By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*
Demise is such a naked truth that no one could deny it so far; be it a brave or a pure atheist. Death has held many towering personalities and low profile people down alike and will keep on doing the same to all living beings. When the fixed time of one’s life is over, he has to depart; willingly or unwillingly; he is busy reciting the Qura’an or performing Salaah in a Masjid. One will be defeated by the death either he is much beloved to Allah, liked by thousands of Allah's slaves or cursed in the sight of Allah. When the time of life is over, the angel of death finds its wanted man and he has to taste death; even if he is between two deep valleys of tall mountains, on the peak of Himalaya, living in a glass-built bungalow or is protected in a stone-built fort. The Almighty Allah mentions in His glorious Qura’an: “Every soul has to taste death.” (Aale-Imran, Verse: 185) The Exalted Allah further mentions in another place in His miraculous book: “Wherever you are, death will make its way to you, even if you are in fortified castles.” (Al-Nisaa, Verse: 78)
Following the order of the Supreme Lord, Haji Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Sahib left the mortal world for heavenly abode on Sunday, 18th November 2018. Haji Sahib was considered one amongst the most pious people. He spent more than two third of his life in the path of Allah worrying and struggling to guide His servants to the right path. Though he was not graduated formally from any Islamic institute, however worry, concern and pain in his heart -for the sake of the Ummah- were not less than what is found in the hearts of certified Islamic scholars. He spent his days and nights concerned about the well-being of the Ummah. The goal of his life was how to make people understand that whatever happens in the world happens with the will and command of Allah and nothing can take place without His will. The Almighty Allah had blessed him with height of popularity among the learned people and the masses equally. Allah had filled the hearts of His servants with love and affection for him. So he was loved and respected wholeheartedly by one and all.
Haji Sahib was a man of religious mind from the beginning of his life. He met Sheikh Ilyas Kandhlavi (1885-1944) -May Allah have mercy upon him!- in 1944. Then he devoted the rest of his life for the service of Dawah and Tabligh work started by Sheikh Kandhlvi in 1920. He worked almost six months in the company of Sheikh Kandhlavi. When Sheikh Kandhlavi passed away, he worked with his successors. He was so much influenced by this work of Tabligh that later he resigned from his job and dedicated full time to it.
After India’s partition, he migrated to Pakistan. Following the migration, he didn’t only work for Tabligh; rather it had become part and parcel of his life. In the beginning, he went to visit every province and villages of Pakistan; big or small for the purpose of Tableegh. He taught the common and illiterate people “Kalimah Tayyibah” and its meaning, the method of Wudhu, the significance and method of Salah. He also preached to them about the value of Ilm (Knowledge) and Zikr (remembering Allah), respect and honour for a Muslim and sincerity of intention. He also encouraged them to spare some time to go in the path of Allah to learn Deen, to practice and preach what they have learnt.
With the effort of Haji Sahib, headquarter of Tabligh was established in a remote, inaccessible and unknown place; Raiwind, situated 45 km far from Lahore. Before establishment of the Tablighi headquarter, Raiwind was a forested place. Basic facility of day-to-day life was unavailable there. It was difficult to find the eatable and drinkable things. The place, where Tabligh Headquarter is standing today, was earlier full of acacia as well as other different types of thorny trees. Now it is national headquarter of all Tabligh centers of Pakistan.
With the efforts of Haji Sahib the people, who were not well-versed in Islamic knowledge, understood the value of the noble work of Tabligh and started participating in its daily activities to learn and practice Deen. As a result of it, this noble work started almost in all mosques of Pakistan. Regional center of Tabligh came into existence in each city with his effort. Due to the hard-work and struggle of the people of Tabligh, uncountable men and women were guided to the right path of Deen.
Obviously it was the concern of Tablighi people which brought about a sea change in the lives of thousands of worldwide renowned personalities; like famous cricketer Saeed Anwar and well-known rock star singer Junaid Jamshaid, and instilled in them the interest of practice of Deen and revived the powder to act upon Islamic rulings and teachings.
Haji Sahib led the movement of Tabligh as third Ameer (Chief) continuously for 25 years until he breathed his last. In Pakistan the first person to be selected as Ameer was Haji Muhammad Shafi (1903-1971). Following his death, Haji Babu Basheer Ahmad (1919-1992) had been selected as the 2nd Ameer. After his sad demise, Haji Abdul Wahhab had been selected as the third Ameer unanimously. The third Ameer of Tablighi movement in Markaz Nizamuddin in India, Sheikh Inamul Hasan (1918-1995) made an International Governing Body comprising of 10 members from different countries for Tabligh activities to keep on functioning smoothly, as the efforts of Tabligh had spread all over the world. Haji Sahib had been nominated as a prominent member of the governing body by Sheikh Ina’amul Hasan (RA). Not only he visited the small or big villages of Pakistan; but he also travelled dozens of countries in the world for the work of Tabligh.
This would be surprising for many people to know that Haji Sahib used to address the gathering in Raiwind Headquarter almost five hours every day in different times. It was his daily schedule to address the gathering following Fajr Salah, instruct the people who are going in Jama’ah and to guide those coming back from Jama’ah. With punctuality, he participated in daily Mashwarah. Later he had stopped addressing the gathering on his health ground only. However when he was physically fit, he used to perform all duties of Jama’at as usual without complaining of his old age, tiredness or exhaustion.
Currently we met a Jama’at (No. 764) from Bhawalpur. They also described as eye witness that for all his old age and weakness, when Haji Sahib used to be physically fit, he attended all Tabligh activities and discharged all responsibilities. He participated in Mashwarah, guided the Jama’at which was going and talked to the Jama’at which came back from a Tabligh journey. They further said that currently when they started their seven month-long journey on 28th August 2018, Haji Sahib guided and instructed them regarding their objectives of going out in the path of Allah as he was then physically fit. It should be noted here that this Jama’at is working in the “Northern Province” of Zambia, Africa under the leadership of Mr. Khalid. The members of this Jama’at comprise of Mr. Shareef, Mr. Basheer, Mr. Abdur Razzaq, Mr. Qasim, Mr. Ali, Mr. Sajid and Mr. Yasir (a pharmacist). As they are eager to learn and practice Islam in their daily lives, they are also worried about how to raise the degree of Muslims’ faith, how to reform them and how to guide them to practice Islam fully in their lives.
Haji Sahib was not only involved in Tabligh activities; but he also worked for different Islamic organizations whenever he got chance. He participated in the movement of “Khatme Nubuwwah”. Similarly he worked as a member of “Majlise Ahrare Islam”. Then he was made the president of a chapter of Majlise Ahrare Islam in Buriwala.
“The Muslim 500” is an annual publication which gives place in its book every year to 500 most influential Muslim leaders from across the world. It was first published in 2009. Socially, educationally, economically, politically and religiously 500 most influential Muslim leaders from all over the world are selected every year, ranked and mentioned in the book. In 2014, Haji Sahib was ranked number 10th in the book. This ranking has nothing to do in the sight of Allah; but it is a clear mark that his sacrifices and struggles to please Allah are recognized, rather than a mere appreciation in this world only.
When Haji Sahib was a student at Islamia College, Lahore, he took the oath of allegiance to Sheikh Ahmad Ali Lahori (1887-1962), a famous commentator of the Glorious Qura’an for the sake of his self rectification and spiritual development. Later on, he took the oath of allegiance to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Raipuri (1878-1962). He was authorized by Sheikh Raipuri to administer an oath of allegiance and was counted one among his distinguished disciples.
Haji Sahib was originally from “Karnal” district of “Haryana” state in India. He was born in 1923 in Delhi, the capital city of India. Following completion of his primary religious education, he joined “Islamia College”, Lahore, a famous city of Pakistan. Following graduation, he started his career in civil service as Tahsildar (executive magistrate).
He was not blessed with any child. His wife had passed away several years back. Due to his old age and a physical unfitness, he had been unwell from time to time in the recent past years. He could not attend the annual Ijtima of 2018 because of his poor health. He was seriously ill as he was suffering from the diseases of kidney, breathing etc. He also suffered from Dengue fever few days ago. At that time he was admitted in a private hospital and kept in great care of specialists. As his worldly time was over, he breathed his last on Sunday, 18th November 2018 early in the morning in the hospital after protracted illness. He died 96 years old. His funeral prayer was led by Sheikh Nazrur Rahman after Maghrib Salah in Ijtima hall of Raiwind. Approximately 1,200,000 people participated in his funeral prayer and he was laid to rest in the graveyard of Raiwind. Now he is no more among us; however his invaluable services will always be remembered by one and all. May Allah accept his good deeds and grant him Jannatul Firdaus! Aameen!•••
*Head: Islamic Department, Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa.