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     He was the eldest son of Maulana Fazlur Rahman. From the beginning to the end he prosecuted his studies in Darul Uloom. He was an erudite scholar and a great litterateur in the Arabic language. His foresight and administration is considered proverbial in the history of Darul ­Uloom his services and dowers have played a great role in the progress of the institution.

   In 1325/1907, due to Hadhrat Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Ahmed's engagements, as also in connection with the development of Darul Uloom, there arose the need of an able and competent administrator who might lend a hand to Hafiz Sahib in the administrative affairs and schemes of development In the eyes of the Majlis-e Shura there was none more suitable than him for this job. Accordingly, inspite of his refusal, he was compelled and entrusted with the post of pro ­vice-chancellor. It is said that it was a piece of good luck for Darul Uloom that it acquired the services of a vigilant administrator and sincere man like Maulana Habibur Rahman Usmani. He was so much interested in the administrative works that major part of the day and night used to be spent in these works. He had so organized and streamlined the administrative department of Darul Uloom that when Nawab Sadr-e Yar Jung Bahadur came to Deoband on behalf of the Asafiyah government to audit the accounts of the Darul Uloom Deoband, he was surprised to see that vouchers and receipts of even as paltry a sum as one and two annals were present in the file in a regular order. Nawab Sadr Yar Jung's statement is that there was no paper, which was asked for and was not immediately presented. The progress during Hafiz Sahib's vice-chancellorship is in fact considered to be the result of Maulana Habibur Rahman’s comradeship; he always remained his right-hand man, confidant and lieutenant.

    In 1344/1925, when Hafiz Sahib retired due to old age from the post of Chief Mufti of the Hyderabad State, Maulana Habibur Rahman was appointed in his place, but due to the appearance of internal dissensions in Darul Uloom Deoband he had to give up this job very soon. Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Mufti Azizur Rahman and Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, along with a large group of some other teachers and students, had severed their relations with Darul Uloom Deoband. This was a very delicate and critical occasion but Maulana Habibur Rahman’s resolution and firmness, courage and daring, and sagacity and foresight saved the boat of Darul Uloom Deoband from wobbling.

   Maulana Habibur Rahman’s personality was considered past compare in his time in every respect. It is generally believed that had he had so much interest in the national politics as he had in Darul Uloom, he would have proved to be the greatest political leader of India. It was Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind's will that the members of the Jami'atul Ulema must never leave out two men the first name among these two was his, and as such he proved to be the best counselor of the Jami'atul Ulema. In a session of the Jami'atul Ulema held at Gaya (Bihar) in 1340/1921, he was elected president and his presidential address was not only generally appreciated but in the political circles of the country also its political significance was looked upon with approval.

   Excessive reading had made him a man of vast knowledge, a polyhistor. Hadhrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri used to remark: -

    "If there is anyone whose knowledge impresses me, it is Maulana Habibur Rahman".

    He had a special liking for Arabic literature and history and his extensive knowledge in these subjects was far-famed at the time. The following books are his academic relics;­

(1) Qasida Lamiat at-Mu'ajizat: This panegyric consists of nearly three hundred verses in praise of the Holy Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him!), describing one hundred prophetic miracles in a very eloquent and meaningful style. Maulana Muhammad Izaz Ali Amrohi (d. A H. 1374) has explained these Arabic verses in simple Urdu.

(2) Isha'at-e Islam: How did Islam spread in the world? In response to this question he has reproduced nearly five hundred pages those historical events, which due to their psychological attraction, became conducive to the spread of Islam.

(3). Ta'limat-e Islam: In this book the Islamic system of government has been described and it has been made explicit how much consultation is necessary for the leader of the party. In the course of this he has shown that if there is complete trust in the person of the leader there is then no need of counting the votes of the majority and the minority, but should the leader not have achieved such trust of the followers, then there is no other go for carrying on the business but to rely upon the majority.

(4). Rahmatul lil Alamin: It is a very valuable work on the biography of the Holy Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him), but it is a pity that it is incomplete. However, whatever has been written is an addition of a monumental work to the list of prophetic biographies.

