|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2009)|
21 February 1703 (1114 Hijri)|
Delhi, Mughal controlled Muslim territory of India
|Died||20 August 1762
(aged 59) (1176 Hijri)|
|Notable work(s)||Hujjat Allah al-baligha (The Conclusive Argument from God)|
|Sufism and Tariqa|
|Schools of Law|
|Schools of theology|
Qutb-ud-Dīn Ahmad ibn 'Abdul Rahīm (Arabic: قطب الدین احمد ابن عبدالرحیم), also known as Shāh Walīullāh and Shāh Walī Allāh (1703–1762 CE / 1114–1176 AH) was an Islamic scholar, reformer and founder of modern Islamic thought who attempted to reassess Islamic theology in the light of modern changes.
Shāh Walīullāh was born on 21 February 1703, four years before the death of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. His genealogy can be traced back to the family of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. He received his education and his spiritual instruction at the madrasa Rahimya (religious school) established by his father, Shah 'Abd al-Rahim, at Delhi. Along with the Qur'an, he studied Arabic and Persian grammar and literature and the higher philosophical, theological, metaphysical, mystical and juridical texts. He graduated from the school when he was barely fifteen years old; in the same year, his father initiated him into the famous Naqshbandi order. He began his career as a teacher at the Madrasa-e-Rahimia under the tutelage of his father; after the death of the latter in 1718, Shah Waliullah became the head of the madrasa, teaching all the sciences at the school for about twelve years. During the same period he continued his own studies, growing in stature as a teacher and attracting students to his circle.
In 1724 he went to the Hijaz on a pilgrimage (Hajj) and stayed there for eight years studying Hadith and Fiqh under such distinguished scholars as Abu Tahir bin ibrahim al-Kurdi al-Madani, Wafd Allah al-Makki, and Taj al-Din al-Qali. During this period he came into contact with people from all parts of the Muslim world and, thus, obtained first-hand information about the conditions then prevailing in the various Muslim countries. During this time, he also saw the 47 spiritual visions which form the subject matter of his famous mystical work Fuyud al-haramayn (Emanations or Spiritual Visions of Makkah and Madina).
He returned to Delhi in 1732, where he spent the rest of his life producing numerous works until his death in 1762 during the reign of Shah Alam II. The most important of Shah Waliullah's works is his Ḥujjat Allāh al-Bāligha in which he made an attempt to present the teachings of Islam in a spirit of scientific objectivity. The range of his works include: economic, political, social, meta-physical, as well as purely theological aspects.He presented what he considered pure and pristine Islam to the people.
He wrote a letter to Ahmad Shah Durrani asking him to come and conquer India in response to the rising Maratha domination. He also translated the Quran from Arabic to Persian, so that more Muslims could be able to understand the teachings of the Quran. Later his sons Shah Abdul Qader and Shah Rafi translated the Quran in Urdu which meant it was now accessible to more Muslims.
Shah Wali Ullah’s main focus was on the Qur'an, Hadith, Kalam, socio-political and ethical philosophy and spiritual sciences. He wrote extensively in Islamic studies, including Tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis), Hadith (traditions of the Prophet), Fiqh (law), usulal' Fiqh, (principles of jurisprudence), 'Aqa'id (beliefs), Kalam (scholastics), philosophy, Tasawwuf (spiritual sciences), history, biography, Arabic poetry, and grammar. He also wrote in the areas of sociology, politics, psychology and ethical philosophy.
•Fath al-Rahman al Tarjamat al-Qur'an, Karachi, 1984. It is among the first popular renderings of the Qur'an into simple Persian language. It was completed by the author in Ramadan 1151 A.H.
• Al-Fawz al-Kabir, Lahore, 1951, 52 pp. It is a concise, but extremely valuable treatise on the principles of Qur'anic exegesis. It is among the most popular works of Shah Wali Ullah, which has made an outstanding contribution to the study and understanding of the Qur'an. Originally written in Persian, it has been translated into Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, and English languages. It was first published in Delhi in 1898 A.H.
• Al-Fath al-Kabir (Arabic), Lucknow, 1314 A.H. It deals with the explanation of the difficult words used in the Qur'an, with terms that are usually called ghara'ib, i.e. words that are not quite familiar in the common diction.
• Al-Musawwa min Ahadlth al-Muwatta', It is a highly technical commentary in Arabic on this early collection of traditions compiled by Malik ibn Anas (d. 179 A.H.). It was first published in Delhi in 1293 A.H.
