As mentioned previously, the following article on the History of Darul ‘Ulum Deoband will be published on the blog in eight instalments due to its lengthy nature.  I will, in sha’ Allah,  post one section at a time to make the article easily digestible for all.

The sections are as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. The Final Collapse of the Mughal Empire and the Massacre of Muslims

  4. Founding of Darul Ulum, Deoband

  5. Why the “modern” sciences were excluded at Deoband

  6. The widespread popularity of the Darul Ulum

  7. The universal recognition of the role of the Darul Ulum

  8. British counter-efforts 

Below is the second part of the article. Click here to read part 1

Darul Ulum Deoband – A Brief Account of its Establishment and Background (Part 2)

By Mawlana Muhammad Zafiruddin Miftahi
Translated by Professor Atique A. Siddiqui (M.A., Ph.D.; Aligarh)
Edited by [Maulana] Abu Zaynab


India’s transitional, traumatic age had started long before 1717 AD, at the time when the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar had given permission to the British to carry on trade with India, and had also exempted them from many taxes and duties. Later on, Emperor Shah Alam II granted them the revenue authority of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa for the paltry sum of 2.1 million rupees per annum. Emboldened by all this, Lord Lake attacked Delhi in 1803, imprisoned the Emperor and forced him to sign a treaty according to which the Emperor’s rule came to be confined to the city, the Red Fort of Delhi and the rural areas adjoining it, while the rest of the Empire was to be administered by the British. It was also agreed upon that the welfare of the subjects, including that of the Muslims, would be the responsibility of the new rulers. These were the conditions that led Siraj al-Hind Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi (RA) (d. 1823 AD), a scion of the Waliullah family, to declare that India was no longer the Land of the Faith (Dar al-Islam). He also declared that Delhi could no longer be regarded as subject to the writs issued by a Muslim imam, being in fact under the hegemony of Christian rule, which extended from the imperial capital (Delhi) up to Calcutta in the east.

The light of the teachings of Islam, the Book of Allah and the Sunnah that had illumined the entire subcontinent with its dazzling radiance had, as a matter of fact, begun to dim during the lifetime of Shah Abdul Aziz, and it was because of this that he inspired his follower, the famous martyr, Hadhrat Sayed Ahmed Barelwi (d. 1830 AD) and his no less famous nephew, Mawlana Shah Muhammad Ismail Shaheed (d. 1830 AD) to initiate, with the help of an organised group of followers, a determined struggle aimed at bringing about a religious revolution throughout the country. They had the blessings of the farsighted men of Faith throughout the land. The martyrs and their close companions themselves led the struggle, and the soil of Balakot, which received the drops of their blood, is witness to their great sacrifice.

Another luminary of the Waliallah family, Hadhrat Shah Muhammad Ishaq Sahib of Delhi, had long followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz of Delhi. He carried on the traditions of religious scholarship and teaching that had long ago been started by Hadhrat Shah Abdul Rahim (d. 1718 AD), father of Shah Waliallah of Delhi. But conditions in Delhi had so far deteriorated that even Shah Muhammad Ishaq had no option but to bid farewell to his homeland.

He was followed by Hadhrat Mawlana Shah Abdul Ghani Mujaddadi (d. 1878 AD), a scion of the Mujaddadi family and a disciple of the Waliullah family. He had come to be regarded as the most important teacher of Hadith in the country and the chief source of inspiration for men of action and learning. The extremely adverse conditions prevailing in the country at that time, however, obliged him — the greatest exponent of the science of Hadith in the contemporary world — also to leave the land of his birth and become an émigré.