   Maulana Habibur Rahman was of a very frail constitution; his intake of food was astonishingly low but inspite of emaciation and weakness he possessed unbounded courage. Exactly fourteen months after Hafiz Sahib's death, he passed away from this mortal world on the night of 4th Rajab, A H. 1348/ AD. 1929/ leaving Darul Uloom as his eulogizer forever and ever. May Allah illuminate his grave!


   He is Hadhrat Nanautawi's grandson. He was born in 1315/1897. His chronogrammatic name is Muzaffaruddin. He was admitted to the Darul ­Uloom at the age of seven; the ceremony of his admission to the school was performed in a glorious gathering of distinguished august men. Within the short span of two years he committed the entire Quran to memory with cantillation and orthoepy. After reading for five years in the Persian and Mathematics classes, he started studying the Arabic syllabus, which he completed in 1337/1918 and secured the Sanad of graduation. During the course of education the teachers, because of his lineage, participated in teaching and training him on a high scale and in a special manner. The special Sanad of Hadith he obtained from the most eminent Ulema and teachers. The savant of the age, Maulana Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri, was his special teacher in the Science of Hadith. In 1350/1931 he received khilafat from Hadhrat Thanwi.

    After graduation he started teaching in Darul Uloom. Due to his own knowledge and learning, geist, and ancestral relation and respecta­bility he soon won admiration in the students circle. In early 1341/1924 he was appointed pro-vice-chancellor, in which post, till early 1348/ 1924, he kept taking part in the administrative affairs of the vice chancellor's office, under the supervision of his august father and Maulana Habibur Rahman. In the middle of 1348/1929, after Maulana Habibur Rahman’s demise, he was made vice chancellor. In view of his precious experience, competency and ancestral lineage it had been proved that the capacity to run Darul Uloom ran in his blood and was bred in his bones; accordingly, after becoming vice-chancellor, he very soon won popularity and greatness in the country due to his knowledge and learn­ing and family respectability and influence, which proved very advantage­ous to the fame and glory of the Darul Uloom.

   As such, Darul Uloom has made remarkable progress during his vice chancellor ship. In 1348/1929, when he took the reins of administra­tion of Darul Uloom into his hands, there were only eight administra­tive sections; now their number has reached 23. At that time the budget of annual income of Darul Uloom was Rs. 50,262; now it has risen to Rs. 26,00,000. In 1348/1929, the staff of the employees in the Darul Uloom consisted of only 45 hands, which number has now gone up to 200. The magistral staff then consisted of only l8 teachers; now there are 59. The students strength then was 480 and now it is nearly 2,000.

   Similarly there has beer addition to the buildings also Darut Tafsir, Darul Ifta, Darul Quran, Matbakh-e Jadid, Fauqani Darul Hadith, Balai (2nd floor) Masjid, Babuz Zahir, two-storied Jamia Tibbia, Jadid, Darul Iqama, the magnificent building of the Guest House, the long and wide halls of the library, Darul Iqama Jadid, Afriqi Manzil, addition of three auditoriums near the kitchen; all these buildings have been constructed during his vice chancellor ship. Moreover, the room of the Chhatta Mosque where Hadhrat Nanautawi used to teach and inculcate had become dilapidated due to ravages of time; so it was also rebuilt.

   In short, every department of Darul Uloom has made unusual prog­ress during his tenure of office. The administrative and consultative councils of Darul Uloom, in connection with the acknowledgement of his extraordinary services and as an expression of their appreciation, have at different times, passed several resolutions. To keep the candle of Darul Uloom alight he is still active in his old age like young men.

   Academically, besides teaching, he has got a natural endowment in the art of oratory and lecturing, a gift of the gab. Right from the student days his speeches in the public functions are being heard with eager­ness. Speaking on even the most important problems for two and three hours at a stretch he does not experience any interruption or difficulty. He has had special mastery in discoursing on the realities and mysteries of the Shari'ah and in making the subjects concise and compact. The modern educated class particularly enjoys his academic and philosophi­cal style of discourse; his lectures are specially popular in Muslim University Aligarh, and other universities, and some of his momentous lectures have already been published by the former. There is no region in the country where the echo of his speeches may not have reached. When his fluent and fascinating speech passes through the deep ocean of knowledge, the stillness of the waves is worth seeing.

