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THE CHAIN OF CREDENTIALS OF THE GREAT SAVANTS OF DARUL ULOOM

 

    In connection with the great ones of Darul Uloom the personality who tops the list is the same Shah Waliullah Dehelwi. Almost all the systems of the religious sciences in general and of the science of Hadith in particular that are current and extant in the sub-continent have origi­nated from him. Whatever zest for theological sciences that exists from Peshawar to Ras Kumari is due to the grace of this hose hold. It is the statement of a non-Indian religious divine that during his tour of India he did not meet any scholar of the science of Hadith who was not a disciple of Hadhrat Shah Waliullah through the medium of Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz.

   Shah Sahib's family, by virtue of its knowledge and learning, abstinence and piety, was considered very distinguished in Delhi. His father, Shah Abdur Raheem was one of the compilers of the Fatawa Alamgiri. As already stated in the foregone, he acquired knowledge from his father. At the age of 15 he had completed the course of the current sciences. Shah Sahib's chain of authority, through his august father, reaches back to Allamah Jalaluddin Muhaqqiq Dawwani (d. 928/1521). In those days the element of rationalistic sciences was dominant in the syllabi in India. Hence to complete the study of the science of Hadith and to obtain the Sanad   of authority Shah Sahib undertook a journey to the holy cities (Mecca and Madina), and there he acquired the Sanad   for the correct re­citation of the Sihah and narration of Hadith from Shaikh Abu Tahir Madani and other illustrious Shaikhs. As regards Shah Sahib's inherent geist and capability, his teacher of Hadith, Shaikh Abu Tahir Madani's statement has been quoted supra that "Waliullah obtains the Sanad   for the wordings of narration from me while I correct (my understanding of) the meanings of Hadiths through him".

   It was that period when the science of Hadith was passing through the last stage of enervation and deterioration. To propagate and to make current the science, of Hadith in such a predicament is indeed a stupendous achievement of Shah Sahib which, a glorious divine of Egypt. Syed Rasheed Reza, had to acknowledge in the following words: ­

   "If the attention of our Indian divines had not been lavished on the science of Hadith in that period, then this science would have faded out of existence from the eastern countries, because from the 10th to the beginning of the 14th century Hijri, this science had reached the lost stage of decoy in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Hejaz."

     Then, describing the condition of Egypt, he has stated:

   "When I migrated to Egypt in 1315/1897, 1 saw the khatibs of Jamai Azhar and other mosques that they recite in their khutbas (sermons) such Hadiths, which are nowhere to be found in the tomes of Hadith. Among those Hadiths (which they recite) there are 'weak', 'disavowed' (Munkar), fabricated and counterfeit Hadiths also. The same was the condition of the preachers, muftis and teachers".

     Shah Sahib's educational services are not continued to teaching only; he rather wrote such glorious books in different sciences the examples whereof are rarely found after the 8th century Hijri. Besides this, of Shah Sahib's academic life there are many more momentous achieve­ments; to mention them here even briefly is not easy, for it is a separate topic.

    Shah Sahib had four sons each one of whom was a bright star in the firmament of knowledge. The eldest amongst them was Shah Abdul ­Aziz.

HADHRAT SHAH ABDUL AZIZ

    Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz (1159/1746--1239/1823) was the most erudite and glorious divine of his time. The dissemination of the sciences of the Quran and the Hadith that took place in his time of course, thro­ugh him has had no precedent in the annals of Islamic India. There is no nook and corner in India where Shah Abdul Aziz disciples may not be found. The statement of a non-Indian scholar has already been quoted above that during his travels in India he did not meet any scholar of Hadith who was not a disciple of Shah Sahib. Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi is of the view that if ten persons benefited from the great quali­ties of Shah Waliullah, from Shah Abdul Aziz's qualities must have benefited at least ten thousand persons.

