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A Leading Authority on Arabic Language Passes

(Sheikh Noor Alam Khalil Amini (1952-2021): Life, Teaching Skill and Works)

By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*

Sad Demise of Sheikh Amini:
A leading authority on Arabic language, a prolific writer of the Arabic and Urdu languages, an honest journalist, an outstanding Islamic scholar and my beloved teacher, Sheikh Noor Alam Khalil Amini, passed away on 3rd May 2021 early in the morning at around 03:15 AM, according to Indian time. His sad demise was mourned by several scholars and thousands of his students spread all over the world. His name was Noor Alam and was well-known as Noor Alam Khlil Amini as he used the same name as his pen name for almost five decades as a writer, journalist and author. His patronymic was Abu Usamah Noor. His father’s name was (Hafiz) Khalil Ahmad. He was born on 18th December 1952 at his maternal place: Harpur Beshi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. He was from a known village: Raipur of district Sitamarhi in Bihar. His grandfather’s name was Rasheed Ahmad.

Orphan-hood and Upbringing:
Sheikh Amini’s father was Hafizul Qura’an and serving as a teacher in a certain Madrasa in district Dinajpur of West Bengal, an India province. When he received the message of being blessed with a baby boy, he came home to see his new born baby. At that time, a fatal disease called cholera had broken out in the vicinity. In the same epidemic, he passed away leaving his newly born baby an orphan. When his father died, Amini was merely three months old. He was brought up by his paternal grandmother firstly. Following her demise, he was brought up by his loving mother. He had much love for his grandma and mother as he expressed it while attributing his famous book, “Woh Koh Kan Ki Baat…” to these two unknown, but caring and affectionate ladies. The book is a biography of Sheikh Waheeduz-Zaman Kairanavi (1930-1995).

Beginning of Education:
He started his primary education from his maternal grand dad who had received his basic education from Madrasah Chashma-e-Rahmat, Ghazipur, UP. After his demise, he was educated in a Maktab of Raipur from Maulavi Ibrahim (May Allah grant him Jannah!). Here in this Maktab, he learnt reading the Holy Qura’an, Urdu, Hindi languages, handwriting and the basics of mathematics. In 1958, he moved to Madrasah Noorul Huda in Pokhraira, a village almost two KMs away from his native land, Raipur. He used to go to the Madrasah in the morning and come back in the evening.

Madrasah Imdadia, Darbhanga:
The famous Islamic scholar Maulana Owais Ahmad Qasmi (Deceased: 1998) of Sheikh Amini’s home town, was teaching in Madrasa Imdadia, Darbhanga (Est.: 1893). He was requested by Amini’s grandma to take him to Imdadia for his further studies. So, he got admission in Imdadia in 1961. Firstly, he started memorizing the Glorious Qura’an by heart and completed 7 parts of it. Next year, he got admission in the 6th grade of basic stage of learning and studied the books like Gulsitan and Bositan of Sheikh Sa’adi Shirazi (deceased: 1291) along with some basic Urdu and Arabic books. He benefited in this Madrasa from Shiekh Owais Ahmad Qasmi and Shiekh Muhammad Tasleem Qasmi Sidhulwi (1930-2003).

In Darul Uloom, Mau, UP:
He got admission in Darul Uloom, Mau in the first grade of Fazilah Course. He continued his learning up to the fourth grade in Mau, UP. He made the most of the scholars of the institution which he off and on used to mention whole heartedly. In this institution, he learned from reputed scholars of the time like Sheikh Abdul Haq Azami (later the teacher of Bukhari Shareef (Vol. 2) at Darul Uloom Deoband), Maulana Riyasat Ali, Maulana Ameen Adravi, Maulana Sheikh Muhammad Mauvi, Maulana Niyaz Ahmad Khairabadi, Maulana Sultan Ahmad, Maulana Riyazul Haq, Qari Muhammad Yaseen, Maulana Islamuddin and Maulana Naziruddin Mauvi (May Allah grant them Jannah!). He used to praise and remember profoundly the last mentioned one not only in his gathering; but in some of his articles too. He used to mention him as an obedient son does about his kind father.

