Marsiyah of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi

November 30, 2018

Abu Hasan, the fraud and liar*, has critiqued some lines of poetry in Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi’s marsiyah (elegy) of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. These criticisms are not new, and some have been responded to in Mufti Muhammad Mujahid’s Hadya Barelwiyat** (p. 435 – 448).

A few of these lines that Abu Hasan critiqued are addressed briefly below:

  1. He (i.e. Mawlana Gangohi) brought the dead to life and did not let the living die; take a little look at this healing, Oh son of Maryam.”

This is referring to giving life to spiritually dead hearts and keeping spiritually living hearts alive, which was Mawlana Gangohi’s main preoccupation.

Here, as with much of poetry, the literal meaning is not intended. It is not intended that Sayyiduna Isa (alayhissalam) literally be addressed. Rather, it means that just as the miraculous feat of Sayyiduna Isa (alayhissalam) of giving physical life to the dead is to be marveled at, Mawlana Gangohi’s karamah (which in reality is a mu’jizah of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam) of giving life to spiritually dead hearts should also be marveled at.

  1. Even in the Kabah they turned asking for the way of Gangoh/Gangohi; those who in their hearts kept the taste and passion for gnosis.”

Before setting out for Hajj, Malwana Gangohi would teach his students the correct Sunnah method of Hajj. (He has a work on the topic called Zubdat al-Manasik). Thus, while performing Hajj, those who were students of Mawlana Gangohi, and on the spiritual path of gnosis, would try to follow his guidance. This is what this line is referring to. (ibid. p. 438) It should be noted that Abu Hasan completely misunderstood what this line means.

  1. Why might ‘elevated is Hubal’ be on the tongues of the people of desires? Maybe because a second to the founder of Islam has been lifted from the world.”

This is a reference to the Battle of Uhud, where the mushrikun cried out “elevated is Hubal” when they believed Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to have been killed. Because Mawlana Gangohi carried out the prophetic work of reviving the Sunnah and eliminating Bid’ah, the people of desires (i.e. Bid’ah) are crying out equivalent slogans expressing their pleasure at the death of Mawlana Gangohi. In other words, just as the mushrikun were gleeful at the thought of the death of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the people of innovations are gleeful at the death of Mawlana Gangohi; and this is because Mawlana Gangohi carried out prophetic work. What is meant by a “second to the founder of Islam” is someone carrying out the work of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), not someone who is in any way comparable to him.

In brief, there is a degree of poetic licence in such poems. Thus, they should not always be taken literally, and need to be understood in the context of the emotions/thoughts that are being expressed. Similar responses can be given to the other lines that Abu Hasan referred to.

The misguidance of the Barelwis however – like the belief that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was given knowledge of the Final Hour, that he was endowed with full knowledge of all creation (even though he sought refuge from non-beneficial knowledge), that he was able to read and write, that he is present and witnessing everything in creation, that while in his grave he can hear from afar, that he was not really a human being but like Jibril (alayhissalam) was a light that came in the garb of a human being, that he has full control over creation and can do as he pleases – is not expressed in mere poetic language, but is meant literally.

In short, the extremism of the Barelwis is real, while the so-called extremism of Deobandis is imagined.

* See for examples:



UPDATE (1/12/18)

Abu Hasan has mustered a typically idiotic response.

In response to the concluding comment: “In short, the extremism of the Barelwis is real, while the so-called extremism of Deobandis is imagined”, Abu Hasan says: “so criticising blasphemous poetry is extremism?” This is typical of the kinds of responses Abu Hasan comes up with. Several items of Barelwi extremism with respect to their beliefs about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) were listed followed by the comment: “the extremism of the Barelwis is real, while the so-called extremism of Deobandis is imagined”.  Barelwi “extremism” was of course a reference to these false beliefs.

He refers to these beliefs, complaining: “when RasulAllah sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam is praised, calling it ghuluww.” These are false “praises” and lies, and in fact the greatest disrespect towards the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sought refuge from non-beneficial knowledge, yet they impute to him every iota of knowledge in creation (including the most depraved, ugly parts of creation that would rather not be mentioned explicitly). He (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) proudly wore the label of Ummi, being unlettered, because he was the most learned despite not knowing how to read or write; yet they deny his teachings and claim he could read and write. He (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) strongly condemned lies being said about him, yet Barelwism is built on lying about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and they claim that this is “respect”?! See the introduction to al-Athar al-Marfu’ah of Allamah Abdul Hayy Luknawi for more on this topic.

In response to the explanation given for the second line of poetry above, he claims that if that were the meaning it would not reference those who seek “gnosis”/”irfan” but those who seek “fiqh”. But the reality is there is no difference between following the Prophetic way in acts of worship and gnosis/irfan. Students of Mawlana Gangohi while at Hajj would seek gnosis by following his guidance on what the Sunnah method was for Hajj.

Abu Hasan then refers to another line which states: “His departure [from this abode] is a sketch of the demise of the leader of the world; if ever there was a personality similar to the Glorified’s Beloved it was this personality.” Meaning, Mawlana Gangohi’s students felt a trace of what would have been felt at the departure of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and if ever there was someone who would be comparable to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in this age – to have this kind of effect and leave such a legacy – it would be Mawlana Gangohi. There is nothing problematic in this line; it is not saying he is comparable to the Prophet but that if ever there was anyone comparable, i.e. in this age, it would be Mawlana Gangohi; and thus a feint trace of what would have been felt at the demise of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was felt at his departure.

Abu Hasan complains that one item amongst several of his lies/slanders/examples of incompetence has already been acknowledged and corrected. The purpose of posting this example of his blatant mistranslation of a verse of Qur’an was to demonstrate incompetence, stupidity and carelessness even after having been previously warned about this. But the more important point is that this is only one item. What about the many other lies/slanders/distortions that have still not been acknowledged? If he does not acknowledge/correct them, he will always be a fraud and liar in our books.

Finally, Abu Hasan boasts of being a native Urdu speaker. But, it does not matter that he is a native Urdu speaker if at the same time he is an incompetent fraud and liar. One of the examples listed shows his clear butchery of an Urdu passage from Barahin e Qatiah – and nope, this has not been acknowledged or corrected.


Ahmad Rida Khan’s Father Rejects the Belief in Hazir/Nazir, Hearing from a Distance, for Saints

November 29, 2018

Naqi Ali Khan (1830-1880), Ahmad Rida Khan’s (1856 – 1921) father and primary teacher, says:

For example, an ignoramus holds the belief in connection to an accomplished individual from the saints of this Ummah that he knows the conditions of the entire world altogether at all times and moments and whoever calls him at any time from any place he hears immediately, then although the belief is apparently not established, but if together with this he does not regard him to be independent in the knowledge and power, and regards them all to be from the notification and power of God, and nor does he regard him to be of necessary existence and deserving of worship, he will not become Mushrik based on this belief. Yes, the masses should be prevented from this belief and its falsity should be demonstrated… (Usul al-Rashad, Idarah e Ahl e Sunnat, p. 45-6)

Thus, he clearly rejects the belief that saints are “hazir nazir” or are able to hear from a distance.

In regards to Naqi Ali Khan’s point, however, the masses cannot be trusted to always hold such pure beliefs as expressed by him. Many of them hold Mu’tazili-like beliefs about “secondary causes”, that is, Allah created things with inherent powers, and after receiving those powers they operate independently rather than being dependent on Him in each and every instance. Several centuries ago, Imam al-Sanusi (1428 – 1490) stated that this is generally the belief held by the masses (Sharh al-Kubra, p. 37).

