Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) – Part Three
Humility is the hallmark of the Ulama of Deoband. No matter where they went, what they accomplished and how famous they became – they always showed the highest levels of humility. Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) was also an outstanding example of humility. He never drew attention to himself, never ever praised himself or mentioned any of his achievements to others. Similarly, he never attached any titles to his name, but rather referred to himself in the humblest manner.
Hazrat Mufti Shafee Saheb (rahimahullah) mentions, “My father, Moulana Yaseen Saheb (rahimahullah), was a student of Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah). Whenever he would come to our home and knock on the door, we would ask, “Who is there?”. In reply, he would say, “This slave, Mahmood, has come.”
Below are a few incidents that shed light on the profound humility which this great luminary possessed:
Personally Carrying a Bundle of Hay for the Musjid on His Head
In those days, during the winter months, people would spread out hay on the floor of the Masaajid. This would soften the ground and keep it warm. This hay would grow in small ponds. When the grass would dry up, they would use it on the floors of the masaajid to sit upon. These were the carpets that people used in the villages. During the winters, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) would also spread this hay out in his Musjid.
Once, when the winter season came in, he said to a few of his students, “Come! Let us go and fetch some hay for the Musjid.” Four students got ready and joined Hazrat (rahimahullah) to fetch the hay from the orchard. In the middle of the orchard was a pond where the hay grew.
Hazrat (rahimahullah) himself cut the hay with a sickle, and after cutting it, he suggested that it be made into five bales. When the students asked the reason for dividing it into five bales, whereas there were only four of them, he replied, “What about my share?” Saying this, he placed one bale on the head of each student, and then took one bale onto his own head.
Initially, the students insisted that the hay be divided into four bales and said that they will manage carrying the hay on their own, but Hazrat (rahimahullah) would not relent. Hence, they walked out of the orchard with each of them – including Sheikul Hind (rahimahullah) – carrying a bale on his head.
As they walked with the bales on their heads, they eventually came into the town and had to pass by a part of the city. These students were possibly feeling embarrassed to walk in the bazaar with bales of hay on their heads, but Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) was a man of such humility that he did not feel embarrassed in any way. He sincerely felt that he was worthy of carrying out such menial duties. Carrying this load on his head was something normal and ordinary for him.
Personally Emptying Water with a Bucket from the Foundation Trenches
Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafee Saheb (rahimahullah) narrates the following incident:
I was around 16 or 17 years of age at the time when plans were submitted to build a much bigger Darul Hadith behind the existing No-Darah building of Darul Uloom Deoband.
Deep trenches were dug for the foundation of this new building which was going to be attached to the old building. Coincidently, heavy rains occurred which caused the foundation trenches to fill up with water, as they were situated on lower ground, and this put the Darul Uloom building at risk. Fire-brigades and fire-engines were not in vogue in those days to pump out the water from the trenches.
As soon as Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) came to know of the situation, he quickly gathered whatever buckets and pots he could find in his home, and together with the students and mureeds living nearby, he began removing the water with his own hands from the foundation trenches. Though he was the most senior ustaad of the Madrasah, he did not feel it below his dignity to roll up his sleeves and work with the students.
The news of Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) emptying the trenches spread like lightning, and before long, every ustaad, student and passer-by fetched buckets from his home and began removing water from the trenches.
Mufti Shafee Saheb (rahimahullah) further mentions, “I also assisted in removing the water according to my capability, and I noticed that after a few hours, all the water was removed from the trenches.”