This book has been written against the work of Alahazrat, hussam al-haramayn:
He shows how the Barelwi scholars were against the positions of Shah Waliyullah and his family. They clearly disagree with him and call him a so-called Wahhabi!
This book has been written against the work of Alahazrat, hussam al-haramayn:
He shows how the Barelwi scholars were against the positions of Shah Waliyullah and his family. They clearly disagree with him and call him a so-called Wahhabi!
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.””
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.”
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.
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.’”
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
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
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
The Fatwa of Kufr was first published by Ahmad Raza Khan in 1902 through the work al-mu‘tamad al-mustanad. The takfir got more famous under the name Hussam al-Haramayn in 1906 after his hajj, in which he tried to convince the Arab scholars for the validity of his mass takfir. He published the book once back in India.
The reply of the Deobandi scholars came immediately in 1907 through the work al-muhannad ‘ala al-mufannad written by Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri.
Another work was written by Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani called al-Shihab al-Thaqib. Ahmad Raza Khan refers to this work in his book Khalis al-I’tiqad. Mawlana Chandpuri, the khalifa of Mawlana Thanwi, wrote several books against him and challenged him for a debate. Ahmad Raza Khan in his Fatawa mentions Mawlana Chandpuri and his unwillingness to debate a khalifa instead of Mawlana Thanwi, who appointed his khalifa on his behalf in order to debate the issue at hand.
Ahmad Raza died in in 1921 so he had more than 10 years to ponder over his takfiri fatwa, but to no avail. Ahmad Raza Khan knew very well the arguments of his opponents and knew about the fabricated fatwa ascribed to Ml. Gangohi.
Despite all of this, the Barelwis still call their leader Ahmad Raza “hesitant and cautious” in takfir. How funny!
In his article, Shaykh Nuh expanded on the unjust takfir made by Barelwis against the scholars of Deoband. He says that Barelwis were guilty of the “greatest Wahhabi bid’a of all” and thus states indirectly that Barelwis and especially Ahmad Raza Khan have Wahhabi traits:
The sad irony in this was that the greatest Wahhabi bid‘a of all, takfir of fellow Muslims, was unleashed in India by denunciations of “Wahhabism.” Ahmad Reza’s fatwas depicted his opponents as “Wahhabi sects,” which his latter-day followers came to declare all Deobandis to belong to through a sort of “guilt by association.”
Below is a review by a brother on the article of Sh. Nuh Keller. The article below was found on a forum:
Recently I came across the first review of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi’s Deobandi takfir by someone we could all call neutral. This post is in reference to Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s article “Iman, Kufr, and Takfir.”
The Sheikh needs to be congratulated for taking an initial bold step for opening the door for further dialogue on an issue that deeply divides the Ahl Al-Sunnah of the Indian sub-continent. It should be remembered that our role here is not to criticize the respected Sheikh in the way people on this website are presently doing. Sadly many people there are jumping on the takfiri bandwagon – as is their methodology and minhaj – and brutishly making extremely outlandish and heartrending claims.
However, there are a few points that have most likely been unintentionally missed by Sheikh Nuh in his article. A natural occurrence since Sheikh Nuh, not knowing Urdu, is limited in his access to books and texts concerning the Barelwi’s takfir of the Akabir. Sheikh Nuh has had to resort to brief translated pieces of “relevant” texts to write his article – this point will, insha Allah, become clearer when one completes reading this post.
If the points missed by Sheikh Nuh had been mentioned then the article would have been impartial, understandable and acceptable. I expect that the esteemed Sheikh will agree with me on this and I hope his Urdu-speaking murids will bring these discrepancies to his notice. In total there are three main points, among many others, that need to be understood:
1. First and foremost, Sheikh Nuh has failed to mention the seventh disputed Aqida issue between the Deobandis and Barelwis. This is a core issue and is still very dear and near to present day Barelwis.
It forms the basis of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan’s declaration – as mentioned in his book Husam al-Haramayn (Sword of the Meccan and Medinan Sanctuaries) – that Mawlana Qasim Nanotwi (the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband) was an infidel (kafir).
In order to prove his point, Molwi Ahmed Raza Khan quotes a statement, which he alleges is from Mawlana Nanotwi’s book Tahdhir Al-Naas. According to Molwi Ahmed Raza Khan’s quote, the respected Mawlana Nanotwi denied the finality of the Messenger of Allah’s prophet hood (khatm-e-nubuwwat).
In reality this statement does not appear anywhere in Mawlana Nanotwi’s book. On rigorous analysis of the book, it comes to light – as has been shown by many Ulamah in many of their books (all generally in Urdu) – that the statement that Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan quoted had been concocted from three different passages from three different pages of Tahdhi Al-Naas. These texts had been rearranged to give a meaning that Molvi Ahemd Raza Khan then used to level charges of infidelity (takfir) against the founder of Darul Uloom Deoband – Subhanallah.
The question remains whether this could be condoned as a “mistake,” a “mistranslation” or a “misinterpretation”? Could such a blatant mistake stem from the author of a book like Al-Dawla Al-Makkiyya Bi Al-Madda Al-Ghaybiyya?
Nay, the text used by Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan was a total forgery, distortion of the truth and fraud. Dear reader, is it permissible to commit such a crime of misrepresentation while claiming this was done out of love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him)?
I leave this issue without comment. It is self-evident for anyone with a grain of faith to decide for him or her self what motivated Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan to commit the grossest of takfir.
2. The second issue is related to Hadhrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri.
Prior to discussing this issue in detail it should be made extremely clear that Hadhrat Saharanpuri has stated clearly in black and white:
“That no creature has received what the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be on him) has received in the knowledge of the first and the last, whether angel brought near or Prophet-Messenger. But, this does not entail knowledge of every specific detail of the lower world.” (Al-Muhannad p.38)
It should also be known that Hadhrat Khalil Ahmed Sahranpuri’s book “Baraahin-e-Qatiah” is not an independent book by itself but rather a refutation of a book entitled “Anwaar-e-Saatiah” by Molvi Abdus Sami Rampuri – a follower of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan. Baraahin has been written in the traditional style of polemics (munazara), in that it contains both the text of Molvi Rampuri and then Hadhrat Sahranpuri’s refutation thereafter clarifying the position of Ahl Al-Sunnat Ahl-e-Deoband. This clarification is necessary to answer the specific issues raised by Sheikh Nuh and thus avoiding confusion and generalizations. Incidentally, Sheikh Nuh is under the impression that Hadhrat Saharanpuri is referring to Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan when in fact Hadhrat Sahranpuri is referring to Molvi Abdus Sami.
In his book “Anwaar-e-Saatiah,” Molvi Abdus Sami mentions an extremely outlandish and strange analogy as an argument to prove that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is Alim Al-Ghayb (knower of the unseen). Molvi Abdu Sami mentions that since Satan and the Angel of Death know the unseen (ghayb) wherever they are, and since the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is of greater merit than Satan and the Angel of Death then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) must also possess knowledge of the unseen.
To support his claims, Molvi Abdus Sami fails to provide proof from Quraan, Hadith and also from the sayings of previous scholars (as there are none) but rather bases his argument on this strange analogy (qiyas).
Naturally, Hadhrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmed Sahranpuri’s response is going to include the analogy of Molvi Abdus Sami Rampuri and this would entail the mentioning of Satan and the Angel of Death. Remember Baraahin-e-Qatiah has been written in the traditional style of polemics (munazara).
Hadhrat Saharanpuri mentions that the knowledge of Satan and the Angel of Death is “ilm-e-muheet-e-zamin” (a knowledge that comprises of earthly things) – Hadhrat Saharanpuri mentions that we know that Satan and the Angel of Death have this ilm through proofs from the Quran and the narrations of the blessed Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Hadhrat Saharanpuri further mentions that similar proofs cannot be realized in relation to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
So Sheikh Nuh’s argument that “Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s disadvantageously comparing the Prophet’s knowledge (Allah bless him and give him peace) to Satan’s” does not hold true because Hadhrat Sahranpuri is not making a comparison rather he is answering an argument forwarded by Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan Baraelwi’s student who had made such a claim. And this also only is knowledge related to the lower world.
Sheikh Nuh says: “In sum, Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s disadvantageously comparing the Prophet’s knowledge (Allah bless him and give him peace) to Satan’s, the vilest creature in existence—regardless of the point he was making—is something few Muslims can accept.” Shaykh Nuh further says that “he badly stumbled in this passage. In any previous Islamic community, whether in Hyderabad, Kabul, Baghdad, Cairo, Fez, or Damascus—in short, practically anywhere besides the British India of his day—Muslims would have found his words repugnant and unacceptable.”
Shame that Sheikh Nuh was relying on translated sections to make his conclusions and therefore make the mistake of making inappropriate conclusions – Subhanallah. If he had been able to access the entire book in Urdu then he would have realized that Hadhrat Saharanpuri was not making the comparison – the comparison had been made by the student of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan and that Hadhrat Saharanpuri was clarifying the matter.
3. Lastly and most importantly, Sheikh Nuh mentions a statement of Hadhrat Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi.
When Molvi Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi’s comments relating to Hadhrat Thanawi’s text in Hifdh Al-Iman was shown to Hakim Al-Ummat, he (Hadhrat Thanawi) strongly rejected Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan’s “interpretation” and commented that he could not even dream of thinking such a repugnant (khabees) thing about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Hadhrat Thanawi himself said that if anyone was to believe and directly or indirectly agreed with what Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan had understood/misunderstood from his text then he (Hakim Al-Ummat) would, in accordance with the rulings of Shariah, consider such a person to be outside the pale of Islam for denigrating the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). This is a documented comment of Hakim Al-Ummat.
