The Best Garment

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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

Blessing of Clothing

The great Muhaddith, ‘Allāmah An-Nawawī rahimahullāh, in his masterpiece Riyād-us-Sālihīn, begins the discussion on clothing with the following verses of the Glorious Qur’ān:

O children of Ādam! We have sent down to you the dress that covers your shame and provides adornment. As for the dress of taqwā [piety] that is the best. (7:26)

… And made for you garments that protect you from heat, and garments that protect you in your battles. (16:81)

We learn two very important lessons about clothing from these verses of the Qur’ān. The first lesson is that clothes are a blessing from Allāh ta‘ālā. Commenting on the phrase, “We have sent down to you”, the commentators of the Qur’ān have stated that clothes are a blessing from Allāh ta‘ālā as the sources from which clothing is produced, e.g. cotton, are created by Allāh ta‘ālā and man has no role to play in the creation of the source. Likewise, clothes are a blessing from Allāh ta‘ālā because it is Allāh ta‘ālā alone who inspires us with the ability and imagination to utilise these resources to manufacture and produce clothing. 

Purpose of Clothing

The second lesson is that clothing serves three main purposes. The first purpose is to cover and conceal the ‘awrah. The ‘awrah is that portion of the body which should not be revealed without a Shar‘ī necessity. Thus, we can imagine what a great bounty clothes are; for without clothes how would we be able to cover our ‘awrah and thus maintain our dignity and honour?

The second purpose is to protect the body from heat, cold and other physical harms. Hence, we have different types of clothes to match different climates and also for different activities. For example, we have specially designed wear such as armour and camouflage clothing that is used in unique circumstances such as wars, to protect the wearer.

To reflect our nature, Allāh ta‘ālā mentions a third purpose of clothing, that is to adorn and beautify. We can further understand these three purposes through an everyday example. A man can wear a sheet that will cover his ‘awrah which is sufficient to fulfil the minimum Shar‘ī requirement. However, rather than limit himself to this, he will also wear a jubbah (thobe) and a shawl, to not only safeguard his body but also make himself look more presentable. The masnūn du‘ā as related by Sayyidunā ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu upon wearing new clothes highlights some of the above purposes:

All praise is for Allāh who has dressed me in such clothing that covers my ‘awrah and which also aids me in my beautification. (At-Tirmidhī, Ibn Mājah)

Beautification is a Worthy Trait

Jamāl (beautification) is an action approved and indeed recommended by our Sharī‘ah. The Sīrah of Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam also teaches us to keep in mind beauty when clothing ourselves. In a hadīth we find the following narration:

Indeed, Allāh is beautiful and loves beauty. (Muslim)

Therefore, when dressing and adorning ourselves we should make the following intentions:

1) to acquire the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā.

2) to follow the sunnah of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

3) to please my near and dear ones, e.g. my spouse, my parents, my children. This is also a deed in itself liked by Allāh ta‘ālā, thereby increasing His Pleasure.

Due to his exalted taqwā and spiritual status, Hakīm-ul-Ummah Hadrat Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānwī rahimahullāh was not inclined towards adornment. However, the renowned Shaykh would, keeping the third intention in mind, adorn himself in moderation and refrain from total abstinence.

Two Major Pitfalls

Whilst beautification is recommended by the Sharī‘ah, there are two major pitfalls that must be avoided. The first is an incorrect intention. To adorn oneself for show, pride, or to display exclusivity, are all intentions that must be avoided. Dressing with this in mind that ‘no one has the clothes I have’, or ‘no one looks or should look like me’, or ‘my clothes show that I am better than everyone else’, are all thoughts which reflect an incorrect intention and are not permitted. Hence, it is essential to constantly review and rectify our intentions in this regard.

The second pitfall is of extravagance. Extravagance is usually the consequence of a person’s incorrect intention to show off, to feel better than others and to display their greatness. There is a fine line between beautification and extravagance. Designer wear is a good example when trying to make this distinction. If we buy an item of clothing worth £25 for £100, only because it has a specific label, we should question ourselves ‘What is driving me to do this? If I can purchase the same product, of the same quality, for a much cheaper price, what am I paying the extra for?’ When we question ourselves in this way, it will expose the incorrect intention that we are spending to help satisfy our inner pride and desire to maintain our ‘status’ and ‘exclusivity’, leading to extravagance in spending.

Therefore, as Muslims we must ensure whilst adopting adornment and beautification that one remains within the limits of the Sharī‘ah, by reviewing the intention and abstaining from extravagance.

The Best Clothing

O children of Ādam! We have sent down to you the dress that covers your shame and provides adornment. As for the dress of taqwā [piety] that is the best. (7:26)

The verses of the Glorious Qur’ān also direct our attention to another form of dress, a type of garment which conceals, protects and beautifies the inner self. This garment, is the garment of taqwā and is essential for every person, for it is this garment that covers and subdues the radhā’il, i.e. those negative traits of the heart, such as pride and jealousy, which a person would be ashamed of and would not want others to see. Also, it is the garment of taqwā that helps a person adorn his inner self with the fadā’il, i.e. the praiseworthy traits of the heart, such a humility and generosity, which beautify a person’s character. It is the garment of taqwā which also provides a person protection from all the trials of this world and the Hereafter.

Therefore, it is the ‘Libās-ut-Taqwā’ (the dress of taqwā) which is the greatest garment a person can adorn. The Glorious Qur’ān reminds us of this by using the phrase ‘that is the best.’  The outer appearance may temporarily deceive the onlooker, however ultimately the great beauty or ugly nature that lies within will be revealed. We experience this in our day to day lives. A person may be wearing the most striking of clothes but if the inner self is not adorned then, despite the initial positive impression, upon interaction we find the person unappealing.

