By: Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi
Maulana Syed Asad Madani, the president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, India’s most influential Muslims organization, passed away on February 6 in Delhi’s Apollo hospital after prolonged illness following a head injury. He was 78 and was buried the next morning immediately after Fajr prayer in Mazar-e-Qasmi in Deoband beside his Shaikhul Islam Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani, a great freedom fighter and Shaikhul Hadith of Darul Uloom Deoband. His funeral was attended by more than one lakh grieved people in Darul Uloom’s campus.
The late Maulana is survived by 5 sons and two daughters among whom Maulana Mahmud Madani, General Secretary Jamiat Ulama-e Hind is seen as his successor. Two brothers, Maulana Arshad Madani, Head of Darul Uloom’s education department and Maulana Asjad Madani founder of a girls’ college for Islamic learning in Deoband.
Maulana Madani’s death is a loss to both Muslims and the Nation that seems difficult to fill. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Sing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Delhi’s Chief Minister Shila Dikshit, Shahi Imam Syed Ahmad Bukhari and many other political and religious leaders rushed to Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, New Delhi following the news of his death to pay tribute and express condolence to his family members. They termed his death a great loss to the nation describing him a true and committed leader of the country. Prominent among those who visited his grave in Deoband were Maulana Fazlur Rahman, president Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulama-e Islam and General Secretary Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Mr. Salman Khurshid, Uttar Pradesh Congress president.
Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, President of India wrote in his condolence letter that he had lost a great Islamic scholar, patriot and freedom fighter who had devoted his life to welfare activities of people. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, UPA Chairperson expressed her deep shock, praised his political insight and strong ties with the Congress terming him an ideal secular leader for all generations to come. Mr. Salih bin Muhammad Al-Ghamidi, Saudi Ambassador to India, also expressed his grief and prayed for his abode in Paradise. Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadavi, President All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasmi, Mohtamim (Rector) Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband and Maulana Talha of Saharanpur also expressed their shock in their condolence messages.
Maulana Asad Madani was president of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind from 1973 till his last breath. He was also the most prominent member of the executive body (Majlis-e Shoura) of Darul Uloom Deoband. He had a towering personality occupying great respect and honour in the hearts of millions of people around the world. He devoted his life to spreading love, harmony and peace in the whole country fighting against terrorism, injustice, social evils and hatred.
Maulana Madani was born on April 27, 1928 in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. He acquired education from Darul Uloom Deoband and received Fazilat (graduation) degree in 1947. He started his career as a lecturer in Darul Uloom Deoband and taught there for 12 years. He was first selected as vice president of Jamiat Ulama Deoband and then president of Jamiat Ulama Uttar Pradesh. In 1963, he was appointed as General Secretary of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind. He worked day and night and proved his exceptional leadership quality, love for the community and nation throughout his tenure as General Secretary. He was selected unanimously president of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind in 1973 and continued in the same office for 33 years until the last breath. He became Ameerul Hind (leader of the believers in India) succeeding Maulana Habibur Rahamn Azmi in 1992.
In 1983 Mualan Madani was selected as member of the Majlis-e Shoura of Darul Uloom Deoband. He worked closely with Darul Uloom, traveled extensively for its development and expansion. He was a visionary to new faculties and departments like ‘Kul Hind Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e Nubuwwat’ (all India committee for protection of finality of prophet-hood), Dept. of computer, Dept. of English language & literature and Shaikhul Hind academy in Darul Uloom’s curricula.
Maulana Madani, successfully, led Muslim community from Jamiat platform at every testing time. He was selected as Rajya Sabha member in 1968 and remained an M.P. for three terms spreading over 18 years. He fought for the rights and cause of Muslims. During communal riots in the country, he was among the first to raise voice against governments in Parliament and streets. He fought to bring the guilty to justice and provide quick, appropriate relief to the victims. He was brave enough to rush into any place when people were in dire need; Gujarat riot victims are living witnesses to it, never hesitated to express the truth anywhere in the world. He tried his best to create an atmosphere of peace, harmony and love in the country. He also represented Indian Muslims and government in many international forms.
Maulana Asad Madani was also a prominent member of few other religious, political, educational and social organizations in India and abroad. Major forms among them are Congress working committee, Rajya Sabha regulation committee, Aligarh Muslim University Court, Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami- Makkak al-Mukarramah, Central Waqf Council, Hamdard Trust Delhi, Majma Al-Buhuth Al-Islamiyyah- Cairo, Mutamar Islami- Tunisia, Mutamar Fiqhi- Riyadh and All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
Millions of people from all over the world visited him to take spiritual guidance. Under his expert guidance, many became pious, virtuous, true and practicing Muslims. He used to spend the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadhan exclusively for spiritual guidance every year and taught his visitors to strengthen their relation with the Creator. His Khanqah called Al-Zawiyah Al-Madaniyyah in Deoband witnessed beautiful spiritual atmosphere of remembrance of Allah on his visit.
In spite of continued illness and serious weakness, he completed 10-day usual Itikaf in the last Ramadhan in Darul Uloom’s grand mosque ‘Al-Rasheed’ with over 1000 Mureedeen (disciples) from around the world. On 29th Ramadhan he predicted with tears in eyes that he might not find the following Ramadhan! The next day after Idul Fitr, he was driving his wheel chair towards the mosque to attend Jama’at (congregation) of Asr prayer and fell on his back sustaining severe injury in head. Soon, went into coma and was rushed to Delhi’s Apollo Hospital where he remained in the same state for three months.
With the call of Mu’azzin for Sunset prayer on February 6, 2006 this darling of millions and a SUN of Deoband set in to blue unknown--- to never rise again! Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun! May Allah shower His mercy on him and place him in the best abode of Paradise. Ameen!
(courtesy: monthly Easter Crescent, Markazul Maarif Education and Research Centre, Mumbai)