By Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi
And in this way, the four proofs in the Shari’ah were given rise to from Allah’s Messenger’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) connections. The various masa’il in the Shari’ah find their source from here:
- The Book of Allah (the Qur’an),
- The Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace),
- Ijma’ of the Ummah and
- The Ijtihad of the Mujtahid.
The object is that all the branches of the din and all its proofs, spring forth and begin from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Their various Shar’i terms and titles were formulated later on, when they were systematically codified and their various laws and regulations were compiled from the teachings of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). But, there actual existence was from before in the being of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). It is for this reason that all these branches of din, like fiqh, tasawwuf, hadith, tafsir, riwayah, dirayah, haqa’iq, ‘usul, hikmah, kalam, politics, etc. fall within the scope and definition of Sunnah. The ‘ulama of Deoband have extracted all these from the various books and made it a part of their way and ideology. They have all been made the constituents of their maslak (way). Then, owing to in-depth research into all these various branches of the din, which in turn gave rise to the specialities and expertise in these fields, specific levels and stages of personalities were formulated which were entitled with the appropriate labels, like mutakallimin, fuqaha, sufiya, muhaddithin, mujtahiddin, ‘usuliyin, urafa, hukama, khulafa’, etc.
Then in each of these various ‘arts’ there were created ‘ulama who were experts and perfectionists in their specific field. They threw themselves into full gear in perfecting these particular fields of study. It was as though they and their field of study became one and the same. They became virtual masters in their fields. They were called Amir ‘l-Mu’minin (commander of the believers) and ‘Ul ‘l-‘Amr (those in authority) of their specialities. They were known as imams and mujtahidin. For example, the imams of ijtihad, Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’i, etc. The imams of hadith, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, etc. imams of tasawwuf, Junayd, Shibli, Ma’ruf, Bayazid, etc. imams of dirayah and tafaqquh, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad Bin Hasan Muzni, Ibn Rajab, etc. imams of hikmah and haqa’iq, Razi, Ghazzali, Ibn Arabi, etc. imams of kalam, Abu ‘l-Hasan Ash’ari, Abu Mansur Maturidi, etc. imams of ‘usul, Fakhr al-Islam Bazdawi, ‘Allamah Dabusi, etc.
People such as the above are examples of those who excelled in their particular fields of study and it is through their efforts and medium that these branches of din have reached us.
By Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi
The words al-Sunnah and al-Jama’ah can best be concisely described in the following way. Al-Sunnah would include the way and manner of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). All the many branches that spring from the way of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) are included in the way of the ‘ulama of Deoband. Al-Jama’ah would include Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and all those who had benefited from his beneficence, like the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them), Tabi’in, A’immah Mujtahidin and ‘Ulama Rasikhin (Allah have mercy on them). Each one of them is honoured and respected in accordance to their respective status and ranks. In the same way this ideology (of the ‘ulama of Deoband) gains its hue and colour from the principles and corollaries of the personalities who are the branches from the tree of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The result of this is that no branch of the din can ever be free of the effects of the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Otherwise it will not be even termed as din. There can be no personality in the din who does not come under the shadow of the being of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Otherwise he would not be regarded as a person of the din. Hence, no group can claim to be following and in conformity with the desire of nubuwwah unless it has a relationship with every aspect of the lineage of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and it adopts the principles and laws of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Every group of personages that is connected with Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) inadvertently lead up to him. It will therefore be seen that all the sectors of the Shari’ah, be it knowledge or practice, and not only these two, but every proof in the din, are all the resultants and effects of Allah’s Messenger’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) various connections.
For example Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) connection and relation to iman gives rise to the branch of iman, which is referred to in the Shari’ah as kalam. His connection to the din (Nisbah al-Islami) gives rise to the branch of rulings or practices, which in the Shari’ah is referred to as fiqh. His Nisbat al-Ihsani gives rise to the branch for purification of the soul and perfection of character, which in the Shari’ah is referred to as tasawwuf. His Nisbah I’la Kalimatullah (connection to raising the Kalimah of Islam) gives rise to the branch of politics and Jihad, whose general title would be imarah (leadership) and khilafah. His Nisbah al-Istinadi gives rise to the branch of transmission of the din through sanad (chain of narrators), whose Shar’i name is riwayah and istinad. His Nisbah al-Irtiqa’i gives rise to the branch of knowledge of firasah and ma’rifah, whose Shar’i name is haqa’iq and asrar. His Nisbah al-Istiqra’i gives rise to the branch of rules and laws of the Shari’ah, which is termed usul. This refers to the usul’s (principles) of fiqh, tafsir and hadith. His Nisbah al-Ijtima’i gives rise to the branch of mutual assistance and excellent morality, whose Shari’i term would be hadharat and madniyat. His Nisbah al-Taysiri gives rise to the branch of affinity for ease and moderation,whose Shar’i term is ‘adl and iqtisad .
