad Fazlul Haque Institution in 1964. He passed higher secondary exam successfully in 1966 from Faridpur Rajendra College and from the same institution he passed BSC in 1968. His benevolence and magnanimity drew the attention of his classmates and other associates and resultantly he achieved respect even from his friends and other general staffs. His simple and praiseworthy life would be assumed even from the early days of his life.
Acute financial crisis and beginning of professional career
From the earlier period of life, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla moved forwards overcoming the financial challenges. In particular, he fell into deep economic crisis immediate after completing his primary education. Though the deepen crisis tried to break him down but he emerged as strong enough to combat the hurdles and consequently joined in Sadarpur’s S S Academy as a teacher. His reputation as an honest, qualified, wise and benevolent teacher spread everywhere.
The higher education aspirant Abdul Quader Molla to obtain more education came out of native district of Faridpur and admitted in MSC in Physics at Dhaka University in 1969. In those days, the masses were being vibrated with the resonance of the upsurge. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla resided in Dhaka hall initially and later he was shifted in Dr. Mohammad Shahidullah hall. In both the dormitories, he was able to impress the students, teachers and all other staffs with his benevolent, noble and charismatic character. In 1971, the entire territory of Bengal became agitated so do Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla. Following the historic address of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7th March, he along with some other friends and classmates, often met in the Shahidulla hall dormitory to find out a way for the Bengalis to get rid of the adverse situation. He realized that the way of freedom is not free from troubles and hazards. He also understood that many lives are needed to be sacrificed. Immediate before the genocide on 25th March, as per the instruction of his teacher Dr. Innas Ali, he returned to his native village. Then the war of liberation began and he could not attend the Masters examination in that year.
After the 7th March, he decided to go back home for organizing the local youths for participating the liberation war. Coming to the village, he acted accordingly. In every night he went out to mobilize the youths. Already they became prepared and organized. With them Abdul Quader Molla also joined the liberation war. Freedom fighter’s commander JCO Mofizur Rahman trained up the youths. On first May, the occupying Pakistani forces entered into Faridpur and subsequently Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla and his companion’s open training was halted. But he continued his correspondence with the local freedom fighters and continued it till the final victory.
In 1972, like many others, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla’s academic career also hampered in a war torn country. In 1974, he again admitted in IER (Institute of Education & Research) in Dhaka University. In 1975, in the diploma of academic administration, he made a new record to stood first class first. In the master’s examination of academic administration department, he also stood first class first as well in 1977.
Back to the professional life
He joined in Udayan, a well reputed school of Dhaka in 1975 as teacher. Later he joined as a senior teacher in Rifles Public School and College. He discharged as the Acting Principal of Rifles Public School and College for some days. Later, he joined in Islamic Foundation in 1978, as a research scholar.
Journalist Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla
It is 1980s. The nation was ruled by military ruler Ershad. Military junta already seized the people’s right to speech. The nation fell into deep crisis. At that time, some courageous men like Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla came forward. The glimpse of truth, what he experienced during his teaching profession, inspired him to say the truth loudly through the profession of journalism. In the history of dynamic and courageous journalism in Bangladesh, the name of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla will be written in golden font.
He joined in Daily Sangram as the sub-editor in 1981. For his efficiency and qualities, within a very short span of time, he was promoted to Assistant Editor and then Executive Editor. The Daily Sangram played a historic role during the military rule. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla wrote article in the pseudonym of Bikhon and Shohoj Bochon. His articles drew the attention of the elite quarters as well as the general readers. He simultaneously wrote many articles in Daily Ittefaq, Daily Sangram, Sonar Bangla, Palabadal, Monthly Prithibi and other weeklies and biweeklies.
Abdul Quader Molla had played a crucial role to make Daily Sangram popular and readers’ friendly. He secured the permanent membership of National Press Club. Besides, he was elected Vice President of the United Dhaka Journalist Unions twice, in 1982 and 1984. Teacher Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla also appeared as a courageous and just journalist leader as well. Though he had some sparks in his heart and actually he was very friendly to his journalist fellows. National Press Club got a new phenomenon for his active presence.
He has to leave journalism because of his subsequent involvement with politics. But he always kept and nurtured the passion for journalism. This is why, till his last days, he remained as a friend to the journalist communities. The Daily Sangram and its entire office are holding the memories of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla.
But an ideal journalist’s life is not a bed of roses. He always has to face adversities; sometimes by the deviated sections, often by the interested quarters or often by the vengeance of the opponent political forces. His life becomes a tale of a fight between truth and false. Even his close associates may turn into his worst enemies. These are the basic features of a journalist’s life and Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla’s life is no more exception.
Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was a politically conscious person. He always thought for public welfare. Being a concerned personality, like many others, he became interested to lucrative politics of communalism since his early age. He joined in Chhatra Union in 1966. But he failed to find peace in communalism. Being influenced and convinced after reading Tafhimul Quran (A Quranic interpretation written by Maulana Syed Abul Ala Moududi) he joined Islamic Chhatrashangha. Later he performed duties as Shahidulla hall unit President, Dhaka University President, Dhaka city Secretary and Central Working Committee member of Islami Chhatrashangha.
He became the member of Jamaat-e-Islami in May of 1979 and became a headache for the opponent forces. He was the personal assistant of language movement hero Professor Ghulam Azam. Later he became the Majlish-e-Shura and working committee member of Dhaka city Jamaat and very soon he became the central Majlish-e-Shura member of Jamaat-e-Islami.
He played a decisive role as the Ameer of Dhaka city Jamaat. As he was an open minded person, he could reach the people of all levels and people could also come to him and asked question as they want. He could convince people logically and disseminated the message of Islam at all corners. Security reasons could not keep him away from the people. He never endorsed exaggeration of disciplines in the name of security.
Liaison Committee and Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla
As he had come from the journalist community, he was very frequent in all types of political quarters. Due to such intimacy, Jamaat assigned him to make a liaison with different political parties. His capacity of making such connection, proved during the anti-Ershad movement; though it was clandestine and unofficial then. In the anti-autocratic movement of 1990 and in the movement for launching caretaker government system, being the Ameer of Dhaka city Jamaat-e-Islami, he was an active member of the liaison committee.
Later in 1995, Jamaat officially formed a liaison with Awami League and made a communication with other political parties as well. In those days, he was used to meet the Awami League leaders frequently to fix the movement strategies and programs and subsequently played a crucial role to convey those meeting details to the journalists. At that time, Awami League leader and current Minister Mohammad Nasim briefed the journalists about the liaison programs and Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla took necessary initiatives to publish it in various newspapers. On 27th February of 1996, he and incumbent Minister and Awami League leader Tofayel Ahmed were arrested on same day. Prior to the arrest, they were in covert together. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla and the Awami League leaders were used to remain in the jail amid a very friendly environment.
During the following regime of Awami League, from 1999, Jamaat and BNP started working together to build a liaison. Because of his active role in the liaison committee, he often met Begum Khaleda Zia and the running Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at different policy level meetings. He had a good intimacy with the political leaders of different opinions. Their relations were so friendly that often those opponent political leaders invited Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla in their family get together.
As a top brass of Jamaat-e-Islami
He was elected the publicity Secretary of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami in 1991. He made some significant development to this section. During his tenure, a separate office was allocated for the publicity department, additional manpower also recruited and sufficient number of computers, printing and photocopy machines were procured to facilitate the activities of this section. He took the step for publishing party’s English bulletin into Arabic for the maiden time. The communications between the party and the print and electronic media was boost up as well. In 2000 he was appointed as the Assistant Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami. In 2004 March, he discharged duty as the Acting Secretary General for a brief period.
Apart from Bangladesh, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla remained vocal against the ongoing torture and repression against the Muslim communities around the world. He addressed, took part in procession and rallies and placed memorandums whenever Muslim came under suppression in Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Lebanon and Iraq. He also collected money and sent the amount to the oppressed Muslims. On behalf of Jamaat-e-Islami, he submitted memorandums to different foreign high commissions and embassies and explained the party positions to the concerned officials.
He was arrested for the first time in 1964 for having connection with the leftist’s movements and also for participating in anti-Aiyub regime movement.
