Taqwiyat al-Īmān: Shāh Ismā‘il Dihlawī_ Book Review_ By GF Haddad
Taqwiyat al-Īm ān: Srengthening of the Faith by Shāh Ismā‘il Dihlawī (1193-1246) Translated by Unknown. Ryadh: Darussalam Publications, 1995.
Muh.ammad Ismā‘īl Dihlawī (1193 -1246) was the son of Shāh ‘Abd al-Ghānī (d. 1203) the son of Shāh Walī Allāh Muh.addith Dihlawī (d. 1176/1762) the son of Shah ‘Abd al-Rah.īm (d. 1131/1719). He eventually strayed so far from the Sunnī and Naqshbandī S.ūfī path of his illustrious forefathers that he became what the Indian H.anafī and M āturīdī Shaykh, Fad.l al-Rasūl al-Badaywānī (1213-1289) in his al-Mu‘taqad al-Muntaqad (1270) calls “the chief Najdī” (kabīral-najdiyya) of India and “their patron” (mawlāhum). Al-Badaywānīis among the earliest Indian Ulema to refute Ismā‘īl’sbooks that form the basis of Wahhābism in that country such as Taqwiyat al-Īmān (1240), Īd.āh.al-H.aqq, al-S.irāt al-Mustaqīm, etc.
Those Who Affirm that Allāh Can Lie
Ismā‘īl Dihlawī was the first of the Wahhāb īs of India to forward the heresy ofimkān kadhib or “the possibility of lying” (on the part of Allāh Most High!)1 and was imitated in this belief by the Deoband īs Shaykhs Ah.mad Rashīd Gangohi (d.1323/1905) in his Fatawa -e-Rashidia and his apologist Khalīl al-Saharanfūrī (d.1927) in his al-Barāhīn al-Qāt.i‘a. Among others, refutations were published by MullāS.āh.ib Baghdādī, MawlānāFad.l al-H.aqq Kayrābādī, and ImāmAh.mad Rid.ā Khān (1272-1340) who wrote:
“Lying is a defect and the latter, by Consensus, cannot possibly be attributed to Allāh !. I have discussed this question in detail in my book Subh.ān al-Subbūh.‘an ‘Aybi Kadhibin Maqbūh. (“Glorified is the Glorious One Far Above the Ugly Attribution of Mendacity”) in which I quoted many texts from the Imāms ofKalām and Tafsīr, among other authorities, stipulating such impossibility for Allāh and stating Consensus on the matter.2
Al-Badaywānī said the following on the issue:
Lying is impossible for Him – exalted is He! – as are all defective characteristics. In this respect the Najdiyya parted with the people of Islām.Their elder said: “His lying and the attribution to Him – exalted is He! – of that defect is not an impossibility in itself [or: is not precluded from the Essence] nor does it lie outside Divine power. If it did, then we would have to conclude that human power exceeds Divine power.”
Note that Ibn H.azm used the same spurious logic to assert in al-Fis.al fīal-Milal wa al-Nih.al – in violation of the Consensus of the Salaf and Khalaf – that having a mate and child is necessarily within the Divine power also, because, otherwise, He would be powerless (‘ājiz) and creatures would possess a power which the Creator does not!3
In the same way as the proponents of imkān kadhib defended their belief with the pretext that Allāh can do anything, they also held the belief – as in Chapter Five of the English translation of Taqwiyat al-Īmān [p. 85] – that “He [Allāh] may bring into existence millions of Prophets, saints, jinns, angels, and entities equal to Gabriel and the Prophet Mu-h.ammad " in terms of status.” When Ismā‘īl al-Dihlawī was taken to task for this statement (by Mawlānā Fad.l al-H.aqq al-Khayrābād ī), he argued in his Yak Rozi (“One-Dayer”) that he was referring not to the Will of Allā h. “but to His Capability to bring something into existence,” adding, by way of a further example, that the birth of a person of the stature of the Holy Prophet " was a distinct possibility!4
One of his [Shah Ismā‘īl al-Dihlawī’s] followers went on in this disgraceful manner with words that are of no avail to him and shall lead him straight to Hell to the point that he had to admit the possibility of attributing to Him ignorance, impotence, and the generality of defects, shameful traits, indecencies, and disgraceful aspects, laying himself and his camp bare with all kinds of scandals....
Imam Ibn al-Humām said in al-Musāyara: ‘Defective traits are impossible for Him – exalted is He! – such as ignorance and lying.’
[Kamāl al-Din Muh.ammad ibn Muh.ammad] Ibn Abī al-Sharīf [al-Shāfi‘ī d. 905] said in his commentary [al-Musāmara fi Sharh. al-Musāyara]: “More than that, it is impossible for Him – exalted is He! – to be attributed any trait that consists in neither -perfection-nor-imperfection, becauseeach and every single Divine Attribute is an Attribute of perfection.... Nor is there any difference in this respect between the Ash‘arīs and the rest, in that all that denotesimperfection with respect to creatures, the Most High Creator is transcendant beyond and absolutely exempt of, suchan attribute being an impossibility for him – exalted is He!’ And lying denotes imperfection with respect to creatures.
It was also stated in [al-Taftazānī’s] Sharh.al-Maqās.id: “If it were permissible to describe Him as contingent (h.ādith) then imperfection would be possible for Him and this is false and rejected by Consensus.”
And in [al-Jurj ānī’s 2,300-page] Sharh.al-Mawāqif: “Lying is precluded from Him by agreement [of both Sunnīs and Mu‘tazilīs].... for three reasons according to us [Sunnīs], the first being that lying is a defect and any defect is absolutely impossible for Allāh by Consensus.” ...
And in Kanz al-Fawā’id: “All these opposites are impossible for the Lord of creatures as we have exposed before,
... as He is transcendant beyond and exempt of lying both according to the letter of the Law and according to the light of reason.”
And in al-Dāwānī’s Sharh.al-‘Aqā’id: “Lying is a defect and so cannot be counted among the possibilities (mumkināt) nor does Divine power include it, and the same applies to all the different kinds of imperfections inrelation Him – exalted is He! – such as ignorance and powerlessness... It is incorrect to attribute to Him movement, displacement, ignorance, or lying because those are imperfections and imperfections are impossible for the Most High.”
And in Sharh.al-Sanūsiyya [= T.āli‘ al-Bushrā‘alāal-‘Aqīdat al-Sanūsiyya al-S.ughrāby Ibrāhīm ibn Ah.mad al-Mārighnī al-Mālikī]: “As for the demonstration of the obligatoriness of their [Prophets’] truthfulness – upon them blessings and peace – it is because if they were not considered truthful, then His Report – exalted is He! – [about them] would by necessity be deemed a lie, and lying is an impossibility for Allāh because it denotes lowliness.”5
Those Who Disparage the Prophet "
Ismā‘īl Dihlawī is also notorious for affirming in his purported “Straight Path” (al-S.irāt al-Mustaqīm) – apparently co-authored with his close associate Sayyid Ah.mad Barelwī6 that“Becoming absorbed (s.arf-e- himmat) in the Prophet Muh.ammad ", were it to occur during S.alāt, is much worse than to become absorbed in the thought of an ox or a donkey.”7 It goes without saying that such a statement constitutes clear disparagement of the Prophet ", which is passible of death in all four Sunnī Schools.
The Condemnation of Taqwiyat al-Īmān
Ismā‘īl Dihlawī wrote Taqwiyat al-Īmān in the wake of his H.ijāz years (1236-1 239), at which time he had come under the tutelage of Wahhābī missionaries. Ostensibly a work on Islamic monotheism (tawhīd), it relies on an original under-standing of some of the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic narrations that pertain to Tawh.īd in studied or forced omission of any of the previous works authored by the established authorities in the field, much in the same way as Muh.ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb produced his Kitāb al-Tawh.īd. The two books show equal ignorance of the two Sunnī Schools of Islamic doctrine, simplistic and largely cursory treatment of the Qur’ā n and Sunna, harping on specific themes that are obviously problematic to the authors, and committing doctrinal errors the like of only one of which is enough to charac-terize its author as heretical.
Just as Muh.ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhābraised a storm of controversy and was refuted by a host of Sunnī Ulema from the H.ij āz and elsewhere beginning with his own brother Sulaymān ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb, Ismā‘īl Dihlawī was also immediately opposed by a host of Indian Sunnī Ulema beginning with his own family and the Ulema of Delhi such as his two paternal uncles Shāh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Muh.addith Dihlawī(d.1239/1834) (the son of Shā h Walī Allā h and one of those considered a Renewer of the thirteenth Hijrī century) and Shā h Raf‘ī al-Dīn Muh.addith Dihlawī in his Fatāwā, Shāh Ah.mad Sa‘īd Dihlawī, Mawlā nā S.adr al-Dīn the Grand Mufti of Delhi, Mawlānā Fad.l al-Rasūl al-Badaywānīin al-Mu‘taqad al-Muntaqad and Sayf al-Jabbār, MawlānāFad.l al-H.aqq KayrābādīMawlānā‘Ināyat Ah.mad Kākurūwī,
(authorof ‘Ilm al -S.īgha), Shāh Ra’ūf Ah.mad Naqshbandī Mujaddidī, and others. MawlānāH.ashmat ‘Alī Khān adduced the names of 268 Ulema verifying the fatwa of the takfīr or the author of Taqwiyat al-Īmān and his supporters in work titled al-S.awārim al- Hindiyya (Murādābād, 1345/1 926) while H.usām al-H.aramayn lists the endorsements of 301 Ulema from the Arab world and the Sub-Continent, all in utter disregard of the desperate fatwa that “The one saying kāfir to MawlawīIsmā‘īl Dihlawī, the writer of Taqwiyat al-Īmān, is himself a kāfir!”8
Taqwiyat al-Īmān contains the following aberrations among others:
– The attribution of shirk to the majority of the Umma in the first lines of Chapter One [p. 42-43] and the statement in Chapter Six [p. 109]: “Presently, all kinds of shirk (both the ancient and news ones) are rampant among Muslims.
What the Prophet " prophesied earlier seems to be coming true now. For instance, the Muslims are treating Prophets, saints, Imam and martyrs, etc. polytheistically.”
The attribution of shirk to the majority of the Umma is an unmistakable signature of the heresy of the Khawārij, who did not hesitate to brand asmushrik the rank and file of the Muslims including the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.As for the prophesies related to polytheism at the end of time, they pertain to the very last phase of the Major Signs (al-‘alāmāt al-kubrā) before the rising of the Hour. Such does not occur until after the killing of the Dajjāl at the hands of ‘Īsā(AS),followed by his death and the disappearance of all believers from the face of the earth. The author of Taqwiyat al-Īmān knows this full well since he cites a h.adīth fromS.ah.īh.Muslim to that effect at the end of his Chapter Six [p. 110-111]! Until then, theProphet (SAWS)" said that his Umma was protected against error and that his greatest fear for us was not shirk but worldly competition and scholarly impostors.Thus the charge that “the Muslims are treating Prophets, saints, Imam and martyrs, etc. polytheistically” is supported by inapplicable evidence and is overwhelmingly false. In fact, this charge is only a camouflage of the very real disrespect of Prophets and Saints for which Wahhābism and its sectarian offshoots stand.
– The statement in Chapter Two [p. 50-51] that “If a person calls upon someone (by invoking his name) other than Allāh, while doing his everyday routine chores, so that the one called upon may help him obviate his distress, or attacks an enemy by invoking his name, or keeps pronouncing his name on the beads of a rosary…. All the above things and acts prove the presence of the elements of Shirk…. By nursing this kind of faith, a man undoubtedly turns into a Mushrik.”
