Answering a Facetious Barelwī Argument Regarding the Word Eysā in Ḥifẓ al-Īmān


Read this, this and this first.

Since Barelwīs cannot answer the clear arguments presented against the slanderous and fraudulent takfīr of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān against Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī, they resort to wordplay.

The word eysā in the passage of Ḥifẓ al-Īmān means “such” (iss qism kā). In the passage in question, eysā ‘ilm ghayb (such knowledge of ghayb) refers to some knowledge of ghayb in general irrespective of the quantity and quality, and is definitely not in reference to the quantity and quality of ghayb as actually possessed by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī deceptively misinterpreted it as a reference to the quantity and quality of ghayb as actually possessed by the Prophet.

Now, Deobandī scholars answering Barelwī objections have explained the word eysā in different ways. Some have said the word is not for tashbīh (drawing a similarity) at all. Maulānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī said it is for drawing a similarity, but the thing that is being compared is not the knowledge of ghayb actually possessed by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), but some knowledge of ghayb in general irrespective of quantity and quality. Hence, the outcome of all explanations is the same.

Barelwīs jump on these different ways of explaining the passage and claim those who said it is not for tashbīh considered it kufr if interpreted as tashbīh. But their meaning is plain: if it is for tashbīh with the actual knowledge possessed by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), as Aḥmad Riḍā Khān misinterpreted it, then, yes, it is kufr. But this is not the meaning of tashbīh that Maulānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī said the passage means, but tashbīh in the sense of possessing some knowledge of ghayb in general irrespective of the quantity and quality.

A detailed response to this Barelwī allegation has been written by Maulānā Abu ‘l-Riḍā’ Muḥammad ‘Aṭā’ullāh and is appended to al-Shihāb al-Thāqib. See this edition of al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p429 onward.

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