Humility and Modesty


After making mention of Hadrat [Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi]’s (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) written works, which number almost a thousand, a person asked him, ‘‘you have authored these many works; you’ve probably studied thousands of books?’’ Mawlana replied, ‘‘Yes, I have read a few books, the names of which are:

  • Haji Imdad Allah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)
  • Hadrat Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)
  • Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)

These books have made me independent of all other books.’’

Majalis-e-Hakim al-Ummat, pp. 103-104 (Karachi: Darul Isha‘at) compiled by Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ Usmani

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Mufti Mahmud al-Hasan Gangohi, may Allah shower His mercy upon him, related:

‘‘A [daily] gathering would take place in the company of Shaykh al-Hind [Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi] (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) after Fajar prayer in which tea would be served. Attendees would be involved in conversation with one another. However, ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would remain seated quietly, his head bowed. He would not partake in conversation. Gradually, people would finish drinking tea and leave. Then, Shaykh al-Hind (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would enquire, ‘‘Shah sahib, do you wish to say something?’’ He would then raise his head and answer, ‘‘Yes, I have a query regarding a particular Hadith.’’ Shaykh al-Hind (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would answer his query and thereafter, the Shah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would leave.’’

Malfuzat-e-Faqih al-Ummat: p. 231, Vol 3 (Karachi: Dar al-Huda, September 2005 ed.) by Mufti Muhammad Faruq Mirathi.

Courtesy of  Deoband.org

By Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
Translated by Muhammad Habib

Read Part One

An open letter by Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki in favour of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful. We praise Him and send blessings upon His honourable Messenger.

From the needy servant Imdadullah Chishti, in the service of all my friends:

This needy servant has recently received some letters from India, in which was written that some people harbour ill-thoughts concerning Molwi Rashid Ahmad [Gangohi], [and they wish to know] what they should make of him. Therefore, let it be announced and published on behalf of this needy servant that Molwi Rashid Ahmad is an Allah-fearing man of learning and an upright scholar. He is an example of the pious predecessors. His personality is the sublime combination of the exoteric (shari’ah) and esoteric sciences (tariqah).

His days and nights remain occupied in seeking the pleasure of Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He is preoccupied with the teaching of hadith. After Molwi Muhammad Ishaq[1] that kind of dissemination of the religious sciences has uniquely continued with Mawlana in the entire sub-continent.

Many complex problems are solved at the hands of Mawlana. Every year, about 50 people complete their hadith studies, acquiring ijazah from him. He is engaged in following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and is absorbed in the love of Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He speaks only the truth. He is the manifestation of the verse:

And [they] are not afraid of the reproach of any critic. (Qur’an 5:54)

His complete reliance is solely on Allah. He shuns bid’ah (innovation) completely; propagating the Sunnah is his occupation. His forte is converting those with corrupt beliefs into those with sound beliefs. His company serves as alchemy and is the greatest elixir for Muslims. One is reminded of Allah by sitting with him and this is the sign of the men of Allah. He is pious, abstains from the world and is desirous of the Hereafter. He has attained perfection in tasawwuf and suluk. The rich and poor are equal in his eyes, and he treats each the same; he is free from avarice.

Whatever this needy servant has written as praise for him in Diya’ al-Qulub[2] is the truth, and my good opinion and love for him is now far more in comparison to what it was previously. This needy servant considers Mawlana the means of his salvation. I say openly that whosoever speaks ill of Mawlana pains my heart. I have two arms: one is the late Molwi Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] and other is Molwi Rashid Ahmad. People have also begun to cast the evil eye on the only one who now remains.

 

My ‘aqidah (belief) and Mawlana’s ‘aqidah is one and the same. I also consider innovation to be wrong. Whosoever opposes Mawlana in religious matters, opposes me, and opposes Allah and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Those ignorant people who claim that Shari’ah and tariqah are separate entities do so due to their lack of understanding. Tariqah without Shari’ah is unacceptable to Allah, as clarity of the heart can also be achieved by non-believers. The heart is like a mirror. A rusty mirror can be cleared with urine as well as with rose water. However, the difference between both is one of purity and impurity. Adherence to the Sunnah is the yardstick for recognising a friend (wali) of Allah. One who adheres to the Sunnah is a wali of Allah, whilst the innovator acts in vain. Even Dajjal will display many unnatural feats. Allah says,

Say (O Prophet): “If you really love Allah, then follow me.” (Qur’an 3:31)

The one who is not a follower of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and gives custom to innovative practices cannot be a friend of Allah.

The people of knowledge who love this needy servant, it is only so because of adherence to the Sunnah.

Anyone’s opposition does not harm Mawlana. In fact, as the poet says,

He is the one at loss who does not venerate Mir

Mawlana is a person from whom scholars should benefit and whose company they should consider a tremendous good. It is my desire that no one says nor writes to me any words of disrespect concerning Mawlana. I am deeply pained by such matters. It is strange that you inflict pain upon my beloved and then consider yourself my friend. This can never be! Mawlana is firmly a Hanafi by madhhab, sufi in conduct and a pious, perfect wali. His company should be treasured.

[Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki al-Faruqi al-Thanawi]

25th Dhu ‘l-Qa’dah 1310 AH

Reproduced in Al-Shihab al-Thaqib ‘ala al-Mustariq al-Kadhib, p. 291 (Lahore: Dar al-Kitab, May 2004 ed.)

_____________________________

  1. Referring to the great-grandson of Shah Waliullah Dahlawi, Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dahlawi, who was among the foremost authorities of hadith in his time, the resort of the ‘ulama of his era and heir to his grandfather Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dahlawi. []
  2. Haji Imdadullah writes in Diya’ al-Qulub: ”Whosoever has love, faith and devotion for me, should consider both Molwi Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] (may Allah protect him) and Molwi Rashid Ahmad (may Allah protect him) – who have combined both outward and inward perfection – my equal. In fact, he should consider them to be of a loftier rank than me, even though in practice it is the opposite, in that I am in their place and they are in mine. He should value their company because such people are not found in this age. He should attain benefit from their blessed service and under their guidance traverse the ways of tasawwuf. He will not be unsuccessful [by doing so], if Allah wills.  May Allah bless them in age, bestow them with all the blessings of gnosis and the sublimity of His proximity, elevate their status, enlighten the world with the light of their guidance and through the means of the Leader of both worlds (Allah bless him and grant him peace), perpetuate their spiritual legacies until the Day of Judgment.” (Kulliyat-e-Imdadiyyah, p.72-73, Karachi: Darul Isha’at, 1397/1976 ed.) []

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

‘‘I was, and all praise is for Allah, blessed with the ascetic company of Qutb-e-‘Alam Haji Imdad Allah (may Allah sanctify his secret); I received [spiritual] training and instruction from him. I was also a humble servant at the doorstep of Qutb-e-‘Alam Mawlana Rashid Ahmad [Gangohi] (may Allah sanctify his secret), who tied a turban on my head with his own blessed hands and said, ‘This is the token of khilafat.’ I served Shaykh al-Hind, my master, Mahmud Hasan (may Allah sanctify his secret) and gained his favour. This was all due to the grace of Allah.’’ 

Malfuzat Hadrat Madani (Delhi: Dar al-Isha‘at, July 1998 ed.) p.132, by Mawlana Abu ‘l-Hasan Barah Bankwi.

Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) wrote: 

‘‘It was a greatly blessed day and fortunate hour of my life when I attended in the service of Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Lahori, the amir of Anjuman Khuddam al-Din [situated at] Shiranwala Gate, Lahore. My life has two major turns from where it chose a new path (a better and blessed path, I believe). The first was when I became acquainted with Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali [Lahori]. The second occurred when Allah took me to Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas (may Allah shower His mercy upon him). 

If I had not met Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali, my life – whether good or bad – would have been very different to my current one. It probably would not have a taste for, nor inclination towards anything save literature, history and writing. 

Gnosticism, finding the path and traversing it are great things. Being in Mawlana’s company created, in the least, a yearning to seek Allah, the sweetness of [uttering] Allah’s name, a love for the people of Allah, recognition of my own deficiency and the need for my rectification and perfection. And for us laypeople this is the greatest fortune and bounty.’’ 

Chalis Barey Musalman (Karachi: Idarat al-Qur’an, November 2001 ed.) Vol. 1, p. 630, compiled by Sayyid Hafiz Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari.

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi[1]

(1238-1302 /1823-1885) 

 

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar ibn Lutf ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Hasan al-Siddiqi al-Hanafi Nanautwi—the righteous imam, ‘arif (knower of Allah) and mujahid—was amongst the leading scholars of fiqh, hadith, and tasawwuf in his time. 

A descendant of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), he was born in Nanautah, a village in the district of Saharanpur (UP, India). He initially studied under his father with whom he completed the memorization of the Qur’an (hifz).  He then travelled to Delhi, where he studied under Mufti Sadr al-Din Dehlawi, Mawlana Rashid al-Din Khan, the teacher of many shaykhs Mawlana Mamluk al-‘Ali Nanautwi, Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri and Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi. He studied some books of hadith from the renowned scholar of hadith Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehlawi, the great grandson of Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi and successor of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. 

After studying in Delhi, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi occupied himself in correcting manuscripts (tas’hih) at the publishing house of Nawlkashur. Later he taught Islamic sciences at Ajmer College, and then at Agra College. 

The Battle of Shamli 

In 1273/1857, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar fought against the British in the Battle of Shamli under the leadership of Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, alongside senior scholars such as Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi, Hafiz Zamin Shahid, Mawlana Rahmat Allah Kiranwi and his own younger brother Mawlana Muhammad Munir Nanautwi. It was in this battle that he sustained serious wounds. 

Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi relates: 

‘‘It was the habit of Mawlana Mazhar Nanautwi that he would often lick his upper lip. Someone once asked him the reason for this, but the respected Mawlana did not inform him. When this person insisted, Mawlana remarked, ‘When the battle against the British took place at Shamli, and the Muslims were being attacked, some of my comrades were dying and my leg was also hit by a bullet (due to which it became paralysed). In this state, I saw Hurs (damsels of Paradise) with glasses in their hands. The glasses were filled with a special type of drink that they were giving to those of my fallen comrades who were dying and had no chance of surviving. As this was happening, one of the damsels came towards me. She had just placed a glass against my mouth when another damsel took hold of her hands, pulled them away [from me] and said, ‘He is not among those who are to pass away.’ A very small amount of this drink fell on my upper lip, the [sweet] taste of which remains till today. This is why I have this habit [of licking my upper lip.]” [2] 

After the battle was over, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar went into hiding at Bareilly. Once a general amnesty was declared, he emerged from hiding and thereafter began teaching at his home. 

Teaching the Islamic Sciences 

Many students studied fiqh, usul al-fiqh (principles of Islamic law), kalam (scholastic theology), mantiq (classical logic), Arabic grammar and other related sciences from him. 

In Shawwal 1283/February 1867, he was appointed headteacher at a madrasah founded in Saharanpur by Mawlana Sa‘adat ‘Ali Saharanpuri, the well-known jurist (faqih), who was a participant of the 1273/1857 jihad and a devoted follower of Shah Ahmad ibn ‘Irfan Barelwi—the martyr of Balakot.[3] When this madrasah progressed and an exclusive building was established for it, it was named Mazahir-e-‘Ulum in Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar’s honour. He exerted his efforts in teaching the Qur’an and Sunnah (hadith), and in disseminating knowledge and the Islamic sciences. He was also involved with the administration of Mazahir-e-‘Ulum at every level and taught there until the end of his life. During his nineteen years at Mazahir-e-‘Ulum he taught all the six canonical collections of hadith as well Mu’atta Imam Malik, Shama’il al-Tirmidhi and Sunan al-Darimi. He taught [from the] various renowned commentaries of the Qur’an as well as Durr al-Mukhtar and other famous works of Hanafi fiqh and usul al-Fiqh. He toiled hard to ensure that the madrasah maintained a high academic standard and he succeeded in doing so. This was acknowledged and appreciated by scholars associated with the madrasah, including Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. It is testimony to the efforts and sincerity of Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi that after his death the consultative committee of Mazahir-e-‘Ulum were unable to find anyone of his calibre to replace him in his all-encompassing role at the madrasah

He had many outstanding students; most prominent amongst them was the eminent hadith scholar Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri.[4] Hujjat al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi, founder of the renowned Islamic seminary, Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, also studied some primary books[5] under his tutelage. 

He also assisted in completing Ghayat al-Awtar, the Urdu translation of Imam ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Haskafi’s al-Durr al-Mukhtar, as stated in its introduction by Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi.[6] 

From the legacy of Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi’ is the continuous chain of exceptional hadith scholars that have graduated from Mazahir-e-‘Ulum, which include and is not limited to the likes of: 

  • Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri
  • ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani
  • Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Kamilpuri
  • Mawlana Muhammad Idris Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana Ashfaq al-Rahman Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana Muhammad Ayyub Saharanpuri
  • Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi
  • Mawlana Badr-e-‘Alam Miruthi,
  • Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Yunus Jonpuri.

