Wednesday, 26 November 2014
The Sharing Group Discussion: Identifying the Wahhabi Sect & Its Doctrines
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following thread was posted by me on The Sharing Group, on the 16th October 2014: "We have had threads on the group discussing the Wahhabi doctrine and its divergence from the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. And in the course of these discussions, it is mentioned that certain ‘scholars’ or preachers belong to the Wahhabi sect. The question is, how do we know? What are the red flags?"
Brother James Harris: We know them from their criticism of bid’ah, Sufism and Shi'ism, ‘taqlid’ with respect to adhering to a madzhab; descriptions of Allah (s.w.t.) in entirely physical and spatial terms, and excessive advising on fiqh issues over anything else. This sums up any of their presentations or writings in a nutshell.
Brother Rehan Sadik: To know them, just mention to them the names of awliya’ and the name Imam Ahmad Ridha (r.a.), you will find their face changing and becoming red.
Brother Saiyed Shahbazi: Those who say, “I follow Qur’an and swahih ahadits only.” Those who say, “We are just Muslims and follow Islam only.” They constantly mention Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), Mawdudi, Sayyid Quthb, and nowadays, try to change the world with hatred towards everyone who does not accept their understanding of Islam.
Sister Nadia Yadumi: As a convert, I find all this discussion a bit discouraging.
Sister San Yee: Sister Nadia, why is it discouraging?
Brother Saiyed Shahbazi: Reverts should find it more encouraging, as they are the ones who are mostly trapped in this vicious cycle unfortunately.
Brother Ilyas Foy: I think we have had this discussion far too many times. Sorry, Brother Rehan, but my face definitely does not light up at the mention of Imam Ahmad Ridha Khan (r.a.), but I do not class myself as a Wahhabi or a Salafi. I personally do not follow one single madzhab, but I do not criticise those that do. Yes, I am careful of ‘innovations’ and I avoid those that I think may take me towards shirk, but what others do is between them and their Creator. As far as Sufism and Shi’ism, I see them as two different understandings of Islam, and as long as the Khilafah ar-Rashidun are not criticised or insulted, I have no issues. Let us focus on the ‘Middle Way,’ the way of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and forget this minority group. There are other more dangerous groups and individuals both inside and outside of Islam.
James Harris: Sister Nadia Yadumi, as converts, it is a discussion that is going to come up sooner or later, whether we like it or not. Having the facts helps us to make better informed decisions. Being unaware of the facts opens us up to manipulation.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: With respect to all I feel this is a very important discussion to have, it is for far too long been dismissed as being divisive, but events in Sham really necessitate further discussion. This first thing that should be understood is that saying someone is not within the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is in no way the same as saying someone is not within the folds of Islam. The Shi’ah are considered Muslim, but not within the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. Many of the Ibadhi of Oman are also not considered as being part of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, but I have never heard any one claiming they are not Muslims or having any great objections to them. Brother James Harris will know far more about that issue.
Brother James McConnell: Here is the odd distinction: they believe Shaythan has influence over our lives, but Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is dead and has no influence. Think about that.
James Harris: The Ibadhis are named as one of eight legitimate legal schools in the Amman Message, as well as at al-Azhar, where significant numbers of Ibadhis have studied over the centuries. They are of course considered neither Sunni nor Shi’ah. It is worth noting that ibn Baz, the former Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared the Ibadhis to be kuffar, which led to diplomatic problems between Oman and Saudi Arabia at that time.
Sister Lorraine Nur-Shufiya Branson: If we read and educate ourselves enough, we will just know. If you want to test them, use the terms you know they will argue about. They never keep quiet; that is another sign. Their ego will not let them.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: The reason I made that point is to suggest that we can discuss these matters in a more neutral way. If we become clearer as to why there exist different groups, we will be in a better position to judge latter on as to which we feel represents us and will lead us to becoming a better person.
Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Do Deobandis not follow a madzhab and accept the validity of Sufism? Why would they be lumped in with the Wahhabis?
Brother William Voller: Yes Abdul-Halim Vazquez, there seems to be two types, those who have accepted Saudi funding and those that have not. Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: We have had threads defining the Wahhabi sect and its doctrines and explaining the divergence from the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. We have also had in depth discussions including the reproduction of the fatawa of some of our major scholars against the doctrine, and specifically the ‘aqidah of the Wahhabi sect. I am not going to repeat them here myself.
The first thing we scrutinise is the ijazat and the curriculum vitae. In Islam, we know our scholars by their teachers. As such, it is important to know the teachers and the chains of transmission. A graduate from the University of Madina is likely a Wahhabi. It is their premier institution set up by the Saudi state to promote their version of Islam. The following are some of the more famous graduates from this institution: Mishari Rashid, Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, Bilal Philips, Zakir Naik, Ismail Menk and Feiz Mohammad. This also includes graduates of derivative programmes by the alumni of the University of Madina such as Bilal Philips’ Islamic Online University.
The Saudi Wahhabi state also has several organisations to spread their doctrine. This includes the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. Al-Maghrib Institute and Al-Kauthar are funded through WAMY. Almost every instructor from these two is from the University of Madina. Unless one belongs to their sect, it is impossible to be appointed in any position. Another organisation funded by them is Peace TV. The most famous presenters on that programme are Zakir Naik, Yusuf Estes, Hussain Yee, Abdullah Hakim Quick and Bilal Philips. The majority of the presenters are either hardcore Salafi, or sympathetic towards it.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are dominated by the Wahhabi sect. it is impossible to be appointed to a state position concerning the religion unless one is connected to the Ahl ash-Shaykh, the descendants of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, or shares their ideology. The a’immah that lead the swalat in Makkah and Madina must be a Wahhabi. They will accept no other, considering them mushrikun.
This does not mean, however, that every graduate of the University of Madina, or every single person who took a course at the Islamic Online University, or every attendee of an Al-Maghrib programme is a Wahhabi. The majority of Muslims are ignorant of their religion and unable to tell when something said is incorrect. We look with the eye of rahmah, and husn azh-zhan.
We must understand that there are two types of people who are Wahhabi. The first are those who have embraced their ‘aqidah and propagate it, condemning the position of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah and spreading an ‘aqidah that is essentially shirk. These people are astray and are to be avoided. And then there are those who have taken position from that doctrine unknowingly, because that was what they were taught and there was no one to tell them otherwise. They are to be treated with compassion and if there is an opportunity, guided to something that is better. Addressing them is also part of da’wah.
Aside from these, there are a multitude of preachers on social media who are known as such by the things they have said, or the positions they adhere to. We identify them by what they say about certain key issues that depart from the position of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. They include denying taqlid, or the need to follow a madzhab, unless one is a mujtahid. They claim they are following the Qur’an and the sunnah. In effect, they are denying the Qur’an and the sunnah. This, in itself, is a huge topic and should be addressed separately. They deny the Prophet (s.a.w.), the prophets and the saints, and the pious predecessors are alive in the qabr, the realm of the grave. This is a major deviation since it denies the special Favour of Allah (s.w.t.) upon His friends, and denies by extension, any form of intercession. The Wahhabi sect and its adherents deny tawaswswul, intercession. They claim that this wasilah, this means, is shirk. They use this as a basis to condemn the Muslims as mushrikun, polytheists. It is on this basis that they make the blood of the Muslims halal in conflict. The denial of tawaswswul also means that the recitation of swalawat, the congregational dzikr and the Mawlid are extensions of this shirk. Many of them also deny the shafa’at, the intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.) on the Day of Judgment. They claim that the act of visiting the grave to pay homage, including especially, the Rawdhah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Madina is shirk. They further state that it is shirk to perform swalat in any masjid where there is a grave, maqam. This is why they have agitated and even tried several times to remove the body of the Prophet (s.a.w.) from Masjid an-Nabawi. And this is the excuse they use to destroy the maqamat, tombs, of the pious predecessors, including previous prophets, the companions and saints, desecrating the bodies.
Finally, the Wahhabis take a literal position regarding the Attributes of God. This includes believing that Allah (s.w.t.) is in a specific place above the ‘Arsh, believing that He has a physical body, and believing that He is not Transcendent or Immanent. To the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, that is shirk, and clear kufr.
In support of this ideology, the Wahhabis refuse to condemn or even support groups like ISIS, al-Qa’idah, Pakistani Taliban, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf, Jama’ah Islamiyyah and Laskar Jihad. Some of them have urged their followers to join in the struggle and take up arms. Preachers and scholars aside from those already named above, who have explicitly taken a Wahhabi position in some or all of the above include Nouman Ali Khan, Musa Cerantonio, Yusha Evans, and Abdur Raheem Greene.
An indication that someone may be influenced by this sect can be found in the way they dialogue. They will focus a lot on ahadits, but they will ignore any exegesis of it. They will only accept what they consider ‘authentic’, swahih ahadits. They have a strange affection for extra vowels. For example: ‘Islaam’, ‘Aboo Yusuf’, ‘Imaan’, ‘Qur’aan’. And their conversation focuses a lot on the minutiae of externalities to the exclusion of context, diversity in opinion and culture, ‘urf, which is a valid concern in jurisprudence, fiqh. This includes the emphasis that the beard is wajib in all circumstances, on extreme segregation, and the liberal use of the words, ‘shirk’, ‘kufr’, ‘haram’ and ‘bid’a’ in all their forms, ignoring the lexical and jurisprudential understanding.
Brother William Voller: There are those Deobandis who go with Saudi Arabia with ‘Iyd for example, and those who openly reject it and promote moon sightings. There are definitely two strands at least. Shaykh Nuh wrote a good article about the Barelvi-Deobandi divide.
Brother Ilyas Foy: That was quite a tirade, Brother Terence. Lots of names mentioned and lots of criticism. Initially you posed the question, then you answered your own question. I thank you for your clarity, but like I said at the start, I think we have had this discussion far too many times. I do not know what the predominant ‘flavour’ of Islam is in Singapore and the Far East, but in your enlightening fourteen paragraphs, you have just described the predominant version of Islam in Britain, give or take a few details.
Brother Saiyed Shahbazi: Well, the predominant version of Islam in Britain is Wahhabi then.
Brother Ilyas Foy: It really is not that simple and it is not constructive to keep using that label. The majority of Muslims in Britain have little or no idea who ibn ‘Abd al-Wahab was or what his influence is on Islam in the West. In Europe, Britain and America, the practice of the Muslim communities is influenced by the imported Islam of the immigrant communities and this differs from country to country, region to region and community to community. The immigration of Muslims in western countries was very much dependent upon the colonial influence and passport restrictions of those colonial powers.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That was not a tirade, Brother Ilyas Foy. That was an explanation. I did not ask the question because I did not know the answer; I asked the question because Brother Mark Andrew Johnston asked me that on another thread, and I did not feel inclined to answer then. We take our ‘aqidah very seriously. But we live in an age known amongst the scholars as Jahiliyyah ats-Tsani. It is important that people know their religion, and know how to identify their scholars. You would note that I made a distinction between their scholars and preachers, and the people who do not know any better.
Brother Saiyed Shahbazi, I would disagree that Salafism is the predominant sect in the UK. It is predominant in parts of the US, that is true. The UK is Blessed with some great scholars such as Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Shaykh Babakir, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, Shaykh Ahmad al-Juday, Shaykh Abdassamad Clarke and many, many more.
It is unfortunate that unlike the Wahhabi sect, our scholars do not have Saudi oil money funding our programmes and institutions to the millions. Which Muslim organisation can afford the million dollar sets that Peace TV has? Or can afford to do what Darussalam Publications does and fund printing of millions of copies of Islamic texts edited by their scholars at a loss, putting many traditional printers out of business?
Brother Ilyas Foy: No matter how strong the influence of Wahhabis and Salafis are, Britain will hopefully keep its diversity. The scholars mentioned in your second paragraph are widely known, well-liked and influential. The UK media is such that ‘Joe Muslim’ will watch a video by Zakir Naik one minute then another by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf the next. This accessibility to knowledge and opinion is a blessing because it allows Muslims to form their own opinions and to find the answers that they need to spiritual dilemmas and cultural versus Islamic conundrums.
Sister Colleen M Dunn: I should think that worshipping a literal interpretation of scripture, rather than worshipping God is a red flag. You can tell that God is left out of the picture by the lack of nuance, which is demonstrated by lack of mercy and compassion found in their rigid interpretation.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis I know a lot of good asatidzah, scholars and preachers in the UK. It is the place where Islam rose in the West.
Sister Colleen M Dunn: By the way, this red flag is true for any religion, not just Islam.
Brother Ilyas Foy: Believe me, there is spirituality in Saudi Arabia, but to find it you need to visit Makkah and Madina.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I know of great scholars in the Hijaz. Ustadz Fakhri Owaisi studied under them, I believe. But they would not be appointed to any position of significance. They have to be found, like gems in the desert. I am also aware that the Saudis still celebrate the Mawlid despite the threat of arrest, torture and imprisonment.
Brother Ilyas Foy: The majority of Muslims in Saudi Arabia are not Saudis. Here, we have expatriate Muslims from all over the globe, so if you are patient and you choose your friends wisely, you can find like minds. Most Saudis that I know are not Wahhabis or Salafis.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I agree with you, brother.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Mention the late Shaykh Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.), a spiritual teacher so welcoming, friendly and inspirational, any decent hearted person cannot help but love him, even if they happen to disagree on details. For some bizarre reason, I have found Wahhabis tend to go berserk at the mention of this name.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: They hated him. He was a shaykh for many of us in this group, some of us for decades.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: My bay’ah is with another Naqshbandi murshid, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abdullah in Birmingham, but Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) has had a profound impact on me. I have benefitted greatly through him and some of his close associates. May Allah (s.w.t.) Bless Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) and Raise his station in Jannah. amin.
Brother abdu'Rashid Craig: The length of the trousers is a bit of a giveaway. About mid-calf is standard.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Unless they are in Bermuda shorts, in which case they might be a very chilled out Sufi.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: There are differences in the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah regarding things that have a certain ambiguity. There is disagreement about behaviour at the graves of saints. There have been problems with the merging of Hindu beliefs and Islamic beliefs. There are people who substituted worshiping idols for worshiping graves. There are people in Muslims countries, going by Muslim names, whose beliefs differ very little from that of Hindus. For the ‘ulama of Hindustan, this was always a problem, especially when there was more of an advantage of being a Muslim in terms of worldly status. Shah Wali’ullah (q.s.) dealt with this and had some sympathy for ibn ‘Abd al-Wahab. But there is no ‘alim who discredits Shah Wali’ullah Dahlwi (q.s.). From him, two lines descend; one more tolerant of eccentric behaviour at graves and the other less so. One strand discouraged acts that in their minds were too reminiscent of idolatry. One such act was standing for Mawlid. Following their ijtihad, they banned Mawlid. I disagree with that ijtihad but that is the prerogative of the ‘ulama.
Just as many Hanafi ‘ulama forbid woman from going to masjid despite ahadits saying otherwise; they use the statement of ‘Aishah (r.a.) that if the Prophet (s.a.w.) had seen the women of this time he would have forbidden them. I do not agree women should be banned from masajid but do not dispute that the Hanafi have the authority to make the pronouncement as there is a hadits that says an ‘alim gets Rewarded for his ijtihad even if he makes a mistake. So we may dislike the prohibition of the Mawlid and do not need to follow it at all but recognise that such a fatwa does not negate their inclusion in the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah.
Brother David Rosser Owen: Are you implying, Brother Abdulkareem, that Wahhabis are Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah?
Brother William Voller: The Prophet (s.a.w.) described the Khwarij as, “the worst of all Creation,” as recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), and warned that they will come from the East, the Najd; be young, foolish and brainwashed; with shaven heads, unkempt beards and lower garments that come high up the leg; a remarkably accurate description, and all found in Swahih al-Bukhari.
James Harris: The predominant version of Islam in Britain is most certainly not Wahhabi Islam. The speakers mentioned in Brother Terence’s comment have minimal impact or credibility here, apart from a noisy minority.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: That may be true, Brother James Harris, but the Wahhabis have nonetheless made frightening inroads among the youth; this undoubtedly in large part due to a climate of prevailing ignorance and a lack of provision in English, of videos, books, pamphlets, and other resources pertaining to mainstream Islam, especially of the Sunni Muslim variety. Credit where credit is due, Shi’a Muslims have tended to be better organised in this respect, but even they have lost some of their youth to Wahhabism.
James Harris: I agree, Brother Paul.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Deobandi madaris appear to have played a role in this Wahhabisation of our youth, as they have often been Saudi-funded and used Saudi provided teaching materials in their classes, even though technically Deobandis are more Sunni than Wahhabi, in most cases. Fortunately, I get the indication through my activities that many Deobandis are now finally waking up to this problem and joining in the effort to turn things around for the better. The tragedy is that the damage has already been done, and will take time to heal.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: The Deobandis follow Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.): they teach his fiqh, they teach the ‘aqidah of Imam Maturidi (r.a.), they have salasil of taswawwuf. So how can they not be from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah?
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Abdulkareem C Stone, those are interesting points. But they have been previously raised, most often by the very people of the Wahhabi sect mentioned, and they have been refuted.
Firstly, there is no ambiguity regarding the ziyarah of the maqamat of the awliya’. It is an act that is encouraged in all madzahib, except certain scholars of the Deobandi branch of the Hanafi madzhab. Their opinion is discredited in the face of the overwhelming evidence of the ijma’. The notion that there has been a mixing of Hindu beliefs is actually a fitnah begun by a faction of the Deobandis against the Barelvis. It was a sectarian quarrel and we want no part of it. There is no evidence whatsoever that any orthodox thuruq mixes any Hindu beliefs. And we also have the famous hadits of the Prophet (s.a.w.), that he did not fear the ummah being led astray by shirk, but by the little things.
