OBITUARY: Maulana Marghoobur Rahman (1914-2010)
by Manzar Imam Qasmi
Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, one of the longest serving rectors of the famed Islamic seminary Darul Uloom at Deoband passed away on 8th December 2010 at his ancestral town Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh leaving behind thousands of Deoband alumni across the world grieved. He was 96 and had been residing in Bijnor for sometime due to failing health. He is survived by a son (Maulana Anwar Ilahi) and a daughter. His body was brought to Deoband from Bijnor. The funeral prayers were offered at Deoband after Isha and he was buried at Mazar-e-Qasmi, the graveyard closest to Darul Uloom. Prayer meetings were held throughout India and abroad.
He took over the rectorship following the unfortunate turn of events that led to the ouster of Qari Muhammad Tayyib (1897-1983) in 1982. The conditions could have vitiated further but Maulana Marghoobur Rahman’s farsightedness and sincerity towards the institution made things only better. His tenure saw the landmark fatwa against terror in February 2008 calling terror attacks on innocents, against the tenets of Islam.
Maulana Marghoobur Rahman remained rector of Darul Uloom for 30 long years, the second longest period after Qari Mohammad Tayyib. His strength lay in his patience, perseverance and commitment. He avoided controversies and tried to amend the fractured relationships that had earlier bruised the very notion behind the establishment of Darul Uloom. He also managed to keep Darul Uloom free from political factionalism of any sort. Darul Uloom grew in strength and number of students, the administration ran smooth and the academic atmosphere became conducive for learning.
Prominent persons from diverse walks of life expressed their sorrow over the demise of Maulana Marghoob. The services rendered for thirty years as rector of Darul Uloom can never be forgotten, K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha said. Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and president of All India Talimi Wa Milli Foundation expressed deep sorrow over the demise of Maualan Marghoobur Rahman and called it a huge loss to the nation and to Deoband fraternity.
Amar Singh, former general secretary of Samajwadi Party and head of Lok Manch described him as a man of great piety, grace and humility. His demise is a great loss to the nation. Maulana Marghoobur Rahman was seen with trust not only by Muslims but also by non-Muslims, Singh added. Maulana Mohammad Ajaz Urfi, president of All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Haq called his rectoral tenure the Golden Period.
Maulana Marghoobur Rahman witnessed the formation of a breakaway faction from the Darul Uloom in 1982, but was able to stabilise the institution. Darul Uloom (Waqf) Deoband, the parallel faction, declared a day off as a mark of respect. In more recent times, when one of the largest Muslim organisations of clerics, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, got divided between two groups, he was able to keep the balance between both sides and mediate at crucial moments.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has expressed grief over the sad demise of renowned religious scholar. In his condolence message, the Chief Minister conveyed his sympathy with the bereaved family and prayed for the eternal peace to the departed soul.
Maulana Arshad Madani, president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (A) termed his death as an irreparable loss and said that his role in the Renaissance of Darul Uloom is highly valuable. Najeeb Jung, Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) said Maulana Marghoob’s death is an irreparable loss. He took over the charge of Darul Uloom at a very critical moment. Masjid Rahseed, which is a masterpiece of Islamic art, was constructed in his period. Darul Uloom made considerable progress to contemporary education. I find madrasa students very promising, the VC said, adding that if little attention is paid to them they can compete other students. Prof. Shafiq Ahmad Khan Nadwi, former Head, Department of Arabic, JMI shared his personal experience with the participants during a condolence meeting held at JMI which he had of the Maulana during a journey with him that Maulana Marghoob was a true successor of the old generation of ulama in piety. He was very balanced.
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Maulana Mahmood Madani termed his death a personal loss and a great milli loss too. The void left with his demise, would be hard to fill, Madani said. Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri, Emir, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind called his death a huge loss to Ummah. Delhi MLA Asif Mohammad Khan extended his sympathies to the family of Maulana Marghoob and said that he was very closely associaited with various organisations and had devoted his life to the service of the nation, Muslims and Islam.
Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi, deputy rector of Darul Uloom hailed the services of Maulana Marghoobur Rahman. Darul Uloom witnessed huge success during his tenure, he said. Speaking about his selfless service to the seminary, Madrasi said that Maulana Marghoob would himself pay the rent and electricity bill of the room in which he lived. Dr Manzoor Alam, General Secretary of All India Milli Council said that heading Darul Uloom for thirty years is a memorable work. He mentioned the circumstances in which he took over the charge of Darul Uloom. It was his unique quality to divert the unfavourable circumstances to academics. The construction work and the global recognition that Deoband got during his period was the result of his administrative capabilities and farsightedness.
Maulana Salim Qasmi, rector Darul Uloom Waqf, Deoband, Syed Shahabuddin, former IFS officer and president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Maulana Asgar Ali Imam Mehdi of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Maulana Habibur Rahman Thani Ludhianwi, Shahi Imam of Punjab, Darul Uloom Deoband Old Boys Association (Delhi) and various other organisaitons and prominent figure held prayer meetings and paid rich tributes to Maulana Marghoobur Rahman.
Born in 1914 in a respectable learned family of Bijnor, he received early education at Madrasa Rahimia and then went to Darul Uloom Deoband in 1929 to get further education and studied there under the guidance of Shaikhul Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957) and other great ulama of that period. He also got Ifta degree and was himself a good Aalim and a Mufti. But instead of adopting teaching he preferred the administrative work.
In 1962 Maulana Margoobur Rahman was appointed Member of Majlis-e-Shura (The Consultative Body) of Darul Uloom Deoband. In 1981 when the then rector Qari Muhammad Tayyib needed an assistant, all ayes felt on him. Following the tumultuous phase of 1982, he became the full-fledged rector of the seminary and held the post till his demise.
It is pertinent to mention here that Darul Uloom Deoband has lost three great personalities in 2010. Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Naseer Ahmad Khan (b. 1918) died in February, while working rector Maulana Ghulam Rasool Khamosh (b. 1940) passed away in October and now Maulana Marghoobur Rahman is no more. The passing away of these three great scholars and teachers within a year is a major loss the seminary.
Mufti Abul Qasim of Benaras has been temporarily appointed rector of Darul Uloom to serve till 10 January 2010. By then the Consultative Body will decide who the next successor of Maulana Marghoob would be. The onus lies with the Consultative Body, the highest Executive Body of Darul Uloom to find a right person to head the renowned religious seminary of Asia.
[A Delhi-based journalist, Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com, Manzar Imam was also educated at Darul Uloom in Deoband. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]