Shah Wali Allah of Delhi, the greatest Muslim scholar of eighteenth-century India, made an immense contribution to the intellectual, economic, social, political and religious life of the Muslim community in India, the effects of which persist to the present day. He lived during a time when the Muslim empire was losing ground on the Indian subcontinent, with the Muslim community divided and at odds. Seeking to give theological and metaphysical issues a new rational interpretation and labouring to harmonize reason and revelation, he tried to reconcile the various factions of the Indian Muslims, thereby protecting the empire from collapse.
Shah Wali Allah contended that the root cause of the downfall of the Indian Muslims was their ignorance of the sacred scripture of Islam. He initiated a movement with the theme ‘Back to the Qur’an’, and translated the Qur’an into Persian to facilitate its understanding among all the Muslims of India. It is believed to be the first complete translation of the Qur’an from the Arabic by an Indian Muslim scholar.