IOS Kolkata Chapter organises symposium on “Remembering the 20th Century Islamic Scholars of West Bengal”

Kolkata: IOS Kolkata Chapter has decided to conduct a series of symposium on the lives, contributions and services to humanity of leading Islamic scholars of West Bengal in the 20th century. The first step of this series was taken on December 12, 2020, in its lecture room by organsing a symposium on “Life and Contributions of Maulana Abu Salma Shafi Ahmad (r.a.)”.

During this session, the chairman IOS, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, who addressed the symposium through Zoom, said that knowing the contributions of previous Islamic scholars and their services to mankind is obligatory for the new generations. Today's generation needed to be aware of our previous generations’ scholars’ lives and their services, he said. We cannot succeed unless we pay respect to ours scholars and pass on their values to the new generation. In these times of globalisation, where we face challenges in every aspect of life, if we wish to be successful in this competitive world it is mandatory to take guidelines from the exemplary lives of our elders.

Dr. Alam said that it would be more useful if the maulana's books and his articles could be translated into Bengali language and uploaded as PDF.

Maulana Abu Salma Shafi (r.a.) was a great scholar from Kolkata who taught at Kolkata’s esteemed educational institution Madrasah Aliah as Shaikhul Hadith and also addressed and led the prayers at the Red Road of Kolkata, the biggest Eid Congregation of Muslims in India. Maulana Salma was born in Bihar Sharif (Bihar) in December 1912 and his father Maulana Hakim Amirul Hasan was a famous physician and teacher. He studied at Darul Uloom Deoband and Jamia Islamia Dabhel. 

Eminent Islamic scholars and teachers who influenced Maulana Salma were Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, Maulana Mufti Ateequr Rahman Usmani etc. The Maulana also actively participated in the independence movement of the country. In 1949 he was appointed as the Shakihul Hadith of Madrasah Alia, Kolkata. He was keenly interested in writing and wrote various books on Tafseer e Quran and Hadith and on current affairs. He had established Idara-e- Tarjuma-o-Taleef in 1949 in Bihar which was re-established in Kolkata in 1972 after his retirement from Madrasah Alia. Idara-e-Tarjuma-o-Taleef has published 82 books till date. 

Maulana Talha bin Abu Salma, son of Abu Salma Shafi Ahmed (r.a.) enlightened the audience on the life and services of his father. He said although his father held a great post in Madrasa Aliah, but his humility and lack of pride inspired many during his life and even after his death. He bore his books in a bundle on his own shoulder, lived a simple life and never complained about anything.

Talha Nimat Nadwi, who joined the symposium from Patna through zoom, expressed his thoughts in his article that the maulana lived as a great reformer of society. He dedicated his entire life for the people of Kolkata and taught them the lessons of Quran. Maulana Ahmed Ali Qasmi said that Maulana Abu Salma was interested in learning and passing useful knowledge to his fellow persons through examples from his life. His books and articles are interesting and full of wisdom.

Aftab Alam Nadwi said that the maulana was a trusted leader in the view of educational personalities. His educational services were for every Indian. That is why great scholars and eminent personalities of major institutions came to pay their condolences on his demise. 

Aftab Alam Nadwi quoted Maulana Syed Nizamuddin (Nazim, Imarat-e-Shariah Bihar, Orissa, and General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board) who wrote that Hazrat Maulana Abu Salma (r.a.), “being an eminent scholar, was pious and was his own example in truthfulness, I met him many times, had the opportunity to hear his speeches in meetings and have visited his home which was really a humble house. I consider it my good fortune that I saw a memorable Salaf saint like Maulana Abu Salma Shafi'i (r.a.) and the compassion and love he showed to the less knowledgeable and helpless ones like me will always be remembered.”

At the commencement of this programme, Dr. Sabah Ismail, hony. asstt. general secretary of The Muslim Institute, said that the decision of IOS to organise a series of symposiums on Islamic scholars of West Bengal was a commendable step. We get a chance to be aware of our great elders, their life, education and contributions towards people. 

The co-coordinator of IOS, Kolkata chapter, Abdul Basit Ismail, said that IOS is a research-oriented institute and Kolkata chapter would initiate steps to encourage Islamic scholars to take up pen and paper, the way Maulana Salma served society and community, as the maulana did by establishing Idara-e-Tarjuma-o-Taleef that had published 82 books till date.

It was announced that the next symposium of this series will soon be organised on “Life and Contributions of Hakim Zaman Hussaini (r.a.)”. 

The programme was concluded with a vote of thanks by Afnan Akhzar.


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