Sama’ (Sufi Singing) And the Shar’iah



On the Day of Qiyaamah whilst Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will be at Haudh-e-Kauthar (The Fountain of Kauthar) tending to his Ummah, some people masquerading as members of the Ummah will also appear at Haudh-e-Kauthar to enjoy the services of our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Suddenly, the Malaaikah (Angels) in attendance will buffet and chase away these impostor ‘Muslims’. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will remonstrate with the Angels and proclaim: “They are my Ummah!” The Angels will say:

“O Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)!
You do not know what these people had innovated after you.”

These are the people of Bid’ah described in the Hadith as KILAABUN NAAR (THE DOGS OF FIRE). The Barelwi Qabar Puja mobs (Grave-Worshippers) will be among the Kilaabun Naar on the Day of Qiyaamah. Their religion is Qabar Puja (Worshipping Graves). According to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) they are among the “worst of people” for they convert the Musaajid into graves for practising their acts of graveworship. Their religion centres around graves. Their acts of qawwaali (so-called ‘sama’) are sessions of fisq and fujoor.

Dagga-drunk qawwaals (singers) hypocritically sing ‘love’ songs in the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) whilst these Dogs of Hell-Fire, bereft of every vestige of the Sunnah, sway, swoon and hallucinate that their souls contaminated with shirk are floating in transcendental realms of bliss. They hallucinate like drug addicts, for their Qabar Puja produces similar hallucinatory effects. Their much trumpeted slogan of ‘Hubb-e-Rasool’ (love for Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is confined to singing and jiving, eating and excreting – all in the name of their religion of Qabar Puja which begins and ends in kufr and shirk around tombs and graves.

In the ensuing pages the baseless arguments of the Qabar Pujaaris who argue the permissibility of singing, music and jiving are, Alhamdulillah, demolished and dispatched to the graveyard where these Kilaabun Naar People of Bid’ah and Qabar Puja may erect a mausoleum for their dead ‘dalaail’ and add it to their Qabar Puja list for veneration and prostration as they do make sajdah for the graves. If these Barelwi Kilaabun Naar have further arguments to bolster their haraam music and singing, let them present it in written form to enable us to demolish and dispatch all such ghutha (rubbish/trash) to the graveyard where these Dogs of the Fire worship and hallucinate.

[Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai
Mujlisul Ulama, South Africa]



ALL THE FUQAHA of all the Math-habs are the Students of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen, directly or via links in an authoritative Chain connected to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Many of the Aimmah Mujtahideen were the direct Students of the Sahaabah, while the majority were the Students of the Fuqaha and Aimmah of the Taabieen era. The Rulings of these Aimmah and Fuqaha constitute the inviolable Shariah of the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

The practices and utterances of some Auliya centuries after the era of Khairul Quroon (the first three sacred eras of Islam) are devoid of substance when in contradiction of the Rulings of the Fuqaha of the Math-haab. In fact, all the Auliya were Muqallideen (Followers) of the Math-habs. They all have to submit, and they did submit to the Rulings of their respective Math-habs. Declaring with utmost emphasis and profound unambiguity this stand of the Auliya and Sufiya-e-Kiraam, Hadhrat Imaam Suharwardi (rahmatullah alayh), who was among the very senior Shaafi Ulama and the Founder of the Suharwardiyyah Sufi Silsilah, and who had expounded the restrictive permissibility of sama’ (the spiritual singing of some Sufis), states in his Kitaab, Awaariful Ma-aarif:

“We have already explained the specific form of sama’ which is valid and the limits to be observed for appropriateness of sama’ for the Ahl-e-Sidq (Auliya). Now that fitnah has become rampant via the agency of sama’ goodness has disappeared from people, time is being squandered in this act, the pleasure of ibaadat has decreased (in consequence of addiction to sama’), the desire for gatherings become ingrained, the desire for repeatedly organising sama’ sessions to gratify carnal lust and satisfy singers and dancers these sessions are unlawful and accursed by the Sufiyah. It is precisely for these reasons that it is said that besides for an Aarif-e-Makeen, sama’ is not permissible for anyone. For the mureed-e-mubtadi’ (beginner in the spiritual path) sama’ is never permissible.”

This is the verdict of one of the most illustrious Chiefs of the Sufis. And, this type of verdict is not restricted to Hadhrat Suharwardi as shall be shown later in this treatise, Insha’Allah. The Sufiyah who had practised sama’, themselves say that this singing is not permissible, yet the modernist ignoramuses cite these self-same Auliya to justify haraam musical instruments and haraam kuffaar (eastern and western) music and songs. All the Auliya, including Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh), in total subservience to their illustrious seniors, the Aimmah-e- Mujtahideen and Fuqaha of the Math-habs, are unanimous in the proclamation of the prohibition of the music and singing of the masses.



“Verily, I have been sent as a Rahmat for the worlds, and my Rabb has commanded me with the destruction of musical instruments.”

Sama’ is the Sufi practice of singing spiritual songs which produces states of ecstasy in them. By Sufi here is meant some Sufis—a small minority. Since those Sufis who had indulged in sama’ were undoubtedly illustrious Auliya whom the entire world of Islam unanimously acknowledge as true Men of Allah Ta’ala, the need has developed to elaborate on this practice which the deviate, modernist ignoramuses are labouring to cite as substantiation for the lewd, shaitaani music and singing in which the world of shayaateen of the west and east excels. In relation to the unwary, but sincere masses, sama’ is a grievously misunderstood concept and practice.

The masses have been deceived into a mire of confusion regarding this practice. As far as the juhala – both the modernist deviates and the bid’at qawwaali grave-worshipers – are concerned, it is the most deliberately distorted concept and practice pertaining to the issue of music and singing. This conglomeration of deviates of opposite poles – modernists and grave-worshippers – have in their own respective, devious methods and reasoning, intentionally misled the unwary and ignorant with their fallacious basis of sama’ to convince the masses that music – kuffaar music and singing – western and eastern music – pop, rock and rave music – Beethoven and Mozart music – folk and jazz music – ragtime and art music – ballard and saucy music, in fact the whole gamut of shaitaani music which Iblees-in-Chief had invented, patented in his accursed name and marketed in the abodes of vice and immorality where all jinn and human devils dwell and disappear into a quagmire of moral and spiritual destruction located in the abyss of Sijjeen. May Allah Ta’ala save His servants from this captivating snare of Dajjaal.

On the occasion of his expulsion from the heaven, Shaitaan implored Allah Ta’ala: “O my Rabb! Since you have made me accursed, grant me a muath-thin.” Shaitaan was in desperate need of a caller (muath-thin) to call to his evil path of falsehood. Granting his wish, Allah Ta’ala responded: “Your muath-thin will be musical instruments.” With musical instruments, Iblees announces his invitation, calling all those doomed in eternity to be his followers, into his fold. Encouraged by the Divine approval of his supplication, Iblees ventured another wish for the sake of supplementing his armoury of wiles, attractions and snares. He cried: “O my Rabb! Grant me too a qur’aan.” Came the Divine Response in answer to the accursed being: “Your qur’aan shall be poetry and singing.” A further eye-opening testimony for the votaries of music and singing is the following information: “The first being who had wailed (loudly) and the first being who had sung was Iblees.” (Mudhalush Sha-ra’)

The modernist deviates and the qabar-pujaari singers may now conclude whose progeny they really are. The modernist juhhaal attempt to produce the sama’ of the Auliya in general, and Imaam Ghazaali’s statements in particular, as substantiation for the shaitaani music and singing of this age is indeed a colossal slander against the Auliya of Allah Ta’ala. When these Auliya themselves have conceded that even their own sama’ is erroneous, by what stretch of reasoning could permissibility of shaitaani music and singing be argued on the basis of sama’?

In order to formulate an order of the Shariah for any practice, the imperative requisite is to produce a viable and an accepted basis from the Qur’aan and Sunnah or from the Rulings of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. It is the height of folly and jahaalat (ignorance) to tender a practice which in itself is damaged, dubious and glaringly in conflict with the Shariah as a basis in a syllogism intended for the deduction of a hukm (ruling) for another practice. Sama’ itself stands in need of a hukm (ruling) of the Shariah. It is declared permissible or unlawful on the basis of solid Shar’i grounds.

Sama’ does not possess the inherent potential to constitute a basis for the extraction of a Shar’i hukm for the musical instruments and singing in vogue. A ruling of the Shariah for music and singing has to be acquired from the Qur’aan, Sunnah or the directives of the Fuqaha which are all based on the former two primary Sources of the Shariah. It is only an ignoramus who will argue that all pictures of human beings are permissible because the Ulama say that pictures for identity cards and passports are permissible. In this corrupt argument, the claim of permissibility of all pictures is based on the permissibility of identity card pictures. But this latter permissibility lacks the potential for being a maqees alayh (basis for a Shar’i analogy). It has been declared permissible on entirely different grounds which do not relate at all to all other pictures.

This is the type of corrupt logic which the modernist juhhaal employ in their endeavour to legalize the voice of shaitaan.

(1) The declaration on sama’ of Hadhrat Suharwardi has already been presented above.

(2) “Those among the (Sufi) Mashaaikh who have permitted sama’, have done so for only those who are devoid of lust and are adorned with taqwa. They are in need of it like an ailing person is in need of medicine. The conditions (for listening to sama’) are:

a) Lads should not be present.

b) Only Sufis will participate. Faasiqs and worldly people are not allowed to be present.

c) The intention of the singer has to be sincere. The motive should not be obtainal of remuneration (or any other base or worldly motive),

d) The sama’ session should not be an eating function nor to celebrate victory (in battle).

e) During the sama’ if any Sufi stands up, it should be only in a genuine state of ecstasy.” (Fataawa Khairiyyah)

(3) Shaikh Abu Uthmaan al-Maghribi said: “If it is the desire to reap the full benefit of sama’, one should dwell in solitude, renounce all thoughts of created things, and remember Allah and submit to His Will. One has to take flight from one’s ego and abandon worldly attachment.”

(4) Hadhrat Zunnoon Misri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “He who listens to sama’ for satisfying his sensual appetite becomes a heretic (zindeeq).”

(5) Hadhrat Abdullah Hasan Khirqaani (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Sama’ is for those who, when in its midst, are transported into the higher realms of roohaaniyat (spirituality). All veils are removed and they can see the activities of the angelic realm.”

(6) Hadhrat Junaid Baghdaadi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When you see a mureed seeking permission to listen to sama’, then understand that he is still deficient (in the spiritual path).” It has been reported that Junaid Baghdaadi (rahmatullah alayh) had abandoned sama’ and had forbidden his mureeds (disciples) from it.” (Awaariful Ma-aarif)

(7) In condemnation of music and singing, Hadhrat Shah Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi (rahmatullah alayh) writes in his Kitaab, Madaarijun Nubuwwah: “The greatest Arabian musician and singer was Tuwaylis, This Tuwaylis was a miserable, ill-omened, dismal and unfortunate person who was born on the day Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had died. Tuwaylis was weaned from his mother’s milk on the day Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) died. He attained puberty on the day Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was martyred. He married on the day Hadhrat Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) was martyred, and a son was born to him on the day Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was martyred.”

(8) Shaikh Nasruddin Muhaqqo says: “When the false sufi sways to and fro in his sama’ sessions, the devil pokes him from behind with his finger so that the tempo of his swaying increases right and left.” (Fataawa Burhaanah)

(9) Hakimul Ummat Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Sama’ is a remedy for certain spiritual ailments. It is a medicine. Therefore, whoever listens to sama’ (i.e. the sama’ regulated by the observance of the strict conditions imposed by the Sufis) without the permission of his mentor (Murshid-e- Kaamil), will fall into error.”

 (10) The following appears in Fataawa Khairiyyah: “The summary (of this discussion on music/singing) is: There is no permission in our time for sama’ because Junaid Baghdaadi (rahmatullah alayh) had made taubah for (having participated in) sama’ in his age.” Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Auliya (Sultaanji) – rahmatullah alayh – who used to listen to sama’ had also repented. Episodes relating to Sultaanji’s sama’ will be discussed further on in this treatise, Insha’Allah.

(11) “The practice (of sama’) of the so-called sufis of our time is unlawful. It is not permissible to even make an intention of sitting in such gatherings. The (true) Sufis of former times did not act like these so-called sufis. What has been narrated from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regarding his listening to poetry is not an indication for permissibility of singing.” (Sharhul Multaqi)

 (12) Hadhrat Shaikh Suharwardi (rahmatullah alayh) writes: “A person should reflect and decide with fairness the sama’ functions which are organised in our time. They should reflect on the singer, his sitting, his drum and musical instruments. Then he should ask: Was there ever such forms of function in the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Did the Sahaabah at any time invite a singer or a qawwaal? Did any of them ever assemble like moths around a singer? There is no doubt in the obtainal of a negative response. Thus, if there was any benefit in sama’, these great personalities (the Sahaabah) would not have totally abstained from it. Whoever claims that there is any goodness and virtue in sama’ and makes efforts to organise such functions he is totally devoid of understanding the attitude and disposition of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah-e-Kiraam. Some of the later Ulama had extracted some concessions for sama’. But, alas! Most people have fallen into error in this regard.” (Awaariful Ma-aarif)

(13) Hadhrat Suharwardi (rahmatullah alayh), continuing his exposition on sama’ said: “When the singer is a beardless lad in the sama’ function, then fitnah (moral corruption) rears its head. According to all Allahfearing people this sama’ is absolutely haraam. Hadhrat Baqiyyah Bin Walid (rahmatullah alayh) said: ‘The illustrious predecessors regard it as Makrooh (Tahrimi forbidden and sinful) to cast even a glance at a beardless lad).” (Awaariful Ma-aarif)

 (14) Hadhrat Suharwardi (rahmatullah alayh) adds: In conclusion: Now, for the Jamaa’at of Sufiya’ there remains only one way—they should totally abstain from these kinds of functions, and stay away from places of suspicion. Tasawwuf is the embodiment of sidq (truth/honesty) and haqeeqat (spiritual reality). Never contaminate it with futility and mockery.” (Awaariful Ma-aarif)

 (15) Allaamah Ibn Hajar (rahmatullah alayh) writes: “Qurtubi (rahmatullah alayh) narrated from Imaam Tartusi (rahmatullah alayh) that he was asked about those people who gather at a place and begin the proceedings with Tilaawat of the Qur’aan-e-Kareem. Thereafter one person stands up and sings some poetry. Then all present lapse into ecstasy and begin swaying (in a form of a dance) simultaneously beating the duff. Is it permissible to join this company of people?

He (Imaam Tartusi) replied: ‘According to the Akaabir Sufiya’ this practice is highly erroneous and deviation. Islam means only Kitaabullah and the Sunnat of the Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is never permissible for any person who has Imaan in Allah and the Aakhirah to join such people nor aid them in this unlawful practice. This is the Math-hab of the Four Imaams and of other Mujtahideen. Some people cite the stories of the Mashaaikh in substantiation of dancing and singing……….. The most important argument in this regard is that we do not believe that these stories (which are attributed to the Mashaaikh) are true.

It is quite probable that just as the zindeeqs have attributed many fabrications to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so to have they done with regard to the Mashaaikh. On the assumption that the Mashaaikh did practise these deeds, which obviously they did not, then it should be understood that for us proof is firstly Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then the Sahaabah, then the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen…

Imaamul Aarifeen, Qudwatul Ulama, Abu Ali Ruhaazi (rahmatullah alayh) responded beautifully to the following question which was posed to him: ‘A person enjoys himself with musical instruments and claims that this is permissible for him because he had attained such a position where changing states do not have any effect on him.’ He responded to this question: ‘Yes, he has indeed attained a position. But that is in Jahannum.” Some of the Aimmah of Yemen said that the sama’ which was prevalent in their time was undoubtedly haraam on account of the presence of evils. It is among the obligations of the ruler to prevent people from sama’.” (Kaffur-Riaa’)

(16) Qaadhi Humaidud Deen (rahmatullah alayh) said: “I suffer from an incurable heart problem. Its cure is only sama’. Hence for me it is permissible to listen to sama’ while for you it is haraam.” (As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah)

(17) Shaikh Naseeruddin Chiraagh Dehlawi (rahmatullah alayh) was the most senior khalifah of Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Auliya (rahmatullah alayh). Once he was present at a gathering of the mureeds of Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Auliya, they began with sama’. Hadhrat Naseeruddin left the gathering and went outside. Some of the mureeds commented: ‘Do you reject sama’ and have you abandoned the path of your mentor (Shaikh)?’ Shaikh Naseeruddin replied: ‘No one’s practice is proof (in the Shariah). If my mentor had practised sama’, it is his problem. His practising of sama’ is not proof for the permissibility of sama’. Only the Kitaab of Allah and the Sunnah constitute hujjat (proof).’ Some followers of their desires reported this statement to Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Auliya said: ‘Mahmood (i.e. Shaikh Naseeruddin) spoke the truth. What he has said is the Haqq.” (As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah)

 (18) The following is recorded in Khairul Majaalis: “A close associate came to Shaikh Naseeruddin Mahmood (rahmatullah alayh) and said: ‘Tell me, how can musical instruments and the raqs (dervish dances) of the Sufis be permissible?’ The Shaikh replied: ‘There is consensus (Ijma’) on the prohibition of musical instruments. If someone leaves on Tariqah of Sulook and adopts another tariqah, he still remains in the Shariat. However, if he leaves the Shariat, where will he go? Furthermore, the difference pertains to only sama’, not to musical instruments. According to some Ulama sama’ together with its conditions is permissible for the Ahl-e-Hadhraat (the senior Auliya). But as far as musical instruments are concerned the consensus is that they are haraam.” (As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah)

(19) Shaikh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi (rahmatullah alayh) writes in Farul Ismaa’: “The mureeds of Shaikh Naseeruddin said: Our Shaikh had announced that anyone (from his circle) who listens to sama’ with instruments has left the fold of my bay’t (i.e. he is no longer my mureed).” (As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah)

(20) Shaikh Ali Bin Muhammad Jaandaar (rahmatullah alayh) narrated that according to Shaikh Nizaamuddeen Auliya there are several conditions for the permissibility of sama’. These are: * The singer has to be a man of spiritual excellence. * The listeners have to be men of Allah, not slaves of the nafs. * The content of the song should be lawful not evil or immoral. * The sama’ should not be accompanied by musical instruments. (As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah)

The aforementioned statements and rulings of the Auliya have been extracted by Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) from As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah Fil Chishtiyyatil Ulyah, which is a kitaab authored by Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh). We in turn have made these extracts from Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s kitaab, Islam or Museeki (Islam and Music).

(21) Shaikh Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) states: “There is no doubt that the gatherings of sama’ which are prevalent in our times are not permissible. Such practices are kabeerah (major) sins. It clear is kufr to believe these practices to be permissible. This type of sama’ is within the scope of (the Qur’aanic aayat which prohibits) lahwal hadeeth (futile speech)……. In this age a fatwa of permissibility (of unadulterated sama’) should not be given even for those (Auliya) who are qualified to listen to it because the corruption in this age has reached such a degree that every person claims to be qualified to listen to sama’. It is entirely true that Hadhrat Junaid Baghdaadi (rahmatullah alayh) had repented from sama’ in his time despite him holding an extremely lofty status in ma’rifat and taqwa.” (At-Tafseeraatul Ahmadiyyah)



At the very outset of this treatise it was already mentioned that the Dalaa-il (Proofs and Basis or Sources of Law) of Islam are only Four, viz., Kitaabullaah, Sunnah of the Rasool, Ijma’ and Qiyaas-e-Shar’i. Besides these Four Sources of the Shariah, there is no other Daleel on the basis of which a hukm (law) may be formulated for any new development which may occur on earth right until the Last Day. Sama’ of some of the Auliya is singing of religious songs without musical instruments. As explained earlier, it is further conditioned with a number of strict stipulations. It is essentially a private affair restricted to some Sufis. It has never been introduced by the Sufis as a practice for mass consumption and participation.

All the true Sufiya are unanimous in their declaration of hurmat (being haraam) of sama’ for the public at large, as well as for the elite Sufis if any of the restrictive conditions are not found. Sama’ was not a practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) nor of the Sahaabah. It has neither origin nor sanction in Kitaabullah and the Sunnah. It is a practice which itself stands in need of a Shar’i hukm for the guidance of the Ummah. When this practice developed in later years, the need arose for the Shariah to issue its ruling—whether it is permissible or haraam.

Hence, on the basis of the Four Sources of Islam, the Fuqaha issued their ruling which has already been presented and explained in the aforegoing pages. Now, if anyone requires a ruling for the gamut of musical instruments and styles of singing in vogue in this age, it will be absurd to cite sama’ as a basis and claim permissibility because sama’ is not among the adil-lah Ar-ba’ah (The Four Sources of the Shariah).

