Abdul Sattar Edhi, icon social worker, philanthropist, and founder of Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest non-profit charity and welfare organization, passed away at the age 88 on July 8, 2016 as result of kidney problem.
Innalilahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon (To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return).
Edhi Foundation provides humanitarian services in several foreign countries including the US, Britain, South Africa, and Canada.
Born in Indian state of Gujarat, Edhi migrated to newly established Muslim-majority state of Pakistan in 1947. He was a practicing Muslim who dedicated all his life helping others (Haqooq Ul Ibaad) as commanded by Holy Qur’an. He never accepted gifts or cash for personal use. He spent a very simple life. He never had more than two pairs of clothes and one pair of shoe. While he provided shelter to tens of thousands of widows, orphans and battered woman, he lived in a cheap rental house. He wished to be buried in one of his two pairs of clothes.
Edhi began his public service in Karachi in the 1950s by turning his old motor-powered ricksaw into an ambulance. He used to transport injured and sick people to hospital without charging them.
Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife Bilquis Bano Edhi are known for extending helping hand both to Muslims and non-Muslims as part of Islamic tradition. The couple looked after Geeta, an Indian handicapped Hindu girl for 13 years in their home who was returned to India on the request of anti-Pakistan Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Later Modi offered a $180.000 donation which was declined by Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Motivated by Islamic spirit of helping others in need, over the years Edhi and his team have created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters and homes for the elderly, picking up where limited government-run services fell short. Currently, it operates 1,500 ambulances.
Edhi and his wife, Bilquis Edhi, received the 1986 Ramon Magsaysay Award for public service. He is also the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize and the Balzan Prize. In 1989, Edhi received the Nishan-e-Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan.
Edhi has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and appears on the list again this year again.
A grateful Pakistani nation gave Adbul Sattar Edhi a ‘state funeral’ with 17-gun salute. His funeral was attended by chief ministers of all four provinces and heads of Pakistan’s army, navy and air force. Watch a video below.