Below are excerpts from a letter of Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayh), in which he elaborates on the reasons why the Shariah prohibits Jalsahs such as the Khatme Bukhari Jalsahs that have become in vogue amongst the Ulama today. His explanation summarizes the position and attitude of the founders of Deoband, with regards to such Jalsahs. Even till this day, despite the rise of modernism and other foreign influences within the ranks of Deobandi institutions, Darul Uloom Deoband has yet to adopt the kind of Khatme Bukhari Jalsahs that has become standard practice of many Madrasahs today who claim affiliation to the teachings of the Akaabir of Deoband.
A recent Fatwa of Darul Uloom Deoband which emphatically proclaims ‘Never did Darul Uloom Deoband ever have a Jalsah dubbed “Khatm-e-Bukhari Jalsah”’ will also be cited below. In terms of the Shar’iah, there is a massive difference between the simple programme which Darul Uloom Deoband had always held to mark the completion of the students’ Alimi course, and the customary “Khatm-e-Bukhari Jalsah” which has become prevalent everywhere in its particular form that has become inextricably attached with Haraam paraphernalia, and which Darul Uloom Deoband denies ever holding, as explicitly stated in the Fatwa below.
Those who find Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s Fatwa (ruling) unpalatable and sense their heart (cum nafs) instinctively attempting to ignore or brush over it, should take note that this Fatwa is not a personal opinion that can be shelved to one side. The clear-cut Shari’ factors of prohibition which Hazrat Thanwi mentions can easily be understood even by the simple layman. Furthermore, the simple layman is also able to observe that such clear-cut factors of prohibition described in this Fatwa are present to a far greater degree, and are far more applicable to the Khatme Bukhari Jalsahs that have become prevalent today. Rather, in the Madaris in UK, South Africa, and many other countries, far greater evils than those present during Hazrat Maulana Thanwi’s time have become commonplace, such as the flagrant subversion of the 1000+ year old prohibition on women coming to the Masjids, enacted long ago by the Ijma’ (consensus) of the Fuqaha, and upheld uniquely in recent times by all the Akaabir of Deoband. Hence, in such circumstances, as Hazrat Thanwi clarifies, the Shariah demands the prohibition of even the so-called “good” Jalsahs, none of which occupies a position of Shari’ Zaroorat (a necessity without which a Deeni objective cannot be met).
In the face of such clear-cut factors of prohibition, the attempted use of the typical “majority of Ulama” argument simply backfires. It does not take much Aql (intellect) to understand that the “majority of Ulama” argument has absolutely no relevance to the age described by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in which Muslims will be many, the Ummah will be in an abject state of humiliation, and the Ulama will be amongst the worst of the people. Hence, today, the “majority of the Ulama” argument is the trademark argument and last refuge of all deviant groups, not only the new generation of “Deobandis” who are increasingly diverging from the teachings of the Akaabir whom they deceptively claim to follow.
The fact that the “majority of Ulama” today are condoning clear-cut trangressions of the Shariah which even their own Akaabir such as Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi) had long ago demonstrated to be Haraam, does not alter in the slightest the Haraam nature of such transgressions. Haraam does not tranform into Halaal, regardless of how many Ulama attempt to bring about such a transformation. On the contrary, the “majority of Ulama” argument merely serves as a direct indictment on the state of the Ulama today, and a manifest sign that we are well into that age prophecised by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) during which the pure Deen will have become Ghareeb (strange, lone, forlorn) – that is, extremely few will be adhering to the Haqq.
Hereunder follows excerpts from Hazrat Maulana Thanwi’s explanation on the Shari’ prohibition of organized Jalsahs:
EXCERPTS FROM MAULANA THANWI (RAHMATULLAHI ALAYH)
“The summary of these Shar’i obstacles is that when carefully viewed and evidenced by experience, the major reason for conducting these jalsahs is twofold; receiving donations and broadcasting one’s activities.
