THE MUFTI’S RESPONSE TO THE OBJECTIONS

(1) Responding to the criticism of the loud collective Thikr, the venerable Mufti Sahib says: “Objection 1: Allah Ta’ala says in the Noble Qur’an: “Call out to your Creator silently and fearfully.” (Al-A’raaf: 55) In another verse Allah Ta’ala says: “And remember your Lord fearfully and silently in your heart; do not remember Him too loudly.” (Al-A’raaf: 205) These two verses suggest that dua and zikr should be made silently”.

These are the two verses which are cited to prove that silent Thikr is best and commanded by Allah Ta’ala. It is incorrect for the Mufti Saheb to aver that these two verses ‘suggest’ silent dua and Thikr. In these two verses, Allah Ta’ala issues explicit commands to observe dua and Thikr silently. These verses do not ‘suggest’ silence. They positively command observance of silence when making dua and Thikr. The command is so explicit and emphatic that some authorities claim that it is for Wujoob (compulsion). The general view is that even if it is not for Wujoob, then the lesser category of Istihbaab will most definitely be applicable. The Mufti’s claim about a mere suggestion in these two gracious verses is therefore utterly baseless – devoid of substance, unbefitting of a man of Ilm.

The venerable Mufti Sahib further claims: “According to the majority of commentators, the first verse quoted above was revealed regarding dua and not regarding zikr.” Indeed the Mufti Sahib has degenerated to the level of grabbing at straws in his futile attempt to refute the objection which has been directed against the bid’ah loud collective Thikr programmes. A subtle attempt has been made here to convey the impression that the majority of the Mufassireen has deleted Thikr from the scope of this aayat. But for this claim, the Mufti Sahib has not provided an iota of substantiating evidence.

The Mufti Sahib has only presented the explanation of the aayat given in Ruhul Ma’aani. Nowhere in the tafseer of the aayat does Ruhul Ma’aani contend that Thikr is excluded from the scope of the aayat. In fact, Ruhul Ma’aani also mentions the view of those who say that the meaning of ‘dua’ in the context of the aayat is ‘Ibaadat’ which applies to Thikr as well. Further, Ruhul Ma’aani’s tafseer does not exclude Thikr from the scope of the aayat. It only presents the explanation of the verse.

Explaining this aayat, Tafseer Mazhari states: “Make His Thikr and ibaadat, and ask Him for your needs.” Although the aayat mentions dua specifically, Tafseer Mazhari bringing Thikr within its scope, says: “Know that Thikr in general is ibaadat.” In the explanation of this verse, Tafseer Mazhari brings the Hadith: “(Allah Ta’ala says): I am with him (My servant) when he makes My Thikr. If he makes My Thikr (i.e. remembers Me) in his heart, then I too remember him in My Heart….” Although the text of the aayat states, ‘dua’, Mazhari as well as other Mufassireen extrapolate the rules of Thikr from it. Thus, Tafseer Mazhari continues: “This Hadith applies to both Thikr jahr and Thikr khafi. Some persons had the impression that this Hadith indicates the superiority of jahr over khafi. However, this is devoid of substance…….There is consensus of the Ulama that silent Thikr is afdhal and loud Thikr is bid’ah….”

We have already discussed this aspect earlier on. We are repeating parts of the tafseer here merely to show that the Mufassireen bring Thikr within the scope of this aayat. They have not excluded it as the Mufti Sahib has endeavoured to convey. In the tafseer of this aayat, Mazhari presents a detailed elaboration on the question of Thikr, not only Dua. The Ahaadith pertaining to silent dua have been cited by the Mufassireen and Ulama in substantiation of the superiority of silent Thikr. It is quite clear that the authorities regard Dua also as a form of Thikr. Undoubtedly, dua too is Thikr. All acts of ibaadat and taa-at (obedience) are ibaadat (worship), which are forms of Thikr. Hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Every obedient person is a Thaakir (one who makes Thikr).” When a Muslim ascertains the Shariah’s law pertaining to an act which he contemplates, and executes it in accordance with the Shariah to gain Allah’s Pleasure, then he is a Thaakir. His remembrance (Thikr) of Allah Ta’ala constrains him to ascertain the law of the Shariah, hence the Hadith describes him as a Thaakir.

The venerable Mufti Sahib has used Ma-aariful Qur’aan in an attempt to consolidate the idea that this aayat refers exclusively to dua, and that Thikr is beyond its scope. To rebut this attempt, we shall put it very mildly that the honourable Mufti Sahib has not been candid in citing from Ma’aariful Qur’aan. In the explanation of this aayat, Hadhrat Muhammad Mufti Shafi (rahmatullah alayh), the author of Ma-aariful Qur’aan, states: “In these two words (of this aayat), two important etiquettes of Dua and Thikr are explained.” Deleting the word, Thikr, from the tafseer of Ma-aariful Qur’aan, for obvious reasons, the venerable Mufti Sahib says: “According to Ma’aariful Qur’an, amongst the etiquettes of dua is that it should be made humbly and silently.”

What has constrained the venerable Mufti Sahib to embark on this misrepresentation which is pure Kitmaanul Haqq (concealment of the truth)? Why did the Mufti Sahib not state the factual position? Why did he not say: According to Ma’aariful Qur’an, amongst the etiquettes of dua and Thikr is that it should be made humbly and silently?”

Imaam Raazi (rahmatullah alayh), in his Tafseer Kabeer, explaining this aayat, says: “There are two views. Some said that it means ‘Make his ibaadat’. Others say it is dua.”

