Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Iqbal's Book "Islam and Ahmadism" Refuted (Part 7)

After a long interval, I am now continuing the critique of Iqbal’s book Islam and Ahmadism. Iqbal writes: “A careful psychological analysis of the revelations of the founder would perhaps be an effective method of dissecting the inner life of his personality.” (p. 26). Iqbal goes on to express his wish that in the future a student of modern psychology should analyze the revelations claimed by Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. The purpose would be to expose the claim of Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian as being based on ego and not a genuine inspiration from God. However, Iqbal failed to realize that similar assaults on the integrity of Islam have been done by analyzing the text of the Holy Quraan in light of modern psychology under the assumption that the Holy Quraan was authored by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and is not a genuine divine inspiration. Iqbal’s error is in relating a modern discipline such as psychology to analyze the reality of someone claiming to be a recipient of divine revelation. From an Islamic perspective, such an analysis has no value since it is based on a false assumption. Therefore, to apply this kind of analysis to Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian while rejecting such an analysis of the revelations to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is inconsistent and biased.


Next, Iqbal launches a tirade against ‘Ahmadism’ by asserting that its function was to serve the British colonialist interest of furnishing a ‘revelational’ basis for “India’s present political subjugation.” (p. 31). Iqbal explains this further by elucidating the idea that ‘Ahmadism’ seeks to make Muslims accept their ‘political subjugation’, i.e., normalize that subjugation from a theological perspective resting on the authority of divine revelation. Iqbal writes: “One can only imagine the rotten state of a people’s will who are, on the basis of Divine authority, made to accept their political environment as final.” (p. 33).


Iqbal’s charge is false as proven by history, since the Ahmadiyya enthusiastically participated in the Pakistan movement. Nevertheless, his words reveal the fact that he failed to understand Ghulam Ahmad’s theology concerning the political subjugation of the Muslims and the British colonial government. The truth is, Ghulam Ahmad’s theology reflected the statement attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospel of John: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18: 36). In other words, whether any Muslim agrees with it or not, the fact is that Ghulam Ahmad’s theology was not to ‘glorify’ the political subjugation of India’s Muslims, but only to put forward the notion that the Mohammedan Messiah’s role was not to establish his political or temporal authority, but rather to bring about a spiritual awakening and religious revival.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Salafi E. E. Zaheer's Lie on Founder of Barelwi Sect

The mulla of the Ahlul Hadith sect, so-called ‘Allama’ Ehsan Ellahi Zaheer, lied upon the founder of the Barelwi sect, mulla Ahmad Reza Khan, by writing that the latter studied under the elder brother of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, namely, Mirza Ghulam Qadir:

یہاں یہ بات قابل ذکر ہے کہ ان کا استاد مرزا غلام قادر بیگ مرزا غلام احمد قادیانی کا بھائی تھا۔

“It is worth mentioning here that his teacher Mirza Ghulam Qadir Baig was the brother of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani.”


Reference: Barelwiyyat: Tarikh o Aqa’id; p. 37


The truth is that Mirza Ghulam Qadir, the elder brother of Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani, was not a religious teacher or scholar, but a landlord involved in worldly affairs, who died in 1883. The teacher of Mulla Ahmad Reza Barelwi, however, bearing a similar name but with the surname ‘Baig’ was an altogether different individual. Either the stupid mulla E. E. Zaheer didn’t research properly before publishing such a blunder, or he blatantly lied upon Ahmad Reza Khan Barelwi in a shameless attempt to bring disrepute to him.

Deobandi Kalima and Durud: "Ashraf Ali Rasul Allah"

Deobandi mulla Ashraf Ali Thanwi was asked by one of his disciples about something he experienced in which he recited a blasphemous Kalima ‘La elaha illa Allah, Ashraf Ali Rasul Allah’ (Ashraf Ali is the Messenger of Allah) and a blasphemous Durud ‘Allahumma Salli ala Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina wa Mawlana Ashraf Ali’ (O Allah, send blessings upon our leader, our Prophet, and our master Ashraf Ali):

