Moulânâ Muhammad Ahmad Qâsimî (رحمه الله) [1346 A.H], the son of Moulânâ Qâsim Nânotwî (رحمه الله) was a great scholar of Islam. He was the principal of Dârul Ulûm Deoband for forty years. Initially he had two sons and a daughter who passed away in their infancy. Thereafter, for a long period, he had no offspring. The elders of Dârul Ulûm were concerned because they wanted the progeny of Moulânâ Qâsim Nânotwî (رحمه الله) to continue. Moulânâ Abdus-Samî’ (رحمه الله), an ustâdh at Dârul ‘Ulûm, said that Sheikhul Hind (رحمه الله) called him one day and told him to go to Fatehpûr to a saint whose du’âs were accepted in respect of children. Sheikhul Hind (رحمه الله) told him to request the saint to supplicate for Moulânâ Muhammad Ahmad (رحمه الله). Moulânâ Abdus-Samî’ (رحمه الله) did as he was requested. The saint asked him to come the next day.
When Moulânâ Abdus-Samî’ (رحمه الله) went to see him the next day, the saint said that he had supplicated and that his du’â had been accepted. He also remarked that he was given the glad tiding that Moulânâ Muhammad Ahmad (رحمه الله) would have a son who would become a hâfiz, qârî, âlim and a hâjî. The du’â manifested itself in the form of Qârî Muhammad Tayyib (رحمه الله) who was born in Jumâdath-Thâniyah 1315 A.H. (1897) in Deoband. His ancestral tree links up with Sayyidinâ Abû Bakr Radhiyallau Anhu. His grandfather, Hujjatul Islam, Moulânâ Muhammad Qâsim Nânotwî (رحمه الله) was a famous saint and scholar of the Islamic world who laid the foundation of Dârul ‘Ulûm Deoband in 1867.
Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) was admitted to Dârul ‘Ulûm in 1322 A.H. Many of the great elders attended his admission ceremony where Bismillâh was recited to commence his education. He was seven years old at the time. Qârî ‘Abdul Wahîd Khân Ilâhabâdî (رحمه الله) was chosen for the task of teaching him the recitation of the Holy Qur’ân. He completed memorizing the Qur’ân at the tender age of eleven in 1326 A.H. He had a loud and melodious voice from his youth and the teachers would listen with great enthusiasm to his recitation. Moulânâ Rashîd Ahmad Gangohî (رحمه الله) used to call him to recite the Qur’ân. Hadrat Gangohî (رحمه الله) was extremely pleased with his recitation and would make a lot of du’â for him.
From amongst his mentors were ‘Allâmah Kashmîrî, Muftî ‘Azîzur-Rahmân ‘Uthmânî, Moulânâ Habîbur-Rahmân, ‘Allâmah Shabbîr Ahmad ‘Uthmânî and Moulânâ Asghar Husain (رحمهم الله). Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) said that he procured the enthusiasm for hadîth from his father who had an expert ability in explanations. He obtained the ability to explain the meanings of the ahâdîth from ‘Allâmah Kashmîrî (رحمه الله) and the style of expressing the laws (masâil) from ‘Allâmah Shabbîr Ahmad ‘Uthmânî (رحمه الله) who was most eloquent. He qualified in 1337 A.H. (1918).
Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) also had an interest in self defence and military tactics which he learnt from a pious saint, Amîr Shâh Khân.
In 1339 A.H. he took bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) at the hands of Sheikhul Hind (رحمه الله) when the latter was just released from Malta. Sheikhul Hind (رحمه الله) passed away five months later. Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) then turned to ‘Allâmah Kashmîrî (رحمه الله) for spiritual guidance. The latter did not make Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) take bay’ah but continued guiding him. Moulânâ Habîbur-Rahmân ‘Uthmânî (رحمه الله) suggested to Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) to take bay’ah at the hands of Hadrat Thânwî (رحمه الله) which he did. In 1350 A.H. Hakîmul Ummat, Hadrat Thânwî (رحمه الله) conferred the mantle of khilâfat on him.
Services to Dîn
When Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) first went to Bombay, the Ahle Bid’ah (innovators) spread allegations against him and labeled him the worst kâfir since he was related to all the elders of Deoband due to being their student or being related to them. Coincidentally, when he delivered a talk, more than 30 000 people attended it. He spoke for approximately three hours and completely overwhelmed the audience. After this speech, he was invited to all parts of Bombay to deliver talks especially in areas where the opponents were very vociferous against the ‘Ulamâ of Deoband. This series of talks lasted for 29 days. Large crowds attended his talks and Moulânâ Ibrâhîm Balyâwî (رحمه الله) conferred the title of “Fâtih Bombay” (the conqueror of Bombay) to Qârî Tayyib.
The condition of the people of Bombay before this was such that if any Deobandi Âlim visited any musjid, they would wash the musjid after his departure. After Qârî Tayyib’s programmes, the people who pointed a pistol at Moulânâ ‘Abdush-Shakûr (رحمه الله) threateningly, now took bay’ah at the hands of Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) and repented from all their evil acts.
He was appointed the vice chancellor of Dârul Ulûm Deoband in 1341 A.H. during his teaching days. Then in 1348 A.H. he was appointed the chancellor. During his tenure as the chancellor, Dârul ‘Ulûm Deoband progressed tremendously.
Besides his service to Dîn in the form of teaching, he was an outstanding orator. His talks became popular from his student days. He could easily speak on any Islamic subject no matter how intricate for two to three hours without any hesitation. His speciality was in unveiling the secrets of Sharîah.
From among his contemporaries were Muftî Shafî (رحمه الله), ‘Allâmah Idrîs Kândhelwî (رحمه الله) and Moulânâ Badre Âlam Mîrthî (رحمه الله).
He penned many works some of which are: Science and Islam, Talîmâte Islâm, The Philosophy of Salâh and Tarîkh Dârul ‘Ulûm Deoband. His Mawâ’iz and Majâlis have also been published.
During his last hours, Muftî Sa’îd Ahmad and Moulânâ Sâlim were present. Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) was completely at ease. There was no sign of any tension on him nor was there any groaning. Moulânâ Muhammad Ishâq (رحمه الله), the proprietor of Kutub Khânah Rahîmîyah came during the final moments when Hakîm Mahmûd was asking Qârî Tayyib (رحمه الله) about his condition and the latter was replying. This indicates that he was at some ease. Hakîm Mahmûd placed his hand on Qârî Tayyib’s stomach to make a diagnosis. The latter breathed for about one and a half minutes and then passed away. The people that were present did not even realize that he had left this world. This was in the month of Shawwâl 1403 A.H. (17 July 1983).
Excerpt from Eminent Ulama by Ml. Ebrahim Muhammad
Published by Altaf and Sons, Karachi, Pakistan