Another false allegation made by the Barelvis against Hadhrat Maulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh), is their claim.
“Moulvi Qasim Nanotowi was condemned a kaafir because he declared that ‘Prophets are superior only in terms of Knowledge. As far as action is concerned, apparently the Ummah (followers) become equal rather than lead.” (The atrocious wording is that of the Barelvi’s).
This statement which the Barelvis have placed in inverted commas to create the impression that, these are the exact words of Hadhrat Nanotwi, is a distorted version. Hadhrat Nantowi (rahmatullah alayh) did not make this claim stated in the statement which the Barelvis attribute to him. How is it possible for Maulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) to hold the belief that an Ummati is superior in amal (Deeni action) than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or any other Nabi when every follower of Hadhrat Nanotwi believes that “one mudd (a small measure) of wheat which a Sahaabi gives in charity exceeds a mountain of gold which a non-Sahaabi gives in charity”? Maulana Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) did not claim that an Ummati can become superior than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in so far as righteousness is concerned as the deviate bid’atis claim and slander.
In his kitaab, Tahzeerun Naas, Maulana Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) says:
“In their Ummah, the Ambiya are outstanding in Knowledge. In so far as practical deeds are concerned, outwardly it will appear that frequently an Ummati is equal and even surpasses.”
The statement does not claim that an Ummati can become superior than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in action (i.e. in practical deeds).The Urdu term ‘mumtaaz’ does not mean ‘superior’ as the Barelvis have attempted to show. An Ummati cannever become superior to a Nabi by virtue of his righteous deeds even though his righteous acts may quantitively surpass the deeds of a Nabi. There is Islamically nothing wrong in stating the truth regarding this quantitive dimension of ibadat.
Afterall, it is a known fact that Hadhrat Uthmaan (radiallahu anhu) contributed more in charity than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is known that Khaalid Bin Walid (radhiallahu anhu) participated in more Jihaad campaigns than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Many Sahaabah and non-Sahaabah made more tilaawat of the Quraan than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Many Sahaaba and Auliya kept more Nafl fasts than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
But, such quantitive abundance of acts of Ibaadat does not make them superior to any Nabi. It is precisely for this reason that Hadhrat Maulana Nanotwi said that the equality in quantitive terms of practical deeds or even the rendition of more deeds quantitively speaking, by an Ummati pertains to the external dimension of quantity. However such quantitive abundance in no way elevates a non- Nabi over a Nabi or even makes him the equal of a Nabi. When it is Maulana Nanotwi’s belief and the belief of the entire Ummah that the greatest Wali and all the Auliya combined can never attain the rank of the lowest Sahaabi—of even that Sahaabi who was stoned to death for adultery—how could it be conceivable that Hadhrat Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) had claimed that an Ummati can become superior to a Nabi?
The purport of Maulana Nanotwi’s statement is simply to convey that the outstanding feature of a Nabi is not an abundance of supererogatory (Nafl) acts of ibaadat, but Knowledge of Wahi. If deeds had to be fixed as the outstanding and conspicuous feature of Nubuwwat, many Auliya too will be associated in this feature since quantitively speaking, many among them executed more deeds than even the Ambiya. Denial of this fact is the product of either ignorance or mischief. But in so far as the Knowledge of Wahi and the loftiest rank of Divine Proximity are concerned no one other than a Nabi can lay claim to these celestial treasures. No one can be associated in this Knowledge. Thus, the Ambiya are outstanding (mumtaaz) in this respect. They are known as Ambiya on account of their Knowledge of Wahi, not on account of their deeds of piety which are associated with all Muslims.
Thus, it should be clear that Hadhrat Maulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) had merely indicated the outstanding feature of a Nabi. He never attempted to show that an Ummati can reach a superior rank by virtue of his righteous deeds. A single raka’t of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is superior to a lifetime of Salaat by the entire Ummah. A date given in charity by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is superior in quality by Allah Ta’ala than all the wealth which Hadhrat Uthmaan, all the Sahaabah and the entire Ummah gave and will give until the day of Qiyaamah in the Path of Allah Ta’ala even though the Sahaabah and others gave more charity than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi walaliam).
Abundance of pious acts does not necessarily mean superiority over another person who has rendered lesser acts in comparison. Qualitively speaking, no non-Nabi can ever come on par with a Nabi in righteousness even though the non-Nabi’s acts may be more quantitively speaking. The aforegoing explanation is adequate to show that Maulana Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) committed no act of kufr. He simply stated an Islamic truth, viz., that a Nabi’s outstanding feature is his Knowledge of Wahi and not his practical deeds of piety.