Mawlānā Madanī: Barelwī Takfīr Falls Back on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and his Followers

February 27, 2017

Concluding al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, Mawlānā Madanī writes:

I feel, after this, it is necessary to submit this much:

From the above explanation it has become very clear that whatever “Dajjāl Barelwī” ascribed to those Elders is pure slander and fabrication. These Elders are completely pure and clean of these senseless things and filthy fancies. Only for the purpose of seeking fame, seeking dinar and dirham, and misguiding creation, “Mujaddid Barelwī” perpetrated this trickery and deception. This is why whatever commendations and endorsements there are from the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Ḥarams, they become as “scattered dust” (Qur’ān, 25:23), because they are all premised only on these respected ones having said these filthy things, and since they are pure of them, no mark can be made on their hem of purity. This is why many ‘Ulamā’ wrote in their statements that if these beliefs and opinions are those of these individuals, then [only] can the mentioned ruling apply, and otherwise it will not.

Indeed, all these commendations and statements will become a weight on the shoulders of “Mujaddid Barelwī”, and the burdens of all of them will be on his shoulders, because those helpless ones, the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Ḥarams, were unacquainted with the conditions of these Elders. “Mujaddid Barelwī” deceived them in making takfīr. Thus they will all take hold of his hem [at the Judgement].

In fact, based on a prophetic statement, the takfīr will fall back on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwī. It is found in a clear text and an authentic ḥadīth that one who does takfīr or curses anyone, it will certainly fall back on one of the two: if that individual is deserving [of takfīr or the curse], then on him, and if not, it will turn back on the speaker. Thus, since the respected Elders of Deoband and Sahāranpūr are innocent of this [takfīr], this is why all of these takfīrs and curses, turning back on Barelwī and his followers, will become a cause of punishment for them in their graves, and a cause of īmān coming out and certainty and conviction departing them at the time of death. Upon Judgement, these [takfīrs that turn back on them] will be a cause of the angels saying to Ḥuḍūr regarding all his followers: “You do not know what they did after you!” and, saying: “[Go] far away, far away!”, Rasūl Maqbūl (upon him peace) will push them away from the Fount from which drink is taken and from the Praiseworthy Intercession, [treating] them worse than dogs; and they will be denied the reward, positions and bliss of this blessed Ummah.

May Allāh blacken their faces in both worlds, and make their hearts heard, for they will not believe until they see a painful torment – āmīn, O master of all worlds. May Allāh (Exalted is He) bless the best of His creation, our leader and our master, Muḥammad, the seal of prophets, and the leader of messengers, and his progeny and all his companions.

The neediest of the students of knowledge of the pardon of His Independent Master, His slave, called Ḥusayn Aḥmad – may our Unique Master forgive him, his parents and his teachers – Ḥanafī in madhhab, Chishtī Ṣābirī Rashīdī in track, and Deobandī in residence and Ḥusaynī in lineage, wrote it with his hands and said it with his tongue. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 289-90)

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Mawlānā Madanī: Barelwīs are “Little Rāfiḍīs”

February 22, 2017

After a lengthy discussion on different areas of disagreement between Wahhābīs and the Elders of Deoband, Mawlānā Madanī concludes:

Friends, these few matters have been discussed for your consideration, in which the Wahhābīs disagreed with the ‘Ulamā’ of the two Noble Ḥarams and continue to do so. Because of this, when they forcefully became sovereign of the two Noble Ḥarams, they put thousands to the sword, making them martyrs, and they brought great troubles to thousands [of others]. At times, these [issues] were debated. In all these issues, our Elders are very much against them. Thus to accuse them of having Wahhābī tendencies (tawahhub) or being Wahhābī is a major slander and falsehood. And since this is their greatest ploy in creating a bad opinion [of the Elders of Deoband], this is why we went into great detail on it. Now it will be completely plain to those with intelligence how great a trick and deception this was of “Mujaddid Barelwī”, and how much scheming has been employed in this. It is Allāh that will take recompense, and the complaint is put to Him.

This methodology of these people is just like [how] the Rawāfiḍ regard the Ahl al-Sunnah and the elders of the ṣaḥābah and the two shaykhs (Allāh be pleased with them) as enemies of the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and as being from the Khārijī sect. This is precisely the methodology of these little Rāfiḍīs. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 246-7)


Mawlānā Madanī: Barelwīs are Wahhābīs

February 20, 2017

Turning the tables on the Barelwīs, Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī in the following section of his al-Shihāb al-Thāqib (where he begins his lengthy discussion on the differences between the Wahhābīs and the Akābir of Deoband) shows that it is in fact Barelwīs who share with the Wahhābīs in their most characteristic feature: reckless takfīr. Mawlānā Madanī writes:

This is an enormous deception and trickery of “Dajjāl al-Mujaddidīn” and his followers, because of which [the usage of the name of] this group [i.e. “Wahhābīs”] has gained in popularity amongst the Arabs in particular and the Indians in general. By exploiting this name and deceiving the world, they acquire their [daily] bread. This is the foundation of all trickeries and the basis of all deceptions.

Friends! Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Najdī emerged from Najd, Arabia, at the start of the thirteenth century. Since he held false ideas and corrupt beliefs, this is why he slaughtered and fought the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah. He kept on imposing his ideas on them by force. He deemed their properties to be spoils [of war] and permissible [for the taking]. He considered their slaughter a cause of reward and mercy. He caused great distress to the people of the two Ḥarams in particular, and the people of Ḥijāz in general. He used words of great disrespect and impudence with respect to the pious Salaf and their followers. Many people had to leave Madīnah Munawwarah and Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah because of the severe hardships he [caused]. Thousands of people were martyred at his and his forces hands.

In short, he was an oppressor and rebel, a wicked blood lusting person. This is why the people of Arabia had and still have a particular hatred – from the heart – for him and his followers: such [hate] that they harbour for neither the Jews nor the Christians nor the Zoroastrians nor the Hindus. In brief, because of the aforementioned reasons, they have the highest degree of hostility towards this group, and undoubtedly, since he caused such hardships, so should it most certainly be. These people do not have as much anguish and hostility towards the Jews and Christians as they do towards the Wahhābīs.

Since the objective of “Mujaddid al-Muḍillīn” and his followers was to show before the eyes of the people of Arabia in particular and the people of India in general that they are their well-wishers while others their enemies and opponents of Religion, this is why they did not find any title better than this title.

Wherever any follower of Sharī‘ah and imitator of Sunnah was found, immediately he was branded “Wahhābī” so as to draw [people] away from him, and so that there is no effect to their interests and payoffs which are acquired through various forms of trickeries. [The attitude of such people is as follows:] “Friends, drink wine, shave your beards, devote yourselves to graves, take vows by other than Allāh, commit fornication, sodomy, leaving congregation, fasting and prayer, whatever you do, all of these are signs of being from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah; and whoever acquires obedience of Sharī‘ah in form and practice, he becomes a Wahhābī.” It is famous that some Nawāb Ṣāḥib said to his companion, “I heard you have become Wahhābī.” He answered: “Ḥuḍūr, I shave my beard, how can I possibly be Wahhābī?! I am pure Sunnī.” See how the sign of being Sunnī has come to be to shave the beard.

For his particular agenda, “Dajjāl al-Mujaddidīn” has in this treatise called these Elders “Wahhābīs”, so that the people of Arabia upon seeing it will become agitated by anger and fury, and without asking anything, without contemplating, will give fatwās of takfīr. Further, he mentioned the term Wahhābī in various places using different expressions with filthy words.

[This is] all the while there is the difference between the sky and earth between the beliefs of the Wahhābīs and the beliefs and practices of those Elders, and in fact a greater difference than this! These revered ones are fully upon the beliefs of the pious Salaf. They strictly follow Imām A‘ẓam (Allāh’s mercy be upon him) and the way of the Ḥanafī jurists in every way, in knowledge and practice. They do not wish for even small variation. The sulūk of the seniors of the four Orders, in particular Chishtī Ṣābirī, is practised by them.

Now, I will briefly present several beliefs of the Wahhābīs and in contrast, the statements of these Elders, so that from this small sample it becomes clear to you the degree of the slander that is being made against these Elders, and what great injustice and slander “Barelwī Mujaddid” and his followers are perpetrating against the People of Truth.

It was Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s belief that all the people of the world and of all Muslim lands are idolatrous and disbelieving, and it is permissible, in fact obligatory, to slaughter and fight them and take their properties. Thus, Nawāb Ṣiddīq Ḥasan Khān has himself explicitly mentioned these two things [i.e. the permissibility of slaughtering and taking the property of Muslims] in his [Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s] biography. Ḥaḍrat, these two are undoubtedly matters of great severity. Now check whether this is found in the followers of these Elders or not? And if not, then who is truly the follower of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb?

A discussion of the first matter is forthcoming. But, regarding the second matter, you yourself ponder over it. “Dajjāl al-Mujaddidīn” has done tafsīq and taḍlīl of all the people of Nadwah, at which time many ‘Ulamā’ were part [of it]. He has done taḍlīl, takfīr and tafsīq of all the ‘Ulāmā’ of Deoband, while the group of these revered ones has spread throughout the world. Generally, the ‘Ulamā’ and teachers and the religious men of virtue in the lands of India, Afghanistan etc. are these people and their students and followers. Thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands, of ‘Ulamā’ are from them, and are coming to be from them, and if Allāh, the Almighty, wishes, will continue to be from them till the Day of Judgement, despite the humiliation of the enviers. This “Mardūd” (rejected individual), like his Najdī shaykh, regards it to be prohibited to marry and sit with all these Elders. He regards it to be obligatory to hurt them, blemish their honour, and cause them personal and monetary damages. Thus, the start and end of his treatise is a good demonstration [of this]. Thus, in reality he is a complete follower of his Najdī shaykh, and he himself and his followers are “Wahhābīs”.

Now I will present some words briefly from the Elders of Religion, how carefully they operated in the matter of doing takfīr of Muslims and tafsīq of believers. Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Gangohī, Allāh sanctify his precious soul, says in Laṭā’if Rashīdiyyah (p. 31) under the commentary of the ḥadīth, “The last man to enter Paradise”: “…Thus, īmān has such position that no angel or messenger can fathom. With Allāh, it necessitates salvation and is highly regarded. Thus, no believer may be said to be definitely a person of Hellfire, and nor should īmān be looked at with scorn no matter how hidden [it is]. Because of this, the jurists of the Ummah have stated that if from a hundred possibilities, one possibility can be of īmān, takfīr may not be made of a believer. The number ‘hundred’ is not for specification (taḥdīd) but to express a large number (takthīr). If there is only one possibility from a thousand, even then takfīr cannot be done. Īmān has a very great stature, as it is affirming the oneness of Allāh (Exalted is He), the unique quality of Allāh (Exalted is He). Say: He is Allāh, the One. Then, one in whose nature the light of this special quality has entered, even if hidden to some degree, will he not be accepted and a person of Paradise? Entering the Fire is for his purification and rectification not for degradation and punishment. However it is apparently punishment, just like hitting an enemy and hitting a beloved child to discipline [him] are similar [in appearance], although there is a difference in the two…”

Ḥaḍrāt! Now ponder, Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Gangohī, Allāh sanctify his precious soul, how careful he and his followers were in takfīr and declaring others “mushriks” etc., and how diligent they were in following the pious Salaf, as distinguished from the Wahhābīs, who make everyone kāfir and mushrik at the slightest imagined doubts, and regard their properties and blood to be permissible. [Persian couplet]: Look at the difference in path, from where to where?!

However, “Mujaddid al-Dajjālīn” and his followers are undoubtedly step by step [followers] of Wahhābīs. Taking mental leaps from afar and contrived imagined interpretations, they strive and struggle to make [others] kāfir. They spend their day and night thinking how to make the Muḥammadan Ummah more restricted and smaller. Can these people be lovers of the Messenger (upon him peace) or supporters of the Ummah? Never! Is it the work of the ‘Ulamā’ of the Ummah to make Muslims into kāfirs by zealously misrepresenting the meanings [of texts] and mutilating passages? – or is it [rather] the demand of prophetic inheritance and knowledge of Sharī‘ah to passionately bring disbelievers into Islām, mushriks into Īmān and munāfiqūn into certainty? Would the Messenger of Allāh (upon him peace) support their method? Is this what the noble imāms would teach? Was this the salient feature of the pious Salaf? It is very unfortunate that the fear of God has been lifted from their hearts. A divine seal and shadow has been cast over their hearts. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 221-4)


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

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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


Reply to Husam al-Haramayn’s Misrepresentation of Tahzir al-Nas

September 20, 2012

by Zameelur Rahman

Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani wrote Faisla Kun Munazara (written in: 1373 H/1953 CE) (available here) in reply to Ahmad Rida Khan’s Husam al-Haramayn. The following summarises his reply (from pages 37-63) to the claims made about Mawlana Qasim al-Nanotwi’s Tahzir al-Nas inHusam al-Haramayn.

Ahmad Rida stated in Husam al-Haramayn: “Qasim al-Nanotwi, the author of Tahzir al-Nas, who stated therein: “If it were supposed in his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) time, rather were it to occur after him (Allah bless him and grant him peace), a new prophet, that would not infringe on his sealship; and it is only the laypeople who assume that he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the Seal of the Prophets in the sense of the last of the prophets, although there is no excellence at all in this according to the people of understanding,” to the end of what he mentioned of irrational talk. It says in al-Tatimmah and al-Ashbah and others: “When one does not recognise that Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the last of the prophets, he is not a Muslim, for indeed it is from the necessities.””

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

Mawlana Nu’mani says this statement of Ahmad Rida Khan is nothing besides deception, and he gives the following reasons:

1. Ahmad Rida constructed the quote from three separate places from Tahzir al-Nas, from pages 3, 14 and 28, and he made it appear that this was one continuous sentence. He also did not arrange it in the order they appear in the book: he first quotes p. 14 (“If it were supposed in his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) time”), then 28 (“rather were it to arise after him (Allah bless him and grant him peace), a new prophet, that would not infringe on his sealship”) then 3 (“and it is only the laypeople who assume that he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the Seal of the Prophets in the sense of the last of the prophets, although there is no excellence at all in this according to the people of understanding”). Ahmad Rida tried to make it appear from these sentences that Mawlana Nanotwi denied the finality/lastness of prophethood, but if read in their correct places such a misunderstanding would not arise. Mawlana Nu’mani states that this is an exact illustration of yuharrifun al-kalima ‘an mawadi’ihi – they change the words from their places (Qur’an 5:13). In fact, in the first and second parts of his contrived quotation from Tahzir al-Nas, he created one sentence from parts of two different sentences, not even quoting the intact sentences. Mawlana Nu’mani quotes from a book of Ahmad Rida in which he castigates someone for joining three separate words of the Qur’an to make it into one phrase; but he commits this very offence here. Then, he gives several examples of how changing word orders in Qur’an completely changes the meanings.

2. The sentence from p. 3 of Tahzir al-Nas in the Urdu states: magar ahl fahm pur roshun ho ga keh taqaddum ya ta’akhkhur zamani meh bizzat kuch fazilat nehih (but, it is clear to the people of understanding that coming before or after in time does not in and of itself confer excellence), which Ahmad Rida translated as “مع أنه لا فضل فيه أصلا عند أهل الفهم” (although there is no excellence at all in this [i.e. being the last prophet] according to the people of understanding). However, the sentence in Tahzir al-Nas implies that although in and of itself coming later has no virtue, due to secondary factors (bi l-ard) it does confer excellence; yet, Ahmad Rida translated this to mean it has no virtue at all, which is another example of his dishonesty and deception.

3. Ahmad Rida did not translate or quote the parts of the sentences that appear before and after the quoted sections which would have corrected his misrepresentation (elaborated later).

4. Ahmad Rida’s claim is that Mawlana Nanotwi denied the finality of prophethood, whereas from the beginning of Tahzir al-Nas to its end, he does not deny khatamiyya zamaniyya (chronological sealship) but seeks to establish it along with khatamiyya zatiyya (essential sealship).

With regards to khatamiyya zamaniyya there are clear statements in Tahzir al-Nas on its necessity. Shortly after the last sentence Ahmad Rida quoted (from p. 3), Mawlana Qasim Nanotwi said:

balkah bana’ khatamiyyat aur bat pur hey jis sey ta’akhkhur zamani aur sadd bab mazkur (ya’ni sadd bab mudda’iyan nubuwwat) khod ba khod lazim ata hey aur fazilat nabawi dobala ho jati hey

Translation: “However, there is another explanation for sealship [which he elaborates on in the book] by which coming later in time and closing the aforemention door [i.e. of claimants to prophethood] is necessitated automatically, and the excellence of prophethood is multiplied.”

In this passage, he clearly states that his explanation of khatamiyya/sealship necessitates coming last in time and closing the door of false claimants to prophethood.

Furthermore, after giving his explanation on khatamiyya/sealship (i.e. that the prophethood of the Prophet – peace be upon him – is essential and not derived whereas the prophethood of other prophets is derived from his, so all perfections of prophethood derive from him and culminate in him), he writes:

so agar itlaq aur ‘umum hey tob to subut khatamiyyat zamani, warnah taslim luzum khatamiyyat zamani bidalalat iltizami zurur sabit hey. idhar tasrihat nabawi misl anta minni bimanzilat Haruna min Musa illa annahu la nabiyya ba’di aw kama qal jo bizahir bitarz mazkur esi lafz khatam al-nabiyyin sey ma’khuz hey is bab meh kafi hey kyunkeh yeh mazmun darajah tawatur ko pehnch giya hey. phir is pur ijma bhi mun’aqid ho giya. gur alfaz mazkur bisanad mutawatir manqul neh ho, so yeh adam tawatur alfaz ba wujud tawatur ma’nawi yaha eysa hi hoga jeysa tawatur a’dad rak’at fara’iz wa witr wa ghayruh alfaz ahadis mush’ir ta’dad rak’at mutawatir nehi, jeysa unka munkir kafir hey eysa hi is ka munkir bhi kafir hoga 

Translation: “Therefore, if [the sealship] is absolute and general [i.e. includes all three sealships: chronological, spatial and essential], then the establisment of chronological sealship is obvious. Otherwise [i.e. if only essential sealship is taken as the meaning of “seal”], accepting the necessity of chronological sealship by implicative indication (dalala iltizami) is immediately established [for the reasons why see the explanation here]. Here, the explicit statements of the Prophet, like: ‘You [i.e. Ali] are to me at the level of Harum to Musa but there is no prophet after me,’ or as he said, which apparently is derived from the phrase khatam al-nabiyyin in the aforemention manner, are sufficient in this subject because it reaches the rank of tawatur. Furthermore, consensus (ijma) has convened on this [i.e. khatamiyya zamaniyya – chronological sealship/coming last in time]. Although the aforementioned words were not transmitted by mutawatir chain, despite this lack of tawatur in the words, there is a tawatur in the meaning here, just like the tawatur of the number of rak’at of the obligatory prayers, Witr etc. Although the words of the narrations stating the number of rak’at are not mutawatir, just as the one who denies that is a disbeliever, in the same way, the one who denies this [i.e. khatamiyya zamaniyya] is a disbeliever.”