    In short Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz brought the foundation Hadhrat Shah Waliullah had laid for the re­naissance of the religious sciences to consummation. He established such a standard of knowledge whereby the religious sciences came to attain a special honor and dignity. Shah AbduI Aziz, after the death at his august father, served the cause of the religious sciences in Delhi for a long period of sixty years. Besides teaching, he wrote several books amongst which his Tafsir-e Fathul Aziz, a commentary on the Quran, Bustanul Muhaddithin, on the history of the classes of traditionists and their compilations, and the Tuhfa Ithna Ashriya on the reality of Shiaism; are really very famous. The last-named book is such an opus magnum of Shah Sahib that there exists no example thereof on this topic in the entire Islamic literature. 

HADHRAT SHAH MUHAMMAD ISHAQ

    Hadhrat Shah Muhammad Ishaq was Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz's grandson (daughter's son) and a distinguished pupil. In the presence of Shah Abdul Aziz he taught Hadith to the students for twenty years. In 1239-1823, Shah Abdul Aziz, entrusting Madrasah Rahimia before his death to Shah Muhammad Ishaq, appointed him as his succe­ssor. Till 1257/1841 he rendered the service of disseminating and propaga­ting the science of Hadith. Almost the whole of India benefited from his educational graces. He translated the Mishkatul Masabeeh into Urdu, which, at his instance, was transformed into a commentary by his well-guided pupil, Maulana Qutubuddin Khan, and is known as Maza­hir-e Haq, Mi'at Masa'iI and Rasa'il-e Arba'een are also his noteworthy works. Emigrating from India in 1257/1841 to Mecca, he settled down there and died after a few years.

    It is stated in Tarjuma Tazkira Ulema-e Hind: "It is particularly notable that during the freedom fight of 1857 most of the pupils of Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehelwi took part as Ulema in this movement, the most noteworthy amongst them being Mufti Inayat Ahmed Kakorwi (Sadar Amin, Bareilly), Maulana Abdul Jalil Ko'ili (Aligarhi), Mufti Sadaruddin Azurda, Shah Abu Saeed Mujaddidi (father of Shah Abdul Ghani Mujaddidi) and the pupils of their pupils, i.e." the Ulema of Deoband, e.g., Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi, Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi, Maulana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautawi, Maulana Muhammad Munir Nanautawi etc.

HADHRAT SHAH ABDUL GHANI

   After Hadhrat Shah Muhammad Ishaq's emigration the honor of his successor ship fell to the lot of Hadhrat Shah Abdul Ghani Mujaddidi (1235/1819-1296/1878), Shah Abdul Ghani studied some books of Hadith under his father, Shah Abu Sa’eed, who was a pupil of Shah Abdul Aziz, and obtained the Sanad   of some books from Shah Muha­mmad Ishaq. He during his time, despite his young age, was an incom­parable scholar of Hadith. Scholars and students used to come to him from every corner of the country and used to take pride in gleaning from “this harvest of accomplishment". His school was the greatest centre of the science of Hadith in India. He wrote a scholium on Ibn Maja, which is known as Injahul Haja. Through his educational grace were produced peerless Ulema like Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi, Hadhrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi and Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yoqub Nanautawi, who infused a new life into the world of knowledge.

     In the upheaval of 1857 this greatest institution of the science of Hadith was ravaged by the accidents of time and came to an end for good. Shah AbduI Ghani emigrated to Madina and there he passed away in the month of Muharram, A. H. 1296.

    Regarding Hadhrat Shah Abdul Ghani, Maulana Hakim Abdul Hayy lakhnawi writes in his Nuzhatul Khwatir as under: ­

    "Knowledge and practice, asceticism, forbearance, truthfulness, trust­-worthiness, chastity, self-preservation, bona fides, sincerity, resorting to Allah, fear of Allah, conformance to the prophetic Sunnah, excellent morals, spiritual communion (Muraqiba), benevolence to the people and disinclination to worldly assets; of such qualities he was exclusively the last paragon. Many Ulema and Shaikhs benefited from the blessings of his Majlis and his teachings. All the people of India and Arabia are un­animous as regards his greatness and saintliness. On Wednesday, the 6th of Muharram, A.H. 1296, he died at Madina and was laid to rest there".

