Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji*
Few days after the passing of my Mushfique Ustaz Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA) the Imam of Masjid-e-Quba Moulana Abdus Salam Lajpuri Sahib contacted me. Moulana is the Imam of the very Masjid in north London that Hazrat-ul-Ustaz spent several Ramadhan and had a long connection that spanned a few decades.
The respected Imām Sahib wanted to inquire if I remembered the response (جواب) of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz to the question (سؤال) I had asked (during the 2016 Ramadhan visit of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz at their masjid) in regards to a Verse in Surat Al-Fatiha. On the call I could not recollect and I said to the Moulana to let me try to recollect after the call as I was confident it will come to me. Anyway after the call I did what I had to (where my confidence was stemming from) and turned to Allah Ta’ala if He could remind me and lo and behold through the mercy and grace of Allah Ta’ala the response came to me within 15-20 mins. And I then shared the response with the Imām Sahib which he responded that it was exactly the same words (ہو بہو) Hazrat-ul-Ustaz had used. الحمد لله حمداً كثيراً
The Imām Sahib had kindly reminded me the happiness and joy Hazrat-ul-Ustaz had expressed from the face and words at my question and the words of praise that were said. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz had said no one had asked him this question and no one will either. Also, what he was about to say (quoting Hazrat Allahmah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA)) he had read a long time ago and never had the opportunity to share it. This was the first time, he had just recalled it now and he was happy to share and pass on this piece of valuable knowledge and insight.
I am grateful to the Imām Sahib for reminding me of this incident (question and answer with my respected and learned Ustaz) as it was not on the forefront of my mind. Also, the Imām Sahib has kindly shared the incident via the Masjid addresses and speech too in the Urdu language.
However, I would like to share the question in English in my words too (with some introduction to put context to the question for the benefit of the wider audience) and then the response so it is preserved and the scholarly fraternity and students of knowledge can benefit from this valuable rule of Fasahat (فصاحت) and Balaghat (بلاغت) and keep it in mind when studying the beautiful Quran.
Fasahat in easy terms usually relates to the beauty of the words and Balaghat relates to the depths of the meanings. These two are a key component in the overall I’ajaz (اعجاز) of the Holy Quran i.e. in its ability to defeat (مُعجِز) anyone to produce anything remotely similar (مُعجِز) to the text of the Holy Quran. It is a complex and an in depth topic which requires at minimum a good level of knowledge and understanding of the various Arabic sciences and subjects. Hence, every word in the Holy Quran is in the right place and is perfect to convey the message in that context.
The Holy Quran consists of 114 Surat (Chapters). Surat Al-Fatiha is the first Surat, the opener of the Holy Quran, hence, the name Al-Fatiha. It is unique and it’s significance is clear from the fact that it is an integral part of every Rakat of Salah. No Salah is complete or valid without its recitation. So it is recited (verbally or heard or read in the mind) a minimum of 20 times in the 20 rakats of Fara’iz and Wajibaat (فرائض و واجبات) and 12 times in 12 Sunnah Muakkadah rakats during the day. It should also be noted that Salah is the best and complete form of worship (Ibadat / عِبادة).
Surat Al-Fatiha consists of seven (7) Verses (Aayats / آيات) and each one holds immense treasures and beauties. However, the question was related to the 5th Verse of Surat Al-Fatiha (or the 6th Verse according to those scholars who regard Tasmiyah (تسمية) i.e. بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم a part of every Surat and by default Surat Al-Fatiha too). The Verse is:
اهدنا الصراط المستقيم
Translation: (O Allah, Rabb Al-Aalameen, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Maliki Yawm-ud-Deen) Take us on the straight path.
The question was that in the Holy Quran to convey the meaning of path, etc words like Sabeel (سبيل) and Tareeq (طريق) are also used so why is the word الصراط (As-Sirat) used in this significant Surat and in this significant Verse which is in essence the crux of Surat Al-Fatiha. Supplication and supplication of guidance is the core (مغز) of worship.
Hazrat-ul-Ustaz didn’t actually reply to the specific question (after the expressing of happiness and joy) but actually went further by providing me with a rule that can be employed in the entire Holy Quran. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz quoted Allahmah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA) by saying that “Hazrat Shah Sahib has said to understand the Fasahat (فصاحت) and Balaghat (بلاغت) of a Word in the Holy Quran try replacing it with a similar word in its place and then see if the same level of Fasahat (فصاحت) and Balaghat (بلاغت) is produced”. (اگر اس لفظ کی جگہ وہ دوسرا لفظ رکھ دیا جاۓ تو اس سے اسی درجہ کی فصاحت اور بلاغت ادا ہوتی ہے یا نہی).
It wont and it will give you the reason why it was used. So in this case try placing the other two words that have the meaning of path in them and see and analyse the difference.
Also, additionally to the above reflection as part of my personal reflections (Tafakkur / تفكّر and Tadabbur / تدبَر) on the beauties of the Holy Quran and to gain further insights I have studied during my recitations the usage of those two words (Sabeel (سبيل) and Tareeq (طريق)) too throughout the Holy Quran.
When I was in my Daurat-ul-Hadeeth (دورة الحديث) year at Darul Uloom Deoband I studied فيض البارى - the dictates (امالى) and commentary of Allahmah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA)) on Saheeh Bukhari. If I recall correctly it is in there somewhere that Hazrat Shah Sahib mentions that “in the past history 4 people (great scholars - از راقم) have reached the heights and pinnacle of this subject of Balaghat (بلاغت) and he was one of them”. I have no doubt on this observation of Hazrat Shah Sahib.
