Dr. Abidullah Ghazi

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Dr. Abidullah Ghazi


By Afzal Usmani

Birth: 6th July, 1936, Anbehta, Saharanpur (UP)-India

Education: M.A. (AMU Aligarh)-1959, M.Sc. (London school of Economics)-1967, Ph.D. (Harvard University)-1973

Social & Education Services:
i) Director, Iqra International Educational Foundation (http://www.iqrafoundation.com)
ii) Chairman Board of Trustees, 2005-06 The Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (www.aligs.org)
iii) President, National Council of University Students of India-1959
iv) President, AMU Students Union, 1959
v) Honorary Secretary, AMU Students Union, 1954

Advisor to:
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (Prime-Minister of India, 1947-64)
Dr. Rajendra Prasad (President of India, 1950-62)
Dr. Zakir Hussain (President of India, 1967-69)

Citizenship Award (United States of America), 1983
Sanad-e-Imtiyaz for Seeratun-Nabi Program, Pakistan, 1983
Nishaan-e-Imtiyaz for Development of Educational Curriculum,Pakistan, 1988

Personal Information:
Great-Grandfather : Maulana Abdullah Ansari (Founding Nazim-e-Diniyat MAO College, Aligarh. He led the Janaza Prayer of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan)
Father : Mr. Hamidul-Ansari Ghazi (Editor Medina Urdu Newspaper - Bijnor)
Mother: Mr. Maimoona Khatoon (Daughter of Maulana Qari Tayyab & Grand daughter of Maulana Qasim Nanotvi)

Wife’s name : Dr. Tasneema Ghazi

Brothers : Mr. Mohammad Tariq Ghazi, Former Chief Editor, Daily Saudia, Gazette, Jeddah (KSA), Mr. Arshad Mansoor Ghazi, Secretary, Idarah, Tahzeeb-e-Jadeed Aligarh, India

Books :
i) Sareer-e-Khama (Compilation of his personal articles)
ii) Maulana Abdullah Ansari, Ahwaal, Khidmat aur Ilmi Asaar

Dr. Abidullah Ghazi founded Iqra' International Educational Foundation, in Skokie, Illinois, US in 1983 as a community project to teach American Muslim children about their faith. Since then it has published nearly 100 textbooks and supplementary "enrichment" books of non-fiction, fiction and poetry and now operates a book club and a bookshop as well. The group linked with Iqra' Charitable Society in 1987 and is still headed by Dr. Abidullah Ghazi. He and his wife, Dr. Tasneema Ghazi, were born in India, came to the United States to earn advanced degrees, and then stayed on with their young children.

Dr. Abidullah Ghazi : A Distinguished Aligarian and Emissary of Islamic and Urdu Culture in USA
Syed M. Naseem, Washington DC

Dr. Abidullah Ghazi was born on July 6th, 1936 in Saharunpur (Peerzadgan) in U.P. His early education was in Deoband. After High school; he joined AMU and completed his B. A. and M. A. (Political Science) in 1959, M.S. from London School of Economics (1967), and Ph.D. from Harvard University in Comparative Religion in 1973. He was also associated with Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi as a teacher. He was Professor at Jeddah University for several years. He is a distinguished Old Boy of Aligarh Muslim University. He was elected Honorary Secretary Aligarh Muslim University Student’s Union in 1954 and President of Students Union in 1959-60. Same year he represented India in Australia, as President of the National Council of University Students of India in 1959. He established AMU student’s Union Rafi Relief Society to help poor students at AMU. He was awarded Saif Fida Hussain Gold Medal for best Speaker in 1954-1955 at AMU Convocation. He and his wife Mrs. Tasneema Ghazi, (M.A. Alig, M. A. Harvard and Ph.D. Minnesota) established Iqra International Educational Foundation in Skokie, Chicago. Subsequently, Iqra Foundation Branch was also opened in Bombay, Pakistan, Singapore, and Europe. Besides, he is also Director of many organizations such as, Indo Islamic Foundation (USA), Academy of South Asian Studies (Aligarh), American Foundation of Muslims of India (USA), and Consultative Committee of Indian Muslims, USA). During his stay in Saudi Arabia, he established Muslim University Assistance Endowment (MUSA) Foundation and is currently awarding hundreds of scholarships in Aligarh and elsewhere.

