MUFTI RADHAAUL HAQ’S ARGUMENTS
(1) Thikr – Just any Form?
On page 8, the venerable Mufti Sahib states: “There is also no doubt in the fact that zikr, no matter what form it may be, is the backbone and one of the main objectives of Tasawwuf.” In fact Thikrullaah is the Maqsad (Objective) of life on earth. Allah Ta’ala has created man and jinn for only His Thikr (Remembrance). There is no other objective of our sojourn here on earth. Thikr is not only the “backbone and one of the main objectives of Tasawwuf”, it is in fact the only objective of Tasawwuf. All practices, acts, and methods of Tasawwuf are secondary and designed for the purpose of achieving the Objective which Allah Ta’ala states with clarity in the Qur’aan Majeed: “I have not created jinn and man, but for (the purpose) of worshiping Me.”
While the importance of Thikr cannot be overstated or exaggerated, it is incorrect to claim that “zikr, no matter what form it may be’, is desirable and commanded by the Shariah. If Thikr is performed in emulation of the ways and styles of the Ahl-e-Bid’ah, then such forms will be bid’ah and shunned, and if they happen to be among the Mustahab or Mandoob categories of the Shariah, which have been elevated to Wujoob (incumbency) then too, the Shariah orders abandonment of the meritorious practice whose origin is well-grounded in the Sunnah. The Fuqaha have evolved the principle: When a Mustahab is assigned a higher status, it becomes Makrooh.
“Verily, Mandoob becomes Makrooh (prohibited) when there is fear of it being elevated to a rank higher than its status….. In fact some Fuqaha issued the fatwa of prohibition when fasting the Ayyaam-e-Beedh (13th, 14th and 15th of the month) which became so widely prevalent that it raised the fear of the belief of Wujoob (compulsion) developing. They issued this Fatwa notwithstanding the fact that fasting on these days is Mustahab. Numerous Ahaadith are narrated in this regard. Now what is your opinion regarding Mubah (permissible acts which are elevated to incumbency, and, what is your opinion regarding detestable practices (being elevated)?” (Majmaul Bihaar from Majlisul Abraar)
In this regard, the following explanation is given in Fataawa Rahimiyyah, Page 305, Vol. 2:
“It is Mustahab to begin from the right side in good acts. However, when Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) observed during his time that this was developing into a Waajib act, he decreed it to be Makrooh. Ibnul Muneer said in this regard: ‘Verily Mandoob acts sometimes become Makrooh when it (Mustahab/Mandoob) is elevated above its status. (Beginning from the) right is Mustahab in all acts of ibaadat. But when Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) feared that people will believe it to be compulsory, then he indicated its Karaahat. And Allah knows best.” (Fathul Baari Sharh Bukhaari)
“Every Mubah (permissible act) which leads to this, is Makrooh.” (Majaalisul Abraar) A unanimous principle of Fiqh is that when a Mustahab is elevated above its status then it becomes Makrooh. Even if the belief and intention of someone (who indulges in the act) is not erroneous, then too, because of the fear of the belief of others becoming corrupt and because of the resemblance with the Ahl-e-Bid’ah, it (the permissible or Mustahab practice) will be prohibited. Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When a Sunnat becomes a salient (distinguishing) feature of the Ahl-e-Bid’ah, then we order its abandonment for fear of resembling them.” (Ihyaaul Uloom)
Thikr in “just any form” is not acceptable. With regard to forms of Thikr, the methods instructed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and practised by the Sahaabah have priority and permanency. Any other new form, be it of the Mubah category, cannot displace the Masnoon forms of Thikr. A Mubah form which is elevated above its permissible status is transformed into Bid’ah Sayyiah. The reward (thawaab) for Masnoon Athkaar (forms of Thikr) cannot be acquired from Mubah types of Thikr which have no origin in the Sunnah. If a Mubah or even a Mustahab form resembles a salient feature of the practices of the Ahl-e-Bid’ah, then such form of Thikr has to be incumbently set aside in terms of the principles of the Shariah. A form of Thikr such as loud Thikr which disturbs others is not permissible. Thus it is not permissible to make loud Thikr in the Musjid nor recite Qur’aan Shareef loudly if others are engaging in Salaat or if it disturbs the sleep of those in I’tikaaf.
