The Final Moments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

A person’s final moments are dependent on how he spent his life, what he lived for and what his heart remained engrossed in. Accordingly, if a person lives a life of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā and is preoccupied in worldly pursuits, his last moments will be whilst engaged in such activities. Similarly, a person living a life of obedience to Allāh ta‘ālā, in His remembrance and in striving for His Pleasure, will find his final moments in acts beloved to Allāh ta‘ālā. Many incidents are recorded in history which bear testimony to this fact, prompting us to reflect on our current state and creating a concern regarding our own preparations for departure from this world.

Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh has quoted a number of incidents:

• Rabī‘ ibn Bazzah rahimahullāh has narrated that a person was in his last moments and the people present encouraged him to recite the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh, but he kept repeating (indicating to a glass of wine), “You drink and also give me one.”

• Another person was in his final moments and the people around him were repeating the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh to prompt him, but he kept saying, “Ten ten rupees, eleven eleven rupees, twelve twelve rupees.”

Hadrat Muftī Muhammad Shafī‘ rahimahullāh has narrated:

• A salesman used to be always occupied in his business ventures, so much so that performing salāh and other acts of worship would never come to mind. During his final moments, people encouraged him to recite the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh, but his end came with him continuously mentioning and calculating his business transactions.

• An incident of another person who remained busy in his worldly pursuits, led to him in his final moments continually saying, “Have you fed my donkey.”

In contrast, we find amazing incidents of pious people who lived a life of piety, engaged in the obedience to Allāh ta‘ālā and toiling for His Pleasure, leaving the world in a manner which leaves us in amazement and wonder.

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd-ul-‘Azīz rahimahullāh is well known for his piety and steadfastness on Dīn. He established justice to such a degree, that the Ummah recognise him as the fifth rightly guided caliph. Many people were gathered around him when his final moments drew near. As he began to cry, someone consoled him and asked, “Why are you crying? Allāh ta‘ālā has revived the Sunnah and established justice through you.”

Hearing this he began to cry more and said, “Will I not be questioned regarding the rights of the people?” He then went on to say, “O Allāh! You commanded me with certain things regarding which I remained imperfect, and you prohibited certain things from which I couldn’t restrain myself, but O Allāh, I bear witness that You are One, Who has no partner and there is none worthy of worship except You.” He then requested all to leave him except his attendant saying there are such creations before him who were neither jinn nor human. After everyone had left, he left this mortal world after reciting the following verse of the Glorious Qur’ān:

This is the home of the Ākhirah, which We shall assign to those who do not desire pomp on earth nor corruption. The (best) outcome shall be for those with Taqwā. (28:83)

The great muhaddith Abū Zur‘ah rahimahullāh was an imām in the field of hadīth. Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullāh states regarding him that he knew 600,000 ahādīth. When his final moments came, the ‘ulamā present began discussing how they should encourage him to recite the kalimah, as they felt it was disrespectful to address him directly. They decided to narrate a hadīth in his presence. One person initiated the hadīth with, “Dahhāk ibn Makhlad narrated to us from ‘Abd-ul-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far who narrated from Sālih”. He then stopped at this point. Hearing this, the great muhaddith began narrating the hadīth saying, “Bundār narrated to us that Abū ‘Āsim narrated to him that ‘Abd-ul-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far narrated to him that Sālih ibn Abī ‘Arīb narrated to him that Kathīr ibn Murrah Al-Hadramī narrated to him that Mu‘ādh ibn Jabal radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrated that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam stated, ‘Whoever’s last words are lā ilāha illallāh….’.” He then passed away. The full hadīth is, ‘Whoever’s last words are lā ilāha illallāh will enter Jannah’. By departing in this manner, he practically demonstrated the glad tiding mentioned in this hadīth. What an amazing death Allāh ta‘ālā granted him!

These few incidents are a mere drop in the ocean from the many great and amazing final moments Allāh ta‘ālā has granted His special servants, who made acquiring His Pleasure the objective of their lives. The thought should not cross our minds that these were great people of the past who achieved such heights. Even in this age, Allāh ta‘ālā does not deprive His servants who lead a life of servitude to Him and remain steadfast in their duties and obligations to Him.

Just this month, my very dear and close friend in Barbados, Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi, left this mortal world. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant him forgiveness for any shortcomings and elevate his status in the hereafter and resurrect him with the Ambiyā, the Siddiqīn, the Shuhadā and the Sālihīn. Āmīn.

Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi was my host whenever I visited Barbados and was very affectionate towards me and showed me much love and affection. He was very respectful towards the ‘Ulamā and Mashāyikh and would endeavour to serve and bring comfort to them. Almost all the prominent Mashāyikh who visited Barbados during his lifetime have been his guests and his manner and behaviour towards them was such that he would win their hearts. I was very saddened and experienced much grief upon the news. However, when his sons narrated to me the details of his final moments, I was wonderstruck and experienced immense happiness for the way Allāh ta‘ālā called him to his final abode.

Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi was very steadfast and punctual with his a‘māl and ma‘mūlāt (prescribed practices). He would for the last forty years wake up for tahajjud and complete his ma‘mūlāt. In the last few years he was not very mobile, yet he remained punctual regarding his daily practices. Even in a poor state of health, he would normally wake up around 1am and engage in tahajjud salāh, dhikr and du‘ā until the beginning time of Fajr and then perform his Fajr. Thereafter, he would recite Sūrah Yāsīn and one juz from the Qur’ān. He would then awaken his wife and son for Fajr salāh.

His son, Rafeeq, narrated to me that during his father’s last night in this world, as per his usual practice he attended to his father at 1am to assist him to perform wudū and seat him in his chair for tahajjud, thereafter returning to sleep. Later in the morning, he was not awakened by the call of his father, but his mother. Worried, he got up and went to see his father to find that he had, at some point during the night, departed for the hereafter. This in itself was a great honour, that he had left this world whilst engaged in worship. However, the detail mentioned by his son is more amazing. He said that he found his father in the condition that the Qur’ān was still open and in his father’s hands. This means, according to his regular practice, Dr. Shafee must have performed his tahajjud salāh, completed all his ma‘mūlāt, performed his Fajr salāh, recited Sūrah Yāsīn and also the Qur’ān. Furthermore, when his son looked at the Qur’ān, it became apparent that he was on the last page, which indicated that he had just completed the Qur’ān. Subhānallāh! What a praiseworthy final moment Allāh ta‘ālā granted my beloved friend!

It is evident that, when a person makes Allāh ta‘ālā his objective and lives a life striving to acquire His Pleasure, then his final moments will be in the same state. We should take lesson from such incidents and reflect on how we are leading our lives, so that we can mend our ways by sincerely repenting from a life of negligence and adopting a life of piety and devotion.

