*A FEW STEPS WITH HAZRAT MUFTI AFZAL HOSSEN ILYAS R.A.*
I am writing these few words to our youth in particular and to others who may benefit from the few steps I had with Hazrat Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas r.a. I have not been very close to him although there was like a natural current that established between us when I first met him. I am aware that as a Mufti, Hazrat Mufti saab took some stand and that some or many did not agree. This is natural when you are straight forward and a truth transparent liquid. Imaam Shafi`ee r.a. used to say: ‘’When I wake up in the morning, I discover that half of the populace are my enemies and half are my friends.’’ So if you are a mufti or a mowlana, then you are often titled to be a major stem of a certain ulamas group or simply ‘’not with them’’. The difference of stands that our ulamas has is in fact a major ingredient of moderation of this Ummah. For example, if a complete monopoly group of ulamas exist, then there will be no one to raise voice when boundary stone of the road are trampled. Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas r.a. was a down to earth mufti that mixed with the public without a person knowing he was a mufti. When I first met him in the Zakarya Park Masjid(Not Madrassah), he came for a day programme. While I was student of beginning years, I used to live there before I get a house in Darul Uloom Zakarya. Hazrat Mufti Afzal came towards me to meet me with a smile and asked my name. He then encouraged me when I told him I was studying: ‘’Then Allah Ta`ala has made Jannah easy for you!’’ Referring to this famous hadith:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ نَفَّسَ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ الدُّنْيَا نَفَّسَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلَى مُعْسِرٍ يَسَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِمًا سَتَرَهُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ فِي عَوْنِ الْعَبْدِ مَا كَانَ الْعَبْدُ فِي عَوْنِ أَخِيهِ وَمَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِهِ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ مسلم
Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam said: ….One who took the road of seeking the knowledge of deen, then surely, Allah has made Jannah easy for him.(Muslim)
The second time we met was about 15 years later. In Mauritius. I was teaching in Maktab. He came in to ask permission-with a very humble manner-for his wife to read salaah. I approved. And while distancing I asked his name. He showed me his card. Then I recognized that I had a discreet great alim in front of me. It was close to assr. So I told him that I wish to meet him after salaah. I tried to persuade him to give us a programme at least. He accepted.
Sitting on the dinner table, I tried to fish jewels from this sea of knowledge. I am saying all that for us to benefit from him. I asked him the secret of his tremendous contribution to the ink of Islam. He said ‘’I work very very hard.’’ Then I asked his day and night schedule. He told me that when he start, he doesn`t finish. No sleep no rest, a one way go. Besides his salaah in the Masjid, he would spend most of his time writing, without rest. Some other time he told me that the secret may be that he had ‘’a clean file’’ when studying as a youth in school. That is he never committed adultery or got close to adultery during his study as a young boy in a free environment. This is important for our youth to listen. If you want that Allah Ta`ala take great work of deen from you, then control yourself against sins. A zina-free file is accepted by Allah Ta`ala for a promotion, Insha Allah. This is not a coincidence that all the ascendants of Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alai Wasallam from his father Abdullah up to Hazrat Adam a.s. never committed zina-adultery.(Tabrani)Once Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas r.a. visited Madinah Munawwarah. While he was there, the son of M Ashiqe Ilahi r.a. came to the Masjid several days because he was dreaming that his late father was telling him: ‘’There is a guest here.’’ After a few days, he found Mufti Afzal there. He understood that his father`s dream was in favour to host Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas r.a. Sometimes it is complex to understand how the soul/rouh acts after death. Mufti Afzal Hoossen came in Jamaat also in Mauritius. He used to tell me about the time he spent with Qari Siddiq Bandewi r.a. He did i`tikaaf with him. Qari Siddiq Bandwi was one of the peak ulamas in the last era. Once, during I`tikaaf in the hot summer of India, Qari saab turned off the fan of the Masjid. Mufti Afzal told him the reason for him doing so. He answered: ‘’Kaam main ae ga’’: ‘’later you will benefit from that’’. Sacrifice now and reap afterwards. Doing sacrifice voluntarily for the sake of deen is a sunnah and lead doors of Hidayat and Jannah.
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
As for those who strive in Our way, We will certainly take them to Our paths, and indeed Allah is with those who good in deeds.(29:69)Note that the beloved prophet Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam used to opt personally for voluntary sacrifice for the sake of uplifting of deen and also to thank Allah Ta`ala.
عن عائشة رضي الله عنهاأن نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يقوم من الليل حتى تتفطر قدماه فقالت عائشة لم تصنع هذا يا رسول الله وقد غفر الله لك ما تقدم من ذنبك وما تأخر قال أفلا أحب أن أكون عبدا شكورا فلما كثر لحمه صلى جالسا فإذا أراد أن يركع قام فقرأ ثم ركع بخاريReported in Bukhari that the beloved prophet Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam used to stand so long during Tahajjud that his heels would crack.(Bukhari) Other riwayats describe that his feet would get swollen(Muslim) When asked about the reason for so much of sacrifice, he would answer ‘‘Shouldn`t I be a grateful servant of Allah?’’.(Bukhari)But for others, he used to advise to be moderate on ibaadah. Personally he would give himself maximum. Severe on oneself and relaxed upon others is sunnah. This explain some ahadiths where Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam was relaxed upon new muslims as per pardah/hijab issues but He should be very severe on his family members. Furthermore, the beloved prophet Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam used to opt voluntarily to pain for the sake of deen. But nowadays, ulamas advise that we should live with ease and comfort, but should absolutely abstain from sins. Araam se raho, Gunah se Bacho. Hazrat Annas r.a. made khidmat of Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam for 9 years and stayed close to Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam. Reported in Bukhari that once long after the demise of Rasouloullah Swalallahou Alaihi Wasallam, while serving food, his cook was standing, he told his guests that proceed to eat, although know that the beloved prophet Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam has never known such soft bread and such succulent meat that are being served:
عن قتادة قال كنا نأتي أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنهوخبازه قائم قال كلوا فما أعلم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رأى رغيفا مرققا حتى لحق بالله ولا رأى شاة سميطا بعينه قط بخاري
Hazrat Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas r.a. was very close to Qari Siddiq Bandwi r.a. Once he came to visit Qari Siddiq while he was in a visit in South Africa. Lots of ulamas was making khidmat of Qari Siddiq and pressing his legs. But when Qari saab saw Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas, he told his khadims to stop and distant from him. He did this in respect of Mufti Afzal. Because Mufti Afzal Hossen was not fond of people pressing legs, etc. So in respect of a junior, a senior reacted like that. Hazrat Anwar Shah sahab Kashmiri r.a. used to sit in a respectful position when Allamah Iqbal r.a. used to sit by him to ask him questions on Islam. Imaam Shafi`ee r.a. did not do Raf`e yadain when reading salaah in the Masjid nearby the Qabr of imaam Abu Hanifah r.a. So when going in a country or a Masjid then respect that area`s established protocols. No one should change colour of his mazhab while travelling though. No chameleons please. Only respect. One may leave recommendations ONLY due to respect.No one can judge who will be in a better position in the Akhirah. Only Allah Ta`ala knows everyone`s status. This will be opened on the day of Qiyaamah. Until then, no one should jump to judge a person`s status. Because he may be better than you. Allah knows best.
May Allah Ta`ala bless my beloved ustaad Mufti Afzal Hossen Ilyas with forgiveness, blessings in Qabr and in the hereafter. May Allah Ta`ala accept his writings and khidmat for deen. Ameen.