By Maulana Manzur Nu’mani
With regards to Hakim al-Ummah Hazrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Sahib Thanawi (Rahmatullah alayh), Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib Barelwi wrote on pages 20-1 of Husaam al-Haramayn:
From the seniors of these Satanic Wahhabis is another man from the scions of Gangohi called Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi. He compiled a small treatise that does not reach four pages and stated clearly therein that the equivalent of the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) knowledge of the unseen has been acquired by every child and every madman, rather every animal and every beast. These are his accursed words:
“If the assessment of the knowledge of unseen for the holy essence of the Nabi is valid as said by Zayd, it will be asked: What did he intend by this – is it a portion of the unseen or all of it? If he intended a portion, then what speciality is there in this for the Revered Rasool, for indeed the equivalent of this knowledge of unseen has been acquired by Zayd and ‘Amr, rather every child and madman, rather all animals and beasts? And if he intended all whereby no part is excluded, its invalidity is established by narration and reason.”
I say: Look at the effects of the seal of Allah Almighty – how he equates [the knowledge of] the Messenger of Allah (Allah Almighty bless him and grant him peace) to [the knowledge of] such-and such and such-and-such!
Here, I cannot give any answer to those ghastly and disgusting words which Khan Sahib has attributed to Hazrat Hakim al-Ummah. Its word-for-word retort can be given by those vulgar people who have also reached the status of “revivers” in the art of vulgarity and abuse. I am completely free of and helpless in this craft. The Wise Qur’an states: “Tell My servants that they should speak that which is best. Surely, Satan creates discord among them. Indeed, Satan is an open enemy to mankind.” [17:53] Elsewhere (in the Qur’aan) Allah Ta’ala addressed Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “Repel evil with that which is best.” [23:96] Thus, according to this Qur’anic imperative, in reply to this abuse and vulgarity of Khan Sahib, I will only offer [this plea] to Allah Azza Wa Jal: O My Rabb! Khan Sahib has passed on from this world. Now save his successors from this evil practice which is a shame and humiliation in this world and deprivation and loss in the afterlife.
Only Allah guides to the path of righteousness. It seems that when writing Husaam al-Haramayn, Khan Sahib took an oath that he will not be truthful and honest in any act. Ponder: What is the actual statement of Hifz al-Imaan and its true meaning, and what is the accursed calumny of Khan Sahib’s slander, viz., – that the extent of the knowledge of the unseen which is possessed by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is also possessed by every child and madman, nay every animal and every beast (Allah forbid!)?? If before broadcasting his slander of disbelief, Khan Sahib had quoted the entire text of Hifz al-Imaan without mutilation, readers would have known the truth, then there would not have been the need for this refutation.
Hifz al-Imaan is a short treatise by Hakim al-Ummah (Rahmatullah alayh) in which are three topics. The third topic is: “Is calling Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), ‘knower of the ghayb’ (Aalimul Ghaib) correct or not?” It is clear that the discussion of Mawlana was not regarding whether or not Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had knowledge of the ghayb, and if so, how much? Rather, here, Mawlana only wanted to establish that it cannot be said that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is “knower of the ghayb” (Aalimul Ghayb). There is a vast difference between the two issues.
An attribute which belongs to a being may not be utilized in an unrestricted manner for that being. In the Noble Qur’an, Allah is described as “the Creator of all things” [Qur’an 6:102, 13:16, 39:62, 40:62]. It is the belief of all Muslims that everything in the world, small or big, great or insignificant, was created by Allah Ta’ala. However, despite this, our jurists have clearly stated that it is impermissible to call him “the Creator of monkeys and swine.” Likewise, in the Noble Qur’an, “farming” is attributed to Him (Qur’an 56:64), yet it is incorrect to describe Him as a “farmer”. Similarly, the Arabs use the term rizq (sustenance) in general for the provisions and positions which the commander endows to the men of his army. Thus in many books of Arabic language the sentence “the commander sustained the army” is written, although it is incorrect to refer to the commander as raziq or razzaq (sustainer). It is narrated by Hazrat ‘A’ishah Siddiqah (Radhiyallahu anha) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would mend his own shoes and milk his camels himself.