Thus, the Hanafi imams have ruled that such beliefs about saints, which would clearly be based on “independence” (even if it is believed that the powers were initially received from Allah), to be kufr, as it would be to ascribe independent knowledge of the unseen to someone. Allamah Abdul Hayy al-Lakhnawi wrote:

Such recitation consists of calling on the dead from a distance and it is not established in the Shari‘ah that saints have the power to listen to a call from a distance. However, it is established that the dead hear the salutation of the visitors to their graves. But to believe that anyone beside Allah (Glorified is He) is present and seeing and aware of the hidden and evident at all times is shirk. In Fatawa Bazaziyyah it is written that if one marries without witnesses and says that I make Allah, His Messenger and the angels witnesses, ‘he has disbelieved because he believed that the Messenger and the angel know the unseen, and our ‘ulama’ have said that whoever says that the souls of the saints are present and knowing has disbelieved.’ Although Hazrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir is one of the great saints of the Muhammadan nation and his merits and virtues are innumerable, but it is not established that he hears the distressed caller from a distance. And the beliefs that he is aware of his disciple’s affairs all the time, and hears their calls, are beliefs of shirk. And Allah knows best.” (Majmu’ah al-Fatawa, 4:331; quoted in Maqalat Usmani, 2:307)

Naqi Ali Khan refers to Shah Ishaq Dehlawi as “the second imam of the opposition (“Wahhabis”)” (i.e. after Shah Isma’il Dehlawi) (Usul al-Rashad, p 57 and other places), based on Shah Ishaq Dehlawi’s works Masa’il Arbain and Mi’ah Masa’il. Shah Ishaq Dehlawi (1782 – 1846) was like a son to his grandfather Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi, and Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi appointed him as his successor, and gifted him all his books. Thus, Shah Ishaq Dehlawi sat in Shah Abdul Aziz’s position after his death in 1824. In 1842, he traveled with a large group of his family and settled in Makkah, and was regarded very highly by the Ulama of Makkah. He had many students, including Shaykh Abdul Ghani Dehlawi (whose asanid are collected in al-Yani al-Jani), Shaykh Qutbuddin al-Dehlawi (author of Mazahir al-Haqq), Shaykh Ahmad Ali Saharanpuri (editor and publisher of the first print of Sahih al-Bukhari), Mufti Inayat Ahmad Kakorvi (author of Ilm al-Sighah), Shaykh Fadl al-Rahman Ganjmuradabadi (the famous spiritual master) and others. Sayyid Abdul Hayy Hasani says: “No sanad of hadith remains in India besides this sanad [via Shah Ishaq Dehlawi].” (Nuzhat al-Khawatir, p. 911)* This is a clear demonstration that Barelwi claims to be a continuation of the earlier scholarly tradition is false. Barelwi “scholarship” is an effort to justify popular beliefs and practices, not to be a continuation of the earlier scholarly tradition.

Naqi Ali Khan’s work, Usul al-Rashad, is problematic from many angles. He, for instance, claims that the view of bid’ah being divided into good and bad in only its linguistic usage rather than its Shar’i usage is a fallacy. (Usul al-Rashad, p. 61-2) But this reality was expressed by several imams of the past like Ibn Kathir, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and Birgivi. (see p 18-20 here: His discussion on bid’ah is very selective and skewed, and overlooks some very important issues.

* This is apparently in reference to a sanad of hadith that is based on a complete recitation of the famous books of hadith; such a sanad can only be traced via Shah Ishaq al-Dehlawi in India. Otherwise, there are other sanads to Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi, but these are not based on a complete recitation of the books of hadith.

Istighāthah: The Importance of Definition

November 26, 2018

Istighāthah (taking help) can refer to asking a deceased person to fulfil one’s need. This is the meaning of istighāthah which the Barelwīs favour and the Deobandīs strongly oppose.

However, istighāthah has in the past been used more loosely to refer to other meanings, for example:

  1. Tawassul through deceased personalities. E.g. saying: “O Allah, I ask you through the intermediary of” or “by the blessing of so-and-so” “to fulfil this work of mine.”
  2. Deriving blessing (tabarruk) from the mention of someone. E.g. calling out Yā Muammad as an act of love and showing a connection with the blessed name, without the belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) will hear it directly or that it will necessarily reach him.
  3. Deriving spiritual blessing from the grave of a saint. That is, sitting at the side of the grave and meditating, but not asking for anything from the inhabitant of the grave.
  4. At the grave side, asking the inhabitant of the grave to pray to Allah for the fulfillment of one’s needs.

