The Trial of Takfir: A Problem for Some Sunnis Too


Figure 1A: There is a particular brand of Islam that is increasingly falling out of favour with common believes, yet it still clings on to the edge of relevance by its’ fingernails.

After a public meeting this last Saturday morning after Salat ul-`Isha,’ I realise that the translation of The Divine Lightning: The Decisive Speech from the Lord of Lords, the Words of the Messenger of the King, the Bestower, the Statements of the People of Wisdom in Answer to Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab is the most significant matter in the last decade or perhaps two. I don’t say this matter lightly either.

We normally see that takfir is an issue that is the hallmark of the cults and their followers; but it is also becoming a recent trend for some Sunnis to pick up the baton of takfir when they dislike someone or when someone will not see their way of thinking…and all without the consent of the Qadis and judges.

In the tiny hub of Nottingham, Salafiyyah, Shi`ah and Ahmadiyyah cults run riot in the local area, founding and funding charitable projects, places of worship and also centres of study of children and adults.

As with every other location when cults appear, it produces extremes within some of the body of the Sunnis that try to repel it. The typical example is to fight fire with fire. “What…? You called me a kafir? No! You’re a kafir!”

All of this behaviour is not unique to Nottingham but rather exists in areas where the tribulation of Salafiyyah or other cults exists. Some elders in the local community, in an attempt to hold on to the youth, have used takfir and hiding behind the Urdu language as tools for securing the trust and continued patronage of their masjids (after all, someone must pay the lightbill, right?).

When the Divine Lightning was published, I felt a wave of relief that the three year odyssey of translation, collation and publishing delays had finally ended. Now the matter was complete and this would be a magnum opus of the theology of Muslim Orthodoxy and a warning to laymen indulging in takfir.

The mammoth of machine gun takfir had already been creeping and lurking in the shadows before the publishing of the book at the hands of a zealous youth in the local area who had as much association with true knowledge of Islam as I do ancient Turkish shamanism.

He had gathered around him a number of fresh faced youths, stumbling and bumbling in their pronunciation of Surat ul-Fatihah; but they were certain in the knowledge that a waiting list of Muslims were now unbelievers based upon the statement of their shaykh or mawlana.

Curiously, I had the opportunity to make hajj the previous year and some of these individuals had come with me. As a testament to their truly surface and often insultingly pathetic knowledge of Islam, they were woefully ignorant of most of the issues pertaining to Hajj and even questioned the knowledge and motives of our Hajj guide.

This blew over after some time, but then they continued in their folly, refusing to pray in Masjid ul-Haram and praying in stairwells; all of this being substantiated by the “knowledge” that all the imams in the Sacred Masjid were cultists (this seems strange as at one point among the senior scholars there – before his removal – was Shaikh Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki; but I digress).

I stood in disgust as Muslim brothers intentionally avoided being in the most sacred masjid on Earth for the five prayers and preferred to loaf around their hotels like the unemployed. What are these people doing?

Just as the fitnah had come it was over as we had completed Hajj, our visit to Madinah and then travelled back to the UK. I was now safely in a different area and away from the fitnah of the takfir.

This fitnah rose its’ head again recently when I found my name on a list of some perhaps 9 other people who had received takfir. I felt honoured to have been mentioned in the same breathe as some great scholars but angered that it was only in the capacity of takfir.

The deafening sound of animosity, hatred and revenge was growing as brother after brother came to me. When the number hit 10 I knew it was an issue and decided that the individual must be contacted.

Numerous attempts to speak with him failed, two attempts at face to face contact never happened as he ducked meeting me. I wondered what type of man I must be facing who would call someone a kafir behind his back but then not defend his ideas and suppositions in private.

When we realised that the second arranged meeting would not happen, we left from our local masjid to go home. While at the house, I received a riotous phone call with brothers arguing and one of them explaining that now the pint sized “mufti of the mortals” had arrived, in all of his hate filled regalia; but he was still not prepared to meet. Then after some ducking and dodging he came on the phone.

Evasive and his voice quaking, he seemed agitated. My point was simple. We need to meet regarding this takfir on laymen, teachers, scholars and such and if he did not arrange it in one week, I would have to take steps to meet him every day at his lecture until the matter was resolved.

He spoke very wearily and hung up the phone. This had been ten days after meeting with two Salafis who had a rank hatred for what I had translated in the Divine Texts and statements I had made about Salafiyyah.