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the tawfīq to live such a life that we breathe our last when we are engaged in acts that are most beloved to Him, so that we depart with His Forgiveness, Mercy and eternal Pleasure. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 26 No. 8, August 2017)


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A Pillar of Justice

An attentive listener, A sincere sympathiser, A generous giver, A considerate thinker, A beautiful soul, A ready giver of love, A noble mind, A deep carer, A nourishing heart, A pillar of justice, A man of principle, A heart of gold, A purified soul, An embodiment of truth, An ocean of knowledge, A wealth of experience, A treasure of advices, A pearl of wisdom, An angel personified…

In Memory of my Late Father – Haji NazirAhmed Daud Satia RH, who returned to Allah on this day, 4 years ago.

new scales

 

You held my hand when I was small, you caught me when I fell,

The hero of my childhood, and of latter years as well.

Every time I think of you, my heart just fills with pride,

And though I’ll always miss you, I know you’re by my side.

 

Not a day passes by, that you don’t cross my mind,

Not all of you departed when you left us all behind.

In my heart there is a place that only you can hold,

Filled with loving memories more priceless than silver or gold.

 

You never looked for praises, you were never one to boast,

You just went on quietly working, for the ones you loved the most.

You were a firm foundation through all our storms of life,

A sturdy hand to hold on to, in times of stress and strife.

 

Remembering you is easy, I do it every day,

Missing you is the heartache that never goes away.

You dwell among the angels now, but you left us too soon,

I can see you gliding across a golden field, above the harvest moon.

 

A thousand words won’t bring you back, I know because I’ve tried,

And neither will a million tears, I know because I’ve cried.

In laughter and in sorrow, in sunshine and in rain,

I know you always prayed for me, so now I pray for you…until we meet again.

 

He wasn’t a hero known by the entire world,

But a hero he was to his little world (his family).

If only you could see me, I’d want you to know this is true,

That everything I am today, is all because of you…

We will remember your values, teachings, morals, justice and principles.

Your beauty internal and external will never be extinguished from our minds.

Allah grant you everything you prayed for and much more, Allah fill the sorrowful void of your loss with Divine Consolation. Ameen.

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure)

9th Rabiul Awwal 1439

How to Acquire Husn-ul-Khatimah

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

If we study the lives of the pious servants of Allāh ta‘ālā, i.e. the Ambiyā, Sahābah Radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, the Muhaddithūn, Fuqahā, Awliyā, we will find one common factor in their lives, and that is their concern for securing Husn-ul-Khātimah so that they are successful in the Court of Allāh ta‘ālā. Despite their lives being full of virtue, they would worry and pray for death in the state of īmān and Islām. 

Allāh ta‘ālā quotes the du‘ā of Yūsuf ‘alayhis salām in the Glorious Qur’ān:

…O Creator of the heavens and the Earth, You are my guardian in this world and the Hereafter. Make me die a Muslim and make me join the righteous. (12:102)

This is because a single word of disbelief at the time of death can erase the benefits of a lifetime of virtue and obedience. On the other hand, a person may live a life of sin and vice, and then be granted the blessing of īmān in the final moments of his life, thereby securing the success of both this world and the Hereafter. Through His infinite Grace and Mercy, Allāh ta‘ālā inspired me with six points, which will secure Husn-ul-Khātimah and a good death for ourselves, which in turn will result in a good outcome in the Hereafter, Inshā’allāh.

1. Adopt Taqwā (fear of Allāh ta‘ālā). Taqwā holds the power to repel all the forces which weaken one’s īmān and at times snatch it away. This can be understood from the verses wherein Allāh commands the believers to adopt Taqwā. We understand from them that once a person becomes a believer, the method of safeguarding that belief is adopting Taqwā. And Taqwā simply means to create a barrier between disobedience to Allāh and ourselves. Another name for this Taqwā is Istiqāmah (steadfastness), because when a person, after accepting īmān, remains steadfast upon the Commands of Allāh, he will not disobey Him. Allāh ta‘ālā mentions:

Surely, those who have declared: ‘Our Lord is Allāh’, then remained steadfast, on them the angels will descend, saying, ‘Do not fear, and do not grieve; and be happy with the good news of Jannah (Paradise) that you had been promised. We have been your friends in the worldly life, and (will remain as such) in the Hereafter. And for you here is whatever your souls desire, and for you here is whatever you call for.’ (41:30)

So when one accepts īmān by saying, “My Lord is Allāh”, and thereafter safeguards this īmān by remaining steadfast in carrying out the Commands of Allāh and staying away from every disobedience, then Allāh will reward him with a good death, as is indicated in the verse above, that the angels will descend with special mercy at the time of his death. The commentators of the Qur’ān have mentioned that the angels of mercy are always with those who are steadfast on Dīn; however, the special indication given in this verse is that at the time of their death, the angels become visible to them, who give them the glad tidings of Jannah from their Lord.

2. Love the pious and spend time in their company. The pious people are the people of Taqwā. The effect of loving them will create in one the desire to spend time in their company, and in doing so the effect of their taqwā will rub onto one’s self. Allāh ta‘ālāmentions: 

O you who believe, adopt taqwā, and be in the company of the truthful. (9:119)

We need to firstly accept īmān, which alhamdulillāh we all do, and thereafter safeguard our īmān by adopting Taqwā, which can be acquired by staying in the company of those who already have it. The term ‘The Truthful’ used here is another name for those who have Taqwā, as mentioned in another place in the Qur’ān:

…Those are the ones who are truthful, and those are the God-fearing. (2:177)

Similarly the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam states in a hadīth:

On the Day of Judgement, a person will be with whom he loved. (At-Tirmidhī)

If a person entertains love for the pious, he will be with them in the Hereafter, and the pious people will be granted entry into Jannah, for which īmān is a prerequisite. Thus, we can deduce that such a person will die in the state of īmān.

3. Giving in charity. Spending in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā cools the Anger of Allāh. If Allāh ta‘ālā is angry with a person, what chance is there for him to have a good death? Therefore, charity paves the way for one to die in the state of īmān, as indicated by the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam: 

Sadaqah (charity) extinguishes the anger of the Lord and prevents an unpleasant death. (At-Tirmidhī)

An unpleasant death could either mean death without īmān or death in an undesirable state, i.e. as a victim of a tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake. Inshā’allāh, a person will be saved from both types of death.

4. Carrying out acts upon which the intercession of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is guaranteed. In various narrations, the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamhas encouraged carrying out certain good acts, the virtue of which is that the intercession of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam will become incumbent for the doer. One should inquire about and learn such acts from reliable, authentic sources and act upon them. The intercession of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is of two types. The first being that on the Day of Judgement, when every human will be gathered in the Plain of Resurrection, every soul will be in a state of extreme worry and fear regarding its fate in the court of Allāh ta‘ālā. At this tense moment, the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam will intercede on behalf of the whole humankind and request Allāh ta‘ālā to begin the reckoning. The reckoning will thus begin, and this is known as the ‘general intercession’. Thereafter, once the process of reckoning begins, the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam will specifically intercede on behalf of many individuals of his ummah, with the permission of Allāh. Only a person who dies in the state of īmān will be worthy of receiving this ‘special intercession’ of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. The glad tidings of intercession upon various good actions is this ‘special intercession’ which is exclusively for people with īmān. It can be therefore understood that those carrying out these good acts will die with īmān, as only they will be worthy of this ‘special intercession’. One example of such an act is reciting the du‘ā after the adhān.

