Shah Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi and the Indian Wahhabism

Hazrat Shāh Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi Naqshbandi Hanafi (1217-1277 AH) was the spiritual successor to the great Sufi master Hazrat Shāh Abdullāh alias Ghulām Ali Dehlavi (1156-1240 AH), may Allah be pleased with them. He was one of the chief scholars and shaykhs of Delhi in the 13th century after Hijrah (19th century CE), and probably the most prominent shaykh of the Naqshbandi Sufi order during that time. Most, if not all, followers of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi order today trace their spiritual connection to him, excluding the Khalidiyya branch which is common in Central Asia and Turkey.

He was also a great scholar and a Muhaddis. Many chains of authority (Isnād) in Hadith studies include his name. Not only Ahl-us-Sunnah but the Deobandi scholars also possess such Isnād and consider him with high regards.

Shah Ahmad Saeed witnessed the emergence and spread of the Wahhābi sect in India. Before him, Indian Muslims were united in beliefs and practices and belonged to the Hanafi school of thought, with a Shia minority which was clearly distinguished from the mainstream Islam. However, the teachings of Ismāil Dehlavi introduced a big fitnah in the Indian Muslims who branched out in many different sects and schools, including Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahl al-Hadith (or Salafi), Maodūdi, Naturalist and others.

This is not a place to discuss the full history of the Indian Wahhabi movement. But interestingly, many Naqshbandis today affilitate themselves to Deobandi school even with a spiritual connection with the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi tariqah. Deobandi school is a continuation of the ideas of Ismāil Dehlavi. So here I will discuss the reaction of the then Naqshbandi masters specially Shah Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi to the newly emerged doctrine of Wahhabism, imported from Arabia by Ismāil Dehlavi.

Molvi Ismāil Dehlavi, aka Ismāil Shaheed (1193-1246 AH) was the paternal grandson of Hazrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi (1114-1176 AH). He wrote a book called Taqwiyat-ul-Iman which was based on the ideas of Ibn Abdul Wahhāb Najdī and was the first book to introduce Wahhabism in India.

Ismāil Dehlavi was joined by some more scholars in this new movement, including his cousin Muhammad Ishāq Dehlavi. But most of his family scholars went against him, and some even wrote refutations of his works. Even his grandfather Shāh Abdul Azīz Muhaddis Dehlavi, who had lost his sight because of old age, when he came to know about this book, he proclaimed: “If I wasn’t disabled by illness, I would have written a refutation to it similar to Tuhfa Isna Ash’ariya”. (Narrated by Ismail’s cousin Maulana Makhsūs-Allah in his book Tahqīq al-Haqīqat).

Maulāna Hāfiz Muhammad Razā Ali Naqshbandi Banārasi, who was a disciple of Shah Ahmad Saeed, writes that Shah sahib had also written a refutation of Taqwiyat-ul-Iman. Although there is no mention of this work anywhere else. He also writes that, once I asked my master and shaykh about Ismail Dehlavi in Madinah. He replied that “I and other scholars of Delhi convinced him at Jame’ Masjid Delhi and he agreed to correct Taqwiyat-ul-Iman“. My shaykh (Shah Ahmad Saeed) said at Tonk that “my master and shaykh (Hazrat Shah Ghulam Ali) used to say that all the irreligiousness (Be-Dini), bad faith and corruption in the Muhammadi Deen that occured in India, occured because of this person Molvi Ismail“. (Saif-ul-Jabbār by Maulana Fazal Rasool Qadri, 1973, page 211)

When Maulana Fazal Rasool Qādri wrote the book Al-Mu’tamad wa al-Muntaqad on the creed of Ahl-us-Sunnah, in which he also criticized and refuted Wahhabism, Shah Ahmad Saeed wrote a foreword to this book. (Al-Mu’tamad wa al-Muntaqad, Arabic edition, page 6)

Hazrat Shah Muhammad Mazhar Mujaddidi, son of Shah Ahmad Saeed, writes in his book Maqāmāt Ahmadiya:

“He (Shah Ahmad Saeed) would not mention anyone with harsh words except the Wahhabi sect in order to warn people about their ugly beliefs and practices”.

He further writes:

“And he (Shah Ahmad Saeed) used to say that the least harm of the company of Wahhābis is that the love of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him, which is among the biggest pillars of faith, diminishes moment by moment until nothing is left except the name and the ritual. So I warn you from their company, rather I warn you from seeing them at all.”

In a letter written to his chief khalifa Hāji Dost Muhammad Qandahāri about allowing the recitation of Mawlid, Hazrat Shah Ahmad Saeed writes:

“Thus anyone who stops from the recitation of Maulood (Mawlid) and considers it Makrūh or Harām, such as the Wahhābi sect, then he is an enemy of Allah and Prophet, …. do not meet with such people and abstain from their company”. [Tuhfā Zawwāriyā, Urdu translation of the letters of Shah Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi, translated by Muhammad Zaheeruddin Bhatti, Zawwar Academy Publications 2011, page 77]

One of the most prominent khulafa of Shah Ghulam Ali Dehlavi was Khwaja Ghulām Muhiyuddīn Qusoori (1202-1270 AH). He also strongly opposed this new movement. Following passage is taken from his biography:

“At the end of his life, he used to strongly condemn the Wahhabi sect, and used to warn his lovers about their deception. He also wrote a poem to refute them”. (Tārīkh Mashāikh Naqshbandiya, by Abdur-Rasool Lillāhi, Maktabah Zawiyah 2007, page 502)

Tahqīq al-Haqq al-Mubīn Fi Masāil Arbaeen

Hazrat Shah Ahmad Saeed is an author of multiple books, most of whom concern the refutations of Wahhabi beliefs and practices or affirmations of the Sunni creed. Here is the list of his works:

  1. Saeed al-Bayān Fi Mawlid Sayyid al-Ins wa al-Jān (Urdu)
  2. Az-Zikr ash-Sharīf Fi Asbāt al-Mawlid al-Munīb (Persian)
  3. Al-Fawāid az-Zābitah Fi Asbāt ar-Rābitā (Persian)
  4. Arba’ Anhār (Persian)
  5. Asbāt al-Mawlid wa al-Qiyām (Arabic)
  6. Tahqīq al-Haqq al-Mubīn Fi Masāil Arbaeen (Persian)

Here I want to discuss about the last book that he wrote as a response to the book Arbaeen Masāil by Molvi Muhammad Ishāq Dehlavi who had written his fatwas on forty important issues in the Wahhabi sect. Shah sahib refuted each of the original claims of the author and provided many proofs for the right beliefs and correct juristic rulings about those issues. Although the book is supposed to be for his followers so does not contain proofs for all of those matters (as merely his opinion is sufficient for his followers), he does provide many proofs from original sources of Fiqh and Hadith books.

Some important matters discussed by him are following:

  • Urs of the Awliya for remembering them sending them rewards is allowed (Wahhabis consider it haram).
  • Visiting graves is allowed for both men and women.
  • Kissing the graves is allowed in some cases.
  • Asking for help from the prophets and saints is allowed. Specially, saying Ya Rasool Allah is allowed (Wahhabis consider it Shirk and haraam).
  • Covering graves of saints with clothes or flowers is fine.
  • Making cemented graves and tombs over them is allowed.
  • It is haram to consider the Holy Prophet peace be upon him as similar to other humans. He has fully explained this point at the end and decorated the book with the merits of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him.

This wonderful book was first published 1318 AH. A new print and a translation in Urdu are published as well. Both have been digitized by and are available here.


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7 Responses to Shah Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi and the Indian Wahhabism

  1. Arifullah says:

    Jazkallahu qairan kaseera’
    Allah aapku aur hum tamaam ku Sarkare do Salam ki mohabbat Naseeb farmaye, Ameen ya Rabbal Alameen.

  2. Arifullah says:

    Allahumma sally ala’ syedina maulana Mohammadin wa’ala aa’li syedina Mohammadin wa Baarik wa sallim

  3. Asim says:

    JazakAllah Khair for such a great effort. I’m really impressed. May Allah give all Muslims the ability to love and understand the darajaat of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). Ameen.
    Brother would you be able to publish soft copies of various books of Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Khan ( I’m looking for specially his book Quran aur Iqbal.

  4. Al Maturidi says:

    Shaikh Huseyin Hilmi Isik an Naqshbandi [d.1422 Hijri, Istanbul,Turkey] had translated the 40th section of this very valuable work, Tahqīq al-Haqq al-Mubīn Fi Masāil Arbaeen’ by Shah Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi (qs) & published it in his renowned book “Endless Bliss” [Ch34, Vol.2]. It is as follows,

    “Hadrat Shâh Ahmad Saîd-i Dahlawî, in his book Tahqîq-ul-haqqil mubîn, answers forty wrong statements of the Wahhâbîs with documents. He states in the fortieth answer that Shah Abdul’ Azîz-i Dahlawî said in his explanation of the Fâtiha, “When asking for help from somebody, if one trusts him only without thinking that he has been honoured with Allâhu ta’âlâ’s help, it is harâm. It will be permissible if one trusts Allâhu ta’âlâ only and thinks that the person has been honoured with Allah’s help, that Allah creates everything through causes, and that the person is one of such causes. Prophets and the Awliyâ, too, have asked for help from others by thinking so. Asking for help from somebody else by thinking so is the same as asking for help from Allâhu ta’âlâ.” He says in the interpretation of the Abasa Sûra, “To burn the corpse is to leave the soul without a place. To bury the corpse is to allot a place for the soul. It is for this reason that we get benefits from buried Awliyâ and other pious Muslims. Also, it is thus possible to help the dead. Not so is the case for the dead that are cremated.” Hadrat Abdulhaq-i Dahlawî wrote in his translation of Mishkât: “Most of the great shaikhs and the majortiy of the savants of fiqh said that it was permissible to ask for help from prophets and from the Awliyâ after their death. Owners of kashf and perfection communicated that this was correct. Most of them became exalted by receiving fayd from souls. They called those who became exalted by this way Uwaysî. Imâm-i Shâfi’î said that the grave of Imâm Mûsâ Kâzim was like a theriac for him for the acceptance of his prayers, and that he had experienced it a number of times.

    Imâm-i Ghazâlî said that a person who was made an intermediary and gave faid could be made an intermediary and give fayd after his death, too. One of the superior great shaikhs said that he had seen four great Awliyâ who were active after death as well as when they were alive; two of these were Ma’ruf-i Karhî and Abd-ul-qâdîr Geilânî. Ahmad bin Zarrûk, one of the great ones from among the Western savants and of the Awliyâ, said: Abdul-Abbâs-i Hadramî asked me, ‘Who helps more, a living Walî or a dead Walî?’ I said, ‘Everybody said a living Walî, but I say that a dead Walî helps more.’ ‘You are right, for he is among the people while alive, but he is in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ when dead.’ he said. Ahmad bin Abul-Abbâs Hadramî is a great Walî. His biography is written in the Demirdash entry in the book Jâmi’-u karâmât-ul-Awliyâ. He clearly explains through âyat-i-kerîmas and hadîth-i-sherîfs that man’s soul does not die when he dies. He adds that the soul is conscious and notices the visitors and what they do. The souls of the perfect murshîds and the Awliyâ are in high grades when they are dead as well as when they are alive. Spiritually they are close to Allâhu ta’âlâ. The Awliyâ perform karâmats both in the world and after death. It is their souls that perform the karâmats. And the soul does not die with man’s dying. Allâhu ta’âlâ, alone, makes and creates the karâmats. Everything comes into being with His power. Every person, both when alive
    and when dead, is nothing before Allâhu ta’âlâ’s power. For this reason, it is not surprising that Allâhu ta’âlâ sends blessings to a slave of His through one of His beloved ones. We always see that He creates many things and sends them through the living ones. Man cannot create anything when he is alive or dead.Only, he becomes a cause, a means for Allâhu ta’âlâ’s creating.”

    Hadrat Mawlânâ Abdulhakîm-i Siyâlkutî says in the book Zâd-ul-labîb by taking excerpts from the Arabic explanation of Ashi’at-ul-lama’ât by Abdulhaq-i Dahlawî, “Many people disbelieve the fact that it is possible to get help from those in graves. They say that visiting graves is intended for sending prayers to the dead, for invoking blessings on them. And the majority of the great men of tasawwuf and the savants of fiqh said that help from those in graves was experienced. Also, the Awliyâ who have kashf communicated this unanimously. In fact, many people reported that they were making progress (spiritually) by receiving fayd from souls. They called these Uwaysî.” After this Hadrat Siyâlkutî adds: “I do not understand the real purpose of those who say that the dead cannot help. He who prays asks for help from Allâhu ta’âlâ. He puts a beloved slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ as an intermediary so that his prayer will be accepted. He says, ‘O my Allah! Give me for the sake of this beloved slave of Thine, whom you have blessed abundantly.’ Or, calling to a slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ, whom he believes He loves very much, he says, ‘O Allah’s Walî,
    intercede for me!’ Allâhu ta’âlâ, alone, gives the wish and we ask from Him only. The Walî is only an intermediary, a cause. He, too, is transient. He, too, will be annihilated. He cannot make anything. He does not have the energy, the power to act. If to say or to believe so were shirk or to trust in somebody besides Allâhu ta’âlâ, it would be prohibited to ask for prayers or for something else from the living, too. It has not been prohibited by our Dîn to ask for prayers or for something else from the living. On the contrary, it has been declared to be mustahab. It has always been done. If those who disbelieve this mean to say that there is no karâmat left after death, they will have to prove this thesis of theirs. Yes, some of the Awliyâ are elevated to the âlam-i quds after death. Being in the Divine presence, they forget everything else. They are quite unaware the world, of what is in the world. They do not hear the prayers. There are such ecstatic dervishes among the living Awliyâ, who are in the world, too. If the person does not believe in karâmat at all, it does not make any difference. He cannot prove his thesis. Qur’ân al-kerîm, hadîth-i-sherîfs, and the events that have been seen and known for centuries prove him wrong. Yes, if an ignorant idiot does not expect his wish from Allâhu ta’âlâ’s power and says that the Walî makes and creates, and if he asks from him with this thought, he should be prohibited and even punished. But Islamic savants and the ârifs cannot be slandered with this assertion. For, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ used to greet the dead as he visited graves. He never prohibited us from asking for something from the dead. Depending upon the state of the visitor and upon that of the one who is visited, some are prayers and others are requests for help. Every Muslim knows that prophets ‘salawâtullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ are alive in their graves. No one can deny this. But we have been hearing about those who disbelieve the fact that the Awliyâ can extend help from their graves and that they can be requested for help.”

    Abdulhaq-i Dahlawî says in his book Jadhb-ul-qulûb, “Ibni Shayba reported: There was a drought in Medina during the time of Hadrat ’Umar. A person went to the Prophet’s grave and said. ‘O Rasûlallah! Pray for rain on behalf of your Ummat. Or else we’ll be destroyed.’ Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ appeared in his dream and said to him. ‘Go to ’Umar and give him the good news that it will rain.’ Ibni Jawzi relates, ‘There was drought in Medina. They went to Hadrat Âisha and
    begged her. She told them to put a hole in the ceiling of Rasûlullah’s tomb. They did so. It rained plentifully. The blessed grave became wet.’ ” These two reports prove that they used to ask for help from graves. Even Hadrat Âisha ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhâ’, who was a mujtahid, ordered to ask for help from graves. Also, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ gave the good news that there would be rain for the person who asked for help from his grave. For this reason, to disbelieve the idea of asking for help from Rasûlullah’s grave is to deny the ijmâ’ of the Sahâba. As reported in the book Hisn-ul-Hasîn, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ declared: “Any person who has lost his animal should say, ‘O Allah’s slaves! Help me! And may Allâhu ta’âlâ help you!’ ” It was declared in another hadîth-i-sherîf: “At a dreadful place one should say, ‘O Allah’s slaves! Help me!’ ” This prayer has been experienced many times. It was declared in another hadîth-i-sherîf: “A person who has suffered a loss because of something should make an ablution and perform a namâz of two rak’ats! Then he should say, ‘Yâ Rabbî! I ask from Thee. Putting Thine Messenger Muhammad “alaihis-salâm” as an intermediary, who is Thine compassion for the worlds, I beg Thee. O Muhammad! I make thee an intercessor with my Allah so that He will accept my wish. O Allah! Make him my intercessor!’ ” Every Muslim calls upon Rasûlullah by saying “Assalâmu aleyka ayyuhan Nabiyyu” when performing namâz. This, alone would suffice to answer those who deny the fact. At the same time it proves the fact that it is permissible to practise râbita. Establishing râbita with the Awliyâ ‘qaddas-Allâhu ta’âlâ asrârah-um-ul’azîz’ is similar to an old person who cannot see well wearing glasses. The âyat “Look for an intermediary” points out that it is necessary to look for a murshîd-i-kâmil in order to receive fayd from Allâhu ta’âlâ.

    It is written in the book Tawâlî’ul-anwâr, “When you visit Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ you should dispel mundane thoughts from your heart. You should only expect help from Rasûlullah. Mundane thoughts prevent the help from coming. You should think of the facts that he is alive in his grave, that he recognizes the visitors, that he has been permitted by Allâhu ta’âlâ to give what is asked from him, and that it is only through him that Allâhu ta’âlâ can be approached.”

    Imâm-i a’zam Abû Hanîfa, in his book Musnad, reports from Abdullah ibni ’Umar: “He who visits he Prophet’s grave approaches it from the side which faces the qibla. He turns his back to the qibla. He faces the grave. Then he gives this prescribed salute: ‘As-salâmu ’alaika ayyuha-n-Nabiyyu wa rahmatullâhi wa barakâtuhu.’ ” Hadrat Ibni Hajar-i Makkî says that it is better to stand than to sit as you say your prayers. Ruknuddîn Abû Bakr Muhammad Kirmânî, one of the savants of fiqh in the Hanafî Madhhab, states, “During the visit, the right hand is put on the left hand, as it is done when you perform namâz.” It is mustahab to stand approximately four dhrâ’ [two metres] from the Shabaka.

    This translation from the book Tahqîq-ul-haqq-il-mubîn ends here.
    [ch.34.Endless Bliss2]

    • Jazakallah khair brother Al-Maturidi. It is a great pleasure to know that this last but important fortieth part of this book has been translated in English (and Turkish also). I wish someone publishes the full book in modern typesetting and more commentary on it (Hashiya). Some Naqshbandis from the noble silsilah of Hazrat Shah Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidi have become Wahhabi and are openly declaring these Sunni acts (discussed in this book) as Bidah and Shirk. They must know what their masters believed and taught.

  5. we are sinner.our pray becomes a weak.but the avliya doesnt becomes sinner.their souls are clean.their lenguage beaituful,thinking too.from outside they looklikes us.but their soul is near allahu teala.they dont likes…they go from the way of resulullah.when they teveccuh enywhere they can understend every possition.when they pray.allahu teala give occation for their love-sefaat.resulullah told hacerul esvet is a rock.but at ahiret -reseraction-it will be the reason sefaat to the sinners muslim.the rock is helping.avliya helps super.their prays is accepting by owner.ayat says to must lookfor vasile.reason.vasile is resulullah and to obay him-avliya and sahaba radyallahu anh.wahabis are loving kafirs.they are a company all to gather.sothey are kafirs

    • Abdul Samad says:

      We do not and should not take upon our self to label someone as a Kafir, our awliya and sheiks have refrain from that, so should we. Asking for forgiveness is the tool for cleansing of the heart. May Allah forgive me and all of us.

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