I heard nothing for four days and then received a call from a colleague close to our Sunni zealot. He had explained over the phone in soft and delicate language that he wanted to speak privately just between a few of us and that they wanted to clarify some issues.

My exact statement over the phone was that I will not be coming for a debate or any discussion, only to clarify the fact that the charges of kufr that were being thrown around are incorrect, that he is not one of the People of Knowledge, in word or deed.

After the call, the date was set. I would have to meet them after sunset, Friday going into Saturday after 9pm. I decided that I would bring some witnesses and record it as I knew that what I was going to say had far reaching consequences and I wanted there to be no misunderstanding in the issue.

The day rolled around and I knew that the believers were gathering. I was now present in the masjid and the people began to file in; unfortunately, as I suspected the individual on the phone did not bring the small amount of people that he said he was going to bring.

Half of the elder leadership in the city (perhaps half of whom were not literate in Arabic) came in and sat down across from me (most of whom without giving salam), thus already these geriatric men were setting the standard that they wanted this to be a battle.

Before I knew it, more of the witnesses arrived with the brothers that had brought me to the masjid. There were now some 25 people present. The organisers did not want to have witnesses for their actions. The brother of takfir or “the mawlana” appeared but was cowering and glowering behind the jalabiyyahs of two other people.

He hid and avoided eye contact consistently and did not want to even look any of the people in the face. I made it clear and told the organisers that I would not allow the crowd of now 30 people to interrupt the discussion and that I wanted them to be present as since the takfir was public, the gathering must be public.

A flurry of Urdu began, which I answered in Arabic, stating that I do not care what anyone had to say in their language and that the language of Islam is Arabic. We will not be hiding behind Urdu tonight. After a 15 minute delay, I was allowed to speak.

I began, translating my statements from Arabic to English as I discussed that apostasy is what happens when a Muslim disbelieves and that takfir is to be given to such a one by a scholar or panel of them and not laymen.

From there I went into the three conditions of takfir, the 6 impediments of takfir and the four types of takfir delivered by the scholars. Once this was done, I finally rounded the matter out that takfir and dispute in it has nothing to do with the foundation of faith

(translation: if there is an individual that has done kufr and then two scholars make their ruling, one saying he is an unbeliever and another saying otherwise, they are not to resort to calling eachother unbelievers).

After I completed my opening statement, there was a barrage of questions brought forward by one of the shaykhs that our companion of takfir had brought with him. It seems that although wearing clerical robes and murmuring pious platitudes with his eyes rolling back in his head, he could not defend himself in English, let alone the Arabic of Islamic thought.

The first question asked of me was whether or not I was Deobandi. My answer was that if someone could find a single Pakistani or Indian in my family I would pay that person as such a thing was far fetched indeed. Asian faces looked rigid and so did mine. I had little time for their games.

I had no interest in the Deoband/Jama`ah Ahle Sunnat issue. My main issue was to cut the takfir issue off at the head. Due to the fact that I was “sometimes seen with Deobandis,” the shaykh brought to speak for the takfir mawlana saw this as a question mark over my head.

I stated that I had not taken an oath of allegiance to any Deobandis (which for some reason was being circulated) nor did I have any Deobandis as a spiritual guide.

However, I continued, there were brothers from the jama`ah that I held in high regard. I went about, referring to my opening statements on takfir, stating that Riyadh ul-Haq and Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari could not be called unbelievers as the conditions, impediments and forms of takfir could not be satisfied.

I further when on to mention that the second of the two Imams had learned the creed from Shaikh Muhammad `Abdul Latif Al-Farfur,  so was the Hanafi Grand Mufti of Damascus kafir for associated with someone believed to be a kafir?

The next question that came on the tongue of one of the mouthpieces of the takfir machine brother was why I had written in the Divine Lightning the expression, “may Allah be pleased with him,” after the name of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah.

My reply is that I had not written it, but that the author of the work, Shaikh Sulaiman ibn `Abdul Wahhab, had written it. A few swallows and gasps went around the room so I opened the plastic bag I had brought and pulled out the oldest manuscript of the book. If they even asked for it, they were going to get it. They saw my ready hand and left the matter.

Instead they asked me what my position was on Imam Ibn Taymiyyah. I asked… which Ibn Taymiyyah? Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah? Shihab ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah? Fakhr ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah? `Abdullah ibn Taymiyyah?

Which Ibn Taymiyyah? (the reason I did this was break the audience and the three mouthpieces and their takfir machine out of the funk in some people’s minds that when you hear Ibn Taymiyyah you were meant to have a knee jerk reaction).

He failed to mention Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah but instead said that he was referring to the one called astray by Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami (with his living some 200 years after the events of the life of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, it is difficult to understand why someone who is supposed to be a scholar would quote tertiary sources rather than primary and secondary).

The crowd was building as more brothers came into the room from outside. It looked like the room had about 40-45 people in it. It was like another jumu`ah prayer was in session.

My statement was to quote the fact that the scholars did differ about Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah and the 11 main masa’il of dispute between them. The chosen shaykh for the night was not happy with the answer and continued to ask what I said about him, to which my reply is that I don’t say anything as I quote the scholars and their positions, not pass rulings.

In a fury, he asked that if he was called astray by Imam Al-Haitami, how could the Imam put a statement of mercy in the book? My statement was that there were even some who did make takfir, but this had nothing to do with the foundation of the religion.

Thus two scholars could hold diametrically opposed positions about one individual without both of them having to be called unbelievers. This was the nature of Takfir bil-Mu`ayyin (Engl. The takfir of the individual).

I translated back into English the questions asked and also the statements but the said shaykh was not happy and hit out again, asking what I say if they say he is deviant. I knew at this point that I was being asked a question that would define my faith.

Based on one individual, it would be decided if I was going to be Muslim or not, a game I refused to play. Instead I asked the group mufti if he would consider making takfir on Imams Ibn Kathir, Adh-Dhahabi and others, as they not only asked for mercy on Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah but referred to him as Shaikh ul-Islam.

He would not answer the question (really, who would want to make takfir on these Imams?) and I could see a disturbing picture emerge. The group mufti was the trigger man for the takfir machine cowering behind the group.

It also needs to be mentioned that many of the people in the time of Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah that made takfir or called him astray were the very ones who prayed on him along with other Muslims when he died. The shaykh did not accept this point.

He also had no understanding of Takfir bil-Mu`ayyin; this would not be the only frightening issue for that evening. I was further asked regarding my statement that most claimants to Shaikh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani today are inauthentic to which I held to it and quoted the issue and even the book where it had come through.

It seems someone had shown shaykh sahib my Our Failure is Our Loss on the topic and he was steamed (I have reproduced the text under the same heading that you have read this article under and do so proudly and unapologetically and still defy anyone to come with otherwise).

The Shaikh had three khulafa’, Imams Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH), `Abdur-Rahman ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH) and `Abdul Ghani ibn `Abdul Wahid al-Maqdisi (d. 600 AH) and according to some accounts one more. There were no successors that the Imam gave license and permission to in order to pass on his Tariqah that were not Hanbalis.

We know who these people were and they were the very ones that handed down his books to us. We have a huge amount of information about him, but it is through these men that we received it.

I did not say that there were no murids from other madhhabs, as some historians claim that Imam Mu`in ud-Din Chishti met him; but again, we have no sanad, thabat or chain of transmission in Tariqah to him or any other non-Hanbalis.

So where did they get this knowledge? Well, it is a claim at best until it is proven. The mufti of the group was angered by this but more so when I cross examined him and asked if he drank coffee, tea, slept on the floor or covered his head as a compulsory act at all times during his waking hours.

It had not been my attempt to offend him but one thing was for sure; we are not going to redact our position back on one of the Imams of my madhhab.

Shaikh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him, did not do the dhikr that was attributed to him, celebrate banquets in his own honour or his own birthday and death anniversary throughout the year and such (how could he when he was alive? To celebrate his own death anniversary would be quite bizarre and his three or four successors didn’t do it either).

The dispute in this matter was left and it was brought back around to the topic of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, with the group mufti saying that the creed of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah is the same as that of Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab.

I realised at that point that he had no knowledge of history, Salafiyyah or the Imams of the School of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. I had asked before if anyone had a problem with the creed of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him and if they were upon his creed or not?

They claimed they were upon his creed. I then said that this meant they had to listen to everything that I said and not make takfir and then hold that other people had to do the same thing.

This situation carried on for some length until he asked me if I make takfir on the Salafiyyah cult and the Deobandis who had Salafiyyah within them. At that point, I had to be very clear and careful.

I began with the statement that firstly Deoband is not a cult and that Shaikh Ahmad Rida Khan knew of them and respected them before some of them studied with members of Salafiyyah so their beginning and foundation was not as a cult.

