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.


Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī Explains Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī’s Positive Stance towards Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb

February 17, 2020

Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957 CE), a prominent student of Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (1829 – 1905), explains in a letter dated 1950 that Mawlānā Gangohī’s positive stance towards Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb was because of a lack of awareness about him.

He writes:

[To] the one of respected position, may your honour be increased. Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa raḥmatullāh wa barakātuh. The answers to the things inquired about are as follows.

Undoubtedly, al-Shihāb al-Thāqib ‘ala l-Mustariq al-Kādhib is my first book. Since it was written against Mawlawī Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī’s refutation, Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn, discussion on the Wahhābīs came as a secondary [discussion], the objective of which was [to show] that our predecessors are aloof of both extremism and laxity – their track was of moderation, and they are the true followers of the noble predecessors of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah.

That which was expressed in the book remains my position, and it is the way of my noble predecessors.

I wasn’t the only one [to write against] Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhāb and his group. In fact, ‘Allāmah Shāmī (Allāh have mercy on him) has also written [against them] in his book Radd al-Muḥtār Sharḥ al-Durr al-Mukhtār, which is a very reliable and authoritative book in Ḥanafī Fiqh, on p339 of the third volume. Since the author of Radd al-Muḥtār, ‘Allāmah Shāmī (Allāh have mercy on him) lived in that part [of the world] and was from that time, and he had gone to Makkah Mu‘aẓẓamah for Ḥajj in 1233 H when Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhāb and his group had control over Ḥijāz, just as he stated on p674 of the first volume [1], the extent to which he is acquainted with Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdil Wahhāb and his group, those living far away and in a later time cannot be as well acquainted.

Hazrat Mawlānā Gangohī (his soul be sanctified) is someone from a much later time living in Hindustan. He did not have as much awareness of the conditions of this group. Thus, in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah p64, this [i.e. that he has little awareness of the conditions of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb] is stated explicitly in a fatwā. On p8 the passage that is written positively about him, it is based entirely on things that were heard. Hazrat Gangohī (Allāh sanctify his soul) would rely a lot on this book Shāmī. Generally his fatāwā were derived from this book.

The shame of the predecessors, Ḥusayn Aḥmad

Deoband, 4 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, 1370 [ 1950 CE].

(Maktūbāt e Shaykh al-Islām, 2:343-4)

[1] Shāmī mentions that he performed Ḥajj in this year, 1233. (Radd al-Muḥtār, Dār al-Thaqāfat wa ‘l-Turāth, 5:409) What Mawlānā Madanī probably meant to say is that 1233 was the final year that Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s followers remained in power and had control over Ḥijāz, as it was in this year that they were defeated and ousted by the Ottomans.


Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl: The Scholars of Madīnah Refute Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Views on ‘Ilm al-Ghayb

January 19, 2019

Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl is a work that was written by Shaykh Sayyid Aḥmad al-Barzanjī (d. 1919), one of the greatest scholars of Madīnah of that era, and its Shāfi‘ī Muftī. It was written in refutation of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s view that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was given complete and exhaustive knowledge of creation from the beginning of creation till the end of the world and beyond.

One can find the most recent edition of the work, published by Shirkah Dār al-Mashārī‘, at the following link:

https://barelwism.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/ghayat-al-mamul-sayyid-ahmad-barzanji.pdf

Barelwīs will point out that Sayyid Aḥmad al-Barzanjī was a signatory of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s Ḥusām al-Ḥaramayn – which is true.* But the reality of his signature was described by Shaykh al-Islām Mawlānā Sayyid Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957) (who was at that time residing in Madīnah) in his al-Shihāb al-Thāqib. He explains that Sayyid Aḥmad Barzanjī initially felt that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān was reliable and a person of learning. Based on this good opinion, he signed his treatise, and even encouraged others to do so. However, when he had his final meeting with him in the house of Sayyid ‘Abdullāh Madanī, and they discussed the issue of ‘ilm al-ghayb, he realised the academic and ideological reality of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān and began to regret his previous actions. At this time, he took back his commendation and demanded his seal be removed, and told them that he has come to realise that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān is a person of misguidance and thus spoke very harshly about him.

Muftī Aḥmad Barzanjī himself told Mawlānā Madanī afterwards that on the following day, Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s son came to him, kissed his feet and hands, and begged him to keep the seal on the commendation, saying: “Do not take back the endorsement because we have no disagreement on these issues, and while we disagree on the issue of ‘ilm al-ghayb, let that remain as it is.” He also showed extreme flattery in speech and conduct. Muftī Aḥmad Barzanjī used some harsh words, but feeling embarrassed at his pleading, said it will be fine to keep the seal. However, he also pointed out that the seal is of no benefit to them given that his endorsement was conditional. A number of other ‘Ulamā’ from the Ḥaramayn also made their endorsements conditional. (Mawlānā Madanī quotes some of these on page 215-6 of al-Shihāb al-Thāqib.) Mawlānā Madanī notes that even those ‘Ulamā’ who did not put conditions, it is obvious that their endorsements were premised on the information in the treatise being correct.

Sayyid Aḥmad Barzanjī, soon after the last meeting with Aḥmad Riḍā Khān, began to pen a detailed refutation of the latter’s views on the knowledge of ghayb given to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). In al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, Mawlānā Madanī said the treatise is in the process of being published. (It was eventually published as Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl.) In this treatise, Sayyid Barzanjī, and by extension those who approved of it, used harsh words against Aḥmad Riḍā Khān. The positive words that were said of him by some of the scholars, either out of good character or because of not being fully aware of his true character, must be weighed against the negative words used by Sayyid Barzanjī. (see for this account: al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 210-1)

In Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl, Sayyid Barzanjī refers to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān as follows:

ثم بعد ذلك  ورد إلى المدينة المنورة رجل من علماء الهند يدعى أحمد رضا خان

“Then after that a man from the ‘Ulamā’ of India arrived at Madīna Munawwara called Aḥmad Riḍā Khān…” (Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl, p. 9)

Note, he does not use any honorifics or words of praise to describe Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī. Similarly, he says afterwards:

ثم بعد ذلك أطلعني أحمد رضا خان المذكور على رسالة له

“Then after that the aforementioned Aḥmad Riḍā Khān made me aware of a treatise of his…” (ibid. p. 10)

He mentions that he explained to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān why his views are unacceptable but he “persisted and was obstinate” (aṣarra wa ‘ānada) (ibid. p. 11)

He further says:

زعم هذا غلطا وجرأة على تفسير كتاب الله بغير دليل

“[Aḥmad Riḍā Khān] made this claim erroneously and being daring in interpreting the Book of Allāh without evidence.” (ibid)

Here he finds Aḥmad Riḍā Khān guilty of tafsīr bi ‘l-ra’y which is severely condemned in ḥadīth.

Then he goes into detail in refuting Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s view. He refers to his view as “a grave error” (khaṭa’ ‘aẓīm) (ibid. p. 14) and as being “rejected” (mardūd) (ibid. p. 57)

Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl was endorsed by several leading scholars of Madīnah including Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir ibn Tawfīq al-Shalabī (1878 – 1950), the imām of the Ḥanafīs in Madīnah, and Shaykh Tāj al-Dīn ibn Ilyās al-Ḥanafī, the Ḥanafī Muftī of Madīnah. This is clear evidence that it is not only the Ahl al-Sunnah of the Deobandī school/orientation that refuted Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s heretical views, but the Ahl al-Sunnah of Madīnah had also done so.

One of the great imāms of the subcontinent from the Firangī Maḥall school (non-Deobandī), ‘Allāmah ‘Ayn al-Quḍāt al-Ḥaydarābādī al-Lakhnawī al-Ḥanafī (1858 – 1924) – a foremost student of ‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-Ḥayy al-Lakhnawī – also wrote a refutation of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s view in a work called Ibrāz al-Maknūn fī Mabḥath al-‘Ilm bi Ma Kāna wa Mā Yakūn.

Sayyid Aḥmad Barzanji also endorsed al-Muhannad in a treatise called Kamāl al-Tathqīf, which was written in response to ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī’s request to review al-Muhannad. In Kamāl al-Tathqīf, he refers to ‘Allamah Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri as “al-‘Allāmah al-Fāḍil” (the virtuous erudite scholar) and “al-Muḥaqqiq al-Kāmil” (the accomplished research-scholar) and “one of the well-known ‘Ulamā’ of India”. (al-Muhannad, Dār al-Fatḥ, p. 122) Clearly, he did not believe ‘Allamah Khalil Ahmad Sahāranpūrī, one of the four elders of Deoband that Aḥmad Riḍā Khān targeted with his takfīr campaign, to be a disbeliever.

His general endorsement of al-Muhannad in Kamāl al-Tathqīf (ibid. p. 124) shows he agreed that the allegations against Mawlānā Gangohī, Mawlānā Nānotwī, Mawlānā Sahāranpūrī and Mawlānā Thānawī are false and he did not agree with the takfīr. Al-Muhannad clarifies that the fatwā attributed to Mawlānā Gangohī which was the basis of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s takfīr is spurious and fabricated, and opposes what he has clearly articulated in his published fatwās; that Mawlānā Nānotwī in Taḥdhīr al-Nās did not deny the finality of prophethood but merely elaborated upon and expanded the meaning of the title “Khātam al-Nabiyyīn”; that Mawlānā Sahāranpūrī in al-Barāhīn al-Qāṭi‘ah did not make a blanket judgement of Satan’s knowledge being more expansive than the Prophet’s but was referring to lowly, insignificant knowledge of worldly matters; and that Mawlānā Thānawī in Ḥifẓ al-Īmān did not compare prophetic knowledge to that of laymen, madmen and animals, but only affirmed partial knowledge of ghayb for laymen, madmen and animals and thus concluded that if someone insists on calling another “‘Ālim al-Ghayb” based on partial knowledge of ghayb this would not be exclusive to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). (see: al-Muhannad, p. 67-8; 71-3; 74-7; 84-6)

