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Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has adopted peace as the mission of his life.  A recent book, The 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2009 by Georgetown University, Washington DC, has named him “Islam’s Spiritual Ambassador to the world.” His approach, the book points out, is “popular among Indians, both Muslim and non-Muslim.”

Born in Azamgarh (U.P.) in 1925 and educated in a seminary, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is well versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. His research led him to conclude that the need of the hour was to present Islamic teachings in the style and language of the post-scientific era.

Early Challenges

Having lost his father, Fariduddin Khan, at an early age in 1929, he was brought up by his mother, Zaibunnisa Khatoon. He comments that becoming an orphan very early in life taught him that, to succeed in life, you have to take such situations as challenges and not as problems. Being an advocate of result-oriented and positive action, he explains that treating such situations as problems can only be negative in result. All you can do in this state is either try to fight to remove them or lodge complaints or protests against them. On the other hand, if you take such situations as challenges, you can positively and constructively work to overcome them yourself, as and when suitable opportunities present themselves. His success in life is largely due to the implementation of this and other such principles, which he has derived from Islamic scriptures.

His Education

Since his family was involved in India’s freedom struggle from the very outset, as a very young man he became a staunch nationalist in the period prior to India gaining its independence in 1947, and he continues to be such till today. Although his brother, Abdul Muhit Khan, his cousin Iqbal Ahmad Sohail and other members of his family were sent to western-style schools for their education, with the help of his uncle Sufi Abdul Hamid Khan, the young Wahiduddin was enrolled at a traditional Islamic seminary, the Madrasatul Islahi, in Sarai Mir, near Azamgarh in 1938 to receive religious education. Here he spent six years, completing this course and graduating in 1944.

Although he had unconsciously loved to live with nature from childhood, during his days at the seminary he learnt that the Quran teaches man to observe and reflect on nature – God’s creation. Here, he consciously began to imbibe this principle in his life, and observation and reflection became the seeds that were to develop in him a scientific and analytical bent of mind, which he effectively applies till today in both religious and secular fields.

After graduating from this seminary of traditional Islamic learning, he started interacting with people to begin his life – considering his education to be complete. As it happened, the people whom he came across had received a modern, English medium education. During some of these interactions, he was deeply shocked to realize that, although his education had been completed, he was not able to respond to statements and questions put to him by others such as, “You can believe in religion only as a matter of faith, as it falls only into the framework of primary rationalism and not secondary rationalism,” and “Will there be anything lacking in history if Prophet Muhammad were to be taken out of it?” Questions such as these presented a new challenge to him.

His elder brother wanted him to join the family business, but realizing that, without studying English and modern science, his education would be incomplete, the young Khan immersed himself in learning English and then went on to study innumerable books on science and contemporary thought. Developing a voracious appetite for knowledge, he would visit the library early in the morning and leave only when requested to do so by the librarian at closing time. His quest for knowledge can be gauged by the fact that, even today he constantly questions all visitors coming to him, so that he may gain fresh knowledge from interacting with them.

Well-Versed in Traditional Learning and Modern Sciences 

As a result of his quest and resulting research, he became well versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern science. He then realized the need to present Islamic teachings in the style and language of modern times. Khan’s primary concern has been to present Islam as a perfectly suitable ideology for the modern age. Having a deep understanding of the original Arabic scriptures and with his extensive research in the fields of modern thought and science, Maulana has presented to the world – in the modern idiom – the real face of Islam, based as it is on peace, tolerance and co-existence. He dispels the notion that Islam is a religion of violence, a notion that has gained currency in the present times, because of Islam being misrepresented and therefore misunderstood. He deals at great length in his writings with issues relating to pluralism, inter-faith dialogue and peace. Let us now turn to Khan’s own distinct interpretation of how Islam can be understood in the modern world, an interpretation which claims to be both authentic and at the same time relevant in the present day context.

His Calling

Upon completion of his research, in 1955, he published his first book, Naye Ahd Ke Darwaze Par, or ‘On the Threshold of a New Era’. This book, the result of his exhaustive studies, was further elaborated upon in his next work, Ilme Jadid Ka Challenge, or ‘Islam and Modern Challenges’, which was later published as ‘God Arises’. The culmination of his research was his book, Al Islam, in which he presented the ideology developed by him, which was completely based on the original Islamic Scriptures. Continuing to write since then, he has authored over 200 books.

His book, ‘God Arises’ has been accepted as the standard Islamic position on modern thought and has been incorporated in the curricula of universities in over six Arab countries. It has been translated into various languages, such as English, Arabic, Malay, Turkish, Hindi, Malayalam and Sindhi. Its Arabic version has been published under the title of Al-Islam Yatahadda and has become popular throughout the Arab world.

From 1967 onwards, he has been addressing public and private gatherings in order to advocate a policy, which should be constructive, nationalist and inter-nationalist in nature. He has become actively involved in serving the cause of national and international unity based on peace and inter-faith harmony, and has extended his mission to interfaith efforts, by which he seeks, in the modern idiom, to present to the world the peaceful, tolerant spirit of Islam. Over a period of time, he has begun to contribute articles to various journals and newspapers, and has become a regular contributor to several national and international dailies and magazines.

Launch of Islamic Centre and Al Risala 

To give full expression to these positive ideas, he established the Islamic Centre at New Delhi in 1970. Subsequently, the organ of the Centre, Al-Risala – the monthly magazine – was launched in Urdu in 1976. This journal, consisting entirely of his own articles, quickly acquired a wide circulation throughout the Urdu-speaking world, and has done much to make people understand the peaceful face of Islam, to awaken in Muslims a new awareness of their social responsibilities and to promote positive thinking and action. The first issues of the English and Hindi versions of Al-Risala were launched respectively in February 1984, and December 1990. The English version continues to be published under the title of Spiritual Message till today.

Clear Translation of the Quran 

The Maulana explains that the Quran is a divine book revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the first quarter of the seventh century. The Quran does not claim to be a superior book or a complete book. All the books sent by God were originally one and the same. The only merit that can be claimed for the Quran is that it is a book of divine revelation faithfully preserved as regards text and language in its original form.  This gives the Quran authenticity and credibility so one can study it with the conviction that it God’s preserved Message for mankind. The objective of the Quran is to make man aware of the Creation Plan of God or what is the purpose of man’s life on earth. According to the divine plan, man was created as an eternal being. The Creator divided man's life into two parts, the pre-death period and the post-death period. The pre-death period is the test period and the post-death period is the reward period. The pre-death period is for a temporary period while the post-death period is to last for eternity. Man's test is basically a freedom-based test. One who misuses his freedom he will be deprived of God's blessings and one who uses his freedom properly, he will be rewarded with eternal paradise. The Quran gives all the necessary details of this divine scheme. 

Although written originally in Arabic, the Quran has been made accessible, thanks to translations, to those who have no knowledge of Arabic. While no substitute for the original, translations of the Quran spread the word of God far beyond the Arabic speaking peoples to a far broader spectrum of humanity, thus, serving the single purpose of conveying the eternal guidance of God to all mankind.

While many translations of the Arabic preserved Quran were available. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan felt that a translation and commentary of the Quran in the modern scientific idiom was still needed. He translated the Quran in Urdu along with the commentary entitled Tazkirul Quran. This is also available in Hindi (Pavitra Quran) and Arabic (Al Tazkirul Qaweem fi Tafseeril Quran il Hakeem).

New Translation of the Quran in English

English has become the truly international language with over 75% of the world population understanding it. The Quran Complex, Madinah, Saudi Arabia conducted a research on the impact of the various translations of the Quran in English. They concluded: 

“In spite of 47 English Quran translations, none has received the acceptance of    the  modern world.” – Bibliography of the Translations and the Meanings of   the Quran in  English (1649–2002) 

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan with his team worked tirelessly to translate the Quran and commentary in English, which is published under the title, ‘The Quran’. The feedback of this translation is that it is lucid, easy to understand and in contemporary English. Some of the feedbacks are given below:

“Simple and direct, the book being extremely readable reaches out to a large  audience, Muslims as well as non-Muslim … .”— Review of The Quran   (English) by  the Speaking Tree, Times of India, 16 May 2010

“All I can say is that I found it more readable than any translation I had read earlier. I recommend it to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”– Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times, January 09, 2010

Millions of copies of ‘The Quran’ have been distributed worldwide. Receiving world-wide acceptance it is considered a peaceful translation of the Quran that is easy to understand in simple, contemporary English. Besides English and Urdu its translations are now available in more than 20 International and Indian languages like Braille (English), German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese and Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati and Malyalam. Translations-cum-Commentaries are available in English, Arabic, Hindi, Telugu and Marathi.  Efforts are on to translate it in all International and Indian languages. 

