Have you edited the Deobandi Aqida Book 'Al-Muhannad' and Where Can I get a Copy?

Question #: 5923
Date Posted: 25-08-2006
<QUESTION>

Have you edited the Deobandi Aqida Book al-Muhannad ala al-Mufannad and if so, Where Can I get a Copy?

<ANSWER>
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Yes indeed, through the sheer grace of Allah Most High, I was honoured to have edited and re-published the Arabic version of the book al-Muhannad.

Al-Muhannad ala al-Mufannad (The Sword on the Disproved) also known as al-Tasdiqat li-Daf’ al-Talbisat (Endorsements Repelling Deceits) is a book that expresses some of the beliefs held by the Sunni scholars of the Indian Subcontinent affiliated to Deoband. For this reason, it is also known in some circles as Aqa’id Ulama Ahl al-Sunna Deoband (The Beliefs of the Sunni Scholars of Deoband). It was authored by the renowned scholar of Hadith and commentator of Sunan Abi Dawud (in 20 volumes), Shaykh Mawlana Khalil Ahmad al-Saharanpuri (may Allah have mercy on his soul).

In the year 1323 A.H. doubts were raised in certain quarters of the Subcontinent questioning the Sunni-ness of the Scholars (ulama) of Deoband. These misgivings also reached the Ulama of the 2 blessed cities of Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara (hijaz). The great Deobandi Scholar, Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Huseyn Ahmad al-Madani (Allah have mercy on him) was, in those days, residing in the blessed city of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) teaching the science of Hadith in the blessed Mosque of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). He informed the Ulama of Hijaz that the Scholars of Deoband have always followed Sunni Islam as demonstrated by the Companions (sahaba) and their students (tabi’un) (Allah be pleased with them all), and as explained by scholars over the centuries such as Imam Abu’l Hasan al-Ash’ari, Imam Abu’l Mansur al-Maturidi and others (Allah be pleased with them all). He reiterated that the Scholars of Deoband follow the Maturidi (and Ash’ari) Schools in Aqida, the Hanafi School in Fiqh and the Chishtiyya, Naqshabandiyya, Qadiriyya and Suhrawardiyya orders in Tasawwuf and Ihsan.

In order to clarify this, the Ulama of Hijaz sent a questionnaire consisting of 26 questions to the Ulama of Deoband asking them to elucidate their position with regards to issues such as: using intermediaries in supplication to Allah (tawassul), visiting the grave of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), Prophets being alive in their graves, sending blessings in abundance upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), following one of the four Sunni Schools of Islamic law, Sufism, celebrating the Mawlid, knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) being the last and final Prophet of Allah, etc. Shaykh Khalil Ahmad al-Saharanpuri (Allah have mercy on him) took on the task to compile a detailed response to these questions in Arabic. The answers written by him were verified and endorsed by 24 other major Scholars affiliated to the Deobandi School including Hakim al-Umma Shaykh Mawlana Ashraf Ali Tahanawi and Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan Deobandi (Allah have mercy on them all). Thereafter this compilation was sent to the Ulama of Hijaz who approved and endorsed the answers and also wrote short letters declaring that the answers and viewpoints penned by Shaykh Khalil Ahmad were in accordance with the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’ah. It was also sent to other Arab lands such as Egypt and Syria where it was endorsed by numerous other Scholars. Those who endorsed the work from the various Arab lands included:

1) Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Ba Busayl al-Shafi’i (Shafi’i Mufti of Makka)

2) Shaykh Muhammad Abid ibn Huseyn al-Maliki (Maliki Mufti of Makka)

3) Shaykh as-Sayyid Ahmad al-Barzanji (Mufti of the Shafi’is in Madina)

4) Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad Khayr al-Shinquiti al-Maliki (Madina)

5) al-Allama al-Imam Shaykh Saleem al-Bishri (Shaykh of al-Azhar in Egypt)

6) Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Abu’l Khayr Ibn Abidin (Hanafi Faqih of Damascus)

7) Shaykh Mustafa ibn Ahmad al-Shatti (Hanbali Faqih of Damascus)

8) Shaykh Mahmoud Rashid al-Attar (Hanafi Faqih of Damascus)

9) Shaykh Mustafa al-Haddad (of Hama in Syria)

10) Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id al-Hamawi (of Hama in Syria)

In total, 45 top ranking scholars from the Indian Subcontinent, Hijaz, Egypt and Syria endorsed, signed and approved the answers compiled by Shaykh Khalil Ahmad al-Saharanpuri as being in accordance with the Ahl al-Sunna methodology. The questions sent by the Ulama of Hijaz, the answers compiled by the Shaykh and the subsequent endorsements from the various Shuyukh form the basis of the book al-Muhannad ala al- Mufannad.

As such, this book became a standard work expressing the beliefs and viewpoints held by the Sunni scholars of the Subcontinent affiliated to Dar al-Uloom Deoband, and the content contained therein was agreed upon and signed by many scholars of Deoband. The book was first published in the Subcontinent in the year 1325 A.H., and thereafter many editions of it were published in Arabic and Urdu. The latest edition of this work was published by Idara Islamiyyat (Lahore, Pakistan) in Arabic with facing Urdu translation in a two column format. This edition has a brief introduction in Urdu and also an addition of another booklet at the end titled Aqa’id Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’ah in Urdu, which actually is a summary and conclusion of the topics covered in al-Muhannad by a recent scholar of Pakistan. This short summary is broken down into 25 points of Aqida, e.g. Aqida number 1, Aqida number 2 and so on and so forth. These points of Aqida (which are based on the al-Muhannad) are then attested to by later Deobandi Scholars such as Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ al-Uthmani, Imam Zafar Ahmad Uthmani (Author of the renowned 18-volume work I’la’ al-Sunan) and many other scholars affiliated to Deoband. This edition consists of approximately 190 pages, and it is the one I used in order to edit and re-publish the work.

During my stay in Syria, I felt there was a need to publish al-Muhannad in accordance with modern standards of publication. The copy of al-Muhannad available in the Subcontinent was printed in the old Arabic font which the Arabs were not familiar with. For someone unfamiliar with this style of writing, it was not possible to read the text without enduring difficulty. Also, the book had a mixture of Arabic and Urdu in it. As such, through the grace of Allah Most High, I started working on the original work.

Firstly, I removed all of the Urdu material that was merged into the Subcontinent version of the book and I only sufficed with the original Arabic text of al-Muhannad. The Arabic text was then composed in accordance with the modern style of writing.

The edition of the book I re-published begins with two letters of support from two of my teachers. The first letter is written by Shaykh Mufti Mahmoud Ashraf al-Uthmani of Pakistan (may Allah preserve him) in which he makes two extremely important points regarding the book. Firstly, he states that one should not consider this book to be a standard book on Islamic Creed (aqida), but rather, this book merely covers some issues linked to Aqida, many of which are secondary issues. As such, if a Muslim was not even aware of some of these issues, such as the status of using intermediaries in supplication to Allah (tawassul), the Sunni viewpoint on Wahhabis, etc, there would be no deficiency in one’s belief (iman). The second point outlined by the respected Shaykh is that the various issues discussed in the book are not all on the same wavelength. Some issues are established through absolute (qat’i) texts of the Qur’an and Sunna whilst others are not. Consequently, the ruling on disbelieving or rejecting these issues will differ from one issue to another. If one disbelieved in the fact that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is the last and final Prophet, then one would be committing Kufr. If one rejected the Prophets being alive, then he would be considered deviated. If one rejected the four Sunni Schools of Islamic law, then he would be considered as not being on the orthodox methodology adopted by the majority of this Umma’s Scholars, and so on and so forth. The second letter was written by another of my teachers, Shaykh Doctor Abd al-Latif al-Farfur al-Hasani of Damascus (may Allah preserve him). The respected Shaykh is the eldest son of the late Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Farfur and a student of Sayyid Muhammad al-Makki al-Kattani (Allah have mercy on them both). In his letter, he praises the author of the book, Shaykh Khalil Ahmad al-Saharanpuri, and his work.

After these two letters, I wrote a short introduction to the book, outlining its significance and the context in which it was written. Thereafter, I compiled a short chapter introducing the great Ulama of Deoband and their works. I gave a list of twenty top scholars affiliated to Deoband and their works in the various sciences of Qur’anic Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and other subjects. I explained what Dar al-Uloom Deoband stood for and what are its aims and goals. Finally, in this chapter, I compiled a list of Dar al-Ulooms and institutions of Islamic learning around the globe that are affiliated to Deoband.

The next chapter is dedicated to the biography of the author, Mawlana Khalil Ahmad al-Saharanpuri (Allah have mercy on his soul). I cited his name and lineage, his date of birth, his religious upbringing, his main teachers, his travels, his main students, his qualities and attributes, his works and finally his passing away to the mercy of Allah Most High in the year 1346 A.H. in the city of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and being buried in the al-Baqi’ cemetery of Madina al-Munawwara. All of the above was compiled exclusively in Arabic.

Thereafter, the actual book al-Muhannad begins. The composing of the text is in accordance with modern standards, using new paragraphs whenever appropriate. Each page has a line differentiating the actual text of the book and footnotes added by me. In the footnotes, I have attempted to reference all quotes made by the author, citing references for all the Qur’anic verses and Hadiths used by him. I have also compiled brief biographies of almost all the personalities mentioned by the author including the many Shuyukh who endorsed the book. Notes explaining key terms and concepts have also been included whenever necessary. At the end, there are separate tables of contents for the Qur’anic verses, Hadiths, biographies and the topics covered in the book in order that searching for specifics becomes easier for the reader. There is also an index outlining all the books and references that were used during the editing of the work.

The new title chosen for this work is Mabahith fi Aqa’id Ahl al-Sunna al-Musamma al- Muhannad ala al-Mufannad (Discussions in the beliefs of the People of Sunna known as al-Muhannad ala al-Mufannad). The book consists of 153 pages using standard clean white paper and is presented in an elegant manner with an extremely appealing cover. Its first publication year is 1425 A.H./2004 A.D. It was published in Amman (Jordon) by Dar al-Fath Publishing House and copies of it are available in bookshops in many Arab counties such as Syria, Jordon, UAE, Yemen and Egypt. You may also be able to order a copy online. Unfortunately, as it is an Arabic book, copies of it are not available in UK and US bookstores.

I hope the above information answers all your questions regarding the new edited version of al-Muhannad, and that it is of some help to you, Insha Allah. May Allah Most High give us the ability to do that which pleases Him and His beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace), Ameen.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK