Remembering Maulana Syed Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi (RA)

Syed Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi (RA) popularly known Maulana Andrabi, who is remembered with love and respect, was an exemplary personality who brought many reforms on social, political and religious front.  Born in December 1926 in a noble Syed family of the Andrabia Sufi Order in the home of Syed Mir Muhammad Amin Andrabi at Zadora Pulwama. Desire to become advocate, but Maulana Andrabi (RA) took forward the mission of his ancestors to serve Islam. Maulana Andrabi (RA) returned to his roots on the suggestion of his grandfather. The grandfather Syed Ahmad Andrabi advised his grandson to carry forward the mission of the family, i.e., to serve Islam. Maulana Andrabi (RA) thus joined religious seminary in Gujranwala, Pakistan. After that he got admitted in Darul-Uloom Deoband, Saharanpur, Utter Pradesh, and studied there under the guidance of Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni. The spiritually charged atmosphere of Darul-Uloom Deoband, coupled with brilliant teachers and Alama Andarbi’s own intelligence and piety, together contributed to the excellence of theory and practice that was manifested in his personality.

The biggest contribution towards social activism was that Maulana Andrabi (RA) established first seminary ‘Hamdania Mission School’ in Budgam in 1990. In the same year, he introduced Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Minhaj-ul-Quran. In 1993 Maulana Andrabi (RA) succeeded in laying the foundation of ‘Darul-Uloom Shah-e-Hamdan Pampore’ and various educational institutes and welfare centers also, which still contributing tremendously to the welfare of common masses irrespective of caste, creed, and religion.  In 2000 Maulana Andrabi (RA) laid down the foundation stone of a separate Darul-Uloom for girls. He laid down the foundation of modern and moral education in various parts of Kashmir division. Despite sufferings, he never gave up his conviction to help the society.

It must not be forgotten that during political uncertainty in Kashmir, Syed Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi (RA) upheld the torch and guided people towards religious teachings. He wanted to introduce a blend moral and modern education in the region. He made some selfless efforts towards this end. The seed Syed Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi (RA) has planted at that time has now grown into a fruitful tree, with its branches offering fruit to everybody irrespective of region, caste or creed. The Institutions laid down by Maulana Andrabi (RA), has produced a huge number of successful religious scholars. Despite many constraints, these Madrasas gives free education to the poor students.

Apart from playing prominent role in the promotion of literacy, Syed Maulana Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi (RA) was also a religious scholar and social activist guiding people in their day to day lives. After returning to the valley, Maulana Andrabi (RA) started his career as a teacher in 1953 and at the same time appeared in religious congregations and become a renowned Islamic scholar. Maulana Andrabi (RA) was also a member of Anjuman Tableegul Islam and worked with Syed Qasim Shah Bukhari. However, in 1973 Maulana Andrabi (RA) get associated  with “Dawat-e-Islami”- Urdu version of the World Islamic Mission, launched jointly by Allama Shah Ahmad Noorani of Pakistan and Allama Arshid-ul-Qadri of India as an international religious forum. Maulana Andrabi (RA) employed his pen prolifically. He launched monthly magazine “Al-Misbah” in 2004 as the official organ of Darul-Uloom Shah-e-Hamdan Pampore, which still serves as source of illumination. Moreover, his pamphlets on diverse issues are not less than an asset for the Ummah. He led a very active life, teaching, preaching, writing, lecturing, and making occasional journeys. The distinguishing mark and guiding principle that led to the vast success of his message was a remarkable sense of balance and straightforwardness in his speeches and writings.

Syed Alama Muhammad Asharaf Andarbi’s (RA) social and religious activism was only to bring forward Muslim Ummah on all fronts. His religious approach encompasses all aspects of the subject under discussion, and his viewpoints on different issues reflect a genuine, thorough examination of traditional Islamic thought. His acute intelligence, revolutionary method of training and teaching, love of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), organized management of time, broadmindedness, tolerance,  unique and fresh, yet conservative, understanding of religious disciplines earned  him a permanent place in Islamic history.  Maulana Andrabi (RA) valued scientific temperament and a civilized attitude based on tolerance, mutual, co-existence, and love for values and tradition over obscurantism and superstitions. He encouraged people to live peacefully by resolving their day to day disputes, supported people during times of distress and disadvantages and instilled in students a spirit of social service in the interest of Islam. Syed Alama Muhammad Ashraf Andrabi (RA) was known for his critical role in education, in the empowerment of poor and disenfranchised in the Muslim community.

On 9th August 2016, Maulana Andrabi (RA) left for heavenly abode, leaving behind inspiring lessons for all. He was buried in his native place at Zadoora Pulwama. His life history can serve as a beacon light for all to live a successful life. May Allah’s blessings shower on Maulana’s noble soul? Aameen

(Shah Khalid is a freelancer)