Through Iqra Foundation, he wrote more than 140 books in English, for Islamic schools, his books are part of syllabus in almost all Islamic schools through out the world (40 countries). These books have been translated in Urdu and Hindi for Indo-Pak schools. For his services, he was awarded Sanad-e-Pakistan (1983), Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1998), Citizenship Award (USA 1983), and Sark Award (India, 2007). He is Sahib-e-Quran, and lectured all over USA on Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) life. He also performed Nikah ceremony in USA (including my daughter’s Nikah) and Chief Guest during Sir Syed Day celebrations in USA, Europe, India and Pakistan. He is well known Urdu writer, ( novel- Inqlab: Ek Kahani Ek Tareekh) poet, his recent book on Urdu poem “Zikr-e-Saman Azaran” (2003) and Urdu prose book “Sareer-e-Khama” (second edition, 2004) introduced by Sayyed Hamid sahib former Vice Chancellor AMU and Chancellor Hamdard University, is very well received by Urdu lovers and is worth reading.

Dr. Abidullah Ghazi and their Aligarh days

*Dr. Masood Haider, New Jersey (USA)

Dr. AbidUllah Ghazi, whom I greatly admire. Ghazi sahib was two years senior to me and his contest for the presidency of the Student's Union against Mobashir Mohammed Khan remains a fascinating chapter in my collection of memories of AMU. Professor Wahid Uddin Malik, was one of the two closest friends of my late uncle Dr. Intisar Husain (the other being Dr. A.R. Kidwai); who always treated me like a part of his family as he did Ghazi sahib because his (Ghazi sahib's) father was associated with the newspaper 'Medina' Bijnor which was owned by Malik sahib's father-in-law. During the election the preposterous allegation was made that Ghazi sahib, related to a iconic family of the bastion of conservatism Deoband and a practicing Muslims could even remotely be considered to be a communist. In confusion, I asked Professor Malik what his take was on this allegation against Ghazi sahib and he categorically discarded any such possibility. However, the slogan of ' Islam Khatre main hai' used to serve as a potent political weapon and led to Ghazi sahib's defeat. Few years later, he was elected unopposed as the president of the union.

The reason that the ridiculous charge was made against Ghazi sahib was that although a devout Muslim he was not one of our 'run of the mill' orthodox, rigid and conservative Mullahs, which is precisely why I find his views so much in concordance with the Sir Syed model of the compatibility of religion with modernity. A spell binding speaker often sprinkling his speeches with subtle and underplayed humor, a poet, a Urdu writer in a unique inimitable style, a chronicler of the history of the AMU in the fifties, a person at peace with living in the West without spewing venom against the very country which has given all expatriates so much especially to practice our religion freely, a lifetime dedicated to the education of Muslim youth all over the World, Ghazi sahib with the infusion of a little more humility can truly serve as a role model for those young people who share the view that Sir Syed was the greatest Muslim reformist in at least in last 500 years. We need not revert to the time of the holy prophet to be good Muslims and should attempt in our own little way to break the vicious spiral of mindless, revolting and nihilistic extremism and fanaticism. There is no better example than of Ghazi sahib to prove that modernism and Islam can co-exist and one does not have to live in a particular environment to accomplish this feat.

*Dr. Masood Haider of New Jersey (USA) wrote to AMUNetwork about Dr. Abidullah Ghazi and their Aligarh days.


Dr. Abidullah Ghazi with delegates of the 3rd annual convention of FAAA in New York in July 2004
L-R : Afzal Usmani, Dr. Ghazi, Dr. Shaheer Khan, Mr. Ahsan fazli

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Dr. Abidullah Ghazi addressing the 4th annual convention of FAAA in Chicago on July 3, 2005

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Dr. Ghazi giving a tour to the visitors at Iqra International center in Chicago

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Dr. Ghazi with the delegates of annual convention of FAAA at Iqra International on July 4, 2005

L-R : Afzal Usmani, Dr. Hashma Hasan (Washington DC) Dr. Ghazi, Mr. Muzaffar Habib ,Mrs. Avinash Sawhney,

Prof.Asadur Rahman (all New York) and Dr. Shahid Siddiqi (Chicago)

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Dr. Ghazi with Chief Guest, Mr. M.A.A. Fatmi, Minister of HRD, Govt. of India at annual convention of FAAA on July 4, 2005 in Chicago

L-R : Mr. Latafat Hussain, Dr. Ghazi, Mr. Fatmi, Mr. Faisal Saleem, Afzal Usmani, Mr.Qamar Khan,


Dr. Abidullah Ghazi with delegates of the 3rd annual convention of FAAA in New York in July 2004

L-R(chair) : Dr. Hasan Kamil, Dr. Asad Ahmad, Mr. Riyaz Alvi, Mr. Ishrat Aziz, Dr. Asadur Rahman, Dr. A. Bari, Dr. Habib Zuberi, Mr. Abdul Hafiz Khan

L-R(standing) : Dr. Abdullah, Afzal Usmani, Dr. Aftab Ansari, Mr. Ashfaq Quraishi, Mr. Qamar Khan, Dr. Ghazi, Mr. Muzaffar Habib, Mr. Umar Farooq, Dr. Masood Haider, Mr. Ahsan Fazli, Mr. Hasan Kamal

Questions about Dr. Abidullah Ghazisahab

Afzal Sahib, ASAK
You are doing an excellent job in introducing people to the community. Dr. Ghazi is one of the prominent Muslims in North America and we have known each other since 1983. I have worked with him during early phases of Iqra Foundation. The following caught my attention: A teenager advisor to Pt. Nehru and Rajendra Prasad? What is Citizenship Award?

Advisor to:
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (Prime-Minister of India, 1947-64)
Dr. Rajendra Prasad (President of India, 1950-62)
Dr. Zakir Hussain (President of India, 1967-69)

Citizenship Award (United States of America), 1983

Zafar Iqbal,
Washington DC

Dr. Abidulah Ghazi

Assalamu Alaikum and thank you Usmani sahib for starting this excellent series. We look forward to reading more profiles like this. As usual, through her valuable contributions on this network Dr Tayyba Qidwai Sahibah has done a great job by making you take this initiative.

As for the Islamic books for children produced by Ghazi Sahib, I have personally benefited from them. Few years ago when my children were in nursery and primary schools, I was looking for Islamic books for them. I visited many Islamic bookshops. They had hundreds of titles for children but to be honest hardly any one of these was for children. Their styles, topics, language and contents were too difficult to absorb and to understand for the young minds. Then I came across the series by Ghazi sahib and Begum Ghazi sahibah and discovered how beautifully and successfully they had met one of the biggest challenges in the field of writing: producing attractive and easy to understand prose for the little readers by coming at their level. (If anyone wants to see how difficult it is to write for children just try to write few lines to your five, seven and eight years old nephew/niece, son/daughter)

May Allah bless them for their unique contribution and you for giving more background on the milli khdmat he and his family have been providing.

One aspect that needed to be mentioned in this biography was that his mother, late Maimoona Khatoon, was the daughter of late Maulana Qari Tayyab Sahib and granddaughter of the well known alim Maulana Qasim Nanotvi (RA), founder of Darul Uloom Deoband. If I am not wrong she also wrote fiction for girls.


M. Ghazali Khan
London, UK

Ghazi Sahab

Janab Usmani SB ASAK
It is really so good that you have started with Ghazi Saheb
He has been consistently working for nearly half a century
May Almighty Allah give him long life and strength to continue his work
Dr Mohsin Raza
Muscat Oman


Dear Bhai Afzal usmani,
A million thanks for starting a new series ALIGARIANS aimed at paying tributes to living Aligs.I was absolutely delighted to read about my very dear and senior bhai Abidullah Ghazi.I have several connections with him.Besides my senior at AMU and President of AMUSU when I was a school kid he happened to be my father's favourite student and was a regular visitor to Amin hostel warden room where we used to live in those days and I always considered him like a family member.Later on I got married in his region .Above all I always shared political and religious views with him.It was a real pleasure to enjoy the warm hospitality of Ghazi Bhai at his home during my sojourn in US .It was again a graet occasion to welcome him at my gharib khana during his stay in Delhi.Such dedicatedand enterprising people like Ghazi bhai are rare.He is doing yeomen service to the community.I only wish we should have more and more Ghazis among Indian Muslims.I am eagerly looking forward to see his autobiography johed e musalsal published as soon as possible.The only pleasant surprise is bhai masood haider's endorsement of Ghazi bhai's work and contribution as some of his recent postings about Indian Muslims were in sharp contrast to the thinking and philosophy of Ghazi bhai.I think this is true Aligarh spirit .

Saleem Kidwai
Professor at JNU,New Delhi

Sir Syed Bi-Centenary


Hamiduddin Farahi


ZH Chowdhury

Satish Chandra