Category Archives: Biographies

Hazrat Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi Alaih)

[Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng]

Foreword 
It is reported that Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaihima) said: 

“If the Fuqaha are not the Awliya of Allah then there is no Wali of Allah.” 

The greatest of the Awliya of Allah were the Fuqaha. Fiqh is all about creating Khashyat (fear and awe in the heart) of Allah. Pious people who abandoned Fiqh invariably fell into bid’aat. It is, therefore, imperative to study and master the subject of Fiqh. Among the masters of Fiqh were the two illustrious associates of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaihim). When mentioned together they are refered to as Saahibain (the two companions). This article casts light on the illustrious Faqih. The It is hoped that by studying this article, fervor for Fiqh and inculcating Taqwa which are sorely missing in the Ummah today will be produced, Aameen. 

HAZRAT IMAM ABU YUSUF (RAHMATULLAHI ALAIH) 

Birth: 93 Hijri 

Demise: 182 Hijri 

Age: 89 Years 

Name: Ya’qoob  

Patronymical Name (Kunyat): Abu Yusuf 

Lineage: Abu Yusuf Bin Ibraahim Bin Habeeb Bin Sa’d Bin Buhair Bin Mu’awiyah Bin Quhaafah Bin Nufail Ansaari Bajali (Radhiyallahu anhu) 

Birth: Imam Abu Yusuf was born in Kufa. 

Education: Imam Abu Yusuf studied Ilm in Kufa, and also resided therein.  

Descent/Race: Imam Abu Yusuf was an Arab and not among the slaves (Mawaalee). His progeny links up to the Ansaar who were the residents of Madinah Munawarrah who offered all the support they could give to Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Muslim arrivals from Makkah Mukarramah. 

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was born in Kufa, in the 93rd year Hijri, and passed away in the 182nd year Hijri. He lived for 89 years. 

The Barkat of the Mubaarak hand of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)
Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) great grandfather was the illustrious Sahabi of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Hazrat Sa’d Bin Hatabah (Radhiyallahu anahu). (Hatabah was his mother’s name. Some have said that his mother’s name was Hasanah.)

Despite his (Hazrat Sa’d’s) yearning to participate in the Battle of Uhud, he was not granted permission due to his tender age.

He was, however given permission to participate in the Battle of the Trench (Khandaq) and other expeditions with the Sahabah. Thus, he was among the soldiers of Allah and Islam.

“Behold! The army of Allah will always be the successful ones.” (Qur’aan)

Ibne Abdul-Bar (Rahmatullahi alaih) has written in ‘Isti’aab’: 

During the Battle of the Trench, Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) observed the great-grandfather of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) fighting the enemy with bravery, valour and boldness despite his tender age. Thus, Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) called him and asked: 

“O young boy! Who are you? ”

Hazrat Sa’d (Radhiyallahu anhu) replied:  “Labbaik (I am present, O Allah’s Rasool!) I am Sa’d Bin Hatabah.”

Hearing this, Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) called him and (applauding him) said: “Well done! Well done! Come here, come here!”

Hazrat Sa’d went and stood next to Nabi (Sallallahu alahi wasallam).

Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) placed his Mubaarak hand on the head of Hazrat Sa’d and made Du’a: “May Allah make you successful.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to take pride in this incident and say: “Till today I can perceive the Barkat of the Mubarak hand of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam).” 

The Beauty and Elegance of Imam Abu Yusuf
In consequence of the blessed hand of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) beauty and elegance were such that whoever set their gaze on the face of Imam Abu Yusuf, would observe the Noor on his forehead. His face would shine as though someone had applied oil on his face.

His Quest for ‘Ilm (Islamic knowledge), His Mother’s concern and Imam Abu Hanifah’s Intuition
Ali Bin Ja’d (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to say: “When my father passed away, I was very young. My mother took me to a washerman to learn and earn (how to wash clothes to make a livelihood).

Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi  alaih) classes were  on the way to the washerman. I left the washerman and joined the Majlis (classes/gathering) of Imam  Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih).

When this continuously happened, (i.e. I spent more of my  time by Imam Abu Hanifah) my mother forced me to go  to the washerman.

However, I wasn’t ready to leave Imam Abu Hanifah’s Majlis and go elsewhere. Eventually, my mother who was by then tired of forcing me to go to the washerman approached Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and lamented:

“I am a widow. This boy is an orphan. I earn by knitting. I don’t know what you have told this boy that despite me forcing him, he is not prepared to leave you! ” 

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih) told my mother: “Keep him here with us, he will study Ilm (Deeni knowledge) and soon sit on a luxurious turquoise blue carpet in a courtyard eating roasted pistah (pistachios) and  drinking faloodah (a type of a desert).”

Some have mentioned that Imam  Abu Hanifah told Imam Abu  Yusuf’s mother:
“He is learning how to drink faloodah mixed with roasted pistah (pistachios).”

Hearing this answer of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf’s mother became extremely upset  and said: “Old man! You have  become decrepit and you are not  mentally well!  ”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  says:
“When I (eventually) became the  Qaadhi, I was (once) sitting on the luxurious rug in (Haroon Rashid) courtyard the Khaleefah’ s whilst his (the Khaleefah’s) servants brought (for me) roasted pistahs mixed in faloodah.

The Khaleefah told me: “Have some faloodah. This is a special type of a faloodah which is not made all the time.”

Hearing this statement of the Khaleefah, I smiled.
The Khaleefah asked for the reason of my smiling. I explained the whole episode which transpired and also told the Khaleefah: “This is my Ustaad,  Imam Abu Hanifah’s karaamat (miracle).”

The Khaleefah remarked: “Undoubtedly, Ilm (Islamic Knowledge) benefits a person and  elevates his status in the Dunya (world) and Aakhirat (Hereafter).”

Then he said: “May Allah Ta’ala have mercy upon Imam Abu Hanifah! He would see those things with his spiritual eyes which couldn’ t be seen with the normal eyes.”

Imam Abu Hanifah’s Mercy and Barkat in Wealth
Khateeb Baghdaadi (Rahmatullahi  alaih) narrates the following episode from Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih):

“I was studying Hadith and Fiqh.  However, my condition was lamentable due to the poverty I was experiencing.

Once whilst I was in the Majlis of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih), my father entered. Upon seeing him,  I stood up and went  outside with him.                                                          
My father told me: ‘My son! Look, you will be unable to follow the footsteps of Imam Abu Hanifah.  By  the Grace  (Fadhl)  of  Allah,  he  has  everything  by  him. Whatever he wishes to eat, he can  eat and whatever he wishes to drink, he drinks. On the contrary, what is your condition? You are in need of a livelihood in order to live.  At least have some consideration for the future.’

This concern of my father entered and settled in my heart. I began paying less interest in studying Ilm and devoted more of my time in earning, because this was my father’s assent and my condition’s demand.

(Note: From various narrations it is understood that Imam Abu Yusuf was married and was a father evenbefore studying Ilm, for this reason his father would stress on him to earn a livelihood.)

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) observed that my attendance in his classes decreased. This caused much grief  to Imam Abu Hanifah.

One day, as usual, I arrived late. Imam Abu Hanifah asked me: ‘Where have you  come  from? Why are you not punctual?’ I replied: ‘I am occupied in earning my livelihood, and this is my father’s command.’

Saying this, I sat down in the Majlis. After some time I intended to stand up and leave, but Imam Abu Hanifah stopped me.

When the students were dismissed, Imam Abu Hanifah handed me a bag and said: ‘Use this and concentrate fully on your lessons.’

When I looked in the bag, I found 100 Dirhams.

Imam Abu Hanifah had also emphatically told me: ‘If this money gets finished, then tell me,  but be punctual in the lessons from now on!’

Thus I once more began attending the lessons punctually. After some time, Imam Abu Hanifah gave me another bag of 100 Dirhams, and again stressed on attending lessons punctually.  In this way, it continued. I don’t know how Imam Abu Hanifah knew that the money was depleted. Never did I tell him that  the money was finished nor did I ask him for more. Yet, Imam Abu Hanifah would give me 100  Dirhams.

This generosity of Imam Abu  Hanifah made my life more comfortable. I once more began attending the Majlis of Imam Abu  Hanifah more punctually. None of  my needs were left unfulfilled.

Allah Ta’ala caused doors of Ilm and wealth for my future to open by the barkat and Tawajjuh (special attention) of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).
May Allah Ta’ ala reward him fully for this.”

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Study Days Ibraahim Bin Jarraah (Rahmatullahi alaih) says:  “I personally heard Imam Abu Yusuf saying:  ‘We studied Ilm. And with us innumerable students studied as well. However, only he who sufficed with milk, benefitted from his Ilm.’”

What Imam Abu Yusuf meant was that during his study days, his family would mix roti in milk and keep that for him. Imam Abu Yusuf would eat that in the morning and would then proceed for classes. When he would return from classes, he would eat the same. He would not waste time in waiting for special and delicious meals to be prepared.

On the other hand, other students would wait for delicious, sumptuous and special meals, and in the process miss some parts of their lessons.

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Dedication to Ilm
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became so in love with his Shaikh, guide and Ustaad (Imam Abu Hanifah), that he was prepared to leave all worldly work and be present for lessons. 
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahamatullahi alaih) was heard saying during one of his lessons: 

“My son passed away, however, I did not partake in his ghusl, kafan etc. I handed these responsibilities over to my neighbours and friends. I did this so that I wouldn’t miss any lesson, and this would not bother my conscience that – I was absent for a particular Sabaq (lesson).”

Some have written that the same happened when Imam  Abu Yusuf’s father passed away. Imam  Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) preferred being absent from his father’s Janazah rather than missing classes. ”

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to say: I had no student as punctual for classes than Imam Abu Yusuf.”

Had Dawood Taai (Rahmatullahi  alaih) also followed Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) in this, people would have benefitted from him (just like how they are benefitting from Imam Abu Yusuf)  as well.”

(Dawood Taai was also a student of Imam Abu Hanifah. However, he took to solitude and an ascetic life over grounding himself in Fiqh. Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) thus commented that had Dawood Taai  become a Faqeeh, people would have benefitted from him just as they benefitted from Imam  Abu  Yusuf– Translator.)  

Imam Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) once said: “Imam Abu Yusuf  is the greatest scholar among his rank of Fuqaha.”

History bears witness to the fact that whosoever studied under Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) became a high-ranking scholar. However, (only) Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became Imam Abu Hanifah’s successor without any difference among the Ulama.

(Note: After the demise of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), the person who took his place was Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). All the Ulama are unanimous on this. Just like after the demise of a Shaikh, the Mureeds choose his closest Khaleefah to continue benefitting and gaining proximity from, so too is the case here, that  when Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) passed away, the Ulama and students chose to benefit from Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) -Translator).

Through the Barkat of the company, classes and khidmat of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) developed a sharp intellect, a spiritually cleansed heart and a deep and vast understanding of Fiqh.

His Absorption in Ilm
Once, Imam  Abu  Yusuf’s uncle came to the Dars (lessons) of Imam Abu Hanifah  (Rahmatullahi alaih). There was a discussion taking place on a certain Mas’alah (Deeni Matter). Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) was  presenting arguments for his view  on the Mas’alah very forcefully. His voice was raised and fervently  he was debating his stand point.  The uncle of Imam Abu Yusuf stood in wonder as it was the third day that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) had been without food.

(From this episode we can learn what engrossment those illustrious souls had for ‘Ilm of the  Deen Learning and discussing Ilm, was in fact the nourishment of  their souls- Translator) 

The Complaint of Imam Abu Yusuf’s wife to Imam Abu Hanifah It is recorded, that the inclination,  enthusiasm and love Imam Abu  Yusuf (Rah matullahi alaih) had for Ilm was well known. Similarly, the complaint of his studying, zeal and engrossment in Ilm was not only made by his parents and uncle, but this was even the complaint of his wife.

It is narrated from her that at times Imam Abu Yusuf would stay  in the service and company of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), and would only return home at night. Sometimes he would spend the entire night by Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), and not return home for few days.

(Note: The task the illustrious Fuqaha had set upon themselves was preservation of the Shari’ah.  They were out in the Path of Allah  Rabbul  ‘Izzah. Had they not codified the Shari’ah, the Deen of  the masses would have been laid  to waste. The occasional lengthy  absence of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) in no way put  unbearable harm to his family and  hence his presence in the Ilmi gatherings of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) was of greater importance. He did not infringe on the right of his family.  The similitude is of a Mujaahid sent on a campaign. Both, the Faqeeh and the Mujaahid are the defenders of the Deen. In their call up for incumbent Deeni services they will necessarily have to  stay  away  from  their families for periods of time. This is even tolerated when the husband has to go on an important business trip. There should, therefore be no  objection to the above incident in  Hazrat Imam Abu Yusuf’s auspicious life- Translator.)

One day, she went to complain to  Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih) about this.
Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) spoke to her, made her understand and told her to make Sabr. He also told her that Insha Allah, Allah Ta’ala will very soon remove their days of poverty and hunger and Allah Ta’ala will bestow upon them more than  what they expect.

Very soon thereafter, Allah Ta’ala opened for them doors of grace, favour, mercy and bounties. Poverty had left them. One day, she asked Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih): “How much money do we have?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) replied: “I don’t know the total. As far as I know (for sure) is that at the moment we have 700 mules and 300 horses in our (personal) stables.”

The Desire of making Amal on  Hadith made him attend Imam Abu Hanifah’s Classes
Imam Zahid Kauthari (Rahmatullahi alaih) has written an interesting story regarding  Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih).

He writes: When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to attend Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) classes, he  (Qadhi Abu Laila) used to have lots of consideration for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). It was the practice and habit of  Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila, that whenever he was faced with difficult or complicated Masaail,  he would refer to Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) for its solution.

Observing this, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would remain restless wishing to attend Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) lessons, however, he was deprived of this opportunity.

Coincidentally, Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) relations with  Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila terminated.  The reason of the termination of relations was that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) once made Amal on the purport of a  Hadith. Upon doing this, Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila prevented Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) from doing that. However, Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) refuted Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila in the light of the Hadith.

What had happened, was that it was the Nikah of Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila’s daughter. At the Nikah ceremony, dates were thrown to those present. The crowd began to collect the dates. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) also began to  collect the dates. Upon seeing this, Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila stopped Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) from doing this. He said: “This looting of dates is Makrooh!”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: “No doubt looting is forbidden, but that is only in warfare, not when scattered in a Nikah ceremony.”

This answer of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) changed the colour of Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila’s face.

This led to the termination of relations between Qadhi  Ibne Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Thereafter, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahamatullahi alaih) began to attend Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) Dars.

In actual fact, Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila had forgotten the  mentioned Hadith’s proper purport and application of the prohibition.

In the Hadith it is mentioned that once dates were thrown to the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum), however they remained seated on their places. They did not collect the dates. Upon seeing them in this state, Nabi (Sallallahu  alaihi wasallam) asked: “Why don’t you people collect the dates?”

They replied: “You prevented us, O Rasool of Allah.” Nabi (Sallallahu  alaihi wasallam) said: “I prevented only in booty, not from this (occasion). Go and collect!”

Some Views Regarding Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) leaving Qadhi IbneAbi Laila’s Classes and attending the Classes of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih)
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) remained in the service of Qadhi Muhammad Bin Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi  alaih) for nine years.

He benefitted tremendously from the knowledge of Muhammad Bin Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Thereafter he attended the Majaalis (plural of Majlis) of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Why did Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) leave Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih)  and proceed to Imam Abu Hanifah  (Rahmatullahi alaih)?

Regarding this, many have written  numerous reasons, in which facts are little and fictions many. Several baseless reasons have been tendered. 

Very little has been recorded and mentioned with regards to Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) Ta’leem (studying) and Tarbiyat (upbringing etc.).

However, many narrations and episodes bear witness that whatever (Ilm – knowledge etc.)  Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) had acquired, it was through his desire, yearning and  Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) care and  monetary aid.

The first Ustaad of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was Muhammad Bin Abi Laila  (Rahmatullahi alaih), who was an excellent, great and accomplished scholar from among the Tab-e-Taabi’een. His knowledge and  experience were very vast.

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) benefitted from him in both, Ilm and Amal.

However, that was a time when every person and student was dependent on Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi  alaih) Majlis. Despite the excellence, virtues, Ilm etc. of Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih), when he was faced with a difficult Mas’alah, he would first ask Imam  Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Observing this, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) thought that he should also attend Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) classes. However, his Ustaad’s respect prevented him from  doing so.

He was therefore deprived of this opportunity in the beginning.  However, due to some reasons, he terminated his lessons by Qadhi  Ibne Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih), and sat as a student in the lessons of  Imam Abu Hanifah  (Rahmatullahi  alaih).

Some have said that the reason for leaving Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila’s  (Rahmatullahi alaih) lessons was due to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) having a difference with him.

However, this is not correct, because Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) also differed in various Masaa’il with Imam Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).  Therefore, this view of differing with Qadhi Ibne Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih) is not correct.

Another reason tendered is that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) would discuss and debate with Imam Zufar (Rahmatullahi  alaih) who was the student of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih).

Through these discussions and debates, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) distinguished the level of Fiqah between Imam Abu Hanifah and Qadhi Ibne Abi  Laila (Rahmatullahi  alaihima).

Those who have an understanding of that era’s manner of gaining and seeking Ilm and teaching, will not bother regarding the various views and opinions offered by different people.

In actual fact, that was the initial era of the learning and gathering of various branches of knowledge.  Ilm which was in the hearts of hundreds of individuals was gathered and learnt. Therefore, the students of that time would frequently attend as many Ahle-Ilm’s (Ulama ’s ) classes as possible in order to gather and learn Ilm. Also, the Ulama of those times studied under hundreds of Ustaads. 

Allamah Zaahid Kautharee (Rahmatullahi alaih) has recorded that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) had 104 top ranking, expert and qualified Ustaads.

So, with this being the case and situation, would Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) be content with one Ustaad? He also, as was the norm of that time, sat as a  student at the feet of many great Akaabir (senior and expert) scholars. Therefore, enthusiasm for Ilm made Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) leave Qadhi  Ibne Abi Laila (Rahmatullahi alaih) and attend Imam Abu Hanifah’s  (Rahmatullahi alaih) lessons.

His yearning to Learn Hadith and his Sharp Memory
Muhammad Bin Jareer Tabaree (Rahmatullahi alaih) has mentioned that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was a great Aalim and a great Haafiz-e-Hadith, he was famous for his memorization of Hadith and was very sharp minded. He could learn 60-70 Ahadith merely by listening and then narrate them to the people.

Hasan Bin Ziyaad (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates: “We left with Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) for Hajj. Along the way, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became sick. Therefore, we stopped (camped) at Bir-e-Maimoon.
Here, Abu Muhammad Sufyaan (Rahmatullahi alaih) came to visit Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) told us: “I would like to hear Hadith from Abu Muhammad Sufyaan (Rahmatullahi alaih).”

(When this request was put forth to him) Hazrat Sufyaan (Rahmatullahi alaih) immediately narrated 40 Ahaadith. When Hazrat Sufyaan (Rahmatullahi alaih) left, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) told us:  “Now test me those Ahaadith which Sufyaan (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrated.” 

Thus, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrated all of the 40 Ahaadith there and then. Although Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was afflicted with sickness, he was already old and the difficulties of the journey were plenty, yet this was the condition of his memory.

Imam Zahabee (Rahmatullahi alaih) has regarded Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) from  among the Huffaaz of Hadith.

Imam Jawzee (Rahmatullahi alaih)  has written that Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) is from among those 100 people of the Ummat whose (sharp) memory was well known.

When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to sit in the lessons of his Ustaad he would by heart 50s, then in each lesson 60 Ahaadith with their Sanad (chains of narrators). 

Haafiz Ibne Hajar (Rahmatullahi alaih) has narrated the aforementioned (Rahmatullahi  alaih) from Hasan Bin Ziyaad in  this manner, that once Imam Abu  Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) fell ill he was on journey). (whilst Sufyaan Bin ‘Uyaynah (Rahmatullahi alaih) went to visit him. Sufyaan Bin ‘Uyaynah (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrated to  him 40 Ahaadith.

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) learnt (remembered) those Ahaadith and when Sufyaan Bin  ‘Uyaynah (Rahmatullahi alaih) left, he narrated them to his friends and companions. His friends and companions were amazed at his memory.

Abu Mu’aawiyah (Rahmatullahi alaih) has mentioned that he used to go with Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) for Hadith-classes. However, he would write down the Ahaadith he heard fromhis Ustaad, but Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would remember all the Ahaadith by heart without (even) writing them down.

The Khaleefah, Haroon Rashid  was Imam Abu Yusuf’s Saathi (classmate, i.e. they were learning Ilm together).

Once, people complained to him about Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). He replied: 

“I know Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) and his Ilm from my childhood. He wouldn’t write down any Hadith during classes (which he heard from the Ustaad). Yet, his memory was so strong, that he would remember all the Ahaadith. After classes, those who had written would correct their mistakes from Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).”

Imam Maalik and Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaihima) flourished  in the Same Era
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) lived in the same era as Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih). Both these great personalities were Mujtahideen (experts in formulating Masaa’il). Both these  great personalities also differed in some Masaa’il. In some Masaail, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) gave preference to Imam  Maalik’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) view.  The details of this can be found in  Fiqh Kitaabs.

His Relation, His Ustaad, Company and Service to Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was proud to be a student of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). He would always speak about his Ustaad in praiseworthy terms. His purpose in life was to spread his Ustaad’s  Ilm far and wide. He would tell the people about his Ustaad’s Ilm and  Kamaal (perfection)

It is mentioned in one narration, that after every Namaaz, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to make Du’a-e-Maghfirat for his Ustaad first, then for his parents.

Allaamah Seemyaree (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that once Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) told him (Allaamah Seemyaree) that never did it happen that he (Imam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullahi alaih) read Namaaz and thereafter not make Du’a for his Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). Perhaps due to this good practice  Allah Ta’ala bestowed upon him Barkat in Ilm and Tafaqquh (a deep and thorough understanding in Ilm).

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) once said: “I spent 29 years  in the service of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).  Every day of these years I read  Fajr Salaah next to him.”

In another narration it is mentioned that he said: “Never did I leave the Kurtah (i.e. company) of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) during the mornings nor during the afternoons except for when I was sick.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was known for  his  intelligence, foresight and sharp-memory. In this long period (by  his Ustaad) he became a beautiful  reflection of the greatness and the excellence of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). He absorbed Ilm from Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and achieved the position of Ijtihaad  (formulating Masaail).

His Zeal for Ilm
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) initially lived a very poor and difficult life. He was the only son of his father. Despite this, nothing was an obstacle for him in learning  Ilm.

Yusuf Bin Sa’eed (Rahmatullahi alaih) said that Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) was in the service of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) for a long period of time. Not one day was it  such that he was not present with  Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih) for Fajr Salaah.

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said that he spent plenty of  years in the service of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). Except for the days he was sick, never was he ever absent. Even on  the days of Eid he was present.

Consider the fact that on both these days (days of Eid), everyone  spends them in the company of  their family. Despite these being  days  of  happiness and spending   with family, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) preferred spending them in the company of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), learning Ilm over (spending time with) his family.

He said: “There was no gathering more beloved to me than the Dars of Imam Abu Hanifah, for verily, I have not seen a greater Faqeeh than Imam Abu Hanifah and a better Qadhi than Ibne Abi Laila.”

The Value and Worth of One Lesson of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).
At times after the demise of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would lament and say: “If only I was able to be in just one lesson of Imam A’zam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and I was able to solve my Ilmee difficulty (ambiguity) by him, even if I had to sacrifice half my wealth for one Ilmee-Majlis!” 

It is recorded that at that time, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) had money to the value/amount of two million. In other words, he wished to spend one million in order to sit in one Majlis by Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).  In reality, when there is enthusiasm and yearning to learn and study Ilm, then its value will be such. Hence, the saying is so true:

“Whosoever has not tasted its sweetness will not understand.”

He became what Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) wanted Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) had a strong connection, love and affection for all his students, in particular for Imam Muhammad, Zufar and Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaihim). He would teach them with much love. The most beloved from the three was Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Before passing away, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) wrote a will for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). 

Perhaps the ‘Firaasat-e-Mu’min’ (the intuition of a pious Mu’min) of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) perceived that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) will not only sit on a throne as an Ustaad (be an Ustaad), but his perfection in Ilm (knowledge) and Amal (practice) will make him see a day that he will obtain the position of a Qadhi. And there is no doubt in this.

This hope of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) eventually materialised. The Wasiyyat (bequeath) Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) wrote for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was such a document which will be remembered and revived due to the benefits it contained.

This explains the amount of ‘Muhabbat’ (love) Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) had for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became what Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) expected him to become.

“Are You Setting Yourself Up Before Mastering?”
After gaining Ilm from great Shaikhs of the time, expert Ulama and Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) conducted his own classes. However, he did not inform his ‘Muhsin’ and ‘Murabbi’ (i.e. Shaikh and Ustaad), Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) about this, nor did he make Mashwarah (consult) with him. Upon learning of this, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) sent one of his students to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) with five questions. 

Zain Bin Nujaim (Rahmatullahi alaih) has written in his Kitaab, Al-Ashbaah Wan Nathaair:  Once Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) sent a student to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) with five Masaail:  

1. A washerman tore some clothes. Will he be paid for his washing? 

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi Alaih) said: “No, he won’t be paid.” 
The student said: “You are wrong.”  
Then Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Yes, he will be paid.” 

The student said: “That is also wrong. If he washed the clothes before they tore, he will be paid.” 

2. What is the status of ‘Dukhool’ (entering) Namaaz (i.e. beginning Namaaz), Fardh or Sunnat?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Fardh.”

The student replied: “Incorrect.” 

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Then it is Sunnat.”

The student replied: “Incorrect.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahnatullahi alaih) looked at him surprised.

The student said: “It is both (Fardh and Sunnat) at the same time. Because Takbeer-e-Tahreemah is Fardh and raising the hands is Sunnat.” 

3. The student who was sent by Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked: “A pot of food is being cooked on a stove. A sparrow fell in the pot. Can the curry and meat which are cooked in that pot be permissible to eat or not (i.e. Halaal or not)?”     

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Why not? It is permissible.”

The student said: “Incorrect.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) then said: “It is not permissible.”

The student said: “Incorrect.” Then he said: “If the meat was cooked before the sparrow fell, then it will have to be washed thrice and eaten (not the curry).” 

4. The student further asked: “A person’s wife is a Zimmi (a Zimmi is a non-Muslim who lives in a Muslim land with safety by paying Jizyah (tax) -Translator). She died whilst she was pregnant. In which  Qabrastaan will she be buried?”                                                     
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) said: “In the Qabrastaan of  the Muslims.”

The student replied: “Incorrect.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Then, in the Zimmi’s Qabrastaan.”

The student replied: “Incorrect.”   

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) looked at him surprised.

The student said: “She will be buried in the graveyard of the Yahoodis (Jews), however her back will be made to face the Qiblah because a baby’s face in  the womb faces the back of  a  woman.”

