Shah Abdul Wahhab

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Shah Abdul Wahhab Sahib رحمه الله
Tomb of A'la Hadrat Shah Abdul Wahhab.jpg
Maqbara of A'la Hadrat Shah Abdul Wahhab Sahib رحمه الله
Title A'la Hadrat
Born Abdul Wahhab
1 Jumādā al-Ūlā 1247 Hijri (19 October 1831)[1]
Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
Died 22 Jumada al-Thani 1337 Hijri (25 January 1919(1919-01-25) (aged 87))[1]
Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
Resting place Waranda of Masjid Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat 12°55′11″N 79°08′09″E / 12.919711°N 79.135758°E / 12.919711; 79.135758
Ethnicity Indian
Region Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Muhaddtih, Faqeeh, Historiographer
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni, Deobandi
Notable work(s) Islamic Social Reform during the later part of the 19th century, Fight against Bid'ah or Unislamic Innovations in Islam, Founder of Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat,
Sufi order Qadiriyya, Chishtiya

A'la Hadrat Maulana Shah Abdul Wahhab (9 October 1831 – 1921) (Tamil:அஃலா ஹள்ரத் மவ்லானா ஷாஹ் அப்துல் வஹ்ஹாப்), (Arabic: اعلى حضرت مولانا شاه عبد الوهّاب) born Shah Abdul Wahhab, also known as (A'la Hadrat, A'la Hazrat, Ala Hadrat, Ala Hazrat) (Tamil:அஃலா ஹள்ரத்,அஃலா ஹஜ்ரத்), was a renowned Sunni Islamic Scholar and Reformer of the late 19th and early 20th Century from the Southern part of India. Like Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi he was worried about the state of Muslims of South India, especially those of Nagore and its nearby regions. He worked hard to purify their beliefs. So he founded the Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat in Vellore in the year 1857.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

A'la Hadrat was born on 1st of the Islamic month of Jumādā al-Ūlā of Hijri 1247 (19 October 1831) in Vellore. His dad, Maulana Abdul Qadir Sahib, died when he was 4 years old in Madurai, India. He moved into his mother's household in Vellore and his early education was in Vellore.

Early education[edit]

In Vellore, after having finished his pre-school education with his mother and uncle, A'la Hadrat did his primary schooling with Hakeem Jainul Abideen, a famous Teacher and Medical practitioner, who lived in the same street where A'la Hadrat lived. He completed his Primary education in Arabic and Parsi languages with him.[4]

To complete the necessary education of the time, A'la Hadrat left for Madurai. There he stayed with Al Arifbillah Qutbuz Zaman Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim who schooled him for 7 more years with all the necessary arts.

Having finished his schooling, A'la Hadrat returned to Vellore. He married and started his family life. He wanted to learn more. So, on the 15th of the Islamic month of Shaʿbān of Hijri 1284, he left for Hijaz while his 3-year-old son and family stayed back in India.[4]

Higher education[edit]

In the Holy City of Mecca, his thirst found its fountain in these Islamic luminaries, Maulana Rahmatullah Keeranvi, Maulana Haji Imdhadhullah Muhaajir Makki and Maulana Syed Muhammad Hussein Peshawari.[4]

According to Historians, A'la Hadrat is believed to have learned some Islamic Books and Munazara from Maulana Rahmatullah Keeranvi.

A'la Hadrat completed his higher studies in Hadith and Usool ul Hadith (Principles of Hadith) from Maulana Syed Muhammad Hussein Peshawari.

A'la Hadrat got his Bay'ath from his teacher Maulana Haji Imdhadhullah Muhaajir Makki and started his spiritual journey.

While A'la Hadrat's spiritual journey to Hijaz found these scholars, he found yet another teacher in Maulana Shah Abdul Latheef back home in Vellore.

Strange coincidence[edit]

A strange coincidence noteworthy to be mentioned here is that Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, the founder of the Madrasa Darul Uloom Deoband in North India and A'la Hadrat, the founder of the Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat in South India shared a common lineage in their Islamic Studies.

The teachers of A'la Hadrat were, Maulana Rahmatullah Keeranvi, Maulana Syed Muhammad Hussein Peshawari and Maulana Shah Abdul Latheef. And the scholar who taught these three was Maulana Shah Muhammad Is-haaq.[5]

The teacher of Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi in his higher studies was Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani. And his teacher was Maulana Shah Muhammad Is-haaq.[5]

Maulana Shah Muhammad Is-haaq's teacher was Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz and whose teacher was none other than Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi. And thus this common lineage of A'la Hadrat and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi in Islamic Higher Studies goes as far as Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi.[5]

Further in their spiritual studies and journey, A'la Hadrat and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi are even more closely related. Both their spiritual teacher was none other than Maulana Haji Imdhadhullah Muhaajir Makki.[5]

Though these two scholars, A'la Hadrat and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, shared a common lineage in the Islamic Studies and Spiritual path, there is no definite proof that these two Islamic Reformers of the Indian Sub-Continent ever met.

