Response to Barelwi Allegations about Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s Interpretation of a Dream

September 25, 2017

Repeating an old Barelwi allegation, an individual writing online states the following:


A follower of Ashraf Ali Thanwi asked him:

“I fell asleep. After some time I have a dream that I am reading Kalima Shareef لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله but in the place of محمد رسول الله I am reading the name of Thanwi. Subsequently a thought occurred in my heart that I am mistaken in reading the Kalima Shareef. This should be read correctly. With this thought I read Kalima Shareef again. My heart is insisting that it is read correctly but my tongue is spontaneously saying Ashraf Ali instead of the name of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم…

I turn over to lie on my other side and to rectify the mistake in the Kalima Shareef I read Durood Shareef upon the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم but then I say, ‘أللهم صل على سيدنا ونبينا ومولانا أشرف على’ WHILST I AM AWAKE NOW. IT IS NOT A DREAM.”

In answer to this question Ashraf Ali Thanwi thus answered:

“There was satisfaction in this incident because the one you are turning towards is, by the help of Allah تعالى, a follower of Sunnah.”

[Risala Al-Imdad Safar 1336 Hijri, page 35 — This answer was dated 24th Shawwal 1335 Hijri]

We seek refuge in Allah تعالى from such Kufr Deobandi beliefs معاذ الله. May He protect our Iman from misguidance.


The individual is referring to a question and answer found in Mawlana Thanawi’s journal al-Imdad. The question was from a Mureed who relates that he was once visiting Rampur and ended up staying with a local talib al-ilm who it turned out was also a Mureed of Mawlana Thanawi. He also learned that this student would receive copies of Mawlana Thanawi’s monthly journals al-Imdad and Husn al-‘Aziz. Naturally, he requested to read these journals, and he exclaims that upon reading them, “the elation that they spurred is beyond description.” One afternoon, he was reading Husn al-‘Aziz and was overcome by sleep. He turned on his side to sleep but realising the journal was now to his back, he decided to put it near his head out of respect.

Then he explains:

“I then fell asleep. After some time, I see a dream, that I am reciting the Kalimah Shareef, la ilaha illAllahu Muhammadur rasulullah, but I am taking Huzoor’s [Hazrat Thanawi’s] name in place of ‘Muhammadur rasulullah.’ Subsequently, a thought came to my heart that you have made a mistake when reciting Kalimah Shareef, so it should be recited correctly. With this thought, I started reading Kalimah Shareef a second time. In my heart, I am to recite it correctly, but on the tongue, involuntarily, in place of the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), ‘Ashraf Ali’ emerges. Although I am aware that this is not correct, it emerged from my tongue involuntarily.

“Once this happened twice or thrice, I saw Huzoor [the Prophet] (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) appear before me, and there were other individuals next to Huzoor (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, I experienced a state in which because of being overcome by a brittleness [in my heart] I collapsed to the ground, and called out loudly, and I knew that I had no strength left inside me. Subsequently, I woke up, but my body was still numb just as I was (in the dream) and the effect of having no strength remained. However, while dreaming and awake, I was thinking of Huzoor (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, when the error of reciting the Kalimah Shareef came to mind while awake, I made the intention to remove this thought from the heart so that no such error occurs again. With this thought, I sat up, and then lying down on the other side, to rectify the mistake in [reciting] Kalimah Shareef, I began to recite Durood upon Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), but even then, I am saying: ‘Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyidina wa nabiyyina wa mawlana Ashraf Ali’, even though I am now awake, not dreaming. But I have no control, I am compelled/helpless, my tongue is not in my control…” (al-Imdad, Safar 1336, p. 35)

Note, the questioner himself very explicitly states about the first occasion in which he read the kalimah erroneously in a dream state: “Although I am aware that this is not correct, it emerged from my tongue involuntarily” and about the second occasion when he recited the durood incorrectly while awake: “I have no control, I am compelled/helpless, my tongue is not in my control” – both are passages which the above individual conveniently missed out from his translation.

