The reasons for un-Islamic ideas being mixed into True Islamic Tasawwuf

Just as iman and Islam are two independent branches of deen, on the same line, ihsan too is an independent branch attending to the perfection of deen which begins with:

انما الاعمال بالنيات

Actions are judged by intentions.

and finally manifests itself with:

ان تعبد الله كانك تراه

To worship Allah with complete consciousness as if you are seeing Him.

Our history of Islam is replete with examples of the concurring existence of the teaching of the Qurʼan and the Sunnah together with the rectification of the inner soul and heart which gradually adopted the name of Tasawwuf. Tasawwuf has many other names as well, such as Tariqah, Suluk, Ihsan, ‘Ilm al-Akhlaq, ‘Ilm al-Qalb, etc, but it is more commonly known as Tasawwuf. In essence, some actions pertain to the outer limbs and some pertain to the inner. The aforementioned category is known as Amal Zahirah (outward actions or Shari‘ah) and the latter is known as Amal Batinah (inward actions or Tariqah). The position of the outward actions is like the similitude of the body, while the inward actions playing the role of the soul. In this way, each component is in need of the other.

Shah Wali Allah Muhaddith Dehlwi (rahimahullah) states:

Shari‘ah without Tariqah is a mere philosophy and theory and Tariqah without Shari‘ah eventually leads to apostasy and infidelity. [Tashil Qasd al-Sabil pg. 8]

What is the reality of this Tasawwuf or Tariqah, for this we will reproduce a comprehensive definition from Allamah al-Shami (rahimahullah):

هو علم يعرف به انواع الفضائل وكيفية اكتسابها وانواع الرذائل وكيفية اجتنابها

Tasawwuf is that branch of knowledge which deals with the varieties of noble character together with its method of attainment and the varieties of ill-traits and how to abstain from it. [Radd al-Muhtar vol. 1 pg. 127]

The extent to which purifying ones heart is necessary can be well understood from the following quote of Moulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah)  (d. 1366 A.H):

The aspect of Shari‘ah which deals with inward actions is called Tasawwuf or Suluk and the aspect dealing with outward actions is called Fiqh. The subject matter of Tasawwuf concerns reformation of character and the objective is attaining the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. The methodology adopted is complete adherence to the laws of Shari‘ah. So to say, Tasawwuf is the soul and perfection of deen which purifies a person’s soul from ill-traits and bad manners and beautifies his character with virtuous actions and upright morals and ethics, thereby acquiring attentiveness to Allah, which is the objective of life. Therefore, Tasawwuf and Tariqah are definitely not contrary to Shari‘ah; rather it is necessary for every Muslim to be a sufi, without which he cannot become a complete Muslim. [Shari’ah wa Tasawwuf pg. 16]

It is a reality upon which the sufiyyah and the ‘arifin have unanimously agreed; just as that Tasawwuf which is taught and recommended by Islam is a means of guidance for the universe, in a like manner that Tasawwuf which is adopted from other sources besides Islam (which entered into the ummah after the fourth century) demolishes and destroys the fabric of a Muslim’s iman. It is for this reason that we find from the likes of Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) (d. 728 A.H) and Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah)  (d. 751 A.H) to the likes of Moulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah) (d. 1366 A.H) and Moulana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani (rahimahullah) (d. 1377 A.H), and every other reformist of the ummah, that they zealously called for jihad against all un-Islamic forms of Tasawwuf and repeatedly warned the Muslims of its harms. The poem of Dr. Iqbal Marhum very aptly discusses this un-Islamic Tasawwuf:

This is a very delicate matter, so guide me to your pleasure

Protect me from falling into your displeasure through this path-(Tasawwuf)

Just as Islam remains un-blemished through the wanderings of a few individuals, similarly a blanket rule cannot be placed over Tasawwuf due to the deviation of a few sufiyyah.

How did un-Islamic Tasawwuf find its way into Islam? Hereunder we mention the explanation of Professor Salim Chishti (rahimahullah):

At the time when the Karmathians (or Qaramitah) began their efforts of propagation, Tasawwuf had already begun amongst the Muslims and (its) various schools had already been established. For the sake of being accepted in the circles of the sufiyyah, the Karmathians portrayed themselves to be the same, i.e. they began misleading the sufiyyah in the garb of Tasawwuf. Thus, mixing un-Islamic beliefs into Tasawwuf, they laid the foundations for un-Islamic Tasawwuf in Iran, which gradually spread amongst all the Muslims and became merged into Islamic Tasawwuf, to the extent that it had become impossible for the general masses to distinguish between Islamic and un-Islamic Tasawwuf. [Islami Tasawwuf mein Ghair Islami Nazriyyat ki Amezish pg. 31]

