Sheikh Naseer Ahmad Khan Bulandshahri (1918-2010) Ex-Sheikhul Hadeeth: Darul Uloom Deoband


By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*


Sheikh Maulana Naseer Ahmad Khan was Sheikhul Hadeeth, Sadrul Mudarriseen (Principal) and Naib Muhtamim (Deputy VC) of Darul Uloom Deoband. He was born on 23rd December 1918 in an academic and religious family in Bassai village of Bulandshahar district in Uttar Pradesh in the British India. This village is situated at the bank of the Ganga River. His father’s name was (Hafiz) Abdush Shakur Khan who was working in the Army of the British Indian Government. When the “Non-Cooperation Movement”, a political campaign, was launched by Sheikhul Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan Deobandi (1851-1920), Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) etc. to revoke the cooperation from the British Indian Government in 1920, he resigned from the army and started his farming to earn his livelihood. Sheikh’s father used to love the religious personalities and pious elders and invite them at his home. In order to practice Tazkiyah and Ihsan (the purification of soul), he had taken the oath of allegiance to Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (1852-1927).


In Manbaul Uloom, Gulaothi:

When Sheikh was 4 years old, his father passed away and he became an orphan. He was brought up under the guidance of his elder brother Maulana Basheer Ahmad Khan (d. 1966), who was then teaching in Madrasah Manbaul Uloom, Gulaothi, Bulandshahr, UP. This Madrasah was founded in 1870 by Munshi Sayyid Meharban Ali, following the instruction of Imam Muhammad Qasim Nanautavi (1832-1880) as he was his disciple. Sheikh started his Hifzul Qura’anil Kareem before Qari Abdul Karim (who was nicknamed as Bahadur Ali Khan due his courage and bravery) in Manbaul Uloom. At very young age, he completed Hifz before the same teacher. Following the completion of Hifz, he entered a school and completed the primary level education. Then he started learning Persian and Arabic books of the syllabus: “Darse Nizami” in Manbaul Uloom. His teachers were Maulana Mushtaq, a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband and his elder brother Maulana Basheer Ahmad Khan. Actually he learned almost all the books of the syllabus in Madrasah Manbaul Uloom from Maulana Basheer Ahmad Khan.


At one point, he stopped learning. Then he became in-charge of the busses of his elder brother, Maulana Basheer Ahmad Khan, which had been running as public transport. During the same period, once his brother thought that anyone can perform this duty, so he should leave it and restarted learning so that he can be an Islamic scholar. It happened as the elder brother thought and he started learning once again at Manbaul Uloom.


Enrollment at Darul Uloom Deoband:

Sheikh had much longing and desire to benefit from the prominent scholars and pious elders of Darul Uloom Deoband specially Sheikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957). When he was in the final year of his studies at Manbaul Uloom, his elder brother and mentor: Maulana Basheer Ahmad Khan, then head-teacher at Manbaul Uloom, was appointed at Darul Uloom Deoband as a teacher. It was the mid of the academic year. Sheikh accompanied him and was enrolled at Darul Uloom Deoband in 1942 (1361 AH) in the final year (Daurah Hadeeth). Sheikhul Islam Maulana Sayyid Husain Ahmad Madani was imprisoned in the Naini Tal Jail in Allahabad by the then British Government due to his freedom struggle. Instead of Maulana Madani, Sheikhul Adab Maulana Izaz Ali Amrohavi (1882-1954) was teaching Sahihul Bukhari and Sunan Tirmidhi. He studies these two books on him and completed his graduation in Hadith and Islamic theology. When Sheikhul Islam was released from the prison and was back in Darul Uloom, he learnt Sahihul Bukhari and Sunan Tirmidhi again from him as he had much longing to learn from him.


After graduating, he remained three years more in Darul Uloom Deoband. In this period, he learned the books of some other subjects: like Tajweed, Qira’at, logic, philosophy, Unani Medicine etc. He benefited in Darul Uloom Deoband from the distinguished scholars like Sheikhul Islam Maulana Sayyid Husain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957), Sheikhul Adab Wa Fiqh, Maulana Izaz Ali Amrohvi (1882-1954), Allamah Muhammad Ibrahim Balyavi (1886-1967), Maulana Abdul Khaliq Multani (1896-1966), Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi (1897-1983), Qazi Shamsuddin Gujranwala (1901-1985), Maulana Abdul Haq Haqqani (1909-1988), Maulana Abdur Rahman Amrohvi (1277-1367), Maulana Qari Hifzur Rahman Partabgadhi, Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Umar etc. (May Allah grant them Jannatul Firdaus!)


Spiritual Journey:

In order to practice Tazkiyah and Ihsan (purification of soul), Sheikh first took the oath of allegiance to his respected and loved teacher, Sheikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani. It is noteworthy that Sheikhul Madani along with taking active part in the freedom struggle of India, he was teaching the books like Bukhari and Tirmidhi in Darul Uloom Deoband and was well-known Sheikh Tariqat too. He passed away in 1957. Then Sheikh turned to his teacher Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi the then Muhtamim of Darul Uloom Deoband and renewed the oath of allegiance to him. He was granted Khilafah by Qari Muhammad Tayyib Sahib.


His Teaching Period and Administrative Services:

Sheikh was recruited as a teacher with the recommendation of Sheikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani in 1946 (1365 AH). According to the then system, firstly he taught as an honouree teacher. Two years later, he was made a permanent teacher. He started teaching form the basic books of the syllabus: Darse Nizami like Meezanun Sarf, Munshaib etc. He taught almost all the books of the syllabus. After long teaching experience of almost 31 years, he was given the opportunity to teach Sahihul Bukahri due to his solid academic proficiency. In the first year of teaching of Sahihul Bukhari, he taught both the volumes of it. Then from next year, he taught only the first volume. He taught Sahihul Bukhari almost 32 years.


During his long teaching period of imparting knowledge, spread on the span of six and half decades just in one seminary: Darul Uloom, he held several prestigious posts such as Naib Muhtamim (Deputy VC), Sheikhul Hadeeth, Sadrul Mudarrisin etc. He was assigned the post of the deputy VC in 1971. It indicates to his capability in administration. He served as the Deputy VC till 2003. He was Sheikhul Hadith. The one who teaches Sahihul Bukhari, a book of Hadith under the syllabus: “Darse Nizami” is called Sheikhul Hadith. He was selected as Sheikhul Hadith in 1977 following the demise of Maulana Shariful Hasan Deobandi (1920-1977). It shows the reliance of the elders of Darul Uloom upon his knowledge of Hadith. He remained on this post till 2008. He was appointed as the Sadrul Mudarrisin in 1991 after the demise of Maulana Mirajul Haq Deobandi (1910-1991). He held this esteemed post until 2008. Due to growing age, he was unwell. He, therefore, decided to resign from all his posts and teaching responsibility of Sahihul Bukari in 2008. After holding all these posts, he was very simple and humble. From the students to teachers, he was respected and honoured by each and every one due to his knowledge, character, manner, humbleness and discipline.


His Teaching Methodology:

Allah the Almighty gave us chance. It is an honour for us that we learned the first volume of Sahihul Bukhari from him in 2003. We don’t recall that he missed a period ever, when we were learning. He was teaching in the fourth period. His punctuality of time was amazing. He used to reach Darul Uloom by rickshaw, alighted from it at Babe Qasim (main gate) and arrived in the class on the time. He was dressed in the white Kurta neither very long nor too short, a Sherwani above it in winter season and the white Pajamas above the ankles. His beards were white and long. He wore a white side Topi-cap at his head. A medium frame glasses on the eyes and a staff was always in his right hand due to the old age. I neither saw any angelic face like his before and after. Though he was 80 plus, in such old age, mostly the people fail to conquer their anger and they speak anything anyhow; but it was never heard that Sheikh shouted at a student during his teaching. The students used to love him too much. While teaching, his sound was loud and clear. No student had difficulty to understand what he spoke. In such old age, it was his practice to teach two hours like an energetic young man, in one sitting, without expressing any tiredness. Being experienced educator and skilled teacher of Hadith, he had his own teaching methodology and style. He was able to present any difficult topic in the easiest method according to the understanding of the students. He explained only the necessary and main points in the lessons which were beneficial and required for the students of the higher level. His lecture was excellent for the students.


His Famous Students:

During his long teaching career, he taught thousands of the students at Darul Uloom Deoband who are serving within the country and abroad. The students who learned only Sahihul Bukhari from him and graduated from Darul Uloom, their number reaches approximately 20,000. The time he resigned, almost all teachers of Darul Uloom were amongst his students. There are some renowned scholars who are recognized due to their services in the Indian subcontinent also fall among his famous students. Some of them, for instance, are recorded here. Maulana Waheeduz Zaman Kairanvi (1930-1995), a famous scholar of Arabic language & literature, who authored Al-Qamoos Al-Waheed, an Arabic-Urdu dictionary and was Assistant Muhtamim: Darul Uloom Deoband. Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi (1936-2002), chief Qazi of Imarate Shariah, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, who was known as a leading authority on Islamic Jurisprudence and founded “Islamic Fiqh Academy, India”. Mufti Khursheed Alam Usmani Deobandi (1935-2012) served as Sheikhul Hadeeth and Naib Muhtamim at Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband. Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri (1940-2020) was Sheikhul Hadeeth and Sadrul Mudarrisin of Darul Uloom Deoband. Maulana Sayyid Arshad Madani, Sadrul Mudarrisin: Darul Uloom Deoband, Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, Muhtamim: Darul Uloom Deoband, Allamah Qamruddin Gorakhpuri, Teacher of Hadith: Darul Uloom Deoband etc. are among his students.


His Final Journey:

He breathed his last in night of 4th February 2010 at his residence in Deoband. He was 92 years old. His funeral prayer was held in the premises of Darul Uloom Deoband and was led by Qari Sayyid Muhammad Usman Mansoorpuri (1944-2021), the then teacher of Hadith at Darul Uloom Deoband and the President of Jamiat Ulamae Hind. Thousands of students, scholars and common people from Deoband and the surrounding area participated in his funeral. He was buried in the Qasmi Graveyard. May the Almighty Allah accept his services and grant him Jannatul Firdaus! ●●●●


*Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Arica


Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi is a notable freelancer. He has authored dozens of pieces on diverse topics such as politics, religion, Muslim World and society.