‘Allāmah Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥalabī (c. 865 – 956 H) Writes Against the Qiyām in Mawlid

April 14, 2020

‘Allāmah Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥalabī (c. 865 – 956 H)*, famous Ḥanafī Faqīh and author of Multaqa ‘l-Abḥur and Ghunyat al-Mutamallī, wrote a treatise against the “Ṣūfī dhikr dance” called al-Rahṣ wa l-Waqṣ – this is printed and available. He also wrote a short treatise (in which he references his al-Rahṣ) against the ritualised qiyām (standing) that is done in Mawlid sessions upon mention of the birth of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). A manuscript of the treatise is available here.

He makes a number of important points in the treatise. One interesting point he makes towards the end is as follows:

الإستقراء يفيد أن كل فعل شرع ركنا في عبادة مختصة كالصلاة والصوم فإن فعله لتعظيم غير الله ممنوع، وكل ما كان أدخل فى العبودية كان أشد فى المنع كالسجود ودونه الركوع ودونه القيام، فيكون السجود حراما محضا حتى أنه يكفر به إذا لم ينو التحية، والركوع مكروها تحريما، والقيام تنزيها، إما لأن يكون التعظيم مختصا بالله سبحانه كأخويه، أو لأنه عليه السلام كان يكره موافقة العجم كما كان لا يحب موافقة أهل الكتاب فيما لم يوح إليه فصار هذا القيام كسائر العبادات المكروهة فافهم تغتنم

“A full study shows that every action that has been legislated as an integral part (rukn) of a specific act of worship like ṣalāh and ṣawm, doing it to glorify other than Allāh is forbidden, and everything that is more inclusive of servitude is more strongly forbidden, like prostration less than which is bowing and less than which is standing. Prostrating is completely ḥarām such that it is disbelief when [the doer] does not intend greeting. Bowing is makrūh taḥrīman.

“Standing is makrūh tanzīhan, either so it can be a glorification specified to Allāh (glorified is He) like the other two, or because he (upon him peace) hated agreeing with the non-Arabs just as he would like agreeing with the Ahl al-Kitāb in what was not revealed to him. Thus, this [ritualised] Qiyām is like all rituals that are reprehensible [when directed to non-Allāh]. Understand, and avail yourself [of this point of benefit].” (Risālah fī Bayān Ḥukm al-Qiyām fī Waqt Dhikr Wilādat al-Nabī ‘alayhissalām)

* Read a biography in I‘lām al-Nubalā’ bi Tārīkh Ḥalab al-Shahbā’ 5:534-6

See also:

Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi’s Fatwa Against the Qiyam


The Ruling on Mawlid

March 6, 2020

When considering the permissibility or otherwise of the “Mawlid”, it is necessary to define what is meant by “Mawlid”. “Mawlid” can be used in two different senses:

1. Gatherings in which the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings be upon him) is extolled and glorified, by reciting ḥadiths on his shamā’il (characteristics), reciting poetry on his praise and so on.

2. The public religious celebration of the time of year in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was born – i.e. what is commonly known as “‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī”, or what al-Shāṭibī (d. 790) defines as “treating the day of the prophetic birth as an ‘Id” (al-I‘tiṣām, 1:46) or what Abū Shāmah (599 – 665 H) defines as: “That which is done each year on the day coinciding with his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) birth, in giving charity and doing good, and public display of adornment and joy.” (al-Bā‘ith ‘alā Inkār al-Bida‘ wa l-Ḥawādith, p. 21)

Notice, the first definition refers to a general gathering of praise, irrespective of time. The second definition refers to the celebration of a particular time of the year and treating that as a religious occasion.

The first definition of Mawlid is permissible at all times, in Rabī‘ al-Awwal and outside of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, as long as it is not accompanied by any evils or impermissible activities.

The second definition of Mawlid is an impermissible innovation. Yes, there were some great scholars after the sixth century of Hijrah who deemed it permissible, including Abū Shāmah himself, but this on its own does not make it an acceptable practice. (Some scholars who deemed “Mawlid” permissible were referring to the first meaning and not the second.)

At times, views that become popular at later times can be in error and can be a result of foreign influence. A good example is the belief regarding the parents of the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). In the first few centuries of Islām, Sunnī scholars were clear on their belief that the parents of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are not saved, while Shī‘ah adhere to a doctrine of prophetic bloodline and hence believe (in spite of conflicting evidence) that they are saved. Hence, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī mentions in a general sense that the Ahl al-Sunnah believe the parents of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are not saved while the Shī‘ah say otherwise. But later scholars were influenced by some weak arguments and fabricated ḥadīths, and popularised the view that they were saved. A good, detailed discussion on this can be found in Niḍāl Ᾱlah Rashshī’s recent commentary on al-Fiqh al-Akbar (al-Badr al-Anwar, p. 401-449). [He also demonstrates that al-Suyūṭī misattributed the Shī‘ī view Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī was describing to al-Rāzī himself!]

