By Afaq Ahmed Mir
Death is an undeniable fact. It is of no doubt that those who are sent to this world, had to depart from here to their final abode. But, when a great personality leaves this world, he leaves an irreparable loss and long lasting effect not only for the people surrounding him but for the entire society, and the vacuum caused by his loss can never be filled. Similar incident took place on the wee hours on Wednesday June 2, when the news came that Mufti Faizul Waheed Sahab Qasmi (1964-2021), easily the most versatile figure of the Islamic world left all of us to the heavenly abode.
Undoubtedly, he was a multifaceted Islamic scholar, a noble exegete of the glorious Quran, an unparalleled Hadith expect, prolific thinker of his age, reformer, educationist, and overall an ideal teacher and orator. So many obituaries can be penned down on his luminous life and unrivalled contributions and I believe, not a single one will miss out on pointing out categorically how Mufti Sahab`s death marks an end of the scholarly era.
Mufti Faizul Waheed was born in Dodhasan Bala village of Thanamandi in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. He lost his father Maulvi Gulam Hussan at an early age. He completed his initial studies at a local high school and was then enrolled in Madrasa Kashif-ul- Uloom in Thanamandi where he began to memorise Qur`an. In 1978, he went to Madrasa Talim-ul-Qur’an in Muzaffarnagar where he completed his Hifz (memorization of the Holy Qur`an) and specialization in Qirat (Qur`an recitations) in 1982. He studies two years of Dars-e-Nizami in Madrasa Khadim-ul-Islam in Hapur and later on moved to the well-known Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband where he completed his later studies in Persian and Arabic under the supervision of adept and eminent teachers. In the year 1992, he completed his studies in science of Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence and was honoured by a degree of Fazilah (specialization of Islamic teachings and its science). Additionally, he studied some courses in extra and received an M.A in Urdu literature from the Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Agra.
In 1992, Mufti Faizul Waheed began teaching at the Madrasa Ashraf-ul-Uloom in Jammu. Tafseer-e-Quran and books of Hadith were entrusted to him. After three years, he alongside with his colleagues Jamaluddin and Nazir Aḥmad started Jamia Markaz-ul-Ma’arif, an Islamic seminary in Bathindi, Jammu. Since, then till the last days of his life, he continued his teaching here and served as the chief Mufti and patron of the Markaz-ul-Maarif. In 1997, Mufti Sahab was arrested and slammed with the Public Safety Act due to some sectarian issues triggered by the devotees of the another sect, which led him to his three year imprisonment. During this period, he wrote his magnum-opus, “Faiz al Mannan”- the first ever translation and commentary of Quran in Gojri language. Mufti Sahab`s phenomenal grip on Quran and Fiqh coupled with the unconditional knowledge of Hadith led him to compile many other books including his last publication “Sirajum Muneera” (The Shining Lamp: A biography of the Prophet PBUH).
While I am not someone who had been the part of Mufti Sahab`s teaching at his seminary school (I wonder if I could have been). My objective, to be honest, is to highlight my personal memoire of him, repeated references of his guidance, his way of life, and his attention towards the young masses. It was the holy month of Ramadan in 2009, I saw Mufti Faizul Waheed Sahab for the first time giving lectures on Tafseer-e-Quran and life of the Prophet (PBUH) at Rahat Dede masjid, Anantnag. I remember that his depth of knowledge in the field of rhetoric, the smoothness in speech, and the phenomenal art of understanding Quranic verses had attracted the attention of all general public due to which almost all stories of the masjid seemed filled by the listeners. His unique way of speech with repeated references of Quranic verses led him to be honoured with the title of “Quranic Khateeb”.
Mufti Faizul waheed Sahab`s personality was full of virtues and perfections. Nature has endowed you with an excellent and unmatched charisma with which you would go down in the annals of Islam as a scholar who dedicated all his life not only in the teaching of Quran, Hadith and Islamic theology but also in the field of Da`wah (Calling towards Allah) and awareness of Muslim community towards the importance of Islamic education. During my masters, I paid a visit to Mufti Sahab, sought his blessings, and requested him to say a few words of wisdom. I remember him saying, “Dear son, you have learned the entire Qur`an, you have gone through all Quranic verses and still you want me to say words of wisdom and seek my advice? Is any advice superior to the Quran? Dear son, the success of everyone is hidden in the Qur`an. Follow this entirely and you shall succeed”. Hazrat Mufti Sahab, as the caller to Allah, kept this principled way of advising and suggesting through the commandments of Holy Qur`an. This was the reason why the entire Kashmir region, which is always the battleground of sectarian differences, even in this environment, seems to be very close and respectful to Mufti Sahab.
Hazrat Mufti Sahab does not confine himself to the four walls of his institution. On the contrary, he was always active in the fields of da`wah and preaching. Tafseer-e-Quran and Seerat of our beloved Prophet were always entrusted to him. During the month of Ramadan, he would hold special Quranic lectures in Bathindi, Jammu, for enlightening general public as well as scholars of Islam. Mufti Sahab had a deep attachment with the people of Kashmir. On occasions like annual convocations of the Islamic seminaries, Seerat conferences and other gatherings, Mufti Sahab would happily grace, with his presence, the public gatherings to reform the beliefs and deeds of Muslim masses. Besides this, he would make journey by village to village, city to city to disseminate the message of Islam between common people of Kashmir. He devoted a lot of time working for the reformation of students community by addressing them the teachings of Islam both in private or public.
With his death, we have lost not only a legendary scholar of this era but also a great orator who single-mindedly devoted his entire life to convey the true spirit of Islam, to take out commonality from the darkness of misbeliefs and misdeeds to the light of Quranic faiths and pure Islamic deeds. A true believer of Quranic principles, he is known to have always said, “The success of everyone is hidden in the Quran”. During his last days, his advice to Muslim ummah resembled so much to that of Sheikh al Hind Maulana Mahmood al Hasan. He said, “Whether I live more or not, one should keep on doing the duty whatsoever he performs in the path of Allah. Leaders (guiding people) need to be awear of robbers (misguiding people). Take the central and primary themes of the Qur`an and set up commentary circles in every mosque. Protect your Islamic culture and follow Sunnah in every walk of life. If there are no signs of Islam present, then what is left there? Even among Non-Muslims many people are fed up with their chains of ignorance, but they have not received the light of Islam” (Sayings on 22th May, 2021).
Being an internationally acclaimed scholar, Mufti Faizul Waheed Sahab`s death is being mourned throughout the world with tributes, articles and condolence letters to the deceased from noted scholars, celebrated authors and students across the world. I personally admired him, loved him, and got several opportunities to sit in his auspicious company. As a student, I always ended up with priceless intellectual discourses and words of wisdom, which gave me a lifetime lesson. Thinking of him as a man of profound knowledge, wisdom, literature, conviction, determination and simplicity, I am reminding of Allama Iqbal`s captivating lines:
Hazaron saal nargis apni benuri pe roti hai
Badi mushkil sai hota hain chaman mai didavar paida
For a thousand of years the Narcissus has been lamenting is blindness
With great difficulty the one with true vision is born in the garden
May Allah Almighty bless this noble soul with all his blessings and dwell him in his heavenly abode. May his works continue benefiting people throughout the ages! Ameen.