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.