Meaning of Bid‘ah – Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī

June 21, 2019

In a polemic against a Barelwī writer, Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī (1905 – 1997) wrote on the meaning of bid‘ah in Sayf e Yamānī (a work written in 1930, endorsed by leading Deobandī scholars, including Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī and ‘Allāmah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī):

Linguistically, bid‘ah refers to something new, and in the terminology of the ‘Ulamā’ of Sharī‘ah, the term is used for two meanings: one, every action which came into existence after the time of Janāb Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and was not present in his time – in which case this action in view of Sharī‘ah can at times be good and at times bad; second, anything that is not from matters of dīn and people begin to regard it as a matter of dīn – this is also called “real bid‘ah” or “legal bid‘ah”, and such bid‘ah is always blameworthy. Our Prophet, the commander and forbidder, upon him and his progeny blessing and peace, said:

من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد

“Whoever introduces into this matter of ours what is not from it, it is rejected.”

It should also be understood that the ‘Ulamā’ who divided bid‘ah into two categories of “good” and “bad”, their intent is the first meaning of bid‘ah, about which we have mentioned that in view of Sharī‘ah it can at times be good and at times bad. Those noble ‘Ulamā’ who have unrestricetedly censured bid‘ah and determine all bid‘ahs to be bad, their intent is this latter meaning, and based on this, the Messenger of God (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said:

كل بدعة ضلالة وكل ضلالة فى النار

“Every bid‘ah is deviance and every deviance is in the Hellfire.”

Thus there is no contradiction between the two statements, and in fact those who regard them to be contradictory and opposing are pure ignoramuses.

Yes, keeping in mind the attitude of the commoners in our time, it is an obligation of the ‘Ulamā’ of the Ummah to adopt this latter methodology and not open the door of deviance by dividing bid‘ah. Thus, possessors of foresight from the earlier scholars adopted this [methodology]. Imām Rabbānī Maḥbūb Subḥānī Ḥaḍrat Sayyid Aḥmad Ṣāḥib Mujaddid Alf Thanī (Allāh have mercy on him) wrote in his Maktūbāt:

“People say that bid‘has are two categories: good and bad. Good refers to the good action that was invented after the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and the rightly-guided caliphs (Allāh be pleased with them), and does not remove a Sunnah, while bad is what removes a Sunnah. This Faqīr does not see goodness and illumination in these bid‘ahs, and does not sense anything besides darkness and murkiness in them.”

Then he said, and how brilliant is what he said:

“The leader of man (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) has said that one who introduces into dīn what is not from it, it is rejected. How can something rejected be good?”

Further, he said:

“Since every new thing is bid‘ah and every bid‘ah is deviance, what is the meaning to bid‘ah being good? Further, it is realised from ḥadīths that each and every bid‘ah is a cause of removal of a Sunnah. No bid‘ah is exempted from this. Thus, every bid‘ah is deviance.” (Maktūbāt, volume 1, part 3, p 73)

In these holy Maktūbāt (letters), second volume, part 6, page 56, there is a long letter, the subject-matter of which is this [topic]. For the purpose of brevity, I will quote a few sentences of it below:

“However, this Faqīr does not agree with him on this matter and does not recognise any individual bid‘ah as ‘good’, and does not sense anything besides darkness and murkiness within bid‘ah. The Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Every bid‘ah is deviance.’ In this time, of Islām being strange and weak, safety is only in following Sunnah, and corruption comes from perpetrating bid‘ah, whatever bid‘ah it may be. This Faqīr recognises bid‘ah to be like a shovel, which renders the foundation of Islām fallen, and recognises Sunnah to be like bright stars which give guidance in the dark night of deviance. Allāh give direction to the ‘Ulamā of the time to not express with their tongue the word ‘good’ for any bid‘ah, and not give fatwā for the permissibility of any bid‘ah, even if that bid‘ah in their view appears to be like the light of a bright morning because Satanic deception gains great power in anything besides Sunnah.”

It is clearly evident from these statements of Ḥaḍrat Imām Rabbānī that according to him, this division of bid‘ah opens a very wide door to deviance, and at a time of trials, he regarded it as a major calamity for the Muslims particularly, and did not approve of it at all.