These are meanings that Deobandīs do not dispute. Deobandīs unanimously accept the first three meanings. The fourth meaning they describe as a matter of legitimate dispute. Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī said about the fourth meaning: “To go close to a grave and say, ‘Oh such and such person, pray for me that the Most High fulfils my work.’ There is a difference among the ‘ulamā’ regarding this. Those who consider it permissible to believe that the dead can hear consider this permissible and those who do not believe that the dead can hear forbid this … However, there is no difference in the hearing of the Prophets (peace be upon them), on account of this they are exempt.” (al-Fatāwā al-Rashīdiyyah, p. 139) About the third meaning, the author of al-Muhannad states: “As for deriving benefit from the spirituality of the great saints and receiving internal effusions from their breasts or their graves, this is correct in the manner recognised by its experts and specialists, but not in the manner widespread amongst the common people.” (al-Muhannad, Dār al-Fatḥ, p. 60)

‘Allāmah Ṣun‘ullāh al-Ḥalabī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1708), a pre-Wahhābī pre-Deobandī Ottoman Ḥanafī jurist based in Ḥalab and Makkah, refuted the practice of calling out to dead saints for help while believing they have taarrufāt (powers of discretion) to help. He wrote a relatively lengthy treatise on the topic called Sayfullāh ‘alā man Kadhaba ‘alā Awliyā’illah, containing many useful discussions, including a crucial distinction between karāmāt (exceptional miracles) and taṣarrufāt (continuous powers). ‘Allāmah Ṣun‘ullāh was a Sunnī who made ta’wīl of the Ṣifāt Khabariyyah like yad (hand) (hence could not have been a “Taymī” or a “Wahhābī”), and supported Tawassul. In explaining what some of the scholars before him meant by the permissibility of “istighāthah”, he said: “What has been said about istighāthah being permitted via the prophets and saints, the intent is only deriving blessing (tabarruk) from mentioning them, and making tawassul through them, not asking for help [directly] from them.” (Sayfullāh ‘alā man Kadhaba ‘alā Awliyā’illah, Dār al-Kitāb wa l-Sunnah, p. 49-50)

Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī (1551 – 1642), the celebrated imām of ḥadīth from the subcontinent, has a brief discussion on “istighāthah” in his Arabic commentary on Mishkāt, al-Lama‘āt (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:38-40). What is interesting about this discussion is that although Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī uses the terms “istimdād” and “istighāthah” and defends their practice against opponents, it is clear that he is using them in the alternative meanings described above (in particular, meanings 1, 3 and 4). Relevant parts of this discussion are translated below:

As for istimdād from the inhabitants of graves, some jurists have denounced it. If the denunciation is because they have no hearing, knowledge or feeling of the one visiting and his conditions, then this has been proven to be false, and if it is because they have no power or control in that location to help them but are held back from them and occupied in the trials that occur to their souls which distract them from all else, then this is not regarded as always [being the case], especially for the pious who are the friends of Allāh, and thus it is possible for their souls to acquire closeness to the Lord Most Exalted in the Barzakh, and position and power to intercede and make du‘ā and ask for needs to those visiting and making Tawassul through them.

I don’t understand the istimdād and imdād that the denouncer is negating. What we understand is that a needy supplicant, in need of Allāh, makes du‘ā to Allāh and asks his need from His Most Exalted grace, and takes the spirituality of this slave brought close and ennobled by Him Most Exalted as an intermediary, saying: “O Allāh, by the blessing of this slave that You have shown mercy to and have ennobled, and the gentleness and honour You have over him, fulfil my need and grant my request, verily You are the Generous Giver.” Or he calls out to this slave brought close and ennobled by Him Most Exalted, saying: “O slave of Allāh, O friend of His, intercede for me and make du‘ā to your Lord and ask Him to give me my request and fulfil my need.” The giver and the one asked and the one hoped in is the Lord Most High and Most Exalted, and the slave in between is nothing but an intermediary. The one with power, agency and control is none but Him, and the friends of  Allāh are annihilated in His Most Exalted agency, power and control.

That which is transmitted from the saints who experience kashf upon istimdād (i.e. deriving spiritual benefit) from the souls of the accomplished and taking benefit from them, it is more than can be counted, described in their works, well-known amongst them, so there is no need to cite them. (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:38-40)

As can be seen, Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq is describing only the first, third and fourth meanings of “istighāthah” (a term he also uses in this passage alongside “istimdād”) described above. He is not talking about calling out directly to the deceased, asking for them to fulfil one’s needs. While describing how the ignorant engage in “istighāthah”, however, he states in the same discussion:

Yes, if visitors believe that the inhabitants of graves are independent, powerful actors, without turning to the Divine Presence and taking recourse to it, as believed by the heedless ignorant ones…that is prohibited and forbidden. The practice of the common people has no consideration at all. (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:39)

Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī (1746 – 1824) also denounced the belief of the ignorant when engaging in istighāthah. He said in a Farsi answer:

People from this Ummah have gone into excess in the matter of istighāthah from pure souls. That which the ignorant and common people do, and what they believe about them of full independence in every action, this is manifest shirk without doubt. (Fatāwā ‘Azīzī, Maṭba‘ Mujtabā’ī, p. 121)

The Ḥanafī mufti of Baghdad who came a generation before the founders of Deoband, ‘Allāmah Maḥmūd al-Ālūsī (1802 – 1854), author of the celebrated Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, also condemned the istighāthah of the common people*:

People have increased in calling on other than Allah (Exalted is He), from the saints, the living of them and the dead, and other than them, like: ‘O my master so-and-so, give me relief.’ This is not from the permissible [form of] Tawassul at all. It is befitting the condition of a believer to avoid saying this and avoid roaming around its boundary. Some ‘ulamā’ have considered it shirk, and if it is not so, then it is close to it.

I have not seen anyone who utters this but he believes that the one called, whether an absent living person or a dead person, knows the unseen or hears the call and is able, intrinsically or extrinsically, to bring benefit and repel harm; otherwise he would not call him or open his mouth!

In this is a great trial from your Lord! It is obligatory to stay away from this and not seek [help] except from Allāh (Exalted is He), the Strong, the Independent, the Doer of what He wills.

Let it not delude you that the one seeking help from creation often has his need fulfilled and his objective accomplished, for that is a trial and a tribulation from Him (Great and Glorious is He). Often the devil takes the form to the one asking help of the one he asked help from, so he believes it to be a miracle of the one he asked help from. Far, very far! Indeed, it is only the devil misguiding him and turning him astray. (ḥ al-Ma‘ānī, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 7:181)

* Note: Some have claimed that his work, Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, has been tampered with. In fact, there is no tampering in Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī. The team of researchers who worked on the recent Mu’assasat al-Risālah print of Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī relied on a number of manuscripts, the primary manuscript being one copied (by several scribes) directly from the author’s own copy, which was then checked by the author (Sayyid Maḥmūd Ᾱlūsī) himself. The researchers comment: “The manuscripts that we relied on, particularly this primary manuscript, is no different from the widely available prints of the Tafsīr. They are exactly the same. Hence what was said…that the son of Ᾱlūsī was not trustworthy in printing the tafsir of his father does not conform with reality.” (Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 2010, 1:72)

Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī (1731 – 1810) Opposes Istighāthah and Belief in ‘Ilm al-Ghayb/Ḥāḍir-Nāẓir for Awliyā’

November 24, 2018

Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī (1731 – 1810) was a foremost student of Shāh Waliyyullāh al-Dehlawī (1703 – 1762) in external sciences and Mirzā Maẓhar Jānejān Naqshbandī (1699 – 1781) in esoteric sciences. The latter regarded Qāḍī Thanāullāh very highly, and gave him the title “‘alam al-hudā” (landmark of guidance), and said “If Allāh asks for a gift to present in His court, I will present Thanāullah.” Shāh Abdul Azīz referred to him as “Bayhaqī al-Waqt” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p. 942) Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī was known for his deep knowledge and for his piety and acts of devotion. He would pray 100 rak‘ats nafl each day, recite a seventh of the Qur’ān each day, along with other daily adhkār. He authored several works, including the very popular Mā Lā Budda Minhu and a Tafsīr named after his shaykh, al-Tafsīr al-Maharī.

