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


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.