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Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi

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Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi
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Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: شاہ ولی الله دهلوی) also known as Shah Waliullah of Delhi (1703–1762) was an important Islamic reformer who has been called "the greatest intellectual Muslim India produced." He worked for the revival of Muslim rule and intellectual learning in the South Asia, during a time of waning Muslim power following the death of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Shah Waliullah urged Muslim rulers to a jihad against the Maratha and Jat Bharatpur enemies of Islam, and hoped to restore the ulama's former power and influence.

He despised the divisions and deviations within Islam and its practice in the Indian subcontinent and hoped to 'purify' the religion and unify all Indian Muslims under the banner of the 'truth' (Haq). He is also thought to have anticipated many "progressive" social, economic and political ideas of the modern era, such as social reform, equal rights, labor protection, ruler as trustee beholden to the ruled, welfare entitlement of all to food, clothing, housing, etc.


Early life
Shah Waliullah was born in 1703 CE, in the town of Phulat in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is said his father, Shah Abdur Raheem, was foretold of the birth of a pious and obedient son by Hazrath Qutubuddin Bakhteyaar-e-Kaaki, who made Shah Abdur Raheem promise that the boy will be named after him as Qutubuddin Ahmad. So he named his boy Qutubuddin Ahmad. The name Shah Waliullah is given to him by people because Waliulla means "close to God" as he was very pious man. So his complete name was Shah Waliullah Qutubuddin Ahmad. His genealogy can be traced back to the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrath Umar Farooq (RA) from the paternal side and to Hazrath Musa Kazin (RAH) on the maternal side. His grandfather, Sheikh Wajihuddin, was an important officer in the army of Shah Jahan who supported Prince Aurangzeb in the war of succession. The forefathers of Shah Waliullah, Shaikh Shamsuddin Mufti came to the subcontinent and settled in Rothak during the initial period of Islamic rule. Although the mark of identification of this family was their command over religious sciences of Islam, one of his family members, Shaikh Mehmood, adopted the profession of a soldier after which tales of bravery remained associated with this family for a long time.

His father, Shah Abdur Raheem was among the leading Hanafi jurists and a distinguished scholar of Islam in Delhi. An expert in theology, he was a student of Allama Meer Zahid Haravi. He never sought the comfort of the material world and was always in pursuit of rewards of the hereafter, a quality that he passed on to his son and his progeny.

The anti-Islamic forces which had raised their head during the reign of the irreligious Emperor Akbar and later found their champions in Jahangir and Dara Shikoh were, to a great extent, checked by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. With his passing away in 1707 A.C. started the political chaos which later culminated in the disintegration of the Muslim power in the subcontinent. This political disintegration which was the result of spiritual confusion encompassed the socio-economic spheres also. Aurangzeb’s successors were too weak and incapable of facing the rebellious forces emerging on all hands. At such a critical period of Muslim history was born Shah Waliullah, the greatest religious thinker produced by Muslim India who has contributed immensely to the reintegration of the structure of Islam.

Shah Waliullah was born in 1703 A.C. four years before the death of Aurangzeb. His grandfather, Sheikh Wajihuddin, was an important officer in the army of Shah Jahan who supported Prince Aurangzeb in the war of succession. His father, Shah Abdur Rahim, a Sufi and an eminent scholar assisted in the compilation of Fatwa-i-Alamgiri the voluminous code of Islamic law. lie, however, refused an invitation to visit the Emperor and devoted his energies to the organization and teaching at ‘Madrassa Rahimia’ a Theological College which he had established and which, later, played an important part in the religious emancipation of Muslim India and became the breeding ground of religious reformers and ‘Mujahid’ like Shah Waliullah, Shah Abdul Aziz, Syed Ahmad of Bareli, Maulvi Abdul Haiy and Shah Ismail Shaheed. Writing about the teachings of Shah Abdur Rahim and his brother, Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi observes:

“The essence of the teaching of the two brothers was the effort, to discover a path which could be traversed together by the Muslim philosophers (the Sufis and the Mutakallim) and the Muslim Jurists (Faqih)”.

Shah Waliullah received his early education from his father, who was his teacher as well as his spiritual guide. Being a precocious child with a retentive memory lie committed the Holy Quran to memory at an early age of 7 years. On the death of his father in 1131 A.H. when he was hardly 17 years old he started teaching in his father's Madrassa Rahimiya and carried on the work for 12 years when he left for Arabia for higher studies. He was a brilliant scholar; during fourteen months’ stay in Makkah and Madina he came into contact with the outstanding teachers of Hejaz. His favorite teacher was Sheikh Abu Tahir bin Ibrahim of Madina, from whom he obtained his Sanud (Degree) in Hadis (Tradition). The Sheikh was an erudite scholar, possessing encyclopedic knowledge; Shah Waliullah benefited much from him too and speaks highly of his piety, independence of judgment and scholarly talents.

