Further Lies of Asrar Rashid al-Barelwi

December 16, 2018

Barelwism can be characterised (amongst other things) as a tradition bent on distorting texts and history to paint opponents in a bad light. Asrar Rashid is a contemporary Barelwi who upholds this distinctive Barelwi tradition. Under our previous post documenting some of Asrar Rashid’s lies*, a commenter posted a relatively old talk of his in which he regurgitates Barelwi “reasons” for making takfeer of the Deobandi Akabir. The talk is titled “Refutation of Nuh Keller’s ‘Iman, Kufr and Takfir’”. Since we are on the topic of Asrar Rashid’s lies, it would be fitting to list a few lies that have surfaced from this talk.

First Lie

Asrar Rashid claims:

With [Hifz al-Iman] is Bast al-Banan wa Taghyir al-Unwan which he wrote after to defend his statement, after he was taken to task by al-Imam Ahmad Rida Khan. He wrote these works after al-Imam Ahmad Rida Khan passed away.

He is claiming that Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi’s Bast al-Banan – which is a refutation of the false allegation made against him by Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi and of the false reading of a passage from Hifz al-Iman – was written after the death of Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi. This is false. Bast al-Banan was written in 1911, many years before the death of Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi. Bast al-Banan is dated Sha‘ban of 1329 AH (1911 CE) (Hifz al-Iman, Darul Kitab, p 32). Mawlana Sarfraz Khan Safdar (1914 – 2009) writes: “Hazrat Thanawi (Allah Most Exalted have mercy on him) published this lengthy answer with the title Bast al-Banan in Sha‘ban of 1329 which is appended to Hifz al-Iman itself. After the publication of this answer, Khan Sahib was alive for around 11 (lunar) years, but despite this clarification and explanation of Hazrat Thanawi Sahib, Khan Sahib did not part from his kufri determination…” (Ibarat e Akabir, p 191)

Second Lie

Referring to Sirat e Mustaqim, Asrar Rashid says:

Where the statement regarding the Muslim praying in his prayer and he thinks of a donkey his prayer is not invalid but if he thinks of the best of creation his prayer is invalid. Everyone has heard this statement. This is found in this book Sirat e Mustaiq.

This statement is not found in Sirat e Mustaqim. The discussion in Sirat e Mustaqim is not about the validity or invalidity of salah, but about certain distractions and preoccupations of the mind, and which are worse than which. Hence, Asrar Rashid’s claim that Sirat e Mustaqim states that the salah is invalid because of thinking of the best of creation is false and another lie.

A detailed discussion of the passage in question can be found here: https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/refuting-the-allegation-that-shah-ismail-said-allah-forbid-that-to-think-of-the-prophet-saw-in-salah-is-worse-than-thinking-of-animals/

Third Lie

Discussing a sentence of Barahin e Qatiah of Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Asrar Rashid says:

On page 52 he has worse statements where he says “a‘la ‘illiyyin mein ruh mubarak alayhissalam ki tashrif rakhna aur malak al-mawt se afzal hone ki wajh se hargiz sabit nehin hota”, that if you say the Messenger sallallahu alayhi wasallam went to the higher abode then this does not in any way make him any better than Malak al-Mawt.

This is a false reading of the passage from Barahin e Qatiah. Asrar Rashid is claiming that the sentence states the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is not proven to be greater than Malak al-Mawt (Angel of Death) on account of being “in the higher abode”. This is not at all what it says.

The actual passage says that on account of his blessed soul being in the ‘Illiyyin and on account of his superiority to Malak al-Mawt, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cannot be said to have knowledge of certain things (like the locations and times of death of people) that Malak al-Mawt possesses. As one can see, Asrar Rashid’s reading is completely false. He did not read the full Urdu sentence, and nor did he translate the sentence correctly. The full Urdu sentence reads:

“Pass a‘la ‘illiyyin mein ruh mubarak alayhissalam ki tashrif rakhna aur malak al-mawt se afzal hone ki wajh se har giz sabit nehin hota keh ilm aapka in umoor mein malak al-mawt ki barabar ho cheh jaikeh ziyadah.”

A translation of which is:

“Thus, due to the blessed soul, upon him peace, being in the Higher ‘Illiyyin and being superior to Malak al-Mawt, it is not established at all that his knowledge is equal in these matters (about the locations and times of death of people etc.) to that of Malak al-Mawt, let alone being greater.”

Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri is refuting the fallacious reasoning that just because someone is superior or more virtuous, he must therefore possess more knowledge than another in matters on which virtue does not depend (like the locations/times of death of people).

Thus, these are three further lies that has surfaced from an older talk of Asrar Rashid. These are only the clear lies and falsehoods. Otherwise, there are many problems and holes in Asrar Rashid’s arguments, but this is not the place to go into detail. Readers can find detailed responses to these old arguments on this website and elsewhere.

* https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2018/12/04/more-lies-of-asrar-rashid-al-barelwi/


Ilmul Ghayb and the Kufr of Barelwis

December 3, 2018

Source: https://reliablefatwas.com/ilmul-ghayb-and-the-kufr-of-barelwis

The extreme deviance of the Barelwis and the crooked lie of their deceptive claim of being authentic adherents to the Hanafi Madh-hab and the generality (Jumhoor) of the Fuqaha, are exposed thoroughly by their attribution of detailed (tafseeli) knowledge of “everything that was and everything that will be” to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

This belief is summed up, in very clear terms, as follows by their arch-idol, Ahmad Raza Khan:

“It is without a doubt that the Almighty has given His Noble Beloved (Allah bless him and grant him peace) the complete knowledge of everything from the first till the last. From the east to the west, from the Throne till the earth, everything was shown to him. He was made witness to the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. From the very first day till the last day all of the knowledge of what was and what shall be (ma kana wa ma yakun) has been shown to him. From all of the above, not even an iota is outside the knowledge of the Prophet. Great knowledge has been encompassed by the Noble Beloved (Allah bless him and grant him peace). It is not just of a summary type but what is small and big, every leaf that falls and every grain in the darkness of the earth are in their entirety known to him individually and in detail. Much praise to Allah. In fact, that which has been discussed is not, never, the complete knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace and send peace on his family and companions, all of them); but this is a small part of the Prophet’s knowledge.” (Inba al-Mustafa, p.486)

To illustrate better what is meant by the detailed knowledge of “every leaf that falls and every grain in the darkness”, let us consider the example of a Nikah (wedding). According to this perverted Barelwi creed, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) possesses the knowledge of every single one of the billions of Nikah that had ever taken place in the past, is currently taking place, and the billions more that are due to take place in the future.

Furthermore, according to this twisted creed, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) possesses not only the knowledge of the general arrangements of each and every Nikah, but also every single paraphernalia attached to each Nikah, from the food items, the guests, the clothes worn by the guests, to every other minute detail connected to the Nikah, even the detailed knowledge of each and every leaf that falls in the vicinity of the Nikah and the detailed knowledge of each and every grain that is consumed during the Nikah.

The leafy and grainy detail of the knowledge attributed to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is made clear in unambiguous terms:

From all of the above (i.e. all that has occurred and all that will occur – including obviously every single Nikah) not even an iota is outside the knowledge of the Prophet….It is not just of a summary type but what is small and big, every leaf that falls and every grain in the darkness of the earth are in their entirety known to him individually and in detail.”

Similar statements affirming detailed (tafseeli) knowledge of everything to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), as opposed to a summary overview (ijmaali) of all significant events relevant to the creation, can be found in other books of Ahmad Raza Khan such as ad-Dawlat ul-Makkiyyah, Khaalis ul-I’tiqaad, al-Malfooz al-Shareef, and also in the books of other arch-idols of the Barelwis such Jaa al-Haq and Shane Habeebur Rahman of “Hakeem ul-Ummat” (The quack doctor of the Ummah), Ahmad Yaar Khan.

Now compare and contrast this belief, O Barelwi worshippers of Ahmad Raza Khan, against THE Fatwa of the Hanafi Madh-hab regarding a person who attributes to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the knowledge of a single and solitary Nikah for which there is no apparent means for him (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to gain the knowledge of.

The Hanafi Mujtahid from the 5th Century, As-Sadr ush-Shaheed Husam ud-Deen, who was the senior teacher of numerous other pillars of the Hanafi Madh-hab, including the famous authors of al-Hidaaya and al-Muheet al-Ridawi, narrates the following ruling from his pious predecessors:

من تزوج امرأة بشهادة الله و رسوله لا يجوز لأنه نكاح لم يحضره الشهود، وحكى عن أبو القاسم الصفار أن هذا كفر محض لأنه اعتقد أن رسول الله يعلم الغيب وهذا كفر

“Whoever marries a woman, taking Allah and his messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as witnesses – it is not permissible because witnesses are not present for the Nikah. It is related from Abul Qaasim as-Saffaar that this is Kufr Mahd (pure, unadulterated disbelief that expels a person from Islam) because he believed that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) knows the unseen (ghayb) and this is Kufr.” [Al-Waaqi’aat, page 70 of the manuscript]

Imam Abul Qaasim as-Saffaar as-Soofee (326H) was a Hanafi Mujtahid with only three links between himself and Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alayh). This fatwa has been accepted and transmitted in every age by the Hanafi Fuqaha. The very same Fatwa or similar versions to it were accepted and quoted approvingly by the early Fatwa manuals which constituted the Hanafi Madh-hab such as al-Fataawa ul-Walwaalijiyyah (Vol. 5, pg. 422), Khulaasat ul-Fataawa (Vol. 4, pg. 385), al-Muheet ul-Burhaani (Vol. 7, pg. 407), al-Fataawa al-Bazzaaziyyah (Vol. 6, pg. 325), al-Fusool ul-Imaadiyyah, al-Multaqat (pg. 244), Fataawa Qaadhi Khaan (Vol. 2, pg. 517), and other authoritative texts.

Again, compare and contrast the statement, “this is pure Kufr because he believed that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) knows the unseen (ghayb)”, with the Barelwi Aqeedah as exemplified by another one of their arch-idols, Muhammad Umar Icharwi, who commits the greatest act of Kufr and Gustakhi (demeaning Allah and his Rasool sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by making Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prophethood wholly dependent on an attribute exclusive only to Allah Ta’aala:

For the Prophethood to be valid it is necessary that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) knows ALL OF THE UNSEEN.” (Miqyase Hanafiyyat, p. 385) 

Let us now relate a few of the different versions of the same Fatwa related by all the authoritative Hanafi texts, in order to aid in acquiring a better understanding of the import of the Fatwa and the severity of the issue at hand.

The following version is found in the authoritative compendium of the Hanafi Madh-hab, Fataawa ul-Hindiyyah, which was the product of a collaborative effort involving hundreds of Ulama from around the Ummah who were commissioned by Hadhrat Alamghir Aurangzeb (rahmatullah alayh) to record those rulings upon which there is consensus or a general agreement amongst the Hanafi Fuqaha:

“A man marries a woman while witnesses are not present. He says: “I make Allah and His Rasul witness”, or he says, “I make Allah and His Angels witness”, he becomes Kaafir; but if he says: “I make the angel on the left shoulder and angel on the right shoulder witness”, he does not become a Kaafir.” [Vol. 2 pg. 288]

As in most of the other authoritative Fatwa manuals, no ikhtilaaf on this particular issue is cited, while in the very same chapters, multiple other beliefs or statements are often listed  regarding whose Kufr there exists an Ikhtilaaf. For example, regarding the anthropomorphic statement, “Allah is looking from the throne“, Fataawa al-Hindiyyah states that this is Kufr (with no attention paid to the intention of the utterer) “according to the majority” i.e. a minority refrained from doing Takfeer for this crime.

The same version of the Fatwa narrated by Fataawa al-Hindiyyah is found in earlier compilations such as Khulaasat ul-Fataawa, al-Fusool ul-Imdaadiyyah, Fataawa al-Bazzaaziyah and al-Muheet ul-Burhaani.

Explaining why the one who invokes the two writing angels (Kiraaman Kaatibeen) as witnesses does not become a Kaafir, as opposed to the one who attributes the knowledge of the very same Nikah to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the author of al-Muheet narrates from an earlier Fataawa compilation:

He does not become Kaafir because those two (i.e. the writing angels in the right and left shoulders) do know that (i.e. the Nikah), since they are not absent from him (i.e. the man making the statement).” [Vol. 7, pg. 407]

This succinctly answers the moronic question posed by Bidatis and Mushriks today, “If it’s not Kufr to ascribe such knowledge to the two writing angels, how could it be Kufr to ascribe it to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)???”

The Hanafi authority of the 6th century, Qaadhi Khaan, while narrating this Fatwa, added:

He (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) didn’t have knowledge of the unseen while alive, so how would he after his death?” [Vol. 2, pg. 517]

The terrible crime of the apostate which caused his instantaneous exit from Islam, is mentioned in absolutely unambiguous terms by Imam Abul Qaasim as-Saffaar, in one of numerous transmissions of his Fatwa:

“…since he believes that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) knows this Nikah…”

O Barelwi, if the authentic belief of Ahlus Sunnah is that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has detailed knowledge, leaf and grain, of EVERYTHING that was and that shall be (maa kaana wa maa yakoon), then on what grounds did all these Fuqaha attribute Kufr to the man who believes that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has knowledge of just the one Nikah?

Isn’t this one Nikah automatically and by default included in the“detailed knowledge of everything that was and everything that will be” which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) supposedly has according to your religion?

Were the Fuqaha all guilty of Haraam Ghuloo’ (extremism) and Gustakhi – demeaning Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) –  by denying for him (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the knowledge of billions and billions of Nikah ceremonies?

Or is it not you, O Barelwis, who are guilty of the most abominable degree of Ghuloo’ and Gustakhi – of the degree of Kufr – by fabricating upon Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the multitude of categories of knowledge which can be termed  “Ilmun Laa Yanfa’” (knowledge which serves no beneficial purpose) from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would repeatedly and earnestly seek refuge?

Is it not you, O Barelwis, who are guilty of the most abominable level of Gustakhi by mutilating beyond recognition many of the supreme and sublime attributes of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), such as the noble quality of “Ummi” – defined as “unlettered” by the consensus of the Fuqaha whom you fraudulently claim to follow – which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) proudly proclaimed for himself and his (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) noble Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum)?

Is it not you who commit the dastardly Gustakhi crime of implying deficiency in Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by propounding the perverted idea that the consensus of the Fuqaha on the definition of Ummi (unlettered), and the consensus of the Fuqaha on negating for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the multitude of categories of knowledge that is Ilmun Laa Yanfa’ (such as billions of Nikah ceremonies) from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself repeatedly sought refuge, results in a diminishing of the perfections of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Na’oozubillah!?

Did the Salafi arch-idol, Ibn Abdul Wahhab, perform a spectacular and unprecedented miracle (istidraaj) by time-travelling back to the third century and injecting “wahhabism” into the books of all the Hanafi Fuqaha whose books are replete with Fatwas such as the above – Fatwas which condemn unequivocally numerous beliefs and acts that have become the Sha-aair (salient identifying features) of the Barelwis today, such as attributing knowledge of the Hour to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and a chronic addiction to building and plastering over graves – which when cited faithfully by the Ulama-e-Haqq tend to elicit violently allergic reactions and irrational allegations of “wahhabi influence”?

We interject here to point out that while we accept the Hanafi ruling that this particular aspect of Barelwi creed is Kufr, we refrain from doing Takfeer on the Barelwis in general, just as we refrain from doing Takfeer of the Salafis despite the very same Hanafi texts cited above declaring as Kaafir the one who attributes a place or direction to Allah Ta’aala as the Salafis do. We shall dilate on this point in the complete article, to be published in future, which will contain, insha-Allah, a demolition of the Ghutha (trash) arguments employed by the Barelwi arch-idols to befool their followers.

For now, we release this much information, which we believe to be sufficient for most sincere seekers of truth, to warn the Barelwi masses of the potentially eternal doom that awaits them – the status of a Kaafir according to the Jumhoor Fuqaha of the Hanafi Madh-hab – should they persist in clinging onto their deviant religion.


Istighāthah: The Importance of Definition

November 26, 2018

Istighāthah (taking help) can refer to asking a deceased person to fulfil one’s need. This is the meaning of istighāthah which the Barelwīs favour and the Deobandīs strongly oppose.

However, istighāthah has in the past been used more loosely to refer to other meanings, for example:

  1. Tawassul through deceased personalities. E.g. saying: “O Allah, I ask you through the intermediary of” or “by the blessing of so-and-so” “to fulfil this work of mine.”
  2. Deriving blessing (tabarruk) from the mention of someone. E.g. calling out Yā Muammad as an act of love and showing a connection with the blessed name, without the belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) will hear it directly or that it will necessarily reach him.
  3. Deriving spiritual blessing from the grave of a saint. That is, sitting at the side of the grave and meditating, but not asking for anything from the inhabitant of the grave.
  4. At the grave side, asking the inhabitant of the grave to pray to Allah for the fulfillment of one’s needs.

These are meanings that Deobandīs do not dispute. Deobandīs unanimously accept the first three meanings. The fourth meaning they describe as a matter of legitimate dispute. Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī said about the fourth meaning: “To go close to a grave and say, ‘Oh such and such person, pray for me that the Most High fulfils my work.’ There is a difference among the ‘ulamā’ regarding this. Those who consider it permissible to believe that the dead can hear consider this permissible and those who do not believe that the dead can hear forbid this … However, there is no difference in the hearing of the Prophets (peace be upon them), on account of this they are exempt.” (al-Fatāwā al-Rashīdiyyah, p. 139) About the third meaning, the author of al-Muhannad states: “As for deriving benefit from the spirituality of the great saints and receiving internal effusions from their breasts or their graves, this is correct in the manner recognised by its experts and specialists, but not in the manner widespread amongst the common people.” (al-Muhannad, Dār al-Fatḥ, p. 60)

‘Allāmah Ṣun‘ullāh al-Ḥalabī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1708), a pre-Wahhābī pre-Deobandī Ottoman Ḥanafī jurist based in Ḥalab and Makkah, refuted the practice of calling out to dead saints for help while believing they have taarrufāt (powers of discretion) to help. He wrote a relatively lengthy treatise on the topic called Sayfullāh ‘alā man Kadhaba ‘alā Awliyā’illah, containing many useful discussions, including a crucial distinction between karāmāt (exceptional miracles) and taṣarrufāt (continuous powers). ‘Allāmah Ṣun‘ullāh was a Sunnī who made ta’wīl of the Ṣifāt Khabariyyah like yad (hand) (hence could not have been a “Taymī” or a “Wahhābī”), and supported Tawassul. In explaining what some of the scholars before him meant by the permissibility of “istighāthah”, he said: “What has been said about istighāthah being permitted via the prophets and saints, the intent is only deriving blessing (tabarruk) from mentioning them, and making tawassul through them, not asking for help [directly] from them.” (Sayfullāh ‘alā man Kadhaba ‘alā Awliyā’illah, Dār al-Kitāb wa l-Sunnah, p. 49-50)

Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī (1551 – 1642), the celebrated imām of ḥadīth from the subcontinent, has a brief discussion on “istighāthah” in his Arabic commentary on Mishkāt, al-Lama‘āt (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:38-40). What is interesting about this discussion is that although Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī uses the terms “istimdād” and “istighāthah” and defends their practice against opponents, it is clear that he is using them in the alternative meanings described above (in particular, meanings 1, 3 and 4). Relevant parts of this discussion are translated below:

As for istimdād from the inhabitants of graves, some jurists have denounced it. If the denunciation is because they have no hearing, knowledge or feeling of the one visiting and his conditions, then this has been proven to be false, and if it is because they have no power or control in that location to help them but are held back from them and occupied in the trials that occur to their souls which distract them from all else, then this is not regarded as always [being the case], especially for the pious who are the friends of Allāh, and thus it is possible for their souls to acquire closeness to the Lord Most Exalted in the Barzakh, and position and power to intercede and make du‘ā and ask for needs to those visiting and making Tawassul through them.

