English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written to Molla Maqsud Ali Tabrizi, says that the uncleanliness of the disbelievers refers to the unclean moral state of their souls, of their creed. Their bodies, their limbs may not be unclean.
Every kind of thanks belongs to Allahu ta'ala by right. I send my salams to the pure people whom He has chosen. My merciful Sir! We can not understand why you sent us Tafsir-i-Husaini. This interpretation, in explaining the twenty-ninth ayat of Surat-ut-Tawba, says, "Since disbelievers' souls and beliefs are filthy, they are certainly filthy." Also, savants of the Hanafi Madhhab explained it in this manner. That is, they said that the reason why Allahu ta'ala declared "Disbelievers are filthy" is because their hearts, their creeds are filthy. It is written in Tafsir-i Husaini that some savants said, "Since disbelievers do not perform a ghusl (ritual washing) or abstain from najasat [Every kind of dirt. In this context, it means the dirt that prevents one from performing namaz. It will be explained in the third fascicle of Endless Bliss.], they are foul." Yet it is not suitable to interpret it in this manner, for the majority of the Muslims in India today do not avoid najasat. Some ignorant Muslims, too, like disbelievers, slight cleanliness. If not avoiding najasat caused one to be foul, the life would become very difficult for Muslims. But, it was declared: "There is no hardship in Islam." Though it is written in Tafsir-i Husaini "Abdullah Ibni Abbas 'radi-Allahu anhuma' said that disbelievers' bodies are foul like dogs" great men of religion have received much information such as this which does not conform with what the majority of the other savants think, and which is no like what everybody understands. Such expressions should be somehow adapted to what is generally accepted. How can the skin and the bodies of disbelievers be foul in light of the fact that our Prophet ate a meal in a Jew's home? He cleaned himself with a disbeliever's water container. Also, Hadrat 'Umar (radiAllahu anh) cleaned himself with a Christian woman's container. If one claims that these might have been done before the ayat was revealed, one will have based this statement on sheer supposition; it should be proven that the ayat came afterwards. If it can be proven, it still does not prove that they are foul, dirty or that the things which they touch will be foul and haram. At most, it shows that their creed is foul. A prophet never does something that was haram or that would be haram in his own Shariat or in other Shariats. That is, he does not use something that will be haram later though it is currently halal (permitted). For example, formerly it had been halal to drink wine. Later it became haram. No Prophet drank wine at any time. If it were to be declared afterwards that disbelievers' bodies were foul like dogs, Hadrat Muhammad, who is the darling of Allahu ta'ala, would have never touched their containers. Then in this case, would it ever be possible for him to drink their water or eat their food? Moreover, when something is foul, it is always foul. It cannot be thought of as foul one time and clean at some other time. If disbelievers' bodies were foul, they would always be foul, and Hadrat Muhammad would have never touched them. Nonetheless for drinking their water and eating their food. Moreover, when something itself is foul, it will always be foul. I will never be permissible, neither beforehand, nor afterwards. If disbelievers themselves were foul, they would have been so formerly, too, and Rasulullah 'sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam' would have acted upon this principle. Since this major premise does not exist, how can the minor premise exist? Furthermore, it imposes great difficulty on Muslims to think of their bodies as foul. May Allahu ta'ala give infinite goodness to the savants of Hanafi madhhab because they made the life of a Muslim easier. They rescued them from committing the haram. How could it ever be a righteous act to speak ill of these great savants and to censure the accurate interpretations they wrote, instead of thanking them? Can anything be said against the mujtahids? They will also be given rewards for their wrong deductions. Muslims who act according to the wrong findings [of a mujtahid] will be rescued from torment. If disbelievers are foul, the things which they touch and do will be foul and haram. Those who describe disbelievers as foul will have said haram about the meals and sherbets which they make. In such a case, people cannot protect themselves against this haram. It is next to impossible, especially for Muslims in India, to protect themselves. Because Muslims are in contact with disbelievers everywhere, it is better to give the fatwa [Answers which a religious savant gives to people's questions.] which is the easiest. Even if it is not compatible with one's own madhhab, the easy fatwa in another madhhab should be given to him. The hundred and eighty-sixth ayat of Surat-ul- Baqara declares: "Allahu ta'ala wants to have you do the things that are easy. He does not want what is difficult." It is declared in the twenty-eighth ayat of Surat-un-Nisa: "Allahu ta'ala wants your worships to be light, easy. Man was created weak, frail." It is haram to oppress or hurt Muslims, and it is something which Allahu ta'ala dislikes. Shafi'i savants submitted a fatwa that gave permission for the things that were difficult in their madhhab to be done according to Hanafi madhhab. Thus, they facilitated the life of a Muslim. For example, according to Shafi'i Madhhab, zakat [A certain amount of one's property give yearly to those whom one prefers of the eight classes of people prescribed in the Qur'an.] should be given to each of the eight classes of people declared in the sixtieth ayat of Surat-ut-tawba. Out of these eight classes, the classes of disbelievers whom one must please [and the class of officials who collect the zakat and the class of debtors that must be rescued from slavery] do not exist today. Since it has become impossible to find them, Shafi'i savants (rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain) issued a fatwa sanctioning giving zakat according to Hanafi madhhab; in Hanafi madhhab it is permissible to give to any one of these classes.
[Likewise, in performing a ghusl (ritual bathing), it is fard in the Hanafi madhhab to rinse the mouth, to wash between the teeth and the tooth sockets. Since water cannot penetrate into crowning and fillings, the ghusl of those who have them is not accepted, and they remain in a state of impurity. But in the Shafi'i madhhab it is not fard to rinse the mouth. If a person in the Hanafi madhhab has his teeth crowned or filled for some necessity, he says through his heart when performing a ghusl, "O my Allah! I am performing a ghusl ablution according to the Shafi'i madhhab," then his ghusl ablution will be accepted, and he can perform namaz in a clean state. It is written on the seven hundred and ninth page of the book Hadiqa, "It is permissible to imitate another madhhab in abdast (ritual ablution) or in ghusl. For doing this, the principles of the madhhab imitated must be observed. If all its principles are not observed, it will not be permissible to imitate it. It is permissible to imitate another madhhab even after having done the action that does not conform with one's own madhhab. For instance, Hadrat Abu Yusuf, after having performed a Friday prayer, was told that a dead mouse was seen in the well where he had performed his ablution. He said, 'Our ghusl is acceptable according to the Shafi'i madhhab. It was declared in a hadith that when something foul gets mixed with water that amounts to a qullatayn, it is not foul unless one of its three peculiarities is changed.' A qullatayn is two hundred and twenty kilograms of water. The book al-Bariqa, explaining this point, says that it is permissible to imitate another madhhab when necessity for it arises. The book Durr-ul Mukhtar says at the end of its chapter on 'Prayer Times,' "When there is darurat (compulsion, strict necessity), another madhhab is imitated." While explaining this, the book Ibni Abidin says, "One of the two inferences (qaul) is written here. According to the second inference (qaul), when there is haraj, hardship, one of the other three madhhabs is imitated, no matter whether there is darurat or not. This is the preferable inference. When there is difficulty in doing something, if your own madhhab shows a way of making it easy, or if it is excused, there will be no need to imitate any other madhhab. Quoting from the book Husn-ut-tanabbuh Fit-tashabbuh, it is written in the two hundred and eleventh page of the book Hadiqa: "When someone's nafs does not want to do what is easy, then it is useful for him to act according to a rukhsat by leaving the azimats (difficulties). But this should not lead one to search for rukhsats because collecting the easier parts of madhhabs, which is called Talfiq, is haram and an act of obeying the nafs and shaitan (satan)."]
If disbelievers themselves were foul, necessarily they wouldn't be clean after accepting iman. Then, calling them foul is intended to declare that their hearts are foul. When they accept iman, this foulness disappears and they become clean. That their beliefs and their hearts are foul does not mean that their bodies are foul. These ayats declare that disbelievers are foul. These facts do not change. Changes can be made in commands and prohibitions. Changes cannot be made in the fact of how something is. [The book Hadiqa, in explaining the disasters incurred by the tongues says, "Allahu ta'ala has made alternations, changes in twenty ayats that communicate His commandments and prohibitions." He has not made any alterations in qisas (facts about ancient people) and facts.] Since facts do not change, disbelievers must be always foul. This is the foulness of disbelief and of creed. Thus, the interpretation made will be compatible with the original information. Thus teachings will not contradict each other. It will not be haram to touch disbelievers and their possessions. One day, while explaining this, I recited part of the fifth ayat of Surat-ul-Maida: "It is halal [permitted] for you to eat what the men with holy books, that is, Jews and Christians, cook and slaughter"; and you said that it was wheat, chick-pea and lentil which was permitted. Today, if one of the Muslims under these conditions likes this word of yours, I cannot say anything against it. But, to be reasonable, the right word is obvious. Then, pitying Muslims, we should not look upon disbelievers as foul, nor should we deem dirty the Muslims who have relations and trade with disbelievers. We should not abstain from the food and drinks of such Muslims by assuming that they have become dirty; we should not deviate into the way of abstaining or parting from Muslims. This state is not a precaution. It is a precaution to get rid of this state. Let me not cause your head to ache any longer. My salams be upon you.