Achievements and Services
During his stay at Makkah, Shah Waliullah had a dream in which the Holy Prophet commanded him to work for the organization and emancipation of the Muslim community in the subcontinent, He, therefore, returned to Delhi on July 9, 1732 and started his work in real earnest. His was an uphill task in a period when Muslim India was passing through the most critical phase of its history and its entire social, political, economic and spiritual fabric was torn to pieces. On his arrival in Delhi, he started training pupils in diverse branches of Islamic learning and entrusted them with the missionary work of enlightening people with the true nature of Islam. He embarked upon the task of producing standard works on Islamic learning and, before his death in 1762, completed a large number of outstanding works on Islam.

He rose to be a great scholar of Islamic .studies, endowed with saintly qualities. So great was his dedication to work that, according to his talented son Shah Abdul Aziz, "he was rarely ill and once he sat down to work after ‘Ishraq’ (post-sunrise prayers) he would not change his posture, till midday”. He was a real genius, an intellectual giant who set himself to the mission of educating the misguided Muslim masses with the true spirit of Islam. His was the task of the revival of Islam in the subcontinent which had been clouded with mystic philosophy and to bring it out in its pristine glory. He was a humble devotee to his cause, who resisted all temptations of personal glory.

His activities were not confined to spiritual and intellectual spheres only. He lived in troubled times and witnessed during his lifetime about a dozen rulers occupying the throne of Delhi. Endowed with a keen political insight, he observed with deep anguish the breaking up of Muslim power in the subcontinent and wrote to leading political dignitaries like Ahmad Shah Abdali, Nizam ul Mulk and Najibuddaula to stop the rot which had set in the political life of Muslim India. It was on account of his call that Ahmad Shah Abdali appeared on the field of Panipat in 1761 and put an end to the Marhatta dream of dominating the subcontinent.

Shah Waliullah was a prolific writer. It is in the realm of Islamic learning that he made a lasting contribution and within a period of 30 years produced more than 50 works of outstanding merit, both in Arabic and Persian languages. Some of these are still unsurpassed in the whole domain of Islamic literature.

His most valuable service to the cause of Islamic learning was that he codified the vast store of Islamic teachings under separate heads. Both in thought and prediction, his works occupy an outstanding place. As a reformer and as a propounder of theories dealing with socialism, he may be considered as the forerunner of Karl Marx.

His works may be classified into six categories. The first deals with the Holy Quran. It includes his translation of the Holy Book into Persian, the literary languages of the subcontinent of those times. According to him, the object of studying the Holy Book is “to reform human nature and correct the wrong beliefs and injurious actions”. The second category deals with Hadis (Traditions) in which he has left behind several works including an Arabic and Persian Commentaries on Muwatta, the well-known collection of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet compiled by Imam Malik. He attached great importance to this collection of Traditions by Imam Malik, even greater than those of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim. He is an outstanding Muhuddis (Traditionist) and links of all modern scholars of Hadis in the subcontinent may be traced to him.

Foremost among these modern Traditionalists were his son and successor Shah Abdul Aziz and Syed Murtaza Bilgrami. Shah Waliullah wrote a number of books and pamphlets dealing with Hadis. The third category deals with ‘Fiqh’ or Islamic Jurisprudence, which includes lnsaf-fi-bayan-i-Sahub-al-Ikhtilaf which is brief but a very interesting and informative history of the Islamic Jurisprudence of the last five centuries. The fourth category deals with his works based on mysticism. The fifth category pertains to his works on Muslim philosophy and Ilm-al-Kalam. He also wrote a pamphlet on the principles of ‘Ijtihad’ (indepen¬dent interpretation) and taqlid (conformity). In his principles of ‘Ijtihad’ he clarifies whether it is obligatory for a Muslim to adhere to one of the four recognized schools of Islamic Jurisprudence or whether he can exercise his own judgment. In the opinion of Shah Waliullah, a layman should rigidly follow his own Imam but a person well versed in Islamic law can exercise his own judg¬ment which should be in conformity with the practice of the Holy Prophet. But the most outstanding of all his works is Hujjat-Ullh-il-Balighah which deals with such aspects of Islam that are common among all Muslim countries. In its introduction he observes: “Some people think that there is no usefulness involved in the injunctions of Islamic law and that in actions and rewards as prescribed by ALLAH 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 Holy Prophet and the consensus of opinion of those ages, contradict this view”.

