Aap Beti

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Love for the Hadith and Sunnah, and Respect in Differences of Opinion

Hazrat Shaykh (نور الله مرقده)'s 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. They are also known as Salafis.

During my early days of teaching, a certain Ahl-e-Hadith follower, whose name I have forgotten, came to my room quite often. There must still be quite a number of his own publications such as "Meezaanul-Shariat" lying around somewhere in my room.

Although he was blind, he used to collect all the Hadith from Mishkat which favored the mazhab of the Ahlul-Hadith. He would collect ehm in small booklets with very little commentary. For example one was on "Babul-Wudhoo", one on "Babul-Tayammum", "Babul-Haidh", etc. He wrote them himself and had them printed himself and he sold them himself.

Whenever he came to Saharanpur, he stayed at my place and in Deoband, he was the guest of Maulana Anwar Shah Kahsmiri (rh). He had a habit of going into the classrooms and presenting one copy to the teachers. Because of Hazrat Anwar Shah and me, all the other teachers came to know him quite well. Most teachers after accepting a free copy, still paid him the three annas or more and often encouraged students to also purchase from him.

Many people however used to excuse themselves from buying because the booklets only contained those Hadith which favoured the Ahlul-Hadith. I however, always used to purchase twenty five to thirty copies, while Maulana Anwar Shah used to purchase about a hundred and fifty and we both used to pay him more than the prescribed price. We felt that was our duty in view of his service to Hadith, as well as our duties as his hosts. The booklets were always distributed among the student, telling them that although the booklets favoured the Ahlul-Hadith view, it did after all contain Hadith with translations. We did not however, distribute the booklets in his presence, as it would adversely affect his sales.

There must still be some copies in my own library on which his name and address will be found. He was blind and there always used to be a young boy guiding him around. At night he always sat near me when he made up his accounts. The price of all the booklets were written on the covers, but he never used to tell anyone the price. Whoever wished was allowed to give whatever he wished and whatever was given was given was accepted with pleasure.

When he made up his accounts he used to say: "Two copies at two annas each, three copies at three annas each and eight at "Jazakallah" each."

He was a very simple person and at that time my own relations with the Ahlul-Hadith was good. They very often came to me. In both Deoband and Saharanpur, there were many Ahlul-Hadith students, but they never disclosed their adherence to the Ahlul-Hadith.

I told them not to hide their mazhab from me. They could come to my hosue at any time to discuss their problems. Some students (may Allah reward them) came to me to be connected in bay'at.

Some of them even suggested that should I demand of them, they would stop "raf-ul-yadayn" [raising the hands], "ameen-bil-jahr" [saying ameen loudly], etc., but I told them: You people are doing those things in your earnest desire to implement Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم's commands and practices. How can I ever prohibit you from doing so?"

Aap Beti, Page 556-558

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Greatness of the Name of Allah جل جلاله وتعالى شأنه

The Hazrat that Hazrat Shaykh (رحمة الله عليه) is referring to in this excerpt is Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (رحمة الله عليه).

There is a saying of Hazrat which I had not heard myself but I have heard my father and my uncle say many times, which I will quoate a bit later. Whenever Hazrat came from his house after having had his meal at home, his attendants walked behind him to the Khanqah. When Hazrat had reached his sehdari room, they went to their own sitting places. It was a general practice that when Hazrat went home to have his meals, a few of them would silently follow him to the house. No one took him by the hand. he always had a walking stick and used to walk without leaning on it. Those attendants who accompanied him to his house would wait outside till he finieshed and came out again. then they would again follow him to the Khanqah and then they went their own ways.

Once as Hazrat entered his sehdari room, they left. Standing at the door of the sehdari room of the Khanqah, Hazrat asked: "Is anyone there?""

My father replied: "Hazrat, Yahya and Ilyaas are here."

Hazrat said: "No matter how unmindfully a person mentions Allah's Name, it does not go without effect."

Aap Beti, Page 314-315

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Reality of Tasawwuf, Part 3: Miracles are not the Goal

In our last post, Hazrat Shaykh (rh) explained the reality of Tasawwuf. Thereafter, he related many stories illustrating it. These days, there are many misconceptions surrounding the reality of Tasawwuf due to the distortions made by a few.

Having reached so far, mention was made in the after Asr Majlis about Shah Ilmullah of Rae Bareilly. A story of him was told of how a discussion took place about Hazrat Bayazid Bustami Rahmatullahi Alayh. Hazrat Bayazid was going somewhere when his path was blocked by a river. As he reached it, there suddenly appeared a clear path across. Hazrat Khawaja Saheb said: "This is a test from Allah!" Then he made dua asking Allah to return the river to its former state and he will turn back, or choose another route. He said: "I am afraid of this test."

The narrator said: "If this saint among saints had such fear at the appearance of karaamat, and was so fearful of Allah's power, then how much more should not other lesser saints fear? It is the duty of every seeker after the truth to beg Allah only to be Allah conscious and to be in His presence and to be involved with His Remembrance."

كل ما شغلك من الله فهو صنمك

"Everything which diverts your attention from Allah is an idol to you."

On having mentioned the above story I recall an incident about my teacher, mentor and guide Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saheb (rh). With my elders there was never any special attention given to the working of miracles or the bringing about of miraculous deeds. On the contrary, they always tried to stop such happenings.

I had a very close friend who is slightly older than me and had studied under my father in Gangoh as one of my father's most diligent students. They were a sizable group of between twenty and twenty five boys in Arabic studies. Those in Persian and Quran studies were over one hundred. When in 1328 Hijri he decided to take up permanent residence in Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur, they all came here with him and completed their studies in Mazahir. After completing their courses they became mureeds through bay'at of my late Shaykh for their inner spiritual training and cleansing.

Among them was Maulana Abdur Rahman Saheb who became the Imam of a masjid at Kasoli near Shimla. From there he wrote to Hazrat telling of his well-developed spiritual condition. because I used to write Hazrat's letters I became quite aware of the spiritual progress and conditions of friends. May Allah grant Maulana Abdur Rahman a high place in the hereafter. In one long letter he explained to Hazrat about many miraculous happenings in which he was involved as well as many visions and revealings. As I read the letter to Hazrat, he became very happy and pleased saying that this young man has reached up to thhe fourth heaven.

My surprise was tremendous when in reply Hazrat made me write to him: "Apart from the compulsory prayers and the sunnats attached to them, suspend all nafl prayers, zikrs and wirds." I was completely dumbstruck at this reply.

Similar incidents happened to all our elders. When my late uncle used to write to Hazrat Saheb about such revelations and miraculous happenings concerning himself, Hazrat wrote to him in similar vein, instead of giving further encouragement: One should not pay attention to such things as these things can be an interference to spiritual progress.

Aap Beti, Page 65


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Reality of Tasawwuf, Part 2: The Power of Intention

In our last post, Hazrat Shaykh (rh) explained the reality of Tasawwuf. Thereafter, he related many stories illustrating it. These days, there are many misconceptions surrounding the reality of Tasawwuf due to the distortions made by a few. Inshallah for the next few posts, we will present the stories that Hazrat Shaykh (rh) related to further illustrate what Tasawwuf actually is.

Thereafter I related many incidents, one of which I had heard from my late father many times and which I had related to the students of hadeeth as well as the attendants of my majlis. The story is: "There is a village called Kernal in the district of Panipat through which the Jamuna River flows. I do not know if still is so. All along the Jamuna, people are able to cross over with their shoes in their hands in the dry months. And when there is much water, there are boats and for a small fee the boat-riders will take you across. When the river is in flood, no one can cross over.

A man accused of murder in Kernal came to cross the river while it was in flfood. He begged all the boat owners to take him across but none of them were prepared, saying that to try and cross the river in that state was to commit suicide by drowning. The poor fellow was in great distress as he had to cross over. Someone saw his anxiety and said to him: "If you do not mention my name, I will show you a way. Further along the Jamuna there is a simple house wherein you will find a faqir type of person. Go to him, beg him, plead to him for help. Do whatever you can to stir his sympathy and as much as he may scold you and even if he should beat you, do not turn away from him."

The man went to the faqir and started to beg. First of all the faqir, as was his habit, scolded him badly: "Am I some sort of god? What is there that I can do?"

However when the man stood crying in front of him [Crying is an easy way of bringing mercy into motion. May Allah also grant me this ability], the saintly fqir said to him, "Alright, go to the river and say to it, the person who never ate any food nor ever approached a woman has sent me to you to ask you to give me place to cross."

He went to the river, said as he was advised and the river allowed him to cross over. In this way his problem was solved.

The saintly faqir was living with his wife and children in the same house. (It is common for the wives of holy men to be an antagonist. While he tried his utmost to be kind so that no injustice is done to her, she on the other hand tries to take unfair advantage thereof).

The wife started crying: "You say you have not eaten all your life! But how is it that without eatinig you have become like an elephant? But leave that alone, how can you say that you have never approached any woman. From where have these children come?"

The poor man immediately assured her: "These are my children. I have never denied fatherhood of my children!" The woman in spite of this assurance again started crying bitterly, screaming: "You have insulted me. You have disgraced me. That man will go to everyone and say that Peer Saheb has never approached a woman, so where do the children come from? All will look upon me with scorn."

The poor saintly faqir went out of his way to try and explain the true meaning of is words, but no matter how much he explained, she just could not understand. She just continued crying and after she had a long session of wailing, he said to her: "Throughout my life, I have indeed eaten solidly. Praise be to Allah. And I have always had sexual relations with you as you well know. The truth of the matter is that during my childhood I heard a learned divine say in a lecture: "Whatever work is done for Allah's sake in fact becomes deen and is not of this world. It becomes an act of worship for which reward is received." From that time till now, whenever I have eaten anything, it has been either with the niyat of acquiring bodily strength and energy for ibaadah or for the sake of pleasing the hear of him who brings me the food or prepared it and feeds me. Similarly since having married you, I have indeed approached you numerous times, but (I have previously heard the advice of Maulana) and thus whenever I approached you I made the intettion of doing my duty to you and to satisfy you, because Allah had placed certain rights due to women upon the shoulders of men." (Finish)

There should be no hesitation in accepting the veracity of the story. The miracles of the prophets of old have given way to the wonder works (Karaamaat) of the saints. Even the walking upon water is an act known to have been performed by the Sahaba Radiyallahu Anhum. There is a special book of min, "The Miraculous Deeds of the Sahaba (RA)" (Karaamaat Sahaba RA) which was written on the order of Hazrat Thanwy Rahmatullahi Alayh. Among the stories therein is one about Sayyidina Alaa bin Hadry who during the jihad against Kisra threw himself and his horse into the river to cross over in such a manner that his saddle did not even become wet. The commander of Kisra on seeing this while sitting in a boat decided to flee as it would be useless fighting such people. (This has been reported by Hafiz Abdul Bar and Tajuddin Subki in shortened form).

(Hazrat Shaykh (rh) mentions a few more stories on this subject. These go on for the next few pages. Inshallah they will be presented in the next few posts. - Scribe)

Aap Beti, Page 61

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