At Death’s Door

Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) advised, 

‘‘Spend every moment of your life in the remembrance of Allah and in the service of din. Be mindful of death and that which is to come after it.’’ 

Malfuzat Hadrat Madani, p.84 (Delhi: Dar al-Isha‘at, July 1998 ed.)  by Mawlana Abu ‘l-Hasan Barah Bankwi

Shaykh Salman al-Husayni al-Nadwi 

Birth and Lineage 

Salman ibn Tahir al-Husayni al-Nadwi, born in 1954 CE in the city of Lucknow, was born into a pious, noble, and erudite family of scholars. His lineage can be traced back to Sayyiduna Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), whose noble progeny would become famous for its tireless services in propagating the religion and sacrifice in the path of Allah, the likes of the great mujahid Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Irfan al-Shahid (died 1246 AH) and the great mufakkir ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Hasani al-Nadwi (died 1420 AH). 


Shaykh Salman began his elementary education at a branch school of Nadwat al-‘Ulama where he memorized the Qur’an at an early age. After completing a middle school level education of Islamic studies, he matriculated to a graduate program at the College of Shari‘ah and Usul al-Din in Dar al-‘Ulum Nadwat al-‘Ulama’. After graduation in 1974 CE, he, alongside a group of other graduates, established the Jam‘iat Shabab al-Islam (Muslim Youth Assembly), an organization that is considered today to be one of the largest and most active Islamic organizations in India.

Shaykh Salman completed a masters degree in Hadith (al-Hadith al-Sharif wa ‘Ulumuhu) from Nadwat al-‘Ulama’ in 1976 CE. A year later, he was admitted into the College of Usul al-Din at the Jami‘at al-Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud al-Islamiyyah (Riyadh) and continued to pursue higher education in the field of Hadith. He received his masters degree in Hadith studies with high recognition in 1980. His dissertation, Jam‘ Alfaz al-Jarh wa ‘l-Ta‘dil wa Dirasatuha min Kitab Tahdhib al-Tahdhib li ‘l-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, was completed under the supervision of the erudite hadith and usul scholar, ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (may Allah shower mercy on him). Shaykh Salman benefited heavily from Shaykh Abu Ghuddah in the field of hadith studies during his stay at the Jami‘ah and was amongst his most distinguished and beloved students.


Upon his return to India, Shaykh Salman was appointed a lecturer on Hadith at Dar al-‘Ulum Nadwat al-‘Ulama’ and later a full-time professor of Hadith. Eventually, he was chosen to be director of faculty for both the Shari‘ah and Usul al-Din colleges.


Shaykh Salman has travelled extensively throughout the world for the sake of Islam. He has served as a guest lecturer at numerous universities and Islamic institutions in dozens of Muslim and non-Muslim countries around the world. As a representative and now substitute for his indirect grandfather, ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi (may Allah shower His mercy on him), he has attended countless Islamic conferences and spoken on a wide variety of topics, the Arabic speeches of which are always delivered in eloquent, fluid Arabic. His tender and mild character, boldness upon the truth, and purity of language have captured the hearts of audiences wherever he has travelled.  Coupled with the eloquence of his tongue and the magnificence of his speech, Shaykh Salman is also a true inheritor of his grandfather’s academic prowess and zeal for da‘wah.


Shaykh Salman has served the Muslim community in India through various methods and Islamic institutions over the years. Amongst his most lasting and significant contributions has been the establishment of the Madrasat al-Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Irfan al-Shahid al-Islamiyyah in 1975 CE, one of India’s largest and most successful institutions of Islamic learning today.

He has likewise helped to lay the foundations for a large number of other religious and secular schools, institutes of technology for Muslim children, and free hospitals for the poor and needy.

 Academic Works

Despite the Shaykh’s numerous travels and time constraints, many academic works in both Urdu and Arabic can be attributed to his name. Likewise, he has contributed greatly to the publication of many of his grandfather’s (‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi) works and their translation into Arabic. Below is a brief list of some of Shaykh Salman’s works:

 1.       Jam‘ Alfaz al-Jarh wa ‘l-Ta‘dil wa Dirasatuha min Kitab Tahdhib al-Tahdhib li ‘l-Hafiz Ibn Hajar

2.       Al-Amanah fi Daw’ al-Qur’an

3.       Al-Ta‘rif al-Wajiz bi Kutub al-Hadith

4.       Al-Imam al-Dihlawi wa Ara’uhu fi al-Tashri‘ al-Islami

5.       Lamhah ‘an ‘Ilm al-Jarh wa ‘l-Ta‘dil

6.      Muqaddimah fi Usul al-Hadith li ‘l-Muhaddith al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi (editing , annotation, and brief marginal notes)

7.       Al-Fawz al-Kabir fi Usul al-Tafsir li ‘l-Imam Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi (translation from Persian to Arabic and marginal notes)

Some of ‘Allamah Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi’s books that have been translated into Arabic by Shaykh Salman include:

8.       Rijal al-Fikr wa ‘l-Da‘wah fi ‘l-Islam (Imam Sarhindi volume)

9.       Rijal al-Fikr wa ‘l-Da‘wah fi ‘l-Islam (Imam Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi volume)

10.      Fi Masirat al-Hayat (Volumes 1 and 2)

(For more detail, see his thorough biography and list of sanads in al-‘Iqd al-Lujayni fi Asanid al-Shaykh Salman al-Husayni by Dr. Akram Nadwi, Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, Beirut.

This biography was adapted by Mawlana Bilal Ali Ansari from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Majid al-Ghawri’s brief biographical mention of Shaykh Salman al-Nadwi in the introduction to his edited version of Muqaddimah fi Usul al-Hadith li ‘l-Muhaddith al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Dihlawi)

Hadrat Ji Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi, the 2nd Amir of the Tablighi Jama‘at wrote regarding Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His Mercy upon them): 

‘‘In the chain of the great luminaries of Islam, Hadrat Shaykh al-‘Arab wa ‘l-‘Ajam (Shaykh of the Arabs and non-Arabs), the great warrior of Islam, lover of immigration and Jihad, adherent to the sunnah, flag-bearer of the knowledge of Islam, leader of the ‘ulama, Muhaddith of the time, jurist of the era, most abstinent from the world and desirous of the hereafter, most enduring and generous, and the least formal Hadrat Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) also occupies a place. Whatever can be written regarding Hadrat is only the little which we had in front of us and could see. The true treasures of man are what lie hidden within. These treasures are hidden in the bosoms of man and shall only be made apparent in the next world. Only Almighty Allah knows what pleasures had filled the heart of this great personality, due to which he was able to bear the severest of difficulties during every juncture of his life for the revival of the spirit of Iman. Spending the last moments of his life in cries and du‘as in front of Almighty Allah, Hadrat handed his soul over to his beloved Master.’’ 

Biography of Shaikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (Jointly published by Madrasah Arabia Islamia (Azadville) and Zam Zam Publishers (Pakistan), Jumada ‘l-Ula 1428 / May 2007 ed.) p.35, translated by Mawlana Ridwan Kajee. 

Note: Spellings of some words have been edited when reproducing this translation.


Below is a letter of condolence written by Shaykh al-‘Ulama’ Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki (d. 1317 AH) — in his own handwriting — to Mawlana Khalil al-Rahman Saharanpuri upon the death of his father Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali, the hadith scholar of Saharanpur (d. 17th Rabi‘ al-Thani 1297 AH). The letter is unique in that Haji Imdad Allah also expresses his grief and pain at the death of his beloved disciple Qasim al-‘Ulum wa ‘l-Khayrat Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi (d. 4th Jumada ‘l-Ula 1297 AH). Reading the sorrowful words of Haji Imdad Allah, one cannot help but feel touched by his outpouring of grief and love for these two great savants, in particular Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them all). 

The letter was published for the first time by Sayyid Nafis Shah al-Husayni (may Allah sanctify his secret) in the monthly periodical Anwar-e-Madinah (Lahore). Sayyid Shah Nafis Shah al-Husayni — a khalifah of Mawlana ‘Abd al-Qadir Raipuri — wrote: “This letter has remained unpublished for 120 years. This blessed letter remained in the possession of the descendants and grandchildren of Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri (may Allah sanctify his secret). One member of this family, our esteemed friend Muhammad Salim al-Rahman (ibn Muhammad ‘Aqil al-Rahman ibn Muhammad Khalil al-Rahman ibn Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali) mentioned this letter to me a few years ago. He later graciously granted this rare letter to this worthless one personally. May Allah grant him the best of rewards. 

