Mawlana Ubayd Allah Sindhi

By Sayyid Mahbub Rizwi
Translated by Prof. Murtaz Husayn F. Qurayshi

Mawlana Ubayd Allah Sindhi was born in the Sialkot district of West Punjab His father was originally a Hindu but had converted later to Sikhism. Mawlana Sindhi received his early education in the middle school at Jampur. Impressed by the truthfulness of Islam through reading, he had embraced Islam in the course of his student career itself. After becoming a Muslim he went to Sindh from Jampur. There he stayed for sometime with Hafiz Muhammad Siddiq. Hafiz Sahib was a great nisba-possessing saint and an accomplished dervish. Mawlana Sindhi has written in his diary that “the effect of Hafiz Sahib’s company was this that the Islamic way of life became my second nature”.

Mawlana Sindhi entered the Dar al-‘Ulum in Deoband in 1306 H and joined the Daura-e Hadith in 1307 H but could not complete it. After some time he went back to Sindh. In 1315 H he again came to Deoband and acquired permission from his teacher, Shaykh al-Hind Mahmud al-Hasan Deoband, for the Hadith books. Along with  the educational matters he joined Shaykh al-Hind in political preoccupations also. The establishment of the Jami’at al-Arsar in the Dar al-‘Ulum in 1327 H was the result of his efforts only. He had been made its administrator. The two great gatherings of the said organisation at Moradabad and Meerut were due to his efforts. He wanted to make the Dar al-‘Ulum a centre of national organisation politically of which the first step was the establishment of the Jami’at al-Ansar. Meanwhile a serious chasm in certain academic matters appeared between him and some teachers of the Dar al-‘Ulum and so he had to leave Deoband. Shaykh al-Hind sent him to Delhi where he established an institution under the name of Nazarat al-Ma’arif al-Qurania, which was patronised, besides by Shaykh al-Hind, by powerful personalities like Hakim Ajmal Khan and Nawab Waqer al-Mulk.

In 1333 H the Shaykh al-Hind sent Mawlana Sindhi to Afghanistan because the belief generally prevalent then was that it was not possible to drive away the English from India without men and might. For this men and weapons were necessary. Shaykh al-Hind had made the free zone of Yaghistan the centre of this movement. Mawlana Sindhi, reaching Kabul, accomplishec several important political tasks there. He founded a Congress Committee in Kabul and affiliated it to the Indian National Congress. This was the first Congress Committee outside the British dominions Along with this he mobilised an army which he had named “Hizb Allah” (“Allah’s Army”). He was an important member of the free provisional government that had been formed in Afghanistan under the leadership of Raja Mahendra Pratap. After Shaykh al-Hind’s arrest in Hejaz, he went to Russia and living there he observed the functioning of sociaiism. In 1342/1923 he undertook a journey to Turkey and from there, in 1344 H, he went to Hejaz where he stayed for fourteen long years. In 1356/1937 when Congress government was formed in the. provinces, the Uttar Pradesh government vvitharew the ban the British government had imposec on him and so he returned to India in 1358/1939.

He passed the last days of his life in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and in Dinpur village of the Bhawalpur state. Mawlana Sindhi, in the present period, was the greatest preacher and standard-bearer of Hazrat Shah Wali
Allah’s philosophy. Mawlana Sindhi was also a great exponent of the reform brought about in connection with the sciences of the Quran, Hadith, Fiqh and Tasawwuf by Shah Sahib. Some learned men, of course, dissented from some of Mawlana Sindhi’s thoughts but despite academic dissidence, all were convinced of his academic primacy and political shrewdness.

For the exposition of the Book and the Sunnah and finding out solutions of the latter-day problems in the light of the Wall Aliahian philosophy, he established an institution under the name Bait al-Hikma in the Jamia Millia Islamia, and wrote some monumental articles also amongst which his article in Al-Furqan’s Shah Wali Allah No. is very profound and thought-provoking.

He expired on 91st August, 1944/A, H. 1363, in Dinpur where he had settled down at the fag-end of his life. Unfortunately he could not see the country free for whose independence he had to live in exile for 25 years and suffer all sorts of afflictions and troubles.

Rizvi, Sayyid Mahboob (1981). History of the Dar al-’Ulum Deoband, Volume 2. Deoband: Idara-e Ihtemam. p. 43-5.


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