Ahmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī (1856 – 1921) and his successors, known as “Barelwis”, had/have a penchant for distorting texts/history to paint their opponents in a bad light, and even to make completely unjustified takfīr of them.
This tradition is upheld by English-speaking Barelwi preachers in the west. One such preacher is Asrar Rashid of Birmingham, UK. He has openly attacked Deobandis, a group of Sunnī Ḥanafī scholars who Barelwis treat as their greatest opponents. In doing so, Asrar Rashid has had to resort to distortions and falsifications just like his Barelwi predecessors. The following will document ten such lies/distortions that have surfaced from only a few of Asrar Rashid’s talks. If someone had the will and energy to scour through other talks of his, who knows how many more lies would be uncovered?
The following is a short summary of these ten lies:
- Asrar Rashid claimed that Basṭ al-Banān, Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s refutation of the false allegation made against him by Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barelwī, was written after the latter’s death. This is categorically false. It was written in 1911, several years before his death.
- Asrar Rashid claimed the “Wahhābī scholar” al-Tuwayjirī authenticated a ḥadīth in Ṭabarānī mentioning that the world appeared to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) like the palm of one’s hand, and said it is ṣaḥīḥ. This is false – he did not say it is ṣaḥīḥ. The ḥadīth is in fact very weak.
- Asrar Rashid claimed Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khayrābādī was hanged. This is false. He died a natural death while imprisoned on the Andaman Islands.
- Asrar Rashid claimed that Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir – a work he does not like – misreports that Faḍl e Ḥaqq Khayrābādī only rebelled against the British because the British stopped paying him. This is false – nothing like this is found in Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir.
- Asrar Rashid claimed that Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī referred to Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb as a “reviver of Islām”. This is false. Mawlānā Gangohī never referred to Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb as a “reviver of Islām”.
- Asrar Rashid claimed that Taqwiyat al-Īmān was written in 1821. This is categorically false, since the earliest known manuscript of the work dates to 1818.
- Asrar Rashid claimed the British distributed an Urdu edition of Taqwiyat al-Īmān in India, claiming this is a “fact”. This is false and an unproven myth.
- Asrar Rashid claimed Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd was said to have gone to Balakot (where he was martyred) to preach Tawḥīḍ or to fight the British. This is false. Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd went to Balakot as part of a contingent of Mujāhidīn to continue activities in establishing Islāmic governance and overthrowing a brutal Sikh regime.
- Asrar Rashid claimed that according to (the Ṣūfī tract) Ṣirāṭ e Mustaqīm to think “of the best of creation” invalidates the ṣalāh. This is false – Ṣirāṭ e Mustaqīm does not say anywhere that to think of the Beloved Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in ṣalāh invalidates it. (In fact, it states the opposite – that at times the thought of prophets can be from the blessings of ṣalāh).
- Asrar Rashid claimed that a passage of Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah states that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) being in the higher abode does not make him any better than Malak al-Mawt (the angel of death). This is a completely false reading of the passage in question. The passage in question actually states that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is superior to Malak al-Mawt and is in the highest ‘Illiyyīn, but despite this one cannot claim he has equal knowledge to Malak al-Mawt in areas that the latter is known to have greater awareness (like the locations/times of death of people).
For documentation and details of these lies, visit:
When it is at the expense of opponents or in favour of their own misguidance, Barelwis like Asrar Rashid don’t appear to have any problem with outright lies.
Asrar Rashid had ample time to retract some of the above false claims. If an individual does not take back clear falsehoods and persists on them, he will be considered a “liar”. Ibn Ḥibbān said: “One whose error was explained to him and he comes to know of it, but does not take it back and persists on it, he is a liar.” So like others of his ilk, Asrar Rashid is a flagrant liar, and nothing he says should be trusted without proper verification.