    Another line of the Ulema of Deoband, through their pupilage to Hadhrat Maulana Mamluk Ali Nanautawi and Maulana Rasheeduddin Khan Dehelwi, reaches back to Shah Abdul Aziz. The details thereof are as under: ­

HADHRAT MAULANA MAMLUK ALI

   The teacher of teachers, Hadhrat Maulana Mamluk Ali Nanautawi was one of the famed Ulema of his time, commanding a distinctive position among his contemporary divines. On textbooks, particularly those of Fiqh, he had such mastery that he remembered most of the books by heart. The condition of his memory was such that the late Sir Syed (Ahmed Khan) writes: "He has had complete proficiency in the rational and this tradition1 sciences and he can recall the text-books so thoroughly that, suppose, if the treasury of knowledge is emptied of all these books, it is possible to reproduce them from the tablet of his memory. Over and above this perfection and merit, his politeness and forbearance are beyond words".

    He was one of the well-guided pupils of Maulana Rasheeduddin Khan. The circle of his educational beneficence (i.e., the circle of stu­dents and disciples) was very extensive. His inspiring art of teaching produced innumerable scholars. Maulana Ashiq Ilahi Meeruthi has stated:

    "Maulana Mamluk Ali, who had studied most of the text-books under the instruction of "the Moon of India" Hadhrat Maulana Rasheeduddin Khan, a disciple of Hadhrat Shah Abdul Aziz, was himself the teacher of such holy and famous personages and "the Suns of the Sky of Know­ledge" as Hadhrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi, Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi, Maulana Muhammad Mazhar, Dean of Mazahirul Uloom, and Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi, Dean of Darul Uloom. All these gentlemen had quenched the thirst for religious sciences and the literary arts from this surging ocean, and driven from pillar to post they had at last found cure and satis­faction at this very threshold".

     Maulawi Karimuddin Panipati writes:­

     "The new Arabic Madrasah is stable due to him. He has had perfect mastery over all the three languages: Persian, Urdu and Arabic; and is fully proficient in all the arts and sciences found in these languages. When a book of any subject is translated from English into Urdu, his keen mind grasps its fundamental principle so quickly as if he was conversant with this subject from the very beginning. In the work he has been appointed for, he has, as far as possible, never shown any default. So much benefit has been caused in the Madrasah by his beneficent being that perhaps it might not have accrued from any teacher in any time".

     This teacher of the teachers was the resort of students who, flocking to him from all over used to derive academic benefit. Besides the college hours, there used to be a throng of students at his residence during his, leisure-time. Maulawi Karimuddin writes: ­

    "His house is the resort of students, his college the assemblage of Ulema and scholars; hundreds of students, deriving benefit from his blessed being went as scholars to different parts of India. Besides teaching the college-students, he teaches books of every subject to other people at his residence. All his precious time till the dead of night, is divided over the teaching of students. Hundreds of students flock to him from far and near for being educated in different sciences and it is far from his affability that he might disappoint any student".

    Hadhrat Gangohi's statement has been reported in Tazkiratur Rasheed as follows: ­

    "In the beginning we used to study under other teachers but we did not feel satisfied. Sometimes the lesson used to be short and sometimes we would not receive a reply to the searching of our hearts. But when we reached the presence of Maulana Mamluk AIi, we got satisfied and finished the books within a short time, as if he had poured them into our throats in the form of a mixture. There were several good teachers in Delhi in those days but such teachers who might have complete grasp of the meaning and instill it into the student's mind by lecturing on it in different ways, were' only two: one was our teacher Maulana Mamluk Ali and the other, also our teacher, Mufti Sadaruddin Azurda. (Allah's mercy be on them!)

    As regards Hadhrat Maulana Mamluk Ali's academic insight and perception, Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi has written that: “before him it was difficult to make progress without grasping the meaning (of a lesson) because he used to make out from the diction whether this fellow (student) has grasped the meaning or not".

     To compute the number of the pupils of Hadhrat Ustazul Asatiza (the teacher of teachers) is very difficult. Amongst his pupils the names of great Ulema like Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi, Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi, Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi, Mau­lana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautawi, Maulana Ahmed Ali Saharanpuri, Maulana Shaikh Muhammad Thanwi, Maulana Zulfiqar Ali Deobandi, Maulana Fazlur Rahman Deobandi, Maulana Muhammad Munir Nanautawi, Maulawi Jamaluddin Madarul Muhim of Bhopal (chief-minister of the erstwhile Bhopal state), Maulawi Karimuddin Panipati, compiler of the Tazkira-e Tabaqatus Shu'ara, Shamsul Ulema Dr. Ziauddin L.L.D, Maulana Alim Ali Moradabadi, Maulawi Samiullah Dehelwi, Maulana Abdur Rahman Panipati, etc. are especially noteworthy.

     It is stated in Sawaneh Maulana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautawi that Hadhrat Maulana Mamluk Ali had translated the first four and the eleventh and twelfth discourses of Euclid from Arabic. Besides this, he is also reported to have translated the Tirmizi and Trikh-e Yamini.

    He was professor of Arabic sciences in the Delhi College. He died on 11th Zil Hijja 1267/1851, and lies buried in Shah Waliullah's grave yard, 'Mihndiyun', in front of the mosque. His grave is now untraceable.

HADHRAT MAULANA RASHEEDUDDIN KHAN

    He was Hadhrat Shah Rafiuddin's disciple. In the rational and the traditional sciences, particularly in scholastic theology, he was a match­less scholar of his time. Shah Sahib had taught and trained him as his own son, always, thinking of and trying to reform and improve him. After Shah Rafiuddin, Shah Abdul Aziz and Shah Abdul Qadir taught and trained him.

    Though Maulana Rasheeduddin Khan had had perfect proficiency in all sorts of subjects, he had acquired special experience in mathematics, and in those days hardly any man would dare to compete with him in these subjects. He had a prodigious knack in eristic and was an unrivalled litterateur in the Arabic language.

    Besides his knowledge and learning, Maulana Rasheeduddin's asce­ticism (zuhd) and piety (taqwa) were also acknowledged. He used to live a contented life. Once the post of a judge was offered to him but he declined to accept it. In 1825 when the famous Madrasah Ghaziuddin of Delhi was changed into a college, he was appointed as the head teacher of Arabic in it. He used to get a salary of Rs. 100/- p.m. but being magnanimous by nature, he would help, as for as he could, any needy man who approached him. He died in 1249/1833 at nearly seventy years of age.  

HADHRAT SHAH RAFIUDDIN

    He was Shah Abdul Aziz's younger brother and an illustrious divine of the Waliullahian family. He was born in 1163/1749. When Shah Abdul Aziz was no more able to teach due to several ailments and loss of sight, he appointed Shah Rafiuddin in his place. Scholars and students used to flock to Delhi from far off places to derive benefit from Shah Sahib. He was a versatile genius, having mastery over every subject and this peculiarity of his was famous that to the teaching of whichever subject he turned his attention; it seemed as if that very subject was his specialty. As regards his command ever mathematics, Shah Abdul Aziz used to remark that:

    "Maulawi Rafiuddin has advanced so much in mathematics that per­haps its inventor too must not have advanced so much".

     At another place he says: ­

     "There must be no match to Maulawi Rafiuddin in India and abroad in the subject of mathematics".

     Amongst his works the Urdu translation of the holy Quran, Muqa­ddamatul Ilm, Takmilul Azhan, Asrarul Muhabbat, and Qiyamat Nama are very famous. He died in 1233/1817 and lies in eternal rest in his family graveyard.

    The late Sir Syed Ahmed Khan writes: ­

     “All the reputed scholars of India are the beneficiaries of his (Shah Rafiuddin's) grace-gifting person. He had such aptitude with each subject that he used to teach diverse subjects and different sciences at one and the same time. When he diverted his attention from the teaching of one to that of another the audience would feel as if the dress of uni­queness in the same subject had been cut for the body of his talent. These accomplishments notwithstanding, his imparting of the esoteric grace was such that had Junayd of Baghdad and Hasan of Basra lived in his time they would have indubitably considered themselves the lowest beneficiaries”.


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