His Characteristics and the Spiritual Path 

He trod the path of tasawwuf under the guidance of Shaykh al-Sunnah Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, who granted him permission (ijazah) to initiate others into the path. This despite him being older than his beloved shaykh

Mawlana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasimi relates from his father, Mawlana Muhammad Ahmad Qasimi: 

‘‘Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi once saw Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi in a dream, sitting on a throne. Mawlana (who was older than the two shaykhs) relayed the dream in a letter to Haji Imdad Allah in which he also requested him to accept his bay‘ah (pledge of spiritual purification). In reply, Haji Imdad Allah interpreted the dream by instructing him to give bay‘ah to either one of the two [shaykhs]. Therefore, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar brought the letter to Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and requested him to accept his bay‘ah. Embarrassed, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi replied, ‘Accept my bay‘ah instead!’ Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar remarked, ‘Here, this is the letter [of Haji Imdad Allah] and this is the instruction.’ Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi then said, ‘Let me give you some sound advice. Proceed to Gangoh.’ Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar went there. At first, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi also declined. He, however, later accepted bay‘ah.’’ [7]

Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi would express his embarrassment at the love, respect and veneration afforded him by Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi. Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi was a person of great insight (basirat). The respect he showed his shaykh due to his eminence and lofty rank, and the love he felt for him, was natural for him as a disciple. However, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi was unable to disregard his disciple’s seniority in age and felt obliged to act according to the blessed words of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), ‘‘He who does not have mercy on our young, and does not respect our elders is not of us.’’ (Tirmidhi

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi was also granted ijazah in tasawwuf by Shaykh al-‘Ulama’ Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, in whose heart he held a special place, as indicated in his letters (maktubat).

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi was from amongst the ascetic and righteous ‘ulama’; he would be referred to in matters of fiqh. He was an erudite scholar of the rational (ma‘qul), literary (lughawi), and Islamic sciences, who embodied Shari‘ah and Tariqah. He would habitually use perfume when reciting the Qur’an in tarawih prayers. He would refrain from affectation (takalluf) and was an awe-inspiring person; very few people would have the courage to speak in his presence. He was known for his simplicity, humbleness, piety, intelligence and wisdom.   

Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi wrote of him: 

‘‘He was a scholar of deep learning, who had mastery over the [Islamic] sciences. He gave bay‘ah to Imam Rashid Ahmad ibn Hidayat Ahmad Gangohi, who granted him ijazah. He would recite the Qur’an often, would be constantly engaged in the remembrance of Allah, and his tongue would remain moist with [the utterance of] Ism al-Dhat (Allah). He remained aloof from affectation, was an ascetic of an austere nature, dignified and was awe-inspiring.’’ [8]

 Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya writes in Tarikh-e-Mazahir-e-‘Ulum (History of Mazahir-e-‘Ulum):    

‘‘Mawlana Mazhar Nanautwi had very close relationships with Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Despite being senior in age to Mawlana Gangohi, he was from amongst his deputies (khalifahs) and beloved servants.  In fact he was an ardent lover of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and was extremely devoted to him. He had great understanding of fiqh and hadith. He was an Allah-fearing, pious, soft-natured and virtuous saint. ’’[9]

Journeys on Hajj 

His first Hajj, in which Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi accompanied him, was performed in 1277/1861. He performed his second Hajj in 1294/1877 in the company of his shaykh Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi, Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi, Mawlana Shah Rafi‘ al-Din, Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan and others.  

Famous Brothers 

He had two brothers, both younger than him, who were accomplished scholars. 

The elder of the two, Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi, was a prominent Hanafi jurist who translated a number of classical works in Urdu. In contrast to his brothers, elders and companions, Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi actively opposed the jihad of 1273/1857. Due to this, under duress of the local populace, he was forced to leave Bareilly, his town of residence. He returned later, after the battle had ended. There, aided by his two brothers, Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar and Mawlana Muhammad Munir, he established a publishing house called Matba‘-e-Siddiqiyyah.[10] A number of brilliant works were published from there, including: 

  • A critical edition of Qadi ‘Iyad al-Maliki’s Al-Shifa’
  • Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi’s Tahdhir al-Nas
  • Various works of Hakim al-Islam Shah Wali Allah al-Dehlawi.  

Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanautwi’s translations include: 

  • Imam Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din
  • Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’s Ighathat al-Luhfan
  • Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi’s Al-Insaf fi Bayan Sabab al-Ikhtilaf and Al-‘Iqd al-Jid fi Ahkam al-Ijtihad wa ‘l-Taqlid.  

He translated and annotated: 

  • Imam al-Nasafi’s Kanz al-Daqa’iq
  • The latter part of ‘Allamah al-Haskafi’s Durr al-Mukhtar.  

 He also annotated the following works of Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi: 

  • Qurrat al-‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al-Shaykhayn
  • Izalat al-Khafa’ ‘an Khilafat al-Khulafa’
  • His Magnus opus Hujjat Allah al-Balighah.

He also collated the juridical edicts (fatwas) of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. 

Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan was wrongly and unjustly declared an unbeliever by some ‘ulama of Bareilly[11] when he attested to a verdict of the famed scholar ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lucknowi, in which the latter had authenticated the narration of Sayyiduna ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) regarding the creation of seven Earths and the existence of Prophets on each of them.[12] 

His teachers included Mawlana Mamluk al-‘Ali Nanautwi, Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri and the renowned hadith scholar Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi, from whom he also received ijazah in tasawwuf. Luminaries with whom he enjoyed close relationships included: 

  • Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi
  • Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki
  • Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri
  • Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi
  • Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi
  • Mawlana Nur al-Hasan Kandhlawi
  • ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lucknowi
  • Mawlana Muhammad Husayn Muradabadi
  • Shaykh Nihal Ahmad Deobandi
  • Mawlana Fayd al-Hasan Saharanpuri.

 

He lies buried in the Qasimi cemetery in Deoband alongside Mawlana Dhu ‘l-Fiqar ‘Ali, father of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi. 

The youngest brother, Mawlana Muhammad Munir Nanautwi, was a student of Mawlana Mamluk al-‘Ali Nanautwi, Mufti Sadr al-Din Dehlawi and Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Dehlawi. He served as a principal of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband for a short period upon the request of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. He also actively fought alongside senior ‘ulama’ in the battle of Shamli in 1273/1857. He was heavily involved with Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan’s publishing house, Matba‘-e-Siddiqiyyah. His academic works include an Urdu translation of Imam Ghazali’s Minhaj al-‘Abidin. He had a very close relationship with Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi and was particularly known for his knowledge, piety, honesty and integrity. 

Final Illness and Death  

Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi endured pain in his kidneys for a number of years and passed away at the age of sixty-four (Islamic years) after Maghrib prayers on the evening of Monday 24th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah 1302/October 1885. During his final illness, he would often touch his forehead searching for traces of sweat, as according to the Prophetic hadith it is a sign of a believer’s death. When his death was near and he began sweating from his forehead, his face lit up with joy. He was not survived by any children. 

May Allah enlighten his resting place. May Allah shower His mercy upon him and grant him, his teachers and students the highest stations in Paradise. Amin.


[1]               Adapted from Al-I‘lam bi man fi Tarikh al-Hind min al-A‘lam (also known as Nuzhat al-Khawatir), Akabir ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband, Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi awr unke Khulafa’, Awjaz al-Masalik ila Mu’atta al-Imam Malik, Tadhkirat al-Rashid, Tarikh-e-Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband and other sources.   

[2]               Malfuzat-e-Faqih al-Ummat (Karachi: Dar al-Huda, September 2005 ed.) Vol 3, p. 264-265 by Mufti Muhammad Faruq Mirathi.

[3]               One of the greatest spiritual guides of the Indian sub-continent in the last few centuries. He is popularly known as Sayyid Ahmad Shahid.

[4]               Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s love for his teacher can be gauged from the fact that when he became extremely ill in 1340/1922, he wrote in his will, ‘Bury me beside my teacher Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi.’ (See Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz Publications, Jan 2000 ed.), Vol 1, p. 502-503)

[5]               Mawlana Anwar al-Hasan Sherkoti writes in Anwar-e-Qasimi that Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi studied Sharh Mi’ah ‘Amil, Hidayat al-Nahw, ‘Ilm al-Sighah and other books from Mawlana Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi. (See Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz Publications) Vol 1, p. 501)

[6]              See Ghayat al-Awtar (Karachi: H M Sa‘eed Company, 1398 AH ed.) Vol 1, p.10

[7]               Arwah-e-Thalathah, also known as Hikayat-e-Awliya’ (Karachi: Darul Isha‘at, December 2001 ed.) p. 227-228.

