Wahiduddin Khan

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Wahiduddin Khan (born 1 January 1925), known with the honorific Maulana, is an Indian Islamic scholar and peace activist[1] known for having written a commentary on the Quran and having translated it into contemporary English.


  • It was at this place that he [Ilyas] first came into contact with the Mewatis… These uncouth and illiterate people had converted to Islam on a mass scale as a result of the efforts of the well-known sufi Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and his descendants, But in practical life they were far from Islam… They kept their Hindu names,… they celebrated all the Hindu festivals and made sacrifices to the pre-Islamic gods and goddesses… In 1921 new problems arose when Arya Samaj preachers resolved to reconvert the Indian Muslim to their ancestral religion. Thanks to the religious and cultural poverty of the Meos, the large-scale activities of the Aryan missionaries met with great success. The solution of this problem was to impart to them religious education so that they did not yield to any malign influence
    The only solution to this problem, as the Maulana saw it, lay in separating them from their milieu… They changed their way of dressing and grew beards, shaking off one by one almost all their pre-Islamic customs that they had retained after their conversion…
    • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Tabligh Movement, Al Risala Books, The Islamic Centre, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Second Reprint, 1994 p. 5-12
  • In Saudi Arabia, there is peace but no freedom. In Pakistan, there is freedom but there is no peace. In India, Muslims enjoy both peace and freedom.
    • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, quoted by P.V. Rao, The thinking theologist, Indian Express, 7.1.1996, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.99
  • This great movement generally known as the Tablighi Jama’at has inspired a new fervour, a new zeal to serve the divine cause…Its founder surprisingly was a slight, short-statured individual rather unimpressive in personality…It was this extraordinary figure known as Maulana Ilyas who founded the Tablighi Jama‘at which was to inspire in thousands of people a religious zeal which had been unknown for centuries…
    • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Tabligh Movement, Al Risala Books, The Islamic Centre, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Second Reprint, 1994, p.5.
  • To my way of thinking, Indian Muslims have improved their lot considerably since Independence. I would go so far as to say that the condition of present-day Muslims is not that of persecution but of progress.... Indeed, if you make a survey of the economic and social condition of any Muslim family before and after 1947... you will see that it has made remarkable progress. If in pre-Independence days, a Muslim owned a bicycle, today he owns a car. If then he had a small house, today he owns, if not a mansion, then at least a house of comfortable proportions. Where, before, he could only afford to telephone from a public booth, today he has his own telephone. Where his family had to depend on limited local opportunities, they now regularly travel and work abroad, and hold superior positions.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • Today there are lakhs of madrasahs spread all over the country. The old madrasahs, like those of Nadwatul ‘Ulema in Lucknow and Darul Uloom in Deoband, were just like ordinary schools before 1947, whereas today they have expanded so much that they have more the appearance of being universities. In the neighborhood of Malegaon, a new and very big madrasah, the Jamia Muhammadia, has been established, which completely dwarfs the old one. Hundreds of new madrasahs have been established all over the country, including a school for Muslim girls, the Jamiatus Salihat at Rampur, which is said to be the biggest madrasah for Muslim girls in the entire Muslim world. In fact, thousands of Islamic institutions of different kinds have been set up throughout the length and breadth of the country, and have full freedom of functioning.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • The Tablighi Jama’at is a Muslim religious movement headquartered in Delhi. Since 1947, its extension, too, has been exponential. In the same way, all other Muslim bodies have greatly added to their assets as well as increasing the numbers of their followers. In former times, Islamic conferences were few and far between, but nowadays, major conferences are being organized almost on a daily basis in India by Muslims. These take up different aspects of Muslims and Islam. Islamic books and journals are also being published in far greater numbers than ever before.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • What has gained momentum in India since 1947 is not, in fact, the persecution of Muslims, but yellow journalism and an exploitative leadership which sustains itself by repeated allegations of persecution... If there is any danger to Muslims in this country it is only from our so-called leadership, buoyed up as it is by paranoid journalism. There is no other real danger to Muslims.’ “Those who hold the reins of leadership and journalism in their hands are people of very shallow character... Their only formula for boosting circulation and retaining their leadership is to create a fear psychosis among Muslims and then to exploit it. To this end, they painstakingly select negative instances from Indian Society and then, by blowing them up out of all proportion, they manage to convey the erroneous impression that Indian Muslims are the victims of prejudice and injustice.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • ‘While the Quranic “periodical” was run on positive lines, the entire Muslim press of the present day is plunged in negativism... But today Muslim journalism has devoted itself entirely to the ferreting out of difficulties, mainly plots and conspiracies of others against them.’ ... [Muslim papers have sought to correct] ‘what they felt were erroneous impressions (in other papers) by projecting Muslims as absolutely perfect, but ill-treated human beings’.... They (the Muslim papers) act in this way because they want to prove that Muslims are entirely virtuous and innocent of all wrongdoing, and that if they appear to have shortcomings, it is because of the harsh treatment meted out to them.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • To me, the Muslim press has been suffering from what I can only call quite unjustifiable self-righteousness on the part of Muslim intellectuals. It is this innate weakness which has prevented them from seeing their own shortcomings. All they can see are the plots of others behind every problem their community faces. Consequently, instead of engaging themselves in constructive activities, they spend their time inciting members of their community to protest against others.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • A particularly dark aspect of the Muslims’ existence in India seems to be communal riots. It is a fact that communal riots have taken place on a large scale in modern India over the last forty-five years and, regrettably, in some parts are still continuing. I repeat, nevertheless, that the occurrence of communal riots is not linked to the system of governance developed after Independence. It is related rather to the Muslims’ own rabble-rousing leadership and yellow journalism.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • Communal violence is one of the most talked of subjects these days, and discussions thereon are dominated by the fact that the brunt of police violence has to be borne by the Muslims. ‘The policemen are killers,’ say Muslims. Their theme song is that the brutalities of Adolf Hitler and Chengiz Khan pale into insignificance when compared with what the police inflict on innocent Indian citizens. At face value, this would appear to be correct. But we must pause and give greater thought to the reasons for police ‘misconduct’. Why should it take place at all? If we marshal facts, we see that in every case, the situation has been aggravated more by the Muslims being easily provoked than by a desire on the part of the police to be aggressive. And it is noteworthy that wherever there is a concentration of Muslims, this oversensitiveness is very much in evidence; sooner or later, it is the Muslims themselves who have to pay dearly for it at every level.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • It is clearly the Muslims who are the losers, whether at the individual or at the community level, yet they do not stop to think of the ferocity with which reprisals will be carried out when they themselves have given in to provocation, lashing out at all and sundry. They think it is like aiming a blow at a domestic animal which if it reacts at all, will do so mildly and without rancour. They do not stop to consider that when they lash out in a frenzy of emotionalism, it is a savage wild beast with which they have to deal—an untamed monster, which will fight back with tooth and claw. The culminating point of their endeavour will be the inevitable backlash of police brutality.... Events having shown that Muslims clash not only with Hindus, but also with the police we should now ascertain where to lay the blame. Clearly, the greatest offenders are the journalists and leaders of the Muslim community itself. After each and every riot they cannot find words enough to describe the ‘brutality and savagery’ of the police; in consequence, Muslim sentiments are kept perpetually on the boil. Their anger against and hatred for the police are never allowed to simmer down. As a result whenever policemen appear on the scene, they become enraged and hit out at them, trying by all possible means to humiliate them. This belligerent attitude on the part of Muslim newspapers and leaders is the root cause of the intense mutual hatred between Muslims and the police.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • Up till now Muslims have tended to attribute their problems to prejudice and discrimination and to waste the better part of their time and energy in railing against offenders who often exist only in their own imaginations. What I have to say is simply that it is high time they changed their way of thinking and devoted themselves whole-heartedly to the processes of self-reconstruction.
    • quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)

Quotes about Wahiduddin Khan[edit]

  • The Maulana’s observation and inquiry lead him to conclusions which are in complete contrast to what that typical fatwa of Deoband we began with says and what the Muslim press shrieks out week after week.... Alas! Maulana Wahiduddin’s remains a voice in the wilderness. Moreover, to put the blame on Muslim journalism and leadership is in a sense to beg the question. After all, why do Muslims prize this kind of journalism, why do they follow such leaders? The answer is in the psychology which the ulema and their fatwas have drilled into them... From personal knowledge born of his extensive travels in areas where Muslims are congregated and from his intimate acquaintance with them, in his Indian Muslims, Need for a Positive Outlook, Maulana Wahiduddin states that as a community Muslims are much better off today than they were, say at the time of Partition. He gives telling instances in support of this fact. But, he says, to acknowledge the fact in public is regarded among Muslims as betrayal of the community.
    • Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.

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