Some silly #ahmadis think that Sirhindi supported the prophethood of MGA, that is a total fabrication, Sirhindi believed that 1/46th of prophethood remained and =muhadas, which was exactly what MGA claimed from 1880 to 1900. However, in 1901, MGA claimed to be an Ummati Nabi and back dated it to 1880. Nevertheless, we have an important study on Sirhindi Hwand have archived it in the below for future discovery. He wrote about Shia’s and how he thought they were Kafirs, he wrote about the 73-sect hadith. Sirhindi also holds that the
Q ur‘an, the Sunnah o f the Prophet, the Ijtihad and Ijm a‘ (concensus of opinion o f the jurists) are the only means to determine what things are halal (legal) or haram (illegal) and what acts are right or wrong.

The data
n the previous chapter, Theological Thought-I, Sheikh
Ahmad Sirhindi’s concept o f God, Universe and Man was
discussed. In the present chapter Sirhindi’s thought about the Shari‘ah, the
Prophethood and the Muslim Sects will be discussed.
Sirhindi’s thought,, which is basically revivalistic in
character, emanates from the Qur‘an and the Sunnah, and attempts at the
revival o f the doctrines o f Faith and social practices o f the community. It
aims at curbing the greatest menace o f the time by re-asserting the abiding
truth o f the shari‘ah and restoring conviction in the Prophethood of
Muhammad(s). As a serious scholar o f his time, he explains the truth o f
the Shari‘ah as he belonged to the age, where the trend was to overlook or
rather reject the shari’ah over tariqah. The former was supposed to
sub-serve the latter, as ‘India being the home o f yoga and asceticism there
was no dearth o f misguided mystics who had blended mystic practices
with philosophical meditation reposing trust in self-mortification, spiritual
ecstasy and direct intuition.’1
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi being a qualified scholar (‘alim) o f
his time was expected to write on the Islamic subjects like the shari‘ah
etc., but there were other reasons behind the elucidation o f the concept o f
shari‘ah by him. At his time, there was a common misunderstanding o f the
concept (o f shari‘ah), either due to the ignorance o f the ‘Ulum al-Q ur‘art
or due to the wrong experiences or interpretations o f sufis. The common
views prevalent at that time can be encapsuled as follows:
1. That the shari‘ah is essentially a code o f law that seeks to regulate
external behaviour only. It is concerned with the outer structure o f
religious life but not with the inner reality;
2. That the shari‘ah is for common man only;
3. That captives o f reality (griftaran-i-haqiqat) attended to reality
(haqiqah) only, as they thought it out o f the purview of the
4. Others sought the synthesis o f the shari‘ah and tariqah.
We may say that some looked at it (shari‘ah) from a juristic
point o f view only and others from a sufi-outlook. Thus responding to the
‘ Nadwi, op. cit., p. 194.
situation and amidst such conflicting views about the shari‘ah, Sirhindi in
all seriousness elaborates the concept o f shari‘ah in Islam, which forms an
essential part o f his revivalist thought.
Sirhindi deals with the concept o f shari‘ah at two different
levels, micro and macro-level. At the micro level he defines the shari‘ah
in the usual sense of the rules and regulations o f the Qur‘an and the
Sunnah concerning worship and rites, morals and society, economy and
government, along with the elaborations and applications o f these rules by
scholars which agree with the Qur‘an and the Sunnah. Here he considers it
from the point o f view o f a traditional jurist and gives his opinion on
certain points o f law. For instance, in a letter to Abdul Rahim KaniKhanan, a high official o f the Mughal court, he tries to convince the
recipient that Islamic law is not difficult but easy to practice.1 Islam does
not impose difficult duties on the believers. For instance, only seventeen
daily rakahs were prescribed and these can be performed in less than an
hour. If a Muslim finds rukus and sajud to be difficult, he can comply
with the law by performing them symbolically.2 Only one-fortieth o f the
property was fixed as zakat and even then not all kinds o f property are
taxable.3 Pilgrimage has only to be performed once in lifetime4. God has
permitted every man to wed four wives and have an unlimited
concubines.5 Sirhindi continues in the same vein, while dealing with
1 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 191.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
matters such as clothing and food and concludes saying, that if anyone
finds the shari‘ah onerous, despite all this, he doubtlessly suffers from an
affliction o f the heart (maraz-i-qalbi).‘ Discussions o f such juridical
problems are rare in Maktubat.
At the macro level Sirhindi defines and uses the term in
wider sense. Along with the rules and laws, the shari‘ah also includes
faith and belief, values and ideals, as well as Prophet’s way to cultivate
piety and achieve God’s pleasure. Shari‘ah in this sense is a
comprehensive system o f faith and practice, including everything, which
God has prescribed (shara‘a) directly or through the Prophet(s).2 Thus to
Sirhindi shari‘ah is self-sufficient, when he writes, ‘it embraces all the
realities o f this world and the next, leaving nothing out for which one
should have to go beyond the shari‘ah.3 Let us elucidate this statement o f
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, which is pivotal aspect o f his thought.
As outlined, the faith (iman) is the first part o f the shari‘ah,
which means conviction in transcendental realities— God, Angles, the
H ereafter, revelation, prophecy^etc. According to Sirhindi, only way to
know these articles o f faith is the wahy (revelation) o f the Prophet.
1 Ibid
2 In the eighteenth verse of Surah al-Jathiya (45th) of the Qur‘an, the term shari‘ah is used
in its wider sense. Abdullah Yousuf ’Ali, commenting on the verse, writes that,
‘Shari‘ah is best translated the “right way of Religion”, which is wider than the mere
formal rites and legal provisions (p. 1536).
3 Sirhindi Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 36.
Neither reason nor mystic k a sh f is capable o f revealing them. Reason on
its own cannot ascertain these realities. Sirhindi writes, ‘Everything that
we know through the prophets regarding God’s existence and attributes,
prophets and revelation, the impeccability o f angles, resurrection,
Paradise and Hell, Eternal happiness and damnation, and other similar
truths which the shari‘ah has revealed to us, are impossible to know
through reason. Before hearing from the prophets, reason is incapable o f
establishing them by itse lf.2 Here his views regarding the shortcomings
o f the reason are not different from some o f the important thinkers like
Ghazzali. However, on the position o f mystic kashf, Sirhindi has a
different view.
To Sirhindi, kasf is not an independent source o f knowledge
parallel to wahy. It can only act as an interpreter of the prophetic revelation
concerning matters o f faith. He says, ‘inspiration (ilham) only brings out the
non-apparent truths o f religion; it is not to add upon its truths. As ijtihad
reveals rules that are implied (in the shari‘ah), similarly, ilham, reveals the
hidden truths (of faith) which ordinary people are not able to see.’3 Sirhindi
then says, even in this capacity of interpreter, kashf is not infallible; like the
ijtihad o f a mujtahid the kashf o f a sufi may be right or wrong. Inspiration is
uncertain (Zanni) and the revelations o f kashf do not generate truth.4
1 Kashf literally means to reveal or uncover. It is the knowledge acquired through
mystical means, e.g., vision, audition, dream, inspiration, insight, etc.
2 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. Ill, Letter No. 23.
3 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 55.
4 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 209 and 266.
Explaining his ideas on kashf Sirhindi goes on to say that the
opinion o f the theologians o f Ahl al-Sunnah is the measuring rod o f
ascertaining the validity o f the ideas of a mystic in the light of his kashf
In case the mystical ideas are contradictory, they should be treated as the
product o f sukr (intoxication) o f the mystic and rejected as false. He
writes, ‘there are mystical ideas which conflict with the views o f the
Ahl-i-Haqq (i.e., theologians o f Ahl al-Sunnah), in such cases the truth is
with the ‘ulama’ of the A hl-i-H aqq’.1 At another place he writes, ‘the
criterion o f the validity o f mystical ideas ( ‘Ulum ladunniyah) is that they
should agree with the clear ideas o f the disciplines {‘’Ulum) o f the
shari‘ah; if there is a hair’s breadth o f divergence, it is due to sukr. The
truth is what the ‘ulama o f the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jam a’ah have
established. All else is zandaqah (blasphemy), ilhad (heresy) and the
result o f sukr (intoxication) and ghalbat al-hal (ecstasy).2 To sum up, we
can say that the kashf o f sufi should pass the test o f the Qur‘an and the
Sunnah and their interpretation by theological reason.3
1 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 112,
2 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 31.
3 When the views of Sirhindi on kashf are compared with those of Imam Ghazzali, they
are quite different. According to al-Ghazzali, wahy (Prophetic revelation) is ambiguous
about metaphysical realities of faith, and uses the language of symbols and metaphors.
To know its real meaning, one has to interpret this language, and to do that theological
reason is quite incapable. (Al-Ghazzali, Ihya’Ulum al-Din, Vol. I. Cario, 1939,
pp. 10-11). Hence for al-Ghazzali kashf is the most reliable instrument of interpretation.
It is not at all subject to theological reason. On the contrary theology has to submit to
mystical revelations. (Al-Ghazali, al-Munqidah min al-Dalal, ed., Dr. Ab. Hamid
Mahmud, Cario, 1964, p. 13). In his writings al-Ghazzali plays down the theological
reason and extols kashf. (Muhammad ‘Abdul Haq Ansari, ‘The Doctrine of Divine
Command: A Study in the Development of Ghazzali’s view of Reality’, Islamic
Studies, Vol. XXI, No. 3, 1982, pp. 22-24). Ibn al-‘Arabi in comparison to al-Ghazali
gives reason a greater role but puts kasf at a higher position. Contd. on p. 129…..
According to Sirhindi, shari‘ah not only means belief in
transcendental realities but also defines what religious life truly is
(haqiqah), what are its constituents and what they really mean. Shari‘ah is
not just a code o f rules and regulations that govern external action. It also
explains what faith, Tawhid, trust, gratitude, patience, worship, dhikr,
jihad, taqwa, and ihsan are, and shows how to realize these realities. It is
concerned with outer behaviour as well as with internal state o f mind and
will; with faith and virtue, motive and intention, feelings and emotions.
Thus shari‘ah is a complete unity o f surah (form) and haqiqah (essence or
reality).1 In other words it has an outward (zahir) and an inner aspect
(batin).2 The outward form o f the shari‘ah involves compliance with the
clear Qur‘anic commandments (Muhkamat) and the inward or essence of
the Shari‘ah (haqiqat-i-shari’ah) can be arrived at by properly
understanding the ambigious verses o f the Qur‘an (mutashabihat).3
The sufi tariqah, on the other hand, is only a means to
achieve the realities o f religious life and confirms without any addition, to
what the shari‘ah says.4 There are no realities outside the shari‘ah and the
…..Contd. from p; 128.
Baha’ al-Din Naqashbandi’s view is similar to that of Sirhindi. When the former
was asked, ‘what is the purpose of sulukfl He replied: ‘The purpose is to know in brief,
and to perceive in vision what you know through arguments.’ (Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol.
I, Letter No. 84). Commenting on these words, Sirhindi says, ‘The shaykh did not say
that the purpose is to acquire truths beyond the truths of the shar‘. Shihab alSuhrawardi (d. 1234) is of the same view (see his book ’’Awarif al-Ma ‘arif).
1 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol., I, Letter No. 276.
2 Ibid.
3 Al-Qur‘an, III/7.
4 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 36.
sufi tariqah is only a further help to attain those realities. And tariqah is
always subservient to the shari‘ah.’
In Sirhindi’s view it is ‘hersy and infidelity’2 to consider
that the shari‘ah is to be followed only till the m a’arifah3 is achieved.
There was a group o f sufis (though small) who believed that the shari4ah
is for common man who does not know or cannot know the truth
(m a’rifah); but those who have known the truth do not need it any longer.
But to Sirhindi, the truth is just opposite.4 Sirhindi also holds that the
Q ur‘an, the Sunnah o f the Prophet, the Ijtihad and Ijm a‘ (concensus of
opinion o f the jurists) are the only means to determine what things are
halal (legal) or haram (illegal) and what acts are right or wrong. They
also specify the degree o f obligation, i. e., whether a thing is wajib
(obligatory) or haram (forbidden), mandub (commendable), makruh
(undesirable), or mubah (permissible). He writes, ‘it is commonly agreed
that in determining the ahkam (rules) o f the shari‘ah, what counts is the
Q ur‘an, the Sunnah o f the Prophet, the qiyas o f the qualified jurist
(mujtahid) and the Consensus^ o f the Ummah. No other principle apart
from these four is to be taken into consideration to determine the legality
o f rules’.5 Sirhindi also believes that the ilham (inspiration) or the kashf
o f the sufi has no role in determining the legality o f things or fixing the
1 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 261.
2 Ibid., Vol. I. Letter No. 276.
3 Mctrifah means knowledge. In tasawwuf it is particularly that knowledge which is
acquired through mystical means, gnosis.
4 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I., Letter No. 276.
5 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 55.
degree o f their obligation. He writes, “ilham (inspiration) does not
determine whether something is right or wrong, and the kashf o f a sufi
does not establish the degree o f a rule, whether it is obligatory or
desirable.” 1 He clearly gives superior position to the jurists against sufis
and treats the later at par with the common men. He again writes, “the
aw liya’ (saints) have to follow, like an ordinary Muslim, the opinion of
mujtahids. Their K ushuf (revelations) and ilhamat (inspirations) do not
elevate their status and relieve them from following the judgments o f the
fuqaha (jurists). Dhu al-Nun, al-Bistami, Junayd and al-Shibli are just like
ordinary men, Zayd, ‘Umar, Bakr and Khalid. They have to follow the
judgments o f the mujtahidin (jurists) in matters o f ijtihad’?
Besides, Sirhindi also believes that the shari‘ah deals with
the matters like what is the ideal life or ultimate goal o f man. He is o f the
view that the shari‘ah has its own system o f values and priorities, which
can only be revealed by contemplating over its structure, not by kashf or
philosophical speculation.
Three Components of Shari‘ah*
Shari‘ah, according to Sirhindi comprises o f three parts: ‘/7m
(Knowledge), ‘ami (action) and ikhlas (sincerity). For the complete
obedience o f shari‘ah, all the three parts have to be accomplished. He
writes, ‘The shari‘ah has three parts-knowledge, action and sincerity o f
1 Ibid. Ibn al-‘Arabi’s view on the shari‘ah is essentially same. He says, “ the shari‘ah has
been fixed and what is incumbent (fard) or obligatory (wajib), desirable (mandub),
permissible (mubah) or undesirable (makruh) has been defined.”
2 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. II, Letter No. 55.
motive; unless you fulfill the demands o f all these parts, you do not obey
the shari‘ah. The tariqah and haqiqah for which the sufis are known, are
subservient to the shari‘ah, as they help to realize its third part, namely
sincerity. Hence they are sought in order to fulfill the shari4ah, not to
achieve something beyond the shari‘ah. The purpose o f traversing the
stages o f tariqah and haqiqah is nothing other than the realization of
ikhlas, which involves the attainment o f rida (satisfaction). Only one out
o f thousand sufis is graced with the three illuminations (tajalliyat sih
ganah) and gnostic vision, given ikhlas and elevated to the stage o f rida
Shari‘ah Superior to Tariqah
In Sirhindi’s view Sunnah and shari‘ah are the most
important components o f Islamic culture.2 On the day o f Resurrection,
says Sirhindi, people will be questioned about their adherence to the
shari‘ah, not about tasawwuf.3 He urges his disciples to read books on fiqa
and affirms that sufi experience is inferior to the shari4ah and not viceversa, because shari‘ah is based on incontrovertible proof, while sufi
experience is result o f fallible speculation only.4 One o f his disciples
recalls that when he was overwhelmed by hal, Sirhindi used to tell him,
“Go study your lesson, because an ignorant sufi is fool o f satan”. Any sufi
experience that is rejected by shari‘ah is heresy5, says Sirhindi, and the
1 Ibid., Vol. I. Letter No. 36.
2 Friedmann, op. cit., p. 41.
3 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 48.
4 Badr al-Din Sirhindi, op. cit., p. 37
5 Ibid.
Maktubat contains countless exhortations to follow the Sunnah and
comply with the shari‘ah.
Shari‘ah, he regarded as all comprehensive, embracing all
the realities o f this world and the next, and the possibilities o f true
mystical experience. Shari‘ah has two appearances, an external and a real
one. The external appearance is based on whatever is unambigiously
enjoined in the Qur‘an and the Sunnah; it is the sphere o f knowledge o f
the formal ‘ulama ( ‘Ulama-i-Zawahir).’ Whatever has been left ambigious
and unexplained in the Qur‘an and in Sunnah is the sphere o f the
speculation o f the profound ( ‘Ulama-i-Rasikhin). These ‘ulama who
follow the lead o f the Prophet(s) are superior to the saints, as prophethood
is superior to sainthood.2 Thus to Sirhindi, the observance o f single
religious commandment is more profitable for emancipation from sensual
desires than ‘a thousand years’ o f self-imposed penance or spiritual
concentration and from this point o f view all the exercises o f a Hindu
yoge are an absolute waste.3
Sirhindi’s Approach Towards>2?i</‘aA (Innovation)
Sirhindi’s approach to the issue o f innovation is also
relevant to the description o f his views on the Islamic law. He generally
exhorts to follow Sunnah and avoid Bidah. He unlike a jurist, rearly
speaks o f innovations which are peculiar to Muslims o f India as a result of
1 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I. Letter No. 276.
2 Ibid., Vol. Ill, Letter No. 55.
3 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 52.
their life in the midst o f the Hindu people. He deals with the problem on
theoretical level.
In several places in the M aktubat he launches vigorous
attack against the distinction between b id ‘ah hasanah (good innovations)
and bid’ah sa yyi‘ah (bad innovations), asserting that either of them is
certain to do away with a Sunnah and should, therefore, be scrupulously
avoided.1 He cites examples. It has been said, for instance, that the use of
the turban as a part o f the shroud is a good innovation. It is clear,
however, that this contravenes the Sunnah by using an additional piece of
cloth beyond the three prescribed ones.2 To place the turban-sash on the
left side has also been considered good innovation, though it is evidently
inconsistent with the Sunnah, which demands that the sash be allowed to
hung between the shoulders.3 The opinion o f those ‘ulama who maintain
that it is laudable to express the prayer-initiation (niyat-i-nimaz) aloud,
though the Prophet and his Companions never did it in this manner, is also
unacceptable. In case this recommendation is followed, most people are
satisfied with the words and are not concerned with the intention o f the
heart (irada-yi-qalb); a Sunnah is thus abrogated.4 Therefore, all
innovations are bad and ought to be shunned. The Qur‘an says: ‘Today I
have perfected your religion for you and bestowed upon you all my
1 Ibid., Vol., I, Letter No. 186.
2 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
favour, and I have approved Islam as your religion”. Islam is thus perfect
and does not require any modification or addition.
To conclude we may say that for Sirhindi shari‘ah is all
comprehensive, encompassing minutest detail o f this world and the next.
Shari‘ah and tariqah are, on the one hand, two expressions o f the same
reality; 1 on the other hand, tariqah is the servant o f the shari‘ah whose
service is essential to making the shari‘ah complete. The relationship
between shari4ah and tariqah is parallel to that between prophecy and
sainthood: shari‘ah is superior to tariqah in the same way that prophecy is
superior to sainthood.3 Sirhindi thus speaks o f al-fana f i al-Shari‘ah.
There is no disagreement among the Muslim scholars about
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, being ‘the Renovator o f the Second Millennium’
(Mujaddid alf-Thani). But there is difference o f opinion as to what was
the single greatest achievement among a series o f his brilliant revivalistic
accomplishments. The differences fall into three categories, which can be
summarized as follows.
The first category o f scholars highlight that the emphasis o f
Sirhindi in advocating the superiority o f shari‘ah over tariqah, is the
central point o f his wide ranging revivalistic endeavour, and therefore, he
deserves to be called the M ujaddid Alf-i-Thani. No one before him had
1 Ibid., Vol. I. Letter No. 36.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 95 and 108; Vol. II, Letter No. 46.
laid stress on the issue in such a forceful, confident and authoritative
manner as was done by Sirhindi. He outrightly made it clear that the
tariqah was meant sub-serve the shari‘ah and this checked the tendency to
overlook or reject the shari‘ah.’
To the second category of scholars, Sirhindi’s sturdy attack on
the popular mystic philosophy of wahdat al-wujud was his main revivalistic
effort.2 He unlike traditional ‘ulama‘ not only criticized the doctrine but also
gave an alternative philosophy of wahdat al-shuhud, which is thought to be
more close to the conception of Tawhid. In their view nobody had launched
out so forcefully against that misguided doctrine of sufism before him. He
succeeded in stemming it so effectively that nobody raised his voice in its
favour in the succeeding generations.
According to the third group of scholars, Sirhindi regained India
for Islam, which was about to slip into the hands of religious eclecticism,
which was flourishing under the patronage o f Akbar.3 They believe that
Sirhindi saved Indian Muslims from immediate danger o f comprehensive
religious, intellectual and cultural’apostasy, which had been made virtually
unavoidable by Akbar’s passionate drive and iron will and the intelligence of
his sharp-witted advisers like Mulla Mubarak, Faizi and Abul Fazl. Thus he
guarded the Millat in India from such unwarranted developments.4
1 Nadwi, op. cit., p. 194.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid., p. 193.
4 Ibid.
But, according to a modern and acclaimed scholar o f the
contemporary Muslim world, Syed Nadwi, Sirhindi’s main achievement as
the Mujaddid was his re-emphasising the need and importance o f the
Prophethood (Nabuwah). The essence o f his message was to ‘back away
from everyone and attend only to your master (Muhammad)’. After
examining the other achievements o f Sirhindi, he writes, “ but the fact that
the greatest achievement o f the Mujaddid which is the nucleus o f his
entire endeavour or the focal point o f his multi-dimensional reformatory
programme was his success in creating a trust in the need and abiding
nature o f Muhammad’s prophethood.”1 His was really the call, “Back to
Muhammad”,2 the focal point o f his reformative activities. It was this
principle o f reform and renovation, which struck at the root o f perversion
threatening to subvert the religious, spiritual and intellectual basis o f the
Muslim society.
Thus prompted by the need o f the hour, Sirhindi took up the
responsibility o f the re-assertion o f the principle o f Prophethood, and
elucidated its theoretical importance and practical relevance. It was the
task never taken before him by any one, perhaps, as the need was not felt
by the scholars and reformers o f the preceeding generations. But, Sirhindi
was compelled by the circumstances to respond to the distortions spread
consciously or unconsciously about the institution o f Prophethood.
1 Ibid., p. 195.
2 Burhan Faruqi, op. cit., p. 31.
The institution o f Prophethood was under scrutiny as a group
o f men propagated the philosophy that the religion o f Prophet(s) has
completed the term of one thousand years, and therefore needs to be
replaced. The followers o f these distorted ideas were known as
‘N aqtawis’1 and their idealogy as ‘ideology o f second millennium’
(Nazriya A lf Thani).2
The Naqtawis claimed that the new millennium needs a fresh
ideology, which was furnished by Mahmud Basikhawni, the founder o f the
Naqtawi movement. They contested the Prophethood o f Muhammad(s) by
claiming that the new age required a fresh principle o f human action based
on reason and philosophy. Din-i-Illahi o f Akbar can be treated as an
outcome o f such ideas. Under such influences Akbar introduced ‘Alfi
coins’ in his domain.3 Hijrah calendar was replaced by ‘Alfi Calendar’4.
The repurcussions o f Akbar’s ‘new order’ and his claims o f mujtahid did
not ceased here. Purely religious devotions and rituals like Salat, Saum,
Haj were influenced by the un-islamic practices. Usury, gambling and
drinking became lawful. The worship o f sun became prevalent.5 In short,
an inevitable outcome o f Akbar’s religious policy was that the
monotheistic way o f life and system o f belief which had taken four
hundred years’ labour of the most virtuous and spiritually illuminated
1 The Naqtawi movement has been discussed in detail in Chapter I, p.24-25.
2 Maulana Manzoor Nu’mani, Tazkirah Mujaddid Alf Thani, Lucknow, 1986, p.44.
3 Ibid, p.44.
4 Ibid., p. 45.
5 For detail see Chapter I, pp.39-40. For more details of impact of Akbar’s religious
policy, also see, Nu’mani, op. cit., pp. 63-102.
persons to take root in the country, were laid open to a comprehensive
danger o f religious, intellectual and cultural apostasy.
The institution o f Prophethood was also being challenged by
the followers o f Imamiyah sect. They believed in the divine and
indefeasible right o f the laima to lead the Muslims, and venerated them as
divinely appointed leaders in the same way as the prophet s o f God. The
author o f the Kita Tarikh al-Mazhib al-Islamiyah (Vol.I), Abu Zahra,1
writes that all the scholars o f Imamiyah sect are agreed on the equality of
an imam and a prophet. Under the extending influence o f the sect, the
Muslim society o f India was gradually accepting the thought and customs
o f the Imamiyah creed. Then, in the continuation o f these false
pretensions, the mystic theory of wahdat al-wujud, consciously or
unconsciously tried to assert itself as a doctrine antagonistic to the
concept o f Prophethood and revealed guidance. The more it took root in
the Muslim society, the more Muslim community lost its conviction in the
infallibility o f Islam as the only saving principle. All these developments
were posing a challenge to the Prophethood o f the Muhammad(s) and the
way o f life taught by him.
To counteract this trend, Sirhindi wrote his first book,2
Athbat-i-Nabuwah (Defence o f Prophecy), wherein he elucidated the
essence o f the Prophethood in Islam. In the introduction o f the book he
mentions the factors that prompted him to write the monumental work. He
1 Quoted by Nadwi, op. cit., p. 197.
2 Written in 1582-83.
writes, I found the people o f my age wanting in faith about the real
concept o f Prophethood, antipathy being shown towards the prophet’s
names, and the persons bearing the prophet’s name were even changed.1
He further writes, having interacted with scholars well-versed with Greek
philosophy and claiming scholarship having read the science o f infidels, I
found them misleading the people and having themselves gone astray
about the very concept o f Prophethood.2 They went to the extent o f saying
that the Prophethood is concerned with the external aspects o f man only,
and has nothing to do with the Salvation in the next world.3 Having
observed all this, I found myself obliged to write in ‘Defense of
The Institution of Prophethood
In order to explain out the importance and to re-assert the
trust in the Prophethood, Sirhindi starts on the note that the knowledge
gained through intellectual process as well as spiritual intuition is
imperfect. Their incompetence lies in the fact that they cannot penetrate
the metaphysical truths, such’as, the gnosis o f God, His attributes, the
ultimate truth and reality of existence, etc.4 He says that the knowledge
gained through either o f these sources was neither beyond doubt nor free
from mistake. In regard to intellect he writes that, it ought to be kept in
1 Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, Athbat-i-Nabuwat, tr., Gh. Mustafa Khan, Karachi, 1963,
pp. 5 0 -5 1.
2 Ibid
3 Ibid.
4 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. Ill, Letter No. 23.
mind that it is not self-sufficient to perform its functions o f knowing,
analysing and reasoning, since it has to depend on other subordinate
faculties i.e., sensory organs, which by themselves are insufficient to
supply the information to the intellect, and operate within a limited
com pass.1 The true knowledge o f God could be had through relevation
vouchsafed to the prophets, for it occupies a higher place in comparison to
intellect in the same way as intellect was superior to sensory perceptions.2
Thus the knowledge o f God and the correct way o f divine worship could
be known from the prophets alone.
According to Sirhindi, the ancient Greek philosophers had
committed grevious mistake in understanding the true nature and attributes of
God. This was because there was nothing like pure or abstract intellect nor
there existed any pure and unmixed spiritual intuition or ecstatic inspiration,
free from all intrinsic and extrinsic influences.4 The mystics and theosophists
had also blundered, explains Sirhindi, like the philosophers, because they
failed to recognize that intellect and theosophy5 were both equally
incompetent to get at the knowledge pertaining to God.
1 Ibid.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Theosophy is a method of attaining the knowledge of God. Its guiding principle is that
intellect, learning and reasoning faculties block the way instead of opening the door to
the discovery of ultimate truth. It considers the vision of ultimate reality necessary for
attaining the knowledge, and this can be had through self-purification, illumination of
the spirit and developing an inner sense which can perceive the spiritual realities and
metaphysical truths in the same way as eyes can see material objects. This sense is
developed, according to them, when the earthy nature of man and his outer faculties or
sense are completely suppressed and subdued.
The metaphysical questions are outside the reach o f
mysticism just as philosophy cannot be expected to solve them .1
Theosophy or illuminism affords a glimpse o f the spiritual world but leave
many questions unanswered as/ what is the Will and Pleasure o f
God, the divine law etc. The fact o f the matter is that philosophy and
theosophy are cast in the same mould: the spirit underlying both o f them
is one and the same. Both want to attain the ultimate reality without the
agency o f Prophethood. The distinction o f both is same: one wants to
reach it with the wing o f its imagination while the other desires to get at it
through a spiritual tunnel o f inner faculties but both fail to reach the
Truth.2 This meant that the Prophethood remains as the only trust-worthy
medium o f obtaining knowledge about God and His attributes and
Prophethood Transcends Intellect
Prophethood transcends intellect and the methods o f
reasoning.3 Matters, which are beyond the ken o f intellect or human
perception, are proved by the’prophetic method. Had human intellect been
sufficient to show light o f guidance to man, there would have been no
need for God to send His apostles, nor the chastisement in the hereafter
would have been prescribed as punishment for rejecting them.4 Reason
furnishes a proof, no doubt, but its testimony is neither final nor perfect.
1 Sirhindi, Maktrubat, Vol. Ill, Letter No. 23.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid, Vol. Ill, Letter No. 36; Vol. I, Letter No. 266.
4 Ibid
Authenticated attestation is provided only by Prophethood after which
there remains nothing more to be searched for.1
Prophetic teachings are not verifiable by intellect. In fact the
prophetic procedure is beyond intellect and irrationality.2 The line o f
action adopted by intellect cannot approach the Divine Person without
following the lead o f the prophets. To be against the reason or intellect is
something quite different from that which cannot be comprised by the
intellect. Irrationality o f any thought can be judged only after the intellect
has comprehended its nature.3
Prophethood Indispensable
Prophets are indispensable for guidance o f humanity,
asserts Sirhindi. The Tasfiya (purification) and Tazkiya (embellishment)
o f soul which depend on the divinely approved virtuous deeds are
unattainable w ithout the help o f the prophets4. Human intellect is, in his
view, inadequate to lead man to the divine presence. He writes,
‘apostleship is a blessing for mankind; for, w ithout their assistance who
could have enlightened it about the nature and attributes o f God and
made it to see the difference between the evil and the virtue.’5 It is
Prophethood which drew a line o f dem arcation betw een the truth and
1 Ibid
2 Ibid., Vol. I., Letter No. 266.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
untruth and distinguished between what was fit to be paid divine
reverence and what was unfit for it.1
Gnosis o f God (Ma ‘rifat) is a gift o f Prophethood, according
to Sirhindi. As the call and message o f the prophets came to be known to
the world through their continued preaching, even the most ignoramus
doubting the existence o f the Creator realized their mistake and found
credence. Their acceptance o f God as the Creator o f all things and beings
was brought about by the light and knowledge spread by God’s
Prophets Teach Methods of Worship
The prophets also provide guidance in the matter o f thanksgiving to the Great Benefactor and teach man how to pay homage to Him
in the way He desires.3 Divine service not performed in accordance with
the direction given by Him is unbecoming o f His great Majesty and Power
but the faculties endowed to man are incapable o f finding out its correct
method. As man can even commit the mistake o f being disrespectful in
place o f returning Him thanks, it becomes the duty o f the prophets to let
man know how to lift up his heart in adoration o f God. The inspirations of
the saintly persons are also drawn from the prophets on whose imitation
depends all the blessings and divine grace dispensed to thanks.4
1 Ibid.
2 Ibid., Vol. Ill, Letter No. 23.
4 Ibid.
Prophethood Superior to Intellect
Prophethood is superior to intellect, concludes Sirhindi.
Intellect occupies a position higher to senses because it can comprehend
things not perceived by the senses. In a similar manner Prophethood is
superior in position and quality to the intellect since it can discern things
not apprehended by the latter.1
Prophethood and Sainthood
The prophet in his faith and knowledge, virtue and piety,
experience and attainment, marks the ultimate perfection o f man, and sets
the highest example to be followed. He is the criterion on which the wali
and walayat is to be judged. There are walis who are occupied exclusively
with God and are lost in Him, and care little for themselves or for others.
They are inferior to those who attend to the duties towards God as well as
the duties towards men.2 The distinction o f prophet’s ‘contact with G od’
and his ‘contact with people’ is that they are not two different phases of
his life, one coming after the other, as the sufi does. They are rather two
moments o f his life. For he does not undergo experience o f fa n a ‘3 and
baqa‘ 4 as the sufi does. He does not experience self-annihilation or selfdissolution union or merger into God. He never feels ecstasy and
2 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No.22; Vol. II, Letter No. 93.
3 Fana means to die or disappear. It is the mystical experience of losing the self in God.
4 Baqa means to survive or abide. It is the mystical experience of subsistence or living by
and in God after dying (fana) to oneself.
intoxication, does not lose control over his reason, or indulge in shath.1
He has no unification or no separation, no ascent or no descent. He is
never so absorbed in God as to lose sight o f himself and the world, and
never so occupied with the world as to forget God. ‘In prophecy’, says
Sirhindi, ‘the prophet does not face the creation only, he faces God along
with facing the world’.2
The experience o f a prophet and the wali are, thus, different,
however, they share a lot o f experience with each other. The wali sees
dreams (r u ’ya ) and vision (waqi<at), receives ideas directly in the heart
(ilham), hears voices, and talks to appearances. These extraordinary forms
o f revelation, which together are called kashf, are common between the
wali and the prophet.
However, two things distinguish the revelation o f the
prophet from the revelation of wali. One, the prophet has a particular form
o f revelation, namely, revelation through an angel called wahy; the wali
does not have it. Wahy in this sense is specific to the prophet, and is the
real basis o f prophecy. Second, all the revelations o f the prophet, whether
wahy in the special sense, or in the form o f a dream, vision, audition and
inspiration are true and certain, but the revelations o f the wali are fallible
and uncertain.3 The third difference, which is actually a corollary o f the
second, is that, the revelation o f the prophet is binding on people, whereas
1 Ecstatic utterances of the sufis.
2 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I. Letter No. 95.
3 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 41 and 112.
the kashf o f a wali is not. K ashf is not an independent and sufficient
argument, it needs to be confirmed by the prophetic revelation. ’
The two moments o f prophet’s life viz., contact with God—
his reception o f wahy, his perception o f Divine rule, angels, his dhikr and
contemplation, his turning to God for mercy and assistance, his
thanksgiving and submission etc., and contact with people—his recitation
o f wahy, his preaching and mission, his instruction to his followers in
self-purification and piety, his struggle against his opponents, etc., form
one whole, intertwined with one another. The Companions and their
successors never made any distinction between them and never raised the
question, which aspect was higher and which was lower. But such
distinction was made only when sufism came into being and consequently
the life o f poverty and renunciation, dhikr and meditation, fa n a ‘ and
baqa ‘, ka sf and illumination came to be applauded as the highest and most
sublime life. The first aspect o f the Prophet’s life was called his walayat,
and was extolled over the second aspect which was called nubawat and
risalat, and therefore, some people held that the wali is superior to the
But Sirhindi contests the whole thought and asserts that the
nabi is superior to wali, and even his nubuwat is superior to his walayat}
He defends his argument by saying that, it is not true, first o f all, that in
1 Ibid., Vol. I., Letter No. 48; Vol. III. Letter No. 91.
2 Although the ummah and the sufis in general have always held that the prophet is
incoporably superior to the wali, but when comparing walayat of a nabi with his
nubawat, many a sufi have extolled the former over latter.
nubawat the prophet’s attention is turned away from God and centered on
people. The prophet does not experience an opposition between ‘attention
to God’ and ‘attention to people’. That opposition, rather conflict, is part
o f a w a li’s life; he experiences it particularly in the first stage o f his
suluk1. The prophet does not follow the sufi tariqah, consequently he does
not experience the conflict. His attention to the people, therefore, does not
imply distraction from God, nor does his occupation with God mean
disconcern with people.2 Secondly, in attending to the people, the prophet
in fact attends to God, because he does not attend to them o f his own will.
He attends because God commands him to attend. Therefore, when he
attends to them he attends to God.3 Finally, to attend to people on the
command o f God in order that they believe in Him, obey Him and come
close to Him, is a hundred times better than to occupy oneself with God
and concentrate on Him. This life should better be devoted to carrying out
His will and bring the people near to Him, argues Sirhindi.4
Sirhindi, thus, gives a wider view o f prophet’s mission. He
starts his mission with the preaching o f the shari‘ah, which includes both
his religion and laws. The believers, who accept his religion, are taught
how to act upon his teachings by the prophet. He shows them how to
worship God and remember Him, how to avoid sin and purify oneself,
how to cultivate virtues and piety, and how to feel for humanity and work
1 Traveling the sufi path.
2 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I., Letter No. 108.
3 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 46.
4 Ibid.
for their happiness. He tells them that the purpose o f man’s life is to serve
God, and show them how to attain God’s pleasure. He preaches religion as
well as demonstrates how to practise and live it.
The struggle to build a new society and create a new world
for his followers, is also a component o f prophetic mission, says Sirhindi.
He tries to demolish the old society and fights to establish the rule o f God
on earth. Sirhindi does not discuss this aspect at length, but he leaves
none in doubt that for him it is an integral part o f prophet’s mission. He
refers to it in letters which he wrote to men in pow er,1 where he
underscores the role o f the ruler in Islam, his responsibility to implement
the laws o f shari4ah, to establish its institutions and to defend them
against attacks from within and from without. Thus, Sirhindi gives the
broader view o f the institution o f Prophethood in Islam.
Maqam (Station) of Prophethood
To conclude, we can say that the view that Sirhindi tries to
demonstrate is that the Prophets were intellectually and spiritually the
acme o f perfection, among the entire creation o f the God.2 He explains
that their spiritual affinity with God was never severed by their diversion
o f attention to any matter whatsoever because their responsive hearts were
opened by God to the secrets o f truth and reality. This was a characteristic
singular to them since the great task with which they were charged
1 For instance, in a letter addressed to the governor of a province he writes: ‘4If along with
your administrative work, you could implement the shari4 ah, you would be doing the
work of prophets”. (Ibid, Vol. Ill, Letter No. 54.)
2 Ibid., Vol. I, Letter No. 95.
required brilliance and alertness o f mind along with large heartedness and
fortitude not possessed by the illuminists and ecstatics. The prophet o f
God made the start where mystics and saints ended their journey o f spirit.1
The former enjoyed nearness o f God by virtue o f the performance o f
duties allotted to them whereas the latter strived to approach it through
voluntary devotions and prayers but could never attain that stage.2 The
perfection o f sainthood as compared to the quintessence o f Prophethood
was like a drop beside the ocean.3 Sainthood is a fraction o f what
Prophethood represents as a whole. The Prophethood is thus superior to
In the letter 80 o f the first volume o f the Maktubat, Sirhindi
writes that among the seventy three groups4 o f Muslims, the righteous is
that o f ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jam a‘a 5 He defends himself by quoting a
hadith o f Prophet(s) that, ‘among the groups only that will achieve
Salvation (najat) who will obey me and my Companions (Ashab).6 As
obedience o f Prophet(s) is obligatory for obedience o f Allah,7 argues
Sirhindi, so is obedience of Companions o f prophet(s) compulsory, for the
1 Ibid. Vol. I, Letter No. 266.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 The reference here is to the well-known hadith wherein Prophet(s) has predicted of
division of Ummah in seventy-three groups, in the age of its downfall.
5 Also see Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. II, Letter No. 67
7 Al-Qur‘an, IV/80. Jji ^ ^ ^
obedience o f Prophet(s). Since, only ahl al-Sunnah xva al-Jam a‘a fulfill
this condition, therefore they are the righteous group. The other groups
like Khawarajites, accuse the Sahaba as slanderers, which tantamounts to
the accusing the Prophet(s) o f the same, therefore, they have gone astray.
There are isolated references to such groups in the writings o f Sirhindi.1
But, the only Muslim sect that Sirhindi discusses in detail is ahl alTashi’a (Rawafiz).
Sirhindi’s Account of Shi‘as
The Shi‘ah is the only Muslim sect to which Sirhindi pays
full attention in his works, because there were enough factors for him to
do that. A campaign o f vilification against the Companions o f Prophet(s)
had been launched by the Shi‘as throughout India with renewed vigour.2
The campaign was particularly against the K hulafa‘-i-Thalatha for
depriving Hadhrat ‘Ali, as they claimed, o f the right to succeed the
Prophet(s); and against ‘Aiysha, Talha, Zubayr and M u‘awiyah who
opposed and fought ‘Ali afterwards.3 Except ‘Ali’s family and his
supporters, the entire community o f Companions ultimately came under
their condemnation. The Shi‘a scholars at Agra court published a book,
refuting the criticism leveled against them by the sunni scholars o f Central
Asia (Mawara al-Nahr) and vindicating their position.4 In reply to the
1 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 80.
2 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 36; Nu‘mani, op. cit., p. 180.
3 /A/J.(Numani), p. 181.
4 Ikram, Rud-i-Kauthar, p. 243.
issues raised by Shi‘a scholars in the book, Sirhindi wrote Radd-iRawafiz1 (Refutation o f the Shi‘as).2 The importance o f the book can be
gauged from the fact that the scholar o f the caliber o f Shah Wali-Ullah
Dahlawi later wrote a commentary on it.’
In the beginning o f Radd Sirhindi explains that his decision
to write the refutation o f the Shi‘a doctrines was prompted by the
Prophetic tradition demanding that ‘the learned refute heretical ideas
whenever they appear’.4 He decided to fulfill this duty when he observed
that ‘some o f the followers o f shi‘a, who frequented these regions, boasted
and were proud o f these fundamental principles (of the Shi‘a faith) and
spread these fallacies in the councils o f the princes and the kings’.5
In the Radd and Maktubat, Sirhindi maintains and
substantiates the stance o f ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama ‘a, about the Shi‘as.
After describing the Shi‘a takfir o f the Companions o f the Prophet(s),
Sirhindi then launches an attack upon the doctrines o f the shi‘a.6 He
argues that it is not true that the Prophet(s) nominated ‘Ali to succeed him
1 The epistle was written in 1592 A.D. Maulana Sher Muhammad Khan published it in
1871 from Delhi, with the title Radd-i-Rawafiz Raddiya. But in 1877 Nawal Kishore
deleted Raddiya from the title (Abul Fazl Faruqi, Al-Majmu’tu al-Saniyah, Delhi, 1983,
pp. 7-8)
2 Friedmann, op. cit., p. 51.
3 Nu‘mani, op. cit, p. 181
4 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 252.
5 Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, Radd-i-Rawafiz, Delhi, 1983, p. 10; Ikram, Rud-i-Kauthar, p.
6 Ibid.,(Sirhindi), p. 11.
and the so-called ahadith telling o f his nomination are forged.1 Their
adoration o f ‘Ali is similar in its excesses to the Christian attitude towards
Jesus.2 It is against the known practice of the first three Caliphs to violate
the Prophet’s decree, as it is against the dignity o f ‘Ali to subject himself
to their authority and falsify thereby his claim, if the Prophet(s) had
nominated him.3 He maintains that there is consensus o f opinion among
the Sahaba and T ab‘ieen o f the superiority of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and
‘Uthman over Hadhrat ‘Ali.4 The Shi‘a books are unreliable and must be
considered to be as corrupted (muharrafah) as the Torah and the Injil.5
The Shi‘as do not refrain from adding spurious passages to the Q ur‘an
while accusing ‘Uthman o f concealing Qur‘anic verses, which had
allegedly been revealed in praise of the Prophet’s family.6 According to
Sirhindi, a serious affect o f accepting the Shi‘a position about the
Companions is that it puts in doubt the credibility o f the Q ur‘an, which
they (Companions) have collected.7 It also undermines the authenticity o f
the whole corpus o f Hadith, which they have transm itted.8 It will also
discredit the mission o f the Prophet(s) who spent his whole life educating
men, and on their turn after his demise, en masse violated his instructions.
1 Ibid., p. 12.
2 Ibid., p. 15.
3 Ibid., p. 18.
4 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. II, Letter No. 67, 15 and 36.
5 Sirhindi, Radd, p. 21.
6 Ibid.
7 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. I, Letter No. 251; Vol. II, Letter No. 96.
8 Sirhindi, Radd, p. 17.
In the disputes between ‘Ali and his opponents, Sirhindi clearly states that
the truth was with ‘Ali and his opponents were w rong.1 But the wrong
stand taken by ‘Ali’s opponents was a result o f an error in judgment made
in good faith and cannot, therefore, be reason for their exclusion from the
Muslim Community.2 Hence the opponents like ‘A‘ishah, Talha and
Zubair are not to be condemned but to be excused.3 About Amir
Mu‘awiyah who among the Companions is most vilified by the Shi‘as,
Sirhindi maintains that though being wrong, cannot be deemed as Kafir or
Fasiq (as Shi‘as believe)4. If it is accepted, then it is also to be shared by
about half o f the Companions who supported M u‘awwiyah and
consequently half o f the religious corpus transmitted through them will
become doubtful.5 Sirhindi also rejects the Shi‘a view that the
Companionship o f Prophet (Suhbat-i-Rasool) is not o f great importance.
He says that the Companionship o f Prophet(s) is superior than any other
virtue or merit.6 And for that reason likes o f Ovais Qarni and ‘Umr bin
‘Abdul ‘Aziz, who though match the Companions in their virtues, are
inferior to them on account o f latter’s association with the Prophet(s).7
And for the similar reason errors in*judgment (Khata-i-Ijtihadi) committed
1 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. II, Letter No. 251 and 36.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 36.
4 Ibid., Vol. I., Letter No. 251.
5 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 36.
6 Ibid., Vol. I. Letter No. 120.
1 Ibid.
by M u‘awiyyah and ‘Umr bin al-‘Aas are superior than the sane
judgments o f Ovais Qarni and ‘Umr bin ‘Abdul ‘A ziz.1
To Sirhindi, Taqiya (to conceal truth in a given situation) the
approved practice o f Shi‘as, is cowardice and timidity, and a state o f
hypocracy (nifaq).2 And to consider A sad-U llah ( ‘Ali) to have resorted to
such practice and to emphasize that he remained in the state o f nifaq, that
• • • 3
too for thirty long years, is ridiculous, absurd and irrational.
The opinion o f Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi about the Shi‘as
reaches its climax when he declares that they must be considered infidels
( kufar).4 He writes, “to say o f a believer that he is an infidel is a cause o f
infidelity. A sound tradition runs as follows: “whoever accuses a man o f
infidelity and says [to him]: ‘Enemy o f G od’, and if it is as he said [then
all is right]; if not, it [the curse] will come back upon him”.5 Sirhindi then
argues that ‘we know certainly that Abu Bakr and ‘Umr are faithful, are
not enemies o f God, and have been promised paradise. Their takfir, thus
comes back upon those who pronounced it. According to this tradition,
therefore, the Shi‘a must be pronounced infidels’.6 Sirhindi also quotes
with approval a legal opinion issued by group o f Transoxianian ‘ulama
1 Ibid
2 Ibid., Vol. II, Letter No. 36;
3 Ibid.; Sirhindi, Radd, p. 29.
4 Sirhindi does not agree to the views of Imam Ghazali and Abul Hasa al-Ash‘ari, who do
not consider Shi‘as as infidels, because before than the vilification of the Companions
does not tantamount to kufr. (Sirhindi, Radd, p. 30).
5 Ibid., p. 30.
6 Ibid., pp. 30-31.
who ruled: ‘Since the Shi‘a permit cursing Abu Bakr, ‘Umr and ‘Uthman
and one o f the chaste wives [of Prophet], which in itself constitutes
infidelity, it is incumbent upon the Muslim ruler, nay upon all people, in
compliance with the command of the Omniscient king, to kill them and to
oppress them in order to elevate the true religion. It is permissible to
destroy their buildings and to seize their property and belongings.1
Sirhindi’s vigorous denunciation and refutation o f the Shi‘a
doctrines and to decree them as infidels has to be seen in the historical
context, as the various fallacies disseminated by them both within and
without the court were damaging the cause o f Islam in India. It is,
however, important here to point out that somewhat hostile attitude of
Sirhindi towards the Shi‘a expressed in the Radd seems to have lessened
as depicted in the Maktubat written in the later part o f his life. Though
still maintaining that their (Shi‘a) view of early Islamic history and their
hatred for the first three khulafa are unacceptable, but in most cases he
refrains from declaring them infidels. In the Maktubat, however, he
condemns these acts as fisq apd b id ‘at.2 Thus, in comparison with the
attitude in the Radd, Sirhindi’s approach to the Shi‘a in the M aktubat is
mild.3 Friedmann attributes this change in the attitude o f Sirhindi, to his
joining the sufi suluk later.4
1 Ibid, pp. 29-30.
2 Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. II, Letter No. 36.
3 Ansari, op. cit., p. 143.
4 Friedmann, op. cit., p. 53.
Sirhindi has also described the various Shi‘a sects and their
beliefs in his writings.1 Some o f these beliefs contradict the established
beliefs o f Islam, such as ‘Ali is a god; or that the revelation was in fact
sent to ‘Ali, but Gabriel made a mistake and gave it to Muhammad; or that
human souls are born again and again in different bodies. Major Shi‘a
sects do not hold these beliefs but some very insignificant extremist sects
do. They have been condemned as infidels by the Ummah.
To sum up, Sirhindi does not substantiate to the theology of
Shi‘a – the major Muslim sect, and upholds the view that the theology o f
ahl al-Sunnah-wa-al-Jam a‘a is sound and in accord with the injunctions
o f the Qur‘an and the Sunnah, and the consensus o f A sla f (previous
generation of Muslims).
1 Sirhindi, Radd, pp. 12-15. The Shi‘a sects mentioned in the Radd are Sabayiya,
Kamliyya, Bayaniya, Mughairya, Janahvya, Mansuriya, Khatabiya, Ghurabiya,
Imamiyya, Yunusiyya, Mufawwaza, Isma ‘iyiliyya, Zaidiyya and Imamiyya. Also see,
Sirhindi, Maktubat, Vol. II, Letter No. 36.

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