Guru Nanak was NEVER a Muslim


Although the title of this paper may seem rhetorical to some, the fact is that there has existed a trickle of voices throughout the ages that have either sincerely queried over this question, dismissed it as absurd, or vigorously asserted an answer in the affirmative.

Do you believe Guru Nanak was a Muslim?As indicated by a unique survey (right) we conducted supplementing this paper, the same is certainly true of today. In answer to the question: ‘Do you believe Guru Nanak was a Muslim?’ 72% (166) of respondents, from a total of 232 votes, said they did NOT believe him to be a Muslim, while 8% (19) were honest enough to claim ignorance. But, what was most worrying was that 10% (23) of respondents were certain he was Muslim, while an equal percentage thought he could be. The poll suggests that 20% (47) of respondents doubt Nanak was a kaafir (disbeliever). If this site were a sensationalist newspaper, the heading for this news would most probably read something like: “Almost a quarter believe Guru Nanak could have been a Muslim.”

There exists a mixture of ignorant and deluded Muslims that have erroneously concluded that Guru Nanak was either an overt Muslim or one who had converted to Islam, but, for one reason or another, never openly proclaimed or practiced it – choosing instead to conceal it. And the following excuse usually accompanies this latter opinion: his Muslim identity was, down the centuries, reinvented by some of his followers into the traditional Sikh identity we know of today. There are then those Muslims who go the extra mile in their attempt to audaciously prove and promote the notion, often to the extent of compromising the very basic tenets and principles of Islam, that Nanak was a Muslim.

From an Islamic perspective, giving any type of credence to such an idea will, in essence, occur due to two reasons:

  1. Either extreme ignorance.
  2. Or, a misunderstanding of the creed (‘aqeedah) and principles of Islam.

Muslims who have knowledge of ‘aqeedah (creed and doctrine), as it was understood and implemented by Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) and his companions, and have a rudimentary knowledge of Guru Nanak’s life and teachings, will certainly be utterly bewildered to learn of fellow Muslims who hold such dubious opinions. It is for this reason that an in depth study be undertaken to comprehensively address this subject.

Muslim Misconceptions

Since the inception of the Islam-Sikhism, we have received a number of emails from Muslims sincerely inquiring into this query over whether Nanak was a Muslim.

Nadeem Bhatti in 2006 questioned:

Salaams [sic] I am interested in the whole question of whether Guru Nanak was in fact a Muslim.

While Mr Rahman queried:

By the way my ackee [brother] said that apparntly guru nanak was a muslim …. [I]f this is true can u show me some prove so that i can show them to other. [sic] jazak allah khair

Mohsin Malik simply asked:

Was guru nanek a muslim, and then followers rasied his status to something greater? [sic]

Firstly, let us take the following rule of thumb: when an object is described or attributed to something, it does not always mean that it is an accurate reflection of the truth. For example, changing the label of a bottle of water with the label ‘Coke’ doesn’t change the content of said bottle to water. Hence, claims need to be examined to determine their veracity; the assertion that someone who is known to be a non-Muslim can be said to be a Muslim demands that the claim be critically assessed.

There have been two modes of historical association between Islam and Sikhism:

  1. Those from the Muslim community, often described as Sufi saints and mystics, who openly interacted and supported the Sikh community.
  2. Arising from the moment when the Gurus decided to incorporate material into their scriptural corpus from the couplets of certain so-called Muslim holy men, viz. Kabir and Baba Farid.

And it is through the use of this historical association that those attempting to bridge this religious gap between Islam and Sikhism have gone so far as to affirm Guru Nanak’s Islam. [1]

It is, therefore, imperative that if we are to correctly answer this question, a critical examination of the evidence that supports the above two modes of historical association between the two religions be conducted through the all-important lens of the Islamic ‘aqeedah (creed).

But before that, it is necessary to firstly know who a Muslim is and how one is designated and recognised as one.

The Duel Declaration of Islamic Faith

The Shahaadatayn, or the duel declaration of faith, is:

  1. Laa ilaaha ill Allaah – There is none worthy of worship in truth except Allaah.
  2. Muhammad ar-Rasool Allaah – There is none worthy of being followed in truth except the Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah).

Since this is a “declaration” of faith, “it is the first thing sought from the unbelievers when they are invited to embrace Islam”, i.e. to articulate it, for the Prophet said:

Whoever says: laa ilaaha illallaah and rejects whatever else is worshipped besides Allaah, then his property and blood become sacred and his reckoning is with Allaah. [2]

Similarly, when the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah) sent Mu’aadh as a proselytiser to Yemen, he instructed him:

You are going to a people from the People of the Book, so let the first thing to which you call them be the worship of Allaah.

An alternate wording is recorded by Imam Muslim in his Sahih:

So call them to testify to laa ilaaha illallaah . [3] (bold ours)

This profound statement, however, needs to be broken down and elaborated upon further so as to arrive at a correct and accurate answer to the question of Guru Nanak’s alleged Muslim identity.

In his book Clarifying the Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah, the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz bin ‘Abdullah bin Baaz, explicated the Shahaadatayn as follows:

This is the religion of Allah, the one which He has sent His messengers with and revealed His books with. It is the religion that He sent Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) with, the religion which entails making Allah one, and having sincerity for Him. It also entails the belief in His messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) and submitting to his legislation by statement, action, and belief. Its foundation and basis is the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allah (the testimony) which Allah has sent all of the messengers with. So for that [reason] there’s no Islam except with this testimony which (began) from the time of Nuh [Prophet Noah] up until the time of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah).

There is no Islam except with this statement by word, action, and belief. So based upon that the Muslim says Laa ilaha illa Allah with his tongue and confirms it with his heart and actions. The Muslim makes Allah one and singles Him out for all worship and disassociates (himself) from the worship of other than Him. It is a must that there be along with this (which has been mentioned) the testimony that the messenger ship is for the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah). [4] (bold ours)

The scholars of Islam, both past and present, have defined Laa ilaaha ill Allaah thus: Stated Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) – rahimahullaah, “Allaah (the deity) is al-Ma’looh (the one who is deified). And al-Ma’looh is the one who is deserving of worship.” [5]

Stated Imaam al-Qurtubee (d.671H) – rahimahullaah, “Laa ilaaha illallaah: That is: there is none worthy of worship besides Allaah.” [6]

Stated Imaam Haafidh al-Hakamee (d.1377H) – rahimahullaah, “So the meaning of laa ilaaha illallaah is: There is no deity worthy of worship in truth, besides Allaah (laa ma’bood bi haqq illallaah).” [7], [8]

In this respect, Shaykh Ibn Baaz continues with his explanation:

The actualization of the first: and it is “Laa ilaha illa Allah” by singling out Allah with all acts of worship making Him the one who it is specifically for. It is also belief in everything that Allah informed us about as well as His Messenger (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) from the affair of paradise, hell fire, the books, the messengers, the last day and the pre-decree – its good and bad.

As for the actualization of the second: and it is the testimony that Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) is the messenger of Allah, then faith in him consists of belief that he is the servant and messenger of Allah and that Allah sent him to all of mankind and jinn. He called them to the Tawheed of Allah and to believe in Him. Also (from the actualization of this testimony is) following that which the messenger of Allah came with, along with the belief in all those who have come before from the messengers and prophets. Then after that (comes) the belief in the legislations of Allah, which He has legislated for His servants upon the hand of His messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah), and (along with that) is taking hold to it, holding fast to it with prayer, obligatory alms, fasting, pilgrimage, jihad, and other than that. [9] (bold ours)

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said in Sharhul-‘Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah:

Bearing witness that he is the Messenger of Allaah requires having faith (eemaan) in him; obeying him in what he commanded; keeping away from what he prohibited; believing in whatever he informed; and following him in what is prescribed as Law. [10] (bold ours)

In regards to the Muslim’s belief in “the legislation of Allah”, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan further expounds:

Also, from the requirements of laa ilaaha illallaah is to accept Allaah’s Prescribed Laws (sharee’ah) in matters of worship, social transactions and in what is lawful and unlawful, as well as to reject all other laws besides it. Allaah the Most High said: “Or do they have partners with Allaah who have prescribed for them a religion that Allaah has not ordained?” [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:21]

It is therefore obligatory to accept the Prescribed Laws of Allaah in matters concerning worship, social transactions, judging between people in that which they differ regarding their personal situations and other matters, whilst [at the same time] rejecting man-made laws. What this means is to reject all the innovations and deviations that have been introduced and propagated by the devils – from amongst mankind and the jinn – in the matter of worshipping Allaah. “Indeed, whoever accepts anything of this has actually committed shirk in [the matter of] obedience to Allaah, just as Allaah said in this verse: … “They take their rabbis and their priests to be lords besides Allaah.” [Soorah at-Tawbaa 9:31]

In an authentic narration the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam once recited the above verse to Adee ibn Haatim at-Taa’ee, may Allaah be pleased with him (radiallaahu ‘anhu), so he said: “O Messenger of Allaah, we do not worship them.” So he replied: “Do they not make lawful to you that which Allaah has made unlawful, which you then deem as lawful? And do they not make unlawful to you that which Allaah has made lawful, which you then deem as unlawful?” He said: “Yes indeed.” So the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him: “This is worshipping them.” …

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, clarified this point in more detail in Majmoo’ Fataawaa (7/70-71), stating: “Those that take their rabbis and priests as lords obeying them in their making lawful what Allaah has declared to be unlawful, and their making unlawful what Allaah has declared to be lawful, occurs in one of two ways:- Firstly: that they know that they [i.e. the rabbis and priests] have changed the Religion of Allaah, yet follow them in this act of changing (tabdeel). They thus believe to be lawful that which Allaah has made unlawful; and unlawful that which Allaah has made lawful, following their leaders in this, along with knowing that they have opposed the Religion of the Messengers of Allaah. This is unbelief (kufr), which Allaah and His Messenger consider to be shirk – even if they do not actually pray or prostrate to them …. Also, this making unlawful what is lawful, and making lawful what is unlawful, if it occurs from a scholar whose intention is to follow the Messenger, but the truth [in this matter] was not clear to him, but he feared Allaah as much as he was able, then Allaah will not take him to task for his mistake. Rather, he will be rewarded for the scholarly striving (ijtihaad) he undertook in obedience to his Lord. However, whosoever knows that this is a mistake, yet still follows his mistake, turning away from the saying of the Messenger, then such a person has a share of this shirk that Allah has condemned, especially if the person is following his whims and desires in this, supporting it with his tongue and hand, along with having knowledge that this opposes the Messenger. This is shirk,, the doer of which is deserving of punishment.” …

So this is the major [type of] shirk which negates the very tawheed that laa ilaaha illallaah points towards. [11]

The Muslim says Laa ilaha illa Allah with his tongue and confirms it with his heart and actions. The Muslim makes Allah one and singles Him out for all worship and disassociates (himself) from the worship of other than Him.

This clarification of religious figureheads duplicitously changing what God has legislated and finalised by declaring permissible what God originally made forbidden, and vice-versa, is important when we come to examine those who, despite being affiliated to Islam, were, in actual fact, in cahoots with the Sikh community.

This association with the non-Muslims (mushrikoon) also falls under one of Islam’s doctrinal principles (qawaa’id) called: al-walaa wal-baraa (allegiance and non-allegiance).

In his monumental treatise, The Three Fundamental Principles of Islaam, the great revivalist, Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab at-Tameemi, declared:

That whoever is obedient to the Messenger and singles out Allaah with all worship, upon Tawheed, then it is impermissible for him to have friendship and alliance with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger, even if they are those most closely related to him. The proof is the saying of Allaah, The Most High:

You will not find a people believing in Allaah and the last day loving those that oppose Allaah and His Messenger, even if they are their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk. Rather Allaah has decreed true faith for their hearts, and strengthened them with proofs, light and guidance from Him; and He will enter them into gardens of paradise beneath whose trees rivers will flow, and they will dwell therein forever. Allaah is pleased with them and them with Him. They are the party of Allaah. Indeed the party of Allaah are the successful.” [Qur’an 58:22] (bold ours)

Commenting on this principle, Shaykh ‘Ubayd al-Jaabiree said:

This matter is from the greatest principles of the religion because it incorporates the principle of ‘association (Al-Walaa) and disassociation (Al-Baraa)’.

Alliance is to love and support for the sake of Allaah; disassociation is to hate and show enmity for the sake of Allaah. (bold ours)

In this respect, the Shaykh quotes Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab as follows:

The foundation and support of the religion is two things:

Firstly: The command to worship Allaah alone, to promote this, love those upon this and declare whoever abandons this to be a disbeliever.

Secondly: The prohibition of Shirk in the worship of Allaah, warning against this, hating those upon it and declaring whoever practices this to be a disbeliever. [12], [13] (bold ours)

Shaykh al-Jaabiree continues:

Al-Muwalaat (alliance) is to love and lend support for the sake of Allaah, and this is ‘Muwaddah‘ because loving and hating has to be for the sake of Allaah.

Hence, it is compulsory to hate for the sake of Allaah even though it may be a close relation, if it is someone that opposes Allaah and are stubborn in their resistance to the divine legislation of Allaah.

They do not show love to people who are upon disbelief, disobedience and wickedness. [14] (bold, underline ours)

The Shaykh concludes:

If these four groups: Fathers, sons, brothers and kinsfolk are to be hated, then whoever is more distant than them is more deserving to be hated if they oppose Allaah and His Messenger. [15]

But what are the consequences of muwalaat towards the disbelievers or those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger? Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin al-Ubaykaan divides “loyalty (muwaalaat) to the Kuffaar [disbelievers] and aiding them (mudhaaharah)” into three types:

  1. That this (loyalty) is a complete, unrestricted, general tawallee (loyalty with underlying love and pleasure). This is kufr [disbelief] that expels from the religion of Islaam ….
  2. That (the loyalty) is for the sake of attaining a specific benefit for the one who makes this loyalty and gives this apparent aid, whilst there is nothing that justifies resorting to this, such as fear (of harm) and its likes, then [t]his is unlawful (haraam) and it is not kufr. [16]
  3. That (the loyalty) is shown due to fear of the Kuffar and its likes, so the ruling pertaining to this is that it is permissible. [17]

It goes without saying that the most dangerous type of loyalty is the first one; it is this category that is of utmost importance in respect to this subject.

Before we move on, it is imperative that we briefly explain the scholars’ repeated use of two integral words in this context, viz. tawheed and its mutual opposite Shirk. Shaykh Abdur Rahman as-Sa’dee defined tawheed as follows:

Tawheed is the servant’s knowledge, belief, and outward acknowledgement that the Lord alone has every Attribute of perfection. The servant also believes that there is no one who shares with Him in these Attributes, none similar to Him in His Perfection, and that He possesses the sole right to be worshipped by all of His creation. The servant then devotes all forms of worship to Him alone.

Included in this definition are all three categories of tawheed:

  1. Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah [Tawheed of Allaah’s Lordship]: It is to acknowledge that only the Lord creates and provides for His creation, and He alone takes care of all their affairs.
  2. Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat [Tawheed of Allaah’s Divine Names and Attributes]: It is to affirm all the beautiful Names and Attributes that Allaah has affirmed for Himself and those that His Messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) affirmed for Him, without likening Him to His creation [18] or claiming that He is similar to anything, [19] and without perverting the texts [20] or declaring them to be devoid of any real meaning. [21]
  3. Tawheed al-‘Ibaadah [Tawheed of Allaah’s Worship]: It is to single out Allaah with all the different types and varieties of one’s worship, making them all sincerely for Allaah alone, without ascribing a single partner to Him in any of that. [22]

Shirk is the antithesis of tawheed. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen states:

Tawheed is the greatest commandment given by Allaah since it is the foundation upon which the whole Religion is built …. The most serious of all that Allaah forbade is shirk, and this is because the greatest of all rights are the rights of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. So if a person violates the right of Allaah, then he has violated the greatest of all rights, which is the tawheed of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. [23]

While Shaykh al-Fawzaan adds:

Shirk is to set-up partners with Allaah the Exalted in those matters concerning His Lordship (ruboobiyyah), or His Divinity and Worship (uloohiyyah). The predominant form of shirk occurs in matters of His Divinity and Worship; such as supplicating to other than Allaah or directing any form of worship, such as slaughtering, vowing, or [reverential] love, fear and hope, to others besides Allaah – and shirk is the greatest of all sins. [24]

Hence, committing “unrestricted shirk … causes a person to leave the Religion” [25] of Islam.

In summary, what we have outlined are the following points:

  • Shahaadatayn – the duel declaration of Islamic faith that comprises of:
    a) Laa ilaaha ill Allaah – There is none worthy of worship in truth except Allaah.
    b) Muhammad ar-Rasool Allaah – There is none worthy of being followed in truth except the Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah).
  • This declaration entails verbal utterance in order to enter into the folds of Islam.
  • Legislation is for Allaah alone, which entails a rejection of all other laws.
  • The principle of al-walaa wal-baraa – allegiance and non-allegiance, which included the different categories of al-muwaalaat (loyalty).
  • The definition of Tawheed and its three categories.
  • Tawheed’s antithesis: Shirk.

With these points in mind, we are now in a position to determine whether Guru Nanak was a Muslim.