True concealment, true protection, and true beauty in this world and more importantly in the Hereafter is only achieved when the inner self is ‘dressed’ with the clothing of taqwā. Therefore, whilst continuing to use the blessing of clothes to beautify our appearance, we should give more attention to the beautification of the inner self. 

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the tawfīq to use the blessing of clothes in a manner which acquires His Pleasure and to adorn ourselves with the best of clothes, taqwā. Āmīn. 

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 29 No. 10, Oct 2017)

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Double Standards

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Mawlana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Allah have mercy on him)
Screenshot_2017-08-30-00-22-30-1.png
The Sole Treatment for all Evils
Cast a glance at those countries where the work of inviting to Allāh ta‛ālā, spirituality, true Allāh-worship and purification of the self has stopped for some time. And at the number of ‛ulamā’ (who pave the way for a connection between humans and Allāh ta‛ālā, and who direct them towards their internal rectification) which has dropped so much either because of the influence of Western civilization, being in close proximity to the West or for other reasons. In those countries you will find a vacuum – a terrifying and lengthy vacuum – which can neither be filled by extensive and in-depth knowledge, intelligence and sharpness of mind, literary skills, a deep bond with Arabic language and literature, genealogical relations, nor freedom and autonomy. This is a spiritual and moral dilemma for which there is no solution.
The upper classes and the masses have succumbed to a universal materialism, blind love for wealth, and other social and moral illnesses. The educated people and intellectuals (whether religious education and culture o r materialist) are all trapped in spiritual ailments such as the love for position and authority, jealousy and miserliness, pride and egotism, the desire for popularity, hypocrisy and flattery, and an awe for matter and power.
As for social and political movements they have been ruined by selfishness, an absence of training and weakness of their leaders.
As for institutes and organizations, mutual differences, a lack of perceiving their responsibilities, desire for the world, and a love for increase in salaries have rendered them useless. They have confined themselves to doing these things only.
As for the  ‛ulam ā ’ , externalism, superficiality, paying lipservice, unnecessary and pointless fear for poverty, desire for comforts and enjoyment have ruined their respect and dignity.
The treatment for all this can be found in nothing but that prophetic purification which is mentioned in the  Qur’ān , which is the objective of commissioning Rasūlullāh s allallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam, and in that rabbānīyyat which is required of the ‛ulamā’.  تنك امبو بتكلا نوملعت متنك امب يننبر اونوك نكلو نوسردت م
Become the men of Allāh as you used to teach the Book and just as you yourself used to study it.
I am not stressing any particular form of tazkiyah as is common nowadays, and which in the latter days is referred to as tasawwuf. I do not consider all the flag bearers of tasawwuf to be completely free from every erroneous way and misunderstanding, nor do I consider them to be sinless. However, what I can say is that it most essential for the vacuum which has crept into our lives and our society be filled as quickly as possible. For this, it is necessary for tazkiyah, ihsān and spiritual jurisprudence to be revived just as our predecessors had revived it in their respective times. All this has to be on the system of prophet-hood, in the light of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. This work is vital in every era and every place where Muslims are living. It is most crucial because this vacuum is a major serious vacuum, and it has far-reaching consequences on our individual and collective lives.
I would like to quote an Arab poet who speaks about those who criticize those who fulfilled this responsibility in their respective eras and rendered this service.  مكيبلأ ابأ لا مهيلع اولقأ– اودس يلذا نكالما اودس وأ موللا نم
May you be bereft of a father! Either stop denigrating them or fill the vacuum which they filled.
Too many criticisms have been levelled against these servants of Allāh. The question is if there is anyone to take their place who would treat the pain?

SIGNS OF QIYAMAH: The Extinction of Akhlaq and the Role of Ulama Therein

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ سِبَابُ الْمُسْلِمِ فُسُوقٌ، وَقِتَالُهُ كُفْرٌ ‏”

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said,

“Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (i.e., an evil-doing), and killing him is Kufr (disbelief).” [Bukhari]

PC CURSE
A text message from an Alim

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنْ رَجُلاً، لَعَنَ الرِّيحَ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ لاَ تَلْعَنِ الرِّيحَ فَإِنَّهَا مَأْمُورَةٌ وَإِنَّهُ مَنْ لَعَنَ شَيْئًا لَيْسَ لَهُ بِأَهْلٍ رَجَعَتِ اللَّعْنَةُ عَلَيْهِ

‘Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that a man cursed the wind in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ, so he said:

“Do not curse the wind, for it is merely doing as ordered, and whoever curses something undeservingly, then the curse returns upon him.” [Tirmidhi]

عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ قَالَ‏:‏ مَا تَلاَعَنَ قَوْمٌ قَطُّ إِلاَّ حُقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ اللَّعْنَةُ‏.‏

Hudhayfa (Allah be pleased with him) said, “People do not curse one another without that curse coming true.” [al-Adab al-Mufrad]

وعن أبي الدرداء رضي الله عنه قال‏:‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏:‏ ‏ “‏إن العبد إذا لعن شيئًا، صعدت اللعنة إلى السماء، فتغلق أبواب السماء دونها، ثم تهبط إلى الأرض، فتغلق أبوابها دونها، ثم تأخذ يمينًا وشمالا، فإذا لم تجد مساغًا رجعت إلى الذي لُعن، فإن كان أهلا لذلك، وإلا رجعت إلى قائلها‏”‏‏.‏

Abu-Darda’ (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When a person curses somebody or something, the curse goes up to heaven and the gates of heaven get closed. Then it comes down to the earth and its gates get closed. Then it turns right and left, and if it does not find an entrance to go anywhere, it returns to the person or thing that was cursed; if he or it deserves to be cursed; otherwise it returns to the person who uttered it.” [Abu Dawud]

For those that don’t know me, let me introduce myself.   I am an Alim who studied in an institute for seven years, thereafter worked in several so-called Islamic institutes giving me enough experience to write this article, Alhumdu Lillah.  I also have many Ulama colleagues and acquaintances, which has added to my experience!   I will be fair, maybe it is because I am an Alim and have so many Ulama colleagues I have had such overwhelming experiences and in such a large capacity.  Definitely more than the average person reading this, who may not be an Alim or has not had as many experiences because he/she does not know Ulama, as well as some of us, do. I just want to add these are my experiences, but I am not a selfish person – Alhumdu Lillah! I have also heard many of my friends, colleagues and family members who have had bad experiences with Ulama. This is what has to lead to me mustering the courage and speaking on behalf of them all. In case people who are naive say, “these are just a few experiences.”

