By Mawlana Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Around one hundred and fifty thousand humans die every day around the globe, but there are only few who leave eyes in tears and hearts shocked cutting across the lines of family, caste and region. One of such personalities was Maulana Abdur Rahim Bastawi who passed away on 09 Sep 2015 Wed morning in Deoband.
Maulana Abdur Rahim Bastawi, Professor of Hadith, Tafsir and Islamic sciences in Darul Uloom Deoband, was in his eighties and was ailing seriously since the last June.
Maulana was a teacher of generations in Darul Uloom and taught thousands of students from across the country and even abroad. Maulana was well-known in academic and teaching circles for his keen interest in Philosophy and Logic. The students called him imam al-mantiq wa al-falsafa due to his expertise and command over the subjects.
Maulana Abdur Rahim was born in Daryabad Dist. Basti UP in 1929. He acquired the primary education at his native place and then went to Madrasa Noorul Uloom Bahraich in UP where he completed the middle stage of Islamic education. In 1951, he joined Darul Uloom Deoband for higher Islamic education and graduated in 1955 under Shaikh al-Islam Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani, the Shaikh al-Hadith and Principal of Darul Uloom from 1927 to 1957. Maulana Abdur Rahim bagged the honour of being a disciple this great Muhaddith, the last row of his students in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is vanishing swiftly and those who remain alive can be counted on fingers. Darul Uloom itself now enjoys only three professors who studied at Shaikh al-Islam Madani.
After graduating from Darul Uloom, he was appointed as teacher in Umri Kalan, Dist. Basti where he rendered his services for four years. Then, on the behest of his teachers in Darul Uloom Deoband, he joined Madrasa Shamsul Uloom in Andhra Pradesh where he stayed nearly for two decades. In view of the bad religious conditions of the Muslims in southern India, he did not confine himself to teaching in the madrasa, rather he rose to reform their beliefs, practices and thinking through the pulpit of mosques. He was a popular orator of the area and due to his sincere efforts scores of Muslims repented superstitious practices and un-Islamic customs.
In 1982, Maulana Abdur Rahim was selected for a teaching post in Darul Uloom Deoband. He taught different subjects from the secondary to middle Arabic classes till the last session ended in Sha’ban 1436/June 2015. His field of expertise was the logic and philosophy.
Under his supervision, the students in Darul Uloom founded Sho’ba-e-Munazara (debate section) where they held weekly programme by forming two groups; one favouring a contentious issue while the other opposing it. This helped immensely to develop oratory and dialogue skills of the students who prepared themselves to defend Islam and Muslims in odd times. He also went out in Tabligh tours and thus helped Jamat Tabligh to establish in the region. He took first Jam’at to Mysore in 1959. He had been state President of Jami’at Ulama of AP since 1975-1980.
Maulana survived thousands of his disciples and several sons whom he adorned with Islamic and modern Education. His son Dr Shamsul Huda is Associate Professor of Maulana Azad National Undu University Hyderabad, his elder son Maulana Noorul Huda Qasmi is rector of Jamia Farooqia Deoband, while his another son Mufti Najmul Huda is following the footsteps of his father in dispensing the wealth of knowledge to students. The collection of his speeches in UK are published with the title Khutbat-e-London, Khutbat-e-Birmingham. His some other treatises are: Shab-e-Bara’at, Shab-e-Me’raj, Pandrah Naflein. He also wrote his autobiography which is unpublished. He was also given khilafat by Maulana Altaf Hussain of Bangladesh who is khalifa of Sufi Hafiz Ji Huzoor, the famous khalifa of Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi in Bangladesh.
Maulana’s funeral prayer was attended by a large crowd and he was laid to rest in famous Qasmi graveyard after Isha Salah. The next day Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, delivering a condolence speech in Darul Uloom, mourned the great loss caused by his demise and shed light on the finer qualities of the deceased.
May Allah shower His exclusive mercy on Maulana and may He grant him the highest abode in Paradise, Amen!
The following is a tribute to Mawlana Abd al-Rahim Bastawi by his son, Mawlana Najm al-Huda Qasmi, click here to download.