Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Deobandi Belief

"And if your Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind a single unified group, but they will continue to dispute and differ..."

[al-Qur'an 11:118]

"Verily this nation (of Muslims) will be divided into seventy three sects. All of them will be in the fire except one." When asked which one, he replied "The one that adheres to my sunnah and the sunnah of my companions."

[Sunan Abi Dawud]

The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has clearly mentioned that from his Ummah (nation) there will be seventy three different sects; out of which only one sect will be on the correct path, the path of the 'true' Islam.

It is mentioned in the Qur'an that whatever ever the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam uttered was not of his own accord, in actual fact it was from Allah Ta'ala. Though the words may have been from the throat of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam it was the actual message of Allah Ta'ala.

"Nor does he (Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) say anything of his own desire.
It is but a revelation sent down to him"

[an-Najm: 3-4]

Therefore, we can, without any doubt, say that whatever the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam foretold or mentioned will take place without doubt. This is because the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam spoke with that knowledge that was given to him by Allah Ta'ala.

We cannot do anything to avoid that which has been written, yet we can make an effort to strive in the path of Allah Ta'ala and save ourselves from being amongst those who will dwell in hellfire.

Personally, I was reluctant to write on this subject as unfortunately many disputes, disagreements and arguments are due to not understanding (or not wanting to understand) the opposite party’s stance on a particular issue or are linked with different beliefs, I will mention a few beliefs of a Deobandis for the sole reason that I was requested to do so. I hope that post will remove most of the doubts that have formed in regards to the beliefs of Deobandis due to the statements of other sects.

Primarily it is important to know what and who are the Deobandis.

The Deobandis are one of the groups of Muslims. This group is connected to and named after the Dar al-Uloom (University) of Deoband in India. It is an intellectual school of thought that is deeply rooted, and everyone who graduated from that university was influenced by its academic characteristics, so that they became known as Deobandis.

The University of Deoband was founded by a group of Indian 'Ulamaa' (scholars) after the British had put a stop to the Islamic revolution in India in 1857 CE. Its establishment was a strong reaction against western advancement and its materialistic civilization in the Indian Subcontinent, aimed at saving the Muslims from the dangers of these circumstances, especially when Delhi, the capital, had been destroyed following the revolution and the British had taken full control of it. The scholars feared that their religion might be assimilated, so Shaykh Imdaadullaah al-Muhaajir al-Makki and his student Shaykh Muhammad Qaasim al-Nanatuwi, and their companions, drew up a plan to protect Islam and its teachings. They thought that the solution was to establish religious schools and Islamic centres, thus al-Madrasah al-Islamiyyah al-Arabiyyah was established in Deoband as a centre for Islam and Shari'ah in India at the time of British rule.

The most prominent figures of this intellectual school were:

1- Muhammad Qaasim
2- Rasheed Ahmad al-Gangohi
3- Husayn Ahmad al-Madani
4- Muhammad Anwaar Shah al-Kashmiri
5- Abu'l-Hasan al-Nadvi
6- Al-Muhaddith Habeeb al-Rahmaan al-A'zami

In addition, "...Amongst the best commentaries on Sahih Muslim and the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud are works by the Deobandis. The Lives of the Sahaba by al-Kandihlawi is a masterpiece. I'la'al-Sunan and Aathaar al-Sunan are very valuable..."

With regard to basic tenets of belief ('Aqeedah), they follow the Madhhab (school) of Abu Mansoor al-Maatreedi. Whilst following the Fiqh of Imaam Abu Haneefah. Similarly, They follow the Sufi (spiritual) ways of the Naqshbandiyyah, Chishtiyyah, Qaadiriyyah and Saharwardiyyah with regard to spiritual development.

The thoughts and principles of the Deobandi School may be summed up as follows:
- Preserving the teachings of Islam and its strength and rituals.

- Spreading Islam and resisting destructive schools of thought and missionary

- Spreading Islamic culture and resisting the invading British culture.

- Paying attention to spreading the Arabic language because it is the means of
benefiting from the sources of Islamic sharee'ah.

- Combining reason and emotion, and knowledge and spirituality.

This is a brief description of the Deobandi sect. Before I conclude this post I would like to mention a few quotes that in my opinion are more valuable than the post itself.

The great Hanafi Imam, Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Sharh Uqud Rasm al-Mufti:

Branding someone a non-believer (Kafir) is a great thing indeed; hence I do not label a believer as a non-believer as long as one sign of him believing is found... One should not issue a Fatwa of a believer's disbelief (Kufr) as long as it is possible to interpret his statement in a justified manner, or there is a difference of opinion regarding him disbelieving, even if there is a weak narration."

[Sharh Uqud Rasm al-Mufti, 1/36]

It is reported by Ibn Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him eternal peace) said: “Any person who calls his brother: O Unbeliever! (then the truth of this label) would return to one of them. If it is true, (then it is) as he asserted, (but if it is not true), then it returns to him (and thus the person who made the accusation is an Unbeliever)."

[Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 6130]
[Sahih Muslim, no. 60]

This awakens the reader that one should not be so haste is determining the belief and disbelief of another person. A believer is such that does looks for any excuse to call another a believer. If we are talking in regards to a person or sect that pray the Kalimah (declaration of Faith) then we should be very alert in proclaiming that they are disbelievers.

May Allah Ta'ala give us all the inclination to seek the knowledge that will aid us in achieving His happiness and may he give us the understanding to refrain from all that which will deviate us from His path.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Holy Qur'an (cont...)

In the previous post we read how the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was sent down by Allah Ta'ala as a mercy to mankind. It was our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam that took the word of Allah Ta'ala and made it his lifestyle so that the people, present and yet to come, would be able to follow the path that Allah Ta'ala had laid out in front of them with ease.

So, the question remains, What is our duty to such a Prophet? How are we expected to follow the Qur'an.

The answers, though simple, need much attention and awareness.

We need to recognise the sacrifices that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam made for us, his Ummah. Once we have familiarised ourselves with the sacrifices he made we need to compare that to the sacrifices we are making for him.

There is no doubt in the fact that no mortal can ever make as many sacrifices for anyone similar to those made by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam for us, a nation he had not even seen, but only knew of to be his followers.

It is for this reason, that despite all our desires, we create a burning desire to be like the beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. A desire that will allow us to live our lives in accordance to his will and the will of Allah Ta'ala.

It is only in this way that we may able to achieve a portion of the duty that we hold towards the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. It is only through his lifestyle that we can truly follow the Qur'an the way it is meant to be followed.

We need to introduce the lifestyle of Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam in order to please Allah Ta'ala and gain Jannah.

No doubt, changing from one lifestyle to another is no easy task, nor can it be accomplished in a matter of days. Nevertheless, a person who chooses to reform himself and chooses the lifestyle shown by Islam, is regarded as that person who is reformed. Allah Ta'ala makes no task difficult upon his believers and rewards without any limitations.

In conclusion, one must take time out everyday and judge himself. He should be honest to himself and question his Nafs (lower self) as to how many sins he committed in that day, he should question his Nafs as to how many times he displeased Allah Ta'ala directly or by hurting one of His creations. Thereafter, he should resolve that matter by contacting a Shaykh (Spiritual Guide) or by making a personal attempt to release himself from that sin and never to return to it.

Insha-Allah one by one, a person can leave all sins and join the list of the Awliyaa (friends of Allah Ta'ala).

I pray to Allah Ta'ala to accept our efforts and forgive our shortcomings. I ask Him of His mercy and kindness and to give me the knowledge, strength and inclination to follow and live the lifestyle shown to us by our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.



Monday, March 07, 2005

The Holy Qur'an

The Qur'an being the guide for mankind contains within it pearls of wisdom that not only guides man in attaining the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala by treading on the correct path but also teaches them a total way of living and passing their time in this world as mere traveller or passer by.

The Qur'an, being in a book form, was sent down to the final Messenger, Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. It is he who took this book and conveyed its message to his people, both verbally and physically.

Therefore, the connection between the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and Qur'an is immense. The Qur'an was in a form of a book, whilst the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was the walking talking model of the Qur'an; the Qur'an being the guidance and the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was the guide; the Qur'an being the light and the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam being the lantern containing that light.

It is for this reason that if anyone wishes to be the beloved of Allah Ta'ala he has to follow the steps of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

Allah Ta'ala has proclaimed in the Holy Qur'an:

"Say (O Muhammad): "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful".

(Aal Imran - 3:31-32)

We can deduce for this verse that in order for us to attain salvation and the love of Allah Ta'ala we need to follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah, both being the guide for mankind.

The Qur'an being the word of Allah Ta'ala can never be understood by us, mere mortals. For that reason Allah Ta'ala sent down His beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam to explain to us the meanings and aim of the Holy Qur'an. The method in which the Qur'an changed mankind from the state of animals to the state of being Humans.

Before the revelation of the Qur'an men would kill their own daughters, people would drown themselves in intoxication and live a barbaric life.

It was the mercy and compassion of Allah Ta'ala through which he sent down the best of creation Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam amongst this nation to guide them and save them from the eternal hellfire.

The efforts exercised by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam is known to every believer; the events of Taif and being stoned by the people; the scorching sun in the battlefields; the swelling of the feet whilst asking for the forgiveness of his Ummah; the sacrificing of his family for our sake; the cursing of the people and the hardships given by them only for because he was the messenger that came to save us.

Despite knowing this many chose to disbelieve in him, yet his mercy was such that despite this he prayed for their guidance and forgave their torturing acts.

Allah Ta'ala states in the Holy Qur'an:

"And We did not send you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the world."

(al-Anbiyaa - 21:107)

What is our duty to such a Prophet? How are we actually expected to follow the Qur'an?

to be continued...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

In accordance to the voting (poll) it seems that more people are interested in learning about Aqeedah. Insha-Allah, for the next couple of weeks or so, I will be presenting the Aqeedah (Beliefs) of Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah, according to the school of the jusrist of this Religion, Imaam Abu Haneefah an-Nu'man ibn Thabit al-Kufi.

From Hadhrat Adam Alayhis Salaam up until the Prophet Sallallahu Alyhi Wa Sallam every Prophet has brought into thos world the message and Divine Law of Allah Ta'ala.

It is a known fact that each Prophet was a leader of a nation; the nation of Hadhrat mossa Alyhis Salaam being known as the Jews; the nation of Hadhrat Esa Alyhis Salaam being known as the Christians; whilst the nation of the beloved Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam came to be known as the Muslims.

The nations, in their own era, were on the correct path; the path leading to Allah Ta'ala. However, when the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was sent as a Mercy to mankind, all other religions and nations were terminated and were asked to follow our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

The Shari'ah (Divine Law) of each nation deffered to some extent; no two Laws being exactly the same. The people of Moosa Alayhis Salaam were expected to sacrifice their lives in order to acquire the forgiveness from Allah Ta'ala whereas this is not the case for the nation of the beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. Similary, people from previous nations were asked to cut the piece of their flesh where drops of urine may have touched the body. However, this again is not the case of the nation of the beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

Despite these differences in Shari'ah the Prophets were all sent to convey and deliver one message; the message of the Oneness of Allah Ta'ala. These differences that varied from nation to nation became known as the Furoo' of Deen (branches of Religion) whereas the Usool of Deen (fundamentals of Religion) remained the same.

The beliefs of Islam is amongst the fundamentals of Islam. Those things in the religion of Islam that do not change with neither time nor nation. The beliefs that were sent upon the people of Adam Alayhis Salaam are the same that were sent for the people of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

Following is a basic outline of the beliefs that one should have. I will be keeping the beliefs "to the point" so that it is to the understanding level of everyone. However, if any reader does require further clarification or has a question, please do not hesitate to ask.

01. We believe that Allah Ta'ala is One, without any partners

02. There is no god other than Him.

03. There is nothing like Him.

04. He is Exalted beyond having opposites or equals.

It is our belief that Allah Ta'ala has no deficiencies and all faults. therefore, it would not be appropritate to adjoin partners with Allah Ta'ala, as having a partner is an indication towards incabaility and dependance.

Furthermore, Allah Ta'ala is capable of achieving all all without the need of anyone. Thus, ascribing partners with Him would be a vain and superfluous act, which is totally against the qualities of Allah Ta'ala, as He is not wasteful.

In summary, we can deduce that just as Allah Ta'ala cannot have any partners and is self-sufficient. To ascribe anything with Him would be indicating towards a weakness or defect, which can never be possible.

In the same sense, we can say that just as Allah Ta'ala is free from any partners; He is also free from relations, i.e. Sons and Daughters.

If we connect a Son or Daughter to Allah Ta'ala, we are indirectly supporting the fact that the associate has some diviness or likeness to Allah Ta'ala. Whereas this is totally impossible as "there is none other like Him".

05. There is nothing that can overwhelm Him.

06. Nothing happends except what He wills.

Allah Ta'ala has the ability and power to perform all the tasks He wills. For Him the matter of even a complicated thing such as creation is to say "Be" and "it becomes". In actual fact, Allah Ta'ala is not even in need of uttering the words "Be", but in order to make the creation understand His Supremecy He has explained his power and might in this manner.

If such a complex task as creation is no difficulty for Allah Ta'ala, then similiarly there is no task that can ovewhelm Him. he is capable of completing many tasks, all at once, without the slightest effort from His behalf.

Whatever action or task comes into existence, it is only through His will and permission. So much so, that even a leaf cannot fall without the will and permission of Allah Ta'ala. He is the commander and controller of the entire universe and its creatures. He does as He wills and nothing happens without His knowledge nor his will.

07. He is the Eternal without a beginning and enduring without an end.

08. He will neither perish nor come to an end.

09. He is living and never dies. He is eternally active and never sleeps.

Every Believer has to acknowledge that Allah Ta'ala existed before anything else. He was there from the beginning and will stay etnerally. He will never perish or come to an end. Apart from Him, there is no other thing that can be said to be ever-existent and eternal.

Further on, we will mention the belief in regards to the qualities of Allah Ta'ala in slightly more detail. however, for now, it should be understood that anything connect directly to Allah, such as His qualities, speach etc, will have the same ruling as His being. They existed from before, without a beginning and enduring without the end.

10. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him.

11. He is different from any created being.

Allah Ta'ala is the creator of all living matter. It is He who gave form and shape to all that we are able to see and all that which we are unable to see.

In similar manner, Allah Ta'ala created the mind and brains of the people. It is He who gave them intellect and made man accomplish many a things through the wit and intelligence bestowed by Him.

Nevertheless, Allah's being is such exalted and unique that it is not within the capacity and capability of mankind to conceive His being. We cannot ascertain His shape, size or matter. All we know is that He is unlike any creation, He is totally unique.

Allah Ta'ala is free from any bodily form. We cannot describe His being with a body, hands, feet or any other bodily part. It is impossible for the mind to concieve a picture of His being and we cannot, in any ways, say that He has a fixed form.

12. He creates without being in need to do so and provides for His creation without effort.

13. He causes death without fear and restores to life without difficulty.

The reason that Allah Ta'ala created us has nothing to do with His needs. Allah Ta'ala is free from any needs and want. The creation of mankind was to worship Allah Ta'ala. However, He was not in need to create mankind as angels already existed that worshipped Him without error or question. Allah Ta'ala creates and gives form as He wills and wishes and brings into existance nations after nations.

For Him to create a nation is of no difficulty, and similarly to provide for them is an effortless task. He can provide for many nations at one time without difficulty. If Allah Ta'ala was to will, He could destroy an entire nation and replace it with another within the blink of an eyelid. He fears non and nothing and it is with this quality He causes death and thereafter to give life is no difficulty for him.

14. He has always existed together with His attributes since before creation. Bringing creation into existence did not add anything to His attributes that was not already there. As He was, together with His attributes, in pre-eternity, so He will remain throughout endless time.

15. It was not only after the act of creation that He could be described as "the Creator" nor was it only by the act of origination that He could he described as "the Originator."

16. He was always the Lord even when there was nothing to be Lord of, and always the Creator even when there was no creation.

17. In the same way that He is the "Bringer to life of the dead," after He has brought them to life a first time, and deserves this name before bringing them to life, so too He deserves the name of "Creator" before He has created them.

18. This is because He has the power to do everything, everything is dependent on Him, everything is easy for Him, and He does not need anything. "There is nothing like Him and He is the Hearer, the Seer." (al-Shura 42:11)

The attributes of Allah Ta'ala existed from the beginning of time just as His being. He qualities and attributes are eternal and will never cease to exist. Therefore, we believe that Allah Ta'ala was the Lord of everything even before its existence. His being the Lord of the creation is not dependant of the matter and objects being there. He was the Creator even before He began to create and bring into existence. These qualities did not come into existence from a particular time, they were always there just as Allah Ta'ala has been.

This is becasue Allah Ta'ala had the power and ability to perform those acts even before He did. He had the Might of creating regardless of whether He created anything or not. He is self-suffiecient and everything around Him and created by Him is dependant upon Him. He Sees all, Knows all and Hears all.

19. He created creation with His knowledge.

20. He appointed destinies for those He created.

21. He allotted to them fixed life spans.

22. Nothing about them was hidden from Him before He created them, and He knew everything that they would do before He created them.

23. Everything happens according to His degree and will, and His will is accomplished. The only will that people have is what He wills for them. What He wills for them occurs and what He does not will, does not occur.

24. He gives guidance to whomever He wills, and protects them, and keeps them safe from harm, out of His generosity; and He leads astray whomever He wills, and abases them, and afflicts them, out of His justice.

25. All of them are subject to His will either through His generosity or His justice.

26. No one can ward off His decree or delay His command or overpower His affairs.

27. We believe in all of this and are certain that everything comes from Him.

The creation of mankind was done with the knowledge of Allah Ta'ala. He created man in the best of form and gave him shape and intellect. Allah Ta'ala appointed man's destiny and life span and was aware of his actions and destination even before man commited that act or reached that destination. Nothing is hidden from His knowledge and He is aware of all that happens and knows all that will happen.

Man's will will be in accordance to the will of Allah Ta'ala. No person can commit any act without the will of Allah Ta'ala and nothing can be achieved that is not written in his destiny. Man is a mere puppet that accomplishes the will of Allah Ta'ala, they journey through this life as Allah Ta'ala has written for them.

It is by the will of Allah Ta'ala that a man stays protected and it is solely by His will that any harm can befall Him. If He wills to protect a person, then the united strength and power of entire mankind cannot harm him and if He wills to harm a person neither can that united strength relieve him or safeguard him from that harm. For it is the power of Allah Ta'ala to give guidance to whom He wills and to deviate whom he wills. This will all be done with the justice of Allah Ta'ala and there is non to question Him.

28. He ordered them to obey Him and forbade them to disobey Him.

After the creation of mankind, Allah Ta'ala ordered them to obey Him and forbade them to disobey Him. This was the purpose of creation, to worship Allah Ta'ala alone. If people disobey Allah Ta'ala, then it is not a mighty task for Him to completely destroy that nation and bring forth a new nation that will worship and obey Him.

If anyone has any questions in regards to any of the above beliefs feel free to ask.

May Allah Ta'ala give us the understanding of His Religion. Aameen.