Muftī Sayf al-Islām Bīshwanāthī

By Muhammad Mujibur Rahmān

It has been my longing desire to write a biography of my beloved teacher and spiritual mentor, Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islām. Finally, I have been given the opportunity to fulfil my aspiration. I have written a brief account of his life and works to highlight his achievements. I am eternally grateful to Allāh for including me in the pious company of my Shaykh, who has been an inspiration in my life and undoubtedly in the life of many others too. This is a brief biography of Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islām and I am hopeful that in the future a comprehensive biography will be written and made available, Inshā-Allāh.

Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islām was born on the 17th of Rajab 1394 A.H (6th of August 1974) in the small village of Duhal in the town of Biswanath, district Sylhet, Bangladesh. His father was Muhammad Ali and his grandfather was Soyd Ali. He is the second eldest of four brothers and three sisters. He was initially given the name Shamsul Islām by the elders of his family but later his uncle kept his permanent name as Saiful Islām.

Migration to England
On the 1st of March 1981, Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islām’s father decided to take the family to the UK. They settled in the city of Bradford which is situated in the Yorkshire region of England.

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Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī

Hadhrat Maulānā Khalīl Ahmad Saharanpuri (r.a) was born toward the end of Safar 1269 A.H. (December 1852 A.D.) in Ambehta, a town in the district of Saharanpur India. He was named both “Zahiruddeen” and “Khalīl Ahmad”, but Khalīl Ahmad became his official name. His mother, Bi Mubarak an-Nisā, was the daughter of Maulānā Mamlūk `Ali (r.a) and the sister of Maulānā Muhammad Yā’qub Nānotwi (r.a).

Maulānā Khalīl commenced his studies at an elementary school at the age of five. Maulānā Mamlūk `Ali (r.a) conducted his Bismillah and Maulānā Khalīl Ahmad Sahib (r.a) soon completed the recitation of the Qur’an. He then studied the primary books of Urdu and Persian under various Ulamā in Ambehta and Nanota. Thereafter, he accompanied his paternal uncle, Maulānā Ansār `Ali, to Gwalior, where he studied the primary texts of Arabic grammar, after which he returned home.

During this period, some of his relatives insisted that he be enrolled at a secular school. Though he did not want to, he commenced his secular studies. he constantly made dua for Allāh to free him from the fetters of British education, Allāh accepted his dua When Dārul was opened in May 1866 ( 1283 A.H.) and his uncle, Maulānā Muhammad Yā’qub (r.a) , was appointed as the Sadr-Mudarris (dean), Maulānā Khalīl Ahmad Sahib (r.a) took permission from his parents and travelled to Deoband, where he continued his studies. Six months later, in November 1866, Mazāhirul Uloom Saharanpur was established. There, another maternal uncle of Maulānā Khalīl Ahmad Sahib (r.a), Maulānā Muhammad Mazhar (r.a) was appointed as the Sadr-Mudarris. Maulānā Khalīl Ahmad Sahib (r.a) transferred to Mazāhirul Uloom Saharanpur where he completed his studies in 1288 AH (1871) at the tender age of 19.

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Mawlānā Mamlūk ʻAlī Nānūtwī

By Mufti Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami

Ml. Mamluk al-Ali Nanautwi. 1204 – 1266 AH (1789 – 1851 CE). One of the great Alim of his time in Delhi and a renowned educator. He is known as ustad al-kull (teacher of all) and ustad al-ulama (teacher to the ulama) as he either directly or in some way taught the ulama who went on to influence the Islamic landscape in India the effect of which resonates to the present time globally. He is noted as a key influencer in the development of the Deoband movement which was founded by his students which includes Ml. Qasim Nanautwi, Mft. Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and his son Ml. Ya’qub Nanautwi.


He is Mamluk al-Ali b. Ahmad Ali b. Hakim Ghulam Ashraf b. Hakim Abd Allah b. Shaykh Ab al-Fath Siddiqi Nanautwi. Mamluk means servant. Ali is the name of a sahabi whilst al-Ali is a quality of Allah almighty which means ‘the most high’. His birth name was pronounced Mamluk Ali, however, he opted to write Mamluk al-Ali to mean the servant of (Allah) the most high.

He was born circa 1204 AH (1789 CE)1 in Nanauta which is in Uttar Pardesh (India); a place with many Muslims of Arab descent. He died2 on 11 Zul Hijjah 1266 AH3 (1851 CE) in Delhi4, aged 62 (May Allah almighty have mercy upon him).

His lineage reaches to the great sahabi, Abu Bakr Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him)5, hence, the reference Siddiqi. Accordingly, Haji Imdad Allah Nanautwi (Makki)6 and Ml. Qasim Nanautwi7 are related to him through their common ancestry to Sh. Ab al-Fath. He is recorded to have three children. His son, Ml. Yaqub Nanautwi (1249-1302) was the dean of Darul Uloom Deoband and one of the core pillars of the Deoband movement. His daughters, Najib al-Nisa and Mubarak al-Nisa, were married to two brothers, Ml. Ansar Ali and Shah Majid Ali Ambetwi respectively. The dean of Mazahir al-Ulum, Ml. Khalil Ahmad Muhaddith Saharanpuri was his grandson through Mubarak al-Nisa. Also of note are Ml. Mazhar, Ml. Ahsan and Ml. Munir Nanautwi who are the sons of his first cousin Hf. Lutf Ali b. Hf. Muhammad Hasan b. Hakim Ghulam Ashraf. His family had a close association with the household of Shah Wali Muhaddith Dihlawi and supported their movement.

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Mawlānā Mūsā Sāmraudī

Maulana Musa Samrodi was born on the 19th of June 1923 and passed away on 24th Muharram 1437/ 6th November 2015 at the age of 92 (Islamic 95).

Hadhrat studied from beginning to end in Jamiah Islamiah Dhabel and graduated in 1945. Hadhrat then studied Tibb and Hikmat (Medicine) in Deoband in 1946.

Dawat and Tableegh:
Hadhrat spent 68 years as a Muqeem at Bangle Wali Masjid, Markaz Nizamuddin (from 1946 to 2014).

Hadhrat travelled more than 30 countries in the path of Allah:
1) Saudi Arabia 2) Jordan 3) Lebanon 4) Syria (Shaam) 5) Turkey 6) Yugoslavia 7) Iraq 8) Mauritius 9) Reunion 10) Madagascar 11) Kenya 12) Tanzania 13) Uganda 14) Malawi 15) Zambia 16) Zimbabwe 17) South Africa 18) England 19) Barbados 20) Trinidad 21) Panama 22) Pakistan 23) Bangladesh 24) Sri lanka 25) Zanzibar 26) Bahrain 27) Morocco 28) Mozambique 29) Dubai 30) Canada.

Hadhrat visited some countries many times:

1. Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar four times each, three times by ship in 1956, 1957 and 1960.

2. South Africa five times in 1966, 1972, 1975, 1988, 1990.

3. Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania three times each.

Most of Hadhrat’s Safar’s (Journey’s ) were by ship. It would take 22 days to go and 22 days to return.

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Mawlānā ʻAbd al-Raḥīm Bastāwī

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.

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Shaykh ‛Abd al-Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dihlawī

By Mawlānā Muḥammad Qamruz ZamānʾIlāhābādī
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

Shaykh Muhaddith rahimahullāh was born in Muharram 958 A.H./1551. His father’s name was Hadrat Maulānā Sayf ad-Dīn.

Early Education
The father of Shaykh Muhaddith rahimahullāh played a major role in his early education, training and tutoring. The father focused his attention on his son’s education when he was still a child. Shaykh Muhaddith rahimahullāh himself says:

I was trained and tutored in his affectionate lap by day and night.

He was only three years old and his father showed full zeal and enthusiasm in occupying himself in his son’s training. The father was anxious to convey to his son the academic and spiritual conditions which he had acquired over many years’ of striving. He was keen to apprise his son on the issue of Wahdatul Wujūd. When his son did not understand any point, the father would console him by saying:

Allāh willing the veil of the reality will gradually be raised before you and you will see the beauty of conviction.

