SYED QASIM SHAH BUKHARI ( 1910-2000)

The valley of Kashmir is not only world-renowned for its beauty but is also equally well known for being “Peer Waer” meaning “Alcove of Sufis and saints.” Because under the cover of beautiful appearance, Kashmir holds spiritual attributes making it synonymous with spirituality, which has allured great dignitaries including seers and savants from time to time.

During the reign of Sultan Zainul Aabideen, Sayyid’s entered into the Kashmir valley. Being the direct descendants of Prophet (PBUH); they were warmly welcomed and revered by Zainul Aabideen. Since then Sayyid’s inhabit all across the vale. This reputed, honorable dynasty gave birth to great personalities, who enshrined, and animated hearts with their wisdom and divine attributes. One such great man who erupted from this magnificent and sublime dynasty was Allama Syed Qasim Shah Bukhari (r.a).

Born in 1910 in the home of noble person Syed Abdul Kabeer Bukhari, Allama is one among the prominent religious figures of Kashmir. But like other selfless personalities, Allama didn’t find much mention in the pages of Kashmir History. Yes, a large section of society is familiar with this character, but unfortunately, they have confined him to ‘Oration’ that is absolute injustice with this multi-dimensional figure.

After spending 14 years outstation in completing studies from Delhi and the highest seat of learning __Darul Uloom Deoband, Allama Bukhari returned to the valley in 1943 with the sole ambition to serve Kashmiri Muslims. In fact, Allama was unsatisfied with the education system of the vale, thus impassioned to reform and eliminate its privation.

While working to achieve his goal, Allama devoted his entire life to this noble cause. Being very efficient and intellectual of great depth, Allama strived to spread the light of knowledge through teaching. He has a record of teaching more than 4000 students during his lifetime. Facts are testimony that his first student was Syed Abdullah Bukhari (former Imam Shahi Masjid Delhi). In Kashmir, numerous personalities have been his students, dispersed all across the valley, carrying forward his mission and propagating the true message of Islam.

Allama served as a professional teacher in the education department only for 3 months. He left Govt. Job on advises of Syed Mirak Shah Kashani and Muhammad Syed Masoodi. They noticed his efficiency in Islamic literature and persuaded him to work according to his caliber. Consequentially, Allama produced hundreds of texts on different subjects of Islam in addition to the commentary of Al-Quran under the name ‘Kifayat ul Bayaan’ in short span of time. Being a sagacious scholar, Allama translated ‘Wird ul Murideen ‘(Persian) of Baba Dawood Khaki and ‘Zakheerat ul Mulook’(Persian) of Syed Ali Hamdani (r.a) etc. into lucid Urdu language so that even layman can taste the pearls of these luminaries. Allama contributed to the preservation of mother tongue largely by translating Quran into the Kashmiri language, besides his masterpiece ‘Umm-ul-Quran’-A commentary on ‘Surah-Fatiha’ in Kashmiri. As an author, he has set a precedent for writers. His way of presentation, proving his fact with evidence, mentions of classical scholars and great Islamic jurisprudence makes him a nonpareil writer, and not indulging in projecting himself, “only true” reflects his humbleness, the manifestation of true knowledge.

At his first meeting with Syed Mirak Shah Kashani, Allama received membership of the then only Islamic organization Anjuman Tableegul Islam (ATI) and assumed the charge as principal of Oriental college Srinagar. However, his capabilities and passion never let him stay within four walls of the college. He worked as a soldier of Islam in general and Anjuman in particular. He worked tirelessly to defend the pristine teachings of Islam by virtue of his intellectual powers, literary attributes, and eloquence. And got appreciation from scholars of that time. His excellence persuaded scholars to nominate him state President of Anjuman Tableegul Islam. Under his patronage, ATI touched new heights with every passing day. Present era bears witness to his religious enthusiasm and leadership qualities when even after decades, institutes founded by him are quenching the thirst of knowledge and providing valuable assets to the valley.

With the objective of nurturing the young generation by inculcating religious values, Allama succeeded in establishing a College. It is said Allama went to Syed Mirak Shah Kashani (r.a) for consultation about establishing College, Kashani Sahib told: “So you intend to set up a college” and donated Rs 50 for the same – a necessary spiritual kick for the establishment of Hanfia Arabic College (Srinagar), which has been furnishing qualified, dynamic, and efficient scholars to the society since decades.

Believing journalism as a weapon to reconstruct, deconstructed society, Allama served the society as a journalist also. He was chief editor of Monthly Mashriq, Weekly Akhbaar, and Monthly Tableeg, now published as the official organ by ATI under the name ‘Al-Aetiqad.

Following Allama Iqbal and believing:

(Take religions away from politics and you have despotism).

Allama remained in touch with politics too. He was a key leader during ‘Mou’e Muqadas Movement’ in 1963 and lifetime member of Awami Action Committee (of which ATI was constituent). He was detained several times, first in 1965 and was sent to Tihar and later again for several months. He summarizes his doleful political story in the preface of his book ‘Al Irshaadat ul Nabwiyah’ – Islamic encyclopedia.

Allama mentions his political opinion in magazine Al-Tableeg (1974) and writes; “I pray for my comrades and members of ATI, who believe enactment of Islamic Shariah is a panacea to all ills and problems of the Ummah and strive for its implementation” indicating Allama as dreamer of Islamic region and staunch supporter of Islamic rule and law. Overall, the great scholar who has made such immense efforts in the service of Islam is indeed and will continue to be for all Muslims, a beacon of light.

This is a short overview of Allama’s services to Ummah else, detailed account of his efforts will produce a pile of books. He breathed his last on 8 February 2000 and left this worldly existence. However, despite his matchless contributions, Allama sadly remained an unsung hero.  It is incumbent upon all of us to know these luminaries, who have devoted their lives for the sake of this nation in general in particular. Otherwise, when a nation forgets its heroes, its end becomes inevitable.

Khudah Rehmat Kunad Een Aashiqaan’e Paak Teenat Raa

(May Allah’s blessings shower on his lovers with a noble soul?)

 Zeeshan Rasool Khan can be reached at mohdzeeshan605@gmail.com