Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī Explains Absurd Barelwī Philosophy on Prophetic Attributes

June 20, 2020

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān states:

An English translation follows:

A valuable point came to me during a lecture of mine. Keep it in mind. The totality of virtues is the full standard for the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). There are [only] four reasons why a benefactor would not grant a favour to another:

    1. Either the one giving is not able to bestow this favour
    2. He can give it but stinginess prevents him
    3. The one he is giving is not deserving of it
    4. Or he is deserving but there is one more beloved than him for whom he is reserving it.

Ulūhiyyah (divinity) is the only perfection that is not within divine power. All other perfections are within divine power. Allāh (exalted is He) is the most generous of the generous and the most giving of givers, and the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is deserving of every virtue and excellence. And there is none more beloved than the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) to Allāh. This entails that as many perfections, favours and blessings there are below divinity, God has granted them all in a complete way to the Prophet. Had granting divinity been within divine power, He would definitely have granted this also! Just as He said:

لو أردنا أن نتخذ لهوا لاتخذناه من لدنا إن كنا فعلين

“If We desired a son, then indeed We [would take one] from Our own side, if we were to do so.”

It is as though He is saying, Oh Christians, Jews and Arab polytheists, you have taken the Messiah, Ezra and the Angels as My sons. If I were to take a son for Myself, would I not take the one that is closest of all? Meaning, Muḥammad (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). (Malfūẓāt A‘lā Ḥaḍrat, p226-7)

An Arabic translation follows:

إني قد ألقي علي نكتة نفيسة عندما كنت ألقي وعظا. احفظوها

إن الفضائل جملةً هي المعيار الكامل لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؛ وذلك أن المنعم لعدم إعطائه نعمةً ما لغيره أربعة احتمالات: إما أن المعطي ليست له قدرة على هذه النعمة، أو يمكن له الإعطاء لكن منعه البخل، أو أن الذي لم يعطها إياه ليس أهلا لها، أو كان أهلا لكنه استأثر به من هو أحب إليه منه

الألوهية هي الكمال الوحيد الذي هو ليس تحت القدرة الإلهية، وأما سائر الكمالات سوى الألوهية فإنها تحت القدرة الإهية، والله تعالى أكرم الأكرمين وأجود من يجود، والرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أهل لكل فضل وكمال، وليس أحد أحب إلى الله من الرسول، فاللازم أن الفضائل والنعم والبركات سوى الألوهية مهما قدرها فالله تعالى أعطاها على وجه الكمال للرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولو كانت الألوهية تحت القدرة ليعطيها إياه أيضا لا محالة! كما قال: ((لو أردنا أن نتخذ لهوا – أي ولدا – لاتخذناه من لدنا إن كنا فعلين.)) كأنه قال: يا أيها النصارى ويا أيها اليهود ويا مشركي العرب! إنكم جعلتم المسيح وعزيرا والملائكة أولادا لي، ولو كنت متخذا ولدا ألست متخذا من هو الأقرب عندي؟ أي: محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم – من ملفوظات أعلحضرت، ص٢٢٦-٢٢٧

In other words, according to Barelwī logic all possible feats, powers and positive qualities must have been acquired by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). They can thus affirm the Prophet’s complete power and knowledge – he can hear everything, see everything, do everything; fly, breathe under water or not even breathe all (!), teleport, travel through space, time travel, etc. etc. It doesn’t matter to Barelwīs that this will result in going against clear evidence of Qur’ān (e.g. of the Prophet being Ummi and not knowing the Final Hour) and going against the rule of not affirming anything for the Prophet unless it is proven.

‘Allamāh ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Lakhnawī writes:

Attributing a virtue or a rank to his purified essence, the existence of which is not established in the holy prophetic essence by verses or reliable hadīths, is also from the greatest of major sins. The preachers should, therefore, pay attention, and the story-tellers and the exhorting and reproving sermonisers should beware, since they attribute many things to the holy person, the existence of which has not been established therein, and they think that in this is great reward due to establishing a virtue for the holy essence and elevating its stature, yet they are unaware that the prophetic virtues established in the authentic hadīths dispose of the need for these flimsy falsehoods. By my life, his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) virtues are outside the limit of encompassment and enumeration, and his merits, by which he excels all creation, are very many without end, so what is the need to extol him using falsehoods? Rather, this is a cause for great sin and deviation from the Straight Path. (al-Āthār al-Marfū‘ah)

If one is wondering how Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s logic above is flawed, there are two things to keep in mind:

  1. Human virtue is mainly determined by voluntary acts and spiritual condition, like worship, slavehood, abstinence, scrupulousness, sincerity, devotion etc. It is not determined by involuntary powers or feats Allāh grants like knowledge of useless things or powers of a supernatural nature. If Allāh grants these to some and not others, this does not prove the excellence of one and not the other.
  1. Premises two and four from Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s four premises are flawed. It is not only “stinginess” or “another being more deserving” that would prevent Allāh from giving a favour to someone. There could be a vast array of wisdoms and reasons why Allāh would withhold a quality from someone, including the Prophet. Does Aḥmad Riḍā Khān claim to encompass God’s knowledge? Allāh says: “He knows all that is before them and behind them, and they do not encompass Him in knowledge.” (20:110) Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī said to the effect: “The Ahl al-Bida‘ treat the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as though a god, but a deficient god, while the Ahl al-Sunnah treat the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as a slave but a perfect slave.”

What genuine Muslims and true Sunnis are supposed to do is accept what Allāh and His Messenger have taught; not contrive some formula to justify believing in fairy tales that go against explicit texts.

Also see: Barelwī Belief about the Prophet

 


Did Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh say that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has turned to sand?

April 8, 2020

 

Original question and answer from AskImam

 

QUESTION

Assalaam alaikum,

I was going through a website on the internet which says that deobandis are KAFIR due to their false beliefs. Please reply since i am very disturbed .

FALSE BELIEF 2: “The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had died and is mixed in the sand.” (“Taqweeyat-ul Imaan” by Ismaeel Dehlwi).

It has been stated in the Hadith: “Verily, Almighty Allah has made it Haraam upon the earth to eat the bodies of the Ambiya”. It has also been stated that Ambiya are alive and are blessed with Sustenance from Almighty Allah.

 

ANSWER

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

It is the view of the ‘Ulamā of Deoband that the earth cannot eat or decompose the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalam after their deaths. Rather, the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalam are alive in their graves.