An Historical Perusal

An article written by a Muslim academic titled: The Mission of Guru Nanak: A Muslim Appraisal, [26] has been widely published on various Sikh websites. Unfortunately for Professor Mushirul Haq, this appraisal has come at a price. It is apparent from the outset that the Professor is certainly no scholar of Islamic theology. In fact, his evaluation seems to advocate the untenable idea of religious plurality. He reasons:

In fact, the only and real factor common among different religions is the divine message which is conveyed to the people through various means.

A religion devoid of such message is no longer a religion. But the existence of the divine message among various religions cannot be taken to mean that one religion has necessarily borrowed the message from another, because, as it has been pointed out, this very common message is the real essence of every religion.

Once it is understood that religion by itself is not a purpose but only a means of leading people nearer to God, there is no difficulty in realising that every religion can stand by itself. (bold, underline ours)

Al-Muwalaat (alliance) is to love and lend support for the sake of Allaah …. They do not show love to people who are upon disbelief, disobedience and wickedness.

His contention is that the common factor that pervades all religions is a message which, at its source, is divine. The implications are astounding because for this to be true, the Professor must reject the Shaahadatayn!

As covered earlier, the only logical conclusion when correctly understanding and applying the first part of the Shaahadatayn:There is none worthy of worship in truth except Allaah” is, as the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) implied, the rejection of whatever else is worshipped besides Allaah. Since Muslims negate all forms of false worship except what Allaah has legislated in Islam, it stands to reason, thus, that Muslims necessarily reject all opposing claims of a message being divine, which includes Sikhism.

Furthermore, since the second part of the Shaahadatayn: “There is none worthy of being followed in truth except the Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah)”, entails believing, following and obeying him, Muslims are obligated to accept his following proclamations:

The example of me with respect to the prophets before me is like that of a man who built a house and made if complete save one brick. People were looking at how nice the building was but were wondering about that brick. I am that brick and I am the last of the prophets. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad. I am al-Mahi; by me Allah eliminates disbelief. I am al-Hashir; upon my foot people will gather on the Day of Judgment. And I am al-‘Aqib; there is no prophet after me. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Muslim)

There will be thirty liars among my people, each one claiming to be a prophet; while I am the last prophet and there is no prophet after me. (Sahih Muslim)

I had been given preference over the other prophets by six tings: I was given the perfect form of speech. I have been assisted by dread being instilled in my enemies. Spoils of war were made legal for me. All the Earth was made a prayer place and a purifying place for me. I was sent to all humanity. And prophecy was sealed by me. (Sahih Muslim)

Hence, since Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) was the last and final recipient of a divine message with no successor, Prof Haq is proven wrong.

The Professor’s leanings towards religious plurality are not only evident from statements such as: “As a matter of fact, monotheism is the real foundation of almost every religion”, but also discernible from subtle allusions similar to the following wherein he says: “[W]e may take the example of the so-called polytheists of Mecca at the time of Prophet Muhammad.”

If the Professor intends by the word ‘monotheism’ to be the Arabic equivalent of the word tawheed, then, as we have already shown, his statement is in actuality false. It is a must that a Muslim accept the belief that there is no other religion that establishes the unity, uniqueness and absolute perfection of Allaah through the three categories of tawheed (Lordship, Worship, and His Names and Attributes) except Islam. To say otherwise is to risk negating one’s belief in the theology-proper of Islam. Thus, Prof Haq’s claim that “monotheism cannot be taken as the sole property of any particular religion” clearly contradicts the Shahaadatayn.

It seems that what essentially exposes the underlying reason for the Professor’s adoption of the irrational notion of religious plurality is his statement: “Every religion in one way or the other affirms the existence of the one Supreme God.” In relation to the three categories of tawheed, Prof Haq could only have reached this vacuous conclusion by accepting the category of Tawheed of Lordship to the exclusion of the other two. Had he judged this affair in light of all three categories as he should have, he would have been steered towards the inevitable conclusion that every religion in one way or another affirms the existence of the one Supreme God, but not His Worship or Divine Nature.

The Professor bends over backwards in his attempt to show the “high ideals [that] Guru Nanak stood for” and “hence the striking similarities between his and Islam’s teachings”. He adds that when “passages from the Qur’an and the hymns of Guru Nanak are placed side by side, one can understand the reason of the Muslims’ regarding Guru Nanak as one of them”.

But once again, as our entire site has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, when one critically examines both the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of both religions, there is only a striking dissimilarity.

As we shall see, Guru Nanak affirmed the contradictory theology of Nirgun-Sargun, which includes the Omnipresence of God (a notion that the Professor erroneously ascribes to Islam when he adjudges: “The features common between the two are, for example, belief in the One, Omnipresent and Omnipotent God…” and “Muslims believed in an omnipresent God.”). Islam on the other hand, rejects the doctrines of God’s Omnipresence, Pantheism, Monism and Anthropomorphism. Instead it teaches that the Most High God is “separate and distinct from his creation”. [27]

In his further eagerness to show a similarity between the two religions, the Professor ironically quotes a verse from the Qur’an which, if he had understood and interpreted it as Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) had originally taught, stands as a proof against him:

He is First and the Last, the Outward and Inward; and He is the Knower of all things. (Qur’an 57:3)

This verse has been distortedly translated and, more importantly, incorrectly interpreted. The Arabic word rendered as “the Outward” is ath-Thaahir, which, in this context, has always been understood by the early Muslims to mean “fawqa kulli shay – above everything”. [28]

The Professor should also know that the Soteriological beliefs of both religions are impossible to reconcile (as documented on our site); so in what way are there striking similarities when the fundamentals of each are mutually exclusive?

Although the Professor acknowledges that “at no time did he [Nanak] claim to be a Muslim”, it is inexplicable for any Muslim who correctly understands the tawheed of Allaah to contend that “if Muslims and Hindus had realized the essence of his message they could have regarded him as one of them”. The Professor thankfully does concede that “since Guru Nanak refused to be reckoned as either a Hindu or a Muslim, both the religious groups regarded him as one who was determined to weakening the roots of Hinduism and Islam”. And this is precisely how a person, who understands both the rudimentary aspects of the Islamic creed and the a priori rules of bi-valued logic, would be expected to react when encountering the antithetical teachings of Guru Nanak.

The Professor then opines: “Once he was satisfied of having himself been divinely commissioned he could not have associated himself with either the Hindus or the Muslims, because the association would have destroyed his mission. His mission was to bring the people back to the original teachings of their own religions.” This reasoning is somewhat paradoxical, though completely understandable given the Professor’s ignorance of tawheed. If Nanak’s mission was to encourage Muslims to return to their original teachings, it would have been self-defeating to associate himself with a religion which, in accordance to its original teachings, would have eventually inculcated in its adherents the precept of spurning Nanak’s associative attempts sans his complete renunciation of Sikhism and acceptance of Islam.

Moreover, his claim that Nanak “was to remind them that all the messengers and the prophets in history came only to lead people to the right path. These messengers never considered themselves belonging to one group. They were for all” directly contradicts the following tradition of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) who said:

I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, son of Mary, in this life and the hereafter …. Prophets are brothers from the lineage of the father, though their mothers are different their religion is one; and there is no prophet between us. [29]

Worse still for the Professor, Allaah says in the Qur’an:

And We did not send any messenger before you (O Muhammad) except that We inspired him (to proclaim) that laa ilaaha illa ana (none has the right to be worshipped except Me (Allaah)), so worship Me (Alone). (Qur’an 21:25)

Hence, the 144,000 prophets sent to their respective communities over the long course of human history all taught and proclaimed the first part of the shahaadah: “None has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allaah,” thus making their religion one. Allaah declares unequivocally:

Truly the Religion with Allaah is (only) Islam. (Qur’an 3:19)

Whoever follows a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him and in the hereafter he shall be from amongst the losers. (Qur’an 3:85)

Hence, Darshan Singh Maini’s sentimental views that “the Guru [Nanak] had the highest respect for that pristine Islam which had risen in the 8th century like a flame of truth in the burning sands of Arabia. Its original message had a strongly humanist character” [30] is again, like those of the Professor, inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of Islam.

All this is especially true when one contrasts the following saying of Nanak to the Islamic ‘aqeedah:

Guru Nanak is reported to have said to Babur:

There are millions of Muhammads, but only one God. The unseen is True and without anxiety.
Many Muhammads stand in His court.
So numberless, they cannot be reckoned.
Prophets have been sent and come into the world.
Whenever He pleaseth, He hath them arrested, and brought before Him.
The slave Nanak hath ascertained,
That God alone is pure and all else is impure. [31]

Thus does the Professor, at least in this instance, correctly conclude:

Babur is said to have listened to it. But could he have allowed a Muslim to say so? Near impossible, I should say. The century in which Guru Nanak was born was in fact the century of religious ferment insofar as the Muslim community was concerned. There were Muslims who claimed themselves to be the mahdi, the rightly guided one, and were ultimately persecuted on the behest of the ulama because their utterances were regarded contrary to the Islamic faith.

A similar stance is also held by the new-age Ahmadiyya cult who falsely ascribe to Islam and call themselves Muslims. In the following video, the movement’s fourth so-called Khalifatul-Masih (successor to the promised Messiah), Mirza Tahir Ahmad, makes the preposterous claim:

Wahan tho aap (Guru Nanak) Tawheed danai gai tai…
You (Guru Nanak) went there (Makkah) to proclaim Tawheed ….

He also affirms:

Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya majboor hai aap ko naik samaj tai huwai ye mana karnai kai, kai aap khuda kai eik Wali-ullaah tai, Sufi tai…

In recognising you (Nanak) as pious, the Ahmadiyya community is compelled to accept the fact that you (Nanak) were an intimate friend/ holy man (wali) of Allaah – you were a Sufi ….

This is further made clear by Ahmadi “professor”, Abdul Jaleel, who proclaims on their website:

But a careful study of Sikh traditions and relics of Sikhism lead to an irrefutable conclusion that Guru Nanak discarded the Hindu doctrines and assimilated the teachings of Islam to such an extent that Sikhism, in its pristine form, can be looked upon as a sect of Islam. [32] (bold, underline ours)

What has preceded, however, not only exposes the ignorance of the Ahmadiyya movement and its firgureheads vis-á-vis orthodox Islam, but also further cements (as though further cementation was necessary) the position of all Muslims towards them: the Ahmadis are no less upon disbelief (kufr) than the Sikhs they attempt to impress upon with their false Nanakian arguments.

Though the above emphatically puts to rest any suggestion of Guru Nanak’s overt Muslim identity, a poser could still be forwarded by a Muslim arguing that Nanak may have uttered the shahaadah privately while choosing not to disclose his conversion to anyone. Since this is a legitimate and valid theological position, it demands a response.

Was Nanak a Closet Muslim?

Guru Nanak declared … “I am neither a Hindu, nor a Mussalman. I accept neither the Vedas, nor the Quran.”

Shaykh Rabee’ bin Hadi Umair al-Madkhalee said:

It is permissible for a Muslim who fears for himself to conceal his religion, so he does not manifest his Islam and doesn’t call to it and the fundamental principle of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and jihad is dropped in such cases, as was the situation of Najaashi [King of Ethiopia who accepted Islam at the time of the Messenger of Allah] and those who accepted Islam with him from his people. They did not have the ability to openly manifest their Islam, nor anything from their religion like the prayer or jihaad or enjoining good or forbidding evil or calling to the religion of truth. [33]

Guru Nanak is reported to have said to Babur: There are millions of Muhammads, but only one God.

If Nanak was a Muslim who did indeed have a hitherto unknown yet legitimate reason to conceal his conversion, then how long could this have feasibly lasted?

According to Max Arthur Macauliffe, Nanak “was born, according to all ancient Sikh records, in the early morning of the third day of the light half of the month of Baisakh (April-May) in the year A.D. 1469” [34] and died “on the tenth day of the light half of the month of Assu, Sambat 1595 (A.D. 1538) at Kartarpur in the Panjab” (though some Sikhs put it at 1539). [35] There are two dates one could conceivably take to estimate a given period of time for Nanak to have outwardly practiced the religion of Islam. It could either be from the moment of his birth, which means that he had 68-9 year period, which is unlikely, or from the moment of his so-called enlightenment in 1499 C.E. when he “was thirty years old”, [36] (although the date 1496CE [37] and 1497CE [38] have also been suggested) which leaves him a good 38-9 years. We also know that Nanak spent approximately 28 of these 38-9 years on his udhasis (proselytising missions) with his partner Mardana, who was said to be a Muslim. These 28 years of travel took Nanak to places as far afield as Tibet and the Middle East (11 years); thus, one would expect that he would have joined his Muslim companion Mardana (assuming Mardana prayed) and/ or other Muslims in their respective locales, from whom he would presumably have had no reason to hide his Islam, to openly practice his duties of worship.

During such periods of normality, Shaykh al-Fawzaan states in al-Muntaqaa min Fataawaa (1/9-10):

Whoever utters the testification of laa ilaaha illallaahu muhammadur-rasoolullaah, the ruling of him being a Muslim starts there and then and [sic] his blood is sacred. If he acts upon the requirements inwardly and outwardly, he is a true Muslim, and for him are good-tidings, both in this world and in the Hereafter. If he acts upon the requirements, but does so only outwardly, then he is judged to be a Muslim based upon his outward conduct and he is treated as a Muslim, even though inwardly he is a hypocrite (munaafiq) whose affair is left to Allaah. If he does not act upon the requirements of laa ilaaha illallaah, but satisfies himself with merely pronouncing it, or he acts in opposition to it, then the ruling of apostasy will be applied to him, and he will be treated as an apostate. If he acts upon some of its requirements without acting upon others, then it will have to be seen: If the requirements that he has left constitute apostasy, then he will be judged as an apostate; such as intentionally abandoning the Prayer, or directing any form of worship to other than Allaah. If, however, that which he has left does not constitute apostasy, then he will be considered a believer whose faith (eemaan) is deficient in proportion to what he has left; such as those who commit sins that are of a lesser degree than [the major acts of] shirk. [39] (bold, underline ours)

If all things were equal and Nanak was a Muslim, the question which then begs to be answered is whether there exists any historical account of Nanak having manifested his Islam “outwardly”?

Was Guru Nanak ever circumcised? Did he eat halaal meat (something forbidden for Sikhs to consume)? Did he give zakaah (obligatory alms-giving)? And above all else: did he pray any of the five obligatory prayers and are there any witnesses to this?

These questions are, as we said, important vis-á-vis the outward practice of faith, as Balwant Singh Anand rightly acknowledges:

On the religious plane, a Mohammedan must believe in God, angels, Quran, Prophet, the resurrection and day of judgement. He should also have firm faith in Kalima, pray five times a day, undertake fasts, go on pilgrimage of Mecca and give one-tenth of his earning as charity. [40]

As Sikhism does not have an authentication process for historiography similar to Islam’s Sciences of Hadeeth, it is difficult to say how far the accounts of Nanak’s life are true and how much is folkloric embellishment. Hence, all stories recounted in our attempt to answer the aforementioned questions are being examined at face value.

An opportunity of worship vis-á-vis prayer did, in fact, present itself to Nanak very early on during the start of his mission and after his so-called enlightenment at the age of 30. But the decision Nanak took in this respect effectively lays waste to any excuses of him legitimately having hidden his faith to the point of suspending his prayers. Following his re-emergence from the river Baeen after having allegedly gone missing for three days, the story continues as follows:

The news that the Guru had disappeared and appeared again and also that he had said, “There is no Hindu and no Musalman” reached the Nawab. The Qazi demanded that the Guru should be summoned and required to explain his sweeping assertion which bordered on heresy. The Guru went to the Nawab who expressed his surprise at the alleged pronouncement that there is no Hindu or Musalman and asked him to explain whether Qazi was not a true Musalman. The Guru replied that it was difficult indeed to be a true Musalman and explained:

“He who is firm in his faith
Has a right to be called a Muslim
His acts must accord with his faith in the Prophet
He must cleanse his heart of his pride and greed
No more troubled by the two impostors-life and death
Resigned to the will of God
Knowing Him as the Doer
Freed from the domination of the self
Compassionate to all things
Such a one may call himself a Muslim.”
(Majh Ki Var, Guru Granth Sahib, p. 141) (bold, underline ours)

At this point it is necessary to point out that this may be true of Nanak’s world view, but certainly not of the Muslims. Alas, the response, or lack thereof, has not been recorded by the chronicler; but if it had been, then, assuming it came from an erudite Qazi (or Qadhi – judge), it would most probably be along the lines of him explaining that faith (or eemaan in Arabic) increases through acts of obedience to Allaah and decreases through acts of disobedience. Based on this, a Muslim would still be a Muslim despite his faith having weakened.

It so happened that the time for prayer came. The Nawab asked Guru if he would join them in the prayer, if all the religions were the same.

