An Exemplary Teacher of Hadeeth: Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri (Rahimahulllah)

An Exemplary Teacher of Hadeeth: Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri (Rahimahulllah)

By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi

In the blessed month of Ramadhan, a renowned exemplary teacher of Hadeeth and towering scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri (May Allah have mercy on him and grant him Jannah!) passed away. From the time we started learning from him, we realised and understood his great personality and the value and significance of his teaching. As the scholars from the world expressed their pain and grief over his sad demise, it added more importance and worth to our hearts than ever before. He spent his noble and beautiful life in studying, teaching, lecturing, addressing the gathering of masses and authoring and compiling precious books on several topics of Islamic sciences. He rendered his services within the country and abroad like European and African countries, the USA and Canada etc. Keeping his works in mind, it can be admitted that such personalities are born after a long time.

The Teaching Services:

There are numerous prominent aspects of Mufti Sahib’s services to be covered. He was an able teacher, favourite lecturer, orator, acclaimed author, famous publisher and a businessman too. I am blessed and honoured to say that the Almighty Allah gave me a golden chance to learn two books of Hadeeth: SunanTirmidhi and SharhuMaa’ni Al-Aathar from him. So, for me, he was a great, respected and exemplary teacher and mentor. In this piece of writing, therefore, I would like to highlight his teaching services and characteristics of teaching briefly, In Shaa Allah. He was an ideal teacher with his unique style and typical teaching methodology. One and all appreciated and acknowledged his this quality. The student always desired to emulate him in his teaching methodology, if they were to get a chance for teaching in order to get their students satisfied with their lessons.

Mufti Sahib (Rahimahullah) began his teaching while he was a learner. When he was a student of Iftaa Course at Darul Uloom Deoband, in 1382 AH, he started teaching “Hifz Al-Quran Al-Kareem” to his younger brother, Mufti Muhammad Ameen Palanpuri (Hafizahullah). Mufti Ameen Sahib writes: “He (Mufti Saeed Ahmad) took me to Deoband in 1382 AH along with him. He got this humble person (Mufti Ameen) enrolled in the Hifz class of Qari Kamil Sahib Doebandi. I could not benefit from Qari Sahib. Then he took the full responsibility of teaching me Hifz of the Holy Quran. He made me Haafiz within one and a half year.” (Al-Khair Al-Kathir, P: 48)

Teaching Service in Darul Uloom Ashrafiyah, Rander:

Following the completion of Ifta Course, Mufti Sahib remained as an Assistant Mufti for some period of time at Darul Uloom Deoband. Later, at the recommendation of Allamah Muhammad Ibrahim Baliavi (RA), he was appointed as a teacher in Darul Uloom Ashrafiyah, Rander, Surat, Gujarat in 1384 AH. Over the time of almost nine years, he served in Ashrafiyah as a teacher from Dul-Qa’adah 1384 AH till Shaban 1393 AH. During this period, he taught several books of higher level like: Sunan Tirmidhi, Sunan Abi-Dawood, Tahawi, Muwattein, Sunan Nasa’aee, Sunan Ibn-Majah, Mishkat, Jalalein, Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer, Translation of the Qura’an, Hidayah, Sharh Aqaaid, Husaami etc. (Al-Khair Al-Kathir, P.: 50)

Appointment at DarulUloom Deoband:

Very few people are blessed with such instructive and teaching capability as that of Mufti Sahib. Not only his students, but also his teachers bear witness to   this fact. In 1393 AH, when there was a vacancy for teacher in Darul Uloom Deoband, his teacher Sheikh Hashim Bukhari (Rahimahullah), then the teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband, asked him to apply for the said post and he did so. In the month of Shaban of the same year, his application was accepted in the meeting of the governing body of Darul Uloom Deoband and he was informed about his appointment at Darul Uloom Deoband. Then in Shawwal in 1393 AH, he joined Darul Uloom Deoband as a respected teacher. Since then the journey started in 1393 AH in Darul Uloom Deoband, continued till he breathed his last on 19 May 2020.

He served in Darul Uloom Deoband nearly 48 years. The management also appreciated and acknowledged his teaching ability and expertise of the books assigned to him and the academic council continued promoting him. The books that he taught are Sullamul Uloom, Mullah Hasan, Hadyah Saeediyyah, Mebzi, Hidayah, Husami, Musallam Al-Thubut, Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer, Talkhis Al-Itqaan, Sharh Aqaaid, Siraji, Rashidiyah, Musaamrah, Hujjatullahi Al-Balighah, Diwan Al-Mutanabbi, Diwaan Al-Hamasah, Saba’ah Muallaqah, Jalalein, Tafseer Baidhavi, Tafseer Mazhari, Tafseer Madaarik, Nukhbah Al-Fikr, Muqaddamah Ibn Salaah, Mishkaat, Tahawi, Muwatta Imam Malik, Muwatta Imam Muhammad, Sunan Ibn Majah, Sunan Nasa’aee, Sunan Tirmidhi, Sunan Abi-Dawood, Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari. Presently he held the posts of Sheikhul Hadeeth and Head-Teacher.

Some Characteristics of Mufti Sahib in Teaching:

Mufti Sahib was a distinguished figure due to his matchless teaching methodology. There were many characteristics and distinctive features in his teaching which are not altogether found generally in a teacher. Here, I am going to mention few of them as I came across while learning from him:

He was very much punctual of attendance. He used to come to the class on time. His lesson planning was so well that he would teach it within the period and leave the class as the bell rang.

He used to avoid going on a long journey during academic year so that it would not disturb the syllabus to complete during the assigned time.

His lecture carried on at the same pace, be it in the beginning of the year or at its end until he completed the syllabus.

The students were bound to follow his rules and regulations set in the class. The students were not allowed to enter the class, after he has had arrived in the classroom.

Apart from the lesson, he used to spend few minutes every day to make the students memorise some Ahaadith and Asmaaul Husna. He used to advise the students to do the same with their students so that it will become a continuous charity.

In the beginning of the year, he used to deliver some introductory lectures on the science of Hadeeth. During these lectures, he used to cover the topics like: Hadeeth, Tadween Hadeeth, Wahi, Kinds of Wahi, Hujjiatul Hadeeth, Ijmaa, Qayaas, Taqleed etc. These lectures were keys to the treasure of knowledge. Now, it is preserved and recorded in the first volume of “Tohfatul Al-Maee”, Al-Hamdulliah.

He worked hard in studying the books and did not think to waste his precious time at all. He was a favourite and perfect teacher. He knew the psychology of the students and taught them according to their level of understanding. It was, therefore, easy for the students to grasp the lessons easily to their best satisfaction.

He was blessed with such teaching talent that whenever a difficult and complicated topic was raised, he used to cite some examples that even the slow learners used to understand and comprehend his lesson effortlessly.

Due to his teaching methodology, he was a beloved celebrated teacher among the students. They loved him from the bottom of their hearts. They attended his lessons happily with punctuality.

He delivered his lecture with such velocity that the students were easily able to note down his lectures on papers. That is the reason thousands of his students noted down his lectures on Tirmidhi and well preserved it.

Whenever he explains the difference of opinions among the different schools of thought in Fiqh, he avoided giving preference to the opinion of a certain Imam; instead his focus remained on highlighting the basis and reason of the difference, so that the students can understand the reason behind the view of each Imam about the contentious issue.

Every student was not permitted to read the text of Hadeeth in Sunan Tirmidhi class. Whoever wished to do so, he had to pass the test. The criteria of passing the test were reading Ibaarah with proper pause understanding the punctuation, with clear voice, with average speed and without making a grammatical mistake in the Arabic text.

At the end of the year, he divided the graduating students into several categories like: those who would go for further studies, those who will start teaching, those who will do business and those who will go in Tablighi Jama’ah. He used to advise them accordingly.

Mufti Sahib was expert in several sciences of Islamic studies. He was an exemplary teacher as well as a renowned Mufti in the world. He issued hundreds of Fataawa which are documented in the register. He was a good manager too. As a director, he ran “Majlise Tahaffuze Khatme Nabuwwat” at Darul Uloom Deoband. The Majlis played a key role in creating awareness among the masses about our beloved prophet and messenger Muhammad (SAWS) being the last and final prophet and messenger of Allah as the Majlish also made them aware of the false prophet-hood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani. He was a well-known orator and preacher. For this purpose, he was invited from across the world and he would travel within the country and abroad. Specially, in the long holiday of Ramadahn, he used to visit England, USA, Canada and several African countries. The people eagerly gathered in crowd to listen to his speeches. Little bit, I have tried to highlight his prominent service as a teacher in this piece of writing only.

Mufti Sahib was about 80 years old. He used to fall sick frequently for last several years and got recovery. This year too, he fell sick in the month of Rajab. In the last lesson of Bukhari, he became seriously ill. He reached Mumbai. The treatment started. He recovered as well and was able to deliver speeches after Tarawih Salaah regularly. Later on, he fell sick again and was admitted in Sanjeevani Hospital in Malad (East) where he breathed his last in the morning on 25th Ramadhan 1441 AH –19th May 2020. The news of his demise was announced by his son. His relatives and the students scattered all over the world were saddened following the news of the demise spread. The social media was abuzz with news of making Duaa, reading the Qur’an and passing the condolences via letters and video and audio clips. On the same day, he was buried in Oshiwara Muslim Qabristan of Jogeshwari (West) in Mumbai. The Janazah Salah was led by his son, Maulana Ahmad Saeed Sahib. May the Almighty accept his services! May Allah grant him Jannatul Firdause! Aameen!

Author is alumnus of Darul Uloom Deoband, and presently serving as a teacher at English Medium Islamic School,  Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa.