Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) – Part One
Hazrat Moulana Mahmoodul Hasan Deobandi (rahimahullah), famously known as ‘Sheikhul Hind’, was an illustrious aalim and descendent of Hazrat Uthmaan bin Affaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). He was born in 1268 AH and passed away in 1339 AH. He hailed from the town of Deoband, and was also the first student of Darul Uloom Deoband.
Allah Ta‘ala blessed Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) to teach in Darul Uloom Deoband for more than 40 years! During this period, he produced such students who were the luminaries of their time, the likes of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi, Moulana Husain Ahmad Madani, Moulana Shabbeer Ahmad Uthmani and Allaamah Anwar Shah Kashmeeri (rahimahumullah).
Allah Ta‘ala also accepted Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) to spearhead the struggle against the British who were oppressing the Muslims in India. Unfortunately, on account of his struggle for freedom, he was arrested by the British and was imprisoned in Malta for approximately three years. During this period of imprisonment, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) translated the entire Qur’aan Majeed.
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (rahimahullah) used to say, “People call him ‘Sheikhul Hind’ (the Sheikh of India), whereas in reality, he is supposed to be called Sheikhul Aalam (the Sheikh of the entire world).”
When we examine the life of Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) then we find that he was an embodiment of the sunnah, and it was on account of the sunnah in his life that Allah Ta‘ala had bestowed him with such profound acceptance. Those who lived with Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) say that they never saw him carry out any action against the sunnah. Whether it was day or night, whether he was in good health or in sickness, at home or on journey, alone or in public – in every condition, Hazrat (rahimahullah) was cognisant of practicing on the mubaarak sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and encouraging others to practise on the sunnah as well.
In fact, practising on the mubaarak sunnah became part of his nature, to such an extent that at times, people around him would not even perceive that he was practicing on the sunnah.
If someone gave him a fruit which was new in the season, he would take it, smell it and place it on his eyes. Thereafter, he would call a child and give him the fruit to eat first, as this was the blessed practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
On one occasion, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) went to visit his student, Mia Asghar Husain Saheb (rahimahullah), when he had fallen ill. After making musaafahah (shaking hands) and asking him how he was feeling, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) immediately stood up to leave. Observing this, Mia Asghar Husain Saheb (rahimahullah) was sad as his beloved ustaad was departing after spending just a few brief moments with him. Observing his sadness, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) smiled and mentioned the reason for his visit being brief by quoting the words of the Hadith. He said:
العيادة كفواق ناقة
Visiting the sick should be to the extent of the interval between the milking of a camel (i.e. the visit should be very brief).
Hence, when visiting the sick as well, he ensured that he adhered to the sunnah teaching of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The truth of the matter is that his walking, talking, eating, sleeping, sharing and caring was all in conformity with the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). However, the beauty was that he did it discreetly, with no pomp and glory and without drawing attention to himself at all.