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.


Deobandī Position on the Mawlid – Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī

June 16, 2019

‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī, a Barelwī polemicist, wrote in a 1929 tract called ‘Aqā’id Wahhābiyyah Deobandiyyah: “According to Deobandī Wahhābīs*, Mīlād Sharīf is impermissible in all conditions even if it is in accordance with Sharī‘ah, and no Mīlād or ‘Urs is permissible. It is not permissible to participate in Mīlād Sharīf or ‘Urs. It states in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah, vol. 3, p. 83: ‘It is impermissible in all conditions to hold a gathering of Mawlūd. It is forbidden on account of public invitation to something mandūb (recommended).’”

Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī responds in Sayf e Yamānī (See: here), a book written in 1930, endorsed by leading Deobandī scholars, including Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī and ‘Allāmah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī:

Allāh, the All-Knowing, All-Aware, is witness to the fact that according to us, the pure commemoration of the blessed birth of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is a cause of mercy and a means of blessing just like other beautiful commemorations, and indeed commemorating the excrement of the Prophet, and even the sweat and urine of his camel, is without doubt a cause of reward. This is stated explicitly in many places of Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah. For the satisfaction of readers, we will cite only three passages from the first volume of Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah.

It states in the first volume of Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah, on page 70:

“No one forbids the commemoration of the birth itself.”

Similarly, it states on page 109 of the same volume:

“The commemoration of the birth itself is recommended. Its detestability occurs on account of restrictions.”

Then on page 142 of this volume it states:

“The commemoration of the birth of the Pride of the World (upon him blessing) itself is recommended. But on account of being attached to these restrictions, this function has become impermissible.”

It is clearly evident from each one of these passages that Mawlānā [Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī] Marḥūm would consider the commemoration of the birth of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) itself to be recommended and desirable, but would regard holding a function of Mīlād to be incorrect. If you are unable to distinguish the commemoration of the birth itself and holding a [specific annual] function, then this is a shortcoming in your understanding.

[Poem not translated]

It is indeed strange that those who cannot understand the difference between iṭlāq (an unrestricted action) and taqyīd (a restricted action) have a passion to criticise the speech of the ‘Ulamā’ of the Ummah and the righteous of the religious community. Readers, an example of this is exactly like someone who says: “A stolen sheep is ḥarām”, and some younger brother of the author of the treatise ‘Aqā’id Wahhābiyyah Deobandiyya, ‘Azīẓ Aḥmad Ṣāḥib, says: “According to him, even a sheep is ḥarām, the permissibility of which is proven from explicit text!”

Thus, in this manner it should be understood that the commemoration of the birth itself which holds the position of an unrestricted action (ilāq) is according to us something desirable, while holding [a Mīlād function], in the notion of which public invitation (tadā‘ī) and other emphases and specifications are included, and which holds the position of a restricted action (taqyīd), is according to us forbidden and incorrect. How can anyone object to this? Is not public invitation and other [ritual] emphases on something permissible or desirable reprehensible according to the Ḥanafī Fuqahā? It states in Muslim Sharīf that Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar (Allāh be pleased with him) saw some people gathering for Ḍuḥā Ṣalāh with emphasis, and he described this practice of theirs as bid‘ah, even though Ḍuḥā Ṣalāh in itself is something desirable, on which ṣaḥīḥ ḥadīths have been transmitted.

It states in Musnad Imām Amad that Ḥaḍrat ‘Uthmān ibn Abi l-‘Āṣ (Allāh be pleased with him) was invited to a circumcision and he refused to go. Someone asked why. He said: “We would not go to circumcisions in the time of the Prophet and nor was there a practice of inviting people.” (Musnad, 4:217)

It is realised from these two ḥadīths that in [ritual] matters on which the Pure Sharī‘ah has not taught public invitation and other emphases, public invitation and emphasis on it is bid‘ah and forbidden. If there is sound intellect and a sense of fairness, all obscurities on the topic of Mīlād would be resolved from these few lines.

