Knowledge is light and it is given by Allah Almighty to those whom He pleases. Praise be to Allah Almighty who sent His messenger, the final Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as a guide and mercy to all mankind. Thereafter, Allah Almighty through His grace provided the sahabah and then, through the ages, the ulama who preserved the message sent to His noble prophet until it reached us untainted. They laid the foundation upon which we build. Here is a list of some select direct or perennial teachers who have had a decisive impact.
Note! The list not intended to be comprehensive and is incomplete. The list is presented in chronological order.
Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi
One of the foremost Hanafi faqih and muhaddith in the United Kingdom. He is greatly respected amongst the ulama and his opinion is sought by the highest level in matters of din. His fatawa are principled, considered and consistently upheld. He is also a great scholar of the Quran and hadith with a critical depth and broad vision. His written works are generally comprehensive and detailed. He is a pious and stoic person with strict adherence to the sunnah. His works includeKhayrul Kalam fi Kashf Awham al-A’lam, Sahih Bukhari ka Akhri Darsand Fiqhi Jawahir. May Allah Almighty preserve him and extend his benefits.
Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
1943 – present. Shaykh al-Islam and one of the great ulama of our time.
Sh. Yunus Jawnpuri
1938-2017 CE (1355 – 1438) The great Muhaddith of our time and the Shaykh al-Hadith of Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur.
Mft. Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi
1922-2002 CE. The grand mufti of Pakistan and renowned authority in Hanafi Fiqh in his time. A god fearing person and strict traditionalist with a hard stance against bid’a. He was very well researched and his opinion and fatwa held great sway amongst the ulama. His positions were generally more cautious and closer to the classical stance of the madhhab. Amongst his work is Ahsan al-Fatawa. May Allah Almighty have mercy upon him.
Ml. Abu Hasan Nadwi
1914 – 1999 CE. Historian, linguist, and prolific author.
Qari M. Tayyab Qasimi
1897 – 1983 CE. Hakim al-Islam. Theologian, orator and activist. He served over 50 years as the rector of Darul Deoband between 1928 to 1980. Amongst his written works is Sharh Aqidat Tahawi.
Sh. M. Zakariyya Kandhalwi
1898-1982 CE. The grand muhaddith and a person of great piety. In the subcontinent, he is simply known as Shaykh al-Hadith and served in that capacity in Mazahirul Uloom between 1916 and 1969. His works and efforts have influenced a large section of the present generation of ulama and the public. His works in hadith such as Awjaz al-Masalik, Lami’ al-Darari, Kawkab al-Durri and al-Abwab Tarajim have become a staple in many madaris. He has also written many works on spiritual reform directed at the public such as Hikayat Sahabah, Shama’il and Fadha’il A’mal; the latter of which is widespread amongst the people.
Mft. M. Shafi Usmani
1897 – 1976 CE. The grand mufti and notable mufassir. Amongst his works are Imdad al-Muftiyyin, Jawahir al-Fiqh and Ma’ariful Quran.
Allm. Zafar Ahmad Usmani
1892 – 1974 CE (1310 – 1394 AH). The great alim, muhaddith-jurist, researcher, prolific writer and shaykh. He served as a teacher, Shaykh al-hadith, Mufti and Dean across the subcontinent which includes modern day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. A person of great piety and intellect with a depth of vision in fiqh and hadith. His most notable work is Ila’ al-Sunan which has become an essential supplement for those studying Hidayah. His Qawa’id fi Ulum al-Hadith is a required read in the madaris. He also wrote Inja’ al-Watan ‘an al-Izdira’ bi Imam al-Zaman, sections of Ahkam al-Quran li Thanwiand Imdad al-Ahkam.
Ml. Husain Ahmad Madani
1879 – 1957 CE. Shaykh al-Islam and notable activist.
Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi
1863 – 1943 CE. Hakim al-Ummat and Mujaddid al-Millat.
Ml. Anwar Shah Kashmiri
1875 – 1933 CE. The preeminent muhaddith of his time.
Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri
1852 – 1927 CE. The great muhaddith and faqih. The author of Bazl al-Majhud.
Ml. Mahmud Hasan Deobandi
1851 – 1920 CE. Shaykh al-Hind. The preeminent scholar of his time, a renowned educator and activist. Nearly all the great scholars of Deoband after him are his students or linked to him via his students. His work and activity had a global impact and reverberates even to this day.
Mft. Rashid Ahmad Gangohi
1826 – 1905 CE (1244 – 1323 AH). Faqih al-Ummat and one of the founders of Deoband.
Allm. Abdul Hayy Lucknawi
1848 – 1886 CE.
Ml. M. Yaqub Nanautwi
1833 – 1884 CE.
Ml. M. Qasim Nanautwi
1833 – 1880 CE. Hujjat al-Islam. The great theologian and activist. The principal founder of Deoband.
Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
1814 – 1896 CE. Shaykh al-Mashaikh.
Ml. Mamluk al-Ali Nanautwi
1789 – 1851 CE (1204 – 1267 AH). One of the great Alim of his time in Delhi and a renowned educator. He is known as ustad al-kull (teacher of all) and ustad al-ulama (teacher to the ulama) as he either directly or in some way taught the ulama who went on to influence the Islamic landscape in India the effect of which resonates to the present time globally. He is noted as a key influencer in the development of the Deoband movement which was founded by his students which include Ml. Qasim Nanautwi, Mft. Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and his son Ml. Ya’qub Nanautwi.
Allm. Ibn Abidin Shami
1783 – 1836 CE. A renowned faqih and author of Radd al-Muhtar ala Durr al-Mukhtar.
Shah Abdul Aziz Dihlawi
1746 – 1824 CE.
Shah Waliullah Dihlawi
1703 – 1762 CE.