‘Tariqat, Shariat aur Siyasat’ -Maulana Muhammed Ilyas Khandhlawi and Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasimi

‘Tariqat, Shariat aur Siyasat’ -Maulana Muhammed Ilyas Khandhlawi and Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasimi

In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful

 Given much confusion and compartmentalisation when it comes to the religious outlook and engagement of Muslims today, this text is essential reading from an influential, highly regarded and deeply learned scholar of South Indian Islam. The text provides a detailed yet concise explanation as to why the three strands of Islam: the spiritual way, the religious code and politics (tariqat, shariat and siyasat) must be interwoven to create a balanced, holistic, yet deeply reflective community — one that genuinely treads the path of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is precisely the absence of all three in concert that the Muslim Ummah finds itself in the situation it is in today.

Following the tradition of seeking consultation (mashwera) from religious leaders, we find the founder of the Tablighi Jama’at movement, Maulana Muhammed Ilyas Khandhlawi seeking guidance from Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasim (Principal of Darul uloom Deoband for over fifty years and the grandson of the founder of the Darul uloom, Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi) as to how the movement should continue with its success whilst ensuring that it does not lose sight of what religious calling (dawat) should entail.

The original document, which is well worth reading, is attached. A summary of some of the key points are below. [1]

The Qur’an presents the following verse:

 “He it is Who hath sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom, though heretofore they were indeed in error manifest” (Surah Jumuah, verse two).

The verse presents three ‘programs’ that ought to be combined in order for the Muslim Ummah to set itself on the course to reformation and revival:

  1. Ta’lim – Teaching of the religion
  2. Tazkiyah/Tahzeeb i Akhlaq – Purification of the heart or self rectification
  3. Hikmah – imparting of wisdom, which according to one exegetical understanding is to follow the Prophetic path i.e. the practical application of the Sunnah both individually and at a collective level (broadly considered here to mean politics).

In customary language the three programs are termed shariat, tariqah and siyasat respectively. They can be analogous to setting out on a journey. The shariat being its path, the tariqah being the provision, and siyasat being that which removes any dangers or obstruction. What is clear is that all three are required if one is to reach their destination safely.

Furthermore, the tariqah on its owns leads to a contemplative outlook and preference for seclusion. Siyasat however, is outward facing: one of engagement with wider society and being this-wordly. The juxtaposition of these apparently contradictory outlooks are reconciled by the shariat, which acts as a bridge. Again, the point is that all three are required. Following only the tariqah leads to weakness and cowardice. Being purely shariah oriented leads to constriction and a lack of pragmatism in religion. Finally, being solely immersed in siyasat leads to deception and pride. From this, one can diagnose a number of problems in our Ummah.

It is an affliction of our times that all of these three efforts have become compartmentalised and isolated from one another. In fact, the effect of this separation is that each group(s) actively seeks to compete and outwit one another. As a consequence, Islam is ultimately at loss.

For Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi, this is precisely the cause of the decline of the Muslims. For him, the current predicament of Muslims is very much their own doing.

And only Allah knows best.

Haroon Ebrahim Sidat


[1] Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasim is not responding directly here but the response he has provided seems to fit in with the question posed by Maulana Muhammed Ilyas Khandlawi. See page 6 of the document.

I also want to thank Sheikh Saleem Seedat and Sheikh Uwais Namazi for bringing this enlightening document to my attention.

The original urdu document can be found here: Tariqat, shariat aur siyasat

Four Point Post Ramadhān Plan

Four Point Post Ramadhān Plan

In The Name of Allāh, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful

  1. Start small 

Before you try to sprint, learn to crawl first. So for example, if you can just about perform the five daily obligatory prayers, work on that aspect of your worship. Once you feel that it’s ‘part of your system’ then move on to making sure you perform all the sunnah prayers. Next, the optional prayers, and so on. The key is consistency. Don’t build until you are consistent. Praying the night prayer (tahajjud) is wonderful but if you miss fajr, then you’ve got your priorities wrong. In Islām, there is a hierarchy when it comes to worship.

سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ

“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to God is the most regular and constant even if it were little (Bukhāri).

2. If you make a mistake, move on

Muslims don’t dwell on the past. We repent and we move on. In fact, Allāh loves it when we turn to Him when we err. We have been ordered to never lose hope in the mercy of Allāh:


“O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allāh: for Allāh forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’ān 39:53)

3. Support one another

As humans we are prone to making mistakes. But that’s not the point. It’s our reaction to the action that matters. Inspire, support and motivate one another.

عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، أَصَابَ مِنَ امْرَأَةٍ قُبْلَةَ حَرَامٍ فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ كَفَّارَتِهَا فَنَزَلَتْ : ( أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ) فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ

أَلِيَ هَذِهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ ” لَكَ وَلِمَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا مِنْ أُمَّتِي

Ibn Masūd narrates that a man unlawfully kissed a woman. So he came to the Messenger (ﷺ) to ask him about its atonement. So (the following) verse was revealed: “And perform the prayer, at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night’”(Qur’an, 11:114). The man said: “Is this for me O Messenger of God?” He said: “For you and for whoever does that among my Ummah.” (Tirmidhi)

This man made a mistake and was regretful (and what a mistake it was!). When he came to the Messenger (ﷺ) to report his crime, the Messenger (ﷺ) didn’t dwell on the crime (something we all too often do!) but told him, in effect, to move on and improve his game. In fact, a verse was revealed which gave hope to all of us – good deeds do away with misdeeds. As Muslims, we support and reinforce one another. If someone stumbles, we pick them up and move on. Of course, for major sins we need to seek forgiveness first.

4. Find the right companion

Its not about how many friends you have on Facebook, or followers on twitter. It’s all about finding the right friends. Find friends who will help you improve day by day, motivate and inspire you, and ultimately, help make you a perfect role model. Islam is all about continuous improvement. Sit with Scholars and people of learning. You will learn so much just by observing them. Much more than you can ever learn from just reading books (though reading is very important too!)

مَثَلُ الْجَلِيسِ الصَّالِحِ وَالْجَلِيسِ السَّوْءِ كَمَثَلِ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ، وَكِيرِ الْحَدَّادِ، لاَ يَعْدَمُكَ مِنْ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ

إِمَّا تَشْتَرِيهِ، أَوْ تَجِدُ رِيحَهُ، وَكِيرُ الْحَدَّادِ يُحْرِقُ بَدَنَكَ أَوْ ثَوْبَكَ أَوْ تَجِدُ مِنْهُ رِيحًا خَبِيثَةً.

“”The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” (Bukhāri)

So make friends from the pious servants of Allāh, The Scholars, and those who care not for the pleasures of this world, but seek the pleasure of Allāh.

And only Allāh knows best.

Hāroon Ibn Ebrāhīm Sīdāt