While reading Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi’s work on the disciples and associates of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (may Allah shower His mercy upon them) I came across something regarding the renowned Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Kandhlawi that greatly surprised me. 

Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Kandhlawi (1162-1245 AH) was a distinguished student and disciple of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. He was a great faqih, physician, poet and author of many books, the most famous being his completion of Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi’s Mathnawi. Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi and Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi were descendants of his family.  

Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi  writes that this great scholar first met the renowned mujahid and spiritual guide, Sayyid Ahmad Shahid in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal 1234 AH and gave bay’ah to him. At this time he was 72 years old, whilst Sayyid Ahmad Shahid was only 34 years of age! 

Firstly, this speaks volumes about the spiritual rank of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid. The significance of a senior scholar like Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh giving bay’ah to him at this relatively young age cannot be underestimated. Of course, he was not the only senior personality who gave bay’ah to Sayyid Ahmad Shahid; there were many others. One example which may be of interest to regular readers of the blog is Shah ‘Abd al-Rahim Wilayati, the grand-shaykh of Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki. He was already known as a person of spiritual excellence and had received ijazah in the Qadiri and Chishti tariqahs from two different Shaykhs, before giving bay’ah to Sayyid Ahmad Shahid and receiving ijazah from him in the Naqshbandi tariqah

Secondly, this also highlights the sincerity and extreme humility of Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh, who did not hesitate in giving bay’ah to someone who was 38 years his junior (more than half his age) and was not a conventional scholar of the Islamic sciences. 

Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh later wrote a book in the Persian language on the tariqah and adhkar  of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, which was an abridgement of Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hayy Budhianwi and Shah Isma’il Shahid’s Sirat-e-Mustaqim with some additions (may Allah shower His mercy upon all those mentioned above). 

Please see: Karwan-e-Iman wa ‘Azimat (Karachi: Majlis Nashriyat-e-Islam,) p. 83-84, by Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi.