Zeeshan Rasool Khan


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Syed Muhammad Qasim Shah Bukhari (1910-2000), (President of Anjuman Tableegul Islam 1960-2000) was an illustrious religious scholar, writer, preacher, journalist, and social activist who colossally contributed to the spread of Islam in Jammu and Kashmir. He wrote more than a hundred books on various subjects of Islam besides translating and interpreting Quran in Urdu and Kashmiri.He alsotranslated literary works of great Sufi scholars and saints like Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.a), Baba Dawud Khaki, etc. He established Hanafi Arabic College in the heart of Srinagar city.

He travelled far and wide with a vision of educating the masses. For that, he successfully started religious seminaries and English medium schools in the length and breadth of the valley. Under his leadership historical religious gatherings took place in every nook and corner of the valley intended to guide the people. His role in the valley’s anti-Qadyani movement and Tehfuz’eKhatmiNabuwat (aiming to protect the belief in the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) has been epoch-making. Though his religious ideology hinged on ‘Hanfi Maslak and Sufi Mashrab’ – i.e., having views according to the Hanafi School of thought and teachings of Sufi saints, he did everything possible for the unity of the ummah. His religious views never led him to create disunity. He was an alumnus Darul-Uloom Deoband, but he never affiliated himself with any of the sub-sects likeBarelvi, Deobandi etc. and preached Islam in its true spirit.

His moderate standpoint was always appreciated by his contemporaries and the common masses. But as sects became more important than religion, speaking on behalf of sects, and deriving benefits out of conflicts & divisions normalized, concerted efforts were made to dilute his ideology. Deobandis didn’t own him and placed him in the Barelvi category. On the other hand, Barelvis also repudiated him.

Even his students were not spared. Despite buttressing and preaching the aqaid of Ahle-sunnah ardently for decades, they were over and over ridiculed as ‘Gulabi Wahabi’. They were vilified. A proper campaign would be launched against them. Even today it is going on. Much to the dismay of pacifist Muslims, a mosque was erected in opposition to the mosque where Imam and administration would admire Bukhari. To tackle the issue, two options were left; one, to engage in a never-ending cold war; two, to respond rationally and with facts. A young intellectual Syed Arif Ahmad Qadri, associated with Anjuman Tableegul Islam adopted the second option and employed his research expertise, intellect, and pen to respond and to put all those doubts to rest, which were created about Bukhari. He authored a much-needed book ‘Ameer’eSharait Allama Bukhari aur un kay Aqaid’ in Urdu language. As the author has evidenced Allama Bukhari’s aqeeda by highlighting and presenting Bukhari’s own views, the book is not just defensive, instead, it is an authentic documentation of Allama’s religious ideology. The author has delved deeper into the writings of Bukhari and has deftly put forth the excerpts to answer the questions raised by opponents.

The book is spread over 140 pages. It starts with Introduction, wherein the author has discussed Bukhari’s personality in brief. But the mention of his spiritual guide Hazrat Shaykh Mehmood Turazi Al-Madni, Bukhari’s first meeting with him, his enrolment in Madni’s Sufi order, and declaring him successor is striking. Bukhari’s leadership qualities and scholarship has been demonstrated by citing the letter written to Bukhari by Allama Arshid-ul-Qadri Sahb (1925-2002), a great Sunni Sufi scholar associated with the Barelvi movement. Space has been provided to famous Kashmiri scholar; Molana Syed Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi Sahib’s viewpoint. Andrabi, Bukhari’s contemporary, endorses that Bukhari was Sunni savant who never compromised his beliefs.

The introduction is followed by an epilogue by Molana Syed Farid-u-Rehman Bukhari (son of Bukhari and president of Anjuman Tableegul Islam), endorsements by Molana Said-u-Din Qadri and Molana Ghulam Ahmad Suharwardi (veteran leaders of ATI).

Allama Bukhari’s detailed radio interview in Kashmiri, which the author has put to paper in Urdu verbatim, comprises the interesting part of the book. It gives insight into the life, family, education, and scholarship of Bukhari. A reader comes to know about his religious understanding, his vision, aim, and determination to serve the people of the valley. In the interview, Bukhari comments about his publications. He explains the purpose of translating books like Zakhirat-ul-mulook, the need to write upon Wird-ul- Muriddeen, Awrad-e-Fathiya, Kibriyat-e Ahmar, etc. The interview also gives a fair idea about other aspects of Bukhari’s personality.

From page number 48 onwards, Bukhari’s understanding of polytheism has been revealed. Author makes reference to Bukhari’s Anfaas’e Qudsia Fi Sharhi’ Awaraadi Fathiyah to elucidate Bukhari’s Tawhidic belief. The concept of idolatry (Shrik), and innovation (Bidah) has been delineated in light of Bukhari’s writings, published in his magazine Al-aetiqaad (official organ of ATI) – 1982.

The book focuses on the philosophy of Nur-Muhammad (SAW), which is among the central beliefs of Ahle-sunnah. The author alludes to Shifa-ul-Bashar’FiSharhiKibriyat-e-Ahmar of Allama Bukhari to acquaint us with Bukhari’s belief.

Bukhari’s opinion about Spiritual authority (Ikhtiyaar) and reverence (Taazeem) of Muhammad (pbuh) has also been disclosed. An excerpt from Taryaaq’e Akbar (HawashiKibriyat Ahmar) (work of Bukhari) has been quoted in this regard.

Light has also been shed on the Milaad (Birthday of Prophet pbuh) celebration. A fatwa from Bukhari’s Al-Aetiqaad (1989) has been reproduced to make this faith evident.

Special attention has been given to topics like Concept of Misiliyat’eBashariyat-e-Mustafa (SAW) (Likeness of Prophet {pbuh} to Humans and His Human nature), impeccability of Prophets (Anbiya Masoom Anil Khata), Life of Prophets in Grave with particular reference to Life of Muhammad (pbuh) after departure (AqeedaHayat’eAnbiya and Hayatan Nabi). The author has worked meticulously. And has derived and proved these beliefs from Bukhari’s writings in Al-Aetiqaad (Jul/Aug 1988), Fazail o Ahkaam’e Eid-ul-azha, Shifa-ul-Bashar fi Sharh’eKibriyat Ahmar and Al-aetiqaad Dec. 1985 respectively, etc.

Particular emphasis has been placed on the verse ‘Wamauhillabihiligharillah ‘(v-173 Surah Baqarah) to resolve uncertainty around animal slaughtering at shrines, which is encouraged by Ahle-sunnah.

Towards the end, imitation and associating with different schools of thought (among four schools of Ahlesunnah) (Taqleed aur Masalik ki Nisbat), Zikr-bil-Jahr (Invoking God’s name loudly) has been described with the help of reference from Al-aetiqaad Apr 1979/1982.

The last topics of the book are Quran &Ahlebyat and Khatima Bil Kher ki taleemat (Teachings about death in circumstances conducive to salvation). A comprehensive account of ‘The Quran and Ahlebyat’ has been given. And Bukhari’s views have been presented by copying his write-up from the quarterly (15 days) Newspaper Hanfi – (15-roza Hanfi; Shaheed e Aezam number) – 3 Dec 1979.

Conclusion: The book offers much more to a reader and is worthwhile to understand the erudite person- Syed Muhammad Qasim Shah Bukhari. Researchers, religious and history students, and people interested in biographies must go through the book. Critics, in particular, should try this book before they intend to criticize Bukhari again. That will be in favour of all.

There are typos in certain places and the author needs to be serious in their elimination before publishing the next edition.

Writer: Zeeshan Rasool Khan is a columnist and co-author of the book #55 Stories. He tweets @Zeeshan_rk and can be mailed to [email protected]

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