Calamity of Takfir [Rulings of Heresy - Apostate]
Ghulam Ahmad Pervez of Lahore is a well-known Pakistani Islamic thinker and writer, representing the Ahl-i Quran tendency, and founder of the Idara Tulu‘-i-Islam (Institute of the Dawn of Islam). In the monthly journal of this institute, entitled Tulu‘-i-Islam, dated August 1969, there is an extensive article headed Fatwas of Kufr (Rulings of Heresy) quoting fatwas of various Sunni groups condemning one another as kafir. A long extract from this article is given below in translation.
The Sunnis are divided into two main sects: Non-conformists (ghair muqallid), commonly known as Ahl-i Hadith, and conformists (muqallid), commonly known as Hanafis. The conformists are divided into two groups: Deobandi and Barelvi. Also among the conformists are the various Sufi orders. Now let us see how these sects are declaring each other as kafir.
Fatwas of conformists against non-conformists
“The non-conformist (ghair muqallid) sect, whose distinctive outward manner [of prayer] in this country is saying Amen aloud, raising the hands [during the prayer], folding the arms on the chest, and reciting the Al-Hamd behind the Imam, are excluded from the Sunnis, and are like other misguided sects, because many of their beliefs and practices are opposed to those of the Sunnis. It is not permissible to pray behind them. To mix with them socially and sit with them, and to let them enter mosques at their pleasure, is prohibited in Islamic Shari‘ah.” (This bears the seals of nearly seventy Ulama. Reference the book: Arguments with regard to the expulsion of Wahabis from mosques, p. 8.)
“He who calls conformism (taqlid) as prohibited, and conformists as polytheists, is a kafir according to Islamic Shari‘ah, and in fact a murtadd [apostate].” (Book: Discipline of mosques with regard to the expulsion of mischief-makers from mosques)
“It is obligatory upon the Ulama and Muftis that, by merely hearing of such a thing, they should not hesitate to issue fatwas of heresy and apostasy. Otherwise, they themselves would be included among the apostates.” (ibid.)
Ahmad Raza Khan, the Barelvi leader, has quoted the beliefs of all sections of the non-conformists, and given the fatwa:
“All these groups are murtadd and kafir. He who doubts their being kafirs, is himself a kafir.”
(Book Hisam al Haramain)
Fatwas of non-conformists against conformists
“Question: What say the Ulama and the Muftis regarding the conformist (muqallid) group, who follow only one Imam [i.e. Hanafis]. Are they Sunnis or not? Is it valid to pray behind them or not? Is it permissible to allow them into mosques, and to mix with them socially?
“Answer: Undoubtedly, prayers are not permissible behind conformists because their beliefs and practices are opposed to those of the Sunnis. In fact, some of their beliefs and practices lead to polytheism, and others spoil prayers. It is not correct in Islamic Shari‘ah to allow such conformists into mosques.”
This bears the seals of nineteen priests. (Reference the book: Collection of Fatwas, pp. 54 – 55)
The late Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan wrote:
“The word polytheist can be applied to conformists, and polytheism can be applied to conformism. Most people today are conformists. The Quranic verse, ‘Most people believe not, they are but polytheists’, applies quite well to them.”
(Iqtarab as-Sa‘a, p. 16)
Not only Hanafis, but all of them:
“The followers of all the four Imams and the followers of the four Sufi orders, viz. Hanafi, Shafi‘i, Maliki, Hanbali, Chishtiyya, Qadiriyya, Naqshbandiyya and Mujaddidiyya are all kafirs.”
(Jami al-Shuhood, p. 2)
Fatwa of three hundred Ulama against Deobandis
“The Deobandis, because of their contempt and insult, in their acts of worship, towards all saints, prophets, and even the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the very Person of God Himself, are definitely murtadd and kafir. Their apostasy and heresy is of the worst kind, so that anyone who doubts their apostasy and heresy even slightly is himself a murtadd and kafir. Muslims should be very cautious of them, and stay away from them. Let alone praying behind them, one should not let them pray behind one, or allow them into mosques, or eat the animal slaughtered by them, or join them on happy or sad occasions, or let them come near one, or visit them in illness, or attend their funerals, or give them space in Muslim grave-yards. To sum up, one must stay away from them completely.”
(See the Unanimous Fatwa of Three Hundred Ulama, published by Muhammad Ibrahim of Bhagalpur)
Deobandis should be declared non-Muslim minority
In March 1953, a poster was put up on walls in Karachi headed: “Demands: Deoband sect should be declared a separate minority”. Among other things it said:
“Just as Sikhs originated from Hinduism, but are not Hindus, and Protestants came from Roman Catholicism, but are not Catholics, similarly, the Deobandi sect originated in the Sunni community, but are not Sunnis. The representatives of this minority sect are Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Sayyid Sulaiman Nadawi, Ihtasham-ul-Haqq, and Abul Ala Maudoodi, etc.”
After this it was demanded that this sect be declared a non-Muslim minority. It was signed by 28 persons (see Tulu‘-i-Islam, May 1953, p. 64).
