Khalifa-e-Mujaz (Accredited Successor) of AlaHadrat
Sadr al-Shari'ah Mufti Abu al-'Ulaa Amjad Ali al-Aa'zmi
Sadr-e-Shariat (“Chief of the Islamic Law”), Badr-e-Tariqat (Shining Moon of the Spiritual Path or Tariqah), Hadrat ‘Allama Mowlana Shah Amjad Ali Aazmi the son of Hakim Jamal al-Din, son of Maulana Khuda Bakhsh, son of Moulana Khairuddin (1299 AH – 1878-9) was born in the district of Ghosi in India, Mohalla “Karimuddin”, district Azamgarh.
His father and grandfather both were renowned scholars in religious theology and expert specialists in the “Unani” (Greek) system of medicine.
When his grandfather, Hadrat Maulana Khudabakhsh went to perform Hajj, then on his return from Makkah al-Mukarramah to Madinah al-Munawwarah, he received the permission (ijazah) for the recitation of Dala’il al-Khayrat.
He received his elementary education from his grandfather. After that he studied books in general education for the beginners from his elder brother, Maulana Muhammad Siddique. At the end of the elementary course and on the advice of his elder brother, he was admitted to the “Madrasa-e-Hanfiyya” in Jaunpur, for further education under the supervision and guidance of Jami’ Ma’qulat wa Manqulat, Hadrat ‘Allama Moulana Hidayatullah Khan Rampuri, Jaunpuri (d. 1326 ah – 1908 AD – student of Imam al-Falsafa, Mujahid-e-Jalil, Hadrat ‘Allama Fadhl-e-Haqq Khayrabadi). At that time, there was no ‘proper’ rail system and it was also quite difficult to get hold of any transport by which Sadr al-Shari’ah could easily travel from Azamgarh to Jaunpur and vice versa. Hence, he would travel from Ghausi to A’zamgarh by foot. Then from there, he would reach Madrasa-e-Hanfiyya, Jaunpur, via a camel-driven carriage.
On completion of the prescribed course (Dars-e-Nizami) at the Madrasa-e-Hanfia Jaunpur, he presented himself before the great scholar, Shiekhul Muhadditheen (the Master of the people who are elite in the subject field of Hadith), Allama Maulana Wasi Ahmed Surti (d.1334 AH – 1916 AD) for higher education in Ahadeeth and with that end in view, he joined Madrasat-ul-Hadeeth, in PiliBhît and received the Sanad (authenticated certificate or degree) from that Madressa in 1320 AH – 1902 AD.
AS A TEACHER
During this time, AlaHadrat, the Great Reviver of Islam, Maulana Shah Ahmed Raza Khan fadhile-e-Bareilly needed the services of a teacher at the Darul-Uloom, Manzar-e-Islam, which he founded.
Maulana Amjad Ali then left his clinic and proceeded to Bareilly. At Bareilly, he first worked as a teacher. Later on he was also entrusted with the supervision of the Matbah-e-Ahle Sunnah (Printing Press), and was also given presidency of the Education branch of Tehreek Jam’at-e-Raza-e-Mustafa, in Bareilly. These responsibilities he conducted with great endeavour, devotion, in addition to this was the issuance of Fatawas (Juridical Opinions), which he continued as his newly acquired mission.
He took oath of allegiance (Baiy’at) on the hands of the great eminent scholar, faqih, Imam, Muhaddith, Mufakkir, Musannif, Mudabbir, al-Sheikh Mufti Hafiz-o-Qari Imam Ahmed Rida Khan Bareilly and was soon honoured with the bestowment of Khilafat (headship of the various mystical paths, e.g Silsila Qadriya, Chistiya, Soharwardiya, Naqshbandiya, Barkatiya, and so on). He derived affectionate blessings and guidance from his Chief Mentor (shaykh), and quickly rose to the heights and ranks of perfection.
