[By Maulana Manzur Nu’maani Rahimahullah]
In this world, some events are so inexplicable, strange and beyond reason that, even if the intellect racks its head a thousand times, it will still be unable to offer a comprehensible explanation for it. The general treatment of the revered prophets (Alaihissalaam) and their call to religion by their peoples is from amongst such events of this world that are inexplicable, strange and beyond reason. The Originator of the world, its Administrator, Creator and Lord, Himself, expressed “anguish” over this in such mystifying terms: “Ah, the anguish for the bondsmen! Never came there unto them a messenger but they did mock him!” (Qur’an 36:30)
By way of example, the biography of the Seal of the Prophets, our master, Hazrat Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), as presented in the hadith and Siyar literature, can be viewed from this angle:
He was born in the glorious [city of] Makkah, and that is where he grew up. From childhood, in form, he was attractive and adorable, and in habits, he was impeccable. This is why everyone loved and respected him, as though he was the beloved of the entire nation and the light of their eyes. Then, when his blessed age was forty, Allah Almighty granted, along with this adorable form and impeccable conduct, the perfection of prophethood and the magnificence and beauty of messengership, after which his conduct became even greater. The spectacle of knowledge and wisdom began to spring forth from his tongue, and along with the beautiful and handsome face given to him at birth, now the light of prophethood shone forth too. Then Allah Almighty commanded him to call people to Tawhid and Islam. With full sincerity, complete love and utmost wisdom, full of pain and burning, with such a voice that even a stone cannot remain impervious, he presented the call of Tawhid and Islam before his people, the truthfulness, rationality and mercifulness of which was as if completely intuitive. The verdict of the intellect and the requirement of reason was that the people, who were previously his ardent admirers and believed and said of him that he is truthful and trustworthy, would with one voice say to this religious invitation “we accept,” and like moths, would fall on him, and there would be no denier or opponent visible in Makkah. But what in fact happened was that besides a few numerically insignificant loyal followers, his entire people, who would always refer to him as truthful and trustworthy and handed to him the flower of respect, were in agreement on rejecting and opposing him. They began to call him a mad poet and lying magician and they made it their most beloved pastime to stoke hatred and enmity against him. Thereafter, for approximately ten years, those who knew and recognised him committed such injustice against him and such despicable crimes that he himself stated: “No one has been persecuted in [the path of] Allah as much as I have been persecuted.”
The thinking mind is perplexed: How could this have happened??! No one can say that in those days in Makkah a particular wind blew which corrupted men’s minds, making them mad, due to which the entire nation became insane and it was this insanity that drove them to do what they did with him.
Take a second example from this ummah:
The four pious predecessors, Hazrat Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Hazrat ‘Umar al-Faruq, Hazrat ‘Uthman al-Ghani and Hazrat ‘Ali al-Murtada (radhiyallahu anhum), were great companions of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam). Those who possess any knowledge of the history of Islam and the Messenger of Islam (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) know that along with Allah and His Messenger, and along with their holy religion, the trustworthiness and sincerity of these pious predecessors were beyond all question and doubt. The many sacrifices of these truthful slaves of Allah and these loyal devotees of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) for Islam, and the many services they rendered for the holy religion of Allah in the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) and after him, are brighter than the sun and more established and more reliable than the most well-attested and established events in [the history of] the world. Furthermore, because of the recurrence of the reports (tawatur) of the many instances in which the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) recognised the services and sacrifices of these four devotees with love and estimation and repeatedly gave testimony and glad tidings of their acceptance and their companionship with him in paradise, it is very close to being as decisive and incontrovertible as the fact that the belief in Tawhid and the belief in the Resurrection and fasting, Hajj, and Zakah are undoubtedly and definitively from the teachings of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam).
But ponder over the history of this ummah, at the bewildering and staggering and incomprehensible event that occurred right from the inception of Islam, when groups originated from amongst the Muslims themselves whose distinction was to deny the faith of these exceptional and distinguished companions of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and to call them (Na’audhubillah) disbelievers, hypocrites and deserving of execution. And till today, these sects are present in the world. Who does not know that the distinction of the ancient sect of the Muslims, the Shi‘ah, is to oppose and criticise Hazrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), Hazrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hazrat ‘Uthman (radhiyallahi anhu) and to deny that they were sincere believers, which may as well be the foundation and symbol of their religion?? And in this matter, their extremism and madness reached such a level that many of the educated elite from them in this era of “education” and “tolerance” are not ashamed of publicising their condition that even if another person praises and venerates those pious personalities they find it intolerable, and on the other hand, disowning and disassociating themselves from these pure souls is their most favourite pastime and is an act of reward according to them.
Reason bows its head: what can be said of this??!
Leave irrational argumentation and crookedness and with a cool heart, ponder: Can any mind give a comprehensible explanation for this manner of treating these people??
Who can say that all members of this sect were mad and devoid of intellect?? The reality is that there are very educated men amongst them and learned scholars, and at least one or two intelligent and perceptive ones existed in every age and are present even today. Rather, those distinguished scholars and writers of this sect who wrote large books specifically on this topic – of attacking the three caliphs – those books themselves are a testament to their sanity, knowledge and awareness. Rather, this is an instructive illustration of [the verse] “Allah has let him go astray, despite having knowledge.” (45:23)
The same is the condition of their original nemeses and adversaries, the Khawarij and Nawasib. According to these wretched groups, our master, Hazrat ‘Ali radhiyallahu anhu (Allah ennoble his face) was (Allah forbid!) so irreligious, and such a great enemy of Islam and a criminal worthy of execution, that his murder was not only deserving of reward, but his killer would attain certainty of paradise by means of it. Historians have written that when the wretched Ibn Muljim stabbed our master, Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), with his sword, and he realised the thrust was complete and he was successful in his mission of ending the life of the revered master, despite being arrested, he said: “I have attained success, by the Lord of the Ka‘bah!” The intent of this wretched one was that in spilling the blood of our master ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and extinguishing the candle of his life, this was a sufficient purchase for his salvation and paradise, and whatever happens to him in this life, this act will certainly deliver him to paradise in the eternal life after death. Tell me! What can the thinking mind offer in explanation for this deviance and puzzled mind?? By means of history, those people who are aware of Ibn Muljim and his sect, know that even this sect was not full of madmen and ignorant people, rather there were many distinguished, knowledgeable and perceptive people amongst them.
The truth of the matter is that in any matter, whenever any person, under the influence of the love of wealth or the love of fame or any other misguided desire, instead of the guidance of Allah, chooses his decisions based on his desires and passions, then generally the direction and sound understanding given by Allah [to every human being] will be taken away, and then, despite outwardly maintaining a rational mind and the faculty of his senses, such actions issue from him in this matter that a sound intellect cannot give any [rational] explanation for. The Qur’an describes such people as: “They have hearts wherewith they do not understand, eyes wherewith they do not see, and ears wherewith they do not hear. They are like cattle. Rather, they are much more astray. ” (7:179)
Intellect-defying deviance like this can be found in abundance in the later periods of Islam also. And such people, who made it their chosen pastime to oppose, criticise and offend the best and most pious people of their time continued to appear in different eras. Rather, the rare and uncommon lives from the pious scholars and imams of this ummah are probably those who had received no share in this prophetic inheritance. With grief and rage, Taj al-Din al-Subki (rahimahullah) wrote in Tabaqat al-Shafi‘iyyah al-Kubra: “There is no imam except attackers attacked him and wasters were wasted in him.” In this age, the sorrow and pain caused by retelling something about this phenomenon is also one link in this chain.
The full knowledge of the realities is with Allah Almighty. But to the point that human knowledge and comprehension has a grasp, your heart can say with full contentment and without fear of rejection, that after Hazrat Shah Wali Allah (rahmatullah alaih) and Hazrat Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (rahmatullah alaih) in the thirteenth century Hijri and nineteenth century CE, the sacrifices of their successors and inheritors, Hazrat Shah Isma‘il Shahid (rahmatullah alaih) and Hazrat Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (rahmatullah alaih) and their associates to protect the religion of Islam and those efforts they made in order to preserve it – to the degree that in the Battle of Balakot they sacrificed their lives in this path – and then the effect that those efforts and sacrifices has had on the Muslims here [in India], and because of which a religious revival has become manifest in this country, and the qualities of piety, consciousness [of Allah] and connection to Allah and the spirit of jihad and adherence to the Sunnah that
took on a new life in this country, and in these qualities the state that those great personalities themselves possessed; if all these things are kept in view, no doubt will remain that these revered personalities were at that time from the elite accepted bondsmen of Allah Almighty.
Then in the next period – meaning, the end of the thirteenth century and start of the forteenth century – the success that Allah gave the intellectual and spiritual inheritors of these warriors for the religion and reformers of the nation, Hazrat Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alaih) and Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alaih) and their close companions, to preserve and serve His holy religion in this country, and to spread Tawhid, Sunnah and general Islamic teachings in this country by their earnestness and efforts, and in terms of knowledge, action, love and complete annihilation (fanaiyyat ki jami‘iyyat), the state of those great personalities themselves, and the great prospering of the scale of these blessed qualities in all different classes of Muslims by means of them, and the fruits and effects of these things; after seeing them with the eyes, there will be no room for doubt in the heart that these revered personalities in this age were from the elite slaves of the Lord who Allah Almighty chose by means of the special connection of their hearts to Him to serve His religion and spread Tawhid and Sunnah. However, the inheritance of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihibwasallam) and his righteous caliphs persisted in these slaves of the Lord. Thus, in this time, such people emerged who made it their life’s work to create a bad name for these revered personalities and, by levelling false accusations at them, turn the Muslims against them.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the person who had the greatest share and who can be described by [the Qur’anic phrase] “the one who took on himself the lead among them” (24:11) in drawing up fatwas, stirring tribulations and concocting slanders against these fighters in Allah’s path, the protectors of the Sunnah and Shari‘ah and reformers of the nation, was Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib of Bareli, who had achieved such a rank in takfir-mongering that as an example of those who unceasingly declare believers as disbelievers, generally his name comes to the tongue for striking a similitude.
In his early period, Khan Sahib made Hazrat Shah Isma‘il Shahid (rahmatullah alaih) his target for attacks and takfir, and in his fatwas and treatises he attributed such filthy and revolting beliefs to him which a believing soul tremors to even quote. For many years, it remained his preoccupation to work against this great personality. In each treatise and fatwa, in attempting to prove dozens upon dozens of ways in which this martyr on the path of the Lord was a disbeliever, he demonstrated his eagerness for takfir. After this, to exercise his vindictiveness, he selected the intellectual and spiritual inheritors of this Wali Allah family, Hazrat Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alaih) and Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alaih) and others from the elders of the group of Deoband. Then by filling his life with attacks and takfir of these senior scholars, he continued to offer this as commodity for adding to his “good rewards” and “elevating” his rank. Before all else, in 1320 H, in his book al-Mu‘tamad al-Mustanad, by charging these revered personalities with the crimes of the denial of the finality of prophethood, ascribing lies to the Lord of Glory and diminishing and debasing the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), he declared them definitive disbelievers. But since his fatwa and takfir-mongering was so notorious and infamous, it had no effect, such that even those great scholars he issued takfir upon took no notice.
Seeing this reaction to his fatwa, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib hatched a new plan:
In 1323 H, he composed a fatwa declaring those great scholars disbelievers, in which, by attributing such clear disbeliefs as those mentioned, of denying the finality of prophethood, ascribing lies to the Lord of Glory and defaming the revered Messenger, he charged them with definitive disbelief, such that if anybody believes them to be Muslims or even doubts that they are disbelievers, he is also definitely a disbeliever and outside the fold of Islam and from the inhabitants of Hell. Taking this purely fabricated and slanderous document of takfir, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib in that very year went to Hijaz, and when he met the revered scholars and muftis of the glorious [city of] Makkah and the pure [city of] Madinah, with total deviousness and scheming, he told those revered scholars [as paraphrased from the introduction to his Husam alHaramayn] that:
In Hindustan, a very difficult time has reigned on the Muslims. There are people arising amongst the Muslims with such-and-such heretical beliefs, and they have influenced the Muslim masses. We “strangers” are engaged in an attempt to end this fitnah but in this important task we are in need of your support by gaining your endorsements for the fatwa of takfir against those heretics – because you are inhabitants of the holy land of Allah and the pure city of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), and because in religious leadership we Muslims in Hindustan have full reliance on you. Thus by means of your endorsements of this fatwa, the general Muslims of India can be saved from this disbelief and heresy. Otherwise, the fitnah is so immense that there is fear that their faith will be lost. So, help, help, O steeds of Allah! Aid, aid, O knights of the army of the Messenger of Allah! 1
In sum, before those scholars of the two Harams – who were completely unaware of the original incidents and because of having no knowledge of the Urdu language were unable to read those books of the seniors from the group of Deoband to which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib attributed denial of the finality of prophethood and other heretical beliefs – Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib presented this fabricated fatwa in this fashion and with an introduction from which it appears that the faith of the Muslims of Hindustan depends on this fatwa and the signatures of approval from those scholars of the two Harams, and if this does not happen it is as though they will all turn apostate – we seek protection in Allah, and there is no power and no might except with Allah.
Many pure-hearted scholars of the glorious [city of] Makkah and the pure [city of] Madinah believed all these statements of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib to be true, and after this, just as he had hoped, with full religious zeal, they wrote endorsements on those fatwas of disbelief. However, some people of insight, because of the insight of faith and some secondary indications, they were in doubt and were cautious in this matter, and were thus saved from being entangled in this situation. 2
In short, this fabricated fatwa, which was based purely on incorrect explanations and slanderous accusations, was published in Hindustan under the name of Husam alHaramayn, and it created an uproar, that with respect to those famous and noble scholars and great elders of the group of Deoband – Hazrat Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (rahimahullah), Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahimahullah), Hazrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Sahib Saharanpuri (rahimahullah) and Hazrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (rahimahullah) – even the scholars and muftis of the honoured [city of] Makkah and the pure [city of] Madinah gave fatwa that (Allah forbid!) they are such decisive disbelievers and apostates that whoever doubts that they are disbelievers and inhabitants of Hell, he too is a disbeliever and from the inhabitants of Hell.
There is no doubt that by this antic of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib he created a storm of fitnah for the Muslims of Hindustan. And probably thousands or millions of simple-hearted slaves who were completely unaffected by the fatwa-mongering of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, because of the names of the scholars of the two Harams, they became afflicted by this fitnah. When our elders – whose entire focus at that time was concentrated on the primary engagements of preserving Islam in Hindustan, that is, lecturing, teaching, reforming and guiding etc. and who never turned their attention towards the takfiri intents of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, rather, becoming entangled with such people and answering their slanders was against their principles and tempraments – saw that Allah’s slaves were being deceived by the names of the scholars of the two Harams, and because of this deception those poor souls were afflicted by fitnah, even these respected individuals believed it a necessity to remove the veil to uncover the true reality of this deception. Thus, from the four great personalities to whom heretical beliefs were ascribed and were thus ruled to be disbelievers, the two scholars whose light at the time still shone on this earth, Hakim al-Ummah Hazrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Sahib Thanawi (rahimahullah) and Makhdum al-Millah Hazrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Sahib Saharanpuri (rahimahullah), in that period gave their explanations, in which they revealed their innocence from those heretical beliefs and they clearly wrote that those beliefs which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib ascribed to them in Husam al-Haramayn are pure slanders against them, and those who have these beliefs are disbelievers even according to them. The explanations of these scholars were published at that time in such treatises as al-Sahab al-Midrar, Qat‘ al-Watin and others. Rather, the explanation of Hazrat Thanawi (rahimahullah) was published in the form of a brief and independent treatise called Bast al-Banan.
At that time, it also happened that after Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib returned from Hijaz, a talking-point was generated in the two noble Harams, particularly the pure [city of] Madinah, that the beliefs of those people from Hindustan concerning whom Mawlawi [Ahmad Rida Khan] took endorsements [from the scholars of Hijaz] of their disbelief were explained inaccurately. Hearing this, some noble scholars from them felt it was necessary to correspond with the scholars of Deoband to verify the matter. Thus, whatever Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote in Husam al-Haramayn in relation to those revered personalities and whatever he said to them [directly] to create hatred and animosity against them in the hearts of the scholars of the two Harams, having all of this in view, they composed 26 questions for those revered personalities, and requested answers from the scholars of Deoband to them. All the questions were related to the beliefs, methodology and track of the scholars of Deoband. Thereupon, Hazrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Sahib Saharanpuri (rahimahullah) wrote a detailed and evidenced reply, on which almost all the senior and famous scholars of the group of Deoband wrote endorsements, and these answers were sent to the scholars and muftis of the two noble Harams and besides it, Egypt, Levant and other Islamic countries, who all wrote endorsements and wrote in support of it, and they stated that these are the beliefs of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama‘ah, and there is no statement in them against the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama‘ah.
All these questions and answers and the endorsements of the noble scholars of Hindustan, the two noble Harams and other Islamic countries, have been published with its Urdu translation in the form of a large treatise called al-Tasdiqat li Daf‘ al-Talbisat. Then, till today, this treatise has been reprinted several times. The reality is that for devout seekers of truth, only this treatise was sufficient, and even now it is still sufficient.
Besides this, from the students and servants of those senior personalities, Hazrat Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Sahib Madani and Hazrat Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Sahib Chandpuri (rahimahumullah) – who at that time were from the young scholars and learned graduates from the group of Deoband – wrote, in response to the fabricated fatwa of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, al-Sahab al-Midrar, al-Shihab al-Thaqib, Tazkiyat alKhawatir, Tawdih al-Bayan and other independent treatises, in which, with complete detail and clarity, they showed the various incorrect explanations and [they showed] all the distortions and deceptions of Khan Sahib of Bareli regarding the passages of Hazrat Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alaih), Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alaih), Hazrat Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Sahib Saharanpuri (rahmatullah alaih)and Hazrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (rahmatullah alaih). These treatises gave further clarity to this matter, and it was as though the matter was closed. However, on behalf of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, the task of takfir and causing division continued in the same fashion. But after those answers, no life remained in it, and its market lost value.
Then in 1345-6 H (1926-7 CE), meaning about 20 years after the first publication of Husam al-Haramayn, the successors of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Shaib again, with clamour and ruckus, raised this fitnah. Then through the means of fatwa-mongering, open challenges and advertisements to attempt to cause a growth in their market, I say with sadness and grief, the poor Muslim masses were again exposed to it, and due to their ignorance of religion and fickleness, they again became the targets of fitnah. And such ignorant people who do not even know the pronouncement of faith (la ilaha illallah), having been affected by those fitnah-instigators, began to call those great scholars of religion disbelievers, believing it to be rewarding. Houses became battlegrounds, and even the mosques and ‘Id mats were made places of war.
In that year (1345-6 H), the helpless writer of these lines, was completing his final year (dawrah hadith) in Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband. And it was either good fortune or bad fortune that in my hometown and its neighbouring areas the flares of this fitnah were very intense. It was the consequences of the circumstances – and the eagerness of youth certainly played a role – that I [turned my efforts toward] extinguishing this flame, and by opposing and fighting those who kindled it till the very end, I decisively settle the matter. Then for around ten years, along with other works of lecturing, writing etc., I was also keenly engaged in this occupation. Here, without any humility or humbleness it is best for me to mention that I spared no effort in attending all the places where the need was realised and I debated the flag bearers of takfir, and in replying to their claims, I wrote small and large treatises which number around 40 to 50; rather, 21 years ago from now, in 1353 H, when al-Furqan was running [its monthly instalments], its specific subject matter at that time was opposition to this fitnah.
But it was 3 to 4 years after the commencement of al-Furqan, in 1354 H/1937 CE, that it came to my attention that there was a big change happening in Hindustan and it demanded that I put all my efforts towards serving Islam and Muslims by creating Islamic sentiments and steadfastness in adherence to Islam in those groups of Muslims in whom Islamic sentiments were deficient and their attachment to Islam was weak. This feeling overcame my heart and mind to such an extent that in a few days the appeal of all other works ended. Thus, leaving all works, I made this project my sole work, to such a degree that in refutation of the fitnah of takfir from Bareli some very important books had been written but their time for printing had not yet come, and even the concern for preserving their manuscripts did not remain. Rather, there were two such books from them, the major parts of which had been written, and they only awaited some finishing touches and handing the copies over to the printing press – even those I did not continue writing and no concern was given to the preservation of those copies that were written, as a consequence of which all the copies and all the manuscripts were lost. At the time I had no regret about this, but now I am regretful and my feeling today is [as in the hadith]: “Had I known before about my matter what I know now, I would not have done what I did.”
The impending revolution in India which this helpless one sensed in 1937 CE – concern for the consequences of which led me to turn my heart and mind towards this direction – came exactly ten years after this in 1947 with such circumstances and such trials which the greatest futurists could not have predicted. Pain is felt in even the memory of those things which afflicted the Muslims in this revolution of Hindustan. But it was hoped that from this evil good will emerge, that is, some sense will return to the general Muslims of Hindustan, and those who could make improvements for them in terms of religion and material [success] will be engaged in strong constructive works, while any deluded person will not be able to continue his misguided works, and this fitnah of takfir from Bareli like any fitnah will now begin to subside. But how wrong was what we thought!
It was realised that even from this frightful and reminiscent-of-the-Resurrection revolution many Muslims did not take heed, and no improvement came about in them regarding their gain or loss, advantage or disadvantage. In those situations where some semblance of tranquillity was created, all the destructive works and those idiocies and stupidities again restarted, till such a time, around two or three years later when the circumstances of Hindustan became somewhat milder, in many areas, the efforts of the flag bearers of this fitnah of takfir from Bareli and their keenness to cause division and create corruption again reignited.
For around two to two and half years, the situation was such that the rare days were when letters from various parts of the country did not come to me regarding this fitnah and corruption. In these letters, it was generally written that:
From the Barelwi group, so-and-so famous mukaffir Mawlawi Sahib has come here and his speeches have created a storm. As a consequence, a battleground and warzone has been created amongst the Muslims. By taking the names of soand-so and so-and-so senior scholars and revered personalities of the religion from Hindustan and attributing to them such-and-such filthy beliefs, the practice of takfir has been spread amongst the laypeople. And by peddling lies and slanders against the groups in Hindustan doing work in the religious sphere, particularly Jam‘iyat al-‘Ulama and Tablighi Jama‘at, they have created hatred in the general Muslims against them, and their ignorant listeners raise their hands to pledge opposition to those groups. The result of this is that great obstacles have been placed in the path of the work we are doing to bring about adherence to religion amongst the Muslims masses, as those we wish to serve believe that it is an act of reward to show hostility and opposition to us.
For around two to two and half years, such letters continued to come to me from different parts of the country, and nearly in every letter there was a demand that, in order to save Muslims from this evil fitnah and in order to answer the slanders of those fabricators, to reply immediately and send such-and-such and such-and-such books of mine in this respect.
The condition of my books that were written on this topic was that shortly after [their authorship], they became unavailable. And the condition of my heart was that Allah Almighty had filled it with the certainty that after the concern of inspecting and rectifying my nafs, my time and efforts are best and most valuably spent – especially in this time when there is a secret plot, nay open efforts, to eradicate the belief of the Muslims masses – in the primary and foundational works to create religious sentiment, a spirit of faith and an Islamic life in the general masses of the Muhammadan ummah – which is the great jihad of this time.
Besides, in my earlier phase, after ten years of experience, it became a “true certainty” (Qur’an 69:51) for me that the educated flag bearers and leaders of this fitnah of takfir never misunderstood or made an academic slip. They themselves know very well that our elders are completely free of those heretical beliefs they attribute to them. In short, I do not have even an atom’s weight of doubt in this ungodliness, that purely for their worldly benefits and interest, they wilfully slandered and falsely accused our elders. Therefore, there is no hope that if they understand the matter through the means of writing or lecturing, this fitnah will end. Not only once or twice, again and again, through the means of writing and lecturing and discussion, attempts have been made to make them understand. Books have been written. Debates have been had. And by the grace and mercy of Allah Almighty and His accordance and support, in those books and those debates, the matter was composed and written in such a way that if in reality there was some misunderstanding or academic error then this matter would have ended long ago. But the reality is that, since this fitnah-mongering is the means of their work and livelihood, even if they are made to understand a thousand times, they will never accept. This condition of theirs is exactly like the stubborn actions of those who oppose Allah, regarding whom the Noble Qur’an says: “And they denied them, though their souls acknowledged them, for spite and arrogance.” (27:14)
This is why I am certain that talking with these instigators to make them understand is merely a waste of time and actually helps their cause. This is why it is my sure opinion that all of this should be avoided, and the policy mentioned in these words of the Qur’an should be adopted clearly: “There is no argumentation between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is the final return.” (42:15)
Thus, I will no longer correspond with the flag bearers and leaders of this fitnah of takfir who have made this fitnah-mongering their occupation and work. However, it is no doubt the right of those poor Muslim laymen who, being deceived by their scholarly form and scholarly dress, became afflicted by this fitnah of takfir, that in a suitable manner they are made to understand and an attempt is made to save them from this fitnah.
In this respect a grassroots and general method is that in the place where this fitnah is manifest, to explain to the educated Muslims amongst them the actual truth and the reality of these fitnah-stirrers, and then they will make attempts to make the masses understand.
Furthermore, it is necessary to hold gatherings specifically for this purpose and respected scholars who are aware of the reality of this fitnah and the fitnah-stirrers should deliver lectures in them.
Furthermore, it is also required that in this respect one or two books are printed in which a sufficient and adequate rebuttal is given to the slanders of those impious fabricators against the elder and senior scholars of the religion, with complete verification and detail, politely and with simple language, upon reading which every literate seeker of truth will know the truth and can make others understand it. All praise to Allah, for this objective, there is absolutely no need to write or prepare a new book. As was mentioned above, the work that was done in the first period is sufficient and adequate for all times. The need is only that in this regard arrangements are made to reprint those important and beneficial books which were lost by the passage of time.
Although such work is now very burdensome to my temperament, but for two to two and a half years those letters that have continued coming and those communications that have come to me from different parts of the country regarding this fitnah have forced this helpless one to at least commit to preparing the final answer this helpless one wrote with the name Ma‘rikat al-Qalam 21 years ago 3 in response to Husam al-Haramayn ofq Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, the subtitle or second title of which was Fayslah Kun Munazarah – which has been unavailable for around 20 years such that no copy was kept with me – for printing, by procuring a copy of it and taking a quick look over it and changing a few words.
Besides this, around 19 or 20 years ago from today, I wrote several articles in response to the fitnah of those who charge Hazrat Shah Isma‘il Shahid (rahmatullah alaih) with disbelief by accusing him of revolting and impure slanders. Each article was like an independent treatise. All these articles were also lost. Now when the need was felt [to reprint them] and attempts were made, with the help of Allah Almighty, all these articles have been received and having revised them, I have prepared them [for printing] by arranging them in the form of a separate book.
The slanders which the general mukaffirin of the Barelwi group repeat more frequently regarding our elders, and on which they base their takfir, with the grace of the Almighty, I hope these two treatises are enough for answering them. Their preparation has been delegated to a dear friend. The dear friend has intentions to see them printed. If he manages to do so, then it is hoped that if Allah wills, within two or three months, both treatises will be ready.
Loved ones from different parts of the country who are worried by the disturbance of this fitnah of takfir from Bareli wrote letters to this helpless one and insisted that I again turn my attention to this direction. I ask them that in my present circumstances and activities, this helpless one feels that to save the general Muslims from the evil of this fitnah in this time, it is only binding on him to present to them these pages regarding his opinion, advice and experience, and to prepare those two books which he believes are necessary to publish, and for which he gives permission to those dear friends who wish to print it.
Any more attention than this, which the loved ones insisted on in their letters, there is now absolutely no room for this in this helpless one’s times, activities and obligations. O Allah! Give us the ability to [do] what You love and what You are pleased with, and make our latter better than our former.
1. The fatwa which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib presented before the scholars of the two Harams, he later printed and published under the name Husam al-Haramayn. This paragraph is the upshot and summary of its introduction. From simple shedding of tears and small sighs, there is a cunning art to influencing the pious and simple slaves of Allah, and the introduction to Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib’s Husam al-Haramayn is a unique example of this. I only wrote the upshot and summary of his words. (Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani)
2. For full details, see the treatise al-Shihab al-Thaqib [by Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani] (Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani)
3. That is, in the year 1352 H/1933 CE.