To formulate a hukm for musical instruments and singing, the imperative need is to refer to the Sources of Islamic Law, not to a practice which originated in later times and which is not a Daleel of the Shariah. It should now be conspicuously clear and readily comprehensible to even laymen that the endeavour to legalize musical instruments and singing on the basis of sama’ is an abortive attempt which is totally absurd in terms of the principles of the Shariah.

It is an unprincipled way of argumentation which exhibits the gross ignorance of the modernist deviates who love to project themselves as members of the intelligentsia. But, the denudation of their intellectual capacity resulting in total bereavement of straight and principled reasoning, is self-evident from their lack of understanding of the operation of the principles of Shar’i Law. It is this intellectual impotency arising from the inordinate crave to gratify the dictates and demands of the carnal nafs, which constrains the modernist deviate juhhaal to tender in substantiation of their fallacies such ludicrous arguments which compel men of learning to smile and laugh with contempt.

If it was not for the confusion which the ignoramuses create in the ranks of the unwary laymen with their devious and fallacious reasoning, the need for a refutation of their stupidities would not have developed. The only valid argument produced in substantiation of a claim made in the name of the Shariah is the one which is based on the Qur’aan, Sunnah, Ijma’ or Qiyaas. Far from sama’ being a valid basis, even on the assumption of its permissibility, it is in fact in conflict with all the Proofs of the Shariah. It has been unanimously proclaimed haraam by all Authorities of the Shariah.

Even the Sufis who have participated in it, aver that it is a remedy – a medicine – for severe spiritual ailments. In view of this act being the only medicine available for their sickness, they have deemed it permissible only for themselves in the same way as a haraam physical medicine becomes permissible for a man who suffers from a disease, but who is unable to obtain a halaal remedy. In corroboration of this averment, we present the following exposition of the Sufiya’:

“Qaadhi Humaiduddeen said: ‘I listen to sama’ and I say on the basis of the statement of the Ulama that it is halaal because I am a sick person suffered from a heart problem. The only remedy available for this ailment is sama’. According to Hadhrat Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), the medical treatment for such a person is permissible with even liquor if a halaal remedy is not available, and also if there is consensus of the physicians that there is cure on it (in the haraam medicine). On this basis it is permissible for me to listen to sama’ as a remedy for my incurable disease of the heart while it is haraam for you.” (As-Sunnatul Jaliyyah)

A practice which is a concession for certain persons suffering from ailments can never be cited as a basis for permissibility of other misdeeds, moreover when such misdeeds are in flagrant violation of all the Dalaail of the Shariah.



(By Hakimul Ummat Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi rahmatullah alayh)

“For the permissibility of sama’ the Mashaaikh have formulated about 22 conditions. Today there does not remain even a vestige of these conditions. Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Sultanul Auliya (rahmatullah alayh) use to participate in sama’. However, it is clearly mentioned in Fawaaidul Fuaaad, that there are four conditions for sama’.

 (1)The listener: The one who listens to sama’ should not be a person of nafs and hawaa (lust and passion). He should be a Saahib-e-Haal.

(2)The one who listens to sama’ should not be a female nor a lad.

(3)The song/poetry should not be immoral. It should be statements of piety and in praise of Allah Ta’ala.

(4)The singing should not be with musical instruments. Their sama’ consisted of only the abovementioned acts. It was not a gathering of fussaaq and fujjaar. The singer too belonged to the same circle (of Sufis). Once when Hadhrat Sultani (rahmatullah alayh) had a desire for sama’, he sent someone to search for a qawwaal (singer). When a suitable qawwaal could not be found, he instructed his mureed to recite to him from the letters of Humaiduddeen Naagori (rahmatullah alayh). When the mureed recites the very first sentence, Hadhrat Sultaanji went into an ecstasy (wajd), and he remained in this state of wajd for three days. This simple method was the kind of sama’ of those illustrious personalities.

However, the Fuqaha brand even this type of sama’ haraam. Because the peculiarity of sama’ is that it gives impetus to the present state of a person. The Fuqaha were aware that if permission is given for even this type of sama’, the present condition of the person will become more grounded. In view of the predominance of evil in the nafs, it will gain strength and lead towards greater lust, the consequence of which will be grave evils.

Shah Lutf-e-Rasool narrated an episode of a durwaish (sufi) who used to listen to one of his female disciples singing to him. One day, while listening to sama’, he grabbed her hand and committed adultery with her. It is for this reason that the seniors have said: “Singing is the spell of zina.” Inspite of the sama’ of Sultanji (rahmatullah alayh) being within the limits, the Fuqaha brand it too as bid’ah. Since it is not proven as being the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and because there are inherent dangers of corruption for the masses in it the Fuqaha have prohibited it.

During the time of Sultanji, the Qaadhi was Qaadhi Dhiyaauddeen who was persistent in his condemnation of the sama’ of Sultanji. Once it was reported to the Qaadhi that a sama’ session was taking place by Sultanji. The Qaadhi taking his whip and some assistants arrived at the location where the sama’ was in full force. A large tent had been set up. However, due to the numerous disciples blocking the entrance, Qaadhi Saheb was unable to gain entry. The Sufis in their state of ecstasy completely ignored the Qaadhi and his police. When the Qaadhi failed to gain entry, he ordered his police to cut the ropes of the tent to bring about its collapse and the termination of the sama’. The ropes were cut. But, the tent stood intact without the ropes.

This was a karaamat (miracle) of Hadhrat Sultaanul Auliya (rahmatullah alayh). However, the Qaadhi was undaunted. He was firm in his mission. Unimpressed and unawed, he commented: “I do not subscribe to this nonsense. Even if a miracle is displayed ostensibly by a bid’ati, it is not a karaamat. I shall return again.” The Qaadhi Saheb departed, but he continued unabatedly with his criticism and condemnation of sama’.

Hadhrat Shah Khubullah Allahabaadi (rahmatullah alayh) was a very great buzrug (wali) who would often meet Hadhrat Khidhr (alayhis salaam). There is a popular belief in his family that Hadhrat Khidhr (alayhis salaam) had written some comments in one of his (Hadhrat Khubullaah’s) books. Once when someone asked Hadhrat Khubullaah about sama’, he wrote in reply:

“I shall narrate to you an episode from which you can decide. Hadhrat Sultan Nizaamuddeen Auliya (rahmatullah alayh) was a man of sama’, and Qaadhi Dhiyauddeen Sanaami (rahmatullah alayh) was a denier of sama’. He used to criticize Sultanji. Once when the Qaadhi Saheb was informed of a sama’ function, he went and remonstrated with Sultanji. Hadhrat Sultanji said: ‘If I arrange for you to ask Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), will you then leave me in peace?’ Qaadhi Saheb said: ‘Yes, arrange so that I may ask Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).’

The Qaadhi held the firm belief that Sultanji would be able to arrange for him ziyaarat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Inspite of holding this belief, he persisted with his condemnation of evil. Sultanji (rahmatullah alayh) focussed his gaze intently on Qaadhi Saheb. As a result of this tasarruf (spiritual action, a semi-conscious state settled on Qaadhi Sahib. While in this condition, Rasulullah’s presence in his glittering court was revealed to Qaadhi Saheb. On seeing Qaadhi Saheb, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) enquired: “Why are you distressing the Faqeer (i.e. Sultanji)?’ Qaadhi Saheb said: ‘O Rasulullah! I am not aware of the reality of my present state, whether I am in my senses or not. The commands of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which reached us via the avenue of reliable narrators during the state of wakefulness have priority over instruction in this state (i.e. the trance), hence those commands cannot be abandoned.’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then remained silent. (Silence of the Nabi indicates approval. This is a principle of the Hadith.)

Qaadhi Saheb then emerged from his trance and Hadhrat Sultanji said: ‘Have you now seen that I had introduced you to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) enabling you to converse with him?’ Qaadhi Saheb responded: ‘And, did you see that I had given a response?’ The sama’ then began in earnest and wajd (ecstasy) overcame Sultanji. In this state of wajd, he stood up. Qaadhi Saheb grabbed his hands and forced him to sit down. Sultanji stood up in ecstasy a second time, and Qaadhi Saheb again grabbed him and forced him to sit down. For the third time, Sultanji stood up in the state of wajd. Qaadhi Saheb attempt to grab him, but to everyone’s surprise he relented and stood with folded hands in reverence. For a long while he stood reverentially. When Sultanji emerged from the ecstasy and sat down, Qaadhi Saheb too sat down.

Then he stood up, and while leaving the place, he said: ‘I shall return again. These acts will not compel me to abandon my duty.’ Along the road someone enquired: ‘You had gone to refute Sultanji. Why did you stand in respect with folded hands in front of him?’ Qaadhi Saheb said: ‘When he lapsed into wajd the first time, his rooh (soul) traversed to the first heaven. My rooh pursued him and I apprehended him. I brought him back telling him’ Where are you wandering in the heaven? You have to live here on earth.’ When he went into ecstasy the second time, his rooh took flight and reached the level below the Arsh of Allah Ta’ala. I was able to follow him even to this limit, hence I brought him back. When he lapsed into wajd the third time, his soul reached the level above the Arsh. When I attempted to pursue him above the Arsh, the Malaaikah bearing the Arsh prevented me. They said: ‘This is not your station. This is the status of only Nizaamuddeen. Only he is allowed admission above the Arsh. At that time I stood in respect of the Bearers of the Arsh. I did not stand in honour of a bid’ati.’

(Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi commented) ‘Truly this is called firmness. Inspite of being fully aware of the lofty status of Sultanji, he (Qaadhi Saheb) persisted with determination to criticize and condemn the act which he believed to be bid’ah.”

“When the time of Maut of Qaadhi Saheb drew close, Hadhrat Sultanji came to visit him. The assistant informed Qaadhi Saheb of Sultanji’s arrival. Qaadhi Saheb said: ‘Tell him that this is my time to meet Allah Ta’ala. At this time I do not wish to meet a bid’ati.’ In response, Sultanji said: ‘I am not so disrespectful to come visit Qaadhi Saheb while I am soiled with bid’ah. I have repented of that bid’ah, hence I have come. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘The sincere repenter of sins is like one who has no sins.’

When Qaadhi Saheb heard this response, tears flowed from his eyes. He gave his turban to the assistant, instructing him to spread it out on the floor and to tell Sultanji to enter walking on it. The assistant did as commanded. Hadhrat Sultanji, respectfully picked up the amaamah. Placing it on his head, he commented: “This is the Turban of the Shariat. I do not possess the status to set foot on it.’ He then went into the presence of Qaadhi Saheb who treated Sultanji with profound respect and honour.