Hence, just because something becomes popular in the later Ummah, and is supported by prominent scholars, it does not automatically mean that it is good or even an acceptable difference of opinion.

The public religious celebration of the time of year in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was born, which we will refer to as “‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī” for short, was initiated by the Shī‘ah (Mawsū‘at al-Shaykh al-Mufīd, 7:50-1; al-Khiṭaṭ, 2:216-8), whose religion is full of innovation and fabrication. It was then adopted by some Sunnīs some time during the end of the sixth century of Hijrah, and gained popular support.

Inventing a Religious Season is not Permissible

Ibn Daqīq al-‘Īd (625 – 702 H) writes:

قد منعنا إحداث ما هو شعار في الدين. ومثاله: ما أحدثته الروافض من عيد ثالث، سموه عيد الغدير. وكذلك الاجتماع وإقامة شعاره في وقت مخصوص على شيء مخصوص، لم يثبت شرعا 

We have indeed been forbidden from inventing something that becomes a symbol of the religion, like what the Rawāfiḍ invented, of a third ‘Īd which they call ‘Īd al-Ghadīr. And similarly [we are forbidden from] assembling and making it a symbol for a specific occasion for a particular matter, that has not been established in Sharī‘ah.” (Iḥkām al-Aḥkām, 1:170)

Al-‘Izz ibn Abd al-Salām (577 – 660 H) states:

وأما ليلة النصف من شعبان فلها فضيلة، وإحياؤها بالعبادة مستحب، ولكن على الإنفراد من غير جماعة، واتخاذ الناس لها ولليلة الرغائب موسما وشعارا بدعة منكرة

“As for the night of mid-Sha‘bān, it has virtue, and reviving it with worship is recommended, but individually and without congregation. People [publicly] treating this and the night of Raghā’ib as a [religious] season and symbol [of religion] is an evil innovation.” (Musājalah ‘Ilmiyyah, p.41)

Ibn al-Ḥājj (d. 737) said:

فأولى بالمنع إذا أحدثت لتلك الصلاة تسمية ووقت خاص بها، وصارت شعارا ظاهرا شائعا لم يكن معروفا إلا فى القرن الخامس، فقد صارت هذه الصلاة بهذه الهيئة الإجتماعية يفتقر استحبابها إلى دليل شرعي مستقل على مشروعية إقامتها جماعة فى المساجد والمواضع المشهورة

“More deserving of prohibition is when this ṣalāh is invented a name and time particular to it, and it becomes a public, widespread, symbol, that was not known except in the fifth century. Indeed the recommendation of this ṣalāh, in this public manner, requires a separate Shar‘ī evidence on the legality of establishing it in congregation in the masjids and public places.” (al-Madkhal, 4:260)

Ḥāfiẓ Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī (736 – 795 H) said:

عن معمر عن ابن طاووس عن أبيه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: لا تتخذوا شهرا عيدا ولا يوما عيدا. وأصل هذا أنه لا يشرع أن يتخذ المسلمون عيدا إلا ما جاءت الشريعة باتخاذه عيدا، وهو يوم الفطر ويوم الأضحى وأيام التشريق، وهي أعياد العام، ويوم الجمعة، وهو عيد الأسبوع، عما عدا ذلك فاتخاذه عيدا أو موسما بدعة لا أصل لها فى الشريعة

“It is reported from Ma‘mar from Ibn Ṭāwūs from his father, he said: The Messenger of Allāh said: ‘Do not treat any month as an ‘Īd, nor any day as an ‘Īd.’ (Muṣannaf ‘Abd al-Razzāq, 4:291)* The basis of this is that it is not legislated for Muslims to treat as ‘Īd beside what the Sharī‘ah has presented as it being treated as ‘Īd, which is the day of Fiṭr, the day of Aḍḥā and the days of Tashrīq, and these are the ‘Īds of the year, and Friday, the ‘Īd of the week, and anything besides this [not established in Sharī‘ah], to treat it as ‘Īd or a [religious] season is a bid‘ah having no basis in the Sharī‘ah.” (Laṭā’if al-Ma‘ārif, Dār Ibn Khuzaymah, p. 285)

* ‘Abd al-Razzāq also narrates from Ibn Jurayj from ‘Aṭā’ ibn Abī Rabāḥ: “Ibn ‘Abbās would forbid fasting the whole of Rajab, so that it is not treated as an ‘Īd.” (Muṣannaf ‘Abd al-Razzāq, 4:292)

It should be noted that this ruling refers to the situation that such a practice (of treating a time of the year as a religious season) is done in a ritualistic way – in that it appears to be a fixed ritual celebration of the religion. If it is done for obvious practical (non-ritualistic) reasons, like holding a ceremony upon the completion of Qur’ān or a book of ḥadīth, this would not fall under the same category.

The ‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī is an Impermissible Innovation

Since the ‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī is a ritualised, public celebration of a particular time of the year, that has no basis in the first few centuries of Islām, it falls under the category of what the scholars above have mentioned, and thus is a reprehensible innovation. Ibn al-Ḥājj said: “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.” (al-Madkhal, 2:2)

The love for the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings be upon) should be expressed in the manner expressed by the ṣaḥābah, and if anything extra is done to make up for a shortcoming in this regard, it should be done in ways that are permissible in the Sharī‘ah conveyed to us by the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him), not by inventing a new ‘Īd or religious season.

Regarding the ‘Id Mīlād al-Nabī, ‘Allāmah Ẓaḥir al-Dīn Ja‘far al-Tazmantī (d. 682) said: “This practice did not occur in the early period of the pious Salaf, in spite of their glorification and their love for him – such glorification and love that us put together will not amount to [the love of] even one of them, and not even an atom’s weight of it!” (Subul al-Hudā, 1:442) Referring to the “gathering some people do in Rabī‘ al-Awwal”, Imām al-Fākihānī (654 – 731 H) states “the Sharī‘ah has not given permission for this, nor did the ṣaḥābah practise it, nor the tābi‘īn, and nor the practising ‘ulamā’.” (al-Mawrid fi l-Mawlid)

Often supporters of ‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī conflate the second meaning of Mawlid with the first, and accuse those who oppose the ‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī of opposing the general mention and glorification of the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessing be upon him). It should be clear that such a conflation is incorrect.

Those who do not partake in the ‘Īd Mīlād al-Nabī should not be accused of lacking in love for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Their non-participation is a consequence of their love for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and for what he taught, in particular his teaching not to introduce anything new into the religion that he came to convey to us. It does not make sense to do something that the Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would himself disapprove of in the name of his love.


Detailed Look at Controversial Passage from Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah – A Full Translation of the Text

January 17, 2020

Context

 

‘Abdul Jabbār ‘Umarpūrī (1860 – 1916), a companion of Nadhīr Ḥusayn al-Dehlawī, had written: “To hold the belief with regard to Ḥaḍrat [Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam] that wherever Mawlūd Sharīf is recited, he comes there, is shirk. God, exalted is He, [alone] is present in all places. Allāh, glorified is He, does not grant His characteristic to another.” (Quoted in Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah, Barāhīn, p52)

In Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah (authored: 1886), ‘Abdus Samī‘ Rāmpūrī (ca. 1820 – 1900) then wrote a response. His response can be summarised in the following points:

  1. This muftī did not even write durūd after mentioning Ḥaḍrat. Ittibā‘ e Sunnat is completely lacking.
  2. The questioner had asked about poetry in which the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is addressed in the second person, not about the belief of the Prophet attending the gatherings. The answer addresses something contrary to the question.
  3. In response to the statement, “To hold the belief with regard to Ḥaḍrat [Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam] that wherever Mawlūd Sharīf is recited, he comes there, is shirk. God, exalted is He, [alone] is present in all places”, he replies: Subḥānallāh, this reasoning is completely flawed. If the belief was that Allāh too was only present at these gatherings, then you could say this is shirk and creating equality with Allāh. The reality is that Allāh is present and watching in all places (he gives a description of the massiveness of creation, and how creation is so much vaster than just these gatherings of Mīlād), so those who say he attends certain gatherings, how are they guilty of equating him with Allāh?
  4. In response to the statement, “Allāh, glorified is He, does not grant His characteristic to another”, he replies: The belief of Ahlus Sunnah wa ‘l-Jamā‘ah is that the manner and reality in which an attribute is specific to Allāh, it will not be found in another. Being specific means “it is found in him and not found in another.” Being present in all places of the earth (rū’e zamīn par kull jagah mawjūd hojānā) is nothing specific to Allāh.
  5. In Tafsīr Ma‘ālim al-Tanzīl, Risālah Barzakh of Suyūṭī and Sharḥ al-Mawāhib of Zurqānī, it states Malak al-Mawt takes the souls of all living things, jinn and man and all animals, and the world has been made like a small tray before him, and so he takes from here and there. In Mishkāt, it states Malak al-Mawt is at the side of the head of the dying, whether Muslim or Kāfir. In a ḥadīth of Ṭabarānī and Ibn Mandah as recorded in Tadhkirat al-Mawtā of Qāḍī Thanā’ullah it states that Malak al-Mawt told the Prophet that there is no home of a good or bad person but he has his attention towards it, and he sees them day and night, and he knows the young and old better than they know themselves. From these ḥadīths we realise Malak al-Mawt is present everywhere.
  6. Malak al-Mawt is a high-ranking angel. Even Shaytan is present everywhere. Durr e Mukhtār states that Shayṭān stays with humanity at day and his son stays with them at night. Shāmī says in the commentary that Shayṭān stays with all humanity besides those Allāh has saved and writes: “He gave him power to do this just as He gave Malak al-Mawt power over the like of that.”
  7. In the world of tangible bodies, there is the example of the moon and sun, which can be seen everywhere. He says: “Understand that while the [light of the] sun is present in every place, it is present in the lowest heaven. The soul of the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is in the seventh heaven in the ‘illiyyīn. If while there the blessed vision falls on the entire earth or several places…what impossibility or farfetchedness is there?” He then quotes some poetry which describes the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as a sun whose light envelops the east and west.
  8. He quotes some of the pious who say that if the seeing of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was concealed from them for the blink of an eye they would not consider themselves to be Muslim.
  9. He then concludes that ḥadīth-scholars and jurists should according to ‘Umarpūrī be even greater mushriks than people who believe the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) attends mawlids, because they affirm for Malak al-Mawt and Shayṭān much more than mere attendance of these gatherings.

(Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah, quoted in Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah, p52-7)

Thus it was ‘Umarpūrī who had raised the issue of this belief being shirk, and Rāmpūrī brought the example of Malak al-Mawt and Shayṭān to argue that there is no impossibility of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) having knowledge of the gatherings of mawlid as those who partake in it belief, so how can it be shirk?

 

 

Complete Passage of Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah

 

In Barāhīn e Qāṭi‘ah (authored: 1887) Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (1852 – 1927) then wrote a response to ‘Abdus Samī‘ Rāmpūrī. The following are images of the complete passage from the original work followed by a translation of the entire passage.

[In response to point no. 1 above] There is no doubt that this action is unfortunate [1], but the share of this unfortunateness is full only in the lot of the author [‘Abd al-Samī‘ Rāmpūrī]. In many places of this book [Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah], durūd is not written. In the last line of the khuṭbah of the book in the first page, in three places of the second page, his noble name has been written without durūd. The excuse that this is a failure of the printing press, the same excuse should be accepted for Mawlawī ‘Abdul Jabbār. In short, it is common that whatever the author accuses another of, he himself is polluted with it. It is not known why he is so heedless of his own state.

[In response to point no. 2 above] It has been stated in response to the explanation of the question [2] that the verbal form of addressing was assigned [linguistically] for one present and in attendance. Thus, if the verbal form of addressing is anywhere said, then based on the original literal meaning it will be understood as addressing one in attendance. This is why Mawlawī ‘Abdul Jabbār gave the answer to this question that the verses [of poetry] of address if with this belief, it is shirk, and the angle of the other metaphorical meanings, he did not explain. But God Almighty knows what is the author’s level of understanding! As he regards [the answer] to be against and contrary to the question. To regard the concomitant to be contrary to the linguistically assigned cause and to understand the linguistically intended meaning of a statement to be separate from the statement itself is the author’s [lack of] understanding. The author did something similar in Nūr e Awwal, and the answer was given there.

[In response to point no. 3 above] The belief of the entire Ummah is that the respected Pride of the World (upon him peace) and all creatures, the amount of knowledge Allāh Almighty has granted them, and has taught, to affirm one atom more knowledge than that, is shirk. This is derived from all books of Sharī‘ah. Allāh, exalted is He, said: “With Him are the keys to the Unseen, none but He knows them.” The well-known ruling is found in al-Baḥr al-Rā’iq, ‘Alamgīriyyah, Durr Mukhtār etc. that if someone marries with the testimony of Allāh Almighty and the Pride of the World (upon him peace), he becomes Kāfir, because of believing in ‘ilm al-ghayb for the Pride of the World. [3] Thus, in merely believing in the knowledge of the marriage session, it is written Kāfir. No one has written that if it is the belief that there is equality in quantity and quality with divine knowledge (His majesty be exalted), then is he Kāfir, otherwise not.

However, from the author’s write-up, this is the belief that is understood, because he says that Allāh Almighty knows from the Throne to the ground, and is present [in all places], while the Pride of the World is only present in the gatherings of Mawlūd, so where is equality and shirk? It is clearly evident from this that he does not regard this amount of ‘ilm al-ghayb to be shirk! While in all books mere attendance of the session of marriage has been written as shirk. The author does not even have this much awareness that equality in the wajh al-shabah (basis of similarity) between the mushabbah bihī (thing with which similarity is drawn) and mushabbah (thing which is considered similar) is not necessary; the wajh al-shabah itself is sufficient. [4] Thus, here, affirming equality in [possessing] ‘ilm al-ghayb itself is shirk.

If it is the author’s belief that if any attribute of Allāh Almighty is affirmed in quantity and quality for another then it is shirk and otherwise it is not, then it implies that according to the author the Mushrikīn of the Arabs, who being idolaters is found in categorical texts, were definitely not idolaters (mushrik) because they believed the disposal and knowledge of their false gods to be limited – all areas and regions having a separate god; they would not believe that one disposes in the dominion of another. The books of ḥadīth are a testament to this. Now, the beliefs of the author are themselves corrupt; he will make idolaters of the whole world, because when the common people and ignorant have certainty in such disposal and knowledge for the saints, the author has supported, endorsed and certified the belief of all [of them], and led creation astray. May God Almighty guide him, what fitnah he has caused! What remains is his weak example and senseless words, what answer am I to give and pollute the tongue and pen in responding to it? The author has written something so ignorant that it goes against the entire world.

[In response to point no. 4 above] I say: The belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jamā‘ah is that no character from the characters of Allāh Almighty are found in the slave. Whatever the shadow of His characters He grants, it is not possible for anyone to have more than that. Hearing, seeing, knowledge and disposal are real for Allāh Almighty, and metaphorical for creation. “Nothing is as His likeness,” to the end of the verse. Further, whoever has been given whatever amount of knowledge, power etc., he cannot add to it even to the amount of an atom. The expanse that was given to Shayṭān, as well as Malak al-Mawt, and the extent of the condition upon which the sun and moon were made, they have no power to add to that. More activity will not emerge from them.

Nor is lesser or greater virtue dependent on this fewness or muchness. [5] Hazrat Mūsā, upon him peace, is far higher and superior to Hazrat Khiḍr, upon him peace. In spite of this, he has far less knowledge of unveiling than Hazrat Khiḍr. Further, the amount that Hazrat Khiḍr received, he was not able to have more than that. And despite Hazrat Mūsā being superior, he did not receive it. He could not generate equal knowledge of unveiling to Hazrat Khiḍr who is less virtuous than him. Thus, the form of the expanse of light upon which the sun and moon have been made, and this expanse of knowledge that was given to Malak al-Mawt and Shayṭān, this condition of theirs is known from observation and categorical texts. Now, to draw an analogy of one superior to them, to affirm equal or more than [what is found in] this inferior one, is not the activity of any sane person of knowledge.

First, issues of belief are not analogical such that it would be established by analogy. Rather, they are categorical, they are proven by categorical texts, such that a singular report here is not of benefit. Thus, its affirmation will only be worthy of attention when the author proves it from categorical evidences. And against the whole Ummah, if the belief of creation is being corrupted on account of a corrupt analogy, how can it be worthy of attention?

Second, the opposite is proven in Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, so how can its opposite ever be accepted? In fact, all this speech of the author will be rejected. The Pride of the World, upon him peace, said: “By Allāh, I do not know what will be done to me or to you” [6] Shaykh ‘Abdul Ḥaqq narrated: “I don’t have knowledge of what is behind the wall.” [7] The ruling of the session of marriage has been written in al-Baḥr al-Rā’iq and other books.

Third, if being superior entailed this, then all Muslims, even if fāsiq, and the author himself, are superior to Shayṭān; then the author would affirm by his judgement ‘ilm al-ghayb if not more than at least equal to [what] Shayṭān [was given]. By his own judgement, the author is a great one of accomplished faith, so he would definitely, being superior, be more knowledgeable [in matters of the world – which for him are ‘ilm al-ghayb] than Shayṭān. Allāh forbid [affirming such ‘ilm al-ghayb]! There is amazement at this ignorance of the author, and grief – how far the emergence of such unworthy words are from knowledge and reason.

The outcome is: It ought to be contemplated: Seeing the state of Shayṭān and Malak al-Mawt, affirming encompassing knowledge of the world for the Pride of the World, against categorical texts, without evidence, based purely on corrupt analogy, if not shirk, which part of īmān is it? [8] This expanse has been established for Shayṭān and Malak al-Mawt from texts. Which categorical text is there for the expanse of knowledge [of the world] for the Pride of the World, based on which all texts will be rejected [9], and one shirk established? [10]

Having read the definition of “specific” in Tahdhīb al-Manṭiq, remembering it, the author chose an unrefined belief. However, he, mashā Allāh, is yet very far from understanding. What is specific in the knowledge of Allāh Almighty is that His knowledge is intrinsic (dhātī) and real (ḥaqīqī), the concomitant of which is encompassing all things. The knowledge of all creation is metaphorical and shadowy, in that they are acquired from Allāh Almighty. Thus, because of the blessed soul being in attendance in the highest ‘Illiyyīn, and being superior to Malak al-Mawt, it is never established that his knowledge in these matters [11] are equal to Malak al-Mawt, let alone more. The explanation of this has passed above. Affirming this based on analogy is ignorance, not a trace of knowledge gives allowance for this. In short, this weak verification is purely the author’s ignorance. He may not be involved in shirk but he has opened the road for the world. [12]

[In response to point no. 8 above] Further, the stories of the saints that the author has written, then firstly, these stories are not a legal proof establishing a ruling, especially in the topic of beliefs. Thus, accepting these stories and rejecting the texts is not to be expected even of an ignoramus, let alone a scholar. After accepting [their authenticity], the answer is that Allāh Almighty gave unveiling (kashf) to these saints, so that they have this presence of knowledge. If He granted the Pride of the World (upon him peace) a hundred thousand times more than this, it is possible, but actual establishment of it having been given is [proven] from which text, that this be taken as belief? And in Mawlūd gathering, address of second person be done? Mere possibility will not have any effect in this matter. It must be in actuality, and it being established must be [proven] from text. However, the poor understanding of the author is worthy of a spectacle. He understands nothing.

This discussion is in the situation that anyone holds this belief, affirming intrinsic knowledge for him, just as is the belief of the ignorant. If he recognises that Allāh Almighty making him aware causes him to be in attendance, it is not shirk, but without evidence of Sharī‘ah, holding this belief is not correct, and without evidence, keeping such a belief, entails sin.

[In response to point no. 9 above] Now, it is evident that no ḥadīth-scholar, jurist, or God-fearing person or ṣūfī is mushrik. However, whoever has a belief agreeing with the write-up of the author, will definitely be mushrik. [13] Presenting these passages and reports as proof for his baseless claim is only the deficient understanding of the author; otherwise, there is no evidence for the claim of the author, as is not hidden.

(Barāhīn e Qāṭiah, p52-7)

Now, given this entire context, is there any room to misunderstand what Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī is saying? Keep in mind:

  1. He is responding to Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah in which the topic of discussion is the passage of ‘Umarpūrī, and in particular what is and is not shirk in regard to affirming knowledge of certain gatherings to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)
  2. It is Anwār e Sāṭi‘ah that mentions Malak al-Mawt and Shayṭān as examples
  3. Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī says shirk is to affirm non-granted self-generated intrinsic knowledge, no matter what amount – even one gathering. He proves this from the books of Fiqh.
  4. Affirming knowledge based on an analogy of one superior to one inferior can only prove intrinsic knowledge.
  5. Thus, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī argues Rāmpūrī is aiding idolatrous beliefs found amongst commoners
  6. But even on the basis of this analogy, Mawlānā Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī clarifies that if one’s belief is that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) only has granted knowledge (of specific worldly knowledge that is not proven for him), it is sinful but not shirk
  7. He further says virtue is not dependent on the expanse under discussion – i.e. certain types of worldly knowledge
  8. He clearly says “in these matters” and “this expanse”, specifying those things that are not the basis of virtue

Given this context, the controversial passage (highlighted above in bold) is completely unproblematic and makes complete sense, and is completely free of “blasphemy” or kufr.

[1] Rāmpūrī had described Umarpūrī’s failure to mention durūd as being “unfortunate”

[2] See: Barāhīn, p27

[3] It states in al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah: “A [man] weds [a woman] without witnesses, saying: ‘I make the Messenger of Allāh and Angels witness’, he has become a Kāfir, because he believes that the Messenger and Angel know the Ghayb, as distinguished from his saying: ‘I make the angel on the left shoulder and the angel on the right shoulder witness’, he would not become Kāfir, because they are aware [of that].” (al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah, 6:325) In al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī (Idārat al-Qur’ān, 7:407), the same mas’alah is found ending with: “because they are aware of that as they are not absent from him.”

[4] These are the basic parts of a simile (tashbīh). In other words, the shirk that is established on account of affirming ‘ilm al-ghayb does not need to be because of complete equality in the basis of similarity (in this case, ‘ilm al-ghayb) between the mushabbah bihī (in this case, the Prophet) and the mushabbah (in this case, Allāh), but just the fact of having that quality (i.e. ‘ilm al-ghayb, which is knowledge to which a creation has no access) is sufficient.

[5] Here, the author makes it clear that the expanse that is being spoken of is in areas that have absolutely no involvement in virtue.

[6] He was told to say this in Qur’ān (46:9), and it is reported from him in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. This would mean, according to the author, that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) does not have detailed knowledge of what will be done to him in future, though he of course has the basic (non-detailed) knowledge of his salvation and success. Or it means, he does not know what will happen to him in this world, while in the next world he is of course aware of his own salvation.

[7] He reported this in Ashi‘iat al-Lam‘āt in a context of adducing this narration as proof, without commenting on it being authentic or otherwise. This is where the author is quoting from.

[8] Given the context, it should be clear what is meant by this statement. From such corrupt analogy (that goes against categorical evidence), only self-generated or intrinsic knowledge of ghayb can be affirmed. And this is of course shirk.

[9] Meaning, the texts of Qur’ān, Ḥadīth and Fiqh that disprove the Prophet has encompassing worldly knowledge.

[10] The meaning of this rhetorical question is that there are no categorical texts which affirm encompassing worldly knowledge for the Prophet, so to affirm such knowledge without evidence is to affirm intrinsic, non-granted knowledge, for him – and this is shirk.

