Mas’alah ‘Ilm al-Ghayb – Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī

January 12, 2019

Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (1829 – 1905) and his student and attendant of 12 years, Mawlānā Muḥammad Yaḥyā Kāndhlewī (1871 – 1916), wrote a treatise on the topic of ‘ilm al-ghayb. The treatise can be found on pages 151 – 166 of the following book:

https://ia600104.us.archive.org/16/items/ILMEGHAIB/ILM_E_GHAIB.pdf

In the work, they refute the false belief that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) possessed total and exhaustive knowledge of all creation. They explain that this matter is from the foundations of religion on which all madhhabs are in agreement, and provide some evidences from Qur’ān and Sunnah.

They also explain in some detail the positions of Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī and Mullā ‘Alī al-Qārī (as this was raised in the question being answered in the treatise). Due to a misprint in the latter’s Sharḥ al-Shifā’ a wrong impression is given that the blessed soul of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is present in every Muslim home. They explain that this is a misprint, goes against what Mullā ‘Alī al-Qārī had written in other places and is ridiculous: the ‘ulamā’ have described in detail the reverence that is shown to the blessed presence of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) at his noble grave and surrounding areas, but no such thing is mentioned about any other place where his blessed soul is claimed to be present – thus such a notion is ridiculous. (Mas’alah ‘Ilm a-Ghayb, p. 156, 159) Due to a misreading of a khuṭbah of Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dehlawī, it was said he entertained this false belief also – hence, this too is refuted, with reference to other writings of his. (ibid. 160-4)

“The upshot of the discussion is that from several verses of Allāh’s noble speech and many narrations of prophetic ḥadīths, as well as the statements of the pious Salaf, it is established and evident that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is not knower of the ghayb and is not present in all locations. Keeping such belief is clear error, and indeed suggestive of shirk, and attributing such a belief to ‘Alī al-Qārī or Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq is pure slander.” (ibid. p. 164-5)

In the end, they discuss briefly the issue of Qiyām in the Mawlid (as this was raised in the question being answered in the treatise).


The Misguidance of the Barelwīs

March 14, 2015

by Mufti Zameelur Rahman
A time old Barelwī trick has been to mask its deviation from the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah by casting unfounded accusations against its adversaries. Those who show opposition to Barelwī beliefs are castigated as deviants, or worse, disbelievers and detractors of the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), with an attempt to create mistrust about their arguments against the ostensibly “Sunnī” beliefs it espouses.

Fortunately, the mask has slowly slipped away. The Barelwī allegations against its foremost rivals in India, the illustrious scholars and saints of Deoband, have been exposed as forgeries, slanders, deceptions and lies. The scholars of Deoband do not believe that prophethood may continue after the advent of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They do not believe his (peace and blessing be upon him) blessed knowledge of unseen realities is equal to that of animals, madmen and children. They do not believe Satan has more expansive knowledge than the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They do not believe Allāh has spoken lies or that it is permissible to believe this. We seek Allāh’s protection from all these heinous and blasphemous beliefs. The beliefs of the scholars of Deoband are expressed clearly in many books, most notably the brief collection of responses in al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad by ‘Allāmah Khalīl Ahmad Sahāranpūrī (1269 – 1346 H) in Arabic and the more lengthy ‘Aqā’id al-Islām by the muhaddith and mufassir, ‘Allāmah Idrīs al-Kandhlewī (1317 – 1394 H/1899 – 1974 CE), in Urdu.

The objective of this brief essay is to illustrate the misguided beliefs entrenched in the Barelwī ideology and movement. Their extremism in showing mock respect towards the personality of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) has led to clear opposition to the teachings of the Qur’ān and Sunnah and the beliefs espoused by the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah in general and the illustrious Māturīdī Hanafī theologians in particular.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

لا يستهوينكم الشيطان، أنا محمد بن عبد الله، عبد الله ورسوله، والله! ما أحب أن ترفعوني فوق منزلتي التي أنزلني الله

“Let not the Satan run with your desires. I am Muhammad, son of ‘Abdullāh, the slave of Allāh and His Messenger. I do not like that you raise me above the position Allāh has placed me.” (Musnad Ahmad, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 20:23; with an authentic chain)

‘Allāmah ‘Abdul Hayy al-Laknawī writes: “Attributing a virtue or a rank to his purified essence, the existence of which is not established in the holy prophetic essence by verses or reliable hadīths, is also from the greatest of major sins. The preachers should, therefore, pay attention, and the story-tellers and the exhorting and reproving sermonisers should beware, since they attribute many things to the holy person, the existence of which has not been established therein, and they think that in this is great reward due to establishing a virtue for the holy essence and elevating its stature, yet they are unaware that the prophetic virtues established in the authentic hadīths dispose of the need for these flimsy falsehoods. By my life, his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) virtues are outside the limit of encompassment and enumeration, and his merits, by which he excels all creation, are very many without end, so what is the need to extol him using falsehoods? Rather, this is a cause for great sin and deviation from the Straight Path.” (al-Āthār al-Marfū‘ah, Dārul Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, p. 36)

There are three beliefs in particular which we will highlight in this article:

1. Firstly, Barelwīs believe the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was given knowledge of the precise timing of the Final Hour

Ahmad Ridā Khān al-Barelwī, the founder of the Barelwī movement, said:

فثبت حصول العلم به قبل قيامها له صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم

“Thus, his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) acquisition of knowledge of it [i.e. the exact timing of the Hour] before its commencement is established.” (Footnotes to al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah)

The followers of Ahmad Ridā Khān also upheld this belief. For example, respected Barelwī scholar, Ahmad Yār Khān (1314 – 1391 H), writes: “The Lord Almighty also gave this knowledge to the Prophet upon him peace.” (Jā’ al-Haqq, Maktabah Ghawsiyyah, 1:290)

This belief conflicts with many evidences of the Sharī‘ah from the Qur’ān and Sunnah. From the Qur’ān, one may study the authoritative commentaries of the following verses: 20:15*, 7:187, 67:25-6, 10:48-9, 17:51, 21:108-9, 72:25, 6:2, 27:65, 41:47, 43:85, 79:42-5, 6:59 and 31:34. The meanings of these verses and the statements of the major commentators regarding them are categorically clear: no one besides Allāh knows the exact time when the Hour will commence, and this will remain so right until the moment before the Final Hour.

* Imām al-Tabarī narrated with an authentic chain to Qatādah ibn Di‘āmah (60 – 118 H) that he said regarding this verse: “And by my life! Verily, Allāh has kept it hidden from the angels brought near and the prophets sent.” (Tafsīr al-Tabarī, Hajr, 16:35) Ibn Abī Hātim narrates from Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Suddī (d. 127) under the same verse: “There is no one in the heavens and the earth except Allāh has kept the knowledge of the Hour hidden from him. In the reading of Ibn Mas‘ūd [the verse reads as follows]: ‘I almost kept it hidden from My self.’ He is saying [in this verse]: ‘I conceal it from the creatures such that had I been able to conceal it from My self, I would have!’” (p. 2419) This interpretation of the verse – that Allāh “almost concealed the Hour from Himself”, expressing His intent to keep it hidden from His creation – is the dominant explanation given by the early commentators, which led Imām al-Tabarī to discount all other possible interpretations of the verse.

Some people have a misunderstanding that this is an insignificant or peripheral issue related to ‘aqīdah. In fact, it is a fundamental issue, in which holding the incorrect view may even amount to kufr as recorded from at least one of the earlier imāms of ‘aqīdah. The Barelwī opinion was espoused by some unknown figures from the early period and some people of knowledge from the later period like al-Sāwī al-Mālikī. However, it is a rejected view on account of its clear opposition to texts of the Sharī‘ah and the explicit statements of the ‘ulamā’.

From amongst Hanafi Māturīdī imāms, Imām Abū Mansūr al-Māturīdī himself in several places of his commentary of the Qur’ān explains that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was not given knowledge of the Hour. He says, for example:

فجائز أن يقال: إنه يعلم بعض هذه الأشياء بأعلام…إلا الساعة فإنه لا يطلع عليها أحدا

“[He may reveal parts of the five things mentioned in 31:34] except for the Hour, because He does not disclose it to anyone.” (Ta’wīlāt Ahl al-Sunnah, Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 4:80)

Imām al-Tahāwī says in his famous text on ‘aqīdah:

“The basis of qadr is a secret of Allāh (Exalted is He) in His creation, which neither an angel brought close nor a prophet sent is made aware of.”

Qādi al-Qudāt Sirāj al-Dīn ‘Umar ibn Ishāq al-Ghaznawī (704 – 773 H), a great Hanafī jurist who spent most of his life in Egypt, said in the commentary of this statement: “The intellects of man come short of encompassing the reality of divine wisdoms, and the insights come short of comprehending the lordly secrets, so qadr is from the unseen, the knowledge of which Allāh has taken exclusive possession, and He made it a secret hidden from His creation, which does not become apparent to an angel brought near or a messenger sent.” (Sharh ‘Aqīdat al-Tahāwiyyah, p. 99)

Further, al-Tahāwī says: “For knowledge is two types: a knowledge available to creation and a knowledge unavailable to creation. Denial of available knowledge is disbelief and claiming unavailable knowledge is disbelief.” Ghaznawī comments: “Available knowledge in the universe and creation is knowledge established from obvious signs and manifest evidences like knowledge of the Creator…His purity from the attributes of imperfection…Thus, this knowledge is available to creation so its denial is disbelief. As for unavailable knowledge it is knowledge which Allāh has hidden from His creation like the knowledge of the unseen, the knowledge of which He has taken exclusive possession, like knowledge of [the reality of] qadā and qadr, and the [timing of] the commencement of the Hour, as He (Exalted is He) said: ‘Say: None in the heavens and the earth know the unseen besides Allāh.’ (27:65) And he (Exalted is He) said: ‘None reveals it at its time besides He.’ (7:187). Thus, claiming this knowledge and seeking it is also disbelief, because it is to claim equivalence with Allāh in that of which He has taken exclusive possession.” (p 100)

Hence, this eighth-century Māturīdī imām considers it an act of disbelief to claim that anyone was given knowledge of the precise timing of the Hour.

Muftī Abu l-Su‘ūd Muhammad ibn Muhammad (898 – 982 H), a great Ottoman Hanafī jurist, wrote in his famous commentary of the Qur’ān:

لإظهاره على بعض غيوبه المتعلقة برسالته، كما يعرب عنه بيان من ارتضى بالرسول، تعلقا تاما، إما لكونه من مبادئ رسالته بأن يكون معجزة دالة على صحتها وإما لكونه من أركانها وأحكامها كعامة التكاليف الشرعية التي أمر بها المكلفون وكيفيات أعمالهم وأجزيتها المترتبة عليها فى الآخرة وما تتوقف هي عليه من أحوال الآخرة التي من جملتها قيام الساعة والبعث وغير ذلك من الأمور الغيبية التي بيانها من وظائف الرسالة، وأما ما لا يتعلق بها على أحد الوجهين من الغيوب التي من جملتها وقت قيام الساعة فلا يظهر عليه أحدا أبدا على أن بيان وقته مخل بالحكمة التشريعية التي عليها يدور فلك الرسالة

“‘Except one He chooses from a rasūl’ (Qur’ān, 72:27), meaning: except a messenger He chooses, due to his disclosure to him of some unseen things connected to his risālah – as describing the one chosen as ‘rasūl’ clarifies – with a complete connection, either because of it being from the foundations of his risālah, in that it is a miracle proving its veracity, or because of it being from its pillars and laws, like the general obligations of Sharī‘ah with which accountable people have been ordered and the conditions of their actions and the rewards consequential upon them in the afterlife and what it depends on from the conditions of the afterlife, from amongst which is the commencement of the Hour and the resurrection and other than that from the unseen things, the explanation of which is from the duties of risālah. As for that [knowledge] which does not relate to it in either of the two ways from unseen things, from the totality of which is the timing of the commencement of the Hour, He will never disclose it to anyone, while an explanation of its timing infringes on the legislative wisdom around which the orbit of risālah revolves.” (Irshād al-‘Aql al-Salīm, Maktab al-Riyād, 5:409)

Ibn ‘Ābidīn al-Shāmī al-Hanafī al-Māturīdī quotes this passage approvingly. (Majmū‘at Rasā’il Ibn ‘Ābidīn, 2:3:313-4)

Mullā ‘Alī al-Qāri’ quotes the following statement of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah approvingly:

وقد جاهر بالكذب بعض من يدعي في زماننا العلم…أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يعلم متى تقوم الساعة

“Some who claim knowledge in our time has openly announced a lie…that the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) had knowledge of when the Hour will commence.” (al-Mawdū‘āt al-Kubrā, p. 431)

Imām Kamāl al-Dīn Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Bayādī (1044 – 1097 H), a great Hanafī Māturīdī scholar from Bosnia, said after quoting the hadīth of Jibrīl:

فإن الأنبياء لا يعلمون من الغيب إلا ما علمهم الله تعالى ووقت الساعة ليس منه

“For verily the prophets do not know from the unseen except what Allāh (Exalted is He) has taught them and the timing of the Hour is not from it.” (Ishārāt al-Marām, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, p. 50)

Hence, the Barelwīs who claim to be Sunnī Māturīdī Hanafīs must reassess their claim against the statements quoted above. If their claim is true, will they accept that the view of their imām, Ahmad Ridā Khān al-Barelwī, is incorrect? Or will they turn a blind eye to the documented and established position of the Māturīdī school in favour of this unacceptable view of Ahmad Ridā Khān?

2. Secondly, Barelwīs believe the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was given encompassing and detailed knowledge of all events in creation from the beginning of creation right until the Final Hour.

Ahmad Ridā Khān Barelwī says in al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah:

وأما نحن معاشر أهل الحق فقد علمنا – ولله الحمد – أن هذا الذي ذكرنا من تفاصيل كل ما كان من أول يوم وما يكون إلى آخر الأيام ليس بجنب علوم نبينا صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم إلا شيئا قليلا

“As for us, the assemblies of the adherents of truth, we know, with praise to Allāh, that that which we mentioned, of the details of all that was from the first day [of creation] and all that will be till the last day [before the Hour] is not but very little in relation to the knowledge of our Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace).” (al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah)

This is also in conflict with clear evidences of Sharī‘ah. The Qur’ān lists five things which are kept exclusively with Allah (31:34). The meaning of exclusivity with respect to these five things is that knowledge of them in their totality rests only with Allah, although He may disclose some specific aspects of them to others. According to the Barelwī belief, the Prophet (peace be upon him) possessed total knowledge of all five things: of rain; of what is in wombs; of where and when people will die; in full detail from the beginning of creation right until the Final Hour.

Mullā ‘Alī al-Qārī said: “The meaning is: none but Allāh knows the universals of each of them, while some of His chosen ones may be acquainted with some particulars from them.” And he said: “If you say: The prophets and saints gave information of many things from that so why is there a restriction? I say: The restriction is by consideration of their universals not their particulars.”

Imām Abū Mansūr al-Māturīdī said:

ويعلم ما فى الأرحام: من انتقال النطفة إلى العلقة وانتقال العلقة إلى المضغة وتحول ما فى الأرحام من حال إلى حال أخرى وقدر زيادة ما فيه في كل وقت وفي كل ساعة ونحو ذلك لا يعلمه إلا الله، وأما العلم بأن فيه ولدا وأنه ذكر أو أنثى فجائز أن يعلم ذلك غيره أيضا

“He knows what is in the wombs, in terms of shifting from a small drop to a blood clot and shifting from a blood clot to a lump of flesh and the transformation of what is in the wombs from one state to another state and the amount to which what is in it increases at every moment and in every period. The like of that is known to none but Allāh. As for the knowledge that there is a child in it and that it is a boy or a girl, it is possible that He gives knowledge of that to other than Him also.”

Hence, according to Imām al-Māturīdī, complete detailed knowledge of each of these five things is hidden from all besides Allāh, although certain particulars from them may be disclosed to some of creation.

The interpretation offered by Barelwīs that the restriction refers to “intrinsic knowledge” or knowledge that is not acquired through a means, so it is possible that complete knowledge of any one of these five things was acquired via revelation from Allāh, is invalidated by the narrations which clearly state that revealed knowledge is also negated.

Imām Ahmad narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

قد علم الله خيرا، وإن من العلم ما لا يعلمه إلا الله: الخمس

“Allāh has taught (me) well, but verily there is some knowledge which only Allāh knows: the five…”

Hāfiz Ibn Kathīr states its isnād is sahīh. (Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr, p. 1471)

Similarly, in a mutāwatir hadith narrated by over a dozen Sahābah through different chains of transmission, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained that some of the people who accompanied him in this world will be driven away from his hawd (fount); recognising them he will call out, “my companions”, “they are from me” and so on; but the angels and Allāh Himself will explain that they turned their back on the religion after his demise and he was not aware of this; consequently, he will say, as reported in some of these narrations: “I was a witness over them for as long as I was amongst them. When you caused me to die, You became the Watcher over them.” This has been narrated from the following Sahābah:

1. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd

2. ‘Ā’ishah

3. Umm Salamah

4. Asmā’ bint Abī Bakr

5. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbās

6. Sahl ibn Sa‘d

7. Anas ibn Mālik

8. Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamān

9. Abū Sa‘īd al-Khudrī

10. Abū Hurayrah

11. Abud Darda

12. Abū Bakrah

13. Umar

The narrations in Arabic with their references can be found in the endnote. [1]

Some may object that this conflicts with the hadīth stating that the deeds of the ummah are shown to the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, this refers only to the actions of his true ummah and community: the believers. It does not refer to disbelievers, heretics, hypocrites and renegades from the religion, as stated by Ibn al-Mulaqqin, Badr al-Dīn al-‘Aynī and others. Thus, Ibn al-Mulaqqin said:

فإن قلت: كيف خفي عليه حالهم مع إخباره بعرض أمته عليه؟ قلت: ليسوا من أمته كما قلنا وإنما يعرض عليه أعمال الموحدين لا المرتدين والمنافقين

“If you say: How was their condition hidden to him despite his report of [the actions of] his ummah being shown to him? I say: They are not from his ummah as we said. Only the actions of the monotheists will be shown to him, not the apostates and hypocrites.” (Tawdīh, 19:371)

And finally, this Barelwī belief entails the false belief discussed earlier that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has knowledge of the precise timing of the Final Hour, because if the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has full knowledge of all future events, including their timings and dates, he must be aware of the exact timing of the Final Hour.

This belief also conflicts with the Hanafī school. Imām Abu l-Qāsim al-Saffār (d. 336), a great early Hanafī faqīh, said it is disbelief for a person to make Allāh and His Messenger a witness over his marriage as it amounts to claiming the Prophet (peace be upon him) has knowledge of this particular marriage session and that is from the ghayb (i.e. something to which there is no proven means for his acquisition of it). This was transmitted from him by many of the authors of Hanafī fatāwā, e.g. al-Fatāwā al-Walwālijiyyah, Khulāsat al-Fatāwā, al-Muhīt al-Burhanī, al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah, al-Fatāwā al-Tatārkhāniyyah etc. However, it is reported from the author of al-Multaqat – probably Abu l-Qāsim al-Samarqandī, a Hanafī jurist of the sixth century – that he did not agree that this statement is disbelief on the grounds that some particular aspects of the future are disclosed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) while he is in the grave, and it is possible that this marriage session is amongst them. Hence, the author of Majma‘ al-Anhur states: “If one were to marry a woman with the testimony of Allāh, Exalted is He, and His Messenger, the marriage is invalid, and according to Abu l-Qāsim al-Saffār, it is pure disbelief because he believes that the Messenger of Allāh, upon him peace, knows the ghayb, and that is disbelief. In al-Tatārkhāniyyah [quoting from al-Multaqat], it states that it is not disbelief because some things are shown to his soul, upon him blessing and peace, so he is aware of some of the unseen.” It should be noted, however, that both these views contradict the claim that complete knowledge of future events until the Final Hour are disclosed to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Hence, this Barelwī belief, just like the previous belief, is also in opposition to the Hanafī Māturīdī school.

3. Thirdly, many Barelwīs believe the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was only a human being as far as the laws of the material world are concerned. However, with respect to his true reality, he is not a human being, but a physical light.

Ahmad Ridā Khān al-Barelwī alluded to this view in his translation of the Qur’ān where he translated the verse, “Say: I am but a man like you” as follows: “Say: I am like you in outward human appearance.”

Barelwī debater, ‘Umar Icharwī (1319 – 1391 H), explicitly says: “Thus it is established from this verse that the reality of the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was not of human nature, but his reality was of light.” (Miqyās e Nūr, p 24) And he says: “The Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) was really light, and the divine power sent him into the world through the intermediary of his mother and father by giving the light a human and celestial form. The Muhammadan reality of light overpowered his blessed body. Thus, from amongst the creatures made of light, angels were also of light. However, when Hazrat Jibril Amīn (upon him peace) appeared, dressed in a human body, his human body overpowered his celestial nature, such that in this specific bodily form he could not fly to the furthest lote tree, and in fact he could not go to the first heaven. But the true light of the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) overpowered his human body, which together with the bodily and celestial nature traversed all the heavens…” (26-7)

Ahmad Yār Khān states that the Prophet was only a man in terms of the laws of the world. His evidence is that humanity began with Ādam (peace be upon him), yet it is proven from hadīths that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was a prophet while Ādam was between spirit and body. Hence, according to him, his reality at that time was not a human being but another creation. He merely appeared in the form of a man in this ephemeral world. His reality, however, is neither that of a man, jinni or angel. Hence, he states, a person from the followers of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) may not refer to him as a man or a human being. It is necessary to avoid calling him a man because it is similar to how the non-Muslims referred to him. As far as the Qur’ānic command: “Say I am a man like you,” is concerned, he says this was permitted only for the Prophet, and was intended to attract the disbelievers to him, since a person is naturally averse to a being with a different nature. Hence, the statement “I am a man like you” can be likened to a hunter who imitates the voice of his prey so as to attract it to him and capture it! (Jā al-Haqq, p. 392-4)

This is a rejected and baseless opinion. It is also an extremely dangerous belief that may amount to denial of the reality of the Prophet’s humanity, which is disbelief. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), like all people, was created as a human being. Moreover, it is untrue that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) described himself as a “man like you” only to the disbelievers. Rather, he said this on many occasions to his own companions, the Sahābah, as recorded in a number of authentic hadīths. Hence, in his humanity, he is no different to other human beings. In his spirituality and his lofty position with Allāh, he is of course completely different from all other human beings. Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thānawī issued a fatwā of disbelief on one who believes that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a human being only in his outward form, but not in reality (Imdād al-Fatāwā, 5:234).

Conclusion

These misguided views, some of which border on disbelief, are not the only problematic opinions held by Barelwīs. The three views discussed above were presented as examples. Or else, there are other beliefs professed by Barelwīs which oppose the clear teachings of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah, like the belief that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has universal authority (mukhtār al-kull) and is able to accomplish anything in creation merely by his intent and will; the belief that the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) hearing while in his grave extends to all places, remote and near; and the belief that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is not in reality unlettered (ummī) but can in fact read and write.

Imām ‘Abdur Rahmān al-‘Awzā‘ī (may Allāh have mercy on him) is reported to have said: “Whoever adopts the isolated positions of the ‘ulamā’ leaves Islām.” The Barelwī methodology is one of adopting rare and at times, unfounded, positions in its beliefs about the being and attributes of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Hence, the Barelwī movement cannot be regarded as a branch of Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah. Rather, it is a deviant and misguided group, rivalling the Wahhābīs in its liberal and reckless attitude to takfīr, while basing its ideology on a belief-system centred around the personality of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) at odds with the established creed of Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah.

[1]ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ كَثِيرٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا سُفْيَانُ، حَدَّثَنَا المُغِيرَةُ بْنُ النُّعْمَانِ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنِي سَعِيدُ بْنُ جُبَيْرٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: ” إِنَّكُمْ مَحْشُورُونَ حُفَاةً عُرَاةً غُرْلًا، ثُمَّ قَرَأَ: {كَمَا بَدَأْنَا أَوَّلَ خَلْقٍ نُعِيدُهُ وَعْدًا عَلَيْنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ} [الأنبياء: 104]، وَأَوَّلُ مَنْ يُكْسَى يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ إِبْرَاهِيمُ، وَإِنَّ أُنَاسًا مِنْ أَصْحَابِي يُؤْخَذُ بِهِمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ، فَأَقُولُ أَصْحَابِي أَصْحَابِي، فَيَقُولُ: إِنَّهُمْ لَمْ يَزَالُوا مُرْتَدِّينَ عَلَى أَعْقَابِهِمْ مُنْذُ فَارَقْتَهُمْ، فَأَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ العَبْدُ الصَّالِحُ “: {وَكُنْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي} – إِلَى قَوْلِهِ – {العَزِيزُ الحَكِيمُ} – متفق عليه، واللفظ للبخاريعبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، وَأَبُو كُرَيْبٍ، وَابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ، قَالُوا: حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ، عَنِ الْأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ شَقِيقٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” أَنَا فَرَطُكُمْ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ، وَلَأُنَازِعَنَّ أَقْوَامًا ثُمَّ لَأُغْلَبَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ، فَأَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ أَصْحَابِي، أَصْحَابِي، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ – متفق عليه، واللفظ لمسلم

أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه

حَدَّثَنَا مُسْلِمُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، حَدَّثَنَا وُهَيْبٌ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ العَزِيزِ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” لَيَرِدَنَّ عَلَيَّ نَاسٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِي الحَوْضَ، حَتَّى عَرَفْتُهُمْ اخْتُلِجُوا دُونِي، فَأَقُولُ: أَصْحَابِي، فَيَقُولُ: لاَ تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ – متفق عليه، واللفظ للبخاري

حذيفة بن اليمان رضي الله عنهما

وحَدَّثَنِي عَمْرُو بْنُ عَلِيٍّ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنِ المُغِيرَةِ، قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ أَبَا وَائِلٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” أَنَا فَرَطُكُمْ عَلَى الحَوْضِ، وَلَيُرْفَعَنَّ مَعِي رِجَالٌ مِنْكُمْ ثُمَّ لَيُخْتَلَجُنَّ دُونِي، فَأَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ أَصْحَابِي، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لاَ تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ ” تَابَعَهُ عَاصِمٌ، عَنْ أَبِي وَائِلٍ، وَقَالَ حُصَيْنٌ: عَنْ أَبِي وَائِلٍ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – صحيح البخاري

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَحْمَدَ الرَّقَّامُ، ثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ الْقُلُوسِيُّ، ثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ حَمَّادٍ، نَا أَبُو عَوَانَةَ، عَنْ حُصَيْنٍ، عَنْ أَبِي وَائِلٍ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «لَيَرِدَنَّ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ أَقْوَامٌ، فَأَعْرِفُهُمْ، فَيَخْتَلِجُوا دُونِي، فَأَقُولُ: مِنِّي، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ – المعجم الأوسط

سهل بن سعد رضي الله عنه

حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُطَرِّفٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو حَازِمٍ، عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنِّي فَرَطُكُمْ عَلَى الحَوْضِ، مَنْ مَرَّ عَلَيَّ شَرِبَ، وَمَنْ شَرِبَ لَمْ يَظْمَأْ أَبَدًا، لَيَرِدَنَّ عَلَيَّ أَقْوَامٌ أَعْرِفُهُمْ وَيَعْرِفُونِي، ثُمَّ يُحَالُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهُمْ» قَالَ أَبُو حَازِمٍ: فَسَمِعَنِي النُّعْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي عَيَّاشٍ، فَقَالَ: هَكَذَا سَمِعْتَ مِنْ سَهْلٍ؟ فَقُلْتُ: نَعَمْ، فَقَالَ: أَشْهَدُ عَلَى أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الخُدْرِيِّ، لَسَمِعْتُهُ وَهُوَ يَزِيدُ فِيهَا: ” فَأَقُولُ إِنَّهُمْ مِنِّي، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لاَ تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ، فَأَقُولُ: سُحْقًا سُحْقًا لِمَنْ غَيَّرَ بَعْدِي – متفق عليه، واللفظ للبخاري

أبو هريرة رضي الله عنه

 

