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

March 15, 2020

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Allegation

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān (1856 – 1921) alleged in Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn (written in: 1906) that Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (1829 – 1905) had written a fatwā stating that a person that believes Allāh has actually spoken a lie does not become a disbeliever. He claimed the fatwā is available in the handwriting of Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī and with his seal. The following is from a recent edition of Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn:

Based on this alleged fatwā, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān issued a definitive verdict of takfīr against Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī, even claiming that anyone who doubts the takfīr is himself a disbeliever!

Response

In al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad (written in: 1907), ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī explained that this is a fabrication, and goes against what Maulānā Gangohī had written in his published Fatāwā.

Maulānā Ganoghī’s Published Fatwā

In a published fatwā written in both Urdu and Arabic, Maulānā Gangohī had written that anyone that says Allāh has actually spoken a lie is a disbeliever and is accursed. (Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah; from Ta’līfāt Rasḥidiyyah, p96, 97)

This well-known and established fatwā of Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī thus states the complete opposite of the alleged fatwā.

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Doubling Down in Tamhīd e Īmān

In Tamhīd e Īmān (written in: 1908), Aḥmad Riḍā Khān then presented some reasons why he believes it is correct to attribute this fatwā to Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (Fatāwā Riḍawiyyah, 30:349-50):

His argument can be summarised as follows:

  1. The fatwā was published several times with refutations of it, starting from 1308 H (1890 CE)
  2. Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohi lived for some 15 years thereafter
  3. The allegation is not something trivial that it can be ignored
  4. His nondenial of it is thus proof it is his

Regardless of the weaknesses of this argument, it hinges primarily on the claim that Maulānā Gangohī did not deny the attribution.

Maulānā Gangohī’s Denial of the Fabricated Fatwā

However, Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī did deny the fatwā as documented by his student Maulānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī (1868 – 1951) in a treatise called Tazkiyat al-Khawāṭir (Majmū‘ah Rasā’il Chāndpūrī, 1:106), a copy of which was sent to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī.

The Fabricated Fatwā is not Recognised by Students and Associates of Maulānā Gangohī

Maulānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957), another student of Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī, points out further that this alleged fatwā is not known to any of the students of Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p259):

Summary

In short, the fatwā that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī alleged was authored by Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī and based on which he issued a definitive verdict of takfīr:

  1. Opposes what he has explicitly written in a published, well-known fatwā
  2. Was denied by Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī himself
  3. Is not recognised by his students and associates
  4. Has consistently been rejected as a forgery by the students of Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī

For any fair-minded and objective person, a piece of writing can never be legitimately attributed to the alleged author based on such flimsy “evidence”, let alone passing a definitive verdict of takfīr based on it!

Mukhtaṣar Kitāb al-Tawḥīd: A Case Study on Fabrication

It is not hard to believe that this fatwā was fabricated given the above evidence, and given that the alleged fatwā – by Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s own admission – was circulated only amongst opponents of Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī.

A few decades prior to this fabrication, another fabrication was offered as evidence by a predecessor to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān: Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī (1798 – 1872). The latter alleged in a work called Sayf al-Jabbār that Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb had authored a summary of his Kitāb al-Tawḥīd in Arabic, which was then translated and commented on by Shāh Ismā‘īl Dehlawī as Taqwiyat al-Īmān. This entire tale is false. For details, see here.

Barelwīs, including Aḥmad Riḍā Khān himself, repeat this fabricated evidence of Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī. Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī presents lengthy quotations from the supposed summary of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd. The reality is that this “summary of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd” was manufactured by fabricators who “translated” sections from Taqwiyat al-Īmān into Arabic but giving them the worst possible interpretations. Hence, the “summary of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd” that Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī presents bears no resemblance with the actual Kitāb al-Tawḥīd of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb, while it does bear some resemblance with Taqwiyat al-Īmān. Based on this fabrication, Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān and others allege that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is literally based on Kitāb al-Tawḥīd of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb.

[Note: Taqwiyat al-Īmān is indeed based on an earlier work, but one authored by Shāh Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī himself in Arabic, called Radd al-Ishrāk. Based on the testimony of experts, Shāh Ismā‘īl al-Dehlawī’s definition of Tawḥīd and Shirk in the introduction to Radd al-Ishrāk is completely different from, and opposed to, the definition of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb. See here for details.]

Since a whole book was fabricated to defame Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd, and was presented as evidence by a predecessor to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī, is it hard to believe a fatwā was invented to defame Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī and was then presented as evidence by Aḥmad Riḍā Khān to make a definitive verdict of takfīr against him?

 


 

Update

An individual writing online has claimed that the handwriting in the manuscript of the fatwā that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān ascribed to Maulānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī and used to make takfīr on him (as shown above) resembles Maulānā Gangohī’s actual handwriting – as though this is enough to prove the attribution!

It should be noted Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī himself said handwriting is not considered to be proof. (Malfūẓāt A‘lā Ḥaḍrat, p235)

It is also common sense that if a fatwā was going to be fabricated in the name of someone to defame him, the fabricators would ensure the handwriting is similar.

Moreover, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān says in his treatise Ḥajb al-‘Awār: “[Merely] on account of a book or treatise being ascribed to the name of a buzurg, definitive authenticity is not entailed. Many treatises are attributed particularly in the name of the seniors of Chisht which are not established at all.” (Fatāwā Riḍawiyyah, 15:556)

He explains that people had made insertions, interpolations and fabrications in the writings of others. Hence, one must base the attribution of a work or piece of writing to an author on solid, reliable evidence.

Just the “handwriting being similar” or “it having a name and seal on it” are not sufficient evidence that it belongs to the person being claimed to be the author, especially when it opposes what he clearly stated in a well-established statement, he himself denies the attribution, it is not recognised by any of his students and associates and has consistently been rejected by them as a forgery – as is the case here.


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

March 7, 2020

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

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

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

False Equivalence Between Takfīr of Qādiyānīs and Takfīr of Deobandīs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Allegation against Maulānā Qāsim Nānotwī & Taḥdhīr un Nās

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adamance on False Takfīr

After presenting these false allegations, the letter then declares:

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

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

The letter continues:

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

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

Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn and its Attestations

The letter continues:

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

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

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

With characteristic Barelwī browbeating, the letter continues:

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

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

The letter continues:

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

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

Imkān al-Kidhb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Istighāthah

The letter further alleges:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mawlid

They continue:

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

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

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

Takfīr

The letter-writers finally make the absurd claim:

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

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

Concluding Note

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

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

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

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


A Critique of Husam al-Haramayn: English Translation of ‘Ibārāt e Akābir by ‘Allāmah Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar

January 13, 2019

‘Allāmah Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar’s (1914 – 2009) ‘Ibārāt e Akābir, a work written in 1972, is a detailed appraisal of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s false fatwās of takfīr against the Akābir of Deoband. An edited and adapted English translation of the work has alḥamdulillāh been completed, and can be found at the link below.

The book not only provides a detailed and clear rebuttal of the allegations made in Ḥusām al- Ḥaramayn, but also some allegations made against Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd in Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s al-Kawkabat al-Shihābiyyah (and in other Barelwī writings).

There are also responses to allegations made based on two dreams mentioned in the writings of Shaykh Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī and Shaykh Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī.

The work clearly demonstrates Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s deception, distortions, extremism in takfīr and the lie of his carefulness in issuing takfīr. The book has the added advantage of providing short biographies of the personalities Aḥmad Riḍā Khān assaults and providing clear translations and citations of useful passages from original Urdu works (some for the first time made available in English).

The introduction also offers a useful historical background, showing Aḥmad Riḍā Khān and his senseless takfīrism was opposed by mainstream Sunnī scholarship of his day, even by those unaffiliated with the madrasa of Deoband and its luminaries.

Read here: https://barelwism.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/a-critique-of-husam-al-haramayn-imam-sarfraz-khan-safdar.pdf


Majority of Nonpartisan Ulama of the Subcontinent Opposed Ahmad Rida Khan’s Takfir of the Four Deobandi Akabir

December 24, 2018

Bara’at al-Abrar ‘an Maka’id al-Ashrar is a work written by Mawlana Abdur Ra’uf Khan Jaganpuri Faizabadi in the 1930s, in which the author collected the fatawa and signatures of hundreds of nonpartisan scholars throughout the subcontinent opposing the takfir of Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi, and affirming that the Ulama of Deoband are “Sunni Hanafis” and unconnected to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab/Wahhabis. It was written as a refutation of Hashmat Ali Khan and his al-Sawarim al-Hindiyya.

The work includes fatwas from established Darul Iftaas of the states of Tonk, Bhopal, Bahawalpur etc. (in undivided British India).

The work (first published in 1934) is available here:

https://ia601607.us.archive.org/13/items/BaraatUlAbraHighQuality/Baraat%20Ul%20Abrar%20High%20Quality.pdf

 


Mufti Abdul Ghani Patialvi’s al-Junnah li Ahlissunnah

December 23, 2018

Mufti Abdul Ghani Patialvi, who was the headmaster at one of the famous Deobandi Madaris located in Delhi, Madrasa Aminia (where Mufti Kifayatullah Dehlawi famously taught), wrote a work against Barelwis called al-Junna li Ahlissunnah, available here:

https://ia600601.us.archive.org/18/items/Al-Junnah-Li-Ahlus-Sunnah/Al-Junnah-Li-Ahlus-Sunnah-Compressed.pdf

The title was suggested by Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi, who endorsed the book. It was also endorsed by Mufti Kifayatullah Dehlawi.

The work consists of three separate books/chapters written in the 1920s and 1930s. The first is a defence of Shah Isma’il Shahid; the second is a response to Ahmad Rida Khan’s allegations against the four Akabir; and the third is on the topic of innovation (bid’ah). There is also a lengthy introduction which refutes the claim that Shah Isma’il Shahid was influenced by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a “foreign person, whose integrity and knowledge is unknown.” (al-Junnah, p. 14) Indeed, all of Shah Isma’il’s positions that supposedly reflect influence by Wahhabis are found explicitly in the writings of his predecessors (ibid.), like Shah Waliullah Dehlawi, Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi and Qadi Thanaullah Panipati. Extensive quotes from these scholars and others are presented to show that they were Shah Isma’il’s sources, not Wahhabis. A detailed description is also provided on the nature of the beliefs of the common and ignorant Muslims that Shah Isma’il was addressing. Shah Isma’il’s liberal usage of the term “shirk” is also discussed – that he sometimes meant true shirk and sometimes an action associated with mushrikun though not true shirk.


Brief Responses to Barelwī Allegations of Kufr Against Deobandī Elders

November 10, 2018

The Barelwī group is one of the largest Takfīrī-cults. Their leader and the one they regard to be “mujaddid”, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921), declared four imāms of Ahl al-Sunnah to be Kāfirs and Murtadds, namely:

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

These esteemed scholars belong to the Deobandī school. Barelwīs allege that they are “Wahhābīs”, yet these scholars profess the Ash‘arī and Māturīdī schools of ‘aqīdah and adhere strictly to the Ḥanafī madhhab. In some of their detailed works related to ‘aqīdah, e.g. Juhd al-Muqill of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlānā Maḥmūd Ḥasan Deobandī (1851 – 1920) and Ikfār al-Mulidīn of Mawlānā Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī (1875 – 1933), works of Sunnī Kalām – like Shar al-Mawāqif, Shar al-Maqāid, Shar al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafiyyah etc. – are quoted extensively as authoritative references on ‘Aqīdah. The Deobandī scholars were also major exponents of Taṣawwuf. Thus, to allege that they are “Wahhābīs” could not be further from the truth.

However, the scholars of Deoband spoke strongly against innovated practices as well as exaggerated and misguided beliefs/practices directed towards the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and saints; hence, they were branded “Wahhābīs” by Barelwīs. Deobandīs, for example, spoke against the false belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was endowed with the knowledge of the Final Hour or was endowed with detailed knowledge about all creation – these are beliefs adhered to passionately by Barelwīs. Deobandīs also spoke against the popular practice of calling out to dead saints for help.

Based on such differences, Aḥmad Ridā Khān Barelwī and individuals who share his outlook had some antipathy towards the Deobandī elders. In the case of Aḥmad Ridā Khān Barelwī, however, this led to a campaign of mass-Takfīr: declaring the four abovementioned imāms to be Kāfirs along with anyone who does not recognise them to be Kāfir! He of course gave some “justifications” for his Takfīrs, but these are completely without merit or sound basis. Detailed responses have been given to the false allegations of Kufr made against the abovementioned imāms on this website and elsewhere. Since these false allegations are repeated till this day, the following provides a quick breakdown of the four allegations together with a brief response to each.

Allegation Against Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī

Allegation: Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī, in a fatwā, did not censure the view that lying has actually occurred in Allāh’s speech, and in fact lent support to it.

Response: Aḥmad Riḍā Khān states he has seen this alleged “fatwā” in the handwriting of Mawlānā Gangohī and with his seal. Moreover, he states that the fatwā along with its refutation has been published several times. The reality, however, is that this so-called “fatwā” was circulated only amongst detractors of Mawlānā Gangohī. It is not found in any of his published fatwās, nor is it recognised by any of his students. (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 249, 259) In fact, in direct contradiction to this alleged “fatwā”, Mawlānā Gangohī explicitly said in his published Fatāwā that the one who believes an actual lie has occurred in Allāh’s speech, or that Allāh is characterised by “false speech”, is a Kāfir. (Ta’līfāt Rashīdiyyah, p. 96; al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 260)

Mawlānā Gangohī himself was unaware of this allegation until the last moments of his life. In the year 1905, Mawlānā Gangohī’s student Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī (1868 – 1951) became aware of this alleged “fatwā” and the claims being made. He immediately sent a copy to Mawlānā Gangohī and asked for clarification. Mawlānā Gangohī replied: “I had no knowledge of this. This allegation is…an error. Allāh forbid that I can say such!” Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī documents this in his Tazkiyat al-Khawāir which can be found in Majmū‘ah Rasā’il Chāndpūrī, 1:106.

But if for argument’s sake, the fatwā is assumed to be genuine, and really was authored by Mawlānā Gangohī, his explicit denial of it is in itself tawbah. It states in Khizānat al-Akmal (2:301), quoting from Imām Muḥammad: “When a man alleges another has spoken Kufr and he denies it, his denial of it is tawbah.” (وفي نوادر ابن سماعة عن محمد: إذا ادعى على رجل بالكفر وقال تلفظت بالكفر، وجحد ذلك فإنكاره توبة منه)

In short, the allegation against Mawlānā Gangohī is based on a fabricated fatwā that he himself denied, that is not known to his students and that contradicts his explicit fatwās.

[This issue should not be confused with an actual area of disagreement, namely the question over whether Allāh has the power to act against what He has foretold, or whether He has power to issue a statement that is false. The question over the power of Allāh is separate from the question over whether such things can actually occur. Deobandīs are clear that Allāh has power over these things but that they can never occur.]

Allegation Against Mawlānā Qāsim Nānotwī

Allegation: Mawlānā Qāsim Nānotwī, in his work Tadhīr al-Nās, denied the finality of prophethood and believed it was possible for another prophet to come after him.

Response: In Tadhīr al-Nās, Mawlānā Nānotwī did not deny the finality of prophethood. To the contrary, he explicitly states in several places of the work that chronologically, Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the last and final prophet; no Prophet will come after him. However, Mawlānā Nānotwī offers a wider meaning to the title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”. In his understanding, this title primarily refers to the exalted position of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), in that all characters and perfections of prophethood are sealed by, and culminate at, his prophethood. As he explains in the very same work, this meaning includes, either by extension or by implication, that he is the final prophet chronologically.

Thus, nowhere does Mawlānā Nānotwī deny that the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the last prophet. Some scholars from the Barelwī group also admit this. For example, Pir Karam Shah Azhari (1918 – 1998) states: “I do not think it correct to say that Mawlānā Nānotwī (may Allah have mercy on him) denied the belief in the finality of prophethood, because these passage (of Tahdhīr al-Nās), by way of their clear meaning of the text and their indication, show without doubt that Mawlānā Nānotwī (may Allah have mercy on him) had certainty that chronological finality of prophethood is from the necessities of religion, and he regarded its evidences as categorical and mutawātir. He has stated this matter explicitly, that the one who denies chronological finality of prophethood of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is a kāfir and outside the fold of Islam.” (Tahdhīr un-Nās Merī Nazar Meh, p. 58)

The passage of Tadhīr al-Nās he goes onto quote states: “Therefore, if [sealship] is absolute and general, then the establishment of chronological finality is obvious. Otherwise, accepting the necessity of chronological finality by implicative indication is immediately established. Here, the explicit statements of the Prophet, like: ‘You are to me at the level of Hārūn to Mūsā, but there is no prophet after me,’ or as he said, which apparently is derived from the phrase ‘Seal of the Prophets’ in the manner mentioned earlier, are sufficient in this subject, because it reaches the level of tawātur. Furthermore, consensus (ijma‘) has been reached on this. Although the aforementioned words were not transmitted by mutawātir chains, but despite this lack of tawātur in the words, there is tawātur in the meaning just like the tawātur of the number of rak’āt of the obligatory prayers, the witr prayer etc. Although the words of the narrations stating the number of rak’āt are not mutawātir, just as the one who denies that is a Kāfir, in the same way, the one who denies this is a Kāfir.” (Tahdhīr un-Nās, p. 56)

In short, while Mawlānā Nānotwī offers a less common interpretation of the term “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”, his interpretation does not violate any established belief of Islām, least of all the chronological finality of the prophethood of Muḥammad and that prophethood terminated at him. Hence, this too is a false allegation.

Allegation Against Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī

Allegation: Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī, in Barāhīn Qāi‘ah, said (Allāh forbid!) that Shayṭān’s knowledge is superior to the Prophet’s.

Response: In Barāhīn Qāi‘ah, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī was responding to another work, Anwār Sai‘ah. The author of the latter work apparently argues that since the Shayṭān is known to have extensive knowledge of people’s actions and so on, such knowledge should not be denied for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) given his greater status. Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī responds that knowledge of such things cannot be determined for the Prophet based on analogies of this nature.

As can be seen, the discussion is about a specific type of knowledge. This is absolutely clear from the context and from explicit passages of Barāhīn Qāi‘ah. Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī is not stating in a general and absolute sense that Shayṭān possesses greater knowledge than the Prophet. But, in matters that are not the basis of excellence or virtue in knowledge, Shayṭān may possess knowledge of certain aspects of them that the Prophet did not. For example, Shayṭān may be aware that a certain person has robbed a bank including the means and techniques by which he accomplished this, while this knowledge was not given to the Prophet; this in no way means Shayṭān is superior in knowledge to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

As he clarifies in a later work called al-Muhannad, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī states that excellence in knowledge is based on greater knowledge of Allāh, His Dīn and the outer and inner aspects of Sharī‘ah. No one equals the rank of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in such knowledge. In things that are, however, not the basis of virtue or excellence in knowledge, there is nothing surprising in another having some knowledge that is not possessed by the Prophet. Hence, al-Rāzī states: “It is possible that a non-prophet is higher than a prophet in sciences on which his prophethood does not depend.”

As can be seen, there is nothing blasphemous or insulting in Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī’s discussion.

Allegation Against Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī

Allegation: Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī, in his if al-Īmān, said (Allāh forbid!) that Zayd and ‘Amr, madmen and animals possess knowledge of the unseen equal to that of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Response: Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī was discussing the question of using the title “‘Ᾱlim al-Ghayb” (knower of the unseen) for the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). He firstly explains that this is a technical term in Sharī‘ah, which means a being that possesses knowledge of unseen realities without the need for any means or instrument. Such a characteristic is of course exclusive to Allāh, because everyone apart from Allāh acquires knowledge of unseen realities only via a means and instrument.

He then explains that “unseen” (ghayb) can refer to things that are hidden from the senses in a general sense, whether acquired by a means or not. But even with this interpretation, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) should not be called “‘Ᾱlim al-Ghayb”. He reasons that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) of course does not possess knowledge of all unseen realities, while the quality of possessing knowledge of some unseen realities is not exclusive to the Prophet. Possessing knowledge of some unseen realities is something found in Zayd and ‘Amr, madmen and animals, because they all possess knowledge of some things hidden to others – does this now mean that they are all to be called “‘Ᾱlim al-Ghayb”?!

As can be seen, Mawlānā Thānawī does not state that “Zayd and ‘Amr, madmen and animals possess knowledge of the unseen equal to that of the Prophet” as was alleged. Rather, he simply states that they possessed knowledge of some unseen realities; and thus the mere possession of knowledge of some unseen realities is not exclusive to the Prophet.

When Mawlānā Thānawī was asked about the passage of Ḥifẓ al-Īmān and if he had ever written that “madmen and animals possess knowledge of the unseen equal to that of the Prophet” he replied: “I did not write this revolting content in any book. Let alone writing it, this thought never crossed my heart. Nor is it the necessary conclusion of any passage of mine, as I will explain later. Since I understand this content to be revolting…how can it be my intent? That person who believes this, or without belief utters it explicitly or implicitly, I believe this person to be outside the fold of Islam because he has denied decisive texts and lessened the Revered Joy and Pride of the World, the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace.” (Bas al-Banān)

Conclusion

As any objective and neutral observer will conclude, the bases for Takfīr in all four cases are without merit and are completely unsound. Yet, Barelwīs made mass-Takfīr of Deobandis on such flimsy grounds, and continue to do so. And they exclude Deobandīs not just from the Ahl al-Sunnah but from Islām altogether. Such extremism is reminiscent of Wahhābī Takfīrism.

Writing about the Takfīrī attitude of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī, Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957) writes: “Thus, in reality he [on account of his Takfīrism] is a complete follower of his Najdī shaykh, and he himself and his followers are ‘Wahhābīs’… [Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī] and his followers are undoubtedly close imitators of Wahhābīs. Taking mental leaps from afar and employing contrived imagined interpretations, they strive and struggle to make others Kāfir. They spend their day and night thinking how to make the Muḥammadan Ummah more restricted and smaller. Can these people be lovers of the Messenger (upon him peace) or supporters of the Ummah? Never! Is it the work of the ‘Ulamā’ of the Ummah to make Muslims into Kāfirs by zealously misrepresenting the meanings [of their texts] and mutilating passages? – or is it rather the demand of prophetic inheritance and knowledge of Sharī‘ah to passionately bring disbelievers into Islām, Mushriks into Īmān and Munāfiqūn into certainty? Would the Messenger of Allāh (upon him peace) support their method? Is this what the noble imāms would teach? Was this the salient feature of the pious Salaf? It is very unfortunate that the fear of God has been lifted from their hearts. A divine seal and shadow has been cast over them.” (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 221-4)


Ibn al-Humam in al-Tahrir on the Issue of Lying in Allah’s Power

October 24, 2012

Courtesy of Muzzammil Husayn

In the following translated passage from Ibn al-Humam’s al-Tahrir fi ‘Ilm al-Usul and Ibn Amir al-Hajj’s commentary, they ascribe to the Ash’aris the view that apparently reprehensible acts (qaba’ih) like lying are included in Allah’s power but impossible due to His eternal choice. Regardless of whether this ascription is accurate or not, Ibn al-Humam continues to say that this view is acceptable and does not differ in outcome from the other view, and it is not permissible to repudiate it. The section from al-Tahrir with the commentary can be found here: http://feqh.al-islam.com/Page.aspx?pageid=278&TOCID=102&BookID=87&PID=219

In favour of the Hanafis [i.e. Maturidis] and the Mu‘tazilah in the third [issue of contention] i.e. the impossibility for Allah of punishing the obedient and burdening [a soul] more than can be borne, is that it is established with certainty that an action has the quality of goodness (husn) and badness (qubh) in reality [even if this cannot be determined rationally] so it is impossible for it i.e. the action of Allah (Most High) to have this quality i.e. badness, Exalted is Allah from that.

Furthermore, there is agreement [between the Maturidis, Mu‘tazilah and Ash‘aris] on the independence of the intellect to grasp them i.e. goodness and badness, in the sense of an attribute of perfection (kamal) and imperfection (naqs) like knowledge [is an attribute of perfection hence good] and ignorance [is an attribute of imperfection hence bad] according to what has preceded*, so by immediate necessity that in which an imperfection is perceived is impossible for Him i.e. Allah (Most High). And since that in which an imperfection is perceived is impossible for Him, the certainty of the impossibility of giving Him i.e. Allah (Most High) the quality of lying and its like, Exalted is He from that, is manifest.

Furthermore, if it was not impossible for His action to have the quality of badness (qubh), trust in the integrity of His promise and the integrity of His report besides it i.e. promises from Him (Most High) will be lifted, as well as the integrity of prophecy; i.e. there can be no certainty of His integrity at all, neither rationally, because it is supposed there is no judgement in favour of it [i.e. His integrity], nor legally, because it is from that which cannot be affirmed by transmission because transmission being a proof, rather its establishment, is a corollary of His (Most High) integrity; since if lying were possible for Him, His confirmation of the Prophet by producing a miracle by his hands would not be [effective] because He is in effect saying “he is truthful in his claim” indicating his integrity, but when transmission is dependent on His integrity, this will not be established thereby. This also entails that the integrity of the claimant of prophethood cannot in essence be held with certainty due to the possibility of a miracle appearing on the hands of a liar so the door of prophethood will close and trust in his speech will be lifted, and this consequence is unacceptable so the cause is likewise [unacceptable]…

According to the Ash‘aris, there is certainty of not attributing Him (Most High) with anything bad but not rational impossibility, like all knowledge in which it is certain that the reality is one of two opposites despite the possibility of the other if it were supposed that it is the reality; just like the certainty of Makkah and Baghdad, i.e. their existence since their non-existence is not rationally impossible. Therefore, i.e. since the matter is such, trust [in His integrity] being lifted is not necessary because the possibility of something rationally does not entail not having certainty of its absence.

The disagreement occurring in the rational impossibility and possibility of this occurs in every deficiency: Is His (Most High) power absent or is it i.e. the deficiency contained within it i.e. His power, while it is certain that He will not do [it] i.e. while the situation is that it is certain that He will not act on that deficiency? The Hanafis and Mu‘tazila are [agreed] on the first i.e. that His power over it is absent due to the impossibility of His power being associated with impossibilities; and based on this they derive the impossibility of burdening [a soul] what cannot be borne and the impossibility of punishing the obedient.

