Moulânâ Muhammad Ahmad Qâsimî [1346 A.H], the son of Moulânâ Qâsim Nânotwî was a great scholar of Islam. He was the principal of Dârul Ulûm Deoband for forty years. Initially he had two sons and a daughter who passed away in their infancy. Thereafter, for a long period, he had no offspring. The elders of Dârul Ulûm were concerned because they wanted the progeny of Moulânâ Qâsim Nânotwî to continue. Moulânâ Abdus-Samî’, an ustâdh at Dârul ‘Ulûm, said that Sheikhul Hind called him one day and told him to go to Fatehpûr to a saint whose du’âs were accepted in respect of children. Sheikhul Hind told him to request the saint to supplicate for Moulânâ Muhammad Ahmad. Moulânâ Abdus-Samî’ did as he was requested. The saint asked him to come the next day.
When Moulânâ Abdus-Samî’ went to see him the next day, the saint said that he had supplicated and that his du’â had been accepted. He also remarked that he was given the glad tiding that Moulânâ Muhammad Ahmad would have a son who would become a hâfiz, qârî, âlim and a hâjî. The du’â manifested itself in the form of Qârî Muhammad Tayyib who was born in Jumâdath-Thâniyah 1315 A.H. (1897) in Deoband. His ancestral tree links up with Sayyidinâ Abû Bakr . His grandfather, Hujjatul Islam, Moulânâ Muhammad Qâsim Nânotwî was a famous saint and scholar of the Islamic world who laid the foundation of Dârul ‘Ulûm Deoband in 1867.
Qârî Tayyib ( ) was admitted to Dârul ‘Ulûm in 1322
A.H. All the great elders attended his admission ceremony
where Bismillâh was recited to commence his education. He
was seven years old at the time. Qârî ‘Abdul Wahîd Khân
Ilâhabâdî ( ) was chosen for the task of teaching him the
recitation of the Holy Qur’ân. He completed memorizing the
Qur’ân at the tender age of eleven in 1326 A.H. He had a loud
and melodious voice from his youth and the teachers would
listen with great enthusiasm to his recitation. Moulânâ Rashîd
Ahmad Gangohî ( ) used to call him to recite the Qur’ân.
Hadrat Gangohî ( ) was extremely pleased with his
recitation and would make plenty of du’âs for him.
From amongst his mentors were ‘Allâmah Kashmîrî, Muftî
‘Azîzur-Rahmân ‘Uthmânî, Moulânâ Habîbur-Rahmân,
‘Allâmah Shabbîr Ahmad ‘Uthmânî and Moulânâ Asghar
Husain ( ). Qârî Tayyib ( ) said that he procured
the enthusiasm for hadîth from his father who had an expert
ability in explanations. He obtained the ability to explain the
meanings of the ahâdîth from ‘Allâmah Kashmîrî ( ) and
the style of expressing the laws (masâil) from ‘Allâmah
Shabbîr Ahmad ‘Uthmânî ( ) who was most eloquent. He
qualified in 1337 A.H. (1918).
Qârî Tayyib ( ) also had an interest in self defence and
military tactics which he learnt from a pious saint, Amîr Shâh
In 1339 A.H. he took bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) at the hands
of Sheikhul Hind ( ) when the latter was just released from Malta. Sheikhul Hind ( ) passed away five months
later. Qârî Tayyib ( ) then turned to ‘Allâmah Kashmîrî
( ) for spiritual guidance. The latter did not make Qârî
Tayyib ( ) take bay’ah but continued guiding him.
Moulânâ Habîbur-Rahmân ‘Uthmânî ( ) suggested to
Qârî Tayyib ( ) to take bay’ah at the hands of Hadrat
Thânwî ( ) which he did. In 1350 A.H. Hakîmul Ummat,
Hadrat Thânwî ( ) conferred the mantle of khilâfat on
Services to Dîn
When Qârî Tayyib ( ) first went to Bombay, the Ahle
Bid’ah (innovators) spread allegations against him and labeled
him the worst kâfir since he was related to all the elders of
Deoband due to being their student or being related to them.
Coincidentally, when he delivered a talk, more than 30 000
people attended it. He spoke for approximately three hours and
in this while completely overwhelmed the audience. After this
speech, he was invited to all parts of Bombay to deliver talks
especially in areas where the opponents were very vociferous
against the ‘Ulamâ of Deoband. This series of talks lasted for
29 days. Large crowds attended his talks and Moulânâ Ibrâhîm
Balyâwî ( ) conferred the title of “Fâtih Bombay” (the
conqueror of Bombay) to Qârî Tayyib.
The condition of the people of Bombay before this was such
that if any Deobandi Âlim visited any musjid, they would wash
the musjid after his departure. After Qârî Tayyib’s
programmes, the people who pointed a pistol at Moulânâ
‘Abdush-Shakûr ( ) threateningly, now took bay’ah at the
hands of Qârî Tayyib ( ) and repented from all their evil
He was appointed the vice chancellor of Dârul Ulûm in 1341
A.H. during his teaching days. Then in 1348 A.H. he was
appointed the chancellor. During his tenure as the chancellor,
Dârul ‘Ulûm progressed tremendously.
Besides his service to Dîn in the form of teaching, he was an
outstanding orator. His talks became popular from his student
days. He could easily speak on any Islamic subject no matter
how intricate for two to three hours without any hesitation. His
speciality was in unveiling the secrets of Sharîah.
From among his contemporaries were Muftî Shafî ( ),
‘Allâmah Idrîs Kândhelwî ( ) and Moulânâ Badre Âlam
Mîrthî ( ).
He penned many works some of which are: Science and Islam,
Talîmâte Islâm, The Philosophy of Salâh and Tarîkh Dârul
‘Ulûm Deoband. His Mawâ’iz and Majâlis have also been
During his last hours, Muftî Sa’îd Ahmad and Moulânâ Sâlim
were present. Qârî Tayyib ( ) was completely at ease.
There was no sign of any tension on him nor was there any
groaning. Moulânâ Muhammad Ishâq ( ), the proprietor
of Kutub Khânah Rahîmîyah came during the final moments
when Hakîm Mahmûd was asking Qârî Tayyib ( ) about
his condition and the latter was replying. This indicates that he
was at some ease. Hakîm Mahmûd placed his hand on Qârî
Tayyib’s stomach to make a diagnosis. The latter breathed for
about one and a half minutes and then passed away. The people
that were present did not even realize that he had left this
world. This was in the month of Shawwâl 1403 A.H. (July 1983)
Shaykh Qari Mohammad Tayyib is the one who made what Darul Uloom Deoband is now. His efforts brought Darul Uloom Deoband on the peak of fame and opulence, during his rectory throughout the Islamic world Darul Uloom Deoband became to be aknowledged as the al-Azhar of Asia. He traveled most of Asia, Europe, America, Middle East and Africa to introduce Darul Uloom Deoband and its services. His services to Islam and Muslims were recognized by the several Muslim leaders in the Islamic world, King of Hejaz honored him and Sultan of Ottoman Empire revered him. Muslims of Indian subcontinent remember Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib as ‘Second Architect’ (Ma’mar e thani) of Darul Uloom Deoband. He was appointed the Rector of Darul Uloom only in his 30s by his teacher, mentor and Darul Uloom’s guardian Imam al-Mujaddid Hakimul Ummat Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi, and remained on the post for 55 years as a longest serving rector of Darul Uloom till now. Outstanding orator, highly academic, spiritual and the most important-the ‘Interpreter’ of the sciences of his grandfather Hujjat al Islam al-Imam Mohammad Qasim Nanawtawi (Shaarh Ulum e Qasimi); when passed away in the age of 88 in 1403A.H./1983CE, two years before his death he organized Darul Uloom’s grand centenary celebration and on his call 2million Muslims gathered in the small town of Deoband (which had less then 30,000 entire population) with more than three dozen Muslim government dignitaries, his fame made Indian government stunned.
FAMILY, EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib was Hujjat al Islam Imam Mohammad Qasim Nanawtawi’s grandson. His father Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad son of Imam Qasim was a notable Islamic scholar, who served Darul Uloom Deoband as its Rector and also served the state of Hyderabad as its Grand Mufti. Nizam (Monarch) of Hyderabad had entitled his father Shamsul Ulama. His linage of ancestry goes to Islam’s first caliph Ameer al-Maumineen Abu Bakr Siddiq (R.A.).
Shaykh Muhammad Tayyib was born in 1315/1897. His chronogrammatic name is Muzaffaruddin. He was admitted to the Darul Uloom at the age of seven; the ceremony of his admission to the school was performed in a glorious gathering of distinguished august men. Within the short span of two years Mohammad Tayyib committed the entire Quran to memory with cantillation and orthoepy. After reading for five years in the Persian and Mathematics classes, he started studying Arabic and syllabus of Islamic Sciences, which he completed in 1337/1918 and secured the certificate of graduation. During his education he was especially trained by Imam al-Muhaddithin Anwar Shah Kashmiri and later by Imam-al Mujaddid Hakimul Ummat Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi. The distinguished certificate of Hadith he obtained from the most eminent Ulama and teachers. The savant of the age, Imam al-Muhaddithin Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri was his special teacher in the Science of Hadith. In 1350/1931 he received Khilafah from Imam al-Mujaddid Hakimul Ummat Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi.
After graduation he started teaching in Darul Uloom. Due to his own knowledge and learning, geist, and ancestral relation and respectability Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib soon won admiration in the student circle. In early 1341/1924 he was appointed Deputy Rector (Pro Vice Chancellor), on this post, till early 1348/ 1924, he kept taking part in the administrative affairs of the Rector’s office, under the supervision of his august father Shaykh Mohammad Ahmad the then Rector and Shaykh Habibur Rahman who succeeded his father as the fifth Rector of Darul Uloom. In the middle of 1348/1929, after Shaykh Habibur Rahman’s demise, he was appointed Rector (Vice Chancellor). In view of his precious experience, competency and ancestral lineage it had been proved that the capacity to run Darul Uloom ran in his blood and was bred in his bones; accordingly, after becoming Rector, he very soon won popularity and greatness in the country due to his knowledge and learning and family respectability and influence, which proved very advantageous to the fame and glory of the Darul Uloom.
SECOND ARCHITECT OF DARUL ULOOM DEOBAND
As such, Darul Uloom has made remarkable progress during his Rectory. In 1348/1929, when Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib took the reins of administration of Darul Uloom into his hands, there were only eight administrative sections; now their number was reached 23. At that time the budget of annual income of Darul Uloom was Rs. 50,262; now it was raised to Rs. 2.6 million. In 1348/1929, the staff of the employees in the Darul Uloom consisted of only 45 hands, which number had gone up to 200. The magistral staff then consisted of only l8 Professors; now there were 59. The student strength then was 480 and now it had reached nearly 2,000.
Similarly there has beer addition to the buildings also Darut Tafsir, Darul Ifta, Darul Quran, Matbakh-e Jadid, Fauqani Darul Hadith, Balai (2nd floor) Masjid, Babuz Zahir, two-storied Jamia Tibbia, Jadid, Darul Iqama, the magnificent building of the Guest House, the long and wide halls of the library, Darul Iqama Jadid, Afriqi Manzil, addition of three auditoriums near the kitchen; all these buildings have been constructed during his Rectory. Moreover, the room of the Chhatta Mosque where al-Imam Mohammad Qasim Nanawtawi used to teach and inculcate had become dilapidated due to ravages of time; so it was also rebuilt.
In short, every department of Darul Uloom has made unusual progress during his tenure of office. The administrative and consultative councils of Darul Uloom, in connection with the acknowledgement of his extraordinary services and as an expression of their appreciation, have at different times, passed several resolutions. To keep the candle of Darul Uloom alight he is still active in his old age like young men.
These were the work, which Hakimul Islam Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib did within the premises of Darul Uloom Deoband. But for international recognition of the services of Darul Uloom and to make the Islamic world aware of the kinds of the services of Darul Uloom to Islam and Muslims he had similarly toured foreign countries like all countries of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Reunion, Rhodesia, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA, Zanzibar etc. His lectures from All India Radio, New Delhi let the world know that what really Darul Uloom Deoband and its Ulama are doing to serve the causes of Islam and Muslims. During his tenure as the rector folk of the students began to come from all parts of the globe to Deoband to learn Islamic Sciences.
FOUNDER OF ALL INDIA MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW BOARD
All India Muslim Personal Law Board was established at a time when then Government of India was trying to subvert Shariah law applicable to Indian Muslims through parallel legislation. Adoption Bill had been tabled in the Parliament. Mr. H.R.Gokhle, then Union Law Minister had termed this Bill as the first step towards Uniform Civil Code. To thwart the government conspiracy against the Muslim community Hakimul Islam Qari Mohammad Tayyib raised the bold step immediately. A meeting was convened at Deoband on the initiative of Hakimul Islam Qari Mohammad Tayyib, Rector, Darul Uloom Deoband. The meeting decided to hold a general representative convention at Mumbai (Bombay). Therefore, a historic convention was held at Mumbai on December 27-28, 1972. The Convention was unprecedented. It showed unity, determination and resolve of the Indian Muslim community to protect the Muslim Personal Law. The Convention unanimously decided to form All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
As per the decision of the Mumbai Convention, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board was formally established at a meeting held at Hyderabad on April 7, 1973. The pioneer of this movement to protect Islamic Shariah in India, Hakimul Islam Qari Mohammad Tayyib Qasmi was elected founder President of the Board, which he served until his death in 1983. After him another eminent scholar Mufakkir-e-Islam Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi succeeded him as the second president of All India Muslim Personal Law.
EXTRAORDINARY ORATOR EVER THE LAND OF INDIAN SUBCONTINENT PRODUCED
Academically, besides teaching, Hakimul Islam Qari Mohammad Tayyib got a natural endowment in the art of oratory and lecturing, a gift of the gab. Right from the student days his speeches in the public functions are being heard with eagerness. Speaking on even the most important problems for two and three hours at a stretch he does not experience any interruption or difficulty. He had had special mastery in discoursing on the realities and mysteries of the Shari’ah and in making the subjects concise and compact. The modern educated class particularly enjoys his academic and philosophical style of discourse; his lectures are especially popular in Muslim University Aligarh, and other universities, and some of his momentous lectures have already been published by Aligarh Muslim University. There is no region in the country where the echo of his speeches may not have reached. When his fluent and fascinating speech passes through the deep ocean of knowledge, the stillness of the waves is worth seeing. 25 years after his death the audio collection of his highly spiritual and academic speeches are heard in public gathering with special reverence and purpose of gaining knowledge. Several contemporary Ulama acknowledge that they get the ocean of knowledge in the speeches of Shaykh Mohammd Tayyib and before making their public speeches or delivering lectures they certainly listen or read his sermons.
WORLD MUSLIM LEADERS’ RECOGNITION OF HIS SERVICES
The Presidential addresses of Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib in the annual sessions of the Jami’atul Ulema have been highly valued; his academic lectures have created a particular circle of influence and the effects of his elocution also reached the academic circles outside India. In 1363/1934, during his journey to Hejaz, the speech he delivered as the leader of a dignified delegation of India in the court of Sultan Ibn Sa’ud, impressed the Sultan very much. Sultan Ibn Sa’ud honored Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib with the award of a royal robe of honor and a gift of highly valuable books. King Khalid of Saudi Arabia wrote him during centenary celebration, “Due to my ailing health I am unable to attend this auspicious occasion under your guardianship, but I make sure I am always standing with you shoulder to shoulder to provide you all possible help and support in your pious mission.” Sultan Mohammad VI of Ottoman Empire was so much impressed that he gifted him the cloth, which is said to be used as a cover of the Rob of Muhammad Rasulullah (peace and mercy of Allah be upon him); still this cloth is on display in Darul Uloom and is available for the public veneration.