The sixth category deals with his works on Shia—Sunni problem which had become somewhat acute in those days. His writings on this subject have done a great deal in simplifying this problem. His theories pertaining to economics and socialism are of revolutionary nature and he may be considered as the precursor of Karl Marx. Writing about his works in the History of the Freedom Movement, Sheikh Muhammad Ikram states: “Shah Waliullah wrote learned works and initiated powerful and beneficial movements, but perhaps no less important are the invisible qualities of approach and outlook, which he bequeathed to Muslim religious thought in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. His work is characterized by knowledge, insight, moderation and tolerance, but the quality, on which he laid the greatest emphasis, in theory and in practice, was Adl or Adalat (justice, fairness, and balance). His works and views bear ample testimony to the ways he observed this principle in practice and he lost few opportunities of emphasizing in theory its role in maintaining the social fabric”.

Education and training
Shah Waliullah was introduced to Islamic education at the age of five and completed the recitation of the Qura’an by the age of seven. By the end of his seventh year, he had started taking introductory lessons in Persian and Arabic and completed them in one year. After that he concentrated on grammar and syntax, and by the age of ten he was reading the most acclaimed book of grammar,"Interpretation by Ja’mi". He completed the study of philosophy and theology by the age of 15 and started teaching. He acquired the knowledge of Logic, Fiqah, Hadith, specially Tibb (Eastern medicine) and ma-an (meaning), Algebra, Mathematics, and oratory from his father.

During the course of his education, he learned many of his books from his father and was inducted in the tradition of bayath (sacred vows) by his father and by the age of 17 was permitted by his father to provide spiritual guidance and reform his fellow Muslims.

Pilgrimage to Makkah
In 1143 H.E. the 23 year old Shah Waliullah decided to perform the pilgrimage to Makkah. Despite the perils that lay on the journey; he reached the Mecca on 14 Dhul Qadha 1143 H.E. and performed the Hajj and then proceeded to Medina. There, he attended the discourses on Sahih Al Bukhari from Sheikh Abu Tahir Muhammad Bin Ibraheem Kurdi Madani. The Sheikh directed him in the study of the six Sahihs (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Nasa’ai, Ibn Ma’ajah), Muwatta Imam Maalik, Musnad Da’armee and Imam Muhammad’s Al A’saar. He returned to Makkah, performed the hajj again and learned the Muwatta Imam Maalik from Sheikh Wafadullah Maliki Makki, attended the discourses on Sahih Al Bukhari from Sheikh Tajuddin Hanafi Qalaei Makki for a few days and learned the six Sahihs from him. He was granted permission to teach all the books of hadith by Sheikh Tajuddin.

After 14 months of stay in Arabia, two hajj pilgrimages and learning the books of hadith from the scholars of the holy cities, Shah Waliullah finally returned to India in early 1145 H.E. the journey home lasted six months and he reached Delhi on Friday 14 Rajab 1145 H.E. on reaching home, he started teaching again and writing until his death three decades later.

Devoting himself to the teaching and writing of Islamic books, on 29 Muharram 1176 H.E. (20 August, 1762) he died and was buried in the famous graveyard “Munhadiyan” beside his father Shah Abdur Raheem.

He had a son, Sheikh Muhammad and a daughter, Ammatul Azeez, from his first wife. His second wife, the daughter of Shah Sanaullah, bore him four sons:

Shah Abdul Azeez Muhaddith Dehlavi,
Shah Rafiuddin,
Shah Abdul Qadir,
and Shah Abdul Ghani.
After the death of Shah Waliullah, his son Shah Abdul Azeez took his place and brought up his siblings. Each one of Shah Waliullah’s descendants were held in high regard in Islamic academia during their lives.

It is interesting to note that Shah Waliullah is respected and revered greatly by all Muslims in the South Asia and beyond, including the Barelvi, Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadeeth groups and movements of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, who include both Sufis and Salafis. The Deoband movement as well as the Ahl-e-Hadeeth both claim to espouse the ideology and thought of Shah Waliullah.

