Latest Print of Nibrās – ‘Allāmah ‘Abdul ‘Azīz al-Farhārī al-Multānī on the Definition of ‘Ilm al-Ghayb

January 8, 2020

‘Allāmah ‘Abdul ‘Azīz ibn Aḥmad al-Qurashī al-Farhārī (approx. 1794 – 1825 CE), from Multan (in present-day Pakistan), one of the great Sunnī scholars of that region and a prolific author (despite young age), wrote a widely-accepted marginalia on Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafiyya, called al-Nibrās. A recent edition has been made available online – find here.

One of the gems from this marginalia is his comprehensive explanation of the meaning/definition of ghayb in Sharī‘ah:

A translation is as follows:

Realise that people have unrefined words on the topic of ghayb. The verification is that ghayb is that which is hidden from the senses, necessary knowledge and deductive knowledge. The Qur’ān has pronounced its negation from all besides Him, exalted is He. Thus, whoever claims that he knows it has disbelieved, and whoever assents to (the claim of) a claimant has disbelieved. As for that which is known through sense or necessity or evidence, it is not ghayb, nor has one disbelieved by claiming it, nor by assenting to it with certainty in that which is certain and with uncertainty in that which is conjectural, according to the verifiers.

With this verification, the difficulty in the issues which are assumed that they are from the ghayb but are not (in fact) from them as they are perceived by hearing, seeing, necessity or evidence, is dispelled. One of them is the reports of the prophets because they are acquired from revelation and from the creation of a necessary knowledge in them or from the exposure of the existents to their senses.

The second of them is the reports of a saint because it is acquired from a prophet or a pious dream or divine inspiration or from looking into the Preserved Tablet which is established from those who experience [mystical] unveiling, although some jurists deny it.

The third of them is the report of the one who calculates the solar and lunar eclipse because it is based on decisive mathematical evidences.

The fourth of them is the reports of an astrologer and geomancer because astrology and geomancy are two evidentiary sciences that were sent down on some of the prophets and were then lost and the people became confused over them, so whoever draws evidence using a prophetic principle, he will be correct in the report.

The fifth of them is the report of a soothsayer because it is from that which the jinn inform him from observation or hearing the angels who are aware of future existents by means of revelation.

Further, we say: Many of the ḥadīths and statements of the Salaf have pronounced kufr on the astrologer and soothsayer and whoever assents to them, and several verifiers have stated that anathematisation is limited to the one who claims knowledge of ghayb or believes the stars manage (the creation) independently or believes the jinn know the ghayb.

I say: And despite this, engaging in astrology and soothsaying and assenting to them is not from the practice of the righteous people, and there is no doubt that they entail damaging the beliefs of the weak amongst the Muslims as they suppose the one giving the information is knower of ghayb; on top it being difficult for the īmān of a soothsayer to be secure as he seeks assistance from the devils.

Preserve this verification as it is from the unique features of our writings.

(al-Nibrās, p739-40)

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.

Opposition to Taqwiyat al-Īmān and the 1824/1240 Meeting at the Delhi Grand Masjid – Maulānā Nūrul Ḥasan Rāshid Kāndhlewī

December 10, 2019

Maulānā Nūrul Ḥasan Rāshid Kāndhlewī writes:

The very first to object [to Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and Taqwiyat al-Īmān] was Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khayrābādī. However, regarding this objection, and the subsequent discussions and events, there is a great blunder. Thus, it is felt to be necessary here to scrutinise and correct this very famous historical error, in fact misrepresentation.

It is commonly believed that:

“Ḥaḍrat Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl’s greatest opponent was Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khayrābādī. Maulānā Khayrābādī publicly opposed Shāh Shahīd. Khayrābādī even had debates or a debate with Shāh Shahīd. There was always argumentation between the two.”

However despite great popularity (and being repeated in almost fifty books), this is definitely an error and is baseless.

