Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Rafi ‘Usmani دامت برکاتہم holding a speech at Jamiah Ashrafiya, Lahore:
During the prosperous era of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband there were not attached very big titles to the ‘Ulama’s names like nowadays. Today very big titles, for example ‘Allamah, Faqih al-‘Asr, Wahid al-Dahr, Mufti-e-‘Azam etc. and so on, get used but in those times these titles didn’t exist. In that time a scholar of Deen was called “Molvi Sahab” and the biggest scholar of Deen was called “big Molvi Sahab”. So, they were not called with more titles than that: They had knowledge, not titles. Today, knowledge has left and very big titles get joined with our names.
My respected father Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ Sahab رحمۃ اللہ علیہ used to say, for thirty years now our Deeni Madaris have been fruitless, because for thirty years our Madaris are not producing any “Molvis”. He said, “Many Maulanas are produced, but no Molvi. And what is a Molvi?”
علم مولی’ ہو جسے ہے مولوی
جسے حضرت مولوی معنوی
So, “Molvis” are actually called the friends of “Maula”, called the friends of Allah. Today friends of Allah are not produced. Listen to the condition of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband in those times:
My respected father رحمۃ اللہ علیہ used to tell, that hearing of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband’s reputation people came from very far places to Darul ‘Uloom. The visitors came with the wish to meet the big ‘Ulama. So, one person came to meet Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind [Mahmud al-Hassan] Saheb نوراللہ مرقدہ and asked him, “You must be the big Molvi Saheb around here?” Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind نوراللہ مرقدہ replied, “Not me, but the actual big Molvi Sahab is so-and-so Sahab.” Because in those times Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind نوراللہ مرقدہ had been the biggest and the teachers of all, that’s why he was called “big Molvi Saheb” and the rest of the ‘Ulama were called “Molvi Saheb”. So, Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind نوراللہ مرقدہ said that the real big Molvi Sahab was so-and-so and saying this he sent him to another elder. The person came to him and asked, “Are you the big Molvi Saheb?” This elder said as well, that it’s not me, the big Molvi Saheb is so-and-so. In this way he was send to the third ‘Alim. Purpose of the story is that no one was ready to accept to be the “big Molvi Sahab”.
Therefore, my respected father رحمۃ اللہ علیہ used to say, that as a result of that they were all big. Why? Because when noone of them was ready to accept himself as big, then definitely the promise of Rasulullah صلی اللہ علیہ و الہ وسلم gets fulfilled:
“Whosoever adopts Tawwadhu [humility] for the sake of Allah, Allah Ta’ala will honour him.”
That’s why they all were big. And today everyone of us says, that I am big. The result is that everyone became small.
When one asks someone today “Are you the big leader?”, “Are you the big teacher of this institute?” or “Are you the big scholar of these times?” Then in the answer he will adopt Riya [showing off] inside Tawwadhu, because the Shaytan of a Molvi is a Molvi himself. So, Shaytan tells him: “Don’t say ‘I’m the big one.’, because when you say that you’re the big one he might think you don’t have any Tawwadhu and if you don’t have any Tawwadhu you can not be a friend of Allah, in result of that he’ll not look up to you anymore. So, you should reply “I’m not a big scholar, but yes people say so.”” Which actually means I confirm to be a big scholar, but how can I say it with my own tongue. In this way he will adopt Riya inside of Tawwadhu and this is called Hubb-e-Jah. Summary is that when you look at the root of most of today’s mischief you’ll see two things, one is Hubb-e-Maal and one is Hubb-e-Jah. May Allah Ta’ala protect all of us from these two inner diseases. (Ameen!)