There is a revealing point made by the Nawab at this point. He does not ask Nanak to join them in prayer on account of him being a Muslim, but on the basis that all religions are the same, thereby alluding to the possibility of Nanak not necessarily having to be a Muslim to join them in prayer:

The Guru agreed and to make himself clear accompanied his critics to the mosque where Qazi led the prayers. When Namaz (prayer) was offered and the faithful kneeled, Nanak was observed to remain standing and taking no part in the prayer. On being asked, Nanak told the Qazi and the Nawab, that their prayers were not acceptable to God because while their bodies were bowing, their minds were occupied with other things. The former was thinking of mare which had just given birth to her foal, lest it should fall into the well which was in his courtyard and the latter was absorbed in thoughts of horses which his agents were purchasing in Qandhar. [41]

A number of key points emerge from this story:

  • Firstly, the Nawab Daulat Khan’s invitation for Nanak to come join them in prayer does not seem to stem from the belief that Nanak was or had claimed to be a Muslim, but rather on his declared position that “there is no Hindu or Musalman” and, therefore, to him “all the religions were the same”.
  • Secondly, his refusal to pray upon the basis that said prayers would be rejected makes Nanak guilty of committing shirk with Allaah. No Muslim has the authority or the knowledge to issue such a judgement over the acceptability of said persons’ prayer on the basis of their hidden thoughts. And since this hidden information is known only to Allaah alone, not only would such a judgement be exclusively the purview of Allaah, but in claiming such knowledge Nanak is guilty of making himself alike with Allaah’s absolute divine attribute of Omniscience. Although it is true that Allaah could, if it suited His divine purpose, reveal this type of hidden knowledge to his chosen emissaries; but, given that Nanak was not a Muslim (as this paper will show), ergo, he was not an emissary of God and could not have been privy to said knowledge.

As for prayer in and of itself, Shaykh Bin Baaz said that it “is the most important act of worship after pronouncing Shahadah”:

Whoever keeps performing it protects his religion and whoever neglects it destroys all other things. Moreover, whoever performs it at some times and gives it up at some others is a disbeliever according to the soundest of two opinions by scholars even if he does not deny its obligation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “That which differentiates us from them (non-Muslims, disbelievers, hypocrites) is our performance of Salah. He who abandons it, becomes a disbeliever.” (Related by Imam Ahmad and Ahl-ul-Sunan (authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) with an authentic chain of narrators on the authority of Buraydah ibn Al-Husayb (may Allah be pleased with him)).The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “What makes one a disbeliever and a polytheist is abandoning Salah.” (Related by Muslim in his Sahih book of Hadith).There are many Hadith that were reported on this regard. It is incumbent upon every Muslim whether male or female to be cautious against negligence and lenience in performing Salah. They should be consistent in performing Salah at their due times. They should do it with humbleness, tranquillity [sic] and submission in order to be done in a way that pleases Allah (may He be Exalted). [42] (bold ours)

Therefore, the intransigent ones that still insist Nanak was a Muslim, will have to reconcile between Nanak having purposefully missed the prayer and his excuse, which does not qualify as a legislative (shari’) reason except that it amounts to shirk, for having done so.

This incident also has Nanak claiming to be a recipient of divine revelation:

“I am a singer of God’s praises. The Lord called me, an idler, to His Court of Truth; He gave me a mission of life; To go on singing His praises and spreading His message day and night in the world.” (Nanak I) [43], [44]

And this, as already covered, amounts to a clear statement of disbelief and the rejection of the second part of the shahaadatayn since Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) was the final recipient of revelation.

Macauliffe [45] also cites an account of Nanak’s supposed journey to Mecca and the Ka’bah (with some versions including an addition in which the Ka’bah is said to have relocated [46] its position in a direction contrary to Nanak’s outstretched legs: [47]

Guru Nanak travelled … accompanied by Mardana … to Mecca and Baghdad dressed, as his near contemporary, Bhai Gurdis, says, in blue, like a Haji, ablution-pot in one hand, prayer-mat in another, and with a BOOK under his arm, as is the custom among the pious Muslims.

At Mecca, says the Janam Sakhi, he lay down being fatigued in a mosque with his feet towards the Kaaba. When the Mullah saw this act of sacrilege, he was infuriated and kicked him, saying, “Knowest thou not this is the House of God, and thou sleepest, thy feet towards the holy Kaaba”. Unperturbed, the Guru quietly answered, “Turn my feet in whichever direction God’s House is not.” [48]

Not only is this again another proof for Nanak to openly practice Islam (prepared as he was dressed as a hajji) being in the holiest of holies, but the story [49] again says nothing of Nanak following Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) by praying towards and circumambulating around the Ka’bah, or kissing its Black Stone (hajr al-aswad).

Another point to be made, which could raise some doubt over the authenticity of the above account, is the statement of the fifth Guru, Arjun Dev, who said:

haj kaabai jaa-o na tirath poojaa.
I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca
, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines …
poojaa kara-o na nivaaj gujaara-o
I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers
naa ham hindoo na musalmaan
I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim.
(SGGS 1136)

If he does not act upon the requirements of laa ilaaha illallaah, but satisfies himself with merely pronouncing it, or he acts in opposition to it, then the ruling of apostasy will be applied to him, and he will be treated as an apostate.

Since Sikhs maintain that the same Jott (divine light) subsisted in all 10 Gurus, it would only be consistent to say that since one Guru did not consider himself a Muslim nor did he deem it appropriate to visit Mecca for pilgrimage, the same would have to be true for all the others; unless it be tenuously argued that this prohibitory edict evolved later on during the development of Guruship. Otherwise, not only does this conspicuous stance raise the question of how Nanak’s journey as a Hajji (pilgrim) to Mecca could be reconciled with his successor’s apparent prohibition, but also reinforces the point being argued that Nanak did not consider himself nor could he have been a Muslim.

What is worse, however, is the repeated suggestion that Nanak knew the specific details of their hidden thoughts, which, as mentioned above, constitutes Shirk billah (associating partners with Allaah).

In addition, we are told that Nanak also rejected the theological acceptance of the seven samawaat (heavens/ skies) – information that is an integral part to having correct belief in what Allaah has informed Muslims of vis-á-vis the unseen world (al-ghayb):

While in Baghdad contradicting the Muslim priests views that there were only seven upper and as many lower regions Guru Nanak shouted out his own prayer saying.

“There are worlds and more worlds below them and there are a hundred thousand skies over them. No one has been able to find the limits and boundaries of God. If there be any account of God, then alone the mortal can write the same; but Gods account does not finish and the mortal himself dies while still writing. Nanak says that one should call Him great, and God himself knows His ownself”. (Japji) [50]

As far as we are aware, there is no other historical evidence of Nanak’s observance of prayer or his open declaration of faith, let alone him having practiced any of the many other outward manifestations of faith that would be a necessary corollary of his obedience to Allaah and His Messenger.

There are, however, other historical accounts attributed to Nanak wherein the founder of Sikhism openly declares himself not to be a Muslim. For instance, Jagjit Singh states:

Guru Nanak declared that he was neither a Hindu nor a Mussalman. To pointed questions at different places, he replied, “I am neither a Hindu, nor a Mussalman. I accept neither the Vedas, nor the Quran.” [51] “If I say I am a Hindu, I am lost altogether; at the same time, I am not a Mussalman.” [52], [53] (bold ours)

More emphatically, in reply to a question posed by the people inquiring into which of the two religious paths – Hinduism or Islam – Nanak followed, he answered:

There is no Hindu, no Mussalman; which of these paths can I follow? I follow God’s path. God is neither Hindu nor Mussalman. I follow God’s right path.” [54] (bold ours)

Guru Nanak’s reply clearly indicates his complete break with his Hindu past. Guru Nanak clarified unambiguously that he was rejecting both the Hindu and the Muslim paths, and instead, was following God’s right path, because God was neither Hindu nor Mussalman. In other words, the Guru rejects the Hindu and the Muslim paths, not because of the shortcomings of their followers, but mainly because God is non-sectarian. … A Hindu Khatri complained to the Delhi Sultan that “he does not recognise the authority of either Vedas or Kateb.” [55], [56] (bold ours)

While Sher Singh damningly recounts how, while refusing to have faith in Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah), Nanak instead encouraged faith “only” in God – a statement that categorically negates the second part of the duel declaration of Islamic faith:

When a Qazi asked Nanak to have faith in one God and His one Rasul – prophet, he said: why to have faith in the latter who takes birth and dies, believe ONLY in the One who is Omnipresent. [57], [58] (bold, capitalisation, underline ours)

The question still remains to be answered as to how Guru Nanak’s alleged Muslim identity will convincingly be proven? More fundamentally, however, is how a person endeavouring to do so will be able to explain away many of Nanak’s more tendentious antithetical teachings and statements the worst of which include the contradictory concept of God that is Nirgun-Sargun; reincarnation; and claims of having received divine revelation from God.

His acceptance of the bipolar nature’s of God as Nirgun and Sargun are found, for example, in the following verses of the SGGS:

The Lord is without attributes (nirgun); the attributes of virtue are under His control. (SGGS 222)

From His state of absolute existence, He assumed the immaculate form; from formless, He assumed the supreme form (nirgun te sargun). (SGGS 940)

As regards reincarnation, then the following are only a small selection of verses that clearly establish Nanak’s affirmation of said notion:

O Nanak, by the Hukam of God’s Command, we come and go in reincarnation. (SGGS 4)

You shall not be consigned again to the wheel of reincarnation. (SGGS 13)

Their comings and goings in reincarnation do not end; through death and rebirth, they are wasting away. (SGGS 19)

All the world continues coming and going in reincarnation. (SGGS 26)

No one merges with Him through the love of duality; over and over again, they come and go in reincarnation. (SGGS 27)

Further evidence is found in Nanak’s belief of karma and its association with past lives:

O Nanak, by the Hukam of God’s Command, we come and go in reincarnation (avhu jahu). (SGGS 4) (bold ours)

Born because of the karma of their past mistakes, they make more mistakes, and fall into mistakes. (SGGS 149)

Since a person cannot commit mistakes before being born, this proves that a past life, or as the following verse puts it: “janam janam ke paap”, must have existed for the accruement of bad karma.

Take to the Lord, the Destroyer of the sins and karma of past incarnations (JANAM JANAM KE PAAP). (SGGS 156) (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)

When all is said and done, however, what all this boils down to is whether there exists any credible and convincing evidence of Guru Nanak having articulated the Shahaadatayn? Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

With regard to the Shahaadatayn, if a person does not utter them although he is able to do so, then he is a kaafir (disbeliever), according to the consensus of the Muslims. He is a kaafir both outwardly and inwardly according to the Salaf of the ummah and the majority of its scholars. A group of the Murji’ah – the Jahamiyah of the Murji’ah such as Jaham as-Saalihi and his followers – said that if he believes in his heart, then he is outwardly a kaafir but not inwardly. We have pointed out above the origin of this belief, that this is an innovated belief that has been introduced into Islam. This was not the belief of any of the aimmah – the reputed Muslim jurists and scholars. We have stated above that inward belief must be confirmed by outward words of acknowledgement rather more than that, and that the existence of inward faith, belief and love without any outward confirmation is not possible. [59] (bold ours)

Since there does not exist any evidence of Nanak having ever declared the Shahaadatayn, and while there exists copious evidence of him having held and taught concepts of kufr (disbelief), Guru Nanak could not have been anything other than a disbeliever (kaafir).

Finally, Prof Haq stated in his aforementioned article:

This is also a fact that … Muslims at large esteemed Guru Nanak ….

This claim brings us to the next section of our research. In order to cover all angles in our assessment over why some Muslims have mistakenly entertained the idea that Guru Nanak was a Muslim, we have to examine those individuals who ascribe themselves to Islam and are revered by all Sikhs, viz. Kabir, Farid, and Mardana.


O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those other than you (outside your religion or upon other than the right way) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely.” (Qur’an 3:118)

Darshan Singh Maini observes:

Guru Nanak’s hymns were, in fact, composed when the Sufi movement in Islam had ushered in a renaissance of religious thought to be matched by the Bhakti movement around the same time. Sikhism, thus, became a happy Sangam or fusion of the two parallel streams, even as it carved out its own identity in its own sui generis form. [60]

It is unsurprising that Sikhs find a commonality and connection with the Sufis of Hindustan. We would add that like Sikhism, Sufism also carved out its own identity with its own sui generis (literally: of its own kind/genus or unique in its characteristics). This identity, however, came about through the rejection and violation of the Prophet’s Sunnah, which in Arabic is called bid’ah. This sinful act – considered second in severity after the worst sin of all: ash-Shirk – was most succinctly and comprehensively defined by Imam ash-Shaatibee as follows:

A newly invented way (in beliefs and actions) in the religion, in imitation of the sharee’ah, by which nearness to Allaah is sought, not being supported by any authentic proof, neither in its foundations nor in the manner in which it is performed. [61]

The principle for worship in Islam is that it is: mana’ (forbiddance) unless there is an authentic proof from the sharee’ah to say otherwise. This means that God cannot be worshipped except in the way He has legislated; thus, Muslims cannot invent ways of worship not legislated by Allaah and His Messenger or practiced by his companions. For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) said:

I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion), and every newly invented matter is an innovation (bid’ah), and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire. (An-Nisaa’ee) [62]

In specific regards to the Sufis, Shaykh Ihsaan Ilaahee Dhaheer said in his book Sufism: Its Source and Origin:

When we look deep into the teachings of the first and latter-day Sufis and the statements that have been quoted and narrated from them in the Sufi books of old and present, we see a huge difference between it and the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Likewise, we don’t see its roots or its seeds in the history of the chief of all creations (Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) nor in that of his righteous and noble Companions, from the best of Allaah’s creation. Rather, contrary to that, we see that it has been derived and acquired from Christian Monasticism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, the religious devotion of Judaism and the asceticism of Buddhism. [63]

While Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan al-Wakeel said in the introduction of the book The Downfall of Sufism:

Indeed, Sufism is the lowest and vilest of schemes, which the Devil innovated so that the servants of Allaah can mock and ridicule along with him in his war against Allaah and His Messengers. It is the veil of the Magians (Majoos), which gives the impression that it is divine. Rather, it is the veil of every enemy to the true religion. Examine it and you will find in it Brahmanism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and the Manichaean beliefs. You will find Platonism in it. You can even find Judaism, Christianity and the idolatry of the Days of Ignorance in it. [64]

It is, thus, unsurprising that Sikhs have inclined towards some of these Sufis whose innovated beliefs ultimately originate from non-Islamic sources.

Mardana – The Bard of Nanak

The person is upon the religion of his friend,
so let each one of you look to see whom he befriends
. [65]
– Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah)

In Islam, immense importance is given to the company one keeps. It is the crowd one interacts with that determines one’s socio-religious stance and standing.

In relation to one’s religion, and according to the above cited prophetic tradition, the Pious Predecessors (as-Salaf as-Saalih), as well as the scholars of Islam, take the principle that a person is upon the religion of the one s/he befriends and accompanies.

The great scholar from the second generation of Muslims (at-Tabi’een) Muhammad ibn Sireen (d.110 A.H.) said:

This knowledge is religion, so let each of you be careful as to whom he takes his religion from. [66]

Al-A’mash said:

They (the Salaf – Pious Predecessors) did not used to ask anything more about a person after having asked about three affairs: Who he walks with, who he enters upon (i.e. visits) and who he associates with amongst the people. [67]

The great scholar from the companions ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood said:

Indeed a person walks alongside and accompanies the one whom he loves and who is like him. [68]

While the companion Abu ad-Dardaa said:

It is from the fiqh (understanding of a person) that he [chooses] those whom he walks with, whom he enters upon (visits) and whom he sits with. [69]

When we examine the life of Mardana, we find that he spent a large portion of his latter days accompanying Guru Nanak:

Mardana was a Muslim, a professional rebeck player of the village Talwandi …. Mardana accompanied Guru Nanak on his long Missionary journeys, particularly his visit to the Muslim World of the Middle East. Mardana died at Kartarpur about nine years before Guru Nanak passed away. Besides the succeeding Sikh Gurus, Mardana is the only Sikh disciple who was permitted to use Guru Nanak’s name in his hymns. Guru Angad addressed himself as Nanak the Second, while Mardana addresses himself as Mardana Nanak I. This abiding bond between Mardana and the Guru is expressed in all the three hymns of Mardana we have in the Adi Guru Granth. [70] (bold, underline ours)

We can appreciate why Trilochan Singh, after having initially called him a Muslim, describes him as a Sikh disciple! Holding to the aforementioned principle of companionship and acknowledging the fact that we are in no position of excommunicating from Islam, it would be difficult to see how Mardana was not a Sikh. The sad fact is that Mardana shamefully accompanied Nanak in propagating the disbelief of his doctrine; what type of Muslim who fears Allaah’s Anger and punishment would accompany such a person and partake in such an activity?

Mardana’s choice, however, was not based on his ignorance of Islam; rather it seems that after having been presented with the opportunity of following Nanak on his udhasis, he accepted it with full knowledge of the consequences:

Baba asked Mardana to accompany him to play the rabab and sing the sabad with him, so that he would get the better of both the worlds. To this Dana replied, ‘We hardly make our both ends meet, by singing Ragas before the rich. In case we follow you, our families would starve, we shall miss even our prayer (Namaz), and thus, we might stand condemned in both the worlds. How do you plan to liberate me?’ Guru Nanak said, ‘O Dana! You are ignorant. God protects and feeds us all. Namaz (prayer) and roza (fast) are benedictions bestowed by God. God’s abode is the heart of the saints. At the final judgement, none shall come to the rescue.’ Guru Nanak further emphasised, ‘Dana, in case you now turn to be Mardana (brave) and play rabab along with singing the Word of God (Shabad) you will gain in both the worlds.’ Now Mardana set out with Guru Nanak to enlighten the people living in this world. Mardana played on the rabab and Guru Nanak sang the shabad. Often Mardana would accompany the Guru in singing the divine Word. Thus the kirtan originated among Sikhs. [71] (bold ours)

Even on his death bed, Mardana issued potential statements of disbelief, such as, calling Nanak “Master” and yearning to be his “true disciple”:

Old age and illness had finally caught up with Mardana, Nanak’s companion of forty-seven years. He was now seventy-six years old …. Nanak was always by his bedside, comforting him as he drifted in and out of uneasy sleep …. Mardana had travelled with him through sun and rain and snow accompanying him to regions that were strange and unfamiliar. He had looked after Nanak devotedly, finding joy in that service. He had played his rabab with such feeling that those who listened were moved by the music. He had been with the Guru for so many years that he had become a part of the Guru’s way of life and a part of the Guru himself. …

Though the illness continued to weaken him day by day, Mardana seemed to be at peace with himself and his approaching death. Early one morning, he opened his eyes and saw the Guru still sitting by his side, exactly where he had been when Mardana had fallen sleep.

