Abaqat of Shah Isma’il Shahid – Arabic

October 16, 2018

Several posts were written previously refuting allegations against Shah Isma’il Shahid of having Wahhabi tendencies, as well as other allegations made against him.

See, for example:

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/shah-ismail-and-negating-direction-for-allah/

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/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/mawlana-madani-on-the-accusation-that-sayyid-a%E1%B8%A5mad-shahid-was-wahhabi/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%AE-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%87%D9%84%D9%88%D9%8A-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A8/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/shah-ismail-the-belief-in-shafaah/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/shah-ismail-considering-the-prophet-lower-than-a-shoemaker/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/shah-ismail-calling-the-prophet-a-brother/

In the first of these refutations, a reference was made to the Urdu translation of Shah Isma’il’s work, ‘Abaqat, in which he negated the belief that Allah (SWT) has a direction. The original Arabic of Abaqat has now been made available on PDF:

https://ia801506.us.archive.org/34/items/Abaqaat-Arabic/Abaqaat-Arabic.pdf

The passages referred to in the post are found in this Arabic edition as follows:

ولا يشك عاقل من الملئين  وغيرهم في أن الوجود الإمكاني إذا قيس في جنب الوجود الواجبي يصير هباء منثورا إذ كل شيء هالك إلا وجهه، وإن الواجب يتصرف فى الممكن بمحض العلم والإرادة لا بالمباشرة والآلات، وإنه إن شاء أبطل جوهر العالم وأفناه إفناء مطلقا بحيث يصير معدوما مطلقا، وإنه لا يتصف بالنسبة إلى الممكنات  بكونه في جهة ما ولا بالقرب والبعد المكانيين ولا بالاتصال والانفصال، ولا يتصور بينهما مسافة لا متناهية ولا غير متناهية

“No sane person from the two groups or others will doubt that the possible existent when compared to the Necessary Existent is like scattered dust, since everything will perish besides His countenance; and that the Necessary Being intervenes in the possible existence by mere knowledge and will not by physical interaction and instruments; and that if He wanted He would eradicate the essence of the universe and make it disappear such that it becomes completely nonexistent; and that He is not characterised as being, in relation to possible existents, in a particular direction, nor as being distant or near in terms of place, nor as being physically joined or separated; nor is a distance between them, whether finite or infinite, conceivable.” (Abaqat, p. 35)

وبه ثبت للاهوت أنه موجود فى الخارج ليس في جهة ولا مكان ولا متصل ولا منفصل منزه عن تجدد الصفات كالعلم والإرادات دائم العناية والتأثير فى العالم

“Thus it is established that the Divine exists external [to the mind], not in a direction, nor place, nor physically joined or separated…” (Abaqat, p. 102)

In ‘Abaqat, Shah Isma’il mentions the Ash’aris and Maturidis as being from the Ahl al-Haqq (adherents of truth). He writes:

قد وقع بين كل فن تفرق واختلاف، وهو على نحوين، تفرق بين المبطلين والمحقين كالتفرق بين فقهاء الشيعة و أهل السنة والأشاعرة والمعتزلة  أو الوجودية الملاحدة والوجودية العرفاء أو بين من يستعين في مراقاباته بالخمور والمسكرات  وبين من يستعين فيها بالأذكار والصلاة أو بين من يعالج عجب القلب بترك شعائر الشرع وبين من يعالجه بملاحظة المعاصي أو القصور فى الطاعات وهكذا فقس، فالحكم في مثل هذا التفرق وجوب تصويب أحد الجانبين وتخطئة الآخر كذلك، وتفرق بين أهل الحق كالتفرق بين الأئمة الأربعة أو بين الأشعرية والماتريدية أو بين الوجودية الورائية والشهودية الظلية أو بين أهل الطرق، فالحكم فيه أن كل واحد منهم في أكثر المسائل على طريق حق، ولكل واحد هو موليها فاستبقوا الخيرات، فمن اتبع واحدا منهم فاز بالمقصود

“Divergence and disagreement has occurred in every field. It is of two kinds. One is divergence between those who are wrong and those who are right, like the divergence between jurists of the Shi’ah and of Ahl al-Sunnah; and between Ash’aris and Mu’tazila; or between the heretical Wujudis and the learned Wujudis, or between those who use wine and intoxicants in their meditations and those who use litanies and prayer, or between those who treat the vanity of the heart by abandoning the main features of Shari’ah and those who treat it by giving attention towards sins and falling short in good deeds – you can find similar examples. The rule on such divergence is the necessity of calling one group specifically correct and calling the other incorrect similarly. Another kind of divergence is amongst adherents of truth like the divergence between the four imams or between the Ash’aris and Maturidis or between the Wara’i Wujudis and the Zilli Shuhudis, or between the adherents of the different Tariqas. The rule on this is that each of them are on a right road in most issues, and each have a direction to which they turn, so compete with each other in virtues. Whoever follows any one of them will succeed in attaining the goal.” (Abaqat, p. 174)

Shah Isma’il also mentions that his main source of guidance is the teachings of his uncles (i.e. Shah Abdul Aziz, Shah Abdul Qadir and Shah Rafiuddin). (Abaqat, p. 3)

Given the above, and that Shah Isma’il was a Sufi-philosopher, and given his location and history, it is nonsensical to say Shah Isma’il was a “Wahhabi”. Yet, Barelwis continue to make this slander and false accusation because to them facts don’t matter as much as what the “grand-master” of takfir and deception, Ahmad Rida Khan, claimed.

It should be noted such slanders against Shah Isma’il predate the lying dajjal Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi. One such allegation was that the Arabic work of Shah Isma’il Shahid, Radd al-Ishrak, from which the Urdu Taqwiyat al-Iman derives, was a translation or summary of Kitab al-Tawhid of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. As Mawlana Nurul Hasan Rashidi shows in a detailed academic research on Radd al-Ishrak and Taqwiyat al-Iman, there are several genuine manuscripts of Radd al-Ishrak available, but in one fabricated copy a fabricator changed the contents of Radd al-Ishrak and reworded it to make it appear to be a summary of Kitab al-Tawhid of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Then based on this fabrication some claimed Shah Isma’il’s Radd al-Ishrak/Taqwiyat al-Iman are based on Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s Kitab al-Tawhid!

Note: A PDF of the genuine Radd al-Ishrak is available:

https://ia601606.us.archive.org/17/items/fresh_soul2030_yahoo_20170318/%D8%B1%D8%AF%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%83%20%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%84%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%87%D9%8A%D8%AF.pdf

Uthman Nabulusi, a student of Sa’id Fuda in Jordan and author of a work refuting mistaken Wahhabi conceptions on “Tawhid”, commented after reading Shah Isma’il’s introduction to the above work (Radd al-Ishrak):

هذه المقدمة لا غبار عليها، والفرق شاسع جدًأ بين كلامه وكلام محمد بن عبد الوهاب

“This introduction is completely unproblematic, and there is a massive difference between what he said and what Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab said.”

Shah Isma’il himself clarified that in some parts of Taqwiyat al-Iman he used the term “shirk” not literally (as Wahhabis did), but to refer to practices associated with shirk. This is discussed in an earlier post:

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%AE-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%87%D9%84%D9%88%D9%8A-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A8/


Abu Hasan the Fraud and Liar

July 27, 2018

The Barelwi Abu Hasan of Sunniport has been exposed as a fraud and liar on this website, most notably here:

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/deceptions-and-distortions-of-abu-hasan/

This is a post from around 5 years ago.

But only yesterday, Abu Hasan wrote: “frauds have always existed. even in those good times 1300 years ago. there were people who claimed to have ijazah and that they heard from saHabah. so ulama devised strategies to trap pretenders. the only way we can do it in our time is to make knowledge accessible, such that even common people can detect the elaborate fraud of the celebrity shakes in the west.” He comments about a particular scholar that he “lied, and 5 years after i demonstrated how he lied, there is no remorse – and people seem to have just moved on.”

The irony is of course not lost on anyone. Abu Hasan has been proven without a shadow of doubt to lie and deceive, just like his “AlaHazrat”. Why does he not show remorse, make amends and admit he lied?

 


Response to Barelwi Allegations about Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s Interpretation of a Dream

September 25, 2017

Repeating an old Barelwi allegation, an individual writing online states the following:


DEOBANDI LEADER ASHRAF ALI THANWI ENDORSES KUFR KALIMA & DUROOD IN HIS NAME INSTEAD OF THE NAME OF THE PROPHET عليه الصلاة والسلام

A follower of Ashraf Ali Thanwi asked him:

“I fell asleep. After some time I have a dream that I am reading Kalima Shareef لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله but in the place of محمد رسول الله I am reading the name of Thanwi. Subsequently a thought occurred in my heart that I am mistaken in reading the Kalima Shareef. This should be read correctly. With this thought I read Kalima Shareef again. My heart is insisting that it is read correctly but my tongue is spontaneously saying Ashraf Ali instead of the name of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم…

I turn over to lie on my other side and to rectify the mistake in the Kalima Shareef I read Durood Shareef upon the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم but then I say, ‘أللهم صل على سيدنا ونبينا ومولانا أشرف على’ WHILST I AM AWAKE NOW. IT IS NOT A DREAM.”

