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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Eminent Muftis of Darul Uloom

Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman (1859 - 1928)

He was born in A H 1275 (1859). His father was Maulana Fazlur Rahman. In late A H 1284 when the class for reading the Holy Quran was started in Darul Uloom, he was admitted to this class for memorizing the Quran. In A H 1287 he memorized the entire Quran. The teacher of his class was Hafiz Namdar Khan. In A H 1295 he graduated from Darul Uloom. The teachers of Darul Uloom then were Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi, Hadhrat Maulana Syed Ahmed Dehlawi, Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind and Maulana Abdul Ali (Allah's mercy be on all of them!). In the commencement function (Jalsa Dastar Bandi) of A H. 1298, he was awarded the Sanad at the hands of Hadhrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi. After graduation he worked for some time as an assistant teacher in Darul Uloom, rendering at the same time the services of fatwa-writing under the supervision of the principal, Maulana Muhammad Yaqub. Then he was sent to Meerut, where, at Madrasah Islamia, Inderkot, he remained engaged in teaching for several years. In A H 1309 the elders of Darul Uloom selected him for the post of the pro-vice-chancellor, and after one year he was also appointed as mufti and teacher. Apart from writing fatwas he was assigned to take some classes of Hadith, Tafsir and Fiqh.Mufti Sahib used to write the answers to very important and vexed questions (istifta) off-hand and spontaneously. For nearly forty years he rendered this great service of writing fatwas in Darul Ifta on behalf of Darul Uloom. In this long period, he wrote many difficult fatwas, which are not, merely fatwas but are of the nature of judgment in controversial cases. Even during journeys, he used to write fatwas informally through sheer acumen, expertise and ability. The explicit texts of Fiqh he mostly remembered by heart. A great peculiarity of his fatwas is that they are easily intelligible; the language of the fatwas is easy and fluent, a feature which is not to be found in the fatwas of this era.Among the religio-Iegal sciences, fatwa-writing is a very difficult task. The knowledgeable alone can appreciate the delicate points that crop up in this task due to change of circumstances. Ordinarily, fatwas have been written in every period but the consummate expertise possessed by Mufti Sahib has been shared by very few Ulama of Deoband. It is regrettable that the record of those fatwas Mufti Sahib had written between 1310 and 1329 is not extant. A great peculiarity of his fatwa-writing was also this that he never overlooked the zeitgeist and the demands of the time of which he used to have a profound knowledge. If there could be two decidable aspects of a proposition (mas'ala), he would on such occasions always adopt the easy aspect and issue the fatwa on it only, never adopting that aspect which would create difficulties for the masses. Examples of this feature are present everywhere in his fatwas. The fatwas issued between A H 1330 and A H 1346 number 37,561. But among these also the record of some years has been lost. The afore¬said number is that of the recorded fatwas only. According to a cursory estimate of Maulana Muhammad Tayyib, vice-chancellor, Darul Uloom Deoband, the number of Mufti Sahib's fatwas comes to the huge figure of nearly 1,18,000. This prodigious output and achievement of Mufti Sahib is a great and glorious religious service. This characteristic feature of his fatwas also commands a great importance that, in and outside India, these fatwas were being considered decisive. The fatwas written between A H 1330 to A H 1346, arranged in jurisprudential order, are being published by Darul Uloom under the title Fatawa Darul Uloom Deoband. 12 volumes of which have been published so far.Mufti Sahib was not only a religious divine and mufti but also a Sufi and one of the great masters of the esoteric science. He was awarded Khilafah by Hazrat Maulana Rafiuddin Sahib. The practice of accepting allegiance and giving spiritual guidance was also a part of his life. Thousands of Muslims benefited from him and rectified their inner selves.Mufti Sahib had also resigned from Darul Uloom along with Hadhrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri. In 1347 when he was returning ed to Deoband, en route he was feeling indisposed. Treatment began when he reached Deoband but the condition did not improve. The "promised hour" had come. At last, on the night of 17th Jamadius-Sani, A H 1347 (1928), he expired. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Darul Uloom.He was a high-ranking personality amongst the matchless personalities possessing knowledge and practice, good morals and habits, gnosis and insight, and jurisprudential knowledge and understanding, appointed to grace the Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom Deoband.

Hadhrat Maulana Izaz Ali (1902 - 1955)

He was one of the most distinguished graduates of Darul Uloom. After his graduation from it in A H 1321, Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind selected him for Madrasah Naumania Pureni, District Bhagalpur (Bihar). Accord¬ingly, he taught there for nearly seven years. Then he came to Shahjahanpur and established a Madrasah under the name 'Afzalul Madaris' in a mosque where he taught for the sake of Allah (i.e. without charging any fees or taking any remuneration). For nearly three years he taught very successfully in this Madrasah. In A H. 1330 he was appointed as a teacher in Darul Uloom Deoband, and in the first year he was assigned elementary books of Arabic like 'Ilmus Sigha, Nurul ¬Ezah, etc. In the report for that period it has been stated about this Professor of Literature as under: ¬ "He (Maulawi Izaz Ali) has been a teacher at some places. He is a young, talented, righteous and pious scholar. In complexion and character he is a relic of his ancestors. He has complete proficiency in different sciences and great expertise particularly in the science of literature. He teaches in the middle classes of Darul Uloom. He handles most of the lessons of the science of literature. He also exercises the students in writing Arabic articles. He is an eloquent lecturer; the students are very familiar with him".In A H 1340, when Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Ahmed, vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, was selected for the post of the Chief Mufti of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, so he on account of his old age, took Maulana Izaz Ali with him. There he stayed one year and came back with Hafiz Sahib to Deoband. In the vacancy of the Chief Mufti Maulana Azizur Rahman, he was appointed as Chief Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband, on which post he stayed in Darul Uloom till his demise. Religious jurisprudence (Fiqh) and literature were his special fields. Initially when he came to Darul Uloom Deoband, he had been assigned elementary books of Arabic, but at last his teaching attained such popularity that he became famous by the title of "Shaikhul Adab wal-Fiqh" (Professor of Literature & Jurisprudence). In the last phase of his life he also taught for several years the second volume of the Tirmizi and also higher books of Tafsir. In Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani's absence, he also had several times the chance of teaching the Bukhari Sharif also. Along with teaching he had also had a special penchant for training and looking after the students; a quality from which the students benefited very. His punctuality was proverbial and in his punctual engagement of his classes he was sui generis.From the very inception of teaching till his last breath he was meticulously punctual in his work. He was a paragon of selflessness and humility. He would never feel ashamed of teaching the most elementary books along with the highest books; teaching Tirmizi and Bukhari (to higher classes), he would gladly teach Mizanus Sarf, Ilmus Sigha, Nurul Ezah, etc. to small children also. The most beloved student in his eyes would be one who devoted himself to studies with singleness of purpose and the most hated would be one who engaging in pastimes, showed carelessness in studies, though such a student be his own son.Even as this professor of literature had great mastery in writing Arabic prose and poetry, he was equally highly proficient in composing Urdu prose and poetry also. He had a special style in Urdu prose. Though his hand was not quite legible, the style of writing was such that it looked pleasing to the eye. In Arabic literature, he had compiled a book entitled Nafahatul Arab comprising historical anecdotes, fables and moral themes. This book became very popular in Arabic schools and as such was included in the syllabi of Darul Uloom and many other Madrasas. Besides this, he has written many useful notes on many books of Fiqh and Arabic Literature, which are highly appreciated in the circle of scholars.His ability in administrative matters too was acknowledged on all hands and his administrative know-how was often utilized in the manage¬ment office also. In short, he was an incomparable teacher, an erudite religious divine and a versatile personality. The period of his academic services in Darul Uloom extended over 44 years.He was entrusted with the post of Ifta twice: first time from 1347 to 1348, and second time from 1364 to 1366. During his period, 24,855 fatwas were written. He passed away in 1374 (1955).

Hadhrat Mufti Riyazuddin (1902 - 1943)

He was one of the most distinguished gradHe was one of the disciples of Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind; he graduated from Darul Uloom in A H 1330. He was a resident of Afzalgarh, Dist. Bijnor. After Mufti Azizur Rahman's resigning, he was entrusted with the services of the Darul Ifta in the late 1347 on which post he served till the early 1350. During this period of more or less two years nearly seven thousand queries (Istiftas) were answered from Darul Ifta. In Safar 1350, he was transferred to the teaching department. He was a very virtuous and accommodating man. He died on 22nd Zil Hijja, 1362 (1943), and lies buried in the Qasmi graveyard.

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafee (1896 - 1943)

He was born in 1314 (1896). Hadhrat Gangohi proposed the name Muhammad Shafee for him. Originally he belonged to Deoband. He prosecuted his studies in Darul Uloom and graduated in 1336 at the age of 22 years. Thereafter, in 1337, he was appointed teacher in the primary class in Darul Uloom but covering the stages of teaching quickly, he soon joined the cadre of the teachers of the higher classes. He had from the very beginning a natural affinity with Fiqh and Literature. In 1350 (1932), he was appointed as Mufti. In 1368 (1948), he migrated to Pakistan, where, as a member of the Board of Islamic Teachings in the Constituent Assembly, he helped in compiling the Islamic constitution. In 1951, he established a seminary under the name Darul Uloom at Karachi, which is now an important and great centre of Islamic learning in Pakistan. Mufti Sahib's knowledge was vast and profound and he possessed excellent ability in almost all the current scholastic disciplines. He is an author of many religious books: a stock of very useful books on Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and polemics has emanated from his pen. All his big and small books total up to nearly one hundred fifty. Hundreds of his pupils and disciples are rendering religious services, besides the subcontinent, in various foreign countries. Initially he vowed allegiance to Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind; after the latter's demise, he resorted to Hadhrat Thanwi and obtained khilafah from him. Simultaneously with the work of teaching religi¬ous sciences and writing books on them, throughout his life he remained occupied in spiritual beneficence also. Also, he had a taste for poetry; a collection of his Arabic, Persian and Urdu panegyrics, elegies and a number of poems has already been published. In Pakistan he held the position of the Chief Mufti. Mufti Muhammad Shafee discharged duties of Darul Ifta twice: at first from 1350 to 1354 and then from 1359 to. 1361. During his tenure of office nearly 26,000 fatwas were written.

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Sahool (1896 - 1943)

His native-place was Pureni, Dist. Bhagalpur (Bihar). Having taken primary education at home, he joined Maulana Ashraf Alam's teaching circle in Bhagalpur. From there he came to Kanpur and studied under Hadhrat Thanwi and Maulana Muhammad Ishaq Burdwani at Madrasah Jamiul Uloom, and then at Madrasah Faiz-e Aam under Maulana Muhammad Farooq Chiryakoti. The zest for the acquisition of knowledge then took him from Kanpur to Hyderabad; this journey he covered in two months on foot. During his stay in Hyderabad he acquired the knowledge of logic, philosophy, astronomy, literature and principles of Fiqh from Mufti Lutfullah Aligarhi and Maulana Abdul Wahhab Bihari. Reaching Delhi from Hyderabad, he attended lectures of Maulana Nazeer Husain; in the end he took admission in Darul Uloom and completed the study of Hadith under the instruction of Shaikhul Hind. After graduation he served as a teacher in Darul Uloom for 7-8 years, and then as head teacher and Shaikhul Hadith at Madrasah Azizia, Bihar Sharif, Madrasah Aaliya Calcutta; and Madrasah Aaliya Sylhet (Assam). In 1920 he was appointed as principal in Madrasah Aaliya Shamsul Huda Patna. In short, he taught for as many as 46 years in the great Madrasas of U.P., Bihar, Bengal and Assam. From 1350 to 1362 he was a member of the Majlis-e Shura of Darul Uloom. He passed away on 27th Rajab 1367 (1948). His grave is in Pureni.Maulana Muhammad Sahool discharged the duties of the Chief Mufti in Darul Ifta for nearly three years from 1355 to 1357. During his tenure, 15,185 fatwas were dispatched from Darul Ifta.

Hadhrat Mufti Kifayatullah Gangohi (1292 - 1943)

He was born in 1292 (1875). He graduated from Darul Uloom in 1323 and rendered teaching services in various Madrasas. In the late 1356, he was selected for Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom. Thereafter, in early 1359, he was trans¬ferred to the teaching department. In 1363 he resigned from Darul Uloom and went to Meerut, where he remained occupied in teaching. During his office, 5,840 fatwas were issued from Darul Ifta.

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Farooq Ahmed (1896 - 1943)

He is the son of the famous divine and saintly person of Deoband group, viz. Hadhrat Maulana Siddiq Ahmed Anbehtawi. For a long time he rendered services of teaching and fatwa-writing in Jamia Abbasia Bhawalpur. In the late 1362, he was appointed Chief Mufti in the Darul Ifta, where he served in this capacity for more or less one year. In 1363, pressure was brought upon Maulana Farouq Ahmed from the Ministry of Education of the Bhawalpur State to return to his previous position at Bhawalpur. So he went there and was appointed Shaikhul ¬Hadith in the aforesaid Jamia Abbasia. Then he became principal in Madrasah Qasimul Uloom Faqirwali, Dist. Bhawalpur. In 1380, due to old age and weakness, he retired to his home. During his one ¬year tenure as many as 8,427 fatwas were written in Darul Uloom.

Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Mahdi Hasan (1301 - 1396)

His native-place is Shahjahanpur. He was born in 1301. He graduated from Madrasah Aminja Delhi in 1326, and was one of the distinguished pupils of Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Kifayatullah Dehelwi. He had also been awarded the "turban of proficiency" in the convocation held at Darul Uloom Deoband, in 1328. After his graduation, Mufti Sahib sent him to Madrasah Ashrafiya Rander, Dist. Surat (Gujrat) where he spent a very long time in teaching and fatwa-writing. The people of Gujarat were highly impressed by his knowledge and learning. Besides having matchless expertise in the Hanafite jurisprudence, he had a profound insight in Hadith and Asmaur Rijal (the art determining the authenticity of the narrators of the prophetic Hadith). In 1367, he was appointed Chief Mufti of Darul Ifta at Darul Uloom. Retiring in 1387 due to his long illness, old age and debility, from Darul Uloom, he returned to his hometown, Shahjahanpur.During his presiding over the Darul Ifta, as many as 75,324 fatwas were issued from Darul Uloom. Mufti Mahdi Hasan was an abstinent and pi¬ous man, hospitable and generous, but at the same time he was very candid and fearless in speaking the truth. He had also had a taste for the art of poetry. His nom de plume was Azad. He was under allegiance to Hadhrat Gangohi but received 'permission' and khilafah from Hadhrat Gangohi's spiritual successor Maulana Shafiuddin Makki.Mufti Mahdi Hasan has been the author and compiler of many important books amongst which the Arabic commentary entitled Qala'idul Azhaar on Ma'aniul Athaar of Tahawi runs into six volumes. Two of these six volumes have been published. The first two volumes of Imam Muhammad's Kitabul Hujja which is on Fiqh and is in four volumes, has been published by the Da'iratul Ma'arif with his emendation and notes. It is a very rare book of which one manuscript was extant in Istanbul. It is one of the basic books of the Fiqh Hanafi. Mufti Sahib spent twenty years in the editing and marginal notes of this manuscript. His notes on Imam Muhammad's Kitabul Athaar are a valuable academic wealth. He had also written the commentary on Nukhbatul Fikr but it has not been published so far. All these books are in Arabic language. Besides, he wrote more than two-dozen treatises in Urdu but they also could not be published.Mufti Mahdi Hasan died in his native Shahjahanpur, on 28th Rabius Sani 1396 (1976), after a long illness.

Hadhrat Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi (1325 - 1417)

He was born in Jamadius Sani 1325 (1907) at Gangoh. He prosecuted his studies at Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur, and Darul Uloom Deoband. In 1351 he completed his study of Hadith in Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur, and there itself for nearly twenty years, he continued to render the services of fatwa-writing and teaching. Then, for nearly fourteen years, from 1371 to 1384, he graced the post of principal and fatwa-writing in Madrasah Jamiul Uloom, Kanpur, where there was a great impact of his knowledge and learning, abstinence and piety and saintliness upon the people. In 1385 he was selected for the post of Mufti in the Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom Deoband. Besides fatwa-writing, he also taught the second volume of the Sahih Bukhari to the students. He has not produced any independent book but his important fatwas have were published in different journals. Now, his fatwas were collected and published in 20 volumes. The style of writing in the fatwas is concise. Mufti Sahib received khilafah and 'permission' from Hadhrat Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariya. He was very unassuming and hospitable; a man of vast reading, a regular Zaakir¸ generous and august man. An important peculiarity of his is also this that whatever salary he received from Darul Uloom, he not only returned it to Darul Uloom every month but also used to add something to it from his own pocket. During his presiding over the Darul Ifta, a big number of fatwas were issued from Darul Uloom. His Fatwas has been published in 20 volumes. In 1996, he went on a trip to South Africa, where he died in Johannesburg on 18th Rabius Sani, 1417 (2 Sep 1996) and was buried there.

Maulana Mufti Nizamuddin (1328 - 1420)

He was born in 1328 (1910) at his native place, Ondra, Dist. Azamgarh. He received primary education in the local schools and then studied in Madrasah Ihyaul Uloom, Mubarakpur (Azamgarh). Thereafter, he studies up to the intermediate classes in Madrasah Azizia Bihar Sharif, and Madrasah A'liya, Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi. In the end he took admission in Darul Uloom Deoband, and completed the Daura Hadith in 1352. At first he rendered teaching services in Madrasah Jamiul Uloom, Jiyanpur (Azamgarh) and in Gorakhpur, and then was appointed in Madrasah Darul Uloom Mau Nath Bhanjan as teacher and Mufti. In 1385, on the call of Darul Uloom Deoband, he came to Deoband and was entrusted with the post of Ifta. He had got a good knack of fatwa-writing; his answers to the queries used to be detailed. On account of his jurisprudential ability he had been a member of Rabta Fiqh Islami. He had a good vision over jurisprudential principles and was well acquainted with the current atmosphere going on in the world. Therefore, his fatwas, especially those dealing with new issues and modern-day problems, used to be looked upon with respect and utmost trust by both; Islamic scholars as well as common Muslims. Most of his important fatwas were published in the journal Darul Uloom. Two volumes of his selected Fatwas have been published by Islamic Fiqah Acadmy, New Delhi. Besides, the remaining fatwas of him have been published by one his relatives in nearly five small volumes. He had the honour of vowing allegiance to and receiving khilafat from Hazrat Shah Wasiullah (Rahmatullahi Alaih). Simplicity and dignity was conspicuous of his disposition. Mufti Nizamuddin passed away in Deoband, on 20 Ziqada, 1420 (26 February 2000) and was buried at Qasmi graveyard.

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