Mufti Azizur Rahman (Mufti Deoband)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيم

It (Darul Ifta) is one of the most significant departments of Darul Uloom Deoband from which people all across the world question in their religious and social matters. When 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 Ulama were killed, sentenced for life, while some of them, eluding capture and imprisonment by the English, migrated to other countries. The old generation of the remaining Ulama 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 folk 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, Muslims began to refer to it and hence the work of fatwa-writing, along with the work of teaching, started from its 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 (1866) till before his death, (up to A H 1301). After his demise this work was undertaken by 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 (1892) a regular department Darul Ifta was established in Darul Uloom, and Hazrat Maulana Muti Azizur Rahman Deobandi was appointed on the post of Mufti. Before A H 1310, there was no system of recording the issued fatwas. The fatwas that were written in response to the questions were sent to the questioners without having any record of the released fatwas. But in A H 1310 (1892) when a separate department was set up for this purpose, attention was paid to record the issued fatwas in registers. But, it is regretful that the record of fatwas from 1310 to 1329 is not available. With exception of some period, from 1330 till now Darul Ifta has record of all fatwas that were issued from the department. This precious academic treasure now consists of more than three hundred huge registers. From 1329 to 1396 (1911-1976) total 4,39,336 fatwas were issued and now the number of these fatwas exceeds 7 Lakh.

Darul Ifta has always been centre of attraction and held great respect and trust in public and court circles. Darul Ifta, besides guiding in religio-social 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.

A Brief Introduction of Prominent Muftis of Darul Uloom

Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman. He was born in A H 1275 (1859). His father was Maulana Fazlur Rahman. In 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 A H 1287 he memorized the entire Quran. The teacher of his class was Hafiz Namdar Khan. In A H 1295 he 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 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. Apart from writing fatwas he was assigned to take some classes of Hadith, Tafsir and Fiqh.

Mufti Sahib used to write the answers to very important and vexed questions (istifta) off-hand and spontaneously. 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. Even during journeys, he used to write fatwas informally through sheer acumen, expertise and 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 very few Ulama of Deoband. It is regrettable that the record of those fatwas Mufti Sahib had written between 1310 and 1329 is not extant. A great peculiarity of his fatwa-writing was also this that he never overlooked the zeitgeist 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 afore?said 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. 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. 12 volumes of which have been published so far.

Mufti Sahib was not only a religious divine and mufti but also a Sufi and one of the great masters of the esoteric science. He was awarded Khilafah by Hazrat Maulana Rafiuddin Sahib. The practice of accepting allegiance and giving spiritual guidance was also a part of his life. Thousands of Muslims benefited from him and rectified their inner selves.

Mufti Sahib had also resigned from Darul Uloom along with Hadhrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri. In 1347 when he was returning ed 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 (1928), he expired. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Darul Uloom.

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.

from http://www.darululoom-deoband.com

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 Muslims.

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 of Divorce”).

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 Darul Uloom.

‘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 Mufti Azizur Rahman was born in A H 1275 (1859). His father was Maulana Fazlur Rahman. In 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 A H 1287 he memorized the entire Quran. The teacher of his class was Hafiz Namdar Khan. In A H 1295 he 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 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. Apart from writing fatwas he was assigned to take some classes of Hadith, Tafsir and Fiqh.

Mufti Sahib used to write the answers to very important and vexed questions (istifta) off-hand and spontaneously. 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. Even during journeys, he used to write fatwas informally through sheer acumen, expertise and 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 very few Ulama of Deoband. It is regrettable that the record of those fatwas Mufti Sahib had written between 1310 and 1329 is not extant. A great peculiarity of his fatwa-writing was also this that he never overlooked the zeitgeist 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 afore¬said 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. 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. 12 volumes of which have been published so far.

Mufti Sahib was not only a religious divine and mufti but also a Sufi and one of the great masters of the esoteric science. He was awarded Khilafah by Hazrat Maulana Rafiuddin Sahib. The practice of accepting allegiance and giving spiritual guidance was also a part of his life. Thousands of Muslims benefited from him and rectified their inner selves.

Mufti Sahib had also resigned from Darul Uloom along with Hadhrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri. In 1347 when he was returning ed 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 (1928), he expired. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Darul Uloom.

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.

(History of Darul Uloom Deoband by Mahboob Rizwi)

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