Glistening Stars From India’s Old Educational Institute In Delhi
By Justice Dr. Allāmah Khālid Mahmūd
Translated by Mawlānā Abū Zaynab
Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd, the great mujāhid, Hanafī and Naqshbandī Sūfī, is an extremely misunderstood individual on the World Wide Web. Misconceptions and preconceptions about this individual—who was described, at the time of his death, by the likes of Mawlānā Fazl-e-Haq Khayrābādī as not just a molwī but rather the Hakīm (physician) of the Ummah—are abound.
The following is a translation of some writing on the issue by Justice Dr. Allāmah Khālid Mahmūd. The text has been acquired from an excellent Urdu poster about the Walī Allāh camp, entitled “Glistening stars from India’s old educational institute in Delhi.” Biased individuals, while writing on this subject, have given the impression that many leading scions of the Walī Allāh camp were hostile to Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd (may Allāh shower him with His mercy). A thorough reading of the translation below shows otherwise.
This post is not directed at the antagonists of the Akābir of Deoband and their respected elders, but rather presented for the benefit of lay-Deobandīs (and those seeking justice) to gain insight into their shuyūkh and not be swayed by “popular trends” in pseudo-Islāmic thought. In fact many of the quotes mentioned by Allāmah Khālid Mahmud are from notable scholars, who are projected by these sectarian writers to have viewed Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd with disdain. The below demonstrates, with references, how such inferences are not only inaccurate but rather a gross misrepresentation of history. With the dawn of the blessed month, I hope and pray readers keep me close in their heartfelt supplications to the Almighty. Allāmah Khālid Mahmūd writes:
Ahl al-Bidat were against all of the Hadīth scholars (muhaddiths)
The Ahl al-Bid’at, who opposed Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd, were not only against him, they were, in the same way, also against Shāh Muhammad Ishāq. In fact, in terms of Islāmic knowledge, they had rebelled against Hazrat Shāh Walī Allāh and his entire family.
Before Molwī Ahmad Raza Khān, Molwī Fazl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī (d. 1272AH) wrote in his Persian book Al-Bawāriq al-Muhammadiyya bi Rajmī al-Shayātīn al-Najdiyya (The Muhammadan Lightning in Striking The Najdī Satans):
The conclusion of everything that Shāh Walī Allāh has written shows that he is against the Ahl al-Sunnat wa al-Jamāat. Shāh Walī Allāh’s pious children have not published and distributed these types of books (by Shāh Walī Allāh), and have kept (these books) hidden. It is as if they have veiled those words of their father that were unveiled.
Fazl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī worked for the British and his plan against the Hadīth scholars of Delhi remained unsuccessful. Hazrat Shāh Walī Allāh was not alone in propagating tawhīd (monotheism) and the sunnat, and opposing shirk and bidat. Among his students were famous pious people such as Hazrat Qādī Thanā Allāh Pānīpattī (d.1228AH). His son Hazrat Shāh Abd al-Azīz Muhaddith Dehlawī (d.1239AH), and learned brother Shāh Abd al-Qādir Muhaddith Dehlawī (d.1230AH), Shāh Rafī al-Dīn Muhaddith Dehlawī (d.1233AH), Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd (d.1246AH) and Shāh Muhammad Ishāq (d.1262AH) were all of the same maslak (methodology). Their biggest mistake was that they strove hard in support of the noble Sahābah (may Allah be pleased with them). The Shīa did not wish that the Ahl al-Sunnat wa al-Jamāat remain united. For them, in order to protect themselves, creating internal disputes among the Ahl al-Sunnat was a major service to their people. Apart from his (Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd’s) family there were many other ulamā, who had complete faith in this family.
The view of Mawlānā Fazl-e-Haq Khayrābādī
The words uttered by Mawlānā Fazl-e-Haq Khayrābādī at the time of Mawlānā Ismāil’s death show that the ikhtilāf (difference) that existed between them was only of an academic (ilmi) sort, not of the type that would take one out of the fold of Ahl al-Sunnat.
When Mawlānā Fazl-e-Haq Khayrābādī heard the news of Mawlānā Ismāīl’s martyrdom, he said:
We do not consider Ismāīl to be just a molwī but rather the Hakīm (physician) of the Ummat of Muhammad (peace be upon him). There was nothing whose love and importance was not in his mind. If Imām Rāzī gained (knowledge) then he did so by inhaling the smoke of a lantern, and Ismāīl gained (knowledge) only through his own competence and god given talent.
It can be understood from this that according to Mawlānā Fazl-e-Haq Khayrābādī, Mawlānā Ismāīl was on the truth. It is on account of this understanding that those from among his followers who are worthy of mention always remained connected to this family (the Walī Allāh family) and never allowed differences in masā’il to cause them to sever relations.
