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Syed Abdullah Shah Naqshbandi

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Syed Abdullah Shah Naqshbandi

Abdullah Shah Naqshbandi
Born 6 February 1872
Husaini 'Alam, Hyderabad, India
Died 27 August 1964
Naqshbandi Chaman, Misri Gunj, Hyderabad, India
Occupation scholar of Islam and spiritual reformer
Religion Islam

Abul Hasanat Sayyid Abdullah Shah Naqshbandi Qadiri (Arabic: (Arabic: محدث دكن ابلحسنات سيد عبدالله شاه نقشبندى قادرى‎), popularly known as Hadrat Abdullah Shah Sahib, was a scholar of Islam and spiritual reformer. He is more particularly known as a muhaddith (one who specializes in Hadith literature), honorifically as Muhaddith-e Dakkan (the Muhaddith of the Dakkan). A prolific writer of Islamic sciences, he wrote extensively on fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and compiled his best-known work Zujajat al-Masabih in five volumes. A unique and comprehensive collection of Hadiths pertaining to the Hanafi school of law, the book is considered[by whom?] a magnum opus in hadith and fiqh literature. As a mufassir (Qur'anic exegite) and expounder of other Islamic religious texts, he is one of the most celebrated Sufis produced by India in the 20th century. He is popularly considered[by whom?] to be one of the saint-scholars among the masses of South India, particularly Hyderabad.


The Abdullah Shah was born in Husaini 'Alam, Hyderabad, on 10th of Dhu'l Hijjah, 1292 (AH) or 6 February 1872 (CE). His father was Mawlana Sayyid Muzaffar Husain Ibn Sayyid Yaqub of Naldrug. Since the migration of his ancestor, Hazrat Sayyid Ali, this family has been the recipient of land grant from Adil Shah I, the ruler of Bijapur. The daughter of Gul Badshah was his mother.[1]


In keeping with the traditions of his society, the young Abdullah Shah did not attend any formal school for his education and training. He received his elementary education and lessons in Persian from his father; logic and philosophy from Mawlana Mansur Ali Khan; the Qur'anic sciences and other subjects from Shaykh al-Islam Hafiz Anwarulla Khan Faruqi, the founder of Jamia Nizamia, jurisprudence from Mawlana Habibur Rahman Saharanpuri, and the science of Hadith and literature from Mawlana Hakim Abdur Rahman Saharanpur.


Even while a student, he started teaching, in both formal and informal ways. At times this was in the form of adult education. Most of his audience consisted of elite and common people. He began his teaching career at the mosque named Ali Aqa at Husaini Alam, Hyderabad, and continued until his death. The Syrian scholar Shaykh Abdul Fattah visited Hyderabad and took ijazahs and asnad from Abdullah Shah.[2]


At first Abdullah Shah became the disciple of Miskin Shah a famous Sufi of Hyderabad, India. Later, on the death of the latter, he approached Muhammad Badshah Bukhari, who was a renowned spiritual personality of that time. The latter practiced both the Qadiriyyah and the Naqshbandiyyah Sufi Tariqahs or paths. So long as his spiritual mentor was alive, whatever the climate would be, he would see him on daily basis walking about four miles to serve him in his midnight special ritual prayers, the Tahajjud, assisting his spiritual master in performing the ablution and other prayer rituals. This practice went on for about twenty years until the death of Bukhari. During the lifetime of his spiritual master, Abdullah Shah did not like to have his own spiritual disciples (murids). The number of disciples in his own lifetime, however, reached in hundreds and thousands. He consistently followed the Hanafi school of jurisprudence and the practices of his spiritual master by initiating his disciples both in the Qadiriyyah and Naqshbandiya orders.

Daily schedule

Abdullah Shah would begin his day early in the morning from the Fajr prayer; he would then listen to his disciples. Next he would meet the public and attend to individual grievances till 9 o'clock in the morning. After Ishraq prayers, for breakfast and other personal needs, he would spare a few minutes. From almost 10 A.M to 2 P.M, he would have a separate session for women who either approach him for guidance or spiritual consolation. At 2 P.M he would return to the mosque for midday Zuhr prayer and until late afternoon Asr prayer he would be engaged in giving instructions and individual attention to his disciples, responding to miscellaneous requests for help, and so on. The time between Asr and sunset Maghrib followed by the Awwabin prayers, he would have dinner, attend to the letters addressed to him and dictate letters of advice. At 10 P.M he would go to the mosque for nightfall 'Isha' prayer and return home at around midnight. He would sleep for three hours. From 2 A.M till Fajr prayer he would be busy again with Tahajjud prayers. In short, he would rest for three hours and the rest of the 21 hours he would devote his religious practices.

Prediction of his own death

When his contemporary Sayyid Muhammad Badshah Husaini died on 25 August, Abdullah Shah predicted that he too would die in two days. His prediction came true; and he died on 18th of Rabi' al-Thani, 1384 A.H. or 1964 A.D., at the age of 92 years. The funeral procession was the largest of its kind in the history of Hyderabad, attended by more than two hundred and fifty thousand people. He is buried in Naqshbandi Chaman, Misri Gunj, Hyderabad, India.


Apart from Zujajat al-Masabih, he has written various books on diverse subjects, right from Salaat to Sulook.[3]

  • Fadhail Namaz- On the excellence and blessings of Salaat.
  • Yousufnama- Known as Guldasta-e-Tareeqat as well. This is an exegesis (Tafseer) of the Surah Yousuf of the Quran.
  • Qiyamatnama- On the trials and tribulations of the Day of Judgment.
  • Merajnama- On the heavenly journey (Meraj) of the Muhammad
  • Miladnama- On the Milad of Muhammad
  • Gulzar Auliya- A brief introduction of the Elders of the Naqshbandi order of Tasawwuf.
  • Mawaiz Hasana, Volumes 1 and 2- The sayings and teachings of Hadhrat Muhaddith-e-Deccan.
  • Suluk-e-Mujaddidiya- A treatise on the teachings of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi order of Tasawwuf.
  • Fadhail Ramadhan- On the excellence of the month of Ramadhan.
  • Kitab ul Muhabbat- A treatise on the love of Allah.
  • Ilaj Us Salikeen- A treatise on the spiritual diseases of the heart.


His spiritual and intellectual legacy is carried forward by his disciples and students. After him, his spiritual lineage was carried forward in the following way:

  • His eldest son, Abul Barakaat Syed Khaleelullah Shah Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Qadri.
  • Khaleelullah's son and successor, Abul Khairaat Hadhrat Syed Anwarullah Shah Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Qadri.
  • The present successor of Abul Barakaat, Abul Faiz Hadhrat Syed Ataullah Shah Sahab Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Qadri.
  • The last son and present successor of Muhaddith-e-Deccan and the present Sajjada Nashin of Naqshbandi Chaman, Abul Khair Hadhrat Syed Rahmatullah Shah Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Qadri.

Apart from his sons, Hadhrat Muhaddith-e-Deccan has also authorized other persons to spread the teachings of Islam, who are carrying forward his legacy in their own way.

Under the guidance of Abul Khair, Mufti Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri, Shaykh Ul Fiqh,, which is gradually uploading the works of Abdullah Shah.

See also


External links

  • A Lecture in Urdu by Abdullah Shah on "Disobedience to Allah and its relationship with the Heart and its ailments"
  • A lecture on the Abdullah Shah's life and teachings by Mufti Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri, Shaykh Ul Fiqh Jamia Nizamia
  • Works of Abdullah Shah at


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