[8]               Al-I‘lam bi man fi Tarikh al-Hind min al-A‘lam also known as Nuzhat al-Khawatir (Idara Ta’lifat-e-Ashrafia, 1413/1993) Vol 7, p. 480 by Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani Nadwi and Mawlana Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi.

[9]               Akabir ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Lahore: Idara Islamiat, Ramadhan 1419/January 1999 ed.) p.37-38 by Hafiz Sayyid Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari.

[10]             See footnote in ‘Ulama’-e-Hind ka Shandar Madi (Karachi: Maktabah Rashidia, 1406/1986 ed.) p.306 by Mawlana Sayyid Muhammad Miyan.

[11]             Mawlana Naqi ‘Ali Khan, father of Mawlana Ahmad Ridha Khan, in particular.

[12]             See Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz Publications, Jan 2000 ed.), Vol 1, p. 529-534 for details.

Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi writes: 

‘‘Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan was my teacher. During my stay at Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband my sole reliance was upon him. His father’s name was Dhu ‘l-Fiqar ‘Ali. His genealogy stretches back to the Umayyad branch of the Quraysh. 

Mawlana Mahmud Hasan was born in 1268 AH/1851 CE. He gained primary education from his father and paternal uncle. He gained admission into the Madrasah of Deoband when it was founded in 1283 AH /1866 CE, and studied under Mawlana Muhammad Ya‘qub ibn Mamluk ‘Ali and Mawlana Mahmud Deobandi. He remained in the company of Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] and benefited from him immensely[1]. He sought permission from Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali [Saharanpuri], Shaykh Muhammad Mazhar Nanautwi and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman Panipati[2] to teach and impart knowledge. Considering him worthy of such a post, they all granted him ijazah. 

When Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad Qasim visited Madinah, he also obtained ijazah for Mawlana Mahmud Hasan from Mawlana ‘Abd al-Ghani[3]. Apart from him, Mawlana Mahmud Hasan also derived benefit from Haji Imdad Allah in compliance with the instruction of Mawlana Muhammad Qasim. 

From among the elders who attained knowledge from Mawlana Muhammad Qasim, three came to be especially renowned and distinguished. However, from them, Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind loved his teacher the most. He was the chief inheritor of his teacher’s knowledge, and was his most ardent follower. I studied Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim’s book Hujjat al-Islam from him. Whilst studying the book, I would, at times, feel as if knowledge and faith were descending into my heart from above. My belief regarding the blessed person of Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind is that he was naturally endowed with intelligence and sagacity. He may be considered amongst those [learned] personalities whom, in the terminology of Shah Wali Allah, are called ‘mufahhamun[4].’  He was greatly devoted to his teacher and would zealously attempt to follow him. He inherited the disposition [nisbat] of humility and selflessness from Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim. Shah Wali Allah has identified this nisbat as that of the Ahl al-Bayt in his books. Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind passed away on the 18th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal 1339 AH, corresponding to the 3rd of November 1920 CE, a full one hundred years after the death of Imam ‘Abd al-‘Aziz [Dehlawi][5].’’ 

Shah Wali Allah awr unki Siyasi Tehrik, p. 203-204 (Sindh Sagar Academy, 2008 ed.) by Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi 


[1]               Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan’s study of hadith was completed between 1286 AH and 1289 AH, over a period of four years, under the guidance of Lisan al-Hikmah Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi. The first two of these years were spent, not in a Dar al-Hadith, but while alternating between Delhi, Deoband and Nanautah, with Shaykh al-Hind accompanying his beloved teacher constantly, diligently serving him and acquiring his wisdom and knowledge. (translator)  

[2]              All of whom were students of Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehlawi. (translator)

[3]               Mawlana Miyan Asghar Husayn Deobandi writes that Mawlana Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani also granted Shaykh al-Hind ijazah in tasawwuf. (Please see Hayat-e-Shaykh al-Hind) (translator)

[4]               For a detailed explanation of this term please refer to Imam Shah Wali Allah’s Hujjat Allah al-Balighah, Bab Haqiqat al-Nubuwwah wa Khawassiha (chapter 55 of the English rendering by Marcia Hermansen. (translator)

[5]               This may be significant as Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi considers the Deobandi political movement, of which Shaykh al-Hind was a leader, an evolvement of the movement led by Imam Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi. Please refer to Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah’s Shah Wali Allah awr unki Siyasi Tehrik.  (translator) 

May Allah Shower His mercy upon all the honourable ‘ulama’ mentioned above.

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