Mawlānā Ahmad Razā Khān went to study under Mawlānā Fazl-e-Haq Khayrābādī’s son, Mawlānā Abd al-haq Khayrābādī. However, Mawlānā Ahmad Razā Khān returned having become upset with him.
Mawlānā Muīn al-Dīn Ajmerī – who is known as the Allamah al-Zamān (The Allamah of the Age) of the Khayrābādī maslak—disagreed with the takfīr of Mawlānā Ahmad Raḍā Khān and even penned two books against him, Tajalliyāt Anwār al-Muallimīn (Divine Manifestations of the Radiances of the Teachers) and Al-Qawl al-Ahar (The Clear Word). In Tajalliyāt Anwār al-Muallimīn Mawlānā Muin al-Dīn has discussed the character of Mawlānā Ahmad Razā Khān in great detail.
It should be noted that none of the other students of Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz and Shāh Muhammad Ishāq supported Mawlānā Ajmad Razā Khān. In defence of Shāh Ismāʿīl Shahīd, they all remained vociferous.
The view of Ṣadr al-Ṣūdūr Delhi Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn
(I) saw Molwī Ismāīl and I never saw anyone like him. These people are those, in whose support the Almighty in chapter four, Surat Al Imrān has said…”
(Fazā’il-e-Ālim Ba-Amal [Virtues of a Practicing Scholar]p.5)
The view of Ṣadr al-Ṣūdūr Molwī Abd al-Qādir Rāmpūrī (d. 1265)
In Delhi, Molwī Ismāīl (the son of Molwī Abd al-Ghanī, who was the son of Shāh Walī Allāh Muhaddith Dehlawī)—who in being well-spoken, deriving rulings from texts and being of a sharp mind was a reminder of his grandfather and uncles—girded his loin in stopping people from bidat, which had become mixed into those actions of religion that are mustahab and wājib.”
(Waqāi Abd al-Qādir Khānī [Stories of Abd al-Qādir Khānī], Urdu translation, part 2, p. 233)
The view of Hazrat Mawlānā Rashīd al-Dīn Khān Kashmīrī
Mawlānā Rashīd al-Dīn Khān, one of Kashmir’s revered individuals, was the leading student of Hazrat Shāh Rafī al-Dīn Muhaddith Dehlawī. He attained a sanad in Hadīth from Hazrat Shāh Abd al-Azīz, was an expert (imām-e-fan) in the Rawāfid and a successor of Hazrat Shāh Abd al-Azīz. His son Mawlānā adīd al-Dīn was the student of Shāh Muhammad Ishāq. His enormous library was lost during the events of 1857. He said:
We are not as remorseful at having our library looted as we are at losing those footnotes (hāshiyat) that Mawlānā (Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd) wrote on religious books.”
(Akmal al-Bayān [The Complete Statement], p702)
The view of Hazrat Mawlānā Ahmad al-Dīn Bughawī (d. 1286)
He was one of the senior students of Hazrat Shāh Muhammad Ishāq Dehlawī, however, Hazrat Shāh Abd al-Azīz handed him his sanad. It is mentioned in Hadā’iq al-Hanafiyyah (The Gardens of the Hanafis) (p. 504):
There is none in the Punjab who can escape from being his student. Some are direct, and others are indirect students of his.
He was asked regarding Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd. This was the eighth question out of ten. He said:
The warrior who left his homeland and who sacrificed himself in the path of Allāh, Molwī Muhammad Ismāīl. On the outside, he left the world clean and pure… Whoever—with regards to such a distinguished scholar (alim fāmil) who was a follower of the sunnat—entertains ill thoughts and feels he (Shāh Ismāīl Shahīd) has committed kufr then that person is guilty himself of those things. Such a person is a denier of the verses of the Qur’an and the Hadīths… or the kalimah has simply not transcended his throat.”
(Ashr-e-Kāmilah [The Complete Ten], 1272, Fakhr al-Maābi, Dehli)
The view of Hakīm Mahmūd Ahmad Barakātī, a follower of the Khayrābādī maslak
Shāh Muhammad Ismāīl was a brilliant aalim. He was strict, had sharp memory, was well versed in the sciences, he understood delicate issues, was of lofty character and was god fearing. His entire life was like that of the pious and chosen ones. In great prestige he handed his life over to He who takes and with such eagerness did he answer the call for martyrdom that from the heart of every believer a voice can be heard saying: ‘Allāh is the greatest, this is something worthy of attaining.
(Hayāt Shāh Muhammad Ishāq Muhaddith Dehlawī [The Life of Shah Muhammmad Ishaq Muhaddith Dehlawī], p38)
 Translator: Molwī Fazl-e-Rasūl is being sarcastic here
 Translator: An Urdu metaphor alluding to spending time at night under the lantern studying