بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
Another controversy raging within the Barelawi maslak is the status and position of Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan. Presently, the maslak has more or less been splintered into two camps; a camp which seeks to defend Mu’awiya and raises the slogan bey qasur bey khata Mu’awiya Mu’awiya and includes a major Barelawi organization, Da’wate Islami led by Ilyas Attar Qadiri. This group has even begun organising conferences and programs defending and praising Mu’awiya, following in the footsteps of the Deobandis especially the Sipahe Sahaba, as well as directing na’t khwans to sing songs extolling the virtues of Mu’awiya. The opposing camp is extremely disturbed by this novel trend and views it as a conspiracy to move the Barelawi maslak away from their traditional devotion to the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them). The gaddi nashins of Ajmer in particular are spearheading this reaction, since historically they have been at the forefront in promoting Sunni-Shi’i unity. Recently, one Kamran Chishti presented a citation from the writings of the great scholar of Hadith, Shah Abd ul-Aziz Muhaddith of Delhi, in which he addresses a question concerning the reality of Marwan bin al-Hakam and Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan:
“Question: What is proven from Ahl us-Sunna regarding speaking ill of Hadrat Mu’awiyaRD and Marwan?
Answer: Love for the Ahl al-Bayt is from the obligations of faith, not the necessities of the Sunna. And from the love of the Ahl al-Bayt is to speak ill of Marwan curse be upon him, and one’s heart should bear enmity toward him for it was particularly he who misbehaved in the extreme with Hadrat Imam HusainRD and the Ahl al-Bayt, and had complete enmity for them. With this understanding, one should have extreme hatred for this devil (Marwan). But Hadrat Mu’awiyaRD bin Abi Sufyan was a Sahabi his merit has been mentioned in some Ahadith. There is therefore a difference of opinion among the Ulama of Ahl us-Sunna regarding him. The Ulama of Transoxiana, the Mufasirin, and Fuqaha say that Hadrat Mu’awiya’sRD fighting and contesting with Hadrat AliRD was only an error in ijtihad. The researchers of the people of Hadith, based on their checking of narrations, concluded that [Mu’awiya’s] acts were not free from selfish motives, and likewise not free from the allegation of tribal bigotry among the Umayyads in the matter of Dhi Nurain UthmanRD. This is why such acts occurred from Hadrat Mu’awiyaRD, the result of which is that he be declared as having committed a great sin and rebellion. But the fasiq (sinner) is not worthy of being cursed.” (Fatawa Azizi pp.250-251):
I myself tend to agree with what Shah Abd ul-Aziz Muhaddith of Delhi (rahimahullah) has written here. The reader will notice that I do not add invoke the prayer radi Allahu anhu (may Allah be happy with him) for Mu’awiya, and neither do I invoke this prayer for Abu Sufyan and his wife Hinda. This is in keeping with the Prophet’s (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) instructions:
مَنْكَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيَقُلْ خَيْرًا أَوْ لِيَسْكُتْ
“Whoever believe in Allah and the Last Day should either say good or be silent.”
إِذَا ذُكِرَ أَصْحَابِي فَأَمْسِكُوا
“When my Companions are mentioned then withhold.”
Since I have nothing good to say about Mu’awiya, his father Abi Sufyan and his mother Hinda, I remain silent regarding them, neither invoking prayers for them nor cursing or criticising them as the Shi’a do. This is position of safety I have adapted out of caution and taqwa, and I ask Allah to compensate me for it with His mercy and bounty (Amin).