Taken from Akaabir ka Ramdhaan of Hadhrat Shaikh Zakariyya (rahmatullahi alayh)
According to different times of the year, Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) used to get up about two or three hours before sehri. He had sehri about half an hour before the time for which he took about fifteen to twenty minutes. Thus, he finished about fifteen minutes before Fajar. It was his habit to recite two paras in Tahajjud Salaah. Sometimes it was a bit more and sometimes a bit less, according to the time available.
Throughout the year after the Fajr Salaah, it was his habit to sit in his place and recite various wazeefaas. In the cold days of winter he did so after entering into the privacy of his own room while during the hot days he sat on a bed in the courtyard of the Madrasah until sunrise. He would sit in deep meditation.
Then from sunrise onwards, he busied himself with his lecturing on Bukhaari Shareef and Tirmzi Shareef. After 1335 Hijri he busied himself at this time with the writing of Bazlul Majhood (a commentary on Abu Dawood Shareef) till one o’clock in the Summer and until 12 o’clock, in the winter. Thereafter he would rest until Zuhr Salaah.
There was no difference in the number of rakaats performed as nafl after Maghrib compared to the rest of the year. However, in the manner of his performance there was a definite difference. Generally, he recited one and a quarter paras in Awwaabeen Salaah and during Ramadhaan it was those paras which he was to recite in Taraaweeh later in the evening. After Awwaabeen Salaah, Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) used to return home to have his meal for which he took about twenty to twenty-five minutes, but he ate very little during this meal.
Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) himself always led the Taraaweeh Salaah until about two years before he passed away. It was his fixed habit to finish the khatam of the Qur-aan Shareef on the evening of the 29th of Ramadhaan. In the first four nights, he recited one and a quarter paras and thereafter one para per a night.
When Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh)’s age went beyond seventy, it became increasingly difficult for him to continue doing so. He used to say, “When I go into ruku’ the thought comes into my mind that perhaps I will not be able to rise up again for the second rakaat. Then I take the courage and with difficulty I come up. In this manner, I finally complete twenty rakaats, fearing in every rakaat that I may collapse and fall down, and feeling all the time that rising up from sajdah to the standing position is tantamount to climbing a mountain.”
Hadhrat Shaikh Zakariyyah (rahmatullahi alayh) writes in Aap Beeti that, “On the boat en route to Hajj, Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) suffered such dizziness that he could hardly lift his head from the pillow. The same was the case with me in spite of my comparatively youthful age. Apart from that there was a considerable amount of vomiting also. The bad smells of the boat, especially when it was being filled with petrol (diesel) caused one to become dizzy, nauseous and induced vomiting.
On the 29th Sha’baan he told me: “Bhai, what is to become of Taraaweeh?” I replied: “Hadhrat, I will perhaps be able to bear the dizziness and the turning of my head, but what will happen if during the Salaah I should start vomiting?” He replied: “That is all right. If you should vomit, then just go and perform wudhu again.” The boat was a small one and used to roll about a lot. In spite of the rolling about, which made standing up quite an ordeal, and in spite of dizziness and extreme weakness and exhaustion, Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) performed Taraaweeh standing.
After Taraaweeh, Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) used to rest for about fifteen to twenty minutes while some attendants massaged his legs. At this time there used to be some general conversation regarding the Qur-aan Shareef.
For example, someone may have mistakenly corrected him from behind or it may be concerning something which might have happened during Taraaweeh. Some minutes used to be spent on this in a light-hearted manner.
After Taraaweeh and after resting for a while, he used to go home, where for fifteen to twenty minutes he talked to his family members. Some of the women of the area also used to arrive at this time, and he used to advise them for a short while. Thereafter he went to sleep for about two and a half to three hours.
Tilaawat of the Qur-aan
During the Mubaarak month of Ramadhaan, Hadhrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri (rahmatullahi alayh) used to recite Qur-aan Shareef from after Ishraaq until eleven o’clock. After Zuhr Salaah, Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) recited whatever he was to recite in Taraweeh that night to Hafiz Muhammad Hussain Ujrarwy. This was what Hafiz Saheb used to come to Saharanpur for.
Occasionally when for some reason or the other, Haafiz Saheb was absent and during his stay in Madinah Munawwarah, he used to make ‘dor’ with me (Hadhrat Shaikh Zakariyyah rahmatullahi alayh). After my return from Hajj and it was a time when his work on Bazlul Majhood had also been completed, he developed the habit of daily reciting one para to his wife. It was this para, which he was to recite in Awwaabeen Salaah that night and in Taraaweeh.
Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alayh) once said, “If my brain wishes, it may go and give in and if it wishes, it may stay working soundly, but under no circumstances shall the Word of Allah Ta’ala leave me.”
Apart from reading Qur-aan, the tasbeeh was always in his hands and his tongue all the time busy with zikr. If ever any of his mureeds had to ask something, he would reply to them.
Except for the last two or three years of his life when he had grown weak and was plagued by illness, I have never seen him not performing I’tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadhaan.