Friday, July 17, 2009


In the name of Allah the most beneficent and most merciful


Followers of some Muslim sects reject the concept of 'Life after Death' as illogical and absurd. They claim that after death, people cannot talk or listen. To prove their claim, they quote the following Quranic verse.

It is in Quran ‘ Nor or the living and the dead alike, Allah (SWT) surely will make hear to whoever He will like. (O’Prophet-SAWS)), you cannot make those hear who are in graves’. (Al-Fater – 22).

If anyone agrees to the above line of thinking, he will have to deny the following verses of Quran and Ahadith.

(i) It is in Quran – ‘Think not of those, who are martyred in the way of Allah, as dead. No, they are living with their Lord and are provided with food’. (Aal-e-Imran – 169).

(ii) It is in Quran – ‘ Those who die in the way of Allah (SWT), do not call them as dead. They are alive, but you do not understand it’. (Al-Baqara – 154).

(iii) It is in Quran – ‘But verily the Home in the Hereafter, that is life indeed, if they, but knew. (Al-Ankaboot – 64).

(iv) It is in Hadith - Prophet (saws) said: "Whoever asks blessings for me at my grave, I hear him, and whoever asks blessings upon me from afar, it is conveyed to me." (This tradition was mentioned by al-'Uqayli, and al-Khateeb and Ibn 'Asakir.

(v) It is in Hadith - Abu Talhah reported: "On the day of the Battle of Badr, Allah's Prophet (SAWS) ordered that the bodies of twenty-four leaders of the Quraysh be thrown into one of the foul, abandoned wells of Badr. On the third day after the battle the Prophet called for his mount and saddled it. Then he set out, so his companions followed him. They said amongst themselves, "He must be going to something important." When the Prophet (SAWS) arrived at the well, he stood at its edge and began addressing those therein by calling upon them by their names, "O so and so, son of so and so; and you, so and so, son of so and so! Would it not have been easier to have obeyed Allah and His Messenger? We have found that which our Lord promised us to be true. Did you find what your Lord promised you to be true? Thereupon 'Umar said, "O Messenger of Allah, what are you saying to these bodies without souls?! Do they hear? For Allah, the Majestic and Mighty, says, "Verily, you cannot make the dead hear. The Prophet (SAWS) answered, "By Him in whose hand lies the soul of Mohammad, you did not hear better than them and what I just said." (Bukhari and Muslim).

(vi) It is in Hadith - Anas bin Malik reported that Allah's Messenger (SAWS) said: ‘After the deceased (dead) is placed in his grave and his companions turn to leave, he hears the shuffling of their feet as they walk away. Then there comes to him the two angels.’ (Part of Hadith) (Bukhari and Muslim).

(vii) It is in Hadith - narrated by Abdullah Bin Abbas (RU) that the Prophet (SAWS) said, ‘whoever goes by the grave of a believer and offers salutation (says Assalamu alaikum) to him, the believer recognizes him and answers back the salutation’.

(viii) It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said ‘Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him’. This is Hasan (fair) narration as concluded by the great scholar Taqi al-Din al-Subki in his book Shifa al-Siqam.

(ix) It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said ‘when you go to the graves of the dead, say ‘Assalamu alaikum ya ahlal quboor’ – meaning ‘peace be upon you O’ people of graves’.

(x) Ibn Abdul Wahab Najdi At Tamimi in his book "Ahkam Tamanni al Mawt" has mentioned an important narration, reproduced below.

QUOTE : During the time of Omar (RU) there was a very pious young man. Once this young man was about to commit a grave sin, but Allah (SWT) saved him. This young man realized his mistake, felt very bad and died. When Omar (RU) came to know this, he visited the grave of this young man and asked “ do you have two gardens “ ( Ar-Rahman - 46 ) and this young man replied from the grave that he has been given the blessings of two gardens”…. UNQUOTE

(xi) Almost all famous scholars (Akabir) of Ahle Hadith/Deoband/Tablighi Jama'at/Jama'at-e-Islami etc., like Rashid Gangohi, Qasim Nanotwi, Ya’qub Nanotwi, Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi, Mahmood al-Hasan, Husayn Ahmad Tandvee and many more had taken Bayyah (allegiance) on the hands of Imdadullah Muhajir Makki. Meaning, Muhajir Makki was teacher / Shaikh / Emir and Murshid of these groups.

Imdadullah Muhajir Makki, the Grand Shaikh of these groups writes in his book “ Haft Masla” as follows.

(QUOTE) ' sub title - Calling Upon Someone (dead) other than Allah' ...Therefore, calling someone (who is dead) from a distance, either for remembrance, desirous of union or anxiety of separation, just like a lover calls his beloved, to give consolation to his heart, is not a sin. The other sort of calling is where the caller wishes that the called one actually hears the call. In this case, if the caller, through the cleanliness of his heart is seeing the person called spiritually (from the eyes of his heart), such a call is permitted. If however, the caller does not see the called one but believes that the called one will receive his message through some means supported by evidence, even then the call is permitted…. From this we get the permission of the Wazifa : " Ya Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Sheun Lillah’. If anyone considers that the Shaikh can help with the power he possesses of his own, it will be tending towards Shirk. But if the Shaikh is considered as "Wasila" (means) or these words are uttered with an empty mind considering them to carry "Barakah" (blessings), then there is nothing wrong with them (UNQUOTE)

The above Quranic verses, Ahadith and quotes should resolve the issue of dead once and for all.

However, the followers of these groups do not accept things easily. What they do is they go back to their books and try get some more evidence to prove their contentions. If they do not find what they want, they change their books to suit their beliefs. They insist to draw meanings of Quranic verses as per their choice. This unjustifiable insistence on their part is the main cause of their misunderstanding of many things related to Islamic faith and practices.

In order to see the truth of their claim, let us discuss if they have understood correctly the Quranic verses they always mention in support of their wrong beliefs.

They always refer the following 2 verses of Quran, and interpret 'out of context' meanings of these verses to support their argument.

(1) "Verily you cannot make the dead hear and you can not make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs and retreat." (An-Naml – 80).

(2) "The living and the dead are not alike. Allah makes whoever he wishes hear, but you cannot make those in the graves hear.’ (Al-Fatir - 22).

Verse No. 1 was quoted in Quran with reference to disbelievers of Makka. The people who do not have Iman in their hearts are like dead people. To understand this verse better, read the verse which is mentioned immediately after this verse. We have quoted below both these verses together for our readers to understand factual meanings of these verses.

It is in Quran - "Verily you cannot make the dead hear and you can not make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs and retreat (verse 80). Nor can you lead the blind out of their error. You cannot make none to hear except those who believe (in) our revelations and who have surrendered (themselves to Islam) (verse 81) ” (An-Naml - 80-81)

We now understand from the above verses that the word ‘dead’ is used to mean the disbelievers and not those who are actually dead.

Let us study verse No. 2 to find out its true meaning.

Verse No. (2) "The living and the dead are not alike. Allah makes whoever he wishes hear, but you cannot make those in the graves hear.’ (Al-Fatir - 22).

To find out its actual meaning, let us study 3 verses immediately before this verse.

It is in Quran (Sura Al-Fater) – ‘The blind and the seeing are not alike (verse 19) ; Nor are the depth of darkness and the light (verse 20); Nor are the (chilly) shade and the (genial - gracious) heat of the sun (verse 21); Nor are alike those that are living and those that are dead, Allah (SWT) can make any, that He wills, to hear, but you (O’Prophet SAWS) cannot make those to hear who are (buried) in graves (verse 22). (Al-Fater – 19-22). (Yousuf Ali translation).

Verse 19, ‘the blind and the seeing are not alike’. This has reference to Makkan polytheists. Allah (SWT) is referring them as blind because they do not have the light of Iman in their hearts.

