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
The first person to have the honour of being the director of education at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband was the honourable Hadith scholar, Shaykh al-Mashāyikh Muḥammad Yaʿqūb, son of Fakhr al-ʿUlamā wa Zayn al-Fuqahā wa Ustādh al-Asātidhah Maulana Mamlūk ʿAlī al-Nānautawi (May Allah sanctify his secret). Shaykh Muhammad Yaʿqūb acquired knowledge of the various sciences from his father, and he took Hadith from Shāh ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Mujaddidi (May Allah Most High have mercy on him). He taught and spread benefit in Delhi and Ajmer. Then he took up the position of director of education at the college of Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband, where he taught until he returned to Allah Most High in the year 1884 in his hometown of Nānautah. His position as the director of education was taken up by the skilful and honourable al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Dehlawi until he left to Bhopal in the year 1887, at which point the directorship was entrusted to Shaykh al-Shuyūkh wa Ustādh al-Asātidhah Hadrat Maulana Mahmūd al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi, better known as “Shaykh al-Hind” (May Allah sanctify his secret). Before being entrusted with this position, he used to teach the books of Hadith, as well various other subjects that were being taught at the Dār al-ʿUlūm. He was appointed as a teacher in the year 1871, and in 1876 he was entrusted to teach Sunan al-Tirmidhi. After taking up the directorship, he would teach both Sahīh Bukhāri and Sunan al-Tirmidhi. He taught Hadith at the college of Deoband for forty years, a task that he shared for some time with the honourable Shaykh Maulana Khalīl Ahmad al-Sahāranpūri al-Muhājir al-Madani (May Allah sanctify his secret) – and this was from the years 1890 to 1896. Shaykh Mahmūd would teach Sahīh Bukhāri and Sunan al-Tirmidhi, and his colleague Shaykh Khalīl would teach Sahīh Muslim and other books. The honourable Shaykh Muhammad Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīri graduated at the hands of both of them in the year 1894 (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
When Shaykh al-Hind Mahmūd al-Hasan journeyed to the Hijāz in the year 1914, his most honourable student, al-Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīri (May Allah Most High have mercy on him) took his place in teaching Hadith. He was entrusted with the teaching of “the Two Jāmiʿs” (i.e. the books of Imam al-Bukhāri and Imam al-Tirmidhi, May Allah Most High have mercy on them). He taught at Deoband until he left the Dār al-ʿUlūm in the year 1928 and moved to the Islamic College (al-Jāmiʿah al-Islāmiyyah) in Dabhel, Surat. He narrated Hadith there and spread benefit until he returned to Allah Most High in the year 1933. From the colleges of both Deoband and Dabhel, senior scholars and luminous personalities graduated at his hands, some of whom are listed as follows: Maulana Muḥammad Idrīs al-Kāndhlawi, Maulana Badr al-ʿĀlam al-Mīruthi, Muftī Muḥammad Ḥasan al-Amritsari, the honorable jurist Grand Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ al-Deobandi, Tāj al-Khutabā Maulana al-Qārī Muḥammad Ṭayyib al-Qāsimi, the honorable Hadith scholar and distinguished jurist al-Sayyid Muḥammad Yūsuf al-Binnōri, and Maulana Shams al-Ḥaq al-Afghāni (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
After Shaykh al-Kashmīri left Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband, the board of trustees (majlis al-istishārī) of the college – at the head of which was Mujaddid al-Millah wa Hakīm al-Ummah Maulana al-Shāh Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawi (May Allah Most High sanctify his secret) – was compelled to select replacements for the directorship of education and the teaching of the books of Bukhāri and Tirmidhi. The replacement would have to fill the shoes of the muḥaddiths that preceded him. They requested Shaykh al-Islām Maulana al-Sayyid Husayn Ahmad al-Madani (May Allah Most High sanctify his secret) to take up this position. He was the most special student of Shaykh al-Hind and the confidant in his affairs. Before this, he had already taught at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband for two years, from 1909 to 1910, and he had taught for more than ten years in the Noble Mosque of the Prophet (May Allah Most High send peace and salutations upon him and his Companions). [Maulana Husayn Ahmad] complied with their wishes and accepted their request on certain conditions which the council accepted. They went ahead and entrusted him with the directorship as well as the honorable position of narrating Hadith in the year 1927. [After taking up his new responsibilities,] he continued to be respected, beloved, heeded, kind, and courageous. He taught Sahīh Bukhāri and Sunan al-Tirmidhi even while being required to travel frequently. He toured the various towns and cities. He delivered speeches against British colonialism. He was the leader of the Jamʿīyyat ʿUlamā al-Hind. He guided spiritual disciples. Furthermore, he was frequent in worship, devotions, serving guests, and tirelessly turning toward Allah Most High. He assumed the directorship and took up the teaching of Hadith from the year 1928 till his demise in 1958. May Allah Most High grant him abode in the prosperity of His Paradise, and may He shower upon him and his mashāyikh a downpour of His Mercy and His Approval.