Moreover, this is also the methodology of ‘Allāmah Muḥaqqiq Sayyid Sharīf [al-Jurjānī], Khātam al-Ḥuffāẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī, ‘Allāmah Ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī (Allāh, Exalted is He, have mercy on them). Thus, Khātam al-Muḥaqqiqīn Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Muḥammad ‘Abdul Ḥayy Ṣāḥib Firangī Maḥallī (Allāh illuminate his resting place) wrote in his book Tuḥfat al-Akhyār:

والقول الثاني وهو الأصح بالنظر الدقيق: أن حديث كل بدعة ضلالة باق على عمومه، وأن المراد به البدعة الشرعية، وهي ما لم يوجد فى القرون المشهود لها بالخير، ولم يوجد له أصل من الأصول الشرعية، ومن المعلوم أن كل ما كان على هذه الصفة فهو ضلالة قطعا، وإلى هذا القول مال السيد في شرح المشكوة، والحافظ ابن حجر فى الهدى الساري مقدمة فتح الباري، وفي فتح الباري، وابن حجر المكي فى الفتح المبين شرح الأربعين وغيرهم (تحفة الأخيار

“The second view, which is the more authentic upon closer scrutiny, is that the ḥadīth, ‘Every bidah is deviance’, remains on its generality, and the intent of it is legal bid‘ah, which is all that was not present in the eras whose virtue has been attested to, and does not have a basis from the bases of Sharī‘ah. It is obvious that everything with such characteristic is definitely deviance. Sayyid in Sharḥ al-Mishkāt, Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar in al-Huda al-Sārī introduction to Fatḥ al-Bārī and in Fatḥ al-Bārī and Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī in al-Fatḥ al-Mubīn Sharḥ al-Arba‘īn and others have inclined to this view.”

(Sayf e Yamānī, p. 96-9)


Deobandī Position on the Mawlid – Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī

June 16, 2019

‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī, a Barelwī polemicist, wrote in a 1929 tract called ‘Aqā’id Wahhābiyyah Deobandiyyah: “According to Deobandī Wahhābīs*, Mīlād Sharīf is impermissible in all conditions even if it is in accordance with Sharī‘ah, and no Mīlād or ‘Urs is permissible. It is not permissible to participate in Mīlād Sharīf or ‘Urs. It states in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah, vol. 3, p. 83: ‘It is impermissible in all conditions to hold a gathering of Mawlūd. It is forbidden on account of public invitation to something mandūb (recommended).’”

Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī responds in Sayf e Yamānī (See: here), a book written in 1930, endorsed by leading Deobandī scholars, including Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī and ‘Allāmah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī:

Allāh, the All-Knowing, All-Aware, is witness to the fact that according to us, the pure commemoration of the blessed birth of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) is a cause of mercy and a means of blessing just like other beautiful commemorations, and indeed commemorating the excrement of the Prophet, and even the sweat and urine of his camel, is without doubt a cause of reward. This is stated explicitly in many places of Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah. For the satisfaction of readers, we will cite only three passages from the first volume of Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah.

It states in the first volume of Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah, on page 70:

“No one forbids the commemoration of the birth itself.”

Similarly, it states on page 109 of the same volume:

“The commemoration of the birth itself is recommended. Its detestability occurs on account of restrictions.”

Then on page 142 of this volume it states:

“The commemoration of the birth of the Pride of the World (upon him blessing) itself is recommended. But on account of being attached to these restrictions, this function has become impermissible.”

It is clearly evident from each one of these passages that Mawlānā [Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī] Marḥūm would consider the commemoration of the birth of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) itself to be recommended and desirable, but would regard holding a function of Mīlād to be incorrect. If you are unable to distinguish the commemoration of the birth itself and holding a [specific annual] function, then this is a shortcoming in your understanding.

[Poem not translated]

It is indeed strange that those who cannot understand the difference between iṭlāq (an unrestricted action) and taqyīd (a restricted action) have a passion to criticise the speech of the ‘Ulamā’ of the Ummah and the righteous of the religious community. Readers, an example of this is exactly like someone who says: “A stolen sheep is ḥarām”, and some younger brother of the author of the treatise ‘Aqā’id Wahhābiyyah Deobandiyya, ‘Azīẓ Aḥmad Ṣāḥib, says: “According to him, even a sheep is ḥarām, the permissibility of which is proven from explicit text!”

Thus, in this manner it should be understood that the commemoration of the birth itself which holds the position of an unrestricted action (ilāq) is according to us something desirable, while holding [a Mīlād function], in the notion of which public invitation (tadā‘ī) and other emphases and specifications are included, and which holds the position of a restricted action (taqyīd), is according to us forbidden and incorrect. How can anyone object to this? Is not public invitation and other [ritual] emphases on something permissible or desirable reprehensible according to the Ḥanafī Fuqahā? It states in Muslim Sharīf that Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar (Allāh be pleased with him) saw some people gathering for Ḍuḥā Ṣalāh with emphasis, and he described this practice of theirs as bid‘ah, even though Ḍuḥā Ṣalāh in itself is something desirable, on which ṣaḥīḥ ḥadīths have been transmitted.

