بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
He was the Shaikh of Arab and Ajam’, a fountain of spiritual benefit and knowledge; a veritable treasure-house of spiritual realities and a repository of spiritual subtleties and mysteries. The original name given to him by his father was Imdad Husain. However, the spiritual authority of the time, Shaikhul Masha-ikh Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Ishaq who had miraculously discerned the spiritual abilities of the boy, advised the name, Imdad Ilahi. It was this reason that Hadhrat became known by the name Imdadullah. His father’s name and ancestry were Hafiz Muhammad Amin Bin Shaikh Hafiz Buddha Bin Shaikh Hafiz Bulaqi Bin Shaikh Abdullah Bin Shaikh Muhammad Bin Shaikh Abdul Karim.
In the 55th ancestral line his lineage joins with Hadhrat Ibrahim Bin Adham who is also Hadhrat’s spiritual ancestor in the spiritual Silsilah. Although this is the popular view, Hadhrat Thanwi proves in his Tarjihur Raaji’ that in Hadhrat’s ancestry there is Farkh Shah Farْqi, but not Hadhrat Ibrahim Adham.
Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah is a descendent of Amirul Mu’mineen Hadhrat Umar Farْq Bin Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu). He was a follower of the Hanafi Math-hab and an Imaam of Tariqat (Tasawwuf).
He was born on Saturday, 22nd Safar 1233 Hijri, at Naanotah in the district on Sahaaranpْr. Naanotoh is approximately 20 miles from Sahaaranpْr. Naanotoh is the hometown of Hadhrat’s maternal grandfather.
Hadhrat had two elder brothers – Zulfiqar, the eldest, and Fida Husain. The youngest brother’s name is Bahadur Ali Shah. He also had a younger sister, Bi Wazirunnisa’.
At the age of 3 years, Hadhrat was given into the lap of Hadhrat Sayid Ahmad Shahid who favoured him with a symbolical bay’t of Tabarruk. When Hadhrat was 7 years old, his mother Bibi Haseeni, the daughter of Hadhrat Shaikh Ali Muhammad Siddiqui Nanotwi, passed away. Her love for Hadhrat was so intense that she could not tolerate even anyone’s stare at him. She had therefore made wasiyyat:
“Honour this wasiyyat of mine. No one should touch this child of mine.”
In consequence of the strict observance of this wasiyyat, even Hadhrat’s education was not given much attention. However, since he was destined to one day become a guide for humanity and a repository of Uloom-e-Baatiniyyah and spiritual mysteries, there was embedded in his heart a natural yearning for Hifz of the Qur’aan. Thus, inspite of the absence of encouragement from others, he of his own accord, memorised the Qur’aan Majeed. Despite many obstacles, he finally completed the Hifz of the Qur’aan with divine aid.
In 1249 Hijri when Hadhrat was 9 years, he accompanied Maulana Mamlْk Ali to Delhi where he commenced the acquisition of Uloom-e-Zaahiriyyah from the renowned Masha-ikh of the time. He had just about begun with some primary Farsi and Arabic grammar books, when there developed in him a yearning for Uloom-e-Baatiniyyah. Allah’s relationship varies with different people. Allah Ta’ala arranges the circumstances, ways and means for the execution of a task which He intends imposing on a person and He then creates the relative ability (taufeeq) in the person who has to perform the function. Hence, even prior to Hadhrat’s accomplishment in Uloom-e-Zaahiriyyah, the intense yearning for Uloom-e-Baatiniyyah developed in him. Thus, at the age of 18 Hadhrat took bay’t with Hadhrat Shaikh Maulana Nasiruddin Naqshabandi. He acquired from him the various Athkaar (plural of thikr) of the Naqahabandi Silsilah.
Hadhrat Shaikh Nasiruddin was the Khalifah of Shaikhul Masha-ikh Shah Muhammad afaq as well as the student and son-in-law of the Hadith Authority of the time, namely, Shaikhul Hadith Shah Muhammad Ishaq. He also had the proud honour of being the student of Hafizul Hadith Shah Abdul Aziz.