In answer to this question Ashraf Ali Thanwi thus answered:

“There was satisfaction in this incident because the one you are turning towards is, by the help of Allah تعالى, a follower of Sunnah.”

[Risala Al-Imdad Safar 1336 Hijri, page 35 — This answer was dated 24th Shawwal 1335 Hijri]

We seek refuge in Allah تعالى from such Kufr Deobandi beliefs معاذ الله. May He protect our Iman from misguidance.


 

The individual is referring to a question and answer found in Mawlana Thanawi’s journal al-Imdad. The question was from a Mureed who relates that he was once visiting Rampur and ended up staying with a local talib al-ilm who it turned out was also a Mureed of Mawlana Thanawi. He also learned that this student would receive copies of Mawlana Thanawi’s monthly journals al-Imdad and Husn al-‘Aziz. Naturally, he requested to read these journals, and he exclaims that upon reading them, “the elation that they spurred is beyond description.” One afternoon, he was reading Husn al-‘Aziz and was overcome by sleep. He turned on his side to sleep but realising the journal was now to his back, he decided to put it near his head out of respect.

Then he explains:

“I then fell asleep. After some time, I see a dream, that I am reciting the Kalimah Shareef, la ilaha illAllahu Muhammadur rasulullah, but I am taking Huzoor’s [Hazrat Thanawi’s] name in place of ‘Muhammadur rasulullah.’ Subsequently, a thought came to my heart that you have made a mistake when reciting Kalimah Shareef, so it should be recited correctly. With this thought, I started reading Kalimah Shareef a second time. In my heart, I am to recite it correctly, but on the tongue, involuntarily, in place of the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), ‘Ashraf Ali’ emerges. Although I am aware that this is not correct, it emerged from my tongue involuntarily.

“Once this happened twice or thrice, I saw Huzoor [the Prophet] (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) appear before me, and there were other individuals next to Huzoor (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, I experienced a state in which because of being overcome by a brittleness [in my heart] I collapsed to the ground, and called out loudly, and I knew that I had no strength left inside me. Subsequently, I woke up, but my body was still numb just as I was (in the dream) and the effect of having no strength remained. However, while dreaming and awake, I was thinking of Huzoor (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, when the error of reciting the Kalimah Shareef came to mind while awake, I made the intention to remove this thought from the heart so that no such error occurs again. With this thought, I sat up, and then lying down on the other side, to rectify the mistake in [reciting] Kalimah Shareef, I began to recite Durood upon Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), but even then, I am saying: ‘Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyidina wa nabiyyina wa mawlana Ashraf Ali’, even though I am now awake, not dreaming. But I have no control, I am compelled/helpless, my tongue is not in my control…” (al-Imdad, Safar 1336, p. 35)

Note, the questioner himself very explicitly states about the first occasion in which he read the kalimah erroneously in a dream state: “Although I am aware that this is not correct, it emerged from my tongue involuntarily” and about the second occasion when he recited the durood incorrectly while awake: “I have no control, I am compelled/helpless, my tongue is not in my control” – both are passages which the above individual conveniently missed out from his translation.

True dreams are not always taken at face-value, but may have a hidden meaning or interpretation (ta’beer). So while the dream may appear to be evil, its hidden meaning may be positive. A good example is the dream of Imam Abu Hanifah in which he saw himself digging up the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Naturally, he became frightened by what he saw, but when it was related to Ibn Sirin, he explained that the dream means that he will dig up the reports of Allah’s Messenger. (Tarikh Baghdad, 15:458-9)

Does Ibn Sirin’s interpretation mean he is endorsing digging up the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) – na’udhu billah?! Of course not! But that is the logic of the above individual. Because Mawlana Thanawi gave a positive interpretation of the dream, the individual concludes he endorsed the actual contents/actions in the dream, which is of course absurd.

In a subsequent publication, when asked about his interpretation, Mawlana Thanawi explains that when someone has the strong feeling in a dream that he is seeing the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) but the appearance is of someone else, according to dream-interpreters (ahl ta’beer), this means the individual he saw is a follower of the Sunnah. Mawlana Thanawi states that the same interpretation can be made in this case, where in place of saying “Rasulullah”, another name is mentioned. He further states: “I don’t insist [on this interpretation]. If this dream was waswasa from shaytan, or caused by mental illness, and this is not its interpretation – that is also possible. However, to give a wrong interpretation is [merely] an error in one’s intuitive feeling (wijdan), for which no blame can be given.”

Moreover, although the words the individual mentioned are words of kufr (disbelief), his action was not an action of kufr. This is because a statement of kufr that is said involuntarily, when one has no control over what he says, is not taken into consideration. It is only when one says it deliberately and consciously that it will amount to kufr.

It states in Fatawa QadiKhan:

الخاطئ إذا جرى على لسانه كلمة الكفر خطأ بأن كان يريد أن يتكلم بما ليس بكفر فجرى على لسانه كلمة الكفر خطأ لم يكن ذلك كفرا عند الكل

When a statement of kufr occurs on the tongue by accident, in that one intended to say something that is not kufr but a statement of kufr occurred on his tongue by accident, that is not kufr according to everyone.” (Fatawa Qadi Khan, Fatawa Hindiyyah)

Notice, this is exactly what happened here. The Mureed in question knew the correct durood and had in mind that he will recite it correctly, but involuntarily recited something else. Hence, this is not kufr by consensus. He had no doubt that what he said was mistaken. Hence, there was of course no need for Mawlana Thanawi to point this out to him.

The individual who made the above allegation states: “Ashraf Ali Thanwi endorses kufr kalima” and he refers to “such Kufr Deobandi beliefs.” As explained, Mawlana Thanawi was not “endorsing” the “kufr kalima”, but merely gave a positive interpretation to the dream (which in no way entails taking the dream at face-value, let alone endorsing any statement said by accident in it!). Moreover, it is not clear what the “kufr Deobandi beliefs” are that emerges from this incident. Hence, this accusation appears to be another one of those shameless Barelwi lies.

Update: Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani wrote a detailed response to the above allegation (along similar lines to the above) as part of his 1930-work Sayf e Yamani, which was a refutation of a typical Barelwi work of propaganda and lies titled ‘Aqa’id e Wahhabiyya Deobandiyya. Mawlana Nu’mani contacted Mawlana Thanawi directly to ask his opinion particularly on the section of his book dealing with the dream. (Tahdith e Ni’mat, 143-146) Mawlana Thanawi approved of it (ibid.) and wrote an endorsement which can be found in the introduction to Sayf e Yamani. One can download the book from the following link and find the detailed discussion on the dream on pages 40 to 60:

https://archive.org/details/SafeYamaaani


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)


Mawlānā Madanī on the Accusation that Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd was “Wahhābī”

February 21, 2017

Some Barelwīs are of the belief that Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd Barelwī and his disciples had come into contact with Wahhābīs while they were in the Ḥijāz, and as a consequence picked up Wahhābī views. Echoing this sentiment, Gibril Haddad wrote: “Ismā‘īl Dihlawī wrote Taqwiyat al-Īmān in the wake of his Ḥijāz years (1236-1239), at which time he had come under the tutelage of Wahhābī missionaries.” This view has been shown to be false in an earlier piece, quoting nonpartisan neutral western scholars stating that there is no proof that Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd or his disciples had any contact with the Arabian Wahhābīs.

Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī had also addressed this allegation in his Naqsh e Ḥayāt as follows:

It becomes very clear from the aforementioned events that Ḥaḍrat Sayyid [Aḥmad Shahīd] Ṣāḥib and his companions arrived at Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah at the end of 1237 H, that is at the beginning of 1823. This is the time in which no remnant or sign remained of the Wahhābī government and its communities in either Ḥijāz or any town or village of Najd. In fact, five years before this, Egyptian forces under the command of Ibrāhīm Pāshā ibn Muḥammad ‘Alī Pāshā, the viceroy (Khedive) of Egypt, under instructions from Sulṭān ‘Abd al-Majīd Khān, had crushed them, in not only Madīnah Munawwarah and Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah, but in the whole of Ḥijāz and the famous regions of Najd. Those that were left of them became absconders, fleeing to far off places in the mountains and jungles. Thus, Shāmī has mentioned them clearly in the Ḥāshiyah of al-Durr al-Mukhtār, in the third volume, [stating] that in 1233 H, Egyptian forces completely annihilated this group.

