Maulana Mehmud Hasan

Maulana Mehmud Hasan
Mahmud Al-Hasan
Full name Mahmud Al-Hasan
Born 1851 AD
Died 1920 AD
Era Modern era
Region India
Main interests Aqeedah, Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh

Deobandi movement

Key figures

Qasim Nanotvi · Rashid Gangohi
Husain Madani · Mehmud Hasan
Shabbir Usmani · Ashraf Ali Thanwi
Anwar Kashmiri · Ilyas Kandhlawi
Ubaidullah Sindhi · Taqi Usmani

Notable Institutions

Darul Uloom Deoband, India
Mazahirul Uloom Saharanpur, India
Hathazari Madrassah, Bangladesh
Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama, India
Darul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan
Jamia Uloom ul Islamia, Pakistan
Jamiah Darul Uloom Zahedan, Iran
Darul Uloom London, England
Darul Uloom New York, United States
Darul Uloom Canada
Madrasah In'aamiyyah, South Africa


Tablighi Jamaat
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
Tehreek-e-Khatme Nabuwwat

Shaykh-ul-Hind Maulana Mehmud Al-Hasan (Urdu: شیخ الہند مولانا محمود حسن) was an eminent Islamic Scholar who made tireless efforts in the freedom struggle during the British Rule in India. He was conferred upon by the title 'Shaykh-ul-Hind' which means the leading scholar of India. (1851–November 30, 1920)


Early life

Mehmud Hasan was born in the town of Bareilly (in modern Uttar Pradesh). His father Maulana Zulfeqar Ali was an expert and scholar of the Arabic language, and worked in the education department of the British East India Company's administration in the region. Hasan received a traditional Islamic education with a strong emphasis on the study of Islam, the Persian language and Urdu. His father sent him to the newly established Darul Uloom of Deoband school, where he was reputedly the very first student. The school was established by Eminent Muslim scholars of that time, and Hasan studied under the famous Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, a distinguished religious scholar and founding president of Darul Uloom Deoband. Hasan completed his education in 1873, and began working as a teacher at the school. In 1890, he was appointed the Head Teacher of the school he graduated from, the Darul Uloom Deoband.

In Husain Ahmed Madani's Words

Shaykhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani writes:

"Whoever saw Shaikhul Hind and observed his moral standing from close quarters must have known that the Nature's generosity had bestowed upon him such a large heart that it would have taken the seven seas in its fold. He got benefited from Bahr-e Imdadi (great Sufi saint Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki).but didn't harangue it. He drank to the fullest of his capacity from the Qasmi fountain of knowledge (Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi) and digested it. He puffed in the mist unlimited from (Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi) cloud but never got inebriated. He never boasted of himself, never indulged in profane talk, never let steadfastness go out from the hand and never left the path of Shariah in his life. He never rested although he became thin due to the hard work."

Revolutionary activities

Although focused on his work at the school, Hasan developed an interest in the political environment of British India and the world. When the Ottoman Empire entered World War I against the British Empire, Muslims across the world were concerned of the future of the Sultan of Ottoman Empire, who was the caliph of Islam and spiritual leader of the global Muslim community. Known as the Khilafat struggle, its leaders Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali organised protests across the country (see: partitioning of the Ottoman Empire). Hasan was fervently active in encouraging Muslim students to join the movement. Hasan organised efforts to start an armed revolution against British rule from both within and outside India. He launched a programme to train volunteers from among his disciples in India and abroad who joined this movement in a large number. The most eminent among them were Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi and Maulana Mohammad Mian Mansoor Ansari. Sending Maulana Sindhi to Kabul and Ansari to the North-West Frontier Province to mobilize popular support and recruit volunteers, Hasan himself travelled to Hijaz to secure Turkish support. Obtaining the Turkish governor Ghalib Pasha's signature on a declaration of war against the British, Hasan planned to return to India via Baghdad and Baluchistan to start the rebellion. The plan, referred to as the Silk Letter Conspiracy, however, was captured by Punjab CID, and he was arrested in Mecca. He was imprisoned in Malta, Malta exiles, for more than three years before his release in 1920.


Hasan's endeavours won him the admiration not only of Muslims but of Indians across the religious and political spectrum. He became an icon of the Indian independence movement, and was given the title of 'Shaikhul Hind'. Upon his release, Hasan returned to India to find the nation on the verge of revolt over the Rowlatt Acts. Hasan issued a fatwa making it the duty of all Indian Muslims to support and participate with Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, who had prescribed a policy of non-cooperation — mass civil disobedience through non-violence. He laid the foundation stone of the Jamia Millia Islamia, a university founded by Indian nationalists Hakim Ajmal Khan, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari to develop an institution independent of British control.He also wrote a marvelous and famous Translation of the Holy Qur'an, the commentary on which was written by one of his students, Shaykh al-Islam Allamah Shabbir Ahmad Usmani. Hasan died on November 30, 1920.


The Exegesis (Tafsir) of the Holy Qur'an, called Tafsir-e-Usmani in Urdu Language (also translated to English) together with Shaykhul Islam Shabbir Ahmad Usmani was a marvel by the two eminent scholars of the Indian subcontinent.[1]

Role in Foundation of Jamia Millia Islamia

Shaikhul Hind Maulana Mehmud Hasan (1851–1920)

An eminent theologian and freedom fighter who laid the foundation stone of Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in Northern India in 1920, Maulana Mahmud Hasan, popularly known as Shaikhul Hind (leader of India), was born in 1851 at Bareily where his father, Maulana Zulfeqar Ali, also a well known scholar of Arabic, was employed in the Department of Education.

He was the first student of Darul Uloom, Deoband, the world renowned institution of Islamic Sciences and one of the most distinguished disciples of the founder of this institution, Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi. After his graduation from Darul Uloom in 1873, he served the same institution as a teacher from 1874 till his appointment as Principal in 1890. Unlike the ulema of that time and his preoccupation with teaching and administrative works in Darul Uloom notwithstanding, he kept himself fully informed about the political developments in the country. The second decade of the twentieth century was a period of great restlessness and anxiety for the Islamic world as a result of a secret pact among the Western powers to overthrown the Turkish Empire which was looked upon with respect and reverence by the Indian Muslims.

During this time, Shaikhul Hind prepared a plan to start an armed revolution against the British rule for which he launched a programme to train volunteers from among his disciples in India and abroad who joined this movement in a large number. The most eminent among them were Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi and Maulana Mohd. Mian Mansoor Ansari. There was a general belief that war of liberation cannot be launched without arms and ammunition. Therefore, it was necessary to secure support from outside India. While Shaikhul Hind sent Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi to Kabul with a special mission and Maulana Mohd. Mian Mansoor Ansari to the independent tribes of the Frontier area to mobilize them for a war against the British rule, he himself traveled to Hijaz in 1915 to secure the Turkish support for his plan. In Hijaz, he met the Turkish Governor, Ghalib Pasha and obtained his signature on a war declaration. From Hijaz he wanted to come to the Frontier area via Baghdad and Baluchistan, but his plan was leaked and he was arrested at Mecca and imprisoned at Malta where he remained for over three years till his release in 1920.

Since the letters exchanged between Shaikhul Hind and his colleagues containing the outlines of the plan to recruit the volunteers for the liberation army and to establish a national government were written on silk, the movement launched by him is known as 'Reshmi Rumal ki Tahrik' (Movement of Silken Kerchief). After returning to India Shaikhul Hind joined the Khilafat Movement and issued his famous Fatwa of non-cooperation against the British rule. In the same year (1920) in October he laid the foundation stone of Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh. He died on 30 November 1920.

See also

References and external links

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