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Maulana Wali Rahmani: India’s torchbearer Muslim scholar who made promotion of education his mission

Maulana Wali Rahmani | Photo Courtesy: Clarion India

What set Maulana Wali Rahmani, an Indian Sunni Islamic Scholar, academician and founder of Rahmani30, apart was his efforts towards the promotion of education among Muslim youth. Although Rahmani was a multi-lingual man, he had evident love for the Urdu language. In February this year, he launched a campaign for education among the Muslim community and promotion of the Urdu language. 

Sami Ahmad, TwoCircles.net

The well-known torchbearer of India’s Muslim community, who strove to work for the promotion of education, Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani would have turned 78-years-old on June 5 this year. On April 3, Maulana Wali Rahmani breathed his last at a Patna hospital after a brief illness and other complications.

Such was his repute and respect among the community that he had 8.5 lakh followers who took the oath of allegiance to him as “Sajjada Nashin” of Khanqah Rahmani in Munger in the Indian state of Bihar. Rahmani became “Sajjada Nashin” of Khanqah Rahmani, Munger in 1991 after the death of his father Sayyid Minatullah Rahmani. At present, Rahmani was the Secretary-General of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). He was Ameer-e-Shariat, or the head, of the renowned religious organization Imarat-e-Shariah of Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. However, what set him apart was his endeavour in the field of education. His organization, Rahmani30, founded in 2008, was his gift to the Muslim community of Bihar, and the country.

Had there been no Rahmani30, hundreds of students might not have heard about him and many poor Muslim students could not have realized the dream of making it to India’s top engineering institutes; the IITs or the Indian Institute of Technology.

The Rahmani30 has since then expanded to NEET or the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical education. Top accountancy and Law entrance tests have also been included now.

Rahmani30 is modelled on Super30 founded by famous mathematics teacher Anand Kumar of Bihar who started selecting 30 poor students and grooms them for IITs. Super30 was a big success. So is Rahmani30. Since its inception, Rahmani30 had the services of Bihar senior police officer Abhayanand, who retired as DGP Bihar. Every year test exams are held for the selection of Rahmani30 and the selected candidates are provided with free residential coaching with food.

Maulana Wali Rahmani was a political personality. His proximity with political leaders got him brickbats too. He was elected to the Bihar Legislative Council on April 7, 1974, and continued till 1996. In 1984 and 1990 he was elected as deputy chairman of Bihar Legislative Council. He was criticized after his (in)famous Deen Bachao Desh Bachao (Save Islam, Save Country) rally at Patna in 2018. Just after the rally, one of its organizers were declared as the candidate from Nitish Kumar’s party for the Bihar Legislative Council. Maulana Rahmani was accused of compromising with Nitish for ‘a seat in Bihar council.’

He, however, was also praised for his bold statements before the top political leaders when the issues related to the Muslim community were discussed.

His birthplace Khanqah Rahmani is a well-known religious place that was founded in 1909 by his grandfather Maulana Mohammad Ali Mungeri, who was a co-founder of Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow. Maulana Wali Rahmani’s father Maulana Minatullah Rahmani was also a renowned religious scholar who also held the post of General Secretary in All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Maulana Rahmani got his initial education at Rahmania Urdu School, Jamia Rahmani in Munger, Bihar and then proceeded to Nadwatul Ulema and Darul Uloom Deoband. He also studied at Bhagalpur University which is now known as Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University in Bihar.

At the age of 22, Maulana Rahmani joined ‘Naqeeb’, a weekly published by Imarat-e-Shariah. He also served at Jamia Rahmani.

In 1991, following the demise of his father, he was made Sajjada Nashin of Khanqah Rahmani.

He was made Ameer-e-Shariat at Imarat-e-Shariah in November 2015 and held the post till his last breath. Here too, Maulana Rahmani’s focus was on education. He also worked for the better medical facility at Sajjad Memorial Hospital being run by Imarat-e-Shariah.

Although Maulana Rahmani was a multi-lingual man, he had evident love for the Urdu language. In February this year, he launched a campaign for education among the Muslim community and promotion of the Urdu language.

He also campaigned for the upliftment of the Madrasas.

His biography Hayat-e-Wali penned by Shah Imran Hasan states, “Maulana’s untiring efforts and timely steps to save the country’s Madrasas are worth mentioning. He met several dignitaries, including the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and presented before him the case of Madrasas in the context of their roles in the country’s freedom struggle and nation-building.”

Maulana Rahmani was a man who loved to make friends in other Muslim organizations too. He kept Maulana Rizwan Ahmad Islahi, the young Ameer-e-Halqa (Bihar chief) very close to him. Maulana Rizwan recalls that when representatives of Muslim organizations went to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, everybody wanted Maulana Rahmani to talk to him but he proposed his name (Maulana Rizwan’s). “Such was his generosity,” he said.

Maulana Rahmani will be missed at many places, including at AIMPLB and Imarat-e-Shariah. However, his absence would be felt most at Rahmani30. The passing away of Rahmani poses a challenge for both Imarat-e-Shariah and Rahmani30 to take his dream further.