And to teach everyone on earth the laws
Which might make blessed life’s span
This is my yearning and this is my aim
This is my intention and this is my claim
With this I yearn to scan the globe
And deliver to humanity the message of Hope”
[An extract from a poem by Mawlana Shah Abd al-Aleem Siddiqui written in his college years]
“Roving Ambassador of Islam”, Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Alīm Siddiquī al-Qadirī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho was born on 15th Ramadan 1310 Hijrī in Meeruth, India. He hails from the noble Siddiquī family who are direct descendants of Ameer al-Mo’minīn Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho in the 37th generation.
His father, Hadrat Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hakim Siddiquī al-Qadirī Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho was a distinguished scholar and a high ranking ‘Alim of Dīn. He was also a devout Sufi Master of the Qadiriyyah Spiritual Order. He took special care in the education of his son who completed his Nazara (visual recitation) of the Holy Qur’an at the tender age of 4. He studied elementary Arabic and Persian under the guidance of his father at home and was then enrolled at the local Madressa ‘Arabiyyah Qoumiyyah where he graduated as an ‘Alim. He then pursued his Secular studies at the Islamiyah High School until Matric (Grade 12). His classmate was the former president of India Dr. Zakir Hussain. In 1917, he then enrolled at Meeruth University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree with distinction.
His elder brother, the great ‘Alim Hadrat Mawlana Sha Ahmed Mukhtar Siddiquī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho then took him to Bareilly and handed him over to the great Mujaddid, ‘Arif Billah A’la’Hadrat Imam al-Akbar Qutb al-Irshad Muhaqqiq Ahmad Rīda al-Qadirī Muhaddith Bareilwi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho. Here he was groomed in many Islamic sciences including strenuous spiritual training in Tasawwuf under the able supervision of the Sufi Master and ‘Arif of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala. After spiritual perfection, the Imam bestowed on him the Khilafah of the Qadiriyyah Barkatiyyah Silsilah. It was here that the ardent love of the Beloved Habīb Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam was injected into his heart that transformed him into a perfect human (Insan al-Kamil).
Hadrat Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui (Radi Allah Ta’ala Anho) was already swimming in the ocean of Ishq (love) that led him to adhere to a stable spiritual life. His mission started when he was ordered by his spiritual teachers to visit the Holy Land of Makkah al-Mukarramah. His journey to Makkah Sharif was the culmination of his spirituality, it was at that pinnacle moment that his lessons in ‘Baatin’ (inner) had to be lived in “zahiri’ (exterior). He set himself, body & soul to the pilgrimage in 1919. His life took a different turn when he stepped on the doorway of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. He was warmly welcomed, as our Beloved (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) blessed the heart of the Shaykh. Immediately he was convinced and inspired that he was a man chosen by Allah The Almighty and our Beloved Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) to sacrifice his entire life to the service of humanity. His mission was handed over by beloved Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) to his heart and soul. This was when his real journey commenced.
He endured many painful obstacles and tribulations, but continued to persist through them with admirable patience. His heart was set to acquire the inner knowledge that he was taught during his early years. His approach to Tassawuf and spirituality was a distinctive feature that differentiated Shaykh (Radi Allah Ta’ala Anho) from other living scholars. The desire to spread the teaching of Islam became so intense, that he traveled far and wide not only to spread Deen Islam and to enrich people’s conception about spirituality but also for the gratification of his soul.
Dunya Chaani Alaam Mein Phira, Par Tera Shuragh kahin Na Mila
Jab Chashm-e-Baseerat se Dekha, hay Dil ke Andar Tu Hi Tou.
He traveled through out the entire globe for 30 years with that sacred inspiration and mission to revive humanity and reveal the truth to everyone’s heart. He was not only a scholar, but also a highly endowed spiritual master conveying the message. He brought spiritual illumination to the hearts of thousands; Muslims and Non Muslims. His prayers had given hope to many that were struck by incurable illnesses. People around the world felt the sweetness of his presence. Many were attracted by his sincerity, others by the manifestation of a divine light, which encompassed his entire being and many others, by his friendly and compassionate attitude. His blessed presence and spiritual magnetism had given new impetus to the religious and social lives of thousands. He had gained a high esteem in everybody’s heart and continues to be remembered by so many as a great Sufi and spiritual leader.