5. The student asked: “A man’s ‘Umme Walad’ (concubine slave  girl) married a man without her master’s permission. In the meantime, her master died. Is Iddat incumbent on her (the Iddat  of the demise of her master)?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Iddat is Waajib.”

The student said: “Incorrect.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: is not Waajib.” 

The student said: “Incorrect. If the  slave’s husband did have relations with her, then Iddat is not Waajib.  If he didn’t have relations with her, Iddat will be Waajib.”

After this, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) understood how many mistakes he was making. He headed to Imam Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and explained his condition. Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) told him: “Are you performing before mastering?”

A Similar Incident
Once, Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) became sick. Because he was Imam Abu Hanifah’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) special and close student, Imam Abu Hanifah went to visit him.

After asking Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) relevant questions pertaining to his health  etc., Imam  Abu  Hanifah  (Rahma tullahi  alaih) said: “I have lots of hope and trust in you. You will be of much benefit to the Ummah. I leave you (to guide and benefit the Ummah) after my demise.”

After Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) recovered from his sickness, he thought of  opening his own Madrasah. Thus,  he began his own Dars. (His Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) was not aware of this as Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) did not consult with him inform him- Translator).

Until one day, when Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih) asked Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) a difficult Mas’alah.

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) did not answer it satisfactorily. Thus, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) commented: “Subhaanallah! A person who conducts his own lessons, speaks and discusses the  Deen of Allah and addresses number of students, yet he is unaware of a large Tijaarah Mas’alah (Mas’alah regarding business dealings etc.). Then, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi  alaih) offered Naseehat:

“The one who regards himself  independant of Ilm has handed  himself over to his nafs.”

Dominion in Ilm is for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih)
Hazrat Hammaad Bin Abu Hanifah  (Rahmatullahi alaih) who was the son of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) mentioned that once Imam Zufar and Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaihima) had a discussion regarding a  Mas’alah.

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) was also present in this gathering. After a few hours passed, and they still hadn’t come to any conclusion, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) commented: “Dominion in Ilm is reserved for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih); you  (referring to Imam Zufar Rahmatullahi alaih) won’t be able to gain it.”

Ustaad and Qadhi
Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) Tadrees (classes) were running for 16 years – 150 Hijri to 166 Hijri. In the year 166 Hijri, he became the Qadhi. He remained a Qadhi for 17 years. However, whilst he was a Qadhi, he still conducted classes. He would see to the work of a Qadhi during the day and teach during the night.

Haroon Rashid commented regarding Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) hard work: “Due to the occupation of being a Qadhi, he conducts lessons during the nights (to the people). Yet, his quality of Ilm is such that he doesn’t teach with any Kitaab or any notes (i.e. short-notes).”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to approach his students in a very cheerful and a friendly manner. He would never be miserly in teaching nor would he waste time. He would ensure that his students became experts in their studies.

He used to tell his students that despite him being an Ustaad and a Murabbee (guide, sheikh), they shouldn’t accept and believe any of his discourse without a proof. 

He would listen and answer the questions and objections of his students with a cheerful face (i.e. a smile on his face), tolerance and Sabr. He would try his utmost best to satisfy them with an appropriate answer. More episodes of this nature will be narrated further on in this treatise.

The Speciality of Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) Classes
The method of teaching in the era of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was that the Shuyookh (experts) of Hadith would dictate to their students and the Aimmah (plural of Imam) would only conduct Fiqh classes. However, Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) classes were of both, Fiqh and Hadith. 

He would not only suffice on ‘Akhbaranaa’ and ‘Haddathanaa’ or ‘Qaala’ and ‘Aqoolu’ when teaching. In other words, he would not suffice with narrations. When teaching a Hadith he would also include subtle points and express Ijtihaad (Formulating Masaail) regarding the particular Hadith. 

Ali Madinee (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that when Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) came to Basrah in the year 180 Hijri, a few of us would attend his Majlis in order to gain benefit. His method of teaching was that he used to narrate ten Ahaadith and thereafter explain Fiqhi points.

A professional Muhaddith is not a person who memorizes Hadith, but a person who formulates Masaail from Hadith.

His Students’ Love for Attending his Classes
Bishr Bin Ghiyaath Mareesi (Rahmatullahi alaih) was one of the students of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). However, regarding ‘khalq-e-Quraan’, (the Qur’aan Majeed being Makhlooq -a created object- his view was that of the Mu’tazilee. (In reality, the Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaa’at’s Aqeedah/belief) is that the Qur’aan Majeed in not Makhlooq-Translator). Bishr Mareesi is a compiler of various Kutub which he had studied from Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). He was from among the Ahle-Zuhd and Ahle-Wara (people who have abandoned the luxury and comfort etc. of the world, and people who have a lofty standard of Taqwa-Translator).

However, because of him conforming to the view of the Mu’tazilahs (in the Mas’alah of Khalq-e-Quraan), people were not attracted to him.

Regarding him, Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates: “Once I was in the Majlis of Qadhi Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) when he expelled Bishr Mareesi from his classes. (The reason was the same as mentioned above-Translator)

Some time thereafter, when I went again to the Majlis of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), I was surprised to see Bishr Mareesi there as well. I told him, “After being expelled from Imam Abu Yusuf’s classes you still attend his classes?”

Bishr told me, “I can’t afford to lose that which I had gained from sitting in this Majlis due to my misbehaviour towards Imam  Abu  Yusuf.”

The reason for this was that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was an embodiment of ‘kamaalaat’ (perfection) and ‘fazaail’ (virtue). It was for this reason that whosoever entered his Majlis once (or for the first time) would never search for someone else’s Majlis. Whosoever would come to his Majlis once would become independent of the Majaalis of others. Whosoever  witnessed even one blink of Ilm and Baseerat (insight) from Imam Abu Yusuf would not go anywhere else.

Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi  alaih) Love for His Students
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was very tolerant and patient. Never was a frown seen on his forehead. Hasan Bin Ziyaad  (Rahmatullahi alaih) says:  “Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was more opened-hearted than Imam Zufar (Rahmatullahi alaih) in Ta’leem (teaching).

Whenever I would ask Imam Zufar (Rahmatullahi alaih) a question or put forward any Ilmee Difficulty (which he had not understood or required more explanation), Imam  Zufar (Rahmatullahi alaih) would explain to me. If I still did not understand, I would again ask, and Imam Zufar (Rahmatullahi alaih) would answer again. If then too I did not understand and asked again, Imam Zufar (Rahmatullahi alaih) would become angry and would tell me:

‘You are a real useless; you are void of intelligence; you don’t have any understanding in you, you will never be successful in learning Ilm!’

Hearing this, I would feel very down, depressed and sad. (In this condition) I used to go to Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) Majlis. I used to ask him and he would reply. I would do this several times until I would understand, and each time Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) would answer with even more love,  soft heartedness and softness. He used to try to pass on to me all his knowledge and would say: ‘Don’t worry. Be patient and ponder. When you will do this, you will understand. If I am able to, then I will transfer whatever Ilm I have to you.”

Explaining a Mas’alah whilst in Sakaraat (Agonies of Death)!  Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was extremely fond of teaching Masaail. Never was he negligent in this regard. Difficulties in learning and teaching were easy upon him. He did not allow anything to be an obstacle in his path of learning, teaching and spreading Ilm. What more than even in Sakaraat he did  not abandon this Fardh duty of Tableegh?

Ibraahim Bin Jarraah (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: “When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became sick, I went to visit him. I observed that he was unconscious. When he regained some consciousness, he opened his eyes and asked me: “O Ibraahim! What is the best way of Rami-e-Jimaar, (pelting during Haj), walking or on a conveyance?”

I replied: “Walking.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: “Incorrect” 

I replied: “Then on a conveyance.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: “Incorrect”

Thereafter he explained: ‘For the one who intends to stay there for Du’a, it is best that he pelts walking (on-by foot). And the one who intends not to stay, it is best that he pelts on a conveyance.’

After a little while, I got up to leave. Hardly did I reach the door, when I heard the people weeping. Immediately I turned around to see. I found that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) had left this temporary abode. May Allah Ta’ala bestow upon him His Mercy.”

The Kutub-Khana (library) will be a Means of My Maghfirat
Ali Bin Isa (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: “Once I went to visit Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). I thought he will be resting, thus I would not be able to meet him. When I knocked, immediately I was granted permission to enter. When I entered, I found Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) in a (separate) room with stacks of Kitaabs around him.  I told Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), “I thought that I wouldn’t get to meet you.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) told me, “These are files and records of all rulings. Qiyaamat’s Day when my verdicts and I will be  interrogated as to how I had passed my verdicts, I will present these (files and  papers) in the court of Allah.”

Classes during Travelling as Well Whenever Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would go on journey people used to benefit from his lessons and Ilm.

Once when Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) travelled to Basrah, huge gatherings of students crowded around Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) in order to benefit and learn from his Ilm. The ‘Ashaab e-Hadith’ (those studying Hadith) desired to benefit from Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) first as well as the Ashaab-e-Fiqah (those  studying Fiqh).

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “I am well versed in both subjects. One cannot be preferred over the other.” Thus, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked both groups one question, and the group which answered correctly will  be  addressed first.

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) removed his ring from his finger and asked, “Someone placed this ring of mine in his mouth, and bit it into pieces. What should I do?” Some  students from the  Ashaab-e-Hadith (those who were studying  Hadith) tried to answer, but Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih)  did not find their answer satisfactory.

Then one student stood up from the Ashaab-e- Fiqah (those who were studying Fiqah) and  answered. “The value of the gold  (that was on the ring) will be  taken from that person and given to the owner of the ring. The broken ring will be given to the one who had broken it on condition that its owner doesn’t wish to keep it by him.”

Hearing this, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “Let the members of this man’s group (Ashaab-e-Fiqah) enter my residence.”

Thus, the Ashaab-e-Fiqah entered where Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was staying and he addressed them first.

Many Benefitted from His Classes Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) conducted classes in different ways for approximately 32 years. Countless students benefitted from his classes. His students became great Muhadditheen, Fuqaha of their times, Imams of their era and mountains of knowledge. Many students set off to Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) classes. Students from various places, such as: Khurasaan, Jawzujaan, Balkh, Marw, Hiraat, Ray, Baghdaad, Kufa, Basrah and  Madinah Munawwarah came to learn Ilm from him.

The names of his students will make this article lengthy,  therefore we have omitted all  their names.

The Respect Shown to Him
Whilst Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was a great and a respectable personality in regards to the ‘Ilm (knowledge) he had, he was also respected by one and all in his field of being a Qadhi (A Judge in an Islamic court).

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) showed kindness and good character to one and all. It was his habit to display good character to his friends, close and special friends, family, enemies and opponents equally. 

He was the Qadhi of one of the world’s biggest Courts. Great and important people appearing in the court used to humble themselves out of respect in the presence of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Even the Khalifah, Haroon Rashid would humble himself in respect whilst in the presence of this great Imam, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

The Khalifah Haroon Rashid would display the utmost Adab (respect) to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Despite being shown so much respect, it was his (Imam Abu Yusuf’s) practice to do the same. When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would meet or greet anyone, he would do so with much humility and Adab (respect).

He would treat everyone equally. He would not hurt the feelings of anyone.    

His Poverty
After  completing  his  studies,  Imam  Abu  Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  got  married.  According to some Riwaayaat (narrations), he got married whilst studying. However, at that time he was experiencing extreme poverty. During his days of poverty, it is recorded that he could not afford to buy paper.

Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi  alaih) used to go to the Mathbah (slaughterhouse) and take the skin of animals and write down Masaa’il on it.

A Yahoodi’s Statement
It is recorded that during the days of Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahatullahi  alaih) poverty, hunger and hardship, a Yahoodi (Jew) who was living down the road built his wall in such a way that the public road narrowed. Thus, it became difficult for the public to pass by his house. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) went to lay an objection to the Yahoodi about this. In a mocking way, the Yahoodi replied to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih): “Sir! The day your conveyance passes my house with difficulty will be the day I will break my wall.”  

Allah Ta’ala did not like this attitude of the Yahoodi soon towards Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Very soon thereafter, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became the Qadhi (Judge). One day, cavalcade of Qadhi Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) passed on the same street on which the Yahoodi was residing. When they passed the house of the Yahoodi, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) reminded him of his promise. Thus, the Yahoodi had to break his wall.

The Method of his ‘Amr bil  Ma’roof’ (commanding  good/virtue)
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was fearless in the department of Amr bil ma’roof (commanding virtue). Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would not give preference to anyone when it came to the matters of Deen, whether it be a noble person or a government official.  Even if the ruler of the time acted against the teachings of Deen,  Imam Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullaahi  alaih) would reprimand him. He  would tell him that in rulership he  (Imam Abu Yusuf) is under him (the ruler/Khalifah) but if he (the ruler/Khalifah) errs or acts in contrast to the Laws of Deen and matters of Deen, then it is (obligatory) on him (Imam Abu Yusuf) to rectify him (the Khalifah).

In the Court of ‘A daalat (justice), a King and a Donkey are Equal
It is narrated that once a case of the Khalifah Haroon Rashid and a Yahoodi (Jew) was brought to Qadhi Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Accordingly, both parties presented themselves in the court of Qadhi Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih).                                          Thinking of himself to be a normal and a simple citizen, the Yahoodi (Jew) sat (slightly) behind the Khalifah. Qadhi Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) could not tolerate to see this difference. Hence, he addressed the Yahoodi (Jew) in the presence of all in the court, “Sit in line with the Khalifah! This is an Islamic Court. Here there is no preference given to anyone. In the court of ‘Adal (justice), a king and donkey are equal.”

The Sentence of Qatl (the execution) of a Zindeeq in Court of Haroon Rashid
It is recorded that once a Zindeeq was brought to the court of the Khalifah Haroon Rashid. (A Zindeeq is a person who whilst claiming to be a Muslim, he/she openly subscribes to a tenet in conflict with the established Teachings of Islam). Haroon  Rashid called for Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih)  entered the court of the Khalifah,  Haroon Rashid told him, “Speak to this Zindeeq!” (In other words, discuss with him so that he realizes his error and makes  Taubah – Translator.)

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “O Ameerul-Mu’mineen! Call the executioner. Order that the leather mat be spread. Then invite him to Islaam. If he accepts Islaam, then well and good, otherwise behead him. There is no use in debating with him because he already accepted (Imaan) but turned away from it.”

A Witty Response
Once, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) went for Haj with the Khalifah Haroon Rashid. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) made Imamat of either Zuhr or Asr Salaah. Because of being Musaafir, Qasr of the Salaah was made. (Qasr is when a Musaafir -a person who travels 77.5 km or more- shortens his Fardh Salaah. In place of 4 Fardh of Zuhr, Asr and Esha, he only reads 2. But he has to read 4 if he follows a Muqeem (resident) Imam. Fajr and Maghrib remains the same.)  

After making Salaam after two Rak’aats, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) announced to the Musallees (people following the Imam), “Complete your Salaah! I am a Musaafir.”

One Muqeem (resident) from Makkah Mukarramah said (whilst he was in Salaah), “We know and are more aware of this Mas’alah than you and the one who taught you this (Mas’alah).”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “If you were as you say then you wouldn’t have spoken in Salaah.”

Hearing this answer, the Khalifah Haroon Rashid was overjoyed and remarked, “If I was offered this answer for half of my kingdom, I would have accepted the offer!”

The Khalifah Haroon Rashid’s  Desire and Imam Abu Yusuf’s Independence
Once, the Khalifah Haroon Rashid told Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), “O Imam Saab! You come to us (visit us) very seldom whereas I always yearn for your visits and to be in your company.” Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “The yearning is due to my rare coming. If I come more often, the yearning and respect will fade away.” The Khalifah Haroon Rashid praised this answer of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Method of Handling Matters
Sa’eed bin Uthmaan (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates on the authority of his father that once the Khalifah Haroon Rashid was delivering a Jumu’ah Khutbah, when suddenly a man stood up and addressed the Khalifah in the presence of all.  He said to the Khalifah, “Allah’s Qasam! You do not do justice in distributing wealth, nor do you do justice to the people /public. You did this and you did that!”(He mentioned some of the things the Khalifah did- Translator.)                       
By the command of the Khalifah, the man was caught and was brought to the Khalifah after the Jumu’ah Salaah.

The Khalifah Haroon Rashid also called Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullaahi alaih). When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) came, he found the man in handcuffs and chains tied around his legs, with two executioners standing with their swords drawn next to him.

The Khalifah looked at Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) and  said, “O Ya’qoob! (This was Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) name as mentioned in the beginning of this book -Translator.) This man whom you see handcuffed and chained told me such things which till today no one had the guts to say!”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “O Ameerul-Mu’mineen! So what is the problem? Similar (and even worse than this) happened to our Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), yet  he (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) forgave them.                                                                                  
Once a man came to Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and said whilst taking a Qasam (oath) “Under oath I am telling you, do, justice!” Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) replied (calmly), “If I don’t do justice then who will do justice?” saying this, Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) made him Maaf.

Yet on another occasion, an Ansaari brought Hazrat Zubair (Radhiyallaahu anhu) (he was the cousin of our beloved Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)    -Translator) to Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) to judge between them. Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) passed the verdict in favour of  Hazrat Zubair (Radhiyallaahu anhu).

The Ansaari commented, “O Rasool of Allah! Did you pass the verdict in favour of Hazrat Zubair (Radhiyallaahu anhu) because he is your cousin?” Even then, Nabi  (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) made him Maaf.”

Hearing all of this, the anger of the Khalifah cooled down and ordered that the man be released.
Imam Abu Yusuf to the Rescue of  the Khalifah’s Nikaah
Once, the Khalifah Haroon Rashid had an argument with his wife Zubaidah. The argument became heated until eventually Queen Zubaidah uttered such words which caused the anger of the Khalifah to reach its peak. 

Due to anger, the Khalifah Haroon Rashid told his wife Zubaidah, “If you do not go out of my kingdom by the end of the day, you are divorced!”

When eventually both their anger had subsided, they were remorseful over what happened. However, they were in a problem as to what they should do to avoid Talaaq to fall. In the end they went to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said to them, “The kingdom of the Khalifah stretches from east to west (i.e. very vast is his kingdom). It is impossible to go out of this (vast) kingdom. 
However, Zubaidah should go to the Baitullaah, because that (the House of Allah) is not included in the kingdom of the Khalifah.” (This is because the Masaajid are  the Houses of Allah Azza Wajall on earth and they are not owned by anyone, not even the Khalifah.  Hence, Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed, “Indeed, the Masaajid belong to Allah.” -Translator)                                                        
The Khalifah and his wife were pleased with this verdict of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Accordingly, they acted upon this which saved their Nikaah (marriage). In return, they gave Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) a gift which consisted of a huge some of wealth.

Another Solution
Bishr bin Waleed (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that one day he asked Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), “Hazrat! My father is a Christian. He is very old and weak. Sometimes I meet him or see him on the road. Should I help him by holding his hand?”  Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “Not when he is on  his way to the church.”

Imam Abu Yusuf’s ‘Ilm
Some have commented that if Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) had no other student besides Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), then this would be sufficient.

Dawood bin Rashid (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “When I would find Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) engaged in any ‘Ilmee discussion, it would appear as if he was scooping handfuls of treasures of Ilm and Ma’rifat.

Hadith was on his tongue, Fiqah was on his tongue and in the field  of Ilm he was matchless.”

“Until both parties are not present, I cannot pass  my  verdict”
Once, the Khalifah Haroon Rashid asked Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), “What is your verdict regarding faloodah  (a type of a desert) and lawzeenah  (sweetmeat made of almonds)? Which of the two is superior?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) replied, “O Khalifah! I cannot pass my verdict until both  parties are not presented to me.”

The Khalifah Haroon Rashid instructed that both should be prepared and presented to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi  alaih) began eating (tasting) from  both dishes a little by little. Sometimes he ate from the and sometimes from the lawzeenah.

After eating a fair amount from both dishes, he called out, “O Khalifah! Until today, I have not seen two opponents fighting as much as these two dishes. Whenever I intend and make up my mind to pass my verdict in the favour of one, immediately the other overwhelms this one.”

Purchase a Boat to Save Your Nikaah
‘Allaamah Zaahid Al Kautharee (Rahmatullahi alaih) has written in his kitaab that once Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrated, “It has reached me that a man once went to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) and said, “Hazrat! I have taken an oath that if I don’t purchase a jaariyah (slave girl) then my wife is divorced. However, I have realized that to do so is not easy upon me, because I have much love and attachment towards my wife and I have lots of respect for her.”                                                                         Hearing this, Qadhi Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “Why don’t you buy a boat because it is also a jaariyah?”

(Jaariyah is an Arabic word which means slave girl. It also has the meaning of a boat. Hence, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used the second meaning to save the man’s Nikaah-Translator)

Your Silence was Best
There was a student in the Majlis-e-Dars (lessons) of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Who would always remain silent.

Once, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) approached him and asked, “Why don’t you speak (ask)”?

The student replied, “Very well. If it is a command, I shall do so.” 

Later (during classes), he asked, “Hazrat! When should a fast be broken?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “When the sun sets.”

The student asked, “And if the sun doesn’t set and half the night passes? Then what should a person in such a condition do?” Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “Brother! Your silence was best (for you). I have erred opening your tongue (i.e. making you speak).”

The Adab and Respect of Imam Abu Yusuf for the Qur’aan Majeed Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was a Haafiz of the Qur’aan  Majeed. In fact, this (Hifz of the Qur’aan Majeed) was the condition for enrollment in the Dars of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) would not allow any non-Haafiz as his students. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) learnt the respect, Adab and honour for the Qur’aan Majeed from his honourable Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Hazrat Muwaffaq (Rahmatullahi alaih) has written that once Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was going somewhere. Along the way, he passed by two people who were engaged in an argument concerning a transaction (business deal). One of them told the other, “Our example is like how it appears in the Qur’aan…” Thereafter he recited the Aayat: “(When two disputants came to Nabi Dawood (Alaihissalaam) so that he (Nabi Dawood) may judge between them the truth. Hence, one of them said,) “This is my brother. He has ninety nine ewes, while I have only one. He said, “Give it to me!” and he has been harsh towards me in speech.” (This can  be further studied under the Tafseer of Surah Saad, from  Aayat  number 21 -Translator.)

Upon hearing this, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) became extremely angry and due  to sorrow, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) went into a Haal (state) and almost became unconscious. When this state eventually went away, and Imam  Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) regained his (full) consciousness, in a stern voice, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said to the person, “Don’t you fear Allah?! You have made the Qur’aan Majeed a customary speech?! The one who recites the Qur’aan Majeed, should recite it with Khushoo’ (humility), Khudhoo’  (submission), Khauf (fear for Allah Ta’ala) and awe (respect). The Qur’aan Majeed should not be read in a way that it offends someone. Have you lost your intelligence that you have used the Kalaam of Allah for laghw wa  la’ib (play and amusement)?!”

Hazrat Muhammad bin Fudhail  (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “My heart was not clean towards Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) because he didn’t agree to all of the rules of the government.  But the day I heard him reprimanding in this way, I began liking him.”

Generosity and Selflessness When Qadhi Abu Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi alaih) became the  Qadhil-Qudhaat (chief judge), Allah Ta’ala had bestowed upon him plenty of wealth. Doors of Rizq were opened for him.

Despite all of this, he was not overtaken by pride. He didn’t appoint a guard to sit by his door.  Despite being the head of the court of justice, he lived his life as a student (seeking ‘Ilm).                              
However, it was his lifetime regret to accept this post (of becoming the chief judge). In his last days, he would lament and say, “If only I left this worldly abode in a state of poverty. If only I had not accepted the post of a Qadhi (judge).”

The Khalifah Haroon Rashid gave Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) land which was excluded from the payment of tax. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to give all its yearly produce as Sadaqah (charity) to the poor.

Prior to his demise, much of his wealth was accumulated. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) made Wasiyyat (bequest) that all his wealth should be distributed to the Ghurabaa’ (the needy).

Approximately 400,000 (of that era’s currency) was distributed to the poor in Makkah Mukarramah, Madinah Munawwarah, Kufa and Baghdad.

Just One Container from which Mother and Son used to Make Wudhu from
The life of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) portrays a perfect example of Akhlaaq (good character). Despite being seated in the court of justice, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) maintained his lofty pedestal of Akhlaaq.
                                                   Many people loose their focus in regard to (maintaining their) Akhlaaq (good character), however, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was an exception to this.

During his days of being a Qadhi (judge), Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would meet people, adopt humility, help the needy, take care of the needs of people and respect and honour  ‘Ilm (Deeni knowledge).

He experienced days of poverty in  his youth. Yet, not once did he use words of ingratitude (when mentioning his young days).

One such episode is narrated hereunder.

Hazrat Abdullah bin Mubaarak (Rahmatullahi alaih) says, “Once I was by Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). In our discussion, he explained his state of poverty. I consoled him. Upon leaving, accidently, I bumped and broke a container which was near him. Upon seeing this, Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) face displayed grief. However, he didn’t utter a word.

I asked him, “What is the matter?” He replied, “This was the only container which my mother and I used to use for drinking water and making Wudhu.” Upon hearing this, Abdullah bin Mubaarak (Rahmatullahi alaih) was much affected and sent some money to repay for the damage he caused.

Softheartedness, Generosity and Humility
Just like how Imam Abu Hanifah  (Rahmatullahi alaih) had many excellent dispositions, likewise, soft heartedness and generosity were outstanding qualities which were found in Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). We (generally) notice that when a person is not aware of his good nature etc., then people take  advantage of his softheartedness and generosity which at times exceeds the boundary of Israaf (extravagance). However, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was not bereft of understanding his responsibilities. 

This can be understood from the following. Once, a man came to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) and said, “I wrote a letter in your name to a certain person and requested a particular sum of money. The person sent me the money. Now he is asking me to repay him. Please help me in the situation I find myself in.”

When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) heard this, he immediately gave an instruction that the man be arrested and put in jail until he repays the full amount.
                                                                                                           Upon hearing this verdict of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) the man said, “Hazrat! Once I did the same with your Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). I wrote a letter in his name to acquire some money from a particular person. The man in turn  gave me the money. When I informed Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), he repaid the man on my behalf and said, “Write a letter in my name to whoever you assume will give you money upon seeing my name.”

The man continued, “Hazrat! You are also from his (Imam Abu Hanifah’s) students. I expected the same from you. However, not only did you refuse me, you even imprisoned me.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “Brother! I am not Imam Abu Hanifah! He was a prominent and a renowned scholar. People used to respect him due to his knowledge and virtue. Hence, upon seeing his name money was given. On the other hand, I am a government  dignitary. Hence, there is a great possibility that whomsoever you write a letter to in my name will give you money due to fearing me, though he dislikes it (giving money ).”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) kept him in jail for some time in order to teach him a lesson. When the man understood his error and Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was comfortable that he was remorseful, he called for him and told him, “I repaid your debt to the man on your behalf. And I hereby release you. And I warn you that even if that man returns the money to you happily, you should not accept it. Go, don’t do this in future!”

