Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi
(1244 AH – 1323 AH) (1826 AD – 1905 AD)
Hadhrat Maulana was known as Qutbul Irshad and Alim-e-Rabbaani. Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) was an Ayyubi. He is from among the descendents of Hadhrat Abu Ayyub Ansari (Radiyallahu Anhu). When Nabi Kareem (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) made Hijrah, Hadhrat Abu Ayyub Ansari (Radiyallahu Anhu) hosted him.
These Akaabir of Deoband were the children of Sahabah, one a Siddiqi, the other a Farooqi and now an Ayyubi. Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) was born in 1244 AH (1826) and he passed away on 1323 AH corresponding with 1905. Hadhrat Maulana was approximately 79 years of age.
Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) acquired education at a very young age and many of his Asaatizah (teachers) were those who were also the Asaatizah of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) and some were also the Asaatizah of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullahi Alayhi).
A common personality between them is Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). He was the father of Maulana Yaqub Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) who was the first Sadr Mudarris (head teacher) of Darul Uloom Deoband. Whilst discussing the life of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi), it has been mentioned already that both Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) and Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) studied hadith together under Sheikh Abdul Ghani Muhaddith Dehlawi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi).
It is important to mention that Hadhrat Maulana lost his father at a very young and tenderage of seven. So Maulana was actually raised as an orphan. The maternal uncles of Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) nurtured him and took great care of him. They were great Ulama.
When Hadhrat Maulana was 21 years of age, he married his cousin. Generally it is noticed that when a person gets married, his life before marriage is different from his life after marriage.
Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) was not a Hafiz before marriage but surprisingly soon after marriage within a period of one year Hadhrat Maulana became a Hafiz all by himself. Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) memorized the Quran in approximately one year and in the following year, he performed Taraweeh.
Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) like Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) took bayat on the hands of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). When he went to take bayat, his intention was to stay for a very short while but he remained there for forty-two days. He became very attached to Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullahi Alayhi).
He went with a very sincere quest to gain the recognition of Allah Ta’ala, treading the path of sulook, piety, taqwa, tahaarah, and on the eighth day Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki made a statement that “Whatever Allah Ta’ala has bestowed upon me, Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) has all of that.”
On the forty second day when Maulana was leaving, Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) also walked with him and instructed him, “If anyone requests to take bayat upon your hands then don’t refuse him.” basically appointing him as a khilafah.
Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) said, “Hadhrat, who will come to me?” Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) told him, “What are you worried about who will come to you? All I am telling you is that when anyone comes to you, you must not refuse him. You don’t worry about who will come to you and who won’t come to you. Do what I am telling you to do.” Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) used to say, “Within myself, I don’t like to give bayat to anyone, but what can I do? Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) told me that I should not refuse anyone.”
There’s so much to mention about Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) that require volumes upon volumes but for the sake of brevity we will only mention a few points.
His Ilmi Maqaam (status in knowledge):
His depth and insight in Ilm was very great and very high. Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) stated that Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) is Abu Hanifa al Athar, (the Abu Hanifa of this time).
Hadhrat Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) was a miracle from the miracles of Allah Ta’ala. He was known as Chalta Pirta Kutub Khana (a rotating library). Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) states that if Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) is not higher that Allamah Shami then he is not lesser either. Any Alim who knows Shaami will know what is the maqaam of Shaami otherwise known as Raddul Muhtar.
Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri’s statement shows the great Ilmi maqaam of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). Whenever the Ulama were stranded and had any Ilmi ishkaals (questions), they would present it to Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). He would give them such answers that would satisfy them. One very great Alim, Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ganj Muraadabaani (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) said that Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) is such a personality that he has taken in oceans of Ma’rifat (recognition) of Allah but he doesn’t even belch.
One day someone asked Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) “Hadhrat, if during the day if someone had some zikr to make, and he was unable to do that during the day and did it during the night, would he get the same reward as doing it during the day?” Hadhrat Maulana mentions, “Why not?” and immediately his tongue went to the verse,
“He (Allah) is the one who has made the night and the day as deputies for he who intends to remember Allah or express gratefulness.”
How apt and adequate is this proof! Allah Ta’ala says that Allah has made the night a deputy of the day. What he forgot to do in the day he can do it in the night for that person who wants to make zikr or for that person who wants to express shukr.
One of his famous compilations is Fataawa Rashidiyyah. Hadhrat Maulana served the line of Fataawa very diligently and responsibly. When anyone used to ask him a question, he would give him the answer quickly as that person is in need of some guidance in Shariah.
Hadhrat Maulana’s Akhlaq:
Hadhrat Maulana used to be very tolerant. Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Barelwi was a contemporary of Hadhrat Maulana. In his writings, very often he would condemn Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) with very rude and harsh words.
The friends and associates of Hadhrat Maulana were waiting for the order or instruction of Maulana to reply to Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan. They just waited an indication and they were prepared to give a detailed answer to Ahmad Raza Khan.
One can imagine that if he was put in the same situation where someone is attacking him, attacking his personality and his integrity as though he is the worst of creation. This was the expression of Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan’s about Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) through his writings. Despite this, all Maulana would say is “Don’t respond.”
Normally, when a person condemns one, he has the fervor to show a point to that person. Thereafter he would take out all the time apply all his energies to give a word for word response to that person. But what is that for? It is only to cool the nafs down and to satiate the nafs.
Hadhrat Maulana’s approach was different. In spite of his hurt he said, “Don’t respond”. In fact he even said that by responding, you are wasting your time as well because Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan would not listen.
When one person is condemning another and he will not listen to the response, then what is the point in responding? The enemy will be even more cheerful. He will be doing all this to pierce the heart of the enemy and yet it doesn’t even prickle him.
If one only knew that all of his energies have been exerted to hurt his enemy and later he comes to know that it never even pierced him, he just took the paper and threw it in the dirt bin, how would one feel then? This is just the right thing to do and this is exactly what Hadhrat Maulana did.
He did not follow his nafs. He exercised restraint. This is a very good and beautiful example for us. At one stage, he mentioned when a person asked him permission to respond to Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan, “Instead of responding to Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan on my behalf and giving him answers, you rather sit in one corner and make zikr. That time that you will use making zikr of Almighty Allah will be more beneficial in relation to responding to Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan where you will not even benefit at all.” How appropriate an answer! How often do we abuse our time in things that do not benefit us?
Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan became ill with leprosy. Many people became happy and they felt that this was the azaab and punishment of Allah Ta’ala upon Ahmad Raza Khan for swearing at Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). However, when Maulana heard that Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan became ill with leprosy, there were signs of sadness on his face.
One should sit back and think that if he were to hear bad news regarding his archenemy, how would he respond? Immediately he would think, very good very good. However, this was not the response of Hadhrat Maulana. Hadhrat Maulana showed signs of displeasure and disappointment on his face. He further mentioned to his friends and associates “When someone is in pain and difficulty, one shouldn’t get happy.” He even said, “Only Allah knows what our final hour and end will be.” What is the point of laughing at someone? Will one be certain that at the end he will laugh? What if his condition is worse than his enemies? It would be premature to laugh at someone even though one disagrees with that person.
Hadhrat Maulana’s was also a Hakeem:
It would be surprising to know that apart from Hadhrat Maulana being a very powerful Alim, and a person who reached the heights of spirituality, he was also a hakeem and doctor.
Once a woman from his family got sick and she told to Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) that “You are a learned person, I want you to look at some books and see if there is any cure for me.” All the doctors and hakeems had failed.
Then Hadhrat Maulana started searching the books of medicine. One of his uncles was also a hakeem. When Hadhrat Maulana felt that he had diagnosed what the sickness was and what the cure was, he went and presented his findings to his uncle. His uncle knew the insight and the wittiness of Hadhrat Maulana. When he looked into what Maulana had presented he said, “ Yes this is the cure.” Then they gave the cure to the woman. Alhamdulillah the woman was cured.
This message spread far and wide and people would come to Maulana for cure. His son, Hakeem Masood followed his footsteps and became a renowned hakeem in India as well.
Various points regarding Hadhrat Maulana:
Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) was a close friend of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). He would assist Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) in issues of Darul Uloom Deoband.
He also had a hand in establishing Mazaahirul Uloom Saharanpur. Both of these Darul Ulooms were blessed with the guidance of these two great luminaries of Islam. It has been mentioned previously that Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) had passed away at a young age and then the head of Darul Uloom Deoband was Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi).
Darul Uloom Deoband and Sahranpour were very close to the heart of Hadhrat Maulana and he was always excited to see the success and prosperity of these two Darul Ulooms.
Hadhrat Maulana performed several Hajj and after his third Hajj Hadhrat Maulana decided to conduct lessons of Sihah Sitta, the six famous books of Hadith. In one year he would teach all six books himself and great Ulama would participate in this. The last lessons were conducted in 1895 due to him losing his eyesight.
In 1905 he had passed away. It was in the last lesson that Hadhrat Sheikh Zakariya’s (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) father Hadhrat Maulana Yahya Kandalwi (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) participated and compiled Maulana’s talks of Tirmizi Shareef and Bukhari Shareef in Kaukabi Durri and Laamiu Daraari.
Hadhrat Maulana passed away in Gangohi in 1905 at a very blessed time on a Friday after the Jumuah Azaan.
Source: Al Mahmood