Category Archives: Biographies

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

MAULANA ASHRAF ALI THANWI [1280 – 1362 A.H.]

Hakimul Ummat Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was born on 5 Rabius Sani 1280 A.H. in the village of Thana Bhawan. He lost his mother at a tender age and was brought up by his father in a fairly affluent background. His father took great pains in teaching Maulana and his younger brother discipline and good character.

From a young age he had a great desire for namaaz. Even whilst playing he used to imitate the namaazis eg. he gathered all his friends shoes, placed them in a line, put one shoe in front of the line and expressed his happiness that the shoes were performing namaaz.

He also had a great desire to give lectures. On his way to the shops he used to enter any masjid, ascend the mimbar and deliver a khutbah. At the age of 12 he began performing tahajjud and other nafl salaats and wazifahs.

His desire for Deen was initiated by his initial ustaad Maulana Fateh Muhammed Sahab(R.A). After learning the basic kitaabs by his uncle and Maulana Fateh Muhammed(R.A) he proceeded to Deoband to complete his studies and qualified at the tender age of 19 or 20 years.

From his student days he became famous for his intelligence and sharp wittedness. He never wasted his time in futile play and amusement. He had such a burning desire to obtain knowledge that he learnt certain kitaabs which he could not study during class times, from his ustaads while they were performing wudhu.

Maulana’s ustaads were all great luminaries of their time. The most important amongst them was Maulana Muhammed Yaqub Sahab(R.A) from whom he achieved the greatest amount of knowledge and spiritual benefit.

He learnt qiraat from the well-known Qari Muhammed Abdullah Saheb Muhajir Makki(R.A) and mastered it to such an extent that it became difficult for the listener to distinguish between the recitation of the student and the teacher.

After qualifying he spent 14 years in Kanpur teaching, writing and propagating to the people. During this period thousands of students quenched their thirst at this “ocean of knowledge”. Although Maulana was still very young, the people of Kanpur respected and honoured him tremendously and it was at that time that he became famous.

His discourses were greatly appreciated and were being printed in the form of booklets. Very few scholars in the history of Islam have had so many of their discourses printed.

During his student days in Deoband he desired to make a pledge on the hands of Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi(R.A) who refused, saying that it would harm his studies. Maulana then wrote a letter to Hajee Imdadullah(R.A) in Makkah urging him to make Maulana Gangohi accept the pledge. Hajee Imdadullah instead by means of a letter accepted Maulana Thanwi as his disciple. When Maulana Thanwi accompanied his father for haj one year after qualifying he renewed his pledge at the hands of Hajee Imdadullah. After his return from Haj, he continued teaching and propagating while his desire for zikr intensified. He used to deliver lectures while standing 5,6 and sometimes even 7 hours continuously.

In 1315 A.H. he left Kanpur and on the advice of his spiritual mentor Hajee Imadadullah returned to Thana Bhawan. This was all part of the divine plan of the Creator so that the Khanqah of Hajee Imdadullah would once again be reinhabited. This was the termination of the first phase of his life which was devoted more to deeni education.The second phase which began with his return to Thana Bhawan was devoted more to imparting sprititual benefits to the masses.

Maulana has written books in every field whether it be tafseer or tasawwuf, fiqh or tajweed. All his works total more than a thousand. In the field of hadis he did not write any voluminous work directly because he had many assistants. In this way the voluminous “Ila us Sunan” was written under his guidance. Regarding this kitaab he said that if this madressah does no other work besides the writing of this book, it will be a great achievement because it is a unique work.

Perhaps very few Muslim homes do not posses “Behisti Zewar” and “Munajaat e Maqbool”, Two of Maulana’s famous books. His Tafseer “Bayanul Quraan” is unparalleled.”

Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri well known for his in-depth knowledge used to say that after reading Bayanul Quraan I developed a desire to read Urdu books. Although Maulana wrote such a large number of books, yet he did not earn a cent from them. All his work was solely for the pleasure of Allah. He has granted full permission to anyone who desires to print his books. Some of his works have been through hundreds of editions. Maulana used to say that Alhamdulillah all the necessary work has been done. The path towards deen has been cleared for centuries. Insha-Allah, my books, discourses and advices will be of assistance in deeni matters for future generations. This is all due to the blessings of Hajee Imdadullah.

On 20 Jamadul Awwal 1346 A.H. whilst performing Fajr Salaat he was inspired about the effects of certain acts. If the Muslims practised these acts, their calamities could be overcome. Consequently Maulana gathered 25 principles and had them printed in a booklet namely “Hayatul Muslimeen” (now available in English). Although Maulana has written over 1000 books, yet he had this to say: “I never had any thought of any of my books being a means of salvation for me. However, with regards to Hayatul Muslimeen, I have a strong feeling it will be a means of my salvation. I regard it as the earning and capital of my entire life.” Maulana Thanwi spent his entire life serving deen in every field. It is for this reason that he has been given the titles Hakimul Ummat and Mujaddid-e-Millat.

After blessing the earth for 83 years with his presence, he passed away on 16 Rajab 1362 A.H. (20 July 1943). Namaze Janazah was performed by Maulana Zafar Ahmad Usmani. Maulana Thanwi was buried in the graveyard – Ishq-Bazaan of Thana Bhawan.
source: http://www.alhaadi.org.za/

Shaykh al-Hadith Zakariyya Kandhlawi (r.a.)

Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi [1315 – 1402 A.H.]

He was born in the village of Kandhla (in Uttar Pradesh, India) on Ramadan 10, 1315 ah (February 12, 1898 CE). His full name was Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Yahya ibn Muhammad Isma’il, and his lineage continues all the way back to Abu Bakr (R.A.), the great Companion of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

Shaykh Abu l-Hasan Nadwi said about him, ‘Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya was born into a household rooted in knowledge and passion for Islam. His immediate family and his predecessors were distinguished by firm resolve, perseverance, steadfastness, and adherence to religion. His family included many notable scholars and his grandmother memorized the entire Qur�an while nursing her son [Shaykh Zakariyya’s father].’

His father, Shaykh Muhammad Yahya, was among the great scholars of India in both the Related (manqulat) and Logical sciences (ma’qulat). His primary teacher in hadith was Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Under him he studied Sahih al-Bukhari, Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja and others of the six famous authentic books of hadith (Sihah sitta). Shaykh Yahya went on to teach at Madrasa Mazahir Ulum, in the district of Saharanpur, but did not accept any payment for his services. He instead made his living through his own book-publishing business.

As a young boy, Shaykh Zakariyya moved with his father to the village of Gangoh, in the district of Saharanpur. Since his father and Shaykh Gangohi had a close relationship, Shaykh Zakariyya quickly earned the affection of his father’s teacher.

Growing up in this virtuous environment, he began learning how to read with Hakim Abd al-Rahman of Muzaffarnagar. He memorized the Qur’an with his father and also studied books in Persian and the introductory Arabic books with his uncle Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas (founder of the Tabligh movement). He stayed with his father in the company of Shaykh Gangohi until age eight, when the shaykh passed away. Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Nadwi says, ‘He was brought up in the best of environments in this era; the most adhering to the conduct and the sunna and the furthest from the corruption that had begun to spread in the world.’

At the age of twelve, Shaykh Zakariyya traveled with his father to Mazahir Ulum. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yahya [his father] bathed and performed two rak’ats of prayer and began teaching Mishkat al-Masabih. He then made a lengthy prayer for himself and his son. From that day on, hadith became the main focus and goal of Shaykh Zakariyya’s life. There, under his father, he advanced his study of Arabic, tackling many classical texts on Arabic morphology, grammar, literature, and also logic. But by the time he was seventeen, hadith became the main focus of his life. He studied five of the six authentic books of hadith with his father, and then he studied Sahih al-Bukhari and Sunan al-Tirmidhi (for a second time) with the honorable Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri. Out of his immense respect for h adith, Shaykh Zakariyya was extremely particular about always studying the hadith narrations with wudu.

On Dhu l-Qa’da 10, 1334 ah, when Shaykh Zakariyya was just nineteen, his dear father passed away. This event was extremely traumatic for Shaykh Zakariyya, as he lost not only a father but also a teacher and mentor. His deep sorrow remained with him for the rest of his life.

Teachers
Shaykh Zakariyya was blessed to live and learn in an era considered by many to be one of great achievements in Islamic knowledge by scholars in the Indian subcontinent. He studied with few but select teachers who reached the highest levels of learning, research, authorship, and piety. One of his most influential teachers was his own father, Shaykh Muhammad Yahya, born in 1287 ah. Shaykh Zakariyya memorized the Qur’an at the age of seven, then as per his father’s instruction he would recite the whole Qur’an each morning. In addition to his father and uncle (Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas), he studied under the hadith scholar Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, author of the Badhl al-Majhud, a commentary on Sunan Abi Dawud. Shaykh Zakariyya acquired a hadith authorization from him and remained his student until Shaykh Khalil’s death in Madina Munawwara in 1346 ah.

