This is a story that carries many life lessons for all of us. The story of Abdul Sattar Edhi, and the legacy he left behind.
‘Edhi’ became a synonym for love, humanitarian service, and selflessness in Pakistan. He commanded respect from Pakistanis and from millions across the world. He won several prominent international prizes for his outstanding humanitarian services. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. He was decorated with the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, which is the highest honor given to any civilian in Pakistan for their achievements towards world recognition of Pakistan or an outstanding service to the country.
News of his illness in the last few months made many Pakistanis pray wholeheartedly for his health. His death shocked many in the nation. He was given the state funeral attended by thousands of people, including the President, chiefs of military, navy and air force, a large number of politicians, diplomats, civil servants, businessmen, etc.
He was called an Angel of Mercy. Some thought he was the greatest living humanitarian. We know that the Edhi Foundation runs 330 welfare centers across Pakistan and more than 1500 ambulances. But we do not exactly know the number of people (which could be millions without exaggeration) who have directly and indirectly benefited from Edhi ambulances, food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children, and clinics for the mentally handicapped. Edhi Foundation does not just operate in Pakistan, it has carried out relief operations in Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus region, Eastern Europe and the United States. Edhi never differentiated between people, their faith, race or color. He helped everyone who needed help. He humbly requested donations from everyone who could give. He changed the face of welfare work in Pakistan and established an organization which is trusted by everyone, poor and rich, illiterate and educated, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The purpose of this article is not to write a biographical account of Edhi’s life. Rather, I want to list some key qualities which made him the person he was. I want every one of us to learn from Edhi. I wish we can peek through his life and emulate some of his qualities and traits so that we can also reach out to the poor and needy in the way he did. I also hope our children would be inspired by his story, and be motivated to follow suit when they grow up.
Edhi’s compassion drove him to help the helpless, give shelter to the homeless women, give a roof to the street children, feed the hungry, treat the sick and bury the dead… He himself drove an ambulance for 45 years and never drove any other car throughout his life. His heart was always with the needy and deserving and he was constantly thinking about how best to help those most in need. His compassionate heart has a lot to do with serving his own mother. She was paralyzed from a stroke when Edhi was only 11 years old. Looking after his mother and seeing her suffer inspired Edhi to develop services for the aged, immobile people, and physically challenged persons. His mother taught him selflessness also when she used to give him 2 paisas, one for himself and the other for a needy person on the street. This training to be compassionate at an early age had a lot to do with what Edhi became eventually.
Living a life of simplicity
Edhi lived a very simple life. He was known for his ascetic lifestyle. He never owned more than two pairs of simple clothes and shoes. He lived in a simple home with his family. His own office remained a small room with minimum furniture. He never drove any other car except the ambulance. He never took a salary from his foundation. He inculcated this trait in his wife and children who continue to live a life without frills. Edhi remained a focus of local and international media for decades, but this attention never got him distracted or carried away. He kept to his simplicity and true authentic self. This simplicity earned him a lot of respect among the masses.
Upholding a true sense of integrity
Being the largest charitable organization in Pakistan, Edhi Foundation attracted millions of dollars of donations. In its more than five decades of existence, Edhi Foundation never came under scrutiny for misappropriation of funds. Its volunteers, staff, and management are also inspired by Edhi’s own integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness. Edhi realized that maintaining his personal, as well as organizational integrity was central to the success of his humanitarian activities which entirely depended on donations.
Dedication to one’s mission
Edhi was a full-time humanitarian worker, organizer, and mobilizer. He dedicated his whole life to the welfare work. Such was the level of his dedication to the causes he supported that he paid no heed to any kind of threats or obstacles in his way. He was criticized by some fundamentalists for supporting babies born out-of-wedlock. His ambulances were attacked by some interest groups. But nothing could deter him from serving humanity.
Edhi was a true patriot. He had migrated to Pakistan from India during the partition of 1947. He believed in the country he chose to live in. Such was the level of his patriotism that he chose to be treated only in Pakistan despite offers from many for treatment abroad. He wanted to live and die in the country he loved so much. He never took donations from anyone except Pakistanis. He believed that native people can solve the problems of their country, and he proved it through the work he did that he sought help only from Pakistanis to solve issues of Pakistanis.
Taking the means and being optimistic
Edhi was a true impatient optimist. He knew that several problems of our world can be solved if we start finding solutions. He started his foundation with a second-hand ambulance. He then felt that the aged who had no one to look after needed his support. He built nursing homes for the aged. He found that children born out-of-wedlock were left on the street without any support, so he went on to put baby cradles outside the Edhi Foundation Centers. He then noticed the misery of divorced women, single mothers, and financially challenged women. He built shelters for them. He started supporting the relief work locally, as well as internationally. Edhi kept on discovering social needs and found simple solutions. Lack of formal education never stood in his way. He was able to find solutions to the social problems as he was truly immersed in the communities and was living the experience of the poor every day.
Being trustworthy out-pours the funds
He never thought that scarcity of resources would be a constraint for his foundation which is involved in a range of humanitarian activities. In fact, resources poured in for every cause he touched. He just stood in the streets and people handed him small and big notes. Children gave him their pocket money. Women gave him their jewelry. Poor gave him their savings. Rich gave him their properties. Everyone donated to Edhi and his foundation. His simplicity, integrity, dedication, and patriotism greatly helped him raise funds from the people. More importantly, his foundation delivered results and demonstrated social impact on the ground.
Sincere, calm and efficient leadership
The Edhi Foundation runs some of the most complex emergency and relief operations as its routine business. Edhi ambulances are the first to reach any emergency. Edhi himself was first to be seen on the site of natural disasters. Be it floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or man-made disasters, Edhi Foundation response time is minimum. Thousands of people volunteer for Edhi Foundation in its relief centers, as well as during emergency situations. This requires a huge and sophisticated logistical operation. A simple man that Edhi was, it is inconceivable how he spearheaded this complexity in a completely unnoticeable manner. Edhi single-handedly masterminded it with the will of Allah . He mobilized millions of dollars without sophisticated media, marketing or communication strategy. His branding was his simplicity, honesty, and integrity.
Edhi himself/his foundation never made any big deal out of the massive relief work they accomplished. He received nearly 250 local and international prizes in recognition of his phenomenal work, but he hardly ever mentioned them with pride. All the pride he took was in the work he did. He was nominated for Nobel Prize several times. But people like him are beyond Nobel Prize. No prize can truly acknowledge their services or contribution to the world we live in. He silently led a large foundation which helped millions through helplessness, sickness, and emergency. According to his own words,
“Whatever I’ve done for the poor, the destitute, the orphans and the less fortunate is not for any person or even myself, it’s for Allah . I’ve always aimed to please Allah .”
Edhi was regularly invited to speak on media, but he never appeared to be pretentious or attention seeker. He did not have a charismatic personality, an articulate speech or deep vocabulary. He spoke in a simple manner but spoke his heart. His message for humanity touched every heart and people believed him without hesitation.
A deep concern for humanity
In the early years of Edhi Foundation, Edhi was often criticized by his community for helping others. But it was very clear that he would extend help to every human in need, regardless of religion, race or color. Edhi lived in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan and one of the largest metropolises of the world. His world vision was also very cosmopolitan. He was of the view that humanity was above everything and he was a true humanitarian for everyone.
