Aap Beti

Autobiography of Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullahi 'alayh)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

'Our Newspapers'

Here, Sheikhul Hadeeth (rahmatullahi 'alayh) complains about students lack of interest as shown by their reading of newspapers. Subhanallah! I wonder what he would say about today's situation?

In my early days of teaching, no student of Mazahirul Uloom had the habit of reading newspapers. Even in Darul Uloom, apart from a few students, no one even knew what a newspaper was. In those days, the best past time activity was to read the writings of the Elders of the Sufi order to which you belonged, e.g. Hazrat Nanotawi, Hazrat Gangohi, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind, Hazrat Saharanpuri, Hazrat Thanwy Rahmatullah Alayhim. These writings were our newspapers. Generally great enthusiasm was shown by both teachers and senior students to pursue their works. Now, unfortunately, the interest has shifted towards newspapers and useless writings.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Death of Sheikhul Hind (rah)

Then I saw the funeral of Hazrat Sheikhul Hind. Look at Allah's ways. I have only had a few chances of being present in Hazrat Sheikhul Hind's presence and yet I was privileged to have joined in his funeral preparations, kafan and burial. Then there is my great benefactor, Sheikhul Islam Maulana Madani who had been Hazrat's companion everywhere, on travel, at home, in Malta's jail and never left him. Maulana Madani leaves his side for one day and could not be present at his funeral and burial! What a lesson!

A debate had been organised in Amroha between the Sunnis and the Shias. Posters had been put up everywhere and newspapers had already given it a lot of prominence. From Luckhnow, Maulana Abdul Shakoor came and from Saharanpur, my Hazrat. Both were well known for their debating skills on this topic. When the Shias knew of the arrival of these two stalwarts, they tried their utmost to avoid the debate, hoping that it would be put off on request by the Sunnis. Hence they sent a person to Dehli to call Maulana Muhammad Ali Jowar who for 24 hours gave lectures in various gatherings against the holding of the debate, stressing the need for mutual understanding and co-operation.

This was the first time in my life that I had seen Maulana Muhammad Ali Jowar. I do not remember seeing him again thereafter. I told him: "For a long time I have been longing to see you."

I hoped that even though he did not know me, he would give me a minute or two of his time. But he was very angry at what Maulana Abdul Shakoor and I had organised. Hence in an angry tone he said: "Call off this thing and we shall meet."

For a whole day the argument continued about the debate. On the second day, 14th Rabbi-ul Awwal 1339 Hijri, my Hazrat sent me a note to Hazrat Sheikhul Hind in which it was written: The situation over here is like this...For the Sunnis it is on no account advisable to postpone the debate or to put it off. Please send me an urgent note saying that the debate must go on and not be postponed.

With this short note I left Amroha for Dehli and when I reached the station, I met a few people who greeted me. I asked them for the reason for their coming to the station and they replied, "Hazrat Sheikul Islam is coming by train enroute to Calcutta. We have come to meet him here at Amroha station."

I had no pencil nor paper with me. I picked up a piece of paper from the station and a piece of coal and wrote a note to my Hazrat: Maulana Madani is arriving enroute to Calcutta. Make him get off there [in Amroha].

I gave this note to those people to give to Hazra Maulana Khaleel and I left for Dehli. Hazrat sent a man to the station requesting Maulana Madani to get off the train. Although Maulana Madani had a ticket for Calcutta, and his luggage was with him, he immediately alighted at Amroha. The manner in which I have seen Maulana Madani answering the requests of Elders, I have not seen in anyone else. No matter how much it was against his own opinions, he always bent his head in front of their orders. In those lectures, he advised both parties that this was not a time for inflaming the emotions of people and for polarisation. At this time it is of utmost necessitty even to have reconcillation and mutual understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, instead of getting involved in arguments and fights.

I reached Hazrat Sheihul Hind's residence in Dehli near Maghrib time. At that time, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind was seriously ill, so ill that there was no time to present the note to him. He passed away the next morning. Telephone calls were made to all places.

Telegrams addressed to Maulana Madani were sent to various stations around Calcutta, to places where according to the opinion of people, the train must have reached. I told them to send a telegram to Amroha aswell. All of them looked upon me as being a fool for this suggestion. They thought I wanted to send a telegram to Hazrat Saharanpuri using Maulana Madani as an excuse. They wanted to know what connection there was between Maulana Madani and Amroha. I said, "Send a telegram in case he may be there."

Maulana Mufti Kifaayatullah, the president of the Jamiatul Ulema (may Allah grant him very high rank), although I was in opposition to his politics, was very kind to me. He used to treat my views and suggestions with a lot of respect and dignity. In many religious and political questions he used ot quote my views with repect although they differed from his: "Some sincere scholars of this opinion. I believe..." Such kind words were even used in his pamphlets. There are many occasions when he quoted my views respectfully although they opposed his views.

On this occasion, seeing my insistence on a telegram to Amroha and the other people's refusal, he said, "When this man repeatedly asked for a telegram to Amroha aswell, what objection have you got against one more telegram?"

The telegram was sent. I think it was not sent 'urgent' because the senders were against it. The telegram arrived the next day. Hazrat Madani arrived at Sheikhul Hind's house the morning of the third day.

The time of his arrival will always remain indelibly imprinted in my mind. He stepped forward in complete silence, his feet hardly lifting from the ground. He came forward as if at every step he was going to fall down. One or two people came forward to shake his hand. Everyone stood quietly in their places. He went to sit down on the step infront of Sheikhul Hind's house, silent. A few of those who were in the house came to sit down with him.

I stood there thinking of Allah's ways. The man who had been the companion of Sheikhul Hind at all times, even on travel and in exile, has come to his grave one day after his burial. And, the man who had never had the opportunity of being present has the opportunity of accompanying the deceased from Dehli right up to the burial.

"Lord, how wonderful the exhibition of Your Qudrah."
The salatul janaaza for Sheikhul Hind was performed in Dehli by my uncle, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas. Hazrat's own brother, Maulana Muhammad Hussain did not join in the funeral prayers so that the salaah may be performed again with him as the 'wali'. He performed the janaza salaah after arrival in Deoband.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Following the Sunnah and the Status of Reason

As Allah's servants and slaves, we have been endowed with intelligence that is limited and that must be used correctly in the appropiate spheres of life. Beyond that, we trust in Allah's revelation in the Qur'aan and Sunnah, as Sheikhul Hadeeth (rahmatullahi 'alayh) explains below.

It was always my view and the advice that I give to my friends that they should follow the Sunnat of Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) diligently, as long as it does not go contrary to their mazhab...

Some time ago I wrote a series of articles on the differences between the Imams, which was published in a monthly 'Al Muzahir' and continued to appear for as long as the monthly was published. In it, I indicated the reasons for the differences, together with examples. I also explained that even if for some reason or other, the statements of Rasullullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) appear outwardly not to be in accordance with our reason, accting according to them is compulsory. When one does not understand the reason, widsom or significance of a Hadith, the fault of not comprehending it should be attributed to our own lack of understanding.

Perhaps I have written somewhere about my youngest daughter, of the time when she was starting to read Qaida Baghdadi. She was only 4 or 5 when she read the lesson 'Aana - baana'. I liked this fight she had with her mother. She was perplexed that when Alif was added, the word turned out to be 'Aana', when Ba was added, it became 'baana', 'taana' etc. But why was it that when 'hamza' was added, it became 'aana' and not 'hamzaana'? She argued with her mother who could not answer her query and only said, "When your father comes home, you had better ask him." The child said, "I will just read it as 'hamzaana'".

In the afternoon the query was brought to me. All I could tell her was, "You are still a child. When you are bigger you will understand. Then you must ask me."

The other sister again wanted to know why it was that when milk is heated, cream forms on top of it.

