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Renaissance of Darul Uloom Deoband

Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband

In 1980, the 100TH Anniversary of the prestigious Darul Uloom Deoband (Islamic seminary) was celebrated grandly with a lot of excitement, under leadership of Hakeemul Islam Hazrat Maulana Qari Mohammad Tayyib (ra). The Hakeemul Islam (ra) would be the rector of Darul Uloom Deoband and by then his services as the rector had crossed an era of half century.  His efforts saw DarulUloom Deoband, founded by his grandfather Hujjat-ul-Islam Hazrat Maulana Imam Qasim Nanawtawi (ra), reach the zenith of success.

Around 20 lakh people answered to the call of Hakeemul Islam and attended the celebration. Various countries, with great reverence for both Hakeemul Islam and Darul Uloom Deoband, sent their delegations as a gesture of good will.

Earlier Hazrat Hakeemul Islam, as the rector of Darul Uloom Deoband and leader of Indian Muslims, had forced the government to give constitutional approval to the Muslim Personal Laws. The step was taken to ensure that Islamic Shari’ah and personal laws of Muslims remain protected. The leading stature of Hazrat Hakeemul Islam and Darul Uloom Deoband was indeed unbearable for the government.

A gigantic gathering of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a small town like Deoband, and that too in response to a single call from Hakeemul Islam! This was a great cause of trouble for the people in power at that time. The ruling elites never tolerated Muslims having gathered on one platform and under the leadership of just a single individual. More worrisome for them was the charm in personality of the person which urged a community divided on various grounds to accept him as a unanimous leader. Under the banner of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, established by Hakeemul Islam Qari Mohammad Tayyib (ra), the leaders of various religious denominations and sects had come together only to accept Hakeemul Islam as their leader.

The stand of Hakeemul Islam had always been apolitical. Going after the footsteps of his akabirin (pious predecessors), he always kept Darul Uloom Deoband away from all political impurities. Hakeemul Islam was a purely academic personality, a thinker and of good judge. The religion of Islam was his sole interest. Qasmi nobility and simplicity was almost his nature. Hakeemul Islam always, whether from his own platform or of others, spoke only for Islam. All his lectures and writings testify his academic and apolitical thoughts.

But, among those associated with Darul Uloom Deoband, there were some people with an entry in politics. After the grand anniversary celebration of Darul Uloom Deoband they all united affecting the academic atmosphere of DarulUloom Deoband. Hazrat Hakeemul Islam, who was completely unaware of political gambles, could in no way tackle the political conspiracies which had started against his management. Political tricks are very dangerous more so when the opponent is ignorant about them. It was the same thing taking place in Darul Uloom Deoband. Hazrat Hakeemul Islam, for the safety of Darul Uloom advised dissolution of Majlis-e-Shura (the governing council of Darul Uloom Deoband). The only reason behind this was that the majority of Majlis-e-Shura members, who were simple and academic people, had fallen prey to the political tricks.

This step—taken after consultation from the sincere and famous personalities of the Muslim community, the administration and the institution— was painted so as to seem damaging the reputation of Darul Uloom. While the fact was that Hazrat Hakeemul Islam, with a view to protect Darul Uloom Deoband, had taken the decision of dissolving the Majlis-e-Shura which was politicized. Hazrat Hakeemul Islam was blamed to be attempting to depute his son Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasmi for the post of rector of Darul Uloom Deoband. However, no proof could be presented to authenticate the propaganda.

Even if it is assumed that Hazrat (ra) wanted to make his son the rector of Darul Uloom Deoband, then too there should have been no problem. In later days, Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasmi has proved himself through his vast-dimensioned academic capabilities and Qasmi intellect. Stepping in the footsteps of his grandfather Imam Mohammad Qasim Nanawtawi he, in a short time, made Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband an institution of world repute. In the whole group of ulama-e-Deoband there is no scholar or thinker of his match. Then, did Darul Uloom Deoband not need such a rector as Maulana Muhammad Salim after Hazrat Hakeemul Islam?

In that era of secret plotting, the conspiracies against the management of Hazrat (ra) reached at the climax. Hazrat (ra) announced holiday in Darul Uloom Deoband and asked the students to go back home. Then a hypocritical group provoked the students against the Darul Uloom Deoband administration and started a parallel camp in the name of Darul Uloom Deoband. The atmosphere of Darul Uloom Deoband was deprived from the holy lectures of the Quran and Hadith for around five months.

In the midnight of March 23-24, 1982 the buildings of DarulUloom Deoband were occupied with the help of the government. Furthermore, it was also propagated that Hazrat Hakeemul Islam (ra) has resigned from the rectorship, while Hazrat (ra) never resigned from the post. He remained rector of Darul Uloom Deoband until his death.

