How is it that Maulana Madani and Maulana Thanwi, although both being such saintly personalities, can have such differences of opinion?
Let it be known that it is not unheard of to find differences of opinion among the true and sincere saintly ones. There have always been such differences and there always will be. However, there is no need for anyone who has acquired Islamic Knowledge to be surprised at the fact that Ulema can differ. As for me, I am unconcerned about these differences. During the month of Shawaal, our class lectures commence and finish in Rajab of every year. During the course of these ten months, hardly a day passes when the lecturer does not say at least twenty times:
Regarding this masala, such-and-such an Imam believes this, whereas such-and- such an Imam holds a different view.The Sahabas are of this opinion, whereas among the Tabi.een there are such-and-such differences of opinion.
If we held the opinion that disagreement is a sign of lack of sincerity, it would cause us great anxiety and confusion because it would mean (May Allah forbid) that those saintly persons (May Allah be pleased with them all) will be excluded from the ranks of the saintly ones, just because they differ! As for the disagreement being of tremendous depth, I say that I do not consider the differences to be strong at all. All I can say is that the present political situation causes temporary disagreement. One person.s view is that joining the Muslim League is beneficial for the Muslim Ummat and that to join the Indian National Congress is to their disadvantage, the other person on the other hand believes sincerely that the opposite is true.
Now, it is the duty of every man of sound opinion, who looks at the present situation and understands it, while bearing in mind the tenets of the Shanat, to choose the path of that person whom he honestly and sincerely considers to be following the better path. As for him who is not well versed in these matters, he should stay in the presence of these persons for a couple of days. Thereafter, whomsoever of the two he feels himself drawn to most strongly, he should follow.
“Whomsoever of them you follow, you shall find guidance.”
There is definitely no need for any fighting or arguments.
Now I ask you: Why do you consider their disagreement to be so deep? Can this disagreement be worse than what we found at the Battle of Jamal, which had to be settled with swords on both sides? Tell me: Which of the two factions at Jamal (Sayyidina Au on one side and Sayyida Aysha on the other) will you exclude from the ranks of the true Saintly Ones? Can you? When the name of Sayyidina All is mentioned, we say: Radiyallahu anhu i.e. May Allah be pleased with him.¡± He is the rightful Khalifa, the fountain head of the saints. When Sayyida Aysha.s name is heard, we also say: ¡°Radiallahu anha.¡± She is the mother of the faithful, the most beloved of the consorts of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasaflam).
Their disagreement was of such a nature that the Battle of Jamal will keep it alive and fresh in our minds until the Day of Qiyamat. Listen to me. Because I consider myself to have sufficient right over you, I want to tell you in very strong terms: Do not ever harbour in your heart any evil whatsoever against any of these two saintly ones. If (May Allah forbid) you bear any malice against any of these two stalwarts of Islam, you will not harm them in the least, but would only do yourself untold harm. I am very much surprised and exceedingly perturbed at the actions of some persons who utter undesirable words against any of these two elders of ours. In fact, I envy these two elders. They are continuously busy with their great work in the service of the deen, for which they are well-rewarded. On top of that they also receive the good deeds of those who attack and backbite about them. It is as if those backbiters, who make themselves guilty of character assassination, are saying to these elders: ¡°Because I am angry at you for the stand you take, you may as well also take the reward of all the good deeds that I have carried out.
What an injustice this man is doing to himself, by giving his righteous deeds to him with whom he is angry! In this manner the critic becomes the real indigent one, the real evil doer. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) once asked the Sahabah (Radiallahu anhu): ¡°Whom amongst you do you consider to be bankrupt?¡± They replied: ¡°He who has no possessions. . Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: ¡°No that is not so. The real bankrupt one is he who will appear before Allah on the Day of Qiyamat with righteous deeds, but he had acted unjustly to this one, had sworn at and degraded that one and usurped the possessions of another. On that day money will be of no avail. Those whom he treated unjustly will be given his good deeds. And when that will not suffice, some of their evil deed will be cast upon
On that day, judgment will be according to one.s righteous and sinful deeds only. Hence in return for one.s injustices, one.s good deeds will be ceded to the unjustly treated ones. And even if these had all been used up, justice must still be done. For this reason, their evil deeds will be cast upon the unjust one. In this way even the sins of others can be loaded on him.