Before his death, Shaykh Khalil A h mad expressed his desire to write Badhl al-Majhud, and he sought Shaykh Zakariyya’s assistance as his right-hand man. This was the beginning of his good fortune and the route to his excellence. His work earned him a special position with his Shaykh. The shaykh would direct him towards the possible texts and religious sources from which he could take the subject matter. Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya would collect the information and present them to his Shaykh, who would then select from the collection whatever he required. Thereafter he would dictate it to Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya who would write it down. This is how the completion of Badhl al-Majhud fi hall Abi Dawud took place. This experience revealed Shaykh Zakariyya’s gift of penmanship and, furthermore, expanded his insight in the science of hadith. He worked hard on the project, He undertook the task of publishing his shayk’s work in the Indian press and devoted his attention to its correction, publishing it with complete sincerity. He attained the pleasure and trust of his shaykh, He became a successor (khalifa) and representative (na’ib) of his shaykh and was even mentioned by name in the commentary.

Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri mentions in the introduction of Badhl al-Majhud, ‘I was helped by some of my friends, notable amongst whom is my relative and the coolness of my eyes and heart, Hajj Hafiz Molwi Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Mawlana Hafiz Molwi Muhammad Yahya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). I was incapable of writing or pursuing it (without his help), due to the shaking of my hand and due to weakness in mind and vision. I would dictate to him and he would write. He would search for the difficult subject matter from the sources, thus facilitating the dictation for me. I thank Allah for his effort and ask Him to grant him the best reward for whatever he spent of his effort. Allah has gifted him with intrinsic and apparent knowledge, beneficial in this world and in the hereafter, and with accepted, illuminated, good deeds.’

This indeed opened the door to Shaykh Zakariyya’s authoring many literary works and treatises over the course of his life.

Teaching Career
In Muharram 1335 ah he was appointed as a teacher at Madrasa Mazahir Ulum, where he was assigned to teach books on Arabic grammar, morphology, and literature, as well as a number of primary texts of Islamic jurisprudence. In 1341 ah he was assigned to teach three sections of Sahih al-Bukhari upon the insistence of Shaykh Khalil Ahmad. He also taught Mishkat al-Masabih until 1344 ah. Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Nadwi said, �Although he was one of the youngest teachers at the school, he was selected to teach works generally not assigned to those of his age, nor to anyone in the early stages of his teaching career. Nevertheless, he showed that he was not only an able, but an exceptional teacher.

In 1345 ah he traveled to Madina Munawwara, the city of Allah’s Messenger (upon him be peace) where he resided for one year. There he taught Sunan Abi Dawud at Madrasa al-Ulum al-Shar’iyya. While in Madina, he began working on Awjaz al-Masalik ila Muwatta’ Imam Malik, a commentary on Imam Malik‘s Muwatta. He was twenty-nine at the time.

When he returned to India, he resumed teaching at Mazahir Ulum. He began teaching Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan al-Nasa’i, the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, and the second half of Sahih al-Bukhari. The school’s principle taught the first half of Sahih al-Bukhari, and after his death, Shaykh Zakariyya was given the honor of teaching the entire work.

In all, he taught the first half of Sahih al-Bukhari twenty-five times, the complete Sahih al-Bukhari sixteen times, and Sunan Abi Dawud thirty times. He did not just teach hadith as a matter of routine; the work of hadith had become his passion, and he put his heart and soul into it. Shaykh Zakariyya taught until 1388 ah, when he was forced to give up teaching after developing eye cataracts.

Sincere Love for Allah and the Prophet
Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya inherited piety, honesty, and good character from his father (may Allah be pleased with him). He aspired to follow the Qur’an and Sunna in all matters, big and small, with a passion not found in many scholars. He had extreme love for the Prophet (upon him be peace) and the blessed city of Madina. His students have related that whenever the death of the Messenger (upon him be peace) was mentioned during a lecture on Sunan Abi Dawud or Sahih al-Bukhari, his eyes would well up with tears, his voice would choke up, and he would be overcome with crying. So evocative were his tears that his students could do nothing but weep with raised voices.

He was often tested with regard to his sincerity. He was offered many teaching jobs at two or three times the salary that was customarily given at Mazahir Ulum, but he always graciously declined the offers. For most of his teaching career, Shaykh Zakariyya never accepted any money for his services at Mazahir Ulum; he did the work voluntarily, seeking Allah’s pleasure. Although he did accept a small salary at the beginning of his career, he later totaled up the amount and paid it back in its entirety.

Daily Routine
Shaykh Zakariyya organized his time meticulously. He would rise an hour before dawn and occupy himself in tahajjud and recitation of Qur’an before performing the Fajr prayer in the masjid. After Fajr, he would read his morning supplications and litany until sunrise. Thereafter he would go to meet with some people and drink tea (but never ate anything with it). He would then return to his quarters to read. During this time he would also research and compile his literary works, and, with few exceptions, no one was allowed to visit him at this time. When it was time for lunch he would come out and sit with his guests, who were from all walks of life; he would respect and treat them well, irrespective of who they were. After Zuhr prayer, he would take a siesta and then spend some time listening to his correspondence (which amounted to around forty or fifty letters daily from different places) and dictating replies. He also taught for two hours before Asr. After Asr, he would sit with a large group of people, offering them tea. After performing Maghrib, he would remain devoted in solitude to optional prayer and to supplication. He did not take an evening meal except to entertain an important guest.

Death
He had always hoped to meet Allah while in the city of the Messenger (upon him be peace); Allah granted his wish. He died there on Monday Sha’ban 1, 1402 ah (May 24, 1982 CE) and was buried in Jannat al-Baqi’, in the company of the Companions and the noble family members of the Messenger (upon him be peace). His funeral procession was followed by a large number of people and he was buried in the Baqi’ graveyard next to his teacher Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri. May Allah forgive him, grant mercy, and elevate his status. Amin.

The source of this extracted information and more details of Shaykhs works, students, teachers and his status amongst scholars can be found at:Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi provided by White Thread Press publications.

Maid of Pharaoh’s Daughter

It is mentioned in the book Raudatus Safa that Pharaoh’s daughter had a maid who was under her command and who used to comb her hair, etc.  She had believed in Musa alayhis salam. However, she did not expose her iman out of fear for Pharaoh.

Once while she was combing Pharaoh’s daughter’s hair, the comb fell from her hand. When she bent down to pick it up, she recited Bismillah. The daughter asked her: “What was it you recited just now?  Whose name is that?”  She replied: “it is the name of the one who created your father and also gave him a kingdom.”  She became astonished and remarked: “Is there anyone greater than my father!”  Saying this she ran out to her father, and related the entire incident him.

Pharaoh became extremely angry, called for the maid, and threatened her.
However she unhesitatingly said: “Do whatever you wish, I will not leave my iman.”

Nails were fastened to her hands and feet and thereafter hot ash and embers were placed on her. When this had no effect on her, a child who was in her lap was taken and thrown into the fire.  While the child was in the fire, it said: “Mother! Be patient and don’t ever leave your iman.”

She remained steadfast on her iman until she was also thrown into that fire.

Source: Bahesti Zewar

Mufti Ziyaulhaq Patel

Mufti Ziyaulhaq Patel is a dynamic and vibrant Shaykh who is actively engaged in the services of the Deen of Allah Ta’ala. He was raised in the city of Lusaka, Zambia; it was here where he began his education in the field of Islamic Studies and where he completed Hifz-ul Quraan at a young age. In the year 2002 he advanced his studies at the auspices of Jamiah Islamiyyah in Lusaka, Zambia to study Aalimiyyat. He studied here for one year and then went forward to continue his studies at the Islamic Da’wah Academy (IDA) in Leicester, UK whereupon he finished his Aalimiyyat course – in 2008.

Upon completing his Aalimiyyat in the year 2009 he joined and graduated from the Iftah Department of Darul Uloom Arabiyyah Islamiyyah Matliwala Bharuch, India – here he studied the sciences of Fiqh and Jurisprudence (Takhassus-fil-fiqh) as well as studying some Islamic law. His fervour of Deen inevitably drew him into studying various fields of Islamic Studies.

Ever since he graduated from the Iftah Department of Darul Uloom Arabiyyah Islamiyyah Matliwala, he has been engaged in teaching and delivering lectures and commentary (Tafseer) of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadeeth which he routinely performs at Masjid Muadh Ibn Jabal in Leicester, UK (a local Masjid and Madarasah) in which he is an Imam.

Passionate about the youths he has actively engaged and involved himself with the khidmah (care) of the local youths. He has diligently devoted himself to their personal and moral development through engagement of various programmes and activities to nurture their spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing.

Mufti Ziyaulhaq Patel is also the director of muftianswers.com.

May Allah SWT shower Mufti Sahib with Barakah and Blessings in this life and the hereafter; allow him to serve the Muslim Ummah for many years to come and enable the entire Ummah to benefit from his wisdom (Hikmah) and knowledge (Ilm), Ameen.

Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

Born in Gujarat, India in 1971, Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq came to the UK at the age of three, to join his father Moulana Muhammad Gora sahib who was serving as an Imam and religious leader for the Muslim community in Leicester, UK.

Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq’s Education

His father, himself renowned for his piety and learning, began his son’s religious instruction at a very young age. By the age of ten Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq had memorised the entire Quran, and also completed the study of a number of books in various Islamic topics. When Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq was thirteen he enrolled at Darul Uloom al Arabiyyah al Islamiyyah, Bury, UK, (the first and most prestigious Muslim seminary in the West) and graduated six years later, in early 1991. In Darul Uloom Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq undertook an intensive study of many Islamic topics including Arabic, Quranic tafseer, hadeeth and fiqh under traditionally qualified scholars. His eminent and erudite teachers from whom he has ijazah in various Islamic sciences include Shaykh Yusuf Motala and the late Shaykh Islamul Haq. He also has ijazah in hadeeth from the late Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi and the famous Muhaddith, Shaykh Yunus of Saharanpur, India.

Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq at present

Currently Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq serves as the honorary principal of Madinatul Uloom al Islamiyyah, Kidderminster, UK (a branch of Darul Uloom, Bury, UK) where he has also been head teacher since 1992. Since graduation Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq has selflessly devoted himself to the work of deen and remained actively involved in dawah and teaching. He has taught and commented on many classical Islamic works and has lectured extensively on a range of topics including Quranic tafseer, hadeeth, aqeedah and fiqh. Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq has also travelled widely teaching and lecturing in various countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. Many of his inspirational sermons and lectures are recorded and are widely available. He has also authored two books, ‘The Salah of a Believer in the Quran and Sunnah’ and ‘The Causes of Disunity’.

Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq’s extensive knowledge, command of both Arabic and English, together with his natural ability and eloquence in conveying the words of Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala and His Rasul (peace be upon him) have moved the hearts of many and continue to do so.

Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq

Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq is currently teaching on a weekly basis, in a systematic manner, the abridged Sahih al Bukhari. These lessons are streamed live from Al Kawthar Academy, and other recorded audio may also be heard on there.

May Allah swt give good health and long life to Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq in order that the ummah continue to benefit from his lessons and knowledge, Ameen.

Hazrat Khadijah (R.A)

When none believed me, Khadijah (R.A) did. She made me a partner in her wealth.”Those are the words of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) about his wife the great Muslim lady, Hazrat `Khadija-tul-Kubra’ (R.A).

Khadijah (R.A), married the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) when she was 40 and he was 25. They had six children: two sons, Qasim and Abdullah (also known as Tahir and Tayyib), and four daughters: Zainub, Ruqaiyyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah (Radhiyallahu-Anhum-Ajmaeen).

Khadijah (R.A) lived with the Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) for 25 years and was his only wife during that time. When the revelations came from Allah and Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) was made the Last Prophet, it was Khadijah (R.A) who accepted the faith and became the first Muslim. She was 55 years old at that time. Her acceptance of Islam greatly helped its spread among the Makkans.

She stood by the Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) all the time. In moments of trial and difficulty the Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) used to come to her and she consoled and comforted her husband and encouraged him. Khadijah’s (R.A) wealth was used for the cause of Islam. The Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) remained busy in preaching Islam and his devoted and loving wife looked after the children and family affairs.

The Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) and Khadijah (R.A) had many sorrows. they had to bear the death of their sons Qasim and Abdullah (Radhiyallahu-Anhum) in their infancy and in the fifth year of Prophet hood (Hijrah) their daughter Ruqaiyyah (R.A) left them and migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) with her Husband, Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (Radhiyallahu-Anhu). Ruqaiyyah (R.A) left her parents at a very young age and returned after four years; that time was a long and painful separation for her parents, Khadijah (R.A) and Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam).

During the Prophet hood, the Quraish did all they could to stop the Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) preaching Islam. Nothing worked. The Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) continued his mission, relying on Allah. Hazrat Khadijah (R.A) was his source of encouragement and comfort. She also had to bear enormous strain and suffering during the boycott at Sha’bi (the valley of) Abu Talib for three years.

The great Muslim lady Khadijah (R.A) passed away on 10th Ramadhan in the tenth year of Hijrah, 620 CE, at the age of 65. Her death was a great loss to the Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam). He said:
“I cannot bear the scene, I believe that Allah has kept much good in it.”

He loved Khadijah (R.A) so dearly that after her death he used to remember her often. Hazrat Khadijah’s (R.A) status was such that the Angel Jibraeel (Alayhis-Salaam) used to bring salaam (greetings) for her from Almighty Allah.

Young Muslim Sisters should know how devoted Khadijah (R.A) was to her husband and how much she did for him for the cause of Allah. Any Muslim of today would feel proud to have such a wife. The world could be changed by great Muslim ladies like Hazrat Khadijah (R.A).
www.inter-islam.org

Maulana Qasim Nanotwi

(1248AH – 1297AH) (1852AD – 1901AD)

Hadhrat Maulana’s background and education

Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was born in 1248 AH (1852 AD) and passed away at a young age of 49 in 1297 AH (1901 AD). The name of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) seems older than his life due to his prominence. In reality, this is barakah that Allah Ta’ala had granted him in his life.

Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s title was Hujjatul Islam (the proof of Islam). Generally this title is given to such a person who has such great qualities that if such a person was a Muslim and practiced upon Islam, this itself is a proof that Islam is the true religion. Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s ancestral background reaches up to Abu Bakr Siddique (Radiyallahu anhu). Therefore, he is known as Siddiqi.

Hadhrat Maulana acquired his knowledge at a very young age and he was known to be very brilliant. He traveled to Delhi with Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali Sahib (Rahmatullah Alayhi) who was a very great Alim of that time. Previously we discussed that Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki Sahib (Rahmatullah Alayhi) also benefited from Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullah Alayhi).

Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) acquired his education in all fields Sarf, Nahwa, Tafseer, etc. from Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) but acquired Hadith from Shah Abdul Ghani Muhaddith Delwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was with him in acquiring Hadith from Shah Abdul Ghani (Rahmatullah Alayhi).

Some dreams of Hadhrat Maulana
Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) used to see many pious dreams. Once he saw a dream that he was sitting on top of the Kabah Shareef and many streams were flowing from his hands to many parts of the world. He related this dream to his Ustadh Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) who interpreted the dream that the world will benefit from the knowledge of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi).

Hadhrat Maulana founded Darul Uloom Deoband and the branches of Darul Uloom Deoband are spread throughout the different parts of the world. Once he also saw a dream that he was sitting above the Kabah Shareef and facing towards Baghdad. There was a stream flowing from there, which touched his feet. The dream was interpreted that the Hanafi Madhhab would spread through Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was from Baghdad and the Hanafi Madhhab was established from there.

Hadhrat Maulana�s knowledge
Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) had taken bay’at on the hands of Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s Uloom was very deep. Maulana Yaqub Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) who was the first Ustadh of Darul Uloom Deoband and a great Muhaddith said that he read Aab-e-Hayat of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) six times and has understood some of it.

One can imagine what depth of Uloom and what insight was in that kitab. Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) says that Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) wrote such kitabs that if his name was not written on those kitabs, and if it was translated into Arabic then the Arab Ulama would have thought that Imam Razi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) or Imam Ghazali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) wrote those kitabs.

Imam Razi and Imam Ghazali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) were great thinkers and philosophers of their times. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s depth of Uloom is also well known. He says, “I read the books of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi RA and I don’t understand them.” He says, “Somebody has to put a lot of pressure on one’s mind to understand some of what Maulana Qasim meant but I didn’t have the habit to put pressure on my mind to understand it. So I consoled myself by saying that there are other simple kitabs and I acquired my knowledge from there.”

Hadhrat Maulana Qasim (Rahmatullah Alayhi) used to work in the library of Hadhrat Maulana Ahmad Ali Saharanpuri (Rahmatullah Alayhi) and make tasheeh (correction) of kitabs. He always had this inclination towards kitabs and anything to do with academics. Hadhrat Maulana memorized the Quran late in life in two Ramadhans. Effectively in two months. In the following Ramadhan he would perform one and a quarter juz and the listener would think that he is an old Hafiz.

Debating skills of Hadhrat Maulana
Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was a great debater and very witty. The British sent many Christian missionaries to India to propagate Christianity. They were proud that they have sent the world’s best missionaries to India to propagate Christianity. One person arranged a debate and called all the Ulama. He also called Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). The Hindus were also invited but they did not participate because this was a debate between the Islam and Christianity. They were there as observers.

Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) presented such a powerful speech in substantiation of Islam against Christianity that the Christian Missionaries who were regarded to be world-renowned missionaries were severely defeated. They stated that they have gone to so many debates and conferences and they haven’t heard the like of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Some Hindu pundits also started debates with Muslims. They felt that if Christian missionaries can debate with the Muslims then we too could debate with Muslims. One pundit arranged a debate. When this pundit heard that Maulana Qasim Nanotwi was going to address this debate, he fled.

Humility of Hadhrat Maulana
Hadhrat Maulana was very simple. If someone were to look at him they would have thought that he was a villager. The British were also misled because of Maulana’s simplicity. When a warrant of arrest was issued by the British against Hadhrat Maulana, they were looking for a person who would be well dressed. They saw a person with simple clothing and thought that he was a villager.

Maulana wouldn’t make imaamat and he always preferred to be a muqtadi and follow the Imam. He also wouldn’t even give talks, but because of the need of the time he used to go and join the debates. He was so humble that once he said, “I am disgraced among the Sufis.” My understanding of this is, what a Sufi is supposed to be, he stated, “I did not live up to the expectation of the Sufis, or to the expectations of the people about the Sufis.” He also mentioned, “I have a stain of being a Molvi on myself.” He further mentions, “Had it not been for the stain of being a Molvi, even the sand wouldn’t have known of Qasim Nanotwi.”

