One day i heard my cousin telling my mother that he heard people in the Masjid saying that the Deobandis believe that it is possible for an ummati to surpass our Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in practical deeds (amal).
Is this true? If not, how should we reply to such people who are misguiding the innocent people and creating doubts in their hearts and minds?
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
We take note of your emotions in the query and your sensitivity to the superiority of the prophets over the ummat. It is important to understand what is the criteria of superiority? Superiority is not necessarily based on quantity.
Surely R1000 cannot be superior to 500 US Dollars based on the apparent numbers. Surely 500 US Dollars far supersede R1000 despite being lesser in number. In discussing the issue in reference, we advise you to contain your emotions and consider the following:
The criteria of virtue and superiority in the sight of Allah is quality and not quantity.
Consider the following Hadith:
1. عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: لَا تَسُبُّوا أَصْحَابِي فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ أَنْفَقَ أَحَدُكُمْ مِثْلَ أُحُدٍ ذَهَبًا مَا بَلَغَ مُدَّ أَحَدِهِمْ وَلَا نَصِيفَهُ
Abu Saeed (al-Khudri) reported the Messenger of Allah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم as saying: Do not revile my Companions; by him in whose hand my soul is, if one of you contributed the amount of gold equivalent to Uhud, it would not amount to as much as the mudd of one of them, or half of it. 
It is clearly understood from the above hadith that a non Sahabi may spend much more than what a Sahabi spent in the path of Allah. The quantity and excess spent by a non Sahabi does not make him superior to a Sahabi.
The inference that Deobandi’s believe that it is possible for an ummati to surpass Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in deeds is deduced from the statement of Hazrat Maulana Nanotwi’s Rahmatullahi Alayh. He states the following in Tehzeerun Naas:
“انبیاء اگر اپنی امت سے ممتاز ہوتے ہیں تو علوم ہی میں ممتاز ہوتے ہیں، باقی رہا عمل تو اس میں بسا اوقات ”بظاہر“ امتی مساوی ہوجاتے ہیں بلکہ بڑھ جاتے ہیں“
“In their Ummah, the Ambiya are outstanding in Knowledge. In so far as practical deeds are concerned, “outwardly” it will appear that an Ummati may be equal and even surpasses.”[[i][
Understanding the term “outwardly”.
1.After Meraj Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam lived for approximately fifteen years. He performed approximately 27,000 fardh salah. There are many people from the ummah who have performed fardh salah for more than 15 years until over 50 years or more.
2.Rasulullah ﷺ performed only one Haj after hijrat. Many ummati’s have performed many more haj’s than Rasulullah.
They performed apparently much more fardh salah than Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. However, all the fardh and nafl salahs of the entire ummat as well the fardh and nafl haj’s of the entire ummat which outwardly seems to be more, can never be equivalent to the smallest deed of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaih Wasallam.
The emphasis in the statement of Hazrat Nanotwi Rahimahullah is the excellence of the knowledge of the Prophets. It is well known fact that the quality of deeds of a sincere and devoted individual is according to his depth of knowledge. Since the level of knowledge of the prophets supersedes the knowledge of the ummat, all the deeds of the ummat can never be equivalent to the smallest deed of the prophet.
The smallest act of virtue of a Rasul supersedes all the acts of virtue of the ummat.This is the correct belief of the Deobandis who are from the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah.
Hazrat Maulana Khaleel Ahmed Saharanpuri in his book “Al Muhannad Alal Mufannad” which is based upon the beliefs of Ulama of Deoband writes;
- It is our belief that Nabi Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam is best among all creations.
- He is the most virtuous in the sight of Allah.
- No one can supersede him in his rank.
- He is the Master of all Prophets.[pg:65]
This clearly explains the reverence for the prophets and their superiority according to Hazrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi[Rahimahullah] and generally according to all Deobandis.
If an ummati did apparently more deeds than prophets, that does not make the ummati superior to the prophets and neither does that an imply inferiority of the prophets.
We hope the above explanation clarifies the issue for you.
If you wish, you may present our explanation to people.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Anas Ullah Sharieff Qasmi
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
[i] تحذير الناس (ص:7 ط:دارالاشاعت کراچی)
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