وَقَالَ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ شَبِيبِ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ الحَبَطِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، عَنْ يُونُسَ، عَنْ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ المُسَيِّبِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ: أَنَّهُ كَانَ يُحَدِّثُ: أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” يَرِدُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ رَهْطٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِي، فَيُحَلَّئُونَ عَنِ الحَوْضِ، فَأَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ أَصْحَابِي، فَيَقُولُ: إِنَّكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَكَ بِمَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ، إِنَّهُمُ ارْتَدُّوا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهِمْ القَهْقَرَى – متفق عليه، واللفظ للبخاري

أبو سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه

حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُطَرِّفٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو حَازِمٍ، عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنِّي فَرَطُكُمْ عَلَى الحَوْضِ، مَنْ مَرَّ عَلَيَّ شَرِبَ، وَمَنْ شَرِبَ لَمْ يَظْمَأْ أَبَدًا، لَيَرِدَنَّ عَلَيَّ أَقْوَامٌ أَعْرِفُهُمْ وَيَعْرِفُونِي، ثُمَّ يُحَالُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهُمْ» قَالَ أَبُو حَازِمٍ: فَسَمِعَنِي النُّعْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي عَيَّاشٍ، فَقَالَ: هَكَذَا سَمِعْتَ مِنْ سَهْلٍ؟ فَقُلْتُ: نَعَمْ، فَقَالَ: أَشْهَدُ عَلَى أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الخُدْرِيِّ، لَسَمِعْتُهُ وَهُوَ يَزِيدُ فِيهَا: ” فَأَقُولُ إِنَّهُمْ مِنِّي، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لاَ تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ، فَأَقُولُ: سُحْقًا سُحْقًا لِمَنْ غَيَّرَ بَعْدِي – صحيح البخاري

عائشة رضي الله عنها

وَحَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سُلَيْمٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ خُثَيْمٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عُبَيْدِ اللهِ بْنِ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ عَائِشَةَ، تَقُولُ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: وَهُوَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَيْ أَصْحَابِهِ ” إِنِّي عَلَى الْحَوْضِ أَنْتَظِرُ مَنْ يَرِدُ عَلَيَّ مِنْكُمْ، فَوَاللهِ لَيُقْتَطَعَنَّ دُونِي رِجَالٌ، فَلَأَقُولَنَّ: أَيْ رَبِّ مِنِّي وَمِنْ أُمَّتِي، فَيَقُولُ: «إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا عَمِلُوا بَعْدَكَ، مَا زَالُوا يَرْجِعُونَ عَلَى أَعْقَابِهِمْ» – صحيح مسلم

أم سلمة رضي الله عنها

وحَدَّثَنِي يُونُسُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْأَعْلَى الصَّدَفِيُّ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي عَمْرٌو وَهُوَ ابْنُ الْحَارِثِ أَنَّ بُكَيْرًا، حَدَّثَهُ عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ بْنِ عَبَّاسٍ الْهَاشِمِيِّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ رَافِعٍ، مَوْلَى أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، زَوْجِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ: كُنْتُ أَسْمَعُ النَّاسَ يَذْكُرُونَ الْحَوْضَ، وَلَمْ أَسْمَعْ ذَلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَلَمَّا كَانَ يَوْمًا مِنْ ذَلِكَ، وَالْجَارِيَةُ تَمْشُطُنِي، فَسَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: «أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ» فَقُلْتُ لِلْجَارِيَةِ: اسْتَأْخِرِي عَنِّي، قَالَتْ: إِنَّمَا دَعَا الرِّجَالَ وَلَمْ يَدْعُ النِّسَاءَ، فَقُلْتُ: إِنِّي مِنَ النَّاسِ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” إِنِّي لَكُمْ فَرَطٌ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ، فَإِيَّايَ لَا يَأْتِيَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ فَيُذَبُّ عَنِّي كَمَا يُذَبُّ الْبَعِيرُ الضَّالُّ، فَأَقُولُ: فِيمَ هَذَا؟ فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ، فَأَقُولُ: سُحْقًا – صحيح مسلم

أسماء بنت أبي بكر رضي الله عنهما

حدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَنَا بِشْرُ بْنُ السَّرِيِّ، حَدَّثَنَا نَافِعُ بْنُ عُمَرَ، عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَتْ أَسْمَاءُ: عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: ” أَنَا عَلَى حَوْضِي أَنْتَظِرُ مَنْ يَرِدُ عَلَيَّ، فَيُؤْخَذُ بِنَاسٍ مِنْ دُونِي، فَأَقُولُ: أُمَّتِي، فَيُقَالُ: لاَ تَدْرِي، مَشَوْا عَلَى القَهْقَرَى – متفق عليه، واللفظ للبخاري)

أبو بكرة رضي الله عنه

 

حَدَّثَنَا عَفَّانُ حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ زَيْدٍ عَنِ الْحَسَنِ عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” لَيَرِدَنَّ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ رِجَالٌ مِمَّنْ صَحِبَنِي وَرَآنِي حَتَّى إِذَا رُفِعُوا إِلَيَّ اخْتُلِجُوا دُونِي فَلَأَقُولَنَّ: رَبِّ , أَصْحَابِي , فَلَيُقَالَنَّ: إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ – مصنف ابن أبي شيبة

أبو الدرداء رضي الله عنه

حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ خُلَيْدٍ قَالَ: نا أَبُو تَوْبَةَ قَالَ: نا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُهَاجِرٍ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ مُسْلِمِ بْنِ مِشْكَمٍ، عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَا أُلْفِيَنَّ مَا نُوزِعْتُ أَحَدًا مِنْكُمْ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ، فَأَقُولُ: هَذَا مِنْ أَصْحَابِي فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّكَ لَا تَدْرِي مَا أَحْدَثُوا بَعْدَكَ» . قَالَ أَبُو الدَّرْدَاءِ: يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ، ادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ لَا يَجْعَلَنِي مِنْهُمْ. قَالَ: «لَسْتَ مِنْهُمْ»

عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه

وقال الحافظ أبو يعلى الموصلي: حدثنا زهير، حدثنا يونس بن محمد، حدثنا يعقوب بن عبد الله الأشعري، حدثنا حفص بن حميد، عن عكرمة، عن ابن عباس، عن عمر بن الخطاب، رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “إني ممسك بحجزكم: هلم عن النار، هلم عن النار، وتغلبوني وتقاحمون فيها تقاحم الفراش والجنادب، فأوشك أن أرسل حجزكم وأنا فرطكم على الحوض، فتردون علي معا وأشتاتا، أعرفكم بسيماكم وأسمائكم، كما يعرف الرجل الغريب من الإبل في إبله، فيذهب بكم ذات اليمين وذات الشمال، فأناشد فيكم رب العالمين: أي رب، قومي، أي رب أمتي فيقال: يا محمد، إنك لا تدري ما أحدثوا بعدك، إنهم كانوا يمشون بعدك القهقرى على أعقابهم. انتهى من تفسير ابن كثير

قال ابن كثير تحته: وقال علي بن المديني: هذا حديث حسن الإسناد، إلا أن حفص بن حميد مجهول، لا أعلم روى عنه غير يعقوب بن عبد الله الأشعري القمي. قلت: بل قد روى عنه أيضا أشعث بن إسحاق، وقال فيه يحيى بن معين: صالح. ووثقه

 


Knowledge of the Hour Only Known to Allah – Muhammad Saalih al-Farfur

January 14, 2013

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Farfur (1901-1986) stated in his commentary of the 40 hadiths of Imam Nawawi called Min Mishkat an-Nubuwwah sharh al-Arba’in an-Nawawiyyah (Dar al-Farfur Damascus 2001) that the knowledge of the hour is only known to Allah and nobody else. Under the hadith of Jibril he mentioned after the following statement in the hadith when Jibril asked him about the Hour:

He said, ‘Tell me about the Hour.’ He said, ‘The one asked about it knows no more than the one asking.’

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Farfur said:

أي لا أنا أعلمها ولا أنت تعلمها فهي من مفاتح الغيب لا يعلمها إلا الله وما سأل جبريل عنها وهو يعلم أن غير الله لا يعلمها إلا لينبههم لذلك

“It means: I don’t know about it nor do you know about it. It is from amongst the keys of the unseen. Nobody knows the hour except Allah. Jibril asked about it, and he knew that nobody except Allah knows the Hour, only to inform them about it.” (p. 41)

Know that Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Farfur is the teacher of several Syrian scholars, such as Ibrahim al-Yaqubi (the father of Muhammad al-Yaqoubi). See:

He studied with Sh. Muhammad Salih al-Farfur ‘Tafsir al-Nasafi’ from the beginning up to Yasin. ‘Sharh Ibn Aqil’ on the Alfiyyah of Ibn Malik, ‘Sharh al-Manar’ of Ibn Malik, ‘Sharh al-Sirajiyyah’, ‘Jawahir al-Balaghah’, ‘Asrar al-Balaghah’, ‘Al-Kamil’ of al-Mubrad, ‘Tadrib al-Rawi’, ‘Risalah al-Qushayriyyah’ and attended his morning lessons on the ‘Hashiyah Ibn Abidin’, ‘Sahih al-Tirmidhi’, ‘Al-Minan al-Kubra’, ‘Sharh al-Hikam’ of Ibn Ajibah, ‘Al-Yawaqit wal-Jawahir’ and around 8 volumes from ‘Umdah al-Qari’ of al-Aini. In addition he attended his evening lessons on ‘Sharh al-Qutb al-Razi ala al-Shamsiyyah’ on logic (mantiq) by Najm al-Din al-Katibi, ‘Hashiyah al-Adawi ala Khulasah al-Hisab’ of al-Amili, ‘Hashiyah al-Bajuri ala al-Jawharah’ a number of times, ‘Sharh al-Musayarah’ of Ibn Abi Sharif. He attended after after the Asr prayer in his home the ‘Tafsir al-Kashaf’ of al-Zamakhshari and ‘Dalail al-Ijaz’ and was granted a written ijazah by him.

http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb042294/Texter/bionotes/bio_yaqoubi_ibrahim.html

He had other famous students such as Shaykh Adib Kallas, Shaykh ‘Abdur Razzaq al-Halabi, Shaykh Shu’ayb and ‘Abdul Qadir al-Arna’ut, Shaykh Suhayl az-Zabibi and others. He was the founder of the famous institute Ma’ad al-Fath al-Islami in Damascus.


Istighathah: Seeking aid from other than Allah

October 1, 2012

Du’a (supplication and invoking aid) is worship (‘ibadah). Allah Most High says in the Qur’an,

“And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you’. Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” (Al-Ghafir, 60)

In this verse Allah has equated du’a to worship.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said, “Du’a is worship, and then he recited the following verse of the Qur’an, ‘And your Lord says, Call upon Me; I will respond to you. Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible’.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, 2:173; Sunan Abi Dawud, 1:208; Sunan Ibn Majah, p.208; Musnad Tayalisi, p.108; Al-Mustadrak, p.491; Al-Adab al-Mufrad, p.105; Tafsir Ibn Kathir; under 40:60)

It also comes in another hadith, “Nothing is dearer to Allah than du’a.” (Al-Mustadrak, p.490; Al-Adab al-Mufrad, p.105) It is mentioned in another narration, “The noblest act of worship (‘ibadah) is du’a.” (Al-Adab al-Mufrad, p.105) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “One who doesn’t call (yad’u) Allah, He gets angry with him.” (Al-Mustadrak, p.491) And it comes in another version, “Allah is angry with someone who does not ask (yus’al) of Him.” (Al-Mustadrak, p.491)

Yet in another narration it says, “Du’a is the weapon of the believer and the pillar of the religion.” (Al-Mustadrak, p.492 – Al-Hakim and Al-Dhahabi have classified this narration as authentic)

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The most excellent worship is du’a.” (Al-Mustadrak, p.491 – classified as authentic by Al-Hakim and Al-Dhahabi)

It is apparent from the clear verse of the Qur’an and authentic narrations mentioned above that to make du’a to the creation (i.e. istighathah) is not permissible, since to make du’a is worship and indeed worship is only the right of Allah. It is therefore clear that that Allah is the sole Being deserving of du’a and indeed all worship.

Thus the practice of istighathah – which is to call for such help from the creation, which is beyond their natural means – would be impermissible and a possible cause of shirk. And this is because asking such help from the creation, which is not in the ambit of natural means or proven through authentic texts, implicitly attributes such qualities to the creation that in reality solely belong to Allah.

‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar (d. 1430H / may Allah have mercy on him) mentions that seeking help is of two types: (a) Within the means (ma taht al-asbab) and (b) beyond the means (ma fawq al-asbab).

Regarding the difference between help which is within the normal means and beyond normal means, he explains that while the first type is established through the Qur’an, hadith, the Companions (Sahabah) and the Pious Predecessors (Salaf), the second type has no basis in Islam and has been declared haram and shirk in Shari’ah by jurists.[1] The seeking of the latter type of help is only restricted to Allah. (Guldastah Tawhid, p.135. Also see his Tafsir lecture of Surah Fatihah)

Similarly, Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Muhammad ‘Ali Khawqir (d. 1349H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes, “Shirk is the belief that those besides Allah have an effect [ability] on things above the normal capabilities granted to them by Allah and also that something possesses a power which is beyond the capabilities of the normal creation.” (Ma la Budda Minhu fi Umur al-Din, p .11, from Tanqid-i-Matin, Sarfaraz Khan Safdar)

Shaykh Khawqir has thus shown that shirk is the belief that something other than Allah has an effect beyond that which Allah has granted him from the apparent means, and that something possesses a power outside the realm of the abilities of created beings.

In this article we will address the claim of some of those who practice istighathah that they do not intend to attribute independence or the status of godhead to saints but rather to Allah. We will show that this in reality is not much different than the mentality of the idolaters of Makkah. They too did not attribute independence or status of deity to their idols but rather used them as a means to gain closeness to Allah.

We will secondly demonstrate that such calling on the deceased for help implies several forms of shirk such as assuming that they are present and seeing (hadhir and nadhir), possess knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb), etc. – attributes that are unique to Allah and not established for anyone else. We will thirdly present the verdicts of some leading scholars on the practice of istighathah.

Lastly, we will conclude by exonerating Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jaylani from the claims of some that he permitted the practice of istighathah, and we will show that, to the contrary, he rather promulgated strict tawhid.

[1] Imam Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dahlawi (d. 1174H / may Allah have mercy on him) has extensively refuted the practice of istighathah in his numerous works. He writes while distinguishing between ma taht al-asbab and ma fawq al-asbab, “He [Allah] is Everlasting, All-Hearing, All-Seeing;[2] He has no match and peer. He has no partner in necessary per se (wujub al-wujud) neither in deserving worship nor in creating and managing (tadbir), so none deserves worship, i.e. highest reverence, but He, and none cures an ill, supplies livelihood, removes distress, but He, in a sense that He addresses the thing with kun fayakun (Be! and it becomes). This is different than in the sense of usual causation (tasbib), as it is said that the physician cured the patient, the emir gave livelihood to the soldiers; so this is different though they are similar in wording.” (Tafhimat al-Ilahiyyah, 1:145)

‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar writes in Tanqid-i-Matin bar Tafsir Na’im al-Din, p.25, while explaining the above quote, that it is clear that seeking outward help with means is lawful, as [is shown] when Sayyiduna Dhu ‘l-Qarnayn (may Allah be pleased with him) approached the place of the dam, he heard people complaining about the destruction by Gog and Magog and was requested to build a dam across the pass so that they could be protected against their plundering. They offered him financial help as well. Sayyiduna Dhu ‘l-Qarnayn said he did not need money; Allah had given him plenty. Rather he asked them to provide him with physical help. This is not the [type of] help that those who perform istighathah seek from the prophets, saints and martyrs, who are neither alive in this world nor near. He further says that it is not befitting for scholars to use such examples to prove istimdad since such examples involve asking for help from the living which is within the normal means of the creation.

Many among the proponents of calling the dead for help believe or unintentionally imply that the prophets and saints have the power of kun fayakun (Be! and it becomes) and ask them for help with this belief. Imam Shah Waliullah Dahlawi writes in refutation of these extremists, “Shirk is to affirm the special attributes of Allah (Exalted is He) for [those] beside Him, such as free-disposal (tasarruf) in the affairs of the universe with the intention expressed as kun fayakun… [The polytheists] used to ask those close (mutaqarribin) to Allah for help in important matters under the power (qudrah) of kun fayakun and the polytheists used to carve their images from stone, copper, glass, etc. and make the souls of the dead the focus of their deep attention.” (Al-Fawz al-Kabir fi-Usul al-Tafsir, p.3-4)

[2] Imam Ahmad bin Idris Shihab al-Din Qarafi al-Maliki (d. 684H / may Allah have mercy on him) has also refuted those Sufis who assign the power of kun fayakun to the creation. He writes, “The second type is that a person making du’a (supplication) is extremely stupid and daring, leading him to ask Allah to grant him special powers for running the universe which are exclusively under the power and will of Allah, such as creation, annihilation, and predestination. Common sense and logic indicate that it is impossible for these divine powers to be for anyone besides Allah. This means that such a request is in fact asking for partnership with Allah in his kingdom and this is akin to disbelief (kufr). Many ignorant Sufis have fallen into this trap and they claim that so-and-so was given the word ‘kun‘ (Be!) and they ask to be given this divine command, which Allah mentions in the Qur’an, ‘Our command for a matter when we will it is to say to it ‘be’ and it becomes’. They do not understand the meaning of this phrase in the speech of Allah and they also do not understand the meaning of this divine phrase being ‘given’ to someone, if that could be possible. This is a matter that is impossible to achieve according to the qualified scholars, let alone the concocting Sufis. This causes these Sufis to be destroyed in a way that they do not even realize. They believe that they are among those close to Allah, when in reality they are far from Him. May Allah save us from evil trials and those things that lead up to them. May Allah save us from ignorance and that which leads to it.” (Anwar al-Buruq fi Anwa’ al-Furuq, 4:446)

[3] It may be said that those who perform istighathah do not consider the power and ability of the saints from whom du’a is sought to be equal to Allah, but rather they believe that their ability is given to them by Allah. This claim is not sufficient to justify istighathah since the polytheists of Makkah also never held their deities as equal to Allah. They too believed that the power of their deities was bestowed to them by Allah.

Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes regarding this notion, “Know that there is no one in the whole universe who ascribes a partner with Allah who is at the same level with Allah in existence (wujud), power (qudrah), knowledge (‘ilm), or wisdom (hikmah). Not one person until today has been found [who believes that anyone is on the same level as Allah] except the Zoroastrians…” (Tafsir al-Kabir, 2:112, from Itmam al-Burhan fi Rad Tawdih al-Bayan, Sarfaraz Khan Safdar)

Imam Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dahlawi (d. 1239H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes, “It should be kept in mind that there is not one person in the universe who associates anyone with Allah at the same level in existence (wujud), knowledge (‘ilm), power (qudrah), and wisdom (hikmah).” (Tasfir-i-’Azizi, p.162)

Imam Shah Waliullah Dahlawi writes in his magnum opus Hujjat Allah al-Balighah, chapter 74 titled “The explanation of what had been the condition of the People of Jahiliyyah which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reformed”, “Among the principles agreed upon among them [the people of the Ignorant Age] was the belief that God, may He be exalted, had no partner in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the substances in them, and that He had no partner in managing the great affairs and that no one could reject His order nor frustrate His decree once it had become settled and decided, and this is [proven by] His saying, may He be exalted, ‘If you asked them who created the heavens and the earth they would answer Allah’, [31:25], and His saying, ‘If God’s chastisement comes upon you, will you call upon any other than God, if you speak truly? No; upon Him you will call, and He will remove that for which you call upon Him if he wills, and you will forget whatever partners you associated with Him,’ [6:41-42], and His saying, ‘All upon whom you call for help lose their way except Allah.’ [That is, these others fail in times of crisis or disaster] but it was due to their deviance in religion that they held that there were personages among the angels and the sprits who could manage [the affairs of] the people of the earth, except for the major matters…”[3]

Shah Waliullah further writes about the beliefs of early polytheists in chapter 37 titled Tawhid, “[The second group] are polytheists… They also said that these beings [righteous servants of God] hear, see, intercede for their worshipers  manage their affairs, and give them help; and they carved stones in their names and made the stones a focus for directing their worship towards these beings.”[4]

Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes, “And yet, they have associated partners with Him in divinity (ilahiyyah), so they worshiped others with Him in spite of their admission that those whom they worshiped will not be able to create a thing, they do not own anything and do not domineer anything, but they believed that these idols take them closer to Him.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 5:488)

‘Allamah Muhyi al-Din Shaykh Zadah (d. 951H / Allah have mercy on him) writes, “I.e. the idols are not equal to Allah, neither in reality which is obvious, nor according to their beliefs; since they believe that these [idols] are intermediaries taking them nearer to Allah as per their belief, not that they are adversary equals [to Allah].” (Hashiyyah ‘ala al-Baydawi, 1:383)

According to Islamic theologians, the polytheists of Makkah didn’t believe that idols were gods but merely referred to them as such. Imam al-Mutakallimin ‘Allamah Sayyid Sharif Jurjani al-Hanafi (d. 816H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes, “Know that there is no opposition regarding this issue except that of the sanawiyyah (Zoroastrian dualists), not the wasniyyah (idol-worshipers). Verily they [the polytheists] do not believe that there are two necessarily-existent deities, nor do they ascribe the attributes of divinity (ilahiyyah) to the idols even though they referred to them with the word ‘aalihah‘ (deities), rather they adopted them as statues of the Prophets or the pious or the angels or the celestial objects, and adopted revering them in a manner of worship, using them as a means of reaching the One who is actually Divine [Allah].” (Sharh al-Mawaqif, p.580)

[4] ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi[5] (d. 1304H / may Allah have mercy on him) was asked, “What is the ruling regarding that person who thinks that saints know and hear the call from far and near and [he] seeks their help with the wording which are used for those present and make vows for them and says that my vow is for them?”

He replied, “The belief of this person is corrupt (fasid) and there is fear of disbelief (kufr) of that person because the hearing of saints from far is not proven [in Shari’ah]. And knowledge of all of the matters (juziyat) 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 hadhir 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 become kafir. [This is] because he assumed that the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is knower of the unseen…” (Majmu’ah al-Fatawa, 1:46-47)

It was further asked, “It is the practice of the general public of this city that in the time of distress they call upon the prophets and saints for help (madad) from far, and believe that they are hadhir and nadhir, and when we call them they hear us and make du’a concerning our needs. Is this [type of istimdad] permitted or not?”

At this the reply came, “This type [of seeking aid] is not merely haram but also shirk as in this [asking for such help] is considered [i.e. implied] that those besides Allah have knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb) and this belief is manifest shirk. Because in Shari’ah, shirk is to associate anyone with Allah in His essence (dhat) and specific attributes (sifat), and knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb) is the specific attribute of Allah as it is mentioned in the books of ‘Aqa’id…” (Majmu’ah al-Fatawa, 1:45-46)

Another such query stated, “If a person believes that Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jaylani (may Allah have mercy on him) has the power to hear anyone who calls him from anywhere and turns his attention towards his [the caller’s] situation. How is this belief according to the principles of Shari’ah?”

The answer came, “This belief is not only against the ‘aqa‘id of the people of Islam but leads to shirk…” (Majmu’ah al-Fatawa, 1:73)

And he wrote in a reply to a question regarding seeking aid with the wording, “Ya Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir shayy’an lillah“,

“It is binding and necessary (wajib) to abstain from these sort of recitations. Firstly, [because] this recitation consist of the wording ‘shayy’an lillah‘ and certain jurists consider these wording disbelief (kufr)…

Secondly, such recitation consists of calling on the dead from a distance and it is not established from the Shari’ah that saints have the power to listen to a call from far distance. However, it is established [from Shari’ah] that the people of the grave hear the salam of the visitors to their graves. But to consider that anyone beside Allah is hadhir nadhir at all times and is aware of the evident and hidden, is shirk… And our ‘ulama have said that anyone who believes that the souls of the saints are hadhir and ‘alim (knowing), is a kafir. Although, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jaylani (may Allah have mercy on him) is one of the great luminaries of the Ummah al-Muhammadiyah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his virtues and excellent qualities are innumerable, but it is not established that he hears the distressed caller from a distance. And to hold a belief that he is aware of his disciple’s affairs all the time and hear their calls, is shirk.” (Mujmu’ah al-Fatawa, 2:189-190)

[5] Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Shah Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (d. 1362H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes in Bawadir al-Nawadir, p.706, his last book, “The detail [with regards to this issue] is that tawassul through a creation was explained in three ways: First is to make du’a and seek aid (istighathah) in the way that it is in the religions of the polytheists. This is forbidden by consensus (ijma’). As to whether it is manifest (jali) shirk or not, then its criterion is [that if] the person doing it has the belief that the person being called upon has istiqlal in bringing about an effect, then this is shirk that constitutes kufr…

And second is to request him [the person being called upon to make du’a to Allah], and this is permissible through those from whom it is possible to seek for du’a, but such possibility is not proven through any evidence for those who have passed away. So we shall restrict this type of tawassul to those who are alive.

And the third is to make du’a to Allah through the blessing (barakah) of an accepted (maqbul) creation and this is allowed according to the majority of scholars…”

From the above it is clear that according to Mawlana Thanawi istighathah from the creation is, at minimum, haram by consensus under all circumstances, and disbelief with the belief of istiqlal. It is a clear rebuttal of those circles who try in vain to highjack the verdicts of righteous scholars to suit their fancies.

Explaining istiqlal, ‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar writes in Izalat al-Rayb ‘an ‘Aqidah ‘Ilm al-Ghayb from Fatawa Rashidiyyah, “Knowledge of the unseen sometimes is available to the prophets, it is also from the same kind, i.e. it is not derived from any power and ability gifted to these holy men, rather it is an effect of the exclusive attribute of Allah that He manifested there, like the movement of the pen is due to the movement of the writer.” (Fatawa Rashidiyyah, 3:23)

He adds from Fatawa Rashidiyyah, “As far as terms like ‘personal knowledge’ (‘ilm al-dhati) and ‘free choice’ (tasarruf istiqlal), etc. in relation to the disbelievers in the writings of scholars like Shah Waliullah Dahlawi and Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dahlawi are concerned, this usage was to relay that the disbelievers used to establish the same power and choice (for the idols) through Allah which was the causative factor of their polytheism; otherwise the Arab polytheists believed that the idols and their attributes were created by Allah, and they were granted power and choice from Him, as we have elaborated before. As far as using the word ‘free choice’ is concerned it is obvious that the polytheists, due to their belief in the entrusting of power and choice, maintained that these acts of divine characteristic are included in actions and matters coming under one’s power, and that the self-determined actions of servants come under the regulation of freewill and thus they deserve praise and criticism, though all actions of servants are based upon the power gifted by Allah.” (Fatawa Rashidiyyah, 3:24)

‘Allamah Sarfaraz writes while explaining the above quotes, “It is very clear that by ‘personal’ and ‘independent’ it is meant that human beings have independent power on good and bad, belief and disbelief, obedience and disobedience, etc. on which they deserve praise and condemnation as well as reward and punishment. Likewise, the polytheists believed that Allah Most High grants attributes of ghayb (unseen) to some of his servants and they are independent in acting freely therein just like the self-determined actions (af’al ikhtiyariyyah).” (Izalat al-Rayb, p.33)

He further writes distinguishing between istiqlal and ghayr istiqlal, “By given (a’tai) and dependent (ghayr mustaqil), they mean that like mu’jizaat and karamaat, they need the power of Allah in partial matters as well; even in these matters they do not have such a power as they have in the normal actions of the servants (af’al ikhtiyariyyah). For example, a pen writes in the hand of a writer, but it requires the movement of the writer in writing each single word. In other words, it can be said that the writer has manifested his action of writing through the pen, not that the pen has got power of writing like a man; since a pen cannot be a writer unless it carries the human characteristics… Except human actions, since human beings have independent (mustaqil) and inherent power, though this power and choice is gifted by Allah.” (Izalat al-Rayb, p.34)

It is clear that mustaqil (istiqlal) is used in the same sense as normal everyday actions (af’al ikhtiyariyyah) while ghayr mustaqil for mu’jizaat and karamaat in the statements of scholars.

