Maulana Wahiduddin Khan: Recipient of Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a noted Islamic spiritual scholar from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh has been honoured with Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award this year. Born in Azamgarh in the year of 1925, the Maulana was educated in a traditional seminary. Having lost his father, Fariduddin Khan, at an early age in 1929, he was brought up by his mother, Zaibunnisa Khatoon and his uncle, Sufi Abdul Hamid Khan. Young Wahiduddin was enrolled at a traditional Islamic seminary, the Madrasatul Islahi, in Sarai Mir, in Azamgarh in 1938 to receive religious education.
After completing his research, in 1955, he published his first book, Naye Ahd Ke Darwaze Par, or ‘On the Threshold of a New Era’. This book, the result of his exhaustive studies, was further elaborated upon in his next work, Ilme Jadid Ka Challenge, or ‘Islam and Modern Challenges’, which was later published as ‘God Arises’. The culmination of his research was his book, Al Islam, in which he presented the ideology developed by him, which was completely based on the original Islamic Scriptures. Continuing to write since then, he has authored over 200 books. His book, ‘God Arises’ has been accepted as the standard Islamic position on modern thought and has been incorporated in the curricula of universities in over six Arab countries.
It has been translated into various languages,such as English, Arabic, Malay, Turkish, Hindi, Malayalam and Sindhi. Its Arabic version has been published under the title of Al-Islam Yatahadda and has become popular throughout the Arab world. Since his family was involved in India’s freedom struggle from the very outset, as a very young man Wahiduddin became a staunch nationalist with Gandhian values in the period prior to India gaining its independence in 1947, and he continues to be such till today. To give full expression of his positive ideas, he established the Islamic Centre at New Delhi in 1970. Subsequently, the organ of the Centre, Al-Risala – the monthly magazine – was launched in Urdu in 1976.
In 1992, when the atmosphere was so highlycharged throughout the country due to the demolition of disputed structure in Ayodhya, he felt the necessity to convince people of the need to restore peace and amity between the two communities. To fulfil this end, he went on a 15-day peace march through Maharashtra along with Acharya Muni Sushil Kumar and Swami Chidanand, addressing large groups of people at 35 different places on the way from Mumbai to Nagpur.
Sunil Shukla, AIR Correspondent, Lucknow