One of the greatest authorities on Tasawwuf of his times, Hazrat Ml. Maseehullah Khan (RA) was among the senior representatives of Hazrat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA). He hailed from the renowned and distinguished Sherwani family of Pathans, who are descendants of Rasulullah ﷺ. Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) was born in 1329 or 1330 AH at Sara’i Barla, in the district of Aligarh, India. From childhood, he had a unique desire to sit in the company of the scholars and pious servants of Allah. In particular, he enjoyed the close companionship of Hazrat Ml. Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) the khalifa of Shaykhul Hind Mahmudul Hasan (RA).
Sitting in the company of Hazrat Ilyaas (RA), the young Maseehullah (RA) heard with eagerness the incidents, talks, and advice of Hazrat Thanwi (RA). Thus it was through this relationship that Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) was introduced to Hazrat Thanwi (RA). Studying his works engendered in Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) a yearning and love for Hazrat Thanwi (RA), whom he strove to emulate.
With such great people in his midst at such an early age, he displayed a penchant for worship unlike many other youngsters his age. He spent a great deal of his time in the remembrance of Allah and voluntary acts of worship. He was a paragon of piety and other noble qualities. His virtue, simplicity, and dignity were acknowledged by many who came into contact with him as a youth and as an adult. Modesty and kindheartedness dominated his personality.
His character was so excellent that he even gained the heartfelt respect of his own teachers, who themselves were renowned scholars. One of his teachers, Mufti Sa’id Ahmad Lucknawi (RA), a great jurist and hadith scholar, witnessed his life from early childhood. He said, “Since childhood, he has been a shining example of modesty, dignity, respect, forbearance, sincerity, intelligence and other admirable attributes.”
Mufti Sa’id (RA) was a great Faqeeh and Muhaddith. He had mastered many branches of the Islamic sciences and was Hazrat Maseehullah’s teacher in these fields. Yet when Hazrat Thanwi (RA) passed away, he went to Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) for spiritual guidance. He became his student of tassawuf, despite being his teacher and a Khalifa of Hazrat Thanwi (RA) too. This act of Mufti Sa’id only gives further credence to the spiritual nobility and status of Hazrat Maseehullah (RA).
EDUCATION AND SPIRITUAL TRAINING
Hazrat Maseehullah’s early education commenced in his hometown, Aligarh. He was taught the main part of the Darsi Nizami syllabus up to the stage of Mishkaat Shareef by Mufti Sa’id (RA). In pursuit of higher education, he then left to enrol in Darul Uloom Deoband. During this year, he met Hazrat Thanwi (RA) for the first time and established an Islaahi connection with him. Since then, he remained in constant communication with Hazrat Thanwi (RA).
While at Deoband, he passed many of his days in solitude, totally engrossed in his acquisition of knowledge. He had the invaluable opportunity to study under Hazrat Ml. Husayn Ahmad Madani (RA), Hazrat Izaz Ali (RA), Hazrat Ml. Asghar Husayn (RA), and Allama Balyawi (RA), among others. At the same time, he was a mureed of Hazrat Thanwi (RA). His training under Hazrat Thanwi (RA) gave him exceptional spiritual strength, which quickly earned him a position of honour and respect among students and scholars alike.
The year when Hazrat Maseehullah completed his Islamic studies at Deoband, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) awarded him authorization to teach the science of Tassawuf and to accept and spiritually train Mureeds. He became a spiritual representative/khalifa of Hazrat Thanwi (RA) at the age of 21, an astoundingly early age to receive such an honour. Despite his youth, Maulana Thanwi (RA) listed him among eleven of his most eminent spiritual representatives. He enjoyed a distinguished rank of prominence in this regard, which was attested to by Hazrat Thanwi (RA) himself. Once, upon someone’s enquiry Hazrat Thanwi (RA) said, “Isa and Maseeh have surpassed the others.”
Isa here is a reference to Hazrat Ml. Muhammad lsaa (RA) who was also a distinguished spiritual representative. Therefore, this statement made by Hazrat Thanwi (RA) is the stamp of authority on the abundance of spiritual grace, effulgence and benefit to the Ummah which emanates from Hazrat Maseehullah (RA). Hazrat Thanwi (RA) further testified to the spiritual training method of Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) by saying, “There is order and arrangement in his temperament, hence order and arrangement in his instruction.”
SPIRITUAL INTUITION AND INSPIRATION (WAARIDAATE QALBIYYAH)
Hazrat Thanwi (RA) advised Hazrat Maseehullah (RA), “Act according to what enters into your heart repeatedly.”
This instruction of Hazrat Thanwi (RA) adequately illustrates the purity of heart and the high standard of spiritual intuition of Hazrat Maseehullah (RA). It is in fact a certificate of qualification of his deep esoteric knowledge and connection with the spiritual realm. The attainment of such a lofty pedestal of spiritual events is explained by Hazrat Thanwi (RA) in his famous work At-Takashuf, in which he says, “When the darkness of the nafs and the impurities of character are eliminated by means of constant Zikrullah, abundance of spiritual exercise and abstinence, and the heart and soul gain a special and a distinguished relationship with Allah, then certain spiritual mysteries and esoteric knowledge enter the heart intuitively without the agency of the senses or other external material mediums.”
RU’YAA SALIHA/TRUE DREAMS
In the Hadeeth it is stated that the Sahaaba رضي الله عنه once asked Rasulullah ﷺ, “What are Mubashiraat?” Rasulullah ﷺ replied, “True dreams.” This hadeeth is the commentary of Allah’s statement in the Quran, “for them there are glad tidings in this worldly life.” (Surah Yunus, Verse 64)
Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) has been endowed with the capacity for receiving such mubashiraat/true dreams mentioned in the Hadeeth. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) attested to this on several occasions.
SOME NOTEWORTHY ‘MUBASHIRAAT’ OF HAZRAT MASEEHULLAH (RA)
Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) obtained permission to deliver lectures from Qutbul Aalam by Hazrat Gangohi (RA) via one such true dream. It was only after obtaining this permission and instruction that Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) began giving these lectures. Hazrat Khwaajah Mueenuddin Chisti (RA) specially directed Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) in a dream to the duty of Dua. Hazrat Khwaajah (RA) in this particular dream said, “We transfer Dua to you. Whoever comes to you for Dua, make Dua on their behalf.”
In this directive is the glad tidings of Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) being Mustajaabud-Da’waat/one whose dua is accepted by Allah.
Jalalabad is a fairly large town in the Uttar Pradesh province of India. Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) came to Jalalabad in 1357AH upon the instruction of Hazrat Thanwi (RA) and settled there permanently. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) assigned him to operate a small school in Jalalabad. Recalling this, Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) said, “I happened to be present in the khanqah when Hazratwala (Hazrat Thanwi (RA)) said, ‘A teacher is required there. You proceed to Jalalabad.’ When I came here (to Jalalabad) there was one Haafiz Saheb and two rooms. Haafiz Saheb taught in one room and I taught in the other.”
The position of Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) as the spiritual custodian of Jalalabad was the inspirational choice of Hazrat Thanwi (RA). Within thirty years, the two-roomed school developed into a full-fledged Madrassa called Miftah Al-Ulum, with over six hundred students from all parts of India, South Africa, Mauritius, Reunion and England. The Madrassa was operated purely on the basis of Tawakkul (Trust in Allah). No appeal for funds was sent out nor did the Madrassa have any source of fixed income. It served the cause of Islam under the direct care and supervision of Hazrat Maseehullah (RA).
Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) would spend the entire day in the service of Islam. After Fajr, he would take a light breakfast and not eat anything thereafter until Maghrib time. For the entire day, he would sit in the sitting posture of Salah and teach patiently. His teaching style was simple and effective. He would constantly say, “I am only presenting this through the benevolence and mercy of Allah.” He followed the Sunnah in every aspect of his life.
Hazrat Maseehullah (RA) was truly one of the great saints and scholars of Islam. He passed away on 16 Jamada Al-Ula 1413 AH (12 November 1992) with the remembrance of Allah on his lips. Mufti Muhammad Inayatullah performed his funeral prayer, which was attended by approximately 250,000 people and he is now buried in Jalalabad.
The biography of Hazrat Ml. Maseehullah Khan (RA) features in the book Shariat and Tassawuf, written by Majlisul Ulama. A slightly similar but shortened version can be found in the Path to perfection, published by white thread press. The biography we have shared with you above is a combination of both. To read a more detailed biography, please click here.