Did Mawlānā Gangohī Compare Mawlid to the Hindu Festival of Kanhaiya Janam?

January 12, 2020

Some Barelwīs allege that Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī is guilty of blasphemy for comparing the Mawlid to the festival of Kanhaiya Janam (play-acting the birth of Kanhaiya). For example, Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi wrote in 2010: “The blasphemous comments of the scholars of Deoband include… that the mawlid was like the Hindu festival of Kunhya Janam… (in…Baraheen Qaatiah)!”

This is based on a fatwā of Mawlānā Gangohī, which is reproduced in full in Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah.

A translation of the substantive parts of the fatwā is given below. One will notice the whole fatwā is regarding qiyām (the ritual standing at the mention of the Prophetic birth), which many of the ignorant believed to be obligatory (wājib). Moreover, the comparison to the Hindu festival of play-acting the birth of Kanhaiya was made with respect to a particular belief or defence for this ritual standing. Namely, that some believe that when the Prophet’s blessed soul came from the world of souls into the present world, as a mark of respect we ought to stand, and they are re-enacting that event, and thus standing out of respect! Mawlānā Gangohī says to re-enact the Prophetic birth and behave as though it is happening at the time of the re-enaction is similar to how Hindus behave when play-acting the birth of Kanhaiya; and this has no basis in Sharī‘ah, and is in fact impermissible.

One can see how the Barelwi allegation that Mawlānā Gangohī compared the Mawlid itself to the Hindu festival of Kanhaiya Janam is completely dishonest. Firstly, the comparison was not made with respect to the Mawlid but with respect to the ritual standing (qiyām). Furthermore, it was not made with respect to the qiyām per se, but with respect to a particular belief associated with the qiyām held by some ignorant people. The relevant parts of the fatwā are translated below, and the paragraph in reference is highlighted in bold.

Question

The standing which is in vogue in the majlis mawlūd sharīf out of respect for the mention of the birth of Haḍrat Muḥammad Muṣṭafā (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), which takes place in this time, is it correct to consider this standing necessary or not? And if it is not necessary, will the one who gives fatwā of it being necessary be sinful or not? And if sinful, at which level?

Answer

To stand up at the time of mentioning the birth is not established anywhere in the three generations. Although the conducts and states of the revered master of the world, and the mention of the states by way of admonition, teaching, revision and narration, in those generations, occurred countless time, yet it is not established in any narration that at the time of mentioning the birth that anyone ever stood, or that anywhere the master of the world (upon him peace) in any way described it as being recommended or an etiquette. Whether some stood for the respected pride of the world himself (upon him blessing and peace), this is outside the discussion, and to make an analogy with this is mere ignorance. The discussion is over the habitual practice of the fools of our time at the mention of his birth. Where is this established? This has never been established.

Firstly, this is sufficient proof of their innovation being baseless. As there has been so much extremism in this, such that the common ignoramuses have started to regard it as necessary, and censure the one who doesn’t do it, it has become an abomination and wicked innovation. This is an innovated affair. If the commoners begin to think something established as permissible to be necessary, that too is impermissible and an abomination. It is narrated from ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him) that he said: “Let not one of you make for Shayṭān any part of salāh, viewing that it is a duty on him that he does not turn except to his right. Indeed, I had seen the Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) frequently turning to his left (agreed upon).” ‘Alī al-Qārī said in the commentary of this hadīth: “The one who persists on a desirable matter and makes it a firm resolve, and does not act on a dispensation, the Shayṭān has acquired from him deviation, so what of the one who persists on innovation and abomination?!” It states in Fatāwā ‘Ālamgīriyyah: “What is done after the ṣalāh is makrūh because the ignorant people believe it to be sunnah or wajib and every permissible act leading to this is makrūh.”

Thus, firstly, it has been established that this standing has never been proven in any ḥadīth or athar, whether one that is verbal, practical or based on tacit approval. Thus this matter is itself invented. Secondly, if hypothetically, something did happen, it was nothing like wājib, sunnah or mustaḥabb, because wājib is the practice that is established by decisive evidence and conjectural indication or conjectural evidence and decisive indication, and here in the matter of standing, there is no clear text (naṣṣ) even, neither strong nor weak; and sunnah refers to the ruling in which it is established he (upon him peace) or the righteous caliphs persisted, and since in the matter of standing nothing is established not even once, it cannot even be mustaḥabb and mandūb, let alone sunnah.

The most that can be said of the matter if someone tries very hard is that it is permissible and neutral. But to regard a mubāḥ act as sunnah or wājib will make it an innovation and abomination, as has become clear from the statement of Ibn Mas‘ūd (Allāh be pleased with him) and Mullā Alī Qārī (Allāh have mercy on him) and the narration of ‘Ālamgiriyyah.

Anyhow, to declare this standing necessary is harām, and the one who says so is a fāsiq and perpetrator of major sin because that practice which the lawgiver has forbidden (i.e. introducing a new ritual into religion), he has declared wājib. Thus, it is pure opposition to the bright Sharī‘ah. Allāh (Exalted is He) said: “And whosoever opposes the Messenger after guidance becomes clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers we will turn him to what he has turned and make him roast in hell, evil an abode.”

