Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī: Asking Needs (Istighāthah) from the Dead is Impermissible and Kufr

February 19, 2019

Shāh Waliyullāh Dehlawī (1703 – 1762) states:

Realise that asking needs from the dead, [even] while recognising that this is a means to having it fulfilled, is kufr. It must be avoided. This kalimah (i.e. the shahādah) forbids it, and yet people today are engrossed in it.” (al-Khayr al-Kathīr, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, p. 105)

Note that while he considers it kufr, this does not necessarily mean he will make takfīr of individuals/people engaged in it, as kufr can be averted based on ignorance or ta’wīl. The reason this is kufr is it apparently ascribes powers of an immaterial nature to other than Allāh, while such powers are exclusive to Him.*

Shāh Waliyyullāh further says:

All who go to the city of Ajmer or the grave of Sālār Mas‘ūd or anything similar to them for the purpose of a need he requests [from them], he has committed a sin graver than murder and adultery. He has no likeness but the likeness of one who worships creatures or the likeness of those who would call Lāt and ‘Uzzā, although we do not make explicit takfīr [of an individual] due to the absence of a text from the lawgiver on this specific matter [and thus ta’wīl being possible]. Everyone who specifies life in the deceased and requests needs from him his heart is sinful.” (Al-Tafhīmāt al-Ilāhiyyah, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, 2:45)

He also says:

“Further, the definition of shirk with Allāh in worship is to glorify other than Allāh seeking thereby to get near to Allāh (Exalted is He) and salvation in the next life. Amongst the greatest illnesses of this time of ours is their worship of their shuyūkh, whether living, or of their graves when dead. The ignorant copy the disbelievers of India in worshipping their idols in their practices.  The definition of shirk with Allāh in seeking help is to seek one’s need from another while believing he has the power to accomplish it by applying a powerful will, like curing the sick, giving life and death, giving provision and creating a child, and other things that are included within the Names of Allāh (Exalted is He). The definition of shirk with Allāh in calling out is to mention other than Allāh (Glorified is He) while believing this action of his will benefit him in his afterlife or in coming closer to Allāh, just as they mention their shuyūkh when waking up in the morning.” (Al-Tafhīmāt al-Ilāhiyyah, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, 2:63-4)

Shāh Waliyyullāh explains in a statement of ‘aqīdah:

“[Allāh] has no partner in the necessity of existence nor in deserving worship nor in creation and administration. None deserves worship, i.e. the furthest extent of glorification, besides Him. None heals the sick, provides provision and alleviates harm besides Him, in the sense of saying to a thing Kun and it happens, not in the sense of outward ordinary causation as is said: ‘The doctor healed the sick person’, ‘the commander provided the army’…” (al-Tafhīmāt al-Ilāhiyyah, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmī, 1:144-5)

Shāh Waliyyullāh makes the same point in his well-known work Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah (Dārul Jīl, 1:117):

It is fine to take material assistance within the material world Allāh has created, or from what we learn via revelation is available for assistance. Outside of this, any event/help is from kharq al-‘ādāt (breaking of the norm) which is exclusively the activity of Allāh (even if apparently done on the hand of a creature), so none besides Him is to be asked for them. See Rāh e Hidāyat of Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar for more detail.

Shāh Waliyyullāh also says in Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah:

“This concept [i.e. shirk] has various embodiments and forms, and the divine law only discusses embodiments and forms of it which the people practice with the intention of shirk, so that they become anticipated sources (maẓinnah) of shirk and customarily inseparable from it. This is similar to the practice of the divine law in establishing the causes that entail good or evil actions as being tantamount to those acts themselves. We want to alert you to those things which Allāh, may He be Exalted, has made anticipated sources (maẓinnāt) of shirk in the divine law brought by Muḥammad, may there be peace and blessings upon the one who brought it, so that he forbade them…Among them is that they used to request assistance (yasta’īnuna) with their needs (fi ḥawā’ijihim) such as in curing the sick and meeting the needs of the poor, from other than Allāh. They would make vows to them expecting the accomplishment of their purposes through these vows, and they would recite their names, hoping for their blessing. Therefore, Allāh, may He be Exalted, made incumbent upon them that they say during their prayers: ‘You alone do we worship, You alone do we seek for help’ (Qur’ān, 1:4).” (Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah, Dārul Jīl, 1:120)

Recall also that one of Shāh Waliyyullāh’s prominent students Qāḍī Thanā’ullāh Pānipatī also condemned istighāthah, as documented here.

Barelwīs who assert that such teachings and such opposition to istighāthah originated in India with Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd are, as usual, lying.

* Mawlānā Idrīs Kāndhlewī explains this as follows: “The fourth scenario is when in asking for help from other [than Allah], it is suggestive of the independence of this [entity] other [than Allah], like asking help from spirits. Even though this person does not believe them to be independent, nonetheless, since the idolaters ask help from the spirits believing them to be independent, this is why asking help from spirits is absolutely haram. There is no doubt over it being haram. The doubt is whether this person will come out of the fold of Islam or not? Since this action is a complete manifestation of shirk, this is why there is strong fear of him coming out of the sphere of Islam.” (source)


The Clear Blasphemy & Kufr of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī – Ḥakīm al-Ummat Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī and ‘Allāmah Khālid Maḥmūd

January 14, 2019

Ḥakīm al-Ummat Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī raḥimahullāh addresses the “explicit kufr in which there can be no ta’wīl” of some heretics who claimed that Shaykh ‘Abdul Qādir al-Jīlānī is equal to, or has surpassed, Allāh Ta‘ālā in the quality of the creation being in need of him! Na‘ūdhu billāh. (Imdād al-Fatāwā, Maktabah Dārul ‘Ulūm Karāchī, 6:75)

