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Debating Islam ( 29 Aug 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Does Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Claim to be the Promised Mehdi and Messiah?

Does Maulana Wahiduddin Khan Claim to be the Promised Mehdi and Messiah?

[Translated from Urdu by S. Arshad,]

Name of book:  Maulana Wahiduddin Khan aur Dawaa-e-Masihiat wa Mehdiviat (Urdu)

(Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and his claim to Messiahism and Mehdism)

Author: Ghulam Nabi Kashaafi

Publisher: Noamani Academy, Lucknow

Reviewer: Zeeshan Ahmad Misbahi


Islam is synonymous with moderateness. That’s why it is called the religion of moderateness or the natural religion. Deviation from this moderateness leads to waywardness, whether it is through exaggeration or otherwise. That is the reason we pray for the straight path (siratul mustaqeem) and seek God’s shelter from the path of the maghzubeen (those who invited the wrath of God) and za’lleen (those who lost the right path).

The intellectual and ideological movement of Maulana Maududi, the Jamaat-e-Islami was based on the agenda of Islamic system/the rule of Allah in the 20th century. To provide ideological fodder to it, Maulana Maududi and his colleagues heaped relevant literature. The literature was based on the principle that whatever is written should be based on logic and research and with an eye on impartiality and not in emulation. This principle was commendable if it adhered to moderateness. But people associated with the Jamaat gradually developed another zeal and that was the zeal to take to task all the revered Islamic personalities right from the Imams of Islam to the Sahaba (the holy companions of the Prophet (PBUH).

Instead of trying to understand Islam through the sahaba, tabeyeen and tab-e-tabeyeen, their examination and criticism was started in their typical ideology. This point of view gave birth to a number of deviations. One of the major deviations was that all the energy and intellectual strength was used on the formation of the rule of Allah and the issues of the use of force were being discussed and, therefore, other tenets of Islam like the devotional aspect (the spiritual relationship between God and man) was accorded a secondary status.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan who had been associated actively with the Jamaat-e-Islami for the initial fifteen years, realised this deviation and finally had a discussion with the powers that be in the Jamaat , and when he did not get satisfactory answers from them, he presented his intellectual and ideological differences in his book titled ‘Tabeer ki Ghalti’(The interpretation gone wrong). After that it seemed as if unconsciously Maulana’s pen went on to chase the Jamaat, promote moderateness and campaign for a positive way of thinking. It would have been good if it remained confined to that. With a fertile brain and extraordinary power of analysis that he had, Maulana could have rendered great service of intellectual reconstruction of the Islamic nation. But unfortunately, it was not so. Ranting on the positive outlook, a negative mentality overtook Maulana subconsciously. Now he does not find a single considerable personality, except himself of course, in the entire Muslim world. Despite his rantings about the postive outlook, finding fault with the history and personalities of Islam and the Muslims of the past and present became a favrourite pastime of the Maulana. As a result, people who had been impressed and influenced by Maulana’s message of positive thinking gradually turned away from him. He began to be identified as an advocate of non-Muslims against Muslims rather than a reformer of the ummah. In Al Risala in 2007, he fired another salvo by declaring the Christian model more applicable than the Mohammedan model to the modern world. It was also the final violent form of ideological differences with the Jamaat to an extent because Jamaat Islami’s literature laid great stress on jihad.  When Mr Khan was not satisfied with his own modern explanation of jihad, he finally declared the Mohammedan way of proselytisation that includes among other things the issue of jihad, faulty and not worthy to be followed.

This journey of Maulana’s thought reached its final stage in 2010.The May 2010 issue of Maulana’s Al Risala came as Qayamat ka alarm (The alarm of Day of Judgment) in which discussing the signs of Qayamat (Day of Judgment), he suggestively and subtly likened himself to Messiah and Mehdi the promised. Not content with that he went on to say in the June issue that ‘signs tell us that the Day of Judgment is imminent and so it would be right to infer that the Dajjal and the Messiah and Mehdi have appeared.’ (Al Risala June 2010; p5)

‘The Messiah or Mehdi who has appeared have the following personality traits:

‘In this situation the first task of Messiah or Mehdi would be to discover a non-military ideology of Islam.’(Al Risala, Aug 2010)

‘The confrontation with Dajjal will be in the sense that Messiah will expose him by intellectually analysing his dajal (mischief). (Al Risala 2010; p53)

‘Contrary to his antecedents, Mehdi will exceptionally be a rightly guided man ……He will neither claim himself to be the Mehdi nor a voice from the heavens will announce that he is Mehdi and will ask people to believe in him and follow him.’(Al Risala May 2010; p 36)

‘About the Mehdi, the hadith says that ‘his name would be similar to mine (PBUH).’ Here name denotes character.’ (P 38)

‘Mehdi’s task would not be akin to a political revolution but to a revolution on the intellectual level among the individuals. (p 39)

‘From the study of hadiths, it becomes evident that Dajjal or Dajjalism is in fact a fitna (mischief) of the scientific age. It will be for the first time in the scientific age that that some people would create the impression that Truth cannot survive in the face of the progress in learning and knowledge. Then with the blessing of God a man will emerge who will destroy this Dajjalism with scientific arguments’.(P 18)

‘The promised Messiah and Mehdi are symbolically different names of the same personality.’ (P 41)

Anybody who joins all the pieces of the paper will see the picture of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan emerge. Maulana has nowhere mentioned that he is the promised Mehdi and the Messiah but in the same vein he has very clearly written that Mehdi  or Messiah will not claim himself to be so. After that he has said everything suggestively.

The book under review has been written by Ghulam Nabi Kashaafi as a counter-argument to Maulana’s “Qayamat ka Alarm”. Mr Kashaafi has written the book with a lot of research, balanced approach, realism and impartial analysis. When we received the book and a letter to the editor of the Jam-e-Noor monthly from Mr Kashaafi, we were taken aback and it took us some time to realise that this was from the same pen that had been spewing fire in Maulana’s defence for the last ten years and from a person who did not find any rival to Maulana from Arab to Ajam (from the East to the West). Not only that, whenever even Jam-e-Noor wrote something against Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Mr Kashaafi came forward to defend him. It was hard to believe how such a big advocate of Maulana could turn his adversary.

The study of the book shows that Mr Kashaafi is a realist in nature. He was sincere in his defence and advocacy and is so even in his opposition. He writes:

“I joined Al Risala with the spirit of finding out positive aspects in each of his writings and made hundreds of permanent readers of Al Risala and supporters of his point of view here in Srinagar. I have been working towards this goal for the last twenty years. in those years, I even had differences with Maulana on various issues and affairs, wrote dozens of lengthy articles  and tried to present  my dissenting views in the light of  the Quran and hadith before him. But unfortunately, generally I found him unable to counter my arguments and taking an escape route. And I chose to ignore my differences with him for the sake of the service of religion out of my innocence and went on supporting him. But when in recent years, his new writings in support of the Christian model emerged on the scene, initially I too wrote articles in his defence trying to prove his ‘novel’ ideas realistic by presenting new logics  and arguments. It received great encouragement and my name was mentioned in the khabarnama of Al Risala. But I did not realise whether I was being used or advancing on a wrong path unconsciously.

But when for the first time the realisation dawned on me that Maulana was preparing himself to be the Mehdi model or Christian model I suffered bouts of anxiety and restlessness and was ashamed of my support to him all these years. Then I reviewed and pondered over the ideology and thoughts of Maulana anew and the May 2010 issue of Al Risala became the basis of my final disillusionment with him.”

The manuscript of the May 2010 issue of Al Risala had been sent to various intellectuals before its publication, and Mr Kashaafi was one of the chosen few. Mr Kashaafi registered his reservations about the contents of the issue with Maulana’s close confidante Maulana Zakwan Nadvi over the phone and advised him to stop its publication. But when the May issue was published he considered it his moral and religious duty to present his critical analysis of the issue and sent it to Maulana’s address under the title, ‘Taweel se Talbees tak’ (From interpretation to personation). Later, he made some additions to it and sent it to the Al Furqan monthly, Lucknow which published it in two parts in January and February 2011. After that Noamani Academy, Lucknow published it in book form with further additions which is under review now.

The book consists of 64 pages of which 50 pages cover the core issue. Mr Kashaafi has very keenly analysed Maulana’s false belief in his being the promised Messiah and Mehdi. Words, expressions and the style resemble to those of Maulana’s to a great extent. Even the book has been dedicated to him with the admission that ‘I got most of the inspiration from his writings, among the contemporary religious scholars.’ Mr Kashaafi has analysed the claim to Mehdism in comparatively great detail. Under the sub-title ‘Ghalat fahmi ya kuch aur’ (misunderstanding or something else) he writes, “According to the holy traditions the ‘Mehdi and Messiah that are mentioned are one and he is no one else but him only. I could not even have imagined that Maulana would fall prey to such grave misunderstanding’”. (P14)

It has been proved in the book with the help of examples that on the issue under discussion, Maulana crosses the borders of talbees (personation) in his attempt at producing far-fetched interpretations and while quoting tradition, he generally quotes only that part of a hadith that serves his purpose, and the other part that causes his building of imagination collapse is totally ignored by him. For example, Mr Khan quotes a hadith narrated by Ibn-e-Ma’ja that says ‘When Dajjal will see the Messiah, he will start melting in the same way as salt dissolves in water and he will flee from there. Messiah will say that he has such a striking force that it will not be possible for him (Dajjal) to survive it.”

While interpreting this hadith, Mr Khan opines that the hadith is allegorical in style and killing the Dajjal means exposing him by doing a scientific analysis of his dajal (mischief). Apart from the fact that this interpretation is far-fetched and such interpretations are bound to turn Islamic Shariah into a child’s play, it is a greater surprise that Mr Khan has ignored the part of this hadith that does not corroborate his interpretation as the hadith says ‘Jesus Christ will kill Dajjal at the eastern gate of Lud city.” Mr Khan ommitted this part because perhaps the interpretation of this incident through scientific analysis was not possible for him.

Similarly, a hadith narrated by Abu Dawood says, “From the other side of the stream will emerge a man whose name will be Haris bin Hara’s. He will be preceded by a man called Mansoor. He will help Al-e-Muhammad --- descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to dominate as the Quraish made Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) dominate. Supporting and obeying him is desirable of all.”Mr Khan has quoted only the last sentence and superimposed it on Mehdi.

Similarly, in another hadith, it is said that Mehdi will be the Prophet’s name sake. Explaining this, Mr Khan says that by name only his character is meant. To support his explanation, he presents another hadith that says that Mehdi will bear resemblance to the Prophet (PBUH) with regards to his behaviour and not his countenance. Mr Khan has taken great pains to prove his point of view by the faulty quotations of the above mentioned two hadiths as the former hadith also says that Mehdi will be a descendant of the Prophet (PBUH).  Since Mr Khan is not a descendant, that part was coming in the way of his explanation, so he did not quote it. In the same hadith, from which he presented the interpretation regarding Mehdi being Prophet’s namesake, it is also said that he will be from the crucifixion of Hadhrat Hasan. Mr Khan omitted this part too, as quoting it would go against his mission.

In the same way, referring to the signs of the Day of Judgment, the Quran says that during the final phase, an animal will emerge out of the earth and will announce the truth in human language. Interpreting Da’bbatul Ardh, (the animal of the earth) in the May 2010 issue, Mr Khan has meant the proselytizer of the final phase who will address people in the language of logic and scientific argument. Apart from the weakness of the interpretation, it is also ridiculous that in June 2010 issue of Al Risala, he has declared the multimedia of the modern age the Dabbatul Ardh but before that in his own exegesis Tazkirul Quran, by Dabbatul Ardh, he meant an animal, with a footnote that what people will not accept from the tongue of human proselytizers will be announced from the tongue of a non-human creature.  Perhaps for the similar situations the poet had said:

Bak raha hun junun mein kya kya kuch

Kuch na samjhe khuda kare koi

Mr Ghulam Nabi Kashaafi deserves praise from the Jam-e-Noor monthly, rather from the entire Muslim community as he has wielded his pen against a person for whom he has both love and sympathy. Only the spirit of the service of faith has given him the courage to speak out the truth for which he deserves rewards from God and gratitude from His slaves. Only some portions of the book could be quoted whereas the whole book is worthy to be studied. This book is indispensible for understanding Mr Khan’s thoughts and ideas relating to Messiah and Mehdi.

I have also studied some of the books of Maualan Wahiduddin Khan and am his admirer with regards to some issues while having differences with him on some other issues as is the case with the general intellectual circle.  Very few people are born with such great thought and a lucid pen in Muslim households. It is the duty of such men to provide the ummah the scientific and intellectual leadership provided they themselves are on the right path. But it would be unfortunate if such men, who are blessed with the abilities and potentialities to lead and guide the ummah, use their abilities to divide it and adulterate their beliefs and thoughts.

With due admission of the limitations of my knowledge and thought, I want to draw Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s attention towards two of many issues he has expertise in, that are very sensitive and fundamental. On the one hand, they are about deviations in the religion, disintegration of the ummah and disgrace in this world and on the other, they are about the losses incurred in the hereafter. The first issue is of proving the Mohammedan way flawed and the other is the interpretation of Messaihism and Mehdism. To seek to prove that Mohammedan way is flawed, even though it was declared by God Himself as ‘complete’ by saying Akmalto lakum dinakum is gross perfidy. Similarly, instead of furthering the intellectual work Maulana has rendered in his life, dreaming to be the Mehdi and the Messiah is like wasting his work, and a disgrace. The affairs in the Hereafter will be much tougher. I can never be in the position to believe that Maulana will review his thoughts in the two issues on my advice but can request him for the sake of God and the Prophet (PBUH) to do so. If he does, the ummah will be spared of a great fitna and his original work will also retain its value.

Source: Jam-e-Noor, July 2010

URL to concerning Artilcle:مولانا-وحید-الدین-خان-کا-امام-مہدی-علیہ-السلام-ہونے-کے-دعویٰ-سےا-نکار/d/5365

URL to Urdu Article: URL:مولانا-وحید-الدین-خاں-سے-میری-علاحدگی/d/5354