[11] It is clear by saying “in these matters” he means those things Rāmpūrī pointed out i.e. knowing the activities of all people on a day-to-day basis. Malak al-Mawt has more awareness of this type of knowledge than the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), as Malak al-Mawt is more involved in these things than the Prophet. After referring to the hadith “You are more aware of the affairs of your world“, Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ makes the general point:

فمثل هذا وأشباهه من أمور الدنيا التي لا مدخل فيها لعلم ديانة، ولا اعتقادها، ولا تعليمها يجوز عليه فيها ما ذكرناه.. إذ ليس في هذا كله نقيصة ولا محطة، وإنما هي أمور اعتيادية يعرفها من جربها وجعلها همه. وشغل نفسه بها والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم مشحون القلب بمعرفة الربوبية، ملآن الجوانح بعلوم الشريعة، قصيد البال بمصالح الأمة الدينية والدنيوية. ولكن هذا إنما يكون في بعض الأمور ويجوز في النادر. وفيما سبيله التدقيق في حراسة الدنيا واستثمارها، لا في الكثير المؤذن بالبله والغفلة.

“In such things and their likes from the matters of the world which have no involvement in religious knowledge, belief or education, what we mentioned is possible for him, as none of this is deficiency or diminishment. Rather, they are ordinary things known to those who have experience of them and make it their concern and occupy their minds with them. The Prophet’s (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) heart is filled with knowledge of the divine, his sides filled with knowledges of Sharī‘ah, his mind restrained by the religious and worldly interests of the Ummah. But this will only be in some affairs…not in many, which would signify stupidity or ignorance.” (al-Shifā’, Jā’izah Dubai, p. 724)

[12] As he has given concession for them to believe the Prophet has non-granted knowledge, self-generating in him.

[13] Meaning, the person who believes in the Prophet’s knowledge of things of the world proceeding only from false analogy – as this can only prove intrinsic knowledge, which is shirk.


Did Mawlānā Gangohī Compare Mawlid to the Hindu Festival of Kanhaiya Janam?

January 12, 2020

Some Barelwīs allege that Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī is guilty of blasphemy for comparing the Mawlid to the festival of Kanhaiya Janam (play-acting the birth of Kanhaiya). For example, Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi wrote in 2010: “The blasphemous comments of the scholars of Deoband include… that the mawlid was like the Hindu festival of Kunhya Janam… (in…Baraheen Qaatiah)!”

This is based on a fatwā of Mawlānā Gangohī, which is reproduced in full in Barāhīn Qāṭi‘ah.

A translation of the substantive parts of the fatwā is given below. One will notice the whole fatwā is regarding qiyām (the ritual standing at the mention of the Prophetic birth), which many of the ignorant believed to be obligatory (wājib). Moreover, the comparison to the Hindu festival of play-acting the birth of Kanhaiya was made with respect to a particular belief or defence for this ritual standing. Namely, that some believe that when the Prophet’s blessed soul came from the world of souls into the present world, as a mark of respect we ought to stand, and they are re-enacting that event, and thus standing out of respect! Mawlānā Gangohī says to re-enact the Prophetic birth and behave as though it is happening at the time of the re-enaction is similar to how Hindus behave when play-acting the birth of Kanhaiya; and this has no basis in Sharī‘ah, and is in fact impermissible.

One can see how the Barelwi allegation that Mawlānā Gangohī compared the Mawlid itself to the Hindu festival of Kanhaiya Janam is completely dishonest. Firstly, the comparison was not made with respect to the Mawlid but with respect to the ritual standing (qiyām). Furthermore, it was not made with respect to the qiyām per se, but with respect to a particular belief associated with the qiyām held by some ignorant people. The relevant parts of the fatwā are translated below, and the paragraph in reference is highlighted in bold.

Question

The standing which is in vogue in the majlis mawlūd sharīf out of respect for the mention of the birth of Haḍrat Muḥammad Muṣṭafā (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), which takes place in this time, is it correct to consider this standing necessary or not? And if it is not necessary, will the one who gives fatwā of it being necessary be sinful or not? And if sinful, at which level?

Answer

To stand up at the time of mentioning the birth is not established anywhere in the three generations. Although the conducts and states of the revered master of the world, and the mention of the states by way of admonition, teaching, revision and narration, in those generations, occurred countless time, yet it is not established in any narration that at the time of mentioning the birth that anyone ever stood, or that anywhere the master of the world (upon him peace) in any way described it as being recommended or an etiquette. Whether some stood for the respected pride of the world himself (upon him blessing and peace), this is outside the discussion, and to make an analogy with this is mere ignorance. The discussion is over the habitual practice of the fools of our time at the mention of his birth. Where is this established? This has never been established.

Firstly, this is sufficient proof of their innovation being baseless. As there has been so much extremism in this, such that the common ignoramuses have started to regard it as necessary, and censure the one who doesn’t do it, it has become an abomination and wicked innovation. This is an innovated affair. If the commoners begin to think something established as permissible to be necessary, that too is impermissible and an abomination. It is narrated from ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allah – Exalted is He – be pleased with him) that he said: “Let not one of you make for Shayṭān any part of salāh, viewing that it is a duty on him that he does not turn except to his right. Indeed, I had seen the Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) frequently turning to his left (agreed upon).” ‘Alī al-Qārī said in the commentary of this hadīth: “The one who persists on a desirable matter and makes it a firm resolve, and does not act on a dispensation, the Shayṭān has acquired from him deviation, so what of the one who persists on innovation and abomination?!” It states in Fatāwā ‘Ālamgīriyyah: “What is done after the ṣalāh is makrūh because the ignorant people believe it to be sunnah or wajib and every permissible act leading to this is makrūh.”

Thus, firstly, it has been established that this standing has never been proven in any ḥadīth or athar, whether one that is verbal, practical or based on tacit approval. Thus this matter is itself invented. Secondly, if hypothetically, something did happen, it was nothing like wājib, sunnah or mustaḥabb, because wājib is the practice that is established by decisive evidence and conjectural indication or conjectural evidence and decisive indication, and here in the matter of standing, there is no clear text (naṣṣ) even, neither strong nor weak; and sunnah refers to the ruling in which it is established he (upon him peace) or the righteous caliphs persisted, and since in the matter of standing nothing is established not even once, it cannot even be mustaḥabb and mandūb, let alone sunnah.

The most that can be said of the matter if someone tries very hard is that it is permissible and neutral. But to regard a mubāḥ act as sunnah or wājib will make it an innovation and abomination, as has become clear from the statement of Ibn Mas‘ūd (Allāh be pleased with him) and Mullā Alī Qārī (Allāh have mercy on him) and the narration of ‘Ālamgiriyyah.

Anyhow, to declare this standing necessary is harām, and the one who says so is a fāsiq and perpetrator of major sin because that practice which the lawgiver has forbidden (i.e. introducing a new ritual into religion), he has declared wājib. Thus, it is pure opposition to the bright Sharī‘ah. Allāh (Exalted is He) said: “And whosoever opposes the Messenger after guidance becomes clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers we will turn him to what he has turned and make him roast in hell, evil an abode.”

The upshot is that standing at the time of mentioning the birth either:

    1. Has the reason that these people take support from some fabricated narration, or adhere to some saying or practice of scholars. It is known that fabrications and the statements and actions of scholars do not establish a ruling and dispensation until a proof of Shar‘īah is found. Thus, in this situation, recommendation etc. is not proven. Whoever by their own judgement considers [a ḥadīth] to be established, even then to consider it obligatory and emphasised is bid‘ah.
    1. Or it has the reason that the pure soul (upon him peace) came from the world of souls to the world of seeing, so standing is done to honour this. This too is pure foolishness because in this case standing ought to be done at the time of the blessed birth occurring. Which birth is being repeated each day? Thus, this re-enactment of the birth each day is like the Hindus who observe the play-acting (sāng) of the birth of Kanhaiya each year, or like the Rawāfiḍ who recreate [the events of] the martyrdom of the prophetic household each year. Allāh forbid, they have established a play-acting (sāng) of his (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) birth. Just this act is worthy of blame and is ḥarām and wickedness. In fact, these people have exceeded them [the Hindus and Rawāfiḍ]. They do it at a specific date. They have no restrictions. Whenever they want, they create these imagined tales. Such a thing is not observed anywhere in Sharī‘ah, that an imagined matter is established, and is treated as though it is real. Rather, this is forbidden in Sharī‘ah. Thus, based on this reason, this standing would be ḥarām and become a cause of imitating the disbelievers and the wicked.
    1. Or it has the reason that in the corrupt view of these innovators, the victorious soul [of the Prophet] attends this gathering of evils and sins and illicit activities, and this assembly of wicked people and sinners, and this location of innovations and evils. Allāh forbid! If the belief is that he is ‘Ālim al-Ghayb, this belief itself is shirk. It states in the Qur’ān: “With Him are the keys of the ghayb. None but He knows them.” And: “Had I known the ghayb, I would have amassed good and no evil would afflict me.” Thus, to perform the standing with this belief will itself be shirk.
    1. Those who do not say he is ‘Ālim al-Ghayb but have a different evidence or proof of attendance, then understand well that in the topic of beliefs it is necessary to have a decisive text. A belief cannot be established based on singular narrations and speculative evidences, let alone weak and fabricated narrations. In the matter of attendance, which decisive narration is there on which this belief can be based? Thus, this belief is pure following of desires and a scheme of the devil. In such a situation, this standing, with this belief, is a major sin.

In brief, this standing in the first situation is bid‘ah and an abomination, and in the second situation is ḥarām and wickedness, and in the third situation is disbelief and in the fourth situation is following desires and a major sin. Thus, in no situation is it licit and permissible.

Barāhīn e Qāṭi’ah, Dārul Ishā‘at, p.151-2


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)