“This blessed trust is being presented to the common Muslims with thanks to Janab Salim al-Rahman (resident of Lahore). It is being published for the very first time. (15th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah 1417 AH).”[1]


Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki’s Letter Of Condolence to Mawlana Khalil al-Rahman

Letter Of Condolence Written By Haji Imdadullah Upon The Deaths of Mawlana Ahmad 'Ali Saharanpuri And Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi

Letter Of Condolence Written By Haji Imdadullah Upon The Deaths of Mawlana Ahmad 'Ali Saharanpuri And Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi


‘‘From the lowly Imdad Allah (may Allah forgive him) to the blessed service of my dear Molwi Khalil al-Rahman (may his love for the sake of Allah remain forever.) 

After the sunnah greeting and a prayer for goodness, I acknowledge receipt of your dear letter. It gave the heartbreaking news of the demise of Mawlana Ahmad Ali and my most beloved,[3] a portion of my heart, Molwi Muhammad Qasim (may Allah shower His mercy upon them). I had also received this news before. Indeed, to Allah do we belong and to him is our return. 

Alas! What great sorrow! 

My peers drank the wines and departed

          They left the taverns empty and departed 

Those who were radiant migrated towards the skies

          And we, as shadows, were left behind on the earth 

The courageous men sacrificed themselves for the King

          Lowly ones such as us are enslaved in the clutches of souls 

This lowly one no longer has any enjoyment in life. Pray Allah grants me a good death quickly and takes me away from this world of sorrow. I do not have the strength to write further. That is all.’’

[1] Qasim al-‘Ulum wa ‘l-Khayrat Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi, Apne Mu’asir Tadhkirah Nigaron ki Nazar mey. (Lahore: Sayyid Ahmad Shahid Academy, 1st edition, Rabi‘ al-Thani 1424/ June 2003) p. 38

[2] Translated by Mawlana Ibrahim Amin al-Kuwaiti

[3] When translated literally, the Persian idiom used here by Haji Imdad Allah means, ‘piece of my liver’.  What love and affection for his esteemed disciple! 

It is written in Tadhkirat al-Rashid that Molwi Mumtaz ‘Ali Anbethwi relates:


‘‘Mawlana Abu ’l-Khayr[1] was coincidentally here in Baluchistan when the news of Hadhrat [Mawlana Rashid Ahmad] Gangohi’s death reached us. Twice, I received a message from him, requesting that I visit him. Finally, when I went to him I saw that the mawlana was weeping uncontrollably. Upon seeing me, his weeping increased to the extent that he began shrieking. The effect of this on the gathering was such that people were close to losing consciousness through excessive weeping. In this state, Mawlana Abu ‘l-Khayr remarked, ‘O Molwi Mumtaz, a great person has been taken from India. What great sorrow! The people did not appreciate who the mawlana was.’ I have heard from a reliable source that Hadhrat Mawlana (may Allah sanctify his secret) once spent the whole night [in Salah] weeping over one verse [of the Qur’an].


This verse was: ‘The day when secrets will be examined. There shall then neither be any power nor assistant for man. [Surah 86 (Al-Tariq), Verses 9 & 10]’’’


Akabir-e-Deoband Awr ‘Ishq-e-Rasul (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) (Karachi: Maktabah Arsalan, p143-144) (Quoted from Tadhkirat al-Rashid, p. 191-192)

[1] Mawlana Abu ‘l-Khayr Mujaddidi of Delhi was from amongst the prominent shaykhs of India in his era and a student of Mawlana Rahmat-Allah Kiranwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them both).



True Legacy: Mawlana Muhammad Badr ‘Alam Miruthi’s love for books

 ‘Allamah Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah

 Translated by Abu ‘Asim Badrul Islam

‘Allamah Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah) writes:

‘When I was honoured and blessed with the opportunity to visit the illuminated city of Madinah (- may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon it’s inhabitant -) for the second time after Hajj toward the end of 1384 AH (1965 CE), I had completed the publication of the book al-Ajwibat al-Fadilah li’l As’ilat al-‘Asharat al-Kamilah by Imam ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknowi al-Hindi that same year. I had edited and annotated the book before publication. I took a few copies of the book with me to Madinah so that I could present them as gifts to some of my eminent Shuyukh residing in the illuminated city. 