Ḥakīm al-Ummat Thānawī raḥimahullāh explains that, “The being and characteristics of Allāh, the Absolutely Powerful (Qādir Muṭlaq), are themselves outside the Divine Power. Otherwise, it would necessitate believing that He is able to bring into existence His own likeness, which is absurd.” (ibid. 76)

He then explains this as divine punishment for the Mubtadi‘īn (innovators) who lay false allegations against the noble ‘ulamā’ of dīn:

The Mubtadi‘īn who have waged war against those who wrote that [creating] a likeness of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is under the Power of the Creator (Exalted is He) but extrinsically impossible, and have popularised the [correct] belief of expressing the Power of the Absolutely Powerful under the [ambiguous] slogan of “imkān al-kidhb” and thereby have created ill-feeling amongst the ignorant for the ‘ulamā’ of dīn, those [very same Mubtadi‘īn] have fabricated the [false] belief about Ḥaḍrat Shaykh [‘Abdul Qādir al-Jīlānī] that, Allāh forbid, Allāh has made him His equal, and in fact made him superior to Himself, which is certainly explicit kufr. This punishment has befallen these people on account of the bad language they have used in relation to the respected ‘ulamā’ of dīn and as a result have acquired the mark of blackened faces in both worlds. (ibid. 6:76)

The “blackened faces” in this world refers to humiliation and being exposed. (Muṭāla‘ah Barelwiyyat, by Dr. ‘Allāmah Khālid Maḥmūd, Hafzi Book Depot, 5:69)

Ḥakīm al-Ummat Thānawī raḥimahullāh explains further that the one who entertains such a belief is “certainly a Mushrik and Kāfir”. He then quotes two poems which are “in the same vein” (Imdād al-Fatāwā, 6:76). The first poem states that, na‘ūdhu billāh, Allāh, the Sovereign, has made the one He has given His attention to equal to Him and thus he is “not less than Allāh”! He writes that this poetry is “explicit shirk”, and “the one who composed this verse is worthy of being considered a Mushrik and outside of Islām.” (ibid.)

Then he refers to a second verse of poetry that says:

I will call you Mālik (the Owner) for you are the Mālik’s beloved, for there is no otherness/separation between the beloved and the lover.

Ḥakīm al-Ummat Thānawī raḥimahullāh states that “Mālik” here has been used in the meaning of “God” (Khudā), and thus the clear meaning of the verse is that the person being addressed “is Allāh’s beloved and there is no difference between the beloved and the lover, and thus he is also, Allāh forbid, divine!” Thus, the writer of the verse “is deserving of the same ruling which has been given for the first verse. The ruling cannot change based on any ta’wīl because the words are completely clear.” (ibid. 6:76-7)

‘Allāmah Khālid Maḥmūd ḥafiẓahullāh comments:

The fatwā that Ḥakīm al-Ummat (Allāh have mercy on him) gave on the first verse is that the one who said this verse is a Mushrik and outside of Islām.

Now, he has given this same fatwā on the one who said this second verse. To whom does this second verse of poetry belong? It belongs to Mawlānā Aḥmad Riḍā Khān. (Muṭāla‘ah Barelwiyyat, 5:70)

The line can be found in Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Ḥadā’iq Bakhshish. (Scans below).

Those who lie and slander the great imāms of dīn should take heed. Allāh has declared war against those who show enmity to his Awliyā’. It would not be farfetched that the one Allāh has declared war against, the greatest gift Allāh has given him – his īmān – will be snatched away from him in one way or another. Shaykh al-Islām Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī raḥimahullāh explains:

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. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 290)


Ahmad Rida Khan’s Father Rejects the Belief in Hazir/Nazir, Hearing from a Distance, for Saints

November 29, 2018

Naqi Ali Khan (1830-1880), Ahmad Rida Khan’s (1856 – 1921) father and primary teacher, says:

For example, an ignoramus holds the belief in connection to an accomplished individual from the saints of this Ummah that he knows the conditions of the entire world altogether at all times and moments and whoever calls him at any time from any place he hears immediately, then although the belief is apparently not established, but if together with this he does not regard him to be independent in the knowledge and power, and regards them all to be from the notification and power of God, and nor does he regard him to be of necessary existence and deserving of worship, he will not become Mushrik based on this belief. Yes, the masses should be prevented from this belief and its falsity should be demonstrated… (Usul al-Rashad, Idarah e Ahl e Sunnat, p. 45-6)

Thus, he clearly rejects the belief that saints are “hazir nazir” or are able to hear from a distance.

In regards to Naqi Ali Khan’s point, however, the masses cannot be trusted to always hold such pure beliefs as expressed by him. Many of them hold Mu’tazili-like beliefs about “secondary causes”, that is, Allah created things with inherent powers, and after receiving those powers they operate independently rather than being dependent on Him in each and every instance. Several centuries ago, Imam al-Sanusi (1428 – 1490) stated that this is generally the belief held by the masses (Sharh al-Kubra, p. 37).

Thus, the Hanafi imams have ruled that such beliefs about saints, which would clearly be based on “independence” (even if it is believed that the powers were initially received from Allah), to be kufr, as it would be to ascribe independent knowledge of the unseen to someone. Allamah Abdul Hayy al-Lakhnawi wrote:

Such recitation consists of calling on the dead from a distance and it is not established in the Shari‘ah that saints have the power to listen to a call from a distance. However, it is established that the dead hear the salutation of the visitors to their graves. But to believe that anyone beside Allah (Glorified is He) is present and seeing and aware of the hidden and evident at all times is shirk. In Fatawa Bazaziyyah it is written that if one marries without witnesses and says that I make Allah, His Messenger and the angels witnesses, ‘he has disbelieved because he believed that the Messenger and the angel know the unseen, and our ‘ulama’ have said that whoever says that the souls of the saints are present and knowing has disbelieved.’ Although Hazrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir is one of the great saints of the Muhammadan nation and his merits and virtues are innumerable, but it is not established that he hears the distressed caller from a distance. And the beliefs that he is aware of his disciple’s affairs all the time, and hears their calls, are beliefs of shirk. And Allah knows best.” (Majmu’ah al-Fatawa, 4:331; quoted in Maqalat Usmani, 2:307)

Naqi Ali Khan refers to Shah Ishaq Dehlawi as “the second imam of the opposition (“Wahhabis”)” (i.e. after Shah Isma’il Dehlawi) (Usul al-Rashad, p 57 and other places), based on Shah Ishaq Dehlawi’s works Masa’il Arbain and Mi’ah Masa’il. Shah Ishaq Dehlawi (1782 – 1846) was like a son to his grandfather Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi, and Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi appointed him as his successor, and gifted him all his books. Thus, Shah Ishaq Dehlawi sat in Shah Abdul Aziz’s position after his death in 1824. In 1842, he traveled with a large group of his family and settled in Makkah, and was regarded very highly by the Ulama of Makkah. He had many students, including Shaykh Abdul Ghani Dehlawi (whose asanid are collected in al-Yani al-Jani), Shaykh Qutbuddin al-Dehlawi (author of Mazahir al-Haqq), Shaykh Ahmad Ali Saharanpuri (editor and publisher of the first print of Sahih al-Bukhari), Mufti Inayat Ahmad Kakorvi (author of Ilm al-Sighah), Shaykh Fadl al-Rahman Ganjmuradabadi (the famous spiritual master) and others. Sayyid Abdul Hayy Hasani says: “No sanad of hadith remains in India besides this sanad [via Shah Ishaq Dehlawi].” (Nuzhat al-Khawatir, p. 911)* This is a clear demonstration that Barelwi claims to be a continuation of the earlier scholarly tradition is false. Barelwi “scholarship” is an effort to justify popular beliefs and practices, not to be a continuation of the earlier scholarly tradition.

Naqi Ali Khan’s work, Usul al-Rashad, is problematic from many angles. He, for instance, claims that the view of bid’ah being divided into good and bad in only its linguistic usage rather than its Shar’i usage is a fallacy. (Usul al-Rashad, p. 61-2) But this reality was expressed by several imams of the past like Ibn Kathir, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and Birgivi. (see p 18-20 here: https://bawariqalghaybtranslation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/bidah-a-study.pdf) His discussion on bid’ah is very selective and skewed, and overlooks some very important issues.

* This is apparently in reference to a sanad of hadith that is based on a complete recitation of the famous books of hadith; such a sanad can only be traced via Shah Ishaq al-Dehlawi in India. Otherwise, there are other sanads to Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi, but these are not based on a complete recitation of the books of hadith.


Istighāthah: The Importance of Definition

November 26, 2018

Istighāthah (taking help) can refer to asking a deceased person to fulfil one’s need. This is the meaning of istighāthah which the Barelwīs favour and the Deobandīs strongly oppose.

However, istighāthah has in the past been used more loosely to refer to other meanings, for example:

  1. Tawassul through deceased personalities. E.g. saying: “O Allah, I ask you through the intermediary of” or “by the blessing of so-and-so” “to fulfil this work of mine.”
  2. Deriving blessing (tabarruk) from the mention of someone. E.g. calling out Yā Muammad as an act of love and showing a connection with the blessed name, without the belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) will hear it directly or that it will necessarily reach him.
  3. Deriving spiritual blessing from the grave of a saint. That is, sitting at the side of the grave and meditating, but not asking for anything from the inhabitant of the grave.
  4. At the grave side, asking the inhabitant of the grave to pray to Allah for the fulfillment of one’s needs.

These are meanings that Deobandīs do not dispute. Deobandīs unanimously accept the first three meanings. The fourth meaning they describe as a matter of legitimate dispute. Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī said about the fourth meaning: “To go close to a grave and say, ‘Oh such and such person, pray for me that the Most High fulfils my work.’ There is a difference among the ‘ulamā’ regarding this. Those who consider it permissible to believe that the dead can hear consider this permissible and those who do not believe that the dead can hear forbid this … However, there is no difference in the hearing of the Prophets (peace be upon them), on account of this they are exempt.” (al-Fatāwā al-Rashīdiyyah, p. 139) About the third meaning, the author of al-Muhannad states: “As for deriving benefit from the spirituality of the great saints and receiving internal effusions from their breasts or their graves, this is correct in the manner recognised by its experts and specialists, but not in the manner widespread amongst the common people.” (al-Muhannad, Dār al-Fatḥ, p. 60)

