Knowledge


After making mention of Hadrat [Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi]’s (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) written works, which number almost a thousand, a person asked him, ‘‘you have authored these many works; you’ve probably studied thousands of books?’’ Mawlana replied, ‘‘Yes, I have read a few books, the names of which are:

  • Haji Imdad Allah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)
  • Hadrat Mawlana Ya‘qub Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)
  • Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)

These books have made me independent of all other books.’’

Majalis-e-Hakim al-Ummat, pp. 103-104 (Karachi: Darul Isha‘at) compiled by Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ Usmani

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Mufti Mahmud al-Hasan Gangohi, may Allah shower His mercy upon him, related:

‘‘A [daily] gathering would take place in the company of Shaykh al-Hind [Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi] (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) after Fajar prayer in which tea would be served. Attendees would be involved in conversation with one another. However, ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would remain seated quietly, his head bowed. He would not partake in conversation. Gradually, people would finish drinking tea and leave. Then, Shaykh al-Hind (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would enquire, ‘‘Shah sahib, do you wish to say something?’’ He would then raise his head and answer, ‘‘Yes, I have a query regarding a particular Hadith.’’ Shaykh al-Hind (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would answer his query and thereafter, the Shah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would leave.’’

Malfuzat-e-Faqih al-Ummat: p. 231, Vol 3 (Karachi: Dar al-Huda, September 2005 ed.) by Mufti Muhammad Faruq Mirathi.

Hafiz Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari writes: 

‘‘Mawlana [Zafar Ahmad] ‘Uthmani rendered highly valuable services in writing, preaching and issuing fatwas for approximately twenty five years in the company of Hakim al-Ummat [Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali] Thanawi. During this time, magnificent works on Qur’anic exegesis and fiqh like Ahkam al-Qur’an and Imdad al-Ahkam came to the fore from his pen, which is clear evidence of his academic and juridical insight. Due to this, Hakim al-Ummat was so impressed by and content with his academic capabilities that he would consult only him in his personal affairs. He once said, ‘‘Mawlana Zafar Ahmad is the Imam Muhammad[1] (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) of our times and a fountainhead of religious sciences.’’ He had also instructed before his death that Mawlana Zafar Ahmad should lead his funeral prayer. Thus, it was he who was also blessed with this good fortune. His shaykh and guide, the gnostic and hadith expert of his era, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri would say, ‘‘Mawlana Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani is the model of his uncle, Hakim al-Ummat Thanawi.’’ (Anwar al-Nazr fi Athar al-Zafar) 

Mawlana ‘Uthmani’s (may Allah sanctify his secret) academic and spiritual standing can also be gauged by the fact that his students and successors include such exemplary  scholars at whose very mention heads are bowed in reverence.  Elders such as Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Idris Kandhlawi, Mawlana Badr-e-‘Alam Miruthi Muhajir Madani, Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Kamilpuri, Mawlana As‘ad Allah Saharanpuri, Mawlana Shams al-Haq Faridpuri, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi, Mawlana Ihtisham al-Haq Thanawi and Mawlana Sayyid ‘Abd al-Shakur Tirmidhi were his students and successors.”

Maqalat-e-‘Uthmani (Karachi: Bait al-‘Ulum, date unknown) Volume 1, p. 47


[1]           Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, the renowned student and companion of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah shower His mercy upon them)

By Zameelur Rahman

This link is to the fourth edition of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwama’s brilliant book Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha which describes how the science of hadith impacts on the disagreements between the Fuqaha. Muhammad ‘Awwama (b. 1940), a resident of Medina of a Halabi background, is a contemporary hadith scholar and one of the major students of two important Halabi scholars of the last century, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and Shaykh ‘Abd Allah Siraj al-Din. In this book, he has some interesting discussions, particularly on the statement of the Imams “When a hadith is sahih that is my madhhab” and how it should be understood; that some hadiths despite being sahih is not fit for practice; how often weak hadiths can inform certain rulings if not actually establish them; how variations in wordings of hadith can influence differences in rulings; the superiority of understanding over narration of hadiths and Abu Hanifa’s excellence in this; the dangers of taking shadh (isolated) opinions; the important differences between the Imams in reconciling between conflicting reports (there is a useful summary of the book on pages 193-8).

