Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi

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Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi
Born 1833
Died 1880
Era Modern era
Region Deobandi scholar
Main interests
Aqidah, Tafsir, Tasawwuf, Hadith, Fiqh, Kifaya, Usul, Ma'aani, Mantiq, Falsafa, Hai'aath, Riyali, Ma'luqat
Notable ideas
Widow's Re-marriage, Darul Uloom Deoband, Madrasa Thanabhavan, Madrasa Meerut, Madrasah Galautti, Madrasa Danpur, Madrasa Muradabad

Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi (1833 – 1880) was an Islamic Scholar and was one of the founders, along with Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, responsible for establishing the Deoband Movement.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi was born in a noble Siddiqui family[3][4] in 1833 in Nanota, a village near Saharanpur, India.

He went on to establish Darul Uloom Deoband in 1866 with the financial help and funding of the Muslim states within India and the rich individuals of the Muslim Indian community.[1][5]

He conformed to the Shari'a and Sunnah and worked to motivate other people to do so as well. It was through his work that a prominent madrasa was established in Deoband and a masjid was built in 1868. Through his efforts, Islamic schools were established at various other locations as well.[3]


He completed his early education in his hometown and then he was sent to Deoband, where he studied in Maulvi Mahtab Ali's madrassa. Then he travelled to Saharanpur, where he lived with his maternal grandfather. There he studied elementary books (kitabs) of Arabic grammar and syntax under Maulvi Nawaz. At the end of 1843, Mamlook Ali escorted him to Delhi. There, he studied various Islamic books. Later he was admitted to Madrassa Gaziuddin Khan.[citation needed]

His close relative, Muhammad Yaqub Nanotvi wrote:

My late father enrolled him at the Arabic Madrasa and said, 'Study Euclid yourself and complete the arithmetical exercises.' After a few days, he had attended all of the ordinary discourses and completed the arithmetical exercises. Munshi Zakatullah asked a few questions of him, which were difficult. Because he was able to solve them, he became well-known. When the annual examination drew near, he did not write it and left the madrasa. The whole staff of the madrasa, particularly the headmaster, regretted this very much.

Prior to his enrollment at Madrassa Gaziuddin Khan, he had studied books on logic, philosophy, and scholastic theology under Mamlook Ali at his house. He joined a study circle, which possessed a central position in India with regards to the teaching of the Qur'an and hadith. He studied hadith under Abdul Ghani Mujaddidi and he became a formal follower of Imdadullah Muhajir Makki.[3]

Academic career[edit]

After the completion of his education, Nanotvi became the editor of the press at Matbah-e-Ahmadi. During this period, at Ahmad Ali's insistence, he wrote a scholium on the last few portions of Sahihul Bukhari. Before the establishment of Darul Uloom Deoband, he taught Euclid for some time at the Chhatta Masjid. His lectures were delivered at the printing press. His teaching produced a group of accomplished Ulama, the example of which had not been seen since Shah Abdul Ghani's time.

In 1860, he performed Hajj and, on his return, he accepted a profession of collating books at Matbah-e-Mujtaba in Meerut. Nanotvi remained attached to this press until 1868. He performed Hajj for the second time and then accepted a job at Matbah-e-Hashimi in Meerut.[citation needed]

Polemical debates[edit]

On 8 May 1876, a "Fair for God-Consciousness" was held at Chandapur village, near Shahjahanpur (U.P.), under the auspices of the local Zamindar, Piyare Lal Kabir-panthi and Padre Knowles, and with the support and permission of the collector of Shahjahanpur, Robert George. Christians, Hindus, and Muslims were invited through posters to attend and prove the truthfulness of their respective religions. At the suggestion of Muhammad Munir Nanautawi and Maulawi Ilahi Bakhsh Rangin Bareillwi, Nanotvi, accompanied by numerous colleagues, also participated. All of these Ulama delivered speeches at the fair. In repudiation of the Doctrine of Trinity and polytheism, and on affirmation of Divine Unity (monotheism), Nanotvi spoke very well. One newspaper wrote:

In the gathering of 8 May of the current year (1876), Muhammad Qasim gave a lecture and stated the merits of Islam. The Padre Sahib explained the Trinity in a strange manner, saying that in a line are found three attributes: length, breadth and depth, and thus Trinity is proven in every way. The said Maulawi Sahib confuted it promptly. Then, while the Padre Sahib and the Maulawi Sahib were debating regarding the speech, the meeting broke up, and in the vicinity and on all sides arose the outcry that the Muslims had won. Wherever a religious divine of Islam stood, thousands of men would gather around him. In the meeting of the first day the Christians did not reply to the objections raised by the followers of Islam, while the Muslims replied the Christians word by word and won.

Political and revolutionary activities[edit]

He participated in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 in the Battle of Shamli between the British and the anti-colonialist ulema. The ulema were ultimately defeated at that battle.[5][2]

Establishment of Islamic schools[edit]

His greatest achievement was the revival of an educational movement for the renaissance of religious sciences in India and the creation of guiding principles for the madaris (schools). Under his attention and supervision, madaris were established in areas such as Thanabhavan, Galautti, Kerana, Danapur, Meerut, and Muradabad. Most of them still exist, rendering educational and religious services in their vicinity.[3]


Qasim Nanotwi passed away in 1880 at the age of 47. His grave is to the north of the Darul-Uloom After Qasim Nanotvi's dead body buried this place is known as Qabrastan-e-Qasimi, where countless Deobandi scholars, students, and others are buried.


  • Aab-i Hayat[3]
  • Tahzir al-Nas[6]
  • Mubahithah Shahjahanpur[6]
  • Tasfiyat al-Aqa'id[6]


Maulana Abd al-Hayy Lucknowi writes regarding Maulana Qasim Nanautwi:

He was the most ascetic of people, the most pious amongst them, and the most frequent in dhikr and contemplation from them, and the furthest of them from the dress of the ‘ulama’ and clothes of the students of jurisprudence, like the turban, shawl etc. At that time he would not issue fatwa or preach, but engaged in the remembrance of Allah (Glorified is He) and His meditation, until the doors of the realities and sciences were opened to him. The aforementioned Shaykh Imdad Allah bestowed successorship to him, and praised him saying that “the like of Qasim is not found except in a bygone age.”[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Past present: Resentment in response (founders of Deoband Movement) Dawn (newspaper), Published 11 March 2012, Retrieved 16 August 2018
  2. ^ a b The Clash of Academic Civilizations on BRICS Business Magazine website Retrieved 16 August 2018
  3. ^ a b c d e Profile of Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi on website Retrieved 16 August 2018
  4. ^ Nuzuhat al-Khawatir By Hakim Abdul Hai Hasani, Dar-e-Ibn Hazm Beirut, 1999, Vol. 7 p. 1067
  5. ^ a b Maulana Nadeem-ul-Wajidi (18 February 2012). "Sir Syed and Maulana Qasim Nanotvi". website. Retrieved 16 August 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi books on Archived link Retrieved 16 August 2018
  7. ^ Lucknowi, Abd al-Hayy. "Nuzhat al-Khawatir". Translated by Zameelur Rahman. 

Furthur reading[edit]