Mohammad Anwar Shopiani
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Mohammad Anwar of Shopian (or Moulvi Mohammad Anwar of Shopian) (1849–1939) was the founder of the Ahle Hadith in Jammu and Kashmir.
Anwar was born at Kanipora village of Shopian on 4 August 1849 AD. His father Mohammad Mukhtar had four sons namely Mohammad, Ahsan, Akbar and Anwar being the youngest. Later Mohammad Anwar was adopted by a constable Mohammad Khan who renamed him as Sher Khan. Anwar’s grandfather Rasool Shah, was a teacher by profession who was drowned in a flooded river of Baytar at Poonch. Rasool Shah’s father Pandit Zama Bhat, a Hindu Brahmin, the original resident of Miasuma Srinagar converted to Islam in the times of Sheikh Imam-u-Din who was Governor of Kashmir during the period 1841 AD. Anwar received his basic education in a local maktab and later learned Qur'an and hadith at length. He witnessed the rules of Ranbhir Singh, Partap Singh and Hari Singh. Broadly the Anwar’s activities can be divided into two periods as under:
First period 1857-1890
Jammu & Kashmir was ruled by Maharaja Ranbir Singh who succeeded his father Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1857 AD. The Wahabi movement began to influence the valley during his rule but he kept a strict vigil on the activities of puritans as mentioned by Sir Walter Lawrence in his famous book, "The Valley of Kashmir". It shows that Maharja was worried about the move of puritans and strongly curbed their activities by jailing the activists from time to time.
Since the India was influenced by mutiny of 1857, the ruler Maharaja Ranbhir Singh tried to save his kingdom from any outer disturbance. During this period Anwar visited Punjab in quest of further studies which was a turning point in the life of Anwar after meeting the Islamic scholars of Bengal including Molana Yaqoub of Dinajpur (now in Bangladesh) who was an admirer of Shah Ismail Shaheed Dehelvi who guided and trained him. After returning from Punjab, Molana Anwar began to preach a puritanical form of Islam, which raised the ire of the locals due to his opposition of reverence at graves and shrines, which he derided as "worship": asthana wa qabar parasti. Several attempts were made by the opponents to kill him, without success. Akhtar Mohiuddin, a literary figure of Kashmir, mentioned in the book entitled, "Indian Literature" published by Sahitya Academy Delhi as under:
A significant poet preacher of the period is Molvi Anwar Shah of Shopian. He belonged to the wahabi sect of muslims. His poetry is therefore, devoted to the subjects relating to religion and more especially to his creed. While he versified hadith and muslim code of social conduct he denounced the grave worship and forms of superstition. He exhorted the people to rise above the world of petty gains and fear none but Allah. He wrote better satires against outmoded customs. His target were mullahs who he thought preached superstition instead of true religion
Second Period 1890-1939
During this period Molana Anwar gained some level of support for his movement, and in 1912 the first Ahle-hadith (Salafi) mosque was built at Zaldagar Srinagar. During this period Molana Anwar visited Qadiyan city of Punjab and met Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani, the founder of Ahmadiyya Movement, and opposed his claim of being a Prophet or Maseehe Mauoud. After returning from Qadiyan, Molana Anwar started his mission against the "Qadiyanis" (as the Ahmadiyya were called derogatorily).
Molana Mohammad Sayeed Masudi has acknowledged the services of Molana Mohammad Anwar in the following words: "Had Molana Anwar not been active in Kashmir the southern part of valley would have professed Qadiyani faith. It was his spirit and endevour which blocked the activities of Qadiyanis"
Anwar was several times jailed on the allegations that he had spread hatred among the Muslim sects and preached against the Muslim clergymen whom he alleged encourage innovations and superstitions in Islam.
- Dewan-e-Anwar (A collection of poems in the form of anthology according to Arabic alphabetical order) published in 1935 in Lahore.
- Taleem-e-Sunnat (The only versified book in Kashmiri language which provides you the way of life in the light of Hadith. This book became so popular that it runs in 13th edition of printing till now since 1943 AD).
- Guldaste-Anwari (This book consists of Kashmiri and Persian poems related to the praises of God and Muhammed published first in 1928 at Mohammadi Steam Press Lahore.
- Tafseer-e-Surah Yousuf (A versified translation of Chapter 12 of Holy Qur'an.
- Basharatul Mumineen (A befitting poetic replica to a local poet of Shopian who criticized the Salafis in the form of satire) first published in 1937 or 1942.
- Usool-e-Hadith (Versified account of Hadith. This book has been published for the first time in 1936.
- Naseehat-un-Niswaan (Two parts) Marriage songs in the form of Wanvun published for the first time in 1938).
- Salam-e-Anwar Mae Kalam-e-Anwar ( A collection of eulogies of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) first published in 1938.
- Jang-e-Badr (A versified account of battle of Badr in Kashmiri Language published first in 1970)
- Jang-e-Uhad (A versified account of battle of Uhad in Kashmiri Language published first in 1970)
- Al Qawlul Maqbool fi Meraj-U-Rasool (A versified account of divine visit of Mohammad to heavens first published in 1942AD).
- Sheikh San’an (An account of pious person Sheikh San’an still unpublished but original manuscript found and preserved)
- Haleema bar wazne Karima (A Persian collection of poems in the style of Sheik Sadi’s book Karima first composed in 1901AD).
- Nehrul Irfan (A poetic collection in Persian in the praise of La-ilaaha-illAllah still unpublished).
- Virdul Muwahideen (A book written in a style of Virdul Murudeen)
- Avineet Prashar; Paawan Vivek (2007). Conflict and politics of Jammu and Kashmir: internal dynamics. Saksham Books International. p. 83. ISBN 978-81-89478-05-6.
1. 1. Mohammad Nazir Fida (1987) A Brief Account of Wahabi Movement in Jammu & Kashmir (Unpublished)
2. G M D Sofi (1975) Islamic Culture in Kashmir.
3. Walter R Lawrence (1894) Reprinted in 1992 by J K Offset Printers New Delhi.
4. Bashir Ahmad Khan (2007) The Ahl-i-Hadith: A Socio-Religious Reform Movement in Kashmir, Muslim World, Vol 90, 133-157
5. G M Shaad (2001) Molvi Mohammad Anwar Shopiani, Sahitya Academy New Delhi
6. Indian Literarature, Sahitya Academy, New Delhi, p. 85
7. Kashmiri Zuban aur Shayeri : J & K Academy of Art Culture and Languages Srinagar/Jammu.
8. Monthly Sheeraza, (2014) Vol 51, No 6, p. 41. J & K Academy of Art Culture and Languages Srinagar/Jammu.
9. Abdul Ahad Azad (1967) Kashmiri Zuban aor shayeri, Editor: Mohammad Yousuf Taing, J & K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages Srinagar/Jammu.
10. Suhail Khaliq, The man with a Mission, In: Greater Kashmir, English Daily from Valley of Kashmir.