Early yesterday morning (Thursday 26th Dhū al-Hijjah 1442 – 5 August 2021), we received the sad news of the demise of the Shaykhul Hadith of Darululoom Kantharia (Gujarat, India) Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Sarodi Sahib.
Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Ibn Ibrahim Sarodi was born on Wednesday 29 Sha’bān 1356 Hijri, corresponding to 3rd November 1937 Gregorian, blessing the village of Sārod in the province of Bharuch, Gujarat.
Hazrat Mawlana’s humble beginnings began in Mumbai where he was sent to study by his father at the mere age of 4 years old. Hazrat gained Primary and English Medium level education here before returning to Sārod at the age of 10. Due to being unfamiliar with local Gujarati education standards, at the age of 12/13, Hazrat began to assist his father in farming. Around this age, Hazrat’s nobility and chastity caught the eye of Hazrat Mawlana Gulam Kibriya’i Sahib – who was the maternal grandfather of Hazrat Qari Rashid Ahmed Ajmeri Sahib (current Shaykhul Hadith of Jamia’ Ashrafia, Rander). Mawlana Gulam Sahib requested Hazrat’s father to let Hazrat come with him and Hazrat’s father willingly agreed.
At this juncture, it would be appropriate to make mention of a key figure who will appear countless times in this obituary due to his role in Hazrat Mawlana’s life. This influential figure, mentor and guide was Mawlana Sayyid Muhyiuddin Qadhi (d.1420ah/1999) or Shaykh Ahmed Rida’ Ajmeri Sahib , famously known as Shaykh Ajmeri, who was the father of Hazrat Qari Rashid Ahmed Ajmeri Sahib.
Shaykh Ajmeri (d.1420ah/1999) would comment, “If Allah asks me what I have brought, I will respond: 2 Muhadditheen and 3 Da’iees.”
The Muhadditheen Hazrat alluded to are: 1) Mufti Ahmed Khanpuri 2) Mawlana Yaqub Sarodi and the 3 Daiees Hazrat indicated to were: 1) Mawlana Ahmed Lāt 2) Mawlana Ibrahim Dewla 3) Mawlana Muhammad Ibn Sulayman Jhanji. For more details, one may refer to the beginning of Mahmood al-Fatawa of Mufti Ahmed Khanpuri [1/80-81, Maktabah Mahmudiyyah Jadid].
Coincidentally, it is a fellow peer and protege of Shaykh Ajmeri world-renowned Mawlana Ahmed Lāt Saheb who would go on to lead the Janazah of Mawlana Yaqub Saheb.
Shaykh Ajmeri’s piety and chastity was well-known across India and globally. My esteemed father Mawlana Talha Ibn Hafiz Sanaullah Manubari relates that my great-grandfather Mawlana Ismail Manubari Saheb (d.1436ah/2014) would revere and speak highly of Shaykh Ajmeri (d.1420ah/1999); often taking my father to visit him. My father was also present at Shaykh Ajmeri’s Janazah and relates how crowded it was. May Allah Almighty grant Shaykh Ajmeri and Mawlana Ismail Manubari (d.1436ah/2014) Jannatul-Firdaws and enlighten their graves; bestowing their spiritual and biological progenies with acceptance for Khidmah of Deen. You may read a brief obituary of Hazrat Mawlana Ismail Manubari here. Nonetheless, as we proceed throughout this obituary, a key point to note is that when we mention Shaykh Ajmeri, we refer to Shaykh Ahmed Ridha Ajmeri Sahib, as outlined above.
‘Alimiyyah/Darse Nizami studies
Hazrat Mawlana Gulam Sahib (maternal grandfather/nana of Qari Ajmeri) took Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub and enrolled him into Jamia’ Ashrafia Rander, in 1949. Hazrat Mawlana initially struggled to study in his first year of Fārsi and so, the principal decided to enrol him into the Urdu class. Thereafter, he came back to study the Fārsi year regarding which Hazrat himself states that he was not engrossed in studying at the time. Mawlana Gulam Sahib, who had previously taught at the Madrasah and had now retired – due to his deep love and affection for Hazrat – would spend many weeks at the Madrasah to encourage and support Hazrat.
Hazrat had then enrolled into Arbi Awwal (1st year ‘Alim Class) and according to his self-evaluation, there was some weakness that remained in his studies. Despite this, Hazrat claimed the top spot and excelled above his peers in the annual exam. The circumstances of this exam demonstrate Hazrat’s acceptance as a beloved servant of Allah. It so occurred that Hazrat had a close bond with the Mu’azzin of the Masjid and thus, Hazrat requested him to lock the Jamat Khāna from the outside leaving him inside for the night. This young fervent soul went on beseeching and supplicating to His Lord throughout the night despite an early-morning examination. As the sun shone to signal the morning, Hazrat’s class were examined by Mawlana Abdul-Rahim Sādiq. The humble soul (Hazrat) was set to be examined at number 7. He waited nervously as his colleagues answered one-by-one. When it came to his turn, Hazrat responded to all the queries with conviction and the examination concluded as normal. Post-exam, Hazrat was granted the top spot in the class, to which some students complained to the principal claiming that they had responded to all the queries also and were not awarded a high rank. The examiner affirmed that Hazrat was the only one that had answered correctly and most definitely deserved first place. This exhibits Hazrat’s intellect from an early stage.
At the age of 16, Hazrat’s Nikah took place to a very noble and chaste woman of the village. All of the shuyookh of Jamia’ Ashrafia, including Mawlana Kibra’i, Hazrat Ajmeri and Mufti Abdul Gani Kawi (May Allah shower His mercy upon them all) were all present. Initially, Shaykh Ajmeri addressed the public, whilst Mawlana Kibra’i conducted the Nikah Khutbah in the most eloquent manner.
Personal Tuition with Hazrat Ajmeri
At this moment, Hazrat was encompassed by a degree of uncertainty, where he began to question whether he should continue his studies. Hazrat presented some dilemmas to his father and his father refused to comment. Thereupon, Hazrat Ajmeri arrived in Sarod and enquired to which Hazrat presented the predicament. Hazrat Ajmeri commented that his marriage should have no effect on his studies, so he should continue his studies. As for the issue of him not understanding some of the books he had studied, Hazrat Ajmeri commented that this should be no issue and will be solved. Once Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub had enrolled onto Arbi Dawm (2nd year ‘Alim Class), Hazrat Ajmeri personally undertook the task of teaching the books that Hazrat struggled with, in the previous year. These included the Tarkeeb book Sharh Mi’ati ‘Aamil etc.
Proficiency and Excelling in ‘Uloom
After drinking from the Uloom’ of Hazrat Ajmeri, Hazrat Mawlana’s ability strengthened to such an extent that the principal of Jamia’ Ashrafia – Mawlana Ahmed Ashraf Randeri – had announced that those students in the first two years of Fārsi who studied their first year of Alim class (Arbi Awwal) with ‘Yaqub Sarodi’ and ‘Yaqub’ testified on their abilities, they would be granted enrollment on the second year of Alim class, without having formally studied the first year. This is a testament both to the teaching abilities of Hazrat Ajmeri and to the tremendous ability Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Sahib possessed.
Hazrat’s intelligence and depth of understanding were known amongst the students. Accordingly, in his third year of ‘Alim class, as well as studying the Quduri, Hazrat also confidently led the fourth and fifth-year students in Hidayah Parts 3/4. Those that have studied and/or teach Hidayah can affirm that this is no minor feat! This is notwithstanding that leading the elder students and teaching them in this manner takes tremendous courage and ability.
This was again manifested when Hazrat was able to excel in studying both Arbi Chaharum and Arbi Panjum (4th and 5th years of Alim class) within a single academic year, being assessed on a total of 17 books and once again, claiming the top spot in both years. Interestingly, due to various admin reasons, Mufti Abdul Gani Kawi asked Hazrat to forego one of his first places and thus, Hazrat forewent the 4th year first place which was awarded to another student.
The chief guest of the awards ceremony was Hazrat Mufti Abdul-Rahim Lajpūri Sahib (d.1422ah/2001), the Grand Mufti of Gujarat and the father-in-law of Shaykh Ajmeri (Mahmud al-Fatawa/1-80/81), with whom our respected teacher and mentor Mufti Ikrām al-Haq Sahib (b.1374ah/1955) spent many years with – the latter is also said to have penned a certain portion of the renowned Fatāwa Rahīmiyyah, an aspect he refuses to comment on, due to his humility. During this ceremony, the principal Mawlana Ahmed Ashraf Randeri detailed how this student Yaqub Sarodi had completed two years together and excelled in both, to which Mufti Abdul-Rahim Lajpuri Sahib expressed great happiness. The following day, there was an exam pertaining to tailoring clothes in the other famous Madrasah of Rander – Jamia’ Husainiyyah. This is a great initiative adopted in various Madāris and educational institutes where those from impoverished backgrounds are able to build their craft skills, so they can make a living, once they return to their villages post-graduation. Thereupon, Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Sahib was awarded first place again, to which the awarding chief guest Mufti Abdul-Rahim Lajpūri Sahib (d.1422ah/2001) chuckled, “Your name isn’t Ya’qub, it is first place”.
During his Mishkāt year, Hazrat was struggling with Sirāji – a detailed Arabic work on the topic of Meerath (inheritance); and so he presented his issue to Hazrat Ajmeri. The latter advised that there is a pious saint in a particular Masjid, visit him and study with him. Hazrat agreed and visited the saint. The saint initially refused but, later agreed on the condition that Hazrat came to him daily, precisely 30 minutes before Zuhr Salah. This was indeed a great sacrifice for Hazrat; he would often stay up late studying and so the afternoon siesta (Qaylu’la) was a must. Hazrat studied with this saint for 6 months until the day came when the teacher Mufti Abdul Gani Kawi announced that the students should match their answers to Mawlana Yaqub’s answers and check if they’ve written correctly.
Another tremendous anecdote that demonstrates Hazrat’s abilities is that on one occasion, Hazrat Mufti Abdul-Rahim Lajpuri (d.1422ah/2001) was presented with an inheritance query, which Hazrat Mufti Sahib was unable to solve. So Hazrat Mufti Sahib approached Mufti Abdul Gani Kawi who excelled in this field and both of them spent many hours daily and struggled to solve the issue. Thereupon, the latter commented that he would come with a bright student to Mufti Sahib the following day. Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub was called the next day and the young talent immediately identified the issue and advised how it can be solved. Hazrat Mufti Abdul-Rahim Sahib (d.1422ah/2001), was astonished and from that day onwards, revered Hazrat Mawlana greatly. Hazrat was also tasked with presenting the Baydhawi Sharif lessons to the class whilst Hazrat Ajmeri supervised. In this manner, Hazrat shone his way through the ‘Alimiyyah, graduating in 1958, at the hands of chief guest Qari Tayyab Sahib.
Post-graduation – perhaps upon the instruction of Hazrat Ajmeri – Hazrat travelled to Deoband where he worked as supervisor to the South African students. During this period, Hazrat strengthened his knowledge of Hadith by listening to Mawlana Fakhr al-Hasan Muradabadi (d. 1393ah/1973) Sunan Abi Dawood Duroos, ‘Allamah Ibrahim Balyawi’s (d. 1387ah/1967) Sahih Muslim Duroos and the Bukhari Duroos of Mawlana Fakhr al-Din Muradabadi (d.1392ah/1972) – the student of Shaykh al-Hind. As well as this, in Fiqh studies, he listened to the Hidayah lessons of Mawlana Bashir Ahmed Khan and sat in the al-Ashbah wal-Naza’ir lessons of Mufti Mahdi Hassan Shah (d.1396ah/1976).
Hazrat Mawlana was invited to teach numerous times at his alma mater Jamia’ Ashrafiyyah (Rander), but Hazrat refused continuously expressing that his home-village Sarod had no teachers and Maktab system in place, so this was his first priority. Hazrat Ajmeri also agreed with these sentiments so Mawlana was comfortable in following the instructions of his mentor and guide. Hazrat taught in Sarod for 8 years – his schedule would be to teach for a year and then go out in Jamaat (Tabligh) for a year. In 1969, Hazrat resigned from Sarod and decided to travel to Palestine to spread the Deen (Tabligh). He spent approx. a year in Palestine before returning to India. Upon his return, he was given the task of teaching at Darululoom Arabaiyyah Islamiyah (Darululoom Kantharia). At this stage, there were only three years of ‘Alimiyyah running and this gradually extended to a full ‘Alimiyyah course. Thereupon, in 1982, when the former Shaykhul Hadith of the Madrasah Mufti Muhyuddin Barodwi (d.1441ah/2020) left his post to lead as principal elsewhere, Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Sahib was appointed as Shaykh al-Hadith in 1982. It must be noted that Mufti Muhyiuddin Barodwi (d.1441ah/2020) is the younger brother of our dear esteemed late Mufti Muslihuddin Sahib (d.1442ah/2021) who was Shaykh al-Hadith in Dewsbury, England for many years. Nonetheless, Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Sahib remained Shaykh al-Hadith until his demise and taught Bukhari Sharif for approximately 45 years.
It should be noted that early on in Hazrat’s teaching tenure of Bukhari Sharif, the other part was entrusted to Mufti Ismail Bharkodrawi Sahib. Thereafter, Hazrat Mawlana Anwar Kawi Sahib was entrusted volume 2 and finally, when Hazrat Mawlana Yaqub Sahib was too weak to teach, Mawlana Anwar Sahib was appointed to teach both parts, whilst Hazrat remained as a teacher of a small portion of the first part – a testament to Hazrat’s courage and enthusiasm, despite great weakness.
As well as teaching in Darululoom Kantharia, Hazrat also taught Bukhari Sharif in Jamia’ Ashrafia’ Rander for 7 years upon the demise of Hazrat Ajmeri and he was also invited to Jamia’ Husainiyyah Rander when Hazrat Mufti Ismail Wadiwala fell ill but Hazrat politely refused, as he was unable to commit to this.
A few salient features of his teaching pedagogy:
1) Discussion on the actual Hadith and the lessons derived therein.
2) Non-literal/contextualised translation.
3) Generally not over-lengthening Fiqhi Discussions.
4) Covering only key Fiqhi issues in-depth enabling thorough understanding.
5) Presenting Dala’il of all Imams and then affirming his position according to the Hanafi Madhab.
1) Morning and Evening Waza’if (Gujarati)
2) Act on 1000 Sunnats daily (Gujarati)
3) Takhrij of Ma’ariful Hadith (unpublished as of yet)
One may refer to Darululoom Kantharia to enquire about these publications.
In 1964, there was an Ijtima’ in Kawi. From here, Hazrat traversed many Arab lands, Egypt, Shaam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc. Initially, Hazrat landed with his colleagues in Egypt, in the year 1st January 1965 (1385ah). Thereupon, the locals questioned how the citizens of a Hindu country can come to propagate deen in a Muslim country. Hazrat commented that they have no such motives other than to motivate and encourage the local Ulama’ to spread their knowledge to the local masses. On this trip, there were various difficulties such as the misconception that they had come to preach a different religion or that they were suspiciously speaking fluent Arabic, which was deemed unusual by the locals.
On one occasion, Hazrat was arrested and had lengthy conversations in Arabic with the arresting officer. The officer was not convinced and so, he contacted his senior officer. After lengthy discussions over the phone with Hazrat Mawlana, the senior officer said that he would come to visit and when he arrived, he released Hazrat stating that he had come from 30km away and that he is now responsible for Hazrat’s safety. Thereupon, he dropped Hazrat back to the Masjid and handed him contact details assuring him that he was protected.
After a few days, some mischievous individuals complained to the police and Hazrat was arrested again. At this stage, the locals had become inclined towards Hazrat due to his noble character and mannerisms; but they equally feared the police. The Muazzin would whisper to Hazrat and say, “If they arrest you, how will you return alive?” Hazrat calmly responded, “Don’t worry, I’ll return in a while”. Upon reaching the station, Hazrat requested that the senior officer is called (who guaranteed protection for Hazrat), and when he was called, he instructed the local officer that Hazrat be returned back to the Masjid. The Imam and Mua’zzin were astonished as to how an Indian ‘Alim can be arrested and return safely, they concluded that Allah’s assistance was definitely with Hazrat. Upon occasion, Hazrat was called to the police station to sort some visa issues. When he arrived, the officer asked, “Why have you come to Egypt?” Hazrat, through his wisdom, saw that the officer is calm and this is an opportunity for Da’wah. He commented that if the officer can gather all 11/12 colleagues at the station, Hazrat can explain to them all. When they gathered, Hazrat detailed the six points of Tabligh in such a captivating manner that all of the officers affirmed that they would never miss Salah with the congregation again.
In Egypt, Hazrat advised the locals to vote for a certain political leader. His motive at the time was that the work of Tabligh settles in Egypt and the leaders are content at scholars entering as part of this effort. Hazrat’s eloquence of speech, coupled with his exemplary character was such that hundreds flocked to listen to him and follow his instructions. Thus, the political leader’s close adviser even attempted to arrange a meeting with Hazrat, but this never occurred. A message was sent to Hazrat instructing him to send his passport so his visa can be extended a further two years, but Hazrat was principled and refused to go against the Jamāt Mashwera, so he left Egypt for Delhi at the appointed time. Hazrat’s influence was such that he began to be called to various meetings and events, but he often refused due to his diligence of following the principles (usool) and adhering to the Mashwera set.
Similarly, Hazrat spent time in Jordan, where the police were clashing with the public, yet Hazrat and his colleagues were protected by the grace of Allah Almighty. Hazrat also spent approximately 6 months in Saudi by coincidence, instead of the intended destination of Baghdad. Hazrat was also compelled to lead Salah by the Imam at Masjid al-Aqsa’ in the year 1969 (1389ah). Prior to his Indonesia trip, Hazrat was afflicted with Typhoid in Madras; the doctors had stated that there is no hope now. Despite this, Hazrat upon boarding the plane and reaching Indonesia, gained such strength that he was able to serve the Deen as the Ameer of the group and the Embassy marked his name under immediate visa approval anytime he visited. In 1995, there was also a summons from Mumbai Embassy. Someone had complained that Hazrat was involved in Drug Smuggling. The officer commented that this was due to someone’s jealousy regarding Hazrat’s excessive travelling since January 1965 and he has nothing to worry about.
Travels to UK
Hazrat travelled to the UK almost annually for many years. He also addressed the masses on various occasions and was extremely soft-spoken. Despite his post as Shaykh al-Hadith for many years, his humility knew no bounds and he travelled like a commoner and conducted himself with sublime character. He also attended the final Bukhari Dars at Darululoom Blackburn, Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda many times and on a few occasions, spoke and gave the final dars.
On one occasion, when he visited the UK, he was driven by an uncle of mine and he commented with the most radiant smile:
ان کے گاڑی میں بیٹھنے کا ایک فائدہ ہے، کلمہ بار بار پڑھنے کی توفیق ہوتی ہے
“There is one benefit of sitting in his car. You are granted Tawfeeq (opportunity) to read Kalimah continuously” (paraphrased). Such was the humour, charm and charisma of Hazrat Mawlana.
May Allah grant him the highest abodes of Jannah and accept all his services for Deen. May he grant Darululoom Kantharia and the entire Ummah at large, worthy replacements to continue serving the Deen.
Undoubtedly, this is a huge loss for the Ummah and particularly for the Muslims of India. It follows the demise of Hadrat Mufti Saeed Palanpuri (1441/2020) last year. Both these personalities were from amongst the most influential and revered personalities in India.
With a heavy heart, when we begin to ponder, we are forced to concede that we have lost many great giants in the last few years including Mufti Saeed Palanpuri (1441ah/2020), ‘Allamah Khalid Mahmood (1441ah/2020) Mufti Zarwali Khan (1442ah/2020), Mawlana Salman Mazahiri (d.1441ah/2020); Shaykh Taha Karan (1442ah/2021), Mufti Ebrahim Desai (1442ah/2021), Dr Mawlana Abdul Razzaq Iskandar (1442ah/2021) etc. May Allah grant them all the highest abodes of Jannah, enlighten their graves and grant the Ummah worthy replacements to continue serving the Deen.
Mufti Mubasshir Ibn Mawlana Talha Ahmed Manubari
27 Dhū al-Hijjah / 6 August 2021
Note: Some of the details outlined in this obituary were derived from an Urdu treatise penned by Mawlana Sarfaraz Ibn Mawlana Uthman Sufi (a teacher at Darululoom Kantharia), which is currently unpublished and is undergoing editing. For some key points from the treatise in Urdu, you may refer to the document below.
Note: Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure total accuracy in all factual details, the author is open to any correction. In the event of any factual errors, please contact via our Contact page.