Shah Waliullah Dehlawi

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Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
Shah Waliullah Name.svg
TitleShadow of Leadership
Born(1703-02-21)21 February 1703
Died20 August 1762(1762-08-20) (aged 59)
Resting placeMunhadiyan[5]
JurisprudenceHanafi[1][2] [3]
MovementRenaissance in Indian Muslim Community
Main interest(s)Quran, Hadith, Tafsir, History, Bibliography, Revolution, Fiqh, Military strategy, Sufism
Notable work(s)Translation of the Quran into Persian Language
Al-Fauzul Kabeer
Izalatul Khafa'an Khilafatul Khulafa
Al-Akidatul Hasanah
Majmua Rasail Imam Shah Wali Ullah
OccupationMufassir, Muhaddtih, Historiographer, Bibliographer, Theologian, Philosopher, Academic, Linguist, Sufi
Muslim leader

Quṭb-ud-Dīn Aḥmad Walīullāh Ibn ʿAbd-ur-Raḥīm Ibn Wajīh-ud-Dīn Ibn Muʿaẓẓam Ibn Manṣūr Al-ʿUmarī Ad-Dehlawī (Arabic: قطب الدين أحمد ولي الله بن عبد الرحيم العمري الدهلوي‎‎; 1703–1762), commonly known as Shāh Walīullāh Dehlawī (also Shah Wali Allah), was an Islamic scholar, muhaddith, renewer,[6][7] historiographer, bibliographer, theologian, and philosopher.

Early life[edit]

Shah Waliullah was born on 21 February 1703 to Shah Abdur Rahim, a prominent Islamic scholar of Delhi. He was known as Shah Waliullah because of his piety. He memorized the Qur'an by the age of seven. Soon thereafter, he mastered Arabic and Persian letters.[8] He was married at fourteen.[8] By sixteen he had completed the standard curriculum of Hanafi law, theology, geometry, arithmetic and logic.[8]

His father, Shah Abdur Rahim was the founder of the Madrasah-i Rahimiyah. He was on the committee appointed by Aurangzeb for compilation of the code of law, Fatawa-e-Alamgiri.[9] His grandfather, Sheikh Wajihuddin, was an important officer in the army of Shah Jahan.

He had a son who was also a famous religious scholar, Shah Abdul Aziz.


He died on Friday the 29th of Muharram 1176 AH/ 20 August 1762 at Zuhr prayer in Old Delhi, aged 59.[10] He was buried beside his father Shah Abdur Rahim at Mehdiyan (a graveyard to the left of Delhi Gate).[11]


  • On importance of Islamic jurisprudence, he states:

"Some people think that there is no usefulness involved in the injunct of Islamic law and that in actions and rewards as prescribed by God there is no beneficial purpose. They think that the commandments of Islamic law are similar to a master ordering his servant to lift a stone or touch a tree in order to test his obedience and that in this there is no purpose except to impose a test so that if the servant obeys, he is rewarded, and if he disobeys, he is punished. This view is completely incorrect. The traditions of the Prophet and consensus of opinion of those ages, contradict this view".[12]

  • His dislike of Marathas is expressed in one of his dreams that he narrated in “Fuyooz-ul Haramain”:

I saw myself in a dream that I am Qaem al-Zaman (master of the age). Which means that when God Almighty wanted to establish a system of goodness and benevolence, then He made me a tool and medium for the fulfillment of this noble cause. And I saw that the king of the infidels took over the land of the Muslims and looted their property. He enslaved their women and children and in the city of Ajmer he declared the rites of disbelief. He eradicated the rites of Islam. Then after that I saw that the Almighty became angry and very angry with the people of the earth. And I witnessed the embodiment of the wrath of the Almighty in the heavens. And then dripping from there, divine wrath descended on me. Then I found myself angry. And this wrath which was filled in me, was blown into me by Almighty. Then I proceeded towards a city, destroying it and killing its inhabitants. other people followed me. Thus, destroying one city after another, we finally reached Ajmer. And there we killed the disbelievers. Then I saw the king of the infidels walking with the king of Islam, surrounded by a group of Muslims. In the meantime, the king of Islam ordered the king of the infidels to be slaughtered. People grabbed him and slaughtered him with knives. When I saw blood gushing out of the veins of his neck, I said: now blessing has descended”.[13]

  • In one of his letters available in manuscripts collection at Rampur, he asks Muslim rulers to put a ban on public religious ceremonies by non-Muslims and to issue strict orders against certain ceremonies by the Rafida:

"Strict orders should be issued in all Islamic towns forbidding religious ceremonies publicly practiced by non-Muslims (such as the performance of Holi and ritual bathing in the Ganges). On the tenth of Muharram, Rawafid should not be allowed to go beyond the bounds of moderation, neither should they be rude nor repeat stupid things (that is recite tabarra, or curse the first three successors of the Prophet Muhammad) in the streets or bazars.[14]

  • He strongly advocated against adopting non-Islamic customs, and argued for commitment to Arabic Islamic culture. Shah Waliullah believed that:

“Muslims, no matter where they live, wherever they spend their youthful days, they should in any case be completely separated from the natives of that country in their culture, traditions and mannerisms. And wherever they are, they must be immersed in their Arabic splendor and Arabic trends”[13].

  • On adherence to Arab culture, he insists:

“Beware! The rich intend to adopt the ways of strangers and non-Arabs and those who deviate from the right path, and tries to mix and be like them”.[13]


  • (The Sacred knowledge), ed. D. Pendlebury, trans. G. Jalbani, The Sacred Knowledge, London: Octagon, 1982.[15]
  • Al-Khayr al-kathir (The Abundant Good), trans. G. Jalbani, Lahore: Ashraf, 1974.[15]
  • Hujjat Allah al-baligha (The Conclusive Argument of God), Lahore: Shaikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, 1979. Considered his most important work. First published in Rae Bareily, India in 1286 Hijri.[16] This book explains how Islam was found suitable for all races, cultures, and people of the world and how successfully it solves social, moral, economic and political problems of human beings.
  • Sata'at (Manifestations), trans. into Urdu by S.M. Hashimi, Lahore: Idarah Thaqafat Islamiyya, 1989; trans. into English by G. Jalbani, Sufism and the Islamic Tradition: the Lamahat and Sata'at of Shah Waliullah, London.[15]
  • Lamahat (Flashes of Lightning), Hyderabad: Shah Wali Allah Academy, 1963; trans. G. Jalbani, Sufism and the Islamic Tradition: the Lamahat and Sata'at of Shah Waliullah, London, 1980. (One of the important writings on Sufism.)[15]
  • Fuyud al-haramayn (Emanations or Spiritual Visions of Mecca and Medina).[15]
  • Al-Tafhimat (Instructions or Clear Understanding), Dabhail, 1936, 2 vols. (One of the most comprehensive metaphysical works.)
  • Al-Budur al-bazighah (The Full Moons Rising in Splendour).
  • Ta’wil al-ahadith fi rumuz qisas al-anbiya (Symbolic Interpretation of the Events in the Mysteries of Prophetic Tales) [17]

Besides these, he is also credited being the first to translate the Quran into Persian in the Indian subcontinent.[7]

Shah Waliullah worked hard to ensure that he was a role model for other Muslims. His deep understanding of the Qur'an, Hadith, Fiqh, and Tasawwuf made him a highly knowledgeable scholar at an early age.

Since he believed that an emphasis on the Quranic teachings was made vital to Muslims, he translated Arabic Qur'an into Persian. Few Muslims spoke Arabic and so the Qur'an had not been widely studied previously. Some Ulama criticized Shah Waliullah, but his work proved very popular. In addition to translating the Quran, Shah Waliullah wrote 51 books in Persian and Arabic.[citation needed] Amongst the most famous were Hujjat Allah al-Baligha and Izalah al Khifa.

His writings bought him great fame and prestige and enabled him to have influence in other areas too. One of his most important contributions to the Muslim community was his organization of opposition to the Maratha Empire, who had captured large parts of India which were under the control of the Mughal Empire before and had reduced the Mughal emperor to a mere puppet. It was partly his influence that helped to persuade the invader Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan to intervene. He joined forces with local Muslim leaders which resulted in the defeat of the Marathas at The Battle of Panipat in 1761.[citation needed]

He felt a debt to the Sufis for spreading Islam throughout India. He also appreciated Sufi spirituality. Waliullah built a bridge between Sufis and the Ulama (Islamic scholars).[18]


  1. ^ Siddiqa, Ayesha. "Peace in Afghanistan." (2019): 703-710. "The first significant name is Shah Waliullah (1703–62), a Hanafi scholar,"
  2. ^ Shahid, Amir Khan. "DISPLACEMENT OF SHAH WALIULLAH’S Shah MOVEMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON NORTHERN INDIAN MUSLIM REVIVALIST THOUGHTS. Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan 51.2 (2014). "It would not be out of context to cite a reference of Shah Abdul Aziz (1746-1824) which is provided by Manazar Ahsan Gilanithat someone enquired from Shah Waliullah whether the Shias were kafir. He maintained the different viewpoints among the Hanafi School of thought on the subject.."
  3. ^ a b Mohammad Sharif Khan, Mohammad Anwar Saleem (1994). Muslim Philosophy and Philosophers. Ashish Publishing House - APH Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 9788170246237.
  4. ^ Geaves, Ron. "A Comparison of the Ideas of Maulana Mawdudi (1903-1980) and Shah Wali-Allah (1703-1762): A Pure Islam or Cultural Heritage." Islamic Quarterly 41.3 (1997): 169.
  5. ^ "Shah Waliullah Dehlavi". Encyclopedia of World Biography.
  6. ^ Kunju, Saifudheen (2012). "Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi: Thoughts and Contributions": 1. Retrieved 5 April 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ a b Abbas, Mohammad. "Shah Waliullah and Moderation". Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b c A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 28. ISBN 978-1780744209.
  9. ^ Anil Chandra Banerjee (1981). "Two Nations: The Philosophy of Muslim Nationalism". p. 44. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  10. ^ Al-Khateeb Al-Tabrezi (2013). Mishkaat Al-Masaabih (Manifestations of Truth). Nawab Qutbuddin Khan Dehlavi (trans.), vol. 1, p. 40. Darul-Ishaat.
  11. ^ Syed Mehboob Rizwi. History of The Dar al-Ulum Deoband (Volume 2) (PDF). Translated by Prof. Murtaz Husain F. Quraishi (1981 ed.). Idara-e-Ehtemam, Dar al-Ulum Deoband. p. 109. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Biography : Shah Waliullah (RA)". Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre. Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Dr. Mubarak Ali, “Almiyah-e-Tarikh”, ch. 9 – 10, pp. 95 – 105, Fiction House, Lahore, (2012).
  14. ^ S. Athar Rizvi, “Shah Waliullah and His Times”, p. 227, Ma’rifat Publishing House, Canberra, (1980).
  15. ^ a b c d e "Shah Wali Allah (Qutb al-Din Ahmad al-Rahim) (1703-62)". Muslim Philosophy. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Shah Wali Allah". Center for Islamic Sciences. Center for Islamic Sciences. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  17. ^ Virani, Shafique. "Hierohistory in Qāḍī l-Nuʿmān's Foundation of Symbolic Interpretation (Asās al-Taʾwīl): The Birth of Jesus". Studies in Islamic Historiography. doi:10.1163/9789004415294_007.
  18. ^ K.J. Ahmed, Hundred Great Muslims, Library of Islam, 1987.

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