Shah Wali Ullah, as has been mentioned in the preceding pages, went to Hejaz for his higher education and for performing Haj. During his stay at Makkah Shah Wali Ullah saw a vision in which the Holy Prophet (peace be upon Him) blessed him with the tidings that he would be instrumental in the organization of a section of the Muslim society. So he set himself to work for the betterment of Muslim society. A brief description of his services is as under:
1. Religious Reforms:
Shah Wali Ullah immediately set himself to the sacred task of spiritual consolidation of Muslim society. He prepared a few students and gave them knowledge in different branches of Islamic learning. They were entrusted with the job of imparting the knowledge to others.
Islamic Practices: Shah Wali Ullah persuaded the Muslim to strictly follow the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He introduced the basic principles of Islam to the people. He advocated the Quranic education for the welfare and benefits of the Muslims and asked them to abandon un-Islam trends and practices. He urged the people to lead a simple life and avoid involvement in the luxuries of the world. He initiated tatbiq (integration) of the Muslim society which was on the verge of destruction. By adopting the method of tabiq he introduced liberal element and thus brought elasticity in the understanding of Islam.
Ijtihad: He adopted a balanced approach and understanding of religious matters. He thoroughly studied all schools of thoughts and expressed what was right and just in a mild and sophisticated way without hurting anyone. He removed misunderstanding to a larger extent, between Shias and Sunnis and in this way provided a spiritual basis for national solidarity and harmony. He presented Islam in a more rational way to make it acceptable to a larger number of people. He himself states I was informed through Ilham (inspiration) that I would have to undertake this responsibility. The time has come when every injunction of the Sharia and the general instruction of Islam should be presented to the world in a rational manner.
Jihad: Shah Wali Ullah got in touch with rulers and impressed upon them to enforce Islamic laws. He also urged them to mould their lives, according to the Islamic way. He educated the Muslim soldiers on the importance of Jihad and asked them to go for Jihad for the glorification of Islam.
d) Economy: He asked the traders to adopt fair principles of trade as preached and practised by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He informed the people about the sins of accumulation of wealth and asked time to keep as much wealth as with the founder of modern Muslim India and as such the father of modern Muslim India. He produced illuminaries like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who rendered meritorious services to the Muslims of India to draft their destinies.
e) Removal of Sectarianism: In his time the Shias and Sunnis were aggressively hostile to each other and their rivalry was damaging the Muslim unity. Shah Wali Ullah wrote Izalat-al Akhifa and Khilafat-al-Khulafa in order to remove misunderstanding between Shias and the Sunnis. He refused to denounce Shias as heretics.
Balance Between Four Muslim Schools of Thoughts: Shah Wali Ullah adopted an analytical and balanced approach towards he four schools of thought of mysticism. In order to
to create a balance between the four schools, i.e., Hanafi, Hambali, Shafi and Malaki, he wrote Al Insaf fi Bayan Shab al Ikhtilaf in which he traced their historical background.
2. Political Reforms:
Apart from imparting religious education of Muslims, Shah Wali Ullah also provided leadership to the Muslim in the political field. He came out with his great wisdom and foresight to create political awakening in the Muslims of India.
a) Struggle against Anarchy: The rise of Marhatas and Sikhs had posed serious problems to the Muslim rulers. The Mughal rulers were no more in a position to withhold the supremacy of the Muslim rule which was gravely jeopardized by the emergence of the Sikhs, Marhatas and other non-Muslim forces. Shah Wali Ullah came up to tackle his precarious situation. He had rightly noticed that if the Marhatas are not checked effectively the political power of the Muslims would disappear for ever. He wrote letters to the leading Muslim nobles and informed them of the critical situation hanging on the head of the Mughal rule. He asked chieftains to come around. He eventually won over Najib-ud-Daula, Rehmat Khan and Shuja ud-Daula against Marhatas.
b) Steps to Check the Marhatas: However, the Muslim chiefs were unable to face Marhatas effectively. Their resources were inadequate to crush the Marhatas power. Shah Wali Ullah, therefore, looked forward to Ahmad Shah Abdali. He, on the call of Shah Wali Ullah, came to India and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Marhatas at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. The victory of Ahmad Shah Abdali at Panipat blasted the Marhats power and paved way for the revival of Islam in India.
c) Efforts for Muslim Unity: He advised the Muslims to be united for the sake of Muslim society. And keep in mind the Islamic teachings of brotherhood. He taught them to work for the betterment of humanity and to follow the teachings of Islam regarding Non-Muslims. He was a great advocate of human rights especially of Non-Muslims.
d) Two-Nation Theory: Shah Wali Ullah was a staunch supporter of Two Nation Theory. He played a vital role to make Muslims a strong nation on the bases of their Culture, History and heritage. His teachings proved helpful and saved Muslim culture from the amalgamation of Hindu customs.
