Institutions, Stagnation & Praxis - What Happened to the Barelwis?

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by Juwayni, Dec 28, 2021.

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  1. Juwayni

    Juwayni Veteran

    Intellectual Stagnation, Institutional Issues & Loss of Praxis in Contemporary Barelwi Communities - Causes & Solutions

    Amongst those who follow the Imam there are a number of issues this thread (and its offshoot) has highlighted.
    • Extreme elements that try to misrepresent the boundaries of Sunni Islam in order to exclude Sunnis from the fold.
    • Genuine efforts by Sunni orgs are being attacked via de-maslakation.
    • Selective transmission of the Imam's legacy while avoiding others.
    • Naqd al-ʿIlm leading to a loss of understanding the Imam and his legacy.
    I'm unsure to what extent the Imam's works are being allowed to speak for him. There's word of manuscripts that have been lost, and for what does remain a lack of a concerted effort to preserve and publish them. Furthermore, for what is published, we can note (based on what was raised in other threads) that major Muftīs who are said to represent some of the main flagbearers of the Maslak are making serious interpretational errors with regards to foundational discussions in ʿIlm al-Kalām when attempting to explain certain couplets (and these are not isolated incidents if the geographic diversity of Sunniport participants raising similar queries on that one issue is any indication).

    Granted, kalām is an intricate science where someone who is not grounded may indeed make mistakes, but even in matters as foundational as the Ādāb al-Ikhtilāf, we see an immense loss between the Imām's praxis and what some of his alleged followers are doing today. Particularly, you astutely noted in the context of this Mawlana Shahid incident:
    • Learning ṣarf and naḥw is not enough.
    • The books of adab are a required study before venturing on the stage.
    • One ought to learn to draw a distinction between issues of common concern and issues that may be public but do not affect the common man.
    • The need for understanding the adab of Amr bi'l-Maʿrūf and Nahy ʿani'l-Munkar.
    Thus, if something as fundamental as knowing the adab of how we ought to interact as Sunnis generally and scholars particularly, is being lost in Barelwī circles within a matter of generations, a refined adab that our Imām was known for that should have been transmitted and embodied, then what does that say about the future of how the rest of his legacy will be preserved? This Mawlana Shahid issue isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened and I fear it won't be the last.

    Even within this incident you see other markers of an abandonment of the Imam's thought despite ample access to his works. Case in point: whereas the Imam was known for his emphasis on the objective and substantive elements of what makes a scholar, we are now experiencing an inversion where more emphasis is placed on titles like ʿAllāmah and Muftī when none of the prerequisites for being those things have been fulfilled. This isn't even being done by ignorant ʿawwām who don't know the meaning of those words, but rather by people who are said to be senior scholars themselves.

    Can you imagine what would happen if Alahazrat was a scholar in today's world? Many lengthy title holders would be doing refutation videos of him for reaching out to Thanvi a number of times before issuing a fatwa. For them, he wouldn't be acting fast enough. Furthermore, the fact he did not sink his teeth into personal attacks would probably make those envious eyes set their sights on him for a character assassination. How is it that the Riḍawiyyan decorum has been so forgotten and personal attacks/private character assassinations have become the norm?

    How is it that the rigor of this Imam in ḥadīth has been forgotten by those who claim his name and instead they spread misinformation about a Sunnī scholar based on transmitters with suspect testimony. The actual poison that is the issue is the one that has been drunk over the course of decades. It is the poison of self-aggrandizement, envy, hatred, and malice. This poison blinds men to such an extent that while they think they are clinging to the Imām's dāman, they are—in reality—tightening the knot of the veil over their own eyes.

    Therefore, as much as the Imam's work is preserved, the lack of capable interpreters and the presence of malicious ones puts a serious barrier between what remains of his work and what is actually understood of it and what is practiced from it.

    Valid point. I've used that argument against others who say this or that about people they term "Barelwīs" but would never think of referring to Moroccan goofs as Ashāʿirah. That being said however:

    A note on the name "Barelwī" when used in the context of Anglosphere Sunnis: what does a person do in a milieu such as the west, and even more particularly in places like Chicago where you have Deobandis like Amin Kholwadia attempting to frame his work as Ṣufī Maturīdī revivalism? Why leave the title of Hanafi Maturidi when those villains are misappropriating it?

    Similar advice was given in the case of Abdur Rahman Hasan and the usage of 'Barelwī" in the parties section of the debate agreement:

    Noman Farooqui likes this.

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