We can also describe this as the honour and prestige of the madrasah, which boils down to hubb-e-maal and hubbe-jaah (love for money and love for fame) which have been prohibited in numerous Nusoos (Qur’aan and Hadith injunctions). Although when money and fame are desired for the sake of Deen then this is not condemned, but it is debatable whether on such occasions (jalsahs) the Deen is the objective or the dunya.
So, even though ta-weel is made (that is, defences are made to justify the jalsahs) and it is said to be for the Deen, however, Allah Ta’ala has made a yardstick for every intention whereby the validity or corruption of intention can be gauged. Now on these occasions (of madrasah jalsahs), if one reflects, the sign of talab-dunya (seeking the world) is evident.
Let us expand on this. If the Deen was the objective then anything contrary to the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala would not be adopted. But since such (haraam) things are opted for, it clearly shows that the objective is the dunya. By way of example some of these factors are enumerated hereunder:
[Hazrat Maulana Thanwi goes on to list many transgressions of the Shariah which are found in the Jalsahs. For brevity, only a few from his list are cited below]
[FACTORS OF PROHIBITION THAT PLAGUE THE KHATME BUKHARI JALSAHS]
- There is israaf (wastage) mostly in these jalsahs. A lot of money goes into the travelling expenses of those whose attendance is not necessary at all together with their entourages. Sometimes meals, etc. are also arranged at the madrasah’s expense. The meals are lavish.
- In some places these jalsahs are conducted in the Musjid. The Musjid is then turned into a lounge with noise and clamour, worldly talk, despicable poems and many other vile acts which are witnessed taking place in the Musjid. When it is forbidden to engage in even such permissible activities in the Musjid for which the Musjid is not meant, then what should be said about these vile acts?
- Incompetent pupils are shown off as competent to swell the number of graduates and students who have passed. And so forth.
- In asking for donations the Rules of the Shariah are not observed. The Injunction of the Shariah is: “A man’s money is not lawful without his heartfelt consent”. In collecting funds, schemes are devised to apply pressure on the hearts of those addressed, be this pressure in the form of coercion, embarrassment or empathy. People on whom this pressure is applied are targeted. In front of the audience, needs of the madrasah are presented. It is insisted that they attend the jalsah. It is known for certainty that a rich man will fear insult and humiliation coming empty-handed. The madrasah authorities broadcast their expenses; the rich guest fears disgrace….Riya (ostentation) being haraam is a Shar’i Hukm. In most cases in such functions the giver harbours riya in his heart. The cause of this riya is also sinful. (In other words, the jalsah is the occasion of this riya, hence the jalsah is sinful.)
- They mostly project the status of their madrasahs much higher than it actually is, either explicitly or by implication. This translates to falsehood and deception.
- If someone questions something about the madrasah, and he is right, it is never accepted. On the contrary, they will attack the person and labour to refute the question, even though in their hearts they know that it is the truth. This is subversion of the Haqq.
- They publicise their activities, praise themselves, give preference to their own madrasah, show off their work to be better and more intensive and for this they are at pains to increase the volume of their Ta’leem and introduce kitaabs which are beyond the capacity of the students to show the magnitude of the work being carried out, whether the students understand the work or not.
[WHAT ABOUT THE “GOOD” JALSAHS?]
[After receiving firm assurance by one Muhtamim of a Madrasah, who invited Hazrat Thanwi to his Madrasah’s Jalsah, that none of the evils stated in Hazrat Thanwi’s list will be present, Hazrat Thanwi explains why even such Jalsahs are also prohibited:]
It is already accepted that many jalsahs, in fact all, are plagued with the previously stated evils. It is also evident that to stop these is necessary as far as possible. It is prohibited (manhi anhu) to popularize such wrongs intentionally and unintentionally. In this scenario, if some muhtamim sahib conducts a jalsah with extreme care, then although he may not be directly involved in the wrongs, but there is no doubt that he is a cause for the spreading of the wrongs in other careless jalsahs.
In many issues the Fuqaha have strongly debarred some permissible acts simply to close the avenues (saddan lil baab) and to uproot corruption (hasman li maaddatil fasaad). In this regard the Muhaqqiqeen Ulama in this age debar the customary maulood, faatihah and urs gatherings, regardless of the organizer being cautious in I’tiqaad (belief) and Amal (practice). The reason for this is that others who are careless will have justification. It will lead to these becoming widespread among irresponsible people. This rule applies equally and consistently to gatherings of da’wat and gatherings of the madaaris. After observation it suffices to reflect.
The benefits of these jalsahs you have stated are not disputed. However, when benefits and wrongs clash then preference is accorded to the effect of the wrongs, when the benefits are not categorized as essential (Zaroorat) in the Shariah. In what we are discussing it is obvious that there is no Shar’i Zaroorat (severe necessity).
In fact, even the benefit is not confined to this particular way. Helpers (supporters of the Madrasah) could be informed with a written report. Students could be awarded without any ceremony associated. In so far as bayaans are concerned, firstly it is difficult to openly give naseehat to the audience of such gatherings. Consideration for ill feelings prevents that. Then, this objective (that is, hidaayat and naseehat) can be fulfilled independently in good measure (i.e. in a separate gathering). Therefore, I am still unable to attend. Was-Salaam (End of Hadhrat Thanwi’s explanation on the Prohibition of Jalsahs)”
PRESENT DAY DARUL ULOOM DEOBAND ON BUKHAARI JALSAHS
We have heard that no Jalsah on the occasion of the Khatm (completion) of Bukhari Shareef is organized in Darul Uloom Deoband. In view of the practice of the venerable Ulama of Darul Uloom Deoband being based on Shar’i Daleel and worthy of following we deemed it necessary to enquire as to the reason/s for Darul Uloom Deoband not having Jalsah Bukhari Shareef? Kindly elaborate, it will be much appreciated.
ANSWER BY DARUL ULOOM DEOBAND
We have already responded to this question. Never did Darul Uloom Deoband ever have a Jalsah dubbed “Khatm-e-Bukhari Jalsah”. Yes, previously the completion date of Bukhari Shareef was set much in advance. This led to many people from far and near attending. The crowds were swelling year by year to the extent that together with the menfolk, women also started attending. They brought along their children. On account of the crowds of women and children a tumultuous situation arose. Thus, the date for the completion of Bukhari Shareef was withheld and is no more pre-set. Now the Khatm is on any day without prior notification and it is conducted in a serene atmosphere.
Mahmood Hasan Bulandshahri
(Muftis of Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband)
Excerpts taken from: http://www.asic-sa.co.za/images/jalsahs_permissible_or_not_.pdf
THE CUSTOMARY MADRASAH AND KHANQAH JALSAHS
PERMISSIBLE OR NOT PERMISSIBLE?
[By Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai (Damat Barakatuhum)]
The evils of jalsahs enumerated by Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) had already plagued these ostentatious, merrymaking functions many decades ago. If Hadhrat Thanvi had to witness the evil jalsahs of our era, he would have been absolutely appalled.
All the evils enumerated by Hadhrat Thanvi are to be found in greater degree in the jalsahs of today. Every Tom, Dick and Harry institution has clambered on the jalsah bandwagon. Wallaah! The aim is nothing but to show off. Ostentation, riya, Takabbur and israaf are the primary factors of moral filth bedevilling these functions of the nafs. Trust funds are squandered for haraam merrymaking.
Whilst the Ummah at large is suffering under grinding poverty and gross ignorance which drives people into the traps of kufr, the madrasah and mock khaanqah people abuse and misappropriate public funds to gluttonously eat and feed people who devour luxury and delicious foods thrice a day at their homes to the extent of contracting a host of incurable diseases.
There is no surprise in the sicknesses – physical and spiritual – from which the Ulama are today suffering. Their gluttony, hub-e-jaah and hub-e-maal have made them obese, extremely lethargic and fearful of proclaiming the Haqq. Their excessive indulgence in the demands of the nafs has induced them to abandon Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil Munkar.
