Shaykhul Hadith Allama Nooruddin Ahmad Gohorpuri (rahimahullah): A Lighthouse of Inspiration
Shaykhul Islam Sayyid Hussain Ahmad Al Madni (rahimahullah) was the longest serving Shaykhul Hadith of the world-famous Islamic institute, Darul Uloom Deoband in India. He served as "Shaykhul Hadith" (senior lecturer of Hadith) for 32 years, and 4,200 students studied Sahih Al Bukhari and Jami' Al Tirmidhi under him. Amongst those 4,200 fortunate students was Shaykhul Hadith Allama Nooruddin Ahmad Gohorpuri (rahimahullah), who studied Hadith under him and passed the annual exam in the final year with distinction and held the first position in the class in the academic year 1950 in Darul Uloom Deoband.
While Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was in the final year, an appeal was made to Darul Uloom Deoband to send a Shaykhul Hadith to Barisal division of Bangladesh to teach Sahih Al Bukhari. Shaykhul Islam Sayyid Hussain Ahmad Al Madani (rahimahullah) sent Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) as the Shaykhul Hadith immediately after his graduation.
Consequently, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) started his khidmah of deen as a Shaykhul Hadith in Barisal and then transferred to Maymansingh (Mumin Shahi) Jamia Islamia as a Shaykhul Hadith. After serving in these two districts for six years, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) then came back to his own district, the well known religious capital of Bangladesh, Sylhet.
In 1957, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) opened the well known Islamic institute of Bangladesh, Jamia Islamia Hussainia Gohorpur in his locality. Normally, institutes are started from basics to higher levels, but Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) unusually started his madrasa from the final class, known as "Dawra-e Hadith", and gradually opened the lower classes.
Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was born in April 1925. After receiving primary and secondary education in Sylhet, he was admitted to Darul Uloom Deoband by his teacher, Shaykhe Bhagha Allama Bashiruddin (rahimahullah), who was the most senior Khalifa (disciple) of Shaykul Islam Madni (rahimahullah). After graduating from Darul Uloom Deoband in 1950, he served as the Shaykhul Hadith for many madaris in Bangladesh for 55 years continuously until his demise.
Since 1957, he served as the Muhtamim (principal) of Jamia Gohorpur and many other Madaris in Bangladesh until April 2005 when he passed away. Jamia Gohorpur is the well known institute which has produced many of the senior muhaddithun of Bangladesh. Many of the madaris throughout Bangladesh and specifically in Sylhet have their Hadith teachers who are graduates of Jamia Gohorpur.
In spirituality (Tasawwuf), Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) had taken bai'at to Shaykhul Islam Madni (rahimahullah) and was spiritually trained by him. However he received his Ijazah in spirituality from Maulana Habibur Rahman Shaykhe Raipuri (rahimahullah), who was the disciple of Shaykhul Islam Madni (rahimahullah). Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) had very strong bond with Maulana Bashiruddin Shaykhe Bhagha (rahimahullah), Allama Mushahid Ali Shaykhe Bayampuri (rahimahullah), Maulana Lutfur Rahman Shaykhe Baruni (rahimahullah), Maulana Sayyed Abdul Khalique Shaykhe Syedpuri (rahimahullah), Maulana Abdul Mateen Shaykhe Fullbari (rahimahullah), Maulana Badre Alam Shaykhe Renga (rahimahullah), Maulana Abdul Karim Shaykhe Kauria (rahimahullah), Shaykhul Hadith Allama Azizulhaq (rahimahullah) and many other spiritual mentors who were direct students and deciples of Shaykhul Islam Madni (rahimahullah). [Note: In Bangladesh all the Mashaikh who have Ijazah in tasawwuf are titled as "Shaykh" and referred towards their locality such as Maulana Habibur Rahman "Shaykhe Raipuri".]
In Islamic politics, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was affiliated with Jamiate Ulama-e Islam of East Pakistan and he participated in the general election of 1970 from this party and had a very strong contest with General Ataul Ghani Usmani. However he lost the contest only for 250 votes.
After formation of Bangladesh in December 1971, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) did not take part in any practical politics, but he was always practising as a guardian for all the mainstream Islamic political parties of Bangladesh, such as Jamiate Ulama-e Islam, Bangladesh khilafat Andulan and Bangladesh Khilafat Majlis etc, and he supported all the Islamic movements.
In 1996, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was selected as the chairman of the largest Madrasa education board in Bangladesh, Wifaqul Madaris, and he served as the chairman of this board for two terms until he passed away in 2005.
My Memories of Shaykhul Hadith Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah)
- First time I saw Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was in 1985 when I was very young. Since then every time I met him I saw him with the 'Imamah (turban) which was a permanent Sunnah of our beloved prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).
- It was well known amongst people that no one could compete in giving salam to Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah). As a sunnah he would always say salam to people first which I have experienced several times. He would say salam from far distance before someone could even think of saying salam to him.
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was given a lot of ru'b (respect) by Allah the Almighty. Due to this ru’b, many of the senior scholars would feel afraid talking to him. This is also from the sunnah of our beloved prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) which he said in a Hadith of Sahih Al Bukhari as
"نصرت بالرعب مسيرة شهر".
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was very famous for his ruqyah treatment which is proven from the Sunnah and many people benefited from him. As his kiramaat, many insane people became sane with his treatment with the will of Allah.
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was very rich and generous. He used to spend on masajid, madaris and poor people wholeheartedly. When our Jamia Islamia Birmingham was dreamt, he gave £100 as a donation towards the cost of the six authentic books of Hadith.
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) came to England in 1990. As the friends of Allah they are always careful regarding people's faith and practice. In England, may Allah forgive, very less people attend for Fajr Salah. After observing this common shortcoming he addressed my father Maulana Abdulaziz sahib and said, “are only 4 salahs fardh in England?", inquiring why people do not attend for Fajr Salah.
- He paid his second visit to England in 1996. While addressing in a conference in Birmingham Central Mosque, he said:
“Sins are root causes for all kind of illness. Refrain from sins, there will be no illness".
- He paid his third visit to England in 2001. The 9/11 had happened at that time. It was a very difficult time then. Everyone was afraid to say or do anything. A death like silence was dominating every aspect of life. Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) broke that silence, showed his spiritual power and encouraged everyone to be steadfast. He proclaimed very clearly in an open conference in London and said:
"America, don't go over the limit with your wrong doings. Just because you are a super power, it does not mean you can do everything. Remember, you are a zero power in the eyes of Allah. Almighty Allah may order the water of Atlantic Ocean and America's land may wipe out from the map of the world".
These strong words of Iman from Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) worked as bullets to strengthen people's iman.
- I still remember that in that visit he addressed in our Masjid at Ralph Rd. After the speech, while he was resting in the office, I offered him some Coke to drink. He refused drinking it by saying, "when I went to Hajj in 1956, I heard from the people there saying, this coca cola company is from Yahud. Since then I have never drunk Coke in my life". Subhanallah! How amazingly steadfast he was!
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) paid his fourth and final visit to England in 2002. He participated in the opening ceremony after the renovation work of our first madrasa, Jamia Qur'ania, Ralph Rd, Saltley, Birmingham. He made dua for the institute and urged everyone to open a complete Dawra-e Hadith madrasa. He gave £100 as a donation and said he will come to teach Sahih Bukhari. However, it was only an inspiration; Jamia Islamia Birmingham's building was purchased in 2004 and in April 2005 he passed away with the decree of Allah the Almighty.
- In this final visit, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) called my father Maulana Abdulaziz sahib as his "Bura Shagird" (most senior student) and insisted everyone to be in touch with him as my father was only three years younger than he was.
- During that visit, Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was 77 year old and was fairly ill and weak. It was summer in England. Days were long and nights were short. Subhanallah! Whatever the situation is, the friends of Allah always find comfort in worshiping Allah. He would wake up at 1:30 at night to pray Tahajjud. I observed him personally, as he was staying in our house and my father appointed me to assist him.
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah), despite being a very highly respected person, would always fulfil his tasks by himself. He would not have any servant or khadim. Many a time, he would walk to the destination carrying his own bags. It was remarkable that whenever he would attend a conference, he would carry his sandals under his armpits and place them under the chair. Subhanallah! What a simple life it was! In the Hadith it is stated:
"ألاإن البذاذة من الإيمان"
“Verily simplicity is from Iman.”
- Allama Gohorpuri's (rahimahullah) students would pay very much tribute to him, which is very rare nowadays. I remember an incident from my childhood. Once I went to Gohorpur Madrasa Bazar with my brother in law. After Asr people normally do shopping in that Bazar. The senior student of Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah), Maulana Mukhlisur Rahman Qiyampuri Sahib, was buying some "Pan leaves" from a shop. As soon as he saw Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah), his body started shaking and he was hiding behind the shop. Allahu Akbar! What a great respect for the Shaykh!
- Shaykhul Hadith Allama Azizulhaq (ra), who was a very close friend of Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah), made a very high comment regarding him. He said, “how big wali Allama Gohorpuri was; it's beyond the measure”.
- Allama Gohorpuri (rahimahullah) was a great Shaykhul Hadith, a senior Shaykh of Tasawwuf, a lecturer who has left many legacies behind - thousands of students and many disciples who will continue his mission. He was very famous for his karamat (miracles).
- He left this world in April 2005. His funeral prayer was one historical event in the recent history of Bangladesh where many thousands of people attended. His only son and successor, the current principal of Jamia Gohorpur, Maulana Muslehuddin Raju led his Janazah prayer and he was buried by his local Masjid in the presence of thousands of students. My father, who was in Bangladesh at that time and had attended his Janazah, said, “I have never seen such a crowded Janazah in my life”.
May Allah the Almighty elevate his rank in the hereafter and grant the Ummah a great scholar and Shaykh like him!
Shaykh Faizulhaq Abdulaziz
Lecturer of Hadith, Jamia Islamia Birmingham