The Passing of of a Great Sufi Master: Mawlana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar
Edited by IlmGate
June 5, 2013
[On June 2, 2013 (corresponding to 23 Rajab)], a great luminary on the firmament of Islamic Spirituality was lost to the Ummah: Arif Billah Mawlana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar, rahmatullahi alayh. The passing on of this great Wali of Allah leaves yet another vacuum in the lives of Muslims that shall never be filled. Rasulullah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam predicted that among the signs of the [coming of] the Day of Judgement will be the passing away of scholars and thereby, the removal of knowledge from this world. I deem it appropriate to cite [the entire hadith] here:
“Verily Allah shall not remove knowledge by snatching it out of the hearts of Ulama; instead knowledge shall disappear with the passing away of Ulama, until not a single Aalim will remain. Then people will take ignorant leaders (as guides). These ignoramuses shall issue iftaa without any knowledge. They will go astray and lead others astray as well.”
Arif Billah Mawlana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar was arguably one of the most influential Sufi Shaykhs of current times. His real name is Muhammad Akhtar but he was more popularly known as Hakeem Akhtar because of a degree he held in Hikmat (Eastern Medicine), although Hazrat never reportedly operated a full time clinic or medical practice. Born in 1928 in the (then) undivided India, Hazrat was raised attending regular school and studied ‘Tib’ (Oriental Medicine) at A.K. Tibiyya College, Allahabad.
Since his early ages he had a natural inclination towards Tasawwuf and the Mathnawi of Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi. Having a strong affiliation towards the Deobandi tradition of Islamic scholars and recognizing the importance of Tariqat in his youth, he traversed the path under the guidance of Mawlana Shah Muhammad Ahmad Partabgarhi, Mawlana Shah Abd al-Ghani Phoolpoori, and latterly Mawlana Shah Abrar al-Haq.
Hazrat spent 17 years of his youth with Mawlana Shah Abd al-Ghani, his spiritual mentor, in the small Indian town of Azam Garh. Hazrat completed his formal Islamic studies during his stay with his Shaykh Hazrat Abd al-Ghani. After the death of Shah Abd al-Ghani he took bay’ah (allegiance in Tasawwuf) with Mawlana Shah Abrar al-Haq. He was granted khilafah (authority to initiate Mureeds) by his second mentor in the Spiritual Orders of Ashrafia, Chistiyyah, Naqshbandiyah, Qadiriyyah and Suharwardiyah.
Hazrat Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar is the author of a large number of books on various subjects, but specialised in Tasawwuf and the Ma`arifah or recognition of Allah Ta’ala. His commentary on the Mathnawi of Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi has been hailed by great scholars such as Mawlana Yusuf Binnori, Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhlawi, Mawlana Manzoor Nomani, and Mawlana Shah Abrar al-Haq (his own Shaykh) as a commentary that ignites the love of Allah Ta’ala and that has deep effect on the hearts of the readers.
He has thousands of Mureeds in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, America, England, Canada, South Africa, Reunion, and many other parts of the world. The spiritual benefit derived by those who spent some time in his company, sincerely desiring reformation, is clearly evident in their transformed lifestyles. The fact that great Ulama and many teachers of Hadith and Tafsir, who are themselves of a high spiritual rank, took the bay’ah at his hands, is a clear indication of his esteemed rank and profound knowledge of Deen.
Hazrat Mawlana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar visited South Africa on two occasions, as well as many other countries of the world. His discourses were spiritually rejuvenating to both the young and the old, who flocked in large numbers to listen to his inspiring talks on various subjects.
Hazrat possessed mastery in composing poetry in the Urdu language that encapsulated the essence of Tasawwuf as well as other concepts of Qur’an and Sunnah. And that is not all; the poetry itself is inspirational and heart-rending. I believe this to be a clear sign of spiritual endowment from Almighty Allah.
May Allah Ta’ala grant him the highest stages in Paradise, and place him eternally in the realm of His loved ones.
Courtesy of the Council of Ulamaa Eastern Cape
Note: This article was edited for spelling, grammar, and style.