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    Since it was necessary to take help of foreign governments also in freeing India, he ordered Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi to go on a special mission to Kabul, sent Maulana Muhammad Mian Mansoor Ansari to inculcate jihad in the free tribes, and himself embarked on a journey to Hejaz to obtain help from the Turks. The English meanwhile were at war with Germany. The synopsis of the details given officially regarding the movement of "the Silken letters" in para 164 of the report of the Rowlatt Committee is as follows: -­

    "The events of Silken letters were discovered in August 1916/1344. This was a plan that had been proposed in India with the idea that disturbance be created on the north-western border on the one hand and, on the other, bolstering it up with the uprising of the Indian Muslims, the British Government be put to an end. To put this proposal into shape a man named Maulawi Ubaydullah crossed the north-western border in August, 1915/1333, with three of his companions. Ubaydullah was formerly a Sikh, who had later on become a Muslim. He acquired religious education in Deoband. The greatest personality among, those people whom Ubaydullah had influenced were that of Maulana Mahmood Hasan who had been a principal of this institution for a long time. Ubaydullah wanted to start a universal Islamic movement against the British in India through the graduate Ulema of Deoband. Secret meetings used to be held at Maulana Mahmood Hasan's house. It is said that some men of, the northwest border also used to participate in them. On September 8, 1915/1333, Maulana Mahmood Hasan left India and reached Hejaz. The important objective of both Ubaydullah and Maulana Mahmood Hasan was to simultaneously cause an aggression on lndia from outside and stir rebellion in India itself. Ubaydullah and his friends first contacted the fanatical India party of fighters (Mujahidin), and then they reached Kabul. There Ubaydullah met the Turk-German Mission. After some days his Deobandi friend, Muhammad Mian also joined him. This man had gone to Hejaz along with Maulana Mahmood Hasan from where he bad come back in 1916/1334, having obtained a proclamation of jihad which Maulana Mahmood Hasan had taken from the Turkish commander in chief of Hejaz, Ghalib Pasha. This document is known as "Ghalib Nama". Muhammad Mian distributed its photocopies on the way in India and among the frontier tribes.

   "Ubaydullah and his companions had prepared a plan of a provisional government at the dissolution of the British government. According to this plan, a man named Mahendra Pratap was to be the president. This man was an ardent Hindu of a respectable family. In the end of 1914/1332 he had been given a passport to go to Switzerland, Italy, France, etc. He went straight to Geneva and there he met the notorious Hardayal, who introduced him to the German consul. From there he came to Germany and was sent on a special mission to Kabul. Ubaydullah himself wanted to be the home-minister of India and Barkatullah to be the prime minister. Barkatullah was a friend of Krishna Verma and a member of the American Ghadr Party.

   "In the beginning of 1916/1334 the members of the German Mission having failed in achieving their objective went away from Afghanistan but the Indian members stayed behind. On behalf of the provisional government they sent letters to the governor of Russian Turkestan and the Czar of Russia, requesting them to Part Company with Britain and to extend help in putting an end to the British ru1e in India. These letters bore Raja Mahendra Pratap's signature. The letter to the Czar of Russia had been written on a gold tablet. The provisional government had also made a suggestion to establish connection with the Turkish government. To achieve this end Ubaydullah wrote a letter on July 9, 1916/1334 to Maulana Mahmood Hasan. Along with it there was a letter from Muhammad Mian Ansari in which there was a mention of the dissemination of the Ghalib Nama and the proposal for the establishment of a provisional government and an army under the name "Hizbullah". It had been suggested to mobilize this army from India. The function of the provisional government was to establish unity with the Islamic government. Maulana Mahmood Hasan had been requested to convey all these events to the Ottoman government. These letters have been written on yellow silk".

    "There was a complete and arranged outline of the Hizbullah in Ubaydullah's letter. The center of this army was to be established at Madina. Maulana Mahmood Hasan himself had to be its commander in­chief. Secondary centers under local commanders were to be established at Constantinople, Tehran and Kabul. Ubaydullah was to be the comman­der at Kabul. The names of three patrons, twelve generals and several high military officers are given in this list. These "Silken letters" have come into the hands of the British government. On account of the informations given in these letters some precautions were considered nece­ssary. In 1916/1335 Maulana Mahmood Hasan and tour of his companions were apprehended by the British government. They are at present war prisoners under British surveillance the signatory of the Ghalib Nama, Ghalib Pasha is also a war prisoner. He has confessed that he has signed the letter, which Mahmood Hasan's Party had put before him".

