The Slander against Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Sahib Gangohi (his mighty secret be sanctified) of Attributing Lie to the Lord of Glory (Great is His Magnificence) and its Reply
On page 13 of Husam al-Haramayn, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote in regards to Hazrat Mawlana Gangohi (Allah have mercy on him):
Then the state of wrongdoing and deviance persisted in him until he stated in a fatwa of his, which I saw with my eyes in his handwriting and with his seal, and it was printed many times in Mumbai and [other cities] besides it along with its refutation, that the one who attributes an actual lie to Allah Almighty and explicitly states that He (Glorified and Exalted is He) has lied and this enormity emerged from Him, then don’t attribute to him transgression, let alone deviance, and let alone disbelief, for indeed many of the imams have professed his opinion and the furthest of his matter is that he has erred in his interpretation.
Those are the ones Allah Almighty has deafened and He has blinded their sights, and there is no might, nor power, except with Allah, the High, the Great. (Husam al-Haramaym, p. 13)
This worthless slave submits that the attribution of this fatwa to the deceased Hazrat Gangohi is outright fabrication and slander. In the first discussion, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib joined three separate passages from Tahzir al-Nas to create a content of disbelief. Here, even this was not possible. With praise to Allah, I can say with full confidence that these words are not found in any fatwa of the deceased Hazrat, nor are they the meaning of any fatwa. Rather, the reality is that this is a clear fabrication by either Khan Sahib or one of his rivals. With praise to Allah, we and our elders (akabir) declare such person a disbeliever, and an accursed apostate, who attributes lie to the Lord Almighty, and says a lie actually issued from Him. Rather, that wretched person who doubts that this is disbelief, we believe that even he is outside the fold of Islam. Hazrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Sahib Gangohi (his secret be sanctified) himself wrote in his published Fatawa on volume 1, page 118:
The Pure Essence of the Real Almighty (Great is His Glory) is pure and transcendent from being described with the attribute of lie, Allah forbid. There is no trace of falsehood in His speech. Allah Almighty said: “And who is more truthful than Allah in speech?” (Qur’an 4:122)
The person who holds the belief of this attribution towards the Real Almighty, or says this with his tongue, he has spoken a lie and is certainly an accursed disbeliever and an opponent of Qur’an, hadith and the consensus of the ummah. He can never be a believer. Allah is beyond what the oppressors say with great loftiness.
Readers should assess fairly that after such a clear and unequivocal fatwa, to slander Hazrat with believing (Allah forbid!) that the Lord has actually lied, or to say the one who said this remains a Muslim, what degree of evil it is. Judgement will take place on the Day of Judgement!
Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib’s statement “which I saw with my eyes in his handwriting and with his seal” remains. In reply to this, I will only say that since in this fourteenth century [after Hijrah], a “scholar” and “mufti” sliced three separate passages from pages 3, 14 and 28 of a printed and published book, Tahzir al-Nas, and by distorting them created a content of disbelief and attributed that to the author of Tahzir al-Nas, what difficulty is there for him to fabricate a fatwa with another’s handwriting and seal? Are there no fabricators or forgers in the world? It is well-known that in Bareli and its neighbouring towns there are many experts in this field whose livelihood is by means of such forgeries.
Anyhow, the fatwa of Hazrat Gangohi which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib mentioned has no basis. Fatawa Rashidiyyah which was printed and published in three volumes has no mention of it, rather the complete opposite of it is found in several fatwas within it, of which one was quoted above. Even assuming Khan Sahib truly saw a fatwa of this kind, it is certainly the result of the fabrication and machination of a rival “scholar” or predecessor of his.
To bury the glory and greatness of the revered scholars and masters, jealous people committed such types of actions in earlier times too. In this respect, I will relate some enlightening incidents:
The great jurist and hadith master of this ummah, Hazrat Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him), was on the verge of passing on from this world, and a truly envious, wretched person at that time put under his pillow some papers with writing on them that were full of heretical beliefs and views. Why? Purely for the reason that people will believe these writings to be the fruits of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s (Allah have mercy on him) mind, and when they are found to be contrary to Islamic teachings, they will hold a bad opinion of the Imam, and his greatness and honour will be removed from people’s heart. And then the light of our [i.e. the forgers] markets which due to the overwhelming effusion of the Imam was diminished will rise again.
