Tag Archives: ‘Ulama

Duty of the Ulama

By Mujlisul Ulama

THE SACRED FUNCTION of the Ulama is to safeguard the Deen. The Aqaaid (Beliefs) and the A’maal (Practices) of Islam have to be protected from the contamination of bid’ah, kufr and shirk. This is the prime duty of the Ulama who are the Heirs and Representatives of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). As long as the Ulama faithfully discharge the duty of Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil Munkar, they will remain the stars of Hidaayat for the Ummah. But, corruption in the ranks of the Ulama destroys not only themselves, but the Ummah as well. When the Ulama fall into dhalaal (deviation) and utilize their positions for the acquisition of the despicable aims of Jah (worldly fame) and Maal (worldly wealth), then they fall from their pedestal of honour and enter into the ranks of the Ulama-e-Soo’ (Evil Ulama) who act as the agents of shaitaan.

Once Hadhrat Sufyaan Bin Uyainah (rahmatullah alayh) came to visit Hadhrat Fudhail Bin Iyaadh (who was among the Tab-e-Taabieen) and one of the most illustrious Mashaa-ikh and Auliya. Hadhrat Fudhail said:

“At one time you, the Jamaat of the Ulama, were the lanterns of Hidaayat for the cities. But now you are a source of darkness for the cities. You were once stars of Hidaayat for the people like the stars in the heaven from which people seek directions on land. Now, you have become for the world a source of confusion. You (the Ulama) no longer have shame for Allah Ta’ala. You frequent the wealthy and accept their gifts without ascertaining whether halaal or haraam. Then you stand in the Mihraab narrating Ahadith.”

While Hadhrat Fudhail was admonishing, Hadhrat Sufyaan with lowered head was reciting Istighfaar.

It is imperative for the Ulama to reflect and engage in constant meditation regarding their motives and actions. Destruction to the Deen has nowadays been wrought by Ulama under guise of Ta’leem and Tabligh. It does not behove the Ulama to become involved in dubious diplomacy and intrigue. They are supposed to be the Stars of Guidance. Honesty and truth must shine and radiate from them.

It is not the function of the Ulama to engage in menial activities such as supervising the food stores of the kuffaar and aiding in boosting their sales by means of halaal certificates. It is not the function of the Ulama to become part of a wedding custom. It is not the function of the Ulama to join hands with modernists and deviated persons and organizations in misconceived ventures advertised as Deeni activities. The honesty and uprighteousness of the Ulama should be such as to keep them far away and far above all such activities which detract from their prime function of guarding the Shariah.

NASEEHAT FOR TALABA AND ASAATIZAH OF THE DAARUL ULOOMS

[By Hakimul Ummat Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi — Rahmatullah alayh]

In the present age there are two kinds of corruption in the Talaba (Students of Daarul Ulooms): Corruption in relation to the quest for Ilm, and corruption in relation to Akhlaaq (Islamic moral character). Comparatively speaking, it can be discerned with great clarity that the difference between Talaba and Asaatizah of this age and those illustrious Mutaqaddimeen Ulama (of bygone times) is like the distance between east and west.

THEIR ENTHUSIASM

The enthusiasm for the quest of Ilm in those noble beings was such that they would undertake difficult journeys of hundreds of miles to gain the knowledge of o­ne Hadith. They underwent extreme hardship in the mission to investigate even a single narrator of Hadith. If, inspite of all the hardship they did not attain the goal, they would not abandon the quest.

They spent nights investigating, researching and studying a single mas’alah, and they would fully engross their brains to unravel and understand every line (of their lessons). Volumes have been compiled o­n their selfless sacrifices in their true quest for the acquisition of Knowledge (of the Deen).

Their material state was such that they were without text books. They could not afford oil for the lamp. They had no sponsor to assume responsibility for the necessary expenses of their studies (food, clothing, etc.). They passed their days in hunger but diligently pursued the Path in the quest of Ilm. I heard from reliable authorities that there were 22 Talaba (Students) in the Bukhaari Sharief class of Hadhrat Maulana Shah Muhammad Ishaaq (rahmatullah alayh), but they had o­nly o­ne copy of Bukhaari Sharief.

To acquire the jewels of Ilm they dived deep into the ocean of talab (search). If the episodes of their search have to be narrated to present-day Talaba, it will not be surprising if they refute these as beingfar-fetched.

THE FRUITS

Everyone can testify to the wonderful fruit which their efforts had realized. They attained mastery and perfection in every branch of knowledge. In fact, they transported Tafseer-e-Hadith, Usool-e-Fiqh, Ma’aani, Tasawwuf, Nahw and Sarf— in short, every branch of Ilm — to realms beyond the limits of perfection. Truly, if they had not struggled and sacrificed so much in the quest of Ilm and in its formulation, today the world would have been dark with the zulmat (darkness) of jahl (ignorance).

OUR CONDITION

Today, we have all the means and comforts for acquiring Ilm — affectionate Asaatizah, beautifully printed text books, exhaustive commentaries, elaborate boarding and lodging facilities. Everything has been made available for our comfort and ease. All means for the acquisition of Ilm have been presented to us. Inspite of this, the Talaba are not concerned with their kitaabs nor have they any affection and respect for the Asaatizah. They are bereft of eagerness nor do they have any enthusiasm for the quest of Ilm. Neither do they fulfil the rights of mutaala’ah nor takraar. They are devoid of the hue of Ilm.

The kitaabs will be completed and the Turban of qualification will adorn their heads while they are unable to write properly nor read the ibaarat (Arabic text) correctly except for a few.

RESULTS OF INABILITY

The consequences of this inability and incompetency are glaring. It is observed that when such incompetent Talaba issue from our Madaaris, they simply lack in ability. They have no ability to teach. They have no methadolgy in Ifta. Such incompetent o­nes either make lecturing their profession in which they also commit blunders, or they become Imaams of some Musaajid. If they have to take to teaching, they have to resign in humiliation.

THE PUBLIC

In view of such results, the public due to little understanding, concludes that the aim of pursuing Knowledge of the Deen is merely lecturing and imaamate of the Musaajid to earn a livelihood. They therefore resolve to keep their sons away from the pursuit of Ilm-e-Deen. However, due to their inability to understand the reality, they fail to grasp that the lamentable plight of incompetent Talaba is not the consequence of Ilm (Deeni Knowledge). o­n the contrary, it is the lack of resolve of the Talaba.

ILM-e-DEEN

I shall now turn my attention to the general public and say that even if we concede that this lamentable state is the product of Ilm, nevertheless, I claim with great emphasis and vociferously state that inspite of the poor quality of Ilm acquired nowadays, inspite of the shallowness of knowledge acquired, inspite of the lack of ability and competency, whether ability is gained or not, in fact, I shall expand o­n this and say that even if a student wastes his time in a Deeni Madrasah, it is infinitely superior than the pursuit of secular education (especially in the immoral institutions of this age). It is millions of times better to remain idle in a Deeni Madrasah than involvement in English (secular) studies which corrupt Aqaaid and Akhlaaq.

Even if excellence and perfection in Ilm are not acquired, at least correctness of Aqaaid will be ensured. Beliefs will not become corrupt. Living at the Madrasah will generate love for the People of the Deen. Even if the end result of studying at a Madrasah is to become a sweeper in a Musjid, it is superior than secular study, It is better than becoming a lawyer and a barrister, etc. and ruining o­ne’s Aqaaid thereby shaking the very foundations of Imaan, and being disrespectful to Allah, His Rasool and the Sahaabah. Such evils are generally corollaries of secular education..

IMPROVEMENT

This preference, i.e. Deeni Knowledge over secular study, is exceptionally clear to those who love the Deen. Yes, those who have no relationship with the Deen, they will gorge out whatever drivel they wish. Nevertheless, there is the need to rectify and improve the standard of the ability of the Talaba. The consequences of lack of ability are not good. If this corruption (inability) is eliminated, a whole world will be reformed.

REFORMATION

In the wake of reformation, the Ulama who will emerge from the portals of the Madaaris will be true servants of the Deen. Their Deeni services will then become conspicuous. I, therefore, submit my petition to the honourable Ulama who are engaged in the profession of tadrees (teaching the Deen) : Truly you are engaging in a noble profession—in a great occupation. The method in which you are teaching is in actual fact the right method. Great and illustrious Ulama were produced following this tareeq-e-tadrees. Even now too, albeit a few are produced in this system of ta’leem.