Answering the Falsehood of the Ahl-e-B id’at
Once, enemies, haasideen (envious people) and adversaries publicized that Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) view is of the Qur’aan Majeed being Makhlooq (a created object). (In reality, the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’at’s Aqeedah (belief) that the Qur’ aan Majeed is the Kalaam of Allah -Translator.)

The close companions and student of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) approached him and said, “Hazrat! You prevent us from adopting this Aqeedah (belief) whilst you teach others the opposite?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was baffled at this. His close companions and students explained the rumour which had been publicized. He remarked, “You people are witness to have fallen for the trap of the haasideen and adversaries. They are dense in their mentalities. What difficulty is there upon them to publicize a blatant lie regarding me if they could lie regarding Allah Ta’ala (by claiming that the Qur’aan Majeed is Makhlooq)!” Then Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “This is the habit of the Ahl-e-Bid’at. They attribute their (corrupt) beliefs upon others whilst in reality they (upon whom they attribute their corrupt beliefs) are totally in opposition to that.”

A Similar Incident
A similar incident to the one mentioned above is recorded that once adversaries falsely claimed and publicized that Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) accepts the Shahaadat (testimony) of a person who believes (i.e. adopts the corrupt Aqeedah) that Allah Ta’ala is not aware of actions prior to the actions occurring (Na’uthu Billaah!).

When Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) came to know of this, he remarked, “This is  totally incorrect. If such a man is brought to me, I will ask him to make Taubah (from this corrupt Aqeedah of his.) If he refuses to do so, I will command that he be executed.”

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Bond with Fiqah
Hasan bin Abi Maalik  (Rahmatullahi alaih) said that once Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “I (once) became so sick that I lost my memory. As a result I forgot the all Deeni knowledge besides ‘Ilm-e-Fiqah.”

Upon hearing this, someone asked, “Hazrat! the reason for that?” Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “Besides Fiqah, whatever else I knew was in my memory. Due to the sickness, my memory was lost, hence I forgot whatever I had learnt (by memory). From maturity till today, I am bonded with Fiqah. My example is like a  person who returns to his hometown after leaving it for several years. Tell me, will he forget the way to his house? In fact, automatically his feet will head towards the direction of his house.”

Imam Abu Yusuf – Great, Noble and Eloquent Imam 
Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was a great Imam, a perfect Faqeeh, an expert scholar, a Haafiz of Sunan (Ahaadith), a Mujtahid of Islam and the foremost student of Imam Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was the first to write Kitaabs in the Hanafi Math-hab. He was the first to dictate Masaa’il and to spread them. Hence, they reached far and wide.  He was the first to be a Qaadhi Qudhaat (chief judge). He was known by all the titles Ulama are generally called by nowadays.

‘Allaamah bin Abdil Barr (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “In my knowledge besides Imam Abu Yusuf there is no Qadhi whose Hukm (authority) spread to the East and West.”

Muhammad bin Ja’far (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “Imam Abu Yusuf was the greatest Faqeeh of his era. He reached the most perfect stage (of perfection) in ‘Ilm (knowledge), Hilm (forbearance), dominiance and  rank.”

Husain bin Waleed (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “When Imam Abu Yusuf used to speak, one would be left flabbergasted at the elegance and beauty of his speech.”

He further said, “I once heard him discussing difficult Mas’alah. His tongue (i.e. speech) a appeared as  if it was moving (flowing) like an arrow striking its target. Most of the people could not understand his speech and explanations due to its elegance. We used to marvel at this and have lengthy discussions of how Allah Ta’ala made his tongue in command of the art of speech and how every difficulty appears easy for him.”  

Wash your Mouth before Taking  His Name
Imam Tahaawi (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates with his Sanad (chain of narrators) that once Ibne Abi Imraan said, “The great Muhaddith, Ali bin Ja’d (Rahmatullahi alaih) was once dictating to us Hadith and Masaa’il. During classes he said,  “Imam Abu Yusuf narrated to  us…  …  …”                                                                                                
From the crowded class which consisted of zealous, ardent and dedicated students, someone remarked, “What?! Are you  mentioning Abu Yusuf?”

Ali Bin Ja’d (Rahmatullahi alaih) perceived from the manner of this  remark and comment that Imam Abu Yusuf’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) name was not taken with its due respect. Respectable words, titles  and honour were not used. Hence, Ali Bin Ja’d (Rahmatullahi alaih) in a raised and stern voice bawled out to the student, “Whenever you intend to mention Imam Abu Yusuf’s name, you should first wash your mouth with ‘Ashnaan’  (a type of a fragranced grass) mixed in warm water. Only after you do this can you take his honourable name on your tongue.”

Muhaddith A’mash and Imam  Abu Yusuf
Once, Muhaddith A’mash (Rahmatullahi alaih) (who was one of Imam Abu Yusuf’s Ustaads) asked Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) a Mas’alah.  Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) answered the Mas’alah.

Hearing the answer, Muhaddith A’mash (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked  in surprise, “From whence have you taken this answer and what is the basis (proof) for the answer?”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied, “Hazrat! I answered the Mas’alah in the light of a particular Hadith that you have narrated to us.”                                                                             
Muhaddith A’mash (Rahmatullahi alaih) smiled and said, “Abu Yusuf!  I remember that Hadith from before your father got married, but only today, after you explained it to me, have I learnt its interpretation (i.e. meaning) and it is perfectly correct. My  mind did not even go to that (explanation).”

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Maqaam (status) in the Eyes of His Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah
In his student days,  Imam  Abu  Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) dedicated his full concentration, attention and effort in studying. It was by virtue of the Barkat (blessings) of his handing himself over, humility and Muhabbat (love) that his Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) also loved him wholeheartedly.

Once, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) had taken  ill.  His Ustaad, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) went to visit him. Upon leaving, when reaching the door, Imam Abu Hanifah  (Rahmatullahi alaih) became pensive (sorrowful and thoughtful).

Someone asked the reason for this sudden reaction. Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) lamented, “May Allah Ta’ala not make it, but if this youngster passes away, then the greatest scholar on earth will be lost.” 

Hazrat Ismail (Rahmatullahi alaih), the grandson of Imam  Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) said,  “My grandfather (Imam Abu Hanifah) had ten special students. However, none (of them) was on par to Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Era
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was famous for his ‘Ilm, Fazal, Fiqah, Hadith and justice. Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullaahi alaih) flourished in the time when great Aimmah (plural of Imam) of the Tabi’een and Tab-e-Tabi’een lived. In that era, ‘Ilm, Tafseer, Hadith, history, the four Mathabs etc. were welcomed, discussed and taught in almost every home. Great and prominent scholars lived in that era, the likes of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, Imam Shafi’ee, Sufyaan Thawree, Imam Awza’ee, Abdullah bin Mubaarak, Sufyaan bin ‘Uyaynah, Muhammad bin Ishaaq, Yahya bin Ma’een, Wakee’ bin Jarraah, et al. may Allah Ta’ala’s Special Mercy be upon all of them. Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and other great Aimmah praised the ‘Ilm and the high rank of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) which clearly denotes the status of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). 

We have already quoted the sayings of great scholars in the previous lines, however, we will quote few more in the following paras.

‘Sayyidul Ulama’-the Leader of the Ulama
Whenever Ali bin Saalih (Rahmatullahi alaih) who was in the company and Khidmat (service) of great and prominent Ulama of his time, the likes of Imam Shu’bah and Imam Abu Thi’b (Rahmatullahi alaihima) used to narrate from Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih), he would say, “Sayyidul Ulama and Afqahul Fuqaha said… … …”                                                                                                   Meanings:

• Sayyidul Ulama-The leader of the Ulama
• Afqahul Fuqaha-The most well versed of jurists.

Imam Abu Hanifah’s Eminent Student
Hazrat Talha bin Ja’far (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “Imam Abu Yusuf was famous and eminent. His ‘Ilm and Fazal (virtue) was of a very high stage. His ‘Ilm (knowledge), Hikmat (wisdom), nobility, dignity and rank had reached their perfect state. He was the first to spread the knowledge of Imam Abu Hanifah far and wide.”

Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad were none lesser (in virtue and status) than the three Imams
Saahibain, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaihima) both settled on lofty pedestals of ‘Ilm, ‘Amal, Fiqah, Ijtihaad, Istimbaat and Istikhraaj of Masaa’il.

Both were in no way lesser in Ijtihaad and Istimbaat of Masaa’il than the Aimmah-e-Thalaathah (the three Imams of the three Mathabs, viz. Imam Maalik, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal and Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaihim).

Imam Shafi’ee and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (Rahmatullahi alaihima) both benefitted from Saahibain. The Challenge of the Khalifah    
                                                                                         “Bring forth someone like Abu Yusuf!”
When the Abbasi government saw no way to maintain their rulership except with the Hanafi Fiqh and Fuqaha, Khalifah Haroon Rashid made Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) the Qadhil-Qudhaat (chief judge). (Before this he was a magistrate judge-Translator.)

It was as though Imam Abu Yusuf was in charge of all the ministers and court cases.

Hafiz Ibne Abdul Barr said, “Qadhi Abu Yusuf was in charge of appointing judges in the east and west.” Imam Abu Yusuf himself said, “I was given authority of all the courts of the cities.”

However, haasideen (jealous people) and adversaries could not bear to see this great Maqaam (position) Imam Abu Yusuf enjoyed. 

Hence they began objecting: “Abu Yusuf is a great Faqeeh and Aalim. You (Haroon Rashid) have overstepped the limits in raising his post. You have given him superlative Izzat (honour) and Ikraam (respect). On what basis have you done this?”

Responding to this and many other similar objections, Haroon Rashid said, (Note: Haroon Rashid was also a great and qualified scholar and Faqeeh-Translator)

“(I have done this because) I know  Imam Abu Yusuf very well. I am forced to hand him this high position and pedestal of honour and respect on the basis of his experience in this field.

Allah’s Qasam! I have taken his Imtihaan in every Baab (section/subject) of  ‘Ilm and found him to be the most  experienced, accomplished, talented and well versed. He used to join us for Hadith Dars (classes). We used to write down  (notes  etc. during classes). But he had no need to write. After classes, the students used to surround him and correct their notes from his memory (i.e. Imam Abu Yusuf would repeat the lessons by memory and the students would correct errors in  their notes -Translator.)

With regards to his status in Fiqah, no one has come on par  with him till today. Great and  prominent scholars would (go to him and) appear/look small in front of him.

Great Fuqaha would come to him.  He used no notes nor any Kitaab when addressing the public. When we used to be together (in  a Majlis/gathering), he would ask the Ulama and Fuqaha if they had  any questions. They would say,  “We would like to ask regarding  such and such a Baab (section/chapter).”

There and then, Imam Abu Yusuf  would answer them. And in no time he would solve difficult Masaa’il. This was that specialty which the Ulama of his time did not have.

Besides all of these points, he is perfect, firm and righteous on his Deen and Math-hab.”

Thereafter, Haroon Rashid challenged them by saying, “Bring  forth anyone who is on par to Imam Abu Yusuf!”   

Imam Abu Yusuf as the Qadhi These are not the only incidents in the life of Imam Abu Yusuf. Many other occasions denote how Imam Abu Yusuf upheld Islam whilst he was a Qadhi Qudhaat (chief judge). The reason for him accepting this high post was to uphold the Laws of Allah Ta’ala, hence we can see his success in this regard.

Together with his effort, good character and the ‘Tafaqquh’ (deep understanding of Islamic Knowledge) he raised and stabilized this post and even had such an influence and created such firmness within the government that the ministers and government officials began to envy him and became jealous.

When Wahb bin Wahb Abdil Bukhtari was appointed to be in charge of this post after Imam Abu Yusuf, he used to concoct Ahaadith to justify the permissibility of every act of Haroon Rashid. He did this a few times. At first Haroon Rashid did not say anything.

Haroon Rashid was also well versed in ‘Ilm (he was also a scholar). But how long could he remain silent bearing in mind that he stayed in the company of a trustworthy, religious and Allah-Fearing Qadhi (i.e. Imam Abu Yusuf)?

Once Haroon Rashid was pigeon-flying, and Qadhi Wahb came to him. The Khalifah Haroon Rashid asked, “Is there even a Hadith for this (pigeon flying)?”

Immediately he quoted the following ‘Hadith’: “Hishaam bin ‘Urwah narrated to me that his father narrated from Ummul-Mu’mineen, Hazrat Aisha who used to say that Nabi (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) used to pigeon-fly and he even showed a liking to it.” (Note, this is a concocted narration-Translator)

Upon hearing this, Haroon Rashid raged with anger and in a stern voice said, “Get out of my sight! If you were not from the Quraish, I would have expelled you!” And this is what happened, he was expelled after a few days. 

Imam Abu Yusuf was a great Qadhi who was in charge of all the courts of the government. A great Khalifah, Haroon Rashid, who was powerful and autocratic, yet his respect for Imam Abu Yusuf was such that he gave Imam Abu Yusuf permission to enter his court-room with his conveyance. Unlike others who had to keep their conveyance outside and walk in the court-room. When Imam Abu Yusuf would enter the court-room, Haroon Rashid would be the first to make Salaam. Imam Abu Yusuf had permission to enter the court-room at any time. 

Why do you come to Muhaddith Abu Mu’aawiyah in the Presence of Imam Abu Yusuf?
Hasan Bin Maalik said, “When we would go to Muhaddith Abu Mu’aawiyah to learn the Ahaadith pertaining to Ahkaam-e-Fiqh which were narrated by Hajjaaj bin Artaat, he would ask us, “Is Qadhi Abu Yusuf not among you?” 

We would say, “Yes, he is.”

Then in surprise he would say, “You people are strange! You leave Imam Abu Yusuf and come to me?!”

He further said, “We would gather by Hajjaaj bin Artaat. When he dictated Ahaadith to us, Imam Abu Yusuf used to memorize them. After classes, we would write down the Ahaadith from Imam Abu Yusuf.”

The Status of Hanafi Fiqh Someone once asked Imam Muzanee (Rahmatullahi alaih) (the most senior student of Imam Shafi’ee Rahmatullahi alaih) regarding the people of Iraq. He answered in the following manner:

“Their leader is Imam Abu Hanifah.The staunch follower of Hadith among them is Imam Abu Yusuf. The one who deduced the most Masaa’il among them is Imam Muhammad. The most analogical among them is Imam Zufar.”

You are One of Your Kind
Ibne Abi Imraan (who is one of Imam Tahaawi’s Ustaads) said, “I have seen Ali bin Ja’d Thawree to be a proficient and well versed person. I have seen Hasan bin Saalih to be a unique person of his time. I have seen Ameerul-Mu’mineen in Hadith, Imam Malik. I have seen Ibne Abi Thi’b endowed with distinguished and special qualities. I have seen Laith bin Sa’d to be inimitable in his era. I have seen Shu’bah bin Hajjaaj to be a unique person of his kind. However, I have not seen anyone possessing what Imam Abu Yusuf had.”

Great scholars of his (Imam Abu Yusuf’s) time have mentioned many praises regarding him. If all have to be mentioned, this book will become lengthy. 

Imam Abu Yusuf’s Beautiful Palace
Al-Qawwaas said, “Once I went to meet Ma’roof Karkhee. He asked me regarding the well-being of Imam Abu Yusuf. I told him, “Hazrat! He is unwell. His sickness is deteriorating.” 

Ma’roof told me, “See, if Imam Abu Yusuf’s sickness deteriorates and something happens (i.e.  he passes away) then inform me immediately! Don’t delay in informing me!” 

Al-Qawwaas further said, “As I left and passed Darur-Rafeeq, I saw Imam Abu Yusuf’s Janaazah emerging (i.e. being carried to the graveyard). People were gathering in multitudes. I also joined in following the Janaazah. Then I remembered Ma’roof’s words. I thought to myself that if I go to inform Ma’roof, I will miss the Janaazah Salaah. Ma’roof will miss the Janaazah as well. Nevertheless, I remained for the Janaazah Salaah.

Soon thereafter, I went to meet Ma’roof Karkhee and informed him of Imam Abu Yusuf’s demise.  He became extremely sad and remorseful. The colour of his face changed and he continuously repeated  ‘Inna Lillaah…’

I asked him, “O Abu Mahfooz! (This was his Kunyat). Why do you show such remorse, regret and sadness in missing the Janaazah Salaah?”

He replied, “Last night I saw a dream. I saw Jannat and I saw a splendid palace with beautiful curtains hanging and servants standing in wait. I asked the people of Jannat,“Who is this prepared for?”

They replied, “For Qadhi Abu Yusuf.”

I asked, “How did he achieve this stage? What earned him this splendid palace?”

They replied, “By virtue of him spreading ‘Ilm and patiently bearing the bitter tongues of adversaries. And him forbearing the torments of people with a smile on his face.”

If Only This Did Not Transpire! Abu Bakr Khassaaf (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates from  his father that when Imam Abu Yusuf was on his  death-bed, he (Abu Bakr’s father) sat by his head side. Imam Abu Yusuf was asked, “Do you have any fear or grief in this state?”

He replied, “By Allah! Yes! Regarding one matter. Once, a Christian made a case against Haroon Rashid. I called for both, Haroon Rashid and the Christian. When the Khalifah Haroon Rashid came, a Musalla (rug) was spread on which he sat. However, I did not ask for a Musalla for the Christian to sit on. This is what bothers me. This is my heartfelt remorse and regret with which I am leaving this worldly abode. If only this did not transpire!”

Taqwa, Piety and His Children’s TarbiyatUpbringing
Ibrahim bin Jarraah (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates, “Once we were sitting by Imam Abu Yusuf. Bishr bin Waleed was also with us. Imam Abu Yusuf’s son Yusuf was also present. They began discussing a Mas’alah. However, Imam Abu Yusuf looked intensely at his son and remarked, “What are you wearing?”

The reason was that his son wore an expensive Jubbah. On the other hand, Imam Abu Yusuf’s Taqwa and piety demanded non-tolerance at seeing his children donning expensive (and smart) clothes.

Zuhd, Wara’ and Ibaadat

(Zuhd-Abstinence from the luxury and comfort of the world.

Wara’-Very high state of Taqwa, awareness of Allah Ta’ala)

Ahmad bin Atiyyah said that Muhammad bin Sumaa’ah used to say, “Despite the lofty position of being a Qadhil-Qudhaat (chief judge), the responsibilities, tasks, managing the vast kingdom’s matters, seeing to basic needs etc. his daily Ma’mool (practice) was to perform hundred Rak’aats Nafl Salaah.”

Muhammad bin Sabbaah (Rahmatullahi alaih) said, “Imam Abu Yusuf was a pious man. He used to perpetually be in the state of Rozah (fast).”

Taqwa and Fear for the Aakhirat Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was extremely virtuous and pious. At times he was heard supplicating to his Rabb, 

“O Allah! You are aware that I have never committed a Haraam (forbidden) act, nor did I consume any Haraam wealth.

O Allah! You are aware that whenever two people (or groups) presented their cases to me, never did I favour any one of them nor did I desire that the judgement be in favour of a certain one of them, even if he was the Khalifah of the time.

O Allah! In return of this, do forgive me.”

Abu Hafs commented that Imam Abu Yusuf’s whole life is testimony to the above.

At times, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was heard petitioning,

“O Allah! You are aware that whenever two parties came to me, and if one of them was weaker than the other, then I would always treat them equally. I treated the Khalifah and a normal layman /shopkeeper equally. Never was my mind (or heart) persuaded by the status, rank and distinction of any person.

O Allah! If I ever did so, then do forgive me.”

A Warrant of Jannah in a dream Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) himself said, “Once I saw Imam Abu Hanifah in a dream and that he was in Jannat. He was surrounded by Sahaabah from all sides and he was in the centre. Upon seeing me, he said, “Abu Yusuf! Bring a pen and paper so that I can write down the names of my companions in Jannat.”  I said, “Hazrat! Do write my name in that blessed list.” Upon my request, Imam Abu Hanifah wrote my name also in the list.”

His Penitence and Focus on Allah Azza Wa Jall on His Deathbed Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) fell ill a few days before his death. He sensed that his days were limited. He used to repeatedly say during these last few days, 

“I spent seventeen years as a Qadhi (in the work of Iftaa and Qadhaa etc.). Now my time is near (to leave this temporary abode-Translator).”

He used to be overcome with a unique Haal (spiritual ecstasy) during his illness.

The just and honest way in which  he managed the position of a Qadhi has been explained (in the period of which he was the Qadhi). However, in his last moments, he lamented, “If only I left this world inpoverty and hunger and I did not accept the post of a Qadhi! Then too I am grateful unto Allah that I did not commit Zulm (oppression) on anyone intentionally, nor did I favour a party, nor was it my desire that a particular party win a case.”

Imam Sha’bee writes in his Kitaab ‘Kifaayah’,

“When the agonies of death (Sakaraat) overcame Imam Abu Yusuf, he supplicated,

“O Allah! I always kept Your Kitaab, the Sunnah of Your Nabi and the Sahaabah’s views in mind (before passing a verdict). I made Imam Abu Hanifah a bridge between You and I. You are Most Aware that I did not have any enmity for any superior person nor any weaker one. Never was I inclined to a superior group,  nor  bigoted towards a weak man, party or group.

O Allah! In Your Knowledge if I am speaking the truth, then forgive me.”

Allaamah Ibne Jawzee (Rahmatullahi alaih) said,“On his deathbed, Imam Abu Yusuf was heard supplicating,          

“O Allah! You are well aware that I did not oppress anyone. I did not force anyone. I did not pass an incorrect verdict intentionally upon anyone. I passed my judgements whilst keeping Your Kalaam and Your Nabi’s Sunan (Hadith) in mind. Whenever I was confronted with any difficulty, I placed Imam Abu Hanifah between You and I. Imam Abu Hanifah was more aware and well versed of Your Ahkaam (Laws) than I and never did he overstep the boundaries of Your Ahkaam (Laws).”

The Stages of Imam Abu Hanifah and Saahibain-Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullai alaihim)
Ibne Abi Rajaa’ narrates from Muhammadiyah (who was regarded to be from among the Abdaal-a class of Auliyah), 

“Once I saw Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) in a dream. I asked him, 

“O Abu Abdillah! How did Allah treat you?”

He replied, “Allah forgave me and told me, “If I wanted to punish you, I wouldn’t have made you a treasure of ‘Ilm (i.e not given you so much of Knowledge).”  

I asked him, “What about Imam Abu Yusuf?”

Imam Muhammad replied, “Fawqee.” (i.e. he is in a higher stage (of Jannah) than me.)

I asked, “What about Imam Abu Hanifah?”

He replied, “Fawqahu Bitabaqaat.” (i.e he is in A’laa ‘Illiyeen which is many stages above him.)

The Acknowledgement of Opponents
It is written in Hadaaiqul-Hanafiyah that a day after Imam Abu Yusuf passed away one of his adversaries was seen much grieved and sorrowful. When people enquired about this state of his, he replied, “Last night in a dream I saw Imam Abu Yusuf in Jannat. I asked the door-keepers of Jannat as to what Amal (action) Imam Abu Yusuf did which earns him this lofty stage.

They replied, “He acquired and taught ‘Ilm with patience and endurance and due to spreading and propagating ‘Ilm.”

Golden Words of Advice Hereunder are a few golden and precious words of advice this great Imam offered. After all, studying and reading his life which bears testimony to his handing himself over to ‘Ilm and be known as a mountain of knowledge and playing an important role in the Hanafi Math-hab, one would have asked him for Naseehat if he was alive today. However, he has left behind plenty of advice and examples of how to treat and learn ‘Ilm. For the benefit of the reader we present some hereunder. 

➡ Imam Abu Yusuf would advise his students, “O Students! Learn and study ‘Ilm only and solely for the pleasure of Allah. Do not entertain any other intention with it. It is my experience that in whichever class/lesson I sat submissively I left the Dars with dignity and honour. And in whichever Dars I sat with arrogance and vanity, I left with disgrace.” (This is a very important Sabaq (lesson) for students of Deen. Always sit with utmost respect, humility and attention in front of your Ustaad. A student of Deen should never point out faults and errors of his Ustaad. This leads to his quick destruction in both, Dunya and Aakhirat-Translator.) 

➡ “Abstain from the company of the one who is oblivious (fearless) of the disgrace and humiliation of Qiyaamat.”  (Students of Deen should befriend people who speak and discuss Deeni topics in their free time. There is great harm in discussing worldly and non-Deeni topics in one’s free time. This results in the Noor of ‘Ilm evaporating from one’s heart which leads to one failing to gain Tafaqquh (a deep and thorough understanding of Deen, Masaa’il, Fiqah, Hadith, Tafseer etc.-Translator.) 

➡ Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) would say, “Ilm is such that if you hand yourself fully to it, it will give you in return only a little of it. When you have acquired some of it, don’t relax on it (the little you have). Infact, continue in its quest (to gain and learn more).”  

➡ “It is a disgrace for government officials to be shabbily dressed and live a life of jest (play, amusement, fun, sports, touring, merrymaking and transgressing the Laws of Allah). However, it is an honour for Ulama (Hufaaz are also included-Translator) and Qudhaat to live a simple lifestyle.” 

➡ “The one who searches for Naadir (rare and scarce) Hadith will fall prey to slandering (unintentionally) Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam).” 

➡ “There are three fundamental Ni’mats (bounties):  

1. Islam- No Ni’mat can be perfect without it.

2. Health- There is no pleasure in any leisure without it.

3. Independency- Without which one will experience no Sukoon (peace of mind).”

Hadhrat Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahmatullah Alayh)

[Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (rahimahullah)]

UMAR   BIN  ABDUL  AZIZ  (Al  Khalifat  As-Salih)

Born:  61  or  63  AH  (680  or 682  AD)  At  Halwan  in  Egypt

Father:  Abdul-Aziz  Governor  of  Egypt  and  son  of  Marwan  I  the  forth  Umayyad  Khalifah

Mother:  Umm  ‘Asim  daughter  of  Asim,  the  son  of  Umar  bin  Khattab (radhiyallahu  anhu)

Wife:  Fatima,  daughter  of  Abdul  Malik  the  4th  Umayyad Khalifah

Education: in  Madinah  from  his  uncle  Abdullah  bin  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)

Governor  Madinah:  706  AD for  two  years  during  the  Period  of  Walid  bin  Abdul  Malik  the  5th  Umayyad Khalifa

Contemporaries:  Abdullah Ibn  Zubayr,  Hasan  Al-Basri, Hajjaj  Ibn  Yusuf,  Umayyad Khalifahs  Abdul  Malik, Waleed  Ibn  Abdul  Malik, Suleiman  Ibn  Abdul  Malik.

Khalifah:  717  to  720  AD  the 8th  Umayyad  Khalifah  for  2 year  and  5  months.

Died:  720  AD  by  poisoning instigated  by  Umayyad  clan  due  to  his  austerity  measures  in  all  aspects  of  life.

Reformist  Endeavours  of  the  First  Century A.H

Soon  after  the  Khilafat-E-Rashidah  (the  rightly-guided  Caliphate)  came  to  an  end  and  the  Umayyad  Empire,  which  was  more  Arab  than  Islamic,  consolidated  itself,  the  need  for  reformation  and renovation  in  Islam  was  felt  keenly. Customs,  traditions  and remembrances  of  the  pagan  past,  which  had  been  discredited  under  the  impact  of  the  prophet’s  teachings,  began  to  re-assert  themselves  among  the  new  Arab  converts  to  Islam.  The  then  government  was  not  organised  according  to  the  dictates  of  the  Quran  and  the  Sunnah – its  guiding  lights  were  Arab  diplomacy. Expediency  and  interest  of  the  State,  Arab  racialism,  tribal  pride,  partisan  spirit  and  nepotism,  regarded  as  unpardonable  sins during  the  days  of  the  Khilafat-E-Rashidah,  became  the  hall-mark  of  the  new  aristocracy.

The  extravagant  rulers,  surrounded  by  dissolute  parasites  who  flocked  to  the  capital  demoralised  the  society  and  produced  an  aristocracy  resembling  the  pagan  Arab  wastrel  of  the  age  of  ignorance  in  moral  and  behaviour.

Religious  Teachers  of  the  Umayyad  Period

However,  the  masses  had  still  not  forsaken  the  moral  values and  deference  for  Islamic  teachings.  The  regard  for  moral  worth  and  tenets  of  Islam  was  due  mainly  to  those  scholars  of impeccable  worth  and  ability  who  were  held  in  high  esteem  by  the  masses  for  their  moral  and  spiritual  excellence,  selflessness  and  piety.  The  person  most  respected  and  loved  during  the  period  was  Ali-Bin-Husain  (Zainul  Abdin).

Other  highly  reputed  religious  scholars  of  outstanding  piety during  the  Umayyad  period  were  Hasan-al-Muthanna,  his  son  Abdullah  al-Mahadh,  Salim  ibn  Abdullah  ibn  Umar,  Qasim  ibn  Muhammad  ibn  Abu  Bakr,  Saeed  ibn  Musayyib  and  ‘Urwah  ibn Zubair.

The  demoralisation  that  had  set  in  owing  to  the  immoral conduct  of  the  ruling  elite  was  undoubtedly  on  the  increase  but  the  moral  influence  wielded  by  these  persons  on  the  masses  was  not  without  a  salutary  effect,  their  pure  and  simple  life  was  a  standing  reproach  to  the  unprincipled  this – worldliness  of  the  rulers,  which  made  people  think  of reforming  their  intemperate  life.
The  Umayyad  power  was,  however,  entrenched  in  such  a firm  military  strength  that  it  was  not  possible  to  dislodge  it,  nor  there  existed  any  internal  or  external  force  which  could  dare  to  challenge  it.  It  appeared  as  if  the  fate  of Muslims  had  been  sealed  for  a  fairly  long  time.  It  required  a  miracle  alone  for  the  Islamic precepts  to  find  an  expression  again  in  the  political  law  guiding  the  community’s  behaviour.

Accession  of  Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz

The  miracle  was  the  accession  of  Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  to  the throne  in  99  A.H.  (717  A.D.).  He  was  a  grandson  of  Marwan and  his  mother,  Umm  Asim,  was  grand-daughter  of  Umar  I,  the  second  Caliph.

Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  was  born  in  61  A.H.  He  was  a  cousin of  the  preceeding  Caliph,  Sulaiman  ibn  Abdul  Malik  and  had  been  posted  as  Governor  of  Madinah  since  the  time  of  Walid  ibn Abdul  Malik,  the  Caliph  before  Sulaiman.  The  life  led  by  him  as  Governor  was  entirely  different  from  that  he  adopted  as  a  Caliph.  He  was  known  as  a  polished  and  decorous aristocrat  of  refined  taste. Anybody  could  tell  from  the fragrance  of  perfumes  he  used that  Umar  had  passed  that  way.  He  was  all  the  rage  for the  fashionable  youths  of  his day.  Except  for  his  integrity  of character  and  righteousness there  was  nothing  to  suggest that  he  was  destined  to perform  a  memorable  task  in the  history  of  Islam.

But  he  proved  to  be  a standing  miracle  of  Islam.  The  very  way  he  ascended  to  the  Caliphate  was  miraculous,  for,  nobody  could  have  predicted  the  dramatic  turn  that  the  events  took  in  bringing  him  to  the  throne.  He  could  not  have hoped  to  be  anything  more than  a  viceroy  under  the hereditary  custom  of  accession  to  the  Caliphate,  but  God  had  willed  otherwise.  Sulaiman ibn Abdul  Malik  fell  seriously  ill  and  lost  all  hopes of  recovery.  He  was  anxious  to  leave  the  throne  to  one  of  his  sons  who  were  still  minors.

In  his  dreadful  agony,  he  cast  a  pathetic  glance  over  his  sons  and  said  “He  is  really  fortunate  who  has  grown-up  sons”. Reja  ibn  Haiwah  happened  to  be  present  at  the  time  and  he promptly  proposed  Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  as  the  successor  to  the  throne.  Caliph  Sulaiman  accepted  the  suggestion  and  thus,  by  his  timely  intervention,   Reja  rendered  yeoman  service  for  the revival  of Islam.

Character  of  Umar  II

Immediately  upon  his  accession,  Umar  dismissed  provincial governors  known  to  be  cruel  or  unjust  to  the  people.  All  the jewellery  and  valuable  presents  brought  before  him  on  accession  to  the  throne  were  deposited  in  the  state  treasury.
He  was  now  a  completely  changed  man.  He  considered himself  a  successor  to  Caliph  Umar  I,  son  of  Khattab,  rather than  to  Sulaiman  ibn  Abdul  Malik.  Slaves  of  the  royal  household  were  emancipated.  The  royal  court  modeled  after  Persian  and  Byzantine  Royal  patterns  was  now  marked  by  an  austere  and  primitive  simplicity.  He  returned  to  the  State  not  only  his  ancestral  fief  but  even  the  valuables  and  jewellery  his  wife  had  received  from  her  father  and  brothers.  He  was  the  ruler  of  the mightiest  empire  of  his  day  but  he  did  not  have  enough  money to  perform  the  Hajj.

‘Umar  II  was  careful  not  for  his  person  alone.  He  always exhorted  the  state  officials  to  be  extremely  cautious  in  their dealings  involving  the  state  property.

Not  only  that  extreme  caution,  moderation,  simplicity  and unaffected  piety  were  the  feature  of  Umar’s  character,  he transformed  the  view-point  of his  government,  making  the  will of  the  people  the  sole  object  of  administration.

The  historic  dictum  of  ‘Umar  II  that  ‘Muhammad  was  sent  as  a  prophet  and  not  as  a  collector’,  adequately  illustrates  the objective  he  had  set  before  the  state  under  him.  In  truth  and reality,  during  the  entire  period  of  his  Caliphate  he  sought  to translate  this  idea  into  practice.  He  always  preferred  principles, moral  dictates  and  demands  of  the  faith  to  political  expediency and  never  cared  a  whit  for  financial  loss  suffered  by  the  state  if  the  policy  commended  by  religion  entailed  it.  During  his  reign  the  non-muslims  were  embracing  Islam  in  ever-increasing  numbers  which  meant  a  dwindling  income  from  the  poll-tax.  As  the  sharp  fall  in  revenues  posed  a  danger  to  the  financial  stability  of  the  State,  Umar’s  attention  was  drawn  towards  it. But  his  reply  was  that  the  situation  was  eminently  in  accord  with  the  objectives  underlying  the  prophet-hood  of  Muhammad (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam).  To  an  official  he  wrote  “I  would  be  too  glad  if  all  the  non-Muslims  embrace  Islam  and  (owing  to  the  drying  up  of  income  from  poll-tax)  we  have  to  take  up  cultivation  for  earning  our living.”  A  fixed  amount  of  land  revenue  was  to  be  remitted  by the  provincial  Government  of  Yemen  every  year  whether  it  had  a  favourable  crop  or  not.  Umar  II  ordered  that  the  revenue  should  be  assessed  in  accordance  with  the  agricultural  production  every  year.  He  added  that  he  would  willingly  accept  it  even  if  a  handful of  grain  were  to  be  received  in  pursuance  of  his  order.  He discontinued  levy  of octroi (i.e. Octroi  is  a  tax  levied  at  the  gate  of  a  city  on  articles  brought  in)  throughout  the  kingdom  saying  that  it  was  prohibited  by  the  Qur’an.

Umar  II  used  to  say  that  people  have  made  octroi  lawful  by changing  its  name.  Barring  the  few  taxes  allowed  by  the Shari’ah,  he  abolished  all  taxes  and  duties  levied  by  his predecessors.  All  the  land  and  sea  routes  were  opened  for  trade  without  any  embargo  whatsoever.

Far-reaching  reforms  were  introduced  in  the  administration of  the  kingdom.  Some  of  the  steps  were  that  officials  were precluded  from  entering  into  any  business  or  trade,  unpaid  labour  was  made  illegal,  pasture-lands  and  game-preserves  reserved  for  the  royal  family  or  other  dignitaries  were  distributed  to  the  landless  cultivators  or  made  public  property,  strict  measures  were taken  to  stop  illegal  gratification  of  state  employees  who  were  forbidden  to  accept  gifts,  all  officers  holding  responsible  posts  were  directed  to  afford  adequate  facilities  to  those  who  wanted  to  present  their  complaints  to  them  in  person,  a  proclamation  was  made  every  year  on  the  occasion  of  pilgrimage  that  any one  who  would  bring  to  the  notice  of  administration  any  maltreatment  by  a  state  official  or offer  a  useful  suggestion  shall  be rewarded  100  to  300  dinars.

Solicitude  For  Moral  Reformation

After  the  khilafat-e-Rashidah  came  to  an  end,  the  Caliphs  began  to  consider  themselves  simply  as  monarchs  and  administrators;  they  were  neither  capable  nor  had  the  time  to  bother  about  the moral  and  social  conditions  of  their  subjects.  ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul Aziz’  did  away  with  this  dichotomy  and  proved  himself  to  be really  a  successor  of the  Prophet  as  his  office  implied.  No  sooner did  he  ascend  the  Caliphate,  he  sent  out  quite  lengthy  letters and  directives  which  dealt  with  religious  and  moral  reforms more  than  with  the  so-called  administrative  affairs.

Compilation  of  Traditions

The  study  and  cultivation  of  religious  sciences  did  not  escape  attention  of  Umar  Ibn  Abdul  Aziz.  Drawing  the  attention  of  an  eminent  man  of letters  of  his  time,  Abu  Bakr  ibn  Hazm,  towards  compilation  of  the  traditions  of  the  Holy  Prophet,  he  wrote:

“Reduce  into  writing  whatever  traditions  of  the  Holy  Prophet  you  can  collect,  for  I  fear  that  after  the traditionists  pass  away,  the  knowledge  will  also perish.”

Defender  of  the  Faith

The  unalloyed  Islamic  thought  and  spirit  of  religion  that  ‘Umar ibn  Abdul  Aziz  tried  to  infuse  among  the  Muslims  and  give  a  practical  shape  through  the  State  he  presided  over,  can  be  gauged  from  the  letters  and  edicts  he  issued  from  time  to  time  to  the  different  functionaries  of  his  government.

It  was  once  reported  to  him  that  certain  tribal  chiefs  and Umayyad  aristocrats  had  revived  the  pagan  custom  of entering into  alliance  and  were  giving  a  call  to  one  another  in  the  name  of  tribal  solidarity  during  their  fights  and  forays.  This  custom  cut  at  the  very  root  of  Islamic  concept  of  brotherhood  and  the  social  order  it  wanted  to  bring  into  existence.  ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul Aziz,  being  fully  alive  to  the  pernicious  implications  of  the  practice,  issued  an  order  to  Dahhak  ibn  Abdur-Rahman  for  curbing  the  evil  forthwith.

The  directives  sent  by  ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  to  the commander of  a  military  expedition  illustrate  the  extent  to  which  he  had  imbibed  the  Qur’anic  mode  of  thought  and  view-point, and  how  he  differed  diametrically  from  other  rulers  and  emperors  of  his  time,  in  one  of his  edicts  to  Mansur  ibn  Ghalib  he  wrote:

“whereas  the  commander  of the  faithful  has  charged  Mansur  to  wage  war  against  those  who  might  oppose  him,  the  latter  is  also  instructed  to  inculcate  awe  of  God  since,  it  constitutes  the  best  of  provisions,  the  most  effective  strategy  and  the  real  power.  For  sin  is  even  more  dangerous  than  the  ruses  of  the  enemy,  The  commander  of  the  faithful  bids  upon  Mansur that  instead  of  taking  fright  of  his  enemy,  he  should  fear  transgressing  the  limits  of  God.  We  can  not  deploy  troops  in  the  same  numbers  as  our  enemies  can  do  nor  do  we  possess  the  equipments  they  have  got.”

Behold,  if  we  are  not  able  to  gain  ascendancy  over  our  enemies on  account  of  our righteousness,  we  would  never be  in  a  position to  defeat  them  through  our  might.  We  need  not  keep  an  eye  upon  anything  more  than  the  enmity  of  our  own  wickedness  nor  do  we  have  to  hold  in  leash  anything  more  than  our  own  viciousness.  Never  consider  yourselves  superior  to  your  enemies,  nor take  your  victory  for  granted  because  of  the  sinfulness  of  your  foes,  for  many  a  people  worse  than  his  enemy was granted  ascendancy  in  the  past. Therefore,  seek  the  help  of  God  against  your  own temptations  in  the  same  way  as  you  desire  the  succour  of God  against  your  opponent.

“Commander  of  the Faithful  also  bids  Mansur  ibn  Ghalib  that  he  should  treat  his  men  with  leniency”.

“For  giving  rest  to  his  men  and  the  beast  of  burden  and  also for  getting  his  armaments  repaired.  The  commander  of  the Faithful  orders  Mansur  ibn  Ghalib  to  break  his  journey  on  every  Friday  for  the  whole  day  and  night  thereof.  He  is  also  ordered  to  encamp  far  away  from  the  habitations  which  have  entered  into  treaty  relations  with  us,  and  allow  none  from  his  troops  to visit  their  dwellings,  markets  or  gatherings,  only  those  of  this men  who  are  firm  in  faith  and  trustworthy  and  who  would  neither  be  ill-disposed  nor  commit  a  sin  against  the  people  could  be  allowed  to  visit  such  habitations  for  collection  of  lawful  dues. You  are  as  much  bound  to  guarantee  their  rights  as  they  are enjoined  to  fulfill  the  duties  devolving  on  them  i.e.  you  have  to  honour  your  obligations  to  them  so  long  as  they  do  theirs.  You  should  never  try  to  gain  an  advantage  over  your  enemy  through  persecution  of  those  who  have  come  under  your  protection,  for  you  have  already  got  a  share  (in  the  shape  of  Jeziah  or  poll-tax)  in  their  earnings  and  you  neither  need  to  increase  it  nor  they  are  bound  to  pay  more.”

“I  bid  you  to  be  cautious  and  God-fearing  in  all  the  affairs  of  your  obligations,  perform  that  which  has  been  ordained  by God  and  desist  from  the  acts  prohibited  by  the  Shari’ah.”

Propagation  of  Islam

The  efforts  of  ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  were  not  limited  to  the enforcement  of  the  Shari’ah,  as  the  law  of  the  land,  and reformation  of  the  Muslim  only.  He  also  paid  attention  towards spreading  the  message  of  Islam  among  the  non-muslims  and  his  endeavours  were  also  successful  on  account  of  his  personal  example  of  simple  life,  unaffected  piety,  unswerving  uprightness  and  immaculate  sincerity.

Financial  Reforms

The  financial  reforms  embarked  upon  by  ‘Umar ibn  Abdul  Aziz viz.  remission  of  numerous  taxes  and  tithes  disallowed  by  the  Shari’ah  did  not  result  in  pecuniary  difficulties  or  deficits  in  the  State  income.  On  the  contrary,  people  became  so  much  well-off  that  it  became  difficult  to  find  destitute  and  beggars  who  would accept  the  poor-due  (zakat).

Apart  from  the  prosperity  of the  masses,  which  is  invariably a  by-product  of  the  Islamic  form  of  government,  the  more important  change  accomplished  by  the  regime  of  ‘Umar  ibn Abdul  Aziz  was  the  diversion  in  inclination  and  aptitude,  mood and  trend  of  the  populace.  His  contemporaries  narrate  that whenever  a  few  friends  met  during  the  regime  of  Walid,  they  used  to  converse  about  buildings  and  architecture  for  that  was the  rage  of  Walid,  Sulaiman  was  fond  of  women  and  banquets,  and  these  became  the  fad  of  his  days,  but,  during  the  reign  of ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  the  prevailing  demeanour  and  subjects for  discussion  were  prayers.  supplicatory  and  benedictory, obligatory  and  supererogatory.

The  guiding  light  for  ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  and  the impelling  force  behind  his  endeavours  were  his  unflinching  faith, the  love  and  awe  of  the  Supreme  being  and  conviction  of accountability  on  the  day  of  Resurrection.

If providence  had  only  granted  Umar  the  span  of rule  enjoyed by  his  predecessors,  the  world  of Islam  would  have  witnessed  a  complete  and  lasting  revolution  changing  the  course  of  its  history.  But  the  Umayyads  who  had  been  hit  hard  during  the  reign  of  ‘Umar ibn  Abdul  Aziz  and  who  saw  power and  influence  slipping  out  of  their  hands,  openly  regretted  the  day  when  the families  of  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  and  the  Umayyads’  had maritally  been  united.  They  could  not  endure  the  ordeal  any longer  for  it  was  against  their  grain,  and  they  soon  found  a  way to  get  rid  of the  most  virtuous  Muslim  of  their  times.  ‘Umar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz  died  in  the  middle  of  101 A.H.  after  a  rule  of  only  two  years  and  five  months.  There  are  reasons  to  believe  that  a  slave  in  the  employ  of  the  caliph  was  commissioned  by  his  family  to  administer  poison  to  him.

[From the Book: Saviours of Islamic Spirit]

The Life of ‘Abdullah Bin Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu Anhu)

THE CLASSIC RESEMBLANCE OF RASULULLAH (SALLALLAHU ‘ALAIHI WASALLAM) – A DETAILED DISCUSSION ON THE LIFE OF ‘ABDULLAH IBN MAS’OOD (RADHIYALLAHU ANHU)

[Courtesy: ibnumasood.co.za]

Huzaifah bin Yamaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was asked:  “From among all the companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), which Sahaabi resembled Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) the most?”  Huzaifah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who himself was a great Sahaabi and the confidant of Rasullullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), replied: “Among all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) the one who resembled Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) the most in his manner of talking, in his manner of walking and in his general conduct was none other than ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6097)

Preface    

“My Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) are like guiding stars, whoever you follow you will be  guided.”  (Musnad  ‘Abd  ibni Humaid  #783)  

This is the declaration of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It is therefore  necessary to be well acquainted  with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) and to then follow in  their footsteps.        

In this light, a series of talks  were conducted on the life of the great Sahaabi, Sayyiduna  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). The booklet  in your hand in an edited  transcription of the talks  delivered.  

While minor changes have been  made, the manner and flow of  the talk has been retained. This  will insha-Allah make it a lighter  read.
May Allah Ta‘ala accept this  effort and make it a means of great benefit for the Ummah, aameen.  

Introduction    

The great Sahaabi, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), can be aptly introduced in the words of the great Muhaddith, ‘Allamah Shamsuddeen Zahabi (rahimahullah). 

He writes in his book Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa (vol. 1, pg. 461): 

“He was an Imaam, Faqeehul Ummah – the jurist of this Ummah, he was from among those Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who had accepted Islam in the beginning, and who possessed great knowledge of deen. He had the good fortune of participating in the battle of Badr and was privileged to have migrated twice, once to Abyssinia and then to Madeenah Munawwarah. He has great virtues and accolades to his name and he had disseminated  a  great  amount  of  knowledge  to  this Ummah.”

Early Days   

First Exposure to Islam

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) describes his first exposure to Islam. He says: “I had come to Makkah Mukarramah accompanying my uncles with the intention of buying ‘itr (perfume). We were directed to the uncle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), an ‘itr merchant. While seated with him at the well of Zam-Zam, something suddenly caught my attention 

A man entered from the door of Safa. He was fair in complexion with a tinge of redness.

His hair was long and wavy, he had a thick beard, outstanding eyes, and his blessed teeth were shining. In a nut shell: He looked liked a full moon.

Alongside him was a young boy and Following them  two  was  a  woman who  had  concealed  her  beauty.

The three of them came (into the  Haram), made tawaaf of the house of Allah Ta‘ala, and then  worshipped Allah Ta‘ala in a unique manner. This was the first  time we had witnessed such a manner of worship. So we asked  ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu): ‘Is this some new religion?’ ‘Abbaas  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, ‘This  is my nephew Muhammad  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the young boy is ‘Ali (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu), and the woman is Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).  They are the only three people on  the surface of the earth who are  worshipping Allah Ta‘ala in this way.’” (Majma‘uz Zawaaid #15267) 

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had thus a very early  exposure to Islam, when only  three people were in the fold of Islam.

First Impressions are Lasting  Impressions   

The first impression that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had of Islam in those early days was: 

“Following them two was a  woman who had concealed her  beauty.”

Islam is a religion that  emphasises upon a woman to  conceal her beauty. This is what  caught the attention of ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu).  

Unfortunately today, if we look  at the condition at the Haram,  how difficult it has become for  males to make tawaaf? How  difficult it is to control one’s eyes? The amount of loose ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) behaviour and immorality that is  prevalent! Women no longer cover their faces. The actual requirement is that a woman should be  observing hijaab and covering  her face at all times. However, if  they are not practising this, then  the bare minimum will be that  when visiting these blessed places of Makkah Mukarramah and  Madeenah Munawwarah they  should cover their faces and observe hijaab. Insha-Allah  through the blessing of them respecting these blessed lands,  Allah Ta‘ala will bless them with the taufeeq (ability) to continue  with this even when they return home. Many a woman’s life had  changed in this very manner and she thereafter observed hijaab for the rest of her life.

First Encounter with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The first personal encounter that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had with  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) – which was the  turning point in his life – was  when two men came along while  he was grazing a flock of goats belonging to one of the leaders  of the Quraish, ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘ait, on the outskirts of Makkah Mukarramah. One was Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) and the other was Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). They asked him:

“O youngster! Do you have any milk to offer us?”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was in  his teens at that time, replied:  

“Yes! I do have, but it has been  entrusted to me.”

It doesn’t belong to me. I do not  have the right to offer it to you.  

Here we learn the great lesson of  honesty and trustworthiness.  Unfortunately this is something  that is vanishing from the  Ummah today. This is also from  among the prophecies of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) that trustworthiness  will be removed from the hearts  of the Ummah. Look how honest  this youngster was. There was  no one to see him. He was in the  wilderness, yet he did not dare to  breach his trust. It was this  quality of honesty and  trustworthiness that had allowed  him to reach great heights.  

Thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him: “Do  you have a goat which hasn’t  mated?”

Obviously such a goat will not  give milk. Nevertheless such a goat was brought and Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed his blessed hands over  the udders, read a few verses,  and milk began to flow. His  companion, Abu Bakr  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), brought a  hollowed rock to fill the milk in it. The two men then drank and  they offered the milk to ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu anhu)  as well. This milk was absolutely permissible. It was from an  animal which was not producing milk, hence it did not belong to  the owner. It was a pure miracle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). Thereafter, Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)  ordered the udders: “Stop.” And it immediately dried up. 

This entire encounter had captured the heart of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). After a few days he came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), accepted Islam at his hands and requested him:

“Teach me those words that you recited.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed his blessed hands on him and said: 

“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on you. You will have a bright future and you will reach the pinnacle of knowledge.” (Musnad Ahmad #3598) 

This was the first close encounter ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

He further says: “I was the sixth person to accept Islam. There were no other Muslims on the surface of the earth besides us.” (Mustadrak Haakim vol. 3, pg. 313)   

This was the turning point in his life.

Since that day, this fortunate  boy, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) no more  grazed goats on the outskirts of  Makkah Mukarramah. Instead he  saw to the needs of the best of  all creation, Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam).  

What a privilege! From a  shepherd at the outskirts of  Makkah Mukarramah to the  personal attendant of the Master  of both the worlds, Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!

Faith in Allah Ta‘ala        

It was in the early days of Islam,  and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were discussing that the  Kuffaar have not yet heard the Quraan Majeed being recited  openly. So who will take up the courage and recite the Quraan in  front of them? ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:“I am ready.” They refused and  said:

“We want a person who has a high social standing in Makkah Mukarramah, and comes from an influential family so that the disbelievers will think twice if  they intend to harm and assault  him.”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied: “Allow me to go, Allah Ta‘ala will  protect me.”

I don’t need any family or high  social standing to protect me, Allah Ta‘ala is sufficient for me.  This was the level of imaan he had in Allah Ta‘ala. The next morning  he set out. The leaders of the  Kuffaar were seated in the  Haram. He went in front of them  and began reciting the verses of  Surah “Ar Rahmaan”. When the  Kuffaar realized what he was  reading, they pounced on him  and assaulted him. When he  returned to the Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) they said  to him: “This is the exact fear  that we had”. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied:  

“The enemies of Allah Ta‘ala were  never disdained in my eyes as  much as they are today. If you  wish, I will do the very same  thing tomorrow morning.”  (Usdul  Ghaabah vol. 3, pg. 74)   

This was the level of his imaan in  Allah Ta‘ala, and this was common among all the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).  Every Sahaabi (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu)’s imaan was firm and  unshakable. Allah Ta‘ala declares  the imaan of the Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to be the criteria. 

Bring imaan like how the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)  had brought imaan. (Baqarah  v13)   

Today we have people criticizing  the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). How can anyone criticizethem, when Allah Ta‘ala Himself  has praised them and testified to  their imaan?

The purpose of discussing the  lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) is to apply  the lessons gleaned from their lives and imbibe them within our  own lives. Now how does this relate to us personally?  

Many a time we are faced with a  similar situation. It is the time for  salaah, and we feel embarrassed  to offer it in the open. We suffer  from an inferiority complex  although we have all the freedom  to perform it. There is no  question of someone assaulting  us or even verbally abusing us.  

At times it may happen that  during the course of some business transaction, a woman  stretches out her hand to greet us and we comply thinking to  ourselves that what will she think  of me. Being a Muslim we have to  keep the command of Allah Ta‘ala  before us all the time and it has  to supersede everything. Everything else is secondary. We  should explain to them that these are the dictates of my  religion and they will understand, accept and respect our Islam.  One Muslim doctor has a notice put up in his waiting room: “To all  women, please don’t feel offended if I do not shake your  hands as this is the requirement of my religion”.  

We should feel honoured to be  Muslims and we should not suffer from an inferiority complex. 

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam)    

Bond with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Perhaps the attachment, affinity  and bond that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  enjoyed with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cannot be  explained in a better way than  these words:

He stuck to Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) just as a  person’s shadow is attached to  him.