It states in Musnad Imām Amad that Ḥaḍrat ‘Uthmān ibn Abi l-‘Āṣ (Allāh be pleased with him) was invited to a circumcision and he refused to go. Someone asked why. He said: “We would not go to circumcisions in the time of the Prophet and nor was there a practice of inviting people.” (Musnad, 4:217)

It is realised from these two ḥadīths that in [ritual] matters on which the Pure Sharī‘ah has not taught public invitation and other emphases, public invitation and emphasis on it is bid‘ah and forbidden. If there is sound intellect and a sense of fairness, all obscurities on the topic of Mīlād would be resolved from these few lines.

Further, even if this obvious difference between the commemoration of the birth itself and holding a [specific annual] function is ignored, even then, it is safer to not give permission for holding this function, to block the door (saddan li ‘l-bāb) [to evil], just as Ḥaḍrat Maḥbūb Subḥānī Quṭb Rabbānī Sayyidunā Shaykh Aḥmad al-Fārūqī Mujaddid Alf Thānī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him) wrote on this gathering of Mīlād:

“If recited such that distortion does not occur in Qur’ānic words and without the aforementioned [blameworthy] conditions being realised in the Qaṣa’id, and even that is with correct intention, what is there to prevent its allowance? Master! It comes to the mind of the Faqīr: If this door is not completely shut, the people of passion will not cease [taking advantage of it]. If a little is permitted, it will lead to much. There is a famous saying, ‘A little of it leads to much of it.’” (al-Maktūbāt)

Finally, I also wish to state that forbidding holding such a function is not specific to us or our Akābir, but for centuries, ‘Ulamā’ of Ahl al-Sunnah have been writing thus. Thus, ‘Allāmah Ibn al-Ḥājj [d. 737 AH], who Mawlawī Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Ṣāḥib referred to as “Imām” in Inbā’ al-Muṣṭafā, wrote in his famous book Madkhal:

ومن جملة ما أحدثوه من البدع مع اعتقادهم أن ذلك من أكبر العبادات وإظهار الشعائر ما يفعلونه فى الشهر الربيع الأول من المولد وقد احتوى ذلك على بدع ومحرمات

إلى أن قال:

وهذه المفاسد مترتبة على فعل المولد إذا عمل بالسماع فإن خلا منه وعمل طعاما فقط ونوى به المولد ودعا إليه الإخوان، وسلم من كل ما تقدم ذكره فهو بدعة بنفس نيته فقط، لأن ذلك زيادة فى الدين، وليس من عمل السلف الماضين واتباع السلف أولى (مدخل ابن الحاج، مطبوعة مصر، جلد أول، ص ٨٥)

“Amongst the bid‘ahs they have innovated – while believing that it is from the greatest of rituals – and has been publicised as a symbol [of the religion] is: the Mawlid that they practise in the month of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, which comprises of innovations and prohibited things…These harms are consequential upon the practice of Mawlid when practised with Samā‘. If [the Mawlid] is free of [Sama’], and one only prepares food intending the Mawlid, and calls friends to it, and it is free of all [the evils] that were mentioned earlier, it is a bid’ah by virtue of this intention alone because that is an addition in the Dīn and is not from the practice of the early Salaf, while obeying the Salaf is superior.”

It is clearly evident from the underlined part of this passage of Madkhal that if the function of Mīlād is devoid of other evils, even then, only because of holding a function with a specific emphasis, it is bid‘ah and not correct in Sharī‘ah. This is exactly what is mentioned in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah.

Mawlānā ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Maghrībī wrote in his Fatāwā;

إن عمل المولد بدعة لم يقل به ولم يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والخلفاء والأئمة، كذا فى الشرعة الإلهية

“The practice of Mawlid is innovation, neither endorsed nor practised by the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), nor the Caliphs, nor the Imāms. This is stated in al-Shir‘at al-Ilāhiyyah.”

In Fatāwā Tufat al-Quāt of Qāḍī Shihāb al-Dīn [Aḥmad ibn ‘Umar] Dawlatābādī [d. 849 H], it states that Qāḍī Sāḥib was asked about the Mīlād function, and he said:

لا ينعقد لأنه محدث وكل محدث ضلالة وكل ضلالة فى النار

“It is not to be held because it is innovation, and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.”

Mawlānā Naṣīruddīn al-Shāfī‘ī wrote in response to a questioner:

لا يفعل لأنه لم ينقل عن السلف الصالح، وإنما أحدث بعد القرون الثلاثة فى الزمان الطالح، ونحن لا نتبع الخلف فيما أهمل السلف، لأنه يكفى بهم الإتباع، فأي حاجة إلى الإبتداع؟!

“It is not to be done because it is not transmitted from the Salaf Sālih but it was invented after the first three generations in an impious time, and we do not follow the Khalaf in what the Salaf did not do, as they are sufficient for following, so what need is there to innovate?”

