Barelwī Muhammad Danyaal Misleads his Readers on Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī’s Positive Opinion of Deobandī Scholars

April 16, 2020

Barelwī Muhammad Danyaal has started a new blog, and his first “note as a seeker” includes taking a dig at Deobandī scholars.

Overplaying Admiration for Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī?

He notes a chain Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī has to Shaykh ‘Abdul Qādir al-Jilānī via Ḍiyā’uddīn Madanī from Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī. The book of Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī that Muhammad Danyaal is quoting from can be found here.

The first thing to note is the second line of Muhammad Danyaal’s translation:

The word “Imām” used here for Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī appears to be an interpolation by Muhammad Danyaal.

The original Arabic from Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī’s book is as follows (p102):

As can be seen Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī only says “Maulānā Aḥmad Riḍā Khān” not “Maulānā Imām Aḥmad Riḍā Khān”. Unless Muhammad Danyaal is using a different print, this would appear to be a deliberate distortion on his part to overplay to his readers Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī’s admiration of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān.

Downplaying Admiration of Deobandī Scholars 

In his second footnote, Muhammad Danyaal writes:

Muhammad Danyaal is being deceptive here. Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī doesn’t only “cite transmissions” from Deobandi scholars, but refers to them as “imāms of dīn”. On p8 of the very same book Muhammad Danyaal is quoting from, Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī says:

“I narrate from a number of the imāms of dīn with both reading and authorisation or just authorisation, from whom I will specifically mention: Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyya al-Kāndehlawī, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth at India, Shaykh Ḥabībur Raḥmān al-A‘ẓamī, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth, Shaykh Muḥammad Yūsuf al-Bannūrī, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth at Karāchī, Shaykh Muḥammad Shafī‘, the Mufti of Pakistan…”

He goes on to mention other names. Here he cites a number of the “imāms of dīn” that he narrates from and foremost amongst them he cites 4 Deobandī scholars!

It is therefore not a matter of just “citing transmissions” from them while not endorsing them, as Muhammad Danyaal would like his readers to believe. Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī is very clearly endorsing them. Is it not an act of deception for Muhammad Danyaal to miss out this key detail?

Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī also refers to Maulānā Zakariyyā Kāndehlawī as “author of Awjaz al-Masālik” (p51) and as “commentator of al-Muwaṭṭa’” (p. 56), and Maulānā Khalīll Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī as “commentator of Sunan Abī Dāwūd” (p 56) and “author of Badhl al-Majhūd” (p70), and Maulānā Yūsuf Bannūrī as “author of Ma‘ārif al-Sunan” (p73) and Maulānā Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīrī as “author of al-Arf al-Shadhī” (p73), showing a recognition of the accomplishments/works of these Deobandī scholars. He also has a chain to Imām Abū Ḥanīfah that is “musalsal bi ‘l-Ḥanafiyyah” (p87), connected entirely through Ḥanafī scholars, which goes through Deobandī scholars.

Regarding the “intimate friendship” that Muhammad Danyaal seems so desperate to deny, there is evidence in the form of a letter from Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī to Maulānā Zakariyyā Kāndehlawī, in which he refers to himself as “your lover and the servant of your sandals”. (source)

This is how Maulānā ‘Abdul Ḥafīẓ Makkī (1946 – 2017) describes Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī’s relationship with Maulānā Zakariyyā Kāndhlewī: “Regarding his connection with our Hazrat Shaykh [Maulānā Zakariyyā Kāndehlawī], it is beyond description. He always recognised Hazrat Shaykh as being in place of his father after the passing of his respected father. In fact, he would address him as abī. Whenever he would come in the service of Hazrat, and he would come frequently, he would always kiss the blessed hand of Hazrat Shaykh, then sometimes he would kiss the shoulder and the forehead, and then sometimes the knees and sometimes he would also kiss the feet. Hazrat would thereupon wrap him in his love and compassion. Hazrat Shaykh would remain very informal with him and joke with him. He would behave with him just like those close to him. Pretty much all attendants of Hazrat Shaykh (his soul be sanctified) knew that Hazrat would always behave with Sayyid Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī as a father and he like a son. He has a lot of affection and love for this disgraced one (i.e. Maulānā ‘Abdul Ḥafīẓ Makkī himself) and other attendants and associates of Hazrat by virtue of this connection with Hazrat.” (Āp Ke Masā’il aur un Kā Ḥall, 10:140)

Surely this suggests more than just an “intimate friendship”?

Regarding Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī’s Mafāhīm, Deobandī scholars in general disagreed with some contents of the book. Mufti Taqi Usmani’s review can be read here (which also refers to the links Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī and his father had with Deobandī scholars). Maulānā Yūsuf Ludhyānwī’s discussion can also be found in the tenth volume of Āp Ke Masā’il aur un Kā Ḥall (available here). There were some Deobandī scholars, however, who maintained their endorsement of Mafāhīm, like Ṣūfī Iqbāl and Maulānā ‘Abdul Ḥafīẓ Makkī. Regardless, a negative opinion of (some) Deobandī scholars towards Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī/some of his ideas does not negate Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī’s positive opinion of Deobandī scholars, which is what Muhammad Danyaal here seems to be desperately trying to downplay.

Note: See Maulānā ‘Abdul Ḥafīẓ Makkī’s (1946 – 2017) full account on the strong bond between Muḥammad ‘Alawī Mālikī (and his father) and Deobandī scholars. (p138-144 of volume 10 from Āp Ke Masā’il aur un Kā Ḥall)


Challenging Abu Hasan Barelwī on his Claim that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is Based on Kitāb al-Tawḥīd

March 28, 2020

Following in the misguided footsteps of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī, Abu Hasan Barelwī, the fraud and liar, claims that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is based on the writings (i.e. Kitāb al-Tawḥīd) of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb. He says:

Ismāýīl’s tract is certainly based on Shaykh Najdi’s works; Shaykh Abu’l Ĥasan Zayd Fārūqī Dihlawī has conclusively proven in his work316 and demonstrated that whole passages are translated verbatim and even chapter names are lifted from the Najdi’s book. (The Killer Mistake, p66)

The book he is here referencing is Maulānā Ismā‘īl Dehlawī aur Taqwiyat al-Īmān by Abu ‘l-Ḥasan Fārūqī. The latter relies on a fabricated work, alleging to be a summary of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb himself, first described by Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī. (See p55 onward from Maulānā Ismā‘īl Dehlawī aur Taqwiyat al-Īmān.) The fabricated work Abu ‘l-Ḥasan Fārūqī (and those before/after him) relies on was fabricated precisely so it could be used as “evidence” of Taqwiyat al-Īmān being effectively an Urdu translation of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd.

This has been explained in detail earlier. See here and here.

If Abu Hasan still maintains the preposterous thesis that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is literally based on Kitāb al-Tawḥīd and passages are translated from it verbatim and even chapter names are lifted from it, why does he not demonstrate this? Why does he have to rely on someone else (who used an obviously fabricated source)? Why does he not show us which passages from Kitāb al-Tawḥīd are translated verbatim in Taqwiyat al-Īmān? And which chapter titles were lifted from it?

We will assist him in this task. He can find a copy of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd here and a copy of Taqwiyat al-Īmān here. Please show us where we can find the verbatim translations and chapter titles being lifted.


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

March 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please read and share with interested parties.


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

March 13, 2020

First read this and this.

How Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Quotes the Passage

The statement from Ḥifẓ al-Īmān (written in: 1901) for which Aḥmad Riḍā Khān (1856 – 1921) declared Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī (1863 – 1943) a Kāfir is as follows:

If some unseen knowledges are intended what then is the distinction of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in this? Such knowledge of ghayb is acquired by Zaid, Amr, indeed every child and madman, and indeed all animals and beasts.

A transliteration of the original Urdu is as follows:

Agar baz ulūm ghaibiah murād hein to is mein Ḥuzūr S kī kiyā takhṣīṣ he? Eysā ‘ilm ghaib to Zayd wa ‘Amr balkeh har ṣabi wa majnūn balkeh jamī ḥaiwānāt wa bahāim ke lie bihī ḥāṣil hein

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān isolates this statement even though the latter sentence does not end there. The sentence continues: “since each individual knows something or another that is hidden to someone else, so everyone should be called ‘Ālim al-Ghayb.” (kiyūnkeh har shakhṣ ko kisī nah kisī eysī bāt kā ‘ilm hotā hey jo dosre shakhṣ sey makhfī he to chāhie keh sub ko ‘ālim al-ghaib kahā jāwe).

See how Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quoted the passage in his Urdu book Tamhīd e Īmān (written in: 1908):

He quotes the isolated statement above, without completing the sentence, and then says: “Has he not clearly sworn at Muḥammad Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace)? Was the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) given only as much ‘ilm ghayb as acquired by every madman and every quadruped?” (Tamhīd e Īmān; Quoted in: Fatāwā Riḍawiyyah, Riḍā Foundation, 30:317)

He continues to say – as imitated by many insolent Barelwīs today – that one should ask these “swearers” if they can say to their teachers: “You have only so much knowledge as a pig, your teacher only had such knowledge as a dog does….”