In Darul Uloom Deoband:
Sheikh Amini got admission in Darul Uloom Deoband in December 1967. He was one among the prominent students. Being in Darul Uloom, he paid much attention towards learning Arabic language and literature, though he was also one of the top in another subjects. He had close and thick relation with the distinguished teacher of the Arabic language, Maulana Waheeduz Zaman Kairanvi. He was highly influenced with Kairanvi. In Darul Uloom, he learnt from Allamah Muhammad Husain Bihari, Maulana Naseer Ahmad Khan, Maulana Fakhrul Hasan Muradabadi, Maulana Shariful Hasan Deobandi, Sheikh Muhammad Naeem Deobandi, Maulana Sayyid Anzar Shah Kashmiri, Mufti Khursheed Alam Deoband, Maulana Hamid Miyan, Maulana Bahaul Hasan Muradabadi (May Allah grant them Jannah!) and Allamah Qamruddin Gorakhpuri (May Allah protect him!). In 1970, he got admission in Madrasa Aminia, Delhi. He graduated from this Madrasah learning the books of Hadeeth from Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Miyan Deobandi (1903-1975) and Sheikh Sayyid Mashhudul Hasan Amrohvi (1927-2010) in Shaban 1391 AH.

Desire for Admission in Islamic University, Madinah:
Following the completion of his Fazilah course in 1391 AH, he stayed in Ramadhan in Madrasa Aminia. He had desire to get admission in Islamic University, Madinah Manawwarah. He discussed about his desire with his great teacher Maulana Miyan Deobandi. He told him about not having much knowledge about the admission in the University. But being a kind and caring teacher, he took him to Mufti Atiqur Rahman Usmani (1901-1984) and informed him about his desire. Mufti Usmani said that Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi (1914-1999) had been a member of the advisory body of the University. If he recommends, he will get admission easily. For this, he got ready to write a letter to Sheikh Nadvi asking him to do this favour. Maulana Deobandi also wanted to write a letter to Sheikh Nadvi in this regard. Coming back from Mufti Usmani, Maulana Deobandi advised him to write an application in Arabic language for the admission in his own handwriting in Naskh font. Then the letters and the application were sent to Mufakkir-e-Islam Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi to recommend for the sought admission.

In the Service of Mufakkire Islam:
Mufakkir-e-Islam was pleased with both the language and the handwriting of the application. He recommended for the admission and informed Maulana Deobandi through his letter. He also wanted to see the applicant. As Amini got information through the letter of Maulana Deobandi, he left for Lucknow in February 1972. He met Sheikh Nadvi in Takiyah Kalan, Raebareli. He remained for some moths in his service and assisted him in his academic works. In this period, Mufakkir-e-Islam dictated his Arabic book: “Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiyyah” to him.

Teaching Job at Nadvatul Ulama:
Replying to the application of the admission, Islamic University informed him at the end of April 1972 that admission was not possible in that current academic year; but it had assured the admission for the next year. Due to the financial grounds, he could not wait for the next year. Now, he thought of searching for employment. He informed his teacher Maulana Deobandi about his state of affairs. When Mufakkir-e-Islam learnt about his affairs, he informed Sheikh Amini about his decision to appoint him as a teacher at Draul Uloom Nadvatul Ulama, Lucknow after the summer vacation of May. Mufakkir-e-Islam also told him that he, therefore, didn’t need to run after a job. Thus he was appointed as a teacher on 11th July 1972 at Nadvatul Ulama, Lucknow. He continued serving as a teacher of Arabic language and literature up to the mid of 1982.

In DarulUloom Deoband as the Editor and Teacher:
Sheikh Amini was appointed as the Editor-in-Chief of fortnightly Arabic magazine: Al-Daie and the teacher of Arabic language and literature at Darul Uloom Deoband in Shawwal 1402 (August 1982). As the chief editor, he published the first issue of the magazine on 7th Muharram 1403 – 25th October 1982. He continued serving as the editor and the teacher until he breathed his last. He proved his mettle as the Editor and able teacher. Due to his works as the editor and teacher, he was considered authority on Arabic language and literature.

Teaching Skill:
His last and final destination was Darul Uloom as the Editor and teacher. As he was an eminent writer of Arabic language, he was an adept teacher of Arabic literature. He was teaching “Dewan-e-Mutanabbi” in the 6th grade of Fazilah course and “Al-Mukhtarat Al-Arabiyyah” in Takmeel-e-Adab (Specialisation in Arabic Language). Moreover, he was also a guide for the students of “Takhassus Fe Al-Lughah Al-Arabiyyah” (Specialization in Arabic Literature) and teaching them some subjects. In this long period of five decades, thousands of students benefitted from him.

Before learning from him, this writer had the opportunity to learn from the scholars who had been his students. I had heard a lot from them about his authority on Arabic language and literature, his unique style and skill of teaching, his beautiful manner of living a good and model life strictly adhering to his day-to-day schedules with punctuality. That is why I was much impressed and had great love, respect and regard for him. Then in 2004, I had the chance to learn from him as a student of “Takmeel-e-Adab” in Darul Uloom Deoband. I learnt from him a book: “Al-Mukhtaarat Al-Arabiyyah” (a collection of several news and reports on different topics from Arabic newspapers).

He was very punctual of time. He used to reach the classroom on the time. Whenever he came for teaching, but let me say: whenever he left his residence, he used to wear Kurta, Pyjamas and beautiful Sherwani of a size fitting for his body above the Kurta. The Sherwani was always fastened with buttons and its collar was joined from one side to another one always. He wore a long cap of the same Sherwani’s material (at home, he used the round one). He kept pens in the front pocket of Sherwani. He wore the black polished shining leather shoes above the socks. Be it scorching summer or freezing winter seasons, it was his dress code. He used to keep a shoe spoon in his Sherwani’s pocket. When leaving the classroom, he used to wear the shoes with the same spoon and all the students saw him with a smile expression on their faces. Either he was coming to the class or going back, some students used to accompany him. He was very quiet and calm; while walking. When he found something for comment, he commented in few sentences.

Just after sitting in the classroom, he took students’ attendance register and started roll-call. He was very punctual of it. Then a student used to read the chosen text of the book which was to be taught. Then teaching would start. He used to remind the learners to read the text loudly and clearly. Sometimes, he used to tell them that the Arabic language requires loud voice so that each letter is pronounced correctly. It was his routine to start the lesson on the first day of academic year without any introductory speech. It was his rule that the students must reach the classroom before the teacher. They obeyed it with punctuality. He also used to advise them to come to the class with a notebook and a pen to note the points of his lectures. As he was engrossed in teaching, he hoped from them to be dedicated and attentive paying full heed towards the teacher or the book in the period.

When he was teaching Al-Mukhtaraat Al-Arabiyyah, he was in the habit of educating the learners the accounts of the meaning and sense of the words, phrases and sentences used in the news. He always pointed the word used in positive meaning and the word used in negative one. He also explained to them how the meaning of a verb keeps on changing with the change of a Silah (preposition). While teaching, he used to tell only the appropriate meaning of the word in the sentence and avoided the other ones, except when it was essential to tell those ones or he reminded if the same word was used in another meaning in a previous lesson. While translating a text, he cared much of the Urdu literature and its grammar. He used to educate them the suitable place of a subject, object and verb in an Urdu sentence. Translating a heading, he used to educate that a Fel-Mudha’ar’a (simple present tense) is used for the heading in Arabic language; but in Urdu it would be translated with an infinitive.

It was not possible only few students are playing a part keenly in his lesson and the most of them are just sitting to listen as audience participating in a gathering. He used to remind them to read the text and participate in the lesson attentively and sincerely. It was his habit to ask the questions from them during the period to keep them active and attentive. He would advise them to read Arabic text carefully avoiding grammatical mistakes. If a learner made such mistake, he was very quick to warn him. It was absolutely not liked in the period that a student pronounces “Seen” instead of “Sheen”, “Jeem” instead of “Zaa” or “Kaaf” instead of “Qaaf” (some Arabic alphabets) etc. Sometimes he used to advise them to correct the pronunciation of a letter and inform them the importance of Tajweed.

In the lesson, whenever he found a sentence with good structure, he told the learners to jot it down in their notebooks. He then advised them to ponder over the structure of the sentence and write several sentences following the same structure. For this exercise, he used to tell them to keep a separate notebook. For starting point, he used to suggest them first to understand that the sentence either starts with a noun or with a verb (according to Arabic grammar). If a sentence starts with a noun, first recognize Mubtada (Subject) and Khabar (Predicate). Then let the Mubtada remain at its place and change the Khabar with another one. Sometimes, change the Mubtada and let the Khabar remain at its place. Occasionally, let both of them remain at their places and add an adjective to the Khabar, then another one and make the sentence longer. If the sentence starts with a verb, recognize the Faail (Subject), leave all the words of the sentence at their places and replace the masculine Faail with another one. If the Faail is feminine, replace it with another feminine Faail. At times, replace the condition of the Faail and change the verb as the Faail requires. Sometimes, just change the Mafool (Object) with another one. The learners were suggested to make a lot of sentences using the said useful methods.