Those who participate in loud congregational Thikr in the Musaajid are becoming incrementally indifferent to the rights and convenience of others who engage in Sunnat or Nafl Salaat or in their own acts of silent Thikr and tilaawat. They conduct themselves as owners of the Musjid with no care for the huqooq (rights) of the other musallis. It is important to understand that the Musaajid in this country are cosmopolitan. They are attended by the public at large. The Musaajid here are not small village or khaanqah Musjids where the writ of the Shaikh of the area holds sway. Such small and special Musjids are generally the preserve of the mureedeen of the Shaikh. It is not permissible to infringe on the rights of the other musallis by imposing practices and performances which may initially have been Mubah, but which have become Bid’ah due to transgression of the limits. The Musaajid in South Africa are not private khaanqahs.
Even in khaanqahs where adherence to the Sunnah dominates, there are rules and regulations governing the Mubah Thikr forms introduced as spiritual remedies. The Mashaaikh did not introduce their specific forms of athkaar to displace the Sunnah forms of Athkaar, nor did they pass off these Mubah forms of Thikr as Masnoon acts of ibaadat. But today, these innovated specific forms of Thikr, unsubstantiated by the Sunnah are accorded primary importance. Any form of Thikr has to be examined in the light of the Sunnah. Provided that there are no accretions which conflict with the Shariah, the new form will be Mubah.
(2) The Qur’aan and Thikr
The honourable Mufti Sahib enumerates 15 Qur’aanic verses to highlight the status of Thikr. However, not a single one of these verses remotely deals with the topic which the Mufti Sahib has undertaken to espouse, namely loud and collective Thikr in the Musjid. The Aayaat refer to Mutlaq Thikr – Thikr in general which is the objective of man’s sojourn on earth. While the dispute pertains to the special forms of non-Sunnah Thikr rituals, the Qur’aanic verses exhort Thikr in general or to make Thikr in the manner in which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah used to make Thikr.
There is absolutely no basis in the cited verses nor anywhere else in the Qur’aan Majeed for vindicating the special forms of innovated Thikr gatherings which are now developing into Bid’ah. Just as our Bareilwi brethren have no right to cite the Qur’aan in substantiation of their many bid’ah Thikr and other programmes, so too may our Deobandi brethren not cite the Qur’aan in their attempt to ‘prove’ validity for their forms of Thikr gone haywire in emulation of the Bareilwi bid’atis.
Those who are refuting the special forms of Thikr programmes which are being conducted in the Musaajid do not trade their Imaan for kufr by contending that Thikr is haraam or bid’ah. What they are saying is plain and simple: Your specific forms of non-Sunnah Thikr are now crossing the threshold of permissibility and entering into the domain of Bid’ah. Hence, the presentation of Qur’aanic verses to bolster these new forms of Thikr is a redundant and a diversionary exercise which does not assist the case of the venerable Mufti Sahib. The virtues, significance, importance, benefits and indispensability of Thikrullaah as imparted by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are accepted and believed to be the Soul of Imaan and the basis of Najaat and Falaah. But participation in the specific forms which have no sanction in the Sunnah is not a requirement for engagement in the constant and perpetual Thikr commanded by the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
(3) The Hadith and Thikr
In his discussion pertaining to the virtues of Thikr in the light of the Ahaadith, Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib has enumerated 20 Hadith narrations which all mention Mutlaq Thikr, not the new specific forms which are being propagated nowadays. None of the Ahaadith substantiates the case of the participants in collective loud Thikr in public places (the Musaajid), nor does any of these narrations refute the contention of those who criticize the innovated forms of Thikr. The virtues of Thikr in general are extolled in the Ahaadith cited by the Mufti Sahib.
But the dispute is on another turf. The virtues, excellence and imperative need of perpetual Thikr (24 hours of the day and night) are not being contested. The refutation is directed at the specific forms of non-Sunnah practices which are developing into hardcore bid’ah.
(4) The Status of Collective Thikr
In support of the specific forms of non-Sunnah Thikr which were unknown to the Sahaabah, the Mufti Sahib presents the following Hadith: “Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu anhu) and Hazrat Abu Saeed (Radiyallahu anhu) bear testimony to having heard Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say: “Whenever a group of people gather to remember Allah Ta’ala, the angels surround them, mercy enshrouds them, tranquillity descends upon them and Allah Ta’ala mentions them in the presence of angels.” (Muslim) Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib proffers the following commentary for this Hadith: “The virtues of the gatherings of zikr are shown in this Hadith. This proves the permissibility of collective zikr. Generally loud or audible zikr takes place when people congregate. Silent zikr outwardly has no relation with a gathering. Hence this Hadith indicates towards audible zikr.”
The venerable Mufti Sahib has stretched his imagination excessively in the endeavour to justify the specific forms of Thikr which are being disputed. As far as the ‘virtues of gatherings of zikr’ are concerned, there is no problem and no dispute. But his claim: “Generally loud or audible zikr takes place when people congregate’, and his claim: “Silent zikr outwardly has no relation with a gathering”, are refuted. His conclusion: “Hence this Hadith indicates towards audible zikr”, based on the two spurious aforementioned claims is likewise spurious and baseless. What is the proof to substantiate the first premises cited by the Mufti Sahib? Besides this being his personal opinion, there is no evidence to back up this spurious opinion. It is incorrect to aver that when people congregate for Ibaadat or Thikr, then generally loud Thikr takes place.
Millions of Muslims gather and congregate in the Musaajid five times a day for Salaat. The Jamaa’t which has gathered for Salaat is a congregation of Thaakireen (people who make Thikr). The Qur’aan describing Salaat, says: “…..And establish Salaat. Verily Salaat prevents from immorality and evil. And the Thikr of Allah is the greatest.” (Surah Ankabut, aayat 45) Salaat is the highest form of Thikr (Remembrance of Allah Ta’ala). Musallis in a Musjid constitute a ‘gathering’ when they perform the Fardh in jamaa’t and even when they perform their Sunnat and Nafl individually. The musallis, scattered all over the Musjid, some engaging in Nafl Salaat, some in silent Tilaawat, some in silent Thikr, some in silent Dua and some in Muraaqabah (contemplation), all together constitute a gathering which comes within the context of the Hadith.
The validity of a gathering/congregation is not reliant on all members of the gathering raising their voices in chorus and chanting in unision. This is a fallacious idea posited as a requisite for the validity of a gathering. There is no basis for this contention of the Mufti Sahib. All the Muqtadis standing behind the Imaam are silent and during Zuhr and Asr even the Imaam is silent, and in every other Salaat, besides Fajr, the Imaam too is silent in the last two raka’ts. There is thus a valid congregation performing Thikrullaah of the highest category collectively without audibility/loudness. There is no collective chanting and no loud Thikr, yet this jamaa’t is a noble congregation about which the cited Hadith states: “the angels surround, them, mercy enshrouds them, tranquillity descends upon them and Allah Ta’ala mentions them in the presence of the angels”. The musallis joining in the ostensibly Ijtimaai’ silent dua after every Fardh Salaat, constitute a valid gathering engaging in Thikrullaah. Everyone engages in his own silent dua despite being a member of the Jamaa’t.
It is absurd to restrict these transcendental virtues and benefits for a gathering in which the members loudly chant in unision such formulae of Thikr uncorroborated by the Sunnah, while those who silently engage in Salaat and Thikr whether in jamaa’t or individually in the Musjid in conformity with the Sunnah, are excluded from these benefits when in reality the musallis performing Salaat in the Musjid are the first and primary repositories of the glad tidings mentioned in the Hadith cited by the honourable Mufti Sahib.
At home the womenfolk perform their Salaat individually and in silence. They too constitute a gathering in the meaning of the Hadith, hence they too qualify as recipients for the wonderful benefits and rewards mentioned in the Hadith for those who engage in Thikr in a ‘gathering’. A ‘gathering’ is a congregation of persons. The attribute of collectivism – to act in unision – and the attribute of loudness – all chanting loudly in chorus – are not requisites for the meaning of ‘gathering’ in the context of the Hadith. There is no explicit instruction in the Ahaadith ordering collectivism of the kind advocated by the venerable Mufti Sahib.
The other preposterous fallacy stated by the honourable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib is his arbitrary averment: “Silent zikr outwardly has no relation with a gathering.” The term ‘outwardly’ in this statement is a misfit. ‘Silent’ Thikr is done ‘inwardly’ – inside the heart and with a silent tongue, not outwardly. What is the basis for claiming that silent Thikr has no relation with a gathering? A Musjid packed with musallis silently engaged in Thikrullah is a gathering. There is no valid grounds in either the Hadith nor in language for claiming that the hundred musallis sitting silently in the Musjid do not constitute a gathering. In terms of the Hadith cited by the Mufti Sahib as well as other Ahaadith, this concourse of musallis sitting silently in the Musjid or performing their acts of ibaadat individually and silently come within the meaning of Rasulullah’s statement, and they all qualify for the benefits mentioned in the Ahaadith. They all constitute the gathering which is enshrouded with mercy, and on whom the Malaaikah cast their sacred shade of blessings.
The conclusion: “Hence this Hadith indicates towards audible zikr’, is highly erroneous. The very first beings who qualified for the awards and rewards mentioned in these Ahaadith in which appear the term ‘gathering’, are the Sahaabah. Despite the Sahaabah being the first recipients of these rewards, the honourable Mufti Sahib managed to only venture “this Hadith indicates”. He has not presented the amal of the Sahaabah. He has not cited a single episode of the Sahaabah having gathered to execute a programme of loud collective Thikr. The clinching argument for dismissing the baseless opinion of the Mufti Sahib is his inability to present the practice of the Sahaabah to corroborate his inference, namely, “this Hadith indicates towards audible Thikr”. There is no need for ‘indications’ on such an important and vital issue as Masnoon Ibaadat.
How did the Sahaabah perform their acts of Thikr in their ‘gatherings’? Was loud and collective Thikr in chorus the practice of the Sahaabah? Were they not concerned with the tranquillity, peace, etc. which the Hadith promises for those who engage in Thikr in gatherings? Were the Sahaabah deprived of the benefits and blessings mentioned in these Ahaadith wherein appears the aspect of ‘Thikr in gatherings’? From the innumerable thousands of Ahaadith is it not possible to present a few explicit narrations which explain with clarity the amal of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah in their gatherings of Thikr? Why should we rely on the inferences of the venerable Mufti Sahib when we have the perfect and excellent Example of Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallhu alayhi wasallam) and his Ashaab in front of us? Why have the Fuqaha elaborated with clarity the numerous acts of ibaadat, but do not make even the slightest mention of collective loud Thikr. Their silence is not puzzling. Collective loud Thikr simply did not constitute part of the ibaadat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahaabah, the Taabieen and Tab-e-Taabieen.
This dispute cannot be decided in terms of an inference based on figments of personal opinion which has no relationship with the reality of the method in which the Sahaabah performed their Thikr. While the narrations mentioning the blessedness of gatherings of Thaakireen are general and unrestricted in meaning, that is, they apply to even two musallis or even one thaakir sitting in solitude in a cave, the honourable Mufti Sahib has innovated exclusivity for these Ahaadith. He has confined the benefits mentioned in these Ahaadith to those who gather for collective loud Thikr, chanting in chorus when in reality there is absolutely no substantiation in the Ahaadith for these new specific forms of Thikr even if they are assumed to have initially been Mubah.
