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Shibli’s role recalled during critical period

Riyadh: Allama Shibli Nomani was an iconic figure who heralded the new age with spiritual intellect in a critical and formative period of the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent, said scholars at an international seminar here in Riyadh to mark his death centenary.

The seminar was organized by the Riyadh chapter of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama Old Boys Association.

Addressing the seminar, Dr Ajmal Ayyub Islahi, an Islamic scholar, said: “Shibli was a rising star during the decline of Muslim rule in undivided India with scholarly work to revive the glory of Islam and respond to the questions raised by Western scholars. His life, ideology and above all his scholarship collectively testify to a searching mind to encourage and inspire the Muslim ummah, which was facing scathing attacks from the Christian missionaries, western scholars and their publicity bureau.” He added that the great scholarly works of Shibli which include his magnum opus work, Sirat-un-Nabi (biography of Prophet Muhammad-peace be upon him) and other masterpieces like Al-Farooq on the life of Holy Caliph Omar Farooq which has been translated into many languages. Shibli’s Shi’rul-Ajam on the history of Persian poetry was described by EG Brown in his four-volume Literary History of Persia as the best critical work on leading Persian poets from the earliest times to the latter part of the 17th century.
Riyadh-based educationist, Hussain Zulqarnain, echoed the sentiment saying that western scholars have done great damage by engaging in propaganda against Islam such as blaming Muslims for destroying the famous library in Alexandria. “One must hold Allama Shibli in high esteem for his scholarly refutation of the false allegations. He proved with logical conclusion that the library was burnt down by Christian rulers much before the entry of Muslims in Egypt,” said Zulqarnain.

Rashid Ali Sheikh, a prominent NRI businessman in Riyadh and a philanthropist, came forward to lead an initiative to promote Shibli College, founded by Allama Shibli in 1883, to the status of a university, saying it will be a real tribute to his visionary leadership. “Shibli founded the college in Azamgarh to achieve a unique blend between traditional and modern education. Many colleges of those times have become universities, so it is logical that this college too should become a university. I hereby announce to lead the initiative to make this college a university,” he said. (Based on Rashid Hassan’s report in arabnews.com - 24 December 2014)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2015 on page no. 13

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