Verse 20, ‘the depth of darkness and light is not alike’, meaning, Kuffars’ hearts are covered with depth of the darkness.

Verse 21, the chilly shade and gracious heat of the sun cannot be alike, meaning, the the polytheists of Makka are not benefited from the gracious heat of Iman that is emanating from Prophet Mohammad (SAWS). Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) is referred to as the Sun of Iman (faith) for the people of this world.

Verse 22 has three parts.

Part (22.1), ‘the living and dead are not alike’ - meaning, the polytheists of Makka and Muslims are not the same. There are many Quranic verses that refer polytheists as Dead people because they do not have the noor (light) of Iman in their hearts. Please go to Quran search on internet you will find many verses in this regard.

Part (22.2), ‘Allah (SWT) can make any that He wills to hear’, meaning, Allah (SWT) has the omnipotence (power) to make anyone hear - which means He can give Iman to anyone he wishes.

Part (22.3), (O’Prophet-SAWS) you cannot make those dead bodies hear (listen) that have been buried in the graves’. Since Mushrikeen are being discussed in all these verses, this part of the verse naturally refers to them who are like dead people in the absence of the light of Iman in their hearts. Thus,the entire sequence of verses, from 19-22 mentioned above refer to the Makkan polytheists and not to the actual dead.

Even if we take the textual meaning of verse 22 above, it is true that 'dead bodies that have been buried in the graves cannot hear or talk. The Life after Death is not related to our Dead bodies. These bodies get decomposed gradually and become part of Mud. Life cannot be associated with these bodies. The life after death is totally different and not related with dead bodies. We have discussed this issue in detail in the following paragraphs.

If anyone deliberately denies Quranic verses, or knowingly misinterprets Quranic verses and Ahadith, or deliberately mentions an out of context Quranic verse to prove his wrong beliefs, or trys to prove a good (Hasan) Hadith as fabricated (maudhu), or plays with religious Arabic terminology to confuse people; in all these cases, he is inviting a lot of trouble for himself on the Day of Judgment. Islam is not a political arena where you try to establish wrong as right. It is important that people do not misuse Islam in their political and leadership games. Salafis and their like minded groups should take a note of it.

With the above rational understanding, we do not have to deny or misinterpret following Quranic verses and many more Ahadith in this context.

It is in Quran – ‘ Those who die in the way of Allah (SWT), do not call them as dead. They are alive, but you do not understand it’. (Al-Baqara – 154).

It is in Quran – ‘Think not of those, who are martyred in the way of Allah, as dead. No, they are living with their Lord and are provided with food’. (Aal-e-Imran – 169).

It is in Quran – ‘But verily the Home in the Hereafter, that is life indeed, if they, but knew. (Al-Ankaboot – 64).

With the above explanation, we expect that the issue of dead shall be resolved permanently.

However, even after reading the above, some members of these groups may still not be satisfied. They may argue that the meanings of the verses provided in this article are the interpretations of the Author, etc. Therefore, for argument sake let us accept the Salafi logic and discuss this issue further.

The problem with these groups is they have misunderstood the entire issue. When we talk of life after death, they think that we are talking about a dead body coming to life in the Grave. No this is wrong. How can a dead body come to life in the Grave? As a matter of fact the dead body gets decomposed under the heap of earth and gradually becomes part of mud. After certain period of time we bury other people in the same grave.

To understand what actually happens when we die, please read the following carefully.

What happens when a person dies?

The five basic attributes of human beings, viz., (1) Life, (2) Knowledge, (3) Seeing, (4) Hearing, (5) Speech, (6) power, and (7) intention, actually belong to the soul.

The human body is the place of residence of human soul. When we die, our soul gets associated with a new body (invisible to our physical eyes) suitable with the Life after death.

Whether human soul is associated with the physical body of this world or the body of the Life after death, these attributes remain with it. Meaning, the attributes of human soul remain unchanged irrespective of the body it gets associated with, as per the requirements of different worlds.

When a person’s life span in this world comes to an end, two subordinate angels of Izra’il (AS) appear before him and remove his soul from the body (Hadith). Another body, as per the requirement of the World after Death (which is invisible to our physical eyes ) is provided to the soul.

They leave the dead body and the soul (in the new body) at the place of death until the dead body is buried in the grave.

Our association with physical world comes to an end when our body is buried into the grave. Gradually, our body becomes decomposed under the ground and becomes part of the mud. Since the soul has been detached from physical body, it loses all the faculties of life, hearing, seeing, everything.

After burial of the dead body, two angels appear in the grave (Hadith) and ask the dead person three questions, (i) Who is your Sustainer (Rab)? (ii) What is your religion? (iii) A picture of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) is shown to the dead person and he is asked to identify who is he? If the answers to these questions are (i) My Sustainer (Rab) is Allah (SWT), (ii) My religion is Islam, and (iii) This is my beloved Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), he passes the test.

As per Allah’s (SWT) promise in Quran, the treatment of Muslims after death depends upon their ‘Taqwa’ and their closeness with Allah (SWT) and Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).

The dead persons can be divided into the following five categories.

(1) Awliya Allah who pass the test.
(2) Good Muslims/Saaliheen who pass the test.
(3) General Muslims who pass the test.
(4) Sinful Muslims who could not answer properly.
(5) Non-Muslims and Muslim Sects who fail the test.

Whether the dead person is good or bad, Muslim or non-Muslim, he gets transferred to the WAD (World after death) for all practical purposes. Whether he is subjected to torment or recompense, everything related to him is done in WAD only.

The torment (Azab) or recompense (Thawab) in WAD (World after Death) is associated with the new body that has been given to the soul when people die. Even in hell also, when the given body is burnt, a new body gets associated with the person and the torment continues for ever.

The torment of grave is also not associated with the mud grave where our dead bodies are buried. Mud grave is used only for decomposition of our physical bodies that were provided to us in this world.

However, the place of his burial becomes the place of connection for him with our World.

Let us discuss briefly what happens to the above 5 categories of people in the World after Death.


People who do not have correct Islamic faith are treated as Non-Muslims. My bothers and sisters, do not be under any illusions about it. This is the reason Prophet (SAWS) said, out of 73 sects, only one will go the paradise and the rest will go the Hell. They are identified by the angels who conduct the test. After the test,the Non-Muslims and people belonging to different Muslim Sects are put to unending torment which continues till the resurrection and beyond and there is no hope of salvation of these people.

Some Non-Muslims’ bodies are burnt by their relatives after their death. Some people die in oceans where their bodies are eaten by fishes and sea mammals. Since physical bodies have no role in the World after death, the punishment or otherwise of these dead people is given to the new bodies provided to them at the time of their death.


If it is decided, after the question/answer session, that the sinful Muslim has to be subjected to torment for his past crimes, he is punished in a special lock up room in WAD (world after death). This room has a connection from our world at the place where he was buried. This is the reason, it is in Hadith that Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) placed a small stem of a tree on the grave of a person and said that as long as it is green, it will be doing Allah’s Zikr, and with this Zikr, the torment of the Dead person will be reduced. Since Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) saw the punishment of the grave, he placed the green stem on the grave.

Who ever goes to the grave of the dead and reads Quran there and prays Allah (SWT) to extend benefit of the recompense of the reading of Quran to the dead person, it helps the dead tremendously. It is expected that his punishment will be reduced from our repeated visits to the grave and reading of Quran there.

If the dead man has passed the test and is in good condition in WAD (world after death), our reading of Quran for recompense (Eisal-e-thawab) helps him to get additional rewards.

It is not compulsory to read Quran sitting beside the grave, we can also read Quran in our homes and pray Allah (SWT) to have mercy on our dead relatives. We can feed the poor and do so many other things of charity for the sake of our dead relatives. The Fateha and feeding of poor we do for our dead relatives, helps them in World after Death.

Eisal-e-thawab and visiting of graves and many things like these are optional. If you do, your dead relatives are benefited. If you don’t, it is up to you. These issues have nothing to do with basic Islamic faith.

There are many categories of sinful human beings. The torment in the World after Death is given to them as per their sins in this world. After certain period, these torments are stopped and these people are allowed to sleep peacefully till the day of resurrection.


An average Muslim who passes the test, is provided with a special room in WAD (world after death) which has a window of Jannah opened for him from where he gets cool breeze. He is made to sleep on a special bed till resurrection. He will get up from his sleep on the day of resurrection. The sleeping Muslims do have a connection with our world at the place of their burial. When we go to the graves of the dead who are sleeping, they hardly notice us, but they get to know that someone has visited them from the world. Our visits are like knock at the door of their rooms. They listen to the knock, but hardly talk to us.


A good Muslim who passes the test is not required to sleep. He is provided with good housing and food in WAD (World after Death). They are free men and women. When we visit the graves of such people they listen to our Salams, reply to the salutation. They listen to whatever is told to them. It is just like visiting some of our relatives in this world. But the problem is we cannot see them, but they do see us and listen to whatever is told to them. Whether you tell them by mouth or think in your hearts, they listen to it and understand it well. The rules of listening, talking in World after Death are completely different from our world. They are free people. Allah’s (SWT) mercy is on them in abundance. Why not, Allah (SWT) had promised them(during their life time in this world)of a good and comfortable life after death.

It is in Quran – ‘Think not of those, who are martyred in the way of Allah, as dead. No, they are living with their Lord and are provided with food’. (Aal-e-Imran – 169).

It is in Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said ‘when you go to the graves of the dead, say ‘Assalamu alaikum ya ahlal quboor’ – meaning ‘peace be upon you O’ people of graves’.

When we meet each other in this world also, we are required to say ‘Assalamu Alaikum’, meaning peace be upon you. This greeting is returned by ‘Wa’alaikum Assalam’, meaning, peace be upon you too.

It is in another Hadith narrated by Hazrat Abdullah Bin Abbas (RU) that the Prophet (SAWS) said, ‘whoever goes by the grave of a believer and offers salutation (says Assalamu alaikum) to him, the believer recognizes him and answers back the salutation’.


Awliya Allah and Shaikhs of Ihsan, after passing their test, receive exceptional welcome ovation and princely treatment in World after Death.

It is in Quran – ‘ Those who die in the way of Allah (SWT), do not call them as dead. They are alive, but you do not understand it’. (Al-Baqara – 154).

It is in Quran – ‘But verily the Home in the Hereafter, that is life indeed, if they, but knew. (Al-Ankaboot – 64).

They live in the ‘life of comforts’ after death until resurrection. There are many categories of Awliya Allah. They are treated as per their status awarded to them from Allah (SWT) both in this world and in Hereafter.

As has been the case with everyone else, Awliya Allah also have a connection with our world at the place of their burials.

The physical bodies which were provided to Awliya Allah in our world also get decomposed in the ground, but in some special cases, Allah (SWT) protects their bodies also.

I know two incidents of this kind. A friend of mine named Naseer al Deen who was responsible to take care of a Muslim burial in India once told me of an episode of a grave. He told me that after long years of burial, when no one visits certain graves, they open them and bury the newly dead as they have limited space in the graveyard. He told me that, on one such occasion they opened a very old grave(about 50/60 years old) in order to bury the new dead. He was surprised to see the dead body of a woman in the grave as fresh as she was buried a few minutes earlier. He told me there was not even a spot of dirt on her white cloth (kaffan). They immediately closed the grave and instructed all concerned never ever to touch that grave again. I was also informed by a friend in Saudi Arabia that such occurrences are usual in Saudi Arabia also and the authorities there do not touch such grave for reburial. Many people who are responsible for Muslim grave yards throughout the world will testify to this phenomenon.

When we visit the graves of Awliya Allah, they listen to whatever is told to them. Whoever informs them of any of his problems, they do take note of it. While they pray to Allah (SWT) in their special residences provided to them in World after Death, they pray for all Muslims of the world in general, particularly for those who visited their graves.

It is a wrong notion that Muslims pray at the graves of Awliya Allah. This talk is nonsensical, purely biased, and misleading. How dare you accuse a Muslim to be a grave worshiper? A person who is crazy, devoid of common sense,lunatic and blind by birth can only talk like this.

Some Muslim sects also scare people from the word ‘Dua’ and its reference with graves. Words in every language, including Arabic, carry different meanings. Like the Arabic word ‘Ghulam’ has several meanings. It can be used for a ‘son’, or ‘servant’ or ‘student’, etc. Similarly, the word ‘Dua’ is used in two meanings. When we are supplicating to Allah (SWT), the word 'Dua' is used in the meaning of prayer. With reference to human beings, its meaning are ‘request’. Also, there is an English word 'Lord'. It is used in so many meanings like, God, Judge, Member of Parliament, owner of a plot of land/property, etc. Salafis confuse people in religious issues by playing with Arabic terminology.

Prostration in front of a human being, as a mark of respect, has never been Shirk throughout the history of mankind. If this was Shirk, Allah (SWT) would not have asked angels to prostrate in front of Adam(AS). You think Allah (SWT) would ask angels to do Shirk? (Astaghrifullahi). If it was shirk, Hazrat Yaqoob (AS)and his sons would not have prostrated in front of Hazrat Yousef (AS).

It is the extreme humility of a perfect human being that Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) stopped it (Hadith). Now to prostrate in front of any one as a mark of respect(Sajda-e-Ta'azeemi) is not allowed in Islam. Therefore, it is Haram. A person who gets involved in a sin, or indulges in a prohibitive act (Haram) is a sinner. But, he remains a Muslim. If you treat a sinner as polytheist, then you are a Mu'atazilite.

Kissing of hands and feet as a mark of respect is allowed in Islam. It is in Hadith, narrated by Safwan bin Assal (it is a very long Hadith in which two Jews asked Prophet Mohammad -SAWS several questions and the Prophet - SAWS answered all of them) then Hazrat Safwan says both Jews kissed Prophet's (SAWS) hands and feet".(Tirmizi, Nasai, Abu Dawood, etc.)

A person may kiss the grave of his mother, father or an Awliya Allah thinking that he is kissing the hands /feet of these people who are alive in World After Death. What is wrong in it? Where is the Shirk involved in it? How can you equate the grave of a pious Muslim with an idol of Hindu diety? This type of talk shows the vacuum in your mind that is holding you from understanding Islamic faith and practices. Say "Astaghfirullahal Azeem" a few hundred times everyday so that Allah's (SWT)mercy turns towards you and you start understanding these issue properly. In case if you are not comfortable with these practices, don't visit graves. But, for God sake don't accuse a true Muslim, to be a grave worshiper. It is in Hadith, if you call a sincere Muslim, as polytheist, then the effect of polytheism comes back upon you and you become eligible for punishment for this unpardonable crime.

When we visit a high ranking government official or a parliamentarian of our area in this world, we respectfully narrate our problems to them and request them to help us in this regard. This respectful narration in Urdu language is known as 'Istedua'. The literal/textual meaning of this word is to do 'Dua in a standing respectable position'. Similarly, in legal Courts, people use English word 'Prayer' to address the Judge for his consideration. There are thousands of examples of this kind in every language of the world.

Salafis and their like minded groups have the habit of misinterpreting simple issues, make a mountain out of a mole, scare people and take them away from rightful beliefs of Islam.

Muslims who visit the graves of Awliya Allah respectfully inform them about their problems and request these pious souls to supplicate to Allah (SWT) to alleviate their problems.

What a parliamentarian, a Government official or an Awliya Allah can do personally except that they use their good offices and put a word to the appropriate authorities. The ultimate help comes only by Allah (SWT). We are all Muslims and we believe in it.

I do not understand why people associate Shirk with these simple issues. If you cannot understand the issues of World After Death, do not visit graves. Visiting of graves has nothing to do with Islamic faith. It is optional. You will remain a Muslim even if you do not visit graves. What is the big deal in it.

Can there be an eye witness in our world who is provided with special vision to see the Life after Death?

It is proved by Hadith-e-Nabawi (SAWS) that Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) saw the life after death. Read famous Hadith-e-Badr mentioned above in which Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) talked to the dead Mushrikeen. Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) met with earlier Prophets during Mera’j.

If with Allah’s (SWT) beneficence, someone is given the spiritual vision with which he could see the world after death, it is possible.

Those who are provided with this vision, are generally restricted and not allowed to disclose the happenings of the World after Death to people of this world because certain things are required to be kept secret from the people of this world.

All verses of Quran and Ahadith that talk of World after Death are not related to the dead body which is buried in the grave. These are related to the new body which is provided to our soul when we die. The word grave in these references indicate the places of residence in World After Death (Barzaq) and not the mud grave in which our dead bodies are buried.

The standards of living in our ‘Physical world’ and in ‘World after Death’ are totally different from each other. The body of ‘Life after Death’ is different from our physical bodies. Our physical eyes are restricted from witnessing ‘World After Death’. But if you can get special lenses appropriate with that world, you can also see them. Pray Allah (SWT) to reward you with these lenses rather than wasting time in rejecting the Quranic verses and Ahadiths by wrong interpretations.

We hope that the above explanations are sufficient to rest this issue once and for all. I am positive that insha-Allah, after reading the above explanation, no one in the world will ever have any doubt in the issue of World After Death.

A sensible person can easily understand these facts. If someone is strong headed, adamant, egoistic and refuses to accept plain facts and rejects overwhelming evidences about 'Life After Death', what can we say. It is his hard luck.

Part 26 will be made available soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


In the name of Allah the most beneficent and most merciful


The Correct Islamic faith about Allah (SWT) is, ‘He is one, Independent (everything is dependent upon him), and He is free from the consideration of form, shape, face, body of all kinds, exclusive or creature like.

It is in Quran - Say O’Prophet Allah (SWT) is one. Allah (SWT) is independent. He does not have children. Nobody has given birth to him. Nobody can match Him or equal Him”. (Al-Ikhlas - 1- 4). At another place in Quran - ‘There is nothing like Him, He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. (Ash-Shura – 11).

His attributes of ‘seeing, hearing, speech and omnipotence, etc., has no resemblance to creatures.

Salafis and their like minded groups have misunderstood the Quranic verses that depict Allah (SWT) attributes. In their deliberate insistence to take textual meanings of these verses, they conceded exclusive ‘hands, eyes, face, direction, limitations, dwelling, etc., for Allah (SWT).

To accept a body and limbs for Allah (SWT), whatever may be the kind – exclusive / divine or creature like – is Shirk Fis Sifaat-e-Elahi, (polytheism in Allah’s –SWT Attributes), an unpardonable sin.

Hindus also got confused in understanding Allah’s (SWT) attributes. They accept one ultimate God, but believe different faces, limbs, shapes, bodies etc. They accept every attribute of Allah (SWT) as a different God.

The Christian accept 3 different Gods with divine faces, whose roles are different from each other.

The Salafis/Wahhabis/Ahle Hadith and like minded groups accept one God with exclusive/divine face, eyes, hands, etc.

All the above believes are outside the sphere of Islamic teachings. All these theories are philosophical, concocted/fabricated by human mind and are totally against the basic faith of Islam.

We have discussed this issue in detail in the following. Our explanation, Insha-Allah will remove misunderstanding of many Muslim groups.

The basic principle in understanding the verses of Quran and Ahadiths is that these should be understood in their most absolute, literal and apparent meanings; unless there is a proof why they should not be understood in their textual meanings. Such proofs include; other Quranic verses, Ahadith and Consensus (Ijmaa). Mere preference of taking certain verses on their textual meanings is not acceptable. This is known as Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh). The rational purpose of this rule of requiring a proof is to avoid people interpreting Quran and Hadith any way they like.

One of the major principles of Fiqh is the recognition that, not everything in Quran can be understood literally or in its textual meaning, because that will result in one verse contradicting the other in its extracted meanings. This is the reason, Allah (SWT) sent messengers to explain the actual meanings of His scriptures. In the absence of messengers, the scriptures would have been subjected to merciless interpretations by different sects/groups to achieve political power.

When there are more than one Quranic verse or Hadith on the same subject and these seem to give different ‘apparent meanings’, then we should not try to understand the meanings of these verses in a way that ‘we accept some at the expense of others’. This will be a great sin. If you reject a Quranic verse, or try to misinterpret some verses to prove your wrong beliefs, you will be out of Islam.

There is one more important issue. If you believe and give emphasis on the textual meaning of a Quranic verse, because Ibn Taymiyyah or Abdul Wahhab translated it that way, and try to interpret other Quranic verses to defend their beliefs, then you will be treated as ‘ blind follower of Ibn Taymiyyah and Abdul Wahhab at the expense of 4 established Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence viz., Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Maalik and Iman Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

We are providing below translations of some Quranic verses and Ahadith which give information about Allah’s (SWT) Unity (Zaat) and His attributes.

(i) ‘There is nothing like unto Him, He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. (Ash-Shura – 11).

(ii) ‘People’s eyes cannot perceive (see) Him, He perceives their eyes (Al-An-aam – 104).

(iii) ‘Wherever you are, He is with you’. (Al-Hadid – 4).

(iv) ‘Allah is the light (existence) of the Heavens and Earth’. (An-Noor -35).

(v) ‘We (Allah-SWT) are closer to you than your jugular vein’. (Qaf – 16).

(vi) ‘He is in your own self, will you not then see’. (Az-Zariyat – 21).

(vii) Whichever side you turn, you will find Allah (SWT); Verily ( in truth ) Allah – (SWT) is Omnipresent (existing everywhere every moment) and Omniscient (infinitely wise). ( Al-Baqra – 115 ).

(viii) Transcendent (magnificent) is your Lord, the Lord of All-Greatness, far above what they ascribe to Him’. (As-Saaffaat – 180).

(ix) When My servants ask you (O’Prophet – SAWS) concerning Me, ( tell them ) I am ever present ( with them ) and I listen to the call of him that calls Me. (Al-Baqara – 186).

(x) Nothing, even the weight of a mote lying either in the heavens or in the earth escapes His notice’. (As-Saba – 3).

(xi) Say O’Prophet Allah (SWT) is one. Allah (SWT) is independent. He does not have children. Nobody has given birth to him. Nobody can match Him or equal Him”. (Al-Ikhlas - 1- 4).

(xii) He is the First, and the Last, He is the Manifest (apparent) and the Immanent (actually present through out the material world) and is the knower of all things’. (Al-Hadeed – 3).

(xiii) (Allah - SWT) the Compassionate, is sitting on the Empyrean (Arsh) (Taha -5).

(xiv) His Chair (throne) spreads over the Heavens and the Earth, the preservation of them does not burden Him; He is High, the Great. (Al-Baqra – 255).

(xv) (O’Prophet –SAWS) ‘You did not throw, when you threw, but Allah (SWT) has thrown. (Infe’al – 17).

(xvi) ‘Certainly, those who are doing ‘the promise of allegiance’ ( b’ayah ) to you, O’ Prophet (SAWS), they are actually doing the promise of allegiance to Allah (SWT). Allah’s (SWT) hand is upon their hand. (Al-Fath – 10).

(xvii) ‘And who is more truthful in His word than Allah (SWT) (An-Nisa – 87).

