Siddeeq Hasan Khan’s Epic Hajj Journey From the Year 1868CE – Part I

 

الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد

 

Recounting his journey[1] when performing the Hajj; Al-‘Allaamah Siddeeq Hasan Khan[2] (rahimahullaah) said:

 

I set off on Monday; twenty seven days into the month of Sha’baan in the year one thousand two hundred and eighty five after the Hijrah – salaat and salutation be upon its companion, following the dhuhr prayer from the station of my point of departure; ‘Bhopal’ – upon a wing of safety, seeking to become enriched by every benefit and nobility – intending to perform the Islamic Hajj to the ‘Baytillaah Al-Haraam’. I arrived after traversing seven way stations on the eighth day – at the (railway) line of the steam train known as ‘Al-Babur’, so I loaded my baggage onto it and journeyed on-board it for a day and a night. Then I descended at the city of Mumbai; and it is the sea port which is utilized by the pilgrims, and so I remained there awaiting an opportunity for passage.

Therefore in preparation, the voyage increased by twelve days; and then on Thursday the ninth of Ramadhaan; shortly before the time for ‘Asr I boarded a vessel named: ‘Fath As-Sultaan’, and so they raised the anchor of the ship on that day – with the promising signs of success and serenity. The wind on that day was favourable, and the vessel therefore sailed for approximately sixty stages of journey – then the wind settled – and hence the vessel became motionless on the surface of the sea which was as though it were an incessant pond – hence it would not move.

It was as though it was still waters, and for its traveling party it was a miserable discomfort. This continued until the third day came to pass in this condition – and the forbearing state of the people of the vessel became set-apart. So when they despaired of its movement; they secluded themselves in private consultation and sealed this aayah:

لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

((There is none worthy of worship except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrong-doers.)) (Al-Anbiyaa: 87)

 

How is that and yet Allaah said after it:

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُنجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

((And We saved him from the distress. And thus do We deliver the believers.)) (Al-Anbiyaa: 88)

 

ship

So from its blessing the wind took breath and the discomfort and torment departed, that was during the night of Sunday the twelfth of Ramadhaan – and on this night I saw in a dream as though I was embracing lotus trees – some of its tress and that I was picking its fruits from it; whilst its fruit was good and precious. Adored by the heart of every healthy one and tardy, and so I interpreted the dream as: reaching the objective and the attainment of what was intended from the land of the Arabs.

The passengers onboard the vessel numbered around three hundred people; and ablution and bathing was performed by that salty water, as for drink – then the people of the vessel had brought fresh water along with them from Mumbai. Pimples formed in the nostrils due to the intense saltiness of the sea water; and that brought about fever of the body, consequently I ate for three days or two and completed the rest of Ramadhaan on board the ship in calmness and tranquility. There had been gathered for me in this journey the voyage for the Hajj as well as the fasting of Ramadhaan, and thus; two forms of worship were completed for us in it.

On the seventeenth of this month since the day we departed Mumbai I passed Asqutar (Socotra) ‘Aden and the Iskander gate (Iskander’s Strait/Eastern Strait). So the ship dropped its anchor at the shore of Hudaidah (Yemen); for we saw nothing from Mumbai to this point due to the hardships of travel and downcast nature of the populace.

During my time on the ship I wrote by hand the book: Saarim Al-Mankee ‘alaa Nahr Ibn As-Subkee of Al-Haafidh Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisee in a mid-sized volume – and so I did not allow the duration of my time aboard the ship to go by in idleness. Disembarkation at Al-Hudaidah was on Sunday the twenty sixth of Ramadhaan; and so I stayed at the home of Al-Qaadhee Hussain bin Muhsin and Shaikh Zainul ‘Aabideen – may Allaah, The Most High, safeguard them both – and may He reward them both with good on The Day of Recompense.

I remained here for twelve days revising the books of Hadeeth and writing by hand what I could from them, I did not go to the Mosques except to perform the five daily prayers due to my being busied with seeking knowledge. So the news spread that the moon for Shawwaal had been sighted at Al-Hudaidah, on the twenty eighth of Ramadhaan – in our estimation – being the people of the ship. Thus cannon were fired to announce that it was Eid; and we were surprised by that and therefore we enquired regarding it and it was said: ‘today is the twenty ninth day’ – however we did not see it despite profundity of vision and careful examination.

I prayed the Eid prayer along with the people of the land, and so the morning of Wednesday which had in our estimation been the twenty ninth was spent at the prayer ground. The Imaam and Khateeb on that day was a righteous old man called: ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ash-Shaafi’ee, whilst the ruler of the land was Ahmad Pasha At-Turki who was also present at the prayer ground.

So during the days of residence in this city I gifted copies of my book: ‘Al-Hittah fee Dhikr as-Sihhaah as-Sittah’ to its scholars as well as to the people of knowledge residing at Muraada’ah and Baitul-Faqeeh and other than them. All of them took favourably to it and supplicated for its author. Shaikh ‘Alee bin ‘Abdillaah; the commentator of Al-Bukhaaree (may Allaah safeguard him) said to me when he met me: ‘the presence of the likes of you in this time is from the blessings of Allaah, The Most High – if only they could comprehend.’

I enlightened ardently over the treatises of As-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Ameer at the time of embarking from Hudaidah for observation and copying, so from them were those that I looked at and benefitted from and from them were those that I copied and transcribed. Then after seeking knowledge I boarded the vessel on the tenth of Shawwaal from Hudaidah, and I remained upon it awaiting the anchors being raised, whilst with me onboard the vessel was Shaikh Hussain Al-Hussaam. Thus; up to three days we remained revising and conferring upon knowledge and its people and its sources and its location.

So on Tuesday the fourteenth of Shawwaal in the morning they raised the anchor of the ship, and so the total duration of the stay at Hudaidah under this calculation along with the days spent on board the vessel came to eighteen days. I spared no exertion in this activity and of the days of blessing in regards to attaining beneficial knowledge – and the good is on-going.

When the vessel departed from Hudaidah; the wind settled for three days – and so the vessel did not move a pace from the point at which it had come to a halt. After that the wind began to blow in gales; and at that time the Hajj was drawing ever closer – whilst clouds gathered and the rain fell in the night; and so the vessel returned retracing itself and sailed into other than its correct course.

We remained in this state on the sea for days; crushed by adversity from reaching what was hoped for, hoping from Allaah to attain what was asked for; despite the fact that Jeddah from Al-Hudaidah is a week’s journey – no more – even for a slow trek. However; our vessel did not arrive there until after around a month; and as such the earth – in-spite of its vastness – became constricted for us, from the protracted length of travelling and the incompatible nature of the winds and the shortage of food and drink – such that I contented myself for a day and night with a mouthful of water and some morsels of rice which were not mixed with anything from cooking butter or condiment.

The souls had virtually reached the collar-bones during those days; and so the hands were raised high to the heavens (in supplication) and the eyes and ears were as though they were set upon a path of the advent of favourable wind and setting sight on the objective: Jeddah. Allaah heard the call of these despaired ones; and so a favourable wind picked up for us sent by The Lord of creation for up to two days. It was – in no untruth – weak in the extreme, however it got the vessel out from the junction of seamounts immersed under water – to the shore of success.

On the Saturday whilst still upon the vessel we witnessed the moon of Dhil-Qa’dah; and on the third day after it the wind gained a little more strength – and the vessel sailed forth.

On Tuesday the fourth of Dhil-Qa’dah in the aforementioned year after the Morning Prayer; we bathed and assumed the ihraam for the ‘Umrah along with the intention for the tamattu’ from the parallel adjacency of ‘Yalamlam’.[3] That which we had encountered before from anguish and pains left us, and thus we raised our voices in uttering the talbiyah and we purified our intents and actions solely for Allaah, the happiness which we yielded upon assuming this ihraam; then it cannot be elucidated by pens.

In this circumstance when we neared Jeddah at night, the vessel moored near some rocks under water – and so the ship’s master became alarmed by it with grave unease and therefore the sails of the ship were tied to the masts, and the heavy loads were lightened from it. Every cautionary arrangement imaginable was put into practice; and so the vessel was anchored in its place at once.

The seamen descended to the nearest boats in order to investigate the true state of affairs; and accordingly sailed alongside next to the vessel – and it was then that they came to know that had the vessel sailed forth just a little; it would have struck the rocks. So this night passed for the passengers in the most extreme agitation, and hence that night was sealed with the seeking of forgiveness and purifying the intention and repenting whilst the kalimah ash-Shahaadah was upon the tongues and the people surrendered themselves for death.

 

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[1] This account is taken from the addendum of the well known work: Rihlatus Siddeeq ilaa Balad Al-Ateeq (also known as: Rihlatus Siddeeq ilaa Baitil ‘Ateeq – in some editions) with slight abridgement from the original work.

[2] He was: Abu Al-Tayyib Siddeeq Hasan Khan Al-Bukhaaree Al-Qinooji, one of the renown scholars of India, he was born in the year 1248H (1832CE) in the city of Bareli and then his family moved to Qinooj. When he reached the age of six, his father passed away and so his upbringing was then undertaken by his mother. He spent his early years studying under his mother, he studied in a variety of subjects before he moved to Kanpur where he continued to study the knowledge of the religion in more detail. He again travelled and so moved to Delhi where he studied under some of the scholars there including its Mufti Shaikh Sadr ud-Deen Khan and many others, he studied the sciences of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and he had an ardent desire in acquiring books and seeking benefits from them, in particular the books of Tafseer and Hadeeth and Usool. After this time he took work in different locations before coming to Bhopal where he continued studying, he studied with Shaikh Zainul ‘Aabideen Al-Hudaidi – the Mufti of Bhopal at that time, he studied some books of hadeeth with him such as: Saheeh Muslim and At-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah and An-Nasaa-ee. He likewise studied the books of hadeeth under Shaikh Hussain bin Muhsin Al-Ansaaree under whom he studied Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree and Muwatta and Sunan Abee Dawood and other works. He also spent his time in authorship and compiling books and went on to marry and settle in Bhopal. He continued until he later married the monarch of Bhopal; Shah Jahan Begum and became known as ‘Nawab’ (prince consort); and so he exerted his efforts in spreading knowledge and printing religious books and spending vast sums in disseminating the knowledge of the religion. He would spend a great deal of his time writing books and as a result he authored numerous books which were printed and disseminated in various countries. He died in the year 1307H (1889CE) – rahimahullaah. (See: Ad-Deenul Khaalis vol 1 – intro, and Husn al-Uswah p.9-11, and Dhafr al-Laadhi p.12-14)

[3] The Meeqaat of the people coming from Yemen and the southern regions.

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