خواب دیکہتا ہوں کہ کلمہ شریف لا الہ الا اللہ محمد رسول اللہ پڑھتا ہوں لیکن محمد رسول اللہ کی جگہ حضور کا نام لیتا ہوں اتنے میں دل کے اندر خیال پیدا ہوا کہ تجھ سے غلطی ہوئی کلمہ شریف کے پڑھنے میں اسکو صحیح پڑھنا چاہۓ اس خیال سے دوبارہ کلمہ شریف پڑھتا ہوں دل پر تو یہ ہے کہ صحیح پڑہا جاوے لیکن زبان بے ساختہ بجاۓ رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے نام کے اشرف علی نکل جاتا ہے حالانکہ مجھ کو اس بات کا علم ہے کہ اس طرح درست نہیں لیکن بے اختیار زبان سے یہی کلمہ نکلتا ہے۔ دو تین بار جب یہی صورت ہوئی تو حضور کو اپنے سامنے دیکہتا ہوں اور بہی چند شخص حضور کے پاس تھے لیکن اتنے میں میری یہ حالت ہوگئ کہ میں کھڑا کھڑا بوجہ اس کے کہ رفت طاری ہوگئ زمیں پر گرگیا اور نہایت زور کے ساتھ ایک چیخ ماری اور مجھکو معلوم ہوتا تھا کہ میرے اندر کوئی طاقت باقی نہیں رہی اتنے میں بندا خواب سے بیدار ہوگیا لیکن بدن میں بدستور بے حسی تھی اور اثر نا طاقتی بدستور تھا لیکن حالت خواب اور بیداری میں حضور کا ہی خیال تھا لیکن حالت بیداری میں کلمہ شریف کی غلطی پر جب خیال آیا تو اس بات کا ارادہ ہوا کہ اس خیال کو دل سے دور کیا جاوے اس واسطے کہ پھر کوئی ایسی غلطی نہ ہوجاوے بایں خیال بندہ بیٹھ گیا اور پھر دوسری کروٹ لیٹ کر کلمہ شریف کی غلطی کے تدارک میں رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم پر درود شریف پڑھتا ہوں لیکن پھر یہ کہتا ہوں اللہم صلی علی سیدنا ونبینا ومولانا اشرف علی حلانکہ اب بیدار ہوں خواب نہیں لیکن بے اختیار ہوں مجبور ہوں زبان اپنےقابو میں نہیں اس روز ایسا ہی کچھ خیال رہا تو دوسرے روز بیداری میں رقت رہی خوب رویا اور بھی بہت سے وجوہات ہیں جو حضور کے ساتھ باعث محبت ہیں کہانتک عرض کروں۔

Note that this disciple of Ashraf Thanwi’s states that he recited these blasphemous words in which Ashraf Thanwi is described as ‘Messenger of Allah’ and ‘our Prophet’ while in a state of wakefulness. In answer to the anxiety of his disciple, Ashraf Thanwi answered:

جواب: اس واقعہ میں تسلی تھی کہ جس کی طرف تم رجوع کرتے ہو وہ بعونہ

 تعالی متبع سنت ہے۔

Answer: “There was assurance in this incident that the one to whom you return back to [Ashraf Thanwi], with the help of Allah the Exalted, is a follower of the Sunna.”


Reference: Risala al-Imdad, Safar, 1336 H; p. 35


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Salimiyya Heresy: Allah Speaks on Tongue of Qari

نحمده ونصلى ونسلم على رسوله الكريم

The Sâlimiyya, a heretical sect attributed to Muhammad b. Sâlim (d. 297 H) and his son, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Sâlim (d. 356 H), believe that Allâh Most High Himself speaks upon the tongue of the Qâri (Qurân-reciter); it is not the voice of the Qâri that is heard when he recites the Qurân but the Voice of Allâh. Muhammad b. Sâlim was a disciple of the great Sûfi master, Sahl al-Tustari (d. 283 H). Hence, the Sâlimiyya were not merely a theological sect but also a stream of Sufism whose leaders like Muhammad b. Sâlim and Ahmad b. Sâlim were known for their piety and mysticism. This sect was based in Basra and were adherents of the Mâliki school of jurisprudence. Abu Ali al-Ahwâzi, a theologian who repudiated Abul-Hasan al-Ashari in his treatise Mathâlib Ibn Abi Bishr, was also upon the madhhab of the Sâlimiyya, as stated by Ibn ‘Asâkir:
قال ابن عساكر كان على مذهب السالمية يقول بالظاهر
Reference: Siyar A’lâm an-Nubalâ; v.18 p.15

Al-Qâdi Abi Ya’lâ, Ibn al-Farrâ al-Hanbali (d. 458 H), in his book al-Mu’tamad Fî Usûl al-Dîn, catalogues eighteen theses against the Sâlimiyya. The one relevant to this entry is the Sâlimi thesis that Allâh Himself recites upon the tongue of every Qâri:
ومن قولهم: ان الله يقرأ على لسان كلّ قارئ وانهم اذا سمعوا القرآن من قارئ فانما يسمعونه من الله
“From among their saying is that Allâh recites upon the tongue of every Qâri; and when they listen to the Qurân from the Qâri, then they are listening to it from Allâh [Himself].”
Reference: al-Mu’tamad fi Usûl al-Dîn; p.221

Now the belief of orthodox Islam is that while the Holy Qurân is indeed the literal Word of Allâh which He spoke and revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel (peace be upon them both); when the Qâri recites from the Holy Qurân he is reading the uncreated Words of Allâh, but the sound emanating from his mouth is his own created voice and not the Voice of Allâh Himself, contrary to the bizarre and heretical doctrine of the Sâlimiyya sect.
There has been some academic skepticism regarding the heretical doctrines attributed to the Sâlimiyya of whether they held such views, or if they were misrepresented by the Hanbali polemicists, like Qâdi Abu Ya’lâ, who wrote against them. Interestingly, Shaikh Abdul Qâdir al-Jîlâni (rahimahullâh), himself a staunch Hanbali, likewise repudiated the Sâlimiyya in his famous al-Ghunya by duplicating some of the charges against them raised by Abu Ya’lâ al-Hanbali.
No overt Sâlimiyya literature exists for anyone to verify whether they held the heretical beliefs ascribed to them by their opponents, especially among the Hanâbila. However, Abu Tâlib al-Makki (d. 386 H), was a disciple of Ahmad b. Sâlim, and praises both him and his father extensively in his famous al-Qût al-Qulûb, a literary masterpiece of mysticism. The academic, Alexander Knysh, theorized that Abu Tâlib al-Makki belonged to the Sâlimiyya sect: “The tenets of the Salimiyya received their final articulation in the works of Ahmad’s disciple, Abu Talib al-Makki (d. 386/996), whose monumental book ‘Nourishment for the Hearts’ had a profound influence on al-Ghazali’s ‘Revivification of the Religious Sciences’.” (Islamic Mysticism: A Short History, p. 85)
Harith Bin Ramli writes: “Makkī states that just as the burning bush was a standing point from which Moses heard God speaking to him, God has made the movement of the tongue in recitation a boundary (add) and locus (makān) from which His speech can be heard.” (The Sālimiyya and Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī)
Here, he is referring to the statement of al-Makki:
وينبغي للعبد أن يشهد في التلاوة أن مولاه يخاطبه بالكلام لأنه سبحانه متكلم بكلام نفسه وليس للعبد في كلامه كلام إنما جعل له حركة اللسان بوصفه وتيسير الذكر بلسانه بحكم ربه عز وجل حدا للعبد ومكانا له، كما كانت الشجرة وجهة لموسى عليه السلام وكلمة الله عز وجل منها
Reference: al-Qût al-Qulûb; p.145

The citation of Allâh speaking to Prophet Moses through the tree to illustrate the reality of Allâh’s Words emanating from the tongue of the Qâri is an unmistakable proof of how Abu Tâlib al-Makki was a Sâlimi or at the very least affected by their heretical ideas.
Orthodox Islam holds that Prophet Moses literally heard the Voice of Allâh Himself emanating from the tree or “burning bush”, and so conversed with Allâh “from behind a veil” (Sûra 4:164; 42:51)

If it is true, as al-Makki asserts, that likewise a person hears the Word of Allah upon the tongue of the Qâri, it would mean that he too is experiencing the same thing as the Prophet Moses, thus rendering the latter’s experience as something quite ordinary (God forbid).

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Twelver Shiite Rejection of Khatam-an-Nubuwwa

In the Urdu translation of the renowned Twelver Shiite book Jilaa al-Ayoon of Mulla Baqir Majlisi, translated by ‘Allama’ Sayyid Abdul Hussain, the Twelver Shi’a ellucidate their dogma that the members of the Prophet’s Household, or Ahlul Bayt, particularly the Twelve Imams, each possessed the quality of Nubuwwa (prophethood) within them, despite technically not being prophets:
پس جناب امیر اور دیگر اہل بیت رسول بھی بعد رسول مثل رسول بقول اس آیت کے ولی ہیں۔ اور تمام انبیاء سے افضل ہیں۔ اور ان پر اطلاق نبوت و رسالت اس لۓ نہیں کہ نبوت جناب محمد مصطفی پر ختم ہے۔ آپ کے بعد کوئی نبی و رسول نہیں۔ لیکن معیار نبوت و رسالت سب اہل بیت میں تھا۔ اگر نبوت و رسالت ختم نہ ہوتی تو یہ بارہ کے بارہ ا‏ئمہ اہل بیت نبی و رسول ہوتے۔
“Therefore, Amir [Ali b. Abi Talib] and other Ahli Bait of the Messenger are, after the Messenger, like Messengers, according to this Ayat, Awliya. And they are superior to all of the Prophets. And the application of Nubuwwat (prophecy) and Risalat (messenger-ship) is not upon them because Nubuwwat is sealed with Prophet Muhammad Mustafa. After him there is no Prophet or Messenger. However, the quality of Nubuwwat and Risalat was in everyone of the Ahli Bait. If Nubuwwat and Risalat were not ended, then each of the Twelver Imams of the Ahli Bait would have been Prophets and Messengers.”
Reference: Jilaa al-Ayoon; v.2 p.20 (Urdu translation)

It is my contention that the Twelver Shi’a are in fact deniers of the Khatam-an-Nubuwwa or Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad . Although they believe that technically the Twelve Imams are not to be called ‘Prophets’, but by believing that the Twelve Imams not only possess the substance and peculiar characteristics of Nubuwwa, but that the Twelve Imams are in fact superior to all actual Prophets, for all intents and purposes, the Twelver Shi’a believe that their Twelve Imams are essentially Prophets.

Armed Uprising of Muhammad b. al-Qasim of Taliqan

The following excerpt is quoted from Tarikh al-Tabari (Eng. Translation v.33 pp. 5-7). It describes the armed uprising of sayyidina Muhammad b. al-Qasim, a direct descendant of Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) through the line of Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (he was Imam Zain-ul-Abidin’s great-grandson). This uprising took place at Taloqan (modern-day Afghanistan) in the Takhar province, including in the surrounding mountains:
In the year 219 H (834 CE):
Among the events taking place during this year was the rebellion, at al-Talaqan in Khurasan, of Muhammad b. al-Qasim b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, summoning people to the cause of “the well-pleasing one from the family of Muhammad” (al-rida min al Muhammad). A considerable number of people there rallied to his side, and military encounters took place in the vicinity of al-Talaqan and the mountains there between him and Abdullah b. Tahir’s commanders. In the end he and his followers were defeated, and he fled, seeking a certain distrinct of Khurasan whose people had been in correspondence with him. He reached Nasa, where the father of one of his followers lived, and this follower of his at that point went along in order to greet his [the follower’s] father. When he met his father, the latter asked him the news, so the man told his father about what had happened to them and how they were making for so-and-so district. The man’s father thereupon went to the governor of Nasa and told him about Muhammad b. al-Qasim’s plans. It has been mentioned that the governor gave the father 10,000 dirhams for information that would lead him to Muhammad b. al-Qasim. The father accordingly gave him information about Muhammad b. al-Qasim’s whereabouts.
So the governor went along to Muhammad b. al-Qasim, arrested him, placed him in firm custody, and dispatched him to Abdallah b. Tahir. The latter sent him to al-Mu’tasim; he was brought to him on Monday, the fourteenth of Rabi’ II (April 28, 834) and was then imprisoned, so it has been mentioned, at Samarra in the house of Masrur al-Khadim al-Kabir in a narrow cell some three by two cubits only. He remained there for three days and was then transferred to a more commodious place than the previous cell, food was given to him regularly, and a group of persons was appointed and charged with the task of guarding him. When it was the night of ‘Id al-Fitr (the thirtieth of Ramadan 219, the night of October 8 9, 834 and everybody was distracted by the festival and the rejoicings, he devised a stratagem for escaping.
It has been mentioned that he fled from jail  by night and that a rope was let down for him from an aperture in the wall of the upper part of the house, through which light penetrated to him. When his jailers came next morning with food of his breakfast, he was missing. It has been mentioned that a reward of 100,000 dirhams was offered for whoever might give information that would lead to Muhammad b. al-Qasim; the public herald proclaimed this, but no further news was heard of him. (Uncertainty about Muhammad b. al-Qasim’s fate is reflected in stories given by Ma’sudi, including the one that he returned to al-Talaqan and was expected by the Zaydis to return as a Mahdi after his death; Isfahani regards it as most probable that he escaped to Wasit.)

First Revelation in Cave of Hira

The modality of the revelation of the Holy Quraan to the Prophet Muhammad is the supreme metaphysical subject which Muslim theologians and mystics have concerned themselves with. Nubuwwa or “prophecy” is the central institution of Islam. It is regarded as the highest station that a mortal human may attain; the position of being a conduit through which the Lord Allah Most High speaks to mankind.
It is well known that the first Quraanic revelation to the Prophet Muhammad was when he was secluded in the Cave of Hira. The Angel Gabriel came to him and revealed the first five Ayaat of Surat al-Alaq. However, something that is typically unknown to most Muslims, who are otherwise acquainted with this monumental, defining event in the Religion of Islam, is that the Prophet was asleep when the Angel Gabriel came to him, and only woke up after Angel Gabriel departed. This fact is narrated by Ibn Hisham in his Sira (biography) of the Prophet:
قَالَ ابْنُ إسْحَاقَ: وَحَدَّثَنِي وَهْبُ بْنُ كَيْسَانَ قَالَ: قَالَ عُبَيْدٌ: فَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُجَاوِرُ ذَلِكَ الشَّهْرَ مِنْ كُلِّ سَنَةٍ، يُطْعِمُ مَنْ جَاءَهُ مِنْ الْمَسَاكِينِ، فَإِذَا قَضَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جِوَارَهُ مِنْ شَهْرِهِ ذَلِكَ، كَانَ أَوَّلُ مَا يَبْدَأُ بِهِ، إذَا انْصَرَفَ مِنْ جِوَارِهِ، الْكَعْبَةَ، قَبْلَ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ بَيْتَهُ، فَيَطُوفُ بِهَا سَبْعًا أَوْ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ، ثُمَّ يَرْجِعُ إلَى بَيْتِهِ، حَتَّى إذَا كَانَ الشَّهْرُ الَّذِي أَرَادَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى بِهِ فِيهِ مَا أَرَادَ مِنْ كَرَامَتِهِ، مِنْ السّنة الَّتِي بَعثه اللَّهُ تَعَالَى فِيهَا، وَذَلِكَ الشَّهْرُ (شَهْرُ) رَمَضَانَ، خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إلَى حِرَاءٍ، كَمَا كَانَ يَخْرُجُ لِجِوَارِهِ وَمَعَهُ أَهْلُهُ، حَتَّى إذَا كَانَتْ اللَّيْلَةُ الَّتِي أَكْرَمَهُ اللَّهُ فِيهَا بِرِسَالَتِهِ، وَرَحِمَ الْعِبَادَ بِهَا، جَاءَهُ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ بِأَمْرِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى. قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: فَجَاءَنِي جِبْرِيلُ، وَأَنَا نَائِمٌ، بِنَمَطٍ مِنْ دِيبَاجٍ فِيهِ كِتَابٌ، فَقَالَ اقْرَأْ، قَالَ: قُلْتُ: مَا أَقْرَأُ ؟ قَالَ: فَغَتَّنِي بِهِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ الْمَوْتُ، ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَنِي فَقَالَ: اقْرَأْ، قَالَ: قُلْتُ: مَا أَقْرَأُ؟ قَالَ: فَغَتَّنِي بِهِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ الْمَوْتُ، ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَنِي، فَقَالَ: اقْرَأْ، قَالَ: قُلْتُ: مَاذَا أَقْرَأُ؟ قَالَ: فَغَتَّنِي بِهِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ الْمَوْتُ، ثُمَّ أَرْسَلَنِي، فَقَالَ: اقْرَأْ، قَالَ: فَقُلْتُ: مَاذَا أَقْرَأُ؟ مَا أَقُولُ ذَلِكَ إلَّا افْتِدَاءً مِنْهُ أَنْ يَعُودَ لِي بِمِثْلِ مَا صَنَعَ بِي، فَقَالَ: اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ خَلَقَ الْإِنْسانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ. اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ
عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ 96: 1- 5. قَالَ: فَقَرَأْتهَا ثُمَّ انْتَهَى فَانْصَرَفَ عَنِّي وَهَبَبْتُ مِنْ نَوْمِي، فَكَأَنَّمَا كَتَبْتُ فِي قَلْبِي كِتَابًا. قَالَ: فَخَرَجْتُ حَتَّى إذَا كُنْتُ فِي وَسَطٍ مِنْ الْجَبَلِ سَمِعْتُ صَوْتًا مِنْ السَّمَاءِ يَقُولُ: يَا مُحَمَّدُ، أَنْتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَأَنَا جِبْرِيلُ، قَالَ
فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي إلَى السَّمَاءِ أَنْظُرُ، فَإِذَا جِبْرِيلُ فِي صُورَةِ رَجُلٍ صَافٍّ قَدَمَيْهِ فِي أُفُقِ السَّمَاءِ يَقُولُ: يَا مُحَمَّدُ، أَنْتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَأَنَا جِبْرِيلُ. قَالَ: فَوَقَفْتُ أَنْظُرُ إلَيْهِ فَمَا أَتَقَدَّمُ وَمَا أَتَأَخَّرُ، وَجَعَلْتُ أَصْرِفُ وَجْهِي عَنْهُ فِي آفَاقِ السَّمَاءِ، قَالَ
فَلَا أَنْظُرُ فِي نَاحِيَةٍ مِنْهَا إلَّا رَأَيْتُهُ كَذَلِكَ، فَمَا زِلْتُ وَاقِفًا مَا أَتَقَدَّمُ أَمَامِي وَمَا أَرْجِعُ وَرَائِي
The Prophet said: “Gabriel came to me while I was asleep with a brocade cloth in which was writing, and said: ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I do not read.’ He took me and squeezed me so vehemently that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said: ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I do not read.’ He took me and squeezed me so vehemently that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘What shall I read?’ He took me and squeezed me so vehemently that I thought it was death; then he said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘What then shall I read?’ He said,
‘Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created, has created man from a clinging substance. Read, and your Lord is the most Generous. Who taught by the pen. Taught man that which he knew not.’ (Sura 96: 1–5)
So I read, and he left me. When I got up from my sleep, it was as if these words were firmly written in my heart. When I went out midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from the sky saying, ‘O Muhammad! You are the Messenger of Allah and I am Gabriel.’ I raised my head up to the sky to see (who was speaking) and it was Gabriel in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon, saying, ‘O Muhammad! You are the Messenger of Allah and I am Gabriel.’ I stood still, staring at him, neither moving forward nor backward; then I made my face turn away from him, but whichever direction of the sky I looked, I found him the same.”
Reference: as-Siratun Nabawiyya (Ibn Hisham); v.1, pp.236–237

An objection raised against this Hadith is that there is no mention of Gabriel coming to the Prophet while he was asleep in the more famous Hadith of A’isha about the commencement of divine Revelation as related in both Bukhari and Muslim. However, omission is not necessarily proof of negation, until  and unless a sound Hadith is brought forth which manifestly states that the Prophet was awake during the first revelation to him in the Cave of Hira.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Weak Hadith: "Prophets are alive in their graves, praying"

In a previous entry, I mentioned the weakness of the Hadith used as the primary evidence for the false belief that the Prophets of God are bodily alive in their graves. My own belief, based on the Quraan and Sunna, is that the Prophets are not alive in their graves, rather they have died and their corpses mingled with dust; yes, their souls are living and residing blissfully in Janna with a peculiar spiritual life (not a bodily/worldly life). The Hadith in question:

الأَنْبِيَاءُ أَحْيَاءٌ فِي قُبُورِهِمْ يُصَلُّونَ

“The Prophets are alive in their graves, praying” is narrated in the collections of Abu Ya’la and al-Bazar. Note that it is not reported in the more authentic and well known collections of Hadith that form the Sihhah al-Sitta, or the six most authentic books of Hadith (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abi Dawud, Nasa’i and Ibn Maja). In the previous entry regarding this Hadith and its content, I cited the contemporary Salafi muhaddith Zubair Ali Zai who weakened the Hadith based on the fact that the narrator al-Hajjaj is unknown. Although Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani authenticated this Hadith and posited the view that al-Hajjaj is in reality al-Hajjaj b. al-Aswad, this is actually speculation and therefore not sufficient to authenticate a Hadith dealing with such a delicate matter of creed.
Nevertheless, supposing, for the sake of argument, that the narrator in the Sanad of this Hadith is indeed al-Hajjaj b. al-Aswad, it should still be noted that Imam adh-Dhahabi (rahimahullah) weakened this Hadith explicitly and stated that the narrations of al-Hajjaj b. al-Aswad from Thabit al-Bunani are munkar (rejected).
Reference: Mizan-ul-I’tidal; v.1 p.460

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Contempory Religious Authority in the World of Islam

نحمده ونصلى ونسلم على رسوله الكريم
The following are several spheres that wield living religious leadership and authority among the Muslims;
1. State-controlled institutions like al-Azhar University
2. Independent institutions and schools of Ulema such as Deoband
3. Intellectuals and Western-educated professionals (Tariq Ramadan)
4. Televangelists and popular preachers on social media (Dr. Zakir Naik, Amr Khaled)
5. Sectarian Ulema (Twelver Shi’ite clergy based in Najaf and Qom; the Salafi scholarly community based in Medina)
6. Sufi mashayikh and spiritual guides
7. Organized groups particularly political ones (Muslim Brotherhood; the various Jama’aat)
I believe that, for the most part, all of these various spheres which have assumed the religious leadership and authority in the Muslim world are essentially corrupt or at the very least problematic, some more than others. The substance of the Islamic doctrine of ‘Finality of Prophethood’ is, in the words of ‘Allama’ Iqbal: “No spiritual surrender to any human being after Muhammad.”
The Prophet Muhammad was the final person sent as being deputized and authorized by God to speak on His behalf. While ‘prophet-like’ figures may come after him, such as the Messiah, Mahdi, Mujaddids, etc., none of them possess the authority to overrule the delegated divine authority of Prophet Muhammad , but are in fact subject to it, and their function is only to reaffirm that divine authority. Therefore, when I speak of the contemporary spheres of leadership and authority, I mean authority in the sense of interpreting the teachings of Islam. Some sects are bordering on rebellion against this fundamental doctrine of Finality of Prophethood, such as the Twelver Shi’a and certain extreme Sufis, who have relegated their Imams and Shaikhs to a position rivaling that of the Last and Final Prophet .
But the question of who should wield the position of greatest influence, living religious leadership of the community and authority to interpret and impart the teachings of Islam is a very critical one. At the most basic level, the Sunni tradition holds that the line of rightly-guided Caliphs who succeeded the Prophet after his death only wielded administrative and political authority, that is, in the realm of the executive and the judiciary in terms of running the affairs of the Muslim community. The Caliphs do not possess any religious authority to speak on behalf of Allah Most High, nor is their interpretation and understanding of the Religion necessarily authoritative in the sense of being the final word or unquestionable. The Salafi trend, however, emphasizes the collective authority of the Salaf, particularly the Prophet’s Companions (Allah be pleased with them) in terms of understanding and interpreting the teachings of Islam. In modern times, the Salafi trend tends to emphasize the authority of the Ulema of their sect, again collectively and not individually, in interpreting the teachings of Islam. Academic based quietist Salafism is therefore very much attached to a group of Ulema who are based in the Arab Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Gulf countries, Jordan and Yemen in particular).
The Imamiya Shi’a, as pointed to earlier, regard their 12 Imams as infallible guides and authorized to speak on behalf of Allah like Prophets, and have the final word to interpret the teachings of Islam based on their delegated divine authority. But what about the question of legislative authority? The standard Islamic belief is that the Prophet Muhammad was the final person to be delegated with authority to legislate and formulate the laws until Judgment Day. Hence, his Shari’a is final and perfect, not a jot of it can be abrogated or amended. But the Imamiya Shi’a have not plainly denied that their Imams have authority to legislate in the Religion. They in fact affirm that the Imams are delegated with both Takwini and Tashri’i (legislative) authority. Orthodox Islam, however, teaches that only the Angels are delegated with Takwini power and only Prophets can be delegated with Tashri’i (legislative) authority in the Religion.
Some extreme Sufis hold that their Shaikhs and Awliya possess Takwini and Tashri’i authority, though in the latter (Tashri’i) if they do not assent to that doctrine formally, at least practically based on their unquestionable blind obedience to their Shaikh or Murshid. Similarly, those Muqallideen who take their Taqlid to the extreme of obeying the Mujtahid and the Madhhab in a matter that plainly and unquestionably contravenes the Nass of the Quraan and Sunna.
Take the example of a heretical “Sufi” who does not hold that Salat is obligatory upon him anymore because supposedly he has reached a position of enlightenment that he is no longer bound by the Shari’a, or the modernist Sudanese thinker Mahmoud Taha who declared that all of the injunctions of the Medinese Verses of the Holy Qur’an were no longer applicable in this age. Such an approach to Islam is undoubtedly a repudiation of the substance contained within the idea of Finality of Prophethood, which Iqbal defined as: “No spiritual surrender to any human being after Muhammad.”
The Sunna and Hadith-rejecting groups such as the so-called ‘Ahl-al-Quraan’ or ‘Quraaniyyun’, in theory hold that the Revelation to the Prophet Muhammad is final and authoritative, and there can be no other delegated legislative authority in the Religion after it, but their problem is that they dispute with the Muslim mainstream as to what constitutes the divine Revelation in the first place, as they reject the Sunna and Hadith as sources of divine inspiration and therefore a source of divine legislation from Allah through the agency of His final Prophet .
In practical terms, many States in the Muslim world have also contravened the essence of Finality of Prophethood by legislating laws that are plainly contrary to the Shari’a of Prophet Muhammad , for example by declaring Khamr (hard drink and intoxicants) as Halal when it is in fact Haram, or by forbidding something Allah has made Halal, such as polygamy, etc. If the Constitution of such States proclaims that it is secular, that sovereignty rests with the people (and not Allah), or that Religion has no place in the affairs of the State, then understand that such a State has formally rejected the core Islamic doctrine of Finality of Prophethood: “No spiritual surrender to any human being after Muhammad”.
Coming back to those spheres of influence and living religious leadership which do not ascribe to themselves delegated legislative authority in the Religion, their corruption or shortcomings are in other matters. Much of the contemporary Ulema can be said to be afflicted with the tendency of making Religion a means of profit and personal earning. It is not necessarily due to personal and character flaws in the Ulema as individuals but rather an institutional shortcoming. Likewise, spiritual guides and leaders, such as many Sufi mashayikh, are making their religious activities and personality cults they have constructed around themselves, as well as their control over shrines as a means of profit and earning. This is the corruption of the traditional religious leadership in the contemporary Muslim world. In countries where the Ulema are employees of the State, the situation is arguably worse as their sincerity and objectivity is easily compromised. This is especially true of al-Azhar University, about which it is erroneously but often stated that it is the highest authority in the Sunni world. State-controlled Ulema issue Fatawa and teach an approach to Islam which is favorable to the interests of the State or the ruling class, without regard to whether such Fatawa are in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
As for the organized groups (Jama’aat) such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, a fundamental flaw with such groups is that leadership within that group is often times not based on level of piety or knowledge, but rather by amount of service to the cause of the group, especially financial service. So for example, if an extremely pious and knowledgable Muslim decided to join the organization one day, he would not be given a position of leadership over someone who is not known for piety and is ignorant, but who has a long history of service and involvement in the organization. In such groups, piety becomes defined more by service and involvement in the group. Of course, service is an act of piety in it of itself, but the mentality results in a kind of factionalism or Hizbiya, where the cause of the group becomes synonymous with the cause of Islam absolutely, leading to a very narrow practice of Islam at best (provided the cause of the group is Islamic in the first place). Registered members of the group have favorable treatment compared to those Muslims who are outside the group. Like the corruption of the Ulema and contemporary spiritual leaders, the salaried leadership of such groups are often times getting their bread and butter from their position, hence here too Religion becomes a means for profit and earning. Another problem with these Jamaa’at is they tend to gain control over the Mosque, and once they do so, actively seek to stifle out or not tolerate other voices, especially those which are critical of them. All manner of religious activity, so long as basic Islamic guidelines are observed within the reasonable confines and worshipers are not disturbed, has to be allowed in the Mosque and no administration or group has the right to prevent that. For example, if some Muslims, independent of the administration or group which is maintaining the Mosque, decide to have a study circle in the Mosque, they cannot be prevented from their religious activities by anyone.

Mentioning the story of the Prophet-Priest Zechariah, Allah quotes him as saying:


وَإِنِّي خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِيَ مِن وَرَائِي وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا فَهَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا ۝ يَرِثُنِي وَيَرِثُ مِنْ آلِ يَعْقُوبَ ۖ وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيًّا

And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir, who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing."

(Sura 19: 5-6)


In his explanation of this passage, Ibn Kathir writes in his Tafsir: “The reason for his fear was that he was afraid that the generation that would succeed him would be a wicked generation. Thus, he asked Allah for a son who would be a Prophet after him, who would guide them with his prophethood and that which was revealed to him. In response to this I would like to point out that he was not afraid of them inheriting his wealth. For a Prophet is too great in status, and too lofty in esteem to become remorseful over his wealth in this fashion. A Prophet would not disdain to leave his wealth to his successive relatives, and thus ask to have a son who would receive his inheritance instead of them. This is one angle of argument. The second argument is that Allah did not mention that he (Zakariyya) was wealthy. On the contrary, he was a carpenter who ate from the earnings of his own hand. This type of person usually does not have a mass of wealth. Amassing wealth is not something normal for Prophets, for verily, they are the most abstentious in matters of this worldly life.”


In other words, the Prophet and Priest of the Aaronide order, Zechariah (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah to grant him a successor for the religious leadership of the community. He knew that the other contemporary religious leaders were corrupt and that anyone from among them who would inherit authority after him could potentially misguide the community. This is why, as the exegetes explain, Zechariah prayed that Allah raise up another Prophet after him to lead the community. Now a Prophet is not necessarily someone who is delegated with legislative authority in the Religion. In fact, most Prophets were not bringers of a divine Law, but instead acted upon the Shari’a of a previous Prophet. Most of the Israelite Prophets, for example, either followed the Laws of Abraham, or after Moses, the Mosaic Law, despite the fact that there were thousands of such Prophets. Neither Zechariah, nor the Prophet he had in mind as succeeding him, would be a prophet delegated with legislative authority, but would nevertheless guide the community upon the truth and be an example of legitimate and pure living religious leadership.


Therefore, for the contemporary Umma, it needs to pray for and seek out a “Prophet-like” figure who is in communion with Allah, i.e., a Saahib-al-Ilhaam and if such a leader emerges, by the Grace of Allah, the Umma should recognize him and look to him for contemporary leadership and guidance, even if he is opposed by the powerful spheres of influence on the religious scene such as the Ulema, the States, the political Jama’aat, or Western-educated “intellectuals”.

Sayyidatuna Aishah (RA): Say He is Seal of Prophets But Don't Say 'No Prophet After Him'

  باسمك اللهم اللهم صلى على سيدنا محمد The Mother of Believers, sayyidatuna A’ishah سلام الله عليها reportedly said: قُولُوا خَاتَمُ الن...