By Mohammed Wajihuddin
After I was uprooted from then intellectually vibrant Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and planted in Patna in the late 1980s where I lived till 1993, I tried to made up the loss through writing letters to the editors of newspapers. I became so prolific a letter writer, mostly to the editor—then Uttam Sengupta was the Resident Editor, of The Times of India in Patna—that many readers began inquiring about me. Then TOI Patna would carry at least three letters of mine in a week. To increase interactions with the readers, the editor had liberally given space for these letters under different slots—Readers’ Response, Sunday Forum, Letters…Since there was not much in my surroundings to fall back on, I made newspapers and books my friends. The ancient Ganga flowed a few feet away from my rented room at the crowded mohalla where boys my age played carrom and jobless elders spent the day gossiping. I became a member of the iconic Khuda Baksh Library and would drop letters to the Editor at newspapers’ offices on my way to the library on a bicycle.
Some of my letters caught the attention of a small group of Muslim intellectuals in the town. One of them was Mr Kamaluzzaffar, manager of now-defunct Urdu daily Quami Awaz. Kamal sahib was my neighbour in Kurji area of the city and liked me because of my passion for engaging with current topics. One Sunday morning Kamall sahib took me to a meeting of some leading Muslim intellectuals, comprising High Court advocates, doctors, journalists, other professionals, at Maulana Wali Rahmani’s official residence. He was an MLC then and the residence must have been in the most secured areas of the town. The meeting lasted for an hour or so. A college student, I was the youngest among these elders and I don’t know if my comments made any sense to them or not. That was the first time I saw and met Maulana Wali Rahmani, Ameer-e-Shariat (Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa), general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board and founder of Rahmani 30, the coaching programme to tutor Muslim aspirants for IIT JEE. He died on Saturday at 77.
Years later, I bumped into him at Anjuman-I-Islam near CST in Mumbai. Accompanied by then Director General of Police, Bihar, Abhiyanand, Maulana Wali Rahmani addressed a press conference, announcing his wish to open a branch of Rahmani 30 in Maharashtra. He had hit the headlines earlier as the success rate of the first batch of Rahmani 30 was excellent, meaning every student who took the tough exams had cleared it. Most of these boys were poor and first-generation learners. One boy’s father was a vegetable vendor. Wali sahib had to find a philanthropist to help the boy pay the fees at one of the ITTs he had joined.
I got so enthused by the success stories of Rahmani 30 and the efforts of this maulvi that I suggested a feature on him to my bosses. The story of Maulana Wali Rahmani’s spectacular experience in empowering Muslim youths through entry in premier Engineering institutes appeared on the front page of TOI’s multiple editions. A friend joked: “After a long time, I have seen a bearded, skullcap-clad Muslim on the first page of a national daily for a good reason.”
The UPA was in power and the Indian agencies had discovered a minefield of Indian Mujahideen members who kept spreading terror with their nefarious activities. The needle of suspicion would invariably tun to some Muslim youths, mostly bearded, some cleanshaven too. So, it was not uncommon to see bearded Muslims making it to the pages of newspapers for wrong reasons. Thanks to the change in the guard at the Centre and in various states in 2014, those sleeper cells, terror modules have gone into sleep mode. One hardly hears of them these days. Did they really exist or were they manufactured as part of a diabolical policy? Well, I am not privy to what goes in the security establishment or inside the terrorists’ cells. So, no comments. And this essay is not about busting any terror cell.
So, at the press conference I asked Abhyanand a question that he liked. “You are a senior cop and cops generally have not very positive opinions about maulavis. So how did this chemistry happen? Abhyanand chuckled and answered:” Now I believe I am in Mumbai which is home to Bollywood because you asked this question about chemistry.” Everyone in the room laughed. Abhyanand explained that, after the repeated success of Super 30—a coaching programme for IIT aspirants in Patna of which Abhyanand was once part of—Maulana Wali Rahmani approached him with a request. “Will you help some Muslim students crack the IIT exams?” the Maulana asked him. Maulanas approaching senior police officers for help is not new. They approach them to file cases against blasphemous posts or videos, cartoons or comments and complain against harassment in the name of hazar many other things. They seek police officers' help when they have to file FIRs against the characters like Yati Narsinghnand Saraswati and Wasim Rizvi.
This was perhaps for the first time that a senior, very respected Maulana had asked Abhyanand to guide Muslim IIT-JEE exam aspirants. A nice man, Abhyanand agreed to be on board but with two conditions. Maulana sahib would not interfere in the selection of the candidates for coaching and Abhynand would not be responsible to bring funds. The Maulana agreed.
The Maulana’s style of functioning defied logic and the rules of Economy. He laid down the rules that no student who was selected for the Rahmani 30 programme would pay for it. It means board, lodging, food and tuition, everything was free. Those who wanted to pay could do so to the Rahmani Foundation which would subsidise the studies of poor students. At the Rahmani 30 all students were equal. In a couple of years, the scene had changed. Muslim candidates, courtesy Rahmani 30, began figuring in the list of successful IIT JEE candidates. Oops, am I giving a clue to some very enterprising and intelligent Television anchors to investigate further whether Muslims have begun IIT Jihad just as an anchor claimed last year that the community had started “infiltrating” IAS and IPS through “Civil Services Jihad”?
Some of us in Mumbai requested Maulana Wali Rahmani and his second son Fahad Rahmani who had left a handsome job in the US and looked after the Rahmani 30 programme with a request to start a branch in Mumbai. Mr Ateeq Agboatwala of Memon Chambers of Commerce was kind enough to believe in our dream and back the project initially at the Anjuman-I-Islam. The boys were put up at the Sobani Hostel at the Anjuman campus and they were coached at a classroom on the same premises. The programme took off and continued for two batches and the results were very good. Then, for some reasons for which this is not a proper platform to discuss, Fahad Rahmani took the programme to Aurangabad. Centres in Hyderabad and Bangalore also opened. At a time when Muslims excel only at one place—any guess? —in the jails, Rahmani 30 has revolutionized the lives of a section of Muslims in India. Its medical entrance coaching programme is also very successful and a number of girls and boys have joined medical colleges across the country.
One day I told Maulana Wali Rahmani about my relationship with his family. For the uninitiated, Maulana Wali Rahmani came from the family of revered Islamic scholars and spiritual leaders of India. His grandfather Maulana Mohammed Ali was a leading Islamic scholar of his time and among the founders of the famous Islamic seminary Nadwatul Ulema in Lucknow. His father Maulana Minatullah Rahmani was also the Ameer-e-Shariat and among the founders of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. He had visited my village a couple of times. Maulana Mohammed Ali had also established a khankah or a religious institution for teaching and spiritual guidance at Munger in Bihar.
Over a century ago, my grandfather must have been 13 or 14 when he ran away from his village in Darbhanga in Bihar and landed up at Maulana Mohammed Ali’s doorstep in Munger. “My father is a farmer. Nobody in my village has ever seen the face of a school or madrassa. If I stay there, they will keep me jahil and uneducated. I have come to you so that I can learn something,” my grandfather said. Impressed by the boy’s candid talk, Maulana Mohammed Ali admitted him at the Khankah. He became among his favourite students and disciples. In the night when the Maulana rested on his charpoy, his favourite student Tabarak Hussai, my late grandfather, would go near him and gently press his feet. We call it in paon dabana in our tradition. I remember doing this to my parents while they were alive. How sad I am today that they are gone and I have not done this duty in years!
Apart from teaching him Arabic, Urdu and Persian, Maulana Mohammed Ali also taught his favourite student a few verses from the Quran to use them for healing purposes. “You will be a maulvi in a village and teach at a school. Poor villagers will seek you for spiritual healing through verses of the Quran,” prophesied the Maulana. My grandfather didn’t understand it much then but realized it when he finally landed up a job of a teacher/maulvi at a government school in the pre-Independence era. His first monthly salary was Rs Five and retired with a monthly salary of Rs 900 in the mid-1970s. Maulana Wali Rahmani chuckled when he heard this story. Our bonds grew with the Maulana calling me often from Patna, Munger or Delhi to inquire about my wellbeing. I didn’t call him in weeks. I felt so blessed.
Whether it was Babri Masjid issue or the Triple Talaq matter in the Supreme Court, I differed with his and the Muslim Personal Law Board’s stand and would argue with him. Once we met aboard a flight to Patna. I was going to cover the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections. Fortunately, our seats were close to each other. I offered him a cup of coffee which he accepted. For two hours we kept chatting on various issues and when the flight landed, he was kind enough to give me a lift in his car and ask the driver to drop me to my friend’s house at the Azeembad Colony.
We would meet whenever he was in Mumbai. He had a huge circle of friends and disciples who would take care of him. He always travelled light and ate frugally. Once Mr Ateeq Agboatwala invited us to a lunch at a trendy Chinese restaurant in South Mumbai. I saw the Maulana eating so frugally that I felt the restaurant had overcharged because one person had eaten so little.
He was known for his calm and cool manner and hot temper too. When he was on the Centre’s education committee, he once had a hot talk with former HRD minister Kapil Sibal on an issue that they differed. He had a great sense of humour and would never bore you with his witty conversations. In old age he carried a walking stick which was curved and had rough edges. “Maulana Sahab, can I buy you a proper stick? “I asked him once. “No, I keep it like this with a purpose. I keep all those unruly elements within their limits,” he joked.
He had planned a big educational hub in rural Bihar. I don’t know what happened to it. How will history remember Maulana Wali Rahmani? As a cleric and spiritual leader who was educated in a madrassa but envisioned to see the community getting empowered through modern and scientific education.
Some weeks ago, we spoke on the phone. I promised to meet him again soon. That meeting has been postponed till the Day of Judgement.
By Mohammed Wajihuddin
(The Times Of India)
When a lower caste adopts the occupation of a higher caste, the king ought to deprive him of all his property and expel him from his kingdom. (Manusmriti, X: 96)
If a Shudra (lowest caste member) dares to give moral lessons to a Brahmin, the king is to get him punished by pouring hot oil in his ear and mouth. (Manusmriti, VII: 272)
Similarly, if a Shudra occupies the same seat as a Brahmin, he is to be punished by branding his waist (with hot rod) or getting his buttocks cut! (Manusmriti, VIII: 281)
Even if the husband is morally degraded, engaged in an affair with another woman and is devoid of knowledge and other qualities, the wife must treat him like a god. (Manusmriti, V: 154)
Women should never be allowed by their guardians to act independently. (Manusmriti, IX: 2)
If a person of lower varna (caste) has sexual intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent, he is to be killed. (Manusmriti, VIII: 366)
If a Brahmin (highest caste) abuses a Shudra (lowest caste), he is to be fined mildly, but if a Shudra abuses a Brahmin, he is to be killed. (Manusmriti, VIII: 267/268)
If a Brahmin (highest caste) kills a Shudra (lowest caste), he is to perform penance by killing a cat, frog, owl or crow, etc. (Manusmriti, XI: 131)
Non-believers, including freethinkers, rationalists and Buddhists, are not to be entertained respectfully as guests; though, mercifully, they may be given food. (Manusmriti, MS IV: 30)
The families of non-believers are destroyed sooner than later. (Manusmriti, MS III: 65)
If a woman should not grant her man his desire, he should bribe her. If she still does not grant him his desire, he should hit her with a stick or with his hand, and overcome her, saying: 'With power, with glory I take away your glory!' Thus she becomes inglorious. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.7)
It is the highest duty of the woman to burn herself after her husband. (Brahma Purana 80.75)
When a woman, proud of her relations [or abilities] deceives her husband (with another man), then the king should [ensure that] she be torn apart by dogs in place much frequented by people. And the evil man should be burnt in a bed of red-hot iron. (Manusmriti, MS VIII: 371/372)
Offering presents (to a woman), romping (with her), touching her ornaments and dress, sitting with her on a bed, all these acts are considered adulterous acts. (Manusmriti, MS VIII: 357)
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
In this media-controlled world, when violence is associated to the Quran and Muslims are labeled as terrorists, it may sound strange to many that it was Quran which first proclaimed the slogan of universal brotherhood, equality, justice and tolerance at a time when the humanity was fast asleep in the gruesome darkness of ignorance and injustice. The message of the Quran was very clear. That was the reason that it appealed millions of minds through ages and now also its adherents form one fifth of the entire population of the world.
Teaching of Equality
The first and foremost fundamental of the Quran about equality is that all human beings are descended from one father and mother, thus on the basis of humanity they are equal. The Quran says: “O mankind, we have created you from a male and a female, and made you into races and tribes, so that you may identify one another. Surely the noblest of you, in Allah‘s sight, is the one who is most pious of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (49:13)
The Quran very explicitly declared that the differences of races, tribes, colours and places are of no value and importance and they are only for identification. Only on the ground of race, colour and nationality one can not be considered higher and superior. By this, the Quran aimed at levelling the differences and discriminations of nations, races and tribes. The second thing which Quran proclaimed in the verse is that the cause of nobility is only ‘piety’. Thus Islam uprooted the racial pride and ego of the so-called higher classes.
This fundamental of equality was more elucidated in Hadith by the Prophet (peace be upon him): O people! Behold, your Lord is One, there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for a black on a red, nor for a red on a black, but due to piety and righteousness, in deed the best amongst you are those who are more pious and righteous. Behold, did I conveyed you the message? The people shouted: Yes, O the Messenger of Allah! Then the Prophet said: Those who are present should convey this message to those who are not present. (Baihaqi, Roohul Ma’ani 13:163-164)
Another Hadith says: O people! People are of two types; pious, righteous, estimable before Allah or nefarious, wretched, insignificant before Allah. All the people are descendants of Adam and Allah created Adam with soil. (Timizi, Baihaqi)
This was the first example of its kind in human history that the Quran eradicated racial prejudice so vehemently and emphatically, and asserted Muslims to consider the people of the world their brother and a human being like themselves. It uprooted racial hatred and asked to treat each other with good conduct. It is the fundamental principle of tolerance to consider the other communities human being like yourselves; since then only you can behave with them tolerantly and morally. If we consider them humiliated, abject and lowly then it is impossible to have a moral and tolerant conduct towards them.
Freedom of Expression
Second thing which the Quran taught about tolerance towards non-Muslims is granting freedom of expression. Islam regarded freedom of expression a birth right of human being and termed force and oppression as unfair and forbidden. The Quran strictly forbids forcing something on somebody which his conscience does not accept, it clearly and vividly declared: “There is no compulsion in Faith.” (2:256) Everyone is allowed whether to believe or to deny: “Now, whoever so wills may believe and whoever so wills may deny.” (18:29) At another place the Quran says: “We have shown him the way to be either grateful or ungrateful.” (76:3)
Islam utterly abhors conversion by force and called those who accept Islam due to any force, fear or greed as ‘munafiq’ (hypocrite). It regarded ‘nifaq’ (hypocrisy) such a great sin that the lowest part of Jahannam (Hell) has been allotted as abode of the hypocrites: “Surely, the hypocrites are in the lowest level of the Fire, and you shall never find for them a helper.” (The Quran 4:145)
Justice and Fairness with Others
The Quran asked Muslims to maintain justice and transparency with non-Muslims: “But if you judge, judge between them with justice. Surely, Allah loves those who do justice.” (5:42) At another place it says: “Allah does not forbid you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them, and deal justly with them. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice.” (60:8) Justice is to be maintained even if it goes against ones near and dear ones: “O you who believe, be upholders of justice - witnesses for Allah, even though against (the interest of) your selves or the parents, and the kinsmen. (4:135)
Muslims must hold on justice and fairness with people in every condition even if they have enmity with them to any extent, the Quran warns: “O you who believe, be steadfast for (obeying the commands of) Allah, (and) witnesses for justice. Malice against a people should not prompt you to avoid doing justice. Do justice. That is nearer to taqwa (piety).” (5:8)
The enmity against any people should not motivate you to do justice. If you have some malice and rivalry against anyone you should not find fault with him in every matter, but you must accept what is good in him. You should not violate the obligation of honesty in any matter only because the other party is your opponent, rather you must observe justice and fairness.
Tolerance through Fulfilling Promises
One of the most significant teachings of the Quran about tolerance towards others is to fulfil every promise made to them, lest government, prestige and power or racial pride make you to go against your promises. So, the Quran states: "And fulfil the covenant, surely the covenants shall be asked about (on the Day of Reckoning)." (17:34) It asserted: "So, fulfil the treaty with them up to their term, surely Allah loves the God-Fearing." (9:4)
Some Muslims enquired the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the pledges they made to non-Muslims in ‘the Days of Ignorance’ (before Islam). The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Fulfil the promises and pledges made in the Days of the Ignorance; since Islam emphasizes more to fulfil them.” (Mishkat p. 347, Tirmizi)
Good conduct with Others
The Quran commanded the believers to observe tolerance and good conduct with people: “Worship Allah, and do not associate with Him anything, and be good to parents and to kinsmen and orphans and the needy and the close neighbour and the distant neighbour and the companion at your side and the wayfarer and to those (slaves who are) owned by you. Surely, Allah does not like those who are arrogant, proud.” (4:36) In the abovementioned verse, those who were asked to be treated kindly have not been discriminated on the basis of their religion. Muslims were asked to have good conduct with them whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.
The Holy Quran taught Muslims very clearly and openly to behave the non-Muslims with tolerance, good conduct and politeness: “Allah does not forbid you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you do good to them, and deal justly with them. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice.” (60:8)
While another verse says: “Allah enjoins to do justice and to adopt good behaviour and to give relatives (their due rights).” (16:90)
The Quran laid down a high scale law that no person (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) is hurt and offended. The Quran says: “Allah does not like the evil words to be said openly except from anyone wronged. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (4:148) Having established this law, Islam obstructed the passage of many evils that may occur due to offending and slandering others.
Treatment with Enemies
Leave alone the free people, Islam taught tolerance to such an extent that it asked Muslims to have good conduct with their enemies: The Quran requires Muslims to observe high grade tolerance with enemies in tough and trying situations as well, as it says: “Good and evil are not equal. Repel (evil) with what is best, and you will see that the one you had mutual enmity with him will turn as if he were a close friend.” (41:34)
When the oppressions and transgressions of enemies go beyond limits then punishing them is also in complete accordance with the law of nature. But, the moderate law about those oppressors deserves to be written with golden water as the Quran asserts to forgive and tend to reconcile. The Quran says: “The recompense of evil is evil like it. Then the one who forgives and opts for compromise has his reward undertaken by Allah. Surely, He does not like the unjust.” (42:40)
Tolerance towards Other Religions
The Quran presented a model of high grade tolerance that it regarded all the prophets and messengers of the Jews and the Christians as true prophets sent down by Allah. The Quran says: “Surely, We have revealed to you as We have revealed to Noah and to the prophets after him.” (4:163) And, it regarded the books believed by the Jews and the Christians as divine revelation from Allah: “Surely we have sent down the Torah, in which there was guidance and light.” (5:44) “We gave him the Injīl (Gospel) having guidance and light therein, and confirming the Torah that was (revealed) before it; guidance and a lesson for the God-fearing.” (5:46) Thus it extended the hand of friendship towards the Judaism and Christianity which were the well-known and prominent religions of the age. As far as other religions and nations are concerned, it declared that there were prophets from Allah to other nations and communities: “and there was no community without a Warner having passed among them.” (35:24)
One of the tolerances which the Quran showed to non-Muslims is that it prohibited them to disrespect the other religions and their leaders; Sometime, it admitted the greatness of the leaders and prophets of other communities saying: “We did raise a messenger among every people, with the message.” (16:36) While sometimes, it sowed the seed of love in idolaters stating: “Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah.” (6:108)
Concisely, it secured the honour of the sacred figures of other religions in the eyes of Muslims and stopped Muslims absolutely to abuse any religious leader of others. Thus, it established the foundation of universal sympathy and tolerance which was extinct before the advent of Islam.
How to Preach and Argue?
Islam is for all humanity and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent down for all those in the world: “We did not send you but as mercy for entire people.” (The Quran 34:28) So, it was necessary to deliver the message of truth to the whole world, but the Quran observed complete tolerance in this regard also and ordered Muslims: “Invite (people) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good counsel. And argue with them in the best of manners. Surely, your Lord knows best the one who deviates from His way, and He knows best the ones who are on the right path.” (16:125) In short, at every step the Quran enjoined Muslims to be so tolerant that no harsh and tough discussions take place during debate too.
The Quran asked Muslims to remain calm and exercise maximum restraint with people of other faith in order to avoid clash. It advised Muslims to forgive and overlook, as it says about the Jews and Christians: “They change words from their places, and they have overlooked a good deal of the Advice they were given. Every now and then you come across a certain treachery from all of them, except a few. So, forgive them and forego. Indeed, Allah loves those who are good in deeds.” (5:13) At another place it says: “So, turn away from them (disbelievers) and wish them peace.” (43:89)
Even if the non-Muslims strive to deviate Muslims from their religion then also Muslims were asked not to be provoked: “(O Muslims,) many among the people of the Book desire to turn you, after your accepting the faith, back into disbelievers — all out of envy on their part, even after the truth has become clear to them. So, forgive and overlook till Allah brings out His command.” (2:109)
A reply In response to a letter by the Amir of the Jamaat Islami Hind, nearly 70 years ago (circa 1948), the Muhtamim of Deoband, Shaykh-ul-Islam Hazrat Husayn Ahmad Madani, elaborated at length on the satanism inherent in Maududism – a particularly virulent strain of modernism. Those who have not yet been desensitized by the evils described by Shaykhul Islam, will be able to appreciate the fact that the contents of this letter holds even greater relevance and weight in this day and age, in closer proximity to the Hour, in which such evils have become far more pronounced and widespread.
A Letter from the Amir of the Jamaat Islami to Shaykhul Islam, Hazrat Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani (rahmatullahi alayh):
It is hoped that you are well. Some time back an invitation was sent to you to participate in the Annual Convention of the Jamaat Islami. Till now it is not known if you have accepted it or not. We realise well your commitments due to the Annual Convention of the Jamiatul Ulama, but there is such a gap between the dates of the two conventions that we hope you will favour us with a little of your time. Insha-Allah our convention will begin on the 20th April. Since a long time I have been looking forward to meeting you. I had corresponded regarding this too, but unfortunately due to your heavy commitments a suitable time could not be found at that time. Thereafter I tried to fix a time through Hifzurrahman Maulana Saheb. This time too no suitable occasion could be found. In any case, I feel it is of utmost importance that I exchange views with you on a few questions and would also be pleased to seek your advice on many matters. If it is possible for you to attend this convention of ours it will be deemed an honour, and the above mentioned aims will also be fulfilled. Allah forbid, if this is not possible, then it will be appreciated if you can avail me of some suitable time after the Hyderabad convention. Insha-Allah I will present myself in your noble assembly. At present the most important question which I feel should be discussed is the Fatwa of the Darul Iftaa, Deoband, which has been published in Saharanpur under the following titles: ‘/Wipe out the Maududi mischief’/, ‘/The Maududi movement is a killer and poison/‘, ‘/Those who think like Maududi have gone astray’, ‘Do not perform salaat behind the Maududi’s’./ I do not know if these Fatwas have come before you or not? These Fatwas are naturally a cause for heart-ache for all those who believe that the Jamaat Islami is on the Haq (truth) and have joined it, or for those who feel it is on the Haq. For such a Fatwa to be published from Darul Uloom, Deoband, where there are cautious personalities like yourself, is a cause of surprise and anxiety to us, especially in such circumstances, and regarding the questions on which the Fatwa is based. Time and again clear explanations were published on our behalf on these matters regarding which the authorities of Darul Uloom have been directly contacted and which still is in progress. It is hoped that your excellency will favour us with a speedy reply.
Abul Lays Amir, Jamaat Islami. [Hind]
RESPONSE BY SHAYKH-UL-ISLAM, MAULANA HUSAYN AHMAD MADANI
Your letter was received. Before that, your invitation also reached me. You have correctly estimated my commitments due to the Annual Convention of the Jamiat. Besides this I have other similar commitments. At present there are even more important commitments, i.e. The Annual Examinations at Darul Uloom which will commence at the end of Rajab and end on the 23rd or 24th of Sha’baan. As it is the end of the educational year at Darul Uloom, the kitaabs of Bukhari Shareef and Tirmizi Shareef have still to be completed, and must be covered by the 27th or 28th of Sha’baan. These commitments are of such a nature that they remain for the whole year, despite having other important matters to attend to as well. The posters you have referred to have not come to my notice before you had mentioned this in your letter. Only a booklet titled ‘/Revealing the Truth’, i.e. ‘The Maududi movement in its true colours’/ published in Saharanpur was sent to me by some gentlemen. My first impression about your movement was that it was limited to improving the Ilmi and Amali, worldly and Deeni, shortcomings and their impact on the Muslims. Although there was a difference of opinion in the way matters were promoted, I did not feel it necessary to raise a voice or write against it. Although some members of the Jamaat Islami and its leaders at times wrote and made some indecent and improper statements, it was felt that it would be better to close the eyes regarding these matters. But now, many comments on the books of Maududi Saheb have been sent to me from all corners of India and Pakistan, and have piled up considerably. The water has already flowed over the head. After perusing and understanding these comments I find myself forced to come to the following conclusion:
Your Islamic movement is against the Salaf Saaliheen (Righteous elders of Islam), just like those old sects of the Mu’tåzilah, Rawaafid, Khawaarij, Jahmiyyah etc., and like the modern sects of Qadianis, Chakralwis, Mashriqis, Nechris, Mahdawis, Baha’is etc., who wish to establish a new Islam, and to which path they are trying to attract the people. It is based on such foundations, beliefs and practices that are contrary to the teachings of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat and the Salaf Saaliheen. I list them hereunder: 1. It believes in Tafseer Bir Raay (Interpretation according to personal opinion). Every professor who possesses the sciences of the modern free-thinking Europeans, and has also acquainted himself with the knowledge of a smattering of Arabic, has the right to commentate and interpret the Qur’aan according to his whims and fancies so that it may be a light for the Muslims. This is what is happening in your circles. It does not matter if it refutes the sayings of the Sahaaba and the Salaf. Actually, this was the first Fitnah that crept into Islam. A Tafseer Bir Raay was made on the judgement of Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) on the words ‘/Inil Hukmu illa Lillah’./ As a result twelve thousand Muslims revolted and separated themselves. Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) says regarding this, “/Haqqun Uridu bihil Baatil/‘ (Truth through which is intended evil). Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) sent Hazrat Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) to explain to the people that the Qur’aan is Zu Wujooh (of multiple meaning) hence he should explain them through the Sunnat. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) explained this to the people, and as a result of which eight thousand people repented. Four thousand remained adamant on their views and began killing and labelling people as non-Muslims. This movement became popularly known as the Khawaarij. Thereafter this disease spread so widely that not only on the question of ‘Tahkeem’, but views were put forth on other matters too. Fierce squabbles were held on the questions regarding the one who commits a major sin, etc. This was not limited to the Khawaarij sect. The disease of Tafseer Bir Raay spread and the mischief of new sects like the Mu’tazilah, Jahmiyyah, Rawaafid, Karramiyyah, Mujassimah, Murjiyyah etc. arose. The Ahlus Sunnat wal Jamaat at all times made the Sahaabah Kiraam and the Salaf Saaliheen their leaders and guides, fashioned their views accordingly, and kept on obtaining the certificate of ‘/Maa Ana Alayhi Wa Ashaabee/‘ (The path that I (Rasulullah sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and my Sahaaba radhiyallahu anhum are adopting). These very same mischiefs (of new sects) took place in these latter times. The sects of the Nechris (materialists, atheists), Quraniyyah, Chakralwis, Qadiyaniyyah, Khaksaars, Baha’iyyah etc. also adopted the Tafseer Bir Raay by following their own whims and fancies. They began to stretch and manipulate the Nusus (Quranic Verses) as they desired. Rasulullah (sallallaaahu alayhi wasallam) in forecasting this calamity said: ‘/Man Fassaral Qur’aan Bira’yihi Faqad Kafar/‘ (The one who interprets the Qur’aan according to his own thoughts has become a non-Muslim). Is it not surprising that the interpretations of things according to those Sahaabah and their students whose mother tongue was Arabic; and of those who witnessed the Wahi (revelations) of Allah; and of those who had the honour of the company of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam); and had seen his deeds and Sunnats; and of the Taabi’een who were the students of those who witnessed the Wahi be shelved and labelled as incorrect. Instead the views of those non-Arab Ajami speaking people who were born thirteen hundred years later and who do not possess a command over the Arabic language, its related subjects and the Usul of the Deen, or even possess a smattering command of these, are accepted as positive and correct, just because they are graduates of Cambridge, Oxford or some other university where they acquired only the basis of the Arabic language. Those who spend their lives studying and teaching Arabic and the Deen are labelled as backward and their Tafseer is rejected as incorrect. In its place the views of the free-thinking, ungodly professors of Europe are claimed to be superior and the ones that lead to the path of Allah. Can any intelligent person or nation accept this, that a graduate of a military college or an engineering college, with whatever distinctions, will ever be permitted to work in a medical department or treat patients if he did not obtain a certificate from a medical school? Every person knows and understands that to do so is to cause chaos among humanity. Instead of benefit it will result in chaos. This is the case of those who adopt Tafseer Bir Raay. By rejecting the Tafseer of the Salaf Saaliheen and the fundamentals of the Deen, they are turning away from the straight path and going towards their ruin. 2. It throws away the Saheeh and Hasan Ahaadith of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in the waste paper basket on the strength of the view of those who hold incorrect suppositions and theories of historical events whereas the Qur’aan and Hadith announce that every command and advice of the Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is divine revelation. On the contrary, to resort to suppositions and guesses on the basis of worldly advice and expediencies is to openly refute the Nusus Qat’iyyah (irrefutable and categoric Divine Commands). It is an open invitation to innovation in the Deen. 3. It accuses the Sabaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) – as the Rawaafid had done – because of some weak Hadith or a Saheeh Hadith that apparently does not conform to reason [or conflicts with authentic and mass-transmitted narrations]. Whereas those after them solely rely on their trustworthiness for keeping Islam alive. Allah forbid, if these doyens of the Deen are labelled as untrustworthy, then the whole foundation of Islam will crumble. (The orientalists have done the same to undermine our Deen). The Qur’aan and Ahaadith have verified their truthfulness and trustworthiness in many places. Many old writings testify to this and also praise them in strong terms. They are regarded as the best and greatest among the human race. By opening this door every religious foundation will have no value. 4. It regards many Ahaadith of the Sahaabah, however Saheeh and correct they may be, as being based on sheer good-will (Husne Zann). This takes one away from the truth. If this door is opened all the Mu’jizaat, high and noble character etc. of the Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) will become meaningless. The free-thinking heretics will attain a strong weapon by this. 5. It accuses and claims that the narrators of the Saheeh Ahaadith are untrustworthy. It presents weak sayings as Saheeh, or accepts the sayings of the Ahlul Hawa (Followers of their own desires) and enemies of the Deen. The well-known A’immah are regarded as untrustworthy. By doing so the whole treasure of the Ahaadith will be wiped out. It becomes worthy of the saying of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): ‘/The later ones of this Ummah will curse the forebearers of this Ummah’./ 6. It labels Taqleed Shakhsee (i.e. to follow one of the Four accepted Madh-habs) as going astray and towards ruin whereas this command is taken from the following Aayats of the Qur’aan: /“… and follow the path of him who repenteth unto Me…” (Surah Luqman: 15), “Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not.” (Surah Nahl: 43), “And whoso seeketh as religion Other than the surrender (Islam) (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter”. (Surah Aali Imraan: 85)/
In these times it Waajib (because there do not exist those who qualify for Ijtihaad, as events from the 4th century Hijri show) for all Muslims to observe Taqleed. Those who do not observe it are in great danger and will go astray. Those who refute it are opening the doors of free-thinking which will eventually make one wary of the Deen. The least effect it has on one is that it makes one indulge in Fisq and Fujur (impiety and wickedness).
Trustworthy paragons of Ilm and Taqwa have testified to the Ijma’ (consensus) enacted on the obligation of Rigid Taqleed (Taqleed Shaksi) during the early centuries when the “/illat/” (cause, raison d’etre) for this ruling i.e. the fitnah of following one’s desires, of issuance of erroneous Fatwas, of Haraam Talfeeq, and of other evils, was far less acute than what it is today. For example, Shaykh-ul-Islam Qadhi Iyadh (476-544H) provides his explicit testimony that, /“The consensus (Ijma’) of the Muslims in all places of earth has occurred on Taqleed in this fashion (i.e. Shakhsi).”/ Hujjatul Islam, Imam Ghazali (450 – 505H), states that /“None of the scholars”/ permitted one to leave his Madh-hab and that /“by Agreement (i.e. Ijma’) of the scholars”/ the one doing so is sinful. Other trustworthy Fuqaha, such as Imam Nawawi, have attributed this position to the early Usooliyyeen and Mujtahideen as a whole, corroborating the Ijma’ that was enacted in the early eras of the Ummah. The Saheeh Hadith, /“My Ummah will never unite upon error.”/ narrated in dozens of authentic compilations seals the stamp on the strength of this Ijma’, and assigns any contrary opinion to the same category as other anomalous rulings found in our tradition which invariably draw the attention of, and exposes the identity of the Ahlul Hawa (people of desires who desperately desire to escape the inflexibility of Rigid Taqleed in order to create sufficient flexibility to grant Deeni sanction to their desires) who instinctively recoil with abject horror at the very thought of submitting themselves to this clear-cut Ijma’ enacted by the early Mujtahideen. /End of note/] 7. It has given the verdict that the Taqleed of the A’immah Arba’ah (the four celebrated Imaams) Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alayh), Imaam Shafi’ee (rahmatullahi alayh, Imaam Maalik (rahmatullahi alayh, Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahmatullahi alayh) — is Haraam and leads one astray whereas these personalities were guiding lights of their times. They were pinnacles of guidance, Taqwa, Fiqh, religious knowledge and shone like stars. 8. It gives every professor and layman the license and right to free-thinking, and to practise what they feel is correct. They advocate that all Muslims should follow this path, and it does not matter if one’s views contradict those of the Salaf Saaliheen. Even those groups that deny Taqleed are against this. They have realised this after experiencing its ill-effects. The late Maulana Muhammad Hussain Batalwi Saheb who was an ardent Imaam of the Ghayr Muqallids and an exponent and crusader of this group in India wrote in his book “Isha’atus Sunnah’ Vol. 2 Page 51, 52, 53: /“The experience Of 25 years has shown that those who, with rudimentary knowledge, act as a Mujtahid (one who interprets the Qur’an and Sunnah) and leaves Taqleed completely, in the end turn away from Islam. Some of them embrace Christianity, some become atheists. Impiety and wickedness are the simplest result of free-thinking. Among those Faasiqs, some openly disregard the Jumu’ah, Namaaz with Jamaat, Namaaz, Rozah etc. They do not keep away from interest and intoxicants. Some because of worldly benefits refrain from open sin, but heavily indulge in these in private. They illegally trick women into marrying them. Under false pretence they grab the wealth of the people, saying that it is the wealth of Allah. There are many other reasons in this world for people to turn apostate and commit sin, but for the pious to become irreligious, not having knowledge and discarding Taqleed is a major reason. “/ [NOTE: Since many scholars during that age still exhorted Taqlid Shakhsi, it was very easy for this Ghair Muqallid Imam, and even the simple layman, to observe this clear connection between apostasy and abandonment of Rigid Taqleed. In contrast, today, with virtually every group encouraging abandonment of Taqlid Shakhsi, implicitly or explicitly, the “scholars” of all such groups are stupidly looking askance and coming up with their own pet theories on the unprecedented rate of apostasy today, all designed to deflect attention from the true cause as observed by this Ghair Muqallid Imam after decades of first-hand experience during an era when the abundance of Ulama who still exhorted Taqleed Shakhsi made the correlation far more easily discernible and observable. In fact, many of these modernist “scholars” themselves are Kaafir at heart or harbour doubts regarding the truth of Islam, but maintain the façade of being a Muslim for worldly motives, some of whom are able to demand in excess of $100,000 dollars for just one speech. To cite just one example, the following statement (inadvertently leaked) from Yasir Qadhi, an extremely popular “scholar” whose beard and Sunnah appearance have been undergoing a typically Ghair-Muqallid burnout, rapid-reduction process, exposes the state of Imaan and Yaqeen of such “scholars”: /“Wallahi I’ll be honest with you, the shubahaat I was exposed to at Yale [the “madrasah” in which he enrolled to acquire his “Islam” from atheistic teachers], some of those I still don’t have answers to.”/ When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stated that even the “Subhat” (association and companionship) of camels and sheep have an effect on the shepherds herding them, then one can understand the unimaginably destructive spiritual damage being wrought by such faasiq “scholars” on the masses, especially since the form of Suhbat adopted by such masses is infinitely more potent than the mere herding of animals. Giving an attentive ear to the satanically embellished (zukhruf al-qawl) bleatings and mooings of such modernist “scholars” who harbour heresy in their hearts, which is the most powerful form of Suhbat, spells disaster to one’s Imaan, regardless of the superficial, pork-like “benefits” which deviates love to harp on about. Furthermore, the catastrophic result, chaos, and anarchy that stems from abandonment of Rigid Taqleed are far more evident today. Take the example of the famous ruling espoused by prominent Ghair Muqallid and modernist Imams such as Ibn Uthaymin and his teacher Hamoud ibn Uqla, Naasir ibn Hamad al-Fahd, Anwar Awlaki and many others exhorting the mass-slaughter of women, children, babies, etc. using such modernist “Daleel” as rationale, logic, and Tafseer bir Ray – exercise one’s own Ijtihaad on the verses of Qur’an pertaining to Qisaas (equal retaliation), and on the Ahaadith. Far worse than such abominable Fatwas is the satanic Usool (core principle) of ALL modernist, free-thinking Ghair Muqallids which exhorts abandoning Rigid Taqleed in favour of one’s own interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah. According to this satanic Usool, it is FARD (obligatory) for Ibn Uthaymin and Co. to follow what they sincerely believe to be the “stronger ruling” and what makes most logical sense to them i.e. it is FARD (obligatory) for them to exhort the mass-slaughter of women, children and babies. According to this satanic Usool, it is HARAAM (or discouraged at the least) for Ibn Uthaymin and Co. to abandon what they sincerely believe to be the “stronger ruling”, in favour of Rigid Taqleed to the ruling of the Four Madh-habs which unanimously prohibit the killing of male farmers, monks, and other non-combatants, leave aside the mass-slaughter of women, children and babies. Ijma’ (consensus) has no meaning for such free-thinking Ghair Muqallids, since for each and every Ijma’ anomalous and marjooh rulings are available to give sanction to their abominations. The Ijma’ on 3 talaqs being 3, Taraweeh consisting of 20 rak’ats etc. are just a few of countless examples the free-thinking, modernist Ghair Muqallids have overturned in this age. The term “Ghair Muqallids” also includes fake sufis and others who fraudulently claim to adhere to a Madh-hab, but who are similarly loose as the Salafis in their Taqleed of a Madh-hab – the salient feature (shi’ar) of all such deviate groups being the scavenging and adopting of anomalous and marjooh opinions found in our tradition. /End of Note/] The laxity in practicing religious deeds described by Maulana Muhammad Husain Batalwi Saheb Marhum is generally found among the educated elite, especially the professors and those who attain a Western education. This group is as unaware of Islamic teachings, Arabic Arts and literature, as the ordinary uneducated Muslim layman. If any of them claim to have a little knowledge, it is in reality nothing. Generally this group make use of Urdu, Persian and English translations. Those among them who obtain an MA, or Honours in the Arabic language from an Indian or European University are like primary school children to those who obtain an Honours degree from an Arabic Madrasah. They are not capable of even reading a sentence correctly according to the laws of Arabic Grammar nor write or speak this language. If by chance some are found with these qualifications, they are surely lacking in the other necessary sciences on which rely the science of ljtihaad in the Deen and Arabic Iiterature. It has been seen and experienced that in such cases these professors by observing ljtihaad and discarding Taqleed, and expounding this belief, destroy the roots of the Deen, spread falsehood and lead others astray. We have ourselves witnessed the outcome of the activities of such downright ‘Mujtahids’. 9. It has resolved that the orders of Tasawwuf and Suluk and its teachings are from the Jahiliyyah and is the worst form of Kufr. Tasawwuf is billed as Buddhism and Yoga whereas this path and its teachings complete one’s faith in Islam in our times. Without it, it is impossible to attain the desired lhsaan and complete devotion, just like, in our times, it is impossible to correctly recite the Qur’aan if it does not have diacritical symbols (Zabar, Zer, Pesh etc.), or if one does not know Tajweed. In the same manner it is not possible to understand the Qur’aan, Hadith, Arabic poetry etc. if one has not learnt Sarf, Nahw, Ma’aani, Baýaan and books on language etc. In the early centuries, for reciting the Qur’aan and understanding it, these sciences were not necessary, but in our so-called ‘Modern’ times there is no alternative, but to study them. The Arabs themselves (whose mother tongue and daily language is Arabic) are in need of these sciences just as we need them. It is a different matter that they need them less than we do. They have become like the Ajamis because of their association with them. In the early days and during the first century it was not necessary to follow the present-day path of Ihsaan and devotions because those were periods attached to the age of the Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Today, without this, one cannot normally reach one’s goal. To bill it Buddhism and Yogaism is great injustice. 10. It stretches its tongue and literally uses abusive language rearding the Salaf Saaliheen and Awliyaa. It degrades these personalities among the common people. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘/Those who insult and degrade my Awliyaa, I have declared war on them’./ He has also said: ‘/Remember your dead by their good deeds’/. In yet another place he has said: ‘/The modern ones from among this Ummah will curse its forebearers’./ By all the above Ahaadith it is meant that one should exercise caution and refrain from such acts. 11. It has declared that the following personalities are the ones who have led the Muslims astray and have injected them with opium: Mujaddid Alf Thaani, Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi; Shah Waliyullah Dehlawi, his followers and offspring; Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chisti; Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani; Shaikh Shahabuddin Sùhrawardi, etc. etc. These are those great giants who have rejuvenated Islam and kept the Sunnat alive. Through their guidance countless people gained true Taqwa and knowledge of Allah. History books are filled with their noble deeds and Barakaat. 12. It claims that the above Mashaa’ikh are the ones who by their teachings spread Buddhism and Yogaism. The teachings of Tariqat, be it of the Naqshbandiyyah, Chishtiyyah, Qadariyyah or Suhrawardiyyah etc. orders are heavens apart from the teachings of Buddhism or Yogaism. The teachings of Tariqat are a collection from the teachings of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, where in it is strongly stressed that every footstep of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) be followed. The writings of the Mashaa’ikh bear testimony to this. The books, Awaarful Ma’aarif and Futuhul Ghayb, should be read in this regard. 13. It uses derogatory remarks on the Ulama Zaahir and the guardians of the Shar’ee Uloom. The layman is incited to hate them. It practically degrades and taunts them and regards them as unreliable. It wants to lead the Muslims towards a new religion and wants them to make Taqleed and be loyal to its leader. In these turbulent times when open sinning, free-thinking, Kufr, arrogance and carnal greed are widespread in every corner of the world, people are becoming remote from the teachings of Allah and His Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and are lax in practising the Deeni injunctions, the correct thing to do is to instil respect into the public for the teachings of the Shari’ah, its Muballigheen and guardians. Avenues and means of rebuilding the true Deen and bringing it back to life must be given priority. To do the opposite, by creating hatred and disregard for the Salaf, is like wiping out the Deen. This is the manner which the innovators have always resorted to, and was also adopted by the Nechris (materialists, atheists), Qadiyanis. Khaksaars, etc. Mashriqi’s book “The fault of the Molvi” is an example on this subject. Every innovator and heretic has used this method to conceal his own faults and spread ignorance among the masses. 14. It comments on the Saheeh Ahaadith according to its own tastes and thinking, and is turning away the general Muslims from it. On the contrary the Salaf Saaliheen, Sahaabah Kiraam, the great Taabi’een and those of the Khayrul Qurun accepted these. Whatever grade we confer to our intellect, it still remains defective. Experience and incidents have proven this. The most dull and stupid person thinks that he possesses a good understanding and sound intellect. 