Hazrat Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar (rahmatullahi alayh)
By Mufti Siraj Desai, 5 June 2013
On Sunday 22 Rajab (2 June 2013) a great luminary on the firmament of Islamic Spirituality was lost to the Ummah: Aarif Billah, Hazrat Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar sahib (rahmatullahi alayh). The passing on of this great Wali of Allah leaves yet another vacuum in the lives of Muslims that shall never be filled. Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) predicted that among the signs of Qiyaamat will be the passing away of Ulema and thereby, the removal of Knowledge from this world. I deem it appropriate to cite the hadith the whole hadith here.
“Verily Allah shall not take remove knowledge by snatching it out of the hearts of Ulema; instead knowledge shall disappear with the passing away of Ulema, until not a single Aalim will remain. Then people will take ignorant leaders (as guides). These ignoramuses shall issue iftaa without any knowledge. They will go astray and lead others astray as well.”
Aarif Billah Hazrat Moulana Shah Hakim Mohammad Akhtar (R) is arguably one of the most influential Sufi Shaikhs of current times. Hazrat’s real name is Mohammad Akhtar but he was more popularly known as Hakim Akhtar because of a degree he held in Hikmat (Eastern Medicine), although Hazrat never reportedly operated a full time clinic or medical practice. Born in 1928 in the (then) undivided India, Hazrat was raised attending regular school and studied ‘Tib’ (Oriental Medicine) at A.K. Tibiyya College, Allahabad.
Since his early ages he had a natural inclination towards Tasowwuf and the Masnawi of Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi RA. Having a strong affiliation towards the Deobandi tradition of Islamic scholars and recognizing the importance of Tariqat in his youth, he traversed the path under the guidance of Maulana Shah Mohammad Ahmed Partab Garhi (Rehmatullah Alailh), Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phoolpoori (Rehmatullah Alailh), and latterly Maulana Shah Abrarul Haq (Rehmatullah Alailh).
Hazrat spent 17 years of his youth with Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani, his spiritual mentor), in the small Indian town of Azam Garh. Hazrat completed his formal Islamic studies during his stay with his Shaikh Hazrat Abdul-Ghani (Rehmatullah Alailh). After the death of Shah Abdul Ghani (Rehmatullah Alailh) he took bayt with Maulana Shah Abrarul Haq sahib (Rehmatullah Alailh). He was granted khilaafat (authority to initiate Mureeds) by his second mentor in the Spiritual Orders of Ashrafia, Chistiyyah, Naqshbandiyah, Qadiriyah and Suharwardiyah.
Hazrat Hakim Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (ra) is the author of a large number of books on various subjects, but specialised in ‘Tasawwuf’ and the Ma’rifat or recognition of Allah Ta’ ala. His commentary on the Masnawi Shareef of Moulana Jalalud-Deen Rumi (RA.) has been hailed by great Ulama such as Moulana Yusuf Binori Saheb (RA.), Shaikh Zakaria Saheb (R.A.), Moulana Manzoor Nomani Saheb (RA.) and Moulana Shah Abrarul Haq Rehmatullah alaih (his own Shaikh), as a commentary that ignites the love of Allah Ta’ ala and that has deep effect on the hearts of the readers.
He has thousands of Mureeds in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, America, England, Canada, South Africa, Reunion and many other parts of the world. The spiritual benefit derived by those who spent some time in his company, sincerely desiring reformation, is clearly evident in their transformed lifestyles. The fact that great Ulama and many Ustaads of Hadith and Tafsir, who are themselves of a high spiritual rank, took the Bay’at at his hands, is a clear indication of his esteemed rank and profound knowledge of Deen.
Hazrat Moulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar Saheb’s (R) visited South Africa on two occasions, as well as many other countries of the world. His discourses were spiritually rejuvenating to both the young and the old, who flocked in large numbers to listen to his inspiring talks on various subjects.
Hazrat Hakeem sahib (RA) possessed mastery in composing poetry in the Urdu language that encapsulated the essence of Tasowwuf as well as other concepts of Quran and Sunnah. And that is not all; the poetry itself is inspirational and heart-rending. I believe this to be a clear sign of spiritual endowment from Almighty Allah.
May Allah Ta’ala grant him the highest stages in Paradise, and place him eternally in the realm of His Loved ones – aameen.