After only a few days with his Shaikh, the mantle of khilaafate was conferred to him (Haji Imdadullah). He then commenced the study of Mishkaat Shareef under Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Qalandar Muhaddith Jalaalabadi. He further, studied Hisn-e-Haseen and Fiqh Akbar under Hadhrat Maulana Abdur Raheem Nanotwi. Both these august personalities were the elite students of Hadhrat Mufti Ilahi Baksh Kandhalwi, the author of the Seventh Section of Mathnawi Ma’nwi. Hadhrat Imdadullah studied Mathnawi Ma’nwi which is the Mine of Uloom-e-Ma’rifat, under Hadhrat Shah Abdur Razzaq who had studied it under Maulana Abul Hasan Kandhalwi who had acquired it from his father, Hadhrat Mufti mentioned above. Hadhrat Mufti Sahib had acquired the knowledge of Mathnawi in Aalam-e-Ru’yaa (the Realm of Visions and Dreams) from the author, Maulana Rْmi himself, who had also appointed him (Mufti Sahib) to compile the Seventh Dafter of Mathnawi.
Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah with his already purified and highly adorned heart, benefited tremendously from the study of such a wonderful treasure-house of Ma’rifat as Mathnawi under the supervision of such a noble authority on the subject as Hadhrat Mufti Sahib. Hadhrat had made the study of Mathnawi a regular practice. The consequence was a constant increase in the burning intensity of his yearning for divine love.
At the peak of his restlessness he was blessed and honoured with the fortune of seeing Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) in a dream, which has already been explained in the section dealing with Hadhrat Mianji. It was on the basis of this dream that Haji Imdadullah became bay’t with Hadhrat Mianji. Only after a few days in the association of Hadhrat Mianji, was the mantle of khilaafate conferred to him.
After having conferred the khilaafate, Hadhrat Mianji subjected Haji Imdadullah to one final test. He thus asked his newly-appointed khalifah:
“Do you desire taskheer or kimiyyah?”
(Taskheer is the power to subjugate and control the minds of others. Kimiyyah is the alchemy to transform metal into gold. – Translator.)
On hearing this, Haji Imdadullah broke down crying and said: “The desire is only for Mahbْb-e-Haqiqi (i.e. Allah Ta’ala, the True Love). I wish for nothing of this world.”
In response to this answer, his spiritual father, in a state of ecstatic elation embraced him and showered him with many duas. The chain of faidh continued until 1296 when the spiritual shadow of Hadhrat Mianji was lifted.
After the departure of Hadhrat Mianji from this earthly abode, an absorbing state overtook Haji Imdadullah. In consequence, he developed a stong fear and detestation for people. He withdrew himself from the midst of people and wandered in the wildness of Punjab, which became his home. His love and obedience for the Sunnah made faqr (poverty) a salient feature in him. He would refrain from eating for up to eight days. Not a grain would go down his throat in these periods of self-imposed starvation.
“Once, in dire straits, I asked a person for a loan. Despite him having the ability to advance the loan, he refused.”
Initially, Hadhrat had been slightly affected by this refusal. However, he quickly understood that what had happened was the act of the True Operator (Allah Ta’ala). Thus, the slight despondency was replaced by pleasure.
Thereafter, commenced the incidence of Mubash-shiraat (true dreams). On one occasion he saw in a dream Hadhrat Jibraeel and Hadhrat Mika-eel which symbolised the divine gifts of knowledge, guidance and sustenance (Ilm, Hidaayat and Rizq). In this regard Hadhrat Nanotwi said that Hadhrat Haji Sahib was a producer of Ulama.
Finally, after spending 6 months wandering in the wilderness, in 1260 Hijri Hadhrat was blessed with seeing Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) in a dream. Nabi-e-Kareem (صلى الله عايه وسالم) said: “Come to us.” Simultaneou-sly, Hadhrat was overcome by a strong urge for going to Madinah Munawwarah. Ultimately on 8th Thil Hajj 1261 Hijri, he landed at Bandares which is a port close to Jiddah. From there he set off directly to Arafaat.
After completion of Hajj he remained in the association of Hadhrat Shah Ishaq Muhajire Makki and others, deriving spiritual benefit from them. Some of the advices which Hadhrat Shah Sahib gave him were:
“Regard yourself as the most inferior in the entire creation. Abstention from haraam and mushtabah food is of extreme importance. A haraam or mushtabah morsel most certainly harms.”
Hadhrat Shah Sahib instructed him to observe the muraaqabah (meditation) of
“What! Do you not know that Allah sees?”
Hadhrat Shah Sahib further informed Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah that after ziyaarat of Madinah Tayyib, it will be imperative for him to return to Hindustan. He added:
“Insha’Allah, after severance of all relationships, you will come again. Then you will remain.”
Hadhrat Sayyid Qudratullah Benaresi Makki who was famous for his karaamaat sent several of his mureeds to accompany Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah to Madinah Munawwarah with the instruction:
“Take him with care and bring him back here.”
At last his long desire was fulfilled. After Ziyaarat of Rasulullah’s sacred Grave, he derived the fuyْdh of that holy place. During his time in Madinah, while in muraaqabah in the area known as “A garden of the gardens of Jannat” (i.e. the area between the Sacred Grave and blessed Mimbar), he had the honour of making ziyaarat of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) who placed an amaamah (turban) on his head.
While in Madinah, Hadhrat expressed his desire for living in Madinah Munawwarah to Hadhrat Shah Ghulam Murtaza Jhanjhanwi Madani who also advised him to be patient for a while, for he will, Insha’Allah return. After a few days he went back to Makkah Mukarraamah. Here he stayed a few days before returning to Hindustan.
In the year 1296 Hijri after having returned to Hindustan, the seekers of Sulook insisted on becoming bay’t to Hadhrat. However, his humility constrained him to refuse. But a directive from the Ghaib compelled him to submit to the wishes of the Taalibeen (Seekers). Thus commenced the process of bay’t
Only a few days had lapsed when Hadhrat’s sister-in-law saw in a dream Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) saying:
“Get up! (i.e. Move away!) I shall prepare the food of Imdadullah’s guests who are Ulama.”
Among the Ulama, the first who became Hadhrat’s mureed was Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Apparently he became bay’t in the year 1263 Hijri. A few days thereafter, followed Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi, the founder of Daarul Uloom Deoband.
It is surprising that Hadhrat Nanotwi was a devotee of Hadhrat Imdadullah before Hadhrat Gangohi. At that time Hadhrat Gangohi had no association whatever with Hadhrat Haji Sahib. When occasionally the Ustaad would skip the lesson of Muslim Shareef, on account of the arrival of Hadhrat Haji Sahib, Maulana Gangohi would say:
“A good Haji has come. In fact our lessons have closed.” (This was said with some sarcasm).
Hadhrat Nanotwi would respond:
“Oh! Don’t say so. He is extremely holy and among the chosen.”
Furthermore, Haji Imdadullah had granted khilaafate first to Hadhrat Gangohi during the stay in Thaanabovan in 1266 Hijri while Hadhrat Nanotwi acquired Khilaafate during Haji Imdadullah’s stay in Makkah in about 1282 Hijri.
When these two leading Ulama became bay’t to Hadhrat Haji Sahib, other Ulama also turned towards him. The following Ulama entered the Silsilah at the hands of Haji Imdadullah:
Maulana Abdur Rahman Kandhalwi, Molvi Muhammad Hasan Panipati, Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaqْb (the first Mudarris of Deoband), Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf (the son of Hafiz Muhammad Zamin), Maulana Hakim Ziyauddin Rampْri, Maulana Faizul Hasan Saharanpْri and other senior Ulama.
The enthusiasm and yearning which were increasing day by day in is heart produced in him the urge to migrate. However, in view of the movements of the Aakabir (Senior) being subject to command, this idea remained a burning desire in is heart. Coincidentally, the Mutiny of 1276 Hijri (1857) against the British took place. Mischief-makers wanting to save their skins implicated others. In this way they began currying favour with the government. In the aftermath of this upheaval, Hadhrat Haji Sahib bid farewell forever to Hindustan.
The innumerable karaamat which had emanated from Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah are beyond the scope of this brief book nor are they surprising because karaamat are not viewed as anything special by the Ahlullah (Auliya). In fact, their every act is a karaamat. I shall therefore omit them. Anyone desirous of knowing of these karaamat should refer to the treatises Karaamaat-e-Imdadiyyah and Kamaalat-e-Imdadiyyah which are the writings of Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. Although in these books, he has ensconced an ocean in a cup, it nevertheless, is a drop. However, being the work of Hadhrat Thanwi, it is certainly reliable. Also in Shama-im-e- Imdadiyyah are to be found some of Hadhrat’s karaamaat and anecdotes.
Once a man saw in his dream that Hadhrat Haji Sahib was wearing the mubaarak cloak of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim said that the dream was clear and needed no interpretation. Hadhrat Haji Sahib was covered in the cloak of Shariat and Tariqat.
Hadhrat Haji Sahib left via Punjaab. Enroute he visited the graves of the Auliya at Hyderaabad, Sindh. He embarked at Karachi for Makkah Mukarramah. For some days he stayed at the Ribaat of Seth Ismail on Mount Safaa. He spent most of the time in solitude and in muraaqabah (meditation), hence he did not have the occasion to associate much with the inhabitants of Makkah. However, during the days of Hajj on account of the wishes of the thirsty devotees of Hindustan to meet him, Hadhrat would mostly remain in public view.
After some time had passed in this condition, a directive from the Ghaib drew his attention to the fact that an Aarif should not abandon any Sunnat of the Nabi (صلى الله عايه وسالم). Nikah was, therefore, also essential. On account of his solitude, Hadhrat had hitherto no inclination for marriage. But, because of this directive he married Kْbi Khadijah, the daughter of Haji Shafa’at Khan Marhoom Rampuri, on 21st Ramadhaanul Mubaarak 1282 Hijri. Her parents were already deceased. The mehr was fixed at 60 riyals, the equivalent of 125 rupees or slightly more.
In 1294 some of Hadhrat’s khuddaam, after considerable insistence and pleading, bought for Hadhrat a house in Haarratul Baab. Hadhrat whose glittering heart always regarded himself a musaafir in this transitory abode, did not take a liking to the house. But, the insistence of the khuddaam constrained him to accept the gift.
Hadhrat Haji Sahib was of frail physical stature. In addition to this, mujaahadat, riyaadhaat, reduction of food and sleep melted away his body so much that towards the end it became difficult for him to even turn onto his side.
Hadhrat Aqdas Thanwi gives in his Malfuzaat a description of Hadhrat Haji Sahib’s ma’mool (regular practice) of staying awake at night. This was during Haji Sahib’s stay in Hindustan. Hadhrat Thanwi narrates this on the bases of the narration of Hafiz Abdul Qadir who was the student and mureed of Hadhrat Haji Sahib. Hadhrat Thanwi’s words are:
“After Ishaa, Hadhrat firstly laid down on his bed. All (who were present) saw Hadhrat going off to bed after Ishaa. After all the musallis had left, Hadhrat would instruct the Muath-thin to close the door (of the khaanqah). He would then spread a musalla in the Musjid and become engrossed in Thikrullah. According to Hafiz Sahib, Hadhrat Haji Sahib would sleep for an extremely short while. Whenever his (Hafiz Sahib’s) eyes opened, he would see Hadhrat in the Musjid engrossed in Thikr. He never missed a day nor did there pass a day without him crying and reciting poetry with a sorrowful heart.”
After having brightened this dark world for 84 years, 3 months and 20 days, he reached his Mahboob (Beloved Allah) at the time of Fajr Athaan on Wednesday the 12th or 13th Jamaadil Ukhra 1317 Hijri, giving the people of the world the blemish of his separation. He is buried in Jannatul Ma’laa (in Makkah Mukarramah) alongside the grave of Maulana Rahmatullah Keranwi, the Founder of Madrasah Saulatiyyah (in Makkah Mukarramah).
In memory of Hadhrat Haji Sahib, there are several books written by him. These are still available and are enumerated hereunder.
1. HASHIYAH MATHNAWI of MAULANA Rumi
This is an annotation in Farsi on the Mathnawi of Maulana Rْumi. During Haji Sahib’s lifetime only two parts could be printed. The remainder was printed later after his demise.
2. GHIZA-E-ROOH (The Nourishment of the Soul)
He wrote this book in 1264 Hijri. Hadhrat Mianji Nْr Muhammad is also discussed. This book consists of 1600 verses of poetry.
3. JIHAAD-E-AKBAR (The Greater Jihaad)
He composed this book in 1268. This is actually a Farsi work in poetry of another author. Hadhrat translated it into Urdu. In consists of 17 pages with 679 verses.
4. MATHNAWI TUHFAHTUL USH-SHAQ (Mathnawi – A gift for Lovers)
This consists of 1324 poetical verses and was compiled in 1281.
5. RISA LAH DARD GHAMNAK (The Treatise of Painful Sorrow)
It consists of 5 pages with 175 verses.
6. IRSHAD-E-MURSHID (The Directive of the Murshid)
This book deals with wazaa-if, muraaqabaat, auraad and the shajaraat of the four Silsilah. It was written in 1293 Hijri.
7. ZIYA UL QULOOB (Glitter of the Hearts)
This book is in Farsi. Hadhrat wrote this book in Makkah Mukarramah in 1282 Hijri on the request of Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf, the son of Hadhrat Hafiz Muhammad Zamin.
Hadhrat Thanwi writes in his Malfْzaat that Haji Imdadullah said:
“I have deleted two thirds of Ziyaul Quloob because I was informed by ilhaam (divine inspiration) that it is inappropriate to reveal it. In it (the two thirds) is written the effects of Ashgaal.”
8. WAHDATUL WUJD
9. FAISLAH HAFTE MAS’ALAH
This latter book is now known by the title, Kulliyaat-e- Imdaadiyyah.
to be continued – Part 2