By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*
In actual sense, Faqih-e-Millat Maulana Zubair Ahmad Qasmi (1st January 1936 – 13th January 2019) was a distinguished teacher. His teaching quality appeared either he wrote something or was addressing a public gathering, although he used to avoid to address a public gathering mostly. He served in different Madaaris as a teacher almost five decades. During this long serving period, he had been Sheikhul Hadeeth of Darul Uloom Sabilus Salam, Hyderabad. He had been head-teacher and latter rector of Jamia Ashraful Uloom and discharged his duty as an administrator and leader. He had expertise in the field of Islamic Jurisprudence and was a Founding Member of Islamic Fiqh Academy, India. In short, his prominent works and services, in almost five decades within the four walls of different Madaaris, can be summarized into three points: (1) Teaching Services, (2) Administrative Service and (3) Services in the field of Fiqh. I would like to highlight these three points briefly here:
The teaching services which Faqih-e-Millat started as a teacher from Madrasa Basharatul Uloom, he continued teaching for almost 5 decades without fail from the basic books up to Bukhari Shareef. So, we can say that the first and foremost, he was a great teacher. He imparted his knowledge through his teaching and thousands of the students benefited from his knowledge in several Madaaris. He never needed to apply for a teaching post in a Madrasa, rather he was offered and requested to serve. Wherever he consented to serve, he worked with his own terms and conditions.
He was lucky to teach from the basic up to the secondary level students in his first year of teaching. He was capable to deal with any subject and make the pupils understand it easily. His teaching methodology was appreciated and praised by the elderly scholars. At the end, he got chance to teach the book like Bukhari Shareef which is an acknowledgement of his teaching ability. Observing his teaching career, we can say that he was a successful, popular, celebrated and a well-versed teacher who produced a good number of qualified scholars.
He left behind several students who are serving the nation in different capacities in the country and abroad. To count few of them are Maulana Matlubur Rahman Mazahiri (rector of Madrasa Misbahul Uloom, Makiya, Madhubani), late Maulana Muhammad Murtaza (ex-rector of Jamia Islamia Qasmia, Balasath, Sitamarhi), Maulana Zakir Husain Qasmi (head-teacher: Madrasa Mahbubiyah, Chainpur, Muzaffarpur), Maulana Muhiuddin Mazahiri from Nepal, Mufti Sohail Ahmad Qasmi (Mufti Imarat Shariah, Phulwari Shareef, Patna), Mufti Qazi Ajaz Ahmad Qasmi (Rector: Madrasa Mahmudul Uloom, Damlah, Madhubani), Maulana Saeed Ahmad from Sitamarhi, Maulana Khalid Siddiqi Sabili, President: Jamiate Ulamae Nepal, Mufti Tanweer Alam Qasmi (rector: Madrasa Isha’atul Qura’an, Barah Tola, Madhubani).
Wherever Faqih-e-Millat offered his services, mostly he worked as a mere teacher except Jamia Ashraful Uloom where he served more than three decades as head-teacher and later its rector. Being the head and rector of this seminary, he was independent to take a decision to run the seminary whether it is to grant admission to the pupils following the rules and regulations set by, to appoint only the quality teacher, to pay reasonable salary to the teachers or when and how the new buildings to be constructed observing the financial conditions of the seminary since the buildings of Jamia were in the worst conditions.
He had set the rules that the new pupils should be granted admission, if the places are vacant, only in the beginning of the academic year in Shawwal that is the 10th month of Islamic calendar. That too, after they have passed the entrance exams. If a pupil has failed the entrance exams, he has no any chance to get admission. Once, a person who knows him visited Jamia with his son to get him admitted in the mid of the year. When the visitor met him and presented his case, he replied him that this was not the time for admission and he should bring him next year. The visitor continued requesting him, but what he had said at the first time that was last and final. The visitor had to return back unsuccessfully.
Jamia is lucky enough in regard to having the quality and hardworking teachers. They observe each other and learn from each other how to study and deliver satisfactory lesson in the classes. In Spite of that, when a need arose to appoint a teacher, the rector was very cautious to know the educational background of that teacher. If the candidate is with the tenable standard in his sight, only then he was appointed. At the time of teaching, at least once in day, he used to visit in the Madrasa and even sometimes, he used to stand outside a class to know how a teacher is delivering the lesson.
As an administrator and leader, he knew well that a leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way to his subordinates. He, therefore, never shied away from an academic discussion on any topic with the teachers or students and whatever the questions came he tried to solve it as he was a good academic person. In Jamia, it was his habit to sit in the ground after Asr Salaah, near the Masjid. This sitting was not meant for chit-chat as he was not interested in it. Mostly the then head-teacher and currently rector Maulana Izharul Haq Mazahiri used to sit with him. They had academic discussion on certain topics either from Fiqh, Hadeeth or any other subject. Sometime, some other teachers, if they had some academic issues, also used to sit with him to have discussion. It was pleasing moment for him, when someone has academic discussion with him.
Due to the presence of quality teachers in Jamia, the educational standard is appreciable. As a new pupil gets admission, he finds already an environment of self-study and revision of the lessons learnt. It is commonly observed that the pupils compete with each other in study and revision to go ahead and surpass his colleagues. Each year more than a dozen pupils from Ashraful Uloom are granted admission in Darul Uloom, Deoband following competitive entrance exams, where thousands of students participate in the exams, Al-Hamdulillah. Due to the quality education, many pupils wish to get admission in Jamia. To best of my knowledge, there were about 350-400 pupils in Jamia in 2000. Now in 2019, this number has gone almost times two as currently the number of pupils is 790. What has been highlighted here, it happened under the splendid administration of Faqih-e-Millat. His main goal was to elevate the standard of education and it happened. May its progress continue! May Allah the Almighty keep this institute safe from evil eyes!
At the time Faqih-e-Millat took the charge of Jamia as its rector, the seminary was, with some decades old boarding consisting of about two dozen rooms made of brick with roofing tiles. In rainy season, the roofs were leaking badly. The pupils had to face much inconvenience to keep their bed and books safe protecting from rain water. Then he started construction work bit by bit. Under his able leadership, the kitchen was repaired. The Masjid, which was on the early stage of construction, was completed with its first floor. Following the construction of the first floor, the ground floor remained as Hifz classes and the five times Salaah were performed on the first floor. Then the boarding construction started and dozens of rooms were built with a two-storey building.
It was a big feather in his cap that Jamia completed its hundred years when he was its rector. It celebrated its Centenary under his leadership from 24-26 March 2018 wherein a galaxy of Islamic scholars from almost all renowned Islamic Institutions and Muslim Organizations were invited and they blessed the celebration with their presence. Thousands of audience participated in the Centenary celebration. The turbans were tied on the heads of more than thousand old boys of Jamia who had completed their Hifz in the seminary. The programme was very successful.
Services in the Field of Fiqh:
Faqih-e-Millat was not a certified Mufti. So, in the beginning, he was not issuing any Fatwa. When he reached in Jamia Rahmani, Munger, Maulana Rahmani recognized his expertise in Fiqh. Whenever Rahmani felt about an Islamic issue that a high degree of expertise is required for solving it, he used to give this work to him. From here he started replying to some Fiqhi queries. After writing, he used to present to Sheikh Rahmani. After going through it, Rahmani used to send that reply to the concerned party.
When Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) was founded in 1988 by late Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, he was made a founding member of the academy. He used to participate in each and every seminar of the academy. He was writing his papers on new arising Fiqhi issues decided by the Academy to present in the seminar. Due to his deeper knowledge of Fiqh, his views and opinions were respected by the participants as well as the academy’s founder. As he was participating in the academy’s seminar, he was also contributing to the seminar of Idarah Mabahithe Fiqhiyyah of Jamiat Ulamae Hind. He was a regular participant of the Fiqhi Seminars either it was from the IFA or from Jamiat as he was invited respectfully from both the organizations. His views and opinions used to be sound and solid. He was a celebrated jurist unquestionably.
He had done the deep study of Fiqh and Hadeeth. He never paid attention to compile a book. But when he was requested to reply to some queries, he did. In this way, he compiled two booklets: “Warathat Men Pote Ka Hissah” and “Ma’ashrati Masa’ail Ka Hal Ya Darul Qaza” on behest of Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani. During his self-study, what he felt necessary, he noted it in his personal diary. A part of his diary was published in 2018 titled: “Ilmi Yad Dashten” with a “Peshe Lafz” (Foreword) of Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani. Maulan Rahmani has appreciated his deep knowledge in the Pesh Lafz. He has also expressed his desire addressing Faqih-e-Millat’s students to compile his theses written for IFA’s Seminars etc. When I started writing this article, I checked some books of IFA wherein the theses of IFA’s Seminars are published. In these few books in my ownership, I found the following theses of Faqih-e-Millat published. I share here the titles of those theses. “Shares: Fiqhe Islami Ki Raushani Men”, “Istithmaar Bi Amwaaliz Zakaah”, “Internet Aur Jadeed Zara’ae Muwaaslat Ke Zariyah Uqudo Ma’amlaat”, “Bank Ke ATM aur Degar Cardon Se Istifaadah”, “Qabzah Se Pahle Kharido Farokht Ka Sharaee Hukm”, “Aazaa Ki Paiwandkari”, “Khandani Mansubah Bandi Aur Mane Hamal Tadaabir Ka Istemaal”, “Note Ki Sharee Haisiyat” and “Nasha Ki Talaaq Ka Masilah”.
Allah the Almighty gave this writer a chance to receive education in Ashraful Uloom for four years, when Faqih-e-Millat was its rector. This writer also got a chance to learn a book of the science of Mantiq: “Sharah Al-Tahzeeb” from him. When he was teaching this book to our classmates, his beloved son, a very humble and brilliant man, Maulana Zafar Siddiqi Qasmi was also learning in the same class. Now, my respected teacher is no more in this world. We will remember him fondly. May Allah the Exalted grant him the best place in Jannah! Aameen! •••
* Head: Islamic Department, Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa