Allamah Shibli Nu'mani (1857 - 1914) was a respected scholar of Islam and Historian from Indian subcontinent during British Raj. He was born in Bindwal, Azamgarh district of present-day Uttar Pradesh. He founded the Shibli National College in 1883 and the Darul Mussanifin in Azamgarh.
He was also a poet and was fluent in Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Turkish and Urdu.
He went to Makkah for Hajj and there he devoted his time to furthering his studies in Islamic theology, history, philosophy and Sufism from different scholars in Arabia.
On his return from Makkah he met Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who had just established Aligarh Muslim University. Allamah Nu'mani was offered and joined a teaching position at the university in 1882.
He left Aligarh after the death of Sir Syed Ahmed in 1898 and became an advisor in the Education Department of Hyderabad State.
From his policy, the Osmania University of Hyderabad adopted Urdu as the medium of instruction. Before that no other university of India had adopted any native language as the medium of instruction in higher studies.
In 1908 he left Hyderabad and joined Nadwatul-Ulum (Nadwa) as Principal. There he introduced reforms in teaching and curriculum. He stayed there for five years but the orthodox class of scholars became hostile towards him, and he then left Nadwa and went Azamgarh (his birthplace) in 1913.
He wanted to establish Darul Musannifin (The House of Writers) but was not able to do so at Nadwa. Then at Azamgarh, he bequeathed his bungalow and mango orchard and motivated the members of his clan and relatives to do the same and succeeded.
Eventually one of his disciples, Syed Sulaiman Nadvi fulfilled his dream and established Darul Musannifin at Azamgarh, where the first formal meeting of the institution was held on 21 November 1914, within three days of Allamah Shibli's death.
Allamah Shibli was Greatly inspired by the progress of science and education in the West. He wanted to inspire the Muslims to make similar progress by having recourse to their lost heritage and culture, and warned them against getting lost in Western culture.
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