Farfetched Interpretations by the Later Ulama

THE INTERPRETATIONS

After presenting the case of those who espouse the cause of Thikr bil jahr, Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) states the view of the Maaliki Math-hab:

“According to Imaam Maalik and his Ashaab (the Maaliki Fuqaha), all these acts (of Thikr bil jahr, gathering in the Musjid for Thikr, audible tilaawat in the Musjid, etc.) are Makrooh (reprehensible, not permissible) because the Salaf did not practise these acts, and to close the avenues (of bid’ah), and to eliminate substance for bid’ah so that there could be no accretion of any excess into the Deen, and no transgression of the clear Haqq takes place. Verily in our time there has developed what he (Imaam Maalik) and his Companions had feared.”

(Sabaahatul Fikr)

Complement this strong and clear stand of Imaam Maalik with the verdict of Imaam Abu Hanifah and the Ahnaaf Fuqaha in general:

“The fundamental principle in Athkaar is Khafi (silent Thikr).”

“Raising the voice in the Musjid, be it with Thikr, is haraam.”

“Raising the voice with Takbeer is bid’ah.”

“The Sunnah in Athkaar is Mukhaafatah (i.e. silence)”

These are all the statements of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) who was the epitome of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen.

These explicit rulings of the early Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen such as Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) and Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) have pummelled into a quandary the later Ulama and the Mufassireen who appeared on the scene centuries after these illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. The Mufassireen and the Ulama, centuries after the advent of these great Fuqaha, were confronted with an apparent conflict between the rulings of these Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen and many Ahaadith which indicate the permissibility of Thikr bil jahr. Despite these Ahaadith, the great Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen ruled to the contrary and outlawed Thikr bil jahr.

Some Ulama, including Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) proffered flabby interpretations in an endeavour to strike a reconciliation between the rulings of these Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen and the Ahaadith. Hence, Maulana Abdul Hayy states in his Sabaahatul Fikr: “It is clear that those (Fuqaha) who say that jahr is haraam, mean jahr-e-mufrit. They have deducted this from Rasulullah’s statement: “Have mercy on your souls”. And, you (O reader!) are aware that the circumstances which occasioned this instruction was in relation to jahr-e-mufrit., not to jahr in general Furthermore, how can hurmat (prohibition) be established on the basis of Khabr-e-Aahaad (a lower category of Ahaadith) which is among the Adillah Zanniyyah (i.e. such proofs which are not absolute in authenticity to preclude the slightest vestige of doubt).”

This interpretation is incorrect for the following reasons:

(1) Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), in declaring Thikr bil jahr forbidden, did not relate it to jahr-e-mufrit. There was absolutely no need for him to have made an ambiguous reference to jahr-e- mufrit for the sake of applying the verdict of hurmat. The prohibition of jahr-e-mufrit was and is universal. All authorities are unanimous in proclaiming jahr-e-mufrit to be haraam. The Fuqaha who were his Students, e.g. Imaam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah alayh), Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh) and innumerable others had no contrary view. Thus, when Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) declared: “The Asal in Athkaar is Khafi”, the other Fuqaha did not contest this verdict.

The term ‘khafi’ which Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) mentions in this principle was not stated in opposition to jahr-e-mufrit. It was stated in refutation of mutlaq jahr (audibility in general). There is no valid basis for the assumption that he had directed the hurmat to only jahr-e-mufrit, thereby excluding moderate jahr.

If the intention was truly jahr-e-mufrit, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) would have stated so with clarity, and not cast the issue into the limbo of ambiguity and uncertainty. He had evolved a Principle, and the principle has clarity.

(2) The contention that the ‘daleel’ of the Hadith: “Have mercy on your souls”, indicates that Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) related the hurmat to jahr-e-mufrit is baseless and erroneous in view of the fact that he did not state this principle in the context of any act of Thikr which was being enacted with jahr-e-mufrit. Imaam Sarakhsi in his Al-Mabsoot, Allaamah Kaasaani in his Badaaius Sanaa’i, and numerous other Fuqaha in their respective kutub of Fiqah, cite the principle of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) as his daleel in the context of reciting audibly Takbeer Tashreek on the occasion of Eidul Fitr. While according to Imaam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah alayh) and Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh), the Takbeer should be recited audibly along the route to the Musalla (Eidgah) during both Eids, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) ruled that the Takbeer should not be recited audibly on the occasion of Eidul Fitr. Badaaius Sanaa’i explains the rationale of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) as follows:

“For Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) is the narration of Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu)………..and because the Asal in Athkaar is Ikhfa’ except where there is a (Shar’i) determinant (which orders jahr).”

The Ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion) between Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) and Saahibain (rahmatullah alayhima) is not on the issue of jahr-e-mufrit. In other words, neither do the Saahibain claim Takbeer on Eidul Fitr is permissible with jahr-e-mufrit nor does Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) present his conflicting opinion on Takbeer with jahr-e-mufrit. The difference here is palpably on the issue of mutlaq jahr. While Saahibain says that Takbeer audibly (jahr mutlaq) on Eidul Fitr along the route to the Musalla is permissible, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) states that Takbeer even with moderate jahr (i.e. not jahr-e-mufrit) is not permissible because it is in violation of the principle: ‘The Asal in Athkaar is Ikhfa’. The principle is not related to jahr-e-mufrit.

This further clarifies that the context in which Imaam Abu Hanifah’s daleel is proffered is not related to any exercise of jahr-e-mufrit.

(3) The claim of Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) regarding Khabr-e-Aahaad is untenable. For the hurmat (prohibition) of jahr ghair mufrit (i.e.mutlaq jahr), Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) did not base his case on Khabr-e-Waahid. He structured the prohibition on Qur’aanic verses and further enhanced the prohibition with Ahaadith. Explaining Imaam Abu Hanifah’s daleel, Allaamah Kaasaani (rahmatullah alayh) states in his Badaaius Sanaai’: “According to Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh): Verily, raising of the voice with Takbeer is bid’ah in terms of the Asal, for verily, it (Takbeer) is Thikr, and the Sunnah in Athkaar is mukhaafatah (silence) by virtue of the statement (aayat) of Allah Ta’ala: ‘Call unto your Rabb with humility and silence, and because of Rasulullah’s statement: ‘The best Dua is the silent dua.”……………Therefore amal will not be abandoned on account of the universality (umoom) of the Qaul of Allah Ta’ala: ‘And, call unto your Rabb with humility and silence.”

The claim of hurmat based on Khabr-e-Waahid is therefore incorrect. Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) had faltered on this issue by virtue of his erroneous assumption that Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) had directed the prohibition to jahr-e-mufrit whereas he (Imaam Abu Hanifah) related it to jahr mutlaq. Relating it to jahr-e-mufrit in the context in which the daleel was structured is meaningless.

Furthermore, when a Mujtahid Imaam cites a Hadith as his Mustadal, the issue of Isnaad is not of importance because the very acceptance of a Hadith for Istidlaal by a Mujtahid is the accredition of that Hadith. Thus, the Khabr-e-Waahid argument is untenable in this context.

(4) The other error in Maulana Abdul Hayy’s interpretation is his question: “How is it possible for hurmat (of jahr mutlaq) to be established on the basis of Khabrul Aahaad which are Zanni Adillah?”

In this averment, Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) has made the following conclusion:

* The Hadith pertaining to the ‘the best of Thikr being silent Thikr’, is Khabr-e-Waahid, hence unsuitable for issuing the hukm of hurmat on its basis. We have already mentioned above that Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) had structured the Hurmat on the basis of Kitaabullah as his primary Daleel. Secondly, the argument of Khabr-e-Waahid is not valid here. It is an accepted principle that when a Hadith has met the criterion of Talaqqi bil Qubool by the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, then that narration is a valid Mustadal for whatever Hukm the Mujtahid raises on its basis. Therefore, in this regard, Maulana Abdul Hayy’s contention is not valid.

(5) Furthermore, the Hadith cited by the Hanafi Fuqaha is not the primary Mustadal of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh). It has already been mentioned above that the primary basis is the Qur’aanic verse. The Ahaadith on Thikr-e-Khafi are confirmatory evidence.

(6) In his presentation of the case of the votaries of Thikr bil jahr (i.e. mutlaq jahr, which is moderate audibility) not screaming and shouting which constrain walls of Musjids and Khaanqahs to vibrate and echo, Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) proffered dozens of Ahaadith on the basis of which is substantiated audible Thikr.

A question of extreme importance develops at this stage. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) together with his Ashaab and Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) together with his Ashaab were very close to the age of Risaalat. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) had the honour of linking up with some Sahaabah while Imaam Maalik was the Student of great Taabieen who had acquired their Ilm from great Fuqaha among the Sahaabah. Were these illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen then unaware of the dozens of Ahaadith which extol Thikr bil jahr? It is indeed extremely far-fetched, in fact inconceivable, to conclude that these illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen who were also great Muhadditheen in proximity to the era of Risaalat were blissfully unaware of these dozens of Ahaadith.

Rationality constrains all unbiased persons to believe that Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) and all their Fuqaha Students, were fully apprised of the couple of dozens of Ahaadith which the votaries of Thikr bil jahr present in substantiation of their contention of Jawaaz. Any suggestion that Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) and Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) were unaware of the several dozen Ahaadith mentioning Thikr bil jahr will be beyond the ambit of credulity. An added reason for the incredulity in relation to any suggestion of unawareness of Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh), is the fact that he was an inhabitant of Madinah Munawwaarah, and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had given advance notification of his erudition in the firmament of Shar’i Uloom.

Furthermore, Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) was a famous and a greater Muhaddith than Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh). These illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen were fully aware of all the Ahaadith pertaining to Thikr-e-Jahr.

(7) The first reason for Imaam Maalik’s refutation of all kinds of Thikr bil jahr practices is: “The Salaf did not practise these acts.” In relation to Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh), the Salaf were the Sahaabah and the Taabieen. In this categorical claim, Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) outrightly refutes the validity of even mutlaq jahr because it was not the amal of the Sahaabah and the Taabieen.

Now when such an august and illustrious personality as Imaam Maalik unequivocally states that the Sahaabah and Taabi-een did not practise Thikr bil jahr, then tendering the opinions of Ulama who appeared on the scene 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 centuries after the era of the Sahaabah is improper, and untenable. The opinions and interpretations of such Ulama cannot override the explicit rulings of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen.

The second reason for the prohibition stated by Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) and his Ashaab is: To close the avenue of bid’ah and to eliminate the source of the energy which fuels bid’ah. Acts of ibaadat which were not in vogue during the era of the Sahaabah and Taabieen, inevitably culminate in bid’ah sayyiah. The limits of Ibaahat (permissibility) are transgressed and the innovated practices are elevated to the status of Sunnah and even Wujoob. Even those authorities who believe in the permissibility of Thikr bil jahr concede this fact.

When illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen of the calibre of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) and Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) had so diligently and forcefully closed the avenue of bid’ah, what constrains the venerable Mufti Sahib to attempt a forceful opening up of the door of bid’ah with his collective loud public Thikr performances in the Musaajid?

For all these reasons, it is quite obvious that the interpretation proffered by Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) is incorrect.

ALLAAMAH SUYUTI (RAHMATULLAH ALAYH)

The venerable Mufti Sahib has endeavoured to extravagate substance for his collective Thikr programmes from the views of Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh). Notwithstanding the erudition of Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh) and his lofty status in the sphere of the Knowledge of the Shariah, he was not in the category and class of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) and their Ashaab. Furthermore, Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh) appeared on the Islamic horizon nine centuries after the Sahaabah. The Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen were the Fuqaha of the first century of Islam.

It is impudence to present the views of Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh) in refutation of the verdicts of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. The Authorities of the Shariah, who are the ultimate limits for the Ilmi trajectories of the Muqallideen Ulama and Fuqaha are the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh), nine centuries later, did not possess the entitlement to set aside the verdicts of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, override them and present Ahaadith in refutation of their rulings. No one, until the Day of Qiyaamah, will ever possess such a licence regardless of how lofty a status he may acquire in Ilm and Taqwa.

The personal opinion and views of Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh) are of no interest nor of any substance if these are in conflict with the verdicts of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. The votaries of the bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances in the Musaajid have no respect and regard for even the explicit Shar’i verdicts of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen whose Math-hab they ostensibly purport to follow. They should not expect us to be subordinate to the opinions of Ulama who appeared many centuries after the era of the Khairul Quroon, when such opinions take no cognizance of the rulings of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen.

MA-AARIFUL QUR’AAN

The venerable Mufti Sahib avers: “In Ma’aariful Qur’an this verse is explained as follows: The benefit of appointing Hazrat Haroon (Alaihis Salaam) as a minister and partner in the prophethood of Hazrat Musa (Alaihis Salaam) was so that they could collectively remember Allah.”

The Mufti Sahib has truly descended to an extremely low and baseless level in scrounging for ‘proofs’ to justify the bid’ah collective Thikr performances. What relationship does the appointment of Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam) as a Nabi subordinate to Nabi Musaa (alayhis salaam) have with the bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances in public venues? Did Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) and Hadhrat Haroon (alayhis salaam) execute any Thikr performance for the gallery? Did they engage in the type of bid’ah enactment which the Mufti Sahib is promoting? This ‘argument; is another example of the drivel type of ‘proof’ which clutters the discussion of the Mufti Sahib.

The Mufti Sahib has dug out from Ma-aariful Qur’aan this absurd ‘proof’ for his public Thikr programmes despite there being nothing in common to justify a comparion, while he conveniently ignores Ma-aariful Qur’aan’s direct reference to Thikr bil jahr and the like. Regarding loud Thikr, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi; (rahmatullah alayh) says in his Ma-aariful Qur’aan: “With regard to the Mashaaikh-e-Chisht among the noble Sufiya who instruct the Mubtadi (beginner) with Thikr-e-jahr, it is by way of ilaaj (treatment), taking into consideration his condition, so that indolence and indifference (ghaflat) would dissipate with the jahr, and an affinity with Thikrullah develops in his heart. In reality, even according to them (Chishti Mashaaikh), jahr in Thikr is not desirable despite it being permissible. Furthermore, its permissibility in terms of the Hadith is conditional with absence of riya.”

True to form, the venerable Mufti Sahib overlooked this tafseer since it does not serve his collective loud Thikr agenda.

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