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Muhammad Ilyas al Kandhlawi
--: Biography of Muhammad Ilyas al Kandhlawi :--


Hazrat Maulana Ilyas was born in 1885 in a small town in the United Province of British India in a family of religious scholars. His father, Mawlana Mohammad Ismail, spent his life with worship, dhikr, attending to the needs of the travelers, teaching the Qur'an and giving instruction in Islamic faith. Like all other children in the family, Maulana Ilyas began his education in the maktab, and, according to the family tradition, learnt the Qur'an by heart. The learning of the Qur'an was so common in the family that in the one-and-a-half row of worshippers in the family mosque, there was not a single non-Hafiz except the muezzin.
In 1893, his elder brother, Mawlana Mohammad Yahya, went to live at Gangoh with Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Mawlana Ilyas used to live with his father at Nizamuddin, and, sometimes, with his maternal grandfather’s family at Kandhla. At Nizamuddin, his education was being neglected owing to the overfondness of his father and his own excessive occupation withprayers. Mawlana Yahya, thus, requested his father that as the education of Mawlana Ilyas was suffering, he might be allowed to take him to Gangoh. The father agreed – and Mawlana Ilyas came to Gangoh in 1896 or early 1897 where Mawlana Mohammad Yahya began to teach him regularly.
Once Mawlana Ilyas told his brother of severe headache after which he could not bend his head even to the extent of performing the sajdah on a pillow for months. Mawlana Gangohi's son, Hakim Masud Ahmad, who was his physician, forbade him the use of water for a long time which was unbearable to most of the patients. But with the strength of mind that was so characteristic of him, MI abided strictly by the advice of his physician and abstained from drinking water for full seven years, and, during the next five years, he drank it only sparingly.
There was little hope that he would be to resume his education after the discontinuation owing to illness. He was very keen to take it up again, but his well-wishers would not allow. He turned toKhalil Ahmad Saharanpuri for spiritual guidance and instruction, since his mentor, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, had died. Under Saharanpuri’s supervision, he completed the various stages of sulook inSaharanpur.
  Foundation of Tablighi Jamaat
At this point in his life Ilyas became aware of the "miserable Islamic situation" in the Mewat region near Delhi where the majority of Muslims were alleged to be living a life that had very little to do with Islamic teachings and practices.[ In the early 1920s, he prepared a team of youngmadrasah graduates from Deoband and Saharanpur and sent them to Mewat to establish a network of mosques and Islamic schools throughout the region.
He did not assign any name to this movement because his point of view was that, it is the duty of each and every Muslim of the world to give dawah (missionary efforts). He once said that if he had to attribute a name to his movement, it would have been Tehreek-e-Iman ("Iman movement"). The people of South Asia started calling the devotees Tableeghi. The new movement met with dramatic success in relatively short period of time, due to Ilyas' efforts. As a result many Muslims joined Ilyas’s movement to preach in every town and village of Mewat. When the first Tablighi conference was held in November 1941 in Mewat it was attended by 25,000 people, many of them had walked on foot for ten to fifteen miles to attend the conference
Ilyas's followers note his dedication to dawah over all other priorities, noting an anecdote that, when visited on his deathbed by a friend, he said to him: “People out there are burning in the fire of ignorance and you are wasting your time here inquiring after my health! 
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