Shaykh Shibli Nomani was highly inclined towards Mutazila School. In fact many scholars have considered him to be a mutazilite. His two famous books on kalam are ilm al kalam and al kalam.
In ilm al kalam he wrote that mass, space and movement are qadeem (always existing) there by ascribing the attribute of qidm (pre existence) to other than Allahu ta’ala.
Ashraf Ali thanvi al deobandi was shown these writings and he decared the fatwa of kufr on Shaykh Shibli Nomani.
Shaykh Hamiduddeen Farahi was maternal cousim brother (khalera bhai) of Shaykh Shibli Nomani. He used to write tafsir of the quranic ayats in Arabic which used to be pubished in Indian magazine. In one such article he wrote that quran also contains non eloquent words
(ghayr faseeh alfaaz). It is because of this usage Ashraf ali thanvi decalred fatwa of kufr upon Hamiduddeen Farahi. Hamiduddeen Farahi was also inclined towards Mutazilite School.
Later the Arabic tafsir of Hamiduddeen Farahi was translated into Urdu by Amin Hasan Islahi into two volumes.
Lay man should stay away from books written by these scholars as it has many controvertial writings on aqida. The Sunni population in United Kingdom should stay away from Akram Nadawi who is trying to review the views of these two scholars
The kufr fatwas were published publicly.
Some wahabis have said that Shibli Nomani was inclined towards mutazila thought because of his teacher Mawlana Farooq al abbasi chiriyakoti. This is a mistake and a lack of investigation.
Mawlana Farooq was a teacher in nadawa. He was not a mutazilite. But his student, shibli nomani could not maintain the fine balance between reason and revelation and got inclined towards mutazila school. The British colonial power promoted shibli nomani and his thought.
Suleyman Nadawi was a student of Shaibli nomani. When he got the khilafat from f Ashraf ali thanvi and tried to convince him that he should take back his fatwa of kufr from Shaibli Nomani and Hamiduddeen Falahi.
Suleyman Nadawi writes in his book hayat e shibli (biography/life of shibli) that Ashraf ali thanvi later took back the fatwa of kufr from both shaykh Shbli and shaykh Farahi. Suleyman Nadawi writes that he held correspondence with Shaykh Shbli in which shaykh Shbli told him that he was only giving the view of Ibn Rushd on mass, space and movement and that his view was that of salf as saliheen in this regard.
Suelyman Nadawi writes that when he informed Ashraf Ali thanvi about the belief of Shaykh Shibli, then the later took back his fatwa of Kufr.
Suleyman Nadawi also writes that he informed Ashraf ali thanvi that the writing of Hamiduddeen Farahi was a typing mistake which was published without checking. Upon this Ashraf ali thanvi took back the fatwa decalred upon Shaykh Farahi.
However, no where it was published that Ashraf ali thanvee took back (ruju) the fatwa of kufr. Since both the kufr fatwa were published publicly, the rujunama (retracting) should also have been published publicly. But there is no record that Ashraf ali thanvee took back his fatwa except the narration given by Suleyman Nadawi, who was a student of Shaykh Shibli.
Suleyman Nadawi is a known fabricator. He fabricated Taqwiyatul Iman of Ismaeel Dehalvi, by deleting many sentences, rephrasing many paragraphs. We can still find his fabricated edition in Indian market. The testimony of such fabricator can not be accepted.
Abdullah Sabri Chsiti
4th Safar 1431