Life and Mission Of Maulana Ilyas Rah. (2)
LIFE AND MISSION OF MAULANA MOHAMMAD ILYAS ( Part II )
by Syed Abdul Hasan Ali Nadwi
STAY AT NIZAMUDDIN
Two years after the death of Maulana Mohammad Yahya, the eldest brother of Maulana Mohamad Ilyas, Maulana Mohammad, also, passed away. He was a man of angelic disposition and an embodiment of affection, piety and humility. He loved solitude and cared little for worldly comforts. He lived in Bangle Wali Masjid, at Nizamuddin, in the place of his late father. There was a Madrassa in the mosque which had been founded by Maulana Mohammad Ismail. Only primary education was imparted in it, and, among its pupils were mostly the children from Mewat. It had no regular source of income and reliance was placed solely upon God for meeting its needs.
Many people of Delhi and Mewat were devoted to Maulana Mohammad and had benefited from his guidance. His face had the radiance of spirituality. He, often, gave the sermon, but in an informal, conversational way. He remained seated during it, and, generally, read out the Traditions on good morals and Zuhd, (Islamic asceticism) and explained their meaning in a simple language.
Once Maulana Mohammad developed a boil under an eye which had to be opened seven times. The doctors insisted on administering the anesthetic but he refused to take it and lay motionless throughout the operation. The surgeon, afterwards, said, that he had not seen the like of it in his life.
Maulana Mohammad spent most of his time in prayer and meditation. During the 16 years before his death, he did not miss the Tahajjud( before dawn prayer) prayers even once, and breathed his last while performing the Sajda in the Namaz of Witr.
Maulana Mohammad Ilyas had route to Delhi to look after his sick brother and was staying with him in the Nawab Wali Masjid of Qassab Pura. It was there that Maulana Mohammad died and the burial took place at Nizamuddin. Thousands of men attended the funeral.
After the burial, people urged upon Maulana Muhammad Ilyas to take up residence at Nizamuddin in order to fill the void caused by the death of his father and brother. They, also, promised monthly donations for the Madrassa to which the Maulana agreed subject to certain conditions which he observed throughout his life.
Maulana Mohammad Ilyas had made it clear that he would come to Nizamuddin and take charge of the Madrassa only if Maulana Khaiil Ahmad Saharanpuri approved. Upon it, several persons offered to go to Saharanpur to obtain the permission, but Maulana Mohammad Ilyas checked them saying that it was not the way to do it. He would go himself, unaccompanied by anyone.
The Maulana, thus, went to Saharanpur and explained the whole thing to Maulana Khalil Ahmad. The latter gave his approval, but added that, in the first instance, only a year’s Ieave be taken from Mazaahirul Uloom and if the stay at Nizamuddin proved useful and it was decided to settle down there permanently, he could resign at any time.
But before Maulana. Muhammad Ilyas could move to Nizamuddin, he was suddenly taken ill with pleurisy and went to Kandhla where his condition worsened. One night his illness took such a grave turn that all hope was lost. The pulse sank and the body became cold, but God had to take some work from him. unexpectedly, he began to improve, and, in a few days, was able to leave the bed.
On regaining health, Maulana came to Nizamuddin from Kandhla. In those days, there was no habitation in that part of Nizamuddin, and, adjoining the mosque, there was a thick growth of trees and underbrush. Maulana Ihtishamul Hasan who, in his childhood, had come to live, for sometime, with Maulana Mohammad Ilyas tells that “I used to go out and stand in the hope of seeing ‘a human face. When anyone appeared, I felt so happy as if someone had given me a precious gift.”
A small pucca (built of bricks) mosque, a shed, a living apartment, a small settlement of the attendants of the tomb to the south of it, and a few Mewati and non-Mewati students that as all that formed the world of the mosque and the Madrassa.
The resources of the Madrassa were so meager that, some times, they had to starve, but. the Maulana bore it all with a cheerful heart. Occasionally, be would say plainly, that there was nothing to eat. Whoever wanted to stay’ might stay and whoever wanted to go might go and make his arrangement elsewhere. The moral and spiritual training the students were receiving, however, was such that none of them. was willing to leave. Often, they would live on wild fruits. The scholars themselves brought wood from the forest to prepare the chappati (flat bread) which they ate with chutney (pickle) The extreme poverty made no impression on the Maulana. What worried him was the prospect of abundance and prosperity which, he was sure, was going to open up, according to the practice of the Lord, after the phase of trial and tribulation.
The outward appearance of the Madrassa held no interest for the Maulana. He was supremely unconcerned with it. Once, during his absence, some residential quarters were built for its staff through the efforts of Haji Abdur Rahman, an old friend of his and an ex-student of the Madrassa, which made the Maulana so angry that he did not speak to him for a long time. The Maulana remarked that the real thing was education, and, referring to a certain Madrassa, said that its building had become pucca, but the standard of education had gone down.
Once a prominent merchant of Delhi begged the Maulana to supplicate to the Lord for him in a very important matter, and presented him a purse. The Maulana agreed to pray on his behalf, but declined to accept the’ money. Haji Abdur Rahman, however, took it in view of the chronic financial difficulties of the Madrassa, but the Maulana had no peace until he had it returned. He used to impress upon Haji Abdur Rahrnan that the work of faith was not carried out with motley, otherwise much wealth would have been granted to the holy Prophet
Maulana Mohamrnad Ilyas, exclusively, kept himself occupied with prayers and other spiritual exertions in those days. He had inherited the inclination for it from his ancestors which blossomed up during the stay at Nizamuddin. He sought solitude and carried out vigorous exercises for the purification of the soul. According to Haji Abdur Rahman, the Maulana remained in seclusion for long hours at the gate of Arab Sara which was the favorite place of worship of Hazrat Nizmuddin Aulia, and was situated to he north of Humayun’s tomb. near the mausoleum of Abdur Rahim Khan Khana and the grave of Syed Nur Mohammad Badaynni, the spiritual mentor of Mazhar jan-i-Janan. Usually, his mid-day meal was sent there while the evening meal he took at home, He offered the five daily prayers in congregation. Haji Abdur Rahman and his fellow students used to go to the gate to form the congregation, and for their lessons, they, sometimes, went there, and, some times, the Maulana himself came to Chukkar Wali Masjid.
The Maulana performed the Wuzu (abulation) and offered two Rak’ats of Namaz before commencing the lesson of the Traditions, and remarked that the claim of the Traditions was even greater. He did not talk to anyone, however important, while teaching the Traditions, nor ever complained if the meal came late from Nizamuddin, nor found fault with food.
Interest in teaching
The Maulana took keen interest in his pupils and personally taught all the subjects, elementary as well as advanced. Sometimes, he had as many as eighty students directly under his instruction, and took the class of Mustadrak_i_Haakim before Fajr.
The main emphasis in his method of teaching was on the application of mind. He wanted the students to come thoroughly prepared. The Maulana did not follow the general syllabus of the Madrassas in the selection of books and many books that were but prescribed in the other Madrassas were taught at Nizamuddin He thought of new ways to stimulate the students and develop the faculties of imagination and understanding in them.