Thrikrullah – Part One

THE BASIS FOR THE AHKAAM OF THE SHARIAH

The Qur’aan Majeed is categorical in stating the completion and perfection of the Shariah during the very age of Risaalat (i.e. the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Thus Allah Azza Wa Jal declaring this eternal truth, says: “This day have I perfected for you your Deen, and completed for you My Favour, and chosen for you Islam as the Deen.” (Aayat 3, Surah Al-Maaidah) The basis for all the Ahkaam (Laws) of the Shariah is encapsulated in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, the systems of Ijma’ (Consensus) and Qiyaas (the Shariah’s process of analogical deduction) being divisions of the former two primary Sources of the Shariah. Thus, any act to be mounted on the pedestal of Ibaadat has to necessarily emanate from the two primary Sources of the Deen – the Qur’aan and Sunnah. An act which has no origin in the Qur’aan and Sunnah is not an act of Ibaadat regardless of its outer ‘ibaadat’ veneer and imagined benefits. An act which does not emanate from the Sunnah, irrespective of its external adornment and seemingly pious appearance, is not ibaadat. It is bid’ah – bid’ah sayyiah (evil bid’ah) which distorts and displaces the Sunnah.

Stressing the perfection and completion of the Deen, which is declared in the abovementioned Qur’aanic verse, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever is innovated into this Amr (Deen) of ours what is not of it, verily, it is rejected.” “The worst of things are new practices (innovated into the Deen). Every bid’ah is dhalaalah (deviation).” The Ahaadith severely condemning bid’ah and its innovators are numerous and well-known to even the Ulama who seek to justify new practices presented in the form of ibaadat.

The unlawful and abominable bid’ah which is proscribed in the Hadith refers to practices which are given the form of ibaadat (worship) while in reality there is no origin and no basis in the Sunnah for such innovations. The dispute with the votaries of the unsubstantiated specific forms of Thikr is in this area. The dispute does not centre around Mutlaq Thikr (Thikr in general) nor to any Masnoon acts of Thikr, whether Sirri (silent) or Jahri (audible). There is no dispute on this issue. The argument pertains to the specific forms (hait-e-kathaiyyah) for which the honourable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib has not presented even one Hadith in substantiation as shall be seen as we progress in this discussion. The many Ahaadith and Qur’aanic verses proffered by him, relate to Mutlaq Thikr, not to innovated forms of congregational acts given the form of ibaadat, when in actual fact these practices are not Masnoon acts of ibaadat.

Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib has endeavoured to prove the validity of the current forms of congregational Thikr which have developed only recently in the Muslim community of South Africa. From the early 1960’s the Akaabir Ulama of Deoband began visiting South Africa. Many seniors graced the shores of this country with just one mission – the mission to morally and spiritually uplift the Muslim community. They concentrated on imparting the Uswah-e-Hasanah (Beautiful life pattern) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They expounded the true meaning of Tasawwuf. They were embodiments of the Sunnah. They were always in the frontline fighting the evil of bid’ah in which the Ahl-e-Bareilwi (the graveworshippers) excel.

After the era of the Akaabireen closed with their departure from this earthly abode, some comparatively junior Ulama arrived and in stark contrast with the direction of the Akaabireen, initiated practices akin to the innovations of the Bareilwi group. This has brought us to the current trend of congregational halqah Thikr sessions in the cosmopolitan Musaajid which are frequented by Muslims of all Math-habs and Maslaks. Practices which have no relationship with the Sunnah – practices which are not Masnoon acts of Ibaadat – practices which the Auliya had introduced as spiritual remedies and meant for execution in the privacy of the khaanqah or the Khaanqah-Musjid or the home – have been promoted to the pedestal of the Sunnah and are staunchly adhered to, and even given greater importance and preference than the actual Masnoon acts of Ibaadat.

To the uninitiated and the unwary musallis of different persuasions, groups of people sitting in the Musjid swaying their heads violently from side to side, chanting Thikr in chorus, and spreading white sheets for Thikr purposes, even right at the entrance of the Musjid to deter musallis from leaving, convey the impression of some puja-cult in operation. These practices did not exist in South Africa in that segment of the community following the Akaabir of Deoband. These are recent accretions of bid’ah enacted in emulation of the Bareilwi Qabar Puja group.