One of his main desires was to intellectually revive Islamic learning and he did so by emphasising studies in madrassas (Islamic schools), especially his own, Madrassa-i Rahimiyya. Waliullah advocated the strenuous study of the Islamic "sciences of revelation", which comprised studies of the Hadith (the oral tradition of the sayings of Muhammad) and the Qur'an (the Islamic holy scripture). Shah Waliullah attempted to simplify the texts in order to spread their message to Muslims of every educated class. In addition, Waliullah was a powerful advocate of the establishment of Urdu as a mainstream literary and liturgical language, citing it as the lingual link among all Indian Muslims. Shah Waliullah's approach to learning and his Muslim revivalist agenda inspired the Deobandi movement, who claim their scholastic heritage and lineage back to Shah Waliullah).

Shah Waliullah was also a key protagonist in initiating the spiritual revival of Muslims through tasawwaf and Sufism (Islamic spirituality). He spread the message of Islamic spiritualism to the Indian masses and emphasised Da'wah and Tableegh (Islamic propagation) to his students and he supported the well-established tradition of the Sufis in the South Asia, while at the same time condemning external influences and innovations (bid'a) in Sufi practices, advocating the idea of a pure Islam devoid of such influences on the basis that Muslims should assert an independent identity free from the influence of Hindu polytheists. In this respect as well as others, Shah Waliullah was a follower of the tradition of Imam Al-Ghazali.

Service to Mankind
After returning from Mecca and Medina, the miserable condition of Indian Muslims inspired him to improve their character, buck up their morale, inculcate the feeling of selflessness and love for their fellows.

He overhauled the existing education system, separated the faith from unlawful invented traditions (bidaat), unnecessary and unwanted suspicions regarding Islam and its holy books. He presented what he considered pure and pristine Islam to the people.

His Final Will
“The final will of this humble servant of Allah is that always hold tightly to the Qura’an and Sunnath in your beliefs and acts. Regularly evaluate yourself against them. Read them regularly and if you can’t, then find someone who can and listen to at least a couple of pages everyday.”

Literary works
The biographers of Shah Waliullah place the number of his published literary works at above fifty. Shah Waliullah was a prolific writer who wrote extensively on several Islamic topics. The famous among them are

1.Fath ur Rahmaan Fee Tarjumatul Qura’an, a translation of the Qur'an in Persian.

2.Al Fauzul Kabeer Fee Usool at Tafseer, a booklet in Persian that follows his Persian translation of the Qur'an. It contains the nucleus of the Qur'an, the rules for interpretation, and interpretations of the Qur'an by other famous scholars.

3.Hujjatullahil Baaligha, is the most renowned book by Shah Waliullah whose title is taken from the Qur'an (Surah Al Anaam: 149). It is a two volume Arabic manuscript and elaborates about the jurisprudence fro the hadith and necessities of the shari’ah and is taught in many seminaries. Its Urdu illustration is “Rahmatullahil Waasiya” by Hazrath Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri and published by Maktaba Hijaz.


A partial list:

Arbain (Arabic)- A collection of 40 ahadith which are brief yet of inclusive character.
Al-Irshad ila-Muhimmat-I-Ilm-al-Isnad (Arabic) - is about the scholars of Hejaz who taught Shah Waliullah.
Izalat al-Khafa 'an Khilafat al- Khulfa (Persian)
Al-Fauzul Kabir Fi Usoolu-Tafseer (Arabics)
Atayyab al-naghm fi Madh-I-Saiyid al- Arab wal-Ajam (Arabic)- A collection of odes eulogizing Muhammad which speak of Shah's poetic talent and love towards Muhammad.
Altaf al-Quds (Persian) - Deals with esoteric principles of mysticism.
Al-Imdad-o-fi Ma'athir al-Ajdad (Persian) - A brochure giving Shah Waliullah’s genealogical table and containing brief notices about some of his ancestors.
Al-Intibah-o-fi Salasil-il-Aulia Allah (Persian) - Gives the history and brief introduction of different mystic orders.
Insan al-ain fi Mashikh al-Haeamyn (Persian)
Al insaf-o-fi Bayan-I-Asbab al-Ikhtalaf (Arabic)
Anfas aal Arifin (Persian)
Al-Budur al-Bazigha (Arabic) - This work on theology employs philosophical terminology in discussing human nature and social behavior.
Bawariq al-Wilayah (Persian) - The tract forms part of the Anfas al-Arifin in which the Shah has described the life and spiritual attainments of his father Shah Abdur Rahim.
Tawil al-ahadith (Arabic) - It recount the stories of different prophets mentioned in the Quran in order to draw out lessons and rules of Shariah from the Quranic describtion.
Tuhfatul Muwahhidin - It is a Persian tract explaining the creed of tauhid.
Tarajim-o-Abwab al-Bukhari (Arabic) - It expounds the principles which would be found helpful in understanding certain difficult portions of the Bukhari.
At-Tafhimat al-Ilahiyah (Arabic and Persian)- It's a mystical work, partly in Arabic and partly in Persian, giving the mystical experiences of Shah.
Al-Juz al-Latif fi- Tarjumata al-Abd al- Dhayif (Persian)
Hujjat Allah al-Baligha (Arabic)- The magnum opus of Shah has been discussed in the seventh section of this work.
Husn al- Aqidah (Arabic)- The fundamental creed of Islam as accepted by the Ahli-I-Sunnat sect, has been expounded in this work in the light of Quran and Hadith.
Al-Khair al-Kathir (Arabic)- This work on philosophy of religion elucidates the concept of m'arifat and wisdom of Divine Names, revelation etc
Ad-durrus Thamain fi-Mubashshiratil Nabi al-Amin (Arabic) - A collection of glad tidings the Shah and his ancestors had had from Muhammad.
Diwan-o-Ashar (Arabic) - A collection of the Arabic verses of the Shah.
Risalah - was written in reply to certain mystical issues raised by Shaikh 'Abdullah bin Abdul Baqi.
Risalah Danishmandi (Persian) - A valuable tract containing detailed directions in regard to methodology of teaching.
Zahrawayn - A commentary on the Surat-ul-Baqarah and Imran.
Surur al- Mahzun (Persia)- It is a concise Persian rendering of the Kitab Nur al-Uyun il-Amin al-Mamun a well-known biography of Muhammad.
Sharh-o-Tarajim-I-Abwab-I-Sahih al-Bukhari (Arabic) - is an annotation on certain chapters of the Sahih of Bukhari.
Shifa al-Qulub (Persian) - is a tract of mysticism.
Shawariq al-Marifat (Persian)- a biography of the Shah's Uncle Shaikh Abdul Raza.
Al-Atiyatus Samadiyah Fi Anfas Al-Muhammadiyah (Persian) - this small brochure contains a biographical sketch of the Shah's maternal grandfather Shaikh Muhammad Phulti.
Iqd Al-Jid Fi-Aakham Al-Ijtihad Wat-Tajdid (Arabic)
Fath-ur-Rahman (Persian) - a translation of the Quran.
Fath-al-Kabir (Arabic) - A glossary of the intricate words of the Quran.
Fath al-Wadud-li-Marifata-al-Junud (Arabic) - it pertains to the ethics and mysticism.
Al fadhl Al-Mubin Fi Al-Musalsal Min Hadithin Nabi Al-Amin (Arabic) - It is about Hadith.


Shah Waliullah (RA)
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This brings us to a brief treatment of Shah Waliullah as a more recent Islamic religious scholar (mutakallimun) of lofty stature. Shah Waliullah carried the traditions of Al-Ghazzali and Imam Shatibi in combining the essential of Shari'ah, its understanding, development and interpretation to the issues and problems of life. He like Al-Ghazzali took deep stock of Akhira as the explaining point of the relationship between worldly existence and the Hereafter in a meaningful way. Shari'ah to Waliullah is seen as a natural urge of humanity that had to occur in history out of Divine Will as Allah is to protect his creatures, human and others, both in this life and from the limitless punishment of Hell. Through Shari'ah, Allah is likewise to reward the worldly actions of individuals with limitless rewards in the Hereafter and thus the developmental process of the Islamic society was to take its explanation from the Reality of Hereafter. This in itself was a natural consequence of great utility for responsible life in this world.

In his socioeconomic thought, Shah Waliullah attached great importance to the reign of Ijtehad, without which he found new knowledge of understanding the Qur'an, Sunnah and thriving on Shari'ah, to be impossible. Thus, Waliullah introduced a dynamically new way of understanding the Qur'an. That was to make interpretive investigation of the verses in a fashion that must be independent of all commentaries and should naturally invoke the reason to Allah's Greatness manifested in the Ayaths of the Qur'an under study. The sciences of the Qur'an, namely, the science of injunction (Ahkam), the science of disputation (of the polytheists), the science of Divine favours, the science of particular events that Allah had decreed, and the science of Hereafter, were to be studied in an wholistic way to understand the totality of Qur'an for its significance to life.(Al-Fauz al-Kabir Fi Usul al-Tafsir) Thus, like Imam Ghazzali, Waliullah was a sufi who believed on the individual capacity for self-annihilation for the achievement of the greatest feat in life as ordained by Shari'ah. Waliullah also believed that since human knowledge must remain imperfect in life, it was impossible to attain perfect equilibrium in the socioeconomic systems. Hence, he advocated the pursuit of excellence with the conscious knowledge of improvement in perpetuity. He thus believed that many of the Signs of Allah can be humanly comprehended through deeply pious efforts.

Unlike Al-Ghazzali, Ibn Taimiyyah and Ibn Khaldun, Waliullah believed in revolution against the corrupt rulers for the sake of attaining peave and justice and the ultimate reign of Shari'ah in the coming international order of Islam. Thus many of his writings not only invoked Jihad in the Muslims to establish such an order, but they also pointed vehemently at the corrupt Muslim rulers, sects and groups in society. His philosophy was polar to the other Islamic scholars who had imitated the Greeks in their understanding of Qur'anic science.

Waliullah's concept of historicism was based on a movement of society towards an incomplete equilibrium in this life, but nonetheless a sure movement, this being better than inaction, and it being the design of the Divine Laws for human betterment. Thereby, as long as the Shari'ah was instilled in the hearts and minds of individuals and society, no higher organic growth of society was capable of destroying the inner strength of this order. Such an equilibrating concept of historical movement and the possibility for moral permanence found in it on the basis of Shari'ah, was a perspective that was polar to the empirical historicism of Ibn Khaldun. Shari'ah in its living and actional form became the Idea of Qur'anic historicism to Shah Waliullah as was the Spirit of Freedom the Idea to Hegel in his Germanic understanding of Occidentalism. In this sense, Shah Waliullah can be said to have added a vision to the study of history from a dynamic politico-economic perspective that was left out by Ibn Khaldun. Besides Waliullah's Hujjat Allah Baligah, by transcending the limits of the self to the society as a whole and making the five Qur'anic sciences as the universal in this historical order, had a relevance beyond Ghazzali's Ihya and the limited function of Ibn Taimiyyah's Hisba to market regulation alone.

In conclusion we note that the process of Islamic political thought has experienced a diversity of development between the ways that the religious scholars (mutakallimun) looked at it and the ways that the rationalists looked at it. Between these the dividing and discerning line of explanation was the Shari'ah. When Shari'ah was looked at, developed, applied and extended as a total way of life interconnecting the religious, philosophical, scientific phenomena with economy, science and institution, Islamic political thought became enriched by its inherent interactive, integrative and dynamic model of Divine Unity. This was seen to be the case of the models presented by Imam Ghazzali in respect to the relationship of this world with Hereafter; by Ibn Taimiyyah in respect to market, institution and social justice; by Shah Waliullah in terms of extending the Imam Ghazzali legacy to the social sphere of human action very much like Ibn Taimiyyah but more as a sociologist and historiographer than as an economist. In all of these thoughts the essence of Divine Laws, knowledge and the relationship of the world to the essentially moral and knowledge foundation of Akhira and Tawhid were invoked. Shari'ah was then treated as the natural result of this epistemology of Unity carried through the life of the Prophet (Risalah), interpreted, applied and extended to varied issues and problems of life through authentic human discursions (Ijtehad).

In the field of historicism and epistemology which play singularly important roles in the development of the theory of Islamic political economy, the viewpoint was different between the mutakallimun and the rationalists. The mutakallimun configured a continuously equilibrating model -- incompletely equilibrating for Shah Waliullah and attained equilibrium state for Ghazzali -- of historical evolution under the guidance of the Divine Laws (Shari'ah) irrespective of the state of human advancement, from the primitive levels to the highest material levels. This was so possible as the model of socioeconomic development presented and possible under the Shari'ah-driven model was based on the assumptions and characteristics of a dynamic basic needs model. Markets, institutions, technology, production, factor markets, pricing, resource utilization and distribution were then all determined under this perspective of socioeconomic development. The tacit implication in the Shari'ah model of socioeconomic development was that by a visible and conducive interrelationship between markets and institutions including governments, it was always possible to grear the Ummah along the trajectories of the dynamic basic needs regime of transformation. Knowledge would play the fundamental role in all these and epistemological invocation to derive fundamental human laws to manage, regulate and instill change in this order was possible because of their Shari'ah leaning in the discursive Ijtehadi frame. The Ummah could grow to its highest level of material advancement along the dynamic basic needs path of socioeconomic development. This was the argument presented by Shah Waliullah in his visionary expectation of the future Ummah as an internationalizing force.

