Written by Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi
Translated into English by Nehal Anwar Qasmi
Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (R.A.), known as Sheikul Hadeeth (great scholar of Hadith) was born in a highly educated family, in Kandhla, Muzaffar Nagar, UP (India) on 10th Ramadan 1315A.H (12th February 1898 A.D). His father’s name was Muhammad Yahya, who was one of the prominent teachers of Hadeeth in Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur (India) a well known and prominent Islamic seminary. His uncle Sheik Muhammad Ilyas was a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband, who laid the foundation of Tablighi Jama’ah, a missionary movement that came in to existence with the purpose of religious reforms in Islamic Ummah, extending across the globe within a short span of time due to sincerity, righteousness and complete dedication of its founder.
Maulana’s cousin Sheik Muhammad Yousuf, son of Sheik Muhammad Ilyas, is the author of the book "Hayatus Sahabah" that has been translated into various languages and published in several countries.
In short, the family of Maulana Mohammad Zkaria is deemed to be highly educated family and has the honor of contributing over hundred books in both Arabic and Urdu. But the obvious evidence of their sincerity is that all those books do not have copy right reserved for the family. Thus we see many publishers of the world, in particular publishers from Lebanon, are freely publishing their Arabic books. Now these books are so popular that one can easily purchase most of these books from almost every big book store of Saudi Arabia.
Sheik Zkaria got admitted to Mazahirul Uloom Saharanpur which was established 6 months after the establishment of Darul Uloom Deoband and now secures the important position in the top Islamic Madarsas' list in the Indian subcontinent.When he was 12 years old, he received his early education from his father and uncle and later studied Hadeeth under Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri.
When Sheik reached 20 years of age, his father died and Mazahirul Uloom management appointed him as a teacher. In 1341A.H, 6 years later, Sheik Khalil Ahmad, who was his Hadeeth mentor persuaded him to become the teacher of Hadeeth and start teaching Bukhari Sharif, which is the most authentic book of Hadeeth. Only men with extensive knowledge of Hadeeth are permitted to teach. In 1345A.H he moved to the city of the Prophet (PBUH) Al-Medina Al-Munawwarah and was appointed as a teacher of Hadeeth in Madarsa Al Uloomush Shariah where he taught Abu Da’ood for 1 year. This Madarsa still exists and is run by the son of Saiyed Habib Madani. During his stay in Medina he started writing the famous book Aujazul Masaalik while he was 29 years old. One year later in 1346 he came back to Mazahirul Uloom and continued teaching Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Sunan Abu Da’ood for 42 years. However, Sheikh Zkaria (R.H) spent over 50 years teaching and writing books of Ahadeeth that helped thousands of students across the world to quench their thirst for the knowledge of Hadeeth.
The Sheik made several visits to Makkah and Medina to perform Hajj. In 1345A.H when he was in Medina accompanied by his teacher Sheik Khalil Ahmad, his teacher died and was buried in Jannatul Baqee' besides the graves of the Prophet’s family (Ahl-e-Bait) where the burial is prohibited now. Maulana Zkaria too aspired to have the privilege of dying in the city of Medina and it was fulfilled. He too died in Medina on 1stShaban 1402A.H (24th May 1982A.D) and was buried in the same graveyard besides his teacher on the recommendation of the then assistant governor of al-Medinaal-Munawwarah Saiyed HabeebMadani’s nephew. A large number of people including all Imams of Masjid-e-Nabawi attended the funeral.
It is reported by Abdullah bin Umar (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said “The one who has the means, must migrate to Medina and die here because I am supposed to intercede those who die here”. (Tirmizi)
Sheik Zkaria was awarded Saudi nationality in the last stage of his life and travelled to South Africa and India with his Saudi passport. His disciple Sheik Abdul Hafeez Abdul Haque Makki has also got the Saudi nationality who migrated to Makkah in 1952 along with his family. Now he owns the Imdadiyah book store which focuses mainly on publishing Arabic books of Indian and Pakistani authors.
Sheik has written over 100 books in Urdu and Arabic. Below is the brief introduction of his few books;
Aujazul Masalik(أوجز المسالك إلى مؤطا مالك): A book in Arabic comprising 18 volumes. It is a commentary of Mu’atta Imam Malik. It took him almost 29 years to complete this voluminous book which he had started during his stay in Medina when he was 29 years old. This book achieved so much popularity that various publishing houses of Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have sold out thousands of copies so far. Scholars of almost all the sects in particular Malikis hold it in high regard and study it to acquire knowledge of complicated and minor issues.
