President of our branch in South Africa writes
“We advise, with grief, the passing away of our dear brother Ismail Peck in the early hours of this morning. Mr Peck passed away at home with his family after spending several weeks in hospital recovering from a stroke and heart attack.
Mr Peck was a legendary figure in our Jamaat, a stalwart in the Ahmadi Case and will always be remembered for his sincerity and firmness in serving the cause of our Jamaat. He will be sorely missed.
Inna Lillaa hie Wa inna ielayhie Rajioon.”
It is with the greatest sadness and regret that we announce that, on July 28, 2010 at 4 in the morning, Ismail Peck the great stalwart of the Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Movement in South Africa returned to his Maker. His funeral prayers and internment took place the same day in the afternoon. Ismail Peck, a very dedicated and enthusiastic member of the South Africa branch, was one of the two plaintiffs in the first South Africa Case. The other plaintiff was our sister organisation in that country.
The basic point of dispute in that case was whether members of the Lahore-Ahmadiyya Movement were Muslims or not. At first our Sunni opponents kept using legal tricks to have the case struck out and to avoid debating religious issues in front of an independent court.
They succeeded in having removed the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam as a plaintiff, leaving only Ismail Peck. This meant that if the court decided in favour of our opponents they would be awarded costs running to hundreds of thousands of pounds which Ismail Peck would be responsible for. His life was threatened several times by our opponents during the case but he refused to back down. Without his support and willingness to be a plaintiff, the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat could not have proceeded with the case because of legal technicalities.
When the Sunnis failed in having the case struck out completely, on the day hearing of the substantive issue was to start i.e. whether Ahmadis are Muslims or not, the Sunni ran away from the court saying that a secular court did not have the right to decide on religious issues. In his decision the judge commented that a secular court was the best place to decide such issues because of its independence and impartiality. The judge commented that this case was the story of two remarkable and great men; one Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the other Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali. He then proceeded to discuss religious issues and declare Lahore-Ahmadis to be Muslim. This caused such a furore in Pakistan that the decision was removed from the law book which contained the list of important international decisions.
In that case, our great scholar, and missionary, Hafiz Sher Muhammad Sahib was the main witness appearing on behalf of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. The evidence he presented was later published in the book, The Ahmadiyya Case.
When the Second South Africa case started Ismail Peck was back again with help and support. This case was between two Sunni Imams. One imam regarded Lahore-Ahmadis as Muslims and the other did not. For so doing, Sheikh Jasseim, who regarded us as Muslims was called a heretic by the other. Hafiz Sher Muhammad returned to South Africa to give evidence on behalf of Sheikh Jasseim. As part of their campaign to prejudice the Christian court, our opponents put before the court some critical statements by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his books about Christianity and Jesus. Our stand was that everything Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad said was based on the Testaments. However, despite great effort, we could not find some of references in the Testaments. Ismail Peck was the person who found support for every single statement made by Hazrat Mirza Sahib in a reference from the Old or the New Testament, which he seemed to know by heart. Again, the court decided that to call Sheikh Jasseim a heretic because he believed Lahore-Ahmadis were Muslims was to insult him and the caller needed to pay a penalty by way of compensation.
The only Ahmadi in his family, Mr. Peck was also the author of several books on the comparative study of the Holy Quran and the Bible.
Mr Peck was a friendly person with an engaging personality and a great sense of humour.
May Allah accept the great sacrifices he made for the sake of this Jamaat and grant him a high station close to Himself. May Allah also grant us all the strength to follow Ismail Peck’s example and make great sacrifices for the cause of Islam.