He opposed ignorant beliefs about prophets and saints, including beliefs that would today be associated with the Barelwis. He authored a work called Irshād al-ālibīn on the subject of wilāyah (sainthood) and the misconceptions people have about wilāyah. The work was initially written in Arabic and then he translated it to Farsi. When censuring the excesses people engage in with regards to Awliyā, he writes:

Ruling: Just as it is impermissible to fall short in the ādāb towards the shaykh, going into excess, trespassing the bounds, in this is also a great evil, which results in falling short in the ādāb afforded to the Divine Presence. Christians went into such excess in veneration of ‘Īsa (upon him peace) that they regard him to be the son of God! This results in falling short in ādāb afforded to Allāh Most Exalted. The Rāfiḍīs have adopted excess in venerating Haḍrat ‘Alī (Allāh ennoble his face). Thus, some say that God Most Exalted dwelled in him, some say revelation came to him and some say he is better than the three Companions [Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān], which results in falling short in ādāb towards God Most Exalted, the Messenger of God (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) or the three Companions.

Ruling: The Awliyā’ do not have ‘Ilm al-Ghayb. Yes, in connection to some unseen things, by way of breaking the norm, they are given knowledge via kashf or ilhām. To say that the Awliyā Kirām have knowledge of Ghayb is Kufr. Allāh Most Exalted said: ‘Say: I do not say to you I have the treasures of Allāh, nor do I know the Ghayb.’ And Allah Most Exalted said: ‘They do not encompass anything from His Knowledge but what He chooses.’ Other verses prove this thesis also.

Ruling: If someone says that God and His Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) are witness to this matter, he becomes Kāfir. The Awliyā Kirām are not capable of creating from nonexistence nor abolishing from existence. Thus, in connection to creating, abolishing, bringing sustenance, granting children, removing calamity, granting cure to illness etc., requesting help from them is Kufr; just as Allāh Most Exalted states in the Qur’ān Majīd: ‘Say I do not possess profit for myself nor harm, besides what Allāh chooses.’

Ruling: It is not permissible to make ‘ibādah of anyone besides God. Nor is it permissible to ask help of anyone besides God. ‘You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.’ Allāh is teaching His slaves to say that we worship only you, and ask help only of you. Iyyāka is for exclusivity. Thus, to make offerings (nadhr) to Awliyā Kirām is not allowed, because such offerings are worship. If someone makes such an offering, he should not fulfil it, because it is necessary to safeguard oneself from sin as far as possible. It is not permissible to circulate graves, because Ṭawāf of Baytullāh shares the ruling of Ṣalāh.

Ruling: Supplicating to the deceased or living Awliyā or Anbiyā’ is not permissible. Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Supplication is worship.’ Then he recited the verse: ‘Supplicate to Me, I will answer you. Indeed those who disdain My worship will enter Jahannam, humiliated.’

Ruling: The statements of the ignorant ones: ‘Yā Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī shay’an lillāh’ and ‘Yā Khawāja Shams al-Dīn al-Pānipatī shay’an lillah’ (‘Oh Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī give something for the sake of Allāh’, and ‘Oh Khawāja Shams al-Din Pānipatī give something for the sake of Allāh’) are not permissible. In fact, they are Shirk and Kufr. But if someone says: ‘Oh my Lord, through the mediation of Khawāja Shams al-Dīn Pānipatī, fulfil the following need of mine’ then there is no harm. Allāh Most Exalted says: ‘Those they call upon besides Allah are slaves like you.’ If someone argues this is regarding the Kuffār who invoke their idols, the answer is ‘besides Allāh’ is a general expression, and it is the [generality of the] expression that is given consideration not the specific context. (Irshād al-Tālibīn, Urdu translation, Maṭba‘ Asrār Karīmī p. 22-24)

In his popular work, Mā Lā Budda Minhu, he writes at the end of the section on Janā’iz:

To prostrate before the graves of the prophets and saints, to circumambulate around them, to invoke them [for help], or to make offerings to the inhabitants of graves is ḥarām; rather some of these matters lead to Kufr. The Messenger of Allāh, may peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, cursed the people who do such things and forbade the Ummah from doing them, and ordered us not to make his grave an idol. (Mā Lā Budda Minhu, Maktabah Raḥmāniyyah, p.82)

The Hadith of ‘Uthman b Hunayf (Radiyallahu Anhu) Does not Support the Practice of Istighathah

November 24, 2018

Addressing the hadith of Uthman ibn Hunayf (Radiyallahu Anhu) and those who argue for the practice of Istighathah from it, ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad Uthmani writes:

Thereafter, the questioner quoted the narration of ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man presented himself in the prophetic court, and pleaded: “O Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), make du‘a to Allah (Exalted is He) for me that He cures me.” He said: “If you wish, remain patient, and that will be better for you, and if you wish, I will make du‘a for you.” He requested him, “O Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), make the du‘a.” Thus, he ordered him to perform wudu’ well and pray two rak‘ahs, and make a request to Allah (Exalted is He) using the following du‘a:

“O Allah! Verily, I ask you and turn to you through Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.

“O Muhammad! Verily, I have turned through you to my Lord in this need of mine that it be fulfilled.

“O Allah! Accept his intercession for me.”

Abu Ishaq said: This is a sahih hadith, Ibn Majah narrated it, and the wording is his, as did al-Tirmidhi and he said: “hasan sahih.” Al-Bayhaqi authenticated it and he added: “He stood up and he regained his sight.” (Ibn Majah ma‘a Injah al-Hajah)

It is not possible to draw evidence in any way from this hadith for the common istimdad. After pondering over the previous explanation, every sane person will concede that there is nothing more than asking for du‘a and tawassul here.

Thus, notice the following words of the hadith: “O Allah! Verily, I ask you and turn to you through Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.” This is a request to Allah through the intermediary of the master of the two worlds (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The later phrase: “O Allah! Accept his intercession for me” is completely clear and manifest in asking for intercession. And we never disallow asking for du‘a and intercession. What connection does this have with the common form of isti‘anah and istimdad? It would have been isti‘anah if the request was directed at him. Here the request is to Allah. He is the One Who gives. Thus, this is clearly in the form of tawassul.

Moreover, the next part is even more clear: “O Muhammad! Verily, I have turned through you to my Lord in this need of mine that it be fulfilled.”

What remains is that in this hadith there is a call to him. Its obvious reply is that this was not a call from far, but was a call from nearby, because that blind man did this du‘a in the Prophetic mosque, and Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was also present nearby. Thus, at the time when he called Huzur using the vocative case, he was concurrently making du‘a of intercession. This is why there is no confusion in this [narration] at all.

Yes, one may be confused about the narration of Tabarani and others that Hazrat ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf taught this du‘a to a person after the demise of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the vocative case. The answer to this is that this is included in the sixth category of calling, which is permissible – which is that the call is to an absent person but the objective is not to call, rather in a particular du‘a from a verse or hadith the vocative case is established and thus it is recited in this way [ritually] understanding it to be a du‘a.

Second, this is the action of a Sahabi, and the action of a Sahabi if contrary to the principles of Shari‘ah, cannot be used as a proof, rather an interpretation would be made of it, because it is possible a Sahabi may make an ijtihadi error.

Calling him after the prophetic demise is against the principles of Shari‘ah. Thus, this is why some Sahabah after the prophetic demise would say “peace be on the prophet” in the Tashahhud instead of “peace be unto you, O Prophet,” dropping the vocative case.