On page 87 [of The Indian Musalmans] W.W. Hunter, after mentioning that the Wahhābīs took control of Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah, Madīnah Munawwarah and other regions, wrote: “It was Mehmet Ali, Pasha of Egypt, who at last succeeded in crushing the Reformation (Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb and his followers). In 1812, Thomas Keith, a Scotchman, under the Pasha’s son, took Medina by storm. Mecca fell in 1813; and five years later, this vast power, which had so miraculously sprung up, as miraculously vanished, like a shifting sand mountain of a desert.”

Since this community of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb caused trouble to all the inhabitants of Madīnah, Makkah and Ḥijāz, during this duration of their stay in Ḥijāz, kept going on with killing people, beating and looting, humiliating, and other such actions, as is famous and well-known there, and the author of Radd al-Muḥtār has written that these people only considered themselves Muslims and regarded others as Mushriks and non-Muslims, and considered looting and putting to waste their properties and lives permissible, this is why the people of the two Ḥarams harboured extreme hostility and hatred towards the Wahhābīs. This is why the people of Ḥijāz would not at all tolerate that any Najdī who had any connection with this sect would remain here in the Ḥijāz. After stirring up such an immense rebellion against the Turkish government and its governors, and wasting such money and lives in [efforts to] extinguish them, how could they tolerate that any Wahhābī remains there?

In short, when Sayyid Ṣāḥib and his companions reached Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah in Sha‘bān of 1237 H, no Wahhābī ruler, scholar or preacher was there, and nor were they at the borders or fringes. Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s death had occurred long before. This is why they had no chance of adopting the Wahhābī methodology from them, and nor is it established through any reliable means that they had met with any Wahhābī. Thus, to affiliate these respected ones to this sect is a completely slanderous and false propaganda.

These respected ones were disciples of Ḥaḍrat Shāh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Ṣāḥib Dehlawī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him), and are his followers in external and esoteric knowledge. They had received such perfection from the benefit they acquired [from him] that no match or equal of them could be found in depth [of knowledge], juristic understanding, taṣawwuf, speech and writing, neither in Hindustan nor in Arabia, Egypt, Levant etc. Their writings, speeches and actions are witness to this. How can such people of perfection become followers and imitators of others? How can this come to a sound mind? Especially when these others are less than them in every perfection?

In Wahhābī belief and practice, it is impermissible to travel with the objective of visiting the revered Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). Thus, their writings and works are available [stating exactly this]. If, Allāḥ forbid, this was the belief of these respected ones, why did the entire group having travelled to Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah go to Madīnah Munawwarah? And why did they remain there for three months, from the end of Dhu l-Ḥijjah till Rabī‘ al-Awwal? (Naqsh e Ḥayāt, p. 431-2)

Mawlānā Madanī goes on to explain that the first to brand Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd’s group as “Wahhābīs” were the English as they feared his popularity and thus wished to stigmatise him in this way so as to cause divisions between him and the Muslims of India.


Al-Shihāb al-Thāqib and the Response of the Arab Scholars to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān

February 15, 2017

Introduction and Background to al-Shihāb al-Thāqib by Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī

Since al-Shihāb al-Thāqib by Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1296 – 1377 H/1879 – 1957 CE)* is an important work in both explaining the background to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī’s shenanigans in the Ḥijāz/exposing him as a fraudster and deceiver, as well as in showing the differences between the Akābir of Deoband and the Wahhābīs, it will be worth sharing a translation of the introduction to the book so that the background to, and reasons for, its authorship can be appreciated.

Along with getting an idea of the contents of the work, one will also be able to appreciate the efforts made to give a detailed response to the slanders and lies of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921) directly by the Akābir.* The introduction translated below makes up about 5 pages of a book consisting of a total of over 90 pages.

The book was written around the year 1910 CE (i.e. many years before the Saudi/Wahhābī takeover of Ḥijāz) while Mawlānā Madanī was still residing in Madīnah, having lived there for over ten years. (He lived in Madīnah between the years 1899 and 1914 CE). A lengthy, and illuminating, part of the introduction contains a somewhat detailed description of the reaction of the scholars of Makkah and Madīnah to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s arrival in the Ḥijāz and to his request for their signed approvals to his fatwā. This part has not been translated, but a summary of it is given below.

[*In a letter dated 1370 H/1950 CE, Mawlānā Madanī wrote about the work al-Shihāb al-Thāqib: “Since it was written against Mawlawī Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī’s refutation, Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn, the discussion on Wahhābīs came as a secondary [discussion], the objective of which is [to show] that our predecessors are aloof of both extremism and laxity – their track was of moderation, and they are the true followers of the noble predecessors of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah. That which was expressed in this book remains my position, and it is the way of my noble predecessors.” (Cherāgh e Muḥammad, p. 118]

[** Of course, the Akābir who were themselves accused also made direct refutations: Mawlānā Thānawī in a detailed discussion in his Basṭ al-Banān, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī in his Muhannad, and even Mawlānā Gangohī rejected the attribution of the fabricated fatwā to himself as reported by his student, Sayyid Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī (Majmū‘ah Rasā’il Chāndpūrī, 1:106).]

The following is a translation of the introduction to the book:

The Piercing Projectile on the Eavesdropping Liar

Praise to the One Who adorned the sky of the two Noble Ḥarams with stars of pious ‘Ulamā’ and protection from every accursed rebellious devil. ‘They do not eavesdrop on the highest company and are bombarded from every side, repelled, and they have a lingering punishment – except for one who snatches a fragment, who is then followed by a piercing projectile.’ (Qur’ān, 37:8-10)

Thanks to the One Who granted the lordly imāms with a plentiful share of the Prophetic Legacy and those things left behind by al-Muṣṭafā, even to the point that He appointed for each of them ‘an enemy, devils of man and jinn, inspiring one another with fancy words to deceive’ (Qur’ān, 6:112) and ‘to strive for corruption on the earth’ (Qur’ān, 5:33), ‘for indecency to spread amongst the believers’ (Qur’ān, 24:19) and to split the adherents of Islām, so that they gain in aversion amongst themselves – and thereafter, He punished them causing their fancies and contrivances to vanish, and exposing them over the heads of witnesses, revealing their ploy and expelling each of them from the cosmos of [His] mercy, condemned and defeated.

And blessing and peace be upon the one who brought guidance and the Religion of Truth to make it manifest over all religion, even if the idolaters detest it; and [who brought] signs that break the necks of those who wish to extinguish the light of Allāh with their mouths, but Allāh refuses but for His light to be complete, even if the wicked are angered; and [blessing and peace be] upon his progeny and his companions who cleansed the upright religion from the impurities of doubt, unconcerned by those who oppose them from the obstinate ones, and [who] expended their efforts in making the word of the Sunnah and Congregation high, giving no attention to the innovations of the deviated People of Desires; and [blessing and peace be] upon their followers in excellence and sincerity till the Day of Judgement – for verily they are the nation from all communities holding firmly to justice, and with sincere concern for truth, till the Day of Resurrection, neither harmed by those who oppose them nor forsaken because of those who abandon them, by assistance of the Most Merciful of the merciful ones, and they are the pivots of the Bright Sharī‘ah and of the White Monotheism, by glad-tidings of the Unlettered Prophet, Allāh bless him and grant him, his progeny and his companions peace.

To proceed.

The servant of the students [of Dīn], Ḥusayn Aḥmad ibn Sayyid Ḥabībullāh al-Ḥanafī al-Ḥusaynī al-Chishtī al-Ṣābirī al-Rashīdī al-Fayḍābādī thumma l-Madanī, submits in the holy service of all Muslims residing in India that:

A long period ago, this lowly one, having left his ancestral hometown, the province of Fayḍābād, with his honorable father – may his honor remain –, had entered into the shadow of Prophetic Bounty (upon him blessing and peace) – that is, Madīnah Munawwarah. Because, since childhood, and in fact since infancy, I have had no other preoccupation besides academic engagements, this is why there too I have not engaged in any preoccupation besides studying, teaching and keeping the company of scholars and students. Till now, the part of my life spent there, I have endeavored as far as possible to spend in these activities. This is why I have gained a complete familiarity with the Muslim residents of the Pure City and a full acquaintance with their conditions, beliefs and ideas. I can say with conviction that the revered noble scholars living in Madīnah Munawwarah – Allāh increase it in honour and excellence – follow completely the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah and the seniors of the predecessors in beliefs and so on, and they agree with all the beliefs of the revered Elders of the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband and Sahāranpūr, both in particulars and universals, without even slight variation.