Mawlana Nu’mani states that in this passage, Mawlana Nanotwi not only says chronological sealship is firmly established from mutawatirhadith, but also that this is derived (ma’khuz) from the phrase khatam al-nabiyyin showing that according to him the finality of prophethood is strongly connected to this phrase in the Qur’an.

From this and previous passages, Mawlana Nanotwi established chronological sealship in five ways:

1. By the complete signification (dalalat mutabiqi) of khatam al-nabiyyin if it includes both types of sealship (chronological – zamani – and essential – zati)

2. Or by the generality of the metaphor (‘umum majaz) [which is a famous principle mentioned in books of Usul, which Mawlana Nanotwi says is a principle which may apply here], khatam includes both types

3. Or its indication is fully to only one of the two, i.e. essential sealship, but the implicative signification of this is chronological sealship. All three of these are based on the direct text of the Qur’an.

4. From hadiths that are mutawatir-in-meaning

5. By the consensus of the ummah

After mentioning these five ways chronological sealship is firmly established, Mawlana Nanotwi says its denier is a disbeliever. Mawlana Nu’mani says: “After such explicit statements from Tahzir al-Nas, to claim that he denied chronological finality, if it is not injustice and deception, what is it?”

Mawlana Nu’mani says such explicit statements are not found only in one or two places in Tahzir al-Nas, but it is difficult to miss it on almost every page. He then quotes other passages from Tahzir al-Nas, and quotes many statements from other books by Mawlana Nanotwi in which he makes very clear statements that chronological sealship is an established article of faith and no one disagrees with it. [Mawlana Sayf al-Rahman Qasim has collected many of Mawlana Nanotwi’s explicit statements on the Prophet’s chornolological finality including in Mawlana Nanotwi’s Arabic marginalia to the last parts of Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Saharanpuri’s commentary on Bukhari (the book is available here).]

Before explaining the three passages quoted by Ahmad Rida, Mawlana Nu’mani first gives a brief summary of Mawlana Nanotwi’s thesis, which can be found in a little more detail here. In sum, there are two (or three) types of sealship Mawlana Nanotwi espouses: chronological sealship and essential sealship; the first is that his time is after the time of other prophets and no prophet will be sent after him, and the second is that his prophethood was received directly from Allah whereas the prophethood and the perfections of prophethood in other prophets was derived from him, so he is the “seal” of the perfections of their prophethood as they all culminate in him.

The first passage Ahmad Rida quotes, in full is:

garz ikhtitam agar ba yeh ma’ne tajwiz kiya jae jo me ne ‘arz kiya to ap ka khatam hona anbiya gazashteh ki nisbat khas neh hoga balkah agar bi l-farz ap keh zamaneh meh bhi kohih aur ko’i nabi ho jab bhi ap ka khatam ho na bedustur baqi rehta hey 

Translation: “The objective is that if sealship in the meaning I presented [i.e. essential sealship] is stipulated, then his being the seal will not be specifically in relation to past prophets, for if it were assumed that in his own time any prophet appeared, even then his being the seal will remain sound.”

This was clearly stated with regards to “essential sealship” as is obvious from the part before “if it were assumed…” from where Ahmad Rida began his quote. This is even more clear in the second passage quoted by Ahmad Rida, when cited in full:

ha agar khatamiyyat bi ma’na ttisaf zati biwasf nubuwwat lejye jeysa is hechumdan arz kiya to phir suwae rasulullallah sallallahu alayhiwasallam aur kisi ke afrad maqsudah bi l-khalq meh se mumasil nabawi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam nehi keh sukte. bulkeh is surat meh faqt anbiya ke afrad khariji hi pur ap ki fazilat sabit neh hogi. afrad muqaddarah pur bhi ap ki fazilat sabit ho jae gi. balkah agar bi l-farz ba’d zamanah nabawi sal’am bhi ko’i nabi peda ho to phir bhi khatamiyyat muhammadi meh kuch farq neh ae ga 

Translation: “Yes, if sealship in the sense of an intrinsic embodiment of the quality of prophethood is taken, as this humble one has submitted, then besides Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) any other individual intended for creation cannot be considered equal to the Prophet (Allah 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 assumed after the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that any prophet was born, then even then there would be no difference to the Muhammadan sealship.”

In both of these passages, Mawlana Nanotwi is speaking of essential sealship, that with respect to this sealship, if it were assumed any prophet appeared in his time or after his time, this sealship would be unaffected, as he would remain the one from whom the prophethood of all other prophets is derived. Of course with respect to chronological sealship, which is firmly established in Tahzir al-Nas and is nowhere negated, if it were supposed a prophet came after him, this sealship would not be unaffected. However, the context of the previous two quotes shows he was speaking only in relation to essential sealship, so it would be incorrect based on these two passages to conclude he denied chronological sealship as it was not the point of discussion. In short, essential sealship, which he seeks to establish in the book, is applicable to all real and assumed prophets, whereas chronological sealship, which he confirms and provides evidence for, applies only to the real past prophets.

