Barelwi Belief About the Prophet

April 22, 2020

Barelwi belief about the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) can be summarised as follows:

The Prophet is all-knowing, and thus knows the entire cosmos (from the start of creation till the final hour and beyond) in full detail, not even an atom escaping his all-encompassing knowledge. He is all-powerful, and thus has full control over everything in creation including sending people to heaven and hell. He is all-hearing and all-seeing, and thus hears and sees everything in creation. He can be physically present in many places at one time. Thus to call out to him for assistance, at times of distress or at other times, is completely justified (and encouraged), given he hears and knows the petitioner’s plea and has full powers to respond and carry out his request. (Major Barelwi scholars also hold that) He is not physically a man, but only appeared as a man (like the angel Jibril appeared to Maryam); his physical reality is a special light; he is thus, an utterly different form of creation to all that exists. We can name and regard our selves as his slaves (‘abd, ‘ibad).”

Apart from going against explicit texts of Qur’an and Hadith, for any Muslim of sound fitrah, who has not been poisoned by the Barelwi (or any Barelwi-esque) virus, such belief will immediately be seen for what it is: utterly repulsive and extreme. On such a view, one will be justified in having full reliance, trust and dependence in the Prophet, rather than Allah!

How do Barelwis justify such beliefs? By saying:

  1. All the above qualities were endowed by Allah, thus to hold such beliefs is not shirk;
  2. It does not entail making the Prophet exactly equal to Allah in any quality

This, in truth, is their only criterion. Everything else, about staying faithful to Qur’anic and Prophetic teachings, and imbibing the spirit of Islam (dependence only on Allah), just goes out the window.

In brief, the above-described belief about the Prophet is just like belief in a sub-God to a main God, but carefully modeled in such a way that it does not negate, in a strict sense, belief in tawhid.


Barelwī Opponents of Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī Raḥimahullāh

February 13, 2019

Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī (1703 – 1762) was the great fountainhead of Indian ḥadīth scholarship. His acceptance and pivotal role in representing the Ahl al-Sunnah of India is in need of no introduction. There is a clear tension between Shāh Waliyyullāh’s opposition to excessive personality-veneration/innovated practices and Barelwī support of them. Thus we find some clear opposition to Shāh Waliyyullāh amongst Barelwī scholars.

Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī

Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī (1798 – 1872), regarded as one of the prominent predecessors of the Barelwī/RazāKhānī school, clearly wrote in opposition to Shāh Waliyyullāh. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921) had written a brief commentary on one of Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī’s books (al-Mu‘taqat al-Muntaqad) referring to him in it as “the seal of verifiers, support of inspectors, sword of Islām, lion of the Sunnah” etc. (al-Mustanad al-Mu‘tamad, p. 8)

[On the other hand, when Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī was studying at Delhi (between 1845 – 1850), he once encountered Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī who was visiting for a lecture. Mawlānā Gangohī sat at the lecture and found his statements and evidences extremely problematic, and never returned to him again. (Tazkirat al-Rashīd, p. 36)]

In a work called al-Bawāriq al-Muḥammadiyyah, Faḍl al-Rasūl Badāyūnī attacks Shāh Waliyyullāh al-Dehlawī. On pages 28-31 of the book, he attacks Shāh Waliyyullāh’s celebrated work, Izālat al-Khafā, claiming it is like a Khārijī book! He claims it appears the topic of the work is “removing khilāfah from the seal of khilāfah and the opener of wilāyah (i.e. ‘Alī raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu)” (p. 31). He then concludes: “In sum, the writings of Shāh Waliyyullāh are opposed to the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah.” Referring to Tafhīmāt Ilāhiyyah and “other writings” of Shāh Waliyyullāh he claims these demonstrate his claim, but the sons of Shāh Waliyyullāh, according to him, suppressed these works! (ibid. p. 32)

Images from the book:

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān himself stopped short of directly attacking Shāh Waliyyullāh Dehlawī and his sons, but he regarded Shāh Muḥammad Ismā‘īl Dehlawī (1779 – 1831) and Shāh Muḥammad Isḥaq Dehlawī (1783 – 1846), prominent members of the family and direct students/successors of Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Dehlawī (1746 – 1824), to be the progenitors of the “Wahhābīs”, referring to their followers/admirers as “Ismā‘īlī Wahhābīs” and “Isḥāqī Wahhābīs” respectively. (e.g. Fatawa Riḍawiyya, Riḍā Foundation, 15:236; 20:246) This was probably more for practical, rather than principled reasons, however, because the views of Shāh Ismā‘īl Dehlawī he took issue with are traceable to his predecessors like Shāh Waliyyullāh, Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz and Qāḍī Thanā’ullāh Pānipatī. See al-Junnah li Ahl al-Sunnah by Muftī ‘Abdul Ghanī Patialvī and the writings of Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar for documentation.

Muḥammad ‘Umar Icharwī

Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s opposition to the Waliyyullāh family, of course, opened the door to attacks on Shāh Waliyyullāh himself. Muḥammad Umar Icharvī (1902 – 1971) is a well-known Barelwī “scholar”. He is a student of one of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s students, regarded as “Munāẓir e Islām” in Barelwī circles and greatly admired by them as a defender of their “maslak” (see: Tazkirah Akābir Ahl e Sunnat by ‘Abd al-Ḥakīm Sharaf, p. 498 – 500).

In his work Miqyās e Ḥanafiyyat, he wrote against Shāh Waliyyullāh claiming he was directly influenced by Muḥammad ibn al-Wahhāb (1703 – 1792) while he was in the Ḥijāz. As a result, he claims Shāh Waliyyullāh became a Wahhābī and promoted Wahhābī ideas in his books. He claims his sons reverted to the way of their grandfather (Shāh Waliyyullāh’s father), but were influenced by some of the Wahhābī ideas of their father. (Miqyās e Ḥanafiyyat, p. 575-7)

Of course the claim that Shāh Waliyyullāh was directly influenced by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb is completely without foundation. What this does demonstrate however is that Barelwīs oppose the ideas of Shāh Waliyyullāh himself and regard them to be “Wahhābī”. Some, like ‘Umar Icharwī, are honest in this respect, while others like Aḥmad Riḍā Khān try to skirt the issue.

Images from the book:

Because Barelwī mythology is rooted in the idea that their version of Islām, comprising of exaggerated personality-veneration and innovations, is true Sunnism, they characterise all genuine Sunnī opposition to them as being “Wahhābī” in origin, and thus have to somehow force a link between Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb and the Indian “Wahhābīs”. Icharwī does so by falsely claiming a direct link between Shāh Waliyyullāh and Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb. Aḥmad Riḍā Khān does so by falsely claiming a direct link between Shāh Ismā‘īl and the ideas of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb, even making the preposterous and resoundingly false claim that Taqwiyat al-Īmān is a translation of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd! Such myths and fables are used to fortify the psuedo-Sunnī Barelwī religion against valid criticism – by simply throwing them off as being “Wahhābī” in origin. The reality of course is that genuine Sunnī scholars have always written against exaggerated personality-veneration and innovations, and this is not peculiar to Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb or Wahhābīs.

 


Barelwīs Adopt the Attitude of Satan and Kuffār in Regarding Bashariyyah as Dishonourable

January 26, 2019

It is a common trope amongst Barelwīs that:

  1. The Kuffār referred to the Prophets as bashar (human beings)
  2. Iblīs referred to Ādam (‘alayhissalām) as bashar
  3. Thus, to refer to prophets as bashar is the practice of Kuffār and Satan, so should be avoided

See, for example, ‘Umar Icharvī’s (1901 – 1971) Miqyās e Nūr (p. 194 – 216), where he lays out the above argument.

Famous Barelwī scholar, Na‘īmuddīn Murādābādī (1883 – 1948), writes in his commentary on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s (1856 – 1921) translation of the Qur’ān: “It is realised from this that in calling someone bashar, it results in denial of his virtues and perfections. Thus, in many places the Pure Qur’ān refers to those who call the Noble Prophets bashar as Kāfirs. And in reality, such an expression is far from etiquette and is the practice of the Kuffār in respect to prophets.” (Khazā’in al-‘Irfān, p. 6-7)

Barelwīs however have this completely backward as Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar explains in detail in his critique of Khazā’in al-‘Irfān called Tanqīd e Matīn (p. 54-100).

The mistake of Satan and the Kuffār was not that they considered/called the prophets bashar but that they treated bashariyyah (being human) as something degrading or lowly. Satan believed he, as a creature of fire, was superior to Ādam (‘alayhissalām), a creature of earth. The Kuffār who opposed the prophets believed human beings were not worthy of receiving Allāh’s revelations and being prophets, and thus said: “Did Allāh appoint a bashar as messenger?!” (أ بعث الله بشرا رسولا)

Thus, the mistake of Satan and the Kuffār was to treat bashariyyah (being human) as something lowly. This is precisely the same attitude adopted by Barelwīs. Hence, Barelwīs adopt the attitude of Satan and Kuffār in considering bashariyyah as something without virtue and excellence.

On the other hand, the Qur’ān says. “We have ennobled the sons of Ādam…and have granted them excellence…” Allāh said to the angels: “Indeed I am to create bashar from clay, so when I have proportioned him and breathed My spirit into him, fall in prostration to him.” The Qur’ān says: “We have created humanity in the best constitution.”

In other words, Allāh and the Angels regard humanity and human beings with honour. The Kuffār and Satan regarded humanity and human beings as being dishonourable. Barelwīs have adopted the attitude of the Kuffār and Satan, while Sunnīs adopt the correct attitude of regarding bashariyyah as something honourable.

For a detailed refutation of this Barelwī attitude, see Tanqīd e Matīn, p. 54-100.


Blasphemous Barelwī Belief: The Prophet is Not a Human Being in Reality but Only Appeared in Human “Garb”

January 25, 2019

One of the most perverted and repugnant Barelwī beliefs is that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was not from the jins (species) of humanity, but was a separate creation made of light that came in human form. To illustrate their belief, Barelwīs will often draw an analogy with Jibrīl (‘alayhissalām) – who is an angel made of light that at times came in human form. Hence, according to this Barelwī belief, in his physical reality, the Prophet is not a human being. This is a blasphemous belief.

The Fatwā of Ḥakīm al-Ummat Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī

In a fatwā dated Shawwāl of 1346 H (1928 CE), Ḥakīm al-Ummat Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī (1863 – 1943) describes the statement of a preacher that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was a human being in outward form but not in reality (ānḥaḍrat ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam dar ẓāhir ṣūrat bashar būd walekin dar ḥaqīqat bashar nabūd) as kufr. (Imdād al-Fatāwā, Maktabah Dārul ‘Ulūm Karāchī, 5:234)

The Correct Sunnī Belief

Describing correct Sunnī belief, Mawlānā Sarfrāz Khān Ṣafdar (1914 – 2009) said: “Our īmān and conclusion is that Imām al-Rusul Khātam al-Nabiyyīn Ḥaḍrat Muḥammad Rasūlullāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was a human being as well as light. From the perspective of his species and essence, he was a human being, and from the perspective of his character and guidance he was a light. By virtue of him, the world of darkness acquired light. The darkness of kufr and shirk disappeared and from the rays of the light of īmān and tawḥīd, the surface of the earth became illuminated.” (Nūr wa Bashar, Maktabah ‘Ukāẓ, p. 8) Explaining correct belief, Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī said: “In terms of being a human being, in terms of physical composition and make-up, he is the same as the ummah.” (Quoted in Nūr wa Bashar, p. 82-3)

Disrespect of the Prophet

Indeed, denying that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is from the human species is degrading his lofty status since human beings are the greatest of species. ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (1852 – 1927) said: “To take out his (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) person from being human – which is the noblest and most exalted of creation – and placing him in another species is pure disrespect and degradation of his lofty station…There is no doubt that brotherhood in the very property of being a human being, and equality in terms of being from the children of Ādam, has been established in the text of the Qur’ān; while, in the perfections of proximity, nobody has called him a brother or believes him to be equal [with others].” (al-Barāhīn al-Qāṭi‘ah, Dārul Ishā‘at, p. 7)

Muḥammad ‘Umar Icharvī: The Prophet is a Light that Came in Human Garb

According to this popular Barelwī belief, articulated by some of their leading scholars, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was not a human being in reality, but only appeared as one outwardly. Muḥammad ‘Umar Icharvī (1901 – 1971), a prominent Barelwī scholar, debater and writer, said: “It is established from this noble verse that the reality of the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was not of human nature, but his reality was of light.” (Miqyās e Nūr, Makabah Sulṭāniyyah, p. 24)

Muḥammad ‘Umar Icharvī further says: “The Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was really light, and the divine power sent him into the world through the intermediary of parents by giving the light a human and luminous form. The Muḥammadan reality of light overpowered his blessed body. Thus, from amongst the creatures made of light, angels were also of light. However, when Ḥaḍrat Jibrīl Amīn (upon him peace) appeared, dressed in a human body, his human body overpowered his luminuous nature, such that in this specific bodily form he could not fly to the furthest lote tree, and in fact he could not go to the first heaven. But the true light of the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) overpowered his human body, which together with the bodily and luminous nature traversed all the heavens.” (ibid. 26-7)

While justifying his belief vis a vis the Prophet’s clearly human features, ‘Umar Icharvī says: “Jibrīl too came in the form of a human being, and he too came adorned with human features like hands, feet, nose, ears…If Jibrīl (upon him peace) coming in human garb and hands, feet and so on appearing on him do not cause any difference to him being a light, then the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace)’s pure hand and pure feet being apparent does not necessitate any difference to him being a [physical] light.” (Miqyās e Ḥanafiyyat, p. 242-3)

Icharvī even goes as far as to analogise the Prophet in this respect to Allāh! He says: “Just as it is necessary to adopt īmān in hands that are without equal, a shin without equal and a face without equal for the pure and free essence of Allāh (Exalted is He), you have been prohibited from drawing any likeness with the pure limbs of the embodied light of the Noble Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and have to adopt īmān [in this]. Allāh (Exalted is He) is without comparison in His essence and characteristics and He created His beloved (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) from pure light, so he manifested his essence together with his characteristics without any equal.” (ibid. p. 243)

Analogies of this kind between the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and Allāh when making such points are not uncommon in Barelwī literature.

Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī: The Prophet is not from Jinn, Man or Angels

Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī (1906 – 1971), another very well-known and accepted Barelwī scholar (and student of famous Barelwī scholar Na‘īmuddīn Murādābādī), says: “The Prophet appears from the species of man and is a human [but] is neither jinn, man nor angel. These are material laws. Otherwise, being a human being started at Ādam (upon him peace) since he is the father of man, while Ḥuḍūr (upon him peace) was a prophet at the very time that Ādam was between water and clay. He himself said: ‘I was a prophet while Ādam was between water and clay.’ At this time Ḥuḍūr was a prophet not a human being.” (Jā’ al-Ḥaqq, Na‘īmī Kutub Khānah, p.173)

Note: He is arguing from this ḥadīth that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) existed in his true form before Ādam (‘alayhissalām) was created. But the correct meaning of this ḥadīth (the correct wording of which is, “I was a Prophet while Ādam was between spirit and body”) is, as explained by al-Ṭaḥāwī, that Allāh had sent a written decree confirming his prophethood at this time. (Sharḥ Mushkil al-Athār, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 15:234)

Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī: The Prophet Said he is a “Human Like You” just as a Hunter Imitates his Prey!

Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī says about the verse of Qur’ān: “Say: I am only a man like you” (18:110): “The address in this verse is towards the Kuffār. Since each thing repels a foreign species, therefore it was said: ‘O Kuffār, don’t fear me, I am from your species, I am a human being.’ A hunter produces the sound of animals to hunt. The aim of this is to draw the Kuffār towards him. If Deobandīs are also from the Kuffār, this address may also be towards them.” (Jā’ al-Ḥaqq, p.176)

Here, Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī compares the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) to a hunter pretending to be something he is not so as to catch prey! Is this not disrespect? Is this not accusing the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) – na‘ūdhu billāh – of deception?

