On the website, Fatemidawat.com, Khuzaima Qutbuddin and his family have alleged that nass conveyed in private in the absence of any witnesses (shahhids) is permissible and well established in Da’wat. Assuming that their readers are uninformed, they gave the historical precedence of the nass of Syedna Ahmad RA on Syedna Hussein RA. Using Syedna Taher Saifuddin Aqa RA’s Risala Sharifa, Mashrabat -Tasneem-e-Noor as proof, they take the sentence “fa ma ash’hada ash shohada zahiran” to mean that there were no witnesses present at the time of nass and the nass was done in private.
However, here we must take a closer look at the philology of the sentence. Ash’hada is in Form IV of the Arabic verb forms which is usually renders a causative meaning to form I. What this means is that sha-hi-da (to bear witness or give testimony) is made causative, so it means to make someone be a witness for something, or to give someone the knowledge about something to bear witness or behold it. It can also mean to make someone present. However, in the this particular sentence the most suitable meaning is read - … he did not make the witnesses public (ẓāhiran). By reading the meaning in this way, it does not preclude the presence of shahhido during the nass; it just emphasizes the fact that they weren’t made public, and rather the nass was done in private, however, among shahhido (witnesses).
What reinforces this interpretation is another Da’wat kitab that Khuzaima Qutbuddin website failed to mention perhaps intentionally or because of their lack of knowledge of Da’wat’s full corpus of works. That is the kitab, Muntaza ul-Akhbar, a book written in Syedna Abde Ali Saifuddin Aqa RA’s zaman and which includes the history of the Du’at Mutlaqeen RA.
While talking about the same nass ni zikr between Syedna Ahmad RA and Syedna Husain RA, Syedi Sh. Qutub b. Salmanjee clearly states that the nass between Syedna Ahmed RA and Syedna Husein RA occurred among “Hudood, Mukhliseen, Mu’qineen, and Mu’mineen.” The nass here was indeed private and kept secret, however Muntaza clearly states that it was done in the presence of shahhids and not in the way portrayed on the Fatemidawat website. Only by interpreting the nass in the way mentioned here can the congruent meanings of both Da’wat kitabo, Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA Risala Shareefa and Muntaza, line up. Therefore, there hasn’t been any nass done in the ear of someone or in private without any witnesses besides the person themselves as is claimed by Khuzaima Qutbuddin.
Da’im ul-Islam also gives further evidence supporting this idea. Syedna Qadi Noman RA clearly states that there must be “Tawqeef” (informing) along with the Nass. Therefore, if nass is conveyed in private it can only be done so in the presence of shahhido (witnesses). For example, the 49th Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA did Nass on Syedna Abdullah Badruddin RA in the presence of four witnesses on the 11th of Zilhaj 1323. They were told to keep this private until his death, upon which it was revealed.
This is the history of Da’wat in plain site. I feel that what is portrayed by the Fatemidawat website is unfortunately a delusional twisting of historical fact to serve political needs in the hopes that the readers are uninformed.