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The first citizen of Pakistan. A Jew.
By:Sidqi.ca
Date: Thursday, 12 December 2019, 5:02 pm

Who is the first officially declared citizen of Pakistan🇵🇰?
The first officially declared citizen of Pakistan was a Jewish born converted Muslim scholar, Allamah Muhammad Asad (1900-1992).
A linguist, a journalist, a traveller, a scholar, & a writer.

He was issued the first Pakistani Passport, immediately after the independence in August 1947. 🇵🇰

*ORIGIN AND EARLY LIFE:*
Muhammad Asad was born into an Austrian Jewish family as "LEOPOLD WEISS" on 12th July 1900 into a small town called "Lemberg" of Astro-Hungarian empire (currently known as "Liviv" in Ukraine). His father Akiva Weiss was a lawyer unlike his grand parents who used to be Jewish Rabbis since generations. While still at school he got fluency in Hebrew & Aramaic beside his native German & Polish Languages. When he reached his mid twenties, he also mastered English, French, Persian & Arabic languages.
In 1920, after completing his graduation, Leopold went to Berlin to become a journalist. He joined one of the most prestigious media houses in Europe "Frankfurter Zietung" & to prove his skills, he went to knock the door of Maxim Gorky, the famous Russian author, without intimation & successfully interviewed his wife.
This impressed his colleague "Elsa Shiemann" & they both married soon after.

*IN MIDDLE EAST:*
In 1922, he was assigned by the newspaper to go to Palestine. Where he was posted in Jerusalem. Palestine was then under British mandatory rule. There, he had a chance to observe closely the teachings of all the major religions & consequently he was greatly inspired by the Islam.
In 1926, his love for Islam took him to Saudi Arabia . He travelled all the way on the camel back, from Jerusalem to Macca through the desert to embrace Islam & acquired the name Muhammad Asad. "Asad" being the rendition of his basic name Leo or Lion.
He lived there for next 6 years & was very well received by the king Ibn Saud, who appointed him one of his religious advisors & gave him some other responsibilities too.
By the year 1932, the political scenario began to change a little & so was the environment in the court of king. This made many of king's advisors to flee out of the country. Sensing the change, Muhammad Asad also left the country (Saudi Arabia) & came to settle in British India.

*ASAD IN BRITISH INDIA:*
Muhammad Asad came directly to Lahore. Being a renowned Islamic scholar & auther of many books already, he was warmly welcomed by the political & literary circles of Lahore, particularly Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal. Both of them quickly became good friends.
Allama Iqbal actually encouraged him to write his book *"Islam at The Crossroads"*. Which he wrote in no time & was published in 1934.
Allama Iqbal himself wrote following testimonial on it's front page:

"I have no doubt that coming as it does from highly cultured European convert to Islam, it will prove to be an eye opener to our younger generations"
- Muhammad Iqbal.

*ASAD IMPRISONED:*
At the start of World War-II in 1939, he was imprisoned by the British authorities in Lahore for he was of Austrian origin & thus the friend of their enemy. While his father Akiva was detained by the Germans into a concentration camp back in Austria because he was a Jew.
Asad was freed in 1942 after three years in prison.
After being released, he came to Karachi & put all his efforts behind the ideology of Pakistan & worked tirelessly through his writings as a free lance journalist.
Finally the dream came true & Pakistan came into existence on 14th August 1947.
Acknowledging his services & unconditional support for Pakistan, none other than Quaid-e-Azam himself honored him by presenting the first passport of Pakistan & declaring him officially the first citizen of Pakistan.

*ASAD SERVING PAKISTAN:*
As Asad was a great supporter of the movement of Pakistan, therefore in 1947, not only was he awarded with the citizenship of Pakistan but he was also appointed as Director of the "Department of Islamic Reconstruction".The core responsibility of this department was drafting the first constitution of Pakistan, which he did successfully. After the death of Quaid e Azam, there was change in the goverment policies. So the first constitution of Pakistan was delayed until 1956. Finally it was promulgated after much changes and additions.
*MINISTRY of FOREIGN AFFAIRS:*
Meanwhile in 1949 Asad joined Ministry of Foreign affairs as the head of middle East division. In 1952 he was appointed as Pakistan's envoy to the United Nations in New York.
At UNO, he met a Polish American woman named "Pola". which was to be his third wife.
He came back to Pakistan along with Pola & submitted a formal application to the foreign ministry for the approval of his marriage. To much of his surprise! he was denied due to security reasons. This made him resign altogether from his responsibilities for Pakistan & he chose to stay back in New York never to come back again except in 1983, when he was invited for a short trip by then president Ziaul haq. Pola was converted & was named as Hamida Asad & they eventually got married.

*ASAD'S LITERARY WORK:*
During his stay in New York he wrote his best seller autobiography *"Road to Mecca"* which is also translated in Urdu as *"Shahrah e Macca"*. The greatest work of Muhammad Asad is the Translation of Holy Quran in english along with commentary to explain the contents of holy verses.
This book *"The message of the holy Quran"* took him 17 long years to complete it. It is regarded as the most comprehensive & authentic translation of holy Quran in English so far.

*DEATH:*
In later years of his life Asad went to settle in Spain. Where he died on 29 Feb 1992. He is burried near "Alhamra" in Granada. Which is one of the provinces of muslim Andalusia in Spain.

*FAMILY:*
Muhammad Asad married thrice.
-His first wife Elsa Shiemann was his working colleague from Berlin. She was converted later in Palestine & her name was chosen as Aziza Asad.
-His second wife Munira was from Madina Saudi Arabia & had one son named Talal. She got divorced as she was reluctant to stay more in Pakistan for long years.
-His third wife was a Catholic Polish American women. Who was also converted & named as Hamida Asad.
Talal Asad, his son from third wife, was born in Madina in 1932. He is a scholar & an anthropologist at the City University of New York.

I want to end this article with the following words of Muhammad Asad regarding Islam:

"Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All it's parts are harmoniously concieved to compliment and support each other. Nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is structure of absolute balance and solid composure".

Written by:
Dr. M. Munir Pitafi

Messages In This Thread

The first citizen of Pakistan. A Jew.
Sidqi.ca -- Thursday, 12 December 2019, 5:02 pm
The first citizen of Pakistan. A Jew by birth
Dr Shabbir, Florida -- Saturday, 14 December 2019, 9:15 pm
Re: The first citizen of Pakistan. A Jew.
Ehsan -- Thursday, 6 February 2020, 8:40 am