The importance of and need for Arabic literature

By Mawlānā ʻAbd Allāh Patel Kāpaudrī
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

The following article is a transcript of a speech delivered by the honourable Mawlānā ʻAbd Allāh Kāpaudrī at Dār al-‛Ulūm Chāphī, Pālanpūr, Gujarat on 20th March 2006, entitled: “The importance of and need for Arabic literature”.

We are not paying the needed attention to Arabic literature. Hadrat Maulānā Muhammad Yūsūf Sāhib Kāndhlawī rahimahullāh went for the Bhopal ijtimā‛. So we proceeded from Dhābel to go and meet Hadrat. We presented ourselves before him at the house where he was staying. Hadrat was very happy to see us, he got up from his place, embraced us, and said: “My heart is most delighted at meeting teachers of the jāmi‛ah.”

We then began conversing with him, and at one point he said: “Maulwī Sāhib! I studied adab (Arabic literature) very well. Maqāmāt Harīrī, Mutanabbī, Hamāsah and so on are in the syllabus [so we obviously studied these books]. But in addition to these, I also memorized Qasīdah Burdah, Sab‛ah Mu‛allaqāt and so on.”

Consequently, Hadrat rahimahullāh had very good control over the Arabic language. If you were to read Amānī al-Ahbār (an Arabic commentary of Sharh Ma‛ānī al-Āthār), you will notice his sentences flowing. Normally, our Indian ‛ulamā’ cannot write in this manner. We are in the habit of writing in a rhyming style. Because we study Maqāmāt, we write in that style. I noticed that Hadrat Maulānā’s speeches used to be very simple and flowing. This is because he undertook a deep study of literature, and memorized these books. This is how Allāh ta‛ālā gave him this ability.

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Opinion: If you pay peanuts you get monkeys

By Imam Ajmal Masroor[1][2]

I saw a post on one of the WhatsApp groups. A number of things in this advert intrigued and alarmed me. The [organisation] is looking for an Imam who is:

  1. A Hafiz – someone who has memorised the entire Quran, it has taken that person 2-4 years to complete that.
  2. Mawlana – an Asian title attributed to those who have completed their Islamic education from a reputable seminary and it takes 8 years usually.
  3. This Imam must be a British born for obvious reasons, but most important reason probably is to be able to speak English and relate to people.
  4. The Imam should have graduated from a Qawmi Madrasah which is a non political private seminary usually aligned to Deobandi brand and Hanafi school of thought of interpretation of Islam from Indian subcontinent.
  5. The Imams job would be leading prayers and teaching children Monday to Friday.
  6. In return he would be given a salary of £13200 per year which comes to £1100 per month.

This advert raises a number of questions for me. When a person invests 8-10 years of their youth in memorising the entire Quran and studying books upon books of Islamic literature, do they graduate to be paid peanuts by the community they would serve? Would we accept our graduate children earning such a salary after completing their university degrees?

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Why do we refer to ourselves as Māturīdīs?

By Rustam Mahdi
Translated by Mawlānā Suhail Akubat

The following is a translation of a short and basic Arabic article by Rustam Mahdi entitled “Why do we call ourselves Maturidis?”[1] A brief footnote has been added to clarify one particular issue which Salafis commonly use to claim that Hanafi ‘aqida is different from Maturidi ‘aqida.[2] – The Translator

It saddens us that a statement has begun to circulate amongst people, especially the salafis, that: ‘Why do you call yourselves Maturidis? Is the creed of Abu Hanifah not convincing enough for you that you have turned away from it and have turned towards that which Abu Mansur al-Maturidi was inclined to?’

The problem with many Salafis is that they assume that whatever they present is clear binding proof, and do not notice doors that have been opened which they have no ability to close. It saddens us that we observe attempts at denigration using questions such as these, which are cheap in the marketplace of academia, by those ascribed to learning; although we do not find it surprising that they are widespread on the tongues of uneducated laymen.

Hence I would like to mention – and Tawfiq is from Allah – that it is from a person’s academic character to evaluate substances and not mere terminologies. This is because variation and divergence in terminologies is of no consequence when they point to the same reality. Hence it is fine for a person who believes in the Din of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to refer to himself as “Muhammadi”, in attribution to him (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), or “Bakri”, in attribution to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, or “‘Umari” in attribution to ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, or ‘Uthmani in attribution to ‘Uthman b. Affan, or “‘Alawi” in attribution to ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with them). All of these terminologies indicate that the one being attributed is on the Din of these very individuals.

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Editorial: Disassociate from Deoband at your own peril

By The Editor

Recently it has become uncomfortable and disconcerting for myself while taking a hiatus away from the doldrums of online Deobandiyyat. However, with the arrival of one of the greatest Deobandi scholars in the world – if not the greatest – to the shores of South Africa, ‘Allamah Khalid Mahmood (hafizahullah), there has been a need to pen a few words on the feelings and thoughts being experienced in light of recent developments that have come to light.

There has been disuccsions in some quarters of our local scholarship who traditionally have been known to associate themselves with Deobandiyyat – due to the virtue of being graduates of Deobandi Dar al-‘Ulums both locally and from the subcontinent – to advocate towards a disassociation from Hanafiyyat generally and Deobandiyyat specifically. To understand further it should be borne in mind that the concept of Deobandiyyat in simple terms is the understanding of all aspects of the Shari’ah as per the the scholars of Deoband starting with Mawlana Qasim Nanautwi and Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahimahullah). The maslak, manhaj and mizaj of these scholars and their long line of students spanning a century and a quarter is what defines DeobandiyyatDeobandiyyat is by no means a homogeneous school of thought, it is in reality an understanding of the Shari’ah according to the 13 centuries of scholarship of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah, in particular adhering to the Hanafi school of thought in fiqh, the Ashari and Maturidi schools of thought in ‘aqidah as well as accepting in suluk the Chisti, Naqshbandi, Suharwadi and Qadiri schools.

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Ḥafiẓ Patel, the saint of Dewsbury: An Obituary

By Shaykh Ismā’īl Ibrāhīm Patel

As Dewsbury Markaz was my local mosque growing up, seeing him was a routine occurrence in my daily life. Knowing he is no longer either at Markaz or on a Dawah journey somewhere in the world will take a long time to sink in.

Although no single post can do his life justice, I feel compelled to share some experiences to my connections here and elsewhere, who may not have known him as well but happen to read some of my musings. He was, after all, ultimately responsible for creating hundreds of accomplished graduates in Islamic studies, thousands of people active in the field of Dawah, and hundreds of thousands rectifying their religious lives. I can confidently say that I personally would not be anywhere near what I am today had it not been for his efforts during my life – and, in fact, for his efforts decades before I was even born.

Everybody who knew him – student, teacher, the local layman, and those regularly engaged in Jama`at ‘l-Tabligh – will have their personal experiences and stories about him. I was a student at Markaz during the 98-03 period. I was not present when he really hard-grafted himself into who he eventually became, during the 60s, 70s and 80s. I only hear stories, like how he was advised – for fear of life and limb – not to go out to invite people to the mosque in Johannesburg after nightfall, only to do the exact opposite.

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The teachers and students of Ḥadīth at Deoband: Method of teaching and learning

By Mawlānā ʻAbd Allāh Patel Kāpaudrī
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

Foreword: The following article is a section of a transcript of a speech delivered by the honourable Mawlānā ʻAbd Allāh Kāpaudrī at the Jāmi‛ah Riyād al-‛Ulūm, Leicester, on 5th April 2005, entitled: “The need to strive for acquiring knowledge”. Herein he mentions the method of teaching of the great hadith scholars of Dār al-‛Ulūm Deoband and how their teaching differed and changed over time as the calibre of learning of the students changed. At the end he provides pertinent advices to students which is extremely beneficial. With the introduction to these advices being the example of the pious and learned of the past we sincerely pray the Allah instills these qualities of studying and learning in us and every student of the sacred sciences ie. Qurʼān and Ḥadīth. Mawlānā Kāpaudrī begins by mentioning the manner of Shaykh al-Hind’s teaching:

Hadrat ‛Allāmah Balyāwī rahimahullāh said to me: “Maulwī Sāhib! Our Hadrat was not in the habit of lengthy explanations.” He then asked me: “Do you know who I am referring to when I say ‘Our Hadrat’?” I replied: “Hadrat, I do not know.” He said: “When I say ‘Our Hadrat’, I am referring to Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind rahimahullāh.” Hadrat ‛Allāmah Ibrāhīm Balyāwī rahimahullāh studied under Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind rahimahullāh. He continues: “Our Hadrat was not in the habit of lengthy explanations. He used to teach Tirmidhī Sharīf, Abū Dā’ūd Sharīf and Bukhārī Sharīf. He had very capable students, and they used to read the text (‛ibārat). Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind rahimahullāh will have the book in front of him and listen to the student reading. One two pages would be read. This is why it is called daurah – to turn, to repeat. At times, Hadrat would say: ‘Bhāi! Hold on a bit. There can be an objection to this Hadīth because it is against the Hanafīs. But here is the reply to it. A conflicting Hadīth is found in such and such book. You must refer to that book, and whatever is written there is our proof. Okay, let us proceed.’”

If you were to look at the taqrīr of Hadrat Shaykh al-Hind rahimahullāh which has been printed, you will find it to be very concise. When I first saw it, I could not understand why it was so concise. But when ‛Allāmah Balyāwī rahimahullāh related this to me, I understood the reason.

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Rankings of Mujtahids versus types of Ijtihād: Cutting through the confusion

By Shaykh Ismā’īl Ibrāhīm Patel[1]

Many people keep on talking about various rankings of Mujtahid scholars. This has caused a lot of confusion, as people then feel the need to see which scholar is of what rank. The following discussion is based on simple logic, which everyone should be able to appreciate and agree to. Hopefully by this way, the cloud of confusion can removed and solid facts can be distilled from arbitrary assumptions.

Laying down the foundations: Doing Ijtihad is not the same as being a Mujtahid

There are two separate discussions which many people conflate and confuse with each other. They are separate discussions:

  • The discussion of Ijtihad and Taqlid
  • The discussion of Mujtahids and Muqallids (and Talib if you want to add, see previous note)

The first discussion is in relation to practice, whereas the second is a label attached to the person. This means that:

  • A person worthy of the Mujtahid label may be doing Taqlid in one issue because he hasn’t researched it yet
  • A person who does not carry the title of Mujtahid may have researched an issue well enough to warrant himself Ijtihad in that matter, like is the case with advanced students of knowledge
  • A person who does Ijtihad may not necessarily be worthy of the Mujtahid title – like advanced students of Fiqh who do Ijtihad in a few issues
  • A person who does Taqlid in an issue may well be a Mujtahid scholar but only did Taqlid because he hasn’t researched it properly, or doesn’t have the time to research it, or it’s a niche area out of his area of expertise

The above proves that doing Ijtihad and Taqlid do not automatically make you a Mujtahid or a Muqallid. This also proves that the prerequisites of Ijtihad are different from the characteristics of a Mujtahid, and the prerequisites of Taqlid are different from the characteristics of a Muqallid. Unfortunately, some people these days think if a person does Ijtihad in one issue, he would be implicitly claiming to be a Mujtahid, and would be smeared with the label of neo-Mujtahid. This is totally wrong.

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Muftī Khānpūrī: Clarity on the issue of photography

By Mufti Ahmad Khanpuri
Translated By: Mufti Saleem Khan

A great and terrible fitna of this time is picture taking. Nowadays the sickness of taking photos is very common in social gatherings, conferences and even in the Haramain Sharifayn. This fitna has become so common that no matter how much one tries to save himself from it, he cannot. This sin has become so common that people do not even consider it a sin anymore. This time of fitna has made the bad appear as good.

In Islam, aside from a dire need, photography is prohibited. In the hadith shareef, those that take photos have been severely condemned and upon such people is Allah’s curse. Such people will be severely punished on the Day of Judgment [Qiyamah]

Some people have a certain soft spot for pictures of the elders and pious people. Some also keep them close as a source of tabarruk. استغفر الله ، لاحول ولا قوة الا بالله

Remember! It is haram to take and possess photos regardless of whose photos they are and what tool was used to take them. Nowadays using mobile phone cameras has become extremely common. People use their phones to take pictures (of animate things) then send then to one another via WhatsApp. This is a major sin.

Now reverting to the issue at hand.

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The Pleasure and Enthusiasm of Seeking Knowledge

By Mawlānā Muhammad Salīm Dhorāt
Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

‛Allāmah Zamakhsharī rahimahullāh says:

سَهَرِيْ لِتَنْقِيْحِ الْعُلُوْمِ أَلَذُّ لِيْ – مِنْ وَصْلِ غَانِيَةٍ وَطِيْبِ عِنَاقِ وَتَمَايُلِيْ طَرَبًا لحَِلِّ عُوَيْصَةٍ – أَشْهٰى وَأَحْلٰى مِنْ مُدَامَةِ سَاقِ

Remaining awake at night to research and investigate the different sciences is more enjoyable to me than meeting a beautiful singer and her sweet embrace. My swaying from side to side out of joy for having solved a difficulty is more desirable to me and sweeter than the drink which is offered by a waiter.

وَصَرِيْرُ أَقْلَامِيْ عَلٰى أَوْرَاقِهَا – أَحْلٰى مِنَ الدَّوْكَاءِ وَالْعشَُّاقِ وَأَلَذُّ مِنْ نَقْرِ الْفَتَاةِ لِدُفِّهَا – نقَْرِيْ لِأَلْقَى الرَّمَلَ عَنْ أَوْرَاقِيْ(صفحات من صبر العلماء، ص ١٣)

The sound made by my pen as it writes across the page is sweeter to me than daukā’ and ‛ushshāq. The sound of dusting off the dust from the pages of my books is more enjoyable to me than the sound made by a young girl as she is playing her tambourine.

Hadrat Imām Muhammad rahimahullāh said:

لَذَّاتُ الْأَفْكَارِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ لَذَّاتِ الْأَبْكَارِ (حدائق الحنفية، ص ١٥)

To ponder and reflect over academic issues is more enjoyable than the pleasure which is provided by a virgin woman.

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ʻAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī on learning of English and secular sciences

By Mawlānā Dr. Yunus ʻUthmān

Foreword: The author, Mawlānā Dr. Yunus ʻUthmān, is a graduate of Dār al-Ulūm Karachi. He taught at at Dār al-Ulūm Newcastle (South Africa) for 12 years. During that time he also completed B.A and B.A (Hons) degrees (majoring in Arabic and Science of Religion) at the University of South Africa. In 1994, he was awarded an M.A degree in Islamic studies from the University of Durban-Westville. In 2002, he graduated with a D.Phil degree in Islamic studies at the same University. He continues to serve on various Islamic Trust Boards of a number of Muslim organisation and Islamic seminaries within South Africa. He is also an author of many articles and books. The following article is taken from his thesis, on the life and works of ʻAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī, which was submitted in fulfillment of the D.Phil degree in 2001. We hope to publish more edited extracts from this thesis in the near future. This article also follows up on articles which we have published in the past concerning the teaching of secular education in 19th Century India (see “Related article(s)” below). Mawlānā Dr. Yunus ʻUthmān writes:

The influence of the western world was first felt in the Muslim world when the Europeans colonised their countries in the early 19th Century. Thus, prior to the arrival of the Colonialists, all aspects of Muslim life were governed by the Sharīʿah. The Colonialists subsequently imposed their own man-made laws upon the Muslims against their will.

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