5. Repeatedly thank Allāh ta‘ālā for the great bounty of īmān, for Allāh ta‘ālāpromises: 

If you express gratitude, I shall certainly give you more. (14:7) 

It should be kept in mind that gratitude should be expressed in 3 ways:

  • By acknowledging and contemplating over this great bounty in one’s heart and mind that Allāh has granted this to me through His Grace only without my deserving it.
  •  By verbally expressing one’s gratitude.
  • By fulfilling the Commands of Allāh in regards to this bounty.

If we acknowledge the bounty of īmān with our heart and mind, express praise for Allāh verbally and carry out the demands of this ni‘mah (blessing), i.e. adopt Taqwā, then Allāh will increase this ni‘mah of ours inshā’allāh.

6. Make du‘ā for a good death and for a pleasant abode in the Hereafter. You may do this in your own words or by using supplications from the Qur’ān and ahādīth, for example: 

O Allāh, forgive our living and our dead, those present from among us and those absent, our young and our old, our males and our females, O Allāh whoever you keep alive from among us, keep him alive on Islām, and whoever you give death to, give him death upon īmān. (Ahmad)

Allāh ta‘ālā mentions the supplication of the knowledgeable people: “Our Lord, do not let our hearts deviate from the right path after You have given us guidance, and bestow upon us mercy from your own.” (2:8)

If we strive to do the above and ask Allāh ta‘ālā sincerely, then inshā’allāh, He will grant us this great bounty of death in the state of īmān.

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the true understanding of the reality of the Hereafter and grant us the tawfīq to adequately prepare for it. Āmīn.

Regrets of the Dying

http://www.bronnieware.com/blog/regrets-of-the-dying

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Based around this article, Bronnie has released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring memoir is available internationally through Hay House, with translations in 29 languages.  More information about regret-free living is available here.

The Demise of the ‘Ulama

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

On Tuesday 11th July 2017, upon awakening I received the sad news of the demise of Hadrat Mawlānā Ismail Badat rahimahullāh, the khalīfah of Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh. Mawlānā Ismail Badat rahimahullāhhad settled in Al-Madīnah Al-Munawwarah in the 1970s and lived a life of piety and devotion. Māshā’allāh, it was his daily practice to recite the entire Qur’ān. He would begin reciting at home and come to Al-Masjid An-Nabawī before ‘Asr Salāh, where he would continue reciting until he had completed the Qur’ān. May Allāh ta‘ālā accept his efforts and worship, and elevate his status in Jannah.

I was still in a state of grief, when a few hours later I received the sad news of the demise of another great luminary of our era, the great muhaddith, Hadrat Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Yunus Jonpuri rahimahullāh. He was also a khalīfah ofHadrat Shaykh rahimahullāh and a very knowledgeable person with a very high status in piety. He was a master in the science of Hadīth, due to which he was given the title ‘Muhaddith-ul-‘Asr’, the muhaddith of our era.

Naturally, I was very grieved and overwhelmed by the loss of two great personalities in one day, both of whom I had personally derived benefit from. The passing away of great ‘Ulamā one after the other is clearly a sign of Qiyāmah. The demise of such ‘Ulamā, who cannot be substituted by others of equivalent calibre, is a clear indication that the Day of Qiyāmah is drawing closer. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam says,

Verily, Allāh does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the ‘Ulamā till no ‘ālim remains. Then the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, (the result being that) they will go astray and will lead others astray. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

The knowledge of Dīn diminishes with the passing away of such ‘Ulamā. And as knowledge decreases, the Ma‘rifah (recognition) of Allāh ta‘ālā decreases. And when the Ma‘rifah of Allāh ta‘ālā will remain no more, there will be no one to remember Allāh ta‘ālā and this will bring Qiyāmah. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has mentioned:

Qiyāmah shall not arrive until it is not said in the earth: ‘Allāh, Allāh.’ (i.e. Qiyāmah shall only arrive when Allāh ta‘ālā is no longer being remembered in this world.) (Muslim)

In the past 20 years, many great luminaries have left this world. Each one of them held a place of his own in the field of ‘ilm and ‘amal and accomplished great achievements. Sadly, their demise has left a vacuum unfilled. During such occasions, we should take lesson and start to prepare for the hereafter. The following lessons will benefit us:

1) Nobody stays in this world forever. Even the close friends of Allāh ta‘ālā must leave this world one day for the hereafter. Allāh ta‘ālā says to His Messengersallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam:

We have not prescribed eternal life for anyone before you. (21:34)

2) By studying the lives of these pious people and their efforts, we should learn the method of acquiring the success of this world and the hereafter. These people truly became the embodiment of the hadīth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam:

(The best is he) whose life is long and actions are good. (At-Tirmidhī)

    Hence, we should study the lives of these great luminaries and strive to follow in their footsteps, in both ‘ilm and ‘amal.

3) When a great ‘ālim and friend of Allāh ta‘ālā passes away, we feel remorse for not having benefitted from him in the way we should have. Therefore, upon realising this, we need to take maximum benefit from the ‘Ulamā who remain behind; from their academic and spiritual expertise with regards to Dīn, lest we are again left with nothing but regret. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said:

The righteous will continue to depart (from this world) one after the other, and the useless people, like the husk of barley and dates, shall remain. And Allāh will not care the least for them. (Al-Bukhārī)

May Allāh ta‘ālā accept the efforts of these great personalities and give them the best of rewards in the hereafter. And may He give us the ability to follow in their footsteps and acquire success in this world and the everlasting success of the hereafter. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 26 No. 7, July 2017

The Final Moments and Wafaat of Shaykh Yunus Sahib (Rahmatullahi alayhi)

