(Hazrat Shaikhul-Hadeeth Molana Muhammad Zakariyya Saab- by Abul-Hasan Ali Nadawi pg 177-182)
During the final few days of Hazrat’s illness, a letter arrived from a student of our Darul-uloom which contained his state mentioning his mistakes and faults and also regarding his servitude. Sufi Iqbal read this letter to Hazrat in my absence. Hazrat was extremely happy at this letter and said to him that ‘when Yusuf comes let me know, I shall kiss his face.’
When I came he said: ‘Come here, so I can kiss you.’
I went forward and kissed the blessed forehead and hand of Hazrat. Hazrat said: ‘I called you so that I could kiss you, I felt extremely happy hearing your students letter. Write many prayers for him on my behalf and that whoever thinks himself to be something is nothing.’
Conversation with the Angel of death:
A few years prior to his death Hazrat Sheikh traveled from the Holy Land to India. One day after the midday meal, once the guests had left, Hazrat was laid down in his room in the mud house and just in front of the bed Molana Ahmad Muhammad Lulat Kirmali Gujarat, Sheikul-hadeeth of Baruda and Molana Mazhar Alam Muzaffar Puri, principle of Al-Rashid-Islamee, Canada where lying on their respective beds and the gate of the veranda was closed from the inside. These two where still awake and they heard that Hazrat Sheikh was speaking to someone. They where astonished that no one else was in the room so who is Hazrat speaking with? Hazrat Sheikh had just lain down and would still be awake. Also never in his whole life time has Hazrat been known to have spoken in his sleep and neither, even in severe illness, has Hazrat ever been heard to make any sort of sound whatsoever. These two could only hear sounds of a long conversation but could not make out the words. They enquired of Hazrat at Asar time when performing Ablution that who was Hazrat speaking to after lying down. Hazrat flicked a handcup of water toward them lovingly and said: ‘Ehm, you heard that,’ after this he said: ‘the angel of death had come and I was speaking to him.’
Meeting with the Angel of death whilst awake:
During the final few days I was performing ablution for Hazrat so Hazrat asked who is this? I replied: ‘Yusuf.’ He replied that: ‘the Angel of death came again today.’ I enquired as to whether Hazrat saw a dream. He replied: ‘No. I was laid down awake when he came and smilingly spoke with me for some time. This was the second time Hazrat met with the Angel of death whilst awake.
Mufti Maqbool Saab narrates Hazrat’s first meeting with the Angel of death 25-30 years prior that: ‘A large spot formed on my forehead. I was receiving Hakimi treatment when I was informed regarding a specific treatment that would get rid of all the pus formed. It was a Ramadan night and there was still a long time before Sehri. The pain became so unbearable that I thought this to be my final time. I forced everyone in the house to have Sehri. I thought that if I was to die then all of these would be deprived from Sehri. During this pain I sometimes would open my eyes and at other times close them thinking that the Angel of death would come at any moment, but this pain was due to the settling of this spot. Slowly I regained consciousness. The next day according to my habit I was upstairs in the Library with the backdoor to the stairs closed behind me when a beautiful man came before me. I asked that who are you? He replied: ‘the same person that you where waiting for last night.’ I said then take me away to which he responded: ‘not yet.’
Meeting the Angel of Death in dream state:
When Hazrat was admitted into hospital during his second trip to Britain, we found his state to be a cause of considerable anxiety the day after, so much so that we had made arrangements for a private jet from London to Madinah. When Hazrat recovered and came back to Darul-uloom and this was mentioned Hazrat said: ‘Do not worry about my death, I will not die yet, I have been promised.’
After this he said: ‘you must be aware of the time I met the Angel of Death in my dream that once I became ill in Makkah. During this period I saw a dream. I saw that a beautiful young man came to my side. I enquired that who are you? He replied: ‘the Angel of Death.’ I responded let’s go then, to which he replied that not here, when you reach Madina I shall come there.’
After that when I came to Madinah after Makkah I saw in my dream that we were leaving. I said that you had said that when you arrive in Madinah that is when I shall come. Now I have arrived. He said smilingly: ‘some further work is required of you yet.’
Three days prior to his death Hazrat pointed towards the corner and said: ‘Look, Satan is stood there, do you see him?’ (He had arrived according to his ritual which is mentioned in Hadeeth but how can he have the nerve to step forward)
Three to four days prior Molvi Najeebullah was assisting Hazrat in Istinjah. I was in the next room. It was after twelve o clock at night. Someone screamed from outside: ‘Najibullah! Najibullah!’ I came running immediately but there was not a soul present.
A very similar incident like this happened with my Mother; she had finished recitation of the Quran and wanted to do Isal-e-Sawab to someone who had passed away. Someone shouted out her name really loudly even though bar two or three persons in the house who knew her name, no one else was present. Indeed this is a scream from the unseen/unknown, only Allah knows the reason.
Doctor Ismail Saab Memane has written regarding Hazrats departure in much detail. He writes that: On the eve of Sunday, 16th May 1982 Hazrat was close to unconsciousness. The next day he was completely unconscious from Fajar. The whole of Sunday was spent unconscious that whichever side Hazrat was laid down upon he would remain. He did not make a sound, or any movement, or even cough. After feeling his pulse and blood pressure there would be confidence that there is no immediate danger. Different treatments were tried. The completion of Bukhari was conducted on Sunday evening which was completed over two days after which his son Molana Talha performed Dua with great insistence. Yaseen was also completed by Sheikh Muhammad Alawee Maliki in Makkah.
He was stating Allah, Allah in the morning, Ya Kareem, Ya Kareem or Aw Kareem after Zohar. Sometimes he would state: Ya Haleem, Ya Kareem. He kept repeating Ya Kareem at various intervals until the end. This useless one also took advice from various doctors continuously in regards to treatment especially from Doctor Ashraf, Doctor Ayub, Doctor Sultan, Doctor Mansur and Doctor Abdul-Ahad etc. In regards to blood tests etc Doctor Insiram Saab was very helpful. However his Liver and Kidneys where becoming weaker and weaker. Blood and urine samples where constantly taken and tested. Food was stopped. Food was given via glucose and other bottles. Juma was performed on 11th May with Jamat in Haram Sharif in front of the main gates of Madrassah Shareeyah.
His health seemed well until the morning of Sunday 23rd May. After Zohar on the 23rd of May he had difficulty in breathing which was treated immediately. A half hour before Maghrib when I was at the Doctors, Hazrat’s servant Molvi Najibullah called and informed me by phone that Hazrat’s health has deteriorated, thus I immediately came and saw that Hazrat’s breathing was with much difficulty which was causing anxiety to Hazrat. He was finding it very difficult to breathe. After observation I concluded that injections be administered due to which Hazrat became relaxed after a few minutes and his breathing became normal. After Isha until I went home he seemed better and Hazrat was making little conversation however the worrying thing was that Hazrat had not needed the toilet since yesterday Zohar. At 8’o clock the next morning Hazrat started to have difficulty breathing again. Different treatments where discussed to relieve this and toilet issues due to which Hazrat did use the toilet between Zohar and Asr. Oxygen and Injections where used to help breathing. He remained restless until 12 noon. Sometimes Hazrat would say, ‘seat me’, sometimes ‘lie me down,’ sometimes ‘give me medicine,’ at intervals he would state Ya Kareem, Aw Kareem aloud. This useless one (meaning Doctor Ismail Saab Meman) as he was with Hazrat the whole duration sometimes Hazrat would squeeze his hand very hard. Close to eleven o’clock when Al-Haaj Abul-hasan raised his pillow he looked towards me and enquired that: ‘Is Doctor Saab there?’ Abul-Hasan replied that this is Doctor Ismail. Hearing this he looked towards me and smiled. This was the last conversation by Hazrat. After this he kept on repeating ‘O Karim, O Karim.’ This remained until Zohar. After Zohar he became completely relaxed, which remained until the end. I continued to check and monitor the blood pressure and pulse etc. Just prior to his final moments his son Molana Talha Saab asked: ‘Is this the final time?’ I nodded to which he started to recite ‘Allah, Allah’ aloud. During this state Hazrat sighed loudly a couple of times by which his eyes finally closed and his soul departed. It was exactly 5.40, one and a half hours before Magrib. (Innaa Lillahe wa innaa ilaihe Raajeoon) The person who spent his whole life following the Sunnat, amazingly also received the honour of departing from this world on a Monday between Asr and Magrib. I cannot describe the state of those present on this occasion. At the time of his departure his son Molana Muhammad Talha Saab, Molana Aqil Saab, his son Jafar Al-haj Abul-Hasan, Molvi Najebullah Saab, Molana Yusuf Motala Saab, Hakim Abdul Quddoos Saab, Molvi Ismail Saab, Molvi Nazir Saab, Doctor Ayyub Saab, Hajee Dildar, Asad, Abdul-Qadeer and I were present.
Funeral arrangements started immediately. Doctor Ayub was sent to the hospital immediately to obtain the certificate. Discussions arose between Hazrat’s son Molana Muhammad Talha Saab, Molana Aqil Saab and other close associates in regards to whether burial should be after Isha or after Fajar. Due to the information received that certain close acquaintances where to arrive here from Makkah and their respective times of departure was known in lieu of which they would most definitely arrive by Isha, it was decided that Janaza prayer should proceed at Isha and should not be delayed until Fajar. This was also announced. However there was regret that these close acquaintances who where eagerly anticipated could not arrive at the appointed time due to transportation problems on the way. Further because the announcement had been made for Isha this could not be re-scheduled at such short notice. Everyone was notified by telephone. Bath was conducted after Magrib under the direction and guidance of Molana Yusuf Motala Saab and Molana Aqil saab. There was a large congregation of Hazrats close personnel who wished to participate in this blessed act. The following are worth mentioning from amongst those who participated in Bathing: Molana Yusuf Motala Saab, Al-Haaj Abul-Hasan, Molvi Najibullah, Hakim Abdul-Quddoos, Aziz Jafar, Shah Ataul Muhaimin ibne Shah Ataullah Saab Bukhari, Sufi Aslam, Molvi Siddique, Molvi Ihsan, Qazee Abrar and Abdul-Majeed etc.
Doctor Muhammad Ayub who went for the certificate returned a full two hours later and said that there were certain regulations preventing him from obtaining the certificate. Thus his son Molana Talha Saab was also sent with him. The grave yard employees where asked to dig the grave but they declined stating that they could not prior to sight of the certificate. There was only three quarters of an hour left for Isha. Again the above discussed that because it seems difficult for the grave to be dug by Isha, the Janaza should be postponed until Fajar. After this Sayyed Habib Saab arrived and said that I myself have told them the place of burial and digging has commenced. About 20 minutes later the certificate from the hospital also arrived with news also that the grave was dug and ready. The coffin had also arrived, thus fifteen minutes prior to Isha all arrangements had been completed. According to the first discussion the funeral was brought to Haram Sharif from Babus-Salaam. Straight after the Fardh prayer of Isha according to most narrations the Imam of Haram Shaikh Abullah Zahim led the Janazah prayer and the Janazah was taken to Jannatul Baqee from the Door of Jibraeel. The crowd was enormous. Such a crowd would probably not have been seen in a Janazah prior to this. According to Hazrats wishes the grave was dug in the vicinity of Ahle-Bait and close to the grave of Hazrat Saharanpuri. His son Molana Talha Saab and Al-Haaj Abul-Hasan went into the grave and closed it. In this manner Hazrats wish was complete.
Concern over his close acquaintances:
Something special that struck me is that one day prior to his departure Hazrat asked each person individually that: ‘what are you doing?’ He asked Sufi Iqbal Saab, Al-haaj Abul-Hasan and me directly. His son Molana Talha was in the next room. He sent someone to ask Talha in regards to what he is doing. All answered that they were either doing Zikr, reciting etc. I was asked and before I could answer Abul-Hasan replied that: ‘this Doctor is going to treat some patients.’ Hazrat replied: ‘is this also a job?’ In short even though Hazrat had reached his final time he was still worried in regards to his acquaintances and what they were doing.
After his burial, one of Hazrat’s authorities saw him that someone was saying : ‘All eight doors of heaven were opened for him.’ Another felt him reciting Salaat and Salaam upon the blessed grave of the prophet may Allah send peace and blessing upon him, as if the prophet may Allah send peace and blessing upon him was saying that your Shaikh has been given a place in Ala Illiyeen. Such a person is one in a million.
(Hazrat Shaikhul-Hadeeth Molana Muhammad Zakariyya Saab- by Abul-Hasan Ali Nadawi pg 177-182)