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Maulvi Mohammad Yahya – Founder All India Momin Conference & Editor, Publisher Al – Momin

Known as Maulvi Mohammad Yahya, he was born in February 1895 to Al Haj Altaf Hussain & Maryam Bibi. His mother died at a young age, and he was raised by his grandmother & great-grandmother. His family had earlier immigrated to Kolkata (Calcutta) from Mohalla Banoulia Bihar Sharif, District Nalanda, Bihar, in 1857. The family settled in the then Eastern Fringe of Kolkata, Tanti Bagh, where Jolaha (Weavers) were predominant. The oral tradition of generational history, anecdotes, and the family tree indicate that his ancestors migrated from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh to Mohalla Banoulia, Bihar Shariff, District Nalanda, Bihar.

During his early years, he attended the Madrasa Darul Huda (Tanti Bagh) established by his great maternal uncle, Al Haj Sheikh Haji Abdullah, who had migrated from Patna simultaneously with his father, Al Haj Altaf Hussain. The combination of an uncle (Al-Haj Sheikh Abdulla) and nephew (Al Haj Altaf Hussain) established the Haji Abdullah Library in 1882 (previously known as Darul Huda Library), Jamiat Ahle-Hadith Tanti Bagh, Ahle-Hadith Masjid, Baitul Mal Jamiat Ahle-Hadith, Tanti Bagh and Madrasah Darul Huda.

Young age Photo when he was active during the Freedom Movement & started publishing editing Al-Momin etc
Young age Photo when he was active during the Freedom Movement & started publishing and editing Al-Momin etc

Maulvi Muhammad Yahya’s early education was from Madrasa Darul Huda and he completed his secondary education from the historical Madrasa Aliya, Kolkata.

He graduated from Madrasa Aliya in 1918. Post his graduation he moved to Bihar Shariff. There he became active in religious & social works. For his living, he became a partner in a raw leather business with his close relatives.

During his stay in Bihar & the derogatory behavior of other caste people on the Jolaha’s (Ansar’s) he had a permanent impact on Maulvi Mohammad Yahya’s mind.

What did Abdul Qaiyum Ansari think about the Rights of Indian Muslims and Waqf?

As it is from his student life he was oriented towards national welfare, he was very active in the freedom movement from a very young age. As time went by he became more active in the freedom movement & raised his voice against the British tyranny.

With like-minded people and well-wishers, he established an association called “Islah Bil Falah” for the welfare of the Muslims. Initially, this set of people put in a lot of effort & struggle to raise the voice of the oppressed Muslims. Still, all their efforts didn’t materialize and over a period “Islah Bil Falah” became defunct.

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya re-networked and brought in like-minded people to a fresh new platform & met in Damzen Lane, a place in Kolkata in 1923 and founded “Jamiat Al Momin”, later to be called All India Momin Conference, this Organisation took off and became a very active movement. All India Conferences were held regularly.

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya – Founder All India Momin Conference & Editor, Publisher Al - Momin
Al-Momin specially promoted articles written by female writers.

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya started Al-Memin from his Press “Altafi Press” in Beniapukur, Tantibagh, Kolkata. He edited and published it. Similarly, magazines and periodicals like “Tarjuman-e-Momin Ansar”, “Noor Baaf Zindagi”, “Hoor”, “Momin Badayun” “Ansari” “Al-Ansar” (Amritsar), “Momin Gazette – Kanpur” also started contributing in raising the voice of the Jolahas (Ansar’s) & other downtrodden.

Al-Momin came under the eyes of the British Administration & defied the police, the magazine continued to be published and distributed. “Al-Momin” because of its Content in terms of Quality of articles & language with a focus on the importance of education, its impact on the social upliftment of the Jolaha (Ansar’s) community became very popular and reached all corners of the undivided country.

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya started Al- Momin from his Press “Altafi Press”
Maulvi Mohammad Yahya started Momin from his Press “Altafi Press”

In that era, itself way ahead of its time this magazine focused on the importance of female education on par with male education. Al Momin also promoted & published articles written by women. Al-Momin specially promoted articles written by female writers.

Science, Art, and many other areas of human life were also covered simultaneously to facilitate the overall development of a human being.

A measure of the Scholarly & literary quality as well as the status of Al-Momin can be found out by reading the article “Kalam-e-Wahshat Ek Jaiza” published in “Akhbar- Mashrique” in 7th December, 2010 authored by Professor Asad-Uz-Zaman Asad.

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya’s Publishing house “Altafi Press” also published daily Bengali Newspaper “Azad” and weekly magazine, “Mohammadi”. In addition, “Altafi Press” used to publish books in Bengali, Urdu and Persian languages. Under the Supervision of Maulana Akram Khan.

One of the first translations of the “Holy Quran” was also undertaken & done under the Supervision of Maulvi Mohammad Yahya & Maulana Akram Khan his close confidant who was fluent in the Bengali Language at “Altafi Press” it was very popular amongst the Bengali Speaking Population and multiple editions were published.

Photograph of the Bengali Translation of the “Holy Quran” is of the 5th Edition Published in the Bengali Calendar year 1344 which is 1937 English Calendar year.

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Maulvi Mohammad Yahya’s also helped in the proper setting up and management of the Haji Abdullah (erstwhile Darul Huda) Library at Noor Ali Lane, Tanti Bagh Kolkata through his contribution of rare Islamic Books and arrangement of the books. This Library now in its 141st year of existence is a treasure house of Islamic Books. In the post-independent era Scholars from all over India & abroad used to come down for research work.

Since few scholars visited the Library, many rare Islamic books were donated to “Markazi Darul Uloom” Benaras, where they are being used by Islamic scholars. The Library still has a large collection of rare Islamic books for reference after the donation. He was also the 5th Amir of Jamiat Ahle-Hadith, Tanti Bagh

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya used to hold women in very high esteem & always emphasized on equal opportunity and to provide a platform to give women an opportunity to develop in Education and other fields as well but within the boundaries of Islamic tenets. Maulvi Mohammad Yahya’s 1st wife was a very pious and well-educated lady.

She at that time in the early 1900’s used to write articles with a Pen Name “Khatun Bihari” her articles used to be regularly published in newspapers and Magazines and in particular in the famous journal of those times “Tehzib-e-Niswan”. Khatun Bihari was fluent in Urdu, Persian & Arabic and used to write articles in various newspapers and magazines of that time.

Founding Trustees of Momin High School along with 6 other Colleagues
Founding Trustees of Momin High School along with 6 other Colleagues

He was one of the Founding Trustees of Momin High School along with 6 other Colleagues in Narkeldanga area of North Kolkata in 1945, for the spread of education amongst the Ansari’s & other not-so-privileged sections of the Muslims residing here.

He was also a lifelong member and was closely associated with other Muslim Organizations namely Anjuman Mufidul Islam, Calcutta Muslim Orphanage, Islamia Higher Secondary School, Islamia Hospital, Junior High Madrasah Tanti Bagh, Anjuman Talim-O- Taraqqui etc.

Maulvi Mohammad Yahya - Old Age Photo
Maulvi Mohammad Yahya – Old Age Photo

When Maulvi Yahya went for the Obligatory Haj Pilgrimage, he was invited over tea by the then King of Saudi Arabia. His Excellency Abdul Aziz popularly known as Ibn Saud & he was given Baith “The Honor of Allegiance” by the Saudi King.

On 20/05/1987, Maulvi Mohammad Yahya left for the Heavenly Abode, leaving behind 3 sons and a daughter.

All this information was given by his Eldest Grandson ( Maternal / Nawasa ) of Maulavi Md Yahya Khaled Shadan.

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Md Umar Ashraf

Md. Umar Ashraf is a Delhi based Researcher, who after pursuing a B.Tech (Civil Engineering) started heritagetimes.in to explore, and bring to the world, the less known historical accounts. Mr. Ashraf has been associated with the museums at Red Fort & National Library as a researcher. With a keen interest in Bihar and Muslim politics, Mr. Ashraf has brought out legacies of people like Hakim Kabeeruddin (in whose honour the government recently issued a stamp). Presently, he is pursuing a Masters from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, JMI & manages heritagetimes.in.