Translation of Bawariqul Ghayb



In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Beneficent.

All praise to Allah, Glorified by honour, greatness and majesty; Unique in the singularity of [His] essence; Alone in attributes of perfection; Free of qualities of incapacity and deficiency and the signs of finitude; Transcendent beyond forms, equals and likenesses. He is the One Who controls the conditions [of creation] and lightens the burdens. In His hand is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He sends down provisions and apportions lifespans. “He sends blasts by which He smites whoever He wills while they argue about Allah; and He is severe in punishment.” (Qur’an 13:13) He administrates the affair. There is no intercessor but after His permission; Knower of the unseen and seen, the Great, the Transcendent.

We testify that there is no deity but He, and none knows the unseen but He. To Him belongs the kingdom, and to Him is all praise, and He has power over all things. There is no power and no might but with Allah. We do not worship or seek help from besides Him. To Him is favour and from Him is grace and for Him is beautiful praise. There is no deity but Allah, purifying faith towards Him, even if the idolaters detest it.

We bear witness that our master and our prophet and our beloved and the beloved of our Lord and our chief, Muhammad, is His slave and His Messenger. He sent him with the truth to the entirety of mankind, as a bringer of good news and a warner, and a caller to Him by His leave and an illuminating lamp. Allah Almighty bless him and his family and his companions, and send peace, such sending of peace that is plentiful and [more] plentiful.

O Allah! Indeed we ask You for Your love and the love of Your Messenger and the love of deeds that will make us reach Your love. O Allah! Make us guides and guided, not those who lead astray and are misled, [and make us] friends of Your friends, enemies to Your enemies, loving who You love and opposing who You oppose. O Allah! This is the supplication, and the reply is from You. From me is effort and reliance is on You. You are the One asked for help.



In Allah’s Name, the Ever-Merciful, the Beneficent

While praising [Allah] and sending blessings [on the Prophet (peace be upon him), I say:]

Although the war between Ahl al-Sunnah and Ahl al-Bid‘ah has been raging for a long time in India, the written efforts of some learned men of Badayun [from the Ahl al-Bid‘ah] in the last half of the thirteenth century [Hijri], gave it a particular expanse. Then the intense “revivalist” labours of the Barelwi learned man, Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib, created further intensity and versatility in it. As such, this battle continued to advance, until, at the end of the Great War [i.e. the First World War] when the calamity of the Turks turned the attention of the Muslims of India inwards and the Khilafah movement began, then for some days this battlefield turned cold, and (all praise to Allah!) for several years the ears of the Muslim masses were unacquainted with these matters. This was until in 1342 H (1924 CE) an unexpected revolution occurred in the Hijaz, and the leadership of the Arabs went out of the hands of Sharif Husayn and into the hands of the king of Najd, Ibn Sa‘ud, who according to his views and beliefs, began a series of reforms there. Thus, here, the Ahl al-Bid‘ah found an opportunity to again revive their dead movement, whereupon the battleground on [the issues of] “building over graves,” “plastering graves,” “‘urs,” “fatihah,” “vowing to other than Allah,” “knowledge of ghayb” and other matters again reignited. In the Hijaz, after a few days, there was complete security and safety. But the sparks of the religious battle ignited in Hindustan at its wake continued to rise, such that besides the “noble scholars” of both groups, general writers, reporters and journalists also began to take a share in verifying these matters and in affirming and denying [points of belief]. For some days, many of the inserts in the Islamic newspapers paused for this subject matter.

At this time, upon seeing some of the journalistic writings, I intended to write a short treatise on the issue of the knowledge of ghayb. This was during my period of studying, and I was completing my final levels at the Islamic seminary of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband.

I expressed this desire of mine to Hazrat Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Sahib (1868 – 1951). He told me that the treatises written on behalf of the Ahl al-Sunnah on this topic till now all sufficed with the necessary amount, whereas the opponents, in order to confuse the issue, wrote very large treatises. For this reason, if anything is to be written on this topic, it should be written with complete focus and with full detail, in which the details will be comprehensive and adequate, and there will be a full answer to the evidences of the opponents. This was an immense project, and the order was also from an immense personality. With the name of Allah, I lifted my pen and during this period of studying, I began to write the treatise Bawariq al-Ghayb. But because of preoccupation with “hadith specialisation” (dawrah hadith) in this year, very little time was available. Thus, when I found some free time, I went to the libraries of Dar al-‘Ulum and, sitting down, I wrote down the passages from the books. In this year, along with completing my education at Dar al-‘Ulum, my residence there was also to come to an end, and I returned to my hometown of Sunbhul. Having arrived there, I began teaching, and because of occupation in this, and there being no extensive libraries there, I completely paused working on Bawariq in this period.

After this, for around three years I stayed in Amroha. Although the religious books in the libraries of the seminaries there were not few, due to preoccupation with teaching, I found no time for writing. Because of this, I freed one entire year just for the purpose of completing this book, and by gathering books from here and there, my full attention now turned to this direction. After four or five months of continuous efforts and struggle, the work almost reached completion, and I finished arranging and vowelising the greater part of the book.

It was the month of September in 1931 CE when because of a debate I had to attend Gujrat. In my absence, the entire manuscript of my book became lost. To Allah we belong and to Him we are returning. This was such a great blow to me and it had such an effect on my heart that is difficult to put in writing. My aspirations took such a great beating that after this, again and again, I wanted to start rewriting, but my heart and mind gave a clear answer, and for one period I was unable to life a pen. At this point, I knew how difficult it would be for me to restart writing. When Hazrat Mawlana Muhammad Murtaza Sahib became aware of this, he ordered me to again begin writing. I gave him the excuse of my disheartedness and dispiritedness. But the honoured [shaykh] would not hear anything, and he told me to trust in Allah and begin writing. In obedience to the command, in 1351 H (1932 CE), I again began to write. With praise to Allah Almighty, by His grace and honour, in 1352 H (1933 CE) it was completed for a second time, and this time there were some additions. The manuscript was completed in around 800 foolscap size papers. It was the honour of Allah, that in 1344 H while residing in Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband when I first starting writing it, I decided on the nameBawariq al-Ghayb. Furthermore, in some printed writings in 1347 H, I referred to it with this name. But after all these events, in 1352 H, when I reached the completion of it a second time, I worked out the numerical value of Bawariq al-Ghayb [based on the Abjad system], and the result was 1352 – this amazing coincidence made me happy and my heart began to say: “Names descend from the sky” (al-asma’ tanzilu min al-sama’).

After completing the compilation, the time for printing came, and I estimated that I will need about 1,500 Rupees for this. After this guess, I completely lost hope in seeing it printed and published, and I thought all my effort will remain only with me. This was until at the end of this year, the idea of commencing al-Furqan [Journal] came to my mind. And in Muharram 1353, with trust in Allah, I commenced it, and I decided to publish Bawariq al-Ghayb [as episodes] in the instalments of the journal. A beloved friend did not agree with this opinion, and said in whatever way is possible to publish this in the form of a separate and independent book. There is no doubt that this was more suitable. Then, this scrambling went on for over a year, and still no opportunity presented itself to print this as a separate book. Compelled, in accordance with my initial decision, I began to publish this in episodes in the instalments of al-Furqan beginning from Jumad al-Ula 1354, and in Dhu al-Qa‘dah of 1356 this first part, with His (Exalted is He) help, was completed.

Along with the journals, they were also kept in a separate form till such a time that they could be joined together in the form of a book. Therefore in many places you will see a repetition in the title Bawariq al-Ghayb, but the meaning and content is completely flowing, so cut gaze from the title, and just look at the flow of writing.

Muhammad Manzur Nu‘mani, Allah pardon him

Muharram, 1357 H (March, 1938)



Around 1350 years ago from now, the truthful and attested [Messenger of Allah] (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said regarding his ummah:

لتتبعن سنن من كان قبلكم شبرا بشبر وذراعا بذراع الخ

“You will surely follow the ways of those who were before you [i.e. the Jews and Christians], hand span for hand span, arms length for arms length.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated it from Abu Sa’id, Allah be pleased with him)

In the climate in which the interpreter of the language of revelation [i.e. the Messenger (peace be upon him)] issued this prophecy, based on the apparent conditions of the time it would have been inconceivable that at some point in the future, even in the Muhammadan nation those deviant paths would be found that were championed by the Jews and Christians. But with the passage of time, the two faces of this prophecy materialised before the world. When the best of generations [i.e. the Sahabah, Tabi‘in and Tab‘ al-Tabi‘in] had passed on, the door of fitnah for this ummah opened. New, new groups began to emerge. Some in their excessiveness chose the path of the Jews, and others in extremism and neglect trod on the footsteps of the Christians. The further it was from the time of messengership, the more purveyors of fitnah emerged. Till today, this path is still in process; somewhere, the false prophethood of Baha and Bab of Iran is being mentioned, and somewhere there is an extremely lofty call to the message of the Musaylamah of Punjab, Mirza Qadiyani.

If on the one hand ‘Abd Allah Chakralwi and his small group, by rejecting the real qualities and actual merits of the Chief of the Messengers and the Beloved of the Lord of the Worlds (Allah bless him and grant him peace), denied his infallibility and the obligation to follow him and (Allah forbid!) say, like themselves, he is a sinful and insignificant human being [1]; on the other hand, some deviants attribute the quality ofkun fayakun to him and render the will of the Lord to him [2]. With clear words, his humanity is denied. He is referred to as owner of the divine treasures, given [total] choice, disposer in the existents and knower of the unseen. And some wretched ones even regarded him as the Lord Himself, and went as far as to say:

The one who rose above the Throne as Lord

Descended to Medina as Mustafa

Further, the injustice of it was that they took these self-concocted beliefs which are clearly against the teachings of Islam as necessities [of religion], and they are presented before the world with the colour of love for the Messenger, and those who do not accept them are declared disbelievers, heretics and enemies of the Messenger. It is as though love of the Prophet centres around these matters, and they are the principles of religion and fundamentals of Islam and important beliefs which the prophets (upon them peace) were sent to propagate and spread. “O that I would have died before this, and would have been something gone, forgotten!” (Qur’an 19:23) Although the list of thesefitnahs is very long, and from them every fitnah is a great obstacle to the divine religion, but in some aspects, because of the great importance the fitnah of ‘ilm al-ghayb has acquired, it has become more dangerous.

Since in the outward form of this issue there is glorification and honour of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and there is recognition of a high degree of perfection in him, due to obsessive adoration and intemperate eagerness , the general Muslims are easily susceptible to it, and due to unawareness they cannot understand that the thing they think is a recognition of greatness and the summit of faith is in reality disobedience and transgression, and that which they think brings them close to the court of messengership is a reason for the displeasure of the revered Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and is a cause for being distanced from his mercy.

It was because of the zeal of such obsessive adoration, that drove the Christians to ascribe qualities exclusive to the Lord to one of the mighty messengers, the Messiah (peace be upon him), and they believed that they were showing reverence and esteem to this beloved messenger of the Lord and [they believed that] because of this the Messiah and his Lord will be very happy with them.

However, the last Book of the Lord, the Noble Qur’an, bears witness that it was this deviance – which apparently was based on the zeal of love – that made them despised and rejected.

Likewise, the extreme Rawafid, under the influence of this zeal of love, believed the imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (Allah be pleased with them) were knowers of all that was and will be [3] and they are possessors of the choices of kun fayakun. And some wretched ones raise Hazrat ‘Ali Murtada to the level of Lord, and they believe this to be the requirement of loving the Ahl al-Bayt and the peak of glorification and respect. But Islamic history showed that Hazrat ‘Ali (Allah be pleased wih him ) in his lifetime burnt those claimants to loving him, and he said those whose love is based on opposition to Allah, his punishment is to be burnt. “And indeed the punishment of the Afterlife is greater if only they were to know.” (Qur’an 68:33)

Anyhow, just as in the cover of the love of ‘Isa, the belief in the divinity of ‘Isa found growth, and just as in the name of the love of the Ahl al-Bayt, Rifd ascended, in the same way with the colour of prophetic love and ardour of messengership, the issue of‘ilm al-ghayb is given nourishment. And the fickle commoners, seeing the outward form of love, adopt it is as their belief. To close the door to such deviance, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