True dreams are not always taken at face-value, but may have a hidden meaning or interpretation (ta’beer). So while the dream may appear to be evil, its hidden meaning may be positive. A good example is the dream of Imam Abu Hanifah in which he saw himself digging up the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Naturally, he became frightened by what he saw, but when it was related to Ibn Sirin, he explained that the dream means that he will dig up the reports of Allah’s Messenger. (Tarikh Baghdad, 15:458-9)

Does Ibn Sirin’s interpretation mean he is endorsing digging up the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) – na’udhu billah?! Of course not! But that is the logic of the above individual. Because Mawlana Thanawi gave a positive interpretation of the dream, the individual concludes he endorsed the actual contents/actions in the dream, which is of course absurd.

In a subsequent publication, when asked about his interpretation, Mawlana Thanawi explains that when someone has the strong feeling in a dream that he is seeing the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) but the appearance is of someone else, according to dream-interpreters (ahl ta’beer), this means the individual he saw is a follower of the Sunnah. Mawlana Thanawi states that the same interpretation can be made in this case, where in place of saying “Rasulullah”, another name is mentioned. He further states: “I don’t insist [on this interpretation]. If this dream was waswasa from shaytan, or caused by mental illness, and this is not its interpretation – that is also possible. However, to give a wrong interpretation is [merely] an error in one’s intuitive feeling (wijdan), for which no blame can be given.”

Moreover, although the words the individual mentioned are words of kufr (disbelief), his action was not an action of kufr. This is because a statement of kufr that is said involuntarily, when one has no control over what he says, is not taken into consideration. It is only when one says it deliberately and consciously that it will amount to kufr.

It states in Fatawa QadiKhan:

الخاطئ إذا جرى على لسانه كلمة الكفر خطأ بأن كان يريد أن يتكلم بما ليس بكفر فجرى على لسانه كلمة الكفر خطأ لم يكن ذلك كفرا عند الكل

When a statement of kufr occurs on the tongue by accident, in that one intended to say something that is not kufr but a statement of kufr occurred on his tongue by accident, that is not kufr according to everyone.” (Fatawa Qadi Khan, Fatawa Hindiyyah)

Notice, this is exactly what happened here. The Mureed in question knew the correct durood and had in mind that he will recite it correctly, but involuntarily recited something else. Hence, this is not kufr by consensus. He had no doubt that what he said was mistaken. Hence, there was of course no need for Mawlana Thanawi to point this out to him.

The individual who made the above allegation states: “Ashraf Ali Thanwi endorses kufr kalima” and he refers to “such Kufr Deobandi beliefs.” As explained, Mawlana Thanawi was not “endorsing” the “kufr kalima”, but merely gave a positive interpretation to the dream (which in no way entails taking the dream at face-value, let alone endorsing any statement said by accident in it!). Moreover, it is not clear what the “kufr Deobandi beliefs” are that emerges from this incident. Hence, this accusation appears to be another one of those shameless Barelwi lies.


Knowledge of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) – al-Jurjani

September 12, 2017

Courtesy of Maulana Zeeshan Chaudri

واختلف العلماء في أهل الاجتهاد، زعم من لا فقه له ولا بصيرة في الشريعة أنه ينبغي أن يكون المجتهد عالما بجميع العلوم، أصوليا وشرعيا، ولغويا وطبيا، ونجوميا وهندسيا وفلسفيا، وحسابيا وتاريخيا، والا ربا في سائر الفنون حتي الصناعات، وهذا جهل اذ لم يُحط علم نبي من الانبياء بجميع ذلك فما ظنك بالأمة (يوسف الجرجاني الحنفي (م.522) خزانة الأكمل في فروع الفقه الحنفي 4/125)

The Hanafi scholar Yūsuf al-Jurjānī (d.522) criticises those who have made the conditions of ijtihād so high that it requires a mastery of the Islamic sciences as well as secular sciences! He responds by saying ‘this is ignorance, as not even the knowledge of any Prophet encompassed all of those [sciences], so what do you assume regarding the ummah’.


Barelwī Distortion of the Prophetic Title “Ummī” (Unlettered)

April 26, 2017

The following is a striking example of the unprecedented ways in which Barelwī scholars attempt to distort established and well-known concepts of deen.

Famous Barelwi scholar, Aḥmad Yār Khān Naīmī (1324 – 1391 H/1906 – 1971 CE), referred to as “Muftī”, “Ḥakīmul Ummah” and “Shaykh al-Tafsīr” by Barelwīs, said to have met with Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and studied with his students (Tazkira e Akābir Ahl e Sunnat, p. 54), writes on the Prophetic Title, “Ummī” [1]:

“Ummī can have several meanings. The mother and source is referred to as ‘umm’. Its meaning may be the ‘Prophet possessing a mother’. Every person in this world has a mother, but no one has a mother like the mother Ḥuḍūr was given. Ḥaḍrat Maryam had also been a mother, but just as the Master of Prophets is without equal, his mother, Allāh be pleased with her, is also without equal [2]…The second meaning is, one not taught, meaning, he was born from his mother’s womb already being learned, and did not learn to read or write from anyone [3]…A third meaning is being from Umm al-Qurā, i.e. one who lives in Makkah al-Mukarramah. A fourth meaning is being mother-like, meaning, the foundation/source of the entire universe.” (Shān Ḥabībur Raḥmān min Ᾱyāt al-Qur’ān, Maktabah Islāmiyyah, p. 87)

[1] By consensus of classical scholars, “Ummī” means one who is unlettered and not able to read and write. There are many evidences from Qur’ān and ḥadīth proving the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was Ummī and unable to read and write. (See: Ummiyyat al-Nabī al-Muṣṭafā al-Karīm by Mullā Khāṭir)

[2] Naīmī is clearly suggesting that the mother of the Beloved Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is superior to Sayyidah Maryam (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā)! This is another clear example of extremism. The excellence and superiority of Sayyidah Maryam (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā) is established in clear texts of Qur’ān and ḥadīths, while there is disagreement over whether the mother of the Beloved Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was even a believer!

[3] On this belief, ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī states: “From these (fabrications) is what they mention that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was not unlettered (ummī), but was able to read and write by nature. This is a statement opposed to Qur’ān and Sunnah as well as the consensus of the Ummah. It therefore has no consideration.” (al-thār al-Marfū‘ah, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, p. 38)

Refuting the Allegation that Shah Isma’il said – Allah Forbid! – that to Think of the Prophet (SAW) in Salah is Worse than Thinking of Animals

March 10, 2017

The accusation was made by Ahmad Rida Khan in his al-Kawkabat al-Shihabiyya that Shah Isma’il said the thought (khayal) of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is worse in Salah than the thought of bulls and donkeys (quoted in Ibarat Akabir p. 87). And this is a common accusation still made by his followers. Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani (1905-1997), a student of ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri, wrote a book in defence of Shah Isma’il called Hazrat Shah Ismail Shaheed Aur Mu‘anidin Ahle Bid’at Ke Ilzamat (Shawwal 1376 H/1957 CE) in which he addressed many of the common accusations against Shah Isma’il. The book is available here:

The first accusation he addresses (on pp. 14-39) is the charge that he said in Sirat e Mustaqim: “thinking (khayal) of the Prophet in Salah is worse than thinking of bulls and donkeys.” In his lengthy response, Nu’mani quotes the Persian passage from Sirat e Mustaqim in full and gives a summary translation. He also makes some introductory comments about the background to the book Sirat e Mustaqim to show the level of dishonesty of Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi and his followers. I will summarise this section of his book in the following:

First, Mawlana Nu’mani writes, Sirat e Mustaqim is a collection of the utterances (malfuzat) of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid Berelwi, which were arranged by his disciples, Shah Isma’il and ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Burhanawi. Shah Isma’il arranged the first and fourth chapters, while ‘Abd al-Hayy arranged the second and third chapters. The passage in question is in the second chapter, so was not written or arranged by Shah Isma’il, hence the accusation is a lie from the very outset.

Second, the book deals with concepts of tasawwuf and uses Sufi terminologies (istilahat), in particular that of Shah Wali Allah. “Himmat” is one of those terms used in the section in question, and it means “emptying the heart of all thoughts and focusing on one object.” Mawlana Nu’mani quotes Shah Wali Allah from his Arabic al-Qawl al-Jamil: “”Himmah” is an expression about uniting the mind and strengthening resolve in the form of hope and desire, in such a way that no thought penetrates the heart besides this objective, like a thirsty person seeking water.” (al-himmatu ‘ibaratun ‘an ijtima‘ al-khatir wa ta’akkud al-‘azimati fi surat al-tamanni wa l-talab bihaythu la yakhturu fi l-qalbi khatirun siwa hadha al-murad ka talab al-‘atshan al-ma’). Shah Wali Allah in al-Qawl al-Jamil also describes another practice known as “Shughl Rabita” which is where the Himmah is focused on one’s shaykh or on Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), so all good and bad thoughts are removed from one’s heart (including the thought of Allah), and the shaykh or the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is kept in focus in order to gain spiritual benefit from him. A final stage of Himmah is known as Sarf Himmah or Shughl Barzakh in which a picture of the shaykh is formed in the mind and focused on. Those Sufis who allow this practice do not allow it in ritual acts like Salah.

Mawlana Nu’mani explains the gist of the passage from Sirat e Mustaqim: In salah such Shughl Rabitah or Shugl Barzakh (towards one’s shaykh or the Prophet) is worse than the thought of worldly matters entering the mind and then becoming engrossed in them, because the first is done intentionally whereas the second is unintentional, and the first is seen to be praiseworthy whereas the second is considered blameworthy by everyone, and the first is entertained whereas the second is removed once one comes to his senses. In short, he explains, such a practice in Salah is against the spirit of Salah which is conversing privately with Allah, and as expressed in hadith: “that you worship Allah as though you see Him.”

Along with quoting the Persian text, Mawlana Nu’mani offers a summary translation as follows (not an exact translation):

Sirat e Mustaqim: Chapter 2, Section 4, Second Counsel on those things which cause defects in worship and their treatment. There are three benefits in this counsel:

First benefit:

Both the soul (nafs) and Satan cause defects in Salah. The soul causes defects by encouraging laziness and seeking rest and comfort, so the worshipper seeks to complete the Salah quickly in order to rest or engage in some other activity that is more desirable to him. And the actions of Salah are performed in a way that is not prescribed (masnun) like a paralysed man with slack limbs, and the limbs are put in a way that is most comfortable because of a lack of care and attention. Similarly the soul brings about a lack of regulation in the internal senses so bad thoughts come to mind. In this way, the soul brings about external and internal defects in the Salah.

Satan causes defects by whispering (waswasa) to the worshipper. The worst form of whispering is that the worshipper thinks Salah is not an important activity, and such whispering can take one out of the fold of Islam into disbelief, as it results in degrading Salah and denial of an obligation in the religion. The lowest form of whispering is that it takes the worshipper away from conversing with Allah to some other thought, like it takes the mind of the worshipper to counting the number of rak’at and tasbihat so that no mistake comes in them; and the hafiz keeps thinking about the parts of the Qur’an that are similar to each other (mutashabihat). However, the one who concentrates on conversing with Allah, his rak’at and tasbihat are safe and he is safe from being confused in his recitation also; but Satan turns his attention elsewhere to cause some deficiency in the prayer. In sum, Satan tries to make the person a disbeliever, and when he fails in this, he tries to cause sin, and if this fails in this, then he turns his attention to the livestock one owns and all things besides Allah.

The students of knowledge should be warned not to think about grammatical (nahwi) rules related to what they recite, and this is worse than thought of livestock [as when the thought one is in Salah returns to one’s mind, he does not entertain anymore the latter thought, but he may the former]. If fuqaha were to extract rules in Salah, this would not cause perfection in it but deficiency. The people of kashf (i.e. Sufis) should not think that by performing Shughl Barzakh and thinking of meeting the angels and righteous that they reach the stage of “the believer’s ascension” (mi’raj al-mu’in) in Salah, rather this is one of the branches of shirk, though from the hidden (khafi) type or or more hidden (akhfa) type [of shirk].

[Mawlana Nu’mani notes here: This ruling is the same as what the scholars of tasawwuf said. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani said: “Shirk is not worship of idols alone. Rather it is also you following your passions, and that you prefer over your Lord something besides Him of the world and the otherworld and whatever is in them; for whatever is besides Him is other than Him; so whenever you incline towards other than Him you have associated another with Him.” (laysa al-shirku ‘ibadat al-asnam fahasab’ bal huwa mutaba‘atu al-hawa, wa an takhtara ‘ala rabbika shay’an siwah min al-dunya wa al-akhirati wa ma fihima; fa ma siwahu ghayruhu; fa idha rakanta ila ghayrihi ashrakta bihi ghayrahu) (Futuh al-Ghayb). It is in this respect, Sirat e Mustaqim calls Shughl Barzakh and thinking of meeting angels and the righteous in Salah, “shirk khafi.” Mawlana Nu’mani summarises the above discussion to say that it mentions five scenarios of whisperings that come in Salah:
1. Something that unintentionally comes to the mind that has no relation to the Salah itself.
2. Thinking of the number of rak’at, tasbihat and mutashabihat
3. Student of nahw thinking of nahw/sarf
4. Student of fiqh deriving rulings of Salah
5. Sufis doing shughl barzakh and thinking of meeting angels/righteous. Sirat e Mustaqim continues to say:]

It should be noted that this discussion is not about the scenario where upon concentrating fully on conversing with Allah in Salah, knowledge is uncontrollably and unintentionally unveiled in the heart and angels, the righteous and the saints, and prophets are seen, as this causes no defect in Salah, rather it is from the favours of Allah. Rather the discussion is about intentionally doing Shughl Barzakh – focusing on the shaykh – or thinking of meeting the angels and the righteous.

Asking about needs in Salah does not infringe on Salah, rather is also from its perfections. Yes, intentionally thinking about worldly needs is from the reprehensible whispers of Satan and is a deficiency in Salah. That which was narrated from ‘Umar that he would think about the army in Salah, this should not deceive you, because you cannot draw an analogy between yourself and the elite. Khidr killing an innocent child was a great act of reward, whereas anybody else doing this act is from the highest level of sin. ‘Umar reached such a rank that thinking about his army caused no defect in his Salah, because this thought would come in conversation with Allah when inspiration (ilhamat) from Allah would descend into his heart. Whereas the one who thinks about any religious or worldly things purposefully in Salah, this is completely in opposition to the spirit of Salah.

[Mawlana Nu’mani here gives the example of Zakariyya (peace be upon him) who in Salah spoke to an Angel giving him news of his son (Qur’an 3:39); and as this was unintentional and from the blessings of Allah, this caused no defect in it]

Based on the requirement of the verse “darknesses, one above another,” (24:40) we can discuss which whispers are worse than others. Whispers in Salah about intimate relations with one’s wife is better than whispers about adultery [as the first is a permissible activity and the second impermissible]; and to put Himma (focus) on one’s shaykh or any righteous people or the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is worse than become engrossed (mustaghriq) in the thought of livestock (lit. bulls and donkeys); because in this there is veneration of the shaykh and the righteous and an attachment to them, whereas with bulls and donkeys there is no veneration and no attachment, rather the mind finds it offensive that they came into it. Such veneration will lead towards [hidden] shirk. The purpose of this discussion was to describe the levels of Satan’s whispering. People should not put in place of the presence of Allah [i.e. in Salah] anything besides Him.

The highlighted part shows that this passage from Sirat e Mustaqim does not absolutely consider mere “thought” about the prophets a deficiency in Salah, rather when in the correct form, it is from the blessings and perfections of Salah. The section in question from the last paragraph is targeted at the people of tasawwuf who may think performing the particular Sufi practices in Salah is a good thing, but it warns that it is in fact worse than thinking of worldly matters, as it leads to a form of veneration that is hidden shirk (this is also clear from the third paragraph above ). In context, therefore, the passage from Sirat Mustaqim is perfectly understandable, and far from disparaging the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Anyhow, the passage was not even written by Shah Isma’il, so the followers of Ahmad Rida Khan should no longer level this charge at him.

Mawlānā Madanī: Barelwī Takfīr Falls Back on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and his Followers

February 27, 2017

Concluding al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, Mawlānā Madanī writes:

I feel, after this, it is necessary to submit this much:

From the above explanation it has become very clear that whatever “Dajjāl Barelwī” ascribed to those Elders is pure slander and fabrication. These Elders are completely pure and clean of these senseless things and filthy fancies. Only for the purpose of seeking fame, seeking dinar and dirham, and misguiding creation, “Mujaddid Barelwī” perpetrated this trickery and deception. This is why whatever commendations and endorsements there are from the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Ḥarams, they become as “scattered dust” (Qur’ān, 25:23), because they are all premised only on these respected ones having said these filthy things, and since they are pure of them, no mark can be made on their hem of purity. This is why many ‘Ulamā’ wrote in their statements that if these beliefs and opinions are those of these individuals, then [only] can the mentioned ruling apply, and otherwise it will not.

Indeed, all these commendations and statements will become a weight on the shoulders of “Mujaddid Barelwī”, and the burdens of all of them will be on his shoulders, because those helpless ones, the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Ḥarams, were unacquainted with the conditions of these Elders. “Mujaddid Barelwī” deceived them in making takfīr. Thus they will all take hold of his hem [at the Judgement].

In fact, based on a prophetic statement, the takfīr will fall back on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwī. It is found in a clear text and an authentic ḥadīth that one who does takfīr or curses anyone, it will certainly fall back on one of the two: if that individual is deserving [of takfīr or the curse], then on him, and if not, it will turn back on the speaker. Thus, since the respected Elders of Deoband and Sahāranpūr are innocent of this [takfīr], this is why all of these takfīrs and curses, turning back on Barelwī and his followers, will become a cause of punishment for them in their graves, and a cause of īmān coming out and certainty and conviction departing them at the time of death. Upon Judgement, these [takfīrs that turn back on them] will be a cause of the angels saying to Ḥuḍūr regarding all his followers: “You do not know what they did after you!” and, saying: “[Go] far away, far away!”, Rasūl Maqbūl (upon him peace) will push them away from the Fount from which drink is taken and from the Praiseworthy Intercession, [treating] them worse than dogs; and they will be denied the reward, positions and bliss of this blessed Ummah.

May Allāh blacken their faces in both worlds, and make their hearts heard, for they will not believe until they see a painful torment – āmīn, O master of all worlds. May Allāh (Exalted is He) bless the best of His creation, our leader and our master, Muḥammad, the seal of prophets, and the leader of messengers, and his progeny and all his companions.

The neediest of the students of knowledge of the pardon of His Independent Master, His slave, called Ḥusayn Aḥmad – may our Unique Master forgive him, his parents and his teachers – Ḥanafī in madhhab, Chishtī Ṣābirī Rashīdī in track, and Deobandī in residence and Ḥusaynī in lineage, wrote it with his hands and said it with his tongue. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 289-90)

Mawlānā Madanī: Barelwīs are “Little Rāfiḍīs”

February 22, 2017

After a lengthy discussion on different areas of disagreement between Wahhābīs and the Elders of Deoband, Mawlānā Madanī concludes:

Friends, these few matters have been discussed for your consideration, in which the Wahhābīs disagreed with the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Noble Ḥarams and continue to do so. Because of this, when they forcefully became sovereign of the two Noble Ḥarams, they put thousands to the sword, making them martyrs, and they brought great troubles to thousands [of others]. At times, these [issues] were debated. In all these issues, our Elders are very much against them. Thus to accuse them of having Wahhābī tendencies (tawahhub) or being Wahhābī is a major slander and falsehood. And since this is their greatest ploy in creating a bad opinion [of the Elders of Deoband], this is why we went into great detail on it. Now it will be completely plain to those with intelligence how great a trick and deception this was of “Mujaddid Barelwī”, and how much scheming has been employed in this. It is Allāh that will take recompense, and the complaint is put to Him.

This methodology of these people is just like [how] the Rawāfiḍ regard the Ahl al-Sunnah and the elders of the ṣaḥābah and the two shaykhs (Allāh be pleased with them) as enemies of the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and as being from the Khārijī sect. This is precisely the methodology of these little Rāfiḍīs. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 246-7)

Mawlānā Madanī on the Accusation that Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd was “Wahhābī”

February 21, 2017

Some Barelwīs are of the belief that Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd Barelwī and his disciples had come into contact with Wahhābīs while they were in the Ḥijāz, and as a consequence picked up Wahhābī views. Echoing this sentiment, Gibril Haddad wrote: “Ismā‘īl Dihlawī wrote Taqwiyat al-Īmān in the wake of his Ḥijāz years (1236-1239), at which time he had come under the tutelage of Wahhābī missionaries.” This view has been shown to be false in an earlier piece, quoting nonpartisan neutral western scholars stating that there is no proof that Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd or his disciples had any contact with the Arabian Wahhābīs.

Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī had also addressed this allegation in his Naqsh e Ḥayāt as follows:

It becomes very clear from the aforementioned events that Ḥaḍrat Sayyid [Aḥmad Shahīd] Ṣāḥib and his companions arrived at Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah at the end of 1237 H, that is at the beginning of 1823. This is the time in which no remnant or sign remained of the Wahhābī government and its communities in either Ḥijāz or any town or village of Najd. In fact, five years before this, Egyptian forces under the command of Ibrāhīm Pāshā ibn Muḥammad ‘Alī Pāshā, the viceroy (Khedive) of Egypt, under instructions from Sulṭān ‘Abd al-Majīd Khān, had crushed them, in not only Madīnah Munawwarah and Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah, but in the whole of Ḥijāz and the famous regions of Najd. Those that were left of them became absconders, fleeing to far off places in the mountains and jungles. Thus, Shāmī has mentioned them clearly in the Ḥāshiyah of al-Durr al-Mukhtār, in the third volume, [stating] that in 1233 H, Egyptian forces completely annihilated this group.

On page 87 [of The Indian Musalmans] W.W. Hunter, after mentioning that the Wahhābīs took control of Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah, Madīnah Munawwarah and other regions, wrote: “It was Mehmet Ali, Pasha of Egypt, who at last succeeded in crushing the Reformation (Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb and his followers). In 1812, Thomas Keith, a Scotchman, under the Pasha’s son, took Medina by storm. Mecca fell in 1813; and five years later, this vast power, which had so miraculously sprung up, as miraculously vanished, like a shifting sand mountain of a desert.”

Since this community of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb caused trouble to all the inhabitants of Madīnah, Makkah and Ḥijāz, during this duration of their stay in Ḥijāz, kept going on with killing people, beating and looting, humiliating, and other such actions, as is famous and well-known there, and the author of Radd al-Muḥtār has written that these people only considered themselves Muslims and regarded others as Mushriks and non-Muslims, and considered looting and putting to waste their properties and lives permissible, this is why the people of the two Ḥarams harboured extreme hostility and hatred towards the Wahhābīs. This is why the people of Ḥijāz would not at all tolerate that any Najdī who had any connection with this sect would remain here in the Ḥijāz. After stirring up such an immense rebellion against the Turkish government and its governors, and wasting such money and lives in [efforts to] extinguish them, how could they tolerate that any Wahhābī remains there?

In short, when Sayyid Ṣāḥib and his companions reached Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah in Sha‘bān of 1237 H, no Wahhābī ruler, scholar or preacher was there, and nor were they at the borders or fringes. Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s death had occurred long before. This is why they had no chance of adopting the Wahhābī methodology from them, and nor is it established through any reliable means that they had met with any Wahhābī. Thus, to affiliate these respected ones to this sect is a completely slanderous and false propaganda.

These respected ones were disciples of Ḥaḍrat Shāh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Ṣāḥib Dehlawī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him), and are his followers in external and esoteric knowledge. They had received such perfection from the benefit they acquired [from him] that no match or equal of them could be found in depth [of knowledge], juristic understanding, taṣawwuf, speech and writing, neither in Hindustan nor in Arabia, Egypt, Levant etc. Their writings, speeches and actions are witness to this. How can such people of perfection become followers and imitators of others? How can this come to a sound mind? Especially when these others are less than them in every perfection?

In Wahhābī belief and practice, it is impermissible to travel with the objective of visiting the revered Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). Thus, their writings and works are available [stating exactly this]. If, Allāḥ forbid, this was the belief of these respected ones, why did the entire group having travelled to Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah go to Madīnah Munawwarah? And why did they remain there for three months, from the end of Dhu l-Ḥijjah till Rabī‘ al-Awwal? (Naqsh e Ḥayāt, p. 431-2)

Mawlānā Madanī goes on to explain that the first to brand Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd’s group as “Wahhābīs” were the English as they feared his popularity and thus wished to stigmatise him in this way so as to cause divisions between him and the Muslims of India.