I asked this same question some years later to a Mufassir of the Holy Quran from India who has written a Tafseer and the response I was given was that he had not thought on this Verse from this perspective. The point is the question was not something many would dwell on or their minds would wander towards.
I have hinted to some hacks as part of my article titled “Power of Surat Ar-Rahman to Instil Gratitude through Repetition“. Those hacks can go a long way in developing insight into the Fasahat (فصاحت) and Balaghat (بلاغت) of the Holy Quran with less effort for anyone who has decent knowledge on the various pre-requisite sciences to the study of the Holy Quran. Those hacks are good starting points. I suggest reading the article and applying the hacks.
O Allah Ta’ala! Continue to keep us with steadfastness on the straight path till we meet You.
O Allah Ta’ala! Continue to shower us with the blessings of your intense and immense mercies, guidance, knowledge and recognition of You.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the deep understanding of the Holy Quran and open our hearts and minds to the knowledge (Uloom / علوم) and insights (Ma’aarif / معارف) in the Holy Quran related to both its words (Alfaaz /ألفاظ) and meanings (Ma’aani / معانى). Aameen Ya Rahman, Ya Raheem, Ya Kareem!
(After Fajar Friday 29th May 2020 – 6th Shawwal Al-Mukarrram 1441 A.H)
By: Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji, Batley, UK
6. Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil (الامر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر)
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz was always fearless in speaking out on issues regarding the boundaries of Deen (Hudood / حدود); regarding practices that fell foul to Bidah and contravened the Sunnah or were on the perimeters of Bidah and spoke out publicly without fear of loss of ‘respect’ or loss of any material gains.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz spoke up against anything that he thought was contrary to the teachings of the Deen or overstepping the boundaries whether it was committed by Madaris management; scholars; lay people; people engaged in any form of Deeni work; etc. The motivation was always that they amend their ways so the right practices are followed and they do not distort the teachings of Deen or introduce Bidah. Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz was far sighted in many things.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular and all scholars in general is to speak the truth (Haq) wherever it is needed and against any movement, group, organisation or anyone without fearing any reprisals. Speak up in the right manner where the boundaries of Shariah are violated and where Bidah is taking place or there is real potential of acts becoming bidah in our communities by the lay people, by scholars or anyone from the followers of our Maslak too due to ignorance.
To effectively engage in this duty learn the required knowledge on the boundaries and etiquettes of الامر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر so it can be effectively carried out.
7. Steadfastness on the Maslak of Ulama Deoband (مسلك علماء ديوبند پر تثبّت)
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz always emphasised the need and importance to sticking with steadfastness to the Maslak of Ulama Deoband and would not accept any compromise on this. Hazrat-Ul Ustaz pointed out the safety and protection of our Deen was in that.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz would point out publicly to what he was observing in the scholars and lay people who are moving away from the Maslak of Ulama Deoband. Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz could see the dangers of how that could potentially totally leave the Deen open to the following of whims and desires based on ignorance of the Deen. It will give them a ticket to follow whatever ‘Islamic scholar’ or person from any school of thought or orientation that suited their desires. This is something we are observing too and is rapidly growing. Allah protect us all! Aameen.
Another great title of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz and is well deserving is that of Ameen Uloom Qasmi (امين علوم قاسمى) - the custodian of the knowledge of Hazrat Nānowtwī (RA) - the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband. This is something the high calibre scholars of the Qasmi family (خانوادہ قاسمی) like Hazrat Moulana Salim Qasmi sb (RA) used to acknowledge and mention.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular and all those scholars and Muslims who subscribe to the Ahlus-Sunnah in the manner explained by the great scholars of Darul Uloom Deoband is to stick to the teachings of these great scholars and the guidelines they have given us in all the areas of Deen at all cost whether you understand or not (due to it being a lack in your intellectual capacity or due to your lack into the insights of the beautiful Deen. Do not let inferiority complex get the better of you due to the various niceties or worldly benefits that can be gained by subscribing to new ways or ways of other groups that are springing up or school of thoughts, etc who misconstrue the Deen or by individuals influenced by them whether they claim they are associated with the Maslak of Darul Uloom Deoband.
There is an alarming rate of unhealthy influence from the above dubious groups and people occurring in young scholars or scholars who lack connection to the great scholars of Darul Uloom Deoband.
This indicates many thing. It is based on ignorance of Deen, ignorance of the teachings of the great scholars of Darul Uloom Deoband, lack of connection to them and realising the great and vast knowledge they had coupled with the highest level of integrity and Taqwa, is based on inferiority complex and also based on following the whims and desires.
To remain firm on the Maslak of Ulama Deoband has safety of your Deen and the Deen of your children and the whole world. Otherwise, you will regret it but it might be just too late.
You can remain firm on the Maslak of Ulama Deoband and strengthen your connection with them by engaging in the following practices:
- Study the Maslak of Ulama Deoband and what that means.
- Study the biographies of the great scholars of Ulama Deoband like Hazrat Nānowtwī, Hazrat Gangohi, Sheikh-ul-Hind, Hazrat Moulana Yaqoob Nānowtwī, Hazrat Thanvi, Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Hazrat Madanī (Allah Ta’ala send abundant mercies on their graves and elevate their status). Aameen!
