His name is Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Yahya ibn Muhammad Isma’il. He is Shaykhul Hadith, the jurist and noble scholar, master of spiritual realties (Haqiqa) and allusions (Majaaz), the Remnant of the predecessors and splendor of the successors, caller unto the way of Allah and the blessed Imam.
He was born in the village of Kandhla in the month of Ramadhan. His family was deeply rooted in knowledge and passion for Islam and included many notable scholars. Shaykh Zakariyyas father, Shaykh Muhammad Yahya was among the great scholars of India, whose primary teacher in Hadith was Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, under whom he studied the six books. He then went on to teach at Madrasa Mazhar ‘Ulum. Due to the close relationship between Shaykh Muhammad and Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Shaykh Zakariyya quickly earned the affection of his fathers teacher. Growing up in this virtuous environment, he began to learn how to read with Hakim ‘Abdur Rahman. He memorized the Qur’an with his father at a very early age and also studied books in Persian and introductory Arabic books with his uncle, Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas (founder of Tabligh). He stayed in the company of Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi until he was eight, when the Shaykh passed away (Allah be pleased with him).
At age twelve, Shaykh Zakariyya went with his father to Mazahir Ulum. There he studied advanced Arabic and tackled many of the classical texts on Arabic grammar, morphology, literature and logic. By seventeen, his main focus had become Hadith. He studied five of the six books with his father, and then studied Sahih Bukhari and Sunan Al Tirmidhi (for a second time) with the honorable Shaykh Khalil, the Khalifa of Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Due to his piety and immense respect for hadith, he would always study in a state of Wudhu’.
At the age of nineteen, Shaykh Zakariyya’s father passed away (Allah be pleased with him). He then remained in the company of Shaykh Khalil, from whom he got authorization to narrate hadith. Before his death, Shaykh Khalil expressed his desire to write Badh Al Majhud, and sought Shaykh Zakariyyas assistance as his right-hand man. This experience revealed Shaykh Zakariyyas gift of penmanship and, furthermore, expanded his insight in the science of hadith. He worked hard on the project, attained the pleasure of his Shaykh and was even mentioned by name in the commentary. This opened the door to Shaykh Zakariyyas authoring many literary works and treatises over the course of his life. Among his works are:
Fadha’il Al Quran
Fadha’il Al Salat
Awjaz Al Masalik ila Muwatta Imam Malik
Lami Al Dirari ala Jami Al Bukhari
Al Abwab wa’l Tarajim li’l Bukhari
Juz’ Hajjat al Wida wa Umrat Al Nabi
Kahasail Nabawi Sharh Shamail Al Tirmidhi
Fadha’il Al A’maal
Fadha’il Al Sadaqat
Ikhtilaf Al Aimma
and many many more.
He soon began to teach, first at Madrasa Mazahir ‘Ulum where he taught Arabic grammar, morphology, literature aswell as Fiqh and Hadith. Shaykh Abul Hasan Nadwi says:
“Although he was one of the youngest teachers at the school, he was selected to teach works generally not assigned to those of his age, nor to anyone in the early stages of his teaching career. Nevertheless, he showed thathe was not only an able, but an exceptional leader.”
Among the works he taught were Sahih Al Bukhari and Mishkat Al Masabih.
He then travelled to the Medina, the city of Allahs Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) where he resided for one year. There he taught Sunan Abu Dawud at Madrasa Al Ulum Al Shar’iyya. Allah blessed him with the opportunity to do Hajj numerous times. He made the blessed journey with Shaikh Khalil in 1338 Ah and then again with him in 1344. Shaikh Khalil died shortly afterwards and was buried in Al Baqi’ (May Allah be pleased with him).
Shaykh Muhammad was full of piety, forbearance, truthfulness, sincerity and love for Allah and his Prophet, all the qualities that were present in his father, teachers and his grandfather, Abu Bakr Al Siddiq – Peace be upon him. His students relate that whenever the death of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was mentioned during a lecture, his eyes would swell up with tears, his voice would choke up, and he would be overcome with crying.
Shaykh Zakariyya had always hoped to meet Allah in the city of His Messenger (Allah bless him and gran thim peace). His wish was granted. He died in Madina in 1402 AH and was buried in Jannat al Baqi’, next to Shagkh Khalil and among the companions and family of the Prophet. May Allah forgive him, increase his status and make us aspire to be like him. Amin.
(Main Source: Ikhtilaf Al Aimma)