In the substance of the book, he refers to several Deobandi authors and their works, in particular Habib Kiranawi’s al-Qawa‘id fi ‘Ulum al-Fiqh, Yusuf Binnori’s Ma‘arif al-Sunan (a commentary on Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi), Zafar Ahmad al-Uthmani’s I‘la al-Sunan, al-Qawa‘id fi ‘Ulum al-Hadith and Abu Hanifa wa Ashabuhu l-Muhaddithun (which Awwama says “includes transmissions not found together anywhere else”), Anwar Shah Kashmiri’s footnotes to Nasb al-Rayah and he refers to Habib al-Rahman al-A‘zami’s help in offering some examples for one of the principles he cites which he included in this later edition of his work. He regards all of these authors and the works he mentions in high regard, designating them with superlative titles (like “Imam al-‘Asr” – the Imam of the time – for Anwar Shah Kashmiri and “Shaykhu Shuyukhina” – teacher of our teachers – for Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmani) and describing their books as “nafisa” (valuable) or “mawsu‘i” (encyclopaedic). In fact it might be said, from modern scholars, these Deobandi authors are his major sources in this book, with the exceptions of Allama al-Kawthari whom he cites frequently, and al-Ghumari and Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti‘i.

In the foreword to his book, while discussing endorsements, he writes:

“These short pages have received acceptance and approval from the leaders of the people of knowledge and virtue. From the most prominent of these and one whose acceptance and approval I treasure is our teacher, the great scholar, an authority of the people of knowledge, virtue, opinion and nobility in the Indian subcontinent, in particular, and among all who know him, in general, the master of hadith, Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandehlewi (d. 1402), Allah Almighty have mercy on him. For he was so kind as to listen to its contents page from one of his students while I was sitting in his presence [in Medina] and he became delighted thereby and said to his student “it requires reading in its entirety”. He was then so kind as to hear it completely while on his sickbed (Allah substitute the Garden for him). He then graciously provided me a dictated statement, which the reader will find shortly.” (Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha, 4th Edition, Muhammad Awwama, pp. 6-7)

Shaykh al-Kandehlewi’s statement is as follows:

“In Allah’s Name, Most Merciful, the Beneficent

All praise to Allah who showered us with His blessings and connected us with His favours. And prayers and peace on the chief of His creation, Muhammad, whose beauty and splendour is perfect, and whose effort and struggles is enough to admonish creation, and (prayers and peace) on his family, his companions who derived light from his speech and obtained its rays, and on those who follow them in goodness to the Day of Recompense.

To proceed:

Indeed Allah Almighty has placed in this Umma memorisers of the Clear Book and of the traditions of the chief of the first and the last, and He elected by His special grace from them the people of Hadith and fiqh who distinguished between the strong and weak (narrations), deduced (evidence) from the hasan and sahih (hadiths) and extracted rulings on that which they did not find a clear text by selecting what is weightier (in evidence) according to them. (This they did) after following the reports, busying the minds and spending lifetimes in understanding the nasikh (canceller) and the mansukh (cancelled) reports, and delved into the depths of language and the understanding of meanings so they were adept (in formulating) chapters and subchapters and deriving peripheral (matters) from the principle (ones). May Allah Almighty rain upon them the showers of mercy and approval and let them live a life of ease in the Gardens (of Paradise).

They had an immense rank in the application of what (apparently) contradicted, assessing what (actually) conflicted, clarifying what was unclear and expanding on what was summarised, but despite their unity in purpose and conciliation of hearts, they differed in many of the issues and rulings due to the difference in the approaches to assessing (the conflicting reports) and the methods of deducing (evidence). This difference was a natural and necessary result devoid of any reprehensibility or repulsiveness; rather it is a mercy for the Umma, as was agreed by the notable ‘ulama’. And since men are enemies of what they don’t know, those who had no feel for knowledge and understanding began to criticise the juristic Imams and spoke against them with a sharp tongue. For this reason the early and late (scholars) of (this Umma) penned books and epistles on the (underlying) causes of (these) disagreements, like Raf‘ al-Malam ‘an A’immat al-A‘lam by the great Hafiz, the insightful and critical scholar Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyya al-Harrani, and like Bidayat al-Mujtahid by Abu Walid ibn Rushd al-Qurtubi, Allah Almighty have mercy on them. I have an epistle on this subject in Urdu which I authored at the prime of my youth and I called it Ikhtilaf al-A’imma[1] and people have attained great benefit from it, and praise is due to Allah for that.

The merit in this age (however) goes to our honourable brother the scholar Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah, for he delivered a valuable lecture on this subject three years ago at the Rawda University in Halab, then he made it into an independent epistle after editing (it) and concluding (it) and he called it Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha. And since I was unable to read it myself due to the weakness in my vision – and diseases betake humanity in old age – I heard it from one of my beloveds and found it to be very beneficial, and it, despite its brevity, contains lofty benefits and (coherently) arranges precious gems. I sought benefit in it (being read to me) and my soul was uplifted and my heart was delighted by it. It is worthy of being read by every teacher and student, for it is devoid of deviance and embellishment, and delivers (the Imams) from what (has been said) disparagingly about the rank of the Imams from the people of enmity and of deprivation.

I ask Allah Almighty to enable us and all Muslims to (do) all that He loves and pleases, and keep us alive on the religion of the one who came with light and guidance, and cause us to die on his religion which illuminates the darkness. And Allah Almighty bless the best of His creation Muhammad, his family and all his companions.

I am the needy servant,

Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Yahya al-Kandehlewi

Medina, 1401 H”

(Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha, pp. 12-14)


[1]               The English rendering of this work, Differences of The Imams, has been published by White Thread Press. (blog administrator)

………………………………

Related entry:  Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah on Contemporary Scholars Of the Indian Subcontinent

Courtesy of  Deoband.org

By Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
Translated by Muhammad Habib

Read Part One

An open letter by Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki in favour of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful. We praise Him and send blessings upon His honourable Messenger.

From the needy servant Imdadullah Chishti, in the service of all my friends:

This needy servant has recently received some letters from India, in which was written that some people harbour ill-thoughts concerning Molwi Rashid Ahmad [Gangohi], [and they wish to know] what they should make of him. Therefore, let it be announced and published on behalf of this needy servant that Molwi Rashid Ahmad is an Allah-fearing man of learning and an upright scholar. He is an example of the pious predecessors. His personality is the sublime combination of the exoteric (shari’ah) and esoteric sciences (tariqah).

His days and nights remain occupied in seeking the pleasure of Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He is preoccupied with the teaching of hadith. After Molwi Muhammad Ishaq[1] that kind of dissemination of the religious sciences has uniquely continued with Mawlana in the entire sub-continent.

Many complex problems are solved at the hands of Mawlana. Every year, about 50 people complete their hadith studies, acquiring ijazah from him. He is engaged in following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and is absorbed in the love of Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He speaks only the truth. He is the manifestation of the verse:

And [they] are not afraid of the reproach of any critic. (Qur’an 5:54)

His complete reliance is solely on Allah. He shuns bid’ah (innovation) completely; propagating the Sunnah is his occupation. His forte is converting those with corrupt beliefs into those with sound beliefs. His company serves as alchemy and is the greatest elixir for Muslims. One is reminded of Allah by sitting with him and this is the sign of the men of Allah. He is pious, abstains from the world and is desirous of the Hereafter. He has attained perfection in tasawwuf and suluk. The rich and poor are equal in his eyes, and he treats each the same; he is free from avarice.

Whatever this needy servant has written as praise for him in Diya’ al-Qulub[2] is the truth, and my good opinion and love for him is now far more in comparison to what it was previously. This needy servant considers Mawlana the means of his salvation. I say openly that whosoever speaks ill of Mawlana pains my heart. I have two arms: one is the late Molwi Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] and other is Molwi Rashid Ahmad. People have also begun to cast the evil eye on the only one who now remains.

 

My ‘aqidah (belief) and Mawlana’s ‘aqidah is one and the same. I also consider innovation to be wrong. Whosoever opposes Mawlana in religious matters, opposes me, and opposes Allah and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Those ignorant people who claim that Shari’ah and tariqah are separate entities do so due to their lack of understanding. Tariqah without Shari’ah is unacceptable to Allah, as clarity of the heart can also be achieved by non-believers. The heart is like a mirror. A rusty mirror can be cleared with urine as well as with rose water. However, the difference between both is one of purity and impurity. Adherence to the Sunnah is the yardstick for recognising a friend (wali) of Allah. One who adheres to the Sunnah is a wali of Allah, whilst the innovator acts in vain. Even Dajjal will display many unnatural feats. Allah says,

Say (O Prophet): “If you really love Allah, then follow me.” (Qur’an 3:31)

The one who is not a follower of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and gives custom to innovative practices cannot be a friend of Allah.

The people of knowledge who love this needy servant, it is only so because of adherence to the Sunnah.

Anyone’s opposition does not harm Mawlana. In fact, as the poet says,

He is the one at loss who does not venerate Mir

Mawlana is a person from whom scholars should benefit and whose company they should consider a tremendous good. It is my desire that no one says nor writes to me any words of disrespect concerning Mawlana. I am deeply pained by such matters. It is strange that you inflict pain upon my beloved and then consider yourself my friend. This can never be! Mawlana is firmly a Hanafi by madhhab, sufi in conduct and a pious, perfect wali. His company should be treasured.

[Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki al-Faruqi al-Thanawi]

25th Dhu ‘l-Qa’dah 1310 AH

Reproduced in Al-Shihab al-Thaqib ‘ala al-Mustariq al-Kadhib, p. 291 (Lahore: Dar al-Kitab, May 2004 ed.)

_____________________________

  1. Referring to the great-grandson of Shah Waliullah Dahlawi, Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dahlawi, who was among the foremost authorities of hadith in his time, the resort of the ‘ulama of his era and heir to his grandfather Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dahlawi. []
  2. Haji Imdadullah writes in Diya’ al-Qulub: ”Whosoever has love, faith and devotion for me, should consider both Molwi Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] (may Allah protect him) and Molwi Rashid Ahmad (may Allah protect him) – who have combined both outward and inward perfection – my equal. In fact, he should consider them to be of a loftier rank than me, even though in practice it is the opposite, in that I am in their place and they are in mine. He should value their company because such people are not found in this age. He should attain benefit from their blessed service and under their guidance traverse the ways of tasawwuf. He will not be unsuccessful [by doing so], if Allah wills.  May Allah bless them in age, bestow them with all the blessings of gnosis and the sublimity of His proximity, elevate their status, enlighten the world with the light of their guidance and through the means of the Leader of both worlds (Allah bless him and grant him peace), perpetuate their spiritual legacies until the Day of Judgment.” (Kulliyat-e-Imdadiyyah, p.72-73, Karachi: Darul Isha’at, 1397/1976 ed.) []

From www.deoband.org

Answered by Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Yunus Jaunpuri

[Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Yunus Jaunpuri was asked why the scholars of hadith did not generally give credence to the hadiths reported by Sufis, despite their closeness to Allah and lofty rank. He answered:] 

‘‘Scholars have not given credence to the [hadith] reports of Sufis, as these respected people, due to their preoccupation with acts of devotion (‘ibadat), are unable to fully dedicate themselves to [the seeking of] knowledge. This is why their reports are littered with errors and confusions. Likewise, their husn al-zann (good opinions regarding others) is to such a degree that they do not even make critical analysis and, consequently, accept any spoken word without investigation. This is why their reports contain weak, rejected and fabricated hadiths in abundance.  

This becomes evident after seeing Abu Talib Makki’s Qut al-Qulub and the works of Imam al-Ghazali, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and others. 

‘Allamah Taj al-Din al-Subki has compiled all those countless reports which Imam al-Ghazali has mentioned in Ihya’ al-‘Ulum, but are not found elsewhere. There are, however, many reports which do exist either in wording or meaning.    

The truth is that every art has its connoisseurs. We gladly accept that the Sufis are worthy of veneration. However, that does not mean we also accept their word in those sciences in which they do not specialise.    

Yahya al-Qattan says: ‘‘We have not seen the pious (Sufis) more imprecise in anything as they are in hadith.” Another variation reads, “We have not seen the people of good (Sufis) more imprecise in anything as they are in hadith.’’ 

Explaining this, Imam Muslim (pg. 14) writes: “Imprecision finds its way on to their tongues but they do not intend it.” 

Imam al-Nawawi elaborates: ‘‘This is so because of their non-possession of the skills employed by the people of hadith, and hence, error creeps into their reports without their knowledge and they tend to relate inaccurate reports not suspecting them to be false.’’ 

However, no one has rejected the reports of those Sufis who have gained proficiency in this science. For example, Imam Abu Isma‘il al-Ansari al-Harawi (d. 481 AH), the author of Manazil al-Sa’irin, was a Sufi as well as a hadith scholar. His work, Manazil al-Sa’irin, is a renowned work of tasawwuf, of which al-Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim wrote an extremely detailed commentary, entitled Madarij al-Salikin. 

Similarly, the student of Imam Muslim, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Sufyan and his student Abu Ahmad al-Jaludi and others were all from amongst the ascetic Sufis, and people (hadith scholars) have accepted their reports. 

The hadith scholar, Abu ‘Abd Allah Yunini, is from amongst the great Sufis. He attained the mantle of tasawwuf from the respected Shaykh ‘Abd Allah al-Bata’ihi, who is from the companions of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani. [Abu ‘Abd Allah] Yunini is also a renowned hafiz of hadith. Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi has specifically mentioned him in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz (Vol. 4, p. 223).   

 Similarly ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Dawudi (d. 467 AH) is a renowned Sufi. Al-Hafiz al-Sam‘ani relates in Al-Ansab: ‘‘He was a master in tasawwuf’’, and he is from amongst the transmitters of [Sahih] al-Bukhari. 

The likes of ‘Allamah Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id and Ibn al-Humam and others being Sufis is a known fact.    

[Finally], all praise is due to Allah, most of our shaykhs of the Wali Allahi tradition were Sufis as well as imams of hadith. 

That is the bounty of Allah, He grants to whom He wills. 

Only Allah knows best.’’ 

The servant

Muhammad Yunus

(may Allah forgive him)

Monday 11th Rabi‘ al-Thani 1391 AH.  

Source: Al-Yawaqit al-Ghaliyah fi Tahqiq wa Takhrij al-Ahadith al-‘Aliyah, Volume 1, 1st edition (UK: Majlis Da‘wat al-Haqq, p. 128-129), collated by Mawlana Muhammad Ayyub Surti.

Related Posts:

Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Yunus Jaunpuri’s Passion For Hadith

Musafahah (Greeting) With Both Hands – Answered by Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Yunus Jonpuri

 

[Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)] said, ‘I always give preference to ‘ulama’ over the Sufis [1], for they are the protectors of the religion and its boundaries. This is why I prefer that ‘ulama’ spend more time in teaching, lecturing, preaching or writing and issuing fatwas than remaining in solitude. This statement of mine is a rational one; otherwise, I have a natural love for the Sufis. 

Majalis-e-Hakim al-Ummat, p. 142 (Karachi: Darul Isha‘at) compiled by Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ Usmani  


[1]               Referring to those Sufis who are not ‘ulama’  (translator)

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