Books and Documents

Islamic Personalities

There is a lovely story from the life of the Prophet Muhammad, remembering that a mysterious visitor came upon him and his companions. The visitor, later revealed to be the archangel Gabriel, proceeded to sit intimately next to Muhammad and quiz the Prophet. He asked Muhammad about three increasingly higher and deeper levels of religiosity, which the Prophet answered sequentially as Islam (wholehearted submission to God), Faith and, lastly, Loveliness (ihsan). This third quality the Prophet identified as worshipping God as if we could see the Divine, and if we cannot, to always remember that God nevertheless sees us. -- Omid Safi


Slowly, we are forgetting (or are being made to forget) our national heroes, our history and our culture. I wonder what percentage of our young generation knows about Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali. Tipu Sultan was a good administrator as well as a good warrior. He had inflicted serious damages and casualties on the British in the First and Second Mysore Wars and had shattered the myth of their invincibility. (Portrailt of Tipu Sultan) -- Dr A Q Khan

It is extremely difficult for the Muslims of today to imagine and much less to endure the hardships that the Prophet and his companions underwent. In the ninth year of his mission, the Prophet — having been persecuted and terrorized by his people in Makkah — headed for Taif, home to the Banu Thaqif tribe. There he went to preach his message but was treated rudely by the tribal elders, who told him to clear off and even sent street urchins after him to beat him and pelt him with stones. -- KHALED ALMAEENA

It is extremely difficult for the Muslims of today to imagine and much less to endure the hardships that the Prophet and his companions underwent. In the ninth year of his mission, the Prophet — having been persecuted and terrorized by his people in Makkah — headed for Taif, home to the Banu Thaqif tribe. There he went to preach his message but was treated rudely by the tribal elders, who told him to clear off and even sent street urchins after him to beat him and pelt him with stones. He bled profusely causing his entire body to be covered with blood and his sandals to become clogged to his feet. He headed away from the town and took respite near a rock and made a heart-rending invocation to God Almighty beseeching mercy for the people who had persecuted him a few moments earlier.

It is said that the heavens were moved by the Prophet's prayer and the Archangel Gabriel came and said that God Almighty is aware of what has passed and that he has deputed an angel in charge of the mountains. The angel in charge of the mountains then came forward and offered to bring the mountains overlooking Taif to collide with each other to destroy the inhabitants. However, being a mountain of mercy himself and the mercy of the worlds, the Prophet refused. Note the conduct of our noble Prophet. … In spite of suffering so much at the hands of the Taif mob, the Prophet did not curse or seek revenge, even when the opportunity arose. Instead, he pleaded for mercy. -- Khaled Almaeena

A columnist friend recently asked me to do a write-up on what he described as the Pashtun political dynasties and, specifically, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s family. At the time it did not appear to be a difficult proposition to take up and I agreed. However, when I eventually got to the task at hand, it seemed like a herculean undertaking. It is formidable not because one could not or should not write about the Pashtun polity and role of clans in it but because it would be a serious injustice to the proudest son that Pashtun lands have ever produced to lump him together with any other Pashtun leader that came before or after him, including those related to him by blood. -- Dr Mohammad Taqi

Photo: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Badshah Khan or Sarhadi Gandhi with Mahatma Gandhi


Dataganj Bakhsh was a prominent writer and poet with his works being published in collections (Deewan). His Kashful Mahjub is his masterpiece on Sufism. … He derived the title “Hajweri” from his locality in Ghazani. … He visited India at the behest of his instructor and leader. One day he saw his mentor in a dream. He asked him to visit Lahore as he was given the charge of the city. He replied that Hazrat Khwaja Hasan Zanjani (RA) was already present in Lahore, so it was unnecessary. His mentor insisted that he travel to Lahore at the earliest without further arguments. He reached Lahore at night, and so stayed outside the city. When he entered the city in morning, he saw a funeral procession. On investigation, he discovered that it was the dead body of Hazrat Khwaja Hasan Zanjani (RA) being taken for burial.  Hazrat Zanjani had died the previous night. According to traditions, Dataganj Bakhsh led the last prayers for Hazrat Zanjani. Thus he realised the secret behind his mentor’s order to go to Lahore. -- Rauf Ramish

(Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami, NewAgeIslam.com)


Denied due acknowledgement in his lifetime, maverick poet Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869) had predicted that the world would acknowledge his greatness posthumously. The newest chapter in lengthening the memory of Ghalib was added on December 26 — a day ahead of his 213th birth anniversary — when his fans installed a beautiful bust of him at his restored haveli (mansion) in old Delhi's Gali Qasim Jaan. If the event warmed up the frozen December evening in the walled city — the fans, holding candles, marched to the memorial from crowded Chandni Chowk — the birth of the bust itself is no less exciting....

The sculptor says the toughest part was to capture Ghalib's droopy eyes and his pleasant smile. "Ghalib had a great sense of humour. He knew how to turn a tense moment into an agreeable one. This was difficult but I captured it in the bust," says Rampure, a JJ School of Arts graduate who initially worked in Mumbai but subsequently moved to Pune, from where he shifted to his hometown Solapur in 2007. -- Mohammed Wajihuddin

Photo: Mirza Ghalib

On October 15, 1979, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that the world’s highest award in Physics would be awarded to three scientists “for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles”. One of them was named Abdus Salam and he was born in Jhang in 1926 to a proud working class Punjabi family. He would go on to become one of the most important theoretical physicists of his day, contribute to one of the most important theories in Physics, the Grand Unified Theory and die a proud Pakistani on November 21, 1996 in Oxford after living a life where he was celebrated as one of the greatest minds of the century. His country however would not celebrate him as a hero and his name remain unknown to a large percentage. The tragedy of his treatment at the hands of his countrymen is unparalleled and there is still visible uneasiness and perhaps even fear in accepting him as a national hero. -- Shahid Saeed

The supreme interest of Sir Syed’s life was education in its widest sense. He wanted to create a scientific temperament among the Muslims of India and to make the modern knowledge of Science available to them. He championed the cause of modern education at a time when all the Indians in general and Indian Muslims in particular considered it a sin to get modern education and that too through English language. He began establishing schools, at Muradabad in 1858 and Ghazipur in 1863. A more ambitious undertaking was the foundation of the Scientific Society, which published translations of many educational texts and issued a bilingual journal  in Urdu and English. It was for the use of all citizens and were jointly operated by the Hindus and Muslims. -- Azhar Mohammed K

October 17 is celebrated as the great educationist and reformer Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s (1817-1898) birthday.

Some of the products of the Aligarh movement misunderstood Sir Syed's message. Unlike Sir Syed, they used rhetoric instead of rationalism when they addressed the community. The Ali brothers (Maulana Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali) belonged to this group of leaders who set a bad trend. Emulating the Ali brothers, the myopic Muslim leadership of today exploits the community's fear and keeps it riveted to emotional issues. A few voices who could have been exemplars are largely isolated. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is one of them. Khan's views, though essentially inspired from the Quran and the Hadith, are not accepted by the majority of Muslims. His much-publicised recent advice to the Muslims to relocate the Babri Mosque drew ridicule from most ulema. "He is working for the RSS and doesn't represent us. We have rejected his proposals in the past and reject this one too," declares Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi of All India Ulema Council. -- Mohammed Wajihuddin


In recent articles, plenty of light has been shed on the sultan’s refusal to sell land in Palestine to Zionists, prior to World War II. After turning down the offer, Abdulhamid famously refused to meet Mizray Qrasow, the Jewish banker who had offered to pay off the Empire’s debts and build a navy in exchange for the right to buy land in Palestine. Abdulhamid – according to the Arab and Turkish version of events – told one of his aides, “Tell those impolite Jews that I am not going to carry the historical shame of selling holy land to the Jews and betraying the responsibility and trust of my people!” -- Sami Moubayed