Further, even if this obvious difference between the commemoration of the birth itself and holding a [specific annual] function is ignored, even then, it is safer to not give permission for holding this function, to block the door (saddan li ‘l-bāb) [to evil], just as Ḥaḍrat Maḥbūb Subḥānī Quṭb Rabbānī Sayyidunā Shaykh Aḥmad al-Fārūqī Mujaddid Alf Thānī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him) wrote on this gathering of Mīlād:

“If recited such that distortion does not occur in Qur’ānic words and without the aforementioned [blameworthy] conditions being realised in the Qaṣa’id, and even that is with correct intention, what is there to prevent its allowance? Master! It comes to the mind of the Faqīr: If this door is not completely shut, the people of passion will not cease [taking advantage of it]. If a little is permitted, it will lead to much. There is a famous saying, ‘A little of it leads to much of it.’” (al-Maktūbāt)

Finally, I also wish to state that forbidding holding such a function is not specific to us or our Akābir, but for centuries, ‘Ulamā’ of Ahl al-Sunnah have been writing thus. Thus, ‘Allāmah Ibn al-Ḥājj [d. 737 AH], who Mawlawī Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Ṣāḥib referred to as “Imām” in Inbā’ al-Muṣṭafā, wrote in his famous book Madkhal:

ومن جملة ما أحدثوه من البدع مع اعتقادهم أن ذلك من أكبر العبادات وإظهار الشعائر ما يفعلونه فى الشهر الربيع الأول من المولد وقد احتوى ذلك على بدع ومحرمات

إلى أن قال:

وهذه المفاسد مترتبة على فعل المولد إذا عمل بالسماع فإن خلا منه وعمل طعاما فقط ونوى به المولد ودعا إليه الإخوان، وسلم من كل ما تقدم ذكره فهو بدعة بنفس نيته فقط، لأن ذلك زيادة فى الدين، وليس من عمل السلف الماضين واتباع السلف أولى (مدخل ابن الحاج، مطبوعة مصر، جلد أول، ص ٨٥)

“Amongst the bid‘ahs they have innovated – while believing that it is from the greatest of rituals – and has been publicised as a symbol [of the religion] is: the Mawlid that they practise in the month of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, which comprises of innovations and prohibited things…These harms are consequential upon the practice of Mawlid when practised with Samā‘. If [the Mawlid] is free of [Sama’], and one only prepares food intending the Mawlid, and calls friends to it, and it is free of all [the evils] that were mentioned earlier, it is a bid’ah by virtue of this intention alone because that is an addition in the Dīn and is not from the practice of the early Salaf, while obeying the Salaf is superior.”

It is clearly evident from the underlined part of this passage of Madkhal that if the function of Mīlād is devoid of other evils, even then, only because of holding a function with a specific emphasis, it is bid‘ah and not correct in Sharī‘ah. This is exactly what is mentioned in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah.

Mawlānā ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Maghrībī wrote in his Fatāwā;

إن عمل المولد بدعة لم يقل به ولم يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والخلفاء والأئمة، كذا فى الشرعة الإلهية

“The practice of Mawlid is innovation, neither endorsed nor practised by the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), nor the Caliphs, nor the Imāms. This is stated in al-Shir‘at al-Ilāhiyyah.”

In Fatāwā Tufat al-Quāt of Qāḍī Shihāb al-Dīn [Aḥmad ibn ‘Umar] Dawlatābādī [d. 849 H], it states that Qāḍī Sāḥib was asked about the Mīlād function, and he said:

لا ينعقد لأنه محدث وكل محدث ضلالة وكل ضلالة فى النار

“It is not to be held because it is innovation, and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.”

Mawlānā Naṣīruddīn al-Shāfī‘ī wrote in response to a questioner:

لا يفعل لأنه لم ينقل عن السلف الصالح، وإنما أحدث بعد القرون الثلاثة فى الزمان الطالح، ونحن لا نتبع الخلف فيما أهمل السلف، لأنه يكفى بهم الإتباع، فأي حاجة إلى الإبتداع؟!

“It is not to be done because it is not transmitted from the Salaf Sālih but it was invented after the first three generations in an impious time, and we do not follow the Khalaf in what the Salaf did not do, as they are sufficient for following, so what need is there to innovate?”

Shaykh al-Ḥanābilah ‘Allāmah Sharaf al-Dīn (Allāh have mercy on him) states:

إن ما يعمل بعض الأمراء في كل سنة احتفالا لمولده صلى الله عليه وسلم فمع اشتماله على التكلفات الشنيعة بنفسه بدعة أحدثه من يتبع هواه

“What some rulers do every year in celebration of his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) birth, along with comprising of horrible formalities, it is bid‘ah itself, those following desires having invented it.”