Now the dispute pertains to these queer acts of Thikr which have no basis in the Sunnah. The dispute has no relationship with Mutlaq Thikr although the venerable Mufti Sahib’s booklet endeavours to create the idea that those who are opposing the bid’ah programmes are anti-Thikr. Therefore, the venerable Mufti Sahib’s booklet of Thikr is misdirected and discusses a subject entirely different and apart from what the other party is contending. In order to substantiate the contended validity of the specific forms of congregational Thikr in vogue, it devolves on the honourable Mufti Sahib to present Ahaadith, and moreover, unambiguous rulings of the Fuqaha-e-Mutaqaddimeen such as Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Abu Yusuf, Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayhim) and others of such calibre, which deal precisely with these forms of congregational Thikr in the same way as precise Ahaadith and categorical rulings of the Fuqaha could be cited to substantiate the validity of Tahyatul Wudhu, Awwaabeen, Dhuha, Tahajjud, Taraaweeh, Mutlaq Thikr, the Masnoon Thikr Bil Jahr, Athaan, Iqaamah, Takbeer Tashreeq, etc., etc.

If a zealous buzrug in this day begins to impart the lesson of reciting Subhaanallaah 1000 times after every Fardh Salaat and 50 raka’ts Tahajjud, and he advocates it for universal and collective practice, basing his case on the Ahaadith which exhort Thikr and Nafl Salaat in general, then it will be justified to brand the buzrug as a bid’ati for exceeding the bounds of the Shariah and for diverting from the Sunnah. To propagate an act as being ibaadat, a precise basis in the Sunnah is imperative. If there is no precise basis, such an act will never be an ibaadat which could be imposed on the community nor should it be promoted in a manner to convey the impression to unwary and ignorant persons that this new act is an act of Ibaadat ordered by the Shariah. This is what is gradually happening to the current innovations of congregational Thikr taking place in the Musaajid.

The Mufti Saheb has laboured in vain to structure from the Qur’aan and Sunnah a basis for the innovation of the specific forms of congregational Thikr. Neither the Qur’aanic verses nor the Hadith narrations which he has presented constitute a basis for the specific forms of Thikr. The Aayaat and the Ahaadith which the Mufti Sahib has presented have no relevance to the current forms of congregational, loud Thikr programmes conducted in some Musaajid.

 

WHAT IS BID’AH?

Prior to dealing with the proofs presented by the honourable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib, there is a need to explain the Shar’i concept of Bid’ah. The unwary people lacking this understanding are quickly swayed by arguments which exercise an appeal on their emotions. What is wrong if we remember Allah in the Musjid? There are innumerable rewards and benefits in Thikr? Arguments of this type are ploys of the Ahl-e-Bid’ah, notably the Bareilwi group. It is therefore necessary to explain in the light of the Sunnah what is sometimes wrong with even Thikr, salaat and acts which are peddled as ibaadat:

(1) Once a man during the age of the Sahaabah was about to perform Nafl Salaat in the Eidgah before the Eid Salaat. Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) prevented him. The man retorted: “O Ameerul Mu’mineen! I am fully aware that Allah Ta’ala will not punish one for performing Salaat.” He had failed to understand the purport of Hadhrat Ali’s prohibition. Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) responded: “I am fully aware that Allah Ta’ala does not reward for any act (of ibaadat) which was not done by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) nor exhorted by him. This Salaat of yours is futile, and futility (in ibaadat) is haraam. Perhaps Allah Ta’ala will punish you for its perpetration because of your conflict with His Nabi.” (Majmaul Bahrain – Majaalisul Abraar)

What is wrong with Nafl Salaat? Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) saw considerable wrong in the specific form of Nafl Salaat which the man had contemplated, hence he averred the probability of Allah’s punishment for performing that specific Salaat. It will now be puerile and deviation for anyone to present Ahaadith mentioning the virtues of Nafl Salaat in a bid to justify Nafl Salaat at times and occasions prohibited by the Shariah. Such Nafl Salaat comes within the ambit of bid’ah.

(2) Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mughaffal (radhiyallahu anhu) heard his son reciting Bismillaah audibly in Salaat before Surah Faatihah. He said: ‘O my son! Beware of innovation (bid’ah).” His son said: “I did not see anyone among the Ashaab of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who abhorred bid’ah more than him.” Hadhrat Mughaffal (radhiyallahu anhu) added: “Verily, I performed Salaat with the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), with Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), with Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and with Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu), but I did not hear anyone of them reciting it (Tasmiah). Therefore, do not recite it. When you perform Salaat, then say: “Alhamdulillah Rabbil Aalameen.”

The Sahaabi immediately reprimanded his son for reciting Bismillah audibly in Salaat. Such recitation was bid’ah to him. Bismillah is an aayat of the Qur’aan Shareef. So what is wrong if someone recites an aayat of the Qur’aan Shareef audibly in Salaat? It is wrong because Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not recite it in this manner, and the Sahaabah emulated the example of their Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in exactitude. Any excess was branded bid’ah.

(3) Hadhrat Naafi’ (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “A man who sneezed near to Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “Alhamdullillah was Salaam ala Rasulillaah.” Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not teach us like this. He taught us to say: ‘Alhamdulillaahi ala kulli haalin.’”