“Master,” he said, without fear, “my time has come.”
“So be it, my dearest friend,” Nanak said, “I will build a shrine to your memory so that the world shall forever remember Nanak’s companion, Mardana.”
“No, Master,” Mardana said, with a small smile. “My spirit is attempting to find release from this cage of flesh and bones. Do not seek to hold it in a prison made of stone.” He paused for breath. “In years to come, whenever people talk of you, as they will, my name will be mentioned too. I only wish to be remembered as a true disciple of Nanak.”
Nanak caught his friend’s hand in both his and squeezed it gently. In Mardana, he had found the respect and devotion of a disciple, the love of a friend, the support and affection of a brother, and the joy of a companion. They had been together for so long and been through so much that their souls were bound together in a way that the world had rarely seen, a bond that even death could not break.

“Go, Master, it is time for the morning prayer.” His eyes fixed on his Master’s face, Mardana left this world. Nanak gently closed Mardana’s eyes and drew the sheet over his face. Someone in the room began to sob and Nanak saw that it was Shehzada. He drew him into an embrace and consoled him. Then he went quickly to bathe so that he could be in time for the morning prayers. [72] (bold ours)

So blind was Mardana’s devotion to his “master” that not even the emotional appeals of his wife and daughter, who in Islam had infrangible rights over his company and support as a husband and father, could dissuade him from setting out on his long journeys:

At the end of the first itinerary, when Mardana reached Talwandi, his wife and children tried to stop him from going again with Nanak, but he did not agree. [73]

The scholar Mu’aadh bin Mu’aadh said to Yahyaa bin Sa’eed:

O Abu Sa’eed! A person may hide his viewpoint from us, but he will not be able to hide that in his son, or his friend or in the one whom he sits with. [74]

And Mardana’s son, Shahzada, would certainly not have been oblivious to his father’s religious standpoint:

His [Mardana] wife and two sons, Shahzada and Raizada also joined him. Daily he played Rabab while the Guru sang the celestial songs, sometime in solitude, sometime in congregations morning and evening. [75]

What was the consequence of this exposure? Following his father’s death, it turned out for him to be, at least in this instance, the lamentable case of ‘like father, like son’:

When it was time for kirtan, he looked, as always, towards the spot where Mardana sat. He saw Shehzada, sitting in his father’s place ready to start playing on his rabab. Nanak smiled and began his song. [76]

Little wonder he smiled, having ensnared an entire family towards the practice of kufr (disbelief)!

So in conclusion, what do we recognise Mardana to be: a Muslim or a Sikh?

After all, this is a man who, in terms of al-walaa wal-baraa, showed clear muwalaat (loyalty) and mudhaaharah (aid and assistance) towards a disbeliever. And we know what the verdict is for the one who shows complete, unrestricted, general tawallee (loyalty with underlying love and pleasure): kufr (disbelief) that expels from the religion of Islam.

Ibn Battah narrated from Yahya Ibn Sa’eed Al Qattaan who said:

When Sufyan Ath Thawri came to Basra, he was trying to find out about Rabee’ Ibn Sabeeh and his station with the people. He asked: “What is his (Sabeeh’s) madh’hab (Islamic school of thought)?” They said: “His madh’hab is nothing but the Sunnah (follower of the Prophetic tradition)”. Then he [Sufyan] said: “Who does he associate with?” They said: “The Qadariyyah,” [77] He said: “Then he is a Qadari.”

Ibn Battah then commented:

Allaah’s mercy be upon Sufyaan ath-Thawree. He has indeed spoken with wisdom and he spoke the truth. He spoke with knowledge that is in agreement with the Book and the Sunnah and what is necessitated by wisdom and what the people of sure insight know. Allaah, the Exalted, said: “O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those other than you (outside your religion or upon other than the right way) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely.” (Aali Imraan 3:118). [78]

If the logic of Sufyaan’s position was extended to Mardana’s case, the conclusion one would draw is that since Mardana accompanied the Sikhs, he was a Sikh.

Ibraheem bin Maysarah (d.132 A.H.) said:

Whoever honours an innovator has aided in the DESTRUCTION of Islam. [79]

What would, therefore, be the state of the one who honours a disbeliever?

Baba Farid

Whenever you accompany the people,
accompany the best of them.
And do not accompany the lowly,
so that you are destroyed with those who are destroyed.

An-Naadhim, Qurratul-Uyoon

Farid ud-Deen Masud Ganj-i-Shakar (1175-1265 C.E.) [80] is a well known mystic from Pakpattan, South Asia. Sikhs hold him in the highest regard, just as they do their 10 Gurus, because he is one of 15 Bhagats (devotees) whose teachings were chosen and incorporated into their holy scripture: Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Baba Farid, as he is commonly known as, had 112 of his couplets (saloks) and four hymns included.

However, when one critically examines this Sufi’s life and the Chishti Order (silsilah) he belonged to, the reason soon becomes clear as to why it was that Guru Nanak developed an affinity towards him and his teachings. More importantly, looking to his past will also help determine this Sufi’s status as a Muslim; that is to say, whether he was from the people of tawheed and sunnah or from the people of bid’ah and misguidance.

As we have already mentioned, part of the correct understanding of the three categories of tawheed is the affirmation of a literal distinction between the Creator and the Created, the atemporal and the temporal, i.e. a rejection of Omnipresence, Pantheism, Monism and Anthropomorphism.

When we look to the leading proponents of the Chishti Sufi Silsilah, such as its founder Khwaja Syed Muhammad Moinuddin Chishti, [81] Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, [82] Nizamuddin Auliya, [83] Baba Farid, et al., we find that they did not affirm that Allaah, in terms to His Essence (bi thaatihi), is separate and distinct from His creation (baa’inun min khalqihi), nor that He is literally above all His creation in a way that befits His divine majesty. On the contrary, their Order affirmed the antithetical doctrine made famous by the infamously prominent Sufi Muhiyyud-Deen Ibn ‘Arabi called Wahdatul-Wujood [84] (Unity of Existence).

Gort et al. state:

The Chishtiya sufis were followers of the doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujud (“Unity of Being”) first propounded by the great eleventh-century sufi Ibn Al-Arabi. In Persian this is translated as hama u ast i.e. “He is all.” This doctrine implies that real being is God and all are manifestations of Him. [85]

Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, wrote:

Khwaja Hsan Moinuddin Chishti was the first missionary to reach the subcontinent, where he established the Chishtiyya Sufi tradition … ‘the most important religious influence on Indian Islam was the teaching of Ibn al-Arabi and the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud, the unity of being’ (Lapidus 1988: 449), which was spread by both the Chistis and Shattaris. [86] (bold ours)

Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions observes:

During the period of the Great SHAYKHS (c. 1200-1356), a centralized network of Chishtiya monasteries (khanqahs) were established in the northern provinces of Rajputana, the Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh …. Great emphasis was originally placed by the Chishtiya on the Sufi doctrine of the unity of being (wahdat al-wujud), oneness with God. [87] (bold ours)

While B. S. Anand states:

And what is most important is that they [Farid and the Sufis] affirmed the ancient Vedantic doctrine of union with God, the merging of the finite with the Infinite. [88]

Before we move on, it is necessary to assess the position of Baba Farid vis-á-vis the great Islamic scholars’ stance towards those who held a doctrine antithetical to the orthodox position that Allaah is separate and distinct from His creation.

Imam Abu Hanifah (d.150 A.H.) was uncompromising in this respect and considered it disbelief (kufr):

The sayings of the Elders concerning Allah’s transcendence are many indeed. For example, Shaykh al-Islam Abu Isma’il Al-Ansari recorded in his book Al-Faruq, with his chain of authorities, that Abu Mut Al-Balkhi asked Abu Hanifah about a person who had said, “I do not know if my Lord is in Heaven or on earth.” He said, “He has committed blasphemy. Allah has verily said, ‘The Most Gracious is firmly established on the Throne [20:5], and His Throne is above the seven heavens.” Al-Balkhi then asked, “What if he says that Allah is established on His Throne but he says that he does not know if the Throne is up above or on earth.” Abu Hanifah answered, “He is a disbeliever because he denied that He is up above (fi as-sama). Whoever denies that He is in Heaven has committed blasphemy.” Another version adds, “This is so because Allah is in the highest of high places (‘ala ‘illiyin), and He is supplicated up to Him and not down.” [89], [90] (bold, underline ours)

This too was Abdullah Ibn Mubarak’s (d.181 A.H.) position:

Alee Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Shaqeeq reports, I asked Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak: “How are we to know our Lord?” He replied: “He is above the seventh Heaven above His Throne. We do not say as the Jahmiyyah [91] say, ‘He is here on the earth.'” This was mentioned to Ahmad Ibn Hambal (rahimahullah), he stated: “That is how it is with us (i.e. how we believe).” [92], [93] (bold ours)

Even Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilaani (d. 561 A.H.), whom a vast number of Sufis falsely claim to follow and regard as their own, refuted this idea saying:

And from their saying [the Saalimiyyah] is that Allaah is in every place and [that] there is no difference between the Throne and [what] is other than it of the [various] places. And in the Qur’an is rejection of them [them being declared liars]. Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic said: “Ar-Rahmaan ascended above the Throne.” And it was not said, “…ascended above the earth…” and nor upon the interiors of mountains. And mountains and other than them are from the places (amkinah).

Ghunyat ut-Taalibeen of Shaykh Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee (1/241-242) [94] (bold, underline ours)

While the Shaykh of Imam al-Bukhari, the compiler of the magnum opus Al-Jami’ as-Saheeh, Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Firyaabee (d.212 A.H.), declared:

Whoever says Allaah is not above His Throne is a kaafir [disbeliever] and whoever claims that Allaah did not speak to Moses is a kaafir.
“Khalq Af’aal il-Ibaad” of Imaam al-Bukhaaree (p.15) [95]

The Shafi’ee scholar, Imam Ibn Khuzaimah (d.311 A.H.), said:

Whoever does not acknowledge that Allah is above His ‘Arsh [Throne], above His seven heavens, and that He is separated from His creatures, is a Kafir (unbeliever). Such person must be ordered to repent and disavow his belief, or else he must be beheaded and thrown on a garbage dump so that neither Ahlul-Qiblah nor Ahludh-Dhimmah be annoyed by the foul odor of his carcass. [96] (bold ours)

In taking all of the above into consideration, it would not be too difficult to predict what these illustrious scholars would have made of Baba Farid’s apparent affirmation of Wahdatul-Wujood:

Says Farid, the Creator is in the creation,
And the creation in the Creator.
Whom shall we blame when He is everywhere. (23-24) [97]

This cannot in any way be construed or interpreted as affirming the ‘aqeedah of the Pious Predecessors. To say that Allaah is in the creation and the creation in Allaah is to categorically negate Allaah’s ‘uloo (absolute elevation) and His distinction and separation from what He has created. And this interpretation is likewise clear to Harbans Singh:

Creator in the creation abides, and the creation in Him. From this metaphysical thought of essential oneness between the Creator-Lord and the jiva [a living being, or more specifically, the immortal essence of a living organism] …. [98] (bold ours)

Shaykh Bin Baaz said in answer to a question that sought an Islamic ruling over a Muslim father who told his son that “Allaah is present everywhere”:

This answer is false, and it is from the speech of the people of innovations, from the Jahmiyyah and the Mu’tazilah, and whoever follows their footsteps. And that which is correct is what Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah is upon, that Allaah, Glory be unto Him, is above the heavens, over the Throne (Al-‘Arsh), above all of His creation, and His Knowledge is everywhere. This is just as is proven by the Qur’anic verses, and the Prophetic Hadeeths, and the consensus of the Salaf (predecessors) of the Ummah (Muslim nation). …

And with that it is known that the statement of the people of innovations, that Allaah is present everywhere, is from the most false of falsehood, and it is the way of the Hulooliyyah (those who believe Allaah dwells within his creatures), who are innovators and astray. Rather, it is disbelief and misguidance, and it is denial of Allaah, glory be unto Him, and denying His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him), in what is authentic from him regarding his Lord being above the heavens. [99] (bold, underline ours)

The level of Baba Farid’s deviation from the truth, however, does not stop there. In further investigating the historical accounts of his life, one is taken a back by the filth of shirk and bid’ah he and his Chishti colleagues were steeped in.

An example of one heretical form of worship he was famed for was his extreme acts of penance. One such penance, which he had seemingly made his own, was called the “inverted prayer”:

He perpetuated in South Asia the Central Asian Sufi practice of the “inverted prayer” (salat-i ma’qusi). This consisted of a spiritual retreat for prayer by hanging by one’s feet from a rafter or in a dry well, remaining in an inverted state of contemplation from daybreak to sunset, often continued as an isolated retreat (chilla) for forty days in succession. [100] (bold, underline ours)

This last, a rare test from which only the greatest among the Chishti Sufis could obviously come out successfully, is stated to have drawn on him Divine benediction in the form of a celestial Voice. This early excruciating penance also drew from his Master Khawaja Qutbuddin and the great Khwaja Muinuddin great ecstatic praise and blessing. …

Owing to his great learning and piety he was known as Sheikh-i-Kabir (The Supreme Divine). [101]

It is the general opinion of the Indian Shaikhs that no saint has excelled Baba Farid in his devotions and penitences… According to Shaikh Nizam-u’d-din Auliya, it was a pathetic and thrilling scene to see Baba Farid in his prayer. When alone in his room he would lay his head on the ground for hours and recite, (I die for Thee and I live for Thee). [102] (bold, underline, italicisation ours)

Based on the “determination… [and] tenacity he exhibited in his ascetic practices” B. S. Anand is “inclined to believe that he did perform this chillah“. Anand, in fact, cites Slokas 90 and 91 from the Adi Granth itself as “indirect evidence” for this:

Farid, my dry body hath become a skeleton,
Ravens peck at the hollows of my hands and feet,
Up to the present,
God hath not come to mine aid, Behold His servant’s misfortune


O, ravens, you have searched my skeleton and eaten all my flesh,
But touch not these two eyes, as I hope to behold my beloved

Farid is hung up-side-down in the well, the birds have made nests in his body and yet his search for God is not complete. In the next sloka, he entreats the birds to spare his eyes, even though his body has become a skeleton, so that he may have the power to behold his Beloved. Such was the extreme penance which Farid underwent to seek his Master ….

Whoever does not acknowledge that Allah is above His ‘Arsh [Throne], above His seven heavens, and that He is separated from His creatures, is a Kafir (unbeliever).

To Anand, it matters not whether this was a legitimate act in Islam (why would it?), what is significant, however, is his interpretation that such “extreme” worship is given credence in his holy scripture. For him, it is enough for asceticism to hold “negative virtue” if it is not “counter-balanced by the attachment to the Lord”. It is sufficient to validate Farid’s asceticism because it is “coupled with a positive vibrant affirmation of the Lord ‘I live and die for thee’ … which were always on his lips” [103]

Is there any proof from the Qur’an or Sunnah or the example set by the Pious Predecessors, or scholars who followed them in perfection, of hanging from a tree or well for days on end? Those thoroughly familiar with the biography of Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) and his companions will know that this type of extreme worship was neither advocated nor encouraged. What is certain is that if this worship was not approved by Allaah, then the alleged celestial voice would have to have originated from none other than the devils! This is consistent with what Allaah says in the Qur’an concerning the liars and sinners:

Shall I (Muhammad) inform you upon whom the devils descend? They descend on every lying, sinful person. Who gives ear (to these devils) and most of them are liars. (Qur’an 26:221-3)

Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) discouraged extremism in all its forms. He said, repeating thrice: “Doomed are those who go to extremes.” [104]

The reason for this discouragement – especially of going to extremes in worship – was because it would lead to unnecessary hardship that would invariably cause fatigue, which could then potentially culminate in burn-out. Imam an-Nawawi commented on the meaning of the above tradition saying it meant:

Those who delve too deep and go to extremes, and overstep the limits in both word and deed. [105]

The Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) came to facilitate ease and guide humankind towards a balanced way of life. He said:

Everybody has his time of energy, and every time of energy is followed by a time of lethargy. But if a person tries to follow a moderate path, then I have hope for him, but if he becomes one who is pointed out (in the street), then do not think anything of him. [106]

Shaykh Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albaani explicated the meaning of a tradition, related by Anas ibn Maalik and narrated in the Saheehayn (Bukhari and Muslim), wherein three people – who were “new to Islaam” – erroneously concluded after being informed of the following worshipping habits of their Prophet: standing in prayer at night, fasting during the day and marrying women, that his level of worship was “little”. The reason being, as al-Albaani elaborates, was “because of what had settled in their minds that the Prophet must pray the whole night and that he must fast all the time and that he was a monk and did not go near his wives. So they were shocked to find something that was not in compliance with their notions”. And the reason for this false assumption was that “Allaah had forgiven all of the Prophet’s past and future sins”. This distorted notion caused them to “assume that they were obligated to exceed in worship and that they must surpass what they heard about the Prophet’s worship” resulting in the following pledges being made: The first person said “I will pray all night and won’t sleep.” The second: “As for me, I will fast all the time and never go a day without fasting.” And the third: “I will not marry women.” This was a form of extremism on their part where they thought they knew better, which arose because of their failure in strictly following the example of their Prophet.

When the Prophet learned of this, he corrected them during a sermon (khutbah) by teaching them the path of true moderation:

What’s wrong with these people who say such and such. As for me, then I am the most fearful of Allaah amongst you, and the most dutiful towards Allaah amongst you. As for me, then indeed I fast and I don’t fast; [Al-Albaani: “meaning I don’t fast all the time.”] And I pray at night and I also sleep; [Al-Albaani: “meaning I do not stay up the whole night, as is done by those extremists amongst worshippers who increase and try to surpass the worship of Allaah’s Messenger (saws). This is why ‘Aa’ishah said, as is recorded in Saheeh Muslim: ‘The Prophet (saws) never stayed up a whole night in worship.'”] And I marry women. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah (example) then he is not from me. [107] (bold ours)

In another tradition narrated in the Saheehayn, the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) said:

“Have I been told that you fast by day and pray by night?” ‘Abdullah said: “Yes, O messenger of Allah.” He said: “Don’t do it. Fast and break your fast, sleep and pray, for your body has a right on you, your eyes have a right on you, your wife has a right on you and your guests have a right on you. It is sufficient for you to fast from each month three days, and you will have for every good deed the equivalent of ten; that is [like] fasting for all time.” (bold ours)

The Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) also discouraged accepting handouts. Instead he inculcated in his followers the noble habit of alms-giving:

Abu Hurayrah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) say: ‘By Allaah, if one of you were to go out in the morning and gather firewood on his back, and sell it and make himself independent, and give some of it in charity, this is better for him than his coming to a man and asking for anything, whether he gives or refuses. The upper hand is better than the lower hand, and start with those who are under your care.'” [108]

According to another report: It was said, “Who are those who are under our care, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “Your wife is one of those who are under your care.” [109]

The Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) taught the Muslims that they all have responsibilities, which included those who were responsible over the affairs and well being of others:

Allaah will ask every responsible person (literally, shepherd) about those for whom he was responsible, whether he took care of them or not, and He will even ask a man about the members of his household.” [110]

Contrast these instructions with the following incidents. Baba Farid’s extremism is said to have extended to such an extent that it even affected the health and well being of his loved ones:

The saints of the Chishti order regarded money as carrion. They subsisted on futuh and nazur (unasked for money and presents). Very often they had to starve. Once when the wife of Baba Farid reported that her son was about to die on account of starvation, he replied that he was helpless. God had so decreed and he was dying. Baba Farid wore worn-out and patched garments. When he died there was nothing in his house for the purchase of his shroud, and the door of his house was demolished to provide unbaked bricks for his grave. [111], [112]

How helpless could this man have been to display such cold, callous and irresponsible behaviour? And yet we are told that “Baba Farid led a life of piety and penitence”! [113]

According to Gurbachan Singh Talib, Sheikh Farid “slept with only a small worn-out blanket which could hardly cover his body”; an indication of his “utmost discipline and self-denial in the matter of food and clothing”. [114]

Moreover, Anand is uncertain as to why, despite “so many followers and the great popularity that he enjoyed, all income or gifts to the Khanqah“, “the last years of Farid’s life were spent in extreme poverty” to the extent that “towards the end, it appears, there was almost nothing in the house to sustain Baba Farid and his family”. And yet “this did not deter him from rigorously following his routine of prayers, fasts and penitence”! [115] The answer is obvious: extremism.

As for Baba Farid’s warped and perverted interpretation of the concept of ‘Submission to God’s Will’, then this could have most plausibly been the inevitable result of a person who chose to follow a Sufi path that had veered so far from the Sabeel (path) of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah). Allaah says:

And truly this is my (Muhammad’s) straight path (sabeel), so follow it, and follow not the (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His (Allaah’s) path. This He has ordained for you that you may become God-Conscious. (Qur’an 6:153)

This contorted Sufi notion of submission to God’s Will has even been mentioned by Daljeet Singh during his appraisal of Sufism. He observes:

Self-surrender to the Will of God, a point which had been stressed by the Prophet himself, became a cardinal feature of the Sufi tenets. So much so, that some Sufis would not even take medicine while sick, nor work to earn a living. Nor would they make any effort to avoid suffering. They felt that by resort [sic] to human ingenuity and device they would be opposing the Will of God. In the same line is the story of the Sufi who fell in the river. To both the questions of an on-looker as to weather [sic] he wanted to be rescued or to drown himself, he replied in the negative, meaning thereby that let God’s will be done. This is typical example of the Sufi stress on surrender to the will of God and let things happen as they may. [116] (bold ours)

As scholars, such as Ibn al-Qayyim, [117] have pointed out, this conception of leaving everything to God’s Will has the potential of not only being wrongly applied to justify forbidden and sinful deeds, but also interpreted to mean the absence of accountability for neglecting Allaah’s commands and recommendations.

This entire view was perfectly summed up in the following Sufi poem:

The pen of destiny has written down what is to come.
It is all the same if we move or stay still.
It is crazy of you to seek provision,
When the foetus hidden in his mother’s womb gets his provision. [118]

This could quite plausibly have been the reason behind Farid’s extreme detachment from the world, which led to him shirking his rights and responsibilities: the belief in the absence of accountability. But, this is certainly not what Islam taught:

Wahb said: “A freed slave of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said to him: ‘I want to spend this month here in Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).’ He said, ‘Have you left your family anything for their provisions during this month?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Then go back to your family and leave them something for their provisions, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying, It is enough sin for a man to neglect those he is responsible to feed.‘” [119] (bold, underline ours)

Sa’d ibn Maalik reported that the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) said to him:

No matter what you spend on your family, you will be rewarded, even for the morsel of food you put in your wife’s mouth. [120]

And Ka’b ibn ‘Ijrah said:

A man passed by the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah), and his Companions were impressed with how strong and energetic he appeared. They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, if only this was for the sake of Allaah!” The Messenger of Allaah (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) said: “If he is going out to earn a living for his young children, this is for the sake of Allaah; if he is going out to earn a living for his aged parents, this is for the sake of Allaah; if he is going out to earn a living so he can keep himself from begging from others, this is for the sake of Allaah; but if he is going out to boast and show off, then this is for the sake of Shaytaan (Satan).” [121] (bold ours)

An evaluation of a Sufi would not be complete without mentioning their alleged miracles (karamaat). These could include the appearance of “miraculous gifts (karamat) during the period of ritual prayer” or “the ability of the shaykh to foresee events and to predict the actions of others”. One of the murid’s (students) of Baba Farid was Nizam ad-Deen (whom we shall examine later, insha’Allaah) who narrated one of the most famous incidents involving his murshid (spiritual guide/ teacher) in this context:

One day Farid ad-Din offered his morning prayer and placed his head in prostration …. He used to spend some time in that position very often. Only I was present at the time. A man suddenly appeared and spoke so gruffly that the shaykh was disturbed in his devotions. While still prostrate with the garment spread over him, he asked, “Who is there?” “I am,” I replied “The man who has come,” remarked the shaykh, “is he a Turk of medium size with slightly yellowish complexion?” I looked at the man; he was as the shaykh described him. “Yes, he is like this,” I replied. “Is he wearing a chain around his waist?” inquired the shaykh. When I looked, I saw that he was. “Yes, he is,” I replied. “Has he anything in his ears?” I looked at him and replied, “Yes, he has rings.” Every time that I went to look at the man, his colour changed. “Tell him,” the shaykh told me, “to go away before he is disgraced.” The man took to his heels and disappeared. [122]

Although the historical validity of these types of folkloric tales is near impossible to ascertain, it is sufficient for us to scrutinise it at face value. Suffice it to say, that this is impossible for any human to achieve without some external mode of help, such as, acquiring information from the help of a Jinn, which would constitute shirk with Allaah.

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ in Saudi Arabia said concerning those who seek help from a Jinn:

Seeking the help of the Jinn and turning to them to fulfill needs, such as asking them to harm or benefit a person, is an act of Shirk (associating others in worship with Allah). It is a kind of mutual benefiting between Jinn and mankind; the Jinn fulfill the human’s needs and in return they get the human’s veneration, trust, and reliance. Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “And on the Day when He will gather them (all) together (and say): ‘O you assembly of jinn! Many did you mislead of men,’ and their Awliya (friends and helpers) amongst men will say: ‘Our Lord! We benefited one from the other, but now we have reached our appointed term which You did appoint for us.’ He will say: ‘The fire be your dwelling-place, you will dwell therein forever, except as Allah may will. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.’ And thus We do make the Dhalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers) Awliya (supporters and helpers) of one another (in committing crimes), because of that which they used to earn.” [Qur’an 6:128-9] …. [123]

To say, however, that such knowledge was an exclusive attribute of Baba Farid allowing him to access portents of the unseen (ghayb), which could only be known by Allaah alone, is to claim equality with Allaah’s absolute divine attribute of Omniscience and would again amount to shirk.

Baba Farid and the early adherents of the Chishti Order also enjoyed what is known as sama’:

The Chishti commitment and contribution to sama in India is overwhelming. …

Sufis identify sama poetry of two types-one which focuses on spiritual links addressing figures of Sufi hierarchy in praise and devotion, God in Hamd, Prophet in Naat, and saints in Manqabat. The second type focuses on spiritual emotion, or mystical love, ecstatic states and on separation and union. Some of this poetry is composed by the saints themselves, some addresses the saint, while some is associated with certain aspects of a saint’s life and works, or with the ritual devotion to the saint and his shrine.
Music of sama is set within a metric framework, accompanied by the dholak, tabla, sarangi, harmonium and sitar. It is sung by a group of qawwals who are led by one or two solo singers. The music can be classical or folk.

In the performance of sama, music and poetry fuse together, and have a special effect on the listener. They reach a spiritual state which expresses itself in gestures-weeping, vocalising and ultimately a dance of ecstasy. An offering is made to the qawwal with the permission of the Shaikh or presiding elders.

Wherever sama is practised by the Chishtiyas of South Asia, what is crucial is the immediate power of the spiritual-emotional impact of the sama songs, the power of music serving the power of saints in Darbar-e-Auliya. [124]

We are further informed:

Majlis-i-Sama [group gathering] kindled the flame of Divine love in their hearts. The Sufi saints gained spiritual advantages from audition. According to Al-Ghazali, the saints, by means of Sama, stir up in themselves greater love towards God, and by means of music, often obtain spiritual vision and ecstasies. Their hearts become in this condition as clean as silver in the flames of a furnace, and attaining a degree of purity which could never be attained by any amount of mere outward austerities. The Sufi then becomes so keenly aware of his relationship to the spiritual world that he loses all consciousness of this world and falls down senseless.

The mystic saints were conscious of nothing except the Divine love. Sama delighted the ear. It reminded them of God. It was the spiritual interpretation of a line of poetry that made them ecstatic. The listeners of Sama were more in perfect state than the musicians or he recitors of poetry. The musician might sing with or without feelings, whereas the listeners felt truly, because the spiritual reality appeared before their vision. [125] (bold, underline ours)

There is, as you might have guessed, nothing in the annals of early Islamic history that comes even close to resembling these musical extravaganzas. Prophet Muhammad’s (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) worship, over the stage of his revelatory life of 23 years, has been recorded in meticulous detail and at no time did he enact or instruct his companions to acquire such an alleged spiritual state through this innovated (bid’ah) practice. In contrast, he forbade the use of musical instruments for men while only allowing women to use a duff (drum-like instrument) on three specific occasions: the two days of Eid, a wedding where segregation is strictly observed, and on the arrival of a traveller. [126]

Baba Farid it seems, however, gave little concern to adhering to the example of his Prophet.
From his most famous murid’s (Nizam ad-Din Awliya) recorded conversations, we are told of how addicted the teacher was to these sama’ sessions:

He then told a farther story about SHAYKH FARID AD-DIN- may God sanctify his lofty secret-AND HIS INCLINATION FOR SAMA’. “Once he wished to listen to sama’, but no reciter was present. He [Farid] then directed Badr ad-din Ishaq-may God grant him mercy and be pleased with him: ‘Go, fetch the letter that Qazi Hamid ad-din Nagauri -may God have mercy upon him-has written.’ Badr ad-din left and, fetching the satchel that contained letters and notes, he brought it to the Shaykh. He reached into the satchel. The very first letter that he selected was the one from Qazi Hamid ad-din. He brought it to the Shaykh. ‘Stand up and read,’ ordered the Shaykh. Badr ad-din stood up and began to read from that letter. It began as follows: ‘This humble, weak and worthless beggar Muhammad Ata, who is the servant of the dervishes and from head to toe is but dust under their feet.’ The Shaykh had heard but this much when a spiritual state and a taste for God became manifest in him.” [127] (bold, capitalisation ours)

As for the company he kept, we find the same failings of shirk and bid’ah. Take his most celebrated student Nizam ad-Din Awliya. Sama’ was so important to this man that he went so far as to categorise rules for it without even taking into consideration the basic rule of worship: forbiddance unless there is divine legislative evidence to the contrary:

Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya grades Sama into four categories-halal (lawful), haram (unlawful), mobah (permissible), and makrooh (undesirable). If one is inclined towards Divine love, Sama is permissible, if he is absorbed in ecstasy during the audition and if he is not acting under the sexual impulse, it is lawful; but if it is full of mundane objects, it is detestable. He prescribed rules of audition, firstly, the singer should be a perfect man. Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya emphasised that participants of Sama should be free from anxieties. The place where Sama is held should be beautiful and exhilarating. The participants of Sama should be lovers of Sama. The auditors of Sama should sit after applying scent. They should wear neat and clean clothes. [128]

At “the core of the large song repertoire of sama… [was] the textual and musical composition” of Nizam ad-Din’s disciple “and Sufi poet par excellence” Amir Khusrau:

He is considered the founding father of the qawwali. His music shows his love and reverence for his saint, and evokes the spiritual-emotional link to that Shaikh …. The qawwals of Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya sing mostly Amir Khusrau’s music, which is composed of North Indian music, some classical Persian, and some of his own creations. [129] (bold ours)

So central was the ritual of sama’ to these Chishtis that it even led unbelievably to the death of Baba Farid’s own Murshid Khwaja Syed Muhammad Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. Despite being justifiably “opposed by the Ulama on this account”, “the Khwaja regarded sama (audition) as a means of inducing a mystical state of ecstasy”. [130] This led to the following incident:

The death of the Khwaja is a story of great significance to sufis. He took part in a sama’ ritual in the khanqah of Shaikh ‘Ali Sijzi. When the musician recited the following verse, written by the celebrated sufi, Shaikh Ahmad of Jam, the Khwaja was seized with ecstasy:

The martyrs of the dagger of taslim (surrender) Each moment get a new life from the Unseen World.

Taken to his house, the Khwaja ordered the verse to be repeated each time he regained consciousness, which always occurred at the time of obligatory prayers. He then lapsed back into an ecstatic state. On the fifth night, 14th Rabi’ 1, 633/27th November, 1235, he died and was buried in Mahrauli about eleven miles from Delhi, at a place he himself had chosen. [131]

The Khwaja likewise had his opportunities to display his alleged “supernatural powers”:

A traditional story which presents the sanctity and supernatural powers of Khwaja Qutbu’d-Din Bakhtiyar involved a tank which was built to overcome Delhi’s water shortage. Sultan lltutmish devised a scheme for it, but was unsure where to choose the site. According to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad appeared to both the Sultan and the Khwaja indicating a particular spot. Hauzi-i-Shamsi was excavated, and the area became significant, not only as a source of water, but more importantly, as a cultural and religious centre, where the spiritual and intellectual elite of Delhi would gather.

Another story regarding the Khwaja’s supernatural powers is as follows. A poet named Nasiri from Transoxiana, bagged the Khwaja to [sic] today for the success of his poetry at the Sultan’s court. The Khwaja prophesied his good fortune in this regard. At court a recitation of the first verse failed to capture the Sultan’s attention, but the poet mentally invoked the power of the Khwaja. At that point, the Sultan began to listen with rapt attention and afterwards rewarded him with thirty-five thousand tankas. In gratitude, the poet requested the Khwaja to take half for the poor, but the Khwaja refused to accept payment. [132] (bold ours)

It is interesting to note that in spite of the fact that the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) severely rebuked and warned against the appearance of the innovators after his death, we are told that he (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) appeared to a man guilty of committing clear acts of shirk and innovation!

In regards to the subject of karamaat (miracles of God’s chosen people), then this is a phenomena that is affirmed by Ahlus Sunnah (the people of the Prophetic example) without doubt. But, there are stipulations and a criterion through which this is to be interpreted and understood. Imam Ibn Abil ‘Izz al-Hanafi, in his explanation of the masterful creed of Imam at-Tahaawi, elaborates on this subject by stating that a miracle is what produces a “commendable, objectionable, or permissible” outcome:

A miracle may serve a purpose which Islam has commended, in which case its performance is right, either obligatory or commendable. But if it secures a thing which Islam has only permitted, it will be regarded as a worldly blessing for which one should thank Allah. If it produces something which is forbidden or undesirable, it will invite punishment or Allah’s hatred …. Such things happen when the person concerned makes a wrong judgment, follows a view blindly, does not know things well, is swayed by some emotion, does not possess sufficient power, or is impelled by a need. In short, a miracle is either commendable, objectionable, or permissible. In the event it is permissible but produces something good it is a blessing; but if it does not, then it is like any useless thing. [133]

Finally we have a contemporary of Baba Farid, “The Great Chishti Shaykh ‘Abd al-Quddus of Gangoh (d.991/1583), famous for his ecstasies and his faith in wahdat al-wujud … his son Shaykh Rukn al-Din … was also highly ecstatic and a firm believer in wahdat al-wujud ….” [134]

We could carry on, but the examples given above are more than sufficient for us to draw the following conclusion: it is beyond reasonable doubt to infer from Baba Farid’s religious life and his commitment to the heretical Sufi Chishti silsilah that this man was most assuredly not from Ahlus Sunnah.

How true are the words of Ibn Abil-‘Izz al-Hanafi concerning people like Baba Farid and others of a similar disposition:

Many of these people think they can attain what the prophets attained through their own means, through intensive devotion and’ purification of the soul, without following the ways of the prophets. [135]

The final personality to be mentioned is one who was part of a movement from which, according to B. S. Anand, Farid “borrowed many features” including: “extreme asceticism … sang and danced in the ecstasy of the Beloved One”: [136] Kabir of the Bhakti movement.


Kabir (c.1398-Unknown C.E.), or Bhagat Kabir as he is also known in Sikhism, is said to have been liberated according to the soteriology of Sikhism:

Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru said the following about Bhagat Ji:

Naam Dayv the printer, and Kabeer the weaver, obtained salvation through the Perfect Guru. Those who know God and recognize His Shabad lose their ego and class consciousness. Their Banis are sung by the angelic beings, and no one can erase them, O Siblings of Destiny! (SGGS 76) [137]

It is said that Kabir was “found in a lotus pond near Benaras by Neeru and his wife Neema who adopted him and named him Kabir (the Most High) …. [138] Though a Hindu by tradition, he was a Muslim by upbringing”. [139]

In general, however, Kabir’s life is not as well documented as the previous two Bhagats with a lot of what has filtered down to us through history immersed in legend and folklore:

Kabir’s story is surrounded by contradictory legends, on none of which reliance can be placed. Some of these emanate from a Hindu, some from a Mohammedan source, and claim him by turns as a Sufi and a Brahman saint. His name, however, is practically a conclusive proof of Moslem ancestry: and the most probable tale is that which represents him as the actual or adopted child of a Mohammedan weaver of Benares, the city in which the chief events of his life took place. [140]

In respect to the uncertainty surrounding the historical accuracy of stories attributed to Kabir, the best thing we can do, as we have done thus far, is to evaluate them at face value. Hence, according to one story:

[Kabir] saw in Ramananda his destined teacher; but knew how slight were the chances that a Hindu guru would accept a Mohammedan as disciple. He therefore hid upon the steps of the river Ganges, where Ramananda was accustomed to bathe; with the result that the master, coming down to the water, trod upon his body unexpectedly, and exclaimed in his astonishment, “Ram! Ram!”-the name of the incarnation under which he worshipped God. Kabir then declared that he had received the mantra of initiation from Ramananda’s lips, and was by it admitted to discipleship. In spite of the protests of orthodox Brahmans and Mohammedans, both equally annoyed by this contempt of theological landmarks, he persisted in his claim; thus exhibiting in action that very principle of religious synthesis which Ramananda had sought to establish in thought. Ramananda appears to have accepted him, and though Mohammedan legends speak of the famous Sufi Pir, Takki of Jhansi, as Kabir’s master in later life, the Hindu saint is the only human teacher to whom in his songs he acknowledges indebtednessHe seems to have remained for years the disciples of Ramananda, joining in the theological and philosophical arguments which his master held with all the great Mullahs and Brahmas of his day. [141] (bold ours)

When we take the above story on its own merit and test it against the principle of association (al-walaa wal-baraa), i.e. the person is on the religion of the people he interacts with and takes his knowledge from, we must conclude for the sake of consistency that just as we readily placed Mardana alongside his life long teacher Guru Nanak, we must likewise do the same with Kabir for having befriended Ramananda, [142] accepted him as his spiritual guide and supported him in propagating his non-Islamic ideas against Islam and the Muslims.

And Underhill reaches the same conclusion: “From the point of view of orthodox sanctity, whether Hindu or Mohammedan, Kabir was plainly a heretic ….” [143]

Kabir shared with his fellow devotees of the Bhakti movement, along with so many other Sufis, a belief in “the ‘simple union’ with Divine Reality which he perpetually extolled”, as can be witnessed from the following examples: [144]

The creature is in Brahma, and Brahma is in the creature: they are ever distinct, yet every united.
He Himself is the tree, the seed, and the germ.
He Himself is the flower, the fruit, and the shade.
He Himself is the sun, the light, and the lighted.
He Himself is Brahma, creature, and Maya.
He Himself is the manifold form, the infinite space; He is the breath, the word, and the meaning.
He Himself is the limit and the limitless: and beyond both the limited and the limitless is He, the Pure Being.
He is the Immanent Mind in Brahma and in the creature. …
Kabir is blest because he has this supreme vision!

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator: …
Kabir says: “Listen to me, my friend! My beloved Lord is within.”

Your Lord dwells within you: why need your outward eyes opened?

The infinite dwelling of the Infinite Being is everywhere: in earth, water, sky, and air.

Hari is in the East: Allah is in the West.
Look within your heart, for there you will find both Karim and Ram. …
Kabir is the child of Allah and of Ram: He is my Guru, He is my Pir.
(LXIX) [145]

Says Kabeer, O my Lord, You are contained in all. [146]

According to Muzaffar Alam, the doctrine of ‘simple union’ asserted by the Bhakti movement paralleled the doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujood:

It was the Sufic belief in unity in multiplicity, known as wahdat al-wujud (Unity of Being), which provided the doctrinal basis for all these developments in the process of religious synthesis and cultural amalgam. This Islamic doctrine had interesting parallels in India: it had no difficulty accommodating the various versions and interpretations of non-dualism given by Indian philosophers and saints …. This idea was also expressed in the Nirguna Bhakti assertion of the fundamental unity of Hindus and Turks. Kabir, for instance, saw no difference between Ram and Rahman. Notable in his poetry is the coalescence of Hari and Hazrat, Krishna and Karama, Muhammad and Mahadeva, Ram and Rahim. [147]

Wakabayashi and Rita echoed Alam’s astute observations:

Sufi practices in the Indian subcontinent evolved in peculiar ways. These practices interacted with and were influenced by, among other things, the Bhakti (devotional) traditions of India … one of the most enduring tenets of Sufism is wahdat-al wujud (the unity of all beings, and also a stage where the seeker and the sought become one), and it too has resonances in Bhakti poetry. [148]

Similarly, D. Singh admits:

God is for him both Transcendent and Immanent. It is possible for God to have union with Him. Kabir claims such communion with God. …

He calls Him both with and without Attributes, Persona and Impersonal, Finite and Infinte [sic], Conscious and Unconscious, and Transcendent and Immanent. He is above all opposites and Ineffable. He also talks in pantheistic terms when he says, “And the Lord Himself takes form.” Sometimes his descriptions appear monistic. [149]

Despite this muddled, contradictory and conspicuously un-Islamic outlook, D. Singh still outlandishly maintains that “Kabir was a monotheist”!

Kabir is also guilty of making some blasphemous claims against the Qur’an and its origin:

The Purana and the Koran are mere words;
Lifting up the curtain, I have seen.
Kabir gives utterance to the words of experience; and he knows very well that all other things are untrue.
(Poems XLII) [150]

If Kabir did utter this deplorable statement, then by consensus of Muslim scholars he was a disbeliever since all Muslim scholars have affirmed throughout the ages that the Qur’an is the speech of Allaah and not “mere words”. Imam at-Tahaawi said:

The Qur’an is the word of Allaah which came from Him in the form of speech, without any need for us to know how. He sent it down to His Messenger by revelation. The believers believe that it is true and they are certain that it is indeed the word of Allaah and that it is not created like the words of human beings. Whoever hears it and claims that it is the words of human beings is a kaafir [disbeliever], who is condemned and warned of Hell, as Allaah says: “I will cast him into Hell fire.” [Qur’an 74:26].

Since Allaah threatened with Hell the one who said: “This is nothing but the word of a human being,” [Qur’an 74:26], we know and are certain that it is the word of the Creator of humankind, and it does not resemble the speech of human beings. [151]

Ibn Abil ‘Izz al-Hanafi commented on this maxim stating:

It is not created like the speech of human beings. Whoever hears it and thinks it is the speech of man is an infidel. Allah has condemned and censured him and threatened him with Hell-Fire when He says, “I will burn him in the Hell-Fire” [74:26]. By Allah’s threatening with the Fire those who say, “This is nothing but the word of a mortal” [74:25], we know and become certain that it is the speech of the Creator of mankind and is completely unlike [t]he speech of mankind. …

Allah has condemned as an infidel one who says that the Qur’an is the word of a man. Since Muhammad was a man, therefore, whoever says that the Qur’an is the word of Muhammad in the sense that he composed it is certainly an infidel. …

In short, the Ah as-Sunnah, the four schools of fiqh and others of the Elders and later scholars all agree that the Qur’an is the uncreated speech of Allah. …

The words of the author, “It is completely unlike the word of any mortal,” mean that it is incomparably more eloquent, true and dignified. [152] (bold, underline ours)

In this respect, Ibn Abil ‘Izz also quotes Imam Abu Haneefah:

This is also the view of Abu Hanifah, as appears in his Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, in which he says:

The Qur’an is the word of Allah, whether written in the book, remembered in the hearts, recited by the tongues or revealed to the Prophet. Our recitation of the Qur’an is created and our writing of the Qur’an is created and our reciting of it is created. But the Qur’an itself is not created. What Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an quoting from Moses and others and from the earlier prophets and from Pharaoh and Iblis, all of that is the speech of Allah, in which He is informing about them. It is the uncreated speech of Allah. The speech of Moses and other created beings is itself created. But the Qur’an is the word of Allah and not their speech. Moses heard Allah’s words when He spoke to him. He spoke to him with the speech which is His attribute from eternity. And all of His attributes are different from the attributes of the creatures. He knows, but not as we know. He has power, but not as we have power. He sees, but not as we see. He speaks, but not as we speak.” [153], [154] (bold ours)

Such was the strictness of the scholars in respect to this doctrinal point that they even condemned those found to be elusive or equivocal. The shaykh of Imam al-Bukhaaree and Imam Muslim, for example, went as far as to censure the one who said the Qur’an was a “quotation”:

Whoever claims that the Qur’an is two things, or that the Qur’aan is a hikaayah (quotation), then he is, by Allaah, besides whom there is none worthy of worship, a zindeeq (heretic), kaafir (disbeliever) in Allaah …. The Qur’an is the Speech of Allaah, it began with Him (i.e. He spoke it), and to Him will it return. Nothing from Allaah is created, neither [sic] and nor are His attributes, nor His Names, nor His Knowledge. [155] (bold ours)

Similarly, Shaykh ‘Abdul-Qaadir al-Jilaani said:

So whoever claims that it (meaning what has been described previously) is created, or [merely] an expression (ibaarah) of it [the Qur’an], or that the tilaawah (recitation) is other than the matluww (that which is recited), or says, “My pronunciation of the Qur’an is created“, then he is a kaafir (disbeliever) in Allaah, the Mighty. He is not to be mixed with, nor eaten with, nor married to, nor taken as a neighbour. Rather, he is boycotted and debased (humiliated). He is not to be prayed behind, and nor is his testimony accepted, and his guardianship is not valid in the nikah (marriage) of his client. And he is not to be prayed over when he dies. If there is (hope of) success in him, then his repentance is demanded three times like that of the murtadd (apostate), so either he repents, otherwise he is killed (as an apostate). [156] (bold ours)

Thus, what would these scholars say concerning the one who declared the Qur’an to be “mere words”?

What might have also been gleaned from the previously quoted lines of poetry is that Kabir was disposed to addressing the “Infinite” (God) by the blasphemous Hindu names Brahma and Ram:

Tradition relates that Kabir died in extreme old age, when his body had become inform and his hands were no longer able to produce the music with which he had in younger days celebrated the praises of Ram. [157]

It is from the principles of ‘aqeedah in understanding the Tawheed of Allaah’s Divine Names and Attributes that we are restricted to calling Allaah only by those names that He and His Messenger have informed us of. In this respect, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen mentions the principle: “The Names of Allah are Tawqeefiyyah; there is no place for intellectual free-thinking regarding them”, and elaborates:

Allah’s Names are tawqeefiyyah, meaning a kind of knowledge that is restricted to textual evidence; there is no place for intellectual free-thinking regarding them. Based upon this, we must suffice ourselves with what is found in the Book and the Sunnah, without adding or taking anything away. This is because the intellect will not be able to grasp the understanding of Allah’s Names that He rightfully deserves, so then we must suffice ourselves with textual evidences only …. Furthermore, to ascribe a name to Allah the Exalted that He did not ascribe to His own Self, or to deny something He has named Himself, would be a serious crime against Him. [158] (bold ours)

As a side note, the meaning of the name Brahma, according to the Oxford Sanskrit-English Dictionary, and other Sanskrit-English Dictionaries, includes: The Supreme Spirit, which is certainly not a divinely revealed name of Allaah. [159]

In contradistinction to the Qur’an, wherein Allaah declares that He has not created all things in jest/ play, Kabir writes:

His play the land and water, the whole universe!
His play the earth and the sky!
In play is the Creation spread out, in play it is established. The whole world, says Kabir, rests in His play, yet the Player remains unknown.
(LXXXII) [160]

Similarly, he betrays his ignorance over the divine declarative word “kun” (Arabic for “Be/ Become!”), [161] which is spoken by Allaah during His creating and manufacturing process, by claiming:

And from the word Om the Creation sprang.
(LXXXII) [162]

After the accumulation of all this damning evidence, the question that requires answering by those who incessantly hold to the position that Kabir was a Muslim (Mohammedan) is why he was so transparent and deliberate in expressing such conspicuously heretical Hindu beliefs?

E. Underhill’s recognised that Kabir was a heretic to the “orthodox” Muslims, while distinguished Sanskrit scholar Prof. Horace Hayman Wilson (1786-1860) concluded that he was not a Muhammadan. Similarly, Rev. Ahmad Shah perceives:

The study of the Bijak certainly leaves a fixed impression that the basis of his mental equipment was Hindu. His apparent acquaintance with Mohammedan belief, customs and phraseology might easily be purely external and acquired. But with his Hinduism the case is entirely different. His mind is steeped in Hindu thought and mythology, and his mother tongue is Hindi. [163] (bold ours)

Westcott on the other hand disagreed, being “inclined” instead to agree with those theories which suggested that Kabir was both a “Muhammadan by birth” and “associated with the Sufi order” (though he fails to furnish a name of this order). He, however, forwards the following proviso to his position:

[T]he great object of his life was to break down the barriers that separated Hindus from Muhammadans. We believe that in his desire to achieve this object he actually took up his residence in Benares and associated there with the followers of Ramanand[a]. We can well imagine that his teaching gave offence both to orthodox Muhammadans and to orthodox Hindus, and it is probable that both parties welcomed the opportunity afforded by Sikandar Lodi’s visit to Jaunpur in 1495 to wait upon him with a request that he would rid them of one who despised tradition when in conflict with the truth. [164]

Later he further adds:

[Y]et there is reason to believe that the teaching of Kabir has gradually become more and more Hindu in form. [165]

In light of the evidences cited above, which strongly support the charge of heresy, one can fully understand the anger the Muslim “orthodox” must have felt towards this “one who despised [their] tradition” and utilised, in place of their adhered theology, Hindu philosophy and phraseology.