Hakeemul Islam (ra) was an embodiment of patience. Despite such a tragedy Hazrat continued clinging to patience and instructed his followers and Darul Uloom’s fans all over the world to hold serenity and be patient. To protect the greatness and spirituality of Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Hakeemul Islam (ra) unraveled himself. Hazrat Hakeemul Islam (ra) wanted to at least save Darul Uloom Deoband from evils and mischief. And why could he have not done so? The person who irrigated Darul Uloom Deoband from his blood for more than half a century, how could he tolerate seeing that the revered plant which his forefathers had planted is being harmed?

Great Ulama and other well-wishers, working for the administration of Darul Uloom under Hazrat Hakeemul Islam Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib (ra), such as Hazrat Maulana Sayyid Anzar Shah Kashmiri (ra), Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Na’eem Sahab Deobandi (ra), Hazrat Maulana Khursheed Alam Sahab (ra), Hazrat Maulana Khalid Balyawi, Maulana Mufti Shakeel Sitapuri, Maulana Muhammad Abdul Haq Ghazipuri and Maulana Qari Muhammad Abdullah Saleem etc. and more than 150 teachers, staff members and employees refused to work under the newly set up illegal administration. These sincere servants of Darul Uloom Deoband welcomed helplessness and dearth. They remained with Hazrat Hakeemul Islam and refused to be away from truth and reality.

Perhaps, the matter would have settled here, but unfortunateness was yet to linger in the garden of Imam Qasim Nanawtawi. In an attempt to strengthen and more stabilize their political occupation the new illegal administration denied that Darul Uloom Deoband was waqf for Allah. It transformed the Darul Uloom Deoband into a registered government institution.

The followers and disciples of Hazrat Hakeemul Islam requested him to revive Darul Uloom Deoband and protect its spirituality. Darul Uloom Deoband is not merely the name of a building; rather it is a holy movement. It has gone through many phases; sometimes it was in Chatta Masjid, then in Jama Masjid. Now the need arrived that in order to save this great asset of Islam it should be transferred to somewhere else.

Since the absolute trust in Allah which was the spirit of Darul Uloom Deoband had ended, its renaissance became necessary. So in the leadership of Hakeemul Islam (ra) and with addition of the word ‘waqf’ Darul Uloom Deoband was revived. Now, it was “Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband”. And again the academic asset of big Ulama like Imamul Hind Hazrat Shah Wali Allah of Delhi (ra), Hujjatul Islam Imam Mohammad Qasim Nanawtawi (ra), Imam e Rabbani Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (ra), Shaikhul Hind Hazrat Maulana Mahmood Hasan (ra), Imamul Asr Hazrat Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri (ra), Shaikhul Islam Hazrat Maulana Shabbir Usmani (ra), Hakeemul Ummat Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (ra) and Hazrat Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (ra) was again saved in the shape of Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband. That is the bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He wills.

Hazrat Hakeemul Islam always admonished his successors that “difference relates to words and opposition relates to personality”. This crisis of Darul Uloom Deoband was a matter of difference related to talks. But since the personalities of the contenders are a part of the group, there should be an agreement with the destiny. In the incidents which took place the aspect of goodness from Allah Almighty should be focus of our thought. No one should be targeted in person. Twisting the incidents of past historically is unethical. Efforts are on for restoring greatness of the institution and uniting the group.

Keeping this advice in view Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasmi, the rector of Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband, rising above all personal interests, initiated for a rapprochement between the two groups in 2006. By the grace of Allah on behalf of the second party Hazrat Maulana Sayyid As’ad Madani (ra) welcomed this and played a key role in bridging the sectarian gape created due to the untoward situations. Anyway, the two akabir agreed upon that whatever took place was already destined from Allah. But now when Darul Uloom Deoband and Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband are two separate and accepted facts and they have their own reputation and fame, why should we not inherit our races unity instead of disunity? The lesson hidden in this virtuous work for the successors is that though differences are deep but if efforts are done raising above personal interests, with a collective point of view, with sincerity in heart and with an aim to please Allah, it will not take even few minutes to solve the issue which has remained unsolved even for 25 years. Today, by the grace of Allah, this spring of education is running in two streams; namely Darul Uloom Deoband and Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband.

May Allah, the Exalted, protect both the institutions associated with the universal thought of Hujjatul Islam Imam Muhammad Qasmi Nanawtawi (ra), the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband. May He, the Sustainer of the universes, give people associated with both the institutions the priceless wealth of sincerity in intention and heart. Aameen.