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SHEIKH ABD AL-WAHHAB Biography

The passing away of the Khilafat-e-Rashida (the Caliphate of Pious Caliphs), the glorious democratic rule in the history of Islam, provided a serious setback to the spiritual growth of Islam. The material advancement, no doubt, continued and boundaries of the Muslim states expanded on all directions bringing new realms within their fold, but the spirit which guided the actions of Pious Caliphs was gone. The spiritual glory was replaced by material progress. The advent of Omayyads provided a death blow to the spiritual democratic rule witnessed during Khilafat-e-Rashida. Instead, a hereditary despotic monarchy in the name of Khilafat-e-Banu Umayya was introduced by the Umayyads in which Baitul-Mal (Public Treasury) was at the mercy of the rulers who used it as they wanted in furthering their nefarious ends and in maintaining their pomp and show. The nobility of Islam perished in their encounters with Umayyads, like Yezid ibn Ziyad and above all Hajjaj bin Yusuf, one of the greatest tyra

BUNDOO KHAN Biography

The spacious hall of the Muir Central College of Allahabad University was packed to its capacity. Musicians, as well as listeners from all parts of the subcontinent, had assembled to participate in the All-India Music Conference held in 1935 . The stage was occupied by a galaxy of outstanding musicians (Ustads and Kavis) including Faiyyaz Khan, the Sun of Indian Music, Abdul Karim Khan, Mushtaq Husain, and Bare Ghulam Ali Khan, the star singers and Alauddin Khan, the talented Sitar player. Ustad Faiyyaz Khan had finished a solo recital of vocal music and the atmosphere in the Hall was tense with excitement. Meanwhile, an unimpressive, frail-bodied musician with a small wooden instrument hung across his shoulders, was seen climbing up the platform. He squatted on the carpet and started tuning his small stringed instrument. Those who did not know him laughed at his coming after Faiyyaz Khan, the Star musician of the subcontinent. He started playing on his Sarangi (a stringed wooden instr

IBN AL-BAWWAB Biography

The absence of figural representation in Islamic art led to an unprecedented development of calligraphy as a decorative art throughout the world of Islam. In almost all periods of Muslim rule, calligraphy has been the favorite art; which has been developed in numerous patterns and floral designs. The Muslim Rulers and Emperors have taken a keen interest in the development of calligraphy, which, besides being used in writing books, has been a favorite art of decoration, especially of architectural monuments. Such monuments, particularly mosques and mausoleums, built throughout the Muslim world, bear exquisite calligraphic inscriptions and floral designs. Two of the well-known Muslim Rulers of India, Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-1266 A.C.) and Aurangzeb Alamgir (1656–1705 A.C.) , were good calligraphists who used to transcribe the Holy Quran for their livelihood. The Mughal rule is particularly known for the development of calligraphic art in India. Almost all the splendid monuments erected

BEHZAD Biography

The Mongols who rose from Central Asia and swept over most parts of Eurasia, razing cities, destroying civilizations, and massacring a large number of people, later became well-known patrons of art and culture. Samarkand and Bukhara became great centers of art and learning. The Maragha observatory set up by Hulaku Khan, the Mongol, under the guidance of the Encyclopaedist Nasir al-Din Toosi, did many useful researches in astronomy and other branches of science. The Mongol influence found its way in different branches of Persian art and culture, particularly in painting. The Mongols not only took a keen interest in promoting art in the Muslim countries but also brought it into contact with the highly developed painting of the Far East and directed it towards new subjects, thus enlarging the painters outlook. The main tendency was now the pictorial reproduction of historic events, specially the great national epic of Firdausi and similar poems of Nizami and Kirmani as well as the sentime

AMIR KHUSROU Biography

Muslims and music are generally considered poles apart. Few people know the part played by Muslims in the development of fine arts, specially music. The contribution of Muslims to the development of theoretical as well as practical music is indeed great and a number of songs and musical instruments adopted by various countries of the world owe their origin to the genius of Muslim musicians. The ‘Mausiqi-al-Kabir’ written by Abu Nasr Farabi, is according to H. G. Farmer, one of the greatest books ever written on music. The influence of this book on Western music has been overwhelming. The Arabian music, according to Farmer, entered Europe via Spain and reached China through Baghdad. The Muslim world can boast of such great musicians as Farabi, Momin, Ishaq Mosli, Zalzal, and Ziryab who have left ineffaceable marks on the pages of the musical history of the world. One of these master artists was Amir Khusrou, a versatile genius who has made lasting contributions to the domains of poetry

