Muftī Ṣadruddīn Āzurdah’s Appraisal of Taqwiyat al-Īmān and Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī

April 14, 2020

Muftī Ṣadruddīn Āzurdah/Dehlawī (1790 – 1868) was asked about Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl (1779 – 1831) and Taqwiyat al-Īmān. He responded as follows:

I have looked at Taqwiyat al-Īmān briefly. Based on principles and the primary objective, it is very good. I have seen Maulawī Ismā‘īl Ṣāḥib [and found him] such that I have not seen anyone after him like him.

These people are from those that Allāh, glorified and exalted is He, has said: “Let there be from you a group that calls to virtue and commands good and forbids evil, and those are the successful”, and He said: “Certainly those that believe and those that migrate and struggle in Allāh’s cause, those anticipate Allāh’s mercy; and Allāh is forgiving, merciful,” and: “Allah singles out whoever he wants with His mercy, and Allāh possesses immense grace.”

Thus, whoever calls him a disbeliever or misguided is himself misguided.

Muftī Ṣadruddīn Āzurdah is respected across the spectrum, and excelled in the rational and literary sciences. He had studied under Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī, Shāh Rafī‘uddīn Dehlawī, Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Dehlawī (sons of Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī) and Faḍl e Imām Khairābādī.

Note: The fatwā was published in the lifetime of Muftī Ṣadruddīn Āzurdah by one of his disciples, and has been recorded in many publications thereafter.

Intelligence of Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī – An Incident Involving Faḍl Imām Khairābādī (d. 1828)

April 10, 2020

Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī (1779 – 1831) was the son of Shāh ‘Abdul Ghanī Dehlawī (d. 1789), the son of Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī (1703 – 1762). After his father died, he was taken into the care of his uncle Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Dehlawī (son of Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī), and he remained with him until the latter’s death in June, 1815. Given his intelligence, he completed his education in all the various sciences by the age of 16-17 (around 1795).

The famous and reliable historian, ‘Abdul Ḥayy of Rāi Barelī (1869 – 1923), father of Abu ‘l-Ḥasan ‘Alī Nadwī, visited Deoband and recounts that he sat with Shaykh Dhu ‘l-Fiqār ‘Alī Deobandī (1822 – 1904)*, one of the founders of Dārul ‘Ulūm Deoband and father of its first student (Shaykh al-Hind). Shaykh Dhu ‘l-Fiqār ‘Alī Deobandī was a longstanding student of Muftī Ṣadruddīn Āzurdah Dehlawī (1790 – 1868), an immense scholarly figure of Delhi, & student of Faḍl Imām Khairābādī, Shāh Rafī‘ud Dīn Dehlawī, and Shāḥ ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī, and had gained ijāzah from the latter’s grandson and successor, Shāḥ Muḥammad Isḥāq Dehlawī.

‘Abdul Ḥayy al-Ḥasanī reports from Shaykh Dhu ‘l-Fiqār ‘Alī Deobandī that he related from his teacher Muftī Ṣadruddīn Dehlawī:

(Maulānā Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Ṣāḥib) would read with Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Ṣāḥib (son of Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī). Once Maulānā Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Ṣāḥib was reading al-Ufuq al-Mubīn. [He would do this] in the manner that he would read 2-4 pages [at once]. At times, he would inquire [about something] and at times Shāh [‘Abd al-Qādir] Ṣāḥib would explain [something]. Otherwise, he would keep on reading like this.

At this time, Maulawī Faḍl Imām Ṣāḥib Khairābādī, having become an official judge (ṣadr amīn), came to Delhi. It so happened that one day he was also sitting when the lesson was taking place. He became shocked at seeing this perplexing lesson. It happened that in the middle of the lesson, Shāh Ṣāḥib got up for some need. So [Faḍl Imām Khairābādī] said: “Son, why are you hurting the soul of the author [by reading his text like this, without understanding]?” Out of respect, he remained quiet. However, Shāh Ṣāḥib had [by this time] returned and heard him. He said: “Maulawī Ṣāḥib, ask this child something so that you understand his competence.”

Initially, Maulānā Faḍl e Imām declined, but eventually he asked a question regarding al-Ufuq al-Mubīn. Maulānā Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Ṣāḥib answered it with full competence. Then [Faḍl Imām Khairābādī] replied back to him and he then gave an answer to this. This back and forth reached the point that Maulawī Ṣāḥib was contemplating a complicated statement of Maulānā Muḥammad Ismā‘īl to give an answer to, and at this point he became quiet. (Dihlī aur us ke Aṭrāf, p88-89)

It should be kept in mind that al-Ufuq al-Mubīn is an advanced text on Greek philosophy (by Mīr Dāmād), and Faḍl Imām Khairābādī (d. 1828) was the premier scholar of that field in his time, and Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl was at this time around 14-15 years old!

* The father of the famous Shaykh al-Hind Maulānā Maḥmūd Ḥasan Deobandī. He was born and raised in Deoband, and was from a family that descended from Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān. He travelled to Delhi and studied with Maulānā Mamlūk al-‘Alī Nānotwī (1789 – 1851) and Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī (1790 – 1868) and stayed in their company for a long time. He excelled in the rhetorical sciences, and in Arabic poetry. He was an inspector of primary schools. ‘Abdul Ḥayy al- Ḥasanī mentions: “I met him at Deoband and found him to be a masterful scholar skilled in the literary sciences, between middle age and old age.” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p1225) He authored Sharḥ Dīwān al-Ḥamāsah, Sharḥ Dīwān al-Mutanabbī, Sharḥ al-Sab‘ al-Mu‘allaqāt. He has Arabic poetry praising the Ottoman Sulṭān recorded in Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir.



From the original book:

From an article by Maulana Nurul Hasan Rashid Kandhlewi:

Did Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismā’ῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh say that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has turned to sand?

April 8, 2020


Original question and answer from AskImam



Assalaam alaikum,

I was going through a website on the internet which says that deobandis are KAFIR due to their false beliefs. Please reply since i am very disturbed .

FALSE BELIEF 2: “The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had died and is mixed in the sand.” (“Taqweeyat-ul Imaan” by Ismaeel Dehlwi).

It has been stated in the Hadith: “Verily, Almighty Allah has made it Haraam upon the earth to eat the bodies of the Ambiya”. It has also been stated that Ambiya are alive and are blessed with Sustenance from Almighty Allah.



In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

It is the view of the ‘Ulamā of Deoband that the earth cannot eat or decompose the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalam after their deaths. Rather, the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalam are alive in their graves.

Moulānā Khalῑl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrῑ Raḥmatullahi ‘Alayh writes in Al Muhannad ‘Alal Mufannad; a book detailing the beliefs of the ‘Ulamā of Deoband:

عِنْدَنَا وَعِنْدَ مَشَائِخِنَا حَضْرَةُ الرِّسَالَةِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَيٌّ فِيْ قَبْرِهِ الشَّرِيْفِ وَحَيَاتُهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ دُنْيَوِيَّةٌ مِنْ غَيْرِ تَكْلِيْفٍ وَهِيَ مُخْتَصَّةٌ بِهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَبِجَمِيْعِ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ 

“According to us and our elders, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is alive in his blessed grave. His, Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s, living [in his grave] is the same as his living in this world, without any restrictions. This is specific for the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, all the Prophets Ṣalāwatullāhi ‘Alayhim and the Martyrs”[1]

Taqwiyatul mān is a book written by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh.

Let us first briefly introduce this great personality from the Indian subcontinent.

A Brief Biography of Moulānā Shāh Ismāl Shahd Ramatullāhi ‘Alayh

Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh was born on 12th Rabῑ’ Al Thānῑ 1193 AH (1779 CE) in Delhi. He was the son of Ḥadhrat Shāh ‘Abdul Ghanῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d. 1227 AH) and the grandson of the erudite scholar, Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH).

At the age of 8, he completed the memorisation of the Holy Qur’ān. After this, he began to study the books of Arabic grammar (Naw), Arabic morphology (arf) and logic (Maniq) under his father.

After the passing of his father, he was nurtured by his uncle, son of Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH), Ḥadhrat Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (1230 AH).

Upon completion of his studies, he began to study the field of Ḥadῑth under his uncle, son of Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH), the masterly scholar, Ḥadhrat Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azῑz Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1239 AH).

He also studied under his uncle, son of Ḥadhrat Shāh Waliullah Al Muḥaddith Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1176 AH), Ḥadhrat Shāh Rafῑ’ Al Dῑn Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1233 AH).

During his days of study, he not only focused on the books that he was studying, but also endeavoured to train his body in vocational arts such as archery, swimming, and fencing.

He was also a passionate ūf, taking a pledge (bay’ah) at the hands of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1245 AH) and writing a book in the field titled; aqqat-e-Tasawwuf.

Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh also wrote many other books. They include:

1)     Al irāt Al Mustaqm

A book compiling the sayings of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1245 AH).

2)     dāh Al aq Al ar F Akām Al Mayyit Wal ar 

A book detailing the laws of innovation (bid’ah)

3)     Manab Imāmah

A book detailing the status of Prophethood.