Regarding the last part of the quote from Husam al-Haramayn which is from the opening section of Tahzir al-Nas, it means the laypeople are incorrect in their understanding that sealship only means last in time, not that they are incorrect in this understanding altogether. Mawlana Nanotwi in his explanation does not deny the meaning he attributes to the laypeople but states sealship in the Qur’an means much more than just being last in time. By this explaination, the accusation by Ahmad Rida in another book, al-Mawt al-Ahmar, in which he said that Mawlana Nanotwi considered the prophets and sahabah “laypeople” as they also believed khatam means last, is refuted, as it is not established that they believed it only meant last. Mawlana Nu’mani quotes another book of Mawlana Nanotwi in which he clarified that prophets and scholars are not included in “laypeople.”

Mawlana Nu’mani then quotes from Ahmad Rida’s al-Dawlat al-Makkiyya where he explained that the people of understanding realise multiple non-contradictory meanings from verses of the Qur’an, and this is precisely what Mawlana Nonotwi did in the explanation of this verse. Furthermore, Ahmad Rida said in his book Jaza Allah ‘Aduwwah that all spiritual perfections originate in the prophet and everything else in creation receives it from him, which is precisely what Mawlana Nanotwi says is the meaning of “essential sealship.”

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The following is a translated quote from Hakim al-Tirmidhi’s (d. 320) Kitab Khatm al-Awliya in which he offers a similar deeper significance to “Khatam al-Nabiyyin” and denounces the opinion that it only entails chronological finality in much the same way as Mawlana Nanotwi. The book can be downloaded here and the passage in question is found on pages 338-42.

A speaker said to him [al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi]: What is the Seal of Prophethood?He replied: The proof of Allah over His creation, in realisation of His (Exalted is He) statement: “and give good news to those who believe that they have a ‘foot of truth’ [which al-Tirmdihi interprets as the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was a true servant of Allah] with their Lord.” (10:2) So Allah certified for him [i.e. the Prophet (peace be upon him)] true servitude. So when the Recompenser appears in His majesty and greatness, on that plane [of judgement], and He says: “O My bondsmen! I created you only for [My] servitude! So give [Me] the servitude!” There will be no sense or movement left for anyone due to the terror of that position, except Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). For by that foot [of truth] that he has, he proceeds ahead of all the ranks of prophets and messengers, because he was given true servitude to Allah (Exalted is He). So Allah will accept it [i.e. servitude] from him and elevate him to the Praised Platform (al-maqam al-mahmud) near the Stool (kursi). Thereupon, the veil over that seal will be removed, and light will encompass him, and the rays of that seal will shine over him; and from his heart to his tongue will spring praise that none from His creation heard; until all the prophets will know that Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was the most knowledgeable of them about Allah (Glorified and Majestic is He). Thus, he is the first converser and the first intercessor, so he will be given the Standard of Praise and Keys of Generosity. The Standard of Praise is for the bulk of the believers while the Keys of Generosity for the prophets. The Seal of Prophethood has a profound condition and station, more profound than you can bear, so I hope that this much is sufficient for you of its knowledge.

So Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) became an intercessor for prophets and saints and those besides them. Do you not see his (upon him peace) speech regarding the station of the Praised Platform: “Until Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful will need me on that day”? That was narrated to me by Jarud from al-Nadr ibn Shumayl from Hisham al-Dastawa’i from Hammad who traced it to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Do you not see that Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) mentioned good news [to the believers] in many verses but did not mention it except with a condition: “and give good news to those who believe and do righteous works” (2:25) and he mentioned it here without a condition [i.e. without the condition of “righteous works”]: “and give good news to those who believe that they have a foot of truth with their Lord,” informing them that the salvation of all on that day is through this true foot [i.e. the Prophet (peace be upon him)]?

As for the proof, it is as though He says to the prophets (upon them peace): “O assembly of prophets! This is Muhammad. He came at the end of time, weak in body, weak in might, weak in livelihood, short in life. He produced what you have seen of true servitude and copious knowledge. And you in your speech and your lives and your bodies did not produce what he produced.” Thereupon, the veil over the seal will be removed, and all talk will end, and it will become a proof over all creation; because the thing that is sealed is guarded. And thus is Allah’s (Exalted is He) administration over us in this world: that when a thing is found with its seal, doubt is removed and argumentation ends amongst people.

