“So many years later there were many who still complained and questioned, “Why must you pick up Christians and Hindus in your ambulance?” And I was still saying, “Because the ambulance is more Muslim than you.”
“The Holy Book should open in your souls, not on your laps. Open your heart and see God’s people. In their plight you will find Him.”
“There is no such thing as an illegitimate human being” [On the issue of infants and children being abandoned because they are illegitimate].
“Edhi & Bilqees Edhi also take care of the small daughter of the thief jailed for burglary of the foundation in 2014.”
“Day after day, for decades, Edhi and his wife rescued abandoned babies, drug addicts, and victims of political and gang violence. He did God’s Work.“
No matter how worse things took a turn for in Pakistan, Abdul Sattar Edhi was one individual, one icon, one saint who gave me, and all, strength and hope. Hope, that there is good in Pakistan, that there is good in this world. And strength, that in him resided the embodiment of all that Pakistan could be. The best Pakistan could be.
I saw in him the Muslim I wish to be, the human I wanted to be. I saw in him the magnificent beauty and purity of humanity.
I knew for every Mumtaz Qadri, there was Edhi. For every Malik Ishaq, there was Edhi.
There was never need for another human being, for he was enough. He was no man, he was an institution.
As we writhed in the pain of our wounds, he healed us.
But he was no hope for the helpless, the beggared, the oppressed, the lowest of the lowest. For the poor laying on the footpaths in the scorching heat, for the beggar limping his way amid traffic, for the infant abandoned for no crime but his birth, for the addicts ostracized, for the victims of a cruel society and an apathetic state -for those who had no one – he was there, he was their everything. He had no education, no riches but he was their food, their clothes, their shelter, their parents, their dignity; their salvation sent from God.
All and everyone.
He was Pakistan’s soul and heart, a soul and heart unblemished by hate and division. A heart and soul that did nothing but give kindness and love; and that gave generously and selflessly.
He was one of the greatest Pakistanis, if not the greatest alone. And certainly one of the greatest human beings. To walk the same land as Edhi, what an honor it has been. To breathe the same air as Edhi, what a privilege it has been.
Pakistan is infinitely poorer today. Pakistan is orphaned today.
God knows how this void will ever fill, how this void will ever heal. More than ever, it was today, at this moment in time marked by bigotry, distrust and hate that we needed Edhi Sb’s unblemished humanity and love, his unparalleled courage, his matchless integrity and honesty, his radiant humility and dignity, and his towering principles.
We needed Edhi now, desperately, but we also needed him forever.
As per his wishes, his healthy organs will be donated. Even in death, he has given, he has helped. He has served right till the end, and beyond.
The only befitting tribute to him would be our realization of the humanity he espoused and practiced; a humanity higher than the petty matters of race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, sect, politics and prejudice. A humanity higher than the flimsy divisions we have constructed between ourselves; on maps, in borders, in our minds and in our hearts. There is no better tribute to him that our espousal of his principles and his ideals; it is no tribute, it is a duty and a responsibility owed to a man to whom we will forever be indebted.
Raise your voice, stand up, work and act for a tolerant, humane and peaceful Pakistan and world.
For if only we would all strive for even a speck of the incredible humanity he personified and possessed, Pakistan would be a much better place.
Let our actions, not our fortune, lay claim to Abdul Sattar Edhi and his life. Let us be his legacy.
Let us mourn but let us also honor him. Let us be his legacy, in words, actions, in life and in spirit.
Thank you and farewell messenger of humanity, farewell Edhi Sahab.
I do not wish to write about anything other than the great man and the great loss we have been faced with today, but I find it difficult to sidestep the growing set of comments condemning the Nobel Peace Prize in wake of Edhi Sb’s demise.
You are doing no service to Edhi by reducing his life & work to the trifling recognition of a prize he never sought; he sought nothing. Edhi was in no need of any prize or recognition, and especially not validation. If you want to recognize him, carry the spirit of his work forward. Do not reduce the man and his legacy to some prize or reward, he was above all of these. Do not project the smallness of our minds and hearts onto the greatness of the man. Do not dishonor him like this, please.
Let us not forget the role Dr. Adeeb Rizvi and SIUT have played in caring for Edhi. Dr. Rizvi is a man in the same league as Edhi’s, he is an incredible human being, an institution and a living legend.
A pity he isn’t known much (although known very well to those who threaten him) but he has been aptly called “Pakistan’s Miracle Doctor” and has saved thousands of lives while ushering in a new era for Pakistan’s healthcare system with SIUT.
“But one public sector hospital in Karachi provides free specialised healthcare to millions, led by a man whose dream was inspired by the UK’s National Health Service. Now the hospital says it has the distinction of performing the highest number of successful renal transplants, dialysis sessions and treatment of kidney stone disease anywhere in the world.
He could have opted to set up his own private hospital. He could have built up his own lucrative empire while keeping his day job at the poorly run government hospital – a path taken by many highly qualified physicians in Pakistan.”