Translated by Ismaeel Nakhuda
(Translator’s Preface: The manner in which Salafism is being promoted in the West is a cause for concern. The Salafi of the past was hell bent on going for the jugular in promoting his views and deriding Hanafis. However, the Salafi of today, far from being brash as was his predecessor, has adopted a strange methodology in promoting his views.
The Salafi of today operates with a cloak of respect under the guise of being Hanafi while subtly and gradually promoting his views against the four imams, taqlid, the Ash‘ari and Maturidi schools, dar al-‘ulums, the ‘ulama and the akabir. Doublespeak is employed in the operations of the Hanafi-Salafi hybrid, and since he insists on being Hanafi, a new word has been coined to describe him: Halafi (pl. Halafis).
Over fifty years ago, the former Shaykh al-Hadith of Darul Uloom Deoband, Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah enlighten his grave) wrote a detailed letter to Mazhar al-‘Ulum, India in relation to a teacher at the madrasah who was relieved of his duties for developing sympathies for non-Traditionalist ideas. In it, Mawlana Madani explains the track of Deoband and the harms of Deobandi madrasahs employing individuals who are not of that track.1 )
Letter to Mawlana Ri‘ayat-ullah Sahib
Lofty respected Mawlana Ri‘ayat-ullah (may his piety be increased) – Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
Your respected letter was a cause of honour. Happiness came having learned about the goodness and wellbeing of Hadrat Mawlana Sadiq and the people of the Madrasah Mazhar al-‘Ulum and the excellent condition of the madrasah.
Respected one! We have always seen the way of our akabir. In the advices of Hadrat Nanotwi (may his secret be sanctified)—which is the charter of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband—it has been declared necessary that the person [employed within a madrasah] is of the same track in religion (hum-mashrab). Our akabir are muqallid; they are Hanafis, Sunnis and Maturidi-Ash‘ari [in ‘aqidah]. They are people of tariqah—they are Chishti, Naqshbandi, Qadri and Suhrawardi Sufis; they dislike and avoid innovation (bid‘ah). This track has been that of our akabir and predecessors. Those contrary to this track, we do not call all of them kafir, nor do we call all of them fasiq, nor do we have enmity for all of them. However, yes, if a person were to do something that is kufr or fisq, then he will be dealt with accordingly.
The presence of someone who is not of our track, then we consider that person harmful for the institute and, instead of benefit, a necessary cause of harm. This is our experience. No institute can, in the gatherings of those of an opposing track (ghayr mashrab), bear fruit. The participation of one who rejects taqlid (ghayr muqallid) or an innovator in the administration of an institute, particularly in the teaching and imparting of knowledge, will be a means of harm and destruction. This is the case despite the opinions of these groups not reaching the level of takfir. What will, therefore, be the effect of the Qadiyanis, Shiites and extremists like them? Our akabir have always disliked not doing taqlid and have been followers of the Hanafi mathhab and taqlid, this is what they called to and to what they gave their hearts. They remained supporters and followers of tariqah and Tasawwuf.
Maududism is more foul and deviant than the rejection of taqlid. Look at the books of Maududi. He not only encourages dislike for Imam Abu Hanifah and the imams and jurists (fuqaha). Rather, he also dishonours the Noble Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and the great khalifahs. Venom is spurted out regarding the imams of Hadith and the noble mujtahids. If a teacher is of this view, then what type of poison will be given to students—evaluate this yourself. The person who speaks absurd things in relation to Imam Abu al-Hasan Ash‘ari, Imam Ghazali, Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani, Shah Waliullah, Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, Khwaja Mu‘in al-Din Chishti et al and whose writings are full of this, then the teacher who considers him correct, what sort of deviance and error will he be the cause of amid students. Evaluate this yourself.
Because of this, we only say that those who follow this track should definitely not be in an institute. Students or teachers should not look at the books of Maududi—assess this yourself. We have observed such that if someone, despite being of the same track, was either lacking in pious actions (be-‘amal) or whose actions were bad (bad-‘amal), then such a person would be of great harm in the administration of education.
I consider the action of Haji Qa’im al-Din to be correct. If Molwi ‘Abd al-Halim Sahib is of the same view as the Maududis and is in support of them, and he has established this view having read his books etc. then he should definitely be excluded from the institute. What takes place in future is your choice. The announcement we have made regarding the Maududis has been done with thought and understanding having taken into consideration his books and actions and having witnessed his impact. That which has not been written so far and not been published yet is much more. His books are full of deviancy. Be vigilant, be vigilant. Wassalam.
Hussayn Ahmad (may he be forgiven)
(Maktubat bi-Silsilah Mawdudi Jama‘at, letter 14, page 101, and also Maktubat-Shaykh al-Islam, letter 14, volume 3, page 89)
- This letter was originally published in the Maktubat of Mawlana Madani and later included in a collection of letters from the mawlana regarding the Maududi group under the instructions of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalawi. [↩]