CURSING A BELIEVER

I am going to start from recent events, as the whole reason I decided to lift my pen on such a crucial, but essential, critical, but vital topic is the image above which is my most recent experience, this was the final straw.   How can we imagine anyone would give such a curse, let alone an Alim, a Mawlana, an individual who has studied Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ for several years under qualified Ulama.  You must all be wondering what the reason was.  I wasn’t going to write the story behind that message, not because I am scared, not at all. I am not afraid of the truth Alhumdu Lillah, nor am I afraid to admit my mistakes in public or in private.  I feel it will get too long and I will end up going off on a tangent, as I tend to do.  For the moment, I want readers to think of what possibly could be a justified reason to give someone such a curse (bud-dua)?   What would be a reasonable explanation for it? Please do think long and hard.   Has anyone of you heard such a curse (bud-dua) before?   Would you give such a curse (bud-dua) to your enemy or even a Kafir?

Well, we all use WhatsApp and have several groups for friends, family, maybe work colleagues and other social uses perhaps.  Many Alims/Alimahs will have “Ulama/Alimaat” groups where they would discuss Fiqh/Hadith or Deeni issues (if the group is used for the correct purpose).  I was on such a group not so long ago.  There were many young Alims on the group, some may have still been studying.  It was a simple issue of someone making a statement of not putting titles next to a scholar’s name and Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) was written just as “Aishah”, this scholar was a Mufti so he should have addressed himself  as a Mufti and wrote “Allah be pleased with her” or “Radhi Allahu Anhaa” after Aishah. This brother was corrected and he did not argue or reply back. Minutes later another person on the group went further and just wrote “IT” for Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah have mercy upon him).  I waited to see if anybody criticised him for it, as the first person was criticised. We should be fair in criticism and not pick and choose who we criticise. If our Ustadh makes a mistake we ignore it and when another person makes a mistake we magnify it? This is totally contradictory to the teachings of Islam.  So, after seeing nobody commented and criticised this individual, I made a comment, I said, “We have gone a step further, far from removing titles, we are using acronyms for great Ulama.”  This individual responded saying, or should I say ‘justifying’ his position, “It is acceptable because it is the Urf to use short form on Social Media.”  I understand people use slang and short form on Social Media, but since when did HE become Urf. Urf is a term used in Fiqh, something which is “common in the people”, something socially habitual.  One man is not Urf! One man does not decide what Urf is! It is based on a “whole” society.  He further went on to say, “if I did not like it I don’t need to use the short form.  He doesn’t mind using it so he will use the short form.”  I found this a little arrogant, why? Doesn’t Islam say we should be doing “what’s right”? Not what “we want.” If everyone is going to do what they want, then what is the purpose of Qur’an and Hadith? What is the purpose of having knowledge?

So to hear this behaviour coming from an Alim was shocking, he didn’t need to say that.  He could have accepted he was wrong or proved his point.  Not by making things up that it’s Urf because Ulama have said, which Ulama?  He didn’t state one single Alim who has endorsed this short form for the names of Ulama or Salaf Saliheen on Social Media or public forums.  I further emphasised that I found his statement arrogant, there’s a difference between calling someone “an arrogant individual” and saying something is “an act of arrogance”.  No doubt, there are signs of arrogance in Qur’an and Hadith, like there are signs of a Munafiq. As humans we use it in everyday language”, e.g. “He/she was a bit arrogant that day.” This doesn’t mean we are claiming to be God! Only Allah knows what’s in the hearts, but what is in the heart is often revealed through our actions and especially our tongues.  As Imam Ibnul Qayyim (Allah have mercy upon him) says, “If you want to get a taste of someone’s heart, look at his tongue.”  Here, Imam Ibnul Qayyim (Allah have mercy upon him) isn’t claiming to be God, he is making a factual statement.

MOLVIS ARE GOOD LAWYERS!

Moving on, this individual demanded that I do not call him/others arrogant (despite me clarifying it was the statement that came across as arrogant), especially because they are Ulama. Wow! I was shocked, let’s just look at this carefully… so you can never EVER call an Alim arrogant? Despite what they do, great! This is some serious dictatorship, asking us to follow him blindly. I was then removed from the group because the truth hurts. I rang the admin to ask why I was removed, he said because I called his teacher arrogant, even though I hadn’t. We debated the issue and he could not accept he was wrong. I bade him farewell. Regardless of what exactly happened, it is important to note the traits of evil Ulama, the corrupt ones, the ones cursed by the Prophet ﷺ. What I would like to point out at the end of this story, the Alim who removed me was confronted by several Ulama as to why he made this curse. He denied it, despite me sending a screenshot with his name, then another showing number. He replied saying it is all a lie and I had photo-shopped the image! Subhan’Allah, I have never known anyone in my entire life to lie so much, let alone an Alim.

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ يَنْبَغِي لِلْمُؤْمِنِ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَعَّانًا ‏”‏

Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The believer is not one who curses others.”  [Tirmidhi]

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ وَلاَ اللَّعَّانِ وَلاَ الْفَاحِشِ وَلاَ الْبَذِيءِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ

‘Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The believer does not insult the honour of others, nor curse, nor commit Fahishah, nor is he foul.” [Tirmidhi]

ARE ALL ULAMA CORRUPT?

