Mrs. Major Babar Khan recounts memories of her Shaheed husband
Very little is how much we know about our destiny and fate as Allah SWT has kept His secrets to be only disclosed whenever He chooses and to whomever He chooses. As ordained in the Holy Quran, one must strive to achieve success and pray to bear the fruits with the will of Allah. Jihad and Qittal are two relative terms. Jihad is struggle or effort revolving around strengthening the core values and preparing to fight the evil whenever needed. Jihad means exertion, striving, but in religious sense, it signifies the exertion of one's power to the utmost of one's capacity in the cause of Allah (Sahih Muslim, Book:19). Whereas, Qittal is only one aspect of Jihad — physically fighting evil to exterminate it.
The objective of a true soldier is to defend his motherland against the aggression of external enemies and provide confidence to his compatriots that their lives and livelihood are well protected. Soldiers execute assigned tasks in the best possible manner to accomplish the orders in both peace and wartime. Those who lay down their lives in maintaining the peace and prosperity of one country through supreme sacrifices, undoubtedly, join the esteemed group that is recognized as shahuda (martyrs). Honouring martyrs is our national character and we cherish this rich tradition. However, seldom have we touched upon the lives of aggrieved families, especially, the wives of our shahuda whose remarkable contributions in the upbringing of their wards go unnoticed. Following are excerpts from a conversation with Mrs. Bushra Babar, the widow of Major Babar Khan Shaheed. The story of Mrs. Bushra who was widowed at a very young age is a tale of strength, courage and undaunted spirit.
How was Major Babar Khan alhas a person?
My husband was a very loving person. He was compassionate and very caring. Not only was he very humble but also, extremely God fearing. He was both kind-hearted and lionhearted. He loved his profession dearly and more than that, he loved Pakistan.
Babar and I were cousins, so one may say that we knew each other in and out. I never saw any ill habit in Babar. His friendly nature allowed everyone to fall in love with his personality. I have never come across a single person who has anything ill to say about Babar. He was everyone’s favourite, the apple of our family’s collective eye.
Babar was exceptionally good. He was kind to the young and greatly revered his elders. He was an obedient son and a very caring husband. Though we lived only a few years with each other, it feels like we had lived an eternity together. He was an exemplary husband to say the least and in the very short period that he spent with his children, he gave them love, friendship and everything that a father can.
Every time Babar used to come home from work, our children would gather around their Baba and play with him for hours on end. Babar was very affectionate towards our children and was very concerned about their education. He wanted his children to excel in their studies but more than that he wanted them to be good human beings. My eldest daughter who got to spend 4 years of her life with her Baba was well aware of her father’s aspirations for her as he used to praise her handwriting when she was only in Kindergarten and used to share with her his hopes and dreams regarding her. My daughter has been a very diligent and hardworking student and with God’s grace, she has been able to secure a gold medal in her BBA and a silver medal in her MBA. Whereas, my son is persuing a career as a software engineer, Alhamdulillah.
Kindly share with our readers when and how Major Babar Khan embraced martyrdom?
On May 9, 1997, the devastating news of Babar’s accident was shared with me. Babar, who had gone to Peshawar for official work met with a fatal accident on his way back to Ghalanai, Bajaur. I, along with my two kids and the families of other officers who were also injured in the same accident, rushed to CMH Peshawar. Babar was unconscious and I was informed that an operation would take place in the morning due to internal bleeding. With prayers on my lips throughout the night, I came to my father's house who was at that time Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court. I remember that I spent the whole night praying and pleading to Allah Almighty to save Babar, to grant him life.
However, early in the morning the earth under my feet crumbled as I received the news of Babar’s shahadat. I was numb, it was as if I had lost everything. The world I adored had completely collapsed. Just then, I looked at my children’s faces. my daughter was four and my son was only two-and -half-years-old. All I could think at that time was how I was going to pull through this life without Babar; how was I going to raise these two innocent souls without their father; how was a 20-year-old widow going to get through life without the support of her better half.
While we were taking the body to our hometown, I felt lifeless. After the Salat al-Janazah and burial, I observed the period of iddah at my in-laws. Later, along with Babar’s eldest sister I went to Ghalanai to pack my household items. The house, which was once filled with my family’s laughter was now just a graveyard of memories. We packed some essentials and came back to Mansehra where we prepared for the next phase of our lives that was about to commence.
The pain of losing a loved one is unimaginable. How has this journey been?
I got married at a very young age, right after completing my matriculation. Babar was my cousin. Unfortunately, I was widowed after only a few years of our marriage. In the few years that I spent with Babar, I had lived my whole life. Emotionally, I was devastated because my husband was the core of my world. As a wife of an Army Officer, I accepted Allah’s will. I promised myself to be strong for the kids and my strong faith in Allah helped me. In fact, it is my strong faith in Allah Almighty that has helped me to this day.
It must have been extremely hard to raise two children without their father.
Share your journey of playing the role of both a mother and a father. Raising children as a single parent is unimaginably hard. With Babar by my side, I never had to worry about anything. He was our shelter, our provider, our caretaker, our everything ... however, after his shahadat, I was left behind with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. Initially, I lived at my father’s house but after his death, I had to rent a place where I lived with my children for another few years. That was a very difficult time for my children and me. I engaged myself in teaching at a school for one-and-a-half-year and while the Army had promptly arranged pension in immaculate manner along with the stipend for school fee for my children, raising them in absence of Babar was excruciatingly difficult.
How did Army support you through these hardships?
I am grateful to Allah SWT and Pakistan Army for facilitating me after my husband’s shahadat. I felt like a part of the Army family even after Babar’s shahadat. Babar’s coursemates and his Unit Officers always showed me immense respect. I can proudly say that today my children and I have two families — our biological family and Pakistan Army. Without the support of my second family, I would not have been able to raise my children in the way that I have.
What message would you like to give to our readers?
My message for the families of all shahuda is that we should be proud that our loved ones sacrificed their lives for a noble cause. We should accept Allah’s will and stay positive just like our soldiers who fear not for a second to sacrifice their life for the homeland.
The strength of imaan makes our soldiers fearless and the same must keep us strong. For it is us who have to lead a life after them and raise those who are left behind. Lastly, I want to say to all the mothers who have lost their sons, all the wives who have been widowed and all the children who have lost their fathers in the way of Allah not to grieve, for Allah SWT says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And do not think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision.” HH
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
— Anais Nin
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