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān makes the same allegation in the Arabic al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad (p229) (written in: 1902):

He asserts Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī said: “The knowledge of the unseen that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhuu ‘alayh wasallam) had, the very same has been acquired by every child and every madman in fact every animal and every beast.”

صرح فيها بأن العلم الذي لرسول الله صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم بالمغيبات فإن مثله حاصل لكل صبي وكل مجنون بل لكل حيوان وكل بهيمة

This is then reproduced in Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn, p62-3 (written in: 1906). He concludes: “Look…how he equates the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhuu ‘alayh wasallam) with such-and-such and such-and-such.”

[Note: For a full, faithful Arabic translation, see here.]

The Correct Meaning of the Passage

Recall the original passage:

If some unseen knowledges are intended what then is the distinction of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in this? Such knowledge of ghayb is acquired by Zaid, Amr, indeed every child and madman, and indeed all animals and beasts.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s allegation hinges on the word “such” (eysā). According to him, the phrase “such knowledge of ghayb” in this passage refers to the knowledge that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) actually possessed of the ghayb. In other words, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān interpreted the passage to mean (na‘ūdhu billāh): “The very same knowledge that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) actually possesses of the ghayb is found in every child and madman, indeed all animals and beasts.”

It is this interpretation (if it can be called this), about which Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī would later say in Basṭ al-Banān: “I did not write this revolting content in any book. Let alone writing it, the thought never crossed my heart. Nor is it the necessary conclusion of any passage of mine, as I will explain later. Since I understand this content to be revolting…how can it be my intent? The person who believes this, or without belief utters it explicitly or implicitly, I believe this person to be outside the fold of Islām because he has denied decisive texts and lessened the Revered King of the World and Pride of Humanity, Allāh bless him and grant him peace.”

In fact what the word “such knowledge of ghayb” means is: “partial knowledge of ghayb”, irrespective of quantity or quality, irrespective of the actual amount or the actual kind. In other words, Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī said: Partial knowledge of unseen is not specific to the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam); partial knowledge of unseen is also found in Zayd, ‘Amr, child and madman, animals and beasts.

If we give Aḥmad Riḍā Khān the benefit of the doubt and say the phrase “such knowledge of ghayb” can mean what he said, then there are two possible meanings of the phrase “such knowledge of ghayb”. It can mean either:

  1. The knowledge actually possessed by the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). This is the meaning Aḥmad Riḍā Khān took.
  2. Partial knowledge of ghayb – irrespective of the actual amount or actual kind.

According to the first meaning, it is of course an insult, and is kufr, as Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī himself said in Basṭ al-Banān.

According to the second meaning it is not kufr.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Deception

Even with a cursory reading of the whole passage from Ḥifẓ al-Īmān, one will not understand the meaning of kufr (i.e. the first meaning) that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān imputed to the author of Ḥifẓ al-Īmān. Only if someone was desperately trying to find kufr and blasphemy in the work would he interpret it so.

But, more importantly, just by completing the sentence that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān himself quoted, one can see that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s interpretation is not possible and only the second meaning can be meant. The complete sentence, recall, is: “Such knowledge of ghayb is acquired by Zaid, Amr, indeed every child and madman, and indeed all animals and beasts since each individual knows something or another that is hidden to someone else, so everyone should be called ‘Ālim al-Ghayb.” This crucial concluding part of the sentence, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān omitted in presenting the so-called “blasphemous passage”.

Why did he omit it? Because it leaves no room for doubt that Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s intent by “such knowledge of ghayb” is: partial knowledge of ghayb irrespective of the actual quantity or quality. If his intent was the actual knowledge possessed by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) then he should have said: “since each individual knows precisely what the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) knows”, but of course this is not what he said nor what he meant. Hence, this is clear deception on the part of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān.

In fact, regarding the knowledge actually possessed by the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī says shortly after in Ḥifẓ al-Īmān itself: “The knowledges that are consequential to and necessary for prophethood were acquired by [the Prophet (allallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)] in their totality.” (nubuwwat ke lie jo ‘ulūm lāzim wa zarūrī hein woh āp ko bitamāmihā ḥāṣil ho gie the) Someone who believes this, how can he possibly believe that children, madmen and animals possess equal knowledge?

