and his Conformance to the Sunnah
His respected self has passed his entire life, from childhood to old age, in learning, teaching and writing upon the prophetic sciences.
Those persons only who have had the good fortune of reading his works can have a correct estimate of his labour and assiduousness in the acquisition of these sciences. In the works which he compiled in the Urdu language, he has collected and translated hundreds of Hadith on each topic in sweet and poignant a manner whereby there is such effectiveness in these books that hundreds of thousands of men have achieved the wealth of faith and certitude and of love for and obedience to Allah and the Apostle from them. Even if one reads these books again and again one does not feel satiated. Due to this magnetic attraction and uncommon popularity the publication of these books of Faza'il (Merits) must have run into millions of copies, because there is hardly any book depot and press which may not have printed and published these books on their own.
Besides this, the high-ranking commentaries he has compiled in Arabic on the tomes of Hadith are almost sui generis not only in the recent past but also among the works of the medieval authors.
His style of expression and diction is so uncommon and rare that every book of his commands the position of a text on which several commentaries can be written. In future there will be no writer on the subject of Hadith who will not need his books. Moreover, these books have facilitated the problem of teaching Hadith.
It is impossible to review all his books in these few pages. His single book entitled Awjaz al-Masalik Sharh-e-Mu'atta-e Imam Malik is a matchless work on all the different practical methods (mazahib) and has made the ulema independent of many books on this topic. As many practical methods of the eminent Imams as are found together, arranged and clarified in this book will not be found either in any book of the ancients' or of the modern'.
Some illustrious ulema of the Malekite practical method have themselves stated that some of the sayings of the Malekite practical method which they did not know they came to know from this book, and that if the author had not called himself a Hanafite in the introduction of the book, they would not have admitted at thousands of statements of any one that its author is a Hanafite.
His method of reasoning is so matchless and solid that Mu 'atta-e Imam Malik was a convincing book of the Malekite practical method and was a book composed by the author of the practical method, Imam Malik himself, but Hazrat Shaikh al-Hadith has explained it in such a way that he has made it convincing for the Hanafites, also even as a Malekite religious scholar has said that, ‘This author has turned Mu 'atta into a Hanafite.’
Besides this, the diligence and devotion the Shaikh has shown for books of Hadith is simply unequalled. Wherever and on whichever topic and proposition he has set his pen to paper, he has gathered all its related minutiae, generalities, arguments and derivations in a few lines or a few pages in such a manner that every article has become an independent book on its topic. If someone writes a commentary upon these few lines or few pages, one can write books of hundreds of pages. The science of Tafsir (Quranic Exegesis), Hadith, Principles of Hadith, Science of the Chain of Authorities, Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Principles of Fiqh, Dissents of Ulema, Science of Beliefs, Scholastic Theology (Kalam), Logic, Philosophy, Literature, History, in short, of all the current Islamic disciplines there is none in which he may not have written a book. For details, consult his Aap Biti (Autobiography) part ii. May Allah Most Glorious bestow longevity of life on him and cause the ummah to derive more and more benefit from his exoteric and esoteric sciences and bestow book-form upon his writings so that the ummah may benefit from them!
The recipients of grace from him are beyond computation. However, the number of those persons who have received grace from him and are busy in benefiting the masses exceeds not hundreds but thousands. Who can then count the number of the recipients of grace? May Allah Most Glorious continue the grace from this holy door which is continually current for the last several generations till the Last Day and cause this Muslim ummah to benefit more and more from this family! Ameen!
In fact this is the result of annihilating oneself in one's connection with Allah and connection with the Apostle and in the service of religion. He who effaces himself like this, Allah Most High gives him eternal life and bestows upon his grace and his name the honour of popularity in both the worlds. Notwithstanding the connection with Allah and love for the Apostle, if there is no connection with the passion for serving religion, it often happens that its benefit is not contagious but remains confined to oneself. The benefit becomes general when one is anxious about Islam and the Muslims and also strives for them.
But to tolerate anything else along with the love for Allah and love for the Apostle and to put up with it is not an easy thing for the reason that, "Allah did not make two hearts in the side of any man". But when Allah destines through someone the communication of grace to the people, He creates so much spaciousness and endurance in that one heart, that thousands of hearts cannot combine to bear that burden which that one heart does bear. In spite of there being a volcano of love for Allah and love for the Prophet raging in the heart, Allah hath bestowed so much expansiveness of heart and endurance on our revered master as it should be. Except through the shedding of tears this inner smouldering and the pain of heart is not expressed in fervent words through his auspicious tongue or in any other manner.