Al Abwab Wattarajim Lil Bukhari (الأبواب والتراجم للبخاري): This book deals with the chapters of Jami' Al-Bukhari. The chapters of Jami' Al Bukhari is one of the complicated riddles that requires extensive knowledge for the scholars of Hadeeth to solve. In this book he gathered all the explanations to the chapters given by Shah Waliullah Dehlawi and Ibn e Hajr Asqalani along with his own scholarly opinions and views.
Lami' Uddarari(لامع الدراري): Basically this book is the modified Arabic collection of Bukhari’s lessons given by Sheik Rashid Ahmad Gangohi which his father Sheik Muhammad Yahya has scribbled down in Urdu. It is the result of 10 years long relentless efforts that the Sheik was able to author this book.
Bazlul Majhood Fi Halle Abu Da’ood (بذل المجهود في حل أبي داود): This book actually was written by Sheik Khalil Ahmad. But for some reasons he could not complete. So Sheik Zkaria undertook the responsibility of completing the rest. It is believed that he spent more time than his teacher to complete this book.
Al Kaukabuddurri Ala Jami'At tirmizi(الكوكب الدري على جامع الترمذي): This book is also a collection of Jami Tirmizi’s lessons given by Sheik Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Maulana Zkaria translated those lessons into Arabic, adding his own remarks to the book.
Juz’o Hajjatil Wida Wa Umratin Nabi (جزء حجة الوداع وعمرات النبي): This book offers elaborate account of Prophet’s Hajj and Umrah. It also mentions the various issues related to Hajj and Umrah and present names of the places where the Prophet (PBUH) stayed or passed by during Hajj and Umrah.
Khasa’il Nabawi Sharah Shama’il Tirmizi(الخصائل النبوي شرح شمائل الترمذي): In fact this book is the detailed review of the book Ashshama’il Al Muhammadiyah written by Imam Tirmizi which has been translated into English also.
As mentioned above, Sheik Zkaria wrote over hundred books both in Arabic and Urdu. This short article doesn’t have enough space to list them all. That is why I will prefer to name a few of them.
Sheik’s some other Arabic Books:
وجوب إعفاء اللحية، أصول الحديث علی مذهب الحنفية، أوليات القيامة، تبويب أحكام القرآن للجصاص، تبويب تأويل مختلف الأحاديث لابن قتيبة، تبويب مشکل الآثار للطحاوی، تقرير المشکاۃ مع تعليقاته، تقرير النسائی، تلخيص البذل، جامع الروايات والأجزاء، جزء اختلاف الصلاة، جزء الأعمال بالنيات، جزء أفضل الأعمال، جزء أمراء المدينة، جزء أنكحته صلى الله عليه وسلم، جزء تخريج حديث عائشة فی قصة بريرة، جزء الجهاد جزء رفع الیدین، جزء طرق المدینة، جزء المبهمات فی الأسانيد والروایات، جزء ما قال المحدثون فی الإمام الأعظم، جزء مکفرات الذنوب، جزء ملتقط المرقاة، جزء ملتقط الرواة عن المرقات، حواشي على الهداية، شرح سلم العلوم ، الوقائع والدهور.
Sheik’s some Urdu Books:
الاعتدال فی مراتب الرجال، آپ بیتی (۷ جلدیں)، اسباب اختلاف الائمہ، التاریخ الکبیر، سیرت صدیق ؓ ، نظام مظاہر العلوم (دستور)، تاریخ مظاہر العلوم، شرح الالفےۃ (تین جلدیں) ، اکابر کا تقویٰ، اکابر کا رمضان، اکابر علماء دیوبند، شریعت وطریقت کا تلازم (اس کا عربی زبان میں ترجمہ مصر سے شائع ہوچکا ہے) ، موت کی یاد، فضائل زبان عربی، فضائل تجارت، اور فضائل پر مشتمل ۹ کتابوں کامجموعہ فضائل اعمال ۔
This article is a brief introduction of Sheik Muhammad Zkaria and the contributions made by him in the field of Hadeeth. For further details I recommend the readers to study Maulana Sayed Abul Hasan Nadawi’s book Tazkirah Sheikul Hadeeth Maulana Muhammad Zkaria.