Sayings of Hadhrat Shaykh Maulana Ilyas Kandhalwi
Collected by Shaykh ul Islam Maulana Zafar Ahmad `Uthmani
On the last occasion, in the middle of June, on seeing me present,
Moulana recited a couplet which means:
"The last breaths of my life have reached my lips, now at least come, so
that I may feel life returning to me. When I no longer remain here (in
this world), then of what use will you be to me?"
This had such an effect on me that I began weeping. He then said: "Do
you still remember your promise?" (I had promised to spend some time
in Tabligh). I replied: "I remember but now it is too hot in Delhi. In
Ramadaan it will be the holidays so I will give some time after Ramadaan."
He said: "You are talking of Ramadaan, whereas here (in my case),
there is no hope of even seeing Shabaan?" (consequently there were
still I0 days for Shabaan to commence and on the 21 st Rajab 1363 at
Subuh (after dawn) he passed away. May Allah bestow upon him the
choicest mercies which He bestows upon the righteous and pious). I
then said: "Very well, I shall remain, set your heart at ease. I shall now
give some time in Tabligh."
When he heard this, his face beamed with delight. He embraced me
and kissed me on the forehead. For sometime he held me against his
chest and made lots of duaa. Therafter he said: "You have turned
towards me (and come close to me), while there are many Ulama who
wish to understand this effort from afar. Then he mentioned a great
Alim, who was taking an active part in the work for sometime. He then
said: "If you ask me, he has not yet understood my object because until
now he has not communicated directly with me. Instead he uses an
intermediary. The reason why it is not possible to understand this work
through an intermediary is because the intermediary himself lacks in
understanding my object. I therefore desire that you remain with me so
that you will be able to understand my purpose. I understand that you
also take part, give lectures at gatherings and many benefit from your
talks but that is not the Tabligh we wish to establish.
It is stated in the Hadith; "The world is a prison for the mu'nlm
(believer) and a paradise for the kaajir (disbeliever)." By this is meant
that we have not been sent into this world to follow our base desires by
which this world becomes a paradise, but we have been sent to oppose
our nafs and to obey the commandments of Allah by which this world
becomes a prison to the believer. If we shall also follow our base
desires like the kuffaar and make this world a paradise for us then we
will be looters of the disbeliever's jannat. In this manner. the help of
Allah Ta'aala will not be with the looter but with those from whom they
have looted. He then further remarked: "Reflect well upon this."
When people see the harakaat (blessings) of my tabligh work, they
seem to understand that the work is carrying on. The work is one
aspect and the harakaat is another aspect. Look! with the birth of our
Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) already the blessings became
visible, but the work started long afterwards. Similarly, understand this
matter. I speak truthfully when I say that the actual work has not yet
started. When the actual work will start, the Muslims will go back to
the glorious era of 700 years ago. However, if the real work does not
begin but remains at its present stage. people will regard this as just a
movement amongst many other movements and the workers will back
out. Thereafter those fitnahs (calamities) which were to come in years
will come in months. Therefore it is necessary to understand this well.
On one Jumuah in the Masjid assembly of Delhi. I delivered a talk and
it was Maulana's suggestion that a talk be given. After the salaat 1 did
not return to Nizamuddin. I was compelled to spend the night with a
close relative. The next day I apologised that I had to spend the night
with a relative on his insistence. He remarked: "O Maulana! there is no
need to apologize. Those who do the work are often confronted by
such excuses. We should not take notice of them. Now tell me, was a
talk delivered at the Masjid?" I replied, "Yes, there was." He became
very happy and remarked: "These people have no urge to call upon us
and they have no time to spare from their worldly occupations. We will
have to speak to them without any desire." He asked what the lecture
was all about. I replied: "It was an explanation of the verse: 'Verily in
the creation of the skies and the earth and the changing of night and day
are signs for those who have understanding, who remember Allah
standing, sitting and lying on their sides ...' 1 explained the necessity and
reality of the remembrance of Allah and then stressed on Tabligh."
He replied that this subject was too high and not appropriate for this
gathering. For them it was more appropriate to have explained the
"And for those who avoid the worship of the devil and turn towards
Allah, for them is the glad tiding and give the good news to those
servants of mine who listen to a talk and follow the best of it. These are
those who have been guided and these are the men of understanding."
