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Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi

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This great son of Islam was born in 1325 and lived to become one of the greatest luminaries of his time. Nevertheless, describing the personality of Hazrath Mufti Saheb (rahmatullah alaihi) is an almost impossible task. The most eloquent words would hopelessly fail in truly describing the knowledge, brilliance, piety, kindness, compassion, humility and the numerous other qualities which he embodied. He was an ustaad to thousands of students, a mentor to thousands of diciples and a kind and compassionate father to all who came into contact with him.


His compassion and kindness knew no bounds. It was indeed his first nature. Every year he personally took care of the monthly expenses and of the various needs of numerous students of Darul Uloom Deoband, Saharanpur and other institutions. There were instances when he gave away his valuable personal kitaabs ... and there were occasions where he even gave away the clothing he had been wearing at that time. Despite this, he never regarded himself as having shown any favour to anyone. He greatly loved the poor, he loved being with them and he loved living and even passing away like them. Hazrath (rahmatullah alaihi) was also forever concerned about the Deeni progress of others, especially the poor.

It was the normal practice of Hazrath Mufti Saheb (rahmatullah alaihi) for many years that daily he would recite 15 paras or more in salaah. During the month of Ramadaan, he would complete one Qur'an daily.Hazrath Mufti Saheb (rahmatullah alaihi) taught Bukhari Sharief for many years at Kanpur as well as at Darul Uloom Deoband. Besides teaching Bukhari Sharief and other books of hadith at Deoband, he also graced the distinguished position of Grand Mufti of that august institution for many years.

To date 22 thick volumes of his fatwas have been published. Besides the fatwas he authored several books and booklets. Upon his instruction the publication of many magazines and newsletters was undertaken by various institutions. Together with this Hazrath Mufti Saheb (R.A.) travelled to many countries for the purpose of disseminating the Deen of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). South Africa was particularly fortunate that Hazrath Mufti Saheb (rahmatullah alaihi) repeatedly blessed our shores with his presence and benifitted the Ummah with his teachings. It was also the good fortune of South Africa that this country was blessed with the last days of the life of this great luminary of Islam.

While the hearts of thousands are greatly grieved at the loss of their guide and mentor, the point to consider at this juncture is: What would have pleased Hazrath Faqihul Ummah (rahmatullah alaihi) had he been present?" The simple reply is: "Implementing his teachings and practicing on his advices." In this light, the ensuing pages are dedicated to various aspects which are important for one and all to keep in mind.

HUMILITY
 
Hazrath Faqihul Ummah (R.A.) was indeed an embodiment of humility. His teachings are filled with lessons of humility. The desire for name and fame was nowhere to be seen. The following incidents from his life are a lesson to one and all, especially to those who were associated with him:

Mufti Kifaayatullah Gangohi Saheb (R.A.) was appointed as the mufti of Deoband. At that time Hazrath Faqihul Ummah (R.A.) was the assistant mufti of Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur. On one occasion when Mufti Kifaayatullah (R.A.) met Hazrath Faqihul Ummah (R.A.), he said to him: "There are thousands of letters and queries that are lying unanswered in the Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom Deoband." Hazrath Faqihul Ummah (R.A.) replied: "Every week send a hundred or so letters to me. If you cannot arrange this, I will have somebody collect a hundred letters from you every week. At the end of the week he will bring back the replies of the first hundred and collect the next hundred. I will write the replies and leave the place for the signature blank. You can sign them and send them off." (Introduction to Fataawa Mahmoodia, Vol.3)

This incident is filled with great lessons for us. The extent of compassion, the eagerness to assist others, the readiness to undertake difficulty upon oneself for the cause of Deen and shunning name and fame is all apparent from the above. Thus we also have to follow in these footsteps. May Allah Ta'ala grant us the ability to do so. Aameen.

THE PURPOSE OF BAI'AT
 
Explaining the various reasons for bai'at, Hazrath Mufti Saheb (R.A.) mentioned the following: "Among the reasons for taking bai'at is to tread the path of sulook . What this means is that a person wishes attain ma'rifat (the recognition of Allah Ta'ala) and gain Allah Ta'ala's pleasure. Hence he makes an effort to rid himself of all evil actions and habits and adopts good character and noble actions. Also, in the pursuit of this goal he wholeheartedly follows the advice of the sheikh and happily undertakes whatever mujaahadah (striving against the nafs) the sheikh prescribes for the purpose of islaahe nafs (inner-self purification). As a result he eliminates from himself the desire for the perishable things of this world. Rather, he develops a strong and deep connection with Allah Ta'ala and becomes forever concious of His Creator. In order to guide him on this path, the sheikh, by the medium of his mashaikh [who link up in an unbroken chain right upto Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)], act as the deputy of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)." (Fatawa Mahmoodiyya - Vol.1, Pg. 33)

