Awjaz al-Masālik Refutes Belief in Ḥāḍir Nāẓir

November 23, 2019

In the widely-acclaimed Arabic commentary of Imām Mālik’s Muwaṭṭa’, Awjaz al-Masālik (2:227), Shaykh Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhlewī provides the different possible explanations from the classical scholars for addressing the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the second person in the tashahhud, and then says:

“Perhaps you have realised from all of this that it is not correct to argue from the wording of tashahhud that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is present in all places, or that calling him is general to every place, as some of the innovators of this time suppose. My deceased father, Allāh illuminate his resting place, has briefly spoken on this in a brief treatise he called Mas’alat ‘Ilm al-Ghayb; and the teacher of our teachers, the Muḥaddith al-Gangohī, Allāh give coolness to his resting place, has stated this in his works. Details on this are found in them and in al-Barāhīn al-Qāṭi‘ah. And Allāh guides to guidance.”

G.F. Haddad and Hazir Nazir

January 30, 2013

GF Haddad wrote this article several years ago on the “Omnipresence of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam,” in which he attempts to prove the Barelwi doctrine of “Hazir Nazir.” A brother asked me to reply to GF Haddad’s “proofs,” as the belief that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is omnipresent (i.e. present in all places) is a belief that opposes the clear verses of the Qur’an, statements of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the established beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah.It should be remembered, firstly, that GF Haddad is unreliable in his unsupported claims and assertions (of which there are many). See for example here. Secondly, it should be understood that the mark of the people of innovation (ahl al-bid‘ah) is that they rely on ambiguous evidences (mutashabihat) instead of clear evidences (wadihat). So you will see them relying on some farfetched interpretations of verses, coupled irresponsibly with statements of some scholars and isolated hadiths taken out of context, and so on. Imam al-Shatibi discusses this characteristic of the people of innovation in-depth in the fourth chapter of his brilliant work, al-I’tisam. Towards the end of this chapter he says: “Likewise, it is possible for every person who follows the ambiguous evidences or distorts the applications [of the evidences] or interprets verses in a way they were not understood by the pious Salaf or holds fast to weak hadiths or takes evidences on face value to draw support for every action, statement or belief that agrees with his objective from a verse or hadith that did not intend that at all. The proof for this is that every sect that has become famous for its heresy (bid‘ah) draws support from verses or hadiths.” (al-I’tisam, 2:125)
The belief that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is omnipresent, meaning present and seeing in every place, is an innovated belief that is in violation of the clear evidences of the Shari’ah. In the following reply to his evidences, Haddad’s comments are highlighted in red. GF Haddad said:
Ibn Khafif al-Shirazi said in his al-‘Aqida al-Sahiha (§48):
[The Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, ] is knower of what is and what shall be and he gave news of the Unseen (wa [ya‘taqidu] annahu al-‘âlimu bimâ kâna wa mâ yakûnu wa akhbara ‘an ‘ilmi al-ghayb).

Al-Baghawi relates in his Tafsir (under verse 55:3-4) from the eminent Tabi’i, Tawus ibn Kaysan (d. 106), that he said: “He (Allah) created man, meaning Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and taught him the description, meaning the description of what was and what will be, as he would describe [accounts of] the earlier peoples and the later peoples and the Day of Recompense.”

وقال ابن كيسان: { خَلَقَ ٱلإِنسَـٰنَ } يعني: محمداً صلى الله عليه وسلم { عَلَّمَهُ ٱلبَيَانَ } يعني: بيان ما كان وما يكون لأنه كان يبين عن الأولين والآخرين وعن يوم الدين

Thus, it is clear that what is meant by this usage with respect to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the knowledge he brought of the earlier people, the later peoples and of eschatology. Such knowledge is also found in the Qur’an, which is why, for example, Ibn Kathir says about the Qur’an: “Indeed the Qur’an contains every beneficial science, of the description of what came before and knowledge of what is to come…”

إن القرآن اشتمل على كل علم نافع؛ من خبر ما سبق، وعلم ما سيأتي

The “knowledge of what was and what will be” when used with respect to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the Qur’an, therefore, refers to the limited knowledge of the past and future documented in the Qur’an and hadith. They do not mean all-encompassing knowledge.

However, when it is used with respect to Allah, this phrase means all-encompassing knowledge.

Strangely, it appears GF Haddad concedes this:

Meaning, in the sense of being imparted by Allah whatever He imparted to him. Our teacher the Faqîh Shaykh Adib Kallas said: “Note that Ibn Khafif did not say ‘He knows all that is and all that shall be.’”

But Ahmad Rida Khan, who it seems Haddad is defending in this article, said exactly this in al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah and other works: that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was given knowledge of literally “all that was and will be” (جميع ما كان وما يكون). Does Haddad therefore accept that he was wrong?

But, apparently going back on this caveat to Ibn Khafif’s statement, Haddad then quotes his teacher saying:

“The Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, possesses knowledge of all that is and knows the created universes in the same way that one knows a room in which one sits. Nothing is hidden from him.”

As proof he says:

There are two verses of the Holy Qur’an that affirm this, [But how (will it be with them) when we bring of every people a witness, and We bring you (O Muhammad) a witness against these](4:41) and [Thus We have ap¬pointed you a middle nation, that you may be witnesses against man¬kind and that the messenger may be a witness against you] (2:143) nor can the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, be called to witness over what he does not know nor seeThe above evidence is confirmed by the authentic Prophetic narration from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri in the Sahih, Sunan, and Masanid:The Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “Nuh and his Community shall come <also: ‘shall be brought’> and Allah Most High shall say: ‘Did you convey [My Mes¬sage]?’ He shall say, ‘Yes, indeed! my Lord.’ Then He shall ask his Com¬munity, ‘Did he convey [My Message] to you?’ and they shall say, ‘No, no Prophet came to us.’ Then Allah shall ask Nuh, ‘Who is your witness?’ and he shall reply, ‘Muhammad, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, and his Community.’ Then we shall bear witness that he conveyed [the Message] indeed, and this is [the meaning of] His saying, [Thus We have ap¬pointed you a middle nation (ummatan wasatan), that you may be witnesses against man¬kind] (2:143), al-wasat meaning ‘the upright’ (al-‘adl).”[2]Ibn Hajar in his commentary of the above narration in Fath al-Bari said that another same-chained, similar narration in Ahmad and Ibn Majah shows that such witnessing applies to all the Communities and not just that of Nuh,`alayhis salaam:The Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “One Prophet shall come on the Day of Resurrection with a single man [as his Community]; another Prophet shall come with two men; others, with more. The nation of each Prophet shall be summoned and asked, ‘Did this Prophet convey [the Message] to you?’ They shall reply, no. Then he shall be asked, ‘Did you convey [the Message] to your people?’ and he shall reply, yes. Then he shall be asked, ‘Who is your witness?’ and he shall reply, ‘Muhammad and his Com¬munity.’ Whereupon Muhammad and his Community shall be sum¬moned and asked, ‘Did this man convey [the Message] to his people?’ They shall reply, yes. They shall be asked, ‘How do you know?’ They shall reply, ‘Our Prophet came to us and told us that the Messengers have indeed conveyed [the Message].’ This is [the meaning of] His say¬ing, [Thus We have appointed you a middle nation] – He means upright (yaqûlu ‘adlan) – [that you may be witnesses against man¬kind and that the messenger may be a witness against you] (2:143).”

In short, he is using description of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in the Qur’an as a “witness” as proof that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) knew and saw all that is and was. This, however, ignores the explanation of “witness” in the recognised Tafsirs and from the explanations of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself.

