IOS two-day national seminar on the intellectual and philosophical legacy of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi
IOS two-day national seminar on the intellectual and philosophical legacy of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi
New Delhi: A two-day national seminar on the intellectual and philosophical legacy of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi was organized by the Institute of Objective Studies on December 10-11, 2022.
The inaugural session of the seminar began with the recitation of a verse from the Qur’an by Mr. Athar Husain Nadwi, IOS. Shah Ajmal Farooq Nadwi, incharge, section, IOS, who conducted the proceedings, explained the relevance of the topic. He said that the growing trend of materialism leading to the different connotations of Islamic philosophy, necessitated need for organising such a seminar.
Inaugurating the seminar, general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Board, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, said that Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi was one of the early translators of the Qur’an. His translation of the Holy Book into Persian paved the way for its translation in Urdu and other languages. His family spread the message of Qur’an and Hadith. He was born during the last phase of the Mughal empire. He observed that Shah Abdul Aziz opposed Shirk-Bidha in the name of Sufism. He tried his level best to neutralize the influence Hindu culture over Muslims. He noted that Sheikh Fakhruddin had asked the Shah to clear the ideas tantamounting to Bidha of the writings of his father, Shah Waliullah Mohaddith Dehalvi. Listing his contributions to Islam and Muslims, he held that Shah Abdul Aziz took the message of the Qur’an and Hadith to common Muslims in India. He saved Muslims from the influence of Hindu culture and customs. He urged Muslims to never deviate from the right path and have courage to be righteous in utterance as well as in actions.
In his message, the rector of Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow and President, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Syed Rabey Hasani Nadwi, said that the personality of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi appeared to be guiding Muslims politically, intellectually, socially and otherwise in the present circumstances. Shah’s personality was a source of inspiration to younger generation of the ulema and Islamic scholars. He stressed the need for taking forward the intellectual legacy of Shah Abdul Aziz.
The message of the vice-president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and general secretary, Jamia Darussalam, Umarabad, Maulana Kaka Saeed Ahmad Oomeri, was read out by a functionary of the Jamia. In his message, he said that Shah Abdul Aziz very effectively defended the geographical boundaries and Islamic point of view. His Fatwa against the rising influence of the Britishers orchestrated by the East India Company was an act of indomitable courage and fortitude, he added.
In his message, Maulana Shah Ayatullah Qadri Mujibi, Sajjadah Nashin, Khaneqah Mujibia, Phulwari Sharif, Patna, stated that Shah Abdul Aziz’s knowledge of Hadith was most reliable. He said that the Shah was ahead of all his contemporaries as far as the knowledge of Hadith was concerned.
In his special address, Amir, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salafi Madani, described Shah Abdul Aziz as Hakimul Ummah. He endeavoured to blast myths that predominated Muslim society in the name of Islam. That was the reason why he was called Sirajul Hind, he said. He was followed by the speech of Maulana Dr. Taqi Uddin Nadwi, director, education, Nadwatul Ulema and professor of Hadith, Sheikh Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, which was read out by Maulana Firoz Akhtar Nadwi. In his speech, he said that Shah Abdul Aziz enjoyed the same status among sons of Shah Waliullah Mohaddith Dehalvi as Sheikh Ma’asum Sarhindi enjoyed among the sons of Hazrat Mujaddid Alfsani Sarhindi. He popularised the lineage of Shah Waliullah in the world he completed work of his father in the field of Tajdeed.
Maulana Dr. Md. Raziul Islam Nadwi, secretary, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, and the chairman of Idarah, Tahiqeeq wa Tasneef Islami, Aligarh, held that Shah Abdul Aziz had four brothers and three of them excelled in Islamic studies. He translated Qur’an and spread the message of Hadith in order to correct its traditional interpretation. He also took a stand on various issues relating to Islam by presenting them in correct perspective. He tried to explain Jihad in true sense of the term. Dawat-e-Deen was another contribution of Shah Abdul Aziz which led Muslims towards puritanic Islam. He was also responsible for popularising the teachings of Islam. It was he who created an urge in the community to read and understand the Qur’an. He used to give lectures on the Qur’an on every Tuesday and Friday. Thousands of people were attending such gatherings. Lakhs of Muslims benefited from these lectures. He remarked that the Shah broke the myth that reading of Qur’an was restricted to few people. Shah Abdul Aziz prevented the tendency to keep people away from Qur’an, he added.
In his key-note address, Maulana Nurul Hasan Rashid Kandhalvi, director, Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Academy, Kandhla, held that Hindustan (India) was declared Darul Harab (Enemy territory) for the first time by Shah Waliullah by a Fatwa (decree). It was followed by his son, Shah Abdul Aziz because of the excesses committed by the Britishers on Indian Muslims. He described Shah Abdul Aziz as an extra-ordinary Alim whose strong grip over Islamic learning filled the Muslim community with renewed vigour to practice Islam in conformity with its tenets. Muslims were woken to the dawn of Islamic resurgence which changed their life. They were imbued with Islamic fervor to lead their life according to Islamic way of living. This also cleansed them of the scum of darkness that had pervaded deep into their psyche. With the emergence of Shah on the scene, the flame of Islamic knowledge and practice was ignited to illuminate the world. This provided a feverish pitch to the life of Muslims to understand Islam and its teachings. This also paved the way for Islam to be followed according to its real spirit, he commented.
The occasion was marked by the release of special number of the IOS quarterly Urdu journal, Mutaaleaaat, by Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salafi Madani. Besides, Jama Masjid Gyanwapi written by Maulana Abdul Hameed Noumani, was released by Prof. Mohsin Usmani Nadwi. Deccan mein Islami Uloom ki Khidmaat written by Prof. Fahim Akhtar Nadwi, professor, Islamic Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, was released by Maulana Nurul Hasan Rashid Kandhalvi.
Presiding over the session, Prof. Mohsin Usmani Nadwi, observed that Shah Abdul Aziz’s reference in today’s context was very important. He was well aware of the conditions prevailing in India at that time. Those times were very turbulent as the palace was looted by the British soldiers under East India Company. He not only translated the Qur’an into Persian, but also wrote commentary on it. He did not confine himself to writing; he publicized Quran teachings and popularised Hadith. He inspired a generation of young ulema to take forward his mission of acquainting Islamic knowledge with the Muslim community. This was also aimed at interpreting Islam in its true sense. His disciples imbibed his deep Islamic knowledge to spread it in India and other Muslim countries. His edicts on various issues were held in high esteem by Islamic scholars throughout the Arab world, he concluded.
The first technical session focused on Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi: His times and personality. Maulana Nurul Hasan Rashid Kandhalvi was in the chair. While Dr. Kamal Ashraf Qasmi of Aliah University, Kolkata, devoted his paper to Sirajul Ulema, Shah Abdul Aziz and his illustrious students, Dr. Ammar Abdul Hai from Jamia Millia Islamia, spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi’s intellectual contribution: A survey. He was followed by Dr. Nasreen Fatima who presented the paper on Shah Abdul Aziz and his contemporaries: An analytical study. Waseem Ahmad, research scholar, JMI, focused on Islamic studies in the present form and its popularisation: As understood through the students of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi. Dr. Javed Akhtar was the next speaker who devoted to Tradition, Modernity and Moderation in the Intellectual Discourses of Shah Abdul Aziz. Mubashshir V.P., research scholar, JMI was the last speaker who touched upon the topic Fractured Modernities and Ulama during 18th Century: A Critical appraisal of Shah Waliullah’s endeavor to revive Islamic knowledge.
Chaired by Prof. Fahim Akhtar Nadwi, the second technical session was devoted to Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi and the movement to spread Quranic knowledge. Dr. Nazir Ahmad Abdul Majeed, from Aligarh Muslim University was the first paper presenter who spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi and the mission of Quran. He was followed by Dr. Mohammad Mushtaq Tajarwi, assistant professor of Islamic studies, JMI, who focused on an important work of Shah Abdul Aziz, Tafsir Azizi: A study. Dr. Md. Mubin Saleem of AMU was the next speaker who dwelt on Shah Abdul Aziz’s contribution to the Quranic study. While Dr. Md. Nasir of AMU, focused on Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi: Commentary on Fatah-Al-Aziz and lectures on Quran, Dr. Suhail Qasim, AMU, presented his paper on Tafsir Fathal Aziz: An analytical study. The sixth speaker of the session was Md. Azam, research scholar, AMU, who spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz as a commentator in the light of the commentary on Fathal Aziz. He was followed by Md. Sher Ali, research scholar in JMI, who presented his paper on Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi and his contribution to Tafsir. The last speaker was Md. Ehteshamul Hasan, research scholar, JMI who spoke on Tafsir Azizi, an important work of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi.
Day-2: December 11, 2022
The third technical session was devoted to Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi and the study of Hadith and Fiqh. Prof. Syed Jamaluddin, director, historical research projects, IOS was in the chair. Prof. Fahim Akhtar Nadwi spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi’s approach to Fiqh in the light of Fatawa-i-Azizi. Quoting the Shah, he said that offering Namaz led by a Shia was allowed if the faith was not diluted. A Darul-Harab could not be called an Islamic state. Shah Abdul Aziz primarily emulated his father but sometimes he differed with him as well, he added. Dr. Md. Khalid Khan Umri, assistant professor, Islamic studies, JMI, concentrated on the topic, an important book of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi, Bistan ul Mohaddiseen. He observed that Shah Abdul Aziz contributed to the study of Hadith. His services to Islam were invaluable. He was followed by Dr. Aneesur Rahman, JMI, who spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz as a Mohaddith par excellence. Besides in India, his fame spread to Samarkand, Bukhara and Egypt. Before him, the study of Quran and Hadith was rare. He popularised the study of Quran and Hadith, Dr. Anis said.
The fourth speaker was Shakeel Ur Rahman Akbar Ali, research scholar, JMI, who focused on Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi’s contribution to the popularisation of Hadith. He said that Shah Abdul Aziz excelled in Hadith, philosophy, logic, history and geography. That was reason why he was conferred the title of Mohaddith, Akbar Ali observed. He was followed by Adnan Ahmad Nadwi who focused on Ujalay-e-Nafia. The sixth speaker was Shazia Tareen, research scholar, AMU, who spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi and the studies in Hadith. She said that Shah Waliullah died when Shah Abdul Aziz was 17. Md. Lal Chaand S.K., research scholar, JMI was the last speaker who devoted his paper to the modern education in the light of the fatwas of Shah Abdul Aziz. Presiding over the session, Prof. Jamaluddin summed up the papers presented by the speakers.
Former head of the department of Islamic Studies, JMI, Prof. Md. Ishaque presided over the session which was centered on Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi’s thoughts: importance and its meaningfulness in modern context. Prof. Syed Jamaluddin was the first speaker who spoke on the plight of Muslims in the light of the writings of Shah Abdul Aziz. In his presentation, he briefly focused on the economic condition of Muslims.
The second speaker was Dr. Waris Mazhari of Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi. He focused on Shah Abdul Aziz’s book, Tohfa-e-Anshna Asari. He said that Abdul Aziz took forward the legacy of Shah Waliullah Mohaddith Dehalvi to establish unity among all sects of Muslims. This explained his liberal attitude towards Shias. Debates among different Muslim sects were common those days. He wrote this book to prevent Sunni Muslims from tending toward Shiism. In this book, he made mention of several Shiite sects which became non-existent with the passage of time. He was followed by Dr. Syed Abdul Rashid from Aliya University, Kolkata. He spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz’s conversational contribution and its importance in modern context. He wrote Fatawai Azizi and Sharah Meezanul Aqaid. He referred to a debate organized by Col. Metcalf between Shah Abdul Aziz and a Christian priest in which the former defeated the latter. Col. Metcalf was so elated over the debate that he gave a cash prize to the Shah. Dr. Nadeem Ashraf from AMU was the fourth speaker, who devoted his paper to proficiency of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and Ahle-Bait: A review of the writings of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi. He explained that his times were marked by the growing influence of Shiism. This was so intense that a relative of the Shah converted to Shiism, he said.
The fifth speaker was Dr. Shamim Akhtar Qasmi from Aliah University, who spoke on Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi: a great intellectual guide. He said that Shah Abdul Aziz spent his entire life in the propagation of Islam. He was also well-versed in Maths and Geography. He was said to have solved a mathematical question put to him by an Englishman. Owing to his efforts to engage both Sunnis and Shias, the rift between two sects narrowed through intellectual dialogues, Shamim Akhtar Qasmi said. He was followed by Dr. Md. Osama, guest teacher, JMI who dwelt on the study of some thoughts of Shah Abdul Aziz. Saleem Hannan Shirin, research scholar, JMI, spoke on Anti-Colonial Muslim Thought in 18th-19th Century: The case of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi’. Md. Shakib Alam, research scholar, International Islamic University, Malaysia, focused on Analyzing the Political Philosophy of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi in the context of the Saying “Sultanate of Shah Alam, from Delhi to Palam”. He observed that the decline of Mughal empire led to the arrival and expansion of the British East India Company. For the next 140 years, the Britishers silently ruled over India and did trade and commerce with it, he added.
In his presidential remarks, Prof. Ishaque said that a total of 10 papers were presented in the session. According to Prof. Mushirul Haque, English people used Shah Abdul Aziz to get Taawiz (amulet) written by him. He noted that the Shah Abdul Aziz had friendly relations with the Britishers.
The valedictory session was presided over by the secretary, Islamic Fiqh Academy, India (IFA), Maulana Ateeq Bastavi. In his special address, Prof. Abdur Rahim Kidwai of AMU, quoted Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi aka Ali Miyan who had said that Shah Abdul Aziz took forward the work of his father for popularizing the Quran and Hadith. He also wrote on ethics to guide the community. He touched upon almost every aspect of Islam. He promoted the faith of Ahle Sunnat. He attracted his listeners towards himself by holding Qur’anic discourses. He also wrote on the life of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH). From medical and legal issues to the consumption of liquor, he wrote everything that concerned Islam and Muslims. Prof. Kidwai suggested that his works were worth studying.
The chairman of the IOS, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, in his speech, read out by Maulana Shah Ajmal Farooq Nadwi, expressed concern that the leadership slipped from the hands of Muslims with the result that the community lagged behind by 200 years. Muslims failed to understand the meaning of ‘Iqra’. They also failed to recognize the value of statesmanship. Allah called human beings Bani Adam (Sons of the Prophet Adam). For the benefit of humanity, He invested them with wisdom. It was the wisdom that guided human beings to give respect to their fellow beings. In order to reach the message to masses, IOS had undertaken an exercise to produce 50 booklets in 17 Indian languages of Islam. He said that the dignity of humanity was recognized by the UNO itself. The question today was how to restore human dignity. He called upon the youngsters to acquire knowledge, both religious and temporal. Referring to the noted Islamic scholar, Mohammad Hamidullah, he said that he (Hamidullah) used to study for 18 hours. He advised against acquiring knowledge out of obduracy. By acquiring knowledge, Muslims could lead the world, he added.
Presiding over the session, Maulana Ateeq Ahmad Bastavi, pointed out that Shah Abdul Aziz was the most prominent figure among Islamic scholars. He had the real concern for the Muslim community and the humanity. He took forward the rich legacy of his father. He influenced the sub-continent by his writings. He said that the research on the works of Shah Abdul Aziz had begun and devolved on the shoulders of young Islamic scholars to take it further. Scholars belonging to all sects of Islam agreed that he had a multi-faceted personality. Laying emphasis on doing something different from others, he said that Shah Abdul Aziz was a scholar who located new areas to work on. That was the reason why he differed with some of traditional theorists of Islam. He opined that the problems that cropped up today were due to a short-shrift being given to the Constitution. He said that the work on Tafseer-i-Aziziya must be undertaken. He also suggested that a committee comprised of scholars and scientists be formed to study today’s situation and find ways to deal with them. He expressed the confidence that the seminar would prove the beginning of a great work in future. He advised against despondency and held that work should at no cost be abandoned. Even the prophets were not spared of trials and tribulations. Thus Muslims should not lose hope. The world today had become a slaughter site where lakhs of precious lives were lost. He called for cooperating with those who were engaged in doings constructive work. He noted that education should be promoted to tackle today’s problems. He regretted that Muslims did not own a single standard educational institution. He concluded by describing the seminar as an effort to establish high value educational institutions.
The seminar was marked by the adoption of a six-point resolution unanimously passed by the participants. The resolution as was read out by Maulana Shah Ajmal Farooq Nadvi, which stated as below:
A two-day seminar/webinar was organized by the Institute of Objective Studies at the conference hall of the institute on December 10 and 11, 2022. The central focus of the seminar was intellectual and philosophical legacy of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi. A total of 30 papers were presented in the four technical sessions of the seminar. Besides, inaugural and valedictory sessions were graciously organised. Enthusiasm shown by the audience was very encouraging. We very humbly submit to the Almighty Allah for His Kindness for enabling us to successfully hold the seminar. At the conclusion of the seminar/webinar the following resolutions are being passed:
- The personality of Sirja Al-Hind, Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi is that of a spiritual guide to all sections of the Ummah. All the Muslims have faith in him and love him. They are eager that his intellectual legacy be taken forward and popularized.
- Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi contributed to the areas like knowledge of Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh, Manazir and reformation. He seems to be at the vanguard of the freedom struggle against the British colonialism. From this angle also, he occupies an important place in the history of India.
- It was felt at the seminar that despite his recognition as a great scholar, the contribution of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi and the dissemination of his knowledge is still in its initial stage.
- This seminar feels the utmost need for preserving and disseminating intellectual legacy of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi and the ulema associated with the capital city of Delhi. Therefore, this seminar urges the Institute of Objective Studies to take effective steps to put into action the massive plan similar to the one they initiated by organizing the seminar. In this connection, it will be in the fitness of things to focus special attention on the members of the prominent families of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi, Shah Waliullah Mohaddith Dehalvi, the ulema associated with it and their seminaries. There is also an ardent need to undertake work on the field of knowledge of the spiritual personalities which could form a firm basis for solving current problems.
- This seminar feels that the personalities of Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddith Dehalvi and similar other Sufis could play an important role in helping end the confusion prevailing in the community and providing a plank for the unity of the Millat.
- This seminar suggests that the works contained at point number 4 of the resolutions be referred to the management of the Institute of Objective Studies for implementation by a committee to be constituted under Maulana Noorul Hasan Rashid Kandhalwi, so that these works are taken up with proper planning and on a sound grounding.
At the end, the assistant secretary general of the IOS, Prof. Haseena Hashia, extended a vote of thanks to the participants.
A view of audience