By Maulana Muḥammad ʿĀshiq Ilāhī al-Barni al-Maẓāhiri
Translated by Shoaib A. Rasheed
Translation of an excerpt from the original Arabic book al-ʿAnāqīd al-Ghāliyah min al-Asānīd al-ʿĀliyah, Maktabat al-Shaykh: Karachi, 1987, Chapter 2
The Dār al-ʿUlūm college in Deoband was founded on the fifteenth of the sacred month of Muḥarram in the year 1283/1866. This occurred in the aftermath of the revolution of the Indians against the British in 1857. Playing a major role in that jihād was Quṭub al-ʿĀrifīn al-Ḥāj Imdādullāh al-Thānawi th. al-Muhājir al-Makki, along with his two beloved companions, Ḥujjat al-Islām Maulana Muḥammad Qāsim al-Nānautawi and the most-revered shaykh, Hadith scholar, and jurist, Maulana Rashīd Aḥmad al-Gangōhi. Ḥāfiẓ Ḍāmin al-Thānawi also participated and was martyred therein (May Allah sanctify their secrets). Their desire in participating was solely the pursuit of the pleasure of Allah (Glorified and Exalted Be He).
When the people of India were defeated in that revolution, these leaders (akābir) and their supporters saw that they did not have the strength that day to resist the British and oust them from India by military force. They also realized the need for a strong institution that could act as a sturdy fortress to protect the Muslims from the venom of deviation and heterodoxy – which the British agents were spewing forth – and to distance them from the tantalizations of Western culture that were drawing the Muslims towards admiration for the British and renunciation of the rulings of Islam.
To these ends, they founded a school in a small mosque in Deoband (a famous town between Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur in the northern province of India at a distance of about one hundred miles from Delhi). The senior-most among these leaders was Ḥujjat al-Islām Qāsim al-ʿUlūm wa ‘l-Khayrāt, Ḥaḍrat al-Nānautawi (May Allah sanctify his secret). Allah bestowed blessings upon this school, and in just a few years it attained much fame and a lofty status, and students flocked to it from the entire expanse of India near and far. Indeed, students came from all around the world, both the East and the West. Great exegetes of the Quran, masterful Hadith scholars, and renowned jurists and muftīs graduated from it.
Six months after Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband, another Islamic college called Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm was established in Saharanpur, a large town located twenty miles from Deoband. It was established on the first of Rajab in the year 1283/1866 by the great jurist, Shaykh Saʿādat ʿAlī al-Saharanpuri (May Allah sanctify his secret). He was among the close companions of al-Sayyid Aḥmad, who was martyred while waging jihād against the disbelievers on the Punjabi front. This college also received an ample share of renown, acceptance, and students. It gave birth to men who excelled in both the transmitted and rational sciences. They followed the examples of their seniors in regards to narrating, teaching, and spreading knowledge, especially the knowledge of Hadith, in whose service they stood out and distinguished themselves.
The first person to have the honor of being the director of education at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband was the honorable Hadith scholar, Shaykh al-Mashāyikh Muḥammad Yaʿqūb, son of Fakhr al-ʿUlamā wa Zayn al-Fuqahā wa Ustādh al-Asātidhah Maulana Mamlūk ʿAlī al-Nānautawi (May Allah sanctify his secret). Shaykh Muḥammad Yaʿqūb acquired knowledge of the various sciences from his father, and he took Hadith from Shāh ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Mujaddidi (May Allah Most High have mercy on him). He taught and spread benefit in Delhi and Ajmer. Then he took up the position of director of education at the college of Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband, where he taught until he returned to Allah Most High in the year 1884 in his hometown of Nānautah. His position as the director of education was taken up by the skillful and honorable al-Sayyid Aḥmad al-Dehlawi until he left to Bhopal in the year 1887, at which point the directorship was entrusted to Shaykh al-Shuyūkh wa Ustādh al-Asātidhah Ḥaḍrat Maulana Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi, better known as “Shaykh al-Hind” (May Allah sanctify his secret). Before being entrusted with this position, he used to teach the books of Hadith, as well various other subjects that were being taught at the Dār al-ʿUlūm. He was appointed as a teacher in the year 1871, and in 1876 he was entrusted to teach Sunan al-Tirmidhi. After taking up the directorship, he would teach both Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri and Sunan al-Tirmidhi. He taught Hadith at the college of Deoband for forty years, a task that he shared for some time with the honorable Shaykh Maulana Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri al-Muhājir al-Madani (May Allah sanctify his secret) – and this was from the years 1890 to 1896. Shaykh Maḥmūd would teach Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri and Sunan al-Tirmidhi, and his colleague Shaykh Khalīl would teach Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim and other books. The honorable Shaykh Muḥammad Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīri graduated at the hands of both of them in the year 1894 (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
When Shaykh al-Hind Maḥmūd al-Hasan journeyed to the Ḥijāz in the year 1914, his most honorable student, al-Sayyid Muḥammad Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīri (May Allah Most High have mercy on him) took his place in teaching Hadith. He was entrusted with the teaching of “the Two Jāmiʿs” (i.e. the books of Imam al-Bukhāri and Imam al-Tirmidhi, May Allah Most High have mercy on them). He taught at Deoband until he left the Dār al-ʿUlūm in the year 1928 and moved to the Islamic College (al-Jāmiʿah al-Islāmiyyah) in Dabhel, Surat. He narrated Hadith there and spread benefit until he returned to Allah Most High in the year 1933. From the colleges of both Deoband and Dabhel, senior scholars and luminous personalities graduated at his hands, some of whom are listed as follows: Maulana Muḥammad Idrīs al-Kāndhlawi, Maulana Badr al-ʿĀlam al-Mīruthi, Muftī Muḥammad Ḥasan al-Amritsari, the honorable jurist Grand Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ al-Deobandi, Tāj al-Khuṭabā Maulana al-Qārī Muḥammad Ṭayyib al-Qāsimi, the honorable Hadith scholar and distinguished jurist al-Sayyid Muḥammad Yūsuf al-Binnōri, and Maulana Shams al-Ḥaq al-Afghāni (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
After Shaykh al-Kashmīri left Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband, the board of trustees (majlis al-istishārī) of the college – at the head of which was Mujaddid al-Millah wa Ḥakīm al-Ummah Maulana al-Shāh Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawi (May Allah Most High sanctify his secret) – was compelled to select replacements for the directorship of education and the teaching of the books of Bukhāri and Tirmidhi. The replacement would have to fill the shoes of the muḥaddiths that preceded him. They requested Shaykh al-Islām Maulana al-Sayyid Ḥusayn Aḥmad al-Madani (May Allah Most High sanctify his secret) to take up this position. He was the most special student of Shaykh al-Hind and the confidant in his affairs. Before this, he had already taught at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband for two years, from 1909 to 1910, and he had taught for more than ten years in the Noble Mosque of the Prophet (May Allah Most High send peace and salutations upon him and his Companions). [Maulana Ḥusayn Aḥmad] complied with their wishes and accepted their request on certain conditions which the council accepted. They went ahead and entrusted him with the directorship as well as the honorable position of narrating Hadith in the year 1927. [After taking up his new responsibilities,] he continued to be respected, beloved, heeded, kind, and courageous. He taught Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri and Sunan al-Tirmidhi even while being required to travel frequently. He toured the various towns and cities. He delivered speeches against British colonialism. He was the leader of the Jamʿīyyat ʿUlamā al-Hind. He guided spiritual disciples. Furthermore, he was frequent in worship, devotions, serving guests, and tirelessly turning toward Allah Most High. He assumed the directorship and took up the teaching of Hadith from the year 1928 till his demise in 1958. May Allah Most High grant him abode in the prosperity of His Paradise, and may He shower upon him and his mashāyikh a downpour of His Mercy and His Approval.
This long period of Maulana Ḥusayn Aḥmad’s directorship was interrupted by a short interval from Jamādī al-Ākhar 1361/June 1942 to Ramaḍān 1363/August 1944 during which the British government imprisoned him. During this interval, his lessons were delegated to Maulana al-Sayyid Fakhr al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Hāpūri th. al-Murādābādi, as well as Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Shaykh al-Fiqh wa ‘l-Adab at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
After Shaykh al-Islām al-Madani passed away in 1957, his position as the teacher of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri was inherited by Maulana al-Sayyid Fakhr al-Dīn Aḥmad who was mentioned previously. Prior to his appointment, he had taught at the Qāsimi College (al-Jāmiʿah al-Qāsimiyyah) in Moradabad for more than forty years. He took up teaching at Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband and continued until his death in the year 1972 (May Allah Most High have mercy on him). After his passing until today, Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri has been taught at that college by shuyūkh that graduated at the hands of those Elders (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all). Among them are Maulana Sharīf al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi (d. 1977), and Muftī Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan al-Gangōhi (May Allah endow him with honor), Maulana Naṣīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, Maulana Saʿīd Aḥmad al-Pālanpūri, and Maulana ʿAbd al-Ḥaq al-Aʿẓami.
As for Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, it has been taught by Maulana Muḥammad Ibrāhīm al-Balyāwi, Maulana Bashīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, and Maulana Sharīf al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them).
As for Sunan al-Tirmidhi, after Shaykh al-Islām al-Madani it was taught by Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Maulana Muḥammad Ibrāhīm al-Balyāwi, Maulana Sharīf al-Ḥasan al-Deobandi, and Maulana Fakhr al-Ḥasan (May Allah Most High have mercy on them), and Maulana Saʿīd Aḥmad al-Pālanpūri (May Allah Most High preserve him). As for Sunan Abī Dāwūd, it was taught by Maulana Aṣghar Ḥusayn al-Deobandi, Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Maulana Muḥammad Idrīs al-Kāndhlawi, Grand Muftī Maulana Muḥammad Shafīʿ, Maulana Bashīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, and Maulana Fakhr al-Ḥasan (May Allah Most High have mercy on them all).
As for the Sunan of Imam al-Nasā’i, the Sunan of Imam Ibn Mājah, the Shamā’il of Imam al-Tirmidhi, Sharḥ Maʿānī al-Āthār of Imam al-Ṭaḥāwi, and the Mu’aṭṭā according to both its narrations, the following eminent figures alternated in the teaching of those books: Maulana Muḥammad Iʿzāz ʿAlī al-Amrōhi, Maulana Muḥammad Idrīs al-Kāndhlawi, Grand Muftī Maulana Muḥammad Shafīʿ, Maulana Fakhr al-Ḥasan, Maulana Naṣīr Aḥmad Khān al-Barni, and others. May Allah Most High thank them for their efforts and accept their struggles.
At the college of Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm in Saharanpur, the first among those that took up the task of teaching Hadith, especially the teaching of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri, was Shaykh al-Mashāyikh Maulana Muḥammad Maẓhar al-Nānautawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) after whom the school is named. He began at this college in 1867 three months after the school was established. He remained there until he returned to Allah on 24 Dhu ‘l-Ḥijjah 1302/3 October 1885. During this long time period, he taught books of Quranic exegesis, Hadith, and other subjects from the various sciences. He would teach “the Two Ṣaḥīḥs” with intense fervor and complete thoroughness. Outstanding scholars graduated at his hands. Among them was the author of Badhl al-Majhūd fī Ḥall Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Shaykhu Mashāyikhinā Maulana Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri th. al-Muhājir al-Madani. Joining the college of Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm in 1874 was the famous Hadith scholar and researcher of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri and Jāmiʿ Tirmidhi, Maulana Aḥmad ʿAlī al-Sahāranpūri. He remained there until he passed away in 1881. In these years he taught the six books of Tafsīr and Hadith, especially “the Two Ṣaḥīḥs.” He would demonstrate total mastery in Hadith and its sciences (May Allah have mercy on him).
After the passing away of the college’s senior Hadith scholar, Maulana Muḥammad Maẓhar al-Nānautawi, his position of teaching Hadith was inherited by Maulana ʿAbd al-ʿUlā (?) until he resigned in 1889. After him, Hadith was taught by Shaykh Aḥmad ʿAlī al-Murādābādi and Shaykh Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān, son of the muḥaddith Maulana Aḥmad ʿAlī al-Sahāranpūri (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them). Shaykh Aḥmad ʿAlī resigned in 1893.
As for Shaykh Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān, he taught Hadith from 1889 until he left to Hyderabad and resigned from his services to the college in 1897. At this time, the honorable Hadith scholar Maulana Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri had been teaching the books of Hadith and other sciences at the college of Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband with his friend, Shaykh al-Zaman Maulana Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan, famously known as Shaykh al-Hind, as mentioned above. So when Maulana Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān resigned from the service of teaching at the college as we discussed prior, and the college now required a skillful teacher and outstanding Hadith scholar, the great imam Quṭub al-ʿĀrifīn Maulana Rashīd Aḥmad al-Gangōhi (May Allah Most High sanctify his secret) commanded the most honorable muḥaddith Maulana al-Shāh Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri to transfer from Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband to Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm Saharanpur. And so [Shaykh Khalīl Aḥmad] obeyed the command and took up the directorship of education there. He arrived at the college of Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm on 8 Jamād al-Ākhar 1314/1896. He, being a graduate of that college, was most worthy and suited to take this position. He assumed the directorship of education and the teaching of Hadith and other sciences for thirty years, until he migrated to Madinah the Illuminated. During this time period, he taught “the Two Ṣaḥīḥs” and others from among the Six Books numerous times over.
In Rabīʿ al-Awwal of 1335/1917, he began working on Badhl al-Majhūd, a commentary on Sunan Abī Dāwūd, with the help of his most special pupil Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Maulana Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah sanctify their secrets). They completed it in Madinah the Illuminated in the Garden of Paradise on 21 Shaʿbān 1345/1927, as we will soon mention in detail if Allah wills.
We cannot forget to mention the honorable Shaykh Maulana Muḥammad Yaḥyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah Most High have mercy on him), for he taught Hadith at the college of Maẓāhir al-ʿUlūm from 1326/1908 until Allah caused him to pass away in 1334/1916.
When the most honorable Shaykh Khalīl Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri migrated to Madinah the Illuminated in 1926, the lessons of Hadith were entrusted to his honorable students. Among them was Ustādh al-Asātidhah Maulana al-Sayyid ʿAbd al-Laṭīf who became the principal of the school after his migration, so he would teach Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri as well as tend to the affairs of the college. Also among them were the esteemed Shaykh Maulana ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kāmalpūri, the courageous Shaykh Maulana Muḥammad Asʿadullāh al-Rāmpūri, and the outstanding Shaykh Maulana Manẓūr Aḥmad Khān al-Sahāranpūri (May Allah Most High grant them all abode in the prosperity of His Paradise).
Maulana ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kāmalpūri taught the Jāmiʿ of Imam al-Tirmidhi and Sharḥ Maʿānī al-Āthār of Imam Abu Jaʿfar al-Ṭaḥāwi, and some years he would teach Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim as well. Maulana Manẓūr Aḥmad Khān taught Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim numerous times over. Sometimes Maulana Muḥammad Asʿadullāh taught it as well, and I was among those that read Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim under him in 1944. As for the Sunan of Imam Abu Dāwūd, it was taught by our Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) from 1929 to 1954. Then Maulana Muḥammad Asʿadullāh taught it from 1954 to 1965. After Maulana ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kāmalpūri left to Pakistan, the Sunan of Imam al-Tirmidhi was taught by the honorable jurist Maulana al-Qārī Saʿīd Aḥmad al-Ujrārawi, the senior muftī of the college, as well as the honorable Shaykh Maulana Amīr Aḥmad al-Kāndhlawi.
As for Sharḥ Maʿānī al-Āthār of Imam al-Ṭaḥāwi, after Maulana ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Kāmalpūri it was taught by Maulana Manẓūr Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri, Maulana Muḥammad Asʿadullāh al-Rāmpūri, and Maulana Amīr Aḥmad al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them). As for the books of Imam al-Nasā’ī and Imam Ibn Mājah, and the Mu’aṭṭā according to both narrations, they were all taught by Maulana Manẓūr Aḥmad al-Sahāranpūri. I read them all under him in the year 1944 (May Allah Most High have mercy on all of them).
In the year 1926, our Shaykh Maulana Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlawi (May Allah sanctify his secret) traveled with his shaykh to the Ḥijāz to help him in the preparation of Badhl al-Majhūd. When he returned to Saharanpur in 1929, he took up the teaching of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri and the Sunan of Imam Abī Dāwūd al-Sijistāni (May Allah Most High have mercy on him). He taught the Sunan until 1954, and he did not stop teaching Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri until difficulties and illnesses caught up with him and forced him to give up teaching.
At this point, the teaching of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhāri was entrusted to his astute and intelligent pupil Maulwī Muḥammad Yūnus al-Jaunpūri (May Allah Most High preserve him). The honorable master [i.e. Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyyā] himself bequeathed this post to Maulwī Muḥammad Yūnus during his own lifetime. He (May Allah Most High preserve him) taught for fourteen years during the life of the Shaykh, and he was quite worthy to perform this honorable service. May Allah Most High deliver amongst us more folk along the likes of him. Afterwards, the teaching of Hadith at this college continued at the hands of the students of these eminent personalities, such as Muftī Muẓaffar Ḥusayn al-Ujrārawi, Muftī Muḥammad Yaḥyā, and Maulana Muḥammad ʿĀqil al-Sahāranpūri (May Allah Most High preserve them all).
Reproduced without any changes from the original: https://silentadmirerblog.wordpress.com/translations/the-teachers-of-hadith-at-deoband-and-saharanpur/