Shah Waliullah’s contributions applauded


New Delhi: “It was Shah Waliullah who the first presented the vision of an anti-British movement” said K Rahman Khan, deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha in the 3-day international seminar on “The contribution of Shah Waliullah in the promotion of Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages and literature, organized by Shah Waliullah Institute in collaboration with ICCR, NCPUL and Urdu Academy Delhi, at Azad Bhawan here on 28 April 2011. K Rahman Khan was addressing the opening session of the seminar which was inaugurated by Dr. Abdul Khaliq Rashid, Cultural Counsellor of Afghanistan and chaired by Dr. Said Farid Baig Said, ambassador of Tajikistan. He added that Shah Waliullah wrote 52 books on various topics, the Qur’anic sciences, Hadith, Fiqh and Mysticism. Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit said that Shah Waliullah’s ideas are not propagated as widely as they should have been, and if Shah Waliullah Institute is facing some financial paucity, the Delhi government is here and ready to provide the needed support, adding that there is no better way to remember Shah Waliullah than propagating his books and views among the people.

Mufti Ataur Rahman Qasmi, chairman of the Institute, said that Shah Waliullah was a great writer and scholar of Arabic, Persian and of Urdu as well. All kudos to the Shah family for popularizing the Persian and Urdu translations of Qur’an in the Indian Subcontinent. In particular, Shah’s Persian translation of Qur’an is quite popular not only in India but also in Iran and Afghanistan. He said that he has collected many booklets of Shah’s mysticism and will get them published.

Imam Shah Waliullah was a great intellectual and thinker of Islamic history, who tried to make intuition, reason and intellect to conform to each other. If you talk about reason in Shah Waliullah’s context without citing intuition, you simply end up with undoing the relevance of the Shah, said Prof. Muzaffar Alam, a historian from Chicago, while delivering his presidential speech in the conference. In Islam, there is no difference between Arab and non Arab, because with such difference the diversity of Islam will be finished. He added that the Islamic movement, that Shah Waliullah launched and motivated, is now reaching its destination.

Prof. Altaf Ahmad Azmi, formerly of the Jamia Hamdard, while presenting his paper on an important book of Shah Waliullah, Fuzyud Harmain, said that there are so many misgivings about Sufism. Shah Waliullah mentioned four phases of it, the fourth one is most controversial. Shah Waliullah was very much against the Sufis of his time and their behaviour. He said that if by Sufism, religious devotion is meant, there is no objection, but if it means philosophy, then it is wrong. He was a great scholar of the whole Muslim world. Dr. Ausaf Ahmad, an expert on Islamic economy, presenting his paper on Shah Waliullah’s economic thoughts said that the age in which Shah Waliullah lived was the age of economic downfall of Muslims and this was the real cause of Muslims decline. Shah Waliullah propounded that division of labour is essential for economic stability. Former state minister of Bihar, Shamael Nabi, said that it is Muslims who gave this country the values of tolerance, secularism and understanding and thereby dignity and significance.  

Among the speakers who presented their papers in the conference were Prof. Sharif Hussain Qasmi, Karim Najafi, cultural Consellor of Iran in India, Maulana Asghar Imam Mahdi, secretary general of Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Mohammad Adib (MP), Maulana Junaid Banarasi, Prof. Badruddin Al-Hafiz, Dr. Atiqurrahman formerly of Khuda Bakhsh Liblrary Patna, Naiyyera Abyat (Iran), Hakim Zillurrahman, Prof.Abdul Wadood, Rafiq Ahmad Salafi, Faizi Uzair Hashmi, former deputy commissioner New Delhi, Azimulhaq, former Wakf commissioner, Prof. Azizuddin , dean faculty of humanities and languages at JMI.

Speakers at the conference were of the unanimous opinion that Shah Waliullah was a humanist and preacher of national integrity and understanding between Shias and Sunnis. On this occasion late Maulana Akhlaq Hussain Qasmi and late Maulana Faqihuddin were posthumously honoured with Shah Waliullah Awards, which were received by their heirs.   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2011 on page no. 3

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