[By Maulana Manzur Nu’mani (rahimahullah)]
On page 13 of Husam al-Haramayn, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote in regards to Hazrat Mawlana Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh):
Then the state of wrongdoing and deviance persisted in him until he stated in a fatwa of his, which I saw with my eyes in his handwriting and with his seal, and it was printed many times in Mumbai and [other cities] besides it along with its refutation, that the one who attributes an actual lie to Allah Almighty and explicitly states that He (Glorified and Exalted is He) has lied and this enormity emerged from Him, then don’t attribute to him transgression, let alone deviance, and let alone disbelief, for indeed many of the imams have professed his opinion and the furthest of his matter is that he has erred in his interpretation. …
Those are the ones Allah Almighty has deafened and He has blinded their sights, and there is no might, nor power, except with Allah, the High, the Great. (Husam al-Haramayn, p. 13)
This worthless slave submits that the attribution of this fatwa to the deceased Hazrat Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) is outright fabrication and slander.
In the first discussion (over here) , Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib joined three separate passages from Tahzir al-Nas to create a content of disbelief. Here, even this was not possible. With praise to Allah, I can say with full confidence that these words are not found in any fatwa of the deceased Hazrat, nor are they the meaning of any fatwa. Rather, the reality is that this is a clear fabrication by either Khan Sahib or one of his rivals. With praise to Allah, we and our elders (akabir) declare such person a disbeliever, and an accursed apostate, who attributes lie to the Lord Almighty, and says a lie actually issued from Him. Rather, that wretched person who doubts that this is disbelief, we believe that even he is outside the fold of Islam. Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Sahib Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) himself wrote in his published Fatawa on volume 1, page 118:
The Pure Essence of the Real Almighty is pure and transcendent from being described with the attribute of lie, Allah forbid. There is no trace of falsehood in His speech. Allah Almighty said: “And who is more truthful than Allah in speech?” (Qur’an 4:122)
The person who holds the belief of this attribution towards the Real Almighty, or says this with his tongue, he has spoken a lie and is certainly an accursed disbeliever and an opponent of Qur’an, hadith and the consensus of the ummah. He can never be a believer. Allah is beyond what the oppressors say with great loftiness.
Readers should assess fairly that after such a clear and unequivocal fatwa, to slander Hazrat with believing (Allah forbid!) that the Lord has actually lied, or to say the one who said this remains a Muslim, what degree of evil it is. Judgement will take place on the Day of Judgement!
Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib’s statement “which I saw with my eyes in his handwriting and with his seal” remains. In reply to this, I will only say that since in this fourteenth century [after Hijrah], a “scholar” and “mufti” sliced three separate passages from pages 3, 14 and 28 of a printed and published book, Tahzir al-Nas, and by distorting them created a content of disbelief and attributed that to the author of Tahzir al-Nas, what difficulty is there for him to fabricate a fatwa with another’s handwriting and seal?? Are there no fabricators or forgers in the world?? It is well-known that in Bareli and its neighbouring towns there are many experts in this field whose livelihood is by means of such forgeries.
Anyhow, the fatwa of Hazrat Gangohi (rahumahullah) which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib mentioned has no basis. Fatawa Rashidiyyah which was printed and published in three volumes has no mention of it, rather the complete opposite of it is found in several fatwas within it, of which one was quoted above. Even assuming Khan Sahib truly saw a fatwa of this kind, it is certainly the result of the fabrication and machination of a rival “scholar” or predecessor of his.
To bury the glory and greatness of the revered scholars and masters, jealous people committed such types of actions in earlier times too. In this respect, I will relate some enlightening incidents:
The great jurist and hadith master of this ummah, Hazrat Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahmatullah alayh), was on the verge of passing on from this world, and a truly envious, wretched person at that time put under his pillow some papers with writing on them that were full of heretical beliefs and views. Why?? Purely for the reason that people will believe these writings to be the fruits of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s (rahmatullah alayh) mind, and when they are found to be contrary to Islamic teachings, they will hold a bad opinion of the Imam, and his greatness and honour will be removed from people’s heart. And then the light of our [i.e. the forgers] markets which due to the overwhelming effusion of the Imam was diminished will rise again.