This drivel aims at blurring the line between calling for help (istighātha)and worshipping (‘ibāda) , reveals ignorance of the Qur’ān and Sunna.The licitness of istighātha or calling for the help of a qualified creature is patently established in the Qur’ān and Sunna, as shown by  the verse of istighātha cited below;  al-Bukhārī’s narration that our mother Hājar, when she was running in search of water between S.afā and Marwa, heard a voice and said: “O you whose voice you have made me hear! If there is a ghawth (help/helper) with you (then help me)!” and an angel appeared at the spot of the spring of Zamzam;  al-Bukhārī’s narration of the Prophet " from Ibn ‘Umar $: “Truly the sun shall draw so near on the Day of Resurrection that sweat shall reach to the mid-ear, whereupon they shall ask (istaghāthū) help fromĀdam (AS) , then from Mūsā (AS), then from Muh.ammad (SAWS)"who will intercede.”The narration from Anas in al-Bukhā rī explicitly states that all the Prophets say, “I am not fit for this” except the Prophet Muh.ammad,who says: “I am fit for this [intercession].”Even Muh.ammad ibn Abd al-Wahhāb concedes: “We do not deny nor rejectthe invocation of help from the creature in sofar as the creature can help, as Allā has said in the story of Mūsā (as) & Andhis countryman sought his help (istaghāthahu) against his enemy'(28:15).”9
FurtherexamplesfromtheSunnaforcallinguponsomeonetoobviatedistressareintheauthentic hadīth in which the Prophet(saws) taught a blind man to say, in his du‘ā’:“O Allāh, I am asking you and turning to you with your Pro-phet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad(yāMuhammad)! I am turning with you to my Lord regarding my present need [another version has: “I am asking my Lord with your intercession concerning the return of my sight”] so that He will fulfill my need. O Allāh! Allow him to intercede (with you) for me.”10This supplication was later taught by the Companion ‘Uthmān ibn H.unayf to a man who was seeking the ‘Uthmā n ibn ‘Affān’s help in a certain matter, after the Prophet’(saws) s " death.11
In the authentic h.adīth in which the Prophet " says: “Allāh has angels on earth – other than the Record-Keepers – who keep a record of the leaves that falls on the ground. Therefore, if one of you is crippled in a deserted land where no one is in sight, let him cry out: ‘Help, O servants of Allāh!’ (yā‘ibād Allāh aghīthū).’”12[6a] It is also related from ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that he said: “I heard my father say: ‘I performed pilgrimage five times and once I got lost on the way. I walked and began to say: O servants of Allāh, show us the way! I continued to say this until I got on the right way...13 Al-Haytham ibn H. anash [al-Nakha.ī] said: .We were in .Abd Allāh ibn .Umar(RA)’s house when he felt a cramp in his leg, whereupon one man said to him: .Remember (or mention) the dearest of people to you,. so he said: .O Muhammad!. (yā Muh.
ammad) " and he seemed relieved of his cramp..14 This narration is
confirmed by  the sound (s.ah.īh.) report of this event narrated by al-Bukhārī in al-Adab al-Mufrad from .Abd al-Rah.mān ibn Sa.d who said: .Ibn .Umar had a cramp in his leg, whereupon a man said to him: .Remember (or mention) the dearest of people to you,. so he said: .Muhammad!..15
Notes: 1In his bookYak Rozi(p.145 according to the URLhttp://members. tripod. com/okarvi/W_B.html).2Ah.mad Rid.ā Khān, Fatāwāal-H.aramayn bi ajf radwat al-Mayn(Waqf Ikhlās. offset repr. p. 11-12). 3Ibn H.azm, al -Fis.al (2:138). 4Yak Rozi (and p. 151).5Al-Badaywānī, al-Mu‘taqad al-Muntaqad (Waqf Ihlas offset repr. p. 64-66).
6Sayyid Ah.mad Barelwī had declared a jihād against the Sīkh rulers of the Punjab. He and his followers were eventually betrayed by their Afghan allies and defeated by Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of Northern India, and killed in 1246/1831 in Balakot.The Tawārīkh -e-‘Ajī bah (p.182) states: “In this biography and by his letters it is clearly evident that Mr. Sayyid [Ah.mad] had no intention to wage awar against the British. He thought of their government as his government. Undoubtedly, if the [British] government was against him he would not have received any [financial] aid [from them]. But the government wished to break the strength of the Sikh [rebels].”
The Hayaat-e-Tayyibah (p. 302) states that one day, as Ismā‘īl Dihlawīwas lecturing on jihād against the Sikhs in Calcutta, a personasked: “Why do you not give a fatwa to wage jihād against the English?” He replied: “It is not wājib in any case to fight against the British. First, because we are their subjects; second, they do not interfere in our religious affairs and we have all kinds of freedom under their rule. In fact, if any one attacks the British, it is the religious duty of Muslims to fight against them and protect our (British) government.”
