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A Few Good Men – Part 2: Concise Biographies of Some Prominent Personalities of Da’wah and Tabligh.

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As salaamu alaii kumm wa rahmatullahi wa barakath,

When the effort of Dawah & tabligh was revived nearly a century ago, and because it was an effort that was largely neglected until then, there were people who were doubtful of its legitimacy, of its method in the light of the shariah. Yet, as they say that the proof of the medicine is in the cure, it was only after the sacrifices bore fruit, did people across the strata of society come to embrace it.

That was then.

Strangely enough, even now we find that there are people who still are in relentless doubts and uncertainties with regards to the work, so, is there a solution? In an age where everyone claims to know the truth and professes it at the top of their voice, how does one know who is right and who is on shaky ground?

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (may Allah have mercy on him) answers.

The Sheik writes in his ‘malfuzaat’ (anecdotes) of a simple formula to recognize truth from falsehood, he says and I quote:

“I  shall  show  you  a  wonderful  criterion  by  means  of  which  Haqq (truth)  and  Batil (falsehood)  may  be  recognized  in ambiguous  and  doubtful  cases.  Even  if  there  happens  to  be  no  Aalim (scholar)  around,  you  will  be  able  to distinguish between Haqq and Batil on the basis of this standard. Regarding new and innovated things, find  out  who  are  the  originators.  Are  the  originators  laymen  or  pious  Ulama?  If  the  originators  are pious Ulama,  then  such  things, e.g., Madrasahs, Khanqas, Darul Iftas, etc are part and parcel of the Deen. The introduction of such things was inspired into the hearts of the pious Ulama. Practices such as urs, fatiha, third-day, seventh-day khatm, etc., which were introduced by the laity (ordinary people – non ulama) are not part of the Deen. By means of this standard, all innovations and new practices may be distinguished and recognized to be either Haqq or Batil!”

With that as the criteria, lets see what kind of people were the people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Deen in the effort of Da’wah and Tabligh.

Note: (rh) after the names of the pious personalities means (rahmatullahi alaih / may Allah have mercy on him) – Here I’ll use only the abbreviation.

Haji Abdul Wahab Saheb (b. 1923)
The most loved, concerned and mobile elder of Raiiwand markaz, and the biggest caller to Allah of this age was born in Delhi. He did graduation, and had been working as a ‘Tehsildar’ (revenue officer) before the partition of the subcontinent. He left this highly lucrative job to devote his time and attention to the work of Tabligh. He came to the work of Tabligh in the life of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) and is one of the first five persons who offered their lives for doing the work of Tabligh in Pakistan. The love which Allah has planted in the hearts of people for him is a thing which the intellectual-rebels like us have been reading in books but have not seen with eyes. His lectures carry a lot of food for thought. He is the gift of Allah for the people of this time. Whatever he says, it carries behind it a heavy weight of his long association with the chosen people of knowledge and practice. When he speaks. the words seem to be coming out of his heart and do not seem to be merely an oration. He is a truly practicing Muslim. He is the disciple of Hazrath Raipuri. He has also worked for Majlis-e-Ah’rar-e-lslam in his youth.

Prof. Dr. Abid Siddiqui (b. Rabi ul Oola 21, 1358 H / May 12, 1939 d. Ramazan 11, 1421 H / December 7, 2000)

Born in Doraha Mandi (Patiala, India), he got his early religious education from his parents. He did Masters in Urdu from Oriental College, University of the Punjab, Lahore, in 1962. His personality had many shades of versatility. He started with teaching oriental languages in college. He was an athlete and sports figure in his youth. He played hockey, and remained a referee and coach for years. He was a wrestler as well. At the same time he was the master of the science of classical music and was a good musician. He was among the chosen masters of the philosophy of Homeopathy in Pakistan. But his religious family background, God-gifted natural bias towards religious figures, kind attentions of the elders of Tabligh and to crown it all, his long family association with the family of Ameer-e-Shari’at Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari (rh) soon claimed a big change in his life. Although his father, Maulana Muhammad Siddique (rh) and brothers had association with the work of Tabligh for many years, but he himself came to it in about 1967. Until the time his health permitted, he very efficiently did the work of Tabligh with all his body and soul. Seeing his eagerness in manly-work, Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ansari Saheb (rh) named him as ‘the man of action’ (roughly translated as kaam karnay walay). He was a godly person, and was a staunch and regular performer of zikr and sets of prayers (probably referring to Nafl or supererogatory prayers – Blog author). He used to sit on his prayer mat for hours and hours daily. He was well prepared to embrace the death. Just two days before his death he spent many hours in the nusrat of a jama’t (serving a group of people in the path of Allah) and he intended to spend one year with the jama’t.

