In a letter addressed to Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi wrote (may Allah Shower them with His mercy): 

‘‘I consider you my pride and the means of my salvation. I am nothing, however I am attached to good people.’’ 

Makatib-e-Rashidiah, p.68 (Lahore: Idara Islamiat, August 1996 / Rabi‘ al-Awwal 1417 ed.) compiled by Mawlana Mahmud Ashraf ‘Uthmani


Below is a letter in the handwriting of the Hijazi scholar Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), addressed to Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (may Allah shower His mercy upon him). It was written after Shaykh al-Hadith had gifted  the Shaykh  a copy of Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s (may Allah anctify his secret) Badhl al-Majhud, commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud.  This particular edition, published in 20 volumes,  was the first of many al-Maktabah al-Imdadiyyah (Makkah) prints and included Shaykh al-Hadith’s beneficial ta’liqat (annotations). Shaykh al-Hadith gifted the work to various notable ‘ulama’ of al-Haramayn.

Shaykh 'Alawi al-Maliki's letter to Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya

Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki's letter to Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya



In the name of Allah, most Beneficent, most Merciful, 

Possessor of Excellence, the learned hadith scholar, remnant of the predecessors and splendour of the successors, the embodiment of blessings, Imam, caller to Allah, my master and my teacher: Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya, may Allah protect him … 

Al-Salam ‘alaykum wa Rahmat Allah 

I congratulate you on the arrival of the New Year. May Allah make it one of prosperity, blessings, happiness and favour. Amin

I thank you for kindly sending to me a copy of the great, renowned and praiseworthy commentary, Badhl al-Majhud, which is crowned with your blessed annotations. May Allah protect, aid and assist you, and may He lengthen your life in His obedience and the excellence of His servitude, and may He enable us to benefit from you. May you always remain [in prosperity].

Your lover and humble servant, 

Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki

Servant of the honourable students at the [Umm al-Qura] University and al-Masjid al-Haram

04/01/1394 (AH)

Image taken from: Fihrist Ta’lifat-e-Shaykh, Volume 1, p. 346 (Saharanpur: Maktabah Yadgar-e-Shaykh, Ramadhan 1417 AH / January 1997 CE ed. ) by Mawlana Sayyid Muhammad Shahid Saharanpuri.


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! 

Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki’s Letter To Shah Rafi al-Din Deobandi

Below is translation of a portion of a letter from Shaykh al-‘Ulama’ Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki to Shah Rafi’ al-Din Deobandi ‘Uthmani[1] in which he emphasises his love for Shaykh al-Sunnah Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower them with His mercy) and highlights his dim view of those who bear enmity towards him. The letter is also a manifestation of Haji Imdad Allah’s high level of humility – a quality distinctly found in him and those affiliated to his tariqah

Hadrat Haji Imdad Allah writes: ‘‘And that which I have written in favour of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad – by way of divine inspiration (ilham) – in Diya’ al-Qulub is that whoever has devotion and love for this faqir also has love for Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. And whoever opposes him and is his enemy is also my enemy. From among the brothers[2] of this faqir there is no one who is now superior (fadilat) to Molwi [Rashid Ahmad]. And whosoever claims that this faqir has disconnected himself from mawlana is a liar (kadhdhab). This faqir considers his love for mawlana the means of his salvation. That is all. May salam and du’as be accepted on behalf of all friends. I desire that you ask Allah to lift me up from this world as a believer and that He grants me a good death by His favour and generosity.

And I will also say that I consider Molwi Rashid Ahmad to be in place of my spiritual guide (pir). This faqir has written this letter with great difficulty. Due to my weak eyesight, reading and writing is difficult.” 

End of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah 1305 AH. 

Maktubat-e-Akabir-e-Deoband (Multan: Kutub Khana Majidia) p. 27-28

 [1] Shah Rafi’ al-Din Deobandi ibn Mawlana Farid al-Din ‘Uthmani, the second principal of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, was among the awliya of his age. He was born in Deoband on 29 Ramadhan 1250 AH into a renowned ‘Uthmani family famed for its religiosity, piety and knowledge. Three of his four paternal uncles were martyred in the Battle of Balakot alongside Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (may Allah shower His mercy on them all).

Shah Rafi’ al-Din Deobandi was a khalifah of Mawlana Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Mujaddidi, the hadith scholar of Delhi. He also received an honorary ijazah in Tasawwuf from Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki. The grand Mufti of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, Mufti ‘Aziz al-Rahman ‘Uthmani, traversed the path of suluk under his guidance. Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi would say regarding him, ”Mawlana Rafi’ al-Din is no less than Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi in spiritual rank; their difference is only in knowledge. Knowledge is there (Mawlana Rashid Ahmad) and not here (Mawlana Rafi’ al-Din)”. [This refers to the fact that although Mawlana Rafi’ al-Din  was a man of knowledge, he was not of the same level as Mawlana Rashid Ahmad who was known as a faqih al-nafs. (For an explanation of faqih al-nafs see The Rank Of Recent Hanafi Jurists )].

He migrated to the illuminated city of Madinah in 1306 AH and passed away there two years later on 12 Jumada ‘l-Thaniyah 1308 AH. He lays buried in al-Baqi’ at the feet of his shaykh, Mawlana Shah ‘Abd al-Ghani Mujaddidi, the hadith scholar of Delhi close to the resting place of his ancestor, the Companion of the Prophet Dhu ‘l-Nurayn Sayyiduna ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) (Translator).

 [2] The mashayikh often refer to their murids as brothers rather than murids out of humility.

Hadrat Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) relates: 

”Hadrat Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani once attended a jalsa at a Madrasah in Azamgarh. I also attended.  I informed Hadrat , ‘I am [currently] studying your letters (maktubat). He replied, ‘How are my letters worth studying, [when] some were written in prison, others whilst travelling by train.’ I asked, ‘Then whose letters should I read?’ He replied, ‘Read the letters of Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani (Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi)! Read the letters of Hadrat [Mawlana Rashid Ahmad] Gangohi.” [1] 

 [1] Those who wish to read the maktubat of Imam Rabbani Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah sanctify his secret) may refer to Makatib-e-Rashidiyyah published by Idara Islamiat (Lahore, Pakistan) (translator)

Malfuzat Faqih al-Ummat (Karachi: Dar al-Huda, September 2005 ed.),  Vol 3, Page 209

BismiLlah al-Rahman al-rahim


As-salamu ‘alaykum,


The image below is a copy of a letter in the hand writing of the renowned hadith and research scholar Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him). It was addressed to Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) and was sent after Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah had received Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya’s multi-voluminous commentary of Mu’atta Imam Malik, entitled Awjaz al-Masalik.


Shaykh AF Abu Ghuddah'ss Letter To Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya

Shaykh 'Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah's Letter To Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya

Image taken from: Fihrist Ta’lifat-e-Shaykh, Volume 1, p. 82 (Saharanpur: Maktabah Yadgar-e-Shaykh, Ramadhan 1417 AH / January 1997 CE ed. ) by Mawlana Sayyid Muhammad Shahid Saharanpuri.

Mauritanian Shuyukh on the Deobandi ‘Ulama




Several months ago, Pearls of the Elders received an email from a Mauritanian student of the Sacred Sciences who expressed admiration and love for the ‘ulama of Deoband. In a subsequent email, he sent a fascinating account of how the erudite ‘ulama of Mauritania had come to know of the ‘ulama of Deoband and how they had benefited from them, especially their books.


The student, who asked his name not be published, became acquainted with the writings of the blessed scholars of India and Pakistan through the effort of tabligh. With his permission, Pearls would like to share this email with our readers and hope it will be a means of kindling the love of, and respect for, the ‘ulama of Deoband.


The email has been edited to make it suitable for a wider readership. Translations of Arabic words, relevant footnotes and subheadings have also been added.


He wrote:


Brother Abu Unaysah, wa ‘alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah,


I wanted to take some time out to write this because it is an important subject.

I was first introduced to the Deobandi ‘ulama through the effort of tabligh when I was in the USA. I lived there from 1996 to 2004. Obviously, I benefited greatly from the elders of tabligh. From an academic perspective though, it was from Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyya Kandhlawi’s writings that I benefited the most. These include the books of fadha’il,[1] the English translation of his commentary of Shama’il al-Tirmidhi and his autobiography, Aap Beti, which I have read several times and greatly benefited from.


I often tell my close friends that people who have children — as well as people who wish to understand how important it is to be associated with the mashayikh of tasawwuf — must read Aap Beti.


