Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]

Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]


Dr Mustansir Mir /DrShehzad Saleem

Al-Farāhī was born in 1863 in Phriha (hence the name al-Farāhī), a small village in Azamgarh district (Uttar Pardesh, India). He was a cousin of the famous theologian-historian Shiblī Nu'mānī (d. 1914), from whom he learnt Arabic. He studied Arabic literature withFayd al-Hasan al-Sahāranpūrī (d. 1887), who was considered a master in this field at that time. At the age of twenty one, he took admission in the Aligarh Muslim College to study modern disciplines of knowledge. Here he also learnt Hebrew from the German Orientalist Josef Horovitz (d. 1931). After his graduation from the Allahbad university, he taught at various institutions including Muslim University in Aligarh, Sindh Madrasah al-Islam in Karachi and Dār al-'Ulūm in Hyderabad.

Whilst teaching in Hyderabad, al-Farāhī proposed the setting up of a university where all religious and modern sciences would be taught in Urdu. Later, his vision materialized in 1919 in the form of Jāmi'ah 'Uthmāniyyah, Hyderabad. In 1925, he returned to his home town Azamgarh and took charge of the Madrasah al-Islāh. Here, besides managing the affairs of the Madrasah, al-Farāhī devoted most of his time in training a few students. Among them, was Amīn Ahsan Islāhī (d. 1997) who was destined to become the greatest exponent of his thought after him. Al-Farāhī died on 11th November 1930 in Mathra, where he had gone for treatment.

For almost fifty years, al-Farāhī reflected over the Qur'an, which remained his chief interest and the focal point of all his writings. His greatest contribution is to re-direct the attention of Muslim scholars to the Qur'ān as the basis and ultimate authority in all matters of religion. He stressed that the Qur'ān should be practically regarded as the mīzān (the scale that weighs the truth) and the furqān (the distinguisher between good and evil), a status which it invests on itself. Thus no narrative can alter or modify the purport of the Qur'ān. Narratives should be interpreted in the light shed by this divine book and not vice versa. It was as a result of this status of the Qur'ān that he insisted on the univocity of the Qur'ānic text and rejected that variant readings be regarded as the Qur'ān per se.

It was his deep deliberation on the Qur'ān that led him to unfold its nazm (coherence) in a unique way. By taking into consideration, the three constituents of nazm: order (tartīb), proportion (tanāsub) and unity (wahdāniyah), he proved that a single interpretation of the Qur'ān was possible.

Al-Farāhī also made another significant contribution by rewriting and reconstructing most sub-disciplines of the Arabic language needed to study the Qur'ān.

Almost all of al-Farāhī's works are in Arabic. Except for a few, most of them are in the form of notes and unfinished books. He could only complete a few of them. Foremost among them is a collection of his interpretation of fourteen sūrahs of the Qur'ān by the name Tafsīr Nizām al-Qur'ān wa tā'wīl al-Furqān bi al-Furqān. In his Mufradāt al-Qur'ān, he explained some difficult words and constructions of the Qur'ān. He elucidated the nature of oaths and adjurations in the Qur'ān in his book entitled Al-Im'ān fī aqsām al-Qur'ān. In his book, Al-Rā'y al-sahīhfī man huwa al-dhabīh, he elaborated upon the philosophy of sacrifice and by furnishing evidence from the Qur'ān and the Torah conclusively refuted the claim of the Jews that it was Isaac (sws) whom Abraham (sws) had intended to sacrifice not lshmael (sws). He re-laid the principles of rhetoric needed to study the Qur'ān in Jamhurah al-balāghah and outlined some special Qur'ānic styles and constructions in Asālīb al-Qur'ān. The arguments he presented to verify the principle of coherence are soundly enlisted in Dalā'il al-nizām. His complete mastery of Arabic and Persian can be seen from his poetical works in both these languages.

Besides these scholarly dissertations, there are at least twenty other unfinished works which need to be completed and developed further.

Articles by this author




The Hagar-Zam Zam Narrative

Introduction to the Qur’an

Overcoming Despair and Dejection


The Better Human

Poise and Balance

When the Tough get Going!

Surah Bani Isra’il (3/3)

Surah Bani Isra’il (2/3)

The Importance of the Word “Self”

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Animal Rights

Qualities of a Good Teacher

Let us Live for Others!

The Art of Positive Thinking

Virtues of Silence

The Person in the Mirror

Some Requests to Young Adults

Some Requests to Wives

Humanity burnt at the Stake*

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (2/2)

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (1/2)

Some Remedies for Jealousy

Four Steps to Selflessness

The Five Essentials of Constructive Criticism

An Introduction to Ghamidi’s Mizan

How to overcome Selfishness

Your Question Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’anic Words

Anger Management

Some Suggestions for Married Couples

God’s Domain

Let us Light up our Prayers!

Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!


Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!


A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (3/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (4/4)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri (The Father Figure of Al-Mawrid!)

Brief Profile

Special Issue

Charity: Points to Ponder

Your Question Answered

“Dignity in Hard Labour Lies!”


Never Lose Hope!

The Trials of Life

Anger Management

Handling Mature Children

Let us Promise…

An Introduction to Ghāmidī’s Mīzān

Visit to a Graveyard

Are We Ready to Die?

A Shame to Humanity[1]!

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 4/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 3/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 2/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 1/4)

The Key to Successful Marriage

Taming the Tongue

Sexual Intimacy between Husband and Wife

Pretension and Pomposity

The Cause of Truth

Narrative on the Changes made in the Qur’ān by al-Hajjāj ibn Yūsuf

Sūrah Mā’idah (64-89)


A Man of Steel

Critical Evaluation of Ustuwānah al-Mushaf Narratives


Fasting in Extreme Conditions

How to overcome Selfishness

Nothing but the Truth, Please!

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 1/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 2/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 3/3)

A Tribute to Brig (retd.) Noor Ahmed Husain (Quaid e Azam’s Last Military ADC)


Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]

Appendix B:  A Brief Summary of the Views of Traditional and Radical Western Scholars

Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars

A Critical Evaluation of Farahī’s View on the Collection of the Qur’ān

A Citizen of Paradise (Written on the Martyrdom of Dr Habib ur Rahman)



Your Questions Answered

Reason and Revelation

Your Questions Answered