Under the commentary of the verse, “Allāh does not forgive anything being associated with Him but He forgives whoever He wills for anything other than that” (4:116), Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd explains that all sins apart from shirk are pardonable but the crime of shirk is unpardonable. Then he says:
Further, if it is shirk of the highest order from which a person becomes a disbeliever, his punishment* will be an eternity in hell – he will never come out of it, nor will he experience any comfort in it. The shirk that is of a lesser order, the punishment that is determined for it with Allāh will be received.** The remaining sins, the punishments that are determined for them with Allāh are dependent on Allāh’s choice: if He wills He will mete it out and if He wills He will pardon. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p. 19)
Thus in Taqwiyat al-Imān itself, Shāh Ismā‘īl recognises that some shirk will take a person out of Islām and some shirk will not. It is in this backdrop that his general statements on this subject need to be understood.
* Here the discussion is over a person who commits these crimes (major shirk, minor shirk, or all other sins) and dies without having repented from them. If a person sincerely repents from them before death, he will not be taken to task for them.
** It should be noted that there is disagreement on this question, over whether lesser shirk will be treated like greater shirk and thus remain unpardonable (but unlike greater shirk not necessitate an eternity in hell) or will be treated like all other sins (major or minor) and thus be subject to Allāh’s will.
“Realise that asking needs from the dead, [even] while recognising that this is a means to having it fulfilled, is kufr. It must be avoided. This kalimah (i.e. the shahādah) forbids it, and yet people today are engrossed in it.” (al-Khayr al-Kathīr, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, p. 105)
Note that while he considers it kufr, this does not necessarily mean he will make takfīr of individuals/people engaged in it, as kufr can be averted based on ignorance or ta’wīl. The reason this is kufr is it apparently ascribes powers of an immaterial nature to other than Allāh, while such powers are exclusive to Him.*
Shāh Waliyyullāh further says:
“All who go to the city of Ajmer or the grave of Sālār Mas‘ūd or anything similar to them for the purpose of a need he requests [from them], he has committed a sin graver than murder and adultery. He has no likeness but the likeness of one who worships creatures or the likeness of those who would call Lāt and ‘Uzzā, although we do not make explicit takfīr [of an individual] due to the absence of a text from the lawgiver on this specific matter [and thus ta’wīl being possible]. Everyone who specifies life in the deceased and requests needs from him his heart is sinful.” (Al-Tafhīmāt al-Ilāhiyyah, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, 2:45)
He also says:
“Further, the definition of shirk with Allāh in worship is to glorify other than Allāh seeking thereby to get near to Allāh (Exalted is He) and salvation in the next life. Amongst the greatest illnesses of this time of ours is their worship of their shuyūkh, whether living, or of their graves when dead. The ignorant copy the disbelievers of India in worshipping their idols in their practices. The definition of shirk with Allāh in seeking help is to seek one’s need from another while believing he has the power to accomplish it by applying a powerful will, like curing the sick, giving life and death, giving provision and creating a child, and other things that are included within the Names of Allāh (Exalted is He). The definition of shirk with Allāh in calling out is to mention other than Allāh (Glorified is He) while believing this action of his will benefit him in his afterlife or in coming closer to Allāh, just as they mention their shuyūkh when waking up in the morning.” (Al-Tafhīmāt al-Ilāhiyyah, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, 2:63-4)
Shāh Waliyyullāh explains in a statement of ‘aqīdah:
“[Allāh] has no partner in the necessity of existence nor in deserving worship nor in creation and administration. None deserves worship, i.e. the furthest extent of glorification, besides Him. None heals the sick, provides provision and alleviates harm besides Him, in the sense of saying to a thing Kun and it happens, not in the sense of outward ordinary causation as is said: ‘The doctor healed the sick person’, ‘the commander provided the army’…” (al-Tafhīmāt al-Ilāhiyyah, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, 1:144-5)
Shāh Waliyyullāh makes the same point in his well-known work Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah (Dārul Jīl, 1:117):
It is fine to take material assistance within the material world Allāh has created, or from what we learn via revelation is available for assistance. Outside of this, any event/help is from kharq al-‘ādāt (breaking of the norm) which is exclusively the activity of Allāh (even if apparently done on the hand of a creature), so none besides Him is to be asked for them. See Rāh e Hidāyat of Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar for more detail.
Shāh Waliyyullāh also says in Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah:
“This concept [i.e. shirk] has various embodiments and forms, and the divine law only discusses embodiments and forms of it which the people practice with the intention of shirk, so that they become anticipated sources (maẓinnah) of shirk and customarily inseparable from it. This is similar to the practice of the divine law in establishing the causes that entail good or evil actions as being tantamount to those acts themselves. We want to alert you to those things which Allāh, may He be Exalted, has made anticipated sources (maẓinnāt) of shirk in the divine law brought by Muḥammad, may there be peace and blessings upon the one who brought it, so that he forbade them…Among them is that they used to request assistance (yasta’īnuna) with their needs (fi ḥawā’ijihim) such as in curing the sick and meeting the needs of the poor, from other than Allāh. They would make vows to them expecting the accomplishment of their purposes through these vows, and they would recite their names, hoping for their blessing. Therefore, Allāh, may He be Exalted, made incumbent upon them that they say during their prayers: ‘You alone do we worship, You alone do we seek for help’ (Qur’ān, 1:4).” (Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah, Dārul Jīl, 1:120)
Recall also that one of Shāh Waliyyullāh’s prominent students Qāḍī Thanā’ullāh Pānipatī also condemned istighāthah, as documented here.
Barelwīs who assert that such teachings and such opposition to istighāthah originated in India with Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd are, as usual, lying.
* Mawlānā Idrīs Kāndhlewī explains this as follows: “The fourth scenario is when in asking for help from other [than Allah], it is suggestive of the independence of this [entity] other [than Allah], like asking help from spirits. Even though this person does not believe them to be independent, nonetheless, since the idolaters ask help from the spirits believing them to be independent, this is why asking help from spirits is absolutely haram. There is no doubt over it being haram. The doubt is whether this person will come out of the fold of Islam or not? Since this action is a complete manifestation of shirk, this is why there is strong fear of him coming out of the sphere of Islam.” (source)
Explaining the meaning of sayyid (master), Shāh Ismā‘īl Shaḥid (1779 – 1831) writes in Taqwiyat al-Īmān:
Now, it should be heard that the term “master” (sayyid) has two meanings. One is that he is himself owner and free-acting and is not subject to anyone; he can do whatever he wants of himself, just like a king apparently [does]. Such a thing is the character of Allāh alone. There is no “master” in this meaning besides Him.
The second is that while being a subject, having a distinction above other subjects, in that the original command of the Commander comes first to him and from conversing with him, it reaches others, like the Choudhry of every work and the zamindar of every village.
In this sense, every prophet is master of his Ummah, and every Imām of the people of his time, and every Mujtahid of his followers, and every saint of his Murīds, and every ‘Ālim of his students, in that these seniors first establish Allāh’s command themselves and then teach it to their juniors thereafter.
Thus, in this manner, our Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is the master of all the world since in Allāh’s view his position is the highest of all, and he is the most practising of Allāh’s commands, and everyone is dependent on him in learning Allāh’s path. In this meaning, referring to him as the master of all the world is no problem. In fact, he must be regarded as such.
In terms of the first meaning, they are not to be regarded as master of even an ant, because of their own, they cannot exercise control over even an ant. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p. 92-3)
According to Barelwī mythology, Taqwiyat al-Īmān brings down the status of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and reflects Wahhābī teaching. This is one passage that clearly contradicts this belief.
We have encountered Abu Hasan Barelwi of sunniport carelessly translating verses of Qur’ān and making horrible errors.* (In one instance, he translated shajara in verse 4:65 as “tree”!!!)
It turns out Abu Hasan was only following the footsteps of his arch-idol, the mujaddid of takfīr and ḍalalāh, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921).
Although there were already reputable Urdu translations of the Qur’ān available like that of Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānwī (completed in 1907) or of Mawlānā ‘Āshiq Ilāhī Mīruthī (completed in 1909 under the supervision of Shaykh al-Hind), Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī on the suggestion of his student Amjad ‘Alī A‘ẓamī thought he will try his hand at translating/interpreting the Qur’ān. (Some years later, in 1918, Shaykh al-Hind Mawlānā Maḥmūd Ḥasan Deobandī had completed his own widely-accepted Urdu translation of Qur’ān.)
