|Shaykh al-Islām Imam-ul-hind mujaddid
Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
|Title||shadow of wisdom|
|Born||21 February 1703
Moza Phalat, Delhi, India
|Died||20 August 1762 (aged 59)
|Occupation||Muhaddtih, historiographer, bibliographer, theologian philosopher, academic, mystic, linguist|
|Main interest(s)||Hadith studies, tafsir, parapsychology, mysticism, sociology, history, bibliography, revolution, fiqh, military strategy|
|Notable work(s)||Translation of the Quran into Persian|
Part of a series on Islam
Sufism and Tariqat
Quṭb ad-Dīn Aḥmad Walī Allāh ibn ‘Abd ar-Raḥīm al-‘Umarī ad-Dihlawī' (Arabic: قطب الدين أحمد ولي الله بن عبد الرحيم العمري الدهلوي; 1703–1762), commonly known as Shah Waliullah Dehlawi, was an Islamic scholar, muhaddith reformer, historiographer, bibliographer, theologian, and philosopher.
Shah Waliullah was born on 21 February 1703 to Shah Abdur Rahim, during the reign of Emperor Aurengzeb. He was known as Shah walliullah because of his piety. He was a prominent Sufi and scholar of Delhi. He memorized the Qur'an by the age of seven. Soon thereafter, he mastered Arabic and Persian letters. He was married at fourteen. By sixteen he had completed the standard curriculum of Hanafi law, theology, geometry, arithmetic and logic.
He lived during the time when Fatawa-e-Alamgiri was being compiled and he was asked to join the team of scholars that was working on it. However he joined the team for a very brief period of time and then dissociated himself from the task.
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, Fatwa-e-Alamgiri. His grandfather, Sheikh Wajihuddin, was an important officer in the army of Shah Jahan.
He had a son who was also a famous religious scholar, Shah Abdul Aziz. He went to Saudia Arabia to do Hajj.
"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."
Shah Walliullah worked hard to ensure that he was a role model for other Muslims. His deep understanding of the Qur'an, Hadith, Fiqah and Tasawuf made him highly knowledgeable scholar at an early age.
Since he believed that an emphasis of the Quranic 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. The Ulama criticised Shah Walliullah, but his work proved very popular. In addition to translating the Quran, Shah Walliullah wrote 51 books in Persian and Arabic. Amongst the most famous were Hujjat Allah al-Baligha and Izalat-Akhfa. He also wrote an account on the first four caliphs of Islam in a way that was acceptable to both Shias and Sunnis. he tried to heal the division between them.
His writings bought him great fame and prestige and enabled him to have influence in other areas too. One of his most important contributions to the Muslim community was his organisation of opposition to the Maratha Empire, who had captured large parts of India which belonged to the Mughal Empire before and had reduced the Mughal emperor to a mere puppet. It was partly his influence which helped to persuade Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan to intervene. He joined forces with local Muslim leaders and defeated the Marathas at The Battle of Panipat in 1761. However, this proved short-lived, because the Marathas recovered quickly from the defeat and within a decade, managed to recapture most of their possessions in Northern India.
Shah Waliullah learned from Sufis. He also studied the Wahhabi movement. Unlike many Wahhabis, he did not reject Sufism. 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).
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