On the one hand, the Karmathians (imposters and heretics) accustomed the Muslims to un-Islamic Tasawwuf. On the other hand, with great dexterity, they interpolated the works of upright sufiyyah and with it misled the Muslims with their false beliefs. The great thinker of Islam-Moulana Sayyid Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (rahimahullah) (d. 1420 A.H), writes in the biography of Hafidh Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) (d. 728 A.H):

Some incautious and denominationally prejudiced authors have attributed such statements to him which necessitate kufr (disbelief) according to the general belief system of the Ahl al-Sunnah and the vast majority. Such statements have been attributed to him which denote disrespect and disparagement of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) (May Allah save us and all the Muslims from such an act). Such treatment has not only been meted out to Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) but other elders of the ummah have also been subject to this ploy of the antagonists. Not only has such statements and beliefs been attributed to them of which they were completely innocent, but such content has been introduced into their books which necessitates disbelief and deviation. [Tarikh Dawat wa Azimat, vol. 2, pg. 157]

These enemies of Islam have went a step further, by themselves authoring separate books (that contained statements of disbelief) and attributing them to well-known sufiyyah, after which they circulated it among the masses. Moulana Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (rahimahullah) says:

The same approach was faced by Hujjat al-Islam Imam al-Ghazzali (rahimahullah). A very large group of the scholars believe that Al-Madnun bihi ala Ghayr AhlihiAl-Madnun bihi ala Ahlihi, Maarij al-Quds and Mishkat al-Anwar are books which are unfounded and attributed to other than their actual author. The adversaries and evil-wishers of Imam al-Ghazzali (rahimahullah) authored them and thereafter attributed them to him.

Imam al-Sha‘rani (rahimahullah)  and others believe this practice to have been carried out and interpolation to have taken place in the contents and subject matter of the books of Shaykh Muhiyy al-Din Ibn al-‘Arabi (rahimahullah). [Ibid pg. 158]

The great mystic, Imam al-Sha‘rani (rahimahullah) (d. 976 A.H.) writes in connection with his own book, an interesting incident which serves as an eye-opener. He states in Al-Yawaqit wa l-Jawahir:

وكذلك دسوا عليّ أنا في كتابي المسمى: البحر المورود، جملة من العقائد الزائفة وأشاعوا تلك العقائد في مصر ومكة نحو ثلاث سنين، و أنا بريء منها كما بينت ذلك في خطبة الكتاب لما غيرتها وكان العلماء كتبوا عليه وأجازوه فما سكنت الفتنة حتي أرسلت إليهم النسخة التي عليها خطوطه ، وكان ممن انتدب لنصرتي الشيخ الإمام ناصر الدين الكتاني المالكي رضى الله تعلى عنه، ثم إن بعض الحسدة أشاع في مصر ومكة أن علماء مصر رجعوا عن كتاباتهم على مؤلفات فلان كلها، فشك بعض الناس في ذلك فأرسلت نسخة للعلماء ثالث مرة فكتبوا تحت خطوطهم:كذب والله من ينسب إلينا أننا رجعنا عن كتابتنا على هذا الكتاب وغيره من مؤلفات فلان، وعبارة سيدنا ومولانا الشيخ ناصر الدين المالكي – فسح الله تعالى في أجله – بعد الحمد لله وبعد، فما نسب إلى العبد من الرجوع عما كتبته بخطي على هذا الكتاب وغيره من مؤلفات فلان باطل باطل باطل.

Similarly, they have interpolated against me as well, in my book named Al-Bahr Al-Mourud, a collection of deviated beliefs and they have spread such beliefs in Egypt and Makkah for close to three years, whereas I am free of it (i.e. these beliefs that they have interpolated) as I have clarified in the prologue of the book when I edited it. The scholars have written regarding it (i.e. what I have written) and consented to it. Thus, the crisis only subsided, when I dispatched to them (i.e. these scholars) the copy which had on it their handwritings. From amongst those who rose to support me was Shaykh Imam Nasir al-Din al-Kattani  (rahimahullah), the Maliki scholar. Thereafter, some jealous individuals promulgated in Egypt and Makkah that the scholars of Egypt had retracted what they had written with regards to all the works of so-and-so. Hence, (as a result of such propaganda) some people doubted in that (matter). So I dispatched the copy to the scholars for the third time. Thus, they wrote below their handwriting: “By the oath of Allah, whoever attributes to us that we have retracted our support for this book and others that the author has written has lied upon us.” The words of Sayyiduna Moulana Nasir al-Din, the Maliki scholar – May Allah increase his lifespan – after praising Allah were: “As for what follows, that which has been attributed to the servant (i.e. referring to himself), viz. retracting from what I have written (with my own hand) regarding this book and others from amongst the works of so-and-so is false, (it is) false.” [Al-Yawaqit wa l-Jawahir vol. 1 pg. 7]

There are many examples of this interpolation and falsification (which the Karmathians and heretics effected within the writings of the noble sufiyyah) which may be observed in the book of the honourable Professor Salim Chishti (rahimahullah), Islami Tasawwuf mein Ghayr Islami Nazriyyat ki Amezish (The Mixing of un-Islamic ideas into Islamic Tasawwuf).

The reason for the interpolation in the books of the sufiyyah

Due to the fact that the honourable sufiyyah were overwhelmed with observing good thoughts of others, many matters according to them were excluded from (the aspect) of academic criticism, even though the worldly abstinence of these people (i.e. the sufiyyah) is accepted by one and all. Professor Salim Chishti (rahimahullah) writes:

The weakness of these sufiyyah was that they were neither scholars of hadith nor were they historians. Over and above that, as a matter of fact, according to these people (i.e. the sufiyyah) academic criticism and scholarly appraisal – all of it – entered into (the domain of) disrespect. The Tasawwuf of Junayd  (rahimahullah) was: “We will evaluate every issue, making the Qurʼan and Sunnah the criterion. If anything contradicts the Qurʼan and Sunnah, then it is rejected, regardless of whoever’s tongue it was emitted from. However, in the ninth century after hijrah, with the wicked endeavours of the Karmathians, the mindset of the Sunni sufiyyah changed and instead of observing whether the statement was good or evil, they began looking at the one who stated it. In other words, no matter how mentally or reportedly incongruous a narration was, if it was attributed to any pious person, then by this mere attribution to him it was considered worthy of being relied upon; while academically reviewing and examining it would be construed as disrespect. It is for this reason that for centuries false narrations continued to be passed down and today no person has the moral courage to declare them untrue, and thus relinquish his popularity and reputation. [Islami Tasawwuf mein Ghayr Islami Nazriyyat ki Amezish pg. 84-85]

Moulana Najm al-Din Islahi  (rahimahullah), the khalifah  (spiritual vicegerent) of the Shaykh of the Arabs and non-Arabs- Moulana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani (rahimahulah), writes in the sub-notes of (the book) Maktubat-e-Shaykh al-Islam:

In the books of the sufiyyah (the statement): “We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad” has been asserted as being an authentic hadith. However, Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (rahimahullah) reports that Imam Nasaʼi (rahimahullah) said it to be the words of Ibrahim ibn Ulayyah. The assertion of the words is a strong indication that this cannot be the words of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Furthermore, such an eminent scholar of hadith such as Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (rahimahullah) has not seen it in any of the books of hadith. Thus, the decision of (what is) hadith and (what is) not hadith should be made in light of the principles and standards of the scholars of hadith, because if the opinion of a master in the field is not accepted then immunity will be lost and the Shari‘ah will continue to lose its credit. The unfortunate sufiyyah who were overtaken by maintaining good thoughts (of people), where did they have the time to critically examine (statements)? Nor was it their habit (to do so). Whatever they heard or witnessed, they believed to be true. By this (concept) of theirs of maintaining good thoughts (of people), the words of any person being the statement of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) will not be established. [Maktubat-e Shaykh al-Islam vol. 1, p. 324]

Mujaddid Alf-e Thani  (rahimahullah) writes:

One should know that in each of those issues wherein a difference of opinion exists between the scholars and the sufiyyah, if one examines them carefully then it would become apparent that the truth is on the side of the scholars. The underlying reason for this is that the basis for following the ambiya according to the scholars is their perfection of nubuwwah which encompasses their knowledge as well, whereas according to the sufiyyah it is their perfection of wilayah and is confined to their knowledge. Hence, the knowledge derived from nubuwwah will undoubtedly be superior and true compared to that which is derived from the wilayah.  [Maktubat-e Imam Rabbani letter: 266]

The condition of Moulana Jami’s books

Moulana ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (rahimahullah) (d. 898 A.H.) is recognised in the circles of the Ahl al-Sunnah as a sufi, eloquent poet and a linguist; more so when his poems of love and reverence for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) are recited by the orators in their unique way, wherein an ecstatic atmosphere is created. Nevertheless, the question which needs to be asked: Are the books of Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) free from interpolations like the books of other sufiyyah, or did the Shi‘ah distort them as well; inserting statements contrary to the belief system of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah? The late Professor Salim Chishti (rahimahullah) writes:

The plague of interpolation and falsification had become so widespread in the poems of the sufiyyah that when Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) arrived in Baghdad, there was a throng of Rawafid present there. They raised a few objections against Moulana’s book Silsilat al-Dhahab. A certain Rafidhi wrote some poetry, filled with exaggeration with regards to the status of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and attributed it to Moulana.

A debate was arranged in the Jami‘ Masjid of Baghdad, the purpose of which was for the Rawafid to present their objections. Nevertheless, the first objection raised was against those poems which the Rafidhi attributed to Moulana. It was the Ahl al-Sunnah who raised the objection against those poems. [For further details of this incident, refer to Hayat al-Jami by Dr. Ali Asghar Hikmatp. 83]

From this incident, I merely wish to point out that a favourite pursuit of the Isma‘iliyyah, Qaramitah and Rawafid was to distort the words of the sufi poets; inserting poems filled with exaggeration regarding Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu), and at times declaring the divinity of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) (or disparagement for Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiyallahu ‘anhu).

