Abdul Sattar Edhi; The Real Hero of Pakistani Society

edhijanazaBy M. Basheer Ahmed, M.D.

“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend.  Say, ‘Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler.  And whatever you do of good—indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.’” (2:215)

Humanity is a relationship between one another with compassion, empathy, kindness and treating each other with dignity. All religions teach humanity, however we do not spend enough time in serving the needs of the impoverished and needy.

Abdul Sattar Edhi, a Celebrated Pakistani philanthropist died in Karachi on July, 8th 2016, left an example of a true Muslim upholding the basic principle of Islam to serve Humanity, facing the challenges posed by Muslim fanatics and feudal, militaristic and capitalistic government.

He is considered as one of the greatest HUMANITARIANS. He passed away at age 92 but he would live for all time to come into the hearts, minds and prayers of countless poor, needy and helpless people. He dedicated his life to humanity and social services.  Edhi gave anything and everything he had throughout his life. And even after his death he donated his corneas to give eyesight to a blind. A successful cornea transplant was done at the Sind Institute of Urology & Transplantation (SIUT), Karachi.

Mr. Edhi was born in Gujarat started his welfare mission in 1951, when he opened his first home for homeless in Karachi Pakistan. Edhi Trust is a nonprofit social welfare organization providing services to indigents in Pakistan and other parts of the world. This charitable organization has hundreds of welfare centers a network of free nursing homes, shelters for abused women, children and addicts, orphanages, food distribution, centers and several charitable hospitals where free treatment was offered. The Edhi foundation runs the world’s largest ambulances service with a fleet of 1500 vehicles and 24 hours’ service. The Edhi education program provides traditional and vocational education including pharmacy, driving, reading, writing and para medical training. He single-handedly started the Edhi foundation which untill today carries on its operations through private donations

Abdul Sattar Edhi is the only man who consistently stood up for the poor throughout the history of Pakistan. He didn’t shy away from burying the dead, no matter what their political, religious, or sectarian affiliation.

The New York Times termed Edhi ‘Pakistan’s Father Teresa’ in the obituary published on July 8. His name became “synonymous with charitable causes” and he achieved “an almost saintly status” in a country that is hungry for role models and heroes. The Wall Street Journal termed him “a philanthropist whom many Pakistanis considered a national icon”

Mr. Edhi was awarded Lenin Peace Prize in 1988,  Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1989 by Pakistan government, wolf and Bhogio Peace Award in 2005 by Italy.  He was Nominated several times for the Nobel peace prize.

He refused to be used by fanatic Muslim groups for their political purposes. He condemned sectarianism and condemned violence in the name of Islam. He was called a kafir and his life was threatened. When they objected why he was picking up the bloodied bodies of Hindus and Christians he replied that helping humanity was greater than any religion “my ambulance has no religion”

Abdul Sattar Edhi leaves behind him a glorious legacy. May God Almighty grant his soul eternal peace.

Picture shows Edhi Sahib with my classmate of Dow medical college Karachi, Dr. Adib-ul-Hasan Rizvi, founder & director of SIUT.


The writer is CHAIRMAN EMERITUS, MCC for Human Services, Education, Research and Service to the Humanity is the Greatest Worship


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