Sheikh Ziya Ar-Rehman Azmi is the dean of Department of Hadith, Madina University. Contrary to the expectations of many who would consider him to come from a downright religious, Islamic family, our Sheikh was born in a conservative Brahmin family in India. Taught from a very young age to stay segregated from people of other castes and religions and befriending muslims was completely out of question, Sheikh Azmi’s beliefs and practices turned topsy turvy once he started college.
He was allotted a room with a muslim student. The teachings of Islam that were communicated by his muslim roommate, stirred something inside him and led him to start his own research on it. At a tender age of 18 years, he converted to Islam.
Truly, Allah guides whom he wills.
The teachings of our beloved prophet (SAW) had influenced him so deeply that he decided to enroll in the Islamic University of Madinah to pursue his undergraduate studies. After completing M.A. at Umm Al-Qura University, he went on to even obtain a PhD from Al-Azhar University of Cairo.
This translated book was complied under the title, “Quran Majeed ki encyclopedia”. It was a major step in promoting harmony and secularism in India.
His quest for knowledge was not yet satiated. He went on to become a professor in the Faculty of Hadith of Islamic University of Madinah. With many books on hadith to his credit, written during his tenure, the most notable ones are “al-Jami’ al-Kamil fi al-Hadith al-Sahih al-Shamil”. Considered as one of the best books on hadith, it contains about 16000 hadiths relating to a wide variety of topics in Islam.
At a time when Islamic books of Hindi translations lacked in India (since most of the work done by scholars was in Urdu), Sheikh Azmi started working on the explanation of Quran in Hindi. The negative picture of Muslims and Islam as a whole that people had at that time, started shedding due to this effort of Sheikh Azmi to spread the true words of Quran and Allah. This translated book was complied under the title, “Quran Majeed ki encyclopedia”. It was a solid and important step to convey the true colors and values of Islam at that time (as much as it is now) and was a major step in promoting harmony and secularism in India.
Acknowledging his achievements and valuable contribution to the muslim community, Sheikh Azmi was later given Saudi citizenship.
Sheikh Azmi’s story can be taken as a story of a revert or as a story of the one born not into a muslim family but who paved his way towards the zenith of muslim world on his own but a deeper parallel runs through it. It is the underlying lesson learnt from the brief, distant introduction of Sheikh Azmi’s roommate whose religious practices moved our protagonist into giving up his rigid religious ideologies and push him to inquire more about the religion of Allah swt.
How many of us are such diligent PRACTITIONERS of our deen that others are inspired to copy it, ditching all preconceived notions and teachings about their religion?
Start working on small details from now or improving on your existing ways of practicing Islam whether it is perfecting your prayers, improving your mannerisms or even simply taking up feeding animals because being softhearted is part of your deen, because a constant yet persistent slogging through religion earns you more closeness to Allah, because being kind to helpless will earn you more rewards for akhirah.
Tend to be that boy whose company made the Sheikh take life altering decisions. At a time when the ummah is going downhill by copying the West, stand out by staying grounded on your values and sticking to the teachings of Islam. A few individual changes are all that are needed to help bring back the essence of Islam.
Written by : Azra Jabin
Edited by : Zarafshan Shiraz