He said: "These are people of a lesser stage who are referred to as those
who have been guided." I replied: "It is correct. If I do get another
opportunity, I will speak on this subject to those people."
"The actual object of Tabligh work is to flee from Shaytaan and turn
towards Allah. This cannot be done without sacrifice. Both the
sacrifice of body and wealth are required. The sacrifice of body means
that for the sake of Allah one should leave one's own home and travel
to spread the word of Allah. The sacrifice of wealth means that one
should spend out of one's own pocket for the expenditure of traveling
for Tabligh. Those who for some reason are not able to come out
should encourage and prepare others to go out. With regard to this it
is said in the Hadith: "One who leads others to good deeds is as if he
himself had performed those deeds." Therefore one would be included
in the rewards of those going out, and if he were to assist those going
out financially then also he will get his reward for such expenditure.
We should consider those whom we have sent out as having done us a
favor because they are doing the work which we should have done but
could not do due to some excuse and they haye therefore removed the
responsibility from us. The Deen wants that those sitting at home
should consider those striving in the path of Allah as having favored
In our tabligh, ilm (knowledge) and zikr (the remembrance of Allah)
play a very great role. Without knowledge it is impossible to practice
nor would one know the reality of action. Without zikr, knowledge is
but darkness upon darkness. There can be no noor (light) in it. Our
workers are lacking in this. I replied that tabligh itself is one of the '
important compulsory duties and the decrease in the remembrance of
Allah is like the example of Hadhrat Sayyid Sahib Barelwi who, while preparing for jihaad engaged his attendants in
horse-riding and archery instead of keeping them engaged in zikr.
Someone complained that there was no longer that heavenly noor like
before, so Hadhrat Sayyid Sahib replied, "Yes, this time we do not have
the light of zikr but the light ofjihaad and at this time this light is necessary."
Maulana then remarked, "I have an anxiety about the lack of
knowledge and the absence of the remembrance of Allah because at this
stage, men proficient in knowledge and zikr have come into the work
in very small numbers. If these men take part, then the deficiency of
knowledge and zikr would be overcome, but very few Ularna and men
of zikr have come forward. Until now those jamaats that go out are
deficient as far as men of knowledge (Ulama) and zikr are concerned.
This was the cause of Maulana's anxiety. Alas, if men of knowledge and
rikr had also been moving in the jamaat, then this deficiency would
have been removed. All thanks are due to Allah! In the markaz
(headquarters), learned men and men of high spiritual development are
present but in small numbers. If they were to move in each jamaat, then
there will be no one to supervise the work of the markaz.
In a letter of Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi the following was
mentioned: "Muslims can only be of two types. There can be no third.
They are either out in the path of Allah or assisting those out in the path
of Allah." Upon this he said. "He has understood very well." Again he
remarked, "Assisting those in the path of Allah also includes
encouraging and preparing others to go out by explaining to them for
example, that when your going out does not harm the Qu'raan or
Bukhari lessons of a certain Aalim, then you will also share in the
reward of his teaching. People should be enlightened (with these kinds
of intentions) and the means to acquire the rewards should be
Our tabligh's aim is that ordinary religious Muslims should learn Deen
from their elders and teach those below them. They should consider
those below them as their beneficent patrons because the more we are
going to propagate and spread the Kalima (testification of Allah's
Unity), the more our own lmaan (faith) will become perfect and
enlightened and the more effort we are going to make on others to
perform salaat, the more our own salaat will be perfected. (In tabligh
this is the basis and formula that those who propagate have their own
perfection as their object. One should not consider being the guide of
others as the real guide is none other than Allah Himself).
It is related in the Hadith, " Whosoever does not show mercy, will not
be shown mercy. Have mercy upon those on earth and the One in the
heaven will show mercy on you." It is a pity that people have restricted
this mercy to those who are hungry, thirsty and naked, and have no pity
on those who are deprived of Deen. It is as if they consider the loss of
material things to be a harm but do not consider a loss of spiritual
values to be a loss at all. Therefore, why should the One in the heaven
have pity upon us when we do not take pity on the ruined spiritual
conditions of Muslims.
