By Shaykh Mohammed Daniel al-Muhajir and Others
The erudite scholar, the true ascetic, Shaykh Abdul Haq bin Mohammed Umar bin Karīm Baksh al-Azami al-Qāsimi was born in the town of Jagdishpūr in the state of Uttar Pradesh (India) in 1925 CE – corresponding to 1345 AH – and passed away on the evening of Friday, 30th December 2016.
He was orphaned during his early childhood and his upbringing was taken care of by Mawlana Mohammed Muslim al-Jawnpūri who supervised his elementary study and then placed him on the sacred path at the Bait al-Ulūm Madarsa in Sarai Meer where he used to serve as a teacher of Hadith.
There Shaykh al-Azami studied the elementary subjects and undertook an intensive study of Arabic syntax and grammar, logic, and Fiqh studying the famous work Sharh al-Wiqāyah and completing four years of study before he travelled to Darul Ulūm Mau where he completed a further 3 years of study focusing on the essentials of Hanafi Fiqh, completing his study of Imam Marghināni’s al-Hidāyah and Imam Tibrīzi’s Mishkāt al-Masābīh.
After this, he set out to the famous seat of learning in Deoband where he was inducted into the final year of the ‘Ālimiyyah course which he completed with the following teachers:
Sahih al-Bukhari: He studied the entire collection with the Shaykh of Shaykhs: Mawlana Husain Ahmed al-Madani (d.1957)
Sahih Muslim: He studied the entire collection with Allāmah Ibrahim al-Balyāwi (d.1967)
Sunan Abu Dawud: He studied the entire collection with Shaykh al-Adab Izāz Ali Amrohi (d.1954)
Jāmi’ Imam al-Tirmidhi: He studied half of the work with Mawlana Husain Ahmed al-Madani and the other half with Shaykh Izāz Ali Amrohi along with the Shamā’il al-Muhammadiyyah.
Sunan al-Nasai: He studied the collection with Shaykh Fakhr al-Hasan Murādbādi (d.1978)
Sunan Ibn Majah: He studied the work with Shaykh Dhuhūr Ahmed al-Uthmāni (d.1963)
Muwatta Collections: He studied the Muwatta of Imam Malik with Shaykh Fakhr al-Hasan Murādabādi and the Muwatta of Imam Mohammed b. Hasan Shaybāni with Shaykh Jaleel Ahmed al-Kairānwi (d.1968).
After completing his final year of studies – the Dawrat al-Hadith – in 1368 AH, he travelled to the famous seat of learning Mażāhir al-Ulūm [in Sahāranpūr, India] to study with the renowned Muhaddith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyyah al-Kandhlawi. There he read the three famous works of Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi: the Musalsal collection al-Fadl al-Mubīn, al-Durar al-Thamīn, and al-Nawādir.
Upon returning to his hometown of Azamgarh, he met with the great Muhaddith Habīb al-Rahman al-Azami and read Imam Mohammed Saeed al-Sunbul’s Awā’il.
I was honoured to meet the Shaykh on numerous occasions during my study visits to Deoband and he displayed true asceticism choosing very simple clothing, regular fasting, and residing in a very humble and small house at the seminary. At the same time, Shaykh was very welcoming, affable, and hospitable towards me, sending for refreshments and insisting that I eat some snacks before taking his biography or studying with him.
After graduating, he was encouraged by his mentors to start teaching and thus began his prolific career that lasted over 70 years. He started by teaching Hadith at Matlaa al-Ulūm in Banaris (India) where he taught for 16 years before moving to Madarsa al-Husayniyyah in Jawnpur where he taught for a few years more. Noticing his ability, the scholars of Deoband invited him to teach Sahih al-Bukhari at the prestigious Darul Ulūm where he remained from 1982 until his passing away a few days ago aged 92.8 lunar years.
Shaykh may have left this world, but his legacy lives on in the thousands of students that he taught whom have spread around the world passing on the great many lessons they learnt from him.
May Allah raise his ranks and have mercy upon him.
Servant of the savants,
Courtesy of Cordoba Academy
Note: This article was edited for spelling, grammar, and style.
By Shaykh Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Renowned Islamic scholar and an accomplished Hadith Professor of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Shaikh Abdul Haq Azami, passed away in Deoband after a short illness on the eve of December 30 at the age of 88. On his death a wave of grief and sorrow struck the circles of Ulama, students and the common Muslims across the world.
Shaikh Abdul Haq Azami was engaged in imparting Hadith in Darul Uloom Deoband for decades. He was a prominent and celebrated scholar of Hadith in the present era. More than forty thousand students have benefited immensely from him and completed the Aalim and Fazil courses. With his demise an era of Hadith studies came to an end.
Birth and Education
Shaikh Abul Haq Azami s/o Janab Muhammad Umar was born in Jagdishpur, Dist Azamgarh (UP) in 1928. He acquired his primary at local seminary and then moved to Madrasah Baitul Uloom Saraimir for secondary Arabic education. Thereafter, he was enrolled in Darul Uloom Mau and studied till 7th Arabic Class (Haftum).
Shaikh Azami was nourished and nurtured by his stepfather Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Muslim Jaupuri who was a great scholar of his time and was known for his keen interest and expertise in mantiq (logic) and philosophy, he was a celebrated disciple of Hadhrat Maulana Majid Ali Manwi, the disciple of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and a great Muhaddith of his time.
Then he joined Darul Uloom Deoband and completed his graduation in Hadith and Islamic sciences in 1955 at the hands of various scholars of his time, especially Shaikhul Islam Hadhrat Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani. Later he benefited from Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariya Kandhlawi and Maulana Habibur Rahman Muhaddith Azami.
After the completion of his studies, he served as lecturer at different Madaris and held the posts of Shaikh al-Hadith and Sadrul Mudarriseen (head of teaching staff), particularly in Madrasah Matla’ul Uloom Banaras (Varanasi) and Darul Uloom Mau. He spent 16 years in Varanasi and 14 years in Mau imparting Hadith to students and discharging duties of Sadrul Mudarriseen.
It is worth noting that he taught Bukhari in Mau in a time when the world renowned scholar of Hadith, Maulana Habibur Rahman Azami, was residing in the same city. It indicates to his high position in Hadith and the reliance of Ulama upon him.
In 1982 he was invited by Darul Uloom Deoband to teach Hadith and was assigned to teach Sahih Bukhari (vol. 2) to the students of highest class. Along with Hadith, he taught the books of Tafsir such as Tafsir Madarik, Tafsir Mazhari and Tafsir Baidhawi as well as Fiqh books such as Hidaya and al-Ashbah wa al-Nazair.
Among his famous students are Maulana Habibur Rahman Azami, Mufti Muhammad Rashid Azami, Maulana Noor Alam Khalil Amini, Mufti Anwar Ali of Mau, Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri, Maulana Mahmood Madani etc.
He was invited for sermons and speeches among the people. His speeches were very simple, but immensely touching and warming the hearts due to his infused piety and engrained righteousness and austerity. Specially his prayer session after the end of speech were highly popular owing to his submissive supplications and sincere beseeching to Allah, the Almighty.
Specialization in Hadith
Shaikh Abdul Haq was a prominent scholar of Hadith in our time. He was associated with teaching of Hadith for five decades. As he taught many books of Hadith, besides other books of Islamic sciences such Fiqh, Tafsir etc, but he was a distinguished teacher of Sahih Bukhari, which is believed to be the second truest book after the Book of Allah due to its fantastic parameters of Hadith narration and narrator’s investigation. Shaikh Abdul Haq taught Sahih Bukhari for nearly 50 years starting from Mataul Uloom Banaras and Darul Uloom Mau where he spent nearly 30 years and then he was called to teach Bukhari in Darul Uloom Deoband in 1982.
According to an estimation, he taught Sahih Bukhari to more than forty thousand students during his longest tenure in Hadith teaching. This is such a great feat of him that is seldom shared by any scholar of his time. During his tenure as ‘Shaikh al-Hadith’ Darul Uloom Deoband alone produced around thirty five thousand graduates who learnt Bukhari (vol 2) from him.
He was the most prominent scholar from India who earned fame as ‘Shaikh al-Hadith’ and was invited by scores of madrasas in India and abroad to start the Bukhari class and then to complete it at the end of academic session.
Contribution to Fiqh
As he was a great muhaddith he served as Mufti also in Mau and Varanasi. He used to write responses to Islamic queries directed to him with utmost care and expertise. Though he was not formally trained in fatwa writing but he studied the fiqh so thoroughly that the madrasa management relied upon him and gave him the charge of ‘Mufti’ during his stay in Darul Uloom Mau.
He served as Mufti for thirteen years and wrote more than 13000 fatwas which are preserved in several voluminous registers. His son in law, Maulana Ubaidullah Qasmi Azami, is compiling the compendium and shall soon see the light of the day in-sha-Allah!
Salient Qualities and Features
Shaikh Abdul Haq Azami possessed a very imposing and lovely personality. At first he used to have an astonishing effect on the onlooker due to his heavy and encompassing figure, but he was very humble, naïve and innocent as per his inherent nature. He won the hearts of people and enjoyed popularity among them due to his humble behaviour and down-to-earth instinct.
He never thought ill of any body and never ever was heard to backbite people. He discharged all his responsibilities very well and in time and never approached the administration for salary hike and asking for facilities. He spent his last thirty five years of his life in a two tiny room set of semi-flat beside Chhatta Mosque in Deoband with his family and children. Though he travelled thoroughly in India and abroad and had a wide range of contacts ranging from the affluent to politically powerful personalities but he never exploited these relations for the good of this world.
He kept himself aloof from affluent people and never was impressed by them. Thus he was able to speak the truth even at odd times. He never hesitated to say what is right even in the face of worldly loss and material disadvantage.
He was an embodiment of piety, knowledge, simplicity and humility. Due to his humbleness and modesty, he was popular amongst Ulama and the common people.
He was invited for sermons and speeches among the people. His speeches were very simple, but immensely touching and warming the hearts due to his infused piety and engrained righteousness and austerity. Specially his prayer sessions after the end of speech were highly popular owing to his submissive supplications and sincere beseeching to Allah, the Almighty.
Though he grew weaker and was not feeling well for quite some years due to old age, but his death was very unexpected as he did not have any serious health issue. However, his time for this world was over and he breathed his last on 30 Rabi al-Awwal 1438 corresponding to 30 December 2016.
The funeral prayer was led by Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, the President of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and the Professor Hadith in Darul Uloom Deoband, and was performed in the Daar-e-Jadeed campus at 3:30 pm. He was laid to rest in Qasmi graveyard in the presence of thousands of scholars and students.
Shaikh Azami survived a wife and twelve children; seven sons and five daughters. His eldest son is in his sixties, while his most capable son Maulana Abdur Bar Azami, a graduate and Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband, is teacher of Hadith in Madrasa Baitul Uloom Saraimir in Azamgarh.
May Allah shower the purest nectar of His endless mercy and blessing to the departed soul and make it reside in the highest abodes in Jannat, Amen!
By Mawlana Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi
On 30th December, when the 2016 AC was breathing its last and it was remaining just for a day, in the meantime, between Maghrib and Ishaa Salaah, Sheikh Abdul Haq Azami (Rahmatullahi Aleih), a great servant, distinguished scholar and eminent teacher of Hadeeth at illustrious Islamic University: Darul Uloom, Deoband went for heavenly abode. We accepted the news of the sudden demise of Sheikh like any other did. This news spread in the every corner of world like jungle fire. With much regret, grief and with heavy hearts people heard, read and shared it with others.
Death is such a reality that none have courage to deny it. When the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Sallam) faced the death, what to say about others! It is also a truth that death is a source to visit the Supreme Lord. If a person doesn’t die, how can he visit the Al-Merciful and Very-Merciful Allah! That was the reason that the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) chose death for himself and he hinted about his death sitting on his pulpit. The Hadeeth’s English translation goes like this: “Allah has given one of His slaves the choice of receiving the splendour and luxury of the worldly life (whatever he likes) or to accept the good (of the Hereafter) which is with Him (Allah). So, he has chosen that good which is with Allah.” On that Abu Bakr (understood that Nabi (SAWS) means himself, so he) wept and said, “Our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you.” (Bukhari, Hadeeth No.: 3904) May Allah they Almighty grant us death with Iman! Aameen!
Every single soul will have to taste death. Be it human kind, animal, bird or any creature will die at the stipulated time. The Almighty Allah says in the Verse: 85 of Surah Aal Imran in the Glorious Quraan: “كُلّ نَفْس ذَائِقَة الْمَوْت” (Every soul has to taste death.). Therefore, each one of prophets, companions and pious people tasted death and left for his fixed eternal places when their times of this world were over. We will also have to taste it a day. Sheikh Azami followed the verdict of the Supreme Lord and passed away like many others. May Allah grant him Jannatul Fridaus!
Sheikh Azami was born on 6th Rajab 1347 AH corresponding 17th December 1928 AC, in a village: Jagdishpur of district: Azamgadh in UP, India. He was just six years old, his beloved father, Muhammad Umar passed on. He was raised and brought up by his stepfather, a renowned scholar, Sheikh Abul Hasan Muhammad Muslim. Allah made this well brought up child, a shining start in the world. This orphan child, after becoming an Islamic Scholar, spent his entire life tirelessly and selflessly for the services and benefits of the learners, scholars and people from almost all the continents of the world. May Allah reward him for his lofty services! Aameen!
After receiving his basic knowledge, Sheikh Azami took admission in “Baitul Uloom”, Saraimir, a Madrasa in Azamgadh district established by Sheikh Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (1876- 1963), Khalifah of Sheikh Thanvi (1863-1943). He learnt in Baitul Uloom up to Sharhul Wiqaayah, a book of Hanfi Jurisprudence. He, thereafter, moved from Saraimir to Darul Uloom, Mau for further studies. He completed here in Mau up to Mishkaat Shareef, a well-known book of Hadeeth. From then on, he reached the world renowned Islamic University: Darul Uloom, Deoband to quench his thirst of knowledge.
He got enrolled in Darul Uloom, Deoband to complete his Fadhilah course. In Darul Uloom, Deoband, he acquired Hadeeth knowledge from Sheikhul Islam Sayyid Husain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957), Allamah Muhammad Ibrahim Baliawi (1304-1387=1886-1967), Sheikh Muhamad Izaaz Ali Amrohvi (1300- 1373=1882-1953), Sheikh Fakhrul Hasan Muradabadi (1905-1980) and Sheikh Zahoor Ahmad Deobandi (1900-1963) etc. He learnt full Bukhari Shareef and the first volume of Tirmidhi Shareef from Sheik Madani. In 1368 AH corresponding 1949 AC, He graduated from Darul Uloom, Deoband.
By the grace of Allah, the Almighty, Sheikh Azami learnt a lot from those towering personalities being in Darul Uloom, Deoband. Besides those great scholars of Hadeeth, he also got permission to teach and narrate Hadeeth on the authority of Sheikh Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (1876-1963), Qari Muahmmad Tayyib Qasmi (1897-1983), ex-VC of Darul Uloom, Deoband, Sheikhul Hadeeth Sheikh Muahammad Zakariyya (1898-1982) and world renowned scholar of Hadeeth Sheikh Habibur Rahman Azami (1900-1992).
Sheikh Azami, following graduation, opted for a career in teaching of the sciences of the Glorious Quraan and Holy Hadeeth. The first institute, where he started his teaching career was “Madrasa Matla’ul Uloom”, Banaras (Varanasi), UP. He taught there about 16 years and was Head Teacher as well as Sheikhul Hadeeth. Then he taught for 9 months in Madrasa Husainia, Giridih, Jharkhand (then Bihar). Thereafter, Sheikh was recruited in Darul Uloom, Mau, UP. In Mau, he taught the books of Tafseer, Hadeeth and Fiqh especially Bukhari Shareef in the presence of Muhaddith Kabeer Sheikh Habibur Rahman Azami (1900-1992) who was himself a celebrated scholar of Hadeeth.
