By Dr. Tariq Ghazi
Maulana Sa‘eed Ansari was a journalist and historian who was well known for writing biographies of prominent Ansari men and women of The Madinah. He was born on 6 February 1894 in Khaildar locality of Fatehpur Haswa, Uttar Pradesh, India. His ancestors hailed from Yasinpur Ansar of the Ghazipur line of descent. In 1902 he was admitted to Kanpur’s Madrasah Jami al-Uloom for early education and completed studies in Islamic sciences in 1911.
Soon afterwards, in 1915, he joined as Fellow of the Dar ul-Musannifin in Azamgarh, for which he wrote several books on early Islamic history. In 1937 he moved to Allahabad as editor of the Hindustani, a monthly magazine published by the Hindustani Academy. For some time, he also edited weekly news magazine Faran Bijnor published by the Madinah chain of newspapers. Since academia was his main interest, he taught in many madrasahs and schools. For many years he taught at the Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi. After Partition of India, he had migrated to Pakistan where he contributed to the encyclopedia project of Punjab University, Lahore.
Maulana Ansari had excellent command over both Persian and Arabic and his Arabic prose was considered to be of a very high standard. For that reason in 1917 he was elected member of the Arabic Literary Association of London, on recommendation of Professor Mordecai Margolioth (1910-1968). As an author, he wrote three volumes on brief history and biographies of leading men and women of the Ansar as part of the Dar ul-Musannifin series of the biographies of the Sahabah. Another notable book authored by him was Tafsir Abu Muslim Isfahani which was published in 1921. In addition a 230-page collection of articles carried by the Ma‘arif Urdu magazine and a diwan of his Ghazals in Persian also went to his credit. His unpublished works included Mukhtasar Tarikh i Islam, Falsafa i Islam ki Tarikh and Islami Jughrafiyah. He died on 4 October 1962.