At the age
of 95, Professor Muhammad Hamidullah breathed last on December 17, 2002, in
Jacksonville, Fl. He woke up for Fajr (Dawn) prayer and then after breakfast
went to sleep never to wake up again.
Muhammad Hamidullah, was born in 1908, and obtained a degree in Theology and Law
from Osmania University in the state of Hyderabad Deccan (India). He also
studied in Germany and France where he received his PhD in International Law. He
was a law professor in his native city. Later he settled in France and a few
years ago he came to the United States. The professor never married. He was
being taken care by his the grand daughter of his brother, sister Sadida who
left her job to devote herself for him.
Hamdiullah's scholarship is unparalleled in the last century. He translated
the Quran in French and many other languages. He also translated a number of
other important Islamic books in many European languages. He authored more than
250 books and research papers. He lived a life of anonymity in France and the
United States without seeking any help from anyone or recognition for his work.
He was a silent scholar.
pirated his books and made hundreds and thousands of dollars, yet he never
thought of settling the accounts in a court of law. His books have been printed
illegally in different languages all over the world. I had the opportunity to
visit him a few years ago in Wilkes Berre. At his feet I learned the lesson of
humility and anonymity. I learned the art of patience and total service and
dedication to Islam. He had no grudge against those who harmed him. He even
prayed for those who often tried to humiliate him for his opinions.
is He (God) who hath power over all things.
As a great
researcher of this century, Professor Hamidullah went to those original Islamic
sources that were often buried in the dusty shelves of libraries in the Muslim
world. He was the one who discovered the earliest hadith manuscript in a
Damascus library that he published in the Urdu language known as Sahifa Hamam.
He wrote several researched treatise on the early life of Muslims.
remained a neglected scholar because he retained his individual freedom and
identity. He didn't join any group or organization.
His was a
life of dedication to Islamic research and he left behind him a legacy of
intellect that many generations will benefit from. Soon, people will discover
him as perhaps the greatest Islamic scholar of the previous century. Soon the
people will regret that they could not benefit from him when he was alive.
Professor Muhammad Hamidullah for giving us the research on crucial Islamic
issues. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to the body of Islamic
literature. You lived a full live. You remained in poverty but enriched the life
of others with your knowledge. You stayed away from the usual temptation of
life, yet you inspired many to dedicate their lives for Islam.
Professor. We will meet again. We pray that you will be among the categories of
those selected scholars who will have the blessings of God upon them. You will
be the one blessed because you were the real inheritor of Prophets.