Moulana Fazlur Rahman, son of Ḥafīẓ al-Raḥmān, son of Muḥammad Saʿīd, son of Dāwūd son of Nūr Muḥammad.
He was born on Ṣafar 14, 1366 (January 7, 1947), in Maunath Bhanjan (more commonly known as Mau) in UP, India.
Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Fazlur Rahman Azmi’s entire education was undertaken in Mau. He studied basic Arabic and Urdu under the stewardship of his father. Upon completion, to facilitate the educational needs of Shaykh al-Ḥadīth and two other students a new maktab (children’s Madrasah) called Taʿlīm al-Dīn was established. The three, as a blessing, read the Qurʾān to a famous personality of that time, Qārī Muṣṭafā Azmi RA. Nevertheless, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth’s first teacher was his father, Shaykh Ḥafīẓ al-Raḥmān Azmi RA, with whom he completed the initial recitation (nāẓira) and subsequently the memorization of the Qurʾān (ḥifẓ). In this same maktab another teacher, namely Munshī Muʿīn al-Dīn RA taught him the first three levels of elementary Urdu. After that, he completed levels four and five in two years at Miftāḥ al-ʿUlūm, Mau.
PERSIAN AND ARABIC EDUCATION
In the next two years, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth learned Persian and thereafter exerted himself in the Arabic aspect of the course, to the extent that he came top of the class in his final year (dawrat al-ḥadīth) which he completed in 1386/1966. He also committed some books to memory, such as the text (matn) of Sharḥ al-Tahdhīb, called Tahdhīb al-Manṭiq.
After graduating from his Arabic studies Shaykh al-Ḥadīth exerted himself in different fields. This included advanced recitation classes involving the sabʿa (seven) and ʿashara (ten) modes of Qurʾānic recitation (Qirāʾa). He completed this by Qārī Muṣṭafā AzmiRA, who was Shaykh al-Tajwīd at Darul Uloom Mau and the student of Qārī Riyāsat ʿAlī Baḥrābādī RA. Shaykh al-Ḥadīth then studied the book Taysīr with Qārī Riyāsat ʿAlī RA and once this was complete he moved on to Shāṭbiyya where he would often be asked to translate and read for the class. Where the need arose, Qārī Riyāsat ʿAlī RA would interject, otherwise Shaykh al-Ḥadīth would prepare and decipher the text before coming to class. He completed the book in one and a half months.
Upon completion of the rigorous Shari’ah program (‘Alim course) at Madrasah Miftah al-‘Ulum, Mau in the traditional Islamic sciences, he studied the various modes of Qur’anic recitation (Qira’ah),thereafter specializing in hadith and answering legal questions (Ifta) under the great scholar of hadith, Shaykh Habib al-Rahman Azmi RA.
TEACHERS (ASĀTIDHA) (May Allāh Y have mercy on them)
The teachers under whom Shaykh al-Ḥadīth studied in his home town include:
- Muḥaddith Kabīr Shaykh Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān Azmi RA, with whom he studied parts of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and a few other books not included in the general syllabus. He also read Risālat al-awāʾil and attained an isnād in it. Shaykh al-Ḥadīth also benefited from him greatly at a personal level.
- Shaykh ʿAbd al-Laṭīf Nuʿmānī Azmi RA, with whom he studied most of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Sunan Abū Dāwūd, a portion of Sunan al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Nasāʾī and Tafsīr al-Bayḍāwī.
- Shaykh ʿAbd al-Bārī Qāsmī RA, former Muftī of Miftāḥ al-ʿUlūm Maywān, under whom he studied the Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ and Hidāya.
- Shaykh Irshād al-Ḥaq (may Allāh protect him).
- Qārī Aḥmad Allāh Qāsmī RA.
- Shaykh ʿAbd al-Jabbār Azmi RA with whom he studied Dīwān al-Mutanabbī, Ḥamāsa, Mukhtaṣar al-Maʿānī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim and Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ.
- Shaykh ʿAbd al-Rashīd Ḥusaynī Mauī RA with whom he studied most of Sunan al-Tirmidhī. That year he went for Ḥajj, so Shaykh ʿAbd al-Laṭīf taught in his place for a while.
- Shaykh Shams al-Dīn Azmi.
- Qārī Muṣṭafā Azmi.
- Qārī ʿAbd al-Mannān.