The Mufti Sahib is expected to produce precise and unambiguous proof from the Ahaadith to corroborate the specific forms of loud and collective Thikr which is the subject of the discussion and dispute. How did the Sahaabah understand these Ahaadith and how did they give practical expression to Rasulullah’s teaching regarding Thikrullah? Far from having organized collective loud Thikr programmes in the Musaajid, the Sahaabah acted fully in accord with the Qur’aanic instruction: “Call unto your Rabb with humility and silently.” There is no hint of collective loud Thikr gatherings in the Hadith. It is therefore highly erroneous to seek proof and justification in the Ahaadith for the current loud collective Thikr programmes.
The Sahaabah were the embodiments of the Ahaadith. Every command issued by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was given practical expression by the Sahaabah. Thus for the correct tafseer of the Ahaadith, it is imperative to view the Hadith narrations in the mirror of the Sahaabahs’ amal. It is highly improper to isolate the Ahaadith from the practical life and example of the Sahaabah. Minus the Sahaabah there is no Sunnah and no Shariah. They were the very first Link in the Chain of Islam. Highlighting the indispensability of the Sahaabah for recognizing and understanding the Sunnah, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanded the Ummah: “Honour my Sahaabah, for verily they are the noblest among you then those who come after them (i.e. the Taabieen); then those who come after them (i.e. the Tab-e-Taabieen). Thereafter will appear falsehood.” (Mishkaat) It is incorrect to relegate the practice of the Sahaabah into oblivion, then isolate the Ahaadith and mutilate it with a personal opinion which is unsubstantiated by the Sunnah.
Thus, to say: “This Hadith indicates towards audible zikr”, and “This proves the permissibility of collective zikr”, “Silent zikr has no relation with a gathering”, is untenable and is not borne out by the practical expression which the Sahaabah gave to these Ahaadith on which the venerable Mufti Sahib seeks to structure his case for loud, collective Thikr. Since it is known for a fact that the Sahaabah did not indulge in these specific forms of loud and congregational Thikr which are today in vogue and which are fast assuming the form of Bid’ah, the suggestion that these Ahaadith even ‘indicate’ towards these innovated forms of Thikr is preposterously erroneous. The kutub of Hadith and Fiqah elaborately discuss the Athkaar of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah and the methods of recitation of these Athkaar on all occasions, including the Musjid. Nowhere will these specific forms of collective loud Thikr be found in these kutub. It is therefore futile, to put it mildly, to even attempt to acquire from the Ahaadith a basis for these new practices. If these specific forms which are the subject of dispute, had any Sunnah validity or substantiation, there would have existed an unbroken chain of Ta-aamul (continuous, uninterrupted practice) extending to the Sahaabah. The kutub of the Muhadditheen and the Fuqaha would have explained its significance, virtues, benefits and methods of practical expression. We all would have been practising collective Thikr in the Musaajid.
However, there is nothing but complete silence, and even rejection. The Hadith of Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) cited by the Mufti Sahib has a very wide meaning. It is not restricted to a specific group of thaakireen sitting in the Musjid engaging in their own respective forms of Thikr silently. The ‘group’ which ‘sits’ and engages in Thikr is not a reference to a special group of persons who gather for any specific form of Thikr, be it Sunnat Thikr or Mubah Thikr. The tranquillity, mercy and peace descending for the thaakireen mentioned in this Hadith are for all types of thaakireen and apply to all situations. Thus, even one person sitting at home in Thikr, one woman engaging in Tasbeeh while doing her housework, a group of musallis performing Jamaa’t Salaat in the Musjid, two musallis performing Jamaa’t Salaat in the wilderness, a group of Muslims reciting the Qur’aan Shareef silently while scattered in the Musjid, a family reciting Qur’aan Shareef at home, the musallis performing Janaazah Salaat, the passengers making Thikr while in a vehicle or in the plane or ship, a worker keeping his tongue moist with Thikr while going about his duties, the sick person lying in his bed with Thikr on his tongue, the solitary person standing up during the night for Tahajjud, those who do not sit but move in Tawaaf of Baitullah – in short every person and every group of Muslims engaging in whatever type of ibaadat, be it wa’z, dars and tadrees, all of them without exception come fully within the ambit of this specific Hadith and similar other Ahaadith.
