Renowned Islamic scholar and an accomplished Hadith Professor of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Shaikh Abdul Haq Azami, passed away in Deoband after a short illness on the eve of December 30 at the age of 88. On his death a wave of grief and sorrow struck the circles of Ulama, students and the common Muslims across the world.
Shaikh Abdul Haq Azami was engaged in imparting Hadith in Darul Uloom Deoband for decades. He was a prominent and celebrated scholar of Hadith in the present era. More than forty thousand students have benefited immensely from him and completed the Aalim and Fazil courses. With his demise an era of Hadith studies came to an end.
Birth and Education
Shaikh Abul Haq Azami s/o Janab Muhammad Umar was born in Jagdishpur, Dist Azamgarh (UP) in 1928. He acquired his primary at local seminary and then moved to Madrasah Baitul Uloom Saraimir for secondary Arabic education. Thereafter, he was enrolled in Darul Uloom Mau and studied till 7th Arabic Class (Haftum).
Shaikh Azami was nourished and nurtured by his stepfather Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Muslim Jaupuri who was a great scholar of his time and was known for his keen interest and expertise in mantiq (logic) and philosophy, he was a celebrated disciple of Hadhrat Maulana Majid Ali Manwi, the disciple of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and a great Muhaddith of his time.
Then he joined Darul Uloom Deoband and completed his graduation in Hadith and Islamic sciences in 1955 at the hands of various scholars of his time, especially Shaikhul Islam Hadhrat Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani. Later he benefited from Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariya Kandhlawi and Maulana Habibur Rahman Muhaddith Azami.
After the completion of his studies, he served as lecturer at different Madaris and held the posts of Shaikh al-Hadith and Sadrul Mudarriseen (head of teaching staff), particularly in Madrasah Matla'ul Uloom Banaras (Varanasi) and Darul Uloom Mau. He spent 16 years in Varanasi and 14 years in Mau imparting Hadith to students and discharging duties of Sadrul Mudarriseen.
It is worth noting that he taught Bukhari in Mau in a time when the world renowned scholar of Hadith, Maulana Habibur Rahman Azami, was residing in the same city. It indicates to his high position in Hadith and the reliance of Ulama upon him.
In 1982 he was invited by Darul Uloom Deoband to teach Hadith and was assigned to teach Sahih Bukhari (vol. 2) to the students of highest class. Along with Hadith, he taught the books of Tafsir such as Tafsir Madarik, Tafsir Mazhari and Tafsir Baidhawi as well as Fiqh books such as Hidaya and al-Ashbah wa al-Nazair.
Among his famous students are Maulana Habibur Rahman Azami, Mufti Muhammad Rashid Azami, Maulana Noor Alam Khalil Amini, Mufti Anwar Ali of Mau, Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri, Maulana Mahmood Madani etc.
He was invited for sermons and speeches among the people. His speeches were very simple, but immensely touching and warming the hearts due to his infused piety and engrained righteousness and austerity. Specially his prayer session after the end of speech were highly popular owing to his submissive supplications and sincere beseeching to Allah, the Almighty.
Specialization in Hadith
Shaikh Abdul Haq was a prominent scholar of Hadith in our time. He was associated with teaching of Hadith for five decades. As he taught many books of Hadith, besides other books of Islamic sciences such Fiqh, Tafsir etc, but he was a distinguished teacher of Sahih Bukhari, which is believed to be the second truest book after the Book of Allah due to its fantastic parameters of Hadith narration and narrator’s investigation. Shaikh Abdul Haq taught Sahih Bukhari for nearly 50 years starting from Mataul Uloom Banaras and Darul Uloom Mau where he spent nearly 30 years and then he was called to teach Bukhari in Darul Uloom Deoband in 1982.
According to an estimation, he taught Sahih Bukhari to more than forty thousand students during his longest tenure in Hadith teaching. This is such a great feat of him that is seldom shared by any scholar of his time. During his tenure as ‘Shaikh al-Hadith’ Darul Uloom Deoband alone produced around thirty five thousand graduates who learnt Bukhari (vol 2) from him.
He was the most prominent scholar from India who earned fame as ‘Shaikh al-Hadith’ and was invited by scores of madrasas in India and abroad to start the Bukhari class and then to complete it at the end of academic session.
Contribution to Fiqh
As he was a great muhaddith he served as Mufti also in Mau and Varanasi. He used to write responses to Islamic queries directed to him with utmost care and expertise. Though he was not formally trained in fatwa writing but he studied the fiqh so thoroughly that the madrasa management relied upon him and gave him the charge of ‘Mufti’ during his stay in Darul Uloom Mau.
He served as Mufti for thirteen years and wrote more than 13000 fatwas which are preserved in several voluminous registers. His son in law, Maulana Ubaidullah Qasmi Azami, is compiling the compendium and shall soon see the light of the day in-sha-Allah!
Salient Qualities and Features
Shaikh Abdul Haq Azami possessed a very imposing and lovely personality. At first he used to have an astonishing effect on the onlooker due to his heavy and encompassing figure, but he was very humble, naïve and innocent as per his inherent nature. He won the hearts of people and enjoyed popularity among them due to his humble behaviour and down-to-earth instinct.
He never thought ill of any body and never ever was heard to backbite people. He discharged all his responsibilities very well and in time and never approached the administration for salary hike and asking for facilities. He spent his last thirty five years of his life in a two tiny room set of semi-flat beside Chhatta Mosque in Deoband with his family and children. Though he travelled thoroughly in India and abroad and had a wide range of contacts ranging from the affluent to politically powerful personalities but he never exploited these relations for the good of this world.
He kept himself aloof from affluent people and never was impressed by them. Thus he was able to speak the truth even at odd times. He never hesitated to say what is right even in the face of worldly loss and material disadvantage.
He was an embodiment of piety, knowledge, simplicity and humility. Due to his humbleness and modesty, he was popular amongst Ulama and the common people.
He was invited for sermons and speeches among the people. His speeches were very simple, but immensely touching and warming the hearts due to his infused piety and engrained righteousness and austerity. Specially his prayer sessions after the end of speech were highly popular owing to his submissive supplications and sincere beseeching to Allah, the Almighty.
Though he grew weaker and was not feeling well for quite some years due to old age, but his death was very unexpected as he did not have any serious health issue. However, his time for this world was over and he breathed his last on 30 Rabi al-Awwal 1438 corresponding to 30 December 2016.
The funeral prayer was led by Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, the President of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and the Professor Hadith in Darul Uloom Deoband, and was performed in the Daar-e-Jadeed campus at 3:30 pm. He was laid to rest in Qasmi graveyard in the presence of thousands of scholars and students.
Shaikh Azami survived a wife and twelve children; seven sons and five daughters. His eldest son is in his sixties, while his most capable son Maulana Abdur Bar Azami, a graduate and Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband, is teacher of Hadith in Madrasa Baitul Uloom Saraimir in Azamgarh.
May Allah shower the purest nectar of His endless mercy and blessing to the departed soul and make it reside in the highest abodes in Jannat, Amen!