Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī Explains Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī’s Positive Stance towards Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb


Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957 CE), a prominent student of Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (1829 – 1905), explains in a letter dated 1950 that Mawlānā Gangohī’s positive stance towards Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb was because of a lack of awareness about him.

He writes:

[To] the one of respected position, may your honour be increased. Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa raḥmatullāh wa barakātuh. The answers to the things inquired about are as follows.

Undoubtedly, al-Shihāb al-Thāqib ‘ala l-Mustariq al-Kādhib is my first book. Since it was written against Mawlawī Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī’s refutation, Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn, discussion on the Wahhābīs came as a secondary [discussion], the objective of which was [to show] that our predecessors are aloof of both extremism and laxity – their track was of moderation, and they are the true followers of the noble predecessors of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah.

That which was expressed in the book remains my position, and it is the way of my noble predecessors.

I wasn’t the only one [to write against] Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhāb and his group. In fact, ‘Allāmah Shāmī (Allāh have mercy on him) has also written [against them] in his book Radd al-Muḥtār Sharḥ al-Durr al-Mukhtār, which is a very reliable and authoritative book in Ḥanafī Fiqh, on p339 of the third volume. Since the author of Radd al-Muḥtār, ‘Allāmah Shāmī (Allāh have mercy on him) lived in that part [of the world] and was from that time, and he had gone to Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah for Ḥajj in 1233 H when Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhāb and his group had control over Ḥijāz, just as he stated on p674 of the first volume [1], the extent to which he is acquainted with Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhāb and his group, those living far away and in a later time cannot be as well acquainted.

Hazrat Mawlānā Gangohī (his soul be sanctified) is someone from a much later time living in Hindustan. He did not have as much awareness of the conditions of this group. Thus, in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah p64, this [i.e. that he has little awareness of the conditions of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb] is stated explicitly in a fatwā. On p8 the passage that is written positively about him, it is based entirely on things that were heard. Hazrat Gangohī (Allāh sanctify his soul) would rely a lot on this book Shāmī. Generally his fatāwā were derived from this book.

The shame of the predecessors, Ḥusayn Aḥmad

Deoband, 4 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, 1370 [ 1950 CE].

(Maktūbāt e Shaykh al-Islām, 2:343-4)

[1] Shāmī mentions that he performed Ḥajj in this year, 1233. (Radd al-Muḥtār, Dār al-Thaqāfat wa ‘l-Turāth, 5:409) What Mawlānā Madanī probably meant to say is that 1233 was the final year that Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s followers remained in power and had control over Ḥijāz, as it was in this year that they were defeated and ousted by the Ottomans.

One Response to Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī Explains Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī’s Positive Stance towards Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb

  1. Imran Khan says:

    Assalamu’ Alaykum,

    One of the objections that some Barelvis have leveled against Mawlana Gangohi, given his defense by Mawlana Madani, is that if he had familiarity with Radd al-Muhtar, then as a corollary, he should have known Allamah Shami’s opinion about the Wahabis. This, however, can be dispelled by simply stating that it isn’t necessary for Mawlana Gangohi to be familiar with the entire contents of the fatawa present in the book.

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