Shaykh al-Ḥanābilah ‘Allāmah Sharaf al-Dīn (Allāh have mercy on him) states:

إن ما يعمل بعض الأمراء في كل سنة احتفالا لمولده صلى الله عليه وسلم فمع اشتماله على التكلفات الشنيعة بنفسه بدعة أحدثه من يتبع هواه

“What some rulers do every year in celebration of his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) birth, along with comprising of horrible formalities, it is bid‘ah itself, those following desires having invented it.”

From all these citations, it becomes as clear as the light of day that from an earlier time, ‘Ulamā’ of the four madhhabs did not look at this practice favourably. I wish to further quote a comprehensive passage from the book al-Qawl al-Mu‘tamad of ‘Allāmah Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Miṣrī. The aforementioned ‘Allāmah states:

ومع هذا قد اتفق علماء المذاهب الأربعة بذم هذا العمل، فممن يذمه: قال العلامة معز الدين حسن الخوارزمي في تاريخه: صاحب إربل الملك مظفر الدين أبو سعيد الكوكبري، كان ملكا مسرفا يأمر علماء زمانه أن يعملوا باستنباطهم واجتهادهم، ولا يتبعوا مذاهب غيرهم حتى مالت إليه جماعة من العلماء وطائفة من الفضلاء، وكان يحتفل لمولد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فى الربيع الأول، وهو أول من أحدث من الملوك هذا العمل.

“Along with this, ‘Ulamā’ of the four madhhabs have agreed on censuring this practice. From those that censured it: ‘Allāmah Mu‘izz al-Dīn Ḥasan al-Khawārizmī said in his Tārīkh: The king of Irbil, King Muẓaffar al-Dīn al-Kawkaburī [d. 630 AH]. He was an extravagant king; he would tell the ‘Ulamā’ of his time to operate on their own deductions and judgements, and not follow the madhhabs of others (i.e. just like Ghayr Muqallids); subsequently, a group of the ‘Ulamā’ and a section of the righteous tended towards him. He would celebrate the Mawlid of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him) in Rabī al-Awwal and was the first king to introduce this practice.”

Since at this juncture exhausting such passages is not the objective, I will suffice on these few. It should be kept in mind that the passages quoted up to now are only of those who, together with being known amongst the Ummah, are accepted authorities on both sides. From all these passages, sufficient light is shed on our approach.

The permissibility or impermissibility of ‘Urs remains. Regarding this, we also say clearly that, undoubtedly, what people today call ‘Urs is impermissible according to us, and not only according to us, but it has this ruling according to all the Akābir of the Ummah.

The grandson and special student of Ḥaḍrat Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz Ṣāḥib (Allāh have mercy on him), Ḥaḍrat Shāh Muḥammad Isḥāq Ṣāḥib Dehlawī, wrote on this ‘Urs in his famous book Kitāb Arba‘īn:

“It is not permissible to specify the day of ‘Urs. It states in Tafsīr Maẓharī:

لا يجوز ما يفعله الجهلاء بقبور الأولياء والشهدا من السجود والطواف حولها واتخاذ السرج والمساجد إليها، ومن الإجتماع بعد الحول كالأعياد ويسمونه عرسا

‘What the ignorant do at the graves of the Awliyā’ and Shuhadā, i.e. prostrating, circling around them, making lights and making masjids towards them, and assembling around them annually like ‘Id and calling it ‘Urs, are not permissible.’”

Similarly, Qāḍī Thanāullāh Ṣāḥib Pānipatī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him), who maintains a distinguished status in the Naqshbandī family, and who was called the “Bayhaqī of the Time” by Shāh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz, said in his well-known and famous book Irshād al-ālibīn:

“Elevating the graves of the Awliyā’ of Allāh, constructing domes over them, doing ‘Urs and its likes, and lighting, all of these are bid‘ah. Some of these practices are ḥarām and some makrūh. The Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) had cursed such people who light up graves or prostrate to them.”

Do tell, is it now only the ideology of “Wahhābī Deobandīs” to call Mīlād and ‘Urs impermissible? One should now realise with which Akābir of the religion the ‘Ulamā of Deoband maintain connection.

Noble readers, consider the approach of our RazāKhānī friends. A practice that earlier and later scholars have deemed bad, if, following earlier scholars, the ‘Ulamā’ of Deoband today also censure it and forbid it, this forbiddance according to them is an unforgivable crime! [It is a case of] the thief pointing the finger at the officer!

The virtues of a people are faults to some.

Oh Owner of the Throne, You are witness that the crime of ours and our Akābir is nothing but that we are adamant on the Sunnats of Your Pure Beloved, the holder of the station of “Lawlāka”, Ḥaḍrat Muḥammad Rasūlullāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), and are repulsed by innovations. (Sayf e Yamānī, p. 22-29)

Then, he addresses another common charge of Barelwīs, articulated by the same ‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī, that Deobandīs are deceptive and state in their work al-Tadīqāt li Daf‘ al-Talbīsāt (al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad) that the Mawlid function is recommended. Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī responds:

Al-Tadīqāt is not some lost book, which is unavailable. It is not some handwritten fatwā which can be altered, changed or tampered with. Rather, it is a published, widely available book, thousands of copies of which can be found in Hindustan. I will copy its passages below, from which readers will notice whether the commemoration of the noble birth itself is said to be recommended or holding the function of Mīlād; then recite an elegy over the insight and integrity of the author of Aqāi’d Wahhābiyyah (i.e. ‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī). From line 15 of Tadīqāt, page 27, it states:

“Far be it that any of the Muslims say, let alone we, ourselves, say, that commemorating his noble birth (upon him blessing and peace), rather even commemorating the dust on his shoes and the urine of his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) camel, are deemed blameworthy in the Shari‘ah, from the evil and prohibited innovations; for, commemorating the states which have the least connection with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is from the most desirable of recommended acts (ahabb al-mandubat) and the greatest of preferable acts (a‘la l-mustahabbat) according to us, whether it is the commemoration of his noble birth or commemoration of his urine, feces, standing, sitting, sleeping and waking.”

Then from line 10, page 29, this content is concluded with these words:

“Far be it that we say that commemorating the noble birth is abominable and a bid‘ah.”

Readers, for God’s sake, be fair! Who is it that is being deceptive and stating a clear lie? (Sayf e Yamānī, p. 29-30)

‘Azīz Aḥmad Kānpūrī further asks: “Do you people [Deobandīs] conduct Mīlād Sharīf without specifying [a date] or Qiyām?”

Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī responds:

It is our preoccupation day and night to discuss and study the blessed Sīrah of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and all the conditions of his life, from his celestial existence [in the world of souls] to his physical existence, then from birth to death, from death to resurrection, from resurrection to the hereafter, from the hereafter to eternity – in brief, all statements, deeds and actions. This is not the lot of the RazāKhānīs. Their lot is only to mention the birth on the date of the twelfth and that too using unreliable reports. In our lot, all conditions of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), the Sīrah, battles, commands, prohibitions, deeds, engagements, statements, actions etc. etc. all occur. Reading them and teaching them, distributing them and publishing them, is our life’s effort. All praise to Allāh, the Master of all worlds. We raise our hands in supplication that Allāh makes our end in this most excellent of pursuits. May our last breath depart beneath your feet, this is the heart’s anguish, this the hope.** (Sayf e Yamānī, p. 112-3)

* “Wahhabi” is a common Barelwi slur for Deobandis, one that has been refuted extensively, in particular by Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani in al-Shihab al-Thaqib. Deobandis differ with true Wahhabis on a number of core issues. For more detail, see here.

** A poem expressing the desire to live one’s entire life in service of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)

 


Principles of Bid‘ah – Maulana Manzur Nu‘mani

June 15, 2019

In Rabī‘ al-Thānī of 1354 AH (1935 CE), someone sent a question to Maulānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī (1905 – 1997 CE) concerning the innovated ritual of calling the Adhān at the grave following burial, asking for a detailed answer. At around the same time, a close friend of Maulānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī, Maulānā ‘Abd al-Ḥafīẓ Khān Ṣāḥib, suggested writing a detailed write-up on the topic, as well as refuting Aḥmad Riḍā Khān’s treatise in support of the practice called Īdhān al-Ajr fī Adhān al-Qabr (found in Fatāwā Riḍawiyyah, 5:657-681). Although specifically on the topic of calling the Adhān at the grave, as part of the introduction, the treatise subsequently authored by Maulānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī outlines some general principles on bid‘ah, and how to answer the types of arguments supporters of bid‘ah advance. A PDF of the complete treatise can be found here.

The following is a translation of the introduction (about a quarter of the book).

Before writing on the actual ruling of Sharī‘ah on Adhān at the grave, some prefatory prolegomena are presented that are not specific to this topic but will be helpful in understanding the ruling of all innovations.

First Prolegomenon

The Divine Ordinance was completed in the time of Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace). On the occasion of Ḥajjat al-Wadā‘ this was conveyed to the entire Ummah via Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace):

اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم

“Today have I completed for you your religion.”

The impetus behind this Divine Announcement was that no need remained any longer for renovating or adding to religion, and nor will there be any need till Resurrection. The rulings that were needed for the guidance of humanity have all been revealed, and the laws for salvation have for all times been completed, and practising on them is definitely adequate for the salvation of an individual, his success and wellbeing. Now, whoever adds something into religion which Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) has not taught us, it is as though he is implicitly making the claim that religion was not completed and was in need of this renovation of mine, or his claim is, Allāh forbid, that the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) failed in conveying the message and something that was included within religion he has not conveyed to us and I am now conveying it to people. Anyhow, whatever was not included in religion before cannot be included in religion today, and something which Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) has not described as being a cause of nearness to the Divine cannot be a cause of nearness and a means of Divine Pleasure today also.

In the Ṣaḥīḥayn and other collections of Ḥadīth, it is narrated from Ḥaḍrat ‘Ā’ishah Ṣiddīqah (Allāh be pleased with her) that Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said:

من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد

“Whoever introduces into this matter of ours what is not from it, it is rejected.” (Mishkāt, p. 27)

In another transmission of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, it states:

من عمل عملا ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد

“Whoever does an action on which there is no decree from us, it is rejected.”

Imām Dār al-Hijrah Ḥaḍrat Mālik ibn Anas (Allāh have mercy on him) said:

من ابتدع فى الإسلام بدعة يراها حسنة فقد زعم أن محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم خان الرسالة لأن الله يقول: اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم، فما لم يكن يومئذ دينا فلا يكون اليوم دينا

“Whoever innovates an innovation into Islām deeming it good, he has asserted that Muḥammad (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) has betrayed the messengership because Allāh says: ‘Today, have I perfected for you your religion.’ Thus, whatever was not religion on that day will not be religion today.” (al-I‘tiṣām, p28)

Second Prolegomenon

Just like the door to new inventions is closed in Sharī‘ah, in the same way no one has the right to specify from one’s own side a specific form and nature or a specific time for virtuous things described in Sharī‘ah for which the lawgiver has not specified any specific methods or boundaries and occasions, and treat [those specifications] like something specified in Sharī‘ah. Based on this, no one has the right, in a virtuous practice that the Sharī‘ah has fixed for a specific time or occasion, to establish it in this manner in other times and occasions, as this is transgressing Allāh’s bounds and is a type of rebellion against the law of Sharī‘ah.

It is narrated from Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (Allāh be pleased with him) that he passed by a group of those remembering Allāh from whom one would say: “Allāh have mercy on the one who says subḥanAllāh this many times, Allāh have mercy on the one who says alḥamdulillāh this many times,” upon which the attendees would  say so accordingly. When he saw this he said in a highly majestic manner, addressing them:

لقد هديتم لما لم يهتد له نبيكم وإنكم لتمسكون بذنب ضلالة

“Have you been guided to that which your Prophet was not guided to?! Certainly you are holding onto a tail of misguidance.” (Ibn Waḍḍāḥ narrated as mentioned in al-I‘tiṣām)

Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd’s (Allāh be pleased with him) intent was that although there are many virtues to tasbiḥ and taḥmīd that are transmitted, and it is a desirable remembrance, this specific method and manner was not taught by the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), but is your own invention and is thus misguidance.

Imām Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī (Allāh have mercy on him) said in describing innovations:

ومنها التزام الكيفيات والهيئات المعينة كالذكر بهيئة الإجتماع على صوت واحد…ومنها التزام العبادات المعينة في أوقات معينة لم يوجد لها ذلك التعيين فى الشريعة

“From them is adhering strictly to methods and forms that are specific, like remembrance in congregational form in one voice…And from them is strictly adhering to specific rituals at specific times for which that specification is not found in Sharī‘ah.” (al-I‘tiṣām, v1 p20)

Third Prolegomenon

Just like doing less in rituals is an offence, in the same way adding from one’s own side is injustice. For this, the evidences which were cited in demonstrated the first prolegomenon are sufficient. Apart from that, this principle is clearly understood from the following narration of Ḥaḍrat ‘Alī (Allāh be pleased with him) which was related by the author of Majma‘ al-Baḥrayn:

إن رجلا يوم العيد أراد أن يصلي قبل صلوة العيد فنهاه علي رضي الله عنه فقال الرجل: يا أمير المؤمنين، إني أعلم أن الله لا يعذب على الصلوة، فقال علي: وإني أعلم أن الله تعالى لا يثيب على فعل حتى يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو يحث عليه، فيكون صلوتك عبثا والعبث حرام، فلعله يعذبك به لمخالفتك لرسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم

“A man wanted to pray before the ‘Īd Ṣalāh so ‘Alī (Allāh be pleased with him) forbade him. The man then said: ‘Commander of the Believers, I know for sure that Allāh will not punish for ṣalāh.’ ‘Alī said: ‘And I know for sure that Allāh (Exalted is He) will not give reward for an action that the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) did not do or encourage, so your ṣalāh will be futile and futility is forbidden, so He may punish you for that on account of your opposition to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace).” (The author of al-Manār related it in his footnotes as mentioned in al-Junnah, p. 165)

In the commentary of the ḥadīth of Mālik ibn Hubayrah in Bāb al-Ṣaff ‘ala l-Janāzah in Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Mullā ‘Alī Qārī quotes in Mirqāt Sharḥ al-Mishkāt:

ولا يدعو للميت بعد صلوة الجنازة لأنه يشبه الزيادة فى صلوة الجنازة

“One is not to make duā for the deceased after the Janāzah Ṣalāh because it resembles adding to the Janāzah Ṣalāh.” (Mirqāt, v4 p64)

Ḥaḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq Dehlawī (Allāh have mercy on him) writes in Lama‘āt Sharḥ al-Mishkāt:

فالزيادة في مثله نقصان فى الحقيقة كما لا يزاد فى الأذان بعد التهليل محمد رسول الله وأمثال ذلك كثير

“Adding to the like of this is in reality decreasing, just as ‘Muḥammadurrasūlullāh’ is not added to the Adhān after ‘Lāilāha illAllāh’, and the likes of that are many.”

Fourth Prolegomenon

When some very deviant group or individual introduces an extremely horrible innovation, they would of course claim it to have niceties and perfections, and upon the name of God and religion, will present evidences to popularise it. They will for sure adopt a style of oration from which simple minds can suffer from misunderstanding. Thus, to establish such ugly an innovation as idolatry as being permissible and beautiful, idolaters said:

ما نعبدهم إلا ليقربونا إلى الله زلفى

“We do not worship them but so they bring us very near to Allāh.”

Further, they introduced a terrible innovation in the Ibrāhīmī religion: They would circle the grounds of the Ka‘bah naked just as they were born, and would justify this shameless action as follows: We sin everyday wearing clothes, so how can we circle the godly grounds in those very clothes?! We will circle in the state that Allāh has created us.

It states in the Mighty Qur’ān:

وإذا قيل لهم: أنفقوا مما رزقكم الله قال الذين كفروا للذين آمنوا: أنطعم من لو يشاء الله أطعمه

“When it is said to them: Spend of what Allāh has provided you, those who disbelieve say to those who believe: Are we to feed those had Allāh wished He would have fed?!”

Now, look, how these wicked ones were not giving anything in God’s path, but on their satanic path, they honoured even this miserliness in the garb of “good innovation”, and presented this wicked and anti-humanitarian action under the lofty characteristic of “being content with divine decree” (riḍā bi ‘-qaḍā’).

Well, this was the condition of the disbelievers and idolaters at the time of Jāhiliyyah. But any innovator you see making a claim to belong to the Islāmic religion will describe many benefits for his innovation and will even attempt to present evidences of Sharī‘ah for it.

Imām Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī (Allāh have mercy on him) was absolutely correct in writing:

إنك لا تجد مبتدعا ممن ينسب إلى الملة إلا وهو يستشهد على بدعته بدليل شرعي

“You will not find an innovator attributing [themselves] to religion except they support their innovation with Shar‘ī evidence.” (I‘tiṣām, p. 102)

It is an undeniable reality that there will be one or another aspect of interest or benefit in many innovations, and those are made the cause of misunderstanding for people, and based on them, it will be considered a good thing, or in other words a “good innovation”, all the while it is not necessary that something in which there is some benefit or interest is always good or permissible. The Glorious Qur’ān states clearly about gambling and wine that there is in general some benefits in them for people, but in spite of this, since in the view of Sharī‘ah the aspect of harm is dominant, they are both impermissible.

Fifth Prolegomenon

An action being completely left out in the time of Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and noble Ṣaḥābah, while its motives and causes which are present today were present then too, is evidence that the action is not correct in Sharī‘ah, particularly when connected to the topic of rituals. The decree of Ḥaḍrat ‘Alī (Allāh be pleased with him) which was quoted with reference to Majma‘ al-Baḥrayn under the third prolegomenon is sufficient to demonstrate this. The narration of Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (Allāh be pleased with him) cited under the second prolegomenon is also a completely clear demonstration of this. In one version, quoted by the author of Majālis al-Abrār, it occurs that he said to those who were making dhikr collectively in a specific form and manner:

أنا عبد الله بن مسعود، فوالذي لا إله غيره لقد جئتم ببدعة ظلماء أو لقد فقتم على أصحاب محمد عليه السلام علما

“I am ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd. By the One besides Whom there is no deity but Him, you have produced a dark innovation or you have indeed surpassed the companions of Muḥammad (upon him peace) in knowledge.” (Majālis al-Abrār, chapter 18, p133)

After citing this transmission, the author of Majālis al-Abrar states:

هكذا يقال بكل من أتى فى العبادات البدنية المحضة بصفة لم تكن في زمن الصحابة رضي الله عنهم

“The same will be said to everyone who comes up, in purely physical rituals, with a form that was not present in the time of the Ṣaḥābah (Allāh be pleased with them).”