Perhaps no religion is more misunderstood than Islam, by those who do not follow it. In Europe, for instance, we find a deeply-rooted prejudice against Islam, which is based on ignorance of that which is disliked. It is the duty of the followers of Islam to spread through the civilised world, a knowledge of what Islam means — its spirit and message. They should spread a knowledge of the teachings of the great Prophet, and not allow the more ignorant to narrow down the limits of his teachings. Islam is misunderstood. because of ignorance; and I propose to preface my address with the nature of the prejudices requiring to be met:

1). The first objection against Islam is, that it was spread by the sword, is fanatical, leads to persecution and religious wars and causes blood-shed. Such accusations come from the Christians, who have been notorious for their persecutions. The Inquisition, the Crusades and various forms of persecution employed by the Christians deprive them of the right to attack another faith. -- Annie Besant

When the banner of the great Prophet was first carried to Europe, it came at a period of intellectual darkness. When the Roman catholic faith was a persecuting faith, and when the Moors invaded Spain and founded wonderful Universities, when they brought the light of science to Europe and for six centuries carried a torch of illumination to the European nations — in that time they were looked upon less as scientific teachers than as religious heretics; and because the Crescent instead of the Cross was blazing on their standards, their teaching was banned and they themselves were regarded as enemies.

It is well to remember that from the 8th century to the 14th it was from the Mussalman source that the light of knowledge spread over Europe, that the Muslims revived the knowledge of Greece and of Alexandria as it had been advanced and strengthened in the great University of Baghdad, sending out its messengers in all directions. From that entry into Europe there arose a prejudice against Islam as Islam which was not due to a knowledge of its religious teachings, but as a heretical faith; and therefore all its teachings of every kind were to be banned by good Christian people. -- Annie Besant

Ali’s letter to another of his faithful ally Malik bin Ashter, governor of Basra which is considered as masterpiece of principles of governance. He advised Malik ”do not say, ’I am your overlord and dictator, and that you should, therefore, bow to my commands”, as that will corrupt your heart. He further writes to him, “Let your mind respect through your actions the rights of God and the rights of human beings…for otherwise you will be doing injustice to yourself and injustice to humanity.”

 He also advises Malik Ashter to”Care for them with tenderness with which you care for your children, and do not talk before them of any good you might have done to them, nor disregard any expression of affection which they show in return…” -- Asghar Ali Engineer


The internationally renowned Egyptian Koran expert Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd was one of the leading Islamic reformist thinkers of our time. His discourse analytical study of the Koran paved the way for a contemporary understanding of Islam. Abu Zayd recently passed away in Cairo at the age of 66. Loay Mudhoon looks back on the life of this important man

"If the message of Islam is to be valid for all humanity, regardless of place and time, a variety of interpretations is unavoidable," said Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd


For Dr. Abdus Salam, his work as a scientist was entirely in obedience to the message of the Quran, and the injunctions of the Holy Prophet. He would say, “The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah’s created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of his design is a bounty and a grace for which I am my thanks with a humble heart”. He was referring, of course to the recent advances in the Theory of Relativity, and Quantum Theory, which give us a fresh insight into creation.

During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, he quoted from the Quran; “Thou seest not in the creation of the All-Merciful any imperfection. Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure? Then return thy gaze again and again. Thy gaze comes back to you dazzled, aweary.” – Asif Merchant

The assumption that Iqbal did not believe in democracy rests largely on a verse he wrote in which he said that democracy was “that form of government in which persons are counted, not weighed”. In a democracy, everyone counts for one and no one counts for more than one. This is both the most obvious advantage (in the sense that it prevents monopoly of power and privilege) and disadvantage (in the sense that numerical equality is stressed at the expense of unequal merit) of democracy. That Iqbal should have pointed out something obvious by no means indicates that he was against democracy. -- Dr Riffat Hassan   


Instead of colouring Iqbal red or green, Faiz has tried to contextualise Iqbal's message. Placing Iqbal among "poets of affirmation'' like Dante, Milton and Goethe, Faiz described Iqbal as a product of his period whose "work reflected all the inner intellectual contradictions, all the conflicting impulses, all the confused dreams and aspirations of the middle strata of Indo-Pakistani Muslims.'' "It is precisely because of this," says Faiz, "that his work is popular among progressives and reactionaries alike.'' -- Farooq Sulehria


There are different legends on how Khwaja Qutub got the title of Bakhtiar Kaki. The most accepted one narrates that his wife used to take provisions on credit from a nearby grocer to feed her starving family. One day, the grocer taunted her, saying that her family would have starved had it not been for his kindness. Khwaja Qutub learnt of the remark and forbade the taking of provisions on credit. Pointing to a niche in the wall, he told his wife to recite “Bismillah” and take bread from it. The kak, bread, continued appearing miraculously till his wife revealed the secret to others. -- Sadia Dehlvi

By Farooq Argali

By Farooq Argali



The Aligarh movement launched by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan influenced the Muslims in the country, particularly in South India. The Souvenir brought out on the occasion of the Centenary Celebration of Ambur Muslim Educational Society on 4th September 2006 mentions as follows inter-alia: Sir Syed organised the Mohammedan (later Muslim) Educational Conference. Its branches were established in cities and towns to report on the educational needs of the community. This conference used to meet annually at several important cities in the country and carried the message of modern education far and wide.  The 5th session of the Conference was held at Madras in 1901 and set in a brainwave all over the South. Like their brethren in other parts of the country the Muslims of the Madras presidency were also antagonistic towards the English education and therefore they were far behind their other fellow countrymen in public service. Nawab Mohsinul Mulk Mohsinud Dowla from Aligarh inspired the Conference. -- Azhar Mohammed K

By Farooq Argali



Following the 9/11 attacks on the United States when the world turned upside down for Muslims around the world, Dr Naik stepped up his battle of hearts and minds by travelling around the world and offering lectures, talks and interviews, to distinguish the original faith of peace from the hateful death cult championed by extremists like Osama bin Laden. He has delivered at least 1200 public talks in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Asia since 9/11, not to mention countless others held in India.  Over the past few years, this one individual has done more to promote Islam and its view of a just world than numerous Muslim organisations with millions of followers and countries with infinite resources at their disposal have ever managed to. -- Aijaz Zaka Syed

Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq was a great scholar and educationist, a man of superior thinking and superb understanding of Islam and its teachings. His heritage needs in depth study, to exclude whatever is in conflict with his attitude and scholarship. In the matter of fiqh, Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq relied on ijtihad based on the Qur'an and authentic hadith and rejected analogy as a basis of evidence to deduce rulings. Ijtihad therefore forms a distinctive part of his school of law. -- Adil Salahi


Imam Jafer Al-Sadiq: The Father of Modern Science and Philosophy

The grace and wisdom of Muhammad (SAW) emanates from his pure household, who we are told to follow and love to then succeed in this world. It is therefore of no surprise to see that such a household comprises some of the greatest religious leaders, philosophers and scientists the world has ever seen. -- Noor Youth Committee

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  • Heart and soul is resting in body,what to do? Ummat?'
    ( By Ramsi Nh Thakur )
  • Anybody who does not believe in Islam will burn in hell fire. This is the core message of Islam. All great people of the world ...
    ( By Prince Koul )
  • محترم عزیز غلام رسول دہلوی صاحب حفظک اللہ آپ کا کام قابل ستائش ہے۔مجھے خبر ملی ہے کہ اسی مضمون کے اوپر آپ کو دھمکیاں ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • محترم غلام رسول دہلوی صاحب، پوری دنیا بھر میں اکثر لوگوں کو پتہ ہی نہیں کہ وہابی عقائد کے متبعین آخر کیوں صوفی سنی مسلمانوں ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • محترم غلام رسول دہلوی صاحب، پوری دنیا بھر میں اکثر لوگوں کو پتہ ہی نہیں کہ وہابی عقائد کے متبعین آخر کیوں صوفی سنی مسلمانوں ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • A thoughtful article on the intrusive roles of Turkish government bureaucracies....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • It is your view. But that doesn't mean it is true. You are consoling yourself. Get out of comfort zone. It is not middle age ...
    ( By Bilhan Kaul )
  • Your religious book is written by people but in Muslim. Quran is Almighty words send through Angle and words copied on pages and made in ...
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
  • @Khan But who has written godly books. People. So it is not fault of people but religion. Your kind of lozic is simple. Which you ...
    ( By Bilhan Kaul )
  • What is true Islam I explained. Not depend on practice. In religious book written theft,lies etc are prohibited and crime ....
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
  • Are you preaching Khan sahib. That Islam has no place for this or that. Your imagination is out of tune with reality. Wishes are not ...
    ( By Bilhan Kaul )
  • Echo the views of Jayaram, who has well nailed the ghettoistic mindset of radicalised Muslims who abhor everything progressive in ....
    ( By Akhtar Imam )
  • @Jayaram Shriyan give more respect to lakhs of women abandoned by majority community without divorce. give respect and rehabilitate ....
    ( By Iqbal Husain )
  • @ Jayaram Shriyan u read Quran and Hadith ie Prophet saying.Muslims women have full liberty and more power compare to Men.Thats why ....
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
  • My Muslim brethren, all that you have to do is give more freedom of choice to your mothers and sisters within the ....
    ( By Jayaram Shriyan )
  • Islam has no place for sectarianism or insurgency. It should, infact, be responsibility of the religious leaders ....
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
  • Very informative. God bless you'
    ( By Syed Ali Shahid Rizvi )
  • Kraipak Author knows "0" about what sufism actually is. Sufi is a big ....
    ( By Mehraj Ul Haq )
  • No one can dare to cleanse the theology of Islam.'
    ( By Behare Lal Dhar )
  • Egoist party'
    ( By Rama Prakash Mishra )
  • U P OJHA My comment isn't related to you, but the Muslims only.'
    ( By Mas'ud Al-Hyderi )
  • @Mas'ud Al-Hyderi If islam quits the philosophy of cutting throats of other religions, world become Islamic.....
    ( By U.p. Ojha )
  • رسول اللہ ﷺ نے فرمایا، ’’اپنی امت کیلئے واحد چیز جس کا مجھے خوف ہے وہ گمراہ رہنما ہیں (جو لوگوں کو گمراہی کی طرف ...
    ( By Mas'ud Al-Hyderi )
  • How to go with terrorism in the name of Islam? This is all political fabricated n the results of our weaknesses n lack of unity ...
    ( By Nizam Elahi )
  • You need to listen to scholars like sheikh Muhammad Al yaqoubi, Sheik yahya Al Ninouvi, and Sheikh Hamza Yousuf.... Nothing more to say....
    ( By Saddam Patel )
  • Only radical thought needs Sufi ( moderate) . Moderate d open thought needs no Sufism .'
    ( By Arun Sharma )
  • The sufi word, actually means the inner felling of soul, and follow only the right path of prophet S. A. W, and adopting the methods ...
    ( By Muzamil Gul )
  • Kuldeep Madaan ji, One thing you have said well but if you don’t use the right method while understanding the Quran, Sunnah or sira—the terms ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • nothing to do with islam folks. nothing to see here. keep that line moving.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • The link of Tahirul Qadri’s speech on wahdatul wujud and wahdatush shuhud....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Dear Sultan Shahin sahib, Since you have quoted Dr. Tahirul Qadri in your article, please listen to his speech on the idea of Wahdatul wujud ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
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    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • It does not take much scholarship to see that the article is written with a particular objective in mind. The data is provided....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Of course women should make their own decisions regarding what....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Guha is right. The difference between Guha and Mander is that the former is secular and the latter is pro-Muslim. We ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I am completely in tune with Mr. Ghulam Mohiyuddin that no religion should claim superiority. All the religions...
    ( By P.S. Bhandari )
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    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • Ramachandra Guha had conveniently present one important point...
    ( By c.sugumar )
  • my country right or wrong. that is the best that moderates can provide. imputing intentions....
    ( By hats off! )
  • The article reflects the research done by many scholars, not the author's alone. Doubting his intention is meaningless, unless one also counters ....
    ( By C M Naim )