On the day of his death he completed the reciting of Qur’an and the tafseer of Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (rh). Just before his death, he made his wudhu (ablution) and was on the way to perform Isha salat (compulsory night prayers) when he felt uneasiness in his head and after reciting the Kalimah, surrendered his soul to Allah within seconds without any difficulty or signs of pain. “Verily, unto Allah do we belong and, verily, unto Him we shall return”.

He used to pray for a happy and easy ending and of not being burdened with the debt of the favors of people and Allah accepted both his prayers. He wrote a book on Western literary criticism which is being recommended in almost all the universities of Pakistan. He was a poet as well and his poetry has been published. Both his books have received due appreciation from the masters of literature and poetry of this age. A thesis on his life and works was written in his life. In his last years he worked on completing the references of the tafseer (exegesis of the Glorious Quran) of Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (rh); this tafseer finds a valuable place in the well trusted commentaries of the Holy Qur’an in Urdu.

Maulana Abdul Rasheed No’mani (rh) gave him the permission (ijaazah) to relate Hadith. In his youth he became the disciple of Hazrath Raipuri (rh); after his death he did bay’t on the hands of Maulana Muhammad Aslam Saheb (rh), and after him, gave his hand in the hands of Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ansari Sahib (rh).

Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Miyan Nadwi (b. Muharram 6, 1333 H / November 25, 1914 d. Ramazan 22, 1420 H / December 31, 1999).

He was an early associate of the work of Tabligh, and was a man vested with a lot of qualities. Basically he was an orator, but at the same time he was a highly learned man, well versed in the art of transferring the thoughts of mind and words of mouth to the paper. He had the gift of languages, his command on the Arabic Language was recognized by the great masters of the language. He started his literary life by writing the biography of the leader of the movement of the revival of iman and fi-Sabeelillah, Hazrath Syed Ahmad Shaheed Barelwi (rh). He sent this book to Maulana Muhammad Manzoor No’mani (rh), the compiler of the Urdu source book ‘Malfoozat’ (anecdotes of Maulana Ilyasji) who after reading that book asked him whether he wanted to do something or he had just written the book?. Then, these two young and courageous elders visited different parts of the country (the sub-continent) in order to find out a practical system of revivalism. This very search took them to the door of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh).

Here, the thirst of their hearts quenched and their revivalist minds saw a way of practical work. From here the new chapter of Maulana Ali Mian’s life starts. He traveled from country to country to get the work of Tabligh recognized in the Arab-world and to get the support of their learned people and dignitaries. In this regard, his contribution is vital. He was in the 4th jam’at which was sent to Sa’udi Arabia on July 6th, 1947 in order to institute the work of Tabligh over there. An important event of this journey was this that he wrote a booklet for presenting the work of Da’wah to King Sa’ud (rh), which was read out to his successor, and which became the apparent source of getting his support for this work. This removed that distance and ‘aversion’ which was present in royal circles for the effort of Tabligh. His second journey in this connection was in the company of Hazrath Raipuri (rh) and many other elders. After performing Hajj, he went to Egypt, then Sudan, and then Syria, and met important religious people, state officials and dignitaries, and presented the work of Tabligh in detail. He came back to India in October 1951 (Alhamdulillah! That means Maulana was in the path of Allah for a continuous 4 years! – Blog author). Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) always held  him and his noble family in highest regard. His words about him: “The benefit which has been caused to the effort of Tabligh by your attentions, has not been caused by any of those who are attached with this work until now. May Allah direct your holy attention more and more towards this work” – reflect his status in his sight.

He paid his due of companionship with Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) by writing his biography ‘Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas and the Revival of Da’wah’. No reference on any aspect of Tabligh is complete without this book. He was not a Maulana in the traditional sense of the word, rather his personality had many shades. His voice was heard with attention in the circle of Sufis and the seats of religious learning to the halls of Oxford and Cambridge. Both the popes of churches and the saints of mosques have acknowledged his writing and moderation loving pen. He wrote many books on serious topics, which have been translated into many languages.

He did masters from Lucknow University in 1929. He remained the member of the advisory committee of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, and the patron of Dar-ul-Uloom Nadwat-ul-Ulama, Lucknow. He was the director of the foundation summit of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in 1962, and remained its member throughout his life. He was the founder-member of Islamic University, Madinah.

Recognizing his services to Islam, he was awarded King Faisal Award in 1980. In 1983, he was made the lifetime president of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Learning. In 1992, he was awarded the Bharath Ratna, India’s highest civilian award but refused to accept it (perhaps because 1992 was also the year in which the Babri Masjid and thousands of Muslims were martyred as the Indian government failed miserably in its duty to provide them security – Blog author).

You can read his biography and the source of the Bharat Ratna anecdote, here: Click

Maulana Abdul Aziz Du’aa ju Dehlawi (d. Zul Hijjah 13, 1388 H / March 2, 1969)
He belonged to Delhi and was a very popular, polite, knowledgeable, hospitable and restless person. His coming to the work of Tabligh was the result of the du’a of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas. Before this, he was a big refuter and arguer and used to attend discussion contests against atheists and Christians. He came to Pakistan in 1952, and occasionally stayed with his son in Karachi, and with his brother in Tando Adam (Sind). He remained in motion so much that even in these two places he used to offer the salat of a traveller. Remaining in one place was against his temperament. On his death, Sheikh-ul-Hadith Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh) wrote in a letter: “He is indeed lucky who leaves so much people behind him that make du’a for the dead”. A book comprising his sayings has been published; he allowed its publishing just one week before his death. He was the disciple of Maulana Shah Muhammad Yasin Nageenvi (rh), who himself was the disciple of Hazrath Gangohi (rh). It is his distinction that he laid the foundation of the masjid of Raiiwand Markaz.

Maulana Iftikhar Ahmad Faridi (d. Rajab 3, 1419 H / October 25, 1998)
An early associate of the work of Tabligh. He belonged to Muradabad, U. P. (India). He compiled and edited many books in Urdu including ‘Sayings and Letters of Maulana Ilyas’ – a book which contains some sayings of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) and some letters written by him. He had also worked for Majlis-e-Ah’rar-e-Islam.

Maulana Ihtisham ul Hasan Kandhlavi (b. Rabi-ul-Oola 16, 1324 H / May 11, 1906 d. Shawwal 17, 1391 H /December 4, 1971)
He was an early associate of the work of Tabligh, and was the right-hand man of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh). He is the author of the booklet named ‘Muslim Degeneration and its Only Remedy’, which is included in the syllabus of the effort of Tabligh. He wrote many other books, including ‘Fundamentals of Islam’, etc.,. He taught Hadith as well. Both Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh) and Maulana Muhammad Inam-ul-Hasan (rh) studied Hadith and tafseer from him. He was the member of that delegation which met King Abdul Aziz Aal-e-Sa’ud (rh) (1880-1953) on March 14, 1938, in connection with the work of Tabligh. He was in the 4 month jama’t which was sent to Saudia on July 6, 1947, in order to institute the work of Tabligh over there. He was present in that important mashwarah in which it was decided that ‘on-foot’ (paydal) jam’ats will be sent to Hajj, so that they may reach Makkah after working from country to country. This mashwarah was held on February 22, 1947, in the Markaz Nizamuddin.

Maulana Muhammad Ihsan ul Haq (b. Rabi’-ul-Oola 24, 1361 H / April 12, 1942)
A very intelligent and deeply rooted in knowledge elder of Raiiwand who is the son of Haji Muhammad Bashir sahib (rh) (b. Rabi’-ul-Oola 27, 1337 H / January 1, 1919 d. May, 1992) who remained the second regular Amir of the effort of Tabligh in Pakistan. After passing middle school in Karachi, he then remained in the house of Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ansari saheb (rh) in Bhawalpur and got religious education from his father Maulana Farooq Ahmad (rh). He completed education from Jami’a Mazaahir-ul-Uloom, Saharanpur in 1961, and was the beloved student of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh). He has translated all the three volumes of Maulana Muhammad Yousuf’s (rh) book ‘Hayaat-us-Sahaba’ (The Lives of the Sahabah) into Urdu. He is teaching Hadith from last 51 years in Raiiwand markaz. He delivers lectures in weighed and measured words, and speaks on the topics of inner-development, humanity, moral values, etc. Allah has accepted his house in that the work of women in the effort of Tabligh are being managed by them. He is the disciple of Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Hadith (rh).

Maulana Ilyas Kandhlavi (b. 1303 H / 1886 d. Rajab 21, 1363 H / July 13, 1944)
Revivalist of the work of Da’wah and Tabligh and 1st Hazratji (Amir) of Tabligh. Descendant of a renowned and very pious Siddiqui family, he was born in Kandhla (India). He memorized the Holy Qur’an before the age of 10 according to his family traditions, and got early education from his village madrasah and his elder brother Maulana Muhammad Yah’ya (rh). Then he received education from the renowned religious teachers of his time in Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, including Sheikh-ul-Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan (rh). During education he became the disciple of Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (rh), After Hazrath Gangohi’s (rh) death, he used to spend most of his time in seclusion and meditation and doing tough spiritual exercises. Hazrath Raipuri (rh) says that the work of the propagation of Deen and tabligh that was taken from Maulana Ilyas (rh), and the popularity and attractiveness which Allah gave him, was the result of these tough spiritual exercises.