4)     Imkān Al Nazr Wa Imtinā’ Al Nazr

5)     Raddul Ishrāk Wal Bida’

A book in the Arabic language in refutation of polytheism (shirk) and innovation (bid’ah).

6)     Risālah Fῑ Usūl Al Fiqh 

A treatise in the Arabic language on the principles of Fiqh (Usūl Al Fiqh). 

7)     Tanwrul ‘Aynayn F Ithbāt Raf’il Yadayn

8)     Silk Nūr

9)     Taqwiyatul mān

A book which is a translation in Hindi of the first chapter of his book, Raddul Ishrāk Wal Bida’.

He was married to Ummu Kulthūm Bint ‘Abdir Raḥmān, who was the niece of Shāh Rafῑ’ Al Dῑn Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1233 AH) and the granddaughter of Shāh ‘Abdul Qādir Al Dehlawῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1230 AH).[2]

There are many great stories mentioned regarding Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s bravery, knowledge, forbearance, and altruism.

On one occasion, he was invited to give a speech. During the speech, the people noticed that his tone was very low. The people found out that he had not eaten for a full day. When they presented some food to him, he smiled and said: “My companions are also hungry, I will not eat until they are also fed”.[3]

His memory was such that he would dictate five different articles to five different people at the same time.[4]

His teacher, Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azῑz Al Dehlawi (d.1239 AH) referred to him as:

حُجَّةُ الْإِسْلَامِ 

“A proof for Islām”[5]

The author of Nuzhatul Khawātir, Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥayy Al Ḥasanῑ (d.1341 AH), describes Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh as:

أَحَدُ أَفْرَادِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الذَّكَاءِ وَالْفَطِنَةِ وَالشَّهَامَةِ وَقُوَّةِ النَّفْسِ وَالصَّلَابَةِ فِي الدِّيْنِ 

“A unique individual in the world in terms of intelligence, acumen, magnanimity, self-power and steadfastness in religion”[6]

He participated in many wars against the Sikhs during the reign of Ranjit Singh. He was considered the main advisor to Sayyid Aḥmad Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh (d.1245 AH)[7] and was martyred in 1246 AH in Balakot.

He was buried in Balakot.[8]

Did Moulānā Shāh Ismāl Shahd Ramatullāhi ‘Alayh hold the view that the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has turned to sand?

A detailed answer showing the misinterpretation of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s comments has been given by the late Moulānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh in his critically acclaimed work in the Urdu language:

عبارات اکابر

“The statements of the elders”

We have translated his response.

Moulānā Sarfrāz Khāafdar writes[9]:

The claim:

[Aḥmad Radhā] Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwῑ and his followers have raised an objection upon Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh that he has, Allah forbid, claimed that after the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s demise, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam turned to sand, in his grave. This is despite the fact that it is mentioned in an authentic narration that Allah Ta’āla has forbidden for the ground to eat the bodies of the blessed Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām.

Thus, [Aḥmad Radhā] Khān Ṣāḥib [Barelwῑ] writes:

“In Taqwiyatul mān, page 20, a [portion of a] Ḥadῑth has been mentioned:

أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ مَرَرْتَ بِقَبْرِيْ أَكُنْتَ تَسْجُدُ لَهُ 

“Do you see that if you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate before it?”

He (the author of Taqwiyatul mān, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh) then translates this Ḥadῑth with the words:

بھلا  خیال  تو  کر  جو  تو  گزرے  میری  قبر  پر  کیا  سجدہ  کرے

“Think! If you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate in front of it?”

In discussing the explanation of the Ḥadῑth, he adds that the meaning of the Ḥadῑth is: “I (Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) will also die and mix in sand one day”. Those who support and honour him (the author of Taqwiyatul mān, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh), [I ask you], which word of the Ḥadῑth indicates towards this meaning [that he has extracted]? On one side, you have the words of the Ḥadῑth: “If you were to visit my grave” and on the other side, you have the filthy meaning that [he has extracted]: “I shall die and mix in sand”. Look at this open slander upon the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam?

The Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam says:

مَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَيَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ 

“He who lies upon me intentionally should prepare his abode in the [Hell]fire”

Oh Wahhābis! Show us the abode of your scholar (the author of Taqwiyatul mān, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh) in light of the Ḥadῑth of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam.

Our Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has said:

إِنَّ اللهَ حَرَّمَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ أَنْ تَأْكُلَ أَجْسَادَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ 

“Surely Allah has forbidden the earth from eating the bodies of the Prophets”

Oh Wahhābis! Look at how your scholar has blasphemed our Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam”

[Kawkabah Al Shihābiyyah ‘Alā Kufriyāt Abil Wahhābiyyah, p.27, Maḥal Murād Ābād]

The response

Let us first present the exact statement of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh as found in Taqwiyatul mān. Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh first presents the following Ḥadῑth:

عَنْ قَيْسِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ قَالَ أَتَيْتُ الْحِيرَةَ فَرَأَيْتُهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ لِمَرْزُبَانٍ لَهُمْ فَقُلْتُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُسْجَدَ لَهُ قَالَ فَأَتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقُلْتُ إِنِّي أَتَيْتُ الْحِيرَةَ فَرَأَيْتُهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ لِمَرْزُبَانٍ لَهُمْ فَأَنْتَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ أَنْ نَسْجُدَ لَكَ قَالَ “أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ مَرَرْتَ بِقَبْرِي أَكُنْتَ تَسْجُدُ لَهُ؟” قَالَ قُلْتُ لَا قَالَ “فَلَا تَفْعَلُوا”

After mentioning this Ḥadῑth, Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh translates the Ḥadῑth into Urdu as follows:

ترجمہ!  مشکوۃ  کے  باب  عشرۃ  النساء  میں  لکھا  ہے  کہ  ابو  داؤد  نے  ذکر  کیا  کہ  (سیدنا  حضرت)  قیس  بن  سعد  (رضی  اللہ  تعالی  عنہ)  نے  نقل  کیا  کہ  گیا  میں  ایک  شہر  میں جس  کا  نام  حیرہ  ہے  سو  دیکھا  میں  نے  وہاں  کے  لوگوں  کو  سجدہ  کرتے  تھے  اپنے  راجہ  کو  سو  کہا  میں  نے  البتہ  پیغمبر  خدا  صلی  اللہ  علیہ  وسلم  زیادہ  لائق  ہیں  کہ  سجدہ  کیجے   ان  کو  پھر  آیا  میں  پیغمبر  خدا  صلی  اللہ  تعالی  علیہ  وسلم  کے  پاس  پھر  کہا  میں  نے  کہ  گیا  تھا  میں  حیرہ  میں سو  دیکھا  میں  نے  ان  لوگوں  کو  کہ  سجدہ  کرتے  ہیں  اپنے  راجہ  کو  سو  تم  بہت  لائق  ہو  کہ  سجدہ  کریں  ہم  تم  کو-  تو  فرمایا  مجھ  کو  بھلا  خیال  تو  کر  جو  تو  گزرے  میری  قبر  پر  کیا  سجدہ  کرے  تو  اس  کو؟ کہا  میں  نے  نہیں!  فرمایا  مت کرو-

ف – یعنی  میں  بھی  ایک  دن  مر  کر  مٹی  میں  ملنے  والا  ہوں  تو  کب  سجدہ  کے  لائق  ہوں-  سجدہ  تو  اسی  ذات  پاک  کو  ہے  کہ  نہ  مرے  کبھی-  اس  حدیث  پاک  سے  معلوم  ہوا  کہ  سجدہ  نہ  کسی  زندہ  کو  کیجیے   نہ  کسی  مردہ  کو  نہ  کسی  قبر  کو  کیجیے  نہ  کسی  تھان  کو  کیوں  کہ  جو  زندہ  ہے  سو  ایک  دن  مرنے  والا  ہے  اور  جو  مر گیا  سو  کبھی  زندہ  تھا  اور بشریت  کی  قید  میں  گرفتار  پھر  مر  کر  خدا  نہیں  بن  گیا  بندہ ہی  بندہ  ہے

“Translation! It has been mentioned in the chapter of the companionship of women (Bāb ‘Ushrah Al Nisā) of Mishkāt that [Imām] Abū Dāwūd [Raḥimahullah] states that Ḥadhrat Qays ibn Sa’d Radhiyallāhu ‘Anhu said:

“I went to a place called Ḥῑrah and saw the people over there prostrating to their king. So, I said [to myself]: “Indeed, the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is more worthy of being prostrated towards”. Later on, I came to the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and told him that I went to a place called Ḥῑrah and saw the people over there prostrating to their king, oh Prophet of Allah, you are more worthy of being prostrated towards. So he said “think! If you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate in front of it?” I replied “no”. He responded “don’t do such a thing””

Explanation – the meaning [of the statement “If you were to pass by my grave, would you prostrate in front of it?”] is that “I am also to die and mix in sand one day, so how can you prostrate before me? Sajdah is only performed before the Being that does not die”. This Ḥadῑth tells us that prostration should not be made before a living person, a deceased person, a grave or a shrine. This is because everyone that is alive will die and everyone that is dead was once alive and shackled in the chains of humanity. Nobody became a god after death; everyone remained a servant.”

