Shah Waliullah

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Shah Waliullah (1702–62). An Indian Islamic reformer, who was a Sunni and a leading Naqshbandī Sūfī. He lived at a time when the Indian Muslims were bitterly divided and were suffering a decline in political power. He wrote fifty-one major works in Arabic and Persian. His magnum opus, Hujjatullah-ul-Balaghah (covering Qurʾān, sharīʿa, tasawwuf, politics, and philosophy), is a restatement of Islam allowing rational and empirical arguments on a much broader basis than the traditional line. His vast influence can still be perceived in such reform movements as Jamaat-al-Islam, Tableeghi Jamaat, Iqbal's neo-modernism, the Ahl-al-Hadith, the Barelvi, and Deoband, all of which invoke Shah Waliullah's authority in support of their views.

Waliullah, an eminent Sūfī himself, also began the task of reforming Sufism which had declined extensively into a commercial exploitation of superstition.

On political and socio-economic matters, Waliullah upheld the principle of unity and toleration, condemning sectarianism and Sunni/Shīʿa polemics.