So what is wrong if someone recited Salaam on Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Why did this noble and great Sahaabi reprimand the person who recited Salaam on our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Since reciting Salaam on our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the specific occasion of sneezing is an accretion to the Masnoon Hamd (Alhamdulillah), it was prohibited by the Sahaabi. Such an accretion is bid’ah. It will now be absurd to justify reciting Durood and Salaam at all times and occasions by citing the Ahaadith which exhort Durood and mention its abundant virtues.

(4) Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Zubair (radhiyallahu anhu) saw a man lifting his hands in dua during the Q’adah position of Salaat. He said that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would not raise his hands in dua during Salaat. It will be incorrect to cite Ahaadith teaching the method of lifting hands to justify this practice during Salaat. Raising the hands in dua during the Qa’dah position in Salaat is bid’ah.

The aforementioned episodes should be adequate for understanding that Bid’ah is the introduction in Islam of an unsubstantiated act/practice. There is no evidence for it in the Kitaab and Sunnah. Such acts transform the Deen into a new cult, hence perpetrators of Bid’ah will be buffeted away from Haudh-e-Kauthar by the Malaaikah and even by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the Day of Qiyaamah. Hadhrat Sahl Bin Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘I shall be the first at the Haudh. Whoever passes by me will drink from the Haudh, and whoever drinks (from it) will never again become thirsty…… Then some groups will approach. I shall recognize them, and they will recognize me. (However) a barrier will develop between me and them. I will say: ‘They are from me.” It will be said: ‘You do not know what they had innovated after you.” Then I shall say to those who had wrought changes (in my Deen) after me: ‘Begone! Begone!”

Those who had introduced changes in the Deen with their bid’ah practices will be deprived of the great fortune of Rasulullah’s companionship in Qiyaamah. “Every bid’ah is dhalaalah (deviation), and every act of deviation will be in the Fire”, said Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Bid’ah is the destruction of Islam, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever honours a man of bid’ah has aided (the process of) destroying Islam.” (Mishkaat) Bid’ah is not a trivial crime. It has far reaching evil consequences which uproot the Deen. The Sahaabah were extremely cautious with regard to innovation.

Once someone invited a few persons for a feast on the occasion of the circumcision of his son. The Sahaabah objecting said that during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) there existed no such functions. Commenting on the evil of bid’ah, Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh) said: “If you do an act (of ibaadat) without the command of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and without following him (in an act), then you have committed a sinful act even if such act is in the form of ibaadat.” (Extract from Fataawa Rahimiyyah) Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullah alayh) said that of all sins, Iblees loves Bid’ah the most. Sinful acts produce regret and remorse which constrain Muslims to repent. But bid’ah is regarded as ‘ibaadat’, hence the perpetrators of innovations are deprived of Taubah. It is therefore mentioned in the Hadith: “Verily, Allah deprives every person of bid’ah from Taubah.” Why would a bid’ati hasten to Taubah when he believes that his acts of bid’ah are ibaadat? It is mentioned in Majaalisul Abraar that Shaitaan said: “I have broken the back of the progeny of Aadam with sins. They broke my back with Taubah and Istighfaar. I then invented for them such a sin for which they do not repent. These are acts of bid’ah in the guise of ibaadat.”

Durood Shareef is a highly meritorious act of ibaadat. Innumerable virtues of Durood Shareef are mentioned in the Ahaadith. Durood Shareef is an established Masnoon act. Besides the Durood formulae which were taught by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and adhered to by the Sahaabah, there exists a plethora of other duroods compiled centuries after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Now why would a devotee of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) accord preference to a Durood over and above the Durood formulae which were taught by Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and recited in profusion by the Sahaabah? Discussing this topic, Fatawa Rahimiyyah states: “The words of Durood Taaj are neither from the Qur’aan nor from the Hadith. It was not the practice of the Sahaabah, Taabieen and Salf-e-Saaliheen. Durood Taaj was introduced centuries later. A new durood cannever be compared to the Durood which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) taught to the Sahaabah. ………. It appears in the Hadith Shareef that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) taught a Dua to a Sahaabi. In the Dua appears the word ‘Nabiyika’. The Sahaabi, out of greater respect and honour, recited ‘Rasoolika’. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) immediately stopped him and instructed him to recite, ‘Nabiyika’.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stressed the recitation of the very word, namely Nabi, in the context of the Dua. He disallowed substitution with the word, Rasool. There is considerable emphasis in the Ahaadith on observance of originality in ibaadat practices. Diversion from the original ibaadat practices is not condoned in the Shariah. New forms of Thikr eventually develop into hardcore bid’ah which distorts and displaces the Sunnah. The original Sunnah is lost in the labyrinth of innovations irrespective of the sincerity with which the unsubstantiated ‘ibaadat’ practices were introduced and regardless of the imagined or perceived benefits.