It should be understood that those who hold the dua view, do not negate Thikr. They do not exclude Thikr from the scope of the aayat and from the hukm of khafi.

The honourable Mufti Sahib, despite loudly advocating the case of loud Thikr against silent Thikr, is ominously silent regarding the following explanation which Ma-aariful Qur’aan presents in the discussion of this aayat: “…It was the practice of the Salaf-e-Saaliheen to apply great effort to Thikr and Dua and most of the time they were engrossed (in these acts of ibaadat), but no one could hear their voices……”

After explaining the etiquettes of dua in the tafseer of this aayat, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) says: “This explanation is in regard to making dua for one’s needs. If dua in this context is taken to mean Thikr and ibaadat, then too according to the Ulama-e-Salaf Thikr sirr is superior to Thikr jahr………Infact, even according to them (the Mashaaikh Chisht) jahr fi-nafsihi (per se) in Thikr is not desirable although it is permissible.” The thrust and conclusion of the explanation of the aayat in Ma-aariful Qur’aan is the superiority of Thikr-e-Khafi. Alas! The venerable Mufti Sahib has opted for ignoring this irrefutable fact which stands out conspicuously in all the kutub of Tafaseer. Affirmation of the superiority of both silent Thikr and silent dua, the Mufti Sahib’s partial acknowledgement, namely, “Thus making dua silently is better than doing so aloud.”, is highly improper to say the least. For better intellectual registration, let us reiterate what we have cited a few lines above, from Ma-aariful Qur’aan: “The tahqeeq of the Ulama-e-Salaf in this as well, is that Thikr Sirr is better than Thikr Jahr.”

The Mufti Sahib cites from Ruhul Ma’aani the Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (radhiyallahu anhu) in which it is said that ‘a group of people who tired themselves by making dua very loud’, was admonished by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who said: “O people have mercy on yourselves……” The Mufti Sahib’s purpose in citing this Hadith at this particular juncture is to show that the aayat under discussion is confined to dua because Ruhul Ma’aani presented it in the tafseer of this aayat.

This very same Hadith is presented in Tafseer Mazhari as follows: “…. the Hadith of Abu Musa” He said: “When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) went on the expedition of Khaibar, the people (the Sahaabah) climbed up a valley and raised their voices with Takbeer. Then Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Have mercy on your souls….”

In this regard, Imaam Raazi (rahmatullah alayh) states in his Tafseer Kabeer: “The third proof (for Ikhfa’) is the Hadith in which Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari narrates that they (the Sahaabah) were on an expedition. They climbed up a valley and begain raising their voices with Takbeer and Tahleel (reciting Lailaha il lallaah). Then Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Have mercy on your souls…”

These kutub of Tafseer as well as other Tafaseer mention with clarity that the Sahaabah who had raised their voices, were reciting takbeer and tahleel. Besides the explicit mention of this fact, it is just logic that they were not making dua on top of their voices whilst they were climbing up the hill. For further confirmation, let us examine the kutub of Hadith. Muslim Shareef narrates this Hadith as follows:

“Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhu) said: ‘We were with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on a journey. The people began reciting Takbeer loudly. Then Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Have mercy on your souls…”

Narrating another version of this same episode, Muslim reports: “Abu Musa said that they were with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and they were climbing up the mountain pathway. Whenever a man would climb higher, he would exclaim: ‘Lailaha illallahu wallaahu Akbar’. Then Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘You are not calling on a deaf being….”

Commenting on this Hadith, Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh) says in his Sharah:

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to them: ‘Have mercy on your souls…” when they recited the Takbeer loudly.”

Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh) narrates this episode in his Saheeh as follows:

Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari said: ‘We were with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). When we climbed up the valley, we recited Tahleel and Takbeer. When our voices became loud, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘O people! Have mercy on your souls….” The following commentary appears in the Haashiyah of Bukhari Shareef:

In Fath, Tabari said: ‘In it (this Hadith) is the karaahiyat of raising the voice with dua and Thikr. And, this is the view of the majority of the Salaf among the Sahaabah and Taabieen.’ ” Also in the Haashiyah of Bukhaari Shareef, the following commentary appears: “Raising the voice: Ibn Battaal said: ‘The Ashaab of the authoritative Math-habs and others are unanimous in the view that raising the voice with takbeer and Thikr is not Mustahab.’ ”

It is abundantly clear from all these authentic narrations that Rasulullah’s command to the Sahaabah to lower their voices on the occasion mentioned in these Ahaadith, pertains to takbeer and tahleelThikr – not to dua as averred by the venerable Mufti Sahib. The attempt to surreptitiously pass off this incident as an episode of Dua, and not Thikr, is flabby, reckless and improper.

Noteworthy in regard to this particular Hadith in which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanded: “Have mercy on your souls.”, is the fact that while the later Mufassireen, many centuries after Khairul Quroon, interpreted this Hadith as a prohibition of only jahr-e-mufrit (excessive loudness), The Aimmah Mujtahideen and the Fuqaha in general invariably cite this very same Hadith in substantiation of the superiority of Thikr-e-Khafi.

Then the Mufti Sahib, continuing with his response to the first Objection, attempts to restrict the second aayat, namely Aayat 205 of Surah A’raaf, to the Makki era. This aayat on the basis of this exceedingly narrow interpretation is applicable to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The general import and application of the aayat are denied by the honourable Mufti Sahib. In corroboration of his view he cites Allamah Suyuti and Mufti Khairuddeen Ramli (rahmatullah alayhima) while ignoring all the prominent and authoritative Tafaseer to which he had swiftly resorted for arguments on a variety of issues pertaining to this dispute.

