Deviation of Tabligh al-Jama'at from the Ahl as-Sunnat
There is a group of people who have been visiting Islamic countries and preaching and advising Muslims under the name Tabligh Jama'at. Leaving India and Pakistan in gangs of three to five persons, these people have been going all over the world. They say that they try to spread Islam. They claim to be in the path of as-Sahaba. Some of them also say that they follow the Hanafi madhhab and admire Ibn Taymiyya. Though they speak very usefully and righteously and since the fact that they never mention the names and words of Islamic scholars and seem to hush up part of the Ahl as-Sunnat knowledge, they arouse suspicion and sorrow. In the following, the writings of some of the religious authorities living in India and Pakistan about them is given:
"They are heretics. They call themselves Jamaat at-tabligh.
Their center is in Delhi [with large branches in Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan.] Wherever they go, they lay very much stress upon performing salat. They give useful and necessary religious information. They call these activities of theirs 'kast' in Urdu language. It is said that their organization was founded by an Indian named Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas. This man was born in Kandla in 1303 A.H. (1886). He was Rashid Ahmad Gangohi's disciple. It is written on the 43rd and 49th pages of the book Mawlana Ilyas Uranki din Dawat by one of Ilyas's close disciples that he stayed near him for ten years. When Rashid Ahmad died in 1323 (1905) he was taught by Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri. In his Urdu book, Khalil Ahmad [d. Medina, 1346 (1928)] says that the devil is more learned than Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam). Rashid Ahmad says on the 51st page of Barahin-i qati'a that Khalil Ahmad's book was a blessed one and kept it at the place called 'Bait-i 'ain-i Islam.' Rashid Ahmad was the Khalifa of Haji Imdadullah al-Madani [d. Mecca, 1317 (1899)], and was first taught by Ismail Dahlawi, who wrote on the 38th page of Taqwiyat al-iman which is the Urdu translation of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's Kitab at-tawhid,
'Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) died and rotted away. He became soil. He who believes that he will intercede in Resurrection becomes a polytheist.'
Another tutor of Ilyas was Ashraf 'Ali Tahanawi who also was a Khalifa of Haji Imdadullah of the Chishtiyya Tariqa. In the first part of his Urdu book Hifz al-iman, he writes very loathsome things which reduce the high grade of Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) to the low degree of a child, of a mad person or of animals. All the four tutors of Ilyas became unbelievers because of such writings of theirs in their books. Ilyas praises, exalts and excessively respects these unbelievers. He says that they are the most eminent awliya' of their time. The 114th page of the book Malfuzat-i Hadrat-i Mawlana Ilyas Rahmatullahi 'alaih is full with such praises. He says about his shaikh Rashid Ahmad, 'Had not I seen him, my heart would not have attained tranquility. Whenever I woke up at night I would go to his room, look at his face and then come back and go to sleep. His love, like the blood in my veins, has penetrated everywhere in me.' (pp. 44, 49, Mawlana Ilyas Uranki). Allahu ta'ala declares in the last ayat of the surat al-Mujadala, 'Those who believe in Allahu ta'ala and the Day of Resurrection will dislike those [unbelievers] who do not obey Allahu ta'ala and His Messenger ('alaihi 's-salam). Allahu ta'ala will fill with iman the hearts of those who dislike unbelievers even though they were their fathers, sons, brothers or relatives.' All the members of Tabligh jamaat exaggerate and praise 'Ilyas' and his teachers very much and say 'rahmatullahi 'alaih' when they mention or hear their names. They spread their above-mentioned books everywhere.
"The Ahl as-Sunnat scholars wrote many books in order to refute the Tabligh group and to reveal the fact that they were heretics. They could not answer these books at all. Hadrat Mawlana 'Abd al-'Alim Siddiqi alayhir rahman wrote that Ilyas's teachers were in an endeavor to demolish Islam from within." [This is written in detail also in the books al-mustanad, Usul al-arba'a fi tardid al-Wahhabiyya, ad-dawlat al-Makkiyya and Hediyya-t-ul-Mehdiyyin, which were reproduced in Istanbul in 1395 (1975).]
When Ilyas died in 1363 (1949) the successor was his son, Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi [b. Delhi, 1335 (1917); d. Lahore, buried Delhi, 1394 (1974)]. Yusuf's three-volume book, Hayat-us-Sahaba, was translated into Turkish and published in 1395 (1975). Because as-Sahaba are praised much in this book it arouses admiration in the reader. But there is a famous saying: "Judge a man by his actions, not by his words." One who believes in the superiority of as-Sahaba and loves them has to follow in their path, which is the path shown by the Ahl as-Sunnat scholars. The sign of love for as-Sahaba is to learn the fiqh books of one of the four Ahl as-Sunnat madhhabs, to endeavor to disseminate this knowledge and to live up to it. Muhammad Yusuf was succeeded by his son, Shaikh In'am al-Hasan, who was the hadith teacher at Mazahir-i 'Ulum Madrasa in Saharanpur, India. Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali Nadwi, the director of Nadwat al-ulama' [founded in Lucknow, India in 1310 (1891)], praises al-Imam ar-Rabbani Ahmad as-Sirhindi and his services in his book Ad-da'wat al-Islamiyya [Lucknow, 1395 (1975)], but adds his praises for Ismail Dahlawi (killed in 1246), Nadhir Husain Dahlawi (d. 1320), the madrasa in Deobend which was founded by Muhammad Qasim Nanawtawi [d. 1317 (1899)], one of the Khulafa' of Imdad-ullah, in 1288 (1871), Ashraf Ali Tahanawi (d. 1362), the Tabligh group and its founder, Muhammad Ilyas. This faqir, the author, has read the book Taqwim al-bayan, Persian translation of Ismail Dahlawi's Taqwiyat al-iman [Pakistan, 1396 (1976)] and come to the conclusion that Ismail is not only a sheer ignoramus but also a non-madhhabi idiot who strives to censure the right by alloying it with the wrong. May Allahu ta'ala protect Muslims from reading and believing such heretical writings and falling into endless calamity! Amin!
In the Shawwal 1399 A.H. (1979) and following issues of the monthly periodical Al-muallim which is published by the Jamiyat al-'ulama' called "Samasta" located in the Malappuram City of the Kerala State, South India, Mawlawi Abu Ahmad, one of the Ahl as-Sunnat scholars, wrote under the heading 'Disclosure of the Suspicions about Jamaat at-Tabligh': "Various groups of people have appeared in North India who say that they will renew the religion and disseminate it everywhere. Many people, judging them only by their ostensible words, follow them without investigating their and their founders' faith. Upon seeing their inner nature, many of them have departed and expose their lies and tricks. History has witnessed many such heretics, who are slaved by their nafs and vicious thoughts. They have interpreted the documents of Islam wrongly. They dissent to the rotten principles of and Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi. Those who know little about religious knowledge think that they are on the right path and believe that they serve Islam. One of these heretical groups is that which follow the path put forward by Mawlana Ilyas. They call themselves 'Jamaat at-tabligh.' They travel around the world. With their worship, attractive speech and attire, they look like religious, pious people. They never speak about their beliefs and the path they follow. They began to spread their seed in Kerala, too. The 'ulama' of Samasta Kerala have opened jihad against them by displaying their heretical books, beliefs and background and their founders' life-stories and path. Studying them, they understood their artifice and that they were ahl al-bidat. They issued the fatwas that they have dissented from the righteous path of Ahl as-Sunnat wal-Jamaat and that they were on the route of bidat and dalala (heresy). These fatwas of the 'ulama' of southern and northern India and Ceylon Island (Sri Lanka) became an ijma'. And we, with the guidance of Allahu ta'ala and by keeping on the footsteps of the Salaf as-Salihin, will explain their vicious beliefs and heretical path: "The founder of this heretical path was Muhammad Ilyas ibn Ismail, who was born in 1303 A.H. (1886) and died in 1363 (1944). He formerly taught at Mazahir al-'ulum Madrasa. When he became unsuccessful there, he started to live as a shaikh. He made his living by writing amulets and prayers for ignorant people. Meanwhile, he established the Tariqa of 'Tabligh'. Jamal Muhammad Sahib, Director of the madrasa called 'Kulliyat-i kaid-i millat' in Madras, gave extensive information about this movement in the July 24, 1976 issue of the paper Jandaraka. "Head of Jamaat at-tabligh, which is located in Delhi, and his friend Muhammad Idris al-Ansari explain the causes of the establishment of this path in the booklet Tabligh-i Dustur al-'amal (published by the Jamal printing house in Delhi) in this way: 'If thought well and the history is studied, it will be seen that men could not attain to peace and bliss with the four fundamental usul. This is understood from the 139th ayat of the surat Al 'Imran which states "You are more honorable and superior than them, for you have belief." Firstly, the aim of Islam is to change the batin (internal aspect), that is, the heretical beliefs and habits. Secondly changing them is possible only through the way chosen by prophets. Thirdly, the works done up to now by Muslims either singly or wholly have not been for this aim, and they did not follow the way of prophets. Fourthly, for this reason, it is necessary to establish a salih jamaat (pious community), that is, Jamaat al-Islamiya, which must work according to the way shown by Islam. Now, this job is done by Muhammad Ilyas, one of the salih servants of Allah. Gathering the ones who want to work in the way of Islam, he formed a new community called the Jamaat at-tablighiyya.'
"look at these words! According to the leader of the Jamaat at-tablighiyya, the works done by al-Ummat al-Muhammadiyya, singly or wholly, for fourteen hundred years were not in the way of prophets ('alaihi mu 's-salatu wa 's-salam) and were not aimed at changing the heretical beliefs that had spread among human beings; therefore, it has become a must to establish a new jamaat! Those who have wanted to separate al-Ummat al-Muhammadiyya and to start a new heretical movement against Ahl as-Sunnat have always come about by saying such words; claiming that the whole Ummat Islamiyya has deviated from the right path and dissented from the way of salvation, they have founded new paths. They have put their invented, corrupt, heretical ideas forth in this way.
"Another similar one, Abul Ala Mawdudi, recently founded an organization called Jamaat Islami in Pakistan. On the fifteenth page of his Urdu booklet Min Musliman ur mawjuduhu siyasi, he explains the cause of his founding this organization in this way: 'I have investigated and studied much. I decided to take the present Islamic ring off my neck. If I did not do so, I, too, would be in the footsteps of the irreligious called ilhad and dahriyya [he calls the religion of his ancestors as 'ilhad and dahriyya'.] Therefore, I have put forth a new religion conformable to the meaning of kalimat at-tawhid.' He claimed to be the first true Muslim of his time and called everybody, Muslim or not, to this new religion.
"Muhammad Ilyas said the same, claiming that what the Ummat al-Muhammadiyya had done for centuries were not conformable to the way of prophets. Muhammad Manzur an-Numani, on the twelfth page of his booklet Malfuzat, quotes him: 'All of what the Ummat al-Muhammadiyya do now are rusum and customs. Those who taught religion and directed religious affairs depended on rusum and customs.' Muhammad Hasan Khan, one of the leaders of Jamaat at-tabligh, wrote in the preface to Miftah at-tabligh, 'Because religious affairs are misdirected at the present time, many people are caught by the current of shirk, kufr and ilhad. Pitying at this situation of men, Allahu ta'ala sent Shaikh Muhammad Ilyas as a mujiza to awaken Muslim from unawareness and to initiate them into the spirit of religion. This mujahid endeavored to awaken people in the Mivat town, south to Delhi, as possible as the conditions of his time permitted.' It would not be easy for them to answer the question, from where did Ilyas find the right path while the whole Umma was in kufr and dalala?' "In summary, the group of Jamaat at-tabligh, like their other upstart colleagues, say that the Ummat al-Muhammadiyya has fallen for dalala, dissented from the right path. These words are exactly opposite to what our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had conveyed, for he said in a hadith reported by at-Tirmidhi, 'My umma do not agree on deviation.' This hadith absolutely tells that the knowledge on which the mujtahidin, that is, Muslim scholars agreed are always right. Not only scholars, but also every sane person will immediately understand this. "In the following, the establishment of the Jamaat at-tablighiyya will be detailed: "Abu 'l-Hasan Ali Nadwi, famous authority on religion and history in India, quotes the founder of the Jamaat at-tablighiyya, Ilyas, as saying, 'I started this job when I was in Medina in 1345 A.H. (1926). I was given the good news that realization of this movement would be through my hands.' These are written in Urdu on the 77th page of the book Mawlana Ilyas Uranki dini Da'wat. On the next page, it is written that he began to call people to religion after his return from Medina to India. From the two lines quoted from him, it is understood that he claimed to begin this invitation upon the command and good news of Allahu ta'ala. The inner aspect of this movement is written in detail in Malfuzat al-Ilyas. On page 50 of this book, his pupil Muhammad Manzur an-Numani gives this good news of his master to his friends: 'Ru'ya (dream) is one of the 46 parts of prophethood. Promotions (taraqqi) that cannot be obtained through riyada and mujahada can occur to some selected men in ru'ya. Teachings that dawn upon them in ru'ya are parts from prophethood. Won't promotion come about with these? Knowledge increases marifa. And marifa makes one closer to Allah. Therefore, Allahu ta'ala commanded us to say, "Oh Allah! Increase my knowledge!" Man is given sahih knowledge in ru'ya. Therefore, pray so that this leader of yours shall sleep much. When I sleep little because of getting angry, I resort to a physician and use the medicines he gives me to increase my sleep. This way of invitation through tabligh was shown to me in ru'ya. The interpretation of the ayat, "You are the best umma. You have been created for the welfare of human beings. You command the goodness to be done and prohibit the wrong," was told to me in ru'ya. Like prophets, I have been created for the invitation of the people. The phrase 'You have been created' in the ayat indicates that this invitation will not be completed by doing it at one place or city, that it is necessary to get out of one's place to go to other cities and to visit houses.' look at these words! The Qur'an is interpreted in dream, he claims, and sahih knowledge was given to him in dream, and it cannot be obtained through riyada or mujahada. From the word 'Ukhrijat' in the ayat, he derives a meaning which has not been reported by any mufassir. He tells his followers to endeavor to sleep much and teaches many other things as understood from his writings. Are not these the examples of interpreting the Qur'an according to his own point of view? Our Prophet prohibited and frightened Muslims against such interpretation with the hadith, 'Let Hell fire be the residence of who interprets the Qur'an according to his own view.' This hadith was reported by at-Tirmidhi. Those who cannot differentiate their left side from the right or recognize fard and sunnat travel to carry out tabligh just because of this interpretation in ru'ya. After the spread of Islam everywhere from the East to the West, their going from house to house to complete al-amru bi 'l-maruf, too, was all commanded in dream! 'Allama ibn Jarir at-Tabari and many mufassirs among the Salaf as-Salihin interpreted this ayat, and 'Allama Imam as-Suyuti reported them in his book Durar al-mansur. On the 64th page of the second part of this work, it is written, ' 'Abd Ibn Hamid, Ibn Jarir at-Tabari and Ibn al-Munzir reported from Imam Mujahid that, in the ayat, "You are the beneficial umma. You have been created for the welfare of human beings," 'human beings' were the people other than the Arabs, while the 'beneficial umma' were the Arabs.' It is apparent that none of the scholars of tafsir had interpreted this ayat as Ilyas did. Then, his movement of tabligh is not in conformity with the path of the Qur'an, Hadith and Salaf as-Salihin. It is based on an interpretation done in a dream, in sleep. And this is ibtida' in Islam, that is, inventing a bidat. Our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, 'Reject it when a thing absent in Islam comes up in our religion.' This hadith ash-Sharif is quoted in the Sahihain of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
[An-Nabulusi, too, gives extensive explanations concerning this subject on the 128th page of Al-Hadiqa. [The first volume of Al-hadiqat an-nadiyya has been reproduced by Hakikat Kitabevi in Istanbul.] He writes on its 168th page, "Dreams seen in sleep, like spiritual inspiration (ilham ruhani), cannot be reasons that disclose the rules of Islam." On its 170th page, he writes, "It is possible (jaiz) that Allahu ta'ala opens and fills with ma'arif and haqiqa the heart of someone who has not read any book. When this person hears an ayat or a hadith, he interprets it and bewilders 'ulama'. But adapting oneself to him is not sahih. He is a wali but not an imam or murshid. To be a scholar of Islam, one has to have a full understanding of the ahkam of the hadiths." He says on the 187th page, "Forgetting about Islam, that is, Islam's becoming like customs, or following not Islam but reason and one's own views, stems from four things: firstly, not to do what one has learned; to do without knowing, that is, instead of learning Allahu ta'ala's commands, to follow one's own intelligence and views, to try to make everybody to do the same way, and to believe in their righteousness and benefits, while bearing hostility against those who do not like them; thirdly, not to learn beforehand the ahkam (Islamic rules) of the things one will do; to prevent people's learning religious teachings and to slander at those who want to learn or teach them to the youth by calling it old-fashioned or retrogressive. The superiors of tasawwuf, awliya' and murshids, have always followed Islam. They attained to high degrees in this way. Following Islam means to follow its four guides which are the Qur'an, the Sunnat, ijma' al-Umma and qiyas al-fuqaha'. Those who adapt themselves to things other than these four references will be taken to Hell torment. They are the liars who show the wrong as truth and block the way to endless bliss."]
"Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Askalani said, 'Dreams of people other than prophets do not communicate the rules of Islam, which are understood through wahi and ijtihad.' Then, how can an ayat be interpreted through a person's dream? How can people be ruled through dreams? Depending on a dream, how can people be sent to every part of the world? Aren't the rules of Islam altered by this. Even one who has little religious knowledge understands this exactly. "Allahu ta'ala has declared that He sent the Qur'an to be explained to people. The leader of Jamaat at-tabligh, however, says that the Qur'an was interpreted to him in his dream. According to him and as it is claimed in Tanbihat by Abul Ala Mawdudi, who had the same views with him, explanation of the Qur'an through the known tafsir books is not necessary, while Arabic dictionaries are sufficient to understand what is shown in dream. These two reformers of religion, like every man of bidat, give meanings to the Qur'an according to their own views, while they still claim to follow the Qur'an and the Sunnat; this, however, is an open lie. "It is said in their booklet Dustur al-'amal, 'The aims and beliefs of the members of Jamaat at-tabligh are three:
1. to highten Allah's Word,
2. to spread Islam,
3. to unite those who have these beliefs.
To reform the madhhab, ethics and education.' To understand their beliefs better, it was necessary to study their books. Some of their beliefs are discussed in the following: "Muhammad Ilyas, the head of the Tabligh movement said, 'Our aim is to teach what Rasulullah had taught to as-Sahaba. It is the first step of this movement to go around every country to tell about salat and give advices,' (Malfuzat, p. 31) These words mean that they tell Rasulullah's teachings according to their own understanding of them and according to their view point. He said to his friend Zahir Hasan, 'Our movement is supposed to be a group teaching only salat. I swear by Allah that our movement is not aimed at teaching salat. We bring up a new nation.' (Dini da'wat, p. 205) These words openly displays his aim. It is apparent that the followers of Ilyas are not sincere in trying to make everybody perform salat. This behavior is a beginning, a trap to make everybody join themselves. As a matter of fact, the statement, 'To this humble person myself, our Tabligh is composed of Islam, Tariqa and haqiqa,' (Makatib, p. 66) shows that this community, which was established on a dream of Ilyas, included in itself a new Islam, and Tariqa. In fact 'din' (religion) is made up of these three fundamentals. Masked under the name of Islam, a new religion based on a dream is introduced. It is apparent that their above statement is of bidat and dalala. "Muhammad Idris Ansari, one of the followers of Ilyas, said, 'The belief of this community is "La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah" ' (Dustur, p. 4) This is Islam's fundamental belief. Qadianis (Ahmadis) and Bahais, who were unanimously ruled out as non-Muslims, also claimed this belief, and these, too, started new groups of bidat by claiming the same. By saying, 'In order to do a task or an 'ibada or to prohibit something, it should have been declared by Rasulullah. No other document is needed,' (Dustur, p. 5) Ilyas denied ijma' and qiyas among al-adillat ash-Shariyya. Nevertheless, he did not claim to be a mujtahid mutlaq; if he had done so, he would not have been believed by anybody among those who had known his background and knowledge.
"One's joining this community is explained in the book Dustur al-'mal as such: 'Anybody who says and believes the meaning of kalimat ash-shahada becomes a member of this community. The group, nation or country he belongs to has no effect in this.' (p. 5) This passage shows that anybody who says he is a Muslim, whether he be a Qadiani or a member of other groups of bidat, e.g. one of the heretics of Kharijiyya, Qadariyya, Mutazila or Mawdudiyya, may become a partner to this group and do his worship depending only on hadiths. They do not pay attention to what the Salaf as-Salihin had done and to ijma' and qiyas. They do not follow one of the four madhhabs. On the other hand, they claim to adapt themselves to Islam, Tariqa and haqiqa wholly. This, however, is an apparent dalala, a heretical confusion. This movement as named Jamaat at-tabligh resembles the heretical group called Jamaat Islami of Abul Ala Mawdudi. "He comments on the selection of the Jamaat's leader, 'In Islamic order, the status of amir (head, leader) is very important. The Amir selected from among Jamaat at-tabligh means the Ulu 'l-amr defined by Islam. It is fard for everybody to obey his known commands just as the commands of Allah and his Rasul are obeyed (p. 6)... It is wajib to obey without objection those commands of the Amir which are conformable to Islam. It is not permitted to investigate the Amir's documentation. It is a grave sin not to carry out his command and to do what is opposite to his will: it brings about Allah's punishment and torment.' (p. 7) As is seen, they promote their amirs to the status of prophethood. On the eighth page, it is said, 'Before the Amir will give a command, it is wajib for him to consult with the prominent of the Jamaat, and later with the members of the High Council. If their opinions fall apart, he prefers the one he wishes, and commands it.' As it is stated, they obey only hadiths and their amir, as if the Qur'an commanded obeying only their amir as a fard and, to them, Allahu ta'ala will revenge those who do not follow him. They confess that obedience to the amir is compulsory even if he does not conform to what the members of the council say. The leaders and members of this council and the amir will be from among themselves, that is, among those who have come together just upon saying kalimat ash-shahada without investigating their cult or knowledge or looking for any other condition. However, the Salaf as-Salihin, that is, the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnat, have defined the characteristics of the person to be 'Ulu 'l-amr. Allama Abu 's-Su'ud Effendi said, 'Ulu 'l-amr are the commanders who follow the Divine Path and the judges who are just. They are the Khulafa' ar-rashidin, the four caliphs, and those who follow in their footsteps.' Imam al-Karkhi said, 'They are the commanders of the time of Rasulullah (sal-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and those who come later. Judges and military leaders are similar.' To some, however, Ulu 'l-amr means the 'ulama' of Islam. It is apparent that the amirs of Jamaat at-tabligh, whom they choose from among themselves, cannot be included. Also, it is without foundation that it is a wajib to obey and a grave sin to disobey their amirs' commands. "While telling about what will happen to his umma, Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) declared, 'The Sons of Israil parted into 72 nations. And my umma will part into 73 groups. Of them, only one will be saved, and all others will go to Hell.' As-Sahabat al-kiram upon hearing this, asked, 'Oh Rasul-Allah! Which is that?' He declared, 'They are those who follow my and my Sahaba's path.' This hadith ash-Sharif was reported from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radi-Allahu 'anh). As reported from Muawiya (radi-Allahu 'anh) by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud, Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) declared, 'Of them, 72 are in Hell, and the remaining one is in Paradise. And this is one jamaat.' This hadith ash-Sharif is also quoted in the chapter on 'I'tisam' of the book Mishkat. Oh Muslims! We must search and find this single community of salvation mentioned in this hadith and their beliefs which cause entrance to Paradise and should beware of heretical groups who oppose these beliefs! In this way, we shall endeavor to get saved from the Hell fire and flame! Hadrat Ghawth al-azam 'Abd al-Qadir al-Geilani radi Allahu ta'ala anhu explained the former hadith and the word 'jamaat' in the latter hadith in these words: 'The believer (Mumin) should adapt himself to the Sunnat and to the Jamaat. The Sunnat is the way shown by Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam). The Jamaat is composed of the things done unanimously by as-Sahabat al-kiram who lived in the time of the four caliphs called Khulafa' ar-rashidin. A Muslim must prevent the multiplication of the men of bidat and be away from them and should not greet them. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the imam of our madhhab, said that greeting a man of bidat meant loving him since it had been declared in a hadith ash-Sharif, "Disseminate [your] greeting (salam)! Love one another in this way!" ' These are written on the 90th page of Gunyat at-talibin. Great alim Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haitami, the last muhaqqiq, wrote on this subject in detail on page 149 of his work Sawa'iq al-muhriqa, where he said, 'Those who dissent from the Ahl as-Sunnat faith are called mubtadi'. They began to come forth in the first century [of Islam].'
"Hadrat Ibn Hajar al-Haitami said in his work Fat'h al-jawad, 'Mubtadi' is the person who does not have the faith (itiqad) conveyed unanimously by Ahl as-Sunnat. This unanimity was transmitted by the two great imams Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and the 'alims who followed their path.' On the 205th page of the book Al-fatawa al-hadithiyya, it is written, 'Man of bidat means one whose beliefs are different from the Ahl as-Sunnat faith. The Ahl as-Sunnat faith is the faith of Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ashari, Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and those who followed them. One who brings forth something which is not approved by Islam becomes a man of bidat.' Shafi'i alim Ahmad Shihab ad-din Kalyubi al-Misri wrote on the fourth volume of his marginalia to the book Kanz ar-raghibin: 'One who departs from what Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi reported is not Sunni. These two imams followed the footprints of Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) and his Sahaba.'
"From the foregoing passages, it is understood that only one of the seventy-three groups that have come out of the partition of this umma will be saved against Hell. It is wajib for every Muslim to search for, to find and to adapt himself to this group, members of which follow the path of Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi. How could it be correct of one who comes afore by establishing a new group in this age sees saying 'La ilaha illa-Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah' sufficient and stays away from the faith of Ahl as-Sunnat wal-Jamaat? The speeches and writings of the upstart group called Jam'at at-tabligh show that uttering 'La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah' is the only condition necessary for admission to this group. Any person, whether he belongs to a heretical group or disobey everybody except Rasulullah, immediately becomes a member of this group upon this utterance, even if he would disobey as-Sahaba and mujtahids. People representing Qadianism, Nijari, Wahhabism, Mawdudism and various non-Muslim movements are witnessed to belong to this jamaat. What else would it be if this behavior of theirs isn't a proof of their intention to disunite the Umma?
"Do they correct the heretics after accepting them into their group? The opposite of this is seen in their books and behavior. They prohibit speaking on the madhhabs. They give freedom to everybody in his beliefs. On the 16th page of Dustur al-'amal, it is written, 'Disunionist, unnecessary subjects should not be spoken on. The essence of tawhid and fundamental of Islam shall be studied.' The same is written on page 218 of Miftah at-tabligh. Their leader Muhammad Ilyas wrote on the 116th page of Malfuzat: The basis of our movement is to strengthen iman. It is not correct to widen the knowledge concerning beliefs (aqa'id). If we do so, there will arouse sedition in hearts and suspicions in minds.' He says on the 142nd page of Makatib, 'Sometimes you use the word bidat. Do not utter such words! Such words cause disunion among people.' "In conclusion, they do not have the Ahl as-Sunnat faith. All of the seventy-three groups may come together among them freely; moreover, non-Muslims, too, may join them. They do not deal with the knowledge of faith; they even prohibit learning it. They say that they follow only the Prophet. They do not study the single right path which was stated in the hadith. They say that it will cause disunion if studied. They do not use the word 'bidat' or similar ones, which, they claim, cause sedition. Despite all these heretical behaviors, they claim to belong to Ahl as-Sunnat wal-Jamaat. However, in view of the followers of this path of truth, there is no doubt about their heresy.
"The 'ulama' of Islam prohibited Muslims from friendship with men of bidat. Hadrat Qutb al-aqtab 'Abd al-Qadir al-Geilani said that it was much reward-deserving (thawab) to believe that the madhhab of people of bidat was corrupt, and not to follow them and to bear hostility against them. Our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, 'Allahu ta'ala fills with aman (courage) and iman the heart of the person who stare with enmity at the man of bidat. The one who knows the man of bidat as wicked is saved by Allahu ta'ala against the fear of the Day of Resurrection. [Rank of] a hundred degrees is endowed by Allahu ta'ala in Paradise upon him who insults the man of bidat. One who meets the man of bidat with smiling face or does goodness to him will have disliked Islam sent to Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam) by Allahu ta'ala.' The hadith ash-Sharif reported by Mughira from 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radi-Allahu 'anhuma) says, 'Unless a man of bidat gives up his bidat, Allahu ta'ala will not accept any of his worship.' Fudail ibn 'Iyad said, 'Allahu ta'ala destroys the 'ibadat and takes the light of iman out of the heart of the one who loves the man of bidat.' Even in case the 'ibadat of the one who does not love the man of bidat is limited, it is hoped that his sins will be forgiven. In order not to come across a man of bidat, change your direction! The above-given hadiths and advices are written on the 90th page of the book Gunyat at-talibin. The followers of Jamaat at-tabligh, who call themselves Muslim and introduce themselves as Ahl as-Sunnat, accept heretics of every kind into their community. Whether of Ahl as-Sunnat or ahl al-bidat, any Muslim can join their movement. Despite this confusion, they claim to be on the right path. This situation resembles the state of keeping two opposite things, like fire and powder, together, which is impossible.
"While the founder of Jamaat at-tabligh, Muhammad Ilyas, was putting forth what he had seen in dream as a new religion, he was also inoculating the evil germs injected to him by the non-madhhabite. On page 90 of Makatib, he says, 'It is certainly good to attend at the gatherings of hatm al-Qur'an and dhikr. The prominent people of the religion said so.
However, because there is the risk of being like the men of bidat, it is better to refrain from attending at such places. There is the same danger both in saying salat and salam upon the Prophet with the thought in mind that he is present and sees, and in saying salat and salam as the men of bidat [?] say. Yes, though it is permitted to say it unconsciously out of extreme love, the Satan may intervene and spoil iman. And this is a greater danger.'
"look at these words! He does not permit saying salat and salam upon this great Prophet with the thought of his being present and seeing, even if it would be done unconsciously out of extreme love for him! This is a Wahhabite belief. His prohibiting it even in case of extreme love is a heresy that surpasses that of the Wahhabis. One who is Muslim does not prohibit it. What does he think about all Muslims' saying, 'As-salamu 'alaika ayyuha 'n-Nabiyyu,' in salat? See what the 'Document of Islam' (Hujjat al-Islam) Imam al-Ghazali (rahmat-Allahu 'alaih) wrote in his work Ihya al-'ulum: 'At first, bring to your heart the holy figure of Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam). Then recite As-salamu 'alaika ayyuha 'n-Nabiyyu and believe that he will hear you and answer you.' (First volume, p. 129) Ottoman alim Muhammad Hakki Effendi (d. Mecca, 1301 A.H.)/1884) wrote in the first article on page 166 of his Hazinat al-asrar, 'The Muslim should think of himself as being in the presence of Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) and, showing honor, respect and manners and keeping in mind that he is the intercessor, wasila and savior between him and Allahu ta'ala, say salat and salam. At this holy place, the most suitable is to say, As-salamu 'alaika ayyuha 'n-Nabiyyu.'
"Al-'arifu bi 'llah Sayyid Muhammad 'Uthman al-Mirghani al-Makki al-Hanafi (d. Mecca, 1268 A.H./1852) said on page 14 of his work Akrab at-turuki ila 'l-haqq: 'Think of Rasulullah's ('alaihi 's-salam) presence facing you, his seeing and hearing you! Even if you are far away, Allahu ta'ala makes your voice be heard and displays you. Here, being near or distant is the same.' All these passages show that Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) sees and hears those who think of facing him. The founder of Jamaat at-tabligh does not believe in this. He prohibits it even if it would be out of extreme love and says that the Prophet does not see or hear those who think of him. This word of his, however, stems from the basic Wahhabite tenet that states, 'The dead do not hear.' The most correct comment on this subject is the following fatwa of Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haitami, the last of profound 'ulama', which is written on the ninth page of the second volume of Fatawa al-kubra:
"Question: 'Does a person, when he commends his soul, see Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam)? It is said that, when he is seen, he is asked what he would say about that person. "That person" is used for the person who is at his presence. Many people die at the same time. Since the words "that person" is used for all of them, it is understood that he is seen at many places at the same time. How can this happen?'
"Answer : 'It is true that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is seen by everybody who is about to die, and he is asked, "What would you say about that person?" This shows the Supremacy of Allahu ta'ala's Power. The word that is used for pointing to the person who is at his presence. This word is the answer to the person who does not believe that Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) can be seen in various ways at various places at the same moment. In fact, this can be believed through intellect, too: adh-dhat ash-Sharif (honorable person) of his becomes like a mirror, and everybody sees the image of his own beauty or ugliness in this mirror. There takes place no change in the beauty of the mirror. The life in grave and that in the hereafter do not resemble to worldly life. Each person has a single figure in the world. It has been witnessed many times that awliya' have taken various figures in this world, too. It is famous that Kadib al-ban Hasan al-Musuli and others have been seen as such.'
"He wrote in the first fatwa on the 29th page: 'The dead recognize those who visit them. The hadith reported by Ibn Abi 'd-dunya says, "When one visits the grave of a brother-in-Islam and sits [at the side], the dead person recognizes him and responds his greeting." Another hadith says, "When a person passes by the grave of a Muslim brother of his acquaintance and greets the dead person recognizes him and responds his greeting." ' He writes in the second fatwa, 'The dead hear the voices of the alive. The hadith reported by Imam Ahmad states, "The dead person recognizes those who wash him, carry him and put him in grave." ' Hadrat Sayyid 'Abdulhakim-i Arwasi, the profound alim and great wali who passed away in Ankara in 1362 A.H. (1943), said, 'Ibn Hajar al-Makki was one of the most superior 'ulama' of Islam. His every word is documented and is a document.'
"How come one can suspect of Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) becoming present and seeing? The status of prophets, even of awliya', is promoted after their pure souls depart from their bodies; they become possessors of full tasarruf (disposal, effect) like angels. This has been reported unanimously by the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat and has been denied only by the Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab who was left in heresy by Allahu ta'ala. And Ilyas, the head of Jamaat at-tabligh, was caught by his heretical current. The following is another example from the words of 'ulama' to brighten the eyes of those who believe him and to disgrace the faces of mulhids: "Shah Wali-Allah ad-Dahlawi, one of the great 'ulama' of India, wrote in his work Hujjatu 'Illahi 'l-baligha (vol. I, p. 35), 'When a human being passes away, no relation is left between his soul and the world of matter. The souls return to their origin, become like angels, and, like them, give inspiration and help to men. They help in the dissemination and strengthening of Allahu ta'ala's religion. They rush to help those who work for this path. It has been witnessed that they come to help in groups.' This passage tells that blessed souls do work as angels do. Are these words not sufficient for the correction of those who do not believe that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) becomes present and hears? The 'ulama' of Islam have unanimously reported that he is the cause of all beings and the unique means of getting near to Allahu ta'ala. "In his work Ar-rawd an-nadir, 'Allama 'Abd ar-Ra'uf al-Manawi wrote: 'After pure souls depart this life and are promoted to their places, nothing is a curtain before them. They see, or learn from angels, everything. This is so mysterious that only few people are informed with it. While blessed souls are such, how the most superior of them is should be pondered and understood well!' "Hadrat Ahmad Zaini Dahlan says on page 58 of Taqrib al-usul: 'Most of the 'arifs said that, after a wali passes away, his soul's connection to his murids continues. With the soul's baraka, nurs and faids come about. This is explained detailedly by Hadrat Qutb al-irshad 'Abdullah al-Haddad, who said in summary: "After a wali passes away, he keeps his concern with his immediate acquaintances. This concern is more than that when he was alive. Because, he has been busy in this world also with his duties of being Allahu ta'ala's servant; sometimes these duties busy him more. It is usually in this manner especially in these times. When the elect die, their forms and bodies vanish, but their haqiqa (reality) continues to exist. They are alive in their graves. Because the wali is alive in his grave, his knowledge and intellectual and spiritual powers do not change at all. Even, they all increase further after death." ' While the case is as such with all awliya', it should be estimated how it is with prophets, especially with the most superior of them. This apparent reality could be denied only by those who have been corrupted by non-madhhabite poison and those who have been caught in the trap of mulhids and dissented from Islam.
May Allahu ta'ala protect all Muslims against this grave disaster! Amin."
[Al-mu'allim, monthly periodical; see above, beginning of this article. The Arabic original of the passage is published together with the book Al-ustad Mawdudi in Istanbul.]