Chicago Urdu Cultural Society Pays Rich Tributes to Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah

Chicago, IL: Speakers at the monthly seminar of Urdu Cultural Society, Chicago, paid tribute to one of the greatest 20 th century Islamic scholars, academicians and thinkers Dr Mohammad Hamidullah, and said that the best way to acknowledge his services and efforts for Pakistan, former Islamic state of Hyderabad (Deccan) and the Muslim Ummah was to initiate research on his leftover works and complete his mission of education and research.
Dr. Ahmed Shahzad Khan presented his paper titled “Dr. Hamidullah: A Silent Scholar.” He said that “Dr. Hamidullah belonged to a rare breed of intellectuals who focus on scholarship and strive for serving humanity without seeking any recognition in return. Dr. Hamidullah’s portfolio of scholarship included a doctorate from the Bonn University and a PhD in literature from the Sorbonne University. He translated the holy Qur’an into French, English and German, and wrote more than 170 books in 24 languages, besides 1,000 articles. Dr Hamidullah is recognized as a most authoritative scholar who carried out extensive research into Islamic international law and Islamic constitutional law. Two of his most popular works are ‘Muslim Conduct of State’ and ‘ Introduction to Islam’. These books have become very popular, so much so that they have been translated into almost every major language of the world.  In early 1950s, Dr Hamidullah was invited by the government of Pakistan to draft the first Islamic constitution for the country. He started the work but later resigned because of difference of opinion with vested interests, and returned to Paris. After that he often visited Pakistan on various scholarly ventures. In 1985, the government, in recognition of his scholarship and services, awarded him Hilal-i-Imtiaz and a 10-million-rupee cash award. But he refused to accept the award of Hilal-i-Imtiaz and donated the Rs10 million to the Islamic Research Academy.”

Poet Muneer Siddiqui Sharur in his speech observed: “In 1946, as a citizen of the State of Hyderabad Deccan, Dr Hamidullah was appointed a delegate by the Nizam to represent the state at the League of Nations. In 1948, India invaded Hyderabad. Before the invasion, Hyderabad Deccan's delegation which included Dr Hamidullah left for the United Nations to plead their case. But before the delegates could reach the UN, the state was annexed by India. Thus, Dr Hamidullah like other delegates, became a stateless refugee. In 1948 he founded the Hyderabad Liberation Society to get recognition for Hyderabad as an independent state, and decided to stay in France as a stateless person as long as the status of Hyderabad remains open in the United Nations.”

Mr. Muneer Sharur presented details of his meeting with Dr. Hamidullah in Pennsylvania.

Professor Syed Naqi Akhtar in his speech said that Dr Hamidullah was a very humble person who lived a modest life and dedicated his time to his students. In 1967, he told them during a lecture that we can expect to solve the problems facing us if everyone... helps others before asking for help. Professor Akhtar also quoted Dr. Hamidullah’s great-grand niece, Sadida Attaullah.  Prof Naqi Akhtar said that according to Sadida, Dr. Hamidullah wanted to be that fortunate man who lived and worked and died in anonymity and acknowledged 200 years after his death.

Poet Syed Hashmat Sohail in his speech expounded on the background of the publication of Dr. Hamidullah’s famous book “Khutabat-e-Bahawalpur” and read excerpts from it.  He said that thousands of Europeans embraced Islam owing to the restless efforts of Dr Hamidullah and are now serving Islam and the Muslims at an institute in Paris.

Mr. Syed Najmul Hasan in his speech talked about the English translation of Khutabat-e-Bahawalpur, translated and published by prominent scholar Dr. Afzal Iqbal. He disclosed that Dr Hamidullah introduced Islamic ideology, civilization and norms in Europe.

  Two of Dr. Hamidullah’s close relatives - Engineer Mohamed Malik and Dr. Mrs. Malik - recalled their meeting with Dr. Hamidullah in Paris. They displayed copies of books written by Dr. Hamidullah.  They also displayed a rare copy of a 200-year-old book written by the grandfather of Dr. Hamidullah.

Mr. Kawaja Afeef, also presented details of his meeting with Dr. Hamidullah in Paris, said that he and his French friends were moved by the simple and humble lifestyle of Dr. Hamidullah. Mr. Afeef told the audience about Dr. Hamidullah mastery of 24 languages and his scholarship in Islamic law.

  At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Ahmed Shahzad Khan observed that that Dr Hamidullah lived a life of anonymity in France and the United States without seeking either help from anyone or recognition for his work. He was truly a silent scholar and a seeker of the truth. His legacy will be a source of guidance for generations to come.  The best way to pay tribute to his services is to establish chairs in his name at the department of history at universities around the globe and to set up a museum in his name where his books and research projects could be displayed.

The meeting was held at the Schaumburg Township Library, Schaumburg , Illinois. The meeting was attended by a large number of participants from Chicago and neighboring suburbs.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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