Lessons of humility from our akabirin

7th February 2013
Lessons of humility from our akabirin

Compiled by Ibn Rashid Ahmad al-Qasmi

In the dawra tafsir conducted during the Ramadan of 1432 H. Mufti Zar Wali Khan (Allah protect him) [of Jami'ah Arabiyya Ahsan al-'Ulum Karachi] mentions an incident of the humility and generosity of Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi (Allah have mercy on him). Mawlana Nanautwi was a very handsome man. With the pressure from his elders, a nawab (nobleman) was able to get his daughter married to Mawlana Nanautwi. Once married, the bride came with thirty bags full of gold jewellery. On the wedding night, Mawlana Nanautwi said to his wife, “Social equality is very important between husband and wife. At this age, I can’t become rich like you and your father, but there’s another way. You can become a faqir (poor) like me.”

So his wife replied; “Let’s keep the clothes, and give away all the jewellery”. Mawlana Nanautwi was very glad to hear this. Right away, in the middle of the night, he went to Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband and he woke up the munshi (accountant). He told him that a traveler was passing and Allah placed mercy in his heart, so the traveler decided to give some wealth to the madrasah. The munshi was greatly surprised at the amount. Mawlana Nanautwi made the munshi prepare a receipt for the amount in the name of “a musafir” (traveler). Then he hurriedly left saying; “let me go and give this to the musafir before he leaves”. All this so that no one would think that Mawlana Nanautwi himself had given this wealth from his own household.

Mufti Zar Wali Khan, after mentioning this incident, says; “Since that day, Dar al-‘Ulum has not seen any poverty.”

An incident has been mentioned in the Al-Balagh Mufti A’zam Number of the humility of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan Deobandi (Allah have mercy on him).

Mawlana Mu`in al-Din Ajmeri (Allah have mercy on him) was renowned for his mastery in the field of philosophy. He had heard of the prominence and piety of Shaykh al-Hind. Hence, he decided to travel to Deoband and pay him a visit. It was during summer. When he arrived at the home of Shaykh al-Hind he met a person dressed only in a lungi and a vest. He introduced himself to him and said; “I have come to meet Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan.” The person welcomed him with a lot of respect and seated him telling him that he will meet him soon.

Whilst waiting, this person served Mawlana Ajmeri with refreshments. Mawlana Ajmeri told him to inform Shaykh al-Hind. The person responded that Mawlana Ajmeri should make himself comfortable and not to worry. After a little while, the person brought some food and insited that Mawlana Ajmeri partakes of the meal. Mawlana Ajmeri again asked him to inform Shaykh al-Hind that he had come to meet him. He was told after meals he will be able to meet him.

After partaking of meals, the person began to fan Mawlana Ajmeri [to cool him from the heat of summer]. When this continued for some time, Mawlana Ajmeri became annoyed and said; “You are wasting my time. I have come to meet Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan and it has been so long yet you have not let me meet him.” The person then replied; “The reality of the matter is that there is no Mawlana over here. However, this insignificant servants name is Mahmud.”

Hearing this reply, Mawlana Ajmeri was totally astounded and realised the worth of Shaykh al-Hind.

Mufti Muhammad Rafi’ Usmani (Allah protect him) [of Jami'ah Dar al-'Ulum Karachi] in a speech at Jami’ah Ashrafiyya Karachi mentions that during the prosperous era of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband big titles where not attached to the names of ‘ulama as is common today for example ‘Allamah, Faqih al-’Asr, Wahid al-Dahr, Mufti al-’Azam etc. In that time these titles where non-existent and a scholar of din was simply called Molwi Saheb and the scholar with the most learning was called big Molwi Saheb. In that era they had knowledge, not titles. Today, knowledge has left and big titles are added.

Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (Allah have mercy on him) used to say that for thirty years our madrasahs have been fruitless, because for thirty years our madrasahs are not producing any molwis. He said, “Many Mawlanas are produced, but no molwi. And what is a molwi?”

علم مولی’ ہو جسے ہے مولوی
جسے حضرت مولوی معنوی

Molwis are actually the friends of Mawla (friends of Allah). Today friends of Allah are not produced.

Mufti Shafi’ used to say that many visitors used to come to Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband due to its reputation. The visitors came with the wish to meet the big ‘ulama. A person came to meet Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan and asked him, “You must be the big Molwi Saheb around here?” Shaykh al-Hind replied, “Not me, but the actual big Molwi Saheb is so-and-so.” Shaykh al-Hind was the most senior teacher and scholar at that time and he was known as the big Molwi Saheb amd the rest of the scholars where only known as the Molwi Saheb. So the person went to that ‘alim whom Shaykh al-Hind had directed him to as being the big Molwi Saheb. The person cameand asked himl; “Are you the big Molwi Saheb?” This ‘alim also responded that the big Molwi Saheb is so-and-so. In this way he was sent to a third ‘alim.The point being made is that none of the ‘ulama where willing to take up the title of big Molwi Saheb.

Therefore, Mufti Shafi’ used to say that as a result of this they were all big. Why? Because when no one of them was ready to accept himself as big, then definitely the promise of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was being fulfilled; “Whosoever adopts humility for the sake of Allah, Allah will honour him.” (hadith)

This is why they where all big. And today everyone of us says, that he is big. The result is that everyone is small.

Mufti Rafi’ continues and says when someone is asked; “Are you the big leader?”, “Are you the big teacher of this institute?” or “Are you the big scholar of these times?” Then in the answer he will adopt pride (riya) inside humility, because the devil of a molwi is a molwi himself. The devil tells him; “Don’t say ‘I’m the big one.’, because when you say that you are the big one they might think you don’t have any humility and if you don’t have any humility you can not be a friend of Allah, and the result will be that you won’t be look up to. So, you should reply; ‘I’m not a big scholar, but yes people say so.’” Which actually means he is affirming himself to be the big scholar but how can he sat it with his own tongue. In this manner he will adopt pride within humility and this is refered to as hubb jah (love for fame). To conclude, the root of all mischief today can be found in two things; one is hubb maal (love for wealth) and the other is hubb jah.

These lessons and advices of humility from the lives and words of our akabirin are like shining lights in this era of hero worship and false piety. The morals and etiquette displayed by them are of the highest standard, the Prophetic sunnah brought alive after 14 centuries.

posted by Abu Taalib Deobandi on 7th February 2013 - 0 comments


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