In 1982, Sheikh was appointed in Darul Uloom Deoband as a senior teacher of Hadeeth. From that time, he continued teaching Bukhari Shareef, Vol.: 2, until he breathed his last. He was known among the students and teachers of Darul Uloom, Deoband as “Sheikh Thaani”, because of teaching the second part of Bukhari Shareef. He served in Darul Uloom, Deoband about 34 years. As a whole, his teaching career spans more than six decades, wherein he taught different Islamic Sciences. The students who learnt from Sheikh Azami are spread all over the world and they are proud of being his students. May Allah accept them as permanent charity for Sheikh! Aameen!
The lesson of Bukhari, Vol. 2 was taught following Ishaa Salaah. A group of students along with monitor used to go to “Masjide Chhatta”, where Sheikh’s residence was situated, to accompany him while coming to the class for teaching Bukhari Shareef. Currently, he used to come on wheelchair because of his ill health and growing weakness due to the old age. His teaching of Bukhari Shareef after Ishaa was about 2/3 hours. Because of his sincerity and unique teaching methodology, the students were finding the lesson so interesting that none was feeling tired and sleepy after learning so long period.
I saw Sheikh in 1997 or 1998 when I was a pupil of 2nd or 3rd Year of Aalmiyah Course at Madrasa Ashraful Uloom, Kanahwan in district Sitamarhi of Bihar. Sheikh came to visit the grave of Qari Muhammad Tayyib, ex-rector of Madrasa Ashraful Uloom. Actually Sheikh was on his way to Madrasa Faizul Islam, Parsa, Nepal, where he was supposed to address a religious gathering of Madrasa. Though Kanahwan is in India and Parsa is in Nepal; but the distance between these two places are just few kilo meters. Along with our colleagues and friends, I also went to attend the gathering of the Madrasa. When we reached Madrasa Faizul Islam, first we went to the room where Sheikh was resting before his sermon. We met him and greeted him.
When I got admission in Darul Uloom, Deoband in 2000 AC, often we used to see Sheikh; while he was coming to the class or going out of the class after teaching. After starting Miskhat Shareef, I fell in the same group of which Mishkaat’s lesson was assigned to Sheikh. After completion of Mishkaat, when we started final year in 2003, we were blessed to learn Bukhari, Volume: 2 by him as well.
Sheikh Azami was very humble and down-to-earth personality. It was very easy to have an approach to Sheikh and meet him. He never expressed that he was all go. Anyone could visit his residence and talk to him. He never disappointed anyone. Whenever someone came to him with an invitation to bless a religious gathering with his speech, be it in a village or a city, within country or abroad, he never minded to accept his invitation without any pre or post condition. Many Madaaris used to invite him in the beginning of academic year to teach Bukhari’s first Hadeeth and in the same way to complete the last Hadeeth at the end of the year.
Sheikh Azami got three marriages one after another. He was blessed with a son and two daughters from the first wife. When the first one passed on, he got the second marriage. He was blessed with a son, who died in the childhood, and two daughters from the second wife. When the second one passed away, he got the third marriage. He was blessed with six sons and three daughters from the third one. Altogether, Sheikh was blessed with eight sons and seven daughters. Seven sons and five daughters are alive. May Allah the Almighty keep them happy and make them permanent charity for Sheikh! Aameen!
Sheik Azami’s sudden demise came at the age of 88. Due to the old age, he grew weaker, but he didn’t have any serious health issue. On Friday, 30th December 2016, he vomited and complained about his health. He was taken to the hospital in Deoband. Following checkup and X-ray, his condition was described satisfactory by the doctor. But his worldly time was over, therefore, the doctor’s satisfaction paid nothing and he breathed his last on the described date between Maghrib and Ishaa in the hospital.
Sheikh’s funeral prayer took place on 31st December 2016, led by Maulana Sayyid Arshad Madani, professor of Hadeeth at Darul Uloom, Deoband, at 3:30 pm in Dare Jadeed campus of Darul Uloom, Deoband. A good number of people from masses and classes participated in the funeral. He was buried in the “Qasmi Graveyard” of Deoband. May the Almighty Allah shower His blessing and mercy upon his grave and grant him the highest place in Jannah! Ameen!
Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi
The right-minded disciple of Sheikh-ul-Islam Maulana Syed Hussain Ahmad Madani [May Allah be merciful to him], the oldest teacher of alma mater Darul Uloom Deoband, my compassionate teacher and teacher of thousands of scholars present all over the world, Maulana Abdul Haq Azmi [May Allah be merciful to him], after undergoing a brief ailment, departed from this world forever and met his real Lord on Friday, 30 December 2016, just before Isha prayer at the age of 88 years, [إناَ لله و إنا إليه راجعونWho, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”] Thousands of students, in spite of being physicallyaway, have an especial intimacy with their Second Sheikh due to his kindness and love towards them. That is why; the news of his death reached at the fullest extent all over the world at lightning speed. We were shocked to hear the news. But we satisfied ourselves, saying that every soul has to taste the death. Nonein this world can escape from the death, even the holy prophets, companions of prophet, grand hadiths representatives and interpreters have passed through this phase. The personalities who ruled over many parts of the world, they are also today buried two yards underthe earth. This is the system of the Creator of the universe. [He] who created death and life to test us [as to] who of us is best in deed. May Allah forgive the deceased, make his grave the garden of paradise and grant him high abode in Jannat-ul-fidaus! Amen.
Maulana Abdul Haq Azmi was born in 1928 on Sunday at village of Jagdish Pur, district of Azamgarh. Having been completed elementary education at the village, he admitted to Baitul-Uloom Sarae Mir where he read several Arabic and Persian books. Then he studiedArabicup to the Seventh grade in DarulUloom Mau. In 1948, he got admission into the great university of the world “Darul Uloom Deoband” and he studied in front of sheikh-ul-Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani, the connoisseur Muhammad Ibrahim Baliyawi, Sheikh Al-Adab Maulana Izaz Ali and others. He also got educational advantage from Sheikh Al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakaria Kandhlavi. After being graduated from Darul Uloom Deoband, he rendered teaching services at several institutes and madrasas. He particularly, taught Quran and Sunnah sciences almost for sixteen years in Mataul Uloom, Banaras. In 1982, he was appointed as Hadiths teacher by Shura of Darul Uloom Deoband and entrusted with teaching of Sahih Bukhari-Volume II and Mishkat-ul-Misbah. He taught the most authentic book of Hadith “Sahih Bukhari” in Darul Uloom Deoband for 34 years. Fortunately, he was very lucky to serve Quran and Sunnah for more than 60 years. Thousands of Islamic scholars who were educated by Sheikh-ul-Hadith, spread all over the world and offered their sacrifices for disseminating Islam, that will be verily an ongoing charity for him, whose reward will be –God Willing- continue reaching him. It is hard to believe that our Second Sheikh is now no more in this world, but his students and their pupils –God willing- will definitely keep the light blooming which they have gained from their compassionate teacher Maulana Abdul Haq Azmi.
I am substantially familiar with the domestic affairs of Sheik. He was immensely content and had a very simple temperament. If a man-in-street would have seen the simplest life-style of a person who was teaching Sahih Bukhari in the most prominent educational institute like Darul Uloom Deoband, he would surely be shocked. There were many issues and problems in his domestic life, but he was always clinched to the patience. He possessed extreme Humility and modesty. Handling his students with immense love was the hallmark/lineament which would always cause his students to pray for him. MayAllah Almighty grant him peace side by side and grant him, tomorrow on doomsday, ahigh abode in Jannat-ul-Firdaus without being him accounted. In 2010, the First Sheikh Maulana Naseer Khan [May Allah be merciful to him] departed from this world forever, who taught me Sahih Bukhar-Volume I, and in the last days of 2016, Second Sheikh Maulana Abdul Haq Azmi passed away. Such, my both teachers of Sahih Bukhari were endowed by the mercy of Allah. May Allah grant them highabode in the paradise! May Allah also accept us for rendering services to Quran and Sunnah! Amen.