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By Muhammad Wali Razi

Praise belongs to Allah who created the Universe and sustains it; and Durud and Salaam be on the last of all Prophets who made the truth prevail over falsehood.

Dear Readers, Assalamu-u-Alaykum New year Mubarak

"Verily belongs to Allah whatever He takes away and whatever He gives. Everything has a prescribed time in the will of Allah. "(Nisa'i)

The departure of Hazrat Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyanvi (rahimahullah) was felt as a wave of shock throughout the Islamic circles of the Indo-Pak sub-continent by his thousands of followers and admirers. His demise has left a visible vacuum in Islamic fiqh, Hadith and spiritual leadership. He started his initial education in 1353 of Islamic Calendar. His dedication to Islamic cause has a history of more than sixty six years. He was bom in a small village of the Khaniwal District of Pakistan on 3rd Safar 1341 Hijrah (26th September 1926). His ancestors belonged to Ludhyana of East Punjab. His father Maulana Saleem (rahmatullah 'alaihe) was a religious and God-fearing man. He was among the prominent disciples of Hakim-ul-Ummah Hazrat Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah 'alaihe).

His mother started teaching him the Holy Quran when he was 5 years of age. His father was extra-keen to embellish his son with the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. He sent him to acquire Islamic sciences in Madinatul 'Ilm in a village of Hyderabad distt., in 1353 Hijrah.

He started his teaching in 1362 and from then on till his last breath every moment of his life was devoted to the service of the Quran and Sunnah. He specialized in Islamic fiqh of Hanafi thought and was considered among the great Muftis of this era.

Having heard much about the great Islamic University of Darul 'Uloom Deoband, he had a desire to get hi-graduation degree from Darul 'Uloom Deoband. He went to Darul 'Uloom Deoband in Shawwal 1360 Hijrah had the honour of being the student of such great 'Ulama as Hazrat Maulana Husain Madani, Maulana E'zaz 'All and MuftiMuhammad Shaft (rahmatullah 'alaihe). In addition to his usual studies,he sough spiritual guidance initially from Maulana E'zaz (rahmatullah 'alaihe) and then from Maulana Syed Husain Ahmad Madani (rahmatullah 'alaihe). My father Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahmatullah 'alaihe) the founder of Darul 'Uloom Karachi, invited his services as Sheikul Hadith in Darul 'Uloom Karachi in 1376. He served Darul 'Uloom Karachi upto 1383. He taught Sahih Bukhari 20 times in his life. This indicates his deep knowledge in Hadith also. It was during this period that my notable younger brothers Mufti Muhammad Rafi 'Usmani and Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani directly benefited from his scholarly lectures in the class and had an opportunity to be guided by him in other academic issues.

The writer, though not his regular student, had many occasions of being enlightened by his spiritual discourses. In June 2002, when unexpected I was included in the Sindh Cabinet as Minister of Religious affairs for Zakah, Ushr and minorities Affairs, decided to call on him for obtaining his blessing and prayer. I telephoned him, which was attended by one of his assistants and requested him to spare a few minutes for me at his convenience. visited him in his Madrasah Darul Ifta wal Irshad after ' Asr prayer. He was having his usual session of spiritual discourses. As he saw me entering, he asked the people to escort me to his place. I requested permission to sit there for a few minutes to listen to his discourses. I sat there, and was highly delighted to hear what he said. At the end of this visit, 1 asked him to advice me something with regard to my new responsibilities. He said, "Be firm in your faith in Allah and before deciding any matter in your power, decide it with Justice and equity. This responsibilities is a trust placed upon your shoulders from Allah. Discharge this trust with the fear of Allah".

Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyanvi had prominence in various spheres of Islamic activity. Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and Jihad were only few spheres in which his contribution will make his name ineffaceable for a longtime to come.

A person like me is not capable of finding adequate words which will justify his life long services to Islam and the Muslim Ummah. Here is a humble account of his main services:

(1) He authored more than 150 books and booklets which offer valuable research work.

(2) He wrote more than 50 thousand 'fatawa' Islamic verdicts. His book, Ahsanul Fatawa, comprising of more than 10 volumes (7 of them already printed) is a treasure of juristic information and enjoys great academic values.

(3) He rendered his services as a teacher of Hadith, fiqh and other spheres ol Islamic aspects for as long as 40 years.

(4) He founded Darul Ifta wal Irshad, a great centre of Islamic learning and spiritual training.

(5) He was the founder of the Al-Rasheed Trust which offered massive help to the Mujahideen and Afghan Muhajireen.

(6) The daily Islam and weekly Dharb-i-Mu'min was started under his guidance with a visible orientation to the coverage of the Mujahideen all over world.

Hazrat Mufti Rasheed Ahmad (rahmatullah 'alaihe) was a multi-dimentional personality and in fact, an institution in his person. Being out of Karachi, I was deprived of the honour of participating in his funeral prayer. His sad demise has left a vacuum which can hardly be filled by a single man in future.

May Allah accept his humble efforts, in His way and favour him with His special blessings and enable his followers to carry out his mission. Amin.

[ Courtesy "Monthly Al-balagh" (English) ]