A person can never separate or  escape from his shadow. Under all conditions the shadow  remains attached to him. Similarly ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) remained  attached to Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) under all circumstances.

Abu Musa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) says in a narration of Saheeh Bukhari, second volume (#4384):

“My brother and I came from Yemen. A long period had passed and we were under the impression that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and his mother belonged to the household of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) because they entered the house of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) so frequently.” 

In a narration of Ibnu ‘Asaakir (vol. 33, pg. 85), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) explains: 

“My mother used to spend the night with the wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) seeing to their needs, and I would stick to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) during the day.”     

“I used to veil Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) using his shawl when he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used to take a bath, allowing him privacy.”   

“I would wake Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) from his sleep.”

He used to tend to the different needs of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) had to go out then  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) used to make him wear his shoes. When he  reached his destination it was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who would  remove and keep the shoes of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam), and when he would  return, he again would make him  wear the shoes. Upon reaching  the home of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam),  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would enter  the home of Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) before Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) himself could enter. (Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg.  89)

In another narration of Ibnu  ‘Asaakir (vol. 33, pg. 92), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  says: “Once Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) had entered an  orchard. Seeing  this, I  understood that Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was  going to relieve himself and that  he would require some water to  make wudhu. So I took some  water and entered the orchard.  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) asked me: 

‘Who told you to bring this  water?’

I  replied: ‘No one asked me to  bring it.’”

This was the level of concern he  had for the well-being of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “Excellent!

Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave him some glad tidings:

“Take the glad tidings of entering Jannah, not only you but the next three to enter the orchard as well.”
It happened that Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and ‘Ali (radbhiyallahu ‘anhu) had thereafter entered. And all of them were given the glad tidings of Jannah.”

This is how he saw to the needs of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). In fact, among the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) he was known as:  

The one who would keep the shoes of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the pillow of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and the one who was in charge of the wudhu requirements of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

There is a narration which appears repeatedly in Saheeh Bukhari, wherein ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah), a very close student of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), said that he had come to Syria. Having come to a foreign land he made du‘aa: 

“O Allah! Allow me to sit in the company of a pious person.”

From this we understand the importance of good company. Many a time we travel to a foreign land. Now there is no one to watch us. Back home we portray  ourselves as very pious since everyone knows us. At this time,  what is the level of our imaan? Do we leave everything aside and  get involved in every type of haraam, or here  also  we  fear  Allah  Ta‘ala.  So ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah) teaches us an easy way to protect ourselves – and this was the common practice  among the Taabi‘een – that is, we adopt good company. Not only  did he look for good company, rather he even made du‘aa for the same. 

“O Allah! Allow me to sit by a  pious person.”

Thereafter ‘Alqamah  (rahimahullah) entered the musjid and sat among a group of  people. Someone came and  sat next to him. On enquiring  who the person was, he was  informed that this is the great  Sahaabi of Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam), Abu Dardaa  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). What a  beautiful company Allah Ta‘ala  blessed him with! He made du‘aa  for it and he got  it.    

Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  asked him from where he had  come. ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah)  replied from Kufah. Thereafter Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him:

“Doesn’t that great Sahaabi live  among you, who was in charge of  the shoes, pillow, and wudhu  requirements of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?”  (Saheeh Bukhari #3742)

This was how ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had served Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam), and the affinity he had with Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam).

Special Privilege   

In fact Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had made a special provision for ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). According to the narration of Saheeh Muslim (#5666), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to him: 

“If the curtain at the entrance of my home is open, you have complete permission to enter and to listen to my conversation unless I stop you.”

Closeness during Battle    

Not only did ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) serve Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and remain with him whilst in Madeenah Munawwarah, rather he also remained close to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on his journeys and even during the different battles. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) says:

“I was close to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on the occasions of Badr, Uhud and Bay‘atur Ridhwaan.” (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg. 79)

Battle of Badr   

Towards the end of the Battle of Badr, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: 

“Who will see what has happened to Abu Jahl?”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “I will go.” 

He had to be nearby to say that he will go. Nevertheless, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) went and saw that the two sons of ‘Afraa had already wounded Abu Jahl, and he was in the throes of death. 

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) put his foot on the neck of Abu Jahl and said: 

“Allah has disgraced you, O enemy of Allah.”

Abu Jahl replied: “What disgrace are you talking about? You have never killed anyone as great as me. 

Remember, you were a shepherd on the outskirts of Makkah Mukarramah. Now you are acting high and mighty.”

Thereafter, he said:  “If only someone besides a farmer could kill me.”

Some noble person from the  Quraish should have killed me. At least after I am dead and gone  people  will  say  that  a  noble person had killed him. 

Pride is  such an evil thing. He is being  killed in such a disgraceful  manner. Yet the pride could not  leave his heart. Even at this  occasion he did not forget his  pride.  

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then removed the head of Abu Jahl, took it to  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said: 

“This is the head of the enemy of  Allah Ta‘ala, Abu Jahl.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: “By Allah, is this  really the head of Abu Jahl?”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) took an oath. Thereafter Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: 

“All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala.  He has fulfilled His promise,  assisted His servant. And He  alone defeated the enemy.”

Look at the humility of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) compared to the pride of Abu  Jahl. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is attributing  everything to Allah Ta‘ala even  though he is victorious.  However, Abu Jahl was dying but  he never forgot his pride.

Thereafter Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said to ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu):  “Show me where he is lying?”  How happy Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) must  have been with ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)! Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) went towards the body of Abu Jahl and said thrice: 

“All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala,  Who has granted honour to Islamand the people of Islam.”

Again we see the humility of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), that he attributes  every perfection to Allah Ta‘ala. Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:  

“This is the Fir‘oun of this  Ummah.” (These details appear in  Saheeh Bukhaari #4020, Musnad  Ahmad #4247 and Fathul Baari  vol. 7, pg. 374)    

Scholars write that Abu Jahl was  even worse than Fir‘oun. When Fir‘oun was dying and he saw the  punishment of Allah Ta‘ala coming, he said, “I believe in the  lord of  the Bani Israaeel.” But Abu Jahl even at the last  moment, pride never left him.  We can see how evil this quality  of pride is, that even till the last moment it doesn’t leave a  person. Therefore we need to make a concerted effort to rid  ourselves of this evil quality. If  we act proudly then we will be  following the way of Abu Jahl  and if we are humble then we will  be following the way of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam).

Battle of Uhud    

On the occasion of Uhud, when  the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) suffered a temporary  defeat and they were scattered all over, only four Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) remained  with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). One of them was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). (Majma‘uz    Zawaaid #15569) 

Battle of Hunain    

At the crucial junctures, ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  was always with Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

On the occasion of Hunain again, when the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) had suffered a  temporary defeat, ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was  there with Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam). From an army of  12,000, only 80 Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) remained  with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam).

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “I saw Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) leaning, and I feared  that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) would fall off his conveyance. So I said, ‘O Nabi of  Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam),  sit up straight, what has  happened?’ Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said to me, ‘Give  me a handful of sand.’” ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed a handful of sand to  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Thereafter Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) read a few words and threw it. Allah  Ta‘ala made it such that it went  into the  eyes of the enemy. Then  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) asked ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu): 

“Where are the Muhaajireen, where are the Ansaar?”

Call all of them. So ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) called the Muhaajireen and the  Ansaar. They all had come and then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) defeated  the enemy and won the battle. (Musnad Ahmad #4336)

Keeping Good Company      

From this attachment that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had with  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) we learn a great lesson  that, we should try to remain in  the company of the pious.  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and all the other Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) remained in the company of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) as much as they could, and it was because of the  blessings of this company that  they reached great heights. If  it  wasn’t for this company, they wouldn’t have been Sahaabah.  

Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us with  many pious ‘Ulama and elders in  our country as well. We should  link up with them, remain in their  company, consult with them and  then see the amount of benefit we will achieve in our lives. 

High Position     

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)’s Love  and Confidence 
It was obvious that when  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had shown  such dedication in serving  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam), then Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had  also built up a great amount of  love, affinity  and confidence  in  him.

Once some people were praising  ‘Amr bin ‘Aas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). So he said to them, “You  are praising me. Let me tell you about two people for whom  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had intense love when  he left this world. One is ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the other is ‘Ammaar bin Yasir (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu). (Musnad  Ahmad #17807)  

Imagine, Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) having love for  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)!  

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) mentioned many aspects regarding ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).  

On one expedition while the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were out in the path of Allah  Ta‘ala, Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) required a miswaak. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) climbed a tree, to break a miswaak for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). This was his work, to be in the service of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). As he climbed up, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) saw his shin and this caused them to smile, since ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was a very short and thin person. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked them:

“Why are you smiling?”

So they replied: “We are smiling because his shins are so thin.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “I take an oath on the being who is in control of my life, these shins of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood will be weightier on the scales (on the Day of Judgement) than the (vast) mountain range of Uhud.” (Musnad Ahmad #3991)

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also mentioned, “Hold firm to the teachings of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).” (Sunan Tirmizi #3805) 

In another hadeeth Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“If I had to take a unilateral  decision in appointing anyone as  a leader, then I would appoint  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)”. (Sunan  Tirmizi  #3809)

There is no need for me to ask or  consult anyone regarding this Sahaabi. I have such confidence  in him that I can take a unilateral  decision regarding appointing  him.    

What greater testimony can  there be regarding anyone than the fact that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) says, 

“I like for my Ummah what  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) likes for  them, and I dislike for them what  he dislikes for them.” (Majma‘uz    Zawaaid #15568)

This was the confidence  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) had in ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

Praise of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)

If this was the level of confidence  that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) had in ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  then most certainly the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had a great amount of  confidence in him as well.  

Once ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  was sitting with his companions  and from a distance ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  approached. ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was  short and thin, and ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had  companions seated in front of  him. So it was difficult for ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to see him. Nevertheless the two met and  had a light-hearted conversation and then ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) turned away  and departed. Thereafter ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) addressed his companions saying to them: 

“‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) may be small  in size, but he is like a small  utensil that is brimming and  overflowing with the knowledge  and the understanding of deen.”  (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 1,  pg.  491 & Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir  vol. 33, pg. 145).

As we say, “Dynamites come in  small packaging.” He was really a dynamite.  

‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had  come to Kufah after ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  had left. So he began asking the students of ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) regarding him. They felt that ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was trying to  test them or he had some other  motives. Nevertheless, when ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard what  they had to say, he said to them:  
“I have the equal amount of  respect and regard for him, nay  even more than what they have.”

Thereafter ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:  

“‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had recited  the Quraan, practised on the  Quraan, regarded its lawful as  lawful and its unlawful as  unlawful, he was a true jurist of  deen and he had deep  understanding of the sunnah of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam).”  (Taareekh Ibni  ‘Asaakir  vol. 33,  pg. 150)

Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu), another great Sahaabi of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) was once questioned regarding a ruling. So he gave his  opinion. Then he asked them to  go to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) as well, since he felt that ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) will approve of his ruling. When they  came to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and  mentioned to him the answer of  Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “I  cannot agree to this ruling.” So  he passed another ruling,  according to what he felt was  correct. When these people came  back to Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he told them:  

“As long as this giant of  knowledge is among you, do not  even ask me any ruling of deen.”  (Saheeh Bukhari #6736)

Here we understand the clarity of  the hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Their hearts were so pure. It did not become  an issue that he is a Sahaabi and  I am also a Sahaabi. Thus I have  the right to issue my own ruling.  Rather they acknowledged the  next Sahaabi to be more qualified  in a certain field of knowledge  and accordingly they referred  others to him for their queries.  

Here we find a common problem;  in fact there is no comparison.  Our condition today is such that  despite us having little or no  knowledge regarding a certain  matter of  deen, we are so quick  to object to the ‘Ulama, who are  qualified in that field. We wish to  give our own opinions despite  having no authority to do so.  Unfortunately, this is also done  on  public forums. On the other  hand we find Abu Moosa Ash‘ari  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) opting to  remain silent in the presence of  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Such a  great Sahaabi, but he never  found the need to speak. Who  are we? No knowledge, but at  times we even go to the extent  of saying, “Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) said such and  such a thing, but I don’t agree!  My opinion is that it should be  like this.” Who are we in front of these great giants of knowledge?  What right do we have to speak,  and oppose their teachings  which were based purely on the  Quraan and sunnah?

Knowledge    

Previously we had discussed the affinity and closeness that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) enjoyed with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). One of the great benefits of this association was that Allah Ta‘ala had blessed him with profound knowledge and great understanding in every department of deen. We had mentioned in the beginning that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) himself had prophesised, “You will have a bright future in knowledge.” Then ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) also mentioned:

“‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is like a small utensil that is brimming and overflowing with the knowledge and the understanding of deen.” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol.1, pg. 491 & Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg. 145).

Masrooq (rahimahullah), a great Taabi‘ee said:

“I had deeply studied the lives of the companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I  found that six Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) possessed the joint knowledge of all the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). And the knowledge of these was  possessed by two Sahaabah. One was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the other was ‘Ali (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu).”  (Taareekh Ibni Asaakir  vol. 33, pg. 153)

This explains to us what vast  knowledge ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had  possessed. He was well versed in  every field of knowledge, be it  the Quraan, hadeeth or fiqh (jurisprudence). 

Knowledge of the Quraan

As far as the knowledge of the  Quraan Majeed is concerned, he was well versed in both the  recitation and the meaning.  

When it comes to the recitation,  then ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma)  mentioned – in a narration of  Saheeh Bukhaari, first volume  (#3758) -, that ever since I had  heard one hadeeth of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), I  began to have excessive love for  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). 

This once again highlights the  clarity and purity of the hearts of  the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) where they did not find it difficult to praise their  contemporaries. Forget praising  our contemporaries, if someone  has to praise our contemporary, then we will find some way to run  him down. For example: If someone speaks about a  particular doctor who is our contemporary, then we will say,  “Yah, he is a good doctor, but sometimes he rushes and doesn’t  check properly.” Or if he is in the  same business as us and he is  praised, then we will say, “Just watch out, sometimes he sells  expired goods.” So somehow we will look for a reason to run the  person down, but the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were  completely opposite.      

Nevertheless, the hadeeth that  ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu  ‘anhuma) heard from Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was:

“Learn the Quraan from four  people.”  

And the first name that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned was that of ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).  
Once while ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) was in ‘Arafah, on the occasion of hajj, a person from  Kufah came to him and said, “O ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)! I have  some very bad news. There is one  person in Kufah who is teaching  the Quraan from memory, and  people are writing it down.”  

We should keep in mind that at  times a person’s memory may  err, and if the Quraan is  incorrectly written down, it will then be related incorrectly from  generation to generation.  

Therefore ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) became extremely angry,  but before he could react he  asked, “Tell me, who is that person?” He replied that it was  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). 

The anger of  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) subsided, and he said: 

Woe be to you! 

Why did you not tell me earlier who the person was? Really, on this entire earth there is only one  person who has the capability and the authority to do this, and  that is ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Now let me  tell you why I am saying this. One  night, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihiwasallam), Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) and I came out of the  house of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) and passed by the musjid.  We heard the sound of the  Quraan being recited. So we  stopped to hear the recitation?  Before we could even work out as  to who the reciter was, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to us:  

‘Whoever wishes to recite the  Quraan as it was revealed, should  recite in the manner of ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).’ After ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) completed  his salaah, not knowing that  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) is listening to him, he  began to make du‘aa. Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, 

‘Ask! Whatever you ask shall be  given to you.’” (Majma‘uz    Zawaaid #15551)

Now, what was the du‘aa that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was asking  at that blessed time? 

The  narration of Musnad Ahmad  (#4255) mentions this du‘aa:

“O Allah! Bless me with such imaan which always increases and progresses (there must be no turning point or decrease to this imaan of mine), and bless me with such comforts which will never terminate, and bless me with the companionship of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the highest stages of Jannah.”

The thing that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) lived for and died for was, to serve Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and at this opportune moment this was the du‘aa that he was making that, O Allah just as I was blessed in this world to serve Your Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), in Jannah also bless me to be in his service. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said aameen to this du‘aa

‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said that this was such a great glad tiding where Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) expressed such confidence in ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that I made up my mind to give this glad tiding to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) the next morning. 

Again this was the purity of the hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), where they expressed joy at the good fortune of their brother. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) says by the time I reached ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then as usual Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had already beat me in conveying the glad tiding. 

The narration of Ibnu ‘Asaakir (vol. 33, pg. 96) explains that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) mentioned to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that this is always his du‘aa after every salaah that he performs, be it a fardh salaah or a nafl salaah. Let us try and learn this du‘aa as well, if not the Arabic then at least the English. 

Together with having a mastery over the recitation of the Quraan, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) also had profound understanding of the Quraan. In a narration of Saheeh Bukhaari, second volume (#5000), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) himself says:

“I had learnt approximately seventy surahs of the Quraan directly from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

The narration of Usdul Ghaabah (vol. 3, pg.74) says:

“No one else was there when I learnt this from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

If he had directly learnt from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), what must have been his understanding of the Quraan? He further says:   

“The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) know fully well that from amongst them I have the greatest amount of knowledge regarding the Quraan, but at the same time I am not saying that I am the best of them.” 

Allah Ta‘ala has blessed me with this knowledge of the Quraan Majeed. It is His favour. I am only expressing this favour of His and I am not saying that I am superior to the rest of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).

In another narration of Saheeh Bukhaari (#5002), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:  

“I take an oath on that being besides whom there is no one else worthy of worship, that there is no surah in the Quraan but that I have full knowledge regarding the place of its revelation, and there is no verse of the Quraan but that I am aware of the circumstances of its revelation.”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) goes on to say:  

“If I know of any person more knowledgeable regarding the Quraan than me, in any corner of the world where my conveyance can reach, then I am prepared to travel up to that person and learn from him.”

From this we understand the thirst that Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had for knowledge. They never felt that they knew enough. Many a time today we feel ‘We know it all’. We can make our own research and come up with our own conclusions. No one must tell us anything. This was not the case with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). 

Knowledge of Hadeeth and Fiqh   

As far as the knowledge of hadeeth was concerned, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrated 848 ahaadeeth from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

Many aspects regarding his knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) have already been mentioned. To further understand his expertise in this field we need to look at the incident of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s coming to Kufah and his residing there. 

After the demise of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), during the khilaafah of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) there was a need for some Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to go to Kufah as it was a newly conquered land. The narration of Haakim (vol. 3 pg. 388) mentions that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sent two Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) to Kufah. He also sent a letter addressing the people of Kufah:

“I have sent ‘Ammaar bin Yaasir (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) as your leader and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) as your teacher and as an advisor. They are from amongst the elite Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who had participated in the battle of Badr. Listen to them, learn from them and follow them.”

These are the words of ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) regarding whom Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “If there  had to be a Nabi after me, it  would have been ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).” This calibre  of a person is instructing the  people of Kufah to listen to the  two Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhuma), to learn the knowledge  of deen from them and to follow  them.  

He did not tell them to follow  the Quraan and hadeeth directly,  rather he instructed them to  follow these two Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), because  they had a far better understanding of the Quraan and  hadeeth than others could even  dream of. So by following them  they would actually be following  the Quraan and hadeeth.      

This is the very same answer  that we give to those who object  and say: “Why do we need to  follow the four Imaams? Why  must we follow Imaam Abu  Haneefah (rahimahullah)? Why can’t we follow the Quraan and  hadeeth directly?”  

The answer is the same that we  do not possess the knowledge and understanding of the Quraan  and hadeeth that these Imaams  possessed. Thus if we follow  them, in actual fact we are following the Quraan and hadeeth. There would have only been a  problem if these Imaams hadn’t  followed the Quraan and hadeeth. But this wasn’t the  case.  

How can we ever compare  ourselves with these great Imaams? Imaam Ahmad bin  Hambal (rahimahullah) knew one million ahaadeeth. We cannot even learn 100 ahaadeeth, yet we wish to compare and equate  ourselves with these great Imaams.  

This concept of directly  following the Quraan and hadeeth outwardly seems very interesting  and attractive, but in reality there  is no substance to it. The true  spirit of deen will only be acquired by following one of  these great luminaries. Therefore Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed the people of Kufah to follow ‘Ammaar bin Yaasir (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Thereafter he stated in his letter:  

“(Really I require ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to be at my side, to help me in the running of the entire Muslim state but) I have given preference to you over myself.” 

What a great virtue of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)! A giant like ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) even confirmed that he is in need of him.  Another lesson learnt from this incident is the lesson of giving preference to others over ourselves. 

Effect on the People of Kufah  

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had come to Kufah and the people took the advice of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to heart, to such an extent that Ibnu ‘Asaakir (rahimahullah) mentioned: 

“He was the jurist of the people of Kufah and their teacher. They had such regard for him that they held on to every teaching of his and they would not look at anyone else’s opinion (as they always gave preference to the ruling of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg. 54)

From this we learn that there is  nothing wrong in giving preference to the views of one of  the Imaams of fiqh and ‘blindly following’ him, since the people  of Kufah who were Taabi‘een had ‘blindly followed’ ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).  

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) did such  sterling work among the people  of Kufah that when ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu‘anhu) entered Kufah he commented: 

“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he has filled  this entire city with the  knowledge of deen.”

In one narration ‘Ali (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) said:

“The students of ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  are  the lamps of this city.”  

Up to 4000 students are reported  to have acquired knowledge from  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) either directly or through his students. (Fiqhu  Ahlil ‘Iraq wa Hadeethuhum pg. 52) This is an indication of the  level of knowledge he had, in the field of fiqh.  

Kufah thereafter became the  headquarters and the capital of the Islamic empire. After  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s demise, his student ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah) took over his position. After  ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah)’s demise  his student Ibrahim Nakha‘ee  (rahimahullah), and then his  student Hammaad (rahimahullah) had taken over that position. Thereafter our great Imaam,  Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), took over and  occupied that same position, which was occupied by ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  and he became the jurist of  Kufah.  

Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) never took out his opinions  ‘from his own pocket’. Rather he  simply conveyed to us the  teachings of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) which were conveyed to him via the  illustrious chain of scholars, i.e.  his teacher Hammaad  (rahimahullah) from Ebrahim  Nakha‘ee (rahimahullah) from  ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah) from the  great jurist of this Ummah,  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

Caution in Knowledge    

Despite possessing such great  knowledge, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was very  cautious when it came to knowledge and more specifically  the ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).  

In a narration of Saheeh Bukhaari (#4774), Masrooq (rahimahullah)  mentioned, that there was a  person in the musjid who was  presenting his personal opinion  regarding a certain verse of the  Quraan.  

Unfortunately this has become a  common problem today where  everyone wishes to give their own interpretation when it comes to  the verses of the Quraan, and  they feel that they have the right  to give their personal opinion in  deen.

Nevertheless, this news reached ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) while he was lying down. At once he woke up all annoyed and said:  

“That person should speak who has deep knowledge of deen, and when a person does not have knowledge of deen, he should say ‘Allah Ta‘ala knows best,’ since part of knowledge is that when you are unaware of something you say ‘I don’t know’. 

He should not pretend to know, since Allah Ta‘ala has informed us regarding Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that:   

“I am not from among those who pretend.” (Surah Saad v86)

It is simple, if we do not know we should refer to those who know.    
“Ask the people of understanding if you do not know.” (Surah An-Nahl v43)

We should not pretend to be the greatest scholar of the time. Just as we will not attempt to give our opinion in the medical field or any other field that we are not acquainted with, even more important is the aspect of deen. We cannot give our own opinions regarding deen.

Another aspect regarding the caution of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is that he never directly attributed anything to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). His student ‘Amr bin Maimoon (rahimahullah) reports that he stayed with him  (Abdullah bin Mas‘ood) for one  year, but during that entire duration ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) never directly  attributed anything to Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). One  day by mistake it slipped from his  tongue: “Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said”. This made  him extremely worried. He broke  out into perspiration and his  entire expression changed. Then he said:  

“Either Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said these  words, or these were the  approximate words of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”  (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol.3, pg.116)

This was the degree of caution he  had exercised in attributing anything to Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam).

Imaam Muslim (rahimahullah) has  mentioned the narration in the  introduction of his Saheeh  (#14), that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:

“If you are explaining some  (aspect of deen or even a)  hadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) and your  audience does not have the  ability to fully understand and  grasp it, then this will be a means  of fitnah (evil and mischief) for  them.”  

Instead of them drawing closer  to Allah Ta‘ala they will move further away from deen.  

From this we learn that we need  to have a certain level of knowledge and understanding in  order to understand the Quraan  and hadeeth. It is not for all and  sundry to directly access the  Quraan and hadeeth.

Final Days   

Towards the end of his life, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) left Kufah and returned to Madeenah Munawwarah. 

Discussion with Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)     

Prior to him passing away, while he was sick, Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who was the khaleefah at that time had come to visit him, and a very interesting discussion had taken place between them. 

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him: “What sickness are you suffering from?” 

He replied: “My greatest concern is my sins.” 

This was the feature in the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that despite the heights they had reached, they always felt themselves to be insignificant and their concern was how will they stand in front of Allah Ta‘ala? 

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then asked him: “Do you have any wish or desire?” 

He replied: “The only desire I have is the mercy of my Rabb, Allah Ta‘ala.”

Thereafter Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him: “Should I not call for a doctor?” 

He replied: “The true doctor and giver of cure who is Allah Ta‘ala has placed me in this sickness.” 

So why should I turn to any other doctor.  From this we should not get the incorrect message of not seeing a doctor, as this was based on his level of imaan, and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) probably realised that this was now the end of his life and there was no need to see a doctor. 

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter asked: “Should I not  stipulate for you a salary from  the public treasury?”  

He replied: “I don’t need a salary  (since I am leaving this world).”  

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  says that you have daughters, and this salary would take care of  their needs after you have departed from this world. 

This is the concern of every  individual, “What’s going to happen to my children, especially  to my daughters?” The same concern is being presented to  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Today our  concern for our daughters’ futures has even driven us to  sending them to acquire degrees  at universities at the expense of  them losing all their shame. We feel that it is important for  them to have a profession, in the event their marriages do not  work out and they return home, who is going to support them?  We are preparing for a breakdown in their marriage, even before the  marriage can take place. We are  not educating them to make a  home, rather we are educating  them to break a home. Thus  many a time it ends up like that.  Allah Ta‘ala treats us as we  expect from Allah Ta‘ala.   Nevertheless, ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied: “Do you fear poverty to  afflict my daughters?  

This is not a concern, as I have  heard from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I have  taught this to my daughters that  the person who recites Surah  Waaqi‘ah every night, Allah Ta‘ala  will never allow poverty to come  to such a person.”  (Usdul  Ghaabah vol. 3, pg. 77)  

This was the solution that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) found for the  concern of his daughters, and not the Western solutions that  we are adopting.  

We should take this as a lesson for us all. The financial instability and recession  of the world is everyone’s concern. Let us secure our lives  and the lives of our children by  reciting Surah Waaqi‘ah every  night. We work the entire day to  protect ourselves from poverty.  But this is a prescription of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). Let us take out a few  minutes to recite this surah as a  guaranteed means of protection  from poverty. 

Glad Tidings         

During the last few days of  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), a man met  him and informed him: “I saw a  dream, in which Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was  standing on a mimbar (pulpit)  and you were standing below him.Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) was saying to you, ‘O  Ibn Mas‘ood, hurry to me since  you have undergone many  difficulties in life after my  demise.’” After asking the man to take an oath that he had really  seen this dream, ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  requested him not to leave  Madeenah Munawwarah until he  offers the janaazah salaah on him.

Demise   

Within a few days ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed away, in the year 32 A.H.  when he was approximately 63 years of age, and was buried in  Jannatul Baqee’, the blessed graveyard of Madeenah  Munawwarah.

Life Sketch of Syed Ahmed Shaheed (rahimahullah)

By Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (rahimahullah)

It  is  a  strange  and  inexplicable  phenomena  of  Muslim history  that  whenever  sincere  efforts  have  been  made  for revival  of  Islamic  tenets  extraordinary  results  have  come  to be  seen  in  its  three  branches,  viz.,  faith,  (righteous)  deeds and  morals  and  such  examples  of  courage  and  fortitude, integrity  and  probity,  sympathy  and  service,  justice  and equality,  affection  and  compassion,  fidelity  and  self-sacrifice were  witnessed  which  were  forgotten  for  a  long  duration  of time  and  there appeared  to  be  no  hope  of  their  coming  up again.

These  winds  of  change  blew  at  different  times of  history. Sometimes  for  long  and  sometimes  for  short  periods.  But  authentic  records  of  such  revivalist  movements  have  been preserved  for  posterity.

Such  a  change  came  about  in  India  at  the  beginning of  thirteenth  century  Hijri  when  Syed  Ahmed  Shaheed  raised the  banner  of  faith  and  ‘jihad’  which  brought  to  mind  the memories  of  early  Islamic  history.

Syed  Ahmed  Shaheed  based  his  movement  on  the  simple and  pristine  faith  of  the  earliest  times  and  instilled  a  spirit of  belief  and  ‘jihad’  and  organised  a  large  body  of  warriors and  preachers.

He  established  the  centre  of  his  activities  in  the  north-west  region  with  the  ultimate  object  of  expelling  Englishmen (British  Imperialists)  from  India  and  setting  up  a  theocratic state.  The  ‘mujahidin’  as  they  were  called,  inflicted  many crushing  defeats  on  the  trained  Sikh army  in  various  battles and  to  begin  with,  laid  down  the  foundation  of  Islamic Rulership in  North-West  Frontier,  established  revenue  and  Civil  Courts at  different  places.  But  the  local  misguided  villagers  fell upon them  as  it  were  under  a  pre-meditated  plan  and  murdered most  of  them  in  cold  blood.

The  Amir, Syed Ahmed, Maulana Muhammad  Ismail and other  indefatigable  ‘mujahidin’  laid  down  their  lives  in  the battlefield  of  Balakot  for  the  sake  of  Islam  and  ‘shariat’  and With  their  martyrdom,  the  hope  of  an  Islamic  Nation also  died out like  the  last  flicker  of a  dying  flame  as  a  result  of persistent perfidy  of  certain  tribal  heads,  their  internal  feuds,  self-invented  conventions  and  petty  rivalries.

The  surviving  followers  established  themselves  at different places and kept the flame  of faith  and  ‘jihad’  burning. But  the  Englishmen  pursued  and  subjected  these  valiant ‘mujahidin’  to  merciless  cruelties,  atrocities  and  oppression. Their  properties  were  confiscated  and  some  of  them  were sent  to  the  gallows  and  some  were  sentenced  to  life imprisonment.  But  these  intrepid  ‘mujahidin’  braved  these persecutions  and  prosecutions  with  magnanimous  courage and  unflinching  and  axiomatic  faith  in  their  mission.  They lived  and  died  for  propagation  of  Islam  and  preservation  of ‘shariat’  and  left  a  shining  example  of  devotion  and  sacrifice for  the  coming  generations  and  showed  that these  ideals  have to  be  propagated  and  preserved  at  all  costs  and  no  sacrifice is  too  great  in  the  way  of  Islam  and  ‘shariat’  be  it  wealth or  life.

But  the  messenger  and  those  who  believe  with him  strive  with  their  wealth  and  their  lives.  Such are  they  for  whom  are  the  good  things.  Such  are they  who  are  the  successful.” [Surah  at-Tauba: 88]

[Syed  Abul  Hasan  Ali  Nadwi,
Dar-e-‘Arafat (Rae  Bareli), 14th  April,  1974. 20th  Rabi-ul Awwal.  1394 A.H.]

The  Pitiable  Conditions  of  Muslims  in  thirteenth Century  India

The  political,  religious  and  moral  condition  of  Muslims in  lndia  in  the  thirteenth  century  Hijri  (the  end  of  eighteenth and  beginning  of  nineteenth  century  C.E.)  had  come  down to  rock  bottom.  The  Mughal  Empire  had  disintegrated  and East  India  Company  and  its  allies  swayed  over  various  parts of  India.  The  remaining  parts  were  held  by  petty  rulers  and  sardars.  The  Mughal  King,  Shah  ‘Alam,  was  a  figure-head. The  whole  of  South  India  was  at  the  mercy  of  Marathas. The  Punjab  and  part  of  Afghanistan  were  ruled  by  the  Sikhs. The  capital,  Delhi  and  adjoining  areas  were  the  target  of Maratha  and  Sikh  forays.  The  political  credibility  of  the Muslims  was  at  a  low  ebb.  They  had  no  leader  who  could unite  them.  They  were  weak  and anybody  could  harass  them at  will.

The  moral  fabric  of  the  Muslim  society  was  shattered and  many  sinful  and  heretic  practices  had  become  a  fashion and  people  used  to  pride  over  them.  The  use  of  alcohol  was not  uncommon,  the  high  and  low  revelled  in  wild  orgies.  The morality  and  sense  of  shame  had  lost  their  importance  with some  people;  many  Muslim  women  had  entered  the European  households.

The  polytheistic  and  heretic  rites  had  infiltrated  in  the “millat”.  The  Muslims  had  acquired  such  beliefs  for  which the  Jews,  Christians  and  infidel  Arabs  had  earned  the  wrath of  Allah.  Many  un-Islamic  and  Shiite  rituals  had  entered  the ‘sunni’  society  and  most  of  its  members  had  lost  sight  of ‘shariat’:  The  Islamic  traditions  were  being  forsaken.  The injunctions  of  Glorious  Qur’an  and  ‘traditions’  were  not observed  even  in  literate  and  respectable  Muslim  families. The  widow  re-marriage,  daughter’s  share  in  property  and traditional  greetings  were  under  taboo  by  social  conventions. The  same  way,  the  obligatory  duty  of  Hajj  was  dropped  on the  pretext  of  anarchic  and  disorderly  conditions.  The Glorious  Qur’an  was  thought  to  be  a  riddle  not  to  be understood  or  impossible  to  be  explained  by  the  uninitiated and  it  was  considered  a  ‘forbidden  tree’. 

But  it  would  not  be correct  to  presume  that the  thirteenth century  was  all  unenlightened  or devoid  of  learning,  religious activity,  spiritual  life  or  there  was  no  pursuit  of  knowledge. The  earlier  part  of  thirteenth  century  is  historic  for  Islam  and Muslims  in  India.  There  were  such  erudite  scholars  that  it would  not  be  easy  to  find  their equals  anywhere else,  scholars who  were  unique  for  their  profound  knowledge  and understanding  of Traditions  of the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and  geniuses  in  the  fields  of  literature  and  poetry,  tutors  with encyclopaedic  knowledge  and  sufis  and  mystics  of  high  order were  all  there.  There  was  a  net-work  of  schools  and monasteries (khanqah)  and  ‘ulama’  who were busy  in  teaching and  preaching,  writing  and  compiling,  the  schools  and ‘ khanqah’  were  full  of  students  and  disciples  (murid)  in  those days.

It cannot  however,  be  denied  that  the  store  of knowledge,  which  their  predecessors  had  built  up  was  being depleted  for  want  of  replenishment.  There  was  no  further addition  and  no  progress.  There  were  geniuses  in  different branches  of  learning  but  their  energies  were  being  frittered away  for  want  of  purpose  in  life.  The  noble  qualities  of fortitude  and  bravery, sense  of  shame  and  ambition  were being  wasted  for  contemplible  ends  and  epicurism  was  the order  of  the  day.  There  were  scattered  sages  and  geniuses but  no  organised  body  as  such.  The  life  had  lost  its  moorings and  there  was  no  trace  of  any  useful  and  popular  movement.

There  was  an  urgent  need  for  such  a  person  or  body of  persons  who  would  utilise  the  talents  of  these  persons and  give  them  a  direction.  who  would  popularise  the  ecstasy of  “khanqah”  and  the  light  of  learning  of  the  schools.  The ‘Ulama’  who  would  ride  the  chargers  and  the  ‘mujahid’  who would  enkindle  the  flame  of  love  of  Allah,  provide  warmth to  the  low-spirited  and  enliven  the  spirit  of  religion  from  one end  of  the  country  to  the  other,  who  would  put  to  good  use the  inherent  talent  of  the  Muslims;  who  would  have  foresight; who  would  not  consider  anything  useless;  who  would  have the  healing-touch  of  a  christ;  who  would  be  the  epitome  of all  such  qualities  which  go  to  make  one  an  ‘imam’  of  his time.  This  was  the  singular  honour  for  which  Syed  Ahmed (rahimahullah) was  the  most  suitable  person  in  the  galaxy  of  ‘ulama’  and sages.  We  are  narrating  in  this article  the  selected  facts  and tales  of  his  tenacity  of  purpose,  impact  on  Muslim  society and  revolutionary  changes  which  he  brought  about  during his  life  time.

The  Family

Shaikh-ul-Islam Syed Qutubuddin  Muhammad al-Madani was  the  son  of  Syed  Rashid-ud-Din,  who  was  the  twelfth descendant  of  Muhammad  Zu  Nafs  Zakiyya  Shahid,  grandson  of  Hazrat  Hasan.  Shaikh-ul-lslam  Syed  Qutubuddin  was a  high-minded  sage  and  a  pious  man  who  was  endowed  with courage  and  spirit  of  ‘jihad’  along  with  erudite  knowledge and  piety.  He  came  to  India  with  a  party  of  ‘mujahidin’ through  Ghazni  and  conquered  Kara  (in  Allahabad)  where he  settled,  died  and  lies  buried.  The  scions  of  Shaikh Qutubuddin  had  inherited  qualities  of  leadership,  self-possession.  abstinence  and  piety.  There  was  one  sage  Hazrat Shah  ‘Alamullah  in  the  descendants  of  Syed  Qutubuddin during  the  reign  of  Aurangzeb  Alamgir.  He  was  ‘authorised’ (majaz)  by  Hazrat  Syed  Adam  Binnori,  one  of  the  ‘khalifa’  of  Hazrat  Mujaddid  Alf  Sani.  He  was  very  pious  and  staunch  ‘traditionalist’.  He  died  in  1096  (1684)  and  was  buried  at Daerah  (Rae  BareIi)  which  he  had  founded.

The  Birth

Syed  Ahmed  was  the  fifth  descendant  of  Shah ‘Alamullah.  He  was  born  in  1201  (Nov.  1786).  His  father’s name  was  Syed  Muhammad  lrfan  and  grandfather’s  Syed Muhammad  Nur.  At  the  age  of  four  he  was  enrolled  in  a ‘maktab’.  But  he  was  not  disposed  to  learning  and  did  not make  any  progress  in  book  lore  despite  the  best  of  efforts. He  was fond  of manful  sports  and soldiership  from  childhood. When  he  reached  adolescence  he  used  to  attend  on  the  old, infirm  and  widowed  in  the  manner  the  elders used  to  wonder at  it.  He  was  very  fond  of  prayers  and  ‘zikr’.

To  Lucknow  In  Search  Of  Livelihood

His  father  Maulana  Muhammad  lrfan  breathed  his  last when  he  was  only  twelve  years  old.  The  conditions  warranted that  he  should  shoulder  the  responsibility  of  maintenance  of the  family,  and  look  for  livelihood.  He  went  to  Lucknow  with seven  other  relations  in  search  of  a  job.  The  distance  from Rae  Bareli  is  seventy  eight  km.  They  had  one  mount  and they  used  to  ride  it  in  turn.  But  Syed  Sahib  used  to  insist on  others  to  ride  at  his  turn  and  preferred  to  walk.  He  looked after  his  companions  throughout  the  journey  and  reached Lucknow.  Nawab  Sa’adat  Ali  was  the  Ruler  at  that  time.  He was  an  ambitious  and  able  administrator.  But  inspite  of  that except  for  a  few  jagirdars  and  big  businessmen  there  was unemployment  and  poverty.  Everyone  busied  himself  in looking  for  a  job  in  Lucknow,  But  it  was  difficult  to  find  one. lnspite  of  hard  work  and  day-long  labour  they  had  to  be content  with  a  frugal  and  insufficient  meal.  Syed  Sahib  was staying  with  a  nobleman  who  had  high  regard  for  his  family. But  he  used  to  feed  the  rich-fare  he  used  to  get  from  the host  to  his  companions  and  he  was  content  with  potluck.

Under The  Tutelage  Of  Shah  Abdul  Aziz (rahimahullah)

He  passed  four  months  under  difficult  conditions.  Once the  ruler  went  for  shooting  and  the  nobleman  with  whom Syed  Sahib  was  staying  went  with  the  entourage.  Syed  Sahib with  his  companions  went  with  the  party  and  attended  on the  co-travellers.  He  had  to  undergo  many  hardships  in  this safari.  Syed  Sahib  tried  to  persuade  his  companions  to proceed  to  Delhi  and  profit  from  Shah  ‘Abdul  Aziz  but  to no  avail. 

Ultimately  he  went  to  Delhi  by  himself. He  travelled  the  entire  distance  on  foot,  served  the travellers  on  way  but  continued  the  journey  most  of  the  time thirsty  and  hungry  and  reached  Delhi  after  many  days.  When he  reached  Delhi  he  had  blisters  in  his  feet  on  account  of continuous walking.  He  presented  himself before  Shah  Abdul Aziz. Shah  Abdul  Aziz  knew  the  family  well.  He  expressed great  pleasure  on  introduction  and  after usual  formalities  sent him  to  his  brother  Shah  Abdul  Kadir. He  acquired  such  competence  in  ‘contemplative sciences’  in  a  very  short  span  of  time  which  others  normally  attain  after  hard  and  strenuous  endeavour  -ranging  over  a long  time. 

He  was  ordained  (khalifa)  and  permitted  to  go to  Rae  Bareli.  He  stayed  here  for  two  years  during  which period  he  married  also.

Joins  The  Army  Of Amir  Khan

He  needed  actual  fighting  experience  to  perfect  the  art of  ‘jihad’  for  which  he  was  destined  and  which  was  his  main object  in  life.

He  went  to  Delhi  again  in  1226  (1811)  and  at  the instance  of  Shah  Abdul  Aziz  joined  the  army  of  Amir  Khan who  was  engaged  in  armed  struggle  in  Malwa  and  Rajasthan. He  tried  to  divert  his  struggle  and  contain  the  ascending English  power.  Amir  Khan  was  an  ambitious  Afghan  soldier of  fortune,  who  had  collected  a  good  number  of  valiant  and adventurous  fighters  around  him.  He  was  a  power  to  reckon with  and  the  rulers  sometimes  requisitioned  his  services.  The Englishmen  too  could  not  ignore  him.

Syed Sahib served  Amir  Khan  for  six  years.  He  continued his  prayers  and  preachings  along  with  his  duties  with  the result  that  the  entire  camp  became  a  centre  of  preaching. The  armymen  greatly  benefited  from  it  and  there  was  a marked  change  in  the  life  of  Amir  Khan  himself.

Return  To  Delhi

When  Amir  Khan,  compelled  by  circumstances  and disloyalty  of  some  of  his  close  associates  sought  truce  with Englishmen,  Syed  Sahib  opposed  it,  but  when  he  eventually signed  the  treaty  and  accepted  the  State  of  Tonk.  He  was disheartened  and  left  for  Delhi.

This  time  a  large  number  of  people  gathered  around him  and  two  eminent  persons of  the  family  of Shah  Waliullah, Maulana  Abdul  Hai  and  Maulana  Muhammad  Ismail  were initiated  (bai’at).  Because  of  these  two  renowned  ‘ulama’  the great  and  small,  ‘ulama’  and  ‘mashaikh’  thronged  around  him in  multitude,  and  his  popularity  increased  day  by  day.  He started  preaching  around  Delhi  and  went  to  Muzaffamagar, Saharanpur and  other  historical  places,  which  had  produced great  men  and  were  inhabited  by  ‘ulama’  and  nobility-the cities  like  Rampur,  Bareilly,  Shahjahanpur,  etc.,  where hundreds  of  people  were  ‘initiated’  and  they  recanted  and abandoned  polytheislic  and  heretic  practices.  Haji  Abdul Rahim,  who  was  one  of  the  famous  ‘mashaikh’  of  his  time came  for  ‘initiation’  with  thousands  of  his  disciples.  This  tour proved  very  auspicious  for  the  entire  region.  It  is  said  on authority  that  whenever  he  stayed  even  for  a  short  time the  obligatory  (farz)  prayers  (in  mosques)  were  re-established, religious  beliefs  were  revived,  ‘sunnat’  were  restored,  the  zeal for Islamic  tenets  was  renewed  and  above  all  people developed  a  dislike  for  polytheistic,  heretic  and  Shiite practices.  Maulana  Abdul  Hai  and Maulana  Muhammad  Ismail were  with  him  in  this  tour,  lot  of  people  benefited  from  their sermons  and  lives  of  many  people  were  revolutionized.

Back  To  Home  Town

He  came  back  home  to  Rae  Bareli.  The  entire  region was  then  in  the  grip  of  a  famine  and  there  was  scarcity  and suffering,  poverty  and  privation  and  he  had  over  a  hundred persons  to  feed.  But  there  was  an  atmosphere  of  Shekinah and  absolute  faith  in  Allah.  There  were  great  scholars  and sufis  with  him  and  everyone,  inspite  of  his  scholarly  learning used  to  profit  from  him  and  he  used  to  be  busy  in  serving the  people.  This  small  hamlet  was  a  crowded  monastery (khanqah),  a religious  school  and  a  training  ground  for  ‘jihad’. It  was  a  time  of  great  delight  and  ecstasy  though  full  of hardships.  He  also  visited  Allahabad,  Benares,  Kanpur  and Sultanpur during this  period  and  people came  to  him  in  groups for  ‘bai’at’.

The  Visit  To  Lucknow

There  was  a  good  number  of  Pathans  in  Lucknow Cantonment  who  were  devotees  of  Syed  Sahib’  and  his ancestors,  of  whom  Nawab  Faqir  Muhammad  Khan  is  worth mentioning.  He  undertook  this  journey  to  Lucknow,  with about  one  hundred  and  seventy  disciples,  at  the  request  of these  people  for  their  reformation.  Maulana  Abdul  Hai  and Maulana  Muhammad  Ismail  were  with  him  in  this  tour  also. Nawab  Ghaziuddin  Haider  was  the  Ruler  and  Nawab Mo’tamad-ud-Dowlah  Agha  Mir  was  his  Minister  at  that  time. But  there  was  chaos  and  disorder,  repression  and  injustice in  the  State.  The  high  and  mighty  indulged  in  epicureanism and  sensualism.  It  was  the  spring  time  of  merry-making, amusement  and  fun.  But  at  the  same  time  there  were  some people  who  were  amenable  to  good  counsel  and  they  had regard  and  respect  for  the  greatness  of  religion.  The  city was  the  centre  of  scholars  and  sages  and  the  select  among the  nobility  from  outlying  areas  had  also  emigrated  here. There  were  many  pearls  of  the  first  water  in  the  masses awaiting  the  master-touch  of  a  wonder-worker.

Syed  Sahib  and  his  companions  stayed  on  the  western bank  of  Gomti  near  Shah  Pir  Muhammad  mosque.  The  day he  reached  there,  people  started  coming  in  great  number and  they  used  to  mill  around  the  place  from  morning  till  night. The  successive  and  persuasive  sermons  of  Maulana Muhammad  Ismail  had great effect  on  the  local  people.  These sermons  changed  the  lives  of  thousands  of  people.  They came,  recanted and started a  new  life.  The  people of  Lucknow greatly  benefited  spiritually  by  the  visit  of  Syed  Sahib  and his  blessed  party  during  this  short  stay.  The  great  savants and  sages  used  to  visit  and  enter  the  fold  of  ‘bai’at’.  Maulana Abdul  Hai  and  Maulana  Muhammad  lsmail delivered sermons every  Friday  and  members  of different  fraternities  (biradaris) became  the  disciple  (murid)  of Syed  Sahib  and  recanted  from polytheism  and  heresies  (bid’at).  There  were  innumerable feasts  and  many  works  of  wonder  (karamat)  were  witnessed during  this  time.  The  polytheism  and  heresies  were  reduced to  the  minimum  and  those addicted  to  crimes  and  wickedness recanted.  The  government  was  perturbed  at  the  popularity of  Syed  Sahib,  specially  at  the  relinquishment  of  Shiite practices.  He  was  warned  but  he  continued  his  preachings and  invited  people  to  the  true  religion  with  determination and  grit.

He  returned  to  his  home  town  after  one  month  and during  this  period  he  felt  the  urgent  need  for  ‘jihad’  in  view of  the  oppressions  over  Muslims  in  the  Punjab  and  became restless  for  it.  Whenever  he  saw  a  youngman  of  strong physique,  he  would  say,  “He  is good  for  our cause.”  He  would often  wear  arms  so  that  other  people  may  realise  their importance.  He  would  hold  mock-battles, target  practice  and display  of  martial  arts  and  soldiership.

The  Hajj

During  this  period  along  with  other  tenets  of  Islam,  the fundamental  tenet  like  Hajj  was  abandoned  or  neglected  on account  of  the juristic  excuse  of  insecurity  on  way.  A  few  so  called  ‘ulama’  had  given  a  judicial  decree  (fatwa)  for  it to  be  dropped.  Syed  Sahib  wanted  to  stop  this  practice  and preached  the  obligatory  nature  of  Hajj  himself  with  great force.  He  considered  it  necessary  to  take  practical  steps  to revive  it  and  went  for  Hajj  with  a  number  of  savants  and distinguished  persons.  He  asked  his  disciples  to  write  letters to  different  places  on  the  indispensability  of  Hajj,  with  the result  that  a  large  number  of  pilgrims  collected  at  this declaration  and  invitation  for  it.  He  started  with  four-hundred pilgrims  on  2nd  July,  1821.  after  Id  prayers  (ld-ul-Fitr) from
his  home  town.

He  went  to  Dalmau  from  Rae  Bareli  and  from  there he  went  to  Calcutta  by  boat.  On  way  Maulana  Abdul  Hai and  Maulana  Muhammad  Ismail  and  other  savants  in  the caravan  delivered  sermons  in  which  polytheism  and  heresies were  countered  and  correct  beliefs  and  virtuous  deeds  were restituted.  Thousands  of  men  and  women  entered  the  fold of  ‘bai’at’.  It  is  said  that  not  a  single  Muslim  was  left  as  the entire  city  of  Mirzapur  entered  the  fold  of  ‘bai’at’  and thousands  of  Muslims  in  Benares  including  the  savants  and sages  came  for  bai’at  with  the  result  that  polytheistic  and heretic  practices  were  hit  hard.  He  reached  Patna  via Ghazipur  and  Danapur  and  stayed  there  for  two  weeks. During  his  stay  importance  of  ‘shariat’  was  emphasised  and heresies  were  denounced  with  vigour.  He  sent  a  few  Tibetan nationals  to Tibet  from  Azimabad  for  preaching  and the effect of  their  efforts  was  felt  in  China  also.  He  reached  Calcutta from  Azimabad  and  stayed  there  for  three  months.  Calcutta was  the  seat  of  the  British  Government  and  the  biggest  city of  lndia.  He  brought  about  a  religious  revolution  there.  The heads  of  different  families  and  fraternities  (biradari)  declared to  their  families  and  fellow  brothers  that  those  who  do  not enter  the  fold  of  ‘bai’at’  of  Syed  Sahib  and  do  not  stick  to ‘shariat’  would  be  boycotted.  The  people  lined  before  the halting  place  of  Syed  Sahib  at  this  announcement.  The  pubs and  dens  of  vice  were  deserted.  The  grand-children  of  Tipu Sultan,  whose ancestors had good  relations with  the ancestors of Syed  Sahib greatly  benefited  by his  advices.  He  left  Calcutta for  Hajj  pilgrimage  with  seven  hundred  and  seventy  five persons.  The  rush  of  on-lookers  was  so  great  that  the  roads were  blocked  with  Muslims  and  non-Muslims  and  it  was difficult  for  pedestrians  to  pass  through  the  crowd.  The caravan  reached  Jeddah  on  16th  May,  1822,  stopping  and preaching  at  every  port  and  coastal  region  on  way.  He entered  the  Haram’  on  21st  May,  1822.

The  people  of  this  holy  place  also  took  advantage  of his  presence. The  ‘imam’  of  the Grand  Mosque  and  the  Grand ‘ Mufti’  of  Makkah  became  his  disciples  (murid)  and  the chief tains  and  noblemen  of  other  Muslim  states  profited  from him.  He  passed  the  month  of  fasting  in  Makkah.  During  the period  of  Hajj  he  took  a  vow  (bai’at)  for  ‘jihad’  from  his companions  at  ‘Aqba-e-Ula’  -the  place  where  Prophet Muhammad  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallan)  had  taken  the  vow  (bai’at) from  ‘Ansar’  and  which  later  became  the  basis  of  his emigration  to  Madinah.

He  went  to  Madinah  from  Makkah.  There  also  savants and  sages,  high  and  low  crowded  round  him  in  great numbers. He  returned  to  Makkah,  passed  the  second  month  of  fasting there,  performed  Hajj  for  the  second  time  and  returned  to Rae  Bareli  on  30th  April,  1824.

The  Pre-Occupation  At  Home  Town

He  stayed  at  Rae  Bareli  from  30th  April,  1824  to  17th January,  1826 -for  one  year  and  ten  months.  It  was  his last  stay  in  his  home  town.  He  occupied  himself  with preaching  and  inducing  others  for  ‘jihad’  which  included practical  training–both  spiritual  and  physical  of  the companions.  This  period  was  full  of  rigorous  performance of  religious  duties,  asceticism  and  vigorous  work.  The  life was  simple  and  spiritual,  austere  and  disciplined.  The  entire village  (Daera  Shah  Alamullah)  was  full  of life  and  high  spirits.