3. Literary Services of Shah Wali Ullah
Shah Wali Ullah wrote 51 books, on mysticism and other branches of Islamic learning which deal with religious, economic and political problems. 23 books were in Urdu and 28 were in Persian.
a) Translation of the Holy Quran: His outstanding work was his translation of the Holy Quran into simple Persian language which was the literary language of his days. He produced this masterpiece of literature in 1737-38 which invited great criticism from the orthodox Ulema who threatened him even with death. Shah Wali Ullah’s translation was an exceptional act as there had never been a translation of the Holy Quran before in a foreign language. His translation brought the knowledge of the Holy Quran within the reach of an average literate person who found it easier to read and understand the Holy Quran in a language other than Arabic. After Shah Wali Ullah his two sons Shah Rafi-ud-Din and Shah Abdul Qadir prepared Urdu versions of the Holy Quran. b) Hujjat-ullah-al-Baligha: Hujjat-ullah-al-Baligha is another famous work of Shah Wali Ullah. In this work Shah Sahib has discussed in details the reasons of the social and religious
decay of the Muslims. He has also discussed the importance of application of Ijitihad in his book and has mentioned the intellectual and scholastic requirements of a Mujtahid priest. c) Izalat-al-Khifa and Khilafat-al-Khulafa: Shah Wali Ullah wrote Izalat-al-Khifa and Khilafat-al-Khulafa in order to remove misunderstanding between Shias and the Sunnis. He refused to denounce Shias as heretics.
d) Al Insaf fi Bayan Sbab al Ikhtilaf: Shah Wali Ullah adopted an analytical and balanced approach towards he four schools of thought of mysticism. In order to create a balance between the four schools, i.e., Hanafi, Hambali, Shafi and Malaki, he wrote Al Insaf fi Bayan Shab al Ikhtilaf in which he traced their historical background.
e) Fuyuz-al-Haramain: In Fuyuz-al-Haramain, Shah Wali Ullah depicts one of his dreams during his stay in Arabia. He describes that the God Almighty chose him as an intermediary to establish a new order in his time.
Beside the above mentioned works Shah Wali Ullah wrote many other books on different topics. They include al-Nawadar-Min-al-Hadis, Aqad-al-Jaiyad-fi-Ahkam writings are produced in Arabic and Persian languages.
4. Social Reforms:
In Shah Wali Ullah’s time Muslims were indulged in many non-Islamic customs because of co-existence with the Hindus. He took following steps to beware the Muslims of these problems:
1. He struggled to get rid of the Hindu concept about the marriage of the widows and told the Muslims that it is the Sunnah of The Holy Prophet (PBUH) 2. He told the Muslims to avoid superstitions, charm wearing and other such practices.
3. He also struggled against the dowry and other such unnecessary expanses on the time of marriage.
4. He tried to abolish mourning on death more than three days as it was against Islamic teachings.
5. He advised the Muslims to work for lawful earning and to avoid (Usury) interest on loan.
6. He also worked against the unjust distribution of wealth.
7. He preached simplicity.
8. He worked against the sectarianism and grouping.
Madrassa Rahimia and other institutions founded by him imparted education in the light of his works. A bunch of religious-nationalist was prepared by these schools who interpreted Islam according to his doctrines. Shah Abdul Aziz, the eldest son of Shah Wali Ullah led these religious nationalists to wage Jihad for the liberation of Muslim India and ultimately to build an edifice for a Caliph state on the principles of Islam as described by Shah Wali Ullah’s doctrines.
Conclusion: In short Imam-ul-Hind Hazrat Shah Wali Ullah, a great saint, scholar and reformer are one of those great personalities of Islam who, with his dedicated services had brought the Muslim society together on the stable foundations. He continued the work of Hazrat Mujadid Alf Sani and struggled for the religious, cultural political and social revival of the Muslims.