For those who say this is only one incident and it is not fair to ‘paint all Alims/Alimahs with the same brush.  Wallahi!  I am not that judgemental and narrow-minded, as to use one incident and magnify it to give all Ulama a bad name.  So far, I have not once said “ALL” Alims/Alimahs are corrupt.  Nor will I be saying that in the rest of the article In Sha Allah.  My main reason behind this article is not to name and shame an Alim or any Ulama (notice names have not been mentioned).  The aim is to protect the general public from the corrupt and crooked, immoral and depraved Ulama.  We must remember there are two types of Ulama; a) Ulama Haqq (rightful) and b) Ulama Soow (corrupt). From this we can deduce, contrary to popular belief not every Alim/Alimah will go to Jannah, and yes, the rule applies to males and females. Please see the Hadeeth.

In his book Ad-Daa’ Wad-Dawaa’, Ibn Al-Qayyim (Allah have mercy upon him) explains the Hadeeth of the first three to be thrown into Hell on the Day of Resurrection. He says: “from Abu Hurayrah, who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, ‘Verily, the first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who had died as a martyr. He will be brought forward. Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. Then He will ask him: `what did you do to express gratitude for it?’ The man will reply: `I fought for Your Cause till I was martyred.’ Allah will say: `You have lied. You fought so that people might call you courageous, and they have done so.’ Command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. Next, a man who had acquired and imparted knowledge and read the Qur’an will be brought forward, Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. Then He will ask him: `what did you do to express gratitude for it?’ The man will reply: `I acquired knowledge and taught it, and read the Qur’an for Your sake.’ Allah will say to him: `You have lied. You acquired knowledge so that people might call you a learned (man), and you read the Qur’an so that they might call you a reciter, and they have done so.’ Command will then be issued about him, and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. Next, a man whom Allah had made affluent and to whom Allah had given plenty of wealth, will be brought forward, Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. He will ask him: `what did you do to express gratitude for it?’ The man will reply: `I did not neglect any of the ways you liked wealth to spend liberally for your sake’. Allah will say to him: `You have lied. You did it so that people might call you generous, and they have done so.’ Command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell.” And the wording, “So these are the first of Allah’s creation the Fire will be kindled with on the Day of Resurrection“[Saheeh Muslim, 13/45/1905]

Then he says: “And I heard Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah have mercy upon him) say, “Just as the best of the people are the Prophets, then the worst of the people is the one who imitates them, giving the false impression that he is from them while he is not from them. The best of people after them are the Ulama’ and the Shuhada’ and the Siddeeqoon and the Mukhlisoon, and the worst of the people is the one who imitates them while giving the false impression that he is from them, while he is not from them.” [Ad-Daa’ Wad-Dawaa’ pp38-39]

TWO CATEGORIES OF ULAMA

In the Hadeeth, there are grave warnings of dreadful things awaiting the Ulama-e-Soow. They are among those who will be first to enter into Jahannam. They are astray and are leading others astray. The Prophet ﷺ said: “A person who seeks knowledge with the object of acquiring worldly riches, will not even smell the fragrance of Jannat.” [Targheeb]

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever acquired knowledge for the purpose of attracting people to be inclined towards him, will be cast into Jahannam.” [Targheeb]

and also “The worst of people, have the worst Ulama.” [Targheeb]

It is also reported that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “Knowledge is of two kinds: One type is that which is only on the tongue (having no effect upon the heart). This is Allah’s proof against men (He completed His argument). The other type is that which is in the heart and is beneficial knowledge.”

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The majority of the Hypocrites of this Ummah [Muslims] will be its readers [i.e. those who read the Qur’an and not act according to it].” [Musnad Ahmad no. 10/123]

In another Hadeeth, He ﷺ said: “In the latter days the devout ones (Sufis) will be ignorant and the Ulama immoral.”

And also,

“Seek not knowledge in order to contest with the Ulama and to argue with the ignorant ones and to attract people towards you by it. Those who do this will be cast into Jahannam”.

Sayyidina Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said:

“On behalf of this Ummah, I am most fearful of the Alim who is a hypocrite.”

People asked: “Who is a hypocritical Alim?”

Umar (Allah be pleased with him) replied:

“He is one who by the tongue is an Alim, but in his heart he is ignorant.”

Hasan (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Do not become such that in spite of having acquired the knowledge of the Ulama and become acquainted with the deep researches of the thinkers, you behave and act in the manner of ignorant fools.”

Regarding the corruption and fitnah of the Ulama in times close to Qiyamah please this article on the link. The Prophet ﷺ said: “There will come a time on the people when there will remain nothing of the Islam except its [ism] name and nothing will remain of the Qur’an except its [rasm] outward form. Their Masjids will be full of people/very well built but will be empty of guidance. Their scholars will be the evilest under the heavens; from them, [fitnah] turmoil will emanate from them and to them will it return.”  [Baihaqi, Shu’bul Iman no. 2/788]

“DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET”

Ulama have always played a major role in the Ummah, no doubt Ulama of the past were very sincere and honest.  They treated people fairly and justly. More importantly, they gave rulings and fatwas with complete knowledge and Taqwa.  The Ulama of the past had the Hereafter in mind and were God-conscious.  It is because of these Ulama, Islam reached us in its pristine form – Alhumdu Lillah for their sacrifices, and I am not ungrateful. You can learn more about Ulama Haqq here. However, in the past there were also corrupt scholars and evil Ulama, the difference is today they have increased in number far more than that of the past.  I heard a renowned Alim of the UK state, “Before Qiyamah, the majority of the Ulama will be corrupt.” Please do not take this statement lightly, let it sink in before you read any further.  This means that the true Ulama will be few.  No doubt there are good Ulama living today, even here in the West, but if we want the best for ourselves and our children we need to find those Ulama.  Not every Imam is a God-fearing person, not every Madrasah teacher has Taqwa and piety.  Many Imams beat their wives and stand like hypocrites on a Friday to lecture the community about peace and justice in their sermons.  There are many examples I can give of “Molvis behaving badly,” unfortunately too many.  I am pretty sure everyone reading this article will have had their own experiences too, at least with one Alim.  I want to create a balance, give you the other side of the coin (every coin has two sides).  We need good Ulama, to guide and direct us, but is every Alim good and pious?  Imam Anwar Awlaki (Allah have mercy on him) once said, “Every deviant sect was made by an Alim.” So for those of you who are still in cuckoo land and think we must respect “every Alim”, that is wrong, unfortunately.  You respect the devout and pious Ulama, the way to find one is to look at his actions, not his speech.  Anybody can talk with a sweet tongue, looking eloquent and handsome.

CHILD ABUSE

There are many signs of corrupt Ulama.  One example I would like to start with is, teachers who beat the living daylights out of our children when we send them to Madrasahs and Darul Ulooms, (this still goes on FYI).  Some so-called Ulama damage our children so painfully, these children lose all confidence in themselves.  They neither progress in Deen nor Dunya.  They grow up hating Islam, hating Ulama, hating the Masjid and probably hate their parents for sending them to Madrasah. These children grow up distant from the Qur’an and distant from Islamic knowledge.  Many later get married and have their own children, but they will not send them to the Masjid because of the experiences their father had when he was a child.

Who is to blame for all of this?

Simply because Molvi Saheb couldn’t control his anger?

Molvi Saheb didn’t get his tea on time that day?

Or due to the fact Molvi Saheb had an argument with his wife that day, he took it out on our children?

For all those evil Ulama out there, who justify child abuse, shame on you!  I challenge any single one of you, show me one Ayah of the Qur’an, one Hadith where it allows you to hit a child.  Show me one incident where the Prophet ﷺ hit a child? You may deceive the parents of the child by saying, “it’s for their own good!” La Hawla Wa La Quwata Illa Billah! How will you justify your zulm in Allah’s eyes?!  I have no hesitation in calling such people zalims, Alim or non-Alim,  zulm is Haram for everyone.  It was even Haram for the Prophet of Allah ﷺ, but it has been made halal for Ulama? Allah himself declares zulm haram.  Dear parents, beware of whom you send your child to, to learn Islam. Please don’t just look at convenience, “Molvi Saheb lives on the same street as us, SO HE MUST BE GOOD!”  Such naïve thinking can be dangerous.  Find good Madrasahs and good teachers, regularly talk to your children about their day at school and Madrasah.  Ask them, “Does your Ustadh hit?” Being shy about these matters will only cost you and your child, their future. Zulm is zulm, wrong is wrong.

COMPLAIN, NOT MOAN AND WHINGE

I understand it is hard for parents, especially mothers (usually the mothers do the running around) to confront an Ustadh or the principal with regards to these issues.  Considering many Alims/teachers are defensive when it comes to acknowledging their own mistakes, the short story I gave at the start is evident to this.  Nevertheless, confront them.

ARROGANT & NARCISSISTIC MOLVIS

I have met many Alims who are arrogant narcissists in their approach and manner and most won’t accept their mistakes.  Some will use, or should I say MISUSE Qur’an and Hadith to justify their behaviour.  I remember working for a so-called Islamic charity run by Ulama.  One of the senior Alims, who I used to respect a lot in my naïve days, whenever I would disagree with him or air an opinion he didn’t like (because of his arrogance), would quickly quote the Hadith, “respect your elders.”  I laugh now thinking back on it, to disagree with someone is disrespectful?  Having an opinion is disrespectful?  Then to misuse Hadith! Subhan Allah. Another sign of corrupt Ulama, true knowledge makes you humble. Some Alims just cannot accept criticism nor accept their mistakes. Arrogance was Haram for the Prophet (SAW), who made it Halal for Molvis?

WHO IS TO BLAME?

The blame is not always on Darul Ulooms, initially, I blame the parents who are the mothers and fathers of these children.  Many parents don’t have the correct intention for sending their children to Darul Uloom or making them Alim/Alimah.  I have heard this from many Pakistani Ulama, in Pakistani families as long as one or two are educated and professionals, i.e. bringing the money in, the weaker children or not as bright are “shoved” into Madrasahs.  So how can we fully blame Darul Ulooms for producing such arrogant individuals when their parents’ intentions were not sincere?  So the lion’s share of the blame is on the parents, rather than the individuals themselves.  They spend six or seven years in an Islamic environment, unable to change their ways and bad habits.  How will such people make changes in the Ummah?  But the one thing I will blame Darul Ulooms for, most of them anyway, is focusing on numbers, 40-50 graduates a year?  What’s the need? Since when has Islam been about numbers?  They need to stop lowering their standards and focus on quality, not quantity. I understand times have changed from the 80s and 90s and there is more focus on the secular side, but then you need to look at some of the product you are making.  There is absolutely no need for such a great number of Ulama, especially when they are leaving with no Tarbiyyah and Islah (upbringing) whatsoever.  Anyone who disagrees can ask me personally, the incidents I have seen/had with recent graduates.  I won’t share them here, because my intention isn’t to expose anyone but nobody should suffer at the hands of these wolves.  Yes, ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’, or should I say, ‘Devils in Molvis’ clothing’!  “Islam does not say suffer peacefully.” – Malcolm X (Allah have mercy on him)

“QUALITY NOT QUANTITY.”

Islam has never been about numbers, never. When Islam started the Prophet ﷺ only had Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him), He ﷺ only had his wife Khadijah (Allah be pleased with her).  One man and one woman, why didn’t He give up? Because that one man and one woman were equal to a whole Ummah! “Quality not quantity.”