- Shaykh Shafīʿ Aḥmad.
- Shaykh Ḥafīẓ al-Raḥmān RA (Shaykh al-Ḥadīth’s father).
- Muftī Akhtar Ḥasan.
Shaykh al-Hadith’s illustrious teaching career began in his home town of Mau. On the advice of his teacher he moved to Madrasah Mazhar al-‘Ulum, Varanasi where he taught for four years. In 1395/1975 he moved to the renowned seminary, Jami’ah Islamiyyah Dabhel, Gujarat where he taught the major books of tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis), Hadith, Fiqh (Islamic law) and Qira’ah.
Whilst at Dabhel, students from all corners of the world derived great benefit from Shaykh al-Ḥadīth. His unique style of teaching was so inspiring that perhaps no student could fail to be amazed or be left profoundly moved by his lessons. Nevertheless, the acceptance that Allāh had bestowed him with in the hearts of the people was manifest in the numerous invitations he received from England and South Africa. After much deliberation he accepted the invitation of the people of South Africa and in Shawwāl 1406 (June 1986) he left for South Africa. This was a very sad occasion for the people of Dabhel. After arriving in South Africa, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth lived alone for two years. At that time, the final year of the course (dawrat al-ḥadīth) had not yet been started so Shaykh al-Ḥadīth taught the Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ, Hidāya, Ḥayāt al-Ṣaḥāba, Uṣūl al-Shāshī and other books. After two years his entire family joined him and in the very same year (1408 AH) classes for the final year were initiated. He has since then been teaching the whole of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Sunan al-Tirmidhī for many years.
Shaykh al-Ḥadīth also has the responsibility of teaching a number of other books which vary from time to time. These include Tafsīr al-Bayḍāwī, Sharḥ al-ʿAqāʾid and Ṭaḥāwī’s Sharḥ al-Maʿānī. Initially, due to the large number of books Shaykh al-Ḥadīth had been assigned, the sacrifice he had to make was huge and he worked very hard to teach them all as they deserved to be taught. This cannot be more obvious than from the responsibility he assumed during the first year of dawrat al-ḥadīth. In that year Shaykh al-Ḥadīth taught Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī, Hidāya, Sharḥ al-ʿAqāʾid and Tafsīr al-Bayḍāwī.
Later, he was assigned Ibn Nujaym’s al-Ashbāh wa ʾl-naẓāʾir, Shāṭbī’s ʿAqīla atrāb al-qaṣāʾid, Ibn Ḥajar’s Bulūgh al-marām, Shīrāzī’s al-Lumaʿ (in Shāfiʿī jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh)), Imām Lukhnawī’s al-Rafʿ waʾl-takmīl, Muqaddima Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ, and Ẓafar Aḥmad ʿUthmānī’s Qawāʾid fī ʿulūm al-ḥadīth. He also taught Risālat al-awāʾil and the Musalsalāt every year. Sometimes, whilst travelling, the local scholars would come and read Risālat al-awāʾil and obtain his authorisation.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF HIS TEACHING
Shaykh al-Ḥadīth’s lessons are always well researched and interesting. His talent is such that no matter the subject or book with which he is entrusted, he is able to teach it.
Shaykh al-Hadith is a prolific writer and has authored over forty books. His most famous works include introductions to Sahih al-Bukhari and Sunan al-Tirmidhi among others.
Shaykh al-Ḥadīth had a good relationship with Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhlawī RA and had initially taken the pledge (bay’at) with him. Whenever he visited Saharanpur he benefited from the company of his Shaykh RA. It was on the order of Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyyā RA that Shaykh al-Ḥadīth has a reformative relationship (iṣlāḥī taʿalluq) with Muftī Maḥmūd RA. Whenever Muftī MaḥmūdRA would visit Dabhel or Azaadville, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth would sit in his gatherings and benefit from him. He would also attend his gatherings of dhikr. After his demise Shaykh al-Ḥadīth took bay’at at the hands of Sheikh Aarif billah Hazrat Moulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib RA. He was later granted Khilafat by Hazrat Hakeem Sahib RA.
(Source: A Brief Biography of Shaykh al-Hadīth Fazlur Rahman Azmi, Second Edition, By: Muftī Atiqur Rahman Azmi, Translated by: Muhammad Abdul Khaliq Yusuf)