Arshad, New Age Islam
Waliullah was one of the most important Islamic personalities in the 18th
century India. He lived during the Mughal era and witnessed the rule of ten
Mughal rulers from Aurangzeb to Shah Alam Sani.
time India was going through economic, social and moral crises. The Mughal
court, particularly during the rule of Mughal Shah Rangila, had become a centre
of song and dance. The Muslim community was largely illiterate and unaware of
their religious legacy. Many un-Islamic practices had crept into it. Since the
system of religious education was not organised, Muslims were largely unaware
of the teachings of Quran and Hadith.
Waliullah was born and brought up in a religious household. His father Abdur
Rahim was a religious scholar and one of the editors of Fatawa-e- Alamgiri
compiled during Aurangzeb's rule. He also ran a Madrasa in his house. He
received his primary education from his father and a religious scholar called
Haji Sialkoti. After that he went to Hijaz (now Saudi Arabia) for pilgrimage.
During his stay after pilgrimage, he learnt Deen from Abu Tahir Mohammad bin
Ibrahim Madani of Madina and Mufti of Makkah Tajuddin Hanafi. He also learnt
Quran and Hadith from Shaikh Wafdullah. He received a certificate in Mawatta
to India, he resolved to spread the knowledge of Quran and Hadith among general
Muslims. During his period and before him the Quran was only received and
learnt by heart. The knowledge of Hadith was also minimal. The translation of
Quran in Urdu or Persian was not available. In fact, reading the translation of
Quran was considered a sin. Therefore, the Quran was either kept in houses for
recitation on special events or used to draw fal.
Waliullah started teaching in his father’s Madrasa Rahimiya. Soon the
reputation of the style oh his teaching spread far and students from far off
places started coming to his Madrasa. This rendered the place insufficient.
When the Mughal king, Mohammad Shah heard about the Madrasa, he donated a Haweli
for it and the Madrasah shifted in the grand building. The Madrasa became a big
centre of Islamic learning.
Waliullah wanted to teach students Quran with its meaning. So he Translated
Quran into Persian, the language of the masses. He taught students Quran with
Persian translation and then Tafseer-e-Jalalayn. Hadith, history and Fiqh
was also taught here. But the conservative religious circle of his time
vehemently opposed the idea of teaching the translation of the Quran. According
to the ulema of the time, reading or teaching translation of the Quran was a
sin, a Bid'at (innovation in religion). They accused Shah Waliullah of
misleading Muslim youth and declared him Wajib ul Qatl (deserving
death). After that one day when he was coming out of Masjid Fatehpuri, some
goons led by a mullah tried to assault him but he managed to wriggle out of the
him, his sons Shah Rafiuddin and Shah Abdul Qadir later translated the Quran in
Urdu. Thus, Shah Waliullah opened the door to translation and exegesis of Quran
in Indian languages and started the tradition of intellectual research work on
Waliullah did not subscribe to the idea of four imams and four sects. His
opinion was that all the religious issues of the Muslims should be resolved in
the light of Quran and Hadith. The opinions of the four imams should be
consulted only for reference and corroboration. Therefore, while resolving an
issue, he would sometimes accept the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa and on other
occasions he would agree with the opinion of other imams. He opposed the
division of the Ummah in four sects. He would say that the Muslims should not
obey those dry headed ulema who stick to one imam and abandon Sunnah. This led
ulema to brand him Ghairm U Qallad.
Waliullah tried to remove the difference between the Hanafi, Ahle Hadith and
other sects by writing well researched articles pointing out the flaws in their
ideology in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
important contribution of Shah Waliullah to the Islamic thought is that he declared
Sufism to be the soul of Islam. According to him, Deen had two aspects: outer
and inner. The outer aspect represented dogma and religious practices and the
inner aspect was Sufism. He divides Islamic mysticism into four periods. The
first period was the era of the holy prophet pbuh and his companions. The
second period is marked by the period of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi. He gave a
distinct form to Sufism by laying down its principles. The third period begins
with Abu Sayid bin Abil Khair and Kharqani. In this period, Sufism became an
altogether different way of devotion and submission to God. Trance, meditation
and other spiritual exercises were resorted to as a means to achieve spiritual
realisation of the Supreme Reality from which the universe has emanated. But
till this period Sufis were not aware of the terms like Wahdat ul Wujud
and Wahdatush Shuhud. Their devotion was based on love of God not on
fear of God.
period of Sufism started with Ibn-e-Arabi or sometime before him. His philosophical
treatise called Fusu sul Hikam gave birth to the philosophy of Wahdat
ul Wujud in Islam. After that Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi presented the
philosophy of Wahdatush Shuhud. Sufis in this period discussed these two
terms and tried to understand the concept of the unity of existence.
Shah Waliullah believed that Sufism was the inner stream of Islam and the holy
prophet pbuh and his companions were Sufis of the first order.
but not the least, Shah Waliullah believed that the period in which he lived
was not an appropriate time for jihad with sword. He was not in favour of jihad
with sword. He believed that it was more necessary to wage jihad against
oneself first. He also believed that the Ummah should be first taught their
Deen and be made aware of their duties as Muslims.
we can say that Shah Waliullah renewed the Deenof Islam in India with ideas
that can be considered progressive and even revolutionary for his time. He made
remarkable contributions to the spread of Quranic wisdom, moving it from mere
rote learning to learning with understanding.
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"ghat me baitho aur kafiron ke paur paur Kato
yahan tak e would maghlub hokar jizya den."
There is no such verse in the Quran. Do not
blaspheme the Quran. Show some respect by quoting it accurately if you wish to
quote it. If this is a perverted version of verse 9:29, then read the following
article to understand it and correct your beliefs about it.
The Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (pbuh) From the Qu’ran
(Part 6): The People of the Book and Jiziya
You can believe in Sufism or any other
ism but the question is what does it have to do with Islam. In what way does it
add to it or has contributed? Be specific. Have the Sufis given us a better
understanding of the Quran through their “mystical knowledge”? Cite one good example
if you can. They have given us false myths such as about an Alam-e-Arwah
and passed it on as knowledge received directly from the Prophet to explain
verse 7:172! I don’t blame them for their inability to explain correctly because
the correct explanation for the verse is found in modern genetics but I blame
them for making a fraudulent claim. You will find the correct explanation of
the verse in my article:
The Quran, Islamic Theology, Philosophy and the Sciences – On Soul and
the Creation of Man (Part 2)
Imam Ghazali’s treatise on the verse 24:35 Mishkat ul Anwaar
is another fraud as his explanation contradicts the very next verse 24:36. I do
not blame him for his inability to explain as it is a difficult verse to explain
but I fault him for being a fraud. Surely, he must have known that his explanation
contradicts the very next verse. The treatise is however one of the finest
examples of how even falsehood can be made to appear very deep, beautiful and refined.
So much for all the inner knowledge and wisdom of the Sufis. Has any Sufi or
non-Sufi scholar explained well the many adjurations in the Quran? Why have
they failed to do so with their deep mystical knowledge?
There is no mystery or mysticism to the understanding of the
Book. What it requires is uncompromising honesty and integrity and a sensible