Need  For  Emigration

The  pitiable  condition  of  the  Muslim  scholars  and helpless  position  in  which  Islam  was  placed  at  that  time  was clear  to  Syed  Sahib.  He  was  a  spectator to  the  over-whelming influence  of  un-lslamic  powers,  specially  intolerable  tyranny to  which  the  Muslims  in  the  Punjab  were  subjected.  The  entire community  was  living  a  serf-like  life  of  distrust  and  disrespect, disappointment  and  discomfiture.  Their  property  was  being confiscated  on  trivial  grounds.  The  chambers  in  the  famous Shahi  Mosque  of  Lahore  were  being  used  as  stables.  There was  restriction  on  azan  and  Islamic  practices  at  many  places and  Muslims  had  become  despondent  and  restless  with  this contemptible  treatment.

In  this  big  border  province which was  inhabited by martial community  (Pathans)  among  Muslims  and  where  they  had clear  majority  this  disgrace  and  subordination  under  a  non-Muslim  power,  which  was  inimical  to  them,  could  not  be allowed  to  remain  as  such.  It  was  a  permanent  danger  for Delhi,  whole  of  north-west  India,  and  Afghanistan.  It  was far-sightedness  and  political  acumen  of  Syed  Sahib  and  his companions  that  they  realised  this  danger  and  made  the Punjab  the  centre  of  their  crusading  activities.

The  rise  of  British  power  in  India,  internecine  feuds among  Muslims  and  the  resultant  dispersion  and  decline  of Islamic  influence  disturbed  him.  Raising  the  ‘Voice  of  Truth’ and  need  for  liberation  of  Islamic  lands  made  a  demand  for ‘jihad’  from  all  duty-conscious  and  self-respecting  Muslims. In  his  opinion  ‘jihad’  was  an  important  part  of  religion  and he  considered  emigration  as  the  first  step  towards  it.  Because under  the  prevailing  conditions  ‘jihad’  was  difficult  without emigration.  The  clear  verses  of  the  Glorious  Qur’an  and Traditions  incited  him  for  ‘jihad’  and  love  of  Allah  and  Divine Pleasure  excited  him  to  act  and  he  made  a  firm  determination for  it.

Though  his  main  object  was  India  is  clear  from  several letters  which  he wrote  to different Heads  of States  and  Muslim Rulers  in  and  outside  India.  Maharaja  Ranjit  Singh  had established  his  rule  in  the  Punjab  and  the  Muslims  were tyrannised, that  is  why  they  needed  immediate  help.  Besides. in  view  of  military  strategy  and  political  expediency  it  was necessary  to start  this  movement  from  north-west  India  which was  the  centre  of  powerful  and  zealous  Afghan  tribes.  Then some  of  their  families  and  relations  were  his  disciples  (murid) and  respected  him.  They  promised  help  and  co-operation  for this  purpose.  Moreover.  other  Muslim  countries  extended right  up  to  Turkey.  He  was  preparing  himself  and  his companions  for  ‘jihad’  from  the  very  beginning.

The  Emigration

He  bid  adieu  to  his  home  town  Rae  Bareli  on  17th January,  1826.  The  caravan  passed  through  plains  and deserts,  hills  and  dales,  forests  and  rivers,  mountains  and passes  and  covered  United  Provinces,  parts  of  Malwa, Rajasthan,  Baluchistan  and  North-West  Frontier  to  reach Afghanistan  which  was  in  itself  an  arduous  task.  They  had to  undergo  various  hardships,  hunger  and  thirst,  because  of shortage  of  provisions  and  water,  fear  of  highway  robbers. They  passed  through  new  places,  encountered  unfamiliar dialects  and  strange  people,  some  courteous  and  some contemptuous,  faced  their  doubts  and  suspicions,  their curiosities  and  dose  enquiries,  prying  and  spying,  etc.  They endured  all  these  odd  situations  on  their  way.  The  caravan consisted  of  noblemen,  saints and  sages,  rich  and  enthusiastic youngmen,  weak  and  infirm,  but  full  of  zest  for  ‘jihad’  and consisted  of  six  hundred  ‘mujahadin’.

He  stopped  at  Dalmau,  Fatehpur,  Banda,  Jalon, Gwalior,  Tonk  and  he  was  welcomed  at  every  place  and people  became  his disciples  (murid).  The  Maharaja  of  Gwalior asked  for  an  audience  and  he  presented  gifts.  He  went  to Tonk  from  Gwalior.  The  Nawab  of  Tonk  received  him  with great  enthusiasm  (Syed  Sahib  had  served  in  his  army  for  six years  at Tonk)  and saw  him  off.  He  reached  Hyderabad  (Sind) via  Ajmer,  Pali  and  through  toilsome  desert  of  Marwar.  On way  thousands of  men  and  women entered  the  fold  of  ‘bai’at’ and  many  persons  accompanied  him.  Sind  was  under  the rule  of  independent  rulers,  who  were  members  of  a  family and  lacs  of  warriors  and  war-veterans  lived  in  their  territories. There  were great  many  ‘aulia’  who  had  disciples  all  over Sind. They  welcomed  Syed  Sahib  and  assured  all  help.  The  Ruler of  Sind,  Mir  Muhammad  and  the  elite  received  him  with  open arms.

He  stayed  at  Hyderabad  (Slnd)  for  a  week  and  went  to Pirkot  and  stayed  there  for  two  weeks  and  then  went  to Shikarpur  and  met  the  respectable  and  prominent  persons. of  the  place.  He  went  to  Chhatarbagh  and  Dhadhar  from Shikarpur.  On  way  he  stayed  at  many  places  and  invited the  people  for  ‘jihad’.  The  savants,  sufis  and  citizens  paid their  homage  to  him.  He  journeyed  through  the  narrow  and perilous  Bolan  Pass  with  the  entire· caravan.  It  is  a  natural gorge  which  has  been  carved  by  denudation  for  strong  willed  conquerors  and  the needy  passersby  in  the  long  chain of  mountains  which  separate  India  from  Afghanistan.  He reached  Shal  (Quetta)  through  Bolan  Pass.  The  Chief of Shal paid  him  great  respect  and  many  ‘ulama’  became  his  murid.

In  Afghanistan

He  went  to  Kandahar.  The  Barakzai  brothers  ruled  over Afghanistan  during  this  period,  who  were  called  Durranis. Purdil  Khan  ruled  over  Kandahar.  Mir  Mohammad  Khan  over Ghazni,  Dost  Muhammad  Khan  and Sultan  Muhammad  Khan over  Kabul  and  Yar  Muhammad  Khan  over  Peshawar.  But there  was  no love  lost between  them and  they  used  to engage in  family  feuds  most  of  the  time.  The  main  purpose  of  this visit  was  to  unite  these  brothers  and prepare  them  for  ‘jihad’ against  the  enemies  of  Islam.

When  he  reached  Kandahar,  the  ruler  received  him  and thousands  of  ‘ulama’,  noblemen  and  other  persons  came  out of  the  town  on  foot  to  welcome  him.  The  roads  were  jampacked  with  people.  He  stayed  in  Kandahar  for  four  days. Everybody  was  ready  and  willing  to  join  him  for  ‘jihad.’  He went  to  Ghazni  from  Kandahar.  About  four  hundred  learned men,  students  and  sages  from  monasteries  (khanqah)  came to  him  eager  for  ‘jihad.’  He  selected  two  hundred  and  seventy persons  and  took  them  with  him.  He  informed  Mir Muhammad  Khan  of  Ghazni  and  Sultan  Muhammad  Khan of  Kabul,  of  his  arrival  and  the  purpose  of  his  visit  and  asked for  their  cooperation.  When  he  reached  Ghazni,  rich  and learned  persons  came  about  three  miles  out  of  the  town  on foot  to  receive  him.  He  encamped  near  the  mausoleum  of Sultan  Mahmood  Ghaznavi  and  lot  of  people  entered  the fold  of  ‘bai’at’.

He  stayed  at  Ghazni  for  two  days  and  left  for  Kabul. The  rich,  the  elite and  thousands of common  people  received him  outside  the  town.  The  cloud  of  dust  raised  by  the  horses and  crowd  blinded  everything.  Sultan  Muhammad  Khan came out  to  receive  him  with  his  three  brothers  and  fifty  horsemen. He  stayed  in  Kabul  for  one-and-a-half  months.  He  spoke about  reforms  and  ‘jihad’  most  of  the  time.  The  elite  and the  commonmen,  profited  by  his  preachings  finding  the  faithlifting  atmosphere,  burning  desire  for  ‘jihad’  and  the  will  to lay  down  their  lives  in  the  ‘Way  of  Allah’  the  people  joined the  blessed  caravan.  He  did  his  best  to  bring  reconciliation between  the  Barakzai  brothers  but  he  did  not  succeed.  He left  for  Peshawar.  The  people  used  to  receive  him  with  great enthusiasm  all  through  the  journey.  He  exhorted  the  people for  ‘jihad’  on  way  and  reached  Nowshera.  He  made  the ‘jihad.’ beginning  of  the  highly  desired  object  and  a  great  divine worship  which  was  the  culmination  of  years  of  preaching and  striving  and  the  chief  purpose  of  this  strenuous  journey.

The  Battle  Of Akora

He  asked  in  a  despatch  from  Nowshera  to  the  Ruler of  Lahore  to  embrace  Islam  in  the  first  instance  or  accept suzerainty  of  Islam  and  pay  ‘jizya’  and  in  case  of  non-acceptance  of  these  terms  threatened  him  with  war.  He  also wrote  that  probably  you  may  not  have  that  love  for  liquor which  we  have  for  martyrdom.  The  Ruler  of  Lahore  sent a  big  Sikh  army  in  reply  to  this  notification.  The  moment he  received  the  news  he  made  preparations  for  ‘jihad.’  The ‘ mujahidin’  were  overjoyed  with  an  opportunity  for  ‘jihad’ and  everyone of them was  brimming over with  the  high  spirits of  martyrdom.  The  ‘mujahidin’  were  seven  hundred  and  the enemy strength was estimated at seven  thousand armed  men. The  handful  ‘mujahidin’  confronted  their  ten  times  strong enemy  at  midnight  on  20th  Dec.,  1826.  The  ‘mujahidin’ fought  with  their  heart  and  soul  and  the  enemy  fell  back. By  dawn  they  were  routed  and  put  to  flight.  This  victory inspired  the  Muslims,  the  tribal  chiefs,  ‘ulama’  and  elite  came to  enter  the  fold  of  ‘bai’at’  at  the  hands  of  Syed  Sahib.  The people  had  confidence  in  him  now.  He  made  peace  in between  warring  tribal  chiefs.  Khadi  Khan  of  Hund  fort became  his  disciple  and  Syed  Sahib  stayed  at  Hund  fort  for three  months  at  his  request.

The  Raid  On  Hazru

The  local  people  expressed  their  desire  to  make  a  dawn attack  on  Hazru  which  was  a  big  trading  centre  in  the  Sikh territory.  Syed  Sahib  permitted  it,  but  he  did  not  participate in  it.  The  raiders  committed  many  irregularities  in  taking  the spoils  of  war.  They  did  not  heed  the  instructions  given  by Syed  Sahib.  They  did  whatever  they  liked  without  regard  to any  rules.  The  ‘ulama’  among  the  ‘mujahidin’  unanimously decided  that  the  most  important  and  the  foremost  task  is to  appoint  an  ‘imam’  and  ‘amir’  so  that  the  ‘jihad’  be  carried out  under  his  leadership  and  command.

Then  on  13th  January.  1827  at  Hund  ‘bai’at’  for ‘ imamat”  and  ‘khilafa’  was  carried  through  at  the  hands  of Syed  Sahib  unanimously.  Khadi  Khan, Ashraf  Khan, Fateh Khan, Bahram  Khan,  and  the  big  and  small  chiefs  came  to him  for  ‘bai’at’  on  both  the  counts.  Besides the  ‘ulama  of India  also  accepted  his  “imamat”  Syed  Sahib  issued  letters for  ‘bai’at’  and  ‘imamat”  to  all  the  chiefs,  rulers,  savants  and sages  of  India.  The  Rulers  of  Peshawar  and  Kabul  Yar Muhammad  Khan  and  Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  came  with a  big  party  for  bai’at on  seeing  his  piety  and  popularity. He  promulgated  laws  of  ‘shariat’  after  election  as  “amir”  and issued  ordinances  based  on  ‘shariat’  all  around.  The judgements  in  Darul  Qaza  were  being  delivered  according to  ‘shariat  now.  The  result  of  this  superintendence  (ihtisab) was  that  no  non-praying  Muslims  were  found  in  the  whole area-far and  near.

The  Battle  Of  Saidu  And  Poisoning

The  whole  region  had  become  united  as  a  single  unit under  lhe  “imamat”  and  “khilafat”  of  Syed  Sahib.  The suzerainty  of  big  and  small  landlords  came  to  an  end  and they  became  envious  though  they  entered  the  fold  of  ‘bai’at’ compelled  by  circumstances.  But  they  were  boiling  within their  hearts  for  vengeance  and  were  in  league  with  the  Sikh government  at  Lahore.

There  were  several  skirmishes  with  the  Sikh  army.  The local  landlords  who  were  outwardly  with  Syed  Sahib  but  at heart  with  the  Sikhs,  expressed  their  desire  to  make  an organised  and  final  stand  against  the  Sikhs. The  plain  of Saidu was  selected  at  the  instance  of  the  local  landlords.  When the  preparations  for  it  were  in  full  swing  somebody  poisoned the  food.  The  local  people  and  some  others  from  outlying areas  were  with  the  Muslim  army  including  the  landlords  and their  troops.  The  Muslim  army  had  the  upper  hand  and  on the  point  of  winning  the  battle  then  all  of  a  sudden  the  chiefs of  Peshawar  joined  hands  with  the  Sikhs.  Yar  Muhammad Khan deserted  with  his  troops.  The  ‘mujahidin’ were left  alone to  fight  the  Sikhs  –rather  the  Sikhs  and  the  deserters.

At  Panjtar

In  view  of  the  changed  circumstances  Syed  Sahib  shifted to  Panjtar  from  Hund  at  the  request  of  Fateh  Khan,  ruler of  Panjtar  and  made  it  Lhe  centre  of  his  activities.  Panjtar is  a  secure  place  situated  in  the  mountains  of  Swat  and  it remained  the  headquarter  of  the  ‘mujahidin’  for  quite  a  long time.  It  was  an  Islamic  camp  and  centre  of  preaching  and reforms.  This  mountainous  fastness  was  a  solemn  place  of which  every  nook  and  corner  was  crammed  with  ‘mujahidin · and  devotees  who  were  most  of  lhe  time  busy  in  recitation of  the  Glorious  Qur’an-‘zikr’,  preparation  for  ‘jihad’  and  there was  an  atmosphere  and  spirit  of  fellow-feeling  and friendliness.  service  and  sacrifice.

Khadi  Khan  became  very  apprehensive  with  Panjtar being  the  headquarter,  he  turned  jealous  and  prejudiced  against Syed  Sahib  and  wanted  to  harm  his  cause.  The  unexpected tum  of  events  at  Saidu  did  not  dishearten  Syed  Sahib  and did  not  in  any  way  affect  his  dedication  to  his  mission.  He went to Buner,  Swat and  Hazara.  The  lour was very successful so  far  as  preaching,  reformation  and  preparation  for  ‘jihad’ were  concerned.  He  went  to  Khar  which  is  the  centre  of Swat.  He  stayed  there  for  one  ‘year.  Maulana  Abdul  Hai passed  away  during  this  period.  He  was  ‘Shaikhul-lslam’  of the  Muslim  army  (mujahidin)  and Syed  Sahib had  high  regards for  him.

Encounter  With  The  French  General

General  Ventura,  a  French  General  in  the  services  of Maharaja  Ranjit  Singh,  attacked  the  ‘mujahidin’  with  an  army of  about  ten  to  twelve  thousand  and  helped  Khadi  Khan  of Hund.  General  Ventura  retreated  under  fierce  attack  by  the ‘mujahidin’  who  fought  with  zeal  for  ‘jihad’  and  fondness  of martyrdom.  He  returned  to  Lahore  after  this  defeat discomfited.  He  took  the  field  again  after  a  few  months  and advanced  towards  Sammah.  Khadi  Khan  welcomed  him  and secretly  helped  him.  Syed  Sahib  wrote  letters  to  the responsible  persons  of  that  region  and  informed  them  of General Ventura’s  adventure, and  organised a  line  of defence. The  ‘mujahidin’  took  a  vow  to  fight  to  the  last.  When  General Ventura  saw  that  the  ‘mujahidin’  have  taken  up  positions of  vantage  in  the  hills  and  passes  he  again  retreated  out  of fear.  When  the  local  people  saw  the  steadfastness  of  ‘mujahidin’  and  signs  of  Divine  help,  they  came  for  ‘bai’at’ in  groups.  Syed  Sahib  also  went  round  the  villages  and strengthened  the  system  of  ‘shariat.’  Khadi  Khan  conspired with  the  enemies  inspite  of  instructions  and  warning  to  desist from  it.  Syed Sahib  attacked  the  Hund  fort  and  seized  it  under compulsion.  Khadi  Khan  lost  his  life  in  the  battle.

The  Battle  Of  Zaida

Amir  Khan,  brother  of  Khadi  Khan.  joined  hands  with Yar  Muhammad  Khan  at  whose  instance  Syed  Sahib  was poisoned  at  Saidu.  Syed  Sahib  spoke  to  Yar  Muhammad Khan  and  asked  him  not  to  create  dissension  and  discord.

However,  he  launched  an  attack  on  the  ‘mujahidin’  at  Zaida. The  Durrani  army  was  driven  back by the  ‘mujahidin ·  because of  their  firmness  and  resolute  stand  and  they  captured  their cannons.  The  defeated  army  retreated  in  disorder,  Yar Muhammad  Khan  was  killed.  The  routed  Durrani  army attacked  the  Hund  fort  which  was  under  the  control  of ‘ mujahidin.’  They  were  fifty  or  so  in  number  but  they  fought with  undaunted  courage and determination  and  repulSed  their attack  and  this  attempt  also  ended  in  fiasco.

The  news,  somehow  got  circulated  that  the  ‘mujahidin’ intended  to  attack  Peshawar  which  was  in  the  hands  of  the Durranis.  They,  therefore,  left  Peshawar.  The  ‘mujahidin’ seized  Ashra  and  Amb  in  the  meantime.

Syed  Sahib  thought  of  advancing  towards  Kashmir  and for  it,  it  was  necessary  to  seize  Phuira.  He  sent  an  expedition under  the  command  of  his  nephew,  Syed  Ahmed  Ali.  The Sikhs  attacked  them  from  an  ambush  and  many  ‘mujahidin’ lost  their  lives  including  Syed  Ahmed  Ali.  Syed  Sahib  camped at  Amb,  enforced  the  system  of  ‘shariat’  and  initiated reformation  of  society.

The  Battle  Of  Mayar

Sultan  Muhammad  Khan decided  to  fight  a  decisive  battle with  the  ‘mujahidin. He  collected  a  big  army  of  Durranis and  for  this  end  in  view  he  reached  Charsadda  via  Chamkani. Syed  Sahib  also  camped  at  Toru  with  ‘mujahidin.  He  did his  best  to  prevent  the  chiefs  of  Peshawar  from  this  fraternal feud.  But  they  did  not value  this  spirit  of  reconciliation.  Sultan Muhammad  Khan  and  his  relations  swore  by  the  Glorious Qur’an  to  fight to  the  last.  The  entire army  passed  underneath the  Glorious  Qur’an  which  was  hung  in  a  gate.  There  was much  blood-shed  at  the  battle-field  of  Mayar  which  lies between  Toru  and  Hoti.  Maulana  Muhammad  Ismail  and Shaikh  Wali  Muhammad  seized  their  artillery.  The  Durranis turned  tail and  left  the  field  in  shambles  and  the  mujahidin· emerged  victorious.  The  mujahidin’  demonstrated  such fortitude  and  heroism,  courage  of  conviction  and  devotion to  duly  and  penchant  for  the  ‘coming  world’  that  it  reminded of  the  heroic  deeds  of  early  Muslims.

The  Triumphant  Entry  in  Peshawar

Syed  Sahib advanced  towards  Peshawar after the  victory of  Mayar  which  was  an  important  city  after  Kabul  and  Lahore in  north-west  and the  capital  of  North-West  Frontier  Province for  a  long  time.  The  circumstances  compelled  him  to  take over  Peshawar.  When Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  felt  sure  that the  ‘mujahidin’  have  decided  to  annex  Peshawar  he  left  it with  members of his  family  and  started  negotiations  with  Syed Sahib.  When  Syed Sahib entered  Peshawar,  the  people  were very  happy.  They  illuminated  the  city  and  provided  sherbet at  different  places.  The  ‘mujahidin’  demonstrated  the  spirit of  true  Islamic  virtue  and  training,  probity and circumspection. Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  offered to  make  peace,  promised fidelity  and  vowed  that  if  Peshawar  be  given  back  to  him, he  would  enforce  ‘shariat’  laws  and  convert  the  region  into an  Islamic  one.  Syed  Sahib  had  not  undertaken  this expedition  for  territorial  conquest  but  to  establish  Islamic government  and  to  enforce  ‘shariat.  He,  therefore,  accepted the  offer  and  gave  him  one  more  chance.  Peshawar  was handed  back  to  Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  and  Syed  Sahib left  for  Panjtar.

The  Massacre  Of  ‘Quzat’

The  tribal chiefs,  specially  Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  and worldly-minded  ‘ulama’  realised  that  enforcement  of  Islamic laws  and  ‘shariat·  and  appointment  of  revenue  collectors would  be  against  their  personal  interests  and  result  in  loss of  their  income.  They,  therefore,  decided  to  get  rid  of  them.

Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  prepared  a  scheme  to  ‘defame the  ‘mujahidin’  among  the  elite  and  the  common man  a  little after  he  was  handed  over  Peshawar.  He  obtained  the signatures  of  a  few  ‘ulama  on  a  ‘fatwa that  the  beliefs  of the  ‘mujahidin’  are  perverse  (fasid).  He  prepared  a  scheme to  murder  all  the  ‘Quzat’.  revenue  collectors  and  censors (muhtasib)  appointed  by  Syed Sahib  at  one  time  in  the  region of  Peshawar  and  Sammah  except  Panjtar.  They  were murdered  in  a  ruthless  manner  –somebody  was  killed  while praying  in  the  mosque  and  somebody  while  defending himself.  The  oppressors  did  not  heed  the  supplications  of ‘ ulama’,  womenfolk  and  non-Muslims  too.  The  ‘mujahidin’ who  were  thus  put  to death  were  the  choicest pick  from  India and  were  the  product  of  years  of  hard  training.

The  Second  Emigration

Syed  Sahib  lost  heart  with  this  merciless  killing  of innocent  ‘mujahidin.’  He  was  so  heart-broken  with  the infidelity,  thanklessness,  oppression  and  barbarism  of  the local  people  that  he  decided  to  emigrate  from  there.  He collected  the  ‘ulama’  and  the  chiefs,  investigated  the  reason for  this  heart-rending  incident,  placed  before  them  the  chief aim  of  his  visit  and  his  efforts  in  this  regard.  When  he  realised that  his  companions  were  innocent  and  oppressed  and  the entire  blame  for  this  massacre  lay on  the  local  people.  he finally  decided  to  emigrate.

When  the  ‘ulama’  and  those  persons  who  were  sincere at  heart  got  wind  of  emigration  they  grew  anxious  and  came to  Syed  Sahib  in  a  body  and  requested  him  not  to  emigrate. But  he  did  not  agree.  He  had  come  to  know  that  Fateh  Khan had  colluded  with  Sultan  Muhammad  Khan  in  his  conspiracy to  exterminate  the  ‘Quzat’,  revenue  collectors  and  censors. Fateh  Khan  also  did  not  request  to  stay  on  but  supported it  in  secret.  Syed Sahib  forgave  them  instead  of  any  retaliation or  revenge.  He  condoned  Fateh  Khan  also  and  treated  him with  kindness  and  presented  him  a  few  gifts.  But  he  did  not waver  in  his  firm  resolve  to  emigrate  from  there  and  camped at  Rajduari.  On  way  the  people  from  Sammah  (where  the Quzat  revenue  collectors  and  censors  were  killed  in  cold blood)  came  in  tears  to  him  and  requested  him  to  come  back to  Sammah.  He  said.  “‘A  faithful  (Muslim)  is  not  bitten  twice from  the  same  hole”.

Towards  Kashmir

Syed  Sahib  selected  Kashmir  for  future  reformative activities.  He  moved  towards  Kashmir  with  the  remaining companions  who  were  not  prepared  to  leave  him  in  these conditions  of  gloom  and  confusion,  indefiniteness  and uncertainty.  The  Valley  of  Kashmir  was  safe  and  provided with  such  natural  defences  that  an  intelligent  leadership·could derive  lot  of  advantages  from  it.  The  location  was  such  that it  could  influence  India  and  those  Muslim  countries of  Central Asia  which  were  important  from  racial  and  military  point  of view  and  which  had  established  strong  Islamic  governments in  the  past.  Besides,  cordial  relations  could  be  established with  them.

At  Balakot

The  administration  of  the  states  of  Pakhli  and  Kaghan Valley  were  in  a  state  of  flux-partly  on  account  of  successive  Sikh-incursions  and  partly, because  of  their  clan  feuds.  They wanted  the  help  of  Syed  Sahib.  These  states  lay  on  way  to Kashmir  where  he  wanted  to  establish  the  centre  of  his  future activities.  The  second  emigration  was  being  made  for  that purpose.  Balakot was  the  most  suitable  place  to  lend  support to  these  states,  consolidate  his  own  armed  strength  and  for advancement  towards  Kashmir.  It  is  situated  at  the  southern end  of  Kaghan  Valley  and  shut  in  by  a  mountain  and  there is  no  inlet  except  the  mouth  of  Kunhar  river.  There  are  two mountain  ranges  running  parallel  with  the  valley  in  which the  passage  in  between  is  not  more  than  half-a-mile  wide. The  river  Kunhar  flows  in  this  narrow  passage  with  the  hills of  Kalu  Khan  and  Matikot  on  the  eastern  and  western  sides respectively.  This  emigration  was  beset  with  many  dangers and  was painstaking.  The  mountains and valleys  were covered with  snow,  and  the  path  was  full  of  twists  and  turns.  There was  no  arrangement  for  supplies  and  transport.  It  proved to  be  an  outstanding  example  of  his  ambition  and  daring, endurance  and  forebearance  and  strength  of  faith  of  his companions  for  the  object  in  view.  He  reached  Sachchun from  Panjtar halting  at different  places  on  way  and  proceeded towards  Balakot  and  reached  there  on  17th  April,  1831.

The  Last  War  And  Martyrdom

Prince  Sher  Singh  was  deputed  by  his  father,  Maharaja Ranjit  Singh,  to  fight  a  last-ditch  battle  with  the  ‘mujahidin.’ When  he  came  to  know  that  Syed  Sahib  had  camped  at Balakot  with  his  companions,  he  brought  a  large  army  and camped  at  the  east  bank  of  Kunhar  river  about  five  miles from  Balakot.

