Nooruddîn was born in 1840, in Bhera, Panjab (at that time part of British India). He received his early religious and medical education in India, and later spent many years of his life in the cities of Makkah and Madînah. He lived there in a spiritually close and long association with scholars like Shah ‘Abdul Ghanî, (grandson of Shah Wallîullâh Muhaddith Dehlavî) and other Islamic scholars whose daily speech mirrored the genuine spirit of Islam. While in Makkah he was able to feel, hear, and read Arabic prose and poetry of the time when the Qur’ân was being revealed.
His influence on the modern Islamic thought is profound and widespread. Several modern English translations and exegeses of the Qur’ân have been done by his students under his direct or indirect influence and guidance.
He was one of the clearest and wisest Islamic thinkers of his age. His knowledge of the Qur’ân was vast and his learning on Islam thorough. His numerous lectures, learned sermons, and Qur’ânic seminars were published during his life time. He pursued a scholarly and an academic interpretation of Islam under the guiding principles of the Holy Qur’ân. He followed and taught the Qur’ânic religious injunctions (Sunnah ‘ibâdîya) as it was understood, explained, and practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He not only collected and consulted the previous commentaries of the Qur’ân but also referred to the oldest and most reliable Arabic lexicons and poetry of pre-Islamic time to ascertain the real, classical and root meanings of the Arabic words used in the Qur’ân. He had an invaluable collection of classical Islamic books in his personal library, which was considered one of the best personal Islamic libraries (Oriental College Magazine, Punjab University, 1914, India). He was aware that all chapters of the Holy Qur’ân are interconnected by a central theme that reflects the wisdom and unity of purpose of God and we are not permitted to make any change in the sequence of the text. He not only followed the sober and rational approach shown by the great classical commentators like Ibn Jarîr, Ibn Kathîr, Abû Hayyân, al-Baidzâwî, Râzî, Ibn Qayyim and others, but also his own conscious probing for the genuine. He consulted the previous Scriptures, books of Hadîth, Muslim history and jurisprudence, but never paid any attention to the mystic beliefs, exegesis based on personal opinion (tafsîr-bi-raiy), and religious stories (qasas) of the Bible. He was of the opinion that verses of the Qur’ân do not contradict each other. Hence, a Qur’ânic verse cannot be abrogated by any other Qur’ânic verse or replaced by a Tradition of Prophet (pbuh).
He very well knew that an important requisite for a profitable study of the Qur’ân is Prayer (al-Salât). He never neglected supplication to God whenever he had difficulty in understanding a verse. He also knew that a multiplicity of meanings of the Qur’ânic verses should not and do not create any contradiction, the message of the Qur’ân could not be confined to the few meanings, which may be set out in a commentary. It is because of this fact that we find in his exegesis many new insights and verities. However, his attempts were not against the fundamental rules and standards for the correct interpretations of the Holy Qur’ân.
Nooruddîn was an intellectual who stands out as an extraordinary figure in the ranks of literates and religious scholars. A great personality, pure in morals, earnest and tireless in his search for Truth. His Qur’ânic insight was deep and his observational faculties keen. There was sincerity in his word and in his writings. His veracity and enthusiasm imbued his audience with feelings akin to his own. Correctness of thought and action was always the goal of his striving.
He was of healthy and firm physique, retentive memory, great tenacity and capacity for methodical work. Throughout his life he was strictly honest, and generous to the poor. He was also a renowned physician and spent sixteen years of his life as the personal physician of the Maharaja (ruler) of Kashmir. He was of the opinion that there is a deep relationship between the principles of spiritual medicine and physical medicine.
Mrs. Amatul Rahmân Omar is probably the first Muslim woman in the Islamic history to translate the Holy Qur’ân in English. Handwritten notes of ‘Allâmah Nooruddîn, his published Friday-Sermons and lectures on subjects of Qur’ân; his books and Qur’ânic explanations are the basis of her English translation. The Qur’ân thus explained and interpreted by him was rendered into English by his daughter-in-law. She earned her Master’s Degree in Arabic from the University of the Panjab, Lahore, Pakistan in 1950. She was awarded gold medals and other awards from the University for her Outstanding Distinction and achievement in the Arabic language. She spent most part of her life in teaching Arabic and English.
Abdul Mannân Omar: Amatul Rahmân Omar was assisted in her difficult task of translation of the Holy Qur’ân by her learned husband Abdul Mannân Omar. Because of his erudition and knowledge of Islamic studies, this fact, among many others, is a living testimony that for years he has been the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Islam (20 Volumes). He is also the author of more than hundred scholarly articles on Islam, published in the Encyclopedia of Islam. Moreover, he authored “Dictionary of the Holy Qur’ân” (Arabic to English). This scholarly masterpiece combines classical Arabic dictionaries in one. The dictionary explains the real, classical, and root meanings of all the Qur’ânic words with their derivatives. It includes index of all Qur’ânic words and their roots.
He also had the honour of arranging, indexing, and subject-wise codifying, for the first time, the classical work of the original Musnad of Imâm Ahmad bin Hanbal, comprising of approximately 30,000 ahâdîth (Traditions and sayings of the Prophet pbuh). The original Musnad was arranged according to the name of the narrator and not according to the subject and topic. This new work is published under the title, “Subject Codification of the Musnad Imâm Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal” in 10 volumes (Arabic only). Both migrated from their country of origin, India, later Pakistan and lived in Germany and the USA to complete their work on Qur’ân and Hadîth.
There is no claim of infallibility and no claim that this commentary/Tafsîr ( (تفسیر cannot be improved further. It is not to be expected that all the transcendent excellencies and miraculous beauties of the Holy Qur’ân could be unveiled here.
Germany and USA (2015)