(xviii) ‘All that there is in Cosmos shall vanish. The countenance of your Lord alone shall endure, the Lord of Resplendent Majesty and Glory). (Ar-Rahman – 26-27).

(xix) ‘But construct an Ark under Our eyes, as we reveal and address Me no (further) on behalf of those who are in sin; for they are about to be overwhelmed (in the flood). (Houd – 37).

(xx) ‘Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds. (Aal `Imraan, 190).

(xxi) It is in Hadith of Ihsan, Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said, ‘You worship Allah (SWT) seeing Him, and in case you fail to see Him do your prayers knowing fully well that He is seeing you’ (Bukhari and Muslim).

(xxii) It is in Bukhari and Muslim …. that Allah (SWT) descends to the first sky before the last third of every night and says ‘Who prays to Me and I will answer his prayers? Who asks Me and I will give him? And Who asks My forgiveness I will forgive him.

(xxiii) It is in Hadith (Muslim and Baihaqi) The Prophet (SAWS) said, ‘O Allah, You are the First (Awwal), so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last (Aakher) so there is nothing after You. You are the apparent (Al-Thaahir) so there is nothing above You. And You are the hidden (Al-Baatin), so there is nothing below you.’

We have mentioned 20 Quranic verses and three authentic Ahadith above that are generally the subject of discussion among different sects.

Let us read the above Quranic verses and Ahadith one more time. We will realize that, if we take literal (textual) meanings of all these verses, we will get confused. Like, one of the above Quranic verse declares that ‘no eyes can see Allah (SWT)’. But we have another Quranic verse and Prophet’s (SAWS) Hadith (Bukhari) commanding us to see Allah (SWT).

Similarly, Quran says ‘Nothing is like Him (Allah -SWT)’. This verse negates all types of forms, shapes, body and face for Allah (SWT); whether divine or creature like. If He had a divine body, He would have described for Himself ‘ No creatures body or form is like His”. Thus, we conclude that Allah (SWT) is free from the limitations of face, form, body, place or dwelling of all kinds. We cannot allow further discussion in this issue because this is the basic faith of Islam.

It is in Quran - ‘And who is more truthful in His word than Allah (SWT) (An-Nisa – 87).

Let us see this verse of Quran. “Fa ainama tuwallu fathamma Wajhullahi (Al-Baqra 115). The literal meaning of this verse is ‘wherever you turn, you will find the face of Allah (SWT). We know Allah (SWT) is free from the limitations of face, form, body, place and direction. Therefore, we understand the meaning of this verse as ‘Wherever you turn, you will find Allah (SWT).

Salafis insist that in the above verse, they will take the literal/textual meaning of Arabic word ‘Wajha’ as face.

Salafis chose to understand Quranic verses and Ahadith as per the whims and imagination. They insist upon the literal (textual) meanings of the whole Quran and Ahadith. But for some verses they ignore this practice.

Look at the following Quranic verse.

It is in Quran - “Qala innama ana rasulu rabbiki li ahaba laki ghulaman zakiyya” (Maryam – 19). The textual meaning of this verse is ‘ Hazrat Jibreel (AS) said to Hazrata Maryam (AS) ‘ I am the Apostle /messenger of Allah (SWT) and ‘ the reason I have come to you is to give you a son’.

As per their standard practice, by extracting its textual meanings, Salafis should declare that Hazrat Jibreel (AS) is a messenger of Allah (SWT) like many other messengers. And He gave Hazarata Maryam the celebrated son.

But they do not make that mistake here. Since, Hazrat Jibreel (AS) brings the message of Allah (SWT) to His Prophets/Apostles, Salafis understand this verse like any other Muslim does. Meaning, Hazrat Jibreel (AS) informed Hazrata Maryam (AS) that ‘He has come from Allah (SWT) to give her the good tidings of a son’. Giving a son is the work of Allah (SWT) and conveying this good news is the work of Hazrat Jibreel (AS).

If they had kept the same spirit in understanding Quranic verses related to Allah’s (SWT) attributes, they would have found the right path of Islam. But they do not want to follow the established principles in this context. As a matter of fact, they rebelled against all established rules of Islam. This attitude on their part has resulted in their acceptance of Hands, eyes, face, chair, dwelling for Allah (SWT).

Since they accept that ‘there is no one like Him’, therefore they claim that Allah (SWT) has hands, eyes, face, place, direction, dwelling, etc. but His body and limbs are not like that of human beings. Then how are these? They say that Allah (SWT) knows about it.

What a mess and what a misunderstanding! This confusion has led them to concede a body form for Allah (SWT) which has eyes, hands, face. They also claim that He uses a big chair to sit. They have even fixed a dwelling on Arsh for Him and claim that he descends from His place of residence to the first sky before dawn every night to listen to people’s prayers. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.

All Quranic verses whose textual meanings indicate creature like attributes for Allah (SWT) have to be understood in proper perspective so that our basic Islamic faith remains intact. Since Allah (SWT) is like no one, and He is free from creature like attributes, then the meanings of these verses will be ‘ the expression of His omnipotence, magnanimity, and His presence throughout the skies and the material world’. With this understanding if you read all the above verses, you will get the right path of Islam.

Allah’s (SWT) Unity envelops everything in this cosmos from within and outside. If you read the following Quranic verses with this understanding, you will get their correct meanings.

It is in Quran - ‘He is the First, and the Last, He is the Manifest (apparent) and the Immanent (actually present through out the material world) and is the knower of all things’. (Al-Hadeed – 3). At another place in Quran ‘Allah is the light (existence) of the Heavens and Earth’. (An-Noor -35). And at another place in Quran ‘‘He is in your own self, will you not then see’. (Az-Zariyat – 21).

To accept a body and limbs for Allah (SWT), whatever may be the kind – divine or creature like – is plain Shirk Fis Sifaat, (polytheism in Allah’s –SWT attributes) which is an unpardonable sin. This belief has taken Salafis and their like minded groups far, far away from Islam.

Hindus also got confused in understanding Allah’s (SWT) attributes. Hindus accept every attribute of Allah (SWT) as a different God with a divine body and face.

The Christian accept 3 different Gods with divine bodies and faces, whose roles are different from each other.

The Salafis and like minded groups accept one God, with divine body, face and Limbs.

All the above believes are outside the sphere of Islamic teachings. All these theories are philosophical, concocted/fabricated by human mind and are totally against the basic faith of Islam.

Islam says, Allah (SWT) is one and, nothing is like Him. He is free from the considerations of ‘ form, shape, face and body of all kinds, exclusive or creature like.

Why Salafis got confused and made a divine idol of Allah (SWT) in their minds?

The answer is simple. Ibn Taymiyyah did not study Quran and Hadith under the able guidance of a prominent Shaikh of Ihsan who would have explained him the true meanings of Quranic verses. He studied Quran and Hadith and other Islamic subjects on his own, understood the meanings as per his limited understanding and at the age of 19, declared himself bigger than all Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence. Not only that, he also accused all Sufi Shaikhs of Ihsan, all Ulema of 600 years before him as polytheists / innovators / infidels and what not.

Shaykh ‘l-Islam al-Hafiz Taqiyyu ‘d-Din ‘Ali Ibn `Abdi ‘l-Kafi as-Subki writes in the Preface of his book ad-Durratu ‘l-Mudiyyah :

QUOTE - “By his claims Ibn Taymiyyah innovated foul things in the usul of belief, and infringed the foundations of Islam, and in the same time covered himself under the pretext of following the Book and Sunnah, outwardly showing that he was a caller to Truth and a guide to heaven, while on the contrary he deviated from following the Book and Sunnah to innovation, and deviated from the consensus of the Muslims by infringing the ijma`.

