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These were our Elders: Anecdotes from the lives of the Akabirin
This thread will be dedicated to our elders, the Akabirin; who have left for us an example to learn from, follow and spread. These were the Akabirin who for their whole lives sacrificed for the deen; who were pillars of knowledge and upholders of the Sunnah. They gave their lives on the battlefield and on the gallows. Today, we reminisce from their lives and yearn to be able to follow in their path while acknowledging that we are not even worth the dust on their shoes.
"Once Mawlana Abd al-Qadir Raipūri (Allah have mercy on him) stated: " Some ignorant people complain that: "why do you always speak of the Akabirin?" He replied: "what can I do? I found the lives of our Akabirin, every single one of them to be in conformity with the Sunnah and teachings of our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)."
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Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Fadhl al-Rahman al-A'zami حفظه الله mentions:
"We used to study Tafsīr al-Bayḍāwī under Shaykh ʿAbd al-Laṭīf Nuʿmānī رحمة الله عليه. He never kept a book with him. We would bring one for him and indicate where the lesson was from and he would begin to explain the lesson in his informal style. I don’t know if he came prepared or not. Shaykh Manẓur Nuʿmānī and Muftī Ẓafīr al-Dīn are two of his many students. He was a skilful and experienced debater and an energetic, brave man. His expertise extended to all fields and his talents were undeniable."
Further it is mentioned that once Shaykh al-Ḥadīth was reading 'Allamah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī’s Nayl al-Farqadayn, when he came across a portion of text that he did not understand. He first approached a junior teacher and asked for an explanation, but he was unable to offer one. He then approached a more senior teacher and he too was unable to explain the text. Shaykh al-Ḥadīth then went to Shaykh ʿAbd al-Laṭīf Nuʿmānī رحمة الله عليه who, after just a brief glance, immediately explained it in a very confident manner.
(A Brief Biography of Shaykh al-Hadīth Fazlur Rahman Azmi, p. 78)
Mawlana Abu 'l-Kalam Azad was imprisoned in Ranchi jail by the British colonialists. After three years in prison, his wife passed away. The British court sent a release warrant to the warder authorising his release for a period of three days only. Mawlana Azad responded by scrolling at the back of the warrant: "O you British! I am not prepared to accept your release warrant. Tomorrow on the day of judgement, I will meet my wife. Leave me alone."
Once somebody had sent him a gift of ten thousand rupees in recognition of his endeavours against the British. He sent it back saying: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself? You wish to purchase my pen with this money? No power in the world can purchase the pen of Abu 'l-Kalam!"
Friends! Many journalists and unscrupulous editors here in Pakistan are very eager to embellish their own writings by being critical of the writings of Abu 'l-Kalam Azad. They should realize that he was Abu 'l-Kalam (literally, father of speech). When Shorish Kashmiri went to Mawlana Azad's grave after his death, he uttered the following lines of poetry:
"Alas! What a strange scene or the hereafter this is; there is ashk (tears) hut no 'ashiqi (beloved).
The splendour of the earth has disappeared as the horizon lacks the openly affectionate guide.
Ah! Who is unwilling to be sacrificed over your death and separation.
I am still unconvinced of your sudden death.
I think to myself that where is the man with multiple intellects.
The magnanimity of the pen has been plundered and the power of the tongue has been depleted
Our faces have lost their lustre as our leader or the caravan has departed but,
I am still unconvinced of your sudden death.
Who is it that will not go around your tomb with a broken-heart and a slow pace?
All the people; the ordinary as well as the elite have submitted to their sorrows before your grave.
I am still unconvinced of your sudden death."
He later repeated these verses to 'Ata Allah Shah Bukhari who took pleasure in these lines and added:
"You have awoken my dreamy eyes.
One of the stars of the earth have ascended to the skies
but I am still unconvinced of your sudden death."
(The 'Ulama of Deoband: Their Majestic Past, p. 68-9)
The Lofty Status of Mawlana Abu 'l-Kalam Azad Mawlana Abu ‘l-Kalam Azad was imprisoned in Ranchi jail by the British colonialists. After three years in prison, his wife passed away. The British court sent a release warrant to the warder authorising his release for a period of three days only. Mawlana Azad responded by scrolling at the back of the warrant: “O you British! I am not prepared to accept your release warrant. Tomorrow on the day of judgement, I will meet my wife. Leave me alone.” Once somebody had sent him a gift of ten thousand rupees in recognition of his endeavours against the British. He sent it back saying: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You wish to purchase my pen with this money? No power in the world can purchase the pen of Abu ‘l-Kalam!” Friends! Many journalists and unscrupulous editors here in Pakistan are very eager to embellish their own writings by being critical of the writings of Abu ‘l-Kalam Azad. They should realize that he was Abu ‘l-Kalam (literally, father of speech). When Shorish Kashmiri went to Mawlana Azad’s grave after his death, he uttered the following lines of poetry: "Alas! What a strange scene or the hereafter this is; there is ashk (tears) hut no ‘ashiqi (beloved). The splendour of the earth has disappeared as the horizon lacks the openly affectionate guide. Ah! Who is unwilling to be sacrificed over your death and separation. I am still unconvinced of your sudden death. I think to myself that where is the man with multiple intellects. The magnanimity of the pen has been plundered and the power of the tongue has been depleted Our faces have lost their lustre as our leader or the caravan has departed but, I am still unconvinced of your sudden death. Who is it that will not go around your tomb with a broken-heart and a slow pace? All the people; the ordinary as well as the elite have submitted to their sorrows before your grave. I am still unconvinced of your sudden death." He later repeated these verses to ‘Ata Allah Shah Bukhari who took pleasure in these lines and added: "You have awoken my dreamy eyes. One of the stars of the earth have ascended to the skies but I am still unconvinced of your sudden death." (The ‘Ulama of Deoband: Their Majestic Past, p. 68-9)
There are certain personalities whose writings make me wish that people could read Urdu! Shaykh (Maulana) Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958) (RA) 's mother was a noble Arab woman and his ancestors were from the lineage of Ulamah from Afghanistan and he was born in Makkah so Arabic & Persian was his home language while he mastered Urdu, learned English and then French on his trip to Europe!
I have NEVER seen writing where someone can blend 3 languages with such efficiency and they call him indeed the "Father of Speech". His newspaper still mesmerises me to this day almost 100 years later...
In a famous speech which he was fore-warned by the British not to give he said,
Allah (SWT)'s Deen will prevail over all other religions and this is NOT a question of IF but a question of WHEN
If you don't believe this then you lack Eemaan
He was sent straight to Jail as soon as he finished his speech!
The British hated his guts because he was one of the only Uamah who could understand their language, tactics and deal with their politics. Those of us who want to setup articles/blogs/newspapers/magazines Shaykh (Maulana) Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958) (RA) is indeed the example to follow!
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^^ Opinion of Haqeer, Faqeer, Pur-Taqseer, Haich-Mandaan, Banda-e-Nadaan
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The governor meeting Mawlānā Faḍl al-Raḥmān of Ganj Muradabad
From the Malfūẓāt of Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī, compiled by Mufti Muḥammad Fārūq Mīrathī
Once, the governor sent a message to Mawlānā Faḍl al-Raḥmān of Ganj Muradabad that he wanted to visit him. Someone advised him that the governor sits on a chair. Hence, the Mawlānā arranged a chair for him. When he came in, he sat on the chair. He brought along a woman as well, but there was no chair for her. However, there was an earthenware pot turned upside down and the Mawlānā requested her to sit on that if she wished. She stretched out her hand to greet the Mawlānā, but he immediately pulled his hands behind his back saying, "Al-ḥamdu lillāh, I have not yet touched a strange woman."
When the governor asked him regarding his health, he replied, "In the light of the third moon, I am able to read a letter written with a very fine pen."
This was when he was already over 100 years old. Subḥana'llāh! What an excellent state of health he had at that age!
From the Malfūẓāt of Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī, compiled by Mufti Muḥammad Fārūq Mīrathī
Mawlānā Faḍl al-Raḥmān of Ganj Muradabad mentioned in his malfūẓāt that Sir Sayyid Aḥmad Khān (the founder of Aligarh University) was forgiven by Allāh. He then mentioned that the reason for his forgiveness was that his intention was to be of assistance to the Muslims at large. Thereafter, he mentioned that Ghālib (Mirzā Asad Allāh Baig Khān) had also been forgiven.
Once, Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhlawī went to the grave of Sir Sayyid Khān and I (Mufti Maḥmūd) was also with him. Mawlānā Zakariyyā said to me, "Brother, we all are sinners, but we all must make duʿāʾ for forgiveness."
1. Wudhu and Ghusl is required to keep ourselves clean and healthy - Similarly; for a human to keep his Eeman in a healthy state, Amal is required.
2. If we are hungry, we even walk to grab some food - Similarly; if you get hungry in Eeman, you must even walk to perform Amals. To perform our Amals in the correct manner, we must walk to learn the ilm.
3. Even a Qari stops reciting if he is near a Mufti. If we are doing bayan or Taaleem, we become careful if some elder comes. Similarly, while we pray we must get the fear that Allah watches me.
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..Allah's friends were consistent in Tahajudd and Quran Tilawat..
The zuhd of Mawlānā Sayyid Abū ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Alī Nadwī
In 1998, Mawlānā Sayyid Abū ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Alī Nadwī was nominated as the recipient for the ‘International Qur'ān Award’ which was given by the government of Dubai. When the Mawlānā was informed that this award giving ceremony was to take place in Ramaḍān, he excused himself as there would be many who would be coming to him during Ramaḍān and added to that was his ill-health. However, the organisers insisted and finally the Mawlānā agreed to travel. Keeping in mind the Mawlānā’s illness and weakness, the organisers sent a private jet from Dubai to Lucknow for transporting him. The awards giving ceremony was quite a strange spectacle to see where the governor made over the award to the Mawlānā while at the same time, the Mawlānā made over a set of his books as a gift to him. Mawlānā Nadwī thereafter delivered a lecture, and as usual made a public announcement that the entire award (which at that time was equivalent to 1.25 million (Indian) rupees) will be spent in assisting various madāris etc. Thereafter, within a short span of time the entire amount was distributed without the Mawlānā spending a single cent on himself. In fact, until the entire amount was not distributed the Mawlānā was not at ease.
Once a sum of money came to the Sharīf of Makkah, which was for distribution among the Muhājirūn (those who had migrated to Makkah). Ḥājī ‘Imdād Allāh Muhājir Makkī sent a message to him informing that he (Haji Sahib) being a Muhājir was also entitled to a share. In response three ānās (three cents) were sent as his share. At that time Mawlānā Muḥammad Munīr Nānautawī was also present. Ḥājī ‘Imdād Allāh said to the Mawlānā : “Of what benefit are three ānās to me? Nevertheless, I considered it expedient to ask for my share because the peculiarity of this place is that when a man leads a life of some istighna‘ (independence), people begin to become jealous for no reason whatever. Since it is my intention to live permanently here, I choose to live humbly to avoid projecting the image of the slightest bit of istighna‘.”
(This is an excerpt from a leading English newspaper of Bangladesh which was published on 25/10/1999; written by Syed Wasiful Islam (D. B.), an elder of Kakrail, Tablighee Markaz of Bangladesh)
A Tribute to Haji Abdul Moquith Saheb A Dayee (Inviter to Allah)
I remember the first time I saw him, it was in August 1972 in the Bangshaal Ahle Hadis Mosque. I was spending the first '3 days' of my life with a 'jamaat' from Aligarh University. A fair, handsome-looking man with graying hairs, full bearded, dressed in white, with clear blue eyes, his appearance permeated an aura of confidence around him. He was the kind of personality you took a liking to immediately. Then I met him again at Kakrail Mosque and I learnt he was a consulting engineer and also one of the responsible persons of the 'tabligh' work in Bangladesh. Since then it has been a very close association, with so many memories, events, happenings, incidents. I benefited tremendously from his wise counsel both in mundane and spiritual matters. Haji Saheb or Shiekh Abdul Moquith, as many in the Arab world knew him, soon came to be my friend, guide and mentor.
He hailed from a sleepy village, Shobornopur of 24 Parganah, West Bengal. Scion of an illustrious family, his father was an engineer in Calcutta, he was the nephew of the famous Dr T Ahmed, founder of the Islamia Eye Hospital, his elder brothers were the late Justice Abdullah and Prof Abdul Mohsin Ahmed, the founder Principal of Rajshahi Engineering College.
I last saw him on the night of the 3rd October 1999, he shook his head and said with a smile, "Wasif you are putting on too much weight, watch it". We had a 27 years relationship. Alhaj Abdul Moquith Ahmed, at 83 was still the same dominating personality. Mellowed with age he needed help to walk around, yet he was in perfect control of situations, giving orders here, counselling there, conferring with his shura, looking after the guests, planning routes for jamaats that endlessly crisscross the country, he definitely did not look 83 and positively acted much younger. The spark was still there in his eyes, his mental faculties were functioning with amazing precision, no one could tell that the was recovering from a cardiac complication a month ago. He was making preparations to go to Chittagong on a tabligh journey, little did anyone of us know it would be his last. This was the way he always wanted to go, travelling in the path of Allah, making efforts for the 'deen' of Islam, holding the banner of 'Kalima' aloft, and inviting all to the 'Hayat E Taiyaba' (the good life) as shown by the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad 'Sallallaho Alaihe Wa Sallam'. He was a silent soldier of Islam, unknown and unsung by the vast multitude of humanity. Yet he had an absorbing love for all mankind, often we would find him engrossed in deep thought, - how to save the people from the fires of Hell and how to take them to 'Jannat'. How people will get 'hidayat' (guidance). This was the thinking and the concern of all the 'Ambiyas' (Prophets) 'alaihi salaam'. For this he traveled far and wide, USA, Canada, England, Japan, parts of Europe, South Africa, to 11 countries all over the East African Coast, Australia, Fiji, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and a multitude of visits to India and Pakistan, not to mention innumerable trips to different parts of Bangladesh. I had the rare honour of accompanying him on many of his trips.
