Biography of Hazrat Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA)
Hazrat Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA) was born in 1293 AH in Azamgarh. He spent most of his life in Phulpur and thus became known as ‘Phulpuri.’ His father sent him to Jaunpur, India to start his religious education. He started his studies under Maulana Abu Al-Khair Makki, son of Maulana Sakhawat Ali, who was the Khalifah of Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (RA). Two years later, he studied under Maulana Sayyid Ameenuddin Naseerabad. He then went to Jami’ul Uloom Kanpur and completed his studies. After graduating, he decided to become bay’at to Hazrat Thanwi (RA). He started teaching in Madrasah Arabiah Sitapur for some time, then went to Jaunpur and taught as the Sadr Mudarris for five years. It was during this time that he presented himself in the service of Hazrat Thanwi (RA) and formally started on the path of sulook. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) went to Sara-e-Meer, Azamgarh where Hazrat Thanwi (RA) had to deliver a lecture. It was then in the Eid-Gah (plane where the Eid Salat is prayed) where Hazrat Thanwi (RA) had granted Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA) Khilafat. Before that had occurred in 1336 AH Hazrat Thanwi (RA) had advised him to establish a madrasah, Raudhat-ul-Uloom in Phulpur. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) himself had laid the foundation for this institute. Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA) had founded another madrasah in Sara-e-Meer by the name of Bait-ul-Uloom in 1340 AH. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) had accepted to supervise this madrasah as well. In order maintain this madrasah, Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA) would travel five miles to and from his home in Phulpur to Sara-e-Meer. He would take his own flour and salt and would not even take a salary. Solely for the pleasure of Allah, he would travel ten miles everyday. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) used say regarding his simplicity, “Maulana Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA) Masha Allah is like a soldier and is very competent. Setting his ‘ilmi and ‘amali achievements aside, one would not be able to tell just by looking at him that he is someone of great caliber.”
From the very beginning, Hazrat Phulpuri had a great interest in jihad and striving in the path of Allah. For this very reason, he had acquired military training on how to be a soldier. He even taught some ‘Ulamaa in Thanabhawan how to fight with a staff. On seeing his talent in this field, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) would remark with joy, encouragement and enthusiasm saying, “Our Molvi Abdul Ghani alone is enough to face an army of a thousand men, and if we ever were in need of an army, then our army is in Azamgarh” (referring to Hazrat Phulpuri by referring to Hazrat Phulpuri’s place of residence).
Hazrat Phulpuri’s nature would change upon seeing things being done contrary to the teaching of Islam, and he would immediately rectify the wrong without any hesitation. Once someone complained to Hazrat Thanwi (RA) regarding Hazrat Phulpuri’s (RA) temper and Hazrat Thanwi (RA) replied, “Amongst our men, we require someone of this sort, otherwise the enemy would devour us.”
The level of his zuhd and taqwa was such that he would have his clothes washed at home, and if his clothes had to be sent to the washman for laundry, then he would wash them himself again upon their return and wear them after they had dried. He would thereafter say, “This is not my fatwa (in reference to the clothes being washed a second time). I have a special relationship with Allah. If I go against this, then my tongue does not move when I make zikr. I make this arrangement to supervise my own nafs.”
The special status that he had with Hazrat Thanwi (RA) can be highlighted in the following example: Once Hazrat Phulpuri (RA) wrote to Hazrat Thanwi (RA) to seek permission (as was Hazrat Thanwi’s (RA) custom that permission be sought) to come to visit him in Thanabhawan. In his reply, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) wrote, “Your arrival is a means of hundreds of happiness.” Similarly, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) once wrote, “What is the meaning of permission; rather it is a yearning that I have to meet you.”
Once Hazrat Phulpuri (RA) came to Thanabhawan unannounced. At that time, Hazrat Thanwi was resting. Upon seeing him, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) out of joy rose up, walked many steps, hugged him, and said, “An unexpected and unanticipated blessing has arrived.”
In any case, Hazrat Phulpuri occupied a special place in the heart of his Shaikh, Hazrat Thanwi (RA), and had a special bond and a relationship of mutual love with him. Besides teaching, and making an effort for the reformation of the masses, he had authored a few books, namely, Ma’rifat-e-Ilaahiyah, Ma’iyat-e-Ilaahiyah, Siraat-e-Mustaqeem, Baraaheen-e-Qaati’ah, and many others.
Hazrat Phulpuri (RA) passed on to the mercy of Allah on August 12, 1963, and is buried in Paposhnagar, Karachi, Pakistan.
We pray that Allah fill his grave with noor. Aameen!