‘Allāmah Ṣun‘ullāh al-Ḥalabī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1708), a pre-Wahhābī pre-Deobandī Ottoman Ḥanafī jurist based in Ḥalab and Makkah, refuted the practice of calling out to dead saints for help while believing they have taarrufāt (powers of discretion) to help. He wrote a relatively lengthy treatise on the topic called Sayfullāh ‘alā man Kadhaba ‘alā Awliyā’illah, containing many useful discussions, including a crucial distinction between karāmāt (exceptional miracles) and taṣarrufāt (continuous powers). ‘Allāmah Ṣun‘ullāh was a Sunnī who made ta’wīl of the Ṣifāt Khabariyyah like yad (hand) (hence could not have been a “Taymī” or a “Wahhābī”), and supported Tawassul. In explaining what some of the scholars before him meant by the permissibility of “istighāthah”, he said: “What has been said about istighāthah being permitted via the prophets and saints, the intent is only deriving blessing (tabarruk) from mentioning them, and making tawassul through them, not asking for help [directly] from them.” (Sayfullāh ‘alā man Kadhaba ‘alā Awliyā’illah, Dār al-Kitāb wa l-Sunnah, p. 49-50)

Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī (1551 – 1642), the celebrated imām of ḥadīth from the subcontinent, has a brief discussion on “istighāthah” in his Arabic commentary on Mishkāt, al-Lama‘āt (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:38-40). What is interesting about this discussion is that although Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī uses the terms “istimdād” and “istighāthah” and defends their practice against opponents, it is clear that he is using them in the alternative meanings described above (in particular, meanings 1, 3 and 4). Relevant parts of this discussion are translated below:

As for istimdād from the inhabitants of graves, some jurists have denounced it. If the denunciation is because they have no hearing, knowledge or feeling of the one visiting and his conditions, then this has been proven to be false, and if it is because they have no power or control in that location to help them but are held back from them and occupied in the trials that occur to their souls which distract them from all else, then this is not regarded as always [being the case], especially for the pious who are the friends of Allāh, and thus it is possible for their souls to acquire closeness to the Lord Most Exalted in the Barzakh, and position and power to intercede and make du‘ā and ask for needs to those visiting and making Tawassul through them.

I don’t understand the istimdād and imdād that the denouncer is negating. What we understand is that a needy supplicant, in need of Allāh, makes du‘ā to Allāh and asks his need from His Most Exalted grace, and takes the spirituality of this slave brought close and ennobled by Him Most Exalted as an intermediary, saying: “O Allāh, by the blessing of this slave that You have shown mercy to and have ennobled, and the gentleness and honour You have over him, fulfil my need and grant my request, verily You are the Generous Giver.” Or he calls out to this slave brought close and ennobled by Him Most Exalted, saying: “O slave of Allāh, O friend of His, intercede for me and make du‘ā to your Lord and ask Him to give me my request and fulfil my need.” The giver and the one asked and the one hoped in is the Lord Most High and Most Exalted, and the slave in between is nothing but an intermediary. The one with power, agency and control is none but Him, and the friends of  Allāh are annihilated in His Most Exalted agency, power and control.

That which is transmitted from the saints who experience kashf upon istimdād (i.e. deriving spiritual benefit) from the souls of the accomplished and taking benefit from them, it is more than can be counted, described in their works, well-known amongst them, so there is no need to cite them. (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:38-40)

As can be seen, Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq is describing only the first, third and fourth meanings of “istighāthah” (a term he also uses in this passage alongside “istimdād”) described above. He is not talking about calling out directly to the deceased, asking for them to fulfil one’s needs. While describing how the ignorant engage in “istighāthah”, however, he states in the same discussion:

Yes, if visitors believe that the inhabitants of graves are independent, powerful actors, without turning to the Divine Presence and taking recourse to it, as believed by the heedless ignorant ones…that is prohibited and forbidden. The practice of the common people has no consideration at all. (Lama‘āt al-Tanqīḥ, Dār al-Nawādir, 7:39)

Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī (1746 – 1824) also denounced the belief of the ignorant when engaging in istighāthah. He said in a Farsi answer:

People from this Ummah have gone into excess in the matter of istighāthah from pure souls. That which the ignorant and common people do, and what they believe about them of full independence in every action, this is manifest shirk without doubt. (Fatāwā ‘Azīzī, Maṭba‘ Mujtabā’ī, p. 121)

The Ḥanafī mufti of Baghdad who came a generation before the founders of Deoband, ‘Allāmah Maḥmūd al-Ālūsī (1802 – 1854), author of the celebrated Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, also condemned the istighāthah of the common people*:

People have increased in calling on other than Allah (Exalted is He), from the saints, the living of them and the dead, and other than them, like: ‘O my master so-and-so, give me relief.’ This is not from the permissible [form of] Tawassul at all. It is befitting the condition of a believer to avoid saying this and avoid roaming around its boundary. Some ‘ulamā’ have considered it shirk, and if it is not so, then it is close to it.

I have not seen anyone who utters this but he believes that the one called, whether an absent living person or a dead person, knows the unseen or hears the call and is able, intrinsically or extrinsically, to bring benefit and repel harm; otherwise he would not call him or open his mouth!

In this is a great trial from your Lord! It is obligatory to stay away from this and not seek [help] except from Allāh (Exalted is He), the Strong, the Independent, the Doer of what He wills.

