Who was Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī Refuting in Taqwiyat al-Īmān?

December 17, 2019

Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī (1779 – 1831), who grew up in the household of his uncle Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir al-Dehlawī and studied under his esteemed uncle, Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz al-Dehlawī (d. 1824), wrote Taqwiyat al-Īmān 6 years prior to the latter’s death, in 1818. In those 6 years, no one voiced any opposition to the work.

Taqwiyat al-Īmān was essentially a wake-up call to the common Muslims of India who were stooped in Hindu and Shī‘ī ritual practices and beliefs. It is clear from several places of Taqwiyat al-Īmān itself that Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī is countering the “folk-religion” that had become popular amongst Muslims as a result of Hindu and Shī‘ī influence.

References below are from this edition of Taqwiyat al- Īmān.

Shāh Ismā‘īl says in one place:

It is realised from this ḥadīth that at the end of time even the ancient Shirk will become popular. This has occurred in accordance with what the Messenger of God foretold. Meaning, just like Muslim people behave idolatrously with prophets, saints, imāms and martyrs, in the same way, they are spreading the ancient Shirk and regarding [as divine] the idols of the disbelievers and are perpetuating their customs, like consulting the Brahmans, taking omens, believing [in the ill-omen of inauspicious] times, asking Shitala and Masani…,all such customs of Hindus and Majūs have found popularity amongst the Muslims. It is realised from this that the path of Shirk will open up for Muslims in this manner, such that they abandon Qur’ān and Ḥadīth and fall behind the customs of their ancestors. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p64)*

He also says:

In just the same manner that Christians say that all the workings of the universe and the universe [itself] are in the control of Ḥaḍrat ‘Īsā (upon him peace), and whoever accepts him and relies on him will not need to engage in any servitude, and no sin will harm him, and he will not have to distinguish ḥalāl and ḥarām, he will become as God’s shadow, whatever he wants he may do & will be protected in the afterlife with Ḥaḍrat ‘Īsa’s intercession for him, similarly, ignorant Muslims maintain a similar belief with respect to Ḥaḍrat Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), and in fact even below him, with imāms and saints, and in fact maintain this belief in respect to all mullās and mashāyikh. May Allāh give guidance. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p91)

He further explains which Shirk he is refuting towards the beginning of the work:

In short, whatever Hindus do with their idols, these fake Muslims undertake with saints, prophets and imāms, angels and fairies, and make the claim of being Muslim. Subḥānallāh! This is the practice and this the claim. Allāh Ṣāḥib [2] has spoken the truth in Sūrah Yūsuf:

وما يؤمن أكثرهم بالله إلا وهم مشركون

“Most of them do not believe in Allāh but do Shirk.”

That is, most people who make the claim of īmān are caught up in Shirk. Further, if a sensible person were to ask these people: “You claim īmān but do acts of Shirk, why do you combine these two [contradictory] paths?” They answer:

“We don’t do Shirk, but we are expressing our devotion towards prophets and saints. We would only be Mushrik if we regarded these prophets, saints, pirs and martyrs as equals to Allah. This is not what we believe. Rather, we regard them to be slaves of Allāh and to be His creatures. The power of discretion (taṣarruf) Allāh Himself gave to them. By His approval they apply their control over the universe. Calling on them is the very same as calling onto Allāh, asking help from them is the very same as asking Him. They are beloved to Allāh, so whatever they want they will do. They will intercede to Him on our behalf and are agents. By reaching them we reach Him and by calling them we draw near to Allāh. The more we obey them the closer we get to Allāh.”

And they express [other] such superstitions. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p8)

From this, it is clear that Shāh Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī is targeting a specific belief that the ignorant masses would hold: that beings apart from Allāh have independent powers of discretion (bestowed upon them by Allāh), based on which devotion of the kinds he listed are expressed towards them. It is not the case that he believed all such actions or devotions were in and of themselves impermissible or Shirk, but rather that they represent a culture of Shirk emerging from the idolatrous belief he describes. He refers to such idolatrous beliefs of the common people in other sections of Taqwiyat al-Īmān also.

He says in another place:

Meaning, [idolaters amongst Jews and Christians] would regard Allāh to be the greater Owner but would determine other, smaller, owners apart from him – the learned and the dervishes. They were not commanded to do this, and based on this, Shirk was established on them. He is unique, no one can be His partner.

Thus, He states in Sūrah Maryam:

إن كل من فى السموات والأرض إلا آتى الرحمن عبدا، لقد أحصهم وعدهم عدا وكلهم آتيه يوم القيمة فردا

“All who are in the heavens and the earth will come to the All-Merciful as slaves. He has control of them and has counted them. Each of them will come to him alone on the Day of Resurrection.”

Meaning, no angel or man maintains a position higher than slavehood, and are helpless in His grip, maintaining no power, and He applies His discretion over each one, not putting any in the control of another, and in every affair each will be present before Him alone, without making any a protector or agent over another. There are many other such verses bearing such meaning. Whoever understands these two to four verses, will be vigilant of the matter of Shirk and Tawḥīd. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p12-3)

In one place, he defines a person “free of Shirk” as “he does not regard any other apart from Allāh as owner, and does not recognise any place to flee from Him, and it is well established in his heart that a sinner has no refuge to flee to from Him, and that no-one’s strength has any force in opposition to Him, and no-one’s protection in opposition to Him has any force, and no-one can intercede for another by their own power”.  (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p28)

He describes two mistaken beliefs in intercession, one which entails there are those whose dominion Allāh fears, and another which entails there are those whose love (na‘ūdhū billāh) incapacitates Allāh from executing His will (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p43-5). Such beliefs probably originate from the Shī‘ah.

He speaks against the Muḥarram rituals of the Shī‘ah (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p61-2), as explained in Abu ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Alī Nadwī’s footnotes to his Arabic translation (Risālat al-Tawḥīd, p108-10). Beliefs that most likely derive from Shī‘ah are also described e.g. believing in all encompassing knowledge of creation for prophets and imāms. (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p13-4)

Hence, Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī was refuting a culture of mistaken beliefs towards Allāh, that derive from regarding Allāh as a “superior” divine being, while there are other “inferior” divine beings with powers which were attained from Allāh Himself, and in which they are independent. He says in Radd al-Ishrāk, a work written approximately 20 years before Taqwiyat al-Īmān on which the latter work is based:

Realise that the shirk which the divine books came to nullify and the prophets were sent to eradicate is not limited to someone believing that the one he worships is equal to the Creator (Blessed and Exalted is He) in the necessity of existence or in encompassing knowledge of all creation or in creating the basic existents like the heaven and the earth, because it is not from the character of a human being to be mixed up with such belief unless he is disfigured like Fir‘awn and his likes, and no one can believe that the divine books were revealed and prophets were sent only to correct such disfigured ones only. How can this be when the Arab idolaters who the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) called “idolaters” and fought and spilt their blood, put their children into captivity, and took their wealth as spoils, would not believe this as evidenced by His (Exalted is He) statement: “Say: In Whose hand is the dominion of all things and He grants protection and is not granted protection against, if you know, and they will say: Allāh. Say: Then how are you deluded?’ (Qur’ān, 23:88-9) and there are many such verses?

