Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy & Allama Shibli Nomani
By Afzal Usmani
After the defeat in the wake of 1857 war of independence, the Muslims of India were the special target of British rulers. They destroyed lives and properties of the Muslim community and also encouraged Christian missionaries to preach against Islam. On global level, orientalists and western scholars also let loose their intellectual onslaught on Islamic faith, history, and civilization. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (Founder of MAO College Aligarh) and Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s (founder of Darul-Uloom Deoband) were the two notable personalities who responded to this onslaught. Allama Shibli Nomani learned from the experiences of his predecessors and developed a comprehensive education plan to bring dynamics in the entire field of learning. Darul Musannefin (House of Writers) was the integral part of such scheme. Allama Shibli, being an erudite scholar with great sense of history, knew very well that civilizations progress in continuity. He also understood the challenges of minorities in a pluralistic society. He envisioned Darul Musannefin as an institution that could produce a chain of scholars who would be well grounded in their own history and ancient sciences, have an aptitude for modern research methods, and open to new ideas. He believed that these scholars will serve as ‘think tank’ and through their research and writings will guide Muslims to meet modern challenges and live with dignity as a productive member of a pluralistic society. Allama published an outline of such institution in Al- Hilal (February 11, 1914). Unfortunately, Allama Shibli passed away on November 18, 1914 before his dream could be fully realized in his life time.
On November 21, 1914, three days after Allama’s death, his trusted students Maulana Hamiduddin Farahi and Maulana Syed Sulaiman Nadvi called a meeting and finally established the Darul Musannefin—The Shibli Academy. Maulana Hamiduddin Farahi was chosen as its president and Maulana Syed Sulaiman Nadvi became the Secretary & Maulana Masood Ali Nadwi was the Manager. These intellectual giants along with Maulana Masood Ali Nadvi gave shape to the Academy based on the ideas of their teacher and mentor, Allama Shibli Nomani.
The Academy is housed in an old bungalow-style building amidst acres of mango orchard. The campus has a mosque, a guest house, press building, residential quarters, a stock room and a conference hall. It is a self-contained institution, organized in several departments consisting of Research and Publication, Monthly Journal Ma’arif, Library, Press, and Administration.