Death is a human problem – the greatest and the grimmest of all human problems. It was this mystery of life and death that made the great Prince of Kapalwastu renounce the Palace and seek the solitudes of the wilderness. And today, after thousands of years have rolled by, man is confronted with the same eternal riddle. Therefore, No apology is needed to touch upon it, even in an individual context. By its very nature, the problem of death gains in force and reality when woven, unlike an abstract proposition, into the texture of personal experience. No one who has not tasted of death in the loss of some dear one can have any idea of its full import – the deep sting that keeps gnawing into the very depth of one’s being as well as the entirely new vistas of viewpoints, of hopes, interests and aspirations that it opens up before the afflicted soul.

As said in my leading article on the subject, Salim’s death was described to me in a vision as a “cause of mercy” before he was born. The truth of this has been dawning on me ever since in more ways than one. One such mercy that Salim bequeathed to me is to show me the way to detachment from this life of the flesh that is the ideal of all religions to achieve. The fact is that the only true life consists in such detachment from this life while yet in the flesh as so beautifully put by the Prophet in one of these aphorisms – “Die before you die.” This is no small “mercy” that Salim has left behind for me. He has died to give me life – the only life that is worth that name.

There is yet another Truth that has dawned on me since. From the numerous letters of sympathy couched in most feeling words, I have awakened to a great universal bond that knits one man to another more than the little bonds of a common nationality, race, community, colour or language. It is the bond of a common origin and common destination – the whence and whither of life. The Hindu and the Muslim, the Sikh and the Christian, the White and the Black, the High and the Low – all man-made labels shed off as unnatural appendages when standing under the grim shadow of Death.

If I encroach upon the reader’s space by reproducing just a few of these letters, I do so not only because it would be very callous and ungrateful of me not to acknowledge the sympathies that my bereavement has evoked in the circle of my friends—sympathies for which I feel greatly strengthened to bear my cross. I venture to reproduce a sample of these, as I believe they should bring out the great binding force of a common affliction like death.





Very many thanks for your kind letter of the 6th instant, which gave me much pleasure, showing me as it was that you liked my last contribution to The Light. Its No. 1 of 1941 arrived here at the same time, telling me of the pathetic story of your dear, good son Salim. I have to express to you my sincerest spiritual congratulations for the victory you won over yourself, along with my condolences for the great, great loss.

As you have given the highest and most deeply founded reasons for a true consolation yourself, I can hardly offer any better unless you take it as one I feel from the bottom of my heart: You are right! Our hopes for those of our beloved ones who have gone to the other side of the world are not in vain expected by us to be happier, in a way, than we who have still to toil in the struggles of that trial, which, after all is all life on this transitory world.

So may I ask you, dear Brother, to accept in this spirit my admiration and thanks for the uplifting impulse of your editorial along with my deeply felt expression of sympathy!

War Prisoners Camp,

(BARON): Omar Ehrenfels              




Your leader in The Light of January 1st, 1941. Indeed, an Editor is, after all, a human being, and so are the readers of the enlightened paper he edits and your pen picture of the loved and lost Salim with the harrowing details of his multifarious acts of service and sacrifice, his charity, humanity, goodness and love from an, afflicted pen as that of yours could hardly fail to open afresh the sluices of the utmost grief of bereaved hearts like mine, as I have also had the misfortune to lose four such loved ones. The sweet name Salim has a special significance to me, as my youngest son, who is about the same age as that of your beloved and hidden son and who is the doyen of my family, is also named Salim and is as loving and beloved, dutiful and helpful to all the members of the family as the good angel that has now gone above from you was. This fact has only added poignancy to my grief, which lacerated my already wounded heart and brought down such burning, bitter tears on learning about the great affliction that it has pleased Allah to give to you, who are a true and good Muslim, to test the measure of your resigned submission to His will. Pray, therefore, take consolation and fortitude in the thought that many unfortunate beings like me have sustained a greater number of afflictions like the one that has now befallen you, and remember that Salim is, after all, not dead but lives an everlasting life nearer his Creator as good souls never die even in this world but they always live by their acts of goodness and virtue.

It only now remains for us to prepare ourselves and be ready to join our loved ones who reached the goal earlier than us when, sooner or later, the call of the Creator will and must come to us.

Example is better than precept, and you must now lead us poor sufferers like yourself by your courage, fortitude, and submission to Allah’s will.

Yours in affliction,


St. Thomas’ Mound (Madras).


The Light of the 1st inst. made me shaken to the extreme. What a great shock indeed it was to go through the whole editorial! I have myself received such a blow not once but twice in the course of three years – one after another in the death of my two little daughters in the past. The shock was, therefore, more severe to me than it is to you. Indeed, as I was going through the editorial, I wondered whether I had myself suffered it in reality. But what help is there to save us from this seemingly cruel Law of Providence? In fact, there is nothing at all but to suffer in silence and surrender to His commanding will. To act otherwise is to display our own ignorance.

I love to believe that our Salim has gone to a better land, ridding himself of the shackles of his mundane existence. He has left us only to be more ahead of us in our common onward march to the goal. May Allah envelop his soul in eternal peace and perfection – Amin.

I will wish you a happy Eid, though I know that your home’s present atmosphere is far from Eid-like. Let me wish, therefore, a perfect Eid to the soul of Salim, who is gone. He came to bathe you all in the mercy of God. He has done his job all to the plan of His Master. As he himself has become a gainer by showing calm obedience, so you are – through his action. Let not the heart therefore weep but rejoice and pray for the deliverance of him who is the cause of this mercy and charity.