Contents > Chapter 1: Overview and Background > The Importance of Aqeedah to the Sufis in light of an essay by Imdadullah Muhajir Makki


 

The Importance of Aqeedah to the Sufis in light of an essay by Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
 

Firstly, the influence of the views of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki on the Deobandis and the Jamaat Tableegh cannot be over-emphasized - He is the spiritual guide of many prominent Deobandi scholars like Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi and Qasim Nanotwi. Moulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi addresses his Shaikh Imdadullah Muhajir Makki as, “O my Refuge of both worlds.”[1] and Moulana Zakariyah (the author of Fazaail-e-Aamaal) refers to him as, “guide for humanity.”[2]

 

An essay by Imdadullah Muhajir Makki has been compiled in the English translation of ‘Bahishti Zewar[3] by the name, ‘Unity in Islam’ and its subject is the Deobandi-Barelawi Dispute. In this essay, Imdadullah Muhajir Makki comments upon the Milaad gatherings, which are held to commemorate the birth of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). In these gatherings, poetry in praise of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is read and when the crowd is signaled, everybody stands (to greet the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam)).[4]

 

Imdadullah Muhajir Makki, the esteemed Shaikh of the Deobandi scholars, says about the Milaad gatherings... “…you should not hate someone who does not perform ‘Qiyaam’ (standing) in Milaad because this is not Wajib (desirable) or Fardh (obligatory)… If you know someone, who considers the Qiyaam as Wajib (obligatory), then Qiyaam will be an innovation for him alone. However, to call all those who perform Qiyaam in Milaad, as innovators, is exceeding the limit. It is quiet possible that the holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) stays in his abode in Paradise and our activities are shown to him as on T.V. or somehow through other means; through Angels or without them…” He further adds, “Consider these differences as trivial (unimportant), like the differences between Imam Abu Haneefah and Imam ash-Shafi’ee”. He says: “Do not oppose these ceremonies, where they are customary… If those who oppose Qiyaam are also invited in a general meeting, then it is better to drop the Qiyaam. However, if it is not possible to do so, then if they (those opposed to Qiyaam) wish to continue then they should also join the rest in Qiyaam and Salaam.”[5]

 

Commenting upon music, which is totally Haraam in Islam[6] Muhajir Makki says, “Do not call each other as Bidati (i.e. innovators) and Wahabi, live in peace with moderation. Musical concerts (or Sama or Qawwali) with or without instrumental music are likewise controversial. Some need them (instrumental music) among the loving Sufis (Ahle-Muhabbat) and it is best not to criticize others as hypocrites. Who do not need them should not perform them, but do not divide over trivial (unimportant) differences.”[7]

 

As we mentioned earlier, the Deobandis agree in principle on most issues with the Barelawis. The disagreements are either in finer details or, whether those actions are for specific people or for every one. This essay by Imdadullah Muhajir Makki is an open witness to this attitude and is apparent in both the examples (Milaad and music).

 

Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki’s advice to his followers is that (1) Milaad, (2) the gatherings, (3) the standing to greet Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and (4) the belief that even after death Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) can attend multiple gathering at the same time are not innovations in themselves. The problem is only with those who consider standing in Milaad to be an obligation! Furthermore, he expresses no real disapproval for this “pagan originated custom” (as today’s Deobandis call it), by allowing his followers to participate in the Milaad.

 

The so-called, ‘Ahle-Muhabbat’ mentioned by Imdadullah Muhajir Makki were those who indulged in the Haraam (prohibited) action of playing and listening to music, in order to please Allah. To exaggerate in righteous actions is bad enough but to indulge in Haraam action claiming to gain the pleasure of Allah is the worst of all.

This essay also raises another question as to whether certain actions are Haraam for the common Muslims and Halaal for a special few. Is anyone above the Sharee’ah? Furthermore, Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki considers issues of Aqeedah and, Halaal and Haraam to be trivial. He considers such disagreements to be a mercy for the Ummah.[8]


 


[1] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.242.

[2] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.218.

[3] Bahishti Zewar is a highly revered book of the Deobandis written by Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi. This book deals with everyday Fiqh and is traditionally given to brides as part of their dower.

[4] The pro-Deobandi Majlis Ulema of South Africa says, “…The reason behind the standing during Milaad is the belief that Rasoolullah presents himself at such gatherings…” By this belief, “The attribute of omnipresence (present in all places at all times) is bestowed upon Rasoolullah.” The same booklet declares, “…the Milaad originated from the pagans.” [All quotations from the booklet, “What is Milaad?” p.12., published by pro-Deobandi Majlis Ulema of South Africa]

[5] Bahishti Zewar (Eng. Trans.) Part twelve, p.222.

[6] The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “I forbid two voices, which are imbecilic and sinfully shameless: one is the voice (of singing) accompanied by musical instruments and Satan’s wind instruments.” [Related by al-Hakim].  The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) warned the Muslims against those who consider music to be lawful, when he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, “There will be people from my nation [Muslims] who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk [for men], wine drinking and the use of musical instruments [ma’aazif]…. Then Allah will destroy them during the night causing the mountain to fall upon them, while He changes others into apes and swine. They will remain in such a state until the Day of Resurrection.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee, (Eng. Trans.) vol. 7, 494 B]

The Sufis consider this Haraam action as food of the soul: Abu Bakr al-Kalabadhi said, ‘I heard Abu’l-Qasim al-Baghdadi say, “Audition is of two kinds. One class of man listens to discourse, and derives therefrom an admonition: such a man only listens discriminately and with his hearten present. The other class listens to music, which is the food of the spirit and when the spirit obtains its food, it attains its proper station, and turns aside from the government of the body; and then there appears in the listener a commotion and a movement.” [The Doctrine of the Sufis, p.164]

[7] See Bahishti Zewar, Part twelve, p.223, “Unity in Islam by Hazrat Haji Imdadullah”.

Moulana Zakariyah has quoted five page discussion in his book “Mashaikh-e-Chist” from the writing of Moulana Ashraf Alee Thanvi’s by the name, “Haqqus Sama.” The conclusion of this discussion is that listening to Samaa and music is permissible for the Soofis with certain conditions. [See, Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.174.]

[8] See Bahishti Zewar, Part twelve, p.222.