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Hostel Legacy: Allama Shibli (Mohd. Asif)

Quick Sketch

Name: Allama Shibli Nomani
Birth: June 04, 1857 in Bindawal, Azamgarh (UP)
Death: November 18, 1914 Azamgarh (UP)
Father : Shaikh Habibullah
Mother: Moqeema Khatoon
Services: Professor of Persian and Arabic in M.A.O. College (1882–1898), Islamic Scholar and Thinker, Writer and Poet
Founder Editor: The Aligarh Magazine (Urdu)-1891
Books :
1. Seerat-un-Nabi(7 Volumes), 2. Muqadmat-Seeratun Nabi 3. Al-Farooq (Biography of Hazrat Omar Farooq), 4. Al-Ghazali, 5. Al-Mamoon , 6. Seerat-un-Noman, 7. Swaneh-Maulana Roomi, 8. Al-Kalam, 9. Ilmul-Kalam, 10. Safar Nama Room-Misr-o-Shaam, 11. Sherul-Ajam (5 Volumes), 12. Kuliyat-e-Shibli (Urdu), 13. Kuliyat-e-Shibli (Persian), 14. Mawazenah Anees-o-Dabeer, 15. Al-Inteqar, 16. Auragzeb Alamgeer per Ek Nazar

Allama Shibli is known for the founding the Shibli National College in 1883 and the Darul Mussanifin in Azamgarh. Shibli was a versatile scholar in Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic and Turkish. He collected much material on the life of Prophet of Islam, but could write only first two volumes of the planned work the Sirat-un-Nabi. His disciple, Syed Sulaiman Nadwi, made use of this material and added his own and wrote remaining five volumes of the work, the Sirat-un-Nabi after the death of his mentor. Sirat-un-Nabi by Allama Shibli has been considered biggest treatise on Sirat so far by Islamic intellectuals but now Sirat-ur-Rasool (13 Volume) by Shaikhul Islam Allama Muhammad Tahirul Qadri is the biggest treatise on the subject.

He met Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–1898) who had just established Aligarh Muslim University. Nomani was offered and joined a teaching position at the university on February 1, 1882. He taught Persian and Arabic languages at Aligarh for sixteen years where he met Thomas Arnold and other British scholars from whom he learned first hand modern Western ideas and thoughts. He traveled with Thomas Arnold in 1892 to Egypt, Syria, Turky and other countries of the Middle East and got direct and practical experience of their societies.

After the death of Sir Syed Ahmed in 1898, he left Aligarh and became an advisor in the Education Department of Hyderabad State. He initiated many reforms in the Hyderabad education system. From his policy, the Osmania University of Hyderabad adopted Urdu as the medium of instruction. Before that no other university of India had adopted any vernacular language as the medium of instruction in higher studies. In 1908 he left Hyderabad and went to Lucknow to become the principal of Nadwatul Ulema. He introduced reforms in the school's teaching and curriculum. Earlier at Nadwa he wanted to establish Darul Musannifin or the House of Writers but there he could not do this. Eventually one of his disciples, Syed Sulaoman Nadwi fulfilled his dream and established Darul Musannifin at Azamgarh. The first formal meeting of the institution was held on November 21, 1914, within three days of his death.

Shibli’s genius had its flowering in Aligarh University when he came into contact with Sir Syed Ahmed and British scholars. Both Shibli and Sir Syed Ahmed wished for the welfare of Muslims, and wanted to have Western thinking and style come along with it. However, Sir Syed wanted to save the Muslims from the wrath of the British rulers after their active participation in the War of Independence, called the "Sepoy Mutiny" by the British colonialist rulers, whereas, Shibli wanted to make them self-reliant and self-respecting by regaining their lost heritage and tradition. In keeping with this goal, he wrote the following books; Sirat an-Nu'man, Al-Faruq, Al-Ma’mun, Al-Ghazali, Imam Ibn-e-Taymia, Maulana Rumi etc.

*Mohd. Asif is a Research Scholar in Department of Botany, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.
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