|My heart yearns to show it’s bleeding scars
And to teach everyone on earth the laws
Which might make blessed life’s u
This is my yearning and this is my aim
This is my intention and this is my claim
With this I yearn to scan the globe
And deliver to humanity the message of Hope
(An extract from a poem by Mawlana Shah Abdul Aleem Siddiqui written in his college years)
“Roving Ambassador of Islam”, Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Alīm Siddiquī al-Qadirī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho was born on 15th Ramadan 1310 Hijrī in Meeruth, India. He hails from the noble Siddiquī family who are direct descendants of Ameer al-Mo’minīn Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho in the 37th generation.
The Spiritual Chain of Succession / Spiritual Genealogy
1. Hadrat Muhammad Mustapha Sallallahu Alaihe wassallam
His father, Hadrat Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hakim Siddiquī al-Qadirī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho was a distinguished scholar and a high ranking ‘Alim of Dīn. He was also a devout Sufi Master of the Qadiriyyah Spiritual Order. He took special care in the education of his son who completed his Nazara (visual recitation) of the Holy Qur’an at the tender age of 4. He studied elementary Arabic and Persian under the guidance of his father at home and was then enrolled at the local Madressa ‘Arabiyyah Qoumiyyah where he graduated as an ‘Alim. He then pursued his Secular studies at the Islamiyah High School until Matric (Grade 12). His classmate was the former president of India Dr. Zakir Hussain. In 1917, he then enrolled at Meerut University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree with distinction.
His elder brother, the great ‘Alim Hadrat Mawlana Sha Ahmed Mukhtar Siddiquī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho then took him to Bareilly and handed him over to the great Mujaddid, ‘Arife Billah A’la’Hadrat Imam al-Akbar Qutb al-Irshad Muhaqqiq Ahmad Rīda al-Qadirī Muhaddith Bareilwi Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho. Here he was groomed in many Islamic sciences including strenuous spiritual training in Tasawwuf under the able supervision of the Sufi Master and ‘Arif of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala. After spiritual perfection, the Imam bestowed on him the Khilafah of the Qadiriyyah Barkatiyyah Silsilah. It was here that the ardent love of the Beloved Habīb Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam was injected into his heart that transformed him into a perfect human (Insan al-Kamil).
Hadrat Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui (Radi Allah Ta’ala Anho) was already swimming in the ocean of Ishq (love) that led him to adhere to a stable spiritual life. His mission started when he was ordered by his spiritual teachers to visit the Holy Land of Mecca. His journey to Mecca was the culmination of his spirituality, it was at that pinnacle moment that his lessons in ‘Baatin’ (inner) had to be lived in “zahiri’ (exterior). He set himself, body & soul to the pilgrimage in 1919. His life took a different turn when he stepped on the doorway of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam. He was warmly welcomed, as our Beloved (Sallahu Alaihe Wassallam) blessed the heart of Hadrat Saheb. Immediately he was convinced and inspired that he was a man chosen by Allah The Almighty and our Beloved prophet (Sallahu Alaihe Wassallam) to sacrifice his entire life to the service of humanity. His mission was handed over by beloved Prophet (Sallahu Alaihe Wassallam) to his heart and soul. This was when his real journey commenced.
He endured many painful obstacles and tribulations, but continued to persist through them with admirable patience. His heart was set to acquire the inner knowledge that he was taught during his early years. His approach to Tassawuf and spirituality was a distinctive feature that differentiated Shaykh (Radi Allah Ta’ala Anho) from other living scholars. The desire to spread the teaching of Islam became so intense, that he traveled far and wide not only to spread Deen Islam and to enrich people’s conception about spirituality but also for the gratification of his soul.
