After the death of Aurangzeb (1707) the Muslim society faced some serious problems. The Mughal Empire had fallen into the hands of most incapable successors of Aurangzeb who could not withhold the supremacy of the Muslim rule because they indulged in luxurious life. With the weakness of the Muslim Empire, Islam, the religion of the Muslims, faced serious problems.
Birth and Early Life
Hazrat Shah Wali Ullah was born in a pious family of Delhi on 21st February, 1703, four years before the death of Aurangzeb. His real name was Qutub-ud-Din and later on came to be known as Wali Ullah for his pious habits. His father Shah Abdur Rahim was well known for his piety and profound knowledge of Islam. Shah Abdur Rahim was a Sufi and theologian. He was engaged in the compilation of Fatawa-i-Alamgiri by the emperor Aurangzeb.
Shah Abdur Rahim, his father, died at the age of 77 when Shah Wali Ullah was just 17 years old. He transferred the Baia (authority in Sufism) and Irshad (spiritual education) to Shah Wali Ullah at his death bed and said, his hand is my hand. After the death of his father, Shah Wali Ullah began teaching at Madrassa Rahimiya of Delhi where he taught for 12 years. Education
Shah Wali Ullah received his early education in spiritualism and mysticism from his father. He memorized the Holy Quran when he was seven years old. He received education in Tafsir, Hadis and acquired spiritual discipline from his great father. He also studied metaphysics, logic and Ilm-ul-Kalam under his father.
Shah Wali Ullah excelled in every discipline of the Islamic learning. He completed his studies in the fifteenth year of his age in all the prevalent customs and traditions of his country. He studies Sahih-i-Bukhari and often attended his father during the reading of the Holy Quran. Shah Wali Ullah also acquired knowledge of various branches of jurisprudence (Fiqah). He studied Sharh-i-Waqaya and Hidaya and some portion of Usul-i-Fiqah.
Shah Wali Ullah did not confine his appetite for knowledge to the study of theology but was equally well versed in the humanities branch of knowledge as well. He studied Mujizal Qanun of Hikmat and Sharh-i-Hidaya-i-Hikmat in the field of medicine and Tib.
Pilgrimage to Makkah and Meetings With Arab Ulemas:
He went to Arabia for higher studies and performing Haj in 1730. He received education under the most capable teachers of Makkah and Medina. He received his education from Sheikh Abu Tahir Bin Ibrahim of Median. He also obtained the Sanad in Hadis from Sheikh Abu Tahir who possessed extraordinary intellectual potentialities. He came back from Saudi Arabia in 1734.
CONDITIONS OF THAT AGE
The un-Islamic trends and practices were flourishing and general ignorance of Islam, the Quran and Hadith and created anguish amongst the religious saints. The time and situation were ripe for the reformers and revivers to emerge to purge the Muslim society of these trends. Consequently, an era of religious regeneration began with the emergence of Shah Wali Ullah a great Muslim thinker, reformer and Muhadis.
1. Social Conditions:
During these days political and social turmoil was rampant in the sub-continent. Life, property and honour were not secure as there were a number of disruptive forces at work in the Muslim society. The Mughal Empire after the death of Aurangzeb was in the hands of the incapable successors who were unable to withhold the glory of the empire. The Mughal Empire gradually began to collapse with manifest signs of decadence.
The religious groups were also claiming their superiority and the tussle between the Shia and Sunni sects was posing serious threats to Muslim nobility.
3. Political Conditions:
The stability and strength of Aurangzeb time were lacking in the political, social and religious sections of the society. The Marathas and Sikhs had gained a firm foothold that usually raided the seat of the Government, Delhi, sometime occupying the old city physically for short durations. The rise of Maratha might promote Hindu nationalism which intensified the social decay in the Muslim society.