Monday, February 6, 2023

Rahmatullah Kairanawi: Pioneer of Interfaith dialogues in the Indian Subcontinent and Educationist in the Modern Arab World

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 06 February 2023 Main Points · The soil of India has not given place to any Muslim ruler who has issued an order for forced religious conversion. · An Indian scholar named Rahmatullah Kairanawi was behind the remarkable educational revolutions that began in the Arabian nation a century and a half ago. · The famous book ‘Izharul Haq’ (Exposition of Truth) by Kairanawi is considered to be the first modern book written in the Indian Subcontinent on the objective comparative analysis of Islam and Christianity. · History records that Rahmatullah Kairanawi was very vocal and fought against the British and prepared the believers for it. · Madrasa Assawlatiyya was founded by Kairanawi that imparted religious education in a systematic manner and on the model of Dars-e Nizamiya which was prevalent in India. ... The city of Lucknow was nicknamed Cordova in India during the Mughal period. History records Cordova as an equation of knowledge. India has produced many Muslim scholars who are recognized by the world and have developed creative educational methods. Rahmatullah Kairanawi was a rare presence in these scholarly ranks. Rahmatullah Kairanawi was born in 1818 at the height of Mughal rule in India in a region called Kirana in Andhra Pradesh. Kairanawi belonged to a family of scholars and officials who held great political positions during the Mughal rule. His family line was traced back to the third Caliph Usman bin Affan. The sixth paternal grandfather, Abdul Aleem, was a court priest during the time of Mughal ruler Akbar. Kairanawi started studying religious education from his family teachers in the sixth grade and memorized the Quran at the age of 12. Apart from his mother tongue Urdu, he also acquired Arabic and Persian languages. Later, for further studies in Delhi and Lucknow, he entered the wide world of knowledge from Ustads like Imam Baksh Swahbani, Ustad Muhammad Hayat, and Mufti Saadullah who were masters in various branches of learning. He returned to his native place after his studies and established a madrasa in Kirana. Kairanawi also found his spiritual path through Chishti Tariqa. The final period of Mughal rule was the period when British dominance was becoming stronger. This was the beginning of a strong shift towards civil law starting with the East India Company. The Christian British sought ways to spread their religion along with campaigns to seize power. Priests from Britain were specially brought to India and religious propaganda programs were activated. Although the Mughal rulers were Muslims, the majority of the people living in the areas they ruled were Hindus, and it is considered a sign of the religious pluralism of those rulers. The soil of India has not given place to any Muslim ruler who has issued an order for forced religious conversion. It is in this situation that colonial Christianity enters India, where Christians were a very minority, with a new propaganda mission. The Muslim scholars were the biggest setback for the Christian priests who tried to be active by spreading the religion in different ways and organizing debates with the priests of other religions. Rahmatullah Kairanawi is also in the limelight through dialogue with Christian priests. Kairanawi's debate with Christian priests in 1854 is very famous. Pastor Barnabas challenged the Muslim scholars with the Bible in front of him. Pfender was a German Christian priest who filled such debate venues. He himself wrote a book called ‘Meesanul Haq’ (The Balance of the Right). This book, which is critical of Islamic issues, was the sourcebook of the Christian religious priests in the discussion forums. The reflections of the said book are well used to take advantage of the deep ignorance and weakness of faith in the believers evident, albeit in a small way. A wave of sympathy and a cooperative spirit have always been tried by Christian clergy to influence weak believers in India. The East India Company's disguised religious propaganda must not have been identified with this wave of sympathy, which tried to impose faith by force in colonial India. Although many reasons are given for the First War of Independence in 1857, it is generally believed that the motivation of the participants in the revolt was to defend the efforts of the English East India Company to impose Christianity and its laws in India. The sepoy mutiny itself arose from the thought that Indian Muslims and Hindus who were in the company's army would have to accept Christianity by force and later it evolved into a major rebellion. The large number of Muslim scholars who were killed and fled to other countries after the riots were the answers to the fact that Muslim scholars came forward to strongly defend these religious propagandas ideologically. History records that Rahmatullah Kairanawi was very vocal and fought against the British and prepared the believers for it. By portraying the struggle against the British as a religious war and those who died in it were given the status of martyrs, all the Muslim majority areas joined the anti-British struggle. After the mutiny, the British army came in search of the scholars who had led such movements. Many were killed, many were imprisoned, and many were exiled. Many people left the country by themselves. Rahmatullah Kairanawi was also on the wanted list by the British. From there he strategically crossed to Bombay and then sailed to Arabia. He landed in Yemen. History began to pay attention to Kairanawi when he came to Saudi Arabia from Yemen. At that time Arabia, Mecca, and Medina were all under the Ottoman Caliphate. Lessons led by many scholars were held in Masjid al-Haram under Allama Ahmad bin Saini Dahlan, who was the then Imam of Masjid al-Haram and Mufti of the Shafi Madhhab. Allama Saini Dahlan soon recognized Kairanawi's erudition, talent, and perfection. He was also given permission to conduct