Moulānā Khalῑl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrῑ Raḥmatullahi ‘Alayh writes in Al Muhannad ‘Alal Mufannad; a book detailing the beliefs of the ‘Ulamā of Deoband:

عِنْدَنَا وَعِنْدَ مَشَائِخِنَا حَضْرَةُ الرِّسَالَةِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَيٌّ فِيْ قَبْرِهِ الشَّرِيْفِ وَحَيَاتُهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ دُنْيَوِيَّةٌ مِنْ غَيْرِ تَكْلِيْفٍ وَهِيَ مُخْتَصَّةٌ بِهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَبِجَمِيْعِ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ 

“According to us and our elders, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is alive in his blessed grave. His, Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s, living [in his grave] is the same as his living in this world, without any restrictions. This is specific for the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, all the Prophets Ṣalāwatullāhi ‘Alayhim and the Martyrs”[1]

Taqwiyatul mān is a book written by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh.

Let us first briefly introduce this great personality from the Indian subcontinent.

A Brief Biography of Moulānā Shāh Ismāl Shahd Ramatullāhi ‘Alayh

Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh was born on 12th Rabῑ’ Al Thānῑ 1193 AH (1779 CE) in Delhi. He was the son of Ḥadhrat Shāh ‘Abdul Ghanῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d. 1227 AH) and the grandson of the erudite scholar, Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH).

At the age of 8, he completed the memorisation of the Holy Qur’ān. After this, he began to study the books of Arabic grammar (Naw), Arabic morphology (arf) and logic (Maniq) under his father.

After the passing of his father, he was nurtured by his uncle, son of Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH), Ḥadhrat Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (1230 AH).

Upon completion of his studies, he began to study the field of Ḥadῑth under his uncle, son of Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH), the masterly scholar, Ḥadhrat Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azῑz Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1239 AH).

He also studied under his uncle, son of Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH), Ḥadhrat Shāh Rafῑ’ Al Dῑn Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1233 AH).

During his days of study, he not only focused on the books that he was studying, but also endeavoured to train his body in vocational arts such as archery, swimming, and fencing.

He was also a passionate ūf, taking a pledge (bay’ah) at the hands of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1245 AH) and writing a book in the field titled; aqqat-e-Tasawwuf.

Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh also wrote many other books. They include:

1)     Al irāt Al Mustaqm

A book compiling the sayings of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1245 AH).

2)     dāh Al aq Al ar F Akām Al Mayyit Wal ar 

A book detailing the laws of innovation (bid’ah)

3)     Manab Imāmah

A book detailing the status of Prophethood.

4)     Imkān Al Nazr Wa Imtinā’ Al Nazr

5)     Raddul Ishrāk Wal Bida’

A book in the Arabic language in refutation of polytheism (shirk) and innovation (bid’ah).

6)     Risālah Fῑ Usūl Al Fiqh 

A treatise in the Arabic language on the principles of Fiqh (Usūl Al Fiqh). 

7)     Tanwrul ‘Aynayn F Ithbāt Raf’il Yadayn

8)     Silk Nūr

9)     Taqwiyatul mān

A book which is a translation in Hindi of the first chapter of his book, Raddul Ishrāk Wal Bida’.

He was married to Ummu Kulthūm Bint ‘Abdir Raḥmān, who was the niece of Shāh Rafῑ’ Al Dῑn Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1233 AH) and the granddaughter of Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1230 AH).[2]

There are many great stories mentioned regarding Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s bravery, knowledge, forbearance, and altruism.

On one occasion, he was invited to give a speech. During the speech, the people noticed that his tone was very low. The people found out that he had not eaten for a full day. When they presented some food to him, he smiled and said: “My companions are also hungry, I will not eat until they are also fed”.[3]

His memory was such that he would dictate five different articles to five different people at the same time.[4]

His teacher, Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azῑz Al Dehlawi (d.1239 AH) referred to him as:

حُجَّةُ الْإِسْلَامِ 

“A proof for Islām”[5]

The author of Nuzhatul Khawātir, Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥayy Al Ḥasanῑ (d.1341 AH), describes Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh as:

أَحَدُ أَفْرَادِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الذَّكَاءِ وَالْفَطِنَةِ وَالشَّهَامَةِ وَقُوَّةِ النَّفْسِ وَالصَّلَابَةِ فِي الدِّيْنِ 

“A unique individual in the world in terms of intelligence, acumen, magnanimity, self-power and steadfastness in religion”[6]

He participated in many wars against the Sikhs during the reign of Ranjit Singh. He was considered the main advisor to Sayyid Aḥmad Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1245 AH)[7] and was martyred in 1246 AH in Balakot.

He was buried in Balakot.[8]

Did Moulānā Shāh Ismāl Shahd Ramatullāhi ‘Alayh hold the view that the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has turned to sand?

A detailed answer showing the misinterpretation of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s comments has been given by the late Moulānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh in his critically acclaimed work in the Urdu language:

عبارات اکابر

“The statements of the elders”

We have translated his response.

Moulānā Sarfrāz Khāafdar writes[9]:

The claim:

[Aḥmad Radhā] Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwῑ and his followers have raised an objection upon Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh that he has, Allah forbid, claimed that after the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s demise, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam turned to sand, in his grave. This is despite the fact that it is mentioned in an authentic narration that Allah Ta’āla has forbidden for the ground to eat the bodies of the blessed Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām.

Thus, [Aḥmad Radhā] Khān Ṣāḥib [Barelwῑ] writes:

“In Taqwiyatul mān, page 20, a [portion of a] Ḥadῑth has been mentioned:

أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ مَرَرْتَ بِقَبْرِيْ أَكُنْتَ تَسْجُدُ لَهُ 

“Do you see that if you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate before it?”

He (the author of Taqwiyatul mān, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh) then translates this Ḥadῑth with the words:

بھلا  خیال  تو  کر  جو  تو  گزرے  میری  قبر  پر  کیا  سجدہ  کرے

“Think! If you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate in front of it?”

In discussing the explanation of the Ḥadῑth, he adds that the meaning of the Ḥadῑth is: “I (Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) will also die and mix in sand one day”. Those who support and honour him (the author of Taqwiyatul mān, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh), [I ask you], which word of the Ḥadῑth indicates towards this meaning [that he has extracted]? On one side, you have the words of the Ḥadῑth: “If you were to visit my grave” and on the other side, you have the filthy meaning that [he has extracted]: “I shall die and mix in sand”. Look at this open slander upon the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam?

The Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam says:

مَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَيَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ 

“He who lies upon me intentionally should prepare his abode in the [Hell]fire”

Oh Wahhābis! Show us the abode of your scholar (the author of Taqwiyatul mān, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh) in light of the Ḥadῑth of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam.

Our Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has said:

إِنَّ اللهَ حَرَّمَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ أَنْ تَأْكُلَ أَجْسَادَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ 

“Surely Allah has forbidden the earth from eating the bodies of the Prophets”

Oh Wahhābis! Look at how your scholar has blasphemed our Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam”

[Kawkabah Al Shihābiyyah ‘Alā Kufriyāt Abil Wahhābiyyah, p.27, Maḥal Murād Ābād]

The response

Let us first present the exact statement of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh as found in Taqwiyatul mān. Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh first presents the following Ḥadῑth:

عَنْ قَيْسِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ قَالَ أَتَيْتُ الْحِيرَةَ فَرَأَيْتُهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ لِمَرْزُبَانٍ لَهُمْ فَقُلْتُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُسْجَدَ لَهُ قَالَ فَأَتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقُلْتُ إِنِّي أَتَيْتُ الْحِيرَةَ فَرَأَيْتُهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ لِمَرْزُبَانٍ لَهُمْ فَأَنْتَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ أَنْ نَسْجُدَ لَكَ قَالَ “أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ مَرَرْتَ بِقَبْرِي أَكُنْتَ تَسْجُدُ لَهُ؟” قَالَ قُلْتُ لَا قَالَ “فَلَا تَفْعَلُوا”

After mentioning this Ḥadῑth, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh translates the Ḥadῑth into Urdu as follows:

ترجمہ!  مشکوۃ  کے  باب  عشرۃ  النساء  میں  لکھا  ہے  کہ  ابو  داؤد  نے  ذکر  کیا  کہ  (سیدنا  حضرت)  قیس  بن  سعد  (رضی  اللہ  تعالی  عنہ)  نے  نقل  کیا  کہ  گیا  میں  ایک  شہر  میں جس  کا  نام  حیرہ  ہے  سو  دیکھا  میں  نے  وہاں  کے  لوگوں  کو  سجدہ  کرتے  تھے  اپنے  راجہ  کو  سو  کہا  میں  نے  البتہ  پیغمبر  خدا  صلی  اللہ  علیہ  وسلم  زیادہ  لائق  ہیں  کہ  سجدہ  کیجے   ان  کو  پھر  آیا  میں  پیغمبر  خدا  صلی  اللہ  تعالی  علیہ  وسلم  کے  پاس  پھر  کہا  میں  نے  کہ  گیا  تھا  میں  حیرہ  میں سو  دیکھا  میں  نے  ان  لوگوں  کو  کہ  سجدہ  کرتے  ہیں  اپنے  راجہ  کو  سو  تم  بہت  لائق  ہو  کہ  سجدہ  کریں  ہم  تم  کو-  تو  فرمایا  مجھ  کو  بھلا  خیال  تو  کر  جو  تو  گزرے  میری  قبر  پر  کیا  سجدہ  کرے  تو  اس  کو؟ کہا  میں  نے  نہیں!  فرمایا  مت کرو-

ف – یعنی  میں  بھی  ایک  دن  مر  کر  مٹی  میں  ملنے  والا  ہوں  تو  کب  سجدہ  کے  لائق  ہوں-  سجدہ  تو  اسی  ذات  پاک  کو  ہے  کہ  نہ  مرے  کبھی-  اس  حدیث  پاک  سے  معلوم  ہوا  کہ  سجدہ  نہ  کسی  زندہ  کو  کیجیے   نہ  کسی  مردہ  کو  نہ  کسی  قبر  کو  کیجیے  نہ  کسی  تھان  کو  کیوں  کہ  جو  زندہ  ہے  سو  ایک  دن  مرنے  والا  ہے  اور  جو  مر گیا  سو  کبھی  زندہ  تھا  اور بشریت  کی  قید  میں  گرفتار  پھر  مر  کر  خدا  نہیں  بن  گیا  بندہ ہی  بندہ  ہے

“Translation! It has been mentioned in the chapter of the companionship of women (Bāb ‘Ushrah Al Nisā) of Mishkāt that [Imām] Abū Dāwūd [Raḥimahullah] states that Ḥadhrat Qays ibn Sa’d Radhiyallāhu ‘Anhu said:

“I went to a place called Ḥῑrah and saw the people over there prostrating to their king. So, I said [to myself]: “Indeed, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is more worthy of being prostrated towards”. Later on, I came to the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and told him that I went to a place called Ḥῑrah and saw the people over there prostrating to their king, oh Prophet of Allah, you are more worthy of being prostrated towards. So he said “think! If you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate in front of it?” I replied “no”. He responded “don’t do such a thing””

Explanation – the meaning [of the statement “If you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate in front of it?”] is that “I am also to die and mix in sand one day, so how can you prostrate before me? Sajdah is only performed before the Being that does not die”. This Ḥadῑth tells us that prostration should not be made before a living person, a deceased person, a grave or a shrine. This is because everyone that is alive will die and everyone that is dead was once alive and shackled in the chains of humanity. Nobody became a god after death; everyone remained a servant.”

All that Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh has mentioned in the statement above is an explanation and elaboration of a Ḥadῑth. In it, he has explained the reason as to why one should not prostrate to anything or anyone besides Allah Ta’āla. The reason for this is that prostration cannot be made in front of a being that is going to die and be buried in sand. Rather, prostration can only be made in front of that Being who will live forever, will not die, and will not be buried in sand; and who can this Being be other than the Lord? For it is only He who is حي لا يموت – “One Who is Living and will not die”. All others besides Him shall die – كل نفس ذائقة الموت – “Every soul shall taste death”.

Now, let us elaborate upon the statement of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh wherein he interpreted the words of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam to mean:

میں  بھی  ایک  دن  مر  کر  مٹی  میں  ملنے  والا  ہوں

“I will also die and mix in sand one day”

If Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh meant that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s body shall become sand just as the bodies of ordinary human beings shall turn to sand, then this statement is obviously an objectionable statement and contrary to an authentic narration which explicitly mentions that Allah Ta’āla has prohibited for the earth to eat the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām.

However, this is not the intended meaning of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s statement and nor would a Muslim intend such a meaning. Rather, he simply meant that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam would also pass away and would also be buried in a grave; thus his blessed body would touch and meet the sand of the grave. He did not intend that, Allah forbid, the body of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam will turn to sand.

