Answers By Mujlisul Ulama
A Brother with some Ishkaals pertaining to the Malfoothaat of Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh), poses the following queries:
I have some queries regarding an article that was written by a Maulana of the UK. In the article, which I have attached to this email, he quotes miscellaneous Malfoozaat of Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh). What we have read in these Malfoozaat seems very different to the version of Hadhrat Thanvi as we learnt about him. I will give a summary of some of the things mentioned in the article which has caused some iskhkaal (uncertainty).
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi said that the doors of ijtihaad are only closed with regards to matters of usool and not when it comes to matters of furoo`.
Answer: The Furoo’ in the context refers to new developing issues, e.g. blood donation, surrogacy, transplanting organs, machine-slaughtering, insurance and numerous other issues which always develop with the progress of time. On such issues on which the Fuqaha are silent, then obviously the well-grounded Ulama of the age will be constrained to acquire rulings on the basis of the Usool as well as similar Furoo’ formulated by the Aimmah Mujtahideen of the Salafus Saaliheen era. Furoo’ in the context does not refer to such Furoo’ on which there is Ijmaa’ of the Fuqaha of the Math-hab, e.g. Wudhu has four Faraaidh, a quarter of the head is Fardh for masah, Qur’baani is Waajib on every adult who has the means, and the thousands of other Furoo’ pertaining to all acts of Ibaadat.
However, regarding such Furoo’ on which there exists difference of opinion among our own Fuqaha and Aimmah Mujtahideen, there is scope for Ijtihaad, e.g. Is Isha’ Salaat Fardh in an abnormal time zone region where there is no Isha’ time? According to some Fuqaha, there is no Isha’ Salaat there. This is also Hadhrat Gangohi’s view. However, according to other Fuqaha, Isha’ remains Fardh even in such a region. In an ikhtilaaf of this nature, we shall apply our minds and issue a Fatwa which our hearts believe is the best, and in this particular case, we say that Isha’ remains Fardh.
There are numerous Furoo’ of this nature of Ikhtilaaf. Ijtihaad in them will be permissible. Nevertheless, even if there is some Ikhtilaaf, it remains incumbent to adopt the view of the Jamhoor-Fuqaha of the Math-hab, and to adopt Ihtiyaat. If there is no incumbent need, it will not be permissible to depart from the Mufta Bihi version of the Jamhoor Fuqaha of the Math-hab.
It should be well understood that there is no scope for latitude based on nafsaaniyat. Flitting from Math-hab to Math-hab, and from one view to another for the sake of pleasing people, is haraam. Liberals and deviates do so at the peril of the destruction of their Imaan.
It has also been observed that some Akaabir have their own tafarrudaat–views in which they are solitary perpetrators in stark opposition of the Mufta Bihi version of the Jamhoor Fuqaha of their own Math-hab, e.g. Hadhrat Madani (Rahmatullah alayh) performing Tahajjud in Jamaat. Such tafarrudaat should be compulsorily buried, husband has disappeared has been acquired from the Maaliki Math-hab. This procedure is entirely correct and within the confines of the Math-hab. But this is subject to a valid Shar’i Dhuroorat. It is not based on whim and fancy to dance to the tune not advertised. There is no daleel in such a misaligned view of a senior. A tafarrud may not be tolerated. It is never a basis for diversion from the Math-hab’s official Ruling.
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi said that when it comes to matters of mu’aamalaat, he will give a Fatwaa on another Madh-hab if it is a case of dharoorat. He asked permission for this from Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Permission was granted.
Answer: We are in agreement with this. We too adopt this for practical purposes when there is a Shar’i Dhuroorat. In fact this is a principle of our Math-hab. Thus, what Hadhrat Thanvi did was to act within the confines of the Math-hab by acting in terms of the principle which allows for such diversion from the Math-hab and incorporation into the Math-hab of a mas’alah from another Math-hab. The mas’alah of four years waiting period for a woman whose husband has disappeared has been acquired from the Maaliki Math-hab. This procedure is entirely correct and within the confines of the Math-hab.
But this is subject to a valid Shar’i Dhuroorat. It is not based on whim and fancy to dance to the tune of an ignorant modernist public. Nowadays, just any whimsical need of morons is accepted by the maajin moron ‘muftis’ for issuing stupid and corrupt fatwas of jawaaz. This trifling with the Deen is fraught with calamitous consequences.
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi used to recite Soorah al-Faatihah behind the Imaam, but later on left off this practice. When he began doing it, he mentioned it to Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, but Hadhrat Gangohi maintained silence (didn’t object to it). Later on when he left it off, he again mentioned this to Hadhrat Gangohi, and again Hadhrat Gangohi maintained silence.
Answer: This act of Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) was his tafarrud, which was erroneous, and must be set aside. He himself dithered on its validity, hence he later abandoned it. Hadhrat Gangohi’s silence is not a determinant or a criterion for accepting tafarrudaat. On the contrary, Hadhrat’s silence was a silent disapproval for the tafarrud of Hadhrat Thanvi. According to the Jamhoor Hanafi Fuqaha reciting Surah Fatihah behind the Imaam is HARAAM. Thus, Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) had erred in this respect, and his abandonment of the practice signifies his Rujoo’.
Every good horse also slips. We follow the Haqq they present, not their errors. We are on solid grounds when we follow the Aimmah and Fuqaha of our Math-hab. There are numerous Rujoo-aat of Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh). At one stage he was not aware of the fact that to fast only on 10th Muharram is Makrooh, and that another day should be added. There are many such errors even among the Fuqaha, hence the preponderance of two or three views on almost every mas’alah among the Shaafi’ Fuqaha. They have too many qadeem and jadeed views on almost every mas’alah.
The senior who pulls to the side with his tafarrud is on delicate ground. Allah save him from such errors which become blurred to even illustrious personalities. The safest course is to remain firm on the version of the Jamhoor. This is in fact Siraatul Mustaqeem whilst the tafarrud is deviation. Never shall anyone be questioned on the Day of Qiyaamah for having resolutely adhered to the Jamhoor’s fatwa. But there is the very real possibility of the Mutafarrid Buzrug having to stand in the Divine Court to account for his tafarrud, especially if he had no imperative need for his departure from the Straight Road of the Math-hab.
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi praised Imaam ibn Taymiyyah and Imaam ibn al-Qayyim, saying they were `Aarifeen, and he referred to Imaam ibn Taymiyyah with the title of Allaamah.
Answer: In India there was at that time a great dearth of the kutub of Ibn Taimiyyah and Ibn Qayyim, hence most of our Akaabir of that era were unaware of the views of Ibn Taimiyyah. They were therefore justified to speak highly of Ibn Taimiyyah on the basis of the paucity of their awareness of his deviation. If you read some of our own publication of 40 years ago, you will find praise for Ibn Taimiyyah. That was due to our ignorance of his views. It was years later when Hadhrat Husain Ahmad Madani (Rahmatullah alayh) came from Madinah to teach Hadith in Deoband, that he began to apprize our Ulama of the reality of Ibn Taimiyyah. We are under no obligation to follow Hadhrat Thanvi’s view on this issue – a view based on insufficient information.
Such ‘taqleed’ is in fact jumood (fossilization of the brains) which is condemned by the Fuqaha.
Consider the example of stock market shares. Since our Akaabir were unaware of the true meaning of this concept, and since it was erroneously explained to them by some traders and by the one who posed the question, they understood that it was a valid shirkat, hence they issued their fatwa of permissibility. However, those who are aware of this concept, understand its hurmat to be clearer than the sun’s light at mid-day. Now making ‘taqleed’ of such an error of the Akaabir is satanic jumood (intellectual fossilization).
Q. Once, after performing Tawaaf, someone asked him why he does not wear the turban, so Hadhrat Thanvi asked him, “Is it fardh or waajib?” The man replied that it is Sunnah. He then asked, “Is it an emphasised Sunnah or mustahabb?”
