Sh Muhammad Ashiq: Student of Shah Waliullah

Salam. Many thanks to Dr Marcia Hermansen for recently introducing me to Sh Muhammad Ashiq, the cousin of Shah Waliullah. It should be noted that Sh Muhammad Ashiq is an important first hand source regarding the life of one of the most celebrated and revered scholars of the subcontinent. Note: I have referred to Shah Waliullah at times in the post below as ‘Shah Sahib’.
He is Shah Muhammad Ashiq, the son of Shah Ubaidullah, the son of Shah Muhammad Siddiqi (Allah have mercy on all of them). He was born in the year 1110 (hijri) in Phulat in the district of Muzaffarnagar located in UP. He was a close relative of Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi, his father was the maternal uncle of Shah Walilullah, and his paternal grandfather was Shah Sahib’s maternal grandfather. He was born four years before Shah Waliullah, and his sister was married to Shah Sahib, aswell as other family connections through marriage.
Pursuit of Knowledge
He began seeking knowledge from a young age, which resulted in his studying both the outward and inward sciences with Shah Waliullah. In the year 1144 (hijri) after completing the rites of Hajj and the visitation, he alongside Shah Sahib studied in the two holy sanctuaries with scholars such as Sh Abu Tahir al-Kurdi al-Madani. They both studied with the latter works of hadith and with other scholars of the Hijaz collections such as the Sahih al-Bukhari and Sunan al-Darimi.
Allegiance Twice
Whilst a student he had taken allegiance at the hand of Shah Sahib, however for a second time in the sacred precincts of the Masjid al-Haram underneath the ‘Mizab al-Rahmah’ he pledged allegiance for a second time. It is said that in knowledge and gnosis he reached a level which was not achieved by any of Shah Sahibs other students.
Keeping in Touch
Sh Muhammad Ashiq was based in Phulat, and other than the time of his studies when he was staying in Dehli, he would often travel back and forth from his home city to visit Shah Sahib. Every year in the month of Ramadan he would come to Dehli and make retreat (itikaf) in the masjid in the company of Shah Sahib.
He was often in contact with Shah Sahib, and it could be argued took on the role of his assistant/secretary, recording some of his writings, arranging and organizing his works and preserving his letters and correspondences.
Shah Sahib described him lovingly as: ‘The dearest of brothers and esteemed friend’.
And also as: ‘The repository/vessel of my knowledge, the protector of my secrets, the reviewer of my works and the cause of most of them being written’
Sh Abu Tahir al-Kurdi al-Madani in his ijazah to Shah Sahib made mention of Sh Muhammad Ashiq describing him as: ‘He is a mirror of his perfection, and the two cheeks of his beautiful attributes’.
Shah Sahib addressing Sh Muhammad Ashiq said in a poem:
My self tells me that you have arrived
To the centre point of the furthest station
And that you are in these lands honoured
Such that you suffice from the need of any scholar or those who have drawn near
Written Works
As for his written works they include the following:
Sabil al-Rashad: Written in Persian on tasawwuf
Sharh Khayr al-Kathir: A commentary on Shah Waliullah’s work ‘Khayr al-Kathir’
Dirayat al-Asrar
Sharh Itisam al-Amin
Kashf al-Hijab
Tadhkirah al-Waqiat
Makatib Shah Waliullah
Qawl al-Jalli fi Dhikr Athar al-Wali: A biography of Shah Sahib in Persian
Passing Away
Sh Muhammad Ashiq passed away in the year 1187 (hijri). May Allah have mercy on him, Shah Waliullah, his blessed family and all those scholars who are linked to him. Ameen.
The source for this post is the booklet on the life of Shah Abd al-Aziz al-Dihlawi (p.30-31) by Khalil Ahmad Rana, who in turn quotes from the Barkati’s edition of ‘Qawl al-Jalli’ (p.12,13) and Sharif Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani’s ‘Nuzhat al-Khawatir’ (6/328,330).


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