Owais Manzoor Dar
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (b: 1951) is a well-known Pakistani scholar. He is the founder and the current President of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences. He has written on different aspects of Islam, its history and law in books namely MIZAN, BURHAN and AL-BAYAN (Exegesis of Quran). Besides making his own unique interpretation, Ghamidi’s thought is mostly influenced by Maulana Hamid ud din Farahi (1863-1930) and Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904-1997). He has provided such an interpretation that there have been numerous attempts to refute his views by scholars in the form of critical essays, papers and books.
One recent example of such refutation of his ideas and ideology is Dr Muhammad Qasim’s book “Ghamidi Nazariyat ka Tehqeeqi wa Tanqeedi Jaiza”. The book delves deep and provides a fascinating analysis on Ghamidian ideology. The book under review has seven chapters and is spread on 475 pages. The first edition of the book was published in 2016 by Ibn Tamiyyah Research and Dawah centre J&K. There is an appreciation in the beginning of book by Dr. Hafiz Zubair (Pakistani critic of Ghamidhi ideology and author of various books like Ghamidhi’s thought: An Analytic and Research Study etc.)
The very first chapter deals with the centrality of ‘RISALAT-MUHMMAD’ i.e. Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) in Islam. The author with both primary and secondary sources laid down the importance of prophethood and debunked the Ghamidhi’s view of wahadat-i-Adiyan (unity of religions) with a queue of references and declared the concept as a step to disavowal of prophethood. The author goes further and said that the one who denies the prophethood and believes on the concept of wahadat Adiyan is kafir according to the primary and the secondary sources of Islam.
The second chapter gives a detailed discourse about the one who denies the prophethood is kafir-i-Mutilaq by the Quranic text, consensus and discussed the four different kinds of rejection and its historical repudiation of prophethood. The author mentions Ghamidhi’s view “No person can be called kafir (infidel) after prophet’s death” by which Javed Ghamidi declares Ghulam Ahmad Qadyani as Sufi not kafir and presents a difference between Qadyani’s and Lahori’s (sect of Qadyani’s). The author debunked this view with queue of references and highlighted that, after post prophetic period, the noble companions declared many fake prophets as kufars like Muslamah kazab etc. The author with a lot of examples from Quran and Hadith refuted these views and also spurn differentiating between Qadyani’s and lahori’s and proved both groups are sailing in the same boat, also highlights their main beliefs.
In the third chapter the author discusses about the political Islam and abnegates many misconceptions in this sphere. The author says that as per Ghamidhi ‘prophet was send only in order to overcome the Arab religions(tribal prophet)’ is a belief which leads to astray. Islam is the religion which came to be establish on every other religion in each and every corner of earth. The Apostleship of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is endowed with the quality of timelessness. No other Apostle of God is to be raised now, His religion is everlasting, His teachings are immortal and also displayed the verses of Holy Quran in which prophet is declared as Ideal and excellent pattern (Uswah Hasanah) and the seal of Prophethood (Khatamun Nabiyyin).
The fourth chapter is about the importance of Hadith and its sciences. The author produced a queue of classical scholars and their opinions about the traditions of Prophet and declared Ghamidhi different from them in many fashions. Ghamidi does not subscribe to the view of Ahl as Sunnah who think that Hadith is a silent revelation while he thinks that Hadith is not a revelation but only a witness and convincing argument. The author explained different methods of Ghamidi regarding the sciences of Ahadith and mentioned Ghamidhi method of criticism: “the sayings, action and the approvals of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are mostly khabar al Ahad which are known as Hadith will never take us to certainty and will not add anything new in the fabric of religion.” Thus Ghamidi makes the sources of reception of religion a matter of mere rational or historical deliberation. According to the author, Ghamidi has adopted the method of Mu’tazilites (Manhaj-i-Mu’tazilah) and has shunned the method of pious predecessors (Salaf al Saliheen) and has produced an interpretation which was not prevalent during the blessed Islamic era. The views of Ghamidi are different from classical and mainstream scholars. His principles (Usool) totally vary as compared to other Islamic schools. During the blessed era Khabr al Aahad was a permanent source of Islam.The change of direction of the Qiblah (Tahwil-i-Qiblah), Hazrat Uthman’s compilation of the Quran were facilitated based on khabar al wahid. Thus for absolute belief in religious matters (din) Khabar is the Hujjat. Quranic verses in several occasions support the view of author like 9:122 and 49: 6 etc. The author has also quoted Imam Shafi, Imam Ahmad and others to establish that Khabar i Wahid becomes Hujjat when it is received by someone from the reliable sources unlike the views of Ghamidhi who altogether denies tenacity of such a tradition. It seems sometimes that Ghamidi has done nothing but has only tried to reject Hadith on the basis of his concocted views.
In the fifth chapter the author gives a detailed analysis that Prophetic traditions can specify the general rulings of Holy Quran and demystify Ghamidhi’s view and said that this is basically the disavowal of prophetic traditions. The reception and understanding of the Book of Allah is based on Prophet’s endorsement, saying and confirmation. We received this knowledge of Din through Hadith narrations which can both be final or not final. Javed Ahmad Ghamidhi is himself not only particularization but changing the rulings of holy Quran.
Women issues like veil, Modesty etc are discussed in sixth chapter. As per the author non believers dislike the two things of believers that are beard and the veil. Ghamidi makes their way easy and take them out of Islam. Quoting Ghamidhi, “There is not a single commandment in Shariah for a woman to hide her hair”, the author debunked this view with a lot of references from Qur’an, Ahadith and Athar-i-Sahaba (examples from the companions).
The last whole chapter deals with the issue of beard. The author himself is agreed that Ghamidi wants to systematically slaughter every Ahadith on the basis of his own views. As for the beard, Ghamidi has some points, but he has deterred from orthodox scholarship. The author mentioned the four famous jurist’s position saying that it is prohibited to shave the beard. He also mentioned a group of scholars like Imam Ibn tamiyyah, Ibn Qayim, Ibn, Ibn Abideen that it is Haram to shave the beard. The author mentioned Shah Waliullah’s view which says that the shaving of beard is the work of fire worshippers. There are many Ahadith which prove that sporting beard is not only the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) but of all the prophets of Allah.
The book is a sort of a treasure trove for scholars as we well as academicians working on or interesting in understanding Islamic discourses. It challenges the narratives of Ghamidhi not only through author’s own analysis, but crucially with direct testimony from classical sources. No doubt this book is written for refuting Ghamidhi ideology, however on balance this book is a positive contribution for the better understanding of Islam and profitable for all the categories of Islamic society.
Author is doctoral candidate at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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