His [i.e. Ibn al-Humam’s] words in al-Musayarah are: “Know that the Hanafis, since they made it impossible for Him to burden [a soul] that which cannot be borne, they prohibit more strongly that He will punish the good-doer who spent his life in obedience opposing the passions of his soul to please his Master, in the sense that He is exalted beyond that, for it is from the issue of transcendence, since making the good-doer and the sinner equal is unfitting in the dispositions of all intellects, and indeed Allah stated clearly its reprehensibility where He said: ‘What! Do those who seek after evil ways think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds,- that equal will be their life and their death? Ill is the judgment that they make.’ (Qur’an 45:21) Hence He considered it evil. This is regarding the possibility and impossibility for Him. As for occurrence (wuqu‘), it is certain of its absence, although according to the Ash‘aris it is because of the promise contrary to it, and according to the Hanafis and others, because of that and because of the reprehensibility of its opposite.”

We mentioned in al-Musayarah that the second [opinion], i.e. that He is able but He will definitely not do [it], is most inclusive [of the two opinions] in transcendence. That which is in al-Musayarah is: “The author of al-‘Umdah from our [Maturidi] scholars said: ‘He (Most High) is not described with power over oppression, foolishness and lying because the impossible is not included in the power and according to the Mu‘tazila, He has the power but will not do [them].’ There is no doubt that excluding power from what was mentioned, it is the position of the Mu‘tazila, and as for its establishment and then the impossibility from associating with them, it is more suitable to the position of the Ash‘aris. There is no doubt abstention from them is from the issue of transcendence, so the mind understands which of the two opinions is further in transcendence from ugliness: Is it power over them and then abstention from them by choice or abstention due to the absence of power, and the view of the most inclusive of the two opinions in transcendence is incumbent.”

This [being said], had Allah willed, a speaker would have said: It i.e. the dispute between the three groups is semantic; for the opinion of the Ash‘aris is that the intellect does not find it impossible for one who has the quality of divinity and sovereignty over everything to be described with oppression (jawr) and all that is not fitting since its outcome would be that he is an oppressive king and the intellect does not find it impossible for a king to be so i.e. oppressive; and it is not permissible for the Hanafis and Mu‘tazila to repudiate this [view].

This passage is sufficient to dismiss the claim that the view that lying is included in the divine power but contingently impossible is heretical or even disbelief. According to Ibn al-Humam it only differs semantically from the other view as its outcome is the same, and he states clearly that it is not permissible to repudiate it.

*Ibn al-Humam is referring to his following statement:

There is no disagreement [between the Ash’aris, Maturidis and Mu’tazila] on its i.e. the intellect’s perception of the quality of an action in the sense of [it being] a quality of perfection (kamal) as is sometimes meant by “goodness” (husn) and a quality of imperfection (naqs) as is sometimes meant by “badness” (qabih) like knowledge and ignorance, as is said: “Knowledge is good [and perfect]” and: “Ignorance is bad [and imperfect].”

And there is no [disagreement] on them [i.e. on describing an action with goodness and badness] in the sense of praise and dispraise i.e. there is also no disagreement on the intellect grasping goodness in that which is unconditionally termed good of that which is associated with praise in the practices of norms and customs and [the intellect grasping] badness in that which is unconditionally termed bad of that which is associated with dispraise in the practices of norms and customs.

Rather, the disagreement is on the intellect grasping goodness and badness regarding them i.e. good and bad, i.e. on that which they are unconditionally used in the sense of deserving His (Most High) praise and His reward for the doer of that action as is sometimes meant by “good” and their opposite i.e. in the sense of deserving His (Most High) dispraise and His punishment for the doer of that action as is sometimes meant by “bad.”

( وَلِلْحَنَفِيَّةِ وَالْمُعْتَزِلَةِ فِي الثَّالِثِ ) أَيْ امْتِنَاعِ تَعْذِيبِ الطَّائِعِ وَتَكْلِيفِ مَا لَا يُطَاقُ أَنَّهُ ( ثَبَتَ بِالْقَاطِعِ اتِّصَافُ الْفِعْلِ بِالْحُسْنِ وَالْقُبْحِ فِي نَفْسِ الْأَمْرِ فَيَمْتَنِعُ اتِّصَافُهُ ) أَيْ فِعْلِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ( بِهِ ) أَيْ بِالْقُبْحِ ( تَعَالَى ) اللَّهُ عَنْ ذَلِكَ ( وَأَيْضًا فَالِاتِّفَاقُ عَلَى اسْتِقْلَالِ الْعَقْلِ بِدَرْكِهِمَا ) أَيْ الْحُسْنِ وَالْقُبْحِ ( بِمَعْنَى صِفَةِ الْكَمَالِ وَالنَّقْصِ كَالْعِلْمِ وَالْجَهْلِ عَلَى مَا مَرَّ فَبِالضَّرُورَةِ يَسْتَحِيلُ عَلَيْهِ ) أَيْ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ( مَا أَدْرَكَ فِيهِ نَقْصٌ وَحِينَئِذٍ ) أَيْ وَحِينَ كَانَ مُسْتَحِيلًا عَلَيْهِ مَا أَدْرَكَ فِيهِ نَقْصٌ ( ظَهَرَ الْقَطْعُ بِاسْتِحَالَةِ اتِّصَافِهِ ) أَيْ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ( بِالْكَذِبِ وَنَحْوِهِ تَعَالَى عَنْ ذَلِكَ وَأَيْضًا ) لَوْ لَمْ يَمْتَنِعْ اتِّصَافُ فِعْلِهِ بِالْقُبْحِ ( يَرْتَفِعُ الْأَمَانُ عَنْ صِدْقِ وَعْدِهِ وَ ) صِدْقِ ( خَبَرِ غَيْرِهِ ) أَيْ الْوَعْدِ مِنْهُ تَعَالَى ( وَ ) صِدْقِ ( النُّبُوَّةِ ) أَيْ لَمْ يَجْزِمْ بِصِدْقِهِ أَصْلًا لَا عَقْلًا لِأَنَّ الْفَرْضَ أَنْ لَا حُكْمَ لَهُ وَلَا شَرْعًا لِأَنَّهُ مِمَّا لَا يُمْكِنُ إثْبَاتُهُ بِالسَّمْعِ لِأَنَّ حُجِّيَّةَ السَّمْعِ بَلْ ثُبُوتُهُ فَرْعُ صِدْقِهِ تَعَالَى إذْ لَوْ جَازَ كَذِبُهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ تَصْدِيقُهُ لِلنَّبِيِّ بِإِظْهَارِ الْمُعْجِزَةِ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ فَإِنَّهُ فِي قُوَّةِ قَوْلِهِ هَذَا صَادِقٌ فِي دَعْوَاهُ دَالًّا عَلَى صِدْقِهِ وَإِذَا كَانَ السَّمْعُ مُتَوَقِّفًا عَلَى صِدْقِهِ لَمْ يَكُنْ إثْبَاتُهُ بِهِ وَيَلْزَمُ مِنْهُ أَنْ لَا يَجْزِمَ أَيْضًا بِصِدْقِ مُدَّعِي الرِّسَالَةِ أَصْلًا لِجَوَازِ إظْهَارِ الْمُعْجِزَةِ عَلَى يَدِ الْكَاذِبِ فَيَنْسَدُّ بَابُ النُّبُوَّةِ وَأَنْ يَرْفَعَ الثِّقَةَ عَنْ كَلَامِهِ وَاللَّازِمُ بَاطِلٌ فَالْمَلْزُومُ مِثْلُهُ وَلَعَلَّ الْمُصَنِّفَ إنَّمَا لَمْ يُفْرِدْ الْوَعِيدَ بِالذِّكْرِ كَمَا أَفْرَدَ الْوَعْدَ إمَّا اكْتِفَاءً بِدُخُولِهِ فِي خَبَرِ غَيْرِهِ وَإِمَّا مُوَافَقَةً لِلْأَشَاعِرَةِ فِي جَوَازِ الْخُلْفِ فِي الْوَعِيدِ كَمَا هُوَ ظَاهِرُ الْمَوَاقِفِ وَالْمَقَاصِدِ لِأَنَّهُ لَا يُعَدُّ نَقْصًا بَلْ هُوَ مِنْ بَابِ الْكَرَمِ وَقَدْ أَشْبَعْنَا الْكَلَامَ فِيهِ فِي حَلْبَةِ الْمُجِلِّي وَعَلَى هَذَا فَيَكُونُ قَوْلُهُ وَخَبَرُ غَيْرِهِ مَخْصُوصًا بِمَا سِوَاهُ ( وَعِنْدَ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ كَسَائِرِ الْخَلْقِ الْقَطْعُ بِعَدَمِ اتِّصَافِهِ ) تَعَالَى بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ الْقَبَائِحِ ( دُونَ الِاسْتِحَالَةِ الْعَقْلِيَّةِ كَسَائِرِ الْعُلُومِ الَّتِي يُقْطَعُ فِيهَا بِأَنَّ الْوَاقِعَ أَحَدُ النَّقِيضَيْنِ مَعَ عَدَمِ اسْتِحَالَةِ الْآخَرِ لَوْ قُدِّرَ ) أَنَّهُ الْوَاقِعُ ( كَالْقَطْعِ بِمَكَّةَ وَبَغْدَادَ ) أَيْ بِوُجُودِهِمَا فَإِنَّهُ لَا يُحِيلُ عَدَمُهُمَا عَقْلًا ( وَحِينَئِذٍ ) أَيْ وَحِينَ كَانَ الْأَمْرُ عَلَى هَذَا ( لَا يَلْزَمُ ارْتِفَاعُ الْأَمَانِ ) لِأَنَّهُ لَا يَلْزَمُ مِنْ جَوَازِ الشَّيْءِ عَقْلًا عَدَمُ الْجَزْمِ بِعَدَمِهِ ( وَالْخِلَافُ ) الْجَارِي فِي الِاسْتِحَالَةِ وَالْإِمْكَانِ الْعَقْلِيِّ لِهَذَا ( جَارٍ فِي كُلِّ نَقِيصَةٍ أَقُدْرَتُهُ ) تَعَالَى ( عَلَيْهَا مَسْلُوبَةٌ أَمْ هِيَ ) أَيْ النَّقِيصَةُ ( بِهَا ) أَيْ بِقُدْرَتِهِ ( مَشْمُولَةٌ وَالْقَطْعُ بِأَنَّهُ لَا يَفْعَلُ ) أَيْ وَالْحَالُ الْقَطْعُ بِعَدَمِ فِعْلِ تِلْكَ النَّقِيصَةِ ( وَالْحَنَفِيَّةُ وَالْمُعْتَزِلَةُ عَلَى الْأَوَّلِ ) أَيْ أَنَّ قُدْرَتَهُ عَلَيْهَا مَسْلُوبَةٌ لِاسْتِحَالَةِ تَعَلُّقِ قُدْرَتِهِ بِالْمُحَالَّاتِ ( وَعَلَيْهِ فَرَّعُوا امْتِنَاعَ تَكْلِيفِ مَا لَا يُطَاقُ وَ ) وَامْتِنَاعَ ( تَعْذِيبِ الطَّائِعِ ) وَلَفْظُهُ فِي الْمُسَايَرَةِ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْحَنَفِيَّةَ لَمَّا اسْتَحَالُوا عَلَيْهِ تَكْلِيفَ مَا لَا يُطَاقُ فَهُمْ لِتَعْذِيبِ الْمُحْسِنِ الَّذِي اسْتَغْرَقَ عُمْرَهُ فِي الطَّاعَةِ مُخَالِفًا لِهَوَى نَفْسِهِ فِي رِضَا مَوْلَاهُ أَمْنَعُ بِمَعْنَى أَنَّهُ يَتَعَالَى عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ مِنْ بَابِ التَّنْزِيهَاتِ إذْ التَّسْوِيَةُ بَيْنَ ” – ص 97 -” الْمُسِيءِ وَالْمُحْسِنِ غَيْرُ لَائِقٍ بِالْحِكْمَةِ فِي فِطَرِ سَائِرِ الْعُقُولِ وَقَدْ نَصَّ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَى قُبْحِهِ حَيْثُ قَالَ ( أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ أَنْ نَجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَوَاءً مَحْيَاهُمْ وَمَمَاتُهُمْ سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ ) فَجَعَلَهُ سَيِّئًا هَذَا فِي التَّجْوِيزِ عَلَيْهِ وَعَدَمِهِ أَمَّا الْوُقُوعُ فَمَقْطُوعٌ بِعَدَمِهِ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ عِنْدَ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ لِلْوَعْدِ بِخِلَافِهِ وَعِنْدَ الْحَنَفِيَّةِ وَغَيْرِهِمْ لِذَلِكَ وَلِقُبْحِ خِلَافِهِ ( وَذَكَرْنَا فِي الْمُسَايَرَةِ ) بِطَرِيقِ الْإِشَارَةِ فِي الْجُمْلَةِ ( أَنَّ الثَّانِي ) أَيْ أَنَّهُ يُقَدَّرُ وَلَا يُفْعَلُ قَطْعًا ( أَدْخَلَ فِي التَّنْزِيهِ ) فَإِنَّ الَّذِي فِي الْمُسَايَرَةِ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَعْنِي صَاحِبَ الْعُمْدَةِ مِنْ مَشَايِخِنَا وَلَا يُوصَفُ تَعَالَى بِالْقُدْرَةِ عَلَى الظُّلْمِ وَالسَّفَهِ وَالْكَذِبِ لِأَنَّ الْمُحَالَ لَا يَدْخُلُ تَحْتَ الْقُدْرَةِ وَعِنْدَ الْمُعْتَزِلَةِ يَقْدِرُ وَلَا يَفْعَلُ ا هـ وَلَا شَكَّ أَنَّ سَلْبَ الْقُدْرَةِ عَمَّا ذَكَرَ هُوَ مَذْهَبُ الْمُعْتَزِلَةِ وَأَمَّا ثُبُوتُهَا ثُمَّ الِامْتِنَاعُ عَنْ مُتَعَلِّقِهَا فَبِمَذْهَبِ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ أَلْيَقُ وَلَا شَكَّ أَنَّ الِامْتِنَاعَ عَنْهَا مِنْ بَابِ التَّنْزِيهَاتِ فَيَسْبُرُ الْعَقْلُ فِي أَنَّ أَيْ الْفَصْلَيْنِ أَبْلَغُ فِي التَّنْزِيهِ عَنْ الْفَحْشَاءِ أَهْوَ الْقُدْرَةُ عَلَيْهِ مَعَ الِامْتِنَاعِ عَنْهُ مُخْتَارًا أَوْ الِامْتِنَاعُ لِعَدَمِ الْقُدْرَةِ فَيَجِبُ الْقَوْلُ بِأَدْخَلِ الْقَوْلَيْنِ فِي التَّنْزِيهِ ا هـ ( هَذَا وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ قَالَ قَائِلٌ هُوَ ) أَيْ النِّزَاعُ بَيْنَ الْفِرَقِ الثَّلَاثَةِ ( لَفْظِيٌّ فَقَوْلُ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ هُوَ إنَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحِيلُ الْعَقْلُ كَوْنَ مَنْ اتَّصَفَ بِالْأُلُوهِيَّةِ وَالْمِلْكِ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُتَّصِفًا بِالْجَوْرِ وَمَا لَا يَنْبَغِي إذْ حَاصِلُهُ أَنَّهُ مَالِكٌ جَائِرٌ وَلَا يُحِيلُ الْعَقْلَ وُجُودُ مَالِكٍ كَذَلِكَ ) أَيْ جَائِرٌ ( وَلَا يَسَعُ الْحَنَفِيَّةُ وَالْمُعْتَزِلَةُ إنْكَارَهُ