Other than this, the Imamiyyah beliefs of Imams being Omnipresent (Hazir Nazir), to have power over universal affairs (Ikhtiyar al-Kul & Mukhayyir al-Kul) have somehow been deceitfully crept into the books of the sufiyyah, through which some of the people of Sunnah have deviated and adopted such beliefs from Shi’i interpolation of the books of pious sufiyyah.

One might ask how they (the Qaramitah) dared to do such a thing and the response will be that all schools and followers of the sufiyyah – without exception – admire Sayyiduna ‘Ali  (radiyallahu ‘anhu), honour him and regard him worthy of reverence. The specific reason for this is that from amongst the four links (of Tasawwuf) three links culminate from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu). It is for this reason that wherever the sufi poets impressively praised the merits of the three khulafaʼ, they expressed even greater praise for Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu). Therefore, the Rawafid and Qaramitah did not find it difficult to make insertions to their poems. Suppose Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) compiled a poem regarding the status of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) comprising of twenty-one verses; if anyone were to discreetly insert two or three verses into this poem raising Sayyiduna (‘Ali radiyallahu ‘anhu) to a deity, it would easily pass unnoticed. [Islami Tasawwuf mein Ghayr Islami Nazriyyat ki Amezish, p. 45-46]

A few examples of interpolation in Shawahid al-Nubuwwah

We will now present a few references to the book of Moulana Jami (rahimahullah)-Shawahid al-Nubuwwah. You be the judge whether these are the beliefs of the Shi‘ah or of the Ahl al-Sunnah.

1) Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) mentions in his book the incident of a monk embracing Islam at the hands of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and writes that when becoming a Muslim he recited the following:

أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله وأشهد أنك علي وصي رسول الله

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is His servant and Rasul, and I bear witness that you- ‘Ali, are the wasi of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). [Shawahid al-Nubuwwah, p. 155, Rukn-e Sadis dar Bayan-e Dalail wa Shawahid]

Is the belief of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) being the wasi of the Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) the belief of the Shi‘ah or that of the Ahl al-Sunnah?

Moulana Jami might have intended to say that just as it is necessary to bear witness to the oneness of Allah and the nubuwwah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) when becoming a Muslim, so too is it necessary to recognise the virtue and merit of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu), which is why Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) mentions this incident without any criticism or doubt under the karamat (miraculous feats) of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu).

2) Moulana Jam’i (rahimahullah) writes:

Amir al-Muʼminin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiyallahu ‘anhu) is the first of twelve Aʼimmah. [Shawahid al-Nubuwwah, p. 150, Rukn-e Sadis dar Bayan-e Dalail wa Shawahid]

Is the belief in twelve Aʼimmah a belief of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah or that of the Ahl al-Sunnah?

3) Moulana Jam’i rahimahullah writes:

After the martyrdom of Amir al-Muʼminin Imam Husayn (radiyallahu ‘anhu), Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah (rahimahullah)  came to visit Sayyiduna Zayn al-‘Abidin (rahimahullah) one day and said to him: “Due to the fact that I am elder than you and I am also your uncle, thus I am more deserving and worthy of khilafah than you are. Therefore hand over the weapons of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to me.” Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (rahimahullah) retorted: “O my uncle! Fear Allah. Do not quarrel regarding what you have no right to.” After much discussion, they both accepted to make the al-Hajr al-Aswad (Black Stone) the arbitrator and sought a judgment from it. Thus the al-Hajr al-Aswad (Black Stone) bore witness to the leadership of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (rahimahullah).  [Summarized from Shawahid al-Nubuwwah, p. 169, Rukn-e Sadis dar Bayan-e Dalail wa Shawahid ]

The belief of Imamah being a divine decree of Allah is a Shi‘i concept and the exact words mentioned above can be found in the most relied upon Shi‘ah books such as Usul al-Kafi vol. 1 pg. 48, and Al-Shafi vol. 2, p. 314. The Ahl al-Sunnah have no connection to this false belief.

4) Moulana Jam’i (rahimahu Llah) has mentioned in his book that the birth of Imam Mahdi took place in the home of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (rahimahulah). Furthermore he has mentioned that he spoke in his childhood. [ Shawahid al-Nubuwwah, p. 198,Rukn-e Sadis dar Bayan-e Dalail wa Shawahid]

This too is a belief of the Shi‘ah. For further details, refer to the book of Moulana Diya al-Rahman al-Faruqi al-Shahid  (rahimahullah) (d. 1417 A.H.)- Imam Mahdi, and for a exhaustive rebuttal refer to Mirqat al-Mafatih, the commentary of Mishkat al-Masabih by Mulla ‘Ali Qari (rahimahullah (d. 1041 A.H.) vol. 10, p. 179-180.

5) Moulana Jam’i (rahimahullah)  has written in Shawahid al-Nubuwwah that Sayyiduna Hasan (radiyallahu ‘anhu) was poisoned by his wife- Ja‘dah, on the instruction of Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) [Shawahid al-Nubuwwah pg. 163], whereas Allamah Ibn Khaldun (rahimahullah) (d. 808 A.H.) writes:

And what has been reported that Mu‘awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) poisoned him in conjunction with his wife- Ja‘dah bint al-Ash‘ath is from the fabricated narrations of the Shi‘ah. It is farfetched that Mu‘awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) would carry out such an act. [Tarikh Ibn Khaldun vol. 2, pg. 1135]

6) Contrary to the majority of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah, the opinion of Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) regarding Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) is that he committed a grave error which – Allah forbid – necessitates a companion of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) becoming a fasiq, which in itself is a fundamental tenet of the Shi‘ah faith.

I will suffice on these six points and will address the issue again if necessity arises. Ultimately, our readers should make the decision for themselves whether it is possible for a stringent follower of the Ahl al-Sunnah to hold these types of beliefs. If these texts were written by Moulana Jami himself then no doubt Moulana Jami is a Shi‘ah. However, if he did not write this then our claim is proven that some deviants inserted these words in Moulana Jami’s works. Allah alone knows the number of Muslims in the last six hundred years who were ruined by such writings on account of the prominence and virtue of Moulana Jami (rahimahullah). Even if these texts were to be accepted as interpolated, still the enemies of Islam have succeeded in their objective, and even if these interpolated texts were to now be erased, it would be tantamount to:

Stitching silk over coarse cloth

The status of Moulana Jami

There is significant difference of opinion regarding the personality of Moulana ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (rahimahullah). Some have classified him to be from amongst those who were inclined towards Shi‘asm, while others have openly stated that he was amongst those who practised taqiyyah (dissimulation) and a far cry from being a member of the Ahl al-Sunnah but rather a Shi‘ah in his beliefs and doctrines.

Furthermore, they claim that the poems he composed in praise of the four khulafaʼ are all also based on taqiyyah, as the beliefs Moulana Jami (rahimahullah)  propagated in his books, especially in Shawahid al-Nubuwwah, are clearly Shi‘i beliefs. Sayyid ‘Arif Naushahi in his biography of Moulana Jami (rahimahullah)- entitled Jami [Mizan al-Kutub by the late Moulana Muhammad ‘Ali, pg. 511-513] writes under the chapter of the beliefs of Moulana Jami:

He was a Shi‘ah inclined towards the Ahl al-Sunnah. [Jami pg. 254] Briefly, in light of the content of the above-mentioned book (Shawahid al-Nubuwwah) it is clear that the author is a Sunni, whose heart is free from sectarianism and together with this, he is inclined towards the beliefs of the Imamiyyah sect. [Ibid pg. 255] In the ideas of Jami there is proof of a mixture of Shi‘ah and Sunni beliefs. [Ibid]

Iranian Shi‘ah who hold Jami in high regard, will go out of their way to prove Jami to be a devout Shi‘ah. He will regard these poems and statements of Jami which mention praise for the three khulafaʼ as taqiyyah.

Consequently, they refer to the following part of his final poem in his book- Sajjat al-Abrar, wherein he criticizes the three khulafaʼ and praises ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) by implication and insinuation:

پنجہ در كن اسد اللہى را  * بيخ پر كن دو سہ روباہى را

The lion of Allah extended his claws

Towards the three, who were more cunning than foxes. [Ibid. 256]

The Shi‘ah scholar ‘Abbas al-Qummi writes in his Al-Kuna wa l-Alqab regarding Jami (rahimahullah):


المولى عبد الرحمن بن أحمد بن محمد الدشتي الفارسي الصوفي النحوي الصرفي الشاعر الفاضل … ويقال له الجامي لأنه ولد ببلدة جام من بلاد ما وراء النهر سنة 817 ه … وله سبحة الأبرار وشواهد النبوة في فضائل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم والأئمة عليهم السلام … وهل هو من علماء السنة كما هو الظاهر منه بل من المتعصبين كما هو الغالب على أهل بلاد تركستان وما وراء النهر ولذا بالغ في التشنيع القاضي نور الله مع مذاقه الوسيع، أو أنه كان ظاهرا من المخالفين وفي الباطن من الشيعة الخالصين، ولم يبرز ما في قلبه تقية كما يشهد بذلك بعض أشعاره، منها ما عن سبحة الأبرار قوله:

پنجہ در كن اسد اللہى را  * بيخ پر كن دو سہ روباہى را

واعتقده السيد الأجل الأمير محمد حسين الخاتون آبادي سبط العلامة المجلسي (وينقل) حكاية في ذلك مسندا وحاصلها أن الشيخ علي بن عبد العالي، كان رفيقا مع الجامي في سفر زيارة أئمة العراق عليهم السلام وكان يتقيه فلما وصلوا إلى بغداد ذهبا إلى ساحل الدجلة للتنزه فجاء درويش قلندر، وقرأ قصيدة غراء في مدح مولانا أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام ولما سمعها الجامي بكى وسجد وبكى في سجوده، ثم أعطاه جائزة ثم قال في سبب ذلك اعلم أني شيعي من خلص الإمامية ولكن التقية واجبة وهذه القصيدة مني وأشكر الله أنها صارت بحيث يقرأها القارئ في هذا المكان. ثم قال الخاتون آبادي: وأخبرني بعض الثقاة من الأفاضل نقلا عمن يثق به أن كل من كان في دار الجامي من الخدم والعيال والعشيرة كانوا على مذهب الإمامية، ونقلوا عنه أنه كان يبالغ في الوصية بأعمال التقية سيما إذا أراد سفرا والله العالم بالسرائر.

Moula ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Dashti al-Farsi al-Sufi al-Nahwi al-Sarfi, the poet and scholar. He was called Jami because he was born in Jam, a town in Ma Wara al-Nahr, in the year 718 A.H. Amongst his works are Sajjat al-Abrar and Dalaʼil al-Nubuwwah, which discusses the virtues of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the honourable Aʼimmah. Was Jami a scholar from the Ahl al-Sunnah as is apparent or more precisely an extremist Sunni, as is famous in Turkistan and the areas of Ma Wara al-Nahr, which could be the reason why, despite being inherently lenient, he severely reprimanded Qadi Nur Allah al-Shostari. Or perhaps he might have outwardly portrayed himself to be from the opposition (Ahl al-Sunnah) and inwardly was a devout Shi‘ah and out of taqiyyah did not expose what he truly believed? This (second possibility) is endorsed by some of his poetry such as the following poem in Sajjat al-Abrar:

پنجہ در كن اسد اللہى را  * بيخ پر كن دو سہ روباہى را

The lion of Allah extended his claws

Towards the three, who were more cunning than foxes

This is further supported by the story mentioned by Amir Sayyid Husayn al-Khatun Abadi, the grandson of Mulla Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi. The summary of this narration is as follows:

Shaykh ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-’Ali once accompanied Jami on a journey towards Iraq to visit the graves of the saints. He would embark on these journeys by means of taqiyyah. When they reached Baghdad both went to the shores of the Tigris River. Meanwhile a dervish arrived and recited a few heart-rendering couplets in praise of Moula Amir al-Muʼminin ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu). When Jami heard this poem, he began sobbing and fell into prostration, reduced to tears. He further gave the poet a gift and told him: “You should be aware that I am a Shi‘ah and a devout follower of the Imamiyyah but taqiyyah is necessary. These poems are my collection and I thank Allah that he has spread it to this extent.” Thereafter Muhammad Husayn al-Khatun Abadi said: “An authentic exemplary narrator has reported this to me on the authority of authentic narrators that the entire household of Jami, near and far, are all upon the beliefs of the Imamiyyah and have been given strict orders by Jami to practise taqiyyah; especially when he undertakes journeys and Allah alone is the Knower of secrets.” [Al-Kuna wal-Alqab vol.2 pg.138-9]

The story narrated by ‘Abbas al-Qummi can also be found in Diwan Kamil Jami Bakhshish Dahm pg.194.

Our stance

Due to the fact that wherever Shi‘ah beliefs are mentioned in the books of Moulana Jami, it is also accompanied with the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah, no precise conclusion can be made. However, since the senior ‘ulama of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah always accepted Moulana ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (rahimahullah) as a Sunni sufi and counted him as one of the Muslim poets, always praising him and entertaining good thoughts regarding him; we too will not accept the irrational conclusions the Shi‘ah have arrived at regarding him. As far as these references are concerned, my claim is as follows:

The Sabbaʼiyyah (those who curse the Sahabah), Batiniyyah and enemies of the Sahabah have deliberately created doubts in the beliefs of the famous sufiyyah, thereby confusing those who hold them in high regard with the doubt that they could have adopted taqiyyah or that they had inclinations towards Shi‘asm. The purpose of such ploys would be to incline others towards Shi‘asm as well, making it easier to convert them to what they would refer to as the “Religion of your fore-fathers”. This claim will be proven in due time. The tombs of majority of the Sunni saints in Pakistan have been taken over and are cared for by people of the Imamiyyah sect and they inform their ignorant followers that these saints were in actual fact followers of the Imamiyyah. What a strange spectacle it has become that the tomb of a Sunni is now being taken care of by a Shi‘ah trustee! Without doubt, this is the ‘poisoned apple’ which this sect has used for the past thousand years, claiming that the sufiyyah and auliya were followers of the Imamiyyyah sect, so that the general masses will be inclined to follow in their footsteps.

Basic principles to protect oneself from Shi‘ah conspiracies by Moulana Qasim Nanotwi

Moulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (rahimahullah) has mentioned in his famous book-Hadiyyat al-Shiah, six basic principles to be applied before accepting the words of any book or author in order to protect the ummah from the evils and conspiracies of the Shi‘ah. It is imperative that we scrutinize any reference given by the Shi‘ah or anyone affected by them using these principles. If the reference conforms to these principles then it will be accepted by all means, and if not then it will be rejected or alternatively interpreted. He says:

Firstly, as a precaution, the book at hand must be that of a notable and trustworthy author. Just as there are many grades of authors old and young, trustworthy and untrustworthy, those with understanding and those without, in the same way books are also of many grades. The unfaithful and irreligious have written the names of many great scholars in their works but have also filled their books with hundreds of false claims and narratives. Likewise, most of the great works of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah for the benefit of the people were left in their unedited form so that they could be reviewed but due to circumstances, this revision did not take place and eventually this unedited magnum opus fell into the wrong hands. Some of these books were considered extremely rare and valuable and others were even considered lost. However, these were later found in the hands of irreligious and like-minded people. They eventually added their fabricated narrations to these books and attributed it to them when debating the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah in order to silence them. Referencing such books is a common practice amongst the Shi‘ah. Therefore it is of utmost importance to first question a reference when debating with them. Thereafter it should be seen if the reference is reliable. Gauging the reliability is based upon the six basic principles:

Principle 1

The purpose of the author must be to explain and expound upon facts and not merely to gather whimsical fairy tales or storytelling. If this is not the case then a genre of flowery and colourful stories, fairy tales, strange and fictitious narrations will become widespread.

Principle 2

The author should be unbiased, and his accuracy and trustworthiness in narration should also be well-known such that no doubts arise at the mention of his name. If this is not the requirement, then should not the volumes of heroic tales sung by the young girls in praise of their forefathers and the cowardice of their enemies also be accepted? And what is the value of any narration if the words of every individual is taken into consideration? If we unify our call and accept every deviant belief and the Ahl al-Sunnah begin to accept the Shi‘ah chain of narrators and vice versa, turning a blind eye to differences in the strength of narrators and weaknesses as well as differences in their memory and truthfulness etc, then what reliance would remain in narration?

Principle 3

The author should possess an acceptable degree of expertise on the topic at hand regardless of his truthfulness or reliability. He should not be a personification of the proverb:

Half a Mulla is as dangerous for iman as half a doctor is for health

Principle 4

The fourth principle to be considered is that any book despite possessing the afore-mentioned qualities should be well-known and accepted by the earlier generation of scholars, who also possess the afore-mentioned qualities and it should be passed down through a reliable chain. If this were not the case then the Bible and Torah should have been as reliable as the final revelation of the Noble Qurʼan.

Principle 5

The fifth principle is that the author must make it a precondition upon himself to only narrate authentic and established narrations, like those from the Sihah Sittah (i.e. BukhariMuslimTirmidhiAbu DawudNasaʼiIbn Majah); whose authors placed the condition of only narrating what is authentic (according to them) because of which they are called “Sihah”. So if any book has been compiled in an unedited form by the author with the intention that he will in due time differentiate between right and wrong, true and false and delete any unauthentic narrations (as was done by Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) and Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) or that he will explicitly mention which narrations are authentic, fabricated, or weak following the narration (as Imam Tirmidhi  rahimahullah had done) but coincidentally fate did not allow the author the opportunity to fulfil this desire and his soul was taken prior to completing his task, then the book will not be considered reliable because every author compiles his book all-encompassing with the intention of sifting through it later. There are many narrations mentioning that Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah)  sifted through six hundred thousand ahadith to compile his Sahih. Imam ‘Abd al-Razzaq  (rahimahullah) narrates from Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) himself that he compiled all of these ahadith in an unedited form on three different occasions before settling on the Bukhari of his Sahih. This is mentioned in the second or third chapter of the foreword to Sahih al-Bukhari’  printed in Delhi by Ahmadi Publications. In any case, these types of unedited masterpieces attributed to great scholars of hadith do exist. If Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) had compiled all of his Sahih al-Bukhari and before sifting through them left this temporary abode, would we still consider it reliable even though it would be the work of Imam Bukhari  (rahimahullah) himself? Everyone knows that if this were the case then Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) would not have undertaken the job of sifting through them. Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) is himself testifying to the fact that the unrevised version of his book is unreliable. So why should we rely upon the work of any scholar of hadith solely based on the attribution of a hadith or narration to him without a secondary revision? If any book of this sort is found, no matter how great a scholar the author may be, it is considered unreliable and unacceptable; not only to the scholars but even to the common layman. In any case, this point should be kept in mind that many people may fall into this trap merely because of the name of a great scholar.

Principle 6

If several narrations differ from each other, reaching a level of contradiction and it cannot be conclusively established which of them is not authentic then preference will be given based on the strength of the chain of narrators. If this were not the case then the Shi‘ah would have to accept that their narrations and the narrations of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah are both correct. [Hadiyyat al-Shiah pg. 255-258]

Moulana Qasim Nanotwi  (rahimahullah) speaking further on the topic says:

These tricks of the Shi‘ah have been carried out with ease in books which are uncommon. For this reason, the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah consider their books like the Bible and the Torah in severity and have deemed them unreliable. Their narrations will be gauged against the narrations from the reliable books of the Ahl al-Sunnah. Those narrations which will conform with our narrations will be upheld and those contradicting our narrations will be considered deceitful innovations. As for narrations which are not categorized as being conformist or contradictory to our narrations but stand alone, they are the same as those narrations that contradict our narrations, if they disagree with logical reasoning. The reason being that even though it may not contradict our narrations, they definitely do not lend support to them. Subsequently, even if a narration appears in any of their works and there is no apparent meddling by them nor does this contradict a narration of the Sihah, even then this narration will be approached with scepticism and not used as a proof by us, it will be considered similar to a narration of the Bible or the Torah i.e. we will not negate nor affirm it. [Hadiyyat al-Shiah pg. 260-261]


The above mentioned details make it clear that the ijtihad of Moulana Jami (rahimahullah) cannot be used as a proof against the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah. According to the scholars of Islam, Moulana Jami  (rahimahullah) is regarded as a great sufi, a poet, and an imam in the sciences of grammar and language. However, he is not considered to be a muhaddith, muffasir or a faqih. The scholars of Islam have agreed that the opinions of the sufiyyah will not be considered as a valid proof in Shari‘ah regarding matters of halal and haram. Mujaddid Alf-e Thani (rahimahullah) (d. 1024 A.H) said it most beautifully:

The actions of the sufiyyah regarding halal and haraam are not a proof. It is sufficient for us to consider them excused and not rebuke them leaving their matter to Allah. Here we shall consider what Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah), and Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah) have to say and not what Abu Bakr al-Shibli or Abu al-Hasan al-Nuri said. [Maktubat-e Imam Rabbani letter: 266]

The rule of Imam Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimahullah) is no secret:

إذا وقع في الإسناد صوفي فاغسل يديك منه

When a sufi appears in the chain of narration then dust that narration off your hands. [Al-Alalat al-Najiah pg. 77]

Moulana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani (rahimahullah) (d. 1377 A.H) said:

The reality is that these are great scholars in the field of Tasawwuf and Tariqah, but not scholars of the external and Shari‘ah. The Aʼimmah of this field are Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), Imam Muhammad (rahimahullah), and Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) and the fuqaha. It is their opinions which will be upheld as proof in this field. The legal verdicts of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (rahimahullah),  Shaykh Junayd al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah), Shaykh Khawajah Bahaʼ al-Din al-Naqshbandi (rahimahullah), Shaykh Khawajah Muhiyy al-Din al-Sanjari (rahimahullah) will not be considered as reliable proofs although they may have been giants in the field of Tariqah.

لكل فن رجال

Every field has its experts. [Maktubat-e Shaykh al-Islam vol. 3 pg. 225]

Allamah Qadi Ibrahim al-Hanafi (rahimahullah) (d. 1000 A.H) says:

Those ascetics who are not of the people of ijtihad will be viewed as laymen. Their opinions will not be relied upon. If their opinions conform to reliable books then we will take them into consideration. [Nafaʼis al-Izhar tarjama Majalis al-Abrar pg. 127]

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Delhwi (rahimahullah) (d. 1025 A.H) writes:

The way of any sufi shaykh is not a proof, rather a proof will be drawn from the Qurʼan and Sunnah. [Akhbar al-Akhyar pg. 93]

It was said most beautifully by one of the ascetics:

The saying and actions of any shaykh is not a proof, rather hold fast to the sayings of Allah and the actions of Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

It becomes clear from the above that the words of the sufiyyah are not a proof in the rulings of halal and haram except when in conformity to the Shari‘ah. When we are not allowed to draw proof from their words in matters of fiqh then how can we draw proof from their words in the matter of ‘aqidah (beliefs)? Especially in one as delicate as the differences of the Sahabah and more so where their opinions contradict the opinion of the majority? In such a case, a sahih hadith will not even be taken into consideration. Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Barelwi said:

With regards to beliefs, the sahih ahadith of Sahih al-Bukhari  and Sahih al-Muslim will be put aside when they are not explicit or mutawatir, so what can be said about weak narrations. Hypothetically, if Jami had not been accused of being a Shi‘ah and even if the additions of the Shi‘ah had not been established in his book, then too his words would still be rejected because of his contradiction of the vast majority of the scholars. [Fatawa Ridwiyyah vol 2 pg. 505]

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