Maulana Yusuf Islahi: A Student Remembers
Category : Education
There exist the voices of the caravan left but what’s missing is the head, Every flower is in agony that there is no caretaker left. In my eyes, he was the reformer of time engaged and striving to educate. From where do I go to look and find a man who can speak like him. You were a rare and precious gem for the world.

Tuesday, the 21st of December started with Fajr prayer and the news of the demise of Respected Chacha Mian (in the Jamiatus Salehat campus, he is fondly known as as Chacha Mian).

From my terrace, I contacted his brother-in-law’s daughter, who is my classmate and my friend. As soon as she confirmed the news, the feeling of being an orphan filled my heart. I had tears in my eyes, and my heart drowned with agony. I picked my pen to write about Chacha Mian. But while writing, my heart, mind and the pen all struggled. I was left blank. What should I write? How to write?

There exist the voices of the caravan left but what’s missing is the head,

Every flower is in agony that there is no caretaker left.

In my eyes, he was the reformer of time Engaged and striving to educate.

From where do I go to look and find a man who can speak like him.

You were a rare and precious gem for the world.

Birth, education and profession

Maulana was born in the house of the great scholar Sheikh ul Hadeeth, Maulana Abdul Qayyum Khan in 1932 in the village Parmali, Peshawar (now in Pakistan).

In his early childhood, he and his parents settled in Bareilly, a city in northern India. This way, a rare diamond came to India. At an early age, he memorized the Holy Qur’an. After completing his primary education under the guardianship of his father, he completed his secondary education from Islamia College, Bareilly. He trained at Madrasa Mazahirul Uloom, a famous Madrasa in Saharanpur and later at Madrasatul Islah.

Educational and religious services

He was the author of seventy books like Tafseer-E-Yaseen, Tafseer-E-Surah Al Saf, Guldast-e-Hadith, Tafheem-E-Hadith, Qur’ani Taleemaat, Aasan Fiqh, Islami Maushera, Husn-E-Mau’sherat, Shuoor-E- Hayaat, Da’iee-E-Azam, Raushan Sitare and Adaab-E-Zindagi and others.

Chacha Mian’s most important work is considered to be “Aadab-E-Zindagi.” This book is at the heart of many libraries and homes, and a useful gift for young and old alike. It has been translated into most languages and can be read over and over again.

He was the founder of Zikra magazine in 1972, which continues to publish till date. He remained committed to many other institutions, including his long association with Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and the many conferences, seminars and workshops he offered in the United States and Europe. His commitments kept him busy until the end, where he would divide half his time abroad and half in India, where Jamiatus Salehat took up time as it was always his first priority.

Meeting Chacha Mian After 7th grade, I came home in early May, for the summer vacation. During the vacation I heard the news of the passing away of Mr. Tawussal Hussain Sahab, former caretaker of Jamia. He along with Abu Saleem Mohammed Abdul Hai were responsible for the foundation of Jamia, a women’s educational institution of excellence. After the summer vacations, 25 days late, I entered Jamia and saw that the school had a completely different look, with many improvements. In a few days, Chacha Mian was to address the students. Walking steadily, with a loud salaam, he occupied his seat. Well-known for his immaculate appearance – golden glasses, a white pathani suit and in winters, a Sherwani, a brown hat and a chain attached to the waistcoat, a diary peeping out of his right pocket and a pen in his left. This look he maintained throughout his life. His oratory, that day, like it was on all others was balanced, in a voice of sweetness rather than a high-pitch or with harshness, with simple words that could be easily understood by all.
An exemplar of etiquette He was not merely the author of an excellent book on etiquette, he represented it in everyday life and was an example for us – eating very little (and disapproving when elaborate dawats would be spread out for him during his travels), being very attached to his pen and diary, playing with his children and grandchildren and talking to them every day after Fajr prayer, and so on. Once, after a Dars-e-Quran after we had finished our course, he told us – “Your examination may be complete, but the real test of life is about to start from tomorrow. You have to be successful in that true battleground.” To each of us, he presented a pen and keychain (brought from the United States) with his blessed hand, saying, “I remembered you even across the seven oceans.” A few years ago at a program in Bangalore, he said to us, many of us being his former students – “When I will be presented for the reckoning on the Day of Judgment, then I shall beseech for the deliverance of this girls of Jamia.” I lowered my eyes, saying Aameen.

His love for Jamia

He ensured that every corner was beautified, built spacious new buildings, strengthened the educational foundations of the institution and established discipline. He ensured we had the best choice of food and provisions in accordance with the weather and location. Maulana was a staunch proponent of established Islamic norms but also accepted modern change that was beneficial with equal enthusiasm.

Since the inception of the institution, he strove hard to ensure that students do not become strangers in the world beyond after graduating. He planned to create new thoughts and to find new ways, which is why he strove to start the Medical Science department, which is a dream yet to be realized due to some restrictions and roadblocks.

He always had fatherly affection and sincere feelings for the students of Jamia. Let me give you an example: at the beginning of the lockdown, some students were left in the hostel. His daughter-in-law once said, “It’s time to eat.” He replied with worry, “The girls could not go home and you are telling me to eat… How can I eat in peace?”
The foundation stone which is hidden from the eyes of the viewers is actually the one holding up the structure from behind, not the beauty of the structure nor the physical structure itself.

They are those who sowed the seeds of faith in us… These mentors provided protection, nourishment and food, protected us from dirty and polluted air… Not only did they help us to become a flourishing tree but also endured hardships and remained our shelter in the hot sun. The sincerity and hard work of these elders lifted countless girls from dust and turned them into precious assets. The deeds of these elders will never fade nor can we repay their kindness.

These were some views and some memories, which I have tried my best to write with all sincerity… My pen is trembling even while writing and tears are flowing from my eyes.

With strong hope from Allah, I am wiping my tears so that the remembrance of kind people may be a source of reward for me.

Oh Allah! Accept the good deeds of the founders of Jamia and beloved Muhammad Yusuf Islahi Sahab and all the deceased and give them extra rewards. Forgive our slips with your mercy. Grant them highest rank and the highest place in Paradise. Aameen.

1 Comment

  1. H Abdur Raqeeb

    Great article by Fathima Zehra and equally very lucid and excellent translation by Ayesha Khalid Congratulations to both

    Reply

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