IOS 14th Shah Waliullah Award on “Islamic Dawah” presented to Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari
New Delhi: The 14th Shah Waliullah Award on “Islamic Dawah” was presented to Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, Vice-president, All India Muslim Personal Board at a virtual function organised by the Institute of Objective Studies on June 20, 2021.
The award presentation ceremony began with the recitation of a verse from the holy Quran by Hafiz Athar Husain Nadwi. Maulana Shah Ajmal Farooq Nadwi, in-charge of Urdu section, IOS, who conducted the proceedings of the function briefly highlighted the features of the award. He said that Shah Waliullah Award was given every year in recognition of the services rendered by the awardee, in the field of promotion and propagation of Islamic values. It was also aimed at introducing the scholar to the people and encouraging younger generation to engage themselves in the pursuit of knowledge. He observed that scholars from different fields were short-listed for being nominated for the award. It was also aimed at honouring the awardee for his contribution in the field.
In his introductory remarks, the secretary general of the Institute, Prof. Z.M. Khan, said that earlier the functionaries of the Institute sought to focus on future, but today research in different areas had caught their attention. Committees were in place to decide on the research projects. Briefly explaining the procedure followed in selecting projects, he said that proposals from researchers were invited and after discussions on them a final decision was taken to give a go-ahead to the project. In order to ensure timely completion of the project, the Institute provided financial assistance to the researcher, to partially meet the expenses to be incurred during the course of research. Referring to the activities of the Institute, he said that five regional chapters were in place to connect with the local people. He further said that the IOS could boast of publishing more than 400 titles so far in English, Urdu and Hindi on various subjects. Besides, a translation bureau had been set up to translate standard books into different Indian languages. IOS also organised national and international conferences on various issues of topical importance in which experts from within India and abroad were invited. The Institute awarded scholarship to deserving but poor students pursuing doctoral and post-doctoral research. IOS also regularly published journals, newsletters. Journals like Mutalea’at in Urdu and the IOS Journals in English were also regularly published. The Institute had instituted two awards – Shah Waliullah Award and Lifetime Achievement Award that were given to outstanding scholars for their exceptional contribution in their field. The Institute had been working in collaboration with other universities and institutions. It had widened its scope by entering other areas, like awqaf and educational reforms. While working on such areas, experts of the field were consulted and the report prepared. Explaining further the area of its activities, he said that the Institute took up several issues, organised talks and discussions on them before finally sending the recommendations to the government. He sought the cooperation of all stake-holders in terms of the ideas and assured that such ideas would be welcomed by the Institute.
Representative of the Voice of America (Urdu services), Suhail Anjum, presented the profile of Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari in which he very vividly described his life journey.
Maulana Umari was presented with the scroll of honour, which was read over by Dr. Nakhat Husain Nadwi of the Institute.
Assistant finance secretary of the IOS, Mohammad Alam presented a cheque of rupees One lakh to Maulana Umari at his residence in Delhi as the amount of the award. The maulana was also presented with a memento by Mohammad Alam accompanied by the administrative officer of the Institute, Mohd. Ataur Rehman.
Addressing the gathering virtually, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari said that the IOS was a platform for different schools of Islamic thought. Institution of Shah Waliullah Award was part of Dawah Islami. Speaking on Dawah Islami, he observed that more than 50 books had been written on the subject. Dawah, he noted, had several important aspects. One of them being the religious duty of every Muslim to engage the people with Dawah. The Quran explained it very lucidly. This assumed importance with special reference to today’s circumstances in India where several religions were flourishing. It devolved on the community to engage with the opponents of Islam and convince that Islam was not against them. They should be told that Allah commanded the faithful to convey His message to them by way of Dawah. This should continue to be done whether they accepted it or not. He asked the Muslims not to be found wanting in this noble task which had been bequeathed to them by Allah.
Maulana Umari observed that this was a concern in which lay Allah’s command. It was quite possible that the people did not heed the advice. But that should not deter one to stop from extending Dawah to other communities. The work of Dawah should at no cost be stopped or slowed down. He said that the job of Dawah might face resistance, but that should not cause any sluggishness or stopping of it.
The occasion was marked by the presentation of prize of Rs. 25,000/- for the best essay to Ms. Faridah Husaini, research scholar in the department of Psychology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, in the junior category for her paper on “Dawat-e-Islam aur Asre Hazir ke Taqaaze” (Dawah of Islam and Expectations of Modern Times) in which she briefly explained niceties of Dawah.
