Hadrat Muftī Ahmad Khānpūrī Sāhib
In these latter times Allāh ta‛ālā blessed the ‛ulamā’ of Deoband with the distinguishing mark of establishing a balanced view in the various departments of Dīn, thereby reviving memories of the eras of the Sahābah radiyallāhu ‛anhum, Tābi‛īn and noble predecessors. Take any department of Dīn as an example: the fields of teaching and educating, expressing views and opinions, times of peace and comfort or war and fear, Sufi practices or Tablīghī issues – in all these fields they remained firm on a balanced view and presented themselves as living examples of أمة وسطا – a balanced nation. A very senior elder, Hadrat Maulānā Muhammad Ilyās Sāhib Kāndhlawī Dehlawī rahimahullāh, is a member of this group. Through His absolute power, Allāh ta‛ālā took extraordinary services from him in the form of the movement of the Tablīghī Jamā‛at in this century. An example of this is not to be seen in the past. Hadrat freed himself from all occupations and devoted the valuable moments of his life towards the progress of the Jamā‛at. When Hadrat departed from this world, its leadership was handed over to Hadratjī Thānī Maulānā Muhammad Yūsuf Sāhib rahimahullāh. Hadrat Maulānā Muhammad Ilyās Sāhib rahimahullāh had personally imposed on Hadrat Shaykh al-Hadīth Sāhib rahimahullāh to be the leader and mentor of the Jamā‛at and settle down in the Nizām ad-Dīn Markaz.
Hadrat Shaykh al-Hadīth rahimahullāh was – at one and the same time – at the head of Islamic madāris, a shaykh in the field of spiritual rectification, and a mentor to the Tablīghī Jamā‛at. He remained on a path of moderation while supervising these different
departments, and spread his blessings and teachings to many regions. Sayyidī Wa Sanadī Faqīh al-Ummat Hadrat Muftī Mahmūd Hasan Gangohī rahimahullāh makes reference to the comprehensiveness of Hadrat Shaykh al-Hadīth rahimahullāh in the following couplet from his famous composition titled Wasf-e-Shaykh:
He established khānqāhs and madāris everywhere. He despatched well-trained ambassadors in large numbers.
In the last few years, due to the evils of our actions, the imbalances of certain individuals are causing the Tablīghī Jamā‛at to shift away from the path of moderation of our elders. These individuals believe this work to be Dīn in its entirety, and the absolute shaykh in all matters. They are then moulding the minds of their subordinates in the same way. This attitude of theirs is causing a tumult among those of the Tablīghī elders who have a balanced disposition, and doubts and misgivings among the masses. A need was felt to remove the misunderstandings in this regard, and to present to the public the temperament and disposition of our elders with respect to this work.
Coincidentally, our Dār al-Iftā’ received a query from the Maharashtra region. It contained 14 questions. The query expressed a conflict between practices of the Tablīghī Jamā‛at and the Khānqāh. Our respected Muftī ‛Abd al-Qayyūm Sāhib Rajkautī (assistant Muftī at Dār al-Iftā’ Jāmi‛ah Dhābel) prepared a detailed and referenced answer. I was very pleased with it when I read it. My heart poured out with supplications for him. His answer is exactly in line with the temperament of the elders of Deoband and an echo of their hearts.
In the early days of Da‛wat Wa Tablīgh, when scholars made objections against the Tablīghī Jamā‛at, it was these Muftīs who provided answers, came to the defence of the Tablīghī Jamā‛at and fulfilled the responsibility of lending their support to it. Now the same Muftīs are replying to the objections made by unknowing Tablīghī brothers against those elders who are occupied in the path of Sufism. In this way, they are fulfilling the responsibility of establishing the truth. This collection is one link of the same chain.
The various groups which are serving Dīn in various ways are mutual supporters, not antagonists. Every balanced-minded person must bear this reality in mind.
The purpose of publishing this fatwā is to remove misunderstandings in this regard and to remind us of the forgotten lessons of moderation of our seniors. Allāh forbid! Allāh forbid! It is not intended to belittle and scorn anyone.
All that I desire is reformation as much as I can. The realization of my aim is solely through the help of Allāh. It is in Him that I have placed my trust, and it is to Him that I turn.1
Ahmad Khānpūrī, may Allāh pardon him.
5 Sha‛bān al-Mu‛azzam 1435 A.H.