Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi also known as Hadhratji (1917–1965) was an Islamic religious scholar in pre/post-independence India, who became the second ameer of tablighi jamaat.
Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi was born on 25 Jumada I, 1335 H, corresponding to 20 March 1917 at Kandahla in India. His family was well-known for its Islamic scholarship and total devotion. His father, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Al-Kandhlawi (d. 1943), played an important role in the reform movement led by two scholars, Ahmad ibn Irfan and Muhammad Ismaeel, both of whom were to be martyrs. The reform movement aimed to remove all deviation from people’s beliefs and return them to the pure Islamic faith. Several scholars in his family studied under Sheikh Abd Al-Azeez ibn Ahmad ibn Abd Al-Raheem Al-Dahlawi, a highly reputable scholar of Hadith. Indeed the family produced a long line of famous scholars who were devoted to the study of Hadith and Fiqh, as well as other Islamic studies.
Maulana Muhammad Yusuf son of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas son of Maulana Muhammad Ismail son of Shaikh Ghulam Hussein son of Hakim Karim Baksh son of Hakeem Ghulam Mohi-uddin son of Maulana Muhammad Sajid son of Maulana Muhammad Faiz son of Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Sharif son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf son of Shaikh Jamal Muhammad Shah son of Shaikh Noor Muhammad son of Shaikh Baha-uddin Shah son of Maulana Shaikh Muhammad son of Shaikh Muhammad Fazil son of Shaikh Qutb Shah.
His mother daughter of Maulvi Rauful Hasan son of Maulana Zia-ul-Hasan son of Maulana Noorul Hasan son of Maulana Abul Hasan son of Mufti Ilahi Baksh son of Maulana Shaikhul Islam son of Hakim Qutbuddin son of Hakim Abdul Qadir son of Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Sharif son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf son of Shaikh Jamal Muhammad Shah son of Shaikh Noor Muhammad son of Shaikh Baha-uddin Shah son of Maulana Shaikh Muhammad son of Shaikh Muhammad Fazil son of Shaikh Qutb Shah
The paternal and maternal families of Maulana Yusuf Saheb come together in Hakeem Muhammad Sharif. Then the family traces their lineage back to Ameerul Mumineen Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radhi Allahu Anhu). These two families were residing in the villages of Kandhala and Jinhjana. They were famous for their religiousness, knowledge and piety.
Childhood & Early Education:
Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Saheb was born in such an environment in which the attainment of piety was the purpose of one and all. The whole family was ingrained with spirituality and nearness to Allah. It was a family of Scholars, Huffaz, and Soofia. Memorizing the Quran had been the common practice of all men and women of this noble family. The women of the house used to keep themselves busy in the recitation of the Quran, optional prayer, studying of religious books and rememberance of Allah. Inside the family, there were numerous renowned scholars.
Scholars such as Maulana Muhammad Saheb, Maulana Muhammad Yahya, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, Maulana Muhammad Ihtishamul Hasan, Maulana Muhammad Zakariyyah were all members of this outstanding family in which Maulana Yusuf Saheb was nurtured in.
As a young boy, Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi showed very early promise. Indeed, he completed the memorization of the Qur’an when he was only 10 years of age. He then completed his primary education and studied Hadith, starting with the six main authentic collections, under his father. He then undertook a more specialized study of Hadith under the distinguished scholars of Mazahir Al-Uloom, a specialized school which placed particular emphasis on the study of Hadith, and trained its students in the art of Islamic advocacy. During his attendance at this school he particularly benefited from studying under his cousin, Sheikh Muhammad Zakariya Al-Kandhlawi, one of the top scholars of Hadith in the Muslim world in the twentieth century. He graduated from this school at the age of 20, in 1355 H.
“The lap of the mother is the child’s first madrassa (school).” This saying is very true, training of the children at home forms the foundation of their beliefs, character and personality. The training and education Maulana Yusuf Saheb had at home was similar to that of the training the Muslim women in the time of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) used to give to their children. Each women of that household was ready to give her son for the work of Rasulullah (SAW). The stories of the companions of Rasulullah (SAW) had replaced the fairy tales in those homes. The lesson of the heroic freedom movement of Maulana Syed Ahmed Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed had become so common in those homes, that when Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi wrote the detailed biography of Hazrat Syed Ahmed Shaheed, Maulana Ilyas Saheb did not find anything new in that biography.
Maulana Yusuf Saheb memorized the Quran at the age of ten from Hafiz Imam Khan Mewati. It was a blessing and a bounty of Allah on Maulana Yusuf Saheb that right from the very beginning the elders of that time had great concern and interest in him. Maulana Syed Ahmed Saheb Faizabadi, the elder brother of Hazrat Maulana Syed Hussein Ahmed Madni, sent an honorary degree to Maulana Yusuf Saheb commemorating his memorization of the Quran.
Hazrat Maulana Khaleel Ahmed Saheb Saharanpuri, who is the Khalifah of Hazrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi and the Sheikh of Hazrat Maulana Ilyas Saheb and Maulana Zakariyya Saheb had great affection for the young Maulana Yusuf Saheb. Although, Maulana Yusuf Saheb was about ten years at the time of Hazrat Saharanpuri’s death, they had still shared tremendous love. Maulana Yusuf Saheb would call Hazrat Saharanpuri as “abba” (father in Urdu). Once, Maulana Yusuf Saheb rejected eating the bread cooked by the servant of Hazrat Saharanpuri and insisted on eating bread baked by Hazrat Saharanpuri himself. Hazrat Saharanpuri then went in the kitchen and cooked the bread with his own hands and fed Maulana Yusuf with his own hands as well.
Dedication to Tableegh & Arabs:
It was his father, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Al-Kandhlawi, who established an organization dedicated to Islamic advocacy. Its members devote a good portion of their time to travel and educating Muslim people in their faith, trying also to explain Islam to others. This organization is well known as Tableegh, or Jama’at Al-Tableegh, with members in many countries of the world. An important aspect of this organization is that it does not concern itself with politics in any way. It is dedicated to Islamic propagation and advocacy.
Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi began his scholarly career in teaching and writing. However, after consulting several scholars and figures of the Tableegh, his father entrusted to him the leadership of Tableegh as he sensed his approaching death. Al-Kandhlawi dedicated himself to this task which practically filled every day of his life. He traveled all over the Indian Subcontinent giving lectures and speeches and holding circles advocating a return to the pure faith of Islam, which should be implemented in people’s life.
Al-Kandhlawi believed that the Arabs must always take the leading role in Islamic advocacy, because they were the people chosen by God for this task as He revealed His final message in their language. Hence he was keen to spread his efforts and the Tableegh work to Arab countries.
He also realized that the best centers to spread this work were Makkah and Madinah, regularly visited by pilgrims from all over the Muslim world.
Therefore, he gave particular attention to educating Indian and Pakistani pilgrims, speaking to them at the ports of Bombay and Karachi, before embarking on their journey.
He would teach them the proper way of performing their pilgrimage rituals, and educate them in the need for Islamic advocacy. Thus, he was able to form groups of advocates from the pilgrims. These groups undertook the task of speaking to other pilgrims in the Grand Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. This generated interest among pilgrims of other countries who approached al-Kandhlawi to send groups to their areas. He responded to their requests and the Tableegh work began to take roots in several Arab countries.
Al-Kandhlawi traveled a great deal to promote the Tableegh work of Islamic advocacy. He made numerous trips to Pakistan where he held heavily attended functions, which contributed to the Tableegh organization taking strong roots in that country. His first pilgrimage was in the company of his father, before he took over the Tableegh. In his second pilgrimage, undertaken in 1374 H, 1954, in the company of Sheikh Hussain Ahmad Madani, a famous Hadith scholar, he met many Saudi scholars and discussed with them the issues and problems of Islamic advocacy and propagation. He made his final pilgrimage one year before his death, in 1383, where he held an endless series of meetings with scholars from all over the Muslim world, and was keen to meet as many Saudi scholars as possible.
Despite his total dedication to the Tableegh work, which took much of his time, Al-Kandhlawi was able to write and his writings reflect his broad knowledge, particularly in Hadith and in the history of the Prophet and his companions. Two books feature more prominently among his writings. The first is Amani Al-Ahbar Fi Sharh Ma’ani Al-Athar, which is an annotation of a major work by Imam Ahmad Al-Tahawi, a famous Egyptian scholar who lived much earlier. The book is in four large volumes.
However, his book Hayat Al-Sahabah, which may be translated as The Prophet’s Companions’ Way of Life, has earned wide acclaim and become essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the Islamic way of life or to explain Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. In this book, Al-Kandhlawi collects reports mentioned in books of Hadith, history and biographies about the Prophet himself and his companions.
It highlights the aspects related to Islamic propagation and advocacy. It thus reflects life at the time of the Prophet’s companions, and shows their manners, feelings and thoughts in different situations. The book was published in Arabic in three volumes many times by different publishers. It has more recently been published, with annotation, in four large volumes, with two introductions by two highly reputable scholars, Syed Abu Al-Hasan Ali Nadwi, and Sheikh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah.
health and medical conditions:
Shaykh (RA) was always afflicted with multiple illnesses. During his last days, he developed additional health complications. Dr Ghulam Kareemuddin who accompanied Shaykh (RA) for a long time and knew his temperament and condition thoroughly and was involved in his treatment states regarding his health and medical conditions:
Maulana (RA) used to complain about excessive perspiration and he used to run out of breath after walking a short distance. When his pulse was checked, his heartrate was discovered to be around 120 when normally it should have been around 70. After Fajar Salah the heartrate was around 100 but it used to get faster when he gave a talk. During his last Hajj, Dr Alam was consulted who refused to offer an opinion without a thorough consultation. Therefore several x-rays were done and physicians reported no abnormality with the heart. They explained that his faster heartrate was due to (frequent) coughing and he had a slight fever but his heartrate remained fast even in the absence of coughing. Some physicians said that some people naturally have a faster heartrate and it is an exception. Before his departure to the (last) Bhopal Ijtema Dr Waheeduz-Zaman checked his blood pressure and found it to high. Maulana (RA) was advised to be careful while giving a talk but due to the demands of the effort he replied, “If we don’t speak then what is the point of taking medicines? Should we just sit there (and do nothing)? We seek (medical) treatment so we can get better and make the effort and if you stop us from making the effort then there is no reason for medical treatment!”
Before leaving for Pakistan, his health was better.
The busy schedule of the (last trip) to Pakistan had physically taken its toll on Maulana (RA). The 52 day trip covering distant areas of both (East and West) Pakistan, constant gives of speeches morning and evening, meeting and speaking to people for over 22 hours daily had physically exhausted his body.
Towards the end of the trip, during the Narowal Ijtema he was suffering from internal pains but continued to speak and remained patient and even hid his condition from others. However, it reached a stage where the internal pain became manifest and people realised the pain and suffering but he continued to speak.
He was supposed to return on the 2nd of April to Saharunpur by train. He returned to Lahore on Thursday from Raiwind and performed his Asar at Bilal Park (Baghbanpura, Lahore). He was suffering from pain in his the respiratory tract from the day before and he was not inclined to speak and this was extremely unusual for Maulana (to not talk). He was in such pain that he made it clear to people that he will not be able to speak and sent Maulana Umar Palunpuri (RA) in his place to speak and also instructed him to make Tashkeel (after the talk).
Bilal Park was the Markaz of Lahore it was Thursday night, thousands had come to listen to the last talk knowing that Shaykh (RA) will be returning to India. Those around him were (perhaps) not aware of his physical condition and convinced him to talk despite not inclined to it. He stood with great courage and spoke for an hour and 15 minutes. Mian Ji Isa (RA) was an eye witness and writes:
On Thursday, the 1st of April he come to Bilal Park (Lahore) and performed Asar. He was complaining of acute pain in the respiratory tract and had no intention of giving a speech and deputed Maulana Umar Palunpuri (RA) to give a talk after Maghrib and also perform Tashkeel. However, the brothers from Lahore continued to insist on him to give a talk but he (RA) continued to resist. He (RA) was resting on a bed in Bhai Yaqoub’s room and Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA), Qureshi Saheb (RA), Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA), Muhammad Isa (RA) and Abdul-Malik Sialkoti (RA) were all present in the room with him and others kept coming and going out of the room. He (RA) complained to Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) that he feels like something is stuck in his digestive tract and it rises from the stomach upwards and he keeps trying to suppress it (downwards) by drinking water and asked his opinion on this painful condition. Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) smiled and joked that Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) should issue a Fatwa. Eventually Maulana (RA) stated that he has reached his destination.
Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) again responded by saying, “What, now? You still have to travel to (spread Islam) in China, Russia, America and India and also have to take the message of Islam to others countries to which he (RA) replied, “Policy has been formulated, implementation is what remains”
Then he asked about the age of Maulana Ilyas (RA) to which he was told that he (RA) passed away at the age of 62.
Then he asked about the age of Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to which he was told that he (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) passed away at the age of 63.
Then he stated that even Sayyiduna Umar (RA) passed away at the age of 63 but for us it is only 48 (years).
Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) again responded by saying, “Right now?”
He (RA) replied after a brief pause, “63 years is better”
Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) said that this is not a matter of Mushwara which everyone can decide for themselves.
People kept coming in and out of the room and kept insisting for him (RA) to give a talk because many people had come and both floors of the Mosque were full and in the end Abdul-Khaliq Lahori (RA) also strenuously insisted and asked him to come for Salah to which he replied to give Adhan and then everyone can pray. Some people again insisted for him (RA) to give a talk so he turned to Qureshi Saheb (RA) and asked if there was a reason to give a talk as he had said everything he had to say.
Qureshi Saheb (RA) stated that this would be the last speech of his (RA)’s trip and the gathering had very capable people (who could take the work forward) and at this his face changed and he (RA) asked Mian Ji Isa (RA) to help his stand. Mian Ji Isa (RA) tried to lift him but could not so Qureshi Saheb (RA) came running to their aid and helped him (RA) stand.
He (RA) spoke for an hour and 15 minutes and explained the Mas’ail of Salah in detail from Takbeer until Salam and elucidated them in depth. During the talk, he was perspiring profusely but kept wiping the sweat and kept speaking and also drank some water during the talk. He was physically exhausted but the Nikah of Izzatpuri (son of Abdul-Hameed from Karachi) had to be done before Tashkeel so he remained patient. The Nikah was done and a short Khutbah was given followed by a short dua and then he exited the Mosque with speed. After exiting the Mosque and in front of the house of Bhai Yaqoub (which is next to the Mosque) he called out, “Saad! Hold me…” Saad ibn Hafiz Saddique Nohwale was standing next to a car and came running but could not hold him so he called out for help and Riaz Lahori responded and they both tried to support him to walk. While entering the door of Bhai Yaqoub’s house even they could not support him and he (RA) collapsed and fell unconscious. These two called for help and Bhai Yaqoub and Qureshi Saheb (RA) responded, the four of them lifted him and placed him on the bed and others joined in. Hakeem Ahmed Hasan had some herbal medicine in his pocket which he immediately administered with milk while Maulana (RA) was unconscious, was cold (to touch) and had no heartbeat. Maulana (RA) regained consciousness, his body temperature and pulse both recovered. Hakeem Abdul-Hai stated that this was a heart attack and it was decided that Colonel Ziaullah will be called who was a specialist in cardiac matters. Hakeem Ahmed Hasan administered more herbal treatment with 3 spoons of milk which Hazrat (RA) took it himself. Colonel Ziaullah came around 11 (at night) checked the pulse and immediately said that this was a severe heart attack and it is a miracle that he has survived. His (RA)’s pulse was 76 and blood pressure was 90. Dr strongly insisted on him being admitted to the hospital and placed severe restrictions on his movements and even forbade his turning (in the bed) or taking a blanket (by himself). He (RA) was advised to even relieve himself in the bed.