Speaking as the guest of honour, president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasan Nadwi, described Maulana Umari as an alim who had concern for Dawah. Praising the IOS chairman, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam for instituting the Shah Waliullah Award, he said that the award had gone down well with Islamic scholars. He stressed that scholars could benefit from his scholarly zest. He noted that Maulana Umari chose to work in both the directions. He penned some forty books to give thrust to the understanding of Islam. This was supplemented by his endeavours to take forward the work of Dawah. This yielded fruitful results as the awakening about Deen (Religion) increased. He emphasised that Islamic Dawah must be taken forward. Owing to the maulana’s ceaseless efforts, people were turning to the Deen. His association with several organisations bore the testimony to his concern for Dawah. Describing Maulana Umari as a doyen of Islamic scholars, he said that he successfully countered the misconception of the West about Islam. This was the recognition of his work that should be hailed. The Muslim community benefited from him and his work was being recognised. He concluded by congratulating Maulana Umari on receiving the award.
The spokesperson of the AIMPLB, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, referred to the two Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). These were – highlighting big achievements of those who were no more in this world and give respect and importance to those who were alive. The Prophet (PBUH) himself recounted the qualities of his Sahabas (Companions). He asked the Muslims to give due recognition to those who were alive. He said that the hand of a person who enjoyed higher position in a field was better than the one who was a receiver. The former was better because he benefited the latter. In order to take something from the former, it was necessary to engage in Dawah. He observed that Maulana Umari enriched Islamic learning by a number of books he wrote. The tragedy today was that, instead of involving themselves in the cause of Dawah, Muslims were engaged in the debate on the preference of one school of thought over the other. He suggested that the lecture marking the award presentation ceremony should focus on one of the aspects of Shah Waliullah’s philosophy. Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Syed Saadat Ullah Husaini noted that the work of Dawah was of utmost importance. He lauded Maulana Umari’s endeavours in the field of Dawat-e-Din. The maulana also took initiatives in bringing non-Muslims closer to Islam by organising inter-faith dialogues. His experience in Dawah and engagement with knowledge was worthy of emulation, he added.
Vice-chancellor of Maulana Azad University Jodhpur, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, pointed out that much had been written on Shah Waliullah, but still a lot of work needed to be done. One would always feel proud of him because of his contribution to Islamic thought. Referring to Maulana Umari, he said that he embodied reasoning and the practical life. He extensively wrote on Islam and women. He expressed happiness that the IOS was also giving a chance to young scholars. Former Vice-chancellor of Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Prof. Mohammad Ishtiyaq, observed that he was very much impressed by the IOS that had become a forum for different schools of thought to work unitedly. He described the Institute as the only institution of its kind in the country. Its success lay in the convergence of scholars of various shades who made a mark on the history and culture of the community. The Shah Waliullah Award was a link in that chain. The IOS had in fact honoured itself by handing the award to Maulana Umari, he added.
Presiding over the function, the chairman of the IOS, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, observed that he was still a student and would continue to be so till the end. Referring to the all-round onslaughts on Islam, he said that a community would be weakened if its cultural legacy was weakened. It was a matter of concern that sharp differences had surfaced among different schools of thought and blew out of proportions. Laying emphasis on reply to the questions relating to knowledge with knowledge and not with obstinacy, he said that Prof. A.R. Momin and Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish did much in that direction. He held that he was in constant touch with the scholars to counter the disinformation campaign against Islam and Muslims. He voiced concern over attempt of replacing Muslim history with myths and untruths. He informed that efforts were on to consult scholars in India and abroad to present an objective view of the history of civilisation. In order to reach a consensus on different issues, it was necessary to sit together, think together and work together. This should be taken forward for better results. He stressed that efforts should be made to work on civilisational dimensions and a centre for carrying out such work could be set up in Aligarh on the lines of the IOS Centre for Gender Studies established at Calicut. He said that the IOS was trying to engage scholars, both men and women, for interactions on vital issues. Calling for making dignity of humanity a national and international agenda, he said that Allah was commanding human beings to be truly humane. This was the foremost job to be done by Muslims. He asked the community to follow the teachings of the Qur’an and act accordingly. All the suggestions made by the speakers would be factored in. Every suggestion in the field of knowledge would be given due weightage. He reiterated Institute’s commitment to continue working in all the three languages – English, Urdu and Hindi.
Extending a vote of thanks, Vice-chairman of the IOS, Prof. M. Afzal Wani, said that Dawah should be seen in the context of its width. Similarly, justice, democracy, governance and human rights should receive optimum attention as being Allah’s words. Defining Dawah, he said that it meant inviting attention of others. Thus Dawah was meant for the entire humanity. Owing to his work in the field of Dawah and the teachings of Islam, Maulana Umari truly deserved the award, he concluded.