A Query Regarding the Barelwis

By | 2013-08-22T20:55:56+00:00 July 31st, 2010|

Translated by Ismaeel Nakhuda


All praise is to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and Salat wa Salam on the Messenger of Allah, and his family and Companions, all of them.

My noble shaykh ‘Allamah Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah protect him).

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

May you be well throughout the year (kullu ‘aam wa antum bi khayr), may Allah accept your worship and may he return this ‘Id on you, us and all Muslims with prosperity and blessings. I hope you, your family and all of your loved ones are well and in good health. Likewise, I hope you will excuse [me] for delaying writing for I was preoccupied with studies and the affairs of my family. And it is Allah from whom aid is sought.

I sent you a letter and a card on the occasion of ‘Id al-Fitr, did they reach you?

I understood your indication and I hope for accordance (tawfiq); it is an honour to translate your book. However, I have been busy preparing for a PhD in copyright and among my most important references is your book Qadaya Fiqhiyyah Mu’asirah. I shall soon, Allah willing, translate some of your writings and will send you what I have translated then.


What does the shaykh, may Allah protect him, say regarding the Barelwi group, as this group is not found in our lands and I have not found a book in Arabic on them except a book by one of the ‘ulama of Najd. I found him unjust with those who are not Barelwi and so I have not relied on his judgment and what he has quoted. Hence, it is hoped their situation is explained, for people are among those who are in extreme love or extreme hatred. Allah is the one who guides to what is correct.

Wassalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

Muhammad ‘Ali Muhammad Ahdash


To the noble brother ‘Allamah Muhammad ‘Ali Muhammad Ahdash, may Allah Most High protect him and watch over him.

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

I did indeed receive your noble letter with much happiness and prayed for accordance and success for you, and that Allah Most High grants you the ability to complete your work as he likes and pleases him. You have asked regarding two issues:1

The first is with regards to the Barelwi group, which is distinct from the majority of Muslims in some points of belief (‘aqaid) and innovated practices (al-a’mal al-mubtada’ah). Among their beliefs is that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) knew the unseen and was cognizant of everything that was and shall be (ma kana wa ma yakun), and that his noble soul has the right of disposal in terms of benefiting and harming people. Their imam, Shaykh Ahmad Rada Khan al-Barelwi circulated a fatwa of kufr against the ‘ulama of Deoband and even said that he who does not consider them a kafir is also a kafir. This was because they (the ‘ulama of Deoband) had criticized their beliefs and said: the knowledge of the unseen is a quality (sifah) of Allah Most High, no one is a partner with him in this. However, He Most High informed His messengers of that which he wished from the unseen. Among their bid’ah practices is that they celebrate certain festivals that are not established in the Qur’an and Sunnah and consider them to be preferable (mustahab), rather they treat them like those actions that are wajib by expressing extreme loath for those who do not join them. Likewise, they have contrived certain practices when someone dies such as the family of the dead person inviting people on the third, tenth and fortieth day after the passing of the deceased. Food is prepared for them and he who does not do this is severely reprimanded. And there are many other such innovations.

Discourse regarding this group is plenty. However, that which I have mentioned is a summary of their beliefs and practices. Among them are those who exceed the limit in this, talk nonsense and are bigoted, and those who in comparison to the others are balanced.

And Allah Most High is the most knowledgeable.

[Mufti] Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah forgive him)


Fatawa ‘Uthmani (Kitab al-Iman), vol. 1, p. 91

Also see: A call to Deobandi-Barelwi unity — Fatwas from two leading Deobandi institutes

  1. The second issue was regarding a lease (ijarah) contract which was produced in the chapter to do with ijarah. []


  1. Bilal July 31, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Jazaak Allaahu khayr. Indeed, the Barelwiyyah are known for their deification of the Prophet, and of their “saints”, giving them sifaat which is exclusive to Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’ala), such as `ilm ul ghayb. May Allaah protect us from any kufr and shirk polluting our `Aqaa’id.

    • Imrankhan March 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      I’m really hurt by the blasphemous attitude of you wahabis.

      • Old Republic March 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

        Sir, your domain is the cricket field and ours is theological sciences. Let’s not mix the two into a soup!

      • Gibran April 12, 2013 at 6:09 am

        Well, if that is a blasphemous attitude, I don’t know what place in Jahannam was made for the so called “Muslims” who make dua to other than Allah.

        Good article, JazzakAllahu khair.

  2. Fahad July 31, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Wonderful website!

    My friend linked me to this post http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?51373-Barelwis-Shi%92as-Shaykh-Jailani-amp-Ilm-i-Ghayb

    Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jaylani, while discussing deviant ‘aqiad of Shi’ahs, writes in Ghuniyat al-Talibin,

    “They all (Shi’ah) believe that their imam has such knowledge that he is aware of all things of the past and future (ma kana wama yakun) whether related to this world or the religion, he knows every thing even the number of pebbles on the surface of the earth, drops of the rain and the number of the leaves of the trees…and majority of them declare those who fought Sayyiduna ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) to be kafir and they believe in many other such things.”

    Now I am further convinced that the imam of Barelwi group borrowed many things from Shi’ah.

  3. F. Rabbani August 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I’m not a Brelwi, and nor am I a Deobandi. I’m not Shi’a and nor am I Wahabi. What am I?

    I believe God gave certain individuals more capacity than He did to others, such as ability to perform miracles to Prophets in order to attest the truth of their message – miracles such as reviving the dead (remember Jesus peace be upon him?), or the staff that became a snake (ever heard of Moses peace be upon him?), the ‘Knowledge of the Unseen’ to many others (such as Asif bin Barkhiyyaa, from the followres of Solomon peace be upon him; to Khidr peace be upon him; to Muhammad may God bless him and grant him peace).

    If God the Almighty wants to give certain knowledge to certain individuals, then what is the problem there with you or I? He is God – He does as He wills.

    The Ash-Shifa by Qadi Iyad (May God have mercy on him) contains hundreds of instances and a whole chapter devoted to this topic; he states that a whole volume can be written for this topic alone. A few narrations of the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) are mentioned below:

    Abu Dharr (may God be pleased with him) narrates; “When the Messenger (may God bless him and grant him peace) left us, there was not a bird that flies in the sky but that he had given us some knowledge about it.” Ibn Hanbal & Tabarani

    The Messenger Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) said that “Uthman will be killed whilst reciting the Quran. Perhaps God will have him wearing a shirt. They will want to remove it and his blood will fall on the words of God,” Bukhari & Muslim.

    Anas (may God be pleased with him) narrates that the Beloved Messenger Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), Abu Bakr Siddeeq, Umar bin Khattab and Uthman bin Affan (may God be pleased with them) were climbing Mount Uhud. The mountain shook from under them, the Beloved Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said ‘Be firm Uhud, a Prophet, a True man (Siddeeq) and Two martyrs are walking on you” Bukhari & Ibn Majah

    Knowledge of the Unseen given to the creation by God the Almighty is ‘given’ and ‘limited’.
    The Qur’an tells us God the Almighty is ‘Aalim-ul-ghaibi wa-sh-shahaadah’ (Knower of the unseen and of the present). I ask you, do you see this text in front of you? Then it is ‘ilm ash-shahaadah’ – can it be classified as polytheism? Are you a polytheist?

    God sees. Do you see? Are you a polytheist?
    God hears. Do you hear? Are you a polytheist?
    God has knowledge. Do you have knowledge? Are you a polytheist?
    It is obvious, whatever God gives to us, is ‘given, but with God, it is intrinsic and in inseparable. Whatever He gives to us is limited, but with God it is as limitless as He is.
    Go back to the books of Imam at-Tahawi, an-Nasafi, al-Maturidi and al-Ash’ari (may God have mercy on them all).

    Just read Imdad as-Sulook in urdu by Haji Imdad Muhajir Makki (may God have mercy on him), where he says, “A spiritual doctor can help his spiritual patient from wherever in the world he is.” (page 10, I think but not sure – because if I was sure, someone would classify me as a polytheist or something daft like that.)

    Is the above statement of Haji Imdad (may Allah have mercy on him) polytheistic?
    Allah helps. A spiritual doctor helps. I help. Is all this polytheism.

    No disrespect intended, but can we all sort our faith out instead of being negative all the time.

    I rest my case.

    F. Rabbani

    • muhammad adnan qadri April 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      (53:3) nor does he speak out of his desire.
      (53:4) This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him,
      I think very simple in above verses of Holy Quran Allah swt says that my messenger doesnt say anything from Himself but what Allah reveales to Him.. Quran and Hadith is both revalation(wahi).Allah is only knower of Unseen and It is the personal attribute of Allah.

      • ahmad ammas saeed August 30, 2012 at 3:12 am

        dear brother F.Rabbani.
        you have mentioned the books of Imam at-Tahawi, an-Nasafi, al-Maturidi and al-Ash’ari (may God have mercy on them all) to be gone back. according to aema of aqeedah 7 things are personal attribute of Allah All mighty alone , and it is settled and agreed among ummah and illam ul gaeeb is among one of these 7 attribute. these attribute (siffat e Zaatyah) are khaliq, Samee, Baseer , Aleem, Qadeer, Haee and Qayoom . Allah All mighty knew the unseen and was cognizant of everything that was and shall be (ma kana wa ma yakun) no one can share this attribute.

    • adnan April 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Salam shaikh faraz…..
      I believe the article points out clearly the barelwi belief fallacies, and defends the true belief with regards to the non devine nature of rasoolullah And that all knowledge came to him from allah.
      With all due respect, no one is being negative. your comment was based on the assumption that someone said the prophet wasnt given knowledge of the unseen. please take a second glance at the article and you may realize your comment was in vain and not needed. Please advise.

      • Deoband.org April 2, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        FYI: The above “F. Rabbani” is not Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (scroll down to see comment by Shaykh Faraz himself)

  4. Muadh Khan August 9, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Asslamo Allaikum my Dear Respected Br F.Rabbani,


    The above link will take you to discussion on Nikah “Kittabun-Nikah” in the famous Hanafi text “Kanz ad-daqaiq” and the matter under discussion is the need of witnesses for Nikah.
    Shaykh (RA) is categorically stating that whoever states that Allah (SWT) and His Rasool (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) is a witness to a Nikah; then he has committed KUF’R because he has attributed Rasool-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) with Ilm’ul Ghaib.

    And if you are a serious student of knowledge, you would be aware of the importance of this book and the opinions contained therein within (our) Madhab of Imam Al-Adham Abu Haneefa (RA).

    This is precisely the stance of Ulama of Deoband that Rasool (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) had knowledge of what Allah (SWT) granted him in his infinite Mercy & Benevolence but he is not Alimul-Ghaib as Allah (SWT) attributes this matter to Himself (SWT) in the Qur’aan.

    The knowledge of Rasool (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) may our parents be sacrificed upon him is GREATER THEN what is granted to anyone, nevertheless it’s neither infinite nor all encompassing which is the case with the knowledge of Allah (SWT).

    Your reply will be appreciated.

    Jazakullah Khairun

    Abu Salih Muadh Khan

  5. Student August 12, 2010 at 7:02 am

    wa `alaykum assalam

    Br. Muadh: Ibn `Abidin refutes the position you mentioned in the very link you present, stating that the Prophet (Allah bless him) can be made aware of the unseen.

    Ibn Khafif, the direct student of Imam Ash`ari, explicitly states in his `Aqida al-Sahiha that the Prophet knows, “what is and what will be” (ma kaan wa ma yakun). Obviously he know his `aqida better than you, me, or any other present day scholar.

    Ofcourse, the biggest shock in all this is the fact that knowledge of “what is and what will be” (ma kaan wa ma yakun), even if we add the qualifier “all” (jami`), is limited and partial, since it does not include knowledge of what can be, what cannot be, and so forth. Namely, it is not knowledge of everything that can be known, contrary to what some extreme individuals claim as the position of their opposition. This is exactly the reason why giants of Islamic scholarship, like al-Haytami, al-Qari, Abu’l Su`ud, and others had no problem stating that the Prophet (Allah bless him) had knowledge of everything in the table and pen, since anyone who actually knows anything will know the tablet and the pen is limited in what it encompasses.

    The fact that this simple point cannot be understood demonstrates that this whole “debate” is nothing more than two foes waging a battle without any desire to understand the other, while intentionally or unintenionally misrepresenting the others’ position to prove one’s own beliefs.

    May Allah grant us balance and forgiveness.

    • Abu al-Hasan January 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      An empty and unsubstantiated comment regarding the Barelwis’ actual take on Ma Kan wa Ma Yakun. Do you simply believe the Deobandi Mashaykh — those who embodied the inner and outward sciences — were so mundane to not understand what the Barelwis actually meant from Ma Kan wa Ma Yakun. Can you envisage a Mufti giving a fatwa without understanding the actual issue? Were these Ulama void of spirituality, conscience and piety? Instead, we have non-Urdu speakers coming today, 100 years later, assuming an air of expertise and pretending to know what was actually meant. These claims that the difference was linguistic (lafzi) are simply baseless. Here’s what Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan said himself:

      Ahmad Rada Khan Barelwi writes, “It is without a doubt that the Almighty has given His Noble Beloved (Allah bless him and grant him peace) the complete knowledge of everything from the first till the last. From the east to the west, from the Throne till the earth, everything was shown to him. He was made witness to the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. From the very first day till the last day all of the knowledge of what was and what shall be (ma kana wa ma yakun) has been shown to him. From all of the above, not even an iota is outside the knowledge of the Prophet. Great knowledge has been encompassed by the Noble Beloved (Allah bless him and grant him peace). It is not just of a summary type but what is small and big, every leaf that falls and every grain in the darkness of the earth are in their entirety known to him individually and in detail. Much praise to Allah. In fact, that which has been discussed is not, never, the complete knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace and send peace on his family and companions, all of them); but this is a small part of the Prophet’s knowledge …” (Anba al-Mustafa, p.486)

  6. Faraz Rabbani August 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. Just for clarity: The “F. Rabbani” is not by me (Faraz Rabbani, instructor at SeekersGuidance (www.SeekersGuidance.org)).

    wassalam, Faraz Rabbani

    • Ayaz August 18, 2011 at 12:10 am

      As-salaamu Alaykum Shaykhi,

      What are your views regarding this topic? I was just about to ask that brother whether he was you, until i read your comment!



  7. Awais August 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    as salamu ‘alaykum

    Br.student can you please provided the arabic text of the quote from ‘aqida al-Sahiha of Imam Ibn Khafif?

    Have you quoted this from the original arabic or the english translation done by Dr GF Haddad?

    Is this text available any where on internet?

  8. Dr aziz ul Qadir October 10, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Barelvis do not say that Rasoolallah SAWW had ilmul ghayb of his own; they say that his ilm was granted to him by Allah Almighty.
    Mawlid and other festivities are the bone of contention mainly which in my opinion should not lead one to call them kafir etc.
    In my opinion a moderate barelvi and moderate deoband is real ahle sunnah…
    and why do you forget that all sufiyaa and auliyaa have endorsed Barelvi sect and what they said…

  9. Abu_Tamim November 9, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Dear Dr Aziz al Qadir. The issue is not of the Prophet(saws) having ‘ilm al ghayb which was given to him by Allah. The problem is their calling him as ‘Alim al Ghayb. The Deobandis do not call the Barelwis kaafir although they are mubtadi’is without doubt. The takfir that goes on is all from the Barelwi side, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. It does not matter which Sufi and which putative Wali has endorsed the Barelwiyya. Evidence is from the Qur’an and Sunna, not from those who may not know where to place their praise or criticism. WS.

    • TJ August 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      Disclaimer – I belong to neither “camp”, and I do respect the scholars of from these two “movements”.

      Regarding the previous comment that the problem is with calling him Alim al Ghayb – what is the opinion of Deoband on calling him rehmat lil alameen? That too is an attribute of God, right? To me(not a scholar or student) it sounds like the two camps are nitpicking on terminology – neither party believes that the Prophet’s knowledge is independant of God, nor is it more than God. It is from God and his knowledge is more than any other creatures. Isn’t this what both Barelwis and Deobandis beleive?



      • Abu Zainab August 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm

        من وقر صاحب بدعة فقد اعان على هدم الاسلام

        I worry you may, by respecting Barelwi scholars, fall foul of the above Hadith. You, through your own admission, are not either a student or scholar. Perhaps you should allow the scholars of Islam to pass rulings on the beliefs of the Barelwis. To be totally honest, the view of the Deobandis is trusted in this matter as they know Urdu and were closely acquainted with the Barelwis. Scholars from other parts of the world, not knowing Urdu, would never be able to truly research the Barelwis or their books.

      • Abu_Tamim August 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

        Are you for serious, brother?
        وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ . This is the opinion of the people of Deoband. It is in Sura Anbiya’, ayat 107.
        See the following link for what a hardcore mubtadi’ has to say about calling the Prophet(saws) ‘Alim al Ghayb.
        Wa salamu ‘alaykum.

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