2-day IOS-AMU Seminar on Sirah writing in Urdu
March 10-11, 2018 at Deptt. of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
Defending the life and teachings of Prophet of Islam and trying to reinterpret them in the contemporary world is the need of hour but more importantly the futuristic vision of Islam and Muslim should be framed in the light of Sirah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). This was highlighted by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman Institute of Objective Studies, Delhi in his address at the inaugural session of the two-day national seminar on “Urdu Writers’ Tribute to the Prophet of Islam in Modern India” organized by the Deptt. of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University in collaboration with Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi on March 10-11, 2018.
Dr. Alam explained the noble person of the Prophet, his teachings and ideal character constitute an inseparable part of Islamic civilisation. This civilisation must be protected since it forms the religio-cultural identity of Muslims and is a requirement of the modern times. He congratulated the Deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU for initiating a positive and fruitful step by inviting different schools of thought to share their views.
Prof. Tariq Mansoor, vice-chancellor Aligarh Muslim University, inaugurated the seminar. He credited Sir Syed Ahmad Khan with introducing scientific research method in Sirah writing. It was he who intellectually responded to Sir William Muir and compiled Khutba-i-Ahmadia in which he explained the issues raised by Sir William about the Prophet of Islam in his book. The vice-chancellor highlighted moderation, toleration, non-violence and humanitarian approach as the spirit of Islam. The real massage of the Prophet of Islam is to be communicated to the world by the Muslims’ behavior and conduct. He also pointed out the role of Urdu language in Sirah writing. He made an appeal to the learned gathering to promote Urdu by speaking and writing in it.
Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, an Islamic scholar, paid tributes to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Maulana Shibli Nomani, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi and Syed Sulaiman Nadwi. He said that Urdu scholars of the sub-continent tried to explain issues and assuage the misgivings of others about the Prophet (PBUH) and his message. To him, Urdu Sirah writing suffices in that regard.
Maulana Sayyid Jalaluddin Umari, Ameer Jamat-i-Islami Hind, addressed the gathering as the chief guest. He declared the holy Quran as the prime source of Sirah writing. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had pointed out that if only the Quran survived and the entire Islamic literature disappeared from the scene, the biography of the prophet would be easily compiled without any support from other sources, Maulana Umari said. He stressed that the Quran showed the prophet (PBUH) as the messenger of God, as a responsible member of society, as a loving father, a caring husband, a dynamic leader, a commander in-chief in battle and a compassionate human being.
As keynote speaker Prof. Mohammad Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqui emphasised the period of Maulana Shibli Nomani as the golden period of Sirah writing in Urdu. He mentioned Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi who, for the first time, used the holy Quran as the prime source for Sirah writing. Prof. Siddiqui examined the development of Sirah writing in India in detail, its various phases, different dimensions, varying trends and perspectives on Sirah writing.
Dr. Abdul Majid Khan conducted the inaugural session, which was started with the recitation of the holy Quran. Qari Mohammad Azam recited verses from the Quran corresponding to the theme. Arqam Fahad, a student of AMU City High School recited a na’at in praise of the Prophet of Islam composed by Naim Siddiqui. Prof. Obaidullah Fahad, chairman of the Deptt. of Islamic Studies offered a vote of thanks.
The inaugural session witnessed the release of four books:
1. Journal of the Institute of Islamic Studies, AMU (Editor-in-Chief: Obaidullah Fahad, Editor: Mohd. Ismail) by Prof. Tariq Mansoor, VC AMU.
2. Majallah Uloom Islamia, Urdu (Editor-in-Chief Obaidullah Fahad, Editor: Abdul Hamid Fazli, Associate Editor: Ziauddin) by Prof. Mohd. Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqui
3. Qiyamat-i-Kubra (Urdu translation of Dr. Umar Ashqar’s Arabic title by Dr. Ziauddin) by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