I still remember the first 'Haj' we made together in 1979. We were returning from the USA with a ladies 'jamaat'. My wife and I learnt so much from him and his wife, who was a graduate of Lorretto College of Calcutta. She was equally committed to the cause of deen and had contributed much with her husband in initiating and establishing the work of 'tabligh' amongst ladies, not only in Bangladesh but also in countries like Thailand, England, Malaysia and USA. Haji Saheb once told me, 'half of what I am is due to your 'khalaamma' (aunt).' He had also said many times "I will either die in the lap of my wife (as Rasullullah had done) or I will die in the path of Allah." She passed away in 1997, so Allah in His infinite wisdom chose for him the latter course.
He was a very fine engineer from the famous Shibpur College of Engineering. The late Mr Rafiqul Haque of Sandwip, who was my first boss and a civil engineer himself used to say "Haji Abdul Moquith is the best structural engineer in the sub-continent." We are still using the bridges he designed all over the country when he was serving the government. The 20-storied secretariat building was designed by him, so were innumerable mosques all over the country, for which he never took payments. The beautiful domed mosque inside New Market, the impressive Turkish style 'minaret' at Lalbagh madrasah, the famous Kakrail Mosque with its unique architecture are all standing tribute to his successful professional achievements.
Abroad, he designed the Dewsburry Mosque which is the Centre of Tabligh in England, the Yala Mosque in Thailand, he also advised in the building of the mosques in Marawi City, Philippine, Bangalore, expansion of Banglaywali Masjid, Delhi (the Centre of world 'tabligh' activities) etc. etc. He was still running his consulting business till the end.
He was a loving husband and a doting father. He raised six sons and two daughters, all deeply religious and involved in the mission they have seen their father and mother so passionately involved in. Two of his sons Maolana Abdul Barr and Maolana Abdul Hasib accompanied him in his last trip to Chittagong where he breathed his last holding the hands of Maolana Abdul Barr. Apparently he had a massive MI early in the morning of 7th October while at the Tabligh Markaz at Love Lane, Chittagong and much against his will he was taken to the Chittagong Hospital. The whole day he hung precariously on to life, never missing even one 'salat'. Whenever he would come out of the effects of morphine he would be his usual self, making 'fikr' about the work. One of the last things he said was to make all out efforts to spread good deeds. He woke before 'fajr' and was waiting for the time of 'fajr' to start. His son advised him to only make 'fard' but he said "I can still make 'sunnahs', so he made his 'sunnat' and 'fard salaat' then he felt severe pain in his chest. The doctor was called and he was given some injections. He fell asleep. He got up at 7:15 am and was feeling restless. Maolana Abdul Barr was beside him, the doctor was called by Dr Nafees. Tahseen, who was in his 'khidmat' and Maolana Abdul Barr started to make 'talqeen' of the 'Kalima' (reciting 'kalima' out loud). He held both of them with his two hands and squeezed as if making a final effort to get out of the grip of the Angel of death. Tahseen saw the pulse rate in the monitor drop from 80 to 50 to 20 to 0. The monitor was also showing a straight line. The valiant soldier of Islam who had made untiring efforts in his life, had fought his last battle and perhaps just then the angels of mercy were carrying his fragrant soul to his Creator.
Haji Saheb's personality always left an indelible mark on any one who had met him. He had an affable nature, a spontaneity of character, with an engaging smile. He always offered 'salaam' first to young and old alike, if anyone fell sick he would go to visit him, if anyone died he would send his family members with food, if any one asked for financial assistance he would never refuse. He was always giving 'hadiyas' (gifts) to foreigners who came for 'tabligh' work to Kakrail mosque. He was very fast in repaying loans. He was always upright and straight forward in his dealings, he abhorred bribes, interest etc. He had an uncanny knack for remembering names and faces and places. He was kind and gentle of heart. Many times I noticed him to be visibly moved if he would hear about the distress of others. Above all he wanted to make this a better world for all of us to live in. Free from strife and corruption, free from hypocrisy and hate, a saner, purer, more humane society the foundations of which had been laid by the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad 'Sallallaho Alaihe Wa Sallam'.
