Hadhrat Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri: A Tribute to His Life and Services
written by Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Some two years after the sad demise of Hazrat Maulana Asad Madani, President of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (1928-2006), Deoband experiences another big shock by the death of Hazrat Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri Mas’oodi (1929-2008), Shaikhul Hadith of Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband. Maulana Kashmiri was suffering from ailment in the heart and kidney for some years and was under treatment at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi. He breathed his last at 10:20 am on 26 April 2008 Saturday in the capital.
He was buried in Deoband beside his father in the presence of tens of thousands of his admirers and disciples. He is survived by wife, six daughters and a son Maulana Ahmad Khazir Shah, Mohtamim of Jamia Anwar Deoband.
Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri was one of the most prominent and respected Ulama of Deoband. He was the youngest son of Hazrat Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (1875-1933). Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri was born in Deoband on 6 December 1927. His father was the world renowned genius and scholar of Islam Hazrat Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri whose profound knowledge, universal personality and extraordinary power of memory was given as example and who had been counted among rare great Muslim scholars of India. His ancestors were a prominent and respected family of scholars belonging to the lineage of the Prophet peace be upon him.
Maulana Anzar Shah received education at Deoband and benefited from the outstanding personalities of his time. Shaikhul Adab Hazrat Maulana Azaz Ali (d. 1955) was his main teacher and patron who supervised his study and educational upbringing after his father left him an orphan of 5 years. Shaikhul Islam Hazrat Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957) was his second inspirer and teacher to whom he accredited much of his love, respect and dedication. Maulana Kashmiri was very close to noted Islamic scholar Hazrat Qari Muhammad Tayyib (1897-1982), former Mohtamim of Darul Uloom Deoband.
Illustrious Dimensions of His Dynamic Life
Maulana Kashmiri as Teacher of Generations: Due to his academic skills and abilities Maulana Anzar Shah was appointed as teacher in Darul Uloom at the prime of his life just after completing his education from Darul Uloom Deoband. He spent the best 55 years of his life as teacher of hadith, tafseer, fiqh and other Islamic sciences. He has the honour of teaching all important books of Dars-e-Nizami from beginning to end. Since last 30 years, he was Shaikhul Hadith of Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband. During these 55 years he taught thousands of students and enlightened them with the light of knowledge, piety, righteousness and morals he possessed. Due to his deep knowledge of Hadith and Tafseer he was considered an authority on the same. Apart from his thousands of students, he left nearly two dozen books, mostly in Urdu on subjects of Tafseer, Hadith, biography and others.
Oratory Skills: He was well-known for his oratorical skills. He attracted multitude of audiences in his speeches. His both; His scholarly and public, speeches were marked with abundant knowledge, flow and linguistic taste. Even the lengthy talk of him would not let the audience be bored, instead whenever he finished his talk the audiences wished Maulana would have never wind up his speech.
A Man of Urdu Literature: Though, the word 'literature' sounds incompatible with a person who is absorbed in academic learning and pure Islamic teachings, but Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri might be an exception. Not only he had a good taste of Urdu and Arabic literature, but also he enjoyed having a unique style in Urdu writing which can be described as 'his own style of writing'. His colourful writings are full of gushing flow, treasure of vocabulary and tremendous appealing. His book 'Naqsh-e-Dawam' (biography of his late father) is an exemplary book of this kind where he dried away the last drop of ink in his pen.
In Political Field: In the beginning of his career and as per his instinct he was never a politician, but in the last stages of his life he, for some reasons, was drawn nearer to the political field. But, he never let the scholarly prestige of him down and never soiled his sense of honour in the dirty corridor of politics. He was awarded with Presidential Award for his noble services to the nation and in 2004 he was selected as the Vice President of Uttar Pradesh Congress.
His Personal Behaviour: One very important aspect his life was his fatherly and kind behaviour towards his youngers and juniors. He respected remote relations and valued greatly the relatives of his father, teachers and acquaintances.
In short, Maulana Anzar Shah a noted Islam scholar of his time and he owned many unmatched qualities and traditions which have been buried with him in the grave. But, the later disputes which appeared during 1980-1982 as a tussle to take control of Darul Uloom Deoband, eclipsed his personality since he turned a loser in the fight and his rivals led by late Maulana Asad Madani managed to overtake him and his group. Maulana Anzar Shah was one of the main players of this famous ill-fated tussle. Many of his contemporaries who are well aware of his academic skills are of the opinion that had Maulana been busied himself in academic engagements as per the instinct he inherited from his great father he would have gone farther beyond the destinations we find him. But, to much extent his scholarly abilities and fervour was marred by unfortunate series of events which took place during the tussle and which affected a great deal his future life.
Having lost Darul Uloom, he with the ousted Mohtamim Hazrat Qari Muhammad Tayyib laid the foundation of Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband in 1982. Maulana took active part in evolving Darul Uloom Waqf and transforming it from a sapling into a full-grown encompassing tree. By the virtue of his wide network of contacts he managed to collect extensive funds for Darul Uloom Waqf. Later, in 1997 he established his own educational institution namely Jamia Anwar at Deoband in the auspicious memory of his late father just beside Darul Uloom Waqf. Jamia Anwar is a unique type of madrasa where he started experiencing a mixed syllabus of Dars-e-Nizami with some modern subject like English, computer, Hindi and so on.
Demise Widely Condoled
The sad demise of Maulana Kashmiri was widely condoled all across the India specially and the world generally. In India, all important Muslim organizations and institutes like Darul Uloom Deoband, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and Imarat Shariah and others have expressed condolences at his demise. Many world figure and representatives of governments also conveyed their heartiest condolence messages to his family members.
They expressed their profound grief and sorrow over the demise of the religious scholar and sympathized with the bereaved family. Many termed his death a great loss to whole Muslim community and said that his services to Muslims and the nation will be remembered for a long time to come.