The upshot is that standing at the time of mentioning the birth either:

    1. Has the reason that these people take support from some fabricated narration, or adhere to some saying or practice of scholars. It is known that fabrications and the statements and actions of scholars do not establish a ruling and dispensation until a proof of Shar‘īah is found. Thus, in this situation, recommendation etc. is not proven. Whoever by their own judgement considers [a ḥadīth] to be established, even then to consider it obligatory and emphasised is bid‘ah.
    1. Or it has the reason that the pure soul (upon him peace) came from the world of souls to the world of seeing, so standing is done to honour this. This too is pure foolishness because in this case standing ought to be done at the time of the blessed birth occurring. Which birth is being repeated each day? Thus, this re-enactment of the birth each day is like the Hindus who observe the play-acting (sāng) of the birth of Kanhaiya each year, or like the Rawāfiḍ who recreate [the events of] the martyrdom of the prophetic household each year. Allāh forbid, they have established a play-acting (sāng) of his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) birth. Just this act is worthy of blame and is ḥarām and wickedness. In fact, these people have exceeded them [the Hindus and Rawāfiḍ]. They do it at a specific date. They have no restrictions. Whenever they want, they create these imagined tales. Such a thing is not observed anywhere in Sharī‘ah, that an imagined matter is established, and is treated as though it is real. Rather, this is forbidden in Sharī‘ah. Thus, based on this reason, this standing would be ḥarām and become a cause of imitating the disbelievers and the wicked.
    1. Or it has the reason that in the corrupt view of these innovators, the victorious soul [of the Prophet] attends this gathering of evils and sins and illicit activities, and this assembly of wicked people and sinners, and this location of innovations and evils. Allāh forbid! If the belief is that he is ‘Ālim al-Ghayb, this belief itself is shirk. It states in the Qur’ān: “With Him are the keys of the ghayb. None but He knows them.” And: “Had I known the ghayb, I would have amassed good and no evil would afflict me.” Thus, to perform the standing with this belief will itself be shirk.
    1. Those who do not say he is ‘Ālim al-Ghayb but have a different evidence or proof of attendance, then understand well that in the topic of beliefs it is necessary to have a decisive text. A belief cannot be established based on singular narrations and speculative evidences, let alone weak and fabricated narrations. In the matter of attendance, which decisive narration is there on which this belief can be based? Thus, this belief is pure following of desires and a scheme of the devil. In such a situation, this standing, with this belief, is a major sin.

In brief, this standing in the first situation is bid‘ah and an abomination, and in the second situation is ḥarām and wickedness, and in the third situation is disbelief and in the fourth situation is following desires and a major sin. Thus, in no situation is it licit and permissible.

Barāhīn e Qāṭi’ah, Dārul Ishā‘at, p.151-2


Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah on the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam being a “Brother”

January 12, 2020

Some Barelwīs allege that Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī/Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī are guilty of blasphemy for describing the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah as a “brother” to people. For example, Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi wrote in 2010: “The blasphemous comments of the scholars of Deoband include…that the Prophet was a brother to people etc. (in…Baraheen Qaatiah)!”

The following is a translation of the complete section of Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah in reference so readers can assess whether this really is “blasphemy” (as Munawwar claims) or another example of the Barelwī passion to call out anything as “blasphemy” when it comes from their theological opponents.

When the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) forbade ṣawm wiṣāl (continuous fasting without ifṭār) and when some companions, in order to justify their violation of this prohibition, said that he (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself performs it, he replied: “Which of you is like me? I spend the night while my Rabb feeds me and gives me drink.” (Bukhārī) And in another version, he said: “I am not like any of you…” (Muslim)

‘Abd al-Samī‘ al-Rāmpūri used this narration in Anwār Sāṭi‘ah to criticise those who regard the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as our “brother” (which is an indirect reference to Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his Taqwiyat al-Īmān, where he referred to all prophets and men of piety as “brothers” in humanity – as opposed to gods – while commenting on a ḥadīth in which the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam described himself as “your brother” – see for an explanation here).

In response, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī writes in Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah:

I say:

In the ḥadīth, “Which of you is like me?” the intent is likeness in proximity to Allāh Almighty, which is clearly indicated by the words he said after this: “My Rabb feeds me and gives me drink.” The same is the case with the verse: “You [O wives of the Prophet] are not like any of the women” (Qur’an 33:32), in which is intended negation of likeness in terms of the honour of being the wives [of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam] and the consequences of being the wives [of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam].

Not even the least Muslim will claim likeness with the Pride of the World (upon him blessings) in proximity to Allāh and his lofty perfections. However, all children of Ādam are equal to him in the very property of being human (nafs bashariyyat) as Allāh Himself states: “Say: I am but a man like you.” And after this, the qualification “revelation comes to me” (Qur’an 18:110), again establishes the position of proximity to Allāh after affirming likeness in being human.

Thus, if anybody says that he is a brother, in the sense of being from the descendants of Ādam, there is no contradiction with the texts, but it is perfectly in line with the texts [of Qur’ān and Ḥadīth]. The Pride of the World (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: “I hoped to see my brothers.” (Muslim) Thus, he has affirmed brotherhood based on being from the children of Ādam and this basis is completely in line with Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, and attacking this is an attack on Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, and disagreeing with this is opposition to the clear texts [of Qur’ān and Ḥadīth]. Thus, the one who says he is a brother means it in the sense that he is from the children of Ādam, not because he believes in likeness in terms of proximity to Allāh! Thus, an attack on this stems from nothing but an opposition to the texts.

To take out his (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) person from being human – which is the noblest and most exalted of creation – and placing him in another species is pure disrespect and degradation of his lofty station. The author has not yet understood what the one who said this meant, and the author’s attack is [in reality] of the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth themselves. Nonetheless, this is surely him exposing his own lack of understanding. The verse, “You [O wives of the Prophet] are not like any of the women” is understood in the same way.

I say:

There is no doubt that brotherhood in the very property of being human, and equality in terms of being from the children of Ādam, has been established in the text of the Qur’ān; while, in the perfections of proximity, nobody has called him a brother or believes him to be equal [with others]. Thus, this objection is complete sophistry, against understanding and reason. (Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah, p. 7)

Where is the blasphemy in this passage? In this passage, the author states no one is equal to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in proximity to Allāh and his lofty perfections. But in the very property of being human, he is equal to all human beings, as confirmed in Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, and in this sense he has been referred to as our brother (as found in some ḥadīths).


‘Allāmah Barzanjī on ‘Ilm al-Ghayb – A Response to Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

January 6, 2020

‘Allāmah Sayyid Aḥmad al-Barzanjī has two treatises refuting the belief [famously held by Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī] that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was bestowed knowledge of literally every single thing in creation up to the Day of Judgement. The first treatise is available as a manuscript, and was written in 1322 H, called Risālah fī ‘Ilm al-Ghayb (available here) and the second the famous Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl written some time after 1324 H (available here; see also here). To cast doubt on the authorship of the second treatise, Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi suggests there is a contradiction between the two treatises, and in doing so, quotes Sayyid Barzanjī’s first treatise deceptively (see, for what he says: p28 here).

In fact, in both treatises, Sayyid Barzanjī says the view that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was given ‘ilm jamī‘ mā kāna wa mā yakūn is bāṭil and an unacceptable view.

The full quote, after mentioning that some late scholars like Ibrāhīm al-Bājūrī held this incorrect view*, is as follows:

فما تقول في قول هؤلاء؟ فالجواب الذي أقوله: أن هذا القول خلاف  التحقيق ودعوى بلا دليل وهجوم فى العلم بلا مستند، بل مخالف ومبارز لصريح الآيات والأحاديث وكلام أئمة الدين الذين عليهم التعويل في مثل هذا المقام المهم كما تقدم بيان كثير منه، وقد قال الله تعالى: ولا تقف ما ليس لك به علم، إن السمع والبصر والفؤاد كل أولاؤك كان عنه مسؤولا، ومع هذا لا يلزم من قولهم المذكور كفر ولا بدعة لأنه مبني منهم على تأويل تلك الآيات والأحاديث كما هو الظاهر اللائق بشأنهم

“What do you say about the view of these [scholars]? The answer that I say is that this view is against verification and is a claim without [proper] evidence and is an attack on [religious] knowledge without basis; in fact, it is in conflict and opposition to clear verses and ḥadīths and the statement of the imāms on whom is dependence in such an important topic, just as the presentation of much of it has passed. Allāh, exalted is He, has said: ‘Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of, indeed th e hearing, sight and heart – all of them will be questioned about.’ But despite this, the aforementioned view of theirs does not necessitate [passing a judgement of] kufr or bid‘ah [on them] because it is based on them having made ta’wīl in those verses and ḥadīths, as is evident and suitable to their position.”

Note: He also refers to this view of some late scholars in Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl, p81-2, and says the same – that it is not a followable position.

The parts in bold are significant passages that Munawwar did not reveal to his readers.

Sayyid Barzanjī is not saying that the misguided view he describes is not itself kufr or bid‘ah – how can it not be kufr or bid‘ah when it opposes clear texts of Qur’ān and ḥadīth, and opposes the statements of the imāms that are depended on?! But that the individual scholars of the past who held this view will not be called mubtadi‘ or kāfir because it was based on an error of judgement, and a mistaken ta’wīl. Ibrāhīm al-Bājūrī and his likes would fall in this category.

But when a person is adamant on such a position, even after the clear evidence of the truth opposing it comes to light, then it will definitely amount to kufr or bid‘ah. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān falls in the latter category.

* As follows:

فإن قلت: قد قال بعض المتأخرين ممن قرب عصره أن علمه صلى الله عليه وسلم محيط بجميع المعلومات حتى المغيبات الخمس، منهم العلامة الباجوري فى حاشيته على سلم المنطق المنظوم فإنه بعد أن نقل اختلاف علماء عصره في ذلك قال: والتحقيق الذي نعتقده أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يفارق الدنيا حتى أفاض الله عليه علم الأشياء كلها لكن لا كعلم الله، أي: الفرق بين علمه تعالى وعلمه صلى الله عليه وسلم على تسليم هذا أن علمه تعالى محيط بالأشياء كلها أزلا وأبدا إجمالا وتفصيلا ولا يشغله حضور معلوم في علمه عن حضور معلوم آخر، وأن علمه صلى الله عليه وسلم مع كونه حادثا ليس بالوجه المذكور

See for earlier refutations of Munawwar: here, here, here, here.


Answering the Challenge of Munawwar Ateeq Rizwi to True Sunni Muslims

September 30, 2013

Answering the Challenge of Munawwar Ateeq Rizwi to True Sunni Muslims

In this recently uploaded video, Barelwi preacher, Munawwar Ateeq Rizwi, issues a challenge to true Sunni Muslims:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EodNE_g7fV8

Most of the video is the usual nauseating drivel, full of rhetoric, boasts, self-promotion and emotional blackmail, lacking any real substance. However, he issues a couple of challenges to Sunni Muslims, which I felt I should answer.

