Maulana Mustafa Ansari- A Mission Accomplished

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Maulana Mustafa Hussain Ansari (1945-2006)

Noorain Ansari

AS the muezzin called the faithful to prayer on the blessed eve of Friday, April 27, 2006, the noted Islamic scholar of Kashmir and commentator on the Holy Qur’an, Maulana Mustafa Hussain Ansari, answered it in a unique way – he bowed before the Supreme Will and began the journey of the hereafter.

In the sixty-three years of his eventful life, the late Maulana had waged an unrelenting campaign with his spoken and written word, an endeavour which history will record in golden letters.

At the time of the Maulana’s advent in public life in Kashmir after his education at Najaf, he found a faction-ridden, eternally squabbling society, mired in personality cults and steeped in obscurantism. With an uncanny insight into social psychology, he had diagnosed the underlying causes of the society’s myriad illnesses quite early, and begun a tireless mission of reform. This was a thankless task, a cross he bore right till the end. Undeterred by the inveterate ways of his people, he battled on with the written and the spoken word, leaving behind a treasure for all reformists in his lectures, sermons, articles and books.

A remarkable aspect of the Maulana’s work was that his appeal transcended sectarian lines, and followers of various schools of thought came to him with their questions, doubts, and of course, for advice. This across-the-board acceptability made him a potent instrument of peace in highly volatile times. Accessible to everyone at all times, he was time and again called to defuse explosive situations in many parts of Kashmir to douse the flames of discord created by misunderstandings. This is a role he performed with extraordinary grace and dexterity, winning over both sides. The void left in this field after his departure can be felt even now.

Maulana Mustafa Hussain Ansari had not only lent grace to the pulpit and the altar by his God-given spiritual attainments, but also enriched the intellectual heritage of Kashmiris by the contributions of his flowing pen, from which coming generations will draw sustenance for ages.

Maulana Mustafa Hussain Ansari had not only lent grace to the pulpit and the altar by his God-given spiritual attainments, but also enriched the intellectual heritage of Kashmiris by the contributions of his flowing pen, from which coming generations will draw sustenance for ages.

The Maulana had a unique and individual style, be it in oratory or in writing.

That was why he could render the Holy Qur’an in easy language, and explore the nuances and secrets of an eloquent work like the Nahj-ul-Balagha with such facility. He had a special status in discussing intricate doctrinal and contemporary issues in understandable language with the younger generation.

The Maulana is no longer with us today, but the seekers-after of knowledge and the spiritually-inclined will remember him for long.

Born in Srinagar on March 21, 1945, in the scholarly family of the Ansaris, the Maulana had his preliminary schooling in the valley, and after a brief stint in Lucknow, went to the highest seat of Islamic learning in Najaf, Iraq in 1963, where he studied under such illustrious figures as Ayatullah Syed Mohsin-al-Hakeem, Martyr Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Baqar-as-Sadr and Ayatullah Syed Abul Qasim-al-Khoi.

The rigorous fields of Islamic jurisprudence (ilm-al-fiqh and usul-al-fiqh), tafseer, philosophy and history where his areas of study.

After his return from Iraq, the Maulana shunned the traditional mode by which the ulema made a living those days, and sustained himself by working as businessman. He also avoided the attire of the traditional ulema, and would dress as an ordinary person, as he would often say that the conventional garb of the clerics put onerous responsibilities on the wearer as it was reminiscent of the Holy Prophet.

Being from a politico-religious family, his foray into politics seemed almost inevitable, and after his return he was jailed for his outspoken advocacy of the rights of Kashmiri people. He had risen to the position of the president of the Action Committee during the Holy Relic movement.

But gradually, he distanced himself from the hurly-burly of politics after witnessing its degeneration and devoted himself to scholarly pursuits.

The Maulana has about 40 erudite works to his credit, among them a commentary on the Holy Qur’an, both in Urdu (Minhaaj-ul-Qur’an) and in Kashmiri (Misbah-ul-Quran) the latter being unpublished except for the first two chapters titled Kashf-ul-Aneeq-fi-Sharh-e-Qanoon-al-Ameeq.

The first-ever Kashmiri translation and commentary of the Nahj-ul-Balagha is another of his noted achievements.

The Maulana has also penned down the biography of the Blessed Prophet, pbuh, (Aftaab-e-Nabuwwat, 2nd edition 2006), his first work after his return from Iraq, and the life of Hazrat Imam Hussain, AS, (Qateel-e-Nainava) which was published after he passed away.

Maulana Mustafa also made his mark as a novelist, publishing three highly successfull historical novels (Inteqaam, Qabeelah, and Saazish) based on events in the tumultuous course of Islam.

Some of his well-known books include Aakhri Tabassum, Mujrim, Al Meezaan, Khayaban, Islam Mein Haq-e-Talaq and Mere Jigar Ka Lahu.

His final work, Rakht-e-Safar, which he wrote two years before his passing away, deals with a human-beings preparation for the last journey. As if to signify that his time was near, the Maulana had concluded his long tryst with the world of thought and letters with a treatise on the hereafter.

In his last years, well before he fell ill, the Maulana could be seen mostly in remembrance of the Divine, and his concern for the life after found utterance in verse – the poetic side of his versatile and multi-faceted personality coming to light only after his death.

The compilation of his verse which was gathered from his close associates who had heard him recite – has appropriately been titled Safar-e-Nataam (Incomplete Journey) for the achievements his admirers still expected of him.

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