Allamah Zafar Ahmad Usmani

The great alim, muhaddith-jurist, researcher, prolific writer and shaykh, Zafar Ahmad b. Abd al-Latif Uthmani Thanwi. He was born on 13 Rabi I 1310 (Oct, 1892) and died in Dhul Qa’dah 1394 (1974 CE). He was a close member of Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s circle who was also his maternal uncle and teacher. Amongst others, he also studied under Shaykh al-Hadith Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri from who he has ijazah for the kutub sittah. He served as a teacher in Mazahirul Uloom for seven years and thereafter at Imamul Uloom in Thana Bawan. He also taught at Madrasah Muhammadiyah in Rangoon, Burma, served at head teacher Madrasah Aliyah in Dacca for eight years and was the shaykh al-hadith at Darul Uloom Islamiyyah in Ashafabad (Hyderabad, Sind).

His magnus opus is Ila’ al-Sunan in which he produced and critically analysed the hadith evidences used in the Hanafi fiqh. He further wrote supplementary works to this tile; Qawa’id fi Ulum al-Hadith and Inja’ al-Watan ‘an al-Izdira’ bi Imam al-Zaman. It took twenty years to complete. Another work of note is Dala’il al-Qur’an ‘ala Masa’il al-Nu‘man (popularly known Ahkam al-Quran li Thanwi) in which he was assigned to write from the beginning to Surah Nisa’. These works were commissioned by Hakim al-Ummat Thanwi. He has many other works in Arabic and Urdu. His fatawa is published in multi volumes under the title Imdad al-Ahkam; they are particularly insightful as he highlights the principles of the issues.

May Allah almighty have mercy upon him and grant him a high station in Junnah.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman
5 Rabi II 1437
15 January 2016

For a more detail read the biography written by Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (May Allah have mercy upon him) available in introduction to ‘Ila al-Sunan.

Mawlana Mamluk al-Ali Nanautwi

1204 – 1267 AH (1789 – 1851 CE). One of the great Alim of his time in Delhi and a renowned educator. His student number is countless and notably include nearly all the founders of Deoband.

By Mawlana Abd al-Hayy b. Fakhr al-Din al-Husayni
Nuzhat al-Khawatir v.7 pp.1119 #917
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami

The great Shaykh and scholar. Mamluk al-Ali b. Ahmad Ali b. Ghulam Sharf b. Abd Allah al-Siddiqi Nanautwi. [Considered] one of the famous teachers. He was born and raised in Nanauta – a village in the district of Saharanpur. He acquired knowledge from Allamah Rashid al-Din Dihlawi and other ulama. He specialised in fiqh, usul, Arabic and had complete mastery of logic. He was posted to teach in Madrasa Dar al-Baqa’. He benefited [them] the length of his age and exerted his effort on this [endeavour] so much so that his advancements became known amongst the ulama. A huge number of people, a sum which is countless, have learnt from him. He travelled to the Hijaz in 1258. [There] he did hajj and ziyarah. [Then] he returned to India after a full year. He died eleven days before the end of Zul Hijjah, 1267 AH before seven from liver disease.

[This entry is based on] the article of his son [Shaykh] Ya’qub [included] in the biography of Shaykh Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi. [May Allah almighty have mercy upon them all].

For a detailed article, read ‘Nanautwi, Mamluk al-Ali – d. 1267‘. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ). Issue 104. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/150620501

Ml. Nur al-Hasan Rashid Kandhalwi has written a detailed book on his biography entitled, ‘Ustad al-Kull Hadrat Mawlana Mamluk al-Ali Nanautwi‘. The work is in Urdu and has been published by Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Academy; Kandhla, India, (1430 AH/ 2009 CE).

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4 Rabi I 1437
14 January 2016

Note: In regards to his date of death, the sources are inconsistent  with some suggesting he died on 11 Zul Hijjah whilst this entry suggests it was 11 days before the end of Zul Hijjah. Furthermore, he was in the full time employ of Dehli college which was a government institute as opposed to Darul Baqa where at the most he could have been a visiting lecturer.

The different temperaments of the pious

How would you have reacted in the given case? This is a useful exercise to connect with the ulama and the sahabah. Would Hadrat Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman (may Allah almighty be pleased with them) reacted alike considering what we know of their personality?

 

By Hakim al-Islam Qari Muhammad Tayyab Qasimi
Arwah Thalatha, p. 16
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami; Bulletin #151225501 – 13 Rabi I 1437

Hadrat Amir Shah Khan Sahib relates that one man invited Shah Wali Allah Sahib (Muhaddith) Dihlawi, Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib and Mirza Mazhar Jani Jana for food. He sat all three of them down and left. The man returned after midday. He placed one paisa (shilling) in each of their hand and said,

Hadrat, I left for some work and absolutely forgot about the invite given to you. Now there is no time to arrange the food, hence, keep this money for food.

Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib thanked him and said,

Brother, even this is a favour because if we were to work from morning to now, we would have got a paisa and here you have sat us in comfort and gave us a paisa.  Shah Wali Allah accepted it silently and said nothing. However, Mirza Muhammad Jani Jana was offended and said,

You wasted the time of this honourable people. Shah Wali Allah Sahib would have taught hadith till now and Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Sahib would have benefited his adherents. (He did not say anything regarding himself as in what he would have done). However, you have stopped them from doing Islamic services. Be warned, never do that again.

