Enlightened or Backward?

From the writings of Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘

About 95 years ago a certain “enlightened scholar”  in India, going against the Jumhur ‘Ulama, tried to declare permissible something which was almost agreed upon to be impermissible. He then went on to classify those who legalized this Haram (forbidden) as “enlightened”. (roshan khiyal).

Mufti Muhammad Shafi‘ (Allah have mercy on him) was instructed by his teachers at Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband to refute the claims of this “enlightened scholar”, which was published over a few issues of the official organ of Dar al-‘Ulum.

Mufti Shafi’ wrote:

“I wonder what is the yardstick these people use to classify some as roshan khiyal (enlightened) and others as tarik khiyal (translated here as backwards/narrow-minded)? And what is the reason those thousands of ‘Ulama in India[1] and out of India are not allowed to be classified as “enlightened”? Their only ‘crime’ is that they are not so bold and audacious to make the ahkam (laws) of Shari’h subservient to their base desires (khahishat), and they regard the mutaqaddimin to be more knowledgeable  than themselves and give preference to their opinions over their own. And if this is the reason why they are being punished for this ‘crime’ of theirs, and subsequently they are being deprived of being classified as ‘enlightened’, then this is in fact a matter of pride for them. They are not in need of such ‘enlightenment’. This so-called ‘backwardness/narrow-mindedness’ can never be traded in, even if it be for thousands of their so-called ‘enlightedness’. “

We most passionately, ardently and zealously repeat the words of Mufti Shafi’ written about 95 years ago, and we unambiguosly and clearly state that we – referring to hundreds and thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands of ‘Ulama, locally and abroad – are truly pleased to be labelled as ghulat, mutashaddidin, muta’assibin, mutanatti’in, orthodox, hard liners, backwards, narrow-minded (and the host of similiar words in the dictionary of the ‘enlightened thinkers’),  if all these words refer to those who are firmly holding onto Shari’ah and “gripping it with the molar teeth” and not tolerating any tahrif or distortion taking place in this blessed religion of ours.

Yes, we regard these terms and labels as words of praise, and we hope that these will be brought forward on the Day of Qiyamah in our mizan al-hasanah (scale of good deeds).

Allahummash’had, allahummash’had, allahummash’had.

Rabbana laa tuzigh qulubanaa ba’da idh hadaytanaa wa hablanaa mil ladunka rahmah

Wa laa howla wa laa quwwata illaa billah

(Mawlana) Muhammad Ameen Qasim (farigh Dar al-‘Ulum Azaadville)
Actonville, Benoni

[1] India here refers to undivided India, which includes present day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir.

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