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Mothers Who Make Us Proud: In Conversation with Mother of Lt Agha Muqaddas Shaheed

Her heart craves to see him again but it also places a crown on her head. She says, “I am a proud mother of a shaheed. The whole family is proud that he fought valiantly and embraced shahadat, that his life was meaningful, that he gave his life for the sacred cause of defending his motherland.”


Interviewing the bereaved families of shahuda, listening to and observing the expressions of their beloved ones, takes courage and strength. The motive behind it, however, is to learn, gather and absorb the highest level of faith, commitment, training and above all, love for Allah. Undoubtedly, shahuda are chosen by the Almighty and destined to sacrifice their lives in His way. However, their fate is not miraculous but comes through a chain of events. This became more obvious when I interacted with the family of Lt Agha Muqaddas Shaheed, who embraced shahadat in North Waziristan. The pride, contentment and perseverance displayed by the family, especially his mother, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Interviewing the family of the shaheed awakened my spirit, boosted my morale, and strengthened my belief that our faith, customs and traditions are apt to produce heroes like Lt Agha Muqaddas Shaheed.
Shahuda are raised with values like patriotism, duty, honour and valour. Lt Agha Muqaddas Shaheed was no different; the entire family stood behind Lt Agha Muqaddas Shaheed, inspiring him to join Pakistan Army despite him having earned an engineering degree. Muqaddas was a brilliant student and a compassionate human being. He was friendly, gentle, and disciplined. He was an ambitious young man who worked very hard to achieve his goals. He wanted to join Pakistan Army to fulfill his father’s wish of having at least one of his six sons serve in the Armed Forces of Pakistan. Muqaddas was not able to clear his first ISSB exam but that did not stop him and so his perseverance and faith in God bore fruit when during his MPhil, he tried again and got commissioned in Pakistan Army. He was inducted in Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) as a cadet in November 2016, in Graduate Course-36.


“Life is very uncertain; it can put you in situations that you can never imagine. Losing a son so precious has been painful but we have learned to live with his memory. This could not have been possible if it was not for the support of my family. I am not going to lie that it has been difficult but the whole family has been each other’s strength, like Muqaddas taught us to be. His memories have been like a glue that holds us together.”



His mother, Marina Jabeen Butt, still remembers the time when he cleared the initial test for ISSB, his focus was to be physically fit: “Every morning he would wake up early, run for miles and would come home to practice obstacles like rope climbing, cargo net and pole climbing, which his father had arranged for him. He was a highly motivated individual who despite his qualification (being an engineer) preferred to join Infantry. His course mates often questioned his choice of pursuing a career in Infantry instead of the relatively comfortable engineering branch. Little did they know that his dreams did not lie in worldly comforts but in the ranks of the hereafter.”
From the very beginning of his service he was posted to Orakzai Agency, then Bajour and North Waziristan. It was in North Waziristan when on March 18, 2020, an Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) in Datta Khel was conducted where he and three of his jawans embraced shahadat.
“I was very sad when Muqaddas left for PMA, but I believed that Almighty will guide my son to achieve his destination. Indeed, Allah guided him to reach his final destination. Muqaddas never let us see through his noble desire for shahadat but shared his thoughts with his uncle who had told him how he saw him becoming a General in the future, to which he confidently replied that he could see himself only as a martyr,” Mrs. Marina said with tears in her eyes, “Words fall short to describe the loss I feel but my family and I are surrounded by an unexplainable wave of strength and pride, which I cannot put into words. I am proud to be the mother of Muqaddas and how fulfilled I am that my son is a shaheed!”
Mrs. Marina explains that a mother loves all her children equally but it will not be wrong to say that Muqaddas was Mama’s precious little baby, the apple of her eyes. There is no one who could take his place. His mother fondly remembers that at home he was very simple, he would watch cricket, assist her as well as go shopping with her, help Baba (father) in making achar and special chatni, and his presence alone lit everyone’s mood up. 
“Life is very uncertain; it can put you in situations that you can never imagine. Losing a son so precious has been painful but we have learned to live with his memory. This could not have been possible if it was not for the support of my family. I am not going to lie, it has been difficult but the whole family has been each other’s strength, like Muqaddas taught us to be. His memories have been like a glue that holds us together.”
“The departure of Muqaddas was unimaginable for me and the whole family. The boy who grew up in front of my eyes, witnessed peaks and valleys of life with me, laughed and cried with me and who brought sparkle to my eyes, went so suddenly. Such a loss is almost unbearable and irreplaceable. We all die, but what matters is how we die; we all have witnessed deaths of countless people throughout our lifetime, ranging from sudden natural causes to various accidental deaths. But this was very special, bestowed only upon the chosen ones, this was shahadat,” says Mrs. Marina.