Shaykh was such a highly endowed Sufi that his intelligence conquered eminent persons such as leaders and statesmen of different religious beliefs. His spiritual achievements were enormously admired and many political leaders and businesses sought his guidance in their matters. He had instilled purity and spirituality in the hearts of those he met. Even the celebrated intellectuals of the west had the opportunity of admiring this great saint of Islam. We cannot forget the infamous encounter between Shaykh (A Theologian) and George Bernard Shaw (A Scholar).
Masjid Abd al-Aleem Siddiqui at 90 Lorong K, Telok Kurau Road Singapore.
Besides his noble father and Imam Ahmad Rida Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhum Ajma’aeen, some of his other notable teachers were:
a) BaHr al-‘Ulūm Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hayy Farangī Mahellī.
b) ‘Arif Billah Shaykh Ahmad al-Shams Shamil Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho of Morocco.
c) Shaykh Al-Sanusee Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho of Libya.
d) Hakim Ah’tasham al-Dīn (taught him Tibb : Unani Medicine).
Man of Superb Qualities
In Madina al-Munawwarah he was lovingly called “Tabeeb al-Hindi” (Indian Physician). Mawlana was also a celebrated poet and used “Aleem, عليم” as his poetic pen name. He inherited this science from his noble father. Since childhood, he was an influential orator and addressed a huge crowd of Muslims at a Mawlid celebration in Meerut, India at the tender age of 9 years. This was his first public speech and he spoke on the excellence of Sayyiduna Rasūlullah Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam. His speech had the audience spellbound.
His noble father passed away when he was only 12 years old. Since his mother was a very knowledgeable and pious woman, she undertook the initiative to educate and groom her son to the peak of perfection. Since he was raised in a cradle of knowledge and piety, he possessed a refined character with an impeccable personality. His ancestral Siddiqī blood generated a great sense of awe in his personality that subdued intellectuals and peasants alike.
Roving Ambassador of Islam
Till this day, Hadrat Mawlana is recognised and accepted as the “Roving Ambassador of Islam” for his invaluable services to Islam and the Muslims internationally. He travelled extensively to the four corners of the globe and preached Islam. Numerous persons embraced Islam on his hands and millions benefited from his services of Dīn. Some of the countries he frequented were:
1) United Kingdom
2) United States of America
16) South Africa
20) East Africa
31) South America
35) West Indies
39) Guyana (then British Guiana), etc.
the centre of all Sunni activities but currently it is occupied by
Deobandies and Tabhleegies for past 5/6 years.
In his tours, he met with leaders of every religion and faith exchanging views not only on religion but also on political and social dimensions. His approach and presentation of Islam won the hearts of many intellectuals and statesmen, who reverted to Islam on his hands. He not only propagated Islam wherever he went, but he also established socio-religious centres that to this day are rendering invaluable services to the masses.
His Eminence was also responsible for establishing various Mosques (Masaajids) and Islamic Educational Centres throughout the world. Hanafi Masjid in Colombo, the Sultaan Masjid in Singapore and the Naagarya Masjid in Japan are few of the famous mosques.
The Inter-Religious Organization was founded in the ’40s by Mawlana Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqui Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him), who also founded the All Malaya Muslim Missionary Society in 1931 and who was the first Muslim “missionary” to travel around the globe a number of times to spread the word of Islam. Jamiyah Singapore was founded in 1932 as an offshoot from this organization.
Expert in more than 15 Languages
He also studied at the Punjab University where he obtained a degree in Oriental languages. Mawlana was fluent in many languages, namely, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, English, German, Japanese, Indonesian, Suhailee ant etc.
