Thursday, 8 November 2012

Syed Waheed Ashraf

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Sufi, Poet and Scholar
Syed Waheed Ashraf

Syed Waheed Ashraf
TitleAllama, Shaikhe Tariqat
Born(1933-02-04)February 4, 1933
Eracontemporary
RegionIndia
WorksSufism, Urdu and Persian Quatrains (Rubai) & Naat, Persian and Urdu Literary Criticism, Islamic studies
issue = Three sons and one daughter
Syed Waheed Ashraf[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] is an Indian sufi, scholar and poet of Persian and Urdu languages. He obtained his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. (1965) from Aligarh Muslim University. The topic of his Ph.D. dissertation was ‘A critical edition of Lataife Ashrafi'. After serving in many universities (Patiali University, M.S. University of Baroda, Madras University) in India, he retired as Head, Department of Arabic, Persian and Urdu, University of Madras, India, in 1993. Conversant with over half a dozen languages (Pahlavi, Persian, Arabic, Urdu, English, Hindi, Gujarati), he writes in Urdu, Persian and English  and has authored/edited over 35 books and numerous research articles.

Contents

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[edit] Biography

[edit] Parentage

Syed Waheed Ashraf traces his lineage to a family of 'Syeds' of Kachhauchha Sharif, a small town in the district of Ambedkar Nagar, East Uttar Pradesh, North India. He was born on 4 February 1933 in kichaucha sharieff, the third child and son of his parents. His father was Syed Habeeb Ashraf. He worked as a librarian in the village's library. He passed most of his time in learning and meditation. He could not complete his formal education at Firangi Mahal, a madrasa in Lucknow, where he was enrolled, due to the early demise of his father — whereupon the responsibility of earning livelihood for his family fell upon him and he had to return home to take care of his mother and younger siblings. But he mastered many subjects on his own, as he had the opportunity of referring books during his service as a librarian. He could compose poetry as well as solve problems of inheritance.
Syed Habeeb Ashraf was an expert on Ilmul Jafar and Ilmul Ramal (Islamic geomancy). He posted a letter to his eldest son Syed Amin Ashraf stationed at Aligarh, six months before his demise, in which he asked his son to be at home on a particular date (3 February 1972) for his burial. But Habeeb Ashraf felt aggrieved as Thursday and Friday were considered more auspicious days in Islam and the day of his demise emerged as Wednesday from his calculations. Syed Habeeb Ashraf was a devotee of his ancestor Hazrat Makhdoom Syed Ashraf Jahangir Semnani and, treading upon his footsteps all his life, he acquired great spiritual prowess and was on highest spiritual station. He died on Thursday. His amulets were known for their certain effectiveness. He made only one or two disciples in his life. When few persons of his clan tried to usurp the right of the share holders in the offerings of the shrine, Habeeb Ashraf fought legally on behalf of them and won. This lawsuit is known by the name of Khanqah. The great Sufi of the subcontinent Hazrat Syed Moinuddin Chishti has remarked that if you find anyone possessing the three qualities of generosity, philanthropy and humility, presume that he is the loved one of Almighty. Syed Habeeb Ashraf was endowed with these attributes in full measure.

