Abu Dawud ch. 40: forbearance

حَدَّثَنَا مَخْلَدُ بْنُ خَالِدٍ الشَّعِيرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عُمَرُ بْنُ يُونُسَ، حَدَّثَنَا عِكْرِمَةُ يَعْنِي ابْنَ عَمَّارٍ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي إِسْحَاقُ يَعْنِي ابْنَ عَبْدِ الله بْنِ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ قَالَ قَالَ أَنَسٌ كَانَ رَسُولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ أَحْسَنِ النَّاسِ خُلُقًا فَأَرْسَلَنِي يَوْمًا لِحَاجَةٍ فَقُلْتُ وَاللهِ لاَ أَذْهَبُ (مزاحا و هو غلام غير مكلف) وَفِي نَفْسِي أَنْ أَذْهَبَ لِمَا أَمَرَنِي بِهِ نَبِيُّ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏ قَالَ (أنس) فَخَرَجْتُ حَتَّى أَمُرَّ عَلَى صِبْيَانٍ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ فِي السُّوقِ (فاشتغلت معهم في اللعب) فَإِذَا رَسُولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قَابِضٌ بِقَفَاىَ () مِنْ وَرَائِي فَنَظَرْتُ إِلَيْهِ وَهُوَ يَضْحَكُ (أي يتبسم رفقا به) فَقَالَ ‏يَا أُنَيْسُ اذْهَبْ حَيْثُ أَمَرْتُكَ‏.‏ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ أَنَا أَذْهَبُ يَا رَسُولَ الله (أي أنا في سبيل إليه)‏.‏ قَالَ أَنَسٌ وَاللهِ لَقَدْ خَدَمْتُهُ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ أَوْ تِسْعَ سِنِينَ (شك الراوي لكن جزم تسع سنين في رواية المسلم) مَا عَلِمْتُ قَالَ لِشَىْءٍ صَنَعْتُ لِمَ فَعَلْتَ كَذَا وَكَذَا ولاَ لِشَىْءٍ تَرَكْتُ هَلاَّ فَعَلْتَ كَذَا وَكَذَا

#4773: Ishaq b. Abdullah b. Abu Talhah1 reports that Hadrat (May Allah be pleased with him) said, The prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) had the best of character. Once He sent me on an errand. I [being a child jokingly] said, ‘By Allah I won’t go’ but in my heart I intended to go to do what the prophet (peace be upon him) commanded me.

He (may Allah Almighty be pleased with him) said, I went out [to fulfil the errand] until I passed upon some boys who were playing in the market. [Distracted from his task, he joined them in play.] Then suddenly, the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) [standing] behind me grabbed the back of my neck. I [turned and] looked towards him and He was smiling. He (peace be upon him) said, ‘O Unays (Little Anas)! Go and do what I told you!’ I said, ‘Yes, I am going, O prophet of Allah’.

Anas (may Allah almighty be pleased with him) said, By Allah, I served [the Prophet] for seven or nine years. [During that time], I never knew Him to say on something I did, ‘Why did you do this or that!’ Nor did He say on something I missed, ‘Why didn’t you do this and that!’

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ يَعْنِي ابْنَ الْمُغِيرَةِ عَنْ ثَابِتٍ (بن اسلم البناني) عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ خَدَمْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَشْرَ سِنِينَ بِالْمَدِينَةِ وَأَنَا غُلاَمٌ لَيْسَ كُلُّ أَمْرِي كَمَا يَشْتَهِي صَاحِبِي أَنْ أَكُونَ عَلَيْهِ مَا قَالَ لِي فِيهَا أُفٍّ قَطُّ وَمَا قَالَ لِي لِمَ فَعَلْتَ هَذَا أَوْ أَلاَ فَعَلْتَ هَذَا.‏

#4774: Thabit (b. Aslam al-Bunani)2 reports from Hadrat Anas that he said, I served the Prophet (peace be upon him) for ten years in Madinah. I a was a boy; not everything of mine was as my sire wanted it to be. He never said ‘uff‘ to me and he said to me, ‘why did you do this or why did you not do this?’

See Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim p. 454 v. 4; Bazl al-Majhud p. 29 v. 20

——
[1] The sanad is Sahih. Imam Muslim narrates with the same sanad except that he reports from Abu Ma’n rather than Makhlad b. Khalid both of whom are thiqah. Some have commented on the sanad due to the presence of Ikramah b. Ammar. The words in Muslim is the same except that the narrator is not conflicted and flatly reports nine years.

[2] —

The class rules of Shaykh Zakariyya Kandalwi

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
11 Rabi II 1437 | 22 January 2016

Hadrat Shaykh al-Hadith Ml. Zakariyya Kandhalwi at the onset of the madrasah year used to state 10 rules for his class. The following is abridged version of these rules.

  1. Unauthorised absence is unacceptable. If you are ill or needs leave, you must inform and have it authorised.
  2. You must sit in an orderly manner similar to how the saff are straightened in salah.
  3. Your appearance must be proper in that it must not conflict against the salaf and ulama. This is especially so in regards to the beard which must be appropriate length.
  4. When a narration comes with seemingly lewd words, the teacher it will translate it accurately and unambiguously. You are not to laugh at hearing it as it is a sign of disrespect.
  5. Do not put lean your elbow on the book.
  6. Do not sleep in class.
  7. Sit properly; do not sit cross legged or leaning on the wall especially in the lessons of hadith. Have respect for the book externally and internally.
  8. Wear clothing which conforms to the shariah and is loose fitted. Your clothing should be dignified and resemble that worn by the ulama.
  9. Show the utmost respects to the Imams of hadith and fiqh regardless of their school. Do not think or speak ill of them as a result of your bias towards your own school.
  10. If you wish to query based on something which you have learned from another teacher, do so but do not mention their name.

To read the rules in detail and in the words of Hadrat Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Zakariyya Kandalwi, read Ap Biti (v. 2 pp. 30-33).

Etiquette towards the teacher

Boat-on-river-delta-sketch

By Mufti Yaseen Shaikh
10 Rabi II 1437 | 21 January 2016

قَالَ لَهُ ۥ مُوسَىٰ هَلۡ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمۡتَ رُشۡدً۬ا

Musa said to him, ‘May I follow you, on the footing that you teach me something of the (Higher) Truth which you have been taught?’1

Under this particular verse in Surah al-Kahf, Imam Fakhruddin Razi2 (may Allah have mercy upon him) writes,

You must know that Musa (peace be upon him) upheld many etiquettes and depths of compassion when requesting to learn under Khidr (peace be upon him).

هل أتبعك

He made himself a subordinate of, and subservient to Khidr, because he said, ‘Can I follow you?’

He sought the permission of Khidr for the realisation of this subservience. He is saying, ‘Do you give me the permission to make myself subservient to you’? This is a great expression and exaggeration in humility.

علي أن تعلمن

He said, ‘On the footing that you teach me’. This is an acknowledgement and confession of one’s lack of knowledge, and of the teacher’s knowledge.

من ما علمت

He said, ‘Of that which you have been taught’. The word ‘of’ is partitive. He sought from Khidr teachings of some of that which Allah had taught him (Khidr). This is also an expression of humility. It is as if he said, ‘I am not seeking from you that you make me your equivalent in knowledge, rather I am seeking that you give me a part of the knowledge you have’, just as a beggar seeks only a portion of the wealth of the rich, and not all of it.

He said, ‘which you have been taught’, an acknowledgement that Allah has taught that knowledge to Khidr (it is not self-taught).

رشدا

He said, ‘of the truth’, thus he was seeking from him guidance. Guidance is a matter if not achieved, one is led to misguidance. (He sought beneficial knowledge).

He said, ‘that you teach me of what you were taught’. This means he is asking Khidr to treat him the same as he was treated by Allah. It is an indication that your favour upon me by teaching me is like Allah’s favour upon you when he taught you. That is why it is said, ‘I am the slave of anyone from whom I learn a letter’.

Following a teacher

Following (subservience) means to do like the one being followed. It means to abide by the same practice the teacher abides by. This teaches that at the beginning stages, the seeker must always comply, not argue, or raise objections’.

‘May I follow you’, means following him absolutely, in all matters, not restricted to some matters besides others.

Khidr (peace be upon him) knew Musa (peace be upon him) was the Prophet of the people of Israel, who received the Torah, was spoken to by Allah directly, and selected for many powerful miracles. Despite all of these honourable and elevated attributes, he came with such pearls of humility. This shows that he came seeking knowledge with the greatest humility, which was fitting, because the one who has more knowledge, also knows more about its fortune. So his search for it is also more intense, and his etiquette towards those who possess the knowledge is also greater and complete.

In the sequence ‘May I follow you on the footing that thou teach me something’, he first made himself his subordinate/subservient, then requested he teach him. So, he started with khidmah (service), which is the first stage of pursuit, then the second stage, seeking knowledge from him.

He only sought knowledge from him; he had no other motives such as wealth or position.

———

[1] al-Kahf, verse 66

[2] Born in 543 A.H., died in 606 A.H.- He was born in Rayy, originally from Tabristan, had traveled to Khwarzam and Khurasan. He was a champion of the Ash’ari tradition in theology, a Shafi’i in Fiqh, influenced heavily by Al-Ghazali. He wrote the famous Tafseer known as Al-Tafsir al-Kabir)

Have wudu in lesson

Ilm is not gained, it is given. For this privilege, one cannot simply rely on the minimum; rather they must go beyond the fard and embrace the sunnah, mustahab and the requisite etiquettes of which one is cleanliness. Verily Allah loves the repentant and the clean (Baqarah: 222). The prophet (peace be upon him) would encourage one to be in wudu even if it were just before going to sleep. Be clean, have wudu, when studying the din and seeking the love of Allah.

Read Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi’s article, ‘Have wudu whilst in lessons of hadith‘. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 2. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/130824501

Overcoming personal challenges

A scattered mind and frail body may become a hindrance to learning. Start everyday with a focus and objective, then exert effort to attain it regardless of state or circumstance – do not think, ‘I cannot do this’.

justdoit

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami

A scattered mind and frail body may become a hindrance to learning. The pious always faced one form of challenge or another. However, they made their mind and body subservient to the will of Allah Almighty and thus overcame all challenges. The key is focus and effort. They determined their focus and then tirelessly worked towards that goal regardless of state or circumstance. Those who lack focus or effort become the victim of their state and circumstance.

Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi says,

Those who are in the habit of hard work, look at how their health is good. Look at the village folks, they are so much more stronger than you. Hot or cold; it does not faze them. [Now] look at the city folks, even the mu’azzin is so brittle that it is difficult for them to exit the masjid to give azan. God forbid should something befall the city people, what would they do. This is not just me saying, everyone knows that seeking luxury is not a good thing whilst effort and hard work is a good thing. However, the culture has changed such that there is no effort. Culture is in your control – change this culture [where] we consider idleness and seeking luxury a high achievement … if not in matters of din, at least do mubah (any permissible actions)  but for goodness sake do not sit around uselessly.

– Tuhfat al-Fuqaha (p. 262 v. 1)

Those who make the luxury of this world their focus and so exert no real effort in anything, their mind and body becomes diseased.  Those who make luxury of the hereafter their focus and so exert effort to utilise every moment, their spirit remains high and driven regardless of their state.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) walked with purpose; it always seemed he is going somewhere. The path to perfection in Islam is to avoid trivial matters.

Start everyday with a focus and objective, then exert effort to attain it regardless; do not think, ‘I cannot do this’.

———–

7 January 2015

Not for public consumption

Formula

Knowledge should be shared but not everything learned is to be spread to the general public. Some things are best left amongst the ulama. This is not tantamount to hiding knowledge as that is applicable to necessary and preferable matters of din and not arcane issues. Take caution and be mindful of the consequence of what you tell the public for you may distance them further. Do not confuse people rather build them gradually. There are certain ahadith which the sahabah only mentioned in their death bed for fear of the adverse effect it would have on the people (cf Muslim). The Prophet (peace be upon him), on the urging of Hadrat Umar, stopped Hadrat Abu Hurayrah from spreading a hadith to the masses on possibility that it would bread complacency. This was the hadith that whoever says la ilaha illallah would enter jannah.

Imam Qurtubi writes,

Those discrete and distinct issues which the general public will not understand rather it is likely they will misunderstand, it is better not to mention such issues and rulings to the public. This does not fall under hiding knowledge. Regarding such issues Hadrat Abd Allah b. Mas’ud (may Allah Almighty be pleased with him) said, if you present such ahadith to the public which they cannot understand fully, you will place them in fitnah.

Mufti Shafi Usmani write,

In Sahih Bukhari, Hadrat Ali (may Allah almighty be pleased with him) is reported as saying reports that mention only so much knowledge which their intellect can bear. Do you want people to belie Allah Almighty and his Prophet (peace be upon him)? The reason being, that which is beyond their understanding will create doubts and qualms in their heart which may lead them to deny.

———

26 Rabi I 1437
6 January 2016

Pray for knowledge

Knowledge is light. It is a gift given by Allah almighty and cannot be merely acquired by sheer ability alone. We must beseech Allah for knowledge.

By Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
In’am al-Bari v.1 p.46
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami ijtima.org #111123501

[Knowledge is light. It is a gift given by Allah almighty and cannot be merely acquired by sheer ability alone. We must beseech Allah for knowledge. Mufti Taqi Usmani advises students of Hadith how to pray and outlines a dua. He says:]

Oh Allah! In truth we are not deserving of gaining this knowledge or becoming its student; we have no capacity. The reality is that our smutty mouths and filthy tongues are not even good enough to be permitted to say the name of Muhammad Rasul Allah (صلي الله عليه و سلم) let alone be given the opportunity to study his Ahadith and utterances. Oh Allah! We have absolutely no capacity to study the words of your beloved (صلي الله عليه و سلم), however, Oh Allah! You are the creator and maintainer of capacity. Through your grace, generosity and mercy, grant us this aptitude and fitness. Grant us the ability to value this blessing. Grant us the ability to fulfil the rights associated with this knowledge. The radiance and blessing which you have gifted within the Ahadith, we deserve none of it but Oh Allah! We are definitely in need. We deserve nothing at all but are in need of everything. Oh Allah! Consider what we deserve, consider what we need and with your grace and generosity give us the radiance and blessing based on our needs. Give us the ability to fulfil the etiquettes, conditions and requisites needed for acquiring this knowledge. Give us the proper understanding of this knowledge. Give us the ability to act and stay steadfast upon it.

The class rules of Mufti Muzaffar Husayn

By Mufti Muzaffar Husayn Mazahiri
Taqrir Tirmidhi
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami; Bulletin #150805501 – 19 Shawwal 1436

[There are general etiquettes and then there are etiquettes particular to teachers. The following are some classroom rules stated by Mufti Muzaffar Husayn who was the hadith teacher and former principal of Mazahirul Uloom in India. Wait for the lesson to start inside the class; do not loiter outside. Attend class and consistently so. Do not leave the classroom unnecessarily. Focus! Do not doodle, text or distract others during lesson. Do not do anything which is unrelated to the current lesson during lesson time such as grooming or reading a novel. Come prepared; do not leave your books at home. – Saif]

[Mufti Muzaffar Husayn Mazahiri (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) states,]

It is a story through the year and I do not like fighting over and over either. In a lesson and especially so in a lesson of hadith, there are a few matters which must be given consideration […] The first is the general etiquettes of a lesson and the second is [specific] with each teacher who have particular approaches and some principles which want the students to fulfil.

First etiquette

The very first thing I want from you is that at the very least you are not standing here and there at lesson time. If you stand here and stand there, this is your first fight with me. When you stand here and there, I consider that in other words you have made a complaint about the teacher even if you have not made the complaint verbally […] Meaning complaint can be done with ‘قال’ (statement) as well as through ‘حال’ (conduct). This conduct of yours entails complaint. When the lesson time has started and the teacher has not arrived or came ten minutes late due to which you are standing here and there, you have announced that the teacher is not there yet. Is that not a complaint? When you complain about a teacher, it is apparent you cannot benefit from them. Even if there is not a clear fight, however, it is the ruling of Allah almighty that when bitterness forms inside and the heart becomes constricted then one cannot benefit. Even if there are lots of lectures and everything else but the circumstance will be as I have mentioned that it is difficult to benefit. You should save yourself from this habit. At the very least let me tell you about myself that do not stand around in my lesson time. I should not see you standing. Rather sit for ten minutes and wait. I will send a message that there will be no lesson. It is my habit that if I am unable to teach the lesson, I inform but six or seven minutes late and not before.

Second etiquette

Let me mention to you another thing. In a few days something else starts which not being present in class. There are some who do not even bother to come here and sit in lesson. They are relaxing at lesson time even though it is mandatory upon them to be present and remain in lesson. If you start adopting this approach that you come sometimes and don’t come sometimes, I will start feeling dim and withdrawn, my lectures will become shallow and I would assume what is the point of in-depth speeches.

Let me mention another point. There are those who attend class (Masha-Allah). But the extent of their care is that if there is registration they will be present and if there is no registration they will be absent. Remember! In two or three days I will see your face (I will know who is what). After that I will be able to tell if you are not coming to lesson. Do not assume that if there was no register it is not known as to who did not come. […] This is a form of cheating with the lesson and the teacher […] Many are under the assumption that we have put one over [the teacher]; the teacher did not ask and so did not know. This is an error. This error should be removed as it is nothing and everything is known.

However, let me say that after the first, second or third occurrence, I may say that you are not consistent. Subsequently, after the third time I will assume that come or do not come, if after telling you, still you did not come, I will not ask why you did not come. The reason being, you are not children. Masha-Allah, you have intellect, are mature, have understanding, are able to lead the people, manage an organisation and all other thing. Even then if you are careless about what benefits and harms you, who can inform you. After the third time, as you would have read, even the Quran states, ‘This is a separation between me and you’. So up to three time the apology will be heard but after the third time it is not necessary. This is my personal stance or else the rule of the madrasah is different. Whether they expel you or keep you that is the madrasah’s matter, however, the special relationship that we have will definitely be different. Even if you do not call it a literal separation consider it is a figurative one. A figurative separation is when there is no connection between the teacher and student. So this separation is born. The point being, be consistent in you attendance.

Third etiquette

Some of our friends (viz. students) have adopted another form. Listen regarding it also. They arrive and are present, however, studying is not their objective. Their main purpose is to register their attendance. As soon as they have been marked in, they need to go toilet, they need to urinate, they have an extreme need, they have an illness and so they leave the class. Some will try to adopt this corner or that corner and thereafter when they feel like it, they leave, and when they feel like it, they return. They think we have fooled them and the teacher does not have a clue who left […] To inform or not to inform is a separate issue, however, to assume that it was not known, is not correct. It is definitely known but it is not my habit to say over and over; it is not appropriate either.

Fourth etiquette

There are some of our friends whose mind-set is that let us go to lesson and these poor souls come to lesson also as well as remain in lesson. However, whilst remaining some start doodling, sometimes sending a note here and sometime sending a note there, or thereafter they start to sign towards each other.

Fifth etiquette

Some fellows have gone to the limit, and this is my experience that someone is doing their moustache or reading a novel. The lesson of hadith is going on and the novel is open. It is a sad case! Think, the novel is open and hadith is being taught. Similarly, a scissors is in front or a pen and with these their exercise is done upon the book. These are experiences which I am telling. I am not merely saying but it is my experience. Now you let me how can such students gain anything.

Sixth etiquette

Similarly, some do not even bring their books such as today where some have come without their books. Meaning they are so well researched that they do not consider it necessary to lift so many books, and even if they pick, it is one or two important books which they will bring from their residence.

Listen! Those who find it burdensome to even carry books, it is clear what burden they will take to carry knowledge. I ask that if it is difficult to bring books for four lessons at once from the room, what would they be able to preserve of the lectures of four lessons? I want to ask to those whose state in regards to the respect of knowledge that they cannot even bring books and sit without books. This is my long experience and you will also see, this is their regular habit that they come without books and they impose on those who have brought their books. Think! What are they studying who cannot even bring books?

Summary

All these thing are causes for the deprivation, loss and deficiency in knowledge. Hence, if you want to study and teach properly, it should be learned in the right manner with full consideration of the etiquette of knowledge. The teacher should consider their station and student should realise their obligation. Thereafter, Allah almighty will very easily grant knowledge.

—————–

Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami (Translator)
19 Shawwal 1436
5 August 2015

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.