Moulana Maseehullah Khan (RA) was born in 1330 A.H. (1910 C.E.) in the district of Aligarh, India. He belonged to the Sherwani family whose great grandfather was Sayyid Shah Husain Ghauri (RA). Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah’s father, Janab Ahmad Husain Khan (RA) was a notable personality of the family. He was a very popular person in his district, loved by one and all. Moulana Maseehullah Khan (RA) who later became popularly known as Hadhratjee had a desire for ibaadat from a very young age. He loved to perform nafl (optional) Salaah, Tahajjud and Zikr.
He went to school in his hometown till grade 6. He always excelled in his class. During this time he also learnt to read the Qur’aan and learnt some Urdu. He began studying the books of Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA) like Bahishti Zewar etc. This made such an impression on his young mind, that he became dissatisfied with schooling. On seeing his inclination towards Islamic studies, his father encouraged him to start studying Persian and Arabic. After studying Arabic and Islamic sciences till Mishkaat under Moulana Sa’id Ahmad Saahib Lucknowi (RA), he took admission at Darul ‘Ulum Deoband. At this institute, he was afforded the invaluable opportunity of studying under luminaries like Hadhrat Moulana Husain Ahmad Madani (RA), Moulana ‘Izaz ‘Ali (RA), Moulana Asghar Husain (RA) and ‘Allamah Balyawi (RA) amongst others.
Moulana Sa’id Ahmad Saahib (RA) used to say that Moulana Maseehullah (RA) possessed the qualities of modesty, respect, dignity and intelligence. It is also amazing to note that after Moulana Maseehullah (RA) became bay’t to Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA), his (Moulana Maseehullah’s ustadh, Moulana Sa’id Ahmad (RA) subsequently turned to him, that is, Moulana Maseehullah (RA) for reformation and took bay’t at his hands. This speaks volumes about the status of Hadhratjee (RA) where the teacher turned to the student for reformation. It also shows the humility of Moulana Sa’id Ahmad (RA) for taking such a step. Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi (RA) used to say that Hadhratjee was extremely pious and chaste together with being regular in his lessons and Salaah. He was also very punctual in performing his Tahajjud Salaah. Moulana Maseehullah (RA) repeated Mishkaat Sharif in Deoband and then went on to graduate in 1351 A.H. (1931). During his free time, he used to go to Thana Bhawan to spend his time in the company of Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA). He was conferred the mantle of khilafat at the age of 21 in 1351 A.H. (1931), the year he qualified. He was one of Hadhrat Thaanwi’s khulafaa who spent a lengthy period in his company.
Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA) had expressed his implicit trust on eleven of his three hundred khulafa, stating that anyone who wanted to reform himself could go to them for reformation because of the lofty spiritual position they had attained. One of those khulafa was Moulana Maseehullah Khan (RA). The people were astonished at how he could have achieved such a position at such a tender age. In fact, Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA) had such confidence in him, that he had instructed one of his own murids that he would only be allowed in the khanqah if he referred to Moulana Maseehullah (RA) for his islaah (reformation). Shah Wasiullah (RA) would say that Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA) had extreme love for Moulana Maseehullah (RA). Moulana As’adullah (RA) of Mazaahirul ‘Ulum maintained that Moulana Maseehullah (RA) was on a very high pedestal of sainthood.
Hadhrat Thaanwi (RA) instructed him to settle in Jalalabad in the district of Muzaffarnagar. There was a Maktab operating there in the name of Miftahul ‘Uloom. Moulana Maseehullah (RA) made it progress to such an extent that it grew into a Jami’ah (darul ‘uloom). He ran the institute on exactly the same lines as his Sheikh for 55 years continuously from 1357 A.H. till 1413 A.H. During his rector ship, he handed over the control to his able son, Moulana Muhammad Safiullah.
Moulana Maseehullah (RA) used to spend the entire day in the service of Deen. From Tahajjud till Maghrib, his routine of teaching, propagating and reforming continued in a miraculous manner. After Fajr he would partake of a light breakfast and not eat anything thereafter till Maghrib. His majlis used to begin at nine o’clock in the morning and lasted between two to three hours and sometimes even longer. An ocean of knowledge would emanate from his lips. There would however be no sign of fatigue on his countenance. It is also astounding to remember that during the entire day he would sit in the at-tahiyaat position. He would only leave his seat at the time of salaah.
Although Hadhratjee (RA) lived in Jalalabad, his knowledge spread throughout the world as he travelled to many countries like England, France, USA, Panama, Egypt and South Africa. There would be heaps of letters from his disciples seeking guidance and he would reply to each one personally.
He wrote several books like Shari’at wa Tasawwuf, Dhikr-e-Ilaahi, Al-hajj, Usul-e-Tabligh, Fadhilate ‘Ilm etc. Every book of his was well researched and professionally written.
Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah (RA) diligently followed the Sunnah to the extent that it became part of his nature. Due to the blessings of this practice, he gained perfection in piety, forbearance and humility. Allah Ta’ala granted him the total love of Nabi j.
He passed away on 16 Jumadal Ula 1413 A.H. (12 November 1992) while the dhikr of Allah emanated from his lips. About 200 000 people attended his janazah. Moulana Muhammad ‘Inayatullah Saahib (db) performed the janaazah salaah in the courtyard of Madrasah Miftaahul Uloom.