Regarding their controversial fatwa on the Mawlid, it was immediately and widely refuted by the ‘ulama of India and beyond. It created such consternation considering that it was very weak, that Imam Ahmad Ridha’ Khan (r.a.) issued a fatwa accusing them of kufr.
Since we all want to get technical, it should be pointed out that the gist of the fatwa did not pertains specifically to the Mawlid but to the hadhrah. There is a similar fatwa within the Shafi’i madzhab but it is more nuanced, stating that movements brought about by nafs as opposed to hal, were haram, that elements that contravened the shari’ah would render the hadhrah haram. However, if those elements were addressed, the hadhrah became permissible. The standing during the hadhrah has no element of shirk and has sound basis in fiqh. The accusation of shirk is baseless and an act of mischief.
However, two things must be recognised. Firstly, that these were fatawa addressing local concerns. They are not binding upon the wider ummah simply because those conditions that led to the fatawa are not present. Secondly, and most importantly, the fatwa of the Muftiyyun of Makkah, of Imam asw-Swawi (r.a.), Imam Sulayman ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (r.a.), Imam Muhammad Abu Zahrah (r.a.), Habib ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-A`azhami (r.a.), Imam Ahmad Ridha’ Khan (r.a.), Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn asw-Swiddiq al-Ghumari (r.a.), and many, many more, refuting the Wahhabi sect, and in some cases declaring them kafir; they are all on the basis of ‘aqidah, not fiqh.
If it were merely a difference of fiqh, they would be merely another madzhab. It is the contentions regarding the shirk, that put them out of the fold of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, and according to many of the scholars of the days before they conquered the Haramayn, put them beyond the fold of Islam. Aside from the Qadiani, the Wahhabis were the only other major sect banned from hajj, meaning, they were not considered Muslims.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Abdulkareem C Stone, I was referring to some Deobandis who are very obviously Wahhabised. I know others are mainstream Sunnis.
Brother William Voller: “Guilt by association,” is a fallacy because, in Imam as-Subki’s (r.a.) words, “it is insufficient to say, ‘This person belongs to that sect.’” While the fallacy of guilt by association is by no means rare in our times, one the most extreme examples is provided by the following fatwa, published in the contemporary monthly magazine, Kanz al-Iman in Delhi, India, from a work by the Barelvi mufti, Imam Jalal ad-Din Ahmad Amjadi in Kanz al-Iman. He was asked, “Zayd is a Sunni [Barelvi] of sound beliefs. He wants to marry the daughter of a Deobandi. The woman is willing to become a Sunni. Would such a marriage be allowed?”
He answered, “Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Tahanwi, Qasim Nanutwi, Rashid Ahmad Kankuwhi, and Khalil Ahmad Saharanfuri were declared to be apostate unbelievers by numerous noble scholars and venerable muftiyyun of venerable Makkah, Madina Munawwarah, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma, because of their decisive statements of disbelief, as in Hifzh al-Iman, Tahzdir an-Naas, and Barahin al-Qath‘iyyah. The details regarding this may be found in [Imam Ahmad Ridha Khan Baralwi’s (r.a.)] Fatawa; Husam al-Haramayn and asw-Swawarim al-Hindiyyah. All the Deobandis consider them their exemplars and Muslims, and defend them. As a result, they too, take the ruling of being apostates. It is not valid for anyone to marry an apostate, as mentioned in Fatawa Alamghiriyyah from al-Khaniyyah. It says, ‘It is not permitted for apostates to marry a Muslim or originally believing woman. Likewise, it is not permitted for a female apostate to marry anyone, as mentioned in al-Mabsuth.’
In the case being asked about, the marriage of Zayd, a man of sound Sunni beliefs, to the daughter of a Deobandi is absolutely impermissible. If she wants to become a Sunni, then if she and her entire household do so and it is then seen in two or three years that they are firm on the way of Ahl as-Sunnah, then it would be permitted for Zayd to marry her. Otherwise, it would not be permitted. It is absolutely not possible to permit marriage based on the deceptive words of someone who is legally an apostate. Otherwise, their very faith may be lifted. If they go ahead, this would not affect Islam and the sunnah in any way. Rather, the person would be ruining his own life, and become of the people of Hell.
If, in the above-mentioned case the marriage is going to take place, then no qadhi can perform their marriage. After this, all Muslims would be obliged to sternly boycott them, for Allah Most High Says,
… If Satan ever makes thee forget, then after recollection, sit not thou in the company of those who do wrong. (Surah al-An’am:68)”
It suffices as to its worth to reflect that according to this, a Hanafi Muslim man may marry a Jewish or Christian woman, but not a Hanafi Muslim woman from a Deobandi family, even if she rejects the Deobandi positions upon which the Barelvi’s mistaken takfir of them is based. The woman is supposed to be ineligible for marriage because of her mere association with Deobandis, and moreover remains guilty until proven innocent. This is not a fatwa, but a social problem. Such sentiments should be politely but firmly rejected by anyone who believes in Islam and the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.), who said, “The disease of [previous] nations has crept up upon you: envy and hatred. Truly, hatred is a shaver: it shaves away not hair, but religion. By Him in whose hand is my soul, you shall not enter Paradise until you believe. And you shall not believe until you love one another.” This is recorded in Musnad al-Bazzar.
The above fatwa is but an example. Otherwise, it is all too common to hear, for instance, that “So-and-so is a kafir because he is a Wahhabi,” or “a Shi’ite,” or “a Deobandi, or “a Salafi,” or “a Sufi,” or something else. In all such cases, even when the speaker’s impression of a group is not mere prejudice or hearsay, it is legally invalid to judge particular individuals according to the tenets of the group or to the words or deeds of other members.
Allah (s.w.t.) has Decreed:
Say: "Shall I seek for (my) Cherisher other than Allah when He is the Cherisher of all things (that exist)?" Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another... (Surah al-An’am:164)
Thus, no Salafi, for example, has to acquit himself of the massacres of Muslims historically committed by Wahhabis in the past; or any Shi’ite for the practices of other Shi’ites; or any Sufi for utterances of other Sufis; and so on. The individual Muslim is only answerable for what he personally believes and does.
The above is excerpted from Iman, Kufr, & Takfir
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I think we all agree on that, Brother William Voller, and thank you for this. Hence, we make the distinction between the ordinary Muslims who do not know enough and are not learned, and those who put themselves forth as learned and guide the people accordingly.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, yes there are some really terrible, objectionable ‘ulama amongst them who deny the life of Muhammad (s.a.w.) in the grave, and tell others not to pray behind someone who believes the ‘-ka’, ‘you’, of tahiyyat is perceived by Muhammad (s.a.w.); there are more and more of these types coming out of the Deobandis madaris.
But I know, within those madaris are undoubted Sufis, following in the footsteps of great Sufis like Shaykh Zakariyah Khandalwi (q.s.). I know ‘ulama who have translated his Fadha’il ad-Darud and Fadha’il al-Hajj. They are books banned by Saudi Arabia because they speak about how to communicate with the Prophet (s.a.w.) during ziyarah. He does make a demarcation that the Prophet (s.a.w.) can only hear you as far as one can see the green dome. He says one should not say, “Ya Rasulullah,” from further than this because he will not hear; many find this objectionable. I do, but I cannot see it is kufr. One has to understand this objection is carried to far, as are the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In the Muslim community in India and Pakistan, the worst accusation is to accuse some one of blasphemy. There may be some reasoning to say the Prophet (s.a.w.) will not hear but whether or not, I do not think that believing there is some limits to the knowledge of the Prophet (s.a.w.) constitutes blasphemy as many seem to suggest. Questions of ‘ilm al-ghayb also seem to fit in to this. Of course, the Prophet (s.a.w.) does not know the ‘ilm al-ghayb, because how could he know what he has not seen. It is not an article of faith to believe the has seen each and every thing, but he has certainly been shown things that no other human has ever seen,
Most of these things are semantics exploited for political reasons. Concerning Deobandi and Barelvi they both have really good people and real extremists. There is a sympathy with Wahhabism in the Deobandi but no one has yet to convince me that that sympathy negates their core beliefs. Are there really people who would make a declaration of kufr on the great Sufis of the Deoband, amongst them the author of Fadha’il 'Amal, Fadha’il Darud, and Fadha’il Hajj. That really needs and convincing argument. Fatawa from one reading of one book given other a hundred years is not much. Those are all fatawa which, according to the Deoband, was reversed when they gave their reply. It was a time of great fitnah with the British; arguments were going on about whether it was permissible for Muslims to join the British army. It was a difficult time. Like I have said, I disagree strongly with the Deoband and there is something very wrong amongst them but claiming they are not Sunni is, or worse, that they are not Muslim, is dangerous.
The more others assume them of being Wahhabis and not Sunni, the more the actual Wahhabi elements within them grow stronger and stronger, such as those who want to break away from taqlid like Ismail Menk. Articles like the one above, of the Shadzili path are not representative of all the ‘ulama. Amongst the names mentioned above, such Shaykh Abdul Hakeem Murad and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, there are very few that would not recognise the importance of the Deobandi in preserving Hanafi fiqh and their contribution to taswawwuf.
Sister Ishq Ain Sheen Qaaf: The following is a critique of Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s “Iman, Kufr & Takfīr”: The Killer Mistake
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I have read this, and the article that started it. I am a fan of much of Imam Ahmad Ridha' Khan’s (r.a.) works.
Brother William Voller: Shaykh Nuh is not infallible sure, but the little I have read suggests this article is a bit of the social problem he was talking about. God Forgive us
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Imam Ahmad Ridha’ Khan (r.a.) did issue a fatwa against the Deobandis, labelling them kafir. It equated them with the Wahhabis. I consider it a local issue that got out of hand.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: I, too, have great respect for Imam Ahmad Ridha Khan’s (r.a.) work, his defence of the love and respect of the Prophet (s.a.w.), especially through his poetry. I love the mawlid after juma’ah in many masajid and the sense of celebration at the time of mawlid. The Deobandi refusal to acknowledge any days of importance in history is sad, but there are still some that defend the fifteenth of Sha’ban. But I also respect the Deobandi efforts to educate people by writing in the common language especially when it come to the importance of making taqlid. Then, after the great treason of the Saudis, the Deobandi choose to cooperate with them, continued the dialogue.
The Deobandis persuaded the Saudis not to demolish the green dome. They hid their taswawwuf from the Arabs. Yes, they got into bed with enemy, but that was to try to rectify them. They persuaded them to, at least in name, call themselves Hanbali, which was an improvement on the Wahhabis before. I stick up for the Deobandi, not because I agree with them, but their position in the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah acts as a balancing. Each group within a whole tends to over emphasise their position. None are on the right path completely, but the synergy of all the variants creates a barakah. The takfir of the Wahhabis was an enormity; the Saudi treason against the Khilafah more so. People reacted differently, Sunnis acted differently. Maybe things were said that were stupid. But that was a hundred and fifty years ago. If there are people that are just about falling out of the jama’ah, we do not push them out.
The Deobandi are in the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah: they are Hanafi in their fiqh, and their ‘Aqidah tis Maturidi. Many of them are Jisti or Naqshbandi. There are differences about just what the Prophet (s.a.w.) knows and sees and does not know and see, but these matters are not crucial to iman al-mufaswswal. I have met some Barelvi shuyukh who say the Prophet (s.a.w.) knows what Allah (s.w.t.) knows; he sees what Allah (s.w.t.) sees. Others have said categorically that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is not bashr, not insan. They said he is not human. When I heard a respected shaykh say this sort of thing, I was shocked. Like I said, there are extremists in both sides. Well, I have to thank those extremist for making it so uncomfortable that I had to leave.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Abdulkareem, I personally have nothing whatsoever against Sufis or mainstream Deobandis. My only gripe is with the extremists among them, and my hope is that the rest of the Deobandi school will sort this out in due course. I agree, too, that there are nutters among the Barelvis. I do not subscribe to either school and have many friends in both.