4. Rahmaton ke Safeer (Obaidullah Fahad) by Maulana Syed Jalauddin Umari.
First Working Session
The first business session was presided over by Prof. Sagheer Afraheem, Chairman Deptt. of Urdu, AMU and Editor Tahzeebul Akhlaq. The session was compered by Dr. Ziauddin. While addressing the gathering, Prof. Afraheem as the president of the session, talked about women’s financial contribution in India to the Sirah writing of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). He cited the example of Begum Sultan Jahan who assisted Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in writing the Sirah that logically dispelled William Muir’s doubts. He talked about the two biographical novels of Rashid-ul-Khairi entitled, Syeda Ka Lal and Aamna Ka Lal’. He reiterated that after studying the two novels Prem Chand, the renowned novelist promised Rashid-ul- Khairi to write a biography of the Prophet of Islam. In this session the following five papers were presented:
1. Maulana Ashhad Jamal Nadwi: “Contribution of Madrasatul Ishah to Sirah Writing”
2. Abul Ala Syed Subhani: “Research and findings of Maulana Mohammad Inayatullah Subhani in Sirah episodes”
3. Maulana Kamal Akhtar Qasmi: “ Contribution of Ulama-i-Deoband in Sirah Writing’’
4. Dr. Arshi Shoeb: “Modern approach in Urdu Sirah writing towards Orientalism”: A study of Rahmatullil Aalamin
5. Dr. Obaid Iqbal Asim: “Biography writing of Maulana Mohammad Aslam Qasmi”
Second Working Session
After lunch and prayer break the second business session was compered by Dr. Adam Malik Khan and was chaired by Prof. Zafarul Islam Islahi. While delivering his presidential remark Prof. Islahi laid stress on the contribution of Aligarh Muslim University to Sirah literature. He emphasised Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Khutbat-i-Ahmadia as a preface to Urdu Sirah writing in modern India based on scientific and rational approach. He appreciated the scholars for their profound papers. This session had nine papers:
1. Dr. Nadeem Ashraf: “Introduction and analysis of some Urdu Sirah writers in India”
2. Dr. Rahat Abrar: “An Appraisal of Dr. Mohammad Abdullah’s (Papa Miyan) book : Khatamul Anbeya
3. Dr. Mohd. Nasir: “Sirah writing of Ulama-i-Mazahir Uloom”
4. Dr. Shahabuddin Qasmi: “A study of Hayat-i-Sarwar-i-Kainat: A book by Abu Bakr Sirajuddin (translated from English).
5. Dr. Waqar Anwar: “A study of Seerat-i-Tayyaba and Muhammad-i-Arabi (ﷺ): A comparative study with special reference to Dawah work
6. Dr. Mohd. Raziul Islam Nadwi: “Contribution of Jamat-i-Islami to Sirah writing:
7. Dr. Saba Anjum: “Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi’s contribution to Sirah literature”
8. Prof. Zafarul Islam Islahi: “ A study of Maulana Mujibullah Nadwi’s book : Uswa-i-Hasna
9. Dr. Bilal Ahmad Kutty: “Contribution of Kashmiri scholars to Sirah literature”
Third Working Session
After Maghrib prayer the third business session was conducted by Dr. Uzma Khatoon and was chaired by Prof. Towqeer Alam Falahi, Dean Faculty of Theology. He lauded the contributors for their valuable research papers. He was of the view that Sirah writers in India not only provided details of the biography of the Prophet of Islam but they also raised the contemporary socio-political issues and emphasised their solution in Sirah perspective. Prof. Abu Sufiyan Islahi, as a guest of honour graced the occasion and appreciated the contributors. This session had the following 11 papers:
1. Dr. Mubin Saleem: “Ethical values of the Prophet in Urdu Sirah writing”
2. Dr. Sadiq Akhtar Nadwi: “A study of Syed Rabey Nadwi’s book: Rahbar-i-Insaniyat”
3. Dr. Shayesta Parveen: “An appraisal by non-Muslim poets of the Prophet of Islam”.
4. Naushad Alam Chishti: “A study of Seerat Al-Mustafa”.
5. Dr. Mohd. Shamim Akhtar Qasmi: “Dr. Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi’s contribution to Sirah writing”
6. Mr. Ayaz Shaikh: “Sirah writing of Dr Muhammad Hamidullah”
7. Prof. Abu Sufiyan Islahi: “ Sirah wiring in Aligarh”
8. Dr. Rehan Akhtar: “Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani as a Sirah writer”
9. Dr. Mohammad Rashid Islahi: “Importance of Sirah writing in Urdu language”
10. Dr. Mohd. Afzal: “Contribution of Seerat Committee AMU, Aligarh”
11. Prof. Towqeer Alam Falahi: “Nabi-i-Rahmat: An analysis”
Fourth Working Session
On the second day (11 March 2018) the fourth business session was compered by Dr. Bilal Ahmad Kutty. This session was chaired by Prof. Abdul Ali, former Chairman, Deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU. Prof. Abdul Ali focused on issues like peaceful coexistence and minorities in the light of Sirah. He emphasised the role of Hindu scholars in Sirah writing. In this session six research papers were read:
1. Dr. Ehsanullah Fahad: “Seerat-i-Sarwar-i-Alam: A study”
2. Dr. Ghulam Nabi: “Peace perspective in the Sirah of the Prophet, with special reference to Shibli”
3. Dr. Abdul Majid Khan: “A study of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi’s Nashr al-tib fi zikr al Nabi al-Habib”
4. Prof. Iqtedar Mohammad Khan: “A study of Sardar Lamba Singh’s book Quran-i-Natiq”
5. Prof. Mohd. Ishaq: “An analysis of Hayat-i-Rasool-i-Ummi”
6. Dr. Syed Imam Habib Qadri: “Anwarullah Farooqui, founder of Jamia Nizamia’s contribution to Sirah literature ”
Fifth Working Session
The fifth business session started at 11:30 and was presided by Prof. Mohammad Ishaq, Chairman Deptt. of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. In his presidential address Prof. Ishaq briefly examined the importance of Sirah in modern times and said we should try to understand Sirah writers in their historical context. He said by evaluating their work one should be able to know how far they were successful in dealing with contemporary issues. He requested the audience to examine the relevance and validity of Sirah writing in the light of the Quran since the Quran constitutes the prime source of Sirah writing. Prof. Iqtedar Mohammad Khan, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, was the guest of honour. He was thankful to the Chairman, Deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU and the organising team of the seminar for having conducted a well-managed and disciplined programme. He reminisced about his stay at Aligarh as a student of B.A.
