Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 21 - Lessons Gained from the Incidents of Our Akaabir

Discourse 21 - Lessons Gained from the Incidents of Our Akaabir

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نحمده و نصلي على رسوله الكريم ، أما بعد :

I had the following conversation with an educated person:

“What knowledge do I really possess?” he lamentably asked.

“You have studied at an institution,” I commented. “Did you fulfil the rights of the knowledge that you have acquired?”

“I have not really studied,” he declared.

“Very well,” I realised that the situation required further clarification. “If two lists were to be drawn up of the ignorant and the knowledgeable and your name was included among the ignorant, will you accept that? This statement ‘I do not have any knowledge’ is a deception. If however your condition is truly as you profess, then the scenario would be completely different.”

An aalim while delivering a lecture claimed: “Words of wisdom must be accepted regardless of its source. Listen, someone asked Bernard Shaw, ‘What is the best thing?’

‘Islam,’ was his response.

‘What is the worst thing?’ asked the questioner, puzzled.

‘A Muslim,’ replied Bernard Shaw firmly.

How true is his statement?”

I subsequently commented on this statement: “Bernard Shaw’s reply to the first question was bribery. If he had not bribed your intellect, you would not have accepted the second statement. You may have even been prepared to kill him for classing Muslims as the worst of humanity. Bribery assumes many forms, and the form of the bribery of one’s intellect is subtle and treacherous. If he believed Islam to be ‘the best thing’, then why did he not accept Islam?”

The point to note is the reaction of an individual when he is addressed with the ‘title’ that he has conferred upon himself. He may refer to himself as ‘this lowly servant’ or write this name in his correspondence. But when someone else refers to him as ‘a low servant’, he begins to frown. This indicates that he does not really consider himself to be as such.

Hadhrat Moulana Thanwi رحمة الله عليه correcting the nawaab

A nawaab (a very wealthy person) wrote a letter to Hadhrat Moulana Thanwi رحمة الله عليه seeking permission to spend a few days at the khanqah. “I intend coming to stay in the khanqah for a few days. I will not bring any attendants along and I shall personally do all my work and I will also straighten everyone’s shoes.”

Moulana understood the underlying intentions of the nawaab.

“You desire to assert your authority here as well,” chided Hadhrat Moulana. “You have already assigned certain responsibilities upon yourself. Your ego has not left you! For your daily needs, bring along an attendant and come with this intention that whatever work is assigned to me, I will do it. If you are told to straighten shoes, you will do that. If you are instructed to act as a nawaab, you will comply as well. Whatever instruction is given, you must be prepared to carry it out.”

The greatest accomplishment is to abandon our whims and ego, otherwise, no progress can be achieved and one remains in a state of anxiety. The nawaab sahib bestowed this duty of straightening shoes upon himself. However, if he had arrived at the khanqah and Hadhrat Moulana had instructed him to do that, he would not have been prepared to carry it out. When his attendant straightens his shoes, how is it possible for him to straighten the shoes of others?

The natural disposition of the humble servants of Allah Ta‘ala is totally different.

Humility of Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi’s رحمة الله عليه daughter

The daughter of Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه was quite old when I was young. I looked upon her as my own grandmother. I frequently visited her during my childhood. However, when I reached adulthood, she began observing purdah from me. Once, when I visited her, she was sitting in the middle of the courtyard behind a curtain suspended with a rope. She then said, “O my son, I am going to observe purdah from you,” and wrapped herself with a sheet as well.

“I had seen you in a dream, teaching a du‘aa to me,” I disclosed.

“I do not know which pious servant of Allah Ta‘ala had come in your dream and taught you a du‘aa,” she humbly replied.

“Ok,” I said, “in this wakeful state, please inform me of that particular du‘aa.”

“I am a non entity. How can I inform you of the du‘aa? Since you have the treasure of hadeeth with you, perhaps you can inform me of it.”

The manner in which she said, “I am a non entity,” sent a shiver down my spine.

Humility of Hadhrat Moulana Raipuri رحمة الله عليه

Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri رحمة الله عليه once related: “I had once visited Madinah Munawwarah. At that time, Hadhrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri رحمة الله عليه was residing in Madinah. I happened to see Moulana on the road, but I felt very much ashamed to meet Hadhrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmad, for I am an impure soul.”

This statement reduced the entire gathering to tears. Our Akaabir meant what they said. Their words were not empty statements devoid of any feeling. Hadhrat Raipuri then continued: “Hadhrat Saharanpuri رحمة الله عليه received me with great joy and compassion. He took me to the Rowdhat-ul-Jannat, where I performed salaah and, thereafter, he took me to the Rowdha-e-Mubaarak to make salaam to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). He treated me with extreme compassion.”

Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi’s رحمة الله عليه expertise in Deeni knowledge

Hadhrat Raipuri رحمة الله عليه once quoted an incident narrated by Ameer Shah Khan Sahib: “Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه had seen himself in a dream standing on the mimbar of Musjid-un-Nabawi. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked Moulana Gangohi one hundred masaa’il and Moulana answered them according to the Hanafi Mazhab. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was extremely pleased with his answers and permitted him to issue fatwas.”

Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه once passed a fatwa declaring that a certain type of crow was permissible to eat. This crow which lived within the precincts of the town, fed on grains and dirt, similar to chickens, but the people considered it to be like carrion. Hence, Hadhrat Moulana declared that it was permissible to eat, and those who ate it with the intention of correcting the understanding of people, will be rewarded for it. This caused a great uproar and, in many places, people opposed him and, even up to today, people still oppose him in this mas’alah.

At that time there was a senior buzurg, who quipped, “Today crows are declared as halaal. Tomorrow, the kite[1] will become halaal.”

On uttering this statement, his spiritual link with Allah Ta‘ala was severed and the spiritual light present in his heart was extinguished. He became extremely perturbed and spent many hours engrossed in muraaqabah (deep meditation) and zikr to ascertain the cause of his condition, but it was to no avail.

He enlisted the help of another buzurg who, after making muraaqabah, informed him that he was disrespectful to some buzurg. He contemplated on this issue and remembered the statement he made about Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه. He immediately set off on foot to Gangoh, to beg the forgiveness of Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi.

En-route to Gangoh, he spent the night at a musjid in Saharanpur. During the night, he had seen Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi in a dream telling him: “I have forgiven you.”

When he awoke, the spiritual effulgence had returned and his special contact with Allah Ta‘ala was restored. He set off for his hometown and did not proceed to Gangoh, as his objective was achieved.

There was also another very senior buzurg from Ambala, by the name of Saai Tawakkul Shah رحمة الله عليه who was unlettered. Someone had questioned him about the fatwa concerning the crow.

“You are asking me about Moulana Gangohi,” he asked, enraged. “I see him sitting in the position of iftaa (issuing verdicts) in the presence of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

Hadhrat Moulana Abdurraheem Raipuri’s رحمة الله عليه first shaikh was a buzurg whose name was also Abdurraheem. He was commonly referred to as Mia Sahib and he was also unlettered. His takyah kalaam (word or phrase that is constantly and involuntarily uttered by a person) was میرا چاند - ‘mera chand’, which literally means ‘my moon’. Effectively, this meant ‘my beloved’. He used to perceive the spiritual conditions of his mureeds through kashf (vision of the unseen), and he would write a letter to his mureed saying, “My beloved, refrain from this action and save yourself from it.”

A mureed once asked him the meaning of the aayat,

وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ الْمَنفُوشِ

He replied that he was not an educated person, but in his opinion it means that the huge mountains will become like carded wool on the Day of Resurrection.

“However, if you want to know the proper meaning of the aayat,” he added, “then go and ask Moulana Gangohi.”

“Will Moulana Gangohi know the answer?” queried the mureed.

“Definitely! His pen sees the `Arsh and then writes down the answer. Go and ask him.”

Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه and Hadhrat Moulana Fadhl-ur-Rahman Ganj Muradabadi رحمة الله عليه

A mureed of Hadhrat Moulana Fadhl-ur-Rahman Ganj Muradabadi رحمة الله عليه sought permission to visit Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه.

“Moulana is a very righteous person. You may go and visit him and convey my salaams to him,” replied Moulana. For Moulana Fadhl-ur-Rahman to praise Moulana Gangohi in this manner was a great tribute indeed.

The mureed spent a few days and, on his return, Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه told him: “Convey my salaams to Moulana, together with two messages. The first is that Moulana should adopt the character of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” This was in reference to the fact that Moulana Fadhl-ur-Rahman was very severe in his dealings with those who frequented his company.

“The second,” explained Moulana, “is that he should control himself,” since Moulana repeatedly revealed his kashf.

When the mureed conveyed the first message, Moulana asked exasperatingly: “Does anyone come to me seeking the knowledge of deen? Those who frequent my company, do so for worldly motives. One individual desires to have children, another requires a ta`weez to win a court case; various kinds of people come to me with their different worldly needs. What else can I do but become angry with them? He sits in Gangoh and advises me to adopt the character of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!”

When the mureed conveyed the second message, Moulana sighed heavily and uttered: “I do not have his capability. He drinks and digests spiritual oceans upon spiritual oceans, yet he does not even give the slightest hint of it.”

Moulana Fadhl-ur-Rahman رحمة الله عليه was senior in age to Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه and was a student of Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi رحمة الله عليه.

As far as I know, neither did Saai Tawakkul Sahib, nor Mia Abdurraheem Sahib or Moulana Fadhl-ur-Rahman Ganj Muradabadi رحمة الله عليهم ever meet or correspond with Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه. However, they all belonged to one fraternity. Hence, they recognised the lofty positions of each other.

Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi’s رحمة الله عليه link with his shaikh and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

It is narrated in Tazkirat-ur-Rasheed, that once Ameer Shah Khan Sahib came to Gangoh. He was bay'at to Hadhrat Moulana Nanotwi رحمة الله عليه and possessed a remarkable memory. He would narrate incidents of Shah Waliyyullah’s رحمة الله عليه family in the style of a muhaddith: “So and so said this and so and so said that,” etc. He would point out the minor differences narrated by the different individuals.

He narrated the following episode to Moulana Gangohi: “I was sitting in a musjid in Hijaaz when another person entered the musjid and sat next to a buzurg. The buzurg told him: ‘I see the picture of a girl in your heart.’ This person became ashamed and lowered his head. The buzurg then outlined the features of this girl.

“The person then said: ‘In my youth, I was infatuated with this girl and whenever I experienced any anxiety by not being able to see her, I would close my eyes and visualise her in my mind. Even now, when I become restless, I close my eyes and think about her.’”

Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه did not comment on this incident. Ameer Shah Khan Sahib repeated the incident on another occasion. Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi again declined to comment. When he visited Gangoh on a third occasion and narrated the same incident, Hadhrat Moulana asked: “Ameer Shah, is your memory weakening? You have related this incident to me several times.”

“No, Hadhrat, my memory has not deteriorated. The first time I related the story, it was on this day, at this time and this date and similarly, on the second occasion, these are the details. The reason for narrating it on several occasions is that I desire to hear a comment from you regarding this incident.” Ameer Shah accounted for each meeting in great detail.

“In order for that person to visualise that girl, he had to close his eyes,” commented Moulana. “My association with Haji Imdaadullah Sahib رحمة الله عليه was such that for a number of years, I did not perform any action without making mashwarah with him, even though he was residing in Makkah Mukarramah. Thereafter, this was my relationship with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). I did not perform any action, no matter how insignificant, without making mashwarah with Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

Hadhrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya’s رحمة الله عليه close link with Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

After Hadhrat Shaikh-ul-Hadeeth رحمة الله عليه had returned from England, he asked me: “Muftijee, tell me. What was the benefit in going to England?”

“Should I inform you?” I enquired. “Should I inform you?”

Hadhrat focused his attention towards me. “Yes! I am instructing you to do so.”