Brother William Voller: Forgive me, but I am uncomfortable with this. Beliefs matter, sure, but can one ever really know what someone’s belief is? Words mean a lot less and often are meant in a different way to what is understood. I have not gone through the article with a fine tooth comb but it really sounds like they will argue on words and call it belief. From the conclusion, Shaykh Keller says they meant something else but actually they did not, a circular argument. Anyway, these days, I think the measure of a man is what they do. Labels and words do not necessarily cancel ones good works. I am sure we all agree to just race each other to good works
Brother Richard Ronco: There was a small group of Deobandis with us on Arafat and they prayed swalat al-‘aswr separately from everyone else. I was really upset by this. No matter what, they should follow the jama’ah, especially during hajj.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Brother Richard they were making taqlid of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.); their ‘aswr starts later than the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali.
Brother Richard Ronco: So what! There were other Hanafis there too, and they followed the jama’ah. It is hajj. They would have let go of their little nitpicking of fiqh.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother William Voller, my approach is to always give people the benefit of the doubt, unless they make their beliefs obvious and a problem. I actually do get on with some people who regard themselves as Salafi, and approach Islam through the Salafi minhaj. These are those who study Qur’an and ahadits with good intentions, appear to have good hearts, and it shows through their actions. I regard these individuals as Muslims. Our problem is with the preachers and takfiris, not the average Joe Salafi, who has simply been taken in by them.
Brother Richard Ronco: During Arafat, zhuhr and ‘aswr are shortened and combined. I do not buy their excuse.
Brother William Voller: Yes, Brother Richard Ronco, that is where fiqh is replaced with words or protocols.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Taqlid of one of the four a’immah is a key principle unifying the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. There are differences which we respect. These Deobandi were not praying ‘aswr differently in the Haram, but on Arafat, one is free to pray in a small jama’ah one prefers. According to the school of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.), ‘aswr and zhuhr are not combined.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: That said, it is absolutely vital we promote classical Islam, and ensure everyone has access to these teachings. As I mentioned earlier in this thread; part of the reason some Muslims got involved with the Salafis in the first place, was a lack of available resources in English for them to learn from. Another is the monocultural nature of some of our mosques. For all there manifold faults, Salafi masajid in the UK are often very mixed and not segregated along tribal lines. These are two important points they have exploited and capitalised upon and which we still have a long way to go in rectifying in the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah masajid. Hence, not all Salafis would be Salafi were they given more options.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: When people attack each other, they become more rigid. We should find reasons to respect others even if you do not personally follow them.
Sister San Yee: I thought that you might be interested that the demographics of the mosques in Britain from Muslims in Britain Masjid Report, is as follows:
Other Sufi: 3.5%
Maududi-inspired, Islamic Movement: 2.9%
Arabic or African Mainstream: 3.0%
Shi’a, Twelvers, Bohra or Ismaili: 4.1%
Non-denominational prayer groups: 9.2%
Non-Muslim, Qadiani faith: 1.3%
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: I understand that there is a clear difference between the ‘aqidah of the Wahhabi from the Ash’aris and Maturidi. The latter use reasoning to understand verses of the Qur’an concerning beliefs about Allah (s.w.t.). The Wahhabi reject any use of reasoning in the interpretation of ayat pertaining to Allah (s.w.t.) and His Attributes. They argue that the early scholars never used reasoning. That can easily be explained and their erroneous ‘aqidah explained. It is accepted that both relying on Revelation and use of reasoning combined are necessary for explaining ‘aqidah by the Ash’aris and Maturidi. Obviously because there are two school differences exist.
Within India especially, the beliefs about the Prophet (s.a.w.) became very important. All Sunni ‘ulama believe that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is alive in his grave and has some degree of cognition of what is going on in the world. Some Deobandi do not, and if they do not, then they personally have left the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. Most Deobandi believe the Prophet (s.a.w.) is cognitive of what is going on in the precincts of his grave. They say angels deliver messages from the rest of the ummah. So in this analogy, he is aware of us, like the majority of you are aware of me on face value. That is the analogy.
Most of these problems have become arguments over analogy similar to this. Certain ‘ulama stress you must believe Prophet (s.a.w.) to be hadhir wa an-nadzir, present and seeing. What that means is ambiguous. Like I said, I met some that say the Prophet (s.a.w.) sees everything. Some other says he sees every Muslim who gives salaam to him. Maybe that true, it is not impossible for Allah (s.w.t.) to Grant that to him, so I cannot see how believing that is wrong. But also I do not see how not believing that is wrong either. What is happening here is the use of reason in explaining belief but neither opinion concerning the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) hadhir wa nadzir is fully supported by Qur’an or hadits,
Sister Ishq Ain Sheen Qaaf: Please refer to the following article: The Omnipresence of the Prophet
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The Wahhabi sect claim they follow the Hanbali ‘aqidah of the Thahawi or the Atsari. The latter refrain from using ‘aql and believe that these verses should be left as it is, uninterpreted. The Wahhabi sect, on the other hand, took a step further, and took these verses literally. In the verse on Allah (s.w.t.) Being Established on His ‘Arsh, the Ash’ari and the Maturidi are of the opinion that it is metaphorical. The Atsari and the Thahawi are of the opinion that we should leave it as it is, and to question it might lead to kufr. The Wahhabis believe that Allah (s.w.t.) is literally a body sitting on a throne, possessing hands, feet, a face and such. But they qualify that it is unlike anything in Creation. The former two positions are acceptable. The Wahhabi position is considered shirk.
Regarding the Deobandi, the contention is not regarding their fiqh, which is controversial also. Rather, it is with regards certain positions taken by some of their ‘ulama regarding ‘aqidah. If those positions are the same to the Wahhabi position, then it is shirk, and the fatwa of Imam Ahmad Ridha’ Khan (r.a.) holds, and they are engaged in kufr.
Sister Ishq Ain Sheen Qaaf: I spent so much time amongst extremist Deobandi ‘ulama, Salafis and Wahhabis as well, but I was never brainwashed. I listened to them attack Sunni beliefs and speak of how to disrupt Sunni gatherings, how to whisper fitnah to individual women in gatherings. They have been disrupting Sunni gatherings for decades. Deobandi men threaten people who attack or criticise their minhaj. Then, it made my blood boil that Nawaz Sharif and his family have been funding the tabligh movement in Pakistan.
I prefer the old Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Alim Swiddiq al-Qadri (q.s.) and his poetry:
“My heart yearns to show its bleeding scars,
And to teach everyone on earth the laws,
Which might make blessed life, yours.
This is my yearning and this is my aim.
This is my intention and this is my claim.
With this I yearn to scan the globe.
And deliver to humanity the message of Hope.”
The following is a translation of an extract from a poem by Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Alim Swiddiq (q.s.) written in his college years.
“O Prophet of Allah, please look towards my direction,
And accept me as your devoted follower.
O Prophet of Allah, save me from the love of dunya,
And help me to awake from my slumber.
O Prophet of Allah, let me on the Day of Qiyamah,
Be amongst the fortunate ones so that I can receive thy shafa’at.
O Prophet of Allah, how fortunate I am to be born into your ummah,
And on thee, I depend for guidance in this world, so help me.
O Prophet of Allah, when I die, dark and lonely will be my qabr,
But with thy light, my abode will be filled with nur.
O Prophet of Allah, I pray to Allah that He Takes me to Madina,
And cause me to die besides thy blessed Rawdhah.”
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, I have never heard anyone claiming that the Deobandi belief deviate from the Maturidi in respects to Allah (s.w.t.); the contention concerns the Prophet (s.a.w.). This boils down to what does saying the Prophet (s.a.w.) has presence mean? It is a delicate point that really arose out of taswawwuf, in particular, Imam Ahmad as-Sirhindi (q.s.). The above article from Imam al-Haddad (q.s.) is interesting and one statement jumps out. He affirms that the soul of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is physically and spiritually present wherever Allah (s.w.t.) Wishes. He then says the one who denies that has left Islam. That is true because it is like saying Allah (s.w.t.) cannot not do as He Wishes.
I never heard Deobandis dispute that. They would say Allah (s.w.t.) does not wish the Prophet (s.a.w.) to be physically present anywhere other than Madina. They are talking about the material body of the Prophet (s.a.w.). They place limitations on his spiritual presence but that is in dispute with those who say knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.) and his Prophet (s.a.w.) are equal. I have spoken to Barelvis whose words lead me to believe they attributed omnipresence and omniscience to the Prophet (s.a.w.). He said categorically one was not a Muslim if he did not believe in the omniscience of the Prophet (s.a.w.).
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I do not consider it a mainstream Deobandi considering that it contradicts with their books. Unfortunately, there are Deobandi who do hold these positions, and that is problematic.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, can we be more specific about Deoband. What beliefs are considered to remove some of the Deoband from the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. Which ‘ulama are these and in what context where these things said. Also I think it is important to deal with whether or not there is any validity to their objection that the follower of Imam Ridha’ Khan’s (r.a.) claim omniscience. I understand Urdu, and have sat in both Deobandi and Barelvi gatherings. I have heard with my own ears some scholars saying Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is not bashr, he is nur; he is light, not human. Is this not problematic?
I have no problem with the phrase, ‘nur al-bashr’, ‘light and human’. He is nur, and he is human. He is like a ruby or diamond while all others are like stone. Rubies and diamonds are stones but light passes through them. I also can believe that the ruh of Muhammad (s.a.w.) was originally made from a column of nur. But insisting the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) never had a shadow, or that light shone from him, does not prove he is not human. Musa (a.s.) had light shine from his hand. There are narrations that light shone from the hand of the swahabah too. It has been recently discovered that the human body shine with light. But some scholar, claiming they represent the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, are adamant being nur is exclusive to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and because light shone from him; he is not human.
Brother Ilyas Foy: Please keep this thread going. These points are exactly what I see as problematic with the Barelvi understanding of the state of the Prophet (s.a.w.) when alive, and the presence of the Prophet (s.a.w.) since death.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Just because one section of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah made concessions to the Wahhabiyyah, and as a consequence made errors that does not make those section of the Sunni that did not infallible. We, who uphold, the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, have to be careful not to allow old grudges from the days of British imperial rule in India effect our understanding of what it is to be Sunni. There is a strong case against people like Ismail Menk who despite going to a Deobandi madrasah, is now spreading a message that is essentially one that has no place in Sunni Islam. It is imperative that we come to a clear understanding as to why the universities in Saudi Arabia are no longer teaching the tenets of Sunni Islam.
There is a necessity to denounce the teachings of Bilal Philips, for example. I believe these teachings are part of the problem of ISIS. Yes, the Taliban in their original pre-911 incarnation, were Deobandi. There were many problems with the Taliban, but I would add that they were not that different in mentality from groups that were fighting in India for Kashmiri independence that were supported by Barelvis. In Afghanistan, the issue of shrines became an ethnic issue in a war essentially between two ethnic groups. Although now, the Pakistani Taliban say they support ISIS, it must be remembered that the Taliban has changed. It must be considered that if Kashmiri fighters had secured territory in India the ‘Sunni’ Muslims would have no qualms in quoting, “Smite them with your swords,” and justifying killing innocent Hindus.
The essence of taswawwuf could be conceived as the relationship between a doctor and patient. The doctor has an entire pharmacy of prescriptions available. These can be given and taken away. What cures one person will not cure the other, but might kill him. Sometime sama’ is beneficial, other times not. Some people are allergic to some medicine, and others become dependent on them, and what used to benefit them no longer does. There have abuses of the relationship between shaykh and murid. I know, and this is not just propaganda. There are so called shuyukh that are paid to pray swalah on behalf of others. There is an element of Wahhabi propaganda as there was from the Protestants about the Catholics and their selling of indulgences. But that does not mean that protestant were totally baseless, and the church never used indulgences in a corrupt manner. They were guilty of exaggeration but that is a common fault of any group.
Sister Fatima Ali Faruque Naqshbandi: Corruption can be found in anything. That does not mean one negates it completely. If sama’ does not work for you particularly, the murshid, that I have come across many from different thuruq, finds other ways for you. That a fear of shirk and corruption leads to constant negation is not right. That Sufis do not pray, and expect the murshid to pray for them is another thing blown out of proportion. In fact, non-Muslims who seek the company and the devotion of the murshid tend to also be at zawiyah and around the shaykh in the past and present. They cannot be said to not be praying when they not even Muslim, and we do not ask every single person if they Muslim or not.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: We can pay ‘shuyukh’ to perform swalah for us? Why not just set up a monastery to pray for Forgiveness of everyone’s sins? Honestly. But that is not Sufism; it is a gimmick exaggerated by propaganda.
Sister Fatima Ali Faruque Naqshbandi: Amongst the wealthy donors of Khwaja Mu’in ad-Din Jisty (q.s.) were wealthy Rajputs and other Hindus. Imagine the perspective of the wealthy donors, that they were giving gifts to Khwaja Jisty (q.s.) for ‘penance’. However, he never kept the gifts, and distributed them to the poor, and was rightfully called the helper of the poor. He was a Hanafi ‘alim, but more so, a spiritual master who conquered hearts and minds. His thariqa’, as well as the Qadris were the main reason why Islam spread in India.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: If you are expressing your worries about corruption within the Deobandi mashaykh of taswawwuf, that is fine. I, too, have great concerns regarding their dry methods which is why I ran from them. I did not like their austerity, but I recognise they are authentic practitioners of taswawwuf.
Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: True. Traditionally, Sufis were the frontline charity workers in their communities.
Sister Nadia Yadumi: A Chinese Muslim convert who went to a seminar in the University of Hong Kong, listened to an interfaith talk by a Turkish ‘Sufi’ professor from Fatih University and an Armenian priest. After the talk, the professor said he did not need to pray and that there are other ways of communicating with Allah (s.w.t.). The Armenian priest told the sister not to believe him and said that is definitely not how he sees other devout Muslims, the Sufis, in Turkey practice, and that steadfastness in prayer is one of the things he admires.
What I find discouraging in this forum, is that this group seems to spend more time saying what is wrong than what is right. Negativity does not seem productive. I also find it difficult to understand the difference between sainthood in Christianity and awliya’ in Islam. What is the difference?
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I would rather not delve into the political and ethnic issues of the Deobandis and the Barelvis. My focus is on doctrine. I am less interested, for example, on how Ismail Menk came to propagate the Wahhabi position on ‘aqidah, than the fact that he does. He may claim to be Sunni, but by doctrine, he is not. How he came to it is for him to address himself. And by extension, whilst we may understand how the Deobandi may have mistakenly arrived at some of their positions, they are, without doubt mistaken. We reject their allegations as spurious. One cannot take singular examples of misconduct in the ummah and attribute them to the legitimate doctrine of taswawwuf.
On the issue of the Nur Muhammadi, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) being bashr, I would prefer that be addressed on another thread since it is a complex issue by itself.
On the issues of awliya’ that Sister Nadia Yadumi, brought up, they refer to those who are spiritually close to God. Whilst there are many similarities with Christianity, there is a fine line between tawaswswul and worship, not that I am saying the Christian doctrines engages in it.
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, I think you have the luxury of being within a Shafi’i majority region removed from the bitter division within the Hanafi madzhab. If you feel that new Muslim who have come to Islam through the Hanafis in the UK are not within the remit of this group, then that may be the acceptable position to take. But here in the UK, the environment is Hanafi and that is not going to change any day soon. Those new Muslims who stay within the Barelvi have to conform to that group’s definition that they alone in the UK are the only ‘Sunnis’. They become exceedingly isolated and untrusting of anyone else. Those new Muslims within the Deobandi get accused of being Wahhabi by the Barelvi when, in fact, they too are fed up with the Wahhabis.
The Deobandi here in UK are also very concerned about Ismail Menk. He is undermining years of their efforts to ensure the teaching of the Hanafi school are followed. This is a time when the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is under threat and one segment of the Hanafi in the UK use of the term ‘Sunni’ to mean, ‘not Deobandi,’ is in the UK at least, to the further undermining of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. It has been accepted here on the The Sharing Group that there is a problem with certain sections of the Deoband but not all. This is exactly the question that faces head on if we want to deal with the question of Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. If this group is to be relevant to the Sunni Muslims of the West, we have to discuss whether it is correct to put up fatwa saying Sunni Muslims should not marry Deobandi for example.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I have not said anything of that sort, brother, and neither do I subscribe to those views. I expressed my dissatisfaction with some of the Deobandi positions and consider them problematic. There is not even a hint of takfir. I am surprised that such a conclusion could be inferred. By the way, I am also Hanafi, although I do not consider myself Deobandi or Barelvi. Those are divisions that belong only to a subset from the Indian subcontinent. Those divisions are irrelevant to me,
Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Thanks for that clarification. I appreciate that. I, too, find so much of the Deobandi exceedingly problematic but have never been convinced that their ‘aqidah deviates to that extent they are no longer Hanafi or followers of the Maturidi school of ‘aqidah. You have correctly said that the Deobandi-Barelvi split is a political one as well as an ethnic one. Sometimes it is better just to accept that all the member of a family will not get on. Sometimes, our idealism causes us great grief. Fitnah is a fact of life.