The Imam of lexicography, ‘Allamah Majd al-Din al-Fayruzabadi (Allah have mercy on him), the author al-Qamus, was alive. He was a famous imam and an authority for the elite and commoners. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him), as great a hadith master he was, benefited from his knowledge. Envious people could not stand this widespread acceptance. In order to taint his greatness and popularity, they wrote a whole book with insults against Imam Abu Hanifah (Allah have mercy on him) under his name which very forcefully and stridently accused Hazrat Imam A‘zam (Allah have mercy on him) of disbelief. This fabricated book was spread till it reached distant and unfamiliar places. In the Hanafi world, opposition to ‘Allamah Fayruzabadi (Allah have mercy on him) reached the utmost degree of hysteria. However, the innocent ‘Allamah was completely unaware of this until the book reached Abu Bakr al-Khayyat al-Baghawi al-Yamani, whereupon he wrote a letter to ‘Allamah Fayruzabadi asking about the book. The aforementioned ‘Allamah wrote in his reply:
If this book has reached you, burn it, because it is a fabrication of enemies. I am from the greatest believers in Imam Abu Hanifah, and I have listed his virtues in a book.
Imam Mustafa al-Qarmani al-Hanafi, with extreme effort, wrote a detailed commentary of Muqaddamah Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi. When he completed it, he came to Egypt with a view to showing it to the scholars after which he will publish it. With praise to Allah, the compilation was successful. Some jealous people were irritated by this, and they believed that by its publication the light of our markets will be diminished. They were unable to do anything besides the wickedness of fabricating [into the book] from themselves. In the chapter of the etiquettes of relieving oneself, on the issue of not facing the sun and moon while relieving oneself, they added: “because Ibrahim (upon him peace) would worship them” (Allah forbid!). ‘Allamah al-Qarmani was unaware of this evil. Without knowledge of this, he presented the book before the scholars of Egypt and when their eyes fell on this proof there was severe outrage and there was uproar in all of Egypt against ‘Allamah al-Qarmani. The Qadi of the time decreed that he deserved the death penalty. The poor soul fled from Egypt in the night to save his life, for otherwise, he could not give up chase without his head.
The pious knower [of Allah], Imam ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha‘rani, wrote an autobiographical note in his book al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir:
Likewise, they – the jealous folk – fabricated against me in my book called al-Bahr al-Mawrud a number of false beliefs, and they propagated those beliefs in Egypt and Makkah for around three years, and I am free from them as I explained in the introduction to the book when I revised it. The ‘ulama wrote [endorsements] on it and licensed it, and the chaos did not abate until I sent to them the copy on which was their endorsements.
Only a few incidents [have been related] in this [brief] account. If historical and biographical works are consulted, one will find many similar shameful incidents of the fabrications of the wretched and envious people.
Thus, if the reality is that the Barelwi learned man was truthful in this explanation, that he [in fact] saw this fatwa of the deceased Hazrat Gangohi with the abovementioned content with his handwriting and seal, it is certainly such [i.e. fabricated]. Yet, still it would never have been permissible for Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib to issue a fatwa of disbelief based on it, until it had not been verified whether it was the fatwa of Hazrat Mawlana or not. It is a well-known and accepted principle of jurisprudence that “one handwriting resembles [another] handwriting” or “one handwriting may be confused with [another’s] handwriting.” Khan Sahib himself is not unaware of this. For example, to prove that it is not permissible to determine moon sighting by means of handwriting and telegram, he states:
In all books it is clearly written: “One handwriting resembles [another] handwriting,” “handwriting is not acted upon.” (Malfuzat A‘la Hazrat 2:52)
Since handwriting is not taken into consideration in such small matters as moon sighting, how can takfir which is a far more grave matter be established by this consideration?
Those proofs which Khan Sahib presented to authenticate the attribution of this fabricated fatwa to the deceased Hazrat Gangohi in Tamhid e Iman remain, which are extremely foolish and weaker than a spider’s web. Readers will shortly see and ascertain this for themselves.