“Why are you questioning me? Question that person who had instructed you to go there. Ask him what benefit was gained in going there.”

Tears flowed from Hadhrat Shaikh’s رحمة الله عليه eyes. “The fact of the matter is that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had instructed me on several occasions to go to England and he assured me that he will also accompany me.”

One day in London, Moulana Abdurraheem Motala (رحمة الله عليه) approached me looking extremely perturbed. “Someone had seen a dream in which Hadhrat Shaikh had passed away and we were in a dilemma because we did not know where to bury him,” he said.

“There is nothing to be concerned about,” I reassured him. “The inference to Hadhrat Shaikh passing away means that Hadhrat has left Madinah and arrived in England. As for the second part, this means that although he is in your midst, there is none from among you who truly understands the teachings of Hadhrat Shaikh.”

“Ya Allah! That dream really had us worried.” Moulana clasped his hands in obvious relief.

Someone had dreamt that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) came to the khanqah, observed the activities conducted during the day and endorsed them. Another person had dreamt that there were three graves in London assigned to Haji Sahib, Moulana Gangohi and Moulana Saharanpuri رحمة الله عليهم respectively. Bees were emerging from these graves and were flying all around. I interpreted the dream and said that it was a good sign. It meant that the benefit of these three buzurgs was spreading in England.

Once, a person had seen four tents in his dream. The first belonged to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the second to Hadhrat Moosa ('alaihis salaam), the third to Hadhrat Dawood ('alaihis salaam) and the fourth to Hadhrat 'Isa ('alaihis salaam). The four Ambiyaa emerged from their respective tents, had a discussion – the one seeing the dream could not hear this discussion – and returned to their tents.

“Yes,” I explained. “The Jews and Christians take the names of these three Ambiyaa, but all three of them desire that their ummats work with Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) because they are the assistants of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

Coincidently, a senior priest in England had published an article stating that Islam posed a serious threat to Europe, for it had not reached the shores of Europe through the sword, but in this manner; through the efforts of the auliyaa-allah (pious friends of Allah), Islam had excelled in Europe.

Returning to my conversation with Hadhrat Shaikh رحمة الله عليه, he sighed and revealed: “The people of Calcutta have extended an invitation to me to spend some time there. I excused myself, using my ill health and weakness as a reason for not accepting their invitation. However, they insist that I come there, as I do not find any difficulty in travelling between Makkah and Madinah. I responded that there was no comparison between the Haramain and Calcutta. But now, since I have visited England, what answer can I give them?”

“Hadhrat, I have already given the answer,” I remarked.

“What answer did you give?”

I then answered him in Persian poetry:

ضعف پیری کثرت امراض کردش مضمحل          لیک بہر محنت دیں ہمتے دارد جواں

Weakness and sickness has exhausted Hadhrat, but his zeal for the effort of deen is never drained.

مکہ ، طیبہ ، پاک ، افریقہ رسیدہ فیض او          ساخت مرکز زامبیا ، رنگون ، لندن ، انڈماں

His benefit has reached Makkah Mukarramah, Madinah Tayyibah, Pakistan and South Africa. He has established centres of deen in Zambia, Rangoon, London and Andaman.

کرداوقات عزیزش بر اشارات منقسم            گاہ در طیبہ آید گاہ در ہندوستاں

He distributes his valuable time in accordance to the command of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Sometimes he goes to Madinah and sometimes to India,

بے اجازت نقل وحرکت وصل و ہجرت ہیچ نیست        شد فنا قصدش بقصد سید پیغمبراں

but he does not go to any place without the permission of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). He has sacrificed his desires for the pleasure of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

خانقاہ و مدرسہ قائم نمودہ جا بجا            تربیت کردہ فرستد کارواں در کارواں

He has established madrasahs and khanqahs in many places and he has educated and trained many ulama and mashaayikh to run these madrasahs and khanqahs.

“I have never visited any place without seeking the consent of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam),” disclosed Hadhrat. “I went to Madinah Tayyibah with his permission and I have come here with his permission.”


[1] Kite: a soaring bird of prey.

 

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