From all these citations, it becomes as clear as the light of day that from an earlier time, ‘Ulamā’ of the four madhhabs did not look at this practice favourably. I wish to further quote a comprehensive passage from the book al-Qawl al-Mu‘tamad of ‘Allāmah Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Miṣrī. The aforementioned ‘Allāmah states:

ومع هذا قد اتفق علماء المذاهب الأربعة بذم هذا العمل، فممن يذمه: قال العلامة معز الدين حسن الخوارزمي في تاريخه: صاحب إربل الملك مظفر الدين أبو سعيد الكوكبري، كان ملكا مسرفا يأمر علماء زمانه أن يعملوا باستنباطهم واجتهادهم، ولا يتبعوا مذاهب غيرهم حتى مالت إليه جماعة من العلماء وطائفة من الفضلاء، وكان يحتفل لمولد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فى الربيع الأول، وهو أول من أحدث من الملوك هذا العمل.

“Along with this, ‘Ulamā’ of the four madhhabs have agreed on censuring this practice. From those that censured it: ‘Allāmah Mu‘izz al-Dīn Ḥasan al-Khawārizmī said in his Tārīkh: The king of Irbil, King Muẓaffar al-Dīn al-Kawkaburī [d. 630 AH]. He was an extravagant king; he would tell the ‘Ulamā’ of his time to operate on their own deductions and judgements, and not follow the madhhabs of others (i.e. just like Ghayr Muqallids); subsequently, a group of the ‘Ulamā’ and a section of the righteous tended towards him. He would celebrate the Mawlid of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him) in Rabī al-Awwal and was the first king to introduce this practice.”

Since at this juncture exhausting such passages is not the objective, I will suffice on these few. It should be kept in mind that the passages quoted up to now are only of those who, together with being known amongst the Ummah, are accepted authorities on both sides. From all these passages, sufficient light is shed on our approach.

The permissibility or impermissibility of ‘Urs remains. Regarding this, we also say clearly that, undoubtedly, what people today call ‘Urs is impermissible according to us, and not only according to us, but it has this ruling according to all the Akābir of the Ummah.

The grandson and special student of Ḥaḍrat Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Ṣāḥib (Allāh have mercy on him), Ḥaḍrat Shāh Muḥammad Isḥāq Ṣāḥib Dehlawī, wrote on this ‘Urs in his famous book Kitāb Arba‘īn:

“It is not permissible to specify the day of ‘Urs. It states in Tafsīr Maẓharī:

لا يجوز ما يفعله الجهلاء بقبور الأولياء والشهدا من السجود والطواف حولها واتخاذ السرج والمساجد إليها، ومن الإجتماع بعد الحول كالأعياد ويسمونه عرسا

‘What the ignorant do at the graves of the Awliyā’ and Shuhadā, i.e. prostrating, circling around them, making lights and making masjids towards them, and assembling around them annually like ‘Id and calling it ‘Urs, are not permissible.’”

Similarly, Qāḍī Thanāullāh Ṣāḥib Pānipatī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him), who maintains a distinguished status in the Naqshbandī family, and who was called the “Bayhaqī of the Time” by Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz, said in his well-known and famous book Irshād al-ālibīn:

“Elevating the graves of the Awliyā’ of Allāh, constructing domes over them, doing ‘Urs and its likes, and lighting, all of these are bid‘ah. Some of these practices are ḥarām and some makrūh. The Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) had cursed such people who light up graves or prostrate to them.”

Do tell, is it now only the ideology of “Wahhābī Deobandīs” to call Mīlād and ‘Urs impermissible? One should now realise with which Akābir of the religion the ‘Ulamā of Deoband maintain connection.

Noble readers, consider the approach of our RazāKhānī friends. A practice that earlier and later scholars have deemed bad, if, following earlier scholars, the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband today also censure it and forbid it, this forbiddance according to them is an unforgivable crime! [It is a case of] the thief pointing the finger at the officer!

The virtues of a people are faults to some.

Oh Owner of the Throne, You are witness that the crime of ours and our Akābir is nothing but that we are adamant on the Sunnats of Your Pure Beloved, the holder of the station of “Lawlāka”, Ḥaḍrat Muḥammad Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), and are repulsed by innovations. (Sayf e Yamānī, p. 22-29)

Then, he addresses another common charge of Barelwīs, articulated by the same ‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī, that Deobandīs are deceptive and state in their work al-Tadīqāt li Daf‘ al-Talbīsāt (al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad) that the Mawlid function is recommended. Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī responds:

Al-Tadīqāt is not some lost book, which is unavailable. It is not some handwritten fatwā which can be altered, changed or tampered with. Rather, it is a published, widely available book, thousands of copies of which can be found in Hindustan. I will copy its passages below, from which readers will notice whether the commemoration of the noble birth itself is said to be recommended or holding the function of Mīlād; then recite an elegy over the insight and integrity of the author of Aqāi’d Wahhābiyyah (i.e. ‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī). From line 15 of Tadīqāt, page 27, it states:

“Far be it that any of the Muslims say, let alone we, ourselves, say, that commemorating his noble birth (upon him blessing and peace), rather even commemorating the dust on his shoes and the urine of his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) camel, are deemed blameworthy in the Shari‘ah, from the evil and prohibited innovations; for, commemorating the states which have the least connection with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is from the most desirable of recommended acts (ahabb al-mandubat) and the greatest of preferable acts (a‘la l-mustahabbat) according to us, whether it is the commemoration of his noble birth or commemoration of his urine, feces, standing, sitting, sleeping and waking.”

Then from line 10, page 29, this content is concluded with these words:

“Far be it that we say that commemorating the noble birth is abominable and a bid‘ah.”

Readers, for God’s sake, be fair! Who is it that is being deceptive and stating a clear lie? (Sayf e Yamānī, p. 29-30)

‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī further asks: “Do you people [Deobandīs] conduct Mīlād Sharīf without specifying [a date] or Qiyām?”

Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī responds:

It is our preoccupation day and night to discuss and study the blessed Sīrah of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and all the conditions of his life, from his celestial existence [in the world of souls] to his physical existence, then from birth to death, from death to resurrection, from resurrection to the hereafter, from the hereafter to eternity – in brief, all statements, deeds and actions. This is not the lot of the RazāKhānīs. Their lot is only to mention the birth on the date of the twelfth and that too using unreliable reports. In our lot, all conditions of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), the Sīrah, battles, commands, prohibitions, deeds, engagements, statements, actions etc. etc. all occur. Reading them and teaching them, distributing them and publishing them, is our life’s effort. All praise to Allāh, the Master of all worlds. We raise our hands in supplication that Allāh makes our end in this most excellent of pursuits. May our last breath depart beneath your feet, this is the heart’s anguish, this the hope.** (Sayf e Yamānī, p. 112-3)

* “Wahhabi” is a common Barelwi slur for Deobandis, one that has been refuted extensively, in particular by Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani in al-Shihab al-Thaqib. Deobandis differ with true Wahhabis on a number of core issues. For more detail, see here.

** A poem expressing the desire to live one’s entire life in service of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)

 


Aqdas Lies About Taqwiyat al-Iman

May 29, 2019

Muhammad Aqdas is a typical, rabid Barelwi, and someone who very actively promotes Barelwism online. Several years ago he wrote on their forum:

After he was informed this quote is not in Taqwiyat al-Iman, he updated his comment – but only to suggest he is still sure it is in Taqwiyat al-Iman but “for the time being” will take it back until he finds it! The “time being” has continued for more than seven years.

The original passage from Taqwiyat al-Iman, with an explanation, can be found here.

In the passage, the author of Taqwiyat al-Iman is not referring to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) specifically, but to the prophets and pious people in general. He says that they are to be treated as greater human beings – which is what is meant by “greater brothers”. The meaning of “greater brothers” is not actual biological brothers, but brothers in humanity; that is, they are to be treated as greater human beings and not as gods. And nowhere does he say, “and even in that, there should be minimisation”. About the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) specifically, the author of Taqwiyat al-Iman said – in Taqwiyat al-Iman itself – that he must be treated as “master of all the world” and “in Allah’s view his position is the highest of all”. (documented here)

So, one can appreciate the level of deceit and corruption in this misquote of Aqdas. We highlight this because this type of distortion is not an exception but is typical amongst rabid Barelwis of the kind Aqdas represents – including Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi himself.


Eating Crow is Halaal or Haraam?? – Answer to an Objection Against Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahimahullah)

March 29, 2019

Islam Reigns

A person from Saharanpur posed the following question to Qutb al-Aqtab Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahimahullah):

Question: The places where people consider crow as haram and revile those consuming it, so will it fetch reward to consume crow at such places, or will it neither have reward nor punishment?

Answer: He will have reward.   [Fatawa Rashidiya 2/130]

The petty issue prompted the so-called Barelwi Ulama to open Pandora box of abuses and filthy words and revile the elders, whereas this was not a new issue, rather this issue was raised in the time of the Imams and they also issued fatwas of its lawfulness.

But it is 14th century’s freedom of expression and liberty that led them to blindly criticize this fatwa throwing aside the reason, the Shari’ah principles and even the Hanafi School of Fiqh.

I fail to understand if Ulama of Deoband can be criticized for issuing fatwa that normal crow is lawful, then…

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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.

—————

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.

—————

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.


British India is Dārul Islām According to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwi!

February 10, 2019

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:

https://reliablefatwas.com/darul-islam-and-darul-harb/

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)