‘Abd al-Razzaq said: Ibn Jurayj reported to us: ‘Ata’ reported to me that the Sahabah would say while the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was alive: ‘Peace be unto you, O Prophet.’ And when he died, they said: ‘Peace be on the Prophet.’ This is a sahih chain. (Fath al-Bari, 2:26)

In reality, according to the principles of Shari‘ah, the requirement of analogy is what those Sahabah did, but the ‘ulama’ of the madhhabs abandoned this analogy in Tashahhud because the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave such emphasis in teaching Tashahhud that it was as though he was teaching a chapter of the Qur’an. So just as in the verses of the Qur’an, in various places, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is addressed in the vocative case, like ‘O Prophet! Convey what was revealed to you from your Lord,’ and the likes of it, and no change is permissible in these verses, similarly, it was preferred that no change is made in Tashahhud. Thus, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud in answer to ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas alluded to this point.

Sa‘id ibn Mansur narrated through the route of Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud from his father that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught them the Tashahhud, and then he mentioned it. He said: Ibn ‘Abbas said: “We would say: ‘Peace be unto you’ only when he was alive.” Ibn Mas‘ud said: “This is how we were taught and this is how we know [it].” Hafiz mentioned it also in al-Fath 2:26, and he weakened it because Abu ‘Ubaydah did not hear from his father. I say: Al-Daraqutni authenticated his hadiths from his father, so either his audition from him was established according to him, or he knew that the intermediary between them is trustworthy.

But, it is apparent that the du‘a which Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught the blind Sahabi, he did not put the same emphasis on teaching it as he did with the Tashahhud. Thus, there is no reason that after the prophetic demise (Allah bless him and grant him peace) the vocative case is not to be dropped from it. Furthermore, Huzur Aqdas (Allah bless him and grant him peace) openly taught Tashahhud where some worshippers were certainly far away and absent. From this, the permissibility of this vocative case is established in the text, as opposed to the hadith of the blind man as his teaching was not open. Here, analogy will be acted upon.

Besides this, it is learnt from the narration of Tabarani and Bayhaqi in which ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf (Allah be pleased with him) taught this du‘a to a person after the prophetic demise, he also said in it: Go to the wudu area and perform wudu and then go to the mosque and pray two rak‘ahs and then ask of your need from Allah through the means of this du‘a, from which it comes to mind that he ordered him to offer this prayer in the prophetic mosque and our master, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), is still present there as he was in his lifetime. Thus, in this scenario too calling from afar is not entailed.

Tabarani narrated in al-Kabir the hadith in its entirety and in it is: ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf said to him: “Go to the wudu area, and perform wudu and then come to the mosque and pray two rak‘ahs, and then say: O Allah! Indeed I ask you…” And al-Bayhaqi narrated it through two routes likewise. Al-Tabarani narrated in al-Kabir and al-Awsat with a chain in which is Rawh ibn Salah, declared trustworthy by Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim and in whom there is weakness, and the remainder of its narrators are the narrators of the Sahih. I say: And the disagreement over his trustworthiness does not affect [the use of this narration as proof].

And if someone was not to make the restriction of the prophetic mosque (Allah bless him and grant him peace), it is possible that he used the vocative case due to imitation of the transmitted wording and the intent was not to call, just as the vocative case is used in the Tashahhud only to imitate the transmitted wording and the intent is not to call.

Thus, since here in this hadith it is taught in the vocative case, there is room for this [interpretation]. What is the proof of using the vocative case in another place? If someone was to say we will all perform analogy on the action of ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, its answer is obvious, that his own action was against analogy, so a valid analogy cannot be made on it. Furthermore, he did this in this specific way in imitation of the wording of the hadith, and the call that you make in other du‘as, what imitation of prophetic teaching is there in that?

Furthermore, in order to transmit our salutations to our master the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), there are angels commanded to do so, so it is possible that the Salaf used the vocative case with this understanding, that the angels will transmit it to Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his intention is not to call. And this interpretation is not possible in making a call from afar for anyone besides Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace), because this distinction is not established for anyone else.

(Maqalat Usmani, 2:292-7)