Arifbillah Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar

Arifbillah Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar

Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) was born in a noble (middle class) household in the small town of Atheha (UP, India) in the district of Pratapgarh in 1928. The name of his father was Muhammad Hussain (RA) and he was a civil servant. He was the only son of his father with 2 daughters so his father loved him immensly.

Effects of Jazb from childhood:

The effects and signs of Jazb were evident on Shaykh (RA) from very early childhood. His older Sister who was herself a child used to carry him (RA) in her lap to be blown by Imam (Hafiz) Abul-Barakat (RA) who was a Khaleefa of Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA). Shaykh (RA) that even at such a young age the walls, boundaries and even the dust of the Mosque was beloved to me. The fact that such a young child felt the love of Allah (SWT) let alone be cognisant of the (sacred) surroundings proves that Shayh (RA) was a born Wali! As he grew (a little) older the love of those close to Allah (SWT) intensified and he used to feel pleased at seeing Ulamah, Hufaz and those with beards.

After completing his 4th year, he requested his father to send him to Deoband to study the Deen. However, his father admitted him into middle School. Shaykh (RA) had no liking for Secular education whatsoever, nevertheless he tolerated these days of (secular education) with intense Mujahadah and passed his days.

In those young days when Shaykh (RA) not become Baaligh, he used to leave the outskirts and go into wilderness in a Mosque. Therein he used to pray Tahajjud and cry in the rememberance of Allah (SWT) from the last part of the night until Fajar in secret. A freind of his father saw him and reported him to his father. When Shaykh (RA) emerged from the Mosque near Fajar one day, he say his father standing outside who said, "You are my only son and this wilderness with danger from robbers, thieves and enemies; so don't come here in the night but pray Tahajjud at home". Shaykh (RA) agreed and began praying at home. When his father witnessed these events he gave him the nickname of "Maulvi" and his freinds also started calling him "Darwaish" and "Faqeer".

Learning Yunani Medicine:

After year 7, his father forcefully admitted into Tibbi College (Allahabad) now known as Government Unani Medical College. His father advised him to learn Arabic (Islamic studies) after completing his medicine. In compliance with the wishes of his father Shaykh (RA) moved to Allahabad to stay with his Paternal Aunty. A mile away from the residence was a Mosque known as "Jinnu Wali Masjid (Mosque of the Jinns" and Shaykh (RA) used to frequent it and remain absorbed in the rememberance of Allah (SWT) therein.

Shaykh (RA) used to frequently make dua for his father (RA) for Allah (SWT) to reward him because he forced Shaykh (RA) to study medicine. Shaykh (RA) used to say that knowledge of medicine enables him to not only fully look after the health of his companions but also to ensure that they are prevented from extremes. Shaykh (RA) used to say that I don't prescribe Wazeefas (litanies) which cause an imbalance of the Humours.

On his day of graduation when he reached his Aunty's home, he learned that his father has passed away. A state of extreme saddness and distres overcame him but Shaykh (RA) caught hold of himself and went to the cemetary. There, he looked at the grave of his father with insight and consoled his heart that this is the true destination of everyone and to be pleased with the decree of Allah (SWT) is the apex of servitude.

Bay'ah and Sulook:

Shaykh (RA) then learned that in Phulpur (Azamgarh, India) Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) resides who is one of the prominent Khulafa of Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA). A friend described the eye witness account of Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) 's extreme love for Allah (SWT) and his heart felt trasnfixed towards the Shaykh (RA). Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) decided and made his heart firm on selecting Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) as his Murshid to the effect that his first letter contained the following couplet:

O King, I sacrifice my heart and soul upon you!

Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) responded that it appears that your temperament is composed of love and people of love often traverse the path of Allah (SWT) swiftly. Mubarak on the love of Shaykh as it is the Key of stations of Sulook. He then entered Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) in his Tareeqa and instructed him with certain Adkhaar and litanies.

Presence in the company of the Shaykh (RA):

Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) remained restless and desired to be in the company of his Shaykh (RA) but certain matters prohibited his travel. Finally he got his chance and near the days of Eidul-Adha he travelled to Phulpur after obtaining permission from his mother and arrived there exactly on the day of Eidul-Adha. He (RA) was ecstation and the joy was evident from every nerve in his body. Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) was reciting the Qur'aan with his cap on the floor, hair disheveled and some of the buttons of his shirt undone. Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) describes that his first gaze felt like he was looking upon Shams Tabraiz (RA).

He (RA) introduced himself that his name was "Muhammad Akhtar" and that he had come from Pratapgarh and intended to stay in the company of the Shaykh for 40 days. Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) instructed his older son to arrange for accomodation and meals and then the connection established which lasted 17 years! 10 of these years were spent in such (hard) Mujahadah which is unimaginable.

Love of the Shaykh (RA), Service towards him and Mujahadat:

The condition of Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) in extreme love of Allah (SWT) was strange. He lived in wilderness in a house with no Toilet or other facilities and a person had to go in a nearby Jungle even for the call of nature. A pond was used in the Jungle for Wudhu and Ghusl which was infested with leeches and the water froze during winter months. Immersing oneself in the pond for even a minute felt like being bitten by a scorpion so he used to wash himself and also remove the leeches from his body. There was a well near the Mosque but Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) didn't drink from it so Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) used to travel to a nearby canal (in the village) over a mile away in extreme hot and cold to bring water for his Shaykh. Thus his day and night were spent in the Service of his Shaykh (RA).

Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) used to say that Akhtar remains (and longs for me) like a breastfeeding child longs for his mother. Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) also used to diligently and efficiently record the Malfoozat of his Shaykh to which Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) remarked that Hakeem Akhtar is even able to record even my complex and complicated sayings. Thus the spiritual and divinely inspired thoughts of Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) came to light through his pen.

Even during the lifetime of Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) works like Maarifat-e-Ilahiyya, Maaiyat-e-Ilahiyya, Baraheen-e-Qati'ah, impermissability of Alcohol, and Malfoozat of Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) were printed after being recorded by the pen of Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA).

Seeking Islamic Knowledge:

He then enrolled him into Darul-uloom Baitul-Ilm of his Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) to seek Islamic knowledge. Some of the companions advised to enrol into Darul-uloom Deoband but  Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) refused and stated his reasons that for him to develop the love of Allah (SWT) is primary while seeking knowledge is secondary so here (at Darul-uloom Baitul-Ilm) I will be able to benefit from the company of my Shaykh as well as seek knowledge. Today the Barakah (blessings) of that decision is plainly evident by many well known graduates of Darul-uloom Deoband being in his Silsila. Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) studied with such dedication that he completed the 8 year course in four years and read some chapters of Saheeh Bukhari directly from Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) therefore, he is also a student via one link of Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (RA) which is a very reputable chain (of Hadeeth).

He then enrolled him into Darul-uloom Baitul-Ilm of his Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) to seek Islamic knowledge. Some of the companions advised to enrol into Darul-uloom Deoband but  Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) refused and stated his reasons that for him to develop the love of Allah (SWT) is primary while seeking knowledge is secondary so here (at Darul-uloom Baitul-Ilm) I will be able to benefit from the company of my Shaykh as well as seek knowledge. Today the Barakah (blessings) of that decision is plainly evident by many well known graduates of Darul-uloom Deoband being in his Silsila. Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) studied with such dedication that he completed the 8 year course in four years and read some chapters of Saheeh Bukhari directly from Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) therefore, he is also a student via one link of Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (RA) which is a very reputable chain (of Hadeeth).

Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) had stated regarding Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) that not only he is a person of “Nisbat” but his wife is also a person of “Nisbat”. Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) used to say that she has been a constant companion in his life and always stated from the beginning that she will always stay with him, eat what he feeds her and wear in what he clothes her and if he starves then she will starve and if he lives in a Jungle then so would she! She neither made demands of jewellery, clothing, money or belongings but also was never stubborn, she never knew about the trends of this world and whenever I used to enter the house I used to find her engaged in recitation of the Qur’aan. Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) used to say that she was the Rabiya Basriya of our times!

In 1960 when Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) migrated to Pakistan, Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) also accompanied him but due to lack of resources left his wife and young son (Maulana Mohammad Mazhar (HA)) behind and she spent a year in adverse conditions. Once Maulana Mohammad Mazhar (HA) was extremely ill so she asked for dua in a letter but neither demanded his return nor complained.

Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) has instructed that after his passing away those attached to him should refer to the last Khaleefa of Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) i.e. Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abrar-ul-Haq Sahib (RA) which he did. After 2 years he was given Khilafah. This was shown in a dream that Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) had instructed Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abrar-ul-Haq Sahib (RA) to grant him Khilafah but the reality of the dream manifested itself many years later.

Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abrar-ul-Haq Sahib (RA) used to say that we had read in the books as to how people used to serve their Shaykh 700-800 years ago but we never saw the manifestation from our eyes until we witnessed Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) and imagined who those of older times must have been! When Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abdul-Ghani Phulpuri (RA) passed away Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abrar-ul-Haq Sahib (RA) wrote a letter to Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) and said, “Mubarak on serving your Shaykh from beginning to the end”!

Personification of Rada Bil-Qadha:

Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) suffered from a massive stroke on Wednesday the 31st of May 2000 which affected the right side of his body and his tongue but from day one the radiance on his face was unmatched even by the most healthy and able bodied individuals. Whenever someone inquired about his health he said Alhumdolillah from the depths of his heart and replied that there is nothing Aafiyah from head to toe.

Alhumdolillah with the Mercy of Allah (SWT) and due to Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA)’s strong willpower and reliance on Rada Bil-Qada the effects of the diseases were somewhat reduced. The speech was fully restored and there was some movement in some of the limbs but the disability was never fully cured but the Fayz (benefit) of Hazrat (RA) increased many folds. He used to conduct one Majlis when healthy but started conducted four (4) after the stroke and these were after Fajar, at 11:30, after Asar and after Esha and each of these Majalis lasted from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours. The hearts of the Salikeen used to feel the Fayz (benefit) of Hazrat (RA) even more after the stroke.

Establishment of Khaqah Imadidia Ashrafia:

Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar Saheb (RA) originally used to reside in the Nazimabad area of Karachi but upon the instructions of Shaykh (Maulana) Shah Abrarul-Haq (RA) he laid the foundation for Khanqah Imdadia Ashrafia in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal (area). Subsequently, Madrasa Ashraful-Madaris and Masjid Ashraf was also constructed at adjoining premises of the Khanqah. Alhumdolillah, this Khanqah has become the centre of spiritual benefit in our times and those seeking spiritual enlightenment and those of knowledge regularly visit for Tazkiyah and purification from Africa, America, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Burma, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other nations.

In 1997 when Shaykh (Maulana) Hakeem Akhtar (RA) visited BahawulNagar after Fajar Salah during the Bayan stated that he had come to know about Maulana Niyaz Muhammad (RA) who was the father of Maulana Jaleel Ahmed that he wished to pass away on a Monday and Allah (SWT) fulfilled his desire so I also desire to pass away on a Monday.

Hazrat (RA) was bedridden since 2000 but his benefit continued despite his condition. However his condition had deteriorated considerably and we always feared the worse on Mondays. Five days before his passing away Hazrat (HA) enquired about the day of the week from his son (Shaykh Maulana Mohammad Mazhar (HA)) and when he was informed that it was Wednesday he shook his head in the negative. Two days later he asked again and when he was informed that it was Friday shook his head in the negative, again. It appeared that Hazrat (RA) was waiting for Monday.

On the 22nd of Rajab 1434 (2nd of June 2013) on Sunday his condition deteriorated even further after Asar. On the 23rd of Rajab 1434 at 19:20 when the Maghrib Adhan was called signs of departure became apparent on him and there were long pauses between his breaths. Noor appeared on his forehead and eventually spread throughout and he passed away.

A special aura of contentment appeared on the face like a tired traveller has reached his destination and this was 19:42 (i.e. 22 minutes since the beginning of Monday). Sorrow spread throughout the Khanqah and people were crying while holding each other. Verily Allah (SWT) fulfils the desires of His friends and his (RA)’s desire for death on Monday was granted.

Thousands had gathered in the Khanqah whose hearts had been pierced with sorrow upon the news of his passing away. Relief was provided by the wills left by Hazrat (RA).

Starting from arrangements for Ghusl it was ensured that all Sunnah (acts) no matter how (apparently) small will be adhered to. Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Ishaq (HA) who is Hazrat (RA)’s grandson, his Khuddaam such as Hafiz Ziaul-Rahmaan Farooqi (HA), Brother Mutahhar Mahmood (HA), Hafiz Barkatukkah (HA), Mufti Irshad (HA), Mufti Ghulam Muhammad (HA), and Shaykh (Maulana) Jaleel Akhund (HA) were fortunate to be involved in the Ghusl. Hazrat (RA)’s body was transferred to the Khanqah after Ghusl and Kafan around 22:30 and work on digging up the grave was immediately started which took around 12 hours. Hazrat (RA)’s Janazah reached Jamia Ashraful-Madaris (Sindh-Baluch Society Gulistan-e-Juhar) around 08:00 and Salatul-Janazah was performed at 09:00 which was led by his son Shaykh Maulana Mohammad Mazhar (HA) as per his will performed by approximately 150,000 people. The cemetery which was designated as “Waqf” by Hazrat (RA) his burial was performed by his grandsons Maulana Ibraheem (HA), Maulana Ismail (HA) and Maulana Ishaq (HA) according to Sunnah and completed around 10:30 and the cemetery was then opened for everyone.

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