The Legacy of Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri.

 Mohd Ishaq Shah ✉

“The Past five hundred years of Islamic history cannot produce the like of Moulana Kashmiri” (Dr. Muhammad Iqbal-Ra).

Photo by Ali Arif Soyda┼č on Unsplash

A recent viral video against the great personality of Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri prompted me to have a study about the Moulana and I could not resist reflecting on his legacy that has a lot for learning and inspiration. The policy of the British was ‘divide and rule’. Consequently, the Indian subcontinent could see some shifts in the religious and cultural tendencies among people during this rule. The emergence of the Qadiyani sect was the result of that policy with the aim and objective to create suspense among the Muslim population of India with regard to the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) being the last prophet of Islam and being the seal of prophets. Mirza Qadiyani would claim to be the messiah of Allah and he would cross the limits to such an extent that he issued a fatwa that the holy war (JIHAD) has lost its concurrence and the verses related to Jihad stand cancelled. Nobody was aware that Mirza had been sponsored by British to make the furry of Mulsim masses be subsided so that they could their stronghold as they could not defy Muslim uleme of those times. One of that ulama was Hazrat Moulana Kashmiri who resisted very hard against British rule and was put behind bars so many times during his life. Let’s learn something from a free encyclopedia about this great scholar.
Anwar Shah Kashmiri (26 November 1875–28 May 1933) was an Islamic scholar from Kashmir in the early twentieth century, best known for his expertise in the study of hadith, a strong memory, and a unique approach to interpreting traditions, as well as the fourth principal of Darul Uloom Deoband. With an ancestral heritage of religious scholarship rooted in Baghdad, he acquired training in Islamic sciences at Darul Uloom Deoband under the mentorship of Mahmud Hasan Deobandi, alongside enjoying a spiritual journey with Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Initiating his vocation as the first principal of Madrasa Aminia, he embarked on a hajj in 1906 with a sojourn in Medina, dedicated to exploring the depths of hadith literature. Subsequently, he joined Darul Uloom Deoband, serving as the post of Sheikh al-Hadith for nearly thirteen years before choosing Jamia Islamia Talimuddin as his final destination for his academic voyage. Although he displayed limited inclination toward the written word, a handful of treatises flowed from his pen. Yet, the bulk of his literary legacy has been preserved through the efforts of his students, who transcribed his classroom lectures, discourses, and sermons. While the crux of his scholarly work centred on championing the Hanafi school and establishing its supremacy, he also garnered recognition for his comparatively liberal approach to various religious matters. His publications found their place under the patronage of Majlis-i Ilmi, a scholarly institution established in Delhi in 1929. His scholarly credentials received official endorsement with the publication of Fayd al-Bari, a four-volume Arabic commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari, curated by Badre Alam Merathi and published in Cairo, with the financial support of Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal.
The spectrum of his literary endeavours touched diverse subjects, encompassing the Quran, Fundamental Beliefs, Metaphysics, Islamic Jurisprudence, Zoology, Poetry, and Political Thought, mostly in Arabic, with two in Persian. He also left behind 15,000 couplets of poetry. Many Indian scholars frequently referenced his views and opinions in their works, and he was often referred to as a Mobile Library. During his eighteen-year teaching career at the Deoband Seminary, he contributed to the training of approximately two thousand Hadith scholars. Regarding his engagement in the political arena, he was a vehement opponent of British colonial rule in India and encouraged Muslims not to cooperate with the British as a member of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. He is particularly remembered for his 1927 presidential address at the Peshawar annual meeting. In the twilight of his life, he directed his energies towards countering the rising tide of Qadiyanism, and his erudition manifested in the creation of approximately ten works on the subject. His intellectual prowess even inspired other figures like Muhammad Iqbal to undertake an exploration of Islam and Ahmadism. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has declared his house in Kashmir as an old wooden heritage site.
“Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RH) hails from a rich history of Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. Islam reached the Subcontinent through exposure by Muslim merchants in the Indian Ocean Trade. It gained a strong foothold after the Umayyad General Muhammad bin Qasim conquered areas of the Sindh Province in approximately 711 AD. The population was very receptive to Islam’s simplicity and its indiscrimination toward social classes. Islamic rule in the Subcontinent evolved from the Umayyad Dynasty to the Ghaznavi Dynasty, to the Ghurid Kingdom, to the Delhi Sultanate, and lastly the Mughal Empire. After the passing of the last, effective ruler of the Mughal Empire, Aurangzeb, the British Empire colonized India and subjected the Muslims to intense scrutiny through disenfranchisement and religion-cultural appropriation. By the mid-19th century, the disenfranchisement of Muslim Indians and their dwindling connection to Islam was so severe that it spurred multiple rebellions across the Subcontinent against the British. Most notable were the campaigns led by Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (RH) on the northern frontier where he was tragically martyred at the Battle of Balakot and the Mutiny of 1857 where ulama led violent yet unsuccessful rebellions against British rule.
Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri’s (RH) main speciality in the Islamic sciences was the field of Hadith. Along with studying the standard collections of Hadith, he would go on to read most other compilations along with several hundred commentaries. It was Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri’s (RH) perspective that the life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and its teachings were meant to be disseminated to the public for their benefit. He would aggressively write and lecture to the masses on the Prophet’s (SAW) life. One of the reasons why Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RH) was a Savior of Islam was not only his commitment to studying the Islamic sciences, but it was stepping up to the plate to defend the honour and legacy of the Prophet (SAW), especially as a scholar of Hadith. While attempting to enlighten the masses on the life of the Prophet (SAW), many Muslim Indians were attracted to the message propagated by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the early 20th century. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a self-proclaimed reviver of Islam. However, he claimed to be the Messiah prophesied to arrive at the end of times and that Isa (AS) died a natural death. In addition, Ahmad was supported by the British who sought to ideologically divide the Muslim-Indian community. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s teachings contradicted the basic tenets of Islamic belief and Mawlana Anwar (RH) took on the responsibility of refuting the movement. He did so in order to protect the beliefs of many vulnerable Muslims in India and to protect the message of his dearly beloved Prophet (SAW). Mawlana Anwar (RH) published several texts publically clarifying the positions of Sunni Islam in reference to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claims and contributed heavily in preventing the spread of Ahmad’s teachings.”(Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri: The Modern Muhaddith, Miftaah Institute)
So, it becomes inevitable to jot down here that the religious preachers must study very hard before they give any statement about any religious scholar of the past. As revealed by the history Pride and prejudice have destroyed the nations. Because when we are prejudiced, our mind is shorn of the reason and logic hence leading to miscalculations on our part. At the end of this article, I would like to put my modest proposal before the public that they must not let themselves be misguided by these so-called scholars when we have the Quran and Sunnah in front of us.

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