Creed [Aqaid]

Can Muslims Equate Hindu Deities with Prophets and Attribute Space to Allah?

Question:

What do the religious scholars and esteemed jurists say about the following matter:

Zayd, a Sunni Muslim known for his correct creed and role as a religious orator, stated in one of his speeches:

  1. “Whenever oppression grew and chaos was rampant, Allah, seated [‘biraajmaan’] in the heavens, dispatched a luminous group.”
  2. “With Pharaoh’s escalating oppression, Allah sent Prophet Musa, peace be upon him. When tyranny under Nimrud peaked, Allah sent Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him. Likewise, during Ravana’s severe oppression, He sent Lord Rama.”

The point of writing is to ask:

  • From the Islamic perspective, how is it to categorize Hindu deities as a “luminous group”?
  • How apt is it to describe Allah, the Exalted, as “seated in the heaven”?

Furthermore, how should one perceive such an orator? Is it appropriate to pray behind him or to consider becoming his murid (disciple)? Endow an answer in the light of the Quran and Hadith. By doing so, you would protect our faith and beliefs and be rewarded by Allah and appreciated by the people.


Questioner: Muhammad Sultan Naimi from India, Bhagalpur Bihar.
 
Answer:
Allah is free from modality. Holding the belief that He occupies a space is disbelief. From Zayd’s previously mentioned remarks, it’s evident that he has assigned a location to Allah Almighty. This is because he has used the term ‘biraajmaan’ in reference to Allah. The word ‘biraajmaan’ is widely understood in [Indian] society to signify ‘sitting’. Thus, through his words, Zayd has asserted a place for Allah Almighty, and to ascribe modality to Allah is religiously deemed disbelief.

It is stated in Fatawa al-Alamgiri:

يَكْفُرُ بِإِثْبَاتِ الْمَكَانِ لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى فَلَوْ قَالَ: ازخدا هيج مَكَان خَالِي نيست يَكْفُرُ وَلَوْ قَالَ: اللَّهُ تَعَالَى فِي السَّمَاءِ فَإِنْ قَصَدَ بِهِ حِكَايَةَ مَا جَاءَ فِيهِ ظَاهِرُ الْأَخْبَارِ لَا يَكْفُرُ، وَإِنْ أَرَادَ بِهِ الْمَكَانَ يَكْفُرُ، وَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ نِيَّةٌ يَكْفُرُ عِنْدَ الْأَكْثَرِ، وَهُوَ الْأَصَحُّ وَعَلَيْهِ الْفَتْوَى. وَيَكْفُرُ بِقَوْلِهِ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى جَلَسَ لِلْإِنْصَافِ، أَوْ قَامَ لَهُ بِوَصْفِهِ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى بِالْفَوْقِ وَالتَّحْتِ كَذَا فِي الْبَحْرِ الرَّائِقِ وَلَوْ قَالَ: مرابر آسْمَانِ خداي است وَبِرّ زُمَيْن فُلَانٌ يَكْفُرُ كَذَا فِي فَتَاوَى قَاضِي خَانْ.

Committing disbelief (kufr) is done by affirming a location for Allah, the Exalted. If someone says: ‘There is no place empty of Allah’ he commits disbelief. If one says: ‘Allah, the Exalted, is in the sky,’ if he means by it to narrate what has appeared explicitly in reports, he does not commit disbelief. However, if he intends by it a location, he commits disbelief. And if he had no specific intention, he commits disbelief according to the majority [of scholars], which is the more correct opinion and the one on which religious verdicts (fatwa) are given. One commits disbelief by saying: ‘Allah the Exalted sits out of justice,’ or attributing to Him the descriptors of ‘above’ and ‘below.’ This is mentioned in al-Bahr al-Ra’iq. If one says: ‘My Lord is in the heaven and so-and-so is on the earth,’ he commits disbelief. This is mentioned in Fatawa Qadi Khan.”[1]

 

From the statement of ‘Fatawa Alamgiri’, it becomes clear that whoever uses words indicating ‘above’ or ‘below’ for Allah Almighty, they will be declared a disbeliever. Thus, Zayd’s aforementioned words are considered disbelief. As a result, Zayd is obliged to repent, reaffirm his faith, and renew his marriage.

Labelling disbelievers and polytheists the ‘luminous group’ and suggesting they were sent by Allah to counteract oppression, just like the noble Prophets, places them on par with the noble Prophets. Such a belief is entirely based on misguidance and disbelief. The Quran itself describes polytheists as oppressors, as declared by Allah:

إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيْمٌ

Indeed ascribing partners to Him is a tremendous injustice.” [31:13]

 

What does the phrase ‘send them against oppression’ mean? Moreover, Rama, whom Zayd has lavishly praised to the brink of disbelief, lacks evidence for his existence.

 

As Alahazrat points out:

Neither the Holy Quran nor the revered Hadith mentions Rama or Krishna. Beyond the consistent tales from Hindus, we lack concrete proof that they were real figures or merely characters spawned from a garden of imagination. If these Hindu narratives aren’t deemed as reliable proof, then the very existence of these figures remains unconfirmed. However, if one accepts these tales as valid, they also then proof their misdeeds and indiscretions. So, what meaning is there to rely on these stories to affirm their existence but dismiss their [documented] behaviours? And they should not be considered or even presumed, Allah forbid, that they hold the status of Prophets or Messengers.”[2]

 

Additionally, Zayd speaks highly of Ram, which in itself is a form of disbelief since these words seem to show reverence for a deity of the unbelievers’ religion. Revering such deities, according to legal scholars, equates to disbelief.

 

Alahazrat points out:

But respecting the religious sentiments of unbelievers, their deities, and their idols is a clear expression of disbelief. Allah Almighty states: وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ‘All honour belongs to Allah and to His Noble Messenger and to the Muslims, but the hypocrites do not know.’ [63:8] Showing respect for other deities, idols, and religious sentiments, even if it’s just praising any of their practices, is universally identified as disbelief by scholars. As mentioned in Ghamz Uyun wa al-Basa’ir: اتَّفَقَ مَشَايِخُنَا أَنَّ مَنْ رَأَى أَمْرَ الْكُفَّارِ حَسَنًا فَقَدْ كَفَرَ ‘Our scholars are in agreement that whoever sees the practices of the disbelievers as good, has indeed committed disbelief.’[3] It’s essential for these individuals to repent from such believers, reaffirm their faith to Islam, and renew their marriage vows.”[4]

 

Conclusion: In Zayd’s speech, referencing Allah as ‘Barajmaan’, referring to the idols of the polytheists as a ‘luminous group,’ and placing them on the same level as revered Prophets, constitutes disbelief. It’s crucial for Zayd to seek repentance, reaffirm his faith, and renew his marital vows. If Zayd is a murid of a Sunni spiritual guide who holds correct beliefs, he should also reaffirm his pledge of allegiance. Until Zayd openly repents for his remarks, it remains inadvisable and prohibited to attend his lectures or to pray behind him. Allah Almighty knows best what is right.

 

[1] Fatawa al-Alamgiri: 2/259

[2] Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah: 14/138.

[3] Ghamz Uyun al-Basa’ir fi Sharh al-Ashbah wa’l-Naza’ir 2/203.

[4] Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah: 14/132.

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