لا تطروني كما أطرت النصارى ابن مريم الحديث

“Do not praise me as the Christians praise the Son of Maryam.” (Sahih al-Bukhari andSahih Muslim)

He said in another instance:

لا ترفعوني فوق حقي فان الله تعالي قد اتخذني عبدا قبل ان يتخذني رسولا

“Do not elevate me above my due, for indeed Allah, Most Exalted, appointed me a slave before He appointed me a messenger.” (Al-Tabrani narrated it in al-Kabir and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak from ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn from his father – Allah be pleased with all of them; Kanz al-‘Ummal 2:132)

At another instance, when some immoderation issued from one of the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them), he said:

لَا يَسْتَهْوِيَنَّكُمْ الشَّيْطَانُ ، أَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولُهِ ، مَا أُحِبُّ أَنْ تَرْفَعُونِي فَوْقَ مَنزلتي التي انزلني الله

“Let not Satan run with your desires. I am Muhammad the son of ‘Abd Allah and His Messenger. I do not love that you elevate me above my position to which Allah put me.” (Narrated by Ahmad, ‘Abd ibn Humayd, Sa‘id ibn Mansur and al-Bayhaqi in Shu‘ab al-Iman from Anas – Allah be pleased with him; Kanz al-‘Ummal 2:132) [In the latest edition of Musnad Ahmad, its editor Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut states the chain is authentic according to the criteria of Imam Muslim in his Sahih (vol 20, p. 23)]

Once, some children said these words in respect to his pure self:

وفينا نبي يعلم ما في غد

“Amongst us is a prophet who knows what is in the morrow.”

Immediately, he said:

دعي هذا وقولي ما كنت تقولين لا يعلم ما في غد الا الله

“Leave this and say what you were saying. None knows what is in the morrow besides Allah.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah)

Anyhow, Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not even like such words being said with respect to his blessed personality in which was even a trace of excess. Rather, with respect to this, he put a full stop. But it is the will of Allah that his ummati (follower) and claimants to his love break the limits that he has determined, and openly servants [of Allah] call him knower of the ghayb, and just like the Christians, they believe that this extremism and excess is a cause for gaining the pleasure of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and special proximity to him. Regarding these prisoners of ignorance and these hostages of misguidance, ‘Allamah ‘Ali al-Qari (upon him the mercy of the Creator) wrote:

وَلا رَيْبَ أَنَّ الْحَامِلَ لِهَؤُلاءِ عَلَى الْغِلُوِّ إِنَّمَا هُوَ اعْتِقَادُهُمْ أَنَّهُ يُكَفِّرُ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتَهُمْ وَيُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلَّمَا غَلُوا وَزَادُوا غُلُوًّا فِيهِ كَانُوا أَقْرَبَ إِلَيْهِ وَأَخَصَّ بِهِ ، فَهُمْ أَعْصَى النَّاسِ لأَمْرِهِ ، وَأَشَدُّهُمْ مُخَالَفَةً لِسُنَّتِهِ وَهَؤُلاءِ فِيهِمْ شَبَهٌ ظَاهِرٌ مِنَ النَّصَارَى الَّذِينَ غَلُوا فِي الْمَسِيحِ أَعْظَمَ الْغُلُوِّ ، وَخَالَفُوا شَرْعَهُ وَدِينَهُ أَعْظَمَ الْمُخَالَفَةِ

“There is no doubt that the motivation for these [people] towards extremism is only their belief that it will atone for them their sins and will admit them into the Garden, and [their belief that] every time they exceed bounds and increase in extremism therein, they come closer to him and become more special to him. They are the most disobedient of people to his command, and the strongest of them in opposing his Sunnah, and there is a manifest resemblance in them with the Christians who exceeded bounds with respect to the Messiah, the greatest extremism, and they opposed his law and his religion, the greatest opposition.” (al-Mawdu‘at al-Kabir, pp. 119-20) [4]

Anyhow, since this poison of the belief in ‘ilm al-ghayb is mixed with the milk of love before being put down the throat of the ummah, it is more dangerous than all those deviant beliefs which have not been branded with love and respect, and thus is in need of the attention [of the scholars]. Furthermore, for its preservation, the preservers of bid‘ah and the callers to misguidance, have written countless treatises making this [fitnah] even darker. Till now, from my experience, those treatises which have been completed by these people will not be less than fifty or sixty. On the other hand, the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah believing that this opinion is clearly false gave little attention to it, and even if they wrote anything they limited themselves to the necessary amount, and they never intended to encompass all its sides and perspectives; because of which the misguidance of the common people was given more strength.