Although she is bereaved, she feels satisfied that her darling son’s wish came true: “I am sad, but not aggrieved. I feel the absence of his physical presence but I constantly feel that he is around, looking at me, smiling, joyous when I am happy and sad when I am not. I thank Allah that He has given me a big courageous heart, such that even after losing my youngest, I have stayed steadfast and have not crumbled. I miss Muqaddas with every breath that I take but I am at peace that my son has gone to a better place.” 



Her heart craves to see him again but it also places a crown on her head. She says, “I am a proud mother of a shaheed. The whole family is proud that he fought valiantly and embraced shahadat, that his life was meaningful, that he gave his life for the sacred cause of defending his motherland.”
Although she is bereaved, she feels satisfied that her darling son’s wish came true: “I am sad, but not aggrieved. I feel the absence of his physical presence but I constantly feel that he is around, looking at me, smiling, joyous when I am happy and sad when I am not. I thank Allah that He has given me a big courageous heart, such that even after losing my youngest, I have stayed steadfast and have not crumbled. I miss Muqaddas with every breath that I take but I am at peace that my son has gone to a better place.” 
Mrs. Marina recalls, “Quite often I count Muqaddas on dinner or iftaar as if he would be having food with us but as soon as I realize that he will not, I smile a little as tears roll down and I pray to Allah to grant me strength. He is engraved in my conscious and unconscious to the extent that I call his name absentmindedly. Same is the case with my husband. He is the proud father of a shaheed, he knows that his son embraced martyrdom while fighting valiantly. He also had a special affection and love towards Muqaddas as he best depicted his father’s character.
“Being a mother of such a gallant man is a great honour. Yes, I wish he would have stayed longer with us but this is how life is, unpredictable and volatile. As Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala says, ‘You wish for one thing whilst I wish for another, ultimately only that will occur, which is in accordance with My wish.’ That is how life works, according to the plan and will of Allah and we as mortal beings have to abide by His will and command. The little life Muqaddas spent with his family, has a lot to teach all of us.”
Like all shahuda Muqaddas had a fighter’s spirit; his mother recalls that he fought through every illness and every hardship. He was strong in his resolve and determination and quietly followed the path he wanted to be on, without letting anyone of us know.
“I wish I could see him one last time, hug him, hold him, kiss his forehead and tell him how much he means to me and in the same moment I am reminded that Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala loves his creation more than seventy mothers. He chose Muqaddas like thousands of other shahuda who sacrificed their lives for Pakistan, and this brings peace to my heart. The word shaheed itself gives me great satisfaction, patience and peace and straightens the bent shoulders of old age with pride,” says the proud mother.
We are forever indebted to the sacrifices that our sons, brothers and fathers have made for Pakistan. Everyone lives a life here but a meaningful life is what makes us different and makes it worth living. To have direction in life at such a young age is something you don’t see every day. Lt Agha Muqaddas Shaheed was a man who had set his eyes upon a glorious goal — a goal that he achieved with honor and left a legacy for generations to come. Mrs. Marina recalls, “It was difficult seeing his body without life but it was an honor to raise a child whose life had true spirit. I pray that Allah help all of us find the meaning in our lives and may He protect the sons and daughters of Pakistan against every enemy. Ameen.” HH


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