- Study the numerous and invaluable books written on Tafseer; commentaries on Hadeeth; Fiqh and Fatawa; Tazkiyah; Aqeedah and all the Islamic sciences. You will appreciate the depth more when you can compare them with books and works of other reputable scholars. These new deviants are of no comparison. Some are just that as there is no scope to justify any disrespect to any one Companion (Sahabi / صحابى) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) - Allah be pleased with them all.
- Stay connected with the current senior scholars of the Maslak of Ulama Deoband locally and from the sub-continent. Both are very important.
- Avoid falling into this illusion and deluding yourself that you know and understand the Deen better than these host of great scholars of Darul Uloom Deoband. Each one is of such calibre that you can only dream of if you studied their life and works and saw how incredibly smart, intellectual giants; aware of the world and the current needs and understanding of human psychology and needs they possessed.
There is no blind following blind in this as is the case that is happening to people from our maslak due to their own ignorance who are opting to follow others from different inclinations. That is a typical case of blind following blind.
I pray Allah Ta’ala grant us all the taufeeq to internalise and characterise these seven great traits into our lives and that we continue to pass it over to our future generations of scholars and followers. Aameen!
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz died as he lived i.e. in the study and teaching of Islamic knowledge and by serving and propagating the Deen of Islam.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz is survived by his Deendar children who are Hafiz, Alim and Muftis. Masha Allah! I pray Allah Ta’ala grant them all beautiful patience and the taufeeq to continue the legacy of their great father.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz also leaves behind students in their tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz also leaves behind a collection of valuable books and works that the Muslim Ummah can benefit for a long time to come.
I would request the readers to at least recite Surat Ikhlas three times and grant the reward to Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz (RA). This is the least we can do and also to do this whenever you can.
Also, another great way to benefit Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz (RA) is by practicing and internalising these great seven traits and passing them over to your students.
O Allah Ta’ala! Reward Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz (RA) on our behalf for all the selfless services he has provided to the Deen his entire life.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant the students, our Darul Uloom Deoband and the Muslim Ummah a better replacement (ni’m-al-badl).
O Allah Ta’ala! Accept all the tireless efforts of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz (RA) for Your Deen over his entire lifetime. And continue his Faiz till the Day of Judgement.
O Allah Ta’ala! Forgive the shortcomings of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz (RA) and have mercy on him.
O Allah Ta’ala! Make the resting place of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz (RA) a garden of
Paradise and shower him with your eternal and intense mercies.
O Allah Ta’ala! Be please with Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz RA) and make all the stages of the Hereafter easy for him.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant the family of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz, students, those connected with him and the entire Muslim Ummah (RA) with patience and strength at this difficult time.
O Allah Ta’ala! Protect Darul Uloom Deoband and the Muslim Ummah at large from all types of Fitnah.
آمین یارب العلمین بجاہ سیدالمرسلین علیہ الصلوۃ والتسلیم
و صلى الله على النبى الحبيب الشفيع الرؤوف الرحيم
By: Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji, Batley, UK
3. Expertise in Teaching (ملکہ تدریس)
The expertise Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) showed in his unique teaching style is something widely recognised and appreciated by both students and peers. The style to deliver lessons and explain difficult concepts in an easy and logical manner was the norm and habit (i.e. Ifham & Tafheem / إفهام و تفهيم). Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was in a league of his own.
Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) remained an extremely successful ustaz (کامیاب مدرس) and on top of his game throughout his teaching career. Very very few could match or come close to this. It is a sign of a great ustaz (کامیاب مدرس) that even the not so smart students or those who are lacking the aptitude would understand difficult concepts due to the easy way it was explained. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was the epitome of this. And another sign of a successful and great ustaz (or a great sheikh) is that you not only benefit from them in the subject they are teaching you but you get to learn about and create depths in other subjects and sciences too as part of their expert teaching and guidance style. I studied Jāmī Tirmiz by Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) but the benefits I gained was far reaching and covered many sciences and arts. To me I personally feel I have studied many sciences and arts (علوم و فنون) by Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) due to the immense expertise of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA).
To understand knowledge or difficult concepts is one thing and then to be able to express that in an easy and logical manner others can grasp and understand is a totally different skill and demands a lot of mental aptitude and a certain way of thinking and specific skills set.
It was a frequent plea of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) to the students and ustaz of all Madaris associated and linked with Darul Uloom Deoband that they pay attention and develop this skill of Ifham & Tafheem (إفهام و تفهيم) so they can do justice to themselves, their students and can effectively pass on the knowledge to the future generations of scholars and torch bearers of Islam and Muslims. Teaching is a big responsibility and it demands certain skills and all teachers need to develop these skills so they can effectively discharge their teaching duties.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular and all those teaching at the Darul Ulooms or already graduated is to that they develop this skills of Ifham & Tafheem (إفهام و تفهيم) and work towards achieving this and doing whatever it takes so it can be achieved. For example, investing in learning this skill by getting the required training from those who are masters of this skill.
# It should be noted that the take away and lesson mentioned in the first trait is a pre-requisite to developing this skill i.e. having the aptitude and capacity (استعداد) and depth of knowledge in all the sciences and arts and the ability to dissect and analyse the text.
