Barelwis are Wahhabis – Shaykh Nuh Keller

January 31, 2012

In his article, Shaykh Nuh expanded on the unjust takfir made by Barelwis against the scholars of Deoband. He says that Barelwis were guilty of the “greatest Wahhabi bid’a of all” and thus states indirectly that Barelwis and especially Ahmad Raza Khan have Wahhabi traits: 

The sad irony in this was that the greatest Wahhabi bid‘a of all, takfir of fellow Muslims, was unleashed in India by denunciations of “Wahhabism.” Ahmad Reza’s fatwas depicted his opponents as “Wahhabi sects,” which his latter-day followers came to declare all Deobandis to belong to through a sort of “guilt by association.”

Imkan al-Kadhib Explained by Ml. Thanwi

January 31, 2012

Imkan al-Kadhib
Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

Regarding imkān al-kadhib, one scholar gave a speech that gave rise to some doubt [in the questioner]- namely that the attribute of “speech” (kalām) for Allah is eternal and all His attributes are characterized by perfection whereas lying (kadhib) is a defect (naqs) and flaw (`ayb). Being transcendent from it is necessary (daruri). Thus, the attribute of the attribute (sifat ka sifat), meaning truthfulness (sidq) [in this case], will be eternal also and so it’s opposite is not possible. [Allah’s] power has no relation over these attributes because power relates to the possible (mumkināt) and the attributes [of Allah] are eternal. His speech being truthful eternally and everlastingly is necessary for the reason that all the attributes are ones of perfection. A flaw is not poss ible within it and thus lying is not-possible.

Regarding the matter of possibility and impossibility, then there is no doubt in the exquisiteness and reality of the statement [above], but it relates wholly to the self-speech (kalām nafsī) [of Allah]. Thus, at this level the intrinsic necessity of truthfulness (sidq) and the intrinsic impossibility of lying (kadhib) is something no one differs on.

Rather, the argument is concerning uttered-speech (kalām lafdhī) when it is an act (af`āl) and created (makhlūq), which is the position of the Maturidis. Therefore, the above statement does not apply here. Yet the act being a creation necessitates power (qudrat) over it and power is always associated with opposites due to which the linkage of such qudrat over truthfulness.

Dhati and Ata’i

January 27, 2012

Dispute over Dhati (intrinsic) and ‘Ata’i (granted) ‘Ilm al-ghayb

By ‘Allama Sarfaraz Khan Safdar

Wherever in the Qur’an and hadiths it occurs that the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

‘I do not know ghayb’ or ‘I am not aware’,

Our opponents (including their A’la Hadhrat and so-called mujaddid of the present century Molwi Ahmad Rada Khan, Molwi Hashmat ‘Ali Khan, Molwi Na’im al-Din Muradabadi, Molwi Muhammad Salih, Molwi Muhammad ‘Azim, Molwi Muhammad ‘Umar Icharwi and Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan, etc.) present this widespread misconception that he did not know the ghayb personally and independently, rather he is granted the knowledge of ghayb by Allah. Thus, they say that they are not of the view that he has personal and self-acquired knowledge of ghayb, rather he possesses the gifted knowledge of ghayb, while the attribute of Allah is not gifted but it is His exclusive attribute; therefore believing in gifted ghayb for anyone else other than Allah is neither polytheism nor associating partner in any attribute of Allah… Molwi Muhammad ‘Umar writes, “As far as the saying, ‘I do not know ghayb’ then he was made to say these words so any cross-grained individual doesn’t reach a conclusion that he knew ghayb personally, and because one who has a personal (zaati) possession he only can make a claim of possessing a thing.” (Miqyas Hanafiyyat, p.302)

Now we would like to ask few questions to the proponents of this notion:

[1] Whether the existence of the Prophet (Allah blesses him and give him peace) was his own and self-acquired? If it was not his own but gifted, so why did he not deny his existence saying: ‘I have no existence’.

[2] Whether his prophethood was personal or gifted by Allah? If it was not personal, and certainly it was not, then why did he not deny his prophethood? Allah forbid! Since, according to Molwi Muhammad ‘Umar, ‘one who has personal possession [and not granted] he only can make a claim of possessing a thing’.

[3] Whether he got the Qur’an by himself or was he gifted by Allah? If he did not get by himself, which is the fact, then why did he not deny the knowledge of the Qur’an and why did he not say that he was not given the Qur’an? Allah forbid!

[4] Whether he acquired the knowledge of the hadiths and Shari’ah personally, if not and surely not, then why did he not deny it? The line of differentiation should be clearly seen.

[5] When his personality in itself gifted, can there be any possibility based on proofs for any of his qualities to be self-acquired. When there is no possibility even, it is useless to differentiate between self-acquired and gifted; since self-acquired knowledge of even an atom cannot be achieved to anyone, this is agreed upon by all Muslims and even by our opponents; so what is the use of taking this matter in between.

[6] If someone says that he personally admits Allah as God and Creator of the universe, but I believe in Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as gifted God and Creator of the universe, will he will remain Muslim? If yes, how? If not, then why he was labelled as kafir when he did not ascribe the personal attribute of Allah for the blessed Prophet?

