Mirwaiz Moulana Rasool Shah

He became the Mirwaiz of Kashmir on March 5, 1891, when his father passed away. His hold on the Holy Book could be gauged from the fact that he explained Sura Muluk and Sura ARRehman for eight years

 “He will shine like the sun and enlighten the people.” This is what Mirwaiz Haji Moulana Muhammad Yahya said about his son, Mirwaiz Moulana Rasool Shah, on the day he was born (September 5, 1855). Mirwaiz Rasool lived upto the expectations of his great father and came to be known as Sir Syed of Kashmir.

Mirwaiz’s quest for acquiring knowledge started when he had only seen four springs of his life. Under the able guidance of Akhond Abdullah Sahib of Rajouri Kadal, the Mirwaiz learnt Quran. He grasped the Divine verses well and would correct the Imam whenever he committed mistakes.

 Unlike most of the scholars, the Mirwaiz strictly followed the teachings of the Holy Book and never compromised his integrity. When Partap Singh offered him a handsome stipend, the Mirwaiz refused to take it and said, “I trust Allah. He alone is my sustainer.”

Mirwaiz would spend a big chunk of his earnings on the welfare of widows, orphans and the needy. He undertook construction of Aali Majid at Eidgah, repaired the Jamia Masjid and other shrines. He fought social evils vehemently. He would urge the Muslims to refrain from a crude show of ostentation during marriage ceremonies.  
Mirwaiz was severely criticized for his fight to eliminate the social evils prevailing in the society. Some unscrupulous elements came all out against him. Several cases were filed against him. However, he stood like a firm rock and continued his fight despite all odds.

He was man with a clear vision. He could forsee the importance of modern education and took pains to persuade Muslims not to shy away from it. In 1891, when modern education was considered an evil, the Mirwaiz laid foundation of Anjuman-e-Nusratul Islam at Rajouri Kadal, Srinagar. He worked as a labourer while construction of school was going on. When the school came into being, it produced a galaxy of scholars some of whom played a significant role in the Kashmir freedom struggle.

 When the school was founded, the Muslims lived in despondency. They were all dependent on the Pandit population even for reading and writing letters. This school marked the beginning of the end of that era.

 Another reason for the establishment of the school was the presence of Christian missionaries in the Valley who had already established a school and a hospital to facilitate propagation of Christianity in Kashmir. They were, to some extent, successful in their endeavour as some Kashmiri families accepted the Christian faith. The Mirwaiz was greatly disturbed by the developments and provided an alternative in the shape of Anjuamn-e-Nusratul Islam.

 Moulana Rasool Shah became the Mirwaiz of Kashmir on March 5, 1891, when his father passed away. His hold on the Holy Book could be gauged from the fact that he explained Sura Muluk and Sura ARRehman for eight years. Similarly, he lectured on Sheikh Ali Ibn Sultan Muhammad Qari’s Chehl Hadees for nine consecutive years. Moreover, he has several publications to his credit.

 The Mirwaiz commanded respect. People would not smoke in his presence. On seeing the Mirwaiz approaching people would hide their cigarettes.

Mirwaiz passed away on July 30, 1909, after a brief illness. His death was widely mourned in the Valley and outside. Renowned Kashmiri scholar, Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, mourned his death through a couplet.

However, the Mirwaiz clan in particular and the people of Kashmir in general need to ponder. While Sir Syed Ahmad khan’s school developed into one of the best universities of the sub-continent, Mirwaiz’s school has not progressed much. Where lies the fault? The people of Rajouri have also got a university named after Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah. There was no Mirwaiz to guide them. Considered backward in this part of the state, they did what elites from this place could not do. They have many lessons to teach Kashmiris.   

The school founded by the great scholar has not failed the people of Kashmir. The school has produced great personalities. Even the alumni of the school can play a role to take this institution to new heights. The great Mirwaiz is held in high esteem by all the people irrespective of their political affiliations. Every year people hold seminars to pay tributes to his memory. He played his part well and gave this people what was needed during those fateful times. But, the best tribute that can be paid to this great son of Kashmir is to take his mission forward.  

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