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Maulana Noor Alam Khalil Al-Amini: Doyen of Arabic (1952-2021)

By Manzar Imam Qasmi, Dr Mohd Quamruddin

Author, renowned Arabic litterateur, editor of esteemed Arabic monthly, Al-Daie, and teacher of famed Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Noor Alam Khalil Al-Amini passed away Monday, 3 May, 2021. Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’un. He was taken ill few weeks ago and was admitted to a hospital in Meerut where he breathed his last. He was 68 and belonged to Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
The Presidential Award winner (Presidential Certificate of Honour, 2017), Maulana Noor Alam, was among rare existing scholars of Arabic whose writings were widely read in India and the Arab and Islamic countries. Many of his columns were translated in Urdu, English and other languages. His Urdu books are a proof of his fine literary taste and profound knowledge. He had a rapturous love for Classic Arabic, had a great sense of quick and delicate wit but was a deeply sincere person who trained hundreds of madrasa graduates in Arabic language and literature.
Born on 18 December, 1952, Noor Alam graduated from one of Delhi’s old madrasas, Madrasa Aminia (established in 1897), from which he derived his title Al-Amini and Amini in Arabic and Urdu respectively. Maulana Noor Alam was a renowned Arabic scholar, academician, prolific writer and journalist. He studied at Madrasa Imdadiya, Darbhanga, Darul Uloom Mau, Madrasa Aminia, Delhi, Darul Uloom Deoband and King Saud University, and taught at Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow (1972-82) and at Darul Uloom Deoband for about four decades. His unique style of teaching and teacher-student friendly functional approach made students flock to his classroom. Thousands of his students, spread all over the country, many of them university teachers, are witness to it.
He authored a number of books which were well received and well read in India and abroad, especially in the Arab world. He wrote several syllabus books on Arabic teaching-learning. He also wrote biographies, books on the Palestinian and other issues related to the Arab world. He extensively wrote, as Editor-in-Chief of India’s leading Arabic journal ‘Al-Daie’ for decades and, many of his write-ups came under pen name Abu Usama Noor.
Besides issues of the Arab world and Palestine, his writings covered the issues of the Indo-Arab relations. He introduced the Indian Muslims and their scholarship to the Arabs from an academic perspective. Another celebrated side of his contribution to the academia is his translation work. He translated several Urdu books of stalwart scholars into Arabic especially the books of Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. According to Maulana Qari Syed Muhammad Usman Mansurpuri and Maulana Mahmood Madani, president and general secretary, respectively of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Maulana Noor Alam translated many research works and academic writings of Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani into Arabic.
The editorials of ‘Al-Daie’ and his special column ‘Ishraqa’ were very famous among scholars. Besides having expertise in Arabic and the above said areas he was also a great man of Urdu literature, having his own unique style and track. His writings enjoy high level of accuracy in language, knowledge and facts. According to Asjad Uqaani, one of the speeches of Maulana Amini, published under the title Harf-e-Shirin is reported to undergo 40 editions.
Among his celebrated books are Falastin Fi Intizari Salahidin, Min Wahyi al-Khatir (Arabic: a collection of his columns Ishraqa, published in five volumes), Woh Koh Kan Ki Baat, Pas-e-Marg Zindah, ‘Aalam-e-Islam ke Khilaf Saleebi Saihuni Jung, Sahaba Rasool-e-Islam ki Nazar Mein (Urdu), Miftah al-Arabiyyah (Arabic-Urdu in two volumes), the last being a syllabus book in many madrasas and availed of in universities.
A condolence meeting was organized at Delhi University in which participants expressed deep sorrow over his demise. Prof Zubair Ahmad Farooqi said that Maulana Noor Alam was a fine writer and a successful teacher whose life was greatly shaped by his teacher Maulana Wahiduzzaman Kairanwi. Prof Abdul Majid Qazi, Head, Department of Arabic, Jamia Millia Islamia maintained that Maulana Noor Alam was a selfless teacher, desirous to benefit all. He had an unusual love for Arabic and a very refined taste for it.
In a condolence meeting at Khanqah Imdadia Ashrafia, Thana Bhawan, Maulana Najmul Hasan Thanwi said that during many of his meetings at Deoband he found that despite his being committed and focused on his work, Maulana Noor Alam was an amicable person. Dr Shahabuddin Saqib, general secretary of Khidmat-e-Khalq Trust said that Maulana Noor Alam was a strict disciplinarian and used his time judiciously. Whether in his village or in Lucknow or Deoband, he never compromised with his principles. He would say that life must not be lived unscrupulously.
In his demise Indian Muslims in general and Darul Uloom Deoband in particular have lost an academic stalwart, a robust intellectual and towering literary figure. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and get him Jannah!

Manzar Imam is a senior journalist and Dr Quamruddin teaches Arabic at Zakir Husain Delhi College. 

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