A Very Short Biography of Sheikhul Mashaikh Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال)

Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (رحمه ال)


Sheikhul Mashaikh, Hiji Imdadullah (رحمه ال) was from the lineage of Syyedina Umar (رحمه ال). Haji lmdadullah (رحمه ال) was born in 1233
A.H. (1814) in Namtah, the district of Saharanpur, India. His father, Hafiz Muhammad Amin kept his name lmdad
Husain. Shah Muhammad Ishaq Muhaddith Dehlwi (رحمه ال) changed this name to Imdadullah. His mother was deeply
attached to him although he had three brothers and one sister. Due to this devotion, he was deprived of
education. He was still only seven years old when his mother passed away. Although he began his hifz at home,
he only completed it in Makkah in 1258 A.H.


At the age of sixteen, he accompanied Moulana Mamluk Ali (رحمه ال) to Delhi where he studied a few books in Persian
together with a little Arabic Grammar and Morphology. He studied the Mathnawi of Maulana Rumi (رحمه ال), under
Maulana Abdur Razzaq (رحمه ال). He remained attached to the Mathnawi throughout his life.


Delhi at that time was the centre of Ulama and Mashaikh. Moulana Nasirud-Din Dehlwi (رحمه ال) of the Naqshbandi
school of tasawwuf was based in Delhi. He was the khalifah of Shah Muhammad Afaq (رحمه ال) and the son-in-law and
student of Shah Muhammad Ishaq Sahib (رحمه ال). Haji Imdadullah became attached to him. He was eighteen at the
time. After staying for a few days in his company, he was conferred with the mantle of khilafah.
After the death of Moulana Nasirud-Din (رحمه ال), he joined the company of another great saint of the time, Hadrat
Miaji Nur Muhammad Jinjhanwi (رحمه ال). After spending quite some time in his company, he completed the stages of
tasawwuf in the four silsilas namely, Naqshbandi, Chisti, Suharwardi and Qadri. He was subsequently conferred
with the mantle of khilafah. Miaji Nur Muhammad Jinjhanwi (رحمه ال) passed away in 1259 A.H. Although he traversed
all the paths of tasawwuf, he was totally against the practices of the ignorant Sufis. He conformed in totality with
the laws of Shariah and the sunnah of Rasullullah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَم

In Makkah

In 1260 A.H. he saw a dream in which Nabi صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَم was calling him. Out of extreme ecstasy, he immediately set off
on the journey without taking any provisions. When his brothers became aware of this, they sent some provisions
for him. The ship reached Jeddah on the 5th of Zul Ilijjah. Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال) immediately set off for Arafah. After
completing Hajj, he spent time with Hadrat Shah Muhammad Ishaq Muhaddith Dehlawi (رحمه ال). He subsequently
travelled to Madinah where he recited Salawah and Salaam upon the Prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَم with extreme devotion. On
the return journey, he spent some time in Makkah and returned to his homeland in 1262 A.11. (1846).

Responsibilities after Khilaafa

After returning from hajj, the people began flocking to him but he was reluctant to allow anyone to take the
bay’ah. Finally, at the insistence of Hafiz Damin Shahid (رحمه ال) he began accepting people as his disciples. Mufti
Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (رحمه ال) was from amongst the first Ulama to become his murid. Besides the general masses,
many Ulama became his disciples. Having murids of the calibre of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (رحمه ال), Mufti Rashid
Ahmad Gangohi (رحمه ال), Maulana Muhammad Yaqoob (رحمه ال) and Maulana Faydul Hasan Saharanpurri (رحمه ال) amongst
others, speaks volumes about his grand status and spiritual position.
Among his disciples, he had the greatest attachment to Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (رحمه ال) Haji Imdadullah used to say
that just as how Maulana Rumi (رحمه ال) was the tongue of Shams Tabrez (رحمه ال) similarly, Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (رحمه ال)
was his tongue. Whatever came in Hail Imdadullah’s heart, Moulana Qasim (رحمه ال) would utter it. Due to Haji
Imdadullah (رحمه ال) not knowing the Islamic terms, he was unable to express them.

The Revolution of 1857

The Muslims ruled India for six hundred years but they never interfered in the religious affairs of the non-
Muslims. But when the British ruled, there was total oppression and they intended to make it a Christian colony.
The priests had full permission to propagate and were greatly assisted by the English rulers. School and college
teachers were generally priests. Bible lessons were compulsory.
During this revolution, jihad was announced and Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال) was appointed the Amir (leader) of the jihad.`
The Ulama fought the British bravely in Shamli where Hafiz Damin Shahid (رحمه ال) was martyred. The British gradually
gained control of Thana Bhawan and other places. They killed any scholar that was to be found and burnt his
house. The Khanqah Imdadiyah was also burnt to the ground. Mufti Gangohi (رحمه ال) was arrested and a warrant of
arrest was issued for Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (رحمه ال). Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال) went into hiding until 1276 A.H. (1859)
when he emigrated to Makkah at the age of 43. His escape was miraculous in that he spent more than two years
by some of his murids before reaching Arabia. He went via Sindh and Karachi to Makkah.
He had performed his first Hajj in 1261 A.H. Allah put him through a very tough test in Makkah. At one stage he
had to go nine days without food. Even acquaintances would not lend him any money. He managed to survive on
Zamzam water and realized that this was a test from Allah. Thereafter help from the unseen would arrive, every
month somehow, he would receive 100 riyals.


In 1281 A.H. he married Bibi Khadijah when he was 48 years old. After her death, he married a widow but due to
being blind, she was unable to serve him. He married Bibi Amatullah at her request so that she could serve him.
None of his wives bore him any children.

Haji Imdadullah had a very accommodating attitude. All kinds of people from different schools of thought were
his disciples. He never rebuked anyone for belonging to a particular sect. His aim was merely to reform them.
Once a ghayr muqallid became his murid and soon thereafter stopped reciting Amin loudly and raising his hands
at the time of ruku (raf’ul yadain). Haji Imdadullah asked him, “Have you done it out of your own desire or due to
me? If you have done it for my sake, then don’t do so. Why should I become a cause for the abandoning of a
sunnah. This is also sunnah and that is also a sunnah. And if you have done it of your own free will, then it is
okay.” He replied that he did it from his own free will. This incident clearly indicates his broad-mindedness and
this was the reason why all kinds of people turned to him for reformation.


People from many countries benefited from his company while he was in Makkah. He used to deliver lessons on
Diya-ul Qulub, a book of tasawwuf and on the Mathnawi of Maulana Rumi (رحمه ال). Although Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال) had
very little formal education, due to his sincerity and practice on Shariah, he was granted divine knowledge (ilm
ladunni). Allah had opened the secrets of Shariah for him. He could solve intricate issues very easily. Anyone
wanting to understand the depth of his knowledge merely has to read some of his books like Sharh Mathnawi,
Maktubaat and Malfuldhaat.

Many distinguished Ulama came into his service. There were approximately seven to eight hundred Ulama who
were his disciples. Very few Mashaikh have had such a large number of Ulama as disciples in the entire history of
Islam. Hadhrat Thanwi (رحمه ال) used to say that the Ulama were non-entities in front of Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال). Such was his
knowledge. He was thus rightfully given the title of `Sheikhul Mashaikh’ (the mentor of all mentors). All Arabs
and non-Arabs regarded him unanimously as a saint.


People witnessed many miracles during the life of Haji Imdadullah . While the British were arresting the Ulama
during the revolution of 1857, a warrant of arrest was also issued for Haji Imdadullah. Someone reported to the
collector of Ambalah that Haji Imdadullah was hiding in the stable of Rau Abdullah, the head of Pinjlasah. The
British collector himself went to Rau Abdullah’s house and requested to see his horses telling him that he heard
of their great pedigree. The people were terrified as Haji Imdadullah was in the stable and there was no way of
informing him. The stable doors were opened. When the collector entered, he saw a bed, a musalla and a jug of
water for wuda. The ground was still wet with the water that had been used for wudu. However, Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال)
was nowhere to be seen. The collector had to return disappointed. After the Englishman had gone, the people
found Haji Imdadullah (رحمه ال) once more there.
There were many such incidents like this that took place during Haji Imdadullah’s (رحمه ال) life. Although many miracles
were manifested by him, he never regarded a karamah as proof of tasawwuf and asceticism.


Haji Imdadullah became so weak in his final illness that he could not even turn on his side. He passed away on 13
Jumadal Ukhra 1317 A.H. (1896) at the age of 84. He had spent approximately forty years of his life in Makkah. He
was buried in the graveyard of Makkah, Jannatul Mala, adjacent to Moulana Rahmatulah Kiranwi (رحمه ال)