Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni (ra)
by Abu Unaysah
Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni (ra) probably needs no introduction. He is among the senior khulafa (successors) of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (ra.) He was appointed as Head Teacher and Shaykh al-Hadith of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband after ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (ra) had left the post. He filled this position for approximately 28 years. Prior to this, he had spent 18 years teaching various Islamic sciences including Hadith in Madinah al-Munawwarah. Hadhrat Maulana (ra) was also very active politically. He was imprisoned for approximately three years in the Island of Malta (by the British) with his beloved teacher Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind Maulana Mahmud al-Hasan Deobandi (ra.) He was well known for his tireless efforts in the liberation struggle of which he was at the forefront after the Death of Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind (ra.)
By reading Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya’s (ra) autobiography (Aap Beti), it is apparent that he was very close to Hadhrat Maulana Madni (ra) and held him in very high regard.. In this book (Aap Beti) and also in his Al-E’tidaal, Hadhrat Shaykh (ra) praised Maulana Madni in various places. I had already posted a few of these paragraphs (of praise) elsewhere but I thought that I should also make them a part of the blog. The quotes are not exlusive and there are many, many more. However, they give us a glimpse into his exceptional character and the sacrifices that he made in the Field of teaching and the service of Islam and Muslims.
I pray that Allah give us all the ability to walk in the footsteps of such great men which is in essence the way shown to us by the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his successors.
Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyya (ra) says:
Maulana Madni (ra) was an exceptional personality and for me to even try and emulate him would be an impossible task and foolishness on my part. How can I possibly emulate him whose life on journeys and at home was the same, whose hard work by night was the same by day – a man who felt no need for rest nor ever seemed to tire (after his continuous struggles and hard work.) Such a man was he that he would return from Hijaz and disembark at Karachi. From there, he would immediately board a train and travel for two days and nights arriving at Deoband at 5 a.m in the morning. And then at 6 a.m he would take his place in front of a class to teach Bukhari. This is what heppened on his last journey from Haj. How can anyone emulate him?
Last year, he often travelled hundreds of miles daily for periods of fifteen days on end giving daily lectures in various places. A few years ago he promised to deliver a weekly lecture on the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) here in Saharanpur. And true to his promise, for several months he came every week to Saharanpur by the night train to deliver the lecture from ‘Esha prayers till 1 a.m. Thereafter, he would go to sleep and without anyones assistance he would wake up at 3 a.m. From here, he used to proceed to the station to return to Deoband and after arriving there, teach for a period of three to four hours without a break in-between
One should also bear in mind that Maulana Madni (ra) commenced his lectureship (teaching Islamic sciences) in Madinah Munawwarah (he taught in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.) For many years, he lived such a life of dedication and devotion, that at times, he lectured twelve or thirteen classes daily, sleeping for only two or three hours per day. The rest of his time, he spent in studying or preparing lectures for the following days classes. This man had been trained in this hard manner till he became so exceptionally proficient. Now, will it not be foolish of me to endeavour to emulate (let alone surpass) a man like that?
Now, hear about his spiritual training. He was trained by that man who is the ocean of love and divine knowledge, Hadhrat Shaykh al-Arab wa al-Ajam Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (ra), in the blessed and Holy city of Madina, in such a blesed place as Masjid-e-Ijaabat. And under the supervision of his Shaykh he devoted himself to Thikrullah for a very long time for the sake of purifying himself spiritually. Thereafter, the completion and polishing of his training was done under the guidance of Hadhrat Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (ra) [from whom he received khilafat.] Therafter, for many years his spiritual training reached its pinnacle and maturity under the sympathetic and benign shadow of Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind [Maulana Mahmood Hasan (ra)] in the seclusion of their exile on the Island of Malta. (1)
During my life, I have heard no-one else weeping so much in Du’a before Allah in the latter part of the night as I have heard Maulana Madni (ra) and my father Very often, in spite of my deep sleep I used to be woken up by his crying. Hadhrat Madni (ra) would recite Hindi lamentations with so much pain and sorrow. I was unacquainted with Hindi and could not understand, but the wailing and crying still echoes in my ears. It was almost like a child who was receiving a hiding and is crying. As much courage as Hadhrat had, as brave as he was and as much as he encountered ordeals, I have not seen this (type of crying) in any of my elders. (2)
(1) Al-E’tidaal Fi Maraatib ar-Rijaal (English Translation), Islamic Book Service, Pages 34-35
(2) Aap Beti (English Translation), Darul Isha’at, Pages 375-376