There is no goodness in these jalsahs which should be abandoned in entirety. But, instead, knew brands of jalsahs are being evolved by the miscreant ulama. An unheard of jalsah nowadays on the rise, is the so-called ‘islahi jalsah’. This is indeed a great travesty. It is an illustration of the total lack of understanding of the methodology and objective of Tasawwuf. It is a stupid mockery of the Deen in the name of the Deen.
After Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) had explained the numerous evils attendant to jalsahs, the Muhtamim (Principal) of the Darul Uloom in his response pointed out that none of the evils mentioned by Hadhrat Thanvi and which ruined all other jalsahs, would occur in his jalsah. He was fully in agreement with Hadhrat Thanvi’s appraisal and the prohibition, but he explained that his particular jalsah would be bereft of all these evils, hence he desired Hadhrat Thanvi to grace his jalsah with his presence.
Hadhrat Thanvi, in his response, despite accepting the explanation of the Muhtamim and believing that his particular jalsah would be free of the evils, nevertheless, he (Hadhrat Thanvi) declined the invitation and refused to attend. The reason given was that others would justify their haraam jalsahs on the basis of the Muhtamim’s jalsah which would be free from the many evils which plague all jalsahs.
Although Hadhrat Thanvi did not further pursue the discussion with the Muhtamim, he (Hadhrat Thanvi) had subtly drawn attention to the tricks of the nafs which the Muhtamim had not understood. Whilst his particular jalsah may have been free from the manifest evils associated with all jalsahs, the malady of hub-e-jaah (love for fame) did bedevil even this jalsah which was ostensibly different from other jalsahs.
The issue of doling out prizes to the students is actually motivated by the disease of hub-e-jaah. What is the need for handing out prizes to students at a public function which has absolutely no basis in the Sunnah, yet the Book of the Sunnah – the Qur’aan Majeed – which was taught 14 centuries ago is the self-same Qur’aan which is being imparted today to the students. Why are the prizes not given to the students during normal Madrasah time when only students and the class Ustaadh is present?
Firstly, doling our prizes to Darul Uloom students is shaitaaniyat and nafsaaniyat. Darul Uloom students are pursuing the Knowledge of the Aakhirah. Sincerity has to be cultivated in them. They should not study on the basis of the incentive of prizes. The Qur’aan and all related branches of Knowledge are for the sake of Allah Ta’ala, not for worldly gains and objectives.
Secondly, it is a custom acquired from the kuffaar. It has no basis in the Sunnah. Thirdly, should an Ustaadh wish to make a gift to a Student for excellent study, it should be in an impromptu basis in class or out of class without a stupid function of riya and israaf where the name of the student will be announced and the gift doled out in the presence of a stupid crowd of onlookers.
Furthermore, the bayaans of functions are simply part of the superfluous paraphernalia of the merrymaking function of riya and israaf. Such ostentatious bayaans have hardly any beneficial impact on the audience whose presence at the function is for the sake of merrymaking – to eat, talk drivel, go to toilet and waste time and money. As Hadhrat Thanvi has pointed out, there are other avenues for delivering bayaans.
The evil disease of jalsahs has now gripped even females. Girls madrasahs which in the first instance are abnormal aberrations in the community are no longer lagging behind Darul Ulooms in conducting these stupid haraam wasteful jalsahs which have become real concerts where clowns perform and sing naa’ts and nazams. Females also attend. It is one dark sin piled on another dark sin.
The Ulama have become blind. They are spiritually blind and morally corrupt, hence they hallucinate so many stupid ‘daleels’ to justify what is manifestly haraam. They should for a moment cast aside their emotions and read Hadhrat Thanvi’s naseehat to the Muhtamim with intelligence and a desire to understand the Haqq. Then, they will not fail to understand the evil of the jalsahs in which they are embroiled.
Please comment on the newly introduced practices called: ‘Special Ladies` Programmes”, and Islaahi Jalsas’. Years ago we never heard of such programmes. These Ulama are Deobandis.
The dividing line between Deobandi, Barellwi and Modernists is extremely feint. In fact, in many instances it no longer exists. All have become the Ahl-e-Baatil. These ‘special’ ladies programmes and ‘Islahi’ jalsahs are deceptions of shaitaan. Shaitaan has entrapped the Ulama with ‘deeni’ bait – activities portrayed as Deen when in reality these practices are deviations and motivated by nafsaani objectives. Even sincere Ulama are misled by their nafs. They lack the depth of understanding to discern the doors of fitnah they have opened with their public displays of ‘piety’ and programmes of the nafs. You will hardly find them on the platform of Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy anil Munkar.
May Allah Ta’ala save us from the deluge of fitnah which is opening up the Doors of Allah’s Punishment. Instead of discouraging women from issuing into the public domain, these Molvis are doing the exact opposite of the tareeqah of the Sahaabah. They are in fact following hard in the footsteps of the Bid’atis and modernists who have long ago opened the avenues of fitnah with their women’s programmes.
I am a student at a Darul Uloom. What do you dvise regarding listening to Islahi jalsah programmes and other kinds of jalsah programmes usually organized by Madrasahs?
The time that is wasted listening to these insincere, worldly nafsaani motivated and hollow proceedings of jalsahs and islahi jalsahs should be devoted to mutaala-ah of the kutub or to reading stories of the Auliya or to Tilaawat or to some other constructive work. Don’t waste time with these bid’ah jalsah issues.
WASTE AMID SUFFERING
[By Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai]
“And, be not wasteful. Verily, the wasters are the brothers of the shayaateen, and shaitaan was to his Rabb ungrateful.” (Qur’aan)
WASTE IS THE effect of kufr (ingratitude). Those who waste are ungrateful for the bounties of Allah Ta’ala, hence the Qur’aan describes them as ikhwaanush shayaateen (the brothers of the devils). Waste of money and food has degenerated to intolerable levels in the Muslim society. The rich and the poor, the learned and the ignoramuses, are all involved in the sin of massive wasteage of the ni’maat (bounties) of Allah Ta’ala. And, all of this waste is the effect of pride and show.
Large scale waste is committed especially of food at functions – wedding functions and madrasah and khaanqah functions (jalsahs) of a variety of kinds which have become evil characteristics of the affluent Muslim society of this era. Simplicity, sacrifice and love for the suffering Muslims of the world no longer are among the attributes of Muslims. Whilst massive waste of food is the style of jalsahs and merrymaking functions, the ta’leem (teaching) of Islam and the practice of our illustrious Akaabireen Auliya and Ulama were always eethaar (sacrifice) for the suffering Muslims. This attitude constrained them to practise selfdenial.
Although the Madaaris and the khaanqas are vociferous with stories of the Auliya and Ulama and even organize wasteful jalsahs in their names, they have extremely little affinity with these seniors.
Hadhrat Khwaajah Nizaamuddeen Auliya (rahmatullah alayh) fasted perpetually. His khaadim (servant), Hadhrat Khwaajah Abdur Raheem would bring a meagre meal for Sehri and Iftaar. However, on most occasions, Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen (rahmatullah alayh) would decline and refrain from eating. Once his khaadim pleaded: “Hadhrat, if you refrain from both Sehri and Iftaar, weakness will overwhelm you.” Hadhrat responded: “How can this food go down my throat when there are so many poor and forlorn persons passing the nights in hunger?”
Once a fire ravaged the locality of Ghiyaathpur. It was in the midst of the summer season. Stricken with grief, Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen (Rahmatullah alayh) stood on the roof of his house in the searing heat observing the heartrending scene of houses being gutted by the raging fire. He remained standing on the roof until finally the fire was extinguished. Then he instructed Khwaajah Iqbaal to make a survey of the number of homes destroyed, and to give every household two silver coins, two loaves of bread and a jug of cold water. When people observed this distribution at the time of their distress, their eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. In that age, two silver coins could purchase a substantial amount of commodities.
These two episodes of Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Auliya (rahmatullah alayh) are presented as examples for us to reflects. Emulation of his example in exactitude is not the objective. No one is expected to abandon eating the delicious food which can be afforded. But waste is haraam, and sacrifice is Waajib. Sacrifice is a vital tenet of Islam, and it was always a distinguished trait of the Auliya and Ulama. This attribute no longer exists in the Ummah. Therefore, wasting the bounties of Allah Ta’ala selfishly and forgetting the suffering segments of the Ummah do not affect the Muslim’s conscience in any way.
All over the world, in the so-called third world countries, Muslims are suffering and living in abject squalor and poverty. Wars and civil wars have reduced millions of Muslims to dire straits of hunger and starvation. In the Syrian refugee camps Muslims struggle to find even some grass to boil in water to provide some kind of solace for their hunger. In Chad, Muslims have been reduced to subhuman levels and are constrained to eat even manure. Literally, their skins cling to their bones. Muslims are suffering – really suffering without homes and food while we are squandering the bounties of Allah Ta’ala in wasteful functions to fill toilets. The net result of the sumptuous foods served at the wasteful jalsahs feeding people who eat delicious food thrice daily, is the manufacture of tons of faeces.
There is no goodness in the food served so wastefully to people who are not in need of it. What has happened to the hearts of the Ulama who organize such jalsahs where hundreds of thousands of rands are squandered to feed affluent people who really find no enjoyment in the food although they derive nafsaani pleasure from the outing and wasteful, futile gathering where merrymaking is the hallmark! Besides the millions of rands wasted by the Madaaris of the country on jalsah-food, many more millions are squandered annually on absolutely haraam wedding functions.
All the Deeni institutions – the small and the big – are caught up in this vicious disease of waste, pride and show. This is a time when all functions should be abolished and the focus directed to the suffering Muslim masses all over the world. Lack of Taqwa has blighted our vision.
Whilst we receive the news of the suffering Muslim masses, its strikes no responsive chord in our hearts – fossilized hearts – hearts in which lies a deadened Imaan – an Imaan stripped of its inherent attributes of sacrifice, altruism and philanthropy. In particular, the Ulama of the Madaaris should do some serious and sincere soul searching (Muraaqabah) to ascertain the degree of the waste, hard-heartedness, lack of vision and spiritual fossilization which has afflicted them. Both the Ulama and the masses should abandon their wasteful and extravagant life style, and channel these resources to where they are most needed, and to ensure success and salvation in the Aakhirah.
Remember that doling out some charity and paying your Zakaat are not ample, nor will such crumbs suffice for meaningful relief of the suffering Muslims. It is imperative that all the Madaaris abandon all wasteful functions of merrymaking – functions of riya and takabbur – functions of israaf which are being concocted in the name of the Deen whilst in reality there is no Deeni dimension to such israaf, riya and takabbur. Also, all Muslims should abandon their haraam wasteful wedding functions and gain Allah’s Pleasure by contributing towards projects of the Deen. The Ummah is burning and bleeding while you are wallowing in waste and haraam. Brotherly feelings are dead in the hearts of Muslims.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Muslims are like a single person. If the eye pains, the whole body is affected, and if the head pains, the whole body is affected.”
While such is the inherent attribute of a healthy Imaan, this Hadith and many similar other narrations are meaningless concepts for the spiritually diseased Ummah of this age. When even the Ulama are the victims of satanic waste amid the heart rending suffering of millions of Muslims, then the spiritual corruption of the Ummah is better understandable.
On the Day of Qiyaamah there shall be no escape for the crimes of colossal waste amid suffering which Muslims are perpetrating. An account shall have to be given for the ingratitude and for the imperviousness of the hearts. The Qur’aan Majeed warning us of the Reckoning says: “On that Day you will be questioned about the bounties.” The bounties are bestowed by Allah Ta’ala for correct use and discharge of all the huqooq (rights) attached to the ni’maat. The bounties are not awarded for abuse and waste.
If Muslims fail to do real soul searching, they will not understand the injustice they are committing towards the suffering millions of the Ummah who are the responsibility of those to whom Allah Ta’ala has awarded opulence.