Shaikh Ahmad (rahimahullah) of Sarhind was a great ‘Aalim, luminary and saint who was born in 971 A.H. He was a 31st generation descendant of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pgs. 127 & 138)
Though his name was Ahmad, he is famously known by the title Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (the revivalist of the 2nd millennium). The reason is that Allah Ta‘ala had selected him to revive Deen at the commencement of the second millennium and eradicate the various wrongs that had become prevalent, including the fitnah of the so called Deen-e-Ilaahi (a new religion which was propagated by Akbar, the ruler of India) which was one of the greatest threats and dangers to the Ummah at that time.
Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah) was an embodiment of virtue and piety. Together with the other great qualities he possessed, one of his very outstanding qualities was his firm adherence to following the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in every facet of his life.
He would repeatedly say, “Our efforts and our actions are nothing (i.e. unworthy of being presented before Allah Ta‘ala). Everything is solely through the grace and favour of Allah Ta‘ala. However, if there is anything which can be regarded as a means of drawing this (mercy, grace and favour of Allah Ta‘ala), then it is the emulation of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). I regard this to be the basis for everything, as every blessing is received through following and emulating Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Whatever is not received is on account of falling short in adhering to the sunnah.”
In this regard, he once mentioned, “One day, I accidentally entered the toilet with the right foot. (Even though it was an accident,) the consequence of this was that I was deprived of many blessings on that day.” (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 175)
Among the blessed sunnats of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the sunnah of Tahajjud Salaah, and hence Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah) was extremely punctual on the Tahajjud Salaah. Regardless of the weather or season, or whether he was at home or on a journey, he would awaken for tahajjud when half the night had passed. He would then ensure that he recited the numerous sunnah du‘aas which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would recite when awakening for tahajjud. Thereafter, he would perform wudhu with great care and attention to fulfilling the sunnats of wudhu. Hence, he was very punctual on using the miswaak. Likewise, he would ensure that he faced the qiblah while performing wudhu. After performing wudhu, he would perform Tahajjud Salaah with great concentration and devotion. In his Tahajjud Salaah, he would recite lengthy portions of the Quraan Majeed. (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 177)
He would similarly be punctual on the other sunnah salaahs such as Ishraaq, Salaatud Dhuha (Chaasht), Awwaabeen, Tahiyyatul Masjid and Tahiyyatul Wudhu and would complete one recitation of the Quraan Majeed daily. (Tazkirah Imaam Rabbaani Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani pg. 235 and Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 180)
Another sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the sunnah of initiating the salaam by being the first to greet others. Hence, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah) would always hasten to make salaam to others first. In fact, such was his firmness on this sunnah that those who knew him could not recall even a single instance wherein someone was able to precede him in making salaam. (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 181)
Likewise, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah) was very particular regarding reciting the masnoon du‘aas which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would recite on specific occasions (e.g. du‘aas for eating, sleeping, leaving the home, etc.) Such was his commitment to these sunnah du‘aas that reciting them had become his second nature. (Tazkirah Imaam Rabbaani Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani pg. 235) He would also fulfil the sunnah of visiting the sick, and would ensure that he recited the relevant sunnah du‘aas for visiting the sick. (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 180)
In his dressing as well, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah) reflected the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). He would wear a kurta and turban, with the tail of the turban hanging between his shoulders, and his pants would always be above the ankles. On the day of Jumu‘ah and the two ‘Eids, he would wear elegant clothing. (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 181)
His love and devotion for the sunnah was so deep that even in seemingly mundane aspects, he strove to conduct himself in a manner that was closest to the sunnah. Hence, on one occasion, he asked an attendant to bring him a few cloves from his bag. The attendant went to the bag and returned with six cloves. When he presented the cloves to Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah), he became upset and remarked, “Do you still not know of the hadeeth mentioning that Allah Ta‘ala is (One, which is) an odd number and He thus likes things to be in odd numbers? To give preference to an odd number is thus mustahab. Unfortunately, people do not understand the importance of a mustahab act.” (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 175)
During the final days of his life, despite his weakness and the illness which he was suffering from, he ensured that he performed his salaah with jamaat. It was only during the last four or five days of his life that he performed salaah alone due to the insistence of others.
Shortly before his demise, he gave his parting advices in which he emphasized the importance of adhering to the sunnah. He said, “Hold onto the sunnah with your teeth (i.e. hold on firmly for life). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) left no stone unturned in wishing well for the Ummah. You should thus learn the manner of completely emulating him from reliable, authentic Deeni books and hold on firmly to it.” (Tareekh-e-Da’wat wa ‘Azeemat vol. 4, pg. 172)
From all the excellent qualities that were found in the life of Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahimahullah), it was perhaps his firm adherence to the blessed sunnah that caused him to gain such profound acceptance and reach such lofty heights. Hence, we should all strive to learn about the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and thereafter inculcate the blessed sunnah in our lives. The more we inculcate the blessed sunnah in our lives, the more we will progress and the more Allah Ta‘ala will bless us and accept us.