Shah Waliullah Dehlawi

Indian Muslim Sufi scholar (1703–1762)
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Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
قطب الدين أحمد ولي الله بن عبد الرحيم العمري الدهلوي
Shah Waliullah Name.svg
TitleShadow of Leadership
Personal
Born(1703-02-21)21 February 1703
Died20 August 1762(1762-08-20) (aged 59)
Resting placeMunhadiyan[8]
ReligionIslam
NationalityIndian
DenominationSunni
Jurisprudence[1][2][3]
CreedAsh'ari[3]
(Hanbali influenced)[4][5]
MovementSufi Reformism[6]
Renaissance in Indian Muslim Community
Main interest(s)Quran, Hadith, Tafsir, History, Bibliography, Revolution, Fiqh, Military strategy, Sufism
Notable work(s)Translation of the Quran into Persian Language
Hujjatullah-il-Baligha
Al-Fauzul Kabeer
Izalatul Khafa'an Khilafatul Khulafa
Al-Akidatul Hasanah
Majmua Rasail Imam Shah Wali Ullah
TariqaNaqshbandi[7]
OccupationMufassir, Muhaddtih, Historiographer, Bibliographer, Theologian, Philosopher, Academic, Linguist, Sufi
Muslim leader
Students
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Quṭb-ud-Dīn Aḥmad Walīullāh Ibn ʿAbd-ur-Raḥīm Ibn Wajīh-ud-Dīn Ibn Muʿaẓẓam Ibn Manṣūr Al-ʿUmarī Ad-Dehlawī (Arabic: قطب الدين أحمد ولي الله بن عبد الرحيم العمري الدهلوي‎; 1703–1762), commonly known as Shāh Walīullāh Dehlawī (also Shah Wali Allah), was an Islamic scholar seen by his followers as a renewer.[10][11]

Early life

Shah Waliullah was born on 21 February 1703 to Shah Abdur Rahim, a prominent Islamic scholar of Delhi. He was known as Shah Waliullah because of his piety. He memorized the Qur'an by the age of seven. Soon thereafter, he mastered Arabic and Persian letters.[12] He was married at fourteen.[12] By sixteen he had completed the standard curriculum of Hanafi law, theology, geometry, arithmetic and logic.[12]

His father, Shah Abdur Rahim was the founder of the Madrasah-i Rahimiyah. He was on the committee appointed by Aurangzeb for compilation of the code of law, Fatawa-e-Alamgiri.[13]

Death

He died on Friday the 29th of Muharram 1176 AH/ 20 August 1762 at Zuhr prayer in Old Delhi, aged 59.[14] He was buried beside his father Shah Abdur Rahim at Mehdiyan (a graveyard to the left of Delhi Gate).[15]

Views

On Sunni Islam

Shah Waliullah defined Sunni Islam in broad terms, rather than confining it to a specific school of theology. According to Shah, Ahlul Sunna wal Jam'ah are those who followed the Qur'an and Sunnah on the way of the Sahaba (companions) and Tabi'un, by holding "fast to the beliefs of the pious ancestors (al-salaf)." He considered the four legal schools, as well as both the Ahl al-Ra'y (Ash'ari and Maturidi) schools of theology to be part of Sunnism. According to Shah, the differences between them are only over secondary issues of valid Ikhtilaf; while on fundamental issues they remain united.[16][17]

On Shari'a (Islamic law)

Shah Waliullah criticised those people who downplayed the necessity of following Sharia (Islamic law).

"Some people think that there is no usefulness involved in the injunct of Islamic law and that in actions and rewards as prescribed by God there is no beneficial purpose. They think that the commandments of Islamic law are similar to a master ordering his servant to lift a stone or touch a tree in order to test his obedience and that in this there is no purpose except to impose a test so that if the servant obeys, he is rewarded, and if he disobeys, he is punished. This view is completely incorrect. The traditions of the Prophet and consensus of opinion of those ages, contradict this view".[18]

On Fiqh (Jurisprudence)

In his work Tahfimat al-Ilahiyya, Shah declared his conviction that unification of Hanafi and Shafi'i schools of law was essential for Indian Islamic revival.[citation needed] This was to be achieved through the legal re-evaluation of the madh'habs in the light of Qur'an and Hadith. Whatever rules not aligning with the Scriptures were to be discarded. Shah specifically sought the reformation of Hanafi jurisprudence and made its legal rulings confirm to authentic hadiths collected by the early hadith scholars, thus implementing his vision of reducing legal differences between madhabs.[citation needed] Waliullah's re-evaluation efforts led him to declare that Shafi'i school was the closest to the Sunnah. Thus, most of his legal positions aligned with the views of Imam Al-Shafi'i.[19] Shah Waliullah sought the reconciliation of differences of Shafi'i and Hanafi schools of Fiqh as his duty. He was particularly concerned the pervasive Hanafi fanaticism prevalent in his community, which he rebuked, and called for an inclusive synthesis of all of the schools of law.[20][21]

On Tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis)

Shah Waliullah placed emphasize on a direct understanding of the Qur'an, maintaining that those students with sufficient knowledge must work with the text, rather than previous commentaries. He argued that Qurʾān is clear to any student with sufficient knowledge of Arabic, just like it was understandable to its first recipients and scholars, including those parts that are mutashābih (unclear). Shah believed that one should prefer the interpretation that is closest to the literal meaning (ẓāhir al-maʿnā) of the Qurʾān and the Sunnah which fits the Qur'anic context, without clinging to a particular school in exegesis, grammar, or theology.[22]

On Taqlid

Shah Waliullah was heavily critical of the practice of Taqlid and Madh'hab fanaticism prevailing in the subcontinent. He emphasized on following Prophetic Traditions (Hadith) over the opinion of previous jurists, even if it contradicts a person's madh'hab.[23]

On Divine Attributes

On the nature of Divine Attributes, Shah Waliullah rejected the Ash'ari view and followed the creed of early Ahl al-Hadith school.[24][25] Criticising the extremists amongst the speculative theologians (Mutakallimoon) and supporting the Ahl al-Hadith, Shah writes in Hujjatullah al- Balighah: "Those speculators behaved contemptuously towards the people of Hadith calling them corporealists and anthropomorphists saying that they sought refuge in the formula of 'without asking how ( bi-la kaif )... this contempt of theirs is unfounded and .. they err in their sayings both from the viewpoint of tradition and of reason and.. they err in slandering the leaders of the true religion."[26]

Shah had been a firm defender of the positions of Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiyya, the classical theologian who was a fierce critique of speculative theology and medieval clerical institutions. Shah would compose a treatise to defend Ibn Taymiyya, praising him as a great scholar of Sunni Islam.[9]

Explaining his beliefs, Shah writes in Hujjat Allah al-Baligha:

"Al-Tirmidhi said concerning the Hadith "The hand of God is full," that the religious leaders had said concerning this hadith that they believed it as it was given without interpreting or making conjectures about it. Likewise, more than one Imam, among them Sufyan al-Thauri, Malik ibn Anas, lbn 'Uyayna, and Ibn al-Mubarak, said that these things have been transmitted (in the hadith) and they believed them, and there was no scope for asking "how".... The earlier pious were unanimous in believing in Allah's Attributes according to His Wish and as He obligated it (to the men) to declare Him as dissimilar with the creatures by His verse, " Nothing is like Him."' And whoever obligates the opposite thought he contradicts the way of earlier pious. I say that there is no difference among the hearing, seeing, having power, laughing, speaking and Istiwa (existing upon the 'Arsh)."[27][28]

Stance on Marathas

His dislike of Marathas is expressed in one of his dreams that he narrated in “Fuyooz-ul Haramain”:

“I saw myself in a dream that I am Qaem al-Zaman (master of the age). Which means that when God Almighty wanted to establish a system of goodness and benevolence, then He made me a tool and medium for the fulfillment of this noble cause. And I saw that the king of the infidels took over the land of the Muslims and looted their property. He enslaved their women and children and in the city of Ajmer he declared the rites of disbelief. He eradicated the rites of Islam. Then after that I saw that the Almighty became angry and very angry with the people of the earth. And I witnessed the embodiment of the wrath of the Almighty in the heavens. And then dripping from there, divine wrath descended on me. Then I found myself angry. And this wrath which was filled in me, was blown into me by Almighty. Then I proceeded towards a city, destroying it and killing its inhabitants. other people followed me. Thus, destroying one city after another, we finally reached Ajmer. And there we killed the disbelievers. Then I saw the king of the infidels walking with the king of Islam, surrounded by a group of Muslims. In the meantime, the king of Islam ordered the king of the infidels to be slaughtered. People grabbed him and slaughtered him with knives. When I saw blood gushing out of the veins of his neck, I said: now blessing has descended”.[29]

On the Rafida

In one of his letters available in manuscripts collection at Rampur, he asks Muslim rulers to put a ban on public religious ceremonies by non-Muslims and to issue strict orders against certain ceremonies by the Rafida: "Strict orders should be issued in all Islamic towns forbidding religious ceremonies publicly practiced by non-Muslims (such as the performance of Holi and ritual bathing in the Ganges). On the tenth of Muharram, Rawafid should not be allowed to go beyond the bounds of moderation, neither should they be rude nor repeat stupid things (that is recite tabarra, or curse the first three successors of the Prophet Muhammad) in the streets or bazars.[30]

