In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
On 8 September 2019, moments after Maghrib local Canada time, i.e. the night of 10 Muharram (around 1:30 Monday morning UK time), Muslims across the globe received the extremely sad and distressing news that the teacher/Shaykh of thousands of scholars Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlānā Muhammad Yūsuf Mutālā of the UK has departed this mortal world (We belong to Allah and we shall indeed return to Him). The respected Shaykh was on a visit to Canada and suffered a heart attack there some two weeks ago, but sadly did not survive. May Allah have mercy on his soul, grant him a high abode in Paradise and grant patience to his family and students, Āmīn.
A lot has been said and written about the Shaykh since news broke about his passing. Sadly, we humans only tend to value a bounty (ni’ma) when we lose it. The outpour of affection, sorrow and heartfelt tributes for the Shaykh from leading scholars across the globe is a clear indication of his great personality and status with Allah. He was a giant of a scholar and leader in the UK and the West. Sent by his teacher and mentor Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndahlawī (may Allah have mercy on him) to the UK during the late 60s, he established the first ever Islamic seminary in the West, namely the Dar al-Ulum in Bury (UK) in 1973. Later, many other similar institutes and Madrasas were established, both in the UK and abroad, directly by him or by those who graduated from the Bury seminary. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that literally thousands of scholars across the Western world have studied at and graduated from his institutes, and thus are his direct or indirect students. He was also a spiritual guide for many Muslims, who quenched their thirst by visiting him and staying in his company.
Al-hamdulillah, I spent around 7 years of my life (during my teens) at Dar al-Ulum Bury, graduating in 1997. Many like me grew up knowing only one Shaykh and teacher and that was him. I was blessed to travel further for studies after graduating from the Dar al-Ulum in Bury to places like Pakistan and Syria, and thus had the opportunity to study with many other scholars (shuyukh). However, the first great Shaykh in my life and someone whom I looked up to whilst growing up was none other the respected Shaykh. No words can do justice to the compassion he showed towards me, and indeed all the other students, as we grew up learning about Islam. May Allah forgive any shortcomings that may have been committed in fulfilling his rights, Āmīn.
At Dar al-Ulum (Bury), I studied Hadith (Sunan of Imam Ibn Majah) and other Islamic sciences by him from 1993 to 1996. My respected father, the pious scholar (al-Ālim aṣ-Ṣaliḥ), mentor (al-Murabbī), Shaykh Mawlānā Ādam (may Allah preserve him) – who is 83 years old, and currently resides in Leicester (UK) teaching Ḥadīth and a spiritual guide of many – enjoyed a very close relationship with the deceased Shaykh. Although my father is some ten years older than him, he would still treat Shaykh Yusuf as his superior and guide, and Shaykh Yusuf granted my father permission (ijaza) in tasawwuf/tazkiya some 20 years ago. In fact, my whole family was very close to the deceased Shaykh; my elder brother Mawlānā Aḥmad Ali was very close to him, and actually travelled with him to Canada during this final trip. He too had received ijazah in tasawwuf from him. My other brother Shaykh Imran ibn Adam also enjoyed a close relationship with the respected Shaykh.
Shaykh Muhammad Yūsuf Mutālā (may Allah have mercy on him) was a visionary and an incredibly pious and spiritual individual. The UK has truly lost a unique person whose absence will be felt in years to come. I feel his death is a pivotal moment in the history of the UK. We pray Allah Most High preserve his legacy and that his students and followers continue with his vision and work. We pray that the institutes established by him continue to function in the best of ways, Āmīn.
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
11 September, 2019