Thousands Embraced Islam at his Hands
Thousands embraced Islam at his hands including the well-known thinker Maria Levinskya and her husband the nuclear scientist Dr. Antonoff. An interesting account of Mawlana Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddique’s great work for Islam is found in the account of his world tour written by Dr. Tahir bin Ahmad’s father – Professor Dr. Ahmad bin Ibrahim presently at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
During his tour of the world, he met with various western dignitaries and had lengthy discussions with them on Islam. He met the world-renowned Irish dramatist and Philosopher, George Bernard Shaw, on 17th of April 1935 during his visit to Mombassa, Kenya and discussed many religious problems with him. He was very much impressed by Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi and said,
“I have been very pleased to make the acquaintance, and it will be the most precious of all memories of this trip of mine.” [“Shavian and Theologian” published by Genuine Islam and World Federation of Islamic Missions, Karachi]
A Great Politician
Hadrat Mawlana was also a great politician and took an active part in local and international politics. He was very instrumental in abolishing the Hajj Tax then introduced by the Saudī Regime. The introduction of the Hajj Tax infuriated him as it was against the Sharī’ah and affected millions of incoming Hujjaj to the Holy land. It is also ethically incorrect to charge a Hajj Tax on pilgrims who spend thousands and undertake such a strenuous journey only to be welcomed at Jeddah seaport and airport by an unjustified tax instead of being given a warm welcome to the Holy Land as the guest of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala and His Rasūl Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam.
His Request for Verdict from Mufti Aazam al-Hind
He consulted with the most senior Jurist of the Muslim World, the great ‘Arife Billah, Qutb al-‘Alam, Muftī al-A’zam, Imam Mustafa Rīda al-Qadirī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho, and requested him for an Islamic ruling (Fatwa) on the Hajj Tax. The Grand Mufti issued an Islamic decree in the Arabic language condemning the Hajj Tax as un-Islamic which was later published by the title “Tard al-Shaytan un Sabeel al-Rahman al-Muqallib bihi Omdat al-Bayan fi Hurmate Koshan”. This Fatwa was acknowledged by many Giants of the Islamic world, namely Sadr al-Afadil Mawlana Sayyid Naī’mudīn Muradabadī Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho, Sadr al-Sharee’ah Mawlana Amjad ‘Alee al-Qadiree Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho, etc.
Hadrat Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Aleem Siddiquee Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho took this Fatwa and set out to meet the Saudi authorities. He met with the King in Hijaz and debated the Hajj Tax and presented the Fatwa. He convinced the King who then abolished the Hajj Tax. But unfortunately, the Saudi authorities later reinstated this un-Islamic Tax again to exploit the pilgrims to the Holy Land. It is indeed unfortunate that the Muslim world has forgotten the services of this great Ambassador of Islam.
His body rests in Jannat al-Baqee
Hadrat Mawlana Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho was an ardent Lover of the Beloved Habīb, Sayyiduna Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam and always prayed to die and be buried in the sacred city of Madinah al-Munawwarah. The compassionate Prophet Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam was fully aware of his ardent lover’s desires and hence granted him his wish. Sadly, this brilliant son of Islam finally departed on 22nd Dhul-Hijjah, 1373 Hijri (22nd August 1954) at the age of 63 years and was laid to rest peacefully at the feet of Umm al-Mo’minīn Sayyidah A’yesha Siddiqah Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anha in Jannat al-Baqee’.
Tabhleegh in form of Literature
Although he was extremely busy in his international mission of Tableegh, he still found time to write numerous books in Urdu and English. Some of them are:
1) Zikr-e-Habīb (Urdu)
2) Ahkam-e-Ramadan wa Eid al-Fitr (Urdu)
3) Qadyanī Haqiqat ka Izhar (Urdu)
4) Bahar-e-Shabab (Urdu)
5) Quest for True Happiness (English)
6) Principles of Islam (English)
7) Forgotten Path of Knowledge (English)
8) Muslim Contribution to Science (English)
9) Kitabbut Tassawuf ( Urdu)
10) Elementary Teaching of Islam (Hanafi) (English)
11) Elementary Teaching of Islam (Shafa’ī) (English)
12) The Mirror (English)
13) A Shavian and Theologian (English)
14) History of The Codification of Islamic Law Cultivation Of Science By Muslims (English)
15) A Short Catechism Of Islam (English)
16) The Universal Teacher (English)
17) The Universal Religion (English)
18) The Islamic Ideal (English)
19) The Meaning Of Worship (English)
20) Women And Their Status In Islam (English)
21) Islam’s Answer To The Challenge Of Communism (English)
22) The Preservers of Hadith (English)
23) Ijtahad and Mujtahid (English) and etc.
