Role of Shah Waliullah and Downfall of Muslim society

The history of the Muslims in the century is the history of struggle for freedom. Since the loss of independence, the Muslims were not only hovering in the domain of uncertainty but also many un-Islamic ideas which sapped their moral strength were taking its place in the minds of the Muslims. It was at that time that some Muslim thinkers thought that unless the Muslims were brought back to the teachings of the Quran and the Hadith, it would not be possible to save the Muslims from the impending ruin. They started a movement throughout the country in order to raise the moral strength of the Muslims and thereby to prepare them for political makeup. One of the earliest reformers who led the movement in the 18th century was Shah Waliullah.

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The early movements were religious and political in nature. Shah Abdu-ur-Rahim was a scholar and a Sufi of renown in his own right, who preferred to lead a life of retirement and in spite of unrivaled, opportunities for being associated with the government of such an orthodox monarch as Alamgir l refrained from availing himself of them. He did, however, cooperate with the Emperor in the compilation of the well known Al-Fatawa-e-Alamgiriyah. He was the founder of a college Madrasah-e-Rahimiah where he himself lectured. Since he was both a theologian, and a Sufi, his effort was to remove the conflict between theology and mysticism. Shah Waliullah was the follower of Mujadidi branch of Naqshbandi order. However, the main influence, which shaped his mind, was that of doctor of Hijaz from whom he studied Hadith and learned about. Muslims schools of thoughts. When he was at Makkah he saw a vision in which Holy Prophet (PBUH) blessed him with the tiding that he would be instrumental in the organization of a section of Muslim society”. The period when Shah Waliullah came on the Indian horizon this was the period of deterioration and disintegration of Muslim empire. When Aurangzeb Alamgir died he left no worthy son to succeed, resultantly the Mughal throne was ascended by inefficient indolent and pleasure loving rulers. None of them was competent enough to stem the tide of decline. In the meantime

Nadir Shah struck India robbed it, ruined it and made it vulnerable for more attacks. The center of Muslim empire Delhi became a hot bed of conspiracies and controversies.

Shah Waliullah candidly analyzed the situation and decided certain serious steps to meet the challenge of deterioration and disintegration. He got himself contacted with persons of authority in India. He impressed upon them the need to face the problems that were darkening the political climate of India. He further told them to remember that in the fight with the enemies, sometimes one won and sometimes one lost, and on that account one needs not feel discouraged and disappointed. No other statesmen or thinker had so carefully studied and so scientifically analyzed the causes of social, religious and economic declines. He wrote in Persian and Arabic and he wanted the upper classes to understand his philosophy and program and then spread and popularize among the masses He was a teacher and a bearer of message and not an agitator. He wrote about a number of books’ established several braches of his, school at Delhi and prepared the ground for a wider and more affective dissemination of his ideas. His greatness lies in the versatility of his genius, his profound understanding of Quran and Hadith, his unrivalled breadth of outlook and his keen desire to interpret and explain the Quran and Hadith in the context of the time.

The religious condition in India was even worse.Ulemas were hollow. Quran was only recited for blessing. Shah Waliullah was of the opinion that Muslim could find salvation only by understanding Quran and Hadith. The words of these Books should not remain the properties of the Mullas who alone should not interpret them but they should be relearnt by one and all to become equal interpreters of those truths which the Quran has given them. For this purpose he translated the Quran in the common language, Persian. The translation in Persian paved the way for translation in other languages. His two sons, Shah Rafi-u-din and Shah Abdul Qadir translated the Holy Quran into Urdu.

Shah WaliuIIah left deep imprints on the moral and intellectual fabric of Muslim society. He believed that the establishment of good relations between the different sects of Islam was the only remedy; there had grown up differences because of economic and political maladjustments as well. Shah Waliullah made a deep study of these maladies and reached the conclusion that society was suffering from a lack of equilibrium; the imbalance between the functions and the performance of the different organs had brought about such deterioration in its working that there was little relationship left between production arid consumption. The groups which should have been the custodians of its well-being had become parasites; instead of rendering any service, in return for what they consumed, they had reduced themselves to the state of mere idlers or rapacious exploiters. He castigated everyone who was a burden either upon the public funds or upon the public economy. He rightly laid great emphasis upon the economic well.-being of the peasantry and the craftsmen, because this was the basis of a sound economy in those days. At the same time he did not want them to be ‘impervious to moral considerations. To be good members of society, they also had to cultivate habits of hard work, honesty, and efficiency. He considered t of the greatest importance that everyur1C should do productive work to earn his livelihood.

The principle of Adal, Waliullah explains, is the very life of all political and social organizations; freedom, government and good life all depend upon The Maintenance of tawazun or equilibrium. The health of an economy can be secured only by a proper distribution of wealth; an unequal distribution which leads to its concentration in the hands of a few and reduces others to extreme poverty creates a serious disequilibrium and produces conflicts within the society which affect its wellbeing adversely; it sometimes leads a nation to aggression for the sake of acquiring by force what others have earned through their thrift and industry.” Shah Waliullah laid great emphasis upon the necessity of removing all forms of economic injustice and tyranny, because when a group is reduced to a level where it must work like animals to earn a livelihood, it loses its social virtues.

When Shah Waliullah returned to India in 1732 AD from Arabia, he saw the disintegration of the Mughal Empire due to rapid change of the Kings. The Marhattas, the Sikhs, the Syed brothers, the Jats, the rivalry_of Saadat Khan and Asaf Jah and the invasion of Nadir Shah had brought the country to disaster. He grievously felt the sad plight of the people and put his hand on every possible source for help. He wrote letters to powerful rulers to unite, and generously praised the government officials who upheld the cause against odd circumstances and prayed for their further successes. He exhorted Ahmad Shah Abdali and Najibul Daula to put an end to the Marhatta menace. In one of his letters addressed to Ahmad Shah Abdali he told him that it was’ his duty to crush Marhattas who were after the very existence of the Muslims in this country.” At last, Shah Waliullah succeeded in persuading Ahmad Shah Abdali and Najibul Daula to take up arms against the Marhattas. In the third Battle of Panipat, 1761 AD, the Marhattas had a crushing defeat and were not able to rise again.

Besides the transIation of Holy Quran Shah Waliullah wrote on mysticsm, economic and political problems. In Hujjat-ullah-al-Baligha. Shah Waliullah gave in depth study of social and religions decay of Muslims. He discussed the importance of Ijithid and scholastic requirements of a Mujtahid. In lzalat-ul-Khafa and KhiIafat-al- Khulafas Shah Waliullah tried to remove misunderstanding between Shias and sonnies. In AI-Insaf Fl Bayan sahib al Ikhtilaf he made an effort to create balance between four schools of thought. Shah Waliullah’s intellectual achievement Fuyuzal-Haramain Tafhimat-i-llahiya, AlNawadar Min-al-Hadi speaks volumes of his scholarship. The impact of Shah’s movement was so great that almost, all revolutionary and reformatory movements have their origin in Shah’s movement. Shah Wali-ullah’s zeal to reconcile different sections of Muslim society and his program of revivalism touched the heart of Muslims. The enthusiasm the zeal and the missionary spirit that illumined the heart of Shah’s disciples helped them to organize reformation societies in the far and wide of the country.

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