Shah Waliullah Dehlavi
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On August 20,1762 AD, the Islamic scholar and reformer of the Subcontinent, Qutb od-Din Ahmad Ibn Abdur-Rahim, known as Shah Waliullah, passed away at the age of 59 years ago in Delhi, where he was born during the last years of the 50-year reign of the 6th Great Moghul Emperor, Mohammad Aurangzeb, who took Muslim power to its height in South Asia, controlling all of today’s India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the eastern half of Afghanistan.
After initial education in his hometown, he left for the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, where he stayed several years acquiring knowledge of various Islamic sciences, and on his return to India, strove for the revival of Islamic rule and intellectual learning. His activities were not confined to spiritual and intellectual spheres only, since he lived in troubled times and saw a number of rulers ascending to and falling from the throne of Delhi.
He observed the deterioration of Muslim rule and wrote to several political leaders, including Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan and Nizam Ali Khan Asef Jah II of Haiderabad-Deccan, to bolster the political life of Muslims. Waliullah was a prolific writer in both Persian and Arabic.
He wrote fifty-one books, of which twenty-eight are in Arabic and twenty-three in Persian. He codified the vast store of Islamic sciences under separate heads. His works can be classified into six categories. The first deals with the holy Qur'an, including its translation into Persian for the first time in the Subcontinent.
According to him, the object of studying the holy Qur'an is to reform human nature and correct wrong beliefs and injurious actions. The second category deals with hadith. The third category deals with fiqh or jurisprudence. The fourth category deals with mysticism. The fifth pertains to his works on Muslim philosophy and theology, including Ijtihad. The sixth category deals with problems between Sunnis and Shi’ite Muslims. His theories pertaining to economics and socialism are of revolutionary nature.