So Allah gathered the particles of prophethood for Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and He perfected them for him and He sealed them with his seal. So neither his self (nafs) nor his enemy find a path to enter the place of [his] prophethood due to that seal. Do you not see the hadith of al-Hasan al-Basri (Allah have mercy on him) from Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) in the hadith of intercession from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that he said: “When they come to Adam they will ask him to intercede for them to their Lord, Adam will say to them: ‘What is your opinion, if one of yours goods were collected in his absence and then they were sealed [i.e. tied away], will the goods only be approached but from the route of the seal? So go to Muhammad for he is the Seal of the Prophets.’” Its meaning according to us is that prophethood in its entirety has culminated in Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace); so his heart was made a vessel for the perfection of prophethood and then it was sealed. This tells you that the sealed book and the sealed vessel, there is no path to it for anyone, to decrease from it or to add to it of that which is not from it; and indeed all the remainder of the prophets (upon them peace), He did not seal for them their hearts, so they are not safe from the self finding a path to it [i.e. their prophethood].

Allah did not leave the proof concealed in the inside of his heart for He made it manifest; so between his shoulders was that seal manifest like the egg of a pigeon. And this is for him a great station the story of which is long.

Indeed the one who is blind to this information, he thinks that the interpretation of “the seal of prophets” is [only] that he is the last of them in being sent. But what virtue is there in this? And what [perfection in] knowledge is there in this? This is the interpretation of ignorant people.

Most recite khatam with a fath on the ta’; as for those from the Salaf who recited with a kasr on the ta’, its interpretation is that he a khatim (sealer) in the meaning of a doer; i.e. that he sealed prophethood by that seal which he was given. From that which affirms this is what was narrated in the hadith of the Ascension (mi‘raj) from the hadith of Abu Ja‘far al-Razi from al-Rabi‘ ibn Abi al-‘Aliyah from what he mentioned regarding the meeting of the prophets in the Aqsa mosque: “So every prophet mentioned the favour of Allah upon him, and it was from the speech of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that he said: ‘He made me the sealer and the opener.’ So Ibrahim (upon him peace) said: ‘By this, Muhammad is superior to [all of] you.’”

قال له قائل: وما خاتم النبوة؟قال : حجة الله على خلقه، بحقيقة قوله تعالى: “وبشر الذين آمنوا أن لهم قدم صدق عند ربهم” سورة يونس الآية 2، فشهد الله له بصدق العبودية.

فإذا برز الديان في جلاله وعظمته، في ذلك الموقف، وقال: يا عبيدي، إنما خلقتكم للعبودة، فهاتوا العبودة، فلم يبق لأحد حس ولا حركة، من هول ذلك المقام، إلا –سيدنا- محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم. فبذلك القدم (الصدق) الذي له، يتقدم على جميع صفوف الأنبياء والمرسلين، لأنه قد أتى بصدق العبودية لله تعالى ، فيقبله الله منه، ويبعثه إلى المقام المحمود ، عند الكرسي فيكشف الغطاء عن ذلك الختم، فيحيطه النور وشعاع ذلك الختم يبين عليه. وينبع من قلبه على لسانه من الثناء ما لم يسمع به أحد من خلقه .
حتى يعلم الأنبياء كلهم أن –سيدنا- محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم كان أعلمهم بالله عز وجل فهو أول خطيب، وأول شفيع فيعطي لواء الحمد، ومفاتيح الكرم.
فلواء الحمد لعامة المؤمنين، ومفاتيح الكرم للأنبياء ، ولخاتم النبوة بد وشأن عميق، أعمق من أن تحتمله. فقد رجوت أنه كفاك هذا القدر من علمه.

فصار-سيدنا- محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم شفيعا للأنبياء والأولياء، ومن دونهم ألا ترى إلى قوله عليه الصلاة والسلام، فيما يصف من شأن المقام المحمود؟: “حتى أن ابراهيم خليل الرحمن يحتاج إلي في ذلك اليوم” . حدثنا بذلك الجارود عن النضر بن شميل، عن هشام الدستوانى عم حماد رفعه إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم.

ألا ترى أن الله، تبارك وتعالى ذكر البشرى في غير آية؟ فلم يذكرها إلا مع الشرط “وبشر الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات” وذكرها هنا ولم يشترط: ” وبشر الذين أمنوا أن لهم قدم صدق عند ربهم” يعلمهم أن نجاة الجميع ، في ذلك اليوم بهذا القدم الصدق.
وأما الحجة. فكأنه يقول: للأنبياء عليهم السلام: معاشر الأنبياء، هذا محمد جاء في آخر الزمان،ضعيف البدن، ضعيف القوة، ضعيف المعاش، قليل العمر. أتى بما قد ترون : من صدق العبودة ، وغزارة المعرفة والعلم، وأنتم في قواكم وأعماركم وأبدانكم، لم تأتوا بما أتى. ويكتشف له الغطاء عن الختم، فينقطع الكلام، وتصير الحجة على جميع خلقه.
لأن الشيء المختوم محروس . وكذلك تدبير الله تعالى لنا في هذه الدنيا: إنه إذا وجد الشيء بختمه زال الشك وانقطع الخصام فيما بين الآدميين.
فجمع الله تعالى أجزاء النبوة لسيدنا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وتتمها له وختم عليها بختمة فلم تجد نفسه ولا عدوه سبيلا إلى ولوج موضع النبوة، من أجل ذلك الختم. ألا ترى إلى حديث الحسن البصري، رحمه الله.
عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه، في حديث الشفاعة، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: فإذا أتوا آدم ، يسألونه أن يشفع لهم إلى ربه، قال لهم آدم : أرأيتم لو أن أحدكم جمع متاعه في غيبته ثم ختم عليها، فهل كان يؤتى المتاع إلا من قبل الختم؟ فأتوا فهو خاتم النبيين. ومعناه عندنا: إن النبوة تمت بأجمعها لسيدنا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم فجعل قلبه، لكمال النبوة، وعاء عليها، ثم ختم.

ينبؤك هذا، أن الكتاب المحترم والوعاء المختوم، ليس لأحد عليه سبيل، في الانتقاص منه، و لا بالإزدياد فيه مما ليس منه. وإن سائر الأنبياء عليهم السلام لم يختم لهم على قلوبهم، فهم غير آمنين أن تجد النفس سبيلا إلى ما فيها.
ولم يدع الله الحجة مكتومة في باطن قلبه حتى أظهرها: فكان بين كتفيه ذلك الختم، ظاهرا كبيضة حمامة وهذا له شأن عظيم تطول قصته.
فإن الذي عمى عن خبر هذا، يظن أن “خاتم النبيين” تأويله أنه آخرهم مبعًا فأي منقبة في هذا؟ وأي علم في هذا ؟ تأويل البله، الجهلة.
وقرأ (الخاتم)، بفتح التاء وأما من قرأ من السلف بكسر التاء، فإنما تأويله (خاتِم) على معنى فاعِل، أي: أنه ختم النبوة، بالذي أعطى من الختم.
ومما يحقق ذلك ما روي في حديث المعراج من حديث أبي جعفر الرازي، عن الربيع بن أبي العالية فيما يذكر من مجتمع الأنبياء في المسجد الأقصى: “فيذكر كل نبي منة الله عليه. فكان من قول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: ” وجعلني خاتما وفاتحا ” فقال سيدنا إبراهيم عليه السلام: بهذا فضلكم محمد” –صلى الله عليه


The Decisive Debate – Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani

March 20, 2012

At last, the book Faysala Kun Munazara has been translated into English by a sincere brother. The work fully refutes the false accusations against the four Deobandi scholars, in a comprehensive manner. The PDF link: http://ukkhuddam.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/fayslah-kun-munazarah-updated-translation.pdf

Note from the Translator

Fayslah Kun Munazarah, first printed in 1933 CE, is a thorough rebuttal of the verdicts of disbelief against four senior scholars of the Deobandi School as presented in Husam al-Haramayn of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi. Sufficient details about the book are given in the author’s introduction below. Due to the paucity of material on the subject in the English language, many Muslims in the English-speaking world were easily swayed towards the view propounded in Husam al-Haramayn due to the vigour with which the fatwa is propagated by its English-speaking proponents and the gravity of the allegations made. The book translated here provides a balanced, level-headed, point-by-point critique of the fatwa in simple and easy-to-understand language, demonstrating with complete clarity the deception of the original accusations against the Deobandi elders and their innocence from the heresies ascribed to them. Sincere readers who have been exposed to the allegations will now have the opportunity to assess the validity of such claims. Allah, Most Exalted, commands in the Glorious Qur’an: “O you who believe, if a sinful person brings you a report, verify its correctness, lest you should harm a people out of ignorance, and then become remorseful on what you did.” (49:6)

Born in 1323 H/1905 CE, the author of the book, Mawlana Muhammad Manzur Ahmad Nu‘mani (Allah have mercy on him), graduated from India’s leading Islamic seminary, Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, in the year 1346 H/1927 CE. At the madrasah, he studied under such luminaries as Imam al-‘Asr ‘Allamah Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri and other major scholars of hadith and fiqh from the Indian subcontinent. Upon graduating, he returned to his hometown of Sunbhul and began serving the Muslim community there. In the period following his studies, he was also actively engaged in debates against various groups, particularly the Barelwi group which had instigated a tragic fitnah of takfir that had spread throughout India. With meticulous research and lucid speech, he composed many comprehensive works related to these groups, the work translated here being one of them. Within a few years of graduating from Deoband, he also established a monthly journal, al-Furqan, which gained wide popularity. His pledge in the spiritual path was to Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Raipuri (1295 – 1382 H). He passed away in the year 1417 H/ 1997 CE. He authored a number of works on hadith, tasawwuf, politics and other topics, and he left behind a lasting legacy in the field of da‘wah and tabligh.

Zameelur Rahman Rabi‘ al-Thani 1433 H/March 2012