On the day of Badr, there were only 313 Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them) against 1,000.  Why didn’t they wait for more people to accept Islam?  Simply because those 313 were unique and consolidated, they could overcome an army of 10,000 if you ask me! “Quality not quantity.”

Now, this is a problem everywhere, especially on social media.  It has become all about numbers, followers and likes. Please see this article for further information.

When Madrasahs/Maktabs/Darul Ulooms just focus on numbers, people tend to start thinking is it just about making money?!  More students, more fees?!  I am sorry Sherlock, but it doesn’t take a genius to work that one out  There are Madrasahs in the UK who focus on quality, fewer numbers more productivity.  I don’t see them closing down because they cannot pay the bills.  My point being we need “less Ulama,” but good Ulama.

The Prophet ﷺ: “Knowledge (of the Deen) will be (imparted and acquired) for purposes other than the Deen, the Dunya (wealth and fame) will be pursued with the deeds of the Akhirah.”

MONEY-MAKING MILLIONAIRE MOLVIS

Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said, “When you see that any scholar loves the world, then his scholarship is in doubt.”

Now we come on to the money-making Molvis, another sign of corrupt Ulama.  These sell their Deen for the Dunya.  Ulama who made their Madrasahs and Islamic schools into businesses, purely for money making.  They neither care about the children nor the parents, as long as their surpluses add up at the end of the year. But society is deceived and loses out.  They charge extortionate rates to parents for fees, their teaching standards are abysmal.  Which only proves one thing: they are bereft of any form of sincerity.  I am not playing God nor being judgemental, sincerity has signs and so does a lack of sincerity. Not forgetting the ones who became millionaires by selling Taweez and taking advantage of people’s misfortune, but that doesn’t stop these Molvis from making their “fortune.” Read this to see how much scholars charge for lectures.

POWER GRABBERS

Then we have Ulama who are the power-hungry control freaks. The Dictators. Nothing short of a Tyrant. Their word is the Gospel. You cannot question them or differ with them. They make Hitler and Stalin look like puppets. They will never let go of their “kursi” (position) once they hold it, Imam or principal. Some go to great lengths to get those positions. I know of an Alim in my local Madrasah who tried to absolute name me and shame for reasons Allah knows best (I don’t want to get defensive on here, nor come across defensive). But the dictator himself was not elected in management, another Alim had been selected by teachers by the majority of votes. This Alim in front of my own eyes swindled and dwindled the votes, then put his own name at the top. Most of you won’t believe it, but it is true – Allah is my witness. Masjids and Madrasahs are no longer JUST places of worship, rather they are places for politics and corruption. For power and greed! Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’oon.

RACISM AND UNFAIRNESS

Oh yes! You all knew that was coming. Racism is in everyone, not just Ulama. So why have I mentioned it here? The Racism is in Ulama is to another degree, far more than the average person. Possibly because they have a lot of authority and control, but they use that to their own advantage. Not how Allah has taught them in the Qur’an. Any institution whose constitution is based on Racism can never ever be successful in the eyes of Allah SWT, Qur’an and Hadith teaches us that. How can you judge a person from the village their grandparents lived in?? Are you for real?! Nowadays we have schools that give preference to people from their own village. Once I had a debate with an Alim who was so very defensive in respect of such schools, in my naïve days I respected this Alim a lot as he worked in my Madrasah, but his Racism was unbelievable. Nice to know what these people keep in their hearts:

“Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater. We have certainly made clear to you the signs if you will use intellect.” (3:118)

Unbeknownst to him, the school have a policy, in which they give preference to certain members of certain mosques (all to do with villages in India). Wow! When you live in the 21st century Britain you would think those days would have gone, you would think Racism was a thing of the past. Shame on such Ulama, would Fatima bint Muhammad ﷺ be allowed in your school? She certainly isn’t from your village. Why do I single these guys out, when all Mosques have similar policies? The Alim asked me this same question, but I am a fair man, Alhumdu Lillah. My answer; the Mosques are run by committees, who are mostly laymen, not Ulama. You should know better. Not saying they are correct either. I am not a member of any Mosque for this reason; their Racist constitutions. Unfortunately, I am unlike other Ulama who just look at their own benefit, I have principles – Alhumdu Lillah. Because Ulama lack principles, they tend to “stick up for their own”. This is totally against Islam.

Every Masjid and Darul Uloom is “Waqf”, nobody owns these buildings, they were made with the public’s money. When they ask for Lillah money they don’t ask you which village you are from?!

I wrote this whole article after one incident where I walked into a Masjid in Blackburn and I was told by an Alim I wasn’t welcome because I am not from their village in India!!! I am really sorry my parents weren’t born in your village (THANK GOD THEY WEREN’T). What makes it worse is when I related the incident to some acquaintances, I was told to ‘chill out and relax. It was just a joke?!’ I apologise for my lack of sense of humour, but Racism is Haram and so are Racist jokes. Dear Molvis, don’t make Haram into Halal because it suits you. Islam is not a buffet, you can’t pick and choose. And for the record, I have a perfect sense of humour, Ma Sha Allah. There is a fine line between immaturity and cracking a joke, learn the distinction between the two. If your local Masjid or Madrasah or any organisation, be it a charity does wrong, it is wrong. I am sorry for stating the obvious, but some Ulama find this really hard to digest. Because they are blind and too stubborn to accept the truth. If an Alim or any Islamic organisation does wrong they must be condemned, NOT condoned and overlooked. Zulm is not just in Syria and Burma, we have many Ulama who oppress people right here in the UK, but it is brushed under the carpet. More importantly, when an individual complains and speaks up he is made to look like the bad guy. Why? Because we are deceived by the long turbans and flowing beards of Molvis. You respect good Ulama, not the bad ones. And you certainly do not worship them and make them into God! If people dislike and loathe what I say, then teach your staff members and parents not to behave with me in a Racist and arrogant manner. Alhumdu Lillah! My mother did not give birth to a coward, I CAN speak and SHALL speak till Allah wants me to. Allah says about the Jews and the Christians,

“They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.” (9:31)

PART-TIMERS

One final factor that has a major role in corrupt Alims/Alimahs is part-time classes, which I have never agreed with, Absolutely Dead Against.