A person once presented this quote from Taqwiyatul mān to the erudite scholar, Muftῑ Rashῑd Aḥmad Gangohῑ Rahmatullahi Alayh, and said:

“This quote creates doubt; what is meant by the statement ملنا میں مٹی – ‘mix in sand’? The opposition, with their leader being Aḥmad Radhā Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwῑ accuse Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh of having the view that the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām shall turn to sand. Please explain.”

Muftῑ Rashῑd Aḥmad Gangohῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh replied:

“The statement ملنا میں مٹی – ‘mix in sand’ has two meanings:

1)     To turn to sand and mix with the earth just as how many things that fall on sand eventually become a part of the sand

2)     To touch the sand

The second meaning is the meaning intended by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh as he himself was of the view that the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām do not turn to sand.

Hence, due to the fact that a deceased person is surrounded by sand and his body and burial shroud touch the sand, it is said that his body ‘mixes in the sand’. Accordingly, there is no basis for any accusation.

And Allah Ta’āla knows best.

Rashῑd Aḥmad”

[Fatāwā Rashdiyyah, v.1, p.9, Delhi]

Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s view that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is alive in his grave may be understood from the following poem written by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh himself:

ان   آنکھوں  سے  ہر  چند  وہ  جسم  پاک

بظاہر  ہوا  مختفی  زیر  خاک

“Although outwardly that pure body is hidden from these eyes beneath the earth”

ولے  نور  ان  کا  ہے  قائم  مقام

کہ  ہر  پاک  دل  میں  ہے  ان  کا  مقام

“Its light stands in its place, as there is a place for it in every sound heart”[10]

If [Aḥmad Radhā] Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwῑ were to make the effort of picking up an Urdu dictionary, this issue would have been resolved very quickly.

The word ملنا is brought in the Urdu language for many meanings which vary according to the presentation of a sentence and the intention of the speaker. The famous Urdu dictionary, NūAl Lugāt, defines the word ملنا as:

پیوستہ ہونا – ملحق ہونا – چسپاں ہونا –ایک ذات ہونا

“To stick, to be adjacent to, to affix, to become one”

[Nūr Al Lugāt, v.4, p.632]

The Urdu dictionary, Jāmi’ Al Lugāt defines the ملنا as:

دفن ہونا- مٹی میں پڑنا

“To be buried, to lie in sand”

[Jāmi’ Al Lugāt, v.2, p.565]

The Urdu dictionary, Munayyir Al Lugāt defines the ملنا as:

خاک میں ملنا-دفن ہونا

“To meet in dust, to be buried”

[Munayyir Al Lugāt, p.90]

The Urdu dictionary, Nūr Al Lugāt also mentions:

لفظ  “میں”  کبھی  “سے”  کے  معنی  میں  بھی  استعمال  کیا  جاتا  ہے  جیسے  کہتے  ہیں “درخت  میں   باندھ  دو ”  یعنی “درخت  سے  باندھ  دو”

“The word ‘in’ can at times come in the meaning of ‘with’ [in the Urdu language] such as when we say “tie it in the tree” i.e. “tie it with the tree”

[Nūr Al Lugāt, v.4, p.738]

It is a unanimously accepted principle that a statement should be interpreted within its context. In the context of the discussion in reference, it is unprincipled to interpret Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s statement in isolation and make a wrong attribution to Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh about the blessed body of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam.

It is the belief of all the ‘Ulamā of Deoband including that of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh that while the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is in his grave (qabr); which is made of sand, his blessed body is absolutely intact.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best 

Mu’ādh Chati

Student Darul Iftaa
Blackburn, England, UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

____


[1] عقائد علماۓ دیوبند اور حسام الحرمین – المہند علی المفند – (221) دار الاشاعت 

انظر إلى:

“جزء حياة الأنبياء” للبيهقي

“حياة الأنبياء” لتقي الدين السبكي

“إنباه الأذكياء في حياة الأنبياء” للسيوطس

وقد جمع هذه الرسالة الحكميم محمود أحمد ظفر السيالكوتي وهو مطبوع بـإدارة المعارف الإسلامية 

[2] شاہ اسماعیل محدث دہلوی شہید بالاکوٹ لپروفیسر خالد محمود (26) مکتبہ دار المعارف 

[3] ارواح ثلاثہ (53) مکتبہ عمر فاروق 

[4] ارواح ثلاثہ (81) مکتبہ عمر فاروق

[5] شاہ اسماعیل محدث دہلوی شہید بالاکوٹ لپروفیسر خالد محمود (26) مکتبہ دار المعارف 

[6] وكان كالوزير للإمام

نزهة الخواطر (914) دار ابن حزم

 

[7] وكان كالوزير للإمام

نزهة الخواطر (914) دار ابن حزم

[8] وقبره ظاهر مشهور بها

زهة الخواطر (916) دار ابن حزم

[9] عبارات اکابر (74-78) مکتبہ صفدریہ

[10] شاہ اسماعیل محدث دہلوی شہید بالاکوٹ لپروفیسر خالد محمود (132) مکتبہ دار المعارف


A Tale of Deception – Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and Takfīr of the Akābir of Deoband

March 18, 2020

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921 CE) used lies and deception to mislead and guilt people into accepting his slanderous takfīr of four of the great ‘ulamā’ of Deoband, namely:

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

He even went as far as to say anyone who doubts his takfīr of them becomes a kāfir!

The following series of articles exposes in clear and vivid detail how Aḥmad Riḍā Khān is guilty of deception and fraud in each one of these allegations:

How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī Used a Fabricated Fatwā to Make Takfīr on Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī

How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī Manufactured a Quote from Taḥdḥir un Nās to Make Takfīr on Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī

How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī Distorted the Meaning of Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah to Make Takfīr on Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī

How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Distorted Ḥifẓ al-Īmān to Make Takfīr on Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī

Please read and share with interested parties.


How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī Distorted the Meaning of Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah to Make Takfīr on Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī

March 17, 2020

Read this and this first.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Allegation & A Brief Explanation of his Deception

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān claimed the author of Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah (written in: 1887), Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (1852 – 1927), considered Shayṭān more knowledgeable than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), and had thus blasphemed him and diminished his status.

But in making this allegation, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān is guilty of deception because:

  1. Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī did not make a general statement about all types of knowledge
  2. He said explicitly in the very same context about the type of knowledge under discussion that it does not prove virtue and excellence, and hence to say Shayṭān has more of this worthless/valueless knowledge than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) does not at all diminish the status of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). In fact, as we will see below, to say the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) does not have extensive knowledge of insignificant details of the world, even if Shayṭān does, elevates his status and does not diminish it.

