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343. Muhammad Hamidullah

Born February 09, 1908
Hyderabad Deccan
Died December 17, 2002
Jacksonville, USA
Era Modern era
Region Islamic scholar
Main interests Islamic law, International Law, Quranic Tafsir and Hadith
Notable ideas Evolution of Islamic International Law

Muhammad Hamidullah (Urdu: محمد حمیداللہ), (February 9, 1908 – December 17, 2002) D. Phil., D. Litt., HI, was a Muhaddith, Faqih, scholar of Islamic law and an academic authorwith over 450 books cited in, the world's largest bibliographic database. He earned two doctorates; he received his first doctorate (1932) from Bonn University, Germany and later his Doctor of Letters (1934) from Sorbonne University, France. A prolific writer, his extensive works on Islamic science, history and culture have been published in several languages and many thousands of articles in learned journals. His scholarship is regarded by many as unparalleled in the last century. A polymath, he was fluent in 22 languages including Urdu (his mother tongue), Persian, Arabic, French, English, German, Turkish etc. He learned Thai at the age of 84.
Hamidullah was from the Deccan area of British India and was born in Hyderabad, capital city of then Hyderabad State, (now Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India), and hails from a family of scholars. The youngest amongst three brothers and five sisters, His ancestral roots belong to the Nawayath community, his ancestors belonging to the famed Meccan tribe, the Bani' Hashim, some of whom migrated to India, settling first in Madras few centuries ago and were eminent scholars in their own right.
He earned his BA, LLB and MA at Osmania University. He travelled to Germany and was awarded DPhil by Bonn University in 1932. After serving in the faculty of Bonn as a lecturer in Arabic and Urdu for some time, he went to France and registered at Sorbonne Universityfor his second doctorate. He was awarded D.Litt by the university after 11 months. He taught international law at Osmania University between 1936 and 1946.
In 1946, Hamidullah was appointed by the Nizam as part of the delegation sent to London and the United Nations in New York to seek support against the invasion of the Nizam's territories by Indian Forces. Subsequently he moved to Pakistan and was involved in writing of Pakistan's constitution, but did not to settle there as he did found the cultural environment not to his liking. Nevertheless in 1985, he was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award of Pakistan. The award included a substantial money amount but this was donated by him to the Islamic Research Academy, Islamabad.
In 1948 he returned to France, living there for the rest of his life, apart from travel to teaching posts he held in Turkey for a number of years. He also held a post with French National Centre for Scientific Research from 1954, which ended in 1978.
Hamidullah was the last remaining citizen of the erstwhile Hyderabad State (which following 1956 reorganisation was divided into 3 on linguistic basis, and absorbed into other states of India, most being in Andhra Pradesh) and never obtained the citizenship of any other nation. Classed as a Refugee of Hyderabad by the French Government, which allowed him to stay in Paris, he remained exiled from his homeland after its annexation by the Indian Government in 1948. Hamidullah devoted his whole life to scholarship and did not marry.
His ancestors and extended family are jurists, writers and administrators. His great grandfather Maulvi Mohammed Ghauth Sharfu’l-Mulk (d. 1822 CE) was scholar of Islamic sciences, writing over 30 books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, including a seven volume exegesis of the Qur'an. His maternal grandfather Qadi Mohammed Sibghatullah was a jurist and an scholar of repute writing an exegesis of the Holy Qu'ran as well as other books. He was also appointed Chief Judge of Madras in 1855 CE.
Hamidullah's father Mufti Abu Mohammed Khalilullah, was also scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, a director of revenue in the government of Nizam of Hyderabad, and the pioneer in establishing an interest-free banking system in Hyderabad.
Hamidullah is known for contributions to the research of Hadith history, translations of the Qur'an into multiple languages and in particular into French language (first by a Muslim scholar) and for the monumental biography of the Prophet Muhammad in French. He is also famous for discovering a missing work on Prophet Muhammad regarded as one of his great contributions to the Hadith literature. The earliest Hadith manuscript still extant today, Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah, was discovered in a Damascus library. Hammam bin Munabbah being a disciple of Abu Huraira one of the Sahaba. It proved, that the earliest manuscripts had been absorbed into the much bigger later compilations.


A prolific writer, his extensive works on Islamic science, history and culture number more than 450 and many thousands of articles in learned journals in seven languages.
  • The Muslim Conduct of State by Muhammad Hamidullah (1941)
  • Introduction to Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (1969)
  • Battlefields of the Prophet Muhammad by Muhammad Hamidullah (1992)
  • Die Rezeption Europaischen Rechts in Haiderabad by Muhammad Hamidullah (1953)
  • Emergence of Islam (Publication) by Muhammad Hamidullah (1993)
  • Islam in a Nutshell by Muhammad Hamidullah (1996)
  • Le Coran - Et la traduction française du sens de ses versets by Muhammad Hamidullah (2001)
  • Le Saint Coran: Traduction Et Commentaire de Muhammad Hamidullah Avec La Collaboration de M. Leturmy by Muhammad Hamidullah (1989)
  • Embassy of Queen Bertha of Rome to Caliph al-Muktafi Billah in Baghdad by Muhammad Hamidullah (1953)
  • The First Written Constitution in the World by Muhammad Hamidullah (1986)
  • The first written constitution in the world;: An important document of the time of the Holy Prophet by Muhammad Hamidullah (1975)
  • Introduction to Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (1969)
  • Islamic notion of conflict of laws by Muhammad Hamidullah (1945)
  • Islam, a General Picture by Muhammad Hamidullah (1980)
  • Islam, Philosophy and Science: Four Public Lectures Organized By Unesco June 1980 by Muhammad Hamidullah (editor)(1981)
  • Kur'ân-¸ Ker¸m tarihi: Bir deneme (Ilmi eserler) by Muhammad Hamidullah (1991)
  • Le "Livre Des Genenalogies" [D'al-Baladuriy by al-Baladuri] by Muhammad Hamidullah [Ahmad Ibn Yahya] (1954)
  • The life and work of the Prophet of Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (1998)
  • Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, the biographer of the Holy Prophet (Pakistan Historical Society. Publication) by Muhammad Hamidullah (1967)
  • Muhammad Rasulullah: A concise survey of the life and work of the founder of Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (1979)
  • Muslim conduct of state: Being a treatise on Siyar (Siyar), general introduction by Muhammad Hamidullah (1953)
  • The prophet of Islam: Prophet of migration by Muhammad Hamidullah (1989)
  • The Prophet's establishing a state and his succession by Muhammad Hamidullah (1988)
  • Why Fast?: Spiritual & Temporal Study of Fast in Islam (Centre Culturel Islamique Paris Series) by Muhammad Hamidullah (1982) 
Source : Wikipedia

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