Amin Ahsan Islahi
Ameen Ahsan Islahi
|Died||15 December 1997|
|Resting place||DHA, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Notable idea(s)||Concept of thematic and structural coherence in Quran|
|Disciple of||Hamiduddin Farahi|
|Known for||'Nazm, or Coherence, in the Quran theory of Nazm-ul-Quran|
Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904 – 15 December 1997), was a Pakistani Muslim scholar, famous for his Urdu exegeses of Quran, Tadabbur-i-Qur’an (Pondering on the Quran), an exegesis that he based on Hamiduddin Farahi's (1863 – 1930), idea of thematic and structural coherence in the Qur'an.
Islahi was born in 1904 at Bamhur village in Azamgarh, United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), British India (now India). After graduating from Madrasatul Islah in Azamgarh in 1922, he entered the field of journalism. He was the son in law of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Khan. First he worked as an associated editor in "Khoonch" a children magazine. Then he edited a newspaper Madinah at Bijnor, India and also remained associated with "Sach", a newspaper taken out by Abdul Majid Daryabadi.
Inspiration from Hamiduddin Farahi
In 1925 Hamiduddin Farahi invited Islahi to study the Qur’an with him and Islahi left his journalistic career to do so. He learned from Farahi the principles of direct deliberation on the Book of Allah. During this time, he also taught the Qur’an and Arabic literature at the Madrasah.
After Farahi's death, Islahi studied Hadith from the scholar Abdu’l Rahman Muhaddith Mubarakpuri. In 1936, Islahi founded the "Daira-i-Hamidiyyah", a small institute to disseminate the Qur’anic thought of Farahi. Under the auspices of this institute, he brought out a monthly journal "Al-Islah" in which he translated many portions of Farahi's treatises written in Arabic. The journal was published till 1939, after which it was discontinued.
Association with Jamaat-e-Islami
Like Maulana Naeem Siddiqui, Maulana Muhammad Manzur Nu'mani and Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi, Islahi was among the founder members of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a religious party founded by the eminent Islamic scholar Mawdudi in 1941. During his seventeen-year stay in the party, he represented the intellectual element and remained a member of the central governing body, Majlis-i-Shura. During this period, he did the groundwork needed to write a commentary of the Qur’an – an objective which he had set before him early in life. In 1956 the Government of Pakistan set up the Islamic Law Commission and Islahi – an expert on Islamic law – served as a member until the commission was abolished in 1958 by the martial law regime of General Ayub Khan. In 1958, he quit the party after serious differences arose between him and Mawdudi over some policy differences.
Islahi considered participating in elections a useless exercise for the purposes of bringing about an Islamic change. His thinking simply was that politicians can not establish Islam. Many politicians' aim is to gain power by any means necessary. He thought that if some people use the name of Islam, they do so to achieve their own political objectives.
In his view, those who would like to work for the cause of Islam and its revival should work among people selflessly, without any desire for gaining power. These workers should approach the people only to serve them, to educate them, and to help them reform their lives morally in the Islamic way of life.
Completion of Tadabbur-i-Qur’an
After leaving the Jamaat-e-Islami, he began writing a commentary of the Qur’an. He also launched a monthly journal Mithaq in which portions of this commentary, Tadabbur-i-Qur’an were published. In 1961 he established a small study circle, Halqa-i-Tadabbur-i- Qur’an, for college students to whom he taught Arabic language and literature, the Qur’an and Sahih Muslim. In 1965, an incident brought an end to both the journal and the study circle: Islahi's eldest son Abu Saleh died in a plane crash. However, work on the commentary continued. In 1970–71, Islahi fell severely ill and had to discontinue all his intellectual pursuits but he later recovered. In 1972, he moved to a country village near Sheikhupura where he continued to work on the commentary till 1979, when he returned to Lahore. On the 29th of Ramadan 1400 (August 12, 1980) he finished Tadabbur-i-Qur’an after twenty-two years of work.
In 1981 Islahi founded the Idara-i-Tadabbur-i Qur’an-o Hadith and appointed his close pupil Khalid Masud as first Nazim of this Idara (institution), which later came under the supervision of Abdullah Ghulam Ahmed in Lahore, Pakistan. It remained the centre of all his intellectual activities until his death on 15 December 1997. A quarterly journal, Tadabbur, was taken out in 1981 as its organ. Khalid Masud was appointed its first editor and in charge till his death in Oct 2003. He gave weekly lectures on the text of the Qur’an. Later he took up deep study on the principles of Hadith and began teaching the Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik in weekly sittings to a close circle of students and associates. After completing Al-Muwatta, he also taught some portions of Imam Bukhari’s Sahih Bukhari. Many of these lectures have been transcribed and published in the Tadabbur. Khalid Masud played a major role in converting Islahi's speeches and lectures into publication for benefits of the Islamic scholars and public.
Besides the nine volume Urdu Tafsir Tadabbur-i-Qur’an (Pondering on the Qura'n), which Islahi started writing in 1958 and finished in 1980, he wrote a number of articles and authored a number of books on various topics of Islam, including:
- ‘تزكيہ نفس’ (Tazkiyah-i-Nafs: Purification of the Soul)
- ‘حقيقت شرك’ (Haqiqat-i-Shirk: The Essence of Polytheism)
- ‘حقيقت توحيد’ (Haqiqat-i-Tawhid: The Essence of Monotheism)
- (Haqeeqat-e- Risalath: The Essence of Prophethood)
- Haqeeqath-e- Ma-aad : The Essence of Hereafter
- ‘دعوت دين اور اس كا طريقہ كار’ (Da‘wat-i-Din awr us ka Tariqah-i-Kar: Islamic Message and the Mode of its Preaching)
- ‘اسلامى قانون كى تدوين’ (Islami Qanun ki Tadwin: Codification of Islamic law)
- ‘اسلامى رياست’ (Islami Riyasat: The Islamic state)
- ‘اسلامى معاشره ميں عورت كا مقام’ (Islami Mu‘asharay mayn ‘Awrat ka Muqam: The Status of Women in an Islamic Society)
- ‘حقيقت نماز’ (Haqiqat-i-Namaz: The Essence of the Prayer)
- ‘حقيقت تقوى’ (Haqiqat-i-Taqwah: The Essence of Piousness)
- ‘اسلامي رياست ميں فقہى اختلافات كا حل’ (Islami Riyasat mayn Fiqhi Ikhtilafat ka Hal: Solution of Juristic Differences in an Islamic State)
- ‘مبادي تدبر قرآن’ (Mabadi Tadabbur-i-Qur’an: Principles of Understanding the Qur’an)
- ‘مبادي تدبر حديث’ 
- ‘تنقيدات’ (Tanqidat: A collection of critical essays)
- ‘توضيحات’ (Tawdihat: A collection of general explanatory essays)
- ‘مقالات اصلاحي’ (Maqalat-i-Islahi: A miscellaneous collection of articles)
- ‘قرآن ميں پرده كے احكامات’ (Qur’an mayn Parday kay Ahkamat: The Directives of Hijab in the Qur’an)
- ‘تفہيم دين’ (Tafhim-i-Din: Understanding Islam)
- ‘فلسفـے كے مسائل قرآن كى روشنى ميں’ (Falsafay kay Matha’il Qur’an ki Rawshani mayn: Philosophical Issues in the Light of the Qur’an)
- Tadabbur -e- Hadeedh 
Islahi also translated Farahi’s commentary consisting of fourteen Surahs of the Qur’an, as well as his following books from Arabic:
- (Majmua Tafathir Farahi)
- ‘في من هو الذبيح’ (Fi man huwa al-Dhabih: Which of Abraham’s son was Sacrificed?)
- ‘اقسام القرآن’ (Aqsamu’l-Qur’an: Oaths of the Qur’an)
Death and legacy
Amin Ahsan Islahi died in Lahore, Pakistan on 15 December 1997 at age 93. His students in Pakistan include Khalid Masud and Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. Islahi was described by a former student as "very sensitive, courteous and caring, frank yet very reasonable, warm and loving" and that Islahi thought the most important thing in his life was to "explain and elucidate" the Quran.
- Profile of Amin Ahsan Islahi on Oxford Islamic Studies Online website Retrieved 5 April 2020
- "Profile of Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904 – 1997)". Dar-ul-Tazkeer.com website. 8 April 2004. Archived from the original on 4 September 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
- Irfan Ahmad (20 November 2017). Religion as Critique: Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace. p. 166. ISBN 9781469635101. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- "Profile of Khalid Masud (The Mission Newsletter)" (PDF). 10 February 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 September 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
- Books by Amin Ahsan Islahi on goodreads.com website Retrieved 5 April 2020
- "Al-Mawrid". Archived from the original on 1 August 2009.
- "Renaissance (a monthly Islamic Journal includes writings by Amin Ahsan Islahi) also includes a A Brief Biographical Sketch of Islahi". Renaissance.com website. 17 January 2001. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
- Mir, Mustansir. Coherence in the Qur’an: A Study of Islahi’s Concept of Nazm in Tadabbur-i Qur'an. Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1986. ISBN 0-89259-065-3.
- Robinson, Neal. Discovering the Qur’an: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text. London: SCM Press, 1996. ISBN 0-334-02649-0.
- Khalid Masud: Amin Ahsan Islahi's Intellectual Heir (1935 — 2003) (pdf), The Mission Newsletter, Volume 9, Issue 3-4, March–April 2004.
- Amin Ahsan Islahi, Dar-ut-Tazkeer
- Amin Ahsan Islahi