However, at the start of 1324 H (1906 H), an astonishing disaster occurred, that one “Ḥaḍrat Barelwī,” who is referred to by his devotees as “reviver of the present century,” journeyed to the Ḥijāz in this year. And there is no doubt that he is indeed “reviver of the present century,” since those individuals of the past who endeavoured and struggled hard to declare the Elders and People of Truth to be deviant and wicked, regarding the targeting of their dignity and honour and spending one’s precious life in debasing and anathematising them a cause of salvation and high rank, for some time, their zeal had become extremely diminished, and their power had become close to being non-existent. This “A‘lā Ḥaḍrat” Barelwī gave life to their decomposed bones. He transformed their weakness into strength. He brought into existence such varying types of injustice and savagery that he became the ultimate reminder and revival of his predecessors from the people of deception and injustice, and in fact he became the pride of all previous fabricators. A practising scholar, researcher and the Sunnī ‘Ulamā of India [in general] are unfortunate who were not martyred at the savage hands of this “A‘lā Ḥaḍrat”. In fact, no group in those lands will be of the “saved group” who this Barelwī reviver and his followers did not slaughter with their pens and tongues.

Friends! This prophecy of the Accepted Messenger (upon him peace) is still manifesting. In how many ways is, ‘You will surely follow the ways of those before you…’ [1] ultimately being put into effect? The Jews were filled with [the qualities of]: ‘they slaughter the prophets without right’ (Qur’ān, 3:112), ‘their killing of the prophets’ (Qur’ān, 3:181), ‘their consumption of the impermissible’ (Qur’ān, 5:62), and ‘they take words out of context’ (Qur’ān, 4:46). Thus, in accordance with the statement of the Prophet (upon him peace): ‘the scholars of my ummah are like the prophets of Banū Isrā’īl’ [2], these [followers of theirs] strive to anathematise the erudite scholars and learned ones of excellence, which is far greater than murder. If by murder, it is intended to eliminate the body and negate bodily life, the intent of takfīr is eliminating the soul and destroying the life of īmān. If the Jews would consume the impermissible, then these [followers of theirs] treat interest as their nourishment. If they manipulated the words of Tawrāh, then these [followers of theirs] manipulate the meanings of Qur’ān and ḥadīth and mutilate the words of reliable ‘Ulamā’. Then, why would it not be said that they are the ultimate reminders of their predecessors from the Israelites and revivers of taḍlīl and tafsīq of a deceased nation? Well, whatever will be, will be. I have no purpose in this to [explain] which bright sun of the cosmos of misguidance and which luminous full moon of the constellation of deviance he is.

When “Ḥaḍrat Mujaddid al-Takfīr Ṣāḥib” (reviver of takfīr) arrived at the lands of Ḥijāz, he propagated astonishing deception and fraud, and deceived the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Noble Ḥarams using various kinds of plots and ploys. Some unacquainted simple-hearted individuals undoubtedly fell prey to his plot of forgery; but those who Allāh (Exalted is He) granted complete powers of discretion, criticism and insight, or those who someone alerted, did not at all fall prey to his deception.

To maintain his agenda, “Mujaddid Ṣāḥib” had to undoubtedly endure various kinds of hardships, difficulties, indignities and insults. In fact, because of this disturbance, all the ‘Ulamā’ of India were debased and humiliated in the eyes of others. Thus, I have time and again, at that time and after that time, heard the people of Egypt, Levant, Ḥijāz and other [places] attacking this “Ḥaḍrat Mujaddid al-Takfīr Ṣāḥib”, as well as the whole population of India. Although in Tamhīd Shayṭānī and other [books] also, many praises and commendations are quoted, but at the same time, they are a few numbered individuals, and even they [made these statements] before they were aware of his reality; otherwise, the people of Ḥijāz in general, in the end, came to know of his nature. See Risālah Madīnah, what was and was not written with respect to him. I will write details of this later. Since this lowly one was at this time present in Madīnah Munawwarah, may Allāh increase it in honour and excellence, this is why I am fully aware of all of these events as they unfolded, and know very well those who explicitly opposed him.

Ḥaḍrāt! He made very severe allegations against the revered ‘Ulamā’ and Elders of Deoband, describing them in such a way that seeing which, every religious person would express severe dislike and aversion. Since this lowly one has plucked the fruits of the revered Elders of Deoband and Gangoh and is wrapped up in their hem of compassion, & for seven to eight years I was a sweeper at the court of these Elders and acquired the service of straightening their shoes, this is why I know the beliefs, ideas and practices of these Elders very well. Because of this, at that time also, I had exposed these ploys and allegations in Madīnah Munawwarah, and I showed people the treatises of the Elders. However, those individuals who had already put their signatures before this awareness, as I will describe later, became helpless, and they said after this recognition: “We had put conditions in our respective commendations [i.e. that the fatwā is only valid if the information in the question was correct].”

The upshot is that “Ḥaḍrat Mujaddid al-Taḍlīl Ṣāḥib” came to the Ḥijāz with the idea of achieving [currency for] his falsehood by very hard efforts and immense labour. Achieving some incomplete and complete success, he returned from Madīnah Munawwarah in Rabī‘ al-Thānī of the aforementioned year (i.e. 1324/1906), and for some time kept this hidden, from which the idea came that maybe he received some admonition and became ashamed of his ugly actions; because when the general and special [people] head to the two Noble Ḥarams, this is their intent: that by virtue of attendance and performing worship at those blessed spots, sins are eliminated and lessened. “Mujaddid Ṣāḥib” Barelwī performed this journey with only a sinful purpose, in fact with the purpose of the greatest of major sins, and undertook to deceive the gullible and simple ‘Ulamā’ there. He had drawn those helpless ones to himself, but what is the error of these innocents? What knowledge did they have of what substances of taḍlīl, tafsīq, misguidance and so on, this Barelwī Ṣāḥib was filled with? They worked according to good expectations (ḥusn al-ẓann), and endorsed his speech and practice.

In 1327 H (1909 CE), this lowly one arrived at the lands of India for some personal needs and observed that the compilation of those invectives and takfīrs of the Elders, along with those seals, was printed. It was being taken around here and there by some ignoramuses, seducing the general Muslims away from the People of Truth and making them lose faith in them, using various machinations to get their treat. Seeing this, I became convinced that my earlier thought with respect to “Mujaddid al-Takfīr Ṣāḥib” of having been reformed was completely incorrect. In fact, he was subject to [the description in the verse]: ‘in their hearts is an illness and Allāh has increased them in illness’ (Qur’ān, 2:10) and is an example of: ‘deaf, dumb and blind, so they will not come back [to truth].’ (Qur’ān, 2:18) He had not retreated from his personal practices and the traits of his forbears.

I had intended in Madīnah Munawwarah to properly describe the events of “Mujaddid al-Taḍlīl Ṣāḥib” that unfolded here, making them clear to the Muslim residents of India. However, two things stopped me from this.

First, several reports reached me that “A‘la Ḥaḍrat Mujaddid Barelwī” upon returning was quiet, so [my] tongue remained moist with “reconciliation is best.” (Qur’ān, 4:128) Thus my feeling [about him] mentioned earlier remained attached [to myself]. The content [of the ḥadīth]: ‘The one who repents from a sin is like one who has no sin’ was what hindered the abovementioned intention.

Second, Mawlānā Shaykh Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm Ṣāḥib Naqshbandī [3] and Mawlānā Munawwar ‘Alī Ṣāḥib Muḥaddith Rāmpūrī [4] had written the conditions of this “Mujaddid Barelwī” to those who met with them, and these individuals circulated all of these events in the newspapers.

But alas, caution [is required]! When I saw that people had forgotten these matters and these news reports have been lost, then the initial poison which he who was with me [in Madīnah] brought from there, and because of which he undertook this blessed journey, and wasted thousands of rupees in this endevour, it now became necessary for me to, in notifying you people of those sketchy circumstances authentically, based on what I witnessed or heard there through reliable means, make you aware of his fabrications and contrivances; because the revered ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband, Sahāranpūr etc. are engaged in their academic engagements such that they give no attention to anything else, and believing all matters of “Mujaddid Barelwī” as senseless delusions, they regarded turning their attention in this direction to be opposed to their standing as scholars and opposed to honorable conduct, while elsewhere the ignorant innovators and the opposing party, finding the arena clear, are misguiding the general Muslims. Thus it was necessary, that the extravagant self-boasts made with respect to him in Tamhīd, their reality is recognised; and this too comes to light that those Elders on whose hem of innocence “Mujaddid Ṣāḥib” wanted to put a mark, they are completely clean and pure of those impurities.

It is the fruits of “Mujaddid Ṣāḥib’s” self-interests, search for fame and worldly esteem that is written down in this treatise (i.e. Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn). Those Elders are far removed from those corrupt ideas.

If you people notice any harsh word with regards to him and his group, then excuse this as a mistake of this lowly one. The insulting language which “Mujaddid Ṣāḥib” has used in Tamhīd Shayṭānī and Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn, if they were to be responded to, and if an answer was written according to the dictates of that, then only God knows to where that will lead! I have restrained my instincts completely, and will proceed with the discussion very cautiously. But what am I to do? In places, because of the swears and delusions of this maligner, my instincts go out control, and I am thus rendered helpless. But even still, there too I will not come outside the bounds of dignity and knowledge as far as possible. A full response to him in this respect can be done by those ignoramuses and savages of low stock and bad manners, but that too would be written in the deeds of “Mujaddid Ṣāḥib”. The statement of the Messenger (upon him peace): “Whatever two people swearing at each other say, it [falls] on the initiator” [5] is a clear text.