After the demise of Hazrath Gangohi (rh), he gave his hand in the hands of Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (rh). In October 1910, Maulana Ilyas (rh) started teaching in Jami’a Mazaahir-ul-Uloom, Saharanpur. But after teaching in madrasah for some time, he got increasingly unsatisfied over madrasah education because most of the students used to get themselves engaged in worldly businesses after completing the education rather than serving the knowledge of Deen. Some bitter experiences of degradation of the knowledge of Deen became the source of turning his direction to the line of self-development (Zikr), and he thus started giving direction to the seekers of Zikr. Seeing that this line too is restrictive to only those few people who are ready to bear the hardships of this line, and is not beneficial to the common people and the entire Ummah, Allah opened on him the work of Tabligh. It was due to Allah’s mercy and Hazrath Maulana’s (rh) sincerity that he was endowed with the fullest reliance and confidence of his contemporary scholars and all religious elders and reformers of his time. In his 2nd Hajj (1926), he saw the Holy Prophet (peace and infinite blessings be upon him) in a dream and he was told that: ‘We shall take work from you’. On his coming back from this Hajj, he started Gusht (Jowla) on a regular basis. Going-out of jam’ats in khurooj started. In view of the information derived from all available sources, it appears that the work of Tabligh, in its today’s form, practically began on Monday, Zul Qai’dah 28, 1348 H (April 28, 1930), from Jami’a Mazaahir-ul-Uloom, Saharanpur. In his last Hajj (1938), he laid the foundation of this work in Sa’udia. On March 14, 1938, he met King Abdul Aziz Aal-e-Sa’ud (rh) in this connection. It was this Hajj travel in which, he, while going to Karachi from Delhi via train, offered Fajr salat in Raiiwand railway station on Friday, 22nd January, 1938 / Zul Qa’idah 19, 1356 H).

To Hazrath Maulana (rh), this work was of very high profile. Before him was not this only objective that people may come on offering salat and observe fasts, but he was worried about Islamising each and every aspect of private (infiraadi) and collective (public) life of Muslims by awakening the entire Ummah. In his own words: ‘The actual aim of this movement of ours is to teach the Muslims everything with which the Holy Prophet (peace and infinite blessings be upon him) came. (That is, to get the Ummah attached to the complete system of thought and practice of Islam). This is our aim. As for this movement of jama’ts and gusht – these are the initial means of achieving this aim; and the instruction and teaching of Kalimah and salat are, in other words, the ABC of our complete syllabus”.

Hazrath Maulana (rh) was a very courageous person and used to bear every type of hardships in the course of the work of Tabligh. Seeing him Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Hind (rh) used to say that when I see Maulana Ilyas (rh), my eyes tend to visualize the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). On the night of his death, July 13, 1944, elders of Nizamuddin chose his son Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh) as his successor. Hazrath Maulana (rh) agreed. The next morning, after Fajr salat, his turban was put on Maulana Yousuf’s (rh) head. He remained the member of the advisory committees of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband and Jaami’a Mazaahir-e-Uloorn, Saharanpur.

Maulana Inam ul Hasan Kandhlavi (b. Jamad-ul-Oola 8, 1336 H / February 20, 1918 d. Muharram 10, 1416 H /June 10, 1995)

3rd Hazrath Jee (Amir) of the tanzeem of Dawah & Tabligh. He was born in Kandhla (India). After memorising the Holy Qur’an in the 10th year of his age, he started getting his early education from his maternal grandfather and from Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, and then took admission in Jami’a Mazaahir-e-Uloom, Saharanpur, where he completed his elementary education. He later completed education in Nizamuddin from Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) and Maulana Ih’tisham-ul-Hasan Kandhlavi (rh). He became the disciple of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) about in 1935. In the days of Maulana Ilyas (rh), he used to answer his mail. In the days of Maulana Yousuf (rh), he constantly remained with him. He was made the Amir of Tabligh on Zil Qa’ida 30, 1384H (April 3, 1965). Apart from his world-wide engagements regarding Tabligh, he wrote footnotes on ‘Hayat us Sahabah’, gave valuable work on the translation of the ‘Sahih of Bukhari’, and compiled a well-read Arabic book ‘Selected Chapters of Mishkat-al-Masaabih’ for the people of knowledge and the Arab brothers. In Rabii-ul-Oola 1375H (October 1955), he started giving lecture on the Sahih of Bukhari, which he continued for over twelve years. In 1966, he was made the patron of Jami’a Mazaahir-ul-Uloom, Saharanpur.

Maulana Muhammad Jameel (b. 1947)
Popularly known as ‘Imam sahib’, he is the Imam of salat in the Markaz of Raiiwand. He belongs to Khanpur (Pakistan). He is famous for giving lectures with commonly understandable examples. He makes people understand even the most difficult things with the easiest examples. To me, deen was not so easy to practice upon as did it become after listening to him. The in-depth understanding of deen which Allah has given him, is a thing which is given to only few.

Maulana Muhammad Jamshed Ali Khan Saheb (b. Jamad-ul-Qola 1342 H / December 1923)
Born in Bhesani (Muzaffarnagar, India), he got primary school education in a nearby village Hasanpur Lohari. In his early childhood he remained in the house of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rh). He got his early religious education from Maulana Maseehullah Khan saheb (rh) in his madrasah in Jalalabaad and completed education and did ‘Review of Hadiths’ (Daur e Hadith) from Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband. Hazrath Madni (rh) has been among his teachers. He came to Pakistan in 1951. He became regular in the work of Tabligh in about 1962, and accompanied Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh) in his last Hajj of 1964.

In 1965, he came to Raiiwand on full-time basis and started teaching the Holy Qur’an in the madrasah of Raiiwand as well. He is famous for giving lectures in a very distinct style. He is the disciple of Maulana Maseehullah Khan Saheb (rh).

Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ansari Saheb (b. Jamad-ul-Oola 1342 H / December 1923)
A renowned elder and orator of Tabligh. He belongs to Bhawalpur (Pakistan). He got his early religious education from his father Maulana Farooq Ahmad, who was the nephew of Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (rh). In 1942, he went to Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband for completing the ‘Review of Hadiths’ (Daur e Hadiths) so as to maintain the traditional ties with the elders where he studied Hadith from Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni (rh) (d. Jamad-ul-Oola 12, 1377 H / December 6, 1957) and many other renowned teachers of Hadiths. He memorized the  Holy Quran in 1956. He was the Sheikh-ul-Hadees in Jami’a Abbasiya (now Islamia University), Bhawalpur. During service, Hadith, theology, history and Arabic literature were the subjects of his teaching. He is the disciple of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh). His association with the work Tabliglh is from his student life (late 1930s). He has visited many countries, especially the Arab world in Tabligh journeys. His grip on the subject of nations rising and downfalls is very firm. He is famous for giving lectures in the light of the history of nations, and giving comparisons between the believing and non-believing nations and practicing and non-practicing people. He touches the methodology and status of religious work, and talks on the global aspects of the work of Da’wah and Tabligh. He names Muslims as Allah’s Ambassadors. His lectures are specially popular both in the people of religious knowledge and the people vested with contemporary knowledge.

Maulana Muhammad Manzoor No’mani Saheb (b. Shawwal18, 1323 H / December 16, 1905 d. Zul-Hijjah 26, 1417 H / May 4, 1997)
He is the compiler of ‘Malfuzaat’ or anecdotes of Maulana Ilyasji (rh). After completing Daur e Hadith from Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband in 1345 H (1927), Maulana No’mani (rh) started his career with teaching in madrasah. But remaining inside the walls of madrasa was not possible for a restless person like him. He then started falsifying the blames laid by various religious schools of thought – both deniers of the Truth and the innovators in deen and became a renowned refuter and arguer. Under the influence of this very good-intention, he became the caller to Jama’t-e-Islami (which now is a political party and pressure-group) and became a fellow-traveller of Maulana Maududi (b. September 25, 1903 d. September 22, 1979), but his gentle thought and sight could not afford this slippage for long and he soon retraced his steps. Then, under the same influence and due to the insistence of Hazrath Raipuri (rh), who was his preceptor, he got himself attached to Maulana Ilyas (rh) and travelled throughout the country in Tabligh journeys, and until he got excused from walking he remained practically involved in doing this work with all his body and soul.

Maulana No’mani and Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (rh) were two bodies with one soul – their companionship spread for about sixty years. In the later part of his life (in early 1980s) he wrote a book on the so called Islamic Revolution (1979) of Iran, which reflects its true picture. This book became the means of saving the iman of millions of Muslims all over the world and stopping them from getting intoxicated with the flowery and hope filled but hollow slogans of Islamic Revolution. He was the founder editor of monthly al-Furq’an. This periodical has contributed a lot to the work of Tabligh. His widely read book, ‘Maarif-ul-Hadith’, has been translated into many languages. About 49 books on various topics are to his credit. Simple writing was his distinction. Besides the memberships of various worldwide Muslim councils, he was the member of the advisory committees of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband and Dar-ul-Uloom Nadwat-ul-Ulama, Lucknow. He was the lifetime member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).