Despite this, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) may not be referred to as a cobbler or milkman. The reality is that in some instances despite the existence of an attribute in someone or some being, it may not be used in an unqualified manner for that person/being.
I hope that from this introduction my readers have understood that the question of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) possessing knowledge of ghayb or not is a separate discussion, apart from the issue of the permissibility or impermissibility of using the designation of Aalimul Ghayb (“The knower of the ghayb”) for him. There is no necessary correlation between the two.
Now understand that the objective of Hazrat Mawlana (Rahmatullaah alayh) in Hifz al-Imaan was only to establish that it is impermissible to use the title of Aalimul Ghaib (Knower of the Ghayb) in an unrestricted, all-embracing manner for Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and to prove that this designation (Aalimul Ghayb) may not be used for Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in the way that the titles “the Seal of the Ambiya,” “the Chief of the Messengers,” “the Mercy to all Worlds” etc. etc. are used. In support of this claim, Mawlana presented two proofs.
The upshot of the first evidence is that in the general usage of the Shari‘ah, the title of Aalimul Ghayb (Knower of the Ghayb) applies to only The Being who knows the matters of the ghayb intrinsically, without having acquired it via any medium. This is the exclusive distinction of Allah Azza Wa Jal. If any other being is called “knower of the ghayb,” in this meaning, it will create the impression that the other being besides Allah Ta’ala also possesses knowledge of ghayb intrinsically, i.e. without having acquired it from any medium. This is an explicit belief of shirk. Thus, to refer to anyone besides Allah Ta’ala as “Knower of the Ghayb” is incorrect as it confuses it with a belief of shirk.
This is why in the Qur’an and Hadith such dubious words which could create misunderstanding are forbidden. For example, the Qur’an Shareef prohibits addressing Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with the word, ra‘ina [2:104], and the Hadith prohibits calling one’s servants “my slaves” because these words are suggestive of a false meaning even if it is not the intention of the speaker. This is a summary of Hazrat Mawlana Thanawi’s first evidence.
However, since Khan Sahib did not object to this proof of Mawlana Thanawi – in fact, in many places of his book al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah, Khan Sahib states approximately the same contention in complete detail, there is no need for me to present any justification or support for it.
Now, I will turn my attention to the second evidence of Mawlana. Khan Sahib claimed, “He stated clearly therein that the equivalent of the knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regarding the unseen realities has been acquired by every child and every madman, in fact, by every animal.”
But before quoting the original passage of Hifz al-Imaan, in order to facilitate the understanding of the readers, I feel it will be appropriate to mention that in this second proof, Mawlana divided the matter into two options for the opponent. Then he proved the inaccuracy and falsity of both.
The upshot of the second proof of Mawlana is that a person, for example Zayd, uses the designation of Aalimul Ghayb (Knower of the Ghayb) for Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) without qualifying the term. This entails one of two meanings. One: Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)) has partial knowledge of the ghayb or he has total and allencompassing knowledge of the ghayb. The second meaning is obviously false because narrational (Naqli) and rational (Aqli) proofs negate allencompassing, intrinsic Ilm of the Ghayb for Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In fact, even Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib himself concedes this.
The first meaning, i.e. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is Aalimul Ghayb because he is aware of some ghayb, is also erroneous and baseless. It is obvious that in this scenario it would entail that every person, rather even animals, can be called “knower of the ghayb” because some matters of the ghayb are possessed by all. Every animate being necessarily has some knowledge which is hidden from others. On this basis it follows that everyone may be called “knower of the ghayb”, but this is rationally, scripturally and customarily, that is, in every way, erroneous. This is a summary of Mawlana’s entire argument. Now, I will present the original passage of Hifz al-Imaan with clarification [in parenthesis].
The Passage of Hifz al-Imaan and its Clarification
After explaining the first scenario, Mawlana writes: If according to Zayd, it is valid to predicate the knowledge of ghayb to Rasulullah – Sallallahu alayhi wasallam – (i.e. meaning, calling Rasulullah – Sallallahu alayhi wasallam – the “Knower of the Ghayb” in the all-encompassing meaning), then he (i.e. this Zayd) will be asked: “Does this refer to some ghayb or total ghayb?”
Here, Hazrat Mawlana asked this person (i.e. Zayd) who called Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the “Knower of the Ghayb”: “On what basis do you refer to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as “knower of the ghayb”? Is it because Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has some knowledge of ghayb? Or is it because he has total knowledge of ghayb?)
If some knowledge of ghayb is intended (meaning, because of some knowledge of ghayb, you called Rasulullah= Sallallahu alayhi wasallam – the “Knower of the Ghayb”, and your principle is that whoever has some knowledge of ghayb you refer to him as “Knower of the Ghayb”), then what distinction is there in this (meaning of knowledge of merely some ghayb for Rasulullah -Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Such (partial) knowledge of the ghayb (because of which you believe it is necessary to call someone “knower of the ghayb,”) is available to Zayd and ‘Amr, rather every child and madman, rather even all animals and quadrupeds because every person has knowledge of some matter which is hidden from a second person. Thus, everyone should be called “knower of the ghayb” (based on your principle that because of mere knowledge of some ghayb, a person may be called “knower of the ghayb”).
An Explanation of the Distortion of Khan Sahib Barelwi of the Passage of Hifz al-Imaan
This was the original passage of Hazrat Mawlana, and this was its clear and explicit intent which I have presented. However, Khan Sahib, in his commentary, gave it such a meaning that even Satan after listening to it will seek refuge. In this respect, a brief description of Khan Sahib’s distortion is as follows:
1. The word aysa (such/like this) appears in the passage of Hifz al-Imaan, and its intent is some knowledge of ghayb in a specific. It does not refer to the blessed knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, Khan Sahib claimed that the intention is the blessed knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Hence he wrote: “He stated clearly therein that the equivalent of the Messenger of Allah’s knowledge of the unseen has been acquired by every child and every madman, rather every animal and every beast.”
1. The original passage of Hifz al-Imaan was as follows: “Such knowledge of the ghayb is available to Zayd and ‘Amr, rather every child and madman, rather even all animals and quadrupeds; because every person has knowledge of certain issues which are hidden from others..” Khan Sahib totally omitted this underlined sentence in the middle of his quote because it is clearly understood from it that the knowledge that is conceded for Zayd, ‘Amr etc. is some knowledge of ghayb in a specific sense, not (Allah forbid!) the blessed knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
2. After the abovementioned passage of Hifz al-Imaan, the conclusion of the ilzami argument is worded as: “then all should be called ‘knower of the ghayb’.” Khan Sahib also omitted this, because from this sentence it is completely clear that the discussion of the author of Hifz al-Iman was not about the extent of the knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Rather, his discussion was only about the unqualified usage of the title of “knower of the ghayb.” After having realised this, the reality of the entire scheme of Khan Sahib is laid bare.
Anyhow, in order to declare the author of Hifz al-Imaan a disbeliever, Khan Sahib committed this deception, and those sentences from which the meaning of the passage of Hifz al-Imaan can easily be understood were completely omitted in the middle, and he only quoted the first and last part of the passage. Shrewdly, in the Arabic translation of the passage of Hifz al-Imaan which he presented to the Ulama of the two Harams, he gave no indication from which those revered Ulama could have understood that in the middle of this passage some sentences were missing. Our readers can see this handiwork in the Arabic passage of Khan Sahib’s Husaam al-Haramayn, which I quoted from at the beginning of this discussion with its exact wording.
More Explanation of the Passage from Hifz al-Iman
Although the dishonesty of Khan Sahib and the condition of his fatwa will be understood by the readers from this explanation, to explain further, I wish to shed more light on its particular parts.
The upshot of the second evidence of Hazrat Hakim al-Ummah was this:
There are two scenarios in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) can be called “Knower of the Ghayb.” One is that, because of full ghayb, he is called “Knower of the Ghayb.” The second is that, because of some ghayb, [he is called so]. The first option is false because the absence of his knowledge of all ghayb is established by narrational and rational proofs. And the second option is false because some knowledge of ghayb is possessed even by insignificant things in this world. Based on this principle, everyone should be called “knower of the ghayb”, but this is baseless in every way.
If the parts of this proof are broken down, it will be realised that its basic premises are as follows:
1. So long as a principle does not subsist in a certain being, its morphological derivative [for example, the active participle] cannot be unqualifiedly used for it. For example, a person can be called “knower” when the attribute of knowledge is found in him; a person is called “ascetic” in whom the attribute of asceticism subsists; and a person is called “writer” who has achieved the ability of writing; and other such examples.
1. With the cause, its effect must be found. It is not possible that the cause has no effect.
2. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not acquire knowledge of all ghayb.
3. Generally some awareness of the unseen is available to even those who are not Ambiya, and even to non-humans.
4. Every Zayd and ‘Amr cannot be called “knower of the ghayb.”
5. The falsity of the consequence (lazim) necessitates the falsity of that which it is consequential upon (malzum), meaning, if the acceptance of something necessarily leads to an absurdity, it is itself absurd.
From these premises, the first two and the last two are rationally accepted principles, and obvious. No sane person in the world will dispute this. I shall establish the third and fourth premises from the clear statements of Khan Sahib.
The accuser is a thousand times weightier than your witness
Proof of the most Important Premises of Hifz al-Imaan from the Statements of Khan Sahib himself
The third premise of Hazrat Mawlana Thanawi was that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not acquire full knowledge of the ghayb. Now note its proofs from the statements of the Barelwi learned man:
Khan Sahib wrote on page 25 of al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah:
For indeed we do not claim that he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had encompassed all the things known to Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He), for indeed it is impossible for creation.
And in the same al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah, he writes:
And we do not affirm through the bestowal of Allah Almighty also but a part. (al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah, p 28)
And this very same Raza Khan writes on page 34 of Tamhid e Iman:
Even the knowledge of the Nabi (Allah bless him and grant him peace) does not encompass all things known to the Divine Being.
Furthermore, on page 34 of this Tamhid is written:
And encompassing knowledge of all things known to the Divine Being is also false and against most scholars. (i.e. if attributed to others besides Allah Ta’ala).
The import, nay the objective, of all these passages of Khan Sahib is that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not acquire knowledge of all ghayb. The acquisition of detailed knowledge of all the unseen is impossible for him, nay for all creatures, and believing in this is false. This is precisely the third premise in Mawlana Thanawi’s evidence. With praise to Allah, from the explicit statements of Khan Sahib, this has become clear as daylight. So all praise is due to Allah.
The fourth premise of the evidence of Mawlana Thanawi under inspection was that generally awareness of some unseen matters is acquired by non-Ambiya and even non-humans too.
Take note of its proof from the statements of Khan Sahib Barelwi also:
The aforementioned learned man wrote on page 13 of al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah:
Indeed we believe in the Resurrection, and in the Garden and the Fire, and in Allah Almighty and the seven fundamentals of His (Exalted and Majestic is He) attributes, and all of this is ghayb. And we know each in its own right, distinguished from other than it, so this necessitates the acquisition of general detailed knowledge of the unseen for every believer.
Moreover, this Khan Sahib says on page 24 of Khalis al-I‘tiqad:
Allah Almighty said about the Muslims, “they believe in the unseen” (Qur’an 2:3). Belief is consent, and consent is knowledge. The thing which is fundamentally unknowable, how is its belief possible? Indeed [it says] in al-Tafsir al-Kabir: “There is no obstacle in saying, ‘We know of the ghayb that for which we have evidence.’”
It is known from these two passages of Khan Sahib that some knowledge of the ghayb is necessary for every believer.
Khan Sahib said regarding a prophecy of his father:
This was a prophecy made forty years ago. Allah Almighty grants His accepted slaves knowledge of ghayb because they are the bearers of the shoes of the slaves of the slaves of the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). (Malfuzat A‘la Hazrat)
In proving that in itself, kashf (inspiration) is nothing of perfection. It may occur to even non-Muslims, nay to even non-humans. Khan Sahib quoted from one of his elders whom he explicitly called a “friend of Allah”, the story of a strange and wonderful donkey who had the ability of kashf:
I was going to Egypt. There was a huge gathering. I saw a man with a donkey whose eyes were tied with a stone. One person’s belongings would be placed in the possession of another person. Then the donkey would be asked about its location, and the donkey would circle the entire gathering, until it reached the person who had it, and in front of him he would bow. [Malfuzat, Part 4, p. 11]
After this, Khan Sahib said:
Thus, it is understood that the attribute which is possible for a non-human, it is not a perfection for a human being. [Part 4, p. 11]
It is known from this statement of Khan Sahib that according to him, this donkey also knew some hidden things. And this is the objective.