The aforementioned Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote in Tamhid e Iman with regards to this fabricated fatwa:
It has been 18 years since this impure fatwa attributing lie to the Lord was published in 1308 with the treatise Siyanat al-Nas from Hadiqat al-‘Ulum Press, Meerut, along with a refutation. Then in 1318 H from Gulzar e Hasani Press, Mumbai, it was printed again with a more detailed refutation. Then in 1320 H, with another stronger refutation it was printed in Tuhfat e Hanafiyya Press in Patna, Azimabad. The person who gave the fatwa died in Jumada al-Akhirah 1323 H, and remained silent till the last dying breath. He did not say “this is not my fatwa” although it was easier than rejecting a fatwa published in books. And he didn’t say that its meaning is not what the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah [meaning, himself and others] said, rather my intention was so-and-so. Disbelief is no small matter to which no attention is paid.
After removing the filth and excess, the upshot of Khan Sahib’s proof boils down to the following:
1. The fatwa with a refutation was printed three times in the lifetime of the deceased Mawlana Gangohi.
2. He did not deny the attribution of this fatwa to himself, nor did he mention another meaning of it.
3. And since the matter is so grave, silence and inattention will not be taken into consideration.
4. Thus, it is established that this fatwa is his, and its meaning is also that on which I based my takfir.
Even though the foolishness and nonsensicalness of this proof is in no need of my examination and criticism, as every person with a little intellect can with little deliberation and consideration understand its nonsensicalness, yet it seems appropriate to shed some light on every part of it while also giving the readers some insight into the “knowledge” and “revivalism” of Khan Sahib.
Khan Sahib’s first premise was that the fatwa with a refutation was printed three times. It is acknowledged in this premise that the fabricated fatwa was only printed by opponents of the Mawlana. It was never published on behalf of the Mawlana or any of his close associates. With regards to this, I will only say that if the explanation of Khan Sahib is accepted as being true and it was conceded that the fatwa was printed and published several times with its refutation in the lifetime of the deceased Hazrat Gangohi, still it is not necessary that it reached Hazrat or even that he was aware of it. If it was sent to him, the question is: Was it sent by a definite path or an indefinite one? And was Khan Sahib informed of its arrival to him? If he was, was that through definite or probabilistic means?! Giving a definitive certain verdict of disbelief while ignoring all these sides of the issue can never be allowed. Anyhow, as long as it is not established with certainty that Hazrat Gangohi (Allah have mercy on him) wrote any such fatwa, and that the definite and stipulated meaning was that which Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib wrote, based on these conjectural principles, passing a ruling of disbelief is definitely undeserved and sinful. Hazrat Mawlana Gangohi was a reclusive knower of Allah whose condition was without exaggeration:
In remembrance of the beloved, from the world is he distracted
A special part of this humble one’s [i.e. Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani] time till now has been spent only in the hospitality of the people of falsehood, and till today I have been deprived of the visit of these three editions of this fabricated fatwa which were mentioned by Khan Sahib. Thus, they may exist, but this reasonably indicates that the deceased Hazrat was not even aware of this tale.
Khan Sahib’s second premise was that the deceased Mawlana Gangohi did not deny the fatwa, nor did he offer any interpretation of it. In relation to this, first, it is asked that since awareness is not established, what is there to deny and what is there to interpret? And supposing he was aware of it, he felt that this impure act of ungodly fabricators does not deserve [my] attention and the decency of [my] notice, or in order to consign the affair to the Lord, he preferred to maintain silence.[The premise] that the attribution of disbelief is no small matter such that it is not given attention remains. It is not necessary from the first assertion [i.e. the attribution of disbelief is no small matter] that the second [i.e. such that it is not given attention] follows from it [i.e. it is a non sequitur]. It is possible he did not believe denial was necessary because believers would not accept such filthy slander, or he thought that those repulsive people who launched this [slander] will have no place in the academic and religious world, thus there would be no consideration of their speech. Anyhow, maintaining silence may have had these reasons. Yet, regardless of these explanations, it is incorrect to say that “the matter of disbelief is grave.” Undoubtedly before the advent of the “revival” of Khan Sahib, takfir did hold such a high importance. But, I seek forgiveness from the soul of Khan Sahib and his present [spiritual] descendents, that [I am forced to say that] from the day that the pen case of fatwa went into the intrepid hands of Khan Sahib, takfir became such a light matter, that Allah’s refuge is sought! [His verdicts include:] Those belonging to Nadwat al-‘Uluma are disbelievers, and those who do not call them disbelievers are disbelievers. The scholars of Deoband are disbelievers, and those who do not call them disbelievers are disbelievers. The nonconformists (ghayr muqallidin) of the Ahl e Hadith are disbelievers. Mawlana ‘Abd al-Bari Sahib Farangi Mahalli is a disbeliever, as well as another who committed the crime of joining the Khilafat Movement, his brother in Tariqa, Mawlawi ‘Abd al-Majid Badayuni. Mawlawi ‘Abd al-Qadir Sahib Badayuni is a disbeliever. Of disbelief he was a relentless machinegun, Allah have mercy. Besides the few groups of people in Bareli no one remains a Muslim.