 At the forefront of these eminent Shuyukh was our Shaykh al-‘Allamah al-Muhaddith al-Faqih al-Shaykh Muhammad Badr ‘Alam al-Miruthi al-Hindi[1] who had chosen permanent residence in the abode of hijra [- the illuminated city of Madinah]. I went to visit him in his house. He had been, at the time, incapacitated by illness and was permanently confined to his bed. Due to this poor health he was unable to study, research and satiate himself with knowledge the way he desired.  

I presented a copy of al-Ajwibat al-Fadilah which he accepted with much joy and appreciation. He praised the book and said to me: “I had purchased the book as soon as it had arrived in the bookshops of the illuminated city of Madinah. As you can see, I do not have the strength or the health to be able to read and study the way I would have wished to. But my intention in purchasing this book was to leave books of knowledge for my children and family. This is better for them as inheritance than wealth.” These words were for me a priceless lesson. I learnt a lot from them and have benefited, therefore, I have related this incident regarding the Shaykh – may Allah have mercy on him. He passed away in the illuminated city of Madinah during 1385 AH.’

Safahat min Sabr al-‘Ulama ‘ala Shada’id al-‘Ilm wa al-Tahsil, 7th edn, (Aleppo: Maktab al-Matbu’at al-Isamiyyah, 2003, p.325)   

[1] Born in 1316 AH (1898 CE), Mawlana Muhammad Badr ‘Alam Miruthi was one of the leading scholars of Hadith in India. Inspired by a lecture delivered by the Grand Shaykh Hakim al-Ummah Imam Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (d.1362 AH/1943 CE), he enrolled at the prestigious Madrassah Mazahir-e-‘Ulum in Saharanpur (India) where he studied the sciences of Islam. After completing his formal study of the major books of Hadith and graduating in 1336 AH he was appointed lecturer at the same institution. However, his thirst for knowledge knew no bounds; he resigned from the post in order to enroll at the prestigious Dar al-‘Ulum in Deoband and study the books of Hadith for a second time. Here he studied under the phenomenal master of Hadith and Hanafi Fiqh, Imam al-‘Asr  Mawlana Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri (1292-1352 AH/1875-1933 CE), the Grand Mufti Mawlana ‘Azizur Rahman al-‘Uthmani, Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad al-‘Uthmani and Shaykh Mawlana Asghar Husayn Deobandi.  

In 1340 AH, in recognition of his proficiency in all the sciences of Islam, Mawlana Muhammad Badr ‘Alam Miruthi was appointed lecturer in the Dar al-‘Ulum of Deoband. Thereafter, in 1346 AH he moved with his beloved master Imam Mawlana Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri to the famous Jami’ah Islamiyyah in Dabhel (Gujarat) where, beside lecturing on Hadith, he attended the lectures of Imam Mawlana Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri on the Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari for five years. It was during this period that he transcribed in Arabic the invaluable lectures of Imam al-Kashmiri and, after the demise of the latter in 1352 AH, it was published with the title Fayd al-Bari ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari. Since that time the book has seen several editions in various countries of the Islamic world, the most recent of which has been from Beirut in 6 large volumes (2005 CE). It is an extremely popular book in ‘ulama circles and has been described by the late Hadith master ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah of Aleppo in several of his works as “a magnificent book”. 

