(Introduction: Below is a translation of a preface by the Founder of Jamia uloom islamiyyah, Allamah Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousuf Banuri to a book entitled Maslak-e-Ulama-e-Deoband. The original book -by Qari Muhammad Tayyib, the then rector of Dar ul Uloom Deoband- is an important piece of work that sheds much needed clarity on the track of Deoband in relation to a range of issues, especially fiqh, Aqidah and Tasawwuf. The impetus behind this book was the manner in which the way of Deoband was being muddied by certain quarters and viewpoints presented as being Deobandi.
A translation of the preface to this work has been rendered into English with hope that individuals will seriously and sincerely research the maslak of Deoband. The purpose of this piece of writing is calling a spade a spade. The maslak of Deoband is clearly defined and has been expounded on; there is no need to package other ideas as being that of Deoband.)
Trial (Fitnah) and the need to clarify the Ideology of dar ul uloom deoband
Preface by: Maulana Sayyed Muhammad Yusuf Binnori
This is the time of Distress and numerous trials (fitnahs) and the biggest Distress is mix up of truth and falsehood in such a way that it leaves the mind perplexed, rather efforts are being made to present falsehood in the form of truth. Generally people are either ignorant or uneducated and without knowledge of deen or have their own motives; so because of their believes and support of falsehood they become a part of increasing these fitnahs. During their early days, the [Colonial] British Government, used its famous political diplomacy, and impose the name “Wahhabi” to bring disrepute to the akabireen of Dar ul Uloom Deoband and their Track (maslak). The aim behind this term is to destroy the spirit of Jihad which had been infused in people through Maulana Shah Isma’il Shaheed, Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed and the Akabireen of Deoband in 1857. This was publicized through various means. Unfortunately, some famous ulama also became instrumental in this.
As a results this created a rift between the Ulama e Islam. This rift extremely disturbed the mindset of the Muslim society and they started having serious doubts about the track of the Right Scholars (ulama e haq).
The Akabireen of Deoband followed the same track as of Imam e Rabbani Mujaddid Alf e Thani, Shah Waliullah Dehlawi and Shah ‘Abdul Aziz.
In which after hadith, (keeping in view of the importance of fiqh and ijtihad), comes faqih. So Imam Abu Hanifah is accepted as imam, and simultaneously they add sciences of Tasawwuf and the sciences of purifying heart taken from the devout and blend it beautifully.
So when there is an acceptance of the great work of Ibn e Taymiyyah, on the other hand there is an acknowledgement of the achievements of shaikh Akbar Mohiuddin Ibn e Arabi.
When the Taqlid of Imam Abu Hanifah, combination of Prophetic Ahadiths and the sciences of the Sufis, merge together it resulted in a beautiful, effective and heart penetrating maslak. This way (maslak) is commonly known as the School of Thought of Deoband.
However, unfortunately, new fitnahs are coming up every day and they created such a contentious atmosphere that the way (maslak) has been brought into disrepute. At the political level the unfair policies of previous British rule were revised. There is improbity and err in the hearts of people of the society. The common people are ignorant and have very little or no knowledge of Deen, and on top of it there is a severe effect of wrong and inaccurate propaganda, which results in a serious fear that falsehood might appear in the name of truth and truth in the name of falsehood. There was a dire need to clarify, explain and publicize the track of the Right Scholars (Maslak of ulama e haq).
In relation to this, an article had been published by Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib, the grandson of Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi and rector at Dar ul Uloom Deoband, which was sufficient for this purpose. There was no need to write anything else. However, it had become lost and there was a need to publish it once again. Because of this those who are publishing it once again and fulfilling a religious need truely deserve our prayers and thanks. It has been compiled with excellent research and academic insight and justice. It is hoped that those who are just will value it and it will be a beacon of light for those who are unaware of it. Accordance and guidance is with Allah Almighty, He is sufficient for us and the best support.
Muhammad Yusuf Banuri (may he be forgiven)
Karachi, 21 Jumadal Ukhra, 1395AH
Two points to note here:
1: the reference to Jihad here is the struggle for legitimate self-determination against oppressive colonial rule, not the murderous zealotry and wanton destruction in the name of our faith that has become the norm in some parts of the globe today and which has, at times, been nurtured by governments for political reasons.
2: Secondly, the negative reference, to the British here should be contextualized to the manner in which British colonial administrators and the East India Company exploited united India and oppressed its people. The British Raj was a ruthless affair and had little empathy for Indians. India, under the British Raj, suffered several famines: 1770, 1783, 1866, 1873, 1892, 1897 and lastly 1943-44. In the first famine, approximately 10 million people died in Bengal alone, wiping out one third of Bengal’s population. During the famine of 1943, when three million people died in just Bengal, people resorted to eating grass and human flesh to survive. Winston Churchill, the then prime minister of the UK was callous in his reactions. “Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.” he said. This left a sour feeling in the hearts of many of the Raj’s Indian subjects and it was this very feeling that spurred a string of South Asians -Muslim and otherwise- to condemn the british and struggle for self-determination, including Dadabhai Naoroji, Abul Kalam Azad, Jawahar lal Nehru, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and many stalwarts of Dar ul uloom Deoband. These anti-colonial efforts were for a particular time and place that has now passed.
Resource: Monthly Al-balagh international
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