Recently, someone forwarded the strange claim that al-Qari’s text in Sharh al-Shifa’ actually stated, “NOT THAT his soul, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, is present in the houses of the Muslims” (lâ anna rûhahu hâdiratun fî buyûti al-muslimîn) that is, the diametrical opposite of what al-Qari actually said.
He [al-Qari] discussed the issue in the Sharh of Shifa, that lâ anna rûhahu hâdiratun fî buyûti al-muslimîn i.e. this notion is incorrect that the soul of our Master Hazrat Mohammed, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, is present in the homes of the Muslims. In some copies the word lâ has been dropped and has without any reason created confusion for some individuals, including Mufti Ahmed Yar Khan sahib (see Jaa al-Haqq p. 142). ... In all his explicit quotes Hazrat Mulla Ali al-Qari himself negates the belief of hâdir wa nâzir. Those who have relied on his brief, indistinct quotes (out of context) are absolutely and definitely wrong.
That one can actually dare to make the above claim is only because of ignorance of the Arabic language since al-Qari prefaces the statement with the word “meaning (ay),” which would be grammatically incorrect if it were followed by a disclaimer such as “not that his soul is present in the houses of the Muslims.” The truth is that no such word as lâ has been dropped because there was no such word there in the first place, and the claim that there was is nothing short of tampering (tahrîf). Furthermore, the word al-Qari used for “present” is hâdir in the masculine, not hâdiratun in the feminine, as rûh can have either gender but the masculine is more appropriate here to refer to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam.
A Denial of Prophetic Attributes
Another one of those of the same School considered by some to be knowledgeable objected to attributing the characteristics of hâdir nâzir to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, because, he claimed, these attributes belong to Allah U. Even if the latter premise were true, the reasoning is spurious and is like saying that because al-Ra’ûf and al-Rahîm are Divine Attributes, they cannot be also Prophetic Attributes.
This sophistry was refuted by al-Qadi ‘Iyad in al-Shifa where he said:
Know that Allah has bestowed a mark of honor on many of the Prophets by investing them with some of His names: for example He calls Ishaq and Isma‘il “knowing” (‘alîm) and “forbearing” (halîm), Ibrahim “forbearing” (halîm), Nuh “thankful” (shakûr), Musa “noble” (karîm) and “strong” (qawî), Yusuf “a knowing guardian” (hafîz, ‘alîm), Ayyub “patient” (sabûr), ‘Isa and Yahya “devoted” (barr), and Isma‘il “truthful to the promise” (sâdiq al-wa‘d)... Yet He has preferred our Prophet Muhammad, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, since He has adorned him with a wealth of His names in His Mighty Book and on the tongue of His Prophets.
The above evidence establishes beyond doubt that there is no impediment to the possibility of hâdir nâzir to be Attributes shared by Allah Most High with some of His servants if such two Names should be established to be His. In fact, it is known that the two angel-scribes, the qarîn, the angel of death, and Shaytan, are also present, seeing, hearing, and fully witnessing the deeds of human beings at any given time.
Furthermore, are Hâdir and Nâzir among the Divine Names and Attributes? Imam Ahmad al-Sirhindi was quoted to say: “Allah Most High is aware of each and every minor and major condition and is Hâdir and Nâzir. One should feel shame before Him.”
However, the Divine Attributes are ordained and non-inferable. Logic, reasoning, analogy, and other forms of interpretation are not used to infer an attribute but only Divine disclosure through the primary two sources of the Shari‘a i.e. Qur’an and Sunna. This is an elementary point of doctrine that is present in most if not all books of ‘aqîda, including the Maturidi classics. So we cannot speak of al-Hâdir, while al-Nâzir is the same as al-Shahîd where the divine Sight means His Knowledge.
Imam al-Bayhaqi said:
The meaning of “The Witness” (al-Shahîd) is He Who is well aware of all that creatures can know only by way of witnessing while being present. . .. because a human being who is far away is subject to the limitation and shortcomings of his sensory organs, while Allah Most High is not endowed with sensory organs nor subject to the limitations of those who possess them. (Shâhid is also a Prophetic Name in the Qur’an.)
As for al-Hâdir it is precluded, because Hâdir in Arabic has the sense of a being physically present at a location, i.e. attributes of the created that are absolutely precluded from the Creator. Therefore Hâdir in relation to Allah Most High, like the attribute of omnipresence, may only be applied figuratively to mean that He is All-Knowledgeable, but neither “Omnipresent” nor Hâdir have actually been reported or mentioned among the Divine Attributes in the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the texts of the early Imams. Allah knows best.
When some of these rebuttals were presented to the above-mentioned objector, he replied verbatim, that “By Haazir and Naazir, we mean Allah’s knowledge is complete and comprehensive. Nothing is hidden from the absolute knowledge of Allah. In other words, he is Aleem and this quality of Allah is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’aan.” By thus replying he has acknowledged that:
1. He used the Attributes Hâdir and Nâzir figuratively, to mean ‘Alîm.
2. He has done so on the basis of his own interpretation of the former two terms as meaning the latter term, neither (a) on linguistic bases nor (b) according to a
Law-based stipulation (nass shar‘î).
To return to the statement of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi – Allah sanctify his soul – that “[He] is Hâdir and Nâzir,” there are also caveats:
1. Isolated statements cannot be used to invalidate a basic rule of Ahl al-Sunna in the Divine Names and Attributes, namely that spelled above as found in the doctrine of the Salaf and Khalaf on al-Asmâ’ wa al-Sifât.
2. In practical terms, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi was careful to frame his statement within an affirmation of the sincere murîd’s consciousness of the all-encompassing
nature of Divine Knowledge within the ladder of spiritual process in the Naqshbandi Tarîqa, just as the Shuyukh of the Shadhili Tarîqa teach their murîds to say, “Allâhu hâdirî, Allâhu nâziri, Allâhu ma‘î.” These expressions are meant to induce scrupulous Godwariness and in fact all refer to the attributes of Divine Knowledge without any resemblance whatsoever to the hudûr or nazâr of created beings other than in name.
3. In doctrinal terms, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi means something other than what those who use hâdir in the Arabic language and in relation to the Prophet, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, mean. Namely, he means hâdir not in the normal creatural sense of “present” but in the non-creatural sense of “Divine Knowledge of Things in their Essence” (al-‘ilm al-hudûrî). This is explained by him at length in his epistle 48 of Volume Three to the Prince, Zadah Khwaja Muhammad Sa‘id, titled “The Secret of His Nearness and the Self-Disclosure of His Essence.” This is a highly peculiar, specialized sense that should be treated thus unless one is interested in making Shaykh Sirhindi say other than what he means.