Among the slanderous charges made by the Barelvis is the following:
“Moulvi Khalil Ahmed Ambethvi was condemned as Kafir because he declared as regards Satan and Angel of Death, the depth of their knowledge stands proven from the definitive verse of the Holy Qur’an but there is nothing as such in the Holy Quran to prove that depth of knowledge of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Ahlaihi wasallam).
In other words, the knowledge of Satan is much wider than the knowledge of our Rasulullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam.”
This is a blatantly distorted version of the statement made by Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh). Refuting this slanderous accusation made against him by the Barelvis, Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) said:
“My Ustaadhs as well as I condemn as kaafir and accursed the one who says that the knowledge of shaitaan (on whom be la’nat), in fact of any creation, is more than the knowledge of Rasulullah (sallallahu, alayhi wasallam). This is a vile accusation and a blatant lie of Khaan Saheb Barelvi (i.e. Molvi Radha Ahmad of Barelvi), which he had attributed to me. Throughout my life, even such a waswasah (stray thought) did not cross my mind that shaitaan or even any wali or angel has knowledge equal to that of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), leave alone having more knowlege.” (Fatawa Darul Uloom)
The statement of Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh), which has been distorted by the Barelvis, was in reply to certain claims made by them. To gain a better understanding of the context, it is best to elaborate on the actual circumstances of the statement.
In his book, Al-Anwaaruus Saati‘, Molvi Abdus Sami’, the Barelvi exponent, attempted to show that just as shaitaan has extensive knowledge and is able to be present everywhere, so too, is Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He attempted to prove ‘Ilm-e-Ghaib’ (Knowledge of the Ghaib) and omnipresence for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the basis of shaitaan’s and the Angel of Death’s abilities. Since this Barelvi Molvi could hot adduce any proof from the Qur’aan and Hadith to substantiate Ilmul Ghaib and Haazir Naazir (omnipresence) for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he (Molvi Abdus Sami’) adopted the putrid and degenerate argument of basing the supposed ilmul ghaib and haazir-naazir on the abilities of shaitaan. This in itself is most despicable and extremely repugnant. If Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam is ‘Aalimul Ghaib’ and if he possessed the divine attribute of omnipresence, as the deviate grave-worshippers contend, there would not have been the need to cite shaitaan and the Angel of Death as the basis for this belief. Such a belief has to be substantiated on the basis of the Qur’aan and Hadith. Aqaa-id (Fundamental Beliefs) cannot be formulated and adopted on the basis of analogical reasoning, especially if in the basis of the logical syllogism the major premise is the abilities of shaitaan.
To attribute such important divine attributes as Ilmul Ghaib and Haazir-Naazir to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), it is imperative to produce absolute Shar’i Proof, viz., Qur’aan and Ahadith-e-Mutawaatarah which are the highest category of Shar’i proofs. Fundamental beliefs cannot be structured by qiyaaas (reasoning).
In refutation of the baseless reasoning of the Barelvi Molvi who had made a miserable attempt to assert these divine attributes for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the basis of certain abilities and powers which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to shaitaan, Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad Ambhetwi (rahmatullah alayh) said:
“To summarize: To claim ilm-e-Muheet of the world (total and all-encompassing knowledge of every/detail of every aspect and atom in creation) for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the basis of the condition of shaitaan and Malakul Maut, in conflict with Nusoose- Qat’iah (Absolute Shar’i Proof), without any proof and merely by way of corrupt reasoning, is nothing but shirk. Of which ‘imaan’ does this constitute an article of faith? This extent (wus’at) of knowledge of shaitaan and Malakul Maut is confirmed by Nass (Shar’i proof such as the Qur’aan and Hadith). What is the ‘Nass for the wus’at of knowledge of Fakhr-e-Aalam (i.e. Rasulullah—sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by which all other Nusoos could be rejected and a shirk confirmed?”
The discussion does not pertain to ‘depth’ of knowledge as the Barelvis are attempting to convey. The discussion pertains to specific knowledge which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to shaitaan and Malakul Maut. The knowledge of evil, mischief and the ability to execute these acts were bestowed to shaitaan by Allah Ta’ala to enable him to continue with his evil perpetrations until the Last Day. Similarly, the knowledge of soul-extraction, taking life and all the ways and methods necessary for this function were bestowed to Malakul Maut. While this is established on the basis of Nusoos, there are no Nusoos to confirm that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) possessed ilm muheet (such knowledge which is all embracing like the knowledge of Allah Azza Wa jal).
The superiority of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is not dependent on him having shaitaani knowledge or the knowledge of taking souls or the knowledge which a shoemaker or a carpenter possesses. In fact, the Nusoos point to the opposite, viz., knowledge unconnected with Nubuwwat is not a requisite for a Nabi nor for his excellence and superiority. There are numerous proofs to substantiate this claim.
The wus’at (extent or expanse) of knowledge spoken of in this context by Maulana Khalil Ahmad refers to the specific knowledge which shaitaan and Malakul Maut possess to execute their respective functions. It is blatantly false to generalize this statement and then to take it out of its context and claim that Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) contended that the “knowledge of shaitaan has more depth than the knowledge of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)”. It has already been mentioned earlier that Maulana Khalil Ahmad, himself vehemently, denied this allegation and himself brands as kaafir a person who believes or utters that shaitaan has greater knowledge than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
It is quite simple for an unbiased and fair-minded person to understand the purport of Maulana Khalil Ahmad’s statement. Simply, the argument is:
* The Barelvi Molvi attempted to show that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) possessed Ilmul Muheet (total and encompassing knowledge of every atom in creation). Ilmul Muheet is the attribute exclusively of Allah Ta’ala.
* As his ‘proof’, Molvi Abdus Sami’ of the Barelvi sect, utilized the specific finite and extremely limited knowledge of shaitaan and that of Malakul Maut as his premiss. In other words, if shaitaan had such “extensive” knowledge to enable him to perpetrate his evil machinations on a world-wide scale in a highly systematic fashion, then Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) too must be having Ilmul Muheet or encompassing knowledge of the whole world. But, the Barelvi Molvi failed to discern the ludicrousness of his reasoning. The knowledge and ability of shaitaan or of Malakul Maut are specific and restricted in scope to their respective duties and functions. In no way can such restricted knowledge, no matter how expansive it may appear, be utilized-as a basis to claim Ilmul Muheet for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The basis tendered by the Barelvi Molvi is both despicable and baseless. Such an attribute which is in fact a divine attribute, has necessarily to be substantiated on the basis of Absolute Shar’i proofs (Nusoos-e- Qat’iyyah).
* In refutation, Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) said that the extent of shaitaan’s and Malakul Maut’s knowledge pertaining to their respective functions is established on the basis of Nusoos while the claimed Ilmul Muheet for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is not only unsubstantiated by Nusoos, but is in actual fact in conflict with the Nusoos of the Qur’aan and Hadith.
* The term “this” with which Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) qualifies the “extent of shaitaan’s knowledge” clearly indicates that the discussion pertained to a specific issue. This issue was the restricted knowledge which shaitaan and Malakul Maut possess and for which there exists Shar’i proof. Such constricted knowledge of shaitaan need not be proved on the basis of any analogical reasoning as the Barelvi Molvi had attempted to do with the claim of Ilmul Muheet attributed baselessly by the Barelvis to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
The aforegoing discussion will show that Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) never claimed that “shaitaan had greater depth in knowledge than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)”. The claim is a heinous slander against the illustrious Shaikhul Hadith, Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmed Ambethwi (rahmatullah alayh) who had made it clear that the slanderers will have to answer for their slander on the Day of Qiyaamah.
Where Maulana Khalil Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) mentions in his statement the “wus’at of Rasulullah’s knowledge”, the reference is to Ilm-e-Zaati, i.e. knowledge which he supposedly possessed without it having been bestowed to him by Allah Ta’ala. The Ilmul Ghaib and Ilmul Muheet concepts of the Barelvis necessitate the belief that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) possesses total knowledge of every atom in the same way that Allah Ta’ala possesses. This is manifestly baatil (fallacious). It is unsubstantiated by Nusoos and in fact, it is in conflict with the Shariah. It is in fact a belief of shirk.
Thus, what in effect Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad was saying is this:
Shaitaan’s limited knowledge bestowed to him by Allah Ta’ala is confirmed by Nusoos while the Ilmul Ghaib which the deviate bid’atis attribute to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is not only unsubstantiated by Nusoos, but is violently in conflict with the Nusoos of the Qur’aan and Hadith. Inspite of this conflict, the Barelvis had attempted to substantiate this unfounded and fallacious belief on the basis of shaitaan’s limited knowledge. This in itself is abominable. It is an insult to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to seek to prove an attribute for him by citing shaitaan’s limited knowledge and ability as the primary premise in the analogy.