Replies to Some of Ihsan Ilahi Zahir's Attacks
on Imam Ahmad Rida Khan al-Barelwi
by ʿAbd al-Mustafa al-Hajj Gibril Fouad Haddad

Note: Ihsan Ilahi Zahir is a rabid anti-Sufi who wrote a pernicious book titled al-Barelwiyya in collaboration with the publishers of Matbaʿat al-Rashid, a Saudi publishing house based in Madina. The book is prefaced by a certain Atiyya Muhammad Salim from Saudi Arabia. Zahir was killed in a terrorist bombing in Pakistan.

1. The claim that the name ʿAbd al-Mustafa is shirk.

[Imam] Ahmad Rida Khaan al-Bareilawi [rahimahullah] would refer to himself in many of his works as Abdul Mustafa (Slave of al- Mustafa - a name of the Prophet sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam), such a name obviously is not allowed. However, this was not his only expression of shirk ...

Reply: To say that the name ʿAbd al-Mustafa is an expression of shirk shows a very bad opinion of Muslims - an unIslamic trait, especially if one means rejection of the yoke of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ wal-ʿiyadhu billah.

"Slave of the Prophet" is an unusual but not a forbidden name to bear. It does not signify worship nor is it an expression of shirk. It refers to a bond of allegiance and respect which is required of every Muslim.

There are several examples of such names for Sunni Ulema in Islamic history:

- Al-Sayyid ʿAbd al-Nabi ibn al-Sayyid al-Tayyib al-Bilkrami in the book of al-Sayyid Azad al-Bakri titled Ma'athir al-Kiram Tarikh Bilkram as cited in Shaykh Siddiq Hasan Khan al-Qinnawji's Abjad al-ʿUlum in his notice on Shaykh Yasin al-Qinnawji.

- The late Hafiz of Syria, al-Sayyid ʿAbd Allah Siraj al-Din al-Halabi (d. March 2002 CE) mentioned in his commentary on al-Bayquniyya in hadith science.

- "Al-Imam al-ʿAllama al-Hujja al-Qudwa al-Fahhama Mufti al-Sadat al-Malikiyya bi-Dimashq" ʿAbd al-Nabi ibn Jamaʿa al-Maliki al-Maghribi the student of the Moroccan Sufi Mujahid and Wali al-Sayyid Abu al-Hasan -Ali ibn Maymun al-Hashimi al-Qurashi al-Tabbasi (d. 917), teacher of Qadi al-Qudat Abul-Khayr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Qadir ibn Gibril al-Ghazzi al-Maliki, and son of the Shafiʿi Imam of Masjid al-Aqsa Shaykh Muhyi al-Din ʿAbd al-Qadir ibn Jamaʿa al-Maqdisi al-Qadiri (d. 931) as mentioned in their respective biographies in Shadharat al-Dhahab while the author of ʿAla' al-Din al-Busrawi in his Tarikh describes Shaykh ʿAbd al-Nabi ibn Jamaʿa as "one of people of learning and Religion who is trusted" and the author of al-Daris fi Tarikh al-Madaris names him "Shaykh al-Islam ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Maghribi al-Maliki".

- The true Shahid and learned Imam "al-ʿAllama al-Mutafannin al-Salih al-Shaykh" ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Sadr Shayda (d. 990) who died strangled in the Sultan's jail on the night of 12 Rabiʿ al-Awwal - as cited in al-ʿAydarusi's al-Nur al-Safir.

- The Mufassir, Muhaddith and Usuli Sayyid Muhammad ibn ʿABD AL-RASUL IBN ʿABD AL-SAYYID ibn Qalandar al-Husayni al-Shafiʿi al-Shahrazuri al-Madani (d. 1103/1691). See Muʿjam al-Mu'allifin (3:409 #14044). Sayyid Muhammad is the author of (1) Sadad al-Din wa Sidad al-Dayn on the proofs that the parents of the Prophet ﷺ are in Paradise; (2) al-Ishaʿa li Ashrat al-Saʿa (on the preconditions of the Final Hour) in which he stated, "Allah taught the knowledge of the Hour to the Prophet ﷺ and forbade him to divulge it due to its terrible nature and enormous importance." Imam Ahmad Rida quotes this passage of the Ishaʿa in the Breilly edition of his masterpiece al-Dawla al-Makkiyya fil-Madda al-Ghaybiyya (Breilly p. 378-380.

The strange statement that "to name oneself -Abd al-Rasul/al-Nabi or Ghulam al-Rasul/al-Nabi is shirk" originates in the book of Shah Ismaʿil Dihlawi titled Taqwiyat al-Iman [cf. Darussalam English edition p. 42, p. 54, p. 141]. It is ironic that the preface to the English edition of this book is signed precisely by one Ghulam Rasool Mehr, since Ghulam also means slave in Arabic.

As for us let us not only say that we are the slave of the Prophet ﷺ but also, like Qadi Yusuf al-Nabhani (d. 1350/1931), the slave of his slave as in the following poem from his great volume of poetry in praise of the Best of creation ﷺ titled Saʿadat al-Darayn:

1. ana ʿabdun li sayyid al-anbiya'i wa wala'i lahu al-qadimu wala'i

I am the slave of the Master of Prophets And my fealty to him has no beginning.

2. ana ʿabdun li ʿabdihi wa li ʿabd al-ʿabdi ʿabdun kadha bi ghayri intiha'i

I am slave to his slave, and to his slave's slave, And so forth endlessly,

3. ana la antahi ʿanil-qurbi min babi ridahu fi jumlati al-dukhala'i

For I do not cease to approach the door Of his good pleasure among the novices.

4. anshuru al-ʿilma fi maʿalihi lil-nas wa ashdu bihi maʿa al-shuʿara'i

I proclaim among people the teaching of his high attributes, And sing his praises among the poets.

5. fa ʿasahu yaqulu li anta salmanu wala'i hassanu husni thana'i

Perhaps he will tell me: "You are the Salman Of my allegiance, the Hassan of my excellent homage!"

6. wa-biruhi afdi turaba himahu wa-lahu al-fadlu fi qabuli fida'i

Yes, I would sacrifice my soul for the dust of his sanctuary. His favor should be that he accept my sacrifice.

7. faza man yantami ilayhi wa-la hajata fihi bi-dhalika al-intima'i

He has triumphed who ascribes himself to him - Not that he needs such following,

8. huwa fi ghunyatin ʿan al-khalqi turran wa hum al-kullu ʿanhu duna ghina'i

For he is not in need of creation at all, While they all need him without exception.

9. wa huwa lillahi wahdihi ʿabduhu al-khalisu mujalla al-sifati wa al-asma'i

He belongs to Allah alone, Whose purified servant he is, As his attributes and names have made manifest;

10. kullu fadlin fil-khalqi fa huwa min allahi ilayhi wa minhu lil-ashya'i

And every single favor in creation comes from Allah To him, and from him to everything else.

Apparently, neither did Ibn Maymun, nor the Imam of Masjid al-Aqsa, nor Qadi al-Qudat Abul-Khayr al-Ghazzi, nor Ibn ʿImad al-Hanbali, nor al-Busrawi, nor the author of al-Daris think that Imam ʿAbd al-Nabi al-Maliki should have changed his name before being allowed to be a Qudwa for Muslims. Apparently, the entire Barzanji family of Sayyid (Ashraaf) Ulema thought well of the name "Slave of the Prophet" and used it from father to son. If only all those supposedly stray souls, ʿAbd al-Nabi Shayda, al-ʿAydarusi, al-Sayyid al-Shaykh ʿAbd Allah Siraj al-Din, and the Qadi Yusuf al-Nabhani (rahimahum Allah) could have met Ismaʿil Dihlawi and Ihsan Ilahi Zahir, who could have taught them about shirk and real tawhid! Instead, alas, they and all the Sunni Muslims associated with them all over the world died in complete ignorance that they were committing or abetting the gravest of all possible sins.

Subhan Allah ʿamma yasifun. Allah Most High said: { And speak not, concerning that which your own tongues qualify (as clean or unclean), the falsehood: "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so that ye invent a lie against Allah. Lo! those who invent a lie against Allah will not succeed.}

Ibn ʿAbbas - Allah be well-pleased with him - once said: "Misguidance contains sweetness in the hearts of those who spread it." This explains the saying of Allah Most High: { Is he, then, to whom the evil of his conduct is made alluring, so that he looks upon it as good, (equal to him who is rightly-guided)? For Allah leaves to stray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills} (35:8).

When I first posted the above verses of poetry by al-Nabahani, someone posted the following reaction:

NN wrote in a message

Whenever I see the state of those innovators and sectarians I indeed become even more grateful and thankful to Allah(SWT) for His mercy and His guidance and for saving me from the miserable state of those folks, Allhamddul'Allah.

This person - purportedly a Muslim - accused Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabahani of being an innovator and a sectarian for saying in his poetry: "I am the slave of the slave of the slave (etc.) of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ." Then he thanks Allah for "saving me from the miserable state of those folks."

It is a constant surprise to see the main people of innovation and fanaticism in our time calling traditional Sunni Muslims "innovators" and "sectarians." But congratulating themselves for being "saved" from the "miserable state" of a Friend (wali) of Allah, is surely gigantic delusion!

{ Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers by their works? Those whose effort goes astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work} (18:103-104).

Obviously there is nothing to debate with those who have, *of their own admission*, parted ranks with the Muslims. But it is still necessary to expose them for, "At the time when the last of this Umma curses the first of this Umma," the Prophet ﷺ said, "whoever hides knowledge from people, it is as if he hides what Allah has revealed to me."

The following is excerpted from a fatwa by the Moroccan hadith master Shaykh Ahmad ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari about Wahhabis and "Salafis":

"So fear Allah and do not be like he who is beguiled by them, and supports their corrupt sect and worthless opinion, and their state of misguidance which was explicitly described by the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him and his Family - who characterised them as the "Dogs of Hell-Fire"(1) and informed us that they are "the worst of all that dwell beneath the sky"(2) and that they "swerve from the Religion as an arrow swerves away from its target,"(3) and that they mouth some of the best sayings in the form of their prattlings about Tawhīd, and implementing the Sunna, and combating bidʿas, and yet - by Allah! - they are drowning in bid-a. In fact, there is no bidʿa worse than theirs, which causes them to "swerve from the Religion as an arrow swerves away from its target," in spite of their superficial efforts in worship and adherence to the Religion."

The complete fatwa can be found at:

(1) Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad with four chains.
(2) Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Darimi.
(3) In the Six Books and Ahmad.