Here’s the proof: have you ever heard of a part-time pilot?  Part-time doctor?  Part-time surgeon?  Part-time lawyer?  Part-time engineer? No!  But we hear of part-time Alims/Alimahs, disgraceful.

If you were in an operating theatre and you were told the surgeon has only studied a part-time course, would you be happy for them to operate on you?  Only a fool would be.

How on earth can we rely on part-time Alims/Alimahs?  I understand the need to educate and equip our boys and girls with Islam but I don’t understand the need of so many Alims/Alimahs, ESPECIALLY when you are not doing a proper and thorough job of it, sorry.  Let them learn Arabic and Tafsir and Hadith within a few years.  You don’t need to give them the title of a scholar when they have not studied in depth.  If this continues, you will see more and more evil spread in the Ummah because of these half-baked scholars. Parents are not to jump on the bandwagon and follow what everyone else does, Allah gave you Aqal. The full blame though, lies on the founders of these places, many just open because the mosque next door has opened an Alimah class, Competition?

JEALOUSY, ENMITY AND BACKBITING

On the topic of competition, Alims and Alimahs need to learn to work together and avoid jealousy and hatred on Every Little Thing! Seriously, it is not healthy AT ALL! There are Ulama that have conspired to shut another Madrasah down because they opened on the same street. Does this Alim not believe in Taqdeer? Rizq is in Allah’s hands? Unity/working together? Someone once famously said,

! ایک گلی میں دو کتے رہ سکتے ہے لیکن دو مولوی نھیں

“Two dogs can live (peacefully) in one alley, but two Molvis cannot.” Well said, I fully agree.

One of the reasons we have so many mosques and madrasah is that a certain Molvi had beef with another Molvi Saheb, so the first one split from the mosque and built his own. Is that Ikhlaas? Sincerity has signs. It is the same in Madrasahs. I don’t need to look far, Blackburn has over 40 mosques. If you look at the history behind some of these mosques, it is because they are from different villages in India – so they split. Two mosques on the same street?! These mosques were not built with Ikhlaas, how will they be successful? Allahul Musta’aan! On a micro level, we have the same on WhatsApp groups. Ulama bicker and fight over petty issues, then they go and open their own groups. Such childish behaviour is embarrassing.

THE TRUE SCHOLARS

“…Those truly fear Allah among His servants are those who have knowledge (Ulema). For Allah is Exalted in Might and is Forgiving.” [Al-Fatir: 28]

Regarding “…Those truly fear Allah among His servants are those who have knowledge…” Imam Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on his soul) stated that “The more the knowledge of Allah and His SWT power is complete, the more He SWT will be feared by those who have the complete knowledge.”

Imam Al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on his soul) said that “The scholars are those who know the power of Allah SWT. They are in no doubt of His SWT punishment no matter what the sin is.”

It was narrated by Ali (Allah be pleased with him) that Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The scholars are those who know that Allah is capable of anything.”

On the authority of Ziyad ibn Lubayd (Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘….and knowledge will go [or disappear].’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah how will knowledge leave [disappear] whilst we read the Qur’an and our children read the Qur’an and they will make their children read it till the Day of Judgement.’ He said, ‘May your Mother lose you I thought your one of the men of understanding of Madinah. Don’t you see these Jews and Christians reading their Torah and Gospel but they don’t practice anything of it.’ [Ibn Majah no. 4048]

Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, ‘Fitnah will certainly come.’ I asked what is the way out O Messenger of Allah ﷺ? He replied, ‘The Book of Allah [swt] is the way, for it contains information of what happened before you, news of what will come after you and a decision regarding matters that will occur among you…It is decisive [fasl] and not a joke [hazl]. Whoever leaves it, is a tyrant and Allah [swt] will break him, and if anyone seeks guidance else-where [other than the Qur’an] Allah will lead him astray. It is the rope of Allah [swt], the wise reminder, the straight path, whims would not deviate it nor the tongue become confused, and the scholars cannot be fully satisfied [i.e. still more to explore]. It is not worn down by repetition nor do its wonders ever cease……He who quotes it speaks the truth, he who acts according to it is rewarded, he who judges according to it is just, and he who invites people to it [i.e. the Qur’an] is [himself] guided to the Straight Path….’ Tirmidhi no. 2906 [Dha’eef – the chain is weak but the meaning is Saheeh –scholars comment that this is more likely the statement of Ali and not the Prophet ﷺ]

Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ood (Allah be pleased with him) said, “No age will dawn upon you but it will be viler than the one preceding it.  I do not mean a ruler better than another ruler, or a year better than another year, but (I mean) that your Ulama and Fiqh will disappear, and you will not find (uprighteous) successors to them. Then there will come people who will issue ‘fatwas’ [legal opinions]  based on their own opinion.” And in another narration, “Who will blunt Islam and destroy it.”  

Hakeemul Ummah, Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy upon him) states: “Rasulullah ﷺ  directed us to follow the ‘Sawaad-e-A’zam’ in times of fitnah. From the different opinions of Ulama, the preferred view seems to be the one that is understood from the Zaahir (text) of the Hadith i.e. ‘follow the majority.’  This view is restricted to the Khayrul Quroon when Khayr (goodness) was dominant (Ghalib). Today’s “majority” are not the purport of the Hadith (i.e. the Sawaad-e-A’zam Hadith), because today the majority  consists of misguided people.”

