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‘Allāmah Qādi Thanā’ullah ‘Uthmāni Pānipatī

Turkey courtyardBy ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy ibn Fakhr al-Din Hasani[1] 

Translated by Mawlana Abu ‘Asim Badrul Islam

The great shaykh, the imam, the ‘allamah, the muhaddith Thana’ullah ‘Uthmani Panipati [2] (d. 1225 AH/1810 CE) was one of the most erudite scholars [of undivided India]. He was from the progeny of Shaykh Jalal al-Din ‘Uthmani, through whom his family tree reaches [the Blessed Companion] ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (may Allah be pleased with him). He was born, and grew up, in the town of Panipat where he memorised the Holy Qur’an and studied Arabic for a while with the teachers of the town. He then travelled to the city of Delhi and studied under the [legendary master and imam] Shaykh Wali Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahim ‘Umari Dehlawi, [better known as ‘Shah Waliullah’,] from whom he acquired the science of hadith. He studied Fatihah al-Faragh with the Imam at the young age of eighteen years.

Thereafter he adopted the company of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Àbid Sanami, from whom he received training in tariqah. Through the training imparted by the latter Shaykh, Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati reached the level known in tariqah as the ‘annihilation of the heart’ (fana’ al-qalb).

He then turned to the great shaykh [Mirza Mazhar] Jan-e-Janan ‘Alawi Dehlawi, who trained him to the final stage in the Mujaddidiyyah tariqah. Shaykh Jan-e-Janan had tremendous affection toward, and love for, Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati and gave him the title of ‘Alam al-Huda (the flag of guidance). He said regarding Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati: “Awe from his piety and taqwa has engulfed my heart. He is one who implements and propagates the Shari’ah, illuminates tariqah and possesses angelic traits. Even the angels revere him.”

He once said: “If Allah were to seek from me a gift, I would present Thana’ullah to Him.” In recognition of his oceanic knowledge of fiqh and hadith [the imam and muhaddith] Shaykh ‘Abd al-’Aziz ibn [Imam] Wali Allah Dehlawi gave him the title of ‘Bayhaqi of the age’

Shaykh Ghulam ‘Ali ‘Alawi Dehlawi says in his book al-Maqamat: “[Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati] was second to none amongst his contemporaries in taqwa and piety. He used to exert himself in his devotions to Allah, praying a hundred raka’at and reciting a seventh (hizb) portion of the Holy Qur’an every day. All this he used to do alongside other forms of dhikr, muraqabah (meditation) and his preoccupation with teaching, lecturing, writing and adjudication.”

He says elsewhere in the same book: “With his sharp and clear intellect, fine acumen and extraordinary personality he had reached the stage of ijtihad in fiqh and usul. He had authored a detailed book in fiqh, in which he elaborated each mas’alah with its source and substantiating evidences whilst pointing out the opinions of the four Imams [in fiqh] in that particular mas’alah. He had also authored a smaller book entitled al-Akhdhu bi ‘l-Aqwa in which he recorded all the stronger opinions of the schools of fiqh. He had also authored an exegesis (tafsir) of the Holy Qur’an in seven large volumes.[3]

Shaykh Muhsin ibn Yahya Tarhuti says in al-Yani’ al-Jani: “[Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati] was a jurist (faqih), a jurisprudent (usuli), one who had renounced the world (zahid) and a mujtahid. He had his own opinions in the [Hanafi] school of law. He authored magnificent works in fiqh, tafsir, and zuhd. His shaykh was proud of him.”

His famous works include: al-Tafsir al-Mazhari in seven volumes, a two-volume detailed book in hadith, Mā lā budda minhu[4] in Hanafi fiqh, al-Sayf al-Maslul in refutation of the Shi’ah, Irshad al-Talibin in tasawwuf, Tadhkirat al-Mawta wa ‘l-Qubur, Tadhkirat al-Ma’ad, Haqiqat al-Islam, a treatise on the ruling on singing and music, a treatise on the unlawfulness of the practice of mut’ah[5], a treatise on ‘ushr and khiraj and a few other treatises.

He passed away during Rajab 1225 AH (1810 CE) in his home town of Panipat. [May Allah subhanahu grant him and all the masters mentioned in this article the highest Paradise.]

 

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Footnotes:

[1] d. 1341 AH/1922 CE. He was the father of the Imam al-Da’wah Shaykh Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Hasani Nadwi (d. 1420 AH/1999 CE – may Allah grant them both Paradise. Trans.)

[2] This brief biography has been translated from the unique Arabic biographical dictionary of the luminaries of undivided India, al-I’lam bi man fi Tarikh al-Hind min al-A’lam, the magnum opus of the famous Islamic historian ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy ibn Fakhr al-Din Hasani. (trans.)

[3] Entitled al-Tafsir al-Mazhari, this splendid book has seen countless publications, the most recent of which has been in 10 volumes from Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-’Arabi in Beirut. It is currently scheduled for publication by Idarat al-Qur’an in Karachi. In the introduction to his noble father’s monumental Urdu tafsir, Ma’arif al-Qur’an, ‘Allamah Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani writes regarding al-Tafsir al-Mazhari:

“This is a work of ‘Allamah Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati (d. 1225 AH). He had named this tafsir al-Tafsir al-Mazhari after the name of his shaykh and mentor in tariqah, Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janan Dehlawi (may Allah treat him with His infinite mercy and compassion). This tafsir is very simple and comprehensible. It is extremely useful in learning succinct explanations of Qur’anic verses. Alongside elucidations of words used in the Holy Qur’an, the author has also cited relevant reports and narrations in ample detail. Compared with other works of tafsir, he has endeavoured to accept reports and narrations only after thorough scrutiny.” (Ma’arif al-Qur’an, 1:58) (trans.)

[4] This book has enjoyed remarkable acceptance. It is a very popular book and is found in all Muslim communities and circles that are zealous of practicing the Shari’ah. (Shaykh Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Hasani Nadwi)

The book has been excellently rendered to English by Yusuf Talal De Lorenzo and published by UK Islamic Academy. It has been very aptly entitled Essential Islamic Knowledge. (trans.)

[5] This is the practice of temporary ‘marriage’ in which both the man and woman would enter into a contract (to have a sexual relationship) with the full knowledge and agreement that it would be temporary, and not a lifelong commitment as in a normal marriage. It used to be popular with Shi’ah sects. (trans.)

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