Mufti Radhaaul Haq’s Faulty Understanding of Bid’ah

DEFINING BID’AH

Defining Bid’ah, the venerable Mufti Sahib says:

“According to Allamah Shaami (Rahmatullah alaih) and Allamah Ibn Nujaim (Rahmatullah alaih), an innovation is a new act which is derived from the teachings or actions of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam).”

This definition is incorrect. An act derived from the teachings or action of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is Sunnah, not bid’ah. Further explaining bid’ah, the Mufti Sahib correctly observes: “…to increase the status of any Mustahab or permissible act by regarding it as compulsory is innovation.”

All new forms of collective rituals given the outer form of ibaadat ultimately degenerate into entrenched bid’ah. That is why the Sahaabah were ever diligent in this observation. They did not allow any permissible act to develop into an entrenched bid’ah. They nipped the evil octopus in the bud. Hence, we find Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) ordering that the tree (which is even mentioned in the Qur’aan) under which the Sahaabah pledged allegiance, be cut down. With the deep nooraani foresight which Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) possessed, he foresaw that if the tree was retained, it would graduate from its status of blessedness to veneration and ultimately become an idol of worship or at least a venue of considerable bid’ah. Hence he ordered it to be eliminated.

In the same way, Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar, castigated the public performance of Salaatut Dhuhaa. Similarly, did Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) nip in the bud a developing bid’ah. He thus expelled the participants of loud collective Thikr from the Musjid.

The Mufti Sahib concedes that to elevate the status of a Mustahab or of a permissible act and conferring to it incumbency is bid’ah. This is exactly the position with all new acts and practices which are practised collectively in the Musaajid and public places. These practices are initiated sincerely with good intentions. Initially they are not regarded as compulsory. However, as time progresses, these non-Sunnah practices become entrenched customs. After some time they are regarded compulsory. Those who do not participate in such customs are criticized and ridiculed. At that stage when the Ulama-e-Haqq criticize the innovations, the perpetrators react in the way in which we find the Qabar Pujaari (Grave-Worshippers) reacting when they are admonished for their bid’aat.

We now see this same attitude creeping into those associated with the Ulama of Deoband. It is for this reason that the venerable Mufti Sahib is taking umbrage and desperately vindicating the loud collective Thikr public performances. His concern for these unsubstantiated practices has constrained him to go to the abominable extent of demoting the unanimously proclaimed superiority of silent Thikr, and elevating the permissible form of audible Thikr to the status of afdhaliyyat. Soon this bid’ah will degenerate further into the belief of wujoob.

When the Sahaabah diligently clamped down on the slightest innovation for fear of it becoming an entrenched bid’ah in the future, and nipped any developing accretion in the bud, despite that age being the best of ages, what constrains the venerable Mufti Sahib to go overboard in his defence of an unsubstantiated practice which has no origin in the Sunnah and in which bid’ah is latent?

Bid’ah, shirk and kufr are rife in this age. Bid’ah has distorted and contaminated the Deen. Bid’ah customs are rife, and according to the venerable Mufti Sahib, the people’s hearts in this age are hardened and incorrigible. Add to this the disappearance of the true Khaanqah and the endemic ignorance of Muslims. In this critically diseased condition of the people, the venerable Mufti Sahib, instead of emulating diligently the example of the Sahaabah, desperately slogs to promote unsubstantiated practices which have all the potential of developing into entrenched acts of bid’ah. Instead of encouraging people towards the Sunnah practices of ibaadat, the Mufti Sahib incorrectly portrays these unsubstantiated acts in a manner which conveys the idea to the uninitiated, unwary and ignorant that these loud collective Thikr practices are the actual way of ibaadat. Therefore it is seen that the adherents of these unsubstantiated practices accord greater importance and observance to such Thikr practices than to the Masnoon acts of Tahyatul Wudhu, Awwaabeen, Tahajjud, Tilaawat, responding to the Athaan, etc.

The attitude of the mubtadieen thaakireen with regard to the loud collective Thikr enacted as public performances, convinces one that their invented Thikr practices have greater importance than the Waajib and Sunnat acts of ibaadat. The venerable Mufti Sahib is dwelling in a massive deception if he believes that these loud collective Thikr customs have not as yet penetrated deeply into the domain of bid’ah.

The Mufti Sahib says: “Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said: ‘Whoever introduces something new to this religion, it is rejected.’ From this we learn that to introduce new things to this religion is also an innovation.”

This hadith brings the new loud collective public Thikr performances fully within its scope. This Hadith is among the fundamental evidences for the prohibition of bid’ah. The collective Thikr programmes are accretions – new introductions into the Deen. They are gradually being promoted as part and parcel of the Deen. 99% of the Muslim community consists of the uninitiated, unwary and ignorant. There is a massive chasm between the masses and the Sunnah. When the masses observe the chanters in halqah form swaying from side to side in a mock portrayal of ecstasy and simulated trance, it generates a variety of ideas, theories and reactions in their minds.

The ignorant ones who are unable to even perform Salaat correctly and whose awareness of the basic masaa-il of Tahaarat is extremely deficient, do not and cannot comment. They simply assume that the participants in the halqahs are knowledgeable men of lofty piety and spiritual strata. The children frequenting the Musaajid also acquire a similar notion. With the progress of time, a concept of Sunnah is interwoven around these so-called ‘mystical’ rituals. This is the state of the halqahs of the Ahl-e-Bid’ah in India, Pakistan, North and West Africa., and elsewhere.

These halqahs and tariqas have not only emaciated Tasawwuf – the original Tasawwuf which is an integral and fundamental constituent of the Deen, they have submitted Islam to a process of total metamorphosis and transformed it into what they term ‘Suf’ism’. And, the pillar of their brand of sufi’ism is jumping, chanting, dancing in whirlwind fashion which propels the dancers and singers into the stratosphere of satanic realms of ‘ecstasy’. This is their religion of wajd – the religion whose primary act of ‘ibaadat’ is the dervish dance in which Iblees is the chief instructor and co-ordinator.

The sufi’ism of all these baatil tariqas began with mild and seemingly innocent acts of ‘ibaadat’ – unsubstantiated by the Sunnah – acts such as the loud collective Thikr public performances which the honourable Mufti Sahib is feverishly vindicating without displaying the foresight which an Aalim of Haqq is supposed to possesses.

The bid’ah of meelaad which has become firmly entrenched in the Qabar Pujaari sect (the Bareilwis) had its beginnings in Mubah (permissible) moulood practices which true and sincere devotees of Allah Ta’ala practised. Their Mubah moulood was totally bereft of the slightest vestige of bid’ah. In fact the Mubah moulood such as that practised by Haji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh) could be classified in the category of ‘Ahkaam’ created by the venerable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib who says in this regard: “These activities were not practiced upon by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) but are not prohibited; rather it is highly desirable to practice upon some of them.”

All these ‘highly desirable practices’ which the imagination has spawned without considering the Sunnah and blissfully unaware of the far-reaching evil consequences, ultimately develop into hardcore, entrenched bid’ah rituals. It is for this reason that Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) would dissociate from even the Mubah moulood practice of his illustrious Shaikh, Hadhrat Haji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh).

There is much admonition of the Akaabir, which could be presented regarding the undesirability of the ‘highly desirable’ practices which the Mufti Sahib has postulated in his endeavour to justify the bid’ah of the public performances of loud collective Thikr. In this regard, the following salutary principle stated by Hadhrat Allaamah Khalil Ambethwi (rahmatullah alayh) should be borne in mind when deciding the issue of the ‘highly desirable’ permissible practices advocated by the Mufti Sahib. Hadhrat Allaamah Khalil Ahmed says in his Baraahin-e-Qaatiah:

“A Mubah (permissible) act, in fact a Mandoob (Mustahab/Sunnat) act becomes bid’ah and unlawful because of iltizaam (making it incumbent), hence even the Ta-aamul (regular practice) of the Mutaqaddimeen (on the Mubah/Mandoob) act is not hujjat (proof).”

Mubah Thikr practices given the form of collective ibaadat, which are unsubstantiated in the Sunnah, ultimately develop into bid’ah, hence even the Ta-aamul of the pious predecessors who had maintained the practices within the prescribed limits of the Shariah, will not be regarded as hujjat to justify the bid’ah into which the mubah or Mandoob practice has developed. In terms of this sagacious principle, even the valid and permissible practices of the khaanqah may not be cited as daleel for collective loud Thikr in the Musaajid, because the foregone outcome of such practices is bid’ah.

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RASULULLAH’S ABSTENTION

The Mufti Sahib avers: The jurists have drawn out four proofs for the establishment of any law or command, i.e. the Blessed Qur’an, the Ahaadeeth of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam), the consensus of the scholars and logic. For the prohibition of any deed these four proofs also apply. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)’s omitting any deed is not a fifth proof according to the jurists. A few examples of those actions which were not practiced upon by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are:

  • The consumption of lizards

  • The performance of two rakaats Salaah before Maghrib Salaah

  • The extension of the Ka’bah

  • The fast of Dawood (Alaihis Salaam) (to fast on alternate days).

These actions were not practiced upon by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) but they are not prohibited; rather it is highly desirable to practice upon some of them.”

The ‘delicacy’ of Lizards?

We do not know according to which of the Four Math-habs of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah it is ‘highly desirable’ to consume lizards. Eating lizards is haraam. If eating lizards is perhaps permissible in another Math-hab, its consumption can most certainly not become ‘highly desirable’ for followers of the Hanafi Math-hab and for those of other Math-habs which do not permit eating reptiles. In fact, it will not be incorrect to say that eating lizards will not be ‘highly desirable’ for even those whose Math-hab permits consumption of such creatures.

What is the factor which elevates eating lizards to the status of ‘highly desirable’? Also, what is the Mufti Sahib’s Shar’i concept of ‘highly desirable’? We are discussing issues of the Shariah. We can therefore infer that the minimum category to which ‘highly desirable’ is to be assigned is Istihbaab (being Mustahab). But for an act to be Mustahab it is in need of a daleel in the Ahaadith. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) neither consumed lizards nor exhorted its consumption, then on what basis will lizard-consumption become Mustahab or ‘highly desirable’?

Now even if according to the Maaliki Math-hab it is permissible to consume lizards, worms, beetles and non-poisonous snakes, it will be ludicrous for the venerable Mufti Sahib to exhort the followers of the other Math-habs, especially Hanafis, to eat such abominable creatures on the basis of his theory of ‘high desirability’ – Mustahab? Mustahsan?

If the Mufti Sahib had, in devotion and over-brimming love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ventured to say that it is highly desirable to consume marrow (a kind of pumpkin), then this view would have been respected, honoured and accepted despite it being classified as a Sunnat-e-Aadiyyah, the observance of which is not emphasised nor discardence deprecated. However, since Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) loved marrow, there is considerable wisdom in exhorting Muslims to consume this vegetable. But eating reptiles, lizards, worms and snakes? Mustahab and highly desirable?

The nausea which is generated by visualising ingestion of khabaa-ith is more than adequate to effectively eliminate any figment of ‘high desirability of eating lizards’. There is evidently something amiss in the honourable Mufti Sahib’s logic.

Two Raka’ts Nafl

The Mufti Sahib’s logic which has promoted the two raka’ts Nafl before Maghrib to the status of ‘highly desirable’ is peculiar. Among the Authorities of the Mathaa-hib, these two raka’ts vacillate between permissibility and bid’ah. Such an act cannot be described as being ‘highly desirable’, especially for Hanafis in whose Math-hab there is no scope for these two raka’ts being ‘highly desirable.’

Let us examine a brief synopsis of these two raka’ts. The views of the Mathaa-hib on this issue are:

The Hanafi and Maaliki Math-habs do not entertain this Salaat. In fact, according to Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) these two raka’ts are Makrooh. It is generally said that in this context, Makrooh refers to Makrooh Tanzihi. Nevertheless, it is still Makrooh, and not advocated. It is exceptionally far from being ‘highly desirable’.

Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) said that it is permissible. There are different views of Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) regarding these two raka’ts. In Sharhul Muhazzab, Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh) says that it is Mustahab. However, in Sharhul Muslim he states that the prominent view is that it is not Mustahab. The view of Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayhima) is followed by innumerable Ulama and Auliya among the Salaf-e-Saaliheen.

In view of such a huge difference of opinion among the Authorities of the Shariah and a classification between permissibility and Makrooh, it does not behove the venerable Mufti Sahib to predicate the classification of ‘highly desirable’ for these two raka’ts. The venerable Mufti Sahib being a follower of the Hanafi Math-hab, has further erred grievously by proclaiming this Salaat to be highly desirable when it is a Makrooh practice according to Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh). In so doing, he is inviting laxity in Taqleed of the Math-hab.

In this era of admut taqleed and exceptionally slack ties with the Shariah, it is irresponsible to issue advices which conflict with the Math-hab one follows. It is palpably erroneous to claim that “it is highly desirable to practice on some of them.” Thus, the high desirability predicated for lizard consumption and the two raka’ts before Maghrib is manifestly fallacious.

Extending the Ka’bah

As far as extending the Ka’bah is concerned, whether it is ‘highly desirable’ or not, has absolutely no relationship with the issue of bid’ah. It is also necessary for the honourable Mufti Sahib to define his concept of Ka’bah extension. What exactly is meant by the extension of the Ka’bah? Extending the Ka’bah is simply not permissible. When Hadhrat Ibraaheem (alayhis salaam) rebuilt the Ka’bah, it was on the original foundations indicated by Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam). The Ka’bah as it stands today is structured on the very foundations erected by Hadhrat Aadam (alayhis salaam). The foundations of the Ka’bah includes the section known as the Hateem. There exists Ijma’ of the Ummah on the prohibition of altering the Ka’bah despite the fact that the entire foundations are not included in the Ka’bah-structure.

The full perimeter of the foundations has to be incumbently encompassed by the Tawaaf. The issue of the foundations on which rests the semi-walls of the Hateem was firmly and finally clinched more than thirteen centuries ago. The structure as it has stood from the time of its construction during the era of Hajjaaj, may not be altered.

While Musjidul Haraam may be extended – and such extensions were many over the centuries – the Ka’bah itself may not be extended. It is therefore certainly not ‘highly desirable’ to extend the Ka’bah.

Siyaam-e-Daawood (alayhis salaam)

With regard to Siyaam-e-Daawood (alayhis salaam) – the Fasting pattern of Nabi Daawood (alayhis salaam) – it is permissible and meritorious just as Siyaamud Dahr (Fasting perpetually all year round) is permissible and meritorious for those who have the physical ability. This is not an issue related to our discussion and dispute.

In order to confer credibility on his theory of Rasulullah’s abstention from acts, the venerable Mufti Sahib has cited the aforementioned examples which are total misfits in the context of his principle which is stated by him as: “Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)’s omitting any deed is not a fifth proof according to the jurists.” No one has contended that there is such a ‘proof’ in the Shariah. However, Rasulullah’s abstention from acts may not be ignored in entirety.

Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood’s action was based on bid’ah fid-Deen (innovating a practice into the Deen and presenting it as an integral part of the Deen). That such an act – or bid’ah – which is fid-deen (innovation into the Deen), was an act from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained, is simply an automatic axiom or a necessary corollary stemming from the very concept of bid’ah. All acts of bid’ah are accretions into the Deen, and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained from all such misdeeds. The Mufti Sahib’s prattle about an imaginary ‘fifth’ principle is a diversion for lack of dalaa-il.

By the same token of the Mufti Sahib’s theory, it is also erroneous to argue that all acts from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) abstained are permissible. Adding another two raka’ts to the Fajr Salaat for example will be bid’ah and haraam. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had taught the details of Salaat. He had abstained from more than two raka’ts. Such abstention is thus a valid argument for the critics of bid’ah.

The Sahaabah had, on the very basis of Rasulullah’s abstention, prohibited accretions despite the permissibility of the individual acts of Ibaadat. Thus, Salaatud Dhuhaa if performed by groups ostentatiously in the Musjid was prohibited by Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), and so was the loud collective Thikr banned by Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu).

Hadhrat Ibn Mughaffal (radhiyallahu anhu) labelled the audible recitation of Tasmiah in Salaat as bid’ah on the basis of Rasulullah’s abstention. Another Sahaabi described the recitation of Qunoot in Fajr as bid’ah on the basis of his knowledge of Rasulullah’s abstention. The views of Imaam Shaafi’ may not be cited in refutation of the valid proclamations of the Sahaabah. All the authorities of the Shariah, including our immediate Akaabireen, utilize these very proclamations of the Sahaabah in their fight against bid’ah.

The Fuqaha have labelled as bid’ah the audible recitation of Takbeer, and Tahleel during the Tarweehaat of Taraaweeh Salaat on the basis of the abstention of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) denounced the recitation of Durood Shareef after the Tahmeed of sneezing, and based his criticism on the basis of Rasulullah’s abstention. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Zubair (radhiyallahu anhu) reprimanded a man who had lifted his hands during the dua in the Qa’dah of Salaat. He based his fatwa on Rasulullah’s abstention.

The Sahaabah condemned a man who had organized a feast to celebrate the circumcision of his child. They tendered as the basis of their criticism the ‘principle’ of abstention.

Ijtimaai’ (collective) dua (also known as Faatiha-e-Thaani) after the Sunnat and Nafl Salaat has been branded bid’ah by the Ulama on the basis of abstention by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah.

It is incorrect to posit the ‘abstention of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)’ as a non-existing ‘proof’. No one has even tried to project such abstention as a fifth Daleel of the Shariah. But the fact remains that commission of such abstentions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which result in a transformation, displacement or abrogation of any law of the Shariah, or an accretion into the Deen, is haraam and bid’ah. Any accretion in ibaadat form which has the potential of bringing about change in the original acts of Ibaadat will be bid’ah and the need to prohibit it is imperative. This is precisely the manner in which the Sahaabah confronted all new accretions in the sphere of ibaadat.

Affirming Rasulullah’s abstention as valid grounds for prohibition, Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) severely reprimanding a man who was about to perform Nafl Salaat in the Eidgah, said: “I am certainly 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 is haraam. Perhaps Allah Ta’ala will punish you for its perpetration because of your conflict with his Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).” – Majaalisul Abraar

Regardless of the existence of a ‘fifth’ daleel – the ‘daleel of abstention’ – or of its non-existence, Rasulullah’s abstention has application in the sphere of Abstention. Now which abstention will be bid’ah if committed and which abstention will be lawful? For this comprehension an Aql embellished with Noor-e-Fahm, and Ilm infused with Noor heralding from Allah Ta’ala and settling in the breast of the Aalim are essential requisites. As for souls such as us lacking in these transcendental attributes, the safest course in the turmoils of nafsaaniyat and shaitaaniyat which drive us along, is rigid Taqleed of Imaam A’zam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh). He who clings to the sacred Mantle of the Imaam, will, Insha’Allah, not stray into deviation and spiritual destruction.

This issue has no relationship with consuming lizards or abstaining from consumption of worms and snakes. Bid’ah – Bid’ah Sayyiah (evil bid’ah) – applies to the domain of Ibaadat, not to worldly matters which do not lead to any conflict with the teachings or spirit of the Deen.

It is not suggested that every abstention of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has to be followed and if not followed will be bid’ah as the manner of the Mufti Sahib’s postulation of abstention conveys. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not give the Athaan nor did he perform the ghusl of a mayyit. Such abstention from even acts of ibaadat are not cited as daleel for abstention by others. Despite Rasulullah’s abstention, certain acts are compulsory acts of ibaadat. On the other hand, there are such abstentions which, if violated or ignored, will constitute bid’ah. For example, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) abstained from performing Salaatudh Dhuhaa in jamaa’t; there was abstention from Athaan and Iqaamah for Eid Salaat; he abstained from adding a fourth raka’t to the three raka’ts of Maghrib; he abstained from making four raka’ts for Fajr; he abstained from collective dua after the Sunnats and Nafl Salaat; he abstained from making Dua after Janaazah Salaat; and he abstained from many other acts.

So while it will not be bid’ah to consume buffalo meat despite Rasulullah’s abstention, it will be a dark bid’ah to commit any act of ibaadat from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah abstained, not only abstained, but prohibited, e.g. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood’s prohibition of loud collective Thikr in the Musjid. If the commission of an act from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained, is given the form of an ibaadat, then it comes within the scope of Rasulullah’s stricture:

“An act introduced into this Deen of ours, which is not of it, is rejected (and accursed).”

Thus, if in the Maaliki Math-hab lizards and worms are halaal, and Maalikis consume such creatures, their consumption of these items will not develop into a bid’ah. On the contrary, the type of public performances (the loud collective Thikr and Khatam-e-Khwaajgaan acts) advocated by the venerable Mufti Sahib and other molvis who are sliding into the quagmire of bid’ah, will most assuredly develop into entrenched acts of dark bid’ah. These public performances are portrayed with the hues of ibaadat which to the uninitiated, unwary and ignorant masses will appear as acts of Ibaadat ordered by the Shariah.

In the endeavour to show that the loud collective Thikr performances in the public are not innovations into the Deen, the Mufti Sahib says: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Whatever Allah Ta’ala has permitted in the Qur’an is Halaal’ and whatever He has forbidden is Haraam; and whatever He has remained silent about is overlooked.’ From this we come to know that those deeds regarding which the Sharee’ah has remained silent about is overlooked and will only be an innovation when it is regarded as being part of the Sharee’ah. It is for this very reason that the Ulama of Deoband have prohibited the customs held after the death of a person.”

Precisely for the same reason do we say that the loud collective Thikr customs organized in the Musaajid are bid’ah. Such practices are being regarded as part of the Shariah. The Mufti Sahib is arguing precisely in the way the Ahl-e-Bareilwi bid’atis argue when defending their unauthorized ‘ibaadat’ practices which the Ulama-e-Haqq brand as bid’ah. If collective tilaawat of the Qur’aan Shareef on the third day or seventh day after the death of a person is a bid’ah custom, then what is the difference between this bid’ah and the loud collective Thikr programmes which are being incumbently practised in the Musaajid?

In fact, a sufi sheikh sahib sends his agents around the country to rope in unwary and ignorant people for organizing such Thikr customs in the Musaajid. He treads the path of the Bareilwi Qabar Pujaaris.

If a Bareilwi practises a custom which has been promoted to the status of incumbent ibaadat or the idea of incumbency is conveyed, then we say that it is Bid’ah. Why should we not pass the same ruling if the perpetrator happens to be a Deobandi? When the evil garland of bid’ah is donned, the Deobandi designation vanishes automatically. A bid’ati cannot be a Deobandi regardless of him having acquired any knowledge at an institution affiliated with the Deobandi School.

The Mufti Sahib’s condonation of the new loud collective Thikr custom is just as ‘valid’ as the Bareilwi Bid’ati’s defence of moulood, urs, and their khatam ceremonies. This type of ‘validity’ is the hallmark of confused thinking which in turn is the effect of divergence from the Sunnah. Collective loud Thikr practices are divergence from the Sunnah. These are customs which are in conflict with the Sunnah. There is no doubt in the bid’ah of these public displays of ‘ibaadat’.