   The Shaikhul Hind, in order to make his scheme successful, despite his old age, undertook a journey to Hejaz in 1333/1915. Meeting the Turkish governor of that region, Ghalib Pasha, and Anwar Pasha, the then minister of war of Turkey, he settled certain important matters. From Hejaz, via Baghdad and Baluchistan, he wanted to reach the independent tribes of the Frontier when suddenly, during the Great War, Sharif Hussain, the ruler of Mecca, at the instance of the English officials, apprehended him and handed him over to them. This arrest along with his companions took place on 23rd Safar, A. H. 1335. Along with the Shaikhul Hind, Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Maulana Uzair Gul, Hakim Nusrat Hussain and Maulawi Waheed Ahmed were also arrested. From the holy Mecca they were taken to Jeddah where they were kept in detention for nearly a month. On 18th Rabiul Awwal, A. H. 1335/January 12, 1917, they were taken on board a ship to Suez, and then from there to Malta, which was then considered the safest place in the British empire for the prisoners of war. Statements were taken from Shaikhul Hind and his companions. Among the questions put to them during the course of recording their statements, the following three were important:-

(1) What was the purpose of your meeting Ghalib Pasha and other Turkish ministers in Madina?

(2) Why have you evaded signing the fatwa anathematizing (takfeer) the Turks?

(3) The details of Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi's political activities in Afghanistan were asked.

    On this side enquiries were made from the Shaikhul Hind's collea­gues in India. In short, this chain of enquiries continued from Zi-qa'da, A. H. 1334 (September, 1916) for over a year complete details of which are given in Safar Nama Asir-e Malta and Naqsh-e Hayat. He was kept in detention at Malta along with his companions for three and a quarter years. After the war was over he got the permission to return to India and on 20th Ramazanul Mubarak, A. H. 1338/1920, he stepped on the shore of Mumbai. After reaching Deoband he first of all went to Darul Uloom and then went home.

   As soon as he reached India, he joined the Khilafat Movement. He issued a fatwa of Non-cooperation against the British Government, which engendered great agitation in the country. After the discovery of the Shaikhul Hind's project, although the movement of the Silken Letters had apparently died down to all intents and purposes, his passion for liberty had not admitted any diminution. On his reaching India the British government, through various means, tried to incline him to withdraw from politics but he rejected all their means. Disembarking from, the ship at Mumbai he met the late Maulana Shaukat Ali and other members of the Khilafat Committee, Maulana Abdul Bari Farangi Mahalli from Lucknow and Gandhi ji from Ahmedabad came and met him in Mumbai, Talks were held with other leaders also, Shaikhul Hind, with the Khilafat Committee and the Jamiatul Ulema-e Hind, joined the movement for the freedom of the native land and thus the scheme of an armed rebellion for the inde­pendence of India came to an end.

    The preface writer of Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi's Zati Diary (Personal Diary) has written that:

    "Shaikhal-Hind's party had had the same position in the First World War which Azad Hind Fauj and Azad Hukumat-e Hind have had during the course of the Second World War. Even as the present activities after the war are in fact the developed form of the rebellious struggle during the course of the war, the political struggle of the Khilafat Movement (from 1919/1338 to 1922/1341) was also a developed form of the activities of the Shaikhul Hind's party and his colleagues, If Subhash Chandra Bose bears the palm for the activities of the Azad Hind, the center of activities after the First World War was Shaikhul Hind himself. His political activities began from 1905/1323 and were a part of that programme which Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi remembers as Shah Waliullah's political movement".

   During the First World War, after the defeat of the Ottoman Caliphate, the Khilafat Movement started in India with great vigor and vehemence; this was in fact the beginning of an organized effort on a great scale for the freedom of the country before which the country wide politics of the Indian National Congress had been eclipsed. At that time Gandhi ji gave proof of his extraordinary political statesmanship and farsightedness. Sensing the delicacy of the grave conditions of the situation, he joined the Indian National Congress with the Khilafat Committee as a result of which the national movement of India became so strong and vigorous that it became difficult for the English rulers to sustain India. The effect of this joint and united struggle was that India covered the stages of freedom very speedily and within the period of 27 years only the country became free.

    To overlook or ignore this important turn in the history of the struggle for the independence of India is not just. Had Gandhi ji not joined Congress and the Khilafat Committee at that time, it would not have been easy at all for India to cover the stage of freedom so quickly.

   When the Shaikhul Hind, after his arrival in India, joined the Khilafat Movement and issued a fatwa for non-cooperation with the British, it produced such stir and excitement in the country that the people became intent upon closing down even the Muslim University, Aligarh. Shaikhul Hind was very ill at the time and yet he went to Aligarh in this state of illness and inaugurated the Jamia Millia Islamia (which later on shifted to Delhi) on October 29th 1920 (16th Safar, AH. 1339) "in the Jama Masjid of Aligarh. The significant political address he delivered on this occasion would always remain memorable in the political history of India.

    A remarkable exploit of Shaikhul Hind is this that through his efforts Aligarh and Deoband began to be seen on one platform and the distance between the two was very much reduced. In short, besides knowledge and learning and asceticism and piety, he had had consum­mate skill in politics and statesmanship also. Although after his return from Malta his health had deteriorated and the physical faculties had weakened due to old age, he vehemently participated in political works. The disposition could not bear this heavy stress and strain and mean­while he undertook the journey to Aligarh. After returning from there when his condition became alarming, he was taken to Delhi to be treated by Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari. Hakim Ajmal Khan was also participating in treating him, but the promised hour had come; he departed to the eter­nal realm on 18th Rabiul Awwal, A. H. 1339 (November 30, 1920).

   The bier was brought to Deoband and next day this treasure of learn­ing and accomplishments was concealed, near Hadhrat Nanautwi’s auspici­ous grave, from the eyes of the world.

    Besides innumerable divines and scholars amongst his disciples, the Urdu translation of the Holy Quran, Adilla-e Kamila, Izahul Adilla, Ahsanul-Qura, Jahdul-Maqal, AI-Abwab wal-Tarajim, various fatawa and political addresses are his authorial remains.

    Biographical details regarding him are found in the following books: ­

(1) Hayat-e Shaikhul Hind by Maulana Mian Asghar Hussain Deobandi.

(2) Naqsh-e Hayat by Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmed Madani.

(3) Asir-e Malta by Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmed Madani.

(4) Tazkira-e Shaikhul Hind by Maulana Aziz al-Rahman Bijnori.

(5) Tehrik-e Shaikhul Hind by Maulana Syed Muhammad Mian.



   Hadhrat Shah Sahib was a native of Kashmir. He was born on 27th Shawwal, A. H. 1292/1875, in a respectable and learned Syed family. This family is considered most distinguished in knowledge and learning in the whole of Kashmir. At the age of four and a half years he started reading the Holy Quran under the instruction of his august father, Maulana Syed Muazzam Ali Shah. Extraordinary geist and a matchless memory being inherent in him from his very childhood, he finished the reading of the Book of Allah and some elementary books of Persian in the brief span of one and a half years and engaged in the acquirement of the scholastic education. He was hardly fourteen years old when the unbounded passion for the pursuit of knowledge incited him to leave his native place. For nearly three years he lived in the Madrasah of Hazara and acquired ability in different arts and sciences but the fame of Deoband made him restless for further accomplishment.

   Accordingly, in 1311/1893 he came to Deoband. Hadhrat Shaikhul ­Hind was then gracing the principal's Masnad. The teacher recognized the pupil and the pupil the teacher in the very first meeting. After the prescribed books he started reading the books of Hadith and Tafsir and within a few years he gained a distinguished position with fame and popularity in Darul Uloom. Then, in 1314/1896, having finished the higher books of Hadith, Tafsir and other arts, he went to attend upon Hadhrat Gangohi and besides obtaining a Sanad of Hadith, he also acquired esoteric knowledge.

   After graduating from Darul Uloom he taught for some time in Madrasah Aminia, Delhi. In 1320/1903 he went to Kashmir. There, in his district, he opened a Madrasah named Faiz-e A'am. In 1323/1905 he went to perform Hajj. For some time he stayed in Hejaz where he availed himself of the opportunity of benefiting from the libraries. In 1327/1909 he came back to Deoband where Shaikhul Hind retained him. Till 1333 he went on teaching books of Hadith without taking any salary. In the end of 1333/1915 when Shaikhul Hind thought of going to Hejaz, he bestowed the honor of succeeding him to Shah Sahib. He thus graced the principal's Masnad in Darul Uloom for nearly twelve years. Due to certain differences with the management of the Darul Uloom, he resigned from principal ship in 1346/1927 and went to the Madrasah of Dabhel in western India, where, till 1351/1932, he was busy in teaching Hadith.

    If Shaikhul Hind raised the repute of Darul Uloom in the four quarters of the globe, Shah Shaib, gracing the Masnad of teaching in Darul Uloom, illuminated the world of Islam with the light of religious knowledge. In the science of Hadith he was a matchless traditionists; in jurisprudential sciences, the greatest jurisprudent; if in conformance to the Shari'ah, he was a specimen of the ancient virtuous men, then in esoteric knowledge he was the Junaid of his time and the Shibli of the period. If his existence was the cause .of strength for the Shari'ah, it was a source of pride for the Mystic Path also. He had acquired the honor of khilafat from Hadhrat Gangohi.

   The Islamic world has produced very few such erudite and practical Ulema. If, on the one hand, Shah Sahib was incomparable in respect of erudition amongst his contemporaries, on the other, his person was peerless in abstinence and piety. He was a consummate commentator of the Quran, traditionists and philosopher. The presence of even a single merit in man is not a small thing, whereas his "turban of proficiency" was beset with several rubies. The fact is that his being had caused a revolution in the world of academics. The large number of the thirsty seekers of knowledge who slaked their thirst from this "ocean of sciences" is sui generis. The flood of his academic benefaction was surging from the Middle East to China and thousand of students from India and outside India assuaged themselves from it. His disciples have fanned out in legions in undivided India, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia. During his stay in Darul Uloom, 809 students completed the Hadith Course.

   From on high he had been endowed with such an incomparable retentive memory that let alone the topics and meanings, even passages with pages and lines from a book once seen would be remembered. Anything that entered his brain once through eyes or ears used to be retained and preserved forever, and during the course of a lecture he would go on giving references after references with ease. At the same time he was so much fond of reading that the treasures of all the sciences could not fill the extensive skirt of his search and assuage the thirst for knowledge. Due to his voracious, vast and versatile reading and power of memory he was as though a moving and talking library. Besides the Sihah Sitta, most books of Hadith were almost at the tip of his tongue. On being asked disquisition-demanding propositions in the search and research of which lifetimes pass away, he would answer the inquirer within a few minutes with such comprehensiveness that neither there would remain any doubt in the inquirer's mind nor would he have the need to look up in a book; furthermore, the pleasant thing was that even the titles of books with reference of their page numbers and lines were also shown. He used to speak off hand on every art and science as if all those subjects were ever present in his mind. During the course of a lecture he would go on giving innumerable references of books with utmost ease, so much so that even if there were five or ten scholiast of a book, he had by heart each passage along with its page number and line. The entire stock of Hadiths, prolix and extensive discussions regarding their soundness and unsoundness, and the ranks and positions of the narrators were on the tip of his tongue. Most manuscripts of famous libraries he had perused and they were present in his memory as if he had read them on the same day.

    Then his reading was not limited to only religious sciences; on the contrary, whichever book he could lay hands on he would read it from alpha to omega at least once, and whenever any discussion started about it, he would describe the contents of the book in such a way with refer­ences that the audience used to be agape and astonished. Once a man presented the most difficult questions of the science of Jafar for solution. Shah Sahib, as usually with extempore answers, gave references of several books and told him to refer to such and such books.

   Shah Sahib's memory was prodigious. Shaikh Ibn Humam's famous book, Fathul Qadeer, which is in eight bulky volumes, he had perused in such a way in twenty days that along with reading he was also summarizing its Kitabul Hajj in black and white and simultaneously was also writing answers to the objections Ibn Humam has raised against the author of the Hedaya. During the course of a lecture he once said that "I had read the Fathul Qadeer 26 years ago but, thank Allah, I have never needed so far to see it again and even today whichever topic and discussion I present, you will find very little variance if you refer to it".

    This is only one incident; there are innumerable such incidents in his life.

   Dr. Sir Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal was very deeply connected with Shah Sahib and often used to refer to him in academic discussions; Dr. Iqbal was of the view that for the new codification of the Islamic propositions there was no man more suitable and better than Shah Sahib.

   In fine, as much service as he rendered to the sciences of Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh is sui generis. On many vexed questions he wrote books also. The comprehensiveness of the series of his lectures on Hadith can be estimated from the Faizul Bari, which is a long lecture on Sahih Bukhari and has been published in four bulky volumes. He had consummate skill in reasoning (darayat). Between two divergent and conflicting statements, by force of his own ratiocinative power, he used to give preference unhesitatingly to one over the other.

   Besides the traditional and the rational sciences he commanded criti­cal view of the science of Tasawwuf also. On Shah Sahib's death, Maulana Syed Sulaiman Nadwi had written in Ma'arif as under: ­

    "His example was like that of an ocean the surface of which is calm and still but its bottom abounds with treasures of precious pearls. He was peerless in the period for his extensive Knowledge, the power of memory and the bulk, of memorised matter. He was a hafiz and discerner of the science of Hadith, high-ranking in the literary sciences, expert in the rational sciences, well-versed in poetry, and consummate in abstinence and piety; till his last breath this martyr of knowledge and gnosis kept raising the slogan of "Said Allah and said the Apostle".

    When the most famous Egyptian divine of the time, Syed Rasheed Reza, came to Deoband and met Shah Sahib, he would spontaneously exclaim again and again: "I have never seen any religious divine like this glorious professor"!

    Anyhow, it was a stroke of luck for Darul Uloom that next to Shaikhul Hind the work of principal ship was entrusted to him. Accord­ing to Maulana Syed Manazir Ahsan Gilani, in his time a great change for the better was wrought in the students' ability and very many ardent students benefited from his circle of teaching.

    In national politics Shah Sahib was a follower of the tack of his teacher, the Shaikhul Hind. He used to consider it the Ulema's foremost obligation to create the true Islamic life among the Indian Muslims. His enlightening presidential address in the eighth annual session of the Jamiat Ulema-e Hind held at Peshawar is a shining proof of this conviction.

    The zest for knowledge was so dominating in him, that for a long time the very thought of matrimony and marital state would perturb him. But, at last, at the emphatic insistence of the elders, he adopted the conjugal union and thereafter began to take salary. After having lived for a few years at Dabhel, the intensity of ailments at last compelled him to return to Deoband which place he had made his hometown, and here, on 3rd Safarul Muzaffar, A. H. 1352/1933, he passed away at the age of sixty years. His auspicious grave is situated near the Idgah of Deoband.

   In the commendation of Nafhatul Anbar Hadhrat Thanwi has remarked: ­

    "According to me, among the many proofs of the truthfulness of Islam one is that of Hadhrat Maulana Anwar Shah's existence had there been any crookedness in Islam, Maulana Anwar Shah would have certainly renounced it".

   On Hadhrat Shah Sahib's demise Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani had said in his condolatory speech that:

   "Had any man of Egypt and Syria asked me if I had seen Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Shaikh Taqiuddin bin Daqiqul Id and Sultanul Ulema Shaikh Azzuddin bin Abdus Salam, then I could have said metaphorically: 'Yes, I have seen, because there is only precedence and subsequence of the period. Had Shah Sahib too been in the sixth or seventh century (hijri), he also would have been of their rank for being the owner of those peculiarities".

   Shah Sahib was of a middle stature, having a fair complexion, hand­some features and a wide forehead; and his eyes had a magnetic attraction.

   The interest the late Dr. Sir Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal Lahori had developed in the last phase of his life in the Islamic teachings owed much to the grace of Shah Sahib's company. The learned Dr. Iqbal had learnt much of Islamic from Shah Sahib and hence he used to revere him very much, and used to bow his head in submission, with sentiments of belief (aqidat) and love, before Shah Sahib's opinions.

   More than a dozen of his books in Arabic and Persian on different Islamic topics, consisting of extremely vexed questions, have already been published and many more are awaiting publication.

   Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Binnori has written in detail in Nafhatul Anbar about the particulars of Shah Sahib's life. This book is in Arabic. Another book is Hayat-e Anwar, in Urdu, and is a valuable collection of articles from different writers. AI-Anwar and Naqsh-e Dawam are also good biographies.

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