 


 

Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s Explanation in Basṭ al-Banān

Note: Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s response to the allegation in Basṭ al-Banān (written in: 1911) makes the very same point/s as above. See in particular the following passage:

 


Barelwī Browbeating & Propaganda Against Deobandīs – UK Barelwīs Write to Muḥammad Ya‘qūbī

March 7, 2020

Recently, UK Barelwīs wrote a letter to Muḥammad Ya‘qūbī castigating him for calling to unity with different groups. The letter can be found here. While there are legitimate grounds to question “uniting” with groups like the Shī‘ah, the Barelwī letter-writers repeat age-old false propaganda against Deobandīs (p3-6), and ask Ya‘qūbī to support the takfīr of the Deobandī elders (p12) – and this is what concerns us here. They repeat the false propaganda of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān despite these having been exposed as clear lies and falsehoods for all audiences, whether Urdu-speaking, English-speaking or Arabic-speaking. The shameful and shameless slanders repeated in this letter were signed by some of their reputed UK-based “scholars” and preachers like Aslam Bandyalwi, Shams ul Huda Misbahi, Saqib Iqbal, Shahid Ali, Ibrar Shafi and Nabil Afzal.

For English-speakers, The Decisive Debate by Maulānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī (accessible here) and A Critique of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn by Maulānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar (available here) are sufficient and detailed refutations of the false allegations of kufr found in Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn, and repeated in the letter. For Arabic speakers, apart from al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad (available here), the following are sufficient and detailed refutations:

اتهام البريلوي على الشيخ قاسم النانوتوي والجواب عنه
اتهامات البريلوي على العلامة خليل أحمد السهارنفوري والجواب عنها
مولانا أشرف علي التهانوي وبحثه عن علم الغيب في رسالة حفظ الإيمان

False Equivalence Between Takfīr of Qādiyānīs and Takfīr of Deobandīs

The letter begins its discussion on Deobandīs by creating a false equivalence:

If you make Takfir of Qadiyanis due to their denial of some necessary matters of religion — regardless of their belief of Allah being One, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم as a Messenger, the Qur’an as a Heavenly Book, Salah, Zakat, Sawm and Hajj — then why do you hesitate in making Takfir of the four leading scholars of Deobandis?

The beliefs for which Qādiyānīs are considered disbelievers (kāfirs/zindīqs) are not contested by the Qādiyānīs themselves. Yet the beliefs that Barelwīs falsely allege the Deobandī elders are guilty of, and because of which they accuse them of kufr, are contested by Deobandīs and were contested by those accused themselves. Hence, there is a clear contrast between the rightful takfīr of Qādiyānīs and the meritless takfīr of the Deobandī elders.

False Allegation against Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī & Ḥifẓ al-Īmān

The letter begins with the allegation against Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī:

Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi, in his book Hifdh-ul-Iman, in order to show the knowledge of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as less compared the Prophet’s knowledge to children, madmen, rather all animals and quadrupeds.

This is an outright falsehood. Details can be found in the third Arabic article linked above, and p68-80  from The Decisive Debate and p60-69 from A Critique of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn. A summarised response can be read here and here and here.

In the passage of Ḥifẓ al-Īmān in question, Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī was not trying to “show the knowledge of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam to be less” as alleged here. Rather, he was arguing against the use of the title “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Nor did he compare prophetic knowledge to the knowledge of children, madmen and animals. Rather, he contended that if it is based on mere possession of some knowledge of unseen that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is to be referred to as “‘Ālim al-Ghayb”, then mere possession of some knowledge of unseen is not unique to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam); in this case, all and sundry, even children, madmen and animals can be called “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” given that they all have some knowledge of unseen. As can be seen, there is no comparison made between the actual knowledge of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and these others.

Moreover, in Ḥifẓ al-Īmān itself, a few paragraphs after the above, Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī says: “The knowledges that are consequential to and necessary for prophethood were acquired by [the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)] in their totality.” (Ḥifẓ al-Īmān, p17) It is clear he is not trying to “show prophetic knowledge as being less” when he affirms full and complete knowledge of those things that are needed for prophethood; and it is clear he does not believe such knowledge is attained by a non-prophet.

Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī himself answered the false allegation of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān that he compared or drew an equivalence between prophetic knowledge and the knowledge of children, madmen and animals in a subsequent treatise called Basṭ al-Banān, which is appended to most editions of Ḥifẓ al-Īmān.

False Allegation against Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī & Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah

The letter then moves on to the allegation against Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī, and by extension Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī. It states:

Khalil Ahmad Ambethwi, in Barahin-i-Qati’ah, wrote that the knowledge of Shaytan is greater than the knowledge of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم . By writing an attestation upon this book, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi supported this disparagement.

Again, this is complete falsehood. For a detailed explanation, see this article, as well p39-67  from The Decisive Debate and p46-54 from A Critique of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn and answer 18 & 19 from al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad (authored by Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī himself). Also see the second Arabic article linked above.

Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī was discussing specifically certain types of worldly knowledge, namely knowledge of human actions and what takes place in human gatherings etc. An earlier work called Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah apparently argued for complete knowledge for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) of such things based on an analogy with Shayṭān, whose knowledge of these things is proven. Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī responded that analogy cannot prove such things, and while it is proven textually that Shayṭān was given such knowledge it is not proven for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). As clear, this is regarding specific types of worldly knowledge, not about knowledge in general – similar to how the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself said: “You have more knowledge of the matters of your world.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

Regarding knowledge in general, and in particular religious and otherworldly knowledge, Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī said explicitly in al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad (p70-71) that the Prophet’s knowledge is most extensive. He had also said in Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah: “Not even the least Muslim will claim likeness with the Pride of the World (upon him blessings) in proximity to Allāh and his lofty perfections.” (Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah, p7) Of course “lofty perfections” would include knowledge. That is, in knowledge of things on which perfection and virtue depend, none is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

But at the same time, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) asked protection from knowledge that is of no benefit. (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim) Hence, useless, senseless, and even filthy and dirty knowledge, are unbefitting for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). It is no virtue if Shayṭān has lots of them and the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) does not.

False Allegation against Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī & Taḥdhīr un Nās

The letter then moves on to the allegation against Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī. It states:

Qasim Nanotwi, in his book Tahdhir un Nas, explained that it is possible for a new prophet to emerge after our Noble Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and denied the meaning of Final Prophet as being Last in terms of time.

This, again, is complete falsehood. For details, see this article, the first Arabic article linked above and p18-31 from The Decisive Debate and p24-33 from A Critique of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn.

In Taḥdhīr un Nās, Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī says explicitly that the belief in the Prophet’s (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) finality in terms of time is an absolute necessity of belief and its denial is disbelief.

Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī merely presents an additional meaning to the term Khātam al-Nabiyyīn that along with meaning the last prophet in terms of time, it also means the prophet that topped all other prophets in terms of perfection. Several centuries before him, ‘Allāmah al-Khafājī had written: “Khātam [in “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”] is with kasrah & fatḥah on the tā’ – [it means] the end of them and the one in whom is their [total] perfection” (Nasīm al-Riyāḍ, Dārul Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 3:31)

This is precisely what Maulānā Nānotwī stated in Taḥdhīr un Nās: that Khātam al-Nabiyyīn has both meanings of 1) being the prophet that tops all other prophets in perfections and 2) the last of them in time. To explain further, Maulānā Nānotwī said that given the first meaning (i.e. topping all other prophets in perfections), in the hypothetical scenario that a prophet came after the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) this would not violate his being the Khātam al-Nabiyyīn, i.e. in the first meaning, and he would top even that hypothetical prophet by virtue of this meaning of Khātam al-Nabiyyīn. Even in making this hypothetical judgement, he made it clear that it hinges on Khātam al-Nabiyyīn in the first meaning – while he explicitly endorses Khātam al-Nabiyyīn in the second meaning also, and in fact says very clearly that anyone who denies the chronological finality of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is a disbeliever. Given this, to claim he stated that it is factually possible for another prophet to appear is a complete distortion of what he had written.

Adamance on False Takfīr

After presenting these false allegations, the letter then declares:

All of these matters are unequivocal, certain and unanimously agreed upon as being Kufr and there is no room for any valid interpretation for these statements.

It is unbelievable how statements completely removed from what they are alleged to mean by Barelwī Takfīrīs are declared by them to “unequivocally” hold those meanings! The degree of delusion and deception in this comment is truly astounding.

The letter continues:

The controversial statements of the aforementioned books are proven unequivocally via mass transmission and all the leading Deobandi scholars are unanimously agreed upon the fact that these statements indeed belong to their scholars. One will be unable to find even two Deobandi scholars who disagree with this fact.

Yes, there is no debate that Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī authored Taḥdhīr un Nās or that Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī authored Barḥīn e Qāṭi‘ah or that Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī authored Ḥifẓ al-Īmān. The debate is only over how passages from these books are (mis)represented and (mis)interpreted, namely by alleging that Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī in Taḥdhīr un Nās said it is factually possible for another prophet to come after the Prophet Muḥammad, that Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī in Barḥīn e Qāṭi‘ah said Shayṭān has more knowledge than the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and that Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī in Ḥifẓ al-Īmān said prophetic knowledge is comparable/equivalent to the knowledge of children, madmen and animals. This (mis)characterisation is certainly not “proven via mass transmission”. Rather, it is clear distortion and fabrication, indeed calumny and slander.

Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn and its Attestations

The letter continues:

The Takfir of these four scholars is recorded in Husam-ul-Haramayn. The signatures of thirty three scholars of the Haramayn are present in this and hundreds of scholars of the Indian subcontinent also made Takfir.

The takfīrs of the four elders of Deoband recorded in Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn is based on distortion and fabrication as explained in detail in The Decisive Debate and A Critique of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn.

On the value of the signatures of the scholars from the Ḥaramayn, see the discussion from Maulānā Ḥusain Aḥmad Madanī’s al-Shihāb al-Thāqib. The most prominent scholars of Makkah did not sign the document, and those that did made the endorsement conditional on the accuracy of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s claims and attributions – either explicitly or implicitly. So, given that the claims and attributions are false, the attestations and signatures hold no weight.

With characteristic Barelwī browbeating, the letter continues:

What is your stance in this regard? Is it disparagement or not to compare the knowledge of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to children, madmen and animals? If it is then whoever is guilty of such disparagement, is he a Kafir or not? If he is a Kafir then why is Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi not a Kafir? Is it disparagement or not to assert that the knowledge of the accursed Shaytan is greater than the knowledge of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم? If it is then whoever is guilty of such disparagement, is he a Kafir or not? If he is a Kafir then why is Takfir not made of Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and Khalil Ahmad Ambethwi? If someone claims that it is possible for a new prophet to emerge after our Noble Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then is such a person a Kafir or not? If he is then one who writes or says this, is he Kafir or not? If he is a Kafir then why is Takfir not made of Qasim Nanotwi?

It is not contested that drawing an equivalence between prophetic knowledge and knowledge of children, madmen and animals, or saying Shayṭān is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) or believing it is factually possible for another prophet to emerge after the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is kufr. What is contested is that these things were said by these scholars. And as shown an umpteen number of times, the attributions are completely false.

The letter continues:

Our question is not regarding the Takfir of every Deobandi individual. Rather, specifically it is regarding the four leading Deobandi scholars, whose aforementioned statements from their books have been translated into Arabic and English and brought to your attention by Indo-Pak scholars numerous times alongside the explanation for their Takfir. Generally it is regarding every individual, upon whom the Kufr of these statements has been made clear from debates, speeches and writings. Notwithstanding this, such individuals consider these scholars as their religious guides. To this extent, after this much clarification, one who doubts the Kufr of these Deobandi leaders also becomes a Kafir.

This statement shows the efforts to which Barelwīs go to satisfy their urges of meritless takfīr against Deobandīs. They will try to throw it in the faces of outside scholars, alongside their usual deceptive “explanation” and commentary. The letter-writers should consider that maybe not all outside scholars can be intimidated and browbeaten. Some may actually choose to look into the matter and with a little inspection conclude that the allegations are false and slanderous. If the takfīr was so clear-cut and obvious (like the takfīr of Qādiyānīs), why are Barelwīs so hellbent on mutilating passages, and why do they have to distort evidence while “proving” the takfīr?

Imkān al-Kidhb

The letter then brings up the issue of imkān al-kidhb:

It is also the belief of Deobandis that lying is a possibility for Allah تعالى ,i.e. speaking a lie is within the Divine Power. This was written by Rashid Ahmad Gangohi in his Fatawa and Isma’il Dehlawi in his epistle Yak Rozi. However in many books of ‘Aqa’id of Ahl-us-Sunnah it is clearly stated that the Divine Power is only related to possibilities, not necessities nor impossibilities. This is because if a necessary matter is within the Divine Power then it becomes a possibility, whereas it is necessary. Likewise if an impossible matter is within the Divine Power then it becomes a possibility, whereas it is impossible.

It is strange that they provide references to an Urdu work, Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah, and a Farsi work, Yak Rozī, even though this issue is explained in al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad, an easily accessible Arabic work attested to by all major Deobandī scholars of the early era. They probably chose not to refer to al-Muhannad because it provides evidence from the statements of the scholars of Kalām that issuing false speech within the kalām lafẓī is within Allāh’s power though its occurrence is not possible, and scholars from the Arab world of that time endorsed their explanation.

