Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn al-Kandhlawi

Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) has been mentioned several times on the blog. I recently came across some more biographical information about the mawlana which readers may find interesting.

The mawlana’s biographers write that he was of an extremely pious disposition from a young age and an ardent follower of the sunnah. His condition, later in life, became such that his body would not accept even a morsel of food procured from doubtful sources. Once, when mawlana was involved in the construction of a mosque in Kandhla, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan — on account of close family ties — donated some money. Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn’s taqwa was such that he refused the cash saying, “Your income is haram and cannot be used for a mosque.’’

Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi was among the trusted colleagues and students of Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehlawi[1] and his brother Shah Muhammad Ya‘qub (may Allah shower His mercy upon them). He was among those who were named by these two savants as their successors in India when they migrated to the Hijaz.[2]

Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn was also from among the leaders of the 1857 War of Independence against Colonialism. The mawlana strove greatly and rendered remarkable services during the war. Mawlana Rashid al-Hasan Kandhlawi notes that it is regretful that much has not been written regarding the services of Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn and the zeal and fervour of the people of Kandhla and its surrounding areas during the 1857 jihad.

As a shaykh of the Naqshbandi tariqah, Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn had thousands of disciples, a number of whom received ijazah from him, including Mawlana Rafi‘ al-Din Deobandi (d. 1309 AH), Mawlana Isma‘il Kandhlawi (d. 1315 AH),[3] Mawlana Muhammad Husayn Faqir Dehlawi (d. 1324 AH) and Hafiz Tafaddul Husayn Baghrawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them all).

It was Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn’s practice to visit and reside in the mosques of neighbouring towns and villages for three to four days at a time. During his stay he would explain the method of offering salah to the people, teach them the rulings of religion, and encourage them to bring them into practise. Mawlana Muhammad Isma‘il Kandhlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) inherited this practise from Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn. This method of preaching was later popularised by his son Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) and is now prevalent throughout the world in the form of the Tablighi Jama‘ah movement.

Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn also authored a treatise — Radd-e-Rusum (Refutation of Customs) — in refutation of innovations and the practise of not marrying widows, something that was prevalent in India at that time.[4] Mawlana Rashid al-Hasan Kandhlawi writes that he is in possession of a manuscript of this treatise in Hafiz Damin Shahid’s (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)[5] handwriting.

Adapted from Makatib-e-Rashidiah (Lahore: Idara Islamiat, August 1996/Rabi‘ al-Awwal 1417 ed.) p.195-196[6]

[1] Grandson and successor of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)

[2] See Mawlana ‘Ubayd Allah Sindhi’s (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) ‘‘Shah Wali Allah Awr Unki Siyasi Tahrik’’.

[3] He was the father of Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi and Mawlana Muhammad Yahya Kandhlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them).

[4] The notion of considering the marrying of widows shameful is something that had become prominent in India owing to local Hindu culture. The practise was also strongly opposed by Sayyid Ahmad Shahid and his followers (may Allah shower His mercy upon them all).

[5] He was a senior khalifah of Shaykh Mianji Nur Muhammad Jhinjhanawi and a close companion of Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki. He was martyred in the Battle of Shamli in 1857. He left this temporal world in a mosque with his head resting in the lap of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them all).

[6] This section of the book comprises footnotes by Mawlana Rashid al-Hasan Kandhlawi. The book itself was compiled by Mawlana Mahmud Ashraf Usmani.

Mawlana Muhammad Ihtisham al-Hasan Kandhlawi writes:

‘‘Hadrat Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi[1] would divide the night into three parts. In the first part of the night he would teach the translation of the Qur’an to his second wife, who had previously been widowed. In the second part of the night, he would teach his daughters the translation of the Qur’an. The third part of the night was reserved for his wife from Kirana at whose house he would offer tahajjud prayer.’’[2]

[1] Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi [1220-1283] was a wali of Allah who was renowned for his simplicity, humility, piety, ascetism, abundant worship, fear of and love for Allah, and adherence to the sunnah. His teachers and shaykhs include his uncle Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Kandhlawi, Mawlana Shah Kamal al-Din and the beloved grandsons of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi — Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dehlawi and Shah Muhammad Ya‘qub Dehlawi. He was also blessed with the company (suhbah) of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, from whom he benefited greatly.

His shaykh Shah Muhammad Ya‘qub Dehlawi once said that whoever desires to see the conduct, clothing, appearance and lifestyle of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) should observe Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn. His speeches were simple, yet heart-penetrating; they would remove doubts and cleanse hearts. It would seem as if the mercy of Allah was descending like rain from the heavens, causing dead hearts to flourish. He strove hard throughout his life to revive the sunnah. He was among those scholars who strongly advocated the marrying of widows, something that was taboo owing to local Hindu culture. Many people from all over India would come to him for spiritual guidance. His disciples were known for their love of and adherence to the Qur’an and sunnah. Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf, the maternal grandfather of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya, and his brother Hafiz Muhammad Yunus would say that one of the miracles and blessings of Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn was that his disciples would never miss their tahajjud prayer.

Senior scholars such as Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi loved and revered him, and considered him their senior. In fact, it was under Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi’s guidance and encouragement that Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi delivered his first public speech.

He performed Hajj on foot on several occasions. At the end of his life, upon his shaykh’s instruction, he migrated to the Hijaz and passed away on reaching the illuminated city of Madinah on 10 Muharram 1283/25 May 1866. He lays buried in Jannat al-Baqi‘ near the resting place of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (may Allah be pleased with him).

May Allah enlighten his resting place, shower His mercy on him and grant him, his teachers, students, and all those mentioned above the highest stations in Paradise. Amin.  (Adapted by the translator from Nuzhat al-Khawatir and an article by Mawlana Muhammad Ihtisham al-Hasan Kandhlawi).

[2] Sawanih ‘Ulama’-e-Deoband (Deoband: Nawaz publications) Vol. 1, p. 238, compiled by Dr. Nawaz Deobandi.

Hadrat Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi was mentioned in a recent blog entry. I thought it may prove beneficial for readers who were not familiar with him, if it was explained how he was related to some of our more recent elders.


Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi was the nephew (brothers’ son) and student of Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Kandhlawi, who in turn was a senior student of Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dehlawi and author of Shiyam al-Habib (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), a wonderful, brief and concise Arabic treatise on Shama’il. Hakim al-Ummat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi incorporated it into his Nashr al-Tib fi Dhikr al-Nabi al-Habib (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). [1]


Hadrat Mawlana Muzaffar Husayn Kandhlawi had a daughter named Bibi Amat al-Rahman, who was a reflection of her father’s noble characteristics. She was an ‘abidah (someone who worships in abundance) and a zahidah (ascetic).  Even senior ‘ulama would seek her prayers and blessings. This pious and noble woman had a daughter named Bibi Safiyyah, who was also an ‘abidah and someone who would remain in remembrance of Allah and in spiritual exercises. She had memorized the entire Qur’an and would recite one manzil of the Qur’an daily. This was alongside her daily wazifas, litanies and household chores. Bibi Safiyyah gave birth to the great caller to Allah and mujaddid of tabligh, Hadrat Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi. She also gave birth to Hadrat Mawlana Yahya Kandhlawi, a prominent student and disciple of Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Hadrat Mawlana Yahya Kandhlawi was, of course, the father of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi.


May Allah shower His mercy upon all those mentioned above.


[1] It has been rendered into the English language by Mawlana Abdur Rahman Kolia of South Africa. It was published by Maktabah Mujaddid Alfe-Thani as ‘Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam – As If You Were Seeing him’ and is available in some UK bookshops (I personally saw it in Dawah Book Store in Leicester)


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