Answering an Objection to Ḥifẓ al-Īmān – Did Maulānā Thānawī Restrict Virtue to Complete Knowledge of Ghayb?

January 7, 2020

Read this first.

A common objection raised (by Aḥmad Riḍā Khān himself and then his followers) against this passage of if al-Īmān* is that for endowing the title “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” for creation (based on knowledge of ghayb acquired via a means), Maulānā Thānawī only allows for two possibilities or options: ba‘ḍ ‘ulūm ghaybiyyah (partial knowledge of ghayb) or tamām ‘ulūm ghaybiyyah (complete knowledge of ghayb). It is as though he does not allow for anything in between for virtue or excellence in knowledge of ghayb.

This objection emanates from a misunderstanding of what Maulānā Thānawī was trying to achieve. His purpose was not to discuss at what point a person will be deserving of virtue or excellence. Rather, his purpose was to deter his readers from using the title “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” for any creature, as in Sharī‘ah it is a term exclusive to Allāh. He first explains that “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” is a term applied exclusively to a being who has knowledge of ghayb independently. Hence, to use the term for those who have knowledge of ghayb via a means is a misuse and misapplication. Then, in relation to using the term ghayb for unseen knowledge acquired via a means, he presents the argument found in the passage in question.

The objection raised against this passage will be answered briefly below.

Ghayb is a maṣdar (verbal noun). A maṣdar in principle refers to a single entity (fard), as stated in Nūr al-Anwār (المصدر الذي هو فرد). A single entity can either be literally a single entity (fard ḥaqīqī) or in terms of consequence (fard ḥukmī). The latter refers to the entirety of the thing, because the entirety of a thing in relation to other things is like a “single entity” although in and of itself it is many things put together.**

Hence the term “ghayb” mentioned in “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” either refers to any part of ghayb (which in this context means unseen knowledge received via a means) or it means every single thing from ghayb. If it is the first meaning that is meant, this is not unique to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Based on this, everyone will be entitled to be called “‘Ālim al-Ghayb”! In other words, based on this meaning, it would not be accurate to say the term can be limited to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), as based on this meaning, another person can just as well claim it can be used for himself. And if it is the second meaning that is meant (i.e. complete ghayb), this is discounted for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) by textual and rational evidences.

This in a nutshell is Maulānā Thānawī’s argument. As one can see, there is nothing problematic in this at all.

* The following passage:

“Further, if according to the statement of Zaid it is correct to apply the ruling of ‘ilm al-ghayb on the blessed person [of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), based on which he will be called “‘Ālim al-Ghayb”], then he will be asked: Is the intent of this ghayb some ghayb or all ghayb? If some unseen knowledges are intended what then is the distinction of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in this? Such knowledge of ghayb [i.e. some ghayb as opposed to all ghayb] is acquired by Zaid, Amr, indeed every child and madman, and indeed all animals and beasts, since each individual knows something or another that is hidden to someone else. Thus, everyone should be called “‘Ālim al-Ghayb”!”

** So, for example, the scholars of Uṣūl state that the maṣdar “ṭalāq” (divorce) can refer to a single ṭalāq or to triple-ṭalāq, because the latter is the maximum number of ṭalāqs and thus is a single entity in terms of consequence. It cannot refer to two ṭalāqs, however.

 


‘Allāmah Barzanjī on ‘Ilm al-Ghayb – A Response to Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

January 6, 2020

‘Allāmah Sayyid Aḥmad al-Barzanjī has two treatises refuting the belief [famously held by Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī] that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was bestowed knowledge of literally every single thing in creation up to the Day of Judgement. The first treatise is available as a manuscript, and was written in 1322 H, called Risālah fī ‘Ilm al-Ghayb (available here) and the second the famous Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl written some time after 1324 H (available here; see also here). To cast doubt on the authorship of the second treatise, Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi suggests there is a contradiction between the two treatises, and in doing so, quotes Sayyid Barzanjī’s first treatise deceptively (see, for what he says: p28 here).

In fact, in both treatises, Sayyid Barzanjī says the view that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was given ‘ilm jamī‘ mā kāna wa mā yakūn is bāṭil and an unacceptable view.

The full quote, after mentioning that some late scholars like Ibrāhīm al-Bājūrī held this incorrect view*, is as follows:

فما تقول في قول هؤلاء؟ فالجواب الذي أقوله: أن هذا القول خلاف  التحقيق ودعوى بلا دليل وهجوم فى العلم بلا مستند، بل مخالف ومبارز لصريح الآيات والأحاديث وكلام أئمة الدين الذين عليهم التعويل في مثل هذا المقام المهم كما تقدم بيان كثير منه، وقد قال الله تعالى: ولا تقف ما ليس لك به علم، إن السمع والبصر والفؤاد كل أولاؤك كان عنه مسؤولا، ومع هذا لا يلزم من قولهم المذكور كفر ولا بدعة لأنه مبني منهم على تأويل تلك الآيات والأحاديث كما هو الظاهر اللائق بشأنهم

“What do you say about the view of these [scholars]? The answer that I say is that this view is against verification and is a claim without [proper] evidence and is an attack on [religious] knowledge without basis; in fact, it is in conflict and opposition to clear verses and ḥadīths and the statement of the imāms on whom is dependence in such an important topic, just as the presentation of much of it has passed. Allāh, exalted is He, has said: ‘Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of, indeed th e hearing, sight and heart – all of them will be questioned about.’ But despite this, the aforementioned view of theirs does not necessitate [passing a judgement of] kufr or bid‘ah [on them] because it is based on them having made ta’wīl in those verses and ḥadīths, as is evident and suitable to their position.”

Note: He also refers to this view of some late scholars in Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl, p81-2, and says the same – that it is not a followable position.

The parts in bold are significant passages that Munawwar did not reveal to his readers.

Sayyid Barzanjī is not saying that the misguided view he describes is not itself kufr or bid‘ah – how can it not be kufr or bid‘ah when it opposes clear texts of Qur’ān and ḥadīth, and opposes the statements of the imāms that are depended on?! But that the individual scholars of the past who held this view will not be called mubtadi‘ or kāfir because it was based on an error of judgement, and a mistaken ta’wīl. Ibrāhīm al-Bājūrī and his likes would fall in this category.

But when a person is adamant on such a position, even after the clear evidence of the truth opposing it comes to light, then it will definitely amount to kufr or bid‘ah. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān falls in the latter category.

* As follows:

فإن قلت: قد قال بعض المتأخرين ممن قرب عصره أن علمه صلى الله عليه وسلم محيط بجميع المعلومات حتى المغيبات الخمس، منهم العلامة الباجوري فى حاشيته على سلم المنطق المنظوم فإنه بعد أن نقل اختلاف علماء عصره في ذلك قال: والتحقيق الذي نعتقده أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يفارق الدنيا حتى أفاض الله عليه علم الأشياء كلها لكن لا كعلم الله، أي: الفرق بين علمه تعالى وعلمه صلى الله عليه وسلم على تسليم هذا أن علمه تعالى محيط بالأشياء كلها أزلا وأبدا إجمالا وتفصيلا ولا يشغله حضور معلوم في علمه عن حضور معلوم آخر، وأن علمه صلى الله عليه وسلم مع كونه حادثا ليس بالوجه المذكور

See for earlier refutations of Munawwar: here, here, here, here.


Fabricating to Wahhābify Taqwiyat al-Īmān – The Case of Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī and Sayful Jabbār

December 18, 2019

Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī (1798 – 1872), a predecessor to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān (& someone greatly admired by him), and someone who opposed Shāh Waliyyullāh in writing (& apparently had Shī‘ī tendencies), wrote a tract called Sayful Jabbār against Mawlānā Ismā‘īl Dehlawī and his Taqwiyat al-Īmān, alleging that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is a spinoff of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb‘s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, and is thus literally Wahhābī in its provenance.

Sayful Jabbār was written around 1849, almost two decades after Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd was martyred, and more than three decades after Taqwiyat al-Īmān was written. In this work, Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī presents to readers an Arabic epistle that he claims is authored by Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb as a summary of the contents of his larger work Kitāb al-Tawḥīd. He states that this summary was refuted by scholars of Makkah in 1221 H/1806 CE, which was penned down by a certain “Aḥmad ibn Yūnus al-Bā‘alawī”. However, this entire tale and the epistle itself are an obvious forgery.

Fabricators (including Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī himself?) had taken Taqwiyat al-Īmān as a base text, and “translated” parts of it into Arabic, giving it the worst possible interpretation, and then claimed that this is Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s summary of his own book Kitāb al-Tawḥīd! One can read Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, and find that it bears no resemblance with this supposed summary. Rather, the alleged summary follows the order of Taqwiyat al-Īmān topically, but with additions and alterations that make it appear “Wahhābī” and extreme, and without the clear reference in the original Taqwiyat al-Īmān to the Hindu and Shi‘ī influences peculiar to an Indian context that Shāh Ismā‘īl Dehlawī was refuting.

