Epitome of Humility: Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub A’zimi (Part Two)

By | 2013-08-23T02:29:51+00:00 February 11th, 2010|

By Mawlana Yusuf Laher

Part One

Dabhel receives the news

This tragic news reached Jami’ah Islamiyyah Dabhel by telegram on Saturday 7th Shawwal 1404 AH (1984 CE). Many hearts were saddened and many became unsettled. This news spread throughout the surrounding areas of Dabhel. Recitation of the Noble Qur’an took place in many masjids for the isal al-thawab of the shaykh.

The Jami’ah was still closed at this time. It reopened on 14th Shawwal. After admission formalities, lessons commenced and on the 19th of Shawwal the students also recited the Noble Qur’an for isal al-thawab. Supplications for forgiveness were made, and grief and sorrow was expressed at the passing of the shaykh. His life and virtues were enumerated and people were encouraged to follow his footsteps.

It was supplicated that Allah Most High grant the deceased a high stage in Jannah al-Firdaws, and that Allah Most High compensates the grief incurred by Muslims, especially the Jami’ah, at the loss of the shaykh in a most appropriate manner. Classes were, thereafter, suspended for the day.

Qualities and character

Shaykh A’zimi’s spiritual link was with Mawlana Wasi’ullah, the khalifah of Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (May Allah have mercy on them). He was very punctual in completing his daily practices and had the habit of sleeping immediately after ‘Isha. He regularly awakened before dawn and performed Tahajjud.

Even during sickness, he would try to upkeep his practices. He would always perform salah with congregation. Although he used to experience pain in the knees and found it difficult to sit and stand, he would proceed to the masjid for congregational prayer. He would perform the fard prayers standing, so much so that when he was ill in Ramadan and when he felt he could proceed to the masjid, he would go with the help of two people on his sides.

He regularly made dhikr loudly after Tahajjud till Fajr. This was the same time while making dhikr that he left this world. He was also regular in reciting Dala’il al-Khayrat and other waza’if.

He was always friendly, smiling and extremely humble. Anyone, big or small, could meet him freely and attend his majlis. He was also humorous. He was neither temperamental nor ill mannered. He would also speak to his juniors with respect.

His lessons were pleasant and students were drawn towards his teaching style and manner. He would explain the opinions of ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri with love and affection. His explanations were so simplified that the bright and weak students would benefit equally. Where there were differences of opinion in issues of fiqh, he would explain the Hanafi opinion in detail.

He possessed nur on his face coupled with awe. He was extremely kind to students. He would correspond by letter with his students and advise them in matters. He performed Hajj twice. He also performed Hajj a year before his demise. May the infinite mercies of Allah Most High be perpetually on him. Amin.

Hifz of the Noble Qur’an

Once, when returning from Calcutta in Ramadan, there was no one to perform the Tarawih prayers at the local masjid. Shaykh A’zimi was not hafiz at that time. His maternal cousin Hafiz Muhammad Hasan memorized one juz daily and led the Tarawih prayers on the first fifteen nights. Shaykh memorized one juz a day and led Tarawih on the second fifteen nights! Thereafter, he completed the hifz of the Noble Qur’an and led Tarawih for thirty-three years.

Writings

Shaykh A’zimi wrote an Urdu translation and commentary on ‘Allamah Ibn Hajr’s Al-Targhib Wa ‘l-Tarhib. He also wrote an Arabic commentary on Sunan al-Tirmidhi based on the lessons of ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri. He also wrote a lengthy article on Ramadan for the periodical Al-‘Adl, which was published. He also wrote on the fitnah during the time of Fatima Jinnah in 1956, which was also published. He had also prepared a book exposing the beliefs of the Barelwi sect. He had all these manuscripts with him in a bag while travelling to Dabhel. Unfortunately, this bag got stolen while on journey and these manuscripts were never published. He also had a beautiful and clear script. It was said that every letter of his writing would shine like a pearl.

