Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Deobandi Belief

"And if your Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind a single unified group, but they will continue to dispute and differ..."

[al-Qur'an 11:118]

"Verily this nation (of Muslims) will be divided into seventy three sects. All of them will be in the fire except one." When asked which one, he replied "The one that adheres to my sunnah and the sunnah of my companions."

[Sunan Abi Dawud]

The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has clearly mentioned that from his Ummah (nation) there will be seventy three different sects; out of which only one sect will be on the correct path, the path of the 'true' Islam.

It is mentioned in the Qur'an that whatever ever the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam uttered was not of his own accord, in actual fact it was from Allah Ta'ala. Though the words may have been from the throat of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam it was the actual message of Allah Ta'ala.

"Nor does he (Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) say anything of his own desire.
It is but a revelation sent down to him"

[an-Najm: 3-4]

Therefore, we can, without any doubt, say that whatever the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam foretold or mentioned will take place without doubt. This is because the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam spoke with that knowledge that was given to him by Allah Ta'ala.

We cannot do anything to avoid that which has been written, yet we can make an effort to strive in the path of Allah Ta'ala and save ourselves from being amongst those who will dwell in hellfire.

Personally, I was reluctant to write on this subject as unfortunately many disputes, disagreements and arguments are due to not understanding (or not wanting to understand) the opposite party’s stance on a particular issue or are linked with different beliefs, I will mention a few beliefs of a Deobandis for the sole reason that I was requested to do so. I hope that post will remove most of the doubts that have formed in regards to the beliefs of Deobandis due to the statements of other sects.

Primarily it is important to know what and who are the Deobandis.

The Deobandis are one of the groups of Muslims. This group is connected to and named after the Dar al-Uloom (University) of Deoband in India. It is an intellectual school of thought that is deeply rooted, and everyone who graduated from that university was influenced by its academic characteristics, so that they became known as Deobandis.

The University of Deoband was founded by a group of Indian 'Ulamaa' (scholars) after the British had put a stop to the Islamic revolution in India in 1857 CE. Its establishment was a strong reaction against western advancement and its materialistic civilization in the Indian Subcontinent, aimed at saving the Muslims from the dangers of these circumstances, especially when Delhi, the capital, had been destroyed following the revolution and the British had taken full control of it. The scholars feared that their religion might be assimilated, so Shaykh Imdaadullaah al-Muhaajir al-Makki and his student Shaykh Muhammad Qaasim al-Nanatuwi, and their companions, drew up a plan to protect Islam and its teachings. They thought that the solution was to establish religious schools and Islamic centres, thus al-Madrasah al-Islamiyyah al-Arabiyyah was established in Deoband as a centre for Islam and Shari'ah in India at the time of British rule.

The most prominent figures of this intellectual school were:

1- Muhammad Qaasim
2- Rasheed Ahmad al-Gangohi
3- Husayn Ahmad al-Madani
4- Muhammad Anwaar Shah al-Kashmiri
5- Abu'l-Hasan al-Nadvi
6- Al-Muhaddith Habeeb al-Rahmaan al-A'zami

In addition, "...Amongst the best commentaries on Sahih Muslim and the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud are works by the Deobandis. The Lives of the Sahaba by al-Kandihlawi is a masterpiece. I'la'al-Sunan and Aathaar al-Sunan are very valuable..."

With regard to basic tenets of belief ('Aqeedah), they follow the Madhhab (school) of Abu Mansoor al-Maatreedi. Whilst following the Fiqh of Imaam Abu Haneefah. Similarly, They follow the Sufi (spiritual) ways of the Naqshbandiyyah, Chishtiyyah, Qaadiriyyah and Saharwardiyyah with regard to spiritual development.

The thoughts and principles of the Deobandi School may be summed up as follows:
- Preserving the teachings of Islam and its strength and rituals.

- Spreading Islam and resisting destructive schools of thought and missionary

- Spreading Islamic culture and resisting the invading British culture.

- Paying attention to spreading the Arabic language because it is the means of
benefiting from the sources of Islamic sharee'ah.

- Combining reason and emotion, and knowledge and spirituality.

This is a brief description of the Deobandi sect. Before I conclude this post I would like to mention a few quotes that in my opinion are more valuable than the post itself.

The great Hanafi Imam, Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Sharh Uqud Rasm al-Mufti:

Branding someone a non-believer (Kafir) is a great thing indeed; hence I do not label a believer as a non-believer as long as one sign of him believing is found... One should not issue a Fatwa of a believer's disbelief (Kufr) as long as it is possible to interpret his statement in a justified manner, or there is a difference of opinion regarding him disbelieving, even if there is a weak narration."

[Sharh Uqud Rasm al-Mufti, 1/36]

It is reported by Ibn Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him eternal peace) said: “Any person who calls his brother: O Unbeliever! (then the truth of this label) would return to one of them. If it is true, (then it is) as he asserted, (but if it is not true), then it returns to him (and thus the person who made the accusation is an Unbeliever)."

[Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 6130]
[Sahih Muslim, no. 60]

This awakens the reader that one should not be so haste is determining the belief and disbelief of another person. A believer is such that does looks for any excuse to call another a believer. If we are talking in regards to a person or sect that pray the Kalimah (declaration of Faith) then we should be very alert in proclaiming that they are disbelievers.

May Allah Ta'ala give us all the inclination to seek the knowledge that will aid us in achieving His happiness and may he give us the understanding to refrain from all that which will deviate us from His path.

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