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The book provides important insights into the life of one of the most influential Muslims of the 20th century. His upbringing, the early influences on his life, and the teachers he benefited from. Written by a former student, the author is respectful of his teacher but careful not to turn the biography into a eulogy, as is often the case with biographies written by former students.

The author allows Shaykh Nadwi to speak for himself, by translating generous portions of his writings from Arabic and Urdu. Some of these portions have hitherto never been available in English and provide new insights for readers who may already be familiar with Shaykh Nadwi’s approach and methodology.

The section titled `Correction of ideas and concepts’ in chapter 4 is particularly informative and reveals Shaykh Nadwi’s balanced and dispassionate approach to dealing with conflicts and disagreements.

The book itself has been carefully produced to a very high standard. The translation, editing and indexing are of a high quality and make the book a pleasure to hold and read. It does justice to Shaykh Nadwi, himself a prolific biographer.

The book is essential reading for anyone interested in Indian Muslims and the development of Muslim thought during the tumultuous time when India was transitioning itself from colonialism and asserting its own independent identity. Shaykh Nadwi played a pivotal role in guiding Muslims to asserting their identity as Indians, while being totally faithful to their religion.

Zaidun (Amazon)

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