Yes, necessities and impossibilities are not included within Allāh’s power. Issuing a false statement, however, does not fall under intrinsic impossibilities but under intrinsic possibilities. It is just like putting a pious believer in Hell or putting a wretched disbeliever in Heaven – such things are intrinsically possible given Allāh’s power over them, but their occurrence is impossible. For an explanation, see this (in English) and this (in Arabic).

The letter continues to provide evidence that issuing false speech is impossible:

Lying is a defect and it is impossible to ascribe defects to the Divine Essence of Allah تعالى. It is stated in Sharh-ul-‘Aqa’id Jalali, “Lying is a defect and defects are impossible for Allah. Thus lying is not from possibilities, nor is it included within the Divine Power, just as all causes of defect are impossible for Allah تعالى ,e.g. ignorance and incapacity.” [Al-Dawwani ‘Alal ‘Aqa’id Al-‘Adadiyyah, p73, Mujtaba’i, Delhi, reference from Fatawa Ridawiyyah 15:329] In Sharh-ul-Maqasid it is stated, 6 “Lying is impossible for Allah. Firstly due to the consensus of the scholars. Secondly due to mass transmission of reports of the Prophets والسالم الصالة عليهم .Thirdly due to lying being a defect by the unanimous agreement of intellectuals. It is impossible for Allah تعالى”. [Sharh-ul-Maqasid 2:104, Dar-ul-Ma’arif an-Nu’maniyyah, Lahore, reference from Fatawa Ridawiyyah 15:517]

It should first be noted that there are explicit statements from the scholars of Kalām stating that issuing a false statement within the kalām lafẓī (verbalised speech), as opposed to the kalām nafsī (self speech), is from the possibilities contained within Allāh’s power, although its occurrence is impossible. For example, al-Sharīf al-Jurjānī writes about falsehood in the verbalised speech that it is “from the possibilities included within Allah’s power” (min al-mumkināt allatī tashmaluhū qudratuh). (Sharḥ al-Mawāqif, 8:331) ‘Allāmah Isma‘il al-Kalnabawi (d 1205 H) says: “In sum, lying being ugly in the kalām lafẓī, in the sense that it is an attribute of imperfection, is not accepted according to the Ash‘arīs. That is why al-Sharīf al-Muḥaqqiq said it is from the category of possibilities, while acquiring decisive knowledge of its non-occurrence in His speech by consensus of scholars and prophets does not negate its intrinsic possibility.” (Ḥāshiyat al-Kalnabawī ‘ala ‘l-Jalāl, p.449-50)

More quotes can be found in al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad and in Juhd al-Muqill.

What about the quotes the Barelwī letter-writers reproduce from Aḥmad Riḍā Khān? Regarding the first quote from al-Dawwānī, Maulānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī contends that it is regarding the kalām nafsī and not the kalām lafẓī. (Tazkirat al-Khalīl, p145) The statement from Sharḥ al-Maqāṣid is also very clearly regarding the kalām nafsī. The original quote can be found on page 158-9 of the fourth volume of Sharḥ al-Maqāṣid (available here). In this way, it is possible to reconcile the apparently conflicting statements.

Istighāthah

The letter further alleges:

Furthermore Deobandis generally consider the one who seeks help from the inhabitants of graves as a disbeliever and polytheist. They consider the one who calls upon inhabitants of graves from afar as a polytheist akin to the disbelievers of the Quraysh who call upon idols.

This is false. Deobandīs do not say istighāthah (asking for help from saints who have passed away) is always major shirk. They regard it to be impermissible and expressions of shirk (and thus sometimes refer to it as “shirk”), but only true shirk when accompanied by a belief that the being called for help is an independent agent. This same position on istighāthah was articulated by Ḥanafis before Deobandīs like Ṣun‘ullāh al-Ḥalabī (who is also pre-Wahhābī), Qāḍī Thanā’ullāh Pānipatī and Shaykh Maḥmūd Ālūsī.

Maulānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī has a short Arabic write-up on tawassul. One of the types of tawassul he describes is istighāthah. He defines it as “calling to [a creature] and seeking his help in the manner of the idolaters. This is ḥarām by consensus. As for whether it is manifest shirk or not, its criterion is that if he believes in his independence in bringing about an effect, it is shirk in creed, of a blasphemous nature…[and otherwise, it is not]” (Bawādir al-Nawādir, p. 706) Then, explaining the meaning of “independence”, he says:

معنى استقلاله أن الله قد فوض إليه الأمور بحيث لا يحتاج في إمضائها إلى مشيئته الجزئية وإن قدر على عزله عن هذا التفويض

“The meaning of his ‘independence’ is that Allāh had authorised him with powers in such a way that he does not need His particular will in [each instance of] executing those [powers], although He has the ability to depose him from this authorisation.” (Bawādir al-Nawādir, p. 708)

He has also explained a similar principle in a work called Nihāyat al-Idrāk fi Aqsām al-Ishrāk, which has been translated.

Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī also differentiates between different beliefs, and does not state istighāthah is automatically shirk akbar. He references Shah Isḥāq Dehlawī, the grandson and successor of Shāh ‘Abdul Azīz Dehlawī.

Mawlid

They continue:

They consider those who commemorate the Mawlid as misguided innovators etc.

To celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in the month of Rabī‘ al-Awwal as an institutionalised, habitual, ritual practice done each year is indeed an innovation. Deobandī elders were not the only ones to denounce this practice. Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī, Tāj al-Dīn al-Fākihānī, Abū ‘Abdillāh al-Ḥaffār and other scholars had also denounced the birthday celebration, which was initially introduced by the Shī‘ī Rawāfiḍ some time around the fourth or fifth centuries of Hijrah.

Deobandīs do not have issue with holding a gathering, without ritualising or institutionalising a particular time, to praise and glorify the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). For more detail, see here and here.

Takfīr

The letter-writers finally make the absurd claim:

The Wahhabis and Deobandis consider Ahl-us-Sunnah as hell bound polytheists. Are such Wahhabis and Deobandis people of truth?

Takfīr is the pastime of Barelwīs and Wahhābīs, not Deobandīs. Deobandīs do not consider Ahl al-Sunnah to be hell-bound polytheists. On the other hand, Barelwīs do consider innocent imāms of Ahl al-Sunnah and those who do not consider them to be disbelievers hell-bound disbelievers. Maulānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī points out in al-Shihāb al-Thāqib (p221-4) that in truth it is Barelwīs that resemble Wahhābīs in their most characteristic trait i.e. takfīr, and thus are more deserving of that appellation than Deobandīs.

Concluding Note

Evidence-based critique of the takfīr and false allegations against Deobandīs as presented above generally elude dyed-in-the-wool Barelwīs like those that authored this letter. For them it makes no difference whether an explanation is given or not, whether their misinformation is exposed or not. The verdict given by Maulānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī based on a decade-long experience from a century ago still rings true today. He writes:

In my earlier phase, after ten years of experience, it became a ‘true certainty’ for me that the educated flag bearers and leaders of this [Barelwī] fitnah of takfīr never misunderstood or made an academic slip. They themselves know very well that our elders are completely free of those heretical beliefs they attribute to them. In short, I do not have even an atom’s weight of doubt in the ungodliness that purely for their worldly benefits and interest, they wilfully slandered and falsely accused our elders. Therefore, there is no hope that if they understand the matter through the means of writing or lecturing, this fitnah will end. Not only once or twice, again and again, through the means of writing and lecturing and discussion, attempts have been made to make them understand. Books have been written. Debates have been had. And by the grace and mercy of Allāh Almighty and His accordance and support, in those books and those debates, the matter was composed and written in such a way that if in reality there was some misunderstanding or academic error then this matter would have ended long ago. But the reality is that, since this fitnah-mongering is the means of their work and livelihood, even if they are made to understand a thousand times, they will never accept. This condition of theirs is exactly like the stubborn actions of those who oppose Allāh, regarding whom the Noble Qur’ān says: ‘And they denied them, though their souls acknowledged them, for spite and arrogance.’ (27:14)

This is why I am certain that talking with these instigators to make them understand is merely a waste of time and actually helps their cause. This is why it is my sure opinion that all of this should be avoided, and the policy mentioned in these words of the Qur’ān should be adopted clearly: ‘There is no argumentation between us and you. Allāh will bring us together, and to Him is the final return.’ (42:15) Thus, I will no longer correspond with the flag bearers and leaders of this fitnah of takfīr who have made this fitnah-mongering their occupation and work.

However, it is no doubt the right of those poor Muslim laymen who, being deceived by their scholarly form and scholarly dress, became afflicted by this fitnah of takfīr, that in a suitable manner they are made to understand and an attempt is made to save them from this fitnah. In this respect a grassroots and general method is that in the place where this fitnah is manifest, to explain to the educated Muslims amongst them the actual truth and the reality of these fitnah-stirrers, and then they will make attempts to make the masses understand. (The Decisive Debate, p. 13-4)