Sometimes our brothers fail to realise how much Mawlana Ilyas Kandhlawi (rahimahullah) and Mawlana Yusuf Kandhlawi (rahimahullah) relied on Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyya (rahimahullah) to advance the effort of tabligh.  Understanding this would help the brothers associate themselves more assiduously to the ‘ulama; our elders still insist on this in their lectures. We ask Allah for tawfeeq.


Studying in Mauritania


Mauritania is a very poor country and the ‘ulama here, for the most part, have remained in the country. A few have had the opportunity to travel and bring books back from countries such as Egypt and Morocco.


Of course, a couple of hundred years ago, printing did not exist so certain books were copied on manuscripts etc. The teaching style in Mauritania is very different from other parts of the world. Generally it is based on memorising a matn (text) on a subject in the form of a nadhm (rhyming verses). The explanations and details of the texts are taken from the shaykh and his competent students.


For example, in nahw (Arabic grammar), the Alfiyyah of Ibn Malik (rahimahullah) is taught. In usul (principles of fiqh) it is the Kawkab of Imam Al-Suyuti (rahimahullah), or the Maraqi al-Sud of the Mauritanian scholar, Al-’Alawi (rahimahullah). Classical books and their commentaries on different subjects were brought to the country by those ‘ulama who travelled abroad.


Deobandi Books in Mauritania


Books written by Deobandi ‘ulama were introduced to our native Mauritanian ‘ulama very recently; I would say, in the past 20 to 30 years. The ‘ulama who have travelled abroad during the period when the works of some prominent Deobandi ‘ulama had been published did get access to them and benefited from them, as is evident by some of them quoting from their works.


One example is Shaykh Muhammad Habibullah al-Mayyaba (rahimahullah) who passed away in 1944. He was a great ‘alim and hafidh of hadith. It is said that he had memorised the six mutun (texts) of hadith with their sanad (chains of narration). He also wrote a nadhm on the importance of the Mu’atta [of Imam Malik] and a short commentary on it in which he repeatedly quotes from Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (rahimahullah).


Another interesting point is that Mawlana Yusuf Binnori (rahimahullah) has taken from him and was greatly impressed by him. In his introduction to Awjaz al-Masaalik,[2] Mawlana Yusuf Binnori (rahimahullah), when quoting Shaykh Muhammad Habibullah (rahimahullah), writes:  قال شيخنا بالإجازة (“Our shaykh in ijazah said…”)


I intend to further question some of our ‘ulama on how our elders have benefited from Indo-Pak ‘ulama and vice versa.


As you know, Al-Haramayan al-Sharifayn used to be a place where ‘ulama would meet and take from each other. For instance, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (rahimahullah) had an ijazah in hadith from Ibn Dahlan (rahimahullah), who resided in Makkah al-Mukarramah.


Awjaz al-Masalik in Mauritania


As far as contemporary Mauritanian ‘ulama are concerned, the ones I know here have benefited from Awjaz al-Masalik in ways that cannot be described. Hadhrat Shaykh’s (rahimahullah) work can be most greatly appreciated by one who has studied fiqh, usul and Arabic in-depth; and alhamdulillah, these subjects are studied and mastered by the Mauritanian ‘ulama, hence their appreciation of the book to its fullest.


I have, alhamdulillah, gifted the book to five different ‘ulama — two of whom are considered among the most qualified fuqaha (jurists) here — and the comments I have received have been the same each time: “The person who wrote this is a real ‘alim,” or, “The book is greatly beneficial.”


This book is more so beneficial given that writings on hadith from our ‘ulama are very rare. Shaykh Muhammad Habibullah (rahimahullah) has written a commentary of Bukhari and Muslim (Zad al-Muslim fi ma Ittafaqa ‘alayhi al-Bukhari wa Muslim). His brother has also written a commentary of Bukhari, and al-’Alawi (rahimahullah) has compiled a nadhm on the terminology of hadith (mustalah al-hadith), which is a summary of the Alfiyya al-’Iraqi.


Hadith is studied in Mauritania on an individual basis. After a student has studied fiqh, nahw, mustalah of hadith, and balaghah and bayan (rhetoric), they have enough knowledge to study hadith through their own reading of the commentaries.


An Interesting Note on Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyya’s Awjaz al-Masalik


One interesting thing to note is that Hadhrat Shaykh (rahimahullah) has quoted from the mu’tamad (relied upon) books of the different madhhabs in Awjaz al-Masalik and relied on them for giving the mashhur (well-known) opinion on a given madhhab.

This means that when a Maliki ‘alim reads Awjaz al-Masalik, he sees the evidences for the Maliki madhhab as he knows it from his long years of study as well as being able to benefit from Hadhrat Shaykh’s (rahimahullah) commentary on other aspects of the hadith.


Hadhrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s (rahimahullah) Badhl al-Majhud.


Another more recent and more obvious example of the benefit derived from the mashayikh of Deoband is Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (rahimahullah)’s Badhl al-Majhud.[3]


I gifted the book to Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Ibn Ahmad al-Khadim[4] a year ago. He is an ‘allamah who has written on almost all subjects. The Shaykh is in his early 70s. He is without doubt among the five most knowledgeable ‘ulama in the country. Anyone who reads his writings can appreciate the depth of his knowledge. When I asked him a couple of months later if he had time to look into Badhl al-Majhud (he is busy teaching and writing all day; he teaches from 11am to Maghrib time with a break at Dhuhr time), he told me: “I have not had much time yet to look into it but I have benefited from it. There was a mas’alah (juristic problem) that had been unclear to me for a long while and I found the answer to it in there.”


For us who know Shaykh Muhammad Hassan, this means a thousand words. At the time when I gifted him the book and told him about Mawlana Khalil Ahmad, he said: “The ‘ulama of India are ‘ajeeb (wonderful), they are very strong Sunnis in their ‘aqidah (creed)”.


Sorry, I’m making this email long, but the subject deserves it. Insha-Allah I hope we can exchange correspondence in the future.


We have several books written by our ‘ulama here that may be of interest to your ‘ulama, and we’ll be happy to send copies. I can give you a list of the books and the subjects they deal with, or if there is a specific subject some are interested in you can send me that and I will tell you what we have available.


May Allah Almighty accept your efforts and please remember us in your du’a. Also, we’ll be happy to receive you as a guest for a short visit. There are three to four places here that are really worth visiting to meet the ‘ulama.



[1] Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyya’s brilliant books of fadha’il — originally written in Urdu, and translated into several languages, including English, French, Persian, Gujarati and Bengali — consist of selected verses of the Qur’an, hadiths, their commentary and other material. The books are read globally and consist of: Stories of the Sahabah, Virtues of Salah, Virtues of the Qur’an, Virtues of Remembering Allah, Virtues of the Holy Month of Ramadan, Virtues of Invitation and Preaching, Virtues of Sending Salutations, Virtues of Charity and Virtues of Haj.

[2] Awjaz al-Masaalik is a multi-voluminous commentary of Imam Malik’s Mu’atta, authored by Hadhrat Shaykh. It has recently been researched under the supervision of Shaykh Taqiuddin Nadwi, a student of Hadhrat Shaykh, and republished in 18 large volumes by Dar al-Qalam in Damascus.

[3] Badhl al-Majhud is also a multi-voluminous commentary of Imam Abu Dawud’s Sunan; it was also recently researched and republished in 14 large volumes by Shaykh Taqiuddin and published by Dar al-Basha’ir al-Islamiyyah in Beirut.

[4]Shaykh Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Khadim is one of the most senior ‘ulama of Mauritania. Extremely pious and humble, the shaykh is a master in every field of the Islamic sciences, without exception. He is also the only Mauritanian scholar who has so many published works to his name (over 30), having written books on fiqh, usul al-fiqh, usul al-hadith and tasawwuf. Among his published works is a commentary on the Alfiyyah of Imam Suyuti (rahimahullah) in usul al-hadith, a commentary on the Nadhm of Jam’ al-Jawami’ of Imam Suyuti (rahimahullah) in usul al-fiqh, a commentary on the Nadhm of Imam al-Kafaf (rahimahullah) in Maliki fiqh and numerous books on tasawwuf.

He is also a senior Sufi shaykh of the Tijani tariqah and very strict in following the Sunnah and wary of bid’ah (innovation). The Shaykh also has great love for the ‘ulama of India and has great admiration for their service to hadith as can be noted from the above.

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