Hazrat Sheikhul Hind Moulana Mahmood-ul-Hasan Deobandi (rahimahullah)
Hazrat Sheikhul Hind, Moulana Mahmood-ul-Hasan Deobandi (rahimahullah), was an illustrious Aalim of India who was born in 1268 AH (1851 AC). He was a descendant of Hazrat Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and was also the first student of Daar-ul-Uloom Deoband.
Allah Ta‘ala had blessed Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) to teach in Daar-ul-Uloom Deoband for 44 years. During this period, thousands of students benefited from him, the likes of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah), Allaamah Anwar Shah Kashmeeri (rahimahullah) and others. Allah Ta‘ala had also blessed him with proverbial piety and a deep commitment to the Shari‘ah.
Below are two incidents that reflect his deep commitment to Deen and the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):
His Firm Commitment to Uphold the Command of Purdah
After the invasion of India by the British, when Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) saw their oppression on the Muslims and suppression of Islam, then he commenced a movement to revive the khilaafah and wage jihaad against the British, driving them out of India. Unfortunately, the British learnt of his plans and arrested him. He then remained imprisoned in Malta for approximately three years.
As soon as he was arrested, his close student, Hazrat Moulana Husain Ahmad Madani (rahimahullah), came to the police and asked them to arrest him as well so that he could remain in prison with his beloved Ustaad, who was old and sickly at that time, and serve him and see to his needs. Hence, during the entire period of their imprisonment, he served his Ustaad with love and compassion.
After Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) was released from prison and returned to India, his entire family was exceedingly grateful to Hazrat Moulana Madani (rahimahullah) for the selfless service which he had rendered to Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah), especially during his incarceration in the prison of Malta. However, from his entire family, it was the wife of Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) who was most affected. The reason is that Hazrat Moulana Madani (rahimahullah) had grown up in front of her in Deoband. As a young boy, he would always be in and out of their home. Hence, she took him like a son and would always show him great affection.
Now, many years later, when she was advanced in age, she wished to see Moulana Madani (rahimahullah), without the purdah, so that she could personally thank him and express her gratitude to him for looking after Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah). When she mentioned this to Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah), he addressed her in a most gentle manner and said, “Even if my own son had to be imprisoned with me, he would not have served me in the manner that Husain Ahmad served me. My heart also desires that you could have thanked him in person. However, you must understand that the law of Shari‘ah is that purdah be observed between non-mahrams. Hence, if you go in front of him to thank him without observing purdah, you will be sinful.”
The wife of Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) was a pious woman who possessed the fear of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, she accepted what Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) said, and whenever Hazrat Moulana Madani (rahimahullah) would come to visit, she ensured that she remained behind the purdah.
His Concern for Reviving Deen in the Ummah and Creating Unity Among the Muslims
One night, after his release from Malta, Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) came to Daarul Uloom Deoband. At that time, a large group of Ulama had gathered. Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) addressed them and said, “During my imprisonment in Malta, there were two important things that I learnt.”
Hearing this, all the Ulama were intrigued and wondered what important lessons could have been learnt in Malta by a giant personality such as Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) who had spent his entire life of approximately eighty years teaching the knowledge of Deen to Ulama.
Hazrat Sheikhul Hind (rahimahullah) said, “During my time in Malta, I pondered deeply over the cause for the Muslims retrogressing. Eventually, after much thought and consideration, I arrived at the conclusion that there are two main reasons for the retrogression of the Muslims. The first reason is that they have left the Qur’aan Majeed, and the second reason is that they have become embroiled in internal disputes and have fallen into disunity. It is for this reason that I have decided to dedicate the remainder portion of my life to promoting the Qur’aan Majeed – both the words of the Qur’aan Majeed as well as the meaning. It is my desire that maktab madrasahs must be established in every town so that the small children can be taught to recite the Qur’aan Majeed. As for the adults, then general programs should be held in which people will be taught the meaning and message of the Qur’aan Majeed, as well as encouraged to practice on the teachings of the Kitaab of Allah Ta‘ala. Finally, the Muslims should ensure that under no circumstance should they allow discord to spread among themselves.” (Jawaahir Paare 1/186 & 3/33)