Thus it is possible, believing this turmoil and uproar from Khan Sahib and those like him who call godly people disbelievers, to be the barking of dogs, he preferred to maintain silence. The principle is:
Indeed I pass by the base one who insults me
I pass by from there saying: It does not concern me
And it is possible that the deceased Hazrat Mawlana was aware and he also denied the fabricated fatwa, but Khan Sahib was unaware of this denial. How can the absence of denial be known from unawareness [of that denial]? Does absence of knowledge necessitate the absence of the thing?
The people of knowledge and possessors of fairness should assess that with all these possibilities is takfir still permissible? The claim was that:
This extremely cautious person (meaning, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib himself) never called those enemies (Hazrat Gangohi and others) disbelievers until their explicit disbelief was not definitively, clearly, brightly and manifestly brighter than the light of the sun, in which no room [for doubt] and no interpretation emerged at all, at all, ever, ever. (Tamhid e Iman p. 44)
Yet the evidence is so weak that it does not even offer speculative knowledge (zann). If with such evidences disbelief was established, then may Allah protect Islam and Muslims. Any ignorant or madman calls a godly man a disbeliever and thinking it is an unacceptable address he turns away from it and offers no clarity before him – then according to Khan Sahib’s principles he is a disbeliever. How wonderful!
If it was only this mufti and this fatwa
The work of faith will be completely undone
Here you have those statements of the noble jurists that if there were 99 possibilities of disbelief and one possibility of Islam, even then takfir is not permissible. And here you have in the fourteenth century this self-made reviver Sahib who with shrillness joined those purely fanciful and conjectural premises to produce this [unfounded] conclusion [that the fatwa in question was authored by Mawlana Gangohi] and a certain definitive takfir that whoever doubts is a disbeliever.
Look at the difference in paths, from where to where?
Till now, this was a discussion in the format of a debate (munazarah). However, after this, I also wish to say that when one of Hazrat Gangohi’s associates saw the fabrication of the innovators towards the end of his life, he wrote a request to the deceased Hazrat enquiring about it, and Hazrat in his reply declared his innocence, and expressed his displeasure at the accursed content. Khan Sahib was aware of this, and yet he did not retract the fatwa of disbelief. By this, the intention of these champions of takfir and their descendents is exposed.
Thus, on 1323 H, when Hazrat Mawlana Murtaza Hasan Sahib (his shadow be lengthened) saw this fabricated fatwa discussed in a treatise of a firm supporter of Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, Miyanji ‘Abd al-Rahman Pukhrirawi, at that time he sent a request to Gangoh asking about the reality of the fatwa with this content that was being attributed to the Hazrat. So he responded: “This is an outright fabrication and pure slander. Can any sensible person write such a thing?”
The answer of the deceased Hazrat was quoted in many treatises of Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Sahib (his shadow be lengthened) including al-Sahab al-Midrar and Tazkiyat al-Khawatir, and all of these treatises were sent to Khan Sahib in his lifetime.
Also, when this slander first began to spread in Bareli, from here, too, some associates of the Hazrat sent a request inquiring about the reality of the situation. In this answer, the deceased Hazrat also expressed his displeasure, and this written answer of the deceased Hazrat was witnessed by Khan Sahib but it had no effect on his heart of stone, and the fear of the Lord did not make him ready to admit his error.
“Then your hearts hardened thereafter, so they are as stones or stronger in hardness: and verily of stones there are some from which gush forth rivers, and verily there are of them some that cleave asunder and water issues from them, and verily there are of them some that fall down in awe of Allah.” (Qur’an 2:74)
These are those conditions and realities because of which I am forced to believe and say that Khan Sahib’s verdict of disbelief from the very first day was not based on a misunderstanding or ignorance, but the reality is that it was born purely out of the unreserved flame of spite, love of fame and indulgence. “And those who do injustice will soon know to which place they will return.” (Qur’an 26:227)
1. Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Chandpuri (1868-1951) was alive at the time of writing this book and on its first publication date in 1933 CE. He was a graduate of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband where he studied under some of its greatest teachers, including Mawlana Muhammad Ya‘qub Nanotwi, Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan Gangohi, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and Mawlana Dhu al-Fiqar ‘Ali Deobandi. He excelled in the rational sciences under Mawlana Ahmad Hasan Amrohi in Kanpur. He earned his livelihood by working as a Hakim having attained adequate knowledge and experience in this profession from his father, a renowned Hakim of his city. In the spiritual path, he gained successorship (khlilafa) in the Chisti Sabiri chain from Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi.
Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri’s Explanation of the Controversy on Wuqoo’ al-Kadhib (Actual Occurrence of Lying)
In the treatise al-Tasdiqat li Daf‘ al-Talbisat, also known as al-Muhannad ‘ala al-Mufannad, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri answered three related questions, including the issue of the fabricated fatwa imputed upon Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi that it is acceptable to believe that Allah has already spoken a lie, and whose photocopy which Ahmad Raza Khan claimed to possess remains non-existent till this day:
Question Twenty Three:
Did the eminent shaykh, the scholar of his time, Mawlawi Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, say that the Creator (Exalted is He) has actually lied, and that the one who says this has not erred, or is this amongst the slanders against him? Assuming the latter, how do you respond to what al-Barelwi mentioned that he has with him a photocopy of the deceased shaykh’s fatwa stating this?
That which they attributed to the eminent and incomparable shaykh, the scholar of his time, the peerless of his age, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, that he said that the Creator (Exalted is His Eminence) actually lied and that the one who says this has not erred, it is a slander against him (Allah Most High have mercy on him) and is from the lies concocted by the deceptive and lying devils (Allah confound them! How they are perverted!). His respected person is innocent of such heresy and disbelief.
The fatwa of the shaykh (his secret be sanctified) that was printed and published in volume one of his Fatawa Rashidiyyah (p. 119) falsifies their [claim]. It is in Arabic and was verified and stamped with the seals of the ‘ulama of Makkah al-Mukarramah. A copy of this question [and answer] follows:
In Allah’s Name, the Ever Merciful, the Beneficent. We praise Him and send blessing on His noble Messenger. What is your view (may your blessings last) on Allah being described with the attribute of falsehood? And what is the ruling on the one who believes He lies? Provide us with an answer, and be rewarded.
Answer: Allah (Exalted is He) is certainly free from having the attribute of falsehood, and no element of falsehood is found in His Speech, as Allah says, “Who is more truthful than Allah in speech?” (4:122)
Whoever believes or professes that Allah lies, he is certainly an accursed disbeliever, and has opposed the Book, the Sunna and the consensus of the ummah.
Yes, the belief of the people of faith is that which Allah foretold in the Qur’an, that Pharaoh, Haman and Abu Lahab are from the inhabitants of Hell, it is a decisive decision that He will not act contrary to, but Allah (Exalted is He) is Able to admit them into Paradise and is not incapable of this, but He will not do so by His choice.
Allah (Exalted is He!) said, “And if We had so willed, We could have given every soul its guidance, but the word from Me concerning evildoers took effect: that I will fill the Fire with the jinn and mankind together.” (Qur’an 32:12)
It is evident from this verse that had Allah wished, He would have made everybody believers but He does not contradict what He says, and this is all by choice, not coercion. He is a Doer by choice, acting as He wills.
This is the belief of all the ‘ulama of this ummah, as al-Baydawi said under the explanation of His statement (Exalted is He), “If you forgive them…” (Qur’an 5:118) that “the absence of forgiveness for shirk is a consequence of His threat, but it is not intrinsically impossible.” Allah knows best the truth.
The lowly Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may he be pardoned) wrote this.
A review of the endorsements of the ‘ulama of Al-Makkah al-Mukarramah, Allah increase its honour:
“All praise to the One Who is deserving of it, and from Him extends all help and guidance. That which ‘Allamah Rashid Ahmad said in reply as cited [above] is the truth from which there is no escape. Allah send blessings and peace on the Seal of the Prophets, his family and his companions.”
The servant of the Shari’ah, seeking tender grace, Muhammad Salih ibn al-Marhum Siddiq Kamal al-Hanafi (Allah support them), the present Mufti of Makkah al-Mukarramah, ordered his signature.
The one hopeful of perfect attainment from His Lord, Muhammad Sa’id ibn Muhammad Babusayl at the Protected Makkah (Allah forgive him and his parents, and his teachers and all the Muslims) signed it.
Seeking pardon from the Giver of Bestowals, Muhammad ‘Abid ibn al-Marhum Shaykh Husayn, Mufti of the Malikis at the protected land of Allah, [signed it].
“[After] sending blessings and peace, that which ‘Allamah Rashid Ahmad gave in answer is sufficient and upon it is dependence, rather it is the truth from which there is no escape.”
Written by the lowly one, Khulf ibn Ibrahim, a servant of ifta for Hanbalis, at the honoured [city of] Makkah.
The response to what al-Barelwi said that he has in his possession a copy of the fatwa of the deceased shaykh in photocopy form containing what he mentioned, it is from his inventions that he invented and kept with himself to slander the shaykh (Allah sanctify his secret). Such lies and slanders are insignificant for him, for he is the teacher of teachers in this and all of them [i.e. liars] are children in comparison to him in his time.
Indeed he is a distorting manipulator and a scheming imposter, often forging signatures. He is not less than the Masih al-Qadiyani, since the latter claims messengership manifestly and openly, and the former conceals [claims of] revivalism, and anathematises (yukaffiru) the ‘ulama of the ummah, just as the Wahhabis, the followers of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, anathematise the ummah (Allah Most High disgrace him as He disgraces them).
Question Twenty Four:
Do you believe in the possibility of the occurrence of falsehood in a speech from the Speech of the Master (Great and Glorious is His Transcendence). If not, what then is your opinion?
We and our elders (Allah Most High have mercy on them) declare and are convinced that all speech that issued from the Creator (Great and Glorious is He) or will issue from Him is absolutely truthful, and it is certain that it concurs with reality.
Undoubtedly, there is no trace of falsehood in any part of His (Exalted is He) Speech, nor any doubt about [the absence of] contravening reality [in His Speech]. Whoever believes contrary to this or conceives of a lie in any part of His Speech, is a disbeliever, apostate and heretic, and does not have even a trace of faith.
Question Twenty Five:
Have you ascribed the view of “imkan al-kadhib” (the possibility of lying) to some of the Ash’aris? If so, what is meant by this? And do you have a proof-text for this view from the reliable scholars? Explain the matter to us as it is.
This began as a dispute between us and the Indian logicians and innovators about the capacity of the Maker (Transcendent is He) to act contrary to what He promised, informed, intended, and so on. They said that acting contrary to these things is absent from Allah’s Ancient Power (qudrah qadimah), hypothetically impossible (mustahil aqlan), impossible to exist within His capacity, and it is necessary for Him [to act] in accordance with His promise, report, intent and knowledge.
We said: such things are certainly capacitated, but their occurrence (wuqu’) is not possible, according to the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah from the Ash’aris and Maturidis, textually and logically according to the Maturidis, and only textually according to the Ash’aris. They objected that if the capacity of these things were possible, it would entail the possibility of falsehood and this is certainly not in His capacity and is intrinsically impossible (mustahil dhatan).
We responded using a variety of answers from the theologians, of which was: even if the concomitance of the possibility of falsehood in acting contrary to the promise, reports and so on, in His capacity is accepted, it too is not intrinsically impossible, rather, like oppression and impudence, it is intrinsically capacitated, but it is textually and logically impossible, or just textually, as more than one of the Imams have espoused.
When they saw these responses they caused corruption in the land and attributed to us [the position of] allowing imperfections (naqs) in relation to His Holiness (Blessed and Exalted is He), and they spread this accusation amongst the foolish and the ignorant to create enmity in the common people and to seek enjoyment and popularity amongst men.
They reached the roads of the heavens in fabrication when they forged an image from themselves [expressing] the actuality (fi’liyyah) of falsehood without fearing the Knowing King.
When Indians became aware of their scheming, they sought help from the noble ‘ulama of the two Sanctuaries because they their likeness is but the likeness of the Mu’tazilah as compared with the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, since they [i.e. the Mu’tazilah] excluded rewarding the sinner (ithabat al-’asi) and punishing the obedient (‘iqab al-muti’) from the Ancient Power and made justice (‘adl) necessary for Allah’s essence. They called themselves “the advocates of justice and transcendence” and they attributed injustice, unconscientiousness and ugliness to the ‘ulama of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’ah.
So, just as the predecessors of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah did not mind their ignorance and did not permit incapacity in relation to Him (Transcendent and Exalted is He!) in the aforementioned injustice, and broadened the Ancient Power while also removing imperfections from His Noble Absolute Self and perfecting the transcendence and sanctity of His Lofty Holiness, saying that, “Your understanding of the possibility of the capacity to punish the obedient and reward the sinner as an imperfection, is but the consequence of [following] the wretched philosophers”; in the same way, we say to them, “Your understanding of the ability to act contrary to the promise, report and truth and the likes of them, as an imperfection, although their issuance (sudur) from Him (Exalted is He) is impossible, only textually, or rationally and textually, is but the misfortune of philosophy and logic and your adverse ignorance.”
They do what they do because of the absolute transcendence [of Allah], but they are unable to perfect the Power and broaden it. As for our predecessors, the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, they combined between the two matters, of widening the Power and perfecting transcendence for the Necessary (Transcendent and Exalted is He). This is what we mentioned in al-Barahin al-Qati‘ah in summary-form, and here are some of the proof-texts in support of it from the authoritative books of the school:
(1) It says in Sharh al-Mawaqif: “All the Mu’tazilites and Kharijites make punishing the one who incurs a major sin necessary when he dies without repentance and they do not allow Allah to pardon him for two reasons: “First, He (Exalted is He) made it a promise to punish major sins and informed [us] of this i.e. punishment because of it, so if He does not punish for a major sin and pardons, it would entail reneging on His threat and falsehood in His speech, which are impossible. The answer is, the conclusion of this [argument] is that punishment will [actually] occur, so where is the [intrinsic] necessity of punishment, on which is our discussion, since there is no doubt that non-necessity [of punishment] along with [its] occurrence does not entail reneging and falsehood? It cannot be said that it entails their possibility which is also impossible, because we say: its impossibility is prohibited. How so, when they are from the possibilities included in His (Exalted is He) Power?” End [quote from Sharh al-Mawaqif]
(2) In Sharh al-Maqasid by ‘Allamah al-Taftazani (Allah Most High have mercy on him) at the end of the discussion on Power, [he says]: “The deniers of the inclusiveness of His Power are many groups; of them are al-Nazzam and his [Mu’tazilite] followers who say that He does not have power over ignorance, falsehood and oppression and all ugly acts (qaba’ih), for if their creation were in His capacity, their issuance (sudur) from Him would be possible, and this concomitant (lazim) is false because it results in impudence (safah) if He knows the ugliness of this and its dispensability, and in ignorance if He is not knowing. The response is: we do not concede the ugliness of a thing in relation to Him, how [can we accept this] when He is in complete control of His kingdom?
And if it [i.e. ugliness in relation to Him] is conceded, Power over it does not negate the impossibility of its issuance from Him, by consideration of the presence of disposal and the absence of need, even if it is possible (mumkinan).” End [quote from Sharh al-Maqasid], in summary-form.
(3) It says in al-Musayarah and its commentary Al-Musamarah by ‘Allamah al-Muhaqqiq Kamal ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi and his student Ibn Abi l-Sharif al-Maqdisi al-Shafi’i (Allah Most High have mercy on them), the text of which is: “Then he i.e. the author of al-’Umdah said, ‘Allah (Exalted is He) is not described with Power over oppression, impudence and falsehood because the impossible is not included in [His] Power, i.e. it is improper for it to pertain to them. According to the Mu’tazilah, He (Exalted is He) is Able over all that but does not do [them].’ End quote from al-’Umdah. “It appears as though he altered that which he transmitted from the Mu’tazilah, since there is no doubt that the absence of power over what was mentioned, is the position of the Mu’tazilah.
As for its presence, i.e. power over what was mentioned, and then abstention from pertaining to them by choice, to the school, i.e. it is to the school of the Ash’aris, more fitting than it is to the school of the Mu’tazilah. It is obvious that this more fitting [position] is also included in transcendence, since there is no doubt that abstention therefrom i.e. from those things mentioned, of oppression, impudence and falsehood, is from the matter of transcendence, from that which does not befit the majesty of His Holiness (Exalted is He). “Hence, it should be understood by the foregone premise, i.e. the intellect understands, which of the two views are more excessive in transcendence from indecencies: is it power over it, i.e. what was mentioned from the three matters, along with impossibility, i.e. His abstention from it by choosing that abstention; or its impossibility from Him because of the absence of power over it? It is incumbent to rely on the more inclusive of the two statements in transcendence which is the statement more fitting to the school of the Ash’aris.” End [quote from al-Musamarah].
(4) In Hawashi al-Kalnabwi ‘ala Sharh al-’Aqa’id al-Adudiyyah by al-Muhaqqiq al-Dawwani (Allah Most High have mercy on them) [it is mentioned], the text of which is: “In sum, lying being ugly in the uttered-speech (al-kalam al-lafzi), in the sense that it is an attribute of deficiency, is prohibited according to the Ash’aris. That is why al-Sharif al-Muhaqqiq (al-Jurjani) said it is from the totality of the possibilities (mumkinat), and acquiring decisive knowledge of its non-occurrence in His speech by consensus of the scholars and the Prophets (upon them be peace) does not negate its intrinsic possibility like all decisive knowledge of normal occurrences (al-’ulum al-’adiya) and it does not negate what Imam al-Razi said,” to the end.
(5) In Tahrir al-Usul by the author of Fath al-Qadir, Imam Ibn al-Humam, and its commentary by Ibn Amir al-Hajj (Allah Most High have mercy on them) [they say], the text of which is: “Therefore – i.e. since whatever is conceived as a deficiency is impossible for Him – the decisiveness of the impossibility of attributing Him – i.e. Allah (Exalted is He) – with lying and the like of it (Transcendent is He beyond that) becomes apparent. Also, if His act being attributed with ugliness was possible, confidence in the integrity of His promise, the integrity of His speech besides it – i.e. [besides] His (Exalted is He) promise – and the integrity of His Prophets would disappear – i.e. in principle, His integrity would be uncertain. “According to the Ash’aris, He (Exalted is He) is certainly not attributed with ugly acts, but they are not rationally impossible, like all of creation. [This is] just like all the sciences in which one of two opposites being the reality is certain, but the other is not impossible, if it were assumed that it is the reality; just like the certainty of Mecca and Baghdad – i.e. their existence – since their non-existence is not rationally impossible. Therefore – i.e. when the matter is such – confidence [in the integrity of His word] disappearing is not necessitated because the possibility of something rationally does not necessitate not having firm resolve of its non-existence. “The running dispute regarding the rational impossibility and possibility of this applies to all deficiencies – is Allah’s power over it absent or is it, i.e. the deficiency, contained in it, i.e. His Power? He will certainly not do it, i.e. the absolutely decisive condition is the deficiency will not be performed,” to the end.
Similar [statements] to what we quoted from the school of the Ash’aris were mentioned by al-Qadi al-’Adud in Sharh Mukhtasar al-Usul and the commentators on it.
Similar [statements] to it are found in Sharh al-Mawaqif and the marginalia to al-Mawaqif by al-Chalabi, and others. Similarly, ‘Allamah al-Qushji in Sharh al-Tajrid, al-Qunawi and others stated this. We avoided quoting their texts fearing prolixity and tedium. Allah has charge of right guidance and direction.
(Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad ya’ni ‘Aqa’id ‘Ulama Ahl al-Sunnah Deoband, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Idarat Islamiyyat, 1984, pp. 70-84)