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Shaykhul Islam's Life at a Glance 

Born on 19 Shawal 1296 A.H. Shaykhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani stepped into this temporal abode into a family notable for its piety and religious vigilance. A descendent of the Prophet Muhammad r, through his grandson Husaint, he at a very early age showed signs of aptitude that manifested his noble ancestry.  

In the year 1309 A.H. at the tender age of thirteen years, in pursuit of Islamic sacred knowledge he travelled to Darul Uloom Deoband, where he found the luminary personage of Shaykhul Hind Maulana Mahmudul Hasan. Under his tutelage he began learning the sacred sciences and through his special attention he excelled tremendously, surpassing all his contemporaries.   

After completing the exoteric sciences, he took the Chishti tariqa at the hands of Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, who later authorised him to initiate others in the path. 

After graduating at the Darul Uloom in Deoband, he migrated to Madina with his family. He began teaching the sacred sciences including, Arabic grammar, usul al-fiqh, usul al-hadith, hadith and Quranic exegesis. 

In 1915, when Shaykhul Hind came to Madina, he became involved in what later came to be known as 'The Silk Letter Conspiracy'. He was arrested along with Shaykhul Hind by the British and exiled to Malta for approximately four years.  

After his release he returned to India and became actively involved in politics representing the Muslims in gaining India's independence. He held the posts of Shaykhul Hadith at Darul Uloom Deoband and as the President of the 'Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind' till his death in 1957.  

His sacrifice for the plight of Indian Muslims is still attested to by one and all. His lectures, his written works, and his speeches are a living testimony to his radiant being. May Allah bless him and illumine his grave.


Hazrath Mufti Mahmoodul Hasan Gangohi (r.a)

Life Sketch

Mufti Mahmoodul Hasan Gangohi (rah) was the senior most khalifa of Hadrat Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhalwi (rah). In addition he was the Head Mufti at Dar ul Uloom Deoband and Mazaahir ul Uloom for many years. Along with the responsibilites of Ifta (Fatwa writing) he taught the 2nd Volume of Sahih Bukhari at Dar ul Uloom Deoband, supervised the running of numerous madaris in India and also compiled Fataawa Mahmoodiyah, a copious reference book on Hanafi Fiqh rulings. A man of extreme piety and learning, he was not only a Faqih and a Sufi but also a Zaahid (ascetic). Every month not only would he return his salary to Dar ul Uloom Deoband, but also add something from his own pocket also.

Bayat with Shayh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhalwi (rah):

Mufti Sahib gave bayat in 1349 A.H. to Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhalwi (rah) while he was at Deoband. When he used to sit in the majlis of Hadrat Raipuri (rah) and Hadarat Dehlawi (rah), he used to become very inclined toward the Hereafter. However when Mufti Sahib (rah) used to sit in the majlis of Shaykh ul Hadith (rah), Mufti Sahib (rah) would be so affected, that his own sins and flaws would become manifest to him, as a result of which Mufti Sahib (rah) came to the conclusion that his Islaah (spiritual reformation) would take place only at the hands of Shaykh ul Hadith (rah). This was the first reason of Mufti Sahib (rah) in giving preference to Shaykh ul Hadith (rah) for bayat.

The second reason was that in terms of age, the youngest of the saints was Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhalwi (rah). Mufti Sahib (rah) wanted to be in the khidmat and suhbat of his Shaykh for a long time. When he approached Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhalwi (rah) he was told to give bayat to Shaykh Husayn Madani (rah). Mufti Sahib (rah) replied that "Hadrat, I have heard that if one gives bayat to the Shaykh he is inclined towards it results in a better focus and reformation for the disciple". For some months, Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhalwi (rah) did not give bayat. Finally, he said if you are not inclined towards Hadrat Madani (rah) then do istikhaarah, if nothing becomes clear in istikhaarah, then travel to three places: Raipur, Nizamuddin, and Thanhbawan, sit in the majalis and dont say anything." Mufti Sahib (db) didnt go, so Shaykh ul Hadith then gave him bayat.

Khilaafat from Shaykh ul Hadith (rah):

In Gangoh there was a woman who had bayat with a Shaykh, when Mufti Sahib (rah) traveled to Gangoh, she came to him and said that "My Shaykh has passed away, please allow me to give bayat to you". Mufti Sahib (db) was quite surprised by this. While he and Shaykh ul Hadith (rah) were going to visit Maulana Thanvi (rah), Mufti Sahib (rah) narrated the incident, but had yet to finish when Shaykh ul Hadith (rah) said: "If she wants to give bayat to you, accept it". Mufti Sahib (rah) replied "Hadrat, How can I make someone my disciple?, My intention was that if there is a day when Hadrat Madani (rah) can visit here, so I can inform the woman, that he is coming and she can give bayat to him." Hadrat Shaykh ul Hadith (rah) replied: "Dont be shy...if you need to consult with me, just ask, this is my ijaazat (permission)".

Mufti Sahib (rah) did not take this to be an explicit ijaazat from Shaykh ul Hadith (rah) and went to Kanpur. Then Shaykh ul Hadith (rah) wrote him a letter stating: "I have no news if anyone has made bayat to you or not, if somebody wants to give bayat then give it to him". Mufti Sahib (rah) repied: "Hadrat, some people wanted to give bayat to me, however I advised them to approach other scholars. When somebody insisted repeatedly, then I told them 'I dont have ijaazat (permission) to give bayat'. Hadrat Shaykh (rah) replied: "Perhaps you dont remember that when we were going to visit Hadrat Thanvi (rah), I gave you ijaazat at that time, and any doubts you had I cleared them also". He wrote also "One should give advice to people to give bayat to someone else but when others insist then there is no harm in acceding to their request".

Mufti Mahmood (rah) in the view of Darul Uloom Deoband:

"Mufti Sahib received khilafat and 'permission' from Hadhrat Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariya. His residence was always resonant with the 'remembrance' (zikr) of the 'remembrancers' (zakirin). He was very unassuming and hospitable; a man of vast reading, a regular 'rememberer of Allah' (Dhaakir), an 'occupied' (shaghil), large-hearted and generous august man. One is reminded of the ancient Ulema on seeing him. An important peculiarity of his is also this that whatever salary he received from Darul Uloom, he not only returned it to the Darul Uloom every month but also added something to it from his own pocket."

(Extracted from introduction to the "Ulema of Deoband".)

Life of Hazrat Shaykh ul Hadith

by Allamah Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

Maulana Shaikh Muhammad Zakariyya bin Maulana Shaikh Muhammad Yahya bin Shaikh Ismail Al Kandhlawi was born on Thursday 11th of Ramadhaan, 1315 hijri (2/2/1898), in a deeply religious and pious family. His father was known for his extensive religious knowledge. He acquired his knowledge from the Faqih (jurist) and outstanding Muhaddith (expert in hadith) of his time ---- the famous leader and saint Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower his mercy upon him - died 1323 AH). Shaikh Muhammad Zakariyya acquired his basic knowledge from his father and with whom he did the hifz of the Qur'aan Kareem as well. He also studied under his renowned paternal uncle Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas bin Shaikh Ismail R.A., who became the Imam of the Tablighi Jamaat and the Islamic Da'wah that has spread all over the world. This Da'wah has indeed filled the entire atmosphere with barakat and blessings.

Thereafter he studied the major sets of hadith books at Madrasah Mazaahir Uloom, which was second only in status to Darul Uloom, Deoband. He read the "Sahah Sitta" (six most correct books on hadith) firstly by his father, and then again from Maulana Shaikh Khalil Ahmad Al Ayyoobi Al Ansaari R.A., who compiled various books on diverse Islamic topics and who took a leading part in eradicating bid'at and those who followed their own desires. He grew up in the company of these great pious Ulama and leading Faqihs, Muhaddiths and spiritual mentors. He witnessed the golden era of the famous spiritual Imam Ash Shaikh Al Gangohi R.A. The forerunners of this spiritual school in the "do-aaba" (area lying between the river Jamuna in the east and the river Ganga in the west) were from the Waliullahi family. The spiritual education and enrichment was spread there by Haji lmdaadullah's group.

The effect of this training was such that during the era of Maulana Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi R.A., from amongst his mureeds even those who were uneducated fully complied with the sunnah, so much so that they were even punctual with their Tahajjud salat. The atmosphere in the Shaikhs khanqah was such that fifty to sixty laundry washermen who whilst washing their laundry in the early hours of the morning, would loudly say the praises of Allah instead of singing other songs. The author had the good fortune of seeing various senior and junior members of the Imdaadi family. He however did not meet Hadhrat Haaji Imdaadullah R.A., who passed away (in 1317 A.H.) sometime before the author was born. The author did not meet his grandfather who passed away (in 1315 A.H.) twenty days after he was born. When his grandfather heard of this grandsons birth he said; 'My substitute has come, now it is my time to go'. The author on many occasions saw Hadhrat Maulana Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi R.A., ate at his table and as a child hopped into his lap etc. The author remembers all these incidents. This was the era when shariat and tariqat were at a high level.

From Rajab, 1328 A.H. to Zul Qa'da, 1345 A.H., the author had the honour of being in the company and under the training and guidance of Maulana Shaikh Khalil Ahmad R.A. He became bai'at at the hands of this great spiritual mentor in 1333A.H. This period of companionship with the Shaikh excludes the one year when Shaikhul Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan and Maulana Shaikh Khalil Ahmad Saheb R.A., were in Hijaaz. He was given Ijaazat and Khilaafat by Maulana Shaikh Khalil Ahmad Saheb R.A. in 1344 A.H. at Madina Munawwarah during their stay there.

He also had the good fortune of being with Maulana Shaikh Abdur Rahim Raipuri R.A., (died 1338 A.H.) Hakimul Ummat Maulana Shaikh Ashraf Ali Thanvi R.A. (died 1362 A.H.) Shaikhul Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani R.A. (died 1377 A.H.) and Imaamut Tawadhu Maulana Shah Abdul Qaadir Raipuri R.A. (died 1382 A.H.) This in brief gives a glimpse of his acquaintances in tariqat.

Ever since he attained adulthood he spent all his time in learning and teaching, ibadat and dhikr, to spiritually guide and assist others and to deliver religious discourses. He was the only person during that period who did not receive any remuneration for his teaching. He lived a very simple life from his meager earnings from his own small book shop. He made a successful effort to unify the important religious centers, viz., Deoband, Saharanpur, Thana Bhawan and Nadwa - Lucknow.

He was appointed in 1335 A.H. as a mudarris at Madrasah Mazaahir Uloom, Saharanpur where his tutor and father also taught and where he acquired his education. He was only twenty years of age and thus became the youngest member of the staff ever, at a very nominal wage. He was given those kitaabs to teach which are not normally given to new members of the staff. He progressed rapidly and was given 'Mishkaatul Masaabeeh' and a few sections of 'Sahihul Bukhari' to teach in the year 1341 A.H. (when he was only twenty six years of age). He then became the senior mudarris and taught 'Sunan Abi Dawood', and the second half of 'Sahihul Bukhari' for a long while. After the death of Maulana Abdul Latief Saheb R.A., he taught the full 'Sahihul Bukhari'. This he did in spite of many ailments up to 1388 A.H. He became well known as Shaikhul Hadith. To a multitude of people today he is known by this title.

Thus he taught at Madrasah Mazaahir Uloom for 53 years, without any remuneration. When he was to accompany his Shaikh, Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saheb R.A. for Haj in 1344 A.H., he was instructed by his Shaikh to take all his accumulated salary that was due to him. In compliance he drew all, then later donated it to the Madrasah. He was offered many lucrative positions but turned them all down to continue his service with Ikhlaas (sincerity), Imaan and determination, for which Allah blessed him abundantly with what is superior and everlasting. His initial task as an author was to assist his Shaikh Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saheb R.A., when he wrote the 'Bazlul Majhood', a commentary on Sunnan Abi Dawood. This was in 1344 A.H., when he was only twenty nine years of age, while they were at Madina Munawwarah.

When his Shaikh R.A., passed away in 1345 A.H., he was honored and graced to take his place, and also given the top- most post to teach hadith.

It was at Madina Munawwarah, next to the blessed tomb, that he began writing the commentary of 'Muw'atta Imam Malik', which he titled 'Awjazul Masaalik' (six volumes). His books today, both in Urdu and English are being read the world over, both individually and in Masjids and wherever the members of the Tablighi Jamaat make an effort. Certainly Allah has granted acceptance of his writings. Some of his very popular books are;


1. Awjazul Masaalik, commentary of Muw'atta Imam Malik. (six volumes compiled in thirty one years).

2. Juz Hajjatul Wadaa and Umraatun Nabi S.A.W.

3. Al Kawkabud Durri, commentary on Jam'e Tirmizi.(Two Parts).

4. Laami'ud Duraari, commentary on Sahihul Bukhaari. (three volumes).


1. Fadhaa'il Qur'aan (1348 A.H.)
2. Fadhaa'il Ramadhaan (1349 A.H.)
3. Fadhaa'il Tabligh (1350 A.H.)
4. Fadhaa'il Namaaz (1358 A.H.)
5. Fadhaa'il Hai (1367 A.H.)
6. Fadhaa'il Sadaqaat (1368 A.H.)
7. Fadhaa'il Zik'r
8. Fadhaa'il Durood Sharif (1384 A.H.)
9. Fadhaa'il Tijaarat (1401 A.H.)
10. Hikaayatus Sahaabah (1357 A.H.)
11. Al I'itidaal fi Maraatibir Rijaal (1357 A.H.)
12. Daari Ka Wujoob
13. Aap Bieti (five volumes) (1388 - 1391)
14. Shari'at Wa Tariqat (1398 A.H.)
15. Ummul Amraadh
16. Fitna-e-Mowdudiat
17. Mowt ki Yaad


1. Stories of the Sahaabah
2. Virtues of Salat
3. Virtues of Qur'aan
4. Virtues of Ramadhaan
5. Virtues of Haj
6. Virtues of Durood Sharif
7 Virtues of Zik'r
8. Muslims Afflictions
9. The Beard of a Muslim and its Importance

(The- above information was extracted from the prefaces by Hadhrat Maulana Yusuf Banuri R.A., and Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadawi to the book 'Awjazul Masaalik', and other books by Hadhrat Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya. Saheb)


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