However, in this age, due to weakness of intelligence and deficiency in resolve, this tareeq-e-tadrees is not sufficient. There is a need for complementing this system and bringing about such a change which will create ability (isti’daad) in the Talaba. I am confident that you too feel this need. It is your duty to plan the system. This useless o­ne shall also make some suggestions in this regard. Perhaps it will be beneficial.

THE CAUSES

There are several causes for this lack of ability (isti’daad). The general apathy of the Talaba. They have become indifferent to the goal of Ilm. Intelligent children are sent to secular institutions while parents divert their children of low intelligence to the Madaaris.

Besides the aforementioned, there is another cause. It is within the means of the Ulama to rectify this, and it is for this reason that I am presenting this discussion. That factor is that the ability of the Talaba is not being exploited. Hitherto the tareeq-e-tadrees is: The student recites the ibaarat (the text to be taught). The Ustaadh elaborates and expounds the text. If any student has a doubt during the course of the exposition, he poses a question The Mudarris responds. The Mudarris is unconcerned whether the Talaba understands the problem or not.

Some Asaatizah are concerned with o­nly discharging of the Madrasah time (for which they have been engaged). Some lecture merely to present their eloquence. Some explain simply to display their ability and excellence. They do not think for a moment whether the students have understood or not, except a few. This method of teaching exists from the elementary text books until the end of the course.

I am of the opinion that this method of teaching is not beneficial for the beginners, in fact it is likewise of no benefit for even those of the middle classes. This system is effective for the students in the higher standards, and who are deriving academic benefits from senior Asaatizah. But for the beginners this system is very detrimental.

A rational principle is that a faculty or propensity which is not employed becomes deficient and redundant. This rule also applies to the faculty of intelligence. If it is correctly employed, it will be enhanced. In fact, this is the aim of studying the text books of the syllabus. The aim is that the Talaba should gain an excellent ability to research the kitaabs and understand these. The aim is not to memorize lectures. This is not possible. This ability is acquired by engrossment in study.

EFFORT

Talaba are nowadays indifferent. They do not make effort nor do the Asaatizah emphasise this. Hence, their faculty of intelligence becomes redundant and weak. Thus the ability of the Talaba remains stagnant even if the text books have been superficially completed. It is therefore necessary to effect some change in this tareeq-e-tadrees.

It is necessary to employ the latent ability of the Talaba. They should not be povided with solutions to problems without real need. They have to be made accustomed to juggle their brains. Every rule and principle should be grounded in them by means of plentiful exercises so that the student gains an excellent ability of applying the laws and principles (of grammar, Usool-e-Fiqh, Usool-e-Hadith, etc.).

While this method is very efficacious for the entire study course, it has greater emphasis and importance for beginners— for those doing the elementary kitaabs. It has been observed that the condition of beginners is exceptionally poor. They lack entirely in the understanding of the rules of Nahw and Sarf. If the elementary kutub have been mastered, all other kutub will become simple.

THE METHOD

The method which Hakimul Ummat has suggested envisages the very same Dars-e-Nizaami syllabus which is being taught in our Madaaris. However, in view of the changing times and weakening conditions of the Talaba, there is a need for simplifying the method of teaching. While generally there is no emphasis o­n exercises and practice of the rules and principles, this has now become a necessity. Hadhrat Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) stresses that the pace of lessons should be slowed down while more attention and greater emphasis be accorded to ingrain the rules of Nahw and Sarf so that the Talaba become efficient in the application of the rules. Memorizing the rules is wholly inadequate, especially in today’s times. It is more efficacious to sometimes skip lessons and devote the time to exercises and revision. It serves no beneficial purpose to introduce more and more kitaabs in the syllabus and rush through the text books for the sake of having the ‘honour’ of having completed the year’s quota of books. Meanwhile the Talaba lack in almost entirety in proficiency and ability. They are extremely deficient in isti’taad. There is an inordinate rush in the Madaaris to complete the kitaabs whether students understand or not. Extremely little attention is given to ability and proficiency in Nahw and Sarf. Consequently, the Kutub of Fiqh, Hadith, Tafseer, etc. remain closed and incomprehensible books for these Talaba. The Asaatizah have the obligation of reassessing their methods of teaching.

Another evil which is plaguing some Madaaris, is the despicable attitude to emulate western styles and ways of teaching the Knowledge of Wahi. To conceal the lack of isti’daad, Talaba are exhorted to practise lecturing. Hence, if a so-called qualified student gives a bayaan in a Musjid, the public labours under the impression that he is a highly qualified Aalim while in reality he may not be able to even read the Arabic kutub correctly. The public speech acts as the camouflage for his inadequacy. Ilm cannot be judged by public speaking and ability to recite with Tajweed and in a melodious voice. In fact, in our illustrious Madaaris which had produced great Ulama, Auliya, Fuqaha and Mujaddideen, practising to give lectures was banned. Talaba in the early days were not permitted to engage in anything which was extraneous to the pursuit of Ilm. Public speaking is not among the goals of the quest of Ilm-e-Deen. The deteriorating standards in the Madaaris is cause for real alarm. It seems as if the Hadith predicting the disappearance of Ilm is attaining fruition right in the Madaaris. — The Majlis

THE FALLACY OF THE “MAJORITY” ARGUMENT

[By a UK student]

The “majority” argument which is the last refuge of all groups or sects, and which usually translates only to the majority of the particular group or sect citing this argument, is never a criteria for judging the truth. The one and only criteria for judging ALL groups, sects, ideologies, movements etc. is the Shariah – which in the case of women’s attendance at the Masjid is crystal-clear and without the slightest ambiguity as borne out by the Fatwas of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum), Salaf-us-Saaliheen, and Fuqaha cited above.

In these forlorn times, when the Ummah is at it’s lowest ebb and virtually all the minor signs of the Final Hour have already been enacted, “strangeness” is a necessary (though not a sufficient) sign of the Haqq. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) guaranteeing the eventual strangeness of the Deen and the extremely few who will be left adhering to the Haqq, states:

Islam began as something Ghareeb (strange, lone, forlorn).
And, it will return to being Ghareeb (strange, lone, forlorn).
So give Glad-tidings to the Ghurabaa (strange, lone, forlorn ones)!”_ [Saheeh Muslim]

The authentic Tafseer of the Hadith on the Ghurabaa (strange, lone, forlorn ones) by the Salaf-us-Saaliheen is captured succinctly here by the great Mujtahid Imam of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen era, Hadhrat Imam al-Awza’ee (rahimahullah 88 – 158 AH), who states:

Indeed, Islam will not disappear. However, Ahlus Sunnah (the people of Haqq) will disappear to the extent that none will remain from them, in any one country, except a single man.”

Other Ahadeeth explicitly indicate that the Muslims will be very many and that the people who pass fatwas for them – i.e. their “Ulama” – will issue fatwas based on personal opinion, just as is the case today with issues such as women attending the Masjid, whose prohibition initiated by the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) and upheld for 1400 years by REAL Ulama, is suddenly deemed suitable for overturning in this “golden” age by not-so-real Ulama today using an interpretation of the Qur’an and Ahadeeth which conflicts with the interpretation of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum), and using such satanically inspired, man-made logic with which every Law of the Shariah that is unpalatable to kufr-influenced taste-buds is currently being subject to scrutiny and tampering.

1400 years have passed since the blessed era of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) who first initiated the ban on women’s attendance at the Masjid based on the absence of fulfilment of pre-conditions set by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself. The numerous Ahadeeth which confirm the overall trend of decline of this Ummah, entail that the “illat” (cause) of the prohibition – i.e. the widespread failure to meet pre-conditions set by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) – will have become far more pronounced by this time:

Indeed no era shall come to you except the one after it is worse, right until you meet your Lord.” _ [Bukhari]

Yesterday is better than today, and today is better than tomorrow, and it will remain likewise [on this pattern] till the Final Hour.” _[Tabarani – Saheeh]

Even 500 years ago, when the Ummah was in a far better state than what it is in today, the Great Mujaddid (reformer) of the 10th century, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (rahmatullah alayh), also known throughout the world as Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani (the Mujaddid of the 2nd Millenium), stated in lamentation and condemnation of the “majority of the Ulama” in his times:

The majority of Ulama prefer Bid’ah and assist in the destruction of the Sunnah.” _ [Maktoob 2:54]

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (rahimahullah) in his Fath-ul-Bari narrates the Tafseer of this overall trend of decline in this Ummah, by the great Sahabi, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu):

No day will come upon you except it will be worse than the day before it, till the Final Hour is established. I do not mean that the means of living will become worse nor do I mean the wealth that benefits [i.e people]. However (it means) no day will come upon you but it will be lesser in ‘Ilm (Knowledge of the Deen) than the one which passed before it. Thus, when the ‘Ulama (i.e. REAL ‘Ulama such as those who had upheld the ruling of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen for 1400 years) pass away, the people will become equal (i.e. the “Ulama” will become more or less equivalent to the “Juhala”). Hence, they will not perform Amr bi’l Ma’roof wa Nahy anil Munkar (Enjoining the Good and Prohibiting the breaking of Allah’s Sacred Laws). At that time they will become destroyed.”

And in another narration:

It is not because of rains or scarcity of rains but it will be because of the passing away of Ulama (i.e. real Ulama). Then a people will come who will give fatwas (i.e. not-so-real “Ulama”) on matters from their personal opinion so they will puncture Islam and destroy it.”

The words of Hazrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that, “A people will come who will give fatwas on matters from their personal opinion” precisely fits the “Ulama” of these times who issue fatwas based on their own stupid, man-made logic, and based on their own understanding of the Qur’an and Ahadeeth which conflicts with the ONLY correct understanding of the Qur’an and Ahadeeth – i.e. the understanding of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen as transmitted and upheld by the Fuqaha of all Four Madh-habs for 1400 years.

And, as indicated by the words of Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu), the natural consequence of not preventing the breaking of Allah’s sacred Laws is utter destruction. And how can prevention of evil occur if the “Ulama” today are at the forefront of convincing people that such evil transgressions as women’s unnecessary emergence from their homes, are not transgressions at all? Hence, today the whole Ummah is afflicted with such Azaab (Divine Punishment) of Allah which is reflected in numerous Ahadeeth such as the following:

You people should continue to enjoin people towards righteous deeds and you should continue to prohibit them from wrong-doing (i.e. breaking of Allah’s sacred Laws as clarified by the Salaf-us-Saaliheen and upheld by the Fuqaha for 1400 years). Otherwise, Allah will place in authority over you the worst of people amongst you (e.g. Bashar Assad, Sisi, Modi, Cameron, etc). Then the most pious [Shaykhs and Buzurghs] amongst you will do Du’a (supplicate to Allah), but their Du’as will not be answered.[Tabrani, Bazzar, and others]

“…O People! Indeed Allah commands: ‘Enjoin good and prohibit wrong-doing before [a time comes] you will do Du’a to me but I will not answer you, and you will ask me [for something] but I will not give you, and you will seek help from me, but I will not help you.” [Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Majah]

Yet, despite the clarity of the words of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) above, Muslims all over the world decide to come up with their own stupid answers and solutions to the questions:

Why are Muslims all over the world being afflicted with brutal, tyrannical rulers, and other natural disasters???

Why is every Rulership all over the world increasing day by day in their discrimination and oppression of the Muslim communities under them???

How much longer are we going to continue to ignore the words of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) above and come up with such scape-goats and reasons for the Ummah’s current dire situation, which are perfectly designed to soothe our own guilty consciences and deflect blame away from the root-cause of Allah’s Punishment – i.e. our own sinful and unrepentant selves????

The Deobandi ‘Ulama and Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al Wahhab

This weak, lowly, undeserving slave asks you to be sincere, and read this without bias, prejudice, nor fanaticism. I ask you, purely for the sake of your Creator (Mighty and Sublime is He), to put aside any hatred, spite, or bitterness which may exist within you, and ponder, sincerely, with the intention of seeking the truth.

Before this undeserving one begins, I would like you to ask yourself a question – does praising someone without having knowledge of their reality now mean that the praiser automatically accepts everything the praised stood for?? If that is indeed the case, then there are many, many Imams of the past who have praised ibn Taymiyyah greatly without disparaging him in any way whatsoever. On the contrary, many wrote books in defense of him, rejecting the rulings of tabdi’ (ie. judging someone to be an innovator) and takfir (ie. judging someone to be a disbeliever) levelled against him.

Any logical thinking, learned individual who has researched ibn Taymiyyah would know that something is a little off in this regard. Why do some major Imams from ahl al-sunnah praise him unreservedly while others harshly criticise him?? The conclusion is pretty simple: they were not aware of his controversial nature in relation to many issues – especially his creed. This is evident from the statements of these Imams in regards to theology. Whenever they defended, or praised him, they would not mention his deviated beliefs and defend them, rather, they would mention his memory, personality, and knowledge. However, that’s not all – within their own books, they thoroughly refuted the beliefs which ibn Taymiyyah held, and in great detail, whilst equating them to deviation and disbelief. However, not once did they mention him when speaking of these said beliefs.

They severely refuted and denounced what he stood for, yet praised and defended him with reverence?? How does that make sense??

There are two possible logical conclusions which come to the sound mind when confronted with this scenario:

1) Either ibn Taymiyyah was free from holding such beliefs, or

2) they were unaware of ibn Taymiyyah holding such beliefs.

Now, the first mentioned conclusion is clearly not plausible due to many factors (which can be mentioned in some detail at another time).

This only leaves us with one plausible conclusion – the Imams who revered ibn Taymiyyah without ever criticising him did not infact know of his reality. Simple, yes? This is also evident from the above-mentioned examples. This could be due to many reasons, for example: they may not have had access to his controversial written works and manuscripts, in regards to which, it is known that he didn’t openly promote these books due to fear of criticism, imprisonment, physical punishment, death, as well as the possibility of facing exile and being abandoned by ahl al-sunnah.

Let us now move on to the issue of the scholars of Deoband praising Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi. Once again, please remember to leave aside any negative bias and proceed with sincerity in seeking the truth.

The Deobandi scholars seem to be divided on the issue of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, and many have praised him with many others continuing to do so. However, in the same way, just as many others have severely criticised him, with many others continuing to do so. Why is this the case?? Why are the scholars affiliated with Deoband so divided over such a clearly misguided individual?? And why stop there?? Many Deobandi scholars praised ibn Taymiyyah, with many others continuing to do so. While on the other side of the same coin, many Deobandi scholars severely criticised him, with many others continuing to do so.

The answer is pretty simple for an unbiased, truth seeking mind.

Their example is that of those who preceded them. The Imams of the past were divided over the state of ibn Taymiyyah due to some being more aware of his deviations than others. Likewise is the case with the Deobandi scholars. Those who were aware of all his deviations and controversial views, along with his trigger-happy takfiri tendencies and maniacal massacreing of believers, thoroughly refuted and criticised him. Those who were not aware of such, praised him based on what had reached them. This tradition continues among the Deobandi scholars of today, and thus some praise him, while others criticise him.

Most Deobandi scholars who spent time in the Arab lands would heavily criticise (and those of today who have done so, still criticise) both Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and his hero ibn Taymiyyah. Most of those who have remained confined to subcontinent scholarship in their studies, have near to no knowledge of the reality of either of the two above-mentioned individuals.

The reasons for this are many. Some of which are as follows:

– Many of the books of ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab are not available in the subcontinent. Those who do have access to them rarely use or read them except to quote ibn Taymiyyah against the wahhabis of the subcontinent (who call themselves “ahl al-hadith”).

– The so-called “ahl al-hadith” would not (until fairly recently) attack ahl al-sunnah in the subcontinent with their poisonous anthropomorphic creed. Their main focus has always been to attack the fiqh (jurisprudence) of the Hanafi madhhab (school of thought). As a matter of fact, the early wahhabis of the subcontinent have been known to have been inclined towards tasawwuf (sufic mysticism) and would even opt for figurative interpretation of the attributes of Allah.

If anyone still sincerely doubts the above, then my humble advice to them would be to confront a Deobandi scholar with the statements of the scholars from ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s time as well as the critical statements of their Deobandi elders in regards to the reality of his call, beliefs, and understanding. They should also explain all of the above to them in a respectable manner and see if they change their views on ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.

For anyone who may object and say: “The Barelwis were aware of the reality of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, so how can it be the case that the Deobandis weren’t??” Then any honest, learned Barelwi would know that the majority of the Barelwis and many of their scholars are not aware of most of the controversies surrounding ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and ibn Taymiyyah. Their general understanding of being a wahhabi is someone who follows Saudi moonsightings, or objects to their manner of celebrating the mawlid and ‘urs (note: the Deobandis disallow these as a way to blocking the means of many innovated practices of some subcontinent Barelwis which anyone who visits the subcontinent or searches youtube can clearly see. Many celebrate the mawlid and do ‘urs in a manner which in no way resembles that of the Arab scholars). Their knowledge of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab being a deviant (or in their case – a disbeliever) is based on what they had received/heard, while the Deobandis based their praise or criticism of him on what they had received/heard. This is a point which some people seem to object to, possibly because of their generalisation of Barelwi scholars based on those around them. If that is the case, then please don’t take my word for it, I encourage you to speak to the Barelwi scholars of the subcontinent and their elderly scholars in the west – especially those who were born and raised in the subcontinent, have no link to Arab scholars and have not studied in the Arab lands. Test them on their knowledge of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and see the extent of their research on him – better yet, ask them if they’ve ever even read any of his books, and if most of what they know is in fact, based on hearsay. The simple fact that they call the Deobandi scholars “Wahhabis” is in itself, an attestation to the fact that they have no idea what a follower of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab believes and propagates.

The following is an extract from the declaration of Deoband:

“… then in sum it is this that religiously Darul Uloom is Muslim; as a sect, Ahl-e-Sunnat wal-Jama’at; in practical method, (Mazhab), Hanafi’yat; in conduct, Sufi; dialectically, MATURIDI ASH’ARI; in respect of the mystic path, Chishtiyyah, rather comprising all the Sufi orders; in thought, Waliyullhian; in principle, Qasimiyah; sectionally, Rasheedian; and as regards connection, Deobandi…

… DIALECTICAL MATURIDIISM: That is, as regards beliefs, the sustentation of the power of certitude and the stability of true beliefs with right thinking in accordonce to the laws and principles determined and codified through the method of the Ahlus Sunnat wal-Jama’at and the ASHA’IRA and the MATUREEDIA; for without it escape from the doubts cast by the tergiversators and the conjectural innovations, superstitions and skepticism of the false sects is not possible. It is evident that this branch is connected with faith (iman)…

… Hence among the constituents of the track of Darul Uloom this factor is an important element on which the establishment of the education and training of Darul Uloom working. It comes under Ihsan (god-consciousness), while it is connected with spiritual training. Thus the knowledge of the Shari’at, the following of the path, conformity to the Sunnat, Jurisprudential Hanafi’ism, dialectical MATURIDIISM, defense against deviation, and the taste for Qasimism and Rasheedism are the constituents of this moderate track which answers well to “seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains” (11:261). If these “seven ears” are expressed in shara’i language, they can be interpreted as Iman (faith), Islam, Ashan and Izhar-e- Deen (demonstration of religion), as has been indicated item-wise above. The collection of all these seven articles with the above-mentioned details is the track of Darul Uloom Deoband…

Source: darululoom-deoband.com/english/aboutdarululoom/the_tack.htm

A further point to take note of is the fact that Deobandi scholars do not go around slaughtering and massacre-ing believers while accusing them of shirk. Rather, they do what the scholars have said ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab should have done – they strive to raise awareness of the many prevalent customs in the subcontinent which outwardly denote shirk although the individuals involved may internally be safe from such. Something to ponder upon.

Incase the reader is of the view that the author of this very basic article is biased towards the Deobandi scholars as he himself is a Deobandi, then please know that this was written with the intention of raising awareness among the Deobandis, just as much so, as it was written to raise awareness among the Barelwis and everyone else. A huge problem, and one of the main reasons for disunity, takfir, and tabdi’ in the subcontinent between the Deobandis and Barelwis, is ilzami arguments ie. “You said such and such, which means you believe this”, or “You did such and such, so in turn it means that…” – this is a very unscholarly manner of discussion and in reality, is nothing but specualtion. Both camps need to move away from this tradition which is rampant on both sides. I do not agree with those who have made tabdi’ and takfir of others while utilising this line of argument – whichever group they belong/ed to, and that this is/was an error on their respective part. We are not obliged to follow the errors of the scholars, but should rather learn from their mistakes and we should distance ourselves from such mistakes without bias and fanaticism. Many people need to learn and stop thinking that the Islamic world is based around the subcontinent and their issues of dispute, as sadly, this is case with many individuals.

Rather than making a generalisation of all Deobandi scholars based on those who may have praised Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, it would be more fruitful to join those like myself who strive to make them aware of his reality and that of ibn Taymiyyah. Let us be those who are part of the cure, and not the disease.

A final word of advice: One should keep in mind that true research is that research which is done with the purpose of seeking the truth, and not that which is done to prove someone right or wrong according to ones own understanding based on preconceptions which they are stubborn upon. Have an open mind, and always seek the truth.

And Allah knows best.

Courtesy of: Fulan ibn Fulan al-Deobandi