[edit] Genealogical pedigree

  1. SYED WAHEED ASHRAF
  2. S/O SYED HABEEB ASHRAF
  3. S/O SYED SAFDAR HUSSAIN
  4. S/O SYED ASHRAF HASAN
  5. S/O SYED MAHMOOD ASHRAF
  6. S/O SYED SHAH MAQSOOD ASHRAF
  7. S/0 SYED SHAH NEMAT ASHRAF
  8. S/O SYED SAEEDUDDIN ASHRAF
  9. S/O SYED SHAH MOHAMMAD ASHRAF
  10. S/0 SYED MOHAMMAD BASAWAN ASHRAF
  11. S/0 SYED ABUL QASIM ASHRAF
  12. S/0 SYED MOHIUDDIN ALI ASHRAF
  13. S/O SYED MAHMOOD ASHRAF
  14. S/O SYED SHAH HAJI CHIRAGH JAHAN
  15. S/O SYED JAAFAR SHAH LAAD
  16. S/O SYED HUSSAIN SHAREEF
  17. S/0 SYED ABDUR RAZZAQ NURUL AIN-D 872 H (KHALIFA OF SYED ASHRAF JAHANGIR SIMNANI KICHAUCHA SHARIEFF- D 28TH MUHARRAM 828 H)
  18. S/0 SYED ABDUL GHAFOOR HASAN AL JELI
  19. S/O SYED ABUL ABBAS AHMAD
  20. S/O SYED BADRUDDIN HASAN
  21. S/O SYED ALAUDDIN ALI
  22. S/O SYED SHAMSHUDDIN JELI
  23. S/O SYED SAIFUUDIN YAHYA AL HAMVI
  24. S/O SYED ABU NASR MOHAMMAD
  25. S/O SYED ABU SWALEH IMAMUDDIN NASR
  26. S/O SYED ABU BAKR TAJUDDIN ABDUR RAZZAQ
  27. S/O GHAUSUL AZAM SYED ABDUL QADIR JILANI
  28. S/O SYED ABU SALEH JUNGI
  29. S/O SYED ABDULLAH JELI
  30. S/O SYED ZAHID
  31. S/0 SYED ABDULLAH
  32. S/O SYED YAHAYA ZAHID
  33. S/O SYED MOHAMMAD MUREES
  34. S/O SYED MOHAMMAD DAWOOD
  35. S/O SYED MUSA AL JOON
  36. S/O SYED ABDULLAH AL MAHAZ
  37. S/O SYED HASAN MUSSANNA
  38. S/0 IMAM HASAN
  39. S/0 HAZRAT ALI RADIALLAHU ANHU
  40. Hazrat MUHAMMAD Mustafa Sallalaho Alaihe Wasallam

[edit] Siblings

Syed Habeeb Ashraf was married to Syeda Saeeda, who was the daughter of a Unani doctor of the same village. Before her marriage she used to assist her father in the preparation of drugs in his dispensary and thereby acquired great expertise in Unani medicine, particularly of diseases related to women and children. The village women flocked to her home for prescription which she used to dispense free of cost. She also used to teach the reading of the Quran to children soon after the Fajr prayers at her home.
The couple had four sons and three daughters. The two elder sons were named Syed Amin Ashraf and Syed Hameed Ashraf. The youngest son and their fifth child was named Syed Ashraf. Their three daughters were named Syeda Mahmooda, Syeda Masooda and Syeda Raheen. Syed Amin Ashraf took his Ph.D. in English literature from Aligarh Muslim University and later taught at the same department. Amin Ashraf is regarded as one of the most accomplished poet of Urdu ghazals of present times in the Indian subcontinent. He has to his credit three poetic anthologies — Jadae Shab, Bahare Ijaad and Qafase Rang — and a collection of his critical papers in a book named Bargo Bar. He has received  awards from Ghalib Academy, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, Lucknow. Several critical essays on his poetry have been published. The second son Syed Hameed Ashraf, who died in a road accident in 1993, was a graduate in Shariah from Deoband and studied at Aligarh Muslim University earning B.A., M.A. and M.Phil degrees in Arabic literature from the university. He taught at many Islamic madrasas in India. He was a theologian and an extremely introverted person who kept to himself. Syed Waheed Ashraf learned Islamic theology from his elder brother Syed Hameed Ashraf only.

[edit] Education

Syed Waheed Ashraf had his nursery and primary education from the village madrasa itself and middle school education in 1948 from a school in Baskhari, a small town 3 km from kichauchha sharieff. After that he studied at Mohd. Hasan Inter College in Jaunpur District to earn his high school certificate. In his school days, he loved doing Mathematics and showed great ingeniuty in it, which even his teachers highly appreciated. But after high school he could not continue his education for seven years due to poor health. After this long gap, he again took to education and passed his intermediate exam as private candidate from arts stream, as he could not get admission in school as a regular student. After that he became a student of literature and science was out of his study, which he lamented for many years until he got to read the likes of Hafiz and Rumi and his own illustrious predecessor Hazrat Syed Ashraf Jahangir Semnani in Persian literature. Waheed Ashraf earned his undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral degrees (1965) from Aligarh Muslim University. His doctoral dissertation was titled ‘A critical edition of Lataif-i Ashrafi'.

[edit] Professional career

After doing his Ph.D. he taught at Punjabi University at Patiala as a temporary lecturer for a year and again returned to Aligarh University as UGC seniour research fellow. In 1971 he got a permanent faculty position in the capacity of lecturer at M.S. University of Baroda, Gujarat. In 1977 he joined University of Madras as Reader in Persian. He became Professor in 1982 and retired as Head of the department of Arabic, Persian and Urdu, University of Madras in 1993.

[edit] Spiritual odyssey

Syed Waheed Ashraf as a child was deeply religious and showed mystical inclinations in his behaviour, the traits of which he inherited and imbibed from his parents, particularly his father. He began to offer punctually the five times prayer when he was eight years old. He soon began fasting in the Holy month of Ramzan. Since childhood he had a passion for Sufi literature and whatever books on Sufism he could lay his hands on, he would finish in few sittings. After completing his formal education at Aligarh Muslim University, he took spiritual allegiance (baith) on the hands of Hazrat Syed Qadeer Ahmad Ashrafiul Jilani, a great Sufi, at kichaucha Sharieff. The pir initiated him in the ashrafiya order and made him his successor (khalifa), as before taking oath Waheed Ashraf had already attained great spiritual proficiency. Later in life he began delivering lectures on Masnavi Maulan Rum at his residence in Baroda for his interested disciples. Syed Waheed Ashraf is an ardent votary of 'Sama'. Till now, thrice he has made pilgrimage to Mecca & Medina, and is a regular visitor to the shrines of prominent sufis in India.

[edit] Impressions

'Dr. Syed Waheed Ashraf joined the Department along with Dr. Najmul Hoda and when Dr. Hoda left the Department in 1988, Dr. Ashraf became the Head. As soon as he took charge of the Department he started searching ways and means to develop the Department on one hand and to strengthen it on the other. He organized a Seminar on All India basis to discuss the problems of teaching Urdu and Research. Luckily the year 1990 happened to be the Diamond Jubilee year for this Department, He therefore tried to put this chance to its best by creating some endowments to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The Murthuzuviya Educational and Cultural Foundation, Chennai, come forth to co-sponsor the Jubilee Celebrations and the All India U.G.C Seminar on 4th, 5th and 6 March 1990.
The following three endowments of Rs. 50,000 each were instituted on this occasion:
Moulana Dr. Abdul Huq Endowment scholarship for Ph.D. scholars of the Department.
Moulana Abdul Wahab Bukhari Endowment Scholarship for M.Phil scholars of the Department.
D. Ahmed Ali Parpia Endowment Scholarship for M.A. Students of the Department.
The Department was conducting M.Phil. and Ph.D. Courses in all the three languages viz. Arabic, Persian and Urdu. But M.A. course was offered only in Urdu. As soon as Dr. Ashraf took over the charge of the Department as Head, he started M.A. Persian, but after a few batches it was discontinued.
A man of high standard as he is known, he has contributed much to the subject of Persian literature and Sufism by writing and editing the following works:
  1. Hayath-e-Syed Ashraf Jahangir Samanani
  2. Muqaddama-I-Lataif-e-Ashrafi
  3. Tasawwuf
He has also contributed to the Urdu Literature with his following critical and poetic works.
  1. Diwan-e-Fida
  2. Afsar Maudoodi
  3. Rubai, Vols. I, II & III'.
  • The Persian Department profile in Aligarh Muslim University's website lists Syed Waheed Ashraf as one of its Notable Alumni (http://ss.amu.ac.in/dep.php?dep=20).
  • The Persian Department profile in the official website of The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda mentions the felicitation function organised by the Department in colloboration with the Gujarat Urdu Academy, Gandhinagar in which Prof. Waheed Ashraf was awarded the Gujarat Gaurav Puraskar in 2005. Further it also mentions with pride the President's Award received by Prof. Waheed Ashraf an Ex-Faculty member of M.S. University of Baroda. http://www.msubaroda.ac.in/deptindexys.php?ffac_code=1&fdept_code=14
  • The impressions of other theologians, literatteurs, academicians and poets can be found in the book, Irtibat-o-Inekaas (Letters to Syed Waheed Ashraf from many renowned scholars of India and abroad, in Urdu and English).

[edit] Works

(A) Books
  • (1) 'HAYAT-E-SAIYED ASHRAF JAHANGIR SAMNANI' (Research work on the life of Saiyed Ashraf Jahangir) Book in URDU (1975).
(The book sketches an authentic, objective, comprehensive and analytic account of the Sufi saint's life and times, seldom seen in biographies of saints in Urdu language).
  • (2) 'TASAUWWUF' (Sufism) Book in URDU (1988)
  • (3) 'MUQADDEMA-E-RUBAI' (Literary Criticism) Book in URDU
  • (4) 'URDU ZABAN MEIN NA’T GŪ’Ī KA FAN' (Literary Criticism) Book in URDU
  • (5) 'FIDA' (Pupil of Mirza Ghalib) (Life and Work-Edited with critical study) Book in URDU
  • (6) 'AFSAR MAUDOODI' (Life and Work-Edited with critical study) Book in URDU (1983)
  • (7) 'RŪH-E-MAHMOOD' (Poetry of Nawab Mahmood Madrasi-Edited) Book in URDU
  • (8) 'TAUZEEHĀT' (Critical studies in Urdu Literature) Book in URDU
  • (9) 'TAFHEEMĀT' (Critical studies in Persian Literature) Book in URDU
  • (10) 'QASĀID-E-ZAUQI VELLORI' (Persian poetry-Deciphered, Translated, Illustrated and Edited) in PERSIAN
  • (11) 'JAWAHIRUS-SULŪK', (Sufism- Translated and Illustrated) in PERSIAN
  • (12) 'LATĀIF-E-ASHRAFI & MAKTUBĀT-E-ASHRAFI AS SOURCES OF HISTORY OF MEDEIVAL INDIA'under the scheme of Indian Council of Historical Research (History)in PERSIAN
  • (13) 'TAFSĪR-E-ASHRAFI (Iradat)' , Part I (Sufism in URDU)
  • (14) 'TAFSĪR-E-ASHRAFI ( Bayat)', Part II (Sufism in URDU)
  • (15) 'MUQADDEMA-E- LATĀIF-E-ASHRAFI' (Sufism) Book in PERSIAN, Published BY Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
  • (16) 'QĀAL-ALASHRAF' (Sufism-Book in URDU)
  • (17) 'QĀAL-USSUFIA' (Sufism-Book in URDU)
  • (18) 'LATĀIF-E-ASHRAFI' PART I (EDITED, ANNOTATED-SUFISM) in PERSIAN
  • (19) 'LATĀIF-E-ASHRAFI' PART II (EDITED, ANNOTATED-SUFISM) in PERSIAN
  • (20) 'LATĀIF-E-ASHRAFI' PART III (EDITED, ANNOTATED-SUFISM) in PERSIAN
  • (21) 'TAJALLIYĀT' (Poetry- Creative work) Book in URDU (1996)
  • (22) 'MUNĀJĀT' (Poetry- Creative work) Book in URDU (March 2002)
  • (23)'‘ĀYĀT' (Poetry-350 URDU Quatrains- Creative work)
  • (24) 'LAMAHĀT' (Poetry- Creative work) Book in URDU
  • (25) 'SAUGHĀT' (Poetry 90 URDU Quatrains- Creative work)
  • (26) 'DARYĀ BI QATRAH' (Poetry- Creative work) in PERSIAN (2009)
  • (27) 'RUBA’I- Part I' (Poetry -96 PERSIAN Quatrains-Creative work)
  • (28) 'RUBA’I- Part II' (Poetry-90 PERSIAN Quatrains-Creative work)
  • (29) 'ME’RĀJ SHARĪF' (Islamic Studies)Book in URDU
  • (30) 'ROZA' (Islamic Studies) Book in URDU
  • (31) 'MUMIN' (Islamic Studies-Rational Views on various aspects of Quran) Book in URDU
  • (32) 'IRTIBĀT-O-INEKAAS' (Letters to the author from many renowned scholars of India and abroad) Book in URDU & ENGLISH
  • (33) 'THE EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC ASPECTS OF ISLAMIC PRAYERS' (Islamic Studies) in ENGLISH[10]
  • (34) 'HAJJE TAMATTU' (Islamic Studies)Book in Urdu (2010)
  • (35) 'Mutalae Afsar Maudoodi' (Compilation of Articles read in a seminar on Afsar Maudoodi) Book in Urdu (2012)
  • (36) 'AURADE ASHRAFIA' BooK Urdu/ Arabic (2007)
BOOKS UNDER PREPARATION
  • 1. 'KULLIYATE AFSAR MAUDOODI' (In Press)
  • 2. TRANSLATION OF THE LATAIF-E-ASHRAFI (This is a voluminous book on Sufism) in URDU.
OTHER WORKS Several reviews were written on the books of a number of scholars and poets which were published in their works.

