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-Tawḥīd, 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 tawḥīd 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:
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.”
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)