By Mufti Muhammad Saeed Motara
Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم is an internationally renowned scholar of the Islamic world. He hails from a village in India known as Khanpur which is situated in the Jambusar district of the Bharuch region in the Gujarat Province. It is with reference to this village that he is known to some people as Mufti Khanpuri Sahib. Khanpur (with an “H” after the “K”) should not be confused with Kanpur (without an “H”) which is a city in the U.P. Province, well known for its leather industry.
Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم ’s primary schooling and Maktab Madrasah studies were completed in his birth place of Khanpur. Thereafter, in pursuit of higher Islamic studies, he enrolled at Madrasah Ashrafiyyah which is a well-known Darul Uloom in the Rander suburb of Surat. He was admitted in the said institute at the tender age of 12 and immediately set about studying Urdu, Farsi and Arabic Grammar.
He very quickly climbed up the ladder of success to excel in the various branches of Islamic sciences such as Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh and Arabic Literature. During his nine-year academic career at this institute, he passed each year with distinction, always coming out at the top of his class.
He was a conscientious and hardworking student who became the apple of the eye of all his Asaatizah. Some of his Asaatizah at the Rander Institute were mountains of knowledge such as Hadhrat Shaikhul Hadith Moulana Muhammed Raza Sahib Ajmeri RA, Hadhrat Mufti Saeed Ahmed Sahib Palanpuri (the present Sheihkul Hadith of Darul Uloom Deoband), Hadhrat Moulana Ahmed Ashraf Sahib Randeri RA and Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Abus-Shifaa Sahibr, amongst a host of others.
After graduating from Madrasah Ashrafiyyah as an Aalim of note, Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم proceeded to the cradle of all Darul Ulooms; viz. Darul Uloom Deoband, to further his studies. During his first year there, he enrolled for the course of Funoon which is a complicated and complex course that only brilliant-minded students can enrol in.
During this year he studied specialized subjects and Kitaabs in the field of Mantiq (Logic), Ilmul Hay’at (Astronomy), Falsafa (Philosophy), Aqaa’id (Beliefs and Tenets of Faith), Usoolul-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence), etc. Here too, he excelled and passed with distinction by coming out first in his class.
The following year he did Iftaa (the Mufti Course) under the expert tutelage and guidance of Faqihul-Ummah Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi and Hadhrat Mufti Nizamuddeen Sahib A’zmi.
During his year in the Iftaa course, he was blessed with the good fortune of staying in the khidmah (service) of his Ustaadh, Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi RA whereby he used to attend to his daily errands, serve his meals, see to the cleanliness of his room and also attend to his guests.
After he had completed his two-year stay at Deoband, the famous and historical Darul Uloom at Dabhel in the Gujarat Province enlisted his services and, at the young age of only 22, he was appointed as a lecturer at the said Darul Uloom.
What actually transpired is that his Ustaadh, Faqihul-Ummah Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi RA received letters from three famous Darul Ulooms that Hadhrat should recommend a capable Aalim for the post of a lecturer at these institutes. These Darul Ulooms were situated at Gangoh, Kanpur and Dabhel. Hadhrat asked his student to choose from the three, so he opted for Dabhel.
Hadhrat Faqihul-Ummah then wrote a letter of recommendation to the Mohtamim (Principal) of the Dabhel Darul Uloom and that letter sums up the personality of Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم.
Hereunder follows what Hadhrat wrote in that letter:
“I have a suitable candidate for the post of a lecturer at your Madrasah. His name is Molvi Ahmed, who is a resident of Khanpur in the Bharuch region of Gujarat. At present, he is residing here (in Deoband) with me. He is busy training to be a Mufti. He is a pious young man, intelligent and Allah-fearing. He possesses excellent academic capabilities and also engages constantly in the Zikr of Allah. I pray that Allah Ta’aala grants him the ability to sincerely serve your institute with excellence for the pleasure of Allah.”
These words of recommendation from none other than the pen of Hadhrat Faqihul-Ummahr highlights the unique qualities of Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم .
Since the time of his appointment at the Dabhel Darul Uloom in the year 1969 up to the present time, Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم has, for a period of 42 years, served the said institute. He was very quickly promoted to the post of Naazim-e-Taa’leemaat (Head of Educational Affairs) and also taught various subjects such as Tafseer, Hadith and Fiqh to the students of the higher classes.
At present, he serves as the Shaikhul Hadith and teaches the Sahih Bukhari to the final year students. He was also appointed as the Chief Mufti of the institute, a post he has held for the last 23 years and teaches and trains students who are doing the Mufti course. He is an ocean of knowledge and is very famous for his wasee mutala’aa (broad research).
A few months before Mufti A’zam (head Mufti) of Gujarat, Mufti Abdur Raheem Sahib Lajpuri RA passed away, he said to Mufti Ahmed Sahib تماد متهكارب : “Now you are the Mufti A’zam of Gujarat.” Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib humbly replied: “I am still a baby compared to you.”
A glimpse of the high level of his Taqwa can be gauged from the following incident: Someone from overseas sent him an expensive pair of shoes as a gift. Neither was the sender or recipient of the gift aware that the shoes were made of pigskin leather. When Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم was on a visit to Delhi, he stayed at the home of Hajee Mansoor Sahib, who used to be the host of Faqihul-Ummah Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi RA. Hajee Mansoor Sahib, being a widely travelled man and acquainted with the leather-tanning industry immediately pointed out that the shoes were made of pigskin. As soon as he was informed of this, Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم immediately removed the shoes and got rid of them. He could not bear to keep them on for even a moment longer!
Nowadays, a great deal of Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Sahib Khanpuri دامت بركاتهم ’s time is dedicated towards islaah and tazkiyyah (purification of the soul and heart) and travelling throughout the world for this purpose. He stresses much more on rectifying the nafs (base self) and consistency in doing good deeds. Sitting in his company illuminates the heart and creates in one the urge to do righteous deeds.
He has excelled in the path of sulook and tasawwuf and is one of the senior most Khulafaa (disciples) of Faqeehul-Ummah, Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi RA. Hadhrat Faqeehul-Ummah once addressed him as “Majma-ul Kamaalaat wal Hasaanaat” (collection of great accomplishments) only ever addressing one other of his Khulafaa, namely Mufti Abul Qaasim Banaarasi دامت بركاتهم (who is currently the Mohtamim/Rector of Darul Uloom Deoband) with that title.