Deoband has two sets within them: those who are connected with the Salafiyyah of Lucknow, which is Salafiyyah and has the sixteen masa’il of Salafiyyah with few distinctions.

Then there are those of Deoband who may have some of the masa’il and do not know that they have borrowed them. Some of the Deoband members that have left their confines and studied in more depth have moved outside of its’ strictures and received much benefit.

As for Salafiyyah, yes it is a cult; but the takfir upon it is general. Thus when the scholars say that, “Salafis are kuffar, they are followers of Musailimah…their teacher and head is a false prophet…” this is a general statement without saying that each and every Salafi is a kafir.

This is the Takfir Ta’ifat ul-Kufr: the takfir of a group. This takfir of a group is without saying each and every one is an unbeliever. Those that have been named by the scholars have takfir ul-mu`ayyin but without saying each and any.

The chosen shaykh was furious with this and began to ask how someone could doubt that their kuffar, that Ahmadiyyah are kuffar and so forth. I stated that the kufr is not the issue but whether each and every single individual was an unbeliever.

He asked me about Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab and I informed him of the statements of the scholars regarding him, his sons and grandsons. He asked me about Salafiyyah of India and I gave the same statement.

Finally, in his anger, he asked me if I made takfir on the individuals that he named. I stated that I accept the statement of the scholars but I do not state that whoever did not make takfir on them is an unbeliever because none of the scholars ever had this attitude with any of the forms of takfir except the one that involves someone mentioned by name in the Qur’an.

I watched as the shaykh pulled out a copy of Imam Ahmad Rida Khan’s Hussam ul-Haramain. He asked if I had heard of the document and I affirmed that I indeed knew of the text. What happened next was most curious indeed.

The shaykh for the takfir mawlana then asked if I agreed with the takfir that had been made by the author (Imam Ahmad Rida Khan) and also the Imams of Makkah, Madinah and other locations that had affirmed the fatwa. When I affirmed the same, the shaykh became elated and asked if I would make takfir by name on the individuals mentioned.

I answered in the negative, stating that I held the takfir of the Imams of the Holy Sanctuaries, in that the actions were kufr and the Takfir bil-Ijtihad was their right and office. As for the Takfir bil-Mu`ayyin, I do not make that ruling or the one of ijtihad, but merely affirm them.

He insisted however that I affirm them and make takfir on the individuals in the book by name. Why would I not myself make takfir on Ghulam Ahmad and other figures, to which my reply was that the Qadis who sentence on others make takfir while we affirm the generalities and what they had mentioned.

The shaykh of the night would not have this and insisted that whoever did not call them kuffar or doubted in the kufr of any one of them was a kafir. When I heard this, I queried about whether every single and all of the masses of Deobandis and Salafis, Ahmadis and the like were unbelievers, which he readily admitted.

When he did this, I informed him that he had just made takfir on the children, women, old men and ignorant people among them. Furthermore, I stated that neither the author of the work nor the scholars that agreed said that anyone who did not agree or doubted in the kufr of those individuals was an unbeliever.

I further stated that in this issue he was actually in agreement with Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab. The shaykh vigorously disagreed and said he was not Salafi in this issue and would show me the proofs. The crowd waited while the pages of Hussam ul-Haramain were flicked back and form.

It must be here somewhere, I could see his raised eyebrows saying. As the minutes clocked by I knew he would not find it. I had read the book cover to cover along with the one against Nadwat ul-`Ulama and no such ruling had been brought into place.

While the shaykh was busy ruminating over his statements, others jumped in to try to catch me out on Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, the Qadiris and other issues, which were revisited again.

The old shaykh did not find the point, but still stick to his guns in spite of the absence of such a ruling in the text. I calmly submitted to him that we are reading the same book but coming to radically different positions.

He again re-iterated that whoever did not call them kafir was himself a kafir and the same for the one who doubted it. I decided to cut to the chase and narrated an incident. Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ath-Thaqafi was one of the great murderers of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and there were two positions regarding him.

Sayyiduna `Abdullah ibn az-Zubair, may Allah be pleased with him, as a mujtahid, made takfir bil-Mu`ayyin and said he was an unbeliever; but Sayyiduna Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, held a position with Takfir bil-Ijtihad and condemned the actions.

Did either of these two make takfir on the other? No they did not, I insisted to the shaykh. The reason for this was the issue of takfir bil-Mu`ayyin has nothing to do with the foundation of faith, so because we differ over this issue of takfir, we do not call one another kuffar.

I saw the shaykh recline back and he was not able to formulate any response in this regard. I translated to the crowd while I heard them speak in very noisy Urdu. A dear brother of mine, Qari `Imran, jumped from the crowd and came over to my side to explain what was going on in Urdu.

I was brought up to date and informed that they were not accurately telling the other Urdu speaking only people there what was going on or translating into English. Unfortunately, this really did nothing but make an argument for an advocate for Darwinism that there is a link between the human race and a reptilian ancestor.

The end result that these three men came to was that I was not from Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. The reason for this was that I refused to make takfir on the people mentioned. I asked the shaykh which group I was seeing that I was not from Muslim Orthodoxy and my ticket had been revoked.

But there would be no answer…Urdu would be used and hidden behind…no challenge…be quiet or we’ll make takfir on you…no questions allowed.

I then said to the crowd, “So now you can see that the shaykh here does not believe that interpretation is one of the impediments of takfir, he believes takfir is from the foundation of the faith and does not know the conditions, impediments and forms of takfir.”

I said the same to the shaykh, but he was not interested. I then further stated that I had accomplished what I had come to do. I had advised against the takfir mawlana, I had stated that in this issue he is upon the creed of the Khawarij and that the people around him don’t know proper Islam but they know that other people are unbelievers.

There was a great deal of crowd interaction and things were wrapped up very quickly. People young and old were able to see that they had no impediments of takfir in any systematic context and that they would use it against any perceived enemies.

Many brothers had been shocked at the virulent and wholly unscholarly display by the takfir mawlana’s team. I had been patient, spoken about what I meant to and controlled the direction throughout. I had accomplished my goal, defended people from the unacceptable brush of domino takfir and also kept to the Consensus of the Scholars that not every cultist was a kafir.

I quickly informed his people that the takfir mawlana should be stripped of all speaking posts and should relearn his creed, fiqh and other knowledge (if he had truly acquired any) in its’ entirety. Whether this would happen or not is something in the Knowledge of Allah.

I had felt the weight of Muslim Orthodoxy and thousands of years on my back; my only hope is that I had done those ancient worthies proud and silenced takfir.

I felt that I had basically summarised The Divine Lightning in the whole 2 hrs and 9min discussion that had occurred. The scholars, the inheritors, the lamps of the Ummah and their understanding, had been defended by a miserable slave of Allah, but nonetheless defended.

The takfir mawlana left the same way he had come and how he had been throughout my whole presentation: silent. This is what I had wanted. I desired nothing from him but silence.

26 responses to “The Trial of Takfir: A Problem for Some Sunnis Too

  1. Assalaam alaykum Akhee Al-Hajj Al-Kareem,

    May Allah reward you for your efforts and struggle. I’m really sorry that you’ve had to go through such tribulations, but Alhamdulilah, it was what Allah willed and it will be for the best. The takfir mawlana and his team hold the exact same position (i.e. so-and-so is a kafir and if you disagree or are in doubt you’re a kafir, too) as the Ahbash as well, which is absolutely terrifying. I spent time with those people back in 2000 and I can honestly tell you that such an attitude, whether intentionally or not, adds a seventh pillar to the pillars of Faith, i.e you must believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, The Last Day, Qadr and that so-and-so was a kafir, and for every apostate another pillar is added. For common believers it is horribile oppression because they are made responsible for actions and statements made by people whom they have never met, have never come across in their own privates studies and may have never even heard of.

    SubhanAllah, just last night I was reading Sheikh Ramadan Al-Bouti discussion on dancing and grunting in dhikr (Fiqh As-Seerah, p.527-531 of the English translation) in which he condemns these matters. In the footnote, however, he lets us know that he anticipates harsh reactions from those who call themselves ‘Sufis’, i.e. it is not just the Salafis/Khawarij and other cults that are guilty of prejudice and extremism. The Sheikh, may Allah preserve him, says: “The Sufis call their opponents to account for what they see as fanaticism and excess, yet they do not call themselves to account for similar attitudes, and for those practices which have no basis in Islam! Is this, then, the truth which we should be living? Excess on one side only breeds excess on the other; hence, whoever wishes to come to the defense of Allah’s Deen and the guidance brought by His Messenger (may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him) must put an end to all extremism, harmful innovation, and heresy. This is the best possible remedy for the counter-extremism which one is likley to meet with among others.”

    And with Allah alone is every success.

