Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,
When I was a young boy in the late 1970’s, something extraordinary happened which was one of the first initiate of its kind by Deobandi Ulamah. Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Ludhyanwi Shaheed (RA)was approached by the Jang Newspaper Management to start answering people’s Masail in a weekly newspaper column which Hazrat (RA) accepted after much deliberation because Jang wasn’t a religious newspaper and there was some trepidation about answering Mas’ail in a newspaper which also had unIslamic content on other pages.
The section was entitled “Aap Kay Mas’ail Aur Un Ka Haal (Your Mas’ail and their solutions)” and it was a phenomenal success and it became a conduit for many Pakistanees to become familiar with Shias, Qadiyanees, Barewlees etc and as a little boy barely able to read Urdu I used to look forward to Friday papers, in fact I used to run out to fetch the papers for my father the moment I heard the cycle bell of the hawker and then put my Urdu reading skills to the test!
I had no idea who Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Ludhyanwi Shaheed (RA)was but boy in my mind I knew “Mirzaees” were monsters who disrespected our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and the effect of the column was so severe that I once refused to eat my Aunt’s place because her husband’s name was “Mirza” something who were very secular and didn’t practise much... Both my aunt and uncle 15+ years later took Ba’yt with Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Ludhyanwi Shaheed (RA)and their lives transformed.
In any case, the impact of Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Ludhyanwi Shaheed (RA)on the psyche of most Pakistanees growing up during Afghan-Jihad was instant and profound. Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Ludhyanwi Shaheed (RA)regularly refuted Bid’ah and pulled no punches in condemning all Anti-Sunnah practises and his disagreements with Maulana Maududi (RA)and Dr Israr Ahmed (RA)and their mutual correspondence is well known in Pakistan which I read years later. Most of his works, Fatawa, correspondence has been published and the summary in English can be read as “Differences in the Ummat and the Straight Path”.
The second writer to make a substantial impact on my mind was Shaykh (Maulana) Manzoor Naumani (RA)with his book on Shia’ism (Khomeini, Iranian Revolution and Shi'ite Faith)which also led me to read his thorough refutation of the Barelwees (Faisla-Kum Munzarah).
The third Deobandi Scholars who excelled in extensive and through refutations was Maulana (Muhammad) Sarfaraz Khan Safdar (RA).
The impact of these Ulamah and the results of their refutations have been colossal and thousands around the world owe the change in their lifestyles to them and may Allah (SWT) reward them with Jannatul-Fird’aus (Ameen).
I would like to offer my personal opinion on the common themes in their refutations:
- They have diligently studied and investigated their own point of view.
- They have diligently studied and investigated the opposing point of view in the original writings (as clear from the foreword and their explanations)
- Their command of the language, its idioms and usage is exemplary
- Their works are easy to read, comprehend , accessible and devoid of complex technical terms and where they have to use complex terms they ensure that it is explained in sufficient details
- They have made it clear that these works are directed to guide people towards the Sunnah and not to castigate, insult and disparage others
- Their refutations aren’t targeted towards Deobandees, rather they address the Muslim Ummah as a whole.
- Their refutations are harsh against the Bid’ah and make no compromises.
- And most importantly, their works are devoid of personal insults, humiliation and ad hominem attacks and I don’t make categorical statements but generally their works are free of these attacks.
When I look around the refutations of the Deobandees (largely in English), I don’t want to make a generalisation but the trend appears to be:
- Targeted at Deobandees as abundantly clear by the usage of terms which will be lost to (or unfamiliar to) most Deobandees
- Academically Superficial
Filled with historical, contextual and referential inaccuracies or 2nd or 3rd hand referencing
- I am refraining from giving clear and explicit examples of speeches, books and blogs of major Ulamah containing baseless and inaccurate information.
- Filled with hate, personal insults, humiliation and ad hominem attacks
I am a very thick skinned person but some of these refutations are making me cringe with horror not only because of the tone and the language employed but because when you strip of the name of the “Maulana or Mufti” from the top there is genuinely no significant Academic content behind it which will convince anyone!
I often browse Salafi forums with sticky thread against Deobandees and the works of Deobandi Ulamah and I also witness Deobandees posting links from major Deobandi sites and works of well known deobandi Ulamah only for the responses to be mocked and cast aside! When someone is opposing you it is to be expected to have your work cast aside but our dear and respected brothers and sisters also need to look at the responses themselves. Part of the problem is obviously that the refuters don’t have command over the subject so the refutation invariably becomes a mudslinging exercise!
Don’t let the hatred of Barelwees of Salafees or Ahl-e-Hadeeth cloud your judgment to such an extent that your disregard the following verse of the Qur’aan about how the believers are supposed to act towards one another.
[48:29] Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are hard on the disbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down in Ruku, prostrating themselves in Sajdah, seeking grace from Allah, and (His) good pleasure; their distinguishing feature is on their faces from the effect of Sajdah (prostration). This is their description in Torah; and their description in Injil is: like a sown crop that brings forth its shoot, then makes it strong, then it grows thick and stands straight on its stem, looking good to the farmers, so that He may enrage the disbelievers through them. Allah has promised forgiveness and a huge reward to those of them who believe and do good deeds.
Don’t let the hatred of Barelwees of Salafees or Ahl-e-Hadeeth cloud your judgment to such an extent that your disregard the Noble Sunnah and stoop down to a level which is beyond the dignified demeanour of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam), Sahaba (RA) and our Ulamah.
Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others' faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah's worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!") [Bukhari]
Some people claim that Bid’ah needs to be refuted with harshness and they don’t need to quote me the examples of Sayyidina Umar (RA) since I agree.
But where did Sayyidina Umar (RA) insult believers called them the worst of names and equated their work to prostitution? Sayyidina Umar (RA) on repeated occasions sought permission to beat or behead someone because he believed that Hadd (Islamic penalty) needed to be applied to a person but when he tried to curse a person he was stopped as narrated by Imam Malik (RA):
Aslam related from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, there was a man named 'Abdullah who was called "the Donkey" and who used to make the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, laugh. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, flogged him for drinking. One day he was brought and he commanded that he be lashed. A man among the people said, 'O Allah, curse him! How often he is brought on account of it!' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Do not curse him. By Allah, I only know that he loves Allah and His Messenger.'" [Malik]
It’s about time that we should take a stand against insults, personal attacks and prevent the noble works of classical Ulamah of Deoband being dragged into the gutter on the Internet and most importantly take a stance against associating the name of Ameerul-Mumineen Sayyidina Umar (RA) with insults because by Allah (SWT) he loved the believers and was ever ready to serve them and was kind to them, he refuted the act harshly and was uncompromising in carrying out the penalties but he neither insulted nor demeaned the believers using the most vile and disgusting terms.
Readers are welcome to give Authentic examples in the comments where Ameerul-Mumineen Sayyidina Umar (RA) insults believers on differences of opinion using the most vile tone and in the most despicable manner.