His Published Works:
He was one of the few distinguished men of letters of Arabic and Urdu languages in India. He was an experienced translator, journalist and author. He translated dozens of Urdu books of Islamic scholars. He penned hundreds of articles and books in both Urdu and Arabic languages. He made exceptional contributions to Islamic scholarship. Here we present an incomplete list of his works:

Work in Arabic Language:
(1) Al-Sahabatu-Wa-Makanatuhum Fil Islam, (2) Mujtamaa’atunaa Al-Mua’asirah Wa Al-TariquIaa Al-Islam, (3) Al-Muslimoon Fee Al-Hind…, (4) Al-Dawah Al-Islamiyyah… (5) Miftahul Arabiyyah (2 Volumes), (6) Al-Aalim Al-Hindi Al-Fareed Al-Sheikh Al-Muqri Muhammad Tayyib, (7) Filisteen Fee IntizaariSalahiDeen, (8) Ta’allamu Al-ArabiyyahFaInnahaa Min Deenikum, (9) MataaTakunu Al-KitaabaatMuath-thirah, (10) Min WahyilKhaatir (5 Volumes), (11) Fee Maukab Al-Khalideen.

Work in Urdu Language:
(1) Woh Koh Kan Ki Baat…, (2) Sahabah-e-Rasul Islam Ki Nazar Men, (3) Harf-e-Shireen, (4) Khatte Ruqah Kiyun Aur Kaise Sikhen?,(5) Maujudah Salibi Sahyuni Jang, (6) Kiya Islam Paspa Ho Raha Hai? (7) Filisteen Kisi Salahuddin KeIntezar Men, (8) Pase Marg Zindah, (9) Raftagane Na Raftah.

Translated Work:
Sheikh Amini translated almost 35 worthy Urdu books of great Islamic scholars and thinkers of the Indian sub-continent like: Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Sheikhul Islam Maulana Sayyid Husain Ahmad Madani, Hakimul Islam Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi, Mufakkire Islam Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, Maulana Muhammad Manzoor Nomani, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani etc. All these books are published and available in the market.

Write-ups and Articles:
He wrote more than 500 write-ups and articles on various Islamic, literal, social, political etc. topics, published in several Arabic and Urdu magazines and newspapers like Al-Daie, Al-Bath Al-Islami, Al-Raid, Al-Dawah, Al-Faisal, Rabitah Al-Aalam Al-Islami, MajallahDarulUloom, Majallah Ta’amir-e-Hayat, Majallah Al-Furqan, Majallah Al-Haq etc. published from India, Pakistan and other Arab, non-Arab countries.

Awards and Honours:
As a selfless servant of Arabic and Urdu languages, Sheikh Amini served almost for five decades as a prolific writer, journalist, author and teacher of Arabic language and literature. A good number of readers benefited from his reliable works and thousands of students quenched their thirst of Arabic language from him. Therefore, recognizing and honouring his services in the field of Arabic language, the Indian government awarded him with the Presidential Certificate of Honour in 2017. Some universities also appreciated his services in the field of Arabic language. A university accepted the topic related to his personality and services for research. The scholar wrote his Ph. D. thesis and was granted the degree of Ph.D. His book “Filisteen Fee Intizaari Slahi Deen” was made the topic of research in Assam University and the researcher was granted the degree of Ph.D. His services in the field of Urdu language have also been appreciated. Currently Maulana Umar Farooque Qasmi from Damla, Madhubani, a research scholar in Urdu Department, LN Mithla University, Darbhanga, is writing thesis for his Ph.D. degree on “Noor Alam Khalil Amini- Ahwal-o-Aasar (in reference to Urdu language)” under the supervision of Professor Md. Aftab Ashraf. All these are awards, honours and appreciation of Sheikh Amini’s tireless and sincere works and services for five decades, in my view.

His Survivors:
Sheikh Amini is survived by his wife, four daughters and three sons: Mufti Usamah Noor Qasmi, Umarah Noor and Maulana Sumamah Noor Qasmi. Maulana Sayyid Arshad Madani, the President of Jamiate Ulame Hind and Head-Teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband led the funeral prayer in the campus of Darul Uloom Deoband. Hundreds of scholars and students attended the funeral prayer. He was buried in the “Qasmi Graveyard” of Deoband on the same day 3rd May. May Allah accept his services and grant him Jannah!

*Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa,
Email: [email protected]


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