I cannot understand why it is, that in the rules and regulations of Shari'at, each one of us looks upon himself as a clever research student. What we should actually do is that when something is not understood by us, we should tell ourselves that the rank of Nabuwwat (prophethood) is way beyond us. Our understanding and intelligence can never reach up to that level.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

'The Ahlul Hadeeth and us'

Indeed, Sheikhul Hadeeth's (rahmatullahi 'alayh) attitude regarding those who had a different opinion to him is remarkable and one worthy of following. Note that the Ahlul Hadeeth are a group who do not find it acceptable, in their opinion, to be affliliated to a Madhab. As requested, the following story is posted:

I have no enmity with any Ahlul Hadeeth scholars, so long as they do not use any insulting or degrading words against our Imams. In my mind, 'Shari'at' is only that which is contained in Allah's word and the words and practices of His Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). But in acting on the Hadith and in cross examining the Hadith, the research of the Imams is much more preferable to the research of a novice like myself. Then also, the era of the Imams was nearer to the era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) than the era of the scholars of Hadith. For this reason, the verdict of the Imams are more acceptable in the rejecion and acceptance of Hadith than even the verdict of Muhadditheen and our research.

Imam Ahmed Hanbal is Imam Bukhari's most noted teacher and Ustad, while Imam Ahmed is Imam Shafi'ee's most prominent student. Imam Shefi'ee again is the most famous student of Imam Malik. Imam Shafi'ee is on record as having said that he became a Jurist after studing the kitabs of Imam Muhammad, the famous student of Imam Abu Hanifah. Furthermore, there are 22 chains of transmissions of Hadith in Bukhari Shaeef, each consisting of 3 persons only, leading upto Rasulullah (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Of these 22, 20 of them contain transmitters, who are either students of Abu Hanifah or students of his students. As for us in this era, we are like monkey who sits down with a piece of ginger and then calls himself a greengrocer.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

'Childish Pranks'!

Subhaanallah, even our 'Awliyaah have a sense of humour! 'Hazrat Gangohi' is none other than Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (rahmatullahi 'alayh), whose piety is beyond the scope of mere words. His daughter, at this time quite old, is mentioned in the story below:

...I also remember another story involving Hazrat Madani. I have already mentioned that during the lifetime of Sahebzadi (the daughter of Hazrat Gangohi), Hazrat Madani, my late uncle and I used to visit Gangoh quite often. Maulana Madani would go there on many occasions and quite a few times I accompanied him. Because my uncle was faw away, in spite of his desire to be there, he could only go there very rarely, but his wish was that when Hazrat Maulana and I went, we should inform him. If Maulana Madani arrived suddenly, then there was nothing that could be done. But when it was written in my diary that such a journey was planned, I informed my uncle before hand.

Once the three of us went to Gangoh. No one knew of our coming. As we arrived, Sahebzadi and Chacha Yakoob were extremely happy to see us, as if Eid had arrived. Moreover all three of us were together! Soon curry was prepared. She had a special gift of cooking something very delicious, very quickly. If there was only us, we ate in the ladies' section of the house and if there were many others with us, we ate in the men's section. This time we ate in the ladies' section. She sent various foods with Chacha Yakoob to place before us and then he went inside to fetch the roti. Hazrat Madani said, "While he is gone to bring the rote, let us finish the curry." We did just that. That was in the time of my youth.

When he brought the roties, the curry plates were already cleaned out. He went inside and told his mother, "Amma-ji, they have eaten the curry without the roties."

Then he went back inside and brought more curry. When he came with the curry, the roties were finished. This time, Sahebzadi herself came into the door and said, "They call you three Hazrats, but it seems to me as if you're childhood days have not yet passed."

Maulana Madani said, "Haji Yakoob is playing the fool with us. When he brings roti there is no curry, and when he brings curry, there is no roti. Is he feeding us or playing the fool with us?"

I said, "Whether they call us Hazrat or anything else, we will still remain your children and under you."

Then she said, "These childish pranks have really made me very happy."

With Maulana Madani, such incidents happened quite often from time to time.

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