Continuing this series from the previous entry, we now move on to some of the intellectual deviations of Mr. Jawed Ghamidi with respect to the fundamentals of Islam, as well as exposing his nefarious agenda of extinguishing the Light of Allah.
يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّـهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّـهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ
They want to extinguish the Light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His Light, although the disbelievers dislike it.
The root of much of Ghamidi’s deviation from the way of Ahlus Sunnati wal-Jama’ah is his rejection of the authentic reports of Hadith from the Prophetﷺ. According to Ghamidi, the purpose of the Hadith is only to ellucidate something from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. However, the reader should keep in mind that by “Sunnah”, Mr. Ghamidi restricts its meaning to continuously and mass-practiced traditions (Tawaatur). He does not include sayings of the Prophetﷺ in the Sunnah, but only those practices of which have reached us through Tawaatur:
“The Prophetic Hadith, a name given to the reports about the sayings, actions and tacit approvals of the Prophet (sws) transmitted through individual to individual (akhbar-i ahad) do not add to the beliefs and practices in the religion.” (Selected Essays of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, p.16)
In other words, according to Ghamidi, any Hadith which contains a doctrine or law of Islam that is independent of the Qur’an and mass-practiced Sunnah cannot be taken.
*Note that here Ghamidi is not simply rejecting such Ahadith which conflict with the Qur’an and mass-practiced Sunnah, but even those Ahadith which contain a doctrine or law that cannot otherwise be derived from the Qur’an and mass-practiced Sunnah.
We would have no issue with Ghamidi if he restricted his rejection of those solitary reports of Hadith that clearly conflict with the Qur’an and mass-practiced Sunnah, but the fact of the matter is that Ghamidi has invented an entirely new principle which is to reject outright the taking of doctrine and laws from solitary reports if such doctrines and laws are not already present in the Qur’an and mass-practiced Sunnah.
Practically, in the view of Ghamidi, this necessitates the rejection of many laws and doctrines considered part and parcel of Islam by the orthodox Ahlus Sunnati wal-Jama’ah.
Regarding the Holy Qur’an, Ghamidi argues that it has a very restricted purpose which it can never transcend. This leads him to categorically reject the idea that there could be any extraordinary discoveries in the realm of science, physics, nature, etc., through reflection and study of the Holy Qur’an:
“The discoveries in the realm of physics made thus far and the ones which human intellect is bound to penetrate in future, are not discussed in the Qur’an at all.” (p.18)
Likewise, Ghamidi is even guilty of making interpretations of the Holy Book which clearly contravene its apparent wording:
“It uses the expression عَلَى الدِّيْنِ كُلِّهِ (on all the religions), and it does not refer to all religions of the world.” (p.31)
Here, Ghamidi has not only denied the apparent meaning of the word كل (each and every), but also implied that Allah’s promise that Islam shall prevail over the other religions may have exceptions, i.e., that there are certain religions over which Islam will not be triumphant معاذ الله
In explaining the decline of the Muslims, Ghamidi presents a very materialist view in which he criticizes the role of Sufism:
“This world is a place where harnessing potentials produce results. These potentials can be harnessed mostly by having skill and expertise in scientific disciplines. It is this skill through which man can access the treasures which God has concealed in the heavens and the earth. History bears witness that the life and death of man is mostly dependent on the competence he has in these disciplines, what to speak of rise and fall of nations. From the discovery of fire to the invention of the wheel to the astounding advancement and developments of the modern era this fact can be read in every page of history. Though Muslims did show interest in these disciplines yet their intelligentsia mostly engaged themselves in the study of philosophy and tasawwuf, though this was not the least required. The Book of God had already been revealed with answers to questions which philosophy and tasawwuf grapple with. Avid interest in these disciplines made Muslims oblivious to both the Book of God and scientific knowledge. Our age old religious seminaries are still teaching various aspects of philosophy and tasawwuf that can be called the best examples of useless knowledge (‘ilmun la yanfa’u). Thus we can see how far the world has advanced while Muslims gaze in wonder at these advancements.” (p.61)
Tasawwuf (Sufism) is a discipline that focuses on introspection, self-purification, taming and reforming the ego, spirituality, reaching a level of worship that it yields extraordinary fruits, and developing a strong connection with Allah. While it is true that there has been much deviation from Islam due to “pseudo-Sufism”, Ghamidi has criticised the Muslim intelligentsia’s focus on this entire discipline unrestrictedly, claiming that it is “useless knowledge”. He argues that Tasawwuf is redundant because the issues it grapples with have already been answered in the Holy Qur’an. In saying so he misses the point that Tasawwuf is simply a common term for that aspect of Islam which deals with inner purification and reaching higher spiritual levels through worship and attachment to Allah. Tasawwuf is not something that is independent or distinct from the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, which itself speaks of Tazkiya (purification of the soul) as one of the objectives for which the Prophet is sent:
لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error. (Sura 3:164)
So this discipline of purification, and learning of the Book and Wisdom is the true and genuine Tasawwuf, which resulted in the creation of multitudes of Islamic saints. Yet Ghamidi claims that it was this emphasis on the sciences of inner purification and spirituality which resulted in the decline of the Muslims, and the remedy is instead to turn the focus on acquiring knowledge and skills relevant to the material world.
Regarding the education process for cultivating a class of learned divines (Ulama), Ghamidi argues that it should not begin immediately at childhood, contrary to the centuries old practice of the Muslims going back to the period of the Salaf:
“Hence, it is necessary that it be made mandatory for religious seminaries to not give admission to any student unless he has passed through a twelve year period of general education as is the case with all other disciplines in which students intend to specialize.” (p.66)
But Ghamidi’s fatal error is in comparing the discipline of becoming a scholar of Islam to the other disciples that people specialize in. Study and mastery of the Islamic sciences is altogether different than study of medicine, engineering, architecture, etc. For one thing, the Islamic sciences require much more time and effort to master. If becoming an Islamic scholar was as simple as attending a post-secondary institution for a handful of years and then graduating with a diploma or degree, perhaps Mr. Ghamidi’s argument would have merit. But the study of Islam cannot be compared to the secular disciplines. Islam is such a complete and perfect Din that it even has guidance as to the proper method and way of how it should be studied. In all other disciplines, the method of study is not determined by the material itself.
One of the more dangerous views of Ghamidi is his assertion that the State “dismember” all religious institutions that are independent of it, or not under its direct control. He particularly targets the institution of the Friday sermon, the Mosque, and the Madrassa:
“Thirdly, in order to curb religious extremism, it is essential that the mini-state which is available to religious scholars in our country in the form of the Friday sermon and running the affairs of mosques be dismembered.” (p.67)
The reader should be aware that almost without exception every state and government is corrupt and un-Islamic to some extent, especially when we look at our own history. The history of the State in Islam, going back to the early days in the time of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, has always sought to monopolize and use religious institutions for its own greed and interests. It attempted to compromise the position of judges through appointments, patronise Islamic schools and seminaries for its own narrow objectives, and imprison Ulama or otherwise coerce them if their imparting of correct knowledge was in anyway threatening of the interest and desires of the rulers. This is why pious, believing Muslims have always had the tendency of being skeptical of the State’s interference in religious affairs, and have tried as much as possible to remain aloof from the State, and for good reason. It is clear that Ghamidi’s desire that the State seize control of religious institutions is due to the fact that he wishes to see a semblance of structure and order in the world of religion. Incidentally, this is why he does not see secularism as the solution to the problem of “religious extremism” in society, but rather the putting forward of a “counter narrative” which involves the force and power of the State to ensure it. In the context of the Pakistan, it is obvious that the State possesses neither the competence nor the resources to administer and control the religious institutions such as the Friday sermon and the Mosque. It is not only impractical, but if its implementation was ever attempted it would be a disaster for the true practice and understanding of Islam. This is because, as already alluded to, we know that the State would never promote the correct and pure understanding of Islam in the society but rather seek to manipulate and subvert it for its own narrow self-interests. Ghamidi himself admits the fact that the Muslim rulers, due to their corruption, became “unworthy” of what he now wishes they should do:
“However, in later times when Muslim rulers because of their misdeeds no longer remained worthy of observing it, they themselves handed the Friday pulpit to religious scholars. It was this singular step that gave real power to anarchy and disorder in the name of religion. This state of affairs needs to be changed and our rulers should decide with full determination and resolve that the Friday prayer shall be organized by the government and shall only be allowed at places that have been prescribed by it for this purpose. Its pulpit will be reserved for the rulers; they themselves will deliver the Friday sermon and lead the prayer or some authorized representative of theirs will fulfil this obligation on their behalf. No one will have the independent authority to organize this prayer at any place that falls under the jurisdiction of the state.” (pp.67-68)
It is quite ironic that on one hand Ghamidi laments the spread of “religious extremism” in Muslim society, but on the other hand advocates something that would wipe out all traces of religious diversity and multiplicity of different schools of thought, movements, and tendencies. One can hardly discern a difference between Ghamidi and a “religious extremist” since ultimately the goal of both is to impose their particular understanding of Islam through the coercive power of the State, thus effectively ending any sense of true religious freedom.
Regarding mosques, Ghamidi says:
“A similar decision that should be undertaken by the government is that mosques in which prayers other than the Friday prayer are offered should be built by the permission of the government. They will not be classified as mosques of a particular sect or school of thought; on the contrary, they will be mosques of God where only He shall be worshipped. Mosques are collective institutions of the Muslims, and as such cannot be given in the control of people and organizations. Hence it is essential that wherever Muslims form a government, mosques should be under its jurisdiction and control. The government should not allow any person to use the mosque for the promotion of an organization, a movement or a particular point of view, and in this manner convert them into places which create dissensions among Muslims instead of remaining places where God is worshipped. This step is essential. The benefits it gives can be seen in countries where this method of organizing and administering mosques is employed.” (p.68)
Ghamidi’s pushing for strict government control of mosques in an attempt to curb the growth of different religious movements and expressions is in fact against the spirit of Islamic teachings. It is noteworthy that the Prophetﷺ strongly encouraged the construction and multiplicity of mosques with utmost zeal, saying:
مَنْ بَنَى مَسْجِدًا لِلَّهِ كَمَفْحَصِ قَطَاةٍ أَوْ أَصْغَرَ بَنَى اللَّهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ
Whoever builds a mosque for the sake of Allah, like a sparrow's nest for Allah or even smaller, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise (Ibn Maja)
Incidentally, this blessed Hadith indicates that the construction of mosques, especially small, chapel-like mosques, is a private affair that a Muslim, in the capacity of being a private citizen, undertakes as a personal act of worship seeking heavenly rewards from his exalted Maker. Now it must be admitted that any place set aside as a mosque is entitled to organize the Friday congregational worship including the sermon. Yet the practical result of Ghamidi’s proposed scheme would result in an obvious obstruction to people acting upon this blessed Hadith, thus going against the beautiful spirit of Islam. Ghamidi has also stated that mosques have to be built with the permission of the government. This is clearly an innovation. Practically, it means that a private citizen, who wishes to make some of his private property into a waqf to serve as a mosque will first have to obtain permission from the government to do so! One is otherwise astounded as to why one needs the government’s “permission” to carry out an act of worship, whether it is a compulsory or voluntary act of worship.
Regarding the establishment of a mosque for promoting a “particular point of view”, what is objectionable in it if that “particular point of view” is based on Taqwa?
لَا تَقُمْ فِيهِ أَبَدًا ۚ لَّمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَن تَقُومَ فِيهِ ۚ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَن يَتَطَهَّرُوا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ
Do not stand [for prayer] within it - ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves. (9:108)
This Verse was revealed in the context of the Masjid Dirar (the Mosque of Harm) that was set up by the hypocrites during the time of the Prophetﷺ. The mosque of the hypocrites was established with evil intentions and objectives, which is why it was condemned. So this blessed Ayah is a proof that a Mosque can be founded for the purpose of promoting a “particular point of view” as long as that point of view is upon Taqwa.
Now based on the newly-invented principles of Ghamidi that we mentioned at the beginning of this entry, we can see that the result is Ghamidi issuing verdicts on various Masa’il that clearly violate the teachings of orthodox Islam.
Organ Transplant and Autopsy
“Similar is the case of violating the sanctity of a corpse. It relates to one’s intentions and motives. Inflicting harm on the limb of a person is a crime. The Qur’an has given the directives of qisas and diyat for such crimes. However, if with the permission of the patient, a doctor severs his hand or foot, then no one can call him a criminal. So why should not one differentiate between mutilating a dead body through various means and conducting a post-mortem for the purpose of investigation? If a person makes a will to give his wealth to some needy person, then this is counted as a virtue. Similarly, if he makes a will to donate any of his organs or limbs to someone in need, then this should also be seen as a virtue. Why should implementing such a will be regarded as violating the sanctity of a corpse?” (p.71)
Ghamidi’s permission for organ transplant after death, which is only possible by dissecting the corpse, and likewise his permission for investigative authorities to perform an autopsy, are against the express instructions of the beloved Prophetﷺ:
كَسْرُ عَظْمِ الْمَيِّتِ كَكَسْرِهِ حَيًّا
“Breaking a bone of the deceased is like breaking it when he is alive.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
“It is evident from this discussion that sighting the moon for ascertaining a lunar month was never made incumbent…The purport of religion is ascertaining the lunar month. If it can be ascertained by sighting the moon, it was adopted in the past, and if now it can be determined through some other way, then no objection can be raised against it.” (pp.73-74)
Ghamidi’s favoring of determining the beginning and end of the month of Ramadan through astronomical calculations rather than physically sighting the moon is another innovation that has no precedent in the early history of Islam and the continuous practice of the Muslims.
“It is only God who knows and only He can divulge the information that the truth has been conclusively communicated to a person or a group and therefore now they can be called kafirs. Hence after the departure of God’s Messenger (sws), no person or group has the right to regard someone as kafir. Similar is the case of people who renounce Islam and adopt another religion or who do not follow any religion. What can only be said about them too is that they have become non-Muslims.” (p.75)
Yet another one of Ghamidi’s innovations is his idea that no one can be termed a Kafir unless Allah has specificied him as such through divine revelation. In his enthusiasm for “sanitizing” Islam to that it is acceptable to modern, Western sentiments, Ghamidi shamelessly plays with Allah’s Religion for which he will no doubt be held to account if he does not repent.
It is strange that Ghamidi says no one can be termed a Kafir because only Allah knows the unseen of someone’s heart of whether or not he is truly a Kafir, but this principle works both ways, i.e., no one can be called a Muslim or a Mu’min either by this logic. This is why the Prophet’s second successor رضى الله عنه said:
عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُتْبَةَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ يَقُولُ إِنَّ أُنَاسًا كَانُوا يُؤْخَذُونَ بِالْوَحْيِ فِي عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَإِنَّ الْوَحْيَ قَدْ انْقَطَعَ وَإِنَّمَا نَأْخُذُكُمْ الْآنَ بِمَا ظَهَرَ لَنَا مِنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ
Abdullah ibn Utbah reported: I heard Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, say, “Verily, in the time of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, the people would be judged by revelation, but the revelation has ended. Now we judge you according to your outward deeds.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The absurdity of Ghamidi’s contention that we cannot know if anyone is a Kafir or not becomes clear in light of the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an:
لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“Let not the Believers take the Kaafireen as allies instead of the Believers.” (Sura 3:28)
According to Ghamidi, it is now impossible to act according to the instructions of this blessed Ayah since now it is impossible to know who is a Kafir.
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
So do not obey the Kaafireen, and strive against them with the Qur'an a great striving. (Sura 25:52)
Once again, it is impossible to act upon the order of this blessed Ayah according to Ghamidi since we don’t know who the Kaafireen are!
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُم مِّنَ الْكُفَّارِ وَلْيَجِدُوا فِيكُمْ غِلْظَةً
O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the Kuffaar and let them find in you harshness. (Sura 9:123)