īd (p. 232). 10Narrated by Ah. mad, al-Tirmidhī (h.asan s.ah.īh. gharīb . Da.awat Ch. 119), Ibn Mājah (Book of Iqāmat al-s. alāt wal-sunnat, Ch. On S alāt al-h. āja #1385), al-Nasā.ī in .Amal al-yawm wa al-layla (p. 417-418 #658-660), al-H. ākim (1:313, 1:526), al-T.
abarānī in al- Kabīr, and rigorously authenticated as sound (s.ah.īh. ) by nearly fifteen h. adīth Masters including Ibn H. ajar, al-Dhahabī, al-Shawkānī, and Ibn Taymiyya as stated in The Reliance of the Traveller. 11Narrated by al-Bayhaqī in Dalā.il al-Nubuwwa(6:166-168) with a sound chain according to al-Ghumārī in his Juz. fī al-Radd .alā al-Albānī (Beirut, 1996), Abū Nu.aym in Ma.rifat al-Sah. āba, al-Mundhirī (1:473-476=1:272-273=1:353-354), al-Haythamī (2:279), and al-T. abarānī who declared it sah.īh.
in al-Kabīr (9:17-18=9:30-31), al-S. aghīr (1:184/201-202=1:306), and al-Du.ā. (p. 320-321), as did al-Shawkānī in Tuh. fat al-Dhākirīn(Beirut 1970 ed. p. 37). See also al-Mubārakfūrī, Tuh. fat al-Ah. wadhī (10:25) and al-Ghumārī.s
Misbāh. al-Zujāja fī S. alāt al-H. āja. 12Narrated from Ibn .Abbās by al-T. abarānī in al-Kabīr with a fair chain (according to Ibn H. ajar inal-Amālī) of trustworthy narrators according to al-Haythamī (10:132) and by al-Bazzār with a fair chain according to Ibn H.
ajar in Mukhtas. ar Zawā.id Musnad al- Bazzār (2:419-420 #2128) cf. al-Shawkānī in Tuh. fat al-Dhākirīn (p. 219=p. 155-156); Ibn AbīShayba (7:103); and al-Bayhaqī in al- Adab (p. 436) and Shu.ab al-Īmān (1:183 #167; 6:128 #7697).13Narrated by Ibn Muflih. al-H. anbalī inal-Ādāb al-Shar.iyya. 14Narrated by al-Nawawī in al-Adhkār (1970 Riyadh ed. p. 271, 1988 T.ā.if edition p. 383, 1992 Makka edition p. 370), Ibn al-Qayyim . without the interjection yā . in al-Wābil al-Sayyib (1952 ed. 180=p. 195) and al-Shawkānī.s Tuh. fat al-Dhākirīn (Cairo ed.
p. 291-292=1970 Beirut ed. p. 206-207). This report is narrated by Ibn al-Sunnī through Muh. ammad ibn Mus. .ab al-Qurqusānī who
was declared weak by several Imāms but Imām Ah.mad considered him thiqa cf. al-Arna.ūt., Tah. rīr al-Taqrīb (3:318 #6302). At any
rate, the narration is confirmed by the h. adīth of al-Bukhārī in al-Adab al-Mufrad. 15Narrated by al-Bukhārī, al-Adab al-Mufrad (1990 .Abd al-Bāqī Beirut ed. p. 286): .Abū Nu.aym [al-Fad.l ibn Dukayn] narrated to us and said: Sufyān [ibn .Uyayna] narrated to us: From Abū Ish. āq [Sa.d ibn Ibrāhīm]: From .Abd al-Rah.mān ibn Sa.d [al-Makhzūmī al-Muq.ad] . al-Dhahabī said of him in Mīzān al-I.tidāl (2:566 #4875), .This narrator is trustworthy (dhā thiqa).. This is a chain of sound narrators despite the contrary claim of al-Albānī in the book he titled D. a.īf al-Adab al-Mufrad (p. 87)