I don’t understand the istimdād and imdād that the denouncer is negating. What we understand is that a needy supplicant, in need of Allāh, makes du‘ā to Allāh and asks his need from His Most Exalted grace, and takes the spirituality of this slave brought close and ennobled by Him Most Exalted as an intermediary, saying: “O Allāh, by the blessing of this slave that You have shown mercy to and have ennobled, and the gentleness and honour You have over him, fulfil my need and grant my request, verily You are the Generous Giver.” Or he calls out to this slave brought close and ennobled by Him Most Exalted, saying: “O slave of Allāh, O friend of His, intercede for me and make du‘ā to your Lord and ask Him to give me my request and fulfil my need.” The giver and the one asked and the one hoped in is the Lord Most High and Most Exalted, and the slave in between is nothing but an intermediary. The one with power, agency and control is none but Him, and the friends of  Allāh are annihilated in His Most Exalted agency, power and control.

That which is transmitted from the saints who experience kashf upon istimdād (i.e. deriving spiritual benefit) from the souls of the accomplished and taking benefit from them, it is more than can be counted, described in their works, well-known amongst them, so there is no need to cite them. (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:38-40)

As can be seen, Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq is describing only the first, third and fourth meanings of “istighāthah” (a term he also uses in this passage alongside “istimdād”) described above. He is not talking about calling out directly to the deceased, asking for them to fulfil one’s needs. While describing how the ignorant engage in “istighāthah”, however, he states in the same discussion:

Yes, if visitors believe that the inhabitants of graves are independent, powerful actors, without turning to the Divine Presence and taking recourse to it, as believed by the heedless ignorant ones…that is prohibited and forbidden. The practice of the common people has no consideration at all. (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:39)

Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī (1746 – 1824) also denounced the belief of the ignorant when engaging in istighāthah. He said in a Farsi answer:

People from this Ummah have gone into excess in the matter of istighāthah from pure souls. That which the ignorant and common people do, and what they believe about them of full independence in every action, this is manifest shirk without doubt. (Fatāwā ‘Azīzī, Maṭba‘ Mujtabā’ī, p. 121)

The Ḥanafī mufti of Baghdad who came a generation before the founders of Deoband, ‘Allāmah Maḥmūd al-Ālūsī (1802 – 1854), author of the celebrated Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, also condemned the istighāthah of the common people*:

People have increased in calling on other than Allah (Exalted is He), from the saints, the living of them and the dead, and other than them, like: ‘O my master so-and-so, give me relief.’ This is not from the permissible [form of] Tawassul at all. It is befitting the condition of a believer to avoid saying this and avoid roaming around its boundary. Some ‘ulamā’ have considered it shirk, and if it is not so, then it is close to it.

I have not seen anyone who utters this but he believes that the one called, whether an absent living person or a dead person, knows the unseen or hears the call and is able, intrinsically or extrinsically, to bring benefit and repel harm; otherwise he would not call him or open his mouth!

In this is a great trial from your Lord! It is obligatory to stay away from this and not seek [help] except from Allāh (Exalted is He), the Strong, the Independent, the Doer of what He wills.

Let it not delude you that the one seeking help from creation often has his need fulfilled and his objective accomplished, for that is a trial and a tribulation from Him (Great and Glorious is He). Often the devil takes the form to the one asking help of the one he asked help from, so he believes it to be a miracle of the one he asked help from. Far, very far! Indeed, it is only the devil misguiding him and turning him astray. (ḥ al-Ma‘ānī, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 7:181)

* Note: Some have claimed that his work, Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, has been tampered with. In fact, there is no tampering in Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī. The team of researchers who worked on the recent Mu’assasat al-Risālah print of Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī relied on a number of manuscripts, the primary manuscript being one copied (by several scribes) directly from the author’s own copy, which was then checked by the author (Sayyid Maḥmūd Ᾱlūsī) himself. The researchers comment: “The manuscripts that we relied on, particularly this primary manuscript, is no different from the widely available prints of the Tafsīr. They are exactly the same. Hence what was said…that the son of Ᾱlūsī was not trustworthy in printing the tafsir of his father does not conform with reality.” (Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 2010, 1:72)


Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī (1731 – 1810) Opposes Istighāthah and Belief in ‘Ilm al-Ghayb/Ḥāḍir-Nāẓir for Awliyā’

November 24, 2018

Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī (1731 – 1810) was a foremost student of Shāh Waliyyullāh al-Dehlawī (1703 – 1762) in external sciences and Mirzā Maẓhar Jānejān Naqshbandī (1699 – 1781) in esoteric sciences. The latter regarded Qāḍī Thanāullāh very highly, and gave him the title “‘alam al-hudā” (landmark of guidance), and said “If Allāh asks for a gift to present in His court, I will present Thanāullah.” Shāh Abdul Azīz referred to him as “Bayhaqī al-Waqt” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p. 942) Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī was known for his deep knowledge and for his piety and acts of devotion. He would pray 100 rak‘ats nafl each day, recite a seventh of the Qur’ān each day, along with other daily adhkār. He authored several works, including the very popular Mā Lā Budda Minhu and a Tafsīr named after his shaykh, al-Tafsīr al-Maharī.

He opposed ignorant beliefs about prophets and saints, including beliefs that would today be associated with the Barelwis. He authored a work called Irshād al-ālibīn on the subject of wilāyah (sainthood) and the misconceptions people have about wilāyah. The work was initially written in Arabic and then he translated it to Farsi. When censuring the excesses people engage in with regards to Awliyā, he writes:

Ruling: Just as it is impermissible to fall short in the ādāb towards the shaykh, going into excess, trespassing the bounds, in this is also a great evil, which results in falling short in the ādāb afforded to the Divine Presence. Christians went into such excess in veneration of ‘Īsa (upon him peace) that they regard him to be the son of God! This results in falling short in ādāb afforded to Allāh Most Exalted. The Rāfiḍīs have adopted excess in venerating Haḍrat ‘Alī (Allāh ennoble his face). Thus, some say that God Most Exalted dwelled in him, some say revelation came to him and some say he is better than the three Companions [Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān], which results in falling short in ādāb towards God Most Exalted, the Messenger of God (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) or the three Companions.

Ruling: The Awliyā’ do not have ‘Ilm al-Ghayb. Yes, in connection to some unseen things, by way of breaking the norm, they are given knowledge via kashf or ilhām. To say that the Awliyā Kirām have knowledge of Ghayb is Kufr. Allāh Most Exalted said: ‘Say: I do not say to you I have the treasures of Allāh, nor do I know the Ghayb.’ And Allah Most Exalted said: ‘They do not encompass anything from His Knowledge but what He chooses.’ Other verses prove this thesis also.

Ruling: If someone says that God and His Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) are witness to this matter, he becomes Kāfir. The Awliyā Kirām are not capable of creating from nonexistence nor abolishing from existence. Thus, in connection to creating, abolishing, bringing sustenance, granting children, removing calamity, granting cure to illness etc., requesting help from them is Kufr; just as Allāh Most Exalted states in the Qur’ān Majīd: ‘Say I do not possess profit for myself nor harm, besides what Allāh chooses.’

Ruling: It is not permissible to make ‘ibādah of anyone besides God. Nor is it permissible to ask help of anyone besides God. ‘You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.’ Allāh is teaching His slaves to say that we worship only you, and ask help only of you. Iyyāka is for exclusivity. Thus, to make offerings (nadhr) to Awliyā Kirām is not allowed, because such offerings are worship. If someone makes such an offering, he should not fulfil it, because it is necessary to safeguard oneself from sin as far as possible. It is not permissible to circulate graves, because Ṭawāf of Baytullāh shares the ruling of Ṣalāh.

Ruling: Supplicating to the deceased or living Awliyā or Anbiyā’ is not permissible. Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Supplication is worship.’ Then he recited the verse: ‘Supplicate to Me, I will answer you. Indeed those who disdain My worship will enter Jahannam, humiliated.’

Ruling: The statements of the ignorant ones: ‘Yā Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī shay’an lillāh’ and ‘Yā Khawāja Shams al-Dīn al-Pānipatī shay’an lillah’ (‘Oh Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī give something for the sake of Allāh’, and ‘Oh Khawāja Shams al-Din Pānipatī give something for the sake of Allāh’) are not permissible. In fact, they are Shirk and Kufr. But if someone says: ‘Oh my Lord, through the mediation of Khawāja Shams al-Dīn Pānipatī, fulfil the following need of mine’ then there is no harm. Allāh Most Exalted says: ‘Those they call upon besides Allah are slaves like you.’ If someone argues this is regarding the Kuffār who invoke their idols, the answer is ‘besides Allāh’ is a general expression, and it is the [generality of the] expression that is given consideration not the specific context. (Irshād al-Tālibīn, Urdu translation, Maṭba‘ Asrār Karīmī p. 22-24)

In his popular work, Mā Lā Budda Minhu, he writes at the end of the section on Janā’iz:

To prostrate before the graves of the prophets and saints, to circumambulate around them, to invoke them [for help], or to make offerings to the inhabitants of graves is ḥarām; rather some of these matters lead to Kufr. The Messenger of Allāh, may peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, cursed the people who do such things and forbade the Ummah from doing them, and ordered us not to make his grave an idol. (Mā Lā Budda Minhu, Maktabah Raḥmāniyyah, p.82)


‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī Refutes False Barelwī Beliefs

November 21, 2018

‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī (1848 – 1886), a renowned ‘ālim and muḥaddith of the 19th century whose works are accepted amongst Deobandīs and Barelwīs, Arabs and non-Arabs, clearly and strongly refuted some extreme Barelwī beliefs.

āir Nāir/ ‘Ilm al-Ghayb

One of his fatāwā is as follows:

استفتاء: ما قولكم في رجل يظن أن الأولياء يعلمون ويسمعون نداء المنادي قريبا وبعيدا ويستمده بألفاظ يقولها الحاضر للحاضر، وينذر له بالأنعام يقول: نذرت له. بينوا توجروا

هو المصوب: هذا رجل فاسد العقيدة، بل يخشى عليه الكفر فإن سماع الأولياء النداء من بعيد ليس بثابت والعلم الكلي بجميع الجزئيات في جميع الأزمان مختص بالله جل جلاله، وقد قال فى الفتاوى البزازية: من قال إن أرواح المشايخ حاضرة تعلم يكفر، انتهى. وذكر فيه أىضا أن: من تزوج بشهادة الله ورسوله يكفر لأنه ظن أن الرسول يعلم الغيب، انتهى. والنذر لغير الله حرام، ويحرم المنذور لغير الله كما بسطه فى البحر الرائق والدر المختار وغيرهما، والله أعلم. حرره الراجي عفو ربه القوي أبو الحسنات محمد عبد الحي تجاوز الله عن ذنبه الجلي والخفي – مجموعة الفتاوى، ص٣٧٨-٣٧٩

“Question: What do you say about a man who assumes that the Awliyā’ know and hear the call of a caller from near and far, and seek his assistance using words that a person uses for someone in his presence, and makes vows of animals to him, declaring that he has made a vow to him. Explain, and be rewarded.

“Answer: [Allāh] grants rectitude. This is a man of corrupt belief. In fact, it is feared he has disbelieved because the Awliyā’ hearing the call from far is not proven, and complete knowledge of all particulars in all times is specific to Allāh (Glorious is His Grandeur). It states in al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah: ‘Whoever says the souls of Mashāyikh are present and knowing has committed disbelief.’ It also states in it: ‘Whoever marries taking as witness Allāh and His Messenger, he disbelieves because he assumes the Messenger knows the Ghayb.’ Taking a vow by other than Allāh is ḥarām, and whatever a vow was made upon is ḥarām, as explained in al-Bar al-Rā’iq, al-Durr al-Mukhtār and other books. This was written by one hopeful of the pardon of his Master, Abu l-Ḥasanāt Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Ḥayy, may Allāh pardon his manifest and hidden sins.” (Majmū‘at al-Fatāwā, p. 378-9)

In another fatwa in Farsi, it states:

“Question: What do you say (may Allāh ۢMost High have mercy on you) regarding the issue that is prevalent in our lands amongst the common people that in times of calamity and dire need, they call out in asking for assistance from the prophets and saints from afar believing that they are ḥāḍir & nāẓir and that whenever they implore them they are aware, and in turn, supplicate for them in the fulfilment of these needs? Is this permissible or not? Explain, and be rewarded.

“Answer: He grants direction to what is correct: In reality, such belief in the prophets and saints being ḥāḍir and nāẓir, and at all times are aware of our calling out to them even from afar is shirk, since it entails belief in ‘ilm al-ghayb for other than Him Most High, and this belief is shirk. This is because this characteristic is from those exclusive to Allāh (Great is His Grandeur), which no other being can have partnership with Him in. It states in al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah: ‘One marries without witnesses, saying: I make Allāh, His Messenger and the Angels witness, he disbelieves, because he believes that the Messenger and Angel know the Ghayb.’ [1] Further, it states in Bazzāziyyah: ‘About this our scholars have said: Whoever says the souls of Mashāyikh are present and knowing have committed disbelief.’ And Allāh knows best. This was written by one hopeful of the pardon of his Powerful Master, Abu l-Ḥasanāt Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Ḥayy, may Allāh pardon his manifest and hidden sins.” (ibid. p. 344-5)

In al-Āthar al-Marfū‘ah, ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī states:

“From amongst these [fabrications] is what the sermonisers mention, that the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was given knowledge of the first and the last in full detail, and was granted knowledge of all that has transpired and all that will occur as a whole and in terms of its minutiae, and that there is no difference [in this respect] between his knowledge and the knowledge of his Creator in terms of encompassment and inclusiveness, and the only difference between them is that the knowledge of Allāh is pre-eternal and eternal by virtue of His own self without having been taught by another as distinguished from the knowledge of the Messenger as he acquired it by the teaching of his Maker. This is flowery speech and falsehood as stated by Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī in al-Mina al-Makkiyyah Shar al-Qaīdah al-Hamziyyah and other spiritual masters. What is established from the verses of Qur’ān and the Prophetic ḥadīths is that [such] inclusiveness and encompassment and knowledge of all Ghayb is exclusive to the Revered Deity, and this characteristic has not been granted by the Revered Deity to any of creation. Yes, the knowledge of our Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is more extensive and more numerous than the knowledge of all prophets and messengers; and the teaching of his Creator to him of unseen matters in relation to His teaching to others is more complete, thus he (Allāh bless him an grant him peace) is most complete in knowledge and practice and is the master of creatures in status and virtue.” (Al-thār al-Marfū‘ah li l-Akhbār al-Mawū‘ah, p. 38)

Ummī

He states in the same work:

“From these [fabrications] is what they state that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was not unlettered but was able to write and recite from an initial natural state. This view is opposed to the Book, Sunnah and Consensus of the Ummah, so has no consideration according to those possessing understanding.”  (ibid)

Note: Famous Barelwī writer, Aḥmad Yār Khān, articulated this belief. See: https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/barelwi-distortion-of-the-prophetic-title-ummi-unlettered/

The Hearing of the Prophet (allallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)

He writes in the same work:

“From these [fabrications] is what they state when mentioning the Muḥammadan hearing that he hears the blessing of one who sends blessing on him even if far from his grave without an intermediary. This is false, not confirmed by transmission. In fact, the opposite is proven, since the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Whoever sends blessing on me at my grave I hear it and whoever sends blessing on me from afar, Allāh has appointed an angel for it to convey it to me.’…” (ibid. p. 46)

The Prophet Attending Majālis of Mawlid

He states in the same work:

“From these [fabrications] is what they state that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) attends the gatherings of remembering his birth himself at the mention of his birth, and they base the standing out of reverence and respect at the mention of the birth on this. This is also from the falsities; no evidence being established for it. Mere possibility and supposition are outside the parameters of explanation.” (ibid.)

‘Allāmah Laknawī mentions that those who believe such things and articulate them are guilty of major sins and fall under the prophetic warning: “Whoever lies upon me let him prepare his abode in Hell.” He says: “It is necessary for every Muslim to be careful on such matters and not say anything before investigating it in the reliable books…and not be daring in mentioning what his mind invents or something [unproven] written by those before him…” (ibid. p. 47)

Naming a New-Born “‘Abd al-Nabī”

Al-Laknawī also opposed the Barelwī practice and belief of calling someone “‘Abd al-Nabī”, “‘Abd al-Muṣṭafā” etc. He wrote:

الاستفسار: هل يجوز التسمية بعبد النبي وعبد الرسول وأمة النبي وأمة الصديق وغير ذلك؟ الاستبشار: لا يجوز كل اسم فيه لفظ العبد أو الأۢمة، أو ما يؤدي مؤداهما بأي لسان كان، إلى غير الله، صرح به علي القاري في شرح الفقه الأكبر، وقد ورد الحديث بالنهي عن ذلك في سنن أبي داود وغيره، وأما إضافة لفظ الغلام إلى غير الله فهو جائز، فيجوز غلام الرسول ولا يجوز عبد الرسول أو بنده رسول أو نحو ذلك نفع المفتي والسائل/فتاوى اللكنوي، دار ابن حزم، ص٤٢٥

“Question: Is it permissible to use the names “‘Abd al-Nabi” (bondsman of the prophet) and “‘Abd al-Rasul” (bondsman of the messenger) and “Amat al-Nabi” (bondswoman of the prophet) and “Amat al-Ṣiddiq” (bondswoman of the truthful saint) etc?

“Answer: Every name in which the words ‘‘abd’ (bondsman) and ‘amah’ (bondswoman) or their equivalents in any other language are attributed to other than Allāh (Exalted is He) is impermissible. ‘Alī al-Qārī stated this in Shar al-Fiqh al-Akbar, and a ḥadīth prohibiting this appears in Sunan Abī Dāwūd and other [collections]. Attributing the word ‘Ghulām’ to other than Allāh is permissible, and thus Ghulām al-Rasūl is permissible, but ‘Abd al-Rasūl or Bandah e Rasūl or the like is not permissible.” (Naf‘ al-Muftī wa al-Sā’il, p. 425)

[1] The jurists also state that if one were to say the angels on their shoulders are witness to their marriage, they will not become disbelievers “because these angels are never absent from them.” (al-Muī al-Burhānī, 7:407; see also: al-Fatāwā al-Hindiyyah, 2:288) Hence, shirk and kufr is in affirming knowledge of something to a being that is not proven that they have acquired.


Brief Responses to Barelwī Allegations of Kufr Against Deobandī Elders

November 10, 2018

The Barelwī group is one of the largest Takfīrī-cults. Their leader and the one they regard to be “mujaddid”, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921), declared four imāms of Ahl al-Sunnah to be Kāfirs and Murtadds, namely:

  1. Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (1829 – 1905)
  2. Mawlānā Qāsim Nānotwī (1833 – 1880)
  3. Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (1852 – 1927)
  4. Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī (1863 – 1943)

These esteemed scholars belong to the Deobandī school. Barelwīs allege that they are “Wahhābīs”, yet these scholars profess the Ash‘arī and Māturīdī schools of ‘aqīdah and adhere strictly to the Ḥanafī madhhab. In some of their detailed works related to ‘aqīdah, e.g. Juhd al-Muqill of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlānā Maḥmūd Ḥasan Deobandī (1851 – 1920) and Ikfār al-Mulidīn of Mawlānā Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī (1875 – 1933), works of Sunnī Kalām – like Shar al-Mawāqif, Shar al-Maqāid, Shar al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafiyyah etc. – are quoted extensively as authoritative references on ‘Aqīdah. The Deobandī scholars were also major exponents of Taṣawwuf. Thus, to allege that they are “Wahhābīs” could not be further from the truth.

However, the scholars of Deoband spoke strongly against innovated practices as well as exaggerated and misguided beliefs/practices directed towards the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and saints; hence, they were branded “Wahhābīs” by Barelwīs. Deobandīs, for example, spoke against the false belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was endowed with the knowledge of the Final Hour or was endowed with detailed knowledge about all creation – these are beliefs adhered to passionately by Barelwīs. Deobandīs also spoke against the popular practice of calling out to dead saints for help.

Based on such differences, Aḥmad Ridā Khān Barelwī and individuals who share his outlook had some antipathy towards the Deobandī elders. In the case of Aḥmad Ridā Khān Barelwī, however, this led to a campaign of mass-Takfīr: declaring the four abovementioned imāms to be Kāfirs along with anyone who does not recognise them to be Kāfir! He of course gave some “justifications” for his Takfīrs, but these are completely without merit or sound basis. Detailed responses have been given to the false allegations of Kufr made against the abovementioned imāms on this website and elsewhere. Since these false allegations are repeated till this day, the following provides a quick breakdown of the four allegations together with a brief response to each.

Allegation Against Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī

Allegation: Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī, in a fatwā, did not censure the view that lying has actually occurred in Allāh’s speech, and in fact lent support to it.

Response: Aḥmad Riḍā Khān states he has seen this alleged “fatwā” in the handwriting of Mawlānā Gangohī and with his seal. Moreover, he states that the fatwā along with its refutation has been published several times. The reality, however, is that this so-called “fatwā” was circulated only amongst detractors of Mawlānā Gangohī. It is not found in any of his published fatwās, nor is it recognised by any of his students. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 249, 259) In fact, in direct contradiction to this alleged “fatwā”, Mawlānā Gangohī explicitly said in his published Fatāwā that the one who believes an actual lie has occurred in Allāh’s speech, or that Allāh is characterised by “false speech”, is a Kāfir. (Ta’līfāt Rashīdiyyah, p. 96; al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 260)

Mawlānā Gangohī himself was unaware of this allegation until the last moments of his life. In the year 1905, Mawlānā Gangohī’s student Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī (1868 – 1951) became aware of this alleged “fatwā” and the claims being made. He immediately sent a copy to Mawlānā Gangohī and asked for clarification. Mawlānā Gangohī replied: “I had no knowledge of this. This allegation is…an error. Allāh forbid that I can say such!” Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī documents this in his Tazkiyat al-Khawāir which can be found in Majmū‘ah Rasā’il Chāndpūrī, 1:106.

But if for argument’s sake, the fatwā is assumed to be genuine, and really was authored by Mawlānā Gangohī, his explicit denial of it is in itself tawbah. It states in Khizānat al-Akmal (2:301), quoting from Imām Muḥammad: “When a man alleges another has spoken Kufr and he denies it, his denial of it is tawbah.” (وفي نوادر ابن سماعة عن محمد: إذا ادعى على رجل بالكفر وقال تلفظت بالكفر، وجحد ذلك فإنكاره توبة منه)

In short, the allegation against Mawlānā Gangohī is based on a fabricated fatwā that he himself denied, that is not known to his students and that contradicts his explicit fatwās.

[This issue should not be confused with an actual area of disagreement, namely the question over whether Allāh has the power to act against what He has foretold, or whether He has power to issue a statement that is false. The question over the power of Allāh is separate from the question over whether such things can actually occur. Deobandīs are clear that Allāh has power over these things but that they can never occur.]

Allegation Against Mawlānā Qāsim Nānotwī

Allegation: Mawlānā Qāsim Nānotwī, in his work Tadhīr al-Nās, denied the finality of prophethood and believed it was possible for another prophet to come after him.

Response: In Tadhīr al-Nās, Mawlānā Nānotwī did not deny the finality of prophethood. To the contrary, he explicitly states in several places of the work that chronologically, Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the last and final prophet; no Prophet will come after him. However, Mawlānā Nānotwī offers a wider meaning to the title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”. In his understanding, this title primarily refers to the exalted position of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), in that all characters and perfections of prophethood are sealed by, and culminate at, his prophethood. As he explains in the very same work, this meaning includes, either by extension or by implication, that he is the final prophet chronologically.

Thus, nowhere does Mawlānā Nānotwī deny that the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the last prophet. Some scholars from the Barelwī group also admit this. For example, Pir Karam Shah Azhari (1918 – 1998) states: “I do not think it correct to say that Mawlānā Nānotwī (may Allah have mercy on him) denied the belief in the finality of prophethood, because these passage (of Tahdhīr al-Nās), by way of their clear meaning of the text and their indication, show without doubt that Mawlānā Nānotwī (may Allah have mercy on him) had certainty that chronological finality of prophethood is from the necessities of religion, and he regarded its evidences as categorical and mutawātir. He has stated this matter explicitly, that the one who denies chronological finality of prophethood of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is a kāfir and outside the fold of Islam.” (Tahdhīr un-Nās Merī Nazar Meh, p. 58)

The passage of Tadhīr al-Nās he goes onto quote states: “Therefore, if [sealship] is absolute and general, then the establishment of chronological finality is obvious. Otherwise, accepting the necessity of chronological finality by implicative indication is immediately established. Here, the explicit statements of the Prophet, like: ‘You are to me at the level of Hārūn to Mūsā, but there is no prophet after me,’ or as he said, which apparently is derived from the phrase ‘Seal of the Prophets’ in the manner mentioned earlier, are sufficient in this subject, because it reaches the level of tawātur. Furthermore, consensus (ijma‘) has been reached on this. Although the aforementioned words were not transmitted by mutawātir chains, but despite this lack of tawātur in the words, there is tawātur in the meaning just like the tawātur of the number of rak’āt of the obligatory prayers, the witr prayer etc. Although the words of the narrations stating the number of rak’āt are not mutawātir, just as the one who denies that is a Kāfir, in the same way, the one who denies this is a Kāfir.” (Tahdhīr un-Nās, p. 56)

In short, while Mawlānā Nānotwī offers a less common interpretation of the term “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”, his interpretation does not violate any established belief of Islām, least of all the chronological finality of the prophethood of Muḥammad and that prophethood terminated at him. Hence, this too is a false allegation.

Allegation Against Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī

Allegation: Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī, in Barāhīn Qāi‘ah, said (Allāh forbid!) that Shayṭān’s knowledge is superior to the Prophet’s.

Response: In Barāhīn Qāi‘ah, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī was responding to another work, Anwār Sai‘ah. The author of the latter work apparently argues that since the Shayṭān is known to have extensive knowledge of people’s actions and so on, such knowledge should not be denied for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) given his greater status. Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī responds that knowledge of such things cannot be determined for the Prophet based on analogies of this nature.

As can be seen, the discussion is about a specific type of knowledge. This is absolutely clear from the context and from explicit passages of Barāhīn Qāi‘ah. Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī is not stating in a general and absolute sense that Shayṭān possesses greater knowledge than the Prophet. But, in matters that are not the basis of excellence or virtue in knowledge, Shayṭān may possess knowledge of certain aspects of them that the Prophet did not. For example, Shayṭān may be aware that a certain person has robbed a bank including the means and techniques by which he accomplished this, while this knowledge was not given to the Prophet; this in no way means Shayṭān is superior in knowledge to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

As he clarifies in a later work called al-Muhannad, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī states that excellence in knowledge is based on greater knowledge of Allāh, His Dīn and the outer and inner aspects of Sharī‘ah. No one equals the rank of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in such knowledge. In things that are, however, not the basis of virtue or excellence in knowledge, there is nothing surprising in another having some knowledge that is not possessed by the Prophet. Hence, al-Rāzī states: “It is possible that a non-prophet is higher than a prophet in sciences on which his prophethood does not depend.”

As can be seen, there is nothing blasphemous or insulting in Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī’s discussion.

Allegation Against Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī

Allegation: Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī, in his if al-Īmān, said (Allāh forbid!) that Zayd and ‘Amr, madmen and animals possess knowledge of the unseen equal to that of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Response: Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī was discussing the question of using the title “‘Ᾱlim al-Ghayb” (knower of the unseen) for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). He firstly explains that this is a technical term in Sharī‘ah, which means a being that possesses knowledge of unseen realities without the need for any means or instrument. Such a characteristic is of course exclusive to Allāh, because everyone apart from Allāh acquires knowledge of unseen realities only via a means and instrument.

He then explains that “unseen” (ghayb) can refer to things that are hidden from the senses in a general sense, whether acquired by a means or not. But even with this interpretation, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) should not be called “‘Ᾱlim al-Ghayb”. He reasons that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) of course does not possess knowledge of all unseen realities, while the quality of possessing knowledge of some unseen realities is not exclusive to the Prophet. Possessing knowledge of some unseen realities is something found in Zayd and ‘Amr, madmen and animals, because they all possess knowledge of some things hidden to others – does this now mean that they are all to be called “‘Ᾱlim al-Ghayb”?!

As can be seen, Mawlānā Thānawī does not state that “Zayd and ‘Amr, madmen and animals possess knowledge of the unseen equal to that of the Prophet” as was alleged. Rather, he simply states that they possessed knowledge of some unseen realities; and thus the mere possession of knowledge of some unseen realities is not exclusive to the Prophet.

When Mawlānā Thānawī was asked about the passage of Ḥifẓ al-Īmān and if he had ever written that “madmen and animals possess knowledge of the unseen equal to that of the Prophet” he replied: “I did not write this revolting content in any book. Let alone writing it, this thought never crossed my heart. Nor is it the necessary conclusion of any passage of mine, as I will explain later. Since I understand this content to be revolting…how can it be my intent? That person who believes this, or without belief utters it explicitly or implicitly, I believe this person to be outside the fold of Islam because he has denied decisive texts and lessened the Revered Joy and Pride of the World, the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace.” (Bas al-Banān)

Conclusion

As any objective and neutral observer will conclude, the bases for Takfīr in all four cases are without merit and are completely unsound. Yet, Barelwīs made mass-Takfīr of Deobandis on such flimsy grounds, and continue to do so. And they exclude Deobandīs not just from the Ahl al-Sunnah but from Islām altogether. Such extremism is reminiscent of Wahhābī Takfīrism.

Writing about the Takfīrī attitude of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī, Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957) writes: “Thus, in reality he [on account of his Takfīrism] is a complete follower of his Najdī shaykh, and he himself and his followers are ‘Wahhābīs’… [Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī] and his followers are undoubtedly close imitators of Wahhābīs. Taking mental leaps from afar and employing contrived imagined interpretations, they strive and struggle to make others Kāfir. They spend their day and night thinking how to make the Muḥammadan Ummah more restricted and smaller. Can these people be lovers of the Messenger (upon him peace) or supporters of the Ummah? Never! Is it the work of the ‘Ulamā’ of the Ummah to make Muslims into Kāfirs by zealously misrepresenting the meanings [of their texts] and mutilating passages? – or is it rather the demand of prophetic inheritance and knowledge of Sharī‘ah to passionately bring disbelievers into Islām, Mushriks into Īmān and Munāfiqūn into certainty? Would the Messenger of Allāh (upon him peace) support their method? Is this what the noble imāms would teach? Was this the salient feature of the pious Salaf? It is very unfortunate that the fear of God has been lifted from their hearts. A divine seal and shadow has been cast over them.” (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 221-4)


Barelwī Distortion of the Prophetic Title “Ummī” (Unlettered)

April 26, 2017

The following is a striking example of the unprecedented ways in which Barelwī scholars attempt to distort established and well-known concepts of deen.

Famous Barelwi scholar, Aḥmad Yār Khān Naīmī (1324 – 1391 H/1906 – 1971 CE), referred to as “Muftī”, “Ḥakīmul Ummah” and “Shaykh al-Tafsīr” by Barelwīs, said to have met with Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and studied with his students (Tazkira e Akābir Ahl e Sunnat, p. 54), writes on the Prophetic Title, “Ummī” [1]:

“Ummī can have several meanings. The mother and source is referred to as ‘umm’. Its meaning may be the ‘Prophet possessing a mother’. Every person in this world has a mother, but no one has a mother like the mother Ḥuḍūr was given. Ḥaḍrat Maryam had also been a mother, but just as the Master of Prophets is without equal, his mother, Allāh be pleased with her, is also without equal [2]…The second meaning is, one not taught, meaning, he was born from his mother’s womb already being learned, and did not learn to read or write from anyone [3]…A third meaning is being from Umm al-Qurā, i.e. one who lives in Makkah al-Mukarramah. A fourth meaning is being mother-like, meaning, the foundation/source of the entire universe.” (Shān Ḥabībur Raḥmān min Ᾱyāt al-Qur’ān, Maktabah Islāmiyyah, p. 87)

[1] By consensus of classical scholars, “Ummī” means one who is unlettered and not able to read and write. There are many evidences from Qur’ān and ḥadīth proving the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was Ummī and unable to read and write. (See: Ummiyyat al-Nabī al-Muṣṭafā al-Karīm by Mullā Khāṭir)

[2] Naīmī is clearly suggesting that the mother of the Beloved Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is superior to Sayyidah Maryam (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā)! This is another clear example of extremism. The excellence and superiority of Sayyidah Maryam (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā) is established in clear texts of Qur’ān and ḥadīths, while there is disagreement over whether the mother of the Beloved Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was even a believer!

[3] On this belief, ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī states: “From these (fabrications) is what they mention that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was not unlettered (ummī), but was able to read and write by nature. This is a statement opposed to Qur’ān and Sunnah as well as the consensus of the Ummah. It therefore has no consideration.” (al-thār al-Marfū‘ah, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, p. 38)