Dunya Chaani Alaam Mein Phira, Par Tera Shuragh kahin Na Mila
He traveled through out the entire globe for 30 years with that sacred inspiration and mission to revive humanity and reveal the truth to everyone’s heart. He was not only a scholar, but also a highly endowed spiritual master conveying the message. He brought spiritual illumination to the hearts of thousands; Muslims and Non Muslims. His prayers had given hope to many that were struck by incurable illnesses. People around the world felt the sweetness of his presence. Many were attracted by his sincerity, others by the manifestation of a divine light, which encompassed his entire being and many others, by his friendly and compassionate attitude. His blessed presence and spiritual magnetism had given new impetus to the religious and social lives of thousands. He had gained a high esteem in everybody’s heart and continues to be remembered by so many as a great Sufi and spiritual leader.
Shaykh was such a highly endowed Sufi that his intelligence conquered eminent persons such as leaders and statesmen of different religious beliefs. His spiritual achievements were enormously admired and many political leaders and businesses sought his guidance in their matters. He had instilled purity and spirituality in the hearts of those he met. Even the celebrated intellectuals of the west had the opportunity of admiring this great saint of Islam. We cannot forget the infamous encounter between Shaykh (A Theologian) and George Bernard Shaw (A Scholar).
Besides his noble father and Imam Ahmad Rida Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho, some of his other notable teachers were:
a) BaHr al-‘Ulūm Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hayy Farangī Mahellī.
Man of Superb Qualities
In Madina al-Munawwarah he was lovingly called “Tabeeb al-Hindi” (Indian Physician). Mawlana was also a celebrated poet and used “Aleem, عليم” as his poetic pen name. He inherited this science from his noble father. Since childhood, he was an influential orator and addressed a huge crowd of Muslims at a Mawlid celebration in Meerut, India at the tender age of 9 years. This was his first public speech and he spoke on the excellence of Sayyiduna Rasūlullah Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam. His speech had the audience spellbound.
His noble father passed away when he was only 12 years old. Since his mother was a very knowledgeable and pious woman, she undertook the initiative to educate and groom her son to the peak of perfection. Since he was raised in a cradle of knowledge and piety, he possessed a refined character with an impeccable personality. His ancestral Siddiqī blood generated a great sense of awe in his personality that subdued intellectuals and peasants alike.
Expert in more than 15 Languages
He also studied at the Punjab University where he obtained a degree in Oriental languages. Mawlana was fluent in many languages, namely, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, English, German, Japanese, Indonesian, Suhailee ant etc.
Roving Ambassador of Islam
Till this day, Hadrat Mawlana is recognised and accepted as the “Roving Ambassador of Islam” for his invaluable services to Islam and the Muslims internationally. He travelled extensively to the four corners of the globe and preached Islam. Numerous persons embraced Islam on his hands and millions benefited from his services of Dīn. Some of the countries he frequented were:
1) United Kingdom
In his tours, he met with leaders of every religion and faith exchanging views not only on religion but also on political and social dimensions. His approach and presentation of Islam won the hearts of many intellectuals and statesmen, who reverted to Islam on his hands. He not only propagated Islam wherever he went, but he also established socio-religious centres that to this day are rendering invaluable services to the masses.
His Eminence was also responsible for establishing various Mosques (Masaajids) and Islamic Educational Centres throughout the world. Three of the famous Mosques are the Hanafi Masjid in Colombo, the Sultaan Masjid in Singapore and the Naagarya Masjid in Japan.
The Inter-Religious Organization was founded in the ’40s by Mawlana Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqui Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him), who also founded the All Malaya Muslim Missionary Society in 1931 and who was the first Muslim “missionary” to travel around the globe a number of times to spread the word of Islam. Jamiyah Singapore was founded in 1932 as an offshoot from this organization.
Thousands Embraced Islam at his Hands
Thousands embraced Islam at his hands including the well-known thinker Maria Levinskya and her husband the nuclear scientist Dr. Antonoff. An interesting account of Mawlana Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddique’s great work for Islam is found in the account of his world tour written by Dr. Tahir bin Ahmad’s father – Professor Dr. Ahmad bin Ibrahim presently at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
During his tour of the world, he met with various western dignitaries and had lengthy discussions with them on Islam. He met the world-renowned Irish dramatist and Philosopher, George Bernard Shaw, on 17th of April 1935 during his visit to Mombassa, Kenya and discussed many religious problems with him. He was very much impressed by Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi and said, “I have been very pleased to make the acquaintance, and it will be the most precious of all memories of this trip of mine.” (Ref: “Shavian and Theologian” published by Genuine Islam and World Federation of Islamic Missions, Karachi)
World Islamic Mission in Trinidad
The work of World Islamic Mission (WIM) in Trinidad began with the arrival of His Eminence Mawlana Shah Abdul Aleem Siddiqui al-Qadiri at the opening of the Intercolonial Muslim Conference, held at the Jama Masjid Hall, Queens Street, Port of Spain in 1950.
Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui visit to Trinidad in 1950 accompanied by his student and secretary, Dr. Muhammad Fazlur Rahman Ansari al-Qadiri, lasted for six months as part of his world tour. The presence of His Eminence for such as sustained and intensive period had a profound impact on Islam in the West Indies and indeed it created a generation of highly skilled Muslim Theologians, Imams, leaders and intellectuals most of whom became the spiritual disciples (murideen) of His Eminence.
His Eminence visited neighboring countries in the region including: Guyana (then British Guiana), Suriname, Barbados, etc. The idea of the conference came from His Eminence himself and it gave birth to the Inter-colonial Muslim Organization. Officers of this organizations were:
* Mohammed Hosein Shah (President – Trinidad)
The welcome function for His Eminence was held at Queen’s Park Savannah on Sun. March 12th 1950. Many thousands attended – Muslims and non-Muslims. In the audience there were government representatives and members of the diplomatic corp. At this event a soul stirring recitation of al-Qur’an was rendered by Br. Ali Bin Khamis of Zanzibar who then became a regular at His Eminence’s gatherings. Another regular was Br. Jameel Bin Ahmed of Malay (now Malaysia). Both were students at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture at St. Augustine (now part of the University of West Indies). After graduating they returned to their respective countries and both became highly acclaimed leaders.
Throughout his stay in Trinidad, and through tireless effort and dedication, Islamic propagation was always at the foremost priority and to the Muslim masses His Eminence expounded on the the principles of the Ahl Sunna wal Jamaah. In particlular, His Eminence Mawlana Shah Abdul Aleem Siddiqui made a significant contribution to Islam in the following areas:
1. Hundreds of non-muslims embraced Islam. Prominent amongst them were Haji Yusuf Mitchell, Ahmed Rifae Scope, Abu Bakr (a humble shoe maker of Santa Cruz) and Sr. Muriel Donawa Mc Davidson.
2. His Eminence’s lectures captivated Muslims, Christians, and Hindus who paid glowing tributes to him as the “Roving Ambassador of Peace”.
3. His regular dars (Islamic classes) at Jama Masjid Hall, Port of Spain, produced some of the leading thinkers in the Muslim community. Amongst his students were:
* Haji Mohammed Ibrahim (President of Anjuman Sunnah wal Jamaah Association – ASJA)
Visit to Canada
In 1939 Hadrat Abdul Aleem Siddiqui became the first Sufi saint to spread Islam and explain the meaning of Tassawuf in Canada. He initiated the project of the first Masjid that was built in Edmonton , Canada. He successfully carried out his mission by converting thousands of non-Muslims in North America. He was also given the opportunity of expressing his thoughts in Toronto where he once again captivated his audience. He instilled the Sufi traditions which are still kept alive by many other Sufis and muhibeens. Hadrat Sahab (Radi Allah Ta’ala Anho) was deeply convinced that Tassawuf and spirituality was the gateway for non-Muslims to comprehend Islam. He also firmly believed that the Sufis are most suitable successful in converting people to Islam. He performed the opening ceremony of the first mosque to be built in Canada in Edmonton in 1939. He also visited Toronto, the largest metropolis in Canada, where he presented Islam as a gift to a largely non-Muslim gathering.
Alhamdollillah through his prayers, Allah has accepted this land to be blessed by other Sufis and the light of Noor-e-Mohammadi (Sallahu Alaihe Wassallam) continues to burn North America.
Visit to Singapore
He came to Singapore in 1930 to spread the message and beauty of Islam. He laboured intensively in the cause of Islam and delivered numerous lectures in Singapore and attracted many people to Islam. He pioneered the establishment of the All Malaya Muslim Missionary Society, now known as Jamiyah, in 1932. He also pioneered the establishment of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) to foster greater understanding between the faiths and to promote the spirit and message of peace amongst the people of Singapore. In IRO’s inauguration ceremony, on 18 March 1949 at Victoria Memorial Hall, Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddique gave an inspiring speech, in which he said,
“As far as the common evils and accepted moral principles were concerned, no religion could have any difference, and in the spirit of tolerance and sympathy and the desire to establish peace, all of them were as one. The task of the religious leaders was to let the followers of each and every religion know the teachings of other religions, so that a spirit of fellowship could work together to spread the accepted moral principles and to fight the common evils.”
In 1953, the land of Abdul Aleem Siddique Mosque was conveyed to several trustees and office-bearers of the All-Malaya Muslim Missionary Society (now known as Jamiyah Singapore). Prior to this, Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddique had identified and chosen the land to be developed as a Mosque. In 1954, Abdul Aleem Siddique Mosque was subsequently built on the land from donations collected through the society.
The Mosque was named after Mawlana Shah Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddique, as recognition for his immense contribution to Islam and the social development of a plural society in Singapore. The contributions of Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddique are in itself historic and seminal efforts that deserve to be carved in stone. Abdul Aleem Siddique Mosque is a testimony and recognition of Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddique’s immortal work of spreading the faith of Islam and the message of hope and peace.
Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui visits to Mauritius
Between 1928 to 1953, his Eminence Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui made five visits to Mauritius. Sir Abdul Razzack Mohammed, then a Muslim leader in Mauritius met his eminence in Colombo and invited him to come to Mauritius which his Eminence accepted without hesitation.
First visit: In December 1928 he arrived in Mauritius at Port Louis Harbour where thousand of Muslims were waiting to welcome him. His lectures (waez) worked wonders in the hearts of Muslims and other communities as well. His Eminence created the Hizbullah in order to revive Islam in Mauritius.
Second visit: On 26 September 1931 he paid his secon visit on the requests of several Muslim leaders.
Third visit: On the 30 March 1939 he paid his third visit. Some of his speeches were relayed by radio from the Jummah Mosque.
Fourth visit: He was expected to arrive in Plaisance on 5 May 1949 on board a plane KLM of Batavia at 6hrs 45 am. His flight was delayed by twenty four hours and he reached Mauritius only on 6 May 1949. The Jummah Mosque invited all the Muslims to welcome the Mawlana. His Eminence delivered several waez (Lectures) in Urdu and English throughout the Island.
A Great Politician
Hadrat Mawlana was also a great politician and took an active part in local and international politics. He was very instrumental in abolishing the Hajj Tax then introduced by the Saudī Regime. The introduction of the Hajj Tax infuriated him as it was against the Sharī’ah and affected millions of incoming Hujjaj to the Holy land. It is also ethically incorrect to charge a Hajj Tax on pilgrims who spend thousands and undertake such a strenuous journey only to be welcomed at Jeddah seaport and airport by an unjustified tax instead of being given a warm welcome to the Holy Land as the guest of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala and His Rasūl Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam.
His Request for Verdict from Mufti Aazam al-Hind
He consulted with the most senior Jurist of the Muslim World, the great ‘Arife Billah, Qutb al-‘Alam, Muftī al-A’zam, Imam Mustafa Rīda al-Qadirī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho, and requested him for an Islamic ruling (Fatwa) on the Hajj Tax. The Grand Mufti issued an Islamic decree in the Arabic language condemning the Hajj Tax as un-Islamic which was later published by the title “Tard al-Shaytan un Sabeel al-Rahman al-Muqallib bihi Omdat al-Bayan fi Hurmate Koshan”. This Fatwa was acknowledged by many Giants of the Islamic world, namely Sadr al-Afadil Mawlana Sayyid Naī’mudīn Muradabadī Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho, Sadr al-Sharee’ah Mawlana Amjad ‘Alee al-Qadiree Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho, etc.
