by Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh
In 1991 Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh had to give up his teaching post at Darul Uloom Bury and move back to Leicester, the city in which he grew up. The reason why the respected Shaykh had to return was the demise of his father, Hāfiz Ibrāhīm Dhorat rahimahullāh.
Hāfiz Dhorat rahimahullāh was an extraordinary individual who was well loved and respected by all who knew him. He was from amongst those who held a lofty status in piety. That such a noble soul could exist in the twentieth century, leading a normal life in an inner city environment is proof of the vibrancy and power of Islām, and an encouraging example to the rest of us of how we too can lead exemplary lives.
Shaykh Muhammad Saleem states, “Whatever I am is the du‘ā and tarbiyyah of my late father.”
There follows the translation of the letter sent by Shaykh Muhammad Saleem to the akābirīn who were aquainted with his respected father, informing them of his demise, requesting their du‘ās and recounting some of his noble qualities, that are usually found in the friends of Allāh ta‘ālā.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm
Leicester, UK – Dhul Hijjah 1411
Assalāmu alaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Praise be to Allāh ta‘ālā that through the blessings of Hadhrat’s du‘ās this servant is in good health, and praying for the goodness and safety of Hadhrat.
With much grief Hadhrat is informed that my respected father, Hāfiz Ibrāhīm Dhorat rahimahullāh departed from this world to meet his Creator at nine o’clock, on the morning of Wednesday 21st Zul Hijjah (3rd July 1991) after 73 years of life. “Truly, we belong to Allāh ta‘ālā, and to Him we will return.”
Because of my respected father’s acquaintance with you, I write this letter, anticipating your du‘ā and passing of reward to the deceased.
Allāh ta‘ālā bestowed my late father with many great qualities. After completing his hifz at Jāme‘ah Husayniyah, the well known dārul ‘ulūm at Rander, he remained in the company of the akābirīn and mashāyikh for a number of years and derived spiritual benefit from them. It was also in his youth that he commenced teaching, a service which he continued rendering up to the time of his demise. He has hundreds of students, of which dozens are huffāz and ‘ulamā. During the last few years, due to frailty, he was not officially attached to any madrasah, but still he would listen to the revision of mature huffāz at his home for hours daily, a practise which continued until a day before he passed away.
Allāh ta‘ālā also blessed my respected father with elevated character and disposition. He would meet young and old with a smile. Having performed wudhū at home he would always be first to greet young and old with salām on the way to the masjid. He had affection and attachment for all the Muslims of the city, and held the ‘ulamā in great respect. He showed great affection and love to youngsters, often giving money to children of ordinary Muslims.
My respected father would share with everyone in their occasions of happiness and grief. If someone’s child became an ‘ālim or acquired a degree or started a business, my respected father would congratulate them and pray for their children. A du‘ā for every child was, “May Allāh ta‘ālā make you a helper of His Dīn and a service to humanity.”
On hearing of someone falling even slightly ill he would personally go to visit them, or at least phone them to ask how they were. An official ID card meant that he had access to the hospital to visit patients at any time. He would arrange a lift and visit the sick in hospital and pray for them. Even if someone called for him at two in the morning he would abandon his sleep and cheerfully get ready and attend the patient, reciting the Qur’ān at their side and reassuring them.
If he failed to encounter any of his friends in the masjid he would ask after them. If it turned out that they had gone out of town he would phone them the next day and good-naturedly complain of their not having informed him! If he learned of anyone going on a journey he would make a point of going to meet them before they departed, and again on their return.
My respected father would never critisize or complain about anyone in front of anyone. He himself maintained ties with all and tried his utmost that other Muslims and associates too stayed united. His heart was always clean with regards to others, and he left this world in that state. Possibly it was this untainted relationship with people that Allāh ta‘ālā liked so much, that in his final week Allāhta‘ālā created the means of meeting his loved one’s and associates in an extraordinary way. The opening of the Tablīghi Markaz in Leicester took place in that last week, which was attended by England’s amīr of the Tablīghi movement. People from all around the city and its environs had gathered and my father stayed at the Markaz from morning till night on both days of the gathering and met with everyone. Then, three days prior to his demise the ‘ulamā from around Leicester met at my father’s house for a meeting concerning Jāme‘ah Hayātus Sālihāt, giving him an opportunity to meet them all and offer them hospitality.
