As-Sayid Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi (1805-1902) (1220-1320)
Note: Mian is a title of nobility and not part of the name. Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi was also called Shaykh Al-Kull Fil Kull, meaning that he was an expert in all fields of Islamic knowledge.
Allamah Husayn ibn Muhsin Al-Ansari, student of Imam Ash-Shawkani and teacher of Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, said about Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi: “The leader of the Muhadiths (of his time), the ‘Umdah of the Muhaqiqs, the Baqiyah of the pious Salaf”
Mian Nazeer Husayn was born in the province of Bahar, district of Surajghar in India. He started learning first books from his father Jawad Ali at the age of 12. He then travelled to Patna where he studied the Quran and the book of Hadith “Mishkat Al-Masabih” with Shah Muhammad Husayn. During this stay of 6 months in Patna, he came to listen to a lecture of As-Sayid Ahmad Barelvi and Shah Isma’il Ad-Dehlawi (author of “Taqwiatul Eman” and great son of Shah Waliyullah Ad-Dehlawi who died as a martyr insha Allah).
Then he travelled to Dehli, staying on the way for some time in Ghazipur and Ilahabad. In Ghazipur, he studied under Ahmad Ali Charyakoti some books of Sarf and Arabic grammar. When he arrived in Dehli, Shah Abdul Aziz Ad-Dehlawi, the son of Shah Waliyullah Ad-Dehlawi and inheritor of his Madrasah had died since four years, and Shah ‘Abdul Aziz’s great son (daughter’s son) Shah Muhammad Ishaq was the successor of the Madrasah of Shah Waliyullah. Shah ‘Abdul Aziz did not have any son, so his great son became the inheritor of Shah Waliyullah’s chair. Shah Waliullah had other sons who were scholars such as Shah Rafiudin, Shah ‘Abdul; Qadir and Shah AbdulGhani, father of Shah Isma’il.
Before hearing Hadith from Shah Muhammad Ishaq, Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi studied under AbdulKhaliq Ad-Dehlawi, Sher Muhammad Qandahari, Jalaludin Harawi, Karamat ‘Ali Israili, Sayid Muhammad Bakhsh, ‘Abdul Qadir Rampuri, Hakeem Niyaz Ahmad.
Then he studied from Shah Muhammad Ishaq the following books: “Sahih Al-Bukhari”, “Sahih Muslim”, “Al-Jami As-Sagheer” of As-Suyuti, “Kanz Al-A’mal” of ‘Ali Muttaqi, some parts of “Sunnan Abu Dawud”, “Sunnan At-Tirmizi”, “Sunnan An-Nasa’i”, “Muwatta” of Imam Malik, Hanafi book of Fiqh “Al-Hidayah”, and Tafsir Jalalayn and Tafsir Al-Baydawi.
He married his teacher AbduKhaliq Ad-Dehlawi’s daughter and had only one child, As-Sayid Shareef Husayn, who died during Mian Nazeer Husayn’s life and he had two sons: As-Sayid Abul Hasan and As-Sayid AbdusSalam.
In 1258 H. Shah Muhammad Ishaq emigrated with his brother Shah Muhammad Ya’qub to Makkah and he established Mian Nazeer Husayn as his successor of the chair of Shah Waliyallah Ad-Dehlawi. Up to 1270H, he taught books of different subjects but after he only taught Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh. He taught Hadith and Tafsir for a totality of 62 years in Dehli, and it is very difficult to establish a list of all his students, as people from Africa and Asia would come to learn Hadith from the Madrasah of Shah Waliullah Ad-Dehlawi, which was one of the most famous in the world.
Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi’s famous students were:
Shamsul Haqq Al-Azeemabadhi, author of “Awn Al-Ma’bud”
‘AbdurRahman Al-Mubarakpuri, author of “Tuhfatul Ahwazi”
Muhammad Basheer As-Sahsawani, author of the famous “Syanatul Insan” in refutation of Zayni Ad-Dahlan’s attacks on Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdil Wahhab.
Muhammad Husayn Al-Batalwi
‘Abdul Mannan Al-Wazirabadi, the Ustaz of Punjab (teacher of Hafiz Gondalwi, Isma’il As-Salafi and many others)
‘Abdullah Al-Ghaznawi and six of his sons including Abdul Jabbar Al-Ghaznawi.
Muhammad ibn Barakallah Al-Lakhwi
Abul Makarim Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Maivi
Abu Sa’id Sharfudin Ad-Dehlawi
Abul Qasim Sayf Al-Banarsi
Abul Hasan Muhammad As-Sialkoti
As-Sayid Ahmad Hasan Ad-Dehlawi
Muhammad Sa’id Al-Banarsi
Abul Wafa Thanaullah Al-Amritsari, the Shaykh Al-Islam of Ahlul Hadith who defeated Mirza Qadiyani in a debate, and debated many other sects, Christians and Hindus leaders.
Ibrahim Mir As-Sialkoti
‘Abdul ‘Aziz Ar-Rahimabadi
Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Arwi
Qadhi Tala Muhammad Al-Peshawri
Abdul Jabbar Al-‘Umarpuri
And many others also students from Hijaz, Ethiopia, Sudan, Afghanistan and many other countries
His main books:
“Mi’yar Al-Haqq”: a book in Urdu against Taqlid, quoting from so many Hanafi books including some very rare books. Shaykh Ozair Shams, teacher at Umm-ul-Qura in Makkah and student of Shaykh Muhammad Rais An-Nadwi is working on its translation into Arabic.
“Fatawa An-Naziriyah”: Fatawa in Urdu, they were published in 2 volumes by Al-‘Azimabadi and Al-Mubarakpuri who gathered and arranged them.
Mian Nazeer Husayn’s efforts:
When the battle for independence against the British rule in Indi started in 1856, there was a lot of trouble and fights in many cities, especially in Dehli, and despite this, Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi carried on teaching. In 1857, after the British fought the rebellion and gained authority, Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi was sentenced to one year of jail that he spent in Rawalpindi.
Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi not only carried on the teachings of Shah Waliyullah Ad-Dehlawi, who fought blind Taqlid and himself favoured the Shafii Madhab on many issues, but he was totally independent from any Madhab and was only following the Madhab of Ahlul Hadith. He also propagated the creed of the Salaf and opposed Ilm Al-Kalam referring to Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah’s books. His students propagated the teachings of Tawhid and Sunnah in the whole subcontinent and though Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi did not have many books, but his teachings and students brought a revolution in the subcontinent. All Ahlul Hadith scholars after him have their Isnad in Hadith going through him, and he has the reward.
Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi’s parents and great parents were all educated and had good positions of judge or functionaries and had thus comfortable lives. Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi sacrificed all his life for knowledge, and he did not even build his own house, but rented all his life a single room house in Dehli. He had passion for books and collected many manuscripts. He spent most of his time after teaching reading books, he gathered so much knowledge that he surpassed most of scholars of his time.
Ahnaf seeing the revolution initiated by Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi and how his students would write so many books, build so many Madaris, would win so many debates, starting to write books inciting hatred against the Ahlul Hadith and would even excommunicate them. They wrote many books telling to expel the Wahhabis from mosques, even people such as Ashraf Ali Thanvi wrote that Ahlul Hadith were worse than Shi’ah and were at same level of Qadiyanis.
Two famous books have been written on this topic by Ahnaf:
“ Intizamul Masajid bi Ikhraj Ahle Fitan wal Mafasid” of Muhammad Ludhiyanvi in which he said that Ahlul Hadith were apostates, he asked that they should be killed and no Tawbah should be accepted from them. And this book is full of lies.
“ Jami’ Shawahid fi Ikhrajil Wahabiyin minal Masajid” written by Wasi Ahmad Soorti in 1883 H, and having signatures of many Ahnaf from Ludhyanah, Deoband, Gangooh, Pani Pat, Rampur and others.
Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Mahmud Hasan, Muhammad Ya’qub Nanotwi and others signed the part quoted below of “Jami’ Shawahid” as told by Nadheer Ahmad Rehmani in his book ” Ahle Hadeeth or Siyasat” :
“ When the creed of this group is against the majority, then it being innovator is clear, like Tajsim (anthropomorphism), making permissible more than four wives, making Taqiyah permissible, attributing bad words of perversion and disbelief on the Salaf, then in matters of the prayer and marriage, and slaughtering, there must be precaution from them like precaution with Rawafid”
May Allah protect us from such lies.
When Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi went to Hajj in 1300H, Ahnaf’s leaders, Hajji Imdadullah Makki and Abdul Qadir Al-Badayuni (son of Fadl Ar-Rasul Al-Badayuni, who was teacher of Ahmad Raza Khan Al-Brelwi) tried to get Mian Nazeer Husayn arrested and wrote to the Sherif that Mian Nazeer Husayn was a supporter of the Najdis. Mian Nazeer Husayn was arrested for a while but later on released after the British interfered.
So Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi was living at a time when opposing Taqlid and Ahnaf was considered as a crime, and teaching Tawhid in a land where Shirk was so widespread was very dangerous, and Al-Hamdulilah nowadays, the Da’wah of Tawhid and Sunnah of Ahlul Hadith is present in every district of each cities in the subcontinent by Allah’s grace.
He was a great worshiper, would pray Tahajjud regularly, he would be very kind to his students. It is reported that when ‘Abdullah Al-Ghaznawi came from Afghanistan to learn Hadith from Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi, Mian Nazeer Husayn went to the station, helped him carrying his luggage, without telling him who he was. When they reached the Madrasah and after eating, Shaykh Abdullah Al-Ghaznawi asked to see Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi and he informed him that he was Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi, which left Shaykh Abdullah astonished.
It is also mentioned that Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi once helped his student Hafiz Abdul Mannan Al-Waziarabadi, who was blind, to reach the place appointed for toilets, showing the Shaykh’s extreme humility. He did not feel to proud to send one of his students, this was the condition of this great Mujtahid scholar, who had such a high position in Dehli.
The Shaykh died on 10 Rajab 1320 H after the prayer of Maghrib and was buried in Shaydipura graveyard in Delhi.
May Allah reward Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi and guide us all upon the Book and the Sunnah
Sources: “40 Ulema Ahlul Hadith of AbdurRasheed Iraqi”, “Tarikh Ahlul Hadith” of Ibrahim Mir Sialkoti and an article in “Muhadis” nov 2002.
Compiled by Ali Hassan Khan