Then, if we look at the Shar’i proofs,whereupon this concise Shari’ah is based, then we see that Allah’s Messenger’ (Allah bless him and grant him peace) Nisbah al-Anbayi (nubuwwah) gave rise to wahy, which is collectively known as al-Qur’an. His Nisbah al-I’lami and Bayani, that is his example of speech and actions, which personified the Qur’an, whose collective term would be al-Sunnah. His Nisbah al-Alqa’i and Wajdani which gave rise to the extraction of masa’il, is termed ijtihad in the Shari’ah. His Nisbah al-Khatimiyah which gave rise to the state of perpetual guidance of mankind and their deviation, when not in a group. Its Shar’i term is ijma’.
By the imam of logic and philosophy Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahim Bastawi
At one of the jalsahs in Bhawalpur Pakistan, a very famous and dynamic orator, Mawlana Diya al-Rahman delivered a very detailed and substantiative lecture on the ‘ulama of Deoband. This lecture was well accepted and praised by an appreciative audience. Since the topic was proposed to him, the lecture is very comprehensive, covering virtually every aspect of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband. It also reveals the important aspects of the unblemished lives of the ‘ulama of Deoband.
It is quite evident that Mawlana is well-versed with the merits of good oratorship and he is well able to render a speech rather impressively together with all its etiquette and requisites. His capability of drawing inferences is not only critical but in fact philosophical as well.
It is my personal opinion that this book is a mirror which reflects a true image of the senior ‘ulama of Deoband. This reflection also portrays that every angle of their lives formed a practical interpretation of Qur’an and Sunnah. These far-sighted ‘ulama planted a seed of prophetic knowledge in the land of Deoband which eventually grew up to be a well-rooted tree in the form of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband. Now its fruit-bearing and shady tree is swaying not only over Asia but as far afield as Africa and Europe.
May Allah grant it a life of eternity and may He spread its blessing even further. Ameen.
It was very pleasing to note that two intelligent and perceptive graduates of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, Mawlana Imdad Allah Bhagalpuri and Mawlana Zahid Asami took the initiative to put this informative lecture into a book form thereby transmitting and perpetuating its benefit to others as well. May Allah reward them well.
(Janab Mawlana) ‘Abd al-‘Rahim Bastawi
Teacher Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband
25 Muharram 1409 H
By Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Qasimi
In order to reach the stars and traverse the heights of progress, the pages of history have proven to be the best capital for any nation on the earth. The arduous achievements and theoretical models of their forbears are a source of exaltation, respect and honour for them. From the sincere enthusiasm and hopes of their forefathers, they learn a lesson of courage and dauntlessness.
The book under review is actually a lecture by Mawlana Diya al-Rahman Faruqi. By compiling this lecture into book form, Mawlana Imdad Allah has endeavoured to present this priceless gift to the youth of our nation in particular. The study of this book and a second perusal has left an impression in my heart that this is the most appropriate prescription for stimulating the dormant spirits of the Muslim youth and for bringing about a spiritual transformation with them.
May Allah accept their endeavours and may He render this book a stairway to their progress. Amin.
Muhammad Ilyas Qasimi
Clash between truth and falsehood
Our conviction over the ‘Ulama Deoband
A Glipmse at Dar al-‘Ulum
A brief background to Indian history
The British in India
The birth of Shah Wali Allah
The first translation of the Noble Qur’an
Jihad against the British
Our present condition
The piety of Sultan Tippu
The tyranny of Rajah Ranjit Singh
The four sons of Shah Wali Allah
The two Barelis
Jihad against Rajah Ranjit Singh
Sayyid Ahmad Shahid
The battle of Balakot
‘Ulama meet for freedom of India
14000 ‘Ulama are sent to the gallows
Imperialist endeavor to snuff out the spirit of Jihad
Exiled to the black waters
The establishment of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband
The acheivements of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband
Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi’s devotion to Allah’s Messenger
Our academic links in the field of hadith
Our spiritual links
Shaykh al-Islam in Madinah Munawwarah
Shayk al-Hind and his students’ academic feats
The funeral of Shayk al-Hind
Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani
The objective of the formation of Pakistan
Mawlana Madani before an English court
Mawlana Madani is banished to Malta
The lofty status of Mawlana ‘Abd al-Kalam Azad
By Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi
Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had distinguished the sect of haqq from the other 72 sects in the hadith; “Ma Ana Alayhi Wa Ashabi” or; “That (way) upon which I and my companions are” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi) by combining the words Ma and Ana into the sentence. By his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) using the word Ma is an indication towards al-Sunnah – that is, the way of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) or the laws of the din. This is the basis upon which the sect of haqq is founded. The words Ana Wa Ashabi denotes towards Al-Jama’ah. The Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah has formulated its basis and roots from the words of this hadith. In fact, Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud, when discussing this subject, states this hadith of “Ana Wa Ashabi” under the caption of Al-Jama’ah. In the hadith it is mentioned “this is the Jama’ah” when referring to the one sect which will be in Jannah and the successful one as opposed to the other 72 sects destined for the Fire. For this reason, the one portion in the title of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah is actually found in the text of the hadith. Since the word Ma in the hadith refers to a way and path and the way referred to is that of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them) and this way is called the Sunnah, so the second part in the title of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah is also, so to say, found in the text of the hadith. This is one very strong proof that the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah are on the path of haqq, because Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had himself formulated the title of this sect. We learn from this, that the sect which is on haqq is that one which comprises of these two roots and parts. When one contemplates carefully over this, then it will be realised that the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah are an embodiment of the words Ma and Ana which are found in the hadith. If for example, this sect was called Ahl al-Qur’an, Ahl al-Hadith, Ahl al-Fiqh, Ahl al-Tasawwuf, Ahl al-Kalam or Ahl al-‘Usul, then it would not encompass the word Ma, hence it would be an incomplete and incorrect title. Alternatively, if it was called Ahl al-Jama’ah, Muttabi’in al-Sahabah, Ashab al-Muhaddithin wa ‘l-Mujtahiddin, Ittiba` al-Fuqaha or Muhibbin Ahl al-Bayt, etc. then undoubtedly, whilst it would comprise the word Ana which appears in the hadith, but it would be void of the import of the word Ma. Also, in this case, it would be construed as being a sect which comprises personality-worship and veneration, which is devoid of any sound laws or principles. Such a title would also be incomplete and incorrect. The title Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah comprises both the integral parts implied in the hadith and it manifests the words of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
Since this ideology, path and way are in the actual words of the speech of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and it is also the import of his intention, then it can safely be averred that this path and way and the tile adopted by the adherents thereof is the desire of nubuwwah and in it lies the pleasure of Allah. All praise to Allah, this is the path chosen by the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah and it has been made their way of life. Hence, the summary of the way and path of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah is in accordance to the desire of the hadith of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The summary thereof would be “Following the Sunnah via personalities”. And now to dissect this ideology:
By Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi
In order to recognise the original Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah, and to understand the concise and balanced way of the ‘ulama of Deoband, wherein there are no excesses (ifrat tafrit), no exaggerations, in fact a perfect embodiment of a balanced way, we need to contemplate over the root and source of the title. In this way the foundations and standard of comparison will become apparent. The title of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah comprises two parts – al-Sunnah and al-Jama’ah. The combination of both these translates into the way of the ‘ulama of Deoband. Al-Sunnah denotes principles, rules and regulations and al-Jama’ah denotes a body, persons and companions. From this, it is apparent that an ideology (a way and method), which has principles and regulations but no body (group of persons) or if there is a body but there are no principles and regulations, then it is meaningless and not worth any consideration. Laws find their recognition and implementation in a body (group of persons) and a body is recognised by their laws. Therefore, an ideology is not regarded as being notable if the one is existent without the other. Just as Allah had not only given this Ummah the Qur’an on its own, He bestowed them with the being of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), who conveyed the message of the Qur’an. He relayed the words thereof, taught its meaning and implemented it in his practical example. Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not restrict himself to only implementing the laws of the Qur’an, he even prepared personalities with these laws, who on their own and in their respective eras taught and implemented the laws of din, thereby nurtured and preparing others.
By Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi
The maslak (tract) of the ‘ulama of Deoband is with regard to dini direction and methodology, an embodiment of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah. It is also an integral and original part of the Ahl al-Sunnah (where from gradually many sects are being slowly separated). This trend was begun in India and gained its force and momentum by Imam Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi (d. 1762C / may Allah have mercy on him). The ‘ulama of Deoband are the interpreters and link in the chain for the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah in India. Through the means of ta’lim (education) and tarbiyah (nurturing), they had spread this message and way across the east and west.
The ‘ulama of Deoband had remained steadfast upon the principles of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah from the beginning to the end. In fact, they had preserved this through the generations. Actually, they are not any different from the Ahl al-Sunnah, in fact, their lineage and chain reaches in the same direction. Hence, insofar as their methods and ideologies are concerned, they are not any new sect, nor are they a sect which has been initiated afterwards. In reality, they (‘ulama of Deoband) are (from) the actual Ahl al-Sunnah which has come down and transmitted from before. The time factor and excesses (ifrat tafrit) had given rise to many sects within the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah. Not only has every new sect had laid claim to being the original, they had in fact, drawn parallels to the original group and condemned the original to falsehood and labelled themselves as the original. They had spared no effort in this direction. Since this became the pastime of every breakaway sect, the general masses of the original Ahl al-Sunnah became doubtful and were left in a quandary. Many questions were raised. Nevertheless, the original will always remain the original. When actual differentiation takes place then the original will shine forth. Therefore it is imperative that before we outline the way and methods, it is appropriate that we make the differentiation, so that the fake may be separated from the original.