The foundation of our tabligh is based upon this pity. Therefore, this
work should only be done with compassion and feelings of mercy. If
a muballigh is doing this work because he feels sorry for the sad state
of his fellow-men then he is certainly fulfilling his duty with
compassion and sympathy. If he does not have this disposition but has
another intention, then he will be involved in pride and self-elation
from which no benefit can be expected. The one who will bear this
hadith in mind while doing the work will have sincerity, see his own
faults and although his gaze may fall onto the faults of others, he will
also see the good Islamic qualities in them. Such a person will not
defend his nafs (lower self) but will complain against it. The crux of
this tabligh is not to encourage the self but to complain of the self.
Once he addressed me thus: "Maulana! It is necessary to search for the
commands of Allah. We should be constant in this search. For example,
before doing anything we should ponder: occupation demands two
things: firstly, concentration on the actual work undertaken and
secondly, negligence towards other work. Now we must consider
whether there exists any work more important than the work we are
involved in or not? This cannot be achieved without searching and
Before salaat one should meditate on it. Salaat performed without
anticipation will be shaky and flimsy. Therefore we should ponder over
our salaat before performing it.
It is for this reason that the shar'iat has prescribed the performance of
sunan, nawaajl, iqaamat, etc. before the faraa-idh so that we can
meditate properly on salaat and, thereafter, perform it. But we neither
understand the virtues and benefits of these szrnan and nawaajl nor do
we take advantage of these and it is possibly for this reason that there
is a deficiency in the performance of our faraa-idh (compulsory salaat).
0 Allah! I beseech you for perfection in wudhu, salaat and in gaining
Your Pleasure. Aameen.
Tabligh workers should have their hearts opened which could be
acquired by looking at the vast mercy of Allah. After this, emphasis
should then be placed on spiritual training and development.
In the beginning of Islam (when Deen was weak and the world strong),
Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahi alayhi wa sallam) used to go to those
lacking in the desire for Deen and the truth, attend their assemblies and
though uninvited, he still gave them the da'wat (invitation). He did not
wait for people to invite him. He sent the Sahaba (Radhiallahtr Anhum)
to do tabligh in some places. In these times, the same weak conditions
prevail. Hence, we should go to those who have no desire, to the
assemblies of the atheists, sinners, etc., and exalt the kalima in their
Then Maulana Ilyas Sahib Rahmatullahi Alaihi became weak and could
not speak. Afterwards he continued saying: "Maulana! You have
arrived here very late. I am unable to speak in detail now. Nevertheless,
you should ponder over what I have said."
Initially, I instruct the making of zikr in the following manner:
The reading of tasbeehefatimah and the third kalimah (subhaanallaahi
wal-hamdulillahi wa laa-ilaaha illallaahu wallahu akbar) after every
salaah, a hundred times durood shareef (salaat 'alan Nahi) and
istighfar morning and evening, recitation of the Quraan with tajweed.
emphasis on tahajjud amongst the nawaafil and to go in the company
of those involved in zikr. Knowledge without zikr is darkness and zikr
without knowledge is a door to many evils.
Dreams are a 46th part of prophethood. Some people have advanced
so much by the implications of their true dreams that those stages could
not be attained by strenuous spiritual exercises and other religious
efforts. They are inspired with correct knowledge in their dreams which
in turn is a part of prophethood. Hence why should they not progress.
Knowledge increases recognition and through recognition, proximity
to Allah increases. We are therefore commanded to make du'aa for an
increase in knowledge. "Say, 0 Allah! Increase me in my knowledge." He
then said, "These days I am spiritually inspired by dreams and
therefore make an effort that I get more sleep. (Due to his illness.
Maulana slept very little). After consulting the Hakeem Sahib and
doctor, I have had my head massaged with oil by means of which I can
He continued saying, "The method of Tabligh was opened to me in a
dream. The tafsir of the aayah. "You are the best ummat taken out for
mankind. You command good and prohibit evil and you believe in
Allah," was inspired to me in a dream that you i.e. the Muslim Ummat.
like the prophets have been selected for the benefit of all mankind and
the meaning of 'ukhrijat', 'taken out' , is that you are not to concentrate
your effort at one place but it will be necessary for you to move from
place to place, door to door.
Your work is to invite to what is good and stop the bad, and after this
" you believe in Allah" is mentioned. It is made clear that by means of
inviting to what is good, your lmaan will strengthen (Ps the possession
of your lmaan is already implied in "you are the best of ummats").
Thus, our intention should not be the guidance of others but to benefit
ourselves. "Taken out for the benefit of mankind, by mankind here is
not meant the Arabs, but non Arabs. As for the the Arabs, Allah has
mentioned: " You are not to be a compelling ruler over them and you
are not responsible for them", (in which it is indicated that their
guidance has been decreed. You should not worry much about them).
"You are the best of ummats," refers originally to the Arabs and
'mankind' refers to the non Arabs because after this ayat we read, "if
only the People of the Book had believed, it would have been better for
them." In this, there is a link, because here it is stated "it would have
been better for them" and not " for you" because the muballigh perfects
his lmaan through tabligh itself whether the addressee accepts or rejects
and if the addressee accepts, then it is for his own benefit. The benefit
of the mubaligh (preacher) is not dependent upon people accepting or
The stage of zakaat is lower than that of hadyah (a gift). Therefore
sadaqah was prohibited for Rasullullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sullum)
but not so in the case of gifts. Even if zakaat is fardh (compulsory) and
gifts mustahab (preferable), yet at times the reward for a mustahab is
greater than that of a fardh . For example, to greet first by saying
"Assalaamualaikum" is sunnah but to reply is wajib, yet to make
salaam in the beginning is better than to reply. Likewise, although
zakaat is fardh yet its object is the purification of one's wealth and
although gifts are mustahab, yet their object is to cause delight to the
heart of a Muslim. Hence, considering the object and result, hadyah is
better than zakaat because the purification of the heart is superior to the
purification of wealth. As for zakaat, even though by fulfilling the needs
of a Muslim, the delight of his heart is also acquired, then too, it is not
the original aim and it is acquired only as a secondary result, while the I
actual object of gifts is only to cause delight to the heart of a Muslim.
It is compulsory upon one on whom zakaat is fardh to search for those
to whom zakaat must be given just as it is necessary for one to seek
pure water upon whom salaat is compulsory. Those who are correctly I
entitled to zakaat are those who, after having accepted zakaat, do not
develop a greed for wealth. It is not the aim of the Shariat (Islamic
Law) that the poor Muslims should develop a crave and greed for
wealth by receiving zakaat and look upon the rich in expectation of
zakaat and charities. However, those who, due to depending entirely
upon Allah, have patience and perseverance are deserving to be assisted
by the wealthy according to their patience and dependence upon Allah.
Allah says: "For those who are handicapped in the path of Allah and are
not able to go out in the world to earn, the ignorant take them to be rich
because they refrain or restrain themselves from begging."
Therefore, the ones rightly entitled for zakaat are those involved in the
work of Allah and have patience and depend solely upon Allah and do
not ask anything from anyone nor harbour such desire in their hearts.
Today, wealthy people give their zakaat to professional beggars and
feel that they have executed the obligation of zakaat though they have
wasted it initially. Therefore, these days, in spite of fulfilling the duties
of zakaat, we do not find barakaat (blessings) in our wealth although
the sure guarantee has been given that there will definitely be baraktrt
in our wealth after giving zakaat. Those people who do not see barukat
in their wealth should know that their zakaat did not reach the correct
recipients and that they did not search or make a sincere effort to look
for such recipients.
Muslims should serve the Ulama with four intentions:
(1)For the sake of Islam. if purely on account of Islamic ties one
Muslim visits another, i.e. For the sake of Allah, then 70000 angels
spread their wings. If this virtue is for an ordinary Muslim,
then surely it is also for an Alim.
(2) They carry the knowledge of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi \rla .sullam) in
their hearts and bodies and because of this they are entitled to be
honoured and served.
(3) They are supervisors of our religious affairs.