Arab Pre-Eminence

Shah Waliullah strongly advocated against adopting non-Islamic customs, and argued for commitment to Arabic Islamic culture. Shah Waliullah believed that: Muslims, no matter where they live, wherever they spend their youthful days, they should in any case be completely separated from the natives of that country in their culture, traditions and mannerisms. And wherever they are, they must be immersed in their Arabic splendor and Arabic trends[29]. On adherence to Arab culture, he insists: Beware! The rich intend to adopt the ways of strangers and non-Arabs and those who deviate from the right path, and tries to mix and be like them.[29]

Works

Besides these, he is also credited being the first to translate the Quran into Persian in the Indian subcontinent.[11]

Shah Waliullah worked hard to ensure that he was a role model for other Muslims. His deep understanding of the Qur'an, Hadith, Fiqh, and Tasawwuf made him a highly knowledgeable scholar at an early age.

Since he believed that an emphasis on the Qur'anic teachings was made vital to Muslims, he translated Arabic Qur'an into Persian. Few Muslims spoke Arabic and so the Qur'an had not been widely studied previously. Some Ulama criticized Shah Waliullah, but his work proved very popular. In addition to translating the Quran, Shah Waliullah wrote 51 books in Persian and Arabic.[citation needed] Amongst the most famous were Hujjat Allah al-Baligha and Izalah al Khifa.

He felt a debt to the Sufis for spreading Islam throughout India. He also appreciated Sufi spirituality. Waliullah built a bridge between Sufis and the Ulama (Islamic scholars).[34]

References

  1. ^ Siddiqa, Ayesha. "Peace in Afghanistan." (2019): 703-710. "The first significant name is Shah Waliullah (1703–62), a Hanafi scholar,"
  2. ^ Shahid, Amir Khan. "DISPLACEMENT OF SHAH WALIULLAH’S Shah MOVEMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON NORTHERN INDIAN MUSLIM REVIVALIST THOUGHTS. Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan 51.2 (2014). "It would not be out of context to cite a reference of Shah Abdul Aziz (1746-1824) which is provided by Manazar Ahsan Gilanithat someone enquired from Shah Waliullah whether the Shias were kafir. He maintained the different viewpoints among the Hanafi School of thought on the subject.."
  3. ^ a b Mohammad Sharif Khan, Mohammad Anwar Saleem (1994). Muslim Philosophy and Philosophers. Ashish Publishing Houseg. p. 25. ISBN 9788170246237.
  4. ^ Brown, Jonathan A. C. (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy (PDF). Oneworld Publications. p. 78. Like Ibn Taymiyya, he rejected the speculative theology of Ash‘ari and advocated the straightforward acceptance of God’s description of Himself
  5. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 293, 88–89. Shah Waliullah's 'Aqida was the 'aqida of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah and especially that of early Ash'arites who were according to his opinion very nearer to Imam Ahmad bin Hunbal (d241H./855). In this matter Shah Waliullah was not pleased with the latest hair-splitter and interpreter Ash'arites... He was against all sects which are not following the Quran and Sunnah directly in the field of 'Aqida.. according to Shah Waliullah and his teacher Shaikh Abu Tahir Kurdi, Al-Ash'ari was the follower of the school of imam Ahmad bin Hunbal (d 241H./855) in 'aqida and Imam Ibn Taimiyah's (d.728 H./1328) 'aqida was the same 'aqida.
  6. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. p. 2. As for Tasawuf Shah Waliullah was a reformist Sufi..
  7. ^ Geaves, Ron. "A Comparison of the Ideas of Maulana Mawdudi (1903-1980) and Shah Wali-Allah (1703-1762): A Pure Islam or Cultural Heritage." Islamic Quarterly 41.3 (1997): 169.
  8. ^ "Shah Waliullah Dehlavi". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Encyclopedia.com.
  9. ^ a b Brown, Jonathan A. C. (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy (PDF). Oneworld Publications. p. 78. ISBN 978-1780744209. In his resistance to rigid loyalty to the madhhabs, his critique of the excesses of Sufism and his rejection of Ash‘ari speculative theology, Ibn Taymiyya brought together important strains of iconoclastic opposition to the powerful medieval institutions of Islamic thought. Shah Wali Allah devoted a treatise to defending him and praised him as one of the great scholars of Sunni Islam.
  10. ^ Kunju, Saifudheen (2012). "Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi: Thoughts and Contributions": 1. Retrieved 5 April 2015. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ a b Abbas, Mohammad. "Shah Waliullah and Moderation". Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  12. ^ a b c A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 28. ISBN 978-1780744209.
  13. ^ Anil Chandra Banerjee (1981). "Two Nations: The Philosophy of Muslim Nationalism". Books.google.co.in. p. 44. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  14. ^ Al-Khateeb Al-Tabrezi (2013). Mishkaat Al-Masaabih (Manifestations of Truth). Nawab Qutbuddin Khan Dehlavi (trans.), vol. 1, p. 40. Darul-Ishaat.
  15. ^ Syed Mehboob Rizwi. History of The Dar al-Ulum Deoband (Volume 2) (PDF). Translated by Prof. Murtaz Husain F. Quraishi (1981 ed.). Idara-e-Ehtemam, Dar al-Ulum Deoband. p. 109. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  16. ^ K. Hermansen, Marcia (1996). "Chapter 84: The Difference Between the People of the Hadith and Those Who Exercise Personal Opinion". The Conclusive Argument from God: Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi's Ḥujjat Allāh al-Bāligha. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publishers. pp. 24–26, 437–450. ISBN 978-90-04-10298-9.
  17. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 90–91.
  18. ^ "Biography : Shah Waliullah (RA)". Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre. Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  19. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 139, 142–144.
  20. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 139–140.
  21. ^ L. Esposito, John (2013). "Chapter 2: salafiya, modernism, and revival". The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-19-539589-1. Shah Wali Allah was primarily concerned about the pervasive Hanafi fanaticism that he observed in his community. Instead of condoning this he was more inclusive and argued for a synthesis of all of the schools of law
  22. ^ Schmidtke, Sabine (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 768–769. ISBN 978-0-19-969670-3. He placed great emphasis on understanding the Qurʾān, first and foremost, through the Qurʾān itself, .. Shāh Walī Allāh maintained that students of the Qurʾān, after having acquired sufficient knowledge of Arabic, should directly work with the text itself instead of reading commentaries on it. The Qurʾān, he argued, is perfectly understandable to any serious student with knowledge of Arabic, just like it was understandable to its first recipients; to the learned scholar, even those parts that are usually considered unclear (mutashābih), ... In seeking an explanation for Qurʾānic verses, Shāh Walī Allāh argued, one should not follow a particular school, be it of exegesis, grammar, or theology, but prefer the interpretation that is closest to the literal meaning (ẓāhir al-maʿnā)..
  23. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 138–139.
  24. ^ Brown, Jonathan A. C. (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy (PDF). Oneworld Publications. p. 78. ISBN 978-1780744209. Shah Wali Allah devoted himself to reviving what he understood to be the true Islam... Like Ibn Taymiyya, he rejected the speculative theology of Ash‘ari and advocated the straightforward acceptance of God’s description of Himself
  25. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. p. 95.
  26. ^ K. Hermansen, Marcia (1996). "Chapter 40: Belief in the Divine Attributes". The Conclusive Argument from God: Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi's Ḥujjat Allāh al-Bāligha. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 193. ISBN 978-90-04-10298-9.
  27. ^ K. Hermansen, Marcia (1996). "Chapter 40: Belief in the Divine Attributes". The Conclusive Argument from God: Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi's Ḥujjat Allāh al-Bāligha. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publishers. pp. 191–192. ISBN 978-90-04-10298-9.
  28. ^ MUHAMMAD MOSLEH UDDIN (2003). SHAH WALIULLAH'S CONTRIBUTION TO HADITH LITERATURE: A Critical Study. Aligarh, India: Department of Islamic Studies: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 94–95.
  29. ^ a b c Dr. Mubarak Ali, “Almiyah-e-Tarikh”, ch. 9 – 10, pp. 95 – 105, Fiction House, Lahore, (2012).
  30. ^ S. Athar Rizvi, “Shah Waliullah and His Times”, p. 227, Ma’rifat Publishing House, Canberra, (1980).
  31. ^ Al-Ghazali, Muhammad (2004). The socio-political thought of shah wali allah (PDF). India: Adam Publishers. p. 124. ISBN 8174353607. Retrieved 25 October 2021. Hujjat Allah al-Balighah (Arabic), Cairo, 1933 It is the magnum opus of the author which has been universally acknowledged by Muslim scholarship as his most outstanding and epoch-making contribution. It constitutes a highly significant exposition of the Islamic worldview. We shall separately present an introduction to this work in some detail. It was first published in Bareily (India) in 1286 A.H.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Shah Wali Allah (Qutb al-Din Ahmad al-Rahim) (1703-62)". Muslim Philosophy. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  33. ^ Virani, Shafique (2019). "Hierohistory in Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān's Foundation of Symbolic Interpretation (Asās al-Taʾwīl): The Birth of Jesus". Studies in Islamic Historiography: 147–169. doi:10.1163/9789004415294_007. ISBN 9789004415294. S2CID 214047322.
  34. ^ K.J. Ahmed, Hundred Great Muslims, Library of Islam, 1987.

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