The Life of Shaykh-ul-Islam from a personal perspective
It is a great pleasure and honour to say that I have spent many days and evenings, even nights in the presence of Shaykh-ul-Islam. You see a very different human being when you interact with him behind closed doors. The spirituality factor no doubt rises up another notch or two. There are many pauses and long periods of silence when it is just yourself and he in one room. It makes you think is Qibla just looking me straight in the eyes or is he lost in the streets of Madinah-tul-Munawara.
Though I had been a fan of Shaykh-ul-Islam for many a year as pictures of him in our family home, his cassettes and audios in many cupboards, I never knew what all the fuss was about until my first ever interaction with him. It was at Heathrow airport and some of the MYL members decided to introduce myself and other youth brothers to Shaykh-ul-Islam on a one to one basis. There stood Shaykh with my eyes glued to the floor. He began to pat my chest as is done so commonly by him. However the patting didn’t stop. It went on for hours it felt at the time. Then courageously I looked up and my perception had changed. Before it was normal, Shaykh-ul-Islam is smiling, Mash’Allah. Now it was look at the beauty of the smile. Look at his eloquence. Look at how he treats those who are close to him. Those little things held neither meaning nor value before. That day changed my life. It was as if all the dirt within my heart had been pierced out with the blessed hands of Shaykh-ul-Islam and the love of his beloved had shone through.
The trip to Syria and Turkey in 2005 was a life changing experience for most however my life changed in a different way. People had gone to view the shrines of Caliphs and great Walis of their times. My sole purpose was the closeness of Shaykh-ul-Islam and undoubtedly I achieved that. As is said by Allah SWT that if you take a step towards me I will take ten steps towards you, If you walk towards me I will run towards you. I felt something very similar to that when I began to get close to Huzoor Shaykh-ul-Islam. I wanted to get close to Shaykh-ul-Islam and it was as if he knew this and he would ask me to do certain things for him which I would have expected others to get the chance to do, such as ironing his clothes, cleaning his room, dressing his grandson. These things are not minor things when you contemplate. You are being asked to assist the mujadid of the time.
There is no doubt in my mind that today is where Shaykh-ul-Islam’s spirituality is at its Urooj (peak). I am a witness who can testify that Shaykh-ul-Islam stays awake the whole night and only sleeps after the Fajar Salah in the morning. He is constantly studying or he is in prayer. Once Shaykh-ul-Islam asked me what my future plans were to which I replied I want to further my education, Huzoor. Shaykh-ul-Islam specifically told me that education was very important. He stated that he would travel over 100 miles per day to seek secular education from his college and universities and return home every evening to seek religious studies from his father, Dr Fareeduddin Qadri. Shaykh-ul-Islam explained that he would sleep after Fajar Salah for two to three hours and then wake up and leave for university which was nearing 50miles away. He would return from university early in the evening, eat and then start this studying with his father which was very intensive and would finish at about Salat-ud- Tahhajud time. This trend would go on for many years and till today is still apparent. Shaykh-ul-Islam relived out his days for. He said he still studies up to 18 hours a day, sometimes without a break except for Salah. This trend has been going for 40 years Shaykh-ul-Islam said and highlighted to us a number of times the importance and value of a good education but not forgetting our Islamic faith in the process but inter-linking both as he did so well.
I am a great admirer of Shaykh-Asad-as-Saeed-as-Sagarjhi. My family and I had the great pleasure of accommodating him in our Gareeb Khana last year prior to Al-Hidayah. In Syria I realised how much his love was for Shaykh-ul-Islam when he said, I see Islam in Shaykh-ul-Islam’s personality. Whenever we questioned him in the UK about Shaykh-ul-Islam he would always smile. In the presence of Shaykh-ul-Islam he would act very shy and timid. On one occasion Shaykh-ul-Islam came to our home with his family to meet Shaykh Sagarjhi. Shaykh-ul-Islam introduced his family by saying this is my Ulaad (family) to which Shaykh Sagarjhi replied you stated wrong, I am also from your Ulaad. Shaykh Sagarjhi had tears in his eyes when leaving the UK as he said I am leaving the presence of a great individual. It makes you think that a person who is well renowned himself and has the respect of the Middle East is in total awe of our Shaykh then what really is the status of Shaykh-ul-Islam.
In closing I would like to say that though we are not capable enough nor deserving to even call ourselves followers of Shaykh-ul-Islam it is up to us to spread his name and pierce the light of Ishq-e-Mustafa in the hearts of those who have not been fortunate enough to experience the wealth of knowledge and spirituality he possesses. Shaykh-ul-Islam is the Mujadid of the time and it is evident in the day and night struggle he is doing for the betterment of the Ummah. May Allah give my life, my wealth, my health and all that I own to Shaykh-ul-Islam as he is my life. Every successful individual has critics and Shaykh-ul-Islam has more than most. It is usually people who are jealous or of the wrong faith, but I can say with surety that they would agree with me, Whether you love him or loathe him, he no doubt IS ONE OF A KIND.