Benefits

The Mufti Sahib’s attempt to justify the new practices by presenting the ‘benefits’ is a baseless exercise which is unworthy of a man of Knowledge. Everything in this dunya has benefits as well as harms – advantages and disadvantages. The indictment here is one of bid’ah. It is unrelated to the benefits. The benefits are of no concern in this area. While acknowledging the benefits, it has to be unequivocally maintained that loud collective Thikr in the public is bid’ah. Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) understood the ‘benefits’ better than our understanding and the Mufti’s understanding of the ‘benefits’. However, notwithstanding the ‘benefits’ he expelled the group of bid’atis from the Musjid.

Loud Takbeer

The Mufti Sahib in a further flabby, in fact baseless attempt to justify the new bid’ah of loud collective Thikr in the public, says: “When Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Hazrat Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) went about the bazaars reciting Takbeer in a loud voice during the days of Haj, it was not regarded as an innovation because they did not regard this as being part of the Sharee’ah”

The venerable Mufti Sahib has now descended to the level of a layman. It does not behove a man of Ilm to extravasate from Ahaadith such rulings of whimsical fancy for condoning his personal acts of innovation when such rulings of personal opinion diametrically clash with the standing ruling of the Math-hab he purports to follow and espouse. It is essential for the venerable Mufti Sahib to understand that his style of intellectual quibbling, in which he resorts directly to the Ahaadith for substantiation of the loud collective Thikr custom, evinces a conflict with the official Ruling of the Math-hab he purports to be following, namely, the Hanafi Math-hab.

It is of vital importance that the honourable Mufti Sahib being a Muqallid of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), understands that the ceiling of his quest for Dalaa-il for any practice should be the proofs and rulings of the Hanafi Math-hab. If the Hanafi Math-hab has issued a ruling on a mas’alah and such ruling happens to be the accepted view of the Jamhoor Ahnaaf Fuqaha, then the Mufti Sahib will be in grievous error to produce Ahaadith or to cite another Mujtahid Imaam to dislodge the official Ruling of the Math-hab.

Bearing this in mind, the Mufti Sahib is aware that according to the Hanafi Math-hab it is not permissible to wander around the bazaars loudly proclaiming Takbeer on Eid days or on any other day. Imaam Abu Hanifah’s fatwa on this issue is unequivocal. The Mufti Sahib is also aware that the rulings of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) are based on the Qur’aan and Ahaadith, hence there is no question of conflict with the Sunnah.

There are numerous Ahaadith seemingly conflicting on a mas’alah. The different Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen have based their respective views on the Qur’aan and Ahaadith. The question of bid’ah therefore cannot be predicted to any of their views.

Now when the Mufti Sahib is aware of the view of the Hanafi Math-hab pertaining to the loud recitation of the Takbeer on the Days of Tashreeq, namely that the Takbeer is recited aloud only once after every Fardh Salaat and audibly on the way to the Musalla (Eid Gah) only on the occasion of Eidul Adha, then he has absolutely no entitlement to cite the Hadith in which the amal of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) is described. If another Imaam has utilized this Hadith as the basis of his view, he (the Mujtahid Imaam) had that right. But, in this belated epoch, a muqallid Mufti has no right to present a Hadith to support his personal view which conflicts with the Math-hab he follows.

If the Hadith which he has cited is to be accepted as a valid basis of his loud collective Thikr programmes, then by the same token the Hadith will be valid to dislodge the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) on his view of prohibition of loud Takbeer in the bazaars.

The honourable Mufti Sahib would have acquitted himself honourably if he had operated within the ambit of the principles and rulings of the Ahnaaf Fuqaha instead of trespassing the limits of the Math-hab to fish for proofs in the Ahaadith for which the Muqallid Mufti lacks the credentials and qualifications, especially when his whimsical opinion clashes with the Dalaa-il and Ruling of his Mujtahid Imaam – Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) in this case.

Furthermore, the question of bid’ah does not apply to the actions of Sahaabah, especially senior Sahaabah – Ulama Sahaabah – of the calibre of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah and Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhuma). The actions of the Sahaabah constitute valid basis for formulation of Ahkaam. Their actions are synonymous with the Sunnah. Their actions are the practical tafseer of the teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), hence even if the two aforementioned senior Sahaabah had recited the Takbeer aloud in the bazaars as being part of the Shariah, no one has the right to say that they were practising bid’ah. It is entirely a different issue that the Hanafi Math-hab has overridden this specific amal on the basis of Qur’aanic evidence and other Ahaadith. But that methodology of deduction and formulation is the preserve of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen.

A Muqallid Mufti has no licence for embarking on a similar operation in his quest to substantiate an entirely new practice, alien to the Sunnah, which is adorned with the paraphernalia of bid’ah, and which is most certain to develop into an entrenched bid’ah custom.

On what basis does the Mufti Sahib postulate that Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) did not regard their loud recital of Takbeer as being part of the Shariah? In their opinion, they were executing an act of ibaadat for which they had their Dalaa-il. If the Shafi’iyyah and Hanaabilah present this Hadith as evidence for their audible recitation of Takbeer in conflict with the Hanafi Math-hab, we have no dispute with them. Our dispute is with the Muqallid Mufti Sahib who produces a Hadith to bolster his view, and in this process he fails to understand that he is simultaneously by implication tendering the Hadith to clash with the view of the Imaam whose Muqallid he purportedly is.

While the amal of these two Sahaabis is never bid’ah, we, the Muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), do not follow this amal. We are not in need of any dalaa-il to vindicate the amal of our Math-hab. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) and the other Hanafi Fuqaha, took well care of that department many, many centuries ago. Thus the Hadith depicting the amal of the two Sahaabah is not a basis for arguing permissibility for the loud collective Thikr public performances.

The venerable Mufti Sahib has also displayed a flair for inconsistent and selective citation of Ahaadith. If the Hadith of a certain Sahaabi appears to support his view, he will present it as evidence. But if another Hadith of the same Sahaabi contradicts his opinion, he will relegate it to oblivion. Thus, we observe him presenting the Hadith of Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) pertaining to Takbeer in substantiation of the loud collective Thikr practices. However, Hadhrat Ibn Umar’s prohibition of public performance of Salaatudh Dhuha is conveniently ignored.

‘Love’ and ‘Rectification’ do not legitimize Bid’ah

The venerable Mufti Sahib has resorted to weird arguments in his zealous endeavour to justify the bid’ah of collective loud Thikr in the Musaajid. Presenting one more sample of this type of untenable arguments, he mentions that “a certain Sahaabi always read Surah Ikhlaas after reciting Surah Faatiha in every Salaah.” When “some people” had complained, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) upheld the Sahaabi’s practice. Commenting on this particular Sahaabi’s practice, the venerable Mufti Sahib, concludes:

“This narration opens a vast door of valuable knowledge for us, i.e. if we regard any act that was not practiced upon by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as Sunnah then it is innovation; but if we practice on it for the sake of rectification or out of love then it will not be an innovation.”

This averment is just as weird as the attempt to substantiate the bid’ah Thikr programme with the abovementioned Hadith. If a practice which is not Sunnah develops into a bid’ah or if there is danger in its becoming a bid’ah, or if its status is elevated to Sunnat or Mustahab, whether by proclamation or attitude, then such practice is not permissible, and this will be the ruling even if the practice is a Mustahab one.

It is surprising that the Mufti Sahib has cited this narration when he is aware or should be aware that it is Makrooh to fix specific Surahs for specific raka’ts or specific Salaats. His ‘love’ cannot override the ruling of the Math-hab which he purports to follow. A devotee who is in love with a certain valid practice should not venture to issue fatwas. Issuing verdicts on Shar’i issues for the guidance of the masses is the function of a Mufti who is a Faqeeh, not of a Mufti who speaks about ‘love’, and in the light of such ‘love’ opens up the avenue for bid’ah.

