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Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib: Remembering the Holy Life of a Humble Saint, Islamic Scholar, Spiritual Teacher and Peacemaker

By Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu, New Age Islam

28 April 2021

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Saheb’s Extensive Islamic And Philosophical Researches Led Him To Conclude That The Need Of The Present Era Is To Present Islamic Teachings In The Style And Language That Is Both Spiritually Authentic To The Teachings Of Islam As Well As Relevant To Our Present World Situation

Main Points: 

1.    Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib lived his earthly life for 96 meaningful years in the service of Islam and humanity.

2.    Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Saheb was an exemplary Islamic spiritual master, saint of peace.

3.    Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib is internationally recognized for his contributions to world peace.

4.    The 500 Most Influential Muslims" has named him “Islam’s Spiritual Ambassador of Peace to the World.”

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It is with great sadness, deep sorrow and profound loss to have read from the news of Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s passing on to Eternity on the 12th of Holy Ramadhan 1442 AH (Islamic calendar) or 22nd April 2021 AD. We pray: “Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajiun”. “Verily we belong to Allah; and verily to Him do we return” (Holy Qur’an Surah Baqarah: 156). Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib (Quddissa Sirruhul Aziz Wa Rahmatullah Taala Alayh [May Allah honour and bless his sacred memory and grant him the best of Allah's mercies]) lived his earthly life for 96 meaningful years in the service of Islam and humanity. He was an exemplary Islamic spiritual master, saint of peace, prolific author of Islamic books and Muslim aalim (scholar) who preached Islam as the religion of peace and harmony being the mission of his life and as the theme of his vast scholarly Islamic literature and spiritual books.

I and my wife Belinda were indeed privileged to have met Hazrat Wahiduddin Khan Sahib in person, kiss his blessed hands and receive his blessings including the gifts of books authored by him when we visited him in his home in New Delhi, India. To remember our sacred encounter with Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib, I will narrate at length our blessed visit and more than two hours audience with him in that hot Indian summer of the year 2017.

 In the morning of 23 July 2017, I and my wife visited and had spiritual audience (Ziyarat Wa Sohbat) with the late Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib (Quddissa sirruhul Aziz Wa Rahmatullah Taala Alayh [may Allah honour and bless his sacred memory and grant him the best of Allah's mercies]) in his residence at Nizamuddin West, New Delhi, India. Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib is internationally recognized for his contributions to world peace. He has received, among others, the Demiurgus Peace International Award, the Padma Bhushan Award, the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award and the National Citizen's Award. The book, "The 500 Most Influential Muslims" has named him “Islam’s Spiritual Ambassador of Peace to the World.” In January 2021, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan Award, India's second-highest honorific award for its civilian citizens.

 

"Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu and his wife Prof. Dr. Belinda F. Espiritu having audience with Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib at his residence on 23 July 2017."

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Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib was born in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, North India on 1 January 1925. From his early years, he showed passionate interest for both traditional Islamic knowledge and Western philosophies. As a result, all his books show masterful synthesis of Islamic teachings with the practicality demanded by contemporary modern life. His extensive Islamic and philosophical researches led him to conclude that the need of the present era is to present Islamic teachings in the style and language that is both spiritually authentic to the teachings of Islam as well as relevant to our present world situation.

He has authored over 400 books on Islam in English, Urdu, Arabic and various languages, with themes such as prophetic wisdom, contemplative and active spirituality, tolerance, inter-religious dialogue, interfaith harmony and peaceful co-existence in a multi-ethnic, multiracial, secular and pluralistic society. The most recent books he had written when he turned 90 years old are as follows: “The Prophet of Peace: The Teachings of Prophet Muhammad”; “Jihad, Peace and Inter-Community Relations in Islam”; “Islam and Peace”; “The Ideology of Peace”; "Non-Violence and Peace Building in Islam"; and “The Age of Peace”. The last book he authored and published a month before his passing-on to Eternity is entitled: “The Final Journey”. These books not only offer a peaceful solution to the challenges of terrorism and extremism, but also help people understand the true teachings of peace and harmony in Islam and the meaning or significance of one’s earthly life on earth as genuinely propounded by the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (Holy Practices and Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad).

To spread relevant practical spiritual wisdom based on tolerance, mutual understanding, amity, concord, peace and harmony worldwide, Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib established the Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS). This international organization aims to promote and reinforce the culture of peace through authentic Islamic spirituality that is based on the tenets of the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions (Sunnah) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Under Hazrat Maulana’s support and inspired by his spiritual wisdom and guided by his myriads of books, literature, video-talks, journal articles and the activities of the centre: peace and inter-faith efforts to help the people of India and the world, the Maulana Sahib clearly underlined and emphasized the importance of peace, tolerance, pluralism and co-existence in our globalized world…

 Belinda and I arrived at Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib’s home in Nizamuddin West, New Delhi in the early morning of 23 July 2017, while he was giving a lecture entitled: “The Concept of the Hereafter from the Qur’anic Perspective” which was beamed to TV channels across the Indian Subcontinent. After his lecture, Belinda and I were given the chance by Maulana’s trusted spiritual student who is the moderator of Maulana’s TV program as well as the operations administrator of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS), Dr. Rajat Malhotra Ji for us to freely interact with the Maulana Sahib and ask our questions to him. We felt so privileged to be with the Maulana Sahib and to discuss with him the current situation besetting the Muslim world. Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib enlightened us by his words and more so by his deep aura of love and ambiance of spirituality surrounding his revered, profound and venerable person. The Maulana gifted us with his latest books and blessed us by touching our heads with his right hand. I felt that the world stood still and the blessing of the Maulana Sahib enveloped my very existence at that very moment when the Maulana Sahib blessed me by touching my head with his holy hand. We were also given the privilege to kiss Maulana Sahib’s holy hand in compliance to the Prophetic Sunnah of kissing the holy hands of Islamic scholars and saints. We then had our picture-taking with Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib and some of the Delhi members of CPS which were present during our visit.

 After our memorable and blessed audience with Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib, Brother Dr. Rajat Malhotra Ji and his very hospitable wife, Sister Stuti Malhotra Ji introduced us to the daughter and the son of Hazrat Maulana who are themselves also servants of Islam and to the cause of world peace, interfaith dialogue and harmony. They are Prof. Dr. Farida Khanam Sahiba and Jenab Saniyasnain Khan Sahib. Prof. Dr. Farida Khanam is a well-known speaker, writer and translator. She is an Associate Professor at the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. Under the guidance of her father, Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib, she has rediscovered genuine Islam from its original sources, the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah and is herself an accomplished prolific author of Islamic books and academic articles in peer-reviewed journals on the subject of Islamic Studies in India and abroad. For the past two and a half decades, she has been writing her books and translating the books of Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib from Urdu to English. She is the Chairperson of CPS International (Centre for Peace and Spirituality). She has dedicated her life to the mission of spreading the true face of Islam based on peace and spirituality and is the foremost authority in understanding the philosophical and spiritual works of her revered father, Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib. Moreover, Dr. Farida Khanam Sahiba is a regular contributor of articles to newspapers and presents the true teachings of Islam to the world through academic lectures, television and radio presentations. Likewise, Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib’s son, Dr. Saniyasnain Khan Sahib, is both the Trustee and Secretary of CPS International, and is a regular contributor of articles in various newspapers and magazines. He has a weekly TV program, "Islam for Kids" on ETV Urdu and is a co-host of "Kahaniyan Quran Se" (Stories from the Quran) which is being telecast on ZEE Salaam TV Channel. As an author of Islamic books for children, he has written and published over 200 books for children on subjects related to Islam, the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the lives of Allah's prophets as narrated in the Holy Qur'an and the lives of Prophet Muhammad's Blessed Companions. Through the publication arm which Dr. Saniyasnain Khan Sahib founded, The Good Word Books Publishing, he printed all the books of Hazrat Maulana Sahib, Dr. Fareeda Khanam’s as well as his very own Islamic books for children.

During our visit, Dr. Farida Khanam Sahiba gave Belinda and me two books written by her as mementos. These are: “Sufism: An Introduction” and “A Study of World Religions”, while Dr. Saniyasnain Khan Sahib gave us two of his very beautiful children’s hardbound books on Islam as his mementos to us. These are: “365 Prophet Muhammad Stories” and “Goodnight Stories from the Qur’an”…

We were so enriched and spiritually fulfilled during our visit and spiritual audience with the late Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib (Quddissa Sirruhul Aziz Wa Rahmatullah Taala Alayh [May Allah honour and bless his sacred memory and grant him the best of Allah's mercies]). I considered our visit and audience to Hazrat Maulana Sahib, as the highest peak of our journey to India in the year 2017 since we were able to receive the blessings, holy advices (Naseehat) and blessed sight (Deedar) to a great saint and friend of Allah the All Merciful (Waliullah Taala). We cherish this visit and our audience with Hazrat Maulana Sahib for the rest of our lives. We were so blessed that we were able to meet in person Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib, a great Waliullah (friend/saint of Allah). We were so blessed to have kissed his holy hands and to receive his blessings on our heads on that auspicious day of 23 July 2017. May our Beloved Allah be pleased with the life of Hazrat Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Sahib and may He reward him with the highest spiritual station reserved for all His faithful servants and lovers in Jannat ul Firdaus wa Naim (Gardens of Paradise of Divine Nearness). Ameen Summa Ameen!

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(NOTE: References for this essay and factual information on Hazrat Wahiduddin Khan Sahib are taken from the Centre for Peace and Spirituality Website as well as from the brochure: "Who Is Maulana Wahiduddin Khan: A Brief Biography".)

Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu is Associate Professor-7 of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP), Cebu City, Philippines. He was former Academic Coordinator of the Political Science Program at UP Cebu from 2011-2014. He was former Coordinator of Gender and Development (GAD) Office at UP Cebu from 2015-2019. His research interests include Islamic Studies particularly Sunni jurisprudence, Islamic feminist discourses, Islam in interfaith dialogue initiatives, Islamic environmentalism, Classical Sunni Islamic pedagogy, the writings of Imam Al-Ghazali on pluralism and tolerance, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Turkish Sufism, Ataturk Studies, Ottoman Studies, Muslim-Christian Dialogue, Middle Eastern Affairs, Peace Studies and Public Theology.

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