With Ramadhan coming to an end very soon, it’s high time to make the most of the most blessed portion of the most blessed month.
To draw inspiration, it is often very beneficial to read and hear about the worship of the pious. When we hear about the the worship of the Sahaba radiAllahu anhum often times people simply ascribe (and erroneously) it to them being ‘Sahaba.’ But, what can be said about the very men that have lived during our times? They live, eat and worship in the same era as us.
In fact, that is why scholars say that we have been granted pious people in every generation, in order for us to see the living examples of men who serve to serve Allah Ta’ala in the foot steps of our Beloved Prophet salallahu alayhi wasallam.
Shaykh Al Hadith Zakariyya Khandalwi elucidates some of the worship of great scholars from the subcontinent in his Akaabir Ka Ramadhan. I will share some excerpts from this book, in his own words:
Shaykh Qaasim Nanotwi
On the way to Mecca he boarded a ship at Karachi. They saw the moon for Ramadan from the boat. Immediately [when] they saw the moon, Hazrat started memorising the Quran [by day] and reciting it in taraweeh that night. After Eid on reaching Mukalla (In Yemen), he bought Muscati sweetmeats and distributed it among his friends on the occasion of completing the khatam. Before that time no one was aware of the fact that he was memorising the Quran. It was only afterwards that he told them that he had been doing…
According to the most authentic version of the story he memorised the Quran in one year in Ramadan, but according to another version, he did so in two Ramadhan. From the fact that he memorised 1-1/4 para’ at a time daily, it seems that in the first year he had memorised a considerable part of the Quran and finally completed it the following year when he was en route to Haj. This was the time when he completed the khatam
Shaykh Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi
“Once upon my request he was invited to Meerut to lead taraweeh prayers and recite the Quran in Ramadan. I saw that wherever he went, he was all the time busy reciting by himself so that he finished a whole khatam daily. When it was time for Iftar, he was reading: “Qul a’oothu bi rabbinnaas…”
When he arrived by rail at Meerut it was Esha time. Being a man who was continuously in a state of wudoo, he entered the mosque and immediately proceeded to the musallah to lead the prayers and in three hours recited ten paras so clearly, without any struggling over difficult patches as if the Quran was an open book in front of him. So comfortable was his pace of recitation, that he completed a full khatam of the Quran in three nights and departed. So good a hafiz was he that there was no need to revise his reading beforehand; neither was there any need for someone to stand behind him and listen with a view to correct if needed.”
His extreme exertion in spiritual exercises were such that onlookers felt pity for him. Such was he that in Ramadan, even when his age had advanced beyond seventy, he fasted the whole day and then in Awwabeen, instead of six rakats, he used to perform twenty rakats, during which he never recited less than approximately two paras. So long did he stay in ruku and sujood that onlookers thought that he had forgotten himself. On finishing this salaah, he proceeded homeward to partake of the evening meal. Even during this time too he would not remain idle, but en route and waiting for the food etc, he also finished reciting several paras.
Maulana Ilyas Khandalwi
It was the general habit of this uncle of mine that whatever he was to eat at night was eaten at iftar time. He did not have a habit of drinking tea. His meal was indeed a very simple one – not the “meal of your fathers” as mentioned in the hadith of Abu Dawood Shareef.
The hadith says that if the time for Esha is at hand and the evening meal was ready, than the evening meal should be eaten first. Then it so happened that a certain person in surprise said to Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbaas that we have heard the word of Rasulullah (SAW), and if we are going to get busy with the evening meal, the congregational prayer, will be lost. Thereupon Sayyiduna Ibn Abbaas said:
“How do you think was their meals? Do you think it was like the meal of your fathers”?”
In other words: Do you think it was such a multiple-course meal, which took such a long time to eat like that to which your fathers are used to? Their meal merely consisted of a few dates and a cup or two of ‘abattu’.
And so was the meal of my uncle in its simplicity. It sometimes consisted only of a piece of roti. In any case after iftar, he performed Maghrib salaah. After maghrib it had always been his practice to perform long raka-’aha of nafl salaah, but in Ramadan, it used to be so long that he finished very near to the time for Esha.
At night it was his fixed routine to wake up at twelve O’clock, at which time his attendants would give him two boiled eggs, still warm. The eggs were boiled while he was busy with his toilet preparations. Having eaten the eggs, he busied himself with tahajjud salaah. This continued for a long time till the last moments of sehri time and then he ate sehri. There are times when I have seen him with a morsel of food in his right hand asking for someone to bring water, with which to rinse his mouth while at the same time telling someone to call the azaan. While the muezzin will ascend onto the roof, he will finish that little morsel, finishing just as the azaan is called.
There is a little story about wild figs. At the time of iftar my uncle asked: “Is there anything to eat?”
Some people replied: “Only some wild figs which had been left over from last night.”
My uncle replied: ‘How nice! Bring it.”
At the time for Sehri he again asked whether there was something to eat and again they told him: “Only some of the same wild figs which had been left over from last night.”
Four or five such figs were then taken for sehri.
The Women from Amongst the Akaabir
May Allah grant them more strength to do more. In spite of their duties in connection with preparations for meals, and in spite of their manifold duties of rearing children of which each one of them had several children, they spend the nights of the month of Ramadan listening to various huffadh in salaah and during the day they each read (up to 14 or 15 paras per day.) In this manner they competed with and emulated each other.
My paternal grandmother (as I have mentioned before) was herself a hafiza of the Quran. Hence it was her daily routine to recite one ‘manzil’ per day by heart. But during Ramadan she recited fourty paras daily. In other words, one full khatam plus ten more paras. Apart from that she also recited hundreds of various tasbeehs daily, which altogether totalled 17000.
My late uncle (Maulana Ilyaas) also used to visit Kandhla in Ramadan because of the presence there of Ummi Bi. At such times the Quran khatam used to be completed in about one single night. At such times he performed Esha salaah in the Masjid and thereafter go to the house of Ummi Bi to perform taraweeh there from after Esha until sehri time, thereby completing fourteen or fifteen paras. Maulana Raooful Hasan Saheb is the uncle of my late father and the father of my late wife. His story has already been mentioned in ‘AAP BETI’ under the heading: TAQWA. On the 30th Ramadan he recited from Alif Laam Meem until Qul a-’oothu bi rabbil falaq… in one single raka-’ah and in the second raka-’ah he recited only Surah … al Naas! Then at sehri time he told his mother Ummi bi:
“I have now performed two raka-’aha. Will you now perform the other eighteen?”
During all that time the mother listened to the Quran while standing, behind him in the salaah!
Finally, Hadhrat Shaykh ends this booklet with this dua:
“0 Lord, through the blessings of the great guides,
Let my ending be a righteous one,
Through the intercession of the family of the Rasul
And his companions let Your Grace be my companion;
Grant to me, 0 Lord of All, that strength and might
That full control over myself I shall have;
Let it be that at the final hour, the Kalimah be on my tongue,
And that on Judgement Day among the righteous I be raised
Grant me YourHelping Hand in this world and the next
Through the blessings of every saintly, pious one.