I will break this response down into two parts, in answer to both challenges of Munawwar. His first challenge was to find any statement from the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wherein they define ‘ilm al-ghayb or ghayb in such a way that it is exclusive to Allah and inapplicable to creatures. His second challenge was to prove that after the completion of the revelation of the Qur’an, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was unaware of any worldly knowledge or event.

Answering Munawwar’s First Challenge

At around the 34 minute mark, he claims so-called non-Sunnis attempt to define ghayb or ‘ilm al-ghayb so as to negate it from the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Then at around 42 minutes, he issues the following challenge: “Not a single ‘aalim in the history of Islamic civilisation ever gave that definition of ghayb. This is my challenge. My challenge is: not a single ‘aalim in the history of Islamic civilisation from the Ahlus Sunnah ever gave, never ever gave, such a definition to ghayb in which they secluded it only for Allah Subhaanahoo wa Ta‘aalaa. You can never show me such a definition for ghayb….Nobody can show us a definition from the ‘ulamaa’ of Ahlus Sunnah in which the ‘aalim defines ghayb in a way that is specific to Allah.”

In answer to this challenge, I will first present one comprehensive definition given by an accepted scholar of Ahlus Sunnah, followed by some supporting statements from other accepted scholars of Ahlus Sunnah.

The great Māturīdī Imam of ‘Aqidah, ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Ahmad al-Farhārī (see his biography in Nuzhat al-Khawātir, Dār Ibn Hazm, p. 1018) writes in his famous and accepted text on ‘Aqidah, an-Nibrās (a commentary on Taftāzāni’s Sharh al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafiyyah), which was authored in the year 1239 H/1823 CE:

واعلم أن للناس في مسألة الغيب كلمات غير منقحة والتحقيق أن الغيب ما غاب عن الحواس والعلم الضروري والعلم الإستدلالي وقد نطق القرآن بنفي علمه عمن سواه تعالى فمن ادعى أنه يعلمه كفر ومن صدق المدعي كفر وأما ما علم بحاسة أو ضرورة أو دليل فليس بغيب ولا كفر في دعواه ولا في تصديقه على الجزم فى اليقيني والظن فى الظني عند المحققين

 وبهذا التحقيق اندفع الإشكال فى الأمور التي يزعم أنها من الغيب وليست منه لكونها مدركة بالسمع أو البصر أو الضرورة أو الدليل

فأحدها إخبار الأنبياء لأنها مستفادة من الوحي ومن خلق العلم الضروري فيهم أو من انكشاف الكوائن على حواسهم

ثانيها خبر الولي لأنه مستفاد من النبي أو من رؤيا صالحة أو من إلهام إلهي أو من النظر فى اللوح المحفوظ وهو ثابت من أهل الكشف وإن منعه بعض الفقهاء

تالثها إخبار المحاسب بالكسوف والخسوف لأنه بدلائل هندسية قطعية

رابعها إخبار المنجم والرمال لأن النجوم والرمل علمان استدلاليان منزلان على بعض الأنبياء ثم اندرسا وخلط الناس فيهما فمن استدل بقاعدة نبوية أصاب فى الخبر

خامسها خبر الكاهن لأنه مما يخبره الجن عن مشاهدة أو سماع من الملائكة الذين عرفوا الكوائن المستقبلة بالوحي

تم نقول قد نطق كثير من الأحاديث وأقوال السلف بكفر المنجم والكاهن ومن يصدقهما وذكر غير واحد من المحققين أن التكفير خاص بمن يدعي علم الغيب أو يزعم النجوم مدبرة بالاستقلال أو يزعم الجن عالمة بالغيب

قلت: ومع هذا ليس الإشتغال بالنجوم والكهانة وتصديقهما من فعل الصالحين ولا شك أن فيهما إخلالا بعقائد ضعفاء المسلمين لزعمهم أن المخبر عالم بالغيب على أن الكاهن يصعب أن يسلم إيمانه لاستمداده من الشياطين

فاحفظ هذا التحقيق فإنه من خواص مؤلفاتنا

النبراس شرح شرح العقائد، مكتبة حقانية، ص ٣٤٣-٤

“Know that the people have unrefined words on the issue of ghaybThe verification is that ghayb is that which is hidden to the senses, necessary knowledge and deductive knowledge. The Qur’an has pronounced its negation from (every) one besides Him, Exalted is He. Thus, whoever claims that he knows it has disbelieved, and whoever assents to (the claim of) a claimant has disbelieved. As for that which is known through sense or necessity or evidence, it is not ghayb, nor has one disbelieved by claiming it, nor by assenting to it with certainty in certain (knowledge) and uncertainty in conjectural (knowledge), according to the verifiers.

By this verification, the difficulty in the issues which are assumed that they are from ghayb and are not (in reality) from them as they are perceived by hearing, seeing, necessity or evidence, is dispelled.

One of them is the report of the prophets, because they are acquired from revelation and from the creation of a necessary knowledge in them or from the exposure of existents to their senses.

“The second of them is the report of a saint because it is acquired from a prophet or a pious dream or divine inspiration or from looking into the Preserved Tablet which is established from the Ahl al-Kashf, although some jurists deny it.

“The third of them is the report of an astronomer of (the time of) the solar and lunar eclipse because it is by decisive mathematical evidences.

“The fourth of them is the report of an astrologer and geomancer because astrology and geomancy are two deductive sciences that were sent down on some of the prophets and then they were lost and the people became confused over them, so whoever draws evidence using a prophetic principle, he will be correct in the report.

“The fifth of them is the report of a soothsayer because it is from that which the jinn inform him from observation or hearing the angels who are aware of future existents by means of revelation.

“Then we say: Many of the hadiths and statements of the Salaf have pronounced kufr on the astrologer and soothsayer and whoever assents to them, and many of the verifiers have stated that the anathematisation is limited to the one who claims knowledge of ghayb or believes the stars manage (the creation) independently or believes the jinn know the ghayb.

“I say: And despite this, occupation in astrology and soothsaying and assenting to them is not from the practice of the righteous people, and there is no doubt that through them there is harm created in the beliefs of the weak Muslims due to their belief that the one giving the information is knower of ghayb; on top it being difficult for the īmān of a soothsayer to remain secure as he seeks help from the devils.

“Preserve this verification as it is from the specialities of our writings.”

An-Nibrās fi Sharh Sharh al-‘Aqā’id, Maktabah Haqqāniyyah, pp. 343-4

The author of an-Nibrās clearly defines ghayb in such a way that the true meaning of ‘ilm al-ghayb belongs exclusively to Allah, which he says is attested to by verses of the Qur’an. Examples of these verses are:

قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ

“Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the ghayb besides Allah.” (27:65)

قُل لاَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِندِي خَزَآئِنُ اللّهِ وَلا أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ

Say (O Prophet): I do not say to you I have the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the ghayb.” (6:50)

قُل لاَّ أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي نَفْعًا وَلاَ ضَرًّا إِلاَّ مَا شَاء اللّهُ وَلَوْ كُنتُ أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ لاَسْتَكْثَرْتُ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ

“Say: I do not own for myself benefit, nor harm, except what Allah wills; and had I known the ghayb I would have accumulated a lot of good things and no evil would have touched me.” (7:188)

Furthermore, if this wasn’t clear enough, the author of an-Nibrās lists a number of things which people wrongly assume to be ‘ilm al-ghayband he explains why they are not so. The first example he uses is the information given by prophets, as this is received through revelation; and anything to which there is a means or evidence – including revelation – is not classified as true ghayb. In sum, his definition of ghaybentails that it is all knowledge to which creation have absolutely no access.

Many other scholars have said the same. For example, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974 H) said in his al-Fatāwā al-Hadīthiyyah:

لا يعلم الغيب إلا هو ومن سواه إن علموا جزئيات منه فهو بإعلامه وإطلاعه لهم وحينئذ لا يطلق أنهم يعلمون الغيب إذ لا صفة لهم يقتدرون بها على الاستقلال بعلمه وأيضا هم ما علموا وإنما علموا وأيضا هم ما علموا غيبا مطلقا لأن من أعلم بشيء منه يشاركه فيه الأنبياء ونظراؤه ممن اطلع

رسائل ابن عابدين، ٢:٣١٣

 

None but He (Allah) knows the ghayb, and those besides Him, although they know particulars of it, it is by His revelation and disclosure to them. Therefore, it is not said without qualification that they know the ghayb, since they have no attribute by which they can independently know it. Moreover, they do not know, but were taught. Moreover, they were not taught the unseen in absolute terms because whoever is informed something from it, the Prophets and their peers who have comprehended [that knowledge] participate with him in it.”

Quoted in Rasā’il Ibn ‘Abidin, 2:313

It is clear from this that al-Haythami considers the true meaning of ghayb as being something that is limited to Allah.

An-Nasafi also defines ghayb in his Tafsir in a way that it is exclusive to Allah:

الغيب هو ما لم يقم عليه دليل ولا أطلع عليه مخلوق

Ghayb is that on which no evidence has been erected, nor was a creature informed of it.”

From amongst recent scholars, ‘Allamah al-Kawthari clearly says in his Maqālāt:

العلم بإعلام الله لا يكون من الغيب في شيء

Knowledge by means of disclosure from Allah is not from (true) ghayb at all.

Ibn ‘Abidin said:

ما اختص به تعالى هو الغيب المطلق على أن ما يدعيه العبد ليس غيبا حقيقة لأنه إنما يكون بإعلام من الله تعالى

رسائل ابن عابدين، ٢:٣١٤

 

“That which is exclusive to Him is unrestricted/unqualified ghayb, while that which the servant (i.e. prophet or saint) claims is notghayb in reality because it only comes about by disclosure from Allah, Exalted is He.”

Rasā’il Ibn Abidīn, 2:314

Since this is the true and original meaning of ‘ilm al-ghayb – i.e. that which creatures have absolutely no access to –, this is why the Hanafis have clearly stated that the one who claims ‘ilm al-ghayb (without qualifying it) has committed kufr.

Ibn ‘Abidin says:

ذكر الحنفية في عدة من كتبهم أن من ادعى لنفسه علم الغيب كفر

رسائل ابن عابدين، ٢:٣١١

The Hanafis have stated in a number of their books that the one who claims ‘ilm al-ghayb for himself has disbelieved.”

Rasā’il Ibn Abidin, 2:311

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari said:

وذكر الحنفية تصريحا بالتكفير باعتقاد أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يعلم الغيب لمعارضة قوله تعالى قل لا يعلم من في السماوات والأرض الغيب إلا الله كذا في المسايرة

منح الروض الأزهر في شرح الفقه الأكبر، دار البشائر الإسلامية، ص ٤٢٢

“The Hanafis have mentioned clearly that by believing the Prophet (upon him blessing and peace) knew the ghayb one is declared a disbeliever due to conflict with His (Exalted is He) statement: “Say: None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen but Allah.””

Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fī Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, Dār al-Bashā’ir al-Islāmiyyah, p. 422

Ibn al-Humam and Ibn Abi Sharif say the same thing in Musamarah/Musayarah. (Kitāb al-Musāmarah bi Sharh al-Musāyarahal-Matba‘ah al-Kubrā al-Amīriyyah, p. 202)

 

If “’ilm al-ghayb” in its original meaning was a quality shared by Allah and His creatures, this verdict makes no sense. The only way it can be made sense of is by acknowledging that ‘ilm al-ghayb in its true and original sense according to the Hanafis means the knowledge which is completely inaccessible to creation (what al-Tahawi calls al-‘ilm al-mafqūd). To claim such knowledge is certainly kufr (as al-Tahawi mentioned), as it is to claim independent knowledge, which is exclusive to Allah. Thus, again, as with other issues, the claim of the Barelwis to Hanafiyyat has been proven to be an empty claim. In reality, their maslak is ‘Nafsaniyyat,’ not ‘Hanafiyyat.’

It is absolutely clear, therefore, that Munawwar’s statement that no scholar of Ahlus Sunnah has defined ‘ilm al-ghayb so as to exclude every being besides Allah from having this quality is a baseless and totally incorrect claim; unless he wishes to exclude all the above scholars from the Ahlus Sunnah and reserve the name only for his imam, Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi, and his followers (which is what they really mean when they say “Ahlus Sunnah”). In fact, the scholars of ‘Aqidah, Fiqh and Tafsir, particularly those of a Hanafi persuasion, are clear that according to its true and original meaning, ‘ilm al-ghayb is a quality reserved for Allah, Most Exalted, and none share with Him in this quality.

Answering Munawwar’s Second Challenge

After about one hour into the video, Munawwar claims – quoting his imam, Ahmad Rida Khan – that there is not a single decisive proof that after the completion of the Qur’an, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) displayed unawareness of any matter of the world.

I will present one hadith to refute this claim.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate in several places of their Sahihs on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas:

يُؤْخَذُ بِرِجَالٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِي ذَاتَ اليَمِينِ وَذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ، فَأَقُولُ: أَصْحَابِي، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّهُمْ لَمْ يَزَالُوا مُرْتَدِّينَ عَلَى أَعْقَابِهِمْ مُنْذُ فَارَقْتَهُمْ، فَأَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ العَبْدُ الصَّالِحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ: وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ، فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنْتَ أَنْتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ، وَأَنْتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ، إِنْ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ، وَإِنْ تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ العَزِيزُ الحَكِيمُ

 

“Men from my companions will be seized from the right and the left, so I will say: ‘My companions!’ It will be said: ‘They continued turning back on their heels (i.e. apostatising) since you parted from them.’ So I will say as the righteous slave ‘Isa ibn Maryam said: ‘I was witness over them for as long as I was amongst them, and then when You took me, You became the watcher over them…’”

Thus, it is established that on the plains of resurrection, RasulAllah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) will say he was unaware of the actions of some of those who accompanied him after his death.

In another version of the same hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari:

يُجَاءُ بِرِجَالٍ مِنْ أُمَّتِي، فَيُؤْخَذُ بِهِمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ، فَأَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ أَصْحَابِي، فَيُقَالُ: لاَ تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ، فَأَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ العَبْدُ الصَّالِحُ: {وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا، مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ}

In this narration, he is told “You do not know what they innovated after you.”

In another narration from Sahih Muslim it is mentioned that RasulAllah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) will initially say: “They are from me!” attempting to intercede for them. And then when he is told “you do not know what they innovated after you,” he will say: “away (with them), away!” This behaviour clearly shows he will be initially unaware of their actions that they committed after his death.

In another version from Sahih al-Bukhari:

يَرِدُ عَلَى الحَوْضِ رِجَالٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِي، فَيُحَلَّئُونَ عَنْهُ، فَأَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ أَصْحَابِي، فَيَقُولُ: إِنَّكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَكَ بِمَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ، إِنَّهُمُ ارْتَدُّوا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهِمْ القَهْقَرَى

In this narration, Allah will say to RasulAllah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam): “You have no knowledge of what they innovated after you.”

Note: Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab narrated this marfoo‘ narration from several “companions” (ashāb) of RasulAllah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Note: This narration (in which certain people who the Prophet – sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – initially believed to be his true companions are driven away from the Hawd) was narrated with various wordings from a number of the Sahabah, including Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri, Sahl ibn Sa‘d, ‘A’ishah, Anas ibn Malik, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud, Asma’ bint Abi Bakr, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamān and Umm Salamah, all of which are found the Sahih of al-Bukhari, the Sahih of Muslim or both. Hence, this is a mutawātir narration, proving that the Prophet did not have some knowledge of the world even after the revelation of the Qur’an was complete.

In the end, we can safely say Munawwar’s challenge in no way offers any real challenges to correct Sunni doctrine, and in actual fact, merely reveals his own ignorance and fanaticism.


