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Hazrat Syed Mohammad Izhar Ashraf (1934-2012)

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Ashraf, Chief Patron of All Indian Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) and a Sufi scholar of international repute passed away on Wednesday, 22 February 2012, leaving thousands of his followers in deep mourning. He was 78. He was under treatment at Ismailia Hospital in Mumbai where he took his last breath.

His Namaz e Janaza was led by his elder son and President of AIUMB Hazrat Syed Mehmood Ashraf on 24 Feb at Kichocha Shareef in Uttar Pradesh. He is survived by three sons, Syed Mahmood Ashraf, Syed Mohammad Ashraf, Syed Hammad Ashraf and one daughter Bibi Zobaida.

Hazrat Syed Izhar Ashraf was the Sajjadah Nashin of Khanquah Ashrafia Hasania. He had become Sajjadah Nashin in 1996 after serving it as Wali ‘Ahad Janashin for 47 years. He was said to be the 38th descendant of Prophet Mohammed.

He was born to Alhaj Maulana Mufti Syed Shah Mukhtar Ashraf and Bibi Sanjida in 1355 AH (1934) at Kichowcha Sharif. As his ancestors, father and grandfather, he started his early education at home and then at Madrasa Ashrafia Kichowcha Sharif. His father took special care of his education as he was to succeed him. From the very beginning of his education, he was always punctual and attentive to his studies.

After completing primary education at Kichowcha Sharif, he was sent to Darul Uloom Ashrafia Mubarakpur, Azamgarh, for higher education of Darse Nezami. He devoted his full attention to his studies to gain proficiency in every subject of theology. He completed Fazilat in 1959.

He was inclined to teaching. He first wanted to be well-versed in all subjects of theology and then start the work of Makhdoom Ashraf’s mission. For this he joined Jamia Naimia. He began to teach middle books of Nezamia. But he could not continue it for long and left teaching work.

His father Maulana Syed Mohammad Mukhtar Ashraf, as head of the Khanqah Ashrafia Hasania, was facing cases lodged against Khanquah. Feeling his revered father’s loneliness and a number of responsibilities on his weak shoulders, Syed Izhar Ashraf left teaching and stepped into the practical field. His dynamic personality, his new way of thinking for the development of Silsila and Khanquah highly impressed his father. Seeing his capability and sincerity, he handed over full responsibility of it to him. He developed the Khanqah with lots of construction work for the followers and faithfuls who would visit it at annual Urs.

Hazrat Ashrafi Mian established Madrasa Ashrafia in Khanquah and his son Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Ashraf wished to make it the Jamia Azhar of India naming Jamia Ashraf. But his pre-mature death left his dream unfulfilled.

Syed Muhammed Izhar Ashraf convened an educational convention in 1978 in Khanquah Ashrafia Hasania and presented the programme of Jamia Ashraf. He did not wait for the construction of a building for it, the teaching started in the rooms of Khanquah Ashrafia in Shawwal 1979. The education started from Fazil class. And over the years it developed into a vast full-fledged university consisting besides all a huge Mukhtar Ashraf Library and Ashraf Hussain Museum.

He established many madrasas in different places and patronised these Madrasas to make them the central place of Sunniat and Ashrafiat. For example Madrasa Ashrafia Izhar-uloloom Machipur is a famous Madrasa patronized by him.

He had deep interest in poetry. A compilation of his Na’t, Manqabat and Ghazals has been published as Izhare Haqiqat. Syed Amin Ahsraf, former reader of English at AMU, wrote in his review of the work: “The creator of Izhare Haquiquat is desirous of knowledge of reality and eager of observation of allegiance of Mustafa (pbuh). The heart of Aarif (Holy man) is the corner where there is truth of the universe. Shaikh-e-Azam’s Naat is free of excess and deficiency and inconsistent imagination; no conflict with shariat (Revealed law) in his na’at and drowned in love of the Prophet.”

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2012 on page no. 12

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