Ḥaḍrat Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl (born 12 Rabī‘ al-Thānī, 1193 H) wrote his contentious work Radd al-Ishrāk in 1213 H, and Taqwiyat al-Īmān was written in Ramaḍān al-Mubārak 1233 (July 1818). Thereafter the movement of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd began. It is from this that the message and invitation of Taqwiyat al-Īmān became widespread, and spread throughout the entire country. Until the death of Ḥaḍrat Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz no one sounded any opposition to Ḥaḍrat Shāh Shahīd and his ideas. 7 months after Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz’s death (7 Shawwāl 1239, 6 June 1824), for the first time in 29 Rabī‘ al-Thānī 1240, several scholars of Delhi held a gathering in the Jāmi‘ Masjid of Delhi in which there was discussion and analysis of some of Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl’s ideas.* Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl and Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq were both present on this occasion. In this gathering, Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl announced: “Whoever has any objection or doubt over Taqwiyat al-Īmān, bring it before me and present it to me here so it can be answered.” However, Maulānā Khayrābādī remained completely silent. Maulānā Khayrābādī neither supported this disagreement, nor objected or raised any doubts concerning Taqwiyat al-Īmān.

6 months after the Jāmi‘ Masjid Delhi Dialogue (at the end of Shawwāl 1240, June 1825), Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl had set off on the journey of Jihād from Delhi, which was Shāh Shahīd’s final journey from Delhi – and in fact, Hindustan. He never returned from this journey. However, all the way up to this time, no write-up was put together in refutation of or objection to Shāh Shahīd or Taqwiyat al-Īmān. Approximately 8 months after Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl’s final departure from Delhi, in Jumāda ‘l-Ukhrā 1241 (Junuary/February 1826), Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq wrote his first write-up or brief treatise in objecting to Taqwiyat al-Īmān: Taqrīr I‘tirāḍ bar Taqwiyat al-Īmān, in which, objecting to a simple passage of Taqwiyat al-Īmān**, he began a delicate academic and philosophical debate over Shafā‘ah and Imkān/Imtinā‘ al-Naẓīr.***

Sḥāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl was staying at Sindh in company with the caravan of Mujāhidīn at the start of Dhu ‘l-Ḥijjah 1241 (July 1826), when in 10 Dhu ‘l-Ḥijjah he came across this treatise of Maulānā Khayrābādī. At this time, in that very sitting, Shāh Ismā‘īl took up his pen and wrote an answer. This is why Shāḥ Muḥammad Ismā‘īl’s work and answer is called Risālah Yak Rozī. Here Maulānā Khayrābādī’s treatise in refutation of Maulānā Shahīd was being publicised and there copies of the treatise Yak Rozī was shared widely.

Furthermore, the long effort and struggle, and mission which had started, against innovations and customs via the movement of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd, in support of it the scholars and students from the Waliyyullāh family put together a detailed fatwā or treatise. This treatise or fatwā was also widely read, and became very famous. Maulānā Khayrābādī did not dare to answer the treatise Yak Rozī, but Maulānā Khayrābādī wrote in response to this fatwā (apparently in Jumāda ‘l-Thānī, 1242, January 1827): Ibṭāl al-Ṭaghwā fī Taḥqīq al-Fatwā.

Ḥaḍrat Sayyid Aḥmad Barelwī and Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl were martyred at Balakot in Dhu ‘l-Qa‘dah 1246 (8 May 1831), but until then Maulānā Khayrābādī did not write any other fatwā or any kind of write-up against Shāh Ismā‘īl. He also remained quiet after the martyrdom of Shāh Ismā‘īl. 24 to 25 years after this event, in 1270-73 (1855-57), Maulānā Hidāyat ‘Alī Jonpūrī, Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq’s student, put together Imtinā‘ al-Naẓīr in response to another book by Maulānā Ḥaydar ‘Alī Tonkī, which has been attributed to Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq, while it is not correct to attribute Imtinā‘ al-Naẓīr to Maulānā Khayrābādī. Imtinā‘ al-Naẓīr is Maulānā Jonpūrī’s book.

What actually happened is that the main person behind the commotion of inciting opposition to Shāḥ Muḥammad Ismā‘īl and Taqwiyat al-Īmān was Mawlawī Rajab ‘Alī of the Shī‘ah. Rajab ‘Alī was from the residents of Jagraon. He was appointed as an agent and spy for the English in Delhi. It is now fully confirmed and established that the person who caused most harm to the Mujāhidīn and Jihād movement in the 1857 movement of Delhi was this individual. He was the greatest traitor of that time and the greatest informant and agent of the English in Delhi. He is the one who blew up the Delhi arsenal; and he is the unfortunate one who set the trap for arresting Bahādur Shāh Ẓafar; and used Mirzā Ilāhī Bakhsh; and it was also his handiwork to raise commotion in opposition to Ḥaḍrat Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl and Taqwiyat al-Īmān, and cause scholars of Delhi and of other sides to debate, and take this matter further. Although Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khayrābādī had disagreement over Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl’s ideas, he never came out into the field for this argumentation. [1]

[1] For historical investigation and academic proofs of all the abovementioned events, please await the writer’s Taqwiyat al-Īmān aur Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl ke Khilāf barpa Shaurash Tārīkh wa Ḥaqīqat Āīneh Mein (The Commoition of Inciting Opposition to Shāḥ Muḥammad Ismā‘īl and Taqwiyat al-Īmān in Light of History and Reality), half of which or a little less has already been published in 15 issues of al-Furqān Lucknow’s journal (from July 1991 to December 1993).

(Ustāzul Kull Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Mamlūk al-‘Alī Nānotwī, p206-8)

* The main issue was over referring to practices like kissing the grave within the context of acts of shirk. Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd clarified that he did not mean to refer to such actions as major shirk, but as acts associated with shirk. Shortly after this meeting, in Jumāda ‘l-Ūlā of 1240, he wrote a fatwā clarifying exactly this (copies of which are available). A detailed report of the 1824 meeting (who was in attendance and the discussion that ensued) was written in Farsi at the time, a manuscript of which is available.

** The simple passage is as follows: “It is the nature of this King of Kings that in a single moment, had He so wished with one command of ‘Kun’, He would create thousands of prophets, saints, jinn and angels equal to Jibra’īl, upon him peace, and Muḥammad, Allāh bless him and grant him peace; and would turn the whole universe from the throne to the earth upside down and put another creation in its place.” (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p44) It was said in the context of describing a mistaken conception of Shafā‘ah, and how Allāh has no need for His creation.

*** Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī (1790 – 1868), an expert in the philosophical and rational sciences, wrote a treatise on Imkān al-Naẓīr in favour of Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd’s view and against Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khayrābādī’s. This treatise was printed in the lifetime of Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī, and a manuscript of it is also available. This is described in the following passage from a work of Maulānā Nūrul Ḥasan Kāndhlewī:

Mawlānā Mamlūk al-‘Alī Nānotwī (1789 – 1851), who had studied one lesson with Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī, and learnt from his leading students, Mawlānā Rashīd al-Dīn Khān Kashmīrī Dehlawī & Muftī Ilāhī Bakhsh Kāndhlewī, was the greatest of the scholars of Delhi in his time from the Waliyyullāh tradition. He endorsed a treatise defending Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd on the topic of Shafā‘ah (intercession). The manuscript of this treatise is preserved, and described in Mawlānā Nūrul Ḥasan Kānhdlewī’s detailed biography of Mawlānā Mamlūk al-‘Alī. (Ustāzul Kull Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Mamlūk al-‘Alī Nānotwī, p205-6)

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:

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)

Refuting Barelwi Takfir of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi: Explaining the Passage from Hifz al-Iman

October 11, 2019

Barelwis writing online have been repeating the charge of Kufr against Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi.

The charge Barelwis make is that Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi equated the knowledge of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to the knowledge of madmen, animals and children. To prove this, they quote a passage from his Hifz al-Iman. The passage is as follows:

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 “‘Alim 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 ‘Alim al-Ghayb!

This passage does not equate the knowledge of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to the knowledge of madmen etc. To equate the knowledge of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to the knowledge of madmen etc. is Kufr even according to Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi as stated in his subsequent clarification, Bast al-Banan.

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi is here talking about using the term “‘Alim al-Ghayb” to describe Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), as evident from this passage itself, as it says: “Thus, everyone should be called ‘Alim al-Ghayb.” This is also evident from the question found in Hifz al-Iman to which this is a response:

In his response, first (before the above passage) Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi explains that ‘Alim al-Ghayb (or even ‘ilm 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, he says, as found in the above passage, that even with the false interpretation of ‘ilm al-ghayb as knowledge of ghayb acquired via a means, when applied to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), is all ghayb intended or some? Of course no one means all ghayb, and having knowledge of some ghayb is not restricted to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). In fact, all creatures have knowledge of some ghayb. (E.g. they all know about Allah, and Allah is from the ghayb). Thus, if based on some ghayb an individual is called this, then everyone should be called ‘Alim al-Ghayb, and that is of course nonsensical. This is Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s basic argument.

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s argument applies to all terms that are exclusive to Allah. Maulana Manzur Numani gives the example of the term “Rabb al-Alamin” (sustainer of creatures). A silly person could claim that a certain king who takes care of his subjects is “rabb al-alamin”! The answer to this is that Rabb al-‘Alamin is the one who sustains the creatures independently, not via means. In this meaning, it is exclusive to Allah, and to use it for those who sustain via a means is a misuse of the term. Further, it will be argued, does this king sustain all creatures or only some? Of course, he does not sustain all creatures, while sustaining some creatures is not exclusive to him; even a father does so, and in fact animals do so – so should all have the right to be called “rabb al-‘alamin”? This is identical to the form of argument Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi used in the above passage. (Futuhat Numaniah)

As one can see, there is no disrespect in this to the hypothetical king in reference. Similarly, there is no disrespect to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in the argument of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi. It is only presented to demonstrate the silliness of the person making this claim (that such terms as “‘Alim al-Ghayb”, which are exclusive to Allah, can be used for other than Allah). It is not presented to denigrate Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) or to equate his knowledge or status to that of others.

A final point to bear in mind is that the meaning of the passage from Hifz al-Iman was paraphrased, with no substantive difference between the original passage and the paraphrase, and was presented to scholars of the Arab world, in al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad. The scholars who saw this paraphrased passage saw no problem with it and did not consider it blasphemous. The paraphrased passage translates as follows:

This usage [of referring to another as ‘Alim al-Ghayb] is not permissible even if it was with a [particular] interpretation, because it is suggestive of shirk, just as the usage of their statement ra’ina was prohibited in the Qur’an (2:104) and their statement “my male slave” (‘abdi) and “my female slave” (amati) [was prohibited] in the hadith, as transmitted by Muslim in his Sahih (Kitab al-Alfaz min al-Adab wa Ghayriha); since the general [usage of the term] ghayb in the legal usages is that for which no proof was erected and there is no means or path to its perception. [Based] on this, Allah (Exalted is He) said, “Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except Allah, knows the ghayb” (27:65), “Had I knowledge of the ghayb, I should have abundance of wealth” (7:188) and other verses. If this were allowed by interpretation, it would entail that it would be correct to use khaliq (Creator), raziq (Sustainer), malik (Master), ma’bud (Deity) and other attributes of Allah (Exalted is He), exclusive to His (Exalted is He) Essence, for the creation by an interpretation. It would also imply that by another interpretation the use of the term ‘alim al ghayb would be negated from Allah (Exalted is He), since He (Exalted is He) is not the knower of ghayb by means of a medium or by accident, so would any sane religious person allow its negation [from Him]? Far be it, of course not.

Moreover, if this usage were correct for his holy essence (Allah bless him and grant him peace) according to the statement of a questioner, we will ask for clarification from him: what does he mean by this ghayb? Does he mean every particular from the particulars of ghayb or a part of it, whichever part it may be? If he intended a part of the ghayb, there is no speciality in this for the Chief of Messengers (Allah bless him and grant him peace), since the knowledge of some ghayb, even if it is little, is attainable by Zayd and ‘Amr, rather every child and madman, rather all animals and beasts, because every one of them knows something another does not know and [something that is] hidden from him. Hence, if the questioner permits the usage [of the term] ‘alim al ghayb for one because of his knowledge of a part of the ghayb, it would be necessary for him to allow its usage for all those mentioned, and if that was the case, it would not then be from the perfections of prophethood because they all share in it; and if it is not the case, he will be asked for a distinction, and will find no path to it. [Here] ends the statement of Shaykh al-Thanawi.

Barelwis who insist on the charge of Kufr against Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi must answer the following:

  1. Is the meaning of the passage of Hifz al-Iman as presented in al-Muhannad insulting? If you answer “yes”, then you are disagreeing with great Arab Ulama of that time, who did not regard it to be problematic.
  2. If you answer “no”, then what is the substantive difference between this and the original passage of Hifz al-Iman?

Note, Barelwis must present a substantive difference, a difference that shows the meaning in the two passages is different and thus rendering one Kufr and not the other.