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Muslim Personalities: Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani

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Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani - A Precious Islamic Personality

---- Contributed by Syed Bahauddin Gilani (, UAE


Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani was a renowned Islamic scholar of Deobandi school of thought, which is one of the major Islamic schools in Indian subcontinent. Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani is often referred by the Islamic scholars as:
  • Muhaqiqe Islam (the researcher of Islam),
  • Sultanul Qalam (King of the Pen)
  • Mutakallime Millat (The Philosopher of the Nation).

Birth and Family:

He was born on the 9th of Rabiul Awal 1310 H (September 1892) in a village called Gilani in Bihar (India). His father’s name was Abul Khair Gilani. Their Arab descendants reached the Indian subcontinent about three centuries ago via Iran and finally settled in a village which came to be known as Gilani (based on surname of their ancestors).


His elementary education was at home and then he studied six years under the revered Maulana Syed Hakeem Barakaat Ahmad in Tonk (Princely state of British India - Ruled by Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan, military leader of Afghan descent), presently located in Rajasthan, India.

Thereafter, he was admitted in Darul Uloom Deoband (1912) and studied Bukhari and Tirmizhi from Shaikhul Hind Maulana Mehmood-ul-Hasan (Rahmatullahi Ta’ala) and also accepted Shaikhul Hind as his spiritual mentor. He also studied Muslim from Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri. His other teachers at Darul Uloom Deoband include: Maulana Shabir Ahmad Usmani, Mufti Azizur Rahman Usmani, Maulana Habibur Rahman Usmani and Maulana Syed Ashghar Hussain Deobandi. While at Darul Uloom Deoband, he was noticed by his teachers to have special qualities which outshined him from the rest of the students.

Career, and academic Contributions:

After graduating from Darul Uloom Deoband in 1913, he stayed in Deoband until 1919 working for the monthly magazine “Al-Qasim” of the Darul Uloom. During this time his literary works such as “Savanih-e-Abu Zar Ghifari” (Biography of Abu Zar Ghifari) and “Kynaat-e-Roohaani” (Spiritual World) made him famous amongst the academic and literary circles of the Ulama of the Indian subcontinent.

The next twenty-five years of Maulana Gilani’s life were spent in Hyderabad (Princely state of British India - Ruled by Nizams), where he was the head of the religious department in Osmania University. During this time, thousands of people benefited from his precious personality and matchless knowledge. In 1948, he retired from Osmania University and returned to his homeland of Gilani, where he devoted most of his time to writing.

Maulana Gilani was a master of the Urdu language and a talented and prolific writer. He enlightened the hearts and minds of thousands with his unique style of writing and speech. After reading his first book “Savanih-e-Abu Zar Ghifari” (Biography of Abu Zar Ghifari), Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi said: “The writer of this book will prove to be a great researcher of Islam.

Notable Famous Works (books):

  • Musalmano ka Nizame Taleem-o-Tarbiat (System of Education and Upbringing of Muslims)
  • Islami Muashiyaat (Islamic Economics)
  • An-Nabiul Khatim (The last Prophet)
  • Imam Abu Hanifa ki Siasi Zindagi (Political life of Imam Abu Hanifa)
  • Tadween-e-Hadith (Compilation of Hadith)
  • Ad-deenul Qayyim (Established of Perfect System)
  • Tadween-e-Quran (Compilation of Quran)
  • Tadween-e-Fiqh (Compilation of Jurisprudence or Law)
  • Muqalaat-e-Ahsani (Sayings of Ahsan)
  • Tafseer-e-Soorah Kahf (Commentary of Soorah Kahaf)
  • Tazkara-e-Shah Waliullah (Remembrance of Shah Waliullah)
  • Musalmano ki Firqabandio ka Afsanaa (Tale of sectarianism among Muslims)
  • Rahmatulil Alameen (Mercy to the worlds)
  • Kynaat-e-Roohaani (Spiritual World)
  • Hazar (1000) Saal Pehley (Thousand (1000) Year Earlier)
  • Savanih-e-Abu Zar Ghifari (Biography of Abu Zar Ghifari)
  • Savanih-e-Awais Qarni (Biography of Awais Qarni)
  • Savanih-e-Qasmi (Biography of Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi)

Al-Qasim to Al-Qasim:

His last book was the biography of the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotawi, called “Savanihe Qasmi” (Biography of Qasmi). Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Saheb Says: “When I requested him (Maulana Gilani) to write the biography of Maulana Qasim Nanotawi, he accepted it very happily and he replied to me: ‘My academic career began with Al-Qasim (the monthly magazine of Darul Uloom Deoband) and looks like my academic career will end on Al-Qasim (meaning Maulana Qasim Nanotawi).’ Indeed this is what happened, he had only written five pages of the fourth volume of this book, when his temporary life ended on “Al-Qasim” at Month of Shawwal 1375 H (June 1956).

Recognition of his work:

Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi says: “Maulana Gilani was an organization in himself. He was the scholar of scholars, writer of writers, historian of historians, jurist of jurists, Muhaddith (Hadith Scholar) of Muhadditheen, Mufassir (Scholar of Quraanic Interpretation) of Mufassireen, and researcher of researchers.” Indeed Allah Ta’ala had blessed him with all these qualities. He belonged to that group of Muslim elites who revolutionized the Muslim thought and upheld the truths of Islam in the Indian subcontinent in such a time when both the British and the Hindus were against Islam and Muslims. His writings are a proof of his unrivaled scholarship and knowledge. The Ulama of Islam gave the masses knowledge of the revelation and the Sunnah through their writings and speeches and this knowledge would strengthen their faith and conviction and would serve as their most powerful weapon against the internal nafs [ego] and shaytan [devil]) and external enemies of Islam.
Maulana Abdul Hasan Ali Nadwi further says: “It can be said without exaggeration that finding a like of him (Maulana Gilani) in the present-day Muslim World in respect to his broadmindedness, enormity of study and depth and vastness of knowledge and piety is very hard.”
Ulama of Islam meet the challenges posed by the demurrers of Islam by their heavenly knowldege. They are the inheritors of the Prophets of Allah, who used to respond to the challenges of people by means of miracles, likewise the Ulama defend Islam by means of their knowledge, which they inherited from the Prophets. Knowledge is the Karamat or miracle of the Ulama. Ulama have always fortified Islam and did Jihaad against all innovations and misconceptions with their pens and moving speeches, which illuminated the hearts of the Muslim masses and safeguarded them from falling in the traps set by the enemies of Islam. One of the misconceptions that the astrayed tried to create in the minds of the Muslims was to create doubt in the authenticity of the Ahadith of Rasulullah. They are called Munkareen-e-Hadith (those who deny the Ahadith or their authenticity). This chaos not only confused the common Muslims but also posed a threat to the devoted Muslims. The Ulama of Deoband combated this fitna with full force and opposition. Maulana Gilani’s book “Tadween-e-Hadith” (the Compilation of Hadith) has defended the Ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam to such an extent that after a Muslim studies this book, not only his misconceptions will be erased but he will have plenty of proof to establish the legitimacy of the sanctified sayings of Rasulullah Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam.
Maulana Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari says about this book: “When I studied “Tadween-e-Hadith” of Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani, condition of wajd and jazb (ecstasy and trance) came over me. When Hazrat Gilani was writing this book, I thought as if all curtains between him and Rasulullah Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam were lifted and as if he was writing the words of Rasulullah Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam himself. “Tadween-e-Hadith” is the last complete and successful thing against the fitna of Inkar al-Hadith (denial of the Hadith).”
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi says about Maulana Gilani: “All of the Manazir (academic arguments) of Manazir Ahsan are Ahsan (excellent)”. 

Researched and compiled by:

Syed Mohammad Bahauddin Gilani (Mintu)

Copyright 2006 Bihar Anjuman