By Mawlana AbdulRaheem Saheb, Bolton, UK
sh yunus
Shaykh Yunus Sahib (rahmatullahi alayhi) spent the whole month of Ramadhan according to his normal routine.
Hashim (his khadim) says he kept all fasts, performed all taraweeh, kept up with ma’moolaat of reciting Quran and the Majlis of Dhikr bi’l-Jahr (loud dhikr). In the last  ten days, there were 110 Ulama Kiraam and Murideen who came to spend time with Shaykh.
He was in good spirits on Eid day as well. Mufti Abrar from Canada says his friend had brought some food for shaykh. And texted him that I’m here with shaykh, Do you want to talk to him? I can FaceTime you.” Abrar said “Will he talk on face time” his friend said hopefully he will.  Abrar reluctantly said “Go on then.” Shaykh spoke and made light a hearted joke as well. There was a tree behind him and shaykh couldn’t figure it out so he asked “Is that your wife in burqa behind you?” He said “No, Hazrat I haven’t married yet.”
His remaining days were normal. Students had not yet arrived. People from the city would come and sit close by and benefit. One week before his passing away, he wasn’t feeling well.
On the 7th of Shawwal, Maulana Salman Sahib who is the Nazim of Mazahirul Uloom, gathered all teachers in the masjid and made iftitaahi dua, then he went up to Shaykh’s room with about seven to eight teachers to request for du’aas for the year that is commencing. Hazrat gave a few words of naseehat and said my health is not good and I don’t think I will be able to teach. Maulana Salman Sahib said “Hazrat, you say this every year. InshaAllah you will live for another ten years and keep teaching.” Shaykh smiled and said, “What am I going to do by living for ten more years?”
Mufti Tahir Sahib was also there. He says then Hazrat gave some advices about fitnas and staying away from fitnas. He made a short 2 minute du’a.
On the last jumuah of his life, he had performed ghusl, in spite of all difficulties. Then he had arrived at the masjid before everyone else like he used to do, and he had spent long hours in the masjid. I remember when I was studying here in 1984, I would see him come early and pray long nawaafil until khutbah. Once  I saw him looking at his his watch and it was the first time in my life I had seen someone checking time during salah.
He was not so well but still kept himself busy. I asked Hashim if he had started work on Nibraas (his sharh of Bukhari, of which one volume has been published). He said “No, but the day before he died he was still studying and he wrote some notes on Hashiya of Musnade Ahmed.” Allahu Akbar! This is the day before he died.
He prayed Maghrib properly. At Isha time he was not well, yet prayed Isha while the person next to him had to remind him of the takbeers. He spent the night in a subconscious state (ghashi). At Fajr time, Hashim asked “Fajr ka waqt ho Gaya he wudhu kara dun? (It is time for Fajr. Shall I make you do wudhu?)” He said “kara do (go on)” but there was no movement in his hands, so they left him. Then Hashim asked “Khameera khilaaun? (Shall we give you some khameera?)” He nodded in approval, but he couldn’t open his mouth. Then Hashim held him in his lap. They alerted the Madrasah to call for a doctor, but no doctor was available, so they took him to the hospital who said the heartbeat is not there and Shaykh has already passed away.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.
May Allah elevate his ranks and grant him a high place in Jannah.
The news spread like wildfire. People began to arrive from all neighbouring areas. Police were alerted who provided excellent security. The army was also called in for protection. Many roads were blocked causing people to park their vehicles at a distance and walk for many kilometres.
The body was paced for people who wanted to see him for the last time. And queues were just huge, reaching as far as Jame Masjid.
People were coming from all over the place. Some youngsters were coming from as far as Ambala (name of a city). One person asked where are you going? They said one buzurg (saint) has died in Saharanpur, so we are going to his janaza. He said take me as well.
Locals say “Saharanpur has never seen such a huge janaza and possibly never will.” 
Salatul janaza was scheduled after asr at 5.30. The organisers prayed their asr at 5.20 and when the large jamaat started, they lifted the janaza and began to walk towards the graveyard. This eased the passing through the narrow alleys and then by the time people finished their asr and proceeded to the graveyard, the janaza had already gone on to the wider roads. It was placed on qibla side and the rows were formed all over the roads and wherever possible. Some people, in their zeal, phoned their friends who kept their mobiles on and they joined the salah on their mobiles (although this is not correct, but the point is to demonstrate how zealous people were).
The janaza salah was led by Hazrat peer saheb, (Hazrat Mawlana Talha saheb) son of Hazrat Shaykh Zakaria Rahmatullahi alayhi, who had great love for shaykh and shaykh would also call him for dua on khatme Bukhari shareef.
The whole gathering was of locals. People from other states like Gujarat, MP, AP, Maharashtra, etc in fact most of India, were unable to make it. There was no possibility of foreigners making it. 
The following day, foreigners and guests from other states began to arrive. Nazim Sahib had organised everything beautifully for all guests.
Shaykh’s khulafa, murideen, and students are still in shock at his sudden departure. But that is the way Shaykh lived and that is the way he left everyone. During his life, people would come to visit him, park their cars and rush towards his room. Many times it seemed as though he knew we were coming and he was waiting for us. He would get really happy. The hardest bit would be to leave him. It felt so sad to leave him in a state where he had no family nor anyone to stay with him on a permanent basis. And now he’s left us all, all of sudden. It feels so hard to leave Saharanpur.
Imam Bukhari Rahmatullahi alayhi died on the 1st of shawwal and Shaykh went from this dunya on the 17th of shawwal, just a few weeks after Ramadan. Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (rahmatullahi alayhi) says that the pious would like for a person to die after a good action he had performed such as hajj or fasting of Ramadhan etc.
Shaykh Yunus Sahib (rahmatullahi alayhi) taught Saheeh Bukhari for nearly 50 years, starting from 1388 to 1437 AH.
My friend, Mawlana Arif, saw shaykh in a dream that he is sitting with another buzrug and on a chaar paai (bed). They both have a glass in their hands and they are enjoying the tasty drink.
Of course, he had gone through many tough times during his life, so he must be enjoying the rest he so much deserves. May Allah Ta’ala elevate his ranks among the illyyeen (elevated). May Allah Ta’ala keep him close to Imam Bukhari and Hafiz Ibn Hajar, and close to his beloved teachers and mashaaikh, in particular his shaykh and teacher, Barakatul Asr Hazrat Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullahi alayhi) and Hazrat Maulana As’adullah Sahib (rahmatullahi alayhi), the senior disciple of Hakim al-Ummat Thanawi (rahmatullahi alayhi), besides whom Shaykh Yunus Sahib (rahmatullahi alayhi) was laid to rest as per his bequest. Ameen.

Obituary: Muḥaddith al-Aṣr Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Hadhrat Mawlānā Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī Saheb RH

Courtesy of www.nawadir.org

saharan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

It is with great sadness and sorrow we received the news of the demise of our teacher and the teacher of our teachers, Muḥaddith al-ʿAṣr Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī (d. 1438/2017) this morning at approximately 5am British Summer Time. When I retired to sleep just after 2am, I had received the news of the demise of Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Ismāʿīl Badāt a resident of the blessed city of Madīnah, who like Shaykh Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī was a disciple of Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī (d. 1402/1982). People from across the world have expressed their sorrow and grief and shared their condolences online and in person. My respected father Mufti Shabbīr Aḥmad (b. 1376/1957), who is one of the senior students and disciples of Shaykh Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī, suggested to me to pen a brief obituary. The truth is that words cannot do justice to his personality but nonetheless an attempt is made to provide readers a brief insight into his life drawing from some of the published material as well as my personal experiences and the experiences of others, particularly, my respected father as well as Shaykh’s assistant and disciple Mawlānā Yūnus Randerā who relentlessly served Shaykh over the past two decades.

Birth and Early Life

Muḥaddith al-ʿAṣr Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Yūnus ibn Shabbīr Aḥmad ibn Sher ʿAlī was born on Monday 25 Rajab 1355 / 2 October 1937 in Jownpur in Uttar Pradesh, India. At the age of five, his mother passed away and he was looked after by his maternal grandmother who was extremely pious and affectionate towards him. He undertook his early Islamic education at Madrasah Ḍiyāʾ al-ʿUlūm Jownpūr under the tutelage of Mawlānā Ḍiyāʾ al-Ḥaq Fayḍʾābādī for whom Shaykh always expressed gratitude. I heard Shaykh on numerous occasions praise and recollect his encounters with Mawlānā Ḍiyāʾ al-Ḥaq Fayḍʾābādī and recall his benevolence towards him. Shaykh would regularly mention how his father had intended for him to work as a farmer or earn a living for the family through other means, however, he was interested in acquiring Islamic education. Thus, his pursuit of knowledge started in Jownpūr where he studied for several years and in Shawwāl 1377, he travelled to Saharanpur and enrolled at the famous seminary Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm from which he graduated in 1380. During the three years, he studied under great luminaries most notably Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī (d. 1402/1982) and Mawlānā Asʿadullāh Rāmpūrī, both of whom also gave him Ijāzah in taṣawwuf and acted as his mentor and guide. The latter – Shaykh would regularly refer to him as Nāẓim Ṣāḥib – played an important role in the nurturing of Shaykh and Shaykh would regularly recall his encounters with him and his discourses. During his studies, Shaykh fell severely ill but persevered and completed his studies. Throughout his life, Shaykh endured hardships and illnesses but this did not prevent him from the pursuit of knowledge and continuing to study and serve.