His journey to Afghanistan in 1358/1939 is an independent history of academic services; he had undertaken this journey as a representative of Darul Uloom to forge educational and spiritual relations between Darul Uloom and the government of Afghanistan. The academic circles of Afghanistan befittingly welcomed Hakimul Islam Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib. The government itself did him the honor of being his host. The educational and literary associations and government and non-government societies of Afghanistan invited him. The literary and academic circles there were very much impressed by his scholarly speeches. The King of Afghanistan Zahir Shah paid his visit to Deoband and offered all possible help in the development of Darul Uloom Deoband. President General Ziaul Haq of Pakistan was his admirer up to this level when he ever landed in the land of Pakistan Zia reached at the Airport to receive him. The fact is that there are many charming facets of his fascinating personality: nobility and humanity, personification of modesty, purity of heart, knowledge and learning, oratory and art of public speaking, sermonizing and inculcation, simplicity and humility, philosophic eloquence and succinctness while talking; in fine, his commanding and towering personality is an exquisite amalgamation of deeds and character, grandeur and elegance.
TEACHING, MISSIONARY WORK AND PREACHING
Besides the administrative affairs of Darul Uloom, the things Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib has had a natural interest in education and teaching, missionary work and preaching. Due to these accomplishments he commanded a pre-eminent position in the country. His zest for recreation consisted in reading and writing books. This diversion of his always continues over and above the administrative affairs of Darul Uloom and the quantum of teaching work, particularly so during the free hours in the course of a journey. When not out of station, that is, while residing at Deoband, there is almost daily a regular get-together of friends and scholars, between Asr and Maghrib, in the male parlor, where the topics of discussion were generally of an academic nature and interest. He had affinity with the art of poesy also; many of his poems have been published; the title of the collection of his poetical compositions, which too has been published, is Irfan-e A’rif.
HIS LITERARY CONTRIBUTION
Like his mastery in the art of elocution and oratory, he is also a profound, prolific and talented author; the number of his works is pretty large, some of which are named below;
Attashabbuh fiI-lslam, Mashahir-e Ummat, Kalimat-e Tayyibat, Atyabus-Thamar fi Mas’alatil-Qaza wal-Qadar, Science Awr Islam, Ta’limat-e Islam Awr Masihi Aqwam, Mas’ala-e Zuban-e Urdu Hindustan Men, Din-o-Siyasat, Asbab-e Urooj-o Zawal-e Aqwam, Islami Azadi ka Mukammal Program, AI-Ijtehad wal-Taqlid, Usool-e Da’wat-e Islam, Islami Masawat, Tafsir-e Sura-e FiI, Fitri Hukumat, etc.
Serving the community of Islam was his noble task, which he performed until the last day of his life. The health of Hakimul Islam Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib rapidly began to deteriorate after the centenary celebration of Darul Uloom Deoband in 1980. But despite his ailing health and growing age he was still attending public gathering at his residence. Finally the destined day arrived and on July 17, 1983, Shawwal 6, 1403 on Sunday while several of his devotees sitting around him, chanting the name of Allah SWT this great soul departed to the Final Abode to receive the rewards of his virtues from his Lord. Funeral of Hakimul Islam Shaykh Qari Mohammad Tayyib was held in the campus of Darul Uloom Deoband, hundreds of thousands Muslims attended his funeral. His noble son the eminent scholar of Islam Shaykh Mohammad Salim Qasimi led his funeral prayer. Mortal remains of Shaykh Mohammad Tayyib were buried immediately next to the grave of his august grandfather and the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband Hujjat al-Islam al-Imam Mohammad Qasim Nanawtawi (May Allah bless them and may their soul rest in Gardens of Eden) aameen.