Kifayatullah Dihlawi

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Kifayatullah Dihlawi
مفتی کفایت‌اللہ دہلوی
1st President of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind
In office
In office
Title Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind (Grand Mufti of India)
Born 1875
Shahjahanpur, British India
(in present-day UP, India)
Died c. 31 December 1952
Delhi, Republic of India
Nationality Indian
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni Islam
Jurisprudence Hanafi
Notable work(s) Ta'limul-Islam
Alma mater Madrasah I'zaziyah, Shahjahanpur
Madrasah Shahi, Muradabad
Darul Uloom Deoband

Muḥammad Kifāyatullāh ibn 'Ināyatullāh Shāhjahānpūrī Dihlawī (Urdu: محمد کفایت‌اللہ بن عنایت‌الله شاہ‌جہان‌پوری دہلوی‎; c. 1875 – c. 31 December 1952), known as Mufti Kifayatullah, was an Indian Islamic scholar. He provided Indian Muslims with guidance through various spiritual and political turmoils for nearly fifty years. He was an educationist. The final years of his life were devoted to educational and social work.

Maulana Mufti Kifayatullah was the founder member of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He was one of the member of foundation committee for Jamia which was headed by Sheikhul Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan. The committee met on 29 October 1929 in Aligarh in United Province, British India. Maulana Abdul Haq, Maulana Abdul Bari Farang Mahli, Maulana Hussein Ahmad Madani, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani etc. were also the member of foundation committee of Jamia Millia Islamia.


Mufti's ancestors hailed from Yemen, but his great-grandfathers were traders from Bahrain, who would travel to India to sell their goods. Once, his family was aboard a ship that ran into a storm and sank. There were no survivors except for a Shaikh Jamaluddin Yamani, who used a piece of debris to float to the shore. At the shore, he was found by a man from Bhopal, who adopted him. Shaikh Jamaluddin Yamani eventually married into a local family. The sinking of the ship is estimated to have occurred approximately three hundred years before Mufti's birth. After Shaikh Jamaluddin Yamani, there is no detailed record of Mufti's ancestors. At an unknown time, Mufti's family shifted from Bhopal to Shahjahanpur. Mufti's father, Shaikh Inayatullah, was an extremely noble and pious man. He had four sons and two daughters, but was rather poor.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Allama Mufti ul A'dham Moulana Kifayatullah ibn Inayatullah ibn Faidhullah ibn Khairullah ibn 'Ibadullah Dehlvi was born in Shahjahanpur, a district in Uttar Pradesh, India in 1875. At the age of five, he commenced his education at the maktab of Hafiz Barakatullah. There, he completed the Qur'an and obtained instruction in Urdu and elementary Persian from Hafiz Nasimullah. Thereafter, he enrolled at Madrasa 'Azeeziya. There, he completed his Persian studies, studying the most advanced kitab of Persian, Sikandar Naama, and commenced his Arabic studies under Hafiz Budhun Khan. Then, Mufti was sent with a letter of recommendation from his teacher, Moulana 'Ubaidul Haq, to the administrator of the Madrasa 'Arabiya at Shahi Masjid in Muradabad. He was admitted and remained at the residence of Hafiz Muhammad Isma'il. Since his father was poor, Mufti covered his educational expenses by weaving and selling topis. He studied there for two years. Mufti then enrolled at Darul Uloom Deoband in 1895. Because of his memory and intelligence, he did not exert as much effort, but quickly overtook his classmates and earned the highest marks on his examinations. He completed his studies at Darul Uloom Deoband in 1898 at the age of twenty-two[citation needed]

Career as a Teacher[edit]

After his graduation, Mufti remained in Delhi for some time with his close friend, Moulana Aminuddin. Then, he returned to Shahjahanpur, where his former teacher, 'Ubaidul Haq, had founded Madrasa 'Ainul 'Ilm. Mufti became a teacher there and handled the secretarial and administrative duties. Mufti also taught Arabic and Persian. His salary was fifteen rupees per month. Along with his duties as a teacher and administrator, Mufti started to answer fataawa during this period. In his answer to each fatwa, Mufti was meticulous and cautious and would answer with well-written evidence. While at Madrasa 'Ainul 'Ilm, Mufti also started a monthly periodical, Al Burhan, in response to the Ahmadis, known as Qadianis by mainstream Muslims. The first issue was published in Sha'baan of 1321 AH and made an attempt to refute Ahmadi beliefs.[citation needed]

Around this time, the financial condition of Madrasa 'Ainul 'Ilm started to deteriorate. Thus, in 1321 AH, the teachers' salaries were reduced. Mufti's salary was reduced from eighteen to sixteen rupees per month. However, he remained at Madrasa 'Ainul 'Ilm for five more years until the death of his teacher, Maulana 'Ubaidul Haq Khan. Thereafter, Mufti moved to Delhi and became a teacher at Madrasa Aminia. Besides teaching hadith and answering fataawa, Hadhrat Mufti managed the organizational affairs of the madrasa. His salary was twenty rupees per month. In Delhi, Mufti quickly became renowned. Dignitaries and people of the upper-class would consult him in their political and religious affairs and would benefit from his advice. The courts of law benefited from his presence as well. After his arrival at Madrasa Aminia, Mufti commenced a step-by-step implementation of beneficial reforms to the educational structure of the madrasa. Then, in 1328 AH, he initiated an assembly called Anjuman Islahul Kalaam. The purpose of this gathering was to teach students how to deliver speeches and debate. Every eighth day, each student had to deliver a speech or engage in a dialogue and Mufti would help. This assembly was successful in its aim, but was eventually ended due to a lack of participation. After fifty years, Mufti had answered hundreds of thousands of fataawa and his rulings are a treasure to fiqh. The fataawa of Hadhrat Mufti were extremely concise yet full of well-written evidence. His fataawa were always answered according to the intent of the questioner. It was for this reason that he was renowned among common folk as well as the officials of the courts of law, who would prefer his rulings in religious cases.[citation needed]

Literary career[edit]

From an early age, Kifayatullah enjoyed reading and writing. His first major endeavour was the magazine, Al Burhan, which he wrote in refutation of the Ahmadi beliefs, also known as Qadiani by mainstream Muslims. His second major work was an Arabic poem, Raudur Rayyaahin, which was published in 1909. It was first presented at the annual convention of Madrasa Aminia in 1908. The eloquence and grandeur of the poem was such that Mufti was requested to and produced an Urdu translation with footnotes, providing more details than and explaining difficult words from the original. Kifayatullah'a most renowned publication is Ta'limul Islam, four volumes of questions and answers for children in simple language. This contained details of the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam. Hadhrat Mufti wrote various other religious treatises which were published as books, but are no longer available. Though Hadhrat Mufti was a prominent scholar and able writer, his literary works are few. The reason is that his teaching, political activities, domestic activities, and answering fataawa busied him to such an extent that he had no time to write.[citation needed]

Final years & death[edit]

During the final years of his life, due to the deterioration of the immoralities of the society, clashes between Hindus and Muslims, and various other reasons, Kifayatullah completely withdrew himself from politics. For the final ten years of his life, Mufti was completely reclusive. He was much disturbed by the events occurring in the India and refrained from even commenting. The final months of his life were marked by severe illness due to the swelling of his liver. It showed no improvement despite the best medical treatment. Finally, on 31 December 1952, Mufti died at 10:30 PM, at the age of seventy-seven. The following day, his Salaatul Janaaza was attended by 100 000 Muslims from Delhi. Hadhrat Mufti was buried near Hadhrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, in Mehrauli, Delhi.[citation needed]