Commenting on this issue, Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said:

“A Mufti should possess qualification in the Qur’aan, Hadith, Fiqah and Tasawwuf. Then, Insha’Allah Ta’ala, he will adhere to the prescribed limits. When he is not fully qualified, then he will surely commit some confusion. Hence, it is not jaa-iz for an aashiq (one who is overwhelmed by divine love) to be a Mufti. Since he is overwhelmed by love, he desires to follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in every action regardless of whether such ittiba’ (following) will cast others into fitnah. In contrast, a Faqeeh is not concerned with this attitude. He will unhesitatingly proclaim the fatwa that if by following an act of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) there is the danger of corruption for the masses, then such following is in reality not ittiba’ of the Sunnah. It is merely a superficial claim of following, hence it will be prohibited.”

This exposition presented by Hakimul Ummah pertains to following even acts for which there is a basis in the Sunnah. But for the venerable Mufti Sahib’s loud collective Thikr programme, there is no basis in the Sunnah. Such programmes come within the full glare of the Hadith prohibiting bid’ah, namely: “An innovated act in this Deen of ours, but which is not of it, is rejected (and accursed).” It is bid’ah sayyiah – an evil bid’ah irrespective of its outward veneer of ‘ibaadat’.

The Aashiq is not allowed to be a Mufti because his profound love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) overshadows his intelligence and constrains him to proclaim as Waajib even acts of the Sunnat-e-Aadiyyah category. But, the venerable Mufti Sahib is not even following the example of an Aashiq Mufti, for he (the venerable Mufti Sahib) peddles performances which have absolutely no truck with the Sunnah. He advocates and promotes a practice which the Sahaabah described as bid’ah.

If the venerable Mufti Sahib had erred on the side of love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he would have promoted some Sunnat – a clear Sunnat, be it of the Istihbaab or Aadiyyah category. In that case, there would have been extenuating circumstances to mitigate criticism. But, the venerable Mufti Sahib has erred in promoting a practice in which there is not even a vestige of Sunnat which could be attributed to love for the Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

The Mufti Sahib has framed a principle in his aforementioned averment, which has no validity. Rasulullah’s abstention from an act does not necessarily negate the Sunnah status of a practice. We have already explained in earlier pages that there are certain acts which are Masnoon – Sunnatul Muakkadah and even Waajib – despite Rasulullah’s abstention, (or as the Mufti Sahib says: “not practiced on”). Athaan, ghusl of the mayyit, performing 20 raka’ts Taraaweeh in the exact form as we do today, the second Athaan of Jumuah, and reciting ‘As-Salaatu Khairum minan naum’ during the Fajr Athaan are examples of abstention by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Notwithstanding his abstention, these acts are Sunnat. There are other dalaa-il which establish the Sunniyat of certain acts from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained. This is not the juncture for such a probe.

On the other hand, some acts become bid’ah despite their Sunnah status. Explaining this, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “A mubah, in fact even a Mustahab act sometimes becomes prohibited in view of the accretion of prohibited acts, for example, it is Mustahab, in fact Sunnat, to answer an invitation. However, if any act in conflict with the Shariah will be perpetrated at the venue of the invitation, then it is forbidden to attend.” This principle is explained in almost all kutub of Fiqah, and is not hidden from the Ulama.

Despite Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) having upheld the fixation of Surah Ikhlaas in the manner done by the Sahaabi, the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen have ruled that fixing specific Surahs for particular raka’ts or for reciting in specific Salaats is Makrooh. In view of this ruling of our Math-hab, it is incongruous and improper for the Mufti Sahib to present a conflicting Hadith on the basis of which he formulated his ‘principle’ of “a vast door of valuable knowledge”.

Furthermore, this Hadith pertaining to the fixation of a particular Surah during Salaat has no relationship with the innovated collective loud Thikr programme. The recitation of Surah Ikhlaas by the Sahaabi was his personal amal. It was not a public performance or a collective display of Thikr by a group in the Musjid.

This Hadith may not be utilized as a basis to innovate practices of personal ‘love’. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained from performing four raka’ts for Maghrib. He always performed three raka’ts. Now on the basis of the venerable Mufti’s ‘principle’, namely, “If we regard an act that was not practiced upon by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as Sunnah then it is an innovation; but if we practice on it for the sake of rectification or out of love then it will not be an innovation”, if someone adds another raka’t to the Maghrib Fardh to make it four raka’ts, and he does so out of ‘love’ for Salaat or for some sort of ‘rectification’ as envisaged by the venerable Mufti Sahib, “then it will not be an innovation”. But this is manifestly baatil.

Similarly, on the basis of his fallacious principle fabricated in this belated age, fourteen centuries after the advent of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, if someone out of ‘love’ for Dua, adds a dua with hands raised after completion of the Janaazah Salaat, it will be an innovation. According to the Shariah, it is undoubtedly a bid’ah – bid’ah sayyiah notwithstanding the ‘love’ factor which the venerable Mufti Sahib has introduced for justifying new practices.

The Sahaabi’s practice of permanently reciting Surah Ikhlaas in every raka’t, is not an innovation. If any Mujtahid Imaam who was satisfied with the authenticity of the Hadith, had presented it as a daleel for his view of the permissibility of fixation of Surahs, he would have acted within the ambit of his right to deduct masaa-il on the basis of Saheeh Ahaadith. If such was the Math-hab of any Mujtahid, we will have no dispute with him. But as far as the Muqallideen of Imaam Abu Hanifah are concerned, the other view will be rejected without branding it as bid’ah. But, the Mufti Sahib is not a Mujtahid Imaam. He has no licence to extract a Hadith from the Hadith kutub, and extrapolate Usool (Principles) which could be used for abrogating the Furoo’ masaa-il of the Math-hab he purports to follow.

‘Love’ for a particular ibaadat is no justification for innovating ibaadat practices. ‘Love’ will not legitimize even the recitation of Surah Ikhlaas in every Fardh raka’t, as a permanent practice by even an individual performing Salaat in the privacy of his home despite the existence of a precedent in the Sunnah, and despite Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) having praised the Sahaabi for his profound love for this Surah. Such fixation is Makrooh. When ‘love’ and ‘rectification’ (the venerable Mufti’s principle) are not valid grounds for emulation of even a practice which has a basis in the Sunnah, by what stretch of Shar’i logic and in terms of which principle of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, could it be cited as daleel for an innovated practice such as collective loud Thikr which has absolutely no basis in the Sunnah. Instead of having a basis, it has vehement condemnation such as the action of Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu).

Bid’ah and Sunnah

Explaining the difference between bid’ah and Sunnah, Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) expounds:

“After the era of Khairul Quroon, the things which have been introduced (and innovated) are of two categories. The one category consists of such acts for which the cause is new, but a Hukm of the Shariah is reliant on it (the new act). Without the new act, it becomes almost impossible to act in accordance with the Hukm of the Shariah. In this category of innovation are the Deeni kutub, Madrasahs and Khaanqahs. These institutions did not exist during the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, a new cause necessitated the introduction of these institutions for safeguarding the Deen. (The new cause was the decline in the intellectual, moral and spiritual abilities of the people. We have omitted the detailed exposition of Hakimul Ummat on the issue of the ‘new cause’ for the sake of brevity.)

In view of the need to safeguard the Deen, these institutions were invented. While these institutions are superficially bid’ah, in reality they are not bid’ah (i.e. they are not bid’ah sayyiah). On the contrary, on the basis of the principle, “The preliminary basis of a Waajib act is also Waajib”, these necessary new institutions are also Waajib.

The second category of new introductions consists of such acts whose cause (sabab) is already existent. It is not a new development. Such acts of innovation are, for example, the customary meelaad, the third-day, tenth-day, fortieth-day customs, and many other acts of bid’ah. The cause (sabab) for these innovations existed, and is not a new development. For example, the reason for meelaad functions is happiness on account of the birth of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Despite this sabab having existed during the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), neither did he nor the Sahaabah organize meelaad functions. Did the intelligence of the Sahaabah not comprehend this (i.e. the supposed need for meelaad to express happiness), Nauthubillaah!

If this sabab (love for Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had not existed among the Sahaabah, then it could have been argued that since they lacked love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), they did not organize meelaad customs. (Obviously this is not the case).

But when the sabab had existed among them, then why did Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah not organize meelaad functions? The Hukm of this class of innovations is bid’ah. It is bid’ah in outward form as well as in its meaning. It comes within the scope of the Hadith: An act innovated into this Deen of ours, but which is not of it, is rejected (and accursed). This is the principle on the basis of which bid’ah and Sunnah could be distinguished, and the ruling for all details could be deducted.” End of Hakimul Ummat’s exposition.

If we scale the Mufti Sahib’s collective loud Thikr practices on this principle, it will be established that this practice falls in the second category of innovations. The raison d’etre (sabab) for Thikr is old (qadeem). It is not a new development. It existed par excellence among the Sahaabah. The very motive which underlies Thikrullah in this age, had existed in the age of the Sahaabah. The reason for Thikrullah is to gain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. This was the very reason for the Thikrullaah of the Sahaabah too, yet they did not organize such loud Thikr programmes. Were they then deficient in this raison d’etre? No, never! Thus, the display of devotion and love by means of innovated acts having the form of ibaadat implies that the Sahaabah were deficient in this respect while the innovators (Bid’atis) have surpassed them.

It does the Mufti Sahib no good to try and squeeze proof from Ahaadith which have absolutely no relationship to innovations (bid’ah sayyiah) and which cannever constitute a basis for validity of such acts. The Surah Ikhlaas recitation was a valid practice of a Sahaabi, upheld and praised by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Notwithstanding this validity, the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen of the Ahnaaf, without branding it bid’ah, did not deem it valid for negating the fatwa of Karaahat for the practice of fixing a specific Surah for specific raka’ts or for a particular Salaat.

The Talbiyah and extra words

In a similar endeavour, the Mufti Sahib on account of having misunderstood the narration, misapplies Hadhrat Ibn Umar’s recital of some extra words in the Talbiyah. Thus he says: “It has been reported that Hazrat Ibn Umar (Radiyallahu anhu) used to add a few extra words in the Talbiyah of Haj, This was not done with the intention of Sunnah therefore it was not regarded as an innovation.”

It would have been salubrious if the Mufti Sahib had rather mentioned Hadhrat Ibn Umar’s prohibition of Salaatudh Dhuha, for this would throw adequate light on the bid’ah of the collective loud Thikr performances in the Musaajid. In presenting Hadhrat Ibn Umar’s Talbiyah consisting of a ‘few extra words’, the Mufti Sahib has misdirected himself in that he has negated the Istihbaab of the ‘extra words’.

Reciting a few extra words in the Talbiyah is in fact also Sunnat. It is a Sunnah of the Mustahab category. The Mufti Sahib has erred regarding the mas’alah in this regard.

The effect of the Mufti Sahib’s averment is that if the ‘extra words’ are recited with the notion that these are Sunnat or Mustahab, then it would be an innovation. This inference is erroneous. The Mufti Sahib has also attempted to peddle the notion that reciting a few extra words in the Talbiyah was an act peculiar to only Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). However, he was not the only Sahaabi who recited additional words in the Talbiyah. In view of many other Sahaabah also adding to the Talbiyah, it is Mustahab to recite the few extra words.

This mas’alah is explained in Badaai-us Sanaai’ as follows: “If one adds to the Talbiyah, then it will be Mustahab according to us (the Ahnaaf)……..The daleel for this is the narration from a Jamaa’t (a whole group) of Sahaabah. They would add to the Talbiyah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).”

In the group of the Sahaabah who would add to the Talbiyah were Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). Thus, if ‘extra words’ are added to the Talbiyah in accordance with the practice of many Sahaabah, it will be in conformity with the Sunnah. There is no support for the bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances in the Musaajid which have no origin and sanction in the Sunnah.

Imaam Bukhaari’s practice

The venerable Mufti Sahib also attempts to find support for the Thikr programmes by reference to Imaam Bukhaari’s practice of taking ghusl and performing two raka’ts Salaat before committing a Hadith to writing. In terms of the Mufti Sahib’s logic, this practice of Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh) is a basis for justifying the collective loud Thikr performances in the Musaajid. He complements this ‘basis of justification’ with Imaam Abu Hanifah’s practice of performing Fajr Salaat with the Isha wudhu. The weirdness of this logic should be self-evident.

These are personal acts of ibaadat which were never offered for public consumption nor promoted from the public platform, nor were people roped in to participate in these strictly personal acts of ibaadat executed in solitude and privacy. There is not the slightest vestige of a probability that such personal acts of ibaadat observed in concealment can constitute a basis or a danger for bid’ah. Abundance of personal ibaadat is a teaching of the Qur’aan and Hadith.

In contrast, the ostentatious displays of swaying mureedeen performing to the public gallery, chanting and chorusing loudly Thikr formulae, are cosmetic presentations in which the seeds of bid’ah are latent. All such unsubstantiated public ‘ibaadat’ customs have developed into bid’ah sayyiah. The examples of the Bareilwi sect loudly testify to this reality and danger. These were dangers which far-sighted Sahaabah such as Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood, Ibn Umar, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhum) foresaw and nipped in the bud.

What is the relationship between Imaam Bukhaari’s ghusl and the collective loud Thikr performances enacted in the Musaajid and portrayed as primary acts of Thikr to convey the notion that ‘these’ forms of Thikr are the acts of ibaadat which the entire Ummah has to observe? It is precisely with this idea at the back of their minds that some roving shaikhs tour the country to drum up support, like politicians, for their Thikr programmes. Then they despatch emissaries to the east, west, north and south of the country to canvass support for their Thikr performances. Instead of giving lessons in the Sunnah and engaging in Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil Munkar, they invade the serenity of the Musaajid and initiate their collective Thikr programmes while most people stare and wonder agape at the transpirations in the Musaajid. They do not assist the masses with the Deen in this manner. They only further confuse and distort the pure unadulterated Sunnah which is supposed to be the legacy which the Ahl-e-Haqq acquired from the Sahaabah.

And, just what is the relationship of Imaam Abu Hanifah’s private act of ibaadat – his ibaadat of retaining his wudhu from Isha to Fajr – with the bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances? No one propagates against any individual’s right to perform any amount and any type of Nafl ibaadat or act of Taqwa, Wara’ Thikr or Shaghl. This is everyone’s inherent right. In fact every individual is exhorted by the Qur’aan and Ahaadith to be perpetually engaged in Thikrullaah, Taqwa and Tahaarat every moment of his life. But such constant engrossment in ibaadat and taqwa on an individual basis is never a basis for enactment of collective acts to which is conferred the outward form and aura of Masnoon ibaadat so that it appears to the ignorant and uninitiated masses that these unsubstantiated acts are ordered by the Shariah.

New collective acts having an outer-façade of Masnoon ibaadat cannever be equated to the personal acts of ibaadat of individual Auliya who practised their devotional exercises in concealment. Such athkaar and ashghaal are not up for public sale and consumption. Such Thikr is essentially the communion which the devotee has with his Beloved Creator. There is no danger of such private acts of ibaadat developing into bid’ah. But when these acts are given an external form and promoted in the public vociferously and ostentatiously, then the door of bid’ah is opened up wide.

