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Hazrat Maulana Mohammad Ilyas SahabRh

(Founder of Tablighi Jama'at)


Hazrat Maulana Mohammad Ilyas was born in 1303 A.H. (1885-1886) at Kandhla town, Muzaffarnagar district. His original name, according to Hijri calendar, was Ilyas Akhtar, and his Father's name was Maulana Mohammad Ismail from "Jhinjana" who had three sons. The eldest son, Maulana Mohammad was born to his first wife. His elder brother was Maulana Mohammad Yahya, father of Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Zakariya, and Maulana Ilyas was the youngest. He stayed, in early childhood, with paternal grandparents as well as with his father at Nizamuddin. This family from "Kandhla" was supposed to be the most pious. Not because of righteousness of male members of the family and their selfless religious activities that were beyond the imagination of discouraged people at that time, even their women were chaste and virtuous. His family was amongst those whose educational, religious, spiritual and social services caused the country earn the fame. This family belonged to "Siddiqi Shaikh". His father Maulana Mohammad Ismail originally was from "Jhinjana" town but after the second marriage with Maulana Ziya-ul-Hasan's daughter he permanently settled at "kandhla".


Like other children of the family, his primary education started from elementary school and where he learnt 1¼ part (Parah) of Holy Qura'an by heart. He completed Hifz-e-Qura'an (complete memorization of holy Qura'an by heart), and elementary books of Persian and Arabic languages under his father's supervision and some of them before Maulana Doctor Mohammad Abrar at Nizamuddin. Due to busy Schedule of his father, he went to "Gangoh" along with his elder brother Maulana Mohammad Yahya, who was already studying at "Gangoh", to study before Maulana Rasheed Ahmad from "Gangoh". At the time, "Gangoh " was the centre of pious and learned people. He adopted the spirituality and piousness staying with Maulana Rasheed Ahmad. He went to Deoband in 1326 A.H. to attend the class of Shaikhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul-Hasan and he studied "Bukhari and Tirmidhi" from him. From the early age, he had the habit of picking morals and manners of the companions of the prophet in his practical life.
Shaikhul-Hind used to say that whenever he looked at Maulana Ilyas, the image of the companions of the prophet would come into his mind.


He was appointed as a teacher in "Mazahirul uloom" Saharanpur in the month of "Shawwal" in 1328 A.H. He performed pilgrimage with Hazrat Shaikhul-Hind and Hazrat Saharanpuri in 1332 A.H. His brother Maulana Yahya and the elder brother Maulana Mohammad who used to live at Nizamuddin, after the demise of their father, died on "10th Zul-Qa'dah and 25th "Rabiul-Sa'ni" in 1334 A.H. respectively.

Migration to Nizamuddin and beginning of preaching and propagation in "Mewat"

After his elder brother Maulana Mohammad passed away, on the insistence of his lovers and followers to tread in his father's footsteps, he migrated to Nizamuddin. The "Meo" Caste of Mewat region was on the verge of apostasy just because of continuous and prolonged ignorance of Muslims and their unawareness about Islam. He had closed terms with the people of 'Mewat' because of his father Maulana Mohammad Ismail. His father and elder brother, Maulana Mohammad had always worked hard to educate the people of 'Mewat', hence, they accommodated students from 'Mewat' and taught them. His concept of eliminating the people of 'Mewat' was only to spread religious education among them and bring them out of ignorance of knowledge. Establishing religious institution in 'Mewat' was the only way to hit the goal. His intention was to approach each person of Mewat, not just a few special classes. No sooner he returned from the pilgrimage than he started preaching Islamic point of view in 1345 A.H. later on, other people joined with him to preach Islamic thoughts, like: basic principles of Islam (Kalima-e-Tauheed and Namaz) to the people. To begin with, it was very typical to work there, but their hard work yielded little by little and the environment completely changed. His devotees would insist him to visit 'Mewat'. The Meos who were mainly farmer's, could not easily reconcile themselves to the position that their children applied themselves to reading and writing and stopped working in the field or looking after the cattle. It took a lot of tact and perseverance to bring them round to it. After some days, one of his devotees thought that he should visit them, at least once, that he could analyse what is happening. So, he went there and met people and asked them to make their words true about establishing 'Maka'tib'. After great persuasion, the beginning was made and the first 'Maktab' was established in 1324 A.H. Once the ice broken, the progress was easy, henceforth, so many religious institutions (Maka'tib) were established in 'Mewat'. He managed to establish ten, 'Maka'tib' at his first journey. He used to say to the people of 'Mewat' "Give me students and I will arrange salaries of the teachers". A short span of time passed and hundreds of 'Maka'tibs' came into existence wherein, Qura'nic and religious education along with Urdu language were being given to the students.

Expansions of work:

As the preaching work started in 'Mewat', step by step it got fame in nearby areas, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. The team of preaching (Jama'at) started working in these regions. The work kept on spreading its wings. Hence, the preaching work reached the remote areas, like: Peshawar and Sindh in his life. He was pretty happy to see the expansion of the work but he was much concerned about its accuracy. He went on instructing his associates in this regard.


He became physically ill, since he started the work. Owing to hard work, much concentration about the Muslim Ummah, frequent visit, lack of caution in having food and taking rest, worsened his health condition that caused the failure of body system. He suffered from intestinal infection and fell sick that he was supported by two men to go to prayers.

Maulana Yousuf was given charges to head the congregation work in consultation with Maulana Abdul Qadir from Raipur and Hazrat Shaikhul-Hadith.

One night he suffered from nervous crises and called Maulana Mohammad Yousuf and Maulana Ikramul-Hasan and said to them, "Come and hug me I am leaving". At last he left the world on 21th "Rajab"1363 A.H.