By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi
The man of principle, Hafiz Ismail Munshi Sahab (Rahmatullah Aleih), popularly known as “Hifz Sahab” among his dear and near ones, passed away at 12:15, on 14th November 2015. Till yesterday, observing his humbleness, firmness, piety, modesty, principle, splendid character and wonderful services of Deen, we used to value and appreciate him. From today, discussing about him and his remarkable works, we will pray for him to Allah, may He accept his services and grant him the best abode in Jannah!
Hafiz Sahab (RA) was suffering from heart problem since 2008. His health condition was not good since a month ago. He used to visit the hospital frequently for checkup. When the chest pain increased and was unbearable, he was admitted in the Fairview Hospital, Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, on Friday morning, 13th November. In the night of 13th November, he suffered from the heart attack and the heart stopped working normally. Just then he was shifted in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). On Saturday, 14th November, at 10: 23 am, on a WhatsApp group, a message of his sad demise was sent. But just after 8 minutes, at 10: 31 am, it was rejected by the sender with regret. Once again at 12:20, we received the message that he passed away at 12:15. This was accurate and final.
Hafiz Sahab (RA) was a well-known personality in whole Zambia. After completing his studies from Darul Uloom Falahe Darain, Tarkeshwar, Surat, Gujarat, India, Allah had destined him to serve in Zambia, a tiny African country with the population of 1,54,08,479 people as of 1st January 2015. He arrived in Zambia in 1969, when he was a 20-year young boy. After coming to Zambia, he started serving the small Muslim Community in the country by teaching the children in Jama Masjid, Lusaka for a small period of time that was just one year.
Real works of Hafiz Sahab (RA) began when he started working in a village Kawere, near Petauke Town of Zambia. While serving in Kawere, he established an association namely “Petauke Kawere Muslim Association”, in 1973. Under this Association, he founded an Islamic school known as “Anusa Secondary School” and a Madrasa namely “Madrasa Anwarul Islam” where about 370 downtrodden, destitute, poor and orphans pupils and students are being equipped with both the Islamic and secular educations under a roof through the guidance of 15 qualified and hardworking teachers who impart knowledge among them. Apart from the school and Madrasah, there are dozens of Makaatib, where hundreds of children are learning basic of Islam, in Petauke area which are run under the “Petauke Kawere Muslim Association” as well.
Though he was a Hafiz, but the passion for serving of Deen was so high that he played a pivotal role to preach Islam in the country in whichever way maybe. Just after his arrival, he learnt English and Nyanja (a local language) languages. He translated about nine Urdu books of our Ulama into Nyanja. The translation of “Taleemul Islam” (Urdu) into Nyanja language, for the little starts of the Muslim Community, is one among his famous translated books.
Commonly people don’t know anything about Tablighi Jama’at and they start pointing finger at those who are connected with the Tablighi Jamat. This author heard many people speaking against Chhe Baten (Six Points= the common activities of the brothers who go in Tablighi Jama’at). The people say: “Is it complete Islam? Why do they force on these Six Points only?” It means, they want to say that it’s not complete Islam. I mostly argue with such peoples, as I heard once from one of my honourable teachers saying, “Yes, Six Points aren’t complete Islam, but without Six Points, Islam is not complete as well.” It means we must know “Six Points” to know Islam. Cutting the long story short, reading the mind of the common people regarding Tablighi Jama’at, Hafiz Sahab (RA) translated “Chhe Baten” into local language. So that the people will learn and realize that what is learnt, taught and practiced in Tablighi Jama’at.
In 1996, Hafiz Sahab (RA) left Petauke and settled in Makeni, Lusaka. After leaving Petauke, he resigned from every post he had been holding to rest. But he remained as mentor and guide for his whole life for his founded Association and his words were final regarding any decision of the Association due to his services and personality. For the very reason he used to visit Petauke frequently to check the works on the ground and the activities of the school and Madrasa. The teacher and students were very happy with him. Whenever I talked to my colleague, Mufti Abdul Qavi Qasmi and my friend, Maulan Zakiur Rahman Qasmi, who are working in the School and Madrasa of the Petauke Kawere Muslim Association, founded by Hafiz Sahab (RA), were always full with his praise due to his kindness, sincerity and generosity.