Once a man came to the presence of Hazrat Raipuri (may Allah illuminate his grave!) and said: "I saw a dream that a huge fire was ablaze and Hazrat Shaikh was sitting in it. On his right thigh were lying two bricks of gold and similarly two on the left thigh. Similarly, two bricks were lying on his right arm and two on the left, and Hazrat Shaikh was sitting unperturbed with self-complacency in that fire, and did not move even a little.
I have heard that at this Hazrat Raipuri said: "This fire is the fire of love and these bricks of gold are those filiations which have been transmitted to him; and to sit in it with self-complacency is Hazrat's consummate self-control and endurance.”
Incapable men like us, unacquainted with its ways and customs, cannot offer even its faint idea, let alone its reality, in words. Someone has well said: - (Urdu couplets): "It's the beginning of love; there's neither coming nor going. It's the reign of tears and the regime of sighs. This love is not an easy thing. Understand only this much that it is a sea of fire and one has to drown oneself into it to reach the destination.
Distance and separation in it are already a destruction for life but the more one attains proximity to and union with the Beloved, the soul, instead of getting solace, tosses more restlessly and as some one has said: "I am a soul-melting candle while you are a heart-expanding morn: I burn if I don't see you and I die when you show your face. I am near you so much and far away as I said, ‘neither can I bear the union nor endure separation.’”
We cannot dare to speak more on this topic. May Allah Most Glorious keep his precious being alive with all these graces and blessings for a long time! Ameen!
Even as in this book we have described some events of the religious elders' care and effort for conformance to the Sunnah, we recount some events as to how much care is lavished on the Sunnah at our chief’s place also.
There was a time when the Shaikhs of the Naqshbandiyya order were exemplary in conformance to the Sunnah, and, compared to other orders, conformance to the Sunnah had been considered confined to the Naqshbandiyya order. Similarly, our Chishtiyya Shaikhs too, praise be to Allah, are exemplary in conformance to the Sunnah. In every walk of life and every moment and breath of life the Holy Prophet's auspicious life and good conduct used to be and still remains these august men's spectacle. By reason of the same connection our master's entire life too passed in conforming to the Sunnah a correct estimate of which can be had by reading his works, particularly his Aap Biti. As a blessing and a sacred relic some of these events are described here.
It had been his usual wont throughout his life to wrap a turban. Accordingly, once when this sunnah was mentioned, he very regretfully said: "It was a practice of my entire life to wear bob and turban, but while illness has compelled me to give up many other things, this sunnah has also been given up. Now for many years there is such intense heat in the brain that in severe winters too I hardly put on a muslin cap, otherwise formerly I practised both these Sunnahs constantly".
Once, while starting to bathe him on a Friday, an attendant (due to an accident early in his life in which Hazrat Shaikh injured both his legs and has been handicapped and hence been dependent on the help of his loyal disciples who always attend to all his needs), instead of pouring water on the right shoulder, poured water on the left shoulder first, Hazrat at once challenged him and said: "You don't know even this much about the sunnah that it should be begun from the right side."
Similarly, once an attendant, while helping him to put on the trousers, erroneously tried to insert the left leg first, at which Hazrat immediately jerked his leg and said: "My friend! You are a maulavi and yet you don't know that the right leg should be inserted first.’ Incidents of this type occurred many times. Whether he was busy talking with someone or in hearing or in dictating letters or any other work of utmost importance, but it never happened while putting on trousers, socks etc. on the left leg first that he must not have immediately prevented the attendant, as if, it is not at all possible that even by mistake the left leg may enter first.
Similarly, while entering the mosque, the left foot was not entered first even by mistake, although in the mosque of the old madrasah the place from where the limit of the mosque begins, it is like a line of straight bricks which even a clear sighted man, after looking at it carefully, can discriminate as the limit of the mosque. But in spite of Hazrat's weak sight, rather very nominal eyesight, he never committed a lapse. When he reaches there, first of all the right foot is put into the mosque and therewith the words "Bismillah-e was-salato was-salamo 'ala Rasulullah" come out from Hazrat's tongue; and at the same time Hazrat, as soon as he has entered the mosque, intends for devotional seclusion (i'tikaf).
To insist upon the attendants he told them many times that they too should make this intention of i'tikaf. Several years ago here as well as, in the mosque of the madrash were hung sheets of paper bearing the invocation for entering the mosque along with the words for the intention of i'tikaf in Arabic.
Great care is taken at his place for observing the Sunnahs of Friday also. Besides clothes, every new thing whether personal or domestic, is usually put into use on a Friday, but the change of summer and winter clothes, use of cold water and plain water, change of heavy and light quilts, blankets and bed-sheets in the beginning of winter and summer, in short, in every thing great care is taken at his place that (change of these takes place on a Friday only).