The upshot is that when this lowly one arrived at India, I noticed that many savages, who don’t know the difference between alif and bā’, were taking this treatise around to various places, and encouraging people, giving them the idea of circulating it…This is why I felt it appropriate for the purpose of making people informed, a short treatise called al-Shihāb al-Thāqib ‘ala l-Mustariq al-Kādhib be circulated in which the slanders and lies of “Ḥaḍrat Mujaddid al-Muḍillīn” (reviver of the deviators), and the reality of the slanders against the innocent Elders [6], and the details of such deceptions are known – which he undertook to fulfil his egotistic wants and satanic desires, and for which day and night he remained in thought and concern.

There are two chapters and a conclusion to this short treatise:

Chapter One: An explanation of the deceits and deceptions undertaken in order to acquire the fatwās, and there are many angles to this.

Chapter Two: On an exposé of the allegations against the Elders and detailed answers to them. There are 9 sections in this [chapter]: The first section is on an explanation of the allegation against Mawlānā Nānotwī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him). The second section is an explanation of Khatm al-Nubuwwa in brief. The third section is on explaining the allegation against Mawlānā Gangohī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him). The fourth section is an explanation of the issue of the possibility and impossibility [of lying]. The fifth section is on explaining the allegation against Mawlānā Sahāranpūrī (may his blessing remain). The sixth section is on explaining the passage from al-Barāhīn al-Qāṭi‘ah. The seventh section is on explaining the second allegation against Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Sahāranpūrī (may his blessings remain). The eighth section is on explaining the allegation against Mawlānā Thānawī (may his blessing remain). The ninth section is a clarification of Mawlānā Thānawī’s passage in Ḥifẓ al-Īmān. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, Dār al-Kitāb, p. 198-202, 214)

[1] Ṣaḥīḥ al-BukhārīṢaḥīḥ Muslim

[2] ‘Allāmah Munāwī writes: “Ḥāfiẓ al-‘Irāqī was asked about what is famous on the tongues, vis-a-vis the ḥadīth, ‘the ‘ulamā’ of my ummah are like the prophets of the Banū Isrā’īl’. He said: ‘There is no basis for it nor a chain with this wording. [The ḥadīth]: “the ‘ulamā’ are the heirs of the Prophets,” frees [us] of [the need for] it; and that is an authentic ḥadīth.” (Fayḍ al-Qadīr, 4:384)

[3] He is described in Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir as follows: “The shaykh, the righteous ‘ālim, Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm ibn ‘Abd al-Rashīd ibn Aḥmad Sa‘īd al-‘Umarī al-Sirhindī thumma l-Dehlawī, one of the prominent ‘ulamā’ in fiqh and ḥadīth. He was born in Delhi on the 9th of Shawwāl, in the year 1263 (1847 CE). He studied ‘ilm with ‘Allāmah Muḥammad Nawāb ibn Sa‘dullāh al-Khāliṣpūrī and with his father. Then he received ḥadīth, tafsīr etc. from the uncle of his father, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghanī ibn Abī Sa‘īd al-‘Umarī al-Dehlawī. He took ṭarīqah from his grandfather, Shaykh Aḥmad Sa‘īd, and travelled with him to the two noble ḥarams in the year 1274 (1858). When his grandfather died, he kept the company of his father in Madīnah Munawwarah and took from him. When his father died, he arrived at India and lived in Rāmpūr, and Nawāb Kalb ‘Alī Khān al-Rāmpūrī honoured his visit, and made a stipend of four hundred rupees per month for him so he was happy to stay there; he stayed there for a long time, and then travelled to the Ḥijāz and lived in Madīnah Munawwarah. I [Sayyid ‘Abd al-Ḥayy] met him in Rāmpūr. He was a pious shaykh, dignified, of immense position and great stature. He teaches and gives instruction of dhikr to his disciples in morning and evening. He has numerous works. He died on the tenth of Sha‘bān in the year 1341 (1923).” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p. 1373)

[4] He is described in Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir as follows: “The shaykh, the ‘ālim, the muḥaddith: Munawwar ‘Alī ibn Maẓhar al-Ḥaqq al-Ḥanafī. He was born and brought up in Rāmpūr. He read the short texts with his father and then with Mawlānā Muḥammad Ṣiddīq al-Rāmpūrī. Then he received Manṭiq and philosophy from ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq ibn Faḍl Ḥaqq al-Khayrābādī, and received ḥadīth from Sayyid Muḥammad Shāh ibn Ḥasan Shāh al-Ḥusaynī al-Rāmpūrī. Then he took up a teaching position at Madrasa ‘Āliya, where he taught for some time. Then he travelled to the Ḥijāz in the year 1323 (1905), performed ḥajj and ziyārah, and remained there for a full year, and then returned to India. He died in the year 1351 (1932).” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p. 1385)

[5] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim

[6] For a detailed refutation of these slanders, one may read the second chapter of al-Shihāb al-Thāqib in Urdu, or the English translation of Fayṣlah Kun Munāẓarah available at the following link: ahlussunnah.boards.net/thread/35/decisive-debate-deobandi-barelwi-conflict

——————

Response of the Arab Scholars to Aḥmad Riḍa Khān’s Visit to the Ḥijaz

[Summarised from Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī’s al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 202 – 215]

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān arrived at Makkah in the year 1323 H (1905 CE). A short while after he completed the ḥajj, a document was sent from India to Mawlānā Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm (an Indian scholar residing in Makkah) for it to be presented to the Sharīf of Makkah. The document was intended to warn the Sharīf that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was a person of fitnah who is very liberal in issuing fatwās of takfīr, tafsīq and taḍlīl to support his strange views. It also mentioned some of his misguided opinions. The document contained signatures from several scholars of India.

A close confidante of the Sharīf, ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Shaybī, came to know of this document. He became enraged at seeing it, and said he will himself take it to the Sharīf. The Sharīf also became very angry, and both he and al-Shaybī made a firm resolution for Aḥmad Riḍā Khān to at once be put in prison. Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī here mentions that he came to know of this resolution through several reliable means. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 203) However, Mawlānā Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm and Mawlānā Munawwar ‘Alī Rāmpūrī both insisted to al-Shaybī that he not be put in prison, but instead be interrogated on his beliefs. It appears their motives were for their country, India, to not come into disrepute on account of one of their fellow countrymen being imprisoned in the Ḥijaz. Al-Shaybī agreed.

The works of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān were not at this time available in Makkah, but there was an Urdu commendation he had written on the work of a scholar from Rāmpūr. (Mawlānā Madanī is probably referring to an early edition of: al-Anwār al-Sāṭi‘ah). Based on the contents of this commendation, he was asked three questions: on his usage of azalī (pre-eternal) and abadī (eternal) for the knowledge possessed by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam); his statement that not even an atom’s weight is excluded from his (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) knowledge; and his conclusion with the words: “blessings be upon the first, the last, the manifest and the hidden” (صلى الله على الأول والآخر والظاهر والباطن), terms that are used in this sequence for Allāh in the Qur’ān. He was told that without clarifying his position on these issues, he will not be free to leave Makkah. Hence, a week or two later, he answered with his usual tact of obfuscation, as follows: by azalī, I meant the start of the world, not “beginningless” as it usually means; there is a mistranslation, I did not say an “atom’s weight” in the Urdu; and there is a typographical error in this phrase, it should have read: “blessing be upon the manifestation (maẓhar) of the First, the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden.” These answers were of course unsatisfactory, so the Sharīf wished that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān be removed from Makkah as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān had expressed great pride in his belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) possessed full and complete knowledge of everything that was and will be from the start of the world until its end. He presented his findings to the Makkan scholar he found most connection with, Shaykh Muftī Ṣāliḥ Kamāl. The latter then argued on behalf of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān with two learned Makkan scholars: Shaykh Aḥmad Faqīh and Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Mālikī, the latter of whom was at that time “Makkah’s greatest scholar, no-one having a study circle equal to his in the Noble Ḥaram.” (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 205) Shaykh Ṣāliḥ Kamāl was defeated, and these two scholars put it to him that he is arguing on behalf of someone who is clearly misguided. The argument became heated, and eventually came to the attention of the Sharīf, who realised from this episode also that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān is someone stirring up fitnah. On account of this too, he wanted Aḥmad Riḍā Khān to be escorted out of Makkah at the earliest convenience. Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī here mentions that he has presented these details in brief, and if anyone would like more information, he is free to contact Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Mālikī, Shaykh Aḥmad Faqīh, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Shaybī, Shaykh Muḥammad Ma‘ṣum or Mawlānā Munawwar ‘Alī Rāmpūrī (who were all alive at the time). (p. 205)

While this was going on, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān sent a message to the Sharīf via Shaykh Ṣāliḥ Kamāl, stating that you are making this great fuss over me even though I am from the leaders of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah, all the while there is a man here in Makkah [referring to ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī, who had also come to perform ḥajj in the same year] who (na‘ūdhu billāh) regards Allāh as being untruthful and Satan as having more knowledge than the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), and he has not been admonished in the slightest! When this message reached the Sharīf, Shaykh Aḥmad Faqīh and Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Mālikī who were present with him, both said that it is not possible that any Muslim could say such speech and this is pure slander. The Sharīf agreed with them. As a result, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ Kamāl felt quite embarrassed for conveying this message.