According to the Tafsirs, there are two possible meanings of “witness” when used in these verses (4:41, 2:143 and others), as Ibn al-Jawzi mentions in Zad al-Masir (although, he divides them into four):

1. He bears witness that he conveyed the message based on his knowledge of himself, and he witnesses that the earlier prophets conveyed the message based on the knowledge he received from revelation. This interpretation is consistent with other verses of the Qur’an (7:6, 28:85 and others) which show the Prophet will bear witness that he conveyed the message. This ummah will bear witness that the previous prophets conveyed the message, and it is clear this “witnessing” is not by means of having seen Nuh (‘alayhissalam) and the other Prophets, but by the knowledge this ummah has received from revelation. The narration above, which Haddad quotes, clearly states this is the kind of “witnessing” that is meant. If this interpretation is taken, it cannot possibly be used to mean that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is omnipresent.

2. A second interpretation is that he witnesses over his ummah in terms of their acceptance or rejection of him. However, this meaning is applicable only for as long as he lived amongst them (i.e. only for the Sahabah and the disbelievers of his time), but when he passed away this type of “witnessing” ended, as explicitly mentioned by the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself in the explanation of this verse:

In the commentary of 4:41, al-Tabari narrates with a sound chain from the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) that he said after this verse was recited to him by ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud, quoting the statement of ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam):

شهيدا ما دمت فيهم فلما توفيتني كنت أنت الرقيب عليهم وأنت على كل شيء شهيد

“I was a witness over them for as long as I was among them, and when You took me (i.e. when I passed away), You was the Watcher over them. You are Witness over all things.” (Qur’an 5:117)

[Chain: ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Zuhri, thiqah acc. to Abu Hatim and al-Nasa’i – Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, undisputed hadith master – ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Utbah al-Mas’udi, thiqah acc. to many hadith critics – Ja’far ibn ‘Amr ibn Hurayth, a narrator in Sahih Muslim, declared thiqah by al-Dhahabi – Sahabi, ‘Amr ibn Hurayth]

This narration is also found in Sahih Muslim.

A narration found in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim mention that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in fact repeats this statement of ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam) on the plains of Resurrection when he is told that he has no knowledge of what some people from his ummah innovated after him.

This is, therefore, clear proof from the words of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) himself in authentic hadiths that if we take the meaning of witnessing the response of his ummah from the characteristic of “witness” it only applies to his companions, those with whom he directly interacted, and it does not extend beyond them.

In explaining verse 4:41, al-Razi said:

واستشهدك على هؤلاء يعني قومه المخاطبين بالقرآن الذين شاهدهم وعرف أحوالهم ثم إن أهل كل عصر يشهدون على غيرهم ممن شاهدوا أحوالهم وعلى هذا الوجه قال عيسى عليه السلام: وكنت عليهم شهيدا ما دمت فيهم

“Allah will make you [the Prophet] witness over these, meaning his people that were addressed by the Qur’an who he saw and knew of their conditions. Furthermore, the people of every age will bear witness over other than them from those whose conditions they saw. Based on this, ‘Isa, peace be upon him, said: I was a witness over them for as long as I was among them.'”

Al-Qurtubi says of this verse that the intent is that he will be witness over the Kuffar of Quraysh. Then he said “it was said: the demonstrative noun is for the whole ummah,” but he alludes to this being a weak view by using the phrase “it was said.” Also he presented as proof of this view a narration that is clearly weak (as there is a majhul narrator in the chain, and it is maqtu‘ anyway).

Hence, although Qurtubi presents the interpretation Haddad asserts as the interpretation of this verse, it is prefaced by an indication that it is weak, and it is demonstrably supported by weak evidence.

So the notion that “shahid” implies the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is aware of the deeds of the entire ummah is supported by weak evidence and clearly contradicts the stronger evidences.

Moreover, there is clear evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not know how all of his ummah responded:

First, the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam)’s repetition of ‘Isa’s statement for himself both in this world and in the afterlife, as explained above.

Second, verse 5:109 of the Qur’an indicates according to some interpretations that the prophets (all of them) are unaware of the full details of the conditions of their peoples’ response to them, which is why they said “We have no knowledge.” In fact, Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari said in the exact place where Haddad quotes him from his commentary of Mishkat:

“This [witnessing] does not negate His statement: “the day when Allah will assemble the messengers and will say to them, “How were you responded to?” They will say, “We have no knowledge. Surely You alone have the full knowledge of all that is unseen” because response is different to conveying, and it (i.e. the response of their peoples) requires details the essence of which is comprehended only by Allah, as opposed to conveying itself which is from obvious necessary knowledge.”

Third, the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is told about some of the innovators from his ummah on the plains of Resurrection by the angels إنك لا تدري ما أحدثوا بعدك and لا علم لك (“You do not know” and “You have no knowledge of what they innovated after you”), as recorded in the Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim, which is clear evidence that even after death and on the plains of resurrection, he is unaware of the actions of some of his ummah. This is also proven by the hadiths from Bukhari and Muslim which say he will only recognise his ummah by the white marks on them (ghurran muhajjalin) from the traces of wudu’ (and not from his previous knowledge of them).

Fourthly, in a hadith al-Tirmidhi said is “sahih,” he narrates the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: لا أراكم بعد عامي هذا (Perhaps I will not see you after this year of mine).

Fifthly, with respect to the earlier peoples, there are many verses of the Qur’an which explicitly say the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was NOT present where certain significant events happened to earlier peoples and prophets:

“And (O prophet,) you were not there at the Western side (of the mount Tur) when We delegated the matter to Musa, nor were you among those present… And you were not dwelling among the people of Madyan, reciting Our verses to them, but it is We who do send messengers. And you were not at the side of (the mount) Tur when We called (Musa)” (28:44-5)

“Nor were you among those present” – the word used for present here is “shahid.” So this verse clearly negates the meaning of shahid as being present and witnessing. And when it affirms “shahid” for him in other verses it is either according to another meaning of “witness” or restricted to those he interacted with.

Ibn Kathir says under the commentary of this verse:

أي وما كنت حاضرا لذلك ولكن الله أوحاه إليك

“You were not present (haadir) at that [event], but Allah inspired it to you.”

As Ibn Kathir mentions under the commentary of this verse, this is in fact proof of the Prophethood of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam) as he was not present amongst earlier peoples, and yet related their tales. Ibn Kathir quotes similar verses:

“You were not with them when they were casting their pens (to decide) who, from among them, should be the guardian of Maryam, nor were you with them when they were quarrelling.” (3:44)

“You were not with them when they determined their object, and when they were planning devices.” (12:102)

Hence, the verses of the Qur’an explicitly state that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam) was not present with Musa (‘alayhissalam), Maryam (‘alayhassalam), Shu‘ayb (‘alayhissalm) and Yusuf (‘alayhissalam) at significant events in their lives. Hence, he was not a witness over them in the meaning GF Haddad would like us to believe.

Haddad quotes Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari saying:

Al-Qari said in commentary of the narration of Nuh, `alayhis salaam, cited in Mishkat al-Masabih:“And he shall reply, ‘Muhammad and his Community’” means that his Community are witnesses while he vouches for them, but his men¬tion came first out of reverence (li-t-ta‘zîm). It is possible that he, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, too witnesses for Nuh, since it is a context of help and Allah Most High said [When Allah made (His) convenant with the Prophets] until He said [you shall believe in him and you shall help him] (3:81). In this there is a remarkable warning that the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, is present and witnessing in that Greatest Inspection (wafîhi tanbîhun nabîhun annahu sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallama hâdirun nâzirun fî dhâlika al-‘ardi al-akbar), when the Prophets are brought, Nuh being the first, and the latter’s witnesses are brought, namely, this Community.[3]

Haddad in fact missed out a sentence in between which makes the above paragraph unclear as to the intent of Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari when he says, “In this is a remarkable warning…”

After he quotes verse 3:81, Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari goes back to the original hadith, which states: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Then you (the ummah) will be brought.’” And then Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari explains, “In this there is a remarkable warning…” But Haddad missed out the quotation of the hadith and moved straight onto this commentary.

When Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari says “hadir nazir” with respect to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), he is using it in the very obvious sense that is indicated by this phrase from the hadith. The hadith says the ummah will be brought to the place where Nuh (‘alahissalam) was, at the place of “the greatest inspection.” This shows the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alahi wasallam) was already present there as he was not “brought” there. All this means is that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was present at the place where this “inspection” was happening. It does not mean he is “omnipresent”!

Haddad says:

There are other verses that affirm that the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, hears and sees the deeds of human beings. Allah Most High said: [And know that the Mes¬senger of Allah is among you] (49:7). In the verses [Allah and His Messenger will see your conduct] (9:94) and [Act! Allah will behold your actions, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers] (9:105), the Pro¬phet’s, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, perception is put on a par with that of the Lord of the worlds Who sees and encom¬passes all on the one hand and, on the other, that of all the living believers.

Again, Haddad uses unclear and weak interpretations of verses to prove his belief. The Qur’an says: “Those in whose heart is deviation, they follow what is unclear from it [i.e. the Qur’an], seeking discord.” (3:7) As for the true meanings of these verses:

“The Messenger is among you” (49:7) was said with respect to a particular situation amongst the Sahabah. The address is clearly to the Sahabah. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari says in the explanation of this verse:

يقول تعالى ذكره لأصحاب نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: واعلموا أيها المؤمنون بالله ورسوله أن فيكم رسول الله

“He (Exalted is His Mention) says to the companions of the Prophet of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace): Know, O believers in Allah and His Messenger, that the Messenger of Allah is amongst you.”

This is also clear from the following part of the verse, “Had the Prophet obeyed you…” The Prophet obviously cannot obey those after the Sahabah, so the address is clearly to the Sahabah.

As for verse 9:94, it is talking about the munafiqun who stayed behind from battle, that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) will see if these munafiqun repent or not. Haddad also quotes a similar verse which clearly disproves his claim: “Allah and His Messenger and the Believers will see your conduct” (9:105) – so do the believers hear and see the deeds of all human beings as is being implied here of the Messenger?!

Even though this verse clearly disproves the interpretation Haddad is trying to take from it, he still attempts to salvage this belief by saying the Prophet’s way of seeing is like that of Allah (!), and he uses words that are almost polytheistic in nature and certainly disrespectful of Allah:

“the Pro¬phet’s, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, percep¬tion is put on a par with that of the Lord of the worlds Who sees and encompasses all”

Whereas, no such thing is done. Instead, the verse is making a simple observation that eventually the munafiqun will be exposed and all will see them for what they are.

Then Gibril Haddad quotes three hadiths to “prove” the doctrine of hazir nazir and omnipresence:

The above is further confirmed in the Sunna by the following evidence:(1) Ibn Mas‘ud’s authentic narration of the Prophet’s, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, witnessing of all the deeds of the Umma from his Barzakh:The Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be exhibited to me, and if I see good¬ness I will praise Allah, and if I see evil I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.” (Hayâtî khayrun lakum tuhaddithûna wa yuhad¬dathu lakum wa wafâtî khayrun lakum tu‘radu a‘malukum ‘alayya famâ ra’aytu min khayrin hamidtu Allâha wa mâ ra’aytu min shar¬rin istagh¬fartu Allâha lakum.)[5]

This hadith does not mean the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is aware of all the actions of his entire ummah. Firstly, Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani points out in his Bawariq al-Ghayb that this hadith is clearly talking about the ummat al-ijabah only. There are two usages of “ummah”: one, all the people to whom the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was sent, believer or otherwise – this is “ummat al-da’wah”; and second, those who responded to the message and accepted it – this is “ummat al-ijabah.” The reason it is clear the hadith is only talking about the latter is that the Prophet says: “if I see evil I will ask forgiveness of Allah for you.” Seeking forgiveness is not permitted for non-Muslims, so this only refers to Muslims. Therefore, all murtaddin, kuffar, munafiqin and zanadiqah are excluded from this hadith, which is a large proportion of people. Therefore, it certainly does not prove the Barelwi doctrine of Hazir Nazir or Haddad’s doctrine of “omnipresence.”

Furthermore, in order to harmonise this narration with the earlier stronger and more authentic narrations, it must be understood as a “general presentation” (‘ard ijmali) and not a “detailed presentation” (‘ard tafsili). Meaning, the actions are presented in a general way, without there necessarily being specification of the time, place, nature, doer etc. of the action.

In this way the hadith is consistent with the other more authentic and stronger Prophetic sayings: “I was a witness over them for as long as I was amongst them…” (which he says both in this world and the next) and that he will be told: “You have no knowledge of what they invented after you” and “Perhaps, I will not see you after this year of mine.”

(2) The authentic narration of “the Supernal Company” (al-mala’u al-a‘lâ) from Mu‘adh ibn Jabal (RA) and others
The Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “My Lord came to me in the best form” – the narrator said: “I think he said: ‘in my sleep’” – “and asked me over what did the Higher Assembly (al-mala’ al-a‘lâ)[6] vie; I said I did not know, so He put His hand between my shoulders, and I felt its coolness in my innermost, and knowledge of all things between the East and the West came to me.”[7]

It is not authentic according to the preferred view. See for its grading and explanation here:…l=1#post722743 

(3) The staying back of Sayyidina Gibril, `alayhis salaam, at the point the Pro¬phet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, went beyond the Lote-Tree of the Farthermost Boundary (sidrat al-muntaha) and heard the screeching of the pens writing the Foreor¬dained Decree then saw his Lord,[8] although Gibril is the closest of all crea¬tures to Allah U and the angels do see Him according to Ahl-al-Sunna.[9]

How exactly does this prove the Prophet is “omnipresent”? His hearing of the scratching of the pens is also mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim. It is clear Haddad will quote and reference anything to make his article longer and citations appear more impressive so people will think the claim that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is omnipresent is proven by incontestable evidence.

Haddad then says:

Al-Qari said in his commentary on al-Shifa’: “Meaning, because his soul, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, is present in the house of the Muslims (ay li’anna rûhahu ‘alayhi al-salâmu hâdirun fî buyûti al-muslimîn).”[11]

The Arabic does not say “fi buyuti al-muslimin” but “fi buyut Ahl al-Islam.” Of course this doesn’t make any difference to the meaning, but it shows Haddad’s sloppiness when he pretends to be all careful and technical. Moreover, he appears to accuse Mawlana Sarfraz Khan Safdar of misquoting as he quoted it as “hadiratun” instead of “hadirun” (which mean the same thing), whereas Mawlana Sarfraz Safdar was merely relying on a different edition (as will be shown below)!

Al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ (2:117).

It’s actually 2:118

Haddad says:

What ‘Iyad cited from al-Athram is only narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir from Ibn Jurayj, from ‘Ata’ al-Khurasani (d. 135):

Hajjaj narrated to me from Ibn Jurayj: I said to ‘Ata’: “What if there is no-one in the house?” He said: “Give salâm! Say, al-salâmu ‘alâ al-Nabiyyi wa rahmatullâhi wa barakâtuh, al-salâmu ‘alaynâ wa ‘alâ ‘ibâdillah al-sâlihîn, al-salâmu ‘alâ ahli al-bayti wa rahmatullâh.” I said: “This statement you just said about my entering the house in which there is no-one, from whom did you receive it?” He replied: “I heard it without receiving it from anyone in particular.”[12]‘Ata’ was a pious muhaddith, mufti, and wâ‘iz from whom Yazid ibn Samura heard the statement: “The gatherings of dhikr are the gatherings of [teaching] the halâl and the harâm.”[13] His trustworthiness and/or memory were contested by al-Bukhari, Abu Zur‘a, Ibn Hibban, Shu‘ba, al-Bayhaqi, al-‘Uqayli, and Ibn Hajar, but he was nevertheless declared thiqa by Ibn Ma‘in, Abu Hatim, al-Daraqutni, al-Thawri, Malik, al-Awza‘i, Ahmad, Ibn al-Madini, Ya‘qub ibn Shayba, Ibn Sa‘d, al-‘Ijli, al-Tabarani, and al-Tirmidhi, while Ibn Rajab concludes he is “thiqa thiqa.”[14]

In order to assess the validity of this athar, it is not enough to grade the last person in the chain i.e. ‘Ata’. All the narrators in the chain need to be assessed. Al-Tabari’s shaykh in this sanad is: al-Qasim ibn al-Hasan who is unknown (Mu’jam Shuyukh al-Tabari p. 407). His shaykh is Husayn ibn Dawud al-Missisi Sunayd, the scholars had mixed views about him; Shu’ayb Arna’ut and Basshar ‘Awwad Ma’ruf concluded he is weak. Thus, the chain leading to ‘Ata’ is weak to begin with, so this narration is not dependable upon.

Now, we move on to where GF Haddad attacks Mawlana Sarfraz Khan Safdar:

Recently, a Deobandi writer forwarded the strange claim that al-Qari’s text in Sharh al-Shifa’ actually stated, “NOT THAT his soul, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, is present in the houses of the Muslims”(lâ anna rûhahu hâdiratun fî buyûti al-muslimîn)

Firstly, this “claim” is not “recent” which I will explain later.

The Arabic which Mawlana Safdar mentioned is “fi buyuti ahl al-Islam” not “fi buyuti l-Muslimin.” It’s right there on the page that Haddad references (p. 167 of Ankhoh ki Thunduk).

that is, the diametrical opposite of what al-Qari actually said!:He [al-Qari] discussed the issue in the Sharh of Shifa, that lâ anna rûhahu hâdiratun fî buyûti al-muslimîn i.e. this notion is incorrect that the soul of our Master Hazrat Mohammed, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, is present in the homes of the Muslims. In some copies the word lâ has been dropped and has with¬out any reason created confusion for some individuals, including Mufti Ahmed Yar Khan sahib (see Jaa al-Haqq p. 142). … In all his explicit quotes Hazrat Mulla Ali al-Qari himself negates the belief of hâdir wa nâzir. Those who have relied on his brief, indistinct quotes (out of context) are absolutely and definitely wrong.[15]That one can actually dare to make the above claim is only because of ignorance of the Arabic language since al-Qari prefaces the statement with the word “meaning (ay),” which would be grammatically incorrect if it were followed by a disclaimer such as “not that his soul is present in the houses of the Muslims.” The truth is that no such word as lâ has been dropped because there was no such word there in the first place, and the claim that there was is nothing short of tampering (tahrîf). Furthermore, the word al-Qari used for “present” is hâdir in the masculine, not hâdiratun in the feminine, as rûh can have either gender but the masculine is more appropriate here to refer to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam.

He says this “is diametrically opposite to what al-Qari actually said” but if he looked at the entire section from Aankhoh ki Thunduk, Mawlana Sarfraz Khan Safdar proves clearly from Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari’s own writings that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is not seeing, hearing and present in every place. He quotes Mulla al-Qari from his treatise al-Durrat al-Mudi’ah fi al-Ziyarat al-Mustafawiyyah, saying:

“From the greatest benefits of Ziyarah is that when the visitor sends blessing and peace on him near his grave, he hears it, with a literal hearing, and he replies to it directly, as opposed to the one who sends blessing and peace on him from far, because that does not reach him except indirectly…”

ومن أعظم فوائد الزيارة أن الزائر إذا صلى وسلم عليه عند قبره سمعه سماعا حقيقيا ورد عليه من غير واسطة بخلاف من يصلي وسلم من بعيد فإن ذلك لا يبلغه إلا بواسطة

And then Shaykh Safdar says such explicit quotes cannot be overridden by ambiguous ones. In fact, Mawlana Safdar has a full treatise called “Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari aur Mas’alah Ilm al-Ghayb wa Hazir wa Nazir” in which he shows with extensive documentation, mainly from Mirqat al-Mafatih, that Mulla ‘Ali Qari definitely did not subscribe to the Barelwi doctrine of “Hazir Nazir”.

You can download the treatise here:…-wa-nazir.html

What Mawlana Safdar ascribed to Mulla Qari is consistent with what he wrote in other places.

Furthermore, in this treatise, Mawlana Safdar explains that if this passage is as it is in the printed edition, it does not make any sense. If it means literally the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is present because it says to send salam on him when entering the house, it would mean all the prophets and righteous slaves are also present, as the supplication includes all of them, so why specify his soul and not mention theirs? This is why Mawlana Safdar says the manuscripts which have “la li anna” is more plausible, and more consistent with Mulla ‘Ali Qari’s writings both in Sharh al-Shifa and elsewhere.

In Sharh al-Shifa itself, shortly after this passage, Mulla Ali Qari says that the one who recites salawat away from the grave, it reaches the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) through the medium of angels. Did he contradict himself in the same book?

That one can actually dare to make the above claim is only because of ignorance of the Arabic language since al-Qari prefaces the statement with the word “meaning (ay),” which would be grammatically incorrect if it were followed by a disclaimer such as “not that his soul is present in the houses of the Muslims.” The truth is that no such word as lâ has been dropped because there was no such word there in the first place, and the claim that there was is nothing short of tampering (tahrîf).

Note, he says this is “nothing short of tampering,” but that would only be the case if Mawlana Safdar did not base his claim on any reliable manuscript evidence. In fact Mawlana Safdar is simply quoting the research of Mawlana Yahya Kandhlewi (d. 1334 H) (the father of Mawlana Zakariyya Kandhlewi, and student of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi) who wrote a book called “Mas’alah Ilm al-Ghayb” in which he said that he has seen some hand-written copies of Sharh al-Shifa where it says “La li anna ruhahu…”

As for Gibril Haddad saying this is grammatically incorrect: firstly, he has given no proof for this claim from any work of Nahw. It is possible Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari meant (as Mawlana Safdar says he meant): “Meaning, not that his soul is present in the houses of the people of Islam, but that it reaches him through the medium of angels” which makes perfect sense. Secondly, in Mawlana Yahya Kandhlewi’s description of the manuscript he does not mention “ay,” so it may be that the original read: “la li anna ruhahu..” without “ay” at the start; which Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari probably said to clarify that it reaches him by the medium of angels.

When this is possible, the evidence drawn from this passage is negated (إذا جاء الاحتمال بطل الاستدلال), as Shaykh Safdar goes on to say. GF Haddad says:

Furthermore, the word al-Qari used for “present” is hâdir in the masculine, not hâdiratun in the feminine, as rûh can have either gender but the masculine is more appropriate here to refer to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam,

The edition used by Mawlana Safdar (the Azhariyyah edition) has it as “hadiratun” and not “hadirun” (volume 3, page 464). You can download the third volume here:…07/03_9609.pdf

Yes, the edition Haddad used says “hadirun.” But how does he know which it is that al-Qari used?

For more details about the allegation of tampering against Mawlana Safdar, see…08-06-10-55-37

Haddad says:

Furthermore, are Hâdir and Nâzir among the Divine Names and Attributes? Imam Ahmad al-Sirhindi was quoted to say: “Allah Most High is aware of each and every minor and major condition and isHâdir and Nâzir. One should feel shame before Him.”[17

However, the Divine Attributes are ordained and non-inferable.[18] Logic, reasoning, analogy, and other forms of interpretation are not used to infer an attribute but only Divine disclosure through the primary two sources of the Shari‘a i.e. Qur’an and Sunna. This is an elementary point of doctrine that is present in most if not all books of ‘aqîda, including the Maturidi classics….As for al-Hâdir it is precluded, because Hâdir in Arabic has the sense of a being physically present at a location, i.e. attributes of the created that are abso¬lutely precluded from the Creator. Therefore Hâdirin relation to Allah Most High, like the attribute of omnipresence, may only be applied figura¬tively to mean that He is All-Knowledgeable, but neither “Omnipresent” nor Hâdir have actually been reported or mentioned among the Divine Attributes in the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the texts of the early Imams. Allah knows best.

Shaykh Safdar explains in detail in what context and based on what evidence “hadir” “nazir” can be said of Allah in the book Haddad supposedly had access to, Ankhoh ki Thunduk.

Mawlana Safdar says on page 15: “There is no doubt that Allah Almighty is not in need of place and location…” He goes on to say Allah’s names are not limited to 99 but some scholars counted up to 1000 transmitted names. Mawlana Safdar also explains that it is allowed to translate the attributes into other languages, and there are some Urdu translations where “shaheed” is translated as “haazir” and “baseer” as “naazir”. (p. 16) Then mawlana Safdar quotes a number of verses and hadiths in which it states Allah sees using the verb نظر ينظر. And, in fact, the very word “Nazir” is found in a hadith recorded in al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Mustadrak for Allah:

إن الله مستخلفكم فيها فناظر كيف تعملون

Furthermore, regarding “hadir,” the Qur’an says “وما كنا غائبين” (We are not absent) and when some Sahabah called out dhikr to Allah in a raised voice, the Prophet said: “إنكم لا تدعون أصم ولا غائبا” (You are not calling a being that is deaf or absent). The implication is clear: Allah is not absent, He is present, which is “hadir” in Arabic. Mawlana Safdar quotes the famous Sufi master, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Quddus Gangohi (d. 944 H) that he said: “Allah Almighty is present (haadir) and not absent (ghaa’ib).”

None of what the opponents bring up as supposed proofs actually invalidates the use of Hâdir and Nâzir for the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam,

But Haddad himself said: “Prophetic Attributes are tawqifi” so how can he attribute these things to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) without proof? It’s not the opposition that needs to bring proof that he is not haadir naazir, but according to his own principle, he is the one that needs to present proof that he is.

In fact there is plenty of proof that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam) is not hadir and nazir in the sense Haddad intends it, i.e. omnipresent. Many of these proofs have already been discussed above.

If it comes to scholarly quotations, they should accept that the attributes of Hâdir and Nâzir are applied to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, by the Ulema of Ahl al-Sunna such as Mulla Ali al-Qari as cited above, and countless others such as the Friends of Allah known to keep company with the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, day and night, among them Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-Mursi, Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, and Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Dabbagh, probably also Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi himself – may Allah sanctify their secrets.

He doesn’t give any references for the statements of Shaykhs Abu al-‘Abbas Mursi, al-Shadhili, al-Dabbagh and al-Sirhindi, and if they did use it, they probably meant “hadir” figuratively to mean “as though he is present.”

As for Mulla ‘Ali Qari’s usage, it was clearly said in the specific context of the “inspection” in which the Prophet will be present and seeing. It is not meant in the meaning Haddad intends it, i.e. omnipresent and seeing everything. This was explained above.

Haddad says:

The reply is: Does this Mufti have knowledge of the unseen and the gift of ubiquity? For he positively affirms that the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, (1) is not present at a given Mawlid function and (2) is not possibly present at any place other than in Madina, in his grave! So then, he allows that the other Prophets can be in Bayt al-Maqdis praying, and in Makka making tawâf, and in the Seven Heavens, but he insists that our Prophet – upon him and them blessings and peace – is confined to his Noble Grave?

The Prophet’s (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) blessed body and physical being is confined to his Noble Grave. He may be present in other places only in the sense of a “likeness” (mithal) appearing elsewhere, not his physical being. It is not possible for someone to be in two places at the same time. For more detail, see:…s-omnipresent/

So the Mufti was correct when he said: “Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, does not arrive at any “Eid-e-Milad-un Nabee,” function. He is in his Rawdha-e-Mubarak (grave) at Madinah Munawwarah and will emerge from it at the onset of Yawmul-Qiyaamah, or the Day of Judgement”

As for a likeness appearing, that is another matter.


Surat al-Muzammil, verse 15. Proof for Haadir and Naazir?

August 18, 2012

Our Barelwis love to quote Qur’an verses out of its context. Instead of citing the reliable tafasir, they bring forward their own interpretations of the verses, not mentioned by anyone of the classical scholars. An example is the following verse:
إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولًا شَاهِدًا عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ رَسُولًا 

“Verily, We have sent to you (O men) a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) to be a witness over you, as We did send a Messenger [Musa (Moses)] to Fir’aun (Pharaoh)”

From the above verse, our Barelwi brothers somehow try to conclude that our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) sees everything what is happening in the world. Some of the Barelwis go even this far that he saw everything from the beginning until the last. However, when we open up the reliable commentaries of the Qur’an, we see that this is not the case:

Al-Qurtubi wrote in his Tafsir:
الأولى: قوله تعالى:{ أَلَمْ تَرَ } أي ألم تُخْبَر. وقيل: أَلَمْ تَعْلَم. وقال ابن عباس: أَلَمْ تسمع؟
“Have you not seen” meaning: were you not informed? It has been said: Don’t you know? Ibn ‘Abbas said: “Did you not hear about?”

An-Nasafi wrote in his Tafsir:
والمعنى إنك رأيتآثار صنع الله بالحبشة وسمعت الأخبار به متواتراً فقامت لك مقام المشاهدة
“The meaning is: you have seen the results of Allah’s dealing with the Ethiopian and you heard the news about it in a Mutawatir way(abundant ways), and this is similar of being witness”

So for An-Nasafi, the Prophet (saw) heard the news of this event in a mutawatir way, and this is similar to being witness of these events.

Al-Baydawi said:
{ أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَفَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَـٰبِ ٱلْفِيلِ} الخطاب للرسول صلى اللهعليه وسلم، وهو وإنلم يشهد تلك الوقعةلكن شاهد آثارها وسمعبالتواتر أخبارها فكأنه رآها،
“This speech is addressed to the Messenger (saw), and even if he did not witnessed this event, but he witnessed the consequences and heard its news in a Mutawatir way, so it is as if he saw it.”

Ar-Razi wrote:
الأول: لم قال:{ أَلَمْ تَرَ } مع أن هذه الواقعة وقعت قبل المبعث بزمان طويل؟ الجواب: المراد منالرؤية العلم والتذكير، وهو إشارة إلى أن الخبر به متواتر فكان العلم الحاصل به ضرورياًمساوياً في القوة والجلاء للرؤية،
“Why did He say: “Have you not seen” when this event occurred a long time before his sending? The Answer is: what is intended is seeing with knowledge and remembrance, and this is an indication towards the fact that the news about it are Mutawatir, so the knowledge obtained from them is certain (Dharuri) and similar in strength and clarity to the vision.”

Examining the Belief that the Prophet (upon him be peace) is Omnipresent

April 17, 2012

Compiled by Saad Khan

[Translator’s foreword: Considering the prophets and saints (awliya) omnipresent (hadir and nadir) is a belief held by some of the Ahl al-Bi‘dah (people of innovation). A group amongst them believes that the souls of the prophets and saints are present everywhere and are aware of everything that occurs in this world. According to some others, the meaning of hadir and nadir is that a spiritually strong person sees the entire world in the way he sees the palm of his hand, and hears voices from both far and near, or travels the entire world in an instant and assists those with needs over thousands of miles. (See Ja’ al-Haq, ch: Hadir wa Nadir ki Bahth by Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Barelwi).]

The presenting of deeds to the Prophet (upon him be peace)

The belief of hadir and nadir should not be confused with the concept of deeds being presented to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Firstly, this presenting of deeds to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) consists of summarized knowledge and is not all-encompassing. Imam Sayyid Anwar Shah Kashmiri[1] (d.1352 AH) writes, “Certainly, the presentation is like the presenting of the names (asma‘) upon the angels; not all-encompassing knowledge (al-‘ilm al-muhit).” (‘Aqidat al-Islam, p.11)

Imam Kashmiri writes in another place, “His saying, ‘so, when the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) eyes shed tears,’ and the reason for crying was mentioned earlier: He said, ‘How can I be a witness for them when I cannot see them?’ So it was said: ‘Surely, deeds will be presented to you’. And the presentation is ijmali (summarized) knowledge.” (Fayd al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:458).

The angels convey the deeds to the Prophet (upon him be peace)

Sayyid Ahmad al-Barzanji al-Shafi’i (d.1337 AH) writes in Ghayat al-Ma’mul fi ‘Ilm al-Ghayb al-Rasul:

“Bakr bin ‘Abdullah al-Muzani said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘My life is better for you; you face new things and they are resolved. When I die, my death will be better for you; your deeds will be presented to me. So, if I see good, I shall praise Allah. And if I see anything otherwise, then I shall seek forgiveness for you from Allah.’

He [Imam al-Subki] then mentioned more hadiths after this, all of which prove that the angels present the Salat and Salam of his Ummah to him. He then said after this: ‘Our purpose in writing all these hadiths is to illustrate the [concept of] ‘presenting’ to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) and this implies the conveyance of the angels to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)…’

Hence, these hadiths that Imam Taj al-Din al-Subki has mentioned indicate that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is neither informed of the Salat and Salam of that person who is away from his noble grave nor the deeds of his Ummah, but instead they are conveyed to him by the angels entrusted with this task.

As a result, if the situation was as he [referring to Ahmad Rada Khan Barelwi] has thought that the knowledge of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is encompassing all of ‘what was and what shall be’ (ma kana wa ma yakun) — including all details of minute particulars (juziyyat) and entireties (kulliyyat) — then his knowledge of that would not be dependent on the angels’ conveyance [of that knowledge] to him because the above mentioned [claim of] encompassing [knowledge] would require that he (Allah bless him and give him peace) is aware that such and such a person is, for example, offering prayers and sending salutations on him at such and such time, and that such and such person is doing such a good or bad deed at such and such time. If this was the case, then what need would there be for the conveyance of the angels, which has been explicitly stated in the above mentioned hadiths?” (Ghayat al-Ma’mul fi ‘Ilm al-Ghayb al-Rasul, p.15-16)

A person cannot be present in multiple places at a single time

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali writes in Al-Mustasfa min ‘Ilm al-Usul while defining the self-evident truths (badhiyyat):

“First, the self-evident truths, i.e., the purely rational matters which the intellect (‘aql) alone has access to, without the help of any sense or imagination disposing [one] to accept it, like man’s knowledge of his own existence, and that one [thing] cannot be pre-eternal (qadim) and temporal (hadith), and that if one of two antitheses is confirmed the second will automatically be proven false, and that two is more than one, etc.

These matters were deeply rooted in the intellect ever since its existence, such that a person of intellect assumes that he had always known them, and he does not know when they were renewed. This knowledge does not depend on anything besides the existence of intellect.” (p.36)

Imam al-Ghazali then goes on to list a few more of these self-evident truths:

“One person cannot be in two places, and one thing cannot be pre-eternal and temporal, existent and non-existent, and in motion and motionless simultaneously.” (p.35, 38)

Prophets and saints are seen in multiple places through a likeness of their souls

‘Allamah Sarfraz Khan Safdar writes in Itmam al-Burhan fi Radd Tawdih al-Bayan that being able to see the prophets and saints in multiple places and in a waking state falls under the concept of [seeing a] mithal (likeness). Allah creates a mithal of the souls and this is what people witness.

Shaykh Abu Muhammad Tahir ibn Ahmad al-Qazwini (d.756 AH) quotes Imam al-Ghazali as mentioned by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sha‘rani (d.772 AH) in Al-Yawaqit wa ‘l-Jawahir, 1:132: “Imam Ghazali would say: ‘Whoever saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), he did not see his real form preserved in the blessed tomb of Madinah. He saw only his image (mithal), not his form.”

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sha‘rani also quotes Shaykh Muhammad al-Shadhili al-Maghribi (d.656 AH) in Al-Yawaqit wa ‘l-Jawahir, 1:93: “Thereupon, he does not see him (Allah bless him and give him peace) but through his soul which assumes the representation of forms without the preoccupation of his blessed essence and its advent from the intermediary realm (barzakh) to the place of the viewer. This is due to its [i.e. the essence’s] nobility and purity from the obligation of advent. This is the manifest truth.”

‘Allamah Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani (d. 1369 AH) quotes ‘Allamah Ibn Munayyar al-Iskandari al-Maliki (d.735 AH), the famous commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari, as follows: “Allah creates a mithal of his soul so it is seen in wakefulness as it is seen in sleep.” (Fath al-Mulhim, 1:330)

‘Allamah Shihab al-Din Qastallani al-Shafi’i (d.923 AH) writes, “So the figure he saw is neither the soul of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) nor his form, rather it is a mithal of him upon verification.”  (Al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, 5:293)

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haq al-Muhaddith al-Dahlawi (d.1052AH) explains further, “And seeing the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) after his demise is through a mithal, so he is seen in dreams and appears in a wakeful state too. The holy essence that is living and rests in the grave in Madinah can take the form of an image and appear simultaneously in various places to the masses in dreams and to the elite in a wakeful state.” (Madarij al-Nabuwwah from Barahin al-Qati’ah, p.204)

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haq writes in the explanation of the following hadith – ‘Whoever saw me in a dream indeed he saw the truth’ – “So what is seen is neither his soul nor his blessed body [that is] preserved in Madinah. The presence of an individual at a particular place at one time with several qualities and various forms is unimaginable except for transformation into a mithal. So what is seen in dreams is the mithal (likeness) of his holy soul, which is the truth, and there is no room for denial.” (Ashi’ath al-Lam’at, p.683)

Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Ahad al-Sirhindi (d.1024 AH) – famously known as Mujaddid al-Alf al-Thani – explains, “At times it happens that people report an extraordinary event (khawariq) from a saint (wali) when he himself is not aware at all of this event. And those saints who are favored with knowledge and inspiration (kashf), it is possible that they are not aware of some of their own extraordinary feats (khawariq). Instead, a likeness of their image appears at various locations, having crossed long distances, and exhibits wonderful acts and unusual conditions; while the owners of those forms remain wholly unaware of their resemblances

The act is only from Him and [everything] else is a locus of manifestation.

My revered master and direction [Khawaja Baqi Billah – may his secret be sanctified] mentioned that a certain saint used to say that how strange it is that people from all around visit and some say they saw me in Makkah during the Hajj season and performed Hajj along with me. And some say they saw me in Baghdad and they express their friendship with me; when I had not left my house at all, nor had I seen such people before. What a great accusation they falsely lay against me!” (Maktubat Imam Rabbani, 1:468)

Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (d.1362 AH) mentions in Nashr al-Tib (p.50) that the blessed body stays in inside the grave and what is seen in other places is a mithal (likeness) of the soul. Shaykh Muhammad bin Sayyid Darwaysh (d.1276 AH), a student of ‘Allamah Ibn ‘Abidin (d.1252 AH), has also mentioned the same in Isna al-Matalib (p.299). ((Itmam al-Burhan fi Radd Tawdih al-Bayan, 4:46-50))

Fatwas on the issue by numerous jurists

[Translator: According to the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama‘ah, it is the sole attribute of Allah Most High to be aware of everything that occurs in the world at all times. This has been sufficiently mentioned in the books of fatwa (legal verdicts). Several of these fatwas are produced below.]

[1] Imam ‘Abd al-Rashid Zahir al-Din al-Walwaliji (d.540 AH) writes in Fatawa Walwalijiyyah, “A man performed nikah (marriage) with a woman and the witnesses were not present, [and] he said to the woman: ‘We make Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) our witnesses’. This individual will become a disbeliever (kafir). This is because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah has knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb). Since the one who does not have knowledge [of this nikah], how can he become a witness? The person who has this belief is a disbeliever.” (Fatawa Walwalijiyyah, 5:422) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.443))

Mufti Husain Kadodia informed us that Imam al-Walwaliji states that this verdict initially came from Imam Abu ‘l-Qasim al-Saffar (d.326 AH). And that ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi (d.1304 AH) mentions that Imam Abu ‘l-Qasim al-Saffar studied under Nusayr ibn Yahya, (d.268 AH) who studied under Muhammad ibn Sama’ah, who studied directly from Imam Abu Yusuf (d.181 AH). He was a senior imam, to whom students would travel to Balkh, Afghanistan. From this we learn that Imam Abu ‘l-Qasim al-Saffar was a great-grand student of Imam Abu Yusuf and had only three links between him and Imam Abu Hanifah (d.150 AH). This verdict can be dated back to at least the 3rd century Hijri.

[2] Imam Tahir bin ‘Abd al-Rashid al-Bukhari (d.542 AH) writes in Khulasat al-Fatawa, “If a man marries while there is no witness, so he says, ‘I make Allah and His Messenger as well as the angels witnesses [of my nikah]’, he will be declared a disbeliever (kafir) as per the verdicts, since he believed that the Messenger and angels know the unseen (ghayb).” (Khulasat al-Fatawa, 4:385)

[3] Imam Hassan bin Mansur (d.592 AH), known as Qadi Khan, states, “A man performed nikah with a woman without any witnesses and said to the woman, ‘we make Allah and his Messenger our witnesses’. The jurists have said that this statement of the man is disbelief (kufr). This is because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb), whereas he didn’t have knowledge of the unseen while alive, so how would he then have it after his death?” (Fatawa Qadi Khan, 4:883) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p. 443))

[4] Imam ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Abu Bakr ibn Burhan al-Din (d.651 AH) – grandson of Sahib Hidayah – writes, “If a man marries in the absence of witnesses, so he said, ‘I make Allah and His Messenger witnesses, or I make Allah and His angels witnesses,’ he will become a disbeliever.”  (Fusul Imadiyyah, from Alamgiri, 2:283)

[5] Imam ‘Alim bin ‘Ala’yi Ansari al-Dahlawi (d.686 AH) writes in Tatar Khaniyyah[2] – compiled at the request of Khan A’zam Tatar Khan Dahlawi[3], “A man performed nikah without witnesses, so he said, ‘I make Allah, the Messenger and the angels my witnesses,’ the nikah will not take place because he believed that the Messenger and the angels know the unseen (ghayb) and they definitely hear the call (nida’), then he will become a disbeliever.” (Fatawa Tatar Khaniyyah, from Majmu’ah al-Fatawa, 3:77) ((Izalat al-Rayb, p.445))

[6] Imam Shihab al-Din al-Khawarzami al-Bazzazi (d.827 AH) writes, “If one married a woman by making Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) as his witnesses, the nikah will not take place and he is feared to have committed disbelief.” (Fatawa Bazzaziyyah[4], 4:119)

He writes in another place, “Our scholars have said that whoever says the souls of the mashayikh are present (hadir) and knowing, he is a disbeliever.” (Fatawa Bazzaziyyah, p.326) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.445))

[7] It is written in Fatawa Jawahir al-Akhlatiyyah of ‘Allamah Muhammad Akhlati al-Husayni (d. before 10th AH), “If anyone holds that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has knowledge of the unseen, he turns a disbeliever. Then how can this be thought for anyone else?” ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.445))

[8] ‘Allamah Zayn al-‘Abidin ibn Nujaym al-Misri (d.970 AH) states, “It is written in Al-Khaniyyah (Fatawa Qadi Khan) and Al-Khulasah that if a person takes Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) as witnesses for nikah, the nikah will not take place. And that individual will become a disbeliever because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah has knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb).” (Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 3:88)

And he also writes, “Our scholars have said that whoever says the souls of the mashayikh are present and knowing, he is a disbeliever.” (Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 5:124) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.443))

[9] ‘Allamah ‘Umar bin Muhammad al-Sunnami (d.8th AH) writes, “A man married a woman with no witnesses and he said, ‘I make Allah and His Messenger my witnesses, or I make Allah and angels my witnesses,’ he will turn a disbeliever as he believed that the Messenger and the angels have knowledge of the unseen.” (Nisaab al-Ihtisab, 1:211)

[10] ‘Allamah Kamal al-Din bin Karim al-Din (d.8th AH) writes, “If a man says to a woman, ‘I made Allah and His Messenger my witnesses’, the nikah will not take place. Imam Abu ‘l-Qasim al-Saffar said, ‘it is disbelief and he will become a disbeliever; since he believes that the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) knows this nikah whereas the unseen (ghayb) is not known to anyone except Allah’.” (Fatawa Majmu’ah Khani, 2:6)

[11] ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Rahman Effendi (d.1078 AH), known as Shaykhi Zadah, writes, “Whoever says the souls of the mashayikh are present and knowing, he is a disbeliever (kafir).” (Majma’ al-Anhur, 1:320)

[12] ‘Allamah Biri Zadah al-Hanafi (d.1099 AH) states, “A man performed nikah with a woman and the witnesses were not present, [and] he said to the woman, ‘we make Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) our witnesses’. Then this individual will become a disbeliever. This is because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah has knowledge of the unseen. Since the one [being made witness] doesn’t have knowledge [of this nikah], how can he become a witness? The person who holds this belief is a disbeliever.” (Hashiyyah al-Ashbah, p.86) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.443))

[13] ‘Allamah Nasir al-Din Lahori al-Bina’i (d.10th AH) states, “Or if he said, ‘I make Allah, His Messenger and the angels witnesses of my nikah, he will turn a disbeliever; since he believed that the Messenger and angels know the unseen.”  (Fatawa Barhanah, 1:127)[5]

[14] It is mentioned in Fatawa al-Hindiyyahalso known as Fatawa Alamgiri compiled by 500 jurists from the Subcontinent, Hijaz, Iraq, and Syria, at the behest of Sultan Aurangzeb Alamgir (d.1707 AD), “If an individual performed nikah without any witnesses and he said, ‘I make Allah and his Messenger my witnesses,’ or he said, ‘I make Allah and his angels my witnesses,’ then such an individual will become a disbeliever. But if he said, ‘I make the angels on my right and left sides (kiraman katibin) as my witnesses,’ then he will not become a disbeliever [because both these angels are witnesses of the nikah].” (Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, 2:292) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.444))

[15] ‘Allamah Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati[6] (d.1225 AH), known as Imam Bayhaqi of his time, writes, “If any person says that Allah Most High and His Prophet are witness in a certain act, then that person will become a disbeliever, because such a person has regarded the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) as the knower of the unseen.” (Irshad al-Talibin, p.28; Ma la Budda Minhu, p.176) ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.446))

[16] ‘Allamah Ahmad Din Bughwi al-Lahori[7] (d.1286 AH) writes, “One of [the types of shirk] is shirk in knowledge: It means to believe that anyone other than Allah from the creation has absolute knowledge [general knowledge and knowledge of every specific thing], is hadir and nadir, and knows from a distance, just like Allah has the knowledge [of everything] and is hadir and nadir. And the effect of this belief appears in his statements. For example, he calls on the name of his shaykh and mentor while standing, sitting, sleeping and waking up, and at other occasions. Or instead of the name of Allah, he says in Hindi: dam-i-murshid, dam-i-pir hamaray, dam ya ‘Ali or ya dam-i-mushkil kusha’. Such beliefs are undoubtedly baseless and false; there is no doubt in it. Do not you see how Allah Most High negated the knowledge of the others in the Verse of the Throne and how He established the knowledge of the secret, the open, and the actions for Himself saying: ‘He knows what is before them and what is behind them; while they encompass nothing of His knowledge, except what He wills’ (2:255). ‘He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn,’ (6:3). ‘He certainly knows the secret and what is even more hidden,’ (20:7).” (Dalil al-Mushrikin, p.33-34)

And he further writes, “It is mentioned in Al-Bazzaziyyah and Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq: ‘One who says that the souls of the pious are present and know the important events has committed disbelief’. While, it is written in Zad al-Labib: ‘One who assumes that the dead have discretion (tasarruf) in the matters besides Allah Most High, he is disbeliever.” (Dalil al-Mushrikin, p.52)

‘Allamah Bughwi again writes, “This issue is written in Al-Bazzaziyyah and other books of Fatawa: ‘One who says the souls of the mashayikh are present and knowing, he has committed disbelief’. Likewise, Shaykh Fakhr al-Din Abu Sa’id ‘Uthman al-Jabbani bin Sulayman al-Hanafi has written in his treatise: ‘One who assumes that the dead have discretion (tasarruf) in the affairs – instead of Allah Most High – has committed disbelief’. The same is written in Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq and Mi’ah Masa’il [of Shah Ishaq Muhaddith Dahlawi].” (Dalil al-Mushrikin, p.138)

[17] Hujjat al-Islam Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (d.1297 AH) writes, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) should not be considered hadir and nadir, otherwise, let alone Islam, it will be disbelief (kufr).” (Fuyuz-i-Qasmiyyah, p.48)

Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi further writes, “This notion about mashayikh is erroneous that they are present and observant at every moment. This attribute is exclusive to Allah (Exalted is He) only. By way of rupturing the norm (kharq al-‘adah), such matters have appeared from some elders, and through that, the ignorant were deceived.” (Fuyuz-i-Qasmiyyah, p.48)

[18] ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi (d.1304 AH) writes, “Knowledge of all of the matters (juziyyat) at all times is only specific to Allah Most High. It is stated in Fatawa Bazzaziyyah that whoever says that souls of the pious (mashayikh) are hadir is a disbeliever (kafir) and it is written in the same book that whoever performed nikah by making Allah and His Messenger to be witnesses becomes a disbeliever. This is because he assumed that the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is knower of the unseen.” (Majmu’ al-Fatawa, 1:46-47)

And he writes in another place, “From them [the lies] is what they mention when commemorating the Muhammadan hearing that he hears the blessings of one who sends blessings on him without any mediation, though he is far. This is false and not established by any narration. Rather, its opposite is established. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘One who sends blessings on me near my grave I hear it, and one who sends blessings on me from a distance, Allah appointed an angel who conveys it me. It will suffice him for his world and hereafter [and] I will intercede for him on the Day of Judgment’. Al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman, Abu ‘l-Shaykh in Kitab al-Thawab and Al-‘Uqayli in Kitab al-Du’afa’ transmitted it, and it has corroborative reports (shawahid) which were elaborated by Al-Suyuti in Al-La’ali al-Masnu’ah and Ibn ‘Arraq in Tanzih al-Shar’iah.” (Al-Athar al-Marfu’ah fi ‘l-Akhbar al-Mawdu’ah, p.35)

[19] ‘Allamah al-Muhaddith Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (d.1346 AH) was asked regarding a person who believes that the Noble Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is hadir and nadir while believing that this power and discretion (tasarruf) is bestowed to him by Allah Most High. The Shaykh replied, “If any individual believes that the Noble Messenger, by the giving of Allah, is hadir and nadir everywhere, then even though this is not belief in al-‘ilm al-dhati (knowledge not bestowed by Allah), it is belief in al-‘ilm al-muhit (all-encompassing knowledge) for the Noble Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). And this is shirk just like belief [in this sense] of al-‘ilm al-dhati is shirk.” (Fatawa Khaliliyyah, p.338)

[20] The Grand Mufti of Hind Mufti Muhammad Kifayatullah al-Dahlawi (d.1372 AH) writes regarding Shirk fi ‘l-’Ilm and Shirk fi ‘l-Sam‘ wa ‘l-Basr, “To attribute Allah’s power of knowledge to others. For example, to say that a prophet or a pious man has the knowledge of the unseen, knows everything, is aware of all of our affairs, or can tell what is happening far and near; all this is Shirk fi ‘l-’Ilm. Shirk fi ‘l-Sam‘ wa ‘l-Basr is to attribute Allah’s powers of seeing and hearing to others. For example, to believe that a certain prophet or a pious person could hear things far and near, or could see all of our acts.” (Ta’lim al-Islam, 4:15)

[21] Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi writes, “[Shirk and kufr is] to have the belief that a particular saint or pious person has full knowledge of all our conditions at all times… To implore someone from far and think that he will come to know of it…” (Ta’lim al-Din, p.29)

[22] Similar verdicts can be found in Al-Tajnis, p.297, of Imam Burhan al-Din ‘Ali al-Marghinani (d.593 AH)author of Al-Hidayah; ‘Umdat al-Qari, 11:520, of Shaykh al-Islam ‘Allamah ‘Ayni (d.855H); Al-Musayarah, 2:88, of Hafiz Kamal al-Din ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi (d.861 AH); Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.185, and Sharh al-Shifa’, p.4:438, of Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (d.1014H); ‘Aqa’id al-Islam, p. 155, of ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Haq Haqqani Dahlawi (d.1336 AH); Fatawa Rashidiyyah, 3:36, by Imam Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (d.1323 AH) with signatures of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hassan (d.1339 AH), Mufti ‘Aziz al-Rahman ‘Uthmani (d.1348 AH); etc. ((Taken from Izalat al-Rayb, p.445))

[1] Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah wrote in the introduction to his edition of Al-Tasrih bi ma Tawatara fi Nuzul al-Masih, “Our shaykh, the researcher, Al-Kawthari said: ‘After the shaykh, the imam, Ibn al-Humam (d.861 AH), there appeared none equal to him [i.e. Imam Anwar Shah Kashmiri] in eliciting rare points of discussion from hadiths – and this is a long period of time!’” (p. 26)

[2] An excellent fatwa book of the Hanafi school that has managed to combine the juridical issues contained in al-Muhit al-Burhani, Al-Dhakhirah, Al-Khaniyyah, and Al-Zahiriyyah. (Kashf al-Zunun, 1:268)

[3] He wrote a commentary of the Qur’an named Tafsir Tatar Khan.

[4] Mufti Husain Kadodia informed us that Shaykh al-Islam Abu Sa’ud (d.951 AH) was asked why he did not collect the important issues of Fiqh and compile a book. At this he replied, “I feel shy in front of the author of Al-Bazzaziyyah while his compilation is present, since it is a noble compilation that comprises of all important matters properly.” (Kashf al-Zunun, 1:242) In addition to this he informed us that ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi said, “I studied Fatawa al-Bazzaziyyah and found it containing necessary issues [of Fiqh] from amongst that which is relied upon.” (Fawa’id al-Bahiyyah, p.246)

[5] Special thanks to Mufti Husain Kadodia for providing us quotes no. 2, 3, 9, 10, 11 and 13 and other beneficial information.

[6] Shaykh Mirza Mazhar Jan Janan (d.1195 AH) used to say, “If Allah Almighty questions on the Day of Judgment, ‘what gift did you bring in our court?’ I will say: ‘Thana’ullah Panipatti’.” (Maqamat Mazhari, p.76; Hada’iq al-Hanafiyyah, p.484)

[7] He is Ahmad Din (1217 AH – 1286 AH) bin Hafiz Nur Hayat bin Hafiz Muhammad Shifa’ bin Hafiz Nur Muhammad Bughwi. He traveled to Delhi, at the age of eight, with his elder brother, ‘Allamah Ghulam Muhyi al-Din Bughwi (1203 AH – 1273 AH), for higher learning. There they studied under the likes of Imam Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Dahlawi and ‘Allamah Shah Ishaq Muhaddith Dahlawi. He is the author of many books like Hashiyyah Jalali, Hashiyyah Sharh Mulla, Mas’alah Ghina’, and Dalil al-Mushrikin (on the enormity of shirk). (Hada’iq al-Hanafiyyah, p.504-505) Mawlana Faqir Muhammad Jhelumi writes in Hada’iq al-Hanafiyyah, p.504, “However, the extent of the spread of the rational (ma’qul) and transmitted sciences (manqul) in Punjab was not done by anyone as much as by these brothers. Thousands of people graduated and received benefit at their hands. It seemed as if no person of knowledge remained deprived of being their student, some of them directly and others by being connected to their students.”