• Musaffa Sharh-i Muwatta'. It is a commentary in Persian on the Muwatta'. It represents Shah Wali Ullah's methodology in the teaching of Hadith. It was first published in 1293 A.H. in Delhi in two volumes. It has been translated into Urdu by Sayyid 'Abd Ullah and was published from Calcutta in 1294 A.H.
• Sharh Tarajim Ba'dAbwab al-Bukhan (Arabic), Hyderabad, 1949. In this treatise, Shah Wali Ullah has discussed the wisdom of the topical headings adopted by Imam Bukhari for different chapters of ahadith of this important compendium of traditions compiled by Imam Bukhari (d. 256 A.H.). It was first published in Hyderabad (India) in 1323 A.H.
• Al-lnsaffl Bayan Sabab al-lkhtilaf (Arabic), Beirut, 1977, 114 pp. It is a juridical discourse on the compilation of the early compendia of ahadith, and the evolution of different schools of jurisprudence. It also discusses the nature of disagreement among the jurists and the principles of resolving various conflicting opinions so as to arrive at a synthetic view within the broad framework of Islamic jurisprudence. It was first published in Delhi in 1308 A.H. It was also translated into Urdu. • Iqd al-Jld ft Bayan Ahkam al-ljtihad wa al-Taqlid (Arabic), Delhi, 1925. This treatise discusses various dimensions of the issues involved in ijtihad and taqlid and presents a balanced view on this oft-discussed and much-debated question. It was also translated into Urdu.
• Hujjat Allah al-Balighah (Arabic), Cairo, 1933. It is the magnum opus of the author and constitutes a highly significant exposition of the Islamic worldview. We shall separately present an introduction to this work in some detail. It was first published in Bareily (India) in 1286 A.H. A number of Urdu translations of this work have appeared. It has also been recently translated into English under the title: The Conclusive Argument from God by Marcia Hermansen, and the first part of the translation has been published by E.J. Brill at Leiden in 1996. • Al-Budur al-BQzighah (Arabic), Hyderabad, 1970. It is the second most important contribution of the author to a philosophical and rational interpretation of Islam after Hujjat Allah al-Balighah. It has also been translated into English by J.M.S. Baijon. • Al-Khayr al-Kathir (Arabic), Bijnaur, India, 1325 A.H. It is a brief work in which he attempts to explain the fundamentals of faith with an approach combining rational and traditional arguments. • Maktub-i Madam (Persian), Lahore, 1965. It is a long letter addressed by Shah Wali Allah to one Isma'il ibn 'Abd Allah Rumi. It deals with the metaphysical dimensions of the concept of existence. The work explains the position of the author on the problem of existence which syntheses the views of Ibn 'Arabi and Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi. This letter has also been included in al-TafhTmat al-Ilahiyyah. • Al- 'Aqidah al-Hasanah (Arabic), Lucknow, 1962, 72 pp. It is a plain and rational presentation of the fundamentals of belief in Islam. It has also been translated into Urdu. • Al-Muqaddimah al-Saniyyah fi Intisar al-Firqah al-Sunniyyah (Persian), Delhi, (n.d.). This work attempts a rational expose of the Sunni theological doctrines in comparison with the doctrines of the Shi'ah. This is in fact Shah Wali Allah's introduction to the Persian translation of a treatise by Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi entitled Radd-i-Rawafii.
• Al-Tafhimat al-Ilahiyyah (Arabic and Persian) (Bijnaur India: 1936), 264 pp. This work is in two volumes and includes a number of stray writings of the author, in which he has explained subtle points of rational and spiritual import with regard to the teachings of the true faith. Some of these writings are in Arabic and others in Persian. • Altaf al-Quds (Persian) Delhi, n.d. It deals with the basic principles of the spiritual sciences. It has been translated into Urdu (Lahore; 1975), and also English under the title: The Sacred Knowledge of the Higher Functions of the Mind (Lahore: 1982). • Sata'at (Persian) (Hyderabad: 1970), 54 pp. It discusses various aspects and dimensions of Divine theophany and attempts to explain the nature of the abstract and material worlds and their respective characteristics. It has been translated into English and Urdu. • Fuyud al-Haramayn (Arabic) (Delhi: n.d.), 144 pp. Shah Wali Allah relates his spiritual experiences during his sojourn in Makkah and Madinah. It has also been translated into Urdu. The Urdu version was published in Lahore in 1947. • Anfas al- 'Arifin (Persian). It narrates the spiritual attainments of the author's forefathers and spiritual ancestors. It was first published in 1335 A.H. in Delhi.