10 Radiant Scholars of Ahl al-Hadith; Ahl al-Bid’ah Wished Were Never Born!
Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani
Compiled, Translated and Annotated
Abu Khuzaimah Ansari
In the early 2000’s we compiled short biographies of some of the scholars of the sub continent, we also mentioned they were summaries of detailed biographies which were delayed in being published for some reason or another. In additional to the fact that in recent years, unfortunately some imprudent ignorant people from Birmingham began to say our dawah was to the scholars of ‘India and Pakistan,’ despite the sheer ignorance of such people and being totally clueless and oblivious of the dawah of the scholars before, we thought it was time and most pertinent to share some of the biographies of these great luminaries of the Ahl al-Hadith and Salafi’s.
This was the summarized biography which has been since amended and updated by this biography.
[Biography] – Allamah Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani [1326H]
Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani
He is Allamah Kabir Muhammad Bashir bin Hakim Muhammad Badr al-Din bin Sadr al-Din al-Faruqi al-Sahaswani. He is not in need of any introduction, he is the renowned Scholar, the Muhaddith, the jurist, the debater, the teacher, the mufti, the admonisher and speaker. (Forty Scholars of ahl al-hadith p.65 and Hayat nazir p.173 both of Shaikh Abdul Rashid Iraqi)
Whenever Sahaswan is mentioned Shaikh Muhammad Bashir is the first one who comes to mind. (Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab bayna mu’idihah wa mu’aridahah fi shabbah al-qarihah al-hindiyyah p.63 of Shaikh Abul Mukarram bin Abdul al-Jalil)
Family Roots and Background
His lineage traces back to Umar ibn al-Khattab (RadhiAllahu Anhu). His grandfather was a resident of Thanesar which is in western Punjab, which he left and settled in Sahaswan. He had studied with various scholars and was known to be upright and righteous. (Dabistan hadith p.216 of Shaikh Muhammad Ishaq Bhatti)
The Shaikhs father, Hakim Muhammad Badr al-Din Faruqi was a Doctor and resided in Lucknow due to his work in the early years of the Shaikh’s life and this is where he received his early education, under the guidance of his father. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250 of Shaikh Imam Khan Nawshahri, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.379-380 of Muhammad Qadi Aslam Sayf Fairuzpuri)
The Shaikhs father was a renowned physician who had learnt and studied Medicine at the hands of the experts of the Day which included the likes of Shaikh Shah Rafi al-Din Muhaddith Dehlawi. He also studied Ibn Sina’s classical Medical magnum opus ‘al-Qanun.’ The Shaikhs father would treat everyone ranging from poor to the elite and even received honorary titles from the ruler of Oudh. He also had knowledge and had studied the Islamic sciences. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250, Dabistan hadith p.216, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.237 oh Shaikh Abdul Rashid Iraqi, Forty Scholars of Ahl al-Hadith p.65)
The Shaikhs father died in approximately 1260H/1844c and at the time Shaikh Muhammad Bashir was approximately 10 years old. Thereafter he returned to his native area of Sahsawan with his mother.
The Birth of the Allamah Kabir
Allamah Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani was born in approximately 1250H/1834c in Sahsawan which is in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Sahaswan is an old city with rich history. Sahsawan had always been a city of learning and Islamic sciences and a great number of scholars hailed from there. Likewise, and similarly a large number of Ahl al-Hadith scholars used to live in Sahaswan (Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.379-380, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.237, Forty Scholars of ahl al-hadith p.65)
The historians and biographers have differed with regards to his exact date of birth. Shaikh Idris Nigrami mentions his birth to have been in 1240H in ‘Tazkirrah Ulama Hal’ where as Shaikh Abdul Hayy Hassani mentions 1254H in his ‘Nuzhat al-Khawatir.’ Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani’s student, Shaikh Abdul Baqi mentions that he was born approximately in the middle of the century and he was no more 8-9 years old when his father died. (Hayat al-ulama p.90, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250, Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:437)
Shaikh Abul Muakkaram mentions his birth day to be 1245H (Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63)
The famous Ahl al-Hadith historian, Shaikh Muhammad Ishaq Bhatti mentions his date of birth as 1252H (1836-1837c) (Dabistan hadith p.217)
The biographers have generally accepted his birth to have been around the years 1250H-1251H based on the statement of the Shaikhs student.