The Friday bath is also so much taken care of at his place that in spite of such intense weakness and old age and severe cold of Saharanpur it was never missed. Though at the time of bathing, five or six attendants are required, Allah Most Glorious has given him such devoted, ever-present and self-sacrificing attendants who consider his comfort their own comfort. May Allah Most High bestow more grace upon them!
Similarly, the applying of perfume (attar) on Friday, after the bath, is a constant practice. Hazrat is very fond of attar. In Honoured Mecca and the Illuminated Madina after each ablution and while going to the noble Haram for attendance he applies attar very carefully.
Once, after having taken the bath on Friday, he was starting to go. He had put on a new shirt. So when Hazrat came out of his room to board the vehicle, his glance fell upon his shirt which was a little longer than half the calf length. Immediately he asked the attendants and all confirmed it. So he sent for another shirt while standing there. He then put on this shirt cut and stitched according to the Sunnah and immediately sent that new shirt which was lower than half the calf length to be cut to size. This is the reason that it has been said in a hadith that, "a single faqih alone is more formidable for Satan than a thousand devotees", because these august men have a very strict watch over themselves so that no action contrary to the Sunnah and Shari'ah may proceed from them. This watch over themselves as well as on their subordinate is very strict.
Similarly, to take lunch on Friday after the Friday prayer is a Sunnah practice. Hence, Hazrat's practice too, from the very beginning, is to take the lunch along with all the guests after the Friday prayer.
To recite Sura-e Sajdah and Sura-e Dahr in the Fajr (Pre-dawn prayer) prayer on Friday is a Sunnah practice. This traditional reciting is usually done on Friday in Hazrat's mosque but when the gathering is large, he himself tells the imam: "Recite Sura-e Sajdah and Sura-e Dahr today. I said this for the reason that you may not omit them today because the gathering is large, and this Sunnah nowadays has become generally obsolete; perhaps someone in the gathering may revive a feeling and care for it."
It had been stated in Hadith that the Holy Prophet used to lengthen the Sunnah rak'ahs after Maghrib so much so that all the worships (namazis) used to go away. This is Hazrat's practice also.' he says the Sunnah rak'ahs very long.
But it is difficult to know this at his place because of the crowd of guests; all the guests and non-guests remain sitting in the mosque.
This care for the Maghrib Sunnah rak'ahs has been marked during residing at home as well as during journey. Even during journey they are not shortened, so much so that this effort increases further in the journey for pilgrimage and the journey to Hejaz. Rather in this auspicious journey some such Sunnahs which other ulema, even Mash'ikh might not have ascertained, are also observed as much as other Sunnahs.
The Holy Prophet had once taken milk during the stay at 'Arafat. So, with as much care as people always keep water with them, Hazrat, in order to put this one sunnah of a whole year or a lifetime into practice, very carefully asking the attendants to keep milk in a thermos or in a vessel, so that even that work which the Holy Prophet did once in a life time may not be missed.
The point is that the lovers of the Holy Prophet are so keen that they keep in mind even that single work which their beloved Prophet performed only once in his entire life, just not to miss it during any pilgrimage-journey.
Similarly, the performance of umrah during the holy Ramazan is an act of Sunnah. The Holy Prophet says, "verily, to perform umrah during Ramazan is equal to performing the Hajj in my company."
In order to achieve this merit and to perform a Sunnah whenever Hazrat chanced to be in the Honoured Mecca during Ramazan, he performed one umrah daily. "In our youthful days'; says Hazrat, "we would put off our clothes after Taraveeh and wrapping ourselves with ahram (unstitched sheets of cloth) we used to go running to Tan'eem and come back running, and after finishing Tawaf (circumambulation) and Sa'i (brisk walk between Safa and Marwah) we would take sehri (pre-dawn meal during Ramazan) and retire to bed. This was the daily practice throughout the Ramazan.’
Three years ago, for as many days as he lived in the Honoured Mecca, it was a daily practice that when the guests finished taking dinner after Taraveeh, all would don ahram and go to Tan'eem with Hazrat in Malek Sahib's car. There would be thirty to forty men with him in two, three vehicles.
On the first of Ramazan when Hzarrat went to Tan'eem for umrah, and reached the open ground behind Masjid-e 'Ayesha, from where the ahram is put on, he sat down on sand and said: "Hazrat 'Ayesha's camel had sat here'; and without spreading the prayer-carpet, he intended for nafls on the sand. On the second day also Hazrat went to the same ground for saying the nafls without spreading a prayer-carpet. When he was about to intend for the nafls, he heard that a man was asking someone to lend him a prayer-carpet. Hazrat asked in an angry tone:
"Who requires a cloth"? Then angrily he said.' "Lift me. We shall say the nafls in the mosque" Thereafter Hazrat would perform the nafls of ahram in the mosque only; no occasion then came to pass that the nafls were performed on the open ground.
