The Ramadan of Shaikh Ĥusain Aĥmad Madanī
Shaikh ‘Abd al-Ĥamīd A‘żamī wrote a book on the Ramadan [1365/July, 1946] of Ĥađrat Madanī in Silhat [Bangladesh] which I have condensed below. Though this subject has been prolonged, the fact is that we do not find as much detail of the Ramadan of any of our elders as we do of Ĥađrat Madanī. It is for this reason that I wished to narrate at least some of Ĥađrat Madanī’s Ramadan . He writes: Ĥađrat stayed at Commissioner ‘Abd al-Sattār’s residence and prayed all five śalāt in a beautiful grand masjid about a quarter of a mile [440 yards] from the house. All the visitors and devotees came to this masjid from all over to spend the month of Ramadan with Ĥađrat.
Since Ĥađrat spent the whole month in i‘tikāf, he made the intention to stay for more than fifteen days [iqāma] [thus, praying full śalāt-translator] and was the imam for all the śalāts. After Ẓuhr, he blew on the dozens of bottles placed around the imam’s place and then removed the notes that collected under the prayer rug before Ẓuhr time. He pulled each note out one at a time and called the person [who had written it] forward, helped him with his need then pulled out the next one. He wrote ruqya (amulets written with ayas of Qura’n) for some and for those who requested for him bai‘a, he told them to wait in one corner of the masjid.
Once he finished with the notes he came to the people waiting for him and took them in bai‘a’. After a short talk and some advice he returned to the residence. Sometimes, he fell asleep immediately after; at other times , he recited the Qur’an and responded to any remaining letters. During this time, he also met with people privately. Usually by then it was time for ‘Aśr . Ĥađrat attended to his personal needs and left for ‘Aśr. After ‘Aśr, he recited one and a quarter part with Shaikh Ĥāfiż Muĥammad Jalīl [teacher at ‘Dār al-‘Ulūm Deoband]. They recited to each other quarter by quarter until one and a quarter part was completed. If they finished by Maghrib, Ĥađrat sat in meditation and others started their dhikr and ashgāl (meditative devotions).
The Ramadan Of Hazrat Maulana Ilyaas Saheb
Although Maulana Ilyaas has been mentioned already in ‘AAP BETI’, I now only wish to mention something here about his Ramadan routine. 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.
Ramadhan of the Pious (Akaabir Ka Ramadhan) by Sheikh Zakariyya (ra)
The practices of the saintly Elders during Ramadan have already been mentioned in the “VIRTUES OF RAMADAN”. Thereafter, while working on “AAP BETI” and upon the demands of some friends I also made mention of some of the practices and habits of Hazrat Saharanpuri (May Allah fill his resting place with noor). Now, because of the subject under discussion, I will again refer to those practices in the booklet.
A list of questions regarding how Hazrat Hakeemul Ummat Maulana Thanvi spent Ramadaan was sent to Kwaja Azizul Hasan Saheb. After receiving his reply, it was the request of some friends as well as my own desire to answer those same questions with reference to the Ramadan habits of Hazrat Saharanpuri. Hence, first of all, I shall write down those questions and then explain how Hazrat Saharanpuri, Moulana Khaleel Ahmad spent Ramadan.
LETTER ADDRESSED TO KHWAJA AZlZUL HASAN SAHEB:
Dearest Khwaja Saheb, (May Allah increase your worthy efforts). Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah.
On hearing that you have been residing in Thana Bhavan for some time, I was greatly pleased. May Allah grant you many degrees of spiritual progress. The reason for writing this letters is to trouble you about something special, and after much thought I have decided to ask you a favour. At this time there is perhaps no one who has a more intimate relationship with Hazrat Moulana (Thanvi) than you. Hence it will be quite easy for you. It is my desire to find out what are the general habits and practices of Hazrat Moulana during Ramadan.
Ramadaan Inspiration from our Akabireen
The Ramadhaan of Ml Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (ra)
“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 Owabeen, 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.
The Ramadan Of Hazrat Maulana Ilyaas Saheb – Punctuality in Zikr
Hazrat Sheikh ra writes” I have not seen any of my Elders so punctual about loud zikr as my late uncle. Before the last few years of his illness, he regularly recited the twelve tasbeehs and zikr of the ‘Ismi zaat’ in the latter part of the night, while in Ramadan he did so from Asr till Maghrib. “
Ramadaan – Hazrat Sheikh's Family
I have written in VIRTUES OF RAMADAN’ as well as in VIRTUES OF THE Quran ‘about the women and the girls of our household. 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 hafizes 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. The details of all this is to be found in TAZKIRA-E-KHALIL.
Preference for Dates & Zam Zam – Ml Yahya
During his stay in Saharanpur, my father’s routine was that he spend most of his time in the Masjid of the shoemakers next to the house of Hakeem Yaqoob Saheb. This was apart from the time he used to spend in teaching. It was here that he performed iftar without any special preference for anything special. Of course, if there were some dates and zam-zam available, these were given preference over all other things. (At the iftar table of Hazrat Maulana Khaleel Ahmad Saheb great importance was given to having dates and zam-zam for iftar. Any dates and zam-zam brought to him by Hajis, as presents were stored away in tins and in bottles. In those days there was not this free availability of dates and zam-zam as is the case in our times when Allah made travel so fast and easy.
Ml Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri RA
As for Hazrat’s occasional reading of newspapers at other times, this was completely discarded in Ramadan. In fact apart from the last two or three years, when he made ‘daur’ with my late father, the tasbeeh was always in his hands and his tongue all the time busy with dhikr. “He always led the taraweeh prayers but later when his age went beyond seventy, it became increasingly difficult for him to continue doing so. He used to say: “When I go into ruku’ the thought comes into my mind that perhaps I will not be able to rise up again for the second raka. Then I take courage and with difficulty I come up. In this manner I finally complete twenty rakaat, fearing in every raka that I may collapse and fall down, and feeling all the time that rising up from the sujood to the standing position is tantamount to climbing a mountain.” “In this way two years passed with Hazrat not losing courage. Eventually, when his strength finally failed him, he stopped leading the taraweeh from the mehrab. Thereafter, he replaced it with listening to the readings of others and increased his own recitations of the Quran. During the holy month, he then used to recite from after Ishraq until eleven o’clock.”