Translated by Ibrahim Amin al-Kuwaiti
Below is a letter of condolence written by Shaykh al-‘Ulama’ Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki (d. 1317 AH) – in his own handwriting – to Mawlana Khalil al-Rahman Saharanpuri upon the death of his father Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali, the hadith scholar of Saharanpur (d. 17th Rabi’ al-Thani 1297 AH). The letter is unique in that Haji Imdad Allah also expresses his grief and pain at the death of his beloved disciple Qasim al-‘Ulum wa ‘l-Khayrat Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi (d. 4th Jumada ‘l-Ula 1297 AH). Reading the sorrowful words of Haji Imdad Allah, one cannot help but feel touched by his outpouring of grief and love for these two great savants, in particular Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them all).
The letter was published for the first time by Sayyid Nafis Shah al-Husayni (may Allah sanctify his secret) in the monthly periodical Anwar-e-Madinah (Lahore). Sayyid Shah Nafis Shah al-Husayni – a khalifah of Mawlana ‘Abd al-Qadir Raipuri – wrote: “This letter has remained unpublished for 120 years. This blessed letter remained in the possession of the descendants and grandchildren of Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri (may Allah sanctify his secret). One member of this family, our esteemed friend Muhammad Salim al-Rahman (ibn Muhammad ‘Aqil al-Rahman ibn Muhammad Khalil al-Rahman ibn Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali) mentioned this letter to me a few years ago. He later graciously granted this rare letter to this worthless one personally. May Allah grant him the best of rewards.
“This blessed trust is being presented to the common Muslims with thanks Janab Salim al-Rahman (resident of Lahore). It is being published for the very first time. (15th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah 1417 AH).”1
”From the lowly Imdad Allah (may Allah forgive him) to the blessed service of my dear Molwi Khalil al-Rahman (may his love for the sake of Allah remain forever.)
After the sunnah greeting and a prayer for goodness, I acknowledge receipt of your dear letter. It gave the heartbreaking news of the demise of Mawlana Ahmad Ali and my most beloved,2 a portion of my heart, Molwi Muhammad Qasim (may Allah shower His mercy upon them). I had also received this news before. Indeed, to Allah do we belong and to him is our return.
Alas! What great sorrow!
My peers drank the wines and departed
They left the taverns empty and departed
Those who were radiant migrated towards the skies
And we, as shadows, were left behind on the earth
The courageous men sacrificed themselves for the King
Lowly ones such as us are enslaved in the clutches of souls
This lowly one no longer has any enjoyment in life. Pray Allah grants me a good death quickly and takes me away from this world of sorrow. I do not have the strength to write further. That is all.”
- Qasim al-‘Ulum wa ‘l-Khayrat Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi, Apne Mu’asir Tadhkirah Nigaron ki Nazar mey. (Lahore: Sayyid Ahmad Shahid Academy, 1st edition, Rabi’ al-Thani 1424/ June 2003) p. 38 [↩]
- When translated literally, the Persian idiom used here by Haji Imdad Allah means, ‘piece of my liver’. What love and affection for his esteemed disciple! [↩]