Ilyas Burney

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Professor Muhammad Ilyas (Elias) Burney (1890–1959) was the first head of Department of Economics at Osmania University,[1] Hyderabad, India. He published about 40 books in Urdu, Persian, Arabic and English. He wrote the first book about Economics in Urdu, for which Sir Muhammad Iqbal complimented him in 1917.[2] His other books in economics included Ilm ul Maaeshat (Knowledge of Economics),[3] Muqaddima e Maashiyat (Treatise of Economics / Translation)[4] and Indian Economics.[5][6]

Burney is particularly known for his monumental work on the Ahmadiyya religion. His Urdu book. Qadiani Muzhab (Ahmadiyya Faith), is considered a comprehensive study on the subject.[7][8][9] It was also translated into Arabic as Adiyanatul al Qadianiah by Maulana Abdul Quddoos Nadvi. Among his other quoted books are Mishkat-us-Salawat, which is a collection of poetry in praise of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was also appointed by Muhammed Ali Jinnah to the Planning Committee of Pakistan.[10] However, after the partition of India he decided to remain in India.[11]

He was born at Khorja district Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, British India on 19 April 1890. An award-winning student throughout, after his initial education at Khorja high school he went on to Aligarh Muslim College & University to finish his MA & LLB with distinction. At Aligarh he associated himself with Ziauddin Ahmed in the promotion of the university and also taught economics there to BA classes for two years. Character building of youth was his favourite theme. His acquaintances and friends liked their sons to be in his company. A keen athlete and sportsman himself since his younger days he encouraged youth to participate in sports activities. At Osmania he was the President of the Football Club.[12] Nizam of Hyderabad entrusted to him the role of tutor to the royal princes Prince Mukarram Jah and his brother Muqaffamjah.

In 1917, the government of the Nizam urgently sought his services for the newly created Translation Bureau as a translator of economics (for translation from English and other languages into Urdu). From there he moved on to teach at Osmania University and in due course assumed the position of head of the economics department. As he continued to serve at Osmania University, some of the other positions he held there included Director of Translation Bureau, Director of Dairatul Maarif and Registrar of the University.[citation needed]

One his books called Urdu Hindi Rasmulkhat (Scripts) - a comparative study of Urdu and Hindi scripts Maulvi Abdul Haq commented that the book is a "great national service which must be commended".[13] These also included Bertanwi Hukumat e Hind(Sociology),[14] Hizbullah (Azkars), Asrare Haq (Maarifat),[15] Mishkatus Salat (Arabic, Salat & Darood), Sirat ul Hameed,[16] Tas-heel-ut-Tarteel (Tajweed), Islam (English), Maarooza (his own poetry) and selections from Urdu and Persian Naats & other poetry, Maarif-e-Millat (Urdu poetry),[17] Manazir-e-Qudrat (Literature),[18] Jazbat-e-Fitrat,[19] Tohfa-e-Mohammadi and Jawahir-e-Sukhan (Persian). Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi in his discussion with George Bernard Shaw has mentioned that he presented Shaw with Professor Ilyas Burney's book Islam.[20]

Burney twice went on pilgrimage to Haramain shareef and wrote the account of his travels in his travelogue Sirath-ul-Hameed. On the first occasion he also visited Iraq, Syria and Palestine and was accompanied on the trip by Bahr-Ul-Uloom Hazrat Maulana Moulvi Muhammad Abdul Qadeer Siddiqi Qadri.[citation needed]

He died at Bulandshahr on 26 January 1959 when he returned there from Hyderabad after a gap of many years to visit his ailing brother and sister.[citation needed]


  1. ^ [Osmania University - Department of Economics][1]
  2. ^ [The Pakistan Development Review 40 : 4 Part II (Winter 2001) pp. 1167–1176][2]
  3. ^ Ilm Ul Mayeeshat, Mohd. Ilyas Barni, Mohd. Muqdati Khan Sherwani Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Publication Series Aligardh, 1917
  4. ^ Muqaddima e Maashiyat, Mutarajjim Muhammad Ilyas Barni, Dar ut taba Jama e Osmania Hyderabad, 1919 pg 478
  5. ^ [The Osmania University][3]
  6. ^ Mohammad Elias Barni, M'¯ash¯ı¯at-i hind (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India: Osmania University Press, 1920
  7. ^ [REPORT of THE COURT OF INQUIRY Printed by the Superintendent, Government printing, Punjab 1954][4]
  8. ^ [Khatme Nabuwat, 1984] [5]
  9. ^ Burney, Mohammed Elias. Qadiani Movement: An Exposition of the So-Called Ahmadiyyat. Durban, South Africa: Makki Publications, 1955.
  10. ^ [Planning for Pakistan: The Planning Committee of the All-India Muslim League 1943-46 Ian Talbot Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 4. (Oct., 1994), pp. 875-889][6].
  11. ^
  12. ^ [My Life and Experiences, Mohd A R Khan 1953 Krishnavas Hyderabad][7]
  13. ^ Burni Nama (Autobiography) Prof Ilyas Burney 1st Edition Vol 2 Ibraheemia Press Hyderabad 1958
  14. ^ Bertanwi Hukumat e Hind, Muhammad Ilyas Barni, Darut Taba Hyderabad, 1919
  15. ^ Asrar-i haq, Muhammad Ilyas Barni, Osmania University (1967) ASIN: B0000CRO4A
  16. ^ Sirat ul Hameed (Ilyas Burni)Vol 1,2 Matba Berqi Azam Jahi 1935 pgs 230
  17. ^ Maarif e Millat, Prof Ilyas Burney, Vol 1,2 Muslim University Institute Press Aligarh 1922
  18. ^ Manazir E Qudrath, Muhammad Ilyas Barni, Vol 1,2 and 3, Matba Institute Aligarh, 1921
  19. ^ Jazbat e Fitrath, Muhammad Ilyas Barni, Muslim University Press Aligarh, 1921 Vols 1,2 and 3 pgs 156
  20. ^ [George Bernard Shaw and the Islamic Scholar, Imran N. Hosein December 2000][8]