Lineage & Early Life
Hadhrat Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Yusuf bin Suleman bin Cassim Motala (da)
Hadhrat’s father’s family has resided in the village of Varethi, within the Surat district, for centuries. Though their occupation was farming, his paternal grandfather relinquished his land on a contract and adopted business as his source of income. Due to Hadhrat’s grandfather’s premature death, Hadhrat’s father was raised in his mother’s care. After reaching puberty, he started a business. His first marriage was into an honoured family from Hathuan. From that marriage, he had a son named Mohamed Ali. This wife passed away within a few years, after which he married Hadhrat’s mother, Amina bint Mohamed bin Ismail Desai. Hadhrat’s maternal family lived in a village called Kholwad on the shores of the Tapisti River. For unknown reasons, this clan moved to Nani Naroli. There, they adopted farming as their profession and source of income.
Hadhrat’s mother did not bear any children for a period of five to six years after marriage. Then, a pious man arrived in Nani Naroli, whom Hadhrat’s father requested to supplicate for children. The pious man presented Hadhrat’s mother with a ring and imparted the glad tidings of a baby boy. He wished well for the child to be characterized with qualities of knowledge and piety. After a year, the pious man returned to Nani Naroli. Shortly prior to his arrival, Hadhrat’s brother, Hadhrat Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Abdur Rahim bin Suleman bin Cassim Motala, had been born. For a second time, the pious man presented Hadhrat’s mother with a ring and imparted the glad tidings of another child.
After having married Hadhrat’s mother, the effect of her religiousness started to overcome Hadhrat’s father. Eventually, his oath of allegiance (bay’at) was accepted at the hands of Maulana Abdul Gafoor Bangali, as a result of which he commenced dhikr. As soon as Hadhrat’s father commenced dhikr, the effects of it steadily began to influence his health to such an extent that it started to have a reclusive effect on his state of affairs. In this condition, he said to Hadhrat’s mother, “I intend to forsake the world. You must return to your house”. The elders and influential men of Hadhrat’s family attempted to dissuade him in every possible manner, but to no avail. Eventually, he was forced to sign divorce papers in case his condition reached insanity. The iddah was until the day Hadhrat was born. Hadhrat was born at his maternal grandfather’s house in Nani Naroli on the night of Monday, November 26, 1946.
In 1953, Hadhrat’s maternal aunt passed away in South Africa during the childbirth of a son, Shabir. Her husband was left a widower with eleven children. So, Hadhrat’s grandfather sent Hadhrat’s mother to South Africa to marry her brother-in-law and raise his children. Though she did not wish to abandon her sons, she agreed and reluctantly departed for South Africa. From then on, seven-year-old Hadhrat and his nine-year-old brother were raised by their grandparents. However, within a few years, they passed away. Thus, Hadhrat and his brother were raised by their maternal aunt, affectionately called Chotikala.
Hadhrat’s primary Islamic education of Qur’an Sharif and Urdu was completed at Madressa-e-Targib in Nani Naroli. In 1961, Hadhrat enrolled at Jamea Hussainia a well-known madrasa in Rander. There, he studied from the first year of Persian until the first year of Hidaaya. Thereafter, in 966, Hadhrat enrolled at Mazahirul Ulum in Saharanpur. His classes commenced on February 23, 1966. He studied Mishkaat ul Masabeeh under Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Yunus, Tafsir ul Jalalayn under Maulana Muhammad Aqil, Volume 3 of Hidaaya under Mufti Yahya, and Mishkaat ul Masabeeh for a second time under Hadhrat Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA).
In the following year, Hadhrat studied Sahih ul Bukhari under Hadhrat Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA), Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan An Nasa’i, Mu’atta Imam Malik and Mu’atta Imam Muhammad under Maulana Yunus Jaunpuri, Sahih Muslim and Sunan At Timrmidhi under Maulana Muzaffar Hussain, and Surah Maiani Al Athar under Hadhrat Maulana Asadullah. At around this time, Hadhrat wrote a letter to Hadhrat Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA) requesting the acceptance of bay’at. He replied, accepted Hadhrat’s bay’at, and entered Hadhrat into his silsilah. After this, along with his studies, Hadhrat commenced a consistent routine of the recitation of Qur’aan Sharif and performance of Tahajjud, Ishraaq, Chaasht and Awwaabeen Salaah.
Marriage, Khilafat, and the Birth of His First Child
In 1968, after completing his final year, Hadhrat’s relatives engaged him to a close friend of the family in England. His trip to England was booked for after Ramadan. In Ramadan of 1968, Hadhrat was appointed to lead the five daily salaahs and Taraweh Salaah. Two paras were to be recited in each Taraweeh Salaah. However, after three or four days, Hadhrat became ill and was sent home to Surat. Approximately four months later, in early June, Hadhrat travelled to England. His marriage was conducted within five or six weeks.
On April 23 1969, along with four friends, Hadhrat departed from England to performUmra. There, he had the opportunity to spend six to seven months in the company of his Shaikh. Hadhrat passed the Ramadan of 1969 with his Shaikh in Makkah and Madina. One night, whilst in I’tikaaf, after the performance of Taraweeh Salaah, Hadhrat’s Shaikh called Hadhrat and Maulana Ismail Badat into his tent and granted them permission to accept Khilafat, wrapping turbans on their heads with his own hands. At the end of the month of Ramadan, Hadhrat was sent back to England.
However, Hadhrat had the opportunity to spend Ramadan of 1970 in Saharanpur. On the 30th of Ramadan, by means of a telegram, Hadhrat received glad tidings of the birth of his first child, a girl. Hadhrat’s Shaikh immediately sent a telegram: “May the name ‘Khadija’ be blessed. The birth of a daughter is an indication of resemblance to the exalted Prophet Muhammad .”
His WorkUpon the instructions of his Shaikh, Hadhrat established Dar ul Ulum Al Arabia Al Ilamia in Holcombe, Bury, Lancashire, in 1973. At present, he is the founder and patron of numerous Islamic institutes throughout the world and spiritual guide to thousands of Muslims all over the world.
His students, who number thousands, are spread across the globe, occupied in the service of deen in varying capacities. More than 75% of English-speaking Ulama in the UK are graduates of institutes founded by Hadhrat, many of whom are actively engaged in reinforcing community relation.
Hadhrat is a dedicated educationist and has devoted much of his life to establishing schools and colleges for the betterment of the Muslim community. His work has been praised by both the community as a whole as well as OFSTED.
His Institutions in the UK
• Dar ul Ulum Al Arabia Al Islamia, Bury
• Madinatul Ulum Al Islamia, Kidderminster
• Jamiatual Imam Muhammad Zakariya, Bradford
• Markazul Ulum, Blackbun
• Madrasatul Imam Muhamma Zakariya, Bolton
• Madrasatul Imam Muhamma Zakariya, Preston