Qaadhi Saheb said: ‘Hadhrat! These are my final moments. Focus on me so that I depart with Imaan.’ Sultanji cast tawajjuh on Qaadhi Saheb for a considerable period of time. He stood up to leave. He had not yet reached the threshold of the door when Qaadhi Saheb breathed his last. Overcome with intense grief, Sultanji said: ‘Alas! Today the Pillar of the Shariah has collapsed.” (End of Hadhrat Khubullah’s narration)

(Hadhrat Thanvi continues): “Allah! Allah! Qaadhi Saheb condemned and pursued Sultanji as long as he was alive. But today, Sultanji is overcome with grief and crying. He calls Qaadhi Saheb, ‘The Pillar of the Shariat.’ These were the Men of Allah. Such was their sincerity. Their love was for the sake of Allah and they fought for the sake of Allah.” (End of Hakimul Ummat’s comments)

This episode emphasises the importance and the decisiveness of the Shariah which overrides the practices of the Auliya, their dreams and their miracles. If in the dream or vision of a Wali, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) expresses approval for a specific act of that Wali, this cannot be cited as daleel in Islam. The directive acquired in the vision or dream shall be incumbently scaled on the criterion of the Shariah which is seconded in the Adillah Ar’ba’ah (The Four Sources of Islam).

If the directive of the vision is in conflict with any of the principles or teachings of the Shariah it shall be set aside and given some appropriate interpretation if the person concerned is a true Wali of Allah Ta’ala. If he is a faasiq, it shall be rejected and denounced as a shaitaani manipulation. In fact, shaitaan is quite capable of infiltrating the dreams and visions of even Auliya. He even manipulates the interpretation which a Wali gives to his dream. It is for these reasons that the Shariah does not accord the dreams, visions, kashf and ilhaam of the Auliya the status of Shar’i daleel.

From the episode of Qaadhi Dhiyaaudden and Sultanul Auliya (rahmatullah alayhima) the position of the Shariah becomes abundantly clear. Inspite of the Qaadhi Saheb, who was a great Aalim of the Deen as well as a Wali of exceptionally high rank as his act of Rooh-Projection in pursuit of the Rooh of Sultanul Auliya testifies, being convinced of the authenticity of Sultanul Auliya and of his lofty rank by Allah Ta’ala, and of his ability to interact with the spiritual realm, he (the Qaadhi Saheb) remained unflinchingly steadfast in the execution of his Waajib duty of Amr Bil Ma’roof.

He was not awed by the miraculous demonstration of Sultanul Auliya. His concern was the Shariah as it was handed down to the Ummah by the Sahaabah. Islam is not the product of the opinions, practices, visions, dreams and inspirations of the Auliya who appeared centuries after Allah Ta’ala had announced in the Qur’aan Majeed, and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in his Ahaadith the perfection of the Deen.



Who shall arbitrate where a difference prevails among the Auliya? The true Auliya are all accepted and illustrious personages of Islam. It is not permissible to criticize them destructively nor to assign fisq and dhalaal (deviation) to them. Certain of their utterances and practices which ostensibly contradict the Shariah have to be accorded appropriate interpretation to bring them in conformity with the Shariah.

But the Shariah can never be interpreted to conform to any practice or statement of any Wali if there is a conflict. Some Auliya (a minority) practised sama’ observing very stringent conditions and confined it to their close associates of the Spiritual Path. They never advocated it for public consumption. Their gatherings were not frivolous to derive nafsaani pleasure and for wiling away the time. Other Auliya who are in the majority, do not adhere to sama’. They neither practice it nor regard it permissible.

Now when there prevails such a stark difference among the Auliya of later times on the issue of sama’, who shall be the arbitrator? And, which view do the masses of the Ummah follow? The Qur’aan Majeed issues its unambiguous and emphatic directive in this regard:

“Then, We have established you on a Shariah regarding affairs. Therefore, follow it, and do not follow the lowly desires of those who do not know.” “And, if you dispute in anything, then refer it to Allah, Rasool and the Ulul Amr among you if indeed you are Mu’mineen.”

 In any dispute, it is incumbent to refer to the Shariah – to Allah’s Kitaab, the Sunnah of His Rasool and the Authorities (Ulul Amr) of this Deen who in the first and highest level are the Sahaabah, then the Aimmah Mujtahideen and Fuqaha of Kharul Quroon (the initial Three Noble Ages of Islam). In regard to this era, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Honour my Sahaabah, for verily, they are the best of you; then those after them; then those after them. Thereafter falsehood will become prevalent.” (Mishkaat)

 It is a hideous misconception tantamount to kufr to subject the differences of the Auliya and the Ulama to personal opinion and issue a ‘fatwa’ of jahaalat in appeasement of hawa (lowly desire). The whole conglomerate of deviates – modernists and graveworshippers – is guilty of this capital crime of believing themselves competent to issue verdicts on a difference between Imaam Ghazaali (rahmatullah alayh) and the Ijma’ of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen.

Furthermore, the deviates conveniently and stupidly misinterpret the view of Imaam Ghazaali and other Auliya of similar view, to extract from their nafs a ‘verdict’ of permissibility for the gamut of kuffaar music and singing for the consumption of the masses, the majority of whom are undoubtedly fussaaq and fujjaar of the worst order. Let it be clearly understood that there is absolutely no licence in the permissibility view of sama’ for the licentious and libertine music and singing to which the masses in this age are addicted.