The Allegation in Tamhīd e Īmān

In the Urdu work Tamhīd e Īmān (written in: 1908), Aḥmad Riḍā Khān presents the allegation as follows:

“Say with fairness and faith, has not the one who has said: ‘This extensiveness of Shayṭān is proven by text, & from which categorical text is the Pride of the World’s extensive knowledge proven?’ committed blasphemy in respect to Muḥammad Rasūlullāh? Has he not regarded the knowledge of the accursed Iblīs to be more than the holy knowledge of Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace)? Has he not disbelieved in the expansive knowledge of Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and adopted faith in the expansive knowledge of Shayṭān?” (Fatāwā Riḍawiyyah, 30:316)

Note: As explained in detail here, the example of Shayṭān was only used in response to the author of Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah, who was the first to bring up the example of Shayṭān to apparently argue by analogy for the Prophet’s extensive knowledge of insignificant worldly details. Moreover, in the passage of Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah in question, both Shayṭān and the Angel of Death are mentioned, while Aḥmad Riḍā Khān here only mentions Shayṭān, of course to play on the emotions of readers and achieve greatest impact.

al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad and Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān presents the allegation in the Arabic work al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad (written in: 1902) as follows:

The part that is relevant to the takfīr is as follows:

صرح في كتابه البراهين القاطعة…بأن شيخهم إبليس أوسع علما من رسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم…وقد قال في نسيم الرياض كما تقدم: من قال فلان أعلم منه صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم فقد عابه ونقصه فهو ساب، والحكم فيه حكم الساب من غير فرق، لا تستثني من صورة

“He stated explicitly in his book al-Barāhīn al-Qāṭi‘ah that their teacher Iblīs has more expansive knowledge than Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace)…It states in Nasīm al-Riyāḍ as has preceded: ‘Whoever says so-and-so is more knowledgeable than him (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) has faulted him, diminished him so is an insulter and the ruling about him is the ruling of an insulter without differentiating, we make no exception of any situation.’” (al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad, p226-7)

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān then reproduced this in Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn (written in: 1906).

The Quote from Nasīm al-Riyāḍ

The first thing to note is that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān played around with the quote from Nasīm al-Riyāḍ. In Nasīm al-Riyāḍ (6:146), the author was actually using the statement “so-and-so is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace)” as something which is not technically an insult (sabb), but an example of faulting (‘ayb) and dimishment of status (tanqīṣ). He says: “He has faulted him and dimished him but not insulted him.” Aḥmad Riḍā Khān skips “but has not insulted him” (wa lam yasubbahū), and jumps to a later part that explains even though it is not an insult the ruling will be the same as the ruling of an insult.

Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī is not Guilty of Diminishment

This is significant because the passage of Nasīm al-Riyāḍ defines what is blasphemous about saying “so-and-so is more knowledgeable than the Prophet”. It is not that it is an insult, but that it faults the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and brings down his status. The question therefore will be: Has Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī done this? And the answer is a categorical no because he makes it clear in the very same discussion that the type of knowledge he is speaking of is not one on which virtue or excellence depends.

Just a few paragraphs before the alleged “blasphemous sentence” that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes, Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī says:

“The expanse that was given to Shayṭān, as well as the Angel of Death, and the extent of the condition upon which the sun and moon were made, they have no power to add to that. More activity will not emerge from them. Nor is lesser or greater virtue dependent on this fewness or muchness.” (Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah, p54)

It should also be kept in mind that Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī is responding to the author of Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah (written in: 1886) who uses these examples of Shayṭān and the Angel of Death, and the sun and moon, to argue for greater worldly knowledge and worldly presence for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

The Passage in Question

The passage based on which Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made takfīr is as follows:

The outcome is: It ought to be contemplated: Seeing the state of Shayṭān and the Angel of Death, affirming encompassing knowledge of the world for the Pride of the World, against categorical texts, without evidence, based purely on corrupt analogy, if not shirk, which part of īmān is it? This expanse has been established for Shayṭān and the Angel of Death from texts. Which categorical text is there for the expanse of knowledge [of the world] for the Pride of the World, based on which all texts will be rejected, and one shirk established?” (Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah, p55)

As can be seen, the passage begins with “the outcome is”, and thus hinges on the full discussion that precedes it. It is therefore dishonest to quote an isolated statement from this passage without the context of what has come before. Maulānā Sahāranpūrī is referring to the texts of Qur’ān, Ḥadīth and Fiqh that disprove the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has detailed worldly knowledge. The author of Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah presents Shayṭān apparently as an analogy to argue for detailed worldly knowledge for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). From such corrupt analogy (that goes against categorical evidence), only self-generated or intrinsic knowledge of unseen can be affirmed. And this is of course shirk. Thus, the meaning of the rhetorical question is that there are no categorical texts which affirm detailed worldly knowledge for the Prophet, so to affirm such knowledge without evidence is to affirm intrinsic, non-granted knowledge, for him – and this is shirk. This meaning is clear from the preceding discussion and succeeding discussion. For details, see here.

This is similar to what is found in the books of Fiqh – which Maulānā Sahāranpūrī quotes – which state that to affirm knowledge of a marriage session for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is disbelief but it is not disbelief if affirmed for the angels on the right and left shoulders. It states in al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah:

A [man] weds [a woman] without witnesses, saying: ‘I make the Messenger of Allāh and Angels witness’, he has become a Kāfir, because he believes that the Messenger and Angel know the Ghayb, as distinguished from his saying: ‘I make the angel on the left shoulder and the angel on the right shoulder witness’, he would not become Kāfir, because they are aware [of that].” (al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah, 6:325)

In al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī (Idārat al-Qur’ān, 7:407), the same is found ending with: “because they are aware of that as they are not absent from him.”

Diminishing or Elevating Prophetic Status?

