Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Salam Masdusi: Activism

Assalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

Mr. Salam al-Masdusi pays attention toward the betterment of the society. He associated himself with the activities of Anjuman Islah-e-Muashira which was established by the elders of Old Palmoor locality in the year 1925. The society conducted survey of the entire locality and collected data regarding socio-economical position of the people.

He established free reading room and library for students and other educated people in his locality. He taught uneducated people in his Adult Education Center and collected valuable Islamic literature including books and magazines. For the convenience of researchers, he established the Sunni Academy at his home in 1945. Scholars and intellectuals discuss socio-religious and political matters at his house almost everyday. The gatherings were attended by elders and youngsters of the localities of various caste and religious creed. 

Mr. al-Masdusi was a simple person by nature. He does not have any pride nor seeking for fame. He just sit on the mat with other people. His residence was known as "khanegah". He sat with other Muslims in Mahboobnagar Mosque between Maghrib and 'Isha prayers to discuss various matters in the circle of discussion. He believes that everything about their locality should be discussed in the circle and the decisions from the circle should be informed to public Muslims so they could take heed and getting the information too.  
He becomes an active member of the Jami'at Ulama-e-Hind and attended all annual and important sessions held at various places in India together with his friends. He set up its branch in Mahboobnagar and actively participated in the movement. He was influenced by "Khaksar Tahreek" established by Inayatullah Khan Mashraqi and was nominated as a Deputy Leader of Idara Alia.

The establishment of Jama'at-e-Islami Hind was initiated by Abu al-A'ala Maududi and its main objectives were to establish the kingdom of the God in the Earth. For this particular purpose, Abu al-A'ala Maududi picked up Pathankot in Punjab as the center. He wanted to set up an Islamic state by the name, "Dar al-Islam" just like the Vatican City which is monitored by the Pope for the Catholics. Mr. al-Masdusi was one of the 11 members who wanted to migrate to Pathankot for this purpose. This incident happened in 1937. However, due to uncertain political situations in India and the conflicts of opinion between al-Masdudi and Maududi, he gave up the idea to migrate there and Maududi had also stopped his proposal.

Al-Masdudi devoted his life to spread Islamic literature and trying to create brotherhood spirit among the people of India. He actively joined freedom movement to expel British from Indian administration who had ruled the continent since 200 years ago. He believed that British created hatred among Muslims and Hindus through the Policy of Divide and Rule which resulted the partition of Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947. Thousands of Muslims regardless background who believes in two nations theory including his brother, Ahmed Abdullah al-Masdusi migrated to Pakistan. Salam al-Masdusi however, refused to migrate to Pakistan but remain in India and serving India as a loyal citizen.

Before leaving India, British government gave the option to the rulers of Indian princely states either to merge in the Indian Union, joining Pakistan or to be independent. The ruler of Hyderabad state decided to be independent. Indian Union definitely was against this idea and Hyderabad was forcibly merged with India through military engagement in 1948. Muslim-Hindu riots began throughout Hyderabad. Thousands of Muslim were slaughtered. Salam al-Masdusi together with Hindu friends such as O. Hanmanth Rao, K. Siddilingappa, K. Achuta Reddy Satoor Rangaya and other Muslim friends, M. A. Qayyume, Hasan Mohammed Pahalwan, Mohammed Ahmed, M. A. Ghani and Babu Abd al-Rahman toured around the entire district in order to advise both Muslims and Hindus to stay in peace and treating each others as brothers and sisters. Because of their sincere efforts, Mahboobnagar district was peaceful without any riot. During the freedom struggle, al-Masdusi was much influenced by the sacrificed made by Abul Kalan Azad and he followed him in his efforts.    

Social Work

He was active in the organization to uplift the society to the better known as Anjuman Islah-e-Mu'ashira. He drafted the constitution for the Anjuman Khuddam-e-Millat and wanted to execute the program on the land endowed by his elder brother in Mahboobnagar. Unfortunately he had no chance to execute them due to that the land was temporarily handed over to the Anjuman-e-Islamia during political unrest in Hyderabad state just before the military action.

He had discussions with prominent ulamas of India regarding Islamic matters. He concluded that Indian Muslim faced the lack of Qazat and Wilayat and religious problems and matters related to Personal Law of the Muslims can be solved amicably at each Nahia (Mandal level) by a body of at least 11 members and he succeeded in doing so in his home town by setting up such body, Majlis-e-Qidayat presided by the Imam and the preacher of the District Mosque. The decisions taken in this body were published and expanded to the public Muslims for guidance. It continues for years.

He loves to help people regardless ages, background and personality. He did not do anything for name or for fame. Otherwise, he would already be a member of Parliament, Legislative Assembly man or even a minister.


He tried to follow the teachings of the Quran with the help of the prophetic traditions and the prophetic history. He also tried to spread these teachings to fellow Muslims through simple charts, pictures and posters. He could just write books, but he avoided to do so for few reasons...
  • Common people in India are not well educated and most of them are illiterate.
  • Even those who are literate do not read books due to their engagement with busy life.
  • He believes that the teachings could easily be remembered through posters just like the expression says, "A picture speaks a thousand words".   
  • Publishing books need hard labor and financial means while posters and pamphlets can easily be printed, distributed and pasted around.
Sunni Academy centered at his house became a center of learning for youngsters and elders in the town. The could read magazines, books and newspapers there. He used to explain tough subjects in simple manner to public. On his death, Dr. Hasanuddin Ahmed, I. A. S. who was a famous intellectual, scholar and author in Hyderabad paid him a tribute through his article under the heading, "Unknown Muslim Scholar", published in the leading local newspaper. The scholar actually respect al-Masdusi so much and calling him as a Muslim scholar of his time.   

Freedom Struggle

Al-Masdusi though an Arab by birth and only a migrant to Hyderabad state but actually a nationalist. He get the ideas from Mohaddis Dehelwi and his followers such as Mahmud Hasan, Hussain Ahmad Madani and Abul Kalam Azad. Mahmud Hassan and Madani were sentenced to jail by British ruler due to their active involvement in nationalism activities. They were sent to jail in Andaman and Nicobar Island at a place known as Kala Pani.  

He loves to read the books, articles and weekly newspapers such as al-Hilal and al-Balagh published by Abul Kalam Azad. He thinks that this man is an ideal personality during their freedom struggle. Salam al-Masdusi was also imprisoned for a short while. The Indian Government sanctioned all freedom fighters for government pensioned after the independence. His close friend and the native of Hyderabad state, P. Hanumanth Rao was the deputy minister of Hyderabad State at that time. He later became the member of parliament. He had to force Salam al-Masdusi to accept the government pension after he refused it for many times. He is so stubborn that he said, "I have done my duty for my country, I do not want any reward nor pension!".


He believes that his "Service for humanity is the service for the God". All of the resources around him was directed to help the society. Al-Masdusi avoids being close to wealthy people and he only helped the poor and those who need help with his money or time. He provided things to guests who came to his house. His house was known as Zinda Pir ki Dargah which means the Mausoleum of the Living Saint. 

He and his colleagues managed to establish a commercial complex on the endowed lands in Mahboobnagar. The foundational stone was laid by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, the then President of India in September 1967. On the occasion, a large gathering was arranged in which the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister, Ibrahim Ali Ansari, Minister and the president of the complex committee were there. Salam al-Masdusi was also invited to sit along with them. However, he chose to sit on the ground among the crowd to see the ceremony.  


He started to write poems in Urdu in his early schooling days. He also had a pen-name but later he gave up poetry. He dedicated his life for selfless social services. He destroyed all of his poems and writings. The only poems and ghazals written by him that could be seen today perhaps those published in the magazines.

My father has a lot of writings too. All of them are in Malay language. They are in the form of unpublished short stories, novels and poetry. Now he is bedridden and he could only cry when he feels sick or hungry. I write many things too and I could imitate sounds (which made me a multilingual little kid). In fact I also love to draw things and used to have a vast imagination. But nowadays I think that I could only think about logical matters. I destroyed many of my notes too just like this person destroyed his poetry. What I could interpret from his action is that, maybe he came to the fact that everything which blossoms would wither and fade away in the dust. People would forget us but the God remembers us always. 


Many people might think that this man is an idiot when he refuse the government pension. But for me, he is a great saint of his age. He believes that the hereafter is the factual one and not the "worldly" matters. I used to feel so sad, low-self esteem and humiliated when I heard non-Arab friends talking about how barbaric we are as the Arabs that made the God sent to Arab nations a prophet known as Muhammad s.a.w and some of our people are opportunistic. Other than that, I was confused on how those people who said such a thing know how the God "thinks"? What is with over-generalization and the notion of God-sent prophet to a certain nation when those non-Arab Muslims also claiming that Islam is a universal teaching? Their over-generalization seems to imply that they do not need Islam because they already were civilized thus the notion, "mercy to the worlds" which refers to the noble prophet Muhammad s..a.w is also obsolete....    

This figure is an Arab. He is loyal to his country. His name is not even known to people but he helped many people around him without being known through selfless services... I did not know him before. I just came to know him just before I posted his simple story while browsing Indian-Arab figures in the Wikipedia, the encyclopedia which could be edited by almost anyone, haha... 

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!

1 comment:

  1. Assalamu Alaikum, my mom always tell about her uncle Saalam who was a qawaal, would sing mostly Kalam of "aasi" ...she adds that he was belonged to chaush community, lived in mahbubnagar dist. Of andhra Pradesh. My mom is also basically of mahbubnagar dist. has emigrated to Ahmedabad Gujarat in 70s with her mom & dad.. some of her maternal relatives live in barkas Hyderabad


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