By Shaykh Abdul Raheem ibn Dawood Limbada
Edited by Faraz Abdul Moid
Shaykh Yūnus Jawnpūri رحمه الله spent the entire month of Ramadan according to his normal routine.
Hashim (his khādim) says that he kept all the fasts, performed all the tarawīh, maintained his ma’mulāt (routine) of reciting the Qur’an and the majlis of Dhikr bi’l-Jahr (audible dhikr). In the last ten days, there were 110 Ulama and murīdīn (disciples in the spiritual path) who came to spend time with Shaykh.
He was in good spirits on Eid day as well. Mufti Abrar from Canada says that a friend of his, when he brought some food for Shaykh, texted Abrar saying, “I’m here with Shaykh. Do you want to talk to him? I can have you FaceTime.” Abrar said, “Will he talk on FaceTime?” The friend replied that hopefully he will. Abrar reluctantly said, “Go on then.”
Shaykh then did speak with him and made a light-hearted joke as well. There was a tree behind him and Shaykh could not figure it what it was so he asked, “Is that your wife in burqa behind you?” He said “No, Hazrat I haven’t married yet.”
His remaining days were normal. Students had not yet arrived. People from the city would come and sit close by and benefit. One week before his passing away, he wasn’t feeling well.
On the 7th of Shawwal, Mawlana Salman sāhib – the rector of Mazāhir al-Ulūm seminary in Sahāranpūr, India – gathered all teachers in the masjid and made iftitāhi du’ā [for the start of the academic year]. Then he went up to Shaykh’s room with about seven or eight teachers to request for du’ās for the year that is commencing. Shaykh Yūnus gave a few words of advice and said, “My health is not good and I don’t think I will be able to teach.”
Mawlana Salman said, “Hazrat, you say this every year. Insha’Allah you will live for another ten years and keep teaching.” To this, Shaykh smiled and said, “What am I going to do by living for ten more years?”
Mufti Tahir sāhib was also there. He says that thereafter Shaykh Yūnus gave some advices regarding fitnas (trials and tribulations) and staying clear of them. He made a short two minute du’ā.
On the last Jumu’ah of his life, Shaykh Yūnus performed ghusl, despite all difficulties. Then he arrived at the masjid before everyone else, as was his usual practice, and spent many hours in the Masjid. I remember when I was studying here in Sahāranpūr in 1984, I would see him come early and pray long nawāfil until the Friday sermon. […]
He was not so well but still kept himself busy. I asked Hashim if Shaykh Yūnus had started work on Nibrās (his commentary of Sahīh al-Bukhari, of which one volume has been published). He said, “No, but the day before he died he was still studying, plus he wrote some notes on the hāshiyah of the Musnad Ahmad.”
Allahu Akbar! This is the day before he died.
He prayed Maghrib properly. At Isha time he was not well, yet prayed Isha while the person next to him had to remind him of the takbeers. He spent the night in a subconscious state (ghashi). At Fajr time, Hashim asked: فجر کا وقت ہو گیا ہے، وضوء کراں دوں؟ (It is time for Fajr. Shall I have you make wudū?)
Shaykh Yūnus replied: کرا دو (Yes do so.)
But there was no movement in his hands, so he was left to be. Then Hashim asked, “Shall we give you some khameera to eat?”
He nodded in approval, but could not open his mouth. Then Hashim held Shaykh Yūnus in his lap. They alerted the Madrasah administration to call for a doctor, but because no doctor was available they took him to the hospital. Upon arriving there, the doctor informed them that the heartbeat was not there. Shaykh Yūnus has already passed away.
إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون
May Allah elevate his ranks and grant him a high place in Jannah.
The news spread like wildfire. People began to arrive from all neighboring areas. Police were alerted and provided excellent security. The army was also called in for protection. Many roads were blocked causing people to park their vehicles at a far distance and walk for many kilometers.
The body was paced for people who wanted to see him for the last time. Queues were enormously long, reaching as far as Jāmi’ Masjid.
People were coming from all over the place. Some youngsters were coming from as far as Ambala (name of a city). When someone asked them where they were headed, the youngsters replied, “A buzrug (saint) has passed away in Sahāranpūr, so we are going to his janāzah.” He said to take him as well.
Locals say that Sahāranpūr has never seen such a huge funeral and possibly never will.
Salāt al-janāzah was scheduled for after Asr prayers at 5:30pm. The organizers prayed their Asr at 5:20pm and when the large congregation started, they lifted the janāzah and began to walk towards the graveyard. This setup eased the passing through narrow alleys, and by the time people finished their Asr prayers and proceeded to the graveyard, the janāza had already gone on to the wider roads. It was placed on the side of the qiblah and the rows were formed all over the roads and wherever else possible. Some people, in their zeal, phoned their friends who kept their cell phones on to join the salāt al-janāzah through live-stream (although this method is not correct, the point is to demonstrate how zealous people were).
The salāt al-janāzah was led by Hazrat Pīr sāhib (Mawlana Talha Kandhlawi) – the son of Hazrat Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi رحمه الله – who had great love for Shaykh Yūnus. Shaykh Yūnus used to invite him to make du’ā on the occasion of the completion of Sahīh al-Bukhari.
The entire gathering was of local people. People from other states like Gujarat, MP, AP, Maharashtra, etc and in fact most of India, were unable to make it. There was no possibility of foreigners making it in time [due to his sudden passing, and the short time between his passing and the funeral, which is in keeping with the teachings of the Sunnah].
The following day, foreigners and guests from other states began to arrive. Mawlana Salman sāhib had beautifully organized everything for all the guests.
Shaykh Yūnus’ khulafā (authorized in tasawwuf), murīdīn, and students are still in shock at his sudden departure. But that is the way Shaykh lived and that is the way he left everyone. During his life, people would come to visit him, park their cars, and rush towards his room. Many times it seemed as though he knew we were coming to visit and he was waiting for us. He would become happy at such visits. The hardest, though, would be to leave him. It felt so saddening to leave him in a state where he had neither family nor anyone to stay with him on a permanent basis. And now he has left us all, [and that too] all of sudden. It feels so hard to leave Sahāranpūr.
Imam Bukhari رحمه الله died on the 1st of Shawwāl; and Shaykh Yūnus left this world on the 17th of Shawwāl, just a few weeks after Ramadan. Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله says that the pious wish that a person passes away after a righteous action he has performed such as hajj or fasting of Ramadan.
Shaykh Yūnus Jawnpūri رحمه الله taught Sahīh al-Bukhāri for nearly 50 years, from 1388 AH to 1437 AH.
My friend, Mawlana Arif, saw Shaykh in a dream: he was sitting with another buzrug (saint) and was on a chār pāi (bed). They both had a glass in their hands and were enjoying a tasty drink. Of course, Shaykh Yūnus had gone through many difficulties throughout his life, so he must be enjoying the rest he so much deserves.
May Allah Ta’ala elevate his ranks among the illiyyīn (elevated). May Allah Ta’ala keep him close to Imam Bukhari رحمه الله and Hafiz Ibn Hajar رحمه الله, and close to his beloved teachers and mashāyikh, in particular his shaykh and teacher, Barakat al-Asr Hazrat Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi رحمه الله and Hazrat Mawlana As’adullah sāhib رحمه الله, the senior disciple of Hakīm al-Ummah Ashraf Ali Thanawi رحمه الله, besides whom Shaykh Yūnus sāhib رحمه الله was laid to rest as per his bequest.
This article was edited for spelling, grammar, and style.