Hadhrat Sheikhul Hadith Moulana Zakariyya Kandhlawi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) writes in Aap Beti,


“I have seen my elders being very meticulous in their tasks, and being very punctual in adhering to their programmes. In Ashrafus Sawanih, Moulana Thanwi is quoted as saying, “One can only adhere to one’s regulated routine when he does not become swayed by character or politeness and performs every task at its appointed time.

Hadhrat Thanwi’s Ustaadh, visited him at a time when he was busy writing a kitaab. Hazrat Thanwi did everything to make Hazrat’s visit comfortable. When it came to that hour, when he normally sat down to write, he said, “Hazrat, at this time I sit down to write something. If you should permit me, then I will for a short while go and write and then return to you.”

Hazrat Maulana replied, “By all means, go ahead. Do not allow my presence to disturb or deter you.”

On that day Hazrat Thanwi did not really feel like writing. However he did not allow himself to skip his routine, lest that deprives him of blessings. He went to write for a short while and then came back.

(Moulana Zakariyya Rahmatullahi Alaihi writes further) A similar incident also happened to me while visiting Hazrat Thanwi. I do not know if I have it written down in ‘Aap Beti’ or not. Among my bad habits was this one, when it was time for writing during the morning hours, I would not stop for anyone, except at the arrival of Hazrat Madani, Hazrat Raipuri or my late uncle.

One day Hazrat Raipuri visited me. After I had served tea, I sat down very joyfully to converse with him. After about an hour I suddenly started feeling a tremendous pain in my head, which was so severe that I could hardly sit up. I got up and said to him: “Hazrat I will be back just now.”

He surely must have perceived what was wrong through kashf, and asked: “Where are you going?”

I replied: “I will be back just now” and left.

I went upstairs to the room where I did my writing and sat down to write. Within a few minutes the pain vanished without a trace. Then I went back. Hazrat again insisted that I tell him the reason for my sudden departure, so I told him.

Then Hazrat told me, it is for this reason that I asked you so many times where you were going. I have told you many a time, not to be disturbed in your work when I arrive, because very often discarding your fixed routine causes bodily harm. This happens to all of us. This is why the elders were very diligent in sticking to their routines. I have found my elders being very particular about this. I have seen how my father made his special students draw up time-tables for studies, meals, classes etc., and abide by the times laid down. They had to draw up the programme and show it to him. If there was any need for improvement or change, he would suggest it. Then he would insist that it be followed strictly and even supervised.

‘Tazkirah-e-Khaleel’ states that there are numerous incidents illustrating the fact, of how my Hazrat Moulana Khaleel used to be punctual and regular in his routine, so much so, that it became second nature to him. No problem, no matter how great, could sway or cause him to deviate from it. How much more was he not in his attendance at classes, which was his major activity. Here his regularity and punctuality rubbed off on the whole madrasah. So much so that without having to supervise and stand over teachers, everyone was at his best and doing his required duty.

Hazrat wanted every Ustaadh to have such a teaching schedule, that a certain amount was taught monthly, finishing the syllabus over the period of one year comfortably, without having to hurry and race through the work at the end of the year, with the students understanding nothing.

Hazrat Thanwi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) said, “My times are worked out so that it includes every hour of the day, so much so that if five minutes are lost anywhere, it causes me harm and throws my whole day’s tasks out. Many people on seeing me sitting in my study doing some work after Magrib would come and sit down, thinking it was time of Majlis (gathering), but regrettably I had asked them to leave me with these words, “This is not jalsah time.” I always considered these issues and then fixed a special time for all of them, so as to not cause difficulty to anyone.

Hence, what better time was there for those involved in zikr and in spiritual exercises than after Asr, when they could forward their queries and after speaking or listening to me, revert to their zikr. For it was not done at that time, then it was very difficult to find another time for solitude and zikr”

Reference : Aap Beti (Autobiography of Kutbul Aktaab Shaikhul Hadith Moulana Zakariyya Kandhlawi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi), Vol 6 pg 72 – Selected portions)

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