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What Are the Beliefs of the Bareilawi (or Barelvi) Sect?

Praise be to Allaah.

The Bareilawis are an extreme Sufi sect that appeared in the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent, in the city of Bareilly, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh during the days of British colonialism.

The basic principles of their misguided, deviant teachings are based on exaggeration about the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and the members of his household, exaggeration about the righteous, enmity towards Ahl as-Sunnah, and diverting the people away from jihad for the sake of Allah.

The founder of this sect was called Ahmad Reza Khan Taqiy ‘Ali Khan; he called himself ‘Abd al-Mustafa.

He was one of the misguided extremists. He used to say: “When you are confused, seek help from the occupants of the graves.”

In his extreme exaggeration about the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), he said: “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is in control everywhere; he is the king of earth and the sovereign of mankind.”

And he said: “O Muhammad, I cannot say that you are Allah and I cannot differentiate between you and Him; your matter is for Him to judge, for He knows best what you really are.”

And he said: “Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, gave the one who brought the Qur’an, our master Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), everything that is in al-Lawh al-Mahfooz.”

And he said: “The Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is light from the Light of Allah, and all of creation comes from his light.”

Amjad ‘Ali, one of their leaders, said: “The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is a deputy of Allah with complete authority, and the entire universe is under his control. So he does whatever he wants, he gives whatever he wants to whoever he wants, he takes whatever he wants, and there is no one in the universe who can alter his rule. He is the master of humans and whoever does not make him his sovereign is deprived of the sweetness of the sunnah.”

And he said: “Those who reject seeking help from the Prophets and saints and from their graves are heretics.”

Ahmad Yar Khan – one of their shaykhs – said: “The shar‘i meaning of the one who is present and watching [this refers to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him] is that the one who is possessed of holy power is able to see the world like the palm of his hand from the place where he is; he can hear sounds from near and from far; he can go around the world in a single moment; he helps those who are in need and he answers those who call on him.”

They used to build structures over graves and frequent them, lighting candles and lamps in them, offer sacrifices to them in fulfilment of vows, seeking barakah (blessing) from them, holding celebrations for them, putting flowers and roses and cloths on them and putting curtains around them, and calling their followers to circumambulate the tombs, seeking barakah from them.

The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked:

There is a certain group in Pakistan that is called the Bareilawis or the Nawaari group, named after their current leader who is known as Nawaari. I asked you for the shar‘i ruling concerning them and their beliefs, and praying behind them, so that this may bring peace of mind to many people who do not know the truth about them. And once again, I would like to ask you about some of their myths and widespread beliefs:

1. The belief that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is alive

2. The belief that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is present and can see what is happening, especially immediately after Jumu‘ah prayer.

3. The belief that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) will definitely intercede for them.

4. They believe in the awliya’ (“saints”) and the occupants of graves, and they pray at their graves and ask them to meet their needs.

5. They build domes over graves and put lights in them.

6. They are known to say “Ya Rasool, Ya Muhammad (O Messenger, O Muhammad) (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

7. They get angry with the one who says Ameen out loud and raises his hands when praying, and they regard him as a Wahhaabi.

8. They find it very strange when the siwaak is used at the time of prayer.

9. They kiss their fingers during wudoo’, at the time of the adhaan, and after prayer.

10. Their imam always recites the verse “Allah sends His Salat (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad ) and also His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him)” [al-Ahzaab 33:56] after prayer, then all the worshippers send blessings upon the Prophet in unison and loudly.

11. They gather in circles after Jumu‘ah prayer, standing, reciting and reciting poetry in praise of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) loudly.

12. After completing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an in Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan, they make a great deal of food and distribute it in the forecourt of the mosque, as well as sweets.

13. They build mosques and adorn them elaborately, and they write over the mihraab “Ya Muhammad (O Muhammad)”.

14. They regard themselves as followers of the Sunnah and correct ‘aqeedah (belief), and think that others are in the wrong.

What is the shar‘i ruling on praying behind them?

They replied:

It is not permissible to pray behind one who is like this, and if one who knows that the belief of the imam is like that prays behind him, his prayer is invalid, because most of the things listed are characteristics of kufr (disbelief) and bid‘ah (innovation) that are contrary to the Tawheed (affirmation of the Oneness of Allah) with which Allah sent His Messengers and which He revealed in His Books. It is contrary to the clear meaning of the Qur’an, such as the verses in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, you (O Muhammad ) will die and verily, they (too) will die” [az-Zumar 39:30] and “And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah” [al-Jinn 72:18]. The innovations that they do should be denounced in a gentle way; if they accept it then praise be to Allah. If they do not accept it, then shun them and pray in the mosques of Ahl as-Sunnah. We have a good example in the Close Friend (Khaleel) of the Most Merciful, as Allah tells us he said (interpretation of the meaning): “And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call on my Lord; and I hope that I shall not be unblest in my invocation to my Lord” [Maryam 19:48]. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on praying behind an imam from the Bareilawi sect, who believes that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is alive and present and can see us? He replied: If they believe that, then they have gone against ijmaa‘ (consensus of the ummah), and if they seek his help, then that is shirk, so it is not permissible to pray behind them. End quote. And Allah knows best.

1 comment:

  1. Assalamualaikum Sir,
    I read the article above,quite informative, and true, Our Beloved Prophet(peace be upon him) said,"Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle."(Sahih Bukhari). I am not a barelwi, I am not, but I believe some of the objections are simply absurd!
    e.g
    ��addressing point number(3). Because the Prophet (s.a.w.w) said, whosoever sends durood and Salawat on him, 10 times in the morning and evening, will have the Prophet(s.a.w.w)'s shafaat on the Day of Judgement.So let's suppose if a person sends Salawat and durood on he Prophet (s.a.w.w) 10 times morning and evening, what's wrong with such a belief. Allah wants a believer to have a balanced thinking, "Not too hopeless so as to fall into despair, and not too overconfident to think himself as being absolved of punishment".
    ��Only first part of point(4) Saints as in spiritually enlightened people have been present throughout Muslim history. Beginning from the Sahabah(r.a) and in the later generations only to a name a few e.g Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Molana Rumi, Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al Jawzi, Imam Ghazali,etc so many of them have literally contributed so much through their teachings and writings. One can't deny that. They are to be respected. But yes going as far as "prostrating on graves is WRONG". To that I agree. One should ask from Allah Subhaanaotaala. However RESPECT these people as in being RIGHTEOUS SERVANTS of Allah.
    ��(10) Allah Subhaanaotaala Himself instructs us to recite durood and Salawat on the Prophet (s.a.w.w), the famous Ayah we know "Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet(s.a.w.w), oh you who believe send salutations upon him..." Also I will quote a Hadith
    At-Tirmidhi (2457) narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka‘b (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, I want to send more blessings upon you (before offering supplication); how much of my supplication should I allocate to that? He said: “Whatever you wish.” I said: One quarter? He said “Whatever you wish, but if you do more, it will be better for you.” I said: Half? He said: “Whatever you wish but if you do more, it will be better for you.” I said: Two thirds? He said: “Whatever you wish, but if you do more, it will be better for you.” I said: Shall I make all of my supplication for that? He said: Then your worries will be taken care of and your sin will be forgiven.”
    Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Sunan at-Tirmidhi So if in a gathering, a number of people send durood together over the Prophet (s.a.w.w), I don't see anything wrong with that.
    11. What's wrong with writing poetry and singing praises of the Prophet(s.a.w.w) as long as your lyrics and words don't have an element of shirk in them? One of the companions of the Prophet(s.a.w.w) Hazrat Hassan bin Thabit used to write poetry for the Prophet(s.a.w.w) and read it out aloud too. Why should that sound alarming?
    To point number(12) That's because many poor people are also there in mosques,not everyone is in a position to feed himself and they are served food in mosques for the purpose of seeking reward from Allah Subhaanaotaala in Ramadan.
    So what I am saying is, that we Muslims are "One Ummah", we should correct one another where we go wrong,that's important and closer to the duty of "enjoin good, forbid bad", however, we should be careful, correct only those areas that are not in line with the Quran and sunnah and "not blindly reject the other in "toto". Also, let's refrain from dividing one another into "Sects", Yes one might follow a "shafai school of thought", another a "hanafi school of thought", but our first identity is "Muslims", and "Mo'min".
    May Allah guide us. And unite us all. Ameen.
    Just a humble effort on my part. Correct me if am wrong!

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