All that Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh has mentioned in the statement above is an explanation and elaboration of a Ḥadῑth. In it, he has explained the reason as to why one should not prostrate to anything or anyone besides Allah Ta’āla. The reason for this is that prostration cannot be made in front of a being that is going to die and be buried in sand. Rather, prostration can only be made in front of that Being who will live forever, will not die, and will not be buried in sand; and who can this Being be other than the Lord? For it is only He who is حي لا يموت – “One Who is Living and will not die”. All others besides Him shall die – كل نفس ذائقة الموت – “Every soul shall taste death”.

Now, let us elaborate upon the statement of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh wherein he interpreted the words of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam to mean:

میں  بھی  ایک  دن  مر  کر  مٹی  میں  ملنے  والا  ہوں

“I will also die and mix in sand one day”

If Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh meant that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’s body shall become sand just as the bodies of ordinary human beings shall turn to sand, then this statement is obviously an objectionable statement and contrary to an authentic narration which explicitly mentions that Allah Ta’āla has prohibited for the earth to eat the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām.

However, this is not the intended meaning of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s statement and nor would a Muslim intend such a meaning. Rather, he simply meant that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam would also pass away and would also be buried in a grave; thus his blessed body would touch and meet the sand of the grave. He did not intend that, Allah forbid, the body of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam will turn to sand.

A person once presented this quote from Taqwiyatul mān to the erudite scholar, Muftῑ Rashῑd Aḥmad Gangohῑ Rahmatullahi Alayh, and said:

“This quote creates doubt; what is meant by the statement ملنا میں مٹی – ‘mix in sand’? The opposition, with their leader being Aḥmad Radhā Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwῑ accuse Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh of having the view that the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām shall turn to sand. Please explain.”

Muftῑ Rashῑd Aḥmad Gangohῑ Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh replied:

“The statement ملنا میں مٹی – ‘mix in sand’ has two meanings:

1)     To turn to sand and mix with the earth just as how many things that fall on sand eventually become a part of the sand

2)     To touch the sand

The second meaning is the meaning intended by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh as he himself was of the view that the bodies of the Prophets ‘Alayhim Al Ṣalāh Wassalām do not turn to sand.

Hence, due to the fact that a deceased person is surrounded by sand and his body and burial shroud touch the sand, it is said that his body ‘mixes in the sand’. Accordingly, there is no basis for any accusation.

And Allah Ta’āla knows best.

Rashῑd Aḥmad”

[Fatāwā Rashdiyyah, v.1, p.9, Delhi]

Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s view that the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is alive in his grave may be understood from the following poem written by Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh himself:

ان   آنکھوں  سے  ہر  چند  وہ  جسم  پاک

بظاہر  ہوا  مختفی  زیر  خاک

“Although outwardly that pure body is hidden from these eyes beneath the earth”

ولے  نور  ان  کا  ہے  قائم  مقام

کہ  ہر  پاک  دل  میں  ہے  ان  کا  مقام

“Its light stands in its place, as there is a place for it in every sound heart”[10]

If [Aḥmad Radhā] Khān Ṣāḥib Barelwῑ were to make the effort of picking up an Urdu dictionary, this issue would have been resolved very quickly.

The word ملنا is brought in the Urdu language for many meanings which vary according to the presentation of a sentence and the intention of the speaker. The famous Urdu dictionary, NūAl Lugāt, defines the word ملنا as:

پیوستہ ہونا – ملحق ہونا – چسپاں ہونا –ایک ذات ہونا

“To stick, to be adjacent to, to affix, to become one”

[Nūr Al Lugāt, v.4, p.632]

The Urdu dictionary, Jāmi’ Al Lugāt defines the ملنا as:

دفن ہونا- مٹی میں پڑنا

“To be buried, to lie in sand”

[Jāmi’ Al Lugāt, v.2, p.565]

The Urdu dictionary, Munayyir Al Lugāt defines the ملنا as:

خاک میں ملنا-دفن ہونا

“To meet in dust, to be buried”

[Munayyir Al Lugāt, p.90]

The Urdu dictionary, Nūr Al Lugāt also mentions:

لفظ  “میں”  کبھی  “سے”  کے  معنی  میں  بھی  استعمال  کیا  جاتا  ہے  جیسے  کہتے  ہیں “درخت  میں   باندھ  دو ”  یعنی “درخت  سے  باندھ  دو”

“The word ‘in’ can at times come in the meaning of ‘with’ [in the Urdu language] such as when we say “tie it in the tree” i.e. “tie it with the tree”

[Nūr Al Lugāt, v.4, p.738]

It is a unanimously accepted principle that a statement should be interpreted within its context. In the context of the discussion in reference, it is unprincipled to interpret Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh’s statement in isolation and make a wrong attribution to Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh about the blessed body of the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam.

It is the belief of all the ‘Ulamā of Deoband including that of Ḥadhrat Moulānā Shāh Ismāῑl Shahῑd Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh that while the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is in his grave (qabr); which is made of sand, his blessed body is absolutely intact.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best 

Mu’ādh Chati

Student Darul Iftaa
Blackburn, England, UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[1] عقائد علماۓ دیوبند اور حسام الحرمین – المہند علی المفند – (221) دار الاشاعت 

انظر إلى:

“جزء حياة الأنبياء” للبيهقي

“حياة الأنبياء” لتقي الدين السبكي

“إنباه الأذكياء في حياة الأنبياء” للسيوطس

وقد جمع هذه الرسالة الحكميم محمود أحمد ظفر السيالكوتي وهو مطبوع بـإدارة المعارف الإسلامية 

[2] شاہ اسماعیل محدث دہلوی شہید بالاکوٹ لپروفیسر خالد محمود (26) مکتبہ دار المعارف 

[3] ارواح ثلاثہ (53) مکتبہ عمر فاروق 

[4] ارواح ثلاثہ (81) مکتبہ عمر فاروق

[5] شاہ اسماعیل محدث دہلوی شہید بالاکوٹ لپروفیسر خالد محمود (26) مکتبہ دار المعارف 

[6] وكان كالوزير للإمام

نزهة الخواطر (914) دار ابن حزم


[7] وكان كالوزير للإمام

نزهة الخواطر (914) دار ابن حزم

[8] وقبره ظاهر مشهور بها

زهة الخواطر (916) دار ابن حزم

[9] عبارات اکابر (74-78) مکتبہ صفدریہ

[10] شاہ اسماعیل محدث دہلوی شہید بالاکوٹ لپروفیسر خالد محمود (132) مکتبہ دار المعارف

Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd’s Definition of Shirk in Radd al-Ishrāk

March 5, 2020

Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd (1779 – 1831) wrote Taqwiyat al-Īmān (Strengthening Īmān) in 1818. Some decades later, Faḍl e Rasūl Badāyūnī (1798 – 1872) – a predecessor to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān – alleged in a work called Sayf al-Jabbār that Taqwiyat al-Īmān was literally a translation and explanation of a summary of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s (1703 – 1792) Kitāb al-Tawīd, written by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb himself – and hence was literally a Wahhābī document. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921) then repeated this claim. As explained in an earlier post, this narrative is entirely fictional and based completely on a fabrication.

Taqwiyat al-Īmān is indeed based on an earlier work, but an earlier work written by Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd himself called Radd al-Ishrāk (Refutation of Shirk), which he wrote some decades previously in 1799, in Arabic.

Radd al-Ishrāk is essentially a collection of verses and ḥadīths refuting shirk proper as well as things derived from shirk and things leading to it. In a very important introduction to Radd al-Ishrāk, Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd explains what shirk means, leaving no doubt whatsoever that his definition of shirk is far-removed from that of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb.

The following images are from pages 15 – 17 of this edition of the book.


The Arabic is as follows:

اعلم أن الإشراك – الذي أنزل الكتب الإلهية لإبطاله وبعث الأنبياء لمحقه – ليس مقصورا على أن يعتقد أحد أن معبوده مماثل للرب تبارك وتعالى في وجوب الوجود، أو إحاطة العلم بجميع الكائنات، أو الخالقية لأصول العوالم كالسماء والأرض، أو التصرف في جميع الممكنات، فإن هذا الإعتقاد ليس من شأن الإنسان أن يتلوث به، اللهم (إلا) أن كان ممسوخا كفرعون وأمثاله، وليس لأحد أن يذعن بأن الكتب الإلهية إنما نزلت والأنبياء إنما بعثت لأجل إصلاح أمثال هؤلاء الممسوخين فقط، كيف ومشركوا العرب الذين سماهم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بالمشركين وقاتلهم وأراق دماءهم وسبى ذراريهم ونهب أموالهم لم يكونوا مذعنين بهذا الإعتقاد، بدليل قوله تعالى: ((قل من بيده ملكوت كل شيء وهو يجير ولا يجار عليه إن كنتم تعلمون، سيقولون: الله، فل: فأنى تسحرون؟)) وأمثال هذه الآية كثيرة جدا.

بل معناه أن يشرك أحدا من سوى الله معه تعالى فى الألوهية أو الربوبية.

ومعنى الألوهية أن يعتقد في حقه أنه بلغ فى الإتصاف بصفات الكمال من العلم المحيط أو التصرف بمجرد القهر والإرادة مبلغا جل عن المماثلة والمجانسة مع سائر المخلوقين، وذلك بأن يعتقد أنه ما من أمر يحدث سواء كان من الجواهر أو الأعراض فى الأقوال أو الأفعال أو الإعتقاد أو العزائم والإرادات والنيات إلا وهو ممتنع أن يغيب من علمه وهو شاهد عليه أو يعتقد أنه يتصرف فى الأشياء بالقهر أي: ليس تصرفه فى الأشياء من جملة الأسباب بل هو قاهر على الأسباب.

ومعنى الربوبية أنه بلغ في رجوع الحوائج واستحلال المشكلات واستدفاع البلايا بمجرد الإرادة والقهر على الأسباب مبلغا استحق به غاية الخضوع والتذلل، أي: ليس للتذلل لديه والخضوع عنده حد محدود، فما من تذلل وخضوع إلا وهو مستحسن بالنسبة إليه وهو مستحق له.

فتحقق أن الإشراك على نوعين: إشراك فى العلم وإشراك فى التصرف. ويتفرع منهما: الإشراك فى العبادات، وذلك بأنه إذا اعتقد في أحد أن علمه محيط وتصرفه قاهر فلا بد أنه يتذلل عنده ويفعل لديه أفعال التعظيم والخضوع، ويعظمه تعظيما لا يكون من جنس التعظيمات المتعارفة فيما بين الناس، وهو المسمى بالعبادة. ثم يتفرع عليه: الإشراك فى العادات وذلك بأنه إذا اعتقد أن معبوده عالم بالعلم المحيط متصرف بالتصرف القهري لا جرم أنه يعظمه في أثناء مجارى عاداته بأن يميز ما ينتسب إليه كاسمه وبيته ونذره وأمثال ذلك من سائر الأمور بتعظيم ما.

وقد رد الله تعالى في محكم كتابه أولا وعلى لسان نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم ثانيا على جميع أنواع الشرك على أصوله وفروعه وذرائعه وأبوابه ومجمله ومفضله

A translation is as follows:

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

Rather, the meaning is to make another besides Allāh a partner with Him (Exalted is He) in divinity (ulūhiyyah) or lordship (rubūbiyyah).

The meaning of “divinity” is to believe in respect to him that he has reached such a degree in qualities of perfection like encompassing knowledge, disposal by mere subjugation and will, that he is beyond comparison and similarity with the rest of creation; which is by believing that nothing occurs, whether from substances or accidents in statements or deeds, belief or commitments, wills or intentions, but that it is impossible for it to be hidden from his knowledge and he is witness to it; or believing that he disposes in things by subjugation, meaning his disposal in things is not from the totality of the means [Allāh has put in creation] but he subjugates the means.

The meaning of “lordship” is that he has reached such a degree in referring needs [to him], asking for solutions to problems and asking for the removal of tribulations by his mere will and subjugating the means that he deserves utmost servility and humbleness. That is, there is no limit to the extent of servility and humbleness shown to him, and there is no servility or humbleness but it is good in respect to him, and he is deserving of it.

Thus, it is realised that shirk is of two types: shirk in knowledge and shirk in disposal. Shirk in rituals (‘ibādāt) derives from them, which is when one believes about someone that his knowledge is encompassing and his disposal is subjugating he will inevitably become servile before him and do with him acts of exaltation and humility, and glorify him with such glorification that is not from the category of normal glorifications amongst people – this is called worship.

Further, shirk in customs derives from this, which is that when one believes that the one worshipped is knowing with encompassing knowledge and disposing with subjugating disposal, he will inevitably glorify him within the course of his habits in that he will distinguish that which is attributed to him like his name, house and vow and the likes of that from all matters with some form of glorification. Allāh, exalted is He, has refuted within His decisive speech first, and on the tongue of his Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) secondly all types of shirk: its foundations and its branches, its means and its doors, its generality and its specifics.

Note how Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd – contra Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb – very clearly explains the meaning of shirk in ‘ibādah as something emanating from a false belief. This is something that sets him apart from Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb and Wahhābīs.

Shaykh ‘Uthmān Nābulusī from Jordan wrote a detailed work on mistaken Wahhābī conceptions on tawīd and shirk (available here). Having read this introduction from Radd al-Ishrāk, he wrote:

هذه المقدمة لا غبار عليها، والفرق شاسع جدا بين كلامه وكلام محمد بن عبد الوهاب

“This introduction is unproblematic, and the difference is very vast between his speech and the speech of Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb.”

Sharīf Ḥātim al-‘Awnī, a Makkah-based researcher, has written against extremist Wahhābī views on shrik. Recently, he has posted images of this introduction from a more recent edition of Radd al-Ishrāk:

He commented:

معنى الألوهية والربوبية وبيان شرك العبادة، بما يوافق تعريفي لها ويخالف تعريف المكفرين

“The meaning of ulūhiyyah and rubūbiyyah and an explanation of shirk al-‘ibādah in a manner that accords with my definition of them and opposes the definition of the takfīrīs.”

Regarding Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd’s more non-technical explanation and denunciation of shirk within Taqwiyat al-Īmān, see here and here.

Another thing to note is that Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb can both be described as “activists”. The latter however targeted Muslims with takfir and subsequently took military action against them. Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his movement under the leadership of Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd did not target Muslims, but carried out the work of reformation (iṣlāḥ). Tens of thousands of ignorant and nonpractising Muslims repented at their hands and perfected their Islām. (Ṣiyānat al-Nās, p4) When Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd and Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd engaged in Jihād, military activity, it was not against Muslims that were wrongly accused of having disbelieved, but against actual disbelievers: the Sikhs of Punjab. They were eventually martyred at the hands of these very Sikhs.

The contrast between the ideology and activism of Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb, therefore, could not have been greater. To link the two is a great calumny and slander.

“And those who abuse believing men and women, when they have not merited it, bear the weight of slander and manifest sin.” (Qur’ān, 33:58)

See also:

‘Abaqat of Shah Isma’il Shahid

Mawlana Madani on the Accusation that Sayyid Ahmad Shahid was a “Wahhabi”

Who was Shah Isma’il Refuting in Taqwiyat al-Iman?

Intelligence of Shah Muhammad Isma’il

Refutation of Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī on the Topic of Imtinā‘ al-Naẓīr

March 3, 2020

Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī (1797 – 1861) and his ideological successors (like Aḥmad Riḍā Khān) believed, in opposition to Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd (1779 – 1831), that it is intrinsically impossible (i.e. not even in Allāh’s power) to create a likeness of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). This is known as “imtinā‘ al-naẓīr”. This position, however, was refuted by more erudite scholars.

Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī (1790 – 1868)

Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī (1790 – 1868), an expert in the philosophical and rational sciences, wrote a treatise on it being intrinsically possible (i.e. within Allāh’s power, although impossible to occur) to create a likeness of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), in favour of Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd’s view and against Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī’s. This treatise was printed in the lifetime of Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī, and a manuscript of it is also available. This is described in the following passage from a work of Maulānā Nūrul Ḥasan Kāndhlewī:

Muftī Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dehlawī was senior to Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī and rivalled him in expertise of the rational sciences, having also studied with the latter’s father: Faḍl e Imām Khairābādī.

Shaykh Sirāj al-Dīn al-Bajnorī

One of Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī’s direct students, who of course would not be partisan to his theological opponents, wrote a detailed refutation of Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī’s position.

Sayyid ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Ḥasanī wrote:

“The respected Shaykh Sirāj al-Dīn al-Ḥanafī al-Hatā’īnī al-Bajnorī thumma al-Lakhnawī, one of the ‘ulamā’ prominent in the philosophical sciences. He studied sacred knowledge under Shaykh Faḍl Ḥaqq ibn Faḍl Imām al-Khairābādī, Mirzā Ḥasan ‘Alī al-Shāfi‘ī al-Lakhnawī and other teachers. Then he taught and instructed for a long period in the city of Lucknow. Several notable personalities took from him. He has a treatise on the possibility/impossibility of an equal to the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). He elaborated the discussion on it with an appropriate elaboration, by which he falsified the views of his aforementioned teacher, Faḍl Ḥaqq.” (Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p. 981)


While Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khairābādī had advocated the view of imtinā‘ al-naẓīr, the book by this name attributed to him was not written by him but his student. Maulānā Nūrul-Ḥasan Kāndhlewī explains: “Ḥaḍrat Sayyid Aḥmad Barelwī and Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl were martyred at Balakot in Dhu ‘l-Qa‘dah 1246 (8 May 1831), but until then Maulānā Khayrābādī did not write any other fatwā or any kind of write-up against Shāh Ismā‘īl. He also remained quiet after the martyrdom of Shāh Ismā‘īl. 24 to 25 years after this event, in 1270-73 (1855-57), Maulānā Hidāyat ‘Alī Jonpūrī, Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq’s student, put together Imtinā‘ al-Naīr in response to another book by Maulānā Ḥaydar ‘Alī Tonkī, which has been attributed to Maulānā Faḍl e Ḥaqq, while it is not correct to attribute Imtinā‘ al-Naīr to Maulānā Khayrābādī. Imtinā‘ al-Naīr is Maulānā Jonpūrī’s book.” (source)