What is Islām’s stance on a woman being made the sovereign ruler of a country? When Pakistan elected its first female prime-minister in December of 1988, many concerned individuals were asking whether this is permissible in Islām. Hence, Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ ‘Uthmānī (b. 1936) wrote a detailed write-up on the issue of female rulership in Islām.*
Along with demonstrating that the Qur’ān, Sunnah and consensus of the scholars establish it to be impermissible, Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ addresses some common talking points of those who try to argue against this established ruling, namely:
- The alleged stance of Imām Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī
- The Qur’ānic account of Queen Bilqīs, queen of Sheba
- ‘Ā’ishah’s [raḍiyAllāhu ‘anhā] participation in the Battle of Jamal
- Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s discussion on the ḥadīth warning against female political sovereignty being inapplicable to a democratic government
Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ also demonstrates the unanimous verdict of the scholars of Pakistan is of impermissibility.
The write-up, authored in December of 1988, was endorsed and signed by major muftīs and scholars of Pakistan, namely Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhyānwī, Muftī Walī Ḥasan Tonkī, Mawlānā Salīmullāh Khān and Mawlānā Yūsuf Ludhyānwī.
* Aḥsan al-Fatāwā, 6:149-182; Nawādir al-Fiqh, 2:151-94
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) 
Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī (1905 – 1997) describes his father, Ṣūfī Aḥmad Ḥusayn (d. 1949), as someone whose “concern for Ᾱkhirah was greater than his concern for Dunyā, and while fully occupied in his work, he was from those who remembered Allāh much. The adhkār at different times included within his daily practices numbered around 20,000 in total. In one period, his practice was to recite Durūd Sharīf 4,000 times after ‘Ishā prayer. He was so punctual on Tahajjud that when I asked my noble deceased mother after his demise whether she was aware that our dear father had ever missed Tahajjud, she replied that when she first arrived, he would at times miss Tahajjud but on those days he would definitely keep fast, but for around thirty years, he never once missed it. My respected father died in Ramaḍān of 1368 in such a state that the tasbīḥ was in his hand and he was making dhikr.” (Taḥdīth e Ni‘mat, p. 22)
The great recent Ḥanafī jurist of Shām, ‘Allāmah Ibn ‘Ᾱbidīn (1783 – 1836), was connected to the Naqshbandī spiritual line via his teacher, Mawlānā Khālid al-Naqshbandī, a Kurdish-Damascene spiritual master. Mawlānā Khālid al-Naqshbandī (1779 – 1827 CE) spent some time in India where he became a disciple and successor (khalīfah) of Shaykh Ghulām ‘Alī al-Dehlawī (1743 – 1824 CE), the foremost successor of Mirzā Maẓhar Jān-e-Jān (1701 – 1781), whose spiritual chain reaches Mujaddid Alf-e-Thānī. (Shaykh Ghulām ‘Alī al-Dehlawī is also known as Shaykh ‘Abdullāh al-Dehlawī). Ibn ‘Ᾱbidīn describes Mawlānā Khālid al-Naqshbandī as “the unique imām, the noble, committed and matchless scholar, Ḥaḍrat Sayyidī Shaykh Khālid, who has spent his efforts in benefitting [Allāh’s] slaves, and guiding them towards holding fast to the profession of Tawḥīd, such that he became the pivot (quṭb) of the gnostics in all places and the absolute refuge of the aspirants (murīdīn), and the clear and manifest Naqshbandī Ṭarīqah became famous through him in all Islāmic lands…” (Majmū‘ah Rasā’il Ibn ‘Ᾱbidīn, 2:284)
The father of Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (1829 – 1905) – the spiritual and scholarly fountainhead of Deoband –, Mawlānā Hidāyat ‘Alī (d. 1836), was, like Mawlānā Khālid al-Naqshbandī, a disciple and spiritual successor (khalīfah) of Shaykh Ghulām ‘Alī. (Tazkirat al-Rashīd, 1:17)
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
Mawlāna Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī on the Meaning of Wahdat al-Wujūd
Some nefarious groups allege that the Akābir ‘ulamā’ of Deoband held the corrupt belief that nothing besides Allāh exists, and they claim that this is the meaning of the concept of “Wahdat al-Wujūd” which the ‘ulamā’ of Deoband supported.
In the following, we quote a passage written by Hazrat Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thānawī (1280 – 1362 H) rahimahullāh, in which he explains what the ‘ulamā’ of Deoband understand from the term, “Wahdat al-Wujūd.” Continue Reading