Sharh Wiqayah Awalain
Allamah abul Hasanaat molana Abdul Hai Lakhnawi
Maulana Abdul Hayy Lucknawi Firangi Mahali (1264 - 1304 A.H.) author of many famous works and a great scholar of his time, was born in Banda, India, on Tuesday 26 Zul Qada 1264 A.H (roughly on Tuesday 24 October 1848 C.E.).
He was a descendant Sayyidina Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (R.A).
His predecessors emigrated from Madinah Munawwarah to Hirat, then to Lahore, Delhi and finally to Sihala and Firangi Mahal near Lucknow. Pious and noble scholars always inhabited this locality.
Maulana Abdul Hayy began memorising the Qur'an at the age of five. He was endowed with an outstanding memory from childhood to the extent that in his own words, he remembers the time when he was once reprimanded at the age of three. He initially learnt the Quran by Hafiz Qasim Ali. Subsequently his parents relocated to Jaunpur where he continued his by Hafiz Ibraheem. He completed memorising the Quran at the age of ten. During the period of his hifz, he also studied some Persian books under his learned father.
When he turned eleven, he began his Islamic studies under his father who was at that time teaching in Jaunpur. He learnt all the books from Mizanus Sarf (Arabic Morphology) till tafsir Baydawi, qualifying at the age of seventeen. After the demise of his father, he studied some books in mathematics under his fathers tutor, Maulana Muhammad Niamatullah. (1290 A.H)
From his very childhood Maulana Abdul Hayy was endowed by Allah with the love of teaching and writing. Any book that he learnt, he taught it thereafter. As a consequence, he developed an uncanny ability in every subject. No textbook on any subject remained difficult for him to the extent that he was able to teach books he had not previously studied by any tutor like Al Isharat of Tusi, Al Ufuq Al Mubin and Qanunut Tibb etc.
He taught for a while in Hyderabad. Subsequently he left for Lucknow where he remained for the rest of his life serving Deen.
Maulana Abdul Hayy ibn Fakhruddin Nadwi (1896 - 1923), the father of Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi and the author of Nuzhatul Khawatir, narrates that he attended Maulana Abdul Hayy's Majalis (lectures) several times and found him to be an extremely intelligent, erudite, an ocean of knowledge, well acquainted with the intricacies of Shariah, to the extent that he became an internationally recognised scholar. Whenever there was any discussion with scholars, Maulana Abdul Hayy would remain silent until all the scholars had spoken and they would eventually turn to him of a decisive statement. Everyone would unanimously accept his verdict. He was one of the wonders of India and none disputed his matchless virtue.
His students were completely satisfied with his methodology. Maulana Niyamatullah, his teacher, used to extol his praises generously. Due to intense love for writing, he wrote more than a hundred books on many subjects like Arabic grammar, morphology, logic, Jurisprudence and Hadith etc.
He was offered the post of Justice after his father's demise but refused, considering the dangers of the occupation and being content with the little possessions he had. He felt that had he accepted the offer, it would have impeded his teaching and writing career.
It is also reported that he was gifted with the ability to see true dreams in which he would be given some indications. He saw Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Umar, ibn Abbas, Fatimah, Aishah, Umm Habiba and Muawiyah (radiyAllahu anhum ajmaeen). In his dreams and he also met Imam Malik ibn Anas (rah.), Shams al-Deen al-Sakhawi (rah.), Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti (rah.) and other scholars, from whom he benefited as mentioned in a separate book on this on this topic.
Manhaj of Ijtihad
One of the great bounties of Allah upon him was his excellence and compatibility with the science of Hadith and Jurisprudence of Hadith. He always chose a moderate path in issuing fatawa, accepting the view of the Jurists as long as there was adequate proof from Quran and Hadith (ijtihad). This was contrary to the then popular practice of issuing fatawa, based solely on rulings of previous jurists belonging to Hanafi School of Thought to which Maulana Abdul Hayy subscribed as well, thus making him a Mujtahid among his peers.
Status as a Muhaddith
The Mufti of Makkah, Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Zain Dahlan granted him permission for all isnad (chain of narration) from Al Hidayah of Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani as well as what he had learnt from all his teachers. Mufti Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Hanbali of Makkah, Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al- Gharbi and Sheikh Abdul Ghani Dehlwi also granted him permission for various isnad.
He died in Rabi ul Awwal 1304 A.H. (1886 C.E.) at the young age of 39 and was buried in the graveyard of his ancestors.