Maulana Ilyas Brother: Maulana Mohammad Yahya Kandhlawi

Maulana Mohammad Yahya Kandhlawi (Short: Maulana Yahya) was the elder brother of Maulana Ilyas’, founder of Tablighi Jamaat and the father of Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Zakariyya. Maulana Ilyas’ Father, Maulana Mohammad Ismail had 4 children.

Maulana Yahya memorised the Holy Qur’an at the age of seven and obtained religious education from Darul Uloom Deoband.

In 1893, Maulana Yahya went to live at Gangoh with Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi. Maulana Ilyas later joined him there. While there Maulana Yahywa became the ideal teacher for Maulana Ilyas.

Maulana Yahya’s Style of Teaching

Maulana Yahya’s method of teaching was original. He did not begin with teaching books in the primary stage but dictated rules of grammar to the pupils. Then, he gave them two-letter or three-letter words to conjugate and inflect. Emphasis was laid on literature from the beginning. He started with Shah Waliullah’s ‘Chahl Hadees’ and the ‘Sipara of Aam’ and said that as a Muslim child knew the ‘Sipara’ by heart, he needed not to learn the words, but only their meanings. He would, however, add that the words of Hadees and the Quran possessed a propitiousness of their own.

Maulana Yahya’s main concern was the development of the mental faculties of the pupils. He did not even care whether a book was completed or not. Generally, he gave a book, without notes and explanations, to the student to read unaided. When he was satisfied that he could read and explain a sufficient number of its pages properly, he gave him another book. It went a long way to develop the virtue of self-confidence in his pupils. 

Maulana Yahya’s business

Maulana Yahya was an industrious person. He owned a bookshop which he managed with great care. It was not only his source of livelihood but of his brothers as well.

One day, the manager of the shop said that Maulana Ilyas did not take any interest in the business which was not good for he too benefited from it. Maulana Yahya heard it, he was very angry and remarked “A tradition has it that the sustenance that reaches you and the help you receive from Allah is due to the blessedness of the weaker ones among you”. I believe that I am receiving my sustenance owing to the good fortune of this child. Nothing should be said to him in the future. If there is anything to say, it should be said to me.

Death of Maulana Yahya

Maulana Yahya passed away on Wednesday 9th August 1915. It was an extremely sad event for Maulana Ilyas. In addition to being a most affectionate brother, he was also Maulana Ilyas’ teacher and benefactor. Maulana Ilyas could not get over the shock till the end of his days. Maulana Ilyas used to get lost in thoughts and a peculiar kind of absorption took possession of him when he talked about his brother.

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