by: Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
The foundation history of Darul Uloom dates back to the fall of Muslim Empire in India in 1857 in the hands of East India Company. It was a tragic turn of history that not only Muslim government was thrown out but multitude Muslim leaders and scholars were beheaded, gunned down and even hanged to death. The Muslim monuments, mosques, madrasas and institutions were razed and pulled down. Nearly, all the Muslim educational places which used to survive on the donations of Muslim rulers and nawabs ceased to exist and the entire Muslim culture and Islamic heritage was at verge of destruction and perishing. The government was bitterly against Muslims and it utilized every means to crush their first enemies, Muslims. Moreover, the Colonial forces were embedded with scores of missionaries ready to convert the heartbroken and poverty-stricken masses to Christianity.
In this critical time, there were few fortunate Ulama who escaped the deadly reprisal launched against Muslims, particularly Ulama. They did not sit back quietly. Though, they were defeated at the battlefield of weapons, but they did not spare hope to preserve the Muslim honour and Islamic heritage entrusted to them by their elders and ancestors. So, they planned to start a madrasa in Deoband as centre of their activities with public contributions and co-operations.
May 30, 1866 (15 Muharram, 1283) Thursday was that blessed and auspicious day in the Islamic history of India when the foundation stone for the renaissance of Islam was laid in the land of Deoband. Seeing the simple and ordinary manner in which it had been started, it was difficult to visualize that a madrasa beginning so humbly, with utter lack of equipments, was destined to become the centre of the Islamic sciences in the world.
The head of founding committee of Darul Uloom Deoband was Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotavi. The other founding members were: Hazrat Haji Aabid Hussain, Maulana Mahtab Ali, Maulana Zul Faqqar Ali, Maulana Fazrulr Rahman and Munshi Fazle Haq.
Fundamental Principles of Darul Uloom
Darul Uloom Deoband was established to fulfil these fundamental objectives aimed at by their founders:
Contribution of Darul Uloom Deoband
Darul-Uloom Deoband is today a renowned religious and academic centre in the Islamic world. In the sub-continent it is the largest institution, even the fountain head of all Islamic institutions, for the dissemination and propagation of Islam and the biggest headspring of education in the Islamic sciences. For the last one and half century, the Darul Uloom, Deoband, is considered an incomparable teaching institution for the religious education of the Muslims not only in the sub-continent but also throughout the Islamic world.
As the fame of Deoband reached farther, students began flocking in droves from this sub continent as well as from neighbouring and distant countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Bukhara, Samarqand, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and the far off regions of the continent of Africa. Within a short time, the radiant rays of knowledge and wisdom illumined the heart and mind of the Muslims with the light of faith and Islamic culture. Having acquired the knowledge of religion from Darul Uloom Deoband, these accomplished scholars, in accordance with the demands of religious needs of the time, rendered valuable services in spreading correct religious beliefs and religious sciences in their concerned areas.
Till last year nearly one lakh ten thousand students got educated there and went out to represent Islam in the Muslim community. The majority of personalities, well-versed in the religions sciences who find mention in the history of post- Moghul era across the length and breadth of the sub-continent either have quenched their thirst from this very great river of knowledge or they are related to educational institution by near or far.
Darul Uloom produced countless celebrated and towering personalities who left matchless impressions in nearly every sphere of life. More renowned among them are Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotavi, Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Hazrat Shaikhul Hind Mahmood Hasan, Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Hazrat Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Hazrat Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani, Hazrat Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Hazrat Qari Muhammad Tayyib etc etc.
Hazrat Haji Aabid Hussain (1250-1331 AH) was the first Mohtamim of Darul Uloom. Later, Hazrat Maulana Rafiuddin (1252-1308 AH) Hazrat Haji Fazle Haq, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Muneer (b. 1247 AH) Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ahmad (1279-1347 AH) Hazrat Maulana Habibur Rahman Usmani (d. 1348 AH) Hazrat Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (1305-1369 AH) also discharged their duties as Mohtamims. Darul Uloom witnessed extraordinary developments and expansions during Hazrat Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib’s half century long administration.
Today’s Darul Uloom Deoband
Now, Darul Uloom spreads at an area of 1,32,084 sq.m. with its main building of Darut Tafseer, Naudarah, Dar-e-Jadid, Masjid-e-Rashid and others covering an area of 33035 sq.m. and accommodating four thousand students. The education system starts from Primary and Hifz up to Daurah (graduation in Arabic and Islamic Sciences). After Daurah, there are some specialization courses like Ifta (Islamic Jurisprudence), Arabic Literature, Tasfeer, Hadith and Islamic Sciences while some of them have research sections too in which topper students get enrolled for further studies and training.
Besides, Darul Uloom provides some job-oriented training in Computer Applications, Calligraphy and tailoring. From past several years Darul Uloom started a two year Diploma in English Language and Literature where students are given extensive training in English reading, writing and speaking. Shaikhul Hind Academy at Darul Uloom offers diploma in Urdu journalism with some other departments presenting Comparative Studies in Religions and Sects.
Darul Uloom enjoys the oldest Darul Ifta of India which receives questions related to Islam and Muslim issues from around the globe. Darul Ifta preserves more than 500 big registers of fatwas containing millions of questions and answers. Darul Uloom has Internet Dept from where its official website is maintained and another Darul Ifta database website is run for Muslims around the world to get their questions answered. Darul Uloom Deoband has two monthlies ‘Darul Uloom’ in Urdu and ‘Al-Daie’ in Arabic, these two are published online as well. Darul Uloom has another bimonthly ‘Aaina-e-Darul Uloom’ in Urdu.
Darul Uloom is headed by Majlis-e-Shura (Advisory Board) comprising of 21 eminent Muslim scholars and personalities from across the country, while the internal system is supervised by a Mohtamim (Vice Chancellor). The administration of Darul Uloom is run through its 33 departments and offices with Darul Ihtemam (VC Office) at the top.
Darul Uloom Deoband is undoubtedly the centre of Islamic revival and renaissance in the Indian Subcontinent in the post-Moghul era. Such tremendous and all-round services and contributions offered Darul Uloom has no match in the Muslim history, as no such single institution brought about such an encompassing revolutions in the history of any community and country.
May Allah keep this lofty tree flourishing and blooming!
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org