Biography of Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi (1314-1378: 1895-1968)

Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi was born in 1895 in the village Dhuniki near Wazeerabad. His father Molvi Hakeem Muhammad Ibrahim was a brilliant doctor and a Katib (copist of Islamic manuscript books). He had the privilege to copy the famous explanation of “Sunnan At-Tirmidhi” of Shaykh AburRahman Al-Mubarakpuri entitled “Tuhfatul Ahwazi”, and his hand written copy is studied in all Ahlul Hadith madaris and universities, meaning it has been photocopied and printed as such in big size and binded together in a single volume. Such copies are cheaper for the students than buying the 12 vol computerised editions from Lebanon.

Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi started his religious studies with his father, then his father sent him to study with Shaykh Ustaz Al-Punjab Hafiz Abdul Mannan Al-Wazeerabadi, student of Mian Nazeer Husayn Ad-Dehlawi. He studied beginners’ books from Hafiz Abdul Mannan’s son, Shaykh Abdus Sattar, and then he completed the highest books with Ustaz Al-Punjab.

Hafiz Abdul Mannan Al-Wazeerabadi was the teacher he studied the most with, so he had a great love for him, and he changed his student Hafiz Abdul Mannan An-Nurpuri name out of love of Hafiz Abdul Mannan Al-Wazeerabadi, meaning Hafiz Abdul Mannan An-Nurpuri was named Khushi Muhammad (literally: joy of Muhammad) by his parents, and Shaykh Isma’eel As-Salafi changed it to ‘Abdul Mannan. Also Hafiz Abdul Mannan An-Nurpuri had an exceptional memory like Ustaz Al-Penjab Al-Wazeerabadi.

After Shaykh As-Salafi went to Dehli and studied there with Shaykh Abdul Jabbar ‘Umarpuri, Hafiz ‘Abdullah Al-Ghazipuri and others. After Shaykh As-Salafi went to Amritsar and studied with Shaykh Abdur Raheem Al-Ghaznawi, Shaykh Abdul Ghafoor Al-Ghaznawi and others. After he went to Shaykh Ibrahim Meer As-Sialkoti and benefited from his Tafsir Al-Quran lectures.

In 1921, he was appointed by Shaykh Thanaullah Al-Amritsari and Ibrahim Meer As-Sialkoti as the Khateeb of Masjid Ahlul Hadith in the district of Hajipurah in Gujranwala. A little time after, when Shaykh Alaudin, Khateeb of Ahlul Hadith Masjid Chok Nayan, passed away, Shaykh As’-Salafi was appointed as the Khateeb of this Masjid, and he remained the Khateeb of this Masjid up to his death. In this time, he established the university “Jami’ah Muhammadiyah”, and this is one of the most famous Salafi University in Pakistan, in which Hafiz Muhammad Al-Gondalwi, Hafiz Abdul Mannan An-Nurpuri and others taught. This university was first in Chok Nayan and it was moved after the Shaykh’s deatg in a huge building in the GT road by the Shaykh’s student Muhammad ‘Abdullah, and it has nowadays more than 2000 students per year.

The Shaykh’s role in Markazi Jam’iyat Ahlul Hadith Pakistan

Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi played a great role in establishing and managing the Markazi Jami’yah Ahlul Hadith in Pakistan.

Before the creation of Pakistan, Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi was a member (rukn) of the Majlis ‘Amilah of All India Ahlul Hadith conference.

After the creation of Pakistan, a group of pre-eminent Ahlul Hadith held an historical gathering on the 24 July of 1948 in the University Dar Al-‘Ulum Taqwiyatul Islam on Shish Maal Rd in Lahore, establishing the Markazi Jami’yah Ahlul Hadith Maghrabi Pakistan, which after the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan became Markazi Jami’yah Ahlul Hadith Pakistan.

Among the noble scholars who were present in this gathering: Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Meer As-Sialkoti, Hafiz ‘Abdullah Ar-Ropuri, Hafiz Muhammad Al-Gondalwi, Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi, Shaykh Muhiyudin Ahmad Al-Qasuri, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Qasuri, Shaykh AbdulMajeed As-Sohadrawi, Shaykh Zafar Iqbal, Shaykh Muhammad Yunus Ad-Dehlawi, Shaykh Abu Sa’id Sharfudin Ad-Dehlawi, Shaykh As-Sayid Muhammad Dawud Al-Ghaznawi, Shaykh As-Sayid Muhammad Isma’eel Al-Ghaznawi, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ataullah Haneef Al-Bhujiyani, Shaykh Muhammad Haneef An-Nadwi.

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Meer As-Sialkoti was presiding this gathering and in it, it was decided that the president of this Jam’iyah would be Shaykh As-Sayid Muhammad Dawud Al-Ghaznawi, and the Nazim Al-‘Ala (head principal) would be professor ‘Abdul Qayum, but professor ‘Abdul Qayum had to resign in May 1949 as he was a civil servant. Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi was nominated next Nazim Al-‘Ala, but his movements were restricted to the city of GujranWala by the authority, so Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ataullah Al-Bhujiyani became the temporary Nazim Al-‘Ala, and when these restrictions were lifted in September 1949, Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi went to the two Haram and at his return, he took the charge of Nazim Al-‘Ala in November 1949.

After the death of Shaykh As-Sayid Muhammad Dawud Al-Ghaznawi on the 16 December 1963, Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi was unanimously selected as the president of Markazi Jam’iyah Ahlul Hadith Maghrabi Pakistan and Shaykh As-Sayid Abu Bakr Al-Ghaznawi became Nazim Al-‘Ala. Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi remained the president of MJAH Maghrabi Pakistan until his death in 1968.

His main and most famous students

Hafiz ‘Abdul Mannan An-Nurpuri

Shaykh Muhammad Haneef An-Nadwi

Shaykh Hakeem ‘Abdullah As-Suhadrawi

Shaykh Ishaq Bathi

Shaykh Hakeem Mahmud As-Salafi, who is the son of the Shaykh

Shaykh Muhammad Khalid Garjakhi

Shaykh Muhammad Sulayman Al-Kaylani

Shaykh Mu’eenudin Al-Lakhwi

Shaykh Abdul Aziz As-Siddiqi

Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abdullah

Hafiz Ahmadullah

Shaykh Muhammad Idrees Al-Badheemalwi

Shaykh Abul Kaleem Muhammad Ashraf Saleem

Qari Muhammad Isma’eel Asad

Abu Radha Thanaullah Rabbani

Muhammad Haneef Yazdani

Hafiz Sayf Ar-Rahman Al-Falah

Shaykh Muhammad Sideeq

Shaykh Abdul Aziz An-Nurustani

Shaykh Muhammad Basheer An-Nu’mani

Shaykh Sadiq As-Sideeq

Anecdote

During the Qadiani Tahreek (movement to have Qadianis declared as non Muslim by Pakistani state), Shaykh As-Salafi was imprisoned in 1953 with other scholars. Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Khandalwi said that during this time in jail, he requested Shaykh As-Salafi to teach them “Hujjatullah Al-Balighah”. Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Khandhalwi had studied this book in Dar ‘Ulum Ad-Deoband from Molana Shabeer ‘Uthmani and he believed that none could teach it in a better way, but to his surprise, he was amazed at Shaykh As-Salafi’s teaching, and said: “You have preceded Molana ‘Uthmani”.

His links with Saudi scholars

After Shaykh Al-Albani resignation from Madeenah University, Shaykh Ibn Baz requested Shaykh As-Salafi to teach Hadith in Madinah University, but because of his political activities with the Jam’iyah and his supervision of Ahlul Hadith Madaris, Shaykh As-Salafi refused and advised Shaykh Ibn Baz to have Hafiz Muhammad Al-Gondalwi instead, and thus Hafiz Al-Gondalwi taught for 2 years in Madinah University.

Shaykh As-Salafi had a salary of 175 rupees at this time, and he was offered 3000 rupees by Saudis to teach in Madinah University, but the Shaykh’s services were more needed for the Jam’iyah Ahlul Hadith in Pakistan, and the interest of this noble Jam’iyah came before the Shaykh’s own interests.

His main books

“Tahreek Azadi Fikr or Shah Waliyullah ki Tajdidi Masai’” (This is one of the most famous books of Shaykh As-Salafi. A book refuting Taqleed and showing Shah Waliyullah’s independent views)

“Imam Bukhari ka Maslak” (epistle on the Madhab of Imam Al-Bukhari, showing that he was an independent Mujtahid)

Rasul Akram (saw) ki Namaz (book on the description of the prayer of the Prophet (saw))

Ziyarat Al-Qubur (epistle on the etiquettes of visiting graves and a refutation of Shirk)

“Sunnat Quran ke Ainah Mein” (epistle on the authority of the Sunnah in the light of the Quran)

“Maqam Hadith” (against Hadith rejecters, modernists and Muqalideen)

“Hujjiyat Hadith An Hazrat (saw) ki Sirat ki Roshni mein” (epistle on the authority of the Sunnah in the light of the Sirah of the Prophet (saw))

“Jamat e Islami ka Nazariyah Hadith” (refutation of Al-Mawdudi and Ameen Islahi’s modernist approach towards Hadith)

“Waqi’ah Ifk” (epistle on the slander of Aishah (rad), refutation of Hadith rejecters who refuse this Hadith and attack Az-Zuhri)

“Hayat Nabi (saw)” (epistle on the life of the Prophet (saw) in his grave, refuting Hayati Deobandis such as Qasim An-Nanotwi and others)

“Hadith ki Tashri’i Ahmiyat” (epistle on the authority of Hadith in legislation, refuting Hadith rejecters who consider Hadith as a non-Arab plot, claim Muhadiths were non-Arabs and they conspired)

“Masalah Dirayat Wa Fiqh Ar-Rawi Ka Tarikhi or Tahqiqi Jaizah” (refuting Hanafi Muqalideen who claim that some Sahabah narrators of Hadith and others do not have Dirayah, meaning deep understanding). This epistle was actually an introduction to the book “Husn Al-Bayan fi ma fi Sirah An-Nu’man” of Shaykh ‘Abdul Aziz Ar-Raheemabadi, a book that refuted Shaykh Shibli Nu’mani’s “Sirah An-Nu’man”. Shibli Nu’mani to defend Imam Abu Hanifah tried to attack Muhadiths and Imam Al-Bukhari, trying with false doubts to prove that these Imams did not have Dirayah and Fiqh, so their criticism of Imam Abu Hanifah’s analogies and Fiqh is not valid.

“Islami Hukumat ki Zimedaryan” (duties of the Islamic government)

“Islami Hukumat ka Khaqah” (picture of the Islamic government)

“Islami Nizam Hukumat ke Mukhtasar Ajza” (Islamic governance system’s summarised components)

“Fatawa As-Salafiyah” (1 vol, compilation of the some of the Shaykh’s Fatawa)

“Imam Muhammad ibn Muslim Az-Zuhri or Tahrik Inkar Hadith” (refuting the Hadith rejecters’ attacks on Imam Az-Zuhri)

“Molana Tamana ke Tanqidi Madhmun ka Ilmi Muhasabah” (refuting the attacks of Molana Tamana on Hadith)

“Kiya Fiqh Hanafi Islam ka kamil or Sahih Ta’beer he” (refuting the claims of Hanafi Muqalideen that the Hanafi Fiqh is the most complete interpretation of Islam)

The famous Majmu’ah “Hujjiyat e Hadith”

Four epistles of Shaykh Isma’il As-Salafi have usually been published together under the name “Hujjiyat e Hadith”:

  • “Hadith ki Tashri’i Ahmiyat”
  • “Jamat e Islami ka Nazariyah Hadith”
  • “Sunnat Quran ke Ainah Mein”
  • “Hujjiyat Hadith An Hazrat (saw) ki Sirat ki Roshni mein

This Majmu’ah has been a very popular in Pakistan, and is considered as a reference against Hadith rejecters and modernists.

The details of the famous book “Tahreek Azadi Fikr or Shah Waliyullah ki Tajdidi Masai’”

This book has actually been composed by gathering different epistles of the Shaykh:

“Tahreek Ahlul Hadith ka mad wa Jazar” (showing Shah Waliyullah methodology and his independent opinions in Fiqh)

“Tahreek Ahlul Hadith ka Tarikhi Mawqif wa Khidmaat” (history and efforts of Ahlul Hadith in India)

“BarSagheer Pakohind mein Ahlut Tawheed ki Sargarmian (efforts of Ahlul Hadith in spreading Tawheed in India and Pakistan)

“Tark Taqleed and Ahlul Hadith” (explaining words Ghayr Muqalid and reality of Taqlid)

“Masalah Taqleed par Tahqeeqi Nazar” (refuting Taqleed, Molana Taqi ‘Uthmani and others)

Ahlul Hadith ki Iqtada (refuting a Brelwi scholar’s objections on praying behind Ahlul Hadith)

Ek Muqaddas Tahreek jo Mazalim ka Takhte Mashq rahi (injustices done against Ahlul Hadith in IndoPak)

His books translated into Arabic

Dr Shaykh Muqtada Hasan Al-Azhari, Rahimahullah, former director of Jamiyah Salafiyah Banaris India translated the book “Tahreek Azadi Fikr or Shah Waliyullah ki Tajdidi Masail” of Shaykh Isma’eel As-Salafi under the Arabic name: “Harakah Al-Intilaq Al-Fikri wa Juhud Shah Waliyullah fi Tajdid”.

This translation was first printed in 1977 with the introduction of Shaykh Ubaydullah Al-Mubarakpuri (author of “Mira’at Al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat Al-Masabih” and former head of Jami’ah Salafiyah Banaris India). Shaykh Salah Deen Maqbool Ahmad made the Fihrist of this book.

In the second edition of the book in 1989, Dr Muqtada Hasan Al-Azhari added two other epistles of Shaykh As-Salafi that he translated into Arabic: “Hayat An-Nabi (saw)” and “Ziyarat Al-Qubur”.

Shaykh Dr Muqtada Hasan also translated the Majmu’ah “Hujjiyat Al-Hadith”, and it has been published in 2007 in Kuwait by Dar Gheras after the death of Dr Muqtada Hasan, with the introduction and supervision of Shaykh Salah Ad-Deen Maqbool Ahmad. But this Majmu’ah contains 5 epistles:

“Hadith ki Tashri’i Ahmiyat” (Ahmiyat Al-Hadeeth At-Tashri’iyah)

  • “Sunnat Quran ke Ainah Mein” (As-Sunnah fi Miraat Al-Quran)
  • “Hujjiyat Hadith An Hazrat (saw) ki Sirat ki Roshni mein (Hujiyat Al-Hadith fi Daw Sirah Ar-rasul (saw))
  • “Masalah Dirayat Wa Fiqh Ar-Rawi Ka Tarikhi or Tahqiqi Jaizah” (Dirasah At-Tarikhiyah Li Mawdu’ Ad-Dirayah wa Fiqh Ar-Rawi)
  • “Waqi’ah Ifk” (Hawl Waqi’ah Al-Ifk)

Meaning it has two more epistles from the famous Urdu Majmu’ah, the fourth and fifth, and the epistle “Jamat e Islami ka Nazariyah Hadith” is not present in this Arabic Majmuah.

Shaykh Salah Deen Maqbool Ahmad had translated this epistle before after Shaykh Abdul Hameed Ar-Rehmani advised him to do so. It was published in 1986 by “Ad-Dar As-Salafiyah” with the notes of Shaykh Salah Deen Maqbool Ahmad under the name “Mawqif Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyah min Al-Hadith An-Nabawi: Dirasah An-Naqdiyah li Maslak Al-I’tidal li Shaykh Al-Mawdudi”.

To the knowledge of Shaykh Salah Deen Maqbool Ahmad, it was the first Arabic epistle that exposed Shaylh Al-Mawdudi’s views on Hadith

Shaykh Salah Deen Maqbool Ahmad also translated the Risalah “Maslak Imam Bukhari” and it was published in 2010 by Dar Gheras in Kuwait with the notes of the Shaykh Salah Deen.

Umm-ul-Qura Publications and Shaykh As-Salafi

All the books and many articles gathered from different magazines of Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi have been gathered in three Majmu’ah by Umm-ul-Qura Publications, with the Tahqiq and Takhrij of Hafiz Shahid Mahmood (Madinah University and student of Hafiz Abdul Mannan An-Nurpuri):

“Maqalat Al-Hadith”, introduced by Shaykh Irshadul Haqq Al-Athari and Shaykh Abdullah Nasir Ar-Rehmani

  • “Nighar Shaat”, introduced by Shaykh Salah Deen Maqbool Ahmad and Hafiz As’ad Mahmud As-Salafi, great son of Shaykh As-Salafi
  • “Majmu’ah Ar-Rasail”

A fourth Majmu’ah gathering the Fatawa, letters and other articles of Shaykh As-Salafi has been composed and will be published soon Insha Allah, so all the works of Shaykh Isma’eel As-Salafi in Urdu will be published by Umm-ul-Qura Publications in four Majmu’ah.

Establishment of Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah

Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi after the yearly conference that was held in 1955 in Faysalabad put forward the idea of a Markazi Dar Al-Ulum (meaning a university that would be the head of all other universities of the Jami’ah Ahlul Hadith), and it was decided that they would build it in Fayslabad and Shaykh Muhammad Haneef An-Nadwi suggested its name should be “Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah”.

After a meeting on the 31 March of 1955, the basis of this Jami’ah were laid, but the teachings started in “Madrasah Al-Ghaznawiyah Taqwiah Al-Islam” where the main teachers were Shaykh Dawud Al-Ghaznawi, Muhammad Haneef An-Nadwi, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ataullah Al-Bhujiyani. It was transferred in 1957 to Fayslabad, but it did not yet have an independent building, and teachings were given in Jami’ Masjid Ameenpur Bazar. The main teachers were Hafiz Muhammad Al-Gondalwi, Shaykh Muhmmad Abdu Al-Falah, Shaykh Shareefullah Khan, and in 1958, the Jami’ah’s first building was ready.

Shaykh Dawud Al-Ghaznawi and Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi and other Ahlul Hadith scholars were invited at the inauguration of the Islamic University in Madeenah. They tried to obtain some recognisance of Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah by Saudi scholars and financial help from Saudi Government to extend the university and they spoke to Shaykh Ibn Baz, but Shaykh Ibn Baz was very busy and could not pay attention to this.

But in 1970, after the death of Shaykh As-Salafi, Mian Fadl Al-Haq, president of the Jam’iyah and Shaykh ‘AbdurRahman Al-Madni (nephew of Hafiz ‘Abdullah Ar-Ropuri) went to see Shaykh Ibn Baz, and Shaykh Ibn Baz promised them to help Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah. The Jam’iyah Ahlul Hadith gave to Saudi authorities the details of their scholars, activities and universities, and Shaykh Ibn Baz sent letters to King Shah Faysal to have Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah helped.

Shaykh Ibn Baz also recommended some additions to the book taught in Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah (and by consequence all Ahlul Hadith madaris) in order to make the Nisab of Ahlul Hadith universities close to the Nisab of Madeenah University, so the following books were added to Nisab on Shaykh Ibn Baz’s advice: Al-Fath Al-Qadeer of Ash-Shawkani, Sharh Aqidah At-Tahawiyah, Sharh Aqidah Al-Wasitiyah, Fath Al-Majeed Sharh Kitab At-Tawheed, Ilm Al-Isnad, Sharh ibn Aqeel, Al-Adyan wal Furuq.

The Saudi government agreed to pay the salaries of 15 teachers of Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah, and to admit each year 4 of their students to Madeenah University. Also more buildings were added to the Jami’ah with the Sahdi government’s help.

In 1978, Shaykh Abdul Muhsin Al-‘Abbad,  when going to the Asian Islamic conference expressed the wish to visit Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah, and he was very delighted when he saw the university and increased the quota of students that would be accepted to Madinah University to 25.

Many other Saudi scholars afterwards came to Al-Jami’ah As-Salafiyah, among them: Imam Al-Haram Muhammad ibn Subayyal who came many times, Shaykh Isma’eel ibn Sa’d, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Atiyah Salim, Shaykh Nasir Al-‘Ubood, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Shaybah Al-Hamd and many other teachers of Madeenah university.

Establishment of Jami’ah Ta’leem Al-Quran wal Hadith lil Banat

Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi also established this university for women on the 23rd of May 1967, in which women would learn many prestigious books: Bulugh Al-Maram, Riyad As-Salihin, Mishkat Al-Masabih, Sihhah As-Sittah (4 Sunnan and 2 Sahih), ‘Aqidah At-Tahawiyah, Aqidah Al-Wasitiyah, Tafsir Jalalayn, Tafsir Al-Baydawi and other standard books. The number of students of this Jami’ah is 450.

Death of the Shaykh

Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi passed away on the 20 February of 1968 in Gujranwala. Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Gakhrawi lead his funeral prayer with a huge crowd. All the great national newspapers praised the Shaykh and many religious leaders of the Ahnaf.

The Shaykh’s father, Molvi Hakeem Muhammad Ibrahim for a long time did not have any children, so he went to Hafiz ‘Abdul Mannan Al-Wazeerabadi and requested him to ask Allah, and said that if Allah gives him a son, he will use him only for the service of the religion and not for any worldly matters. And Allah granted him Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi, who was is only child. And his father fulfilled his promise to Allah and left his son in the care of Hafiz Abdul Mannan. Normally when people have only one child, they like him to become doctor or similar jobs, as it will become easier for them financially when they retire, but it is said that Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi was the financial sacrifice of his father Muhammad Ibrahim, and Allah accepted this sacrifice insha Allah and gave his son the Tawfeeq to build this great Jami’ah Ahlul Hadith Pakistan, and established all these Universities and Masajid.

When Hafiz Muhammad Al-Gondlawi passed away in 1985, he was buried next to Shaykh Isma’eel As-Salafi. May Allah reward all these great scholars abundantly!

Sources:

“40 Ulema Ahlul Hadith” of AbdurRasheed ‘Iraqi

Introduction of “Nighar Shaat” of Shaykh Salah Deen Ahmad Maqbool

“Molana Muhammad Isma’eel As-Salafi” of Sa’diyah Arshad

 

May Allah send Salah and Salam on the Prophet (saw), his family and companions!