Islamic services[edit]

After completing his studies, A'la Hadrat was offered the post of Deputy Collector when he was visiting Hyderabad. But he turned down the offer.[6] Returning from Hyderabad, the first thing he did was to make himself financially stable. He sold off his ancestorial land in Zameen Attur and bought one in Vellore. This provided him with an earning. After he attended to his personal financial state, he commenced his Islamic Social Services.[2] He visited Villages and towns and called Muslims to live their lives according to Shariah and stressed the need for it. When it came to Bid'ah, he vehemently opposed it and voiced against it publicly.[4] In this course, he stayed in Thittachery for a long period and educated the Muslims about Islam and Bid'ah that had crept into their beliefs again and again. Though the people of Thittachery vowed to stay away from Bid'ahs and Shirk, they did it only for a short period.[6]

It is said, at this juncture, the famous Islamic Scholar from Nagore-Masthan Gani Masjid,Al Arifbillah Maulana Mohamed Ghouse (Gani Thambi Aalim Sahib) advised him to start a Madrasa so that those scholars and reformists who graduated from the Madrasa would aid him in his Islamic Social Reform and carry on the service when he is no more and A'la Hadrat seemed to have taken to this idea.[4][7]

So the Islamic Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat was found by A'la Hadrat in the year 1884[3] with the intention of realising his Islamic Social Reform in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere.[4]

Also, in addition to the Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat, A'la Hadrat started the Khanqahey Baqiyat in the city of Vaniambadi. It served as a centre for Tariqa of Qadiriyya & Chishtiya.[4]

Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat[edit]

On the lines of his teacher Maulana Rahmatullah Keeranvi, A'la Hadrat started a Madrasa in his house without much resources. Maulana Rahmatullah Keeranvi was founding the Madrasa Sawlatiyya in the Holy city of Mecca around that time. There is no reference to the name of this small Madrasa.[4]

This Madrasa founded in a small house grew into the Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat with a new Syllabus at its present location in 1884 (Hijri 1301).

The Madrasa had three objectives. The First was Islamic Education, the second was emphasise and call Muslims towards the Sunnah and the third was to create Service Minded Islamic Scholars who would be steadfast in their fight against Bid'ah or Unislamic Innovations in Islam.[4]

Following the footsteps of his teacher Maulana Rahmatullah Keeranvi who wrote authored the famous Islamic Works, Izhar ul-Haqq, Izalathush Shukook,[8] Izalathul Awham, A'la Hadrat spearheaded the Islamic Da'wah and answering Christians in South India. It is astonishing to find that there was no other Islamic Scholar of his calibre when it came to Islamic Social Reform during the later part of the 19th century or the earlier part of the 20th century in Tamil Nadu.[4]


  1. ^ a b Thizkare Ganje Maa (Sawanihe A'la Hadrath, Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat)
  2. ^ a b hazrath fidwee rah, அண்ணல் அஃலா ஹள்ரத்(ரஹ்)அழகிய சரிதை – Beautiful History of A'la Hadrath, Pages 31–48, Vellore – 632004, Darul Khatib,1992
  3. ^ a b J.B.P.More, Political Evolution of Muslims in Tamil Nadu and Madras 1930–1947, Page 54, Orient Blackswan, 1997, ISBN 978-81-250-1192-7
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j A'la Hadrat, பாகியாதுஸ் ஸாலிஹாத் பத்வாத் தொகுப்பு-ஓர் அறிமுகம் – Compilation of the Islamic Rulings of Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat – An Introduction, Vellore – 632004, Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat, 1989
  5. ^ a b c d M.Abdul Majeed Baqavi, November 2011, 'அண்ணல் அஃலா ஹள்ரத்(ரஹ்) மற்றும் பாக்கியாத்தின் மஸ்லக்-கொள்கை என்ன? – What was the Maslaq- of A'la Hadrat and Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat?',மனாருல் ஹுதா – Manarul Huda – Tamil Islamic Monthly Magazine, Vol: 2, Issue: 10, Pages 13–21, Registered with the Registrar of Newspaper of India under No. TNTAM/2010/32087
  6. ^ a b Maulana Nisar Ahmad Fitwhi Baqavi.Mujaddid-e-Junoob, Page 74,cited in மனாருல் ஹுதா – Manarul Huda – Tamil Islamic Monthly Magazine, Vol: 2, Issue: 10, November 2011, Page 11
  7. ^ S.S.Abdul Cader Baqavi, October 1971, 'Mujaddid', Rahmath, Page 18, Rahmath is a Tamil Islamic Monthly Magazine published from Tirunelveli
  8. ^ 'His Holiness The Great Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Kairanvi & Madrasa Saulatiya',, Retrieved 22 December 2011