The death of an Aalim, the loss of the world. It was indeed a sad day for humanity when on 2nd June, after Maghrib salaah (prayer) Hadrath Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb Rahmatullah Alay of Karachi, the Jalaludin Rumi of our time passed away in Pakistan after a duration of sickness. Hadhrath Hakim Akhtar saheb (R.A.) was a beacon for all mankind.
Arif Billah Hadrath Moulana Shah Hakim Mohammad Akhtar (D.B) is probably one of the most influential Muslim Sufi Shaikhs of the current times. Hadrath’s real name is Mohammad Akhtar but Hadrath is more popularly known as Hakim Akhtar because of a degree Hadrath holds in Hikmat (Eastern Medicine), although Hadrath never reportedly operated a full time Matab (Clinic) as a profession. Born in 1928 in the (then) undivided India, Hadrath was raised learning regular school and studied ‘Tib’ (Oriental Medicine) at A.K. Tibiyya College, Allahabad.
Hadrath Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (damat barkatuhum) was one of the greatest gifted scholars of Islam. His reputation and standing to the Muslims of Asian subcontinent needs no introduction. However for the benefit of others, Shaykh has been favoured by Allah (SWT) to have been nurtured by three of the greatest and most renowned Wali’s (saints) of his time.
Shaykh’s inclination towards the Creator, the Almighty Allah (swt) began before he even reached puberty. He dedicated his life from before teens in the service of those pious servants of Allah (swt) whom the world today refers as Ahlullah (saints). From the tender age of 12, he began attending discourses of renowned scholars of the time. At the age of 15, he took bay’at (pledge) to the great Wali (saint) of his time, Shaykh Shah Muhammad Ahmed (RA) and spent three years continuously in his lofty company.
Thereafter Shaykh was guided to the company of the famous Wali (saint) Shaykh Shah Abdul Ghani Phoolpuri (RA), with whom he spent 17 years. The Shaykh’s service and dedication to his Shaykh is unsurpassable in recent times. During the seventeen years with Shaykh Phoolpuri (RA) the nights were spent in a retreat (jungle) from where no other human sound was audible except for the Shaykh’s (Phoolpuri) zikr (remembrance of Allah). It was under the tutelage of Shaykh Phoolpuri for seventeen years that Hadrath mastered the scholarly work of Mathnawi by Shaykh Rumi. Shaykh Phoolpuri (RA) himself was guided by the greatest scholar of recent history, Hakeem ul Ummat Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA), who in turn was taught the Mathnawi by Shaykh Haji Imdadullah (RA).
Shaykh’s discourses permeate the listeners’ heart with Allah’s love, Greatness and hope of salvation. Every word he utters brings one closer to the Creator, Almighty Allah (SWT). His company impresses upon those around him to converge their mental as well as physical ‘being‘into living a life to the Creator’s criterion. His discourses know no language, color or age barriers and even those alien of Urdu benefit.
During Ramadan 1419 (1998/1999) a European from Belgium, who could not speak not understand Urdu, spent Ramadan with Shaykh. He was occasionally seen mesmerized by the Shaykh discourses and tears rolled down his cheeks. When someone asked him what was that kept him with Shaykh’s company? He replied, “Shaykh’s words touch my heart and my eyes involuntarily weep, thinking of Allah’s Greatness”. It is because of Shaykh’s great appreciation and understanding of Allah’s qualities that his Shaykh awarded him the title of Aarif Billah (One who has become acquainted with Allah’s qualities).
In his discourses and writings he explores profound topics relevant to the ummah (community) at present time. .His understanding and explanation of man’s spiritual relationship with Allah (SWT), the prevalent spiritual and physical maladies and its rectification are topics taken up by other Ulemas (scholars of Islam) throughout the world.
Hadrath Moulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (D.B.) was a glittering star amongst the “Walis” of Allah. He has thousands of ‘Mureeds’ (disciples) in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, America, England, Canada, South Africa, Reunion and many other parts of the world. The spiritual benefit which is derived by those who spent some time in his company, sincerely desiring reformation, is clearly evident in their transformed lifestyles. The fact that great Ulama and many Ustaads of Hadith and Tafsir, who are themselves of a high spiritual rank, became “Bay’at” upon his hands, is a clear indication of his esteemed rank and profound knowledge of Deen.