Rather, the meaning is to make another besides Allāh a partner with Him (Exalted is He) in divinity (ulūhiyyah) or lordship (rubūbiyyah). The meaning of “divinity” is to believe in respect to him that he has reached such a degree in qualities of perfection like encompassing knowledge, control by mere power and will, that he is beyond comparison and similarity with the rest of creation; which is by believing that nothing occurs…but that it is impossible for it to be hidden from his knowledge and he is witness to it; or believing that he controls things by force, meaning his control is not part of the means [Allāh has put in creation] but he has control over the means. The meaning of “lordship” is that he has reached such a degree in referring needs [to him], asking for solutions to problems and asking for the removal of tribulations by his mere will and power over the means that he deserves utmost servility and humbleness. That is, there is no limit to the extent of servility and humbleness shown to him, and there is no servility or humbleness but it is good in respect to him, and he is deserving of it… (Radd al-Ishrāk, p15-6)

This is also the type of Shirk that Shāh Waliyyullāh al-Dehlawī defines in his celebrated Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah:

The Mushrikūn agreed with the Muslims on the management of the major affairs, and in those things that have been decided and resolved and no choice has been left for another, but did not agree with them in everything else. They took the view that the righteous before them worshipped Allāh and gained nearness to Him so Allāh granted them divinity and they deserved worship from all of Allāh’s creation – just like the highest king, his slave serves him well so he grants him the cloak of kingdom, and hands over to him the management of a land so he deserves to be heard and obeyed by the residents of that land. They say worship of Allāh is not accepted unless joined to their worship, and in fact Allāh is in the height of loftiness so worshipping Him will not achieve drawing near to Him but rather it is necessary to worship these [co-gods] so they bring one near to Allāh; and they say they hear and see and intercede for their slaves and manage their affairs and assist them, so they carved out stones in their names and made them a qiblah for when they would turn their attention towards these [co-gods]… (Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah, p116)

If one reads the entire section of Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah on Tawḥid and Shirk, one will find Taqwiyat al-Īmān is effectively a restatement and expansion of what is found there. It should be noted Shāh Ismā‘īl was very familiar with his grandfather’s Ḥujjatullāh al-Bālighah and even taught it in the Ḥaram when he travelled to make Ḥajj in 1821/1822 with Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd and his group. Shāh Waliyyullāh also said this type of Shirk is prevalent amongst the ignorant masses.

Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd also says in Taqwiyat al-Imān that Shirk is of two kinds: those that make a person a Kāfir and those that do not (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p19). Some actions and beliefs he condemns (e.g. prostrating to another, slaughtering for another and taking oath by another) should therefore be understood to be referring to the latter kind; while some beliefs he mentions (e.g. belief in independent supernatural powers for individuals; belief in an incarnation; and belief in the incorrect types of intercession he describes) should be understood to be from the first kind.

If these two points are kept in mind:

  1. Shāh Ismā‘īl was refuting the folk-religion of common Muslims engrossed in actual Shirk of the type found amongst Hindus and extreme Shī‘ah
  2. He differentiated between Shirk that takes one out of Islām and one that doesn’t

One will not find anything that is problematic in Taqwiyat al-Īmān.

Note that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī held the absurd belief that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is a translation of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd. Are any of the above passages (or the passage translated below) found in Kitāb al-Tawḥīd? Does Kitāb al-Tawḥīd say one should take a person as their Ustādh and Pīr, as Taqwiyat al-Īmān does (see below)? Does Kitāb al-Tawḥīd say it is permitted to make Tawassul via a personality, as Taqwiyat al-Īmān (p82) does? Does Kitāb al-Tawḥīd refer to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as master of all the world and the greatest of creation, as Taqwiyat al-Īmān does?

* One point of note here is that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī claimed based on this passage that Shāh Ismā‘īl Dehlawī admitted to being a disbeliever, and had thus committed disbelief! (al-Kawkabat al-Shihābiyyah; al-Fatāwā al-Riḍawiyyah, Riḍā Foundation, 15:177-8) He bases this on the fact that the ḥadīth Shāh Ismā‘īl is commenting on talks about a wind that will take the lives of all believers and people will then return to the idolatry of their forefathers, under the commentary of which Shāh Ismā‘īl said: “This has occurred in accordance with what the Messenger of God foretold.” (Which, in his usual deceptive manner, is the only sentence Aḥmad Riḍā Khān quotes from the paragraph.) But it is clear from the entire paragraph that Shāh Ismā‘īl is talking about the beginning phase or the setting stage of what the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) foretold. This is also clear in both the English translation of Mir Shahamat Ali (“so the prophecy of the Prophet has begun to be verified in the present age”) and the Arabic translation of Abu ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Alī Nadwī (وقد تحقق ما أخبر به الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم فقد بدأ الشرك القديم), and the subsequent explanation of Shāh Ismā‘īl himself, and the fact that he ends by saying “the path of Shirk will open up for Muslims in this manner…”. See a refutation of this absurd objection in al-Junnah li Ahl al-Sunnah, p 81.

This is on top of the fact that Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd says clearly in Taqwiyat al-Īmān that he is a believer, in the very first paragraph: “My God: Thousands upon thousands of thanks to Your Pure Being for having bestowed upon us thousands of favours, and having demonstrated to us Your true Dīn, and brought us onto the straight path, and taught us true Tawḥīd, and made us from the Ummah of Your Beloved.” (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p3). And he closed the book with the following: “Oh Owner of ours! Send thousands of blessings and peace upon this merciful and generous Messenger of Yours. The extraordinary efforts he has made to teach ignorant ones like us the Dīn, You repay this effort, for we are helpless slaves, completely powerless. And just as You have by Your grace taught us the meaning of Shirk and Tawḥīd well, and taught us the meaning of lā ilāha illAllāh well, and brought us out from the Mushrik people and made us Muwaḥḥids and pure Muslims, in the same manner, make us understand the meaning of Bid‘ah and Sunnah well, and teach us well the meaning of Muḥammadur Rasūlullāh, and bring us out from the deviant innovators and make us Sunnīs and pure adherents of Sunnah. Āmīn O Lord of the Worlds.” (Taqwiyat al-Īmān, p96)

———————————————-

We end here with a fresh translation of the first 10 or so pages of the book (which make up 1/10 of the book).

In Allāh’s Name, the Most Merciful, the Beneficent

My God:

Thousands upon thousands of thanks to Your Pure Being for having bestowed upon us thousands of favours, and having demonstrated to us Your true Dīn, and brought us onto the straight path, and taught us true Tawḥīd, and made us from the Ummah of Your Beloved, Muḥammad, the Messenger of Allāh, Allāh bless him and grant him peace, and put in us the passion to learn his way, and put in us love for his representatives who show his way and bring [people] to his path.

O Lord:

Send thousands upon thousands of salutations upon Your Beloved, his progeny, companions and his representatives, and show mercy on those who follow him, and make us of them, and keep us on this path in life and death, and count us amongst his followers. Āmīn, Lord of the Worlds.

To proceed:

It should be heard that all people are Allāh’s slaves and a slave’s job is servitude. The slave who does not serve is not a slave. The foundation of servitude is to correct one’s īmān, since when there is any infringement in īmān no service will be accepted, and when īmān is sound, then even a little servitude will be much. Thus, every person should make considerable effort to correct his faith, and should consider the obtainment of this as having priority over all else.

In this time, in regards to religion, people have trodden upon different paths. Some hold onto the traditions of those before them; many look to the tales of the saints; some hold as support what the Molvīs hastily extract with their minds; and some involve their own intellects. A superior path to all of these is to keep the statement of Allāh and His Messenger as foundation and hold it as support and have no intrusion of personal reason; and the tales of the saints and speech of the Molvīs that are in agreement with them are to be accepted and those that are not in agreement will not be held onto as support; and the custom that is not in agreement with them will be abandoned. [1]

The Words of Allāh and His Messenger are for Everybody

That which is popular amongst the common people [who say]:

“It is very difficult to understand the speech of Allāh and His Messenger. Immense knowledge is needed for this. We don’t have the ability to understand their speech, and to tread this path is the activity of great personalities, so what ability do we have to proceed in accordance with them? In fact, we have to suffice on such things.”

Such statements are very wrong because Allāh Saḥib [2] has said that the statements of the Qur’ān Majīd are very clear and straightforward. There is no difficulty in understanding them. Thus, He says in Sūrah Baqarah:

ولقد أنزلنا إليك آيات بينات وما يكفر بها إلا الفسقون

“Undoubtedly, we have sent to you clear verses, and only the lawless refuse them.”

Meaning, there is no difficulty in understanding these verses. However, applying them is difficult to the soul because the soul does not like obedience to anyone. Thus, those who are lawless refuse them. Immense knowledge is not needed to understand the speech of Allāh and His Messenger since the Messenger came to show the way to the unlearned, to make the ignorant understand and to teach the religion to the ignorant. Thus, Allāh (Exalted is He) says in Sūrah Jumu‘ah:

هو الذي بعث فى الأميين رسولا منهم يتلو عليهم آياته ويزكيهم ويعلمهم الكتب والحكمة وان كانوا من قبل لفي ضلال مبين

“He is the One who sent a Messenger to the unlettered from amongst them, reciting His verses onto them, purifying them and teaching them the Book and Wisdom. Undoubtedly they were in manifest error before.”

It is a great blessing of Allāh that He sent such a Messenger who made the uninformed informed, the impure pure, the unlearned learned, the foolish intelligent, the misguided guided. Whoever, having heard this verse, says that no one besides the learned can understand the speech of the Messenger, and no one besides the saints can follow his path, they have rejected this verse and have not valued this blessing. Rather it should be said that an ignorant person, having understood his speech, will become learned, and misguided folk, following his words, will become saints.

An example of this speech is like that of a great physician and a very ill person. So, someone says to this ill person: “Go to so-and-so physician, and get treatment from him.” The ill person responds: “Going to him and getting treatment from him is the job of very healthy people. How can I do so since I am very unwell?” This ill person is a great fool, and is rejecting the skill of this physician because a physician’s purpose is only to treat ill people. One who treats the healthy, and they are the ones who benefit from his medicine, and the sick gain no benefit, what kind of a physician is he?

In short, the greater the ignorance, the greater desire there should be to understand the word of Allāh and His Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). And the one who is a greater sinner should try harder to follow the path of Allāh and His Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). Everyone, the public and the elite, should study the speech of Allāh and His Messenger, understand them, follow them, and correct their īmān according to them.

Two Components to Īmān

Thus, it should be heard that īmān has two components:

  1. To recognise God as God
  2. To acknowledge the Messenger as Messenger

 

  • Recognising God as God is done in this way: that none is regarded as His partner (sharīk). And the Messenger is recognised as Messenger in this way: that besides his [path], no other path is adopted.

The first component is called Tawḥīd and its opposite Shirk. And the second component is called Ittibā‘ al-Sunnah and its opposite Bid‘ah.

Thus, everyone should strongly hold on to Tawḥīd and Ittibā‘ al-Sunnah and stay far-removed from Shirk and Bid‘ah since these two things cause an infraction to true īmān, while all [remaining] sins are beneath them because they cause an infraction to deeds. One who is very accomplished in Tawḥīd and Ittibā‘ al-Sunnah and is very far from Shirk and Bid‘ah and people acquire this quality by staying in his company, you should regard as your Pīr and Ustādh.

This is why several verses and ḥadīths which describe Tawḥīd and Itibbā al-Sunnah and [describe] the evils of Shrik and Bid‘ah will be compiled in this treatise. And the translation of the resultant meaning of these verses and ḥadīths will be made in simple Urdu so that that the public and elite can equally derive benefit from it. May whoever is granted Tawfīq by Allāh come onto the straight path, and become a means to the salvation of the one providing this explanation. Ᾱmīn, O God of all things.

The treatise’s name has been kept as Taqwiyat al-Īmān. Two chapters have been determined for it, the first chapter on the explanation of Tawḥīd and the evil of Shirk and the second chapter on Ittibā‘ al-Sunnah and the evil of Bi‘dah. [3]

Chapter One: On the Explanation of Tawḥīd and Shirk

It should be heard that Shirk is very widespread amongst people and true Tawḥīd rare. Most people don’t even know the meaning of Shirk and Tawḥīd and claim īmān while being engaged in Shirk. Thus, firstly the meaning of Shirk and Tawḥīd must be understood, so that the evil and good of them can then be realised from the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth.

Thus, it should be heard that most people call out to Pīrs, Messengers, Imāms, martyrs, angels and fairies at the time of difficulties and ask their desires of them and make vows to them. For fulfilling needs they make vows and offerings (nazr wa niyāz) to them. To remove afflictions, they attribute their children to them. Some keep their child’s name as ‘Abd al-Nabī (the Prophet’s slave), some as ‘Alī Bakhsh (a gift from ‘Alī), some as Pīr Bakhsh (a gift of Pīr), some as Madār Bakhsh (a gift of Madār) and some as Sālār Bakhsh (a gift of Sālār), some as Ghulām Muḥyiddīn (‘Abdul Qādir al-Jīlānī’s slave), some as Ghulām Mu‘īn al-Dīn (Mu‘īn al-Dīn Chishtī’s slave). For [their children] to live, some keep a lock of hair in someone’s name. Some tie a garland in someone’s name. Some put on a garment in someone’s name. Some put chains on in someone’s name. Some slaughter an animal in someone’s name. Some cry out [to someone] at the time of hardship. Some, in their speech, take oath on someone’s name.

In short, whatever Hindus do with their idols, these fake Muslims undertake with saints, prophets and imāms, angels and fairies, and make the claim of being Muslim. Subḥānallāh! This is the practice and this the claim. Allāh Ṣāḥib has spoken the truth in Sūrah Yūsuf:

وما يؤمن أكثرهم بالله إلا وهم مشركون

“Most of them do not believe in Allāh but do Shirk.”

That is, most people who make the claim of īmān are caught up in Shirk. Further, if a sensible person were to ask these people: “You claim īmān but do acts of Shirk, why do you combine these two [contradictory] paths?” They answer:

“We don’t do Shirk, but we are expressing our devotion towards prophets and saints. We would only be Mushrik if we regarded these prophets, saints, pirs and martyrs as equals to Allah. This is not what we believe. Rather, we regard them to be slaves of Allāh and to be His creatures. The power of discretion (taṣarruf) Allāh Himself gave to them. By His approval they apply their control over the universe. Calling on them is the very same as calling onto Allāh, asking help from them is the very same as asking Him. They are beloved to Allāh, so whatever they want they will do. They will intercede to Him on our behalf and are agents. By reaching them we reach Him and by calling them we draw near to Allāh. The more we obey them the closer we get to Allāh.” And they express [other] such superstitions.

The reason for such statements is that they have involved their intellects and abandoned the speech of God and the Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), and they have fallen after false tales, and held as support wrong customs. If they were to investigate the speech of Allāh and the Messenger, they would come to realise that disbelieving folk would make such statements before the Messenger of God (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). Allāh Ṣāḥib did not accept a single one of these [excuses] and became angry at them and called them liars. Thus, Allāh Ṣāḥib says in Sūrah Yūnus:

ويعبدون من دون الله ما لا يضرهم ولا ينفعهم ويقولون هؤلاء شفعاءنا عند الله، قل: أتنبئون الله بما لا يعلم فى السموات ولا فى الأرض؟! سبحانه وتعالى عما يشركون

“They worship besides Allāh things that do not harm them nor benefit them and say: ‘These are our intercessors with Allāh.’ Say: ‘Do you inform Allāh of something He does not know in the heavens nor on the earth?’ Glorified is He and Exalted beyond what they ascribe to Him.”

Meaning, those that people call upon, Allāh has not given them any power, neither to give benefit nor to cause harm, and that which they assert, that these are our intercessors with Allāh, this was not communicated by Allāh, so are you more aware than Allāh to tell Him what He does not know?!

It is realised from this verse that in the whole of the heavens and earth, there is no such intercessor for anyone who to recognise [as divine] and call out to will cause any benefit or harm. In fact, the intercession that the prophets and saints have is within the control of Allāh. Nothing will happen from calling out to them or not calling out to them. It is also realised that one who worships another regarding him to be an intercessor, he too is a Mushrik.

Allāh Ṣāḥib says in Sūrah Zumar:

والذين اتخذوا من دونه أولياء، ما نعبدهم إلا ليقربونا إلى الله زلفى، إن الله يحكم بينهم فيما هم فيه يختلفون، إن الله لا يهدي من هو كاذب كفار

“And those who take protectors from apart from Him, [they say:] We do not worship them but for them to bring us near to Allāh closely. Certainly, Allāh will judge between them in that in which they differ. Certainly, Allāh does not guide the one who is lying, ungrateful.”

Meaning, abandoning that which is truth: that Allāh is nearest to a slave, and taking others as protectors; and not fulfilling the right nor giving thanks to Allāh’s favour, that He, purely by virtue of His grace, directly fulfils the desires of everyone and stalls all tribulations, but rather seeking them from others; and then in this inverted path, they seek nearness to Allāh! Thus, Allāh will never give them guidance, and from this path they will never acquire nearness to Him, but rather those who proceed on this path will become distant from Him.

It is realised from this verse that whoever considers another as protector [4], even if recognising that on account of asking him nearness is achieved to God, he too is Mushrik and is a liar and ungrateful to Allāh.

Allāh Ṣāḥib says in Sūrah Mu’minūn:

قل من بيده ملكوت كل شيء وهو يجير ولا يجار عليه إن كنتم تعلمون سيقولون لله قل فأنى تسحرون

“Say: Who is it that has the control of all things in his hand, and he grants protection and none can be granted protection against him, if you know? They will say: ‘Allāh.’ Say: ‘Then wherefrom your befuddlement?’”

Meaning, when the disbelievers are asked whose control is the entire world under, and against whom no protection can be made, they will say this is Allāh’s character. Thus, to then regard others [as divine] is pure befuddlement.

From this verse it is realised that Allāh Ṣāḥib has not given the power of control within the world, and no one can protect another, and it is also realised that at the time of the Prophet of God, the disbelievers too did not regard their idols to be equal to Allāh, but considered them His creation and slave, and they would not affirm power for them comparable to Him [5], but calling out to them, and making vows to them, and making offerings, and considering them their agents and intercessors, this was their disbelief and Shirk. Whoever treats another in this way, even if they regard him Allāh’s slave and creation, he and Abū Jahl are equal in Shirk.

It should be understood that Shirk does not depend on regarding someone equal to Allāh and comparable to Him, but rather the meaning of Shirk is that those things Allāh has made specific to Himself, and has specified as signs of His slaves’ servitude, doing them to another; like prostrating, slaughtering an animal on their name, taking a vow by them, and calling them in time of difficulty, and regarding them to be present and seeing at every place, and affirming the power of discretion for them. From these matters, Shirk is established, even if thereafter he regards them to be less than Allāh and to be His creation and slave. In this matter, there is no distinction between saints and prophets, and jinn and shayṭān, and spirits and phantoms. Meaning, with whomever one behaves in this way, he becomes a Mushrik, whether with the prophets or saints, or the pīrs and martyrs, or spirits and fairies. Thus, just as Allāh was angry with those who worshipped idols, He was just as angry with Jews and Christians, even though they would behave in this way with prophets and saints. Thus, it comes in Sūrah al-Barā’ah:

اتخذوا أحبارهم ورهبانهم أربابا من دون الله والمسيح بن مريم وما أمروا إلا ليعبدوا إلها واحدا، لا إله إلا هو، سبحانه عما يشركون

“They determine their scholars and dervishes as their owners apart from Allāh, as well as the Messiah son of Maryam, while they were commanded to worship One God, there is no God but He; He is Unique from those they make His partners.”

Meaning, they would regard Allāh to be the greater Owner but would determine other, smaller, owners apart from him – scholars and dervishes. They were not commanded to do this, and based on this Shirk was established on them. And He is unique, no one can be His partner. Thus, He states in Sūrah Maryam:

إن كل من فى السموات والأرض إلا آتى الرحمن عبدا، لقد أحصهم وعدهم عدا وكلهم آتيه يوم القيمة فردا

“All that are in the heavens and the eeath will come to the All-Merciful as slaves. He has control of them and counted them. Each of them will come to him alone on the Day of Resurreciton.”

Meaning, no angel or man maintains a position higher than slavehood, and are helpless under His sovereignty, maintaining no power, and He applies His discretion over each one, not putting any in the control of another, and in every affair each will be present before Him alone, without making any a protector or agent over another. There are many other such verses bearing such meaning. Whoever understands these two to four verses, will be vigilant of the matter of Shirk and Tawḥīd.

Now, this matter ought to be scrutinised, which matters has Allāh Ṣāḥib made specific to Himself, which no one can be made partner with Him in? These are many. But it is necessary to mention several matters and prove them from Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, so that people can understand all other matters from them.

[1] Shāh Ismā‘īl Dehlawī is not denouncing all adherence to scholarly and saintly guidance, but only that which goes against clear teachings of Qur’ān and Ḥadīth. Otherwise, very shortly after this, he instructs readers to take a scholar and saint as one’s Ustādh and Pīr, when they adhere strictly to the fundamental teachings of Qur’ān and Ḥadīth (of Tawḥīd and Ittibā‘ al-Sunnah).

[2] “In old Urdu the expression ‘Allāh Ṣāḥib said…’ would be used, but in new Urdu its use has been discarded. It appears that at that time, it would be treated as a term of veneration, but in the later vernacular it did not hold such veneration that it be used for Allāh Most Exalted, noble prophets or ṣaḥābah/tābi‘īn.” (Mawlānā Yūsuf Ludhyānwī) Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī was asked if the expression ‘Allāh Ṣāḥib’ is permissible; he replied: “It is permissible.” (Malfūẓāt A‘lā Ḥaḍrat, Da‘wat Islāmī, p. 327)

[3] Shāh Ismā‘īl did not include the section on Bid‘ah in this work.

[4] An independent protector, apart from Allāh.

[5] From this it is clear that Shāh Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī believed that the disbelievers would affirm independent powers (bestowed by Allāh Himself) for the gods, albeit powers that were not on par with Allāh’s powers.

 

 


Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar: Barelwī ‘Ulamā’ are Kāfirs but not their Laymen

January 25, 2019

Mawlānā Muḥammad Rashīd, teacher of Ḥadīth at Dārul ‘Ulūm Madīnah, and student of Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar (1914 – 2009)*, said:

I once asked Ḥaḍrat Imām e Ahl e Sunnat [Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar]: ‘What is the ruling on Barelwīs? What belief should we hold concerning them?’ He replied: ‘The Molvī and Pīr kinds of people amongst them, on account of blasphemous beliefs, are pure Kāfirs and Mushriks. Ṣalāh behind them is undoubtedly invalid. However, we do not make takfīr of the common people because they are completely ignorant. They should be made to understand, but if despite being made to understand, they knowingly stay firm on blasphemous idolatrous beliefs, then takfīr will also be made of them – but otherwise, not.’

In his tafsīr, Dhakhīrat al-Jinān, Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar said:

The noble Fuqahā’ have said that the one who says the souls of mashāyikh are present and knowing is a Kāfir – even if they pray ṣalāh, keep fasts, perform ḥajj, offer qurbānī and fiṭrānah, they are pure Kāfirs. This is the belief of Barelwī Molvīs and Pīrs. Their close attendants, the extreme type of people, also have this belief. The remaining helpless commoners are ignorant. Their Molvīs, Pīrs and the extreme Barelwīs amongst the commoners regard Prophets as ḥāḍir nāẓir, and regard saints and martyrs as ḥāḍir nāẓir also – all of this is Kufr. The class of noble Fuqahā’ is a very precautious class. They are the ones who said that if a person makes a statement that has 100 possible meanings, 99 are blasphemous and one is not, don’t call him a Kāfir because his intent may be the non-blasphemous meaning. A one percent possibility even has not been overlooked. What greater precaution can there be than this? Despite this precaution, this very class of noble Fuqahā’ are unanimous that those who regard the souls of saints as being ḥāḍir nāẓir and ‘ālim al-ghayb are pure Kāfirs. These are not peripheral issues that can simply be ignored.

* For more on Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar see here and here.


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)


Shirk Defined – al-Hashimi

March 18, 2015

In miftaah al-jannah; sharh aqidat ahl al-sunna by the Maliki Sh. Muhammad al-Haashimi (the Shaykh of Sh. Abd al-Qadir Isa and Sh. Abdur Rahman Shaghouri) it was mentioned:

جاء رجل إلى علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه وقال: أنا أملك الخير والشر والطاعة والمعصية، فقال: تملكها مع الله أو بدون الله؟
فإن قلت: تملكها مع الله فقد ادعيت أنك شريك مع الله، إن قلت: أملكها بدون الله فقد ادعيت أنك أنت الله ، فتاب الرجل على يديه

http://ia601602.us.archive.org/13/items/kalambooks9012/muftahuljanna.pdf

“A person came to Ali ibn Abi Talib may Allah be pleased with him and said: I am the owner of good, evil, obedience and disobedience. Ali said: Do you own it with Allah or without Allah? If you say: you own it with Allah, you have claimed you are a partner with Allah, and if you say, you own it without Allah, you have claimed that you are Allah. So the person repented in front of him.”

(even though this narration does not have perhaps a sanad, he cited it and it refutes the deviant belief of granting awliya/prophets the “power of all good or bad.”)


Mukhayyir al-Kull Negated by Sh. Muhammad al-Haashimi

January 12, 2013

In miftaah al-jannah; sharh aqidat ahl al-sunna by the Maliki Sh. Muhammad al-Haashimi (the Shaykh of Sh. Abd al-Qadir Isa and the grandshaykh Sh. Nuh Keller) the following narration was mentioned:

جاء رجل إلى علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه وقال: أنا أملك الخير والشر والطاعة والمعصية، فقال: تملكها مع الله أو بدون الله؟
فإن قلت: تملكها مع الله فقد ادعيت أنك شريك مع الله، إن قلت: أملكها بدون الله فقد ادعيت أنك أنت الله ، فتاب الرجل على يديه

http://ia601602.us.archive.org/13/it…tahuljanna.pdf

“A person came to Ali ibn Abi Talib may Allah be pleased with him and said: I am the owner of good, evil, obedience and disobedience. Ali said: Do you own it with Allah or without Allah? If you say: you own it with Allah, you have claimed you are a partner with Allah, and if you say, you own it without Allah, you have claimed that you are Allah. So the person repented before him.”