His relationship with Hakim al-Ummah

He met Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi on many occasions. Once was when Hakim al-Ummah delivered a lecture in the masjid where Shaykh A’zimi was teaching. Hakim al-Ummah also led prayers on that occasion. Shaykh‘s father also visited Hakim al-Ummah and held him in high esteem.

Concern for the Hereafter

Once just prior to the Jami’ah closing at the end of the year, shaykh was busy packing his bag in preparation for return home to Azamgarh and was extremely happy (Azamgarh is approximately two thousand kilometres from Dabhel). A student who was very free and close to shaykh walked into the room and, shaykh, while expressing joy and laughing, told the student he was preparing to go home. All of a sudden, shaykh started crying. The student was surprised at this sudden change and inquired about the reason. Due to excessive sobbing, shaykh could not speak for a while. The student kept on asking until finally shaykh said: “A thought suddenly struck me that you are preparing to go home and you are so happy, but what preparations have you made for the hereafter? I realise that I have made no preparations. This sudden thought made me cry.”

An Incident of Humility

Once, while shaykh, was preparing a lecture on Sahih al-Bukhari, the same student entered his room and asked him what he was doing. He answered that he was preparing a lecture. The student said to him that a person teaching Sahih al-Bukhari for over thirty years does not have to prepare a lesson. Everything is embedded in the mind. Shaykh replied: “Don’t be absurd! My mind is as small as that of a mouse and I cannot remember anything. I have to prepare.” This statement adequately expressed shaykh’s humility. The student then said, ” You are refuting a favour of Allah that He has granted you!” Shaykh lowered his head for a while and then said: “Yes, it is true that I don’t have to prepare the lesson, but I cannot show Allah independence from effort. I must show my effort to Allah Most High.”

Children

Shaykh married twice. His first wife was the daughter of his cousin, Mawlana Safiullah. He had two sons and one daughter from this marriage – Mas’ud Begum, Mawlana ‘Aziz al-Rahman and Mahbub al-Rahman, who passed away in infancy.

He married for a second time the granddaughter of Hafiz ‘Abdullah Ghazipuri and had four sons and four daughters from this marriage. Two of the sons have passed away, while two sons and four daughters are alive. The two sons who are alive are Mawlana Sa’id al-Rahman and Janab Masih al-Rahman.

Mawlana Hakim ‘Aziz Al-Rahman

He is shaykh‘s eldest son from the first marriage. A high-ranking scholar and hakim (a physician who specialises in Unani medicine). In the words of Mawlana Fadl al-Rahman he is “a very great scholar.” He was extremely close to Mawlana Wasi’ullah. He received khilafah from Mawlana Wasi’ullah, and also from Mawlana As’ad Allah Rampuri and Qari Mubin. On the instructions of Mawlana Wasi’ullah, he left business and fully immersed in studying and teaching. Ten of his books have been published which consist of approximately eight thousand pages. Approximately twelve thousand pages are due for printing.

He is currently writing a lexicon on the words found in the hadiths. Thus far, two thousand one hundred pages have been written on this lexicon. A dictionary from Arabic to Urdu to English consisting of three volumes has also been published. A few of his books that have been published include:

[1] Sangam (an Arabic-Urdu-English dictionary). It comprises three volumes and is 2,378 pages.

[2] Urdu to English dictionary. 1,554 pages.

[3] Abu Hurayrah. 202 pages.

[4] Khatam al-Nabiyyin. 216 pages.

[5] Amrad-e-Sadr. 370 pages.

[6] Tibb-e-Nabawi. 749 pages.

[7] Imam-e-A’zam. 745 pages.

[8] Lughat-e-Tibbi (an unpublished medicine dictionary). 720 pages.

[9] Tadwin-e-Sunnat. 300 pages.

[10] Khitamuhu Misk. 254 pages.

He served as head lecturer (sadr mudarris) at Madrasah Rahmaniyyah and was appointed as a lecturer in Persian for six years at a college. He then taught for twenty-six years at Jami’ah Tibbiyyah (Medical College) at Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband. He has written nine books on medicine, out of which four have been published.