5. Like the Khawaarij, it uses the labels of ‘/Inil Hukmu illa Lillaah/’ and ‘/Wa mal lam Yahkum bimaa Anzalallaah/’ to proclaim Muslims as heretics. This is the result of faulty interpretations, out of context explanations, and /‘A truthful word through which is intended evil/’. It has rebelled against the accepted views of the Salaf Saaliheen. 16. It has proclaimed the Ahadith collection and literature as unacceptable just as the Chakralwis have done even though it does not contain Akhbaar Aahaad. From the beginning of Islam till this day it has been accepted as the foundation of the Deen and in relation to historical narrations it is accepted as more powerful. 17. Like the Qadiyanis it regards its Grand leader and Amir to possess such power, that if he wills, he shall reject any Hadith according to his taste or if he wishes may throw it in the waste paper basket. Such dictatorship was not experienced or accepted by anyone during the times of the Salaf Saaliheen or during the Khayrul Qurun nor can it be accepted in these turbulent times of Fitnah and Fasaad. Hazrat Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) has said: ‘/If anyone among you wants to follow anyone, let him follow those who are dead, because the one that is alive is not free from Fitnah/’. The existence of such a state of affairs within the ranks of the people of these times is the beginning of a great calamity and a means of leading the masses astray. 18. It labels the Fiqhi treasure as incorrect and a collection of falsehood. It orders that this should be renovated and changed. The deeds of all the Muslims for the past 1300 years are regarded as a loss and a product of ignorance. It believes all those previous Muslims will not gain salvation. This is such a Fitnah that in whatever manner one mourns and laments, it will still not be enough. 19. Like the Mu’tazilah and Rawaafid they write on their signboards etc. “/The office of Actual Tawheed; Jamaat of Muwahhideen; The complete and true Islam./” or other similar slogans. The Mu’tazilah called themselves ‘Ashabul AdI’ (People of Justice) and Ashaabut Tawheed (People of Tawheed). The Shi’ah (Rawaafid) call themselves the ‘Lovers of the Ahle Bayt’. This will mean that those who are not amongst them, and do not belong to their group are not from the People of Justice, or the People of Unity or from amongst those who have love for the Able Bayt. The poison that these types of signboards spread in the past is evident from those historical incidents that took place between the Mu’tazilah, Khawaarij, Rawaafid etc. and the Ahius Sunnah. In the modern times too these types of incidents took place between the Ghayr Muqallids, Qur’aaniyyah, Nechris. Qadiyanis, Khaksaars etc. Each one of them used these types of signboards to attack the other group, indicating that they do not possess this quality. The Ghayr Muqallids call themselves Ahle Hadith wat Tawheed, and proclaim that the Hanafis are deprived of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and Tawheed. etc. Your organisation also makes the same claim, that those who do not belong to it are not faithful Muwahhids (unitarians, believers in the unity of Allah) and, as such, they do not possess complete Islam. By this the public is thrown into such confusion and disunity, that it is an open truth that the least effect it has is that those who do not join the Jamaat Islami are considered Mushriks, un-believers who will not gain salvation. It will become adamant on its own views, and will heat up the stock market of accusations, swearing, debates. Bickering, fighting, gang warfare. etc. Then the Muslim public will be beyond control and the Muslim Ummah will fall into chaos and face insurmountable difficulties. Muhtaram, Muslim India is faced with great difficulties. The difficulties and trials that they are surrounded with and are experiencing emanate from the majority group. i.e. the communalistic mind of the Hindu Mahasaba: the anti-Islamic stand of the R.S.S.; the policy of the Arya Samaj to forcibly convert all Muslims to their religion; the spiritual and materialistic degeneration of the Muslims suffering from inferiority complex; the poisonous wind and materialistic flood that is engulfing the schools and, colleges fed by the non-believing heretics of the west. etc. etc. These situations necessitate that Muslim organisations be cemented together and made stronger and stronger. A sound and accepted organisation should have been established to save the Muslims from fear, cowardice, terror, bewilderment, irreligiousness and laxity in practising religious deeds. We see that your movement is creating an air of religious and worldly degeneration. An order is created, as a result of which the whole community will become involved in this poisonous trend in the future. Therefore I feel it appropriate to advise Muslims to keep away from this movement, and refrain from reading the literature of Maududi Saheb. As for your claim that we ‘/are not concerned regarding the beliefs and thoughts of Maududi Saheb’/ we have time and again clarified our stand. It is like Mashriqi Saheb’s announcement after seeing the people objecting and becoming an obstacle to his Khaksaar movement, that we “/are creating the spirit of war and its tactics among the Muslims, and are trying to spread it and that Muslims should have nothing to do with our beliefs and publications/’. What happened subsequently? Were the members of the Khaksaar movement free from the beliefs, morals, and filthy writings of its leader? This could be heard from the tongue of Maududi Saheb himself. See ‘Al-Furqaan’ No. 2 and 3, page 9 and 10. Safar and Rabiul Awaal issue on the subject of the Khaksaar movement and Allama Mashriqi. Muhtaram, when a movement is àttributed to someone, that person will become its source of inspiration. The beliefs, morals and views of that person will surely have an effect on its members, especially when the literature of Maududi Saheb is being published with such abundance and members and non-members are induced to read it. At such times, the effects of the poisonous substances which have been included with such craftiness in such ‘inspiring’ writings cannot escape one’s thinking. My Muhtaram, taking into consideration the above points it cannot be understood what benefit will be derived from a meeting with you. I am of the orthodox Muslims and a Muqallid Hanafi, who is also a servant of the Mashaa’ikh of Tariqat. You people are of the ‘enlightened new Islam’. I wish to guide the Muslims on the path of the Salaf Saaliheen (Pious predecessors) and believe their salvation to be in it. You people wish to lead the Muslims on to the ‘New Islam’ of Maududi Saheb and are trying to reform it, a task which Mujaddid Alf Thaani, Shah Waliyullah, Sayyid Ahmed Shahid, and others were not fortunate enough to achieve, and you proclaim it as the only way to salvation for the Muslims. You are trying to salvage the Muslims by leading them on the path of those ignorant ones who opposed the Salaf Saaliheen, the pious Imaams etc. On such foundations it is possible that you may try to influence me, and I will not be able to guide you. You are running this movement for a long time and many years have passed. In this period you did not take the trouble to visit Deoband once, nor did you come to the offices of the Jamiat and exchange views with its workers so that a solution could be chalked out for the betterment of the Muslims. I am at a loss to understand today the reason for your thinking in such terms. Anyway, I am thankful for your kind attention. With all this, there is no hope of any benefit, especially when the Rampur convention has elevated your status. I can now only say, ‘/You have your Deen and I have my Deen’/, and free you from any inconveniences. I cannot think of anything else. Due to the Hyderabad convention and other commitments I could not complete this letter, when a second registered reply letter was received from you. I thank you for this letter too, as I thank you for the first one. My Muhtaram, the above matter has been taken from many reviews which in themselves are disheartening. You have complained about the articles from the Darul lftaa and have ordered that they he stopped. Regarding this, I wish to state, that the Darul lftaa of Deoband is an independent department, the head of which is Maulana Mufti Mehdi Hassen Saheb. He is an elderly, experienced researcher. About thirty to forty, or even more Istiftaas come to him daily, the replying of which is incumbent on him. When people began asking about the Jamaat Islami and Istiftaas regarding this movement began to increase, it became necessary to study Maududi Saheb’s literature and write on it. He has a considerable volume of Maududi literature. It is not in my hands to stop it. May the grace of Allah be with us. ‘/O Allah show to us the truth as the truth, and grant us the following of it. And show to us falsehood as falsehood, and grant us the strength to abstain from it’. (Aameen).
Husayn Ahmed — May Allah forgive him
Translated from Maktubaate Shaykhul islam — Part two. [Translation taken from “The Majlis” Newsletter, Vol. 2, no.3, April 1977]
Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji
My daily stroll area is my ‘square mile of inspiration’ which is adjacent to the financial district known locally as the ‘square mile’ (also known as the ‘City of London’). Both these square miles are part of Central London. My ‘square mile of inspiration’ is an oasis nestled next to the hustle and bustle of the City. It is arguably the most scenic, tranquil and beautiful part of Central London.
I pass frequently during my daily strolls by ‘The Lock’ that connects the Central Basin at St Kathrine Docks to the River Thames.
The East and West Basins are connected to the Central Basin. Hence, the Central Basin is the gateway to the River Thames. There is a parallel footbridge for people to cross over on either sides of the Central Basin. The footbridge located at the side and parallel to the East Basin is a cute, classical and replica of the original type of footbridge. The footbridge located at the West Side has a simpler but a beautiful look to it. Both the footbridges open into two halves from the middle to let the vessels moored at these side basins (East and West Basins) to pass to the Central Basin. From here they can access the River Thames via The Lock.
Allah Ta’ala diverted my mind and spiritual heart to connect and link the physical mechanism of the lock with the abstract concept of Nuzool (نُزول).
Nuzool (نُزول) is an Arabic word which literally means to come down and to descend. This coming down could be from a very high place or from a level or two up or much more. However, the Muhaqqiq Sufiya use the word to describe that state when the higher being (whoever it is, the benefactor) comes down to the lower level of the intended beneficiary so the benefit (whatever type that maybe) can be imparted. This coming down is at a conceptual and abstract level. It is not necessarily a physical activity. Also, by default it includes the raising of the level of the beneficiary as the purpose for this levelling up is to raise the level of the beneficiary and to help them grow, develop and prosper in the targeted goal. The target goal could be to connect and re-connect with the Creator; to impart practical teachings; to impart knowledge; etc.
It will all become clear and evident when I provide and furnish the examples to expand on this abstract concept. Also, the link of this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) with the lock will become clear. It will help to create a physical and visible image and layer on this abstract concept.
I was thinking how best to translate this term (Nuzool / نُزول) so it resonates with the modern readers as the literal meaning will not suffice. The meanings of ‘Creating Common Grounds’ and ‘Levelling up’ came to mind. Those who have translated the Holy Quran face this kind of challenges (as it is the most difficult type of translation) and need to decide what route they take in the translation to another language (whatever that is).
Nuzool (نُزول) is a key and structural concept I learnt (amongst many other key and structural concepts and life skills) from my beloved and compassionate mentor and guide Hazrat Moulana Masihullah Khan Jalalabadi (RA). The details mentioned in this reflection are mine but in essence is the outcome and the continuation of the benefits and blessings (فيض) from the oceans of wisdom of my beloved mentor and guide and also the outcome and result of the accepted Duas for this humble servant and follower.
A lock is a mechanical way to level up the water levels between stretches of water of different levels on a river and canal or basins waterways. The lock enables and facilitates the vessels (boats, barrages, yachts, etc) to move to and from.
In this case the lock is utilised to facilitate the vessels (boats, barrages, yachts, etc) to enter the three basins of St Katherine Docks from the River Thames and vice Verse (the vessels to enter the River Thames from the three basins.
St Katherine Docks which houses the three basins is located at a height whereas the River Thames is at a low and the water in the River Thames fluctuates about 10 metres between a high tide and a low tide. Hence, there is a significant gap between the water level in the river and the basins. The Lock helps to mechanically level the water so the transition of the vessel can occur smoothly.
On a high tide I have noticed the water in the River Thames is in par and in level with the water in the Central Basin but at low tides the difference is huge and probably is 10 metres or more.
The Lock consists of an Outer Gate which is is facing the Thames and an Inner Gate which is facing the Dock. The Lock is the space between the two gates (Inner and Outer).
The way ‘The Lock’ works is any vessel entering St Katherine Docks (from the Thames) must first pass through this lock which raises it from the river’s level to the level in the dock.
This is done by mechanically lowering the water level in the dock by draining the water into the river by opening the two way valves. When the levels of the lock and river match, the Outer Gate is lowered and the waiting vessel enters the Lock.
