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Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ahmad (RA)

(d. 1928)

Hafiz Sahib was HadhratNanautawi's well-guided son. He was born at Nanauta in 1279/1862. After his memorizing the Holy Quran, his august father sent him to Gulaothi (Dist. BulandShahr) for his primary education in Madrasah ManbaulUloom, which HadhratNanautawi himself had established there. Maulana Abdullah Anbahtawi was a teacher in that Madrasah. There­after, for further studies, he was sent to Madrasa-e Shahi of Moradabad where HadhratNanautawi's well-guided disciple, Maulana Ahmed HasanAmrohi used to teach. After having studied different books of religious arts and sciences, he came to Deoband and became a pupil of HadhratShaikhul Hind. He read some lessons of Tirmizi Sharifunder the instruction of Maulana Muhammad Yaqub. Reaching Gangoh he completed the Daura-e Hadith (Fazilat Degree) in HadhratGangohi's circle of teaching and studied Jalalain and Baizavialso there.

In 1303/1885, he was appointed as a teacher in Darul Uloom and thus he got a chance of teaching different arts and sciences. In 1310/1892 when Haji Muhammad Abid resigned from vice-chancellorship, two incumbents (Haji FazleHaqDeobandi and Maulana Muhammad MunirNanautawi) succeeded each other but could not run the management for more than a year each. As this yearly change was deranging the administra­tion, in 1313/1895, HadhratGangohi selected Hafiz Sahib for this post. Being a very good administrator, influential and dignified, he very soon brought the administration under control and proved exceptionally worthy of all the hopes that had been cherished of him at the time of the appoint­ment. HadhratShaikhul Hind who was principal, inspite of being his teacher, used to give more importance to Hafiz Sahib for being his own teacher's son.
During the Hafiz Sahib's vice-chancellorship Darul Uloom made extraordinary progress. At the time he took the reins of administration into his hands, the average income was only file to six thousand rupees per annum during his tenure of office this average reached ninety thousand per annum. Similarly the average of students went up to nearly nine hundred. The number of books at that time was five thousand; it rose to forty thousand. In 1313/1895 the cost of the buildings of Darul Uloom Deoband was thirty-six thousand rupees; during his regime it spiraled to nearly four lakes.

In short, during the period of his vice-chancellorship, Darul Uloom made unprecedented progress, both internally and externally. Before his administration there was no clean and regular set-up of departments and offices and though Darul Uloom had essentially developed into a "Darul Uloom" (university), in respect of its buildings and outward shape and form it changed from a Madrasah into a university during his regime only. Different departments and offices were organized and made systematic, and there was an unusual increase in the gamut of influence as well. In short, Darul Uloom kept advancing towards progress from day to day. As such, his tenure of vice-chancellorship is considered a very brilliant and golden chapter in the history of Darul Uloom.

The magnificent building of the Darul Hadith, which is the first of its kind in India, was raised during his administration. The beginning of the construction of the new hostel, which is known as JadidDarulIqama, and the buildings of the mosque and the library too are the monuments of his time. The memory of that great convocation, held (during his regime) in 1328/1910, in which more than one thousand graduates were awarded the "turban of proficiency", is still fresh in the mind of the people.

In connection with the development of Darul Uloom, Hafiz Sahib toured several cities in the country and got fixed many permanent dona­tions for Darul Uloom, his journeys to the former Bhopal, Bhawalpur and Hyderabad states particularly will always remain memorable. The amount of monthly help from Hyderabad was fixed at Rs. 100/-. Hafiz Sahib went to Hyderabad and through his influence got it raised to Rs. 250/- p.m., in the second journey of his it was made Rs.500/- p.m. and in the third it went up to Rs.1,000/- p.m., which continued till the merger of the state.

Then British government had awarded the title of ShamsulUlema to him, but on account of the liberty loving tack of Darul Uloom he did not approve of being a titled person of the (alien) govern­ment and therefore returned the said title after some time. This is also a peculiarity of his tenure of office that the governors of the United Provinces came to visit Darul Uloom twice. At the proposed site of the Darul Hadith there used to flow a sewer of the town which was not only obstructing the construction of the Darul Hadith but was also, by its proximity, polluting the climate of Darul Uloom. Inspite of the constant efforts of the elders of Darul Uloom the local petty officials were not willing to remove this sewer. By inviting the governor Hafiz Sahib brought about a solution of this difficulty and the said sewer was removed from the site at government expense. It was Hafiz Sahib's greatest characteristic quality that he used to solve the most difficult task of Darul Uloom easily.

While he kept an eye on the minutest particulars of the students and kept them under check and control with warning and admonition, he was also equally extremely kind and affectionate to them. Patronizingly looking after the students ordinary needs, he used to pay special attention to the treatment of sick students. His awe over the teachers and the taught was proverbial. His dinner cloth was very wide: with extreme large mindedness he used to bear the burden of the guests of Darul Uloom personally.

His preoccupation with teaching did not cease even during his func­tioning as vice-chancellor; he used to teach MishkatulMasabih, Jalalayn Sharif, Sahih-e Muslim, IbnMaja, MukhtasarulMa'ani, Risala Mir Zahidetc. very zestfully. His lectures used to be very clear, coherent and uncomplicated. He had great mastery over his august father's sciences and subjects.

The Nizam of the Deccan had appointed Hafiz Sahib on the post of Chief Mufti in the Hyderabad state. On this highest religious post of the Asafiyah state he worked from 1341/1922 to 1344/1925. During the course of his stay in Hyderabad he had invited the Nizam to pay a visit to Darul Uloom and this invitation had been accepted. The programme was such that when the Nizam went to Delhi, he would also visit Darul­ Uloom. He was expected to come to Delhi in 1347/1928. So Hafiz Sahib went to Hyderabad to remind the Nizam of his promise. At the time he was intending to go to Hyderabad he was indisposed; the weakness of old age and chronic illness had made him very weak, but not caring for his own health in the interest of the Darul Uloom, he started for Hyderabad. On reaching there he became more ill. At first it was awaited that if there was some relief he should meet the Nizam but when the ill­ness continued to increase day by day, the adherents and companions of the journey decided to take him back to Deoband. So they started from Hyderabad with the intention of returning but while the train was still within the our skirts of Hyderabad, Hafiz Sahib breathed his last at the Nizamabad railway station and entered the circle of those martyrs who die in journey (lit, "He who died in journey is a martyr"). This incident occurred on 3rd JamadilUla, A. H. 1347/A. D. 1928. Before death his tongue was reciting Allah's name the fingers had been folded on the figure of 29 when the soul left the body.

The dead body was taken out of the train at the Nizamabad railway station and the bier was prepared. Relatives and the Nizam were informed telegraphically. In his reply the Nizam asked the bier to be taken to Hyderabad. Funeral services were held a number of times in Nizamabad and Hyderabad. Next day, on 4th JamadilUla, at govern­ment expense, he was laid to rest in a special graveyard, which is known as Khitta-e Salihin ("the Yard of the Pious"). The Nizam, while giving condolences, mournfully uttered this effective sentence: "He had come to take me, but alas! he himself remained here".

In view of the valuable services Hafiz Sahib rendered to Islam and the Muslims through the Darul Uloom, his demise was considered a stupendous loss of the Darul Uloom and the Muslims, and throughout the length and breadth of India innumerable condolence meetings and concelebrating for remitting recompense to his departed soul were held among both Deobandi and non-Deobandi groups of Muslims.

Hafiz Sahib served Darul Uloom for 45 years, the initial 10 years in teaching and 35 years in functioning as vice-chancellor.