(4) To inquire about their necessities of life. If other Muslims will
investigate what their worldly needs are and have them fulfilled by the
wealthy, the Ulama will then spend that time in the service of the Deen
and teaching which they will have saved on account of being free from
the trouble of fulfilling these necessities. The rewards of this service
and teaching will also go to the wealthy. However, the ordinary
Muslims should serve the Ulama under the supervision of reliable
Ulama because on their own they will not know who is more worthy of
assistance. Yes, if they are able to find out on their own. they may do
Muslims are very much unmindful of dua. Those who are making dua,
do not know the reality of dua. I wish to explain to Muslims the reality
of dua. It is to present our needs to the Highest Court. The higher the
court, the more humility and concentration should be developed in the
heart and expressed in the words of the dua. We should have faith and
confidence that surely the dua will definitely be accepted because the
Being who is implored is very generous and noble and has compassion
upon His servants. The treasures of the heavens and earth are in His
Letters from the merchants of Delhi should be sent with the jamaats
which go to Saharanpur, Deoband, etc. for tabligh wherein the Ulama
should be informed with utmost respect that these groups are being sent
to make tabligh to the public. The Ulama should be informed that their
time is very precious and if they could spare some of their time to
patronize these jamaats without sacrificing their time from their official
duties or that of the students, they should do so. The students should
only spend time under the supervision of their teachers. Without the
surveillance of their teachers, students should not be allowed to take part
in this work. The jamaats should also be instructed that if the Ulama do
not pay full attention, they should not critisize the Ulama in their hearts
but realize that the Ulama are doing more important work than them.
They are busy in Deeni academic work at night also while others are
sleeping in comfort. We should blame ourselves for their lack of
attention because we did not visit them enough. They are paying more
attention to those who have resolved to stay in their company for
He then continued: Even to entertain a bad thought about another
Muslim can be the cause of destruction, so to criticise the Ulama is
Then again he said: The basis of our method of tabligh is to respect
every Muslim and to honour the Ulama. Every Muslim. on account of
Islam, should be respected, and the Ulama, on account of their knowledge,
should be honourzd.
Then he said: Until now, our muballighs have not yet mastered ilm and
zikr (knowledge and the remembrance of Allah) and this is of great
concern to me. The only method is to go to the possessors of ilm and
zikr so that they may do tabligh under their patronage there
benefiting from their knowledge and company.
One day I became very busy speaking to arriving visitors and I could
not sit much in Moulana's company. After Zuhr when I went to his
service, he said: "You should remain more in my company." I replied
that today there were many visitors and the crowd was large so I kept
them with me and spoke to them about tabligh so that the crowd may
not be too large for you and that you might not have to talk too much.
He replied: "Another way would have been to remain with me, I would
have spoken to you from my heart and you would have related it to
others. In this way the thorn in my heart would have been removed.
You shquld remain with me and listen to my talks and tell others so that
I do not have to speak to anyone. Some people have told nle that they
would not allow me to speak. However, until the thorn in my heart is
not removed, I will not keep silent. I will by no means keep silent even
if I have to die.
Hazrat Maulana Thanwi (Rahmatullahi alaihi) did great work. So my
heart's desire is that fPIe system of education should be on his lines and
the method of tabligh mine. In this way his teachings would spread far
In the talks, technicalities of Shariat should not be mentioned. Just
keep three things in mind:
( I ) Every action should be done to please Allah.
(2) To have yaqeen (faith) of the aakhirat (hereafter). In the
aakhirat we shall have its rewards or we shall be saved from
(3) With this intention there should be no other aim of getting
anything before death in this world.
The worldly benefits will come by themselves but they should not be
the object. Worldly benefit wiH definitely be achieved and to have
confidence in its achievement is also necessary but it shouldnot be the
object of performing an action. Yes, where it may become necessary,
the secrets and technicalities could be explained and there is no
objection in this but it should not be done everywhere.
I greatly appreciate the people of Hazrat Maulana Thanvi
(Rahmutulluhi uluihi) because they are close to our time. Therefore you
quickly understand my talks because you have heard Maulana's
speeches lately. He then remarked, "Due to you there is great barakah
in my work and my heart has become very happy." He then made much
dua and remarked , "You also thank Allah for this blessing by crying:
0 Allah, Whatever favours are received by me or anyone in the
morning or evening are from you alone. You have no partner. To you
belongs all praise and thanks."
For the effort of tabligh, an increased effort should be made on the
Sayyids (progeny of the Nabi Sallaluhi alaihi wa sallam) to make
them participate and progress. It is stated in the Hadith: "I have left you
with two weighty things, the Book of Allah and the people of my
house." This is the requirement of this Hadith. Those elders made great
efforts in the beginning, so in future more is expected from them.
If one Muslim loves another for the sake of Allah or another Muslim
loves him sincerely for the sake of Allah, then this love and good
thought will be a great treasure in the hereafter. Those Muslims who
have love for me, I hope that, Insha-Allah (if Allah wills), Allah will
keep my faults covered in the hereafter.
To have faith in our empty-handedness is success in itself. None will
be successful because of his actions. Only by the Grace of Allah can
success be acquired. Rasulullah (Sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) has said,
"None will enter jannat through his actions. The Sahabah (Radhiaflahu
anhum) asked, "Not even you, 0 Rasulullah!." He replied, "Not even
me except that Allah covers me with His Mercy." After relating this
Hadith, Maulana started crying and caused others to cry.
"Maulana! The Ulama are not coming towards this effort. What should
I do? Alas! O Allah! What should I do?" I replied, " All will come,
make dua." He replied, " I can't make dua. You rather make dua." He
then read these verses of poetry from Qasidah Burdah (Ode of the
I seek Allah's Forgiveness from that speech which is devoid of action.
it is tantamount to attributing children to a barren woman.
I have oppressed the sunnah (way) of that personality
who remained awake in the darkness of the night
until his excessive standing (in salaah) caused his blessed feet to swell.
After this his eyes were filled with tears and he remarked that Qasidtr
Burdah is included in the syllabus of the Ulama not for the sake of
literature but to soften the hearts and increase the love for Nabi
(Sallalahu alqvhi wa sallam).
In lslam there is a degree of broad-mindedness to such an extent that
even being born in a Muslim home, a Muslim country or to follow one's
Muslim father or mother is sufficient evidence to be regarded as a
This tolerance goes so far as even if one were to have 99 reasons of
kufr (disbelief) and one reason of Islam, he would still be called a
Nevertheless, this is not the true Islam, but merely customary. True
lslam is when the reality of Laa Ilaha Illaf laah (None is worthy of
worship besides Allah) is accepted. Its reality is that after accepting this
faith, a determined intention to serve the Creator should be made in the
heart. The worry and concern of pleasing the Creator should enter the
heart and at all times there should be the anxiety as to whether the
Creator is pleased with one or not.
There are two things for which I am greatly concerned. These are of
importance. One is the shortcoming of zikr in the jamaat. They have to
be shown zikr.
Secondly, the wealthy should know who are entitled to receive zakaat.
Most of the time their zakaat (a right and due from wealth which ought
to be given to the needy) goes to waste. It is not truly spent on those
who are entitled to zakaat.
I have compiled a list of 40 people who are not desirous nor greedy for
wealth. If they are given zakaat, no greed and desire will arise in them.
They are those who depend solely upon Allah and are engaged in the
work of tabligh. It is necessary to assist them. The wealthy should
search for such people to know who requires how much. Many times
zakaat given to professional beggars and collectors is not actually being
given to the correct recipients.
Through knowledge amal (practice) should come into existence and
through amal. zikr should come into existence. Only then will
knowledge be regarded as true knowledge and deeds will be accepted.
If knowledge does not lead to amal, then this is a complete darkness
(evil) and if in making amal one does not remember Allah, then it is
shallow and hollow (devoid of spirit). Zikr without knowledge is a
Inform the people of the virtues of hadyuh (gifts), sadaqah (charity)
and giving loans from the incidents in the lives of the Sahabah
(Radhiulluhzi tmhzml). They used to work and then give sndaqah. Not
only did the rich give, but the poor also used to work and give ,
something as sudaqcih because they had the virtues of saclaqah in their
minds. It' this is the status of vtrdutiuh. then htrdvuh is much more
virtuous. Likewise, the virtues of giving a loan are many. For example.
when the period of repaying a loan expires and respite is given without
making demands from a needy debtor. then for every day for which
grace is given. the reward for sudaqah (charity) will be received.
"I fear the occurrence of 'istidraaf[ (respite) upon niyself." I replied that
this fear is actually true faith. lmaam Hasan Basri (R.A.) has said that
fear of hypocrisy is only perceived by a true believer. In one's youth it
is good to have this fear while in old age it is good to have hope in
Allah." He replied, "Yes, this is correct."