Thursday, 24 March 2011

AN INTRODUCTION TO AHLU'S SUNNAH WA'L JAMA'AH: ALLAMA YASIN AKHTAR MISBAHI

A
HLUS SUNNAH WAL JAMAAH

A
N INTRODUCTION

MawlAnA Yaseen Akhtar Misbahi

Translated by

Muhammad Aqdas

2

The bi-weekly
Da’wat of Delhi, a publication of Jamaát-e-Islami, India, asked me to

write an introduction to the creed of the Ahlu’s Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah, which is better

known as Hanafi Barelwi among common folk. I was asked to write about the views of

this group, its noteworthy scholars, its important schools and institutes. This would be

published in the special issue of
Da’wat titled Hindustani Musalman Number (Part 2,

October 1999) and serve as a proper introduction to the adherents of Ahlu’s Sunnah wa’l

Jama’ah and their views presented in a reliable manner. I agreed and therefore I present

this article. Even though this subject is worthy of a whole book and it is nigh possible

that this article may serve as an introduction to such a book. I have refrained from

including great many details and have attempted to present a brief introduction. I am sure

it will add to the reader’s knowledge and may be a cause for them to further research the

subject matter.

From the very beginning, the Muslims of India have been affiliated with the Hanafi

school of Sunni thought. In Malabar and Konkan there is a small number of Sunni Shafi’i

Muslims and in some areas of the country there are small communities of Shi’ites.

Sectarianism within the Muslims of India began in the first quarter of the nineteenth

century. In particular, the following (taqleed) of the four Imams of fiqh was made an

issue of contention and to a lesser extent, tasawwuf was also made a target for division.

Taqleed and Tasawwuf were portrayed as innovations of misguidance and on these

grounds many new sects came into existence that moved away from the Ahlu’s Sunnah

wa’l Jama’ah. To look at these facts in light of historic evidence, two excerpts are

presented. The first is by Hakeem Abdul Hayy Rae Barelwi and the second by Sulaiman

Nadwi, a student of Mawlānā Shibli Nu’mani.

(1) According to some people, the taqleed of an Imam in issues of fiqh is

impermissible and Haram. They believe that those rulings that are evident in the Qur’an

and Sunnah should be followed and in fiqhi issues, Qiyas (analogy) and Ijma’

(consensus) hold no weight. To this school of thought belong Mawlānā Fakhir Ilahabadi

bin Yahya and Miyan Ji Shaykh Nazeer Husain Husaini Dihlawi bin Jawwad Ali and

Nawab Siddiq Hasan Bhopali and their followers.

One group has extreme opinions with regards to taqleed and they are adamant that

it is forbidden. They consider muqallideen (followers of an Imam) to be slaves of the nafs

(ego) and amongst the Ahlu’l Bid’ah. They are so forceful with their opinion that they

denigrate the four Imams and in particular Imam Abu Hanifah. This is the school to

which Shaykh Abdul Haq Banarasi bin Fazlullah and Shaykh Abdullah Siddiqi Ilahabadi

and others belong. These people have written books propagating their ideas. For example,

Shaykh Moinuddin Sindhi wrote
Dirasatul Labeeb and Shaykh Fakhir Ilahabadi wrote

Qurratul ‘Ain
. Shah Isma’il Dihlawi wrote Tanweerul ‘Ainayn and Miyan Sayyid Nazeer

Husain wrote
Mi’yarul Haq. Other books include Shaykh Abdullah Ilahabadi’s

I’tisamu’s Sunnah
and Nawab Siddiq Hasan Bhopali’s Al-Jannah fi’l Uswati’l Hasanah

Bi’s Sunnah.

The Hanafi Ulema are also of two categories. The first advocates taqleed based

on research and evaluation. For example, Mulla Bahrul Uloom Abdul Ali bin Mulla

3

Nizamuddin, the author of
Arkan-e-Arba’a and Mawlānā Abdul Hayy Farangi Mahalli

bin Abdul Haleem, the author of
Al-Ta’leeq al-Mumajjad.

The other group of Hanafis are those that stick staunchly to taqleed and do not

tolerate anything against it. For example, Mawlānā Shaykh Fazl
-e-Rasool Amawi

Badayuni and his followers.
1

(2)
Mawlānā Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi and Mawlānā Qasim Nanotwi (founder of

Darul Uloom Deoband) are amongst the top students of Shah Abdul Ghani Mujaddidi. In

Purab, Mawlānā Shah Isma’il’s student are MawlāāSakhawat Ali Jaunpu
ri and others.

This group is characterised by its claim of refutating Bid’ah and ‘pure’ Taw
ĥīd alongside

its adherence to the Hanafi madhab.

Another student of Mawlānā Shah Ishaq is Mawlānā Nazeer Husain Bihari

Dihlawi. His group is characterised not only by its claim of ‘Pure Taw
ĥīd’ and refutation

of Bid’ah; but also its distancing from Hanafi fiqh. Instead, they call for derivation of

rulings directly from books of hadith whatever one can and then act upon it. This group

came to be known as “Ahl e Hadith”.

The third group was that which stuck staunchly upon its old traditions and

continued to call itself the “Ahlu’s Sunnah”. The leaders of this group were mostly the

Ulama of Bareilly and Badayun.
2

According to Hakeem Abdul Hay Rae Barelwi and Sulaiman Nadwi, the group that stuck

staunchly to taqleed, remained upon its old traditions and called itself “Ahlu’s Sunnah”

constituted of Ulema who were from Bareilly and Badayun. Even today, they will not

accept anything apart from taqleed and remaining upon old ways.

Abdur Rahman Parwaz Islahi and Prof. Muhammad Ayyub Qadri portray this sectarian

split in their own words.

(1) The students of Hazrat Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dihlawi were made up one

group that remained upon his creed and did not tolerate anything against the issues of

Shari’ah. However, the other group pressed for the abandonment of taqleed and called for

Ijtihad. Hence, slowly but surely, disagreement appeared on certain issues between the

two groups.
3

(2) Awadh produced some brilliant thi
nkers. In the latter days, Mawlānā Fazle Haq

Khairabadi was the most exceptional of them all. Apart from his father, Mawlānā Fazle

Imam, he also benefited from the Waliyullah family. However, he sternly disagreed with

many of the beliefs of Shah Isma’il and Shah Is’haq and remained steadfast upon his

traditions. Mawlānā Mahboob Ali Dihlawi (student of Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith

1
Islami Uloom-o-Funoon Hindustan Mein, page 154. Darul Musannifeen, Azamgarh – Hakeem Abdul Hay

Rae Barelwi

2
Hayat-e-Shibli, page 46. Darul Musannifeen, Azamgarh – Sulaiman Nadwi

3
Mufti Sadruddin Azurdah, page 138. Maktaba Jamah Ltd – Abdur Rahman Parwaz Islahi

4

Dihlawi) belonged to the same creed. Mawlānā Fazle Haq and Mawlānā Mahboob Ali

refuted the ideas of Shah Isma’il strongly. The Ulema of Bareilly and Badayun helped

them in this cause.
4

The opinions of Muhammad Ja’far Thanesari and MawlāāThanaullah Amratsari are

much closer to the truth and are helpful in arriving at correct conclusions:

(1) During my time in India (1280 AH, 1864 CE) I believe, there were not even ten

individuals in the whole of Punjab that followed the Wahabi creed. And now (1302 AH,

1884 CE) I see that there is no town or city in which at least one in four people are

Wahabi who follow the creed of Muhammad Isma’il.
5

(2) In Amritsar, the Muslim and non-Muslim populations are equal. Eighty years ago,

nearly all Muslims followed that creed which is today called “Hanafi Barelwi”.
6

Mawlānā Thanaullah Amratsari, editor of the periodical
Majallah Ahle Hadith, said this

in 1973. According to him, 165 years ago, the Muslim population of Amritsar, Punjab,

followed the same creed as those that are known today as “Hanafi Barelwi” and

according to Muhammad Ja’far Thanesri, 200 years ago, there was no sign of any Wahabi

or follower of Shah Isma’il Dihlawi in the whole of [undivided] Punjab!

After Siraj-ul-Hind Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dihlawi (d. 1239 AH, 1823 CE),

various people strayed from the Sunni Hanafi creed and adopted non-Madhabism which

divided the Muslims of India. Shah Isma’il Dihlawi’s
Taqwiyatul Iman epitomised their

views and was supposed to strengthen belief in Taw
ĥīd. About this book, Mawlānā

Ashraf Ali Thanwi writes what Shah Isma’il Dihlawi himself thought of his book:

“I have written this book and I know that there are harsh words in some places and

extremist views in certain other places. For example, some actions which are hidden

polytheism [Shirk-e-Khafi], I have labelled it as manifest polytheism [Shirk-e-Jali.] I fear

that there will be an outrage for these reasons. If I were here, I would have published its

contents over an eight or ten year period. However, at this moment, my plan is to go to

Hajj and thereafter, go on Jihad. Therefore, it is not possible to spread publication over

eight or ten years. I also see that no one else will do this job so I published the book all at

once eventhough there will be outrage due to it, though I feel that it will subside over

time.”
7

Harsh language could be a writer’s habit but how did the author of
Taqwiyatul Iman gain

the authority to label Shirk-e-Khafi as Shirk-e-Jali? His expectation of causing an outrage

was certainly fulfilled but the division of Muslims has not healed unto this day.

4
Urdu Roznama – Urdu mein madhabi adab, page 55 – December 1975

5
Tawarikh-e-‘Ajeeba, page 81. Sang Mail Publications, Lahore – Muhammad Ja’far Thanesri

6
Sham’a Tawhid, page 4. Maktaba Thana’ia, Sargodha, Punjab – Thanaullah Amratsari

7
Hikayat-e-Awliya (Arwah-e-Thalatha), page 98. Kutub khana Na’imia, Deoband – Mawlana Ashraf Ali

Thanwi

5

Mawlānā Sayyid Ahmad Raza Bijnori Qasmi writes:

“It is a shame that due to this book (
Taqwiyatul Iman) the Muslims of India who number

200 million, of which 90% are Hanafis, have been split into two groups.”
8

Mawlānā Abul Kalam Azad writes:

“MawlāāMuhammad Isma’il Shaheed was a classmate of MawlāāMunawwaruddin.

After the passing of Shah Abdul Aziz, when he wrote
Taqwiyatul Iman and Jilaul

‘Ainayn
and his creed spread throughout the land, all the scholars rose up against it. The

person who refuted the
se books the most was Mawlānā Munawwaruddin who wrote

several books and in 1240 AH, the famous dialogue happened at the Jamia Mosque of

Delhi. All the scholars of India were asked to effect a ruling [fatwa] and thereafter a

fatwa was also beseeched from the Haramayn.

From his writings it is evident that initially Mawlānā Munawwaruddin tried to convince

Mawlānā Isma’il and his son
-in-law Mawlānā Abdul Hay and their friends and tried all

means to persuade them. However, when all his attempts came to nothing, he was forced

to debate and refute. The famous debate at the Jamia Mosque of Delhi was organised

where on one side were Mawlānā Isma’il and MawlāāAbdul Hay and on the other side

were MawlāāMunawwaruddin and all the scholars of Delhi.
9

Mawlānā Makhsoos Ullah bin Shah Rafiuddin Dihlawi, Mawlānā Muhammad Musa bin

Shah Rafiuddin Dihlawi, Mawlānā Fazle Haq Khairabadi (student of Shah Abdul Aziz

Muhaddith Dihlawi), Mufti Sadruddin Aazurdah (student of Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith

Dihlawi), Muhammad Fazle Rasoo
l Uthmani Badayuni, Mawlānā Ahmad Saeed

Naqshbandi Dihlawi, Mawlānā Rasheeduddin Dihlawi, Mawlānā Khairuddin Dihlawi,

Hakeem Sadiq Ali Khan Dihlawi (grandfather of Masih-ul-Mulk Hakeem Ajmal Khan),

Mawlānā Sayyid Ashraf Ali Gulshan Abadi, Mawlānā Mukhlis
-ur-Rahman Chatgami,

Mawlānā Qalandar Ali Zubairi Panipati and numerous other Ulema of the Ahlu’s Sunnah

refuted these new beliefs and doctrines via speeches and writings. They took part in this

noble Jihad to protect the creed of the Ahlu’s Sunnah wal Jama’ah through their

knowledge and actions.

Hazrat Shah Makhsoos Ullah bin Shah Rafiuddin bin Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dihlawi

was asked seven questions by ‘Allama Fazle Rasool Uthmani Badayuni regarding

Taqwiyatul Iman
. These questions and answers have been published by the name of

Tahqeeq al-Haqeeqah
from Bombay in 1267 AH. Three of these answers are presented

here. Hazrat Shah Makhsoos Ullah Dihlawi writes:

“The answer to the first question concerning
Taqwiyatul Iman – and I call it Tafwiyatul

Iman
(with the letter faa) – is that which I have written in a monograph refuting it named

Mu’eedul Imanf
. Isma’il’s book is not only against the traditions of our family but it is

against the Taw
ĥīd of all the Prophets and Messengers themselves! Because Prophets and

8
Anwar-ul-Bari, page 107. Nashir-ul-Uloom, Bajnur – Mawlana Sayyid Ahmad Raza Bajnuri

9
Azad ki kahani, page 48. Maktaba Khalil, Urdu bazaar, Lahore. Mawlana Abdur Razzaq Maleeh Abadi

6

Messengers are sent to teach the people and make them walk the path of Taw
ĥīd. In this

book however, there is no sign of that Taw
ĥīd nor the Sunnah of the Messengers. Things

that are claimed as Shirk and Bid’ah in this book and taught to the people have not been

labeled as such by any of the Prophets or their followers. If there is any proof otherwise,

ask his followers to show it to us.

The answer to the fourth question is that the Wahabi’s book [ibn Abdu’l Wahab Najdi]

was the text and this is as if it’s commentary. The answer to the fifth point is that Shah

Abdul Aziz was impaired by his poor-sight. When he heard about the book, he said that if

he were not ill, he would have written a refutation similar to
Tuhfa Ithna Ashariya.

It is the grace of All
ah that I (Mawlānā Makhsoos Ullah) wrote a rebuttal of the

commentary (
Tafwiyatul Iman) by course of which the text (Kitab al-Tawĥīd) was also

refuted. My father, Shah Rafiuddin, had not seen the book but when Shah Abdul Aziz

saw it and expressed his disapproval, I set out writing the refutation.”
10

Let us have a look at another example of Shah Isma’il Dihlawi’s reformist nature and his

free thinking. Mawlānā Ashraf Ali Thanwi writes:

“Shah Is’haq narrates that when Molvi Isma’il started performing Rafa’ Yadain (raising

hands in salah) Molvi Muhammad Ali and Molvi Ahmad Ali, who were both students of

Shah Abdul Aziz, approached Shah Abdul Aziz and asked him to warn Molvi Isma’il

against this as it would cause unnecessary confusion. Shah Abdul Aziz replied that he

had become too old and weak to participate in debates.

When Shah Abdul Qadir visited Shah Abdul Aziz, he was asked to tell Isma’il to

abandon Rafa’ Yadain as it would cause confusion among the public. Abdul Qadir

replied that he would advise Isma’il but feared that the latter will not listen and will

counter by presenting hadith.

Hence, Shah Abdul Qadir asked Molvi Muhammad Ya’qub to ask Molvi Isma’il to

abandon Rafa’ Yadain because it will cause unnecessary trouble among the masses.

When Molvi Muhammad Ya’qub spoke to Molvi Isma’il, the latter replied ‘if one worries

about troubling the masses, then what do you say about the hadith: “a person who revives

a Sunnah in times of tribulation gets the reward of a hundred martyrs?”’ When an

abandoned Sunnah is revived then there is bound to be opposition from the masses.

Molvi Muhammad Ya’qub informed Shah Abdul Qadir of Molvi Isma’il’s reply to which

Shah Abdul Qadir said:

“Oh, dear! We thought that Isma’il had become a scholar. But he has not understood the

meaning of [even a simple] hadith. The hadith he quotes is for that action which

contradicts the sunnah. In the matter of Rafa’ Yadain, we do not go against the Sunnah;

10
Anwar-e-Aftab-e-Sadaqat, page 617-620. Kareem Press, Lahore – Muhammad Qadi Fazle Ahmad

Ludhyanwi

7

because just as raising the hands [Rafa’ Yadain] is Sunnah, leaving them unraised is also

[from another] Sunnah.”
11

The contradiction and mistakes of Shah Isma’il Dihlawi in matters of belief (aqayid) and

juridical mistakes caused many disputes among the Ulema. Most notably, the issue

Imkan-e-Kadhib and Imkan-e-Nazeer-e-Muhammadi caused an uproar. The scholars of

Ahlu’s Sunnah have explained these two issues brilliantly, precisely and in detail. The

contentious passage written by Shah Isma’il Dihlawi that caused this friction goes thus:

The glory of that King is such that He can create a billion prophets, awliya, jinns, angels,

Muhammad and Jibril in a single moment with just a ‘kun’ [the command ‘Be.’]

(Taqwiyatu’l Iman, pg.37)

‘Allama Fazle Haq Khairabadi, student of Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dihlawi, refuted

this idea proving it was against the Shari’ah. He wrote that according to the absolute

proofs of the Qur’an and hadith, Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam is the

last and final Prophet, there can be no other Prophet or Messenger after him. Conceiving

another like the Prophet Muhammad is now an impossibility and from those aspects

which is an impossibility according to the Shari’ah. To believe that there can be another

Muhammad would necessitate that Allah did something apart from what He has stated in

the Qur’an, that is, that Allah ta`ala has lied. Lying is a flaw and it is impossible for Allah

to have a flaw. For a detailed discussion on the matter, refer to ‘Allama Fazle Haq

Khairabadi’s
Tahqeeq al-Fatwa fi Ibtal al-Taghwa.12 The book has many proofs

concerning the matter of ‘possibility of lying by Allah ta`ala’ and ‘Impossibility of

another Muhammad to exist’ [Imkan-e-Kizb and Imkan-e-Nazeer-e-Muhammadi.]

Shah Isma’il Dihlawi wrote a monograph on this subject named
Yak Roza and his student

Mawlānā Haidar Ali Tonki
provided support to his teacher’s motif. As an answer to this,

‘Allama Fazle Haq Khairabadi wrote a book in Farsi (Persian) called
Imtina’un Nazeer

which was published by ‘Allama Sayyid Sulaiman Ashraf (President of Islamic Studies,

Aligarh University) in 1908 from Jaunpur.
Mawlānā Ahmad Hasan Kanpuri (student of

Mufti Muhammad Lutfullah Aligarhi and Khalifa of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki)

wrote a book on the topic of Imkan-e-Kizb called
Tanzeeh al-Rahman ‘an Shee’at al-

Kadhibi wa al-Nuqsan
. On the same subject matter, Mawlānā Hakeem Sayyid Barkat

Ahmad Tonki wrote
al-Samsam al-Qadib lira’asi al-Muftari ‘alallahi al-Kadhib and

Mufti Muhammad Abdullah Tonki wrote
Ijalat al-Rakib fi Imtina’yi Kadhib al-Wajib.

With these works, they comprehensively refuted the idea of Imkan-e-Kizb with utmost

brilliance.

We shall now leave the disagreements of that era and move on. The famous Naqshbandi

Mujaddidi scholar Mawlānā Abul Hasan Zaid Faruqi Dihlawi’s summing up of that era is

quite informative:

11
Arwah-e-Thalatha, Hikayat 73. Imdad-ul-Ghuraba, Saharanpur, 1370 H – Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

12
Maktaba Qadriya, Lahore – Urdu translation by Mawlana Muhammad Abdul Hakeem Sharf Qadri

8

“From the time of Hazrat Mujaddid-e-Alfi Thani Shaykh Ahmad Faruqi Sirhindi to 1240

AH (1825 CE), the Muslims of India were divided in only two groups: the Ahlu’s Sunnah

wal Jama’ah and the Shi’a.

Then Mawlānā Isma’il Dihlawi came into the picture. He was the paternal grandson of

Shah Waliullah and the paternal nephew of Shah Abdul Aziz, Shah Rafiuddin and Shah

Abdul Qadir. He came across the ideas of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab Najdi and read

Najdi’s book
Radd al-Ishrak. He wrote Taqwiyatul Iman in Urdu and this book initiated

the era of unfettered freedom in religious matters. Some became Ghair Muqallids, some

Wahabis, some others called themselves Ahle Hadith and some became Salafis.

The respect that people had for the Mujtahid Imams diminished greatly and people of

ordinary learning and common intelligence became Imams. The great tragedy is that in

the name of Taw
ĥīd, people began to disrespect the Prophet. All these corrupted ideas

started after the month of Rabi’ al-Akhir in 1240 AH.”
13

In 1871, a debate took place in Shaikhopur, Badayun, between Muhibbur Rasool Taajul

Fuhool ‘Allama Abdul Qadir Qadri Barkati Badayuni (d. 1319 AH / 1901 CE) and

Mawlānā Ameer Ahmad bin Molvi Ameer Hasan Sahsawani (d. 1306 AH / 1889 CE) on

the matters of Imkan-e-Kizb and Imkan-e-
Nazeer. Mawlānā Nazeer Ahmad Sahsawani

(d. 1299 AH / 1881 CE) has documented this debate.
14 Mawlānā Ameer Ahmad and

Mawlānā Nazeer Ahmad both spent time with Mawlānā Muhammad Ahsan Nanotwi.

Using the
Athar of Ibn-e-Abbas as evidence, they not only believed that having Prophet’s

like Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Isa ‘alayhimu’s salam and Muhammad sallallahu `alaihi

wasallam was possible, they even believed that this was actually the case.

Prof. Muhammad Ayyub Qadri (Karachi) writes:

“It is important to point out that the Ulema of Bareilly and Badayun strongly opposed and

disagreed with Mawlānā Muhammad Ahsan’s (Nanotwi) viewpoint. In Bareilly, the

foremost in opposition was MawlāāNaqi Ali Khan and in Badayun it was MawlāāAbdul Qadir, the son of MawlāāFazle Rasool Badayuni.
15

Mawlānā Abdul Haq Khairabadi, Mawlānā Sayyid Husain Muhaddith Rampuri,

Mawlānā Abdul Ali Rampuri, Mufti Noorun Nabi Rampuri and other Ulema of the

Ahlu’s Sunnah opposed the
Athar of Ibn Abbas, proving it to be against the Qur’an and a

false belief. Hazrat Mufti Irshad Husain Rampuri wrote that believing in it is against the

creed of Ahlu’s Sunnah. Because
Khatam al-Nabiyyin means The final Prophet – that is

Muhammad sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam.
16

13
Mawlana Isma’il Dihlawi aur Taqwiyatul Iman, page 9. Shah Abul Khair Academy, Dehli – Mawlana

Abul Hasan Zaid Dihlawi

14
Munazara-e-Ahmadiya. Published in 1289 AH / 1872 CE

15
Mawlana Muhammad Ahsan Nanotwi, page 94. Maktaba Uthmania, Karachi – Prof. Muhammad Ayyub

Qadri

16
Tanbeeh al-Jihal, page 26. Mufti Hafiz Bakhsh Anolwi.

9

Argumentation regarding Nazeer-e-Muhammadi, Khatme Nubuwat and the Athar of Ibn

Abbas continued and answering a question about these issues,
Mawlānā Muhammad

Qasim Nanotwi wrote a book named
Tahzeerun Naas in which he wrote:

“The common folk, the general populace thinks that the meaning of the saying

‘Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam is the Seal’ means that his time is after the time of

the earlier prophets and that he is the last of all the prophets. However, people of

discerning know that there is no speciality in being earlier or later.

Suppose if there is a prophet born ever after the time of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi

wasallam, there shall be no difference in his being the Seal. So it wouldn’t make any

difference if there is a prophet in his own time on a different planet, or even on this very

planet.”

In a letter to
Mawlānā Muhammad Fazil, Mawlānā Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi wrote:

“The meaning of Khatam al-Nabiyyin according to those who look at literal meanings is

that the time of the Prophethood of Muhammad is after the time of the Prophethood of all

other Prophets and that no other Prophet can come afterwards. However, you know that

this is something in which there is neither praise nor any harm.”
17

Mawlānā Ashraf Ali Thanwi writes:

“When MawlāāNanotwi wrote
Tahzeerun Naas, nobody in the whole of India

supported him
, except Mawlānā Abdul Hay.”18

Mawlānā Muhammad Shah Punjabi, Mawlānā Fazle Majeed Badayuni, Mawlānā Hidayat

Ali Barelwi, Mawlānā Faseehuddin Badayuni and Shaykh Muhammad Thanwi all wrote

books against
Tahzeerun Naas and strongly refuted its contents.