In the matters concerning fatawa, Imam Ahmed Rida Khan had complete reliance and full confidence in ‘Allama Amjad Ali Khan on account of his diligence and competence in the Mission entrusted to him. Paying tributes to his capabilities Imam Ahmed Rida on one occasion stated:
You will find the quality of understanding the religion (tafaqquh) to a greater degree in Maulvi Amjad Ali (Sadr al-Shari’ah) incomparable to others present here (in the field of learning). The reason being that he is adept in announcing, writing and examining the various fatawa. He writes down what I say in response to the inquiries sought in this behalf. He has the adoptive nature; he grasps the point of issue without much effort. He has acquired familiarity with methods and procedures (which is an asset for him in this profession)
During the stay of Hadrat Sadr al-Shariah at Bareilly, the work-load demanding immediate attention had increased tremendously, even to the extent of wonderment and amazement because of the multi-dimensional varieties of the work involved, such as the supervision of the publishing press, proof reading, guidance (briefing) to the pressmen, dispatch of parcels and letters, writing/dictating of the Islamic Juridical fatawas, and so on. Each of which demanded uninterrupted attention. On top of all this, he had to conduct all these work almost single-handedly. The blessings and supplications of Imam Ahmed Rida had revitalised and rejuvenated his spirit of work for the sake of the religion (deen) to such an unbelievable degree that he did not feel any kind of tiredness, mental exhaustion or even any physical disindination, for the work at hand. People often in amazement of this phenomenon, would quite truly exclaim:
Mawlana Amjad Ali Sahib is a work machine
Maulana Amjad Ali saheb contributed and rendered enormous and uncountable services in the initiation and finalisation of the grandiose, matchless and unique translation of the Holy Qur’an, by Imam Ahmed Rida, entitled Kanz al-Iman, under the chronological title Kanz al-Iman fi Tarjamah al-Qur’an (1330A.H., coinciding 1911A.D.)
He adopted teaching as a professional career at his early youth and continued to serve as such till the end of his life. He produced such unique, matchless, peerless and illustrious students/disciples who left an indelible and ever shining marks in the annals of proficient crusaders and research scholars which even the sublime erudition and meteoric learning itself shall be proud of (as achievement by disciples/students) which in fact will itself be a praiseworthy and a pride worthy tribute to the learning and its potentials to attain the high mark of proficiency. For a considerable length of time, he served as a teacher in the renowned centre of knowledge, Madrasah Manzar al-Islam, in Bareilly Shareef.
In the year 1924 A.D./1343 A.H., he went to Ajmer Sharif to join as the Head teacher (Sadr al-Mudarrisin) for Dar al-‘Ulûm Mu’iniyah Uthmaniyah.
In 1933 A.D./1351 A.H., he returned back to Bareilly, and stayed here for a continuous 3 years. After that he joined as the Sadr al-Mudarrisin of Dar al-‘Ulum Hafiziah Shervani, in response to an invitation of Nawab Haji Ghulam Muhammad Khan Shervan ruler Dadun (Ali Garh), and stayed there in that capacity for a full seven years, rendering yeoman service, for the cause of learning and for the uplifting of the institution. The great scholar and administrator Maulana Habib al-Rehman Shervani while delivering a presidential speech on the occasion of the Annual function of the school, in 1937A.D./1356 A.H., paid glorious tributes to the personal and professional qualification of Moulana Amjad Ali in the following words:
Mawlana Amjad Ali is one of the four or five teachers in the whole sub-continent whom I recognise as having been appointed on merits.
At that time, Maulana ‘Abd al-Mushahid Khan was working as an assistant teacher in the same school. He has also expressed his impression in these words:
Maulana Amjad Ali was the Chief teacher (Sadr al-Mudarris) in this institution for more than seven years. He had also worked as a Head Master in various schools at Bareilly, Ajmer, and many other places all around the sub-continent of India. Being an experienced teacher for quite a number of years, he has full command over the profession of teaching.
Up to 1943 A.D./1327A.H. He stayed at Dadun, then he remain at Banaras for a year; thereafter, till 1945 AD/1364 A.H., he taught at Dar al-‘ Ulum Manzar al-Islam, in Bareilly.
In the vicinity of the Ajmer shrines, the descendants and offspring of Prithvi Raj had settled as permanent inhabitants. Though these settlers were converts to Islam, they retained and followed practices, which were openly contrary to Islam, and its teachings, and at times bordering the fringes of atheism, and cults of idolatry. They were also deficient and negligent about the fundamental modes of worship, and their fulfilment with due regard to the Farai’dh (compulsory), and Wajibat.
At the advice and guidance of Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah, his students and disciples chalked a programme of Tabligh (conveying the message of Islam, especially its fundamentals, and basic principles), amongst these nominal Muslims. The programme was religiously implemented. It had pleasant effects. The visits and preaching of young students under the command of the religious leaders worked magic on those eager and God-fearing minds, because their Islamic nomenclature was at stake, unless it was corrected in time and tuned to Islamic Ideology. The verve and zest displayed by these people soon transformed their entire outlook and they clustered around these enthusiastic preachers and they open-heartedly and whole-heartedly welcomed their Iman arousing sermons and resolved to act upon them.
AS A LEADER
Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah was basically and mentally tuned as a religious scholar, but he was also at home and conversant with the politics of the day (which was raging throughout the length and breadth of the sub-continent). And whenever and wherever necessity chose, he defended and extolled the Islamic nation, even as a political entity with sound reasoning and in political parlance. His murshid-e-tariqat (mystic leader), Imam Ahmed Rida Bareilly was a staunch supporter of the “Two Nation Theory”, which was based on the fundamental issue that the nations of idol worshipers (but parast) and idol breaker (but shikan), cannot be joined into a single nation. This was the basic foundation of the demand for Pakistan.
Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah was a true believer of the Muslim nationhood as a separate entity, and so was Sadr al-Afadhil Sayyid Na’eemuddin Muraadabadi, and many of our great and eminent scholars, and he spread no endeavours for the cause of Muslim entity. He preached this theory with full force of his command on the 14th of Rajab 1339, corresponding 24th March 1921, Jami’ah al-‘Ulema al-Hind (which consisted mostly of the Nationalist Muslims) held their convention, at Bareilly in which Maulana Abu al-Kalam Azad and other leaders participated.
The leaders of the Jamiat had come fully prepared, and confident that they will outwit and defeat the opponents of Muslim-Hindu unity. Maulana Amjad Ali, being the president of the Academic branch of Jam’ah al-Raza-e-Mustafa accepted the challenge and presented to the leaders of the Jami’ah ‘Ulema-e-Hind a comprehensive questionnaire based on 70 questions related to the so-called Hindu-Muslim unity, and demanded their reply to the said-questionnaire. But the pro-Hindu “Ulema” of the Jami’ah ‘Ulema-e-Hind failed to send even one reply to the questions posed, in spite of repeated reminders which were sent to them.
The great learned scholar, Maulana Sayyid Na’im al-Din al-Muradabadi, expressed the under-noted opinion of the said questionnaire in a letter addressed to Imam Ahmed Rida Khan:
“Our Master! Your blessings abound
After presenting my greeting of salaam, I beg to submit that after taking the leave of yours, I reached my residence and studied the comprehensive questionnaire. Really these questions are based on “Divine Dispensation”. Surely these questions do not provide the opponents any room for a convincing reply (and definitely they are defenceless at the moment)
At the time of departure, Abu al-Kalam Azad said at the Bareilly-Ry Station: All the various objections raised in the questionnaire are real and correct. Why should people commit errors, which cannot be (adequately) replied and defended. Such errors (falsehoods) provide the other party an opportunity to seize upon it”
On 19-20 Sha’ban corresponding 3/4th October 1350 A.H./1939 A.D., a meeting was held in Muradabad, under the chairmanship of the Khalifa al-Awwal of Imam Ahmed Rida, al-Sheikh, al-‘Allama Mufti Hujjah al-Islam, Hamid Rida Khan. In this meeting, Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah was prominent by his august presence. All this jamiat later became popular with the name of “All India Sunni Conference”
In April 1946, a convention on a grand scale was held at Banaras, under the auspices of Sunni Conference. The session so held was unique and unparalleled as a very large number of Scholars and Saints, to the tune of over 5, 000 in number participated. This convention had assumed the fundamental significance for the establishment and consolidation of Pakistan. In that session, a committee was set up, comprising of prominent ‘Ulema and Masha’ikh to suggest ways, and also to give their views and opinions for a means for the smooth running of an Islamic Government body. Among the distinguished participants, was none other than the name of Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah.
ALLAH, blessed Mawlana Amjad Ali with the bestowment of many different sciences and branches of knowledge and craft to perfection, but he had an intrinsic inclination towards the knowledge, which is regarded as sacred, as Imam Shafi’ once stated:
Every kind of knowledge except for that related to the Holy Qur’an is just a pastime... and except for Hadith, and Fiqh in the religion (Islamic Jurisprudence)
He had a great inclination towards Tafseer, Hadith and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence). He had the detailed, but complex Islamic rulings of many different topics, of the Fiqh on the top of his tongue. In recognition of his multi dimensional acquisition of the various branches and sciences of knowledge , Imam Ahmed Rida, the Great Reviver of Islam, has conferred the title “Sadr al-Shari’ah” to him during his stay at Dadun (District of Aligarh).
Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah started writing marginal notes (annotations or hawashi) on the voluminous book of Imam Abu Ja’far Tahawi (d. 321A.H./933A.D.) on hadith, entitled “Sharh Ma’an al-‘athar”, and in the short period of seven months, he completed a comprehensive annotation. The special feature and note of surprise is that the annotation was hand-written with a fine-pointed pen, and that too with one pen; it comprised 450 pages, each page consisting of 35-36 lines! It means that having retired after each days’ arduous preoccupation, which consumed and enormous time and energy he found the time to write about 2 ½ pages each day. The heart rendering tragedy in this connection is that that composition of the marginal notes (Annotation) could not remain preserved (if this masterpiece had survived, it would have surely revolutionised the word of Islamic erudition as a monument of universal acclaim. It is really unfortunate that the Muslim ummah has been deprived of an ever-lasting source of learning and guidance) .
His second masterpiece is Fatawa Amjadia, which is a unique 4-volumed book, comprising of the various fatawa enquired in his service, as regards to many Islamic topics. One must note that these were only a few of the many questions that were asked to him, and most have not been recorded till date. Nonetheless, it is still quite a unique book of Academic Researches. Then he turned to writing books for the children, when the illustrated book of Primary education (in Urdu) was introduced, which contained pen-drawn pictures and drawings to illustrate the various letters of the Urdu alphabet.
Hadrat Amjad Ali wrote a primer (Urdu Qa’idah), containing pictures of lifeless objects. the Qa’idah had the blessing that the child experienced no difficulty in recognising and getting familiar with the alphabets. He could read the book of his standard in a much shorter time than through other methods.
He had the proficiency and skill of explaining very complex, and difficult passages in a simple and easy to understand language.
Bahâr-e-Sharî’at is that universally acclaimed book of Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah which can be justifiably called the Encyclopedia of the Hanafi Islamic Jurisprudence . Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah wrote 17 parts of the 20-chaptered book, and the other remaining 3 parts he could not write due to great subsequent sorrows of the death of members of his blessed family.
Nevertheless, to complete this great service he gave counsel that, due to his persistent illness, any of his students or family members should complete. Hence, the 3 parts were completed by his great students.
The renowned book of fatawa, entitled “Fatawa-e-‘Alamgiri” or “Hindiyya” was compiled by the efforts of more than 500 outstanding scholars at that time. Despite this, there is not much written as regards to which proposition (mas’alah) is the most authentic and which one is weak. The respect that Alamgir showed and had for these great ‘Ulema who compiled Fatawa-e-‘Alamgiri was that whenever they entered his court, ‘Alamgir would immediately stand up in respect for them.
On the other hand, Sadr al-Shari’ah wrote the famous Hanafi Encyclopaedia of Fiqh on his own, and in addition to this, he also made it clear and mentioned which proposition were authentic so that it is easier for the reader to learn and memorise the authentic propositions, without having to refer to books in languages which one could not understand. Furthermore, this book has been written in such a beautiful, but simple manner that not only can the ‘Ulema (scholars) use it, but also the public in general can gain much benefit from it.
If we look at it in this manner, then Bahar-e-Shari’at is a much more beneficial and advantageous service for Islam and the Muslim ummah, in comparison to Fatawa-e-‘Alamgiri compiled by more than 500 outstanding scholars.
This book is said to have been started in writing, sometime in 1915 AD/1334 A.H., and was complete (up to the seventeen parts, then written in 1943 A.D./1362 A.H.). he had the desire to write the remaining 3 more parts, but circumstances did not permit. Within a short span of four years, eleven dear members of his family breathed their last. These bereavements took such a heavy toll of his mental and physical capability that he lost his sight and all the work of writing and completing anything came to a sudden halt.
The initial six parts of Bahâr-e-Sharî’at were personally heard (the author, Sadr al-Shari’ah, reciting them) by al-Sheikh Imâm Ahmed Ridâ Khan. He corrected or modified at carious places and embellished them with his introductory notes. The significant aspect of the Bahâr-e-Sharî’at is that each chapter begins with the verses of the Holy Qur’an, then the various ahâdîth as related to the topic, then an introductory note, followed by a detailed and concise annunciation of the jurisprudential problems and their answers according to the Qur’ân, Hadîth, Sunnah and the aqwal of the ‘Ulema.
Below we note the names of all the great students of Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah, Hakim Abu al-‘Ula Amjad ‘Ali A’azmi:
And many more great students upon whom, not only the ahle Sunnah, but also the entire Islamic nation looks with pride and honour.
BLESSED KHULAFA (Accredited Successors)
Here are the names of his famous Khulafa:
1st wife: Mohtarama Karima Khatun Sahiba:
2nd wife: Mohtaramah Safiyy al-Nisa Sahiba
3rd wife: Mohtarama Rabi’a Khatun Sahiba
4th wife: Mohtarama Hajra Bibi Sahiba
JOURNEY TO THE HEREAFTER
Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah had already been blessed by performing his first Hajj ritual in 1337/1922. For the second time, he accompanied his spouse, and set off from Ghosi on the 26th of Shawwal 1367 A.H. the events, which occurred before and also after the event are quite astonishing.
The candle of the love of the Holy Prophet which Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah had in his heart illuminated and burnt even more brightly in this particular journey to Haramain Sharifain (but, actually, the journey to the hereafter). He would ask people to recite the na’at sharif, and would feel emotional after hearing the beautiful verses of the na’at.
As scheduled, in the masses of hundreds of people waiting patiently to see Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah he came to the railway station. At the station in front of the masses of people, he delivered an inspirational speech. Then the car arrived, and Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah departed. From the very beginning of his departure from his house, he felt ill, and in addition to this fact was that rain fell immensely during this journey, which made him deteriorate in health even more. This was why he had a fever, to the extent that on reaching Bombay, he had pneumonia. At the Bombay station, his treatment started. Even after so many days of treatment, he would still be in the state of unconciousness.
Hudur Mufti-e-Aa’zam was also accompanying him on this journey, and because of his regular visit to meet Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah to ask as to how he was, mass of people always came with him.
Once during his visits, a person recited a na’at written by Imam Ahmed Rida, immediately hearing this, Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah opened his eyes, and stated to give him a pillow so that he could sit up. Throughout the time that the na’at was read, Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah sat there, in that position, as though he was meditating.
Hudur Mufti-e-Aa’zam-e-Hind and Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah both were going to depart in the same plane.
However, due to Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah’s illness, Hadrat Mufti-e-e-Aa’zam-e-Hind, after the Maghrib (Sunset) prayers came to pay his final visit and to meet Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah for his last time. With eyes full of sorrowful tears for this great personality, Hadrat Mufti-e-Aa’zam-e-Hind stated:
“Go on (Carry on the final stages of your spiritual journey), I shall follow behind you”
And then Hadrat Mufti-e-Aa’zam-e-Hind departed for his journey to Hajj, and after his departure, Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah’s health became even worse.
Finally, on the 2nd of Dhu al-Qa’dah 1367 A.H, coinciding Monday the 2nd of September 1949, at 12:26pm, this great scholar departed to a celestial journey; instead of the intended pilgrimage, upward to the heaven and as a prelude thereof.
are belongings of ALLAH and we are to return to Him... Whatever He takes is His,
whatever He gives is His, and there is a fixed period for everything.
The following verse: Indeed the pious are amidst Gardens and springs. [15:45] solemnises the death of Hadrat Sadr al-Shari’ah, Badr al-Tariqah, ‘Allama Hakim Abu al-‘Ula Amjad ‘Ali A'azmi Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu.
The funeral prayer of Hadrat Sadr al-Shari'ah was led by his respected student, Hafiz-e-Millat Allama Shah Abd al-Aziz Muhaddith-e-Mubarakpuri.
WRITINGS AND MASTERPIECES
Sources: Hayat-o-Khidmat, Pages 76-86, Sadr al-Shari'ah Number, Pages 100-105, Mukhtasar Sawanih-e-Sadr al-Shari'ah, Pages 130-131.
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Mawlana Kalim al-Qadiri [Bolton - U.K.]