A little-known facet of Kader Khan, the veteran Bollywood actor-writer-comedian who passed in away Toronto early on Tuesday morning, was that he was a Quranic scholar who designed a special academic syllabus in Islamic studies, besides simplified Arabic and Urdu language courses, a family friend said.
"Though deeply immersed in Bollywood, around early 1990s, he bowed before the wishes of his aged father, the late Maulana Abdul Rahman Khan, to take forward his ideals for propagating Islamic studies and help clear misconceptions among the minds of people by using simplied language with their meanings," said Javed Jamaluddin, a veteran Urdu journalist and close friend of the late actor.
Originally hailing from Kabul, Afghanistan, Maulana Khan was a renowned Islamic scholar who remained in India post-Partition and in the early 1950s, migrated to Holland, where he set up the Arabic & Islamic Institute.
However, in the early 1990s, Kader Khan was summoned by his father who wanted him to take over and carry forward his legacy, but the actor - then already a big name in Bollywood - was reluctant, arguing he had acepractically no knowledge of Islam or Arabic or Urdu.
"Patiently, the senior Maulana Khan explained to his son that although he had no knowledge about story-writing or dialogue-writing, he learnt and made it big in Bollywooda So, in a similar fashion, he could also learn about Islam, Arabic and Urdu," said Jamaluddin, 55.
His father's words hit Kader Khan like a sledge-hammer and he immediately enrolled for and completed his MA in Islamic Studies & Arab Literature from Osmania University in 1993.
Adhering to his father's wishes, he set up a team of experts in Mumbai and also at his bungalow in Pune's posh Koregaon Park where he designed various Islamic courses for students from nursery to post-graduate levels covering Islamic tenets, Sharia laws and the like.
He followed up by opening the KK Institute of Arabic Language & Islamic Studies in Dubai and later in Canada to impart training in Arabic and Islamic laws as preached in the Holy Quran, said Jamaluddin.
"The secret was simplifying and interpreting the Quran for the common masses, creating an entire syllabus from nursery to post-graduation in Islamic studies in an easy-to-understand format with their meanings, which could be understood easily even by non-Muslims," he added.
All his academic efforts were completed around 2005 and he felt very happy and satisfied at having fulfilled his father's last desire, said Jamaluddin.
In September 2014, an ailing Kader Khan went on a Haj pilgrimage accompanied by some family members and aides, the videos of which went hugely viral on social networks globally.
"All his life, he strove to bring the common Muslims into the educational mainstream through his courses, wanted the Muslim youth to be academically and vocationally qualified to become independent and help advance the community in India," Jamaluddin said.
Before his illness set in around seven years ago, he was planning to set up branches or study centres of the KK Institute in India, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Dubai and other countries, besides in Europe and work on many of them is at various stages.