His point is all the more flawed from the perspective that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “I am a man like you” (innamā ana basharun mithlukum) to the ṣaḥābah – the most elite of Muslims. According to the Muwaṭṭa’ of Imām Mālik in the transmission of Abū Muṣ‘ab al-Zuhrī (Mu’assasat al-Risālah, no. 2877), Umm Salamah (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā) narrated from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) that he said: “I am only a human being like you. Indeed, you argue before me and one of you may be more expressive in his argumentation than the other, so I will decree in his favour according to what I hear from him…”

Ibn Mas‘ūd (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu) transmitted from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) that he said: “I am a man like you, I forget like you forget.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Maktabat al-Bushrā, no. 1282) Ṭalḥah ibn ‘Ubaydillāh (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu) transmitted from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) that he said: “I am a man like you, and [my] speculation may be incorrect or correct.” (Sunan Ibn Mājah, Dār al-Risālat al-‘Alamiyyah, no. 2470)

In all of these instances, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said “I am a man like you” to his believing companions.

Na‘īmī’s take on the verse is thus an example of tafsīr bi ‘l-ra’y (misinterpreting the Qur’ān based on personal judgement), an activity strongly condemned in ḥadīth, and something that betrays the falseness of Barelwī claims to orthodoxy and adhering to tradition.

Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī: “Say: I am a Man Like You” is from the Mutashābihāt!

Aḥmad Yār Khān Na‘īmī further says: “Just as ‘Allāh’s hand is above their hands’ or ‘the likeness of His light is like a niche…’ and other verses which are found to apparently be against divine nature and are from the mutashābihāt (unclear verses), in the same way innamā ana basharun mithlukum and other verses which are apparently against the status of the Chosen One are from the mutashābihāt. Thus, to adhere to their outward as evidence is wrong.” (Jā’ al-Ḥaqq, p. 178)

This is a further example of Barelwī literature drawing a false analogy between the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and Allāh.

Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Rashīd Rizvī: The Prophet was Light that Appeared in Human Garb

Barelwī, Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Rashīd Rizvī, says: “Ḥuḍūr Raḥmatun lil ‘Ālamīn was in reality and in origin light. For the guidance of human beings, to present an example worthy of imitation before people, his light was made to appear in the form of a human being. When the light was made to appear in human garb, he remains a light despite being affected by human attributes, and his reality and origin is not negated. Several accounts of such are found in Qur’ān and Ḥadīth. Thus in a pure ḥadīth it is narrated that the angel of death came to Mūsā (upon him peace) so Mūsā struck the eye of the angel and gouged it out. Jibrīl Amīn is light yet to grant Sayyidah Maryam (Allāh be pleased with her) a child he came in the garb of a human being. Despite this, he remained a light.” (Rushd al-Īmān, Maktabah Rushd al-Īmān, p. 45)

Conclusion

In correct Islāmic/Sunnī belief the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is from the species of man and did not just appear as a man. In the Barelwī belief described above, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is only a man in as much as Jibrīl (‘alayhissalām) was “a man” i.e. in mere appearance, not in reality. This belief amounts to denying the reality of the Prophet’s humanity, and is thus disbelief and diminishment of the lofty status of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). (Aḥsan al-Fatāwā, 1:57)

Will Barelwīs who pretend to be neutral, objective Sunnīs (like the liar Asrar Rashid) denounce this unIslāmic, repugnant and blasphemous belief?

What this example (and others like it) illustrate is that Deobandī ‘Ulamā’ were true defenders of the correct, orthodox Islāmic creed, while Barelwīs were innovators and distorters of Sunnī belief. Barelwīs are the ones who in truth are guilty of heresy while they casually and unjustifiably throw around accusations of heresy at those undeserving of it. It may even be that their deviance is a punishment for their unfounded attacks of righteous ‘Ulamā’ and Awliyā’.

 


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