I have quoted one passage from Khan Sahib’s al-Dawlat al-Makkiyyah in which is clearly stated that Allah Ta’ala, His attributes, the Garden and the Fire, the Angels etc. etc. are all matters of the ghayb, and this is completely correct.
Based on this, even though Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself is not ghayb, his Risaalat is undoubtedly a matter of the ghayb, because it is not a tangible and physical entity. There is a hidden relationship between Allah and the Rasool which is beyond the comprehension of our intellectual faculties. Based only on the integrity of the Rasool, is he accepted as the Messenger of Allah. Thus, whoever acquires knowledge of the existence of Allah Ta’ala, His Oneness or of the Risaalat of the Rasool, he has acquired some knowledge of the unseen. Khan Sahib concedes that everything in existence, even the leaves of trees and sands of the desert, are accountable for believing in Tawhid and Risaalat. They glorify Allah Azza Wa Jal and they testify to the Nubuwwat and Risaalat of the Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
For example, on Part 4, page 77, of Khan Sahib’s Malfuzat, he writes:
Everything is accountable for believing in Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and for glorifying Allah Ta’ala. Moreover, on page 78 of it is written:
A particular spirituality is connected to every plant and every inanimate object, whether that is called a “soul” or something else, and that thing is accountable for faith and glorification. It says in a hadith: “There is nothing but it knows that “I am the Messenger of Allah, except the rebellious of the jinn and man.”
The following matters are established from these statements of Khan Sahib:
1. Every believer must know some matters of the ghayb
1. Even non-Muslims experience kashf
2. Even a stupid animal like a donkey has knowledge of some hidden matters
3. All things in existence, even plants and inanimate objects, know some things of ghayb
And this was the fourth premise in the proof of Mawlana Thanawi.
The result is that those premises on which Mawlana’s proof were based, four are accepted principles of reason and are conspicuously apparent, and two were dependent on proofs, which I have, with praise to Allah, proven from the clear expressions of Khan Sahib. Thus, our readers will understand that the entire basis on which Khan Sahib applied the ruling of kufr on Hazrat Mawlana is also shared and accepted by Khan Sahib, and if it necessitated kufr, then Khan Sahib has an equal share in that kufr.
Although there is no need to present anything else regarding the statement of Hifz al-Imaan, but for further clarification, I shall present an illustration.
An Illustration of the Statement from Hifz al-Imaan
Assume that some disciple or devotee of Khan Sahib refers to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as the “Knower of the Ghayb” and believes it to be permissible. To him I ask: “Do you refer to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as the ‘Knower of the Ghayb’ because of all-encompassing ghayb or partial ghayb? If encompassing ghayb, then that is, according to Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib, absurd rationally, and false scripturally, rather, impossible. On the other hand, if you refer to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as the ‘Knower of the Ghayb’ because of some ghayb, and it is your principle that whoever has knowledge of some ghayb, you will call him the ‘Knower of the Ghayb,’ then Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will have no distinction in this because some matters of ghayb are possessed by every believer, infact, by all of humanity, all things, even animals and inanimate objects. Therefore, based on your principle it is necessary that you call everything in the world ‘knower of the ghayb.’ Now, if you say that you call everything ‘knower of the ghayb,’ then what superiority and excellence have been conferred upon Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by also calling him ‘knower of the ghayb’? According to your logic and view everyone (and everything) is a ‘knower of the ghayb’?”
Respected readers, note: Will any sane person understand from my argument that I have, Allah forbid!, equated the knowledge of other beings and creatures to the knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)?
Take note of another more general illustration:
The king of a country is extremely generous. He operates a public kitchen, and he feeds thousands of needy and poor people in the morning and evening. Now, some idiot, for example Zayd, calls that king raziq (sustainer). A second person, ‘Amr, asks him: “Brother, why do you refer to the king as raziq? Is it because he gives sustenance to all creation? Or is it because he feeds some people?
The first is obviously false, so only the second option remains, which is that the king is called raziq because he feeds some people. However, giving him the title in this second meaning there is, no distinction for him because even a poor man and a menial labourer fill the bellies of their children. Besides humans, even small birds feed their chicks, so according to your principle, everyone and every creature may be called raziq.”
It should be asked, did ‘Amr mean by this statement that the generous and beneficent king and every poor and menial labourer are equal in their generosity? It is obvious that this understanding is a manifestation of the idiocy of the one who understood it. Thus, whatever was said in Hifz al-Imaan is nothing more than this.
I shall now cite a statement from Sharh al-Mawaqif of the accepted Scholar of Ahl al-Sunna, Imam ‘Allamah Sayyid Sharif (rahmatullah alayh), which is identical to the statement of Hifz al-Imaan, so that after reading this no Sunni Muslim will dare to open his mouth against Hifz al-Imaan, because whatever is in Hifz al-Imaan, is approximately a translation of this passage from Sharh al-Mawaqif. The ‘Allamah wrote [underlined is the original text of al-Iji and the remainder is from the commentary, Sharh al-Mawaqif]:
As for the philosophers, they say: He i.e. the Nabi is the one in whom three special features combine, by which he is distinguished from others. The first of them, i.e. the first of the matters that are exclusive to him, is that he is cognizant of the ghayb, the present, the past and the future.
After this, in a few lines, he proves on behalf of the philosophers that this matter is not farfetched for the Ambiya (upon them peace). Then he says on behalf of the philosophers:
And why would this cognizance [of the ghayb] in respect the Nabi be considered farfetched, when that is found in those you say his preoccupations are exercise with [various] types of [spiritual] struggles, or illness, averting the soul from preoccupation with the body and using sensory organs, or sleep, disconnecting thereby his external senses; since these [individuals] are cognizant of the ghayb and give information about it as attested to by transmission and experience whereby no doubt about it remains for those who are just? This was a description of the position of the philosophers and their proofs.
After this, the author (Allah have mercy on him) gives an answer on behalf of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama‘ah, and says:
We say: What you mentioned is rejected for [various] reasons: because cognizance of all ghayb is not necessary for the Nabi by agreement between us and you, and for this [reason] the Chief of the Prophets said, “Had I knowledge of the ghayb, I should have abundance of wealth, and adversity would not touch me” [Qur’an 7:188]; and a part, i.e. cognizance of part [of the ghayb], is not specific to him, i.e. to the prophet, as you have agreed, since you allowed it for the exercisers, the ill and the sleepers, so the Nabi is not distinguished thereby from others.
Fair readers should take note, what is the difference between this passage of Sharh al-Mawaqif and the passage of Hifz al-Imaan under inquiry?
I hope that after this explanation of the passage from Hifz al-Imaan, no doubt of the opponents remains. To complete the proof for this, I will briefly quote the answer which Hazrat Mawlana Thanawi wrote in his reply to this slander.
When this fatwa, Husaam al-Haramayn, of Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib was published, and it caused a great stir, the respected Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Sahib wrote a letter to Mawlana Thanawi:
“Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib Barelwi wrote with respect to you that you (Allah forbid!) stated explicitly in Hifz al-Imaan that the equivalent of the knowledge the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) possesses from the matters of the ghayb is possessed by every child and every madman and every animal. Did you write this anywhere in Hifz al-Imaan, and is this your belief? And if this is not your belief, what is your position towards someone who holds this revolting belief?” (Summarised from Bast al-Banaan)
Hazrat Mawlana Thanawi gave the answer:
“I did not write this disgusting content in any book. Let alone writing it, this thought never crossed my heart. Nor is it the necessary conclusion of any speech of mine, as I will explain later. Since I understand this content to be revolting,how can it be my intent? The person who believes this, or without belief utters it explicitly or implicitly, I believe him to be outside the fold of Islam because he has denied decisive texts and denigrated Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).”
Thereafter, in that book, Bast al-Banaan, Hazrat Mawlana Thanawi gave a detailed reply to this accusation of Khan Sahib and explained the meaning of the passage from Hifz al-Imaan under discussion. However, now there is no need to quote it because all that I wrote to explain this passage above is in effect an elaboration of this answer of Hazrat Mawlana.
Respected readers carefully note how far the Barelwi learned man was from truth and integrity in this fatwa.
And Allah is the One Who guides to the path of rightness.
The Author of Hifz al-Imaan’s Search for Truth and his laudable Declaration of Rewording the Passage of Hifz al-Imaan
Respected readers! The debate-style reply to the fatwa of disbelief which Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib issued in Husaam al-Haramayn by attributing a heretical content to Hifz al-Imaan has terminated, and the readers will understand that its reality is nothing besides slander and fabrication, and the author of Hifz al-Imaan is completely innocent of this impure and heretical belief ascribed falsely to him.
A sincere person drew the attention of Hazrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Sahib Thanawi (Rahmatullah alayh) by suggesting that:
“although the passage of Hifz al-Imaan in reality is completely sound and free of doubt, if the words with which the ungodly and obstinate people deceive the fickle simple-minded commoners were rephrased, these commoners who are susceptible to fitnah would not succumb to the deception, so for the sake of the fickle lay-people this would be best.”
Hazrat Thanawi made dua for the one who gave him this advice and wholeheartedly accepted the advice and changed the passage in the following way: In the old passage, the sentence which began as “such knowledge of the ghayb” was substituted for the sentence: “mere knowledge of some unseen matters has been attained by non-Ambiya.” This incident occurred in Safar of 1342 H (September 1923 CE). Thus, approximately 32 years ago this revision had taken place in the passage of Hifz al-Imaan. After this, Hifz al-Imaan has continued to be printed with this revision. Rather, the entire circumstance behind this revision and its announcement on behalf of the revered author (Allah have mercy on him) was printed as an addendum to Hifz al-Imaan called Taghyir al‘Unwaan.
Thereafter, in Jumada al-Ukhra of 1354 H, it happened that because of the advice of a certain individual, the worthless writer of these lines (Muhammad Manzur Nu‘mani) himself proposed in the presence of Hazrat Hakim al-Ummah (Allah have mercy on him), that the intent of the words “apply the ruling of the knowledge of ghayb” at the very beginning of the passage from Hifz al-Iman which the obstinate ones object to, is, without doubt, the unqualified usage of “knower of the ghayb,” which is obvious from the preceding and succeeding parts of this passage, and in Bast al-Banaan and Taghyir al-‘Unwaan, Hazrat stated explicitly this. Therefore, if in the original passage “ruling” is changed to “unqualified usage” the matter will become even more clear and will leave no room for doubt. Hazrat, without any hesitation, accepted this and changed the sentence as follows: “Furthermore, if unqualifiedly using ‘knower of the ghayb’ for the holy essence is sound according to the statement of Zayd…” And he instructed this worthless one to announce this revision on his behalf. Thus, in Rajab of 1354 H, in [the journal] al-Furqaan, this announcement was made.
Anyhow, after those two revisions, the passage of Hifz al-Imaan reads as follows:
“Furthermore, if unqualifiedly using “knower of the ghayb” for the holy essence is sound according to the statement of Zayd, he will be asked about this matter, that, is the intent of this ghayb some ghayb or all ghayb? If some unseen sciences is intended, what distinction is there for the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in this? Mere knowledge of some unseen matters has been attained by non-Ambiya, so everyone should be called “knower of the ghayb.”
The result is that our elders declared their innocence and abhorrence for the heretical beliefs which Mawlawi Ahmad Raza Khan Sahib attributed to them, and audaciously declaring them disbelievers. In addition, our elders explained the true and real meaning of those passages. They further proved that there is nothing in their statements that is against the teachings and beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah.
In order to protect fickle simple-minded laymen from misunderstanding, if any person sincerely advised them to rephrase their statements, then without deliberation and without any ill feeling, they accepted the advice. No doubt this is clear evidence of their sincere quest of the truth and their selflessness. How unfortunate! How unjust and wretched are those people who call these noble slaves of Allah disbelievers!