MIRZA ASADULLAHKHAN GHALIB Biography

Ghalib was born in a period when India was passing through one of the most revolutionary and turbulent times of her history. The great Mughal Empire lay tottering and Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal Emperor, was a monarch in name only. The War of Independence in 1857 had shaken the fabric of the entire Indian society and served as death-knell to Muslim civilization in India. The British rulers tried to efface all traces of Muslim culture. Born in Agra in 1797 , Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, originally of Tatar descent, later settled down in Delhi, the Capital of the tottering Mughal Empire. He traced his descent from the House of Turan, son of Faridun. His grandfather had migrated from Transoxiana (Central Asia) to India and sought employment with the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. His father, Mirza Abdullah Khan, had a chequered career, serving one royal court after another. He served with the Nawab of Oudh, the Raja of Alwar, and the Nizam of Hyderabad. Young Asadullah Khan was hardly fi

SINAN Biography

Muslims are known as the greatest builders in history. Some of the finest and most splendid buildings in the world including the Alhamra and the Mosque of Cordova in Spain; the Taj Mahal of Agra and the Jami Mosque of Delhi; the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo; the Friday Mosque of Isfahan and the Sulaimaniya and Salimiya Mosques of Istanbul, have been built by Muslims. A large number of magnificent palaces built by Muslims in Cordova, Cairo, Baghdad, Istanbul, and Samarkand, have perished due to the ravages of time or razed to the ground by the later invaders. The history of architecture is full of the achievements of Muslim architects who raised splendid monuments in different parts of the world. But the greatest among the Muslim architects was Sinan who is credited with erecting 343 magnificent buildings throughout the Ottoman Empire. Sinan, usually called ‘Khudai-Memar Sinan’ , is universally recognized as the greatest architect of his time and of the Ottoman Empire. He was born on A

ABU NASR FARABI Biography

Saifuddawlah, the Hamdanite monarch who ruled over Aleppo and the neighboring country, was presiding over a congregation of learned men summoned from different parts of the Islamic world. A manikin with a sparse beard, attired in Turcoman dress and heelless shoes with painted toe called ‘zerbul’ , was ushered into the meeting hall. This was Farabi. Saifuddawlah requested him to take his seat. “Where should I sit”, asked Farabi. “Should I sit according to my status or yours?” “No, according to yours” , replied the Ruler. Thereupon Farabi went forward, and pulling the Ruler aside, sat down in his place. Saifuddawlah was a bit annoyed and told his servant in a secret dialect that he would put certain questions to Farabi and if he could not give correct replies he should be severely dealt with. None seemed to be conversant with this dialect except the Ruler and his servant. But, to his utter astonishment, Farabi replied in the same dialect, “Master, have patience. The end will justify the

MIAN TAN SEN Biography

Akbar, the Great Mughal, was a great patron of art and learning. He had drawn to his Court some of the greatest intellectual and artistic luminaries of the age. Being a contemporary of Sulaiman, the Magnificent of Turkey and Queen Elizabeth of England, his brilliant rule was distinguished for internal peace and prosperity-qualities which are greatly instrumental in preparing the ground for the development of arts and sciences. Tan Sen, the celebrated vocal musician, whose name has become a household word in the realm of music, was one of the brightest gems that adorned the Durber of Akbar, the Great. The stately edifice of modern Indo-Pakistani music has been raised on the foundations laid by the genius of Tan Sen. Abul Fazal, the author of the well-known Aeen-e-Akbari, pays glowing tribute to the matchless art of Tan Sen when he says: “A singer like him had not appeared in India for the last thousand years—such a genius in music might not be born again” . Tan Sen was born in a Brahmi

SYED SULAIMAN NADVI Biography

The Annual Convocation of Nadrat-ul-Uloom was being held in a packed Hall at Lucknow in 1907 . The conferring of degrees in this well-known institution of religious education was to be followed by Dastar Bandi (Investiture of academic gowns and turbans) ceremony, which was being presided over by Khwaja Ghulam-us-Saqlain, a renowned scholar and son-in-law of Maulana Altaf Husain Hali and was attended by Mohsinul Mulk and other intellectual luminaries of the time. Meanwhile, someone got up from amongst the audience and addressing Maulana Shibli Nomani, questioned the scholarship of the students who had graduated from the Institution and their proficiency in modern Arabic. The Maulana, being a celebrated historian, accustomed to confront his adversaries with incontrovertible facts, asked a young graduate to deliver a speech on any given topic. The student got up and delivered a masterly speech in chaste Arabic on certain aspects of modern philosophy. His comınand over the language, the su