Haz
rat Mawlānā Abdus Samee’ Bedil Rampuri, Khalifa of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir

Makki, wrote the famous book
Anwar-e-Sati’ah. In reply to this book, Mawlānā Khalil

Ahmad Anbethawi Saharanpuri wrote
Baraheen-e-Qati’ah which was endorsed by

Mawlānā Rasheed Ahmad
Gangohi. This book contains a paragraph which compares the

blessed knowledge of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam with that of the accursed

Iblis in such heart wrenching words. He writes:

“The end result: One should ponder that by looking at the state of Shaytan and the Angel

of death, and proving [similar] knowledge that encompasses the earth to the Pride of the

world Sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam without any documentary evidence and merely by

wrong analogy – if this is not polytheism, then which part of belief is this?

Because such extensive [knowledge] for the Angel of death and Shaytan is proved from

absolute evidence [nuSuS e qaTyi`ah]. Where is any such absolute evidence to prove the

17
Qasim al-Uloom, page 55. First letter

18
Al-Ifadat al-Yawmiya, page 580. Deoband – Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

10

extensiveness of the knowledge of the Pride of the world, sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam

which refutes all absolute documents in order to prove one polytheistic belief?”

Baraheen-e-Qati’ah
was written in 1303 AH and there was great displeasure to it. The

Ulema of the Ahlu’s Sunnah opposed it and in 1306 H, a debate took place in Bhawalpur

(Punjab) which was organised by Nawab Muhammad Sadiq Abbasi (Nawab of

Bhawalpur). This was the place where Mawlānā Khalil Ahmad Anbethawi worked.

Mawlānā Mahmood Hasan Deobandi (Shaykh al
-Hind) and Mawlānā Khalil Ahmad

Anbethawi argued in favour of
Baraheen-e-Qati’ah and for the Ahlu’s Sunnah, MawlāāGhulam Dastagir Qasuri was the debater. Shaykh al-Mashaikh Hazrat Shah Ghulam Farid

was the judge for the debate. The whole debate has been published as
Taqdees al-Wakeel

‘an Tauheen al-Rasheed wa al-Khalil
. The debate was a written one and the argument of

Mawlānā Dastagir was this:

“My objection is that you have denied the vast knowledge of the most knowledgeable of

creation sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam and have shown his knowledge to be less than that of

Shaytan. This is disrespect of the worst kind.”
19

Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki and Mawlānā Rahmatullah Kairanwi supported the

Ulema of the Ahlu’s Sunnah and favouring the stance of MawlāāDastagir, they both

signed the
Taqdees al-Wakeel. After seeing the signatures of Mawlānā Rasheed Ahmad

Gangohi in favour of Mawlānā Khalil Ahmad Anbethawi, Mawlānā Rahmatullah

Kairanwi wrote in refutation:

“I used to think of MawlāāRasheed Ahmad as “Rasheed” but he turned out to be other

than this. He has tried hard to prove the knowledge of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi

wasallam to be less than that of Shaytan and has called it Shirk to believe otherwise.”
20

In 1319 AH, Mawlānā Ashraf Ali Thanwi answered a question regarding ‘Ilm
-e-Ghayb

and published it as
Hifzul Iman. In this book, he has compared the knowledge of

Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam or to show its size or smallness to madmen and

animals and has said there is nothing unique to Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam

regarding this knowledge. The actual paragraph is this:

“And then, if it is correct to attribute the knowledge of the unseen (ilm ghayb) to be

possessed by Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam, as Zayd says, then it remains to be

asked, which one he refers to. Is it onl
y a ‘part’ of it (baáĎ or ‘complete’; if he refers to

‘part’, then what is extraordinary about Rasulullah in possessing it? Such knowledge of

unseen is also possessed by all and sundry (Zayd, Amr); even infants, lunatics and all the

animals and quadrupeds.”

The paternal grandson of Hazrat Sayyid Muhammad Jilani Qadri Hyderabadi, Sayyid

Nazeeruddin son of Sayyid Moinuddin, expresses his disgust at this statement:

19
Taqdees al-Wakeel, page 93

20
Taqdees al-Wakeel, page 419

11

“Some people brought the book,
Hifzul Iman by Ashraf Ali Thanwi to my grandfather

(Sayyid Muhammad Jilani Qadri) and asked about it. He read the book and said, “Molvi

Ashraf Ali has written an utmost disrespectful thing about ‘Ilm-e-Ghayb”.

A few days after this, Molvi Ashraf Ali was sitting in Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad. My

grandfather stood and expressed his disgust at the book and said, “This paragraph stinks

of Kufr.”

A few days later, there was gathering of Ulema at the house of Mawlānā Hafiz

Muhammad Ahmad (son of Mawlānā Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi). Since he had great

affection for my grandfather he invited him too. At the gathering, the Ulema expressed

their views on the paragraph in
Hifzul Iman. My grandfather mentioned the disgust he felt

and presented a fatwa against the book.

Then, some days after this, my grandfather saw Sayyidina Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi

wasallam in a dream. The dear Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam expressed his

happiness that my grandfather had refuted the book and had labelled it “Aqbah” (the most

repugnant). Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “I am happy with you. What do

you wish for?” My grandfather replied that he wished that his remaining life would be

spent in Madina and that he be buried in Madina. His wish was granted and he migrated

to Madina thereafter. He spent ten years there and passed away there in 1364 AH.
21

Hazrat
Mawlānā Abul Khair Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Dihlawi was once resident in Kothi

Ilahi Bakhsh, Meerut. During his stay, Hafiz Muhammad Ahmad, son of Mawlānā

Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi, and Mawlānā Ashraf Ali Thanwi came to one of his

gatherings. A supporter of Mawlānā Ghulam Dastagir Qasuri read out the passage of

Hifzul Iman
. Hazrat Shah Abul Khair Dihlawi found it utterly displeasing and said:

“Is this service to the religion? Your elders were upon our path. Why did you oppose

this?” Molvi Ashraf Ali Thanwi replied, “I have clarified this passage in another book of

mine”. Shah Abul Khair answered, “So many people have diverged from the truth due to

your book, what need remains of your clarification?”
22

The beginning and the end of sectarianism is there for all to see. Muhammad Husain

(Raees Nahtor, Zila Bajnur) writes that when Shah Muhammad Isma’il Dihlawi reached

Lucknow from Delhi with his supporters and began to preach his ideas:

“At the time,
Mawlānā Abdur Rahman Wilayati was resident in Lucknow. He was

famous for his miracles. Molvi Isma’il abstained from debate during this time. When he

was about to leave, he said that the Ulema of Lucknow were very astray. He expressed

his plan to return from Calcutta and do Jihad against these “astray” people. Molvi Abdur

Rahman said, “My son! Whoever has intentions such as this does not return.”
23

21
Maqamat-e-Khair, page 616. Shah Abul Khair Academy, Dehli

22
Bazm-e-Khair az-Zayd, page 11. Shah Abul Khair Academy, Dehli

23
Faryad al-Muslimin, 1308 AH / 1890 CE – Muhammad Husain Bajnuri

12

The ideology of Sayyid Ahmad Rae Barelwi and the writings of Shah Isma’il Dihlawi

strayed away from the beliefs of the predecessors and the creed of Waliyullahi family.

Pointing towards the consequences of this,
Mawlānā Ubaidullah Sindhi clearly expresses

his views:

“As time passed by, due to dissent from the original creed, instead of becoming a national

movement for the Muslims, the Waliyullahi movement became a platform for religious

sectarianism. When connected with Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed, naturally, this sectarianism

occurred and the other section of this movement, the Deoband movement, also caused the

same result. Even today, the vast majority of Muslims is Barelwi which does not consider

the two abovementioned movements as being anything less than
Kufr.”24

The religious sectarianism that occurred in India after 1240 AH / 1825 CE, the reasons

for it and the people behind it have been mentioned briefly. A brief list of influential

Sunni personalities is also presented.

13
th Century Hijri

‘Allama Abdul Ali Farangi Mahalli Lakhnawi (1144-1235 AH)

Shah Muhammad Ajmal Ilahabadi (1160-1236 AH)

Shah Anwarul Haq Farangi Mahalli (1159-1239 AH)

Shah Ghulam Ali Naqshbandi Dihlawi (1158-1240 AH)

Shah Abu Sa’eed Mujaddidi Rampuri (1196-1226 AH)

Shah Sayyid Aale Ahmad Qadri Barkati Marahrawi (1160-1262 AH)

Shah Abul Hasan Fard Phulwarwi (1191-1265 AH)

Shah Ahmad Sa’eed Mujaddidi Rampuri (1217-1277 AH)

‘Allama Fazl-e-Haq Khayrabadi (1212-1278 AH)

‘Allama Abdul Haleem Farangi Mahalli Lakhnawi (1209-1285 AH)

‘Allama Fazle Rasool Uthmani Qadri Badayuni (1213-1289 AH)

Shah Aale Rasool Ahmadi Qadri Barkati Marahrawi (1209-1296 AH)

Mawlānā Naqi Ali Barelwi (1246-1297 AH)

and many others, may Allah be pleased with them all.

14
th Century Hijri

Mawlānā Abdul Hay Farangi Mahalli Lakhnawi (1264-1304 AH)

Mufti Irshad Husain Mujaddidi Rampuri (1248-1311 AH)

Mawlānā Fazle Rahman Ganj Muradabadi (1208-1313 AH)

Mawlānā Ghulam Dastagir Qusuri Lahori (d. 1315 AH)

Mawlānā Abdul Qadir Uthmani Qadri Barkati Badayuni (1253-1319 AH)

Mawlānā Hidayatullah Rampuri Jaunpuri (d. 1326 AH)

Mawlānā Khairuddin Dihlawi (d. 1326 AH)

24
Ifadat-o-Malfuzat, page 349. Sindh Sagar Academy, Lahore – Mawlana Ubaidullah Sindhi

13

Mawlānā Ahmad Raza Hanafi Qadri Barkati Barelwi (1272-1340 AH)

Shah Abul Khair Naqshbandi Dihlawi (1272-1341 AH)

Sayyid Shah Ali Husain Ashrafi Kachochawi (1266-1355 AH)

Shah Mihr Ali Golrawi Punjabi (1274-1356 AH)

and many others, may Allah be pleased with them all.

In the previous pages, the references and the passages of the leaders of Deoband are

based upon misguidance and Kufr (copies of the original passages can be seen in
Da’wat

e Fikr
by Mawlānā Muhammad Mansha Tabish Qasauri). These passages harm the

Islamic doctrine about Allah and the sanctity of Prophethood. These were the root cause

of the division among the Muslims of India and this land became a battleground for

sectarianism, the effects of which can be seen even today in every village, town and city,

destroying the very soul of Islam.

The movement to preserve the sanctity and sacredness of Prophethood and protection of

the creed of the Ahlu’s Sunnah was aided by many great scholars who played a vital role.

Foremost among them was, Muhibbu’r Rasool Taaju’l Fuhool
Mawlānā Abdul Qadir

Uthmani Qadri Barkati Badayuni (son of ‘Allama Fazl e Rasool Uthmani Qadri Barkati

Badayuni), student of ‘Allama Fazl e Haq Khairabadi who was the student of Shah Abdul

Aziz Muhaddith Dihlawi and secondly Imam e Ahl e Sunnat Mawlānā Ahm
ad Raza

Hanafi Qadri Barkati Barelwi (son of ‘Allama Naqi Ali Barelwi), Khalifa of Mawlāā
Sayyid Shah Aal e Rasool Qadri Barkati Marahrawi who was the student of Shah Abdul

Aziz Muhaddith Dihlawi. These two personalities, in their own era, played an important

role. They both had Bay’ah and also Ijazah and Khilafah from Marahra Mutahhara (Eta,

U.P.) and their allegiance was always to the luminaries of Marahra Mutahhara.

The distinctive characteristic of Imam Ahmad Raza Hanafi Qadri Barkati Barelwi was his

love for the dear Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam. His great-grandson,
Mawlānā Mufti

Akhtar Raza Qadri Azhari Barelwi writes:

“The love of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam was the prime focus in his life. All

his sayings and actions were steeped in love for the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam

that it can be said that, he was, from head to toe, immersed in the love of Rasulullah

sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam. Love of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam was his life

and that was his message.”

It is worth noting here that his love was not a kind of madness where all sense of

judgment is lost; rather, his love bound him to comply with the wishes of the beloved

sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam. This is the state in love, where a man’s own wishes are

vanquished and he becomes a follower of the wishes of his beloved. This is the state

mentioned in the hadith : ‘that a man’s desires are compliant with that [message] which I

have come with.’ [
wa an yakunu hawāhu tab’an limaa jiytu bihi]. This aspect is reflected

in all his religious services and efforts. His book,
Maqal e ‘Urafa’ bi I’zaz e Shar’a wa

‘Ulema
is sufficient to demonstrate this. In this book he has shown the loftiness of the

Shari’ah, and has eloquently refuted those freethinking Sufis who oppose it. He has

14

strongly refuted rituals and actions that are anti-Shari’ah in his books and urged Muslims

to abstain from them. For example, visiting fake graves, visiting of graves by women,

festivals and fairs during an ‘Urs, prostration of reverence and making Ta’zia [icons to

commemorate the martyrdom of Ahl al-Bayt]. He has strongly advised and urged

Muslims to abstain from such rituals.
25

Prof. Muhammad Mas’ud Ahmad Mujaddidi Mazhari, son of Mufti Muhammad

Mazharullah Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (Khateeb and Imam of Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi)

writes:

(1) Imam Ahmad Raza Muhaddith Barelwi considered it to be contrary to adab

[respect] to use words or phrases loosely, when referring to Allah ta’ala or the Prophets;

because even though the literal meaning might seem correct, they still remain

disrespectful. According to Muhaddith Barelwi, such words are present in Molvi

Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi’s
Tahzeerun Naas, Molvi Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s Hifzul Iman,

Molvi Khalil Ahmad Anbethawi’s
al-Baraheen al-Qati’ah, Molvi Isma’il Dihlawi’s

Sirat-e-Mustaqeem
and Taqwiyatul Iman and Molvi Mahmood Hasan Deobandi’s al-

Jahd al-Maqal
. Whereas the authors of these books claim that these words should not be

taken in the sense that is disrespectful; because even according to them, disrespect is

Haram. But the standpoint of Muhaddith Barelwi is that because the passages in these

books are in common speech [Urdu]. The default meaning is that which is commonly

understood by the native Urdu speaker. Therefore, the ruling will be according to such a

meaning [not the abstruse one, which can be extracted].

(2) Secondly, Muhaddith Barelwi believed that the praise mentioned about the

Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam in the Qur’an and Hadith should be taken as it is

reported and disseminated likewise so that the status and rank of the Prophet sallallahu

‘alaihi wasallam is known to Muslims and their hearts are filled with his love and respect.

However, the Ulema of Deoband chose to be overly cautious in this regard because they

believed that this could cause Muslims to transgress the limits.

(3) Muhaddith Barelwi was of the opinion that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet

sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam was permissible and desirable, whereas the scholars of

Deoband were against it.

(4) Muhaddith Barelwi considered Qiyam [to stand in respect] to be a praiseworthy

act in the gatherings of Mawlid an-Nabi sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam whereas the scholars

of Deoband considered this to be Bid’ah or an innovation.

(5) Muhaddith Barelwi considered ‘Urs to be permissible (as long as these gatherings

did not contravene the Shari’ah) whereas the scholars of Deoband considered them to be

impermissible.

25
Weekly Hujoom, New Delhi. December 1988

15

(6) Fatiha [donating the reward to deceased] was considered permissible by

Muhaddith Barelwi [again as long as it did not have any element against Shari`ah] but the

scholars of Deoband considered it to be impermissible.

A few paragraphs later, Prof. Muhammad Mas’ud Ahmad writes:

The Spiritual Master and Murshid of the elders of Deoband, Haji Imdadullah Muhajir

Makki, had the same opinions as Muhaddith Barelwi did; and he wrote a monograph,

Faisla Haft Mas’ala
to unite these two groups. However, the Ulema of Deoband did not

accept his views.
26

From the Salaf (predecessors) to the Khalaf (their successors) it is a unanimous belief that

disrespect towards the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam is a gross crime and manifest

Kufr. The Qur’an, Hadith and the sayings of the Sahaba and Tabi’een form the evidence

for this ruling. The Shaykh-ul-
Hadith of Darul Uloom Deoband, Mawlānā Husain Ahmad

Tandwi, writes concerning the issue:

“Disrespecting the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam is Kufr. Never mind

clear disrespect, even if a person utter words that [are ambiguous and

hence] might resemble disrespect, even this will cause it to be ruled

Kufr.”
27

Similarly,
Ilhad and Zandaqah are also Kufr; and after Shar’i proof is obtained, it is

obligatory to rule someone an apostate [Takfeer] who denies a matter deemed among the

necessities of faith. Mawlānā Ameen Ahsan Islahi from Madrasatul Islah (Azamgarh,

U.P.) writes in a letter:

“M
awlānā Thanwi’s fatwa has been published that MawlāāShibli

Nu’mani and MawlāāHamiduddin Farahi are Kafir and because the

Madrasatul Islah is part of their mission, it is a Madrasa of Kufr and

apostacy up to the stage that those Ulema who attend the missionary

gatherings of the Madrasa they too are Mulhid and non-Muslims.”
28

When the mureed and Khalifa of Mawlānā Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Mawlānā Abdul Majid

Daryabadi, wrote a letter to Mawlānā Thanwi which consisted of praise for Mawlānā

Shibli Nu’mani and Ma
wlānā Farahi’s knowledge, their piety and their religious services,

MawlāāThanwi replied by writing:

“These are all actions (a’maal). Belief (‘aqaid) is a separate entity to this.

Good beliefs can be coupled with bad actions just as bad beliefs can be

coupled with good actions.”
29

26
Imam Ahmad Raza Muhaddith Barelwi, page 37-38. Qadri Kitab Ghar, Bareilly – Prof. Muhammad

Mas’ud Ahmad

27
Maktubat Shaykh-ul-Islam, vol. 2, page 165

28
Hakeem-ul-Ummah, page 475 – Abdul Majid Daryabadi

29
Hakeem-ul-Ummah, page 476

16

Further details on this topic can be found in books like
Kitab al-Shifa’ by Qadi Iyad

Maliki al-Andalusi,
As-Sarim al-Maslool of ibn Taymiya, Ikfar al-Mulhideen by Anwar

Shah Kashmiri (Shaykh-ul-Hadith, Darul Uloom Deoband),
Ashaddul ‘Adhaab by

Murtada Hasan Darbhangwi (Head of Education, Deoband) and two new books –

Naamoos-e-Rasool aur Qanoon-e-Tauheen-e-Risalat
by Justice Muhammad Isma’il

Qureshi and
Gustaakh-e-Rasool ki Shar’i Haysiyat by Mufti Muhammad Gul Rahman

Qadri.

The scholars of Ahlu’s Sunnah defended the sanctity of Prophethood and they performed

a Jihad against attacks on established beliefs. Following in their footsteps, the Imam of

Ahlu’s Sunnah, MawlāāImam Ahmad Raza Hanafi Qadri Barkati Barelwi protected the

creed of the Ahlu’s Sunnah with his pen; Books like
Kanz al-Iman fi Tarjumat al-Qur’an,

Al-‘Ataya al-Nabawiya fi al-Fatawa al-Ridawiyya
, Jadd al-Mumtar ‘ala Radd al-Muhtar,

Hadayiq-e-Bakhshish
and Al-Daulat al-Makkiyah are proof of his efforts to ward of the

mischief. As a part of this service are his
Fatawa al-Haramain Bi Rajafi Nadwat al-

Mayn
(1317 AH, 1899 CE), Al-Mu’tamad al-Mustanad (1320 AH, 1902 CE) and

Husaam al-Haramayn
(1324 AH) in which he passed the juridical verdict that the

aforementioned writings were Kufr and presented it to the scholars of Haramayn

(Makkah and Madinah) who wrote approvals [taqriz] for that fatwa. Read
Fazil-e-

Barelwi ‘Ulema-e-Hijaz ki Nazar Mein
written by Prof. Dr. Mas’ud Ahmad for more

details.

As a Faqih (jurist) and a Mufti, he wrote thousands of fatawa and answered all kinds of

questions. Other Sunni contemporaries also rendered this service, but his rank was that

of a spokesman for all of them. He was always at the forefront against false belief and

anti-Islamic philosophies. He refuted the Wahabi sect and its offshoots with utmost

brilliance and this is the reason why he became a target for many a false accusation. He

writes himself in
Tamhid e Iman:

“To deceive the public these people have contrived a scheme. They say,

“What is the reliability of these scholars of Ahlu’s Sunnah? These people

[Sunnis] make takfir on petty things. Their machines churn out only the

decrees declaring people as infidels. They have ruled Isma’il Dihlawi,

Molvi Ishaq, Molvi Abdul Hay as Kafirs” [here the imam implies that he

has not said so].

And those without shame say that I have ruled Kafir – I seek Allah’s

refuge -
Shah Abdul Aziz, Shah Waliullah, Haji Imdadullah, Mawlānā

Shah Fazlurrahman [all scholars of Ahlu’s Sunnah] and those beyond all

boundaries of shame, say that I have ruled Kafir – I seek Allah’s refuge –

that I have did Takfeer of Shaykh Mujaddid Alfi Thani rahimahullah

[implying I have never said so].

They mention the names of whosoever the person they are talking to holds

in great esteem. In fact some of them went to Mawlānā Muhammad

Husain Ilahabadi and said that I have done Takfeer of – I seek Allah’s

refuge - Shaykh al-Akbar Muhiyuddin ibn al-‘Arabi quddisa sirruhu! May

17

Allah grant the Mawlānā an exalted place in para
dise for he did not

believe those liars. Rather he obeyed the verse: “If a fasiq comes to you

with news, make sure of it” [investigate its truthfulness] and he wrote to

me asking whether I had done so. I wrote to him back negating it in the

form of a booklet by name,
Inja al-Bari an Waswasil Muftari. When the

Mawlānā read it he said “La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah”, warding off

the deceit of these people.”
30

A prominent scholar of the Ahlu’s Sunnah, MawlāāSayyid Ahmad Sa’eed Kazmi

Amrohawi (Anwar-ul-Uloom, Multan) writes:

“On the issue of Takfeer [ruling someone as an apostate], our stance has

always been that, whosoever utters words of Kufr we shall not refrain

from pronouncing Takfeer against them; whether they be Deobandi or

Barelwi, follower of the League or the Congress, Nechari [naturalists] or

Nadwi. On this issue we shall not differentiate whether someone is a

friend or a foe.

This certainly does mean that if one follower of the League utters a word

of Kufr, all the followers of the League are Kafir; or if one Nadwi

committed Kufr that all Nadwis are apostates. We do not declare all the

residents of Deoband as Kafirs due to passages of Kufr written by some

Deobandis.

We and our elders have repeatedly said that we do not decree any resident

of Deoband or Lucknow as a kafir just because they live there. According

to us, only that person is a kafir who commits insults against Allah, His

Prophets and the chosen people of Allah and despite repeated warnings,

does not repent. We also consider those people to be kafir who are aware

of such Kufr and are aware of the clear meanings of these insults, and

despite this they consider the insults to be the truth, the insulter to be a

believer and their leader.

And that is it.

Apart from this, we do not declare anyone who claims to be a Muslim as

an apostate. The number of people we have ruled as apostates are very

few in number and restricted [to a specific issue]. Apart from these

specific individuals, no Muslim from Deoband or Bareilly is termed an

apostate. Neither are [Muslim] followers of the League or the Congress.

We consider all Muslims to be exactly that – Muslims.”
31

Mufti Muhammad Sharif al-Haq Amjadi, an exegete of
Al-Bukhari, and head of the fatwa

division [Dar al-Ifta’], al-Jamiat al-Ashrafiya, Mubarakpur (India) writes:

30
Tamheed-e-Iman, page 45-46. Idara Ma’arif-e-Nu’mania, Lahore - Imam Ahmad Raza Barelwi

31
Al-Haq al-Mubeen, page 24-25. Multan – ‘Allama Ahmad Sa’eed Kazmi

18

“Mere currency among common folk [úrf] is not sufficient to issue a

ruling. Rather, rulings must take the real meanings of words into

consideration. Therefore, a person who calls himself a Deobandi, is

known by others as a Deobandi, believes these four Ulema-e-Deoband to

be his leaders, even labels the Ahlu’s Sunnah as Bid’atis, but is not aware

of the infamous statements of Kufr of these four scholars, then in reality

he is not a Deobandi [who is ruled kafir]. Such a person is not ruled as a

disbeliever or that performing his funeral prayer is disbelief. And Allah

knows best.”
32

Note by the translator: The reason why the shaykh says ‘he is not a Deobandi in reality’

is because in the fatwas of Imam Ahmad Raza and other prominent Sunni scholars, the

tag ‘Deobandi’ is used for a specific group. People should not confuse this to accuse

these scholars of indulging in blanket takfir. Allāh t
áālā knows best.

The Ahlu’s Sunnah scholars have described criteria and conditions that are to be met

before someone can be ruled an apostate.

(1) Takallam – that a particular statement was certainly said;

(2) Kalam – that such a statement is certainly blasphemous;

(3) Mutakallim – that such a statement was certainly said by the person.

When there is not the frailest doubt [or misunderstanding] in any of the criteria above OR

when there is not an acceptable explanation, only then can a ruling of apostacy be issued.

This is the same for both actions and words [amounting to blasphemy]. This principle

can be understood by a simple example. If Zayd claims to be a Muslim, then the ruling of

apostacy [takfir] can be issued only if he denies or contravenes any necessary article of

faith either through his words or his actions and such a denial or contravention has:

(1) indeed occurred

(2) such words or actions are indeed blasphemous

(3) such words or actions are indeed proved to be that of Zayd.

And only when all three aspects above are conclusively proven and ascertained, the

ruling of apostacy [takfir] can be pronounced for Zayd.

The unambiguous position of the scholars of Ahlu’s Sunnah concerning the leaders of

Deoband and their infamous statements is that: any person who has complete knowledge

of these statements and clear understanding of those statements, and yet, does not

consider such people as disbelievers is a disbeliever himself. That is, being fully

cognizant of the issue and complete understanding of those statements is a necessary

condition for ruling the second person [the follower or admirer of Deobandi elders] an

apostate.

32
Ma’arif Shaareh Bukhari, page 914, Raza Academy, Mumbai

19

The doctrine and the actions of Ahlu’s Sunnah are those which have been handed down

from the time of the Prophet and his companions [Sahabah] to their successors

[Tabiyeen] and that which have been documented in the books of tafseer, hadith, fiqh,

tasawwuf, seerah and tareekh. The writings and speeches of the scholars of Farangi

Mahal, Lucknow, Khayrabad, Badayun and Bareilly conform to this very set of beliefs.

They are the true spokesmen of the teachings and opinions of scholars like Shaykh Abdul

Haq Muhaddith Dihlawi (d. 1052 AH) and Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dihlawi (d. 1239

AH) who are the true heirs of Islamic scholars. They will never accept or even

contemplate novel ideas that contradict Islamic doctrine. They hold fast unto the doctrine

propounded and promulgated by the elders; they consider this to be a precious gift and a

path to their own salvation and that of other Muslims.

Mawlānā Nayimuddin Muradabadi, a deputy of Imam Ahmad Raza Hanafi Barkati

Barelwi, writes:

“A Sunni is one, who is a living example of
Maa ana ‘alaihi wa as’habi. They are upon

the creed of the Khulafa al-Rashideen, the Imams of religion [both fiqh and tasawwuf]

and among the latter scholars Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dihlawi, Malik al-Ulema

Bahr al-
Uloom Mawlānā Abdul Ali Farangi Mahalli, Mawlānā Fazle Haq Khairabadi,

Mawlānā Shah Fazl e Rasool Badayuni, Mufti Irshad Husain Rampuri and Mawlānā

Mufti Shah Ahmad Raza Barelwi, may Allah have mercy on them.”
33

Imam Ahmad Raza Barelwi in his fatawa – like other scholars of Ahlu’s Sunnah – has

enjoined Muslims to be steadfast in their belief and better their social standing. These are

available as small booklets and following are the subjects of his fatawa :

- Shari’ah is the ultimate law and following it is obligatory for all

Muslims;

- to refrain from Bid’ah is of utmost importance

- a Sufi without knowledge or a Shaykh without actions is a joke of the

devil;

- it is impermissible to imitate the Kuffar, to mingle with the misguided

[and heretics] and to participate in the festivals of the Hindus.

- it is polytheism [shirk] to prostrate to any other than Allah tá
ālā with

the intention of worship. And if such a prostration is out of reverence

[sajdah at-ta
ĥiyyah], it is Haram.

- it is prohibited to ridicule other muslims and consider oneself higher

than others.

33
Al-Faqeeh, page 9, Amritsar – 21st August, 1925 CE

20

- the iconography of the Shi`ah [ta’aziyah] and respecting such icons is

forbidden

- Qawwali [sama’a] with musical instruments is forbidden

- it is not permissible for women to travel to visit graves [or maqams of

awliya]

- it is not permissible to make pictures of living things.

- abbreviating the blessing ‘sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam’ to an acronym

‘sa’d lam ayn meem’, [in english it is abbreviated as PBUH] is

impermissible

- to visit fake graves [that have no basis or record but simply the product

of folklore] is impermissible

- feeding the poor and needy with the intention to donate the reward to

the dead is permissible; but to hold obsequies and banquets where

even the rich are invited is impermissible

For further details, see my book,
Imam Ahmad Raza aur Radd e Bid’aat-o-Munkaraat,

[Imām Aĥmed Rida and his refutation of heresies and innovations] published in In
dia and

Pakistan.

He had the same opinion like that of the
Sawad al-A’dham (the great majority) of the

Ahlu’s Sunnah wal Jama’ah; similar to that of the scholars of Badayun, Khairabad,

Bareilly, the masters of Marahra and Kichaucha with regards to the following practices

and beliefs are permissible:

- that intercession [
tawassul] of the Prophets and saints is permissible

- to respect relics of the prophets and elders and to revere them

- visit shrines or graves of saints with the intention of tawassul

- to celebrate ‘Urs which is free from impermissible practises and sin

- to celebrate the birthday of the prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam

[Mawlid, Qiyam] and to stand up in his honor

- to donate reward of good deeds to the dead [Fatiha and Isaal al-

Thawab] etc.

These are practices permitted by our predecessors and even today, 90% of the Muslims of

the world practice these actions. The newly published Arabic book,
Mafaheem Yajib an

21

Tusahhaha
34
[Matters that need to be Clarified], by the late Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi

ibn Abbas al-Maliki al-Makki is a detailed exposition and research on the practices of the

Ahlu’s Sunnah. Many contemporary Arab and African scholars have endorsed this book,

many of whom are the members of
Raabta al-‘Aalam-e-Islami, Makka. I have translated

this book into Urdu by the name of
Islah-e-Fikr-o-I’ytiqad, which has been published

both in India and Pakistan.

Sayyid Muhammad Faruq al-Qadri, the Urdu translator of
Anfas al-‘Arifeen, an important

book on taşawwuf among the followers of Shah Waliyullah, writes the following about

the practices of Ahlu’s Sunnah:

“Imagine! Were Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dihlawi, Shah Abdur Raheem, Shaykh Abū’r

Rida and Siraj al-
Hind Mawlānā Shah Abdul Aziz all Barelwis? Mawlānā Shah Ahmad

Raza Barelwi and Darul Uloom Deoband were not even in existence when these

disagreements began.

It is ironic that the first thing that disrupted the peaceful environment of the Subcontinent

was a member of this prominent family [of Shah Waliyullah] - Shah Muhammad Ismay’il

and his
Taqwiyatul Iman. His thought was unacceptable, his beckoned towards a strange

idea and his way of invitation was warlike.

I have seen a list of 250 books written as a rebuttal to
Taqwiyatul Iman in various

languages as soon as it was published. From this, one can surmise the reaction towards

this book amongst both ordinary Muslims and scholars.

We have no proof to say that all the scholars, Sufis and ordinary Muslims were steeped in

polytheism and heresy [Shirk and Bid’ah] and that Shah Muhammad Isma’il was

enlightening the nation and introducing them to
real Tawĥīd for the first time.

After all, what is the time gap between Shah Waliyullah, Shah Abdul Aziz and Shah

Muhammad Isma’il? Had the entire Subcontinent been engulfed in Kufr and Shirk in this

very short period? And if it was already afflicted with Shirk and Kufr, then why did

Hakeem al-Ummah Shah Waliullah and Shah Abdul Aziz not use the same harsh

language [as Shah Isma’il]?

The reality of the matter is that, the first voice that erred from the creed of
Sawad al-

A’dham
or the Great Majority that shook the Subcontinent was that of Shah Isma’il.

Certainly, this can be termed as an invitation to the movement of Muhammad bin Abdu’l

Wahhab an-Najdi but it surely not a call towards the thought or practices of Shah

Waliyullah.”
35

The movement to protect the Ahlu’s Sunnah and to reinstill the respect of the Prophet in

the hearts of Muslims, was led by the scholars of Khairabad, Badayun and Bareilly. This

movement came into prominence as an answer to the Wahabi movement and was greatly

34
First published in 1985, Cairo

35
Anfas al-‘Arifeen, page 18-19. Maktaba al-Falah, Deoband

22

aided by the Imam of the Ahlu’s Sunnah,
Mawlānā Ahmad Raza Hanafi Qadri Barkati

Barelwi (d. 1340 AH, 1921 CE) whose immense knowledge and outstanding leadership

saw that the creed of Ahlu’s Sunnah, the creed of our predecessors, the elder scholars

prevailed.

A brief list of scholars, institutions and publishing houses that belong to the Ahlu’s

Sunnah is in order.

Scholars among many others, may Allah have mercy on them all:

Mawlānā Waşī Aĥmed Muĥaddith Sūratī

Mawlānā Amjad Álī Azmi

Mawlānā Nayimuddin Muradabadi

Sayyid Jama’at Ali Shah Muhaddith Alipuri

Mawlānā Sayyid Deedar Ali Alwari

Mawlānā Hamid Raza Qadri

Mawlānā Mustafa Raza Qadri Noori

Mawlānā Abdul Muqtadir Badayuni

Mawlānā Abdul Qadeer Badayuni

Mawlānā Abdul Aleem Siddiqi

Mawlānā Sayyid Muhammad Muhaddith Ashrafi Kachochwi

Mawlānā Zafaruddin Qadri Bihari

Mufti Muhammad Abdul Baqi Burhanul Haq Jabalpuri

Mawlānā Hashmat Ali Lakhnawi

Mawlānā Karamatullah Dihlawi

Mawlānā Hasnayn Raza Barelwi

Contemporary scholars:

Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Qadri Azhari

Mawlānā Shah Ahmad Noorani

Mawlānā Tahseen Raza Barelwi

Mufti Muhammad Shariful Haq Amjadi

‘Allama Arshadul Qadri

‘Allama Sayyid Mahmood Ahmad Rizvi Lahori

Mufti Abdul Mannan Azmi

Mufti Ghulam Muhammad Rizvi Nagpuri

Mufti Muhammad Abdul Qayyum Qadri Hazarvi

Prof. Muhammad Mas’ud Ahmad Mujaddidi Mazhari

Mufti Zafar Ali Nu’mani

Mufti Jalaluddin Ahmad Amjadi

Mawlānā Sayyid Muhammad Madni Ashrafi Kachochwi

Mufti Muhammad Ashfaq Husain Na’imi

‘Allama Zia-ul-Mustafa Qadri

23

Khwaja Muzaffar Husain Rizvi

Mawlānā Mujeeb Ashraf Rizvi

Mawlānā Abdul Hakeem Sharf Qadri

Shah Turabul Haq Qadri

Sayyid Hamid Ashraf Kachochwi

Mawlānā Qamaruzzaman Azmi

Mawlānā Muhammad Ahmad Azmi Misbahi

Institutions and Universities [or Madrasah, Jami`ah] of Ahlu’s Sunnah:

Manzar-e-Islam, Bareilly

Mazhar-e-Islam, Bareilly

Al-Jamiatul Ashrafiyah, Mubarakpur

Jamia Na’yimia, Muradabad

Darul Uloom Hizbul Ahnaaf, Lahore

Darul Uloom Amjadia, Karachi

Jamia Nizamia Rizvia, Lahore

Darul Uloom Ishaqia, Jodhpur

Markaz al-Thaqafat al-Sunniya, Calicut, Kerala

Jamia Sa’dia, Kasargod, Kerala

Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya, New Delhi

Darul Uloom Amjadia, Nagpur

Darul Uloom Faizur Rasool, Bara’un Shareef

Jamia Ashraf, Kichaucha Shareef

Jamia Hameedia Rizvia, Banaras

Jamia Na’yimia, Lahore

Darul Uloom Na’yimia, Karachi

Al-Jamiatul Islamia, Ronahi, Faizabad

Darul Uloom ‘Aleemia, Jamdashahi, Basti

Darul Uloom Muhammadia, Mumbai

Faizul Uloom, Jamshedpur

Zia-ul-Islam, Hora, Bengal

Anwar-ul-Qur’an, Balrampur

Darul Uloom Ghareeb Nawaz, Ilahabad

Ahsan-ul-Madaris, Kanpur

Darul Uloom Warsia, Lucknow

24

Publishers:

Sunni Darul Isha’at, Mubarakpur

Al-Majma’ al-Islami, Mubarakpur

Markazi Majlis-e-Raza, Lahore

Raza Academy, Lahore

Raza Academy, Mumbai

Idara Tahqeeqat-e-Imam Ahmad Raza, Karachi

Idara Ma’arif-e-Nu’mania, Lahore

Darul Qalam, Dehli

Al-Majma’ al-Misbahi, Mubarakpur

Idara-e-Afkar-e-Haq, Baisi Purniya

Maktaba Jaam-e-Noor, Delhi

Faruqia Book Depot, Delhi

Rizvi Kitab Ghar, Delhi and Bhiwandi

Maktaba Na’imia, Delhi

Kutub Khana Amjadia, Basti

Qadri Kitab Ghar, Bareilly

Qadri Book Depot, Bareilly

Maktaba Rahmania Rizvia, Bareilly

Periodicals:

Monthly Kanzul Iman, Dehli

Monthly Ashrafia, Mubarakpur

Monthly Jahan-e-Raza, Lahore

Monthly Sunni Dunya, Bareilly

Monthly A’la Hazrat, Bareilly

Monthly Taybah, Ahmadabad

Monthly Yaseen, Kota, Rajasthan

Monthly Sirat-e-Mustaqeem, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Monthly Maah-e-Taybah, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Quarterly al-Kausar, Sahsaram

Annual Ma’arif-e-Raza, Karachi

Monthly Zia-e-Haram, Lahore

25

The focal point of all these institutions is, “Oh Allah! Guide us upon the straight path.

The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not those who have earned Your anger and

the astray”.

A few of the awliya in the subcontinent
, may Allāh be pleased with them:

Hazrat Daata Ganj Bakhsh Hujweri Lahori

Hazrat Khwaja Muyinuddin Chishti Ajmeri

Hazrat Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya Multani

Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Ganj Shakar

Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtyar Kaki

Hazrat Makhdoom ‘Alauddin Ali Ahmad Sabir Kalyari

Hazrat Mahboob-e-Ilahi Nizamuddin Awliya

Hazrat Sharfuddin Yahya Muneeri

Hazrat Makhdoom Jahaniyan Jahan Gasht

Ameer Kabeer Hazrat Sayyid Ali Hamdani

Hazrat Makhdoom Sayyid Ashraf Jahangir Samnani

Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dihlawi

Hazrat Mujaddid Alfi Thani Shaykh Ahmad Faruqi Sarhandi

If Muslims follow their footsteps even today, they can attain high ranks and immense

favour of Allāh t
áālā. These are the pure souls that enlightened the subcontinent with the

blessing of Islam and faith, and made it an epicentre of light.

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