ATP Quiz: Who is this man? And why is he on Pakistaniat?

Posted on April 15, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Quiz, People
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Adil Najam

I suspect that the majority of our readers have never even heard of the man featured in these photographs. However, I am quite sure that some here are very familiar with this man and his works, even though they may be less familiar with these particular photographs.

There is another portrait photograph of his that is quite well known and would have made this easier. But, that is from well before he had anything to do with Pakistan. Of the photographs above: the one on the left is from his last years, and the one on the right is a group photograph taken soon after the creation of Pakistan (he is seated center) when he headed a body of experts that discussed ideas about the shape of Pakistan’s constitution (amongst other things).

I guess I have already given the key clue in the paragraph above. But if you are still not sure, focus on the second half of the headline. This was a man who was born in Europe, died in America, became famous for his adventures and work that had very little to nothing to do with Pakistan, and yet for a critical period in his own life and that of our country, he saw himself very much as a Pakistani; as did Pakistan.

14 Comments on “ATP Quiz: Who is this man? And why is he on Pakistaniat?”

  1. Yousaf says:
    April 15th, 2007 3:05 pm

    Maulana Asad ?i think he translated Quran also ..

  2. Suleman says:
    April 15th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Muhammed Asad

  3. Ahmed2 says:
    April 15th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Yes, he is Asad—-Journey to Mecca, Islam at the Crossroads, etc. and we have as his legacy The Message of the Holy Quran, which I think is the best in English. This was published in 1980 by his widow, Pola Hamida Asad from Gibraltar. I think that is where he died. We in Pakistan will remain in his debt.

  4. Suleman says:
    April 15th, 2007 3:40 pm

    AKA Leopold Weiss in Lwow author of “Road to Mecca”.

  5. zakoota says:
    April 15th, 2007 4:40 pm

    This is the great Muhammad Asad, the famous philosopher. Yousaf, you’re rite he has written a translation of The Holy Quran and it is considered one of the best (if not the best) translation ever written. Here is a link to his “The Message of Quran”.

    Besides this Muhammad Asad has written many books which include “Road to Mecca”.

    Here’s a link where you can read a brief life sketch of this great man.

  6. Saniya says:
    April 15th, 2007 5:53 pm

    Mohammad Asad – author of along with the books mentioned – Islam at Crossroads(an excellent read) and also did a tafsee or the Quran – Message of the Quran –

  7. falcon says:
    April 15th, 2007 5:58 pm

    Mr. Asad, I have most of is book, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet :)

    I did notice a remark of his, something to the effect of: “the west always plans for short-term where as muslims think longterm.” It seems to me that the opposite is true. Actually in his “Road to Mecca” he relates how the king of Saudi Arabia lost interest in a project when he realized that it would not pay off for another decade.

    As far as I know, he was not a philosopher, but his life is very interesting indeed.

  8. Asif Ansari says:
    April 15th, 2007 10:54 pm

    Mohd Asad

    The Jewish reporter who travelled extensively in the middle east during world war One and than embraced Islam. His books Road to Mecca and Islam at crossroads are very good and his translation of the Quran is the Best in english .There is a video of his at his home in Spain made before he passed away as well.

    Asif Ansari

  9. MansoorC says:
    April 15th, 2007 10:57 pm

    Dear Adil,

    Thanks for reminding us of the great man. For those who have not read his autobiography, “Road to Mecca” is very engrossing, thought-provoking read. It is a travelogue of his years spent in Arabia – his formative years before and right after his conversion to Islam. Unfortunately, as far as I know he never wrote in detail about his views/perspective of his later years – which were equally interesting – when he decided to spent time in the sub-continent (on persuasion of Dr. Iqbal) – stayed after formation of Pakistan – represented Pakistan in UN – eventually resigned – married an American Muslim convert – and was so disillusioned by the state of affairs in the Muslim world that decided to stay in self-imposed exile in Spain.

    Someone said in an earlier post that he was not a philosopher – I beg to differ. One has to only read his biography to figure out that he indeed was a person of great insight/perspective.

    His translation of Quran is the best one I have come across. I think CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relationship) made a great move in picking Asad’s translation for their free Quran campaign. CAIR’s action made his translation much more readily available than it was before.

    I have not read his “Islam At The Cross-roads” book. Would love to hear from anyone who has read it.

    Mansoor C

  10. zakoota says:
    April 16th, 2007 12:49 am

    Dear Asif Ansari and all others who use the abbreviated word MOHD for Muhammad, please stop using this. I can assure, it wont take more than 10-15 seconds to type full name MUHAMMAD even if you’re an average typer. Thanks and Allah may bless you all.

  11. YLH says:
    April 16th, 2007 1:17 am

    My first guess would have been Sir Ivor Jennings… but clearly I am wrong.

  12. April 16th, 2007 2:40 am

    Since most people have correctly guessed the person in the photographs, this post is now close.

    A followup post on Muhammad Asad continues the discussion on him and his connection to Pakistan, here.

  13. August 10th, 2008 5:31 pm

    I was surprised to hear about this man I am more surprised to know also that one of his books was spaed by the cultural minstry of Arabia aoudia. Gid forgive I do not want judge any one, however, we should as Muslims encourage such books and encourage the right and the closess translation from english to arabic God knows how much we are in need of such translation.

  14. Watan Aziz says:
    April 15th, 2010 9:15 am

    ATP, minor correction, Muhammad Asad died in Spain.

    Towards the end of his life, Asad moved to Spain and lived there with his third wife, Pola Hamida Asad, also a convert to Islam, until his death on 23 February 1992 at the age of 92. He was buried in the Muslim cemetery of Granada in the former Moorish province of Andalusia, Spain. (Source: Wiki)

    His service to both Islam and Pakistan is a class by itself.

    And it also goes to say with humility, that Pakistan has produced some of the finest translations of Qur’an. A testament to the middle of the road ways of Pakistanis.

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