# The ustaz needs to study prior to coming to the class to teach i.e. should have done the Muta’lah / مطالعة) and should have prepared adequately for the class. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) used to say that just turning up to the class is not sufficient and just teaching in a Darul Uloom will not increase knowledge. For knowledge to increase the ustaz needs to read. The students will notice when the ustaz has turned up to teach and not studied adequately prior to teaching.
# The ustaz needs to focus on solving the textbook (Hall Kitab / حلِّ كتاب). Just giving a speech (ہوائ تقریر) that had no grounds is not sufficient. Also, it is important on the ustaz to provide relevant contextual and introductory knowledge on the subject to the students.
# The ustaz need to make sure that even the weakest (کمزور) student is able to grasp and understand the lesson and the difficult concepts. The smart (ذہین، فطين و لبيب) students with good aptitude (استعداد) and who come prepared (i.e. have done Muta’lah / مطالعة) after a time understand the lesson before the class starts and sometimes even better that the teachers. Hence, the focus should be at the weak students.
# Students should be developing insights as a result of your (ustaz) lesson. It should not be that even the smart and keen students do not get anything from the class. That would be an injustice and travesty.
# The ustaz should be open and frank if they do not know an answer to a question the student has asked. There is no need to give vague answers to deflect the questions and pretend you know. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was very frank in this area. If he didn’t know an answer to a question then he would plainly say he didn’t know. If after some thought he reached to an answer or found the answer then he himself would mention that the question you asked the answer to that is this. This only instills more confidence in the knowledge you impart to the students that they know you are confident on that and it also develops the habit in the students to say they don’t know if they don’t have an answer as that’s what they observed from their ustaz. This is a sign of a good ustaz and it displays integrity, maturity and humility. The reality is only Allah Ta’ala is Al-Aleem (العليم) and knows absolute everything. So face up to this reality.
# The management of Darul Ulooms should facilitate the right kind of training for new ustaz or those lacking in the required skills to teach or lack the required expertise in the subject.
4. Style and Expertise in Authoring Books (ملکہ تصنیف)
I have been used to reading the books and works of Hakeem-Ul-Ummah Mujaddid-Ul-Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) since my early teens. In it every sentence is a pearl, a gem and a nugget of wisdom. You read a sentence and you come out of it a bit wiser. Your mind has developed and your understanding increased a notch further. The books of Hakeem-Ul-Ummah Mujaddid-Ul-Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) - over a thousand - are pure wisdom. They are not just to have a number next to the name that he has authored x number of books. They serve a purpose and add value and enhance the rich Islamic literature collection. The point is that in the art of authoring books it has to add value and serve a purpose. It should just not regurgitate information from one book and source to your book without adding value or providing a new and fresh insight and perspective to a matter, etc.
I have observed and seen this trait in the books and works of Hazrat-Ul Ustaz. Any topic Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz has decided to pen and write it has added value and has shown and led by example to other prospective writers how to write and how to add value as he has done justice to the topics he wrote on. I think something Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz learnt from Hakeem-Ul-Ummah Mujaddid-Ul-Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) as he was highly inspired by, admired and had love for him. It was evident.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz has many books and works and they cover all the Uloom Aaliyah with Ayn and many of the Uloom Aaliyah with Alif. Each one is adding value and unique in its approach and serves a purpose that was not there before its existence.
I don’t intent to discuss them individually here as that’s beyond the scope of this piece as as my focus is to draw collective lessons from them so current and future writers and authors can learn from the lessons of this trait of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz.
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz wrote on complex topics, some topics no one had written on and did justice to it. The commentary of the master piece of Hazrat Shah Waliullah (RA) - Hujjatullah Al-Baaligah - titled Rahmatullah Al-Wasiah is one example. It is a masterpiece of its own. One great title of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz was ‘Sharih Uloom Waliullahi’ (شارح علوم ولى اللهی) - a well deserved and unique title.
At the end of this section on books I want to mention آسان بیان القرآن which is a work of a student of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz to simplify and make بيان القرآن more accessible. Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz was reviewing and editing (نظرِ ثانى) this with great passion and really desired to complete it and Alhamdulilah it was completed. Due to the review and editing by a scholar of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz calibre in the required Uloom to fully grasp بيان القرآن it has added tremendous weight to this valued and well needed piece of work. Anyone with interest in Tafseer appreciates and values the masterpiece Tafseer بيان القرآن by Hakeem-Ul-Ummah Mujaddid-Ul-Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA). This revision and Tasheel (تسهيل) has made it accessible to more scholars and more people.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular and all those scholars interested in embarking on writing, authoring and publishing books and works is to only engage in this if you are adding real value. And it is worth engaging in writing and is required and will always be required but the key is to acquire the required knowledge and expertise in the subject and then write in a manner that is adding value and fulfilling the needs of your targeted audience and of the current times. Don’t engage in writing books to fulfil your interest (Shawq / شوق) or you can say you are an author or people will say you authored a book. These are naive and immature reasons and not worth writing for. The aim is to address a gap, fill a need and add value to the already rich Islamic literature.
I suggest maybe using a gradual approach by starting off by translating some useful small works of our great scholars that is easy to translate and require translating into the needed language like English or Urdu and then progress to bigger and then to more complex translation works. Once you are confident, you have the required skills and you can add value through your own writings then start with short pieces in the subject you are most familiar with but also keeping in mind that you are addressing a gap, a need or adding some form of value and not just to add one more book to the market.
5. Propagating the Deen (Tableegh / تبليغ)
Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz has travelled extensively in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and to many countries of the world for the sole purpose to propagate the Deen. Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz had a close connection to the UK since the 80s.
Despite the sickness and ill health in the latter years Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz has been spending his entire Ramadhan and holidays away from his family for the past 40 plus years to propagate the beautiful Deen. This demands great passion and is motivated by great worry and concern about the Muslim Ummah.
One of the topics Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was passionate about was the Aqeedah of Khatme Nubuwwat (The finality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). It so happened that Allah Ta’ala made him talk about this on his departing and final speech before his meet with his Merciful Creator.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular, all scholars in general and all the believers that to engage and to engage sincerely in propagating the Deen of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims is a duty on everyone. It will and can take different forms and will be carried out at different levels based on the authority you have due to your level of Islamic knowledge, etc. However, the base duty of propagating the Deen of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims is a duty on everyone and all should carry it out.
To effectively carry this duty out learn the required knowledge on the etiquettes of Dawah so it can be discharged in the correct and prophetic manner. This is a poignant advice Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) used to emphasise and give to those engaging in the propagating of the Deen.
Scholars can also engage in this duty by delivering Tafseer Dars, Hadeeth Dars, Seerat Dars, etc in their localities and in the neighbouring ones at the very least.
Also, some form of Dawah work needs to be propagated and engaged with the non-Muslims too.
to be continued......
By: Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji, Batley, UK
I believe the below seven distinguishing and pivotal traits provide a good summary and overview of the life of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth & Sadr-ul-Mudarriseen of Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA).
I seem to have a close relationship with the number seven as it’s the number that has come up a few times as part of my recent articles like the ‘7 Characters’, the ‘7 Pearls of Reflection on the Holy Quran’, etc and now with the traits of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz. The number seven is a good medium number.
These seven powerful traits embed many lessons in particular for the scholarly fraternity and students of Islamic knowledge which I will try to shed light on. The seven powerful traits are:
1. Depth of Knowledge (تعمق فى العلم)
2. Introspection (فكرِ باطن)
3. Expertise in Teaching (ملکہ تدریس)
4. Style and Expertise in Authoring Books (ملکہ تصنیف)
5. Propagating the Deen (Tableegh / تبليغ)
6. Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil (الامر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر)
7. Steadfastness on the Maslak of Ulama Deoband (مسلك علماء ديوبند پر تثبّت)
I will briefly discuss on all these with a view to deriving lessons from them. There are many other facets to Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) that could be written on and hope others will be writing on them but leaving them out to focus on these important traits.
1. Depth of Knowledge (تعمق فى العلم)
Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was an expert in all the Islamic sciences both Uloom (sciences) and Funoon (arts) -
(علوم و فنون) - that are taught in the Darul Ulooms. In my title to this piece on Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) I have only stated four big titles for him. They are:
1) Mufassir (مفسّر)
2) Muhaddith (محدّث)
3) Faqeeh (فقيه)
4) Mutakallim (متكلِّم)
They denote the expertise in the four key Uloom (sciences) which are known as Uloom Aaliyah with Ayn (علوم عالية / the higher sciences) as they are the destination for studying and mastering all the sciences and arts before them. The first two titles are referring to the knowledge and expertise on the primary sources of Islam i.e. Al-Quran and As-Sunnah. The third title - Faqeeh (فقيه) - is referring to the knowledge related to the practical life (Far’a / فرع) of a believer i.e. Fiqh which in this context covers both Fiqh Zahir and Fiqh Batin. And the fourth title - Mutakallim (متكلِّم) - is referring to knowledge related to the beliefs (Aqeedah / Asl / اصل) of a believer i.e. the foundation.
The expertise in all these four key sciences is evident to all the students, readers of the books and works of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) and scholars that know him.
Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was also an expert in all the related subjects to the above 4 sciences (i.e. all the Usools - Usool Hadeeth, Usool Tafseer, etc and the related subjects) and also all the arts (Funoon / فنون) like Mantiq, Falsafah, Nahw, Sarf, Balaghat, etc. These are termed as Uloom Aaliyah with Alif (علوم آلية) i.e. they are tools for the Uloom Aaliyah with Ayn. Without a good grasp on علوم آلية the student of knowledge and the scholar cannot get the deep insights into the actual texts (عبارة النص) of the the Holy Quran and Sunnah. The sad reality is there is a lot of weaknesses in the students of knowledge in these areas nowadays. I believe and based on the mindset I learnt of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) that was the motivation to write the Tafseer based on the Ibarat-un-Nass (عبارة النص) of the Holy Quran. Acquiring knowledge (in this case the term is Maloomaat / معلومات) of the Holy Quran or the Sunnah from secondary sources is very different than from gaining it directly from the text. Yes, the direct knowledge needs to be backed up by the interpretations and commentaries done by the great scholars of the past. Hence, I believe Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) kept the Tafseers of Hakeem-Ul-Ummah Mujaddid-Ul-Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) and Allamah Shabbir Aḥmad Usmani in His study for this purpose.
Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) had developed depths in all these sciences and arts and had expert command on them. As they say in Urdu Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) had علم میں گیرائ i.e. depths and deep understanding in these subjects and not just superficial and high level knowledge.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular and all those studying at the Darul Ulooms or already graduated is to develop or work towards developing expertise and depth in all these sciences and arts.
# The expertise will develop post graduation but during the study period at the Darul Uloom develop the aptitude and Isti’dad (استعداد) that you have the ability to study any book on the subject taught at Darul Uloom whether you have studied it or not.
# Then post graduation continue your engagement with the sciences and develop expertise.
# Do not remain shallow or just focus on some subjects whilst neglecting others.
# It is important to gain a good command on all these to truly appreciate and benefit from the primary Islamic sources - Holy Quran and the Sunnah. This involves total immersion in the study and acquiring of knowledge as was the habit of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA).
# One key way and sign of depth of knowledge is to develop the essential skill that you can dissect and pull apart (i.e. Hall-e-Ibarat / حلِّ عبارت) the text of the taught textbooks (متون و كتب درسية) properly. This is vital to understanding the texts and the depths of the texts of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. This is something many graduates and scholars overlook or dismiss its importance due to their own lack of understanding and immaturity. Maybe it is inferiority complex.
2. Introspection (فكرِ باطن)
I noticed throughout my contact with Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) he continuously remained in introspection and engaged in developing himself from all angles including the inner (Batin / باطن) and remained firm on the outward practices of Islam. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) had connection with various Mashaikh and was given Ijāzah and Khilafat from Hazrat Mufti Muzaffar (RA) who was the khalifah of Hazrat Moulana Asadullah (RA). Both these great scholars were the Nazim (rector and principle) of Mazahir-Ul-Uloom in Saharanpur. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) would visit Hazrat Mufti Muzaffar (RA) when I was a student at the Darul Uloom and I was aware of this. This area of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was not something he would mention much but it existed and was there fully. All scholars have different personalities and some don’t share this aspect of them. The key is that it is present and the expression is up to the individual. وللناس فيما يعشقون مذاهب
I noticed throughout my contact Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) didn’t take interest in what his peers at the Darul Uloom or contemporaries (معاصرين) were doing or not doing. His focus was centred on what he had to do and how best he can achieve that for the benefit of the Ummah. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) lived a bit farther away from the Darul Uloom so could avoid unnecessary distractions and focus on the task at hand. Teaching and being successful at the best seat of learning and the Ummul Madaris (أم المدارس) Darul Uloom Deoband can bring with it trials and tribulations from within and outside and to remain humble and in the manner Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) remained is testament to his great inner character.
Also, time keeping, attending lessons on time and utilising time effectively was something Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) did extremely well.
Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was full of humility and simplicity which was my first observation and remained till the end.
The Taqwa and Zuhd (abstinence) of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was exemplary too. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) returned all the salary back to the Darul Uloom where he had taught for nearly half a century and stopped taking salary as his income from his books and published works was sufficient. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) then started to spend on his daily needs from the income he gained in particular from his Tafseer work - Hidayat-ul-Quran (هداية القرآن).
During my last visit to Darul Uloom Deoband and attending the after Asar majalis the feeling (رنگ) in the presence of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was very different. I felt the ruhaniyyat (spiritual connection) of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) was orbiting (عروج پر تھا). It felt like seeing a space rocket in the sky orbiting high into space.
The take and lesson from this trait for all the students of Hazrat-ul-Ustaz (RA) in particular and all those studying at the Darul Ulooms or already graduated is that no matter what heights in the outward knowledge a person reaches they still need to develop this introspection and worry to rectify the inner and conform and synchronise their knowledge with their practice and their inner. This is best achieved through sincere connection and practice on the teachings of a reputable and expert Sheikh in the field of Tazkiyah.
Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji, Batley, UK
The news of the passing away of my Mushfique Ustaz Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth & Sadr-ul-Mudarriseen of Ummul Madaris (أم المدارس) and Azhar-ul-Hind (ازهر الهند) Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA) on the morning of the 25th of Ramadhan 1441 (19th May 2020) based on the Indian Ramadhan date - struck me with grief and immense sadness. It is a personal loss due to the close student-ustaz relationship and the level of benefit I had acquired from the vast expertise of my Mushfique Ustaz in all the Islamic sciences.
إنَّا لله وإنا إليه راجعون
إن العين تدمع والقلب يحزن، ولا نقول إلا ما يرضی ربنا،
وإنا بفراقك يا أستاذنا الشفيق لمحزونون
Verily we belong to Allah, and verily to Him do we return. Indeed, to Allah belongs what He took, and to Him belongs what He gave, and everything with Him has an appointed time. Hence, we observe patience and hope for reward.
The eyes are crying and the heart is full of grief. However, we do not say anything but that pleases our Rabb.
O Our Mushfique Ustaz we are certainly grieving at your departure.
You were the jewel of the crown (i.e. Darul Uloom Deoband). You were the heart of the Darul Uloom fraternity.
You have left us to meet your Rabb but you will not be forgotten.
Incidentally, the day of the passing of our Mushfique Ustaz Hazrat Mufti Saeed sb ra coincides to be a day after (albeit after a number of years) the passing of his beloved Ustaz Hazrat Allamah Ebrahim Balyawi (RA) which was on the 24th of Ramadhan 1387 AH who he used to mention a lot with love, affection, reverence and who he greatly admired. I believe Hazrat-ul-Ustaz was his true successor in all aspects. Hazrat-ul-Ustaz displayed literally most if not all of the traits that are described and written about Hazrat Allamah Ebrahim Balyawi (RA), who was also an esteemed student of Sheikh-ul-Hind (RA). The similarities between the teacher and student are amazingly striking. The depth of knowledge in similar sciences - both Uloom and Funoon; mastery in the teaching style; teaching similar books at the Darul Uloom; deep insight into the knowledge of Qasim-ul-Uloom Wal-Khairaat Hazrat Nānowtwī (RA); etc.
