‘Allāmah Qāḍi Thanā’ Allāh Pānipatī

‘Allāmah Qāḍi Thanā’ ullāh Pānipati[1] (d. 1225 AH/1810 CE)

By ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy ibn Fakhr al-Dīn Ḥasani[2]
Translated by Abu ‘Āsim Badrul Islām  

The great shaykh, the imām, the ‘allāmah, the muḥaddith Thanā’ullāh ‘Uthmāni Pānipati was one of the most erudite scholars [of undivided India]. He was from the progeny of Shaykh Jalāl al-Dīn ‘Uthmāni, through whom his family tree reaches [the blessed companion] ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān (may Allāh be pleased with him). He was born, and grew up, in the town of Pānipat where he memorised the Holy Qur’ān and studied Arabic for a while with the teachers of the town. He then travelled to the city of Delhi and studied under the [legendary master and imām] Shaykh Wali Allāh ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥīm ‘Umari Dehlawi, [better known as ‘Shāh Waliullāh’,] from whom he acquired the science of ḥadīth. He read Fatiḥah al-farāgh [and completed his formal education in the sciences of the Dīn]at the young age of eighteen years. Thereafter he adopted the company of Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Ābid Sunnāmi, from whom he received training in tarīqah. Through the training imparted by the latter Shaykh, Qāḍi Thanā’ullāh Pānipati reached the level known in tarīqah as the ‘annihilation of the heart’ (fanā’ al-qalb). He then turned to the great shaykh [Mirzā Maẓhar] Jān-e-Jānān ‘Alawi Dehlawi, who trained him to the final stage in the Mujaddidiyyah tarīqah. Shaykh Jān-e-Jānān had tremendous affection toward, and love for, Qāḍi Thanā’ullāh Pānipati and gave him the title of ‘Ālam al-Hudā (the flag of guidance). He said regarding Qāḍi Thanā’ullāh Pānipati: “Awe from his piety and taqwa has engulfed my heart. He is one who implements and propagates the sharī‘ah, illuminates tarīqah and possesses angelic traits. Even the angels revere him.” He once said: “If Allāh were to seek from me a gift, I would present Thanā’ullāh to Him.” In recognition of his oceanic knowledge of fiqh and ḥadīth [the imām and muḥaddith] Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn [Imām] Wali Allāh Dehlawi gave him the title of ‘Bayhaqi of the age’.

Shaykh Ghulām ‘Ali ‘Alawi Dehlawi says in his book al-Maqāmāt: “[Qāḍi Thanā’ullāh Pānipati] was second to none amongst his contemporaries in taqwa and piety.   He used to exert himself in his devotions to Allāh, praying a hundred raka‘āt and reciting a seventh (ḥizb) portion of the Holy Qur’ān every day. All this he used to do alongside other forms of dhikr, murāqabah (meditation) and his preoccupation with teaching, lecturing, writing and adjudication.” He says elsewhere in the same book: “With his sharp and clear intellect, fine acumen and extraordinary personality he had reached the stage of ijtihād in fiqh and usūl. He had authored a detailed book in fiqh, in which he elaborated each mas’alah with its source and substantiating evidences whilst pointing out the opinions of the four Imāms [in fiqh] in that particular mas’alah. He had also authored a smaller book entitled al-Akhdhu bi ‘l-Aqwā in which he recorded all the stronger opinions of the schools of fiqh. He had also authored an exegesis (tafsīr) of the Holy Qur’ān in seven large volumes.[3]

Shaykh Muḥsin ibn Yaḥya Turhuti says in al-Yāni‘ al-Janī: “[Qāḍi Thanā’ullāh Pānipati] was a jurist (faqīh), a jurisprudent (usūlī), one who had renounced the world (zāhid) and a mujtahid. He had his own opinions in the [Ḥanafi] school of law. He authored magnificent works in fiqh, tafsīr, and zuhd. His shaykh was proud of him.”

His famous works include: al-Tafsīr al-Maẓhari in seven volumes, a two-volume detailed book in ḥadīth, Mā lā budda minhu[4] in Ḥanafi fiqh, al-Sayf al-Maslūl in refutation of the Shī’ah, Irshād al-Ṭālibīn in taṣawwuf, Tadhkirat al-Mawtā wa ‘l-Qubūr, Tadhkirat al-Ma‘ād, Ḥaqīqat al-Islām, a treatise on the ruling on singing and music, a treatise on the unlawfulness of the practice of mut‘ah[5], a treatise on ‘ushr and khirāj and a few other treatises.

He passed away during Rajab 1225 AH (1810 CE) in his home town of Pānipat. [May Allāh subḥānahū grant him and all the masters mentioned in this article the highest Paradise.]


[1]   This brief biography has been translated from the unique Arabic biographical dictionary of the luminaries of undivided India, al-I‘lām bi man fi Tārīkh al-Hind min al-A‘lām, the magnum opus of the famous Islāmic historian ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy ibn Fakhr al-Dīn Ḥasani. (trans.)

[2]      He was the father of the Imām al-Da‘wah Shaykh Mawlāna Sayyid Abu ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Ali Ḥasani Nadwi (d. 1420 AH/1999 CE – may AllÁh grant them both Paradise. trans.)

[3]   Entitled al-Tafsīr al-Maẓhari, this splendid book has seen countless publications, the most recent of which has been in Beirut by Dār Iḥyā’ al-Turāth al-‘Arabi and Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, in ten and eight volumes respectively. It is currently scheduled for publication by Idārat al-Qur’ān in Karachi. In the introduction to his noble father’s monumental Urdu tafsÐr, Ma‘ārif al-Qur’ān, ‘Allāmah Mufti Muḥammad Taqi Usmani writes regarding al-Tafsīr al-Maẓhari:

“This is a work of ‘Allāmah Qāḍi Thanā’ullāh Pānipati (d. 1225 AH). He had named this tafsīr al-Tafsīr al-Maẓhari after the name of his shaykh and mentor in Ṭarīqah, Mirzā Maẓhar Jān-e-Jānān Dehlawi (may AllÁh treat him with His infinite mercy and compassion). This tafsīr is very simple and comprehensible. It is extremely useful in learning succinct explanations of Qur’ānic verses. Alongside elucidations of words used in the Holy Qur’ān, the author has also cited relevant reports and narrations in ample detail. Compared with other works of tafsīr, he has endeavoured to accept reports and narrations only after thorough scrutiny.” (Ma ‘ārif al-Qur’ān, 1:58) (trans.)

[4]    This book has enjoyed remarkable acceptance. It is a very popular book and is found in all Muslim communities and circles that are zealous of practicing the sharī‘ah. (Shaykh Mawlāna Sayyid Abu ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Ali Ḥasani Nadwi)

The book has been excellently rendered to English by Yusuf Talal De Lorenzo and published by UK Islamic Academy. It has been very aptly entitled Essential Islamic Knowledge. (trans.)

[5]    This is the practice of temporary ‘marriage’ in which both the man and woman would enter into a contract (to have a sexual relationship) with the full knowledge and agreement that it would be temporary, and not a lifelong commitment as in a normal marriage. It used to be popular with Shī’ah sects. (trans.)

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