Memories (Episode 19)

Our respected father (may his secret be sanctified) was so delighted at the completion of our Dawra-e-Hadith that he convened a banquet on the occasion and named it Waleemah. Besides relatives, close acquaintances were also invited. Later, our dastar bandi[1] also took place during the Madrasa’s Annual Day. Since it had not yet been decided as to what we would do after completing Dawra-e-Hadith, I composed a poem bidding farewell to Darul Uloom. Some of its couplets are as follows:

سلام اے میرے گلشن، علم و فن کے پاک گہوارے
ہدایت کے فلک پر علم کے تابندہ سیارے
تری آغوش شفقت سے نکل کر جا رہا ہوں میں
مرے قلب و جگر بے چین ہیں، گھبرا رہا ہوں میں
چلا جاؤں گا میں ان علم کی دلکش فضاؤں سے
تری ان روح پرور اور کیف افزوں ہواؤں سے
جہاں پر عمر کے میں نے سہانے دن گزارے ہیں
جہاں کے پھول تو ہیں پھول، مجھ کو خار پیارے ہیں
جہاں کا ذرہ ذرہ واقف اسرار الفت ہے
جہاں کا ایک اک گوشہ مرے خوابوں کی جنت ہے
جہاں آ کر میں آسی اپنی ہستی بھول جاتا ہوں
خدا کی نعمتوں میں خود پرستی بھول جاتا ہوں
مگر اے میرے گلشن! تو نہ ہو اندوہگیں اتنا
ہماری اس جدائی پر ملول اتنا، حزیں اتنا
سبق تو نے پڑھایا ہے ہمیں عزم اور ہمت کا
صداقت کا، شجاعت کا، امانت کا، عدالت کا
نہ بھٹکیں جس سے ہم تو نے ہمیں وہ رہ دکھائی ہے
تری تعلیم ہی تو ہم پر بنکر نور چھائی ہے
خدا توفیق دے، اس سے ہمیں زائل نہ دیکھے گا
اور اپنی کوششوں کو ہم پہ لا حاصل نہ دیکھے گا
امنگیں ہیں ہمارے دل میں اب کچھ کام کرنے کی
ترے پیغام کو مشہور کرنے، عام کرنے کی
چمن میں باغباں کے بھیس میں صیاد بیٹھے ہیں
نہیں ہے کوہکن کوئی، مگر فرہاد بیٹھے ہیں
بسے، پھولے پھلے تُو، اور جہاں میں جگمگاۓ تُو
بہاروں کے حسیں جھرمٹ میں رہکر مسکراۓ تُو


Greetings, O my garden! My pure cradle of knowledge and art
The star of knowledge, shining on the celestial canopy of guidance
From your fold of love, I am departing today
My heart is restless, I am worried today
I will leave these enchanting breezes of knowledge
These soul-nourishing and vitalizing winds of yours
The place where I spent the most beautiful days of my life
The place where, let alone its flowers, I hold its thorns dear to me
The place whose each nook and cranny is aware of the secrets of love
The place whose each nook and cranny is the paradise of my dreams
The place where, upon entering it, I forget my existence
The place where, engulfed by the blessings of Allah, I forget self-worship
But, O my garden! Don’t be so sad
At our departure, so dejected, so grieved
It is you who taught us determination and perseverance
Truthfulness, courage, trustworthiness, justice
You showed us such a path that we should never go astray
It is your teachings itself, engulfed in whose radiance we stay
May Allah give us the ability! You shall never see us bereft of them
And you shall never see, gone to waste, your hard work upon us
Our hearts desire, now, to get some work done
To publicize your message, to spread it to all and one
Many a hunter roams the garden, guised as a gardener
None is a mountain digger, but each pretending to be Farhad
May you blossom in the world, grow and keep shining
May you, amidst the beautiful spring, ever keep smiling

After Dawra-e-Hadith

Both of us brothers returned to our house at Lasbela House after completing Dawra-e-Hadith. Until then, it was not clear as to what we would do. One opinion was for us to be sent to Al-Azhar University for further education and also to attain mastery over Arabic. Due to my young age, our respected mother (may Allah’s mercy be upon her) was not agreeable to sending me to Egypt, but she was willing to somehow bear this about my elder brother (may his shade be extended). Thus, many people insisted upon sending him to Al-Azhar. A second opinion was that we should begin teaching at Darul Uloom itself. A third opinion was that, in order to serve Deen in keeping with the needs of the time, we should learn English. A fourth opinion was for us to receive training in Fatwa under the guidance of our respected father (may his secret be sanctified).

Our respected father (may his secret be sanctified) was not convinced about sending us to Egypt, because “Al-Azhar” was no longer the “Al-Azhar” of old times, and considerable changes had occurred to its environment. Perhaps our respected father had also done Istikhara for this, as a result of which he decided not to send us there. The final decision he made was for us to teach in Darul Uloom for two hours, and to spend the remaining time in receiving training for issuing Fatwas. Until then, there was no department of Takhassus (Specialization) in Darul Uloom. It was decided to set up the department for Takhassus in Fatwa from next year. On the other hand, I was enthusiastic to learn English so that I could try serving the Deen through it in whatever way I could. To this end, I requested my elder brother Maulana Muhammad Wali Raazi (may his shade be extended) to teach me English during those holidays of Ramadan and Shaban. Allah Ta’ala has blessed him with extraordinary intelligence and exceptional acumen in teaching. He perceived that instead of taking me through a reader-like book, it would be more appropriate to teach me a reasonable amount of English grammar within the two months. He judged, and rightly so, that since I have studied Arabic Sarf (morphology) and Nahw (grammar) in detail, it will be easy for me to understand and apply the rules of English grammar.

He thus began teaching me, without using any guide books, English tenses, which I not only easily understood but also got to practice their usage. And in this manner I began understanding the basic structure of English sentences.

Beginning of Teaching and Takhassus

When the month of Shawwal (1379H) came, I was completing seventeen years of my life and, having completed my formal studies, was entering the next stage of life. The next ten years of my life revolved around four spheres: teaching, Fatwa, writing, and learning English.

Beginning of Teaching

It was decided for us that the year after completing Dars-e-Nizami we were to spend two hours in teaching and the remaining time in undergoing training for writing Fatwas. Thus for the first time I got to conduct two classes in the capacity of a teacher in Darul Uloom. I was assigned “Arbi Ka Muallim” and “Tareeqah Jadeedah” for students in Year One. I did not mind this teaching responsibility, as I had also taught a student “Arbi Ka Muallim” when I was studying Hidayah, the amusing story of which I have narrated before. I thus had no qualms as far as teaching was concerned. But my physique was such that even my beard had not begun growing. And when I sized up my boyish age and thin and skinny build, merely entering the classroom in the capacity of a teacher seemed a challenge in itself. On top of that the class I was assigned to teach had a good number of students who were older than me, and one or two of them had sizable beards as well. I felt somewhat embarrassed to enter the classroom by myself, so I requested my beloved teacher Hazrat Maulana Sehban Mahmood Sahab (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) to escort me to the class. He agreed, and even taught the first lesson. I began conducting the class thereafter. To cover up my young age and thin and skinny physique I would wear a Sherwani[2], even though it was summer, and would walk in with self-presumed dignity. And in a bid to at least save some face as a teacher, would speak with a louder-than-normal voice. When I first walked into the classroom unaccompanied, the composed faces of a few of the bearded students betrayed a subtle smile, as if saying: “So this is our teacher to whom we have to behave like students!”.

But it was purely the grace and benevolence of Allah the Glorious and Most High that all of them got along with me within a few days, and the awareness of my young age gradually faded away from their hearts, to such an extent that they even began tolerating my strictness when I wanted them to do some work. Among the students of that batch who I still remember, Maulana Abdus Samad Irani (may Allah keep him safe) is especially worth of mention because he would attain outstanding results in all exams and, with the grace and benevolence of Allah Ta’ala, is counted among the senior scholars of Iran today. Besides him Maulana Abdul Qayyum Gilgiti Sahab would, as far as I remember, come first in all exams, and later worked in Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah Mukarramah as a researcher for a long time. He accomplished numerous research-related works there, and is now working in Maktaba Al-Haram Al-Makki as a researcher.

That year, my elder brother Hazrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Rafi Sahab Usmani (may his shade be extended) was given second-year books Hidayatun Nahw, ‘Ilmus Seegha and Tayseerul Mantiq to teach. Among his students of that year were Maulana Azizur Rahman Sahab (who is nowadays MashaAllah a teacher in Dawra-e-Hadith and the director of monthly Al-Balagh magazine), Maulana Muhammad Ishaq Jehlami (who is a teacher in Darjah Ulya and Coordinator of Darul Iqamah (students’ hostel) in Darul Uloom nowadays) and Maulana Mehtab Sahab (who is MashaAllah one of the prominent scholars of his area, and is an active member of Tablighi Jamat). A few of them also studied some topics from me outside Madrasa hours and later some of their lessons, such as Maqamat Hariri, were also assigned to me.

The books we were assigned to teach advanced each year. We both brothers were highly enthusiastic about teaching and preparing for the lessons. When we returned to our rooms, even during meal times our conversations would often revolve around the distinctive points of the books under us, the overall state of the students, and ideas aimed at making our classes as effective as possible. Even though Darul Uloom had largely retained its tough desert lifestyle, after becoming teachers several loving students insisted upon taking upon themselves some of the responsibilities which previously we used to undertake by ourselves, such as bringing kerosene oil for lanterns and stoves, or buying other necessities. But we used to be so immersed in teaching and working on Fatwas that the adversities of this desert lifestyle had become pleasurable to us. Even during our leisurely strolls after Asr through the nearby gardens, our topic of discussion would usually be some aspect of the lessons we were teaching.

It was during one of those days that I had become mentally drained after studying at night. Hazrat Maulana Shamsul Haq Sahab (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) also came to our room. It was a moonlit night of the fourteenth, so we all decided to go outside for a stroll. Thus brother Rafi Sahab, Hazrat Maulana Shamsul Haq Sahab, Hakeem Musharraf Husain Sahab and myself went out for a walk. Since the desert seems more scenic than gardens in moonlit nights, we headed towards the western side. In those days, no building or any structure existed in that direction until reaching the sea. With moonlight enveloping everything till far, the cool sand felt very pleasant. While talking, we wandered so far away that we could no longer see Darul Uloom’s buildings.

After rambling a bit further, we made out a dark figure standing motionless in the distance. We were surprised as to why anyone would stand still in the middle of this desert at this hour of the night? Anyway! We gradually drew closer to him only to realize that he was holding a rifle in his hand. Eying us from afar, he took aim at us and bellowed in a thunderous voice: “Hey you! Don’t move!” We stopped in our tracks while he began heading for us. When he came nearer we noticed that he was wearing army uniform. His uniform gave us relief that he was not a robber, but he continued standing in a shooting stance with the rifled aimed at us for a while and asked us: “Who are you? And what are you doing here at this time?” We told him: “There is a Darul Uloom located at a distance from here towards the east. We are teachers there and wandered here while out on a walk.” After cross-examining us for a while he believed our words, and after making sure that we were unarmed, lowered the rifle as well and thereafter sat us down on the sand and began chatting.

On being asked, he informed us that his name was Major Sultan and that he was a Major in the army. Some sensitive pipes passed through that area, which he was stationed to protect. Within a few minutes Major Sahab became friends with us and informed us that his home town was Chakwal, and that he often met Qazi Mazhar Husain Sahab (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) as well. We invited him to visit Darul Uloom. He later visited several times and also gave us his phone number.

A long time after this incident, when Darul Uloom’s walls and gates had been built, some people who bore malice towards Darul Uloom incited some people from Sharafi Goth against Darul Uloom, saying that Darul Uloom has blocked your route to Korangi by building its walls (even though a path for them existed along Darul Uloom’s eastern wall, rather that path was nearer for them). Mislead by these words, some of their armed men attacked the southern gate, and even fired at it, and attempted to break through. I saw an uproar at the gate when returning from Maghrib prayer, and heard gunshots as well as the sound of the gate being hammered from outside. Seeing this, I called Major Sultan Sahab. He told that he was nearby and would arrive soon. At that time we kept some licensed firearms for Darul Uloom’s security, and had armed the security guard with a pistol. In view of the situation and with my permission, he stood near the gate and fired a shot in the air. At the sound of this gunshot, the attack lost some steam. At the same time, Major Sultan Sahab arrived in his military vehicle. He not only dispersed the mob, but also made a complaint to the elders of the Goth about the attackers. As a result of this, the elders of Goth later visited Darul Uloom and expressed their regret at the incident, and a course of action for the future was also agreed upon. Alhamdulillah! The relations between Darul Uloom and residents of Goth never deteriorated after that episode.

Major Sultan Sahab played a major role in this entire episode. This is the same Major Sultan who is today popularly known as Colonel Imam, who later made outstanding achievements in the Jihad in Afghanistan against Russia. We maintained contact in those days as well, and met in Kandahar as well. The last time we met was in Rawalpindi. But sadly the Pakistani Taliban declared this man of Jihad a spy, and very cruelly martyred him by shooting him. إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ (We certainly belong to Allah, and to Him we are bound to return).

This isolated world of ours was sometimes used as a picnic point by those who wanted a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Thus our brothers, relatives and friends would sometimes visit us to spend some time in this tranquil atmosphere. In this way, we also got to spend enjoyable moments with them.

One time some friends of my honourable brother Hazrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Rafi Sahab (may his shade be extended) came to spend a night. A camel cart was rented after Isha, and it was decided to go for a ride along the beach at Korangi Creek. The moon of the fourteenth was glowing in its full glory and it had enshrouded the desert, spread as far as the eyes could see, with a brilliant blanket of moonlight. The camel trotted forward in its carefree gait over waves of desert dunes. In this enchanting atmosphere, Bhai Sahab’s friend began reciting a poem about moonlight in a melodious tone, which cast an entrancing spell on us. After spending the night at Korangi Creek, we returned early next morning.

Our Bhai Jaan (elder brother) Hazrat Muhammad Zaki Kaifi Sahab (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) was a gifted poet, and had friend-like relations with famous poets of that time. Thus one time the late respected Jigar Muradabadi was visiting Karachi and Bhai Jaan was in Karachi as well. On the instructions of our respected father (may Allah’s mercy be upon him), he invited respected Jigar Muradabadi to spend a night in Darul Uloom. For this occasion, he invited famous poets of Karachi as well. Therefore at evening time, along with Jigar Muradabadi Sahab, respected Mahirul Qadri, respected Adeeb Saharanpuri and respected Tabish Dehlvi (may Allah have mercy upon all of them) came to Darul Uloom. Our respected father (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) had arranged dinner for all these guests at the oldest building of Darul Uloom, which we used to call Purana Bangla (old bungalow). After dinner, a buoyant get-together of poetry ensued. Hazrat Jigar Muradabadi (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) recited two of his Ghazals in his unique tuneful style, which are still echoing in my ears in the exact manner in which he recited them:

بے تاب ہے، بے خواب ہے معلوم نہیں کیوں؟
دل ماہئ بے آب ہے، معلوم نہیں کیوں؟
دل آج بھی سینے میں دھڑکتا تو ہے، لیکن
>کشتی سی تہِ آب ہے، معلوم نہیں کیوں؟
ساقی نے جو بخشا تھا بصد لطف و بہ اصرار
وہ جرعہ بھی زہراب ہے، معلوم نہیں کیوں؟


It is restless, it is sleepless, I don’t know why? My heart is a fish out of water, I don’t know why? My heart still beats in my chest, but Like a ship sunk under water, I don’t know why? The one the cup-bearer had bestowed so benevolently and so insistently That sip also feels poisoned, I don’t know why? And the following Ghazal:

نغمہ ترا نفس نفس، جلوہ ترا نظر نظر
اے مرے شاہدِ حیات اور ابھی قریب تر
عرض و نیاز عشق کا چاہۓ اور کیا صلہ؟
میں نے کہا بہ چشمِ نم، اُس نے سُنا بہ چشمِ تر


Each breath sings your name; each gaze sees a sight of you O the one witnessing my life! Come even nearer to me What can I ask in return for getting the chance to plea and express my love? I said this with moist eyes, he listened with teary eyes Other poets also recited their poems, and then Bhai Jaan informed them that our respected father (may his secret be sanctified) also says poems. At this, everyone insisted on him to recite his poetry. Thus Bhai Jaan recited two Farsi (Persian) poems of our respected father (may Allah’s mercy be upon him).

The first Ghazal was:

دیوانہ خوشتر است، نہ فرزانہ خوشتر است
کانانکہ خواست جلوۂ جانانہ خوشتر است
زاہد! مبیں حقیر گدایانِ عشق را
انفاسِ شاں ز سُبحۂ صد دانہ خوشتر است
دیدی کہ رنج ہاۓ جہاں را کنارہ نیست
پس با منے بہ گوشۂ کاشانہ خوشتر است
خوش درسِ علم و شغل فتاوي بہ دیوبند
لیکن شبے بہ خانقہِ تھانہ خوشتر است[3]


Neither a crazy lover is praise-worthy, nor a pragmatic one Rather the one who desires a sight of the beloved is the best O Zahid (pious man)! Don’t look down upon the beggars in the path of love Their (purified) souls are better than (hymning on) a hundred-bead rosary You observe that there is no way to avoid the sorrows of this world So for me, sitting in a corner of my hut is more desirable Teaching knowledge and giving Fatwa in (Darul Uloom) Deoband is great But one night in the Khanqah of Thana (Bhawan) is better Hazrat Jigar Sahab deeply enjoyed each line of this poem and would spontaneously utter words of praise at each line. The second Ghazal was:

بگزر زمن کہ حالت زارم نہ دیدہ بہ
بگزار حال من کہ ہمیں ناشنیدہ بہ
چشمت اگر رود بتماشاۓ غیر دوست
زیں گونہ دیدہا، بخدا، کور دیدہ بہ
ناکندنی ست در رہِ محبوب خارِ پا
کیں خارِ عشق در رگِ جانم خلیدہ بہ


Leave me to myself, for my disdainful condition is not worth watching Don’t ask about my condition, for it is not worth listening If your gaze transgresses into seeing other than the Friend All such gazes, I swear by God, are blind sights Thorn in the foot in the path of the beloved is unremovable As this is the thorn of love which has pierced my jugular

[1] Translator: Dastar Bandi is the ceremony in which certificates of completion are conferred upon graduating students of a Madrasa. An elder also ties a turban around the graduating student’s head during this ceremony.

[2] A knee-length coat buttoning to the neck, worn as a formal dress by men in South Asia  

[3] Both these Ghazals have been included in their entirety in our respected father’s (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) collection of poetry titled “Kashkol”. Only a few couplets have been written here.