Book review: ‘Noor-e-Dil’
By: Zeeshan Rasool Khan
A great Sunni scholar, Sufi, preacher, writer, journalist, and visionary leader Allama Syed Qasim Shah Bukhari (1910–2000) is one of the far-famed religious personalities of our valley.
Even after decades of his death, he stands out to be peerless in all facets. Consequently, those who know him mention him with reverence and those not knowing desire to know him. For that reason, he has always been part of the research, intellectual conversations, and religious discourses and this is going on.
Soon after his departure, his disciples, students, associates, and well-wishers expressed their opinions to pay tribute to their mentor. All those were recorded and published by Anjuman Tableegul Islam in its special edition of the official organ Monthly Al-Aetiqaad - Allama Bukhari Number (Feb. 2001).
After that, Bukhari’s student, a walking-encyclopedia, Molana Showkat HussainKeng authored his biography ‘Seerat-i-Bukhari’, which is undoubtedly a marvelous work. Spread over more than 1300 pages the book covers all essential details about Bukhari ranging from ancestry to his socio-religious and political ideas.
In 2018, A passionate researcher Syed Arif Ahmad Qadri attempted to accentuate the religious ideology of Bukhari and this resulted in a book, ‘Ameer’e Shariat Allama Bukhari AurUnkayAqaid’, which was well-received by the public.
Academician, prolific writer, veteran comrade, disciple, and acolyte of Bukhari who has served Anjuman Tableegul Islam for decades; Molana Alhaj Ghulam Hassan Zargar, recently came up with another biographic work ‘Noor-e-Dil’ in Urdu language. The book discusses all significant events of Bukhari’s life, his noble socio-religious services, literary work, and his diligence and leadership qualities.
There is no chapterisation or unitisation but each topic has a proper heading. There are about 65 topics spanning over 420 pages preceded by forewords by Faqeer Dilawar Kashyani, Late Mufti Basheer-u-din, Syed Farid-ur-Rehman Bukhari, Prof. Syed TayibKamili, and Molana Ghulam Ahmad Suharwardi. It also has prologues by Molana Mushtaq Ahmad Masoodi and Syed AsifRaza.
From page 49 onwards, the book throws light on the life history of Allama Bukhari, his birth in the Bukhari family of Eid-gah Srinagar, his early education, his migration to other Indian states to seek education, his post-education life and his brief career as govt. teacher.
The comprehensive historical background of Anjuman Tableegul Islam has been given together with the information about his shift from contemporary teaching to religious teaching and assuming charge of Oriental College Srinagar. According to the writer, Bukhari started his journalistic services here. He first launched the quarterly magazine Al-Mashriq in 1960. After being elected as the fourth president of Anjuman Tableegul Islam through polling supervised by Syed Mirak Shah Kashyani Sahb in the same year, he started monthly ‘Al-Tableeg’ - which was later rechristened as Al-Aetiqaad.
Bukhari’s allegiance to a Sufi Saint Shaykh Turazi –R.a (Bayt), his authorization as Sufi (ijazah), his religion (Mashrab), and his school of thought (Maslak) have been considered in detail. The writer tells us how Bukhari came to be known as Ameer’e Shariat. He presents the scene of the Ulama-wa-Iyma Conference (Scholars and cleric convention) held in 1968 wherein Bukhari was bestowed with the title of Ameer’e Shariat, interestingly, by an Ahle-hadith Scholar Molana Ghulam NabiMubarki Sahb who was seconded by all other renowned scholars present there.
Bukhari’s role in anti- Qadyani Movement has been adequately mentioned. The author has documented his religious tours to Qadyani-influenced areas like Asnoor Noorabad in 1977 and the subsequent mass re-conversion of Qadyanis to Islam and his fervent opposition to Ahmadism on all forums, both verbally and in writing, remarkably.
As per the author, Bukhari had launched a 15-day newspaper - ’Hanfi’, which he efficaciously used along with Al-Tableeg to defend the belief in the Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh). His anti-Qadyani role was acknowledged internationally and therefore was nominated as a member of International Majlis Khatm’I Nabuwat, an association of influential scholars of the world, floated by Daru-uloomDeoband India.
Bukhari’s literary work has been brought to attention; moreover, the writer underlines his passion for establishing Hanfia Arabic College Noor-bag, seminaries, English medium schools, and building mosques. The author has also provided an idea about his religious outreach programs and tours to different parts of the valley.
Many of his sermons/lectures have been reproduced, which makes the book engrossing. If the lectures are read between the lines, a reader gets profound knowledge about Bukhari’s religious expertise and ideology, his socio-political views, the circumstances he lived in, and the challenges he faced.
Speaking to the Khanmoh religious gathering in 1988, Bukhari is reported to have said; Anjuman Tableegul Islam has been founded to promote Islam that reached us through Hazrat Shah-i-Hamdan (R.a) and Mehboob-ul-Alam (R.a), the real successors of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who graced our land. Any deviation from this path is unacceptable. Furthermore, ATI needs those scholars and orators who subscribe to Rumi’s view TuBarai Wasal Kardan Amadi: Naie Barai Fasal Kardan Amadi - you have come to unite, not to divide.
In a lecture delivered on the eve of the fifteenth Century of Hijra Celebration 1981, Bukhari says; Curse on those who think Islam is a way to ascend to the throne and invoke Islam to enter into assemblies that are governed by man-made laws. We don’t consider it sin, however; we are of firm belief that it is only the law of god that can regulate and evaluate human conduct.
To make Bukhari’s working of mind discernable; the author quotes editorials of Al-Tableeg. Bukhari argues why the sermons of our clerics and scholars are ineffectual. He concludes that materialistic pursuits have rendered us good for nothing. He then addresses orators of ATI to cultivate sincerity, selflessness, and modesty and asks them to preach in a way that could leave some impact (Al-Tableeg Jul. 1964).
About sectarianism and subsidiary issues, he writes our belief doesn’t matter in marriages, festivities, trade, and other social affairs; but conflict begins once we are in mosques. He adds that disagreements existed even among Suhaba, Tabaeen, and Muhadiseen, but they never issued decrees of Kufr, and Shrik against each other. He opines that the tremendous disservice to Islam is to constrain its universality by making secondary issues primary (Al-Tableeg Aug. 1968).
The author has included the ‘Fatawa’ of Bukhari, which gives a sense of Bukhari’s erudition and intellectual acuity. Bukhari’s interview about Kashmir - politics (1991), then published by the weekly ‘Nigehbaan’, has also been publicized in the book.
Besides pointing up Bukhari’s integrity, generosity, unstained character, austerity, and self-effacement, the author has considered his spiritual aspect as well. A short account of Miracles that were experienced and observed by his followers from time to time has been depicted. The book is filled with anecdotes that manifest Bukhari’s reliance on Allah, veneration for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and other holy figures including Sufi saints.
The author introduces us to the mentors of Bukhari and other Muslim scholars he met in his life. The book discusses Bukhari’s demise, how the world reacted, and the events that ensued, especially the matter of nominating a successor.
Closer to the end, the author furnishes a description of Bukhari’s departed colleagues and key- leaders of ATI like; Dr. Syed Farooq Bukhari, Syed Mirak Shah Kashyani, FaqeerDeen Muhammad, Qazi Ghulam Muhammad, Dr.QaziNisar, Syed Mirak Shah Andrabi, etc. which enables us to fathom the life of our religious heroes.
Conclusion: The book is handy and could be read only in a couple of sittings. The style of writing is lucid. In addition to already available facts about Bukhari, the author has narrated personal experiences as well. And in that respect, the book lends a fresh perspective. If we compare Seerat’e Bukhari with Noor’eDil, it can be said that if Seerat’e Bukhari is a masterpiece on this subject, Noor’eDil is no less than an invaluable compendium. Reading them together would be advantageous to researchers, scholars, book readers, and inquiring minds.
(The author is hailing from Seer Hamdan. He is a student and a columnist)