Supporting Material

Presenting Islam as a complete ideology of peace, he presents to the world the true face of Islam based, as it is, on peace, tolerance, pluralism and co-existence and helps people understand their purpose in life by explaining the creation plan of God. Besides his over 200 books he has written thousands of articles for national and international dailies and magazines and given thousands of lectures in Urdu and English that have been preserved for posterity. This material presents Islam ‘as it is’ as exemplified in the early period of Islam. One who wants to understand Islam has simply refer to this material for guidance.

For those who want to understand Islam better and find a solution to present-day terrorism the Maulana explains that present-day violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam is due to the ‘political interpretation of Islam,’ which has no basis in Islam but has developed in reaction to Western dominance. As such it is not a case of gun vs gun; it is a case of ideology of ideology. Muslims today have become victims of this wrong ideology, ‘political interpretation of Islam’ that gives them justification for using violence. The only way to solve this problem is to present Muslims the right ideology of Islam based on the Quran and Hadith that acts as a counter ideology and takes the justification of violence away leading to peace.

“The slim and handy book (published by Penguin) is a timely rebuttal to jihadist mentality and a guide to those who wish to understand Islam better.” 
 – The Times of India (ST)

He has presented the counter ideology—ideology of peace—in his hundreds of articles and many books like ‘The Ideology of Peace’, The ‘True Jihad’, ‘Islam and Peace’, ‘The Prophet of Peace: Teachings of The Prophet Muhammad’ published by Penguin Books, ‘Islam and World Peace’ and ‘Political Interpretation of Islam.’

“This book offers an explanation of the teachings of Islam in a contemporary style and aims at providing such an interpretation of Islam as will address the modern mind.”—Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, The Vision of Islam

The culmination of his research was his book, Al Islam, which has been published in English as ‘The Vision of Islam.’ In it he presents the interpretation of the Islamic Scriptures in the modern idiom based on peace and spirituality. He has since authored over 200 books, booklets and leaflets on prophetic wisdom and peaceful co-existence in a multi-ethnic society giving the correct interpretation of the Islamic Scriptures such as ‘Islam-The Voice of Human Nature,’ ‘Islam Rediscovered’, ‘Quran for All Humanity,’ ‘Quranic Wisdom’ and ‘From the Spiritual Tree.’


Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, who is well traveled, and the recipient of several national and International awards, has made a very great contribution to world peace in his tireless campaign to avert the danger of a nuclear conflict between various countries. To this end he put forward a proposal for a worldwide movement for nuclear disarmament at a peace forum held at Zug in Switzerland in 2002. On that occasion, he was awarded the Demiurgus Peace International Award by the Nuclear Disarmament Forum AG. The award, under the patronage of the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, was given to acknowledge his outstanding achievements in strengthening peace among nations and for his efforts to develop a complete ideology of peace and present Islamic teachings in the style and language of the present day. The award was presented at a ceremony by Dr Alexander Bessmertnykh, chairman of the World Council of Former Foreign Ministers (WCFFM). He has also been awarded the title of Ambassador of Peace by the International Federation for World Peace, Korea.

On 30th April, 2015, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Maulana Wahiduddin Khan was awarded the Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Ibn Ali Peace Award by the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies at Abu Dhabi for his contributions to peace in from of over 350 scholars and faith leaders. He has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

He has also been felicitated with the Padam Bhushan, the Rajeev Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award, the National Integration Award, the Communal Harmony Award, the Diwaliben Mohan Lal Mehta Award, presented by the former President of India, the National Amity Award, presented by the former Prime Minister of India, the Dilli Gaurav Award, presented by the Chief Minister of Delhi, the FIE Foundation Award, the Urdu Academy Award, the Aruna Asaf Ali Sadbhavna Award and the National Citizen’s Award, presented by Mother Teresa.