I travelled to Petauke, in January 2012, for 3 days on the invitation of Mufti Abdul Qavi Qasmi, who recently has returned after performing Hajj and Umarh with his family members. When I visited the School and Maradsa, I was overjoyed to see the Christian pupils and students clad in Kurta, Pajamas and Topi and reading 30th part or so of the Holy Quran with correct pronunciation and caring fully the rules of Tajweed. Hafiz Sahab (RA) had made it compulsory for all students of his School to participate in the periods of Islamic Studies. It doesn’t matter, either some of them are from Christian Faith. As my colleague, Mufti Abdul Qavi Qasmi informed me that in this manner many students themselves embraced Islam without any invitation, Al-Hamdulillah.
Hafiz Ismail Munshi Sahab (RA), along with being a mentor of Petauke Kawere Muslim Association, he was one among the senior trustees of Moon Rays Trust, which is one of the largest trusts of the country – running separate schools for boys and girls from Nursery to Senior Secondary, one Madarsa for Aalimiyah Course and 45+ Makaatib and Masajid in the country for the welfare of the Muslim Community. He has the best relation with the trust and those who are related to it. He was completely aware of the ground reality in the country, so he used to suggest running the trust accordingly. His cooperation and suggestion was totally constructive and productive for the trust. On some junctures, his suggestion used to be the final and concluding.
Initially Hafiz Sahab (RA) took the oath of allegiance to Hazrat Maulana Maseehullah Khan (RA), one of the Khulafaa of Hakeemul Ummat Hazrat Thanvi (RA). After his death, he joined Hazrat Maulana Sayyid Abrar Ahmad Dhulyavi (ex-Sheikhul Hadeeth: Darul Uloom Falahe Darain, Tarkeshwar) for his spiritual guidance. Following his demise, he attached himself with Sheikhe Tariqat Hazrat Maulana Qamruz Zaman Sahab (May Allah protect him!) in 1995 and was blessed with Khilaafah in 1998 by the Sheikh. He was one among the leading Khulafaa of the Sheikh.
Hafiz Sahab (RA) was born on 22nd June, 1950 in Tankariya, a village in Bharuch district of Gujarat, India. He was blessed with three sons, (Late) Mr. Salim Munshi, a pilot, Mr. Muhammad Zahir Munshi, a businessman and Dr. Abdur Rahim Munshi, a medical doctor and two daughters. In 2008, Mr. Saleem (RA) passed away on his Umrah trip. After performing Umrah, he reached Madianh Manawwarah, where he died on the spot in a car accident and was buried in Jannatul Baqee’, a graveyard in Madinah. Hafiz Sahab (RA) suffered the heartbreak of losing his elder and youth son and it affected him badly.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Sallam) said, "When a man dies his deeds discontinue, save three things (which he leaves behind): Permanent charity, or a knowledge from which people can take benefit or a righteous son who prays for him." (Sahih Muslim) Now, Hafiz Sahab (RA) is no more with us. His deeds have discontinued with his death definitely according to the saying of the beloved Prophet (SAWS). But, Al-Hamdulillah, the knowledge which he imparted, his permanent charity in the form of his works and services as well as his righteous sons are alive among us. The people will remember his vibrant services and tireless works. They will pray for the elevation of his ranks In Shaa Allah. On top of that, I hope that his Record of Deeds would be full with good deeds and he will be rewarded for that by his Maker and Creator In Shaa Allah. May Allah shower His mercy on his grave and grant him Jannatul Firdaus! Aameen!
(The author is a Darul Uloom, Deoband alumnus and presently teacher of Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa.)