After its formation in 1947 CE, Mawlana Muhammad Badr ‘Alam Miruthi immigrated to Pakistan and lectured at the Dar al-‘Ulum al-Islamiyyah founded by Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad al-‘Uthmani in the Sindh province. He had an extraordinary yearning for the illuminated and blessed city of Madinah which he very passionately expressed in al-Badr al-Sari (the footnotes of Fayd al-Bari ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari) and finally, in 1372 AH (1953 CE), he undertook a second hijra and settled in the blessed city. After residing there for  approximately 13 years he passed away to the mercy of his Lord on Friday 3 Rajab 1385 AH (29 October 1965 CE). May Allah ta’ala grant him and all the great masters whose names have been mentioned here the highest of Paradise. (translator)             

Obituary of The Biographer of The Elders — Mawlana Anwar al-Hasan Sherkoti

Written by Mufti Muhammad Taqi ‘Uthmani

Translated by Abu Unaysah

Edited With An Introduction by Mawlana Abu Zaynab


“Oh, you who believe attain taqwa and remain in the company of the truthful (sadiqin). (Surah Al-Tawba, 9-11)

The Quranic injunction to seek taqwa, one of the goals of traversing the Path of Suluk, has closely been entwined with advice to seek and remain in the company of the pious. In adherence to this principle, the suluk of the ‘Ulama of Deoband lays special emphasis, among other things, on constant exertion to emulate the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his companions and the innumerable scions of piety and saintliness that traversed the Sufi path in days of before. 

The lives of the Elders of Deoband epitomize a high level of piety, adherence to the Shariah and Sunnah, and an in-depth indulgence in tasawwuf. It is for these reasons that the salik is encouraged to read the biographies of the Akabir (Elders), and emulate them in the best of manners. 

Below is a translation of a touching obituary penned by Mufti Muhammad Taqi ‘Uthmani in remembrance of Mawlana Anwar al-Hasan Sherkoti—a scholar renowned for his marked devotion to the Elders of Deoband, something that led the late mawlana to author several well-acclaimed biographies. 

The manner by which Mufti Taqi saheb remembers the mawlana and poignantly celebrates his admiration of the Akabir is indicative of Mufti Taqi Saheb’s own personal devotion to the luminaries of this blessed camp. In these trying and testing times—as one wave of tribulation accedes, making way for another much greater in magnitude, causing confusion among believers—the biographies of the Akabir are such works that console the heart instilling in one a love for the spirit of Islam and selfless sacrifice in its service. 

Those that sadly only respect and acknowledge the standing of Mufti Taqi Saheb in Islamic finance and economics, do so selectively. Mufti Taqi Saheb’s prominence in these sciences is – along with the grace of the Almighty – on account of the blessings of the maslak that he belongs to. He is not a new-age Deobandi as some like to infer but rather a strict follower of his Akabir — Deobandi in maslak, tasawwuf and also lineage.[1] The angle by which the obituary below has been written attests to this simple fact. 

Hadhrat Mawlana Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani writes:  

”Another painful loss, which is being announced in Al-Balagh after much delay, is the death of Mawlana Anwar al-Hasan Sherkoti. The late mawlana is not in need of an introduction in academic circles, he was a graduate of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband and was a great admirer of the Elders of Deoband. Although, he was a lecturer at a college in Lailpur (Faisalabad), all of his private time was spent in writing. His pet subject was the biographies of the Elders of Deoband and, with great fervour and devotion, penned the biographies of a number of Akabir. From these, Hayat-e-Imdad[2],  Seerat-e-Ya’qub wa Mamluk[3] and Anwar-e-Qasmi[4] have been published, while Hayat-e-Dhu ‘l-Fiqar[5] is currently undergoing publication. 

He had a special love for Shaykh al-Islam ‘Allamah Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani and wrote three books about him. Tajalliyat-e-‘Uthmani is a detailed memoir of ‘Allamah ‘Uthmani’s contemporary academic knowledge; and Anwar-e-‘Uthmani is a compilation of his lectures and writings. Both of these books have been published. The mawlana’s third book on ‘Allamah ‘Uthmani, entitled Hayat-e-‘Uthmani, which is still in manuscript form, is a detailed biography of ‘Allamah ‘Uthmani’s life. Apart from this, the mawlana has provided an extremely valuable service by publishing, along with his own Urdu translation and commentary, a compendium of Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi’s letters, entitled Qasim al-Uloom. 

Recently, in Sha’ban 1396 AH, I visited Lailpur and with affection, Mawlana Anwar al-Hasan Sherkoti showed me his unpublished Hayat-e-‘Uthmani. It was his desire that Maktabah Darul ‘Uloom [Karachi] publishes it; something that this lowly one promised to do. 