At the same time, he used to say to him:

However, it is essential for you to think in this way all the time and to strive as much as you can. (Akhbār al-Akhyār)

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Shaykh Ẓafar Aḥmad ʻUthmānī

By Mufti Muhammad Taqi al-’Uthmani
Translated by Muzzammil Husayn

As for the biography of Mawlana Shaykh Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmani (Allah Almighty have mercy on him), we will suffice here with quoting what our teacher, the great and perceptive scholar, the verifier, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (Allah preserve him), wrote in the introduction to his book Inha’ al-Sakan ila man Yutali‘u I‘la al-Sunan which the Shaykh published with the title Qawa‘id fi ‘Ulum al-Hadith. Mawlana Shaykh al-‘Uthmani (Allah have mercy on him) was alive at that time, so we will firstly quote the statement of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (Allah preserve him), and then add to it a few lines:

He is the erudite scholar, verifier, researcher, scrutiniser, firm proof, exegete, hadith-master, proficient and skilled jurist and theoretician, historian, man of letters, scrupulous, ascetic and insightful Sufi, Zafar Ahmad ibn Latif al-‘Uthmani al-Thanawi, born on the 13th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal in the year 1310 H (October, 1892 CE), in the land of his forefathers near Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, the greatest of the institutes of learning in the Indian lands. His mother died when he was three years old, so his grandmother brought him up with the most excellent upbringing. She was a pilgrim and righteous woman. Thus, he received her righteousness and her piety from her. When he was five years old, he began to recite the Noble Qur’an with its senior memorisers in Deoband, like Hafiz Namdar, a teacher at Dar al-‘Ulum, and his deputy, Hafiz Ghulam Rasul, and Mawlana Nadhir Ahmad, who was the brother of his grandmother. When he was seven years old, he began to read Urdu and Persian books and the textbooks of numeracy and mathematics with the magnificent scholar Mawlana Muhammad Yasin who was the father of the leading scholar of Pakistan today, our master, the great scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Shafi‘ al-Deobandi, the Grand Mufti at Karachi, and the founder of Dar al-‘Ulum al-Islamiyyah there (his lofty shadow be extended).

Then he moved from Deoband to Thana Bhawan to [join] the circle of his maternal uncle Mawlana Muhammad Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi (Allah sanctify his secret), and he began to read Arabic books on morphology, syntax and literature with the able scholar Mawlana Muhammad ‘Abd Allah al-Gangohi, and he received from his uncle Hakim al-Ummah something of the science of Tajwid, and a selection of his al-Talkhisat al-‘Ashr and [some] volumes of al-Mathnawi by al-Jalal al-Rumi, and he read with his brother, Mawlana Sa‘id Ahmad, part of al-Talkhisat.

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Khawājah Muḥammad Ma’sūm Fārūqī Sirhindī

By Mawlānā Mahbūb ʾAhmad Qamruz Zamān Nadwī ʾIlāhābādī
Translated by Mawlānā Sulaymān al-Kindī

Shrine of khwaja Muhammad Masoom SirhindiHe was the third son of Hazrat Mujaddid ʾAlfi Thānī . He was born on Monday, the 11th Shawwāl 1007 Hijrī. Hazrat Mujaddid ʾAlfi Thānī  said, “The birth of Muḥammad Maʿṣūm heralded much good fortune and blessings. In few months after his birth, I presented myself in attendance to Hazrat Khwājah Bāqī Billāh  and rendered bayʿah to him. After being honoured with this bayʿah, I achieved whatever spiritual treasures that then followed.”

He studied some of the syllabus books from his elder brother, Hazrat Khwājah Muḥammad Ṣādiq , but studied most of the books under his illustrious father  and Shaykh Muḥammad Ṭāhir Lāhorī . The author of Zubdatul Maqāmāt, Khwājah Muḥammad Hāshim Kishmī , wrote:

I personally heard Hazrat Mujaddid  saying, “Muḥammad Maʿṣūm absorbs my Nisbah daily, just as the author of Sharḥul Wiqāyah memorised al-Wiqāyah from his paternal-grandfather.”

Hazrat Mujaddid Ṣāḥib  also addressed his son thus, “My son! Complete your studies as quick as possible, because great work is to be taken from you.”

He complete his studies in the narrational sciences and intellectual sciences at the age of sixteen. He had memorised the Qurʾān in the short span of three months. He traversed the stages of Sulūk under the supervision of his father and attained Khilāfah. Upon the death of his father in 1034 Hijrī, he succeeded him to his post of guiding the seekers in the path. Both Arabs and non-Arabs benefited from his spiritual perfections.

He travelled to the Ḥaramayn where he performed the Ḥajj and was blessed to visit Rasūlullāh . Upon returning to India, he went to Sirhind where he spent his noble life in teaching and benefiting mankind spiritually. He not only guided people, but learning and teaching was a most beloved occupation. He used to teach Tafsīr Bayḍāwī, Mishkāt Sharīf, Hidāyah, ʿAḍudī and Talwīḥ to his students.

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Mawlānā Muhammad Ahmad Partābgarhī

By Mawlānā Mahbūb ʾAhmad Qamruz Zamān Nadwī ʾIlāhābādī
Translated by Mawlānā Sulaymān al-Kindī

He was born in Phūlpūr, District Partābgadh, Uttar Pradesh in 1317 Hijrī (1899). His father’s name was Ghulām Muḥammad. His relationship of spiritual rectification was with the ʾUways of the era, Hazrat Mawlānā Faḍl Raḥmān Ṣāḥib Ganj Murādʾābādī . He constantly presented himself in his blessed company. He benefited from his blessed being. After taking his duʿāʾ, he returned home.


Through the duʿāʾ and attention of Hazrat Mawlānā Faḍl Raḥmān Ṣāḥib , the childhood of Hazrat Mawlānā Shāh Muḥammad ʿAḥmad Ṣāḥib Partābgadhī  was one of righteousness and rectitude. He paid special attention to the performance of good deeds and avoiding evil. He was punctual with his Ṣalāh and fasting and had a special inclination for recitation of the Qurʾān. He never used to play like normal children do.

Spiritual Training

When Allāh intends a special relationship with one of His slaves; and showers His affection and help on that slave; and grants His great bounty of Nisbah, closeness, love and recognition; then He also sets into motion the means and implementation for such. Thus when Hazrat Mawlānā Muḥammad ʿAḥmad Partābgadhī  reached the age of understanding, he went to Lahore to acquire these treasures from Hazrat Mawlānā Wārith Ḥasan Ṣāḥib . He stayed in the Telah Wālī Masjid, which was on the banks of a stream with a wandering course. As part of his education, he also engaged in Ẓikr, purification of the self and rectification of the heart. He remained under the supervision of Hazrat Mawlānā Wārith Ḥasan Ṣāḥib for a long period of time. He was honoured with ʾIjāzah and Khilāfah from Hazrat.Read More »

Mawlānā Ḥājī Muḥammad Fārūq

By Mawlānā ‛Abd al-Bārī
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

In the early hours of Friday, 20th Muharram 1420 A.H. (7 May 1999), Shafīq al-Ummah Hadrat Maulānā Muhammad Fārūq Sāhib rahimahullāh passed onto the realms of the Hereafter to meet his Almighty Creator and Master, leaving behind thousands of hearts palpitating in the wake of this unexpected grief.

To Allāh we belong and to Him is our return.

Hadrat Shafīq al-Ummah rahimahullāh was an embodiment of truthfulness and purity, a pillar of grace, īmān and cognition. Allāh ta‛ālā had blessed him with lofty traits such as humility, sincerity, piety, noble character, far sightedness, spiritual passion and sympathy.

Hadrat was born in ‛Alīgarh, India on 29 Dhū al-Hijjah 1361 A.H. (6 January 1943). According to the elders in the family, Hadrat was blessed from childhood with noble temperament, courage and virtue.

The spark of divine love which glowed in his heart was kindled into a burning flame at the age of twelve when he attended the assembly of Hadrat Shāh ‛Abd al-Ghanī Sāhib Phulpūrī rahimahullāh when the latter visited Sukkhur for fifteen days. Hadrat Phulpūrī’s discourses which were held at the residence of Maulānā Muhammad Ahmad Thānwī comprised of tafsīr lessons of Sūrah al-Fātihah and poems from the Mathnawī of Maulānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī rahimahullāh. In the course of these assemblies, Hadrat Phulpūrī stressed on the need to establish a link with the close servants of Allāh ta‛ālā.

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