Sightless, not visionless

He can see the world only through the light of Quran. After losing eyesight at an early age Ghulam Hassan Wagay illuminated his life by memorising the holy book and its commentary. Hamidullah Dar reports. 

Ghulam Hassan Wagay

He has never seen the Quran but all its verses are inscribed in his memory.
Hafiz Ghulam Hassan Wagay of Qazi Mohalla Islamabad also knows the exegesis or commentary of the holy book. Today, he is one of the 10 million Muslims across the globe that have memorised the holy Quran.

Wagay’s eyes had seen light but then he could not understand what light was. He was too young to understand. At two, he was struck with small pox. The disease snatched his eyesight and dotted his face with blemishes. Today Wagay is 60 and has no idea what light looks like.

“The whole world to me is cloaked in eternal darkness. Day or night, there is no distinction for me. I feel the world with senses like touch, taste, smell and sound,” says Wagay with a blank face.

When misfortune befell, Wagay says he was rendered into a nervous wreck always clenching his fists in a severe urge to see the world around. “I wanted to play like other boys but I could not. My visionless eyes had restricted my movement and depleted my childhood of all the joy and chatter,” recalls Wagay, heaving a long breath.

However, as days, months and years went by, his father, a contractor, advised him to learn 30th chapter of the holy Quran to earn a respectable livelihood. “Seeing my permanent visual disability, my father sent me to Maulvi Ghulam Ahmad Shah, a Mirwaiz at Jamia Masjid, to learn holy Quran. Initially I resented, feeling that I might not be able to make it. My father hired a person to take me to Maulvi Sahab’s place and bring me back. Alhamdulillah! I learnt holy Quran by heart after seven years of toil somewhere in 1963,” Wagay exults, a smile running across his face with his sightless pupils winking slightly.

Wagay later went to Hazratbal Srinagar where he learnt Qirat (proper recitation) of holy Quran, its exegesis, grammar and jurisprudence from a renowned religious scholar Abdul Kabir.

Influenced by the philosophic poetry of Dr Iqbal and the life of Shah Hamdan (RA), Wagay made them their mentors. “Whenever, somebody recited poetry of Amir Kabir (RA) or Allama Iqbal, my heart immensely moved. Even today I feel inebriated when I listen to their poetic treasure. It is succour to my soul,” says Wagay in a tone brimming with ecstasy.

Wagay is a poet as well. His treasure of best words in best order comprise Naats and Manqabats. His scholastic endeavours, however, are not limited to poetry. “I have translated Surah Fateh into Kashmiri. Besides, I translated poetry of Shah Hamdan and Dr Iqbal into Kashmiri,” says Wagay, as he stands up to search his notebook fecund with his works. He abhors traditional poetry where the seeker and the sought happen to adopt feminine form of addressing.

Greatly overwhelmed by the reverenced aura of Shah Hamdan, Wagay went to Peer Ahsan Sahib Deedamareey who admitted him in the fold of Kubrawi order. “I had a penchant for spirituality right from my adolescent days and used to hold Kubrawi order in high esteem. I went to Peer Sahib in 1965, who guided me and today I am satisfied with what I have done in this field. I have reached a point where everything seems satisfactory,” Wagay says.

Today, Wagay guides hundreds of persons on the path of spirituality. He has opened two religious seminaries, Darasgah Ali Saani at Qazi Mohalla and Darasgah Shah-i- Hamdan at Danter village. Despite the achievements, his frame turns into a postcard of gloom when he recollects the prospect of having done more in academia.

“Dr Qazi Nisar, Mirwaiz of south Kashmir, was my classmate. He went to Cairo for advanced studies while as I remained confined to valley. Knowledge has no limit but I was fettered by the chains of destiny. I am even forced to offer my prayers at home,” Hafiz says. However, thinking that his words tantamount to inviting displeasure of Allah, he immediately bursts, “I have no complaints to almighty Allah. He has bestowed me with four senses and I only have a 20 percent disability.”

Wagay has not married. “Every girl has many dreams and expectations. I could not have fulfilled those and decided not to ruin the life of any innocent girl with my wilted estiny,” he concludes.

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