In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Infinitely Merciful
A REVIVAL OF THE MAHDAVIA TEXTS
A Piece in Praise of the Recently Deceased Hazrath Syed Ziaullah YadullahiRH
All praise is due unto Allah, the Lord of the worlds, whom no one can rightly praise as He deserves to be praised, except He Himself. Peace and salutations upon the Prophet of Allah(SAW) and the Khalif of Allah MahdiAS. It is not in Islam to praise an individual nor is this a practice of Prophet(SAW) or MahdiAS. But giving praise where it is rightly due can, at times be an act of justice. And Allah knows best what is in our hearts, and exalted is He.
A year ago today, one of the greatest scholars this generation of Mahdavis has seen, quietly passed away in his home in Bangalore, India. As is the legacy of the Mahdavia community, Hazrath Syed Ziaullah YadullahiRH after devoting much of his later life in service to AllahSWT, breathed his last and returned to his Creator in a humble and modest manner. May AllahSWT reward Hazrath Syed Ziaullah Yadullahi abundantly for his precious service to His religion and bless him with His vision. This piece sheds some light on the already illumined life of this scholar to whom the young generation of Mahdavis today and generations to come will forever be indebted. Further, as the title of this piece indicates, Hazrath Yadullahi by translating most all of the earliest and important texts of the Mahdavia literature into the English language has arguably single-handedly carried out, or at the least effectively initiated, a revival of the Mahdavia texts.
A work of translation for a text can be even more of a tedious task for a person than to write one's own text. If one considers translating a text from one language to another, there needs to be qualifications that need to be met. Firstly, the person has to have a thorough understanding and command in the language of the text at hand. Secondly, in addition to having the fluency in the language of the text, one has to have a thorough understanding and command of the language the text is being translated into. This requires a vast knowledge of both the languages and even a broader vocabulary. Keeping this in mind, it is a staggering achievement of Hazrath Yadullahi to have translated not merely a single voluminous book from the Mahdavia literature but a long list of books. This is truly an accomplishment that is not possible without the help of AllahSWT. The list of books that he translated into English is as follows:
- Aqida Sharifa (The Sacred Belief) by Bandagi Miyan Syed KhundmirRZ.
- Al Qoul Al-Mahmood (An Introduction to Mahdavia Beliefs) by Allamah Syed Ali Yadullahi RH
- Majalis-e-Khamsa (Five Sessions of Emperor Akbar's Court) by Miyan Mustafa Gujarati(RA).
- Holy Angels of High Heavens – This book contains translated excerpts from Tazkira by Abul Kalam Azad.
- Insaf Nama (Book of Equity) by Bandagi Miyan ValiRH bin YusufRZ.
- Hashia Insaf Nama (Supplement to Book of Equity) by Bandagi Miyan ValiRH bin YusufRZ.
- Naqliyat (Parables) by Bandagi Miyan Abdur RashidRZ.
- Tauzihat (Explications) by Asadul Ulema Abu Sayeed Syed Mahmood TashrifullahiRH.
- Shawahid-ul-Vilayet (Testimony to Sainthood) by Bandagi Miyan Syed BurhanuddinRH.
- Dogana Lailatul-Qadr by Afzal-ul-Ulema Hazrat Syed NajmuddinRH.
- Moulud (The First Ever Biography of Hazrat Syed Muhammad Mahdi Mau'ood Alaihis Salam) by Bandagi Miyan Shah Abdur RahmanRZ.
- Kuhl-ul-Jawahir Arbab-e-Basair (Kohl of pearls for Lords of Insights) by Mohsine-Millat Allamah Syed NusrathRH.
- Zouq Shouq Namaz (Desire and Delight of Namaz) by Moulana Miyan Syed KhundmirRH of Panagudi, Tamil Nadu.
- Siddiq-e-Akber (A short biography of Bandagi Meeran Syed Mahmood Sani MahdiRZ by Hazrat Syed IbrahimRH, Bichpadi.
- Siraj-ul-Absar (Lamp of the Sighted) by Bandagi Miyan Abdul Malik SujawandiRA.