This is the perfect conformance to the Holy Prophet's and his noble Companions' sayings and action May Allah Most High bestow a portion thereof on us also! Amen!
Last year, on the occasion of the pilgrimage journey, while Hazrat was still in Mecca Mukarramah, some companions of his were going to Madina (Hazrat was to go to Madina Munawarrah later), he gave some money to them and said: "On reaching Madina, distribute it among the poor." Then addressing his attendants, in order to teach them, he said, "Do you know why have I given this sum to them? It is stated in the holy Quran:
‘O ye who believe! When you hold conference with the messenger, offer an alms before your conference. That is better and purer for you.’ (LVIII: 12)
Hence it has been my constant practice that before visiting I send something especially for the poor people of Madina. You should also be very careful to do so because it is very effective in cleansing the heart.”
We have mentioned two, three things of this auspicious journey as a specimen. If his conformance to the Sunnah alone is written in detail, hundreds of pages will prove insufficient for it. Half-verse: ''A ship is required for this shore less sea''. Hence it has been mentioned above only briefly that no moment of his life passes contrary to the Sunnah and no action can proceed against the Sunnah.
Besides the various devotions, in eating and drinking also no Sunnah can be missed. As such, three years back, Hazrat got a quantity of barley flour and began to eat barley-bread for lunch. This practice continued for several months without fail, Hazrat, with great love and much relish went on eating the barley-bread with the intention of conforming to the Sunnah. Love makes everything easy, otherwise to mould life according to "the good conduct" part, the discharging of obligatory duties also becomes difficult without love. It is due to the same love that when a man once sent him a present of henna from the holy Madina, Hazrat said in his assembly (majlis): "Show me some way of eating it. What should be the way for eating it"? (So overwhelmed with love that he wished to eat Henna if it was possible).
The Sunnah practice on the day of 'Id al-Adha is that nothing should be eaten before the Khutbah and the meat of the sacrificed animal should be eaten after the prayer. Ordinarily Hazrat is not habituated to taking any breakfast in the morning. In the morning he takes only tea.
Hazrat's ascertainment was that there is prohibition for food while tea and pan (betel-leaf) are not included in food, and so he used to take tea and betel-leaf before the Khutbah.
But once the late Maulana Mufti Sa'eed Ahmed, Chief Mufti, Mazahir-e Ulum (Saharanpur) said that tea and betel-leaf too are included in food. From that day, in spite of the fact that Hazrat's opinion and ascertainment are against that (i.e. his opinion is that betel-leaf and tea are not included in food) he has given up taking both these things so that he may have acted upon both the statements and there may remain no doubt of missing a sunnah.
The chapter on conforming to the Sunnah on festive occasions and marriages Hazrat has written himself in his Aap Biti, part iii.
At one place in this chapter he writes, 'I performed two marriages of my own, approximately sixteen, seventeen marriages of my sister, sister's daughters, son and grandchildren, and in each marriage Allah Most High did such favour unto me that I never felt whether I performed a marriage or said two rak'ahs of nafl prayer. Marriage was an act of devotion which people turned into a burden of ceremonies.
"The ulema have stated that two devotions are such which, beginning from Hazrat Adam (peace and blessings be upon him and on our prophet!) will continue till the Last Day, even in Paradise: the one is faith and the other is wedlock.
"The Noble Prophet declared wedlock to be his Sunnah and said 'Wedlock is my Sunnah; he who avoids my Sunnah is not of me"!
But we people, having included many absurd things in this blessed Sunnah, have made it a great burden.
‘In the Holy Prophet's and during the noble Companions' (may Allah be pleased with all of them!) period it had the status of a Sunnah only. There was not a scintilla in those days of these absurdities that we have mixed in it'
After this Hazrat has mentioned all the festive occasions and marriages at his place in a very delightful and soul-nourishing manner; it is worth reading and worthy of putting into practice. May Allah Most Glorious bestow upon us also the grace to conform to the Sunnah in each stage of life!
As stated earlier we wished to write about only a few events of Hazrat's conformance to the Sunnah, and not all such events and conditions of his life. If there is a biographer he can reproduce his entire life (which has passed in consummate conformance to the Sunnah) in the chart of perfect Sunnah; we had to write only a few events by way of a token of blessing.
Now we conclude this topic with the respectable Hazrat's advice regarding conformance to the Sunnah.
He writes in one letter, "For future too my advice is this only that you should not be hesitant in trying to spread the Holy Prophet's and the noble Companions' way of life and should not care a row of pins if the worldlings consider you despicable and insignificant. Urdu couplet: - "The people may consider me deprived of dignity and sedateness but let him not think that I am not worthy of his banquet."
May Allah Most High bestow upon us the grace to follow and fulfil the respectable Hazrat's advice! Ameen!