Trials and Tribulations of Present Time: Orientalists, Modern Writers & Scholars, By Maulana Syed Muhammad Yusuf Banuri

Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani

NOTE: Hazrat Banuri (R.A) wrote this article nearly forty years ago. At the time the storm of print media was at its peak. But in today’s modern flood of electronic and social media freshness of his article is still the same.

It is regrettable that we are passing through such an era in which the men of knowledge are not fulfilling the demands of knowledge and that those who are not educated are interfering in matters related to religious issues. Every writer purports to being a man of religious knowledge. The Urdu translations of Books have contributed to the spread of this problem Where Urdu translations could provide an excellent means of rectification, it is regrettable that during the present times it is increasingly becoming a case of “the harm is greater than the benefit” and whose harm has far exceeded its benefits.

Where the present era is a target of different Fitnas (trials), the Fitna of the pen is possibly taking the lead. In a Hadith mentioned in “Durr e Manthur” quoted in “Musnad Ahmed” and in “Mustadrak Hakim” on the authority of Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) who has mentioned that Nabi ﷺ mentioned some Fitnas which will occur before Qiyamah. One such Fitna mentioned was that of the “Storm of the pen” In the light of this Hadith, every intelligent person can deduce the storm of the pen being experienced today.

In the written arena, the circle of these people is not only limited and straitened but does not even exist. By acquiring a cursory level of information through reading Urdu translations, more and more individuals now increasingly consider themselves to be the Mujtahid (knowledgeable of the legal verdict) of the age. Every individual approves of his own opinion, and this Fitna has gone from bad to worse. Publishers have solely for the sake of increasing their business appointed cheaply available ignorant people who appear in the guise of the learned scholars to do the translations which have added to this Fitna. In short, it is the age of Fitna and in every direction every form of Fitna is visible. Special institutions are necessary in order to close the. doors of these Fitnas. Their foundational work will be to go through these translations as well articles which are to appear in the newspapers. The objective of magazine and periodical publishers is only business, while the objective of writers is only fame or the view is on material benefits. One among these Fitnas of the press and pen appears under the name of “Zari Islahaat” which is written in the papers with a view to rectifying problems.

Without doubt, from a Shariah point of view, this is an important issue of the times. If a correct and unified solution can be presented from an Islamic legal perspective the doors of communism can be closed. There are two basic methods with regard to earning. One is agriculture while the other is trade, commerce, and manufacturing. Both these are as necessary as the backbone for a person to function well. This is why the Deen of Islaam has discussed the laws pertaining to these in great detail. The details of this are present in the Quran, Hadith, and the Fiqh of Islam. The need is for those whose lives are dedicated to serving the Shariah and knowledge and who are thinkers, whose Iives are not tainted, who are given to sincerity and taqwa, whose intellectual and the ability for independent thought are widely accepted, to sit together as quickly as possible and to present a unified and a national solution. In an individual capacity, much has been written in the past fifty years. A few months ago, Madrasah Arabiya Islamiyah (Jamia Uloom Islamia Banuri town) gathered a few renowned individuals, but before completion, they all dispersed. The work was left incomplete. We beseech Almighty Allah to grant the ability to bring this work to completion as soon as possible and that it comes before the Ummah in a beautiful manner. Although the leaders today have become so bold as to institute laws with the backing of the army and in spite of the enemies of Islam, they are free from all boundaries and limits and go on to pass laws. Under these circumstances, where do they consider the opinions of the poor men of Shariah and knowledge of Islam worthy of any attention? Yet, there is a need at all times to request for this in the divine court of Almighty Allah.

Trials Relating to Knowledge

Trials relating to knowledge are those that creep in through arts and sciences. There have been different instances of such trials relating to the arts and sciences which have crept in through the annals of Islamic history. In every instance, the effects of such trials based on the arts and sciences, have a direct impact on faith and belief. The most dangerous of these Fitnas was the “Batiniyyah” (the Ismaili group) which sprang up during the era of the Qaramita and spread widely. The greatest and worst result of this Fitina was the rise of heresy and distortion in Islamic Shariah due to which the doors of distortion in Islamic realities, basic foundations of Deen, the continuity of Islam, and basic beliefs and actions as well as in the salient features of Islam opened up. As a result of this, Salah, fasting, Zakat, Hajj, and other salient features of Islam were removed from their religion.

Spreading misconceptions about Islam by orientalists

During this final era, many such Fitnas have begun being imported into Islamic countries from Europe. The orientalists of Europe have made it their life’s mission to assault all the different avenues of learning and teaching, writing and literary pursuits, publication and circulation, investigation, and research. In short, they have dedicated their very lives to prepare all forms of attractive and captivatingly deluding topics. It is an all-out lowly and base revengeful offensive of theirs against Islam. So much so, that those scholars who go to them from Muslim countries to secure a Ph.D. degree by traveling to the European countries are made to prepare such thesis on so-called “Islamic topics whereby those Muslim scholars at the least leave there with doubt regarding Islamic beliefs. These are such tragic cases for the details of which volumes are required. In his work entitled, “Majmauz Zawaid” Hafiz Nurud deen Haithami while quoting “Mu’jam Tibrani” quotes this Hadith narrated by AImsah bin Qais Salmi who was a Sahabi:

انه كان يتعوذ من فتنة المشرق قيل فكيف فتنة المغرب؟ قال تلك اعظم و اعظم

Translation: “Prophet ﷺ used to seek refuge from the Fitna of the west. He was asked whether there is a Fitna in the west? He ﷺ replied: “It is very great! It is very great!”

It cannot be said with certainty what He ﷺ meant by the Fitna of the west. It could very well be an indication towards the downfall of Spain where Islam was totally destroyed to such an extent that not even a single Muslim did not remain in that country. The supremacy of Kufr spread throughout the length and breadth of the entire country. It could also be a reference to the call of the west towards whereby the Fitna of disbelief and distortion will enter the Muslim countries through the west. It will be such a Fitna which is more dangerous and widespread than other Fitnas. Nonetheless, this is included in the literal meaning of the Hadith.

In short, during this day and age, these Fitnas related to knowledge and actions are spreading with full force and vigor? with great strength and power through Muslim countries. Our country was comparatively safe from this, but through the effects of western education and the unending efforts of the orientalists, the increasing ease of the communications industry as ‘well as the ever the abundance of wealth and riches, it will not be surprising that our country will far exceed the others in this matter.

Source: Daur e Hazir kay fitny aur un ka ilaj, By Hadrat Maulana Syed Muhammad Yusuf Banuri


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