Maulana Wahid Ud Din Khan : A Doyen of Peace, Pluralism in Indian Sub-Continent

Maulana Wahid uddin Khan, born in Badharia, Uttar Pradesh, in 1925. Raised by his mother, Zaib un NisaKhatoun, and his uncle, Abdul Hamid Khan, a Sufi, after his father, Fariduddin Khan, died. Khan’s awakening was unprecedented from the very early age. He received the majority of his formal education in a madrassa and was profoundly inspired by Gandhian nonviolence as well as the importance of science and reason in being instruments of change.The majority of this principle’s implementation, as well as other positive values drawn from Islamic traditions, have contributed to his accomplishment in life. He fused these diverse impulses into a study of Islam; and injected the need to contemplate a practical pathway to gaining spiritual wisdom. While he was not a member of any Sufi order, his insistence on self-introspection and his disposition gave him a Dervish-like personae published a lot of books and gave a lot of talks. He founded Ar-Risala (The Message) in 1976, and it consists almost entirely of his articles and writing.
He rediscovered his faith in Islam with the use of translations and commentaries, which he described as a “born-again” experience, affirming a faith that was consciously chosen rather than inherited as part of one’s cultural tradition.He holds the door to an understanding of Islam that could confirm its validity in the contemporary world by providing objective commentary and analysis, as well as specifically addressing the Qur’an and Hadith which brought him well versed in traditional Islamic disciplines and modern disciplines. He was greatly inspired by Abul A’laMaududi’s writings and later joined Jama’at-e-Islami Hind in 1949. The philosophy that drew him in was the interpretation of Islam by Maududi as a holistic value system. Khan dedicated his first writing, Zindagi (life), to the Jama’at’s Urdu journal which was later published in 1955 under the title “NayeAhdKeDarwaze Par(On theThreshold of New Era).”This was followed by the second“Islam AurJadid Challenge (Islam and Modern Challenges)”which was later translated to Arabic entitled “Al-Islam Yataḥadda”. As the title of the book proposed, Khan was very anxious with the development of Islamic thought that would grow against the thinking of the modern world while staying true to adopt Islam from the original sources. Dissatisfied with Jama’at-e-Islami’s ‘politically oriented religion,’ he saw Tablighi Jamaat with the aim of Islamisation of individuals rather than the establishment of an Islamic State as ‘god-oriented religion’, looked to him more thoughtful and pragmatic, and also the reviving of the Prophet’s tradition (sunnah). Khan had been a member of Tablighi Jama’at for several years and by 1975 he was no longer affiliated with it too.While he recognised and acknowledged TablighiJama’at’s contribution in raising Islamic consciousness among Muslims, he believed that a new understanding of Islam was more important in attracting citizens of modern educated Indians, whether Muslim, Hindu, or other.
His main concern was the escalating violence between Hindus and Muslims in India, as well as the spread of Islamic radical movements in the Muslim world. This is a study of Khan’s Islamic interpretation as it evolved and matured in relation to the placement of Islam and its position in the modern world.His teachings emphasise faith personalization for self-improvement rather than political management. Khan’s main goal was to portray Islam as an ideology that is still relevant to the times, particularly in modern times. He wrote about pluralism, interfaith dialogue, and harmony as a result of expressing it. For him, the most pressing issue at the moment is how Islam can be viewed in the contemporary world, an understanding that is said to be more genuine while also being applicable to modern terms. He worked hard to debunk the myth that Islam is a violent and barbaric faith. In his writings, he deliberated upon pluralism, interfaith dialogue, and tolerance. God Arises, arguably his most influential book, establishes the existence of God using modern scientific discoveries. Peace was an ultimate end in itself for him, and it had to be pursued without any reservation. He argued that It was only after peace had been established that other objectives could be pursued. His goal was to have the world to rediscover that peace and hormany is at the core of Islam (both etymologically and substantively). Indeed, the Centre for Peace and Spirituality he founded encouraged advocacy by inspiring its representatives to become peace ambassadors, fostering positivity and interfaith dialogue, among other things. He believed in interfaith dialogue and reconciliation and was a strong advocate of it. For him, religious leaders’ discussions had to be focused on mutual respect originating from Quranic injections. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan was a beacon of light and optimism in a Manichean universe dominated by limited binaries. With his death, India and the rest of the world have lost a remarkable religious leader and Islamic theologian who worked tirelessly until the end to get people of various religions together. Despite some of his pronouncements being berated, such as on the question of the Babri Masjid and the Kashmir dispute, Maulana’s strong and utter contribution to establishing peace was impressive in its resoluteness. In person, the Maulana exuded an aura full of positivity, gentleness, composure to even non-believers and his charisma could be often spell-binding. Throughout his reading and research, conclude that present time is the time to represent Islam in the style and language of the post-scientific era.
(The author is a Research Scholar at BGSBU Rajouri . Views are his own)

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