Apart from this, the mawlana was also translating the introduction of Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim[6]. I am unaware how much of this has been completed. He was a treasure of information on the lives of the Elders of Deoband, and had gathered rare material relating to them. 

Apart from this, he was extremely humble, mild-mannered, polite, sociable, and soft natured. My last meeting with him was in [the month of] Sha’ban at his home. He had expressed a desire to accompany me on my journey until Lahore but was unable to arrive at the station on time. Thereafter, on the 9th of Shawwal 1396 AH (one day before the passing of my honourable father), he suddenly became ill and immediately, having traversed all the stages of life, met with the real Master. 

Verily we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return. May Allah award him an elevated status in the shade of His mercy and grant beautiful patience to the bereaved. Amin.” 

Nuqoosh-e-Raftagan, Pages 63-64 (Maktabah Darul ‘Ulum Karachi) 

This article was originally published in the monthly periodical Al-Balagh in 1396 AH

[1] Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi sahib’s father and grand-father were both graduates of Darul ‘Ulum Deoband. They were both also privileged to have taught at this famous seat of learning. In fact, his grand-father was a resident of Deoband.
[2] The biography of Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah Faruqi Muhajir Makki 
[3] Biographies of both father and son, Hadhrat Mawlana Mamluk ‘Ali Nanautwi and Hadhrat Mawlana Ya’qub Nanautwi. 
[4] The biography of the founder of Darul ‘Ulum Deoband, Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi. 
[5] Biography of Hadhrat Mawlana Dhu ‘l-Fiqar ‘Ali, (father of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi). who was a member of the original Majlis-e-Shura (Consultation Board) of Darul ‘Ulum Deoband 
[6] Takmilah fath al-Mulhim is the completion of ‘Allamah Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani’s incomplete commentary of the Sahih of Imam Muslim, entitled Fath al-Mulhim. It was authored by Mufti Muhammad Taqi ‘Uthmani. 

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi ‘Uthmani (may Allah lengthen his shadow over us) writes regarding Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (may Allah enlighten his grave):

”This lowly one’s honourable father, Hadhrat Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (may Allah sanctify his secret) had a special relationship with Hadhrat Shaykh (rh). Whenever he would visit Karachi, my respected father (rh) would take us brothers to him. In spite of his illness and preoccupations, it was impossible that Hadhrat (rh) would leave Karachi without having visited Darul ‘Uloom Korangi at least once. Then, even when he would be far away, he would write to my father (rh), and they would discuss many problems relating to society. And it was due to Hadhrat’s (rh) boundless compassion that he would, in every letter, mention my respected brother Hadhrat Mawlana Mufti Rafi’ sahib (may Allah lengthen his shadow over us) and this worthless one with great love. He would offer us precious advice and would counsel our respected father (may Allah sanctify his secret) with regards to our islah (spiritual rectification) and upbringing. 

He once arrived in Karachi at a time when my father (may Allah sanctify his secret) was bedridden. Due to heart problems he was unable to move. Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hadith (may Allah sanctify his secret) also had fever, and in spite of this, he did not break his habit of visiting Darul ‘Uloom. When he entered my respected father’s room (rh), my father tried to stand to meet him. However, Hadhrat (rh), said from his place:

Look Mufti sahib! It will not be good if you attempt to stand. The truth is that you are ill, and so am I. Neither of us have the strength to remain seated. I will lie down and we will remain in conversation while lying down.

Accordingly, Hadhrat (rh) lied down on a bed next to my father’s. Both elders remained in conversation for a long time in this state. Allahu Akbar! Where are such heart-penetrating portraits of simplicity, informality, spontaneity, sincerity and love to be seen in this day and age?”

Nuqoosh-e-Raftagan, Page 179 (Maktabah Ma’arif al-Qur’an Karachi)

Hadhrat Mawlana Sayyad Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi (rh) writes concerning Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas’ (rh) stay at Gangoh, in the company of Hadhrat Mawlana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (rh), during his childhood and teenage years:

In 1893, his elder brother, Muhammad Yahya, went to live at Gangoh with Mawlana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi. Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas used to live with his father at Nizamuddin, and sometimes, with his maternal grand-father’s family at Kandhla. At Nizamuddin, his education was being neglected owing to the over-fondness of his father and his own excessive occupation with prayers. Mawlana Yahya thus requested his father that as the education of Muhammad Ilyas was suffering, he might be allowed to take him to Gangoh. The father agreed and Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas came to Gangoh in 1896 or early 1897 where Muhammad Yahya began to teach him regularly.

