Biography


Hafiz Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari writes: 

‘‘Mawlana [Zafar Ahmad] ‘Uthmani rendered highly valuable services in writing, preaching and issuing fatwas for approximately twenty five years in the company of Hakim al-Ummat [Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali] Thanawi. During this time, magnificent works on Qur’anic exegesis and fiqh like Ahkam al-Qur’an and Imdad al-Ahkam came to the fore from his pen, which is clear evidence of his academic and juridical insight. Due to this, Hakim al-Ummat was so impressed by and content with his academic capabilities that he would consult only him in his personal affairs. He once said, ‘‘Mawlana Zafar Ahmad is the Imam Muhammad[1] (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) of our times and a fountainhead of religious sciences.’’ He had also instructed before his death that Mawlana Zafar Ahmad should lead his funeral prayer. Thus, it was he who was also blessed with this good fortune. His shaykh and guide, the gnostic and hadith expert of his era, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri would say, ‘‘Mawlana Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani is the model of his uncle, Hakim al-Ummat Thanawi.’’ (Anwar al-Nazr fi Athar al-Zafar) 

Mawlana ‘Uthmani’s (may Allah sanctify his secret) academic and spiritual standing can also be gauged by the fact that his students and successors include such exemplary  scholars at whose very mention heads are bowed in reverence.  Elders such as Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Idris Kandhlawi, Mawlana Badr-e-‘Alam Miruthi Muhajir Madani, Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Kamilpuri, Mawlana As‘ad Allah Saharanpuri, Mawlana Shams al-Haq Faridpuri, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi, Mawlana Ihtisham al-Haq Thanawi and Mawlana Sayyid ‘Abd al-Shakur Tirmidhi were his students and successors.”

Maqalat-e-‘Uthmani (Karachi: Bait al-‘Ulum, date unknown) Volume 1, p. 47


[1]           Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, the renowned student and companion of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah shower His mercy upon them)

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Mawlana Mansur ‘Ali Khan wrote of his beloved teacher, Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them): 

‘‘Allah Most High had favoured the late Mawlana with piety, asceticism, gnosis, tasawwuf, generosity, bravery, good character, and sound intellect, to which there seemed no end.’’ 

Madh-hab-e-Mansur, quoted in Maqalat-e-Hakim al-Islam, p. 401-402 (Karachi: Idaratul Ma‘arif, Jumada ‘l-Ula 1427 / June 2006 ed.)

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi[1]

(1238-1302 /1823-1885) 

 

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar ibn Lutf ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Hasan al-Siddiqi al-Hanafi Nanautwi—the righteous imam, ‘arif (knower of Allah) and mujahid—was amongst the leading scholars of fiqh, hadith, and tasawwuf in his time. 

A descendant of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), he was born in Nanautah, a village in the district of Saharanpur (UP, India). He initially studied under his father with whom he completed the memorization of the Qur’an (hifz).  He then travelled to Delhi, where he studied under Mufti Sadr al-Din Dehlawi, Mawlana Rashid al-Din Khan, the teacher of many shaykhs Mawlana Mamluk al-‘Ali Nanautwi, Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri and Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi. He studied some books of hadith from the renowned scholar of hadith Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehlawi, the great grandson of Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi and successor of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. 

After studying in Delhi, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi occupied himself in correcting manuscripts (tas’hih) at the publishing house of Nawlkashur. Later he taught Islamic sciences at Ajmer College, and then at Agra College. 

The Battle of Shamli 

In 1273/1857, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar fought against the British in the Battle of Shamli under the leadership of Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, alongside senior scholars such as Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi, Hafiz Zamin Shahid, Mawlana Rahmat Allah Kiranwi and his own younger brother Mawlana Muhammad Munir Nanautwi. It was in this battle that he sustained serious wounds. 

Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi relates: 

‘‘It was the habit of Mawlana Mazhar Nanautwi that he would often lick his upper lip. Someone once asked him the reason for this, but the respected Mawlana did not inform him. When this person insisted, Mawlana remarked, ‘When the battle against the British took place at Shamli, and the Muslims were being attacked, some of my comrades were dying and my leg was also hit by a bullet (due to which it became paralysed). In this state, I saw Hurs (damsels of Paradise) with glasses in their hands. The glasses were filled with a special type of drink that they were giving to those of my fallen comrades who were dying and had no chance of surviving. As this was happening, one of the damsels came towards me. She had just placed a glass against my mouth when another damsel took hold of her hands, pulled them away [from me] and said, ‘He is not among those who are to pass away.’ A very small amount of this drink fell on my upper lip, the [sweet] taste of which remains till today. This is why I have this habit [of licking my upper lip.]” [2] 

After the battle was over, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar went into hiding at Bareilly. Once a general amnesty was declared, he emerged from hiding and thereafter began teaching at his home. 

Teaching the Islamic Sciences 

Many students studied fiqh, usul al-fiqh (principles of Islamic law), kalam (scholastic theology), mantiq (classical logic), Arabic grammar and other related sciences from him. 

In Shawwal 1283/February 1867, he was appointed headteacher at a madrasah founded in Saharanpur by Mawlana Sa‘adat ‘Ali Saharanpuri, the well-known jurist (faqih), who was a participant of the 1273/1857 jihad and a devoted follower of Shah Ahmad ibn ‘Irfan Barelwi—the martyr of Balakot.[3] When this madrasah progressed and an exclusive building was established for it, it was named Mazahir-e-‘Ulum in Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar’s honour. He exerted his efforts in teaching the Qur’an and Sunnah (hadith), and in disseminating knowledge and the Islamic sciences. He was also involved with the administration of Mazahir-e-‘Ulum at every level and taught there until the end of his life. During his nineteen years at Mazahir-e-‘Ulum he taught all the six canonical collections of hadith as well Mu’atta Imam Malik, Shama’il al-Tirmidhi and Sunan al-Darimi. He taught [from the] various renowned commentaries of the Qur’an as well as Durr al-Mukhtar and other famous works of Hanafi fiqh and usul al-Fiqh. He toiled hard to ensure that the madrasah maintained a high academic standard and he succeeded in doing so. This was acknowledged and appreciated by scholars associated with the madrasah, including Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. It is testimony to the efforts and sincerity of Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi that after his death the consultative committee of Mazahir-e-‘Ulum were unable to find anyone of his calibre to replace him in his all-encompassing role at the madrasah

He had many outstanding students; most prominent amongst them was the eminent hadith scholar Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri.[4] Hujjat al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi, founder of the renowned Islamic seminary, Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, also studied some primary books[5] under his tutelage. 

He also assisted in completing Ghayat al-Awtar, the Urdu translation of Imam ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Haskafi’s al-Durr al-Mukhtar, as stated in its introduction by Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi.[6] 

From the legacy of Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi’ is the continuous chain of exceptional hadith scholars that have graduated from Mazahir-e-‘Ulum, which include and is not limited to the likes of: 

  • Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri
  • ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani
  • Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Kamilpuri
  • Mawlana Muhammad Idris Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana Ashfaq al-Rahman Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana Muhammad Ayyub Saharanpuri
  • Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana Badr-e-‘Alam Miruthi,
  • Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Yunus Jonpuri.

His Characteristics and the Spiritual Path 

He trod the path of tasawwuf under the guidance of Shaykh al-Sunnah Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, who granted him permission (ijazah) to initiate others into the path. This despite him being older than his beloved shaykh

Mawlana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasimi relates from his father, Mawlana Muhammad Ahmad Qasimi: 

‘‘Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi once saw Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi in a dream, sitting on a throne. Mawlana (who was older than the two shaykhs) relayed the dream in a letter to Haji Imdad Allah in which he also requested him to accept his bay‘ah (pledge of spiritual purification). In reply, Haji Imdad Allah interpreted the dream by instructing him to give bay‘ah to either one of the two [shaykhs]. Therefore, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar brought the letter to Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and requested him to accept his bay‘ah. Embarrassed, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi replied, ‘Accept my bay‘ah instead!’ Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar remarked, ‘Here, this is the letter [of Haji Imdad Allah] and this is the instruction.’ Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi then said, ‘Let me give you some sound advice. Proceed to Gangoh.’ Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar went there. At first, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi also declined. He, however, later accepted bay‘ah.’’ [7]

Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi would express his embarrassment at the love, respect and veneration afforded him by Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi. Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi was a person of great insight (basirat). The respect he showed his shaykh due to his eminence and lofty rank, and the love he felt for him, was natural for him as a disciple. However, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi was unable to disregard his disciple’s seniority in age and felt obliged to act according to the blessed words of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), ‘‘He who does not have mercy on our young, and does not respect our elders is not of us.’’ (Tirmidhi

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi was also granted ijazah in tasawwuf by Shaykh al-‘Ulama’ Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, in whose heart he held a special place, as indicated in his letters (maktubat).

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi was from amongst the ascetic and righteous ‘ulama’; he would be referred to in matters of fiqh. He was an erudite scholar of the rational (ma‘qul), literary (lughawi), and Islamic sciences, who embodied Shari‘ah and Tariqah. He would habitually use perfume when reciting the Qur’an in tarawih prayers. He would refrain from affectation (takalluf) and was an awe-inspiring person; very few people would have the courage to speak in his presence. He was known for his simplicity, humbleness, piety, intelligence and wisdom.   

Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi wrote of him: 

‘‘He was a scholar of deep learning, who had mastery over the [Islamic] sciences. He gave bay‘ah to Imam Rashid Ahmad ibn Hidayat Ahmad Gangohi, who granted him ijazah. He would recite the Qur’an often, would be constantly engaged in the remembrance of Allah, and his tongue would remain moist with [the utterance of] Ism al-Dhat (Allah). He remained aloof from affectation, was an ascetic of an austere nature, dignified and was awe-inspiring.’’ [8]

 Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya writes in Tarikh-e-Mazahir-e-‘Ulum (History of Mazahir-e-‘Ulum):    

‘‘Mawlana Mazhar Nanautwi had very close relationships with Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Despite being senior in age to Mawlana Gangohi, he was from amongst his deputies (khalifahs) and beloved servants.  In fact he was an ardent lover of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and was extremely devoted to him. He had great understanding of fiqh and hadith. He was an Allah-fearing, pious, soft-natured and virtuous saint. ’’[9]

Journeys on Hajj 

His first Hajj, in which Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi accompanied him, was performed in 1277/1861. He performed his second Hajj in 1294/1877 in the company of his shaykh Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi, Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi, Mawlana Shah Rafi‘ al-Din, Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan and others.  

Famous Brothers 

He had two brothers, both younger than him, who were accomplished scholars. 

The elder of the two, Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi, was a prominent Hanafi jurist who translated a number of classical works in Urdu. In contrast to his brothers, elders and companions, Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi actively opposed the jihad of 1273/1857. Due to this, under duress of the local populace, he was forced to leave Bareilly, his town of residence. He returned later, after the battle had ended. There, aided by his two brothers, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar and Mawlana Muhammad Munir, he established a publishing house called Matba‘-e-Siddiqiyyah.[10] A number of brilliant works were published from there, including: 

  • A critical edition of Qadi ‘Iyad al-Maliki’s Al-Shifa’
  • Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi’s Tahdhir al-Nas
  • Various works of Hakim al-Islam Shah Wali Allah al-Dehlawi.  

Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi’s translations include: 

  • Imam Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din
  • Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’s Ighathat al-Luhfan
  • Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi’s Al-Insaf fi Bayan Sabab al-Ikhtilaf and Al-‘Iqd al-Jid fi Ahkam al-Ijtihad wa ‘l-Taqlid.  

He translated and annotated: 

  • Imam al-Nasafi’s Kanz al-Daqa’iq
  • The latter part of ‘Allamah al-Haskafi’s Durr al-Mukhtar.  

 He also annotated the following works of Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi: 

  • Qurrat al-‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al-Shaykhayn
  • Izalat al-Khafa’ ‘an Khilafat al-Khulafa’
  • His Magnus opus Hujjat Allah al-Balighah.

He also collated the juridical edicts (fatwas) of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. 

Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan was wrongly and unjustly declared an unbeliever by some ‘ulama of Bareilly[11] when he attested to a verdict of the famed scholar ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lucknowi, in which the latter had authenticated the narration of Sayyiduna ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) regarding the creation of seven Earths and the existence of Prophets on each of them.[12] 

His teachers included Mawlana Mamluk al-‘Ali Nanautwi, Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri and the renowned hadith scholar Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi, from whom he also received ijazah in tasawwuf. Luminaries with whom he enjoyed close relationships included: 

  • Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi
  • Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki
  • Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri
  • Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi
  • Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi
  • Mawlana Nur al-Hasan Kandhlawi
  • ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lucknowi
  • Mawlana Muhammad Husayn Muradabadi
  • Shaykh Nihal Ahmad Deobandi
  • Mawlana Fayd al-Hasan Saharanpuri.

 

He lies buried in the Qasimi cemetery in Deoband alongside Mawlana Dhu ‘l-Fiqar ‘Ali, father of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi. 

The youngest brother, Mawlana Muhammad Munir Nanautwi, was a student of Mawlana Mamluk al-‘Ali Nanautwi, Mufti Sadr al-Din Dehlawi and Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi. He served as a principal of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband for a short period upon the request of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. He also actively fought alongside senior ‘ulama’ in the battle of Shamli in 1273/1857. He was heavily involved with Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan’s publishing house, Matba‘-e-Siddiqiyyah. His academic works include an Urdu translation of Imam Ghazali’s Minhaj al-‘Abidin. He had a very close relationship with Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi and was particularly known for his knowledge, piety, honesty and integrity. 

Final Illness and Death  

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi endured pain in his kidneys for a number of years and passed away at the age of sixty-four (Islamic years) after Maghrib prayers on the evening of Monday 24th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah 1302/October 1885. During his final illness, he would often touch his forehead searching for traces of sweat, as according to the Prophetic hadith it is a sign of a believer’s death. When his death was near and he began sweating from his forehead, his face lit up with joy. He was not survived by any children. 

May Allah enlighten his resting place. May Allah shower His mercy upon him and grant him, his teachers and students the highest stations in Paradise. Amin.


[1]               Adapted from Al-I‘lam bi man fi Tarikh al-Hind min al-A‘lam (also known as Nuzhat al-Khawatir), Akabir ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband, Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi awr unke Khulafa’, Awjaz al-Masalik ila Mu’atta al-Imam Malik, Tadhkirat al-Rashid, Tarikh-e-Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband and other sources.   

[2]               Malfuzat-e-Faqih al-Ummat (Karachi: Dar al-Huda, September 2005 ed.) Vol 3, p. 264-265 by Mufti Muhammad Faruq Mirathi.

[3]               One of the greatest spiritual guides of the Indian sub-continent in the last few centuries. He is popularly known as Sayyid Ahmad Shahid.

[4]               Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s love for his teacher can be gauged from the fact that when he became extremely ill in 1340/1922, he wrote in his will, ‘Bury me beside my teacher Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi.’ (See Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz Publications, Jan 2000 ed.), Vol 1, p. 502-503)

[5]               Mawlana Anwar al-Hasan Sherkoti writes in Anwar-e-Qasimi that Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi studied Sharh Mi’ah ‘Amil, Hidayat al-Nahw, ‘Ilm al-Sighah and other books from Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi. (See Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz Publications) Vol 1, p. 501)

[6]              See Ghayat al-Awtar (Karachi: H M Sa‘eed Company, 1398 AH ed.) Vol 1, p.10

[7]               Arwah-e-Thalathah, also known as Hikayat-e-Awliya’ (Karachi: Darul Isha‘at, December 2001 ed.) p. 227-228.

[8]               Al-I‘lam bi man fi Tarikh al-Hind min al-A‘lam also known as Nuzhat al-Khawatir (Idara Ta’lifat-e-Ashrafia, 1413/1993) Vol 7, p. 480 by Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani Nadwi and Mawlana Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi.

[9]               Akabir ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Lahore: Idara Islamiat, Ramadhan 1419/January 1999 ed.) p.37-38 by Hafiz Sayyid Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari.

[10]             See footnote in ‘Ulama’-e-Hind ka Shandar Madi (Karachi: Maktabah Rashidia, 1406/1986 ed.) p.306 by Mawlana Sayyid Muhammad Miyan.

[11]             Mawlana Naqi ‘Ali Khan, father of Mawlana Ahmad Ridha Khan, in particular.

[12]             See Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz Publications, Jan 2000 ed.), Vol 1, p. 529-534 for details.

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.

Hadrat Ji Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi, the 2nd Amir of the Tablighi Jama‘at wrote regarding Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His Mercy upon them): 

‘‘In the chain of the great luminaries of Islam, Hadrat Shaykh al-‘Arab wa ‘l-‘Ajam (Shaykh of the Arabs and non-Arabs), the great warrior of Islam, lover of immigration and Jihad, adherent to the sunnah, flag-bearer of the knowledge of Islam, leader of the ‘ulama, Muhaddith of the time, jurist of the era, most abstinent from the world and desirous of the hereafter, most enduring and generous, and the least formal Hadrat Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) also occupies a place. Whatever can be written regarding Hadrat is only the little which we had in front of us and could see. The true treasures of man are what lie hidden within. These treasures are hidden in the bosoms of man and shall only be made apparent in the next world. Only Almighty Allah knows what pleasures had filled the heart of this great personality, due to which he was able to bear the severest of difficulties during every juncture of his life for the revival of the spirit of Iman. Spending the last moments of his life in cries and du‘as in front of Almighty Allah, Hadrat handed his soul over to his beloved Master.’’ 

Biography of Shaikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (Jointly published by Madrasah Arabia Islamia (Azadville) and Zam Zam Publishers (Pakistan), Jumada ‘l-Ula 1428 / May 2007 ed.) p.35, translated by Mawlana Ridwan Kajee. 

Note: Spellings of some words have been edited when reproducing this translation.

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