Maulana (RA) recovered from the medicines of Colonel Ziaullah and performed Esha after midnight. His recovery surprised even Colonel Ziaullah and he went to sleep around 02:45 and woke up around 5 and asked if it was time for Fajar to which Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) replied in the affirmative. Hazrat (RA) asked if he should do Wudhu to which Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) responded that he should do Tayammum. Then Hazrat (RA) asked if he should sit and perform his Salah to which Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) responded that he should perform Salah with gestures and so he performed his Salah with gestures. After Salah, he asked for some tea to which Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) replied that he felt that Hazrat (RA) should sleep to which he (RA) replied that he also feels like sleeping so he slept. Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) left and came back around 7 and Hazrat(RA) was sleeping and snoring so he sat outside. Hakeem Ahmed Hasan and Qureshi Saheb (RA) also came and the 3 of them sat outside until Hazrat (RA) woke up around 07:15. Hazrat (RA) asked Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) as to what had happened to him the night before to which he replied that you had lost consciousness. Hazrat (RA) then asked Hakeem Ahmed Hasan to check his pulse which he checked and said that it is better now. Hazrat (RA) then asked Hakeem Ahmed Hasan as to what had happened to him the night before to which Hakeem Ahmed Hasan replied that he had a heart attack. Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) quickly moved forward and placed his hand on Hazrat (RA) mouth and said, “These doctors and physicians don’t know the condition of the heart. The condition is only known by the maker (of the heart) or the one who has the heart”. Hazrat (RA) laughed and said “I don’t have a heart so nothing to worry about. The worry is about what will happen after we die”
After the morning tea, Shaykh (RA) was feeling better and the expressions on his face were returning to normal. However, his foresight must have felt something because he repeatedly kept repeating the statement, “What will happen after we die?” Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) sought his forgiveness by stressing that he has been in his company for so long and Shaykh (RA) expressly forgave him. The physician checked his blood and vital signs and expressed satisfaction but insisted on complete bedrest for 3 days. Shaykh (RA) asked Qureshi Saheb (RA) if he would insist on him giving a talk to which he resoundly replied in the negative. Shaykh (RA) asked what if some special people came and again he (RA) was told that they would not insist. Shaykh (RA) then asked what if he wanted to give a talk to which everyone collectively said that they will stop him. This was Friday and the day of his (originally planned) return to India. Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA) was informed by telegram that he will not be coming to India on the day. Colonel Ziaullah came around 11 AM and his heartrate was 120 and blood pressure was 128. The ECG showed signs of some damage to the heart due to the heart attack and the physician advised that he should not travel for at least 15 days. Those close to Maulana (RA) were concerned about another heart attack after the detailed physical examination by Colonel Ziaullah and strenuous instructions of strict bedrest. The diagnosis of Colonel Ziaullah concerned everyone.
Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) went to the Mosque for Friday prayers and requested everyone to make Duas and then the Friday Khutbah started. Maulana (RA) asked to Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) and Qadhi Abdul-Qadir (RA) to come who went immediately. Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) went after the prayers and when he arrived, his situation had deteriorated considerably. After the Khutbah, rows were being straightened when Khuda-Baksha came calling for Dr Muhammad Aslam and Qadhi Abdul-Qadir (RA) as an Asthma attack had started. He (RA) asked others to lead him into prayers but to make the prayers short, Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) led the prayers.
After the prayers, the physician insisted for him to the hospitalised to be oxygenated but Hazrat (RA) was unwilling to go to the hospital. He (RA) was assured that an advanced party will go to ensure that no women will be present so he relented. Mufti Zainul-Abideen (RA) left separately and before everyone to make the arrangements while Maulana (RA) was put in a separate car to be taken to the hospital. Near Gathi-Shahi he (RA) asked about the remaining distance to the hospital and he was told that they had travelled half the distance, his tongue gave him and the contour of his face changed but his tongue was busy in reciting the Kalima. At one time he asked again about the remaining distance to the hospital and Qureshi Saheb (RA) replied that about two furlongs remained to which he said “We are gone!” and that was his last statement. His lips were still moving and it felt like he was reciting the morning and evening Duas. After a few moments while reciting the Kalimah and smiling, he passed away. This was 14:50 on the 2nd of April 1965 (29th of Dhul-Qa’dah 1384). Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) wanted to turn around and come back to Bilal Park but due to the insistence of others, he was taken to the hospital where all attempts at resuscitation failed.
Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA) speaks:
We were waiting for him to arrive since Friday morning but around 12, the telegram came from Qureshi Saheb (RA) that due to his illness, travel plans have been cancelled. We didn’t believe it and thought that as usual these people are using his illness as an excuse to delay his travel plans and I was also annoyed. After praying Jummah, I went to sleep but was woken up around 16:00 by Maulana Talha (RA) that a messenger from Sabri Saheb has communicated that a phone call has been received that uncle has passed away. There were near riots in the city and it was thought (and nearly all agreed) that someone has started a rumour by impersonating Qureshi Saheb (RA) on the telephone. It is because he (RA) was the subject on many such rumours previously and when I went to Hajj last year a similar rumour was circulated which kept many people perturbed for days.
His body was placed in Bilal Park Mosque and it felt like the entire city of Lahore had come to the Funeral. Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) wanted his body to be buried in Lahore but Hafiz Saddique Nohwale and other people of Meewat insisted that the body should be taken back to Nizamud-deen. Shaykh Abdul-Hasan Ali Nadwi (RA) writes:
Around 17:30 the messenger from Sabri Saheb has communicated that a second phone call has been received asking about the burial arrangements. Since I knew the desire of Hazrat (Maulana) Raipuri (RA) to be buried in India and his insistence of not wanting to travel to Pakistan, we communicated that the body should be brought back to India (if possible) otherwise it should be buried in Pakistan. In the case of Hazrat (Maulana) Raipuri (RA) we were told that despite efforts his body could not be brought back to India so I was not expecting his body to be brought back. I was astonished when we were told by a 3rd phone call around 20:00 that his body is coming to India and all arrangements have been made and the plane was to leave at 23:00 and arrive at Delhi around 01:00. I had no information that Maulana Yusuf (RA) had specifically instructed for him to be buried wherever he passed away to the extent that if he passes away on a train journey to not even wait until the final destination and to be buried at the next station. It is because Maulana Yusuf (RA) was distressed about the issues of (transporting body in a casket) which arrived at the passing away of Hazrat (Maulana) Raipuri (RA). Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) was aware of it and I was not and when he (RA) arrived I even asked him as to why he didn’t insist on his wishes to be buried there to which Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) replied that the situation in Pakistan had become sensitive and there were two groups and both groups had agreed on your arbitration.
Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA) permitted the transportation of the dead body to India. Maulana Inaamul-Hasan (RA) performed the Janazah Salah in Pakistan and the second Salah was performed by Maulana Abdul-Aziz Gamtholi (RA). The body was then supposed to be transported but there were problems with the casket and a second one was used. The flight was considerably delayed in departure. It arrived at around 03:30 to Nizamud-deen Markaz. The news of his passing away was widely reported in the newspapers
Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (RA) performed the Janazah Salah around 10:00 and he was buried next to his father around 11:00.