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06 January 2012

Maulana Imran Khan Azhari was man of wisdom and vision: Prof. Abdul Ali

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: One of the few most outstanding luminaries of Bhopal Maulana Muhammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari (1911-1986) was a distinguished religious scholar of vision and action. He was a scholar of international repute who remained a constant source of inspiration for the coming generations.

Apart from his scholarly achievements Maulana Muhammad Imran Khan was embodiment of tolerance, fortitude, perseverance, magnanimity, courage, kind-heartedness, humbleness, piety and sincerity of purpose. He had in his personality the rare combination of a peerless educationist and a practical man of wisdom and vision with deep insights into human psychology. Besides being a well-grounded scholar of Arabic and Islamic sciences, he had immense administrative capabilities. His services were applauded not only in the city of Bhopal, but also at the national and international levels.


The above observations were made by Prof. Abdul Ali of Aligarh Muslim University while delivering his keynote address in the three-day International seminar on the “Contribution of Maulana Muhammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari in Arabic Language and Culture” which began here on Tuesday. The Department of Arabic in the local Barkatullah University, under the able guidance of its Head of the Department who is also Director of seminar Prof. Ayisha Rais and Prof. Mohammad Hassan Khan, who is youngest son of Maulana Imran Azhari, is organizing the seminar.

Prof. Nisha Dube, the Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University, while presiding over the inaugural function said that she was very much impressed by the personality of Maulana Imran. She appealed to the new generation to imbibe the head and heart qualities of the great scholar so that they could become ideals not only for city and state but for the whole country. She said that mere obtaining degrees is not enough to be called educated and cultured. One has to have character of unimpeachable integrity which leaves indelible mark on the society to be followed by others. This can be achieved by following the footsteps of great personalities such as Maulana Imran Khan Azhari, she added.

Prof. Nisha opined that language and culture have very close and ardent relationship with each other. It is not only the writings but making efforts for its preservation is a big contribution to society at large, she remarked.

Prof. Abdul Ali continuing his keynote address said Maulana Imran being an accomplished scholar, an able administrator, a gifted speaker and a noble human being, there was a totality, uniqueness in his personality. He was known to be a strict disciplinarian, yet he was kind and compassionate to his colleagues and students. He never compromised on his principles even under the most adverse circumstances. The noted Islamic scholar Syed Sulaiman Nadawi was his mentor and his spiritual guide was Peer Nanhe Mian Mujaddidi and both made a great impact upon the life and works of Maulana Imran which moulded the qualities that enabled him to make lofty achievements by crowning his efforts with glorious success in all walks of life. 

Marvellous completion of the incomplete Taj-ul-Masajid is a monumental testimony to this fact.
Prof. Abdul Ali said that Maulana Imran was full of praise for the Tablighi Jama’at Movement, a non-political organization which, in his own words, has been doing more than any other Islamic group to bring Muslims closer to the teachings of Islam. He also opined that Muslims, instead of insulating themselves from non-Muslims, should have good relations with them on the basis of the ethical framework of Islam for peaceful co-existence, Prof. Abdul Ali said.

He said the watershed in his career was his admission in world-famous Azhar University at Cairo (Egypt). He was successful in getting admission in full fledged degree of Takhassus (Post-graduation) in 1937 which was a rare distinction for a non-Arab to get admitted to this prestigious course. Earlier, it may be pointed out here that Indian students or non-Arab other students used to be admitted to Alimiyat al-Ghuraba, a simplified course specially designed for non-Arab students. But the Maulana succeeded not only in getting admission to the specialized Alimiyat course, but also passed the examination with distinction. He was awarded the degree of Alimiyat in 1939.

Another Prof. Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqui from Aligarh Muslim University also presented a keynote address which was in Urdu and as such two keynote addresses were presented which was somewhat unusual. Prof. Yaseen, who had been a student of Maulana Imran at Nadwatul Ulama (Lucknow), threw light on various aspects of the Maulana’s life. He said generally stress is given on his administrative capabilities but in fact the Maulana was an eminent Islamic scholar, a fine teacher who knew the art of how to groom his students with love and as a strict disciplinarian. He narrated a number of anecdotes of his student days and his interaction with the Maulana to buttress his point.

Maulana Mohammad Saeed Mujaddidi (aka Peer Saeed Miyan) who was the chief guest on the occasion said that the Holy Qur’an not only imparts religious and spiritual knowledge about the life Hereafter but it is also a book holding signs which the inquisitive nature of man has inquired about leading it to the world of science for the benefit of mankind. Maulana Imran Khan was a highly respected religious scholar who had a great command over the Arabic language which enabled him to understand and interpret the Holy Quran in much a better way. He hoped that the international seminar will strengthen the cultural relationship between India and the Arab world.
Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, secretary All India Muslim Personal Law Board who was the guest of honour of the function, said: “Maulana Imran was a genius Islamic scholar and a very able administrator who as rector of the world famous seminary Nadwatul Ulama left very deep imprints on it which were visible even after 10 years when I sought admission there as a student”. If the Muslim institutions of the present era get even a fraction of Maulana Imran’s aura then there can come about a sea change in these also, he opined.

Maulana Rahmani said that Maulana Imran Khan developed a system for the propagation of Arabic language not only in Madhya Pradesh but in the whole of India and Pakistan. He demanded that a Chair in the name of Maulana Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari should be established in the Barkatullah University which would be a befitting manner to honour the great scholar of repute. He also demanded that a Department of Muta’la-e-Mazhab Aur Tahzeeb should be established in the university.

Complimenting Barkatullah University Vice Chancellor Prof. Nisha Dube for honouring Alim-e-Deen Maulana Imran Khan, who was a product of a Madarsa and not of any university, Maulana Rahmani said Maulana Imran was a courageous person who remained focused to his task till the very end when it was accomplished to his satisfaction. His commitment was to the degree of craziness to the public issues dear to him. The completion of the world fame grand Taj-ul-Masajid is the living testimony to this attribute of the late Maulana, he remarked. Otherwise Taj-ul-Masajid would have continued to remain in ruins till date, he added.

Maulana Rahmani who is well known to be outspoken for is views and loud thinking pointed out in the presence of the Vice Chancellor Prof. Nisha Dube that the word “Barkatullah”, the name of the university which has been christened after the name of great freedom fighter Maulana Barkatullah Bhopali, has been spelt incorrectly in Hindi by the authorities of the university.
Dr. Jalal Hafnavi, Professor of Urdu in Al-Azhar University, Cairo (Egypt) who was another guest of honour on the occasion, presented a paper on Maulana Imran Khan’s stay in Al-Azhar University as a student highlighting the characteristic traits of his personality..

Earlier, Director of the seminar Prof. Ayisha Rais threw light on the aims and objects of the seminar and Prof. Mohammad Hassan Khan welcomed the guests. Dr. Hameedullah Nadwi proposed a vote of thanks while Dr. Sufyan Hassan Nadwi conducted the proceedings with aplomb. In all seven papers were presented on the subject on the first day.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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