“And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” Al- Quran.” The Muslim Ummah lost one more legendary scholar of this era. Mufti Abdul Ghani Al-Azhari (RA) – an eminent scholar, reformer, prolific orator, and former Head of the Department of Arabic at the University of Kashmir left for his heavenly abode last week. The scholar of global repute was born in Poonch in 1922 and later settled in Sogam Kokarnag in Kashmir. He spent his entire life imparting the message of the Quran and Hadees in a very cordial and peaceful way. He had good access to religious studies, and expertise in the Quranic interpretation, Prophet hadith, history, and Islamic jurisprudence, especially in comparative jurisprudence. His journey of knowledge started when he was accompanied by grandfather Wali Kamil Abdul Halim, who has the honor of being the first Gujjar commentator, studied knowledge from the best scholars of Pakistan, passed the excellence exams in Persian from Lahore University, studied the holy book of Quran from Maulana Ghulam Allah Khan. He had also benefited from Shaykh al-Tafseer Ahmad Ali Lahori and Muhammad Ismail Salafi Gujranwala, MaulanaAbulKalam Azad. He deemed it an honor to receive his education from the prominent Islamic Institutions -Darul Uloom Deoband (1943) and Mazahir Al- Uloom Saharanpur (1949), Jamiat al Azhar Sharif (1966). Besides completing his Ph.D. from Al-Azhar University, he completed a diploma in human psychology from the same university. The title of his Ph.D. thesis was ‘Al Imam Al Muslim Wa Manhajuhu Fi Al Hadith Riwayatn Wa Dirayatan”. The matter of justice and truth is that he was a great researcher, an expert in science and art, a person who is blessed with the company of a large group of saints, and a person who gives permission and a caliph. Among his teachers and spiritual mentors are Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir Rai Puri, Sheikh al-Hind Mahmud al Hassan Deobandi, Hakim al Islam Qari Muhammad Tayyab, Allamah Muhammad Ibrahim Balyawi; Maulana Azaz Ali Amrauhi; Maulana Syed Fakhr al-Din, Prof. Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmud al Shaf; Sheikh Abdul Wahhab Abdul Latif Rasul Shah Sahib alias Naga Baba Milan Gam, Syed Rasul Shah Naqshbandi Mujadadi, and Hazrat Kausar Ali Shah Afghani Safavi Naqshbandi Mujadadi, etc. He made good use of all of them and received spiritual blessings in abundance. Therefore, considering it as a blessing from God, he mentioned in his famous and well-known book ‘Noor-e-Irfan’: “There are countless blessings that Almighty Allah blessed me. He gave me allegiance to a powerful elder and mentor like Hazrat Shah Abdul Qadir Rai Puri. There also He gave me the counsel of Hazrat Syed Qutb-i-Waqt Rasool Shah Sahib – Naga Baba Ji Mulan Gam.”
On the invitation of then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, he joined Madinat-ul-Uloom Hazratbal as a teacher of the Arabic language. Along with serving as a professor in Madinat-ul-Uloom, he rendered his services to the University of Kashmir as a Professor at the Department of Arabic and retired as HOD-Arabic in 1997. He had also been the Shaykh al-Hadith of Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur and held the same great position in Madrasah Nizamiya Badshahi Bagh Saharanpur which he founded and is running. Also, he had the position and honor of being a Musnad of Hadith at the international level, he witnessed the century-old rise and fall of the Muslim Ummah. He had been the founder and guardian of hundreds of madrasas. Kashmir being his birthplace, he founded the movement of madrasas in Kashmir along with the Hafiz Mohammad Chirag Naseer-Al-Qasimi under the title “Center of Ahl-Sunnat Wal-Jamaat”. The prime purpose behind the foundation of these madrasas was not only to enlighten the people with the word of Almighty Allah and the teaching of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but also to unite the Muslim Ummah. He always performed his services keeping in mind the wider interest of the Ummah, never letting the spirit of goodwill of Kashmir fade. Throughout this noble mission, he never forgot the path of Salaf-us-Suaaliheen. Giving due respect to his mentors, he established many Khanqahs and Islamic institutions after their names. He established one such institution at New Theed Harwan – Darul Uloom Kousria after the blessed name of Hazrat Kausar Ali Shah Afghani in 1990; the grand Masjid – Shahi Hamdhan Masjid at New Theed, Maktabah Anwar-ul-Uloom is established in Dandhipura area of Kokernag Anantnag in the 1950s; Maktabah al Azhariya: Azhariya Markaz Ahli Sunnat Wal Jama at’ was established in 1960; Darul Uloom Shah Wali Allah located in Donipawa Brakpora of district Anantnag 2003. Darul Uloom Al-Azhariya (Wahhab Khar Shali). In addition to this, he established seminaries in areas like Nagrota, Sidrah, and Tandah, etc. Apart from this, he had also the Madrasah Nizamiya Madina Uloom Badshahi Bagh Saharanpur. He spent the last days of his life in the same. He taught the lessons of the Quran and Hadees and was there till his last breath. His famous achievements and works include his doctoral thesis Ancient History of Gujjar, Ma La Budda Minh, Noor-i-Irfan: Maktobat Naqshbandiyya, and Urdu translation of Amir Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA). This polymath Sufi separated from us physically on 19th January 2023 at Badshahibagh- UP India. A large number of people rushed to the spot to have a last glimpse of their beloved religious leader. His Salatul-Jinazah was headed by Moulana Mohammad Aaqil – Sheikh-Ul-Hadees, Jamia Mazahril-Ul-Uoom Sharanpore UP-India on January 20 at 2:00 pm after the Friday congregational prayer as his admirers across the globe expressed their wish to attend his funeral. A large number of people attended his funeral ceremony and he was laid to rest in the same place. I have the special privilege to work under him in Darul-Uloom Kousria as a part-time teacher of English and Mathematics. The thing that fascinated me more about his life was his utter simplicity. My eyes hardly believe it when I entered Darul Uloom Kousria today to attend his funeral prayer in absentia led by Qari Khursheed Ahmad Raheemiya. May Almighty Allah bless the departed soul in the highest place of Jannah!
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher and ex-faculty member of DUK. Feedback at [email protected]