Some Ahl al-Hadith historians and researchers have mentioned another Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani who died in 1321H who authored ‘Tabsirah al-naqid,’ we were unable to find anything on this Shaikh and perhaps it is a mistake in the citation of the name and also the potential difficulty in reading the hand writing and script from books of that era. (Was Islam Spread in the Subcontinent due to the efforts of the Sufiyyah, p.154 of Shaikh Ghazi Uzair)
Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani’s student, Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani, who spend a lot of time under the tutelage of Shaikh Sahaswani authored a book on the biographies of the scholars of Sahaswan titled, ‘al-Yaqut al-marjan fi zikr ulama Sahaswan.’ Which is often referred to as ‘Hayat al-ulama’ and we will also refer to it with the same name here on in.
The Pursuit of Knowledge
Early Days in Sahaswan and Lucknow
The Shaikh began his studies with his father who had himself studied in Delhi and thus spent time with notable luminaries of the era. After returning to Sahaswan he began to study under Shaikh Sayyid Amir Hasan for approximately 10 years or so. Then in 1273H/1856c, just after the period of mutiny was subsiding he travelled to Lucknow and studied with the Scholars of Farangi Mahal from the likes of Shaikh Hidayahtullah Khan Rampuri, Shaikh Wajid Ali Banarasi.
He also studied with his paternal cousin, Shaikh Nur al-Hasan Sahaswani whilst in Matharah. He studied the Islamic sciences of tafsir, hadith, fiqh and usul (Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.380, Dabistan hadith p.217, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.237, Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.65, Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:438)
His Studies with Shaikh Muhaddith Sayyid Nazir Hussain Dehlawi
After Lucknow the Shaikh travelled to Delhi to study with Allamah Imam Sayyid Muhammad Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi, he studied Hadith, Fiqh and Tafsir with him and also obtained chains for ahadith from him Ie ijazat. He studied the two Sahihs and the four sunans. He also obtained (isnad) chains of hadith from Allamah Shaikh Hussain bin Muhsin Ansari al-Yamani who was the Qadi of Bhopal. (Hayat al-ulama p.90, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250, Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63, Dabistan hadith p.217, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.237-238, Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:438)
His Teachers from the Najd
When the Shaikh travelled to the Hijaz and Najd to perform Hajj he studied with the likes of Shaikh Ahmad bin Ibrahim bin Isa al-Sharqi al-Najdi (d.1329H) and Shaikh Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman Saharanpuri who migrated to Makkah and respectively attained ijazahs in hadith. (Hayat al-ulama p.90, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250, Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.380, Dabistan hadith p.218)
The Shaikh was upon the way of taqlid in his early years until his studies and the constant diligent nurturing of his first teacher, Shaikh Sayyid Amir Hasan Sahaswani who instilled the love and admiration of the Quran and Sunnah. Thereafter the Shaikh abandoned taqlid and held firmly onto the Kitab and Sunnah and the manhaj of the Salaf. (Hayat al-ulama p.90-91, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250)
The Shaikhs student, Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani said when Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani studied the books of Ulum Aqliyyah, Mantiq, philosophy, Fiqh and Usul he leaned towards taqlid and the hanafi madhab and would issue legal edicts based on it.
However, when he sat in the lessons of Shaikh Sayyid Amir Hasan and benefitted from his manhaj, Shaikh Sahaswani’s inclination for research grew stronger, leading him to follow the Quran and Sunnah, he would refer to it in every issue. He adopted the manhaj of Amal bil-Hadith and believed it was obligatory to abandon the taqlid of specific people and opinions. (Hayah al-ulama p.91, Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63, Dabistan hadith p.218)
Spreading the Quran and Sunnah
Shaikh Sahaswani was essentially a teacher and spent all of his life learning and teaching. Shaikh Muhammad Isma’il al-Salafi also comes to this conclusion in his introduction to Shaikh Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi’s ‘Ma’yar ul-haq,’he categorises the Shaikhs students into, writers, debaters, teachers and so on where he says Shaikh Sahaswani was more of a teacher and educationalist. (Introduction to Ma’yar ul-haq)
In the beginning he spent a year teaching in Bangladesh and then another year in Bihar. This was followed by 15 years of teaching as a professor in Akbarabad, Agra in a college. This is what he would do in the day and then in the evening he would teach Quran and Hadith and conduct lessons at his house. There would be a constant flow of students to his gatherings of learnings during the day and the evening, the students would benefit greatly from his knowledge. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.238, Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.66)
His Time in Bhopal
During this era Shaikh Allamah Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan was active in Bhopal due to his family. At the request of Allamah Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan in 1295H/1878ce Shaikh Sahaswani was appointed as a teacher in Madrassah Shah Jahaniyyah in Bhopal after leaving Agra and he remained there for sometime. Shaikh Sahaswani was given great respect and a high position in the teaching circles and was essentially made the head of all the learning faculties. (Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.238, Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.66)
Whilst in Bhopal the Shaikh would deliver lectures and sermons and the Shaikh was such a prolific speaker and orator, most of the gathering would cry due to the fear of Allah due to the Shaikh reminding them of the affairs of the Din and Dunya. He would also deliver lectures in the residence of the leaders, who would also cry to the power of his admonitions. (Hayat al-ulama p.92, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:251, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.380, Dabistan hadith p.218)
Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani had been in Bhopal for approximately 12 years. In these 12 years both scholars worked together. Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan would write books and Shaikh Sahaswani would answer all the question that were presented and in this was why Shaikh Sahaswani was known as the Mufti. At the same time Shaikh Hussain bin Muhsin Ansari al-Yamani was also in Bhopal and he was the Qadi. Bhopal flourished with Ilm and became a powerful learning centre for the Salafi’s and Ahl al-Hadith. (Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.376-380, Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:438)
Later around 1307H/1890c after the death of Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, the atmosphere of Bhopal was changing and Shaikh Sahaswani thought it was time to move on to Delhi. The family of Shaikh Siddiq Hasan Khan were unhappy with his decision due to the great benefit and knowledge he would propagate to the people and therefore he remained in Bhopal for longer. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:252)
The historians and biographers differ how long Shaikh Sahaswani’s stayed in Bhopal with Shaikh Abdul Hayy Hassani saying 30 years and Shaikh Imam Khan Nawshahri saying 24 years. It seems more appropriate that he stayed in Bhopal for approximately 24 years because this is in line with other information. Shaikh Muhammad Ishaq Bhatti mentions 25 years. After Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan’s death Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani remained in Bhopal after another 12 years making his total time in Bhopal as 24 years. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:252-253, Dabistan hadith p.220, Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:438)
During this period Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan and Shaikh Abdul Hayy Lucknowi had an exchange of a book debate, where they both wrote books against one another. Shaikh Lucknowi alleged that Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani was the actual one writing the books under Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan’s name. Shaikh Sahaswani crushed this false allegation and clarified he was not the one writing the books. Shaikh Lucknowi later accepted this. (Hayat al-ulama p.93, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:251, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.380, Dabistan hadith p.218)
When the wife of Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan died in 1319H/1901c, the situation of Bhopal had changed with the new authority having a different approach to the Islamic sciences. It was at this time Shaikh Sahaswani thought it was time to move on. (Hayat al-ulama p.94, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:252, Dabistan hadith p.218)
His Time in Delhi
The Shaikh left Bhopal in approximately 1319H and spent approximately 6-7 years in Delhi where he taught Tafsir and Hadith, he also published some books and engaged in answering the general questions of the people ie Ifta. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:252, Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.381)
The Shaikh continued to teach in the place of his teacher, Shaikh Muhaddith Sayyid Nazir Hussain Dehlawi after his death in Delhi and he remained in this position until he died. Allamah Sahaswani was an exceptional orator, he gave circles in explanation of the Quran for years in Delhi and many scholars of that time would sit in his lessons.
An Example of His Exemplary Character and Being Firm Upon Islam
The Shaikh only had a one son who was born in 1288H whose name was Nazir Hussain upon the name of his teacher Shaikh Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi. The Shaikh concentrated on the well being and nurtured his son upon the Quran and Sunnah and was fervently diligent in educating and teaching him.
Eventually the Shaikh married his son off at the tender age of 17. However, after just 6 months the Shaikhs son died in 1305H. This was a very difficult and testing time for the Shaikh, losing an only son at such a young age and even that after 6 months of marriage. The Shaikh remained patience and continued his teaching and worship of Allah. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:255-256)
The Shaikh also set a precedent in his era which was unheard of and in fact was frowned upon due to the Hindu culture and practices that were prevalent in society at the time which did not bother the Shaikh nor did he care. The Shaikh arranged another marriage for his daughter in law with his own expense. Even during this era, the Muslims were affected by the hindu culture and they would think it was a bad and disliked practice for the woman to get married again. In this way the Shaikh put into practice what he had learnt and studied with his teachers.
What the Scholars Said About Him
Allamah Muhammad Bashir was well known for his knowledge and deep insight into the affairs of the Quran and Sunnah and numerous scholars testified to this including his teachers, from there were the likes of,
Shaikh Muhaddith Nazir Hussain Dehlawi praised Shaikh Sahaswani for his knowledge of the Quran and asks the family of Shaikh Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan to instruct Shaikh Sahaswani to start writing a tafsir of the Quran as others will not be as capable as him. (Makatib naziriyyah p.159)
Shaikh Hussian bin Muhsin Yamani wrote in a letter to Shaikh Shams al-Haq A’zimabadi,
“May Allah have mercy on our brother al-Allamah Muhammad Bashir who is an Alim and Muhaqqiq who holds onto the Quran and Sunnah.” (Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:438)
Shaikh Shams al-Haq A’zimabadi considered Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani from amongst the foremost students of Shaikh Sayyid Muhaddith Nazir Hussain Dehlawi. (Ghayah al-maqsud fi hal sunan abi dawud 1:59)
Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani said,
“Allamah, the Shaikh was the epitome of knowledge and the pride of the Khalaf to the Salaf in his virtue and good qualities. He was a mujaddid of the Din in the late era, the Imam of the time and a mujtahid mutlaq.” (Hayat al-ulama p.90)
Shaikh Abu Yahya Imam Khan Nawshahri said,
“Sahaswan in an area which has produced scholars for years and if a scholar did emerge from there, it would not be unusual or something unheard of. However, a scholar of his caliber being born in the 13/14th century gave his era radiance and his area of Sahaswan such recognition that it will be forever remembered.” (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:250)
Shaikh Muhammad Rashid Rida said,
“He was the Shaikh, Muhammad Bashir al-Sahaswani, May Allah have mercy on him, he was from the powerful Scholars of India and from the major scholars of hadith, he encompassed the various science of the Shari’ah and other than it, coupled with actions based upon knowledge, taqwa and righteousness.” (Muqaddimah siyanah al-insan p.14)
Shaikh Abdul Hayy al-Hassani said,
“al-Shaikh al-Fazil al-Allamah al-Muhaddith Muhammad Bashir al-Umari al-Sahaswani, a famous and well know scholar of India. … he was from the major scholars. He had piety and taqwa, he was righteous and upright. He was a genius with lofty manners and he had complete mastery over Usul al-Fiqh.” (Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:437-438)
Shaikh Abdul Baqi mentions great praise for him, his excellent and loft qualities he says,
“I benefitted from the Shaikh with regards to knowledge of the texts and interpretation whilst he was in Agra and Bhopal. A whole group of students in fact the whole city of Dehli would benefit from his knowledge as we would deliver lessons and lectures on various sciences and disciplines. He would deliver a lesson every day for two hours after Fajr on the explanation of the Quran and Haidth and the people would travel far and wide to come to listen to him.” (Hayat al-ulama p.96)
Shaikh Abdul Baqi goes onto say he would would teach the students the Quran and Hadith directly and he would answer questions on various in great depth and research like a mujtahid. He would also deliver lessons after jumu’ah on the Quran and Hadith in Masjid Qadi.
He was only interested and fervently followed the Quran and Sunnah and he was only interested in the victory of the truth. He set the precedence of knowledge in Bhopal and in fact in the whole of India and thereby established his rank and status in terms of his knowledge and powerful deductions of ijtihad. (Hayat al-ulama p.96)
Shaikh Badi al-Din Shah al-Rashidi al-Sindi said,
“The Shaikh of the Mashaykh. The one and only, The Muhaddith of his time, the embodiment of taqwa, the revered scholar, the one who acted upon Islam completely, Shaikh, the well known Muhammad Bashir bin Badr al-Din Sahaswani he died in 1306H (this is a typo in the book it should be 1326H) , he authored ‘Siyanah al-Insan an waswasah al-shaikh dahlan’ which caused devastation in the circles of Ahl al-Bid’ah, he also wrote 3 treatises on the visitation of the Prophets (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) grave, ‘al-Qawl al-muhkam, al-Qawl al-mansur and al-Sa’i al-mashkur (Itmam al-hujjah)’(Muqaddimah hidayah al-mustafid p.96-97)
The Shaikhs as a Debator
His Book Debate with Shaikh Abdul Hayy Lucknowi
When Shaikh Sahaswani went to the Hijaz to perform Hajj he saw some of the practices of the people in their veneration of the Prophets grave and saying the visiting of the grave was pillar of Hajj. Upon his return to India he authored a book on the subject titled, ‘al-Qawl al-muhaqqiq al-Muhkam Fi Ziyarah Qabr al-Habib al-Akram.’ Some authors have cited the book as, ‘‘al-Qawl al-Muhkam Fi Ziyarah Qabr al-Habib al-Akram.’
Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani cites the book as ‘al-Qawl al-muhaqqiq al-Muhkam Fi Ziyarah Qabr al-Habib al-Akram.’ This is essentially a primary source as it comes directly from the Shaikhs students. (Hayat al-ulama p.91)
Imam Abu Yahya Imam Khan Nawshahri cites the name as ‘al-Qawl al-Muhaqqiq al-Muhkam…’ (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:253).
The Indian Shaikh and researcher Shaikh Uzair Shams perhaps also relied on the latter two Mashaikh and thus also mentions the name of the book as ‘al-Qawl al-Muhaqqiq al-Muhkam…’ Shaikh Muhammad Ishaq Bhatti also mentions the book with the same name. (Dabistan hadith p.219)
This led to a book debate with Shaikh Abdul Hayy Hanafi Lucknowi of Farangi Mahalli who was of the fervent opinion of the obligation and necessity to visit the Prophets grave.
Shaikh Abdul Hayy Lucknowi wrote a reply titled ‘al-Kalam al-Mubram Fi Radd al-Qawl al-Muhkam’
Shaikh Sahaswani wrote a counter replied titled, ‘al-Qawl al-Mansur’
Shaikh Abdul Hayy Lucknowi wrote his reply to the counter reply titled, ‘al-Kalam al-Mabrur Fi Radd al-Qawl al-Mansur’
Shaikh Lucknowi in ‘al-Kalam al-Mabrur’ failed to answer the the main pivotal points and in return relied heavily on Subki’s arguments and ‘Shifa al-Siqam.’ Shaikh Sahaswani knew of Hafiz Ibn Abdul Hadi’s answer to al-Subki, ie ‘al-Sarim al-Munki’ however Shaikh Sahaswani did not have the book. After a lengthy and exhausting search the Shaikh found the book wrote a follow up titled, ‘Itmam al-Hujjah Ala Man Awjab al-Ziyarah Mithal al-Hujjah al-Ma’ruf al-Madhab al-Ma’thur Fi Ziyarah Sayyid al-Qabur’
Shaikh Abdul Hayy Lucknowi replied with ‘al-Sai’i al-Mashkur Fi Radd al-Madhab al-Ma’thur’
The latters reply was all regurgitation and repetition of the same arguments. Shaikh Lucknowi relied heavily on Subki’s ‘Shifa al-Siqam’ as mentioned and on the writings of Hafiz Ibn Hajr al-Haithami. Shaikh Lucknowi overlooked the counter replies and arguments and thus in this regard the book ‘Itmam al-Hujjah’ remains by far the most comprehensive reply to all of the Sufi arguments even today. (Hayat al-ulama p.92)
Shaikh Sahaswani showed the contradictions, inconsistencies and irregularities from the own words of Shaikh Lucknowi from his books and then showed Shaikh Lucknowi’s contradictions from his other books. The discussions ranged from Usul al-Hadith, Usul al-Fiqh and rijal. Shaikh Sahaswani would first quote Shaikh Lucknowi from his book ‘al-Kalam al-Mabrur’ and then answer all of his arguments in a writing style showing a written debate.
Shaikh Sahaswani also wrote the reply to Shaikh Lucknowi’s ‘Madhab al-Ma’thur’ but it was never published and also due to the fact that Shaikh Sahaswani felt the arguments were just irrelevant repetitions and that he had already answered the claims anyway and also penned answers in his other book ‘Siyanah al-Insan’ as his student Shaikh Abdul Baqi mentions (Hayat al-ulama p.92, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:254)
Both Scholars had mutual respect for each other and did not leave the realms of the Quran and Sunnah whilst addressing each other and the detailed issues.
His Debate with the Mulhid Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani
Shaikh Sahaswani was an excellent debater and was very sharp Alhamdulillah. When the disbeliever Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani Hanafi challenged Allamah Sayyid Nazir Hussain Dehlawi for a debate, however as Allamah Nazir Hussain was very busy and also frail due to age. All of his students gathered to debate and he chose and Allamah Sahaswani to have a written debate with Mirza Qadiyani Hanafi.
Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani came to Delhi around 1312-1313H and had issued a poster challenging for a debate as Shaikh al-Allamah Muhaddith Nazir Hussain Dehlawi was one of the first scholars in the whole world to declare him to be a disbeliever. In those days sometimes they would have a written debate someone would be challenged and then they would respond to each other.
The responses would usually be sent to each other via messengers depending on the place of residence. What was interesting is that Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani in order to show his bold nature in an attempt to fool the people of India thought he would come to Delhi as in go to the lions den in popular proverbs.
Shaikh Sahaswani came from Bhopal for the debate and began the written debate with Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani. One of the treacherous tricks of Mirza Qadiyani was when the other party would accept his challenge for a debate, he would digress and diverge into the conditions of the debate so that he would have an option to runaway from the debate. The Sufis and Barelwis of today also do the same, big mouths with little actions. Anyhow, Shaikh Sahaswani was an erudite Scholar and knew of such tricks so he said at the very beginning I agree with all of your conditions.
Hence the debate took place which was concerning the living of the Messiah.
Mirza Qayani presented the ayah
when Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve (Surah Ale Imran:56)
Shaikh Sahaswani recited
And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe (in Jesus) before his death. (Surah al-Nisa:159)
This obliterated Mirza Ghulam Qadiyanis points which left him to resort to red herrings and illogical and stupid distortions and manipulation. It is said Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani tried to make different excuses to leave he was unable to answer and counteract the evidence of Allamah Sahaswan, he said he had to go to the train station to pick up his father in law.
The debate continued for a period of 6 days and after the disgraceful fleeing of Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani, Shaikh Sahaswani remained in Delhi for another 2 days and then returned to Bhopal and Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani Hanafi never set foot in Delhi again. (Hayat al-ulama p.94-95, Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:253, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.382, Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.238)
The debate took place approximately around in either 1309H or 1312-1313H, showing he was from amongst the first people to refute and rebut the fallacious claims of the Mulhid Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani. This was the position of the Ahl al-Hadith at the very onset and then years later the Hanafi quarters followed, perhaps because he was one of their own. The book was published around 1313H titled ‘al-Haq as-sarih fi hayat al-masih.’ Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:253, Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.63-64)
The Ahl al-Hadith historians and biographers have differed as to when the debate took place, some have said it took place in 1309H whilst others seem to think it was later in 1312H-1313H (Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.239).
Shaikh Abdul Rashid Iraqi, the famous Ahl al-Hadith historian and biographer said he read the book in Shaikh Abdul Majid Seharwardi’s library and that it was printed by Matba’a Ansari in Delhi in 1309H and it was 136 pages. (Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.239, Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.66-67)
It is possible and plausible, the actual written debate took place in 1309H and the book was later published in 1312-1313H.
His Well Known Students
The Shaikh had a huge number of students due to his constant teaching in the various places he taught and travelled to and numerating all of them would be impossible however, some of them were major scholars of Hadith in their own right who themselves produced many other scholars. Some of the students include,
Shaikh Ahmadullah Muhaddith Partabghadhi and Dehlawi
Shaikh Abu Sa’id Sharf al-Din Dehlawi
Shaikh Muhammad Isma’il Ansari Sahaswani
Shaikh Sayyid Iqtidar Ahmad Sahaswani
Shaikh Sayyid Amir Ahmad Sehswani
Shaikh Mazhar Ali Sahaswani (the Shaikhs younger brother)
Shaikh Abdul Wahhab Nabina Dehlawi
Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani
Shaikh Sayyid E’jaz Mu’jiz Sahaswani
Shaikh Abdul Sattar Umrpuri (The father of Shaikh Abdul Ghaffar Hasan Rehmani)
Shaikh Abdur Rahman Bastawi
Shaikh Muhammad Uthman Aligharhi
Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Sahaswani
Shaikh Abdus Samad Bastawi
Shaikh Mubarak Ali Akbarabadi
Shaikh Ma’sum Ali Akbarabadi
And manu more
Shaikh Sahaswani an an Author
The Shaikh was a prolific writer as we have already mentioned in his book debate with Shaikh Abdul Hayy Lucknowi. The Shaikh was essentially a teacher however he did write some books and what outstanding and monumental books they were. From them we have the revolutionary book which caused havoc amongst the Sufi’s, making them feel things besides their usual wajd (Sufi dances) and esoteric trances!!!
- Siyanah al-insan an waswasah al-shaikh dahlan – Protecting The Human From The Satanic Whisperings of Shaikh Dahlan.
When Shaikh Sahaswani went to Hijaz to perform Hajj he had a debate on Tawhid with the Ash’arite and Shafi Mufti Shaikh Ahmad bin Zaini Dahlan. The later also authored ‘Durar al-saniyyah fi radd ala al-wahhabiyyah.’ Shaikh Sahaswani upon his return to India authored his book answering all of the allegations and distortions of Dahlan as well as his slanderous aspersions against Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. The book is in debate format and contains some very detailed discussions. It was first printed in 1324H/1906c has been printed many times. (Hayat al-ulama p.92-93, Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.64, Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.68)
What is very important to understand is that after the debate with Shaikh Dahlan, Shaikh Sahaswani returned to India and Shaikh Dahlan also authored his ‘Durar al-saniyyah.’ Some people may argue Shaikh Sahaswani’s book was only a summary of the verbal debate they had in Makkh and that ‘Siyanah al-insan’ is not an answer to ‘Durar al-saniyyah.’ It is very evident that Shaikh Sahaswani’s book more than likely was authored after he looked a ‘Durar al-saniyyah’ because he answers it in ‘Siyanah al-insan’ and also the fact that it was published just two years before his death.
Another clear evidence which supports the aforementioned point is that Shaikh Ahmad Zaini Dahlan died in 1304H, way before Shaikh Sahaswani died and therefore it naturally leads to the conclusion that Shaikh Dahlans book ‘Durar al-saniyyah’ was authored at least before 1304H
Shaikh Muhammad Rashid Rida in his introduction to the book said,
“In summary it can be said about this book, not only is it a refutation of Shaikh Dahlan or the jurists who have been cited for example Shaikh Taqi al-Din al-Subki and Shaikh Ahmad bin Hajr al-Haithami al-Makki but rather it is also a refutation of all of the grave worshippers and innovators of our time and those to come.” (Muqaddimah siyanah al-insan p.17, cf. Dawah al-imam muhammad bin abdul wahhab p.65-66)
‘Siyanah al-insan’ is still used and it is of great benefit due to its depth and precision in answering the claims and distortions of the innovator grave worshippers. To add the book to date has not been answered!!!
Ahmad bin Zaini Dahlan had other issues, one was his position on the british colonialists, his edict can be read here
The Wahabis – Zainee Dahlans Real Opinion & The British
also this is a refutation of Subki and Dahlan from the ‘Siyanah al-insan’
Shaikh Sahaswani [1326H] on Subki & Dahlan – Venerating the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam’s) Grave and the False Ijma
- al-Burhan al-u’jab fi faridah umm al-kitab
This book is on the obligation of reciting fatihah behind the Imam and again it is a very detailed book answering the points of those who say otherwise. The Shaikh would deliver a lesson everyday after Fajr on this issue for approximately 3 months. The well known hanafi scholars of Delhi would be in attendance and would note every word. The Shaikhs student Shaikh Ahmadullah Dehlawi also noted every word and later published it as a book with this title. This book was published 1327H/1909c (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:252-253, Tehrik ahl al-hadith p.381, Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.68)
- Jawaz al-adhiyyah ila akhir dhul-hijjah
This book is on the issue of the permissibility of sacrificing on Eid al-Adha until the end of the month, this was an odd opinion of the Shaikh in which he opposed the people of knowledge. (Hayat al-ulama p.96)
The contentions that is well known amongst Ahl al-Sunnah is whether it can be done for 4 days. We have already translated Shaikh Muhammad Ra’is al-Nadwi’s ‘Ghayah al-tahqiq fi tadhiyah ayam al-tashriq’ – The Final Research into the issue of Slaughtering on the Days of Tashriq which evidences the later view. The reader can refer to if here
The Shaikh initially published a general poster in Bhopal on this issue after the death of Shaikh Nawab siddiq Hasan Khan. This was one such view which Shaikh Sahaswani erred on and his teacher Shaikh Hussain bin Muhsin al-Yamani wrote a treatise answering Shaikh Sahaswani’s points as did another prominent student of Shaikh Nazir Hussain Muhaddith Dehlawi, none other that the Imam of Hadith and Rijal in his own right, Shaikh al-Allamah Abul Mukarim Muhammad Ali Mu’i titled ‘Umdah al-tahqiq fi ithbat al-dhihayah ila akhir ayam al-tashriq’
Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani mentions Shaikh Sahaswani wrote a book collecting the evidences as well as his research into a book, however it was never published in reply to some of the points raised by the aforementioned scholars. (Hayat al-ulama p.95)
- al-Qawl al-muhkam fi ziyarah qabr al-habib al-akram
- al-Qawl al-mansur
- Itmam al-hujjah ala man awjab al-ziyarah mithal al-hujjah al-ma’ruf al-madhab al-ma’thur fi ziyarah sayyid al-qabur
The discussions concerning these book has preceded. All three discuss the issue of visiting the Prophets (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) grave.
- al-Qawl al-mahmood fi radd jawaz as-su’d
This is an answer to those who made interest and usury permissible. This book was written whilst the Shaikh was residing in Delhi and it was never published during Shaikh Sahaswani’s lifetime, it was eventually published in 1358H/1939c. (Hayat al-ulama p.96)
- Risalah fi ithbat al-ba’iyah al-maraujah
This book is concerning the permissibility of common transactions that were prevalent in greater in India during the Shaikhs time.
- al-Haq as-sarih fi hayat al-masih
The debate which Shaikh Sahaswani had with Mirza Ghulam Qadiyani on the issue whether the messiah was alive, this was authored in book form with some additional points and printed with this title around 1313H.
- A’lam al-ahbar wal-ahlam innadin endal islam
We could not find details about this book. (Forty scholars of ahl al-hadith p.68). Shaikh Badi al-Din al-Sindhi has mentioned this as the work of another author.
- al-Sayf al-maslul
We could not find any information about this book.
- Risalah fi tahqiq al-riba
This book is also on the issue of interest and usury.
- Ayam al-safar
Shaikh Abdul Rashid Iraqi mentions this as one of the works of Shaikh Sahaswani, other biographers have not mentioned this. (Tazkirrah al-nabula fi tarajim al-ulama p.239)
Shaikh Abu Yahya Imam Khan Nawshahri said Shaikh Sahaswani wrote many books, some which were lost and other unprinted. (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:255)
Shaikh Sahsawani’s student, Shaikh Abdul Baqi Sahaswani, who was also his student during his time in Bhopal and Delhi said,
“He wrote many other treatises on the affairs of the Din which were attributed to some of his students.” (Hayat al-ulama p.96)
The Shaikh felt ill whilst in Delhi and passed away on the 29th of Jumada al-Ula/ Thani 1326H / 29th June 1908c at the age of 74. He was buried next to his teacher Shaikh Allamah Sayyid Nazir Hussain, in the Shaidipura graveyard. (Hayat al-ulama p.96).
Shaikh Abdul Hayy al-Hassani has yet made another mistake in his biographical entry for Shaikh Sahaswani where he says that he died in 1323H. (Nuzhah al-khawatir 8:438)
The Salafis and Ahl al-Hadith lost a great scholar who truly answered the grave worshipping innovators. It is therefore without a doubt that Shaikh Sahaswani is considered and will be known as one of the scholars who subdued and kept them at bay.
Shaikh Abu Yahya Imam Khan Nawshahri said about him,
“He was from the scholars of the Ahl al-Hadith who they all respected. It is a shame just as the learning places and institutions were deprived of someone to replace the scholars, it was the same case with Shaikh Muhammad Bashir Sahaswani, that there has been no one like him from Sahaswan or from the general Ahl al-Hadith” (Tarajim ulama hadith hindh 1:255)
May Allah forgive him and shower him with her mercy, Amin