By Manzar Imam
Renowned Muslim scholar and head of Imarat-e-Shariah Bihar, Jharkhand & Orissa, Maulana Syed Nizamuddin died after a prolonged illness on Saturday 17 October, 2015 at 88. With his demise, Imarat lost one of its oldest pioneering leaders known for his refined manners, moderation and simplicity.
As news of his death broke, condolence messages poured in and people from different walks of life came to have a last glimpse of the octogenarian aalim who, throughout his life, stood for justice, brotherhood and communal harmony. Among those who paid their obeisance included former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav, Jeetan Ram Manjhi, State minister Shyam Rajak, Senior Congress leader Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Member of Parliament Rajesh Ranjan, Ahmad Ashfaque Karim.
Conveying her condolence Congress President Sonia Gandhi said that in the demise of Maulana Nizamuddin the country had lost a great personality whose work was spread all over India and who stood for peace and peaceful co-existence between different communities. In his telephonic condolence, Vice President Hamid Ansari said the demise of Maulana Nizamuddin was an irreparable loss and his services would be remembered for long.
General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) since 1991, Maulana Nizamuddin headed several dozens of madrasas, makatib and other institutions in Bihar and elsewhere. He had been member of the Advisory Council of Darul Uloom Deoband, patron of Islamic Fiqh Academy, India and was a former member of Central Waqf Council, Government of India. He was also a member of Majlis-e-Muntazima (Administrative Body) of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow.
Son of Late Qazi Syed Hussain, he was born on 31 March 1927 in Ghorighat in the District of Gaya. After receiving early education from his learned father, he went to Madrasa Imdadia, Darbhanga and studied there one year. In Darul Uloom Deoband from 1942 to 1947 he studied under prominent scholars like Maulana Ezaz Ali (d. 1955), Maulana Abdus Sami, Maulana Muhammad Idris Kandhlawi (1899-1974), Qari Muhammad Tayyib (1897-1983) and Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani from whom he also took oath of allegiance.
After graduating from Darul Uloom where he also received specialized education in fiqh and tafseer, Maulana Nizamuddin took up teaching and remained principal of Madrasa Riyazul Uloom Sathi in Champaran from 1949 to 1962, then he became principal of Madrasa Rasheedul Uloom Chatra, Jharkhand for two years from 1963 to 1964. This is from where his association began with Imarat Shariah. He served as Nazim of Imarat Shariah from 1965 to 1998 after which he was chosen by Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani to be Ameer-e-Shariat, a post which he held till his demise.
Following the death of Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani, Maulana Nizamuddin was unanimously elected General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board in 1991. He ably performed his duties both at the Imarat and Personal Law Board till his last.
It is worth mentioning that Imarat has played quintessential role in the educational uplift of Muslims in Bihar and Orissa (now Odisha) and it has carried tremendous social activities to aid and support victims of natural calamities and riots through relief and rehabilitation. Under his leadership Imarat received “Life -Time Achievement Award” in 2008 by Delhi-based Institute of Objective Studies. According to his biographer Arif Eqbal, it was due to the untiring efforts of Maulana Nizamuddin that the Maulana Sajjad Memorial Hospital was founded and Minnatullah Rahmani Technical Institute was inaugurated. It is also because of him that the Imarat Shariah Educational and Welfare Trust came into existence, writes Eqbal.
As a senior officer-bearer of AIMPLB, Maulana Nizamuddin sought amicable and just solution for Babri Masjid. In one of his interviews, the suave Maulana called the demolition of Babri Masjid “The worst crime in the history of independent India”. He sought a “dignified solution” to the issue.
Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, Nazim, Imarat Shariah termed his death as a great loss to ummah. Dr Najma Heptulla, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, called his demise an irreversible loss and extended her sympathies to the family of Maulana Nizamuddin. Paying glowing tributes to him, Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, President of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind said that Muslims will feel for long the vacuum created with his demise. He was one of the prominent scholars of Deoband who worked tirelessly to serve both the Imarat and the Personal Law Board, Madani said.
Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, Member of Parliament and President of All India United Democratic Front described the demise of Maulana Nizamuddin as a big loss to the ummah, and called it the “end of a long bright chapter of history”. Remembering his days of working with him, Ajmal said that Maulana Nizamuddin was one of those distinguished figures whose leadership was commended by all sections of society. Although the vacuum left with his death will be hard to fill, the works and impressions left by him will guide us through for long. Member of Parliament Maulana Mohammad Asrarul Haque Qasmi called and conveyed his condolence to Maulana Nizamuddin’s son.
Maulana Mohammad Sufyan Qasmi, rector, Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband said, “Deoband is soaked in grief over the demise of Hazrat Maulana Nizamuddin”. Maulana Ajaz Urfi, president of All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Haq described Maulana Nizamuddin as a great representative of the ulama of Deoband who commanded huge respect not only in India but also in the Arab world and other countries because of his knowledge, study and piety.
Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, National Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities; Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat; Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri, President, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Qari Syed Mohammad Usman; Maulana Mahmood Madani; Ahmad Bukhari, Imam of Shahi Jama Masjid Delhi; Firoz Akhtar Qasmi of Markazi Jamiat Ulama; Qazi Ekram Husain of Muslim Ekta Committee and others also condoled his death. Prayer meetings were held in different states. Due to his long services to the society, vast knowledge, insights and merits, his death is being widely condoled by individuals and institutions.
His funeral prayer was led by Maulana Wali Rahmani, working general secretary of AIMLPB and, with moist eyes he was buried in Haji Haramain graveyard of Phulwari Sharif in Patna. Maulana Nizamuddin is survived by wife, three sons and six daughters and a number of grand children.
May the Almighty forgive his shortcomings, grant him His pleasure and Jannah! Aameen!
[Manzar Imam is a freelance journalist based in Delhi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]