In addition to this, with an aim of making his statement more clear and understandable, Hakim Al-Ummat twice made changes in the text so as there would be no ambiguity left in the text. Thereafter, the text read as follows:
“Aap ki zhat-e-muqqadasa par alim-e-ghayab ka hukaum keya jana agar baqol Zayd sahih ho to daryafet taleb yay amr hah keh iss ghayab seymurad ba’az ghayab hay ya kul ghayab. Agar ba’az uloom-e-ghayabiya muradhain to iss mey huzoor sallalaho alhey wasalam ki keya takhsees hay?///Mutlaq ba’az uloom-e-ghayabiya to ghair Ambiya ahlehimussalam ko bih hasil hain/// to chaheyay keh sub ko alim ul ghayab kaha jaway.” (Bast Al-Banan — forward slashes mark changes made to text by Hakim Al-Ummat)
Trans: “If it refers to but some of the unseen, then how is the Revered One [the Prophet] (Allah bless him and give him peace) uniquely special? Certain knowledge of unseen is possessed by the non-prophets also, so everyone should be called ‘knower of the unseen…’”
Hadhrat Hakim Al-Ummat Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi made it also extremely clear that no one was to publish the old text of Hifdh Al-Iman (the one that Sheikh Nuh has published) after the changes had been made. These changes were done in the lifetime of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan. Subsequently two books were written by Hakim Al-Ummat – Bast Al-Banan Li Kaff Al-Lisan An Kitab Hifdh Al-Iman (1329AH) and Tagyir Al-Unwan Fi Ba’di Ibarat Hifdh Al-Iman (1342AH).
Hence, to insist on this issue after clarification and removal of the statement is extremely strange. Keeping all these details in mind it becomes clearer that the Baraelwi takfir was totally wrong.
With regards to these “repugnant” texts, Sheikh Nuh mentions in his paper that “looking back, one cannot help wondering why Khalil Ahmad’s and Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s own students and teachers and friends did not ask them, before their opponents asked them.” This is a bold statement for one who has had to rely on selected translated texts in order to substantiate and critique the issue at hand. Fundamentally, Sheikh Nuh and at that other non-Urdu speaking Ulamah who wish to review this issue would not be able to give full justice to the topic by relying solely on translations of selected texts. The above few words hopefully clarify the matters involved, insha Allah.
These are briefly just some of the issues that spring to mind with regards Sheikh Nuh’s piece. Deobandis should be rest assured that the Akabir were on the true path and were not mistaken in anyway. Urdu is a must to understand the Deobandi-Barelwi issue. In the least, Sheikh Nuh could have rechecked his paper and the conclusions he had reached with the leading Deobandi scholars he is in contact with. We live in a global village, the Ulamah are only a telephone call away.
Finally, finishing off it should be noted that the purpose of this paper is not to denigrate Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller or any other Ulamah in any way. A prolonged and exhaustive reading into the issue by referring to relevant texts and then posing questions to contemporary Deobandi Ulamah would have made Sheikh Nuh’s more decisive.
– Ghayat Al-Ma’mul by the Mufti of the Shafi’is in Madinah – Sayyid Ahmed Al-Barzanji. This book was written in refutation of Molvi Ahmed Raza Khan’s views on Ilm Al-Ghayb.
– Al-Sahm Al-Ghayb Fi Kabd Ahl Al-Rayb by Hadhrat Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri. This work has been mentioned by Sheikh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah in his editing of Allamah Kashmiri’s book Al-Tasreeh Bima Tawatur Fi Nuzul Al-Masih.
– Mut’ala-e-Barelwiyyat (Study on the Barelvi’s) by Allamah Dr Khalid Mahmud.
– Al-Shihab Al-Thaqib Ala Al-Mustariq Al-Kadhib in 3 volumes by Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani.
– Izalat Al-Rayb An Aqeeda Ilm Al-Ghayb by Maulana Abu Zahid Muhammad Sarfraz Khan, Shaykhul-Hadith in Madrasa Nusratul-Ulum, Gujranwala, Pakistan.
– Deoband Awr Barelwi Ke Ikhtilaf-i-Niza Par Faisalakun Munazarah by Mawlana Manzur Nomani.
– Fath Bareilly Ka Dilkash Nazarah by Mawlana Manzur Nomani.
– Sa’eeqa Asmaani by Mawlana Manzur Nomani
Do you say that the knowledge of the Prophet (upon him be peace) is limited only to the laws of the Shari‘ah or was he given knowledge pertaining to the Essence, Attributes and Acts of the Maker (Exalted is His Name), the hidden secrets (al-asrar al-khafiyyah), the divine judgement (al-hukm al-ilahiyyah) and other than of that of which none from creation, whoever he may be, reached the pavilions of his knowledge?
