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Sharfuddin Abu Tawwama


Sharfuddin Abu Tawwama a versatile scholar, sufi saint and Islamic preceptor. Born in Bukhara and educated in Khurasan, he attained great reputation as a Hanafi jurist and a traditionist (muhaddis). He was adept in all subjects of Islamic learning and was well versed in secular sciences, such as Chemistry, natural sciences and magic. He was reputed for his piety and learning in the whole of western Asia and India.

Maulana Abu Tawwama came to Delhi in or about 1260 AD, continued his courses of teaching for about ten years, and thereafter at the instance of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban came to Sonargoan with his family along with his brother Maulana' Hafiz Zainuddin probably in 1270 AD (668 AH). He settled down at Sonargoan, and built there his khanka and a madrasa. Religious subjects like tafsir, hadith, fiqh, and other branches of Islamic learning as well as secular sciences were taught and studied under this distinguished learned man of the age. This made Sonargoan an animated centre of learning renowned not only in Bengal, but in the whole of the Indian subcontinent. The celebrated sufi scholar of Bihar, Makhdum-al-mulk Shaykh Sharfuddin Ahmad bin Yahya Maneri studied under Abu Tawwama in the Sonargoan madrasa for long 22 years.

Abu Tawwama compiled a valuable book on Tasawwaf (Islamic mysticism) titled Maqamat. The work was a unique one of its kind, but it has not come down to posterity. Another book on fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), written in the Persian verses named Nam-i-Haq is credited to the authorship of Abu Tawwama. Nothing is available in the book to ascertain the name of the author or the place where it was written. From the available information in the book it seems that even if it was not written by Abu Tawwama, someone of his disciples in Bengal compiled this work on the basis of his teachings, perhaps in 704 AH (1304 AD), after the death of the Shaykh. Nam-i-Haq deals with the fundamentals of Islam, and is intended to be a guide to the Muslims to regulate their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (Sm). There are 180 verses in the book. It was first published from Bombay in 1885 and subsequently from Kawnpur in 1913. Shah Shuhaib, a contemporary scholar, has profusely praised Abu Tawwama in his book Manakkibul A'sfia.

Abu Tawwama died at Sonargaon in 700 AH (1300 AD). His tomb is located in the graveyard at the dargabari premises in Mograpara. The present Dargabari appears to represent the site of his khanka and madrasa. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]