Book Review: The Ramadan of Shaikh Al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya and Our Elders

The Ramadan of Shaikh-ul-Hadith

Title: The Ramadan of Shaikh Al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya and Our Elders
Author: Dr. Mohammad Ismail Memon Madani
Publisher: Madania Publications [2010]

Table of Contents:

There are two main sections of this book. The first being the Ramadan of Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariyya which takes up the majority of the book. The second portion is the Ramadan of our Elders, which include many prominent ulema from the subcontinent, including Shaikh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Haji Imdadullah, Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Maulana Qasim Nanautwi, Shaykh ul Hind, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi, Shaykh Mohammad Yahya Kandhelwi (Shaykh ul Hadith’s father) and the book ends with the description of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, Shaykh ul-Hadith’s uncle.

Although the table of contents is well organized I did get lost a few times in the book. The book is in majority chronological order, but it also sorted a little by geography. Shaykh ul-Hadith spent is Ramadan’s in a variety of locations. Its also grouped by the accounts of different people who spend their Ramadan’s with Shaykh ul-Hadith and then subsequently recorded the activities.

Key Impressions:

Some of the key things I found amazing were the sheer number of people that would come far and wide to spend their Ramadan with Shaykh ul Hadith. Wherever the location of itikaaf, the place always seemed too small especially in the last ten days of every Ramadan. Also astonishing was they Shaykh reliance upon Allah to assist him in deciding where to spend his Ramadan. He would start Istikara from the first of Muharram until Rajab and in these 7 months he would wait for a sign from Allah to decide on a place on where to spend his Ramadan. On one of his Ramadan’s in South Africa there were some people that opposed him from coming there, they distributed pamphlets etc, eventually, after witnessing the purifying gatherings and general atmosphere of entire masjid, came to Shaykh ul-Hadith to express their regret and to ask for forgiveness. Shaykh ul-Hadith was quick to forgive them.

Also from the whole book, you really appreciate and understand when they say Ramadan is the month of Quran. As mentioned above, not only Shaykh ul Hadith but all the Elders recited so much quran. This book goes a long way in building a persons love for becoming a hafiz. In Ramadan, it seems the one who is hafiz can exceed the non-hafiz in so many aspects if they are committed the Qur’an. The Elders and Shaykh ul Hadith would finish Qur’ans at an amazing pace, in various nafl salats during the day and night, then again in tarweeh, and again reciting it outside of salat. To memorize Qur’an or a good portion of it comes in great benefit in the month of Ramadan when that is the main focus for the month. Essentially the pace that these scholars finish the Qur’an you simply cannot keep up, or even dream of coming close if one is not a hafiz. The huffaz are definitely privileged in this regard. Also how little he eat even in Ramadan, a tea, a roti a few dates, and Shaykh ul Hadith would get up for Awwabeen, and be reciting juz after juz in nafl rakat. SubhanAllah. For us, after iftar most people just want to sleep.

Some of the last portions of the book, in which Shaykh ul Hadith writes about his own father, Shaykh Muhammad Yahya Kandhelwi you see where Shaykh ul Hadith gets his spiritual wisdom. It was said that Shaykh Yahya finished memorizing the Qur’an at the age of 7 and then he recited one Qur’an daily for a period of 6 months. And his Qur’an was solid. After that it was rare that he needed someone to listen to him. If Shaykh ul-Hadith’s father’s excellence wasn’t enough, Shaykh ul Hadith mentions his paternal Grandmother who was a hafiza. She would normally complete the Qur’an in 7 days based on the manzil, but in Ramadan she would complete 40 juz per day. Shaykh ul Hadith’s spiritual lineage was clearly a very noble one.

Conclusion:

Overall this book gives the English reader an amazing account of the status of the state of scholarship from the subcontinent, their piety, their strength, their love for the Quran and Ramadan and of course the capability that Allah bestowed on them to able to complete these amazing feats of worship. Also it builds the desire to memorize as much Quran as one can, just to be able to recite them in nafl rakats in Ramadan. I would recommend to read this book leading up to Ramadan to build motivation to take advantage of the sacred month.

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