   His presidential addresses in the annual sessions of the Jami'atul Ulema have been highly valued his academic lectures have created a particular circle of influence and the effects of his elocution have also reached the academic circles outside India. In 1363/1934, during his journey to Hejaz, the speech he delivered as the leader of a dignified delegation of India in the court of Sultan Ibn Sa'ud, impressed the Sultan very much. Sultan Ibn Sa'ud honored him with the award of a royal robe of honor and a gift of highly valuable books.

   His journey to Afghanistan in 1358/1939 is an independent history of academic services; he had undertaken this journey as a representative of Darul Uloom to forge educational and spiritual relations between Darul Uloom and the government of Afghanistan. The academic circles of Afghanistan befittingly welcomed him. The government itself did him the honor of being his host. The educational and literary associations and government and non-government societies of Afghanistan invited him. The literary and academic circles there were very much impressed by his scholarly speeches. He has similarly toured foreign countries like Burma, South Africa, Zanzibar, Kenya, Rhodesia, Reunion, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Egypt, England; France, Germany, etc.

   The fact is that there are many charming facets of his fascinating personality: nobility and humanity, personification of modesty, purity of heart, knowledge and learning, oratory and art of public speaking, sermonizing and inculcation, simplicity and humility, philosophic eloqu­ence and succinctness while talking; in fine, his commanding and towering personality is an exquisite amalgamation of deeds and character, grandeur and elegance.

   Besides the administrative affairs of Darul Uloom, the things he has had a natural interest in are education and teaching, missionary work and preaching. Due to these accomplishments he commands a pre-eminent position in the country. His zest for recreation consists in reading and writing books. This diversion of his always continues over and above the administrative affairs of Darul Uloom and the quantum of teaching work, particularly so during the free hours in the course of a journey. When not out of station, that is, while residing at Deoband, there is almost daily a regular get-together of friends and scholars, between Asr and Maghrib, in the male parlour, where the topics of discussion are generally of an academic nature and interest. He has affinity with the art of poesy also; many of his poems have been published; the title of the collection of his poetical compositions, which too has been published, is Irfan-e A'rif.

   Like his mastery in the art of elocution and oratory, he is also a profound, prolific and talented author; the number of his works is pretty large, some of which are named below; ­

    Attashabbuh fiI-lslam, Mashahir-e Ummat, Kalimat-e Tayyibat, Atyabus-Thamar fi Mas'alatil-Qaza wal-Qadar, Science Awr Islam, Ta'limat-e Islam Awr Masihi Aqwam, Mas'ala-e Zuban-e Urdu Hindustan Men, Din­-o-Siyasat, Asbab-e Urooj-o Zawal-e Aqwam, Islami Azadi ka Mukammal Program, AI-Ijtehad wal-Taqlid, Usool-e Da'wat-e Islam, Islami Masawat, Tafsir-e Sura-e FiI, Fitri Hukumat, etc.


   He was Maulana Fazlur Rahman's eldest son. He was born on 10th Muharram, A. H. 1305/ A. D. 1887, at Bijnor. At the age of seven he started reading the Holy Quran. The date of his admission in Darul Uloom is 10th Rabius Sani, A. H. 1319; of graduation, 1325/1907. He was one of the well-guided disciples of the Shaikhul Hind and also owed allegiance to him. After graduation he was appointed head-teacher in the Madrasa-e Fatehpuri at Delhi; from there he was called to Darul Uloom in 1328/ 1910. Here, for a long time, he taught books to the higher classes. Maulana Usmani's teaching of the Sahih-e Muslim was very famous, and he had a deep insight into Hadhrat Nanautawi's sciences. After rendering teaching services in Darul Uloom for a long time, in 1346/1928, due to certain differences with the authorities of Darul Uloom, he, along with Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman and some other gentlemen, went to Jamia-e Islamia, Dabhel (Dist. Surat).

    After Hadhrat Shah Sahib's death, he was appointed Shaikhul Hadith there in 1352/1933. In 1354/1935, at Hadhrat Thanwi's and other elders instruction he came back to Darul Uloom and while maintaining his relation with Jamia Islamia, Dabhel, he continued to serve the Darul­ Uloom as its chancellor till 1362/1944.

   It will not be inapt here to reproduce that speech of Allamah Usmani, which he had delivered at the time of his taking the reins of administration into his hands. In his speech he had explained, in a very subtle manner, the causes of his separation from Darul Uloom in 1346/1928. Since the previous bitterness is excellently compensated by this speech, its requisite portions are reproduced here. Allamah Usmani had stated in a very eloquent and pithy manner; ­

    "This Darul Uloom is the benefactor (lit, patron) of all of us. All of us were born here; here we played, here we bounced and bounded, here we learned to read and write, and here we taught; whatever we attained and learnt, it is due to this headspring of knowledge and gnosis only. Our Darul Uloom is indubitably a vast sea, a shoreless ocean of reality and divine knowledge. Its grace is current not only in India but wherever the sound of "Said Allah and Said the Apostle" is heard, it is also its resounding only, even as in the months of May and June the sea becomes hot due to the heat of the sun and heat is created in its heart, the air lifts up vapors from it and spreads them over the earth in the form of clouds, and these big and small pieces of clouds, rising from the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea, burst in far off lands whereby the dead earth is revived and dead farms begin to bloom and become verdant.

   "But when there is billowing and agitation in the sea due to its boiling, some partial losses are also caused. As such, under such circumstances, life and wealth are also often lost. Sometimes huge ships too are involved in danger and some of them get drowned. And when those vapors, changing into clouds, spread over the earth, sometimes thunder and lightning are also produced in them, which frighten the people and sometimes a bolt of lightning strikes, someone. But inspite of all these losses those who have an eye upon Allah's mature wisdom under­stand that some absolute good too is surely going to appear from these losses, and though these losses are painful for the creatures and though this ferment and agitation of the sea puts man into distress, some great benefit and some provision of life for the creatures is to appear from the same losses. In short, the aftermath of all this process happens to be this that when the rain has rained down and the dead earth has received that much amount of water that it needs, the same rain water some of which is used up by the earth, ultimately passing through channels and rivers reaches to join its original headspring from which it had been produced and from which it had separated.

    "So understand it just like that that in accordance with the creative exigencies of the workers of destiny and fate, some time back a commotion of sorts, a heat had been created in the heart on he academic sea of Darul Uloom, wherefore waves rose up and clashed with each other. During this spell of surging and commotion some losses were also caused but some waves and drops of this sea, forming into a cloud of mercy, went and rained over the land of Gujarat. Well, the mention of (insignificant) people like us apart, there is indeed no doubt at all regarding the savant of the time, Hadhrat Maulana Syed Anwar Shah Kashmiri and Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman that they were clouds of mercy. By the light of the countenance of these savants the home of heretic innovations that was Gujarat, is today, thank Allah, resplendent with the light of the Quran and the Sunnah. The fanatical people of Gujarat used to consider it a great sin to shake hands with the Deobandi Ulema and if someone did shake hands by mistake, it was thought necessary to wash the hands with soap, so much so that even a mosque had to be washed if per chance a Deobandi divine happened to say his prayer in it. But the same fanatics today - praise be to Allah as a result of the diffusion of the light of the Quran and the Sunnah in that region, pride themselves over doing even a menial service (lit., setting a pair of shoes in order for the wearing of any dignified person) to the truthful Ulema and now - thank Allah! - the very condition has been reversed.

    "Yearning for the annual function of our Madrasah that is held in Dabhel, thousands of men await it eagerly throughout the year, counting the days on fingers as to when the function would be held and they would have the felicity of participating in it. In short, some of those big and small clouds which, breaking from their original source, had rained down on the land of Gujarat, got used up in the meanwhile, and some of them, passing different periods, at last came back and joined their original headspring. My returning to Darul Uloom now or the Darul Uloom's attracting me is of the same nature and relation as a drop has with the sea. So if a drop returned to its main spring, what wonder has the drop worked, what is its excellence therein? May Allah Most High bestow upon all of us the grace to compensate for the previous losses and redress our short comings.

    "You may understand the example of our returning to Darul Uloom like the example of faith (Iman) given in the noble Hadith that when the snake slithers into its burrow, it shrinks, and faith too likewise would shrink in the last era and would return to its original tract, even as the snake returns to its hole. Darul Uloom Deoband is a divine trust, a dear wealth of the Muslims. It has been raised with the bricks of piety, those who laid its foundation-stone were not members of the nobility and the affluent class; on the contrary its founders were a few pious souls, faqirs and saints. Hence it should be preserved on their principles and pattern only and all should in fact join hands to protect it".

   In respect of knowledge and learning, intelligence and acumen, statesmanship and reasonableness, Allamah Usmani was being reckoned amongst the few outstanding Ulema of India. He had had equal mastery both in speech and writing (lit., tongue and pen). A high-ranking litterateur in Urdu and a master of spell-binding oratory, both his writings and speeches used to be unparalleled in respect of eloquence and succinctness, commonly-intelligible arguments, effective similes, style of expression and subtle points of wit and wisdom. Because of his having deep insight into the current affairs, his speeches used to be highly appreciated by the high and the low. The connoisseurs still cherish the memory of his eloquent, expressive and scholarly speeches in grand functions. It was Maulana Usmani who had received the honor of writing and reading out in the function the last address Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind had delivered on the occasion of the founding of the Jamia Millia Islamia (Delhi), during his last days.

   Ilmul Kalam, AI-Aql wan-Naql, Ijazul Quran, Hijab-e Shara'i, and AI-Shahab le-rajmil Khatifil Murtab, etc. are his monumental works. Maulana Usmani's exegetical marginalia on the translation of the Holy Quran by Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind are very famous. His valuable book entitled Fathul Mulhim in the science of Hadith is, from the Hanafite point of view, the first commentary on the Sahih Muslim. This is such a magnum opus of his that it has familiarized his knowledge and learning in the whole Islamic world.

   In politics Maulana Usmani had from the very beginning joined the Jami'at Ulema-e Hind and earlier he had been an important member of the Khilafat Committee. In 1333/1914, during the Balkan war, he had participated very ardently in collecting funds for the Turks. Maulana Usmani remained a member of the executive council of the Jami'at ­Ulema Hind for a number of years, and was reckoned amongst the first class leaders of the said organization of the Ulema. In the end, due to the question of one nation theory, he dissented with the Jami'at Ulema and joined the Muslim League and, in 1365/1946, he was elected president of the Jami'at Ulema-e Islam. In 1946, when an election was held for the Indian Constituent Assembly, he was elected its member on behalf of the Muslim League from Bengal. After the partition of India, he was elected as a member of the Pakistan Constitutent Assembly in his capacity as a representative of East Bengal. To participate in the session of the Pakistan Constitutent Assembly Maulana Usmani went to Pakistan before Ramadhan, A. H. 1366/1947 and then stayed in Karachi fore over. Along with his membership of the Pakistan Constitutent Assembly he was also elected as the president of the Shara'i Dastur-saz Committee. In Pakistan he rendered many religious and national services; his academic and political services had a special impression on the highest authority of Pakistan. He enjoyed a great position particularly as a religious divine and thinker and along with his religious leadership, his political leadership was also acknowledged on all hands.

    Jamia Abbasia Bhawalpur, is an old seminary in Pakistan. Its educa­tional and administrative set-up had much deteriorated. So the Education Ministry of the Bhawalpur State requested Maulana Usmani to make it convenient to go to Bhawalpur and favor the state with his opinion as regards improvement and progress of the said seminary. Accordingly he went to Bhawalpur but hardly had he started consultations with the Ministry of Education there when suddenly, on 21st Safar, A. H. 1369/ 1949, he after a few hours illness, passed away. His bier was taken from Bhawalpur to Karachi and his body was laid into the grave prepared near his residence on Muhammad Ali Road.

   In a condolence meeting held in Darul Uloom at Allamah Usmani's demise, Hadhrat Maulana Madani said in his speech: "The late Maulana's personality was unique; in knowledge and learning his rank was very high and he was one of the top-most Ulema. Political differences were indeed there between us but they are at their place. The God-given mastery in writing and speech was the late Maulana's special feature and he was a repository of many other good qualities".



(The article is under classification.)

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