Part 2: Refutation of Munawwar and his Article on Ilm al-Ghayb

September 7, 2012

by Zameelur Rahman

Munawwar replied to some parts that were mentioned against his article here: http://scholarsink.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/dispelling-false-notions_p1.pdf

will address a few technical errors and objections to his article:

1. He refers to al-Alusi to prove the claim that verse 16:89 of the Qur’an refers to literally every single thing in creation (pp. 3-4). AlthoughAlusi does attribute this view to “some of them” (ba’duhum), he does not specify any exegete or scholar in particular. And in fact slightly earlier he states: “The majority of the exegetes have taken the view of specifying [“thing” to matters of need and religion], and that was narrated from Mujahid.”

ذهب أكثر المفسرين إلى اعتبار التخصيص وروي ذلك عن مجاهد

Alusi clearly states Mujahid did specify the verse [and this is narrated from him with sound chains from Tabari’s tafsir under the verse] contrary to Munawwar’s assertion that the early exegetes did not. And he makes it absolutely clear that this is the view of the vast majority of the exegetes, and this is plainly clear if you search the tafsir of the verse from every tafsir of the altafsir.com database. Tabari, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Baydawi, Jalal al-Din Mahalli and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Fayruzabadi, Shawkani, Baghawi, Khazin, Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Nasafi, Abu Hayyan, Abu al-Sa’ud, Isma’il al-Haqqi, Tabrani and other mufassirun all specified the verse.

Munawwar dishonestly claims about Alusi’s tafsir “He then quotes statements of Imam Ibn al-Arabi, Sayyiduna Ali, Imam Suyuti and Imam Mursi, and Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them all) on the generality of this verse.” Alusi does no such thing. Rather, he says this tafsir is supported (yu’ayyidu) by specific things reported from those individuals, and he does not quote any of them stating the tafsir of this verse is what he mentioned.

Regarding Ibn al-‘Arabi, Alusi mentions that he extracted certain information about the future from the Qur’an as did ‘Ali (radiy Allahu ‘anhu), although he gives no information as to the authenticity of these attributions. As Mufti Shafi’ mentions in his tafsir, however, this does not contradict the majority-view that “all things” refers to religious matters, as these informations that are extracted are based on allusions and hints and not therefore included in the “exposition/explanation” (tibyan).

Munawwar claims Alusi quotes from “Imam al-Suyuti and Imam Mursi…on the generality of this verse.” Neither Imam al-Suyuti nor al-Mursi is quoted in relation to the verse, rather Imam al-Suyuti is quoted quoting al-Mursi saying the following: “The Qur’an gathers the sciences of the earlier and later peoples, in a manner by which none encompasses it by true knowledge except its Speaker [i.e. Allah], and then the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) except what He (سبحانه) preferred for Himself.”

وقد نقل الجلال السيوطي عن المرسي أنه قال: جمع القرآن علوم الأولين والآخرين بحيث لم يحط بها علماً حقيقة إلا المتكلم به ثم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خلا ما استأثر به سبحانه

This statement in fact proves “restriction” as Mursi says although the Qur’an contains the knowledge of the earlier and later peoples, only Allah can truly comprehend this knowledge in His speech, and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was also given this knowledge but with certain exceptions. This is therefore not in support of Munawwar’s claim. Mursi’s quote continues to say: “Then the masters of the Sahabah like the four calphs and like Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Mas’ud inherited from him (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) most of that [i.e. not all of it].”

ثم ورث عنه معظم ذلك سادات الصحابة وأعلامهم مثل الخلفاء الأربعة ومثل ابن عباس وابن مسعود

Thus, in Mursi’s statement (which is also the source of the attribution of this view to ibn ‘Abbas and ibn Mas’ud), there is restriction after restriction. Munawwar’s claim that Alusi “then quotes statements of Imam Ibn al-Arabi, Sayyiduna Ali, Imam Suyuti and Imam Mursi, and Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them all) on the generality of this verse,” is therefore no doubt a lie.

2. On page 9 and 14, he refers to a statement from Mujahid recorded in Ibn Abi Hatim’s tafsir regarding verse 6:154. Ibn Abi Hatim’s tafsir is available for download here. The particular narration is no. 8115 which comes through a route with questionable narrators [Muhammad ibn Muslim al-Ta’ifi about whom al-‘Asqalani says in al-Taqrib “reliable, but erring in his memory;” and Khusayf ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman about whom al-‘Asqalani says “reliable, bad memory, he became mixed-up towards his end, and he was accused of irja.”] Furthermore, if this narration must mean that “an explanation of all things” in 6:154 is taken generally and literally according to Mujahid, it would contradict the narration narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim immediately after this one also from Mujahid (but which Munawwar conveniently ignored) with a sound chain of narration [all the narrators are narrators of all six of the major collections of hadith, except Ibn Abi Hatim’s shaykh who is saduq according to Misbah al-Arib]: “‘of all things’ i.e. what they were commanded and what they were forbidden.” This is a clear authentic tafsir from Mujahid on the specification of this verse also just as he specified 16:89, and al-Tabari narrates many similar narrations under verse (6:154) from others of the Salaf.

