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Peace Watch » Kashmir-Talk » Noor Ahmad A Religious Scholar Who Revolutionized Tral- Tribute by Prof. Hameedah Nayeem

Noor Ahmad A Religious Scholar Who Revolutionized Tral- Tribute by Prof. Hameedah Nayeem

Prof. Dr. Hameedah Nayeem

Noor Ahmad, the Passing away of an Illustrious Son of an
Illustrious Father: a Tribute
Even though we have been incessantly in mourning for a long
time yet some moments of loss intensify it to new levels. The
passing away of Noor Ahmad at this juncture in time is such a
moment that left the entire Tral division orphaned and dwarfed
and its ripples have been felt far and wide.I am extremely grieved
by his last journey as I understand beyond personal grief, his
communitarian significance and how almost impossible it is to fill
the void left by his passing away. I have known him from my
teens and have been deeply impacted by his speeches. He was
the first person for me who added intellectual dimension to Islamic
teachings when I was at an impressionable age; a time when their
was no internet and no YouTube lectures of scholars to listen to
diverse brilliant voices on the exegesis of Islam and the ‘
constructed theology’. Over the years he had outgrown the earlier
stages of Tableeg and expanded his scope of intervention in the
Out of four sons his father’s mantle fell on him and he proved
himself more than worthy of it.His father was given the charge of
Talimul Islam Tral when it was established by some prominent
community members when my father was a child and Noor Sb
offered to work on two rupees salary whereas he was getting
fifteen rupees in Srinagar Islamia school at the time.He developed
the school literally brick by brick and gradually developed it into
the best school in the area. Noor Ahmad took the school to new
heights by upgrading the school to higher classes and dividing it
into three full fledged branches namely Boys school, Al banaat
and Darul Aloom at three separate locations.Darul Aloom

is situated near Panzinag in our vicinity and a grand mosque,
the only one of its kind,
has been constructed in its compound of eight kanals of land in
the recent years where he would lead prayer and deliver Khutba
on every Friday as thousands of people from all directions would
throng the mosque to listen to him..
What set Noor Ahmad arguably apart from all the current Ulema
in Kashmir are his all encompassing teachings on almost all
aspects of life that are classified as: 1) Imaniyat and Tasdeeqaat
2)Aamaal and Ibadaat 3) Adaab and muashirat4)Mamlaat and
Siyasiyaat and 5) Salooq and Maqamaat according to Islamic
This particular feature greatly impressed the younger generation
and intelligentia who are baffled by several contemporary issues
and don’t know hos to harmonise them with Islamic teachings.
They are in search of answers to many questions that modern
life throws up in the light of Islam. This also took him away from
criticizing one sect or the other which he used to do sometimes in
the past and concentrate on the core Islamic thought and
philosophy of action. The result was he was able to unify all sects
under the broader contours of Islam transcending hegemonic
sectarian politics and competitive discourses that has done a lot
of disservice to the unity and monolithic grand narrative of Islam
and Muslims. This was testified by the sea of people who came
weeping for his Namazi Janazah and to have the last glimpse of
their revered and beloved Imam. On every Friday he would
choose a particular theme confronting society besides other
things and explain that in the light of Islamic ethos.
He had a sterling character, led a simple life, was taciturn by
nature and constantly cultivated his spirit by zikrullah.He was
devoted to his wife and the couple had a deep bond of love ,
fidelity and commitment to each other and never allowed her to do
tough domestic chores.He had so much love for her that when
she was ailing and was to be taken to hospital for medical
consultation, he put the shoes on her feet himself and did not let

