During his college days, to begin his practical efforts for realization of his ideas, Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī, along with some friends, decided to set up an organization by the name of Dā’irat al-Fikr. The underlying objective was to launch a religious movement in which this body would play an educational role. As an extension of this concept, the decision for setting up of a Dār al-‘Ulūm (Center for Learning) was also taken. It was assumed that the leadership for this movement would be from people graduating from this Dār al-‘Ulūm and, in this way, the weaknesses that were present in the Jamā‘at- e Islāmī movement would be removed. Later on, Dāirut al-Fikr was renamed Dār al-Ishrāq. The struggle of Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī and his friends continued for three or four years, but, owing to paucity of funds and scarcity of required people, this initiative, time and again, became victim of disruption. Describing its history, he writes:
At the time I opened my eyes to the world, I witnessed a period in which numerous institutions and organizations were set up to bring about an Islamic revolution. As other people, my friends and I were also influenced by our environment. So, during our college days, we also set up an institution by the name Dā’irut al-Fikr. In close friends, Dr Sajid Ali was the most prominent. In those days, he was head of the philosophy department of the Punjab University. I had rented a room on Link McLeod Road from where I wanted to publish a monthly journal by the name of Khayāl. The inauguration of this institution, Dā’irut al-Fikr, took place in this room. The motivation was that a movement be launched for an Islamic revolution in which this institution should play the role of an academic and executive center. We also planned to set up the Dār al ‘Ulūm later. We wanted people graduating from the academy to be chosen as future leaders for this movement. This was a romantic notion. We thought that the missing aspect in Sayyid Abū al- A‘lá Mawdūdī’s party could be supplied in this way. For the next two or three months, we kept meeting in this room on Link McLeod road and kept studying and teaching. However, we soon realized that for this particular mission it was important to spend more time together than we were actually spending. So, my friends who lived in the hostel decided that they would leave the hostel and, in addition to the money they received for their hostel expenses, would put together their pocket money towards renting a house where the center for this movement could be established. My house in those days was near the Lahore railway station in a small town called Sultānpurah. We were able to find a house close by and my friends moved there.
We named the academy we wanted to found Jāmi‘ah al-Hamarā also wanted to publish a newsletter al-Hamarā. It was on the suggestion of my friends that we decided that, instead of any hand-script, we should have this set in type. People with that experience in publication know that, in that form of typesetting, numerous errors and mistakes were encountered that had to be corrected painstakingly. The mishap that happened was that, after a cursory look at the proof, we left our copy with the press, taking for granted that all the mistakes would be corrected. When the newsletter was printed, we realized that none of the identified mistakes had been checked. We did not have any other option but to destroy this work. This was the very first mishap that we had owing to our inexperience. We had not yet recovered from this setback, when we were faced with another. We had to vacate the house that was the head office of our mission, and it took us many months to find a new one—also with a great deal of difficulty. It was located in J Block Model Town (House 29). We were grateful to Allah Almighty that this period of disruption had not been too long, and once again we began our work.
In 1971, we met an advocate from Lahore, Chowdhry Muhammad Anwar. When this meeting took place, a friend of his, Sayyid Badr Bukhārī, was also present. These two people were greatly influenced by our program. Their suggestion was to further promote this work; a study group would be set up on Allama Iqbal Road for dars-e Qur’ān. On July 7, this group came into existence, and, owing to its formation, we students gained the guidance of a few seniors. In this group, Sayyid Arshad Bukhārī and Sheikh Muhammad Arshad were the most prominent members. These two were also friends and were employed with WAPDA. They had earlier been attending Dr. Isrār Ahmad ’s lectures very regularly. Isrār Ahmad used to refer to them as “Arshadayn”. These lectures lasted for about a year and a half. Now we had many people who were ready to work very willingly with us and so it was in Sayyid Badr Bukhārī’s building that this movement was finally initiated. A well-known scholar of the Ahl-e Hadīth, Mawlānā ‘Abd al-Rahmān Madanī, lived close by. He also became part of this movement. Other participants from our own circle became members. But this process could not last long. Badr Bukhārī was in that phase of his life in which it became impossible for him to head this kind of set-up. Therefore, within a few months, this organization, after consultation of its members, drew to its close.
In March 1973, through Dā’irat al-Fikr, we published a periodical by the name of Ishrāq. We thought that once we would get the declaration for this periodical, we would be able to convey our thoughts to people. But we soon realized that to get a declaration was no easy matter, and this scheme did not prove to be successful. After a few months, our landlord demanded the rents to be raised. Since it was impossible for us to comply, we had to leave the house in Model town. For many months, we remained scattered. Our institute was also not functioning. With a great deal of difficulty, we were able to get a house in Garden town, Ahmed block. Friends once again got together. We put the required furniture in place, and once again began our routine of learning and teaching.
Some of our friends who had been associated with this academy from its early days did not like the name Dā’irat al-Fikr. Therefore, we adopted the name Dār al-Ishrāq instead. Sheikh Afzaal Ahmad, Mustansir Mir, Chawdhry Ilyās Ahmad and Chawdhry Muhammad Rafīq were new entrants. Our friend, Chawdhry Zulfiqār Ahmad , also belongs to this time. He lived close by, and, even though he was not formally part of our academy, he was considered to be a member. The same was the case with Asghar Niyāzī and Āghā Tāriq Maykan, who were with us as friends.