Kabir’s singular pursuit in seeking “to break down the barriers that separated Hindus from Muhammadans” resulted in him denouncing “the whole apparatus of piety, Hindu and Moslem alike-the temple and mosque, idol and holy water, scriptures and priests … as mere substitutes for reality”. [166] This denunciation, however, is wholly justified when one takes into consideration the following quotes from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (henceforth indicated by the letter G) and the Bijak (henceforth indicated by the letter B) that demonstrate Kabir’s ridicule of the Imams, Muslims and certain rituals of Islam:

Because of the love of woman, circumcision is done; I don’t believe in it, O Siblings of Destiny.
If God wished me to be a Muslim, it would be cut off by itself.
If circumcision makes one a Muslim, then what about a woman?
She is the other half of a man’s body, and she does not leave him, so he remains a Hindu. (G) [167]

If your Khuda wished circumcision, he would have sent you circumcised into the world. (B) [168]

Kabeer has grasped hold of the Lord’s Support, and the Muslims have utterly failed. (G)

[In context with circumcision and the Muslims,] Give up your holy books, and remember the Lord, you fool, and stop oppressing others so badly. (G) [169]

[Kabir’s allusion to belief in reincarnation] The mobile and immobile creatures, insects and moths – in numerous lifetimes, I have passed through those many forms.
I lived in many such homes, O Lord, before I came into the womb this time.
I was a Yogi, a celibate, a penitent, and a Brahmchaaree, with strict self-discipline.
Sometimes I was a king, sitting on the throne, and sometimes I was a beggar. [170]

Says Kabeer, one who meets the True Guru, is not reincarnated again. (G) [171]

My pilgrimage to Mecca is on the banks of the Gomati River (G) [172]

Where have the Hindus and Muslims come from? Who put them on their different paths? …
O Qazi, which book have you read? (G) [173]

O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not behold Him by thought or contemplation.
You do not care for others, you are a religious fanatic, and your life is of no account at all.
Your holy scriptures say that Allah is True, and that he is neither male nor female.
But you gain nothing by reading and studying, O mad-man, if you do not gain the understanding in your heart.
Allah is hidden in every heart; reflect upon this in your mind.
The One Lord is within both Hindu and Muslim; Kabeer proclaims this out loud. (G) [174]

Worshipping their idols, the Hindus die; the Muslims die bowing their heads.
The Hindus cremate their dead, while the Muslims bury theirs; neither finds Your true state, Lord. (G) [175]

Whence have the Hindus and Muhammadans come?
Who has started these religious systems?
Think well in your hearts who has obtained heaven. …
Kabir is on the road to God and is marching on to his end, forsaking all partial views (B) [176]

If someone completely unfamiliar with the person of Kabir were to be given his complete couplets to read in full, and then asked to make a choice between the following two options: was Kabir a Muslim or a Hindu? The unbiased and critical mind would have to be extremely deluded to say Muslim. In fact, it would not altogether be unsurprising if that person decided that Kabir was neither. Rev. Shah is partially correct in stating that a study of his most authentic work, along with what is contained in the SGGS, and the Bijak “leaves a fixed impression that the basis of his mental equipment was Hindu”. But, perhaps a more accurate interpretation, in accordance to his teachings and his association to the Bhakti movement, would be that he was neither Muslim nor Hindu. And Kabir’s following rhetorical question from the Bijak (later to be more perspicuously expressed by his successor Guru Nanak as: “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim”): “Whence have the Hindus and Muhammadans come?” certainly supports this.

What is to be said in the end is that the evidences strongly suggest that any claim of Kabir’s association to Islam is certainly more doubtful than for the two preceding bhagats – such was his deviation.


The objective of this research was to determine the answer to the question of Guru Nanak’s Muslim identity – repeated ad nauseam by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

This was done by examining the historical evidence available to us through the lens of Islamic ‘aqeedah (creed), which we broke down into the following relevant categories:

  • Shahaadatayn – the duel declaration of Islamic faith, which comprises of:
    a) Laa ilaaha ill Allaah – There is none worthy of worship in truth except Allaah.
    b) Muhammad ar-Rasool Allaah – There is none worthy of being followed in truth except the prophet and messenger Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah).
  • This declaration entails verbal utterance in order to enter into the folds of Islam.
  • Legislation is for Allaah alone, which entails a rejection of all other laws.
  • The principle of al-walaa wal-baraa – allegiance and non-allegiance, which included the different categories of al-muwaalaat (loyalty).
  • The definition of Tawheed and its three categories.
  • Tawheed’s antithesis: Shirk.

A critical examination of the historical sources reveals that there exists no evidence to suggest Guru Nanak ever having recited the Islamic declaration of faith, either publically or otherwise. More significantly was the theological and doctrinal practices and teachings of Nanak which directly violated the shahaadatayn and the three categories of tawheed to the point of committing the greatest crime against Allaah: ash-shirk.

In our bid to cover this topic comprehensively, it was also necessary to make an historical perusal of Sikhism’s Muslim connection, i.e. those people who were associated to Islam and the Muslim community, but intimately revered by Sikhs. These included Guru Nanak’s bard, Mardana, and two of Nanak’s predecessors: Baba Farid of the Sufi Chishti Order, and Kabir of the Bhakti movement.

Although it is not in our purview to make takfeer bil ‘ayn (excommunication of individuals), the evidence in regards to the position of said bhagats pointed to the inescapable conclusion that they were unquestionably not from those Muslims who adhered to the Prophetic tradition (Ahlus Sunnah). Instead, it is beyond doubt that all three committed shirk and bi’dah, while Mardana and Kabir were certainly guilty of making allegiance (tawallee) to non-Muslims and assisting them (mudhaaharah) in propagating their anti-Islamic beliefs and practices.

In all, there is not a single shred of evidence to suggest that Guru Nanak was a Muslim.

Subhanakallaahuma wa bi hamdika, ash-Shahaadu al-Laa ilaaha illa Ant, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka.

[1] Here are two such examples:

[2] Fn. 7: Reported by Muslim (no.37).
[3] S. ibn F. al-Fawzaan (1998), The Declaration of Faith, (UK, Message of Islam), p. 17.
[4] A.A. bin A. bin Baaz (2006), Clarifying the Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah, (NY, Al-Hujjah Publ.), p. 22.
[5] Fn. 3: Refer to Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (10/249) and (13/200) and Iqtidaa’us-Siraatil Mustaqeem (p. 461).
[6] Fn. 4: Refer to the Tafseer (2/291) of al-Qurtubee.
[7] Fn. 6: Refer to Ma’aarijul-Qubool (2/416) of Haafidh al-Hakamee.
[8] M. Qureshi (2006), The Meaning and Conditions of Laa ilaaha illAllaah, (Sunnah Publishing), p. 2.
[9] Ibid., p. 25.
[10] S. ibn F. al-Fawzaan, op. cit., p. 14.
[11] Ibid., pp. 40-3.
[12] Fn. 1: Al-Waajibaat Al-Mutahattimaat (pg. 5).
[13] U. ibn A. al-Jaabiree, (2007), A Gift for the Intellects in Explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles of Islaam, (UK, Salafi Publications), pp. 68-9.
[14] Ibid., pp. 70-2.
[15] Ibid., p. 77.
[16] These first two conditions of muwaalaat have also been mentioned by “al-Qurtubee (4/57, 18/52) in his ‘Tafseer’ and also Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabee in ‘Ahkaam ul-Qur’aan’ (4/1770)”. See here for more information.
[17] A-M. al-Ubaykaan, Muwaalaat and Mudhaaharah (Loyalty and Support) to the Mushrikeen (Polytheists), (Salafi Publications), pp. 1, 3, 4.
Shaykh Saalih Aal ash-Shaykh also covers this issue here.
[18] Fn. 11: Tashbeeh: To claim that Allaah similar to His creation in one or some of His Attributes or Actions.
[19] Fn. 12: Tamtheel: To claim that Allaah is similar to His creation in all of His Attributes and Actions.
[20] Fn. 13: Tahreef, also referred to as ta’weel: To pervert [distort] the meanings of the texts that establish Allaah’s Names and Attributes.
[21] Fn. 14: Ta’teel: To claim that Allaah’s Names and Attributes have no meanings at all.
[22] A-R. ibn N. as-Sa’dee (2004), Essential Questions and Answers Concerning the Foundations of Eemaan and Obstacles in the Path of Eemaan, (Toronto, T.R.O.I.D Publications.), pp. 17-8.
[23] M. ibn S. al-‘Uthaymeen (1997), Explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles of Islaam, (UK, Al-Hidaayah), pp. 74-5.
[24] S. ibn F. al-Fawzaan, op. cit., p. 15.
[25] Ibid., pp. 76-7.
[26] M. Haq, The Mission of Guru Nanak: A Muslim Appraisal, (Sikhi Wiki).
[27] The doctrinal fallacy of the Omnipresence of God has been discussed in detail and emphatically refuted in our article: Attributeless Waheguru.
[28] Muqaatil bin Hayyaan (d. 150H): The Meaning of ‘al-Baatin’ is ‘the Closest to Everything With His Knowledge’ Whilst He is Above His Throne, (, 2010).
[29] Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
[30] D.S. Maini (2003), Islam in Sikh scriptures, (The Tribune India, updated 2006).
[31] Fn. 8: Cf. Max Arthur Macauliffe, “The Sikh Religion,” Oxford, 1909, Vol.I, p. 121.
[32] A. Jaleel (1993), Birth of Sikhism, (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, The Review of Religions, March).
[33] R. ibn H. U. al-Madkhalee (2005), An Explanation of the Tolerance of Islam and the Mercy that it Contains, ( Forum).
[34] M.A. MacAuliffe (1909), The Sikh Religion, Volume 1, (Internet Sacred Text Archive, 2001).
[35] Ibid., CHAPTER XVII.
[36] S.S. Brar (2009), The First Master Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), (
[37]Prof Daljeet Singh believes the year of Nanak’s enlightenment to be 1496 CE:

He was married in 1487 and was blessed with two sons, one in 1491 and the second in 1496. … By all accounts, 1496 was the year of his enlightenment when he started on his mission.

– (Eds) D. Singh, K Singh (1997), Sikhism: Its Philosophy and History, (Institute of Sikh Studies, New Delhi), p. 356.

[38] Both Harbans Singh and Mohinder Singh state:

According to the Sikh sources it was in 1497 that Nanak, then just 28 years of age, received “the Divine call,” his “Revelation” or his “Enlightenment.

– H. Singh, M. Singh (1988), Prof Harbans Singh Commemoration Volume, (Prof. Harbans Singh Commemoration Committee), p. 54.

Surinder Singh Johar agrees:

He left Sultanpur in 1497 after his enlightenment. “The Janamsakhis state that Guru Nanak revisited Talwandi twelve years after he had left Sultanpur. Having regard to the fact that there is a custom among Sanyasis of revisiting their birth-place twelve years after their initiation, this statement may be accepted as true.”

– S.S. Johar (1969), Guru Nanak, A Biography, (New Book Co.), p. 140.

[39] S. ibn F. al-Fawzaan, op. cit., pp. 39-40.
[40] B.S. Anand (2009), Baba Farid, (New Delhi, Sahitya Akadmei), p. 47.
[41] S.S. Gandhi (2007), History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1469-1606 C.E. Vol.1, (Atlantic Publishers & Distributors), pp. 88-9.
[42] A.A. bin A. bin Baaz (2010), Ruling on whoever performs Salah at certain times and gives up at others, (Portal of the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta’).
[43] Fn. 1: Hau dhaadi vekaar kaarai laaia; Raat dihai kai vaar dhurho pharmaaia; Dhaadi sachai mehl khasam bulaaia. (Majh Var Mahla I).
[44] I. Singh (1985), The Philosophy of Guru Nanak, Volume 1, (Atlantic Publishers & Distri), pp. 116-17.
[45] S.S. Gandhi, op. cit., pp. 80-2.
[46] Vaars Bhai Gurdaas, Pannaa 1:

baabaa fir maakae gayaa neel basathr dhhaarae banavaaree||
aasaa haathh kithaab kaashh koojaa baa(n)g musaalaa dhhaaree||
bait(h)aa jaae maseeth vich jithhae haajee haaj gujaaree||
jaa(n) baabaa suthaa raath noo(n) vaal mehiraabae paa(n)e pasaaree||
jeevan maaree lath dhee kaerrhaa suthaa kur kuaaree||
lathaa(n) val khhudhaae dhae kiou(n)akar paeiaa hoe bajagaaree||
tta(n)go(n) pakarr ghaseettiaa firiaa maakaa kalaa dhikhaaree||
hoe hairaan karaen juhaaree ||aa||

Donning blue attire then Baba Nanak went to Mecca.
He held staff in his hand, pressed a book under his armpit, caught hold of a metal pot and mattress.
Now he sat in a mosque where the pilgrims (hajis) had gathered.
When Baba (Nanak) slept in the night spreading his legs towards the alcove of mosque at Kaba, the qazi named Jivan kicked him and asked who was this infidel enacting blasphemy.
Why this sinner is sleeping his legs spread towards God, Khuda.
Catching hold of the legs he lynched (Baba Nanak) and lo and behold the miracle, the whole of Mecca seemed to be revolving.
All got surprised and they all bowed.

[47] O.P. Ralhan (1997), The Great Gurus of the Sikhs, Volume 1, (Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.), p. 131.
[48] G. Singh (2005), Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vol. 1, (Allied Publishers), pp. XXXIX.
[49] Prof Haq also recounts this story, but rejects the literalist take on it, instead interpreting it as allegory.
[50] R.K. Pruthi (2004), Culture and Civilisation Series: Sikhism and Indian Civilization, (Discovery Publishing House), p. 56.
[51] Fn. 1: Janamsakhi, Bhai Bala, p. 292.

EDITOR’S NB: Some Sikh scholars consider the author Bhai Bala to be “fictitious” and, thus, hold this biography to be “spurious”. Trilochan Singh believes it to be authentic but corrupted by the heretical groups: “the Minas, or Meharban and his followers. Then … by the Handaliyas, and then by the printers”. See: H.R. Gupta (2008), History of the Sikhs 1469-1708, Vol. 1, (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi), pp. 40-3.

[52] Fn. 2: Janamsakhi, Bhai Mani Singh Wali (Janamsakhi Prampra, edited by Kirpal Singh, Antka, p. 333).
[53] (Eds) D. Singh, K Singh, op. cit., p. 220.
[54] Fn. 19: Janamsakhi, Meharban Wali, pp. 10-12.
[55] Fn. 24: Janamsakhi, Bhai Bala, p. 279. Latif, p. 245.
[56] (Eds) D. Singh, K Singh, op. cit., p. 223.
[57] Fn. 4: S.R., I [M.A. Macauliffe (1993), The Sikh Religion Vol. I, (Delhi)], pp. 102, 121, 123.
[58] S. Singh (1986), Philosophy of Sikhism, (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar), p. 117.
[59] Al-Eemaan al-Awsat, (published under Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, vol. 7, compiled by Ibn Qasim), p. 151.
[60] D.S. Maini, op. cit.
[61] Al-I’tisaam, 1/231.
[62] For a more comprehensive introduction, read Notes on the Evils of Innovation.
[63] S. ibn F. al-Fawzaan (2001), Haqeeqat-ut-Tasawwuf, (, pp.11-5: At-Tasawwuf: Al-Mansha’ wal-Masdar, p. 28.
[64] Ibid., Masra’ at-Tasawwuf, p. 19.
[65] Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Sunan at-Tirmithi, 2484 (Hasan).
[66] Judging a Claimant to Salafiyyah by his Companionship: Sahih Muslim, (Salafi Publications, no.114, 2010).
[67] Ibid., Al-Ibaanah, 2/478.
[68] Ibid., Al-Ibaanah, 2/476.
[69] Ibid., 2/477.
[70] T. Singh (2000), Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs, (Orient Blackswan), p. 148.
[71] S.S. Gandhi, op. cit., pp. 1078-9.
[72] H. Dhillon (2005), Guru Nanak Spiritual Masters, (Indus Source), pp. 165-6.
[73] S.S. Gandhi, op. cit., p. 1080.
[74] Judging a Claimant to Salafiyyah, op. cit., Al-Ibaanah 2/437.
[75] S.S. Gandhi, op. cit.
[76] H. Dhillon, op. cit., p.166.
[77] Early deviant sect that denied Allaah’s Divine Pre-Ordainment: the sixth pillar of Eemaan (Faith).
[78] Al-Ibaanah, 2/453.
[79] Judging a Claimant to Salafiyyah, op. cit., Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee, 1/139.
[80] Not to be confused with the eleventh century Sufi, the so-called “patron saint of Lahore”, Pakistan, Data Ganj Baksh Ali ibn ‘Uthman al-Jullabi al-Hujwiri.
[81] Moinuddin Chishti, (Wikipedia).
[82] Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, (Wikipedia).
[83] Nizamuddin Auliya, (Wikipedia).
[84] Wahdatul Wujood: Lit. Unity of Existence – The belief that all existence is a single existence and everything we see are only aspects of the Essence of Allaah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee explicated:

The third ideology is that of wahdatul-wujood, i.e. that all in existence is a single reality, and that everything we see is only aspects of the Essence of Allaah. The chief claimant of this belief was Ibn ‘Arabee al-Haatimee at-Taa’ee, who was buried in Damascus having died in the year 638H. He himself says about this belief in his book al-Fatoohaat-ul-Makkiyyah”:

“The slave is the Lord and the Lord is a slave, I wish that I knew which was the one required to carry out the required duties. If I were to say the servant then that is true, or if I were to say the Lord, then how can that be required for Him.” (Al-Fatoohaat-ul-Makkiyyah as it is attributed by Dr. Taqiyyuddeen al-Hilaalee in his book al-Hadiyyatul-Haadiyah (p.43).)

He also says in al-Fatoohaat:

“Those who worshipped the calf worshipped nothing except Allaah.”
(Quoted as Ibn ‘Arabee’s saying by Ibn Tayrniyyah in al-Fataawaa (vol.11), who attributes it to the book al-Fatoohaat)

Ibn ‘Arabee is called ‘al-‘Aarif billaah’ (The one having great knowledge of Allaah) by the Sufis, and also ‘al-Qutubul Akbar‘ (The great pivot), ‘al-Miskul-Adhfar‘ (the sweetest smelling musk), ‘al-Kibreetul-Ahmar‘ (the reddest brimstone), despite his belief in wahdatul-wujood and other calamitous sayings. Indeed he praised Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and declared that he died upon eemaan! Furthermore he speaks against Haroon for his criticism of his people’s worship of the calf, thus directly opposing the text of the Qur’aan. He also held that the Christians were Unbelievers only because they made divinity particular to ‘Eesaa, whereas if they had made it general to all then they would not have been unbelievers. [Despite all the gross deviation of Ibn ‘Arabee and the fact that the scholars declared him to be an Unbeliever, yet he is revered by the Sufis and others who do not distinguish between the truth and falsehood, and those who turn away from accepting the truth even when it is as clear as the sun. But his books, which are filled with clear apostasy, such as al-Fatoohaatul-Makkiyyah and Fusoosul-Hikam are still circulated. He even has a tafseer, which he called at-Tafseerul-Baatin since he holds that there is an apparent and a hidden meaning for every Aayah, so the outer meaning is for the people of Ta’weel.]

From this group came Ibn Basheesh who said:

“O Allaah rescue me from the mire of tawheed, and drown me in the centre of the sea of unity, and mix me into the state of unity and oneness until I do not see, nor hear, nor sense except through it.”

– M. ibn R. ibn H. al-Madkhalee, (Trans) Abu T. D. ibn R. Burbank (1999), The Reality of Sufism in the Light of the Qur’aan & Sunnah, (Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution), pp. 21-2.

[85] J.D. Gort, H. Jansen, H.M. Vroom (2006), Religions view religions: explorations in pursuit of understanding Vol.25, (Rodopi), p. 202.
[86] A.A. Na’im (2002), Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Book, (Zed Books), p. 202.
[87] W. Doniger, Merriam-Webster Inc (1999), Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, (Merriam-Webster), p. 199.
[88] B.S. Anand, op. cit., p.31.
[89] Fn. 308: See ‘Ali Al-Qari, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.171; Adh-Dhahabi, Al-‘Ulu, p. 103.
[90] Ibn Abi Al-‘Izz, (Trans) M. A.-H. Ansari (2000), Commentary on the Creed of at-Tahawi (Sharh al-‘Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah), (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Sa’ud Islamic University), p. 236.
[91] Fn. 3: Jahmiyyah are the followers of Jahm Ibn Safwan, who was the first one to publicly declare the denial of Allah’s Attributes. Before long he denied the Attributes of Allah, he was killed and crucified by Khalid Ibn Abdullah Al-Khusari, Prince of Iraq. This took place during the era of the Tabioon, (students of the Companion). All the scholars at his time called him a Kafir [disbeliever] on account of plainly denying the Attributes of Allah.
[92] Fn. 4: Reported by ad-Daarimee in ar-Radd ‘alal-Mareesee (p. 24 and 103) and ar-Radd ‘alal-Jahmiyyah (p. 50) and Abdullaah Ibn Ahmad in as-Sunnah (p. 7, 25, 35 and 72).
[93] S.A. Kayum (2005), The Jamaat Tableegh and the Deobandis, (Ahya Multi-Media), Chapter 3: Pantheism, Wahdat al-Wajood or Moksha: Additional Proofs from the Sayings of our Pious Predecessors (as-Salaf as-Salih).
[94] Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee (d. 561H): Refutation of the Saalimiyyah Sect Who Claim Allaah is Everywhere And Not Above His Throne Exclusively, (, 2009).
[95] Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Firyaabee, Shaykh of al-Bukhaaree, (d. 212H): Whoever Says Allaah Is Not Above His Throne is a Kaafir, Ibid.
[96] M. Murad (2010), Where is Allaah? (With slight modification), ( For more information on this subject, (Salafi Publications).
[97] N.M. Sadarangani (2004), Bhakti Poetry in Medieval India: Its Inception, Cultural Encounter and Impact, (Sarup & Sons), p. 63.
[98] H. Singh (1998), Encyclopaedia of Sikhism: S-Z, Volume 4, (Punjabi University), p. 220.
[99] A.A. bin A. bin Baaz, (Trans) A. Walker (2007), The Statement: Verily Allaah is Everywhere, (Ad-Da’wah Magazine, Issue no. 1288).
[100] S.A. Kugle (2007), Sufis & Saints’ Bodies: Mysticism, Corporeality, & Sacred Power in Islam, (UNC Press), p. 239.
[101] N. Hanif (2000), Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis: South Asia, (Sarup & Sons), p. 86.
[102] M. Taher (1997), Encyclopaedic Survey of Islamic Culture, (Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.), p. 211.
[103] B.S. Anand, op. cit., pp. 21-2.
[104] Sahih Muslim, 2670.
[105] Sharh Muslim, 16/220.
[106] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 2453; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1995.
[107] M.N.D. Al-Albaani (Trans. I. Alarcon), Al-Asaalah Magazine, Issue 21.
[108] Sahih Muslim, 3/96.
[109] Musnad Ahmad, 2/524.
[110] Reported by Ibn Hibbaan and classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1774.
[111] Fn. 27: Prakash, Dr. Satya. The Great Sufi Saint Baba Farid – Study in Life, Teachings and Achievements. In Perspectives on Shaikh Farid. Ed. Gurbachan Singh Talibi, Baba Farid Memorial Society, pp. 35-40.
[112] M. Mohammada (2007), The Foundations of the Composite Culture in India, (Aakar Books), p. 232.
[113] N. Hanif, op. cit., p. 86.
[114] G.S. Talib (1974), Baba Sheikh Farid Shakar Ganj, (New Delhi, National Book Trust), p. 31.
[115] B.S. Anand, op. cit., p. 34.
[116] D. Singh (2004), Sikhism: A Comparative Study of its Theology and Mysticism, (Amritsar, Singh Brothers), p. 144.
[117] Ibn al-Qayyim in Ma’aarij al-Qubool, 2/255, mentions the story, among others, of a man committing immoral actions with his wife and said, “What is this?” She said, “It is the will and decree of Allaah.” He said, “We accept what Allaah decrees.”
[118] Shifaa’ al-‘Aleel, p. 5.
[119] Musnad Ahmad, 2/160; Sunan Abu Dawood, 1692.
[120] Sahih al-Bukhari, 3/164; Sahih Muslim, 1628.
[121] At-Tabaraani, Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2/8.
[122] C.W. Ernst, B.B. Lawrence (2002), Sufi Martyrs of Love: The Chishti Order in South Asia and Beyond, (Palgrave Macmillan), p. 68.
[123] A. ibn Mani, A. ibn Ghudayyan, A-R. Afify, Seeking help from the jinn to fulfill one’s needs, (, Permanent Committee Fatwas), p. 162.
[124] M. Mohammada (2007), The Foundations of the Composite Culture in India, (Aakar Books), pp. 200-1.
[125] Ibid., pp. 240-1.
[126] Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

In general, it is a well known principle of the Islamic religion that the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings) did not prescribe that the righteous men, devoted worshippers and ascetics of this ummah should gather to listen to verses of poetry chanted to the accompaniment of handclapping, rhythm sticks or daffs. It is not permissible for anyone to go beyond the limits of Islam and follow something other than that which was narrated in the Qur’an and Sunnah, whether that has to do with inward matters or outward, whether for the common man or the elite. But the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allaah) granted a concession for some kinds of entertainment on the occasion of weddings and the like, and he also granted a concession to women allowing them to beat the daff at weddings and on other joyous occasions. But with regard to the men of his time, none of them used to beat the daff or clap his hands, rather it was proven in as-Saheeh that he said, ‘Clapping is for women, and Tasbeeh is for men,’ and he cursed women who imitate men and men who imitate women.

Because singing, beating the daff and clapping the hands are actions of women, the salaf used to call a man who did that mukhannath (effeminate), and they used to call male singers makhaaneeth (pl. of mukhannath). This is well known.

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/565, 566.

[127] N. Auliya, B.B. Lawrence, H. Dihlavi (1992), Nizam ad-din Awliya: morals for the heart: conversations of Shaykh Nizam ad-din Awliya recorded by Amir Hasan Sijzi, (Paulist Press), p. 252.
[128] M. Mohammada, op. cit., pp. 240-1.
[129] Ibid., pp. 200-1.
[130] Ibid., p. 173.
[131] N. Hanif, op. cit., pp. 323.
[132] Ibid., pp. 322-3.
[133] Ibn Abi Al-‘Izz, op. cit., p. 462.
[134] M. Taher, op. cit., p. 193.
[135] Ibn Abi Al-‘Izz, op. cit., p. 459.
[136] B.S. Anand, op. cit., pp. 30-1.
[137] SikhiWiki (2009), Bhagat Kabir, (Encyclopedia of the Sikhs).
[138] If Kabir here is an Arabic word, then it does not mean “most high”, but rather: great, large, powerful, influential, distinguished, formidable, eminent, important, etc. (Hans-Wehr).
[139] SikhiWiki (2009), op. cit.
[140] R. Tagore, E. Underhill (1915), One Hundred Poems of Kabir, (London, MacMillan and Co. LTD.), p. x.
[141] Ibid., pp. xi-xii.
[142] Ibid., p. 92: “I became suddenly revealed in Benares, and Ramananda illumined me;…” (XXIX).
[143] Ibid., p. xv.
[144] Ibid., p. xv.
[145] Ibid., pp. 6-7, 8, 96, 62, 72.
[146] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[147] M. Alam (2004), The Languages of Political Islam: India 1200-1800, (C. Hurst & Co. Publishers), pp. 91-92.
[148] J. Wakabayashi, R. Kothari (2009), Decentering Translation Studies: India and Beyond, (John Benjamins Publishing Company), p. 121.
[149] D. Singh, op. cit., p. 158.
[150] R. Tagore, E. Underhill, op. cit., p. 50.
[151] Al-‘Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah.
[152] Ibn Abi Al-‘Izz, op. cit., p. 96, 104, 117.
[153] Fn. 105: Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, pp. 40-50.
[154] Ibn Abi Al-‘Izz, op. cit., p. 105.
[155] Ahmad bin Sinan al-Waasitee (d. 258H): Shaykh of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim Sends Jahmite Ash’aris Fleeing From Their Secret Hideouts: ‘Whoever Says the Qur’an is Two Things Or a Hikaayah is, by Allaah, a Zindeeq, Kaafir’, (Asharis.Com, 2009).
[156] Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jeelaanee (d. 561H): Cleans Out the Secret Hideouts of the Ash’arites and Sends them Fleeing For Cover Out Of Awe and Terror: Whoever Claims the Qur’an is an Ibaarah (Expression) is a Kaafir Whose Repentance is to Be Sought, Ibid.
[157] G.H. Westcott (2006), Kabir and the Kabir Panth, (READ BOOKS), p. 22.
[158] M. Ibn S. al-‘Uthaymeen (2003), Exemplary Foundations Concerning the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allaah, (Canada, TROID), pp. 28-9.
[159] Abu A-R. A-A. Ibn F. Ibn Z. Ibn M. (2005), Investigation into the literal meaning of ‘Brahma’ in Sanskrit language according to Oxford Sanskrit – English dictionary and other dictionaries, (
[160] R. Tagore, E. Underhill, op. cit., p. 89.
[161] The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: ‘Be!’ – and it is. (Qur’an 2:117).
[162] R. Tagore, E. Underhill, op. cit., p. 88.
[163] A. Shah (1917), The Bijak of Kabir, (Hamirpur, U.P., India), p. 4.
[164] G.H. Westcott, op. cit., pp. 32-3.
[165] Ibid., p. 46.
[166] R. Tagore, E. Underhill, op. cit., p. xvi.
[167] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[168] G.H. Westcott, op. cit., p. 57.
[169] Sri Guru Granth Sahib, op. cit.
[170] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[171] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[172] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[173] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[174] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[175] Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
[176] G.H. Westcott, op. cit.

Check Also

Refuting Faruq’s ‘Janab Guru Nanak Ji awr Islam’

A refutation of the book, 'Honourable Guru Nanak and Islam', by, of all people, a Sunni author - Muhammad Faruq!

Uncloaking Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s Guru Nanak

A comprehensive historical rebuttal of the Ahmadiyya conspiracy that Guru Nanak was originally a Muslim.


  1. Our response is in bold below…

    The writer ‘Saahir’ a manipulative individual and a person who has not ‘defined’ his terms just to flexibly prove his point. These are some comments on this story,

    The respondent? Another ‘Jaahil’ who’s unable to put together a meaningful response, let alone deal directly with our arguments!

    1. The way you have proved Nanak did Shirk and never professed Shahadaat is remarkable and excellent. By using this we can prove that all Sufis were not Muslim. Now if you believe Nanak was not a Muslim and Sufiism is also a thing invented into Islam, then this proves only that “Nanak was not a Muslim”, it does not prove he was not a Sufi. Sufiism is a movement in Islam, however deviated to Islam, Sufis would be called Muslims similarly out of 72 sects only one is following True Islam (Hadith) and others are following Inventions…but we don’t say out of 72 sects 71 are kaafir.

    What a stupid argument, no doubt from an Ahmadi, which can be demolished by the following. The only extant historical document attributed to Nanak is the Sikh scripture, Guru Granth, which clearly has him affirming Reincarnation-Transmigration. Which Sufi sect affirmed this belief, which is contrary to Islam’s belief in a single life on this earthly realm followed by the judgement? None!

    Does disbelief in the Day of Judgement and belief in reincarnation amount to clear cut disbelief? Yes it does. Ergo, Nanak was never a Muslim.

    As for all the Sufi paths, then there is no doubt that all of them are accursed innovations (bid’aat) that were never taught or practised by our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

    2. See the ‘chola’ of Nanak and other dresses that he wore. It has been proved that they belong to him historically and scientifically. How can you be so ignorant?

    If you say so? Now, would you care to prove it? Better yet, why don’t you do a detailed rebuttal of our article:, which thoroughly destroys your Dajjal Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s nonsensical arguments exposing him as a fake prophet. We look forward to your response.

    The chola contains ‘La ilaha ilallah Muhammad ur Rasoolullah’, and other verses from Qur’an, Vedas and other books.

    Yeah, deal with our aforementioned paper first that more than tackles this claim.

    Like Rumi (as mentioned in Discourses of Rumi by Arberry, in Introduction or Preface with an example) believed in all religions, and said they are all true (and Modern day Zakir Naik who proves Islam from the Scriptures of the world the same way and asks people to at least follow their own religion). So Rumi was also Mushrik, Allama Iqbal and Attar were too, that’s what you believe. It is ok.

    And who said Rumi was an orthodox Muslim? Only ignoramuses like you evidently!

    3. By all the arguments you have are unable to prove that Nanak was not a Sufi, rather with the arguments you have proved that all Sufis were non-Muslims. But Sufiism (however shirkiah it is) would be called a movement in Islam, and derived from Islam.

    And where is your detailed refutation of this paper? You have not dealt with any of the aforementioned conditions of the shahaadatayn. You have not dealt with any of the references cited where Nanak rejects Islam and the five daily prayers, fasting, etc., while affirming reincarnation-transmigration and the Nirgun-Sargun concept of Waheguru? So, on what basis do we take your claims with any seriousness? None whatsoever!

    4. The claim that Nanak was a Muslim is made by those who believe Sufis are Muslims, and it is often made as “Nanak was a Muslim Sufi”, not simply Muslim.

    So there’s two types of Islam for you are there?! And if we include Ahmadiyya, then that makes… let’s see now… three! What kind of truth is this that has three versions of it? As far as we are aware, there is One Lord, one religion of truth, one message. This isn’t the Christian version of the Trinity you know!

    You have split hair on a wrong and half-claim and wasted a lot of time and still you are only able to prove that “Nanak and some Sufis are not Muslims” but you haven’t still proved the popular claim that “Nanak was a Sufi”. If Nanak was a Muslim, he was a Sufi.

    And even then your response was as shoddy as it gets!

    If he is not a Muslim, he is still a Sufi. Sufiism is Invented form of Islam. There are a lot of Sufis who are not Muslims with your criteria but they are called Muslims, and will be called Muslim. Your proofs won’t change anything!

    Lol, what?! “If he is not a Muslim, he is still a Sufi.” So it’s possible for Sufism to be a religion apart from Islam?! This pretty much exposes your line of thinking doesn’t it?

    So, if these “lots of Sufis are not Muslims”, then thank you very much for at least agreeing with our overall contention that Nanak was never a Muslim.

    5. The true criteria rests on this

    “If Sufis are non-Muslims, Nanak was too. If Sufis are Muslims, Nanak was too”

    Until you prove that he wasn’t a Sufi. Which I fear you cannot.

    But you have done nothing to refute any of our arguments. Nor have you shown how our arguments declare the Sufis as being non-Muslims. Of course, nor do you need to because you’v already affirmed the possibility that Sufis can be non-Muslims?!

    Instead of being ignorant and defensive the author should try to prove that he believes in the Unseen (things hidden from you including the knowledge which you haven’t yet gained) and be open and try to find what really needed to be proved.

    What you need to do is start addressing out argument DIRECTLY so that we can take your claims seriously! Until that time, you’re barely deserving of this response.

    Since Sufis will read your posts and they will not find it correct. What they believe is already rejected by the most, so they will just say “The author doesn’t know about the correct concepts of Sufiism” thats why he is saying this and all the majority who believes in Nanak being Muslim Sufi will still believe that he was…There is nothing that makes difference until you prove he was not a Sufi. Your article has no impact on a single soul who believes in heart that Nanak was a Muslim Sufi. What is for arguments that make no difference?

    So, next time you respond, we expect a detailed and direct refutation of our arguments above, as well as the paper: Uncloaking Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s Guru Nanak. Until that time, we’re off to sleep soundlessly!

  2. Its very informative.

  3. At last your Al azl did give results
    Good job Guru Nanak was never Muzlim

    • Do u even know the meaning of “al azl” or do you just have the habit of saying random things at random places? You are only bringing disgrace to your community, no benefit at all!

  4. I love this article, thanks brother for this article..

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