Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Salīmullāh Khān

By Jamia Farooqia Karachi
Edited by Faraz Abdul Moid

Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Saleemullah Khan, the son of Abdul Aleem Khan, was born in District Muzaffarnagar, India. He belongs to Hasanpur, Lohari of Doaba, U.P. which is famous for the many learned scholars and respected spiritual leaders who emerged from there. The murshid (spiritual guide) of Hadrat Hāji Imdādullah Muhājir Makki, Shaykh Mianji Nūr Muhammad Jhinjhānawi (khalīfah of Abd al-Rahīm Wilāyati al-Shahīd), spent his entire life in that village.

Mawlana Saleemullah Khan since his childhood sought education at various important religious institutions. In 1942, he enrolled in Darul Ulūm Deoband to complete his scholastic career. At Deoband, he received education in Qur’an, hadith, and other related sciences through the most learned scholars of the time which included Shaykh al-Islam Syed Husain Ahmad Madani, Shaykh al-Adab E’zāz Ali, Mawlana Muhammad Idrīs Kandhlawi, and other prominent religious personalities.

Mufti Mahmūd Hasan Gangohi writes about the incident of Mawlana Saleemullah Khan’s memorization of the Qur’an:

There is a friend of mine – Mawlana Saleemullah Khan sāhib. He lived in Jalalabad for a long period and was a very close acquaintance of Hadrat Mawlana Masīhullah Khan. He then moved to Pakistan where he is a principal of a Madrasah in Karachi which also publishes a magazine. He memorized the Qur’an in this manner that daily in the morning he used to learn one Juz and at night he used to recite it to someone. In this way within twenty-nine days he memorized the entire Qur’an. He had known [only] one Juz prior to that.

Mawlana Saleemullah remained busy with his educational pursuits till 1947. In the same year, he received the degree for having completed his coursework of higher Islamic sciences.

After that, he was given the responsibility of teaching as well as some administrative duties at Madrasah Miftāh al-Ulūm in Jalalabad, India under the supervision of his teacher Hadrat Mawlana Masīhullah Khan Sherwāni. After continuous efforts of 8 years, the institution became so reputed that Darul Ulūm Deoband and other renowned institutions began accepting students from there.

After working for eight years at this institution, Mawlana Saleemullah moved to Pakistan to teach at Darul Ulūm Tando Allahyar, Sindh founded by Mufti Shabbīr Ahmed Usmāni. He taught there for 3 years and then moved to Darul Ulūm Karachi, a well known religious institution in Pakistan. At Darul Ulūm Karachi he taught Qur’an, hadith, fiqh, history, mathematics, philosophy, and Arabic literature. At the same time, he had been teaching at Jāmiat al-Ulūm al-Islamiyya in New Town, Karachi for a year as visiting faculty at the insistence and repeated requests of the hadith master Allāmah Yusuf Binnori.

Allah (SWT) had gifted him with a strong and natural religious enthusiasm. Two of the top most prominent scholars of Pakistan, Mufti Rafi Usmani and Mufti Taqi Usmani, count themselves from amongst the students of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Saleemullah Khan. Mawlana Saleemullah was not content with his successfully rendered services, however, and always thought about the necessity of such a religious institution which would fulfill the needs and demands of today as well. Therefore on January 23rd, 1967 he laid the foundation of Jāmia Farooqia Karachi. His sincere efforts have been so blessed by Allah (SWT) that since its foundation till now, the Jāmia has advanced tremendously in its Islamic education and related fields.

Today Jāmia Farooqia is famous and known in and out of Pakistan as an international university of Islamic sciences. All of this is due to the grace of Allah (SWT) and the sincere efforts of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Saleemullah Khan.

Realizing the services of Mawlana Saleemullah Khan in the field of Islamic education, the scholars of Pakistan elected him for the position of General Secretary of the Wifāq al-Madāris al-Arabiyya Pakistan (Board of Religious Educational Institutions in Pakistan). After some time he was further elected as the President of the Board. The Board of Religious Educational Institutions in Pakistan is a large organization. Its membership reaches over seven thousand religious institutes. In the beginning as Secretary General, he had increased the importance of the Board, contributed to the advancing and organizing of religious institutions, and increased the standard of education. This was the brightest chapter in the history of Board.

Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Saleemullah Khan lived well into his nineties. Scholars, students, and admirers continued benefiting from his teachings and experiences and continued seeking blessings from his presence. On Sunday January 15th, 2017, Mawlana Saleemullah Khan breathed his last, returning to his Lord after a life spent in worship, learning, and spreading the Dīn of Allah (SWT).

May Allah (SWT) have mercy upon him, accept all of his efforts, perpetuate his services, and accept him into His abode of mercy and endless bliss.

Courtesy of Jamia Farooqia Karachi

Note: This article was edited for spelling, grammar, and style along with additions to the content of the original article.


By Shaykh Omar Subedar

Salīmullāh Khān was born in 1345 AH in the small town of Hasanpur, India. He began his studies of the Qurʾān, Urdu and Persian in his hometown before enrolling in the distinguished Islamic seminary Miftāḥ al-ʿUlūm in Jalalabad, India. There he studied for two and a half years and stayed in the service of Shaikh Masīḥullāh Khān. He was later transferred to Deoband, where he spent the next five years studying Islamic sciences until he graduated as a licensed scholar of Islam at the humble age of 20.

Upon graduation, he became a professor at Miftāḥ al-ʿUlūm and taught there for eight years. When the country of Pakistan was formed, he moved there and taught for three years at Dār al-ʿUlūm al-Islāmiyyah in Ashrafabad, 10 years at Dār al-ʿUlūm Karācī and oneyear at Jāmiʿat al-ʿUlūm al-Islāmiyyah. In 1967 CE, he laid the foundation to Jāmiʿah-yi Fārūqiyya and has been a lecturer of ḥadīth studies there ever since. In 1989 CE, he became the chair of the umbrella organization Wifāq al-ʿUlāmaʾ and continues to hold this position today.

In 1986 CE, after teaching Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī for 25 years, Shaikh Salīmullāh had all the lectures he delivered in 1986–87 recorded on audio cassette. Thereafter, under his supervision, Mawlānā Nūrulbashar and Mawlānā Abulḥasan ʿAbbāsī transcribed those lectures, edited them and verified their sources. This work turned into one of the most phenomenal Urdu commentaries on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī in print at the moment: Kashf al-Bārī ʿammā fī Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī.

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