I didn’t know who Sarmad Tariq was… until he passed away

Published: April 30, 2014

A man with a tattoo below his right ear saying ‘Allah’, Sarmad seemed more like a director or an actor to me at first glance. PHOTO: OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE (https://www.facebook.com/sarmad.tariq)

Can someone you’ve never known, someone whose name you’ve never heard of, inspire you enough to rethink your entire life?

Apparently it can.

It was only a couple of Facebook posts and the news of his death that moved me, leaving me feeling a little broken inside.

When I logged on to Twitter this morning, I found my timeline flooded with people mourning the death of Sarmad Tariq and talking about what a great person he was. Initially, I didn’t care much. I mean, people die all the time. Famous people die too. And everyone sings their praises after they are gone.

There was nothing very interesting about this news.

But after reading a number of tweets, I was intrigued enough to go to his Facebook page.

A man with a tattoo below his right ear saying ‘Allah’ and ‘About me’ description on his page reading,

“Not a saviour, not a leader, not a role model, just a tough act to follow”.

He seemed more like a director or an actor to me at first glance.

Screengrab from Sarmad Tariq’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sarmad.tariq)

But there was more to him than what I could see from his display picture.

I scrolled down.

The last post on his Facebook page was an open letter to God, pleading Him for a break from his pain. He was severely sick with multiple diseases but he hadn’t seemed to have lost hope.

Screengrab from Sarmad Tariq’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sarmad.tariq)

After reading a few more of his posts about the stark realities of life and death, I was left shaken inside and also felt guilty for not having known of him before, for finding out about him too late and for never having the chance to have met him.

motivational speaker who was paralysed neck down due to a swimming accident when he was only 15-years-old, Sarmad had travelled the world on his wheelchair, represented the country and most-definitely touched a thousand hearts.

That was more than enough I needed to know about him.

I had not seen any documentaries about him, had never heard him talk and yet, in a matter of minutes, he became the person I wanted to meet just once; someone to draw inspiration from, to find hope to go through this life and to learn to live it to the fullest.

To me, Sarmad seemed like a person who had ‘life’ figured out. He didn’t just know but was constantly aware of the fact that death is imminent. He was prepared for it and wanted to make the most of every single moment of his life.

And he succeeded.

In one of his last posts, he said,

“Do all of us sooner or later realise that we are going to die? Yes. Do all of us eventually realise that we are alive? No. It is tragic but true. So many die without ever knowing that they were alive.”

Screengrab from Sarmad Tariq’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sarmad.tariq)

Sarmad may have left this world, but he is not ‘dead’. And just like in life, his death is a lesson for all of us on how to live.

Rest in peace, Sarmad Tariq.


Ema Anis

The social media editor for the web desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets as @EmaAnis (twitter.com/EmaAnis)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Hamza

    Met this guy in Karachi last year in a conference. Truly an inspiration. And this is not just typing of words, he was really an inspiration in himself, his stories. His perception of life as in the vedios. Anybody who has met him and has spent a few moments with him can surely relate. May Allah grant you Jannah. AmenRecommend

  • MHZ

    He never forgot to mention how his wife stood by him all the way.
    Even through the 2008 earthquake..Recommend

  • Aslam Butt

    Infact he was ‘able’ ‘very able’ …..disabled are those who have powers but don’t do anything to stop terror and zulm in this hapless country…
    May you have Peace Sarmad InshahAllah.Recommend

  • Yasir Siddiqui

    Well done Ema Anis , you just express my and probably most of the people’s feeling about how we were so ignorant and in the dark ..
    Sarmad Tariq was like “mirza ghalib” to me .. may his soul rest in peace and may ALLAH be pleased with him .. amenRecommend

  • raj

    Amazing guy.. i feel unlucky and ignorantRecommend

  • http://www.thequalitycheck.com Being Stealth

    Sir Hats off…Recommend

  • Hamza

    Strong lady. Must say !Recommend

  • Shahzad Ashrafi

    hmmmmm.. why do you have to be about to die to figure out life.. how ironic??? sorry but boring..Recommend

  • Another one of those

    the only problem with us is that we do not acknowledge such people when they are alive. The kind of man he was, he deserved so much recognition/praise from our society, but sadly we cannot be bothered, and feel bad when they go. He was a legend in all ways! He could have done so much more had the so-called “able-bodied” people given a little more support.Recommend

  • GM

    huh .it makes me cry .he is Pakistan no words how could u describe a person like him more than an angel i must say ..Recommend