In his attempt to refute the contention of Ikhfa based on Aayat 55 of Surah A’raaf, namely: Call unto your Rabb with humility and silently…”, the honourable Mufti Sahib had quoted, albeit inappropriately from Tafseer Ruhul Ma’aani. However, with regard to the tafseer of the ‘second verse’, the venerable Mufti Sahib has opted to conveniently ignore Ruhul Ma’aani. Explaining this aayat, Ruhul Ma’aani says:

“This refers to every Thikr, for verily, ikhfa’ has a greater role in ikhlaas (sincerity) and is closer to acceptance……………It has been deducted on the basis of this aayat that Ikhfa’ of Thikr is afdhal. The Hadith reported by Imaam Ahmad supports this. (The Hadith is): Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The best Thikr is silent Thikr.” And, this is a reproach for the ignorant pretending sufis of our age with regard to what they are doing (their acts of bid’ah – such as loud collective Thikr in the Musaajid) – acts which are evil in terms of the Shariah, intelligence and custom (i.e. valid custom). Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raajioon.”

Ruhul Ma’aani does not confine this aayat to the Makki period nor to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The verse has general application. It applies to all time and all people. Imaam Raazi (rahmatullah alayh) in his Tafseer Kabeer explicitly confirms this fact. Thus, he states: “Know that Allah’s statement: ‘Remember your Rabb in your heart’, although it is apparently addressing Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), it applies in general to all the Mutakallifeen (i.e. to all Muslimeen).”

Although the Mufassireen explain the circumstance of the revelation of this aayat, they do not restrict the aayat’s command to only Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The honourable Mufti Sahib has also conveniently forgotten to quote Ma-aariful Qur’aan’s tafseer of the ‘second verse’ although he did resort to Ma-aariful Qur’aan in an attempt to acquire some argument to bolster his view pertaining to the ‘first verse’. The reason for bypassing Ma-aariful Qur’aan with regard to the second aayat is quite obvious. There is absolutely no proof and no grounds for the Mufti Sahib in Ma-aariful Qur’aan’s explanation of the second verse. Hadhrat Mufti Shafi (rahmatullah alayh), in Ma-aariful Qur’aan, deals elaborately with the rules of Thikr and dua. No where does he confine the second verse to the Makki era and to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

In fact, in the tafseer of the ‘second verse’, Mufti Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayhi) explicitly states that the ‘first verse’ brings within its scope Thikr and tilaawat as well. It is not confined to dua – an idea which the venerable Mufti (i.e. Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib) has unsuccessfully peddled. Thus, Ma-aariful Qur’aan in the course of its dilation on the second verse, explains the first verse as follows:

“These very same etiquettes of dua have been explained in another aayat in the beginning of Surah A’raaf, namely, “Call unto your Rabb with humility and silence.” Its meaning is to make Thikr with a low tone. In other words, one adab of Thikr and tilaawat is to recite with a low tone………”

Referring to the ‘second verse’, Ma-aariful Qur’aan states: According to the Jamhoor, these two verses are the command pertaining to Mutlaq Thikr (Thikr in general) and its etiquettes……”

Tafseer Mazhari also presents an elaborate tafseer of several pages on the ‘second verse’. There is not even a reference to the suggested restriction of the hukm to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The aayat has been utilized as a basis for confirming the superiority of Thikr Khafi, hence during the course of the tafseer of this ‘second verse’, Mazhari states: “Verily it has been said that jahr with Thikr and dua is bid’ah, and the Sunnat in both of them is Ikhfa’ as the mas’alah has been explained in the tafseer of Allah’s statement: ‘Call unto your Rabb with humility and in silence.” (i.e. aayat 55 – the first verse).

Tafseer Ruhul Bayaan also states with clarity: “That this address (to Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam) applies to all creation (i.e. to all Muslimeen) is valid…..The Thikr (‘in your heart’, mentioned in this aayat) is with silent recitation, for verily, Ikhfa’ has a greater role in Ikhlaas, and it is closer to acceptance. This Thikr is general bringing within its scope all forms of Athkaar, whether qiraa’t, dua, etc. as has been stated in Al-Asraarul Muhammadiyyah. The fadheelat of Thikr is not restricted to tahleel, takbeer, tasbeeh and dua. In fact, every obedient servant of Allah is a Thaakir (according to the Hadith).”

There simply is no substantiation for the Mufti Sahib’s restriction and confinement theory. It is utterly baseless and not worthy of consideration.

The venerable Mufti Sahib makes a futile endeavour to enlist the support of Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy Lucknowi (rahmatullah alayh) for his view of the superiority of loud Thikr. It is a gross misrepresentation to create the impression that Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) subscribed to superiority of Thikr jahr. His view on the superiority of Thikr-e-Khafi is conspicuous and categoric. Let us now examine his Fatwa on this issue. The following question and answer appears in Majmuah Fataawa of Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh):

QUESTION: Nowadays after every Namaaz the people recite loudly four times ‘Lailaha illallaah’ – three or four times. Then saying ‘Allahu Akbar’, they shake their heads. Is there any substantiation for this in the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or the Sahaabah or in the era of Imaam A’zam or his Students. If this method is narrated (authentically) from someone (some senior of those eras), may we promote this practice? If it is not substantiated, then what is the hukm of this customary practice? Is it necessary to prevent people from it or to adopt silence. Furthermore, is it afdhal to recite audibly or silently those Athkaar which are substantiated in our Hanafi Math-hab?”

ANSWER: This type of Thikr is not substantiated from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) nor the Sahaabah nor the four Imaams and others (i.e. other Fuqaha). The Hanafi Ulama as well as the Ulama of the other Math-habs have explicitly stated that it is Mustahab to make Thikr silently after Namaaz. However, it appears from some Ahaadith that during the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), some Sahaabah would audibly recite the takbeer after Namaaz.

However, the Shurraah (Commentators) of Hadith have said that this Thikr jahri applies to Jihad situations. They maintain that in relation to jahr, it is afdhal to recite silently. Some other Shurraah have said that this was done occasionally. However, they prohibit Iltizaam (i.e. to observe a practice with constancy as if it is Waajib). In the kitaab, Al-Mudkhal of Ibnul Haaj Maaliki, the following appears:

“Regarding the narration of Ibn Zubair that during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), after he made the Salaam of the Salaat, he would recite in a raised voice, ‘Lailaha illallaah wahdahu…………..’, and the narration of Ibn Abbaas that after completing Salaat the people would raise their voices with Thikr, there are two answers:

First is that which Imaam Shaafi has explained in Kitaabul Umm: ‘Both the Imaam and the Ma’moom (the muqtadi) should engage in Thikrullaah silently after ending the Salaat except that it is incumbent (for the Muqtadi) to learn from the Imaam (what to recite). In this case the Imaam should recite audibly until he has understood that the muqtadi has learnt (the Thikr). Then he should revert to silent Thikr, for Allah Ta’ala says (in the Qur’aan): ‘Do not make your voice loud nor (totally) silent.’, i.e. with dua. ‘La-tajhar, i.e. do not raise. La-tukhaafit, i.e. not too silent. You, yourself should be able to hear it.

The jahr which has been narrated by Ibn Zubair and Ibn Abbaas is jahr for a short while so that the people could learn from him (Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam). This explanation is because the majority of narrations which we have recorded do not mention Thikr after the Salaam nor takbeer.” This is Imaam Shaafi’ who has explained it (the narrations mentioning audible Thikr after Salaat) in the light of Ta’leem. When the ta’leem has been served, then he (the Imaam) should stop (his audible Thikr). This (practice of ta’leem) is in conflict with today’s custom of qiraa’t, loud Thikr and congregating. They do not intend ta’leem. On the contrary, their intention is thawaab (since they regard it to be the correct form of ibaadat).

The second answer is what Abul Hasan Ibn Battaal has explained in Sharh Saheeh Bukhaari when he explained the Hadith of Ibn Abbaas. It is probable that he related this to the Mujaahideen. If it is so, then it applies even today. When the Mujaahideen perform the five Salaat, it is Mustahab for them to recite takbeer aloud. They should raise their voices to instil fear in the enemy. If this is not the (acceptable) interpretation, then it (the practice of audible Thikr after Salaat) is Mansookh (abrogated) by virtue of Ijma’. Not a single one of the Ulama is aware of it.

In the same kitaab, Al-Mudkhal, it is mentioned: “All should abstain from jahri Thikr after completing the Salaat if they are in jamaa’t, for verily, it (Thikr jahr) is bid’ah.”

Allaamah Shaikhul Islam Badruddin Hanafi states in Nihaayah, Sharah Hidaayah: “Abu Bakr Raazi said: ‘Our Mashaaikh have said that there is no jahri takbeer other than during the days of Tashreeq or when confronting the enemy or robbers…” In Nisaabul Ihtisaab it appears: “It is Makrooh to recite takbeer audibly after Salaat. Verily, it is bid’ah except during the days of Nahr and Tashreeq.” There are numerous similar texts (ibaaraat) from which Thikr jahri is proven to be Makrooh with a few special exceptions. I have explained this in my treatise, Sabaahatul Fikr Fil Jahr biz Zikr.

The summary of this is: If besides the Days of Tashreeq, Thikr jahr is practised sometimes then there is nothing wrong on condition that the jahr is not excessive. If the objective of the jahr is ta’leem, then this is permissible. However, without these objectives, making special arrangements for it and observing it with Iltizaam is in conflict with the Tareeq of Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Salaf-e-Saaliheen.” (End of Maulana Abdul Hayy’s exposition)

In this elaboration, Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) has sounded the death knell to the bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances which the honourable Mufti Sahib so dishonourably advocates and promotes.

In citing Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hay Lucknowi (rahmatullah alayh) in an extremely lame endeavour to eke out support for his view on loud collective Thikr, the venerable Mufti Sahib has perpetrated a grave act of injustice against Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy Sahib, as well as against the community of Islam. He has paraphrased Maulana Abdul Hayy’s discussion on Thikr to present a thoroughly distorted and erroneous picture. Citing Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy, the venerable Mufti Sahib says:

“Hazrat Moulana Abdul Hay Looknawi (Rahmatullah alaih) has explained this verse in detail in his kitab Sabaahatul Fikr Fil Jahri Biz-Zikr. A summary of his discussion is given hereunder:

1. This command of Allah Ta’ala is only for the sake of ease and not for compulsion.

11. This verse is not general in prohibiting loud zikr rather it prohibits one from excessively screaming when making zikr. This has also been explained by Imaam Raazi (Rahmatullah alaih) where he says that the verse under discussion prohibits one from screaming when making zikr; as Allah Ta’ala says in another verse: ‘Do not perform your Salaat too loudly and neither too softly; but rather adopt a moderate mode.”

Before presenting the true version of Maulana Abdul Hayy, the following comments of the Mufti Sahib should be considered in conjunction with the aforementioned ‘summary’ which the honourable Mufti Sahib has proffered. The need for viewing this in conjunction is because Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) responds to both the fallacies in a single inter-connected reply. Now, the venerable Mufti Sahib avers:

“Thus the verse under discussion was revealed during the Makkan period of prophethood whilst the verse “When you complete your Haj rituals then remember Allah Ta’ala as you would remember your forefathers.” was revealed during the Madinah period of prophethood. Regarding this verse all commentators of the Qur’an are unanimous that during the Days of Ignorance, the Polytheists used to proudly remember their forefathers aloud; and so as to instruct them to remember Allah Ta’ala instead, this verse was revealed.”

The Mufti Sahib has attempted to show in this argument that just as the mushrikeen were remembering their forefathers in loud recitation of poetry, similarly, the Qur’aan orders the Mu’mineen to remember Allah excessively and loudly during these days after execution of the Hajj rituals. It is in the context of the attempt to prove the superiority and necessity of ‘loudness’ in Thikr that the Mufti Sahib has adduced this aayat as his ‘proof’.

The Mufti Sahib had earlier on also presented a Hadith as ‘proof’ for superiority of loud Thikr. He stated: “Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudri (Radiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Make the zikr of Allah Ta’ala excessively to such an extent that people call you insane.”

Responding to these aforementioned claims made by the honourable Mufti Radhaahul Haq Sahib, Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) states in his Majmuah Fataawa:

“……If these people say that the Hadith: ‘Make Thikr of Allah until the people say: ‘Verily, he is mad.’, indicates Thikr jahr, then the response is: We also say that jahr per se (nafs-e-jahr) is permissible. The conflict is in jahr mufrit (excessive loudness). The meaning of the Hadith is: Make abundant Thikr of Allah until they say: ‘Verily, he is mad.” Thus, the dalaalat (indication) of the Hadith is in fact, not on jahr at all. Furthermore, the Qur’aanic aayaat indicate that Sirri Thikr is Mustahab or that the Thikr should be in such a moderate manner which is between jahr and sirr. Allah Ta’ala states: “Call on your Rabb with humility and silently. Verily, He does not love those who transgress the limits.” Elsewhere, the Qur’aan says: “Make the Thikr of your Rabb in your heart with humility and silently, and less than jahr, morning and evening. And be not from among the ghaafileen.” Imaam Raazi says in the tafseer of Allah’s statement: ‘Make Thikr of Allah in your heart: i.e. Make Thikr silently (sirran). And the meaning of Allah’s statement: ‘Doonal jahr bil qaul’ (less than jahr) is ‘doonal jahril mufrit’ (less than excessive loudness). It means that the Thikr should be between mukhaafatah (total silence) and jahr.”

Baihaqi in Shu’bul Imaan narrated from Sa’d Bin Maalik the Marfoo’ Hadith: “The best Thikr is (Thikr) Khafi, and the best rizq is that which is sufficient.” In Nihaayah – Sharah Hidaayah it is said: “According to us (i.e. the Ahnaaf) silence in Athkaar is Mustahab except in cases related with announcement such as Athaan and Talbiyah.”

Numerous Hanafis (Hanafi Fuqaha) have stated so explicitly (i.e. that Thikr Khafi is Mustahab). It comes in Hidaayah: Verily, jahr with Thikr is bid’ah. The Asal in Thikr is Ikhfa’. The summary is: Even if jahr is permissible, mufrit jahr is prohibited, and Sirr (silent Thikr) is better than even such jahr which is not mufrit…….” (End of Maulana Abdul Hayy’s elaboration).

This explanation of Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy clarifies the following misrepresentations made by the venerable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib:

(1) His attempt to show that Maulana Abdul Hayy is of the view that loud Thikr is better than silent Thikr. Maulana Abdul Hayy has categorically affirmed the superiority of silent Thikr in the aforementioned exposition.

(2) Both Maulana Abdul Hayy and Imaam Raazi have been cited out of context. Imaam Raazi’s tafseer pertaining to ‘excessive loudness’ is the explanation of the words: ‘doonal jahr bil qaul’. It is unrelated to the earlier part of the aayat, namely: “Remember your Rabb in your heart with humility and silence.” Imaam Raazi explicitly explains this as ‘Sirri Thikr’. Imaam Raazi’s tafseer of the statement, doonal jahr bil qaul, is not an argument in favour of superiority for Thikr jahr. Both Imaam Raazi and Maulana Abdul Hayy categorically affirm the Istihbaab and superiority of Thikr Khafi.

(3) The Hadith regarding being branded ‘mad’, means abundant/excessive Thikr, not loud Thikr. Thus Maulana Abdul Hayy states explicitly: “In fact, in this Hadith there is no indication for jahri Thikr.”

(4) The very explanation (mentioned in No.3) applies to the Qur’aanic verse which instructs observance of Thikr after execution of the Hajj rituals. There is not the slightest indication in the aayat for loud Thikr. The meaning is simply ‘abundant Thikr’.

There is absolutely no support in the writings of Imaam Raazi and Maulana Abdul Hayy for the venerable Mufti Sahib’s contended superiority of loud Thikr. The misrepresentation of the views of these two Ulama by the venerable Mufti Sahib is a lamentable travesty of the Haqq.

After the honourable Mufti Sahib has failed to extrapolate substantiation for his theory from the views of Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy and Imaam Raazi, he refers to Ruhul Ma’aani, and avers:

“This verse is explained in Ruhul Ma’aani in the following way: According to some scholars silent zikr is more virtuous when there is fear of insincerity or disturbance to others, but if there is no fear of insincerity or disturbance to others then loud zikr would be more virtuous. Similarly loud zikr would be more virtuous when one’s intentions are either to teach others, or to bring delight to the heart, or to abstain from innovation, etc.”

This is another flabby attempt – clutching at straws – to support a theory which militates against the Ijma’ of the Sahaabah and the Salaf-e-Saaliheen, and which is in violation of the explicit command and spirit of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. While Ruhul Ma’aani has mentioned this view of ‘some’, it is not the official view of the Sahaabah and Salaf-e-Saaliheen. It is not the view of the Fuqaha of the Four Math-habs nor of other Fuqaha. The authorities of the Shariah unanimously state the superiority of Ikhfa’. This Consensus is not shattered or affected in any way by the view of a tiny minority of centuries-later Ulama.

This is a view which clashes with the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. It is in conflict with the official tafseer which all the Mufassireen proffer for the two verses under discussion. It is ludicrous to present this unsubstantiated view of a miniscule minority of unknown Ulama or Sufis in negation of what is an established view since the time of the Sahaabah. When even the Chishtiyyah Mashaaikh who subscribe to Thikr Bil Jahr, especially for beginners in the Path, affirm the superiority and originality of Thikr-e-Khafi, then the presentation of this feeble view in a bid to demote what the Qur’aan and Sunnah promote, is an act of extravagation unbefitting one who dons the Mantle of Knowledge of the Deen.

Furthermore, the variegated factors which regulate the permissibility of Thikr jahr amply illustrate the secondary status of this type of Thikr. Its permissibility is governed by strict stipulations whereas Thikr-e-Khafi is unfettered by these conditions. While Thikr-e-Jahr may be better according to some Ulama, they too refute the affirmation of a higher status to it than Ibaahat (permissibility), as well as Iltizaam.

It should also not escape attention that this minority, unsubstantiated and obscure view does not support the loud collective Thikr programmes in the Musjid which the venerable Mufti Sahib is advocating and promoting. Even this view is applicable to individuals making Thikr in solitude. It cannever be applicable to people sitting in the Musjid. The restricting conditions imposed by the Scholars holding this view make it abundantly clear that Thikr Jahri may not be practised in the Musaajid.

The cosmopolitan Musaajid are always frequented by musallis at all times of the day. The disturbance and distraction of the chanters who perform with swinging heads are bound to adversely affect the Salaat and acts of ibaadat of the other Musallis. As for the loud collective Thikr programmes held in the Musaajid in these days, the following tafseer in Ruhul Ma’aani is applicable:

“It is deducted from this verse that Ikhfa’ of Thikr is afdhal. And, this is supported by the Hadith reported by Imaam Ahmad that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

The best Thikr is Khafi.” This is a reproach for the ignorance of the impostor Sufis of our age, for the evils they perpetrate – evil according to the Shariah, intelligence and (even) Urf. Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raajioon.”

(2) Answering an imagined objection, the venerable Mufti Sahib says:

“Objection 2: In an authentic Hadith Abu Musa Ash’ari (Radiyallahu anhu) has narrated: “We were once with Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in a certain battle. Whenever we crossed a valley or ascended a high place, we raised our voices reciting Takbeer. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) approached us and said: ‘O people have mercy on yourselves for verily you are not calling out to one who is deaf or absent. You are calling out to One who is All-Hearing and All-Seeing and who is nearer to you than the neck of your conveyance.”

According to the Mufti Sahib his critics claim that “this Hadith commanded the Sahabah to take the name of Allah Ta’ala silently.” Then the venerable Mufti Sahib meanders off into an exposition, citing Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy to prove that the instruction in the Hadith was to lower the voices, not to command complete silence. We find no fault with this exposition. We are not aware of the critics who utilize this Hadith for the view of total prohibition of Thikr-e-Jahr. As far as we are concerned, there is no contention. We do not claim that jahr is totally haraam. This never was our contention nor stance. We ourselves practise Thikr Bil Jahr in solitude and privacy. We are spiritually related to the Chishti Silsilah. There is, therefore, no need for us to contest what the venerable Mufti Sahib has presented on this score. This argument of the Mufti Sahib concerns one who actually claims that this particular Hadith prohibits Thikr bil Jahr.

While the need to respond on this score is obviated, we need to comment on the Mufti Sahib’s exposition from another angle. There are some incongruencies in the Mufti Sahib’s discourse on this Hadith. He avers:

This Hadith forbids one from screaming when making zikr as is pointed out in other narrations. When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) heard the Sahaba screaming at the top of their voices he (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Have mercy on your-selves.” This does not mean that loud zikr in general is forbidden as”

  1. This was for the sake of ease.

  2. Loud zikr was forbidden only because it was against the general habit of the Sahaba.”

There are two distinct issues in this connection: screaming and moderate loud Thikr. It appears that the Mufti Sahib has confused these two issues. He says that this Hadith does not forbid ‘loud zikr in general’. Then in his point No.2 above, he says that “loud Thikr was against the general habit of the Sahaba”, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade it (loud Thikr). The contradiction and absurdity are self-evident. If loud Thikr was against the general habit of the Sahaabah, why should it be forbidden? What is there to forbid when in fact it was their general and permanent practice to engage in silent Thikr? So what does the Mufti Sahib mean by his averment: ‘Loud zikr was forbidden only because it was against the general habit of the Sahaba.’

As the Mufassireen have explained, this Hadith prohibits screaming – excessive loudness. It does not prohibit that jahr which the Qur’aan describes as ‘doonal jahr bil qaul’ (with a voice less than loudness). This Hadith has no relationship with the ‘general habit of the Sahaba’ – their habit which was Thikr-e-Khafi. The Hadith only prohibits excessive loudness which is tantamount to screaming. Thus, the Mufti Sahib’s averment in this regard is unintelligent and futile at this juncture of the argument.

Secondly, the venerable Mufti with his averment: “Loud zikr was forbidden only because it was against the general habit of the Sahaba”, has confirmed that the normal practice of the Sahaabah was Thikr-e-Khafi. When he is aware of this irrefutable fact, then what constrains him to propagate his superiority theory – that loud Thikr is better than silent Thikr?

The other incongruity in his argument to the ‘second objection’, is his self-contradiction pertaining to the ‘screaming’ Hadith. In his booklet, just one page before he argues that the Hadith prohibits only ‘screaming’ in Thikr and dua, the venerable Mufti Sahib mismanipulated the Hadith. On page 75 of his booklet, he presents the very same Hadith (i.e. the one in which they were commanded: ‘Have mercy on yourselves,’) to support his contention: “According to the majority of commentators the first verse quoted above was revealed regarding dua and not regarding zikr.”

Although the venerable Mufti Sahib has failed to adduce any corroborating Shar’i evidence for this arbitrary claim, he clumsily tendered the Hadith pertaining to ‘screaming’ as his ‘proof’ for the fallacy that Thikr is beyond the scope of the aayat. When the Mufti Sahib produced this Hadith on page 73 of his booklet to bolster his contention, it conveniently caused the initial portion of the Hadith to disappear. He did not cite it. He contented himself with the claim and partial citation of the Hadith. Thus he said: “According to the narration of Hazrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (Radiyallahu anhu), Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said to a group of people who tired themselves by making dua very loud: “O people have mercy on yourselves (do not scream when making dua)…” This much of the Hadith he proferred to support the claim that the Qur’aanic aayat discussed pertains to only dua, not at all to Thikr.

Now after he has cited the full Hadith on page 75 as proof for another argument, it escaped the memory of the venerable Mufti Sahib that he had predicated this Hadith exclusively with dua. From the text of the Hadith cited by the Mufti Sahib himself, it is clear that the Hadith does not relate to dua. The Sahaabah were not engaging in dua. The Mufti Sahib had even refrained from mentioning the circumstances of the episode. He contented himself with the averment, ‘a group of people who had tired themselves by making dua very loud’. This distorted production of the Hadith conveys to the unwary the impression that there was a group of Sahaabah who were engaging in dua and screaming at the top of their voices.

Although we have already discussed this Hadith earlier, we draw attention to it at this juncture to show the self-contradiction and incongruency of the venerable Mufti’s arguments. They were not making dua. They were not sitting in the Musjid making loud collective dua. They were on a Jihad expedition, climbing and descending a mountain. Furthermore, they were not tiring themselves. They were reciting takbeer and tahleel loudly as they ascended and descended. They were not such men who could become dehydrated and tired by ‘screaming’ a few duas or reciting the takbeer and tahleel loudly.

They were such men who reduced the then world superpowers to dust. They were men who fasted throughout the day on the battlefield and spent the night in ibaadat. This was their occupation and profession on the Jihad front. The question of tiring themselves has no relevance.

However, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) educated them in the aadaab of Thikr. While ascending and descending a mountain there was no need to proclaim Takbeer and to recite Tahleel at the top of the voice because on such occasions they were addressing Allah Azza Wa Jal Who is Samee’ (The Hearer), Baseer (The One Who sees) and Qareeb (The One Who is Very Near). On the battlefield it was a different matter. To instil fear and awe into the enemy, Islam’s battle-cry is the Takbeer which is shouted at the top of the voice.

Now after having reproduced the Hadith in full as succour in a different argument, the venerable Mufti Sahib will acknowledge, at least to himself, that the Sahaabah were engaging in Thikr, not dua. Hence, he was constrained to state that the Sahaabah were actually engaging in Takbeer. Earlier we had reproduced the full Hadith in which it appears that the Sahaabah were loudly reciting Takbeer and Tahleel, not dua as the venerable Mufti Sahib had attempted to convey.

We humbly and respectfully say to the honourable Mufti Sahib that the mismanipulation bid to extravasate evidence from the Hadith for the fallacious theory of the superiority of loud Thikr is indeed dishonourable. When the endeavour is to bolster baatil, one sinks deeper into the quagmire of confusion.

(3) In his third response to objections of critics, the venerable Mufti Sahib says:

Objection 3: It appears in one narration that “The best zikr is that which is silent.” Another Hadith states: “Silent zikr which is not heard by the angels is seventy times more virtuous than zikr which is heard by the angels. This Hadith states that silent zikr is more virtuous than loud zikr.”

Responding to this objection, the Mufti Sahib avers: “Firstly both the Ahaadeeth mentioned are weak narrations as they have been narrated by weak narrators. On the other hand all the Ahaadeeth presented in this kitab thus far are all authentic Ahaadeeth.”

The venerable Mufti Sahib has truly degenerated to an extremely low ebb in his frantic bid to produce evidence for his theory of the superiority of loud Thikr. His futile search for proof for his theory is obviously motivated by the desire to validate the loud collective Thikr bid’ah programmes which are incrementally being promoted in the Musaajid nowadays. The claim of ‘weak’ narrations is totally untenable and an insult to the illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen who cite these very same Ahaadith to affirm the superiority of Thikr-e-Khafi.