Read that book on the Shia’s here: Click

Maulana Muhammad Umar Palanpuri (b. Rabi-ul-Oola 30, 1348 H / September 5, 1929 d. Muharram 13, 1418 H / May 20,1997)
Born in Bombay (India), he got his early religious education from his mother and then went to school. He completed traditional religious education from Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband in 1956 on the direction of Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh). He was so fond of study in his student life that when he had no money to purchase oil for lamp, he used to study in the street light sitting beside the road; he said about himself that he has been studying even 22 hours a day for months on various occasions. He memorized the Holy Qur’an in a very ripe age with the consultation of Maulana Muhammad In’am-ul-Hasan (rh). On the demise of Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh) in 1965, he was requested to stay permanently in the Markaz of Nizamuddin.

The long and detailed lecture which was delivered in the Markaz of Nizamuddin after Fajr salat every morning has always been of extraordinary importance. Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh), and before him Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) always delivered this lecture in person. However, Maulana Muhammad In’am-ul-Hasan (rh) never delivered this lecture. He, instead, gave this heavy responsibility to Maulana Muhammad Umar Palanpuri (rh), who, fulfilling the due of companionship, continuously delivered this lecture for about 32 years. This chapter in the history of Da’wah and Tabligh cannot be forgotten. Maulana In’am-ul-Hasan (rh) had great trust in him. Once, before a selected gathering of the Arab brothers, he introduced Maulana Palanpuri (rh) by saying: ‘He is Sheikh Muhammad Umar – the tongue (Mutakallim) of Da’wah and Tabligh’. He was famous for delivering speech in the light of the stories of the Holy Qur’an. His every sentence was an explanation of some verse, or some verse was explaining his talk. His speeches had been full with food for thought for the people of knowledge. People used to wait for his speech. His mother told about him that a day would come when millions of people will listen to his talks, and Allah fulfilled this foretelling in his favor to the very letter. He became the disciple of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh) on his wish.

Read a great anecdote on the life of Maulana Umar Palanpuri: Click

Muhammad Shafi Quraishi (b. Shawwal 5, 1321 H / Decermer 25, 1903 d. Shawwal 30, 1391 H / December 19,1971)
Born in Jhinjhana (India), he got his early education in Hoshiarpur and completed schooling in 1919. His father, Muhammad Siddique, was the district inspector. After attending college for some time he got into business. In 1941, he came to the work of Tabligh. He was a very beloved and well trusted companion of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh). A few days before his death Hazrath Maulana (rh) secretly briefed him about every one of his companions. His contribution to the work of Tabligh is extraordinarily remarkable. Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas very frequently traveled with him in Tablighi journeys. In the days of Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh), he remained with him and accompanied him in almost all routine and special Tablighi journeys. Most of his ex-Pakistan journeys were to Sa’udia. He was in the 2nd jam’at which was sent to Sa’udia in 1946 in order to institute the work of Tabligh over there. He was made the first regular Amir of the Tabligh of Pakistan. He was a man of very delicate and fine nature. Even in the hottest summer days he always remained in very formal dressing. For hours and hours he used to sit on the hams (back of the thigh) in the same posture with respect. The incident of Dhaka fall which split Pakistan into two affected his heart very badly and just three days after this happening he died during an ijtima of Khooi (near Peshawar). He became the disciple of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh) on his wish.

Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir Raipuri (b. 1290 H / 1878 d. Rabi-ul-Oola 14, 1382 H/ August 16, 1962)
A renowned leader of the path of spiritual development. After completing his education he got himself attached to the khanqah of Raipur. He lived an ideal virtuous life. He never had the desire of show or fame and did not keep even the things of everyday need in his possession, so much so that the clothes which he wore were not of his own but he had gifted them to someone else and was wearing them with his permission – with the intention that nothing should be his. People of every circle and affiliation, every school of thought and every taste sat combined in his company. Allah had given him a vast political insight, high-mindedness and understanding and he guided people of every political and religious bias. Another point worth mentioning about him is selflessness – he always considered himself as nothing although he was the source and centre of major Muslim groups and folds of his time. He managed to make himself well informed about the news of the world. His contribution to the work of Tabligh is very important. He remained present on almost all important occasions in Nizamuddin. He was present in that important mashwarah in which it was decided that ‘on-foot’ (paydal) jam’ats would be sent to Hajj, so that they may reach Makkah after working from country to country. He accompanied the jam’at which was sent to Sa’udia on July 6, 1947 in order to institute the work of Tabligh over there. He remained the member of the advisory committee of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband.

Maulana Sa’eed Ahmad Khan Saheb (b. 1903 d. Rajab 12, 1418 H / November 14, 1999)
Born in Khera Afghan (Saharanpur, India), he got his early education and did matriculation from Islamia School Saharanpur. After an exchange of letters with Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rh) he got admission in Jami’a Mazaahir-e-Uloom, Saharanpur, and completed education in 1360 H (1941). Then he got himself attached to Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh). He was the Amir of the 3rd jama’t which was sent to Sa’udia in 1947 in order to institute the work of Tabligh over there. There, he spent the most part of his life. His speeches used to carry a heavenly tone. His contribution in establishing and running the work of Tabligh in the Arab world is vital. He was famous for his hospitality. His letters in respect of the principles of the work of Tabligh are very important, and have been published.

Maulana Zafar Ahmad Usmani Thanwi (b. 1311 H /1893 d. Zil Qa’ida 23, 1394 H / December 9, 1974)
He was the son of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi’s sister and was an early associate of the work of Tabligh, and remained with Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) in the days of his last illness. He contributed a lot in inclining the ulama community towards the work of Tabligh. 

Maulana Muhammad Yahya Kandhlavi (b. Muharram 1, 1288 H / March 23, 1871 d. Zil Qai’da 10, 1334 H / September 9, 1916)
He was the elder brother of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh), and was his teacher as well. He is the father of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh). He memorised the Holy Qur’an at the age of seven, and got religious education from Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband. He was the special student of Hazrath Gangohi. Hazrat Gangohi also loved him very much and used to say that ‘Molvi Yah’ya is my eye’. He had such a grip on Arabic literature that he very frankly wrote in Arabic prose and poetry. He was a man of very pleasant personality, with smiling face in the day, and weeping eyes in the night. Completing the recitation of one Qur’an was his daily routine. He was a trendsetter in teaching Hadith and taught in the madrasah without pay, and used to bind books to earn his living.

Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlavi (b. Jamad-ul-Oola 25, 1335 H / March 20, 1917 d. Zi Qai’da 29, 1384 H / April 2, 1965)
2nd Hazrath Jee (Amir) of Tabligh. He was born at Kandhla (India). After memorising the Holy Qur’an at the age of 10 according to his family traditions, he got his early education from his father Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) in Nizamuddin, and then took admission in Jamia Mazaahir-ul-Uloom, Saharanpur – where he completed his elementary education. He later completed education in Nizamuddin from his father and from Maulana Ihtisham-ul-Hasan Kandhlavi (rh). He became the disciple of his father Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) in about 1935. He was more inclined to teaching in madrasah than working in Tabligh. Although he travelled with many jam’ats and gave time in Tabligh due to the efforts of his father and addressed many gatherings, yet that link with Tabligh did not establish which his father wanted from him. When his father became very seriously ill in July 1944 and the question of his deputyship arose, with the consultation of seasoned Tablighi elders he was made the Amir of the tanzeem of Tableeghi. After the death of his father, he very efficiently and nicely handled the work of Tabligh. With his zealous efforts, this work got recognised in almost all countries of the world. Apart from his worldwide engagements of Tabligh, he wrote a commentary of a famous book of Hadith ‘Sharah Ma’ani-al-Asaar’ with the name ‘Amaani-al-Ah’bar’ and wrote a widely read book on the incidents of Sahabah, viz ‘Hayaat-us-Sahabah’, for the people of knowledge and the Arab brothers. His another book, ‘Selected Ahadith of Six Numbers of Tabligh’ (Muntakhab Ahadith) has also been published by Maulana Muhammad Sa’ad Kandhlavi (damath baraka tuhum) (b. Muharram 8, 1385 H / May 10, 1965). In Rabi’ul-Oola 1375 H (October 1955), he started giving lecture on Abu Da’wud Shariff, which he continued for many years. His life. was a perfect example of following the life of the Holy Prophet (peace and infinite blessings be upon him) and was the symbol of humility and humbleness.

Maulana Mufti Zain ul Aabideen (b. Rabi’-ul-Oola 5, 1335 H / January 1, 1917)
Born in Mari Indus (Mianwali, Pakistan), he went to school first and passed elementary examination. He did ‘Daur e Hadith’ from Dabhel (India) in 1940. Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (rh) (b. Muharram 10, 1305 H/ September 29, 1887 d. Safar 20, 1369 H/ December 13, 1949) had been his among his teachers. Tafseer and fiqh had been his special subjects.

He came to the work of Tabligh in about 1943 and attended Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) in the days of his last illness. He was in the 4th jam’at which was sent to Sa’udia on July 6, 1947 in order to institute the work of Tabligh over there. Later, he was made the Amir of Tabligh Jam’at in Sa’udia where he spent about two and a half years. He came to Pakistan on April 22, 1950. He became the disciple of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rh) in 1944. In 1963, he established Dar-ul-Uloom Faisalabad (Pakistan). He had been close to Majlis-e-Ah’rar-e-Islam as well. He has traveled from country to country in Tablighi journeys. Human-development, iman and sincerity are the main topics of his lectures. He speaks in the light of reason, and very frequently discusses the issue of human rights in the light of Islam and common-sense.