The sheer size of the body of work that Hazrath Yadullahi has translated speaks for itself. It also is necessary to keep in mind the responsibility he undertook. Translating religious texts is something that not everyone is willing to fulfill. Though there is much reward in such work, the commitment to doing everything correctly and to the best of one's ability is necessary. This is the case because there is no room for error in such work. For those who have read the work of Hazrath Yadullahi and paid special attention to the introductions of his translations, know the level of commitment and devotion he had in service to AllahSWT and doing so for the sake of AllahSWT alone.
After completing his translation of Insaf Nama, he lost his eyesight. Recounting this incident in the 'Translator's Note' of Naqliyat, he writes:
"After I had completed the work on Insaf Nama and its proof reading was in progress, all of a sudden I lost my eyesight. That was an extraordinarily frustrating experience. In the same condition, I performed the Hajj pilgrimage with the help Allah provided through friends. I was more disappointed when, on return and after a cataract eye operation, the surgeon told me that he "doubted" if I would ever be able to read and write again. However, I supplicated that Allah may restore my eyesight to enable me to continue my translation work. One day, after the prayers, when I opened my eyes, I saw the surroundings bathed in abundant light. I picked up a book at random and was able to read it. Allah Most High had answered my prayers in His infinite Kindness, Mercy and Grace. And now it was my turn to keep my promise to work for His religion. That too I could do with His help alone. I have faith in Him. So, I am back in the saddle and I propose to continue this work as long as He keeps me fit and capable of doing it. So help me Allah!"
Hazrath YadullahiRH continued to translate these important texts until he breathed his last. In a time when the Urdu language is becoming less studied or even read, there was a special need of translating our text into English. Fortunately with the help of his translated English texts, Mahdavis world over are able to read, understand, and practice our faith. As time progresses and there will be a second generation of Mahdavis, who will be born and brought up in North America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East or elsewhere will have access to these texts. Even in the Indian subcontinent English has gained prominence.
In addition, while now being in the English language, the message of Imam MahdiAS is now available to a larger audience throughout the world. This access to our texts can be used for the cause of propagating the message of Mahdaviath and inviting others to the Truth. Such is the fruit of the works of Hazrath Yadullahi. With his work, he has single-handedly and effectively passed on all of these texts to a new generation of Mahdavis. And AllahSWT knows best.
This article will fall short of its purpose without the mention of two organizations. Firstly the group, Dar-ul Asha'at Kutub Salaf-e Saliheen Jami'atul Mahdavia in Musheerabad, Hyderabad, and secondly, the team of KhalifatullahMehdi.info in Bangalore. Indeed, they are playing their part in the revival of Mahdavia texts. The first group has been a pioneer for this cause, whose efforts span the past several decades. Second organization is not only a website but an invaluable resource, a library for Mahdavis throughout the world, making all our necessary texts readily available. The amount of literature that has resulted from efforts of these organizations and continually and increasingly becoming more available is of special significance. These efforts need to be recognized and encouraged.
Now with the passing of this great scholar, the work is on our shoulders to sustain the momentum for the revival. This can only be realized with help of AllahSWT through committed individuals. Our focus must remain on the translation of the remaining Mahdavia texts. But further, the goal must be studying, understanding, and practicing the message within these texts in our lives. As I am inspired by Hazrath Yadullahi and with the help of Allah commit myself to this cause, I also ask other youth of the community to undertake this noble cause. Only then will the work of Hazrath Yadullahi be the spark to a revival that will spread to the heart and mind of each and every individual of the Mahdavia community.
May AllahSWT reward Hazrath Syed Ziaullah Yadullahi abundantly for his precious service to His religion and bless him with His vision. May AllahSWT guide the Mahdavia community in utilizing these important and early works of the noble scholars of our community. And increase us in knowledge that will lead us closer to Him, Ameen.
**Much of the information discussed in this piece was taken from KhalifatullahMehdi.info. A short biography of Hazrath Ziaullah YadullahiRH by Syed Mohammed Suhael can be found in the introduction to the newly published English translation of Siraj-ul Absar.