When  it  was  clear  that  Sikh  army  would  attack  Balakot scaling  down  from  Matikot,  arrangements  were  made  for  a final  show down with  it.  The  valley  of Balakot was strategically favourable  for  the  ‘mujahidin.’

Prince  Sher  Singh  lost  hope  of  winning  the  war  on account  of  Balakot’s  natural  defences  and  was  thinking  of going  back.  But  some  local  people  guided  him  and  his  army reached  Matikot  on  6th  May,  1831  in  a  short  time.  The  Sikh army  attacked  the  ‘mujahidin’  while  coming  down  from Matikot.  Syed Sahib  was  in  the  forefront  and  the  ‘mujahidin’ were  closely  following  him.  The  volley  of  Sikh  bullets  was raining  like  hail.  Syed Sahib moved  ahead of  others and calledout  the  battle-cry  ‘Allah-u-Akbar’  aloud.  He  was  moving  fast like  a  lion  after  its  prey.  He  found  a  big  rock  in  the  Held. He  took  cover  behind  it  and  started  firing  from  there.  The ‘mujahidin’  followed  him  and  at  first  sent  a  salvo  of  gun-fire from  their  guns  and  then  carbines  and  killed  many  enemy soldiers.  The  enemy  started  retreating  under  barrage  of  fire towards  the  hilJs  and  ascending  it.  The  ‘mujahidin’  dragged them  down  and  put  them  to  sword.

The  ‘mujahidin’  lost  sight  of  Syed  Sahib  and  felt  sure that  he  has  been  martyred.  Maulana  Muhammad  Ismail  was hit  by  a  bullet  in  the  head  and  he  was  martyred  too.  The enemy saw that  the  ‘mujahidin’  were  confused.  they  attacked once  again  with  all  their  might  and  sent  a  continuous  barrage of  gun-fire  wilh  the  result  that  the  scales  turned  againsl  the ‘mujahidin ·  and  many  of  them  lost  their  lives.  (May  their  souls rest  in  eternal  peace).

The  journey  of  these  intrepid  ‘mujahidin’  which  started on  17th January, 1826, when Syed Sahib  left  his  home  town Rae  Bareli  with  a  handful  of  ‘mujahidin’  ended  at  Balakot on  6th  May,  1831.  They  left  their  beloved  families  at  home and  covered  deserts  and  valleys,  mountains  and  forests, countenanced  the  rebellion  and  infidelity  of  the  Durranis.  but they  were  so  enamoured  of  their  Creator  and  were  so  fond of  martyrdom  that:

Life  is  the  price  for  proximity  with  beloved in  the  realm  of  love,

The  head  is  a  burden  on  shoulders  with t his  life-giving  news

Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariyya Kandhlawi (rahmatullah alayh)

[Adapted from the Arabic biography on Shaykh Zakariyya Kãndhlawi by Wali‘ad-Din Nadwi]

In  the  last  century,  India  has  undoubtedly  become  an  important  centre  for  the  study  of  hadith,  and  the  scholars  of India  have  become  well  known  for  their  passion  for  religious  knowledge.  Upon  them  ended  the  era  of  leadership  in teaching  hadiths,  codification  of  the  special  fields  [funun]  of  hadith,  and  commentary  upon  its  texts  [mutun].  Such was  their  mastery  of  this  science  that  Muhammad  Rashid  Rida  mentions  in  the  introduction  of  his  book  Miftah Kunüz  al-Sunna,  “Were  it  not  for  the  superb  attention  to  detail  in  the  science  of  hadith  displayed  by  our  brothers, the  scholars  of  India  in  the  present  era,  this  science  would  have  withered  away  in  the  eastern  cities.  And,  indeed, mastery  of  this  science  has  been  waning  in  Egypt  and  Syria  since  the  tenth  century  AH.” 

There  is  no  doubt  that Shaykh  Muhammad  Zakariyya (rahimahullah)  was  among  the  most  distinguished  hadith  scholars  of  India  and  a  great  contributor  in service  of  the  Sunna.  He  was  given  the  honorary  title  of  Shaykh  al-Hadith,  or  “Great  Scholar  of  Hadith,”  by  his teacher,  Shaykh  Khalil  Ahmad  Sahãranpuri (rahimahullah),  who  recognized  his  deep  insight,  clear-sightedness,  and  extensive knowledge  of  hadith  and  related  sciences.

Lineage  and  Upbringing

He  was  born  in  the  village  of  Kãndhlã  (in  Uttar  Pradesh,  India)  on  Ramadan  10,  1315  AH  (February  12,  1898  CE). His  full  name  was  Muhammad  Zakariyyã  ibn  Muhammad  Yahya  ibn  Muhammad  Ismãil,  and  his  lineage  continues all  the  way  back  to  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu amhu)  the  great  Companion  of  the  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Shaykh  Abu  al-Hasan  Nadwi  said  about  him,  “Shaykh  Muhammad  Zakariyya  was  born  into  a  household  rooted  in knowledge  and  passion  for  Islam.  His  immediate  family  and  his  predecessors  were  distinguished  by  firm  resolve, perseverance,  steadfastness,  and  adherence  to  religion….  His  family  included  many  notable  scholars  …  and  his grandmother  memorized  the  entire  Qur’an  while  nursing  her  son  [Shaykh  Zakariyyã’s  father].“

His  father,  Shaykh  Muhammad  Yahya,  was  among  the  great  scholars  of  India,  whose  primary  teacher  in  hadith  was Shaykh  Rashid  Ahmad  Gangohi (rahimahullah).  Under  him  he  studied  Sahihal-BukhäriJami  al-Tirmidhi,  and  others  of  the  six famous  authentic  books  of  hadith  [sihãh  sitta].  Shaykh  Yahyã  went  on  to  teach  at  Madrasa  Mazahir  ‘Ulum  in  the district  of  Saharanpur,  but  did  not  accept  any  payment  for  his  services.  He  instead  made  his  living  through  his  own book-  publishing  business.

As  a  young  boy,  Shaykh  Zakariyya (rahimahullah) moved  with  his  father  to  the  village  of  Gangoh,  in  the  district  of  Saharanpur. Since  his  father  and  Shaykh  Gangohi (rahimahullah) had  a  close  relationship,  Shaykh  Zakariyya (rahimahullah) quickly  earned  the  affection  of  his father’s  teacher.

Growing  up  in  this  virtuous  environment,  he  began  learning  how  to  read  with  Hakim  ‘Abd  al-Rahmãn  of Muzaffarnagar  He  memorized  the  Qur’an  with  his  father  and  also  studied  books  in  Persian  and  the  introductory
Arabic  books  with  his  uncle  Shaykh  Muhammad  Ilyas (rahimahullah)  (founder  of  the  Tabligh  movement).  He  stayed  with  his father  in  the  company  of  Shaykh  Gangohi  (rahimahullah) until  age  eight,  when  the  shaykh  passed  away.

At  the  age  of  twelve,  Shaykh  Zakariyyã  (rahimahullah) travelled  with  his  father  to  Mazãhir  ‘Ulum.  There,  under  his  father,  he advanced  his  study  of  Arabic,  tackling  many  classical  texts  on  Arabic  morphology  grammar,  literature,  and  also logic.  But  by  the  time  he  was  seventeen,  hadith  became  the  main  focus  of  his  life.  He  studied  five  of  the  six authentic  books  of  hadith  with  his  father,  and  then  he  studied  Sahih  al-Bukhari  and  Sunan  al-Tirmidhi  (for  a  second time)  with  the  honourable  Shaykh  Khalil  Ahmad  Sahãranpüri (rahimahullah).  Out  of  his  immense  respect  for  hadith,  Shaykh Zakariyya  was  extremely  particular  about  always  studying  the  hadith  narrations  with  wudu

On  Dhü ‘l-Qa’da  10,  1334  AH,  when  Shaykh  Zakariyyã (rahimahullah)  was  just  nineteen,  his  dear  father  passed  away.  This  event was  extremely  traumatic  for  Shaykh  Zakariyya (rahimahullah),  as  he  lost  not  only  a  father  but  also  a  teacher  and  mentor.  His  deep sorrow  remained  with  him  for  the  rest  of  his  life.

Teachers

Shaykh  Zakariyya  was  blessed  to  live  and  learn  in  an  era  considered  by  many  to  be  one  of  great  achievements  in Islamic  knowledge  by  scholars  in  the  Indian  subcontinent.  He  studied  with  few  but  select  teachers  who  reached  the highest  levels  of  learning,  research,  authorship,  and  piety  In  addition  to  his  father  (Shaykh  Muhammad  Yahya)  and uncle  (Shaykh  Muhammad  Ilyas),  he  studied  under  the  hadith  scholar  Khalil  Ahmad  Sahãranpuri,  author  of  the Badhl  al-Majhüd,  a  commentary  on  Sunan  Abi  Däwüd.  Shaykh  Zakariyyã (rahimahullah) acquired  a  hadith  authorization  from  him and  remained  his  student  until  Shaykh  Khalil’s  death  in  Madina  Munawwarah  in  1346  AH.

Before  his  death,  Shaykh  Khalil  Ahmad  expressed  his  desire  to  write  Badhl  al-Majhud,  and  he  sought  Shaykh Zakariyya’s (rahimahullah)  assistance  as  his  right-hand  man.  This  experience  revealed  Shaykh  Zakariyyã’s  gift  of  penmanship  and, furthermore,  expanded  his  insight  in  the  science  of  hadith.  He  worked  hard  on  the  project,  attained  the  pleasure  and trust  of  his  shaykh,  and  was  even  mentioned  by  name  in  the  commentary.  This  indeed  opened  the  door  to  Shaykh Zakariyya’s (rahimahullah) authoring  many  literary  works  and  treatises  over  the  course  of  his  life.

Teaching  Career

In  Muharram  1335  AH  he  was  appointed  as  a  teacher  at  Madrasa  Mazahir  ‘Ulüm  where  he  was  assigned  to  teach books  on  Arabic  grammar,  morphology,  and  literature,  as  well  as  a  number  of  primary  texts  of  Islamic jurisprudence.  In  1341  AH  he  was  assigned  to  teach  three  sections  of  Sahih  al-Bukhari  upon  the  insistence  of Shaykh  KhaliI  Ahmad.  He  also  taught  Mishkãt  al-Masabih  until  1344  AH.  Shaykh  Abü  al-Hasan  Nadwi (rahimahullah) said, ‘Although  he  was  one  of  the  youngest  teachers  at  the  school,  he  was  selected  to  teach  works  generally  not  assigned to  those  of  his  age,  nor  to  anyone  in  the  early  stages  of  his  teaching  career:  Nevertheless,  he  showed  that  he  was  not only  an  able,  but  an  exceptional  teacher.”

In  1345  AH.  he  travelled  to  Madinah  Munawwarah,  the  city  of  Allah’s  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  where  he  resided  for  one year.  There  he  taught  Sunan  Abi  Dawud  at  Madrasa  al-’Ulum  al-Shar’iyya.  While  in  Madinah,  he  began  working  on Awjaz  al-Masalik  ila  Muwatta  Imam  Malik,  a  commentary  on  Imam  Malik’s (rahimahullah) Muwatta.  He  was  twenty-nine  at  the time.

When  he  returned  to  India,  he  resumed  teaching  at  Mazahir  ‘Ulüm.  He  began  teaching  Sunan  Abi  Dawüd,  Sunan  al Nasa’i  the  Muwatta  of  Imam  Muhammad (rahimahullah),  and  the  second  half  of  Sahih  al-Bukhari.  The  school’s  principle  taught the  first  half  of  Sahih  al-Bukhari  and  after  his  death,  Shaykh  Zakariyya  was  given  the  honor  of  teaching  the  entire work.

In  all,  he  taught  the  first  half  of  Sahih  al-Bukhari  twenty-five  times,  the  complete  Sahih  al-Bukhäri  sixteen  times, and  Sunan  Abi  Dawüd  thirty  times.  He  did  not  just  teach  hadith  as  a  matter  of  routine;  the  work  of  hadith  had become  his  passion,  and  he  put  his  heart  and  soul  into  it.  Shaykh  Zakariyyã (rahimahullah) taught  until  1388  AH,  when  he  was forced  to  give  up  teaching  after  developing  eye  cataracts.

Travels  to  the  Two  Holy  Cities

Allah  blessed  him  with  the  opportunity  to  visit  the  two  holy  cities  of  Makkah  and  Madinah.  He  performed  hajj  several times,  and  his  multiple  trips  had  a  profound  personal  effect  on  him,  both  spiritually  and  educationally.  He  made  the blessed  journey  with  Shaykh  KhalIl  Ahmad  in  1338  AH  and  with  him  again  in  1344  AH.  It  was  during  the  second trip  that  Shaykh  Khalil  completed  Badhl  al-Majhud,  he  passed away  shortly  thereafter  and  was  buried  in  the  Baqi’  graveyard  in  Madinah.  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  him  and  put  light  in  his  grave.

Sincere  Love  for  Allah  &  the  Prophet

Shaykh  Muhammad  Zakariyyã (rahimahullag)  inherited  piety  honesty,  and  good  character  from  his  father  (may  Allah  be  pleased with  him).  He  aspired  to  follow  the  Qur’an  and  Sunna  in  all  matters,  big  and  small,  with  a  passion  not  found  in many  scholars.  He  had  extreme  love  for  the  Prophet  and  the  blessed  city  of  Madinah.  His  students  have  related  that whenever  the  death  of  the  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)   was  mentioned  during  a  lecture  on  Sunan  Abi  Däwüd  or  Sahih  al Bukhari  his  eyes  would  swell  up  with  tears,  his  voice  would  choke  up,  and  he  would  be  overcome  with  crying.  So evocative  were  his  tears  that  his  students  could  do  nothing  but  weep  with  raised  voices.

He  was  often  tested  with  regard  to  his  sincerity.  He  was  offered  many  teaching  jobs  at  two  or  three  time  the  salary that  was  customarily  given  at  Mazähir  ‘Ulüm,  but  he  always  graciously  declined  the  offers.  For  most  of  his  teaching career,  Shaykh  Zakariyya  never  accepted  any  money  for  his  services  at  Mazãhir  ‘Ulum;  he  did  the  work  voluntarily, seeking  Allah’s  pleasure.  Although  he  did  accept  a  small  salary  at  the  beginning  of  his  career,  he  later  totalled  up the  amount  and  paid  it  back  in  its  entirety.

Household

Shaykh  Muhammad  Zakariyyã (rahimahullah)  was  married  twice.  He  first  married  the  daughter  of  Shaykh  Ra’uf  al-Hasan  in Kandhlã.  She  passed  away  on  Dhü ‘l-Hijja  5,  1355  AH.  He  then  married  the  daughter  of  Shaykh  Muhammad  Ilyas Kandlawi  (rahimahullah) in  1356  AH.  Allah  blessed  him  with  five  daughters  and  three  sons  from  his  first  wife,  and  two  daughters and  one  son  from  his  second  marriage.

Daily  Routine

Shaykh  Zakariyyã (rahimahullah) organized  his  time  meticulously.  He  would  rise  an  hour  before  dawn  and  occupy  himself  in tahajjud  and  recitation  of  Qur’an  before  performing  the  Fajr  prayer  in  the  masjid.  After  Fajr,  he  would  read  his morning  supplications  and  litany  until  sunrise.  Thereafter  he  would  go  to  meet  with  some  people  and  drink  tea  (but never  ate  anything  with  it).  He  would  then  return  to  his  quarters  to  read.  During  this  time  he  would  also  research and  compile  his  literary  works,  and,  with  few  exceptions,  no  one  was  allowed  to  visit  him  at  this  time.  When  it  was time  for  lunch  he  would  come  out  and  sit  with  his  guests,  who  were  from  all  walks  of  life;  he  would  respect  and treat  them  well,  irrespective  of  who  they  were.  After  Zuhr  prayer,  he  would  take  a  siesta  and  then  spend  some  time listening  to  his  correspondence  (which  amounted  to  around  forty  or  fifty  letters  daily  from  different  places)  and dictating  replies.  He  also  taught  for  two  hours  before  ‘Asr.  After  ‘Asr  he  would  sit  with  a  large  group  of  people, offering  them  tea.  After  performing  Maghrib,  he  would  remain  devoted  in  solitude  to  optional  prayer  and  to supplication.  He  did  not  take  an  evening  meal  except  to  entertain  an  important  guest.

Personality

Shaykh  Abü  ‘l-Hasan  Ali  Nadwi (rahimahullah) says  about  his  characteristics,  “He  was  extremely  vibrant,  never  lazy;  lighthearted,  smiling,  cheerful,  friendly;  and  he  often  jested  with  his  close  friends  and  acquaintances.  We  saw  in  him good  character  and  forbearance  with  people,  as  well  as  a  rare  humility;  and  above  all,  his  personal  qualities  were always  governed  by  his  deep  faith  and  sense  of  contentment.”

Death

He  had  always  hoped  to  meet  Allah  while  in  the  city  of  the  Messenger. Allah  granted  his  wish.  He  passed away  there  on Monday,  May  2.,  1982  CE  and  was  buried  in  Jannat  al-Baqi’,  in  the  company  of  the Companions  and  the  noble  family  members  of  the  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  His  funeral  procession  was  followed  by  a large  number  of  people  and  he  was  buried  in  the  Baqi’  graveyard  next  to  his  teacher  Shaykh  Khalil  Alimad Saharanpüri.  May  Allah  forgive  him,  grant  mercy,  and  elevate  his  status.  Amin.

Scholars’  Praise  of  Him

Many scholars,  both  Arab  and  non-Arab,  have  praised  him  and  recognized  his  knowledge  and  excellence.  ‘Allãmma Muhammad  Yusuf  Binnóri (rahimahullah)  relates,

Indeed  there  are  some  remnants  of  the  scholars  of  past  generations  living  today  among  the  scholars  of  today’s generation.  They  have  been  guided  to  praiseworthy  efforts  in  multiple  religious  sciences,  such  as  jurisprudence; they  are  on  par  with  the  previous  generations  in  their  knowledge,  excellence,  fear  of  Allah,  and  piety;  they  stir  up memories  of  the  blessed  golden  age  of  scholarship.  Among  these  scholars  is  a  unique  figure  envied  for  his excellence  in  knowledge  and  action,  the  author  of  outstanding,  beneficial  works  and  of  beautiful,  superb commentaries:  Shaykh  Muhammad  Zakariyya  Kãndhlawi  Saharanpuri.

Shaykh  Sa’id  Ahmad,  the  head  of  Islamic  studies  at  the  University  of  Aligarh,  UP,  relates,
It  is  evident  to  one  who  takes  a  look  at  his  works  that  he  had  a  brilliancy,  both  in  knowledge  and  with  the  pen,  like that  of  Ibn  al-Jawzi  and  Imam  Ghazãli (rahimahumullah).  Of  the  scholars  of  his  era,  I  know  of  no  one  comparable  to  him  in  this regard,  except  Imam  ‘Abd  al-Hayy  al-Farangi  Mahalli (rahimahullah) (of  Lucknow).

Shaykh  Abü  ‘l-Hasan  ‘Ali  Nadwi (rahimahullah) relates  that  Shaykh  ‘Alwai  al-Maliki  said,

When  he  reports  the  ruling  and  evidences  of  the  Mãliki  school  [in  his  writings],  we  Mâlikis  are  astonished  at  the accuracy  and  integrity  of  the  report….  If  the  author  had  not  mentioned  in  the  introduction  of  [his]  book  that  he  was  a Hanafi,  I  would  not  have  known  that  he  was  Hanafi,  but  would  have  definitely  concluded  that  he  was  a  Mãliki, since  in  his  Awjaz  he  cites  by-laws  and  derivatives  of  the  Maliki  school  from  their  books  that  even  we  have  a  hard time  obtaining.

Students

Shaykh  Zakariyyã  (rahimahullah) had  numerous  students  who  spread  around  the  world  and  continue,  to  this  day,  to  serve  Islam, particularly  establishing  traditional  Islamic  schools  in  India,  Pakistan,  Bangladesh,  England,  Canada,  America, South  Africa,  Zambia,  Zimbabwe,  and  other  countries.  Some  of  his  more  prominent  students  in  the  field  of  hadith were  Muhaddith  Muhammad  Yüsuf  Kandhlawi  (d.  1384  AH),  author  of  Amani  ‘l-Ahbar  Sharh  Ma’ani  ‘l-Athãr, Shaykh  Abd  al-Jabbar  Azami,  author  of  Imdad  al-Bàri  (Urdu  commentary  on  Sahih  al-Bukhari),  and  Mufti Mahmüd  Hasan  Gangohi  (d.  1417  AH).  Many  other  scholars  and  students  also  acquired  authorizations  in  hadith from  him,  including  Dr.  Muafã’  al-Sibãi,  Shaykh  Abd  al-Fattah  Abu  Ghudda,  Dr.  Muhammad  Alawi  al-MäIiki,  and Shaykh  Muhammad  Tahã  al-Barakãti.

Written  Works

Shaykh  Zakariyyã (rahimahullah) wrote  many  works  both  in  Arabic  and  Urdu.  A  number  of  them  treat  specialized  subjects intended  for  scholars,  and  the  rest  have  been  written  for  the  general  public.  His  works  demonstrate  his  deep knowledge  and  intelligence;  his  ability  to  understand  the  issue  at  hand,  research  it  thoroughly,  and  present  a complete,  clear  and  comprehensive  discussion;  his  moderation,  humility  (as  can  be  seen  from  the  preface  of  this book),  patience,  and  attention  to  detail.  His  respect  and  awe  for  the  pious  predecessors  are  evident  in  his  works, even  when  he  disagrees  with  their  opinions  on  any  particular  aspect.

His  first  written  work  was  a  three-volume  commentary  of  the  Alfiyya  Ibn  Malik  (on  Arabic  grammar),  which  he wrote  as  a  student  when  he  was  only  thirteen.  His  written  works  amount  to  over  one  hundred.  He  did  not  withhold any  rights  to  his  works  and  made  it publicly known  that  he tt only  published  his    for  the  sake  of  Allah’s pleasure.  Whoever  wished  to  publish  them  was  permitted  to,  on  the  condition  that  they  were  left  unaltered  and  their accuracy  maintained.

Hence,  his  books  have  gained
overwhelming  acceptance  throughout  the  world,  so  much  so  that  his  work  Fada’il  al Qur’an  [Virtues  of  the  Qur’an]  has  been  translated  into  eleven  languages,  Fada’il    [Virtues  of  Ramadan] into  twelve  languages,  and  Fada’il  al-Salat  [Virtues  of  Prayer]  into  fifteen  languages.  He  wrote  four  books  on Qur’an  commentary  [tafsir]  and  proper  recitation  [tajwid],  forty-four  books  on  hadith  and  its  related  sciences,  six books  on  jurisprudence  [fiqh]  and  its  related  sciences,  twenty-four  historical  and  biographical  books,  four  books  on Islamic  creed  [aqida],  twelve  books  on  abstinence  [zuhd]  and  heart-softening  accounts  [riqaq],  three  books  in Arabic  grammar  and  logic,  and  six  books  on  modern-day  groups  and  movements.

Some  of  His  Hadith  Works

One  can  find  a  complete  list  and  description  of  his  books  in  the  various  biographies  written  on  him.  Here  is  a  brief description  of  a  few  of  his  more  popular  works  on  hadith:

Awjazal-Masalik  ila-Muwatta’Imäm  Malik: One  of  the  most  comprehensive  commentaries  on  the  Muwatta  of  Imam Mãlik  in  terms  of  the  science  of  hadith,  jurisprudence,  and  hadith  explication.  Shaykh  Zakariyya (rahimahullah) provides  the summaries  of  many  other  commentaries  in  a  clear,  intellectual,  and  scholarly  way,  dealing  with  the  various opinions  on  each  issue,  mentioning  the  differences  of  opinions  among  the  various  scholars,  and  comparing  their evidences.  This  commentary  written  in  Arabic,  has  won  great  acclaim  from  a  number  of  MãIiki  scholars.

Lami’  al-Dirari  ‘ala  Jami’  al-Bukhari :  Written  in  Arabic,  a  collection  of  the  unique  remarks  and  observations  on Sahih  al-Bukhari  presented  by  Shaykh  Rashid  Ahmad  Gangohi (rahimahullah).  These  life-long  acquired  wisdoms  were  recorded by  his  student  Shaykh  Yahyã  Kãndhlawi  (Shaykh  Zakariyyã’s  father)  during  their  lessons.  Shaykh  Zakariyya edited,  arranged,  and  commented  on  his  father’s  compilation,  clarifying  the  text  and  adding  a  comprehensive introduction  at  the  beginning.

Al-Abwab  wa  ‘l-Taràjim  Ii  ‘l-Bukhãri :  An  explanation  of  the  chapter  headings  of  Imam  Bukhãri’s (rahimahullah) Sahih  al-Bukhari. Assigning  chapter  headings  in  a  hadith  collection  is  a  science  in  itself,  known  among  the  scholars  as  al-abwãb  wa ‘l-taräjim  [chapters  and  explanations].  In  it,  the  compiler  explains  the  reasons  for  the  chapter  heading  and  the connections  between  the  chapter  headings  and  the  hadiths  quoted  therein.  It  is  well  known  that  the  commentators  of Sahih  al-Bukhari  have  paid  special  attention  to  the  titles  therein,  in  tune  with  the  Arabic  saying:  “The  fiqh  of Bukhäri  is  in  his  chapter  headings”  [fiqh  al-Bukhari  fi  tarajimihi].  Shaykh  Zakariyyã  not  only  quotes  and  compiles what  has  been  mentioned  by  other  scholars  like  Shah  WaIi  Allah  al-Dehlawi (rahimahullah)  and  Ibn  Hajar  aI-Asqalani (rahimahullah),  but  also correlates  and  clarifies  these  opinions  and  presents  findings  from  his  own  research  in  many  instances.

Juz’  Hajjat  al-  Wida’  wa  Umrat  al-Nabi :  A comprehensive  Arabic  commentary  on  the  detailed  accounts  of  the pilgrimage  [hajj]  of  Allah’s  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  It  includes  the  details  of  any  juridical  discussions  on  the  various aspects  of  pilgrimage,  giving  the  locations,  modern-day  names,  and  other  details  of  the  places  the  Messenger  of Allah  passed  by  or  stayed  at.

Khasa’il  Nabawi  Sharh  Shama’il  al-Tirmidhi :  Composed  in  Urdu,  a  commentary  on  Imam  Tirmidhi’s  renowned work  Al-Shamã’il  al-Muhammadya,  a  collection  of  hadiths  detailing  the  characteristics  of  the  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). This  commentary  explains  the  various  aspects  related  to  the  different  characteristics  and  practices  of  Allah’s Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  It  has  been  translated  into  English  and  is  widely  available.