Unlike other reputable translations, the intention of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s translation it seems was not to be faithful to the message of the Qur’ān, but to put across particular Barelwī ideas in the guise of a translation. (Tanqīd e Matīn, p. 17-20) Hence, there wasn’t any careful study and attention to detail that would be required before writing a translation. Shaykh al-Hind (1851 – 1920), for instance, completed his translation over a period of nearly 10 years (between 1909 and 1918), carefully consulting the earlier reputable Urdu translations (mainly, Mūḍiḥ al-Qur’ān of Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Dehlawī) and tafsīrs, and having it checked by students and colleagues (like Shāh ‘Abd al-Raḥīm Rāipūrī). (For a detailed study, see Mawlānā Nūrul Ḥasan Kāndahlawī’s Shaykh al-Hind Mawlānā Maḥmūd Ḥasan Deobandī Ka Aṣl Muqaddama Tarjama e Qur’ān Majīd.)
On the other hand, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān spontaneously dictated his translation to his student in some free moments at the time of resting at midday or at night, without checking earlier translations or tafsīrs. (Sawāniḥ A’lā Hazrat, p. 367) Barelwīs treat this as a great achievement, claiming that his translation miraculously corresponded to well-known tafsīrs (a false claim). Muslims conscious of the great awe and respect due to the Qur’ān know, however, that such a method is reckless and a great sin.
The clearest example of the “fruits” of such recklessness is mistranslating/misinterpreting verses of Qur’ān. Three examples are given below.
“Say: ‘Shall I tell you of a reward with Allāh worse than that: that of those whom Allāh has cursed and [those] with whom He is angry and [those] from whom He has made monkeys and swine and [those who] worshipped false gods/satan? Such people are in a worse situation and further from the right way.’” (Qur’ān, 5:60)
As can be seen this verse lists 4 characteristics of people that are in a worse-off state:
Those who are cursed by Allāh
Those on whom is His anger
Those from whom He has made monkeys and swine
Those who worship false gods/Satan
But how does Aḥmad Riḍā Khān translate it? He translates it as follows:
“…Those on whom is Allāh’s curse, and on whom is His anger, and from whom He has made monkeys, swine and Satan-worshippers.”
The fourth category, those who worship Satan, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān has treated as a third object of the verb ja‘ala (He made). However, this is not possible grammatically. The last category here is ‘abada al-ṭāghūt ([those who] worship Satan/false gods), it is not a noun like qiradah and khanāzīr, so cannot be made an object of ja‘ala. It appears Aḥmad Riḍā Khān mistook ‘abada (worshipped) for abadata (worshippers).
This is a clear error. The meaning of the verse and Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s translation are both very different. The Qur’ān refers to those who worship Satan as a category of people in a worse-off state. But in Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s translation these people were made Satan-worshippers by Allāh Himself as punishment just as He made people into monkeys and swine!
This is not a minor mistranslation or mistake. But shows a daringness in casually interpreting the Qur’ān without prior study. And this is not the only example.
For comparison, Shaykh al-Hind’s translation is as follows:
As can be seen, he correctly translates the last phrase as “and those who worshipped Satan”.
“Any blessing you have is from Allāh. Then when harm touches you, it is to Him you cry for help.” (16:53)
Aḥmad Riḍā Khān translated this as follows:
As can be seen, he translated the last verb taj’arūn as “you take refuge in Him”. Yet this verb is from ju’ār, meaning to “cry out”, not from ijārah, to grant protection/refuge. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān apparently mistook the latter for the former. This is another glaring error. Even a perfunctory glance at the tafsīrs would have borne this out.
Shaykh al-Hind translates it correctly as follows:
Mistranslation Number Three
Allāh says in the Qur’ān:
ذو العرش المجيد
“Glorious Owner of the Throne.” (85:15)
Aḥmad Riḍā Khān mistranslates it as follows:
“Owner of the Glorious Throne.”
As can be seen, there is a ḍammah on the “majīd” (glorious) which means it is a characteristic of Owner (“dhū”), not of the throne (‘arsh). Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made it a characteristic of the Throne. This is another clear error.
Shaykh al-Hind’s translation is as follows:
“Owner of the Throne, One of High Status.”
The above is clear proof that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī didn’t even, at places, while dealing with the most sacred and perilous of tasks, glance at the tafsīrs. Barelwī biographers admit this, but perversely take pride in it.
Can a person who makes such reckless “translations” of verses of the Qur’ān be regarded as a pious Muslim authority? Let alone a mujaddid?! Of course not.
This is an objective test for any Barelwī claiming to be “sincere”, “neutral” and “objective” (like the liar Asrar Rashid). They cannot escape the fact that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was careless and reckless in his translation of the Qur’ān, and given that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has severely warned against such a practice and said such a person “should prepare his place in the Fire”, he is guilty of a grave and major sin. Can such a flagrant and incompetent fāsiq be taken as one’s guide and leader?
Abu Hasan Barelwī has written a response to the above.
On the third verse (dhu l-‘arsh al-majīdu), he points out that it is common knowledge that majīd can be read with both ḍamma and with kasra. According to the latter reading, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s translation will be correct. But it is also common knowledge that the reading Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was using is not the one with kasra but the one with ḍamma. And in fact, this is what is found in the Arabic script itself alongside which the “translation” is written! So are we to suppose, the Arabic can reflect one reading and the translation another?!
He further claims Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī in his translation treated majīd as an adjective of ‘arsh also, just like Aḥmad Riḍā Khān. But one can easily verify that Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s translation (‘arsh ka malik aur azmat wala hai) treats it as an attribute of Allāh:
On the second verse, he claims Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s translation is the intended meaning, not the direct or literal meaning, and thus his translation of taj’arūn as “seeking refuge” is fine. The literal meaning of taj’arūn is to cry out. Yes, it means to cry out taking refuge from Allāh. But there is no reason to translate it as “taking refuge from Allāh” when there would be no problem, linguistic or otherwise, to translate it as crying out. Unless of course Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s objective was to, na‘ūdhu billāh, improve on the Qur’ān (!), rather than simply convey accurately what it says. (For more examples of this, see Tanqīd e Matīn and other critiques of Kanz al-Īmān.) Of course, if there are idioms or expressions in the Qur’ān or linguistic barriers to a direct translation, a non-literal translation can be employed to help convey what the Qur’ān is saying. But here there is no need whatsoever to move away from a literal translation.
On the first verse, he claims Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s “and Satan-worshippers” is not a third object of ja’ala but a fourth characteristic of those who are in a worse-off state (as it should be). While this is a possible reading of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s translation, it is certainly not how a person who saw only the translation (with no background knowledge regarding the verse) will understand it. What is immediately understood from his translation is that “Satan-worshippers” is made an object of ja’ala just like monkeys and swine. Abu Hasan’s ta’wil is a bit of a stretch, so we are justified in regarding Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s rendition to be a mistranslation.
Abu Hasan the hypocrite claims this genuine critique is a result of “hate”. While we do not deny hating Aḥmad Riḍā Khān for his deviation and wickedness, there is no evidence that this hate has taken us out of fairness. The Qur’ān orders that despite the hate that we harbour for enemies this should not swerve us from justice.
But with Abu Hasan his hatred for the ulama of Deoband is undeniable. And it is also undeniable that his hatred has led him to lie against them.* These lies Abu Hasan has not accounted for, and by the looks of it never will. Hence he is not only a liar and a fraud, he is a hypocrite.
It should be noted that these are not the only examples of mistranslations or highly problematic translations in Kanzal-Īmān. Apart from Tanqīd e Matīn, one may consult the following books:
Update 2 (24/03/19)
In the interest of fairness, we acknowledge that Abu Hasan’s response to verse 1 and verse 2 above do have some merit. However, the objections also hold merit. Truly neutral readers can assess for themselves which perspective they deem stronger.
Note, however, there was no foul play in writing the above. Abu Hasan on the other hand has many documented distortions and lies – clear examples of foul play, incompetence and carelessness. Will he acknowledge them? Don’t count on it.
Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī (1703 – 1762) was the great fountainhead of Indian ḥadīth scholarship. His acceptance and pivotal role in representing the Ahl al-Sunnah of India is in need of no introduction. There is a clear tension between Shāh Waliyyullāh’s opposition to excessive personality-veneration/innovated practices and Barelwī support of them. Thus we find some clear opposition to Shāh Waliyyullāh amongst Barelwī scholars.
Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī
Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī (1798 – 1872), regarded as one of the prominent predecessors of the Barelwī/RazāKhānī school, clearly wrote in opposition to Shāh Waliyyullāh. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921) had written a brief commentary on one of Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī’s books (al-Mu‘taqat al-Muntaqad) referring to him in it as “the seal of verifiers, support of inspectors, sword of Islām, lion of the Sunnah” etc. (al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad, p. 8)
[On the other hand, when Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī was studying at Delhi (between 1845 – 1850), he once encountered Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī who was visiting for a lecture. Mawlānā Gangohī sat at the lecture and found his statements and evidences extremely problematic, and never returned to him again. (Tazkirat al-Rashīd, p. 36)]
In a work called al-Bawāriq al-Muḥammadiyyah, Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī attacks Shāh Waliyyullāh al-Dehlawī. On pages 28-31 of the book, he attacks Shāh Waliyyullāh’s celebrated work, Izālat al-Khafā, claiming it is like a Khārijī book! He claims it appears the topic of the work is “removing khilāfah from the seal of khilāfah and the opener of wilāyah (i.e. ‘Alī raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu)” (p. 31). He then concludes: “In sum, the writings of Shāh Waliyyullāh are opposed to the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah.” Referring to Tafhīmāt Ilāhiyyah and “other writings” of Shāh Waliyyullāh he claims these demonstrate his claim, but the sons of Shāh Waliyyullāh, according to him, suppressed these works! (ibid. p. 32)
Images from the book:
Aḥmad Riḍā Khān himself stopped short of directly attacking Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī and his sons, but he regarded Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī (1779 – 1831) and Shāh Muḥammad Isḥaq Dehlawī (1783 – 1846), prominent members of the family and direct students/successors of Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī (1746 – 1824), to be the progenitors of the “Wahhābīs”, referring to their followers/admirers as “Ismā‘īlī Wahhābīs” and “Isḥāqī Wahhābīs” respectively. (e.g. Fatawa Riḍawiyya, Riḍā Foundation, 15:236; 20:246) This was probably more for practical, rather than principled reasons, however, because the views of Shāh Ismā‘īl Dehlawī he took issue with are traceable to his predecessors like Shāh Waliyyullāh, Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz and Qāḍī Thanā’ullāh Pānipatī. See al-Junnah li Ahl al-Sunnah by Muftī ‘Abdul Ghanī Patialvī and the writings of Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar for documentation.
Muḥammad ‘Umar Icharwī
Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s opposition to the Waliyyullāh family, of course, opened the door to attacks on Shāh Waliyyullāh himself. Muḥammad Umar Icharvī (1902 – 1971) is a well-known Barelwī “scholar”. He is a student of one of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s students, regarded as “Munāẓir e Islām” in Barelwī circles and greatly admired by them as a defender of their “maslak” (see: Tazkirah Akābir Ahl e Sunnat by ‘Abd al-Ḥakīm Sharaf, p. 498 – 500).
In his work Miqyās e Ḥanafiyyat, he wrote against Shāh Waliyyullāh claiming he was directly influenced by Muḥammad ibn al-Wahhāb (1703 – 1792) while he was in the Ḥijāz. As a result, he claims Shāh Waliyyullāh became a Wahhābī and promoted Wahhābī ideas in his books. He claims his sons reverted to the way of their grandfather (Shāh Waliyyullāh’s father), but were influenced by some of the Wahhābī ideas of their father. (Miqyās e Ḥanafiyyat, p. 575-7)
Of course the claim that Shāh Waliyyullāh was directly influenced by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb is completely without foundation. What this does demonstrate however is that Barelwīs oppose the ideas of Shāh Waliyyullāh himself and regard them to be “Wahhābī”. Some, like ‘Umar Icharwī, are honest in this respect, while others like Aḥmad Riḍā Khān try to skirt the issue.
Images from the book:
Because Barelwī mythology is rooted in the idea that their version of Islām, comprising of exaggerated personality-veneration and innovations, is true Sunnism, they characterise all genuine Sunnī opposition to them as being “Wahhābī” in origin, and thus have to somehow force a link between Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb and the Indian “Wahhābīs”. Icharwī does so by falsely claiming a direct link between Shāh Waliyyullāh and Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān does so by falsely claiming a direct link between Shāh Ismā‘īl and the ideas of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb, even making the preposterous and resoundingly false claim that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is a translation of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd! Such myths and fables are used to fortify the psuedo-Sunnī Barelwī religion against valid criticism – by simply throwing them off as being “Wahhābī” in origin. The reality of course is that genuine Sunnī scholars have always written against exaggerated personality-veneration and innovations, and this is not peculiar to Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb or Wahhābīs.
Aḥmad Riḍā Khān states in his treatise al-Kawkabat al-Shihābiyyah:
“Wahhābīs are attributed to ‘Abd al-Wahhāb Najdī. Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb was their first teacher. He wrote Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, in which he treated all Muslims apart from his vile group as open Mushriks…Taqwiyat al-Īmān is a translation of this very Kitāb al-Tawḥīd.” (Fatāwā Riḍawiyyāh, Riḍā Foundation, 15:235)
In Sayf al-Jabbār, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s predecessor, Fāḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī, claimed Taqwiyat al-Īman was akin to a commentary of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd.
The reality is Taqwiyat al-Īman and Kitāb al-Tawḥīd are two very different books. Refuting these preposterous claims of Badāyūnī and Barelwī, Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī highlights and explains the “massive difference in the nature” (naw‘iyyat mein boht barā farq) of the two works. (For more detail, see: Shaykh Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb aur Hindūstān Ke ‘Ulamā’ e Ḥaqq, p. 66-8)
This is thus either an example of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s sloppy research or a further example of his deception and lies.
In a fatwā written in the 1880s, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī declared British India a Dārul Islām (an Islāmic territory) as opposed to a Dārul Ḥarb (a disbelieving territory). He called this fatwā I‘lām al-A‘lām bi Anna Hindūstān Dārul Islām (found in Fatāwā Riḍawiyyāh, Riḍā Foundation, 14:106-141). He also refers to this fatwā in later writings/fatwās.
He says in I‘lām al-A‘lām:
“According to the madhhab of our Imām A‘ẓam (Allāh be pleased with him), in fact the ‘Ulamā’ Thalāthah (Allāh have mercy on them), Hindūstān is Dārul Islām, and not at all Dārul Ḥarb, since one of the three conditions that are required for a Dārul Islām to become Dārul Ḥarb according to Imām A‘ẓam Imām al-Aimmah (Allāh be pleased with him) is that the rules of shirk are openly operational there and it is not found in an absolute sense that the rules and symbols of Islām are operational. According to Ṣāḥibayn just this is sufficient.
“However, this, with praise to Allāh, is definitely not realised here. Muslims openly perform Jumu‘ah, ‘Īds, Adhān, Iqāmah, Ṣalāh with congregation and other symbols of Sharī‘ah without resistance. Inheritance, marriage, breastfeeding, divorce, waiting-period, revoking [divorce], dowry, khul‘, expenses, child custody, lineage, gift, endowment, bequest, shuf‘ah and many other such transactions of Muslims are decided according to our bright and white Sharī‘ah. The English officers are also compelled to take fatwā from the respected ‘Ulamā’ and implement and enforce them in these matters even if they are Hindus, Majūs or Christians. With praise to Allāh, this is also the supremacy and the power of the lofty elevated Sharī‘ah, Allāh elevate its glorious rule, since opponents are forced to follow and obey it.” (Fatāwā Riḍawiyyah, 14:106-7)
This is a nonsensical and delusional fatwā. The British did not resort to the ‘Ulamā’ because they were compelled in any way; but because this was their policy, and in accordance with their interests. Their policy was to not interfere in a community’s innocuous ritual devotions. They probably also knew they could win some dim-witted Muslims over by employing such a tactic – and they definitely succeeded with Aḥmad Riḍā Khān! Aḥmad Riḍā Khān even goes as far as to say: “There is no doubt in Hindūstān being Dārul Islām!” (ibid. 14:115)
Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes several fiqh passages which he thinks supports his thesis. What these passages really mean is that if Muslims can operationalise their rules by their own sovereignty and power, by their own military might and strength (and not by mere permission), then the land they reside in is Dārul Islām. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s view has the strange consequence that western nations like the UK and USA would be regarded as Dārul Islām because Jumu‘ah, ‘Īd and other Islāmic rules are conducted there without any resistance.
For a proper understanding of this matter by a real Ḥanafī faqīh of that era, see Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī’s detailed fatwā, translated here:
Another great Ḥanafī faqīh and muḥaddith, and one of the leading scholarly figures of India from a pre-Deobandī/Barelwī era, Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī, also declared India Dārul Ḥarb. He quotes al-Durr al-Mukhtār, which states:
لا تصير دار الإسلام دارَ حرب إلا بأمور ثلاثة بإجراء أحكام أهل الشرك، وباتصالها بدار الحرب، وبأن لا يبقى فيها مسلمٌ أو ذميِّ آمناً بالأمان الأول، ودارُ الحرب تصير دارَ الإسلام بإجراء أحكام أهل الإسلام فيها
“Dārul Islām does not become Dārul Ḥarb except with three things: with the operationalising of laws of idolaters, with its joining with Dārul Ḥarb, and with no Muslim or Dhimmi remaining secure therein with the previous amnesty. And Dārul Ḥarb becomes Dārul Islām with the operationalising of the laws of Muslims therein.”
He then quotes a passage from al-Kāfī:
إن المراد ببلاد إسلام بلاد يجرى فيها حكم إمام المسلمين ويكون تحت قهره، وبدار الحرب بلاد يجرى فيها أمر عظيمها ويكون تحت قهره
“The intent of ‘the lands of Islām’ are lands in which the rule of the imām of the Muslims is enforced and is under his control, and of ‘Dār al-Ḥarb’ is lands in which the command of its ruler is enforced and is under his control.”
Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz then says:
“In this city, the rule of the Imām al-Muslimīn is not operational at all, while the rule of Christian officers is in operation with no fear. The promulgation of the commands of kufr means that in administration and justice, collection of tax and revenue, policing bandits and thieves, deciding disputes and punishing offences, – disbelievers are independently powerful. Yes, there are certain Islāmic laws, e.g. Jumu‘ah and ‘Īd prayers, Adhān and cow slaughter, in which they make no interference; but the very root of these rituals is of no value to them. They demolish mosques without the least hesitation and no Muslim or any dhimmi can enter into the city or its suburbs but with their permission. It is in their own interests if they do not object to the travellers and traders to visit the city. On the other hand, distinguished persons like Shujā‘ al-Mulk and Vilayati Begum cannot dare visit the city without their permission. From here to Calcutta the Christians are in complete control. There is no doubt that in principalities like Hyderabad, Rampur, Lucknow etc., [the British] have left the administration in the hands of the local authorities, but it is because they have accepted the lordship [of the British] and have submitted to their authority.” (Fatāwā ‘Azīzī, Maṭba‘ Mujtabā’ī, p. 16-7)
He then explains that in the time of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and khulafā’ there were lands that were considered Dārul Ḥarb despite some of the salient aspects of Islām being conducted by the Muslims residing there.
This is an example of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s tafaqquh-less (bereft of understanding) “fiqh”, and his departure from the traditional scholarship of India; while the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband upheld and explained the correct Ḥanafī understanding in accordance with what their learned predecessors taught.
It also demonstrates how Aḥmad Riḍā Khān promoted a clearly Kāfir government as “Islāmic” while denouncing the workers of Islām and great saints and ‘Ulamā’ of his time as “Kāfirs” (precisely the behaviour that would be expected of a munāfiq). (Rāh e Sunnat, p. 7)