[7] If someone says that he believes in the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as independent prophet having a Shari’ah, but he believes that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (who is in fact from amongst the thirty liar Dajjals) as subordinate prophet without a Shari’ah, and that his prophethood is the reflection of the prophethood of him, will such a person remain Muslim? The opponents have to deliberate and address the questions and to decide whether they will side with the truth or just raise their voices in tune with falsehood.

As far as the words dhaati (personal) and ‘ata’i (gifted),  that have occurred in the texts of the elders (akabir),are concerned, they never meant that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not know the entire unseen (kul ghayb) personally and per se, but he knew every unseen (kul mughibat) as gift and directed revelation (from Allah), rather they, according to their understanding, adopted the middle way between the negative and positive verses and traditions that the negation of the all-encompassing knowledge of particles and details is related to personal knowledge. While the affirmation that is related to partial ikhbar al-ghayb, anba’ al-ghayb (news of ghayb) is associated with gifted knowledge [and not ‘ilm al-ghayb].

Whereas, at this point, overlooking the difference of zaati and ‘ata’i, it can be reconciled by noticing the difference of total (kulli) and partial (juz’i), or the difference of ‘ilm al-ghayb and anbaal-ghayb or the difference between detailed knowledge and knowledge of some news. The research scholars have reconciled in the same way, as the readers of this book are well aware of it. So, many of those who make a difference between zaati and ‘ata’i, they clearly write that ‘ilm al-ghayb is an exclusive attribute of Allah and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not have ‘ilm al-ghayb, the references to which we have quoted fully in the previous chapter.

Izalat al-Rayb ‘an ‘Aqidah ‘Ilm al-Ghayb, p. 114-116 — Maktabah Safdariyyah.

Defending Ml. Ashraf Ali and Ml. Khalil Ahmad

January 24, 2012

Below is a review by a brother on the article of Sh. Nuh Keller. The article below was found on a forum:

Recently I came across the first review of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi’s Deobandi takfir by someone we could all call neutral. This post is in reference to Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s article “Iman, Kufr, and Takfir.”

The Sheikh needs to be congratulated for taking an initial bold step for opening the door for further dialogue on an issue that deeply divides the Ahl Al-Sunnah of the Indian sub-continent. It should be remembered that our role here is not to criticize the respected Sheikh in the way people on this website are presently doing. Sadly many people there are jumping on the takfiri bandwagon – as is their methodology and minhaj – and brutishly making extremely outlandish and heartrending claims.

However, there are a few points that have most likely been unintentionally missed by Sheikh Nuh in his article. A natural occurrence since Sheikh Nuh, not knowing Urdu, is limited in his access to books and texts concerning the Barelwi’s takfir of the Akabir. Sheikh Nuh has had to resort to brief translated pieces of “relevant” texts to write his article – this point will, insha Allah, become clearer when one completes reading this post.

If the points missed by Sheikh Nuh had been mentioned then the article would have been impartial, understandable and acceptable. I expect that the esteemed Sheikh will agree with me on this and I hope his Urdu-speaking murids will bring these discrepancies to his notice. In total there are three main points, among many others, that need to be understood:

1. First and foremost, Sheikh Nuh has failed to mention the seventh disputed Aqida issue between the Deobandis and Barelwis. This is a core issue and is still very dear and near to present day Barelwis.

It forms the basis of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan’s declaration – as mentioned in his book Husam al-Haramayn (Sword of the Meccan and Medinan Sanctuaries) – that Mawlana Qasim Nanotwi (the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband) was an infidel (kafir).

In order to prove his point, Molwi Ahmed Raza Khan quotes a statement, which he alleges is from Mawlana Nanotwi’s book Tahdhir Al-Naas. According to Molwi Ahmed Raza Khan’s quote, the respected Mawlana Nanotwi denied the finality of the Messenger of Allah’s prophet hood (khatm-e-nubuwwat).

In reality this statement does not appear anywhere in Mawlana Nanotwi’s book. On rigorous analysis of the book, it comes to light – as has been shown by many Ulamah in many of their books (all generally in Urdu) – that the statement that Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan quoted had been concocted from three different passages from three different pages of Tahdhi Al-Naas. These texts had been rearranged to give a meaning that Molvi Ahemd Raza Khan then used to level charges of infidelity (takfir) against the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband – Subhanallah.

The question remains whether this could be condoned as a “mistake,” a “mistranslation” or a “misinterpretation”? Could such a blatant mistake stem from the author of a book like Al-Dawla Al-Makkiyya Bi Al-Madda Al-Ghaybiyya?

Nay, the text used by Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan was a total forgery, distortion of the truth and fraud. Dear reader, is it permissible to commit such a crime of misrepresentation while claiming this was done out of love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him)?

I leave this issue without comment. It is self-evident for anyone with a grain of faith to decide for him or her self what motivated Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan to commit the grossest of takfir.

2. The second issue is related to Hadhrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri.

Prior to discussing this issue in detail it should be made extremely clear that Hadhrat Saharanpuri has stated clearly in black and white:

“That no creature has received what the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be on him) has received in the knowledge of the first and the last, whether angel brought near or Prophet-Messenger. But, this does not entail knowledge of every specific detail of the lower world.” (Al-Muhannad p.38)

It should also be known that Hadhrat Khalil Ahmed Sahranpuri’s book “Baraahin-e-Qatiah” is not an independent book by itself but rather a refutation of a book entitled “Anwaar-e-Saatiah” by Molvi Abdus Sami Rampuri – a follower of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan. Baraahin has been written in the traditional style of polemics (munazara), in that it contains both the text of Molvi Rampuri and then Hadhrat Sahranpuri’s refutation thereafter clarifying the position of Ahl Al-Sunnat Ahl-e-Deoband. This clarification is necessary to answer the specific issues raised by Sheikh Nuh and thus avoiding confusion and generalizations. Incidentally, Sheikh Nuh is under the impression that Hadhrat Saharanpuri is referring to Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan when in fact Hadhrat Sahranpuri is referring to Molvi Abdus Sami.

In his book “Anwaar-e-Saatiah,” Molvi Abdus Sami mentions an extremely outlandish and strange analogy as an argument to prove that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is Alim Al-Ghayb (knower of the unseen). Molvi Abdu Sami mentions that since Satan and the Angel of Death know the unseen (ghayb) wherever they are, and since the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is of greater merit than Satan and the Angel of Death then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) must also possess knowledge of the unseen.

To support his claims, Molvi Abdus Sami fails to provide proof from Quraan, Hadith and also from the sayings of previous scholars (as there are none) but rather bases his argument on this strange analogy (qiyas).

Naturally, Hadhrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmed Sahranpuri’s response is going to include the analogy of Molvi Abdus Sami Rampuri and this would entail the mentioning of Satan and the Angel of Death. Remember Baraahin-e-Qatiah has been written in the traditional style of polemics (munazara).

Hadhrat Saharanpuri mentions that the knowledge of Satan and the Angel of Death is “ilm-e-muheet-e-zamin” (a knowledge that comprises of earthly things) – Hadhrat Saharanpuri mentions that we know that Satan and the Angel of Death have this ilm through proofs from the Quran and the narrations of the blessed Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Hadhrat Saharanpuri further mentions that similar proofs cannot be realized in relation to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

So Sheikh Nuh’s argument that “Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s disadvantageously comparing the Prophet’s knowledge (Allah bless him and give him peace) to Satan’s” does not hold true because Hadhrat Sahranpuri is not making a comparison rather he is answering an argument forwarded by Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan Baraelwi’s student who had made such a claim. And this also only is knowledge related to the lower world.

Sheikh Nuh says: “In sum, Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s disadvantageously comparing the Prophet’s knowledge (Allah bless him and give him peace) to Satan’s, the vilest creature in existence—regardless of the point he was making—is something few Muslims can accept.” Shaykh Nuh further says that “he badly stumbled in this passage. In any previous Islamic community, whether in Hyderabad, Kabul, Baghdad, Cairo, Fez, or Damascus—in short, practically anywhere besides the British India of his day—Muslims would have found his words repugnant and unacceptable.”

Shame that Sheikh Nuh was relying on translated sections to make his conclusions and therefore make the mistake of making inappropriate conclusions – Subhanallah. If he had been able to access the entire book in Urdu then he would have realized that Hadhrat Saharanpuri was not making the comparison – the comparison had been made by the student of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan and that Hadhrat Saharanpuri was clarifying the matter.

3. Lastly and most importantly, Sheikh Nuh mentions a statement of Hadhrat Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi.

When Molvi Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi’s comments relating to Hadhrat Thanawi’s text in Hifdh Al-Iman was shown to Hakim Al-Ummat, he (Hadhrat Thanawi) strongly rejected Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan’s “interpretation” and commented that he could not even dream of thinking such a repugnant (khabees) thing about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Hadhrat Thanawi himself said that if anyone was to believe and directly or indirectly agreed with what Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan had understood/misunderstood from his text then he (Hakim Al-Ummat) would, in accordance with the rulings of Shariah, consider such a person to be outside the pale of Islam for denigrating the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). This is a documented comment of Hakim Al-Ummat.

In addition to this, with an aim of making his statement more clear and understandable, Hakim Al-Ummat twice made changes in the text so as there would be no ambiguity left in the text. Thereafter, the text read as follows:

“Aap ki zhat-e-muqqadasa par alim-e-ghayab ka hukaum keya jana agar baqol Zayd sahih ho to daryafet taleb yay amr hah keh iss ghayab seymurad ba’az ghayab hay ya kul ghayab. Agar ba’az uloom-e-ghayabiya muradhain to iss mey huzoor sallalaho alhey wasalam ki keya takhsees hay?///Mutlaq ba’az uloom-e-ghayabiya to ghair Ambiya ahlehimussalam ko bih hasil hain/// to chaheyay keh sub ko alim ul ghayab kaha jaway.” (Bast Al-Banan — forward slashes mark changes made to text by Hakim Al-Ummat)

Trans: “If it refers to but some of the unseen, then how is the Revered One [the Prophet] (Allah bless him and give him peace) uniquely special? Certain knowledge of unseen is possessed by the non-prophets also, so everyone should be called ‘knower of the unseen…’”

Hadhrat Hakim Al-Ummat Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi made it also extremely clear that no one was to publish the old text of Hifdh Al-Iman (the one that Sheikh Nuh has published) after the changes had been made. These changes were done in the lifetime of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan. Subsequently two books were written by Hakim Al-Ummat – Bast Al-Banan Li Kaff Al-Lisan An Kitab Hifdh Al-Iman (1329AH) and Tagyir Al-Unwan Fi Ba’di Ibarat Hifdh Al-Iman (1342AH).

Hence, to insist on this issue after clarification and removal of the statement is extremely strange. Keeping all these details in mind it becomes clearer that the Baraelwi takfir was totally wrong.

With regards to these “repugnant” texts, Sheikh Nuh mentions in his paper that “looking back, one cannot help wondering why Khalil Ahmad’s and Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s own students and teachers and friends did not ask them, before their opponents asked them.” This is a bold statement for one who has had to rely on selected translated texts in order to substantiate and critique the issue at hand. Fundamentally, Sheikh Nuh and at that other non-Urdu speaking Ulamah who wish to review this issue would not be able to give full justice to the topic by relying solely on translations of selected texts. The above few words hopefully clarify the matters involved, insha Allah.

These are briefly just some of the issues that spring to mind with regards Sheikh Nuh’s piece. Deobandis should be rest assured that the Akabir were on the true path and were not mistaken in anyway. Urdu is a must to understand the Deobandi-Barelwi issue. In the least, Sheikh Nuh could have rechecked his paper and the conclusions he had reached with the leading Deobandi scholars he is in contact with. We live in a global village, the Ulamah are only a telephone call away.

Finally, finishing off it should be noted that the purpose of this paper is not to denigrate Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller or any other Ulamah in any way. A prolonged and exhaustive reading into the issue by referring to relevant texts and then posing questions to contemporary Deobandi Ulamah would have made Sheikh Nuh’s more decisive.

Selected reading:

– Ghayat Al-Ma’mul by the Mufti of the Shafi’is in Madinah – Sayyid Ahmed Al-Barzanji. This book was written in refutation of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan’s views on Ilm Al-Ghayb.

– Al-Sahm Al-Ghayb Fi Kabd Ahl Al-Rayb by Hadhrat Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri. This work has been mentioned by Sheikh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah in his editing of Allamah Kashmiri’s book Al-Tasreeh Bima Tawatur Fi Nuzul Al-Masih.

– Mut’ala-e-Barelwiyyat (Study on the Barelvi’s) by Allamah Dr Khalid Mahmud.

– Al-Shihab Al-Thaqib Ala Al-Mustariq Al-Kadhib in 3 volumes by Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani.

– Izalat Al-Rayb An Aqeeda Ilm Al-Ghayb by Maulana Abu Zahid Muhammad Sarfraz Khan, Shaykhul-Hadith in Madrasa Nusratul-Ulum, Gujranwala, Pakistan.

– Deoband Awr Barelwi Ke Ikhtilaf-i-Niza Par Faisalakun Munazarah by Mawlana Manzur Nomani.

– Fath Bareilly Ka Dilkash Nazarah by Mawlana Manzur Nomani.

– Sa’eeqa Asmaani by Mawlana Manzur Nomani

Tafsir of Duna Allah

January 24, 2012

Tafsir of Duna Allah

‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar

The phrase ‘Min Dun-Allah’… ‘besides Allah’… (5:116) is often repeated in the Qur’an. Some people have misunderstood these verses to mean that the polytheists of Makkah considered Allah to be… ‘something gone, forgotten’… (19:23) and turned to deities (other than Allah) and that they used to present gifts to these deities (other than Allah) or turn to them for seeking assistance (isti’anah) and that is why they were polytheists (mushriks). This is a fatal mistake as we have previously quoted clear and unambiguous verses of the Qur’an and narrations that they considered these deities mere intercessors to get their requests to Allah. In fact, we have elaborated explicitly that in the time of extreme need the polytheists used to call upon Allah Most High.

In brief, the meaning of ‘dun’ from Qur’an, Hadith, poetry of Arabs and dictionary can be summarized as: ‘on the other side, underneath, front’.[1]

[1] When Sayyiduna Musa (may the peace of Allah be upon him) reached Madyan from Egypt and came upon a well and there,

He found, aloof (dun) from them, two women keeping (their animals) back (Qur’an, 28:23)

Dun’ here does not mean ‘ghayr’ (other than) because then the verse would mean that there were no people there and only the two women were present. This is contrary to meaning of the Qur’an, rather it means ‘aloof’.

[2] Similarly consider the following verse:

            When she [Maryam] secluded herself from her people… (19:16)

[3] And the following:

 For whom We did not make any shelter against it… (18:90)

[4] And the following:

            He [Dhul Qarnayn] found by them a people… (18:93)

These verses clearly indicate that ‘dun’ means beside or in front.

[5] When Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) went on Mi’raj (celestial ascension) he described Al-Buraq (the animal) upon which he traveled in the hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Muslim as, “Which is an animal white and long, higher than a donkey but lower (dun) than a mule.”

In this hadith ‘dun’ is used as a comparison [in height] with (fawq) meaning higher and lower.

