Principles of Takfīr – Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘

In this book, originally titled Īmān Aur Kufr Qur’ān Kī Roshnī Mein (Īmān and Kufr in Light of the Qur’ān), Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘* provides a detailed explanation of the principles of Takfīr (declaring someone outside the fold of Islām). As he explains in the preface to the book, most of the academic content is taken from a highly technical and largely inaccessible work by his teacher, ‘Allāmah Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīrī, called Ikfār al-Mulidīn. Thus, writing for the benefit of a more popular audience, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ offers a clear understanding of what constitutes Īmān and Kufr, and outlines the principles on which a person who claims to be Muslim while denying core elements of Islām will be deemed a Kāfir.

Since the work was written shortly after the creation of Pakistan, Mufti Muḥammad Shafī‘ also includes a short tangential discussion on the two-nation theory (which was the basis for the creation of Pakistan).

In light of Zandaqah (crypto-Kufr) and Ilḥād (heretical distortion) – concepts discussed in detail in the book – being on the rise today, Muftī Shafī‘’s work is all the more relevant and important.

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Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī: Defining Dār al-Islām and Dār al-Ḥarb

Some rulings of Islām change based on a person being in a Muslim-governed territory or “Dār al-Islām” or in a non-Muslim governed territory or “Dār al-Ḥarb”. What constitutes a Dār al-Islām or Dār al-Ḥarb is therefore a vitally important question of Fiqh.

In the context of British-rule in 19th century India, Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī* (1244-1323/1829-1905) provides a detailed answer to this question. There is in particular some misunderstanding over the position of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah. Hence, Mawlānā Gangohī outlines the principle used to designate a region as Dār al-Islām or Dār al-Ḥarb, clarifies the view of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah and then applies the principle to the context of British India.** A translation of his answer is provided below.

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Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘: Limits of Muslim Non-Muslim Cooperation

What is the Islāmic ruling on forming alliances, joining or working together with non-Muslim political parties, or taking assistance from non-Muslim groups or individuals for state administrative purposes?

What is the Islāmic ruling on taking the assistance of non-Muslim organisations to perform exclusively religious work or work exclusive to the Muslim community, like Zakāt collection/distribution or running a masjid?

In the following article, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ provides an in-depth analysis of these questions. His discussion is written in the context of the political debates of his time in British India, where different political groups fought for independence and power. Should Muslims work with/join Congress, an ostensibly secular party, or should they join the Muslim League, an openly Muslim party? In exploring these debates, the article provides a useful historical background. It was written in the form of a fatwā shortly after the death of Mufti Shafī‘’s mentor, Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thanawi, and was endorsed by several leading scholars, including ‘Allāmah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī and ‘Allāmah Ẓafar Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī.

Translations from I’la’ al-Sunan

The following are several translations from I’la’ al-Sunan, the famous compendium of Hanafi hadith proofs.

These translations were made available previously on different websites and are gathered here for ease of reference:

1. Introduction to I’la’ al-Sunan by Mufti Taqi Usmani

2. Al-Din al-Qayyim on the Necessity of Taqlid by Mawlana Habib Ahmad al-Kiranawi

3. Placing the Hands Below the Navel by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

4. Not Raising the Hands in other than the Opening Takbir by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

5. The Impermissibility of a Literal Joining of Salahs by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

6. The Obligation of Attending Salah in Congregation by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

7. The Prophetic Visitation by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

8. Refutation of “Composite Nationalism” by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

An Explanation of Tasawwuf and its Practices

The following article is a translation of a section from the Urdu work, Tasawwuf Kiyā He, by Mawlānā Manzūr Nu’mānī. It comprises of a group of essays written by the author on his observations on Tasawwuf and, in particular, the practices (ashghāl) prescribed by the Sūfī guides (mashāyikh). He offers a strong argument for the need for Tasawwuf and a rationale for the specific practices designed by the scholars of Tasawwuf for spiritual reform. Although the original work comprises of essays by other authors, only those by Mawlānā Manzūr Nu’mānī are presented in this translation. His discussion and analysis is concerned mostly with the practical dimensions of Tasawwuf as they have been observed throughout history amongst its orthodox champions and handed down to its true inheritors in the present time. The other essays (which are not included in this translation) deal with Tasawwuf from its historical and academic/philosophical dimensions also. Continue Reading

The Meaning of Iman

Muftī Rashīd Ahmad Ludhyānwī

Question:

In a public gathering, Gandhi stated these words while delivering a speech: “I do not understand why I should not recite the kalimah? Why should I not praise Allāh? Why should I not accept Muhammad as His messenger? I have faith in the saints and the prophets of all religions.” Can Gandhi be called a Muslim for saying the aforementioned words? Please attend to the reply quickly, because I have need for it for a religious publication. Explain with proof, may the Most Merciful reward you. Continue Reading

I’la’ al-Sunan: The Obligation of Attending Jama’ah in the Masjid

Is performing the Fard salahs in jama’ah an obligation for men? If so, is this obligation discharged by performing them in congregation at home, in the workplace or another musalla? Or is it a further obligation to perform the jama’ah in the masjid?

‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani discusses the answers to these questions in detail in the section from his I’la’ al-Sunan translated in the file linked below. He provides a thorough analysis of the hadiths on the topic and carefully determines the position of the Hanafi madhhab from the statements of its great early jurists, like al-Halwani, Qadi Khan and al-Kasani (may Allah have mercy on them).

The translation includes the chapter of I’la’ al-Sunan that immediately follows on the valid Shar’i excuses that frees one of blame if he were to not attend the masjid for jama’ah. Continue Reading

Imām al-Bayhaqī on Evidence for the Existence of the Creator

Below we present a translation from Imām al-Bayhaqī’s celebrated work on Sunnī ‘aqīdah, al-I‘tiqād wa l-Hidāyah ilā Sabīl al-Rashād. In this passage, al-Bayhaqī (may Allāh have mercy on him) discusses the evidential basis on which a Muslim premises his faith. He discusses two basic types of thought processes (nazar) that lead one to believe in Allāh:

  1. First, deliberating on the created order, the heavens, the earth and the wonders of one’s own creation, and deducing from that the presence of a Powerful, Intelligent, Conscious, Wise and All-Knowing Creator and Fashioner.
  2. And second, reasoning from the miracles produced at the hands of the prophets – peace be upon them – and deducing thereby their honesty and integrity in everything they relate about the unseen realm, including the existence of the Creator and His eternal attributes. Continue Reading

The Decisive Debate: On the Deobandi & Barelwi Conflict

Fayslah Kun Munazarah
The Decisive Debate: On the Deobandi & Barelwi Conflict

Fayslah Kun Munazarah, first printed in 1933 CE, is a thorough rebuttal of the verdicts of disbelief against four senior scholars of the Deobandi School as presented in Husam al-Haramayn of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Barelwi. Sufficient details about the book are given in the author’s introduction below. Due to the paucity of material on the subject in the English language, many Muslims in the English-speaking world were easily swayed towards the view propounded in Husam al-Haramayn due to the vigour with which the fatwa is propagated by its English-speaking proponents and the gravity of the allegations made. The book translated here provides a balanced, level-headed, point-by-point critique of the fatwa in simple and easy-to-understand language, demonstrating with complete clarity the deception of the original accusations against the Deobandi elders and their innocence from the heresies ascribed to them. Sincere readers who have been exposed to the allegations will now have the opportunity to assess the validity of such claims. Allah, Most Exalted, commands in the Glorious Qur’an: “O you who believe, if a sinful person brings you a report, verify its correctness, lest you should harm a people out of ignorance, and then become remorseful on what you did.” (49:6) Continue Reading