Centre for Peace and Spirituality 

To spread spiritual wisdom based on peace to mankind across the globe, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan established CPS International, i.e. Centre for Peace and Spirituality in January 2001. As is apparent from its name, the organization aims to promote and reinforce the culture of peace through mind-based spirituality. Under Maulana’s patronage and inspired by his spiritual wisdom, the activities of the centre: peace efforts and inter-faith efforts to help individuals understand the importance of peace. With the objective of unleashing their spiritual potential so as to construct intellectually awakened positive personalities, the centre shares spiritual wisdom. The objective of these efforts is to enable individuals to de-condition and re-engineer their minds - which according to Maulana is the real personality of man - along positive lines.

The goal of CPS is to bring about an intellectual revolution in the individuals and reveal their true, positive personalities so that they become peaceful members of society.

The centre helps inquisitive minds, intellectuals and seekers after truth to find their purpose of life. It aims at helping them to rationally find answers to questions pertaining to the ideology of life. It also gives a scientific explanation of the Monotheistic concept of God, the Hereafter and the Creation Plan of God. As a result, participants, while understanding their purpose in life, embark on a journey in search of truth. This elevates their consciousness by allowing their intellect to discover their Creator and lead a God-oriented life in accordance with the principles laid down by their Creator. Maulana believes that when individuals such as these are collected in sufficient numbers, it results in a peaceful society.

The sphere of action of CPS International is global. The centre is giving to the people of the world a sustainable message of truth, peace and spirituality and training them based on the universal principles of life,. This is being done using all peaceful means: the publication of books, magazines, on-line material; one-on-one interactions in the daily and spiritual sessions; addressing individuals and groups in inter-faith and peace efforts, lectures, conferences and seminars; production of audio-visual material; and television and radio broadcasts.

Callers to Peace

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has been a great advocate of peace directly or indirectly since 1950. He has participated in numerous peace conferences and made a considerable number of writings on peace. In 1992, when the atmosphere was so highly charged throughout India due to the Babri Mosque incident, he felt the necessity to convince people of the need to restore peace and amity between the two communities, so that the country might once again tread the path of progress. To fulfill this end, he went on a 15-day Shanti Yatra (peace march) through Maharashtra along with Acharya Muni Sushil Kumar and Swami Chidanand, addressing large groups of people at 35 different places on the way from Mumbai to Nagpur. This Shanti Yatra contributed greatly to the return of peace in the country.

It is because of his advocacy of peace on the subcontinent and throughout the world and his espousal of the cause of communal harmony that he is respected by all communities and in every circle of society. Invited to meetings by all religious groups and communities within India and abroad, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is, in effect, India's spiritual ambassador, spreading the universal message of peace, love and harmony.

Directly addressing individuals, he has been re-engineering minds in order to develop positive and spiritually inclined citizens of the world – who can live together peacefully – so that the culture of peace and spirituality may spread at a universal level. Over decades, he has prepared a team of individuals – whom he calls Callers to Peace.

Quran Foundation 

The present world scenario has made people inquisitive about the Quran. Humankind at large wants to know the message of the Quran. Millions of copies of ‘The Quran’ in English and other languages were distributed throughout the world during this time. The Maulana launched Quran Foundation on April 2nd 2015 to give a global target for the Callers to Peace-to spread the Quran and supporting material worldwide. At the time he also dedicated a five-storied building at the heart of New Delhi for this purpose. Being developed as Quran Foundation Center, New Delhi it acts a hub for the  global  dissemination of  the Quran  and  related  material.

Under the guidance of the Maulana, Quran Foundation chapters at Delhi and globally have made it their life’s mission to disseminate copies of the Quran and supporting material worldwide. They, further, strive to promote religious understanding among different peoples by making copies of the Quran and supporting material available free of cost or at subsidized rates. Through interactions, addressals, online, educational and academic programs they are striving to take the message of the Quran (and Islam) into each and every home—big or small.

The Maulana dreams of a peaceful world. For this he promotes religious understanding amongst people to reveal ‘as it is’ as a religion of peace.

  Quran Foundation is founded under the aegis of CPS International