In Kamāl al-Tathqīf, Sayyid Barzanjī also supports the Deobandī/Sunnī position (as opposed to the Barelwī position) on the expanse of Allah’s power as it relates to issuing a statement that is not true. See: https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2018/12/31/imkan-al-kidhb-and-the-arab-scholars/

* However, most of the content of his attestation is known only on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s authority, who is not reliable. There is proof he meddled with at least one of the attestations. See: https://zakariyya.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/molwi-ahmed-radha-khan-among-the-arab-ulama/

NOTE: As Sayyid al-Barzanji notes in Ghāyat al-Ma’mūl (p8), he had written an earlier treatise on the same topic. On this earlier treatise, see:

Allamah al-Barzanji on ‘Ilm al-Ghayb


Shaykh al-Islām Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī: Barelwī Slanderers are Vile, Wicked

January 16, 2019

While writing an Arabic biography of his teacher ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (1852 – 1927)*, Shaykh al-Islām Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1879 – 1957) states while listing his works:

فمنها: المهند على المفند، ذكر فيها معتقداته ومعتقدات مشايخه الكرام أتباع الأسلاف العظام، وأهل السنة الفخام، ردا على ما افترى عليهم الخبثاء اللئام، مما تقشعر منه الجلود وتفتت عنه العظام

“One of them is al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad, in which he described his beliefs and the beliefs of his noble teachers, followers of the great predecessors and the glorious adherents of Sunnah, in refutation of what the wicked, vile ones invented about them, from which the skins crawl and bones crumble.” (Badhl al-Majhūd, Dārul Bashā’ir al-Islāmiyyah, 1:79)

Recall ‘Allāmah Khālid Maḥmūd’s comment on ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī referring to Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and his followers as a “Satanic Army”:

Those who at times are heard saying in the circles of the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband that Mawlānā Aḥmad Riḍā Khān gave his fatwā against the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband in the passion for prophetic love, and not out of ill-intention, how untrue this is! The Akābir of the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband called them a Satanic Army and these ignoramuses consider him to be intoxicated in prophetic love! There is a great disparity between the two. (Muṭāla‘ah Barelwiyyat. 5:68-9)

Shaykh al-Islām Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī has much more to say about his opinion on Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and his followers in his dedicated work on this topic, written in the early 1910s, al-Shihāb al-Thāqib. See:

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/al-shihab-al-thaqib-and-the-response-of-the-arab-scholars-to-a%E1%B8%A5mad-ri%E1%B8%8Da-khan/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/mawlana-madani-barelwis-are-wahhabis/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/mawlana-madani-barelwis-are-little-rafi%E1%B8%8Dis/

https://barelwism.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/mawlana-madani-barelwi-takfir-falls-back-on-a%E1%B8%A5mad-ri%E1%B8%8Da-khan-barelwi-and-his-followers/

* The biography was written in the lifetime of ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī.


Al-Shihāb al-Thāqib on Saying “Yā Rasūlallāh”

April 1, 2018

While detailing the differences between Wahhabīs and the Akābir of Deoband, Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī (1296 – 1377 H/1879 – 1957 CE) writes:

Likewise, in the matter of calling out (nidā) to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), the Wahhābīs make it totally prohibited. These respected ones [i.e. the Akābir of Deoband] make full distinctions, and state that the expression, “yā Rasūlallāh” (upon him peace):

  1. If it emerges in the manner that people call out to their mothers and fathers at the time of calamities and difficulties, without thinking of the meaning, then without doubt it is permissible.
  2. Likewise, if thinking of the meaning, it is said in Durūd Sharīf, then too it will be permissible.
  3. Likewise, if it emerges from one’s overpowering love, intense emotion and overflowing passion, then too it is permissible.
  4. And if it is said with the belief that Allāh (Exalted is He) will, by His grace and generosity, make my call reach Ḥuḍūr Akram (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), although making it reach [him] is not always necessary, but with this hope one uses these words, then there is no harm in this also.
  5. Likewise, those [angels], pure of soul and clean in spirit, for whom distance of location and density of body are not obstacles to making one’s calls reach [the Prophet], in [hopes of] this too, there is no reprehensibility.

However, these last two methods should not be employed before the ‘awāmm (common peope) because, as a result of their lack of understanding, they will be prone to the belief about Ḥuḍūr Akram (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) that, just as all things, visible and non-visible, are not hidden to the Revered Creator (Exalted is His Name), and all things in every place are present, known and heard by Him, in this manner, all things are known to Rasūl Maqbūl (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), and they will begin to consider him ‘Ālim al-Ghayb, while being ‘Ālim al-Ghayb wa l-Shahādah are qualities exclusive to the Revered Creator (Exalted is His Name). To call upon Ḥuḍūr in this manner, that is with the belief that he is aware of the call of every caller, is impermissible.

Wahhabīs do not exclude [only] this scenario, but forbid all types [of calling]. Thus, it was heard from the tongues of the Arab Wahhābīs that they would strongly prohibit “الصلاة والسلام عليك يا رسول الله”, and would strongly revile the people of the two Ḥarams for this call and address, and would mock them, and would use inappropriate words, while our respected elders of religion regard this form and all forms of Durūd Sharīf, even if it is in the form of a call and address, as good and desirable, and they instruct their associates thus. They have described these distinctions in various writings and fatwās. Thus, they are described in detail in Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah… (al-Shihāb al-Thāqib, p. 243-4)

Mawlānā Ẓafar Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī (1310 – 1394 H/1892 – 1974 CE) provides a similar explanation as follows:

The summary of this is that there are eight forms of isti‘ānah and istimdād bi al-ghayr:

  1. Seeking help from someone besides Allāh, whoever he may be, with the belief that he has intrinsic power.

 

  1. It is not believed that he has intrinsic power, but that Allāh gave him this power, and after acquiring the power from Allāh, he has become independent and self-sustaining, and can do whatever he wants.

 

  1. It is believed he is only a tool and means, and that only Allāh (Exalted is He) fulfils one’s needs. This has several forms. The first is that this belief is held with respect to a living person in ordinary maters (which ordinarily/in the Sharī‘ah are included in man’s actions) and one asks his help, saying, “O so-and-so, do this work of mine” or, “Give me some Rupees.”

 

  1. In extraordinary matters (which are not included in the power of people ordinarily/in the Shar‘iah and are not counted as his actions), one seeks help. For example, one says: “O guide! Grant me children.”

 

  1. Seeking help in acquiring spiritual benefit from a certain saint or prophet after death.

 

  1. Asking help in extraordinary means or in such ordinary means that are outside of a dead person’s ability from him after death, for example saying: “O prophet or saint! Assist me in my trial,” or, “Cure my illness,” or, “Grant me children,” etc. etc.

 

  1. Doing tawassul through a prophet or saint in ordinary or extraordinary matters when making du‘a [to Allah]; or requesting their du‘ā’ and intercession.

 

  1. When any prophet or saint, by way of miracle, says to someone: “Ask what you want,” at that time he asks him his need, whether it is from ordinary matters or extraordinary matters.

The ruling of these forms is that the first and second are shirk, and the third form is by agreement of the people of verification permissible, and the fourth form is impermissible. However, the moment of manifesting a miracle is an exception to this, as occurs in number 8, and the fifth form is by agreement permissible, and the sixth form is impermissible and the seventh is permissible according the verified view, and the eighth form is also allowed.

Thus, four forms are permissible and four forms impermissible, and those forms that are permissible are permissible with the condition that it is believed Allāh (Exalted is He) fulfils one’s needs, and the prophet or saint is deemed a tool and means. In the same way, there is detail in calling on other than Allāh:

  1. Calling a living person that is close by.

 

  1. Calling an absent person, which has two forms: first, it is done as mere longing and love, and the intent is not to call upon [another].

 

  1. Or the belief is that he can hear from afar.

The first two forms are permissible and the third impermissible. There is [the following] detail in calling after death:

  1. Going to the grave of a prophet or saint and calling him.

 

  1. Calling him from afar, but the objective is not to call, but occurs merely due to an outburst of love and longing.

 

  1. The belief is that he hears from afar.

 

  1. Or one calls from afar but the objective is not to call and is not due to an outburst of longing and love, but in a certain supplication his name has been mentioned in the vocative case, so understanding it as a [transmitted] du‘ā’, he reads it.

From these, the first form is by agreement of the verifiers, permissible, with the condition that when coming to the grave, the forbidden isti‘ānah is not intended, the details of which have passed above, rather a call was made only for the purpose of salutation etc. The second form is also permissible by agreement, and the third form is impermissible as it is a belief in shirk [1], and the fourth form is permissible with the condition that the vocative case is transmitted in some verses or hadiths, like in tashahhud, “Peace be on you, O prophet,” is mentioned in the vocative case. (Maqālāt Usmānī, 2:286-8)

[1] If the belief is that the person hears from far independently of Allāh it is major shirk. And if it is believed he hears from far while always dependent on Allāh in this hearing, it is not major shirk, but a corrupt and sinful belief.