 

HADHRAT MUFTI SHAFI’S COMMENTS ON BID’AH

Everyone is aware of the importance of Dua. Kitaabs have been compiled on the virtues and benefits of Dua. Everyone is free to make Dua at any time and as much as the heart desires. But when this laudable practice is cloaked with a specific form and given congregational status in the Musjid, then this very meritorious ibaadat is transformed into Bid’ah Sayyiah (Evil Innovation). The following question was posed to Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahmatullah alayh): “Is it an act of thawaab to collectively make dua after the Sunnats on Fridays? What is the harm in making such dua? How is it to criticize those who do not participate in this dua?” Hadhrat Mufti Shafi (rahmatullah alayh) answered:

“Understand well that no one has the right to increase or delete from the established Ahkaam of the Shariah. Hundreds of thousands of Sahaabah who sacrificed their lives for acts of thawaab never engaged in such a congregational dua nor did they teach it. Now who are we who imply by our action that we are correcting the error of such great sages of the Deen (the Sahaabah, Taabieen, etc.)? The implication is that we are superseding them in the pursuit of thawaab by indulging in this bid’ati dua which is considered an incumbent obligation and the spirit of Imaan. Indeed our inverted and noxious intelligence is lamentable. We criticize, condemn and curse those who abstain from bid’ah. In so doing we ourselves become the accursed ones. It is improper to practise even acts of thawaab beyond the confines of the Shariah…

After the Dua made after the Fardh, the relationship between the Imaam and Muqtadis terminates. One is free to perform the Sunnat Salaat in the Musjid or at home as was the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the majority of the Sahaabah. It is bid’ah for the Imaam to make dua after the Sunnats. It is not permissible and the prohibition is emphasised. It is ignorance to criticize those who do not participate. It is mischief, strife, injustice and sinful… Bear in mind the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (in which bid’ah is condemned). He said that every bid’ah is deviation, and deviation leads to the Fire. Therefore always abstain from bid’ah.” (Najaatul Muslimeen)

The new Thikr Jahri programmes executed congregationally in the Musaajid, accompanied by head-swinging movements are comparable to the second innovated dua which Hadhrat Mufti Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) and 100% of the Aakaabir Ulama of Deoband branded bid’ah. In fact, the dua has some resemblance to the Sunnah, whereas these specific forms of Thikr have no resemblance whatsoever with the Sunnah. The uninitiated, those unrelated to any of the Sufi Silsilas, those of different Deeni persuasions, the growing up generation of children, the ignorant and the unwary are misled or thrown into a quandary by these Thikr performances unsubstantiated by the Sunnah. The children observing these daily public displays and performances and the unwary and ignorant who have some ta-alluq (relationship) and respect for the Ulama who engage in these bid’ah practices, gradually gain the idea that these acts are Masnoon ibaadat ordered by the Shariah. This impression will become ingrained in their minds and in this way hardcore bid’ah customs and practices develop.

Those Ulama of our School of thought who indulge in these public Thikr performances are degenerating into the very same rut of bid’ah in which the Bareilwis are mired. If this trend continues, a time will soon dawn when Deobandi bid’atis and Bareilwi bid’atis will merge into an indistinguishable sect of bid’ah. They will then constitute one homologeous bid’ah sect. Non-participants are frowned on. Indirect pressure is applied on uncommitted musallis to participate. The claim that there is no such pressure is simply not true. Many musallis complain of the frowning brows and the queer stares which are directed at them. In fact, in at least one Musjid in Johannesburg, those who perform the Khatm-e-Khwaajgaan ritual which has no relationship with the Sunnah, and which has already entered the domain of bid’ah due to the pedestal of near-incumbency to which it has been elevated, spread a white sheet right at the entrance of the Musjid to deter musallis from leaving. This is truly zulm and jahaalat of the worst kind. The unwary and simple-minded musallis are given the idea that it will be ‘kufr’ and ‘shirk’ to tramp on the ‘holy shroud’ around which the ‘dervishes’ have gathered to execute their ritual performance. And, if a musalli should dare to tramp on the shroud in a bid to escape, he is too cognizant of the consequences. The reaction of the ‘dervishes’ will be a replica of the attitude which the Qabar Pujaari bid’atis usually exhibit towards Deobandis who do not participate in their bid’ah customs and puja rituals.

The arguments presented by the honourable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib have no relationship with the specific forms of the Thikr rituals which are being practised in the Musaajid. The charge of bid’ah thus remains unchanged and unchallenged. Let us now deal with his arguments.

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