Hijaz College

Pioneering a Greater Future

History

Shaykh Allama Muhammad Abdul Wahab Siddiqi (ra) ( 1942-1994) - Mujadid of the 20th Century

A reformer of the modern day

Shaykh Allama Muhammad Abdul Wahab Siddiqi was the accomplishment of his father's dreams, who was Shaykh Munazir e Azam Maulana Muhammad Umar Icharvi. The Shaykh, born in the historical city of Sheikhupura was the third of five sons and seven sisters. At the tender of age of 3 he had mastered to recitation of the Holy Qur'an and was making excellent progress in his education of Islamic and Modern Sciences. He studied the art of recitation of the Holy Qur’an from his first teacher, Maulana Hafiz Abdul Majeed, and completed recitation of the entire Qur'an by the age of 4.

The Shaykh took his initial education from his accomplished father, the well known debater and scholar of Islam, Maulana Muhammed Umar Icharvi. Together with intellectual tutoring the Shaykh was blessed with a vast amount of spiritual instruction from his father. His father taught him that knowledge (علم) should always be coupled with action (عمل) and even as a child his father was firm on this point. The Shaykh was merely 6 years old when he accompanied his father on a lecture tour to the province of Sindh in Pakistan, which meant being away from home for many months. Knowing this his mother packed him a dozen  expensive suits. On noticing the Shaykh's expensive clothing his father asked him to bring all such garments to him. On doing so the Shaykh’s father set alight all the expensive garments and purchased suits made from the common cotton cloth for his son to wear. Munazir e Azam had told the Shaykh:


"If you want to become a scholar with great works then you will have to forgo the fancifulness of this material world and learn the humility and humbleness that comes with the study of Allah's way. When you have learnt and accomplished yourself within the confines of that science, then that experience will allow you to be purified from attachment to materialism. Afterwards you can adopt the fancies of the dunya knowing that such fancies will never take you away from your real mission in life".
The Shaykh knew that his father had done this in order to build his son’s character, rather than spoil his son with the luxuries of materialism which would cause hindrance to the Shaykh's ultimate mission.

Many years later when the Shaykh graduated with a Dars-e-Nizaami degree and a degree from the University of Punjab, His father Munazir e Azam remembering the lessons of humility he had taught his son whilst he was young, travelled to Peshawar and brought shashkeen cloth, known to be amongst some of the finest material available at the time. He awarded the cloth to his son saying “now you are no longer going to be affected by the materials of the world. You will not chase this material world, rather the material world will chase you”. It was this kind of tarbiyya (development) that set the precedent for the character of such a personality so independent from materialism, but yet so radiant in whatever he wore.


The Shaykh often recalled the circumstances in which he studied and acquired the sacred knowledge of the deen during the early 50’s. Institutes of Islamic learning so profoundly advanced in their possession of vast amounts of knowledge, but with weak and dilapidated infrastructures to the extent that most of the teaching and studying had to be done in tents or make-shift buildings. During harsher weather conditions, students would have to cover their faces from dust and try to remain focused on the subject matter of the lecture. Despite these difficulties it was the perfect environment to train a highly enthusiastic and committed group of humble Islamic Law students who would go on to mature as great pioneers like the Shaykh. The Shaykh’s formal studies were completed at the dars-e-nizaami by Ustad-ul-Ulema, Sheikh-ul-Hadith, Shaykh Maulana Ghulam Rasool Sahib, and finalized by Muhadis-e-Azam, Shaykh Maulana Sardaar Ahmad Sahib.


The Shaykh gave his spiritual pledge to and took his spiritual instruction from the great Shaykh of Karama Walah, Shaykh Syed Isma'eel Shah Saheb Bukhari. Such was the proximity of the Shaykh with his own spiritual guide and Shaykh that Ismaeel Shah saheb would exclusively allow the Shaykh to deliver sermons in his presence, an honour that no other disciple/student had been offered.

As a young child, the Shaykh recalls that one day Shaykh Syed Isma'eel Shah Saheb Bukhari invited the Shaykh's father, Munazir e Azam to walk with him into the gardens surrounding the house. Eagerly awaiting this opportunity to accompany them, the Shaykh still young, strolled behind his Shaykh and his father. Suddenly his Shaykh turned around and ordered the Shaykh to go and sleep. Saddened by this direction, but obedient to his teacher’s instruction the Shaykh went to lie on the bed but could not understand the rationale behind being told to sleep in the late afternoon. The Shaykh recalled that during the course of that sleep, he found himself in gathering of people all proclaiming, 'Assalaatu was'salamu alaika Ya Rasool Allah' whilst their eyes were resting on the glorious face of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Upon waking up, the Shaykh immediately greeted his Spritual Guide and kissed his hand and thanked him for such an opportunity.


The Shaykh continued his postgraduate education by studying languages including Arabic, English, Urdu and Persian at the Valpur University, Pakistan. The Shaykh became the editor of the Al-Miqyas magazine, a monthly journal addressing the Islamic movements and the existing political situation at the time.


It was around this time of his life that the Shaykh’s father met Shaykh Data Ali Hujveri in his dream and was instructed to bring the Shaykh forward as the Imam of the grand mosque. It was during the course of this one and half years, that the Shaykh recalled many unique incidents of karamaat(miracles) in which Data Ganj Baksh Ali Hijveri showered the Shaykh with multiple spiritual blessings.
The Shaykh’s manner and delivery of lectures earned him a vast reputation as being a formidable Munazir (Debater) on issues of Aqaid (beliefs). He often debated as his father had done, with advocates of confused and contorted beliefs in order to rectify their understanding of belief and their appreciation for the Prophet of Islam. Firm in his discourse but equally magnanimous in his victory, the Shaykh exercised exceptional mannerisms through the course of debate and presented his opponent with such clarity that would often leave them stunned in silence.

It is also a matter of great inspiration that the Shaykh was not only a Murshid (spiritual guide), and an Alim (scholar), but also a journalist, an author, an academic, a lecturer and a political scientist as well as a keen sportsman. The Shaykh believed that physical strength as well as mental and spiritual were the ingredients for a balanced individual. He often enjoyed wrestling and jogging and was an exceptional badminton player, but refused to take his hobby to a national competition level. He firmly believed that the idea of the representation of Islam should be done on every front.
The Shaykh loved company with those older than him often by decades. On one occasion the Shaykh was asked why this was, the Shaykh replied “through my friendship with these people I am able to learn better conduct in life”. Strangely enough the elders who sat with the young Shaykh claimed the same goal when asked why they sat in his company!


As a young person the Shaykh was very much devoted to his father Munazir e Azam. On one occasion the Shaykh said that after a Jummah (Friday) prayer he had been asked by Munazir e Azam to come home quickly to help with the supervision of labourers in the construction of the new home. The Shaykh often recollected that after leading thousands of worshippers in Jummah Salah, that he had forgotten that he had promised to help with the construction. In any event the Shaykh states that when he was approaching the home with guests from Friday prayer amongst whom were dignitaries and businessmen, he saw that his father standing outside the house supervising the labourers. His father scolded him for not having come earlier, and told him to immediately start filling up the wheelbarrow for the labourers. The Shaykh often recalled that he wore pristine white clothes, in which he executed his father’s command that day. The guests all stood and watched but also waited for the Shaykh to complete his duties for his father and dared not protest in the presence of Munazir e Azam. The Shaykh’s father was extremely vigilant not to allow his son to be distracted by the illusion of this world.

Some years later the Shaykh came to England and settled in a town called Blackburn for approximately three years. During the course of this stay, he met many non Muslims and engaged in detailed interfaith dialogues. It was a new phenomena at the time but well received as it was presented with exceptional etiquettes and mannerisms embodied by the Shaykh. On one occasion the Shaykh was in a meeting with a number of Christian clergymen, amongst whom was the bishop of Blackburn. The subject matter of the discussion was the reality of “Jinns” in Islamic doctrine. One of the priests had asked the Shaykh whether he himself had seen Jinn to which the Shaykh replied, "many times". The priest puzzled, asked whether the Shaykh could introduce him to such a jinn. The Shaykh declined and explained that they would not be able to tolerate such an experience but agreed to introduce the jinn in to a pre-pubescent child.


The Bishop immediately presented his daughter and insisted she be introduced to this “jinn” if it were a true reality. Accepting such a challenge the little girl was brought into the room where all eleven priests were sitting. The Shaykh sat her down, and asked her pointing to an empty chair whether she could see someone. She affirmed that she could see an elderly gentleman, who was wearing white clothes and had a white beard. The father of the girl was completely amazed, thinking that she might be either in a daze or she may be in fact hypnotized, but then he realized that she was able to engage in normal conversation whilst relating about this person. On that occasion all the priests were amazed to see how the reality of the teachings of Islam can be proved in such a profoundly powerful manner. All of them went away thinking about the glory of Islam, but the father of the young girl, a priest himself asked the Shaykh to teach him the shahada (pronouncement of faith in Islam). The Shaykh did so accordingly and introduced him to the beautiful way of Islam.


The Shaykh worked relentlessly to defend the true understanding of classical Islam and the aqaid (creed) of Ahle sunnah wal Jama’ah. His dialogue and presentation was so immensely packed with substance that the opponent could rarely produce a comeback during debate. In 1989 the Shaykh gave a challenge for an open public debate with the leaders of the Qadiani movement in Holland. However the leaders of the Qadiani movement refused to engage in debate with the Shaykh knowing his abilities in theological debate, articulate manners and vast knowledge.