such lectures. For Kairanawi, this teaching job at Masjid-ul-Haram was the world's greatest recognition of his efforts. It is very proud that an Indian has been selected among the world's Muslim scholars for his depth of knowledge, ability, and perfection. ‘Izharul Haq’ The famous book ‘Izharul Haq’ (Exposition of Truth) is Kairnawi's masterpiece. This is a book written by Kairanawi in response to the book ‘Meesanul Haq’ by the Christian priest Pfander and exposed its hollow arguments of Christian religious superiority and argued for brotherhood among Abrahamic religions. ‘Izharul Haq’ comes out when he was a teacher in Masjidul Haram. The writings prepared in Urdu were later extensively prepared in Arabic on the instructions of Allama Saini Dahlan. This book was published in 1864 in six volumes in Turkish, Urdu, and English. It was also translated into Gujarati languages. This book, which presents in detail strong evidence against false claims in Christianity, became world-famous through various debates with Christians. The fact that this great book is still an active presence in dialogues with Christians today adds to its reputation. This book is considered to be the first modern book written in the Indian Subcontinent on the objective comparative analysis of Islam and Christianity. While he explores the difference, the author makes ample references to the similarities between both religions. He had written this book in response to the allegations made by certain Christian missionaries against Islam. Christine Schirrmacher describes the book saying: ''The Demonstration of the Truth' (izhar al-haqq) served as a summary of all possible charges against Christianity and was therefore used after Kairnawi’s death as a sort of encyclopaedia since Kairanawi extended the material of former polemicists like 'Ali Tabari, Ibn Hazm or Ibn Taymiyya to a great extent.'' ‘Madrasa Assoulatiya’ It was only natural for Rahmatullah Kairanawi, who had studied and taught in the famous Nizamiyya curriculum, that he wanted systematicity in the teaching style and curriculum that followed in Mecca. The result of this thought was ‘Madrasa Assoulatiya’, which has moulded thousands of scholars from many parts of the world for nearly a century and a half and is still standing tall in Makkah. The founder of this great enterprise was Kairanawi. During this period, religious education institutions were held only in Masjid-ul-Haram and a few recognized individual-centred religious learning centres. These centres of learning did not function according to a strictly unified syllabus or curriculum system. The traditional method was followed. This madrasa was established in 1868. ‘Madrasa Assawlatiyya’ was an institution that began with the blessing of the ‘Masjidul Haram’ to impart religious education in a systematic manner. This madrasa was also started on the model of Dars-e Nizamiya which was prevalent in India. The Madrasah that Rahmatullah Kairanawi started in a small way in preparation for imparting religious education mainly to his own countrymen and those from other countries who came to Makkah later turned into a great. There was an incident behind the name of the Madrasah as ‘Saulatiyyah Madrasa’. The said incident took place in 1873. When a rich woman named ‘Saulat-unnisa’, a native of Kolkata, came to Mecca for Hajj, she wanted to build a building for the Indian pilgrims at her own expense. With this desire, they approached Rahmatullah Kairanawi. The woman came to Kairanawi through a relative who had studied in his school. When they expressed their wish, Kairanawi said, 'It is more important for us to build a madrasa building than to accommodate pilgrims. We can spend this money on the Madrasa'. And they agreed to it. With the money given by that majesty, he bought land in the vicinity of the Haram and built a new building for the madrasa on that land. After completing the work in one year, the prominent leaders and scholars of Makkah were invited and inaugurated in a celebratory manner. The students who were studying in the madrasa were shifted to the new building. ‘Madrasa Assaulatiyya’ was named in honour of that lady. Apart from India, students from many parts of the world like Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. have entered the society as the offspring of ‘Madrasa Assoulatiyya’. Great scholars respected by the world and those who have proved their ability in other fields are the progeny of this Madrasah. Husayn bin Ali, who established the government in Hijaz, Hasan bin Muhammad Al Mushatw, the world-famous Maliki scholar, and Ustad Ahmad bin Ibrahim, who was a poet, are some of the prominent ones. Abdul Wahab Hazrat, the founder of Vellore Baqiyat Salihat, was a disciple of Rahmatullah Kairanawi. The Vellore Bakhiyat Swalihat is still held on the Darse Nizamiya model. It is highly promising that this madrasah remained the same even when modern Saudi Arabia came into existence. To be able to exist without losing one's identity even when all that is incompatible with it is something to be proud of. Moreover, King Abdul Aziz, the founder and first ruler of modern Saudi Arabia, visited this madrasa and after understanding the systematization, arrangement, and syllabus integration, he said, 'Saulatiyya Madrasa is the Azhar University of my country'. It was only after the formation of modern Saudi Arabia that a curriculum was developed and educational institutions based on it, whether religious or physical, became widespread in Arabia. Only a few institutions like the ‘Saulatiyya Madrasa’ existed till then. In the fact that an Indian scholar named Rahmatullah Kairanawi was behind the remarkable educational revolutions that began in the Arabian nation a century and a half ago. Rahmatullah Kairanawi left this world on the holy Friday morning of Ramadan 1891. He died at the age of 73. He passed away in Makkah and was buried alongside of Umm al-Mu'minin Khadija (RA). He died at the age of 73. ... URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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