The Hadith may not be restricted to a sitting group of men or for a particular group who have gathered for a Thikr program even if the program is devoid of any bid’ah. Such restriction is devoid of evidence. In the tafseer of this Hadith, the following appears in Mirkaat: “Thus, his standing for taa-ah (obedience/ibaadat of Allah) such as Tawaaf, ziyaarat, Janaazah Salaat, seeking knowledge and listening to naseehat do not negate it (i.e. the purport stated in the Hadith).” The Mufti Sahib’s averment, ‘Silent zikr outwardly has no relation with a gathering’, is utterly fallacious. It excludes the numerous kinds of thaakireen from the barakaat mentioned in this particular Hadith. With his highly erroneous inference, the honourable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib has negated the scope of this Hadith for all the millions of Muslimeen engaging in their different acts of ibaadat either individually or in Jamaa’t whether at home or in the Musjid or elsewhere. But there is no authority of the Shariah who has presented such a narrow opinion as the view of the Mufti Sahib. Furthermore, there is no backing anywhere in the Shariah for the inference that this Hadith pertains to a group of persons who have gathered for a specific form of loud and collective Thikr. All Masnoon acts of ibaadat are explained with clarity in the reliable kutub of the Shariah.
Regardless of inferences, indications and deductions, the venerable Mufti Sahib has no alternative other than conceding that the collective forms of loud Thikr are most assuredly not Masnoon, and that there is no substantiation in the Ahaadith for these specific forms of loud collective Thikr. The Mufti Sahib will have to argue permissibility from another angle and base his case on Shar’i principles. If he manages to structure a case for a Mubah hukm, then it will devolve on the other party to show grounds for the claim that this specific mubah practice has degenerated into Bid’ah Sayyiah. This is the narrow arena into which these specific forms of collective and loud Thikr programs fit.
(5) Loud Thikr Based on Deduction
The next Hadith quoted by the Mufti Sahib is similar to the aforementioned one narrated by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu). Presenting his commentary, the venerable Mufti Sahib alleges: “The importance and permissibility of the gatherings of zikr are highlighted in this Hadith. From this it can be deduced that loud zikr is permissible.” The ‘importance and permissibility of gatherings of zikr’ have not been contested. This statement in the context of our discussion is superfluous. Audible as opposed to ‘loud’ Thikr has also not been refuted. The Imaam recites audibly; the Talbiyah is audible; Takbeer-e-Tashreek is audible; the Athaan is audible; the Iqaamah is audible; lectures/bayaans are audible, individuals at home and elsewhere recite the Qur’aan Shareef audibly while others recite Tahleel and Tasbeeh audibly, alone and in privacy where they do not attract the gazes of people. These are Masnoon forms of Thikr which are audible.
These audible Masnoon acts of Thikr have not been contested. There is no need to deduct from any Hadith permissibility for audible Thikr. There is a difference between audible and loud Thikr which borders on screaming and shouting. The latter form of ‘loud’ Thikr is not permissible. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explicitly prohibited the screaming type of loud Thikr which has become a salient attribute of the participants of halqah Thikr which constrains the walls of echo. The subject of the dispute as mentioned earlier is neither audible Thikr nor collective Thikr. Many forms of Masnoon Thikr have been referred to. Jamaa’t Salaat is collective Thikr. The Dua after the Fardh Salaat is collective Thikr. The crowds making Tawaaf are engaged in collective Thikr. The musallis scattered all over the Musjid silently making their own Thikr are all in collective Thikr. Neither audible Thikr nor collective Thikr has been criticized. The bone of contention is that the specific forms of collective loud Thikr which are nowadays being practised in the Musaajid have degenerated into bid’ah, hence are not permissible. Insha’Allah, this aspect will be discussed in greater detail in the ensuing pages.
There is no substantiation in this Hadith for the type of collective and loud Thikr which is being given greater impetus by the day. All the Ahaadith cited by the Mufti Sahib pertain to all forms of athkaar and ibaadat – Masnoon acts and Mubah acts. It is incorrect to portray the Thikr mentioned in these Ahaadith as being acts of loud and collective Thikr which are executed in the customary forms in vogue. Besides the specific occasions of jahr (audible Thikr) ordered by the Shariah such as Athaan, Iqaamah, Talbiya, etc., there are no other forms of loud collective Thikr in the Sunnah. A new form of Thikr which has no substantiation in the Sunnah will have to be examined in the light of the principles of Fiqah to determine its status for issuing a ruling of Mubah or Bid’ah. All the Ahaadith cited by the honourable Mufti Sahib refer to Thikr in general. There is no support for any bid’ah form of Thikr in the Ahaadith. ‘Gatherings of Thikr’ referred to in the Ahaadith pertain to all acts of ibaadat. It is improper to interpret these narrations to convey the impression that such ‘gatherings’ are the type of halqah Thikr programmes introduced recently in the Musaajid in South Africa.
(6) Silent Thikr
Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib, includes in his booklet a section which he captioned: ‘Silent Zikr of the Heart and Tongue in the Light of the Ahaadeeth’. There appears to be no relationship between this caption and the objective of his booklet which is supposed to substantiate loud collective Thikr in the Musaajid. Since he has introduced this topic of silent Thikr, it will be appropriate to comment on the Ahaadith which he has presented to show the virtues of silent Thikr. Among these Ahaadith are the following statements of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam):
* “Always keep your tongue moist with zikr of Allah Ta’ala’
* “The action most loved by Allah Ta’ala is that you meet your death in such a state that your tongue is moist with zikr of Allah Ta’ala.”
* “There are two such sentences which are easy to recite yet they weigh heavy on the scales (of deeds) and they are loved by Rahman. They are Subhaanallahi wa bihamdihi and Subhaanallahil Azeem.”
* “That………. you ensure that your tongue always makes the zikr of Allah Ta’ala.”
* “Recite Subhaanallah ten times, Alhamdulillah ten times and Allahu Akbar ten times a day but it will be counted as one thousand five hundred rewards on the scale of deeds.”
* “Everything is a purifier and the purifier of the heart is zikr of Allah Ta’ala.”
* “I am with My servant when he remembers Me and he moves his lips (when making My zikr).”
These Ahaadith cited by the Mufti Sahib, while explaining the significance and importance of Mutlaq Thikr (Thikr in general), do not refer exclusively to silent Thikr. All forms of Thikr come within the purview of these Ahaadith. In the narrations cited by the honourable Mufti Sahib, no mention of ‘silent’ Thikr is made. The superiority of silent Thikr is based on other Ahaadith and dalaa-il (proofs of the Shariah). The Thikr exhorted in the aforegoing Ahaadith may be done silently or audibly, i.e. audible within the limits of the Shariah and unaccompanied by any adverse factor which would render the Thikr form Bid’ah. A man in solitude, whether sitting, walking or lying down, may engage in Thikr audibly without trumpeting, and his Thikr will be within the scope of the Ahaadith. All the Ahaadith which the venerable Mufti Sahib has enumerated in substantiation of loud collective Thikr apply to silent as well as permissible forms of audible Thikr. And, all the Ahaadith enumerated for indicating the permissibility or importance of silent Thikr, also apply to permissible audible Thikr. Differentiating between these Ahaadith and presenting them under separate topics to substantiate different Thikr methods is baseless, unwarranted and simply not vindicated by any daleel whether explicit or implied.