The intense dedication towards religious work and the value attached to time by Shaykh-al-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh can be gauged from the fact that on occasions the respected Shaykh rahimahullāh would not even realise that he has not eaten. It was only when some 30 hours would pass since his last meal and when the effects of hunger would begin to manifest as weakness that Shaykh-al-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh would remember that he had not had food. His commitment to his work was one of the reasons that he received the special attention of the pious.

Shaykh-al-Hadīth, Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh mentions that he and another student were studying hadīth from his father, Mawlānā Yahyā rahimahullāh. The two of them had made a pact that they would not miss a single hadīth from the teacher nor would they study a single hadīth without wudū. Now, if anyone of the two needed to be excused for a while to see to their natural needs, he would nudge the other and leave. The other would then raise questions on the hadīth under discussion until the other would return.

Dr ‘Abdul Hay ‘Ārifī rahimahullāh narrates regarding his mentor Shaykh Ashraf ‘Alī Thanwī rahimahullāh that:

‘In the eyes of our respected Shaykh rahimahullāh, time held great value. It would appear that Allāh ta‘ālā had made valuing time part of Shaykh’s rahimahullāh nature. He would ensure that each second was spent efficiently and his eyes would always be on the clock. Shaykh rahimahullāh would follow a strict timetable, fulfilling each allocated action at its appointed time. It is through this strict discipline that Shaykh rahimahullāh was able to produce a great treasure of scholarly works and deliver priceless advices which continue to be a means of guidance.’

Once, Shaykh-al-Hind (The Shaykh of India) Mawlānā Mahmūd Al-Hasan rahimahullāh visited Shaykh ‘Ashraf ‘Alī rahimahullāh. Shaykh Ashraf ‘Alī was a student of Shaykh-al-Hind Mawlānā Mahmūd Al-Hasan rahimahullāh and held him in such high regard that he would refer to him as Shaykh-al-Ālam (The Shaykh of the World). It so happened, that Shaykh-al-Hind Mawlānā Mahmūd Al-Hasan’s rahimahullāh visit overlapped with the time that Shaykh Ashraf ‘Alī rahimahullāh had scheduled for writing. With great politeness, Shaykh Ashraf ‘Alī rahimahullāh mentioned to his teacher that this was the time he had allocated for writing and requested permission to fulfil this routine task.

Shaykh-al-Hind Mawlānā Mahmūd Al-Ḥasan rahimahullāh happily granted him permission. Even though the visit of his teacher entailed that Shaykh Ashraf ‘Alī rahimahullāh did not feel like writing, he did not forgo his regular practice. Thus he wrote a few sentences and once again returned to benefit from the company of Shaykh-al-Hind Mawlānā Mahmūd Al-Hasan rahimahullāh.

Muftī Muhammad Shafī rahimahullāh fell seriously ill during the blessed month of Ramadān. Anyone in his position, ill during Ramadān and sensing the end is near, would have longed to pass away in the blessed month, for the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said:

Shaykh Mahmūd-al-Hasan rahimahumullāh, commonly known as Shaykh-al-Hind, had earned great fame throughout India. Subsequently an ‘Ālim from Ajmer, Shaykh Mu‘īn-ad-dīn Ajmerī rahimahumullāh, decided that he would travel to Deoband to visit him. Reaching Deoband by rail, he informed a dog-cart driver that he wished to meet Shaykh-al-Hind rahimahumullāh. (Although acclaimed with the title of Shaykh-al-Hind throughout the world, in Deoband he was simply known as the Big Shaykh.) The driver ascertaining that the newcomer wanted to meet the Big Shaykh, drove him up to the door of Shaykh-aI-Hind rahimahumullāh.

It was the hot season at the time, and when Shaykh Ajmerī rahimahumullāh knocked a man in a vest and loincloth answered the door. The guest said. ‘I have come from Ajmer to meet Shaykh-al-Hind. my name is Mu‘īn-ad-dīn.’

‘Please come in and sit down,’ came the reply. After being seated the guest said, ‘Go and inform Shaykh Mahmūd-al- Hasan that Mu‘īn-ad-dīn Ajmerī has come to meet him.’

The man said, ‘You have arrived at a very hot time of year,’ and proceeded to fan the guest. After some time, Shaykh Ajmerī rahimahumullāh made his request again. The man replied, ‘Indeed I shall inform him,’ and went in, only to return with a meal. The guest again said, ‘Brother, I have not come here to eat but to meet Shaykh-al-Hind. Introduce me to him.’

‘Please eat,’ came the reply, ‘You shall very soon meet him.’

Shaykh Ajmerī rahimahumullāh ate and drank until finally he started to get angry. ‘I’ve been telling you over and over again but you just won’t go and inform the Shaykh!’ he retorted.

Thereupon the man said, ‘The fact is there is no Shaykh-al- Hind residing here, however Mahmūd (i.e. Shaykh-al-Hind) is the name of this humble one.