While the deviates and morons harp on this extremely restrictive permissibility, they in entirety ignore very conveniently all the conditions which the Auliya had stipulated for their limited permissibility. None of those stringent requirements exist in the haraam music and singing sessions of the modernist deviates and the grave-worshipping Bid’atis. Yet, they shamelessly claim that they are following the Auliya’s permissibility. They are in fact levelling a colossal slander against the Auliya by assigning these august personalities of Islam into the noxious category of the fussaaq and fujjaar of this age.



 In view of the recognition of the moral and spiritual dangers inherent in the remedy of sama’ for the masses, those Auliya who had participated in it had publicly proclaimed their repentance (Taubah). Thus, it is on authentic record that illustrious and renowned Auliya such as Hadhrat Junaid Baghdaadi (rahmatullah alayh) and Hadhrat Nizaamuddeen Sultaanul Auliya (rahmatullah alayh) had announced their Taubah and had retracted their views on sama’. These illustrious Auliya had considered it expedient to proclaim their repentance.

They had foreseen that their sama’ which is medicine for ailments, would later be cited as a basis for the justification of haraam music and singing. The indulgent masses would extract unlawful licence for evil and haraam, hence they were constrained to announce their Taubah. There can be absolutely no scope for permissibility of music and singing when even great Auliya had dissociated from sama’ in which they had participated.

There is a difference of heaven and hell between sama’ and the music and singing of the masses – especially of the kuffaar masses whose acts and antics of fisq and fujoor Muslims have adopted. It is only a shaitaani logic which promotes permissibility of the nafsaani music and singing in vogue. When the Mashaaikh have even castigated the duff, it does not behove Muslims who subscribe to the Sunnah to audaciously indulge in music and singing, leave alone believing it to be permissible.

Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh), who was among the most senior Taabieen, said: “The duff is not of the Sunnat of the Muslimeen.” This illustrious Imaam of the Deen was not ignorant of the permissibility ascribed to the duff by some Fuqaha, and that even during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), this instrument was employed on marriage occasions. Nevertheless, he emphatically decried it and proclaimed that it is not the way of the Muslimeen. The duff was part of the culture of the Arabs from time immemorial. It did not find its origin in the Sunnah. It was merely tolerated in special occasions of happiness.



Even the Shaafis who regard it mubah (permissible, not Sunnat) on marriage occasions, advocate abstention as the best course. Hence, Shaikh Suharwardi (rahmatullah alayh), who was a very senior Shaafi authority as well as the Founder of the Suharwardiyyah Sufi Order, says in Awaariful Na-aarif:

“Although there is scope (permissibility) in the Shaafi Mathhab (on marriage occasions) for the duff and the shabaabah (primitive reed flute), shunning these two is aula (best and preferable). It is best to adhere to what is more cautious and to emerge from khilaaf (difference of opinion).”

The difference referred to here is the explicit prohibition stated by the Hanafi Math-hab and other Fuqaha. Even among the Shaafi Fuqaha there are many who claim that the duff is haraam in functions other than marriage and circumcision. In Kaffur Ruaa’, Allamah Ibn Hajar Makki states:

“A group of our As-haab (Ulama) say that the duff) is haraam on occasions other than marriage and circumcision.”

The Shaafi permissibility of the duff (not of musical instruments in general), is also shackled by several conditions which Allaamah Ibn Hajr Makki (rahmatullah alayh) explains in his Kaffur Ruaa’. These conditions are:

(1) Only females are permitted to strike the duff on marriage occasions. It is not permissible for men to beat the duff. Since beating the duff is exclusively a female act, men who imitate them are mal-oon (accursed) according to the Hadith. All the Ahaadith which mention the duff explicitly state that it was beaten by females, mostly little girls. Nowhere is it recorded by the Salf-e- Saaliheen that males were also involved in beating the duff.

(2) There should not be a musical tone in the beating. The rules of music should not be employed. It should be struck with the flat of the palm in the style of the Arabs, not with the finger. In otherwords, it should not be struck to create music in the way the bid’ati qawwaals and faasiq singers strike their tablahs and other musical drums.

(3) The duff may be beaten for a short while in a marriage function. In view of the fact that all these conditions have evaporated, the duff in our time is not permissible even according to the Shaafi’ Math-hab. Stating this verdict, Haafiz Ibn Hajar Makki (a Shaafi authority) citing Maawardi, avers: “However, in our age it (the duff) is Makrooh (i.e. forbidden and sinful) because it leads to ignorance and villainy.” Allaamah Ibn Hajar moreover adds that five centuries have lapsed since Maawardi had declared this prohibition. There is now (i.e. in Ibn Hajar’s time) greater evil prevalent, hence the prohibition is emphasised to a greater degree. After Ibn Hajar, another five hundred years have lapsed. Is there any difference of opinion on the evil, vice, immorality and moral depravity which are rife on earth in this 20th century? If even the primitive duff was declared prohibited by the Shaafi Faqeeh, Maawardi, a thousand years ago despite the initial permissibility of his Math-hab, what ruling should be formulated for the wide range of shaitaani musical instruments of the east and west in today’s libertine world?


Samaa’ and Raqs (Full bodily rhythmic movements)
(Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *