Maulana Wahiduddin Khan was born in Azamgarh India in January 1925. His father died when he was only four. He was raised by his mother and his uncle. His family was a part of the Indian nationalist movement led by the Indian National Congress endeavoring to gain freedom from the British occupation of India. Though his brother and cousins were educated in modern, Western-style schools, Wahiduddin Khan was admitted in the Madrasatul Islah, Azamgarh in 1938. He studied at the madrasa for six years and graduated in 1944.
Soon he felt that this conventional madrasa education did not enable and train him to deal with the doubts and questions forwarded by his modern educated colleagues and critics of the religion. This posed a great challenge to him. However, Khan would not back down from a challenge. He therefore, committed himself to the extensive study of Arabic and English. Thus he equipped himself with the access to the Islamic sources and modern science and philosophy. This study renewed his faith in Islam and equipped him for the challenges that lay ahead.
After the partition he chose to stay in India and engaged himself in the service of the Muslim community in Hindu-majority country. He joined the Indian branch of Abu Ala Mawdudi’s Jamat-i-Islami in 1949. As an Islamic scholar, he quickly moved up the leadership ranks of Jamat-i-Islami Hind and continued writing for Jamat’s official journal. The Indian branch of Jamat focused its efforts on social services, advocacy, and Islamic propagation (Dawa'h) aimed at the eventual Islamisation of Hindu-majority India. He continued his research and developed his understanding of the religion. Soon he would emerge as a prominent critic of Mawdudi’s Islamist ideas, which he saw as reactionary rather than authentically Islamic and abandoned Jamat and its political agenda in 1962.
Wahiduddin believed Tawhid (the oneness of God) and not political activity is the actual heart of Islam and the call (Dawa'h) to Tawhid should be the center of all Islamic activity. He gravitated towards the Tablighi Jamat due to its promotion of spirituality and political quietism. Bent upon making Islam relevant to the modern age, Wahiduddin Khan grew disillusioned with the Tablighi’s archtraditionalism, rejection of Ijtihad, and perceived backwardness. Therefore, he left the organisation in 1975.
At this point of time, Wahiduddin established his own organisation, the Islamic Center at New Delhi. The center published in Urdu a monthly Islamic journal called Al-Risala, followed later by editions in English and Hindi, to freely express Wahiduddin’s ideas, including his views on nonviolence.
The most distinguished ideology of Maulana Wahiduddin is found in his conception of nonviolence. He believes that progress lies in education and the development of the mind rather than political activism and reactionary behavior and agitation. He claims that nonviolence is completely in keeping with the teachings of the Qur’an. He teaches that God does not love fasad (violence). Qur’an’s emphasises patience (sabr) above any other virtue. Patience implies a peaceful response or reaction, whereas impatience implies a violent response. He interprets Jihad in his own unique way. He claims that Jihad means to struggle one’s utmost. Therefore, pleading to the Prophet’s peace initiatives even during the Madinan period Wahiduddin Khan establishes that Islam believes in greatness of the power of peace against the power of war. Throughout his career, Maulana completely refrained from lashing out against the Hindu majority and taught the Muslims the art of living in peace with the followers of other religions as good citizens of the country. He stresses that we must use the power of education to transform the way people think about their problems and enable them to seek the solution to matters through peaceful means. He posits that challenges and conflicts can actually serve as catalysts for human progress, so long as the responses to those challenges are nonviolent and motivate greater education and innovation to meet the tests at hand.
For his many efforts at promoting peace and nonviolence, Wahiduddin Khan has received numerous accolades, most recently the 2010 Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award in India. He previously received the Demiurgus Peace International Award from the Nuclear Disarmament Forum in Zug, Switzerland, among several other international and national awards.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has produced more than two hundred books in his lifetime, many of which have been translated into multiple languages including Arabic, English, Hindi and Malay. In the meantime, he has continued to lecture and teach throughout the world at Islamic and interfaith conferences designed to foster dialogue and peaceful relations among nations and communities. Promoting reconciliation between India and Pakistan, in particular, has been one of his top priorities. Many of these interfaith events have been organized by the nonprofit Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS), which Wahiduddin Khan founded in January of 2001 in New Delhi. The stated mission of the center is a bold and ambitious one, as it aims to “cause the message of peace and spirituality to enter each and every home of the world, in order to usher in an era of global peace and unity.”
- Translation of the Qur'an (Urdu)
- Political Interpretation of islam
- The Age of Peace
- Islam and World Peace
- The Vision of Islam
- Calling People to God
- God Arises
- The True Jihad
- The Ideology of Peace
- Islam and Peace
- Qur'an for All Humanity
- The Principles of Islam
- Islam Rediscovered
- Woman in Islamic Shariah
- Spirituality in Islam
- Islam and the Modern Man
- Islamic Fundamentalism
- Manifesto of Peace
- Non-Violence and Islam