Mawlānā ʿUbayd Allāh Sindhī, the Islamic Revival, and the House of Wisdom

Below is a brief summary of the objectives and action plan behind Mawlānā ʿUbayd Allāh Sindhī’s political/intellectual revivalist movement, the Jamīʿat Khuddām al-Ḥikmah and its centers (Bayt al-Ḥikmahs) taken from my notes on a collection of his various discourses (khuṭabāt) and essays (maktūbāt).

Mawlānā ʿUbayd Allāh Sindhī strongly believed that any effective and holistic revival of the Muslim community had to be rooted in the principles and thought of the Ḥakīm al-Hind Shāh Walī Allāh as expressed through the political and social endeavors of his intellectual progeny, particularly Imām Muḥammad Qāsim Nānautwī and Shaykh al-Hind Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan of Deoband. It was essential, in his view, to the revival and advancement of the Muslim nation that the intelligentsia and Muslim activists alike acquainted themselves deeply with the history, vision, and mission of these leading figures.

In implementing his vision of a Islamic revival in India, he proposed the following practical steps:

1. The establishment of an independent political party from the Indian National Congress.

2. The formulation of its political principles and policies based on the philosophy of Ḥakīm al-Hind Imam Shāh Walī Allāh.

3. Education in the aforementioned philosophy through the initiation of the Bayt al-Ḥikmah movement. Mawlānā ʿUbaydullāh Sindi would begin the instruction of the curriculum of Bayt al-Ḥikmah in Makkah and later continued it in Delhi. The curriculum has been outlined separately below.

4. Commemorate this intellectual and academic movement in the name of this grand teacher, Shaykh al-Hind Mawlānā Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan.

5. Formulate a formal organization, Jamīʿat Khuddām al-Ḥikmah, for the realization and implementation of the mission of the movement.

A call to establish the Bayt al-Ḥikmah was made at the Jāmiʿah Milliyyah. In 1940, Bayt al-Ḥikmah (in the memory of Shaykh al-Hind) was opened at Jāmiʿah Nagar. Branches were created and attached to institutions such as Maẓhar al-ʿUlūm in Karachi, Dār al-Rashād in Pīr Jandhā, as well as in Deenpur and Qāsim al-ʿUlūm in Lahore at the hands of Mawlānā Aḥmad ʿAlī Lahori.

Along with the education of the Qurʾān, Bayt al-Ḥikmah focused on the teaching of Shāh Walī Allāh’s philosophy and the books of Mawlānā Muḥammad Qāsim (and some works of Shāh Rafīʿ al-Dīn, Shāh Ismāʿīl Shahīd, and Shaykh al-Hind).

Sindhi’s Suggested Syllabus:

Shāh Walī Allāh’s:

  • Al-Fawz al-Kabīr
  • Fatḥ al-Raḥmān
  • Izālat al-Khafāʾ
  • Ḥujjat Allāh al-Bālighah
  • Al-Muṣawwā
  • Al-Muṣaffā
  • Al-Qawl al-Jamīl
  • Alṭāf al-Quds
  • Hamaʿāt
  • Saṭaʿāt
  • Lamaʿāt
  • Al-Budūr al-Bāzighah
  • Al-Khayr al-Kathīr
  • Taʾwīl al-Aḥādīth
  • Fuyūḍ al-Ḥaramayn
  • Al-Tafhīmat al-Ilāhiyyah.

Shāh Rafīʿ al-Dīn’s:

  • Takmīl al-Adh-hān

Shāh Ismāʿīl Shahīd’s:

  • ʿAbaqāt

Mawlānā Qāsim Nānautwī’s:

  • Taqrīr Dilpadhīr
  • Sharḥ Ḥadīth Abī Razīn
  • Qiblah Numā
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