A. Wearing the turban is Mustahab. This is the Fiqhi category of the Turban. Our Akaabir generally do not don Amaamah. However, they are not in denial of the Sunnah status of the Turban. When a Mustahab is elevated to the status of Wujoob, then in terms of the Shar’i principle, the Mustahab shall be set aside to avoid resemblance with the Ahl-e-Bid’ah. The Qabar Pujaari (Grave Worshipping) sect believe that wearing the turban, especially for Jumuah is Waajib. In our day too, the Tablighis entertain such a belief. They in fact scorn and despise those Ulama such as Hadhrat Thanvi, who do not wear Amaamah. On account of such ghulu’ it is our understanding that our Akaabir had abstained from Amaamah. The Tablighis profess taqleed to Mufti Mahmoodul Hasan (Rahmatullah alayh). They should check Hadhrat’s Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah for the status of the Amaamah.
It must also be remembered that whilst even a Mustahab act is of great importance and significance, the one who does not meticulously observe it may not be despised, scorned or castigated. Ghulu’ is the disease of the juhala.
Hadhrat Thanvi had also mentioned that his head would feel hot with an amaamah. Furthermore, those who place so much emphasis on the Amaamah, do not place any emphasis whatsoever on wearing the lungi which was the permanent garb of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and of all the Ambiya (Alayhimus salaam). Why this discrepancy in attitude? Is the lungi not Sunnah? Undoubtedly, it is. However, it is of the Mustahab category.
CLOSING THE EYES IN SALAAH
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi said that closing the eyes in Salaah is against the Sunnah but permissible without karaahah.
Answer: We differ with Hadhrat Thanvi on this issue. If it is Sunnah to perform Salaat with open eyes, then it will most certainly be Makrooh Tahrimi to perform Salaat with closed eyes without valid reason.
Adopting closed eyes as a permanent practice is not permissible because it is in violation of the Sunnah. It is not permissible to abandon a Sunnah without valid reason.
An Aalim mureed of Haaji Imdaadullah (Rahmatullah alayh), narrated that once he had performed two raka’ts Nafl with deep concentration and considerable care. During the night, in a dream, his Salaat was shown to him as a damsel of Jannat of stunning beauty. When he looked carefully at her, he observed that she was blind. Haaji Imdaadullah spontaneously informed him that she was blind because he had performed the Salaat with closed eyes.
Q. A Salafi once requested to take bay`t with Haji Imdadullah on condition he remains a Salafi. Hadhrat agreed. Hadhrat was later on informed that this person (Salafi) has left off loud Aameen and raising the hands. Hadhrat asked him if this is the case, and he said yes. Hadhrat said to him, “If your view and research has changed then I shall not prevent you because not saying Aameen loudly and not raising the hands is also Sunnah. However, if you have abandoned because of your relation with me, and you regard your past practice as Sunnah, then I shall not take the responsibility of abandoning a Sunnah on myself.”
Answer: We too will adopt the method of Haji Imdaadullah if we are placed in a similar situation. A Shaafi may not abandon what he believes to be Sunnah merely for the sake of his Hanafi sheikh. A lackadaisical attitude towards the Math-hab’s practices is to trifle with the Deen. It is haraam to abandon a practice one believes to be Sunnah merely to appease one’s sheikh or ustaadh. The muqallid has no daleel for abandoning what his Math-hab teaches to be Sunnah.
Q. When some Ghayr Muqallideen would request to take bay`t with Hadhrat Thanvi, he would ask them their opinion on Taqleed. If they said that Taqleed is permissible but not necessary, he would accept them as his Mureeds.
Answer: The purpose of Bay’t is Islaah of the Nafs. If a ghair muqallid becomes bay’t to a Muqallid Shaikh, then Insha-Allah, he will see the light and abandon his adamant taqleed. Anyhow, accepting ghair muqallideen as mureeds was Hadhrat Thanvi’s method. It is not a method which can be imposed on another Shaikh who refuses to initiate ghair muqallideen as mureeds. This is not a Shar’i ikhtilaaf. It is a personal issue.
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi once defended the Barelvis and the Salafis. One Barelvi remarked that, “Who says Ashraf Ali is from the Deobandis? De obandis just attribute him to them for the sake of it. He is from our group.”
Answer: On which issue did Hadhrat Thanvi defend the Barelwis? He has written copiously against the bid’aat of the Barelwis. Defending a Barelwi on any specific issue would have been on an issue which was not in conflict with the Shariah. Again, the Mashaaikh have their own different ways of tarbiyat. While their methods will be respected if not in conflict with the Shariah, there is no imperative need to adopt anyone’s method. Thus, some of the methods of Islaah of Hadhrat Masihullah (Rahmatullah alayh) were in complete contrast to the methods of his Shaikh, Hadhrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh). Methodology is largely formed in terms of personal disposition (tabiyat).
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi said: “Some extreme people are so rigid in following their Imaams that they openly reject non-conflicted Saheeh Hadiths because of their Imaam’s statement. May Allaah protect us from such rigidness. It appears from the actions of such people that they regard Imaam Abu Haneefah as maqsood bidh-dhaat. Now, if someone declares this as Shirk in Nubuwwat, what is his mistake?”
Answer: We are in agreement with Hadhrat Thanvi’s comments. Ghulu’ is haraam. If, for example, Imaam Abu Hanifah’s view is in conflict with the Hadith, then it will be ghulu’ to doggedly adhere to it. But of absolute importance on this issue is that we are not in position to decide if Imaam Abu Hanifah’s view has to be set aside. This decision is made for us by the illustrious Fuqaha who were Mujtahids in their own right. Thus, we set aside Imaam Abu Hanifah’s view of the abrogation of Aqeeqah, not because we found it to be against the Hadith, but because all of the Hanafi Fuqaha have set his view aside.
We set aside Imaam Abu Hanifah’s view of the 6 Shawwaal fasts being bid’ah on the basis of what our own Fuqaha, the Students of Imaam Abu Hanifah, had ruled. We do not put ourselves against Imaam A’zam (Rahmatullah alayh) on the basis of our absolutely deficient and weak research. It would be shaitaaniyat if we have to adopt such a route of contumacy.
Another example, is Imaam Abu Hanifah’s view on alcohol which almost all of these modern day stupid muftis adopt despite the fact that for the past almost 14 centuries the Fatwa of the Jamhoor Fuqaha and of all the Fuqaha of the other Math-hab is on the view of Imaam Muhammad (Rahmatullah alayh), which is the view of the prohibition of all forms of alcohol. And this is based on the Hadith. Now these maajin muftis of our present era come within the scope of Hadhrat Thanvi’s criticism on this issue of ghulu’. Their nafs constrain them to accept the liberal view which is in conflict with the Fatwa of all Math-habs, not only the Hanafi Math-hab. They want to devour chocolates, sweets, processed junk food, harmful soft drinks, artificial juices, etc., hence they perpetrate ghulu’ by abandoning what the Shariah has propounded for almost 14 centuries. And, for this nafsaaniyat, they have no valid Shar’i daleel. There is no Dhuroorat for devouring poison, liquor and carrion.
Q. Hadhrat Thanvi said, “Nowadays this illness is widespread amongst the people of the truth that they compare the Madhaahib of the Mujtahids in such a way that it gives the impression that the other Madhaahib are invalid. For example, they will give preference to the Hanafi position on an issue in such a way that it gives the impression of the Shaafi`ee position being invalid…..In differed upon issues, one should not regard one side as definitively right and the other side as definitively wrong, because sometimes the reality is disclosed at the time of death.”
Answer: We are in full agreement with what Hadhrat Thanvi said on bigoted preference to one’s Math-hab. However, that attitude applied to his time in India and perhaps elsewhere. It does not apply to us. We show utmost respect to all Four Math-habs, and we propagate that followers must strictly follow their respective Math-habs and not be like chameleons such as the MJC sheikhs and even the pseudo- deobandi molvis of today. They do not know whether they are moving forward or backwards. They are the muqallids of their nafs, not of the Deen.