Hazrat Sheikhul Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi (rahimahullah)
Hazrat Sheikhul Hadith, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi (rahimahullah), was a great luminary of the recent past. He was born on 11th Ramadhaan 1315 and passed away in 1402.
Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) had immense love for the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and he tried to make every aspect of his life conform to the blessed sunnah.
Below we will examine various aspects of the life of Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) and the manner in which his life reflected the beauty of the sunnah.
Visiting the Sick
In the Mubaarak Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said that the one who visits a sick person in the morning, seventy thousand angels invoke Allah’s Ta‘ala mercy upon him until the evening, and the one who visits a sick person in the evening, seventy thousand angels invoke Allah’s Ta‘ala mercy upon him until the morning, and he will receive a garden in Paradise.” (Sunan Tirmizi #969)
It was out of love for this great sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and the eagerness to acquire the immense virtues of this sunnah, that Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) would make a point to always visit the sick. Even when his health deteriorated, so long as he could sit in a car, he would go to visit the sick.
Generally, when a buzurg (pious saint) falls ill, then many people will ensure that they visit him. However, it was the special quality of Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) that he not only visited the buzurgaan-e-deen (pious saints) who were ill, but would even visit his attendants and the general Muslims.
Sufi Muhammad Iqbaal (rahimahullah) mentions the following incident:
On one occasion, I fell ill in Madinah Munawwarah. My residence, at that time, was at some distance from the blessed city, in a deserted area that could only be reached by a dirt road. Despite this, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) came to visit me. He made dua for me, and read and blew on me as well. Seeing the difficult conditions that I was living in, he also made dua to Allah Ta‘ala to bless me with a better home in a better location. As a result of his dua, I recovered from the illness, and Allah Ta‘ala blessed me with a better, more comfortable home, close to the Haram Shareef, without me even making any effort to acquire this home. (Hazrat Sheikh ka Ittibaa-e-Sunnat pg. 62)
Giving Ghusl to the Deceased
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever gives ghusl to a deceased, he will be cleansed from his sins like the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Majma’uz Zawaa’id #4066)
Regarding the eagerness of Hazrat Sheikhul Hadith, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahimahullah), to practice on this great sunnah and acquire this great virtue, it is mentioned that he had given ghusl to many of the students of Madrasah Mazaahir-ul-Uloom who had passed away. Some of these students came from other areas and were staying at a distance from the Madrasah, as they had imaamat duties in various masaajid. However, despite the distance, as soon as Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) would hear that any of these students had passed away, he would immediately go to give him ghusl – even if it was in the middle of the night.
At times, these people would pass away on account of some illness which would leave their bodies covered in filth such as blood and pus. Normally, on seeing this, a person will naturally feel uncomfortable and will not wish to go near the body. However, in these cases as well, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) would give the ghusl with his own hands.
On the occasion when Hazrat Moulana Abdul Lateef (rahimahullah) passed away, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) was unwell and was suffering from several different physical ailments. However, he still took the pains to go and give ghusl to Moulana Abdul Lateef (rahimahullah).
Such was the eagerness of Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) to uphold this sunnah that Allah Ta‘ala blessed him to give ghusl to many people. Thus, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) once expressed this great favor of Allah Ta‘ala upon him saying, “Alhamdulillah, I have given ghusl to approximately two hundred people, and I hope that Allah Ta‘ala will bestow me with great reward for this.” (Hazrat Sheikh ka Ittibaa-e-Sunnat pg. 62-63)
Using the Miswaak and Applying Itr
Cleaning the mouth with the miswaak is not only the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) – it was the sunnah of every Nabi of Allah Ta‘ala. Such is the importance of using the miswaak that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned in the Hadith, “Had it not been for the fear of my Ummah experiencing difficulty, I would have certainly commanded them (and made it compulsory upon them) to use the miswaak at the time of every wudhu (however, using the miswaak is not compulsory but an emphasized sunnah).” (Saheeh Bukhaari 1/259)
Throughout his life, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) showed great importance to the sunnah of the miswaak. Such was his commitment to using the miswaak that even when he became advanced in age, and he had lost his teeth, he continued to use the miswaak, rubbing it on his gums in the absence of his teeth.
Thereafter, when Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) became weak and sickly, then on account of him not having the strength to hold the miswaak, he would ask the khaadim (assistant) who was helping him to make wudhu to take his finger and rub it on his gums in place of the miswaak. Even in this condition, he showed importance to this sunnah, to the extent that if the khaadim ever forgot to rub his finger on his gums, then he would remind him and ensure that this sunnah was not left out.
Similarly, the Mubaarak Hadith explains that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was fond of applying itr, and there are various descriptions in the Ahaadith regarding the itr that he would apply. In emulation of this sunnah, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) would also show great importance to applying itr, to the extent that his habit of applying itr was well known among his friends and associates. (Hazrat Sheikh ka Ittibaa-e-Sunnat pg. 56-57)
Calling out the Azaan
In the Mubaarak Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained the great virtue of those who call out the azaan. It is reported in the Hadith that the mu’azzins will have the longest necks (i.e. esteemed ranks and lofty positions) on the Day of Qiyaamah. Similarly, the Hadith mentions that every creation (whether jinn, human or any other creation) that hears the voice of the mu’azzin calling out the azaan will testify on his behalf on the Day of Qiyaamah.
Due to every musjid having an appointed mu’azzin to call out the azaan, and due to Hazrat Sheikh’s (rahimahullah) busy schedule, engaging in deeni activities, he was unable to call out the azaan while he was in his hometown. Hence, when he would go out on a journey, he would seize the opportunity to call out the azaan and acquire the immense rewards and virtues promised for the one who upholds this sunnah.
It is mentioned that when Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) would travel with Hazrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmed Sahaaranpuri (rahimahullah) by train, then when the time of salaah would set in, Hazrat Sheikh (rahimahullah) would call out the azaan. He would go to the window of the train compartment, open it and call out the azaan at the window. He would lengthen the azaan and call it out in a loud voice, with the hope that as the train moved and he continued calling out the azaan, more and more of the creation of Allah Ta‘ala would hear his voice and testify for him on the Day of Qiyaamah. (Hazrat Sheikh ka Ittibaa-e-Sunnat pg. 59)