A leading British Scholar, who was born in Nani Naroli, India and lived most of his life in England, passed away on the 8th September 2019 in Toronto whilst hospitalised. His journey is an interesting one, as he travelled across the world from his birth country and took his last breath over 7000 miles away in Canada. Between this time, many remarkable events have taken place.
Endearingly referred to as Hazrat, he was one of the leading scholars of Islam who contributed significantly towards the spread of Islam in the UK including countries in the western Hemisphere. His mention has been made in the list of ‘the 500 most influential Muslims in the world’. Muslims in the UK and other countries are indebted to him due to his contribution in preserving the faith and knowledge of Islam.
It was during a critical time in Britain when Hazrat was sent to the UK. Muslims in England were struggling to follow their religion openly, while many others attempted to hide their faith. His teacher, Shaykh Zakariyya Khandalwi (may Alllah have mercy on him) was a prominent figure who wholeheartedly supported this move and transition. One could refer to him as Hazrat’s supporter, advisor and spiritual mentor.
In 1973, at a tender age of 28 years old, Hazrat established the UK’s first Islamic college and seminary, commonly known as a Darul Uloom. Shaykh Zakariyya took charge and supported him in numerous ways throughout this process and even paid him a visit on a couple of occasions despite his old age. Since then, some of the most prominent figures and scholars of the UK, Canada, America, Trinidad, Zimbabwe and Europe have graduated as Muslim Scholars under Hazrat’s guidance. His graduates work across a range of fields such as teaching, universities, charity organisations, medicine, and publishing companies. Many of his graduates are located across the world and are engaged in passing on the knowledge through similar Darul Ulooms. Such seminaries can be found in the UK, America, Canada, Portugal, UAE, the Far East, the Caribbeans and South America.
It is a great accomplishment that someone who adopted a low public profile managed to carry out such noteworthy work. A person who preferred solitude and chose not to be publicly renowned for his works, went from a small rural village in India to having thousands of people at his funeral. Many of his associates will say that this was all due to his sincerity and good intentions. I believe that there are many lessons that can be learned from his life, but the one which is of utmost importance is to live with sincerity and good intentions. It is to live life in such a way, that whatever we do, we do it solely for the sake of Allah. Whether it’s through our relationships, work or education, Allah’s pleasure is what the soul must seek.
Hazrat passed away on a very blessed night; the night of the 10th of Muharram. The 10th of Muharram is one of the best days according to Allah and it is a special day not only for Muslims, but for Jews too. Many significant Ahadith have been reported that mention the greatness of this day and its speciality. Therefore, such a coincidence was one of the reasons a sense of peace travelled across the hearts of Muslims when the news passed around.
Hazrat is buried in Glenview Memorial Gardens within the section named as Paradise Gardens in Woodbridge, Toronto, Canada. The name is somewhat symbolic of where we pray that he is and will be in the future, InshaAllah. Visiting the grave was a surreal experience. Glenview Memorial Gardens was by far one of the most spacious graveyards I have visited with Hazrat’s grave being unmarked. He lived with humility and anonymity in this life and has continued to adopt such a disposition even after death.
May Allah give us the ability to follow in his righteous footsteps. Ameen