Prof. Zafrul Islam Islahi in the question-answer session pointed out the Quranic philosophy regarding guidance and misguidance. He cited the holy Quran to the effect that Allah guides to the path of deliverance whom He wishes. However, only those are guided to the right path who have an earnest urge for guidance and are God fearing. The Quran says:
“Allah chooses for Himself whom soever He pleases and guides to Himself whoever penitently turns to Him (Al-shura:13)
The fifth session was compered by Dr. Rahmatullah. In this session, the following nine research papers were presented:
1. Dr. Zubair Zafar Khan: “An analysis of Dr. Mohammad Hamidullah’s work”
2. Mohd. Jarjees Kareemi: “A study of Sirah research papers in quarterly Tahqeeqat-i-Islami”
3. Siraj Kareem Salfi: “Sirah contribution of Jamia Salafia, Banaras”
4. Raza Abbas: “ Defining Sirah writings of Shia ulama in India”
5. Dr. Zafar Darik Qasmi: “A critical evaluation of Hindu Sirah writers”
6. Dr. Waris Mazhari: “A study of Sirah writings written by Ulama-i-Deoband”
7. Dr. Abdul Hamid Fazli: “An appraisal of Rahmatul-lil-Aalameen”
8. Dr. Rahmattullah: “A critical study of Al-Shamama Al-Ambariya min Maulad Khair Al-Bariyyah”.
9. Dr. Ziauddin Falahi: “A study of Hindu Sirah writers: A critical study”
At 3:00 pm the valedictory session began in the packed conference hall of Deptt. of Islamic Studies. This session was chaired by Maulana Mohammad Tahir Madni, Jamiatul Falah, Azamgarh. The session was compered by Dr. Abdul Hamid Fazli, which was started with recitation of the holy Quran by Ahmad Muhammad. Dr. Ziauddin Falahi, convener, presented a brief report on the two-day seminar. He highlighted the main features of the research papers read in the seminar. He appreciated the keen interest, dedication and sincerity of scholars of Islamic Studies from different parts of the country. He was amazed at the response from scholars. He regretted that he had to refuse papers received after the deadline and assured the scholars to include their papers in the proceedings if a revised version reached him in time. While addressing the audience, the president of the session Maulana Tahir Madni briefly highlighted the relevance of Sirah in contemporary times in grasping the issues of economic crisis, women’s rights and other concerns. Maulana Madni proposed to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet in order to overcome the crisis that has engulfed the whole humanity.
In his feedback Prof. Abu Sufiyan Islahi highlighted the smooth conduct of the proceedings and the intellectual competence of the scholars in their witting and presentation. His arguments were based on the Quranic injunction: “You should speak kindly to people: (Al-Baqarah-83). Dr. Waris Mazhari from JMI, New Delhi, appreciated the efficient management of the seminar and suggested the relevance of a scientific approach to be adopted in Sirah writings. Dr. Mohammad Shamim Akhtar Qasmi from Aaliya University, Kolkata, appreciated the management of the seminar and discussed the main features of Sirah writing in Urdu. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Gunai from Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipura, Kashmir, expressed his indebtedness to the Deptt. of Islamic Studies that had invited this old boy for a scholarly discussion on the noble theme of the seminar. He urged for the teachings of the Prophet of Islam to be sincerely followed in the day-to-day life and to be incorporated in academic and intellectual life as the guide principles. Dr. Syed Imam Habib Qadri, sub-editor Rahnuma-i-Deccan, Hyderabad expressed gratitude to the chairman of the Deptt. of the Islamic Studies, Prof. Obaidullah Fahad and to Mr. Ayaz Shaikh who had provided him with an opportunity to visit Aligarh Muslim University for the first time and to share his views with the academics. A Vote of thanks was offered by the Director of the seminar and a special prayer was led by Zafrul Islam Islahi at the end.