Rahmatullah Kairanawi

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Rahmat Allâh Kairânawî(رحمت الله الكيراناوي) (91-1818), also spelt or known by names Rahmatullah Kairanvi or Al-Kairanawi or Sheik Rahmat Kairanawi or Rahamatullah ibn Halil al-Utmani al-Kairanawi or Al-Hindi, was a Sunni Muslim scholar and author. He is best known for his grand work, Izhar ul-Haqq.


Kairanawi was born in Kairana of Uttar Pradesh, India during the last years of the Mughal Empire. A full family tree that goes back to the third Caliph, Usman Ibn Affan, is mentioned in family sources.[1] Part of the family wealth, large property in Kairana, was granted by Akbar the Great following a successful treatment by some of Kairanawani's grandfathers.[1] Many family members held high positions and/or were intellectuals. Kairanawani began receiving traditional Islamic education at the age of 6, memorizing the Qur'an at 12.[1] He also learned Arabic and Persian language. Later he moved to Delhi where he studied different disciplines including mathematics and medicine.[1] Working as a Mufti and Sharia teacher, he founded a religious school in Kariana.[1] He had to quit and dedicate his time to writing and refuting missionaries, whose activities were increasing at the time.

Debate with Pfander[edit]

In 1837 the Church Mission Society appointed Karl Gottlieb Pfander, described by Eugene Stock as "perhaps the greatest of all missionaries to Mohammedans",[2] to Agra in Northern India, where in 1854 he engaged in a famous public debate with leading Islamic scholars. The main Muslim debater was Kairanawi, being assisted by English-speaking Dr. Muhammad Wazîr Khân.[3] The debate itself went badly for Pfander because Kairanawani used arguments from European theologically critical works, and arguments from the Catholic missionaries in India, who strongly disliked the work of their Protestant colleagues.[4] Pfander was unable to respond to this criticism since his books only responded to the traditional Muslim charges against Christianity and he decided to withdraw from the debate.[3]

Indian Rebellion of 1857[edit]

Following armed uprisings against the British which he personally took part in, Kairanawani had to leave all his property (auctioned later), run for his life, and board a ship in Bombay. Arriving at the port of Mocha, Yemen, he walked to Mecca. The full journey took 2 years.[1]


Kairanawi wrote many books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Some of his books have not been published.

Izhar ul-Haq (Truth Revealed)[edit]

Written originally in Arabic, this book in six volumes was translated later into Urdu, and from Urdu into a summarized English version [1] published by Ta-Ha. The book aims to respond to Christian criticism of Islam. It is the first Muslim book to use Western scholarly works in order to ascertain the errors and contradictions of the bible. The doctrine of Trinity is purportedly contested using biblical, Christian and other sources. Christine Schirrmacher, a German scholar of Islamic Studies, states in an article on the Pfander-Kairanawi debate:[3]

The Madrasa Sawlatia[edit]

While residing in Mecca, Kairanawi founded a religious school there, Madrasah as-Sawlatiya.[2]


Sherif Hussein and others are listed among people who were taught by him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kairanvi Biography in Arabic, Madrasa Saulatia website.
  2. ^ Beginnings in India, chapter VIII, by Eugene Stock, D.C.L.; London: Central Board of Missions and SPCK, 1917.
  3. ^ a b c Schirrmacher, Christine. "The influence of German Biblical criticism on Muslim apologetics in the 19th century", Contra Mundum, 1997. Accessed September 27, 2007.
  4. ^ Stock, The History of the Church Missionary Society its Environment, its Men and its Work (London, 1899-1916), 2: 171