Sheikh ul Hadith Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlavi (b. Ramazan 11, 1315 H / February 4, 1898 d. Sha’ban 1, 1402 H / May 25, 1982)
A world-known religious figure of the sub-continent. He was the nephew, son-in-law and student of Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh). His role in the establishment of the tanzeem of Tabligh is beyond all measure. The syllabus of Tabligh consists of mostly his books. What he did in the critical moments of Tabligh, is a glorious page in the recent history of Islam. Both Maulana Muhammad Yousuf (rh) and Maulana Muhammad In’am-ul-Hasan (rh) were his sons-in-law. He wrote over 150 books which are being read all over the world. He taught Hadith for about sixty years. Further details of his life can be had from his autobiography. He remained the member of the advisory committee of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband. His contribution to the work of Tabligh is very important. It is safe to say that he has been the actual ‘leader of the caravan’ in the entire work of the Tabligh. When Hazrath Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (rh) went to Hajj in 1356 H (1938), which was his last Hajj, he made him responsible to look after the affairs of Markaz Nizamuddin. He remained present on almost all important occasions in Nizamuddin. He was present in that important mashwarah in which it was decided that ‘on-foot’ (paydal) jama’ts will be sent to Hajj, so that they may reach Makkah after working from country to country.

The.Ijtema® Conclusion

Right.

Right.

Above are just some of the people who in the 20th century symbolized this saying of Imam Malik (rh): “Reformation of the last of this Ummah will not be possible except by adopting the method which was used in the beginning.” These were people who walked the talk, not just tweet, went to the people, not shout from the rooftops or send emails, left comfort, left seclusion, left normality, and more importantly people who…left home. Just some of the people who didn’t give up, didn’t flee to the mountains to free themselves from trials, afflictions and adversities. People who not just dreamt of a better day for the ummah but who silently took stock, stood up, stood firm, steadfast, persistent, unrelenting and unwavering in their courage and determination in the cause of Allah. People who as Muhammad Asad Leopold Weiss, the great European Muslim thinker of the 20th century puts it, said ‘Yes’ to action and ‘No’ to passivity, and ‘Yes’ to life and ‘No’ to asceticism and with the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala steered hundreds of millions of Muslims towards the Deen and in doing so, altered the course of history.

“After us the descendants of our clan will wear gold embroidered garments, eat rich and sweet food, ride fine horses and embrace beautiful women but they will not say that they owe all this to their fathers and elder brothers, and they will forget us and those great times” ~ Genghis Khan.

* * *

References:

1. Words and reflections of Maulana Ilyas by Maulana Manzoor No’mani translated by Hafiz Safwan Muhammad.

2. Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi: Life & Works by Abdul Kader Choughley.

3. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta by Ross E. Dunn.

4. The Malfuzat of Maulana Anshraf Ali Thanwi.

5. Wikipedia.

Read part 1 of the series here: Click

Wa laii kumm as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakath

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Author: Salman

Know me by my work.

10 thoughts on “A Few Good Men – Part 2: Concise Biographies of Some Prominent Personalities of Da’wah and Tabligh.

  1. Dear Brother, السلام عليكم

    Is there part 1 to this sequel – A Few Good Men?

    A link to that would have been ideal, if there was one.

  2. No mention of Maulana Tariq Jameel Sahab. Ajeeb?

  3. Assalamu alaykum
    In a recent talk, Moulana Khaleelurrahman Sajjad Nomani D.B said “if any saathhee of tableegh stops participation in tableegh after taking baiyyah from me; I seize the bayyah given to him, he shall no more be my mureed”. Can you please shed some light on this. Is this from peer zulfikhar sahib. D.B

    • وعليكم السلام و رحمة الله و بركاته

      If maulana Nomani db has said it..could you please give me the recording? I’ll try to check it with ml Zulfiqar Naqshbandi db..i feel Maulana Nomani db is a top scholar in his own right he may have an individual opinion of his own if he feels it right…if what you say is true ..then alhamdulillah this is admitting to the fact that people leave the tabligh effort when they take up tasawwuf…

  4. Assalamualaikum bhai, please remove ads from your site, they contain photos of non-mahram.

  5. Mashallah who make this Allah give him jazaye qhair Ameen

  6. Nothing is mentioned of Maulana Ihtisham ul Hasan Kandhlavi RA after 1950. Even though he was so active in the effort in the early days?

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