Edhi is at peace in his grave, but his eyes continue to see the world as he donated his organs after his death (but due to his poor health, only corneas could be donated). His corneas were transplanted for two blind people who were waiting for an eye donation. This is what he meant to teach each one of us, even after he is no more among us. He is justifiably referred to as ‘the richest poor man’.
Share with us how this story inspired you to be more productive and in service to all those in need around you?
Hadhrat Shaykh’s Teaching
Hadhrat Shaykhul Hadeeth Mawlana Islamul Haq Sahib RH, before his appointment as a Shaykhul Hadeeth of Bukhari Shareef at Darul Uloom, Holcombe, Bury, UK, taught Mishkaat Shareef at Madresa Ameeniya during the reign of Mufti Kifayatullah Sahib and gave lectures on Hadeeth at Darul Uloom, Rampura and Jamiah Hussainiya, Rander. He devoted his last fifteen years teaching Bukhari Shareef at Darul Uloom, Holcombe, Bury, UK. Despite his various illnesses, he participated in many public gatherings and made speeches at important functions. His vacations in the month of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak were spent in Makkah Mukarrama and Madinah Munawwara (Al Haramayn Sharifayn), places he loved dearly, and many a times upon his return journey would visit Baitul Maqdis and Egypt.
The journey towards the beloved country.
This year (1996), although he was unwell and weak, he had the same determination and desire to take up the long and tiring journey and spend his holidays in the sacred places. Prior to his departure he was often heard saying, “My health is quiet bad and I have hardly any strength.” Nevertheless, on 18th January 1996, three days before Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak, he left his home in Bolton, U.K. and set off for the blessed journey with his youngest son Mawlana Nurul Haq. He spent a couple of days at his daughters house in London and during his stay managed to deliver a short speech at Balham Mosque, being his farewell speech. On Saturday 20th January 1996, after performing the Maghrib Salah and long Nawaafil, he bid farewell to his friends and relatives and left for Heathrow Airport. At the airport he felt very restless and repeatedly enquired about the sighting of the moon. Upon hearing of the sighting it brought him a lot of joy and then he relaxed. During the flight, although he felt tired and weak, he ate something for Sehri and kept the first fast of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak.
Arriving at Makkah Mukarramah
After arriving at Makkah Mukarramah Hadhrat sahib joined the party from Darul Uloom who were staying at Darus Salaam Hotel. He was always so keen on performing Umrah that during his stay he would perform one a day and two on Fridays. However, on this occasion he could only manage one Umrah after three days when he felt better. He performed his prayers in Haram Sharif if he felt better, otherwise in his room, but the Taraweeh prayers were always performed in Haram Sharif whilst remaining seated.
In Makkah Mukarramah
In Makkah Mukarramah Hazrat sahib’s health deteriorated and he suffered from severe pains in the chest and had a fever. Doctor Shoaib Wajid of Durban, South Africa (May Allah reward him) was called who came immediately and prescribed some medication which gave him some relief. On the 17th of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak Hadhrat sahib together with the Darul-Uloom party left Makkah Mukarramah and arrived in Madina Munawwarah (may Allah Ta’ala send his salutations and blessings upon its occupier).
The holy city of the Prophet
In Madina Munawwarah despite his ill-health, he performed Maghrib,Isha and Fajr Salah in Masjid-e Nabawi and spent his time between Asr and Maghreb salaah in front of the blessed tomb of Hadhrat Mohammed sending salutations. Again in Madina he suffered from severe pains in the chest which made him restless and was frequently heard saying “May Allah forgive me, Oh my Allah forgive me.” Seeing Hadhrat sahib in this state, the colleagues around him were contemplating to take him to hospital. Overhearing the conversation, Hadhrat sahib grievously and painfully said, “ The hospital staff will only delay my departing time.” It seems as if his instincts had indicated to him that his departure from this world had drawn near.Nevertheless, after the Isha prayer Hadhrat was taken to the hospital for medical check-up. X-rays were taken and after receiving some medicine to stabilize his condition he was discharged.
The last moments of Hadhrat Shaykh RH
The next few days Hadhrat continued his daily routine of going to Masjide Nabawi as and when he could. On the evening of 27th of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak he returned to the hotel after the Taraweeh prayers and had some light refreshments. He looked fine and with the help of his son (Mawlana Nurul Haq ) packed all the luggage and said, “Nothing now remains to be packed for you except for the clothes that we are to remove on Eid day.” His son offered to massage his head but he refused and said, “ Go and have some rest.” So they both retired to bed at 4:15 a.m. His son immediately fell asleep and was awaken by the telephone call for sehri at 4:45 a.m. He got up, and to his amazement, did not see Hadhrat sahib on his bed. He looked around and saw Hadhrat sahib in the state of prostration (sajdah). He called, “Oh Father! Oh Father!” but to his disbelief he saw no movement nor did he hear any reply. It seems that he felt some pain in the stomach and sat on the floor as one would sit in qa’dah in salaah which was his usual habit. In this state his rooh (soul) was taken away due to which he fell forth in a position which seemed like a sajdah. Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Yusuf Motala Sahib (May Allah Ta’ala lengthen his life) was called who upon seeing Hazrat sahib declared that the blessed soul had departed and he had reached his beloved friend (Allah).
“ Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raajioon.” ( We belong to Allah and to him we return).
It surely belongs to Allah Ta’ala what ever He takes and surely belongs to Allah Ta’ala what ever He gives. According to Him everything has a specified time. O Allah! Reward us in our calamity. We are pleased in turning towards our Creator. O Allah! Forgive him and shower mercy upon him and reside him in Paradise. Make his grave a Garden of Paradise. O Allah! Wash him with water and cleanse him from sins just as a white cloth is cleaned from dirtiness. O Allah! Keep him away from his sins at a distance of east and west. O Allah! Accept his coming to You and widen his entering place (grave) through Your mercy. O the Most Merciful, the Ever-lasting, the Greatest and the Most Honoured through the honour of our leader Muhammad O Allah! Do not lead us astray after him and do not deprive us of his reward and save us from falling in to mischief after him. Ameen. Please accept our prayer through the honour of our leader and Intercessor Muhammad .
Hadhrat Shaykhul Hadeeth Mawlana Islamul Haq Saheb departed from this world on the 28th of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak at sehri time after completing 27 days of fasting. The night he passed away, he prayed salutation to the Prophet Muhammad two times which was against his normal practice of praying once only. His family members, relatives and close friends were notified immediately and within five minutes the news of his death spread like lightening. Special prayers were said, after Fajr Salah, in the mosques in Britain and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, in Madinah Munawwarah the arrangements for the funeral were being made. Mawlana Nurul Haq, Yunus Bhai, Mawlana Zubair Malik and one of the organizers gave Hadhrat sahib a bath and prepared the body for burial. Just before Dhuhr salah the janazah was brought to Masjid-e-Nabwi and Shaykh ibn Zahim performed Namaze-Janazah after Dhuhr salah. The janazah was then taken to the graveyard (Janatul Baqee) to rest the blessed soul of Hadhrat Shaykhul Hadeeth. His son, Mawlana Nurul Haq stepped in to the grave to lay his body and pay his last respects. In reality Hadhrat rahmatullahi alaihe had much love and affection of both sacred places and a very strong desire to be buried in Janatul Baqee. Allah Ta’ala fulfilled his desire. All praises be to Him for this.
The great loss.
The loss of Hadhrat rahmatullahi alaihe in actual fact is a great calamity for myself, my brothers and sisters, in-laws, friends, relatives and the students and staff of Darul Uloom. We are all deprived of his valuable knowledge, spiritual bounties, beneficial suggestions, supplications, special considerations and not forgetting his limitless kindness. May Allah Ta’ala comfort us with the best of patience and favour us with special reward, as Allah Ta’ala is our real Cherisher and Guardian. My family members and I request all our elders and friends to pray for Hadhrat rahmatullahi alaihe’s increase of status and may Allah Ta’ala give us the divine strength to spread his knowledge, religious and spiritual bounties, Ameen.
By Mawlana Zia ul Haq
1. The clothes in which Hadhrat died held a special fragrance. It was not Hadhrat’s habit to use Itr (perfume). Also this smell was throughout the whole Qamees which is an indication that it was from the unseen. If Itr had been applied then the fragrance would have been in that one particular spot. The clothes are still available at Hadhrat’s house and can be observed by yourself. I think that this was an honour for Hadhrat and the barakah of teaching Ahadeeth throughout his entire life. The same is narrated regarding Imam Bukhari rahmatullahi alaihe that his grave produced such a strong pleasant fragrance that people started taking the soil away which resulted in the Ulama fencing his grave.
2. Various people have seen Hadhrat rahmatullahi alaihe in their dreams after his death.
Mawlana Yusuf Mamoon states that he saw in a dream that Hadhrat is looking like a young person and he is returning home at a great speed from Masjide Ar-Rahmaan, Bolton with a Tasbeeh in his hand. Mawlana Yusuf Mamoon asked, “Have you not died?” He replied, “No (I am still alive).”
Mawlana Yusuf Motala Saheb (Muddazillahu) gave an interpretation of this dream and stated that the ulama have said that seeing a person alive after his death means that he has achieved the status of martyrdom. The Quran states that,
“The martyrs are alive.” It should be noted that there are different grades of martyrdom as can be understood from the following Hadeeth:
The Prophet once asked the sahaba, “What is your understanding of martyrdom?” They replied, “Being killed in the path of Allah.” The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Then the martyrs of my ummah shall be very few. Being killed in the Path of Allah is martyrdom, death through illness in the stomach (and its surroundings) is martyrdom, death in fire is martyrdom, drowning is martyrdom, death due to the collapse of a building is martyrdom, death due to Pleurisy, a woman’s death in labour pains is martyrdom. (Nasai Vol.2 P.66).
by Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat Saheb (hafidhahullāh)
Once, ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu asked those around him of a hadīth of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam with regards to the trials and tribulations which were to fall upon the Ummah. Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yamān radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, who knew the hadīth, remarked, “Why do you worry about such a fitnah, O Amīr-al-Mu’minīn, when there is a closed door between it and yourself?” When asked who this ‘door’ was, Hudhayfah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu replied, “Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu.”
The existence of pious and righteous servants of Allāh ta‘ālā amongst us is a barrier that stops the torrents of evil from emerging and causing havoc. Upon their demise, the doors to these evils are opened, and the people are tested by trials and tribulations. That is why, as time draws nearer to the Day of Judgement (during which trials and tribulations will increase), the passing away of pious servants of Allāh ta‘ālā become more frequent.
In November 2012, a pious and righteous servant from amongst this category, my most honourable and beloved teacher, Hadhrat Mawlānā Ismā‘īl Wādī sāhib rahimahullāh, of Blackburn, UK, passed away. I had studied the revered subjects of ‘aqīdah, hadīth and fiqh under his tutelage when I was studying at Dār-al-‘Ulūm Bury.
My Last Meeting
Alhamdulillāh, I was fortunate to have visited him the weekend prior to his demise, after having been kept informed of his condition during the week. This was despite the fact that I myself was not in the best of health, but Allāh ta‘ālā favoured me greatly by granting me the courage to undertake this very important journey, accompanied by my dear Mawlānā Ahmad Patel and Muftī Ismail Bhayat.
Upon reaching Blackburn, I was treated as always, with love and respect by the members of the household, and was immediately taken upstairs into the room where Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh was resting. I was grieved to see him lying unconscious on his bed, which was set so that his face was facing the Qiblah, as is the sunnah for the one in his last moments. I was given the opportunity to sit right next to the bed and I sat, holding his hand, reciting surah Yāsīn, and due to love for Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh, tears began to roll down my cheeks. After a while, Muftī Saalih sāhib, the son-in-law of Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh and the Imām of Masjid Noorul Islam Blackburn, who loves me dearly, tried to awaken Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh by informing him of my arrival, but he did not respond. I was informed that he had been in this condition since the morning, and that the doctors had said that he was in his last moments. All his organs had started failing, but the serenity was apparent on his face. The medical experts were unanimous that they had not seen a patient in this condition, who was without any sign of pain, hence he was not administered with morphine. I stayed in the room for at least half-an-hour, silently reciting surah Yāsīn, salāt and salām, dhikr and making du‘ā when we were all asked to leave the room for a little while so that necessary medical checks could be carried out.
When we went back inside, Muftī Saalih sāhib again attempted to inform Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh of my presence, and this time to my fortune he opened his eyes. Everyone present became delighted. I greeted him with salām, to which he replied. He was made to sit up, and taking this opportunity I placed his hand on my head and requested him to make du‘ā for me and all, to which he obliged. My happiness knew no bounds. I was sure Allāh ta‘ālā had been extremely merciful to me.
This was the highlight of this journey and I was extremely delighted to have had the honour of greeting him and gaining his du‘ā. Thereafter, I advised Muftī Saalih sāhib that the menfolk should leave the room so that the household womenfolk could have an opportunity to visit Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh also, whilst he was conscious. We went downstairs and sat with the male family members, discussing the life and salient characteristics of Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh.
Birth and Childhood
Hadhrat Mawlānā Ismā‘īl Wādī sāhib rahimahullāh was born on 28th Jumādā Al-’Ūlā 1339AH/7th February 1921, in Lājpūr, Gujarat, India. He started his elementary Islamic education at the age of 8, started memorising the Qur’ān at 10, and finished in two years at the age of 12, in his home town.
In Shawwāl 1353AH/January 1935, at the age of thirteen, he enrolled in the renowned madrasah Jāmi‘ah Islāmiyyah in Dabhel, India, where he started his ‘Ālimiyyah course. This is where he completed his studies in Sha‘bān 1364/July 1945, except for a year in between during which he studied in Jāmi‘ah Husayniyyah in Rander, India.
During his time in Dabhel, he was blessed to have great luminaries as his teachers. He studied the Sahīh of Imām Al-Bukhārī under Muftī Shafī‘ Al-‘Uthmānī sāhib rahimahullāh and Mawlānā Shams-al-Haqq Al-Afghānī sāhib rahimahullāh; At-Tirmidhī under Mawlānā Zafar Ahmad At-Thānwī sāhib rahimahullāh; and Mishkāt-al-Masābīh and Jalālayn under Mawlānā Badr-‘Ālam Mīrthī sāhib `rahimahullāh. He then went on to further enhance his education at Dār-al-‘Ulūm Deoband, where he studied Ṣaḥīḥ-al-Bukhārī again under Shaykh-al-Islām Mawlānā Husayn Ahmad Al-Madanī sāhib rahimahullāh. He then went to Lahore in Sha‘bān – Ramadān 1365AH/July 1946, studying tafsīr under Shaykh-at-Tafsīr Mawlānā Ahmad ‘Alī Al-Lāhorī sāhib rahimahullāh.
After finishing his education, he returned to his hometown, Lājpūr, and started as an imam in his local masjid. He then travelled to Madagascar in 1952 and settled there, serving the Dīn of Allāh ta‘ālā for 21 years, until he arrived in the UK in 1973. He served as the Imām in Masjid Noorul Islam in Blackburn until he retired in 1988 due to weakness and old age. He also taught at Dār-al-‘Ulūm Bury from 1978-1988, without any remuneration.
Status in Academics
He was both pious and knowledgeable. His level of knowledge can be gauged from the fact that after his graduation he spent many years without having had the opportunity to teach Higher Islamic sciences. As it is common knowledge that after graduation in any field, if a long span of time was to pass by without practicing in that field, the graduate somewhat loses touch with the sciences learnt. However, Hadhrat Mawlānā Ismā‘īl Wādī sāhib rahimahullāh, despite such a lengthy gap between graduation and the opportunity to teach, taught these difficult subjects and satisfied his students.
Hadhrat Mawlānā Ismā‘īl Wādī sāhib rahimahullāh was in his nineties at the time of his demise, and Allāh ta‘ālā had blessed him with a life of unimaginable steadfastness and piety. He attained khilāfah (discipleship) from the esteemed late Shaykh Ghulām Habīb sāhib rahimahullāh during hajj in 1974, and from Hadhrat Mawlānā Abrār Ahmad Ad-Dhulyawī sāhib rahimahullāh, who was the khalīfah of Qārī Muḥammad Tayyib sāhib rahimahullāh.
His ‘Ibādah (worship)
He was an embodiment of steadfastness, a true and dedicated Muslim who was always connected to the masjid, had true love for the Qur’ān and for standing in ṣalāh for long durations. He was very punctual in Tahajjud, reciting 10-12 Juz’ daily, which he increased to 15 in the latter stages of his life. This meant that he would complete approximately one recitation of the Qur’ān every day, including the portions he would read in other nawāfil and otherwise.
In winter, he would go to the masjid before Zuhr and return after ‘Ishā! He would remain engaged in ‘ibādah. He would stand in qiyām for hours. I once went to the masjid after Maghrib salāh to meet him, where I found him alone, engaged in salāh. I waited for him for approximately an hour, but there was no sign of him going into rukū‘ and I had to leave without meeting him, because of prior commitments.
Salāh with Jamā‘ah
Whilst he was the Imām at the masjid, he did not miss a single ṣalāh during the fifteen years, and even after retiring in 1988, for a full twenty years before his illness in 2008 did not miss a single takbīr-at-tahrīmah (The first takbīr of salāh).
Once, during the period after 2008, he arrived late into the masjid and missed one rak‘ah. He stood in qiyām of that one rak‘ah for so long that the masjid emptied. When he finished, he was asked regarding his lengthy qiyām, to which he replied that today, I missed one rak‘ah, so recited two and a half juz’, and reprimanded the nafs saying, “Even at this old age, you still cannot arrive on time for salāh?” This was when he was approximately 80 years old.
Adherence to the Sunnah
Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh was also very particular with regards to sunan, mustahabbāt and ādāb. Once, while in hospital and very weak, he felt the need to relieve himself. With the assistance of his son, he made his way to the toilet, which was at quite a distance. Upon reaching the toilet, he realised that he had forgotten his topī (head gear). He insisted and his son had to make him sit at an appropriate place, retrieve the topī from his bedside and it was only then that he entered the toilet.
Despite such excellent qualities found in his life, he lived a simple life very much unknown by the general public, and would dislike being brought into the limelight.
Hadhrat rahimahullāh and the IDA
He had much love for this humble one, and would always enquire and ask about the Islamic Da‘wah Academy and its progress. Rather, I regard his blessed du‘ā to be one of the main catalysts for the success of the Islamic Da‘wah Academy.
In 1996, a few days after the purchase of the property where the Islāmic Da‘wah Academy is today, we were fortunate that Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh visited Leicester. Upon my request, he came into the former building and asked for some seating arrangements to be made. As the building had just been purchased, there was no carpet inside, hence a piece of carpet was brought and Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh, myself, and the rest of those present sat down. Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh asked someone to recite a portion of the Qur’ān and thereafter gave a few advices. After his short talk ended, he sat looking downwards, deep in thought. He then suddenly looked up and said to me, “Mawlānā! Make an intention to initiate a Dar-al-‘Ulūm here!”
I was taken aback by this instruction, as this area and building had just been bought, for the sole intention of expanding the IDA’s da‘wah activities and to cater for the evening classes which were taking place at the time in the premises of the IDA on 186 Melbourne Road. For this reason, I did not reply, as I felt that it would be incorrect to make such a promise when the intention was not there. However, Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh continued to insist. At this point, I thought to myself that inshā’allāh, it would be possible to teach three or four years of the ‘Ālimiyyah course in the future, and mentioned accordingly to Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh. He replied, “No! You must continue until Al-Bukhārī and you must teach [Sahīh-] Al-Bukhārī!” Upon this, I thought that a very pious person is insisting on a pure and good cause, therefore I should follow his instruction, and eventually I made the intention and requested Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh to make du‘ā. He was so serious regarding this instruction of his that after this, whenever I would meet him, he would ask with regards the progress of the Dār-al-‘Ulūm and further emphasise that I must continue running the madrasah up until the final year wherein Sahīh Al-Bukhārī is taught, and to teach it myself.
Demise and funeral
This very affectionate teacher of mine breathed his last on Monday, the 6th of Muharram, coinciding with the 19th of November 2012, when the adhān of Maghrib salāh was being called out. I was grieved with this sad news. An announcement was made at the IDA for du‘ā and īsāl-ath-thawāb for the respected Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh, and the following day I, along with approximately eight members from the staff of the IDA arrived before Zuhr ṣalāh at Masjid Noorul Islam. There, in the foyer was my beloved teacher, resting in peace after his hard work of ninety years. Before ‘Asr, the salāh-al-Janāzah was led by Hadhrat Mawlānā rahimahullāh’s son, Shaykh Qasim hafizahullāh, and was attended by hundreds of people, including leading personalities from all over the UK. Finally, he was laid to rest just before Maghrib ṣalāh in Blackburn cemetery.
May Allāh ta‘ālā forgive his shortcomings, fill his grave with nūr and make it a garden from the gardens of Jannah, and elevate his rank in the Hereafter. It is my fervent desire that each associate of mine perform whatever good he/she can and ask Allāh ta‘ālā to write its reward in his book of deeds. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant him all the good of the Hereafter and the company of the Ambiyā, the Siddīqūn, the Shuhadā and the Sālihūn in Jannah-al-Firdaws. Āmīn.
Courtesy: Riyādul Jannah, Vol 22 Issue 1 (January 2013/ Rabī‘ul Awwal 1434)
Whenever a great person passes away, the tremors felt by the world are in proportion to the legacy that that person left behind. In this week’s blog post I reflect on seven lessons in leadership that we can learn from the life of the boxer Muhammad Ali.
- Leadership is most valuable during times of crisis
Ali grew up in the ‘Deep South’ of America at a time when black people were still considered inferior human beings to white people. As recently as the 1960s, African Americans were still forced to sit on buses in sections separate to white Americans.
When Ali rose to prominence, the black community in America was suffering from despair, disheartenment and a lack of confidence.
It was in this atmosphere that Ali demonstrated leadership. He realised that wallowing in victimhood restrains a community from growing and moving forward. And so he exhorted his people to do something to change the world around them, rather than sit and cry about it:
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
2. Every great leader in history suffered for their beliefs and were reviled before they were revered.
Change is hated by man because people prefer the status quo. No-one likes change, especially those in power.
Once Ali began to encourage his people to believe in themselves, that they did not have to accept the world for what it was, that they could do something to change their lives, he was considered a threat and punished for his beliefs. He was stripped of his title, fined and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
In the eyes of the law, Ali was a convicted criminal. But this did not prevent billions of people around the world venerating him until and after his death.
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
3. Just like cowardice is contagious, so is bravery
In the Quran, fleeing the battlefield is considered a major sin because of the infectious nature of cowardice. When one person flees the battlefield, he injects seeds of cowardice and fear into the hearts of those around him and causes them to flee too.
But likewise, when one man stands up and takes a brave, principled stance, he encourages others to be brave too.
“To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend that you are.”
4. Leadership is not just about talking the talk, it is about walking the walk
During my years in prison I saw many people who talked tough out in the world, but crumbled to pieces once inside a prison cell. Some of them even turned into rats. Talk is cheap, but action is costly.
Muhammad Ali did not just openly declare his opposition to going to Vietnam to fight. He declared that he was prepared to go to prison, give up boxing and sacrifice everything that was dear to him, for the sake of holding true to his principles.
And true to his word, he was stripped of his title and could not box for several years.
“I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars… I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”
5. The importance of being on the right side of history
Many of the people lining up to venerate Muhammad Ali today were the same people who demonised him when he was disgraced for refusing to go and fight in Vietnam.
As for the few who supported Ali when he was disgraced, they turned out to be on the right side of history. The rest of the American public soon turned against the Vietnam war and the United States brought its troops home.
Nelson Mandela suffered the same fate. The same people who castigated Mandela as a convicted terrorist later lined up to pay tribute to him once the whole world realised that he changed the world for the better.
“The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
6. Publicly accepting your errors of judgement is a sign of strength, not weakness
The strong leader does not run away from his mistakes; he acknowledges them and learns from them. Muhammad Ali first joined the black supremacist sect ‘Nation of Islam’ but once he realised what they were about he publicly disassociated himself from their racist message:
“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
7. People respect you more when you stick by your principles, than when you live your life to please people
Many people did not like some of the things that Muhammad Ali said, or the way that he said them. But he never once cared what people thought of him. He was proud of his beliefs, his lineage and his heritage. He realised early on in his life that if he was to spend his life trying to please people, he would waste his life.
“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
Under the witty, fast-talking, charming man was a humble individual who really loved the world and cared about its people. He realised that he was not going to live forever so he spent his days on earth trying to carve a positive legacy that would remain long after he departed.
“Live every day as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right,”he used to say.
And on Friday 3 June 2016 Muhammad Ali was right. May Allah have mercy on him.
“Be fearful of a day when you shall be returned to Allah, then every person shall be paid in full what he has earned, and they shall not be wronged.”  This is the last verse to be revealed in the Qur’an.
The Eyes Tear,
The Heart is in Pain,
But (with my tongue) I will only say that which is pleasing to Allah,
And we are indeed sad at your departure. 
Thursday 18th February 2016 (9th Jamadul Oola 1437) will be a day to remember for all. Not just for Muslims in the United Kingdom or European countries, rather for all the Muslims in different parts of the world. This was the day a blessed soul, a chosen soul, a sage, a saint, returned to his Lord SWT. He was a pious man, a devout leader, a renowned legend and a sincere friend to us all. We are all aware of him, his noble attributes and virtuous character.
By now you will have had more than a dozen messages and tributes to Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) on your phone; all will be expressing their condolences, commiserations and sympathies whilst others talk about Hafidh Saheb’s (Allah sanctify his secret) virtues and merits, along with his biography and obituary. So, in all honesty, there really isn’t a need for me to write much more, In Sha Allah.
I, however, endeavour to write (hopefully), how Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) left this world with signs he was a good man, a noble man and a righteous man. Many of these signs are obvious to you all. I would even say there are signs he is a man who attained forgiveness and his Lord’s pleasure, thus, inevitably attaining Jannah!
I pray Allah grants me the sincerity and capability of trying to do justice to Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) and his noble life. Ameen Ya Rabb.
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him narrated that: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Mention good things about your dead, and refrain from (mentioning) their evil.” 
Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) was known as the Ameer (leader) of the UK and Europe as a whole. The Islamic environment and religiosity we see in the West, particularly in Europe, Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) had an extensive hand in establishing it. When the world was steeped in darkness and Islam in the West was a dream that had not yet come to fruition, when the Sunnah was covered in a dark shroud and almost buried under the ground, when the Friday prayer (Jumu’ah) was prayed on a Sunday because Muslims did not want to jeopardise their earnings and take a break from their jobs on Fridays, when fundamental Islamic practices like Salah and Zakah were neglected, when Masajid were few and far between, during those hard and difficult times, during those early days of 1950s & 1960s Allah selected Hafidh Sahib (Allah sanctify his secret) for the establishment of Deen in the UK and the Western world.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever starts a good tradition which is followed, then for him is a reward, and the likes of their rewards of whoever follows him, there being nothing diminished from their rewards.”
The remarks of Hadhrat Mawlana Yusuf sahib Khandalwi (Allah sanctify his secret) were still ringing in his ears, when it was mentioned to him that “The Evil conspirers of the world have set their Evil plans to turn Makkah & Madinah into London & Paris. Oh my Dear Hafidh sahib! You make an effort to turn London & Paris into (the likes of) Makkah & Madinah.”
Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) was one of the first to arrive in the UK in the 60s.
He very much liked cricket, he was a cricket player and a team leader. He then joined the work of Tableegh. In the beginning, he had to walk to people’s homes in the snow wearing wellingtons.
He would knock on people’s doors and call them to the masjid for Salah. He was appointed the leader of the work and even after Shoora (council) was made, he remained the spiritual leader of the Da’wah work.
He started as an Imam at Saville Grove Masjid, Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) would teach Madrasah as well. But his main interest was Tableegh. His house was right in front of the Masjid. His wife (Khala) would also do a lot of khidmat of Jamats in the form of cooking food for them and washing clothes etc.
Abdullah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) relates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The world is a provision and the best provision of the world is a pious wife.”
In 1978 the new Markaz was constructed. Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) moved close to it. Then in 1985, with the efforts of Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret), a Darul Uloom was also founded along with the Markaz. There was a World Ijtima (gathering) in which Hadhratjee (Allah sanctify his secret) and other Ulama came.
Someone saw in a dream that the hall was full of people, a lecture was taking place, and The Prophet ﷺ was observing everything from the back.
Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) dedicated his life for Tableegh like no other person. If one was to sit with him for ten minutes, all he would hear would be Jamats leaving, concern of the Ummah, how the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them all) left their homes for the Deen, sacrifice and efforts for upholding Islam.
He spoke about the Sahabah like they were in front of him. He was infatuated with the love of Rasulullah ﷺ, his effort and his beloved Ummah like nobody you have ever seen! Many of you will find people particular about their Deen, but only a few you will find, particular about ‘reviving the Deen’. He swam against the tide of falsehood and he never EVER rested.
Hafidh Saheb’s (Allah sanctify his secret) dedication for Da’wah and Tableegh was really admirable. When he would deliver lectures on Da’wah it was as if his heart was ripped apart for the pain of why the Ummah does not dedicate themselves for the sake of humanity, to protect them from Jahannam. Allah says to the Prophet, ﷺ “Then perhaps you would kill yourself through grief over them, [O Muhammad], if they do not believe in this message, [and] out of sorrow.” 
‘Irbad bin Sariyah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: “One day Messenger of Allah delivered us a very eloquent Khutbah on account of which eyes shed tears and hearts were full of tears.” 
When he came to England in 1954 when there were only few Muslims, Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) would work from 8am to 4pm, after work he would walk miles to go to people’s house to give Da’wah.
“And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.” 
He would teach a Hifdh class early in the morning from 4am, after teaching the children he would drop them home and go to work. Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) very happily said in one talk, “If anyone writes the British history, he has to write that Hafidh Patel was the first person to make someone Hafidh on British soil”.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” 
Hafidh Saheb’s (Allah sanctify his secret) devotion in worshiping Allah was unbelievable, his optional Salah, Recitation of the Qur’an and Dhikr used to be very long, he used to spend hours engaged in them. Many times he would spend the entire time between Maghrib and Isha in Nawafil, Tilawah and Dhikr.
A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: “The Messenger of Allah used to remember Allah at all times.” 
Abu Hurairah [may Allah be pleased with him] narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Allah, the Most High said: ‘I am as My slave thinks of Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a gathering better than that. And if he seeks to draw nearer to Me by a hand span, I draw nearer to him by a forearm’s length, and if he comes to Me by a forearm’s length, I draw nearer to him by an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him quickly.’” 
When Shaykhul Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (Allah sanctify his secret) sent Hadhrat Mawlana Yusuf Motala Saheb to England in 1968, he advised him to be in the company of Hafidh Patel Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret). This is because Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) was not just a Da’ee, rather a great Sufi and Saint.
Narrated Muawiya (Allah be pleased with him): I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “If Allah wants to do good to a person, He makes him comprehend the religion.” 
Just like Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Allah sanctify his secret) was only known as ‘Haji Sahib’, but influenced thousands of people. Similarly Hafidh Saheb is only known as ‘Hafidh Saheb’, but, he has influenced thousands of Ulama.
“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” 
Through Hafidh Sahib’s (Allah sanctify his secret) efforts the biggest Masjid of Europe ‘Dewsbury Markaz’ was built in 1978 and Darul Uloom in the 1980s where thousands of students studied from all over Europe, America and Africa. He was also behind opening many Masajid, including the first mosque in Blackburn. Today, there are approximately forty Masajid in Blackburn, the reward of which showers upon the blessed grave of Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret).
Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “He who guides (others) to an act of goodness, will have a reward similar to that of its doer.” 
It is quite famous regarding Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) that he used to be out of the country more than in the country for the purpose of Da’wah and he has visited most of the countries of the world. There are approximately 200 countries in the world, Hafidh Saheb had visited nearly all of them. Ahumdu Lillah, Thumma Alhumdu Lillah, that is an outstanding achievement.
Narrated Sahl bin Sa`d: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A single endeavour in Allah’s Cause in the afternoon and in the forenoon is better than the world and whatever is in it.” 
Hafidh Saheb spent many day and nights weeping for this Ummah, it is seldom we find such men who do so. The one who used to cry for you and me. Will Allah replace him with people who cry and cry, begging for this Ummah?
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “One who weeps out of fear of Allah, will not enter the Hell till milk returns back in the udder; and the dust raised on account of fighting in the path of Allah and the smoke of Hell will never exist together”. 
The Prophet ﷺ said, “There is no Muslim who dies on the day of Friday or the night of Friday, but Allah will protect him from the trial (fitnah) of the grave.” 
Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) used to invite everyone on Thursday night for Da’wah work/Shabe Jumu’ah, until his last day of life, when Allah took his beloved soul, on a Thursday night.
Hafidh Saheb (Allah sanctify his secret) passed away on Jumu’ah night and his Janazah was on Friday after Asr Salah, at the time when Du’a are accepted. Thousands of people attended Hafiz Sahib’s (Allah sanctify his secret) Janazah from all over England and abroad, it was definitely one of the largest funerals the UK has seen.
Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘If a Muslim dies and his funeral prayer is attended by a group of a hundred Muslims, and they all sincerely pray for his forgiveness, he is forgiven’. 
Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I heard the Prophet SAW saying: ‘If a Muslim dies and a group of forty people, who do not associate any one with Allah, pray for him, their prayer is accepted and he is forgiven’.” 
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When Allah wills good for His slave, He uses him.” They said, “How does He use him?” He said, “He guides him to do good deeds before he dies.” 
“Verily, those who say: ‘Our Lord is Allah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!’” 
It is known about Khalid Ibn Waleed (Allah be pleased with him) ‘The Sword of Allah’, he spent his life in Jihad and fighting the enemies of Allah. His days were spent on the battlefield, but he died on his bed. Our respected Hafidh Saheb, also spent his days in the path of Allah. Year after year, month after month, town after town, country after country. But his death came in his hometown, whilst sleeping on his bed. Such was Allah’s will.
“For them who have done good is the best (reward) and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are the companions of paradise; they will abide therein eternally.” 
I will end with the words of advice delivered by Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Saleem Dhorat at the Islamic Da’wah Academy in regards to the passing of the Ameer of Da’wah and Tableegh; Hadhrat Hafidh Patel Saheb.
“When pious people pass away, we should be grieved upon the loss for the Ummah. We should turn to Allah SWT and earnestly ask Allah to replace the personality with somebody better or somebody equal; because when important people pass away; especially in this day and age, they are irreplaceable and a very big loss comes to the Ummah.
So, we need to turn to Allah SWT and ask Allah SWT to safeguard and grant more acceptance to the effort of Da’wah and Tableegh, and may Allah SWT grant a very good replacement for Hafiz Sahib rahimahullah ta’aala and may Allah SWT safeguard and maintain the ages of all our akaabir and Mashayikh, and all the pious personalities.
May Allah SWT elevate the status of our Hafidh Saheb rahimahullah ta’aala and may Allah reward him on behalf of the whole Ummah and may his legacy remain in this world until the day of Qiyamah and may Allah SWT grant us all the tawfeeq to follow in the footsteps of all the pious personalities and may He resurrect us amongst them on the day of Qiyamah and may He grant us a place in Jannah with such luminaries and pious Mashayikh.
So, make Esaal-e-thawaab for him; of whatever you are able to and as much as you can; especially in the next 24 hours. Also make dua; make dua for Hafidh Saheb, dua for his family, dua for the work of Da’wah and Tableegh, and for the whole Ummah.”
“But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination,Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” 
[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], And enter among My [righteous] servants, And enter My Paradise.” 
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When Allah loves a slave, calls out Jibril and says: ‘I love so-and-so; so love him’. Then Jibril loves him. After that he (Jibril) announces to the inhabitants of heavens that Allah loves so- and-so; so love him; and the inhabitants of the heavens (the angels) also love him and then make people on earth love him”. 
A final note, rather a reminder, I woud like to say, Hafidh Saheb was an amazing personality. There is no doubt about that. But he also was someone’s son, a husband, a father. And he worked hard to provide for his family. But he left behind a legacy – Alhumdu Lillah, one that will never be forgotten In Sha Allah! For every brother and sister reading this, from the depth of my heart don’t stop here. Make an intention to change your life, mend your ways and follow the work Hafidh Saheb started, ‘reviving the deen’. I have not written this for likes nor follows, nor comments. I have written this for me to change myself, and if one (other) person benefits, through their blessing I will change too. I end with the verse I started with: “Be fearful of a day when you shall be returned to Allah, then every person shall be paid in full what he has earned, and they shall not be wronged.”  This is the last verse to be revealed in the Qur’an.
Ask yourself, what will YOU leave behind?
Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure).
13 Jamadul Awwal 1437
 Surah Baqarah, verse 281. Trans ‘The Meanings of the Noble Qur’an’ – Mufti Taqi Uthmani
 Bukhari – The Prophet SAW on the death of his son Ibraheem RA
 Qur’an – (26:69) Pickthall
 Saheeh Muslim
 Surah Kahf, verse, 6. Trans Saheeh International
 Abu Dawood
 Surah Ankabut, vere 69. Trans Yusuf Ali
 Saheeh Muslim
 Surah Fussilat, verse 33. Trans Saheeh International
 Saheeh Muslim
 Ahmad, Muslim, and Tirmidhi
 Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawood
 Ahmad, Tirmidhi
 Surah Fussilat, verse 30
 Surah Yunus, verse 26
 Surah Naziaat, verse 40 & 41
 Surah Fajr 27 – 30
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm was the fourth of eight children born to Louise, a homemaker, and Earl Little, a preacher who was also an active member of the local chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and avid supporter of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Due to Earl Little’s civil rights activism, the family faced frequent harassment from white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and one of its splinter factions, the Black Legion. In fact, Malcolm X had his first encounter with racism before he was even born.
“When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later, ‘a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home,'” Malcolm later remembered. “Brandishing their shotguns and rifles, they shouted for my father to come out.” The harassment continued; when Malcolm X was four years old, local Klan members smashed all of the family’s windows, causing Earl Little to decide to move the family from Omaha to East Lansing, Michigan.
However, the racism the family encountered in East Lansing proved even greater than in Omaha. Shortly after the Littles moved in, in 1929, a racist mob set their house on fire, and the town’s all-white emergency responders refused to do anything. “The white police and firemen came and stood around watching as the house burned to the ground,” Malcolm X later remembered.
Two years later, in 1931, things got much, much worse. Earl Little’s dead body was discovered laid out on the municipal streetcar tracks. Although Malcolm X’s father was very likely murdered by white supremacists, from whom he had received frequent death threats, the police officially ruled his death a suicide, thereby voiding the large life insurance policy he had purchased in order to provide for his family in the event of his death. Malcolm X’s mother never recovered from the shock and grief of her husband’s death. In 1937, she was committed to a mental institution and Malcolm X left home to live with family friends.
Now a free man, Malcolm X traveled to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, to expand the movement’s following among black Americans nationwide. Malcolm X became the minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem and Temple No. 11 in Boston, while also founding new temples in Harford and Philadelphia. In 1960, he established a national newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, in order to further promote the message of the Nation of Islam.
Articulate, passionate and a naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism “by any means necessary,” including violence. “You don’t have a peaceful revolution,” he said. “You don’t have a turn-the-cheek revolution. There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution.” Such militant proposals—a violent revolution to establish an independent black nation—won Malcolm X large numbers of followers as well as many fierce critics. Due primarily to the efforts of Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere 400 members at the time he was released from prison in 1952, to 40,000 members by 1960.
By the early 1960s, Malcolm X had emerged as a leading voice of a radicalized wing of the Civil Rights Movement, presenting an alternative to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a racially integrated society achieved by peaceful means. Dr. King was highly critical of what he viewed as Malcolm X’s destructive demagoguery. “I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice,” King once said.
In 1958, Malcolm X married Betty Sanders, a fellow member of the Nation of Islam. The couple had six children together, all daughters: Attallah (b. 1958), Qubilah (b. 1960), Ilyasah (b. 1963), Gamilah (b. 1964) and twins Malaak and Malikah (b. 1965). Sanders later became known as Betty Shabazz, and she became a prominent civil rights and human rights activist in her own right in the aftermath of her husband’s death.
In May 2013, Malcolm X’s grandson, Malcolm Shabazz—son of the civil rights leader’s second daughter with wife Betty Shabazz, Qubilah Shabazz—was beaten to death in Mexico City, near the Plaza Garibaldi. He was 28 years old. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, police believe Malcolm Shabazz’s death was the result of a “robbery gone wrong.”
By Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
Life in this world, especially in this day and age, is a struggle. We all know that life in this world is temporary and a test, and a stepping stone to the hereafter, which is the real life. So, what can we do in this world that has the greatest benefit for us, both in this life and the hereafter
There is a hadith in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) says that the Day of Judgement will not come until a time when people will be respected and honoured out of fear, and the most successful person (in this world) will be the base born, son of a base born.
Have we now reached this time? We live in a society where we have celebrities and superstars who are famous simply for being famous! Young boys and girls grow up wanting to be famous just like them, without thinking of the consequences of it. Today, the easiest way for people to gain recognition is to commit the worst of acts, and such people are the ones young people want to emulate.
To achieve fame because someone has done something good for society or excelled in a particular field is not a problem, and fame can come as a result of dedication and hard work. Everyone has the potential to achieve great heights and do something that brings perpetual reward, even after death. For example, we say rahimahumullah (may Allah have mercy on them) when we remember the great scholars of the past because of the mark they have left on this world. Every time we mention their names, we ask Allah to have mercy on them. This is a real achievement and real ‘fame,’ which has been bestowed upon them due to their hard work.
How did they manage to achieve so much in their short time in this world, such a status that hundreds of years after their deaths we still pray for them? The answer is that their lives had a special enriching component granted by Allah. This ingredient is barakah.
Barakah, the special component
Barakah can be defined as the “attachment of divine goodness to a thing”. In other words, it is the direct help and blessing of Allah Most High. It can only come from Him, and if it is present in something it can transform the nature of that thing and make it more valuable. With a sincere intention to assist others and by making supplication to Allah, He can take our ability, accept it and turn it into something great. As humans, our capabilities can only take us so far. The additional help of Allah is required so that we can fulfil our potential.
An example of His barakah can be seen in a story of a man who was once driving a visiting scholar around London. As they were about to embark on the journey, the man noticed that his car was running low on fuel and that he would have to make a stop soon to fill the car up. During the journey, he became engrossed in conversation with his guest and completely forgot about refuelling, continuing to drive for over an hour. Only later did he realise that he had driven for longer than would have been normally possible with the amount of fuel he had started with. In fact, the fuel gauge had barely moved! This is a clear manifestation of baraka.
Of course, it is not always the case that barakah will manifest itself so openly. We must work hard and pray continuously for barakah. If barakah was granted as soon as we asked for it, it would appear too magical and miraculous for this world, and it would also be taken for granted. We must not become disheartened and lose hope if we confront some difficulties at times. Instead, we must continue to do our best, to ask Allah for his blessing and leave the rest up Him.
In some aspects of life, barakah is more important than in others. Marriage is one of these aspects. We are supposed to be with our spouses in paradise, insha Allah. So baraka in a marriage will help the relationship develop into a strong bond for eternity. In fact, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) used the word barakah twice in one du’a for a newly married couple.
Other areas of life where we should ask for blessing are in our time and wealth. Baraka in wealth gives one contentment and satisfaction and one feels that they are receiving value for their money. Nowadays, despite the fact that technology and other material possessions are there to make our lives easier and save us time, we still feel dissatisfied and struggle to find time to fulfil our responsibilities for both this world and the hereafter. This is a symptom of our lives being devoid of baraka and is certainly something to ponder upon.
Many scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) that came before are revered for their contribution to Islam and for spreading knowledge. When we read the vast lists of their achievements, we may think that they lived long lives, but this is not always the case.
One of the most famous scholars in Islamic history, Imam Nawawi RH lived for just 44 years, yet in his short time on this Earth he authored the legendary Riyad al-Saliheen hadith collection and the Arba’in, a collection of 40 hadiths. Both these books are among the most famous hadith collections despite the fact that Imam Nawawi came after so many other renowned scholars. His legacy lives on to this day.
Similarly, Imam Ghazali RH, an accomplished scholar whose work is recognised in both Western academia and Muslim lands, lived only for 55 years. He has been given the title of hujja which means ‘irrefutable proof.’ That is someone who is a proof of Islam’s truth. He is one of the most respected scholars with regard to his contributions to philosophy, theology and spirituality, and authored a number of inspiring books.
Whenever someone reads and learns from these books, their writers are rewarded. Subhan’Allah, how much barakah must these men have been blessed with in their time that they were able to fulfil their duties and secure a high status for themselves in this world? Taking inspiration from them can help us in our efforts to be remembered for something positive and worthwhile too.
Another inspiring figure who lived a life full of barakah is the caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him), who had an even shorter life of nearly 40 years. As the ruler, he was able to resolve the land issues of North Africa in just over two years, bringing such benefit to the people that there was nobody left to accept charity. One particularly distinct manifestation of baraka in his life can be seen when he became the ruler. Having spent the entire night in making the burial arrangements of his predecessor, he gave his inaugural lecture to the people and then by mid-morning, began to head home for a nap to remove his tiredness.
His young son stopped him and asked where he was going. He told him that he am going home for a nap and would return at Zuhr. He was berated by his son who asked how he could take a nap when there were many people waiting for him to distribute justice and deal with their outstanding matters that had remained unresolved from the time of his predecessors. “Can you guarantee your life until Zuhr?” the boy asked his father. At this, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz embraced his son and said “All thanks to Allah who has given me children that can help me in my matters.”
This man who was known as the reviver of the first century was so enriched with barakah that his children contributed to his Islamic welfare and progress.
Some steps towards gaining baraka
Having considered the need for baraka and its advantages, how can we gain more blessing in our lives? The scholars say that blessing is linked to certain actions and qualities.
- Taqwa (fear of Allah): Allah says in the Qur’an, “Whoever fears Allah, He brings forth a way out for him; and provides him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine” (65:1-2). The Qur’an promises that a person or community with taqwa will never be in need, meaning that Allah will always provide for them. Fear of Allah is very important, and is something that we must work to achieve, and to bring it into all aspects of our lives. May Allah grant us all the good fortune to bring taqwa into our lives.
- Recitation of the Qur’an: Allah says of the Qur’an, “This is a blessed Book We have revealed to you” (38:29). Regularly reading and learning from the Glorious Book can provide us with more blessing in our time and hence ease in our tasks. One hadith states that whoever preoccupies himself with reading the Qur’an to the extent that he neglects asking Allah for things he needs, Allah will give him the best of what people ask from Allah. Clearly, taqwa is a pre-requisite for someone to place such absolute reliance on Allah and for people who attain this level. Indeed they will see the benefit of this.
- Sincerity of intention: Do not do things just to gain wealth, but rather for a higher purpose. Setting goals and working in order to amass wealth for itself will not produce the same results as working for it while also trying to attain piety and richness of the heart. This would bring more happiness than any amount of money.
- Repentance: Sins strip away barakah from our lives, while repentance restores the baraka. Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) had a person come to him complaining of a drought in his community and he was told to repent. Another came to see him complaining of poverty, and again he was told to repent. Another came to see him complaining of not having children, and again he was told to repent. He was asked why his advice remained the same whatever the issue he was confronted with. The Shaykh replied that this was not his own advice. It was the advice of the Qur’an and he cited the verses of Sura Nuh: “Pray to your Lord for your forgiveness. Indeed, He is All-forgiving; He will cause the heavens to rain upon you in abundance, and will help you with riches and sons, and will cause gardens to grow for you, and cause rivers to flow for you (71:10-12).
Now that we know how much our predecessors managed to achieve in their relatively short lives, and comparing it to the daily struggles we face to fulfil even our basic responsibilities, we can see the benefit that achieving baraka will bring to us. We should pray to Allah, perform some rak’as of salat frequently, and ask Allah to accept us for the service of His faith, and ask that He grant us all a way of earning perpetual reward and showers us with His blessings, Amin.
Transcribed by Maariyah Dawood
Edited by Ahmed Limbada
Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaykh Mufti Mohammad Taqi Uthmani (Allah preserve him) gave the following advice to a group of students:
1) Sacred knowledge is of no use or benefit to the aspiring students unless they act upon their knowledge and base their works upon it. And the most beneficial of works is that which brings one closer to the obedience of Allah Most High.
2) The students must purify their intention as to why they are seeking knowledge. Their intention must be purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah Most High.
3) The students should firmly adhere to the Sunnah (life-example) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in every aspect and circumstance of their life.
4) The students must be constantly turning back to Allah Most High (ruju’ ilal-Allah) through their life journey, in all situations. Returning means to seek help from Allah against all difficulties and challenges, to seek to please Him, to seek protection and forgiveness from Him, and to be grateful and humble to Him.
5) The student of knowledge must make lots of supplication (dua’) to Allah Most High, for every single one of his needs, whether they be needs of this world or the next.