Let it not delude you that the one seeking help from creation often has his need fulfilled and his objective accomplished, for that is a trial and a tribulation from Him (Great and Glorious is He). Often the devil takes the form to the one asking help of the one he asked help from, so he believes it to be a miracle of the one he asked help from. Far, very far! Indeed, it is only the devil misguiding him and turning him astray. (ḥ al-Ma‘ānī, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 7:181)

* Note: Some have claimed that his work, Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, has been tampered with. In fact, there is no tampering in Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī. The team of researchers who worked on the recent Mu’assasat al-Risālah print of Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī relied on a number of manuscripts, the primary manuscript being one copied (by several scribes) directly from the author’s own copy, which was then checked by the author (Sayyid Maḥmūd Ᾱlūsī) himself. The researchers comment: “The manuscripts that we relied on, particularly this primary manuscript, is no different from the widely available prints of the Tafsīr. They are exactly the same. Hence what was said…that the son of Ᾱlūsī was not trustworthy in printing the tafsir of his father does not conform with reality.” (Rūḥ al-Ma‘ānī, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 2010, 1:72)


Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī (1731 – 1810) Opposes Istighāthah and Belief in ‘Ilm al-Ghayb/Ḥāḍir-Nāẓir for Awliyā’

November 24, 2018

Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī (1731 – 1810) was a foremost student of Shāh Waliyyullāh al-Dehlawī (1703 – 1762) in external sciences and Mirzā Maẓhar Jānejān Naqshbandī (1699 – 1781) in esoteric sciences. The latter regarded Qāḍī Thanāullāh very highly, and gave him the title “‘alam al-hudā” (landmark of guidance), and said “If Allāh asks for a gift to present in His court, I will present Thanāullah.” Shāh Abdul Azīz referred to him as “Bayhaqī al-Waqt” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p. 942) Qāḍī Thanāullāh Pānipatī was known for his deep knowledge and for his piety and acts of devotion. He would pray 100 rak‘ats nafl each day, recite a seventh of the Qur’ān each day, along with other daily adhkār. He authored several works, including the very popular Mā Lā Budda Minhu and a Tafsīr named after his shaykh, al-Tafsīr al-Maharī.

He opposed ignorant beliefs about prophets and saints, including beliefs that would today be associated with the Barelwis. He authored a work called Irshād al-ālibīn on the subject of wilāyah (sainthood) and the misconceptions people have about wilāyah. The work was initially written in Arabic and then he translated it to Farsi. When censuring the excesses people engage in with regards to Awliyā, he writes:

Ruling: Just as it is impermissible to fall short in the ādāb towards the shaykh, going into excess, trespassing the bounds, in this is also a great evil, which results in falling short in the ādāb afforded to the Divine Presence. Christians went into such excess in veneration of ‘Īsa (upon him peace) that they regard him to be the son of God! This results in falling short in ādāb afforded to Allāh Most Exalted. The Rāfiḍīs have adopted excess in venerating Haḍrat ‘Alī (Allāh ennoble his face). Thus, some say that God Most Exalted dwelled in him, some say revelation came to him and some say he is better than the three Companions [Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān], which results in falling short in ādāb towards God Most Exalted, the Messenger of God (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) or the three Companions.

Ruling: The Awliyā’ do not have ‘Ilm al-Ghayb. Yes, in connection to some unseen things, by way of breaking the norm, they are given knowledge via kashf or ilhām. To say that the Awliyā Kirām have knowledge of Ghayb is Kufr. Allāh Most Exalted said: ‘Say: I do not say to you I have the treasures of Allāh, nor do I know the Ghayb.’ And Allah Most Exalted said: ‘They do not encompass anything from His Knowledge but what He chooses.’ Other verses prove this thesis also.

Ruling: If someone says that God and His Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) are witness to this matter, he becomes Kāfir. The Awliyā Kirām are not capable of creating from nonexistence nor abolishing from existence. Thus, in connection to creating, abolishing, bringing sustenance, granting children, removing calamity, granting cure to illness etc., requesting help from them is Kufr; just as Allāh Most Exalted states in the Qur’ān Majīd: ‘Say I do not possess profit for myself nor harm, besides what Allāh chooses.’

Ruling: It is not permissible to make ‘ibādah of anyone besides God. Nor is it permissible to ask help of anyone besides God. ‘You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.’ Allāh is teaching His slaves to say that we worship only you, and ask help only of you. Iyyāka is for exclusivity. Thus, to make offerings (nadhr) to Awliyā Kirām is not allowed, because such offerings are worship. If someone makes such an offering, he should not fulfil it, because it is necessary to safeguard oneself from sin as far as possible. It is not permissible to circulate graves, because Ṭawāf of Baytullāh shares the ruling of Ṣalāh.

Ruling: Supplicating to the deceased or living Awliyā or Anbiyā’ is not permissible. Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Supplication is worship.’ Then he recited the verse: ‘Supplicate to Me, I will answer you. Indeed those who disdain My worship will enter Jahannam, humiliated.’

Ruling: The statements of the ignorant ones: ‘Yā Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī shay’an lillāh’ and ‘Yā Khawāja Shams al-Dīn al-Pānipatī shay’an lillah’ (‘Oh Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī give something for the sake of Allāh’, and ‘Oh Khawāja Shams al-Din Pānipatī give something for the sake of Allāh’) are not permissible. In fact, they are Shirk and Kufr. But if someone says: ‘Oh my Lord, through the mediation of Khawāja Shams al-Dīn Pānipatī, fulfil the following need of mine’ then there is no harm. Allāh Most Exalted says: ‘Those they call upon besides Allah are slaves like you.’ If someone argues this is regarding the Kuffār who invoke their idols, the answer is ‘besides Allāh’ is a general expression, and it is the [generality of the] expression that is given consideration not the specific context. (Irshād al-Tālibīn, Urdu translation, Maṭba‘ Asrār Karīmī p. 22-24)

In his popular work, Mā Lā Budda Minhu, he writes at the end of the section on Janā’iz:

To prostrate before the graves of the prophets and saints, to circumambulate around them, to invoke them [for help], or to make offerings to the inhabitants of graves is ḥarām; rather some of these matters lead to Kufr. The Messenger of Allāh, may peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, cursed the people who do such things and forbade the Ummah from doing them, and ordered us not to make his grave an idol. (Mā Lā Budda Minhu, Maktabah Raḥmāniyyah, p.82)


The Hadith of ‘Uthman b Hunayf (Radiyallahu Anhu) Does not Support the Practice of Istighathah

November 24, 2018

Addressing the hadith of Uthman ibn Hunayf (Radiyallahu Anhu) and those who argue for the practice of Istighathah from it, ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad Uthmani writes:

Thereafter, the questioner quoted the narration of ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man presented himself in the prophetic court, and pleaded: “O Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), make du‘a to Allah (Exalted is He) for me that He cures me.” He said: “If you wish, remain patient, and that will be better for you, and if you wish, I will make du‘a for you.” He requested him, “O Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), make the du‘a.” Thus, he ordered him to perform wudu’ well and pray two rak‘ahs, and make a request to Allah (Exalted is He) using the following du‘a:

“O Allah! Verily, I ask you and turn to you through Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.

“O Muhammad! Verily, I have turned through you to my Lord in this need of mine that it be fulfilled.

“O Allah! Accept his intercession for me.”

Abu Ishaq said: This is a sahih hadith, Ibn Majah narrated it, and the wording is his, as did al-Tirmidhi and he said: “hasan sahih.” Al-Bayhaqi authenticated it and he added: “He stood up and he regained his sight.” (Ibn Majah ma‘a Injah al-Hajah)

It is not possible to draw evidence in any way from this hadith for the common istimdad. After pondering over the previous explanation, every sane person will concede that there is nothing more than asking for du‘a and tawassul here.

Thus, notice the following words of the hadith: “O Allah! Verily, I ask you and turn to you through Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.” This is a request to Allah through the intermediary of the master of the two worlds (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The later phrase: “O Allah! Accept his intercession for me” is completely clear and manifest in asking for intercession. And we never disallow asking for du‘a and intercession. What connection does this have with the common form of isti‘anah and istimdad? It would have been isti‘anah if the request was directed at him. Here the request is to Allah. He is the One Who gives. Thus, this is clearly in the form of tawassul.

Moreover, the next part is even more clear: “O Muhammad! Verily, I have turned through you to my Lord in this need of mine that it be fulfilled.”

What remains is that in this hadith there is a call to him. Its obvious reply is that this was not a call from far, but was a call from nearby, because that blind man did this du‘a in the Prophetic mosque, and Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was also present nearby. Thus, at the time when he called Huzur using the vocative case, he was concurrently making du‘a of intercession. This is why there is no confusion in this [narration] at all.

Yes, one may be confused about the narration of Tabarani and others that Hazrat ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf taught this du‘a to a person after the demise of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the vocative case. The answer to this is that this is included in the sixth category of calling, which is permissible – which is that the call is to an absent person but the objective is not to call, rather in a particular du‘a from a verse or hadith the vocative case is established and thus it is recited in this way [ritually] understanding it to be a du‘a.

Second, this is the action of a Sahabi, and the action of a Sahabi if contrary to the principles of Shari‘ah, cannot be used as a proof, rather an interpretation would be made of it, because it is possible a Sahabi may make an ijtihadi error.

Calling him after the prophetic demise is against the principles of Shari‘ah. Thus, this is why some Sahabah after the prophetic demise would say “peace be on the prophet” in the Tashahhud instead of “peace be unto you, O Prophet,” dropping the vocative case.

‘Abd al-Razzaq said: Ibn Jurayj reported to us: ‘Ata’ reported to me that the Sahabah would say while the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was alive: ‘Peace be unto you, O Prophet.’ And when he died, they said: ‘Peace be on the Prophet.’ This is a sahih chain. (Fath al-Bari, 2:26)

In reality, according to the principles of Shari‘ah, the requirement of analogy is what those Sahabah did, but the ‘ulama’ of the madhhabs abandoned this analogy in Tashahhud because the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave such emphasis in teaching Tashahhud that it was as though he was teaching a chapter of the Qur’an. So just as in the verses of the Qur’an, in various places, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is addressed in the vocative case, like ‘O Prophet! Convey what was revealed to you from your Lord,’ and the likes of it, and no change is permissible in these verses, similarly, it was preferred that no change is made in Tashahhud. Thus, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud in answer to ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas alluded to this point.

Sa‘id ibn Mansur narrated through the route of Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud from his father that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught them the Tashahhud, and then he mentioned it. He said: Ibn ‘Abbas said: “We would say: ‘Peace be unto you’ only when he was alive.” Ibn Mas‘ud said: “This is how we were taught and this is how we know [it].” Hafiz mentioned it also in al-Fath 2:26, and he weakened it because Abu ‘Ubaydah did not hear from his father. I say: Al-Daraqutni authenticated his hadiths from his father, so either his audition from him was established according to him, or he knew that the intermediary between them is trustworthy.

But, it is apparent that the du‘a which Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught the blind Sahabi, he did not put the same emphasis on teaching it as he did with the Tashahhud. Thus, there is no reason that after the prophetic demise (Allah bless him and grant him peace) the vocative case is not to be dropped from it. Furthermore, Huzur Aqdas (Allah bless him and grant him peace) openly taught Tashahhud where some worshippers were certainly far away and absent. From this, the permissibility of this vocative case is established in the text, as opposed to the hadith of the blind man as his teaching was not open. Here, analogy will be acted upon.

Besides this, it is learnt from the narration of Tabarani and Bayhaqi in which ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf (Allah be pleased with him) taught this du‘a to a person after the prophetic demise, he also said in it: Go to the wudu area and perform wudu and then go to the mosque and pray two rak‘ahs and then ask of your need from Allah through the means of this du‘a, from which it comes to mind that he ordered him to offer this prayer in the prophetic mosque and our master, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), is still present there as he was in his lifetime. Thus, in this scenario too calling from afar is not entailed.

