Biography of Shaykh Al-Islam Abu Sa'eed Muhammad Husayn Batalwi (1840-1920)
The Shaykh was born on the 19th March 1840 in Batalah in the province of Indian Punjab Gurdaspur. His father's name was Raheem Bakhsh and his grand father's name was Zawq Muhammad. His forefathers were Hindus and after entering Islam, they made the spread of Islam as the aim of their lives.
Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi started his studies from the scholars of his area. After studying different books in Batalah, he went to benefit from scholars of Delhi, Lukhnow, Aligharh and other places. In Delhi, he benfited from Mufti Sadrudin Aazardah who was teaching in the Madrasah Dar Al-Baqa established by the Mughal King Shihabudin Shah Jahan. Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi also benefited from Shaykh Noor Al-Hasan Kandhalwi in Delhi.
Afterwards he studied Mishkat Al-Masabeeh, Sihhah Sittah and Muwatta from Sayid Mian Nazeer Husayn Muhadith Dehlwi. He remained with Mian Sahib for a long time and after obtaining Ijazah, he retruned to his hometown.
In his hometown, he started his Da'wah and started these 4 activities: teaching, writing, preaching and lessons of Qur'an after Fajr prayer like his teacher Mian Nazeer Husayn Dehlwi. He had a big circle of students in his hometown.
1) Minh Al-Bari fi Tarjeeh Sahih Al-Bukhari.
2) Islami Aqaid
3) Al-Iqtisad fi Bayan Al-I'tiqad (regarding attributes of Allah)
4) Al-Bayan fi Rad Al-Burhan (on issue of Taqleed)
5) Al-Mafateeh fi Bahth At-Taraweeh
6) Hidayatu Rabb li Ibahati Adh-Dhabb.
7) Sajdah Ta'zeem
8) Al-Iqtisad fi Hukm Ash-Shahadah wal Milad
9) Kashf Al-Astar an Wajh Al-Azhaar.
10) Burhan As-Saati'
11) Al-Mashroo' fi Zikr Al-Iqtida bil Mukhalifeen fil Furu'
12) Hawashi upon Sihhah Sittah
13) Hawashi upon Kitab Salah, Kitab Al-Maghazi and Kitab At-Tafsir of Sahih Al-Bukhari.
14) Al-Iqtisad fi Masail Al-Jihad.
15) Ta'liq and Hashiyah on the first part of Mishkat.
Shaykh Batalwi was a verifying scholar, he spent his life reading and researching, he wrote many articles and had many articles unpublished yet and present in files in his house, and it is not known to what happened to such hand written files present in his house. He was a propagator of the Book and Sunnah and view of Salaf.
The magazine "Isha'ah As-Sunnah"
This prestigious magazine was launched by Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi. Shaykh Sayid Abul Hay Hasani Lukhnawi wrote in "Nuzhatul Khawatir" v 8 p 451 that the people criticized in this magazine were:
1) The People of Innovation
2) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani
3) Sir Sayid Ahmad Khan and his naturist movement
4) Abdullah Chakralwi and Hadith rejectors.
5) Blind followers.
The end of the 19 century was very difficult for Ahl e Hadith and they had to face 5 trials for Wahabi insurrection (Baghawat):
1) Case of Baghawat in Anbalah: 11 people were arrested, their properties taken, they were first sentenced to death, afterwards exiled to Kala Pani (Andaman Island)
2) Case of Baghawat Azeemabad, Patnah: The scholars arrested there were also sent to Kala pani and their properties taken.
3) Third Wahabi trial, Baghawat Malidah (Bengal), the scholars arrested were also sent to Kala Pani.
4) 4th Wahabi trial, Baghawat Raaj Mahal, the scholars were also sent to Kala Pani.
5) 5th case was again in Azeemabad Patnah. The scholars recieved the same sentence.
Many scholars were persecuted and some biggoted Ahnaaf wrote books about expelling Wahabi (Ahl e Hadith) from mosques and not marrying with them. Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi, as he was very active was also targeted.
In 1877, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi launched in Amritsar the monthly magazine "Safeer Hindustan" and up to 1878, he published his articles in "Safeer Hindustan" and "Tatimah Safar Hind". In June 1879 he established a society under name "Isha'ah As-Sunnah" and launched a monthly magazine under this name. At the beginning it was a small pamphlet but it soon became very famous.
This magazine was very active against Qadiyanis, Chakralwis, naturists, innovators but also Christians whose missionaries were very active and promoted by British Raaj.
The First Fatwa of Takfeer against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani
One of the greatest achievement of Shaykh Batalwi is to have produced the first Fatwa of Takfeer against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani. When Mirza Qadiyani first claimed in his epistle "Fath Al-Islam" to be the promised Messiah, it created a lot of noise among Muslims. Afterwards he claimed to be a Prophet in his book "Tawdih Al-Maram", and he published after another epistle under the name "Izalah Awhaam".
Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi went to debate Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani ran away during the debate.
Afterwards he asked a request for Fatwa and obtained a Fatwa of Takfeer from his teacher Mian Nazeer Husayn Dehlwi against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani, and traveled to all the main cities of India to obtain agreement of scholars of all school of thoughts on this Fatwa of Takfeer, and it was published under the name "Ullama e Islam ka Awaleen Mutafiqah Fatwa".
He wrote on p 9 on this unified Fatwa of scholars: "I obtained a reply to my request of Fatawa from Baqiyatu Salaf, Hujjatul Khalaf, Shaykhuna al-Kull Hazrat Molana Sayid Muhammad Nazeer Husayn Sahib Muhadith Dehlwi, may Allah benefit the Muslims with the lenght of his life, and afterwards I traveled from Delhi to nearby Calcutta, Bhopal and other places and obtained agreement of opinion of most famous scholars of India from different schools of thoughts. Then I arrived to Lahore and published the Istifta (question for Fatwa) and its reply in the form of an epistle"
Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi propagated this Fatawa to all areas of India to make sure all scholars were aware of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani's Takfeer by the greatest scholars of all schools of thought.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani always refused to debate Shaykh Al-Islam Muhammad Husayn Batalwi. When Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani came to Lahore, Shaykh Batalwi came there and requested a debate, when Mirza went to Sialkot, Shaykh Batalwi went there, and where ever he would go to preach his false prophethood, Shaykh Batalwi would follow him and challenge him for debate.
His teaching and Kutbaat
Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi had resided more in Lahore, and there were 2 Ahl e Hadith Masajid in Lahore at the time. Chinian Wali Masjid and Lasure Wali masjid. Shaykh Batalwi was giving Khutbah in Lasure Wali Masjid and also Tafsir of the Qur'an after Fajr. He taught in Lahore and his magazine "Isha'ah As-Sunnah" was also published from Lahore. Hence he was also called "Lahori". Shaykh Abdul Wahid Ghaznawi was giving Khutbah in "Chiniyan Wali Masjid" and Shaykh Batalwi would come and do lectures there as well. He also taught students in "Chiniayn wali Masjid" for a while.
Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Batalwi passed away at the age of 80 on the 29th January 1920. Shaykh al-Islam Thanaullah Amritsari led his funeral prayer in Batalah where he was buried.
Source: "Bustan e Hadith" of Shaikh Ishaq Bhatti.
All the writings, articles of Shaikh Al-Islam Muhammad Husayn Batalwi against Mirza Qadiyani have been compiled in 4 volumes by Dr Baha Al-Din in "Tahreek e Khatme Nubuwwat" from vol 16 to vol 19.