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Shah Abdul Aziz

Shah Abdul Aziz was one of the great religious scholars of India. He was born in 1745 and was the eldest son of Shah Waliullah. Shah Abdul Aziz is regarded as the greatest Sunni Islamic scholar of Hadith. He got his education from his father. He was very young when he memorized the Holy Quran. He also excelled in Hadith, Tafsir, Fiqh, math, history, geography, etc. He was the most learned theologian of his time whose fatwa was always accepted by all schools. He was just 17 when his father died and thereafter, he started imparting education at Madressah Rahimya especially of Hadith and the Quran. He received permission in Qadriya, Chishtiya, Suhrwardya and the Naqshbandiya orders of Sufism.


Unlike the prevalent conception regarding the English language and foreign conquers, he was quite moderate in his viewpoint. He recognized the value of English and never opposed its learning. He also never displayed any bitterness towards the British. He was a teacher and a thinker rather than a leader. Besides, he possessed the gift of the gab as he was a very persuasive speaker. He used to command the heart of the people through his words. His memory was matchless. He could dictate a reading even after going through it just once. He compilations were considered as reliable and authority.


His works were a great service to Islam. He translated the Holy Quran in Urdu as his father did in Persian. It was a need of the hour because the Persian was quickly being replaced by the Urdu as it was increasingly becoming the ligua franca of the Muslim masses. Therefore it was becoming necessary to translate the Quran to make people understand its verses. Besides the translation of the Quran, Shah Abdul Aziz also wrote a number of valuable books that are still considered authority. He wrote Garden of Hadith Scholars, Taufa Ithna Ashri, Sirush Shahadhathan, Fatwa Aziz, etc.


The prominent disciples of Shah Abdul Aziz were Maulana Syed Shah Ale Rasul Qadri, Syed Ahmad Brelvi, and Maulana Fazle-e-Haq Khairabadi. It was the influence of his teachings that Syed Ahmad waged a war against the Sikhs in order to free the motherland from the influence of non Muslims and laid down the foundations of an Islamic State in India. Though he failed to achieve this objective and laid down his life in the way of Islam but the sacrifice he made stirred the Muslim consciousness and awakened in them a sense of political separatism that ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan. It was services rendered by the people like Shah Abdul Aziz in the educational and literary arenas that preserved the Muslim identity in India. He died in 1823.


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