يحيى بن معاذ ينشد في مجالسه كان

مواعظ الواعظ لن تقبلا…. حتى يعيها قلبه أولا

يا قوم من أظلم من واعظ ….قد خالف ما قاله في الملا

أظهر بين الناس إحسانه ….و بارز الرحمن لما خلا

CONCLUSION

I have written this article as a reminder for myself and other Ulama, first and foremost. A wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Becoming an Alim is easy, especially in this day and age when standards are so low in Darul Ulooms. Anybody can pass like wind through six years, we have all heard of “Arafati Molvis.” We need to live up to the title, ‘Mawlana’.

I always say, “Ulama LOVE the title ‘Mawlana’, but very few people LIVE the title of a Mawlana.

In no way, means or fashion do I think of myself as a true Alim or from the Ulama Haqq. I am not perfect and there is no pretence or artificial humility there. You don’t need to be perfect to complain and speak up. You don’t need to be flawless to criticise someone. You just need to be clear and be sincere. Humility leads you to criticise your own, arrogance leads you to always “defend” your own. I have always believed that, feel free to disagree. I am not going to criticise Brelwi Ulama and Salafi Ulama when we have corruption in our own, you put your own house fire out first! Why should I be afraid to speak the truth, when these corrupt Ulama are not afraid of lying? I intend to empower people to stand up to the Ulama that deceive us and mislead us, learn to wake up and speak up! Don’t be afraid of these bullies and cowards. Many are just armchair critics, they can never meet you and have a challenge face to face. Please do listen and follow the true Ulama, I have not said once stop following Ulama. Just learn that there are two types and look for the right type. Finally, there are people out there campaigning against Ulama; Muslims and Non-Muslims, no doubt there are anti-ulama folk out there. I pray this article does not reach them, as they will misuse it against the purpose for which it was written. I fully support honest, truthful and sincere Ulama who are doing a fantastic job educating the masses. If you are anti-ulama, please read this below:

“Those who disrespect the Ulama and the Awliya, humiliate and disrespect them when they are laid in their graves their faces they will be turned away from the Qiblah! I swear by Allah! If you do not believe me, go and check for yourselves.”

Hadhrat Mawlana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (Allah sanctify his secret)

Allah keep us united on the truth. Allah grant us ALL Hidayah and guide us to the straight path. Allah protect us from being amongst Ulama Soow and save us all from Hellfire.

Ameen.

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (Unafraid to speak the truth, Alhumdu Lillah!)

10th Safar 1439

“The most dangerous man in society is he who has nothing to lose.”

 

حکیم الامّت مجددالملت حضرت مولانا اشرف علی صاحب تھانوی نور اللّٰه مرقدہ کی قیمتی نصیحت
⚫ایک بات اہلِ علم کے کام کی بتاتا ہوں کہ دین پر عمل کرنے کا مدار سلف صالحین کی عظمت پر ہے، اس لیے حتی الامکان ان پر اعتراض اور تنقیص کی آنچ نہ آنے دیں
⚫(صرف )مولوی ہونا کوئی خوشی کی بات نہیں ہے،(مولوی ہونے کے ساتھ ) دین دار ہونا خوشی کی بات ہے
⚫علم کے ساتھ صحبت (اولیاء )کی بڑی ضرورت ہے، صحبت سے واقفیت بھی ہوتی ہے اور عمل کے ساتھ مناسبت بھی ہوتی ہے
⚫(اکثر )علماء کو ہمیشہ غریب ہی رہنا چاہیے، جس قوم اور جس مذہب کے (اکثر )علماء امیر ہوئے، وہ مذہب برباد ہوگیا
⚫دو چیزیں علماء کے واسطے بہت ہی بری معلوم ہوتی ہیں، حرص اور کبر*
⚫مناسب ہے کہ قلم اور کاغذ جیب میں پڑا رہے، جس وقت جو مضمون ذہن میں آئے اس کا اشارہ لکھ لیاجائے، پھر دوسرے وقت ان میں ترتیب دے دی جائے
⚫دو باتیں مجھے بہت ناپسند ہیں:  ایک تو تقریر میں لغت (مشکل الفاظ) بولنا دوسرے تحریر میں شکستہ لکھنا،کیوں کہ تحریر و تقریر سے مقصود افہام ہوتا ہے اور یہاں ابہام ہوتا ہے
⚫جب آدمی دین کا پابند نہ ہو اس کی کسی بات کا اعتبار نہیں، کیوں کہ اس کا کوئی کام حدود کے اندر تو ہوگا نہیں، دوستی ہوگی تو حدود سے باہر، دشمنی ہوگی تو حدود سے باہر، ایسا شخص خطرناک ہوگا،  ہر چیز کو اپنے درجے میں رکھنا یہی بڑا کمال ہے. آج کل اکثر مشائخ و علماء میں اس کی کمی ہے
⚫میں تو اپنے دوستوں کو بھی مشورہ دیتا ہوں کہ اگر اللّٰه تعالیٰ ان کو کسی دینی مدرسے میں درس و تدریس کا موقع نصیب فرمائیں تو انتظام و اہتمام کو اپنے لیے قبول نہ کرو، کیوں کہ دونوں میں تضاد ہے، مدرس اور علمی خدمات کرنے والوں کے لیے یہی زیبا ہے کہ اپنے آپ کو اسی شغل میں لگا ئے رہیں
⚫چھوٹی جگہ میں رہ کر کام زیادہ ہوسکتا ہے کیوں کہ وقت فراغت کا زیادہ ملتا ہے اور بڑی جگہ رہ کر چھوٹا کام بھی نہیں کر سکتا،  اور نہ ہوسکتا ہے، کیوں کہ زیادہ وقت لوگوں کی دل جوئی میں گزرتا ہے. کام تو گم نامی ہی میں ہوتا ہے
    (ماخوذ از العلم و العلماء)

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