Anfas al-Arifin: Fatawa Alamgiri

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Salam.  As you some of you maybe aware, the ‘Fatawa Alamgiri’ or ‘Fatawa al-Hindiyyah’ as it is better known outside the Indian subcontinent was compiled by a panel of scholars on the orders of the Moghul Emperor Alamgir.  Perhaps Hanafi fiqh experts can comment in greater detail regarding its merits and importance within the madhab.  I found the following incident mentioned by Shah Waliullah which sheds some light on the process of the works codification.  Shah Sahib said in his ‘Anfas al-Arifin’ (p.74):

My respected father said that one day when reviewing the portion assigned to me of the Fatawa Alamgiri I found such a passage in which the example of the legal ruling was mixed up.  I referred back to the works which were the source of this ruling.  From reading them it became known that the issue was taken from two books, and that in each book it was explained in a different manner.  The author of the Fatawa Alamgiri had joined both passages together and thus because of this the example of the legal ruling had become altered.  At this point I added a note in which I wrote: ‘He who does not understand the religion has mixed up here with this mistake, and its correction is the following…’

In those days Alamgir was extremely focussed on the arrangement and codification of this book, and Mulla Nizam would daily read one or two pages to the Emperor.  When he reached my note which differed it so happened that he read the note along with the text in one breath.  The Emperor sat up and asked: ‘What kind of passage is this?’

Mulla Nizam in this gathering averting the difficulity temporarily said: ‘I have not had the opportunity to look through this, tomorrow I will discuss it in detail’.

When he returned home he was angry with Mulla Hamid and said that: ‘I had left this part of the Fatawa in your trust, you embarrassed me in front of the Emperor’.  He asked: ‘What is this wording?’

Mulla Hamid said nothing.

Afterwards he expressed his displeasure to me.  At this I presented the two books which were the sources of this legal ruling and the doubt related to the ruling and the confusion of the passage was made clear in such a manner that everyones eyes were opened.  After this day this group of the Mufti’s became envious of me, and the apparent reason of my removal was this incident.  And Allah knows best.

Anfas al-Arifin: Burial In The Place For Shoes

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Salam.  I believe the Shaykh Muhammad Baqi being referred to in the passage below may perhaps be Shaykh Baqi billah, the spiritual guide of Shaykh Ahmad al-Sirhindi.  The picture above of is of Shaykh Baqi billah’s shrine in Delhi.  Shah Waliullah mentions the following incident from his father in the ‘Anfas al-Arifin’ (p.65-66):

My respected father said that Khawaja Khurd (Allah have mercy on him) said to me towards the end of his life: ‘Bury me in the area of taking off the shoes in the blessed shrine (rawza-e-aqdas) of Hazrat Khawaja Muhammad Baqi (Allah have mercy on him).  Because of Hazrat Khawaja Buzurg’s spiritual connection being directly linked to the person of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and keeping this in mind do not bury me in the graveyard.  I am only deserving of being buried in the place for shoes’.

I said that: ‘The job of burying will be the responsibility of others, what choice do I have on this?’

He replied: ‘Convey my wish’

After Khwaja Khurd’s (Allah have mercy on him) passing away I conveyed his wish to the inheritors but they took no notice of it.

Shaykh Abd al-Rahim al-Dehlawi-Father of Shah Waliullah

Salam.  As you have noticed I have posted a few articles from Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi’s spiritual biography of his father named ‘Anfas al-Arifin’.  I thought it may be of benefit to post something brief regarding Shah Waliullah’s father: Shaykh Abd al-Rahim al-Dehlawi.  The following biography is extracted/adapted from Hakim Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani’s ‘Nuzhat al-Khawatir’ (p.747):

***
The Shaykh, the great scholar, the gnostic, Abd al-Rahim bin Wajih al-Din al-Umari al-Dehlawi was from the major Naqshbandi Shaykhs.  He was born and raised in Delhi and studied the small works of the curriculum with his older brother Abul Rida Muhammad al-Dehlawi, and the larger ones with Qadi Muhammad Zahid bin Muhammad Aslam al-Harawi.

He studied from ‘Sharh al-Aqaid’ with Shaykh Abdullah bin Abd al-Baqi al-Naqshbandi al-Dehlawi and benefitted greatly from him in terms of spiritual grace (fuyud).  He wished to take allegiance with him but he refused and pointed him in the direction of Sayyid Abdullah al-Akbarabadi whom he took allegiance with and took the Naqshbandi path from, and kept his company for the length of his life.

He then kept the company of Shaykh Abu Qasim al-Akbarabadi, took from him and kept his company for a lengthy period of time.

He received the Chishti cloak (khirqah) from Shaykh Azmatullah bin Abd al-Latif bin Badr al-Din bin Jalal al-Din al-Mutawakkil al-Akbarabadi from his father from his grandfather from Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin al-Hasan al-Dehlawi.  There was agreement between the people of knowledge and gnosis regarding his complete excellence.

Shaykh Muhsin Bin Yahya al-Turhati said in ‘Al-Yani al-Janni’:

He was from the most distinguished of the scholars of Delhi and from their notables.  His states are mentioned in the biographical works on the saints of India, and many of their details are recorded in the book ‘Anfas al-Arifin’ and likewise in the ‘Tabaqat al-Abrar’.  And he had a large share of the Uwaisi [spiritual path].

Shaykh Abd al-Rahim al-Dehlawi passed away on Wednesday the 12th of Safar in the year 1131 at the age of 77 as mentioned in the ‘Anfas al-Arifin’.

Shaykh Ahmad al-Nuri of Marehra

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Shaykh Ahmad al-Nuri
From Hakim Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani’s ‘Nuzhat al-Khawatir’ (p.1166)

Salam.  I found the following brief biographical entry for the spiritual guide of Mawlana Ahmad Rida Khan which I wanted to share with others who might find it of interest.  This same scholar was mentioned by Mawlana Ahmad Rida himself in his Ijazah to Shaykh Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani mentioned elsewhere on this blog.  Hakim Abd al-Hayy al-Hasani said:

The pious scholar, Shaykh Abul Hussain bin Zahoor Hasan bin Aal Rasul bin Aal Barakat bin Hamza bin Aal Muhammad bin Barakatullah al-Hussaini al-Wasiti al-Marehrawi, better known as Ahmad al-Nuri.

He was from the Sufi scholars, he was born and raised in Marehra and began studies from a young age.  He took hadith and the spiritual path from his grandfather Sayyid Aal Rasul.

He took the pattern chained narration of firstness (musalsal bil-awwaliyyah) from Shaykh Ahmad Hasan al-Muradabadi from Shaykh Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Dimyati from Shaykh al-Muammar Muhammad bin Abd al-Aziz from Shaykh al-Muammar Abil Khair bin Amus al-Rashidi from Shaykh al-Islam Zayn al-Din Zakariyyah al-Ansari.  And this is a very high/elevated chain.  I met him in Bhopal more than once and took from him the pattern chained narration of firstness. He was a pious scholar, possessed a radiant face, noble/honourable/generous, heavy set, of a medium height and eloquent.

He has a number of works in the furu and usul, amongst them being:

  • Al-Nur wal-Baha fi Asanid al-Hadith wa Salasil al-Awliyah

He passed away with 11 days of Rajab having passed in the year 1324.

Mawlid And The Scholars of India -3: Sh Abd al-Haq al-Dihlawi

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Salam.  I found some additional material on the Mawlid from one of the major scholars of the subcontinent.  We have mentioned something from him previously in the original post on the topic.

Shaykh Abd al-Haq Muhaddith al-Dihlawi said in his ‘Akhbar al-Akhyar’ (pg.624):

O Allah, there is no action of mine which I deem worthy of presenting to you, lack of sincere intentions remains present in all of my actions.  However this lowly and needy one has one act which purely because of Your personal care is very great  which is that in the gathering of Milad I stand and recite Salam. And without utmost humility, love and sincerity have been sending salutations and peace upon your pure beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace).

O Allah, Is there a place where there is a greater descending of your grace and blessings than the blessed Milad?  Because of this O Most Merciful I have a firm conviction that this action of mine will not be worthless but will most certainly accepted by you.  And whom so ever recites salutations and blessings and then by means of it supplicates it is never rejected.

Arabic Language Pill

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Salam.  Often when asked the question: “How did you learn Arabic then? Tell me…” I often give the reply: “I am trying to learn it myself” or: “You don’t know how weak I am in it”; trying to rebut the tone of the question which seems to indicate that I had somehow dipped past the imaginary Arabic language “finishing line” and had now officially “learnt” Arabic.

Sensing the questioners desire to stumble upon some kind of ground breaking method requiring little effort I sometimes add “actually theres a pill you can take, and then the next day when you wake up you will know Arabic, its that simple”. The point is no matter which learning method exists out there it will require hard work on the part of the student.

I have set myself the target of being able to understand Islamic texts correctly, everything else is a bonus (Insh-Allah), I wish I could add my own taliqat and hawashi to articles or texts I enjoy, or even dare to venture into writing a fully fledged article.  However unfortunately I do not have the time nor the commitment/focus to achieve these goals.

Arabic experts out there please feel free to comment with your thoughts, hopefully the goal of picking up a not too difficult Islamic work and being able to enjoy it will not be too unrealistic a target for people to aim for (along with some hard work).  I found a few passages in the Mawsuah (35/277-278) from which I have extracted the following:

Excellence Of The Arabic Language
Al-Tumartashi and al-Haskafi said:  Arabic has an excellence over all languages.  It is the language of the people of Paradise, he who studies it and teaches it to others is rewarded. [Dur al-Mukhtar 5/269]

In a hadith is:  “Love the Arabs because of three:  because I am Arab, the Quran is in Arabic and the speech of the people of Paradise is Arabic”. [cited by al-Haithami in al-Majma (10/52) who said: Reported by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat except that he said: ‘The language of the people of Paradise will be Arabic’.  It contains al-Alaa Ibn Amr al-Hanafi regarding whose weakness there is agreement.]

Basic Minimum Amount

Every Muslim should strive their utmost to learn the Arabic language to the point that they are able to bear witness in it that ‘There is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger’, recite the book of Allah, pronounce the dhikr compulsory for them from the takbir, and that which they are ordered with in the tasbih and tashahhud and other than them. [Risalah al-Shafi p.48]

Means To Understanding The Quran And Sunnah
When the Quran and Pure Sunnah have come in the Arabic language their knowledge is dependant on the knowledge of Arabic.  When there is no means to seeking an understanding of them both except by this route the knowledge of it (Arabic) is from the most important of the necessary acts (wajibat). [Al-Muwafaqat 2/64 with slight changes]

As for delving into the intracies of the Arabic sciences which are necessary for the understanding of the Quran, Pure Sunnah and secrets of the Shariah, it is a communal obligation (fard al-kifayah). If some of the Muslims undertake it the rest of them are absolved, however if they all are negligent in regards to it, then all of them will be sinful [Hashiyah al-Sherwani ala Tuhfah al-Muhtaj 9/214]

Note: Some material above being based on Imam al-Shafi’s work, it logically follows that it reflects the Shafi school of thought.