My respected father would attend the lectures of any visiting ‘ālim, young or old, whether from the UK or abroad, even if the talks were organised at distant masājid. He was extremely soft-hearted, often crying at the mention of the ākhirah or the blessed name of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, and people present would acknowledge that the tears were spontaneous and without ostentation. After the lecture he would go forward himself to shake hands with the speaker.
My respected father greeted any newcomer in the masjid, whether he was acquainted with him or not. He would sit with the brothers who came in Tablīgh and listen to them. Two days prior to his demise he submitted his name to go to the ijtimā at Dewsbury for ten days. When the Leicester brothers used to go to other towns, the local ‘ulamā and brothers in Tablīgh would ask about my father and talk of his sincerity, and convey their salāms, an indication that his lofty character was well known and that he was held in esteem throughout the country.
My respected father’s connection with educational establishments also remained till the end. He would collect funds during Ramadhān for many UK and overseas establishments. When he was unable to walk he would sign receipts and send youngsters out to collect money. He would also assist visiting ‘ulamā who were collecting charity funds, keeping them at his residence for weeks on end, sometimes for a whole month. My father would tend to them just as he would to a guest of a couple of days. Two days before he passed away he distributed receipts on behalf of Majlis Khuddām al-Dīn with his own hands.
Whenever a masjid was founded or a Dīni project was initiated in the city, he would attend and perform salāh there, give encouragement and offer his assistance. On the occasion of the completion of Sahīh Bukhāri, he would personally organise transport and arrange a group of a dozen or so people to travel to Dārul ‘Ulūm.
My respected father had much sympathy for ordinary Muslims. In the matter of marriage, he would assist parents in finding a match for their children. Just five days before his demise he was busy in assisting some guests who were staying at a friend’s house to find a marriage partner for a member of the family. Finding a contact in a nearby town, he arranged to take the guests in his own car, and not finding a driver took his son along, who is an ‘ālim. He did not accept any form of remuneration for his efforts from the guests.
My respected father was the sponsor of hundreds of poor people in India. Collecting money from family and friends, he would help them by sending funds during Ramadhān, the two ‘Īds and on the occasion of weddings etc. Up to the very end he was responsible for the fees of many boys and girls studying in madrasahs and schools.
My respected father was extremely selfless and humble. Right until the end he would himself carry out all his own personal tasks. In fact he preferred to serve the members of his family and not accept service from anyone. His simplicity was remarkable. His bedding always remained on the ground and he was completely disinclined to worldly pleasures. In fact, necessary matters aside, he took no interest in worldly matters whatsoever.
My respected father showed immense concern for the young generation, especially since mixed schooling was made compulsory by the state. He used to advise people to establish separate schools and madrasahs for Muslim children in order to safeguard children from the effects of a permissive society. Once, a hospital was put up for sale and when my father became aware of it, he personally went to inspect it and remarked, “This building is highly suitable for a madrasah. If the Muslim community purchases it, I will sell my house and give the money as qarz hasanah, and live in rented accommodation.”
Three days prior to his demise, leading ‘ulamā from within Leicester gathered together and conducted a three hour meeting, which resulted in a plan to establish a boarding madrasah for girls over the age of ten, to be named Jāme‘ah Hayātus Sālihāt. The meeting took place on a Saturday evening, and straight after Maghrib the task of meeting people commenced. After Zhuhr on Sunday he participated in a four hour meeting with the committee of a masjid with regards to the new venture, and after ‘Asr he went to view a hospital that was for sale. Before Zhuhr on Tuesday he participated in an important consultation with some ‘ulamā for an hour, but before ‘Asr his health was failing. By Wednesday he had left this world and entered into the Mercy of Allāh ta‘ālā.
