This great son of Islam was born in 1325 and lived to become one of the greatest luminaries of his time. Nevertheless, describing the personality of Hazrat Mufti Sahib RA is an almost impossible task. The most eloquent words would hopelessly fail in truly describing the knowledge, brilliance, piety, kindness, compassion, humility and the numerous other qualities which he embodied. He was an ustaad to thousands of students, a mentor to thousands of disciples and a kind and compassionate father to all who came into contact with him.
His compassion and kindness knew no bounds. It was indeed his first nature. Every year he personally took care of the monthly expenses and of the various needs of numerous students of Darul Uloom Deoband, Saharanpur and other institutions. There were instances when he gave away his valuable personal kitaabs … and there were occasions where he even gave away the clothing he had been wearing at that time. Despite this, he never regarded himself as having shown any favour to anyone. He greatly loved the poor, he loved being with them and he loved living and even passing away like them. Hazrat RA was also forever concerned about the Deeni progress of others, especially the poor.
It was the normal practice of Hazrat Mufti Sahib RA for many years that daily he would recite 15 paras or more in salaah. During the month of Ramadaan, he would complete one Qur’an daily. Hazrat Mufti Sahib RA taught Bukhari Sharief for many years at Kanpur as well as at Darul Uloom Deoband. Besides teaching Bukhari Sharief and other books of hadith at Deoband, he also graced the distinguished position of Grand Mufti of that august institution for many years.
To date 22 thick volumes of his fatwas have been published. Besides the fatwas he authored several books and booklets. Upon his instruction the publication of many magazines and newsletters was undertaken by various institutions. Together with this Hazrat Mufti Sahib (R.A.) travelled to many countries for the purpose of disseminating the Deen of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). South Africa was particularly fortunate that Hazrat Mufti Sahib RA repeatedly blessed our shores with his presence and benefitted the Ummah with his teachings. It was also the good fortune of South Africa that this country was blessed with the last days of the life of this great luminary of Islam.
While the hearts of thousands are greatly grieved at the loss of their guide and mentor, the point to consider at this juncture is: What would have pleased Hazrat Faqihul Ummah RA had he been present?” The simple reply is: “Implementing his teachings and practicing on his advices.” In this light, the ensuing pages are dedicated to various aspects which are important for one and all to keep in mind.
Hazrat Faqihul Ummah (R.A.) was indeed an embodiment of humility. His teachings are filled with lessons of humility. The desire for name and fame was nowhere to be seen. The following incidents from his life are a lesson to one and all, especially to those who were associated with him:
Mufti Kifaayatullah Gangohi Sahib (R.A.) was appointed as the mufti of Deoband. At that time Hazrat Faqihul Ummah (R.A.) was the assistant mufti of Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur. On one occasion when Mufti Kifaayatullah (R.A.) met Hazrat Faqihul Ummah (R.A.), he said to him: “There are thousands of letters and queries that are lying unanswered in the Darul Iftaa of Darul Uloom Deoband.” Hazrat Faqihul Ummah (R.A.) replied: “Every week send a hundred or so letters to me. If you cannot arrange this, I will have somebody collect a hundred letters from you every week. At the end of the week he will bring back the replies of the first hundred and collect the next hundred. I will write the replies and leave the place for the signature blank. You can sign them and send them off.” (Introduction to Fataawa Mahmoodia, Vol.3)
This incident is filled with great lessons for us. The extent of compassion, the eagerness to assist others, the readiness to undertake difficulty upon oneself for the cause of Deen and shunning name and fame is all apparent from the above. Thus we also have to follow in these footsteps. May Allah Ta’ala grant us the ability to do so. Aameen.