If the Shariah had issued a licence for the perpetration of such innovated acts in the form of public performances, then by this day, Islam would have journeyed the same path of destruction and oblivion as had the Shariahs of the Yahood and Nasaaraa. To prevent this disaster, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) branded all innovated acts of ibaadat as mardood (rejected and accursed). Abundance of ibaadat – Nafl Salaat, Tilaawat, and constant Thikrullah – are orders of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith. For this abundance of ibaadat which is Waajib on every individual, no particular outward form has been ordained, hence fabrication of unsubstantiated outward form is bid’ah.

The validity and value of the ibaadat are dependent on their Shuroot, Arkaan, Sunans and Aadaab. Now if an individual engages in Tilaawaat of the Qur’aan Shareef alone for hours, he acts fully in consonance with the command of Allah Ta’ala. But if a few individuals decide to cloak their ibaadat with an external veneer and form which neither the Qur’aan nor the Ahaadith has ordered nor even envisaged, then there can be no hesitation in branding the innovated form (hait-e-kathaaiyyah) as bid’ah sayyiah.

FURTHER DISCUSSION ON RASULULLAH’S ABSTENTION

The Fuqaha have branded as bid’ah certain acts of ibaadat from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah had abstained. This rule of abstention poses a dilemma for the venerable Mufti Sahib who has laboriously and abortively slogged to show that commission of acts from which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained is not bid’ah. Since the Mufti Sahib has endeavoured to bolster his argument in favour of collective loud Thikr in the Musaajid with the contention that such public performances are not bid’ah on the basis of the claim that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had not engaged in such practices, he says: “A question may arise here that why, according to the jurists, certain actions which were not done by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) are innovations, for example to perform any voluntary Salaah before the Eid Salaah?”

This is indeed a valid question. It is adequate evidence for Rasulullah’s abstention in certain matters being a principle on the basis of which an act could be branded as bid’ah.

In a very poor and confusing attempt to argue away this principle, the venerable Mufti Sahib says: “Sheikh Abul Fadhl Ghumaari (Rahmatullah alaih) has replied to this question by saying that an action which was not practiced upon cannot be termed an innovation but it will fall under the law of silence instead of speech gives room for voluntary practice.’ Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) explained the rituals of Eid both verbally as well as practically, but Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did not verbally or practically explain the practice of performing voluntary Salaah before the Eid Salaah. This is sufficient proof that this practice is not a desired one.”

This answer only complicates the ambiguity. It does not in any way explain when would commission of an ‘abstention’ be bid’ah, and when would it not be bid’ah. If Rasulullah’s abstention falls ‘under the law of silence’ allowing scope for ‘voluntary’ practice as has been asserted, then this principle could be applied to Nafl Salaat before Eid Salaat. Someone could validly or logically contend that Rasulullah’s abstention from Nafl Salaat prior to Eid Salaat also ‘falls under the law of silence’, hence there is scope for voluntary performance on this occasion, especially if motivated by the principle of ‘love’ which the venerable Mufti Sahib had coined.

Similarly, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained from performing six raka’ts Fardh. Since the extra two raka’ts fall under the so-called ‘law of silence’, it should not be bid’ah to perform six raka’ts Fardh for Zuhr instead of four.

Similarly, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained from performing Salaat on one leg. This abstention should also come within the scope of the ‘law of silence’ and be permissible. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained from delivering any khutbah before the daily Fardh Salaat. The so-called ‘law of silence’ could also be invoked and further fortified by the Mufti Sahib’s principle of ‘love and rectification’ to introduce khutbahs before the daily Fardh Salaat, and such accretions would then ‘not’ be bid’ah. Such absurdities are the effects of the ‘principles’ which have been invented many many centuries after the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. These are ‘principles’ which are non-principles and fallacies.

The different interpretations for the sake of the acquisition of an all-embracing principle to solve the abstention conundrum, have not succeeded to formulate a principle which could be uniformly applied to the abstentions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) from acts of ibaadat. Some acts from which Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained are permissible whereas other acts of abstention are not permissible.

Regardless of the profound degree of love which a devotee may have, he may not commit such acts of abstention. For example, during the day time it is not permissible to perform more than four raka’ts Nafl Salaat with one Tasleem. However, during the night time, this could be exceeded and up to eight raka’ts may be performed with a single Tasleem. But even during the night time, eight raka’ts with one Tasleem may not be exceeded. Yet, if Qiyaas (Shar’i Logic) is applied, the eight raka’ts with one Tasleem should apply to the daytime Nafl Salaat as well or conversely, the four raka’t limit should apply to the night Nafl Salaat as well.

In this example, there are two identical acts of ibaadat, viz. Nafl Salaat. With regard to the Nafl of the day, there are two arguments proscribing more than four raka’ts with one Tasleem, viz. Nass and Qiyaas. The abstention of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and of the Sahaabah is the Nass (explicit proof of prohibition). The Tab’iyyat (Subordination) of Nafl to the Fardh Salaat is the Qiyaas. Since more than four raka’ts with one Tasleem is not permissible in Fardh Salaat, subordination of Nafl to Fardh requires that it should likewise not exceed four raka’ts with one Tasleem.

This very same logical argument could be directed to the Nafl of the night. However, this logic is set aside because of Nass. Up to eight raka’ts with a single Tasleem have been narrated from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Now raises the question of performing more than eight raka’ts with a single Tasleem during the night time. Our Jamhoor Fuqaha proclaim it Makrooh (not permissible, prohibited), and the basis of the Karaahat ruling is Rasulullah’s abstention. Anyone violating this abstention and out of ‘love’ and ‘devotion’ performs 10 raka’ts with one Tasleem during the night, will be guilty of bid’ah sayyiah, and we shall cite Rasulullah’s Abstention as the daleel while the venerable Mufti Sahib will have to maintain silence, and not attempt to engage us in mental gymnastics by averring: “An action which was not practiced upon by Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) cannot be termed an innovation.”

In certain aspects, most certainly, actions “upon which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not practise”, will be branded as innovation – bid’ah sayyiah. In this particular example, whether the excess is done individually or collectively, in privacy or in public – in all cases it will be bid’ah. Collectivity will be an aggravating factor compounding the evil of the act. “Love and rectification’ cannot abrogate the Abstention for legitimizing the expression of love in bid’ah. True love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is inextricably interwoven with Ittiba’ – complete obedience and following the Sunnah in the light of the understanding of the Sahaabah.

In the glare of this sacred light, our logic and our love fade into oblivion.

Now if we should strictly apply logic, then performing 300 raka’ts or 500 raka’ts Nafl Salaat daily would also have to be branded bid’ah because this amount of Nafl Salaat in a single day has not been reliably attributed to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) nor to any Sahaabi. The Abstention principle will not be applied in this case. It will not be said that performing so much Nafl Salaat is bid’ah on the basis of Rasulullah’s abstention.

What is the difference between the two acts of Abstention? For us Muqallideen of Imaam A’zam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) who are unable to display plumes of Ijtihaad, the answer is simple, brief and devoid of headaches. The Muqallid may not traverse beyond the parameters of the rulings of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen of whom he purports to be a subordinate. Since our Fuqaha have not branded as bid’ah 300 raka’ts nor predicated any Karaahat to it, we can safely state that in this example bid’ah is not involved despite the abstention of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Furthermore, the validity of an abundance of Nafl Salaat (alal itlaaq) is confirmed by the Ahaadith and corroborated by the Ta-aamul of the Salaf-e-Saaliheen of the Khairul Quroon era.

In the absence of an all-embracing, comprehensive principle which could cover all aspects of Rasulullah’s Abstentions, and due to the unreliability of our defective logic, there is a need for a viable standard on the basis of which the Abstentions could be scaled so that bid’ah could be accurately distinguished from Sunnah, and permissibility from impermissibility. The only criterion available for accomplishing this feat is the understanding and practice of the Sahaabah. They were the best and the practical exemplars of the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), hence he declared: “All my Sahaabah are just (on the Path of Rectitude). Whomever of them you follow, you will be rightly guided.”