Teachers

In addition to the three teachers mentioned above, other teachers of Shaykh include: Mawlānā Manẓūr Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī, Mufti Muẓaffar Ḥusayn and Mawlānā Amīr Aḥmad Kāndhelwī. Shaykh also acquired Ijāzah from many scholars including Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī, Shaykh Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī Nadwī, Shaykh ʿAbd Allah al-Nākhibī, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah, Shaykh Fakhr al-Dīn Murādābādī, Shaykh Aḥmad ʿAlī Surtī, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Raḥman al-Kattānī and others. Along with his teachers, I heard Shaykh say on several occasions that he benefited greatly particularly in the science of ḥadīth from the following experts: ʿAllāmah Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728/1328), Ḥāfiẓ Dhahabī (d. 748/1348), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Kathīr (d. 774/1373), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751/1350), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Rajab (d. 795/1393), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī (d. 744/1343), Ḥāfiẓ Zaylaʿī (d. 762/1360) and Ḥāfiz Ibn Ḥajar (d. 852/1149).

Appointment as teacher and Shaykh al-Ḥadīth

A year after his graduation in 1380, in Shawwāl 1381, Shaykh was formally appointed as a teacher in Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Saharanpur. For the next few years, Shaykh taught various books including Sharḥ al-Wiqāyah, Hidāyah, Usūl al-Shāshī, Mukhtaṣar al-Maʿānī, Nūr al-Anwār, Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ, Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Sunan Ibn Mājah, Sunan al-Nasāʾī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Muwattāʾ Mālik, and Muwaṭṭāʾ Muḥammad. Thereafter, in Shawwāl 1388, at a relatively young age whilst some of his teachers were also alive, he was appointed by Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī (d. 1402/1982) as Shaykh al-Ḥadīth and honoured with the privilege of teaching Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, a role Shaykh continued to fulfil to date. Herein is a lesson for Principals to appoint staff based on merit and competency and not simply based on lineage, financial status, ethnicity or closeness to the Principal. Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī’s appointment demonstrates how the Amānah of leadership should be fulfilled. Shaykh taught the entire Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī for fifty years and did so with an unprecedented level of devotion, passion and rigour, as clearly reflected in his unpublished Urdu transcripts of his lessons as well as the first volume of his Arabic commentary on the Ṣaḥīḥ, a review of which is available on this link.

It is worth noting that his appointment as Shaykh al-Ḥadīth at a relatively young age reflects the confidence of his teachers in him. Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī’s confidence in his student can be further gauged by the the fact that he has quoted his student’s views in his al-Abwāb wa al-Tarājim in at least three places (1:268, 419; 6:788) as well as in his footnotes on Lāmiʿ al-Dirārī (10:319), and he would regularly consult him and refer senior scholars to him particularly for ḥadīth related queries (see al-Yawāqīt al-Ghāliyah vols. 1 and 2). Scholars who would refer their queries to him include: Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī, Shaykh Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī Nadwī, Mufti Yaḥyā, Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Mawlānā ʿĀqil, Mawlānā Abrār al-Ḥaq, Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Jownpūrī, Mawlānā Saʿīd Aḥmad Khānṣāḥib and many others. In fact, in 1387, Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī wrote a handwritten letter to Shaykh wherein he stated that he will surpass him after forty seven years.

Shaykh Zakariyya's Letter Regarding Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri

A remarkable prediction not least because no one would have envisaged that Shaykh would live for this long due to his illnesses. Indeed, as Shaykh would regularly say in recent years that all my contemporaries have passed away. My respected father Mufti Shabbīr Aḥmad once said to Shaykh in response that this is a blessing of his attachment and devotion to ḥadīth for there is a famous Arabic saying that the scholars of ḥadīth live for long.

Students

Thus, from Shawwāl 1381 to 1438, Shaykh taught thousands of students from all over the world. For most of this period from 1388 onwards, he taught Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. It was only a few years ago that he requested his student the current rector of the seminary, Mawlānā Salmān Ṣāḥib to teach Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim and Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī or appoint someone to do so. Mawlānā Salmān Ṣāḥib insisted that Shaykh continue to teach Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and agreed to teach Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. He told Shaykh that if he does not manage to complete the Ṣaḥīḥ, he will assist him if necessary. May Allah Almighty reward Mawlānā Salmān Ṣāḥib for he played a pivotal role in taking care of Shaykh until the very end.

Thousands of Shaykh’s students are benefiting humanity in different ways and many are leading scholars teaching Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. Due to Shaykh’s knowledge and selflessness, he possessed universal appeal and attracted students from all over the world. Students from various schools of thought both in terms of creed and jurisprudence benefited from him and held him in high esteem. Along with the thousands of students from the Indian sub-continent, Shaykh has students in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, Somalia, Tunisia, Malaysia and many other countries. Many of the leading scholars of the Middle East benefited from Shaykh’s knowledge and company. Some regularly travelled to India whilst others would maximise benefit during Shaykh’s visits to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah. Some of Shaykh’s students include the following:

  1. Shaykh Salmān, the current rector of Maẓahir al-ʿUlūm Saharanpur, India.
  2. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥāfiẓ Makkī of Saudi Arabia who passed away several months ago.
  3. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Waḥīd Makkī of Saudi Arabia.
  4. Mawlānā Zubayr al-Ḥasan Kāndhelwī of Nizamuddin Delhi who passed away.
  5. Shaykh Nūr al-Ḥasan Rāshid of Kandhla, India.
  6. Shaykh Muḥammad Ayyūb Surtī of the UK, the compiler of several publications of Shaykh listed below.
  7. Mufti Shabbir Aḥmad, the UK based Mufti and Ḥadīth lecturer.
  8. Shaykh Muḥammad Bilāl, the UK based scholar and Ḥadīth lecturer.
  9. Shaykh Yūsuf Motālā, the Principal of Darul Uloom Bury, UK.
  10. Mufti ʿAbd al-Ṣamad Aḥmad, the Principal of Darul Uloom Blackburn, UK.
  11. Shaykh Faḍl al-Ḥaq Wādī, the Principal of Jāmiʿah al-Kawthar Lancaster, UK.
  12. Mufti Musṭafā, the Principal of Darul Uloom London, UK.
  13. Mufti Muḥammad Ṭāhir Wādī, the UK based Mufti and Ḥadīth lecturer.
  14. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Raḥīm ibn Dāwūd, the UK based Ḥadīth lecturer.
  15. Dr Muḥammad Akram Nadwī, the UK based Ḥadīth lecturer and compiler of Shaykh’s thabt.
  16. Shaykh Ghulām Muḥammad Vastānwī, the rector of the famous seminary in Akkalkuwa, India.
  17. Shaykh Ḥanīf Luhārwī, the Shaykh al-Ḥadīth of Darul Uloom Kharod, India.
  18. Shaykh Yūsuf Tankārwī, the Shaykh al-Ḥadīth of Darul Uloom Tadkeshwar, India.
  19. Shaykh Zayd Nadwī of Nadwatul Ulama Lucknow.
  20. Shaykh Niẓām Yaʿqūbī of Bahrayn.
  21. Shaykh Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Malik ʿĀshūr of Saudi Arabia.
  22. Shaykh Dr ʿAbd Allah ibn Aḥmad al-Tūm of Saudi Arabia.
  23. Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Ḥarīrī of Saudi Arabia.
  24. Shaykh Farīd al-Bājī of Tunisia.
  25. Shaykh Nāṣir al-ʿAjmī of Kuwait.

