He was the Al- Allamah, the Mujahid, the caller of Tawheed and Sunnah Muhammad Abdullah Ghaznawi bin Muhammad rahimahullah.
He was born in a pious family of Ghazni, Afghanistan. His father and grandfather were named Muhammad and they were known for their taqwa and righteousness in the area where they lived.
His main teacher was Shaykh Habeebullah Qandaharee who was renowned for piety and knowledge in Ghazni. Shaykh Abdullah Ghaznawi read hadith books under his tutelage. It was he who advised Shaykh Abdullah Ghaznawi to read “Taqwiyatul Eemaan” of Shah Ismaeel Shaheed Rahimullah. This book had a profound effect on him and motivated him to raise the call for tawheed and uproot shirk in his area.
Upon reading hadith books especially Saheeh Bukharee, he rejected the hanafi fiqh in issues which were against authentic ahadeeth. Then onwards he started praying in accordance with the Sunnah in that he started performing raful yadain regularly and offered prayer at its correct timings found in hadeeth books, contrary to the Hanafi timings which were a bit late.
His Dawah Of Tawheed And Exile
Most of his daroos and speeches revolved around Tawheed and the rejection of shirk, innovation and the blind following of madhabs. Hence, the majority of the people in his hometown and scholars went against him and started creating problems and hurdles in his dawah. Some people made complaints to the ruler of Kabul Dost Muhammad Khan. The prominent scholars who asked the ruler to punish him were Khan Mullah Durrani, Mullah Mashki and Mullah Nasrullah Lobani. All of them were staunch blind followers of the Hanafi madhab. Resultantly, the ameer of Kabul asked the Shaykh to leave his area.
The Shaykh then left his home in Ghazni and traveled to many areas like Sawat, Hazara, Punjab, and finally reached Delhi. Upon reaching Delhi he found the Muhaddith of the era, the Imam of Dawah Tahweed and Sunnah, Shaykh-ul-Qul Allamah Syed Mian Nazeer Hussain Muhadith Dhelwee rahimullah. He read under him for some years and completed his studies and got an ijaazah of teaching hadith from him.
During his stay in Delhi, he was known for his taqwa and khushoo in prayer. Referring to him, Syed Mian Nazeer Hussain Dhelwee said, “Abdullah got the knowledge of hadith from us and he taught us how to pray.” This is because once he was praying in a mosque and suddenly a part of the ceiling collapsed, however, it didn’t disrupt his prayer and when he was asked about this his reply was that he wasn’t aware of what was happening in his surroundings.
In 1857, he traveled to Punjab and stayed there for a few years before going back to Daira Ismaeel Khan thinking that ameer of Kabul might change his verdict. However, in a few days the ameer of Kabul sent him a letter asking him to leave the area. So he traveled to another location known as Nawa which was also under the control of the same ameer. The ameer didn’t let him stay there either so he left the area and migrated to mountains of Yagistan and started calling the local people to tawheed. The scholars of Nawa didn’t like this so they attacked the Shaykh’s house with an army .
They burnt his home, caused injuries to the muwahideen and tried to kill the Shaykh. Nevertheless, some local people and those who accepted his call defended him. They let the Shaykh move from the area with his family. This was the most difficult period in his life. He traveled through the mountains with his family and wherever he stopped he would call the people towards tawheed. However, the blind followers always created problems for him.
In the mean time, the ruler of Kabul passed away and his son Sher Ali Khan became the ruler. Shaykh thought that the situation may have changed so he returned to his hometown Ghazni. The same scholars again forwarded their complaints to the new ameer. The ameer ordered the Shaykh to leave. Fortunately, a rebellion caused Sher Ali to flee from Kabul to Harat and afterwards Muhammad Afzal took control of Kabul. The scholars didn’t stop from their venomous attacks on the Shaykh and asked the new ameer to punish him.
So the Shaykh and his sons got arrested by the warlord Muhammad Omar Khan. However, Omar Khan was very impressed by the manners and the upholding of Shariah by the Shaykh and his sons. So he asked the Shaykh as to why these people were against him and the Shaykh replied by saying, “How can I stop myself from calling people towards tawheed and sunnah. This impressed the warlord and he wrote a letter to the ameer of Kabul saying that, “I arrested this man and fulfilled your order. He seems to me to be a pious and upright man and detests dunya. What is your order now?”
The ameer asked the warlord to send the Shaykh to Kabul. So he sent him to Kabul with armed men. Mulla Mashki and Mulla Nasrullah who were primarily responsible for the exile of the Shaykh asked the ameer to punish him as his kufr was established and that there was no need to do new research. So the ameer and scholars issued a command for him to be flogged. The Shaykh and his sons were ruthlessly beaten in public and the ruler’s men would beat him by whips. They were made to sit on a donkey and sent around the streets of Kabul. The ameer then put him and his family in prison where they spent two years.
In due time, Afzal Khan died and Azam Khan took over as the ameer of Kabul. He released the Shaykh but forced him to move to Peshawer. His two students accompanied him in this journey.
Shaykh stayed in Peshawer for quite some time and then moved to Amritsar where he
spent the rest of his life teaching ahaadith.
He died in Rabiul Awwal 1298H and was buried in Amritsar.
He left behind twelve sons and most of them contributed significantly towards the Dawah of Ahlul Hadeeth especially his son Shaykh Dawood Ghaznawi who organized Dawah Ahlul Hadeeth in India and then Pakistan. His sons Shaykh Abdul Jabbar and Shaykh Muhammad were prominent scholars of their time.