The following are some examples showing clearly that this is a fabrication, and neither Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhāb nor Shāh Ismā‘īl could have written such a thing. References are to this edition of Sayful Jabbār. For the entire section describing the alleged Arabic epistle, see pages 99 – 193 of the work.

On page 156 of Sayful Jabbār, Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī quotes from this alleged summary of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd:

وأما الشفاعة بالإذن التي كلا شفاعة وهو المذكور فى القرآن والحديث فحالها أنها لا تكون لأهل الكبائر الذين ماتوا بلا توبة ولا للمصرين

“Intercession by permission which is like no intercession, and which is the one that is mentioned in the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, its condition is that it will not occur for the perpetrators of major sins who died without repentance nor for those who persisted [on sins].”

The passage of Taqwiyat al-Īmān (p45) from which the fabricators drew this sentence is talking about the correct type of Shafā‘ah, which is that the sinner knows he doesn’t have anywhere to hide or run or seek protection against Allāh’s judgement i.e. he is a Muwaḥḥid, not a Mushrik. In this case, he will be deserving of Allāh granting permission to a close slave of His to seek intercession for him which will be a means of his being pardoned.

On page 169 of Sayful Jabbār, Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī quotes from this alleged summary:

 فثبت بهذه الآية أن السفر إلى قبر محمد ومشاهده ومساجده وآثاره وقبر نبي وولي وسائر الأوثان وكذا طوافه وتعظيم حرمه وترك الصيد والتحرز عن قطع الشجر وغيرها شرك أكبر، فإن الله تعالى خصص هذه الأمور لذاته وأنزل هذه الآية لبيانه

“It is proven from this verse that travelling to the grave of Muḥammad and his sites, masjids and relics, and the grave of a prophet or saint and all idols, and likewise, circumambulating it and glorying its sanctuary, and leaving out hunting and avoiding cutting the trees etc., are Shirk Akbar (!), because Allāh, exalted is He, has made these things specific to His being and sent down this verse to explain this.”

Even Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb does not go as far as to say undertaking a journey to visit the grave of Rasūlullāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is Shirk Akbar!

In Taqwiyat al-Īmān p57 the passage from which this sentence is “translated” is censuring the treatment of any place as a place of pilgrimage, where one slaughters an animal, makes ṭawāf and offerings etc. It does not refer to the grave of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) specifically; and it does not say that these actions are “Shirk Akbar”! It says only that they are “things to do with Shirk” (shirk kī bātein), which can refer to the lesser Shirk which Shāh Ismā‘īl explicitly referred to in an earlier part of his book.

On page 183 of Sayful Jabbār, Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī quotes from this alleged summary of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd:

أنظر كيف صرح النبي بشرك من حلف بغير الله فكيف نقول بإيمان من يقول بأبي وأمي وأبيه وبالنبي والمولى، فالحالف لهم مشرك كالحالف باللات والعزى

“Look how the Prophet has stated the one who takes an oath by other than Allāh has committed Shirk, so how can we propose one who says: ‘I swear by my father’ or: ‘I swear by my mother’ or: ‘I swear by his father’ or ‘by the Prophet’ or ‘by the master’ has faith? The one who swears by them is a Mushrik just like one who swears by Lāt and ‘Uzzā.”

Again, this is extremism not found even in Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb. What the corresponding passage of Taqwiyat al-Īmān (p85-6) actually states is: “It is realised from these ḥadīths that oaths are not to be taken by other than Allāh, and if it emerges from the tongue, then repentance should be made. Those by whom taking oaths was normal practice for the Mushrikīn [i.e. like Lāt and ‘Uzzā], there is infraction to īmān by taking oath by them.”

Shāh Ismā‘īl clearly differentiates between taking oath by Lāt, ‘Uzzā etc., in which case there is danger to īmān; and taking oath by others, which is not a danger to īmān but requires repentance.

There can be no doubt that the Arabic epistle Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī presents here is a fabrication. Even the introduction to the epistle suggests fabrication, as it calls Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb “‘Abd al-Wahhāb”. The language throughout is poor, and is further proof that it could not have been authored by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb or Shāh Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī.

It is based on this fabrication that Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī says Taqwiyat al-Īmān is like a translation and commentary of a summary of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd (Sayful Jabbār, p99) and Aḥmad Riḍā Khān says it is a translation of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd itself. This fabrication then formed the basis of the critique of the likes of Abu ‘l-Ḥasan Fārūqī (in his Mawlānā Ismā‘īl aur Taqwiyatul Īmān).