    Assalaam alaykum,


  2. salamu ‘alaikum wa rahmetullahi wa barakatuhu,

    SubhanAllah, very eye opening, sad, yet a necessary exposure of one of the main problems in our Ummah today. Takfir is a dangerous game, the Holy Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa salam strongly warned us against it. I don’t think anything could be more dangerous then takfir, since it involves putting our Iman and our Islam at risk. I agree 110 % with the above post by Mahdi Lock. Every single group within the Ummah is guilty of prejudice and extremism, and trying to make anyone who thinks differently then them to be outside of Islam. It’s almost as if everyone has come up with their own idea of who is Ahle Sunna and who isn’t. For a long time I’ve been very anti “Wahhabi” and was riding on the “Sufi” side, but I’ve realized that the same intolerance and bigotry that we see with the “Wahhabis” are also with the “Sufis”, and sometimes even worse. I still don’t agree with the “Wahhabi” ideolgy on some points, but I would never put them out of the fold of Islam, and I would never refuse to pray behind the Imam of the Haram! A’udo billah!

    may Allah keep us all balanced and unite our hearts upon the truth ameen

  3. As salaam alaikum wa rahmatullah,

    Noble brother (may Allah protect you) I would like to advise you that it is not correct to mention the Deobandees, Salafees, and Qaadiyaanis in one breath. What I mean by such is that Deobandees and Salafees have differences which are due to Ijtihaad and understanding, but the Qaadiyaanis are outright Kaafirs by the consensus of the Majority.

    Also, you will notice that I did not use the title Ahmadees, but I used the title Qaadiyaanis. Again, that is because by consensus of the Majority it is impermissible to name them Ahmadees and they should only be referred to as Qaadiyaanis.

    Out of Husn adh-Dhann I am assuming that you don’t know much about the Qaadiyaanis because, again, by consensus of the Majority one who doubts their Kufr (after the proof has been made manifest) is himself guilty of Kufr.

    As a note, when I say Majority, I mean the Deobandees, Barelwees, Nadwees, Azharees, Salafees and their respected institutes.

    • as-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

      Noble brother,

      Thank you for your e-mail and may Allah reward you. I mention a small group within the Deobandis, Salafis and Ahmadiyyah in one statement as the last two are a cult and those upon the way of the Dar un-Nadwah are Salafis in their creed. Salafis do not have any sound ijtihad as they are not scholars according to the understanding of our theologians.

      The same scholars that made general takfir on the Ahmadiyyah are the same who made general takfir on the Salafiyyah. Yes, claiming another prophet after the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is a major kufr; but so is likening Allah to His Creation, changing End Time Prophecy, saying that most of the Ummah are idol worshippers, Salvation is by faith and deeds, that one could have a part of tawhid and not another and still be a Muslim.

      This is why our grand scholars like Sulaiman ibn `Abdul Wahhab, `Alawi Al-Haddad, `Abdullah ibn Dawud al-Basri and others made general takfir on Salafiyyah; but using the same principles the scholars `Abdul Latif as-Subki, Mustafa ash-Shatti and others, Allah be pleased with all of them, made the same general takfir on Ahmadiyyah, without calling each and every Ahmadi an unbeliever.

      This is consistent with the practice of the two Shaikhs of Islam Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, who when fighting the Hinderers from Zakah, did not kill them all as apostates (although there was Sajjah, Musailimah, Tulaihah al-Asadi and Al-Aswad al-`Ansi, all false prophets) or say each and every one of them was an apostate. In fact, some of them even took these people as war captives. This is not permissible when you consider each and every one of a group and apostate. Please see The Divine Lightning, pp. 135-140, where Imam Abu Sulaiman al-Khattabi, may Allah have mercy on him, goes into remarkable details regarding this matter and fleshes out a great deal of benefit.

      There is no Consensus of the Majority on them not being referred to as Ahmadiyyah, otherwise the rest of the scholars would have known it. Please research the statements of Imam Muhammad Abu Zahra and others that have fleshed out that not every Ahmadiyyah member is an unbeliever and there are actually two jama`ahs within them, a smaller group who believe that he is not a prophet and a larger group who believe he is, this is why not every cultist is an unbeliever.

      As for quotation of the majority as Deobandees, Barelwees, Nadwees, Azharees, Salafees, let us remember a few things:

      a. Nadwi members are Salafis and Salafiyyah are not taken into consideration – like the rest of the cults – in proving Consensus.

      b. As for Deobandis and Barelwees, there are hardly the majority. Remember that the populations of Pakistan (125 million), Afghanistan (25 million), India (130 million), Bangladesh (50 million) are only 330 million people that could loosely be claimed as Deobandi or Jam`ah Ahle Sunnat (this is if we accept your paradigm that the people of rank and file all have this position and are not sliding towards Salafiyyah or Ahmadiyyah – which are at 25 million and are set to double every 35 years statitistically speaking).

      If we even added another 100 million to be sure of the numbers, this still leaves the other 1 billion, 70 or 60 million Muslims who are Hanbalis, Shafi`iis, Malikis and the rest of the Hanafis who do not have that position. So this is not the majority position and never has been. Please realise the Ummah is huge. 1 billion and 70 million is majority, not 330 million.

      c. If you claim Azhar as a source, I would advise you to be careful as one of the late Shaikh al-Azhars, Mahmud Shaltut, agreed with Ahmadiyyah in a number of issues (particularly about `Isa being dead, Ahad Hadith not being compulsory to take into the creed) and was Mu`tazilah, like most of the Hanafi Azhari scholars of history and especially of late. Please see the Fatwa on the Death of Jesus, which was and is available at Al-Azhar.

      Finally, I advise you against slipping into takfir when you are not a mujtahid. Our job is to say that “the scholars say,” and leave the judgement to the Judges and Jurists. Do not claim Consensus/Majority when there is not one and study what the scholars say in the breadth of the Ummah and not merely a slice from that Ummah.


      brother in Islam,

      al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali

  4. As-Salamu ‘alaykum dear brother,

    I really would like to read a whole account from your side and a detailled explanation about this whole Takfir masalah, cause I’m from Germany and we have not a single scholar in Germany. Deobandi Scholars are highly involved in Tabligh and are not really interested in defending the Creed etc., so please could you provide some good and firm informations?

    And could you inform me about the Hanbali stance to “Tafwid fi Ma’ana”? And somewhere on this blog you said that Imam Ibn Kathir rahimahullah was an Ash’ari Shafi’i. Could you provide definite proofs for these?

    Bralwis are the Indian Habashis. Mashaallah brother, you have alhamdulillah very good knowledge about the whole Deobandi stuff 🙂

    Jazakallahu khayran.

  5. As-salam alaikum,

    Thanks brother for the articles and website. I have a few questions about some of the things in your articles that I think are confusing…

    You said that you don’t call all qadiani kafir. do you mean that they are muslims? and you call all salafis kafir? why? who said not every qadiani is kafir?

    why do you have ahmed raza khan as mujadid? you said some hanbalis had said that…who said that who were hanbali sheikhs?

    do you think deobandis are salafis and what are the masalahs about deoband and salafiyyah that are the same?

    Salam brother,

  6. Aslaamu alykum, the habashies make takfir? I think that is a very general and misleading statement because just making takfir does not make one a deviant. Rather quote any person the aicp have called kafir and name the reason why they did so which is a more accurate and honest method of going with the issue. You will find if you utilise this method it will be evident that the people they do takfir on are people who limit Allah and the like which is something every scholar did.

  7. Shayk I would like to know of your view on the deobandi scholars. I’m not 1 of them but I was taught that sum late ones made great contributions. The hafiz of hadith anwar sha Kashmiri was praised by and met imam al kawthari hu said no 1 has been seen like him since ibn humam rh. Shayk abul fatul guddah rh also praised him and called him imam al asr. To the habashi brother above you do kno ur founding shayk was good freinds witg the deobandi muhadith habibur raahmn al azami. And would stay in his house when the two would

  8. Also I herd of another deobandi scholars I can’t remember his name made som very good works and was very knowledgable. he wrote a very extensive hanfi fiqh work in which he was assisted by the father I think of the head shafi scholar of the habaub in tarim. He also wrote a commentary on imam maliks muwatta which took him 30 yers which was presented befor the first sayid alwi maliki who remarked saying it is the 1 of the best written an could not believe the authir was hanafi. Now I’m not saying thier we’re others hu made very shaky commenta and I do think on sum issues they are too strict. But I think we should not have attachment to scholars except because they rectify an spread the deen of Allah. Eg I also don’t agree with imam ahmed raza khan rh on naming 1self abdul mustafa or that he thought hallaj was a great sufi or that he allowed celebrating death of saints. Also the issuof saying prophet peace and blessings. Be upon him went. To la makkan. BUT HEY guess what scholars are not infallible and make mistakes sometime but we shudnt say an ENTIRE group kafir.

    • The name of the book is Awjaz al Masasalik ila muwatta Imam Malik or for short Awjaz al Masalik and the author is Shaikh al Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyyah Kandhalwi r.a. .It is an 18 volume set of books.He also “wrote”compiled the book of hadith Fadail A’maal which although is beneficial for all Muslims but is particularly the book that the amirs of the “Jama’ah at Tabligh” advises “followers” to use in their taleems in their homes and masajid in addition to other books for taleem.He was the nephew of Shaikh Mawlana Ilyas Kandhlawi who was the “founder” of the da’wa movement of “Jama’ah at Tabligh”.The other book you mentioned that is an encyclopedia of the dalils of the Hanafi madhab called ‘Ilaa as Sunan by Allamah Zafar Ahmad Uthmani is a comprehensive compendium of the evidences of the Hanafi madhhab which comes in 21 volumes.The ‘ulama of Deoband are the epitome of Ahlus Sunnah because you will see that their fatawa are always according to the classical works and the sunnah.Their Tasawwuf is also firmly grounded in shari’ah and sunnah and not what many people call “Sufi” practices which is in actuality “folk Islam”.Their sulook is devoid of bid’a.The madhhab is Hanafi and ‘aqida is Maturidi.By the way sheikh Abu Ja’far I’m also African American.

  9. Assalaamu ‘alaikum Shaykh Abu Ja’far,

    It seems there have been some misrepresentations regarding taqwiyatul iman and it apparently being a book promoting ‘salafi’/wahhabi beliefs. Please see here:

    I agree it may be written in a somewhat harsh language/manner but it far from being Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab’s Kitab al-Tawhid as can be seen in the above link. Also, it may be useful to know that the so-called ‘ahlul hadith’ (salafis/wahhabis) of the subcontinent have their own version of the book Taqwiyatul Iman; maybe this is the version which you have come across? Finally, I agree with you 100% regarding the Nadwis being ‘salafi’ in ‘aqida and this is completely unacceptable. Sadly, many of the Deobandi ‘ulama of today need to be made aware of this as a lot of them are unaware of these aspects of the Nadwis.

    Jazaakallaahu khair.


  10. As-Salaamu Alaykum, Shaykh.

    What an unpleasant experience. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf once said that if the extremists on both sides don’t like you, then you are on the true path.

    I was wondering, however, where you found out that some Deobandis are influenced by Wahhabis. Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi said the same thing in one of his articles, so you aren’t the first person I have heard this from. Can you tell me more this?

  11. Assalamu ‘alaikum Shaikh Abu Ja’far.What do you mean by saying Deobandis have Salafis amongst them and also saying the institution of Nadwatul’Ulama in Lucknow is Salafi?Can you provide authentic and convincing evidence of this to me. Jazakallah Khair.

  12. Salaam ‘aleikum Shaykh Abu Ja’far. What was the reason why you didn’t make takfeer on the Deobandi elders by name? jazakAllahu khairan.

    • as-Salaamu `Alaikum,

      Please re-read the entire post as the answer to the question is in the post and is also discussed under the four different headings of takfir regarding people and their groups as well as the conditions of takfir and their impediments. Those familiar with this science will be knowledgeable of exactly what I have stated and my answer. If not, you should sit with and speak with someone who has covered this and the four long subchapters connected to it in the books of fiqh.



  13. “I was further asked regarding my statement that most claimants to Shaikh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani today are inauthentic to which I held to it and quoted the issue and even the book where it had come through.”

  14. Some answers to Barelwi propaganda and accusations against Shah Isma’il Shahid and his Taqwiyat al-Iman:

    There’s also this brilliant piece in Arabic:

    • Thank you for your comment on the blog and your details. Keep in mind that I do not clear website debates or things such as this and I tend to delete links. So understand that your message has been edited. I read through them after first pre-approving and if I find any links to debating sites or non-marja` people or sourced rulings, I do delete them. So I apologise in advance if you did not know this point. If I have missed doing it before, it was not a double standard but just a slip on my part; but indeed this is my regular policy.

      • It’s ok. The links were more for yourself to just have an objective read anyway. No intention to debate. I actually only noticed you had already removed mention of Shah Isma’il Shahid and his Taqwiyat al-Iman from your original article so the links no longer seem relevant to the post. However I’d still recommend taking out a little time to read them.

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