[6] A poet says:

عجبت لمسراھا ونی تخلصت
إلي و باب السجن دوني مغلق

I was astonished at the vision of my beloved, how it reached me, when prison-door in front of me was locked.” (Hamasah)

[7] Another poet says:

ملکت بھا کفي فأنھرت فتقھا
یری قائم من دونھا ما وراءھا

My palm held the spear and widened the wound, such that the one standing behind it would see what is it front of it. (Hamasah)

These two couplets show that ‘dun’ can mean on the other side and in front.

[8] And Sirah (p. 502) says that the meaning of ‘dun’ is:

Inferior, part, opposite and up.

After considering the meanings of ‘dun’ and the beliefs of polytheists about Allah to be Creator, Lord, Arranger and Omnipotent, it must be accepted that the phrase … ‘gods besides Allah’… (5:116) could only mean that, in spite of their belief in Allah, they used to call deities below, in front, and behind as above the means (ma fawqa al-asbab) and used to make vows for them so that these deities would be pleased and plead their case to Allah and that was their shirk (polytheism). However today, we see that this sort of shirk (polytheism) is prevalent even amongst those who proclaim the Kalimah.

Dear readers, you must have understood well that what was the shirk (polytheism) of the polytheists of Makkah? So even today if someone calls upon someone other than Allah Most High as above the means – ma fawqa al-asbab – (that he is not present in front or not even in this world) then such a call would be shirk (polytheism). May Allah Most High protect all Muslims from it (Amin, O Lord of the Worlds!). It must also be noted that although common people are stricken with this explicit form of shirk but the notables (amongst them) also teach them these lessons to call ‘Ghayr Allah’ for assistance. Hence Khan Sahib Barelwi writes: 

I said Ya Rasul Allah while sitting and standing in order to seek his help, so who are you to blame me.” (Hadaiq Bakhshish, 2:50)

Therefore, all fair-minded individuals and those who are concerned about hereafter must consider it their obligation to reflect upon the pros and cons of the enormity called shirk (polytheism) and not take the matter lightly because shirk (polytheism) is such a crime that Allah Most High sent Prophet after Prophet (may the peace of Allah be upon them) to eradicate it…”

Guldasta Tawhid, p.133-135 — Maktabah Safdariyyah

[1] ‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar mentioned in his tafsir lecture that amongst all the Urdu translations of the Qur’an, the translation of Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir Muhaddith Dahlawi (may Allah have mercy on him) is the finest. Qasim al-‘Ulum wal-Khayrat Mawlana Nanautwi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It is ilhami (inspired) translation.” Amir Shari’ah Mawlana Sayyid Ata’ullah Shah Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say: “Had Qur’an been revealed in India it would have been revealed in the language of Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir.” Then, the next is the translation of his brother Shah Rafi’ al-Din Muhaddith Dahlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hassan (may Allah have mercy on him) rephrased the translation of Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir in an easy language. In all these translations, the word ‘dun’ is translated as ‘ware’ which means below. For example, we say: the fan is below [in Urdu: ware] the ceiling. It means that let alone above him, there is none under Him who can do the same; since the polytheists themselves considered Allah as Most High, they believed that there was none higher than Him. So, the meaning of the verse is: ‘Call upon your aids if there is anyone below Allah from human beings, jinns, Satans, etc. who can accept the challenge’.

Iblis has more Knowledge than the Prophet (upon him be peace)?

January 23, 2012


Do you say that the knowledge of the Prophet (upon him be peace) is limited only to the laws of the Shari‘ah or was he given knowledge pertaining to the Essence, Attributes and Acts of the Maker (Exalted is His Name), the hidden secrets (al-asrar al-khafiyyah), the divine judgement (al-hukm al-ilahiyyah) and other than of that of which none from creation, whoever he may be, reached the pavilions of his knowledge?

We say with the tongue and we believe in the heart that our master, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), is the most knowledgeable of all creation, with sciences pertaining to the Essence and Attributes [of Allah], legislations (tashri‘at), of the practical rules and the theoretical rules, the true realties and the hidden secrets, and other sciences, that none from creation reached the pavilions of his courtyard, neither an angel brought nigh nor a messenger sent.

Indeed he was given the knowledge of the first and the last and Allah’s grace upon him was immense (Qur’an 4:113). However, this does not entail knowledge of every particular from the temporal matters in every moment from the moments of time, such that the concealment of part of it from his noble vision and his exalted knowledge harms his (upon him be peace) being the most learned of all creation, and [harms] the extensiveness of his knowledge and the excellence of his cognizance, even if one other than him from creatures and servants becomes cognizant of it. Sulayman (upon him be peace) being the most learned [in his time] was not harmed by the concealment [from him] of what Hudhud had comprehended of strange incidents, as it says in the Qur’an, “He said: I comprehend that which you do not comprehend and I have brought to you a sure information from Sheba” (Qur’an 27:22).


Do you believe that Iblis, the accursed, is more knowledgeable than the Chief Existent (upon him be peace) and has more expansive knowledge than him in absolute terms? Have you written this in a book? And how do you judge one who believes this?


A review of this issue preceded from us, that the Prophet (upon him be peace) is the most knowledgeable of creation in general, of the sciences, the judgement, the secrets and other than that from the Kingdom of the Horizons, and we believe with certainty that one who says that so-and-so person is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (upon him be peace) has disbelieved. Our elders have given the verdict of disbelief for one who says that Iblis, the accursed, is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), so how is it possible that this matter is in a certain book we authored?

However, the concealment of some insignificant particular things from the Prophet (upon him be peace) due to his inattention to it does not cause any defect in his (upon him be peace) being the most learned once it is established that he is the most knowledgeable of creation of the noble sciences that are fitting to his lofty station, just as cognizance of most of those insignificant things due to the intensity of Iblis’s attention to them does not cause glory and perfection of knowledge in him, since this is not the criterion of virtue. Hereof, it is not correct to say that Iblis is more knowledgeable than the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) just as it is not correct to say about a child who knows some particulars that he is more knowledgeable than an erudite research scholar in the sciences from whom those particulars are hidden. We have recited unto you the story of Hudhud with Sulayman (upon our Prophet and upon him be peace) and his statement, “I comprehend that which you do not comprehend.” The records of hadith and the books of tafsir are replete with abundant examples of this which are well-known amongst people.

The physicians are agreed that Plato and Galen and their likes are from the most knowledgeable of physicians about the qualities of diseases and their states, despite their knowledge that maggots are more knowledgeable about states of filth, their taste and their qualities. Hence, the absence of Plato’s and Galen’s knowledge of these despicable states does not harm their being the most learned, and none from the intelligent and the stupid will be satisfied with the view that maggots are more knowledgeable than Plato, although they have more extensive knowledge than Plato about the states of filth. The innovators of our lands affirm for the blessed prophetic soul (upon it a million greetings and peace) all the sciences of the base lowly things and the lofty virtuous things, saying that since he (upon him be peace) was the best of all creation, it is necessary that he possesses all of those sciences, every particular and every universal. We rejected the establishment of this matter using this corrupt analogy without a proof-text from the relied upon texts. Do you not see that every believer is more virtuous and more honourable than Iblis so following this logic it would be necessary that every person from the individuals of this ummah possesses the sciences of Iblis, and it would be necessary that Sulayman (upon our Prophet and upon him be peace) knew that which Hudhud knew, and that Plato and Galen knew all the knowledge of maggots? These concomitants are absurd in their entirety as is obvious.

This is a summary of what we said in al-Barahin al-Qati‘ah in order to sever the veins of the foolish deviants and break the necks of the forging deceivers. Hence, our discussion about it was only in regards to some of these temporal particulars, and for this reason we used the demonstrative noun to indicate that the objective in affirmation and negation there was those particulars, and nothing besides [them]. However, the iniquitous distort the speech and do not fear the reckoning of the Knowing King. We are certain that those who say that so-and-so individual is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (upon him be peace) is a disbeliever, as more than one of our respected ‘ulama stated. And whoever concocts about us that which we did not say, upon him is [the burden of] proof, [and he should] fear the interrogation before the Recompensing King. Allah is witness over what we say.

Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad ya‘ni ‘Aqa’id ‘Ulama Ahl al-Sunnah Deoband, pp. 55-60

Imkan al-Kadhib

January 23, 2012


Do you believe in the possibility of the occurrence of falsehood in a speech from the Speech of the Master (Great and Glorious is His Transcendence). If not, what then is your opinion?


We and our elders (Allah Most High have mercy on them) declare and are convinced that all speech that issued from the Creator (Great and Glorious is He) or will issue from Him is absolutely truthful, and it is certain that it concurs with reality. Undoubtedly, there is no trace of falsehood in any part of His (Exalted is He) Speech, nor any doubt about [the absence of] contravening reality [in His Speech]. Whoever believes contrary to this or conceives of a lie in any part of His Speech, is a disbeliever, apostate and heretic, and does not have even a trace of faith.


Have you ascribed the view of “imkan al-kadhib” (the possibility of lying) to some of the Ash’aris? If so, what is meant by this? And do you have a proof-text for this view from the reliable scholars? Explain the matter to us as it is.


This began as a dispute between us and the Indian logicians and innovators about the capacity of the Maker (Transcendent is He) to act contrary to what He promised, informed, intended, etc. They said that acting contrary to these things is absent from Allah’s Ancient Power (qudrah qadimah), hypothetically impossible (mustahil aqlan), impossible to exist within His capacity, and it is necessary for Him [to act] in accordance with His promise, report, intent and knowledge. We said: such things are certainly capacitated, but their occurrence (wuqu’) is not possible, according to the Ahl al-Sunna wa l-Jama’a from the Ash’aris and Maturidis, textually and logically according to the Maturidis, and only textually according to the Ash’aris.

They objected that if the capacity of these things were possible, it would entail the possibility of falsehood and this is certainly not in His capacity and is intrinsically impossible (mustahil dhatan). We responded using a variety of answers from the kalam-scholars, of which was: even if the concomitance of the possibility of falsehood in acting contrary to the promise, reports etc. in His capacity is accepted, it too is not intrinsically impossible, rather, like oppression and impudence, it is intrinsically capacitated, but it is textually and logically impossible, or just textually, as more than one of the Imams have espoused.

When they saw these responses they caused corruption in the land and attributed to us [the position of] allowing imperfections (naqs) in relation to His Holiness (Blessed and Exalted is He), and they spread this accusation amongst the foolish and the ignorant to create enmity in the common people and to seek enjoyment and popularity amongst men. They reached the roads of the heavens in fabrication when they forged an image from themselves [expressing] the actuality (fi’liyyah) of falsehood without fearing the Knowing King. When Indians became aware of their scheming, they [i.e. the innovators] sought help from the noble ‘ulama of the two Sanctuaries because they know they are ignorant of their evil and the reality of the views of our ‘ulama.

Their likeness is but the likeness of the Mu’tazilah as compared with the Ahl al-Sunna wa l-Jama’a, since they [i.e. the Mu’tazilah] excluded rewarding the sinner (ithabat al-’asi) and punishing the obedient (‘iqab al-muti’) from the Ancient Power and made justice (‘adl) necessary for Allah’s essence. They called themselves “the advocates of justice and transcendence” and they attributed injustice, unconscientiousness and ugliness to the ‘ulama of Ahl al-Sunna wa l-Jama’a. So just as the predecessors of Ahl al-Sunna wa l-Jama’a did not mind their ignorance and did not permit incapacity in relation to Him (Transcendent and Exalted is He!) in the aforementioned injustice, and broadened the Ancient Power while also removing imperfections from His Noble Absolute Self, and perfecting the transcendence and sanctity of His Lofty Holiness, saying that, “Your understanding of the possibility of the capacity to punish the obedient and reward the sinner as an imperfection, is but the consequence of [following] despicable philosophers”; in the same way, we say to them, “Your understanding of the ability to act contrary to the promise, report and truth and the likes of them, as an imperfection, although their issuance (sudur) from Him (Exalted is He) is impossible, only textually, or rationally and textually, is but the misfortune of philosophy and logic and your adverse ignorance.”

They do what they do because of the absolute transcendence [of Allah], but they are unable to perfect the Power and broaden it. As for our predecessors, the Ahl al-Sunna wa l-Jama’a, they combined between the two matters, of widening the Power and perfecting transcendence for the Necessary (Transcendent and Exalted is He).

This is what we mentioned in Al-Barahin in summary-form, and here are some of the proof-texts in support of it from the relied upon books of the madhhab:

(1) It says in Sharh al-Mawaqif:

“All the Mu’tazilites and Kharijites make punishing the one who incurs a major sin necessary when he dies without repentance and they do not allow Allah to pardon him for two reasons:

“First, He (Exalted is He) made it a promise to punish major sins and informed [us] of this i.e. punishment because of it, so if He does not punish for a major sin and pardons, it would entail reneging on His threat and falsehood in His speech, which are impossible. The answer is, the conclusion of this [argument] is that punishment will [actually] occur, so where is the [intrinsic] necessity of punishment, on which is our discussion, since there is no doubt that non-necessity [of punishment] along with [its] occurrence does not entail reneging and falsehood? It cannot be said that it entails their possibility which is also impossible, because we say: its impossibility is prohibited. How so, when they are from the possibilities included in His (Exalted is He) Power?” End [quote from Sharh al-Mawaqif]

(2) In Sharh al-Maqasid by ‘Allamah al-Taftazani (Allah Most High have mercy on him) at the end of the discussion on Power, [he says]:

“The deniers of the inclusiveness of His Power are many groups; of them are Al-Nazzam and his [Mu’tazilite] followers who say that He does not have power over ignorance, falsehood and oppression and all ugly acts (qaba’ih), for if their creation were in His capacity, their issuance (sudur) from Him would be possible, and this concomitant (lazim) is false because it results in impudence (safah) if He knows the ugliness of this and its dispensability, and in ignorance if He is not knowing. The response is: we do not concede the ugliness of a thing in relation to Him, how [can we accept this] when He is in complete control of His kingdom? And if it [i.e. ugliness in relation to Him] is conceded, Power over it does not negate the impossibility of its issuance from Him, by consideration of the presence of disposal and the absence of need, even if it is possible (mumkinan).” End [quote from Sharh al-Maqasid], in summary-form.

(3) It says in al-Musayarah and its commentary Al-Musamarah by ‘Allamah al-Muhaqqiq Kamal ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi and his student Ibn Abi l-Sharif al-Maqdisi al-Shafi’i (Allah Most High have mercy on them), the text of which is:

“Then he i.e. the author of Al-’Umdah said, ‘Allah (Exalted is He) is not described with Power over oppression, impudence and falsehood because the impossible is not included in [His] Power, i.e. it is improper for it to pertain to them. According to the Mu’tazilah, He (Exalted is He) is Able over all that but does not do [them].’ End quote from Al-’Umda.

“It appears as though he altered that which he transmitted from the Mu’tazilah, since there is no doubt that the absence of power over what was mentioned, is the madhhab of the Mu’tazilah. As for its presence, i.e. power over what was mentioned, and then abstention from pertaining to them by choice, to the madhhab, i.e. it is to the madhhab of the Ash’aris, more fitting than it is to the madhhab of the Mu’tazilah. It is obvious that this more fitting [position] is also included in transcendence, since there is no doubt that abstention therefrom i.e. from those things mentioned of oppression, impudence and falsehood, is from the matter of transcendence, from that which does not befit the majesty of His Holiness (Exalted is He).

“Hence, it should be understood by the foregone premise, i.e. the intellect understands, which of the two views are more excessive in transcendence from indecencies: is it power over it, i.e. what was mentioned from the three matters, along with impossibility, i.e. His abstention from it by choosing that abstention; or its impossibility from Him because of the absence of power over it? It is incumbent to rely on the more inclusive of the two statements in transcendence, which is the statement more fitting to the madhhab of the Ash’aris.” End [quote from al-Musamarah].

(4) In Hawashi al-Kalnabwi ‘ala Sharh al-’Aqa’id al-Adudiyyah by Al-Muhaqqiq al-Dawwani (Allah Most High have mercy on them) [it is mentioned], the text of which is:

“In sum, lying being ugly in the uttered-speech (al-kalam al-lafzi), in the sense that it is an attribute of deficiency, is prohibited according to the Ash’aris. That is why Al-Sharif al-Muhaqqiq (al-Jurjani) said it is from the totality of the possibilities (mumkinat), and acquiring decisive knowledge of its non-occurrence in His speech by consensus of the scholars and the Prophets (upon them be peace) does not negate its intrinsic possibility like all decisive knowledge of normal occurrences (al-’ulum al-’adiya) and it does not negate what Imam al-Razi said,” to the end.

(5) In Tahrir al-Usul by the author of Fath al-Qadir, Imam ibn al-Humam, and its commentary by Ibn Amir al-Hajj (Allah Most High have mercy on them) [they say], the text of which is:

“Therefore – i.e. since whatever is conceived as a deficiency is impossible for Him – the decisiveness of the impossibility of attributing Him – i.e. Allah (Exalted is He) – with lying and the like of it (Transcendent is He beyond that) becomes apparent. Also, if His act being attributed with ugliness was possible, confidence in the integrity of His promise, the integrity of His speech besides it – i.e. [besides] His (Exalted is He) promise – and the integrity of His Prophets would disappear – i.e. in principle, His integrity would be uncertain.

“According to the Ash’aris, He (Exalted is He) is certainly not attributed with ugly acts, but they are not rationally impossible, like all of creation. [This is] just like all the sciences in which one of two opposites being the reality is certain, but the other is not impossible, if it were assumed that it is the reality; just like the certainty of Mecca and Baghdad – i.e. their existence – since their non-existence is not rationally impossible. Therefore – i.e. when the matter is such – confidence [in the integrity of His word] disappearing is not necessitated because the possibility of something rationally does not necessitate not having firm resolve of its non-existence.

“The running dispute regarding the rational impossibility and possibility of this applies to all deficiencies – is Allah’s power over it absent or is it, i.e. the deficiency, contained in it, i.e. His Power? He will certainly not do it, i.e. the absolutely decisive condition is the deficiency will not be performed,” to the end.

Similar [statements] to what we quoted from the madhhab of the Ash’aris were mentioned by Al-Qadi al-’Adud in Sharh Mukhtasar al-Usul and the commentators on it. Similar [statements] to it are found in Sharh al-Mawaqif and the marginalia to Al-Mawaqif by Al-Chalabi, and others. Similarly, ‘Allamah al-Qushji in Sharh al-Tajrid, Al-Qunawi and others explicated this. We avoided quoting their texts fearing prolixity and tedium. Allah has charge of right guidance and right direction.

Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad ya’ni ‘Aqa’id ‘Ulama Ahl al-Sunnah Deoband, pp. 70-84


In a treatise endorsing the contents of Al-Muhannad, Shaykh Sayyid Ahmad ibn Isma’il al-Barzanji (d. 1337 H/1919 CE), Mufti of the Shafi’is in Madinah, wrote:

“After reading this satisfactory explanation and your comprehension of it with a sound and adequate understanding, you will know that that which the learned scholar Shaykh Khalil Ahmad mentioned in answers 23, 24 and 25 [of Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad], is a well-known opinion in many of the reliable widely-circulating books of the late kalam-scholars, like Al-Mawaqif, al-Maqasid, Shuruh al-Tajrid, Al-Musayarah etc. The upshot of the answers which Shaykh Khalil Ahmad mentioned in accordance with the said kalam-scholars, of Allah’s capacity to contradict [His] promise, warning and truthful statement in the uttered-speech (al-kalam al-lafzi), necessitates, according to them, an intrinsic possibility (al-imkan al-dhati) [of falsehood] while [having] resolve and certainty of its non-occurrence.[1] This much does not necessitate kufr, obstinacy, or bid’ah in the religion, or corruption. How [can it necessitate these], when you are aware that the kalam-scholars we mentioned agree with it, as you have seen in the speech of al-Mawaqif and its commentary which we just quoted? Thus, Shaykh Khalil Ahmad does not come out of the domain of their speech.” (Quoted in al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad, pp. 119-20)

Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad Kharyr al-Shinqiti al-Maliki al-Madani wrote in his endorsement:

“In regards to the issue of [Allah’s] speech in section 25, I say: disagreement regarding this question is well-known. Discussion about such an issue should not be had with the innovators. As for the Ustadh (Shaykh Khalil Ahmad), he has undoubtedly quoted from the speech of the Ahl al-Sunnah, and whenever someone quotes from the speech of the Ahl al-Sunnah in whatever matter, he is on right guidance.” (Quoted in Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad, p. 127)