Ḥaḍrat Ḥudhayfah (Allāh be pleased with him) said:

كل عبادة لم يتعبدها أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فلا تبعدوها

“Every ritual not observed by the companions of Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), do not observe them” (al-I‘tiṣām, p113)

Ḥaḍrat ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (Allāh be pleased with him) said:

اتبعوا آثارنا ولا تبتدعوا فقد كفيتم

“Follow our traces and do not innovate, for you have been sufficed.” (al-I‘tiṣam, p54)

Anyhow, this is an undeniable principle: a ritual not established from Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and the noble Ṣaḥābah is not correct in Sharī‘ah and is innovation. Ḥanafī jurists have frequently operated on this principle. Thus, the author of al-Hidāyah (Allāh have mercy on him) writes in Faṣl al-Awqāt allatī Yukrahu fīhā ‘l-Ṣalāh:

يكره أن يتنفل بعد طلوع الفجر بأكثر من ركعتي الفجر لأنه عليه السلام لم يزد عليهما مع حرصه على الصلاة

“It is undesirable to perform optional prayers after sunrise more than the two rak‘ats [of sunnah] of Fajr because he (upon him peace) did not add to them despite his eagerness for ṣalāh.” (Hidāyah, 1:53)

And in this very Hidāyah in Bāb al-‘Id, it states:

لا يتنفل فى المصلى قبل صلاة العيد لأن النبي عليه السلام لم يفعل ذلك مع حرصه على الصلاة

“One is not to perform optional prayers in the Muṣallā before the ‘Īd prayer because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not do so despite his eagerness for ṣalāh.” (Hidāyah, 1:118)

He wrote on Ṣalāt al-Kusūf:

ليس فى الكسوف خطبة لأنه لم ينقل

“There is no Khuṭbah in Kusūf because it is not transmitted.” (Hidāyah, 1:121)

And ‘Allāmah Ḥalabī in Sharḥ Munyat al-Muṣallī, while proving that Ṣalāt al-Raghā’ib and Ṣalāt al-Barā’ah are not correct in Sharī‘ah, wrote:

ومنها أن الصحابة والتابعين ومن بعدهم من الأئمة المجتهدين لم ينقل عنهم هاتان الصلاتان فلو كانتها مشروعتين لما فاتتا عن السلف

“From these [reasons] is that the Ṣahābah and Tābi‘īn and those after them from the Mujtahid Imāms, these two Ṣalāhs have not been reported from them. Had they been correct in Sharī‘ah, they would not have missed the Salaf.”

In Kitāb al-Karāhiyyah of Fatāwā ‘Alamgīrī, it states [with reference to al-Muḥīṭ]:

قراءة الكافرون إلى الآخر مع الجمع مكروهة لأنه بدعة لم تنقل ذلك عن الصحابة ولا عن التابعين رضي الله عنهم

“Reading Sūrah al-Kāfirun to the end in congregation is disliked because it is an innovation not transmitted from the Ṣaḥābah nor from the Tābi‘īn (Allāh be pleased with them).”

It becomes very clear from all of these citations that a ritual not proven from the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and his companions (Allāh be pleased with him), and was invented afterwards, is an innovation and is not correct in Sharī‘ah.

(Adhān e Qabr Kā Taḥqīqī Jāizah, p. 5-14)


Mufti Taqi Usmani on Fayslah Kun Munazarah/The Decisive Debate by Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani

January 12, 2019

Mufti Taqi Usmani writes:

During my time as a student, I had the opportunity to read numerous books on the methodological differences between the scholars of Deoband and the scholars of Bareli. The reality of the matter with respect to the strong objections that were raised by the scholars of Bareli against some writings of the senior scholars of Deoband (may Allah have mercy on them) was clarified by many respected personalities. However, the book that impressed me most on this subject was Hazrat Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani Sahib’s (may Allah have mercy on him) book Fayslah Kun Munazarah. The truth is that after reading the evidenced, engaging and firm way in which Hazrat Mawlana clarified these writings, the slightest doubt cannot remain in the heart of any fair-minded person about the beliefs of those elders.

Although the name of the book is Fayslah Kun Munazarah, from which one may get the impression that it is a typical polemical book, and it is our misfortune that we have the impression of “debates” (munazarah) that it is a term used for a public arena in which two headstrong “wrestlers” each seize every opportunity to bring down the other in every just and unjust [rhetorical] battle, and behind these opportunities, the urge to seek the truth is left behind and suppressed; but the reality is that this book of Mawlana is far afield from this type of polemical ground. Rather, in reading it, one comes to know what a good-intentioned debate is.

In its origin “munazarah” is a word from the Arabic language, the meaning of which is “to collectively ponder over a particular issue.” In this book, Mawlana presents a practical demonstration of this reality of “munazarah.” His style and method is not the style of a typical debate. It is in a sincere, positive, objective and evidenced form of writing, the objective of which is to provide understanding, not to debase and humiliate the opposition. (Nuqush-e-Raftegan, pp. 395 – 6)

Read a translation of Fayslah Kun Munazarah here: https://barelwism.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/decisive-debate.pdf