life sketch


Moulavi was born in 1873 in VakkomChirayinkil Taluk, Thiruvanthapuram in Travancore. His family had ancestral roots to Madurai and Hyderabad, and many of his relatives had worked for the military of the state government. Maulavi was proficient in many languages including Arabic, Hindusthani, Persian, Tamil, Sanskrit and English[citation needed].
His father, a prominent merchant, engaged a number of scholars from distant places, including an itinerant Arab savant, to teach him every subject he wished to learn. Moulavi made such rapid progress, that some of his teachers soon found that their stock of knowledge was exhausted and at least one of them admitted that had learnt from his student more than he could teach him.[citation needed]
Moulavi's son Abdul Kadar (Junior) was a writer, and another son, Mohammed Eeza was a writer and scholar of Islamic studies. One of his nephews, Vakkom Majeed, was an Indian freedom fighter and a former member of Travancore-Cochin State Assembly and another nephew, P.Habeeb Mohamed, was the first Muslim judge of the Travancore High Court of Kerala.

[edit]Journalism and Swadeshabhimani

Maulavi started the Swadeshabhimani newspaper on January 19, 1905, declaring that `the paper will not hesitate to expose injustices to the people in any form`, but on 26 September, 1910, the newspaper and press were sealed and confiscated by the British Police, and the editor Ramakrishna Pillai was arrested and banished from Travancore toThirunelveli.[4][3][8][9][10]
After the confiscation of the press, Moulavi concentrated more on social and cultural activities, becoming a social leader[3], also writing several books. Daussabah and Islam Matha Sidantha Samgraham are original works, while Imam Ghazali’s Keemiya-e- SaadatAhlu Sunnathuwal JammathIslamic SandesamSurat-ul fathiha are translations.[5]

[edit]Social Reformation

Maulavi was considered one of greatest reformers in the Kerala Muslim community, starting the magazines Muslim (1906 January), Al-Islam (1918) and Deepika (The Torch) (1931). Al-Islam contributed to the improvement of Arabic-Malayalam scripts.[11] Moulavi also tried to create unity among Muslims, starting the All Travancore Muslim Mahajanasabha [12] andChirayinkil Taluk Muslim Samagam, and worked as the chairman of the Muslim Board of the Government of Travancore.
Moulavi emphasized the religious and socioeconomic aspects much more than the ritualistic aspects of religion. He also emphasized and campaigned the need for modern education, the education of women, and the elimination of potentially bad customs among the Muslim community.[13] Moulavi was influenced by Muhammad Abduh of Egypt and his reform movement and started journals in Arabi Malayalam and in Malayalam.[14]
As a result of the continuous campaigning of Maulavi throughout the State, the Maharaja's Government introduced the teaching of Arabic in all state schools where there were Muslim pupils, and offered them fee concessions and scholarships. Girls were totally exempted from payment of fees. Maulavi wrote text books for children to learn Arabic, and a manual for training Arabic instructors for primary schools. At the instance of Maulavi Abdul Qadir the State Government soon instituted qualifying examinations for Arabic teachers of which he was made the chief examiner.[citation needed]
There were many other dubious practices in the Muslim community of the time, such as the dowry system, extravagant expenditure on weddings, celebration of annual "urs" and Moharrum with bizarre unIslamic features bordering on idolatrous rituals. Maulavi launched his campaign against such practices with the help of his disciples, and with the cooperation of other learned men who shared his views and ideals.[15][16][17] As the campaign developed into a powerful movement, opposition was mounted by the Mullahs. Some issued "fatwas" that he was a "kafir", others branded him as a "Wahhabi".[citation needed]
In 1931, he founded the Islamia Publishing House, with his eldest son Abdussalam supervising the translation into Malayam and publication of Allama Shibli's biography of Omar Farooq in two volumes under the title Al Farooq.
His activities were further instrumental in the establishment of Muslim Ikya Sangham, a united Muslim forum for all the Muslims of the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar regions, and helped guide the Lajanthual Mohammadiyya Association of Alappuzha, Dharma Bhoshini Sabha of Kollam amongst others.[citation needed]

Controversial photograph of Vakkom Moulavi

[edit]Last days

In Deepika, he serialized the Malayalam translation of the Quran, together with his brief commentary and the original text written in an elegant calligraphic style by Maulavi himself. It was his life's ambition to produce a translation of the Quran in Malayalam with his own commentary, but he died on 31 October 1932 before the work was completed.