For a good portion of my life, I thought of some of the clerics of Ahle Sunnah wal Jamma’ah to have good faith. I thought that their belief system was entwined with Prophet Mohammad’s love and respect. However, these Muslim clerics have failed me. Regarding their character, there is a huge distance and difference between what they say and what they do. Since my childhood, I have thought that Sunnis are those who believe in saints of God and they maintain their belief system with the pillars of Prophet Mohammad’s love. I thought that, even though their hearts are not enlightened, they do try to love Prophet Mohammad.
What has disappointed me hugely is the diplomatic, political and hypocritical side of Muslim clerics.
For example, Tahir ul Qadri (a Sunni scholar), in order to attract some of the people from the Ahle Hadith school of thought, has praised Ibn Taymiyyah very much.
There is a horrific, tragic and notoriously blaspheming event in history in which Ibn Taymiyyah did something which is even nastier than what Umar bin Khattab did.
Jihad with the Sword (Jihad bil Saif) was an obligation in the early years of Islam because the religion of Islam was still in the process of settlement; it was immature. The religion was not fully established; therefore, it was very delicately vulnerable to a premature destruction, if it was not supported by its defence warriors. Do not say warriors; always remember that they were defence warriors.
Every single human being by nature is a defence warrior about himself. When you see a sudden movement or impact, your reflexes immediately correspond to that potential danger. Even if a balloon pops up and there is a noise, you will be alert. That is self-defence.
Muslim clerics are known to be discerning, knowledgeable and learned scholars in Islam. Because of these academic features in their character, they are greatly revered, respected and admired in the Muslim society.
Can anyone from among common Muslims and Islamic Scholars know the Quran and Islam better than Prophet Mohammad?
Even Sunni Barelvis — who claim to love Prophet Mohammad — do not criticise Umar bin Khattab on his wrongdoings.
When Prophet Mohammad was suffering from fever in the last days of his life on Earth, he told his Companions to send for somebody who knew how to write and read. The whole purpose was to get a piece of advice by Prophet Mohammad written so that it could help Muslims in the coming future scenario where people would have to elect a Caliph. According to Prophetic Traditions, the way Umar bin Khattab retaliated to this requisition of Prophet Mohammad was horrendous, unimaginable and totally blasphemous.
My faith, belief and the amount of respect that I have for Prophet Mohammad does not allow me to consider Umar bin Khattab a Muslim.
May His Divine Eminence Lord Ra Riaz Gohar Shahi forgive me for repeating these words, but what kind of a Muslim are you if you shut up your prophet and tell him that he is not sound by mind due to his illness?
In other words, Umar bin Khattab wanted to say to Prophet Mohammad, ‘Because of your illness, you are in a mental state where you cannot think right. So how can you give us a piece of advice?’
I want all the Muslims to know that after the Battle of Badr, Prophet Mohammad clearly pronounced his verdict on Jihad with the Sword. He said, ‘Let’s turn towards the greater Jihad.’
Prophet Mohammad, after the Battle of Badr, abrogated, abolished and declared Jihad with the Sword to be invalid.
After Prophet Mohammad clearly announced, ‘Jihad with the Sword is over, let’s turn to the Greater Jihad (Jihad al Akbar),’ a new avenue and spectrum of Islam was opened. This Prophetic Tradition is a landmark.
Prophet Mohammad said at Hujjat al Wada (The Farewell Pilgrimage), ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gateway to it.’ A similar thing is said in the Prophetic Tradition mentioned above.
Prophet Mohammad’s statement after the Battle of Badr opens a new door within Islam: Sufism.
After that Prophetic Tradition, Prophet Mohammad emphasised on Sufi practice and Sufi Islam.
People asked, ‘What is the Greater Jihad?’ Prophet Mohammad replied, ‘Jihad bil Nafs (The Struggle to Purify One’s Self/Ego).’
After this, the entire Muslim nation was inclined to making efforts to purify themselves. What a beautiful way of opening a new chapter upon Muslims. Prophet Mohammad said such a thing which people did not know before.
They used to think that Jihad with the Sword was everything. Then, all of the sudden, Prophet Mohammad said, ‘We have done enough Lesser Jihad; now we are going to do Greater Jihad.’ The first reaction from the Companions of the Prophet was, ‘In the form of Jihad that we know, we cut their throats and we get killed. What can be greater than putting our life on the line? What does Prophet Mohammad mean when he says that this is smaller?’ They were surprised!
Prophet Mohammad laid the foundation of Sufi Islam for common Muslims, and the initiation of it was this Prophetic Tradition.
However, Ibn Taymiyyah challenged Prophet Mohammad on this statement. He said, ‘I don’t agree with this Prophetic Tradition; the teachings of the Quran are against this.’ He presented two verses from the Quran and said, ‘In the light of these verses, I reject this Tradition of the Prophet.’ He rejected the Tradition of Prophet Mohammad, making the Quran a shield.
How can someone who rejects the Tradition of the Prophet — in the light of the book which was revealed onto that Prophet — be Muslim?
Almost all of the clerics of Ibn Taymiyyah’s era issued a fatwa against him, saying that he is Mardoud (rejected by God).
Nobody in his lifetime followed his teachings; they knew Ibn Taymiyyah to be a Gustaakh-e-Rasool (blasphemer of Prophet Mohammad).
Time passed and the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Najdi, adopted Ibn Taymiyyah’s teachings and put them forward; he declared him to be ‘Sheikh ul Islam’.
Excerpt From God’s Terrorists by Charles Allen:
A peep into history
In the first centuries of Islamic expansion, jihad had been recognised as an obligation on the part of all Muslims to strive for the faith until the entire world had converted or submitted to Islamic authority. That uncompromising view had inevitably set Islam on a collision course with Byzantine Christendom. But as Islam was transformed from an Arab faith into a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic world religion in which learning and diversity of interpretation was celebrated, so the literalist view of jihad gave way to a more pragmatic reading. Included in the Hadith is a famous pronouncement made by the Prophet Mohammad on his return from the battle of Badr, which marked the end of his military campaign against the polytheists: ‘We are finished with the lesser jihad (jihad sagheer); now we are starting the greater jihad (jihad akbar).’ This division of jihad now came to be interpreted in Islam as meaning that the outer and less important physical struggle for Islam was over and had given way to the more important inner, moral and spiritual struggle. Even Ahmed bin Hanbal, the ninth-century jurist who gave his name to the most restrictive of the four Sunni schools of law, took this view. The dramatic spread of Sufi mysticism and the Sufi brotherhoods throughout the Islamic world community in the twelfth century helped to develop further this concept of jihad as a spiritual, inner struggle.
Ibn Taymiyya, however, declared the Prophet’s division of jihad to be inauthentic, on the grounds that it contradicted the words of God as set down in the Quran. Taking two verses (chapter 2, verse 193; and chapter 8, verse 39) from the Quran as his authority, Ibn Taymiyya defined jihad in strictly literal terms: as unrelenting struggle against all who stood in the way of Islam’s destiny.
Ibn Taymiyya further declared jihad to be the finest act that man could perform: ‘Jihad against the disbelievers is the most noble of actions and moreover it is the most important action for the sake of mankind….Jihad implies all kinds of worship, both in its inner and outer forms. More than any other act jihad implies love and devotion for God….Since its aim is that the religion is Allah’s entirely and Allah’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.’
Ibn Taymiyya classified the enemies of Islam into four distinct groups: infidels such as Christians, with whom it was permissible to make peace agreements and share meals, whose women Muslims might marry and whose lives might be spared after they had been made prisoners; those Muslims who had reverted to infidel habits, with whom no peace could be made and who must be fought if they refused to return to the fold; those who declared themselves Muslims but we’re not carrying out Islam’s rituals properly, and were therefore to be killed without mercy; lastly, those who rejected Islam while still claiming to belong to it, and were thus deserving of no mercy under any circumstances. It should always be remembered that Ibn Taymiyya’s literalist, dogmatic, intolerant ideology was widely condemned in his own lifetime. He was frequently in trouble with the religious authorities, imprisoned on several occasions and branded a heretic. His theology has never found a place in the Sunni mainstream. But it was never forgotten and it continued to attract adherents, of whom the most famous – until recent times – was the Arab named Muhammad Ibn Abd al Wahhab, born in Najd soon after the beginning of the eighteenth century.