It fills me with great astonishment that people can set about deriding and degrading the saintly elders and praise the efforts of the unbelievers! Such people should take note of the Hadeeth: ¡°When a fasiq (evildoer) is praised, Allah is angered and the Throne trembles¡± By this I do not mean that none should ever be praised. It is a completely different matter as to who should be praised, to what extent and under what conditions. What I want to say emphatically, is that the elders should never be degraded and that none should be praised with complete disregard for the rules of Shariah. I ask you: If for argument.s sake, a fault or misjudgment has been made on one side; does it necessarily mean that
one should close one.s eyes to all that person.s fine qualities?
Our noble Shariat had taught us every minor detail of our lives and deen. But it seems that we, in spite of claiming to be followers of the deen, pay no attention to it. Others follow our principles and prosper, while we are busy discarding our great treasures and suffering great losses.
Listen to me: I accept (for a moment) that one of these sides are in the wrong, which may even be open and clear error -which you find yourself unable to accept. Well, do not accept. Who is forcing it down your throat? But in this respect, I would very much like you to remember the words of Sayyidina Ma.az bin Jabal (Radiallahu anhu), what a wonderful principle he explained as he addressed one of his students: ¡°I warn you against the error of the wise one. For sometimes the Shaitaan Utters through the tongue of the wise one a word of error and the hypocrite sometimes speaks a word of truth.¡±The student asked: ¡°May Allah have mercy on you sire, if such is the case, how will I know when a wise one occasionally speaks a word of error and a hypocrite a word of truth? How will I know what is false and what is truth?¡± Ma.az (Radiallahu anhu) said: ¡°Be careful of such statements about which is being said: ¡°What kind of statement is this? How can he have said this. ¡°Do not allow such words to turn you away from the wise man. It is quite
possible that he may have recanted or retracted from the statement. Then you may find the truth when you hear it. For the truth has light in it.¡±
Now let us ponder over the important points mentioned by Sayyidina Ma.az (Radiallahu anhu): a. In the first place he tells us that not everyone speaking a word of truth is necessarily a wise man. A hypocrite also does that. This shows that just because one had heard a word of truth from anyone, one should not become an ardent follower of his. We people have a habit of becoming ardent fans of such people after sometimes merely having heard one speech by him or after having merely read one single article by him. Then on the basis of that single speech or article we tend to praise him to high heaven. And worse than that: Sometimes we are aware of the fact that a certain person is irreligious and acting in a sinful manner. Yet, because he utters such words which are in agreement with our desires, we try to prove him to be a deeply religious personality of saintly nature -so much so that (May Allah forbid) we bring him even near to prophethood. If occasion comes along when he says something in disagreement with our wishes, we bury him down below. The result is that about the very same person we will one day shout: ¡°Zindabad! Brave! Long may he live!¡± And the next day we will shout: ¡°Murdabad! May you die! Death to you!¡± Is this not similar to the case of ¡°waking up as a
believer and going to bed at night as an unbeliever¡± as is mentioned in a Hadith?
b. Secondly Sayyidina Ma.az (Radiallahu anhu) says that it is possible that a wise man may sometimes utter a word which may be an error and lead astray. Hence after merely having heard a person one or two times, one should not become an ardent adherent. What is needed is that the actual facts and circumstances should first be ascertained, pondered over and considered. If, in the majority of affairs he is found to be a follower of the Shariat and a sincere follower of the Sunnat, then undoubtedly he may be accepted as a guide.
Then, if after full investigation, some derogatory thing or unacceptable statement is attributed to him, it should not be accepted. In such a case do not become separated from him. It is quite possible that (having held that view) he may retract and recant. Otherwise you will be cut off from him for always. This, in short, is what Sayyidina Ma.az (Radiallahu anhu) said. There is much scope for meditation in his statement. Now let us look at our present situation and judge. What do we generally do? We have some thought in our minds, which may be quite insignificant and of minor detail. When we hear anyone speaking and uttering something which agrees with our preconceived idea, we start to heap praises on the speaker, offer our complete support and assistance and are even prepared to consider any serious acts of his which are against the Shariat to be insignificant. This is indeed injustice. It should have been such that his good points be praised and that his evil deeds be condemned. Or at the very least, silence should be expressed at his evil.
But here even his evil is being considered to be of minor importance and even justified! At times it goes so far that those rules of Shariat which he transgresses are being looked upon as being nonsensical and absurd! That is not all. We find that even regarding Salaah, which is one of the major pillars of our deen and which has, in numerous Ahaadeeth been mentioned to be the distinction between faith and disbelief, such words are being said and written, that to repeat them here fills me with revulsion and anguish. Just because our hero does not perform Salaah, Salaah becomes jeered and scoffed at, and a mockery is made of it.
Then on the other hand, if we find anyone mentioning anything against our ideas and wishes, we go so far as to consider his every action as being blameworthy. Even their outstanding saintly qualities become degraded in our eyes.
The Shariah and sound logic demand that everything should be put in its own rank and category, from where it should neither become unduly elevated nor relegated.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: ¡°Keep people in their proper ranks of respect.¡±
It is most unfortunate that in most things nowadays we swerve from the path of justice and resort to excesses. Now, even if I do accept that the differences in opinion between these two holy men are of a serious nature, then it should be borne in mind that according to the Ulema the differences of the elders is not something which lowers their dignity and not against the Shariat. And furthermore, when there is any difference among the Ulema, then to the same degree that these differences will be, so strong will be the arguments on both sides. The deeper the differences, the more forceful the type of argument they will bring forth.
For example: If one Imam considers something to be compulsory while another considers it as being prohibited, then the arguments (on both sides) will indeed be very strong and forceful. Similarly if one Imam considers something to be Waajib (obligatory) and another looks upon it as Makrooh Tahrimi (extremely abominable) then the arguments (on both sides) will also be quite strong arRd forceful and even harsh in nature. It is this which had caused even the Sahabah (Radiallahu anhu) to come to blows on the field of battle. According to Abu Dawood, one Sahabi (Radiallahu anhu) is reported to have said Witr Salaat is Waajib. To this another Sahabi (Radiallahu anhu), whose researches brought him to a different conclusion said: ¡°He lies¡±. On this point the Ulema had reinterpreted the words of this Sahabi (Radiallahu anhu) in view of the fact that outwardly it would appear to be an attack on the integrity of a Sahabi (Radiallahu anhu).
Although we translate his words more lightly, it will still remain that this is the word-for-word literal translation of what was said. However it is our duty that when in any matter of truth such words are uttered, which appear rather harsh, we should translate it with care so that one appear to be attacked. There are numerous examples of this in Hadeeth literature. These Sahabah (Radiallahu anhu) are excused for their occasional (seemingly) harsh words because Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: ¡°Listen! Fear of people should never ever prohibit a man from speaking the truth when he knows it.¡± (i.e. the truth) While Sayyidina Abu Sa.eed (Radiallahu anhu) reported this Hadeeth, he started to weep and said: ¡°We have seen many things and the fear of people had prohibited us from speaking.¡± Furthermore there is another Hadeeth: ¡°Whomsoever from amongst you should see any evil being committed, he should stop it with his hand. And if he is unable to do so, he should then stop it with his tongue, and if he is unable to do so, then wich his heart. And this (latter) is the weakest degree of faith.¡± There are many more texts like this one, which we ha e already quoted in our booklet: ¡°The Virtues of Tableegh.¡± These are the commands which caused these elders to speak out when they considered something to be the truth. And the more serious they considered the matter, the more they insisted on their standpoint and the more they were prepared to hit out against their opposition, it should, however, be borne in mind that he who hits at his opposition should be fit to do so. Not everyone has the right to do that. The idea of expressing your view vigorously in opposing someone is not something which should cause any perplexity or anxiety. However, it is my sincere heartfelt wish and earnest prayer that all the Muslims and especially those who are our elders, should unite and agree on the best politics for the future of the Ummat. This will surely bring about a certain amount of discomfort and hardship, because no scope will remain for the entertaining of divergent views.
On the other hand it may bring about a situation where the followers and adherents of one elder will not attack, abuse and criticize our other respected elders. It will also entail that non-existent faults of these saintly personalities and attacks on their character will end. This type of situation will save us from loads of sin through backbiting.
Let me once again remind those who set about speaking evil of the saints, of the words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). ¡°Never is a believer one to defame others, neither to swear them nor given to be obscene in tongue.¡±
¡°Swearing any believer is iniquity and to engage him in battle (fight him) is disbelief¡± ¡°0 you people, who had accepted Islam by tongue, and into whose hearts true faith had not yet reached, do not cause any harm to the Muslims, neither defame nor embarrass them, nor set after them, searching for their faults to ekpose them (to ridicule). For verily whomsoever follows his Muslim brother to expose his faults, Allah shall set about exposing his faults, And when Allah follows anyone in this manner, him shall He disgrace even f he is in complete seclusion.¡±