Publications

Shaykh spent his entire life teaching the sacred sciences. I have heard Shaykh say on several occasions that he never thought of publishing any of his works. Nevertheless, attempts were made in recent years by his students to publish them.

The first most notable publication was the four volume al-Yawāqīt al-Ghāliyah, a unique collection of articles, questions and answers and treatises, mostly pertaining to ḥadīth matters. It would be remiss of me if I do not mention the efforts of our beloved Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Ayyūb Surtī who worked tirelessly from 2006 onwards to make this collection publishable. By the grace of Almighty Allah, I also had the honour of supporting him particularly in the publication of volume three, and all praise belongs to Allah alone. This collection is invaluable for students of knowledge and scholars particularly the final volume which is dedicated to reviewing all those narrations in the four Sunan that have been critiqued and deemed to be fabricated narrations. The third and fourth volumes are in Arabic whilst the first two volumes are a combination of Urdu and Arabic. Work has begun to translate the first two volumes into Arabic for wider benefit.

More recently, Shaykh had been working tirelessly on his Arabic notes on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. The first volume of Nibrās al-Sārī ilā Riyāḍ al-Bukhārī was published a few months ago and the second and third volume is due soon, with the will of Allah. We pray to Allah to give Shaykh’s students and in particular Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Ayyūb Surtī the ability to collate the remaining notes on the Ṣaḥīḥ and publish them. It is envisaged that the commentary will exceed ten volumes.

In addition to this, Shaykh has invaluable Arabic footnotes on the four Sunanincluding Sunan al-Tirmidhī the only book from the Ṣiḥāḥ Sittah which he did not teachIn addition, his footnotes on Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ, Badhl al-Majhūd and Fatḥ al-Bārī deserve particular attention because they are invaluable. Shaykh also has extremely beneficial Arabic notes on the entire Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim which I have benefited from and found useful. It focuses predominantly on that which is not in the prevalent commentaries of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim and thereby adds real value. In addition to this, my dear mother and Mawlānā Rashīd ibn Mawlānā Hāshim Ṣāḥib spent many years in writing the Urdu commentary of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī from audio cassettes. This also deserves attention. We pray to Allah Almighty to make these and other efforts of Shaykh see the light of the day in a published format. Āmīn.

Ijazah of Hadith handwritten by Shaykh Yunus Sahib

Marriage and family 

Shaykh’s commitment and devotion to the sacred sciences and in particular the science of ḥadīth can be further gauged from the fact that he did not get married. He followed in the footsteps of great luminaries like Imam Nawawī, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and others who decided not to marry out of their commitment and devotion to the sacred sciences and to the service of the faith, not because they opposed marriage or regarded it as contrary to the Sunnah. Indeed, Shaykh expressly writes that denying the concept of marriage is akin to disbelief. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah’s famous treatise is worth reading in this regard.

Shaykh leaves behind some nephews. However, since his appointment as a teacher, Shaykh always resided in the seminary and would say that my students are my family and encourage them to give charity on his behalf after his demise. Shaykh lived a life of loneliness, his mother passed away whilst he was five and his father passed away in the early 1990s. Shaykh had one brother who also passed away many years ago.

Zuhd, piety and selflessness

Shaykh’s commitment to the Prophetic ḥadīths and his academic credentials are well known. A facet of his life which is perhaps less well known is Shaykh’s piety, zuhd and selflessness. My respected father Mufti Shabbīr Aḥmad once said, “I have not seen anyone more selfless than Shaykh.” This morning, before my respected father departed for India, he informed me that Shaykh would regularly give him large amounts of money, sometimes hundreds of thousands Indian Rupees and send him to Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Qadīm as well as Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Jadīd to donate the money. This was regular and Shaykh would make significant contributions to both institutes. Understanding the context of this is necessary. In the 80s, the seminary split into two with Shaykh staying at Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Jadīd and major differences emerged with court battles which unfortunately continue to date. Despite this, Shaykh always remained objective and maintained relations by supporting the other seminary with large amounts of funds too. In fact, Shaykh once mentioned to my respected father that he has donated a house, which was gifted to him, to Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Qadīm. On one occasion he mentioned that for every book that has two copies, he has endowed a copy each to both seminaries.

Shaykh’s simplicity and selflessness is such that he spent his entire life in a room within the seminary. Shaykh himself mentions that during the first few years of becoming a teacher, he would take a salary from the seminary. However, he decided after a few years to adopt the path of tawakkul (total reliance on Allah) and stopped taking a salary. This proved extremely difficult for a few months and Allah Almighty opened other doors and accepted his supplication. Overall, Shaykh has endured lots of hardship and illnesses and was also affected by magic. Over the past few years, he would sleep on the floor in his room surrounded by books.

Shaykh’s assistant Mawlānā Yūnus Randerā informed me today that every year Shaykh would receive thousands of pounds of gifts from his visits to the UK and Ḥaramayn. Shaykh would say to Mawlānā Yūnus to distribute all the money for the taḥfīẓ project in Ḥaramayn or for some other good cause. In his most recent visit two months ago to Reunion, UK and Ḥaramayn, Shaykh received a very large sum of money as gifts. All of this was donated for the taḥfiẓ project and Shaykh did not take a single penny back to India. Shaykh was very supportive of children memorising the Qurʾān. In doing so, Shaykh was following the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ who would immediately distribute whatever he would receive. What is even more amazing is that several years ago, Shaykh visited the UK and was informed that one of his students in the UK is in debt. Shaykh sent him £1,000 from his own money. I have never heard of an Indian scholar, let alone a scholar who is not financially wealthy, gift money to a person in the UK. It is unheard of. Once Shaykh gave my father some money that he had received and said, use it in the wedding of your daughters. There are many more examples of Shaykh’s detachment from the world and selflessness. Shaykh often described how in his early years he only possessed one bowl and would use it for cooking, eating, drinking, washing and other purposes. Shaykh was so poor that he did not have money to afford medicine or even paper to write on. This is why so many of his invaluable notes are written on the back of envelopes, postcards and old diaries.

