High Ranking Scholar of Hadeeth: Sheikh Riyasat Ali Bijnori

(Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi, New Delhi)

Sad Demise of a High-Ranking Scholar of Hadith: Sheikh Riyasat Ali Bijnori (1940-2017)

Sheikh Riyasat Ali Zafar Bijnori (1940-2017), was a highly respected personality and a high-ranking scholar of Hadeeth at famous Islamic University: Darul Uloom, Deoband, India. Following the order of his Exalted Creator, he left for heavenly abode without any prior information to his near, dear and loved ones. Human beings are under the power and will of the Almighty Allah. They will have to abide by His decision without any excuse when the time of death comes. This is an irrefutable fact that when some persons die, its effect remains for a short while and the people forget. But there are some other personalities when they die, its outcome reaches far and wide in the world and he is remembered for a long time because of his dynamic personality and rich contribution for an institution or a community. Respected Sheikh Riyasat Ali Zafar Bijnori was from the second category and he will be remembered for a long period of time as he was held in high esteemed by his students and colleagues in Darul Uloom, Deoband, because his remarkable and outstanding works and services. Because of his sudden and sad demise not only his family has suffered a terrible loss; but it is a heavy loss for the Muslim Ummah and his students spread all over the world too. May Allah the Supreme Lord forgive his sins and grant him the best place in Jannah! Aameen!

Sheikh Bijnori was originally from “Habib Wala” of District: Bijnor in UP state of India. He was born on 9th March 1940, in “Hakeem Saraye” of Ali Gadh where his respected father Minshi Firasat Ali (Rahimahullah) was residing with his family members as he was employed there as a teacher.
Sheikh acquired his elementary education at his native place. He passed the exam of the fourth standard of the primary in 1951. Following the completion of fourth standard, he accompanied his uncle (husband of paternal aunt), Sheikh Sultanul Haq Zakir Faruqi (Deceased: 1408 AH), Librarian of Darul Uloom, Deoband. He was granted admission in Darul Uloom, Deoband in 1951. He continued quenching his thirst of knowledge from the flowing stream of Islamic knowledge, Darul Uloom, Deoband. Thus he completed his graduation in Islamic Studies in 1958 with flying colours from Darul Uloom in Deoband.

Sheikh Bijnori was educated at Darul Uloom, Deoband, by Sheikhul Hadeeth Sheikh Fakhruddin Ahmad Muradabadi (1307-1393 AH), Allahmah Muhammad Ibrahim Baliavi (1886-1967), Sheikh Basheer Ahmad Khan Buland Shahri (Deceased: 1966) Hakimul Islam Qari Muhammad Tayyab Qasmi (1897-1983), ex-VC of Darul Uloom, Deoband, Allamah Muahmmad Husein Bihari (1905-1991), Sheikh Jalil Ahmad Kairanvi (Deceased: 1968) and Sheikh Zahoor Ahmad Deoband (1900-1963) (May Allah have mercy on them). After the graduation, Sheikh Bijnori continued benefiting from his highly esteemed teacher of Hadith, Sheikh Fakhruddin Ahmad for 13 years. In the meantime, he passed examinations of “Adeeb Kaamil” securing the 1st position and was awarded “Sir Sayyid Medial”.

While on the one hand, Sheikh Bijnori’s efforts and his teachers’ helpful guidance played an important role in developing his education skill, his uncle: Maulana Sultanul Haq Faruqi (Rh.A)’s style of upbringing was a key factor in shaping his personal and educational quality on the other. Appreciating his uncle’s upbringing and patronage, Sheikh Bijnori writes attributing his compilation of Sahih Bukhari’s commentary: Eizahul Bukhari to his uncle: “Following the real doer of things (Allah), beloved uncle: Maulana Sultanul Haq Zakir Farnuqi Rahimahullah (Deceased: 1407AH), ex-librarian of Darul Uloom, Deoband was the biggest patron of this writer in this world. For this, how much sadness and diligence he had to bear, Allah knows it better. On this occasion, I attribute this humble work of mine to hm.” (Eizahul Bukhari 1/3)

Sheikh Bijnori was recruited to teach in Darul Uloom, Deoband in 1972. Without seeking he was offered different offices and he rendered his sincere services to Darul Uloom in different capacities along with teaching for 45 years. Whichever responsibility was assigned to him, he performed it with good management and sound policy. He acted in his capacity as the Editor of Urdu monthly magazine “Darul Uloom” from 1982 to 1984. He was nominated Naazime Majilise Taalimaat (Administrator of Educational Board) in 1985. In 1988, Majlise Shura (the governing body) of Darul Uloom, Deoband selected him as the patron of Shaikhul Hind Academy, the Journalism and Research Department. In his period, the academy published several authentic and scholarly books. Along with holding several offices, he taught most of the books of Darse Nizaami. Currently, he was teaching the first volume of Sunan Tirmidhi of famous Muhaddhith Abu Eisa Muhammad bin Eisa bin Saurah bin Musa (Deceased: 279 AH) and Al-Balaghatul Wazihah. May the Exalted Allah accept his great services!