My respected father was always punctual with his Tahajjud, Ishrāq, Salātud Dhuhā, Awwābīn and salāh with congregation. Daily he would recite a minimum of three juz of the Qur’ān, and adhere to his routine of reciting from Al-hizbul A‘zam, Munājāte Maqbool, Dalā’ile Khayrāt, Awrāde Fat’hīyah, Qasīdah Toobā, Salāt and salām and others. In the event of going on a journey, he would complete recitation of the Qur’ān in the morning and take the other books with him in a bag, completing his ma‘mūlāt on the way.
He would always remain with wudhū, his tongue was always moist with the dhikr of Allāh ta‘ālā and he would shower everyone with du‘ās.
Journey to the Akhirah:
Even on the day before he passed away he walked to the masjid to perform all his salāh. He remained in the masjid from ‘Asr to ‘Ishā, and confided to his dear friend, Shaykh Gora, “I feel a light weight on my chest. On the way to salāh I had to sit down, and I have arranged for a car to take me home after ‘Asr. But now I don’t think I will go home, my heart feels so attached to the masjid.”
After ‘Asr, Fadhā’ile Hajj was being read – the part about Madīnah Munawwarah and Masjid Nabawi. As he listened he would say, “Allāh, Allāh,” indicating that he was being greatly affected by the reading. After the reading he met some friends, and made casual mention of his pain, but thereafter carried on talking as if he was perfectly healthy. No one could even tell that he was not well.
After Maghrib Salāh, he sat for the tafsīr of the Qur’ān, and after offering ‘Ishā Salāh he left the masjid and walked home. After completing his ma‘mūlāt he retired to sleep. He attended Fajr Salāh with jamā‘ah and after completing his ma‘mūlāt and Ishrāq retired to sleep.
At nine in the morning, when my mother tried to wake him up she realised that he had passed away. Shortly, the doctor arrived and certified the death, and then the news spread throughout the country and abroad. First of all, the city’s ‘ulamā arrived. My teacher, Shaykh Yusuf Motala hafizahullāh was unable to travel due to illness, but he consoled me and gave me advice over the phone. Shaykh Hāshim, Mufti Shabbīr and other senior teachers hafizahumullāh participated in the janāzah.
Bathing to Burial:
We brothers and the local ‘ulamā performed the ghusl, during which everyone exclaimed aloud that Hāfiz Saheb is smiling! Everyone just stared for a few minutes. It was apparent that he had left this world smiling.
Within five or six hours hundreds of huffāz and ‘ulamā and thousands of Muslims, local and from outside Leicester, had gathered. At four in the afternoon Shaykh Hāshim Patel hafizahullāh, the khalīfah of Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh, led the Janāzah Salāh in an open field. Leicester had not witnessed such a large gathering in a janāzah before. With tear-filled eyes, my father was finally lowered into his grave. The whole process took only a few hours, which is unusual in light of council regulations in this country. Due to its swiftness, many people were unable to participate in the janāzah. As they got to hear the news, people would offer their condolences over the phone and state that they had conveyed reward to the deceased.
The students of Dārul ‘Ulūm Bury also had great affection for my father. Even before the burial they had recited Qur’ān and conveyed the reward to my father. People are still coming to offer their condolences until late at night. The Kalimah Tayyibah has been repeated tens of thousands of times to pass on the reward. Within these twenty-four hours dozens of telephone calls of condolence have been received from the UK and abroad.
After observing all this we get some idea of the acceptance Allāh ta‘ālā has granted my respected father, and the grief of parting from such a compassionate benefactor is somewhat lessened.
We are five brothers in Britain and one in India, and four sisters who are comfortable in their own homes, by the Grace of Allāhta‘ālā. Four brothers have memorised the Glorious Qur’ān. Through the blessing of my father’s du‘ās, I graduated from Dārul ‘Ulūm Bury, and by the Grace of Allāh ta‘ālā I am at present teaching ‘ālim classes in the same institute. My younger brother Hāfiz Ismā‘īl is graduating this year. Caring for our mother is now our responsibility.
I humbly request Hadhrat and Hadhrat’s associates that they send reward and make special du‘ā for my respected father. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant him Jannatul Firdaws, fill his grave with light, enter him into His mercy, accept his good deeds, bring out his excellent qualities in his children too and fulfil the noble hopes and wishes he had. Āmīn.
(Shaykh) Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh