*Nouman Ali Khan*
In loving memory of Junaid Jamshed.
I was in my mid teens and Vital Signs came on the scene with Dil Dil Pakistan. His music since then, in the band and as a solo artist, became an inseparable part of my youth. I knew virtually all of his songs by heart. I think I still do.
I got to know him after his incredible transformation. He knew me at first as the young Pakistani chap who tutors Arabic in America. We weren’t close but over the years we got to know each other better and of course a common inspirational figure to both of us was Maulana Tariq Jameel.
Through my personal interactions with him, I got to see the non celebrity side of one of the greatest cultural icons of my generation. He had a great sense of humor, a genuine loving concern for the young generation, an appreciative and humble spirit (which I found most shocking because the man was on top of the world since an early age). He called and pray for me and thanked me when I spoke out about giving him benefit of the doubt. I used to whatsapp him every now and then. He would tell me he sees me as his own younger brother. When we discussed my plans to come to Pakistan (eventually), he would play the big brother role and say, don’t worry I’ll take care of everything. I was a bigger fan of his as a friend and older brother than I ever was of him as a musician. I would even tease him sometimes about his old stuff and how awesome it was. He’d just say, “well Nouman, that just means you have a good taste in music my friend!”
A man who had everything a youth could dream of at his fingertips gave all of it up to pursue a path he well knew would bring him little appreciation and much criticism. An artist and entertainer who was willing to exchange the loving adoration of his millions of fans for criticism and scoffing condescension coming from the very same. A man who would see the ugly side of sectarianism and be humiliated in the name of the very religion that he sacrificed everything to serve. And finally a man who Allah decided would go back to him as a shaheed. I will always honor his memory as someone who lived by his convictions and will always be grateful to Allah that I could call him a friend.
What an amazing human being. What an incredible life. Let his legacy be one of inspiration to change for the better. If Allah gave him the strength, courage and commitment to do that, He will surely grant it to the millions and millions of young people yearning for purpose in life.
May Allah accept him, his spouse, and all whom we lost in that tragic flight crash as shuhadaa who are already overjoyed at what Allah has given them.
You will be missed Junaid Bhai.
Your younger brother Nouman.