The Outer Gate is then raised and the water levels between the lock and the dock are equalised. This is done by drawing water through another valve. The Inner Gate is then lowered and the vessel enters the dock. The procedure is reversed to allow vessels to leave.
Similar to the mechanics of the lock to facilitate the smooth transition of the vessels from the Docks to the River Thames (and vice versa) there is a need for the higher being (the benefactor) to level up and create common grounds with the intended beneficiaries. If the higher being does not come “down” to their level and create a levelling and common ground the maximum benefit cannot be imparted, shared and transferred (or no benefit in the worst case). This levelling needs to occur. This is the beautiful concept of Nuzool (نُزول).
I will share five key areas and relationships as examples where this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) occurs or needs to be employed to maximise the transfer of benefits between the benefactor and the beneficiary. Otherwise, the maximum benefit or no benefit at all will occur in these key five relationships due to the mismatch and disconnect as the benefactor and the beneficiaries have no common ground and common protocol to transfer. The five areas and relationships are:
1) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Allah Ta’ala
2) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him)
3) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Parents
4) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Teachers (Ustaz)
5) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Sheikh (Spiritual Mentor)
These are five key relationships we all have to some degree. They are:
5. Sheikh/Mureed (Mentor/Mentee)
I will briefly shed light on these five key areas and relationships.
1) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Allah Ta’ala
I want to state upfront and reiterate that when this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) is mentioned for Allah Ta’ala then the literal meaning is not implied. It is to describe a metaphorical state to bring this abstract concept within the reach of the human mind. This will help the human being appreciate the warmth, closeness and proximity that is being stated. It is our belief that Allah Ta’ala is free from time and space.
This concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Allah Ta’ala is derived from the below Hadeeth. It should become apparent and clear how the concept is derived.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) said: “Our great and glorious Rabb descends to the sky closest to the Earth every single night when the last third portion of the night is remaining and He calls out: Who is there to call out to me so that I may answer him? Who is there to ask from me so that I may give him? Who is there to seek my forgiveness so that I may forgive him?” (Bukhari, Muslim)
The above Hadeeth is explicit in mentioning this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to our Creator, Allah Ta’ala in the manner explained. Allah Ta’ala is going out of His way to create this mutual connection and common ground by descending to the sky closest to the Earth.
The above Hadeeth uses the verb - يَنْزِلُ - which is derived from the Arabic root word of of Nuzool (نُزول). Hence, this concept is derived from here it seems.
2) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him)
Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) has numerous titles. He is the Prophet of Islam. He is the Best of all Creation. He is the Mercy to the Universe. He is the Final Prophet of Allah Ta’ala. He is the Beloved of Allah Ta’ala.
Each of these titles is based on reality and is sufficient to awe and humble all other human beings. However, despite all these great titles our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) lived a life like an ordinary human being. He lived as though he was one of them. Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) did not act out or show he was special. Instead he actually highly discouraged his Companions (رضوان الله عليهم اجمعين) to treat him in a special way.
The books of Ahadeeth (احاديث) and Sirat (سيرة) are full of examples of this display of a humble and common attitude. I will share just three examples of how this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) manifested in the life of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). You can slot the remaining examples mentally into this area. There are numerous examples.
Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would frequent the bazar (market) as any ordinary human being would to avail his needs. This practice of frequenting the bazar and to shop for ones needs is the concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in action. There was no need for him to do this as he could have sat at home and ordered one of his companions or helpers to do the shopping. But this is not his beautiful and humble way.
This humility and being a common man was not liked by the disbelievers as they thought in their immature minds that staying aloof and distant from ordinary people and trying to be special by not engaging in routine tasks like shopping was a good thing.
The Holy Quran depicts this in this way.
وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَٰذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرً
They said: What sort of messenger is this. Who eats food and walks in the marketplaces? If only an angel was sent down with him, who would have been a warner along with him. (Verse 7, Al-Furqan (25), Part 19)
This example is how he lived amongst the general people (believers and disbelievers).
This concept of Nuzool (نُزول) also covers the area and sheds light on the need for messengers of Allah Ta’ala to be human beings and also to be sent from within their communities and not as angels or from other communities.
The second example is how our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) lived amongst his wives. I will quote just one Hadeeth that clearly states this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in action.
Hazrat Hisham bin Urwah (RA) narrates from another person who had asked and enquired from Ummul Mumineen Hazrat Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) the actions of the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) in his house. She replied: “The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would sew or mend his clothing, repair his shoes and similar things (e.g. milk the goats, etc).” (Musnad Imam Aḥmad)
The Hadeeth is clear in how the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) blended in the home. This is the concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in action in the home setting.
The third example is how our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) lived amongst his Companions (رضوان الله عليهم اجمعين). I will quote just one Hadeeth that clearly states this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in action.
Hazrat Anas bin Malik (Allah be pleased with them both) reports: “No one was more beloved to the Sahaabah (Allah be pleased with them all) than the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). When they saw him they did not stand up, knowing that he did not approve of it.” (Abu Dawood, Tirmizi, Aḥmad)
The Hadeeth is clear in how the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) blended in with his Companions (رضوان الله عليهم اجمعين) so they were more receptive to the teachings and other benefits and blessings.
This is the concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in action in the social environment.
میرے آقا، میرے مولا
میرے آقا، میرے مولا
میرے آقا، میرے مولا
محمّد رسول الله
محمّد رسول الله
محمّد رسول الله
3) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Parents
For parents to succeed in their Tarbiyah (تربية) of their children they need to come down to the level of their children first to benefit them and then gradually raise their growth so they can fly high.
The parents need to think and feel what their children will be thinking and feeling at their respective ages and train and develop them with that in mind. Hence, the method to train and nurture the growth of their children will be in line with the needs of their children based on their ages and environments (ماحول). This will bear fruits sooner or later. The children will be receptive to what the parents have to offer; it will relate to their environments and they will be able to digest and enact the guidance offered and more importantly will love, cherish and respect their caring and compassionate parents.
On the contrary when this - Nuzool / نُزول - is missing and there is a mismatch and disconnect between what the parents are thinking and the thinking level of the children then the Tarbiyah (تربية) of their children cannot occur and subsequently it cannot bear fruits. The parents have to come down to the level of their children and then raise them up, nurture them and grow them to their intended level gradually.
Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would play with his children and grand children and would do the Tarbiyah of them in a way that would be fitting for them at their respective ages.
4) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Teachers (Ustaz)
Teachers (Ustaz) are similar in regards to how they do Tarbiyah (تربية) of their students with parents in respect to the Tarbiyah (تربية) of their children.
For the Ustaz/Ustazah to succeed in imparting knowledge (علم) in a meaningful and adequate way then he/she has to come down to the level of the student and to connect and communicate with them according to their current mental capacity and abilities. The Ustaz/Ustazah has to put aside their current intellectual capacities, prowess and knowledge.
When this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) is put in action with the students then the Ustaz/Ustazah will connect and communicate in a way that is relatable and employ the choice of words the students can understand and relate; the level will be at the right level; the pace will be correct and all the necessary considerations will be made to impart the knowledge to ALL the students adequately (and not just the smart and intelligent students).
On the contrary when this - Nuzool / نُزول - is missing and there is a mismatch and disconnect between what the Ustaz/Ustazah is teaching and the intellectual capacities of the students then the knowledge will not and cannot be imparted in a meaningful and productive way. The Ustaz/Ustazah has to come down to the intellectual level of the students and explain in a way all the students even the weaker ones can easily grasp and comprehend. It is no good if the level is too high that no student understands or the delivery is at a different level (higher or lower) or the weaker students are not able to grasp the lecture.
There is this phrase that is thrown about by students to describe the lectures of some Ustaz as ‘Hawai Taqreer’ (ہوائ تقریر). What this means is the Ustaz delivers a lesson, a lecture but does not correlate and solve the text (حلِّ كتاب اور حلِّ متن). The lecture is fired in the air and does not match and correlate the text on the ground. Hence, it is not of much value to the students as they need to solve the text (حلِّ كتاب اور حلِّ متن) too. This is a sign of a weak and incompetent Ustaz too and off the mark from this concept of Nuzool (نُزول). Solving the text is a key skill the Ustaz needs to deliver to be effective in his teaching role (at a Darul Uloom). Otherwise, the Ustaz/Ustazah is lacking the key and basic requirements of teaching in a Darul Uloom.
All my Asatizah (plural of Ustaz) who I have benefitted greatly possessed this skill at the highest level and those who didn’t I didn't benefit much from them. There is no levelling and common grounds between ustaz and student when the textbook is not being solved. Also, deep Islamic knowledge and deep understanding demand and require an excellent grasp of the actual texts. Everything is about the text - the words (الفاظ) and meanings (معانى).
The common ground and levelling will be different in different educational settings (Maktab, Universities, etc) and will differ based on the calibre and age of students (children, teenagers, adults, professionals, etc) and based on gender. The course and delivery style needs to match the beneficiaries and recipients.
This levelling up is what we learn from the prophetic way. For example,
our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would employ a gradual approach; the right subjects at the right time and the method suited for the student at the time.
Hazrat Jundab ibn Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) reports: “We were with the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) (at the time) in a group of youth close to the age of maturity. We learnt what was Iman (faith) before we could learn the Quran. Thereafter, we learnt the Quran. In this way, we increased our Iman.” (Ibn Majah)
The above Hadeeth suggests one key prophetic method employed for the youth.
5) Nuzool (نُزول) in regards to Sheikh (Spiritual Mentor)
The Nuzool (نُزول) of the Sheikh (Spiritual Mentor) in regards to how they do Tarbiyah (تربية) of their Mureeds (Spiritual Mentees) is very similar to the Nuzool (نُزول) of the parents and Ustaz in regards to the Tarbiyah (تربية) of their children and students.
For the Sheikh to succeed in equipping and guiding the mureed with the right level of guidance, mentoring and coaching, the Sheikh has to come down to the level of the mureed, their mental capacity, educational background, circumstances, environments, etc and overlook the current dire state and look at the hidden and untapped potential. The Sheikh has to put aside their spiritual standing and heights to one side and teach the mureed how to take the first baby steps and then guide them on the journey ahead to materialise their untapped potential and hidden spiritual capacities.
When this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) is put in action with the mureed then the Sheikh will interact, guide, mentor and coach the mureed in a way that is perfect for the mureed at every given step, stage and level of their development journey. Each mureed will be interacted in a custom and tailored way that is suited and best for them and their spiritual states and journey.
This is what we learn from the prophetic way too. Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would prescribe different remedies for different people for the same issues or the same questions put to him by different mureeds based on the different needs of the respective mureeds.
This was a brief explanation of the five areas and relationships in regards to expanding on the concept of Nuzool (نُزول) through these examples.
To return to the similarity given of the concept of Nuzool (نُزول) with ‘The Lock’ it should be noted that without the lock the benefits of inter-flow between the stretches of water will not be possible. The vessels moored at the basins will not be able to access and connect with the River Thames and via the River Thames will not be able to access and explore the world via the connecting seas and oceans. The vessels would be isolated and cut off. Their potential will not materialise. The lock facilitates for the vessels moored at the basins to connect with the River Thames and via the River Thames will be able to access and explore the seas, oceans and the world. Similar is the case for the above five key types of relationships. Employing Nuzool (نُزول) creates great opportunities for the beneficiaries of all these five key relationships.
In the first relationship the servant (عبد / أمة) will be able to connect and gain proximity to their Loving Creator to gain infinite blessings.
In the second relationship the follower (Ummati / امتى) will be able to maximise their potential on this earth and the Hereafter by digesting and internalising the prophetic teachings.
In the third relationship the child will be able to learn from the parents the life skills to navigate the sea of life.
In the fourth relationship the student will be able to acquire the knowledge and the required aptitude and capacities to navigate the oceans of knowledge.
In the fifth relationship the mureed will be able to internalise the inner characters to navigate the universe of spirituality and way beyond.
In a nutshell Nuzool (نُزول) sums up in one small word a chapter of knowledge (باب من العلم) and a key skill required for Tarbiyah (تربية) that encompasses a wide ranging area of Tarbiyah in a beautiful way for all the three relationships relevant for us. You can add to the examples and further aspects and dimensions for all these five relationships based on your ability and understanding.
Before I conclude this reflection I would like to touch on one aspect of the trait the last three relationships share. Saying that, the truth is all the five relationships share this trait in varying degrees.
The parents, teachers and sheikh (or Mashaikh) all fall under the category of Murabby (مربّى) which means the one who undertakes Tarbiyah. All these last three categories share in this key role of Tarbiyah (تربية).
As a side note it is worth mentioning that the level in terms of priority and respect is also in this order. Parents, then teachers (Ustaz) and then sheikh as Hakeem-Ul-Ummah Mujaddid-Ul-Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) stated in Bayan Al-Quran. Some scholars I have also known first hand to make a mistake in this ordering.
To conclude I would like to remember my beloved and compassionate mentor and guide Hazrat Moulana Masihullah Khan Jalalabadi (RA) again who is the hidden inspiration behind this content. My beloved and compassionate mentor and guide Hazrat Moulana Masihullah Khan Jalalabadi (RA) to his followers and disciples was a combination of the last three relationships mentioned above.
Formally, Hazrat (RA) was the Sheikh (mentor and guide) to the mureed.
In some cases, a formal Ustaz and in most cases an informal Ustaz. Under the guidance of my beloved Sheikh even non-Alims would develop incredible understanding of the Deen (تفقّه فى الدين), insights into Fiqh, Tazkiyah, etc. In some cases gaining much more insights into these areas than other well known formal scholars. This was the exceptional and unique style of my beloved mentor and guide’s Tarbiyah.
And due to the care and compassion like the compassion of a father (شفقت پدری), Hazrat (RA) was like a father figure to the mureeds. My beloved and compassionate mentor and guide (RA) was affectionately known as Abbaji (ابّاجی), Hazrat’s wife was known as Ammi Jaan (امّی جان), Hazrat’s son was known as Bhai Jan (بھائ جان) and Hazrat’s younger brother was known as Chacha Jan (چچا کان).
I feel like I should write a detailed piece on this concept of Nuzool (نُزول) to explain, expand and branch out on this concept further and detail its application to all areas and facets of our worldly and Deeni lives. I feel I have barely scratched the surface. I request the readers to pray that Allah Ta’ala grants me the taufeeq to expound on the concept of Nuzool (نُزول) in the future; to guide; to direct and to support me to write what is beneficial and needed and to grant it acceptance in His Court.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to acquire and develop this valuable trait of Nuzool (نُزول) whenever and wherever it is needed in our lives and relationships.
O Allah Ta’ala! Bless and grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to live a simple and prophetic way of life that involves simplicity and no pretence.
O Allah Ta’ala! Protect us all from the evils of the nafs and all forms of ego and vanity that stop us from enacting on this concept of Nuzool (نُزول).
آمین یارب العلمین بجاہ سیدالمرسلین علیہ الصلوۃ والتسلیم
و صلى الله على النبى الحبيب الشفيع الرؤوف الرحيم
Muhammad Noman Daji
(After Fajar, Saturday 28th November 2020 – 13th Rabi-ul-Aakhir 1442 A.H)
Note: This reflection is part of the Series of Short Reflections I have penned on a number of important and relevant Islamic concepts and life lessons.
P:S: I am a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. I certified as an Aalim and a Mufti at this prestigious seat of advanced Islamic learning. I thought it should be mentioned (and has been suggested) so it provides some credibility and comfort for those reading (and who don’t know me).
The Fine Art of Connecting at the Human Level - 7 Cues From the Life of The Greatest Connector (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him)
(By: Mufti Muhammad Noman Daji, Batley, UK - firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Tuesday 17th November 2020 – 2nd Rabi-ul-Aakhir 1442 A.H)
This piece discuses how to connect at a deep and meaningful level with fellow human beings. It is to connect at a human level that is not shallow and not defined and motivated by external and superficial factors.
In this piece I have derived seven cues from the conduct and interactions of the Greatest Connector, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).
The repeated and sincere practice of these seven cues will yield great results.
The motivation and desire to write on this great and important prophetic aspect is two folds.
The first motivation and desire is to acquire the honour to share and spread the beautiful and practical life of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). Without doubt our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) is the best role model (Uswah Hasanah / أسوة حسنة) and his conduct and interactions are the most exemplary and most worthy of being spread, followed and emulated.
Connecting at the human level is one practical dimension and behaviour of the greatest human being ever to grace the earth. This is a man who significantly and for the better changed the course of history for all human beings. This is a man who had an enormous impact on world history and continues to impact humanity till this very day. This is the man who initiated an extraordinary sequence of events (fall of the two oppressive super powers of the time, etc) in just a short span of 23 years. This is a man whose legacy includes and not limited to having billions of followers who love him more than themselves and are deeply touched, inspired and influenced by his great teachings.
The second motivation and desire is to highlight the importance of connecting with fellow human beings first and foremost and purely at the human level. There is a strong need to put aside all other superficial boundaries (race, colour of skin, language, geography, etc) and worldly layers and dimensions (wealth, fame, positions, poverty, etc).
This practice of primarily connecting at the human level is more important and significant when it comes to those interactions that are carried out in the name of Islam (i.e. to spread or defend Islam). This includes any effort undertaken to spread the message and mission of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). It is vital and wholly essential that the message and mission of Islam and our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) is spread employing and adopting the beautiful and practical prophetic ways. The prophetic ways are by far the most effective ways to convince and influence fellow human beings.
Note: Please note my use of ‘humans’ or ‘fellow human beings’ throughout my piece and in general in my writings. I want to drill this message to my readers of looking at people as humans and not as numbers or other superficial dimensions.
The primary target audience are each and every believer of Allah Ta’ala and follower of our most beloved Prophet, the Best of all Creation and the Most Beloved and Final Prophet of Allah Ta’ala, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).
Every Muslim/Muslimah has two primary dimensions. One is they are humans and the second is they are believers in the Deen of Islam.
It is important to factor this human dimension as that affects the way we behave and interact. Human beings by nature are social animals. Hence, they need and like to interact with fellow human beings at many levels. They need to interact as part of their daily life and also to discharge their additional Deeni obligations. Hence, what better way to interact with fellow human beings than the best way there is possible. That is the way (Tareeq / طريق) of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) i.e. Tareeq Muhammady (طريق محمّدى).
These seven cues from the Greatest Connector, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) are a set of practices that will help the practitioner connect with their fellow human beings to discharge their human or Deeni obligations.
Every believer needs to employ and apply the seven cues from the Greatest Connector, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) into their ordinary and daily interactions with their fellow human beings too (regardless of their faith, etc).
Start employing these set of seven prophetic cues with focus to connect at the human level with your spouse (wife/husband) and your children. You can then extend it to the extended family and relatives and then continue to widen the circle of application with neighbours, colleagues and every human being you meet and encounter. Every human being you come into contact deserves this sincere respect and connection at the human level.
You can and should apply these seven prophetic cues at work and in your professional life too. This trait is about building and developing the character of Ihsan (صفت احسان) in you at every level. The character of Ihsan (صفت احسان) is to execute each and every routine act, devotional act or interaction in the best manner possible. The details and application of Ihsan (صفت احسان) will vary from act to act. This character of Ihsan (صفت احسان) needs to permeate in all your actions and interactions whether directly related to worship or indirectly like interactions with fellow human beings.
The believing men (Muslim / مسلم) and believing women (Muslimah / مسلمة) have additional obligations too. This is their dimension on top of the primary dimension of being human. Based on this second dimension each and every believer by default is an ambassador of Islam and a representative of Islam in relation to fellow human beings (whether they are close relatives or strangers).
Every action of ours draws them closer to us and Islam or distances them from us and Islam. Hence, due to this additional dimension and responsibility we need to be extra careful that we employ and apply the seven prophetic cues when we are interacting with everyone and more so when we are interacting with non-Muslims.
Out of this universal group (Muslim Ummah) I also want to direct this piece to a special sub-category of believers. This special sub-category includes those who are scholars and those involved in any form of Tableegh and Dawah work to Muslims or non-Muslims via any line and effort of Deen. The line and effort of Deen could be by being an Imam of the Masjid; conducting Islamic seminars; engaging in the Jam’at and Tableegh work; engaged in Dawah work with non-Muslims; engaged in welfare, humanitarian and charitable work; etc.
It is highly essential for this special sub-category and set of believers to embody this beautiful prophetic trait for them to be effective in their line of effort, message and mission. This is a foundational trait that without it the rapport and connection cannot be built and definitely not sustained with those they are trying to influence, help and support and draw closer to the Deen.
There are two main features I include when I am writing any piece whether it is a short reflection or any reflective piece or article.
The first feature is I try to connect and build connection with the mind and spiritual heart of the targeted readers.
What I mean by connecting to the mind and spiritual heart of the targeted readers is to communicate in the language and in the style and manner that can stimulate their minds and spiritual hearts and at the same time establish mental pegs and mental holders in their minds and spiritual hearts where they can add more examples on the concept I discuss as they grow their knowledge and as they grow spirituality. I try to light the spark, light the flame, create the thirst for more and plant the seeds so the readers can nurture and grow them.
The second feature is that the vast majority (if not all) and all of my reflective pieces are action oriented. They are geared towards practice and consist of actionable items.
What that means is I am trying to share some practical pointers that are simple and can be easily adopted to one’s daily life with a teaspoon of sincerity and firm conviction.
Note: This piece has cues that are primarily for use during face to face contact but they can also be employed during telephone contact and communication. For example, calls to parents, calls to relatives, calls for Dawah purposes, etc. The human being at the other end of the line can also feel whether or not the adequate attention is being given to them during the conversation.
Definition of ‘Connecting at the Human Level
Human beings are social animals and we like to connect. However, the connection we establish with fellow human beings needs to be primarily at the basic and core human level. It should be pure and free from superficial layers and ulterior motives. It should not be based on worldly considerations and motives.
As believers the motivation to connect with fellow human beings needs to be based on showing respect to the human being we are connecting with; to fulfil and discharge our human obligations towards them and to draw people closer to Islam or into the fold of Islam.
The way I am defining ‘Connecting at the Human Level’ is to connect from the spiritual heart that is filled with respect for the human being you are connecting with purely based on humanity and compassion. This respect and compassion will manifest in your physical demeanour and interactions. The human being will feel the respect (or lack thereof). The primary goal of the interaction is to either discharge your worldly need or Deeni obligations.
The outcome of this deep humane manner of connecting will inevitably establish and build deep connections and as a result increase your influence over the other person. Influence is not the primary or end motivation. The primary and end motivation is pure. That is to get them to engage in actions that are beneficial for them in this life and in the Hereafter.
It is worth highlighting that connecting at the human level is very different from communicating with humans. Hence, out of the seven prophetic cues only one of the cues #6 - Appropriate & Compassionate Language - is related to communication. The other six cues are all non-verbal. There is a 6-1 ratio between non-verbal and verbal communication.
Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) - The Greatest Connector
This title is based on reality. This is not a believer trying to big up the prophet they believe in purely out of love for him.
If you asses this ability and skill of Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) with the definition I have given then it should be clear as day this accolade is based on reality. No other human being in the history of mankind has had this incredible level of influence that Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) has had on humanity and mankind. This incredible level of influence was not limited or only visible over his great Companions (رضوان الله عليهم اجمعين) who sacrificed everything for him or the believers who came after and love him and are influenced by him in every facet and sphere of life but it is evident on all of humanity.
The influence of Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) had on his great Companions (رضوان الله عليهم اجمعين) and how that manifested is evident. In a short span they were successful in destroying the two oppressive super powers of the time and ruling a third of the world when if you rewind back a couple of decades the Muslims were even without a home town and lacked any visible power. They were homeless in their home town and defenceless.
میں اکیلا ہی چلا تھا جانبِ منزل مگر
لوگ ساتھ آتے گئے اور کارواں بنتا گیا
This level of incredible influence is also acknowledged by non-Muslim historians and writers. It is popularly known about Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) being ranked as #1 by Michael H. Hart in his best seller ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’.
جادو وہ جو سر چڑھ کر بولے
There are other great connectors but by far the greatest connector by an incredible wide margin is without doubt Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).
Influence can be acquired through a range of means as the wide variety of people listed and ranked in the book ‘The 100’ indicates. However, the most meaningful and deep influence is the influence that is established and acquired by connecting with a fellow human being at the human level where there are no ulterior motives or based on superficial reasons.
This piece discusses the core and specific components to this fine art of connecting at this pure human level inspired from the life of the greatest connector, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).
Allah Ta’ala dropped into my heart that by ranking our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) as the #1 influential person in history there is is an implicit admission by Michael H. Hart (author of the book) that Islam is also the #1 Deen too. The Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) and the Deen of Islam are two sides of the same coin. They are ‘one’ and they cannot be separated i.e. there is Talazum (تلازُم) between them.
Every teaching of this beautiful Deen of Islam is #1. The teaching is shown to us practically by our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). This practical example is the best way and the #1 way to carry out any action in question.
One key thing to note is the primary inspiration of interacting with fellow human beings at this pure and humane level was the need to connect human beings to their loving and bountiful Creator. The thought of Allah Ta’ala was central and underpinned in every action and interaction.
7 Connecting Cues from The Greatest Connector
These seven prophetic connecting cues (connectors) are the components that will help you develop and master the fine art of connecting at the human level. This will pay dividends in the long term towards your message and mission.
The message and mission is to further spread, strengthen and raise the positive profile of all aspects of Islam. Also, to display humanity in all your interactions at every level of your daily life.
The non-believers you have interacted using these seven prophetic cues might not all accept Islam but they (most) will definitely come to your support and defend Islam and Muslims in your absence and in their circle of influence. That is a great victory too.
The seven connecting cues derived from the conduct and interactions (Seerat) of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) are:
1) Sincere Respect at the Core Human Level
2) Desire to Benefit (Give not Want)
3) Attention via the Body & Modest Eye Contact
4) Sincere Smile
5) Focused & Compassionate Listening
6) Appropriate & Compassionate Language
7) Care, Compassion and Supplications in Absence
I would like to mention one narration that beautifully sums up the outcome the prophetic fine art of connecting at the human level had on his Companions (رضوان الله عليهم اجمعين). Each companion (Allah be pleased with them all) felt they were the most closest to Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) due to this deep connection at the human level. This is a highly noble feature and is a scarce commodity nowadays.
Hazrat Amr ibn Al’Aas (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) gave attention, spoke and showed love to the worst person of a nation. So that, the person may feel he is being given special attention. He used to give attention and spoke to me also in a manner that I began to feel that I was the best among the community. (Therefore one day I plucked up the courage and) I asked: 'O Messenger of Allah! Am I better or is Abubakr better?' He replied: 'Abubakr'. I then asked: 'Am I better, or 'Umar?' He replied. ‘Umar'. I asked: 'Am I better or 'Usman?' He replied: 'Usman'. When I asked him these questions, the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) told me the truth. (He did not tell me I was better to keep me happy. Afterwards I felt ashamed of myself on this deed). I felt I should not have asked such a question.
The above narration clearly states the level of deep and humane connection our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would have with fellow human beings and companions. It also clearly shows the need to be truthful at all times.
Details on the ‘7 Connecting Cues’ from The Greatest Connector
I will briefly discuss these 7 cues to give you a flavour. Hence, it is easier to understand and then apply and employ. You can always add more examples mentally (to these seven mental pegs) as you progress in your practice and as your knowledge and insights increase in this area of deep human connection.
1) Sincere Respect at the Core Human Level
It is important to sincerely respect every human being and in particular those you are interacting with at the core human level from the depths of your hearts.
What this means is you value and respect them as a human being - full stop. The value and respect you are assigning them is not based on any worldly status or superficial criteria (e.g. beauty and attractiveness, wealth, influence, fame and popularity, positions, what they can do for you, etc). The minute you assign the value and respect of the human being you are interacting with based on these superficial things then that is the moment when your interaction and message loses the sweetness, value, essence, effect and spirit.
When this authentic and genuine respect at the very basic and core level is missing you cannot connect and you will not be able to sustain the connection even if you fake it and succceed initially.
Allah Ta’ala has granted respect and honour to mankind at its core as we learn from the Holy Quran.
وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ
And We have certainly honoured (and dignified) the Children of Adam. (Verse 70, Al-Isra (17), Part 15)
It was highly evident in each and every interaction of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) the level of sincere, genuine, authentic and honest respect he had for every human being at this core human level. This applied to Muslims and non-Muslims, male and female, young and old and friend and foe. This is not something he just practiced by himself but also encouraged others to emulate.
I just want to refer your mind to the Hadeeth and quote the Hadeeth that emphasises respecting human beings regardless of the living or dead and regardless of faith but purely due to the human dimension.
Hazrat Qays ibn Sa‘d and Hazrat Sahl ibn Hunayf (Allah be pleased with them both) narrates: “A funeral procession passed by the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him), so he stood up. We said, “It is the funeral procession of a Jew.” He, the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) said: “Is it not a soul?”” (Bukhari, Muslim)
The human dimension is worthy of respect and dignity regardless of anything else as is evident from the above narration.
2) Desire to Benefit (Give not Want)
The chances and odds are greatly increased in your favour to connect and sustain the connection if you are connecting with someone when you are not seeking anything from them and on top of that the benefit is primarily theirs. The human being you are trying to connect with is more likely to listen, consider your message and connect and stay connected with you in this case.
If there is an ulterior motive or the intention is tainted and polluted (or turns that way) then the chances of you connecting or sustaining the connection with that human being becomes slim and will fade away.
It was the absolute slogan of all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah Ta’ala (عليهم السلام) including the leader of all prophets, our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) that the primary reason to connect with fellow human beings was not to gain anything (material) from them whatsoever.
The reality was all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah Ta’ala (عليهم السلام) were all trying to make and create a blissful life for their fellow human beings in this world and to open the door of eternal salvation (Hereafter). There was no worldly benefit for any of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah Ta’ala (عليهم السلام) including the leader of all prophets, our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). The sole beneficiary was the human being that was addressed.
قُلۡ مَاۤ اَسۡـئَـلُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ مِنۡ اَجۡرٍ وَّمَاۤ اَنَا مِنَ الۡمُتَكَلِّفِيۡنَ
Say, [O Muḥammad], “I do not ask you for it [i.e., the Qur’ān] any payment (recompense), and I am not of the pretentious (pretend and fabricate things which do not exist)” (Verse 86, Sa’d (38), Part 23)
3) Attention via the Body & Modest Eye Contact
Connection with the human being you are interacting with cannot be established and achieved when the outward respect is not seen and given. Hence, it is important to display the physical and outward attention that shows you are extending towards them in the form of complete and adequate respect, dignity and attention.
The Da’ee (caller towards Islam) will not be able to connect with the human being they are trying to reach and convey the message if the Da’ee is pre-occupied mentally or physically with other things and not extending the total attention towards the human being they are addressing. The message demands it is shared with complete focus. It was the habit of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) to immerse himself totally in the address.
What we learn from the prophetic behaviour of connecting is that our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would fully turn his body towards the person he was communicating with to show they mattered. This impact and effect of this visible display of giving full attention would be noticed and felt by the person. The deep connection it would create needs no mention. The mention of this act by the Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) clearly indicate it was well received and noticed by the companions.
Imam Tirmizi (RA) mentions in his masterpiece collection of ‘Shama’il Muhammadiyyah’ the long narration of Hazrat Ali (Allah be pleased with him) where he mentions that when the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) addressed a person he would turn his whole body towards that person. He did not only turn his face towards the person he addressed, as this is considered impolite, and sometimes, it can even denote pride. The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) faced the person he was speaking to with his chest and body.
Also, it is narrated and recorded that during the handshake our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would not remove his blessed hand from the other person until the other person removed it. This also displays the respect given to the other person and the humility of the one enacting this.
In regards to eye contact what we learn from the prophetic behaviour of connecting is that our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) would have modest eye contact with the person. It was there but not overpowering and neither was it non-existent.
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) reported that the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) did not fix his eyesight for long on anyone due to his exceeding modesty.
I’d like to relate an incident to highlight what not to do. During my extended travels across the width and breadth of India I visited one place and arranged to meet the famous scholar residing there. I was given a time when I could meet the next day. I subsequently arrived at the right time. After the initial greetings of Salam at the door the scholar sat down and immediately started to read the daily newspaper for the day and kept his head in the newspaper. I was surprised as I had arranged to meet and was given a time and the scholar had his head stuck in the newspaper. I tried to engage the scholar to talk and ask but he would answer and talk that way. I sat a few minutes then left. I was not impressed with this interaction and is contrary to any courtesy and prophetic teachings (whoever he is).
Give attention, not tension.
I noticed countless times during the after Asar public majlis of my respected and mushfique teacher Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth & Sadr-ul-Mudarriseen of Ummul Madaris (أم المدارس) and Azhar-ul-Hind (ازهر الهند) Darul Uloom Deoband Hazrat Aqdas Moulana Mufti Saeed Aḥmad Palanpuri (RA) when any visitors would come to meet our ustaz he would ask the students to make space for them as the room would be full and then would converse with them to ask their well being and why they were coming, etc before continuing with the majlis. This is in line with the prophetic ways.
4) Sincere Smile
Smile radiates a person’s face. A smile is infectious. A smile has an impact on the other person. A smile draws the other person closer and provides space to engage, converse and eventually connect in a meaningful way.
What we learn from the prophetic behaviour of connecting is that the lips of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) was always decorated with a sincere, authentic and genuine smile.
The sincere, authentic and genuine smile has the power to attract and draw people closer to you. It is a magnetic force. It forces the other person to come closer to you. It forces them to smile and relax. A sincere, authentic and genuine smile is a key arrow in the arsenal of establishing and building a genuine connection. This way the person will be more receptive to your interaction and message of Deen and you will have more ability to influence the person for their good.
On the contrary when a person has a constant frown or a grumpy face then that cannot lead to or result in establishing and building a genuine connection. It is highly important that those believers engaged in the effort of Deen are not displaying this kind of grumpy and unfriendly attitude.
There are a number of well-known and popular Ahadeeth describing the Prophetic nature of the permanent smiles. I am just quoting two popular Hadeeths.
Aldo, the modesty of the eyes that showed in the blessed and sacred face of the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) was in fact an extension of the sincere smile alongside the immense and natural modesty he possessed.
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Al-Harith (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I have never seen anyone who smiles more than the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).” (At-Tirmizi)
Hazrat Jarir ibn Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) never refused me permission to see him since I embraced Islam and never looked at me except with a smile (on his face).” (Muslim)
5) Focused & Compassionate Listening
Focused and deep listening is a very powerful component of connecting with a fellow human. Focused and deep listening demonstrates the person being listened to matters. It displays respect and care for them. Focused and deep listening encourages the person to open up and speak freely as they are being heard. Human beings like to be heard. Focused and deep listening fills that human need of them. There needs to be quality in the listening through the focus and deep listening.
Focused and deep listening is an incredibly powerful method to connect with human beings at the core human level.
What we learn from the life of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) is that he used to listen a lot. He used to listen, listen, listen. He used to listen to people so much that the hypocrites (Munafiqeen / منافقين) used to say in a mocking way ‘he is all ears’. The fools didn’t realise the power of deep listening to people; what impact it was having on the people being listened to and the influence it was creating and increasing of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) over them.
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَقُولُواْ رَٰعِنَا وَقُولُواْ ٱنظُرْنَا
O you who believe! Do not say (while addressing the Prophet): ‘Ra'ina’ (Lend ear to us - a word used also for showing disrespect for the person addressed), but say (an equivocal phrase) ‘Unzurna’ (we beg your attention). (Verse 104, Al-Baqarah (2), Part 1)
6) Appropriate & Compassionate Language
When we interact with a fellow human being we have to use the medium of language to communicate; to convey and to express our thoughts and message. There are other non-verbal methods humans employ to communicate but language is the most clear form. Hence, human beings are defined by Classical Greek philosophers as that animal that can intelligently speak and communicate (Hewan Natiq / حيوان ناطق).
However, the challenge is to communicate effectively and to employ the best and most appropriate language and the best choice of words for the given moment. This is where many fall and fail. For ordinary humans (like us) this skill can be learnt through focus and practice.
Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) was no ordinary human. Hence, he was blessed with this ability to communicate and speak in the most effective; most impactful; most appropriate language using the best choice of words.
What we also learn that most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) used to talk less and only talk when the situation demanded. And when he spoke it was full of wisdom. The choice of words and the manner it was rendered was perfect for the occasion and moment. What this prophetic trait tells us is it is not the quantity of our words we speak but the quality and depths in our words that matter when we do open our mouth. Some people talk a lot but the outcome is zero. It adds no or very little and insignificant value.
The language employed for every occasion by this greatest man is incredible. Those who have studied the collection of prophetic sayings (Ahadeeth / احاديث) can confidently attest to this greatness.
Ten features that come to mind in the prophetic language that embed the characteristics of being appropriate and full of compassion are:
1. The language was totally full of honesty and truth. It did not have any untruth in it.
2. The language did not contain any exaggeration. This was highly disliked, discouraged and regarded tantamount to lying as we know from the prophetic teachings.
3. The language was always full of meaning and wisdom. It never consisted of nonsensical or meaningless talk. The language and conversation was always complete. It did not contain half sentences or remained incomplete.
4. The language and tone was full of love and compassion. It was the language of love. It was the language of compassion. It did not contain hate or insults. The words would nourish the hearts and minds of the listeners and would remove any pain, grief or suffering they might be experiencing (in their bodies, minds or soul) at the time.
5. The language was very clear and audible from start to end; lucid; concise and perfect for the occasion and moment. Also, the pace was not quick or too slow. And the words and sentences were repeated twice or thrice where it was required.
6. The language (choice of words); manner and tone it was rendered in; style of delivery and level of the message it was pitched at was appropriate and perfect for the occasion and to the right level of the human it was addressed to. At times of happiness the language and tone displayed happiness; at times of anger the language and tone displayed anger; when the situation demanded the message be concise then it was kept short and to the point; when the situation demanded it be detailed then it was prolonged and expanded in a meaningful way; etc. The style was authentic too.
7. The language took into consideration of the intellectual (understanding) and other capacities and capabilities (background) of the human that was being addressed.
8. The situation and context of the addressees was considered before any address. So the most effective and poignant time was chosen. So they were in a receptive mode for the teaching.
9. The language was embedded and infused with examples the person/audience could relate with and that would get the concept and message across effectively.
10. The language was free from any swear, obscene and indecent words. It was also free from any harsh and hateful tones.
These are some high level features of the prophetic language in regards to its use with fellow human beings.
I have mentioned this point above but reiterating here to emphasise the point that connecting at the human level is very different from communicating with humans. Hence, out of the seven cues only one of the cues #6 - Appropriate & Compassionate Language - this cue - is related to communication. The other six cues are all non-verbal. There is a 6-1 ratio between non-verbal and verbal communication.
Also, it is worth mentioning a good number of years ago I presented a seminar titled along the lines of “Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) - The Greatest Orator”. In the seminar I presented why our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) is the greatest orator based on proofs we have. This is a true title too.
The incredible thing is this oratory greatness is just one of numerous greatnesses of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) embodied all the greatness of all the prophets and messengers (عليهم السلام).
Inclusion of a Seerat topic in some form which also entailed discussing one specific dimension of greatness of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) was a key feature of the seminars I was organising. Hence, it is beyond doubt what Hafiz Shirazi (RA) concluded after the initial attempts at the praises by saying:
لا يمكن الثناء كما كان حقّه
La Yumkin Ath-Thana’u Kama Kana Haqquhu
It is not possible to praise you in the manner you truly deserve. (For that reason the only thing I can say to you in a nutshell is)
بعد از خدا بزرگ توئ قصہ مختصر
Ba’d Az Khuda Buzurg Tu’ee Qissah Mukhtasar
After Allah Ta’ala you most certainly are the greatest (in all aspects of greatness). That is the short of it.
7) Care, Compassion and Supplications in Absence
Inhabiting care and compassion is an integral part of connecting at the human level. The care and compassion should be a static and an integral feature in the presence and absence of the person. However, care and compassion is more powerful when it is also displayed in the absence of the person. Normal people have a disconnect in what they say or display between these two states (presence and absence).
This care and compassion in the absence of a person also sends a very powerful message and effect on those who witness this sincere and compassionate behaviour.
Supplications in their absence and when they don’t even know is one key form of care and compassion for them. When they learn of this care and compassion their hearts will melt.
The care and compassion the blessed heart of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) had for the Companions (Allah be pleased with them all), other humans at the time and for his followers to come after him in their presence or absence is unique, unparalleled and unmatched by any human being.
There are numerous examples of how our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) displayed his care and compassion in regards to his Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) by asking about them in front of them and in their absence.
I will share just two examples of care in their absence.
1. Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) noticed not seeing the lady or the man (different narrations) who would clean the Masjid Nabawi and asked of their well being. Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) was told the person had passed away. Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) asked why he was not informed so he could have prayed the Janazah Salah. The companions said they didn’t want to disturb their beloved as the death occurred at night. Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) then went to his/her grave and prayed for their forgiveness.
2. The care and compassion of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) towards the companions in question is obvious from this Hadeeth (below).
Hazrat Mu’awiyah ibn Qurrah narrates from his father, Hazrat Qurrah ibn Iyas (Allah be pleased with him) that a Sahabi would bring along his son and visit the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him). the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) asked him if he loves his son. He replied yes. Thereafter this Sahabi did not visit the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) for some time. Upon enquiry, the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) was informed that his son had passed away. the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) asked him, ‘Don’t you love [the fact that] that you will find him waiting for you at the doors of Jannah’. Another Sahabi then asked, ‘O the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala! Is this reward specifically for him or for all of us’? The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) replie: ‘Rather this reward is for all of you’. (Sahih Ibn Hibban)
Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) connected and established the strong connections with those followers of his that would come after him. This shows the believers to come and the Ummah in general were never far from his blessed mind and spiritual heart. The believers to come and the Ummah were always present in his blessed mind and heart.
I will share just four examples.
1. Remembering and Expressing Desire to Meet Ummati
Hazrat Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) said: “I wish I could meet my brothers.' The Prophet’s companions (رضي الله عنهم) said: “Are we not your brothers?” The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) said: “You are my companions, but my brothers are those who have faith in me although they never saw me.”. (Musnad Aḥmad)
2. Supplication for Generation of Followers (Ummati) to Come
Once Sayyida Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) requested that the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) make du’a for her. the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) suplicated: “O Allah! forgive all Aishah’s sins; the past and future and what was done in secrecy or in public.”
Hazrat Aishah (Allah be pleased with her) became extremely happy. The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) said: “This is my du’a for my Ummah in every salah.” (Musnad Bazzar)
3. Animal Sacrifice (Qurbani) on Behalf of Ummati
Hazrat Abu Talhah (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Prophet (saw) sacrificed for the one who could not sacrifice from his Ummah, one who bore witness to the Oneness of Allah and [his] Prophethood.” (Tabarani, Ahmad)
4. Praises of Followers (Ummati) to Come
Praising someone is a good way to connect and even more powerful when it is done in the absence of the person concerned. The sincerity is evident then and more so when they cannot benefit you whatsoever.
I would like to share two examples of praises for the followers who would be coming. One is mentioned by name and the other is just attributed to a certain nation.
1. Praise for Hazrat Uwais Qarni (RA)
Hazrat Usair ibn Jabir (RA) reported that a delegation from Kufa came to Hazrat Umar (Allah be pleased with him) and there was a person amongst them who jeered at Hazrat Uwais Qarni (RA). Thereupon Hazrat Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Is there anyone amongst you from the tribe of Qarn?” That person came forward and Hazrat Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Verily the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) has said: “There would come to you a person from Yemen who would be called Uwais and he would leave none in Yemen (behind him) except his mother, and he would have the whiteness (due to leprosy) and he supplicated to Allah Ta’ala and it was cured except for the size of a dinar or dirham. He who amongst you meets him should ask him to supplicate for forgiveness (from Allah) for you.”” (Muslim)
The thought occurred to me that Hazrat Uwais Qarni (RA) showed great and immense love in absence as he could not attend in person to meet his most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) due to the need to take care of his mother. So our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) showed even greater kindness and love in return through these praises and directing his great companions to show utmost respect of Hazrat Uwais (RA) and ask him to supplicate for forgiveness for them. سبحان الله
2. Praise for a Believer from Faris (فارس)
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “While we were sitting with the the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) Surat Al-Jumu'a was revealed to him, and when the Verse, "And He (Allah) has sent him (Muhammad) also to other (Muslims)....." (62:3) was recited by the the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him), I said, "Who are they, O Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him)?” The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) did not reply till I repeated my question thrice. At that time, Hazrat Salman Al-Farsi (Allah be pleased with him) was with us. So the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) put his hand on Hazrat Salman (Allah be pleased with him), saying: “Even if Faith were at (the place of) Ath-Thuraiya (Pleiades, the highest star), then some man or men from these people (i.e. Salman's nation) would attain it.” (Bukhari)
Faris (فارس) is interpreted to mean non-Arab or of Persian origin.
This prophetic glad tiding some scholars say fits perfectly on Imam Aa’zam Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) who was non-Arab and also had Persian ancestry.
A believer who has not witnessed the Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) cannot but be in awe, feel connected, feel attached, touched, inspired and be influenced by this greatest connector due to these incredible care and compassion in their absence.
All these seven prophetic cues as a whole and by design from this fine art of connecting at the human level in this manner exudes sincerity, authenticity, friendliness, care, compassion, positivity, non-judgement, openness and well wishing for the other person.
It is worth highlighting that in the formulation of these seven prophetic cues to connect I have tried to cover all the three components of the ‘body, mind and soul’ framework. To be an effective connector then all these three components of the human being needs to be touched and stimulated.
Numbers 3,4,5,6 (Attention via the Body & Modest Eye Contact; Sincere Smile; Focused & Compassionate Listening and Appropriate & Compassionate Language) are related to the body whilst numbers 1,2,7 (Sincere Respect at the Core Human Level; Desire to Benefit (Give not Want) and Care, Compassion and Supplications in Absence) are related to both the mind and the soul (spiritual heart). Hence, there is a holistic approach to this formulation and method.
Another way to look at the seven prophetic cues to connect is to categorise them based on the presence or absence of the person you are trying to connect with at the human level.
Numbers 3,4,5,6 (Attention via the Body & Modest Eye Contact; Sincere Smile; Focused & Compassionate Listening and Appropriate & Compassionate Language) are related to the presence aspect as you undertake these in their presence whilst numbers 1,2,7 (Sincere Respect at the Core Human Level; Desire to Benefit (Give not Want) and Care, Compassion and Supplications in Absence) are related to absence as they are primarily done in their absence and they are more important in absence even though these aspects will exist in their presence.
A third way to look at the above seven prophetic cues is from a five senses (outer) and soul (inner) perspective.
Numbers 3,4,5,6 (Attention via the Body & Modest Eye Contact; Sincere Smile; Focused & Compassionate Listening and Appropriate & Compassionate Language) are related to the five senses of the human being whilst numbers 1,2,7 (Sincere Respect at the Core Human Level; Desire to Benefit (Give not Want) and Care, Compassion and Supplications in Absence) are related to soul (inner) aspect of the human being.
It should be clear that I have tried to include and give importance to the five senses and physical aspects (outer) alongside maintaining the inner and spiritual dimension. It is key to have the right balance between the outer and the inner.
To conclude this piece I am suggesting a five step method to make it easy to recall, practice and internalise the sevens prophetic cues to connect at the human level. The five steps are:
1. Firm and Sincere Intention
Make a firm intention to want to sincerely connect at the human level with those you come into contact with on a daily or regular basis or for Deeni purposes using these seven prophetic cues derived from the life of the Greatest Connector, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).
2. Focus, Focus, Focus
Create the intense awareness of these seven prophetic cues in the mind and spiritual heart. So they are easily available and accessible to you when you need to apply them.
Start practicing these seven prophetic cues into your daily life. Practice the seven prophetic cues in both your face to face and telephone connections.
4. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
Apply the seven prophetic cues. Constantly and continuously practice and repeat these seven prophetic cues until you master them in all situations and connections.
5. Beseech Allah Ta’ala (Dua)
Pray, beg and ask with earnest and fervently from Allah Ta’ala that He blesses you with this prophetic trait so you can further the mission of Islam, mission of our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him).
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to internalise these seven prophetic cues in all our interactions with our fellow human beings.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the true love of the Best of all creation and the Beloved and Final Prophet of Allah Ta’ala, Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) that manifests through actions and observing of the Prophetic teachings and practices.
آمین یارب العلمین بجاہ سیدالمرسلین علیہ الصلوۃ والتسلیم
و صلى الله على النبى الحبيب الشفيع الرؤوف الرحيم
Muhammad Noman Daji
(After Fajar, Friday 20th November 2020 – 5th Rabi-ul-Aakhir 1442 A.H)
P:S: I am a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. I certified as an Aalim and a Mufti at this prestigious seat of advanced Islamic learning. I thought it should be mentioned (and has been suggested) so it provides some credibility and comfort for those reading (and who don’t know me).
Muhammad Noman Daji
(After Fajar, Tuesday 10th November 2020 – 24th Rabi-ul-Awwal 1442 A.H)
I was enjoying my daily stroll when I came near a set of trees lined up on the walkway. I had passed a few of the trees when a particular tree caught my eye and attention. This tree was very vibrant, full of colour and abundant with leaves. It had stuck out as the tree before it had lost most of its leaves and the leaves on the other trees were still mostly green.
I paused at this tree to have a good look at this incredible spectacle and a reminder of the greatness of my Creator. I noticed that this single tree had leaves that were of different colour and a range of shades. It was a beautiful sight and the mix of vibrant colours was a feast for the eyes. I stopped for a little while longer and admired the natural splendour and the vibrant beauty and looked closer at the various colours. It is autumn so the leaves have naturally started to change colour creating this vibrant infusion of colours.
The natural colour of the leaves of this tree is green. Hence, some leaves were still completely green. However, other leaves had changed its colour. Some leaves had changed to red; some to darkish purple; some to yellow and some to brown or yellowish brown. At the same time there were leaves which had a mix and infusion of colours. Some leaves had a mix of red, yellow and green whereas some leaves had a mix of purple and green and some other leaves had a mix of red, yellow and brown.
This tree and the line of similar trees were on the walkway at St Katherine Docks. The walkway is called Sun Walk and is located at the East Basin of the Docks. These line of trees (approximately ten) were planted here at this scenic and tranquil location by choice. It was known to those who designed the scenic landscape around the Docks and had suggested this type of tree (and the various other plants, flowers, etc) the changes that will occur in the leaves. These trees were planted as they are beautiful and would enhance and enrich the look of the Docks.
St Katherine Docks is Central London’s Marina. It consists of three basins (West Basin, Central Basin, East Basin). It has a range of classic and modern boats, barges and yachts of varying sizes and shapes moored at these three basins. The royal barge (Gloriana) is also regularly moored here. During the British occupation of India the ships laden with goods (loot) used to dock here as it was a functional dock then. One area of the Docks is called Commodity Quay which is located at the West Basin. The basin closest to the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
St Katherine Docks is a stone throw away from the iconic and one of the main defining landmarks of London i.e. Tower Bridge. It is north of the River Thames. It is worth visiting this Central but tranquil part of Central London.
I have a habit and I like to enjoy the natural scene and marvel at the beautiful creation of my Powerful Creator. I like to take particular interest and reflect at the immense power (Qudrat / قدرة) and beauty embedded in the natural creation and the subtle lessons and reminders they give. All the creation sing and display the power and beauty of the Powerful Creator. We human beings just need to slow down, pause, listen, look and open our eyes and see the natural beauty around us and within us. Besides human beings (and Jinn) all the creation are constantly in praise and awe at the Powerful Creator.
The thought that crossed my mind instantly when I looked closely at the leaves and saw the vibrant range of colours staring at me on this single tree and the beauty it was displaying was the beauty and richness that lies and is embedded in the range of races we have based on the colour of skin. This rich diversity in the colour of skin is a beautiful thing. It not only displays the power of Allah Ta’ala but it also enhances the human experience and life on Earth.
The Human Family also stem from one tree. The roots of every human being are our father Hazrat Adam (عليه السلام) and our mother Hazrat Hawwa (عليها السلام). All the human beings of any colour are the leaves of this single tree. Just as the tree I have discussed above is beautiful and pleasing to the eyes due to the range of colours and the vibrancy it has the human family with all the diversity in the colour of the skin is beautiful and an enriching factor.
It was interesting to see and notice the individual leaves on this particular tree were of the shape of a human hand. Each leaf consisted of 5 parts like the five fingers in the human hand. This makeup of the individual leaf coincides beautifully with the categorisation of mankind into five coloured races. They are: Aethiopian or Black, Caucasian or White, Mongolian or Yellow, American or Red and Malayan or Brown subgroups. All the fingers of a single hand are complimentary and are there to enhance and add strength to the power of the hand. Cutting of a finger or subjugating one or two or more fingers will only weaken the hand. It is also very interesting that the colours on the leaves on the tree are very similar to the five colours of the different colours of skin amongst humans.
I have passed these set and line up of trees numerous times but it was only this time this inspiration came glaringly to me as the right set of conditions were present. It is autumn and naturally the leaves change colour; the vibrancy existing in the colours at this particular time and then my mind and spiritual heart being open to receive this inspiration.
Similar to the colour of the skin is the case of the different languages that humans speak. They are all beautiful and enrich the human experience on top of the greatness of the Creator they display.
Allah Ta’ala by design created human beings with different colour of skin and differing languages. He knew exactly why He created this diversity. The goal was so human beings cherish this variety and appreciate its richness.
However, it also becomes a test for people if they want to abuse and create superficial barriers and setup arbitrary blocks based on the colour of skin or the language.
To use these differences to create divisions or to subjugate any race due to the colour of their skin or language or anything else (like religion) stems and is rooted in ignorance and enmity. It is also restricting the potential of human beings as a whole and is a recipe for oppression, discord and transgression in the world.
Discrimination on the basis of skin colour and various others forms of discrimination is an unfortunate reality and a cancer in our world that is on the rise the world over.
The truth is the issue and disease is not in the colour of the skin or the different language but in the mind and in the eyes who have tainted their intellect and sight. It is unfortunate that those who promote and incite hatred and divisions on these basis cannot see the beauty and the richness in this diversity and vibrancy.
Islam does not tolerate this discrimination and has condemned it in the strongest language possible. The condemnation is an integral part of the ethos of Islam and is enshrined in its holy book - The Quran - and the Prophetic sayings.
In the historic and farewell sermon by the Prophet of Islam, our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace, blessings and salutations be upon him) made it clear and decided this issue of race and colour once and for all for all of humanity till the Day of Judgement by stating the below historic statement.
“Certainly your Sustainer (Rabb / ربّ) is one. Your parents are one (all mankind are from Adam and Eve). An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a Red person has no superiority over a Black person nor a Black person has any superiority over a Red person except through piety of the heart and righteousness of actions.” (Tabrani)
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to appreciate and respect these differences and to understand the beauty and richness it embeds.
O Allah Ta’ala! Grant us all the taufeeq, strength, ability and capacity to fight for fairness and justice for all so oppression is eliminated from this planet.
O Allah Ta’ala! Protect us all from looking down at anyone or thinking anyone is inferior due to these superficial differences of the colour of skin or language.
آمین یارب العلمین بجاہ سیدالمرسلین علیہ الصلوۃ والتسلیم
و صلى الله على النبى الحبيب الشفيع الرؤوف الرحيم
Note: This reflection is part of the Series of Short Reflections I have written on a number of important and relevant concepts.
P:S: I am a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. I certified as an Aalim and a Mufti at this prestigious seat of advanced Islamic learning. I thought it should be mentioned (and has been suggested) so it provides some credibility and comfort for those reading (and who don’t know me).
وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