NECESSITY OF BAI'AT
 
In reply to a question as to whether complete islaah (reformation and inner-self purification) can take place without becoming associated with a sheikh-e-kaamil, Hazrath (R.A.) writes: "Firstly, without associating oneself with a wali-e-kaamil, generally one does not manage to practice fully on all aspects of the Shariah. Secondly, without such an association, true sincerity is not attained in one's actions. It is for this reason that after the demise of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) the Sahaaba (R.A.) took bai'at on the hands of Hazrath Abu Bakr (R.A.), thereafter on the hands of Hazrath Umar (R.A.) and so on. This bai'at was not only for allegiance to the khilafah. It was also for strengthening the purification of the inner-self. It is also for this very reason that all senior Ulama of every era, despite being masters in the field of Deeni knowledge, felt the necessity to take bai'at on the hands of a spiritual mentor....." (Fatawa Mahmoodiyya - Vol. 1, Pg.134)

NEED FOR A SHEIKH
 
Elaborating on the reasons for deprivation, Hazrath (R.A.) mentioned the following incident: Once Hazrath Thanwi (R.A.) was busy replying to his letters after zuhr salaah. During this time if anybody wished to enquire anything, they would do so. A person sitting in front had wished to ask something. Hazrath Thanwi (R.A.) would repeatedly look at him but would not say anything. This continued until Asr. Finally at Asr time Hazrath turned his attention to him. The person requested forgiveness (for causing the distraction). Hazrath Thanwi (R.A.) then said to him:

"Every time I looked at you, the incident where you swore at me pierced me like a dagger in the heart. As a result I was greatly disturbed by this ... when you have pierced the dagger into me, did you also do anything to help to heal the wound?" The person replied: "You had clearly announced that you have forgiven all those who had abused you, etc. Hence I understood from this that I too have been forgiven." Upon this Hazrath Thanwi (R.A.) said: "Even now I say the same thing - that I have totally forgiven everyone including you. I will take no revenge, neither in this world nor in the hereafter. But what can I do about my heart? Whenever I want to turn my attention to you, the incident stabs me like a dagger. I have forgiven you, but what have you done to remedy the situation?" The person replied that he had made tawba from the act he had committed. Hazrath Thanwi (R.A.) further said: "It is fine that you have repented. However, did you inform me of this repentance? I was under the impression that you still hold the same views that you expressed at that time. Now you will not derive any benefit from me. It is best that you go to some other sheikh." (Malfoozaat - Vol. 8, Pg.18)

A great lesson is to be taken from this incident. While the mashaaikh totally forgive those people who have harmed them and they harbour no malice for anyone, being human they are also hurt emotionally by the ill conduct of people. This natural feeling becomes a barrier for the mureed from deriving any benefit. May Allah Ta'ala save us from causing inconvenience to anyone, especially His special servants.

DA'WAT AND TABLIGH
 
Hazrath (R.A.) would time and again greatly emphasise the work of da'wat and tabligh. He personally has spent much time out in the jamaats with Hazrath Moulana Muhammad Ilyas Khandelwi (R.A.). In one talk delivered in South Africa, Hazrath (rahmatullah alaihi) said:

"..... Therefore this (work of Da'wat and tabligh) is a great bounty of Allah Ta'ala. Every person can take part in this work of tabligh. Those who dedicate their entire lives to this effort, what can then be said - it is nurun ala nur (absolutely excellent). Those who cannot do this can go for seven chillas or three chillas. Even those who spend just a little time will also benefit. However, to the extent of one's sacrifice one will gain success." (Mawaaiz - Vol.8, Pg.26) In a letter addressed to Hazrath Sheikhul Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya Saheb (R.A.), Hazrath (R.A.) writes:

"I was blessed with the ziyaarah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in a dream. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said to me: "Do two things, you will be my companion in Jannah - ta'leem and tabligh." Hence I have commenced with tafseer of the Qur'an after fajar in a nearby musjid. Some musallies are also ready for tabligh. We have decided to commence this Thursday." (dated 25 Rabius Thani 1372 A.H.) On several occasions while in South Africa, despite his ill health Hazrath (R.A.) travelled all the way from Johannesburg to Cape Town specifically to attend the Ijtima there. At many Ijtimas he addressed the gathering and encouraged them to take part in this work.

Thus Hazrath (R.A.) was himself at the forefront of the effort of da'wat and tabligh as well. May Allah Ta'ala enable us to emulate his example. Aameen.
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