To my mind Haji Saheb was an embodiment of the 'hadis': the Prophet 'Sallallaho Alaihe Wa Sallam' was asked who should we associate with? He replied, the person, when you see him you are reminded of Allah, when he acts you are reminded of the hereafter and when he speaks your knowledge is increased. With his burning desire to better the best, he was instrumental and did pioneering work to make the annual Tongi Ijtema what it is today, and put Bangladesh on the map of international Islamic activities. Not only would he desire utmost sacrifices of time, money and energy from his associates and friends but would also set personal examples of sacrifices himself. He had a resolute will and was an out and out perfectionist. He was a stickler for details, even the minutest things would not escape his attention. Just to remind us that he too was human, Allah had given him a quick temper, when angered his lips would quiver and many a stalwarts could not stand grounds in front of him.
The day he died his gatekeeper was weeping, saying sometime back, 'Huzoor' had come home and he found the front gate open and I was not around. When I came he hit me on the back with his stick. A few days later 'Huzoor' was stuffing a 100 taka bill in my hands and was saying "I hit you the other day, have you forgiven me?" He was an avid student of Islam, taking notes of all lectures given by the elders and scholars. He would attend all the collective programmes in 'ijtemas', in spite of his old age and illness. He was particular and assiduous regarding adhering to each and every 'sunnah', he was still memorising 'doas' for different occasions. After 'tahajjud' prayers he would be seen stooped in studying the 'tafsir' of the Holy Quran. His lifestyle was spartan and simple; his bed was a hard 'chowki', he wore coarse white clothes, a 'lungi' with 'kurta' or 'chadar'. He would feed his family simple and frugal meals but would fix up a 'dasterkhwan' fit for kings when he would invite guests. He was a source of inspiration for all of us, young and old, specially for the 'tabligh' workers all over the world. He made special contributions towards involving the newly converted afro-American Muslims in the work of 'tabligh'. He understood them very well and always advised me to look after their requirements when they came to Bangladesh. Always a 'dayee', many people all over the world accepted Islam in his hands.
I have no words to describe the sense of loss at his sudden demise. The only satisfaction is that he died as a 'shaheed', in the path of Allah on a Friday. He was washed at the Love Lane Masjid in Chittagong and shrouded with his old 'lungi' and 'chadars' as was his desire. His body was brought to his house first at Topkhana. There I had the opportunity to put perfume on him and to kiss his forehead. His face looked very peaceful. His 'janaza', amidst sobs and suppressed weeping, was held at the Tongi 'Ijtema' fields after 'Isha salaat', attended by all the old workers of the country, as there was 'jor' (gathering), and also by elders of Riwand and Nizamuddin who had come for the 'jor'. He was buried the same evening at Azimpur as per his wish in the common graveyard just beside his wife who had befriended him for over 50 years. Today, the whole world mourns him, telephone calls, letters, faxes and emails poured in from all over reminding us that our dear Haji Saheb is no longer with us. 'Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Raajeoon'.
Two incidents regarding Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Khayr Muḥammad Jalāndharī's extreme level of ikhlāṣ
Once, the head of the Qirāʼah and Tajwīd department in Madrasah Khayr al-Madāris, Multan, Qārī Rahīm Bakhsh (raḥimahullāh) was imprisoned. During this period, someone informed Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Khayr Muḥammad Jalāndharī (raḥimahullāh) that Qārī Ṣāḥib has intentions of setting up his own madrasah for Tajwīd and Qirāʼah after his release. When Qārī Ṣāḥib was finally released, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā queried from Qārī Ṣāḥib regarding this piece of information. Qārī Ṣāḥib replied that he had no such intention at all. On that, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā said, "Assuming that this was your intention, we would have stopped this department in the madrasah, since the objective is to benefit the students. Hence, when students are deriving the desired benefit from you at another madrasah then there is no need to have the same faculty in Khayr al-Madāris."
After the partition of India, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā 'Abd al-Raḥmān Kambalpurī (raḥimahullāh), a very senior khalīfah of Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Ashraf 'Alī Thānawī (raḥimahullāh) and a senior teacher in Madrasah Maẓāhir 'Ulūm Saharanpur, relocated to Pakistan and commenced teaching in Madrasah Khayr al-Madāris. After some time, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā decided to move over to the Dār al-'Ulūm in Tando Allāhyār. Two years had barely passed and he wrote to Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Khayr Muḥammad Jalāndharī stating that he wished to return to Khayr al-Madāris. In reply, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Khayr Muhammmad Jalāndharī wrote: "With great pleasure, you may come. Khayr al-Madāris is yours. However, by you leaving Tando Allāhyār, it is possible that it will cause a loss to the madrasah, whereas it is also our madrasah."
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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