Bareilawis – History and Beliefs





Category: Groups & Sects


Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Chief of the creation of Allah and the last of the Prophets of Allah. May Allah, the Exalted, invoke His blessings upon him, his posterity, his companions, and those who showed devotion and fidelity to him.

To proceed: I have been given the opportunity of reading the work “Al-Bareilawiyya” (in Arabic) by the most worthy and learned Professor Ehsan Elahi Zaheer, about this isolated sect. If you find a group or a faction separating itself from another group or faction reviling them, all this is designed unfortunately for selfish ends out of internal motives or out of some investigation owing to weakness in the souls or ignorance and deficiency in thinking. If you find a group of people isolated from its root, deviating from the path of its brother-groups and declaring their teachings fundamentals and minutiae as unbelief (Kufr), this is an attitude not accepted by reasons recognized by any methodology. We could never have any knowledge or even conceive of this sect except through this book which the learned Professor Ehsan Elahi Zaheer has presented to the readers. He has known this faction from nearby, fathomed the depths of their dimensions by his eyesight and insight, inwardly and outwardly, exhaustively read their sources, digested them, and lived along with them in his country. Through these sources he was able to acquaint the readers with the reality of this group and to unfold the inabicious truth which they concealed in their hearts to every body except themselves and to those who were not like them. This truth is hidden in their ailing souls, and whatever their hearts hide is probably for greater.

If the learned author of this book had not close relations with this group, by reason of neighbourhood and association with them, and had we not placed our reliance on his honesty of scholarship, and on the documentation of his book with the original sources of that group, we could not have even conceived of the existence of a group like them.

When we became familiar-with the evident standpoint of this group and weighed them by the academic methods, we found that with respect to methodology they wore insignificant and weightless, for they stood on the two extremes of excess and negligence, and laid their foundations on superstitions and baseless thoughts.

Viewed from the standpoint of their passionate feeling, proliferation, activity for spreading their false beliefs, misinterpretation of facts by their erroneous thoughts to the simple people and its propagation outside its homeland (India and Pakistan), and obliterating the signs of truth by exercising every possible means, even by excommunicating their opponents all these factors have made their danger more crucial than any other. It is binding on every person who knows the truth of this sect to expose them. The learned author has spent an appreciable effort by presenting this book to us, so that we may become well-informed of the affairs of this sect.

A reader is accustomed to find a foreword in the beginning of every book like it which enlightens him with its subject-matter, discloses to him its chapters and weighs it with the balance of academic norms to be familiar with its truth, and evaluate it to judge its style and But this book does not need it, and a reader having an insight can evaluate it himself and taste its charming style.

What is possible for me is that I may put forward to the reader a few words and their clearly defined stand points.

As regards a few words, I put them on record about the author of this book, his academic efforts, his struggle against these sects, and the endeavours made by him for the Muslims in Indo-Pakistan subcontinent in modern times by the strength of his charming style and by his scholarly research. Alongside of his work “Bareilawiyya”, he profoundly wrote about Qadiyani and Baby sects.

He also produced numerous treatises on the Shi’ites, disclosing their dimensions which are worth consideration in modem times. His writings about the contemporary sects with their demolishing dogmas and misleading methods, presenting a great danger to the beliefs and doctrines of Muslims, are reckoned with this respect like those of his predecessors who wrote in their time about their contemporary sects, although only their name has survived today, or whatever they recorded in the annals of history, like the Mu’tazila, Khawarij and similar other sects. He has the privilege of combining the two cultures, Persian and Arabic, and has a command over the local languages, Persian and Urdu, along with Arabic. He has vast knowledge of traditional as well as modern sciences, fundamentals of Islamic methodology, the Qur’an and the Sunna, and Islamic Jurisprudence. He is well versed in the Hanafi Law and the law based on Hadith complied with his mastery over the creed held by the early Muslims, acquired equally in his own country and during his studies in Islamic University al-Madinat al-Munawwara. For these reasons his writings are characterised by gravity and balance and supported by reasonable arguments and truthfulness.

The most significant reason is that he argues on the basis of the authorities of the sect itself on which he writes a book. Hence his writings are beyond suspicion. There seems no reason to discredit any source which he chooses from their sources. Therefore, his works about various Muslim sects have become sources and authorities for researchers. The same logic consists in his works about this sect which goes by the name of Bareilawis. These are a few words which I intend to present to the readers about the learned author of this book.

A few significant points on which I want to stress more, are concerned with Bareilawis and I have got these points from the pages of this book.

First, the period relating to the life-history of the founder of this sect, the detailed events of his life, and his appearance on the scene between 1272 A.H./1855 A.D. and 1340 A.H./1921 A.D. was not one of academic,
intellectual and literary movement in India, for the country during this period succumbed under the iron-hand of the British colonialists to crush all the movements which seek life or any movement towards life. Hence this sect appeared under the patronage of the imperialists for selfish interests and adjustment rather for rendering service to them. Nothing is more indicative of this fact than the study of the atmosphere of this movement in his day. The same case was with the Qadianiyya. The learned author himself has exposed its truth, and the attitude of its friendship and service of the British Imperialism.

Allah has made him (the founder of the sect) speak in some of his tracts that he warns the British against the danger of the Wahhabis. This implies that he was a sincere friend of the Britishers, who were opponents and adversaries of the call (Da’wa) that was witnessed by the Muslim intellectuals with all its benefits and abilities, The delegates of the Muslims of the Islamic world pay a visit to this country to receive Islamic education in its universities. The historical standpoint about the origin of this sect is sufficient to show the object of its existence and the need for the support of the Imperialists.

The learned author has disclosed the extent to which the eponym of this sect received the aid and support from the British, although he pretended to the naive people by its use that he had only a small bag from which he used to bring out money, jewellery and cloths.

As regards the genesis of its founder, his first teacher was Mirza Qadir Baig who was a brother of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani. Thus it is true to say that the Qadiyanis and the Bareilawis were twin brothers in the service of the Imperialists.

(Although he is not she, or she is not he, yet he is her brother; his mother has suckled him with her breast.)

If the Qadiyani and the Bareilawi (i.e. the founders) had come to know the decline of the Imperialists in their country, and withdrawal of their assistance from them, they would have changed their stand. Nonetheless, their eyes were not blind, but their hearts in their chests were blind.

Secondly, now I deal with the school of thought of the Bareilawis. They have combined the two extremes and negligence.

(a) They have exaggerated in their beliefs about their deities except Allah, whether they are alive or dead, so much so that they have given them the attributes of omnipotence. They believe that their divines and missionaries have treasures of the world in their land, and the pens of salvation in the next world lie with them.
These are the beliefs not held by a sane person, not even by a polytheist before Islam.

(b) They have exercised negligence by supposing the ransom sufficient for a person who abondoned prayer during his whole life; the ransom is offered to their missionaries in proportion to the number of years he had not prayed.

Thirdly, they have excommunicated all Muslims except themselves, even the Deobandis and the Hanafis. This implies their stupidity and short-sightedness, for the Deobandis share the Hanafi law with them, and both the groups owe their origin to the Hanafis when they excommunicate the Deobandis, while the Deobandis are the Hanafis and the Bareilawis too are the Hanafis, the conclusion is that the Bareilawis are also unbelievers (Kuffar). This is an obvious logical reasoning. The scholars in the past have said: “He who abuses his genius abuses himself.” They have thus excommunicated themselves unconsciously excommunication of others by them has become their symbol; they did not leave anyone, and exceeded the limits so much so that the author has mentioned about the founder of this sect that sometimes he excommunicated himself. He was like the poet Jarir. When his satire knew no bounds, he could not control himself to satarise; whenever he did not find anyone to satarise, he satarised himself.

If we try to search for the cause of excommunication of persons other than themselves, we find that it is one thing: unbelief of others in their non-sense talk and superstitions.

As a result of this extremism, precipitance and easy excommunication of others, they excommunicated Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, the Pakistani poet of Islam, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, even the present President of Pakistan, Muhammad Ziaul Haq.

I believe that this is but natural with them, for these people were the enemies of his friends, the Colonialists. They were the people who struggled in expelling them from their countries, and cut off what he (the founder) used to recieve from them. Therefore, it is no wonder that they were unbelievers {Kuffar) in their eyes.

Fourthly, they began the excommunication of Muslims, outside the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent with Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) whose excellence and prestige have been testified by the whole
world, and even his opponent could not censure his knowledge and merit. They also made the target of excommunication ash-Shaikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, who touched the contemporary world and every just person. He called all the Muslims to bring their cases for adjudication to Allah’s Book and to the Sunna of His Prophet. He threw back the innovations and false beliefs which were not held by the pious Muslims of the early centuries of Islam. He prevented the people from the following evils: begging from others than Allah, seeking help from others than Allah, or doing an act repugnant to the practice of the early Muslims – a period which has been testified as good by the Prophet (may peace be upon him).
He invited to the unity of the Muslim people under the banner of

There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and to make the Shari’a (Islamic Law) the arbiter.

At present when we are in need of unity and solidarity, the Bareilawi (the founder of the sect) declares everyone except himself as unbeliever (Kafir), thus splitting the Muslim community and demolishing the foundation of religion.

He is reverting the people from the worship of Allah alone to the adoration of many persons, who, in his opinion, respond to those who call them, help those who call them for help, and distracting them from the Sunna of His Messenger, thus leading them to adherence to these evil passions and desires.

It would be impossible for a man to testify to all these facts existing in a sect, if the learned author did not record the contents of this book to which we have appended this Foreword. Soon the reader will see for himself and give a judgment. Allah is the guide to the straight path.

On this occasion when the Colonialists have departed from their country and the ties with them have been discontinued, I appeal to this group to return to the place from where they started and to look afresh at the legal
school which they follow, and at the beliefs held by the Imam (founder) of that school, i.e. Abu Hanifa (may Allah have mercy on him), especially they should look into his work al-Fiqh al-Akbar which pertains to the dogmas.

They should also look into the Book of Allah, the Sunna of His Messenger (may Allah invoke peace and blessings upon him) and the practice of the ancestors in the early centuries of Islam. There is a chance for them that Allah may illuminate their insight, disclose their breasts, and guide them to the straight path. He has power over all things.

Attiya Muhammad Salim, Judge, Court of Law,
al-Madinat al-Munawwara, and teacher in
al-Masjid an-Nabawi.

Bareilawis – History and Beliefs