I would like to share some of my beautiful memories of my Mushfique Ustaz and then share the seven distinguishing and pivotal traits in my view (and those who know Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz closely will attest) with the hope that the readers can take lessons from the life of this great scholar who was without doubt an asset of the Muslim Ummah. The loss is felt by all and in particular the scholarly fraternity. The reason I believe we write and read about such great scholars, true believers and friends of Allah Ta’ala is so that we take a leaf out of their lives and act on it and also gain lessons and strength from their experiences and achievements. This is the reason one of the key topics and themes in the Holy Quran is on Stories (قِصص). It would be a great injustice if the beautiful and inspiring aspects (Mahasin / محاسن) of Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz were not shared with the world so they can also follow and learn from his life that is full of inspiration and devotion to the Deen of Islam and to the service of Muslims the world over.
The seven distinguishing and pivotal traits of Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth & Sadr-ul-Mudarriseen Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Aqdas Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA) will be of benefit to the following categories of people:
- Direct students of Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA)
- Students in Darul Ulooms all over the world
- Scholars currently teaching in a Darul Uloom anywhere
- Scholars regardless of their occupation
- Those involved in the work of Deen (in any form) whether scholars or not
- Those who attribute themselves to the Ahlus-Sunnah based on the understanding shared by the Akabir Ulama of Darul Uloom Deoband.
My first meet with Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA) was in the late 80s in Tayyibah Masjid in Bolton when I was barely in my teens. Hazrat Hafiz Patel (RA) - the Ameer of Tableegh in the UK and Europe out of Shafqat and kindness took me along to Bolton with him to meet Hazrat (RA). For someone whose vessel of the heart was overflowing with the love and admiration of the great scholars of Darul Uloom Deoband (أكابر علماء ديوبند) - and still is - and also harbouring the desire to study at this great, unique and inspirational seat of learning this was a great opportunity to meet a scholar from there. I still clearly and vividly remember the meet. We met Hazrat Mufti sb in his room he was staying in at the Masjid and I saw when we entered the room he was in the middle of making his pan (betal leaf). I observed the simplicity in Hazrat Mufti sb during the meet and the absence of Takalluf (تكلّف / pretending and acting). I liked that and have always admired that in the scholars who possess this great Sunnah.
After this first meet until the time Allah Ta’ala granted me the taufeeq and the opportunity to go and study at Darul Uloom Deoband I listened to any bayans of Hazrat Mufti sb when I had the opportunity. Then in 1996 I studied Tirmizi Sharif by Hazrat Mufti sb at Darul Uloom Deoband. The Dars was full of in depth knowledge on the Ahadeeth and the subject at hand focusing on Dirayat-Ul-Hadeeth and solving the text. The Dars was full of unique features which I will hint on later.
From the time I reached my childhood dream seat of learning
Darul Uloom Deoband (affectionately just known as Darul Uloom as it is the Ummul Madaris and the others are Madaris and it’s children) I made a habit to attend the Majlis of Hazrat Mufti sb which used to take place after Asar at his home. They were insightful and a joy.
During my Takhassus years at Darul Uloom a couple of days a week I used to sit with Hazrat Mufti sb After Fajar where Hazrat-Ul-Ustaz would read an English newspaper and I would listen, correct if required and answer any questions on the structure, composition or words. Hazrat Mufti sb was trying to gain familiarity and understanding of the English language. On completion we would have breakfast together and after that I would head back to the Darul Uloom. This was a beautiful time.
At the time I had started writing an explanatory note (Sharah / شرح) on Mirqat (مرقاة فى فن المنطق) - still pending for completion - that focused on solving the text (حلِّ عبارات) properly without skipping the hard bits or leaving sections vague. After I had written my take and commentary on a few pages from the text book I showed it to Hazrat Mufti sb so he can provide me with unadulterated and frank feedback (as was his personality) and whether I was doing it right and whether it was worth continuing. Hazrat Mufti sb read my commentary very carefully (as was his nature) and then responded to me “continue writing” (لکھتے رہو). After some time a scholar from the UK came to Deoband and visited Hazrat Mufti sb. Hazrat Mufti sb pointed at me and said to the scholar “یہ منطقی بن گیا ہے” (his become a Mantiqi). I thought that was a really nice compliment from an expert in the field and subject of Mantiq to say that to me.
After the completion of my studies from Darul Uloom till now I would make an effort and meet Hazrat Mufti sb during his visits to the UK. Then in 2019 I spent a month in Darul Uloom Deoband and attended the Bukhari Sharif Dars of Hazrat Mufti sb and attended the after Asar majalis. It was a very beneficial experience and investment in time.
By: Faiyaz Ahmad Nadwi*
He was one of the intellectual and genius personalities of twenty century of Indian subcontinent, prominent product of Darul Uloom Deoband India and its ex professor of Arabic Language& Literature , Tafseer& Hadis, head of education department and acting vice chancellor, compiler of modern Arabic dictionary in India ,well known writer& orator of Urdu and Arabic ,successful teacher of Arabic language& literature, Hadees and Tafser and as well as vary good administrator and having a extensive knowledge and information of Madrasa education System but he has famed as Arabic linguistic scholar and teacher because he introduced the modern techniques, tools and skills of Arabic teachings in non Arabic spoken students and he was a symbol of earliest Muslims in life style, god fearing, knowledge and practice in his daily life .
