Religion


The Excellence of Salam (Edited by Mawlana Badrul Islam)

Two people related by Faith should use the expression of peace and security to address each other. Thus Islam taught Muslims to say Assalamu ‘alaykum (meaning ‘Peace be upon you’) and replaced all other forms of greeting.

In this small greeting is hidden an excellent and comprehensive prayer, kindness and affection for the young, and respect and attention for the elders.

Almighty Allah employs the same greeting in the Glorious Qur’an to address His beloved Prophets as a mark of His favour and esteem on them. ‘Peace be on Nuh among the people’ (37:79); ‘Peace be on Ibrahim’ (37:109) ‘Peace be on Musa and Harun’ (37:120); ‘Peace be on Ilyas’ (37:130); ‘Peace be on those sent (to warn)’ (37:59); and ‘Peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen’ (27:59). Believers will also be welcomed into Paradise with the same expression: ‘Enter here in peace, free of fear’ (15:46) and ‘Peace on you for the patience you observed. So, how excellent is the ultimate abode’ (13:24).

Salam is a distinctive practice of Islam and Muslims have been encouraged to spread this greeting. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “Oh people! Worship Allah, The Beneficent, feed His servants, and spread salam much, and you will reach Heaven in peace [and safety].” (al-Tirmidhi)

Divine reward for the blessed act of practising Salam is explained in a Hadith. Once a person came to the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam and said, “Assalamu alaykum”. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam returned the greeting and when the man had sat down, he said, “Ten rewards have been written for him due to this salam”. Thereafter another person came and said, “Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi” (‘Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah’). The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam returned the greeting and when the man had sat down, he said, “Twenty rewards have been written for him”. Then another man came and said, “Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh” (‘Peace be upon you; and the mercy of Allah; and His blessings’). The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam  returned the greeting and when the man had sat down, he said, “Thirty rewards have been written for him”(al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud). Such was the value of salam with the early Muslims that it is related Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar radhiyallahu ‘anhuma  would go to the marketplace solely for the purpose of saying salam to whomsoever he met.

Apart from signifying the sentiments of joy, regard and well-wishing salam also has a deep spiritual aspect. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “The one who is the first to greet is free from pride” (al-Bayhaqi). Thus, to precede in greeting another is a sign of freedom from vanity. It can also be a cure for the grave [and deadly] sin of pride [and haughtiness].

The importance of salam is further emphasized by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam who advised that salam be exchanged a second time if after the meeting of two Muslims, even if it be for a brief moment, they are separated by a tree, wall, or rock, and meet again.

Salam should be said when entering or leaving one’s home. A Hadith tells us that this is a source of blessing to the person saying it as well to the family members. Similarly, the person arriving at a gathering should be the first to greet those who are present; the young are instructed to take the lead in greeting the elders; those passing should greet those sitting; and men of a smaller group should greet men of the larger group.

To shake the hands in simultaneity with salam marks the fulfillment of the objective of salam. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Shaking hands denotes the completion of greeting”. (al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

Salam is in essence a really beautiful teaching of Islam. It not only increases love and affection between Muslims but is also a cause of their forgiveness. The Prophet of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “When two Muslims meet and shake hands, and at the same time glorify Allah, and beg forgiveness for themselves, they shall be forgiven.” (Abu Dawud)

(Adapted from the chapter ‘Rules and Proprieties of Meeting’ in the book ‘Meaning and Message of the Traditions’ (Ma’arif al-Hadith) by Maulana Muhammad Manzur Numani)   

Mawlana [Rashid Ahmad] Gangohi would strongly emphasise abundant invocation of  blessings and peace (salawat) upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to his disciples, devotees, friends and sincere seekers. He would describe the invoking of blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as being beneficial for both worlds.

He once advised in a letter ‘‘invoke blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) regularly, for that is extremely beneficial for the needs of both worlds.’’ (Maktubat Akabir-e-Deoband, (Deoband: Mi‘raj Book Depot), p. 56)

Hakim al-Ummat Mawlana [Ashraf ‘Ali] Thanawi would say of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi: ‘‘I saw that Mawlana Gangohi would always be reciting a wird (litany) of salawat and that he talked very little.’’ (Wa‘z al-Nur, p.20)

His disciples had been instructed by him to invoke blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) at least three hundred times a day.

[…] Mawlana Gangohi would say, ‘‘If you are unable to invoke blessings and peace this many times, you should not go without invoking blessings and peace at least once [a day].’’ He would say, ‘‘we are indebted to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). If you are then miserly in invoking blessings and peace upon him, it is a matter of great disrespect and loss.’’ He preferred the Durud-e-Ibrahimi, which is [usually] recited in salat (prayer). (Bis Barey Musalman, p. 205)

Akabir-e-Deoband Awr ‘Ishq-e-Rasul (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, p.247-248 (Karachi: Maktabah Arsalan, May 2003) By Muhammad Arsalan ibn Akhtar.

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

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.

From the writings of Hadrat Shaykh (Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya), may Allah illuminate his grave, the treatises on fada’il were written at the insistence of the people of Allah . Thus, Fada’il-e-Qur’an Majid and Fada’il-e-Durud Sharif were written at the behest of Mawlana Shah Muhammad Yasin Naginawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him [1]. He wrote Fada’il-e-Tabligh, Fada’il-e-Namaz, Fada’il-e-Ramadan, Fada’il-e-Dhikr, Fada’il-e-Sadaqat and Fada’il-e-Tijarat in compliance with the  instruction of Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas (may Allah shower His mercy upon him),  Hikayat-e-Sahabah at the insistence of Mawlana Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir Raipuri (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), and Fada’il-e-Hajj at the insistence of Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Dehlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him). […] Thus, he wrote in the introduction to Awjaz al-Masalik that this work was written at the insistence of students. His additional commentary to al-Kawkab al-Durri and Lami‘ al-Darari was written at the insistence of Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him).

Monthly Iqra’ Digest, p. 160 (Qutb al-Aqtab Edition, Part 1), Safar/Rabi‘ al-Awwal 1407 AH/ November 1986 CE.


[1]               He was an authorised deputy of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him).  At the time of his death he instructed his student and loyal servant, Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Du‘aju (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), to request Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) to write a book on the virtues of sending peace and blessings (durud) upon the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). (See Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi quddisa sirruhu aur unke Khulafa, p. 140 (Multan: Idara Ta’lifat-e-Ashrafiyah, no date) by Doctor Hafiz Qari Fuyud al-Rahman.

Hafiz Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari writes: 

‘‘Mawlana [Zafar Ahmad] ‘Uthmani rendered highly valuable services in writing, preaching and issuing fatwas for approximately twenty five years in the company of Hakim al-Ummat [Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali] Thanawi. During this time, magnificent works on Qur’anic exegesis and fiqh like Ahkam al-Qur’an and Imdad al-Ahkam came to the fore from his pen, which is clear evidence of his academic and juridical insight. Due to this, Hakim al-Ummat was so impressed by and content with his academic capabilities that he would consult only him in his personal affairs. He once said, ‘‘Mawlana Zafar Ahmad is the Imam Muhammad[1] (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) of our times and a fountainhead of religious sciences.’’ He had also instructed before his death that Mawlana Zafar Ahmad should lead his funeral prayer. Thus, it was he who was also blessed with this good fortune. His shaykh and guide, the gnostic and hadith expert of his era, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri would say, ‘‘Mawlana Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani is the model of his uncle, Hakim al-Ummat Thanawi.’’ (Anwar al-Nazr fi Athar al-Zafar) 

Mawlana ‘Uthmani’s (may Allah sanctify his secret) academic and spiritual standing can also be gauged by the fact that his students and successors include such exemplary  scholars at whose very mention heads are bowed in reverence.  Elders such as Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Idris Kandhlawi, Mawlana Badr-e-‘Alam Miruthi Muhajir Madani, Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Kamilpuri, Mawlana As‘ad Allah Saharanpuri, Mawlana Shams al-Haq Faridpuri, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi, Mawlana Ihtisham al-Haq Thanawi and Mawlana Sayyid ‘Abd al-Shakur Tirmidhi were his students and successors.”

Maqalat-e-‘Uthmani (Karachi: Bait al-‘Ulum, date unknown) Volume 1, p. 47


[1]           Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, the renowned student and companion of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah shower His mercy upon them)

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.) []

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