Mawlana Sa’id al-Rahman

Mawlana is from the second wife and possesses abundant knowledge, virtue, and excellence. He is a high-ranking linguist (adib) of the Arabic language in India. He is currently the chancellor of Nadwatul ‘Ulama, Lucknow. Mawlana has also authored many books. He has two sons: Lutf al-Rahman — he is a hafiz and an expert in many fields, he studied for a while at Dabhel and resided with shaykh; and Mawlana ‘Ata al-Rahman — he is a graduate of Nadwatul ‘Ulama and completed his Ph.D. at Jami’ah Milliyyah. He completed hifz of the Qur’an in six months.

Doctor Masih al-Rahman

Also from the second wife and well versed in secular sciences, Doctor Masih al-Rahman he studied at Aligarh University. He was the head of department at the Shibli National College until retirement. He retired four years ago. Currently he is serving at a university in Lucknow as professor. He has two sons and four daughters. One of his sons, Mawlana Wasi al-Rahman is teaching at Dar al-‘Ulum Mau. The other son is an engineer based at Bangalore.

May Allah Most High bless them all with long life, excellent health, and prosperity. Amin.

Students of Shaykh

There are hundreds who qualified under him and benefited from his knowledge and spirituality. A few those people are mentioned here.

  • Mawlana Sayyid Abrar Ahmad Dhulyawi (may Allah have mercy on him). He obtained khilafah from Mawlana Wasi’ullah, thereafter from Qari Muhammad Tayyib. He taught for a while in Dabhel and thereafter at Madrasah Falah-e-Darayn, Tadkeshwar. Mawlana passed away on 17th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah 1415 (18th May 1995).
  • Mawlana Muhammad Ayyub (son of Qari Band-e-Ilahi), khalifah of Mawlana Abrar al-Haq Hardoi. He taught hadith for a while in Tadkeshwar. He is now resident in Britain.
  • Mawlana ‘Abd al-Awwal Samrodi. He taught for a few years at Jami’ah Dabhel. He is now residing in Britain.
  • Mawlana Sulayman Choksi. Currently a Teacher at Madrasah Zakariyya, South Africa.
  • Mufti Muhammad Sa’id Motara. Currently a teacher and mufti at Dar al-‘Ulum Azaadville, South Africa.
  • Mawlana Muhammad Qazi. He is originally from the West Indies and is currently residing in South Africa.
  • Mawlana Qari Isma’il Ishaq. He is currently teaching at Dar al-‘Ulum Azaadville, South Africa.
  • Mawlana Abdur Rahman, son of Mawlana Sa’id Buzurg (may Allah have mercy on him), the late Principal of Jami’ah Dabhel. He is currently teaching at Jami’ah Dabhel.
  • Mawlana Qari Muhammad Sa’id Noorgate from Reunion.
  • Mawlana Amin al-Rashid. He is currently teaching at Port Shepstone, South Africa.
  • Mawlana ‘Abdullah Pandor, Johannesburg, South Africa. Mawlana was foremost in serving shaykh during his student days in Dabhel.

Comments by Students

Mawlana Amin al-Rashid Dammani said: “My teacher Shaykh al-Hadith Hadrat Mawlana Ayyub Sahib (may Allah have mercy on him) … was from those students of ‘Allamah Kashmiri (may Allah have mercy on him) whom he was proud of.  Mawlana would repeatedly mention the comments of ‘Allamah Kashmiri during Sahih al-Bukhari and Tirmidhi Sharif lessons and would also imitate the voice of ‘Allamah Kashmiri. Allah had blessed Hadrat Mawlana Ayyub Sahib with unique qualities. He was extremely regular with his daily rituals, whether it was extremely cold, hot, or raining.

“Hadrat expressed his extreme love for me and also for Mawlana Abrar Ahmad Dhulyawi (may Allah have mercy on him). Often after the ‘Asr salah, he would invite the two of us for tea.

During my teaching days (in Dabhel), the door between our two rooms (where they were staying) would remain open.

“In every season without fail, Hadrat would awaken approximately one and a half hours before Fajr, engaging himself in Tahajjud and dhikr. Hadrat Mawlana was spiritually linked to Hadrat Mawlana Wasi’ullah Sahib Ilahabadi (may Allah have mercy on him). Hadrat Mawlana Wasi’ullah Sahib had a lot of trust on Hadrat Mawlana. Once when Hadrat Mawlana Wasi’ullah Sahib travelled to Gujarat, he told Haji Dawud Abwat Baleshwari: “Dawud! Even if the entire world opposes him (Mawlana Ayyub ), you must never oppose him. May Allah Rabbul Izzat grant him Maghfirat in abundance and grant him a lofty station in Jannatul Firdous. Amin.”

Mufti Muhammad Sa’id Motara, mufti and lecturer at Dar al-‘Ulum Azaadville, is one of shaykh’s prominent students. He writes: “I have been requested by my friend and colleague, Mawlana  … Sahib (the compiler of this booklet) to pen down a few impressions with regard to our Ustaadh, Hadrat Mawlana Muhammad Ayyub A’zimi (may Allah have mercy on him).

“Initially I was reluctant to comply with his request, on the basis that a sinner like me is not fit enough to write about such a noble and pious personality. But then, upon second thought, I felt that by my humble contribution, I can perhaps be fortunate enough to be listed amongst those students and khuddam (servants) of Hadrat Mawlana (May Allah have mercy on him), who can keep his memory alive by penning down some fond recollections of his life; with the view that his life and works can be a source of inspiration for us as well as future generations. As this would then be a way of serving Hadrat after his demise, I plucked up the courage to put some words to paper.

“Hadrat Mawlana (may Allah have mercy on him) possessed a unique personality and we students used to affectionately refer to him as shaykh sahib or hadrat shaykh. These titles were accorded to him due to him being the shaykh al-hadith (teacher of Sahih al-Bukhari) at Jami’ah Islamiyya Talim al-Din, a Dar al-‘Ulum based in Dabhel, India.

“Hadrat Shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) was an amazing person who was surrounded by such a spiritual aura that would leave an observer in total awe. He was among those buzurgs (pious persons) who are referred to as ‘hidden’ or ‘reclusive’ buzurgs. Many readers of this booklet may not even have heard of him, yet he was such an ascetic and austere personality that those who came into contact with him would not want to part from his company.

“He was perhaps the epitome of a hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) which states: ‘Fortunate is that person who does not own a prosperous business, does not mix with many people, lives a judicious life of solitude and is at all times engaged in the ‘ibadah (worship) of Allah Most High and (when the time comes for him to meet his Creator), he leaves in such a manner that there are few people to mourn him and his estate is also of a minute quantity.’ (Mishkat al-Masabih, Vol. 2, p. 442)

“The above hadith sums up Hadrat’s life in that he was not a wealthy person in the material sense but he possessed great spiritual wealth and many sublime qualities. Who can forget his nightly habit of remaining seated in the masjid after Maghrib salah engaged in dhikr and muraqabah right up close to ‘Isha salah time? While he was in this state, one could actually perceive nur emanating from his face and it would not be farfetched for a stranger to assume that this was an honourable angel seated rather than a human.

“Sitting in Hadrat’s dars (lessons) of Sahih Al-Bukhari and Jami’ Tirmidhi was a remarkable experience of its own. Here we were sitting and deriving lessons of qal al-rasul from a personality who was directly a distinguished student of none other than Hadrat Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (may Allah have mercy on him), the eminent Deobandi scholar who was referred to as the ‘walking library’.

“Hadrat Shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) had a unique way of teaching, in that we, as students, would be so much drawn into the lesson and would become so riveted to his voice, latching onto every word of his, that it appeared as if we were teleported into the majlis (gathering) of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). This would give us an idea of how absolutely still the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to sit in the majlis of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), that if birds were to be perched on their heads, the birds would not take flight, because there was no sudden movement to scare them away.

“Hadrat’s (may Allah have mercy on him) humility in the classroom whilst teaching the lesson was such that sometimes he would exclaim with a sigh of regret: “What are you people going to benefit from an old man like me who has no teeth left in his mouth and no intestines left in his stomach!” At the beginning of the year, the dars (lessons) would commence at a casual pace and, as the year progressed, the momentum would increase. Hadrat used to give a beautiful example to describe this approach of his by explaining that if a horse is locked up in its stable for a couple of months and then released outdoors after a long rest, it would not bolt and rush immediately into a gallop. Rather it would first saunter along at a casual pace in order to loosen its stiff joints before it can start sprinting. Similarly, Hadrat would say this ‘old horse’ has also been on vacation for two months (referring to the Sha’ban and Ramadan holidays) so the lessons will also commence at a steady pace before they begin to pick up in the latter part of the academic year.

“The scene is still vivid before my eyes of Hadrat Shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) explaining the meaning and significance of the hadith wherein the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed that ‘Straighten your sufuf (rows), because the beauty of salah lies in the straightening of the sufuf.’ When this hadith was discussed in class, Hadrat lamented the fact that this noble sunnah of the masjid imam urging his congregation to straighten their sufuf has been discarded in many of our majids. However, his face would then brighten up as he related with great relish his experience during one of his travels to Calcutta, that an imam of a certain masjid in that sprawling city had brought this sunnah alive. That particular imam would regularly announce to his congregation the importance of straightening the sufuf before commencement of salah. [Note to the reader: Insha’Allah, by virtue of bringing sunnahs such as these alive, especially during these critical times of corruption, one would, according to a hadith, get the reward of martyrdom.)

“Alhamdulillah, Allah Most High blessed this writer (together with some other students) with the good fortune of making Hadrat’s khidmah (i.e. serving him) almost daily after lunch. While he would lie down on his bed preparing for his qaylulah (afternoon nap), we would press his body and massage oil into his scalp, in order to provide relaxation for him after an exhausting morning session of teaching. During this time, he would relate interesting anecdotes, some of which were so humorous that we would go into spasms of laughter. These humorous and light moments too, were in emulation of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). In this manner, Hadrat would subtly conceal his elevated spiritual rank and at the same time, make us feel part of his extended spiritual family, thereby allowing us to bask in his affection and good nature. This joviality would sometimes continue until Hadrat would fall asleep for his afternoon nap (qaylulah). I firmly believe that it is with the barakah of Hadrat’s du’as and also the du’as of my other asatidha and masha’ikh that Allah Most High is, through His Divine Grace, taking some work from me in the khidmah (service) of His din.

“Hadrat used to entrust some of his money to me at the end of each month and assign to me the task of sending it by means of money order to his family. I used to attend to this duty at the local Post Office and return with the receipt and confirmation of the money having been dispatched. Hadrat used to be very cautious in these matters and would make a note of exactly how much money was sent on which date. He would then carefully file away the receipt for record purposes.

“Hadrat had immense love and affection for his students and treated them truly like the guests of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). At the end of the final year of our curriculum (the dawrah year), when our graduation day was approaching, Hadrat invited the entire class to a sumptuous lunch and his hospitality was such that he did not sit down to partake of the meal until he was satisfied that we were served properly by the attending waiters and had eaten to our fill. As we ate, he paced up and down the rows of the seated students and if he found any student’s platter to be empty, he would immediately summon an attendant to refill the platter with more food!

“I was reminiscing with a colleague and friend, Mawlana Ayyub Mangera Sahib (also a student of Hadrat Shaykh) about some salient points of Hadrat Shaykh’s life when he reminded me of something that is very relevant to the topic: ‘It was Hadrat’s (may Allah have mercy on him) habit to sit after ‘Asr salah on a bench in a little garden area outside his room, in order to enjoy the fresh and cool outdoor air of the evening. Students and other visitors used to come and sit in his company. While listening to the visitors, Hadrat would be constantly engaged in the dhikr of Allah Most High. His humility was such that the tasbih beads utilised by him for his dhikr would be tucked away out of sight under the lower flap of his kurta. This obviously was first of all based on his sincerity that he did not wish to publicise that he was busy, engaged in dhikr. [Only those students who used to come daily into his company and sit close to his bench would notice that he was engaged in dhikr], secondly, he wished to put the visitors at ease that they were welcome to ask any question and that they need not feel that due to Hadrat being engaged in dhikr, the session was closed to dialogue and interaction. If a visitor posed any question, Hadrat would put his dhikr on hold for a while, respond to the question and then resume his dhikr. If Hadrat had just returned from home at the end of a madrasah vacation, he would relate his experiences of the journey.’

“As Hadrat’s home town of Mau-Nath Bhanjan (in the district of Azamgarh, UP Province) was more than thousand kilometres away from Dabhel, he had to change trains at a place called Bhusaval. Due to the long and arduous journey, there always tended to be some interesting incidents that took place at either Bhusaval, or somewhere else during the course of the journey. Hadrat would relate that incident in vivid and graphic detail to the audience seated around the bench. The audience would sit captivated and entranced at Hadrat’s description of the incident, literally latching onto every word. While describing such an event he would focus upon every individual seated there in such a manner that each individual would be made to feel special as if only he was the focus of Hadrat’s attention. The astonishing part was that if some visitor would turn up late after Hadrat had already related the incident and the visitor happened to ask how his journey was, Hadrat would repeat the entire incident for the newcomer with the same relish and vigour as he had related it to the rest of the audience. He would not at all feel it cumbersome to relate the entire incident again for the benefit of the newcomer.

“These are a few events and experiences regarding our Hadrat Shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) put onto paper by this humble servant. May Allah Most High make me and Hadrat’s students continue to benefit from his discourses and spiritual effulgence. Amin.” (Muhammed Saeed, Azaadville)

A brief history of Shaykh A’zimi has also been recorded by Mawlana Qamr al-Zaman in his book Aqwal al-Salaf. He is also the khalifah of Mawlana Wasi’ullah (may Allah have mercy on him). Mawlana Qamr al-Zaman had requested Mawlana Sa’id al-Rahman (Shaykh A’zimi’s son) for any written advices of Shaykh A’zimi. Nothing could be found except for one article which is an explanation of a hadith regarding asking and begging. This article contains beautiful and pertinent advices. This article is as follows:

Speech of the Best of Mankind (Allah bless him and give him peace)

Sayyiduna Abu Umamah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Who will take the baya’ (pledge)?” Sayyiduna Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “On which matter should we take baya’? You did take the baya’ from us once before, O Messenger of Allah!” He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “On this that you will not ask anyone for anything.” Sayyiduna Thawban said: “What is there (in reward) for such a person, O Messenger of Allah?” He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Jannah (paradise).” Thereafter Sayyiduna Thawban took the baya’. Sayyiduna Abu Umamah says: “Thereafter I saw him (Sayyiduna Thawban) in Makkah among crowds of people. His whip fell while he was mounted (on an animal). Sometimes it would fall on the shoulder of a person. That person would grab hold of it and return it to him, but he (Sayyiduna Thawban) would not take it from him. He would dismount from the animal and take it himself.”

There is a narration recorded in Musnad Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Nasa’i wherein Sayyiduna Thawban himself says that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “That person who gives me a guarantee that he will not ask anything from anyone, then I guarantee such a person jannah.” Sayyiduna Thawban (on hearing this) said: “I am prepared for it.” Thereafter Sayyiduna Thawban never asked anyone for anything. So much so, that even if his whip fell down while being mounted, he would never tell someone to retrieve it for him, but would dismount and pick it up himself.

In this hadith, there is a glad tiding of dying with iman (true faith) for that person who does not ask anything from anyone. This hadith implies that such a person will enter jannah without any punishment and will be among the successful first entrees of jannah.

Keep in mind that if by not asking, life is endangered, then it will be compulsory to ask. If in such a case the person did not ask and he died, he will be a sinner. The principle in such matters is: Necessity makes forbidden things legal. This law is unanimous among all [the jurists].

A point proven from this hadith is that those devoted to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) (i.e. the Companions), were ever ready and prepared to practice on his teachings. Even if they had the slightest doubt in any matter that maybe it was not in accordance to his teachings, they would consider it compulsory to refrain from it. Thus, Sayyiduna Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) not asking someone to retrieve the whip was because he had the misgiving that maybe it was against the teaching of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). In reality, it is quite obvious that this (asking someone to pick up the whip), is not in conflict with that on which he took the baya’ on the hands of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

The Islamic Shari’ah has accentuated that no one should unnecessarily ask anything from anyone. The ‘ulama have written that it is haram (prohibited) to ask and beg if that person has food for at least one day and sufficient clothes to cover his satr (those parts of the body which has to be covered). Also, if he truly does not possess even that much, but is healthy and is able to earn, then according to the correct view, it is also haram for such a person to ask. Although such people are legible for zakah, but still it is not permissible for them to ask and beg. Being legible for zakah is one matter and begging is another matter. Although a person may be legible for zakah, he still cannot ask or beg.

There are severe warnings in the hadiths regarding those who beg. It is mentioned in a hadith that a person who opens the doors of begging (upon himself) although not struck by hunger, Allah Most High will open many doors of need upon him. It means that his needs will never come to an end. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said that if a person realises how much disgrace and harms there are in asking, no one will ever ask from anyone.

The person who practices on the teachings of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) will always remain safe from the evil of begging, in every era. The practice of Sayyiduna Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) is sufficient to illustrate this.

Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) said that he heard Sayyiduna Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) say: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was giving me something (paying me for certain services rendered by me). I said: ‘Give it to someone who is more in need than me’. He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘Take it because you were not desirous of it nor were you expecting it. So take it and become self sufficient. Thereafter, if you wish, use it, or if you wish, give it in charity. Wealth that you do not receive in this manner (without asking), do not run behind it.'”

Sayyiduna Salim (may Allah have mercy on him) says that the practice of Sayyiduna ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) was never to ask anyone for anything. Yes, he would accept if someone gave him something without him asking. The message of this hadith is that if someone receives something without asking, he should accept it. On the other hand, if he does not receive it in this manner (without asking), he should not hanker after it. He should not strive and struggle for its acquisition.

It is mentioned in some narrations that a person should accept if it is given without asking, otherwise it will be a rejection of a divine favour.

A famous story [is related] regarding Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (my Allah have mercy on him). One day he went to the bazar to purchase some goods and hired a labourer to carry it home. At that moment there were some rotis (bread) kept at home. Imam Ahmad told his son to give the labourer a roti. The son presented the roti to the labourer but he refused to accept it. As the labourer was on his way out, again Imam Ahmad told his son to again present the roti to him. The son did as he was told and now the labourer accepted the roti. The son was surprised and asked the Imam the reason for this (the refusal at first and the acceptance later).

Imam Ahmad explained:  When the labourer arrived with the goods, he saw the rotis and desired and coveted them (ishraf), therefore he refused to accept the roti. But as he was leaving, he had lost hope of acquiring it and the coveting of the nafs (lower self) came to an end. Thus, he then accepted the gift of the roti. [Note: Ishraf means to covet and desire something in the possession of another, hoping that the owner will give it to him. This is from among the akhlaq razilah (undesirable and lowly attributes).]

This is something to ponder about. There was an era that this was the condition of an ordinary labourer among the laymen. Nowadays even the elite are not conscious of this (i.e. the elite nowadays are involved in ishraf). The current condition is that we do not even consider asking and coveting (ishraf) as maladies.

Among the many benefits and wisdoms of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) forbidding asking are inter-alia; he wanted to form such an Islamic society which would be free from the lowly habit of asking and begging, because this can lead to many maladies in society, e.g. suffering from an inferiority complex, society classification, lack of effort to earn, etc. (End of the article)

After this article, Mawlana Qamr al-Zaman writes: “What a beautiful explanation. The advices in this article should be written in gold!”

This is all the information that could be found regarding Shaykh A’zimi.

May Allah Most High fill his grave with nur and grant him lofty stages in the hereafter. Amin. May Allah Most High grant us all true love for His friends and make this love our means of salvation. Amin. May Allah Most High, through His grace and mercy, raise us with the awliyah on the Day of Qiyamah. Amin.

Shawwaal 1430

October 2009