By Sayyid Mahbub Rizwi
Translated by Prof. Murtaz Husayn F. Qurayshi
His ancestral native-place is a sleepy village, Simlak, adjacent to Dabhel, in Surat district, but his family had migrated to South Africa some generations ago and had settled down in Johannesburg. He was born there around 1322/1904. For his primary education his august father sent him to India. Here he read at Palanpur under the instruction of Maulana Nazeer Ahmed Palanpuri. In A.H. 1342 he took admission in the Dar al-Ulum, Deoband, and graduated from it in A.H. 1344. No sooner did he come to the Dar al-Ulum than he joined the circle of Hazrat Shah Sahib’s (Anwar Shah Kashmiri) murids; and Hazrat Shah Sahib’s way of life influenced him so much that in sitting and standing, gait, conversation and in all other modes of behaviour he became an exact specimen of his teacher and spiritual preceptor. Inspite of being wealthy there was extreme simplicity and humility in his disposition and way of living. He used to lead a simple life like common students but he used to exceed others in taking part in good works and used to spend money lavishly. Besides Arabic, Persian and Urdu, he was well-versed in English and French also.
After having completed his education he went to Johannesburg and there, along with his very vast commercial business, continued to render religious services on a large scale. For the teaching of Islamic and contemporary sciences he founded Waterfall Islamic Institute in Johannesburg. He built a magnificent building for it and used to bear himself all the expenses of the Institute. According to the system of the Dar al-Ulum, Deoband, along with free education, the provision for the students’ boarding was also made by him. He was president of the Jami’at al-Ulama-e Transvaal for a long time. The construction and progress of the Jamia-e Islamia, Dabhel, owes largely to his huge financial help. He was always interested in academic works also. Under the name of Majiis-e Ilmi1 he established a writers’ guild at Dabhel in which he made arrangements for the publishing of academic books at his own cost. Taking a micro-film of the marginalia written by Allamah Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri in his own hand on Allamah Zaheer Ahsan Nimvi’s (d. A.H. 1322) book, Athar al-Sunan, he published its copies for men of learning. It is from his sons’ financial aid that Maulana Habib al-Rahman A’zami has edited and published Ibn Abd al-Razzaq’s Musannaf.
He died in Johannesburg on April 16, 1963 (21st Zi-qa’da, A.H. 1382).
Rizvi, Sayyid Mahboob (1981). History of the Dar al-’Ulum Deoband, Volume 2. Deoband: Idara-e Ihtemam. p. 111-112.
1. This translator has had the honour of having translated, at his request, two of his booklets, one of which Din-e Kamil Al-Islam, has been published in Johannesburg, South Africa. He had blessed me for this work. He was indeed a very pious divine, very honest in his dealings.(Translator)