Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Life and Work)

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Item Code: NAC832
Author: Abdul Kader Choughley
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9788124606117
Pages: 327
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 Inch X 5.5 Inch
Weight 580 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

The volume presents a comprehensive study of the life and works of Sayyid Abul Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (1913-1999). Sayyid Abul Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi is seen as an important scholar in the modern Islamic resurgence who has made significant contributions to contemporary Islamic thought. He was one of the few Indian ‘ulama to have taken seriously the dynamic role of Islam in a multi-religious society. The book discusses the early life, family and education of the scholar and Ms major writings that are concerned with the themes of the primacy of the Qur’an and the sunnah as harbingers of world civilization, islet (reform) and tided (revival) as anchors of Islamic resurgence, the methodological approach of da’wah, Islam and the West, and Islamic order in an Indian setting. With quotations and references from published translations of Ms Urdu and Arabic works including his autobiography, it details the importance of Ms coherent approach to the diversity of issues in the twentieth century and the importance of his autobiography Karwan in this context. It deals with Ms participative role in the Indian mainstream activities, examining the social and spiritual crises facing Muslims. With an overview of contemporary Islamic movements it illustrates Sayyid Nadwi’s major contributions towards the dynamics of the revivalist trends. The book will undoubtedly be of interest to scholars and students of Islamic studies.



The inspiration to write this book came from Sayyid Abul Hasan ‘Au Nadwi himself. During my correspondence and meeting with him, I was impressed by his suggestion that I should undertake a comprehensive study of his works. It has almost been twenty-five years ago (1986) when 1 read the first volume of Karwan-i-Zindagi. Thereafter my interest intensified and an irrepressible urge to write on his life and writings have culminated in this modest attempt.

Sayyid Muhammad Rabey Nadwi, Rector of Nadwat-al‘ulama (Lucknow) has been exceedingly kind to make available books and manuscripts during my brief stay there. His keen interest and supportive role is much appreciated. Another scion of the Hasani family is Sayyid Bilal Abdul Hayy, who deserves special mention. He has been largely responsible for locating books and articles which have not been easily accessible for my study purposes.

I am very much obliged to my friends, Anver Essa and Imraan Seedat whose support in every possible way has motivated me to study Islamic scholarship in South Asia. Muffi Ayub Moola has always been a source of inspiration. His monitoring on the progress of the study and the special du’as for its successful completion are things I cherish most.

To Muniera, words will not suffice to express my sincerest gratitude for her hard work in not only typing the manuscript meticulously (I can’t recall the number of “revised” manuscripts) and for her editorial collaboration. I have been guided by her insightful comments on linguistic finesse which has greatly enhanced the value of this work. My two nephews, Aqeel and Nabeel, have been in more than one way associated with the production of this book. Their frequent questions on the format of the book and on the life of Sayyid Abul Uasan ‘Au Nadwi has been the most productive phase in my study.

I dedicate this book to my grandsons, Zayd, Rayhaan and Yusuf, with the hope that the spirit of Islamic studies may sustain their future lives.

Finally, the cumulative experiences of my studies in Islamic history and Quranic studies have been directly received from my Ustad, Professor ‘Abdur Rahman Doi. May Allah bless his soul?


About the Author

Abdul Kader Choughley is involved in research on contemporary Islamic thought in South Asia. He is the author of Islamic Resurgence: Sayyid Abut Hasan Ali Nadwi and his Contemporaries (2011). His current research projects include The Muktubat (Letters) Genre: Islahi Perspectives and Da’wah to the Modern Mind: Life and Times of Fazlur Rahman Ansari.



THE study aims to examine the contributions of Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan' Ali Nadwi (1913-99) to contemporary Islamic thought. A long and eventful career spanning over 70 years, Maulana Nadwi (hereafter Alimia) is considered an important scholar in Islamic resurgence. This term is applied to specific historical settings in our study; it covers the twentieth century during which globalisation and modernity have influenced Islamic discourse on multiple levels. The 'ulama regarded as bastions of traditional Islam have not been immune to the rapid changes taking place across the Muslim world brought about by technological advancement. In his 'Ulama in Contemporary Islam, Zaman has pointed out to the dilemmas facing Muslim societies in grappling with challenges and the 'ulama'e role as custodians of Islamic traditions. Their constituency is reflected in the institutions they are associated with and their interpretations underpin their respective responses to geo-political developments.

Alimia is among few Indian 'ulama to have taken seriously the dynamic role of Islam in multi-religious India. The predicament of Indian Muslims who as a minority see themselves increasingly beleaguered and threatened by the rise of Hindu militancy is one of his primary concerns. He insists Muslims must come out of their separatist mentality and search for opportunities that exist and work alongside their religious counterparts to build a viable society. According to Alimia Islamic authenticity is the ideal to which Indian Muslims should aspire because they too are connected to the world of Islam at large. This explains his presentation of islah (reform) and tajdid (revival) as tools of Islamic resurgence. It is interesting to note that scholarly tradition combined with Islamic activism contributed significantly to Alimia's profile as a spokesman for Indian Muslims and a reformer of international repute. His versatility is best illustrated in his major writings which seek to elaborate the following themes:

• The primacy of the Qur'an and sunnah as harbingers of world civilisation.
• Islah and tajdid as anchors of Islamic resurgence
• da’wah: A methodological approach
• Islam and the West: a critique
• Islamic order in an Indian setting.

The diversity of themes are embodied in Alimia's multi- volume autobiography Karwan-i-Zindagi. Our study focuses on Alimia's salient accounts which mirror his presentation of views in relation to socio-political developments in both India and the Muslim world. A time line approach is adopted to give chronological and thematic significance to his contributions to Islamic reformist thought. Alimia is a traditionalist 'alim whose understanding of Islam is characterised by his doctrinal orientation and a global view of Islam, both of which affirm the return to an ideal past reflected in the exemplary lives of the salf-al-salih (early representatives of Islam).




  Acknowledgements v
  Transliteration xv
  Life and Works of Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi xvii
  Introduction 1
  Alimia’s Works: A Brief Survey 4
  Major Sources for this Study 7
1. Family Characteristics 9
  Sayyid Qutb-al-din Muhammad al-Hasani 12
  Sayyid Shah Alam-ullah 13
  Sayyid Abu Sa’id Hasan 15
  Sayyid Ahmad Shahid 15
  Conclusion 19
2. Educational Influence: Formative Years 20
  Formative Influences 22
  Hakim Sayyid Abdul Hayy Hasani 22
  Maktubat: Portrait of Sayyidah Khair-un Nisa 22
  Arabic Studies: Influence of Shaykh Khalil Yamani 25
  Urdu Studies: Literary Influence 26
  Tarbiyyah: Alimia’s Academic and Moral Orientation 28
  Admission to Lucknow University 29
  Lahore: A Historic Visit 30
  Maulana husayn Ahmad Madani 21
  Allamah Taqi-al-din Hilali 32
  Conclusion 33
3. In Pursuit of Academic Excellence 34
  Fiqh in a Changing World 35
  Nadwah and the Arab World 36
  Academic Desiderata 37
  Arabic Teaching: A New Approach 41
  Quranic studies 41
  Dawah: Content and Context 43
  Academic Profile 45
  Literary Debut: An Appraisal 48
  Alimia as a Historian 48
  Alimia As a Litterateur 49
  Contribution as a an Arabic Author 49
  Mukhtarat Min Adab-al- Arab 50
  Al-Qira at-ur-Rashidah 50
  Salient Features of the Qasas-al-Nabiyyin 52
  Conclusion 53
4. Contemporary Islamic Movements: An Overview 54
  Academic Research: New Opportunities 54
  Maulana Mawdudi and Alimia 55
  New Horizons 59
  Islam and the World 62
  Salient Features of Islam and the World 65
  Publication of Islam and the World 67
  Dawah Literature: Towards a New Horizon 67
  Idarah-Ta limat-i-Islam 68
  Conclusion 68
5. Dawah: Content and context 69
  Tabligh Jama at: 69
  Alimia’s Personal Reminiscences 70
  Characteristics of Alimia;s Dawah Programme 74
  Dawah in Hijaz 75
  To the Hijazis: A Message 76
  Dawah : New Perspectives 77
  Al Ikhwan-al-Muslimin 80
  Ikhwan: A Critique 81
  In the heart of Africa : Sudan 84
  Syria, Citadel of Islam: A Eulogy 85
  Travelogue Series: An Overview 87
  Conclusion 89
6 Dawah: New Horizons 90
  Muslim Hegemony: An Assessment 90
  Religio-Political Activism 94
  Reform of Muslim Society 96
  In the Realms of Spirituality 98
  Towards New Horizons 102
  Director of Education : Nadwah 102
  Visits to Islamic Institutions 103
  Invitation From Damascus university 103
  Shaykh ahmad Harun al-Hajjar: 105
  Two Radio Lectures 106
  Visit to Lebanon and turkey 107
  Turky: Land of Contrast 108
  World Muslim Congress 109
  Baghdad: Scholars’ Paradise 110
  Conclusion 110
7. Islamic Authenticity: Challenges and Opportunities 111
  Qadianism 113
  Academy of Islamic Research and Publications 115
  Aims and Objects 116
  Aligarh Muslim University 116
  Dawah Travels: New Horizons 117
  Burma: Predication of Doom 117
  Kuwait 119
  Demise: Dr Abdul Ali Hasani 120
  Educational System : Muslim Response 121
  Dini Talimi Council (Religious Education Council) 122
  Islamic University of Madinah 122
  Communion with Royalty 124
  Rabita-al-Alam al-Islami: Muslim World League 128
  Europe: A New Horizon 130
  The Andalusian Syndrome: Visit to Spain 132
  Communal Riots 135
  Conclusion 136
8. Islamic Reformist Thought in Alimia’s Writings 137
  Literary Initiatives: An Overview 137
  The Four Pillars of Islam 138
  Hayat-i- Abdul Hayy 139
  Nuzhatul-Khawatir : Volume 8 140
  India During Muslim Rule 141
  Western Civilization Islam and Muslim 142
  Towards an Independent Islamic Education 143
  Pathway to Medina 145
  A Personal Loss 146
  Turbulence in the Arab World (1967-1971) 147
  Arab Nationalism: A Re-appraisal 148
  Assessment 150
  The Indian Scenario: 150
  Payam-i-Insaniyat 151
  Indo-Pakistan War: 1971 153
  Alimia’s Assessment 156
  Travels 156
  Conclusion 157
9. East and West: Cultural Encounters 159
  Personal Loss: Family Members 161
  In the Political Arena 162
  Maghreb: Morocco 164
  Towards a New World 166
  Dawah for the Western Audience 167
  Prophetic Methodology 168
  Sojourn in Pakistan 170
  Tuhfah Series 172
  Signposts of Moral Decadence in Saudi Arabia 177
  An Open Letter 177
  Sirah Conference 179
  King Faisal Award(1980) 179
  Centennial Celebration of Dar ul-ulum, Deoband 181
  In the Valley of Kashmir 184
  Seminar : Orientalism and Islam 185
  Seminar in Algeria 188
  Sri Lanka 189
  Dawah in Hyderabad 190
  Conclusion 191
10. Trends in Transnational Institutions 192
  Hadith Studies 192
  Rabita Adab al-Alam al-Islami 194
  Azamgarh (India):1955 197
  Theme: Biographical Writing 197
  Istanbul( Turkey ): 1996 197
  Theme: Contributions of Sayyid Abul Hasan 197
  Lahore ( Pakistan ):1997 198
  Theme: Travelogues to Makkah and Madina 198
  Oxford Center for Islamic Studies 198
  The Islamic Foundation 202
  Kingdom of Jordan 203
  Congress Rule: An Assessment 204
  Malaysia: A New Experience 207
  Two Conflicting Portraits 209
  Conclusion 212
11. Revival of Islamic authenticity 214
  Introduction 214
  Muslim Personal Law 214
  Babri Mosque: A Tragedy 218
  The Gulf Crisis 222
  Tragic Loss 224
  Tayyib-al-Nisa 224
  Dr Muhammad Asif Kidwai 225
  Dawah Journeys 227
  Turky, Defenders of Islam and Re-appraisal 227
  Satanic Verses 229
  Seminar: Abul Kalam Azad 232
  The Russian Revolution: A Re-appraisal 233
  Conclusion 236
12. Dawah Paradigms: Translocal Trends 237
  Letter to King Fahd bin 237
  Political Developments in India: Muslim Response 239
  Dawah in England 242
  Fundamentalism : An Journey 246
  The long Journey 246
  Divine Intervention 249
  Conclusion 250
13. Honours Beyond Borders: Alimia’s Contributions 251
  Aligarh Muslim University 251
  Rbita Adab 254
  Egypt: Reforms 255
  Corporate Islamic Identity: The Road Ahead 256
  Police Raid in Nadwah 259
  Literary Seminars 260
  Honour: Keys to the Kabah 261
  Sectarianism : An Overview 261
  International Conference : Qadianism 264
  Onslaught Against Islam 265
  Conclusion 266
14. Towards Journey’s End 267
  Dini Talimi Council: 267
  Challenges and Opportunities 267
  Vande Mataram: An Assessment 269
  Muslims in the Plural society 270
  Honorary Awards 272
  Dubai Awards 272
  Sultan of Brunei Prize: 1999 273
  Posthumous Awards 274
  Health Concerns 274
  Tablighi Ijtimah : 1999 275
  Embodiment of Patriotism 276
  Last Days 277
15. Key Themes in Alimia’s Writings 278
  Quranic Horizons 278
  Islamic Concept of life 280
  Hedith: A Censor of Morals 280
  Islam and the Revival of Humanity 281
  Renaissance of Faith 283
  Divine Blessings 284
  Indo-Islamic Culture 285
  Muslim Corporate Identity 286
  Islam and the West 287
  Challenges of Dawah 289
  Dawah : Muslim Responsibility 290
  Supplication : Evidence of Prophet hood 292
  Conclusion 294
  Glossary 299
  Bibliography 301
  Index 307


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