[edit] Brief list of published articles

He has published hundreds of research articles in reputed journals like Islamic Culture, Journal of Oriental Research Institute, Madras University, Danish, Qande Farsi, Indo Iranica, Ma'arif, Burhaan, Naq do Nazar, Ziyae Wajeeh etc.
  • Syed Waheed Ashraf (2003), Indo-Iranica, The Quarterly Organ of the Iran Society, Volume 56, March, June, Sept. & Dec. 2003, Numbers 1 to 4, 'THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC THOUGHTS OF HADRAT SAIYED ASHRAFJAHANGIR', IRAN SOCIETY, 12 DR. M. ISHAQUE ROAD, KOLKATA-700 016

[edit] Awards and Honours

  • Certificate of Honour from the President of India in recognition as an eminent scholar of Persian in 1995.
  • Gujarat Gaurav Puraskar from Urdu Sahitya Academy of Gujarat in 2005.
  • Cited in ‘DATA OF EXPERTS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES’ published by The Islamic Research Institute, Rabat, Morocco.
  • Cited first among the selected nineteen poets of the world by the Literary Organization,’ Poetry Letter of Argentina’in1991.
  • Cited in 'International Who is Who of Poets’ published by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, 1992.
  • Cited in ‘International Who is Who of Intellectuals’, published by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge in 1993.
  • A Ph.D. awarded on the research work done on his Urdu Quatrains (Rubaiyaat) by Bihar University, Muzaffarpur. The Ph.D. thesis titled ‘Dr. Syed Waheed Ashraf Ki Rubai Nigari’ by Dr. Azhar Alam under the guidance of Prof. F. A. Siddiqui, has been published with the financial assistance from the Fakhruddin Ali Memorial Committee, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh in 2002. The book contains 137 pages in Demi size.
  • Urdu sahitya academy awards conferred on many books by Urdu academies of India.

[edit] References

  1. ^ QUALIFIED MANPOWER IN ISLAMIC STUDIES’ published by the Islamic Research Institute, Rabat, Morocco, in 1993.
  2. ^ INTERNATIONAL WHO IS WHO OF POETS’ Edition III, published by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, in 1992.
  3. ^ ‘INTERNATIONAL WHO IS WHO OF INTELLECTUALS’ Edition IX, published by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, in 1993.
  4. ^ SELECTED VERSES OF 19 POETS OF THE WORLD’, published by International Poetry Letter Argentina, in 1991
  5. ^ DR. SYED WAHEED ASHRAF KI RUBAI NIGARI’ by Dr. Azhar Alam, published with the financial assistance from the Fakhruddin Ali Memorial Committee, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh in 2002
  6. ^ 'JAHANE URDU RUBAI’ by Aleem Saba Navedi, Tamil Nadu Urdu Publication, Chennai, in 2011.
  7. ^ ‘TAMIL NADU MEIN URDU’ by Aleem Saba Navedi, Tamil Nadu Urdu Publication, Chennai, in 1998.
  8. ^ ‘AN OVERVIEW OF SUFI LITERATURE IN THE SULTANATE PERIOD’ by Dr. Bruce B Lawrence, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna.
  9. ^ ‘EAST-WEST VOICES (Anthology), Edited by Dr. V.S. Scanda Prasad,Chetana Books, 2-8-650, Kavoor Road, Kapikad, Bijai, Mangalore, India – 575 004
  10. ^ Makhdoom Syed Ashraf Jahangir Academy, Baroda, Gujrat, India

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