Shah Waliullah was a modern social reformer

Zubair Qureshi

Professor at Loyola University Chicago, USA Prof Marcia Hermensen, delivered a lecture here Tuesday on life and works of the great Sufi of the subcontinent Shah Waliullah. MUSLIM institute had organized the lecture titled “Shah Waliullah: Scholar & Sufi.” Prof Hermensen told the audience that Shah Waliullah assumed on himself the role of a teacher at a very early age. He grew up in the Sufi family. During his pilgrimage he resided in Hijaz for over a year and met many scholars there. After his return, he started writings including his major work Hujjat-ul-Balagha.
This work combines philosophy, hadith, sociology and other such fields. He translated Quran in Persian which was a big work at that time. His writings, especially the books, present the Sufi elements. He synthesized the methodologies of various segments in Muslim societies and emphasized on purposefulness. Shah Waliullah is owned by many different schools of thought which explain the richness of his ideas. He is called as thinker of crisis. He placed these in sociological and political context. He was a modern social reformer. The biography of Shah Waliullah makes clear that he was a practicing Sufi and participated on regularly basis Sufism and its various manifestations. He had great love for ahl-al-bait. The apparent inconsistency in his ideas is merely due to the fact that some writings affiliated to him are not actually written by him. The frameworks which Shah Waliullah developed for formation of Islamic law, is what is found by modern day scholars as well. Unfortunately there is a perception that Shah Waliullah was a hard liner which is not right.In his historical work on Ijtihad Shah Waliullah leaves some room for Ijtihad.
A speaker Tahir Mehmood said that the origin of Islamic Sufism i.e. “Tassawuf” wa the Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. A Sufi teaches about the purification of heart (the “inner-self”), reaching to the Divine Truth, love, harmony, peace, cooperation and mutual trust.

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