We do not praise anyone before Allah (swt), for He (swt) Alone knows our souls. Thus, I bear witness of the good that I saw in Naveed Butt, so as to encourage the Dua and efforts for his release. I first met Naveed in the winter of 1999 and spoke to him last on 9 May 2012, two days before he was abducted by Pakistan’s agencies on 11 May 2012. Like many others, there are many memories that I have of dear Naveed, which bring tears to my eyes, as I make Dua for him. I have selected a few to share, asking Allah (swt) that it is a useful and beneficial knowledge.
Naveed has been endowed by Allah (swt) with an impressive presence and a leading personality. I first met him in his Islamabad home in the winter of 1999. Tall, handsome, with a warm, welcoming smile, and piercing eyes that revealed exceptional intelligence. His home was a hive of activity for the work of restoring ruling by all that Allah (swt) has revealed. Sitting in his dynamic presence energized the soul and lifted away tiredness. In the era before smart phones, he carried an appointments’ file which was always full, as he strove day and night for Islam.
I bear witness regarding Naveed’s patience in poverty, which he faced for some time. Naveed would help others financially, even when he had need. His soft heart could not bear any Muslim suffering. He would overextend himself to help. He was generous in business, forgoing his right to secure the right of others. I recall his keen search for the knowledge of Islam and his attention to the nawafil in worship. And when I consider what he gave up of worldly riches and opportunities, when he returned from the United States to Pakistan to strive for the Deen, I am reminded of the princely Musab ibn Umair (ra), whose eyes were fixed firmly on the Aakhira, though the adornments of Dunya were readily available for him.
For many years before his eventual abduction, Naveed was under constant threat of arrest and abduction, which sometimes was very severe, since he is the Official Spokesman of Hizb ut Tahrir in the Wilayah of Pakistan. Looking at him you would not know of the constant danger, for there was never a sign of fear on his face or slowing of his work. Indeed, there are those who are in the back rows in the Dawah and there are those in the front rows. And then there is the like of Naveed, who can only be seen on the horizon, leading and lighting the way for others.
I remember when Naveed was to lead a demonstration against Musharraf’s support of Bush’s crusade, in the winter of 2001. A large contingent of police assembled to arrest him, surrounding his media office. Undaunted, he proceeded and faced the first of his arrests and attempted arrests.
Under arrest, Naveed would defiantly account his oppressors for their obstructing the work for Khilafah (Caliphate). While doing so, he would carefully protect others from arrest, by refusing to give any information whatsoever. Moreover, he would put himself in the focus, such that many have a debt to him for their free movement till this day. One of the brave brothers once entered the room for interrogation after Naveed had left. He entered and said the interrogator looked disheveled and exhausted, with his head in his hands. He looked up and asked who the brother was and he defiantly gave his name and said “from Hizb ut Tahrir,” after which the interrogator sunk his head back into his hands.
At times of danger, when invoking the protection of Allah (swt), Naveed would recite the Ayah, وَجَعَلْنَا مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدًّا وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدًّا فَأَغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ “And We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them, so they do not see.” [Surah Yasin 36:9]. On one occasion, he held a press conference for the release of the many who were arrested protesting on 29 October 2004, against Musharraf’s plan to send our armed forces to Iraq to strengthen the US occupation. Police was sent from three different stations to arrest him. A brave and daring brother took the initiative to rescue him, by driving into the basement of the building. Naveed entered the lift to reach the basement and it was full of police that were searching for him. He avoided eye contact and began reciting the Ayah from Surah Yasin (36:9), and they did not draw their attention to him. He entered the car, hid within it and escaped.
On another occasion, police had captured him and wanted to know about the place where he lived, information Naveed was not willing to volunteer. Police took him in a vehicle in to the city and set him free, putting a tail on him to follow him back to his home. Naveed seized his chance, jumping out of sight, catching his follower by surprise. He jumped down into a canal that was dry at the time, in winter, and was chased by the law enforcement on his tail. Naveed stumbled and fell under a bush, which had shed its leaves, shielding him only with bare branches in broad daylight. He again began reciting the Ayah from Surah Yasin (36:9), as the one following him caught up and looked down into the bush, under which he lay. By the grace of Allah (swt), he did not see Naveed and gave up his chase.
Then, there was my last conversation with him on 9 May 2012. It was clear that the tyrants were focused on seizing him, searching and digging everywhere for him. I was concerned as he had just recovered from a bout of typhoid and was weakened. So I urged him to avoid his known places, just for a few days. I remember his quiet and calm demeanor. He gave a resolute response, putting me at ease by invoking Allah (swt) as his Protector. Indeed, to this day, I am reminded from those few words, that Allah (swt) tests us according to the level of our Taqwa. The most Mutaqi are tested the most, for they are willing to face whatever comes in the path of worshiping Allah (swt).
Even after his abduction, it is clear from the many approaches to secure Naveed’s release, that Naveed maintained a strong stance. One official complained that he did not give any information whatsoever. Another official, some years later, confirmed that the agencies are looking for an excuse to release him, but Naveed does not concede even an inch from the stance that he adopted on the first day. Naveed adopted such a strong stance, even though another official confirmed that he was tortured to severe levels, arrogantly declaring that he was not kept as a “guest.” And then there is the report that he was led into a room with disorientating shapes, such that he collapsed and injured his head. At this, I ask Allah (swt) to avenge him from his oppressors, for Allah (swt) said, إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ “Those who persecute the Believers, men and women, and do not turn in repentance, will have the Penalty of Hell: They will have the Penalty of the Burning Fire.” [Surah Al-Buruj 85:10]
As others, I consider after eight years, that maybe he was martyred at some point by the tyrants. I then remind myself, that if this were the case, it would be no loss for Naveed or his family. Indeed, it is the promise of Allah (swt) that the good will be brought together with their families, not for the short span of this life, but forever in Jannah, a blessed reunion with no end. Allah (swt) said, جَنَّـتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا وَمَنْ صَلَحَ مِنْ ءَابَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ وَالمَلَـئِكَةُ يَدْخُلُونَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِّن كُلِّ بَابٍ “Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring.” [Surah ar-Ra`d: 23]. If it is the case, I ask Allah (swt) that he raises him with martyrs for speaking the word of truth, for RasulAllah ﷺ said, «سَيِّدُ الشُّهَدَاءِ حَمْزَةُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ، وَرَجُلٌ قَامَ إِلَى إِمَامٍ جَائِرٍ فَأَمَرَهُ وَنَهَاهُ، فَقَتَلَهُ» “The prince of martyrs is Hamzah and the man who stood facing a tyrant ruler, ordered him (for good) and forbade him (from evil) and the ruler killed him.” [Reported by al-Haakim]. And if it is the case, may our love for him earn us his companionship in the higher levels of Jannah, for Al-Bazzar narrated that RasulAllah ﷺ said, «مَنْ أَحَبَّ رَجُلا لِلَّهِ، فَقَالَ إِنِّي أُحِبُّكَ لِلَّهِ، فَدَخَلا الْجَنَّةَ، فَكَانَ الَّذِي أَحَبَّ أَرْفَعُ مَنْزِلَةً مِنَ الآخَرِ، الْحَقُّ بِالَّذِي أَحَبَّ لِلَّهِ» “Whoever loved a man for the sake of Allah and said: I love you for the sake of Allah, and then they were admitted to the jannah, and the one who was loved was of higher rank from the other, he would be joined with the one who loved.”
Mostly, I consider that Allah (swt) has kept Naveed away until the right time, for even the tyrants do not act outside of what Allah (swt) has planned. They think themselves mighty but in their arrogance they blind themselves to the might of Al-Qahhar, al-Jabbar and al-Qawwi (swt). I look forward to embracing Naveed after his release. I pray for the day that I stand with him as he extends his Bayah to a righteous Khaleefah, ruling by Islam. No matter is difficult for Allah (swt).
Indeed, the Muslims of Pakistan are good and one of the evidences of their goodness are their brave sons, such as Naveed. Another evidence of their goodness is that they continuously ask about the well-being of Naveed after all these years. Yes, the malicious mouthpieces of the regime taunt and intimidate the Dawah Carriers, but they are droplets in the ocean of goodness. Most Muslims make sincere Dua for Naveed and quite a few make efforts, according to their ability to help in his release. Indeed, the people are deserving of rulers like Naveed and the time is approaching inshaa Allah for the Muslims of Pakistan to be ruled by the likes of Naveed.
وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ * بِنَصْرِ اللَّهِ يَنْصُرُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ
“And that day the believers will rejoice * In the victory of Allah. He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.” [Ar-Rum: 4-5]
Musab Umair – Pakistan