Fatwa of Deobandis against Barelvis
Maulavi Sayyid Muhammad Murtaza of Deoband has, in his book, tried to show that Ahmad Raza Khan, the Barelvi leader, was a kafir, a great kafir, Anti- Christ of this century, murtadd, and excluded from Islam. (See the booklet Radd at-Takfir ala-l-fahash at-Tanzir.)
The opposite side
Ahmad Raza Khan (Barelvi) has noted the beliefs of Muhammad Qasim Nanotavi (founder of the school at Deoband) and Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (of Deoband), and then added:
“They are all murtadd [apostate] according to the unanimous view (ijma) of Muslims.”
This fatwa bears the signatures and seals of Ulama of Makka and Madina, and other Muftis and Islamic judges. Three reasons have been given for calling them kafir:
They deny the finality of prophethood;
They insult the Holy Prophet;
They believe that God can tell a lie.
Hence it is written about them:
“He who doubts that they are kafirs, is himself a kafir.”
(Hisam al-Haramain, pp. 100 and 113)
You will have seen that all the sects, whether Hanafis, Ahl-i Hadith, Deobandi, or Barelvi, and all the Sufi orders such as Chishtiyya, Qadiriyya, etc., have had fatwas of heresy and apostasy pronounced against them. And not only sects, but the prominent men of these sects have had fatwas directed against them individually.
Fatwas against individual leaders
Maulana Nazir Husain of Delhi (Ahl-i Hadith) was called disputant, doubter, follower of base passions, jealous, dishonest and alterer (of the Quran).
Maulavi Muhammad Husain Batalavi, along with the above Maulana, was called devil, atheist, stupid, senseless, faithless, etc. This fatwa bears the seals of 82 Ulama of Arabia and elsewhere. (Book Nazar al-Haq)
Maulana Sana-Ullah of Amritsar (Ahl-i Hadith) had fatwas directed against him which were obtained in Makka. It is written about his commentary of the Quran:
“It is the writing of a misguided person, one who has invented new doctrines. In his commentary he has collected beliefs such as re-incarnation and the doctrines of the Mu‘tazila [an early extreme Muslim sect]. It is neither permissible to obtain knowledge from Maulana Sana-ullah, nor to follow him. His evidence cannot be accepted, nor can he lead prayers. There is no doubt regarding his heresy and apostasy. ... His commentary deserves to be cut to pieces. In fact, it is forbidden to see it except for the purpose of refuting it.”
(Faisila Makka, pp. 15 – 20)
Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (Deobandi):
Referring to an article of his, the weekly Tarjuman Islam of Lahore carried the following extract in its issue for 10 November 1961:
“Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, Deobandi, was a first-rate scholar and servant of Quran and Hadith. He needs no introduction. But one was very shocked by a letter of his which contained the grotesque idea of the denial of Hadith. This concept goes beyond the Mu‘tazila, and breaks the records of the ideologies of Chakralvi and Pervez.”
All those whose record is said to be broken by Husain Ahmad Madani, have had fatwas of kufr directed against them. This makes it clear that Maulana Madani too is considered a kafir.
Abul Ala Maudoodi and his party have been the subject of fatwas by Ulama of nearly every sect.
Mufti Muhzar-ullah, of Jami Fatehpuri in Delhi, wrote in his fatwa:
“On the very face of it, these things [beliefs of Maudoodi’s party] exclude a Muslim from the Sunnis, and lead to divisions among the believers, and is the basis of making a new sect. But looking closely, these things take one to heresy. In this case, they do not make a new sect, but result in one’s entry into the group of apostates.”
Maulana Hafiz-ullah of Aligarh has written:
“Whatever was the position of the Zarar mosque, similar is the position of this [i.e. Maudoodi’s] party.”
[Note: The Zarar mosque was a mosque built by some hypocrite Muslims in Madina during the Holy Prophet’s time for the purpose of conspiring against Islam].
The word kufr is used about the Zarar mosque in the Holy Quran. Hence the same word applies to these people.
Maulana Izaz Ali, Deobandi, wrote in his fatwa:
“I consider this [i.e. Maudoodi’s] party to be even more harmful for the faith of the Muslims than are the Ahmadis.”
Mufti Sayyid Mahdi Hasan, President-Mufti of the theological school at Deoband, writes in his fatwa:
“If an Imam of a mosque agrees with the views of Maudoodi, it is a hateful matter to pray behind him.”
Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (Deobandi) wrote in a letter to Maudoodi:
“Your ‘Islamic’ movement is against the righteous tradition in Islam. It is like the [extremist] sects of old such as Mu‘tazila, Khwarij and Rafiz. It resembles modern sects such as Qadiani, Chakralvi [deniers of Hadith], Naturi [rationalist], and Baha’i [i.e. the Baha’i religion]. It seeks to make a new Islam. It is based on principles, beliefs and practices which are against the Sunnis and Islam.”
The Committee of Ulama of Maulana Ahmad Ali wrote in a poster against Maudoodi:
“His reasoning is devilry against the Quran.”
It is then added:
“May God save all Muslims from Maudoodi and the evil and deceit of his so-called Islamic Party.”
Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan [prominent Muslim modernist leader and founder of the Aligarh University for Muslims, d. 1898]:
In his biography Hayat-i Jawaid by Maulana Hali, the storm of condemnation and takfir against Sir Sayyid is fully detailed. Read some of these lines:
“Sir Sayyid was called atheist, irreligious, Christian, nature-worshipper, anti-Christ, and many other things. Fatwas that he was a kafir were prepared, and signatures of Maulavis of every town and city were obtained. Even those who remained silent against Sir Sayyid as regards takfir, were called kafir.” (p. 623)
“All the Muslim sects in India, be they Sunni or Shiah, conformist or non-conformist, the seals and signatures of the known and unknown Ulama and priests of all these are on these fatwas.” (p. 627)
A fatwa was obtained from Makka, bearing the seals of Muftis of all the four schools, in which it was written:
“This man is an heretic, or he was inclined to unbelief (kufr) from Islamic law in some aspect. ... If he repents before he is arrested, and turns away from his misguided views, and there are clear signs of repentance from him, then he should not be killed. Otherwise, it is obligatory to kill him for the sake of the faith.” (p. 633)
Jinnah and Iqbal [revered in Pakistan as fathers of the nation]:
Sir Sayyid had at least expressed views on religious matters. But these people also called Jinnah as “the great kafir”. Even a true believer like Iqbal had a fatwa of kufr directed against him.
Fatwas of kufr against early savants
The pastime of declaring people as kafir is not a product of the present age. Unfortunately, this disease is very old, and there can hardly be anyone from among the great figures of Muslim religious history who escaped being a subject of such fatwas. Let us look at the great leaders of religion after the age of the Holy Prophet’s Companions.
Abu Hanifa: He was disgraced, called ignorant, inventor of new beliefs, hypocrite and kafir. He was imprisoned and poisoned. He died in 150 A.H. [circa 768 C.E.].
Imam Shafi‘i: He was called devil and imprisoned. Prayers were said for his death. He was taken in captivity from Yemen to Baghdad, in a condition of humiliation and degradation. He died in 204 A.H. [circa 820 C.E.].
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: He was kept in prison for 28 months, with a heavy chain around his feet. He was publicly humiliated, slapped and spat upon. Every evening he used to be flogged. All this was because of the controversy regarding whether the Quran was ‘uncreated’ or ‘created’.
Imam Malik: A resident of Madina, he too was imprisoned and flogged.
Bukhari [Collector of Hadith]: He was exiled and died in 256 A.H. [circa 871 C.E.].
Nasa’i [Collector of Hadith]: He was disgraced and beaten in a mosque so much that he died.
Abdul Qadir Jilani [Saint of Baghdad, d. 1166 C.E.] was called kafir by the jurists.
Muhiyud-Din Ibn Arabi [great philosopher and saint, d. 1240 C.E.]: The Ulama issued a fatwa against him saying: “His unbelief is greater than that of Jews and Christians”. All his followers were declared kafir, so much so that those who doubted his unbelief were called kafir.
Rumi, Jami and Attar [now world famous Muslim saints and writers of Persia] were called kafir, and anyone not calling them kafir was also called kafir.
Imam Ghazali [philosopher and mujaddid, d. 1111 C.E.] was called kafir, and burning his books and cursing him was declared a good deed.
Ibn Taimiyya [Muslim philosopher and mujaddid, d. 1327 C.E.]: The King of Egypt asked for a fatwa to put him to death.
Hafiz ibn Qayyim: imprisoned and exiled.
Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind [d. 1624 C.E., mujaddid in India]: called kafir.
Shah Wali-ullah [d. 1763 C.E., mujaddid in India]: called inventor of new beliefs and misguided.
Sayyid Ahmad Barelvi [d. 1831 C.E., mujaddid and military leader in India]: called kafir.
Shah Ismail Shaheed [deputy of above mujaddid]: Fatwas of heresy against him obtained from Makka.
FATWAS AGAINST PERVEZ
Ghulam Ahmad Pervez, founder of the movement which publishes Tulu‘-i-Islam, from which the above extract has been taken, was himself the subject of fatwas such as those quoted below:
“Ghulam Ahmad Pervez is a kafir according to Islamic Shari‘ah, and excluded from the pale of Islam. No Muslim woman can remain married to him, nor can a Muslim woman enter into marriage with him. His funeral prayers cannot be said, nor is it permissible to bury him in a Muslim grave-yard. This applies not only to Pervez, but to every kafir. It also applies to any person who is a follower of his in these heretic beliefs. As he has become an apostate (murtadd), it is not permitted by the Shari‘ah to have any kind of Islamic relations with him.
Signed: Wali Hasan Tonki, Mufti and teacher, Muhammad Yusuf Banori, Shaikh al-Hadith, Madrasa Arabiyya Islamiyya, New Town, Karachi.”
An organ of Maudoodi’s Jama‘at-i Islami gave the following fatwa about Pervez’s followers:
“If they say that Shari‘ah is only that which is contained in the Quran, and all that is besides this is not Shari‘ah, then this is clear heresy. It is the same kind of heresy as the heresy of the Qadianis. In fact it is worse and more extreme than that.” (article by Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi, in the daily Tasneem, Lahore, 15 August 1952, p. 12)