Mawlānā Qāri ʻAbd al-Raḥmān al-Makkī

By Qāri Muḥammad Salīm Ghaybī (Gaibie)

He is known as the teacher of all teachers in India. It is upon him that most sanads of Qirā`āt in India revolve. Qāri ˘Abd al-Rahmān, the son of Muhammad Bashīr Khan, was born in India. Due to the English colonisation of India and their oppression of the indigenous peoples, Muhammad Bashīr Khan felt it best if they settled elsewhere. Through Allah’s guidance, Bashīr Khan and the remainder of his family settled in the holy land of Mecca in 1867 C.E.

Here he studied under the auspices of many experts. It was in this sacred place that Qāri ˘Abd al-Rahmān memorised the Qur`ān with various other texts in the field of Tajwīd. He embarked on the study of Qirā`āt after he had successfully memorised the Shātibiyyah, the Durrah and the Tayyibah. This he accomplished under the tutelage of his brother and teacher, Qāri ˘Abd Allah al-Makkī, to whom he read the seven and ten Qirā`āt via the Tarīq of the Durrah and the Tayyibah. With the council of his seniors, he returned to India to impart the knowledge he had gained in Mecca.

In 1883 C.E. he returned to Kanpur, India, where he taught in the madrasah of Moulana Ahmad Hasan. He later settled in Ilāh Ābād and taught in Madrasah Ihya` al-˘Ulūm. Even though he had a fervent aspiration to pass on his knowledge, the students were lazy and had little desire to learn. Qāri ˘Abd al-Rahmān therefore contemplated his return to Mecca and preparations for the journey were made. The bags were packed and transport arranged; all that remained was one more night that he would spend in India. That very night he saw the Messenger of Allah (sallā llāhu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam) in his dream who said to him: “˘Abd al-Rahmān! Remain in India. We intend to take lots of work from you.” Upon awakening the next morning, bags were unpacked and all preparations for the journey were cancelled.

With lots of effort by Qāri ˘Abd al-Rahmān, people slowly became aware of his expertise and his knowledge, and sent their children to learn from him. Many scholars also presented themselves as students at the hands of Qāri ˘Abd al-Rahmān. People from all over India flocked to study by him, and any effort to put an exact number to his students would be an impossible task. It was through his efforts, sincerity and expertise in these fields that the science of Qirā`āt spread throughout India.

He had an excellent memory and memorised many texts in the field of Tajwīd and Qirā`āt. Details regarding any Qirā`ah, Riwāyah or Tarīq were easily recalled by him when asked. He spent much of his time perusing and studying various books written in the field of Tajwīd and Qirā`āt. His recitation was simple, abiding by the rules of Tajwīd. There was no exertion and difficulty by him in any of his pronunciations, reciting with total ease.

During the month of Ramadān, he performed the Tarāwīh Prayers himself. Notwithstanding that he read at a fast pace, every letter and vowel sign was clearly heard. It is mentioned on one occasion, as he reached the completion of the entire rendition of the Qur`ān, he had forgotten to read Sūrah al-Humazah. After salah he was reminded that a sūrah had been left out. To this he replied: “It is true that the Qur`ān conquers (all). Man has no ability in overpowering it.” He repeated the salah and added the sūrah he had missed.

He was punctual with many of his supererogatory (nafl) prayers such as Ishrāq, Duhā and Tahajjud. It is said that in each of these prayers he would complete various renditions of the Qur`ān.

After returning to India, through Allah’s grace, he performed hajj twice. In his latter days he yearned to return to Medina, the city of his beloved Prophet (sallā llāhu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam). Towards the end of his life he went to Madrasah ˘Āliyah Furqāniyah in Lucknow where he died on the 6 Jamād al-Awwal 1341 A.H./25 December 1922 C.E.

Teachers:

  • Qāri ˘Abd Allah al-Makkī to whom he rendered the seven and the ten Qirā`āt.
  • Muhammad Ghāzī (1274 A.H.-1359 A.H./1857 C.E.-1939 C.E.) – What is certain due to many ijāzāt from Qāri ˘Abd al-Rahmān Makkī is that he did receive ijāzah in the ten Qirā`āt from Sheikh Ghāzī. However, whether he read the entire Qur`ān or just a portion of it is unclear. Most argue the latter since it is more probable and if he did read an entire khatm it would have been explicitly mentioned. Allah knows best.

Students:

They would include qurrā` from Afghanistan, Bengal, Burma etc.

  • Diyā` al-Dīn.
  • ˘Abd al-Mālik ibn Sheikh Jīwan.
  • Hifth al-Rahmān Deobandī.
  • Qāri Muhibb al-Dīn ibn Diyā` al-Dīn.

Written Works:

  • Afdal al-Durar – a commentary on the Rā`iyyah of Imam Shātibī.
  • Fawā`ide Makkiyyah – This book is originally written in Urdu and is included as part of the curriculum in most Dār al-˘Ulūms across the globe. It would be correct to say that no other book in this field has received the acclaim of Fawā`ide Makkiyyah in the Indo-pak subcontinent. How can it be otherwise when more than ninety percent of the sanads of India goes through Qāri Abd al-Rahmān Makkī. Since the author intended brevity when he wrote the book, many have written commentaries and footnotes on the work. They include:
    o Ta˘līqāte Mālikiyyah by Qāri ˘Abd al-Mālik Jīwan, a student of the author.
    o Lam˘āte Shamsiyyah by Qāri Muhammad Yūsuf al-Siyālwī.
    o Toudīhāte Mardiyyah by Qāri Muhammad Sharīf.
    o A footnote written by Qāri Muhibb al-Dīn.
    o Sharh Fawā`ide Makkiyyah by Qāri Muhammad Idrīs al-˘Āsim.

A˘lām al-Makkiyyīn Vol. 2 pg. 748. Tadhkiratu Qāriyāne Hind Vol. 1 pg. 233. Imtā˘ al-Fudalā` Vol. 2 pg. 312. Husn al-Muhādarāt Vol. 2 pg. 217. Safahāt fī Isnād Rijāl al-Qirā`āt pg. 142.

Fawā’ide Makkiyyah: An English translation, p. 8-12

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