Manzoor Nomani was ‘intrinsically Indian’ in the first place

Maulana Manzoor Nomani. Courtesy: Quranwahadith.

By Haider Abbas

Maulana Muhammed Manzoor Nomani (1905-1997), most arguably was one of the five prime most Muslims of the Indian sub-continent in the last century. He was the founding member of Jamaat-e-Islami and later got associated with Tablighi Jamaat and was also the member of founding committee of Muslim World League. Maulana Khalil-ur-Rehman Sajjad Nomani is his son who gives every credence to his father, as that is what has made him, potentially what he is today; the most potent Muslim voice in the nation.

Sajjad Nomani’s command on Arabic, Quran, Hadith, Urdu, Hindi and English, in the same verve, depth and gravitas, apart from being an eloquent speaker, an indefatigable champion of Muslim cause, a voracious reader and a writer with an unquestionable command on the intricacies of linguistic theory and cultural praxis, are all the qualities he has embodied and imbibed from his late father. Yours truly also did once saw Manzoor Nomani Sahab, at his Nazeerabad residence, Lucknow, as he sat on his wheel chair engrossed in an Urdu newspaper and also attended to his funeral at Aishbagh, Lucknow in 1997.

It would be worthy to recollect some of the anecdotes Sajjad Sahab shared about his late father, which all are a treasure trove to understand the ‘times’ about seventy-five years back. He reminisced that Pakistan first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was very insistent that Manzoor Sahab visit Pakistan and become a part of Pakistan Constituent Assembly to ‘pave for the ingredients’ for Islamic Jurisprudence for the state of Pakistan, and ultimately even officially sought for it, as Manzoor Sahab was one of the most outstanding figures of Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at those times. When India’s PM Jawahar Lal Nehru came to know of it, he communicated that though he does not want Maulana to volunteer it, yet if Maulana wanted then government of India was to facilitate it. But, there was no question of Manzoor Sahab even entertaining the idea as he was an unwavering Indian by his heart, not out of any chance but primarily for his choice, as Muslims after 1947 were to choose between India or Pakistan and Manzoor Sahab stood for India.

Maulana Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani

Sajjad Sahab would also reflect that it was in 1976, when he was studying in Medina University, and had come to India on his vacations, that Manzoor Sahab kidneys collapsed all of a sudden and he went into coma. That was the time when emergency was in place. He informed that ‘intelligence inputs’ were given to PM Indira Gandhi that unless Maulana Ali Mian Nadwi, Maulana Manzoor Nomani and Qari Siddeeq Baandvi were to be arrested, Muslims were not relent to ‘vasectomy-sterilization’ and Indira Gandhi went to India’s President Fakhrudin Ali Ahmed, for his counsel on it, to which she was answered that all hell will break loose in the country in case of such an eventuality.

In the meantime, Indira Gandhi was also informed about the medical situation of Manzoor Sahab, and a chartered place to carry Maulana to Delhi was sent to Lucknow. The family members could not fathom for it, for they knew, that Maulana was be very angry once after the coma was to subside, the gesture of Indira Gandhi was hence refused, and fortunately by the midnight Maulana regained his senses, but then the next morning Indira Gandhi herself came down to Maulana’s residence. She would insist that Maulana may be flown to Delhi for his medical treatment, but all what Maulana sought from her was that she should implement justice as there was ‘tyranny’ all across the nation. He would address Indira Gandhi as his daughter and that when she played in her father’s courtyard, Maulana was to advice her father JL Nehru on critical issues.

Such has been the sense of belonging of Muslims for Manzoor Sahab , inherited too well by his son, is that while Jamshedpur raged under riots of 1979, Maulana went on to sit in a mosque for 21 days, draw into people and disbursed charity amongst the hapless Muslims, which continued for months. Maulana had an impeccable memory as Sajjad Sahab, relates, that shortly before his death, while he was searching for a Hadith, his ailing father, who was almost comatose, made him look for it on the exact page of Tirmezi- a great compendium of Hadith. Maulana Manzoor Sahab was a living authority and a luminary of Hadith-the sayings of Prophet of Islam.

Manzoor Nomani Sahab surely has left an indelible mark on Muslim civilization not across only in India but throughout the whole Muslim world. The best part however is that, it has all been very well innately translated into a relentless campaign for Muslim rights in India, by his son Sajjad Nomani, an activist always on his heels and one of the most credible voice of Muslims in the nation today. He is right now articulating the cause of Peace and Justice, a desperate call of the nation today. Sajjad Sahab is also the spokesperson of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the Apex of Muslims in the country.


The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on political issues.



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