Hadrat Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Aleem Siddiquee Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho took this Fatwa and set out to meet the Saudi authorities. He met with the King in Hijaz and debated the Hajj Tax and presented the Fatwa. He convinced the King who then abolished the Hajj Tax. But unfortunately, the Saudi authorities later reinstated this un-Islamic Tax again to exploit the pilgrims to the Holy Land. It is indeed unfortunate that the Muslim world has forgotten the services of this great Ambassador of Islam.
His Body rests in Jannat al-Baqee
Tabhleegh in form of Literature
Although he was extremely busy in his international mission of Tableegh, he still found time to write numerous books in Urdu and English. Some of them are:
1) Zikr-e-Habīb (Urdu)
He was also the founder of various newspapers and Islamic magazines from amongst which are, “The Muslim Digest” (South Africa), “Trinidad Muslim Annual” and the “Pakistani News” and was author of numerous books such as the “Cultivation of Science by the Muslims”.
Insha-Allah, Barkatur-Raza Publications (Durban, South Africa) intends gathering as many books as possible of this great scholar and publishes them so that the wealth left behind by him once again enlightens the hearts of the people.
Muballigh-e-Aazam (The Greatest Propagator of Islam)
His Eminence spent most of his remaining life traveling to the most obscure corners of the world to spread the message of Islam and imparting spiritual teachings to adherents of various sufi orders. It is said that he traversed the world seven times over and has no doubt earned the title – Mubaligh-e-Azam (The Greatest Propagator of Islam).
An Ode to the Great Mujjadid
Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri Barakaati Bareillwi
Sayid Ayoob Ali narrates, “The distinguished orator, Allamah Mawlana Haji Qaari Shah Abdul Aleem Siddiqi Qadiri Razvi Meerti, on returning from the Haramayn Shareefayn presented himself to the Great Imam and recited the following Manqabat in praise of Sayyiduna Ala Hadrat (RadiAllahu Anhu).
You are more than what is said in your praise,
You are drowned in the Ocean of love and intoxicated from the goblet of Tawheed,
You are the centre of Shariah,
The oceans of Shariah and Tariqah join here.
The people of the Haram have accepted you as their Qibla and Kabaah,
Through whom the Crowns of the Eminent are decorated,
I went to the land of the Arabs and saw with my eyes your activities;
The people of the path of Tariqah travel for you,
The glory of Siddique Akbar is demonstrated through your taqwa,
The awe of Farooq-e-Azam is demonstrated from you,
You have collected the secret Quranic points,
In the sincerity of Ali, mannerism of Hassan and the resolve of Husayn,
You are spreading the knowledge of truth into the corners of the globe,
Beggars beseech and spread their bags before you,
This unfortunate Aleem is a humble beggar of your court,
Once the Mawlana had recited these verses, Sayyiduna Ala Hadrat asked him, “Mawlana, What can I present to you? The Imam pointed to his turban (which was very expensive) whilst he asked this to the Mawlana. Even if I had to present this turban to you, it still would not be worthy to be placed at your feet as you have come from the most sanctified of places. However, I have a very expensive jubba (Cloak) which I shall present to you.” Sayyiduna went into his home and returned, carrying in his hands a velvet jubba. He gifted this jubba which could not have been less than 250 Rupees to the Mawlana who stood up to receive it. He received it with both his hands, kissed it and placed it upon his eyes and then upon his head. Then he held it against his chest for a very long time. (Hayat-e-Ala Hadrat by Malikul Ulema, Shah Zafarudeen Bihaari)
We pray to the Bounteous Lord through the Waseela of His Compassionate Rasūl, Sayyidun wa Mawlan MuHammadur Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam to shower the grave of the author with choicest blessings and through him, bless us all and let his struggle be a source of guidance to the Mankind. Ameen.