his daughters to do so.( as told to me by his elder daughter). She
further said that he never reprimanded his children but would
point to their mistakes indirectly in a friendly manner.
In the earlier stages of his life he was averse to Peer Muridi –
what is called tariqa. and may have even criticized it but his
evolution was apparent in seeking spiritual guidance first from
Masihulah Khan and after his passing away from Hazrat Shah
Abrarul Haq Hardoi from UP. Both these personalities were
khalifas of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.
My regret has been that I did not get a chance to get education in
Madrasai Talimul Islam (MTI) under his guidance as girls were
not allowed those days and I carry this sense of bereavement/
loss even today. I often yearn to go back in years to my
childhood through the operation of some magic wand and join
the school to learn everything afresh particularly languages –
Arabic ,Persian,Urdu and English and Islamiyaat from him. My
siblings- two sisters and two brothers were fortunate to be his
students in the school. Though my father got the best teachers
from this school to teach me at home yet I couldn’t get over this
sense of loss of not having learnt from him.
All those people who have done well in education in Tral have
got their mental nourishment from this school .His fathers
contribution to religious education is invaluable but Noor Ahmad
stole a leaf over him by contributing to the holistic education as he
was well versed in both. In a nutshell, he was a mard e momuin,
who had achieved tazkiyai nafas, a genuine traditional scholar, a
Qazi, an adminstrator, a waiz and a social leader.Tral and its
adjacent areas have lost an all protecting shield, a real community
leader who played multiple roles and whose place none could
replace at present. May God grant him the highest station in
Jannah and strength to us to tread on the path he painstakingly
showed during his . mature life

Since I have gone down the memory lane I feel an irresistible
urge to give more details related to Noor Sb, and women’s
When Noor Sb had come back from Deoband after completing his
formal education there, he started preaching Tawheed and
systematic Islamic thought and Ibadaat. He was persecuted by
his brethren who mistakenly thought that he was attacking their
beliefs, an attempt was made on his life and he leapt from the
window to escape the bid on his life, and never returned to that
home. He preached that the Prophet is the messenger of God
and not a partner unto Him nor has any saint any divine power. It
is shirk to ask them for help. He bore all those torments and
disgraces gracefully but stuck to his beliefs.That time there were
a handful of people who followed him.For the rest he was an
untouchable. As education spread, the entire area came under
the influence of his teachings and when he died on 23rd Jan
1993 swarms of people in lakhs came from all regions to mourn
his death and his opponents paid glowing tributes to his service to
Islam and people of the area.
Noor Ahmad didn’t have to go through all those trials and
tribulations.He had a vast youth following when his father passed
I clearly remember Noor Sb’s evolution about women’s modern
education. When I and my sister were send to govt school, Noor
Sb had objected to my father for sending us to govt school
because sometimes he led prayers and people will object to his
Imamat for sending his daughters to govt school and that girls
are at the risk of losing their morals/ values. My father had a great
passion to educate his daughters and craved for some magical
short cut to take us to higher classes .That is why I was directly
put in the 2nd primary class at the insistence of my father and the
school administration added four more years to my actual age for
jumping up the ladder. My father disagreed with Noor Sb arguing

that if he ever felt that his girls were going astray, he would call
them back. My father thought matric was the ultimate degree for
girls at that time and wanted us to reach there faster. He
promised to Noor Sb that he would let his daughters to have that
degree if they stick to the right path. He told him that he was not
committing any blasphemy that people could object to his imamat
by trying to educate his daughters even in a govt school and
Quoted: Talabul ilmu bisceen;talabul ilmu farizatan alla kuli
muslimin wa muslimah . In this hadith it was not said which kind
of exclusive education one should get. In the lighter vein he told
him that China would not have been suggested as a favorite
spot for acquiring religious education by the Prophet.
When I was appointed in the university and visited Noor Sb to
give him the news,he asked me for his share in my salary in a
humourous tone .I reminded him again light heartedly of the
general fallacy in the then Muslim society that women’s earnings
are haram for men and how could he take my earnings.He
debunked this fallacy very forcefully. Incidentally by this time all
his progeny- his sons, grand daughters and grand sons were
getting modem education so much so that his grand daughters
went to medical college and the university and became teachers,
doctors etc.
The real liberator for me,however, from the dead weight of
customs and conventional absurdities and the slavery of the
literal sense was Mohd Akbar Ganaei Sb who taught in the
Islamia school and who tutored me at home.He was a mystic by
nature and took me to the heart of Quran and Hadith beyond
words and beyond literality of legal discourse in Islam.I could
never repay him for opening up vistas of my mind and imagination
and opening up the reality of things.My mental growth started with
him and came to another level at the university where I was
introduced to western philosophies..I had by this time the
confidence of rejecting many philosophical ideas which were
shorn from godhead.Otherwise I could easily have been

alienated from God. Ganai Sb would often say that Noor

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