Thereafter, the three got up and left. After stating the story, Amir Shah Khan Sahib said, Hadrat Haji Imdad Allah related this story to me as well as Hadrat Mawlana Qasim Sahib Nanotwi and Hadrat Mawlana Gangohi also.

Hadrat Haji Sahib after discussing this story said, Mawlana Rafi al-Din’s case is one of humility – it resonates of chistiyat. Hadrat Mawlana Qasim Sahib said, Shah Wali Allah’s case is higher in that his nafs was unfazed. Hadrat Gangohi used to say that Mirza Mazhar Jani Jana’s case is very high. Justice dictated here what Mirza Sahib said.

This highlights the differences of characters and opinions of our elders.

Hāfiż Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī’s day

By Shams al-Din al-Sakhawi
al-Jawāhir wa al-Durar, vol.3, pp.1050-1051
Translated by Ml. Muntasir Zaman in Ahadith Notes – 26 November 2015

In his early days, he (Allāh have mercy upon him) would perform the Fajr prayer at Jāmi‘ al-Hākim when it was still dark. Afterwards -perhaps after becoming a judge- he began performing it at Madrasah Mankūtamuriyyah when it [the sky] was bright. He would go to the Madrasah from the private quarters of his residence. When he completed his prayers, if anyone required his assistance, he would speak to them; otherwise, he would return home and engage in the morning adhkār and recitation of the Qur’ān. He would then engage in research and writing until the time of Salāt al-Duhā and then perform it [Salāt al-Duhā]. Thereafter, if there were people seeking permission to read hadith, he would attend to them. Thus, some would read with transmission and others with commentary; he would remain seated with them until shortly before the Zuhr prayer. He would then return home and rest for one-third of an hour, and perform the Zuhr prayer at his residence.

Thereafter, he would research and write until roughly two-thirds of an hour after the adhān of ‘Asr. Then he would go to the Madrasah and find the students and others waiting for him, so he would perform ‘Asr with them. After the prayer, he would sit to deliver lessons. By then, those who had prescribed invocations either finished them or had a small amount remaining. This is why he delayed slightly, intending wide spread benefit and considering the feelings of the students.

In between their recital to him, as well as in the morning session, he would write answers to Hadith and Fiqh related queries that were sent to him. Occasionally, a discussion would ensue between him and the students regarding some of the queries. Generally, this session would only terminate shortly before sunset. Thereafter, he would return home and eat dinner if he was not fasting; otherwise, he would wait for the adhān to eat and then pray.

He would engage in voluntary prayers or research until he heard the adhān for ‘Ishā’ during which he would make his way to the Madrasah, and upon his arrival, a group of students would be waiting for him. He would pray two raka’āt and then generally sit for dictation or mutual discussion for over an hour and then pray ‘Īshā’ in congregation. Thereafter, he would return home and perform the [post-‘Īshā’] Sunnah prayers. During the month of Ramadān, after the adhān, the prayer of ‘Īshā’ would commence once he appeared and the appointed Imām for the Tarāwīh prayer would go forward. For a lengthy period, the appointed Imām was al-Badr Hasan ibn ‘Abd Allah […] and after his demise, it was Nūr al-Dīn al-Samannūdī. Some nights I prayed with him. He would first pray ‘Īshā’ and then Tarāwīh. When the Imām would stand for the Witr prayer, he would generally remain seated and would engage in dhikr until its completion and then go home to rest. Thereafter, he would do as I described under the section “his night vigil prayer (tahajjud).”

This was his routine most of the time. When he had classes or official duties, however, his schedule would change slightly- as well as in Ramadān.

Mufti Shafi Usmani’s day

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
Nawhami Bulletin #120501501 – 9 Jumada II 1433 / 1 May 2012

The pious Ulama achieved greatness through dedication to Allah and maintenance of their duties to themselves and others for the sake of Allah. They made time for ibadat as well as fulfilling the rights of their body, family and meeting financial and social obligations. Here is a glimpse of one such man from the not too distant past.

In 24 Shawwal 1344 AH, the future grand Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani (d. 1399) wrote to Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi outlining his daily routine at the onset of the new academic year. He writes,

“As Hidayah generally goes unfinished during class hours I have planned to start teaching after the morning salah, an hour before the lesson, from Kitab al-Nikah and during lesson from the beginning [of the Kitab]. [I will teach] Hidayah in the first period, preparation of Hidayah in the second, exercise of Arabic writing in the third, and Maqamat in the fourth. After this, [I will spend] one and a half to two hours in business[1. He used to run a book store] and [then] an hour of rest (Qaylulah). After Zuhar Salah I will recite one juz of the Quran and thereafter write an article or thesis for an hour. [This will be] followed by one period of teaching Hammasa. After Asr I will go out for leisure. After Maghrib as per instruction Zikr of Allah’s name; to which now [I] adhere to for twelve Tasbihs and some times more. After Isha, the reading of books.”Hayat Mufti A’zam. (1415). Mufti Rafi Usmani. Idarat al-Ma’arif; Karachi, Pakistan. p. 60

Note how his timetable revolves around salah. After every salah there is a concrete action followed by a task that is flexible. The best actions are those that are measured and consistent.