The alleged summary of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd was probably fabricated some time in the 1840s. Given a whole book was fabricated to defame Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd in order to make Taqwiyat al-Īmān out to be an outrageous book, and a spinoff of the notorious Arabian Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, is it difficult to believe that in the 1890s (or a little sooner) a fatwā was fabricated in the name of Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī that made out he believed it is permissible to hold the view that lying has actually occurred in Allāh’s speech? – A fatwā that he denied, as recorded by his student Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī, and not found in any of his published Fatāwā, and not recognised by his students. (The fabricated fatwā appears to be based on a passage of Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah, just like the fabricated book was based on Taqwiyat al-Īmān itself.)

These are examples of outright fabrication, on the latter of which Aḥmad Riḍā Khān based his takfīr of Mawlānā Gangohī and all who do not recognise him to be a kāfir. The other takfīrs of the elders of Deoband are also in reality based on “fabrications”, although fabrications of meaning rather than fabrications of text, like the fabrication that Mawlānā Nānotwī claimed it actually possible for a new prophet to be appointed after the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), or the fabrication that Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī had written that Satan’s knowledge is superior to the Prophet’s, or that Mawlānā Thānawī had written that the Prophet’s knowledge of unseen is equal to that of animals, children and madmen. See for refutations: here, here and here.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s contemporary heirs also have no problem with outright fabrication and lies. Like Aqdas Misbahi, who was exposed for lying about Taqwiyat al-Īmān, and still has not made a proper retraction or any kind of apology.

See also: the lies of Asrar Rashid, and the lies of Abu Hasan Barelwi.


Imam al-Tahawi refutes Barelwi Beliefs of Mukhtar e Kull and ‘Ilm Waqt al-Sa‘ah for the Prophet

December 6, 2019

Barelwis hold the belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) owns the whole creation and has full powers of discretion therein. This is articulated most clearly in one of their foundational reference works, Bahār e Sharī‘at, authored by Amjad ‘Alī A‘ẓamī (1882 – 1948), Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s close disciple and successor. He wrote while describing “true Islāmic beliefs” (this being the 50th belief regarding nubuwwah):

“Ḥuḍūr Aqdas (Allāh bless him and give him peace) is the absolute deputy of Allah ‘azza wa jall. The entire universe has been put under the control (taṣarruf) of Ḥuḍūr. He may do as he desires, give to whomsoever he wishes, take from anyone whatever he desires. None in the universe can turn back his rulings. The entire universe is under his governance and he is under the authority of none but Allāh. He is the owner (mālik) of all humans. Anyone who does not accept him to be his owner (mālik) remains devoid of the sweetness of the Sunnah. All the earth is his property. The entire paradise is his estate. The kingdom of earth and the sky are under Ḥuḍūr’s command. The keys to paradise and hell have been given to him in his holy hand. Sustenance, goodness and other types of blessings are distributed from his noble office. This world and the hereafter are a portion of his blessings. The rulings of Sharī‘ah have been delegated to his authority. He may make impermissible (ḥarām) for anyone whatever he decides. Similarly, he may make permissible (ḥalāl) whatever he wishes and exempt whatever obligation (farḍ) he desires.” (Bahār e Sharī‘at, p. 42-3)

Imām al-Ṭaḥāwī refutes this false belief in Sharḥ Ma‘ānī al-Āthār:

فإن قال قائل: إن النبي صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم كان أولى بكل مؤمن من نفسه. قيل له: صدقت , هو أولى به من نفسه , يطيعه في أكثر مما يطيع فيه نفسه , فأما أن يكون هو أولى به من نفسه في أن يعقد عليه عقدا بغير أمره , من بيع , أو نكاح , أو غير ذلك فلا , وإنما كان سبيله في ذلك صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم كسبيل الحكام من بعده

“If someone says the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is nearer to every believer than his own self, it will be said in response to him: you are right, he is closer to him than his own self, so he follows him more than what he follows his own self. But as for him being closer to him than his own self in that he engages in a transaction for him without his permission, whether a sale, marriage or something else, then no. His rule in that was like the rulers after him.” (Sharḥ Ma‘ānī al-Āthār, 3:12)

In other words, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not have the power to sell someone else’s items without his permission or give him in marriage without his permission. If the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) owned everything and everyone, as Barelwis believe, and had full powers of discretion, he would have been able to do this.

Of course, the above Barelwi claim does not require such specific refutations to see that it is absurd, but it is an example of another key Hanafi imam that has clearly refuted their false beliefs, proving once again that their claim to Hanafiyyat (and Sunniyyat) is a farce. For other examples, see:

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/the-misguidance-of-the-barelwis/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/ilmul-ghayb-and-the-kufr-of-barelwis/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/the-blasphemy-and-kufr-of-a%E1%B8%A5mad-ri%E1%B8%8Da-khan-barelwi-according-to-barelwi-standards/

Another core Barelwi belief is that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was given knowledge of the final hour. Imām al-Ṭaḥāwī says:

لما سألوه عن ذلك سألوه عما قد أخفى الله عنه حقيقته

“When they [i.e. the people] asked him about [the timing of the final hour], they asked him about something the reality of which Allāh had hidden from him.” (Sharḥ Mushkil al-Āthār, 1:416)


Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī: Allāh does not have the Power to Create a Likeness of the Prophet

March 1, 2019

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī states:

“That being [of the Prophet] Allāh Ta‘ālā has made without likeness and without equal. An equal to Ḥuḍūr Aqdas (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is intrinsically impossible. It isn’t even within [Divine] Power. It cannot occur, neither within the earlier ones nor the later ones; neither from the prophets nor the messengers.” (Malfūẓāt A‘lā Ḥaḍrat, Dawat e Islāmī, p. 400)

See how he limits divine power to allow for this warped understanding. Any person with sense can see this is disrespectful to Allāh.

If Allāh has created something, He of course has the power to create a likeness of it. Whether He will do so or not is another matter.

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is a creation of Allāh. Hence, creating his likeness is within Allāh’s power. But of course, Allāh will never create such a likeness.

In several places, the Qur’ān argues for Allāh’s power over something based on His power over something similar to it. Like His saying: “[He] is the One Who sent down water in measure from the sky, and We revived thereby dead land – thus will you be brought forth.” (43:11) It goes against Qur’ānic logic to say that Allāh has the power to create the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself but not his likeness.

Only things that are intrinsically necessary (Allāh’s being and His attributes) or intrinsically impossible (e.g. a partner to Allāh) are excluded from divine power. Apart from that, everything is within divine power. Something that is like a possible entity is of course also only possible (otherwise, it would not be “like” it), not necessary or intrinsically impossible.


Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Mistranslates Verses of Qur’ān

February 13, 2019

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 asan 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.

Mistranslation Number One

Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

قُلْ هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِشَرٍّ مِنْ ذَلِكَ مَثُوبَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ لَعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ أُولَئِكَ شَرٌّ مَكَانًا وَأَضَلُّ عَنْ سَوَاءِ السَّبِيلِ

“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:

  1. Those who are cursed by Allāh
  2. Those on whom is His anger
  3. Those from whom He has made monkeys and swine
  4. 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”.

Mistranslation Number Two 

Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

وَمَا بِكُم مِّن نِّعْمَةٍۢ فَمِنَ ٱللَّهِ ۖ ثُمَّ إِذَا مَسَّكُمُ ٱلضُّرُّ فَإِلَيْهِ تَجْـَٔرُونَ

“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.”

Concluding Remarks

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?

* https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/abu-hasans-distorted-translation-of-quran-verses/ . It should be noted Abu Hasan has acknowledged these stupid and careless errors.

UPDATE (23/03/19)

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:

https://ia801900.us.archive.org/17/items/BayanUlQuranurdu-MoulanaAshrafAliThanviRh.a/BayanUlQuran.pdf (p. 1216)

https://ia600501.us.archive.org/15/items/TaraajimAlQuran-Urdu/AlQuranTarjamaThanvi-AshrafAliThanvi.pdf (p. 773)

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.

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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.

* For examples, see here and here.

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It should be noted that these are not the only examples of mistranslations or highly problematic translations in Kanz al-Īmān. Apart from Tanqīd e Matīn, one may consult the following books:

https://ia802703.us.archive.org/26/items/FazilBarelviKayKirdarONazriyatKaMukhtasarJaizaByProf.AbuUbaidDehlvi_201412/FazilBarelviKayKirdarONazriyatKaMukhtasarJaizaByProf.AbuUbaidDehlvi.pdf

https://ia902703.us.archive.org/29/items/KanzulImanKaTehqiqiJaizaByMolanaMuhammadIlyasGhumman/KanzulImanKaTehqiqiJaizaByMolanaMuhammadIlyasGhumman.pdf

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.


Barelwī Opponents of Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī Raḥimahullāh

February 13, 2019

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.