He said what leads to the attribution of a body and of composition to the Divine Essence, and that it is not impossible that Allah is composed by parts. He said that the Essence of Allah Ta`ala contains contingent elements (hawadith) that the Qur’an is also contingent, and that Allah spoke it after it was not, that He speaks and keeps silent, and that phenomena take place in Him in the same way they take place in created beings.

He crossed the limit to the point of claiming that the world is eternal, and was coherent with this assumption to the point of claiming that there is no beginning for the contingencies, Hence, he confirmed that – according to his opinion – the eternal attributes [of Allah ] are contingent and the contingent created entities are eternal. None has ever joined those two opinions together in any religion. He was not among the seventy-three groups into which the Ummah is divided [i.e. he is neither a Sunni, nor a member of one of the seventy two heretic sects, but rather the founder of a new sect of his own]. In spite of all of this being horrible kufr, it is little compared to what he innovated in the furu (other issues of Islam)’.” UNQUOTE

Five centuries later, Abdul Wahhab followed his foot steps and created a large group of people who started believing in Allah’s (SWT) exclusive/special hands, eyes, face, direction, etc.

It is in Quran - “Truly, the Devil is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy: he only calls his party to become of the inhabitants of the blaze" (Al-Fatir - 6) In explaining this verse, the great scholar Ahmad sawi writes in his Hashiya commentary in Tafseer-e-Jalaaleen, as follows.

QUOTE “It is said this verse was revealed about the Kharijites [foretelling their appearance], who altered the interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna, on the strength of which they declared it lawful to kill and take the property of Muslims — as may now be seen in their modern counterparts; namely, a sect in the Hijaz called "Wahhabis," who "think they are on something, truly they are the liars. Satan has gained mastery over them and made them forget Allah’s remembrance. Those are Satan’s party, truly Satan’s party, they are the losers" (Qur’an 58:18–19 We ask Allah Most Generous to extirpate them completely” UNQUOTE

Unless Salafis change their basic faith about Allah (SWT) and Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), their chances of salvation on the Day of Judgment are nill. In Allah’s (SWT) court that day, either you are a Muslim or Non-Muslim. If your basic faith is not correct, then you will be declared as Non-Muslim and thrown in Hell Fire permanently.

You argue that you are accepting Allah (SWT) is not like His creatures. Also accepting that creature attributes cannot be associated with him. But, in the same breath you are accepting hands, limbs, eyes, face, and limits (Hadd) for Him and say that all these are divine, not creature like. This is polytheism in Siffat-e-Elahi. Hindus and Christians also say the same thing. What is the meaning of divine face and body? This means that you have created a shape and body for Allah (SWT) in your mind. You have deliberately misinterpreted Quranic verses in this context. But you do not want to accept it openly. Allah (SWT) knows what is in your heart. Do not debate and argue as politicians do. Your judgment will be done as per your beliefs. Don’t be under any illusions in this context.

All Quranic verses are truthful. When we read a verse that needs to be understood by interpreting its meanings, we should first say, "I believe in whatever Allah (SWT) means" then we should strive to find out their purported meanings.

It is in Quran - "The people who strive in our way, We show and put them on the right path' (Al-An-Kaboot - 69). Let us try to understand the meanings of the following Quranic verses.

(Allah - SWT) the Compassionate, is sitting on the Empyrean (Taha -5).

Sitting, standing, walking, etc., are the attributes of human beings and creatures. We cannot associate these attributes with Allah (SWT). He is pure from all such considerations. If we take literal meaning of the word ‘sitting’ in this verse, then, we will have to deny many Quranic verses where Allah (SWT) has said ‘His Existence in unconfined, unlimited’. Therefore, the meaning of the this verse will be ‘ Allah (SWT) – the Compassionate, occupies the seat of power. As a matter of fact Allah (SWT) occupies everything in this Cosmos. Therefore, the real (purported) meanings of this verse will be ‘Allah –SWT is wielding supreme authority’.

His Chair spreads over the Heavens and the Earth. (Al-Baqra – 255).

Chairs, tables etc., are used by human beings. We cannot associate these attributes with Allah (SWT). He is pure from all such considerations. If we take literal meaning of the word ‘Chair’ in this verse, then, we will have to deny many Quranic verses that emphatically negate ascribing human attributes to Allah (SWT). Therefore, the meaning of this verse will be ‘His authority spreads over the heavens and Earth’.

(O’Prophet –SAWS) ‘You did not throw, when you threw, but Allah (SWT) has thrown. (Infe’al – 17).

Throwing, catching, etc., are human attributes. We cannot impose these attributes on Allah (SWT). The purport of the verse is to emphasize that ‘ (O’Prophet) when you threw handful of sand towards enemy’s armed forces, you did it on My (Allah’s -SWT) behest’. The purport of this verse is to emphasize that ‘this is exactly what Allah (SWT) wanted you to do.

Certainly, those who are doing ‘the promise of allegiance’ ( ba’ya ) to you, O’ Prophet (SAWS), they are actually doing the promise of allegiance to Allah (SWT). Allah’s (SWT) hand is upon their hand. (Al-Fath – 10).

Hands, eyes, ears, etc., are the attributes of human beings and creatures. We cannot associate these attributes with Allah (SWT). He is pure from all such considerations. If we take literal meaning of the word ‘hand’ in this verse, then, we will have to deny many Quranic verses. The purport of the verse is to emphasize that when you (O’Prophet –SAWS) were taking ‘ ba’ya ’ from people, you did that ‘on My (Allah’s -SWT) behest. ‘This is exactly what Allah (SWT) wanted you to do on that occasion’.

But construct an Ark under Our eyes, as we reveal and address Me no (further) on behalf of those who are in sin; for they are about to be overwhelmed (in the flood). (Houd – 37).

Hands, eyes, ears, etc., are the attributes of human beings and creatures. We cannot associate these attributes with Allah (SWT). He is pure from all such considerations. If we take literal meaning of the word ‘hand’ in this verse, then, we will have to deny many other Quranic verses which negate any form, face and limb for Allah (SWT). The purport of the verse is to emphasize to Prophet Noah (AS) to continue constructing the Ark and Allah (SWT) is watching you doing that. Allah (SWT) is commanding Prophet Noah (AS) to concentrate in his work rather than praying for those who do not deserve to be saved.

It is in Quran - ‘When you read Quran, seek protection of Allah (SWT) from the evil Satan’ (An-Nahl – 98). How do we seek this protection? We say “Auzubillahi Minish Shaitanir Rajeem” ( I take refuge of Allah –SWT from the reprobated and reproached Satan). Then we start reading Quran by saying “ Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim” ( In the name of Allah –SWT who is most compassionate and most merciful). Why do we do that? We do it to keep ourselves protected from the evil considerations of Satan which mislead us in our understanding of Quran and Hadith.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


In the name of Allah the most beneficent and most merciful


An overview of the Science of Debate (Ilm al-Kalam)

Ilm al-Kalam primarily deals with justifying religious beliefs to reason and employing reason to draw new conclusions and consequences from these beliefs. Its subject areas are comprised of (i) the articulation of fundamental beliefs; (ii) the construction of the speculative framework within which these beliefs must be understood; and (iii) the attempt to give coherence to these views within the accepted framework. Scholars of various sects take the assistance of 'Kalam'(debate) to justify their points of view.

Some Muslims sects, particularly salafis, reject Kalam as deviation and innovation. They also exaggerate the impact of non-Islamic influences and philosophy on the evolution of the 'schools of kalam'. As a matter of fact, many of kalam's early themes, such as the status of the sinner or the question of political legitimacy, arose within a purely Islamic context. They should understand that the religion cannot progress if we limit the understanding of fundamental beliefs, saying ‘we cannot discuss issues related to faith’.

Muslims proclaim to the whole world that Quran is the word of God. How a non-Muslim will believe it? We will have to take the assistance of ‘the science of debate (Ilm al-Kalam) and place before him the undeniable facts about Quran and logical explanations as to why this book is the word of God?

In the same way, we need to explain what is the meaning of one-ness of Allah (SWT) in the light of Quran and Ahadith. There are many verses of Quran about the ‘essence’ (unity) of Allah (SWT) and His attributes. These have to be explained in simple understandable terms.

What these sects do is they take the textual meanings of Quranic verses, and if someone questions their interpretation, they stop him from further discussion, saying ‘these issues are related to faith, thus cannot be discussed using human reason’. In the first place, they have misinterpreted the meanings of these verses using their limited common sense. When you try to correct them, they brand you as ‘deviated innovator’.

Salafis and their like minded sects portray Islam as stagnant, rigid and militant religion. This is against the essence of Islam.

If Islam is to continue as a living system, it is important that we revive Islamic theology in its proper perspective. The ‘science of basic principles of Islam’ ( Ilm al-Usul)and the ‘science of affirming the Unity of Allah –SWT’ (Ilm At-Tawhid)under Islamic Theology are very important subjects. We need to revive these subjects so that progress towards Muslim self-understanding; stagnant for over six centuries, can be resumed. We do not mind if someone calls both these sciences together as ‘Ilm al-Kalam’ in the new meanings.


The emergence of Islam was distinguished with polemics (religious debates) with polytheists, jews and Christians in and around Makka. Since Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) was physically available to answer questions, there were no controversies during this period over fundamental questions related to faith and practice.

Political disputes broke out after the death of the Prophet (SAWS) which culminated in the tragic events leading to the martyrdom of the rightly guided Caliph, Hazrat Othman (RU) in 656 AD (35 AH). His martyrdom broke down the political system that was established by Muslims after the death of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).

The political disputes had their direct impact on Islamic theology. There were three major groups which competed to lead Muslims, (a) Kharijis, (b) Shias and (c) Murjiya. The Kharijis opposed Hazrat Ali (RU), the Shias considered Hazrat Ali (RU) should have been the first Caliph and Murjiyas remained neutral. All the three groups attempted to influence Muslim community dominated by mainstream Ahle Sunna Wa’l Jama’a.

Compare the above situation with the current Muslim world, we will find many similarities. There is a stiff competition among the major groups of Wahhabis/Salafis and Shias to politically dominate and lead Muslims in the world. Other sects like Muslim Brotherhood, Deobandis and Jama’at-e-Islami are involved in bloody conflicts to control Muslim populations in Egypt, Afghanistan Pakistan, etc.

The issue of Kalam or Speech came to the fore in the seventh century AD (second century AH) when an Islamic sect Mu’tazila dominated Islamic horizon and imposed their views as official doctrine of Islam; similar to what Salafis are doing for the last one century in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

During 7th century AD (2nd century AH) the term khawarij (meaning rebels) was first referred to a group of dissidents who rebelled against the leadership of the rightful Caliph, Hazrat Ali (RU). The Khawarij had neither a unified leadership nor a settled doctrine. They were primarily a militant political tendency with an uncompromising attitude. The core of their views revolved around the nature of legitimate leadership. Although the Khawarij's uncompromising views restricted them to a marginal existence, but their impact on Muslim community had been significant.

Let us compare the above with the historical background of Salafis. The founder of Salafism, Ibn Taymiyya rebelled against the Jurisprudential authority of 4 legitimate Imams of Fiqh, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali. The Salafis did not have a political leadership or a settled school of thought for over 5 centuries, during 1300-1800 AD, except that they inherited a militant political tendency and an uncompromising attitude in Islamic faith and practice.

Political fortunes changed for this Sect when Ibn Abdul Wahhab (1703-1792) came on the scene. Anybody who knows a little about Islamic history, is aware how Ibn Abdul Wahhab rose to power in collaboration with the House of Sauds. The Salafis gained political control of the Arabian peninsula in early 20th Century after bloody conflicts with mainstream Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’a.

The core of Salafi doctrine also revolves around the nature of leadership of Muslim countries. They want Salafis and their like minded groups to control the Muslim world. It started first when their founder Ibn Taymiyyah declared Muslim rulers of Syria and Egypt as unbelievers and initiated a campaign of overthrowing them from power. Ibn Abdul Wahhab did the same thing in Arabian Peninsula in 18th Century AD. Currently Salafis are doing the same thing in many Muslim countries, like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Far East and Central Asia. In 2008, Wahhabis were banned in certain Central Asian Republics for their subversive activities against elected Governments.

During 7th Century AD, the Shais stood firmly against the Kharijis. They believed in the undisputed authority of an Imam (leader). They claimed that the position of Hazrat Ali (RU) as Imam and successor of the Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) was determined by revelation and was not a matter of opinion.

Now, look at the present Islamic world. The Shias are firmly stood against Salafis in the Middle East and the rest of the world challenging them for Muslim leadership.

When we compare earlier Kharijis and Shias and present Salafis and Shais, we realize that these sects have their origins in political power and leadership of Muslims, rather than religion. They indulge in theological arguments with mainstream Ahle Sunnah to support their political objectives.

During 7th Century AD, there were other sects, like Murjiya who maintained their neutrality to both Kharijis and Shias. In addition, there were sects like Qadariyya, ( not silsila Qaadriyya as Shaikh Abdul Qaadar Jeelani® was born three centuries later) who supported the freedom of 'human will’ against the law of Predestination. They argued for absolute freedom of the Human will. They claimed that Allah (SWT) would not put human beings under obligation to act righteously if they did not possess the power to choose their course of action.

Opposing the Qadariyya were the sect of Jabriyya (Determinists). Their most prominent spokesman was Jahm Ibn Safwan (died 746 AD – 128 AH) who taught that ‘no attributes could be associated with Allah (SWT) except for creation, power and action, since any attribute that could be associated with creatures was not fit to be associated with the Creator. As Allah (SWT) is the sole Creator, human actions are also authored by him alone; therefore, human beings have no control over their actions and have no free will’. Jahm also claimed that since Allah (SWT) could not be described as a speaker, ‘the Quran could not be described as His word, except in the sense of his creation’. Jabriyya sect had limited impact on mainstream Muslims.

Then emerged the sect of Mu’tazila who were characterized by their elitism and militant rationalism. They attempted to systematize religious doctrine centered on the affirmation of Allah’s (SWT) Absolute Unity and Absolute Justice.

Some Muslim Sects wrongly claim that ‘Ilm al-Kalam’ is associated with this sect. They should carefully read the history of Islm. The emergence of Islam was distinguished with 'Ilm al-Kalam' - polemics (religious debates) with polytheists, jews and Christiann. It continued during the period of rightly guided Caliphs. Hazrat Ali (RU) had an expert team of 'Ilm al-Kalam (debate) experts who used to debate issues with Kharijis. We need these experts all the time who could explain issues to people in correct Islamic perspective. For more details in this context, visit

Mu’tazila wrongly interpreted ‘Kalam’ which was later corrected by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (died 936 AD – 324 AH).


Mu'tazila's conservatism and their uncompromising logic for 'a reason for everything’, alienated them from main stream Islam. On the question of divine justice, the traditionalist mainstream rejected the Mu'tazila's attempts to impose ‘human and rational concepts of justice’ on Allah (SWT). They questioned the legitimacy of debate advocated by Mu’tazila in this context. The struggle between the Mu’tazila and mainstream Islam came to a head in the 'creation of the Qur'an' controversy which erupted in the first half of the third century AH (ninth century AD). The Mu’tazila imposed all their controversial ideas on Islamic state with the help of Caliph Al-Ma'mun (198-218 AH - 813-833 AD). Those rules were later abandoned by successive Caliphs.

Let us look at the similarities. The Wahhabis imposed their controversial beliefs on Arabian Peninsula with the help of the rulers ‘Al-Sauds’ in early 20th Century in spite of opposition from mainstream Islam.

The first issue that divided Muslims was the question of political authority and its legitimacy. Mainstream Muslims accepted the procedures adopted to elect the first four rightly guided caliphs. The Kharijis did not raise their head during the rule of first two Caliphs. They gained momentum during the rule of third rightly guided Caliph and with the help of certain politically ambitious head of Islamic regions, started questioning his authority in taking decision and accused him of doing things that favor some at the expense of others.

The second major issue discussed within kalam was the status of the person who committed big sins. The Khawarij started this debate by arguing that any person who committed a big sin automatically became a non-believer, thus forfeiting all rights and protections under Islamic law. The Mu’tazila argued that such a person was in an intermediate position, neither a Muslim nor a Non Muslim. The Murjiya argued for withholding of judgment to widen the interpretation as to who could qualify as a believer.

The third major issue discussed in kalam was freedom of the human Will. The Mu'tazila and Qadariyya both came out strongly in support of freedom of the will. They held that human beings are the creators of their own acts, for otherwise Allah (SWT) would be committing a grave injustice if He punishes those who had no choice in what they did.

At the other extreme, the Jabriyya held that man could not have any control over his actions as Allah (SWT) was the sole creator. Most other groups tried to strike a balance between these two poles.

The Shi'a tended to affirm the freedom of the human will and some of their sub sects like Zaydiyya, agreed completely with the Mu'tazila on this. Some other Shi'a groups, held that human beings are, in part compelled because of the chain of causation that triggers our acts.

The Khawarij accepted the idea of predestination, holding that Allah (SWT) was the Creator of the acts of people, and that nothing occurs which He did not Will.

This was also the view of mainstream orthodox and traditionalist groups, who affirmed that the will of Allah (SWT) was supreme and that he was the creator of all human acts, whether evil or virtuous; nothing could happen on earth that contradicted His Will. This position was later given some gradation by al-Ash'ari, who argued that Allah (SWT) created human acts, but human beings acquired (kasaba); meaning human beings are the perpetrators of their acts. He created a fine distinction between creation of human acts by Allah (SWT), and performance of these acts by human beings.

The fourth major issue discussed in kalam was the question of divine attributes. The Jabriyya used the affirmation of the uniqueness of Allah’s (SWT) attributes to deny the existence of free will. The Mu'tazila developed this idea further, arguing that Allah (SWT) could not have attributes in addition to His essence (Unity - Zaat), for this would mean a multiplicity of eternal entities. Later Mu'tazilites, like Abu'l-Hudhayl al-'Allaf (d. 842 AD /227 AH), added that the divine attributes are identical with the divine essence (Zaat – Unity). Allah’s (SWT) knowledge is not an attribute added to his essence, but is identical with that essence.

Early Shi'ite theologians opposed the Mu'tazila, affirming Allah’s (SWT) immanence (actually present throughout the material world) and denying his immutability (the quality or state of change) and transcendence ( the fact, state or act surpassing beyond limits) of time and space. They held that Allah’s (SWT) will was also mutable (alterable), and ascribed motion to him. They also held that Allah’s (SWT) could also be the ‘locus of accidents’ (contingents / mumkinaat / hawadith) and was corporeal in some sense. Allah’s (SWT) knowledge and will could not be eternal, for this would negate human freedom and make accountability redundant. It could also imply the eternal existence of things. Later Shi'ite theologians belonging to Zaydiyya sect, repudiated most of the anthropomorphisms (the attribution of human form and character to Allah-SWT) of their predecessors and turned towards Mu'tazilite positions.

Traditionalists, including Ash'ariyyas, affirmed the reality of Allah’s (SWT) eternal attributes, which they said were neither identical with his Essence (Zaat – Unity)nor distinct from it.

The issue of ‘Quran as creation’ was part of the issue of divine attributes. The Mu'tazila denied that Allah’s (SWT) words were eternal and affirmed that the Qur'an had to be created. This idea was accepted by the Khawarij.

However, the bulk of the traditionalists, including Ash'ariyya, rejected this view, arguing that one could not describe Allah’s (SWT) speech as created because this would mean that Allah (SWT) was subject to changing states. Speech (kalam) was one of Allah’s (SWT) eternal attributes, and the Qur'an, being His word, could not be said to be created or uncreated.

Some early Shi'a theologians like Hisham ibn al-Hakam (d. 816 AD/200 AH), developed a more complicated version of the latter argument, saying that the Qur'an, the word of Allah (SWT) could not be described as creator, created or uncreated, because an attribute, being an adjective, could not have another adjective predicated to it. Similarly, one could not say about Allah’s (SWT) attributes that they were absolute or contingent.

The vision of Allah (SWT) was also debated under Kalam. Whether Allah (SWT) could be seen in Hereafter. The Mu'tazila rejected it and their opponents affirmed it. Issues like ‘limits of faith’, the everlasting states of hell and paradise, the nature and limits of Allah’s (SWT) knowledge, will and power; all were debated under kalam.

Later, some philosophical themes were introduced into kalam, like the nature and classification of knowledge and the science of movement, bodies and things. Kalam was further widened to discuss other sciences, like biology, psychology, chemistry and different logics. However, in essence, Kalam essentially dealt either with attempting to justify religious beliefs to reason, or with employing reason to draw new conclusions and consequences from these beliefs.

Traditionalists had always suspected that the 'reason' being referred to was in fact the suspect intellect of infidel heretics; why else would a believer want to drag the articles of faith in front of the court of human reason? This contention is good when a person has developed strong faith in Islamic principles. But what about those who need counseling on Islamic issues. What about the new converts. What about Da'wa? We need to explain that Islam is the only truthful religion on Earth. Muslims have been involved in polemics right from the start. If we had not taken the assistance of Kalam (debate), Islam would not have spread in the world.

Ash'ari brought to kalam a trenchant skepticism that had a healthy impact on the field of rational argument. This skepticism was carried to great lengths by al-Ghazali, who used it to demolish the confused Neoplatonism of the Hellenizing philosophers. This approach had the potential to contribute much more to the advancement of knowledge than the dogmatic reiteration of philosophical theses, but that potential was not realized by Kalam practitioners because they spent their energies in demolishing their opponents' arguments than in constructing viable alternatives.

The decline of Kalam is attributed to many factors. First, there was the rift that developed between kalam as a discipline and philosophy proper.

Kalam was also undermined by the rise of pro-traditionalist tendencies within the discipline itself. It was difficult to reconcile vigorous rationalist discourse with the traditionalist position, which discouraged questioning in many key areas. The resurgence of traditionalism under Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and subsequent revivals under Ibn Taymiyyah and his disciples was anti-kalam, rejecting not only its theses but its methods. Ash'arite and Maturidi scholars tried to contain the traditionalism tide during fifth to eighth centuries AH (eleventh to fourteenth centuries AD, but they failed to stem this tide. The resurgence of neo Islamic movements like Salafism and their associated groups,further weakened the right approach to Kalam. Now all debates under Kalam are restricted to the view points of dominating sects like Salafis and Shais.

With all these powerful forces deployed against it, the decline of 'right kalam' was inevitable. The early schools of kalam all became extinct, but traces of their teachings remain embedded within the teachings of the main schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

The two main Shi'a schools (the Ithna 'Ashriyya and Zaydiyya) have inherited some aspects of Mu'tazilite rationalism and doctrines. Shi'ism has also been more successful and more reconciled to philosophical discourse.

The Hanafi school of thought became closely associated with the Maturidi school of kalam.

The Shafi'i school of thought adopted Ash'arism as a general rule.

The Maliki school of thought, also adopted Ash'arism as a general rule, but with less enthusiasm.

The Hanbali school of thought favored an anti-rationalist and anthropomorphic position distrusting 'kalam' altogether.