Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi)
[1292 – 1352 AH] (1875 – 1933 AD)
Maulana Anwar Shah’s (Shah Sahib) genealogy can be traced back to al-Imam al-Akbar Abu Hanifah. This genealogy is mentioned in Shah Sahib's two works, namely, Nayl al-Farqadayn and Kashf al-Satr.
Many inhabitants of Kashmir are known of have benefited spiritually from Shah Sahib's father who passed away at the ripe age of 115 and is buried in Wirnu, Kashmir. He too was known for his saintly nature.
Shah Sahib was born in the beautiful valleys of Kashmir on 27 Shawwal 1292/26 November 1875 in a village called Dudwan which is near Kapwara in the valley of Lawlab. His parents were practising Muslims and thus he grew up in a religious environment. At the tender age of five, his father taught him the recitation of the Holy Qur'aan and at the age of seven he instructed him in Fars (Persian language).
After completing his Farsi studies, he studied Arabic grammar, fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and usul al-fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) under Maulana Ghulam Muammad Rasunipura. Shah Sahib was so motivated in his intellectual pursuits that within two years he completed his studies in these subjects.
It was during this early period of his life that his unusual talent and memory were manifested. For example, his father stated that while his son was studying Mukhtasar al-Quduri (an abridged version of ahanaf manual on Islamic Jurisprudence), he would ask such fiqh-related questions that necessitated his consulting other voluminous books on Islamic Jurisprudence before he could finally find the appropriate answers to his son's questions.
In 1887, after completing his primary Islamic education in Kashmir, Shah Sahib travelled to Hazarah in quest of higher Islamic learning. Since he was only 13 at that time, his physical separation from his parents were extremely hard upon them.
Hazarah was then considered to be the centre for higher Islamic education. It was here that some prominent Islamic scholars conducted classes in the different branches of learning which were related to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah (Traditions of the Prophet Muammad - s.a.w.s.). Shah Sahib studied in that district for a period of three years, but his great thirst for knowledge could not be fulfilled here. Thus, once he learnt from some of his teachers about the Dar al-`Ulum in Deoband, U.P., India, he decided to further his studies there.
In 1889, he arrived in Deoband. During the early years of the establishment of the Dar al-`Ulum in Deoband, there were no boarding and lodging facilities for the students. Shah Sahib had no acquaintance in the city of Deoband and thus he had no other option but to reside temporarily in Masjid Qaa, a mosque near the Dar al-`Ulum. While staying at the mosque, he lead the salaah (the daily five compulsory prayers), cleaned this place of worship and looked after its general affairs. It was while residing at the mosque that one of the trustees of the mosque, namely, Qari Amad Husayn, introduced him to Maulana Mamood Hasan. This is how he became the student of this renown Muslim scholar who had pursued his education under the guidance of two notable scholars, namely, Maulana Qasim Nanawtwi and Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Maulana Mamood Hasan completed his studies at Deoband in 1873 and joined the staff at the Dar al-`Ulum in Deoband. In all he spent 40 years at this institution where he played an important role in its teaching programme as well as in its administrative affairs. He passed away in Delhi in 1919 and lies buried in Deoband.
Besides studying under Maulana Mamood Hasan, Shah Sahib also studied under Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Maulana Ishaq Amratsar and Maulana Ghulam Rasool. It was only in 1894 that he was exposed to the classical works of Hadith literature like Al-Jami` al-a of Imam al-Bukhari, and al-Jami` al-Tirmidhi, and Tafsir (exegeses) works like al-Jalalayn and other important literary works in other branches of Islamic knowledge.
After his formal education at Deoband, Shah Sahib moved to Ganghohi where he continued his studies in Hadith. It was here that he received spiritual guidance from Maulana Rashid Ahmad Ganghohi. In all, Shah Sahib spent ten years of his life acquiring knowledge in Islamic sciences.
Shah Sahib taught Islamic sciences at Madrasah Aminiyah founded in 1897 and named after its founder Maulana Amin al-Din, a close friend of his. This institution was located at the Sunahr Masjid, Delhi. Maulana Amin al-Din was its first principal and Shah Sahib was its first adr al-mudarrisin (head of the teachers).
In 1901, his mother passed away and Shah Sahib returned to Kashmir and seeing the pathetic conditions and plight of the Muslims in Kashmir, he decided to serve the Muslims of his birth place. He taught at Madrasah Fay`m in Bara Mawla, for three years. It was in 1905 that he, for the first time, travelled abroad with a large group of Muslims for the purpose of performing the Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).
During this sojourn in the holy cities i.e. Makkah and Madinah, he visited the libraries and the various institutions of Islamic learning and met some notable scholars like `Allamah Shaykh Hasan Tarablis.
It was in 1908 that Shah Sahib decided to migrate from Kashmir to the holy city of Madinah. However, before undertaking this journey, he thought it to be appropriate to visit his teacher, Maulana Mamood Hasan in Deoband. Maulana Mamood Hasan did not encourage him to migrate to Madinah and insisted that Shah Sahib should rather settle in Deoband and take up a lecturing post at the Dar al-`Ulum. Shah Sahib finally, out of respect for his teacher, reluctantly accepted the post. During his first year as a teacher at the Dar al-`Ulum, he was assigned with the task of teaching the three Authentic Collections of Hadith, namely, Al-Jami` al-Hadith of Imam Muslim, Sunan al-Nasai', and Sunan ibn Majah.