Some circles, in desperation, use poetry as their last resort to prove or disprove ‘aqa‘id. Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi was asked about a qasidah by Mawlana Ilahi Bakhsh Kandhalwi (d. 1245H / may Allah have mercy on him), produced in the book Shiyam al-Habib fi Zikr Khasa’is al-Habib, which innovators use to prove istimdad, etc. Mawlana Thanwi replied about this notion, “[Uttering such statements] with the intention of isti’anat and istighathah or with the belief of hadhir nadhir is impermissible. And without any of these [above mentioned] beliefs if it is solely to display one’s desire and delight it is permissible. This permissibility is granted because the purpose of reading poetry is usually to display one’s desire and delight. However, in places where things are seen contrary to it, this permissibility will cease.” (Imdad al-Fatawa, 5:385)

[6] Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (d. 1396H / may Allah have mercy on him) has refuted the practice of seeking aid from the creation at numerous places in his marvelous tafsir, Ma’arif al-Qur’an. He has equated istighathah with prostrating (sajdah) to the creation. Under the verse – “And that masajid (mosques) belong to Allah; so, do not invoke anyone along with Allah.” (72:18) – he writes, “And therefore we are not permitted to call on anyone for help beside Allah, like the Jews and Christians [who] commit shirk in their places of worship… The word masajid could also have another sense. It could be the plural of masjad, with the letter jim carrying fath, in which case it would be masdar mimi (a type of infinitive) and means ‘to prostrate or prostration’. The verse in this sense would signify that worship is reserved exclusively for Allah. It is not permitted to prostrate to anyone, and if he calls on anyone else besides Allah for help (i’anat), it is as though he is prostrating to him which must be avoided.”

[7] ‘Allamah Ahmad bin ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Rumi (d. 1041H / may Allah have mercy on him), an erudite scholar from the people of Akhisar in present-day Turkey, also addressed this issue in Majalis al-Abrar wa Masalik al-Akhyar.[6] He writes in chapter three concerning how Satan tricks those who ask the creation for help, “…And there are those people who perform istighathah from the creation, regardless of whether they are alive or dead, Muslim or non-Muslim. And Satan takes the form of the person whose help has been sought and fulfills the need of the person who has sought help. So, these Muslims think that Satan is the same person who they called for help. However, it is not as they believe. In reality, it is Satan who misguides them when they assign a partner to Allah. For, Satan leads astray the children of Adam (may the peace of Allah be upon him) according to his ability. So, when Satan helps them according to their needs, he is harming them much more than he can benefit them. Hence, that person who is a Muslim, when he seeks aid from those mashayikh who he believes in, Satan comes to him in the shape of that shaykh because Satan often takes the forms of the pious but he does not have the power to take the form of the Prophet of the Cherisher of the Worlds (Allah bless him and give him peace). Then, indeed that shaykh whose help has been sought, if he is from among those of knowledge then the Satan will not inform him of the saying of his companions who sought his help. And if he is from those who have no knowledge he informs him [the shaykh] of what they said and he [Satan] relays to them the shaykh’s speech. So those ignorant people think that indeed the shaykh has heard their voices and answered them in spite of the long distance, whereas it is not the case. This is only done through the medium of Satan. And it has been narrated from some mashayikh who have experienced such [events] through unveiling (kashf) and mukhatabah, they say that: ‘I see something shiny like water or glass, and in it that news which I seek appears and so I inform people of it. And through it the speech of those who seek my aid from my companions reaches me and so I answer them and my response reaches them’.

And these types of things of the extraordinary (khawariq) happen to many of the mashayikh who do not know the Qur’an and Sunnah, and do not act upon them. For indeed, Satan plays with people a lot and shows them things that are false in the appearance of the truth. So, he who has the insight (basirah) of the realities of faith (iman) and knows the Shari’ah of Islam, he knows that it is the deception of the Satan and he seeks aid with Allah Most High from him.” (Majalis al-Abrar wa Masalik al-Akhyar, p.24)

[8] ‘Allamah Muhammad ibn Muflih al-Maqdisi (d. 762H) in Al-Furu’, 6:165, and ‘Allamah ‘Ala al-Din al-Mardawi (d. 885H / may Allah have mercy on them) write in Al-Insaf, in the chapter “Ruling of the Apostate”, “He said: Or he made between him and Allah intermediaries on whom he places his trust, to whom he supplicates (yad’u) and asks for help. While some said: Or he prostrated before the sun or the moon.”

[9] ‘Allamah Sharf al-Din al-Hijawi (d. 960H / may Allah have mercy on him) stated in his book Al-Iqna‘, 4:285, in the chapter ‘Ruling of the Apostate’, “The shaykh said: [The ruling of apostasy is given towards one who] has an aversion towards the Messenger or what he came with, according to consensus. He added: or he took intermediaries between himself and Allah, relying on them and supplicating to them, according to consensus. Or, he prostrated before idols or the sun or the moon.”

[10] ‘Allamah Khayr al-Din Sayyid Nu’man Alusi (d. 1317H) ibn Sayyid Shihab al-Din Mahmud Alusi al-Hanafi (d. 1270H / may Allah have mercy on them) has quoted Shaykh Muhammad Amin al-Suwaydi al-Shafi’i (d. 1246H) on the prohibition of istighathah. Shaykh Amin’s father, Mulla ‘Ali al-Suwaydi (d. 1237H / may Allah have mercy on them), was the teacher of the author of Ruh al-Ma’ani. He states in Jala’ al-’Aynayn fi Muhakamat al-Ahmadayn,[7] “Shaykh Muhammad Amin al-Suwaydi al-Shafi’i stated: None can regard it lawful except one who is ignorant of the traditions of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). This was the reason that seeking help from the dead spread among the people during times of trouble and discord. They beseech the dead and supplicate to them, as if what they do with them is greater than their worship of Allah and their belief in the Lord of the Heavens.”

[11] Dr. Wahbah Mustafa al-Zuhayli, a contemporary Syrian Shafi’i Ash’ari scholar, was asked, “What is the ruling regarding istighathah (calling for assistance) that [some] Naqshbandis engage in after completing al-rabitah with the wording, ‘Oh my teachers extend your aid towards us’ and ‘Oh my shaykhs, help us’ and ‘Oh my masters, help us’ and ‘Oh my guides, help us’?”

He replied, “These types of istighathah, in their apparent meanings, are haram, because they amount to seeking help from other than Allah, and help (madad) is granted by Allah alone, although the intercession (tawassul) of other than Allah from amongst the prophets and righteous people is correct according to Ahl al-Sunnah…”[8]

He further answered in a reply to an objection on visiting the graves, “Visiting graves is licit according to the wording of the hadith ‘alaa fazuruhaa’, and there is no connection to evil in that, because we visit graves as an admonishment and a lesson, we do not seek anything except from Allah, and we do not draw near to shirk, even by a hair-length.”[9]

[12] Shaykh Wahbi ibn Sulayman al-Ghawji Albani, another contemporary Ash’ari scholar, writes, “After this introduction I want to mention some of the bid’ahs upon which the ‘ulama and propagators of the religion need to agree as being prohibited since these are blameworthy innovations concerning which there cannot be silence: … (8) “Of the bid’ah is that which some of the ignorant people do when visiting the grave: They ask the dead to cure them of their illnesses and to fulfill their needs. They tie strings of material to the material of the graves of saints and pious people, with the intention of making barren women fall pregnant or that an estranged husband should return to his wife and love her again, and other examples like this. But if these ignorant people were to be asked in a mild tone: ‘Do they really believe that a pious man has power over anything after he has returned to the Mercy of Allah?!’ The answer to them is: ‘No, we believe that nobody else besides Allah Most High causes any real benefit or harm – none being able to cause such in their life or after their death. But this pious man is blessed, in that he has an honorable position in the sight of Allah and we are asking him because of that’. The truth is with those who teach and say to them: ‘Ask Allah the One. And it is acceptable if you ask Allah through the piety of that Friend of Allah (wali), or through the religious uprightness of the devout pious man that Allah fulfills your needs. By the Will of Allah they will return to the lawful commands. They are thus being returned to something permissible, and they will be so returned, InshAllah.”[10]

[13] Sayyid al-Ta’ifah Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani (d. 561H / may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Follow [the Qur’an and Sunnah] and do not indulge in innovation (bid’ah). Remain in conformity and do not disagree. Remain obedient and not be disobedient. Be sincere and do not commit shirk. Declare Allah Most High to be One, and do not leave His door. Ask Him and do not ask anyone apart from Him. Seek aid from Him and do not seek aid from anyone apart from Him. Rely on Him and do not rely on anyone apart from Him.” (Al-Fath al-Rabbani, p.313)

And he further writes, “You must carry out His commandments, observe His prohibition, comply with His decree, and keep your outer and inner calmly speechless in His presence, then you will experience what is good in this world and the hereafter. Do not ask creatures for anything for they are weak and poor, incapable of bringing harm or benefit to themselves or anyone else.” (Al-Fath al-Rabbani, p.325)

When Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani was in the throes of the illness in which he died, he gave the following advice to his son ‘Abd al-Wahhab, “… Do not rely on anyone but Him, address all your requests to Him (Exalted is He), and put your trust in no one other than Allah (Glory be to Him). Affirm His Oneness. All is contained within the affirmation of His Oneness.” (Futuh al-Ghayb, p.185)

Some circles have brought forward a statement attributed to Shaykh al-Jaylani from a book titled Bahjat al-Asrar in support of istighathah. However, this particular quote attributed to Shaykh al-Jaylani is contrary to what we find in his books. Shaykh al-Jaylani never endorsed istighathah as is evident from his books from which the above mentioned quotes have been produced. Furthermore, Bahjat al-Asrar has been declared unreliable by senior scholars.

For example, Imam Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi (d. 748H / may Allah have mercy on him), the great master in the science of analyzing the reliability of narrators (rijal), writes regarding the author of Bahjat al-Asrar, “He had great love for Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani. He compiled events of his life and his virtues in about three volumes and wrote in it all narrations from various people, both worthy and unworthy. Thereby, he spread many false stories about him.” (Ma’rifat al-Qurra’ al-Kibar, p.721)

Hafiz Shams al-Din Muhammad Jaz’ari al-Shafi’i (d. 833H / may Allah have mercy on him) has also brought forward this quote of Imam al-Dhahabi in his Tabaqat al-Qurra’, 1:261.

Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d. 795H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes, “It [the book Bahjat al-Asrar] deals with the life-events and merits (manaqib) of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jaylani in three volumes. He has filled it with everything, big and small. It is sufficient for one to be called a liar when he narrates everything he hears. I have seen a portion of this book and my heart does not feel secure in accepting or relying on anything in it, or relating anything from it, except that which is famous and well-known from other books, because of an excess of narrating from unknown individuals, deviations, major errors, [unfounded] claims, and false speech, such that it cannot be considered, nor is it appropriate to attribute such things to Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani.” (Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, 2:194)

The historian Khayr al-Din Zirikli (d. 1396H) quotes a verdict of Hafiz Ibn Hajr al-’Asqalani (d. 852H / may Allah have mercy on them) regarding this book, “Ibn Hajr said that many strange and odd stories are mentioned in it by him [the author] and many people have objected [criticized] to many chains of narration and stories narrated in it.” (Al-A’lam, 5:34) This quote is mentioned in Al-Durar al-Kaminah fi A’yan al-Mi‘a al-Thaminah, 3:142, of Hafiz Ibn Hajr.

‘Allamah Zayn al-Din ibn al-Wardi al-Shafi’i (d. 749H / may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Verily, there are many incorrect things and great exaggerations in this book [Bahjat al-Asrar] concerning the status of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani that is only appropriate for divinity (rububiyyah).” (Kashf al-Zunun, 1:25)

Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Abu ‘l-Huda ibn Wadi al-Sayadi al-Rifa’i[11] (d. 1328H / may Allah have mercy on him) writes regarding Bahjat al-Asrar, “There are many things written in the above mentioned book, Al-Bahjat, attributing which to Shaykh [‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani] al-Gawth [al-A’zam], may he enjoy the pleasure of Allah, is incorrect. Many stories and untrue things were spread on his behalf. And numerous astonishing sayings were transmitted from a group of elders. Some defiant and bold people – and Allah’s refuge is sought – even fabricated many false traditions and attributed them to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).” (Tariqah Rifa’iyyah, p.16)

He further writes, “As for the stories, words, and fabricated traditions written in the book named Bahjat al-Asrar by [Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali] Al-Shattanawfi (d. 713H) regarding the merits of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir, may Allah sanctify his pure secret, the elders have raised objections to these [stories], some of whom have accused Al-Shattanawfi  of lying and opportunism. Amongst them is Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, may Allah bless his soul, as is mentioned in Tabaqat al-Hanabilah under the biography of Qutb al-Jili, may Allah benefit us with his assistance and knowledge, while some others said that he spread many stories, and they seem to have attributed to him stupidity and accepting [both] that which is accurate and that which is not.” (Tariqah Rifa’iyyah, p.59)

____________________________

[1] This has also been elucidated by many scholars, such as Shaykh Sun’allah al-Halabi Hanafi (d. 1120H), Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (d. 1417H), Shaykh al-Qur’an Mawlana Husayn ‘Ali Wanbacharan al-Punjabi (d. 1363H), ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani (d. 1394H), Mawlana Sayyid Murtada Hasan Chandpuri (d. 1370H), Hafiz al-Hadith Mawlana ‘Abdullah Darkhawasti (d. 1994AD), Shaykh Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (d. 1420H), Mufti Sa’id Ahmad Palanpuri, and Mufti Zar Wali Khan (may Allah have mercy on them), just to name a few. [↩]

[2] The Grand Mufti of Hind Mufti Muhammad Kifayatullah al-Dahlawi (d. 1372H / may Allah have mercy on him) 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) [↩]

[3] Quote taken with permission from the English translation of Hujjat Allah al-Balighah by Marica K.Hermansen. [↩]

[4] Ibid [↩]

[5] Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah writes, “Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari would always recommend and advocate the works of Imam Lakhnawi.” And Shaykh Kawthari himself said, “Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Lakhnawi was the most erudite of his era in traditions pretaining to judicial rulings.” (Bid’ah and the Salaf’s Worship, p.xvi) [↩]

[6] Imam Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dahlawi praised Majalis al-Abrar in these words, “The book, Majalis al-Abrar, includes much beneficial discourses regarding the secrets of Islamic law, fiqh, suluk, refutation of bid’ah and reprehensible customs. We have no knowledge of the author in terms of his piety, godliness, depth in the sciences of Shari’ah, except that which this book reveals regarding him.” (Mu’jam al-Matbu’at al-’Arabiyyah, 1:388) And ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi writes regarding Majalis al-Abrar, “And it is an excellent and reliable book.” (Iqamah al-Hujjah, p.19) [↩]

[7] Imam Sayyid Anwar Shah Kashmiri (d. 1352H / may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned that one of his hadith teachers was Shaykh Muhaddith Muhammad Ishaq Kashmiri (d. 1322H / may Allah have mercy on him) who is a student of Khayr al-Din Sayyid Nu’man Alusi, and he in turn of his father the author of Ruh al-Ma‘ani. Imam Kashmiri mentioned that Shaykh Nu’man Alusi is the author of many valuable books like Jala’ al-’Aynayn fi Muhakamat al-Ahmadayn and Al-Jawab al-Fasih li ma lafaqqah ‘Abd al-Masih. (Malfuzat Muhaddith Kashmiri, p.334) [↩]

[8] See fatwa of Dr. Zuhayli [↩]

[9] See fatwa of Dr. Zuhayli [↩]

[10] A guiding, knowledgeable word regarding bid`ah and its rulings by Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman al-Ghawiji, translated by IPSA students under the guidance of Shaykh Mahdi Hendricks. [↩]

[11] It says in Al-A’lam, 6:94, regarding Shaykh al-Sayadi al-Husayni, “He is the most famous of all scholars in his age, born in Khan Shaykhun (in the district of al-Ma’arrah) and educated at Aleppo and there he was with entrusted the responsibility of the Association of Ashraf. Later, he stayed at Astanah (Istanbul) and came in contact with the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamid II, who gave him the post of Mashayikhat al-Mashayikh. He won his confidence and became one of his most trusted men and continued serving this post for around thirty years…” [↩]

Source: http://www.deoband.org/2010/09/aqida/deviant-beliefs/istighatha-seeking-help-from-other-than-allah/


‘Allamah Haqqani on knowledge of the unseen

September 14, 2012

Author of the famous commentary of the Qur’an Tafsir Haqqani ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Haq Haqqani Dahlawi (d. 1336 AH) writes in ‘Aqa’id al-Islam, p. 154-155, “Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not aware of many things, then Gabriel would come and inform him of the orders of Allah, then he would come to know. So, Allah alone has the knowledge of everything at all times, and if anyone considers an angel or a prophet or a saint to be such, [he] will become a mushrik and this would be considered Shirk fi ‘l-’Ilm. And there numerous verses of the Qur’an and many hadiths in refutation of this.”


Imam Sayyid Alusi on the extremists of his time

September 3, 2012

Grand Mufti of Baghdad Imam Sayyid Shihab al-Din Alusi writes in his tafsir Ruh al-Ma’ani under the following verse

{ قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعاً مِّنَ ٱلرُّسُلِ وَمَآ أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلاَ بِكُمْ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلاَّ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَآ أَنَاْ إِلاَّ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ }

وفي الآية رد على من ينسب لبعض الأولياء علم كل شيء من الكليات والجزئيات، وقد سمعت خطيباً على منبر المسجد الجامع المنسوب للشيخ عبد القادر الكيلاني قدس سره يوم الجمعة قال بأعلى صوت: يا باز أنت أعلم بـي من نفسي، وقال لي بعض: إني لأعتقد أن الشيخ قدس سرّه يعلم كل شيء مني حتى منابت شعري، ومثل ذلك مما لا ينبغي أن ينسب إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فكيف ينسب إلى من سواه؟ فليتق العبد مولاه.

“Say, ―I am not something unprecedented among the messengers, and I do not know what will be done to me or to you. I do not follow anything but what is revealed to me, and I am only a clear Warner.”

The verse rejects those who attribute to the awliya knowledge of every whole (kulliyat) and part (juzziyat). I heard an orator on the pulpit of Grand Mosque dedicated to Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jaylani, may Allah sanctify his secret, on the day of Jumu’ah saying in loudest of his voice: “O Shaykh! You know me better than I known myself”, while another one said to me: “I believe that Shaykh, may Allah sanctify his secret, knows every thing even the root of my hair.” There are so many such things which are not proper even to be attributed to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, let alone attributing them to people other than him. So, the slave should fear his Master.”


Knowledge of Nabi is Equal to the Knowledge of Allah – Ahmad Yar Khan

August 11, 2012

Ahmad Yar Khan Na’imi, in his booklet called Shaane Habibur Rahman states more or less that the Prophet knows everything what Allah knows:

The Holy Prophet has knowledge of everything – Rasoolullah [a:sallallahu alayhi wa alihi wa sahbihi wa baraka wa salama wa sharafa wa karama] has complete understanding of the Being and Qualities of Allah ,and all former and latter creation’s sciences of knowledge are encompassed by him. Within creation, he holds the highest rank with regards to the verse,

Barelwi source: http://www.islamiclifestylesolutions.co.za/uploads/5/5/8/9/5589116/the_beloveds_majesty_-_sample.pdf