ʿABD-AL-ḤAQQ MOḤADDEṮ DEHLAVĪ ḤAQQĪ, noted Mughal traditionist, historian, essayist, and biographer of saints. Born at Delhi in 958/1551, he was the son of Sayf-al-dīn b. Saʿdallāh and traced his ancestry back to Āgā Moḥammad Tork, who migrated to India from Bokhara and enjoyed the rank of amir under late Ḵalǰī and early Toḡloq rulers. His father’s instruction gave him a taste for mysticism, and he also studied at Fatḥpūr Sīkrī (q.v.), where his classmates included Mīrzā Neẓām-al-dīn Aḥmad and Fayżī (Aḵbār al-aḵyār, pp. 354f.). At age 22 he began to teach in his father’s madrasa, but we know little about this period (from 980/1572 to 995/1587), since it receives comparatively brief documentation even in his own autobiographical reflections (Neẓāmī, Ḥayāt, pp. 90-95).
In 995/1587, disgusted with the impious atmosphere of the Mughal court, ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq left for the Hejaz. He missed his ship and remained for one year at Ahmadabad, where Mīrzā Neẓām-al-dīn entertained him (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr., III, p. 168). Subsequently, he spent three years in Mecca and Medina, benefiting greatly from the company of Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Vahhāb Mottaqī and other scholars of Hadith. On his return to Delhi in 1000/1592, he taught and wrote in his ḵānaqāh for more than forty years. He compiled an enormous library of Hadith literature, even employing calligraphers to transcribe rare works for his own use. He became widely renowned for his learning and sanctity, to such an extent that Jahāgīr spoke warmly about the pleasure of his company, though not without a touch of condescension (Tūzok-e Jahāngīrī, tr. A. Rogers and H. Beveridge, London, 1909-14, II, p. 111). Among the several scholars and nobles with whom he corresponded were Shaikh Aḥmad Serhendī, ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Ḵān Ḵānān, Fayżī, and even Queen Nūr Jahān (Ketāb al-makātīb wa’l-rasāʾel, Delhi, 12297/1880, p. 72). Liberal in temperament, he usually ignored slight doctrinal differences, but he disliked the unorthodoxy of Fayżī and Abu’l-Fażl (Neẓāmī, Ḥayāt, pp. 241-44). He once quarreled with Shaikh Aḥmad Serhendī and may or may not have been later reconciled with him (see Y. Friedmann, Shaikh Aḥmad Serhendī, Montreal, 1971, p. 90, where the author challenges the authenticity of the letter of apology allegedly sent by ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq to Serhendī).
The distinguished literary legacy of ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq includes major contributions to several branches of Muslim learning, especially taṣavvof and biography. By his own reckoning (Fehrest al-tawālīf, takmela) he produced forty-nine works, but Neẓāmī (Ḥayāt, pp. 216-19) increases the total to sixty. The most significant among them are:
Hadith: 1. Lamaʿāt al-tanqīh, Arabic, commentary on Meškāt al-maṣābīḥ. 2. Ašeʿʿat al-lamaʿāt, Persian, expanded commentary on Meškāt, 4 volumes, Lucknow, 1305/1888. 3. Asmāʾ al-reǰāl wa’l-rowāt al-maḏkūrīn fī ketāb al-meškāt, Arabic. 4. Mā ṯabata be’l-sonna fī ayyām al-sonna, Arabic, Calcutta, 1253/1837. 5. Šarḥ-e sefr al-saʿāda (or al-ṭarīq al-qawīm fī šarḥ al-ṣerāṭ al-mostaqīm), Persian, Calcutta, 1252/1836, commentary on Maǰd-al-dīn Fīrūzābādī’s Sefr al-saʿāda, relating authentic traditions about the Prophet Moḥammad.
Taṣavvof : 1. Meftāḥ al-fotūḥ, Persian translation and commentary on Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Qāder Jīlānī’s Fotūḥ al-ḡayb, Lucknow, 1298/1881. 2. Tarǰama-ye ḡonyat al-ṭālebīn. 3. Nekāt al-ḥaqq wa’l-ḥaqīqat, Persian, Moradabad, 1891. 4. Maraǰ al-baḥrayn fi’l-ǰamʿ bayn al-ṭarīqayn, Persian, Delhi, 1265/1848.
Biography: 1. Aḥvāl-e aʾemma-ye eṯnāʿašar, Persian account of the Shiʿite Imams. 2. Madāreǰ al-nobūwa, detailed Persian biography of the Prophet, 2 volumes, Delhi, 1281/1864. 3. Zād al-mottaqīn, Persian essay on two major Hadith scholar/saints and some other notables of 16th-century Mecca. 4. Zobdat al-aṯār, Arabic, the life of Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Qāder Jīlānī, Bombay, 1304/1887; translated into Persian at the order of Prince Dārā Šokūḵ (Neẓāmī, Ḥayāt, p. 205). 5. Aḵbār al-aḵyār, Persian, the most complete and accurate Mughal taḏkera of Indian Sufis, Delhi, 1270/1853, 1282/1865, 1309/1891, 1332/1914.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq’s travelogue of his journey to Arabia (Jaḏb al-qolūb elā dīār al-maḥbūb, Persian, 1263/1847), his histories of Muslim India (Tārīḵ-e Ḥaqqī and Ḏekr al-molūk, both in Persian), his poetry and letters, his studies of logic, philosophy, dogma, and ethics—all are cited in the takmela to his Fehrest al-tawālīf (or Taʾlīf qalb al-alīf), Persian notes on poets and scholars of Delhi, partially translated in Elliot, History of India VI, pp. 483-92.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq died in 1052/1642 and, in accord with his will, was buried on the west bank of Ḥawż-e Šamsī in a tomb which still exists (Vāqeʿāt III, p. 309). He was survived by three sons: Moḥammad Hāšem, a minor traditionist; ʿAlī Moḥammad, the author of mediocre devotional tracts; and Nūr-al-Ḥaqq (q.v.; d. 1073/1662), the most distinguished as well as the eldest, having to his credit commentaries on Boḵārī and Termeḏī and a general history of Muslim India entitled Zobdat al-tawārīḵ.
Aḵbār al-aḵyār, takmela, Delhi, 1270/1853. Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr., III, pp. 167-72.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd Lāhūrī, Pādšāhnāma, Calcutta, 1868, I, pp. 341-42.
Ḡolām-ʿAlī Āzād Belgrāmī, Maʾāṯer al-kerām, Agra, 1329/1911, pp. 200-01.
Idem, Sobḥat al-marǰān, Bombay, 1303/1886, p. 51.
Moḥammad Ṣāleḥ Kanbūh, ʿAmal-e Ṣāleḥ, Calcutta, 1939, III, pp. 384-85.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Āṯār al-ṣanādīd, Delhi, 1864, p. 63.
Ḡolām Sarvar Lāhūrī, Ḵazīnat al-aṣfīāʾ, Lahore, 1284/1867-68, p. 153.
Faqīr Moḥammad, Ḥadāʾeq al-ḥanafīya, Lucknow, 1886, pp. 409-12.
Ahmad, Ind. Arab. Lit. I, pp. 43, 56, 60, 149, 273, 277, 299, 376, 398.
Muhammad Ishaq, India’s Contribution to the Study of Hadith Literature, Dacca, 1955, pp. 146-54.
Storey, I, pp. 194-95, 214, 441, 427, 979-80.
Hidayat Husain, “Autobiography of Maulānā ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq,” JASB 22, 1925, pp. 43-44.
Elliot, History of India VI, pp. 175-78, 483-92.
Bašīr-al-dīn Aḥmad, Vāqeʿāt-e dār al-ḥokūmat Dehlī (Urdu), Agra, 1919, III, pp. 304-09.
Ḵāleq Aḥmad Neẓāmī, Ḥayāt-e ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq (Urdu), Delhi, 1953.
(N. H. Zaidi)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 113-114