This long period of Maulana Husayn Ahmad’s directorship was interrupted by a short interval from Jamādī al-Ākhar 1361/June 1942 to Ramaḍān 1363/August 1944 during which the British government imprisoned him. During this interval, his lessons were delegated to Maulana al-Sayyid Fakhr al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Hāpūri th. al-Murādābādi, as well as Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Shaykh al-Fiqh wa ‘l-Adab at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
After Shaykh al-Islām al-Madani passed away in 1957, his position as the teacher of Sahīh Bukhāri was inherited by Maulana al-Sayyid Fakhr al-Dīn Aḥmad who was mentioned previously. Prior to his appointment, he had taught at the Qāsimi College (al-Jāmiʿah al-Qāsimiyyah) in Moradabad for more than forty years. He took up teaching at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband and continued until his death in the year 1972 (May Allah Most High have mercy on him). After his passing until today, Sahīh Bukhāri has been taught at that college by shuyūkh that graduated at the hands of those Elders (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all). Among them are Maulana Sharīf al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi (d. 1977), and Muftī Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan al-Gangōhi (May Allah endow him with honor), Maulana Naṣīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, Maulana Saʿīd Aḥmad al-Pālanpūri, and Maulana ʿAbd al-Ḥaq al-Aʿẓami.
As for Sahīh Muslim, it has been taught by Maulana Muḥammad Ibrāhīm al-Balyāwi, Maulana Bashīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, and Maulana Sharīf al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them).
As for Sunan al-Tirmidhi, after Shaykh al-Islām al-Madani it was taught by Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Maulana Muḥammad Ibrāhīm al-Balyāwi, Maulana Sharīf al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi, and Maulana Fakhr al-Ḥasan (May Allah Most High have mercy on them), and Maulana Saʿīd Aḥmad al-Pālanpūri (May Allah Most High preserve him). As for Sunan Abī Dāwūd, it was taught by Maulana Aṣghar Ḥusayn al-Deobandi, Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Maulana Muḥammad Idrīs al-Kāndhlawi, Grand Muftī Maulana Muḥammad Shafīʿ, Maulana Bashīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, and Maulana Fakhr al-Ḥasan (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
As for the Sunan of Imam al-Nasā’i, the Sunan of Imam Ibn Mājah, the Shamā’il of Imam al-Tirmidhi, Sharh Maʿānī al-Āthār of Imam al-Tahāwi, and the Mu’attā according to both its narrations, the following eminent figures alternated in the teaching of those books: Maulana Muhammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Maulana Muḥammad Idrīs al-Kāndhlawi, Grand Muftī Maulana Muḥammad Shafīʿ, Maulana Fakhr al-Ḥasan, Maulana Nasīr Ahmad Khān al-Barni, and others. May Allah Most High thank them for their efforts and accept their struggles.