ʻAllāmah Shams al-Ḥaq Afghānī

By Mawlānā ʻAbd Allāh Patel Kāpaudrī
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

Born 7 Ramadān 1318 A.H./1900 in Tarang Za’ī, Peshawar. Passed away 6 Dhū al-Qa‛dah 1403 A.H./16 August 1983

Hadrat Maulānā Shams al-Haq Afghānī rahimahullāh was a graduate of Dār al-‛Ulūm Deoband and from among the distinguished ‛ulamā’ teachers of the subcontinent. He was a judge in Qilāt where he also delivered Hadīth lessons. We were in the second year Persian class when Hadrat ‛Allāmah came to Jāmi‛ah Dhābel as a Shaykh al-Hadīth. Like the Pathāns of the Sarhad region, he had a strong solid body, a red face, a deep voice and an intimidating personality.  The ‛Allāmah was a distinguished teacher so much so that he was invited on several occasions by Dār al-‛Ulūm Deoband to go and teach there.

He was an excellent orator. He remained in Dhābel for about three years. He used to deliver lectures on various occasions. His lectures for this entire period of three years revolved around the verse:

لَقَدۡ جَآءَڪُمۡ رَسُولٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَنفُسِڪُمۡ

There has come to you a Messenger from your own selves. (Sūrat at-Tawbah, v. 128)

The tyranny which was imposed by the British on the ‛ulamā’ of India and the manner in which they broke the Islamic world into bits left deep wounds in the hearts of the ‛ulamā’, especially in the hearts of the students and associates of Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind rahimahullāh. They were filled with hatred towards the British. Hadrat Maulānā Shams al-Haq Afghānī rahimahullāh also detested the British. In his speeches, he would very often refer to them as white-skinned dogs, and make the Muslims feel ashamed of their slavery to them.

I had heard the following couplet in one of Hadrat Maulānā’s speeches:

The morning comes and goes. The evening comes and goes. This is how our life passes on and comes to an end.

The Maulānā had a deep insight into philosophy and theology. The other teachers of the Jāmi‛ah (Dhābel ) used to derive benefit from him. The awe-inspiring personality of the Maulānā caused the status of Jāmi‛ah Dhābel to increase. Consequently, students from Punjab, Sarhad, U.P. and Bengal used to come to Jāmi‛ah Dhābel to benefit from him. Although he was an Afghani, he was very soft-hearted. He used to be reduced to tears when he used to listen to the Qur’ān recitation of Qārī Muhammad Hasan Amrohī rahimahullāh.

The Maulānā went back to Pakistan where he spent many years teaching Hadīth and writing books. Some of his books are: ‛Ulūm al-Qur’ān, Socialism Aur Islam, Islam Eik ‛Ālamgīr Madh-hab, Mu‛īn al-Qudāt wa al-Muftīyyīn (Arabic), Shar‛ī Dābitah-e-Dīwānī, Sarmāyah Dārānā Aur Ishtirākī Nizām Kā Muwāzanah, ‛Ālamī Mushkilāt Aur Oen Kā Hull, Ā’inah Āryā, Mutanāza‛ah Masā’il Kā Haqīqī Hull, Tasawwuf Aur Ta‛mīr Kirdār, Islāmī Jihād, Ahkām al-Qur’ān, Mufradāt al-Qur’ān. Countless students benefited from his knowledge.

He established a spiritual bond with Hadrat Hakīm al-Ummat rahimahullāh. When the latter passed away, he renewed his bay‛at with Maulānā Muftī Muhammad Hasan rahimahullāh and received khilāfat from him.

Lighthouses of Guidance: Personalities From Whom I Benefited p. 68 -70

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

He was born in a learned family of village Turangzai of Peshawar district in A.H. 1318. The elementary education he received from his august father. Then, living in the company of different ulema of the North-West Frontier Province (India) and Afghanistan, he completed the study of the rational and the traditional sciences and acquired perfect ability; and thereafter he took admission in the Dar al-Ulum, Deoband, and graduated in Daura-e Hadith in A.H. 1339.

Maulana Afghani, during his student career itself, was distinguished over his contemporaries by reason of his academic interest and geist. After graduation from the Dar al-Ulum, he did teaching jobs for years in different seminaries of the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and Sind, like Madrasa Dar al-Rishad, Larkana, Sind; Madrasa Mazhar al-Ulum, Khadda, Karachi; Madrasa Dar al-Fuyuz, Sind; Madrasa Qasim al-Ulum, Lahore, etc. Besides Tafsir and Hadith, he has had proficiency in the rational sciences also. He is Majaz-e bai’at (authorised to receive allegiance) in the Naqshbandiya order.

In A.H. 1354 he was called to the Dar al-Ulum and was assigned the work of teaching the translation of the Quran and some lessons of Tafsir and Hadith. In A.H. 1358 he was appointed Minister of Education in the Qalat State. After some time he resigned from this post and went to Jamia Islamia, Dabhel, where he was made a head-teacher. In 1366/1947, after the partition of the country he went to his native-place in Pakistan. There he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Tafsir in Jamia Islamia, Bhawalpur. Having retired from there now he is living in his native-place.*

Maulana Afghani’s Urdu speech and writing are chaste and clear. Besides being an excellent religious divine, he is also a good author. Amongst his works Mo’een al-Qazat wal-Mufti is in the Arabic language. Shara’i Zabita-e Diwani, Ulum al-Quran, Taraqqi Awr Islam, Socialism Awr Islam, Islam Din-e Fitrat Hai, Islam Alamgir Mazhab Hai, Ahkam al-Quran, Mufarridat al-Quran, etc. are his important works. In the Shara’i Zabita-e Diwani he has arranged all the civil laws of Fiqh in the form of legal sections. These books are highly esteemed and appreciated among men of knowledge and wisdom.

Rizvi, Sayyid Mahboob (1981). History of the Dar al-’Ulum Deoband, Volume 2. Deoband: Idara-e Ihtemam. p. 87-88

*At the time of writing of this book ʻAllāmah Afghānī (rahimahullah) was still alive, the world lost this giant of Islam on 6 Dhū al-Qa‛dah 1403 A.H./16 August 1983 – The Editor (Ḥayāt al-‘Ulamā’)

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