Tabarani narrated in al-Kabir the hadith in its entirety and in it is: ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf said to him: “Go to the wudu area, and perform wudu and then come to the mosque and pray two rak‘ahs, and then say: O Allah! Indeed I ask you…” And al-Bayhaqi narrated it through two routes likewise. Al-Tabarani narrated in al-Kabir and al-Awsat with a chain in which is Rawh ibn Salah, declared trustworthy by Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim and in whom there is weakness, and the remainder of its narrators are the narrators of the Sahih. I say: And the disagreement over his trustworthiness does not affect [the use of this narration as proof].

And if someone was not to make the restriction of the prophetic mosque (Allah bless him and grant him peace), it is possible that he used the vocative case due to imitation of the transmitted wording and the intent was not to call, just as the vocative case is used in the Tashahhud only to imitate the transmitted wording and the intent is not to call.

Thus, since here in this hadith it is taught in the vocative case, there is room for this [interpretation]. What is the proof of using the vocative case in another place? If someone was to say we will all perform analogy on the action of ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, its answer is obvious, that his own action was against analogy, so a valid analogy cannot be made on it. Furthermore, he did this in this specific way in imitation of the wording of the hadith, and the call that you make in other du‘as, what imitation of prophetic teaching is there in that?

Furthermore, in order to transmit our salutations to our master the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), there are angels commanded to do so, so it is possible that the Salaf used the vocative case with this understanding, that the angels will transmit it to Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his intention is not to call. And this interpretation is not possible in making a call from afar for anyone besides Huzur (Allah bless him and grant him peace), because this distinction is not established for anyone else.

(Maqalat Usmani, 2:292-7)


‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī Refutes False Barelwī Beliefs

November 21, 2018

‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī (1848 – 1886), a renowned ‘ālim and muḥaddith of the 19th century whose works are accepted amongst Deobandīs and Barelwīs, Arabs and non-Arabs, clearly and strongly refuted some extreme Barelwī beliefs.

āir Nāir/ ‘Ilm al-Ghayb

One of his fatāwā is as follows:

استفتاء: ما قولكم في رجل يظن أن الأولياء يعلمون ويسمعون نداء المنادي قريبا وبعيدا ويستمده بألفاظ يقولها الحاضر للحاضر، وينذر له بالأنعام يقول: نذرت له. بينوا توجروا

هو المصوب: هذا رجل فاسد العقيدة، بل يخشى عليه الكفر فإن سماع الأولياء النداء من بعيد ليس بثابت والعلم الكلي بجميع الجزئيات في جميع الأزمان مختص بالله جل جلاله، وقد قال فى الفتاوى البزازية: من قال إن أرواح المشايخ حاضرة تعلم يكفر، انتهى. وذكر فيه أىضا أن: من تزوج بشهادة الله ورسوله يكفر لأنه ظن أن الرسول يعلم الغيب، انتهى. والنذر لغير الله حرام، ويحرم المنذور لغير الله كما بسطه فى البحر الرائق والدر المختار وغيرهما، والله أعلم. حرره الراجي عفو ربه القوي أبو الحسنات محمد عبد الحي تجاوز الله عن ذنبه الجلي والخفي – مجموعة الفتاوى، ص٣٧٨-٣٧٩

“Question: What do you say about a man who assumes that the Awliyā’ know and hear the call of a caller from near and far, and seek his assistance using words that a person uses for someone in his presence, and makes vows of animals to him, declaring that he has made a vow to him. Explain, and be rewarded.

“Answer: [Allāh] grants rectitude. This is a man of corrupt belief. In fact, it is feared he has disbelieved because the Awliyā’ hearing the call from far is not proven, and complete knowledge of all particulars in all times is specific to Allāh (Glorious is His Grandeur). It states in al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah: ‘Whoever says the souls of Mashāyikh are present and knowing has committed disbelief.’ It also states in it: ‘Whoever marries taking as witness Allāh and His Messenger, he disbelieves because he assumes the Messenger knows the Ghayb.’ Taking a vow by other than Allāh is ḥarām, and whatever a vow was made upon is ḥarām, as explained in al-Bar al-Rā’iq, al-Durr al-Mukhtār and other books. This was written by one hopeful of the pardon of his Master, Abu l-Ḥasanāt Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Ḥayy, may Allāh pardon his manifest and hidden sins.” (Majmū‘at al-Fatāwā, p. 378-9)

In another fatwa in Farsi, it states:

“Question: What do you say (may Allāh ۢMost High have mercy on you) regarding the issue that is prevalent in our lands amongst the common people that in times of calamity and dire need, they call out in asking for assistance from the prophets and saints from afar believing that they are ḥāḍir & nāẓir and that whenever they implore them they are aware, and in turn, supplicate for them in the fulfilment of these needs? Is this permissible or not? Explain, and be rewarded.

“Answer: He grants direction to what is correct: In reality, such belief in the prophets and saints being ḥāḍir and nāẓir, and at all times are aware of our calling out to them even from afar is shirk, since it entails belief in ‘ilm al-ghayb for other than Him Most High, and this belief is shirk. This is because this characteristic is from those exclusive to Allāh (Great is His Grandeur), which no other being can have partnership with Him in. It states in al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah: ‘One marries without witnesses, saying: I make Allāh, His Messenger and the Angels witness, he disbelieves, because he believes that the Messenger and Angel know the Ghayb.’ [1] Further, it states in Bazzāziyyah: ‘About this our scholars have said: Whoever says the souls of Mashāyikh are present and knowing have committed disbelief.’ And Allāh knows best. This was written by one hopeful of the pardon of his Powerful Master, Abu l-Ḥasanāt Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Ḥayy, may Allāh pardon his manifest and hidden sins.” (ibid. p. 344-5)

In al-Āthar al-Marfū‘ah, ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī states:

“From amongst these [fabrications] is what the sermonisers mention, that the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was given knowledge of the first and the last in full detail, and was granted knowledge of all that has transpired and all that will occur as a whole and in terms of its minutiae, and that there is no difference [in this respect] between his knowledge and the knowledge of his Creator in terms of encompassment and inclusiveness, and the only difference between them is that the knowledge of Allāh is pre-eternal and eternal by virtue of His own self without having been taught by another as distinguished from the knowledge of the Messenger as he acquired it by the teaching of his Maker. This is flowery speech and falsehood as stated by Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī in al-Mina al-Makkiyyah Shar al-Qaīdah al-Hamziyyah and other spiritual masters. What is established from the verses of Qur’ān and the Prophetic ḥadīths is that [such] inclusiveness and encompassment and knowledge of all Ghayb is exclusive to the Revered Deity, and this characteristic has not been granted by the Revered Deity to any of creation. Yes, the knowledge of our Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is more extensive and more numerous than the knowledge of all prophets and messengers; and the teaching of his Creator to him of unseen matters in relation to His teaching to others is more complete, thus he (Allāh bless him an grant him peace) is most complete in knowledge and practice and is the master of creatures in status and virtue.” (Al-thār al-Marfū‘ah li l-Akhbār al-Mawū‘ah, p. 38)

Ummī

He states in the same work:

“From these [fabrications] is what they state that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was not unlettered but was able to write and recite from an initial natural state. This view is opposed to the Book, Sunnah and Consensus of the Ummah, so has no consideration according to those possessing understanding.”  (ibid)

Note: Famous Barelwī writer, Aḥmad Yār Khān, articulated this belief. See: https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/barelwi-distortion-of-the-prophetic-title-ummi-unlettered/

The Hearing of the Prophet (allallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)

He writes in the same work:

“From these [fabrications] is what they state when mentioning the Muḥammadan hearing that he hears the blessing of one who sends blessing on him even if far from his grave without an intermediary. This is false, not confirmed by transmission. In fact, the opposite is proven, since the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Whoever sends blessing on me at my grave I hear it and whoever sends blessing on me from afar, Allāh has appointed an angel for it to convey it to me.’…” (ibid. p. 46)

The Prophet Attending Majālis of Mawlid

He states in the same work:

“From these [fabrications] is what they state that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) attends the gatherings of remembering his birth himself at the mention of his birth, and they base the standing out of reverence and respect at the mention of the birth on this. This is also from the falsities; no evidence being established for it. Mere possibility and supposition are outside the parameters of explanation.” (ibid.)

‘Allāmah Laknawī mentions that those who believe such things and articulate them are guilty of major sins and fall under the prophetic warning: “Whoever lies upon me let him prepare his abode in Hell.” He says: “It is necessary for every Muslim to be careful on such matters and not say anything before investigating it in the reliable books…and not be daring in mentioning what his mind invents or something [unproven] written by those before him…” (ibid. p. 47)

Naming a New-Born “‘Abd al-Nabī”

Al-Laknawī also opposed the Barelwī practice and belief of calling someone “‘Abd al-Nabī”, “‘Abd al-Muṣṭafā” etc. He wrote:

الاستفسار: هل يجوز التسمية بعبد النبي وعبد الرسول وأمة النبي وأمة الصديق وغير ذلك؟ الاستبشار: لا يجوز كل اسم فيه لفظ العبد أو الأۢمة، أو ما يؤدي مؤداهما بأي لسان كان، إلى غير الله، صرح به علي القاري في شرح الفقه الأكبر، وقد ورد الحديث بالنهي عن ذلك في سنن أبي داود وغيره، وأما إضافة لفظ الغلام إلى غير الله فهو جائز، فيجوز غلام الرسول ولا يجوز عبد الرسول أو بنده رسول أو نحو ذلك نفع المفتي والسائل/فتاوى اللكنوي، دار ابن حزم، ص٤٢٥

“Question: Is it permissible to use the names “‘Abd al-Nabi” (bondsman of the prophet) and “‘Abd al-Rasul” (bondsman of the messenger) and “Amat al-Nabi” (bondswoman of the prophet) and “Amat al-Ṣiddiq” (bondswoman of the truthful saint) etc?

“Answer: Every name in which the words ‘‘abd’ (bondsman) and ‘amah’ (bondswoman) or their equivalents in any other language are attributed to other than Allāh (Exalted is He) is impermissible. ‘Alī al-Qārī stated this in Shar al-Fiqh al-Akbar, and a ḥadīth prohibiting this appears in Sunan Abī Dāwūd and other [collections]. Attributing the word ‘Ghulām’ to other than Allāh is permissible, and thus Ghulām al-Rasūl is permissible, but ‘Abd al-Rasūl or Bandah e Rasūl or the like is not permissible.” (Naf‘ al-Muftī wa al-Sā’il, p. 425)

[1] The jurists also state that if one were to say the angels on their shoulders are witness to their marriage, they will not become disbelievers “because these angels are never absent from them.” (al-Muī al-Burhānī, 7:407; see also: al-Fatāwā al-Hindiyyah, 2:288) Hence, shirk and kufr is in affirming knowledge of something to a being that is not proven that they have acquired.