Mawlana Marghub al-Rahman

OBITUARY: Maulana Marghoobur Rahman (1914-2010)

by Manzar Imam Qasmi

Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, one of the longest serving rectors of the famed Islamic seminary Darul Uloom at Deoband passed away on 8th December 2010 at his ancestral town Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh leaving behind thousands of Deoband alumni across the world grieved. He was 96 and had been residing in Bijnor for sometime due to failing health. He is survived by a son (Maulana Anwar Ilahi) and a daughter. His body was brought to Deoband from Bijnor. The funeral prayers were offered at Deoband after Isha and he was buried at Mazar-e-Qasmi, the graveyard closest to Darul Uloom. Prayer meetings were held throughout India and abroad.

He took over the rectorship following the unfortunate turn of events that led to the ouster of Qari Muhammad Tayyib (1897-1983) in 1982. The conditions could have vitiated further but Maulana Marghoobur Rahman’s farsightedness and sincerity towards the institution made things only better. His tenure saw the landmark fatwa against terror in February 2008 calling terror attacks on innocents, against the tenets of Islam.

Maulana Marghoobur Rahman remained rector of Darul Uloom for 30 long years, the second longest period after Qari Mohammad Tayyib. His strength lay in his patience, perseverance and commitment. He avoided controversies and tried to amend the fractured relationships that had earlier bruised the very notion behind the establishment of Darul Uloom. He also managed to keep Darul Uloom free from political factionalism of any sort. Darul Uloom grew in strength and number of students, the administration ran smooth and the academic atmosphere became conducive for learning.

Prominent persons from diverse walks of life expressed their sorrow over the demise of Maulana Marghoob. The services rendered for thirty years as rector of Darul Uloom can never be forgotten, K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha said. Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and president of All India Talimi Wa Milli Foundation expressed deep sorrow over the demise of Maualan Marghoobur Rahman and called it a huge loss to the nation and to Deoband fraternity.

Amar Singh, former general secretary of Samajwadi Party and head of Lok Manch described him as a man of great piety, grace and humility. His demise is a great loss to the nation. Maulana Marghoobur Rahman was seen with trust not only by Muslims but also by non-Muslims, Singh added. Maulana Mohammad Ajaz Urfi, president of All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Haq called his rectoral tenure the Golden Period.

Maulana Marghoobur Rahman witnessed the formation of a breakaway faction from the Darul Uloom in 1982, but was able to stabilise the institution. Darul Uloom (Waqf) Deoband, the parallel faction, declared a day off as a mark of respect. In more recent times, when one of the largest Muslim organisations of clerics, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, got divided between two groups, he was able to keep the balance between both sides and mediate at crucial moments.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has expressed grief over the sad demise of renowned religious scholar. In his condolence message, the Chief Minister conveyed his sympathy with the bereaved family and prayed for the eternal peace to the departed soul.

Maulana Arshad Madani, president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (A) termed his death as an irreparable loss and said that his role in the Renaissance of Darul Uloom is highly valuable. Najeeb Jung, Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) said Maulana Marghoob’s death is an irreparable loss. He took over the charge of Darul Uloom at a very critical moment. Masjid Rahseed, which is a masterpiece of Islamic art, was constructed in his period. Darul Uloom made considerable progress to contemporary education. I find madrasa students very promising, the VC said, adding that if little attention is paid to them they can compete other students. Prof. Shafiq Ahmad Khan Nadwi, former Head, Department of Arabic, JMI shared his personal experience with the participants during a condolence meeting held at JMI which he had of the Maulana during a journey with him that Maulana Marghoob was a true successor of the old generation of ulama in piety. He was very balanced.

Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Maulana Mahmood Madani termed his death a personal loss and a great milli loss too. The void left with his demise, would be hard to fill, Madani said. Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri, Emir, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind called his death a huge loss to Ummah. Delhi MLA Asif Mohammad Khan extended his sympathies to the family of Maulana Marghoob and said that he was very closely associaited with various organisations and had devoted his life to the service of the nation, Muslims and Islam.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi, deputy rector of Darul Uloom hailed the services of Maulana Marghoobur Rahman. Darul Uloom witnessed huge success during his tenure, he said. Speaking about his selfless service to the seminary, Madrasi said that Maulana Marghoob would himself pay the rent and electricity bill of the room in which he lived. Dr Manzoor Alam, General Secretary of All India Milli Council said that heading Darul Uloom for thirty years is a memorable work. He mentioned the circumstances in which he took over the charge of Darul Uloom. It was his unique quality to divert the unfavourable circumstances to academics. The construction work and the global recognition that Deoband got during his period was the result of his administrative capabilities and farsightedness.

Maulana Salim Qasmi, rector Darul Uloom Waqf, Deoband, Syed Shahabuddin, former IFS officer and president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Maulana Asgar Ali Imam Mehdi of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Maulana Habibur Rahman Thani Ludhianwi, Shahi Imam of Punjab, Darul Uloom Deoband Old Boys Association (Delhi) and various other organisaitons and prominent figure held prayer meetings and paid rich tributes to Maulana Marghoobur Rahman.

Born in 1914 in a respectable learned family of Bijnor, he received early education at Madrasa Rahimia and then went to Darul Uloom Deoband in 1929 to get further education and studied there under the guidance of Shaikhul Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957) and other great ulama of that period. He also got Ifta degree and was himself a good Aalim and a Mufti. But instead of adopting teaching he preferred the administrative work.

In 1962 Maulana Margoobur Rahman was appointed Member of Majlis-e-Shura (The Consultative Body) of Darul Uloom Deoband. In 1981 when the then rector Qari Muhammad Tayyib needed an assistant, all ayes felt on him. Following the tumultuous phase of 1982, he became the full-fledged rector of the seminary and held the post till his demise.

It is pertinent to mention here that Darul Uloom Deoband has lost three great personalities in 2010. Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Naseer Ahmad Khan (b. 1918) died in February, while working rector Maulana Ghulam Rasool Khamosh (b. 1940) passed away in October and now Maulana Marghoobur Rahman is no more. The passing away of these three great scholars and teachers within a year is a major loss the seminary.

Mufti Abul Qasim of Benaras has been temporarily appointed rector of Darul Uloom to serve till 10 January 2010. By then the Consultative Body will decide who the next successor of Maulana Marghoob would be. The onus lies with the Consultative Body, the highest Executive Body of Darul Uloom to find a right person to head the renowned religious seminary of Asia.


[A Delhi-based journalist, Special Correspondent of, Manzar Imam was also educated at Darul Uloom in Deoband. He can be reached at]


Hadhrat Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, Mohtamim Darul Uloom Deoband 1914-2010

by Muhammadllah Khalili Qasmi

Hadhrat Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, Mohtamim (VC / Rector) of Darul Uloom Deoband, died in his hometwon Bijnor UP on 08/12/2010 at 1045 am. He was suufering from various diseases and was bedridden from past several months. He was 96 and one of the most senior Ulama of Deoband.

Within a short span of 10 months, it lost three of its top most leaders and administrators. Maulana Naseer Ahmad Khan, the Shaikhul Hadith and Head of Education Faculty, being the first to pass away in last February after a long career of teaching for 64 years. Second was Maulana Ghulam Rasool Khamosh, Acting Mohtamim of Darul Uloom, who died after a very short illness in Deoband on 8 October 2010. And now just after two months, Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, Mohtamim (VC or Rector) of Darul Uloom Deoband, is no more. Darul Uloom is acutely facing leadership crisis at this stage of time just like its socio-political political front Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind which after the death of its stalwart leader Maulana Sayed Asad Madani having faced with the same situation could not help sustain and disintegrated into two fractions.

Maulana Margoorbur Rahman was very old and was suffering from various diseases. He grew very much weak and lay bedridden from past several months. Ultimately he breathed his last in his hometown Bijnor on 8 December 2010. The tremor of his death news shook countless people especially related to Deoband school of thought in India and outside.

He was the third Mohtamim with longest term in office (1982-2010) after Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib (1929-1982) and his father Hafiz Muhammad Ahmad (1895-1928).

His Early Life

Maulana Marghoobur Rahman was born in 1914 in Bijnor in a landlord family. His father Maulana Hakim Mashiyatullah Bijnori was an early product of Darul Uloom and served as Member of Majlis Shura (executive body) of Darul Uloom Deoband from 1925 to 1953. He came to Deoband fir studies in 1929 and graduated in 1932 under Shaikhul Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani (1979-1957), the well-known freedom leader and nationalist, along with other great Ulama present at that time. Later, he was trained to write fatwas under Mufti Mahdi Hasan Shahjahanpuri and Mufti Sahool Bhagalpuri.

His Services and Contributions

It was in 1962 when he was appointed as Member of Shura (Executive Body) of Darul Uloom Deoband. The members are chosen from among the eminent Muslims scholars from across the country. This membership itself is considered a token of recognition and reverence for one who is selected on the body. Maulana Marghoobur Rahman justified his selection and won the trust of elders due to his devotion and farsightedness.

So, in 1981 he was assigned to help the then Mohtamim Qari Muhammad Tayyib just after the historic 100th anniversary of Darul Uloom Deoband. During this time, Darul Uloom witnessed most critical dispute of hegemony which lasted more than a year and ultimately resulted in breaking Darul Uloom in to two parts. The larger group that took over Darul Uloom, it chose Maulana Marghoobur Rahman as its Head (or Mohtamim). It was a crises-loaded time and Darul Uloom was feared to lose itself anytime. This simple and quiet but gallant and resolute man arose and with the help of his associates rescued Darul Uloom from the whirlpool of chaos and managed to get it to march ahead on the highway to progress and development. He was no doubt the torchbearer of Darul Uloom Deoband’s revival.

Many had believed at that juncture of time that Darul Uloom ceased to remain a central religious authority, but with his untiring efforts and unmatched devotions Maulana Marghoonur Rahman belied them and Darul Uloom continued its journey with even stronger spirit and vitality.

During his tenure, Darul Uloom witnessed revolutionary exterior and interior changes. The area of Darul Uloom increased to three folds and huge building projects were accomplished. Besides several large hostel buildings, Darul Uloom constructed grand Masjid Rashid in its campus which is considered to be one of the most beautiful marbled mosques of India with largest roofed area. Presently two more huge building projects, the grand library project and new hostel project, were also started under his administration. The number of enrolled students also nearly doubled. During his tenure, Darul Uloom expanded and was renovated to an extent that it looks like a new Darul Uloom arose.

During the past 30 years, as some reforms were introduced in the education system, some new departments like Computer, Internet, journalism and English were also started. Following some vicious attacks on Madrasas (Islamic seminaries) by the Central NDA Government in the last years of nineties, he convened all India conference of madrasas and formed Rabta Madaris (Madrasa Board) under Darul Uloom which has hundreds Indian madrasas as its member. Rabta Madaris played a key role in uniting madrasas and creating uniformity of syllabus and system. In May 2007, in a move to oppose the Central Madrasa Board proposal offered by the Indian Govt, Rabta invited All India Conference in Deoband and rejected the proposal totally.

Following the emergence of strong Taliban movement in Afghanistan, Darul Uloom began to appear in world media now and then, but after the 9/11 attacks on US,  Darul Uloom Deoband came into limelight of world media as the alma mater of Taliban leaders and centre of their ideology. This was a problematic situation for an educational institute to face the spate of journalists, ambassadors, VIP visitors from around the globe and deal with all sorts of questions. Maulana Marghoobur Rahman took a clear decision to open the door of Darul Uloom for every visitor and investigator. This earned a good name for Deoband and the hostile attitude of media changed and its focus to project it in bad light shifted to many positive reporting. Moreover, Darul Uloom, which was surrounded by narrow streets of a small town of Deoband, kept on appearing in world media and its website got thousands of hits every day. Thanks to media, an introduction that the Darul Uloom administration could not help materialize was carried out free of cost by the print and electronic media.

In Feb 2000, Maulana Marghoobur Rahman hosted All India Anti-Terrorism Conference. The conference was a real success and Deoband clearly rejected all kinds of terrorism whether by state or by Israel or deviant religious fractions. It regarded killing of innocents as most heinous crime against humanity. The Conference was much reported by the mainstream national and international media.

He saw many ups and downs throughout his administration. At many occasions under tremendous internal and external political pressures, he bravely stood against the odds and successfully tided over the situation. He managed to keep Darul Uloom free from political grouping of any sort. He would welcome all political leaders who loved to visit Darul Uloom Deoband but he was committed to keep Darul Uloom far away from any sort of political affiliations.

He was one the senior Deobandi Ulama and held the prestigious and esteemed post of Amir al-Hind (chief of Indian Muslims) which was previously held first by Maulana Habibur Rahman Muhaddith Azami and then Maulana Asad Madani. During some previous years, when Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, the largest socio-political Muslim organization, was got divided between two parts, he was able to keep the balance between both the sides and mediate between them at crucial moments.

Maulana Marghoobur Rahman will always be alive in the sweet memory of thousands who happened to see the beauty of his charming personality. His piety, simplicity and dedication was beyond doubts. He spent the last 30 years of his life for Darul Uloom in a semi-dark ordinary room and accepted no single penny from Darul Uloom treasure.

May Allah shower his mercy on him and may his soul rest in the highest ranks of Paradise, Amen!


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