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[Biography] Shaykh Jalal al-Din Ahmad Hashimi Ja’fari Banarasi (d.1279/1863)

Compiled, Translated and Annotated

Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


Shaykh Jalal al-Din Ahmad Hashimi Ja’fari Banarasi (d.1279/1863)

The Shaykh was born in 1221H/1806 and hailed from the surrounding area of Banaras. He was born into a family of learned scholars and his father Shaykh Abdul A’la (d.1274) was also a learned man. A year after the Shaykh’s birth his mother passed away. His lineage as an Hashmite can be traced back. (Tazkirrah al-A’la, 3)

He sought knowledge from his father and also from Shaykh Ahmadullah Muhaddith Banarasi. He then travelled to Delhi and sought knowledge from the scholars, which included the well known scholars of the Ahl al-Hadith, Shaykh Shah Muhammad Isma’il Shahid (InshaAllah) (d.1246/1831) and Shaykh Abd al-Haq Muhaddith Banarasi (d.1286/1869). He studied important texts as well as the books of hadith with the aforementioned scholars of hadith and also received his ijazah from them. It was these two scholars who instilled the love of Amal bil-Hadith and following of the Sunnah in him. (Tarajim Ulama Hadith Hindh, 345)

Mawlana Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani said:

He received sanad in hadith from Shaykh Abd al-Haqq bin Fadhalullah al-Uthmani al-Niyutayni and he followed his way in rejecting taqlid and acting on the apparent texts. (Nuzhah al-Khawatir, 7:136)

He had a powerful memory, as such that he would memorise a Juzz during the day in Ramadhan and then recite it in the evening in Tarawih. He also participated in the 1857 mutiny war but evaded capture. (Tazkirrah Ulama Hindh, 41; Tarajim Ulama Hadith Hindh, 346; Marqa’a Banaras, 244).

Despite being a scholar of the Din, he was an exceptional debater. He was a defender of the Sunnah and subdued innovations, and as such he didn’t tolerate anything contradicting the Sunnah. He debated with Mawlana Khurram Ali on the issue of reciting Fatihah behind the Imam and also authored the book, Fatihah al-Sawab Fi Qir’ah Fatihah al-Kitab in 1256H, which he translated into Urdu as, Zubdah al-Bab. (Tarajim Ulama Hadith Hindh, 345).

He also authored, Zubdah al-Qawanin, Inbasat Ibarah al-Kafiyyah bil-Bayan al-Shafiyyah, Farahing Ikhwan al-Safa, Qawa’id Urdu, al-Qawl al-Mansur, Rakah Tarawih. (Tarajim Ulama Hadith Hindh, 346).

This outstanding scholar of the Ahl al-Hadith died in 1279H/1863CE.

(See, Tarajim Ulama Hadith Hindh, 345+; Tazkirrah al-A’la, 3+; Tazkirrah Ulama Hindh, 41; Marqa’a Banaras, 244; Tarajim Ulama Hadith Banaras, 71)

This shows the existence of a remarkable scholar of the Ahl al-Hadith who died over 150 years ago, which again repudiates the tedious claim that the Ahl al-Hadith have only been around for 100 years. Likewise, it also answers the modern day understanding that Salafiyyah is a movement that started in the early 1900’s by Shaykh Muhammad Rashid Ridha and Muhammad Abduh, when we clearly have a scholar of the Ahl al-Hadith who died in the middle 19th century.

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