Gangoh, in those days, was the seat of Sufi-saints and savants, the benefit  of whose company was constantly available to Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas. A greater part of his impressionable age was spent there. When he went to live at Gangoh, he was 10 or 11 years old, and at the time of Mawlana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi’s death, in 1905, he was a young-man of about 20. Thus, he stayed with Mawlana Gangohi for about 9 years.

Mawlana Muhammad Yahya was an ideal teacher and benefactor. He wanted his brother to derive the utmost advantage from the society of these illustrious men. Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas used to say that when the ‘Ulama who had been the favourite pupils or disciples of Maulana Gangohi came to Gangoh, his brother would often stop the lessons and say that his education, then, lay in sitting with them and listening to their conversation.

Usually, Mawlana Gangohi did not take bay’ah from children and students. It was only when they had completed their education that he allowed them to take the pledge. But owing to the exceptional merit of Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas, he, at his request, permitted him to do the bay’ah at his hand.

Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas had been born with a loving heart. Such a strong attachment did he develop for Mawlana Gangohi that he felt no peace without him. He would, often,  get up in the night, go and see Mawlana Gangohi’s face, and return to his bed. Mawlana Gangohi too, had great affection for him. Once Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas told his brother, Mawlana Muhammad Yahya, that if the Mawlana consented, he would sit near him while studying. As Mawlana Muhammad Yahya conveyed the request to Mawlana Gangohi, he remarked,

 ”there is no harm in it. My privacy will not be disturbed by the presence of Ilyas, nor will it affect the peace of my mind.”

At the time of dhikr, Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas used to feel a sort of load on his heart. When he mentioned it to Mawlana Gangohi, the Mawlana shuddered. He said that,

”Mawlana Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] had complained of a similar feeling to Haji Imdadullah, upon which Haji Sahib had observed that Allah was going to take some special service from him.”

A page further, Mawlana Sayyad Abu ‘l-Hasan al-Nadwi writes:

The death of Mawlana Gangohi occured in 1905. Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas who was at his bedside during the dying moments and reciting the Surah of Ya-sin was so deeply affected by it that he used to often say, ”two shocks have been most painful to me. One was the death of my father, and the other, the death of Mawlana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi.”

In 1908. Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas went to Deoband where he studied [the Jami’ of Imam] Tirmidhi and Sahih Bukhari from [Shaykh al-Hind] Mawlana Mahmood Hasan. The latter advised him to approach Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri for spiritual guidance and instruction, since his mentor, Mawlana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, was no more, and thus, he completed the various stages of sulook under Mawlana Saharanpuri’s supervision.

Life and Mission of Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas, Pages 8-11 (Academy of Islamic Research and Publications)

Note: The spellings of certains words have been changed when reproducing these passages .

Hadhrat Maulana Yusuf Motala, may Allah preserve him, writes:

A few days before the demise of Hadhrat [Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya] (ra), a letter was received from one of the students of Darul ‘Uloom (Bury), in which the student had written about his conditions and personal situation. Also included in his letter were his feelings in accord to his moral lacking and also expression of his downfall as a person who was supposed to be a devoted entity.

In my absence [Hadhrat] Sufi Iqbal sahib (ra) read the letter to Hadhrat (ra), who in response was very happy and said:

let me know when Yusuf comes. I’ll make sure to kiss him.

When I arrived, he said:

come near and let me kiss your face.

I however moved forward and kissed his forehead and hands instead. Hadhrat said:

Oh my beloved! I called you so that I could kiss you. I was especially happy after hearing of your student’s letter. Pass on my regards to him and tell him that those who consider themselves significant and exceptional are the ones who in reality are the most worthless.

Hadhrat Shaikhul-Hadeeth (Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya rahmatullahi alaihi) & I, Jamea Publication No. 27, Pages 45-46 (Edited slightly for grammatical reasons)

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