Up to this point, Shaykh Shu‘ayb had not met Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī. When this reached Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī he made a visit to Shaykh Shu‘ayb and spoke to him. He explained that this slander was directed at him, and he doesn’t at all hold these impure beliefs. He explained, however, that he supports the view of the rational possibility of Allāh going back on His word, while he believes its occurrence is completely impossible. Shaykh Shu‘ayb responded that as soon as he heard the allegation, he knew it to be a lie, and said the view that Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī espoused is supported by the statements of the Mutakallimūn. After Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī explained what he actually said in his al-Barāhīn al-Qāṭi‘ah with respect to the knowledge of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and demonstrated that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was guilty of slander, Shaykh Shu‘ayb agreed with him completely, and even went on to present many evidences from Qur’ān and ḥadīths from memory proving that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s view that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has full and thorough knowledge of all creation is false. They also engaged in further discussions.

Following this, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī also visited Muftī Ṣāliḥ Kamāl. At first, Muftī Ṣāliḥ Kamāl was uneasy with the meeting because of what he had heard from Aḥmad Riḍā Khān. However, once Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī explained the truth, he became fully content and accepted everything Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī said.

These were events that took place following the ḥajj. Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madani explains that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān had intended to blemish the honour of Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī before the ḥajj, but by Divine Aid, he fell ill and was unable to carry out his plans. And at this time, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī saw a dream in which Ḥājī Imdādullāh Muhājir Makkī appeared to him and tied something around his waist – which was interpreted as divine assistance (imdādullāh) coming to him. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 207) After performing the ḥajj, when Aḥmad Riḍā Khān intended to go forward with his plans, the aforementioned events unfolded starting with the document that came from India – so rather than Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī getting into trouble, it was he that fell into serious trouble! By Divine Aid, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī performed the ḥajj with complete ease and peace of mind, and then proceeded to Madīnah without any blemish to his honour. On the other hand, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was at the time that Mawlānā left for Madīnah, humiliatingly forced to remain in Makkah to answer the questions put to him.

[In Naqsh e Ḥayāt, Mawlānā Madanī briefly describes Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī’s visit to Madīnah: “At the start of 1324 H, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Ṣāḥib arrived at Madīnah Munawwarah after completing the ḥajj, and remained there for approximately fifteen days. Since he was amongst my noble teachers, this is why the students of Madīnah Munawwarah flocked to him, and generally, the ‘Ulamā’ of Madīnah came to visit and receive him. A very large group took ijāzah of the books of ḥadīth and the sciences from him in a large circle within the Noble Masjid, after hearing the opening sections of the books of ḥadīths.” (Naqsh e Ḥayāt, p. 118) He further mentions that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān only arrived at Madīnah some time after Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī had already departed.]

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān had prepared a short treatise full of deception, fraud and deceit, intended to excite the emotions of simple ‘Ulamā’. (This treatise together with signed approvals of it were later compiled as Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn). Following the above events, he took his treatise to the ‘Ulamā’ of Makkah to get their signed approvals of it. Simple and gullible ‘Ulamā’ were deceived by his words and his flattery of them. However, the great ‘Ulamā’ of Makkah (some of whom were already aware of his nature) saw right through him, and based on their natural intelligence and foresight, knew better than to give their endorsements to his fatwā. The following are some of these great scholars:

1. “The most eminent shaykh, the greatest man of virtue, one unmatched in his era, unique in his time, the perspicacious ocean, the vast ocean, the Nawawī of the time, the Rāzī of the present era, the respected, Shaykh Ḥasabullāh al-Makkī al-Shāfi’ī” [1244 – 1335 H/1828 – 1917 CE]. He was a contemporary and equal to the deceased Shāfi‘ī muftī, Shaykh Aḥmad Zaynī Daḥlān. He was an intelligent, perceptive, pious and scrupulous scholar. In all sciences in general, and Shāfi‘ī fiqh and tafsīr in particular, there was no one equal to him in the whole of Makkah. Mawlānā Madanī says: “Further, in age he has surpassed eighty years. In these days, he has lost his eyesight. Many of the ‘Ulamā’ of the two ḥarams are from his students. It is heard often from the Shāfi‘īs that in Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah there is no greater scholar in the Shāfi‘ī madhhab than him. Anyone who stopped by at Makkah for even a few days will most certainly come to know of him. Whoever wants may ask the people of the two noble ḥarams of his condition. This lowly one has not given his description in any way that matches with his real condition. In brief, he, on account of precaution, refused to endorse ‘Mujaddid Ṣāḥib’s’ treatise.” (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 208) [Note: Mawlānā Madanī narrated ḥadīth from Shaykh Ḥasabullāh. See: al-Arba‘ūna Ḥadīthan by Shaykh Yāsīn al-Fādānī, p. 59; Cherāgh e Muḥammad, p. 106]

2. “The sun of the sky of investigation, the full moon of the cosmos of scrutinisation, combiner of rational and transmitted [knowledge], gatherer of peripherals and principles, the imām of the muḥaddithīn, the chief of the mufassirīn, Mawlānā Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Mālikī, may his blessings last, Mālikī imām and khaṭib at the Noble Ḥaram.” His study circle was the greatest in the ḥaram. He had memorised thousands of ḥadīths with both matn and isnād.

3. “The eminent imām, the noble man of virtue, pivot of purity and chivalry, chief of generosity and courage, foremost amongst the knights of the rational sciences, gatherer of the highest positions in the fields of transmitted sciences, Mawlānā Shaykh Aḥmad Faqīh, imām and khaṭīb at the noble ḥaram, may his excellence remain.” He was also a man of great learning. These latter two scholars were also amongst the close associates of the Sharīf.

4. “Chief of the practising scholars, leader of the perfect men of virtue, one adept in the sciences of Arabic, surpassing his contemporaries in the literary sciences, the master of the muḥaddithīn and the imām of the mutakallimīn, Mawlānā Shaykh ‘Abd al-Jalīl Āfandī al-Ḥanafī.” He was a man of great piety and grew to an old age. He was unparalleled in the field of Arabic literature. He died at the start of the year 1327 H (1909 CE). Although originally a scholar of Madīnah, he remained in Makkah for several years. He was present at Makkah when Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made his visit. The latter took his treatise to him to get his signed approval, but “being a man of experience, intelligence and perceptiveness, and a person of great age, he immediately recognised that he is not someone to be trusted.” (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 209) [Note: Mawlānā Madanī also narrated ḥadīth from him. See: Cherāgh e Muḥammad, p. 106]

Mawlānā Madanī comments: “These four individuals were at this time, from the greatest and most famous of the ‘Ulamā’ of Makkah. Their condition in knowledge, virtue and excellence was most certainly not found in those whose seals and approvals ‘Mujaddid al-Taḍlīl’s’ hands had touched. Whoever wishes may discover their conditions from the people of Makkah themselves.” (ibid.) There were other senior scholars who refused to sign the fatwā also, but these four famous ‘Ulamā’ are sufficient for our purposes. There were more junior ‘Ulamā’ who either in search of fame or due to their simplicity became prey to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s trickery, and gave their signed approvals to his fatwā. Many of these ‘Ulamā’ are such that they “have no part in academic ability, and nor are they involved in studying and teaching, and are not even counted amongst the ‘Ulamā’ of Makkah!” (ibid.) [1]

With regards to the situation in Madīnah, Mawlānā Madanī mentions that he is more acquainted with this as he was himself present in Madīnah at the time, and had been for several years. A few days after his arrival, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān very secretively visited several individuals with his treatise, asking for their signed approvals. Some of the ‘Ulamā’ there already had a good opinion of him from what was presented to them by his associates, regarding some discussions he made on some unfamiliar, peripheral issues that they had not previously examined – like the issue of paper money. These associates boasted of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s skills in debate and his having authored hundreds of works. But despite all this, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made attempts to acquire their seals in secrecy. Mawlānā Madanī argues that he did this for fear that had it been done openly, Mawlānā Madanī would have interfered and exposed his lies. [2]

Unlike the condition in Makkah, ‘Ulamā’ of Madīnah did not hold a negative view of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān: some had positive views of him and others were neutral. Even still, some of the most famous and eminent scholars of Madīnah did not fall for his deceptions, and refused to sign his fatwā. Others who did sign, later became aware of his lies, while others clearly put conditions to their endorsements, stating that only if the information in the question is correct will the ruling be as he mentioned.

Mawlānā Sayyid Aḥmad Barzanjī, the mufti of the Shāfi‘īs, initially felt that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was reliable and a person of learning. Based on this good opinion, he signed his treatise, and even encouraged others to do so. However, when he had his final meeting with him in the house of Sayyid ‘Abdullāh Madanī, and they discussed the issue of ‘ilm al-ghayb, he realised the academic and ideological reality of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān, and began to regret his previous actions. At this time, he took back his commendation and demanded his seal be erased, and told them that he has come to realise that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān is a person of misguidance, and spoke very harshly to him.

Muftī Aḥmad Barzanjī himself told Mawlānā Madanī afterwards that on the following day, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s son came to him, kissed his feet and hands, and begged him to keep the seal on the commendation, saying: “Do not take back the endorsement because we have no disagreement on these issues, and while we disagree on the issue of ‘ilm al-ghayb, let that remain as it is.” He also showed extreme flattery and servility in speech and actions. Muftī Aḥmad Barzanjī used some harsh words, but feeling embarrassed at his pleading, said it will be fine to keep the seal. However, he also pointed out that the seal is of no benefit to them, because he made his endorsement conditional.

A number of other ‘Ulamā’ from the ḥaramayn made their endorsements conditional. (Mawlānā Madanī quotes some of these on page 215-6). [3] Mawlānā Madanī notes that even those ‘Ulamā’ who did not put conditions, it is obvious that their endorsements were premised on the information in the treatise being correct.

Sayyid Aḥmad Barzanjī, soon after the last meeting with Aḥmad Riḍā Khān, began to pen a detailed refutation of the latter’s views on the knowledge of ghayb given to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Mawlānā Madanī said this treatise is in the process of being published. (It was eventually published as Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl). In this treatise, Sayyid Barzanjī, and by extension those who approved of it, used harsh words against Aḥmad Riḍā Khān. The positive words that were said of him by some of the scholars, either out of good character or because of not being fully aware of his true character, must be weighed against the negative words used by Sayyid Barzanjī.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān rushed back to India soon after this debacle. Some of the great ‘Ulamā’ of Madīnah refused to sign his treatise. Mawlānā Madanī lists a total of 25 such scholars as examples (p. 212-3). Five of these are as follows:

1. Shaykh Yāsīn al-Miṣrī al-Shāfi‘ī, who would lecture on taṣawwuf and Shāfi‘ī fiqh in the morning at Bāb al-Raḥmah.

2. The muḥaddith and mufassir, Shaykh ‘Abdullāh al-Nābulsī al-Ḥanbalī [1247 – 1331 H], who taught ḥadīth, tafsīr and Ḥanbalī fiqh after ‘Aṣr and Maghrib, and was a person of great age, piety and knowledge. He was also regarded as a great teacher.

3. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ḥakīm al-Bukhārī, a learned and elderly scholar.

4. Sayyid Amīn Riḍwān al-Shāfi‘ī a very elderly and pious man. From those who gave ijāza for Dalā’il al-Khayrāt at this time, none were greater than him.

5. Shaykh Ma’mūn Barrī al-Āfandi, who was the main khaṭīb of Masjid Nabawī.

[1] See the testimony of Shaykh Bashīr al-Ibrāhīmī below which also mentions that many of the scholars delivering lessons at the ḥaram were weak in knowledge. (Although his testimony is regarding the ḥaram of Madīnah, not Makkah, the situation was probably similar in both places).

[2] Mawlānā Madanī explains his role in the matter in more detail in Naqsh e Ḥayāt as follows: “These proceedings were undertaken with great effort and secrecy. I was only aware that he was making efforts to come to these ‘Ulamā’, Muftīs and people of influence, but I had absolutely no knowledge that he had some [specific] agenda behind these undertakings. I only thought that since Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Ṣāḥib had just visited, and great scholars and many students met with him here, and acquired sanad of ḥadīth and ijāzah, having gained acceptance amongst the people of learning, haters and enemies would like to spread propaganda against him, and in so doing against us [also]. But together with his, I also thought that if anything would be said against us or our Akābir, at the minimum, we would be asked about it. Several days passed in this manner. Then, after investigating I came to know he is getting endorsements for some write-up, so I searched for what this write-up was. In the end, when this write-up reached Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Shalabī al-Ṭarāblusī*, he called me and showed me the treatise. I informed him of the reality of the matter. Then I went to Amīn al-Fatwā Shaykh ‘Umar Ḥammād, and showed him the passages of Taḥdhīr al-NāsFatāwā Rashīdiyyah etc., upon which he expressed great remorse [for having signed the fatwā]. Then I went to the muftī of the Ḥanafīs, Tāj al-Dīn Ilyās, and explained the full reality to him, and he too expressed great remorse, and said: ‘We had no knowledge of the reality, so why did you not inform us earlier?’ Since I had deep connections with them before – Muftī Ṣāḥib’s grandson would read to me and youngsters of high families from the people of Madīnah were either close to me or read to me** – this is why I said: ‘I trusted that if any information reached you regarding me or any of my teachers, you would most certainly have asked me.’ He replied: ‘I had no knowledge that those individuals were your teachers! Anyhow, what has happened has happened. We were very careful in endorsing, and said that if in reality these individuals hold these views and beliefs and their retraction has not been proven, then the view of the author of the treatise is correct. If I had knowledge of this before, I wouldn’t have even given this endorsement.’ Other individuals gave similar answers.” (Naqsh e Ḥayāt, 137-8) Before the ‘Ulamā’ of Madīnah could take any action after having learnt of the reality, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān hurried back to India.

[3] Mawlānā Madanī writes: “Those scholars of dīn with regards to whom he acquired fatwās of kufr from the two ḥarams, he put false allegations against them, of which they are completely innocent and pure. Such beliefs and ideas were attributed to them which those sanctified scholars of Hindustan are completely free of, and which they themselves regard as kufr. The scholars of the two noble ḥarams gave their answer in accordance to the question, and gave the judgement of kufr on those who maintain such beliefs, because everyone knows that the answer is written in accordance with the question. If this question was written, putting this allegation and slander on someone else, and presented before those sanctified scholars, they too would give a judgement of kufr. Thus, several questions came in the service of Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Gangohī, [asking]: ‘What is the ruling on the person who regards Satan as more knowledgeable than the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) or God as being untruthful?’ He issued a fatwā of kufr on these [beliefs]. We will later present the quotations from his Fatāwā. This is why some intelligent and careful scholars of the two noble ḥarams wrote that if the questioner’s description is accurate and these individuals really do hold these beliefs, [only then] are they kāfirs and people of jahannam. Thus by way of example, the statements of a few scholars, from their fatwās, will be quoted. One scholar said: ‘One who adopts these views, believing in them as clarified in this treatise, there is no doubt that he is from the misguided.’ (من قال بهذه الأقوال معتقدا لها كما هي مبسوط في هذه الرسالة لا شبهة أنه من الضالين)…A second scholar wrote: ‘They are – when the outcome is what you have mentioned – deviant disbelievers.’ (فهم والحاصل ما ذكرت كفرة مارقون)…A third scholar said: ‘One who asserts this has disbelieved.’ (من ادعى ذلك فقد كفر)…A fourth scholar was extremely careful, and wrote with great clarity that if these matters are proven from those individuals, that is those things that the Barelwī Shaykh has written, of Ghulām Aḥmad claiming prophethood, and it is proven from Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Ṣāḥib, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Ṣāḥib and Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī that they disrespected the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), then there is no doubt in these individuals having committing kufr and deserving execution. (إن ثبت عنهم ما ذكره هذا الشيخ من ادعاء النبوة للقادياني وانتقاص النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم من رشيد أحمد وخليل أحمد وأشرف علي المذكورين فلا شك في كفرهم ووجوب قتلهم)…In a fifth place, in a lengthy write-up, there are these words: ‘This is the ruling on these groups and individuals if these vile beliefs are established from them.’ (هذا حكم هؤلاء الفرق والأشخاص إن ثبت عنهم هذه المقالات الشنيعة)…Even those individuals in whose statement this condition is not found, their intent is also this, because the ruling is on the one who believes in these things.” (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 215-6)

* On Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Ṭarāblusī’s views on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān, see: zakariyya.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/molwi-ahmed-radha-khan-among-the-arab-ulama/

** Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī’s teaching and lectures in al-Masjid al-Nabawī in Madīnah were well-received by the people. He was also a highly-regarded scholar. The reason for his acceptance may be gleaned from the following testimony of Shaykh Bashīr al-Ibrāhīmī, a contemporary and student of Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī. Shaykh Bashīr al-Ibrāhīmī (1889 – 1965 CE) was a well-known scholar from North Africa of the last century who had travelled to Cairo, Damascus and Ḥijāz, and sat with many of their scholars. He arrived in Madīnah towards the end of the year 1911 CE. Near the end of his life, when writing a short autobiography, he wrote the following while describing his stay at Madīnah: “I circled the circles of ‘Ilm at the Prophetic Ḥaram, testing [them out]. None of them stood out to me, but it was [like] froth put out by a group having no connection with ‘Ilm or Taḥqīq. I did not find true ‘Ilm except with two men, who are my teachers: Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Wazīr al-Tūnisī and Shaykh Ḥusayn Aḥmad al-Fayḍ Abādī al-Hindī. These two, truth be told, are erudite scholars, their horizons of perception vast in the sciences of ḥadīth and understanding of Sunnah. I had no interest in anything besides extra knowledge of ḥadīth, both in transmission and understanding, and knowledge of tafsīr, so I stuck by them as a shadow. I took al-Muwaṭṭa’ from the first with understanding, and then his erudition in the remaining Islamic sciences struck me, so I remained in his lessons on Mālik’s fiqh and his lessons on al-Tawḍīḥ of Ibn Hishām. I accompanied the second [i.e. Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī] in his lessons on Ṣaḥīḥ MuslimI give testimony that I have not seen an equal to these two shaykhs from the ‘Ulamā’ of Islām till now. I have reached old age and I have great experience, and I have consummate skill in some sciences, and I have met from the mashāyikh as [many as] Allāh wanted me to meet. But I have not seen the like of these two shaykhs in eloquence of expression, depth of insight, delving into meanings, illuminating ideas, clarification of ambiguities and bringing distant meanings closer. Because of my expansive reading of books of biographies, I had formed an image of a prominent scholar in the Islāmic sciences, derived from how the biographical literature would describe some of those that they put in their biographies. For a long time, I did not believe that that mental image would materialise in external reality. But I found it realised in these two eminent scholars. Shaykh al-Wazīr died in Madīnah at the wake of the First World War. As for Shaykh Ḥusayn Aḥmad, Sharīf Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī handed him over to the English at the end of his ill-fated revolution, and they exiled him to Mālṭah, and then they sent him back to his original hometown of India. He lived there for years, and the leadership of ‘Ilm culminated at him in the City of Knowledge, Deoband. When I visited Pakistan in the year 1952 CE, I wrote to him and he insisted that I visit India, but that was not destined for me. In these latter times, it has reached me that he passed away in India.” (Āthār al-Imām Muḥammad al-Bashīr al-Ibrāhīmī, 5:275-6)


Shāh Ismā‘īl and Negating Direction for Allah

December 1, 2016

Some Berelwis, in imitation of Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi, claim that Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd said that to believe Allāh is free from direction and place is bid‘ah (heresy/innovation). Ahmad Rida Khan made this claim in, for example, Qawāri‘ al-Qahhār, where he said Shāh Ismā‘īl wrote in his book Īḍāḥ al-Ḥaqq al-Ṣarīḥ that the belief in Allah’s transcendence from place and direction is innovation and heresy. Abu Hasan of Masabih Forum wrote in an ebook going by the name “The Preamble to Faith”: “Ismāýīl wrote that it is a heresy to believe that God is without a direction or that He is transcendent from space.”

Shāh Ismā‘īl, however, did not say this.

To understand the passage in question, it would help to clarify a few of the terms Shāh Ismā‘īl used. The book Īḍāḥ al-Ḥaqq al-Ṣarīḥ is on the subject of bid‘ah (innovation). He explains the term “bid‘ah” by reference to the ḥadīth, “Whoever innovates in this matter [i.e. religion] of ours what is not from it, it is rejected [i.e. as bid‘ah].” “Religious matters” in this context, he explains, as those things which the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) assigned ukhrawī (otherworldly) benefits to, as benefits of the afterlife can only be known through the medium of prophets. Such actions of ukhrawī benefit have particular specifications determined by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) which he came to teach. To make new specifications or change those specifications established from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is what he explains as amounting to bid‘ah.

He assigns two categories to bid‘ah: bid‘ah ḥaqīqiyyah (real bid‘ah) and bid‘ah ḥukmiyyah/‘amaliyyah (effective or practical bid‘ah). The first is where a specified action is done with the belief that it is part of religion i.e. that the specification has ukhrawī benefit (or a specific action is omitted believing it has ukhrawi harm) when it is in fact not part of the religion i.e. it is not established from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the general practice of the ṣaḥābah. The second (ḥukmī bid‘ah) is where an action is done without holding such a belief, but it is done in such a way that gives the appearance of it being done with the belief in its ukhrawī benefit. He gives the example of īṣāl al-thawāb to the dead, which is in principle permissible, but to specify the day of death and undergo immense difficulty in performing this act on the day of death, despite the many other duties on that day, gives the impression that this specification (i.e. of the day of death for īṣāl al-thawāb) is believed to be of benefit, and it is thus bid‘ah in effect or in practice (‘amali/ḥukmī bid‘ah), though not in reality (ḥaqīqī).

Now Shāh Ismā‘īl’s discussion in the section in question can be understood. A rough translation of this section – which is what Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi and his followers base the above allegation on – is as follows:

“On the explanation of those things which are included in real bid‘ah (ḥaqīqī bid‘ah). First Issue: It should be known that discussing the issue of waḥdat wujūd and shuhūd, and discussing the tanazzulāt khamsa, and discussing the ṣādir awwal and discussing tajaddud amthāl and kumūn and burūz; and likewise the (philosophical) discussions of taṣawwuf, and likewise the issue of the Almighty being abstract and simple in relation to one’s mind, meaning abstract from time, place, direction, māhiyyattarkib of the philosophical kind; and the discussion of attributes being part of Allāh’s essence or additional to the essence, interpreting the mutashābihat, and to affirm the vision of Allah without direction or opposition, and affirming atomistic philosophy while negating hylomorphism or vice versa; and to discuss the issue of qadr, and discussing the world as being emergent and existent by way of necessity, affirming the world as being pre-existent; and likewise engaging in studies of ‘Ilm al-Kalām, Ilāhiyyāt and philosophy; all of this is from the category of real bid‘ah (haqiqi bid’atif those upholding them regard, and have conviction in them, as established beliefs of the religion. And if they do not believe them to be from the beliefs of religion, still such theories and investigations are definitely included in effective innovations (ḥukmī bid’ahin this age. This is because to exert effort in order to understand the reality of these matters, and to assess them, and to include those who discuss these matters amongst the scholars of religion and lordly sages, and to praise them because of this just as truly religious perfections are praised, is not only rampant amongst the commoners but this type of talk is found amongst the elite also.” (Īḍāḥ al-Ḥaqq al-Ṣarīḥ, Urdu Tr, Qadimi Kutub Khanah, p. 77-8)

It is clear that in this entire passage Shāh Ismā‘īl is not discussing “beliefs” per se, but rather the act of studying these issues related to kalām, taṣawwuf and philosophy, while having the belief that these issues are established elements of Islam, which are sought after for their own sake. In effect, he is censuring the study of the peripheral and abstract issues of kalām, philosophy and taṣawwuf. If it is done with the belief that these peripheral matters are established issues of Islamic belief that are learnt for their own sake, this is real innovation, as it is specifying an act in religion that was not specified by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). However if this is not the belief, then he says that in our time, this is effective innovation due to these elements being treated in such a way by the Muslims that gives the impression that they are as important to them as actual religious matters.

Shāh Ismā‘īl’s qualification “in this age” clearly indicates that he believed that these areas of study are not in and of themselves blameworthy. Only when they are done with the belief that they are intrinsic elements of Islam (in which case they will be ḥaqīqī bid’ah) or are treated in such a way (in which case they will be ḥukmi bid’ah), are they considered innovations. However, his explanation allows for these discussions in the correct context and with the correct belief and treatment. In fact, he himself discusses many of these issues in another work called al-‘Abaqāt. Under one of the discussions in the latter work, he clarifies that the reason for entering into these investigations is to stave off doubts produced by the misguided, although the default rule is that they should not be entered into. (al-‘Abaqāt, Urdu Translation*, p. 182-3).

And in fact, in the work al-‘Abaqāt, Shāh Ismā‘īl explicitly negates direction and place for the being of Allāh (ibid. p. 76, 211), which, for objective and fair-minded observers, should lay this allegation to rest – not forgetting, of course, that the allegation to begin with is baseless, as the passage from Īḍāḥ al-Ḥaqq al-Ṣarīḥ does not in any way imply that the belief in Allāh’s transcendence from direction and place is innovation.

* https://ia801208.us.archive.org/10/items/besturdubooks9/ABQAAT.pdf