From Darkness To Light – Shaikh Abdur Rahman Fadhil Deoband Faisalabadee

This slave a follower of the hanafi deobandis, after graduating from Dar al-Uloom Deoband remained upon this methodology for a very long time and after some lengthy research adopted the methodology of the people of Hadeeth in 1966 and I also announced this in the newspapers, so a lot of people have asked why I did this?

In answer to this question I have written the following and I have mentioned the various stages in my life I went through in order to reach this conclusion and deem it necessary to mention that as far as methodologies are concerned then the methodology of the people of Hadeeth is infact the correct methodology.

The methodology of the people of Hadeeth is not to accept anything unless it does not conform to the Quraan and Hadeeth and even if the statement of a major scholar contradicts the Quraan or Hadeeth it is not to be accepted. We do not consider any scholar as evidence in comparison to Allaah and his Messenger nor do we consider any scholars personal opinion to be part of the Islamic Law. Even the statements of the companions are to be accepted which are in accordance with the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of of the Messenger of Allaah, so this is my methodology.

The First Period Of My Life
I was born into a farmers family and when I was of a responsible age I learnt the following 3 points of belief from my father and from the environment around me that 1 Allaah is the creator and no one is equal to him. 2 Muhammad sallalhu alayhi wasallam  is our messenger and we are from his nation. 3 Allaah will resurrect us again after death and take account of our deeds and either send us to Heaven or Hell.

Similarly I also upheld the belief that we are Hanafis and our methodology is the hanafi school of thought ie we were the followers of Imaam Abu Hanifa. At that time and age one does not possess the the capability of criticism nor does any person like criticism on their inherited beliefs. So similarly I also adopted these beliefs as I had inherited them and accepted them and developed a likeness for them in my heart and it is these beliefs that one has which he accepts that make him a Muslim.

We tend to recite the wording of the first kalimah as a means of seeking blessing or for reward but we do not understand the meaning of the words at all, so similarly I also would as norm recite the kalimah for seeking reward without paying any attention to the meaning. After a short period I left home to seek knowledge and learnt numerous sciences and principles from many teachers, i learn subjects such as grammar, syntax, logical reasoning, philosophy, jurisprudence, the principles of jurisprudence andso on.

Whilst learning these various subjects I would ask my teachers the purpose of learning these various sciences and they would always say to me so that a person can understand the Quraan and Hadeeth so in essence these sciences were being learnt and acquired to understand the Quraan and Hadeeth. I would always say to my teachers why don’t you teach us the Quraan and Hadeeth along with these other sciences and every time they would say we will teach you Hadeeth in the last year after you have finished learning all of these sciences and in this way you will also learn the Quraan and Hadeeth.

This was the first incidence that jolted my heart but this was temporary which came in my heart and went and my teachers were not to blame in this as this was the system that was thought throughout that era for a number of centuries which was formulated by Mulla Nizaam ud deen and hence it was was called Dars Nizaami. Apart from the Ahlul Hadeeth, the Sunnis, Shia, Bareilwi, Deobandis have always been learning and teaching this curriculum so my teachers did the same they just learnt and taught this curriculum.

Some of my teachers were of great calibre and were well known and from their teachings Allaah granted me the wealth of knowledge and I will always pray for them and they taught me the knowledge they educated me with the mindset that the knowledge I had gained was a trust and I should in turn teach the people. So after spending 10 years seeking knowledge in the first part of my life I spend the following 20 teaching and educating the people.

The Second Period
When the last year of my study was upon me and I had to learn Hadeeth and in order to seek this I went to India and learnt Hadeeth from the major Deobandi scholars, which included Shaikh Shabeer Ahmad Uthmani who had attained the title of Shaikh of Islam in Pakistan. These scholars had undoubtedly unquestionable knowledge but their method of teaching and providing knowledge was exactly the same as the customary and inherited manner in which the Hanafis had been doing this for centuries. Whilst seeking knowledge of Hadeeth I encountered 2 very heart affecting points, first that the Hadeeth we were taught were from the 6 books of Hadeeth ie Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Saheeh Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Sunan Tirmidhee, Sunan Nasaee and Sunan Ibn Majah but none of the authors of these books were the followers (Muqallid) of any Imaam or Hanafi. 

This point was very heavy on my heart that none of these scholars of Hadeeth who were the collectors of Hadeeth were hanafi and no book of any hanafi scholar was in our curriculum in reference to Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah sallalhu alayhi wasallam. The second point that really affected my heart was that our teachers would spend year in year out figuratively explaining away the Hadeeth which contradicted the hanafi school of thought, so much so their lectures and talks would last days and or months in reference to particular Hadeeth and the students would learn this and take notes. 

However for a student who had studied and learnt all the sciences by understanding them this was nothing but mere wrong explanations. I remember we used to a have a Shaafiee student who was from the island of Malabaar and he would say our teachers are trying to prove their issues and points with fists and punches rather than evidences. This was true as some of our teachers would do this and whilst teaching us they would frenzy in punches in anger, I could not resist but get affected by this. Over this period I would question issues of jurisprudence and the hanafi scholars would detest this but any truth seeking or educated individual liked this.

The Third Period
During my 20 years of teaching the meaning of the Quraan and Hadeeth I taught the book Hadeeth titled mishkaat, because both of these topics were not part of the curriculum and students were very sincere they would appreciate what I used to do for them. After the partition the students became very upset and they would go up and down the country bad mouthing me saying that I was of a strong character and would speak bad about me. They would say that I teach them the meaning of the Quraan and Hadeeth forcefully when I started to hear such accusations about me I became very withdrawn thinking that these people read and like to learn the sciences of men more than the word of Allaah and his messenger and they would be very disillusioned with this what were worse or would be no point in teaching these people to be scholars and what would I get in turn by teaching these people because I would not be teaching for the worldly goods only for the sake of seeking the pleasure of Allaah. So when this was the affair by teaching these people the word of Allaah and his messengers Hadeeth in order to make these people in Scholars then it would be more better not to teach these people.

The Fourth Period
The fourth issue that occurred was that the general teaching in institutes was made into a business and the people teaching also desired seeking the world. So with this a controversial issue occurred in the city of the Faisalabaad in 1923 related to the issue of the Taraweeh prayer I remember very clearly there was a lecture in the Ahlul Hadeeth mosque situated in Montgomery bazaar and the esteemed Shaikh and leader of the debators Ahmad Deen Ghakarwee and the head of the debators Hafidh Abdul Qaadir Rauporee issued a challenge that if any hanafi scholar wants to prove the issue of 20 rakah Taraweeh and then we are ready for a debate 2 students from my institute wrote a letter to them saying we are ready for a debate and then they came to me and said to me that you need to debate and I said issues are not established with debates rather I would be writing a short treatise on the issue of the Taraweeh prayer. Then I decided to write the treatise and because like the hanafee teachers of the other institutes I was an expert on the other sciences I lacked in the science of Hadeeth as I was not taught it and hence had no expertise. 

In order to get the material for the treatise I went to Shaikh Sarfraz Khan in Ghakar as he had already authored number of books on differing issues with the Ahlul Hadeeth. He presented me with 2 narrations relating to 20 rakahs, the first the narration from Muwatta Imaam Maalik in which the people would pray 20 rakahs during the time of Umar and as it was a narration from Muwatta it was established. The second narration he presented was from Sunan Baihaqee that the 3 nights in which the Messenger of Allaah led the people in the prayer of the Taraweeh was 20 rakahs.

Shaikh Sarfraz himself said this narration contains a person by the name of Abu Shaybah and the Ahlul Hadeeth say he is weak but in the book of the narrators, Meezaan ul-Eitidaal Imaam Bukhaari did not declare this narrator to be weak.

Then he took out the statement from Meezaan ul-Eitidaal and showed me and made me write it. The statement was that the author wrote after talking about Abu Shaybah wrote “Bukhaari remained silent upon him” and so Shaikh Sarfraz said that so this means Bukhaari did not criticise this narrator and when Imaam Bukhaari did criticise any narrator then the criticisms of other Scholars are not as weighty as his statement.

So I returned and wrote and published the treatise and also added the above statement from Meezaan ul-Eitidaal then a poster was published by an Ahlul Hadeeth Scholar in response that if Abdur Rahman (ie me) can prove that Imaam Bukhaari did not declare Abu Shaybah to be weak then I will reward him with 1000 rupees.

When I received this poster I was dumb founded and extremely amazed because I had seen the statement of Imaam Bukhaari myself in Meezaan ul-Eitidaal then why the need for this challenge so I thought maybe when I copied the statement I might have made a mistake or omitted something. In the state of having a fast I travelled to Lahore and bought Meezaan ul-Eitidaal for 200 rupees.

When I examined the statement in the book it was correct and I had also copied it correctly nor were there any additional notes that I had forgot to add. My amazement and astonishment increased further so I returned to Faisalabaad and began to read the introduction of Meezaan ul-Eitidaal and I found a principle as it was stated that when the wording “Bukhaari remained silent upon him” comes in relation to a chain of Hadeeth then it means that Imaam Bukhaari and other scholars of Hadeeth declare the narrator to be very weak and do not consider him to be even worthy that something be discussed about him nor the need to mention the criticism concerning him as he is so weak. 

This is the meaning of the statement of Imaam Bukhaari that he never even wanted to talk about such a narrator. When I came to realise the reality of this point I wrote to Shaikh Sarfraz telling him it is not the sign of a learned person to abandon honesty for the sake of bigotry for ones madhab but he never wrote a reply back. After a long period of time we met and he said to me in such issues of difference the reality is the Hadeeth contradict the hanafi madhab and hence we need to use the support of such weak points.

This affected my mentally very severely and it saddened me that we had succumbed to such methods in the issue for the religion as these methods and actions are exactly like the jewish scholars. Based on these circumstances I decided to abstain from teaching and withdraw myself and abandoned the blind following mentality and started to read around other Madhabs aswell as the various Islamic sects. I also started to read more around general history and especially Islamic history and made my mind up to understand the Quraan and Hadeeth without any narrow mindedness. 

After a number of years of research I came to the conclusion that the issues in which the Muslims differ in the truth and correct way is that which is found in the Quraan and Hadeeth and whatever we find of it is to be accepted and anything other than that from the way of the statements of mankind should be reconciled with the Quraan and Hadeeth. Whatever is found to be in accordance with the Quraan and Hadeeth that should be accepted and whatever is contradictory should be rejected as no one is infallible other than the messenger of Allaah and so then why should be follow those who are fallible.

Finally I Became Ahlul Hadeeth
Now I only had two choices the first was to adopt a madhab of Taqleed which I would have to  follow and agree with the hanafi fiqh points and then consider and understand them to be the command of Allaah. The second choice I had was that of researching madhab meaning that I would learn to accept the Quraan and Hadeeth as the word of Allaah and then act upon them. So based on honesty and decent I adopted the second choice.

The second way is the way of the people of Hadeeth who do not believe in following a small group of scholars but rather follow the Quraan and Hadeeth. So I openly announced to the people that I had become an Ahlul Hadeeth and in due course I authored several treatises on various issues so that Allaah guides others too. I would like to add the purposes of this treatise is also for the sake of Allaah and so that the Muslims follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah sallalhu alayhi wasallam. All a praise be to Allaah many people have accepted the correct methodology due to my dawah efforts.

I request all readers to abandon any form of bigotry and prejudices and research the methodology of the people of Hadeeth which is based just on the Quraan and Hadeeth. May Allaah aid us in understanding the religion and correctly acting upon it. Ameen.

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