Shah Waliullah Reform Movement 1703-1762.[CSS/PMS EXAM]

After the death of last Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s in 1707 the authority of the Mughal emperors moving towards decline. Aurangzeb’s ruled according to Islamic teaching and Muslims were happy with his government. On the other hand, other religious groups got anger and provoked with Islamic teaching. Muslims who had been strong and powerful during the reign of Aurangzeb but after his death started to disintegrate. Shah Waliullah was born shortly before the end of Aurangzeb. Shah Waliullah grew up at a time when Muslims felt increasingly threat and helpless. He belonged to a deeply religious family and his father had been a religious advisor in the Mughal court. During his stayed in Arabia, he believed that he had been blessed with a vision of the Holy Prophet(peace be upon him). He tried to organize and gave spiritual leadership to Muslims in subcontinent.






  • He was born on 21 February 1703 during the tenure of Great Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir.
  • His real name was Qutub-ud-Din, but he became famous with the name of Shah Wali Ullah’s because of his piety.
  • The name of his father was Shah Abdul Rahim, who laid the foundation of Madrassa Rahimia in Delhi.
  • After the death of his father in 1718, Shah Wali Ullah began to teaching at the Madrassa.
  • In 1724 he visited Arabia and performed Haj and to further studies.
  • He got knowledge from famous scholar Sheikh Abu Tahir bin Ibrahim, before returning to Delhi.
  • He returned to Delhi in 1732.

Shah Wali-Ullah Beliefs.

  1. During his stay in Arabia, he deeply thought about the fundamental problems of the Muslims in the Mughal Empire
  2. No doubt, Mughal Empire was towards decline and there was no unity among Muslims.
  3. Muslims were facing various kinds of attacks on the religion Islam.
  4. He was determined that reform could not come from the weak leadership of Delhi.
  5. This could come from within the Muslim community itself.
  6. Muslims had no proper knowledge about Quran and Islam in general and it was important that Quranic teaching become accessible to the people.
  7. Muslim community was divided into sectarian groups such as Shias and Sunni.
  8. Shah Wali Ullah wanted them to unite on the fundamental principles of Islam and put aside their difference, believing that this would create a more united community.
  9. It was necessary to comply the moral and spiritual principles of Islam in order to create good society.
  10. Un-Islamic Principles were not acceptable in any area of society, either in politics, economics or in daily life of individual Muslims.


  • Shah Waliullah worked hard to ensure that he was a torch bearer for the Muslims.
  • Shah Waliullah had deep knowledge in Quran, Hadith, Fiqah and Tasawuf this made him a knowledgeable scholar at an early age.
  • He emphasized that Quranic teaching is vital for Muslims to revive in the subcontinent.
  • Shah Waliullah translated Quran from Arabic to Persian in 1737.
  • At that time few Muslims could spoke Arabic and so the Quran had not been widely studied previously.
  • With new translation large number of people started to understand.
  • Ulema of that time highly criticized Shah Wali Ullah, but his work proved very popular.
  • His two sons, Shah Abdul Qadir and Shah Rafi translated the Quran into Urdu which meant that many more people could study it.
  • Shah Waliullah wrote fifty-one books in Persian and Arabic.
  • The most famous book written by shah Waliullah were Hujjatullah-ul-Baligha and Izalat-Akhfa.
  • Shah Waliullah also wrote detail account of the first four Caliphs of Islam in such a way that was acceptable to both Shias and Sunnis.
  • He hoped it would reduce the division between both sect.
  • One of the most important contribution of shah Wali-Ullah to the Muslim community was his organisation of opposition to the Marathas.
  • Marathas were constant threat to Mughal Empire and planning to over-run the Mughal Empire from the south side.
  • Shah Waliullah realized that Muslims had to united to stop this persistent threat.
  • The second threat was from the Sikhs who were attacking from the North side.
  • He wrote to all the Muslim nobles to save the Mughal Empire.
  • Ahmad Shah Abdali of Persia intervened after invitation of Shah Wali Ullah.
  • Ahmad Shah joined local forces with local Muslims leaders and defeated the Marathas at the Battle of Panipat in 1761.
  • This victory was temporary because Muslim leaders did not gain strength.

Letter From shah Wali-Ullah to Ahmad Shah Abdali.

This letter was written by Shah Waliullah to Ahmad shah Abdali Muslims were facing Poverty and Misery. “The Muslims community is in pitiable condition. All control of the machinery of government is in the hands of Hindus, because they are the only people who are capable and industrious. Wealth and prosperity are concentrated in their hands; while the share of Muslims is nothing but poverty and misery”.

Importance of Shah Wali-Ullah in Pakistan History.

  • Shah Waliullah was considered one of the first Muslim influential thinkers who defined the decline of Mughal Empire. Shah Waliullah also considered one of the founder of Pakistan two nation history.
  • Shah Waliullah also defined the vulnerable position of the Muslims due to a neglect of the principles of Islam.
  • To stop the status of decline there had to be spiritual and moral regeneration.
  • Madrassa Rahimiya continued to play a vital role in teaching of Islamic principles and research in Islamic thoughts.
  • Shah Waliullah writing in Persian made Islamic teaching easily available to every one.
  • He firm believed that, Muslims could only prosperous if they properly followed the Islamic customs and did not indulge in social evils such as liquor and merry making .(
  • Shah Waliullah provided new vision for all Muslims to lead a good life, which should be based on the belief that anti-social attitudes incurred the displeasure of God.
  • Shah Waliullah reiterated that revival could take place if there was an acceptance that sectarian division was to stop.
  • Shah Waliullah did endeavor to bridge the gap among the different Muslim sects and to unite the community.
  • Shah Waliullah did this by organizing Muslims against Marathas by emphasising the importance of Jihad.
  • His influenced continued after his death.
  • Shah Waliullah writing ,translation and Madrassa Rahimiya also flourished as his sons carried forward his work and teaching.(
  • This lecture is helpful to PAKISTAN-AFFAIRS and INDO-PAK
  • This lecture was made and research by Muhammad Fawad Khan.
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  • Source of Data: From books of oxford and PTB


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