Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman (1859 – 1928M)

He was born in A H 1275 (1859). His father was Maulana Fazlur Rahman. In late A H 1284 when the class for reading the Holy Quran was started in Darul Uloom, he was admitted to this class for memorizing the Quran. In A H 1287 he memorized the entire Quran. The teacher of his class was Hafiz Namdar Khan. In A H 1295 he graduated from Darul Uloom. The teachers of Darul Uloom then were Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi, Hadhrat Maulana Syed Ahmed Dehlawi, Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind and Maulana Abdul Ali (Allah’s mercy be on all of them!). In the commencement function (Jalsa Dastar Bandi) of A H. 1298, he was awarded the Sanad at the hands of Hadhrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi.

After graduation he worked for some time as an assistant teacher in Darul Uloom, rendering at the same time the services of fatwa-writing under the supervision of the principal, Maulana Muhammad Yaqub. Then he was sent to Meerut, where, at Madrasah Islamia, Inderkot, he remained engaged in teaching for several years. In A H 1309 the elders of Darul Uloom selected him for the post of the pro-vice-chancellor, and after one year he was also appointed as mufti and teacher. Apart from writing fatwas he was assigned to take some classes of Hadith, Tafsir and Fiqh.

Mufti Sahib used to write the answers to very important and vexed questions (istifta) off-hand and spontaneously. For nearly forty years he rendered this great service of writing fatwas in Darul Ifta on behalf of Darul Uloom. In this long period, he wrote many difficult fatwas, which are not, merely fatwas but are of the nature of judgment in controversial cases. Even during journeys, he used to write fatwas informally through sheer acumen, expertise and ability. The explicit texts of Fiqh he mostly remembered by heart. A great peculiarity of his fatwas is that they are easily intelligible; the language of the fatwas is easy and fluent, a feature which is not to be found in the fatwas of this era.

Among the religio-legal sciences, fatwa-writing is a very difficult task. The knowledgeable alone can appreciate the delicate points that crop up in this task due to change of circumstances. Ordinarily, fatwas have been written in every period but the consummate expertise possessed by Mufti Sahib has been shared by very few Ulama of Deoband. It is regrettable that the record of those fatwas Mufti Sahib had written between 1310 and 1329 is not extant. A great peculiarity of his fatwa-writing was also this that he never overlooked the zeitgeist and the demands of the time of which he used to have a profound knowledge. If there could be two decidable aspects of a proposition (mas’ala), he would on such occasions always adopt the easy aspect and issue the fatwa on it only, never adopting that aspect which would create difficulties for the masses. Examples of this feature are present everywhere in his fatwas. The fatwas issued between A H 1330 and A H 1346 number 37,561. But among these also the record of some years has been lost. The afore¬said number is that of the recorded fatwas only. According to a cursory estimate of Maulana Muhammad Tayyib, vice-chancellor, Darul Uloom Deoband, the number of Mufti Sahib’s fatwas comes to the huge figure of nearly 1,18,000. This prodigious output and achievement of Mufti Sahib is a great and glorious religious service. This characteristic feature of his fatwas also commands a great importance that, in and outside India, these fatwas were being considered decisive. The fatwas written between A H 1330 to A H 1346, arranged in jurisprudential order, are being published by Darul Uloom under the title Fatawa Darul Uloom Deoband. 12 volumes of which have been published so far.

Mufti Sahib was not only a religious divine and mufti but also a Sufi and one of the great masters of the esoteric science. He was awarded Khilafah by Hazrat Maulana Rafiuddin Sahib. The practice of accepting allegiance and giving spiritual guidance was also a part of his life. Thousands of Muslims benefited from him and rectified their inner selves.

Mufti Sahib had also resigned from Darul Uloom along with Hadhrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri. In 1347 when he was returning ed to Deoband, en route he was feeling indisposed. Treatment began when he reached Deoband but the condition did not improve. The “promised hour” had come. At last, on the night of 17th Jamadius-Sani, A H 1347 (1928), he expired. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Darul Uloom.

He was a high-ranking personality amongst the matchless personalities possessing knowledge and practice, good morals and habits, gnosis and insight, and jurisprudential knowledge and understanding, appointed to grace the Darul Ifta of Darul Uloom Deoband.

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