CASES OF THE CONTENDERS
In the mas’alah of Thikr Bil Jahr there are three contenders.
* The first group contents that as long as the Thikr is not with jahr-e-mufrit (screaming/shouting) all forms of loud Thikr, whether individual or collective, private or public, substantiated by the Sunnah or unsubstantiated, are permissible.
* Thikr bil jahr is afdhal (superior) and more beneficial than Thikr-e-Khafi.
* The second group contends that both Thikr bil jahr provided it is not jahr-e-mufrit and Thikr-e-Khafi are permissible.
* Thikr-e-Khafi is afdhal.
* The third group contends that Thikr-e-Jahr in general (alal itlaaq) is prohibited except such practices of jahr explicitly ordered by the Shariah, e.g. Athaan, Iqaamah, Talbiyah, Takbeer-e-Tashreeq and Khutbah.
Almost the entire case of group one is erroneous. They have no case in the Shariah except in their contention of jahr ghair mufrit for the individual in privacy. Everything else besides this exception is baseless.
This group relies on the personal opinions of Ulama who appeared many centuries after the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, and on khaanqah practices which on the admission of the khaanqah Mashaaikh are temporary remedial measures to treat spiritual ailments. They ignore the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, override the rulings of the Fuqaha-e-Mutaqaddimeen and believe themselves to be qualified in ‘ijtihaad’. Hence, they resort to the Ahaadith, interpreting and misinterpreting the narrations to hammer out a basis for their bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances.
It is this group which opens the avenue for bid’ah sayyiah. It is this group which operates in the shadows of those who had joined the Khawaarij sect in the rebellion against the Sahaabah. It is this group whose spiritual fathers, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) had branded ‘Mubtadieen’ and had them expelled from the Musjid. They have no valid daleel for their bid’ah practices.
The second group has a valid case and strong dalaa-il to substantiate its claim. The only difference it has with the third group, is that the question of afdhaliyyat (superiority/ of greater merit) does not develop in the view of the third group because this latter group proscribes Thikr Bil Jahr entoto except where the Shariah has explicitly issued its decree.
The third group also has strong dalaa-il to validate its claim, but it recognizes no afdhaliyyat in view of the belief that jahr alal itlaaq is forbidden. There is therefore no other category of Thikr which could be the subject of comparison to produce the superiority of one kind. Although this group accepts the validity of jahr for the explicit Shar’i exceptions such as Athaan and Talbiyah, they have confined the exceptions to an extremely narrow area. The exceptions are only Athaan, Iqaamah, Talbiyah, Qiraa’t in the Jahri Salaat, Takbeer Tashreeq, Khutbah and any other explicit exception made by the Shariah.
These exceptions are based on Imaam Abu Hanifah’s principle of Daleel-e-Mukhassis which shall soon be explained, Insha’Allah. The error of this group is in the misconception that the Daleel-e-Mukhassis applies to only the limited few explicit Shar’i exceptions whereas there is wide scope for the application of the principle of Daleel-e-Mukhassis. And Allah knows best.
THE VIEW OF THE SECOND GROUP
The view of the second group is, in our opinion, the path of rectitude. Their dalaa-il are the strongest, rational and supported by the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The position of this group is recapped as follows:
(1) The Qur’aanic verse which mentions ‘less than jahr”, the Hadith, “Have mercy on your souls.”, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordering Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) to lower his voice while making Tilaawat, and similar other Ahaadith explicitly prohibit jahr-e-mufrit.
(2) The fact that the aforementioned Nusoos were directed at jahr-e-mufrit is ample evidence for the permissibility of jahr ghair mufrit. While prohibiting excessive loudness, moderate audibility was clearly permitted. Thus, the two forms of Thikr are confirmed as permissible – Thikr-e-Jahr ghair mufrit and Thikr-e-Khafi.
(3) The Qur’aanic verses commanding humility and silence when making Thikr and the Hadith narrations explicitly stating the superiority of silent Thikr (these have already been discussed) validate the contention of the afdhaliyyat of Thikr-e-Khafi.
This is the principle of exclusion from a whole. The Shariah issues its decree (Hukm) to apply to all situations for example. However, certain members or acts which constitute part of the whole are excluded from the effect of the decree. Such exclusion from the decree of the Shariah is valid and permissible only if the Shariah itself is the determinant (Daleel-e-Mukhassis).
For example: Qur’baani of sheep and goats is valid and permissible. All goats and sheep come within the scope of this decree. However, the Shariah itself has excluded goats and sheep whose tails are cut. Qur’baani of such tailless animals is not permissible or valid. The exclusion is based on a Shar’i decree, not on our rationality.
Similarly, according to Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) the Shariah orders the Takbeer to be recited audibly from Fajr on the Day of Arafah until Asr on the Day of Nahr (10th). Thereafter, reciting it audibly is not permissible. Explaining the operation of this principle, Allaamah Kaasaani (rahmatullah alayh) states in his Badaaius Sanaa’:
“According to Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) raising the voice with Takbeer is primarily bid’ah because the Sunnah in Athkaar is Khafi (reciting inaudibly) by virtue of the Qaul of Allah Ta’ala: ‘Call unto your Rabb with humility and in silence’, and because Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The best Dua is the silent Dua.’ Thus, this principle (of silent Thikr being the decree and loud Thikr being bid’ah) shall not be discarded except when there is a Daleel-e-Mukhassis. There exists such a Daleel regarding (audible recitation of ) Takbeer from the Day of Arafah until Asr Salaat on the Day of Nahr. That Daleel is Allah’s Qaul (the relevant Qur’aanic verse)……… However, with regard to the days after the Day of Nahr, there exists no Daleel-e-Mukhassis in view of the differences of the Sahaabah, and the wavering of the Takbeer (i.e. reciting it audibly or inaudibly) between Sunnah and Bid’ah. Thus developed the doubt in the Daleel-e-Mukhassis. Therefore, amal shall not be abandoned on the umoom (general meaning) of the aayat: ‘Call your Rabb with humility and in silence.’. It is, therefore, clear that ihtiyaat (the precautionary measure) is in abandoning (the loud recitation of Takbeer after the Day of Nahr). Ihtiyaat is not in practising on it because, verily, discarding a Sunnah is better than practising on a bid’ah.”
Ibnul Humaam (rahmatullah alayh) states in Fathul Qadeer: “The principle in Athkaar is Ikhfa’ and Jahr is bid’ah. When there is a conflict between the two (types of narration pertaining to the Days of the Takbeer), then the lesser number will be preferred (and this is the practice of Imaam Abu Hanifah – rahmatullah alayh – which Ibnul Humaam has endorsed by rejecting the fatwa issued on the view of Saahibain).”
For the comprehension of readers, it is necessary to explain the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) on this issue. According to him, it is permissible to recite the Takbeer aloud after every fardh Salaat only from Fajr of the Day of Arafah until after Asr on the Day of Nahr which is the next day. In this mas’alah, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) adopted the practice of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood. Our concern here is not to promote this particular practice of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) in view of the fact that the verdict of the Hanafi Math-hab on this issue is not on the view of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh).
The purpose of citing this example is only to explain the application of the Principle of Daleel-e-Mukhassis. Based on the same principle of Khafi being the primary decree in Athkaar, the Takbeer is recited silently along the route to the Musallaa on Eidul Fitr. There is no Mukhassis to exclude it from this universal principle.
All episodes of Thikr bil jahr by individual Sahaabah, which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not expressly command, but nevertheless condoned, come within the purview of the principle of Daleel-e-Mukhassis. Thus, in view of the fact that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had permitted individual Sahaabah to engage in Thikr-e-jahr, it has to be accepted that such permission is the Daleel-e-Mukhassis for excluding individual practices of Thikr-e-jahr conducted in solitude, from the primary principle pertaining to Ikhfa in Thikr.
There are no cases of collective loud Thikr gatherings mentioned explicitly in the Ahaadith. From certain Ahaadith, inferences have been drawn. But inference does not create certitude. The Shakk (doubt) of error remains in an inference which is not the product of Wahi. On the contrary, it is the effect of the human mind in which there is no Qat’iyyat (Absolute Certitude). Hence, the principle of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) will apply, namely: “When a practice wavers between Sunnah and Bid’ah, the Sunnah will be discarded.” In such cases of uncertainty and conflicting views and inferences, the demand of the Shariah is to adopt Ihtiyaat which is in abandoning the imagined Sunnah/Mustahab to avoid committing a bid’ah.
Furthermore, there is the explicit declaration of Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) that such collective practices in the Musaajid were not practised by the Sahaabah and the Taabi-een. Added to this, is the principle of Sadd-e-Tharaai’ (Closing the avenues for corruption) of Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) and of the Fuqaha of all the Math-habs.
While there is Daleel-e-Mukhassis for Thikr-e-jahr practised by individuals in solitude, there is no such Daleel for the type of collective loud Thikr public performances advocated by the venerable Mufti Sahib. Apart from there being no Daleel-e-Mukhassis to exclude the public displays from the prohibition stated in the primary principle, there is explicit prohibition of such performances. This prohibition is the action of castigation and expulsion of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu).
Complementing this explicit prohibition, are the many instances of prohibition by the Sahaabah of acts of ‘ibaadat’ which did not conform to the methods of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and which were criticized by the Sahaabah on the basis of the ‘principle’ of Rasulullah’s Abstention, e.g. Nafl Salaat in the Eidgah, addition of Durood to the sneeze-dua, audible Tasmiah, audible Takbeer, etc.
All unbiased readers whose quest is the truth will understand from our discussion that the venerable Mufti Sahib has absolutely no case and no proof for bid’ah collective loud Thikr performances in the Musaajid. Those indulging in these unsubstantiated practices are opening up a wide avenue for entrenching bid’ah – Bareilwi type bid’ah sayyiah. May Allah Ta’ala bestow good hidaayat to all those innocently involved in furthering the plot of Shaitaan. Bid’ah is a dangerous trap which Shaitaan engineers with a subtlety which even Ulama fail to detect.
“And upon us is only to deliver the clear Message.”