When there is a fruit tree and the branch is laden with fruits then it goes more down. When a branch is laden with fruits and because of the heaviness of the fruits, the branch also lowers itself. If Hadhrat Maulana perceived some pride in some student then he would make that particular student pick somebody else’s shoes to make the student’s Islah. But at the same time if he saw humbleness in any student, then Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi himself would pick up the shoes of that particular student. Who would do that today?

Demise of Hadhrat Maulana
Hadhrat Maulana passed away in Deoband at the young age of 49. May Allah Ta’ala put Noor in the Qabr of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) and may Allah Ta’ala give us the benefit and roohaaniyat of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) and grant him a great reward for establishing Darul Uloom Deoband and spreading Uloom in the different parts of the world. (Ameen)

Source: The Truth

Imam Shafi’ee

Imam Muhammad Ibn Idress Shafi’ee was born in Ghazah, Palestine in the year 150 AH. Imam Shafi’ee was a descendent from the Hashimi family of the Quaraish tribe to which the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) belonged. His father died around the time of his birth and his mother migrated to Makkah with Imam Shafi’ee when he was 2 years of age.

During his youth Imam Shafi’ee excelled in 2 activities: acquisition of deeni ilm and archery. By the age of 7 Imam Shafi’ee had memorised the Qur’an and at ten years of age he had committed the Mu’atta of Imam Malik to memory.

At the age of 13 with his mother’s permission Imam Shafi’ee departed Makkah arrived in Madinah at the door of Imam Malik.

Teachers

His uncle, Muhammed Ibn Ali Ibn Shafi’ee
Imam Malik
Imam Muhammad ibnul Hassan Shaybanee
Imam Waqee’
Imam Sufyan ibn Uyaynah

Imam Shafi’ee is reported to have written over 150 books.

Imam Shafi’ee was an expert in both Hanafi and Maliki fiqh. From which came about the Shafi’ee fiqh, which was spread by his students.

Imam Shafi’ee is a great role model, for both men and women. Never did he speak a lie, and his hands reached out to the poor generously.

Imam Muhammad said about him: The door of Fiqh was shut to the people, Allah opened it because of Imam Shafi’ee.

Imam Shafi’ee died in Cairo, Egypt, on FRIDAY evening after Maghrib, in RAJAB, 204 A.H. after a short illness at the age of 54 years.

Imam Malik

Imam Malik’s Early Years

Abu Abdullah, Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Amer al-Asbahee was born in Madinah in the year 93 A.H. (714 CE). His ancestral home was in Yemen, but his grandfather settled in Madinah after embracing Islam.

Born into a well-to-do family, Imam Malik did not need to work for a living. He was highly attracted to the study of Islam, and ended up devoting his entire life to the study of Fiqh. Imam Malik received his education in what was the most important seat of Islamic learning, Madinah, and lived where the immediate descendants and the followers of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, were living.

It is said that Imam Malik sought out over three hundred Tabi’een or those who saw and followed the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Imam Malik held the hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, in such reverence that he never narrated, taught any hadeeth or gave a fatwa without being in a state of ritual purity, Ghusl. Ismael ibn abi Uwaiss said, “I asked my uncle Imam Malik – about something. He had me sit, made ablution, then said, ‘Laa hawla wala quwata illa billah.’ He did not give any fatwa without saying it first.”

Also, Imam Malik saw fatwa as a sensitive, precise, and important action that can have far reaching results, and used to be extremely careful about giving it to the extent that if he was not sure about a matter, he would not dare to talk. Al-Haytham said, “I once was with Imam Malik when he was asked more than forty questions and I heard him reply, ‘I do not know,’ to thirty two of them.”

Yet, he was the man about whom ash-Shafi’ee said, ‘When scholars are mentioned, Malik is like the star among them.’ Malik said that he did not sit to give fatwa, before seventy of the Madinah scholars first witnessed to his competence in doing so.

Imam Malik became the Imam of the Madinah, and one of the most renowned Imams of Islam.

Imam Malik’s Famous Muwatta

He is the author of al-Muwatta’ (“The Approved”), formed of the sound narrations from the Prophet together with the sayings of his companions, their followers, and those after them. Malik said, “I showed my book to seventy scholars of Madinah, and every single one of them approved it for me (kulluhum wata-ani alayh), so I named it ‘The Approved’.”

Imam Bukhari said that the soundest of all chains of transmission was “Malik, from Nafi, from Ibn Umar.” The scholars of hadeeth call it the Golden Chain, and there are eighty narrations with this chain in the Muwatta. Malik composed al-Muwatta in the course of forty years, having started with ten thousand narrations until he reduced them to their present number of fewer than 2,000.

Like all scholars of Islam, Imam Malik was famous for his piety and integrity. He courageously stood up, and was prepared to suffer, for his convictions. When the governor of Madinah demanded and forced people to take the oath of allegiance to Khalifah al-Mansour, Imam Malik issued a fatwa that such an oath was not binding because it was given under coercion. He based this opinion of the hadeeth, “The divorce of the coerced does not take effect” (laysa ala mustakrahin talag). This resulted in many people finding courage to express their opposition, but Imam Malik was arrested, found guilty of defiance, and publicly flogged.

Imam Malik’s followers and disciples developed a Fiqh school, Madh-hab, based on his Ijtihad which came to be known as the Maliki Madh-hab. This Madh-hab spread in North Africa, al-Andalus, much of Egypt, and some of al-Sham, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, and Khurasan. Today, Malikis are mostly found in North and West Africa, Egypt, Sudan and the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula.

On Monday 14th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 179 A H., Imaam Malik (R.A) took leave from this world in the city of Madinah and is buried in the famous al-Baqie cemetery.

Source: Madrassah In’amiyyah

Imam Abu Hanifah

Imam Abu Hanifah’s Early Years

Imam Abu Hanifah was born in Kufa, Iraq in the year 80A.H. He was the son of a Persian merchant and his full name is Nu’man bin Thabit ibn Zauti (more famously known in Islamic History as ‘Imam Abu Hanifah’ and ‘Imam A’zam’).

His father – Thabit – was privileged to meet Hazrat Ali (R.A.) who had at the time, made Kufa his capital. Kufa, at the time of Imam Abu Hanifah was one the most important learning centres in the Islamic world and was blessed with the presence of over a thousand sahabah at one stage in its history.

Imam Abu Hanifah is himself also a Tabi’ee (One who saw and benefited from at least one Sahabi).

At the age of 20, Imam Abu Hanifah turned his attention towards the pursuit of advancing his Islamic knowledge.

Imam Abu Hanifah’s Teachers

Imam Abu Hanifah benefited from nearly 4,000 Sheikhs. Among his 1st and the most important tutors was Imam Hammad (Died 120 A.H.) whose educational lineage is linked with Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (R.A.). Such was his respect for his tutor, Imam Hammad that Imam Abu Hanifah says; whilst in my home I never even stretched my legs towards the house of my tutor, despite living 7 streets away.

Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) had joined his father’s business wherein he showed scrupulous honesty and fairness. Once his agent had sold a consignment of silk cloth on his behalf but forgot to mention a slight defect to the customers. When Imam Abu Hanifah learnt of this, he was greatly distressed because he had no means of the refunding the customers; so he immediately ordered the entire proceeds of the sale (30,000 Dirhams ) to be given in charity.

Imam Abu Hanifah was also keenly interested in education. He established a school at Kufa, which later became a famous College of Theology. Here he delivered lectures on Islamic Law and related subjects.

Fiqah or Islamic Law was systematically studied by his students under his expert guidance. A large number of his devoted and highly intelligent students worked under him for 30 years, and it is the labour of these students that gave us the Hanafi School of thought.

Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) was the 1st of the Imams to advocate the use of “reason” in the consideration of religious questions based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. He was also the 1st Imam to arrange all the subjects of Islamic Law systematically.

His most important work is the Kitab-ul-Aasaar which was compiled by his students – Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad.

In {146 A.H.} 763 A.C. Al-Mansoor – the Banu Abbas Khalifa of the Muslim Empire at Baghdad whose capital was Baghdad – offered Imam Sahib the post of Chief Qadhi of the state, but Imam Abu Hanifah declined to accept the post and chose to remain independent. In his reply to Al-Mansoor, Imam Abu Hanifah excused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post offered. Al-Mansoor, who had his own ideas and reasons for offering the post, lost his temper and accused Imam Abu Hanifah of lying.

“If I am lying,” the Imam said, “then my statement is doubly correct. “How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qazi?”

Incensed by this reply, Al-Mansoor charged the Imam with contempt, had him arrested and locked in prison.

Even in prison, Imam Abu Hanifah continued to teach those who were permitted to come to him.

It was here in prison that Imam Abu Hanifah was administered a dose of poison in 150 A.H. Realizing that the end was near, the Imam prostrated in prayer and passed away in this condition in the month of Rajab, 150 A.H.

The news of his death soon spread throughout Baghdad. The whole town came out to pay their last homage to the greatest Imam of Islamic Law. More than 50,000 people participated in the first Janaza Salaat. People continued to flock and before the Janaza could be finally taken for burial, the Salaatul Janaza was offered 6 times in all. For days, people came in large numbers to pay their respects at the grave side.

Adapted from Domain of Islam‘s article on Imam Abu Hanifah