Lest men of short-sightedness and deficient knowledge, misconstrue this declaration of Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and understand it to be a blanket licence or latitude to resort to the common practice of whimsical selection to fabricate fatwas of the nafs, there is a need for clarification. The authorities of the Shariah, the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen were the only Men of Knowledge who were entitled to avail of this selection process. It was their function to decide and order for us Muqallideen which practices and interpretations of the Sahaabah to adopt. Thus, if our Mujtahid Imaam says that reciting Qunoot in Fajr Salaat is bid’ah because certain Sahaabah branded it bid’ah, then we shall simply ignore and dismiss the venerable Mufti Sahib’s contrary averment on the basis of Qunoot in Fajr being Masnoon according to Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayh). On the Day of Qiyaamah, Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) may argue the issue with Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh). As far as we Muqallideen of Imaam A’zam (rahmatullah alayh) are concerned, it is bid’ah, and the venerable Mufti Sahib cannot shake this belief with his flair and penchant for ‘ijtihad’. As a Muqallid, he may not produce a contrary view of any Sahaabi or any Mujtahid Imaam to dismiss, counter or even water down the emphatic view of the Hanafi Math-hab stated with clarity and emphasis.

If the venerable Mufti Sahib wishes to embark on such a dubious exercise, he should first renounce his taqleed of Hanafi Math-hab. But to remain a professed Muqallid of the Math-hab, and to present arguments which not only confuse the masses of the Muqallideen, but serve to portray that our Math-hab is in ‘error’, is tantamount to treachery. We, therefore, say respectfully to the honourable Mufti Sahib, to confine himself honourably to the parameters of the Math-hab and to refrain from resorting directly to the wide variety of Ahaadith for proofs to support the collective loud Thikr performances of bid’ah in the Musaajid.

Ahaadith which another Math-hab cite as the basis for its masaa-il should not be presented in substantiation of whimsical practices of ‘love’ or ‘rectification’. In so doing, the venerable Mufti Sahib is inadvertently and we concede, unintentionally, nullifying the masaa-il of his own Math-hab.

We may not decide the issue of Abstention in terms of our fancies or our logic or any crooked, hollow and wholly inadequate principle which anyone has fabricated. The only Principles which are of Shar’i substance are the laws of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. The Sahaabah viewed certain acts as bid’ah because Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abstained from them. Acts such as Nafl Salaat before Eid, Nafl Salaat in the Eidgah even after the Eid Salaat, more than four raka’ts with one Tasleem during the day, and more than eight raka’ts during the night, Athaan and Iqaamah for Eid Salaat, Dhuhaa Salaat collectively, Nafl Salaat in Jamaa’t, reciting Muhammadur Rasulullah at the end of the Athaan by the Muath-thin, reciting Qunoot in Fajr, performing collective Thikr in the Musjid, performing loud Thikr in the Musjid, Nafl Salaat during Fajr time and innumerable other acts of abstention, will be bid’ah if committed.

The endeavour to dispel the ruling of bid’ah as applicable to these acts of abstention, by digging out Hadith narrations purporting the contrary, as the venerable Mufti Sahib has done, e.g. his ruling on Qunoot, etc., is pure sophistry in view of the fact that our Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen have ruled on these subjects during the Khairul Quroon.

In brief, we are not in need of fabricating an unattainable comprehensive principle for covering all the Abstentions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abstentions are ad infinitum. This is impossible. Our obligation is to submit to the explicit and clear rulings of our Fuqaha. Thus, when Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) says: “Raising the voice in the Musjid is haraam even with Thikr”, then we are expected to say: We hear and we submit! The plethora of interpretations of the much-later mufassireen and Sufiya are of no value in the process of formulating Ahkaam, if such interpretations conflict with the basic Ruling of our Imaam. The Rulings of the Fuqaha are imperative and of fundamental importance in matters relating to Ahkaam, not the interpretations of other authorities who have no standing in relation to the Fuqaha-e-Mutaqaddimeen who were the first Link after the Sahaabah in the Chain of Ilm and Taqwa which connects the Ulama with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

THE EID TAKBEER – FURTHER DISCUSSION

In another serious impropriety, the venerable Mufti Sahib says: “In our present times, the Takbeer of Eid is recited aloud after the Fajr Salaah until sunrise, in the Holy Haram of Makkah and every person present also recites Takbeer. None of the Ulama regard this as undesirable even though it falls under the category of innovation according to the narration of Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Radhiyallahu anhu).”

The venerable Mufti Sahib has descended to the level of an aami (layman) in the presentation of this ludicrous whimsical ‘daleel’ to justify the bid’ah of the collective loud Thikr in the Musaajid. There are a number of objections which in entirety nullify this spurious argument.

(1) The worst incongruity stated by the Mufti Sahib in this regard is his averment: “None of the Ulama regard this as undesirable even though it falls under the category of innovation…..”

If truly, the recitation of the Takbeer in this loud collective manner is an innovation (bid’ah), then even if all the Ulama of this age condone it, the ruling of bid’ah will not change. Furthermore, those Ulama who refrain from Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy anil Munkar in this respect, come within the scope of Rasulullah’s stricture: “The one who remains silent about the Haqq (i.e. he conceals the Haqq) is a dumb shaitaan.”

Did the venerable Mufti Sahib make an intelligent and a proper survey of the Ulama of the world to ascertain if all the Ulama are in agreement with the bid’ah which takes place in the Holy Haram at Makkah? On what basis does the Mufti Sahib make this sweeping arbitrary claim that “none of the Ulama regard this practice as undesirable”?

What takes place in the Holy Haram and in Saudi Arabia is not necessarily the Shariah. For the Shariah, we advise the honourable Mufti Sahib to resort to the kutub of the Fuqaha, and that too, the Hanafi kutub since he is a Hanafi muqallid.

What is the Mufti Sahib’s basis for averring that “every person present also recites Takbeer” loudly in rhythm with the concourse? This statement is grossly misleading. Firstly, we are positive that the venerable Mufti Sahib did not ascertain from every one of the half million persons present in Musjidul Haraam if he/she was reciting Takbeer loudly. Secondly, the Mufti Sahib attempts to create the notion that every person present”, recites the Takbeer loudly in response to the chorus of the officially appointed group who initiates the Takbeer chorus. Innumerable Hanafis present recite the Takbeer on their own silently, not in response to the chorus. The arbitrary claim that every person present recites the Takbeer loudly is baseless.

Should we assume momentarily that indeed every person does recite the Takbeer loudly in response to the government-appointed stage group, it will not detract from the bid’ah which the manner of the recital constitutes. The Shariah cannot be abrogated by the mannerism of crowds among whom are thousands who do not hesitate to punch, pull and perform bestially at Hajr-e-Aswad. What the crowds perpetrate in the Haram Shareef is not the Shariah. What the establishment Ulama enact in the Haram is not the Shariah.

After having conceded that the loud Takbeer recited in the Haram Shareef is bid’ah, then on the basis of which daleel does the venerable Mufti Sahib condone the practice? If it is his ‘love’ or some idea of ‘rectification’, then let him understand that these factors are not proofs in the Shariah. The practices of Saudi Arabia do not constitute Shar’i daleel.

The venerable Mufti Sahib has subtly attempted to convey the idea that this mannerism of reciting the Takbeer is innovation in terms of the opinion of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu). This notion is baseless. If the Mufti Sahib is perhaps not aware of the Ahnaaf masaa-il pertaining to Takbeer-e-Tashreeq, he should be apprized that reciting the Takbeer loudly at the venue of the Eid Salaat is bid’ah on both Eids. This is the unanimous ruling of the Hanafi Math-hab. It is therefore, not permissible for followers of the Hanafi Math-hab to join the crowd in the bid’ah of loud Takbeer.

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