This exceptionally flimsy argument is devoid of substance. There are several aspects comprising the refutation of this drivel tendered by the venerable Mufti Sahib:

(1) While the Mufti Sahib considers these two Ahaadith unworthy for presentation for affirming the afdhaliyyat of Thikr-e-Khafi, the authoritative Mufassireen from whom the Mufti Sahib draws all the evidence for his theory of Thikr Jahr, cite these narrations in their arguments to establish the superiority of Ikhfa’. It is indeed peculiar that the venerable Mufti Sahib, in conflict with the illustrious Mufassireen, regards these two narrations unworthy as proof. When all the Mufassireen have deemed these narrations sufficiently worthy for further substantiation of the superiority of Ikhfa’, then of what worth is the preposterous claim of the Mufti Sahib?

In his Tafseer Kabeer, Imaam Raazi (rahmatullah alayh) presents five proofs for the superiority of Ikhfa’ (making Thikr and dua silently). Explaining his fourth proof, he says:

“The Fourth Hujjat: It is the Qaul of Rasulullah (alayhis salaam), ‘The Dua in silence is the equivalent of 70 duas in alaaniyah’ (i.e. in public or loudly – the opposite of sirr).”

The Mufti Sahib in dismissing the worthiness and validity of the ’70 fold’ Hadith, cited the following version: “Silent zikr which is not heard by the angels is seventy times more virtuous than that zikr which is heard by the angels.” Although Imaam Raazi’s narration does not mention the angels, it states the 70 times superiority of silent Thikr. Now it devolves on the venerable Mufti Sahib to dismiss as unworthy the Hadith presented by Imaam Raazi (rahmatullah alayh).

Tafseer Ruhul Ma-aani, in affirmation of the superiority of silent Thikr, cites the very same Hadith, namely: “Between the silent dua and the loud dua there are 70 stages (i.e. the silent dua is 70 times more superior than the loud dua/Thikr).” Does the honourable Mufti Sahib see his way clear to taking up cudgels with Allaamah Aalusi (rahmatullah alayhi) for having cited this supposedly unworthy Hadith in his tafseer, especially after he has misconstrued Allaamah Aalusi’s views to eke out support for his fallacious theory?

Allaamah Aalusi (rahmatullah alayh), also in Ruhul Ma-aani, presents the other allegedly ‘weak’ and unworthy Hadith, namely: “The best Thikr is khafi”, in corroboration of the superiority of silent Thikr. He attributes the Hadith to the narration by Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hambal (rahmatullah alayh). Was Allaamah Aalusi (rahmatullah alayh) unaware of the requisite Hadith principle on which the venerable Mufti Sahib justifies the dismissal of this Hadith? The Mufti Sahib has variously quoted Allaaama Aalusi (rahmatullah alayh) in his bid to bolster the ‘basis’ for collective loud Thikr. He should take cognizance of the Allaamah’s views on these Ahaadith as well.

Tafseer Mazhari also presents the Hadith in which silent Thikr is described as 70 times more superior. And, even the Hadith, “The best Thikr is khafi (Thikr)”, is adduced by Tafseer Mazhari as confirmation of the superiority of silent Thikr/dua.

In Ma-aariful Qur’aan, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) presenting the 70 fold Hadith, states: “Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said that there is superiority of 70 times for silent Thikr and dua over audible Thikr.” Hadhrat Mufti Shafi’ also cites the other Hadith to affirm the superiority of silent Thikr – the Hadith which the venerable Mufti Sahib brands ‘weak’ and dismisses as unworthy for citation. But Hadhrat Mufti Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) says in Ma-aariful Qur’aan: “Imaam Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan, Baihaqi and others narrated from Hadhrat Sa’d Bin Abi Waqqaas (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘The best Thikr is khafi (Thikr), and the best rizq is that which is sufficient.”

Tafseer Baghawi also cites the 70 fold Hadith in the tafseer of silent dua/Thikr. Hasan (i.e. Hadhrat Hasan Basri) narrated that between the audible and silent dua are 70 stages (i.e. the silent dua is 70 times more meritorious than the audible dua).”

The same Hadith is mentioned in Tafseer Khaazin in the tafseer of silent dua. The 70 fold Hadith mentioning that even the guarding angels are unaware of this silent Thikr is presented also in Tafseerul Hawaari. The Hadith is narrated by Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha).

Regarding the Hadith: ‘The best Thikr is khafi (Thikr)’, Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Hayy (rahmatullah alayh) says in his Majmuah Fataawa: Baihaqi in Shu’bul Imaan narrates this Hadith mar-fooan from Sa’d Bin Maalik.” (Mar-fooan is a Hadith in which the Chain of narrators links up with Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Maulana Abdul Hayy presents this Hadith to affirm the superiority of Thikr-e-Khafi. He does not assault the Hadith with the epithet of ‘weakness’ nor does any of the other Mufassireen.

In the light of this mass of evidence for the validity and authenticity of the two Hadith narrations explicitly stating the afdhaliyyat of Thikr-e-Khafi the attempt of the Mufti Sahib to assail their authenticity is ludicrous.

The strongest proof for the authenticity of these Hadith narrations is the acceptance by the Fuqaha of the Ummah – the Fuqaha-e-Mutaqaddimeen. These narrations fully satisfy the principle of Talaqqi bil Qubool. Insha’Allah, this principle which authenticates narrations will be explained further on.

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