If someone said as an isolated statement: “So-and-so is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasllam)”, this is no doubt diminishing the status of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and is disbelief. But if someone says: “In matters on which virtue does not depend, like knowledge on worldly gatherings and interactions, and details about insignificant worldly details, another has more knowledge than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam),” this is not diminishing the status of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself said:

أَنْتُم أعلم بأمر دنياكم

“You are more knowledgeable of the affairs of your world.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

In matters of virtue, Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī clearly states the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is most knowledgeable. He says in a later work al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad (written in: 1907):

“We say with the tongue and we believe in the heart that our master, the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), is the most knowledgeable of all creation, with sciences pertaining to the Essence and Attributes [of Allāh], legislations of Sharī‘ah (tashrī‘at), of the practical rules and the theoretical wisdoms, the true realities and the hidden secrets, and other sciences, the walls of whose grounds none of creation have reached, neither an angel brought near nor a messenger sent. He was certainly given knowledge of the earlier and later ones and Allāh’s grace on him was immense.” (al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad, p70)

He had also said in Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah: “Not even the least Muslim will claim likeness with the Pride of the World (upon him blessings) in proximity to Allāh and his lofty perfections.” (Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah, p7) Of course “lofty perfections” would include knowledge. That is, in knowledge of things on which perfection and virtue depend, none is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Clarifying what he meant by the passage in question from Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah, he further states in al-Muhannad:

The concealment of some insignificant particular details from the Prophet (upon him be peace) due to his inattention to them does not cause any defect to his (upon him be peace) being the most knowledgeable once it is established that he is the most knowledgeable of the noble sciences that are fitting to his lofty station, just as cognizance of most of those insignificant things due to the intensity of Iblīs’s attention to them does not cause glory and perfection of knowledge in him, since virtue and excellence do not hinge on this. Thus, it is not correct to say that Iblīs is more knowledgeable than the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) just as it is not correct to say about a child who knows some particulars that he is more knowledgeable than an erudite scholar deeply immersed in the sciences, from whom those particulars are hidden(al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad, p71)

In fact, to negate the Prophet’s knowledge of insignificant (and perhaps even ugly) things of the world is to elevate him. In refuting an individual who tried to argue from the ḥadīth “You are more knowledgeable of the affairs of your world” that therefore others have a kind of excellence (faḍl) over the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), Mullā ‘Alī al-Qārī refutes him and says this is no excellence at all. He said:

“You heedless ignoramus, is all humanity then more excellent than the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) from one perspective because they are more aware of trade and more capable [with inventions and contraptions] of lifting stones and more skilled in dyeing and manufacturing and tailoring and cultivating and types of lowly professions?!…Despite him (upon him blessing and peace) having treated these as unbeneficial knowledges and sought protection from them…and praised the inhabitants of paradise for not knowing worldly knowledge and their knowledges being limited to the religious actions and conditions of the next world where he said: ‘Most of the inhabitants of paradise are the simple-minded’, extracted from the meaning of His, exalted is He, statement in censuring disbelievers: ‘They know the outward of the life of this world and are ignorant of the next life.’” (al-Radd ‘ala ‘l-Qā’ilīn bi Waḥdat al-Wujūd, p86)

As Mullā ‘Alī al-Qārī here points out, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) sought protection from knowledge that is of no benefit (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim). That the Prophet made this supplication is reported by several ṣaḥābah including ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Amr, Abū Hurayrah, Anas ibn Mālik and Zayd ibn Arqam with authentic chains – making it close to a categorically established ḥadīth. Knowledge of no benefit would of course include useless knowledge of the world, let alone knowledge of dirty and filthy things which is unbefitting the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Hence, to negate the Prophet’s knowledge of insignificant details of the world is in fact to elevate the Prophet. This is not to say the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is completely ignorant of the world (Allāh forbid!). He of course knows the necessary knowledge of the world from which he could teach the ummah what is in its interests for dīn and ākhirah. Thus, after referring to the hadith “You are more aware of the affairs of your world”, Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ makes the general point:

“In such things and their likes from the matters of the world which have no involvement in religious knowledge, belief or education, what we mentioned is possible for him, as none of this is deficiency or diminishment. Rather, they are ordinary things known to those who have experience of them and make it their concern and occupy their minds with them. The Prophet’s (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) heart is filled with knowledge of the divine, his sides filled with knowledges of Sharī‘ah, his mind restrained by the religious and worldly interests of the Ummah. But this will only be in some affairs…not in many, which would signify stupidity or ignorance.” (al-Shifā’, Jā’izah Dubai, p. 724)

Thus, to regard the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as not having extensive knowledge of the insignificant details of the world is not at all to diminish his status, but is in fact to elevate him.

Final Points

When we keep in mind that knowledge of insignificant details of the world is not virtuous, and does not make its bearer exceed another in virtue, the entire premise on which Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī made takfīr on Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī is proven false. Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī clearly states the matters under discussion are those referred to by the author of Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah, i.e. insignificant details of the world, and clearly states in Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah itself that these are not what virtue depends on.

In fact, it is a virtue of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) to be unaware of these useless, insignificant details of the world as it shows his attention is towards Allāh, dīn and things of benefit, and shows the Prophet’s supplication to be protected from useless knowledge was answered. In short, Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī was thus elevating the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and not at all diminishing his status.


How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī Manufactured a Quote from Taḥdhīr un Nās to Make Takfīr on Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī

March 16, 2020

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Allegation

Taḥdhīr un Nās (written in: 1873) is a deep exegetical work written by Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī (1833 – 1880) on the topic of the superiority of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in relation to the prophetic title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”. Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī wrote two subsequent works, Munāẓarah ‘Ajībah and Tanwīr al-Nibrās, to answer objections and allay misconceptions regarding Taḥdhīr un Nās.

In al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad (written in: 1902), Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made takfīr on Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī based on Taḥdhīr un Nās. He presents the basis of takfīr as follows (al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad, p225):

He writes:

والقاسمية المنسوبة إلى قاسم النانوتي صاحب تحذير الناس وهو القائل فيه: لو فرض في زمنه صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم بل لو حدث بعده صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم نبي جديد لم يخل ذلك بخاتميته، وإنما يتخيل العوام أنه صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم خاتم النبيين بمعنى آخر النبيين مع أنه لا فضل فيه أصلا عند أهل الفهم، إلى آخر ما ذكر من الهذيانات. وقد قال في التتمة والأشباه وغيرهما: إذا لم يعرف أن محمدا صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم آخر الأنبياء فليس بمسلم لأنه من الضروريات

“The Qāsimiyyah are affiliated to Qāsim Nanotwī author of Taḥdhīr un Nās who said therein: ‘Were it supposed in his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) time, in fact had a new prophet arisen after him (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), it would not infringe on his being the Khātam, and it is only the common people who think that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is Khātam al-Nabiyyīn in the meaning of the last prophet despite there being no virtue at all in this according to the people of understanding,’ to the end of the nonsense that he mentioned. It states in al-Tatimmah and al-Ashbāh and other than them: ‘When one does not recognise that Muḥammad (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is the last prophet, he is not Muslim, because it is from the absolute essentials.’