The rationalists gave a different interpretation to historicism, change, reality and methods. They were basically a mix of Hellenic dialecticians and Islamic scholars. The blending between them was neither possible nor feasible. Greek philosophy of history and change was based in the open-ended domain of rationalist inquiry, in which God became a numinous reality. This is particularly to be found in Aristotle thought that God was not an active force but an attractive force. God is seen not to cause movement of the world of itself but to present Himself passively as the cause of the matter's acting. Matter was essential for action in Greek cosmology. History, socio-economic and socio-political change, science and institutionalism were all premised on the essence of materiality, while the concept of morality became relative to the same extent that matter and human perceptions according to matter were rationalistic creations. Evolutionary phenomena was then the cause and effect within the material world, given the changing dimensions of morality and ethics, while God remained teleological and thus numinous from the world.

The Muslim rationalist approach to historicism working within the cosmological orientation of Greek thought, did not focus on Shari'ah. Their connection with the Qur'an and Sunnah as the epistemological premise of Islamic thought, was peripheral. Their materialistic limitations to historical and scientific interpretations, left their findings to be empirical in nature, or otherwise metaphysical in substance. Here we find the empiricist historiography of Ibn Khaldun, the teleological ideas relating to metaphysics, cosmology and society of Farabi (The Perfect State), Ibn Rushd (Tahafat ul Tahafat), and the pantheistic epistemology of Ibn Sina (active and passive reason).

With the severance of historiography from Shari'ah centricity, it was also impossible methodologically for the rationalists to provide the interactive-integrative-evolutionary core to the process of knowledge-induced worlds. This is the natural consequence of the axiom to hold materiality as the agent of change and God to be existential in the Divine domain. In such a perspective borrowed from the Greeks and brought to a height by the Mutazzilites only to be rejected by Islamic scholasticism, mater and spirit (i.e. ethics and economy) become competing ends. Hence an early kind of neoclassical marginalist substitution results, inspite of the fact that the concept of unity in systems prevailed for all times among all scholars since the Greeks, but not so methodologically.

In the framework of historiography, Islamic political economy as a methodological discipline of unifying systems, deriving its epistemology from the Divine Premise of Unity of God as the primal epistemology and externalizing this to the Process of Unification in the world through knowledge flows, can hardly be said to be substantively derivable from the rationalist doctrines. The development of Islamic political economy comes close to the ideas of the mutakallimun but taken up in an essentially crearive evolutionary frame that need not assume the existence of Fana or self-annihilation as substantive requirements of the Islamic process of change to a better state. Besides, the relationship between Tawhid, World and Akhira is a two-way relationbship, which has profound mathematical and methodological, hence institutional consequences for the socio-scientific order. These are substantive developments and conceptualizations in Islamic political economy beyond what was given by the mutakallimun. Islamic history and its philosophy at the end becomes differentiated from Qur'anic historicism. In the former, empirical grounds and human frailities have marked the process of change and narrations, but not universalities. History in this sense is cyclical and evolutionary with certain degree of predictions as inferred from past human behaviour and societal changes. In the Qur'anic concept of history, change is neither linear nor repetitive with regularities, although cycles remain. But the amplitudes of such cycles and their frequencies of occurrence depends upon the determinism of the Divine Core and how it is utilized by the human order to externalize to the socio-scientific world. Material events of historical narrations are then the result of the primordial Divine dialectics of determinism.

Qur'an has thus inscribed in Universal History and Process the indelible IDEA of Reality, that applies to all contexts of life in the Muslim and the Other sense, without exception and void. Such an IDEA of the most irreducible Reality was termed as the Universal Soul in unity of being with Allah as the uncreated essence of Oneness, by Shah Waliullah, Ibn al-Arabi and Mujadid al-Fatahani. Hence, whether the Muslims after the Prophet and the Pious Caliphs have or have not lived up to the ideals of the Qur'an is a relative matter in the eyes of the Qur'anic Judgement of Reality. That Reality is evanescent and everlasting as the IDEA, the determinism. It invokes creation every moment through the Divine action in the material order, thus causing the knowledge-based universe to arise in the interactive-integrative-evolutionary sense. Whereas, the empirical interpretation of history and the materialistic determinism of historicism by the rationalists are simply narration of recorded events with a rationalistic and hence conditional inference.

Islamic political economy premised as it deeply is on the epistemology of Unity and Unification of Knowledge through the interactive-integrative-evolutionary model of unified reality takes stock of the Qur'anic world view and not of the empirical viewpoint left by the historians. It thus configures a normative and positivistic world of socio-scientific action and response that is substantively different from Ibn Khaldun's, Al-Tabari's, Hegel's, Marx's, Schumpeter's and others.