(even though this narration does not have perhaps a sanad, still he cited it, and it refutes the shirki beliefs of granting awliya/prophets the “power of all good or bad.”


The Reality of Miracles

September 24, 2012

By ‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar and others

Compiled and Translated by Saad Khan

‘Allamah Muhammad Sarfaraz Khan Safdar (d. 1430 AH) writes that the word mu‘jizah is linguistically derived from ‘ajz(inability), which is an antonym of qudrah (power). He adds that the [round] ‘ta’ at the end is either for intensiveness (exaggeration) or that the word mu‘jizah is an adjective of words like ayah (sign), etc. It is Allah Most High alone who creates‘ajz (inability) in mu‘jizat and in reality He incapacitates the rejecters. A mu‘jizah is from Allah alone, but appears at the hands of a prophet. The prophet has no power over it.

Reality of Mu‘jizah

Imam Rabbani Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (d. 1323 AH) has elaborately discussed the issue of mu‘jizat (miracles of the prophets), karamat (miracles of the saints), and extraordinary events (khawariq al-‘adat) in Fatawa Rashidiyyah. He quotes from the Persian book Radd-i-Bawariq[1] of Shaykh Husayn Shah al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him), who is also known as But Shikan, “To provide the power and choice and to entrust the capability of something are different and distinct from manifesting a trait through something unique to it [in the sense that such a trait is not naturally found in the object].

“For example, one can say Zayd writes with a pen and that Zayd has manifested his trait of writing through [the medium] of a pen. However, it cannot be said that Zayd has provided [or entrusted] the capabilities of motion and writing to the pen itself, since the pen cannot become human [or an intelligent sentient being] and therefore can never gain the capability of [self] motion or acquire the ability of writing. So, if an individual says that Zayd has bestowed the power and capability of writing to a pen, it would mean that Zayd has turned a pen into a human [or a sentient being]. On the contrary, if a person says that Zayd wrote with a pen, it would mean that the action of writing is a unique trait of Zayd which he manifested through the medium of a pen, and the pen has no power or freewill in this action of writing whatsoever; therefore there is a huge difference between the two concepts.

“If you have understood the concepts clarified above, try to understand our actual point of view and hopefully it will be understood. Power, authority and discretion are the characteristics of the One who has no partners (i.e., Allah Most High), and might and sovereignty are [also] attributes belonging solely to the One who is Eternal (i.e. Allah). Therefore, to provide a person or an object the power or capability actually means that the matter has been elevated from [the realms of] possibility (mumkin) to the stages of obligation (wajib) because, after all, origin of power, control of affairs, and axis of might and sovereignty are traits of Wajib al-Wujud, i.e. Allah (not of mumkin, i.e., possible).” (Fatawa Rashidiyyah, 3:230)

‘Allamah Sarfaraz writes that this passage sufficiently highlights the fact that extraordinary feats (khawariq al-‘adat) are actually beyond the power and capability of humans, and this passage also destroys the self-made and farfetched concepts of personal (dhati) and granted (ata‘i) of the Ahl al-Bid‘ah.

Moreover, Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani (d. 1369 AH) writes in his brief but comprehensive treatiseKhawariq al-‘Adat, “(a) Remember that a miracle is in fact an act of Allah, an action which may be contrary to the usual or normal events but not against the special traits of Allah; since to break the routine and to manifest something extraordinary to achieve specific aims is from the special traits of Allah. (b) Furthermore, a miracle is from Allah, [and therefore] to declare a miracle a prophet’s personal action is a huge mistake. (c) And as we pick up a pen and write, apparently it seems as if the pen is writing, but in reality it has no choice in writing; similar is the case with miracles. It is not that prophets can start streams of water from their fingertips anytime they wish; rather, they can do so only when Allah wills so.”

Mawlana Amin Safdar Okarwi (d. 1421 AH) explains that there are four principles that should be kept in mind regardingmu‘jizat and karamat: (1) There is no ikhtiyar (choice) involved on the part of humans. (2) There is no continuity (dawam). (3) There is no generality (kulliyat), i.e., if an extraordinary event happens at the hands of a certain saint (wali), it is not necessary that it can also happen at the hands of other saints. (4) They are not absolute (qat‘i). However, if a mu‘jizah isqat‘i al-thubut (proven through conclusive evidence), then its qat‘iyyah (decisiveness and certainty) will be established. (See Khutbat-i-Amin, p.155-157)

Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Tayyib al-Baqillani al-Maliki (d. 403 AH) writes, “The meaning of our statement that the Qur’an is inimitable (mu’jiz), as per our principles, is that people are not able to produce anything like it. It has been established that it is not correct to include the miracle proving the truthfulness of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) under the ability of people. Rather, Allah Almighty alone has power over it … and so is the case with the miracles of all the Prophets (i.e., they are beyond human ability).” (I‘jaz al-Qu’ran, from Al-Itqan, 2:186)

Imam al-Ghazali (d. 505H) writes, “The reason a miracle attests to the truthfulness of prophets is that everything which human beings cannot produce [its similitude] must be the work of Allah. Whenever this is linked to a Prophet’s challenge, it is as if Allah Most High has said: ‘You are true.’[2].” (Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, 1:97)

‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Aqbaras al-Shafi‘i al-Misri (d. 862 AH) writes, “The theologians (mutakallimun) say that miracles are exclusively from the action of Allah Amighty and they are not included under the power (qudrah) of humans.” (Fath al-Safa’ sharh al-Shifa’, from Hidayat al-Murtab, p.20; Fatawa Rashidiyyah, p.144)

‘Allamah Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Rumi (d. 1041H) writes in his brilliant book Majalis al-Abrar wa Masalik al-Akhyar, “Amu‘jizah is actually from amongst the actions of Allah, out of the norm, which he manifests at the hands of His messenger.” (Majalis al-Abrar, p.43)

He writes in another place, “Whatever appears at their hands as extraordinary is created by Allah Most High and they have no power to invent it; since if they had power to invent it, they would have been able to repel from themselves the lighter matters as well such as disease, hunger, thirst, pain of heat and cold, the harms of the people and so on.” (Majalis al-Abrar, p.103)

Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi (d. 606 AH) writes, “From the many verses that support the veracity of our previous statement is that when He (Exalted is He) related of the disbelievers that they requested overwhelming miracles (al-mu’jizat al-qahirah) from him in His (Exalted is He) statement: ‘They said [to the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)]: We shall never believe in you unless you cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth…’ He (Exalted is He) then said: ‘Say [O Muhammad]: I proclaim the Purity of my Lord. I am nothing but human (bashr), a messenger.’ (Qur’an, 17:90-93). In other words, a person being a human with the quality of messengership implies he is perfect in his theoretical and practical faculties, and is able to treat [other human beings] who are deficient in these two faculties; but it is not necessary in acquiring this quality [of messengership] that he has the ability to [bring about] the conditions [i.e.mu‘jizat] which you request from him.” (Matalib ‘Aliyyah, from Al-Kalam, 2:225, Mawlana Shibli Nu‘mani)

‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun (d. 808 AH) states, “One of the signs [of the prophets] is that they work wonders which attest to their truthfulness. ‘Wonders’ are actions, the likes of which are impossible for human beings to achieve. They are, therefore, called ‘miracles’ (mu’jizat). They are not within the ability of men, but beyond their powers. There is a difference of opinion as to how they occur and as to how they prove the truthfulness of the prophets. Speculative theologians (mutakallimun) base themselves on the doctrine of the ‘voluntary agent’ and say that miracles occur through the power of Allah, and not through the action of the prophet. The Mu‘tazilah maintain that human actions proceed from man himself, but still miracles do not belong to the type of actions that human beings perform. According to all schools, the prophet’s place in the performance of miracles is confined to the ‘advance challenge’ (tahaddi) that he offers by divine permission. That is, the prophet uses the miracles before they occur as proof of the truth of his claims. They therefore take the place of an explicit statement from Allah to the effect that a particular prophet is truthful.” (Muqaddimah Ibn Khaldun, p.93)[3]

‘Allamah Sarfaraz explains that it is clear from the statement of ‘Allamah Ibn Khaldun that miracles are not from those acts which humans have been given power over. The Mu‘talizah are of the view that humans are khaliq (creators) of their actions but when it come to miracles, even they believe that miracles are acts of Allah.

Furthermore Shaykh Shah ‘Abd al-Haq Muhaddith Dahlawi (d. 1052 AH) writes, “A mu‘jizah is not an act of a prophet, rather an act of Allah Most High which He manifests at the hands of a prophet. Contrary to other actions, which are created by Allah and the acquisition (kasb) is by the servant; in miracles the acquisition (kasb) too is not from the servant.” (Madarij al-Nubuwwah, 2:116)

And he writes in another place, “Miracles (mu‘jizat) are the actions of Allah Most High that appear at the hands of the slave for verification of his truthfulness and honor. Miracles are not the actions of the slave such that they appear with his intention and choice like his other chosen actions (af‘al ikhtiyariyyah).” (Tarjamah Futuh al-Ghayb, p.27)

‘Allamah Shah Muhammad Isma‘il Shahid (d. 1246 AH) writes on the discussion of khawariq al-‘adat, “It means that Allah Most High, with His absolute power, acts in the universe in an unusual manner in order to endorse any of His beloved servants, not that He creates in him the power of miracle and appoints him to demonstrate it. No, never; freewill in controlling the affairs of the world is from the exclusive attributes of Allah, not from the characteristics of human power.” (Mansab-i-Imamat, p.31)

Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ (d. 1396 AH) writes, “Miracles and wonders are the direct acts of Allah, but they are manifested through prophets and saints so that people may recognize their spiritual station — prophets and saints themselves have no power to make such things happen… Another verse of the Holy Qur’an reports what a group of prophets said to their people in reply to a similar demand: ‘We cannot give you proof, except by Allah’s will,’ (Qur’an, 14:11). This again was an admission that it was not in their power to produce a miracle, for all power rests in the hands of Allah. In short, it is not at all possible for a prophet or a saint to show a miracle whenever he likes and whatsoever he likes. The disbelievers used to demand specific miracles from the Holy Prophet and from the earlier prophets but Allah manifested only those that He Himself pleased, and not others. The Holy Qur’an presents many such instances.” (Ma‘arif al-Qur’an, 1:102

And ‘Allamah Dr. Khalid Mahmud writes, “A few divine feats are exposed at the hands of the prophets. These feats are technically referred to as mu’jizat. These feats bear testimony to the genuineness of their prophethood because the entire world is incapable of performing such feats. The mu’jizat are divine accomplishments of Allah Most High. They are not subject to the will of the prophets. The prophets are not able to expose these miracles as and when they desire.” (The Concept of Nabuwwah and Rislah, p.7)

The truth that miracles are acts of Allah and that humans have not been given any power over them has also been mentioned by various other luminaries of the Ahl al-Sunnah. Such personalities include:

  • Imam Fadlullah Turipisthi al-Hanafi (d. 661 AH) in Mu‘tamad fi ‘l-Mu‘taqad (ch.2:1);
  • Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (d. 1014H) in Al-Mirqat (2:530);
  • Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sha‘rani (d. 772 AH) from Shaykh Abu Muhammad Tahir ibn Ahmad al-Qazwini (d. 756 AH) and Shaykh Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 638 AH) in Al-Yawaqit wa ‘l-Jawahir (1:158);
  • Muhaqqiq Kamal al-Din ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi (d. 861 AH) in Al-Musayarah (2:89);
  • Shaykh Kamal al-Din ibn Abi Sharif al-Shafi‘i (d. 905 AH) in Al-Musamarah (2:89);
  • Qadi ‘Adud al-Din al-Iyji al-Hanafi (d. 757 AH) in Mawaqif (p.665);
  • ‘Allamah Jalal al-Din Dawani (d. 907 AH) in Sharh al-‘Adudiyyah (p.95);
  • ‘Allamah Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-Taftazani (d. 792 AH) in Sharh al-‘Aqa’id al-Nasafiyyah, (p.18);
  • Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 744 AH) in Tafsir Ibn Kathir (3:144);
  • Qadi Nasir al-Din Baydawi (d. 686 AH) in Anwar al-Tanzil (17:93);
  • ‘Allamah Sun’ Allah ibn Sun’ Allah al-Halabi (d. 1120 AH) in Sayf Allah ‘ala man Kadhiba ‘ala Awliya’ Allah (p.45);
  • Imam Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dahlawi (d. 1239 AH) in Fatawa ‘Azizi (p.408);
  • ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi (d. 1304 AH) in Majmu‘ al-Fatawa (3:18);
  • Mawlana Sayyid Awlad Hasan al-Kannauji (d. 1252 AH) from Fatawa Rashidiyyah (3:27);
  • Mawlana Shah Sikhawat ‘Ali Jonpuri (d. 1274 AH) from Fatawa Rashidiyyah (3:26);
  • Mawlana Haydar ‘Ali Tonki (d. 1273 AH) from Fatawa Rashidiyyah (3:25);
  • ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Haq Haqqani Dahlawi (d. 1336 AH) in ‘Aqa’id al-Islam (p. 154);

This view regarding mu‘jizat and karamat, which has just been presented, is that of Islamic theologians (mutakallimin), jurists (fuqaha) and mystics (sufis). Now, it will be unfair not to present the view of the other factions who regard mu‘jizatand karamat as acts of the prophets and saints.

‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun states, “The philosophers hold that wonders are acts of the prophet, even though they occur in areas where the prophets have no power. This is based upon their doctrine that [there exists] an essential and Necessary [causality] and that events develop out of each other according to conditions and reasons that [always] come up anew and, in the last instance, go back to the Necessary per se that acts per se and not by choice. In their opinion, the prophetical soul has special essential qualities, which produce wonders, with the help of the power of [the Necessary per se] and the obedience of the elements to Him in the universe. The prophet, in their opinion, through those qualities that Allah put into him, is by nature fitted to do discretion (tasarruf) among all created things, whenever he addresses himself to them and concentrates on them. They hold that wonders are brought by the prophet himself, whether it is for ‘challenge’ (tahaddi) or not. They are evidence of the prophet’s truthfulness, in as much as they prove that he performs discretion (tasarruf) among the created things; such activity constituting a special quality of the prophetic soul, not because they take the place of a clear assertion of certainty (tasdiq).” (Muqaddimah Ibn Khaldun, p.94-95)[4]

From the above statement of ‘Allamah Ibn Khaldun, it is clear that according to the philosophers, miracles are acts of prophets, and prophets have been given the ability of discretion (tasarruf) in the cosmos by Allah. This belief is contrary to that of jurists, theologians and mystics.

Tasarruf and Takwin

‘Allamah Sarfaraz explains that tasarruf and takwin are terms used for miracles by the sufis. Sufis do not intend the meaning of discretion in the cosmos. This is where the people of innovation (ahl al-bid‘ah) misapprehend the statements of sufis and believe that tasarruf and takwin are at the disposal of the prophets and saints like the self-determined actions (af‘al ikhtiyariyyah).

For example, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haq Dahlawi writes in his commentary of Futuh al-Ghayb of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani (d. 561 AH), “Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani himself mentions that kharq al-‘adat and tasarruf are acts of Allah that happen at the hands of the servant.” (Sharh Futuh al-Ghayb, p.27)

There is a detailed discussion in Fatawa Rashidiyyah regarding tasarruf and takwin. It would be beneficial to produce some excerpts hereunder:

“We should know that there is a vast difference between the exclusive actions of Allah (af‘al khassah) and the self-determined actions of the servants (af‘al ikhtiyariyyah), since the actions produced by the servants through tools and resources are bound with some conditions. For instance, one needs some things before writing a matter — a pen, paper, a knife to smoothen the pen, eyesight, light, mind, thought, intention, and fingers and their movement. However, the creating of Allah — the Lord of the servants — is neither connected to these matters nor with these conditions; rather, He produces whatever He likes with just an intention, without being dependent upon the resources. This creation of His which is based only on intention is called ‘kun fayakun’: ‘His command, when He intends to do something, is no more than He says, “Be”, and it becomes,’ (Qur’an, 36:82). So supporting the first view for the servants that these actions are from Allah is all right, but affirming the second view (i.e., the power of kun fayakun) is open unbelief (kufr) and heinous polytheism. In brief, asking them to fulfill the matters under self-determined actions (af‘al ikhtiyariyyah) is correct, but demanding to carry out the divine actions [under the power of kun fayakun] is out of place; because the former is within their power and the latter is exclusively related to Allah Most High …” (Fatawa Rashidiyyah, p.143)

And it states, “First, some actions of exclusive attributes of Allah sometimes manifest in the holy existence of the angels and the prophets. These holy existences do not have any power to carry out these acts. So, these acts should not be considered like the actions of eating and wearing, which are within the realm of their choice (ikhtiyar) and power. Demanding them to carry out or bring about these acts is just like addressing the pen overlooking the writer to write such and such, rather believing that the pen in any case has to produce such an act and its power and choice is barred and invalid… Second, [regarding] submission, choice and managing (tadbir) which are attributed to some angels, the same resemblance is found with the pen and writer and the same thing is meant when we say that the writer writes. We have already elaborated on it in detail. It does not mean that He has entrusted the power of creating and the creative process (takwin) with the intention of ‘kun fayakun’ (Be! and it becomes); since it can be available to only the one who is Eternal, as we have already mentioned…” (Fatawa Rashidiyyah, p.141)

It further states in Fatawa Rashidiyyah, “So, the changes and revolutions in any part of the world which appear for the human beings all emanate from the divine power of Allah and are not the result of any possible power. It is not that Allah Most High allows them to act freely (tasarruf) in the world and entrusts the affairs of the human beings to them that they with Allah’s permission use their power and bring about various types of changes and interventions in the universe. So, this belief is pure polytheism (shirk) and absolute unbelief (kufr). One who holds such beliefs about these pious people is a polytheist and is rejected. In short, it is one matter that destiny changes its course for someone’s honor, or fate changes due to the du‘a of some pious man, while it is a different matter that changes take place in the universe through discretion (tasarruf) of a pious man, though with Allah’s permission; the first one is exactly Islam while the second is pure unbelief (kufr)…” (Fatawa Rashidiyyah, p.139-140)

Translator: I would like to thank Mawlana Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi for help with the translation of Persian texts.

Bibliography:

Fatawa Rashidiyyah – Imam Rabbani Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi

Hidayat al-Murtab Ila Tariq al-Sawab fi Tahqiq al-Mu’jizat (Rah-i-Hidayat) – ‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar

_____________________________

  1. A refutation of Al-Bawariq by Fadl Rasul Badayuni. []
  2. Allah Most High’s displaying a miracle at the hands of a Prophet who had announced he will display it as proof of his truthfulness, is equivalent to Divine confirmation of his Prophethood []
  3. Translation compared with Franz Rosenthal’s translation of Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah. []
  4. Ibid []

Source: http://www.deoband.org/2011/09/aqida/deviant-beliefs/the-reality-of-miracles/


Hafiz Ibn Kathir: Asif and the throne of Bilqis

September 14, 2012

Hafiz Ibn Kathir (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in his tafsir: “They [the commentators of the Qur’an] have mentioned that he [Asif] asked him [Sayyiduna Sulayman – may peace be upon him] to see towards Yemen where the said throne was. Then, he [Asif] stood up, performed wudu and invoked to Allah saying, according to Mujahid, “O The Lord of Majesty and the Lord of Honor!”, while according to Imam al-Zuhri, he said: “O My God and the God of everything, the One God, there is no God but You, bring to me her throne” he said, “so it appeared before him”. Mujahid, Sa’id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Ishaq, Zuhayr bin Muhammad and others have said that when he invoked Allah and asked to Him to bring the throne of Bilqis from Yemen while Sayyiduna Sulayman was in Bayt al-Muqaddas, the throne disappeared and went inside the earth and then sprang up before Sayyiduna Sulayman (may peace be upon him).”