Mawlānā Faḍl al-Raḥmān Deobandī

By Mawlānā ʻAbd Allāh Patel Kāpaudrī
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

Hadrat Maulānā Fadl ar-Rahmān Sāhib rahimahullāh hailed from Sarhad. He acquired his early education with much toiling and striving under the ‛ulamā’ of his hometown. He used to say: “There was no system of hostels in the madāris. We used to live in masājid and go to our teachers for lessons. We would also carry out domestic chores for them. We used to go to the mountains to fill water and collect firewood. If the teacher was ploughing his land, we would walk with him and he would listen to our lessons.”

After completing grammar and etymology, he turned to fiqh and principles of fiqh, and memorized certain texts. This had been the methodology of the ‛ulamā’ of the past. That is, they used to study one subject at a time under the expert teacher in that subject. They used to memorize one text book from each subject. On completing the academic subjects [like grammar, etymology, principles, philosophy, logic, etc.] they would present themselves to the experts in Hadīth and tafsīr. Many years used to be spent in studying the various subjects in this manner. However, when they did qualify, they qualified as scholars with a solid foundation.

Maulānā Fadl ar-Rahmān Sāhib rahimahullāh left his hometown and came to Dār al-‛Ulūm Deoband to quench his thirst for knowledge. He completed after a good few years. He settled down in Deoband, resided in the Pathān Pūrah section of the town, got married there and became a Deobandī in this way.

He came to Jāmi‛ah Dhābel after 1950 to render his services in the field of teaching. He used to work very hard in teaching al-Hidāyah (Ākhirayn), Mukhtasar al Ma‛ānī, Abū Dāwūd and other books. He was in the habit of preparing for his lessons until 2am.

After Dhābel, the Maulānā was a Shaykh al-Hadīth for many years in the madāris of Chāphī and Wadālī. A large number of students benefited from him. He was accustomed to a very simple life. His strict adherence to attending his lessons was matchless. He would never deliver a lesson without having prepared for it before hand. He passed away in Deoband and was buried there. May Allāh ta‛ālā shower His abundant mercy on him.

Lighthouses of Guidance: Personalities From Whom I Benefited p. 49-51

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