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)


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’.


Aḥmad Riḍā Khān is Kāfir Says Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī (1868 – 1951)

January 11, 2019

Faqīh al-Ummat Muftī Maḥmūd al-Ḥasan Gangohī (1907 – 1996) reports:

Ḥaḍrat Thānawī (Allāh have mercy on him) said that the Akābir did not make Takfīr of them [Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and co]. However, Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Ṣāḥib Chāndpūrī (Allāh have mercy on him) (1868 – 1951)* said: “I make Takfīr of them”. This is because those things which necessitate Takfīr did not come before the Akābir but did come before the aforementioned Mawlānā. Thus, he made Takfīr. (Malfūẓāt Faqīh al-Ummat**, 1:1051)

It may also be that the Akābir believed that despite being in and of itself Kufr, there was enough scope for Ta’wīl in Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s blasphemous beliefs*** to avert Takfīr from him (see: Khayr al-Fatāwā, 1:148), while Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī felt there was no scope for Ta’wīl.

* He was a contemporary of Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī, only a few years his junior. He was a sayyid from the descendants of Sayyid ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jilānī. Thus, he would at times sign his treatises with: “Muḥammad Murtaḍā, the descendent of the Lion of God (ibn Sher Khudā), ‘Alī al-Murtaḍā” (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu). He was admitted to Dār al-‘Ulūm Deoband in the year 1297 H (1880 CE), where he studied under Mawlānā Ya‘qūb Nānotwī, Shaykh al-Hind, Mawlānā Dhu l-Fiqār and Mawlānā Manfa‘at ‘Alī amongst others. Having completed his studies at Deoband with distinction, he travelled to Gangoh and repeated the Dora Ḥadīth (study of the books of ḥadīth) under Mawlānā Gangohī, and acquired his company. He had a passion for the rational sciences so travelled to Kānpūr and studied advanced texts on the rational sciences under Mawlānā Aḥmad Ḥasan Amrohī. While at Kānpūr, he spent time in the company of Shaykh Faḍl al-Raḥmān Ganjmurādabādī.

His father was a renowned ḥakīm of his area, so he returned to his hometown of Chāndpūr in the Bijnor district, and trained as a ḥakīm under his father. During this time, he travelled with his father and brother for his first ḥajj, where he spent time in the company of Ḥājī Imdādullāh al-Makkī.

He was a skilled polemicist and debater. He wrote against the Arya Samaj, Qādiyānīs and Barelwīs. In connection with responding to the Qādiyānīs, ‘Allāmah al-Kawtharī referred to him as follows: “the prominent teacher, Mawlānā Sayyid Murtaḍā al-Hindī.” (Maqālāt al-Kawtharī, al-Maktaba al-Tawfīqiyyah, p. 324) He taught at a couple of madrasas and also took up a teaching post at Dār al-‘Ulūm Deoband for some time.

He always felt it necessary to be under the guidance of a spiritual mentor, and hence he took Mawlānā Gangohī as his first guide, followed by Shaykh al-Hind, Mawlānā ‘Abd al-Raḥim Rāipūrī and Mawlānā Muḥammad ‘Alī Mongirī. Eventually, he gave bay‘ah to his contemporary, associate and friend, Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thānawī, from whom he received khilāfah. He lived a life of piety, dhikr and ‘ibādah, and passed away reciting the kalimah out loud.


*** Like his belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was given knowledge of the precise timing of the Hour; and was given knowledge of every minute detail about the created realm from the beginning of creation till the Resurrection; and that he was empowered to accomplish anything he so wishes in creation. According to a fatwa from Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur:

The word “Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah” is applied to the Ash’aris and the Maturidis. Ahmad Rada Khan Barelwi and his group are in no way connected to these groups. The beliefs that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had the knowledge of the complete unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb kulli) as held by Ahmad Rada Khan and that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was entrusted with all powers of disposition are not held by the Ash’aris and Maturidis, has not been mentioned by anyone in the books of ‘aqa’id, and is not mentioned in any way in their books. Both these issues are clearly against the Qur’an and hadiths; these have been created by the Barelwis. If anyone regards the Barelwi sect to be from among the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah, then this is his clear error.

Darul Ulum Haqqaniyyah: Belief in Ilm Jami Ma Kana wa Ma Yakun for Creation is Kufr

January 11, 2019

According to the official fatwā collection of Dārul ‘Ulūm Ḥaqqāniyyah* (known as the “Second Deoband”):

Whoever has the belief regarding the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) that he knew everything that occurred and that will occur [in creation], he has opposed categorical texts. Thus, one who holds this belief is a Kāfir. He must renew his īmān and if married renew his nikāḥ. (Fatāwā Ḥaqqāniyyah, 1:160)

Attributing such complete, detailed and exhaustive knowledge of the created universe to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is amongst the most cherished beliefs of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī and his followers.

* Founded by Mawlānā ‘Abdul Ḥaqq (1912 – 1988), graduate of Dārul ‘Ulūm Deoband, and student of Shaykh al-Islām Mawlānā Ḥusayn Aḥmad Madanī, Mawlānā I‘zaz ‘Alī Amrohī, Mawlānā Murtaḍā Ḥasan Chāndpūrī, Mawlānā Ibrāhīm Balyāwī and others.