Shaykh al-Hind رحمه الله returned to Daarul ‘Uloom Deoband after suffering four long years of imprisonment in Malta. Those familiar with Shaykh al-Hind رحمه الله know that his was not the imprisonment of an ordinary political figure.
Throughout the Freedom Movement this devout ascetic sought only to please Allah and pursue the welfare of the Muslim community. Even in the days of his exile and helplessness his constant refrain was, “Praise be to Allah, as my imprisonment is a test from Him rather than a consequence of wrongdoing on my part.”
One day, because he appeared so dejected, some of his fellow inmates attempted to comfort him. To this he replied, “I am not particularly concerned about the hardship, as it will come to an end one day. What worries me most is whether or not my striving will be acceptable to Allah.”
After his return from Malta, he stayed at Daarul ‘Ulūm Deoband one night in the company of the scholars there. At a certain point he announced, “During my stay in Malta I learnt two lessons.” Upon hearing this, everyone was all ears, for they wanted to know what this eighty year old scholar had learnt after years of teaching ‘Ulamã. He continued,
“During the solitude of my imprisonment I reflected on the question as to why the Muslims are experiencing decline, both inwardly and outwardly. I came to the conclusion that two factors account for it: our neglect of the Qur’an and the internal conflicts and dissensions that divide us. I have, therefore, returned with the resolve to spend the rest of my life promoting both the reading and comprehension of the Qur’an. Qur’an reading schools for children should be set up in every town. As for the adults, they should be familiarised with the message of the Qur’an and encouraged to put its teachings into practice. Furthermore, in-fighting amongst Muslims must be made completely unacceptable.”
Notwithstanding his preoccupations and failing health, he strove tirelessly to redress these manifest problems. He initiated the Qur’an Study Circle, which was attended by all the ‘Ulamaa of the town, including Mawlana Sayyid Hussain Ahmad Madani and Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad ‘Usmaani. People joined it in large numbers and Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ was fortunate enough to attend it. It is regrettable that Shaykh al-Hind passed away so soon after its inception. That chalice is broken and that cupbearer is no more.
Extract taken from “The Great Scholars of the Deoband Islamic Seminary”
– by Shaykhul Islam, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani حفظه الله