Abdul Wahab Siddiqi
Sheikh Allama Muhammad Abdul Wahab Siddiqi was a Naqshbandi Sufi master of the Hijazi branch, who originated from Sheikhpura in Pakistan. He came to Britain in 1972 where he established an Islamic study centre in Coventry in 1982 and was instrumental in founding Hijaz College in nearby Nuneaton.
His shrine is within the Hijaz college grounds and is considered the first and only dargah in Western Europe.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) was born in 1942 in the historical city of Sheikhupura. He was the third of five sons and seven sisters of Hazrat Allama Pir Muhammad Umar Icharvi, one of Pakistan’s leading religious scholars of the time, who held the honorary title of Munazar-e-Azam (the greatest debater) because of his success in defeating the leaders of rival Islamic sects.
At the tender of age of 3 he had mastered the 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.
Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) primary education was provided by his illustrious father, Hazrat Maulana Muhammed Umar Ichrivi (ra). His father taught him that knowledge (ilm) should always be coupled with action (amal). Hazrat Sahib (ra) was merely 6 years old when he had accompanied his father on tour of Sindh in Pakistan, which meant being away from home for many months. Knowing this his mother packed him a dozen of expensive garments. On noticing Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) expensive clothing his father asked him to bring all such garments to him. On doing so Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) father set alight all the expensive garments and purchased suits made from the common cotton cloth for his son to wear. Hazrat Munazir-e-azam told Hazrat Sahib (ra):
Many years later, Hazrat Sahib (ra) graduated with a Dars-e-Nizami degree from the University of Punjab. His father, Hazrat Munazir-e-Azam (ra) 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 and said:
It was this kind of tarbiyyah (development) that set the precedent for the character of such a personality so independent from materialism, but yet so radiant in whatever he wore.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) often recalled the circumstances in which he studied during the early 50s. Although institutes of Islamic learning were profoundly advanced in terms of providing knowledge, weak and dilapidated infrastructure often meant that most teaching and studying was undertaken in tents or make-shift buildings. Harsh weather conditions also made it difficult for students. Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) formal studies were completed in the Dars-e-Nizami at the hands of Ustad-ul-Ulema, Sheikh-ul-Hadith, Sheikh Maulana Ghulam Rasool Sahib (ra), and finalized by Muhadis-e-Azam, Sheikh Maulana Sadaar Ahmad Sahib (ra).
Hazrat Sahib (ra) continued his postgraduate education by studying languages including Arabic, English, Urdu and Persian at Valpur University, Pakistan. He became the editor of the Al-Miqyas magazine, a monthly journal addressing Islamic movements and the existing political situation at the time.
One day, whilst still a young scholar and lecturer, Hazrat Sahib (ra) explained that he used to travel by public transport to visit various places in Pakistan to deliver lectures. On one such occasion he said that he was travelling from Lahore to Multan and during a stopover, he dismounted the coach in order to make wudhu. After he made his wudhu an old man stopped Hazrat Sahib (ra) from getting back on to the coach. The old man stated that he should not mount the coach for the sake of Allah and His blessed Prophet ﷺ. Hazrat Sahib (ra) obliged and left on the following coach. As he reached the motorway, he saw that the coach he was in previously had been involved in an accident and everyone in that coach had died as a result. It was then Hazrat Sahib (ra) realised that the old man was in fact an Angel of Mercy sent to prevent him from proceeding in the coach he had been earlier travelling in.
Initiation as a Mureed
Hazrat Sahib (ra) took Bay’ah (spiritual pledge) at the hands of the great Sheikh of Karama Walah, Sheikh Syed Isma’eel Shah Saheb Bukhari (ra). Such was the closeness of the Hazrat Sahib (ra) with his Pir, Hazrat Ismaeel Shah Sahib would exclusively allow Hazrat Sahib (ra) to deliver sermons in his presence, an honour that no other mureed (disciple) or student had been blessed with.
As a young child, Hazrat Sahib (ra) recalls that one day Sheikh Syed Isma’eel Shah Saheb Bukhari (ra) invited Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) father, Hazrat Munazir-e-Azam (ra) to take a stroll with him in the gardens surrounding the house. Eagerly awaiting the opportunity to accompany them, Hazrat Sahib (ra) still young, walked behind his father and Sheikh Syed Isma’eel Shah Saheb. Suddenly Hazrat Syed Isma’eel (ra) turned around and ordered Hazrat Sahib to go and sleep.
Upset by this directive, but obedient to his teacher’s instruction, Hazrat Sahib (ra) went to his bed although he couldn’t understand the rationale of being told to sleep in the late afternoon. He recalled that when he slept, he found himself in a gathering of people proclaiming, Assalatu wassalamu alaika Ya Rasool Allah whilst their eyes were resting on the glorious face of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Upon waking up, he immediately greeted his sheikh, kissing his hand and thanking him for such an opportunity.
Blessings from Hazrat Ali Hujwiri Data Ganj Bakhsh
It was around this time of his life that Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) father, Hazrat Munazir-e-Azam (ra), met Hazrat Ali Hujwiri Data Ganj Bakhsh (ra) in his dream. Hazrat Munazir-e-Azam had served as a Khatib (person who delivers the sermon during Friday prayers) for twenty years at Hazrat Ali Hujwiri’s mosque. In the dream, Hazrat Munazir-e-Azam (ra) was ordered to bring his son forward as the new Imam of the grand mosque. During the course of one and half years as Imam, Hazrat Sahib recalled many unique incidents of karamat (miracles) during which Hazrat Ali Hujwiri (ra) showered him with spiritual blessings.
Demise of his Father & Khilafat
In 1969, Hazrat Sahib (ra) decided to leave Pakistan and head to Germany for a business trip. Upon reaching Germany, he received a letter from his father stating that he should be spending time at home with his father. Adhering to his father’s instruction, he very quickly to returned Pakistan and two years later, his father passed away.
During his father’s Janazah (funeral ceremony), the esteemed Ulema and Mashaikh that were present decided unanimously to place the paghari (spiritual crown) on Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) head and he was named as his father’s Khalifa (spiritual successor). This was duly accepted by his brothers.
By that time, Hazrat Sahib (ra) had already developed a tremendous reservoir of spiritual strength. He had completed many chillas (spiritual exclusion), in which he could communicate with the muwakkil and the jinnat (species created from fire) that had been mureeds (disciples) of the family for many generations. Before his spiritual successorship, he is reported to have carried out hundreds of exorcisms of jinnat although after his spiritual successorship, he refrained from this practice although his relationship with muwakkil and the pious jinnat continued to be amicable.
Arriving in the UK
In 1972, Hazrat Sahib came to England and settled in a town called Blackburn, staying there for a period of three years. During the course of his stay in Blackburn, he organized the first jaloos (procession) to commemerate Milad-un-Nabi ﷺ (birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ). It was a historic first for Muslims in the UK which has led to thousands of similar processions taking place in Britain and all over Europe today.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) worked relentlessly to defend the true understanding of classical Islam and the aqaid (creed) of Ahlus sunnah wal Jama’ah. His dialogue and presentation was so immensely packed with substance that opponents could rarely produce a comeback during debates. In 1989, Hazrat Sahib (ra) challenged the leaders of the Qadianite movement in Holland to an open public debate. However the leaders of the Qadianite movement refused to engage with Hazrat Sahib (ra) ascertaining his abilities in sectarian debate and his vast knowledge.
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 one that was well received.
On one occasion Hazrat Sahib (ra) was in meeting with a number of Christian clergymen, amongst whom the bishop of Blackburn was present. The subject matter of the discussion was the reality of jinn in Islamic doctrine. One of the priests had asked Hazrat Sahib (ra) whether he himself had seen jinn to which Hazrat Sahib (ra) replied in the affirmative. The priest puzzled, asked whether Hazrat Sahib (ra) could introduce him to such a creature. Hazrat Sahib (ra) declined and explained that they would not be able to tolerate such an experience but agreed to introduce the jinn to a child.
The Bishop immediately presented his daughter and insisted she be introduced to this jinn if it were a reality. Accepting such a challenge the little girl was brought into the room where all eleven priests were sitting. Hazrat Sahib (ra) 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 amazed, thinking that she may be either in a daze or hypnotized. However, when he realized that she was able to engage in normal conversation with this person, he asked Hazrat Sahib to stop. The priests left in astonishment whilst the father of the girl, a Bishop, remained and asked Hazrat Sahib (ra) to teach him the shahada (testification of faith in Islam). Hazrat Sahib (ra) did so accordingly and introduced him to the beautiful path of Islam.
When Hazrat Sahib (ra) was asked why he came to England, he said he had come in search for a better education for his children. His educational philosophy was that traditional Islamic learning must be pursued alongside other ‘secular’ such as law, engineering and so on. This was strange to many of his contemporaries and in their opinion, the two disciplines were mutually exclusive. Hazrat Sahib (ra) thus put his formula in to action with the acquisition of a small building where a small number of students were initially taught.
By 1988 there had been a number of graduates that were trained both in the Islamic and the modern disciplines. It was then that Hazrat Sahib (ra) made plans to expand the institute to accommodate hundreds of students. Many enquiries were made into the possibility of acquiring new premises but these negotiations were largely unsuccessful.
In 1991 Hazrat Sahib (ra) travelled to Madinatul Munawara, where one evening he supplicated to Allah Almighty, through the Wasilah (intercession) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to allow him to realise his goal of obtaining premises for a fully fledged Islamic University. As soon as Hazrat Sahib (ra) returned to the UK, negotiations to secure premises were successful and the institution came to be known as Hijaz College Islamic University.
International Muslim Organisation
In 1980, Hazrat Sahib (ra) established the International Muslim Organisation (IMO), with its headquarters located in Coventry, England. This organisation was set up to monitor and support the religious, social and cultural needs of the Muslim Ummah globally. Its aim name was to create Islamic Centres, mosques, schools, and research centres and organize conferences around the world on topical issues affecting the Muslim Ummah. The organisation established itself in over thirty countries around the world.
Through the IMO, Hazrat Sahib (ra) was responsible for brokering a peace deal between Iran and Iraq to bring about an end to the war that the two countries were involved in for a number of years. At the inaugural IMO conference that took place in Den Hague, Holland in 1988, the Iranian and Iraqi ambassadors came together for the first time on the public stage. It was also the first time that Muslims of various countries and nationalities came together to discuss important principles regarding unity in the Muslim Ummah.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) was involved in dialogues regarding international affairs with many leaders. In 1990, Hazrat Sahib (ra) was invited by Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Liberation Organization to Tunisia to discuss the future of the Palestinian state. Hazrat Sahib (ra) also visited Iran on my occasions where discussions were held with individuals such as the then President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ayatollah Khomeini, the first Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the second Supreme Leader of Iran and the then Minister of Cultural Affairs, Hujjat-ul-Islam Sayyed Mohammad Khatami.
On 21 January 1990, Hazrat Sahib (ra) organised a convention of Sunni scholars with the goal of formulating a uniform policy to address the issues and affairs of the Muslim community worldwide. This board, headed by Hazrat Sahib (ra), deliberated on a number of issues such as matrimonial divorce and ancillary relief settlements which affected the Muslim community. This lead to the initial formation of many Shariah Councils throughout the country.
The following year on 12 January 1991, a meeting was convened by the IMO to discuss the issues of the offence caused by Salman Rushdie’s book, the Satanic Verses – the first official response by the Muslim community to the affair.
On 23 February 1992, another convention was held where the Ulema discussed the invasion of Iraq by Allied Forces. In his speech, Hazrat Sahib (ra) forewarned the Ulema that the attack marked the beginning of hostilities aimed at many Muslim countries.
In May 1992, another convention was held which contributed to the creation of the committee required for the establishment of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain. Hazrat Sahib (ra) assisted Doctor Kalim Siddiqi in finalising the Muslim Manifesto in which clear concise and ambitious goals were laid out for the direction the Muslim community. Early in 1993, the Muslim Manifesto was completed leading to the inception of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain. Hazrat Sahib (ra) was elected as deputy speaker of the Parliament, giving his full support to the Muslim Parliament and joining hands with those members who sincerely wanted to contribute to the betterment of the Muslim Ummah.
Numerous instances of karamat (miracles) have been attributed to Hazrat Sahib (ra). Just a few of them are related here:
Curing of Illnesses
He was well known for curing various health problems.
- On one occasion, whilst Hazrat Sahib (ra) was Surinam, South America, a man had gone into a coma for several days and the doctors had given him three days to live. After Hazrat Sahib (ra) arrived, he examined the man and affirmed that in three days, he would be reading a qaseeda (poem) in reverence of the Prophet ﷺ. On the third day, the man, upon awaking from the coma, immediately began to look for his book containing the qaseedas and recited a qaseeda on his hospital bed.
- On another occasion, a man whose sister was in a coma after suffering a heart attack came to came to Hazrat Sahib (ra) requesting his prayers. Doctors expressed that nothing more could be done for her and the life support machine would be switched off. Hazrat Sahib (ra) gave the man a taweez and told him to place it on his sister’s chest. Exactly eleven days later, she awoke from the coma.
- Another story relates that one day a couple came from Coventry, England to see Hazrat Sahib (ra) as they could not have children. Doctors had affirmed that as the lady had a hole in her heart, she would never be able to bear children. Hazrat Sahib (ra) gave her a taweez and after a few weeks, the same doctors asserted that there was no longer a hole in her heart and that she would thus be capable of having children.
- Another story relates that on one occasion, Hazrat Sahib (ra) told all members of a congregation gathered at a camp in Mina not to participate in the stoning of the jamarat (stoning of the devil ritual during Hajj) at a particular time. Some of the Ulema at the congregation stood up and objected to his suggestion citing that particular time of performing the ritual was the most preferred time according to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. Hazrat Sahib (ra) accepted that this was correct but pleaded with the congregation not to participate in this custom on this one specific occasion. Two days later, a huge fire occurred in one of the tunnels where the ritual takes place, at the exact time that Hazrat Sahib (ra) had forbidden his mureeds from attending. With the news of this, the Ulema returned to Hazrat Sahib (ra) and affirmed that he was truly a great saint.
- One day whilst in Surinam, Hazrat Sahib (ra) was confronted by a man who insisted on wanting to know why Hazrat Sahib (ra) was considered to be a friend of God. After the man persisted, Hazrat Sahib (ra) told him to go home where his mother would be cutting vegetables in preparation for the evening meal. Surely enough, the man went home and found that his mother was indeed cutting vegetables for the evening meal. After returning to the home where Hazrat Sahib (ra) was staying, he embraced Hazrat Sahib (ra) and affirmed that he was truly a great Waliullah.
Attending Different Functions Simultaneously
On one occasion, as Hazrat Sahib (ra) and some of his mureeds were leaving the Prophet’s ﷺ Mosque in Madinatul Munawwarah, he was approached by a man. The man greeted Hazrat Sahib (ra) and invited him to a mehfil-e-milad (gathering in celebration of the birth of the Prophet ﷺ) in his home that was taking place the next day. Hazrat Sahib (ra) vowed to attend a to deliver a sermon after Esha prayers the following day.
The next day, Hazrat Sahib (ra) was invited to another mehfil-e-milaad hosted by a great Muslim scholar, Sheikh Zia Uddin Qadri (ra), Khalifa of A’la Hazrat, Hazrat Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi (ra). At Esha time, he instructed his mureeds that they were to attend that particular mehfil. Out of respect, his mureeds did not remind him of his obligations to the other man who had also invited him to his mehfil at the same time.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) and his mureeds attended the mehfil at the house of Sheikh Zia Uddin (ra) where a large number of Ulema had gathered. Hazrat Sahib (ra) was called as the last speaker and delivered a sermon on the love of the Prophet ﷺ. By the time the mehfil had ended, his mureeds were disappointed about the fact that it was far too late for Hazrat Sahib (ra) to attend the gathering organised by the other man they had met. They felt thoroughly sorry for the man who they thought must have been bitterly disappointed at the absence of Hazrat Sahib (ra).
The following day, at Zuhr time, after Hazrat Sahib (ra) and the same mureeds had left the Prophet’s ﷺ Mosque, they saw the first man who had invited Hazrat Sahib (ra) to his mehfil approaching him with speed. The mureeds, expecting him to be upset, were very surprised to see the man embrace Hazrat Sahib (ra). Very emotionally, the man said that the speech that Hazrat Sahib (ra) had given at his home was one of the best speeches that those in attendance said they had heard. Dumbfounded, the mureeds immediately realised that they had witnessed a karamat (miracle) of Hazrat Sahib (ra). He smiled at his mureeds and instructed them not to narrate this incident until permitted to do so.
Being in the Presence of the Holy Prophet ﷺ
- At the end of 1992, a man who had never met Hazrat Sahib (ra) before came to see Hazrat Sahib (ra) in Coventry. After introducing himself, he told a mureed of Hazrat Sahib (ra) about a dream he had. In his dream, he was standing outside the Bab-e-Abdul Aziz (Door of King Abdul Aziz) of the Haram Sharif in Makkah. Outside the Bab-e-Abdul Aziz, many hundreds of thousands of people were gathered inside the veranda with their hands raised whilst emphatically exclaiming Assalatu wassalamu alaika Ya Rasool Allah (salutations and blessings be upon you, Oh Messenger of Allah).
As he looked around, near the the Bab-e-Abdul Aziz, he saw a huge gold throne upon which the Holy Prophet ﷺ was seated. At the point, the man started weeping and joined the crowd in sending salutations and blessings upon the Holy Prophet ﷺ. After a few moments, he also saw a smaller throne to the right of the Holy Prophet ﷺ where a holy person was seated. After approaching this person and saying salaam, the holy man replied with salaam and placed his hand on his chest and bowed slightly.
He went on to say that after he heard the azaan (call to prayer), he followed the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the holy person inside where they performed their salah (prayer) behind the Prophet ﷺ. Immediately after the prayer was completed, the man woke up.
A few days prior to his visit to see Hazrat Sahib (ra), he had seen his picture in a newspaper and realised that the person sitting next to the Prophet ﷺ was in fact Hazrat Sahib (ra). After finding out where Hazrat Sahib (ra) was, he was able to make his way Coventry. At this point Hazrat Sahib (ra) came in to meet him, and once again narrated this dream to Hazrat Sahib (ra).
The man was told that in all the 19 Hajj pilgrimages that Hazrat Sahib (ra) had performed, if anybody wanted to meet Hazrat Sahib (ra) he would advise them that they should try to meet him outside the Bab-e-Abdul Aziz, as he would be passing through this door before and after every prayer during the day. It was at this gate that would hold meetings with thousands of his mureeds from all over the world. The man was also told that the hand gesture with which he was greeted with by Hazrat Sahib (ra) was typical of him.
- Another beautiful incident has been narrated by the brother of Hazrat Sahib (ra), namely Munazir-e-Islam, Hazrat Maulana Abdul Tawab Siddiqi (ra). Whilst he accompanied his brother to the Prophet’s ﷺ mosque, he mentioned to Hazrat Sahib (ra) that he had come across a Hadith which stated that one who reads forty prayers in Madina will be greeted by the Prophet ﷺ at the gates of Madina. He asked Hazrat Sahib (ra) about the number of times he had been greeted by the Prophet ﷺ since he had performed Hajj on numerous occasions. Hazrat Sahib (ra) did not reply to this. Maulana Abdul Tawab (ra) relates that when they arrived at the Prophet’s ﷺ Mosque they were greeted by an elderly gentleman who was very tall, dressed in white had the same characteristics as the Prophet ﷺ. He greeted the pair and said “of course I receive everyone”, before he went away. Maulana Abdul Tawab states that as he looked back, he could not locate this person.
Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) 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 ﷺ. Firm in his discourse but equally magnanimous in his victory, Hazrat Sahib (ra) exercised exceptional mannerisms through the course of debate and presented his opponent with clarity that would often leave them stunned in silence.
Hazrat Sahib was not only a sheikh (spiritual guide), an Alim (scholar), a journalist, an author, an academic, a lecturer and a political scientist but also a keen sportsman. He 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.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) loved company with those older than him often by decades. On one occasion Hazrat Sahib (ra) was asked why this was, Hazrat Sahib (ra) 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 sheikh claimed the same goal when asked why they sat in his company.
There were many instances where people offered hospitality to Hazrat Sahib (ra) when they neither knew his status nor the position he held in the world. Strangers would greet him as if they had known him their whole lives and Hazrat Sahib (ra) would in turn make them feel as if they were members of his own family. During the course of Hajj, on each occasion Hazrat Sahib (ra) would visit the Prophet’s ﷺ Mosque, people of all nationalities would run to embrace him and kiss his hands, despite not knowing him.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) was able to cure many illnesses and diseases suffered by people through prescribed Zikr (remembrance of God) from the Quran. Muslims and non-Muslims alike gathered regularly each Sunday to benefit from the spiritual prescriptions provided by Hazrat Sahib (ra). He recommended that the patient should continue with Zikr, even after the illness had been overcome and even in the event that the patient was a non-Muslim. When questioned about this form of da’wah (inviting people to understand the worship of God), he affirmed that when a person’s difficulties are overcome by Zikr, this Zikr is the basis of blessing in their lives. Therefore, if they wish to continue to receive this blessing, the Zikr should be continued. By these means, hundreds of non-Muslims embraced Islam.
Upon his demise, Hazrat Sahib (ra) was given the title of “Mujaddid (reviver) of the 20th Century” for his exceptional qualities and characteristics.
In early 1993, Hazrat Sahib (ra) was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and the bile duct. The surgeons decided to operate quickly and on the day of the operation, hundreds of people gathered in the hospital awaiting news of the outcome of the operation. Close family members and Khulafa had gathered outside the intensive care room awaiting the arrival of Hazrat Sahib (ra) and a few hours later he was bought to the intensive care unit following his operation. Family members were prohibited from immediately seeing Hazrat Sahib (ra) as he rested but were told that two of Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) next of kin would be allowed to see him after waiting a while.
After a significant amount of time had passed, an enquiry was made as to why the doctors still hadn’t informed the next of kin that they were allowed to see Hazrat Sahib (ra). The doctor replied that two gentlemen had already been in the intensive care unit and had spent some time with him and upon asking who they were, said that they were his next of kin. After being asked to describe the two men, the doctor said that they were elderly men with white beards, white clothing, were fairly tall and were stood by his bedside by his feet for about ten minutes before leaving.
The doctors were assured by family members that no men matching that description had been outside with them and no one had passed through the doors of the intensive care unit. However, two nurses were also called and asserted that what the doctors were saying was true.
As Hazrat Sahib (ra) awoke, he was asked who those two gentlemen were and he said that one of them was his father and the other was his fifth grandfather, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Muhiyuddin Daimul Huzoori Qusoori (ra).
Soon after the operation, Hazrat Sahib (ra) had a dream in which he had seen a number of name plates of all the people who were going to die in the sky. Hazrat Saheb said that he did not see his own name on any of those plates, meaning that he was not to pass away in the immediate future. This was contrary to the opinion of doctors who said that it would only be a matter of weeks before Hazrat Sahib (ra) would pass away as the cancer had spread throughout his body.
After the operation, Hazrat Sahib (ra) went for Umrah, leaving the airport on a wheelchair. After reaching Makkah, Hazrat Sahib (ra) caught the next flight to Madina in order to visit the Holy Prophet ﷺ. As soon as the plane landed in Madina, Hazrat Sahib (ra) stated that he no longer needed his wheelchair. He narrated a Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in which he said:
Throughout the trip, Hazrat Sahib (ra) thus walked without any assistance.
It was on evening of the last day before leaving Madina when he supplicated to Allah Almighty, through the Wasilah (intercession) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to allow him to live long enough to realise his goal of establishing the first Islamic University in Europe.
In July 1993, Hazrat Sahib (ra) attended an Urs in which he publicly announced that participation in this Urs was to be his last. During the sermon, the vast majority of the audience were reduced to tears. Hazrat Sahib (ra) also announced that that he would be naming his spiritual successor, appointing his son Hazrat Allama Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi as his successor and Sajada Nasheen.
Approximately eight weeks before Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) demise, he narrated a dream that he had when he had just returned from hospital. During the dream, he was lying on a bed and was surrounded by nurses and doctors before the Holy Prophet ﷺ came and sat next to him. The Holy Prophet ﷺ instructed the doctors to remove the pipes and machines and take away all the medicines, saying that there was no need for them anymore. This dream indicated that his time for departure had come.
In March 1994, one of Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) class mates by the name of Hazrat Allama Maulana Sufi Muhammed Munir Saheb came to meet Hazrat Sahib (ra) with his family. At this stage Hazrat Sahib (ra) was unable to engage in a full conversation with him but waved to him from a distance. Mufti Saheb, not wanting to cause Hazrat Sahib (ra) a lot of stress, stood at a distance and recited the Qaseedah Burdah Sharif with some other family members. Two days later Hazrat Sahib (ra) appeared in the dream of Maulana Sufi Muhammed Munir Saheb Hijazi who reported that Hazrat Sahib (ra) told him that the Qaseedah Burdah Sharif he had heard the other day gave him a lot of peace and comfort.
On the day of his demise, 18 March 1994, Hazrat Sahib (ra) had been reading the Kalima for at least five hours in the hospital. Despite his lack of physical strength, the intensity of his Zikr increased. Later, Hazrat Sahib (ra) opened his eyes as if in shock and gazed at the doorway leading to the room. Despite his apparent weakness, he immediately got up from his bed and rushed to the door. As he looked at the door, Hazrat Sahib (ra) recited Assalatu Wassalamu Alaika Ya Rasoolallah Assalatu Wassalamu Ya Habibulah (Salutations upon you oh Messenger of Allah, oh beloved of Allah) as if he was receiving the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The same thing is said to have happened on the day of the demise of his father, of Hazrat Munazir-e-Azam (ra). Soon after, Hazrat Sahib (ra) suddenly moved his head towards the Kabah and breathed his last.
After his demise, Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) body was taken home and bathed in the proper manner and was laid to rest in the front room. Hazrat Sahib (ra) rested in his home for two days during which thousands of people came to pay their respects. Doctors who had visited asserted that it seemed Hazrat Sahib (ra) was in a deep sleep. His saliva continued to flow over the next two days and many people affirmed that they saw Hazrat Sahib (ra) breathing. Many people weren’t sure that he had passed away and called out to check if this was actually the case. Two days later, when Hazrat Sahib (ra) was to be removed from his home to the burial place, fresh blood was found on his lips and his body remained warm and flexible. This was witnessed by hundreds of people.
First Resting Place
Two days later, Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) Janazah (funeral) took place and he was laid to rest in Coventry. As his body was being carried to the funeral, the Kafan (shroud) had to be changed after it had touched his face and became stained with fresh blood. His body was placed on a wooden bed, transported by an open-air vehicle, in a procession that drew thousands of people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Rather than exhibiting feelings of uneasiness at the fact that a body was being displayed in this manner, many non-Muslims commented on how radiant he looked.
More than thirty thousand Muslims from all over the world and of different denominations and sects had gathered at the Janazah of Hazrat Sahib (ra) to pay their respects. The Janazah was led by Hazrat Munazir-e-Islam Maulana Abdul Tawab Siddiqi who emphatically challenged those who believe that the bodies of Saints perish, to come forward and witness the body of Hazrat Sahib (ra).
After the Janazah had taken place, those that had gathered were given an opportunity to see Hazrat Sahib (ra) and to pay their respects for the last time. As the body was taken to the place of burial, there was a sprinkle of rain, an occurrence that has been historically recorded at the Janazah of many other great Saints.
Hazrat Sahib (ra) was placed in an unusual Taboot (coffin) which had a height of six feet. In his Waseehat (last testimony), Hazrat Sahib (ra) stated that he wanted to be buried in such a coffin because when he is asked the question of “what did you say about the Prophet in your lifetime?”, he could respond with:
As the coffin was lowered in to the grave, a beautiful aroma encompassed the body. It is affirmed that when a Saint is laid to rest, his grave takes the form of Jannah (Garden of Paradise).
Final Resting Place
Hazrat Sahib (ra) was buried at Jamia Islamia Islamic Study Centre in Coventry, where he stayed for approximately four years. According to his Waseehat (last testimony), he wanted to be buried at the Hijaz College Islamic University site and during the occasion of the Urs Sharif in July 1998, arrangements were made to move Hazrat Sahib (ra) to the site of the new campus. Before the reinterment, Hazrat Sahib’s (ra) Khalifa had a dream in which he saw Hazrat Sahib reprimanding him for having doubts about opening the grave in public. During the dream, Hazrat Sahib (ra) said:
Before the grave was exhumed, thousands of people had gathered in the Jamia Islamia building to witness the event. When the grave was finally exhumed, a beautiful aroma emanated from it and the coffin was in pristine condition, as if had been there for a matter of days rather than years. The following morning, the coffin was placed on the same vehicle that had carried it four years ago and transported to the new burial place in the Hijaz College Islamic University, in a procession that was again attended by thousands of people.
On arriving at Hijaz College, thousands of people came to see the coffin and witnessed how the bodies of Saints remain sanctified. Two small holes were noticed at each end of the coffin from which a beautiful fragrance emanated and upon close inspection, the silk lining within the coffin remained in immaculate condition.
Once again, a sprinkle of rain accompanied his burial and thus Hazrat Sahib (ra) was finally laid to rest in the first Mizaar (Mausoleum) of a Muslim Saint in the Western world. His shrine is visited by hundreds of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims alike who experience his Karamat (miracles) and gain blessings through the intercession of this great Saint of Islam.