Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi


Mawlana [‘Ubayd Allah] Sindhi writes regarding Shah Isma‘il Shahid in Kitab al-Tamhid: 

‘‘I had read the Shah’s Taqwiyat al-Iman prior to professing Islam. Thus, it benefited me immensely in the rejection of polytheism. In fact, in one aspect, this book became a means to my accepting Islam. Therefore, Imam Muhammad Isma‘il is my teacher and Imam, and I have great love for him, just as people have love for the Imams of their respective madh-habs.’’

Shah Wali Allah Awr Unki Siyasi Tehrik, p. 67 (footnote) (Lahore: Sindh Sagir Academy, 2008 ed. ) by Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi

[…] Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would place his hands on the heads of his nephew Shah Isma‘il Shahid (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) and grandson Shah Ishaq (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), and recite the following prayer: ‘‘Praise be to Allah who, despite my old age, blessed me with with Isma‘il and Ishaq.’’ (Surah Ibrahim [14:39]) 

Mawlana Muhammad Isma ‘il Shahid (rahimahullah) awr unke Naqid, p.10 by Mawlana Akhlaq Husayn Qasimi Dehlawi

Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) related: 

‘‘Shah Wali Allah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) has written in Fuyud al-Haramayn, ‘I have witnessed that there is only one spiritual link between the Noble Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and those who are occupied with hadith.’ Therefore, he has advised (and stressed) that one should remain occupied with hadith, either by way of teaching, studying, writing or by other means. This should remain one’s continuous practice, and one should be mindful of following the pious predecessors in this occupation and maintaining respect for them. Study the commentaries and annotations [of hadith]. Be diligent in following the sunnah in every word and deed.’’ 

Shaykh al-‘Arab wa ‘l-‘Ajam Hadrat Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani ki Iman Afroz Batein, p.149-150 (Karachi: Majlis-e-Yadgar-e-Shaykh al-Islam, 1413/1993 ed.) by Mawlana Abu ‘l-Hasan Barabankwi

Shaykh Salman al-Husayni al-Nadwi 

Birth and Lineage 

Salman ibn Tahir al-Husayni al-Nadwi, born in 1954 CE in the city of Lucknow, was born into a pious, noble, and erudite family of scholars. His lineage can be traced back to Sayyiduna Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), whose noble progeny would become famous for its tireless services in propagating the religion and sacrifice in the path of Allah, the likes of the great mujahid Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Irfan al-Shahid (died 1246 AH) and the great mufakkir ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Hasani al-Nadwi (died 1420 AH). 

Education 

Shaykh Salman began his elementary education at a branch school of Nadwat al-‘Ulama where he memorized the Qur’an at an early age. After completing a middle school level education of Islamic studies, he matriculated to a graduate program at the College of Shari‘ah and Usul al-Din in Dar al-‘Ulum Nadwat al-‘Ulama’. After graduation in 1974 CE, he, alongside a group of other graduates, established the Jam‘iat Shabab al-Islam (Muslim Youth Assembly), an organization that is considered today to be one of the largest and most active Islamic organizations in India.

Shaykh Salman completed a masters degree in Hadith (al-Hadith al-Sharif wa ‘Ulumuhu) from Nadwat al-‘Ulama’ in 1976 CE. A year later, he was admitted into the College of Usul al-Din at the Jami‘at al-Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud al-Islamiyyah (Riyadh) and continued to pursue higher education in the field of Hadith. He received his masters degree in Hadith studies with high recognition in 1980. His dissertation, Jam‘ Alfaz al-Jarh wa ‘l-Ta‘dil wa Dirasatuha min Kitab Tahdhib al-Tahdhib li ‘l-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, was completed under the supervision of the erudite hadith and usul scholar, ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (may Allah shower mercy on him). Shaykh Salman benefited heavily from Shaykh Abu Ghuddah in the field of hadith studies during his stay at the Jami‘ah and was amongst his most distinguished and beloved students.

 Teaching

Upon his return to India, Shaykh Salman was appointed a lecturer on Hadith at Dar al-‘Ulum Nadwat al-‘Ulama’ and later a full-time professor of Hadith. Eventually, he was chosen to be director of faculty for both the Shari‘ah and Usul al-Din colleges.

 Travels

Shaykh Salman has travelled extensively throughout the world for the sake of Islam. He has served as a guest lecturer at numerous universities and Islamic institutions in dozens of Muslim and non-Muslim countries around the world. As a representative and now substitute for his indirect grandfather, ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi (may Allah shower His mercy on him), he has attended countless Islamic conferences and spoken on a wide variety of topics, the Arabic speeches of which are always delivered in eloquent, fluid Arabic. His tender and mild character, boldness upon the truth, and purity of language have captured the hearts of audiences wherever he has travelled.  Coupled with the eloquence of his tongue and the magnificence of his speech, Shaykh Salman is also a true inheritor of his grandfather’s academic prowess and zeal for da‘wah.

Contributions

Shaykh Salman has served the Muslim community in India through various methods and Islamic institutions over the years. Amongst his most lasting and significant contributions has been the establishment of the Madrasat al-Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Irfan al-Shahid al-Islamiyyah in 1975 CE, one of India’s largest and most successful institutions of Islamic learning today.

He has likewise helped to lay the foundations for a large number of other religious and secular schools, institutes of technology for Muslim children, and free hospitals for the poor and needy.

 Academic Works

Despite the Shaykh’s numerous travels and time constraints, many academic works in both Urdu and Arabic can be attributed to his name. Likewise, he has contributed greatly to the publication of many of his grandfather’s (‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi) works and their translation into Arabic. Below is a brief list of some of Shaykh Salman’s works:

 1.       Jam‘ Alfaz al-Jarh wa ‘l-Ta‘dil wa Dirasatuha min Kitab Tahdhib al-Tahdhib li ‘l-Hafiz Ibn Hajar

2.       Al-Amanah fi Daw’ al-Qur’an

3.       Al-Ta‘rif al-Wajiz bi Kutub al-Hadith

4.       Al-Imam al-Dihlawi wa Ara’uhu fi al-Tashri‘ al-Islami

5.       Lamhah ‘an ‘Ilm al-Jarh wa ‘l-Ta‘dil

6.      Muqaddimah fi Usul al-Hadith li ‘l-Muhaddith al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi (editing , annotation, and brief marginal notes)

7.       Al-Fawz al-Kabir fi Usul al-Tafsir li ‘l-Imam Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi (translation from Persian to Arabic and marginal notes)

Some of ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi’s books that have been translated into Arabic by Shaykh Salman include:

8.       Rijal al-Fikr wa ‘l-Da‘wah fi ‘l-Islam (Imam Sarhindi volume)

9.       Rijal al-Fikr wa ‘l-Da‘wah fi ‘l-Islam (Imam Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi volume)

10.      Fi Masirat al-Hayat (Volumes 1 and 2)

(For more detail, see his thorough biography and list of sanads in al-‘Iqd al-Lujayni fi Asanid al-Shaykh Salman al-Husayni by Dr. Akram Nadwi, Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut.

This biography was adapted by Mawlana Bilal Ali Ansari from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Majid al-Ghawri’s brief biographical mention of Shaykh Salman al-Nadwi in the introduction to his edited version of Muqaddimah fi Usul al-Hadith li ‘l-Muhaddith al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi)

Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) writes: 

‘‘Shaykh al-Islam Abu Mas‘ud Rashid Ahmad Gangohi is the son of Hidayat Allah Ansari. He was born in 1244 AH, and learnt from Mawlana Mamluk ‘Ali [Nanautwi], Mawlana ‘Abd al-Ghani [Dehlawi], Mawlana Ahmad Sa‘id [Dehlawi], and Mawlana Imdad Allah [Muhajir Makki] etc. I personally studied a large portion of Sunan Abi Dawud from him. Allah granted me immense benefit through it. It is the effect of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad’s company that I followed his maslak in such a way that I never even contemplated moving away from it. Through him, the Wali Allahi approach to fiqh and hadith became manifest to me, and through his blessings I became well versed in the fundamentals as well as advanced rational discourse in the sciences of fiqh, suluk & ma‘rifah, Arabic and the Qur’an & Sunnah. I found Mawlana Rashid Ahmad to be a well-versed imam and mujtahid of the Hanafi School. He conformed strictly to the school of thought of his teacher, Mawlana ‘Abd al-Ghani, and was as unshakeable as a mountain in this regard. He closely resembled Mawlana Muhammad Ishaq [Dehlawi][1] in the Wali Allahi maslak. I understood the reality of sunnah and bid’ah from his book, Barahin-e-Qati‘ah. He had authored this book in support of Shah Isma‘il Shahid’s work, Idah al-Haq. Mawlana Rashid Ahmad became the Imam of the Deobandi group after Amir Imdad Allah and Mawlana Qasim [Nanautwi][2]. In excess of three thousand shaykhs attained religious knowledge from him. His year of passing is 1323 AH.’’ 

Shah Wali Allah awr unki Siyasi Tehrik, p. 197 (Sindh Sagar Academy, 2008 ed. by Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi)


[1] Grandson and successor of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)

[2] Please refer to the work this paragraph is being quoted from for details.

Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi writes: 

‘‘Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan was my teacher. During my stay at Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband my sole reliance was upon him. His father’s name was Dhu ‘l-Fiqar ‘Ali. His genealogy stretches back to the Umayyad branch of the Quraysh. 

Mawlana Mahmud Hasan was born in 1268 AH/1851 CE. He gained primary education from his father and paternal uncle. He gained admission into the Madrasah of Deoband when it was founded in 1283 AH /1866 CE, and studied under Mawlana Muhammad Ya‘qub ibn Mamluk ‘Ali and Mawlana Mahmud Deobandi. He remained in the company of Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] and benefited from him immensely[1]. He sought permission from Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali [Saharanpuri], Shaykh Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman Panipati[2] to teach and impart knowledge. Considering him worthy of such a post, they all granted him ijazah. 

When Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad Qasim visited Madinah, he also obtained ijazah for Mawlana Mahmud Hasan from Mawlana ‘Abd al-Ghani[3]. Apart from him, Mawlana Mahmud Hasan also derived benefit from Haji Imdad Allah in compliance with the instruction of Mawlana Muhammad Qasim. 

From among the elders who attained knowledge from Mawlana Muhammad Qasim, three came to be especially renowned and distinguished. However, from them, Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind loved his teacher the most. He was the chief inheritor of his teacher’s knowledge, and was his most ardent follower. I studied Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim’s book Hujjat al-Islam from him. Whilst studying the book, I would, at times, feel as if knowledge and faith were descending into my heart from above. My belief regarding the blessed person of Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind is that he was naturally endowed with intelligence and sagacity. He may be considered amongst those [learned] personalities whom, in the terminology of Shah Wali Allah, are called ‘mufahhamun[4].’  He was greatly devoted to his teacher and would zealously attempt to follow him. He inherited the disposition [nisbat] of humility and selflessness from Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim. Shah Wali Allah has identified this nisbat as that of the Ahl al-Bayt in his books. Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind passed away on the 18th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal 1339 AH, corresponding to the 3rd of November 1920 CE, a full one hundred years after the death of Imam ‘Abd al-‘Aziz [Dehlawi][5].’’ 

Shah Wali Allah awr unki Siyasi Tehrik, p. 203-204 (Sindh Sagar Academy, 2008 ed.) by Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi 


[1]               Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan’s study of hadith was completed between 1286 AH and 1289 AH, over a period of four years, under the guidance of Lisan al-Hikmah Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi. The first two of these years were spent, not in a Dar al-Hadith, but while alternating between Delhi, Deoband and Nanautah, with Shaykh al-Hind accompanying his beloved teacher constantly, diligently serving him and acquiring his wisdom and knowledge. (translator)  

[2]              All of whom were students of Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehlawi. (translator)

[3]               Mawlana Miyan Asghar Husayn Deobandi writes that Mawlana Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani also granted Shaykh al-Hind ijazah in tasawwuf. (Please see Hayat-e-Shaykh al-Hind) (translator)

[4]               For a detailed explanation of this term please refer to Imam Shah Wali Allah’s Hujjat Allah al-Balighah, Bab Haqiqat al-Nubuwwah wa Khawassiha (chapter 55 of the English rendering by Marcia Hermansen. (translator)

[5]               This may be significant as Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi considers the Deobandi political movement, of which Shaykh al-Hind was a leader, an evolvement of the movement led by Imam Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. Please refer to Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah’s Shah Wali Allah awr unki Siyasi Tehrik.  (translator) 

May Allah Shower His mercy upon all the honourable ‘ulama’ mentioned above.

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