The teachers of Hadith at Mazahirul Uloom Saharanpur

By Ml. Ashiq Ilahi Meerati
al-ʿAnāqīd al-Ghāliyah min al-Asānīd al-ʿĀliyah
Translated by Shoaib A. Rashid in The Silent Admirer – 21 September 2014

At the college of Mazāhir al-ʿUlūm in Saharanpur, the first among those that took up the task of teaching Hadith, especially the teaching of Sahīh Bukhāri, was Shaykh al-Mashāyikh Maulana Muhammad Mazhar al-Nānautawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) after whom the school is named. He began at this college in 1867 three months after the school was established. He remained there until he returned to Allah on 24 Dhu ‘l-Ḥijjah 1302/3 October 1885. During this long time period, he taught books of Quranic exegesis, Hadith, and other subjects from the various sciences. He would teach “the Two Sahīhs” with intense fervour and complete thoroughness. Outstanding scholars graduated at his hands. Among them was the author of Badhl al-Majhūd fī Ḥall Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Shaykhu Mashāyikhinā Maulana Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri th. al-Muhājir al-Madani. Joining the college of Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm in 1874 was the famous Hadith scholar and researcher of Sahīh Bukhāri and Jāmiʿ Tirmidhi, Maulana Ahmad ʿAlī al-Sahāranpūri. He remained there until he passed away in 1881. In these years he taught the six books of Tafsīr and Hadith, especially “the Two Sahīhs.” He would demonstrate total mastery in Hadith and its sciences (May Allah have mercy on him).

After the passing away of the college’s senior Hadith scholar, Maulana Muhammad Mazhar al-Nānautawi, his position of teaching Hadith was inherited by Maulana ʿAbd al-ʿUlā until he resigned in 1889. After him, Hadith was taught by Shaykh Ahmad ʿAlī al-Murādābādi and Shaykh Habīb al-Rahmān, son of the muhaddith Maulana Ahmad ʿAlī al-Sahāranpūri (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them). Shaykh Aḥmad ʿAlī resigned in 1893.

As for Shaykh Habīb al-Rahmān, he taught Hadith from 1889 until he left to Hyderabad and resigned from his services to the college in 1897. At this time, the honourable Hadith scholar Maulana Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri had been teaching the books of Hadith and other sciences at the college of Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband with his friend, Shaykh al-Zaman Maulana Mahmūd al-Ḥasan, famously known as Shaykh al-Hind, as mentioned above. So when Maulana Ḥabīb al-Rahmān resigned from the service of teaching at the college as we discussed prior, and the college now required a skilful teacher and outstanding Hadith scholar, the great imam Quṭub al-ʿĀrifīn Maulana Rashīd Aḥmad al-Gangōhi (May Allah Most High sanctify his secret) commanded the most honourable muhaddith Maulana al-Shāh Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri to transfer from Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband to Mazāhir al-ʿUlūm Saharanpur. And so [Shaykh Khalīl Ahmad] obeyed the command and took up the directorship of education there. He arrived at the college of Mazāhir al-ʿUlūm on 8 Jamād al-Ākhar 1314/1896. He, being a graduate of that college, was most worthy and suited to take this position. He assumed the directorship of education and the teaching of Hadith and other sciences for thirty years, until he migrated to Madinah Munawwarah. During this time period, he taught “the Two Sahīhs” and others from among the Six Books numerous times over.

In Rabīʿ al-Awwal of 1335/1917, he began working on Badhl al-Majhūd, a commentary on Sunan Abī Dāwūd, with the help of his most special pupil Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Maulana Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah sanctify their secrets). They completed it in Madinah Munawwarah in Riyad al-Jannah on 21 Shaʿbān 1345/1927, as we will soon mention in detail if Allah wills.

We cannot forget to mention the honourable Shaykh Maulana Muḥammad Yahyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah Most High have mercy on him), for he taught Hadith at the college of Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm from 1326/1908 until Allah caused him to pass away in 1334/1916.

When the most honourable Shaykh Khalīl Ahmad al-Sahāranpūri migrated to Madinah Munawwarah in 1926, the lessons of Hadith were entrusted to his honourable students. Among them was Ustādh al-Asātidhah Maulana al-Sayyid ʿAbd al-Latīf who became the principal of the school after his migration, so he would teach Sahīh Bukhāri as well as tend to the affairs of the college. Also among them were the esteemed Shaykh Maulana ʿAbd al-Rahmān al-Kāmalpūri, the courageous Shaykh Maulana Muḥammad Asʿadullāh al-Rāmpūri, and the outstanding Shaykh Maulana Manẓūr Ahmad Khān al-Sahāranpūri (May Allah Most High grant them all abode in the prosperity of His Paradise).

Maulana ʿAbd al-Rahmān al-Kāmalpūri taught the Jāmiʿ of Imam al-Tirmidhi and Sharh Maʿānī al-Āthārof Imam Abu Jaʿfar al-Ṭahāwi, and some years he would teach Sahīh Muslim as well. Maulana Manẓūr Ahmad Khān taught Sahīh Muslim numerous times over. Sometimes Maulana Muhammad Asʿadullāh taught it as well, and I was among those that read Sahīh Muslim under him in 1944. As for the Sunan of Imam Abu Dāwūd, it was taught by our Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) from 1929 to 1954. Then Maulana Muhammad Asʿadullāh taught it from 1954 to 1965. After Maulana ʿAbd al-Rahmān al-Kāmalpūri left to Pakistan, the Sunan of Imam al-Tirmidhi was taught by the honourable jurist Maulana al-Qārī Saʿīd Ahmad al-Ujrārawi, the senior muftī of the college, as well as the honourable Shaykh Maulana Amīr Ahmad al-Kāndhlawi.

As for Sharh Maʿānī al-Āthār of Imam al-Ṭahāwi, after Maulana ʿAbd al-Rahmān al-Kāmalpūri it was taught by Maulana Manzūr Ahmad al-Sahāranpūri, Maulana Muḥammad Asʿadullāh al-Rāmpūri, and Maulana Amīr Aḥmad al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them). As for the books of Imam al-Nasā’ī and Imam Ibn Mājah, and the Mu’attā according to both narrations, they were all taught by Maulana Manẓūr Ahmad al-Sahāranpūri. I read them all under him in the year 1944 (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them).

In the year 1926, our Shaykh Maulana Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) travelled with his shaykh to the Ḥijāz to help him in the preparation of Badhl al-Majhūd. When he returned to Saharanpur in 1929, he took up the teaching of Sahīh Bukhāri and the Sunan of Imam Abī Dāwūd al-Sijistāni (May Allah Most High have mercy on him). He taught the Sunan until 1954, and he did not stop teaching Sahīh Bukhāri until difficulties and illnesses caught up with him and forced him to give up teaching.

At this point, the teaching of Sahīh Bukhāri was entrusted to his astute and intelligent pupil Maulwī Muhammad Yūnus al-Jaunpūri (May Allah Most High preserve him). The honourable master [i.e. Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyyā] himself bequeathed this post to Maulwī Muhammad Yūnus during his own lifetime. He (May Allah Most High preserve him) taught for fourteen years during the life of the Shaykh, and he was quite worthy to perform this honourable service. May Allah Most High deliver amongst us more folk along the likes of him. Afterwards, the teaching of Hadith at this college continued at the hands of the students of these eminent personalities, such as Muftī Muzaffar Ḥusayn al-Ujrārawi, Muftī Muhammad Yahyā, and Maulana Muhammad ʿĀqil al-Sahāranpūri (May Allah Most High preserve them all).