EMINENT MUFTIS OF DARUL
It has already been mentioned in the foregone that at the time the Darul Uloom was established, old religious schools in India had almost faded out of existence. After the tumultuous upheaval of 1857, a sufficiently large number of Ulema were consigned to the rope and the gibbet, and some of the Ulema, for their crime of participation in the war of independence, were sentenced for life and sent to Andaman Nicobar Islands. Some of them, eluding capture and imprisonment by the English, gave them the slip and migrated to other countries. The old generation of the remaining Ulema was gradually coming to an end. Under such circumstances those who could explain propositions were few and far between. However the people saw a ray of hope when Darul Uloom came into being. The practice of the common run of Muslims with Darul Uloom has always been such that whenever any problem arose in the country and the Muslims felt any difficulty, they have automatically looked up to Darul Uloom. Accordingly, enquirers of propositions began to refer to it and hence the work of fatwa-writing, along with the work of teaching, is being done from the very inception. First of all Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi who was principal in Darul Uloom was rendering this service, which he continued from A. H. 1283 till before his death, that is, up to A. H. 1301. After his demise this work was being taken from different teachers and in this way this work went on til1 A. H. 1309. But when the number of queries reached an extraordinary limit, in A. H. 1310 a regular Darul Ifta was established in Darul Uloom, and Hazrat Maulana Muti Azizur Rahman Deobandi was appointed on the post of Mufti. Darul Ifta, besides guiding in religio-legal matters, is also a very forceful means of rapport between Darul Uloom Deoband, and the common run of Muslims. The Fatwas of Darul Uloom have been highly esteemed in and outside the country; besides, the masses the law court in the country also honour them and consider them decisive.
HADHRAT MAULANA MUFTI AZIZUR RAHMAN
The year of his birth is A. H.
1275 and the chronogrammatic name given him was Zafaruddin. The name of his
august father was Maulana Fazlur Rahman. In the late A. H. 1284 when the class
for reading the Holy Quran was started in Darul Uloom, he was admitted to this
class for memorizing the Quran. In Sha'ban, A. H. 1285, he took the test for
having committed half of the Quran to memory and in A. H. 1287 he memorized the
entire Quran. The teacher of that class then was Hafiz Namdar Khan. In A. H.
1295 he took the examination for Bukhari Sharif, Muslim Sharif and Sharh-e
Aqa'id and graduated from Darul Uloom. The teachers of Darul Uloom then were
Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi, Hadhrat Maulana Syed Ahmed Dehlawi,
Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind and Maulana Abdul Ali (Allah's mercy be on all of them!).
In the commencement function (Jalsa Dastar Bandi) of A H. 1298, he was awarded
the Sanad and the turban at the hands of Hadhrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi.
After graduation he worked for some time
as an assistant teacher in Darul Uloom, rendering at the same time the services
of fatwa-writing under the supervision of the principal, Maulana Muhammad Yaqub.
Then he was sent to Meerut, where, at Madrasah Islamia, Inderkot, he remained
engaged in teaching for several years. In A H. 1309 the elders of Darul Uloom
selected him for the post of the pro-vice-chancellor, and after one year he was
also appointed as mufti and teacher. It is stated in the report for the year A
H. 1333 as follows:
"Maulawi Azizur Rahman, after
graduation, worked as an assistant teacher in Darul Uloom and also did the work
of fatwa-writing under the supervision of Maulana Muhammad Yaqub. During this
period there arose in him a desire for the mystical path and he vowed allegiance
at the hands of Hadhrat Maulana Rafiuddin in the Naqshbandiyya order. After
having completed austere practices (for self-culture) and exertions with the
unregenerate soul (mujahadat) he received the 'permission' of the order. For
some years he worked as teacher in Madrasah Islamia, situated at Inderkot, in
Meerut. During that period he entertained a desire to go for pilgrimage. Along
with hajj the other purpose in this journey was to stay in attendance on
Shaikhul Masha'ikh Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah (may his secret be sanctified!). As
such, he spent one and a half years in this journey; and Hadhrat Haji Sahib made
him his "Majaz" (a disciple declared as competent to receive
allegiance from aspirants). He had gone to Mecca in Shawwal, A. H. 1305 and
returned in Safar, AH. 1307. In A H. 1309 he was called to Deoband from Meerut
and since then he has been continually busy in serving Darul Uloom. He is at
present the mufti of the Madrasah but some lessons of Hadith, Tafsir and Fiqh
are also assigned to him".
Mufti Sahib used to write the answers to
very important and vexed questions (istafta) off-hand and spontaneously, without
referring to books. For nearly forty years he rendered this great service of
writing fatwas in Darul Ifta on behalf of Darul Uloom. In this long period he
wrote many difficult fatwas, which are not, merely fatwas but are of the nature
of judgment in controversial cases, but he used to write the answers there of in
a few words only. The post of the Darul Ifta used to be with him even during
journeys and he used to write fatwas informally through sheer acumen, expertise
and consummate ability. The explicit texts of Fiqh he mostly remembered by
heart. A great peculiarity of his fatwas is that they are easily intelligible;
the language of the fatwas is easy and fluent, a feature which is not to be
found in the fatwas of this era.
Among the religio-Iegal sciences, fatwa-writing
is a very difficult task. The knowledgeable alone can appreciate the delicate
points that crop up in this task due to change of circumstances. Ordinarily,
fatwas have been written in every period but the consummate expertise possessed
by Mufti Sahib has been shared by only three men in the Deobandi group: Maulana
Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi, Mufti Sahib himself and Maulana Mufti Kifayatullah
Dehelvi. It is regrettable that the record of those fatwas Mufti Sahib had
written between A. H. 1310 and A. H. 1329 is not extant. A great peculiarity of
his fatwa-writing was also this that he never overlooked the zeitgiest and the
demands of the time of which he used to have a profound knowledge. If there
could be two decidable aspects of a proposition (mas'ala), he would on such
occasions always adopt the easy aspect and issue the fatwa on it only, never
adopting that aspect which would create difficulties for the masses. Examples of
this feature are present everywhere in his fatwas.
The fatwas issued between A. H. 1330 and
A. H. 1346 number 37,561. But among these also the record of some years has been
lost. The aforesaid number is that of the recorded fatwas only. According to a
cursory estimate of Maulana Muhammad Tayyib, vice-chancellor, Darul Uloom
Deoband, the number of Mufti Sahib's fatwas comes to the huge figure of nearly
1,18,000. This prodigious output and achievement of Mufti Sahib is a great and
glorious religious service. This characteristic feature of his fatwas also
commands a great importance that, in and outside India, these fatwas were being
considered decisive in the worldly dealings, devotions and beliefs of the
The fatwas written between A. H. 1330 to
A. H. 1346, arranged in jurisprudential order, are being published by Darul
Uloom under the title Fatawa Darul Uloom Deoband. Ten volumes have been
published so far; the last volume consists of the Kitabut Tallaq ("The Book
This series of Fatawa will most probably
be completed in 12 volumes, details of which have been given in the foregone.
Mufti Sahib was not only a religious
divine and mufti but also a gnostic and one of the great masters of the esoteric
science. The practice of accepting allegiance and giving spiritual guidance was
also constantly current through his esoteric 'initiation' (talqin) and training
thousands of the slaves of Allah benefited and reached their goals.
"Khatm-e Khwajagan" ("The
Seal of the Masters") is one of the famous practices of the Naqshbandi
order. This was recited every day regularly after the Fajr prayer in Mufti
Sahib's Mosque (which is known as Chhoti Masjid in Deoband).
Besides knowledge and practice, humility,
self-effacement, self-suppression and self-obliteration constituted his special
tenor, which used to appear even in small and minute details. A daily practice
of his was that after the Asr prayer he would approach the doors of the houses
near his locality (Mohalla) and ask if anyone wanted to get any thing from the
market. From within the houses someone would say: "Mufti ji, bring chilies
worth four paise for me” a voice would say: “Oil is required", and
another would say: "We need salt".
Mufti Sahib then would take money from
all, go to the bazar, buy the ordered commodity for each-salt for someone,
chillies for another, coriander for still another-and tying all these things in
the different corners of his large handkerchief would bring these himself. He
never liked this burden to be shared by anyone else, sometimes he used to be
bent by this load but under no circumstance he would tolerate to become light by
entrusting it to someone else. Then he would personally go to each house and
entrust the goods to all those who had ordered them. In this act of selflessness
and service to the people he never imagined that he was doing a service or that
it was some great action that was being done at his hands or that he was
accomplishing some great work of selflessness.
Academic minutiae during lessons were over
and above these practical 'strivings' (Mujahadat). Along with fatwa-writing the
work of teaching was done constantly. He used to teach higher lessons of Fiqh,
Hadith and Tafsir. He would never adopt an assertive manner by ascribing great
and important disquisitions, which used to be the product of his own acute mind,
to himself. On the contrary, he would express it by way of a probability and say
in the course of his lecture "in this proposition one aspect can be this
also". Though it used to be his own disquisitions, he would never assert,
"in this proposition my opinion and research is this". If it is
pondered over, this position is so much more sublime and more delicate than this
academic service and practical selflessness that everyone cannot aspire to reach
it. One's own mind may present academic subtleties and yet this mind may never
be brought to the fore; of self-lessness and self-annihilation ('fana') it is
the highest state or station which can be attained by only that person in whose
veins and sinews humility and self-effacement may have permeated.
Mufti Sahib had also resigned from Darul
Uloom along with Hadhrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri. In A H. 1347 when Shah Sahib, due
to illness, came to Deoband from Dabhel, he had left fourteen portions of the
Bukhari Sharif unfinished. At the insistence of the authorities of the Jamia
Islamia Dabhel, Mufti Sahib went to Dabhel in the middle of Rabius Sani, A H.
1347, started the lessons and within the shortest possible time of one and a
half months completed all the remaining fourteen portions!
In the beginning of Jamadius Sani he
returned to Deoband. En route he was feeling indisposed. Treatment began when he
reached Deoband but the condition did not improve. The "promised hour"
had come. At last, on the night of 17th Jamadius-Sani, A H. 1347 A.
D. 1928, he expired. Next day at 10-00 a. m. Maulana Syed Asghar Hussain led the
funeral service and at 11-00 a. m. he was laid to rest in the graveyard of the
'May Allah make his grave fragrant and
make paradise his resting-place'!
He was a high-ranking personality amongst
the matchless personalities possessing knowledge and practice, good morals and
habits, gnosis and insight, and jurisprudential knowledge and understanding,
appointed to grace the Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom Deoband.
HADHRAT MAULANA IZAZ ALI
He was one of the most
distinguished graduates of Darul Uloom. After his graduation from it in A H.
1321, Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind selected him for Madrasah Naumania Pureni, District
Bhagalpur (Bihar). Accordingly, he taught in that region for nearly seven
years. Then he came to Shahjahanpur and established a Madrasah under the name 'Afzalul
Madaris' in a mosque where he used to teach for the sake of Allah (i.e. without
charging any fees or taking any remuneration). For nearly three years he taught
very successfully in this Madrasah. In A H. 1330 he was appointed as a teacher
in Darul Uloom Deoband, and in the first year he was assigned elementary books
of Arabic like 'Ilmus Sigha, Nurul Ezah, etc. In the report for that period it
has been stated about this Professor of Literature as under:
"Maulawi Izaz Ali is one of the
middle graduates of the intermediate and the latter classes. He has been a
teacher at some places. He is a young, talented, righteous and pious divine. In
presence and character he is a relic of his ancestors. He has complete
proficiency in different sciences and great expertise particularly in the
science of literature. Recently he has written a scholium on Himasa and is
currently busy in margining the Kanzud Daqa'iq, and earlier he had already
written marginal notes on Divan-e Mutanabbi. He teaches in the middle classes of
Darul Uloom. He handles most of the lessons of the science of literature. He
also exercises the students in writing Arabic articles. He is an eloquent
lecturer; the students are very familiar with him".
In A. H. 1340, when Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Ahmed, vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, was selected for the post of the Chief Mufti of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, he on account of his old age, took Maulana Izaz Ali with him. There he stayed one year and came back with Hafiz Sahib to Deoband. In the vacancy of the Chief Mufti Maulana Azizur Rahman he was appointed as Chief Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband, on which post he stayed in Darul Uloom till his demise.