As one will notice, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes the passage he presents from Taḥdhīr un Nās as one contiguous sentence, making it appear that this is how it appears in Taḥdhīr un Nās. In al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad, he does not put any punctuation marks to suggest these were taken from different parts of Taḥdhīr un Nās and strung together.

The sentence that he presents gives the meaning that if another prophet appeared after the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) this would not impact on his being Khātam al-Nabiyyīn and only common people believe he is Khātam al-Nabiyyīn in the sense of the last prophet despite this not being something of virtue. So, it would seem based on this that the author of Taḥdhīr un Nās is denying the concept of chronological finality for the Prophet Muḥammad and is affirming the actual possibility that a new prophet could arise. Once Aḥmad Riḍā Khān planted this idea in the reader’s mind, he quotes the Fuqahā’ who said the obvious: anyone who doesn’t recognise Muḥammad as the last prophet is not a Muslim. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s intent is thus very clear: Nānotwī denied the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) being the last prophet and believed it is factually possible for another prophet to appear after him, and thus is a disbeliever.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān copied the allegation as found in al-Mustanad and presented it to scholars of Makkah and Madīnah, and having received signed endorsements from some of them, published this as Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn (written in: 1906).

Perhaps to ward off allegations of deception, some recent editions of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn add punctuation marks to the passage Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes from Taḥdhīr un Nās to show that it was taken from three different places. But here is an example of a recent edition of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn that left it as it is in the original, without any punctuation marks:

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Deception in Quoting the Passage

The reality is that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān had manufactured this sentence from three different parts of Taḥdhīr un Nās. See this most recent edition of Taḥdhīr un Nās, from which the following references/images will be taken. Recall the quote from Taḥdhīr un Nās that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made the basis of his takfīr:

“Were it supposed in his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) time, in fact had a new prophet arisen after him (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), it would not infringe on his being the Khātam, and it is only the common people who think that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is Khātam al-Nabiyyīn in the meaning of the last prophet despite there being no virtue at all in this according to the people of understanding.”

The first fragment, “Were it supposed in his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) time”, is taken from a sentence on page 37; the second fragment, “in fact had a new prophet arisen after him (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), it would not infringe on his being the Khātam”, is taken from a sentence on page 63; and the sentence: “it is only the common people who think that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is Khātam al-Nabiyyīn in the meaning of the last prophet despite there being no virtue at all in this according to the people of understanding” is taken from page 14.

Before looking at these three passages and what they mean in context, it is important for readers to see that Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī categorically affirmed chronological finality in Taḥdhīr un Nās, and said chronological finality is included within the meaning of the prophetic title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”. Hence, for Aḥmad Riḍā Khān to take some unclear and ambiguous fragments out of context and string them together to impute to Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī a belief he categorically denies is an act of great deception.

Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī Categorically Affirms the Chronological Finality of Prophethood in Taḥdhīr un Nās and Declares its Denier a Disbeliever

Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī’s understanding is that the title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn” or “Khātim al-Nabiyyīn” as found in the Qur’ān refers to finality in three senses:

  1. Finality of status (khātamiyyat martabī) – his status in prophethood is at its peak
  2. Finality of time (khātamiyyat zamānī) – his time is at the end of all prophets
  3. Finality of place (khātamiyyat makānī) – his earth amongst six other earths is endmost

His preferred view, as he states explicitly in Taḥdhīr un Nās (p27-8), is that the title includes all three meanings.

The “foundational meaning”, however, Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī contends is finality in status. If only one meaning for the title is taken, Maulānā Nānotwī thus contends, it would be this: finality in status. But even then, finality in time is included as an “implicative meaning” of the title, in a manner that he explains in the work. (Taḥdhīr un Nās, p25-6)

Maulānā Nānotwī then makes the categorical statement below (p29-30):

“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 definitely 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 ‘Khātam al-Nabiyyīn’ in the manner mentioned earlier, are sufficient on this subject, because it reaches the level of tawātur. Furthermore, consensus (ijmā‘) 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.”

This is an explicit statement, showing categorically Maulānā Nānotwī’s belief that chronological finality is an established belief of Islām, denial of which is disbelief, and which is included within the meaning of “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”, and is established by mutawātir ḥadīths and consensus.

In a subsequent work which Maulānā Nānotwī wrote to defend his views against objections and misconceptions, he writes:

It is my religion and faith that after Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) there is no possibility of any other prophet. Whoever hesitates about this, I regard him to be a disbeliever.” (Munāẓarah ‘Ajībah, p144)

This, again, is a categorical statement, leaving no doubt as to what is Maulānā Nānotwī’s view on the matter on which Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made takfīr.

Thus, Barelwī scholar, Pīr Karam Shāh Azharī (1918 – 1998), rejected the takfīr against Maulānā Nānotwī and said Maulānā Nānotwī clearly affirmed chronological finality:

“I do not think it correct to say that Maulānā Nānotwī (may Allah have mercy on him) denied the belief in the finality of prophethood, because these passages (of Taḥdhīr al-Nās), by way of the clear meaning of the text and its indication, show without doubt that Maulānā 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 Islām.” (Taḥdhīr un Nās Merī Naẓar Mein, p58)

Support for Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī’s View

Before moving on to look at how Aḥmad Riḍā Khān deceived his readers and looking at the context of the fragments he strung together to concoct a “blasphemous sentence”, it should be noted other scholars pre-Nānotwī also expressed similar views on the title Khātam al-Nabiyyīn.

‘Allāmah Shihāb al-Dīn al-Miṣrī al-Ḥanafī al-Khafājī (977 – 1069 H) says in his well-known commentary on al-Shifā:

“Khātam” [in “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”] is with kasrah and fatḥah on the tā’ – [it means] the end of them and the one in whom is their [total] perfection.” (Nasīm al-Riyāḍ, Dārul Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 3:31)

The early ṣūfī scholar and author of Nawādir alUṣūl, Shaykh al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmidhī (d. 320 H), believed the primary meaning of Khātam al-Nabiyyīn is the one in whom all perfections of prophethood are combined – just as Maulānā Nānotwī said. He writes:

“Allāh, exalted is He, has combined the particles of prophethood for Muḥammad (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and completed them for him and put a seal over them with his seal.” (Kitāb Khatm al-Wilāyah, p340 )

And:

“The meaning of Khātam al-Nabiyyīn according to us is that prophethood was completed in its entirety for Muḥammad (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), so his heart was made for the pinnacle of prophethood a receptacle around it, and then it was sealed.” (Kitāb Khatm al-Wilāyah, p341)

He further says:

“One blind to this information thinks that Khātam al-Nabiyyīn means [primarily] that he was the last of them. What virtue is there in this and what knowledge is there in this? This is the understanding of simple-minded, ignorant people.” (Kitāb Khatm al-Wilāyah, 341)

Hence, Maulānā Nānotwī has scholarly and classical precedent for his view on the meaning of the title Khātam al-Nabiyyīn; and his belief does not entail denial of any fundamental of Islām, least of all the belief in chronological finality for the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Let us now look at the fragments of the book Aḥmad Riḍā Khān pieced together to create a statement of disbelief.

First Fragment

The first fragment that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes is taken from p38 of the book:

The objective is that if sealship in the meaning I presented [i.e. finality in status] is taken, then his position as the Khātam will not be specifically in relation to past prophets, but if hypothetically in his own time any prophet appeared somewhere, even then his position as the Khātam will remain sound.”

It is only the underlined part that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes as the first fragment amongst three that he strung together.

Now, what is Maulānā Nānotwī here saying? He is saying if the meaning of finality of status is isolated from the different meanings of the title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”, then, even if hypothetically we suppose another prophet appeared in the Prophet’s (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) own time, he would still be the Khātam in relation to that hypothetical prophet in the sense of “finality of status”. Recall, he does not deny finality of time, and hence why this is presented only as a hypothetical situation. Furthermore, to allay any misconception, in Munāẓarah ‘Ajībah (p35), Maulānā Nānotwī says he accepts the chronological finality of the Prophet Muḥammad for prophets of all earths and that this is indicated in Taḥdhīr un Nās itself – he is the final prophet in terms of time for prophets of this earth and all other earths:

Hence, Maulānā Nānotwī’s meaning is plain: in the hypothetical scenario that another prophet appeared in the Prophet’s time, he would still be a Khātam in terms of the first meaning (finality in terms of status). But in terms of the second meaning (finality in terms of time) – which Maulānā Nānotwī also accepts – of course he would not remain Khātam in this hypothetical case, which is why it is only a hypothetical case and not a factual one.

The fact Maulānā Nānotwī uses the term “hypothetically” (bilfarz) shows he does not believe this to be an actual possibility. Maulānā Idrīs Kāndehlewī (1899 – 1974) in his defence of Taḥdhīr un Nās makes this point (Taḥdhīr un Nās, Dārul Ishā‘at, p56):

It was an act of deception on the part of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān to quote this small fragment of the sentence, excluding the qualifying statement at the start: “if sealship in the meaning I presented [i.e. finality in status] is taken…”.

Second Fragment

The second fragment is taken from the following passage on p63:

“Yes, if Khātamiyyah in the sense of [finality in status as] an intrinsic embodiment of the quality of prophethood is taken, as this humble one has submitted, then besides Allāh’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), any other individual intended for creation cannot be considered equal to the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). Rather, in this way not only is his superiority over external individual prophets established, his superiority over even conceivable (muqaddara) individuals is established. Therefore, even if it were hypothesised that after the time of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) any prophet was born, even then there would be no difference to Muḥammadan Khātamiyyah.”

It is important to understand the context of this statement. The context is essentially the main objective of the whole book: to establish the absolute superiority of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Even though there are other earths with other prophets, once we accept the Prophet Muḥammad as the “absolute seal” (khātam muṭlaq), those other prophets would also be subject to Muḥammadan superiority (afḍaliyyat). In fact, even if we suppose hypothetically another prophet appeared here or elsewhere, that prophet too will be subject to Muḥammadan superiority. So, when Maulānā Nānotwī says “there would be no difference to Muḥammadan Khātamiyyah”, he means “there would be no difference to Muḥammadan superiority” and no difference to the Prophet’s finality in terms of status. This is precisely how Maulānā Idrīs Kāndehlewī explains the passage:

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān again quotes only the underlined fragment to impute a false meaning. And again, he omits the crucial qualifier at the start of the passage: “if Khātamiyyah in the sense of [finality in status as] an intrinsic embodiment of the quality of prophethood is taken…”

Third Statement

The third statement is effectively from the start of the book. As it is Maulānā Nānotwī’s objective to prove that “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn” is a term essentially regarding prophetic superiority (but includes the meaning of finality in time), he points out that the common people understand the term essentially to mean finality in terms of time (Taḥdhīr un Nās, p14):

“In the understanding of the commoners, the Messenger of Allāh (Allah bless him and grant him peace) being Khātam is with the meaning that his time is after the time of the earlier prophets, and he is the last prophet of all. But it will be clear to the people of understanding that coming earlier and later chronologically has intrinsically no virtue. Then how can it be correct to say, ‘But the Messenger of Allah and Khātam an-Nabiiyyīn,’ (Qur’ān, 33:40) in this scenario, is in a place of praise?”

As can be seen, Maulānā Nānotwī is arguing “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn” is a title of praise, and merely coming later in time does not intrinsically entail praise, so to take this as the foundational meaning is problematic. He says only a little later in the same context:

“In fact, the basis of Khātamiyyat is upon something else, from which coming later in time and blocking the aforementioned door [to false claimants of prophethood] will automatically be necessitated, and prophetic virtue will be multiplied.”

Hence, in the very same section, Maulānā Nānotwī affirms chronological finality of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Here he mentions the foundational meaning is finality in status, but even then: chronological finality is an implicative and necessary meaning of the term. Later, he presents his preferred opinion that all three meanings of “finality” are included within Khātam al-Nabiyyīn.

Final Points

Given the context of the three fragments that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān pieced together to concoct a statement of disbelief, Maulānā Nānotwī’s intent is plain for everyone to see. He did not claim it is possible for another prophet to appear. To the contrary, he said it is impossible for another prophet to appear after the Prophet Muḥammad, and that anyone who believes it is factually possible is a disbeliever.

It is clear to any fair-minded, objective reader that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was deceiving his readers by piecing together three fragments from Taḥdhīr un Nās that occur in three different contexts to impute a meaning to him that he categorically denied.

It is also clear that Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī did not deny any fundamental belief of Islām, and hence takfīr is completely unjustified. Yet, it is mainstream Barelwī belief that to even doubt the takfīr of Maulānā Nānotwī is itself a crime that merits takfīr!