Sheikh Bijnori didn’t pen a good number of books; but whichever books he compiled, were authentic and in eloquent, simplified and easy language. His well-known work is “Shuraa Ki Shariaee Haithiyat” which is unique and only book on the topic available in the market. He is co-author of an Arabic booklet, on Ussoolul Fiqh: “Tasheelul Usool” for beginners, which is a part of the fourth year of Arabic in Darul Uloom, Deoband. Moreover, he compiled and edited Sahih Bukhari’s lessons of his benevolent teacher Sheikh Fakhruddin Ahmad (Rahimahullah) namely “Eizahul Bukhari” in 10 volumes. This commentary is presenting rich material and is one among the finest commentaries of Sahih Bukhari in Urdu language, because of detailed explanation, unique points and fluent language presented in it.
With being the prominent scholar of Hadith and good at management, Sheikh Bijnori was experienced prose and poet writer of Urdu language whose poetry is compiled and published. Be it poem or prose, his writing was considered high classification literature. In poetry, he was one amongst the renowned students of Maulana Muhammad Uthman Kashif Al-Hashmi. He had control over all categories of poetry. He composed little poetry, but whatever he composed was appreciated by prose and poem writers. On the occasion of Darul Uloom, Deoband’s “Diamond Jubilee” in 1980, he composed the anthem of Darul Uloom. I don’t think an anthem of any orgnisation or institution would have gotten such fame as the said anthem got. His poetries were compiled and published namely “Naghmae Sahar” some year back. It was received and welcomed by poet and prose writers.

During the 45-year long period of Sheikh Bijnori’s teaching at Darul Uloom, many students quenched their thirst of knowledge from him. His love and affection for the students were matchless. Whenever a student or a visitor used to visit him, he used to receive him pleasingly with open arms. He was kind teacher and well advisor like a father for the students. His language was sweet. He used to address the students as “Bete” (sons). When he was pronouncing the word “Bete”, it was easy to guess that his heart is full with love and affection for the students. Sometimes, he used to address some students as “Bhai” (brother), but it was just for humour in the class. As he was kind and affectionate for the students, the students had also great admiration and appreciation for him.
In accordance with the instruction of our beloved Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu Aeihi Wa Sallam), “Salaam” (Greeting) should be our common practice. When we meet, we should greet one another and preach greeting amongst us. It is sign of humbleness. But people don’t practice “Salaam” as it was the habit of our beloved Nabi (SAWS) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with them). Sheikh Bijnori was accustomed with “Salaam” whomever he met. It was commonly observed that Sheikh Bijnori used to greet first to anyone, be his students or any other visitors. It was almost impossible for someone to exceed Sheikh Bijnori in greeting. This feeling is not a personal one or a single person’s realization only, but it was also generally observed by the students in Darul Uloom, Deoband.

In 2003, I was in the final year in Darul Uloom Deoband. Luckily, I learnt from Sheikh Bijnori “Ibne Majah” of known Muhadith Ibne Majah Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Yazid Al-Qazwini (273 AH). In 2004, I learnt “Al-Balaghatul Wazihah” in Takmeel Adab from Sheikh. Following his arrival in Takmeele Adab classroom, a student used to read the text first. Latter, Sheikh used to explain the read text. At end of each lesson, there is an exercise in Al-Balaghah Al-Wazihah. In the beginning of the academic year, the students were trying to do the exercise in Urdu language. Sheikh used to remind “Now you are students of Arabic Language and Literature. You must do the exercise in Arabic language.” Whatsoever, the students had to do the exercise in Arabic language. When a student was mistaking, he used to control him softly without expressing anger and unhappiness. We never felt even the sign of displeasure at his face. He was more caring and more loving for the students. He never tried to hurt the feelings of the students deliberately.

Sheikh breathed his last at the age of 77 years. Currently his health was deteriorating day-by-day and he grew weaker due to the old age. Some months back he fell seriously ill, but Allah the Almighty cured him and he recovered. This time, his worldly time was over, so without any serious illness, he breathed his last early in the morning on 20th May 2017. His funeral prayer was led by one of his colleagues, Maulana Qari Sayyid Muhammad Usman Mansoorpuri, teacher of Hadeeth at Darul Uloom, Deoband on the same day at 3:30 pm around in “Ihatae Molsari”. Thousands of people, relatives and students attended the funeral. He was buried in “Qasmi Graveyard”, nearby Darul Uloom, Deoband. Now, Sheikh is no more amongst us. We are sure that his students, sons and relative will pray for Sheikh. It will be a cause of elevation of his status in the hereafter, In Shaa Allah. May Allah the Almighty shower His blessing and mercy upon his grave and grant him the choicest place in Jannatul Firdaus! Ameen!

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