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MessaggioInviato: Gio Apr 03, 2008 12:51 pm    Oggetto: Shah Waliullah Rispondi citando

Shah Waliullah
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Hazrat Shah Waliullah was born in Delhi on the 21 st of February 1703 A.D. His father, Shah Abdur Rahman was a great scholar and a mystic. He took special pain in the education and the training of his son.

At the special age of 15, Hazrat Shah Waliullah had completed his education and then became a disciple (mureed) of his father who gave him spiritual training. When he was 17, his father died, for 12 years he taught in the fashion of his father. Twice he performed the Hajj pilgrimage. He attained a certificate of Proficiency in Hadith from the famous scholar, Shaikh Abu Tahir Bin Ibrahim of Madina, when he was in Arabia, the marhatta turmoid was at its height and his friends advised Hazrat Shah Waliullah to stay in Arabia. As such he left Arabia in 1145 AH and reached Delhi on 14 Rajab 1145 AH.

On reaching Delhi, he devoted most of his time in writing books and to preaching in public meetings. The teaching activity was limited to the lessons of Hadith. The political and the moral degeneration of the Muslims had tremendous effects on the sensitive thinking mind of Hazrat Shah Waliullah. His famous book “Al-Tafheematul llahia” minutely pen points all the various defects, shortcomings and vices, which had taken roots in various sections of the Muslims. His aim, metaphorically speaking, was to destroy the rotten moral buildings and to reconstruct a new mansion over it. He bluntly wrote in one of his writings “I have arrived to destroy every old in region at present.

The most monumental task he performed was to translate the Quran from Arabic to Persian which was the language spoken by the Muslims at that time in India. His aim was that educated Muslims may have access to the Quran without depending on the scholars who had opposed his reformatory measures. The short sighted ullama gathered and wanted to kill him for his sin of translating the Quran from Arabic to Persian but he continued with his task till he completed it. This task was appreciated by Allah so much so that the Quran is translated to many languages.

Apart from the Holy Quran, Shah Waliullah also wrote authentic books on Hadith, the principles of Hadith, Tafseer and on mystical subjects. But the most popular book of “Hujatul Baligdh”. This book explains how Islam was found suitable for all races, cultures and people of the world and how successfully it solves social, moral, economic and political problems of human beings. He died in Delhi on the year 1176 AH corresponding to 1762 AD, behind the central jail. There is a vast ground and a graveyard known popularly as “Mehindin Kakhitta” which contains in it the grave of Shah Waliullah and his progeny.

Hazrat Shah Waliullah was fortunate of having children who were great scholars and god-fearing men like himself. His eldest son Shah Abdul Aziz was born in 1159 AH and died in 1238 AH corresponding to 1823 AD. At the age of 17 he had become an accomplished scholar and began teaching like his father. For 60 years, he continued teaching and preaching Islam. The blessing of his knowledge reached every corner of the Indian sub-continent. Because of his versatile genius he was giving the title “Ayatullah”, a sign of God.

The second of Shah Waliullah Rafi-uddin. He was born in 1163 AH and died in 1233 AH. His scholarly qualities may well be judged from the fact that when Shah Abdul Aziz had become to teach he passed on his responsibilities to Shah Rafi. Among the work of Shah Rafi his urdu translation of the Holy Quran.

The third son of Shah Sahib was Shah Abdul Qadir who was born in 1162 AH and died in 1230 AH. He was also a big scholar by his nature, he loved solitude, and he spent his whole life in a secluded room of Akbar Badi mosque. He did not much attend to literary writings, however, his urdu translation under the title of “Mozih ul Quran” was his monumental achievement which is recognised by scholarly circles.

His fourth son was Abdul Ghani. He was a saintly person. His son Shah Ismail Shaheed was a unique personality who had combined in himself all virtues of scholarly and mystical personalities.

In short, due to sincere and dedicated efforts of Shah Waliullah and his family the illustrious banner of Islam kept flying over the Indian sub continent despite the decline and fall of the Mughal empire. In Spain, the faith of Islam disappeared with disappearance of the Muslim rule. Many Muslims were killed and many were converted to Christianity. In India however the intention of the British Government did not realize and Muslim India did not convert to the faith of the ruling people despite missionary efforts of the British Government who spent millions of pounds on missionary activities and arranged lectures, debates and seminars to propagate their faith. The failure of the British Government in converting Muslim India was due to the dedicated efforts of Hazrat Shah Waliullah and his noble family.


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