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: -
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.
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
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
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".
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:-
What was the purpose of your meeting Ghalib Pasha and other Turkish ministers in
Why have you evaded signing the fatwa anathematizing (takfeer) the Turks?
The details of Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi's political activities in Afghanistan
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.
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.
writer of Maulana Ubaydullah Sindhi's Zati Diary (Personal Diary)
has written that:
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".
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
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.
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).
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.
regarding him are found in the following books:
Hayat-e Shaikhul Hind by Maulana Mian Asghar Hussain Deobandi.
Naqsh-e Hayat by Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmed Madani.
Asir-e Malta by Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmed Madani.
Tazkira-e Shaikhul Hind by Maulana Aziz al-Rahman Bijnori.
Tehrik-e Shaikhul Hind by Maulana Syed Muhammad Mian.
HADHRAT MAULANA MUHAMMAD ANWAR
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
only one incident; there are innumerable such incidents in his life.
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.
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.
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:
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
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"!
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.
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.
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
the commendation of Nafhatul Anbar Hadhrat Thanwi has remarked:
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".
Hadhrat Shah Sahib's demise Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani had said in his
condolatory speech that:
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".
Sahib was of a middle stature, having a fair complexion, handsome features and
a wide forehead; and his eyes had a magnetic attraction.
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
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.
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.