3. On page 15, he says regarding the tafsir of Ibn Mas’ud I referred to in my first post above and showed its chain is weak: “Firstly, this tafsir is narrated by scholars other than al-Tabari too. Imam Kattani (p. 285) relies on this tafsir quoting Ibn Abi Hatim in addition to al-Tabari. It is a basic concept in Usul al-Hadith that if a chain is proven weak it does not ultimately weaken the wording narrated as there can be other chains to the wording too.” A weak chain can be strengthened by a supporting chain but Munawwar offers no evidence how the chain of al-Tabari’s is strenghtened by any other supporting chain, but leaves it to the reader to check up the other reference to Ibn Abi Hatim. In his tafsir of 16:89, Ibn Abi Hatim refers to a tafsir of Ibn Mas’ud as follows: “Indeed Allah revealed in this book an explanation for all things, and we know some from what He explained to us in the Qur’an, then he recited “And We revealed to you the Book as an explanation for all things,” and he said: via the Sunnah.” (no. 12632) This in fact supports restriction as Ibn Mas’ud is reported to say the explanation of all things come via the Sunnah. More importantly, however, Ibn Abi Hatim does not provide a chain for this report and instead mentions it without chain (mu’allaq). Therefore, this tafsir from Ibn Mas’ud, as narrated by al-Tabari, remains weak due to the defects (da’f and jahala) in the three narrators I mentioned in my first post. Munawwar ostentatiously repeatedly refers to a “rich Islamic intellectual tradition” that he supposedly inherited and from which the “Deobandis” are deprived, yet he can’t assess the weakness or strength of a narration using that intellectual tradition as evident in these last two points, and he lies about it – as evident from the first point – in order to support his sectarian leader’s view.

4. On page 17, he refers to my earlier quote from al-Baydawi and then wrongly imputes [either due to ignorance or dishonesty] an opinion to the commentator of al-Baydawi, al-Shihab al-Khafaji. The particular commentary can be found here (volume 5 of ‘Inayat al-Qadi) on p. 362. Munawwar says, al-Shihab al-Khafaji criticised al-Baydawi’s view with the objection that “His (i.e. Baydawi’s) assertion “from the matters of religion” is a restriction that this place (i.e. verse) does not require,” whereas in fact al-Khafaji said this quoting a second tafsir, and in fact refutes it based on the fact that Baydawi’s tafsir is required by the context – the exact opposite of what Munawwar imputed to him! Al-Shihab al-Khafaji’s commentary, translated, is as follows:

Baydawi said [in commentary of 16:89]: “of all things from the matters of religion in detail or summary by reference to the Sunnah and Qiyas.”Al-Shihab al-Khafaji comments:He preferred this [meaning] so kull (all) remains on its literal meaning. However, he specified the generality of shay’ (thing) by a qualification or description [i.e. “from the matters of religion”] that is determined by the indication of the context, and that is that the sending of prophets (upon them peace) [which is referred to in the same verse] was only to explain religion, and for this reason, he (upon him peace) said: “You are more learned about the matters of your world,” and for this reason they were answered regarding the new moons with what they were answered [a reference to Qur’an 2:189 where the Sahabah asked about the new moons, probably from a scientific perspective, and the answer they received was from a religious perspective].

It was said: kull is for abundance (takthir) and magnification (tafkhim) [and not literally “all”] as in His statement: “It shall annihilate everything by the command of its Lord” (46:25), since what is in the encompassment and generalisation [of kull] is found in tibyan of exaggerated explanation [and not complete explanation], and that his statement “from the matters of religion” is a specification not required by the context [this latter portion is what Munawwar quotes and is in fact from the statement of the one from whom “it was said” and is not al-Khafaji’s own statement].

You know the refutation of the second [opinion] [i.e. that it is in fact required by the context – a reference to his earlier comment that the context does require it]. As for the first, it may be contested by [saying] that that [verse] is in accordance with quantity not quality. Each one [of these opinions] have their perspective [a reference to Qur’an 2:148] and that which gives preference to the first [i.e. Baydawi’s commentary] is kull is kept in its literal meaning in the sentence.

It is clear, therefore, Munawwar not only lied about Alusi’s passage referred to in the first point above, but also misread or lied about this passage from al-Khafaji’s commentary. That, in my opinion, is not representative of our lofty scholarly tradition, which Munawwar boasts having monopoly over.

5. Finally, Munawwar does not see the irony in his statement on p. 6: “When will the Deobandis refrain from repugnant fatwas of innovation on the major scholars of this ummah? It is about time that they realise the implications of these knee-jerk fatwas.” Most of the above posts were to demonstrate that Munawwar’s support of the fatwas of kufr were based on a clear misreading and misrepresentation of the passages from the scholars he quoted; furtheremore, they show the correct definition of ‘ilm al-ghayb from the scholars of the Hanafi school, and how this supports the views of Mawlana Gangohi, Thanawi and others. Isn’t it about time that the Shi’a/Qadiyani-influenced Berelwi school [if he is allowed to say “Wahhabi-influenced Deobandi school”…] realise the implications of their reckless fatwas of takfir?

The above was not meant as a rebuttal to Munawwar’s view regarding the tafsir of verse 16:89 [although Alusi’s comment above about the majority view on takhsis should be sufficient to know the safest stance in this matter], but an illustration of his disingenuousness to have monopoly over the Islamic tradition – while lying about and misreading that very tradition – and his supposed carefulness in issuing fatwas of tabdi’ and takfir while his last article was full of it and when refuted in the above posts, not only does he not address it, he claims his “opponents” are reckless knee-jerk tabdi’is. His entire approach is fake, as there is no doubt his purpose is to defame “Deobandis” and support Ahmad Rida Khan’s strange opinions, and yet he pretends his writings are a result of his being true to the rich scholarly tradition he supposedly inherited!