He was also the founder of various newspapers and Islamic magazines from amongst which are, “The Muslim Digest” (South Africa), “Trinidad Muslim Annual” and the “Pakistani News” and was author of numerous books such as the “Cultivation of Science by the Muslims”.
In sha-Allah, Barkatur-Raza Publications (Durban, South Africa) intends gathering as many books as possible of this great scholar and publish them so that the wealth left behind by him once again enlightens the hearts of the people.
Muballigh-e-Aazam (The Greatest Propagator of Islam)
His Eminence spent most of his remaining life traveling to the most obscure corners of the world to spread the message of Islam and imparting spiritual teachings to adherents of various sufi orders. It is said that he traversed the world seven times over and has no doubt earned the title — Mubaligh-e-Azam (The Greatest Propagator of Islam).
Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri Barakaati Bareillwi
Sayyid Ayyub Ali narrates, “The distinguished orator, Allamah Mawlana Haji Qaari Shah Abdul Aleem Siddiqi Qadiri Razawi Meeruti, on returning from the Haramayn Shareefayn presented himself to the Great Imam and recited the following Manqabat in praise of Sayyiduna Ala Hadrat (Radi Allahu Anhu).
You are more than what is said in your praise,
O Sha Ahmad Raza! You are the distributor of Irfaan.
You are drowned in the Ocean of love and intoxicated from the goblet of Tawheed,
You are the accepted of He who is the Beloved of Allah.
You are the centre of Shariah, The orbit of those on the path of Tariqah
and the axis of Haqiqah. Such a Qutbul Awliya are you!
The oceans of Shariah and Tariqah join here.
Your chest is the confluence of those oceans. Such a guide are you!
The people of the Haram have accepted you as their Qibla and Kabaah,
You are the ‘people of the Qibla’s’ Qibla. Such a Qibla are you!
Through whom the Crowns of the Eminent are decorated,
You are such a radiant emerald and priceless gem!
I went to the land of the Arabs and saw with my eyes your activities;
undoubtedly, you are the direction of the Ajam (Non Arab)!
The people of the path of Tariqah travel for you,
Such a Qutb of the time and Leader of the Awliya are you!
The glory of Siddique Akbar is demonstrated through your taqwa,
Why should I not call you the most pious when you are the most virtous!
The awe of Farooq-e-Azam is demonstrated from you,
You are the epitome of harshness on the kuffar,
You are the courageous lion of whom the dissentors fear!
You have collected the secret Quranic points,
This is your inheritance from Uthmaan!
In the sincerity of Ali, mannerism of Hassan and the resolve of Husayn,
By Allah you the most unique of the times and someone unfound!
You are spreading the knowledge of truth into the corners of the globe,
You are the Imaam of the Ahle Sunnah and the Successor to Sayyiduna Gauth-e-Paak!
Beggars beseech and spread their bags before you,
Fill the bags of the mendicant because you are their hope!
No one is ever returned empty handed, such a generosity is yours!
This unfortunate Aleem is a humble beggar of your court,
You are his King who will show favour on his condition!
Once the Mawlana had recited these verses, Sayyiduna Ala Hadrat asked him, “Mawlana, What can I present to you? The Imam pointed to his turban (which was very expensive) whilst he asked this to the Mawlana. Even if I had to present this turban to you, it still would not be worthy to be placed at your feet as you have come from the most sanctified of places. However, I have a very expensive jubba (Cloak) which I shall present to you.” Sayyiduna went into his home and returned, carrying in his hands a velvet jubba. He gifted this jubba which could not have been less than 250 Rupees to the Mawlana who stood up to receive it. He received it with both his hands, kissed it and placed it upon his eyes and then upon his head. Then he held it against his chest for a very long time. [Hayaat-e-AlaHadrat by Malik al-Ulama, Shah Zafar al-Din Bihaari]
We pray to the Bounteous Lord through the Waseela of His Compassionate Rasūl, Sayyidun wa Mawlan MuHammadur Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam to shower the grave of the author with choicest blessings and through him, bless us all and let his struggle be a source of guidance to the Mankind. Ameen.