Introduction to Shaykh imtiyaz damiel and Abu Haneefa Foundation (Blackburn)

24th February 2014

Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

Shaykh Imtiaz Damiel (HA) is a Scholar from Abu Hanifah Foundation in Blackburn (UK). I don't live in Blackburn so I don't have the complete details on the issue but I am aware that the respected Shaykh (HA) and the organisation and their general attempts to cater for the Deobandees in the community.

It has always been known (to me) that he isn't a Deobandi and Salafi leaning and I don't know how and why the Muslims in Blackburn simply go for an organisation named "Abu Hanifah (RA)" which is obviously a deliberate attempt to woo the local community in which it operates in. I am sure that the Shaykh (HA) will say that Abu Haneefa (RA) was from the Salaf and Deobandees don’t have a copyright on his name (and they don’t) but I am certain that selecting this name was a deliberate decision (and they are entitled to it) and there is nothing Haram in it.

Ulamah have done some analysis on his Aqai’d and put forth a publication highlighting some of his problematic beliefs which can be read here.

To me, this is only a strand of a strategy.

The real problem is the lack of professionalism in Deobandi institutes which pushes the people into seeking their knowledge from organisations such as Al-Maghrib or Abu Hanifah foundation etc. The real question is that Deobandees were the first to setup institutes in this country so why have they fallen so far behind that others are able to blitzkrieg them in terms of quality, professionalism and delivery. One can attend dozens of Deobandi conferences, Majalis, programs up and down the country and the distinct lack of professionalism, coherence, lack of delivery and disconnect from the masses can be felt and that’s the real problem which needs addressing.

In Bosnia last year I was told by the locals about Peace TV and Dr Zakir Naik and their 2 hour daily dawah in local language. Balkans has been a traditional Hanafi heartland and a stone’s throw from the UK and can be easily serviced by many Darul-uloom and hundreds of British Ulamah but Deobandees have ZERO presence there apart from a few charity missions. Same goes for much of Europe!

But ignore Europe for the time being and lets return to UK.

Glitzy pamphlets, posters, websites and catchy titles won’t bridge the gap and an overhaul is needed as to how Deobandees interact with the masses because they are being hit in their “traditional heartlands” like Leicester, Bradford, Bolton, Blackburn by these new institutes which are agile, nimble, professional and able to connect and form rapport with the masses particularly the younger generation.

Until then there will be one Shaykh Imtiaz Damiel (HA) or Dr Zakir Naik after another who will sense a gap and communities will turn to them for Service.

I digress and let’s return to the issue at hand. In my opinion, Ulamah have made the right choice in highlighting these matters and Shaykh Imtiaz Damiel (HA) and the foundation should clearly outline that:

  1. They are not Ashari/Maturidi, in fact they are Anti Ashari/Maturidi in Aqeedah
  2. They are not tolerant of Tassawuff as practised by majority of Deobandees and particularly in Blackburn
  3. They don't believe in Hayat-e-Dunyawi of Sayyidina Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam)
  4. And other matters which are discussed in the pdf

There is always room in Islamic Shariah for differences of opinions and once the local community has clear ideas about their position then can make conscious better informed choices , as it stands at the moment many of our innocent brothers and sisters are simply falling for “Abu Hanifah Foundation”!

The Ulamah are correct in pointing out the matter to the masses and may Allah (SWT) reward them in this world and the next (Ameen).

Addendum: This leaves us with the question of Deobandi Ulamah, Darul-uloom graduates and Huffadh who teach and serve this organisation, I leave the question to their moral conscious because they are obviously part and parcel of the legitimacy being enjoyed by this organisation.  They need to dig deep and ask themselves if they feel comfortable with their role in laymen admitting their little Abdullahs and Ayesha in “Abu Hanifah Foundation”!

Shaykh Imtiaz Damiel (HA) has the right to hold an opinion which he deems to be in conformance with the Qur’aan and Sunnah but the community also has the right to know that this opinion is clearly divergent to the ethos and Manhaj of Ulamah of Deoband.  Those Ulamah and graduates serving this institute must also reflect on their role as laymen innocently merely go for the name and presence of these Deobandees in the institute.

We live in an age of confusion and chaos, sometimes deliberate and sometimes unintentional. Allah (SWT) knows what the hearts of men hold and we are neither required to pry nor issue judgements on the hidden but we are required to operate in clear, transparent and straightforward manner.


[33:70] O you who believe, fear Allah, and speak in straightforward words.


Tags: islam
posted by Muadh_Khan on 24th February 2014 - 13 comments


ibnsuleman bhai wrote on 24 Feb 2014
How do you say there is nothing wrong in it? It is a deliberate attemp to cheat and milead true hanafis into a fraud on islam that goes in the name of salafi/ahle hadis?
Abu Zaynab wrote on 25 Feb 2014
Assalaamu Alaikum

I randomly came across this article. I am not a scholar but i am 'normal' muslim. i have no idea what ashari/maturidi position - i did a google search and am confused. please correct me because what i dont understand is:

1. Does Deoband represent all the muslims in the world? does it have a monopoly on the religion?
2. Do all deobandi's have the exact same aqeedah? or are differences alllowed
3. What about other darul ulooms in India: saharanpur/nadwa/karachi. what if someone like Shaykh yunus, who i have heard, has a different position? should we allow him and others to teach hadith.
4. is aqidah synonymous with Islam or Imaan? in reference to Hadith of Jibrail.
5. 99.9% of muslims do not understand who or what the ashari/maturidi position is. why not just stick to what is in hadith jibrail?
6. there are muslims in the UK who are not praying salaat or know anything about the basics of islam - should we not spend more time in tabligh and da'wah rather than such fruitless discussions?

i'm not a scholar, but a layman. please help me with my confusion.

Blogger's Reply:
W.Salam, If you are not a Scholar then you are not fit to discuss the various positions and Aqaid methodologies and frameworks and rest of your points betray your lack of knowledge. Secondly, since you are not aware of the nuances of the issue and why it is being discussed your summary judgment to let go of these matters and stick to the "basics" (in your opinion) is also invalid. So as a laymen (as per your own submission) stick to the basics. It is the responsibility of Ulamah to highlight errors where they see them and if by your own admission you are not trained or knowledgeable enough to see them then give other benefit of doubt. You can't be deficient in knowledge and yet see yourself fit to pass judgment on other Scholars, don't you see conflict with your approach? Jazakallahu Khayran
a brother wrote on 25 Feb 2014
This is a very interesting development. The first question is that many of the ulema are totally dismissive of the layman. They feel like ilm should be limited to the circle of the ulema. Many of the Blackburn ulema pour scorn on those laymen who study and a particular target is the Arabic language. There is a feeling that learning Arabic leads one to salafism (as stated by the Imam of one of the biggest mosques in Blackburn) Then there is the emphasis on urdu etc although this would be a secondary issue. This leaves a huge vaccum for the likes of shaykh Imtiyaz to fill. The other question is with regards to the pdf. The question has to be asked what does Dr Abul Hasan have to do with the issue when we are not aware of his link with the school of Deoband? Why is hafiz mumtaz one of the approvers when he is not an alim and has made mistakes on aqeedah issues. This whole affair can easily backfire on deobandis. The failings lie with our institutes and their systems who are content on the numbers coming out. Can any one of the signatories on the pdf claim to have studied at the various levels that Shaykh Imtiyaz has? How many of them can produce a 600 page report on aqeedah? I, for one agree that there are problems with Shaykh Imtiyaz but at the same time we should not forget the root cause of such issues. It is related to our own short comings and no amount of refutations can solve this.
Blogger's Reply:
I agree with you that the standards of Deobandi institutes needs to be raised and emphasis needs to be placed on Arabic learning and dissemination.
AiMeCee wrote on 26 Feb 2014
I'm not sure that clarifying their stances on the issues you've highlighted would prevent people to attend to their courses except for those who are aware of what those issues entails and are staunch deobandis.
Many laymen are not even aware of the differences of opinion between the mutakallimun and the rest of scholars, so for them knowing it would change little
Another point, as you've said many of those salafi scholars are agile, nimble, professional and able to connect and form rapport with the masses particularly the younger generation... Unfortunately even if there is many deobandi scholars like them it's not the case for many.
And my last point, is that, refutation and those sorts of things bring very little to the laymen (who are supposed to be the first to be concerned) especially if the refuted people is appreciated. I know many young people, attached to their dîn, who would rather prefer to listen to Dr Zakir Naik than avoiding it because he disagreed on many points with their local Mawlâna who have said them to avoid listening to him.
At the end of the day, all those issues are connected to two simple one :
-who are from ahl-sunna and who are not (and what it means when a scholar said someone is not from them) - Even here, there is no ijma' amongst the deobandi circles !
-in which issues and to what extent can a layman or a scholar study or benefit from a scholar from a different minhaj.
wAllâhu A'lam
Blogger's Reply:
W-Salam Brother, Refutation on this particular issue is done by Ulamah and they can carry on with what they see fit. The issues I have raised are two, primarily that Deobandees should become more professional in their delivery and connect to the masses and secondarily Shaykh Imtiyaz (HA) should make his views clear for the masses to then make an informed choice on sending their children to this institute. Right now (from limited knowledge) people are being duped (deliberately or unintentionally)into thinking that this is a Deobandi institute. Just like Shaykh Imtiyaz (HA) has the right to have an opinion, the laymen within the community also have the right to refer to Deobandi Ulamah of their choice for their Islamic knowledge or Shaykh Imtiyaz (HA) should they choose to do so. Asking for clarity from Shaykh Imtiyaz (HA)and his institute on various positions and then let people make up their minds. Jzk
Mo wrote on 26 Feb 2014
This is Deobandi institute. Have you looked at the syllabus?
Blogger's Reply:
Deobandi institute whose founder has clear cut problems with the Manhaj of Deobandees, "Mo"?
Mo wrote on 26 Feb 2014
As long this institue has deobandi graduates aalims and huffadh it is a very safe place for laymen to send thier children. Even IF shaikh Imtiyaz is salafi, there is no salafi teching at the institute. What is the problem? My conclusion is that all these people who talk bad about Ahf are jealous.
Blogger's Reply:
Your conclusions could only be based on a) Presumptions b) Spying. Both are categorically HARAM in Islam therefore your conclusion invalid. If you have any Islamically valid reasons please feel free to share.
mo wrote on 26 Feb 2014
My conclusion is not based on spying or presumption
I am stating hard facts. I do not wish to disclose
Who i am but i have strong links with AHF
Blogger's Reply:
What are you now doing is worse off which is basically slandering Ulamah who are well known in the land that they are guilty of insincerity are driven by personal passion. You have posted 3 times and all 3 times you have been guilty of some violation of Islamic Shariah so my brother in Islam please save your Aakhira, don't let your emotions put you in a position which is questionable on the day of judgement.
mo wrote on 26 Feb 2014
I am stating hard facts. You have answers to the points I have made
You are slandering by saying shaikh Imtiyaz is salafi.
Blogger's Reply:
Brother, there is an entire pdf on that issue. ***READ*** or as you claim that you are connected to him ***ASK HIM DIRECTLY***This is your 4th useless comment.
muslim bro wrote on 27 Feb 2014
It is not a deobandi institute? Their website clearly says they follow "The ICO Islamic Studies and Arabic Studies series which is an entire curriculum, ranging from the age of 4 to 18. The syllabus was developed (by some of the world's leading Educationalists, Child Psychologists and Religious Scholars) taking into consideration the intellectual, physical, emotional and social development of the child."

What the page fails to mention is that the ICO curriculum is a Saudi/wahhabi developed curriculum. It was developed by English speaking Salafis in Saudi Arabia. I should know. I know one of the people who was on the team that made it. He was a Salafi from South Africa working in Riyadh.
muslim bro wrote on 27 Feb 2014
quote from mo: "As long this institue has deobandi graduates aalims and huffadh it is a very safe place for laymen to send thier children. Even IF shaikh Imtiyaz is salafi, there is no salafi teching at the institute. What is the problem? My conclusion is that all these people who talk bad about Ahf are jealous."

What rubbish! Of course there is Salafi teaching going on, right under your noses! the ICO curriculum is the most obvious culprit, and in future, you deobandees will be removed from your posts and replaced with yes men who are salafi inclined. the AHF website says:

5. What are the subjects that will be taught?

The following three subjects will be primarily taught:

Islamic Studies in English.
Arabic Studies.
Qur’an recitation and memorization.

Additional subjects may be provided dependent on the demand.


8. How will the subjects be taught?

Students will be organised into small groups and all 3 subjects will be taught by specially trained teachers in that particular field.

Unlike other establishments where one teacher teaches all the subjects, the children will move from one classroom to the next. The classes will be organized in teaming arrangements with students seeing more than one teacher for their subjects."

In other words, the Deobandi aalims and Huffaz will teach Arabic and Quran recitation, whilst the salafi teachers, who will be brought in later, will brainwash the child with anti-deobandi pro-salafi/wahhabi teaching during the daily Islamic Studies lessons - and the deobandi teachers of AHF will be totally clueless as they are not there while the children are being brainwashed!

Are other madressas and deobandi Aalims jealous of AHF? No, they are concerned that AHF will turn these young children into the next Mohammad Sidique Khan (the ringleader of 7/7) who went from being a barelvi to deobandi to salafi, and it was this final step that led him to do what he did. My prediction? In 10 years time, an ex-pupil of AHF who has been radicalised by AHF will do something stupid, as a result of his slow descent into Salafism, and at that point, the parents will scream and wail and cry for their child, but what use is it crying once the horse has bolted?

ps. in my last post, the ? should have been a .
mo wrote on 27 Feb 2014
Shame you only accept comments that are in agreement with your distorte
Views. I sent you a comment this morning which you haven't uploaded
Blogger's Reply:
Making more of your childish comments visible brother, for everybody to see your level of maturity. If everybody at AFH is at the same level as "Mo" the great then the Ummah is in safe hands I guess!
anonymous wrote on 1 Mar 2014
Is this the Abu Hanifah (RA) institute near Mufti Inayatullah's (HA) darul uloom
Blogger's Reply:
I have stated that I don't live in the area. Jzk
Yousuf wrote on 8 Jul 2014
I'm not Deobandi and stumbled upon this quite by accident but am astounded by the position of the blogger who sounds from his writing to have even studied somewhat.

Is this really such an important issue that you have to warn against it? This appears to me to be the very reason that the da'wah (whether it be deobandi or otherwise) seems to have it's problems. If you were more concerned with rectifying the real issues faced by the people and less on warning people away from someone who is trying to do so, maybe you'd have more success.
Blogger's Reply:
Ulama in UK have raised their concerns about this organization and it is our Islamic and moral duty.
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