He was born in his hometown town"Kiranah" and received primary education in Deoband Madrasa then traveled to «Hyderabad» in 1946 and learnt the Arabic language from Sheikh Mamun Damascus, and again enrolled in Darul Uloom in1948 and completed his graduation course in Islamic shariah and Arabic literature in 1952.
After the graduation he first worked as secretary to Maulana Habib Rahman Ludyanvi founder of Majlis Ahrar in 1956 and he visited to Saudi Arabia along with Haj delegation as a member speaker of deligation under the chairmanship of Maulana Ludhyanvi what was contained on nine prominent Islamic scholars of India and performed the Haj and Umra and visited the holy places and represented a delegation while staying in Makkah and Medina and also directly interacted with Arab scholars and shared the bilateral information of Muslim and Arab world .
After performing the Haj and Umra, he left the secretarial job and returned back to his educational land Deoband and adopted the scholarly life and here he founded the cultural form "Darol Fikr " in 1957 and its aims and objectives were to introduce and promote the education of modern Arabic along with English among Madrasas students and to provide them an opportunity for learning an Arabic and English and to create Arabic spoken environment among the students of Deoband.
Hence under the above aims and goals he released the Urdu monthly magazine" Al Qasim" and motivated the graduates of Madrasas for learning a Arabic and English and modern journalism and also introduced the aims and goals of Darul Uloom Deoband and highlighted its teachings and religious services, scholars and theologians, lifestyle, religious, understanding system of Qoran,Hadis and Fiq and during this period he has compiled and published his famous modern Arabic into Urdu and Urdu into Arabic dictionary in 1958 what has played vital role in understanding a new terms and term logy of Arabic journalism and scientific words and it boomed among the Arabic learners of Indian subcontinent and first time his personality emerged as a linguistic scholar among the circle of Arabic teachers and students and this dictionary became need of Arabic teachers and students while studying and understanding the word meanings of Arabic journalism and scientific words and rapidly famed in Indian subcontinent .
Advisory committee of Darul Uloom Deoband offered him for teaching and appointed as a professor of Arabic language& literature and Qoran&Hadis in 1963 and after joining the teaching services, he felt the need to release Arabic magazine and lunched Arabic quarterly magazine "Dauatul Haque" in 1965 by DarulUloom then he established the "Arabic Literary Club for students "in 1964 so that students exercise and express their habitual actions in Arabic interacted each other while speaking and he compiled and published his famous Arabic reader " Al Qiratul Waziha" during this period and it famed among the Arabic learners and students.
In 1977 he has visited to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE and observed closely system of education and interacted the prominent personalities, educationists, thinkers and social activists and also propagated the message of Darul Uloom Deoband and put upon them the current religious, educational and economic condition and status of Indian Muslim and launched an Arabic monthly magazine "Al Kifah " from Darul Uloom Deoband and it continued to publish till 15 yrs and .
After visiting to gulf states, he put his education formula and system upon the advisory committee and requested it to adopt and introduce in curriculum and syllabus and he tried to combine the syllabus of India and gulf in Deoband so he is only one man who combined modern and traditional system of Madrasa education through his motivated the mind of extensive experience and knowledge what he was gained while visiting, meeting and interacting.
He played goden role on occasion of century convocation of Darul in 1980 and he was the chief this committee what formed by Darul Uloom / Deoband and in 1981 stroked by the students and he provided them a temporary shelter and food and arranged the classes in terrible and horrible situation till that condition became the normal and in 1983 appointed head of education department and this year visited many countries of the world including Europe and Africa and popularized the message of Darul Uloom and in 1985 he became acting VC and this year he released the Urdu monthly magazine " Aena Darul Uloom " and this is publishing still now and all contents and articles of magazine are informative and comprehensive and it also presents the ideology, outlook and view of Darul Ullom Deoban and interprets.
in 1987 he resigned from the post of Acting V.C Darul Uloom due to some personal reasons and conditions and in 1988 established a cultural institution "Darulmoallafin and in 1988 he chosen the present of Jamiat Ulema Milli of India and in 1990 Shura Council of Darul Uloom conveyed him to the pension.
Same year, he visited on the invitation of the Ministry of Hajj and Endowment to Saudi Arabia and performed Haj and Umra and in 1992 he attended the World Conference of Islamic for the release of Kuwaiti prisoners of war. In the period of between 1993 and 1994 he involved and spent major time to compile his huge Arabic dictionary" Alqamos Alwahid" what published after his death.
After short illness he died in Delhi on 15 April 1995 and buried in Deoband Graveyard and survived behind him family members and large number of his pupils what reached to thousands and Darul Uloom Deoband is his performing place for what he spent his gold age of his life and left dept effect on the students of DaruUloom and put it up line of development and improvement and Al Qamosul Zadeed is a property of his entire life and Darul Uloom is the performing place of his educational activities and services and his life story is uncoupled without mentioning of Darul Uloom Deoband because he reached it on the pick of development and improvement and famed its name among Arabic people and he proved during the his services that Darul Uloom Deoband is a great movement of Muslim renaissance in world what is playing a key role in spreading the message of Islam and teachings of Islam.
*Ex Prof in Arabic-Al Ameen Institute of Management Studies Bangalore.