We say with the tongue and we believe in the heart that our master, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), is the most knowledgeable of all creation, with sciences pertaining to the Essence and Attributes [of Allah], legislations (tashri‘at), of the practical rules and the theoretical rules, the true realties and the hidden secrets, and other sciences, that none from creation reached the pavilions of his courtyard, neither an angel brought nigh nor a messenger sent.
Indeed he was given the knowledge of the first and the last and Allah’s grace upon him was immense (Qur’an 4:113). However, this does not entail knowledge of every particular from the temporal matters in every moment from the moments of time, such that the concealment of part of it from his noble vision and his exalted knowledge harms his (upon him be peace) being the most learned of all creation, and [harms] the extensiveness of his knowledge and the excellence of his cognizance, even if one other than him from creatures and servants becomes cognizant of it. Sulayman (upon him be peace) being the most learned [in his time] was not harmed by the concealment [from him] of what Hudhud had comprehended of strange incidents, as it says in the Qur’an, “He said: I comprehend that which you do not comprehend and I have brought to you a sure information from Sheba” (Qur’an 27:22).
Do you believe that Iblis, the accursed, is more knowledgeable than the Chief Existent (upon him be peace) and has more expansive knowledge than him in absolute terms? Have you written this in a book? And how do you judge one who believes this?
A review of this issue preceded from us, that the Prophet (upon him be peace) is the most knowledgeable of creation in general, of the sciences, the judgement, the secrets and other than that from the Kingdom of the Horizons, and we believe with certainty that one who says that so-and-so person is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (upon him be peace) has disbelieved. Our elders have given the verdict of disbelief for one who says that Iblis, the accursed, is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), so how is it possible that this matter is in a certain book we authored?
However, the concealment of some insignificant particular things from the Prophet (upon him be peace) due to his inattention to it does not cause any defect in his (upon him be peace) being the most learned once it is established that he is the most knowledgeable of creation of the noble sciences that are fitting to his lofty station, just as cognizance of most of those insignificant things due to the intensity of Iblis’s attention to them does not cause glory and perfection of knowledge in him, since this is not the criterion of virtue. Hereof, it is not correct to say that Iblis is more knowledgeable than the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) just as it is not correct to say about a child who knows some particulars that he is more knowledgeable than an erudite research scholar in the sciences from whom those particulars are hidden. We have recited unto you the story of Hudhud with Sulayman (upon our Prophet and upon him be peace) and his statement, “I comprehend that which you do not comprehend.” The records of hadith and the books of tafsir are replete with abundant examples of this which are well-known amongst people.
The physicians are agreed that Plato and Galen and their likes are from the most knowledgeable of physicians about the qualities of diseases and their states, despite their knowledge that maggots are more knowledgeable about states of filth, their taste and their qualities. Hence, the absence of Plato’s and Galen’s knowledge of these despicable states does not harm their being the most learned, and none from the intelligent and the stupid will be satisfied with the view that maggots are more knowledgeable than Plato, although they have more extensive knowledge than Plato about the states of filth. The innovators of our lands affirm for the blessed prophetic soul (upon it a million greetings and peace) all the sciences of the base lowly things and the lofty virtuous things, saying that since he (upon him be peace) was the best of all creation, it is necessary that he possesses all of those sciences, every particular and every universal. We rejected the establishment of this matter using this corrupt analogy without a proof-text from the relied upon texts. Do you not see that every believer is more virtuous and more honourable than Iblis so following this logic it would be necessary that every person from the individuals of this ummah possesses the sciences of Iblis, and it would be necessary that Sulayman (upon our Prophet and upon him be peace) knew that which Hudhud knew, and that Plato and Galen knew all the knowledge of maggots? These concomitants are absurd in their entirety as is obvious.
This is a summary of what we said in al-Barahin al-Qati‘ah in order to sever the veins of the foolish deviants and break the necks of the forging deceivers. Hence, our discussion about it was only in regards to some of these temporal particulars, and for this reason we used the demonstrative noun to indicate that the objective in affirmation and negation there was those particulars, and nothing besides [them]. However, the iniquitous distort the speech and do not fear the reckoning of the Knowing King. We are certain that those who say that so-and-so individual is more knowledgeable than the Prophet (upon him be peace) is a disbeliever, as more than one of our respected ‘ulama stated. And whoever concocts about us that which we did not say, upon him is [the burden of] proof, [and he should] fear the interrogation before the Recompensing King. Allah is witness over what we say.
Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad ya‘ni ‘Aqa’id ‘Ulama Ahl al-Sunnah Deoband, pp. 55-60