Qazi Saiyid Nurullah Shushtari His life and works


Maulana Azad Library

In the year 1875 a school, called Madrisat ul-'Ulum, was founded by Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan at Aligarh to raise the standard of Muslims in the field of education. This school expanded and in the year 1877 it extended its educational activities under the name "Anglo Mohammadan Oriental College". The gradual development of this college prepared the ground to lay the foundation of the Muslim University at Aligarh.In 1920 this college started to function under the name Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.Though there has always been great controversy among Muslims about the religious thoughts and political views of Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan, in spite of this University is today considered one of the most renowned centres of Islamic Studies, and a big support for Indian Muslims in scientific and cultural fields.In addition to the different departments of modern sciences in Muslim University, Aligarh, there is its great library consisting of unique, valuable and rare treasures of scientific and cultural value, and a number of valuable rare articles of Islamic art were preserved by the efforts of this greatman. Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan at the time of the foundation of this university also donated his big personal collection to this library. This library with the other different donated collections was called Lytten Library, after the British Viceroy in India. From 1924 to 1926 Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan was the chancellor of the university. He paid particular attention to the expansion of the library. He also donated his personal collection of rare law books that he had made while studying at Cambridge University. He allocated a budget for the purchase of useful books for the students. The purchase of these books on different subjects added much to the importance of this library as well as the university. In the same manner, the donation of the valuable personal collections of its professors, nobles and distinguished persons strengthened the scientific work and value of this library .

In the year 1948 Dr. Zakir Hussain was appointed the vice-chancellor of this university. He paid much attention to this library and felt it necessary to expand the area. and create a more suitable place for keeping the books and better facilities for the students and scholars. For this purpose he prepared the ground so that the chancellor of the university might exchange views with the central goverment and University Grants Commission authorities. He succeeded in obtaining a grant of one million and thirty thousand rupees from central government for the new buildings of the library. Its foundation stone was laid in 1955 by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first prime minister of India after the independence of the country. The plan of the new library building, which is considered one of the best specimens of Indo-lslamic architecture, was prepared and carried out by Engineer Fayyaz ud-Din. The new building was inaugurated in 1960. Taking in view the services rendered by Maulana Azad, the great thinker and literacy figure, it was named "Maulana Azad Library". This library is now situated in the central part of the university. Its double storied building has three big halls for study with a capacity of 1800 persons. Every hall is divided into three sections. The study section has 280 chairs. the reference section has 150 chairs, and the new hall has 130 chairs. The capicity of the library is more than one million books. At present it has 884703 volumes of books on various subjects. The number of manuscripts in 1996 was more than 14560 volumes, most of them in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu languages.Maulana Azad Library has valuable collections of fine paintings, miniature work. coins and rare manuscripts that have been donated by many learned scholars, nobles and great thinkers, which are still preserved under their names and are used by many scholars. Among the donated manuscripts there are collections called: Habib Ganj Collection, Ahsan Collection, Shaifta Collection. Abd us-Salam Collection, Aftab Collection. Jawahar Museum, Munir Alam Collection, Outb ud-Din Collection, Subhanallah Collection and Sulaiman Collection. The catalogues of the following donated collections have been published.
1. Habib Ganj Collection: This is the largest collection of donated manuscripts, preserved in the manuscript section of the university. It consist of 2000 volumes on various subjects in Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages. This collection was donated by Ubaidur Rahman Khan Sherwani son of Nawwab Sadr Yar Jang Habibur Rahman Sherwani (1867-1950 A.D.) to the university in the year 1960. The catalogue of 813 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Urdu has been published in three volumes so far.
2. Ahsan Marehravi Collection (1876-1940 A.D.): Maulana Ahsan Marehravi was one of the professors of Urdu at Aligarh University. He taught this language from 1922 to 1940. He compiled his political works in two volumes, namely Faiz-e Dagh and Mohavarat. His collection consists of fine and rare printed and unpublished books in Arabic, Hindi, Persian and Urdu. It consists of 447 volumes of manuscripts. He presented all his collection to the university and it is preserved in the library under the name of "Ahsan Collection". Its catalogue was prepared by Sayyed Mahmud Hasan Qaisar Amrohvi and published by the university.
3. Shaifta Collection: The collection was donated by Nawwab Mohammad Mustafa Khan, pen name Shaifta (1802-1869 A;D.). He was one of the great scholars of his age. After acquiring knowledge in Islamic Studies at Delhi, he went to Mecca on pilgrimage. There he studied Saha-i-Sitta under the guidance of Shaikh Abdullah Siraj Hanafi and learnt principles of Hadith from Shaikh Mohammad Abid Sindhi. When he returned to his home after perfoming the pilgrimage at Mecca, he collected rare and fine books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. In 1857, when the Indians revolted against the Britishers in Delhi, his collection was partly ruined by a fire, in which many fine and rare manuscripts were destroyed. After sometime his grandson Nawwab Mohammad Ismail, the chancellor of the university, donated it to the university. In 1932 measures were taken to prepare a catalogue of Shaifta's published and unpublished books. In 1982 the catalogue of Shaiftah Collection manuscripts was prepared and printed by Sayyed Mahmud Hasan Qaisar Amrohavi. This catalogue includes the description of 224 volumes of the Shaifta Collection.


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