Within a few months after Shah Sahib began teaching at the Dar al-`Ulum in Deoband, his teacher, Maulana Mamood Hasan became more involved in politics and this took its toll on the Maulana who was forced to migrate to Madinah. The teachers felt that during the absence of Maulana Mamood Hasan, Shah Sahib should be given the added responsibility of teaching Al-Jami` al-Hadith of Imam al-Bukhari and Al-Jami` Imam al-Tirmidhi. This gave Shah Sahib an ideal opportunity to effect a change in the methodology of teaching the science of Hadith. His innovative method attracted a large number of students from all parts of India. He was then accredited as Shaykh al-Hadith. It was in that same year (1908) that Shah Sahib got married. His wife was belonged to a respectable family in Ganghoh.
During the eighteen years that he spent teaching at Deoband, he was instrumental in producing some prominent scholars in the field of Hadith. Some 2 000 students qualified under him. Some of them are: Maulana `Abd al-Qadir Raipur, Mufti Muhammad Shafi` Uthmani, Maulana Manazir Asan Jilan, Maulana Idris Khandelwi, Mawlan Badr al-`Alam, Maulana Yusuf Binori, Mufti `Atiq al-Rahman, Maulana Mansur Nu`man, and Qari Tayyib.
While engaged in teaching, Shah Sahib also devoted his time propagating Islam. He was thus noted for giving public lectures on Islam within India and also produced some literary works in defence of Islam.
In 1927 a problem arose in the management of Dar al-`Ul m of Deoband and this caused Shah Sahib and some of the other prominent teachers like `Allamah Shabbir Amad Uthmani, Maulana Badr-i-`Alam, and Maulana Siraj Amad and Maulana if al-Raman to leave Deoband and to settle in Dhabel, Gujerat, India.
Maulana Muhammad ibn Musa Mia Afriqi was instrumental in convincing Shah Sahib to take up a teaching post at the Islamic Institution in Dhabel. Henceforth, students started to flock from all parts of the world to Dhabel and within a short period, Dhabel became a famous Dar al-Ulum. When Shah Sahib came to Dhabel, he observed that Muslims in the Gujerat were engaged in some practices that were not in conformomity with the Islamic concept of tawhid (Oneness of Allah). Thus, he spent his spare time teaching the lay Muslims and enlightened them on the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
It was in Dhabel where Shah Sahib had spent five years teaching that he became very ill. He took leave of absence to return to his old home in Deoband, where a handful of doctors attended to his medical condition. Notable among them were Hakim Nabina ib (a blind physician) and Hakim Muammad Amad and Dr. Anwar.
After the `asr Salaah on Sunday 2nd Safar 1352/27 May 1933, Qari Tayyib and a group of students visited the ailing Shah Sahib at his home. The students were eager to learn from him and although they noticed that he was very sick, they nevertheless posed a number of questions to him on many an issue. Shah Sahib obliged and responded to their questions satisfactorily. On that same night, his condition worsened and breathed his last at midnight.
News of Shah Sahib's death spread like wild fire throughout India. The following morning Maulana `Abd al-Aad, a teacher at the Dar al-`Ulum of Deoband and Mufti Muammad Sharif gave him the ceremonial bath (ghusl) and after the Zuhr salah his janazah (funeral) prayer was performed by Maulana Asghar Husayn.
Shah Sahib lies buried in an orchard which belonged to his wife in the outskirts of Deoband, close to the `Eid Ghah (the place where Muslims congregate to perform the festival prayers). It was Shah Sahib’s wish that he be buried at that particular place because it was there that he often came to eat the fruits from the orchard.
This particular orchard was purchased by Shah Sahib's wife on the morning of his demise. She sold some of her valuables in order to fulfil the dying wish of her husband. A room exists near his tomb and it was rumoured that he used to study in it while he was a student at Deoband. However, this is not authentic. Maulana Muhammad Mia of South Africa who was one of his close students and associates financed the building of that room after the passing away of Shah Sahib. The purpose for constructing that room was to house the caretaker of the new graveyard. Today, several other members of Shah Sahib's family lay buried in this graveyard.
The day following his demise, all major newspapers carried articles in which condolences were expressed to the Muslim world for the loss of this great scholar.
Upon Shah Sahib's demise, `Allamah Muammad Iqbal said, "Muslims have not seen the like of this great scholar during the last five hundred years."
Maulana Shabbir Amad `Uthman said, "Not only have the students been deprived of a great teacher but the learned ones too have lost a great guide."
Maulana Husayn Amad Madani was asked to speak at a gathering after his death and he could not compose himself and broke down in tears and was unable to speak. The only words that he could utter were, "the `Ulama and students have become orphans today."
Poems composed in Shah Sahib's praise and the many messages of condolences received after his demise have been recorded in the work entitled Naqsh-i-Dawam, written by his son, Maulana Anwar Shah.
source: Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri by Central Mosque
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