بســم اللــه الرحمــن الرحيــم
Adherents of the Barelwi sect take pride in referring to themselves as Sag-i-Madina (“dog of Medina”), considering such self-deprecation in referring to themselves as “dogs” as being an expression of their love and devotion to the holy Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam). Of course, this kind of self-deprecation is against the teachings of Islam, and even if the intention is to demonstrate love and devotion to the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) it is against the golden example of the Prophet’s foremost devotees among his Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) none of whom ever referred to themselves as “dogs”.
Allah Most High says:
فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث ۚ ذَّٰلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا
So his parable is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he still pants. That is the parable of the people who denied Our Signs
Hence it is clear that it is beneath the status and dignity of a Muslim believer to compare himself to a dog, it is a kind of ungratefulness to Allah who made us human beings, the most noble and honored of the kingdom of God’s creation. It is only those people who deny the Signs of Allah who are to be compared to dogs.
What is interesting is that the rivals of the Barelwis, namely, the Deobandis, also have the sense to condemn their Barelwi rivals and even go to the extent of ridiculing them in this regard. But as the regular reader of my blog has in all probability by now realized, the Deobandis are usually guilty of the same things they tend to criticize the Barelwis for, and often guilty to a much greater degree! Hence, while the Deobandi polemicists ridicule and attack the Barelwis for referring to themselves as “dogs”, the sages and elders of the Deobandi and Jama’at ut-Tabligh sect likewise referred to themselves as “dogs”. For example, the founder of Jama’at ut-Tabligh, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, would sign his name to a letter with the epithet:
از سگ آستانۂ عزیزی واحمدی
“from the dog of the city of Shah Abdul Aziz and Sayyid Ahmad”
(Makatib Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas p.54)
Another Deobandi elder and major figure in the Jama’at ut-Tabligh, namely Zakariya Kandhelwi, referred to himself as:
ایک رو سیاہ ہندی کتّے
“a black Indian dog”
(Sawaneh Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelwi p.132)
In a previous entry, I also quoted the Deobandi elder, so-called Hakim ul-Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, as saying about himself: “I actually consider myself worse than a dog and pig”.
In conclusion, the Deobandis have no leg to stand on in criticizing their Barelwi rivals for referring to themselves as the “dog of Medina”, when Deobandi elders have called themselves “dog of Astana-i-Azizi o Ahmadi” and “black Indian dog” which is much worse.