''Success is surely achieved by him who purifies himself"(Surah Al-A'ala:14)
Hadhrat Shaikh Moulana Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi), the Shaikh of
Hadhrat Shaikh Yusuf Ahmed Naqshbandi Mujaddedi D.B.
Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) was born on the 28th Jumada al-'Ula 1339AH, which is the 7th February 1921, in Lajpur, Gujarat, India. He started his elementary Islamic education in his home town at the age of 8, and started the memorisaton of the Holy Qur'an at the age of 10, finishing in two years time at the age of 12. At the age of 13 he then started his 'Alimiya course in the month of Shawwal 1335AH/January 1935, at the renowned madrasah Jamiyah Islamiyah, in Dabhel, India. He completed his studies in Sha'ban 1364AH/July 1945 in this madrasah, except for one year in between during which he studied in Jami'ah Husainiyah in Rander, India.
During his time in Dabhel he was blessed to have great luminaries as his teachers. He studied the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari under Mufti Muhammad Shafi' Uthmani (Rahamtullahi 'alaihi) and Moulana Shamsul Haq Afghani (rahmatullahi 'alaihi); At-Tirmidhi under Moulana Zafar Ahmad Thanwi (rahmatullahi 'alaihi); Mishkat-al-Masabih and Jalalayn under Moulana Badr 'Alam Mirthi (rahmatullahi 'alaihi). He then went on to further enhance his education in Darul 'Uloom Deoband, where he studied Sahih Al-Bukhari again under Shaikh-al-Islam Moulana Husain Ahmad Madani (rahmatullahi 'alaihi). He then studied Tafsir of Qur'an under Shaikh At-Tafsir Moulana Ahmad Ali Lahori (rahmatullahi 'alaihi).
After finishing his education, he returned to his home town, Lajpur, and started as an Imam in his local Masjid. He then travelled to Madagascar in 1952 and settled there, serving the Deen of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) for 21 years, until he arrived in the UK in 1973. He served as the Imam in Masjid Noorul Islam in Blackburn until he retired in 1988 due to weakness and old age. He also taught at Darul 'Uloom Bury from 1978-1988, without any remuneration.
Status in Academics:
He was both pious and knowledgeable. His level of Knowledge can be gauged from the fact that after his graduation he spent many years without having had the opportunity to teach Higher Islamic sciences. As it is common knowledge that after graduation in any field, if a long span of time was to pass by without practicing in that field, the graduate somewhat loses touch with the sciences learnt. However, Shaikh Moulana Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) despite such a lengthy gap between graduation and the opportunity to teach, taught these difficult subjects and satisfied his students.
Hadhrat Shaikh Moulana Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) was in his nineties at the time of his demise, and Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) had blessed him with a life of unimaginable piety and steadfastness. He has mentioned that before he met his Shaikh, the esteemed Late Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi), he had not much knowledge of him. Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) said that until his bai't with Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab he had been desperately searching for a Shaikh-e-Kaamil for his Islaah. One particular time in Makkah Mukarramah Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) out of desperation cried profusely while making du'a in front of Allah: "Ya Allah! Grant me the opprtunity to meet a Shaikh-e-kaamil so that through his Tawajjuhaat my inner deeds be rectified".
He knew of India's many prominent Mashaaikh for whom he had much admiration. In Madinah Munawwarah he also several times met his teacher Hadhrat Moulana Badr 'Alam Mirthi (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) and had good contact with him through letter correspondence. Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab's (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) intention was to take bai't with his teacher Hadhrat Moulana Badr 'Alam Mirthi Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) but before that opportunity arose his teacher passed away.
There after, once Hadhrat Moulana Masih-Ullah Khan (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) while visiting Madagascar, Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) appproached him and requested if he would be given the opprtunity to take bai't with the Moulana and also explained his spiritual state to him by writing in a letter. However, he still did not get the advantage of taking bai't with the Moulana (rahmatullahi 'alaihi).
Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) then again went for Hajj where he met Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) and there at the Haramain he asked Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) to make du'a for him. Then after mutual dicussion he invited Pir Ghulam Habib sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) to Reunion, Madagascar, for Tablighi Da'wah. Accepting the invitation, Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) then went to Madagascar for the Da'wah work during which Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) had the opportunity to observe, and witness the Shaikh (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) conveying the message of Islam with proper Ikhlas (sincerety) without any ostentation or greediness which before he has had observed in many Ulema. This very much impressed Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmed Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) and left a great impact on him for which reason he then finally took the bai't with Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab (Rrhmatullahi 'alaihi).
He attained Khilafah from the esteemed late Hadhrat Shaikh Ghulam Habib Sahab (rahmatullai 'alahi) during Hajj in 1974, and from Shaikh Moulana Abrar Ahmad Dhulyavi (rahmatullahi'alaihi), who was the Khalifah of Qari Muhammad Tayyib (rahmatullahi 'alaihi).
His 'Ibaadah (worship):
Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmad Wadee sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) was an embodiment of steadfastness, a true and dedicated Muslim who was always connected to the Masjid. He had true love for the Qur'an and for standing Salah for long durations. He would pray Salah in the Masjid to great lengths and whilst reciting the Qur'an in his Salah when he would specifically arrive at the Ayats of Allah's mercy or punishment he would be in the state of such Wajd that it would not be realised when and how he had moved from the first Saf to the second Saf (row), or the first Saf to the third Saf, and so forth. He was extremely punctual in his Tahajjud prayers, reciting 10 to 12 Juz' daily, which he increased to 15 in the later stages of his life. This meant that he would complete approximately one recitation of the Holy Qur'an every day, incuding the portins he would read in other Nawafil prayers and otherwise.
In the winter he would go to the Masjid before Dhuhr and return after 'Isha. He would remain engaged in 'Ibaadah. He would stand in Qiyaam for hours. People would come to visit him but had to wait for lengthy period of time due to his such lengthy Salah.
Salah with Jama'ah:
Whilst he was the Imam at the Masjid, he did not miss a single Salah during the fifteen years, and even after retiring in 1988, for a full twenty years before his illness in 2008 did not miss a single Takbir at-Tahrimah (the first Takbir of Salah).
Once during the period after 2008, he arrived late into the Masjid and missed one Rak'ah. He stood in Qiyaam of that one Rak'ah for so long that the Masjid emptied. When he finished, he was asked regarding his lengthy Qiyaam, to which he replied, 'Today I missed one Rak'ah, so recited two and a half Juz', and reprimanded the nafs saying, "Even at this old age, you still cannot arrive on time for Salah?"' This was when he was approximately 80 years old.
By the time of his demise Hadhrat Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmad Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) had more than 23 "Khulafa" (Representatives) serving the Deen during his life time and to carry on his work after his demise.
Demise and Funeral:
Hadhrat Shaikh Ismaeel Ahmad Wadee Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi) breathed his last on Monday, the 6th of Muharram, coinciding the 19th of November 2012, when the Adhan of Maghrib Salah was being called out. Before 'Asr at the Masjid Noorul Islam, Blackburn, where he before was the Imam, the Salah-al-Janaaza was led by the son of Hadhrat Pir Ghulam Habib Sahab (rahmatullahi 'alaihi), Shaikh Moulana Abdur Raheem (Hafidhahullah), and was attended by hundreds of people including leading personalities from all over the UK. Finally, he was laid to rest just before Maghrib Salah in Blackburn cemetery.