He was nabbed for a very short span of time due to some misunderstanding in 1971. Later local peoples and freedom fighter commander Lutfol Karim went to the police stations and set him free.
For his active role in anti-Ershad rule, he was arrested on 22nd April of 1985 from the National Press Club premise along with some other Jamaat leaders. After a 4 month long detention, he was released 14th August as the High Court declared his detention illegal and void.
On 27th February of 1996, he and incumbent Minister and Awami League leader Tofayel Ahmed were arrested on same day. He was released 7 days later.
Abdul Quader Molla in the diplomatic arena
Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla had very friendly relations with the diplomats. Without his joyful presence, no program was seen vibrant. As a representative of Jamaat-e-Islami, he performed very well in different diplomatic occasions. Prior to his final arrest in 2010, he attended all the diplomatic functions. His rational and prudent comments impressed the foreign officials. Besides, his fluency in English helped him to get more cherished with the foreigners very easily. He could speak spontaneously with the foreign envoys as he had a sharp idea about different contemporary issues. The diplomats also so enlightened about him that they often invite him in their family and personal programs.
Abdul Quader Molla visited a lot of countries including USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal and Malaysia. He visited Japan in 1997 getting invitation from Islamic Mission of Japan. He visited America and Canada in 2000 being invited by Islamic Circle of North America. He attended many programs and met different High officials of the State department. He went in UK in 2002 with the invitation of Islamic forum of Europe. He visited Saudi Arabia for several times to perform Omrah and Hajj as a royal guest.
The father-in-law of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla, Mir Natek Ali, a Dinajpur district resident, retired as a first class government officer after working in various government offices including Kolkata Writers Building, Eden Building, Civil Supply Department, Settlement Officer, Circle Revenue Officer and TNO. He liked to read books, newspapers and journal. An article titled ‘Meraj: A scientific truth’ published in the popular Bengali Daily ‘Ittefaq’ drew his attention. Incidentally he became agreed to offer marriage of his daughter to the article writer Abdul Quader Molla without any major conditions. On 8th October of 1977, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla got married to Begum Sanwar Jahan, the daughter of Mir Natek Ali. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla and Begum Sanwar Jahan are blessed with two sons, Hasan Jamil and Hasan Moudud and 4 daughters namely Amatullah Parvin, Amatullah Sharmin, Amatullah Larzin and Amatullah Nazneen.
Begum Sanwar Jahan and war of liberation
Begum Sanwar Jahan completed her studies from Eden College. Earlier, she was also involved with leftist politics and elected GS of the Eden College from Chhatri Union. During the independence war, Begum Sanwar Jahan was in Kushtia along with her father. Her family took part in the war of liberation actively and she also came forward to assist the freedom fighters by all means. She sent foods frequently to the hungry freedom fighters who were in critical conditions in those periods.
Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was always concerned in following the life sketch and principles of the holy Prophet (phuH). He tried to follow sincerely the commandments of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (pbuH) was not only a state leader but also an ideal husband to his wives. Being inspired with this fact, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla also tried to maintain a healthy family life. Amidst all his busy schedules, he carried out shopping, helped his wife in cooking and other activities of cleanliness. As a husband, he cared for his wife and assisted her sincerely.
He held family meeting regularly on Friday. He discussed the holy Quran and Hadith in those meets. He was very close to the grandsons and granddaughters. Till his arrest, it was his most favorite to spend time with his following generations. He also took care of his sons and daughters studies and tried to solve their problems. He tried to take family members in his trip if any option prevails. He also was in touch with his relatives and often tried to assist the poor relatives financially.
It was one of the basic characteristics of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla that he considered his tasks as purely his owns. He often did the tasks like nail cutting, sewing personal cloths, washing own dresses or fishing preparations. Fishing was his favorite hobby. In leisure, he often went to different places for fishing. He also repaired the fishing accessories by his own hands.
Book reading was his regular habit. Amidst all his business, he never forgot book reading. He had an immense thirst for knowledge since his childhood. He bought books on regular interval and arranged a library by his own effort in Sadarpur as well. This ideological man did not keep himself confined in studying Quran, Hadith and Islamic literature only rather he also studied books written on different disciplines of knowledge. Even he read children stories. He read book immediately after being notified about a good book and asked others to read the book as well. During traveling, he was used to read books even sitting inside the car. He also read English books, written on different contemporary issues. He also read many articles written in the international journals just prior to his sleep at night.
Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was actively involved with several academic institutions including Badshah Faisal Institute and Islamic Education Society Schools. He discharged the duties as the Secretary of the Badshah Faisal trust for 3 consecutive times. He was founding secretary of Manarat International School and College, Dhaka, a reputed educational institution of the Bangladeshi capital.
As an Islamic academician, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla has worked throughout his life to make a bridge between the Islamic and the modern education. His analytical article on modern education gained reputation from all quarters. His presence was almost confirmed in all seminars and symposiums on education. He was a fundamental writer and columnist. The pro-academic people get a keen interest while listening to the speeches of Abdul Quader Molla. He has presented many articles on education on the ‘Islamic Education Day’ arranged by Jamat-e-Islami and Chhatrashibir. His analysis on the secular ‘Kudrat-e-Khuda’ education policy was thought provoking for many peoples. He played a key role in fixing the syllabus and curriculum of the Manarat College. He also edited many books published by Islamic Education Society. He always thought about the potential Educational Revolution for the comprehensive revolution of the Islamic movement. Many writers also submitted their draft writing to Abdul Quader Molla for editing and proofreading purposes.
Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was also involved with various social activities and social organizations including Syed Abul Ala Maududi Research Academy, Sadarpur religious school and orphanage, Sadarpur’s Hajidangi Khademul Islam religious school and orphanage and Al Amin Academy in Sadarpur. He also made his effort to establish several mosques in Faridpur. He also assisted the poverty-stricken patient financially. He collected money from the affluent sections and distributed that among the poor and impoverished communities. During the floods, he reached to the remote area of Faridpur and Rajbari by boats and distributed relief, food, medicines, saline and drinking water among the flood victims. He also distributed academic accessories to the poor students and dresses to the orphans. When he visited his native home, people thronged to meet him seeking assistance. He tried to level best to resolve their problems. He also helped the poor fathers to settle the marriage of their daughters. He also took initiatives to set up tube wells and to make roads, bridges and culverts in his localities.
He often celebrated the joyful occasions of Eid in his native district to share the feeling of rejoice along with the locals. Prior to attend the Eid congregations, he was used to give sermons, to brief relevant rituals among the presence and finally he participated in the congregations along with his family members. During the Eid-ul-Azha, after offering prayers, he got involved in the task of sacrificing animals. He often did the things to help others as well. He liked to take the first meat of the day of the beef of the sacrificial animals on that day. He also greeted and talked to the peoples and relatives who came in his house on those joyful days.
Culture and Sports
Along with his keen interest for education, Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was very inclined to Islamic culture. He sings very well. In different programs and conferences of Jamaat-e-Islami and Chhatrashibir, he sang several times. As a foundation of the Islamic cultural revolution, he patronized ‘Saimum’ cultural group at the initial level sincerely. He worked hard for launching Islamic cultural platform. He tried to help them financially whenever they made any effort for organizing cultural event.
He also had keenness for sports. He loved football. He felt the necessity of sports for being physically fit. He also watched sports in the television and encouraged his sons to play in leisure. He often talked about Bangladesh’s legendary football player Samad. In different party programs, in particular, in the programs of Chhatrashibir, he also urged the youths to get more involved with sports and physical exercise along with their regular curricular activities.
Arrest on war crimes charges and his trial
Life of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla was very explicit and transparent always. He was not a covert person and never involved with any underground movement. In his long political career, no one had termed him as war criminal or butcher Kader. No allegation was raised or no case was filed against him on war crime charges. His name is far away from the list of the collaborators or member of the auxiliary forces, rather it was not found in the list of the suspected as well.
Long four decades after the independence, during the controversial one-eleven regime, the issue of war criminals came in forth. A planned initiative was begun to humiliate and demonize the leaders of the Islamic movement. Intentional propaganda began against those Jamat leaders who had played a pivotal role during the previous anti-Awami League government. The Awami League leaders who once upon a time, were used to share time with those Jamaat leaders, suddenly they started making ugly comments and propaganda against them. Awami League through its party men started filing cases against the Jamaat men. On that year of 2007, a similar case was filed against top Jamaat leaders including Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla in Keraniganj police station.
13th July, 2010, it was 11am in the morning. Jamaat’s Assistant Secretary Generals Shaheed Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla appeared in the High Court to seek bail. During the hearing, huge number of polices from the nearby police stations gathered at the High Court premises and the main gates. Abdul Quader Molla and Kamaruzzaman were arrested subsequently when they arrived near the main gate after the hearing. The person who were involved with humanitarian activities throughout his life, are charged with the false allegations of war crimes.
Abdul Quader Molla was produced in the International Crimes Tribunal-1 for the maiden time on 26th July of 2010. The tribunal also issued warrant of arrest against him even without any specific charges. The prosecution submitted the charge sheet against Abdul Quader Molla terming him as butcher Kader on 18th December of 2011. On 28th December, 2011, the tribunal took the charges into cognizance. The tribunal formed 6 charges against Abdul Quader Molla on 28th May 2012. The statements of witness were started recoding from 3rd July. 12 witnesses placed their testimonies from the prosecution side while defence were allowed to produce only 6 witnesses. On 5th February 2013, the tribunal awarded Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla with lifetime imprisonment which sparked the controversial Shahbag movement. Due to such government patronized unprecedented movement, on 17th February of 2013, the government amended the tribunal act and subsequently appealed against tribunal’s life term imprisonment of Abdul Quader Molla in the apex court, the Appellate Division.
A 6 member bench led by the then chief justice Mozammel Hossen was formed on 31st March of 2013 to hear the appeal pleas. The hearing began on 1st April. On 17th September, the Appellate Division extended the conviction to death penalty. The full verdict of that order was published on 5th December 2013. On 8th December, the tribunal issued death warrant against him. Immediate after that move, the final preparation of executing Abdul Quader Molla was begun.
The martyrdom of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla
According to the government’s order, the Dhaka central jail authority completed all out preparation to hang Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla on 10th December. But just one and half hour before the execution, the chamber judge Syed Mahmud Hossen stayed the proceedings till following Wednesday 10 in the morning. On the following morning, the 5 member bench of the Appellate Division led by the then Chief Justice Mozammel Hossen started the review hearing. The defence also appealed to enhance the duration of the stay order. As the hearing adjourned till 12th December, so the execution process was adjourned automatically till the same day.
The review hearing resumed at 12th December morning. At 12.07 pm, the chief justice in his order said the review plea is ‘dismissed’. Abdul Quader Molla was executed on that very day at 10.01 pm at the Dhaka central jail. Following the execution, the law enforcers took his body to his native village of Amirabad in Sadarpur Upazila of the Faridpur district amid tight security. Without the presence of family members, this veteran personality was buried by the side of his parents under police’s arrangement. Thus, Abdul Quader Molla, being victimised by the false propaganda and conspiracies, walked to the paradise.
The world community witnessed a new history to begin from that particular moment. In the wake of conspiracy and unjust repression, he never broke down and appeared as a truly faithful Muslim. Since the time immemorial, the vested quarters always tried to subdue the voice of the holy Quran but they failed. Their brutal manoeuvres rather produced the courageous Muslim heroes like Shaheed Hasan al Banna, Shaheed Syed Qutb and Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla. They have dared to refute the worldly desires, the transient peace and success of this earth and showed their power and courage to embrace martyrdom in order to uphold the supremacy of Islam and the Islamic movement.
The execution of Abdul Quader Molla was the subsequent effect of a perverted judgment. This order has stigmatized the entire judicial system of Bangladesh. It had took the life of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla and but it immensely failed to resist the growing trend of the Islamic trend in the country. Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla will be remained as the source and powerhouse of inspiration for the leaders and activists of the Islamic movement. His last words will be kept in due significance and remembered by all truth seekers frequently. And by God’s will, the sacrifice of Shaheed Abdul Quader Molla for establishing truth will launch a new era and new beginning for the Islamic movement, not only in Bangladesh but everywhere across the globe, inshallah.