Now, under instructions from one of the senior scholars of this ummah [Mawlana Sayyid Murtaza Hasan Chandpuri], this worthless one has lifted his pen in order to verify this matter. The Real Almighty is asked to give accordance in being balanced and seeking truth, and to save [me] from partiality and fanaticism. Verily, He is Able over all things, and Worthy of giving response. O Allah! Show us the truth as truth and grant us adherence to it, and falsehood as falsehood and grant us avoidance of it. Amin.

This book, Bawariq al-Ghayb, will be in two volumes. In the first volume, there will be evidences of the Ahl al-Sunnah, and in the second volume there will be criticism of the proofs of the opponents. There will be an introduction in the first volume and three chapters. In the introduction, besides a few important and necessary notifications, the subject matter will be determined and the exact cause of disagreement will be identified. In the first chapter, only proofs from the Noble Qur’an will be presented against the “ghaybiyyah” belief and in the second chapter, only from the prophetic hadiths, and in the third chapter, the methodology will be supported from statements of the Sahabah, Tabi‘in and the righteous predecessors, and the great imams and the noble Sufis. [5] Similarly, in the second volume, there will be three chapters, and one conclusion.

The matter is in the hand of Allah, and He grants accordance.

[1] In a leaflet distributed by Chakralwi’s group dated 1st November 1930, it is written: “Even calling the Prophet an extrinsic authority (muta‘ bi l-ghayr) is shirk.” (Allah forbid!) Similarly, the founder of this group, ‘Abd Allah Chakralwi wrote: “The belief in the authority of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is kufr and shirk.” (Allah forbid!) In the news outlet of this group, Akhbar Balagh Amritsar, every day content against the infallibility and obligation to follow the revered prophets (upon them peace) is published, in which with furour and shrillness it is stated that (Allah forbid!) the prophets (upon them peace) had such-and-such defects and weaknesses. Protection is from Allah, Lord of the Worlds. (Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani)

[2] Mawlawi Ahmad Rida Khan Sahib Barelwi wrote in his treatise Barakat al-Imdad: “The Prophet can fulfil all kinds of needs. The intents of this world and the afterlife are all at the discretion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).”

Readers should look at this passage of Khan Sahib, and along with this, study the clear statements of the Noble Qur’an: “Say: ‘It is not in my power to cause you harm, or to bring you to right conduct.’” (72:21) “Say, ‘I do not say to you that I have the treasures of Allah,’” (6:50) “Say, ‘I have no power to bring a benefit or a harm to myself, except that which Allah wills.’” (7:188) (Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani)

[3] Sayyid Hazrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jilani (Allah have mercy on him), while explaining the false beliefs of the Rawafid, wrote:

ومن ذلك ان الامام يعلم كل شيء ما كان وما يكون من امر الدنيا والدين حتي عدد الحصي وقطر الامطار وورق الاشجار

“From them [i.e. their false beliefs] is that the Imam knows all things of what was and what will be from the matter of the world and religion, even the number of pebbles and the drops of rain and the leaves of trees.” (Ghunyat al-Talibin, p. 199)

In reality, the Rida Khani belief in ‘ilm al-ghayb is a replication of this [false] belief of the Rawafid. (Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani)

[4] This passage of ‘Allamah ‘Ali al-Qari is specifically with respect to those people who affirm encompassing knowledge of all that was and that will be for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The entire passage is in a number of pages which will be quoted later in its proper place if Allah wills. (Mawlana Manzur Nu‘mani)

[5] The copy on which this translation is based only reaches the end of the second chapter of the first volume. At the time of writing this, the translator did not have a copy of the remaining parts. (Translator)




To be continued….