Maulana Saad Rujoo Controversy: Did he actually do Rujoo?

On 6th December 2016, Darul Uloom Deoband issued its first official fatwa against Maulana Saad. Maulana Saad initiated a formal Rujoo process. TLDR: Maulana Saad Rujoo was NOT accepted due to 3 reasons

  1. Technically, Maulana Saad DID NOT do a full Rujoo. His Rujoo was only limited to his statement on Prophet Musa AS.
  2. Maulana Saad continues to make controversial statements deemed outside Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah even after the Rujoo.
  3. Darul Uloom Deoband and many other institutions have not retracted their fatwas and stance on Maulana Saad. In fact, in 2023, they issued a new fatwa on Maulana Saad claiming their previous negative remarks on him still hold (See the 2023 Fatwa)

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What is a Rujoo?

A Rujoo is a formal process, in which an individual demonstrates his repentance, in order to make peace with an institution (in this case Darul Uloom Deoband) for making remarks which were deemed heretical or contradictory to the institution’s standpoint.

A Rujoo is not the same as a Tawbah, which is repentance to Allah SWT whereas a Rujoo is towards an institution.

A Rujoo is not to be taken lightly

A person may not simply make an erroneous statement publicly and thereafter vindicates himself by making a Rujoo overnight. Such abuse of Rujoo is abhorred. Rujoo conditions have thus been meticulously set in the past to ensure the sanctity of the process.

The Conditions of Rujoo

A Rujoo’s condition varies between institutions but the following conditions are typical:

  • The individual must admit and show strong remorse in ALL of his contradictory statements.
  • The individual must issue a retracting statement in the same manner as how the contradictory statement was issued. For example, if the contradictory statement was published in writing, the retracting statement must also be published in writing as well.
  • The individual must never repeat his contradictory statement again.

Maulana Saad Rujoo: First Attempt (Before Fatwa was released)

NOTE: Before reading further, please understand that our aim is to preserve the pure doctrine (Manhaj) and history of Tabligh, no matter how bitter it is. As generations come, this history may be forgotten. We do not promote hate, and certainly not backbiting. See our article ‘Backbiting vs Warning‘. No matter how bad a Muslim is, he is still our Muslim brother. We love and hate only for the sake of Allah.

2016 November – Before Darul Uloom Deoband issued their Fatwa on Maulana Saad publicly, they sent him a letter to reprimand and inform him of their intention. They wanted to protect his name and honour before releasing the Fatwa.

2016 November – Maulana Saad sent a delegation to Darul Uloom Deoband saying that he was prepared to do a Rujoo. They gave his delegation a list of all his controversial statements which was deemed outside Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

2016 November 30 – Maulana Saad sent his first official Rujoo Letter to Darul Uloom Deoband. In this letter, he admitted his errors with the following statement:

“This lowly one considers it his Deeni responsibility and wants to make a clear Rujoo from his previous Bayans (speeches) that has been referred to. May Almighty Allah forgive him”

However, at the end of the Rujoo, Maulana Saad seems to accuse Darul Uloom Deoband of having bad thoughts. He is alluding that this is why they are being critical of him. Worse, he even tried to argue that he has references for his controversial Bayans. He writes:

This lowly one considers it a very disappointing matter the ill thoughts that important people like yourselves have, who are responsible for an International academic centre. This ill thought, regarding the ideologies, positions and methods of this lowly one and his associates, show uncooperativeness with the blessed effort of Dawah and Tabligh and its Markaz.

… despite this lowly one’s lack of Ilm, he will attempt to send references and explanations with regards to the objections raised against the speeches of this lowly one

Maulana Saad’s First Rujoo Letter, November 30, 2016

Source: Da’wah and Tabligh Crisis, p17

Maulana Abdul Malek, a well-renowned scholar from Bangladesh, states in his article regarding Maulana Saad’s First Rujoo:

Is there a need for Rujoo if someone assumes they are correct and has evidence to support their statements? Can this be considered as valid ruju? or will it be considered that they are trying to unjustly prove they are correct? Obviously such an act defeats the very objective of the Rujoo!

Source: Da’wah and Tabligh Crisis, p18

2016 December 6 – Darul Uloom Deoband thus did not accept Maulana Saad’s Rujoo and published their first fatwa.

2016 December 8 – Darul Uloom Deoband issued a supplementary writeup (Link: Urdu, English) explaining why his first Rujoo was not accepted

Maulana Saad Rujoo: Second Attempt

2016 December 11 – Maulana Saad sent his second Rujoo letter. The letter was similar to the first letter without the controversial points mentioned earlier. Due to the need to avoid further Fitnas, they decided to be very lenient and accept his Rujoo purely on this written letter.

2016 December 13 – Two days later, Darul Uloom Deoband prepared a letter to Maulana Saad to inform him that his Rujoo letter was accepted. They sent two messengers to personally deliver their response to him.

However, on the way to Delhi, evidence reached Darul Uloom Deoband that Maulana Saad had repeated his objectionable statement regarding Prophet Musa (AS) that very day in his Fajr speech. Moreover, he also made a controversial statement regarding Prophet Yusuf (AS). Thus, Darul Uloom Deoband decided not to send the letter and called back their messengers.

Within two days, Maulana Saad did Rujoo only to repeat the very same statements. It is as if his Rujoo is just a matter of play and games! He was never serious about his Rujoo in the first place.

Maulana Saad Rujoo: Third Attempt

2017 January – About a month later, Maulana Saad sent his third Rujoo letter to Darul Uloom Deoband. In this letter, regarding the matter of Prophet Musa (AS), he argued that whatever he said could be understood from a different context. He tries to prove that he is correct in this very aspect. He claimed his statements were only Marjuh (relatively weak) and not Baatil (false). He even blatantly declared his Rujoo upon the statement:

Even if my words are not Baatil, I make Rujoo regardless.

Maulana Saad’s Third Rujoo Letter

This is such a slap on the face! He directly admits that his words are correct, but wants to make Rujoo regardless. He even insisted on presenting arguments for his controversial statement. Can this be considered a valid and sincere Rujoo?

Mufti Abdul Malek writes

Na’udhubillah. This was his third Rujoo? Decide for yourselves if it is valid or not. Can this be considered a valid Rujoo?

Source: Da’wah and Tabligh Crisis, p23

2017 February – Darul Uloom Deoband replied by sending a letter rejecting his Rujoo’ and refuting the arguments that had been presented. They pointed out that he needs to show sincere repentance. They also pointed out that since his statements were made in public (in front of hundreds of thousands of people), the Rujoo must be done in public as well.

Maulana Saad Rujoo: Fourth Attempt

2017 (Possibly around June) – Maulana Saad sent his fourth Rujoo letter admitting his mistakes on the third Rujoo.

2017 (Possibly around July) – Darul Uloom Deoband replied in writing that they do not accept any more of Maulana Saad’s Rujoo if it is in the form of a letter. By this time, his Rujoo has been rejected three times. Many false accusations have also been propagated against Darul Uloom Deoband. In Darul Uloom’s writing, they stated that as the speeches were given publicly, the Rujoo needed to be public as well.

Typically, one of the conditions of Rujoo is, “The retractive statement must be made in the same manner as how the contradictory statements were made“. In the first three Rujoos, Darul Uloom Deoband was very lenient on this but seeing how three Rujoos have already been rejected, they decided to enforce this matter.

2017 December 2 – Maulana Saad did his first public Rujoo. During the Taleem of Hayatus-Sahabah, he openly declared his retraction on his statements with regard to Prophet Musa AS.

2018 January 11 – Maulana Saad did his second public Rujoo in front of his followers in Kakrail Masjid. He openly declared his retraction on his statements with regard to Prophet Musa AS.

Deoband finds Maulana Saad Rujoo insincere as he continues his deviation despite the Rujoo

2018 January 31 – Darul Uloom Deoband issued an official clarification on their position concerning Maulana Saad’s Rujoo.

In a nutshell, the Rujoo was only accepted for his statements on Prophet Musa AS. That was the only Rujoo he made! Darul Uloom Deoband expressed great concerns regarding the divergence of Maulana Saad as he continued to make controversial statements despite the Rujoo. The original 2016 Fatwa was never retracted.

We have made a comprehensive list of Maulana Saad’s controversial statements.

Below is the English translation of Darul Uloom Deoband’s Letter Clarifying their stance on Maulana Saad’s Rujoo.

Clarification of Darul Uloom Deoband about Maulana Saad Kandhlawi (Maulana Saad Rujoo)

31 January 2018

There are repeated requests from within India and outside that Darul Uloom Deoband should express its view regarding the Rujoo (revocation) of Maulana Muhammad Saad from his comments about the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him).

It is hereby clarified that as far as the Ruju of Maulana Muhammad Saad from this particular issue (about Prophet Musa) is concerned it is somehow satisfactory. However, concerns about the intellectual misguidance expressed in Darul Uloom’s position cannot be ignored. Even after many attempts on Rujoo, we have noticed that the incumbent person is still making new controversial statements. The same self-styled Ijtihad, wrong arguments, and incorrect interpretation of Sharia texts on his specific thought about Da’wah are prominent. Due to this, not only the servants of Darul Uloom, but all other scholars of Haqq (righteous scholars) strongly oppose strongly oppose his ideology. 

Those who turn to us in this regard are once again reminded that Darul Uloom Deoband has distanced itself from the internal dispute of Tablighi Jamat and it has declared its impartiality clearly from the beginning. However, whenever people approach Darul Uloom for its views about wrong ideologies and thoughts, Darul Uloom always strives to guide the Ummah considering it its religious duty.

Signatures (Maulana Mufti) Abul Qasim Nomani, (Maulana Mufti) Sayeed Ahmad Palanpuri, (Maulana Syed) Arshad Madani. Date 13/05/1439 AH / 31/01/2018


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