Shaykh’s piety and taqwā is also worth mentioning. Mawlānā Yūnus narrates that a few years ago when Shaykh fell extremely ill, he phoned Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Ṭalḥa Ṣāḥib, the son of Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī requesting forgiveness for a small piece of a newspaper which he had used in the era of his father from his house without his explicit permission. Shaykh explained that he has never used anyone’s possessions without their permission except on this one occasion in the house of Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī when Shaykh came across a reference and urgently required paper to make a note of it. He had no paper so he cut the side of a newspaper without taking express permission from the owner, Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī. Shaykh remembered this and sought forgiveness from his son Mawlānā Ṭalḥa. This is a quality we observed in Shaykh regularly, to seek forgiveness and encourage others to forgive. Shaykh would regularly quote the statement of Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Ṣiddīq Bāndwī who said, “Forgive without being asked for forgiveness.” Another example of Shaykh’s caution is that a few years ago, Shaykh decided to purchase several new books for the seminary’s library despite those books existing in the library. Shaykh explained that he would regularly use some books from the library and sometimes add some useful references and notes therein. Whilst this was only adding value to the books and is of immense benefit to the reader, Shaykh decided to purchase new books by way of precaution. I have heard my respected father mention on numerous occasions, and I have also experienced this personally, that Shaykh generally adopts the cautious view in matters of jurisprudence. Shaykh’s piety was such that I once heard him say that I have only uttered a lie thrice and all three occasions were during my youth, once in fear of my mother, once in fear of my father, and once in fear of my teacher Mawlānā Ḍiyāʾ al-Ḥaq. Apart from these occasions, I have never lied.

hadith

Love of the Sunnah

One of the qualities that Shaykh will be remembered for is his uncompromising love of the Sunnah and his devotion to the ḥadīths. So much can be written in this regard. Shaykh left no stone unturned when it came to following or practising or defending the Sunnah and refuting innovations. I have witnessed Shaykh rebuke those who trim or shave their beards citing the Prophetic Sunnah. Likewise, Shaykh has no hesitation in refuting practices or ḥadīths that are not substantiated, for example, the sole fast of 15 Shaʿbān and regarding it as Sunnah.

Mawlana Yūnus Randera mentioned to me that since 2002, he performed Hajj with Shaykh every year consecutively and thus performed sixteen Hajjs with Shaykh and many ʿUmrahs. Prior to this, Shaykh performed Hajj on many occasions and it is my estimate that Shaykh performed at least twenty five Hajjs if not more. I also had the opportunity to perform Hajj with Shaykh once in 2002 and Shaykh stayed in our room. Shaykh would always reside in Mina on 13th Dhū al-Ḥijjah in accordance with the Sunnah. On one occasion, the 13th was a Friday and Shaykh said I will perform the Jumuʿah Ṣalāḥ in Mina and not in Masjid al-Ḥarām because it is Sunnah to stay in Mina on the 13th. During Hajj, Shaykh would always perform the stoning of the devil at the Sunnah time and in the Sunnah position. A few years ago when Shaykh was extremely ill, he was advised to avoid the rush hour. He refused and said I will go and I will die if I have to die whilst practising the Sunnah.

Two years ago, I also learnt that whilst travelling in Madinah Munawwarah, Shaykh would avoid using the AC and prefer to take in the blessed natural air of Madinah. Shaykh’s love of the Sunnah was such that despite his weakness he would visit the date trees orchard in Madinah Munawwarah. When he would consume the dates of Madinah Munawwarah, he would not throw the seeds in the bin but instruct for them to be buried out of respect.

Dreams regarding Shaykh    

It should therefore not come as a surprise that many people have seen good dreams regarding Shaykh. A scholar from Tunisia saw a dream more than a decade ago wherein the Prophet ﷺ described Shaykh as Amīr al-Muʾminīn fī al-Ḥadīth (the leader of the believers in ḥadīth).

A dream that is relevant to his demise was seen by his Arab student and disciple Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Ḥarīrī. Three years ago, he saw the Prophet ﷺ in his dream covered in a cloth, and when he uncovered his face, the person with the closest appearance was Shaykh. Today, Shaykh Ḥarīrī received the photographs of Shaykh and the surrounding scenary and suggested that the image was exactly what he saw in his dream three years ago including the greenery in the background.

Similarly, a local scholar from Manchester saw a dream today in which he saw Shaykh enter the Baqīʿ graveyard in the blessed city of Madīnah and raising his hands to make duʿā.

Some personal experiences

My respected father Mufti Shabbīr Aḥmad was very close to Shaykh and Shaykh treated us as though we were his family members and vice versa. For us, he was a fatherly figure who we would look up to since we were young and he would take a keen interest in our affairs. The close relationship with my father began in Shawwāl 1398 when my father enrolled in the penultimate year of the Alim course at the seminary in Saharanpur, where he also completed the Iftāʾ programme. During the three years, my father developed a very close relationship with Shaykh. He would cook for Shaykh daily and attend to his other needs. My father recalls that because of Shaykh’s poverty, he would instruct him to last a pigeon for two or three days when cooking food. Such was the relationship that Shaykh would call my father into his room and seek his support in marking examination papers for some of the classes and would confide in him. My father would read the matn (text) of both Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, and also read the entire Muwattāʾ Muḥammad on two occasions. It was through Shaykh’s blessings that my father developed a close attachment with the ḥadīths. Shaykh was not initially happy at him doing Iftāʾ, however, he advised him to stay connected with the ḥadīths at all times, a very useful advice which my respected father has always acted upon. When my father was leaving Saharanpur at the end of the three years to return to England, Shaykh came on a cycle rickshaw to Saharanpur train station to bid him farewell. Shaykh Yūsuf Tankārwī suggests that this is the only time Shaykh bid a student farewell in this manner.    

As a young child from the age of five, I recall when my father would write letters to Shaykh, we siblings would also write to Shaykh in English and subsequently in Urdu. My mother would always ensure we write something in large English fonts. I recall once writing to Shaykh when I started the penultimate year requesting his supplications and asking if he has the Isnads (chains) of Imam Tabrīzī, the author of Mishkāt al-Maṣābīh, to the authors of the books which he quotes from. Shaykh replied in the negative. My first recollection of meeting Shaykh was in 1997 when our parents took us five brothers and sisters to India for two months to tour all the famous seminaries in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere and meet with great saints and luminaries. We stayed with Shaykh for several weeks in Saharanpur and also travelled with Shaykh to Banda on the train. Although I was only nine years old, I recall Shaykh’s affection as he insisted we travel in a higher class with AC whilst he decided to travel in a lower class. My mother, may Allah Almighty bless her, recalls that I and my younger sister fell ill in Banda. Shaykh came especially to our room on the upper floor to pray for us and fulfil the Sunnah of visiting the sick. Throughout this visit and other interactions, Shaykh would fondly address my father similar to how a father addresses his child and recall his student days, and also remember our grandparents. During this visit, we also visited Jownpūr and Shaykh’s birth place and had the honour of meeting Shaykh’s teacher Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Jownpūrī. This is the same Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Jownpūrī who advised my respected father to follow his Shaykh referring to Shaykh Yūnus Ṣāḥib in all matters except in relation to marriage. Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Jownpūrī visited the UK only once in 1985 and was very pleased to learn of the birth of my eldest brother Mawlānā Muḥammad.

As I grew up, there were many more opportunities in the UK and Saudi Arabia to spend time with Shaykh and benefit from him. I visited him many times in India and even when I was alone, he would be extremely generous and hospitable. He would not allow me to return except after feeding me. Shaykh visited our parent’s house on many occasions and also stayed the night on more than one occasion. On one occasion, I recall that the family had baked a cake in the shape of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Shaykh did not hesitate in suggesting this is not appropriate. On one occasion in Shaʿbān 1434 (2013), I had the honour of reciting ten pages of Sunan al-Tirmidhī to Shaykh in Bolton at the residence of our late teacher Shaykh ʿUmarjī (d. 1435/2014), a disciple of Shaykh and someone who had utmost respect and admiration of Shaykh. During this visit, Shaykh also visited my house. Shaykh’s visits to the UK were an opportunity Shaykh ʿUmarjī and other associates of Shaykh would always look forward to. This was the only time when my respected father would miss his teaching, he would not even miss his teaching duties during the birth of his children.

Shaykh has had a huge influence on me both directly and indirectly through my teachers, the majority of whom are also students of Shaykh or their students. Before I joined the final year of the Alim class, Shaykh placed his hand on my head, supplicated for me and advised me in his room in India and said: When you read the ḥadīths, read it from the Prophetic lenses, as though the Prophet ﷺ is instructing you and talking to you. Do not read the ḥadīths with anyone else’s lenses. This advice is of particular relevance for students and scholars and assisted me in my final year and beyond, and all praise belongs to Allah alone.

Demise

After completing Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī in Saharanpur two to three months ago, Shaykh travelled to the UK to participate in the completion of the Ṣaḥīḥ in Darul Uloom Blackburn and other institutes. May Allah reward our beloved Mufti ʿAbd al-Ṣamad Aḥmad for inviting Shaykh year on year and hosting all the guests. From the UK, Shaykh travelled to Saudi Arabia for Umrah where Mawlānā Yūnus and my elder brother Mawlānā Muḥammad accompanied him. After spending a few days of Ramaḍān in Saudi Arabia, he travelled to India and spent the remaining month in Saharanpur.

Over the past few days, we received reports that Shaykh has fallen ill. It was not thought that the illness was in any way life threatening. Allah is the best of planners and He is the wisest. This morning at 7.30am local time, Shaykh became unconsciousness or semi-unconciousness and was taken to hospital and he passed away there. He passed away at approximately 5am British Summer Time (9.30am local time) on Tuesday 11 July 2017 / 17 Shawwāl 1438 (16 Shawwāl in India). His Janāzah Ṣalāh was led by Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Ṭalḥa Ṣāḥib, with whom he enjoyed a very good and open relationship, in the Ḥājī Shāh graveyard after ʿAṣr Ṣalāh. Reports suggest that the Janāzah Ṣalāh was attended by approximately 1 million people. This has been confirmed by Mawlānā Junaid Ṣāḥib, the son in law of Mawlānā ʿĀqil Ṣāḥib. Other estimates suggest 200,000 people though this appears to be an underestimation. A more accurate estimate suggests 450,000. Either way, this reminds us of the Janāzah of Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal in Baghdad that was attended by 800,000 people and the Janāzah of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah in Damascus that was attended by 200,000 people. Shaykh had immense love for both Imams. Qārī Ayyūb Ṣāḥib, one of Shaykh’s disciples, who was also present in the Ghusl of Shaykh describes how the numbers of people were such that people were unable to pick up what was dropped. There were slippers and other possessions found later in the area. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘If Allah loves a person, He calls Jibrīl: “Allah loves so and so, O Jibrīl, love him.” So Jibril loves him, and then Jibrīl makes an announcement among the residents of the Heaven, “Indeed, Allah loves so-and-so, therefore, you love him.” So, all the residents of the Heaven love him and then he is granted the acceptance among the people of the earth’ (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 6040). Shaykh is clearly an example of this. There were no relatives or family members present in his Janāzah Ṣalāh. Herein is a lesson for some people who in the past accused Shaykh of not adhering to the way of the elders. As Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal is reported to have said, ‘Say to the People of Innovation, “between you and us is the funerals”’ (Manāqib al-Imām Aḥmad, p.560).

Shaykh was buried as per his wishes close to his beloved teacher Mawlānā Asʿadullāh Rāmpūrī. It was Shaykh’s waṣiyyah that Sūrah al-Fātiḥah be recited in the Janāzah Ṣalāh. It was also Shaykh’s Waṣiyyah to place a piece of the Kaʿbah’s cloth and soil from the blessed city of Madīnah in his grave, this was duly acted upon and has been actioned.

May Allah Almighty shower his mercy on Shaykh, grant him an abode in paradise and resurrect him with the Prophets, martyrs and pious people. Shaykh was always opposed to photos of all kinds. He requested Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muḥammad Taqī ʿUthmānī Ṣāḥib on two separate occasions to re-consider the issue. It is therefore requested from all well wishers to avoid circulating photos or images of Shaykh whether taken before or after his demise.

Conclusion

It has been difficult to pen some of the above as the news of Shaykh’s demise is still being digested and the reality is sinking in. The death of a scholar is the death of the world. You only fully appreciate a bounty when it does not exist. The following are some thoughts that come to mind to benefit Shaykh and build on his legacy:

Firstly, it was Shaykh’s desire and instruction to his students to give charity on his behalf. Thus, all students, well wishers and readers are requested to donate whatever possible on behalf of Shaykh for the projects of their choice. Charity is the most powerful way of assisting and benefiting the deceased. With the will of Almighty Allah and after consulting with Shaykh’s senior students, Insha Allah, we will be aiming to build a mosque on Shaykh’s behalf with the option for people from all over the world to contribute towards this. Insha Allah, the details will be shared within the next few days.

Secondly, we need to reflect on Shaykh’s life and take heed accordingly. Shaykh’s life long service and love of the Sunnah, opposition to innovations, commitment to the ḥadīths and opposition to fabricated or baseless narrations and practices, championing established practices, his piety, adab and respect, selflessness, charitable endeavour and zuhd are all part of his legacy. Some of his discourses are available on this link for those who are interested in reading more. Undoubtedly, more will be shared over the course of next few days for people to reflect and ponder upon.

Thirdly, it would be good for a group of Shaykh’s students to form a team to publish his works in a coordinated manner under the supervision of the senior students of Shaykh. This is particularly important because many of Shaykh’s writings were not originally written for publication, and the same applies to his audio recordings.

May Allah Almighty shower his mercy on Shaykh, grant him an abode in paradise and resurrect him with the Prophets, martyrs and pious people. May Allah bless Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Saharanpur with a good replacement and protect it from all forms of evil and turmoils. Āmīn.

Mawlana Yusuf Shabbir

17 Shawwāl 1438 / 11 July 2017

www.nawadir.org