The Imam of lexicography, ‘Allamah Majd al-Din al-Fayruzabadi (rahmatullah alayh), the author al-Qamus, was alive. He was a famous imam and an authority for the elite and commoners. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (rahmatullah alayh), as great a hadith master he was, benefited from his knowledge. Envious people could not stand this widespread acceptance. In order to taint his greatness and popularity, they wrote a whole book with insults against Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) under his name which very forcefully and stridently accused Hazrat Imam A‘zam (rahmatullah alayh) of disbelief. This fabricated book was spread till it reached distant and unfamiliar places. In the Hanafi world, opposition to ‘Allamah Fayruzabadi (rahmatullah alayh) reached the utmost degree of hysteria. However, the innocent ‘Allamah was completely unaware of this until the book reached Abu Bakr al-Khayyat al-Baghawi al-Yamani, whereupon he wrote a letter to ‘Allamah Fayruzabadi asking about the book. The aforementioned ‘Allamah wrote in his reply:
If this book has reached you, burn it, because it is a fabrication of enemies. I am from the greatest believers in Imam Abu Hanifah, and I have listed his virtues in a book.
Imam Mustafa al-Qarmani al-Hanafi, with extreme effort, wrote a detailed commentary of Muqaddamah Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi. When he completed it, he came to Egypt with a view to showing it to the scholars after which he will publish it. With praise to Allah, the compilation was successful. Some jealous people were irritated by this, and they believed that by its publication the light of our markets will be diminished. They were unable to do anything besides the wickedness of fabricating [into the book] from themselves. In the chapter of the etiquettes of relieving oneself, on the issue of not facing the sun and moon while relieving oneself, they added: “because Ibrahim (alaihissalaam) would worship them” (Allah forbid!). ‘Allamah al-Qarmani was unaware of this evil. Without knowledge of this, he presented the book before the scholars of Egypt and when their eyes fell on this proof there was severe outrage and there was uproar in all of Egypt against ‘Allamah al-Qarmani. The Qadi of the time decreed that he deserved the death penalty. The poor soul fled from Egypt in the night to save his life, for otherwise, he could not give up chase without his head.
The pious knower [of Allah], Imam ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha‘rani, wrote an autobiographical note in his book al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir:
Likewise, they – the jealous folk – fabricated against me in my book called alBahr al-Mawrud a number of false beliefs, and they propagated those beliefs in Egypt and Makkah for around three years, and I am free from them as I explained in the introduction to the book when I revised it. The ‘ulama wrote [endorsements] on it and licensed it, and the chaos did not abate until I sent to them the copy on which was their endorsements.
Only a few incidents [have been related] in this [brief] account. If historical and biographical works are consulted, one will find many similar shameful incidents of the fabrications of the wretched and envious people.
Thus, if the reality is that the Barelwi learned man was truthful in this explanation, that he [in fact] saw this fatwa of the deceased Hazrat Gangohi (rahimahullah) with the abovementioned content with his handwriting and seal, it is certainly such [i.e. fabricated]. Yet, still it would never have been permissible for Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib to issue a fatwa of disbelief based on it, until it had not been verified whether it was the fatwa of Hazrat Mawlana or not. It is a well-known and accepted principle of jurisprudence that “one handwriting resembles [another] handwriting” or “one handwriting may be confused with [another’s] handwriting.” Khan Sahib himself is not unaware of this. For example, to prove that it is not permissible to determine moon sighting by means of handwriting and telegram, he states:
In all books it is clearly written: “One handwriting resembles [another] handwriting,” “handwriting is not acted upon.” (Malfuzat A‘la Hazrat 2:52)
Since handwriting is not taken into consideration in such small matters as moon sighting, how can takfir which is a far more grave matter be established by this consideration??
Those proofs which Khan Sahib presented to authenticate the attribution of this fabricated fatwa to the deceased Hazrat Gangohi in Tamhid e Iman remain, which are extremely foolish and weaker than a spider’s web. Readers will shortly see and ascertain this for themselves.
The aforementioned Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote in Tamhid e Iman with regards to this fabricated fatwa:
It has been 18 years since this impure fatwa attributing lie to the Lord was published in 1308 with the treatise Siyanat al-Nas from Hadiqat al-‘Ulum Press, Meerut, along with a refutation. Then in 1318 H from Gulzar e Hasani Press, Mumbai, it was printed again with a more detailed refutation. Then in 1320 H, with another stronger refutation it was printed in Tuhfat e Hanafiyya Press in Patna, Azimabad. The person who gave the fatwa died in Jumada al-Akhirah 1323 H, and remained silent till the last dying breath. He did not say “this is not my fatwa” although it was easier than rejecting a fatwa published in books. And he didn’t say that its meaning is not what the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah [meaning, himself and others] said, rather my intention was so-and-so. Disbelief is no small matter to which no attention is paid.
After removing the filth and excess, the upshot of Khan Sahib’s proof boils down to the following:
1. The fatwa with a refutation was printed three times in the lifetime of the deceased Mawlana Gangohi (rahimahullah).
2. He did not deny the attribution of this fatwa to himself, nor did he mention another meaning of it.
3. And since the matter is so grave, silence and inattention will not be taken into consideration.
4. Thus, it is established that this fatwa is his, and its meaning is also that on which I based my takfir.
Even though the foolishness and nonsensicalness of this proof is in no need of my examination and criticism, as every person with a little intellect can with little deliberation and consideration understand its nonsensicalness, yet it seems appropriate to shed some light on every part of it while also giving the readers some insight into the “knowledge” and “revivalism” of Khan Sahib.
Khan Sahib’s first premise was that the fatwa with a refutation was printed three times. It is acknowledged in this premise that the fabricated fatwa was only printed by opponents of the Mawlana. It was never published on behalf of the Mawlana or any of his close associates. With regards to this, I will only say that if the explanation of Khan Sahib is accepted as being true and it was conceded that the fatwa was printed and published several times with its refutation in the lifetime of the deceased Hazrat Gangohi (rahimahullah), still it is not necessary that it reached Hazrat or even that he was aware of it. If it was sent to him, the question is: Was it sent by a definite path or an indefinite one?? And was Khan Sahib informed of its arrival to him?? If he was, was that through definite or probabilistic means?! Giving a definitive certain verdict of disbelief while ignoring all these sides of the issue can never be allowed. Anyhow, as long as it is not established with certainty that Hazrat Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) wrote any such fatwa, and that the definite and stipulated meaning was that which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote, based on these conjectural principles, passing a ruling of disbelief is definitely undeserved and sinful. Hazrat Mawlana Gangohi (rahimahullah) was a reclusive knower of Allah whose condition was without exaggeration:
In remembrance of the beloved, from the world is he distracted
A special part of this humble one’s [i.e. Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani] time till now has been spent only in the hospitality of the people of falsehood, and till today I have been deprived of the visit of these three editions of this fabricated fatwa which were mentioned by Khan Sahib. Thus, they may exist, but this reasonably indicates that the deceased Hazrat was not even aware of this tale.
Khan Sahib’s second premise was that the deceased Mawlana Gangohi (rahimahullah) did not deny the fatwa, nor did he offer any interpretation of it. In relation to this, first, it is asked that since awareness is not established, what is there to deny and what is there to interpret?? And supposing he was aware of it, he felt that this impure act of ungodly fabricators does not deserve [my] attention and the decency of [my] notice, or in order to consign the affair to the Lord, he preferred to maintain silence.
[The premise] that the attribution of disbelief is no small matter such that it is not given attention remains. It is not necessary from the first assertion [i.e. the attribution of disbelief is no small matter] that the second [i.e. such that it is not given attention] follows from it [i.e. it is a non sequitur]. It is possible he did not believe denial was necessary because believers would not accept such filthy slander, or he thought that those repulsive people who launched this [slander] will have no place in the academic and religious world, thus there would be no consideration of their speech. Anyhow, maintaining silence may have had these reasons. Yet, regardless of these explanations, it is incorrect to say that “the matter of disbelief is grave.” Undoubtedly before the advent of the “revival” of Khan Sahib, takfir did hold such a high importance. But, I seek forgiveness from the soul of Khan Sahib and his present [spiritual] descendents, that [I am forced to say that] from the day that the pen case of fatwa went into the intrepid hands of Khan Sahib, takfir became such a light matter, that Allah’s refuge is sought!
[His verdicts include:] Those belonging to Nadwat al-‘Uluma are disbelievers, and those who do not call them disbelievers are disbelievers. The scholars of Deoband are disbelievers, and those who do not call them disbelievers are disbelievers. The nonconformists (ghayr muqallidin) of the Ahl e Hadith are disbelievers. Mawlana ‘Abd alBari Sahib Farangi Mahalli is a disbeliever, as well as another who committed the crime of joining the Khilafat Movement, his brother in Tariqa, Mawlawi ‘Abd al-Majid Badayuni. Mawlawi ‘Abd al-Qadir Sahib Badayuni is a disbeliever. Of disbelief he was a relentless machinegun, Allah have mercy. Besides the few groups of people in Bareli no one remains a Muslim.
Thus it is possible, believing this turmoil and uproar from Khan Sahib and those like him who call godly people disbelievers, to be the barking of dogs, he preferred to maintain silence. The principle is:
Indeed I pass by the base one who insults me
I pass by from there saying: It does not concern me
And it is possible that the deceased Hazrat Mawlana (rahimahullah) was aware and he also denied the fabricated fatwa, but Khan Sahib was unaware of this denial. How can the absence of denial be known from unawareness [of that denial]?? Does absence of knowledge necessitate the absence of the thing??
The people of knowledge and possessors of fairness should assess that with all these possibilities is takfir still permissible?? The claim was that:
This extremely cautious person (meaning, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib himself) never called those enemies (Hazrat Gangohi and others) disbelievers until their explicit disbelief was not definitively, clearly, brightly and manifestly brighter than the light of the sun, in which no room [for doubt] and no interpretation emerged at all, at all, ever, ever. (Tamhid e Iman p. 44)
Yet the evidence is so weak that it does not even offer speculative knowledge (zann). If with such evidences disbelief was established, then may Allah protect Islam and Muslims. Any ignorant or madman calls a godly man a disbeliever and thinking it is an unacceptable address he turns away from it and offers no clarity before him – then according to Khan Sahib’s principles he is a disbeliever. How wonderful!
If it was only this mufti and this fatwa
The work of faith will be completely undone
Here you have those statements of the noble jurists that if there were 99 possibilities of disbelief and one possibility of Islam, even then takfir is not permissible. And here you have in the fourteenth century this self-made reviver Sahib who with shrillness joined those purely fanciful and conjectural premises to produce this [unfounded] conclusion [that the fatwa in question was authored by Mawlana Gangohi rahimahullah] and a certain definitive takfir that whoever doubts is a disbeliever.
Look at the difference in paths, from where to where??
Till now, this was a discussion in the format of a debate (munazarah). However, after this, I also wish to say that when one of Hazrat Gangohi’s (rahimahullah) associates saw the fabrication of the innovators towards the end of his life, he wrote a request to the deceased Hazrat enquiring about it, and Hazrat in his reply declared his innocence, and expressed his displeasure at the accursed content. Khan Sahib was aware of this, and yet he did not retract the fatwa of disbelief. By this, the intention of these champions of takfir and their descendents is exposed.
Thus, on 1323 H, when Hazrat Mawlana Murtaza Hasan Sahib (rahmatullah alayh) saw this fabricated fatwa discussed in a treatise of a firm supporter of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, Miyanji ‘Abd al-Rahman Pukhrirawi, at that time he sent a request to Gangoh asking about the reality of the fatwa with this content that was being attributed to the Hazrat. So he responded: “This is an outright fabrication and pure slander. Can any sensible person write such a thing?”
The answer of the deceased Hazrat was quoted in many treatises of Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Sahib (rahmatullah alayh) including al-Sahab al-Midrar and Tazkiyat al-Khawatir, and all of these treatises were sent to Khan Sahib in his lifetime.
Also, when this slander first began to spread in Bareli, from here, too, some associates of the Hazrat sent a request inquiring about the reality of the situation. In this answer, the deceased Hazrat also expressed his displeasure, and this written answer of the deceased Hazrat was witnessed by Khan Sahib but it had no effect on his heart of stone, and the fear of the Lord did not make him ready to admit his error.
“Then your hearts hardened thereafter, so they are as stones or stronger in hardness: and verily of stones there are some from which gush forth rivers, and verily there are of them some that cleave asunder and water issues from them, and verily there are of them some that fall down in awe of Allah.” (Qur’an 2:74)
These are those conditions and realities because of which I am forced to believe and say that Khan Sahib’s verdict of disbelief from the very first day was not based on a misunderstanding or ignorance, but the reality is that it was born purely out of the unreserved flame of spite, love of fame and indulgence. “And those who do injustice will soon know to which place they will return.” (Qur’an 26:227)