And Allah knows best. Allah send blessings and peace on the Master of creation, his Family, and his Companions. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

2. The claim that "Seeking Help from Other Than Allah" is "an un-Islamic belief" and "words of kufr"

The Bareilawis call upon other than Allah in times of need, this is clear in their books, [Imam] Ahmad Rida Khaan al-Bareilawi said: "There are servants of Allah whom He has singled for fulfilling the needs of the people who flee to them with their needs." [Al Amn Wal Ula of [Imam] Ahmad Rida al-Bareilawi p29] And he also said: "Seeking help and aid from anyone besides Allah is lawful and desired. No one denies it except an arrogant and obstinate." [Hayat al Mawat By [Imam] Ahmad Rida al-Bareilawi; included in al Fataawa ar-Ridwiyya (Pakistan Edition) Vol 4, p 300.] And he also says in Al Amn Wal Ula p10: "The Messenger of Allah is the remover of the calamity and bestower of the donation." And he also says in Malfuzat p 99: "Jibreel is the supplier of the needs, and the Messenger of Allah is the supplier of the needs, for the Prophet fulfils the needs of Jibreel too." And he also said the following words of Kufr in Malfuzat p 307: "During my life I did not seek help from anyone, and I do not ask for aid except Shaykh Abdul Qaadir, whenever I seek help I seek it only from him; whenever I ask for aid, I ask him alone. Once I tried to ask for aid and seek help from another saint, (hadhrat Mahbub Ilahi). When I intended to utter his name for seeking help, I did not utter the words but 'Ya Ghauthan' (O one whose help is sought). My tongue refused to utter the words for seeking help from anyone except him." [Imam] Ahmad Rida Khaan also said in Al Amn wal Ula p44: "When you are confused and helpless in matters, then seek help from the inmates of the graves." All this is refuted by Islaam we say many times in our prayer: "You alone do we worship and You alone do we ask for help." [1:5]

Reply: They do not understand the meaning of "You alone do we worship" because none of the above statements pertain to worship; nor do they understand the meaning of "You alone do we ask for help" if they consider that it contradicts tawassul, because then it would contradict "the path of those whom You have shown favor" which is tawassul!

Assuming the above quotes from the Imam are accurate, their meaning is as follows:

a. Concerning the statement "There are servants of Allah whom He has singled for fulfilling the needs of the people who flee to them with their needs": If this were not true then it would be shirk to visit a doctor's clinic, ask for a loan, or ask for someone for a glass of water. Allah Most High mentioned { the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men} (2:164) because it is allowed or rather obligatory to use normal material means and seek one another's help to fulfill one's needs. This is a patent truth in the Religion of Islam and the underlying wisdom of the Pillar of zakat cf. 6:165, 16:71 although it is Allah alone Who gives and withholds, as illustrated by the narration, "Creatures are all Allah's dependents (-iyāl), those among them most beloved to Allah are those most helpful to His dependents."

b. Concerning the statement, "Seeking help and aid from anyone besides Allah is lawful and desired. No one denies it except an arrogant and obstinate." This is true and actually more than lawful and desirable, it is obligatory to follow causes and means in this world of causes and means and it is prohibited to refrain from them on the pretext that Allah has no need of them or by invoking the foreordained Decree (qadar) like the Jabriyya sect.

To ignore or pretend to ignore the above is not part of the Religion of Islam. However, most relevant here is the truth that Allah has also singled out some wretched servants for creating difficulties in the path of Muslims, instilling doubts and levelling accusations of shirk and kufr at them, calling Awliya' bad names, etc.

c. Concerning the statement, "The Messenger of Allah is the remover of the calamity and bestower of the donation." Sallallahu ʿalayhi wa Sallam. This is proven by the sahih hadith in which the Prophet ﷺ said in the Sahihayn: "I am the Eraser (al-mahi) by whom disbelief is erased," this erasure being the greatest mercy and donation for which He was sent, hence he said - in al-Bazzar's Musnad and others through trustworthy narrators: "I am nothing but a mercy bestowed." And in the Sahihayn: "I distribute (aqsimu) what comes to you."

d. Concerning the statement, "Jibreel is the supplier of the needs, and the Messenger of Allah is the supplier of the needs, for the Prophet fulfils the needs of Jibreel too." This is proven by the hadith in Sahih Muslim in which Allah said: "O Gibril, go to Muhammad and tell him: Verily We shall satisfy you fully concerning your Community and We shall never displease you." And Gibril upon him peace, is part of the Community of the Prophet ﷺ as are all the angels by Consensus.

So it is as the Imam of Hind and Sind said; as Imam al-Busiri said, "How could need attract towards this world such a one had it not been for whom this world would not have come out of inexsitence?"; as Qadi Yusuf al-Nabhani said, "Every single favor in creation comes from Allah to the Prophet, and from him to everything else"; as Shaykh al-Islam al-Taqi al-Subki said, "Truly Allah knows that every goodness in my life which He has bestowed upon me is on account of the Prophet and that my recourse is to him, and my reliance is upon him in seeking a means to Allah in every matter of mine, in this world and the next, and the gifts of Allah I owe to him are too many to count, both the hidden and the visible"; and as the Caliph and Commander of the Believers, the Wali and Mujaddid, Sultan ʿAbd al-Hamid said, "You [Sayyidina Muhammad] are in truth the helper of all creation"!

Allah have mercy on them and on all the Ahl al-Haqq. None can withhold the gift made by Allah Most High to the Prophet ﷺ with regard to all creation, despite every envier of mankind and jinn.

e. Concerning the words, "During my life I did not seek help from anyone, and I do not ask for aid except Shaykh Abdul Qaadir, whenever I seek help I seek it only from him; whenever I ask for aid, I ask him alone." This concerns not one iota more than what Shaykh Abdul Qadir is entitled to provide by the grace of Allah and according to the criteria already mentioned in the previous answers. Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab himself conceded: "We do not deny nor reject the invocation of help from the creature insofar as the creature can help." The capacity of Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir to help, even from his position in Barzakh, is mutawatir.

f. Concerning the statement, "When you are confused and helpless in matters, then seek help from the inmates of the graves." This is a forged hadith cited in some late Sufi works. Its meaning (as a non-Prophetic saying) is true in the sense of the Prophetic command to visit the grave to remember the hereafter and the Prophetic command to Ibn ʿUmar to consider himself one of the dwellers of the graves. Meaning: Seek lessons, by visiting the dead whom you will very soon join, in remembering Allah and submitting to His will so as to extract yourselves from the confusion and helplessness created by your attachments to this fleeting world.

3. The claim that "The Bareilawis believe that the Prophets and the righteous slaves and saints know the unseen" and that "All this [is] kufr refuted by the Qur'aan and the Sunnah"

The above claim shows reckless proclivity to takfir and ignorance of the Qur'an and Sunna.

In ad-Dawlaat al-Makiyya p 58 of [Imam] Ahmad Rida Khaan it is written: "The Prophets know, rather they see and watch over all that which happened and all that which will happen from the first day to the last."

This is proven by the verse: { But how (will it be with them) when we bring of every people a witness, and We bring you (O Muhammad) a witness against these} (4:41). Thus, each Prophet is the witness of his people, which means that he sees everything in connection with those people from beginning to end - which is the precondition of witnessing - and our Prophet ﷺ is a witness over all of them put together.

In the book of Ahmad Yaar, Mawa'iz Naimiya p 192 it is written: "The Prophets know the unseen from their birth."

This is established by the doctrine of [the real] Ahl al-Hadith that Prophets are Prophets from birth, and the meaning of Nabi is one who informs others about the unseen.

[Imam] Ahmad Rida Khaan al-Bareilawi said in Khalis al Itiqaad p 38: "The Knowldege of the guarded tablet, the knowledge of the pen, and the knowledge of whatever existed and of whatever will exist are part of the knowledge of the Prophet."

This is proven by the fact that all of the above concern whats takes place until the Rising of the Hour, and al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Hudhayfa, Abu Zayd al-Ansari, and other Sahaba that "The Prophet e stood among us [speaking] for a long time and did not leave out one thing from that time until the rising of the Final Hour except he told us about it. Whoever remembers it remembers it and whoever forgot it forgot it. All those who are present know this."

[Imam] Ahmad Rida Khaan al-Bareilawi also said in Mawa'iz Naimiyya p 364-365: "If the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) places his foot on an animal, it will have knowledge of the seen and the unseen. How does a saint on whom the Prophet (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) put his hand, not know the seen and the unseen."

The first sentence above is a hyperbole to stress the point illustrated by the hadith that the Knowers of Allah are the inheritors of Prophets. Since knowledge of the unseen is a Muʿjiza of Rasulullah ﷺ , it follows naturally that it is also a Karama of the Awliya' of his Umma, both of them by the gift of Allah Most High which none can prevent. Something to this effect was stated by Mawlana Ashraf ʿAli al-Tahanawi in his chapter on the benefits of the shoe of the Prophet ﷺ and by Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandihlawi's praise of that chapter in his translation of Imam al-Tirmidhi's Shama'il.

As for the Dawla al-Makkiyya of Imam Ahmad Rida Khan, it is a truly perfected jewel that would be enough proof of its author's grand mastership in Tawhid. It is probable that anyone that reads it with an authoritative teacher and then denies its pure Sunni character of the highest order is himself not yet - or not anymore - a Sunni, wal-ʿiyadhu billah.

All this kufr is again refuted by the Qur'aan and the Sunnah: "Say (O Muhammad sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam): 'None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghayb (unseen) except Allah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.' " [27:65] "And they say: 'How is it that not a sign is sent down on him from his Lord?' Say (O Muhammad sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam): 'The unseen belongs to Allah Alone, so wait you, verily I am with you among those who wait (for Allah's Judgement).' " [10:20] The Messenger (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) once heard a young girl say: "Amongst us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow." So he (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said to her: "Leave this and return to that which you were saying before." [Bukhaaree]

It is the characteristic of the Yahud to believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in another. Ahl al-Sunna believe in all of the above and also believe that Allah shows His ghayb to whomever He pleases, just as He said: { The Knower of the Unseen, and He reveals unto none His secret SAVE UNTO EVERY MESSENGER WHOM HE HAS CHOSEN} (72:26-27). This is the meaning of Nabi, "speaker of the Unseen." It was one of the great miracles of ʿIsa (as) as he said: { and I reveal to you what you hide in your houses.} . As much as the people of innovation talk and talk, they take the greatest care to circumvent these verses and meanings. They have not received a share of wisdom although knowledge is shared even by non-believers.

As for the hadith of the young girl's poetry, the reason for the Prophet's order is not at all because he did not know what happens tomorrow. As we just showed, it is established that Allah is { the knower of the Unseen, and He reveals unto none His secret save unto every messenger whom He has chosen} (72:26-27) and He revealed to the Prophet ﷺ knowledge of the future until the Day of Judgment and much of the Hereafter as well. He only objected because knowledge of the unseen was attributed to him ﷺ in absolute terms when only Allah knows the unseen in absolute terms. This is stated by Ibn Hajar in his commentary of this narration in Fath al-Bari. Coming from the mouth of a child not yet qualified to pray (as stated by Ibn al-Qayyim in his marginalia on Abu Dawud's Sunan), such an assertion was reminiscent of the popular belief unbecoming of a Prophet but typical of the false claims of seers, oracles, astrologers etc. that they could, of their own devices, know the future, to which Allah ﷺ said { No soul knows what it will earn tomorrow} (31:34). Hence, the Prophet ﷺ , in one version, added by way of explanation, "Only Allah knows what happens tomorrow" (in Ibn Majah with a fair chain) i.e. independently of anyone and with an absolute knowledge.

4. The claim that the Barelwis believe "That the Prophet ( ﷺ sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) is not Human [but] was Created from Light"

It is written in Mawa'iz Naimiyya p14 by Ahmad Yaar (a leading figure of the Bareilawis): "The Messenger of Allah is light from the divine light, and all the creatures are from his light."

Then all the creatures are not human either, and this is absurd and proves that the claim he is not human was never made in the first place. Rather, as Qadi ʿIyad said in his masterpiece al-Shifa', the Prophet ﷺ was outwardly human and inwardly angelic. Every other human being pales in comparison, hence the simile of the sun next to whom every other light seems like a drop in the ocean of its light. This kind of image is abundant in the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the poetry of the Companions.

In al-Fatwaawa Naimiyya p 37 it is written: "Allah created the image of Muhammad from the light of his names Al-Badee (The Originator), Al-Qaadir (The All Powerful), and looked at it with his Name Al-Qaahir (The Irresistible). Then He (Allah) became manifest to him (the Prophet Sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam) with His names Al-Lateef (The Subtle), Al-Ghaafir (The Most Gracious, The Most Forgiving)" Islaam again rejects this belief, Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'alaa) mentions that what kept man from believing was the fact that the Prophets and Messengers were human.

Islam rejects none of the above except the false reasoning in the last sentence. Nothing in the above writing remotely suggests that the Prophet ﷺ is not human. On the contrary, this is made very clear at the beginning by the words "Allah created." So the Prophet ﷺ is created and his creatureliness is identical with that of other human beings in some points and different in other points. Is this so difficult to understand?

Allah the Glorified and Exalted ordered His Prophet (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam): "Say (O Muhammad sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam): 'I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah (God i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.' " [18:110] The whole life of the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) bears witness to him being a human, he ate, drank, relieved himself, married, had children. And we say that he was the greatest of mankind due to his status and rank as the Chief of the Messengers.

As we said before, it is the characteristic of the Yahud to believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in another. Ahl al-Sunna believe in all of the above and also believe that Allah described the Prophet as "possessing a tremendous character" and a superlative mind, together with other attributes that make him the best of all creation. The angels are made of light but the Prophet ﷺ is by Consensus better than the angels. Whoever denies this has left the pale of Ahl al-Sunna and earned the label of fisq and bidʿa if not worse. In fact, the vision that the Prophet ﷺ was merely human is typical of the kuffar: { You (Prophets) are nothing but human beings like us} . As for the Believers, their attitude is similar to that of Ubay ibn Kaʿb in Sahih Muslim, who said that one time he looked at the Prophet ﷺ and "felt as if I were looking at Allah."

5. The claim that "the belief the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) is Ever Present and Ever Watchful (Haadhir wa Naazir)" is "an evil belief"

This is one of the main beliefs of the Bareilawis, this belief is that the Prophet (Sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is present at every place and sees everything. This leads them to leave spaces in their innovated gatherings believing that he (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) comes and sits in those gatherings. It is written in Taskin al-Khawatir fi Masalat al-Haadhir wal- Naazir, that Ahmad Rida Khaan al-Bareilawi said: "There is no place and there is no time in which the Messenger of Allah is not present."

This is correct. As the hadith Master Ibn ʿAllan said in his fatwa titled Ithaf Ahl al-Iman, "[After the Prophet e entered Barzakh] no time and no place is devoid of him e - both in body and spirit."

In Ja'al Haqq of Ahmad Yaar p 150 it is written: "The Messenger of Allah has power to travel throughout the world with the spirits of the companions, and many saints have seen him."

This was the belief of Imam Malik as stated by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari and is mutawatir anyway.

In Khaalis al-Itiqaad p40 it is written: "The Spirit of the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) is present in the homes of the people of Islaam." This evil belief is totally refuted by Islaam,

This supposedly evil belief is that of the Salaf and is explicitly stated by Mulla ʿAli al-Qari rahimahullah. Al-Qadi -Iyad in al-Shifa, in the section titled "Concerning the places where it is desirable to invoke blessings and peace upon him" cited from -Amr ibn Dinar al-Athram (d. 126) the explanation of the verse { when you enter houses salute one another} (24:61): "If there is no one in the house then say: -as-salamu -ala al-Nabiyyi wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.'" Al-Qari said in his commentary on al-Shifa': "Meaning, because his soul ﷺ is present in the house of the Muslims (ay li'anna ruhahu -alayhi al-salamu hadirun fi buyut al-muslimin)." The claim that this is a copyist's mistake and that he was meant to write: "Not that his soul is present" is tahrif.

Allah says addressing His Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) whilst mentioning the events of Moosaa (alayhis-salaam): "And you (O Muhammad sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Moosaa (Moses) the commandment, and you were not among those present." [28:44] He (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) also says: "Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad Sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haraam (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) of Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." [17:1] This means that he, the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) would enter where he (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) was not present at that time.

What about after the Prophet ﷺ entered Barzakh? Whoever puts a limit on his presence then, speaks of what they do not know.

Shaykh Hasan ibn Mansoor al-Maʿroof Biqaadeekhaan (d.592H) writes, "A man did nikaah with a woman without any witnesses and at the time of the nikaah he said to the woman "We make Allah and his Messenger our witnesses." The fuqahaa (Islaamic jurisprudents) have said that this statement of the man is disbelief (kufr), because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) had the knowledge of the unseen whereas he didn't have the knowledge of the unseen when he was alive so how would he then have it after his death." [Fatawaa Qaadee Khaan (p. 883)]

Following is the text of the original Egyptian edition of the Fatawa Qadi Khan, printed in the margins of the Fatawa Hindiyya [1:305-306]: "A man marries a woman with the witness of Allah and His Messenger: this is invalid due to his saying / sallallahu ʿalayhi wa sallam: 'There is no nikah except with witnesses' whereas every nikah is with the witness of Allah. Some of them deemed this to be tantamount to kufr (wa baʿduhum jaʿalu dhalika kufran) because the man believes that the Messenger sallallahu ʿalayhi wa sallam knows ghayb, and this is kufr." End of fatwa.

Note the following:
(1) The fatwa does NOT contain the words, "The fuqahaa (Islaamic jurisprudents) have said that this statement of the man is disbelief" but rather restricts the opinion of takfir to "some of them";
(2) The fatwa does NOT contain the words, "whereas he didn't have the knowledge of the unseen when he was alive so how would he then have it after his death"! This is the soul of the tampering of the truth by non-Muslims. { Some of those who are Jews change words from their context} (4:46).

In the famous and well-known Hanafee Fiqh book Fataawaa Tataarkhaniyyah it is written, "The one who makes Allah and his Messenger (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) as witnesses for nikaah, then his nikaah will be invalid and the individual will become a kaafir because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) had the knowledge of the unseen."


Imaam Abee Ibn Abee Bakr (d.593H), the author of Hidaayah in his book Tajnees (p. 297). Al-Allaamah Taahir Ibn Ahmad (d.542H) in Khulaasatul-Fataawaa (4/354). Imaam Abdur-Rahmaan (d.561H) in Fusool Eemadiyyah (p. 64). Imaam Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Khawarzamee al-Mashoor Bil-Bazaazee (d.827H) in Fataawaa Bazzaziyyah (p. 325). Al-Muhaddith al-Allaamah Badrud Deen al-Aynee (d.855H) in Umdatul-Qaaree (11/520). Al-Haafidh Ibnul-Hammaam Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Waahid (d.861H) in Masaayarah M'a al-Masamarah (2/88) printed in Egypt. Al-Muhaddith Alee Ibn Sultaan, commonly known as Mullaa Alee Qaaree (d.1014H) in Sharh Fiqhul-Akbar (p. 185). Al-Allaamah Ibn Aabideen al-Hanafee (d.970H) in Shaamee (2/306). Thanaa ullaah Pani Patee (d.1225H) in Maalaa ba'd Mun (p.176) and other Hanafee Fuqahaa have clarified that, The individual who holds the aqeedah that the Messenger of Allah (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) had the knowledge of the unseen or he was present with us then he commits an act of disbelief (kufr).

Following is the text of the original Egyptian edition of the Bazzaziyya, printed in the margins of the Fatawa Hindiyya [4:135]: "A man marries a woman with the witness of Allah Most High - Mighty and Exalted - and His Messenger ﷺ : It [nikah] is invalid, and kufr is feared for the man because he is suggesting that he ﷺ knows the unseen (ghayb): { And with Him are the keys of the invisible. None but He knoweth them} (6:59). As for what Allah Most High teaches to the elite of His servants through revelation or true inspiration, after this takes place then it no longer called ghayb, so it is not part of the [verse's] two exclusive statements, namely, the affirmation in first place and then the exclusive clause { none but} ."

This shows that, according to the Bazzaziyya, only the man who states that the Prophet ﷺ knows ghayb in the sense that he possesses the keys of the invisible or that he shares their knowledge with Allah, commits kufr. Meaning, a man who states that the Prophet ﷺ knows ghayb in a dependent, inexclusive sense does not commit kufr.

Imam al-Haskafi in al-Durr al-Mukhtar [3:27] only said: "It is impermissible to take Allah and His Prophet ﷺ as one's witnesses to nikah, and *it was said* that this constitutes kufr." Note that the passive phrase denotes the weak or secondary rank of the fatwa. This should immediately ring the bell of every student of fiqh that the position in question is a weak one and not relied upon in the madhhab.

The next step is to verify the main reference-books in the Hanafi madhhab in our time, which is not the Qadi Khan nor the Fatawa Bazzaziyya nor ʿUmdat al-Qari nor Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar nor the Musayara [the last three are not even books of Hanafi fiqh] nor the other, more minor works quoted, but the Hidaya of al-Haskafi and the Hashiya of Ibn ʿAbidin where he says: [3:27-28=2:283-284]: "The compiler said in the Tatarkhaniyya and the Hujja: 'It was mentioned in al-Multaqat that the person [who says that] does not commit kufr, because things are shown to the soul of the Prophet ﷺ and because the Messengers know part of the ghayb....' I say [i.e. Ibn ʿAbidin]: More than that, they mentioned in the Books of ʿAqa'id that among the miraculous gifts (karamat) of the Awliya' is the fact that they are aware of some of the unseen matters.... We have expanded on this issue in our epistle, Sall al-Husam al-Hindi liNusrat Sayyidina Khalid al-Naqshbandi ('Drawing the Indian Sword in the Defense of our Master Khalid al-Naqshbandi') so look it up there."

Note that the Wahhabis quoted the Tatarkhaniyya only as saying: "The one who makes Allah and his Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) as witnesses for nikaah, then his nikaah will be invalid and the individual will become a kaafir because he held the belief that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had the knowledge of the unseen." But they do not quote the continuation of this verdict, which is that this fatwa is not recognized as valid as cited above in the text of Ibn ʿAbidin.

This shows that if Imam Ibn ʿAbidin rejects this fatwa as false and incorrect, those who hold it today cannot be called Hanafis in this particular matter but more correctly deviants from the Madhhab. This does not refer to the fatwa of takfir on the false claim that the Prophet ﷺ knows ghayb independently and exclusively, but rather to the fatwa of takfir on the correct claim that he ﷺ knows ghayb because Allah Most High said { the knower of the Unseen, and He revealeth unto none His secret, Save unto every messenger whom he hath chosen} (72:26) and other evidence.
Wal-Hamdu lillah Rabb al-ʿAlamin.

6. The Claim that the Barelwis hold "Evil Practices at the Grave[s]"

The Bareilawis have many evil practices at the graves such as prostration to it

No Barelwi authority permits this practice to our knowledge.

or near it,

Billions of Muslims prayed in Madina near the Noble Grave.

As for the licitness of praying in a mosque that contains or is located near the grave(s) of one or more righteous persons, it is established in the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ: "In the Mosque of al-Khayf there is the qabr of seventy Prophets." Narrated from Ibn ʿUmar by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bazzar with a chain of trustworthy narrators according to al-Haythami in Majmaʿ al-Zawa'id (#5769, #5965).

making tawaaf of the graves, and putting candles and lamps on the graves, raising them high. It is written in Ja'al Haqq p 300 of Ahmad Yaar: "To light the lamps and candles at the graves of the saints, righteous people and the learned is to exalt the saints. The purpose lying behind it is a good one. The offering of oil and candle to the saints kindled at their graves for their exaltation and out of their love is lawful. It is not proper to prohibit them from this practice."

Imam al-Shawkani admitted that the Salaf built up the graves high. Indeed, there is nothing wrong in signalling the graves of the Awliya, as stipulated by Imam ʿAbd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi. See:

under the subtitle: "Domes over the Grave of the Awilya."

Dawud ibn Salih said: "[The governor of Madina] Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet. He said: "Do you know what you are doing?" When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: "Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone." Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422), Al-Tabarani in his Muʿjam al-Kabir (4:189) and his Awsat according to Haythami in al-Zawa'id (5:245 and 5:441 #5845 Book of Hajj, "Section on the honoring of the dwellers of Madina, chapter on placing one's face against the grave of our Master the Prophet ﷺ " and #9252 Book of Khilafa, "Chapter on the leadership of those unworthy of it"), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); both the latter and al-Dhahabi said it was sahih. It is also cited by al-Subki in Shifa' al-siqam (p. 126) and Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261f.).

The use of the word "stone" in the prevous hadith indicates that the Prophet's ﷺ grave was built up with stone already in the time of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (ra).

It is also narrated that Muʿadh ibn Jabal and Bilal came to the grave of the Prophet ﷺ and sat weeping, and the latter rubbed his face against it. Ibn Majah 2:1320, Ahmad, al-Tabarani, al-Subki, and Ibn ʿAsakir.

Imam Muslim relates in his Sahih, in the first chapter of the book of clothing, that Asma' bint Abi Bakr said: "Here is the cloak (jubba) of Allah's Messenger... [which] was with ʿA'isha until she died, then I got possession of it. The Apostle of Allah used to wear it, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure thereby." Al-Nawawi comments in Sharh sahih Muslim (Book 37 Chapter 2 #10): "In this hadith is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes (wa fi hadha al-hadith dalil ʿala istihbab al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin wa thiyabihim)."

The latter verdict puts to rest the possible claim that, on the basis of the above reports, such veneration applies only to the Prophet ﷺ . This would be contrary to the rules of Islamic Principles (Usul) and probably none claims it except the uneducated.

Imam al-Dhahabi said: "Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about touching the Prophet's ﷺ grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son 'Abd Allah related this from him. If it is asked: "Why did the Companions not do this?" We reply [this reply also applies to the identical question about the celebration of Mawlid]: "Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive! Enjoyed his presence directly! Kissed his very hand! Nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water! Shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage! And even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone's hand so that he could pass it over his face! Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it! Do you not see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: -This is the hand that touched the hand of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet ﷺ, as they are ordered to love Allah and the Prophet ﷺ more than their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens! There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr and ʿUmar more than themselves!!" Al-Dhahabi, Mu'jam al-Shuyukh (1:73 #58).

Al-Dhahabi elsewhere relates that Imam Ahmad himself used to seek blessings from the relics of the Prophet ﷺ then he lambasts who�ever would fault the practice of tabarruk or seeking blessings from blessed objects:

"ʿAbd Allah ibn Ahmad said: -I saw my father take a hair that belonged to the Prophet ﷺ, put it on his mouth, and kiss it. I believe I saw him put it on his eyes. He also dipped it in water and drank the water to obtain cure. I saw him take the Prophet's ﷺ bowl (qas'a), wash it in water, and drink from it. I saw him drink Zamzam water in order to seek cure with it, and he wiped his hands and face with it.' I say: Where is the quibbling critic of Imam Ah.mad now?! It is also authentically established that ʿAbd Allah asked is father about those who touch the pommel of the Prophet's ﷺ pulpit and touch the wall of the Prophet's room, and he said: -I do not see any harm in it.' May Allah protect us and you from the opinion of the Khawarij and from innovations!!" Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' (9:457). Ch. on Imam Ah.mad, section entitled Min Aadaabih.

Imam al-Dhahabi's duʿa in the last sentence is an allusive fatwa from him that those who oppose tawassul, ziyara, tabarruk etc. are from Ahl al-Bidʿa, and specifically from the Khawarij.

It is mentioned in a hadeeth reported by Muslim that: "The Messenger of Allah (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) prohibited the plastering of graves, sitting upon them and building over them."

Truly, the Salaf spoke well when they warned emphatically against reading the hadith without knowledge. Al-Sanʿani in Subul al-Salam said: "The Jumhur - vast majority - hold that the prohibition of building up and plastering graves is one of preference (tanzih) [i.e. not strictness (tahrim)]." So is the prohibition of sitting upon them.

In the book called Bahari Shariat it is written: "There is no harm if a person circumambulates (makes tawaaf) around the grave to attain blessings." Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) clearly states in the Qur'aan that we can only make tawaaf of the Ka'bah: "And make Tawaaf around the Ancient House." [22:29]

If "we can only make tawaaf of the Kaʿba" then why, in Bukhari and Muslim, is the Saʿi between Safa and Marwa also called tawaf? Why are the Prophet's ﷺ successive visits of his wives also called tawaf? When the women of Madina visited the Prophet's wives one after another this was also called tawaf in the Sunan!

{ And speak not, concerning that which your own tongues qualify (as clean or unclean), the falsehood: "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so that ye invent a lie against Allah. Lo! those who invent a lie against Allah will not succeed.}

7. The claim that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) "is an innovation and was never practiced by him (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) or by any of his Companions."

The Prophet ﷺ did celebrate his birthday by fasting. His uncle al-ʿAbbas (ra) mentioned in his poetry that the Prophet's birthday was a light by which the Muslims pierce through the darkness of kufr and the Prophet ﷺ approved of him. The massive majority of the Ulema past and present, especially in the Hijaz, also approve the desirability of extolling the birth of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and celebrating the Mawlid. It is truly the mark of Ahl al-Bidʿa to try to extinguish that light. As Sidi al-Habib ʿUmar said, those Muslims lost and became unable to "pierce through" when they stopped celebrating the light of the Mawlid described in that poetry of al-ʿAbbas.

The religion of Allah (subhaanah wa ta'aala) was completed in the lifetime of the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) as He (subhaanah wa ta'aala) says: "This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion." [5:3]

This noble verse has nothing to do with the issue of the permissibility of Mawlid nor the permissibility of writing books of Fiqh nor that of writing vowels inside the Mushaf to read the Qur'an more easily nor many other good innovations. It is the mark of the Khawarij to grossly misinterpret the noble Qur'an then, on the basis of their own erring, go on to make takfir and tadlil of Muslims.

There was no celebration of any birthdays or death anniversaries during the time of the Prophet (sal- Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam). Islaam rejects all of these celebrations.

If this were true then why did the Prophet visit the graveyard of the martyrs of Uhud punctually at the end of every year as narrated by al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir in their Tafsirs? Secondly, Islam rejects the above objection by means of the fatwa that Mawlid is licit every single day of the year.

The Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said: "Whoever innovates in this affair of ours something which does not belong in it will have it rejected" [Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Indeed, and the greatest innovation is that which Allah Subhan wa Taʿala described in His Book when He said: { And speak not, concerning that which your own tongues qualify (as clean or unclean), the falsehood: "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so that ye invent a lie against Allah. Lo! those who invent a lie against Allah will not succeed.}

If the celebration of the Prophet's (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) birthday had been something good then definitely the Companions, those who loved him (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) the most, would have done it and told others to do it. However, this is not the case, so we have no right to do what they did not do.

We already showed that the claim that the Prophet ﷺ did not celebrate his birthday is a falsehood. We also showed that the Companions also emphasized that event in their celebratory poetry. The authentic hadiths mention that there was also singing, dancing, reciting of poetry, and banging the drum. Shaykh al-Islam, Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki said in one of his fatwas on Mawlid: "There is no doubt that such singing, dancing, reciting of poetry, and banging the drum was for joy at being with the Prophet ﷺ , nor did he condemn nor frown upon such displays in any way whatsoever. These are common displays of happiness and lawful merriment, and similarly to stand up at the mention of the birth of the Prophet ﷺ is an ordinary act that shows love and gladness symbolizing the joy of creation: it does not constitute worship, nor law, nor Sunna!"

Yet, even if it were hypothetically true that the Companions never did something, it does not automatically mean that such a thing is bad, nor prohibited. Only an ignorant person would invent such a rule.

8. The claim that "the Bareilawis believe that Allah is everywhere in His Essence"

This is a lie, the Barelwis do not believe that Allah is anywhere in His Essence. Whoever attributes direction to Allah is an innovator and whoever attributes place to Allah is a kafir wal-ʿiyadhu billah. Correct Sunni belief is that Allah is everywhere in His Attributes.

Wal-Hamdu lillahi Rabbi al-ʿAlamin.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©

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latest update: Sun, 29 Mar 2009


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