pastime of declaring people as kafir is not a
product of the present age. Unfortunately, this
disease is very old, and there can hardly be anyone
from among the great figures of Muslim religious
history who escaped being a subject of such fatwas.
Let us look at the great leaders of religion after
the age of the Holy Prophet's Companions.
Abu Hanifa: He
was disgraced, called ignorant, inventor of new
beliefs, hypocrite and kafir. He was
imprisoned and poisoned. He died in 150 A.H. [circa
He was called devil and imprisoned. Prayers were said
for his death. He was taken in captivity from Yemen
to Baghdad, in a condition of humiliation and
degradation. He died in 204 A.H. [circa 820 C.E.].
Imam Ahmad ibn
Hanbal: He was kept in prison for 28 months, with
a heavy chain around his feet. He was publicly
humiliated, slapped and spat upon. Every evening he
used to be flogged. All this was because of the
controversy regarding whether the Quran was
`uncreated' or `created'.
Imam Malik: A
resident of Madina, he too was imprisoned and
[Collector of Hadith]: He was exiled and died in 256
A.H. [circa 871 C.E.].
[Collector of Hadith]: He was disgraced and beaten in
a mosque so much that he died.
Abdul Qadir Jilani
[Saint of Baghdad, d. 1166 C.E.] was called kafir
by the jurists.
Arabi [great philosopher and saint, d. 1240
C.E.]: The Ulama issued a fatwa against
him saying: ``His unbelief is greater than that of
Jews and Christians''. All his followers were
declared kafir, so much so that those who
doubted his unbelief were called kafir.
Rumi, Jami and
Attar [now world famous Muslim saints and writers
of Persia] were called kafir, and anyone not
calling them kafir was also called kafir.
[philosopher and mujaddid, d. 1111 C.E.] was
called kafir, and burning his books and
cursing him was declared a good deed.
[Muslim philosopher and mujaddid, d. 1327
C.E.]: The King of Egypt asked for a fatwa to
put him to death.
Hafiz ibn Qayyimimprisoned
Shaikh Ahmad of
Sirhind [d. 1624 C.E., mujaddid in India]:
[d. 1763 C.E., mujaddid in India]: called
inventor of new beliefs and misguided.
Barelvi [d. 1831 C.E., mujaddid and
military leader in India]: called kafir.
Shah Ismail Shaheed
[deputy of above mujaddid]: Fatwas of
heresy against him obtained from Makka."