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-Mulḥidīn. 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.
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.
Muftī Muḥammd Shafī‘ (1897 – 1976) narrates the following statement from his father, Mawlānā Muḥammad Yāsīn Deobandī (1865 – 1936) , about his experience at Dārul ‘Ulūm Deoband in the late 19th century:
“I witnessed such a period at Dārul ‘Ulūm [Deoband] when, from the headmaster to the lowest teacher, from the chancellor to the caretaker and servant, all were great possessors of a permanent bond [with Allāh] (ṣāḥib-e-nisbat) and friends of Allāh (awliyā’ullāh). At that time, Dārul ‘Ulūm felt like an institute of learning in the daytime and a Khānqāh in the evening. The sound of remembrance and recitation [of Qur’ān] could be heard from most rooms until the end of the night. This, in reality, was Dārul ‘Ulūm’s mark of distinction – which made it stand out from all the madrasas in the world.” (Mere Wālid e Mājid, Idārat al-Ma‘ārif, p. 62)