The True Sufi Attitude Towards Bid’ah and Shirk

INTRODUCTION

There exists a stereotype of Sufis which conveys the impression that they are lax with regards to Shariah, that they perpetrate acts of bid’ah, and that they condone practices which easily lead to Shirk. The following letters and quotes from true Sufis will serve to demolish such a stereotype and demonstrate that the Mujaddids of every age, who were ALL true Sufis, were at the forefront of condemning Bid’ah, Shirk and every other deviance in the Ummah, in stark contrast to the rhetoric of the pseudo-Sufi Bid’atees today who masquerade as followers of one of the Four accepted Madh-habs. 

While reading the quotes below, take note of the massive contrast between the rhetoric of the pseudo-Sufi bid’atees today, who tend to lapse into severely violent allergic epileptic fits at the mere whisper of the words “Bid’ah” and “Shirk”, and the unambiguous rhetoric of the True Sufis, all of whom severely condemned Bid’ah and Shirk.

Those who desperately cling onto the fallacious idea that the “Jama’ah” (the main body of the Ummah) refers to the majority of scholars of this worst of eras, close to the Hour, should bear in in mind that the “Jama’ah” applies only to the Salaf-us-Saaliheen, along with the Fuqaha, Ulama-e-Haqq, and Auliya of each era who were all completely subservient to the Fiqh of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen which was encapsulated within the Four Madh-habs.

The “majority of scholars must be right” concept never refers to the times prophesized by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in which the Deen will have become Ghareeb (strange, lone, forlorn) and the Muslims will be very many. On the contrary, these prophecies directly imply the preponderance of Ulama-e-Soo’ and charlatans in every field of Deen of today, whether it be Tasawwuf (Sufism), Jihaad, Tableegh, Madaaris, etc.

Any brand of “Sufism” – or for that matter any other activity of Deen whether it be Jihaad, Tableegh, Dawaa’, Ta’leem – which is not subservient to the Fiqh of the Four Madh-habs is in reality Satanism masquerading as “Deen”.

Finally, for the edification of deviates such as Salafis, modernists and other similar Zindeeqs and Bid’atees today, who cast doubts on the Aqeedah of the accepted Mujaddids of this Ummah, it is a perfectly rational reality that Allah has never sent, nor will He ever send a Mujaddid with deviant or “slightly deviant” Aqeedah – the most integral part of the Deen in which the slightest deviance is sufficient to expel one out of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. The very idea defeats the purpose of a Mujaddid – one who revives the pure and pristine Deen which’s most integral aspect is Aqeedah.

ALL of the true Sufis of this Ummah through whom Allah Ta’ala enacted widespread Tajdeed (revival) within the Ummah, such as the staunch Sufi Ash’ari, Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi, the staunch Sufi Maturidi, Hazrat Aurangeb Alamghir, the staunch Sufi Maturidi, Hazrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani, the staunch Sufi Ash’ari, Hazrat Shah Waliullah, (rahmatullahi alayhim) etc. etc. possessed completely Saheeh (authentic) Aqeedah.

The fact that no contemporaries of such Mujaddids came remotely close to them in terms of the Barakah bestowed upon their revival efforts and legacy, of which only one strand was their reformation of hundreds of millions of Muslims, and the unprecedented honour and Maqbooliyat (timeless and universal acceptance by the Ummah) granted by Allah Ta’ala to these luminaries of the Ummah, bears the undeniable mark of Allah’s guidance upon them. 

May Allah grant us all the Tawfeeq to recognise the true Mujaddids, as promised to the Ummah in the Hadeeth, and enable us to follow their Deen completely.

“The Majority of Scholars Prefer Bid’ah And Assist in Effacing The Sunnah”

Hadhrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani (rahmatullahi alayhi) states that the majority of the scholars during his era were effacing the Sunnah and giving preference to bid’ah. This reality is in consonance with Ahadith that predict the increasing preponderance of the Ulama-e-soo (the evil scholars who drag countless people into Jahannum with them) as we draw closer to the end of times. Nearly half a millenium on since the Mujaddid’s era, this reality holds true to a far greater extent today:

“One who does not avoid the ‘bid’ah hasanah’ just as he would avoid the blameworthy will not get even a scent of this high degree.This is something difficult in this time for the world is immersed in a profound sea of innovation and content with the darkness of it, who has the ability to speak in this time of the removal of innovation and the raising of the Sunna?

The majority of scholars prefer innovations and assist in effacing the sunna when they give religious rulings allowing wide scope for innovations. They go so far as applying the rule of legal analogical discretion (istihsan) with the reason that any social benefit accrued [from such innovations justifies it] and consequently direct the common people to such practices.

What a horrible thing they are doing!

Misguidance has become endemic to such an extent and error common place that it has become the ‘common good’! Do they not know that every perceived social benefit is not a reason for which to apply the rule of istihsan? The social benefit/custom envisioned by the Sacred Law is that which existed in the earlier generations (generations relatively safe from the detrimental effects of innovations) and which have occurred by the consensus of people as has been mentioned in the Fatawa Ghiyathiyya.

The Shaykh of Islam al-Shaheed, may Allah have mercy upon him, said that every social benefit/custom understood by the scholars of Balkh is not used in making a determination via istihsan but instead those set as precedent by the earlier generations. This is because they are indications of the Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him), so they take it because he establishes it, upon him be peace. If it is not so then it is not taken as legal evidence unless it is as a consensus of the people of all lands, for such a consensus is a legally binding proof.

Do you not see that if a people accept as social custom the buying and selling of alcohol and dealing in interest nevertheless its legal permissibility cannot be sanctioned?

There is no doubt that knowledge of the common practice of all people and cognizance of the practice of all villages and towns is beyond the means of a person’s ability, but still the social practice of the earlier generations, which was in reality established by the Prophet’s precedent, is available. So what concern is there then of the blameworthy and good innovations?”

[Maktoobaat Volume 2, Letter 54]

“There is No “Hasanah” in Any Bid’ah; Only “Darkness and Dirt”

(Vol 1) Letter 186 to Khwajah ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mufti al-Kabuli in Encouraging Adherence to Sunnah and Avoidance of Bid‘ah and that every Bid‘ah is Misguidance:

“I ask Allah – glorified and exalted is He – with humbleness and contrition, helplessness and poverty, humility and brokenness, in secret and in openness, to not try this feeble one with those who unite near Him or rely on Him in performing every innovated practice of bid‘ah in the religion, of that which was not present in the time of the best of humanity and the time of the rightly guided caliphs (upon him and upon them blessings and peace), even if that act is like the breaking of dawn in clarity, and [I ask Allah] that He does not try us with approving of that innovator, [and I ask this] through the sanctity of the select master and his righteous progeny (upon him and upon them blessing and peace).

Some people say bid‘ah is of two types: good and bad. Thus, good bid‘ah is every righteous deed which arose after the time of our Prophet and the time of the rightly guided caliphs (upon him and upon them blessings and peace) and does not eliminate a Sunnah practice; while bad bid‘ah does eliminate a Sunnah practice.

This needy one has not seen any goodness or light in any bid‘ah, and he has not sensed in them anything besides darkness and dirt. Whoever, in the present time, supposedly finds praise and light in an innovated matter due to a weak insight, he will learn tomorrow after gaining sharpness in vision, that it has no advantage at all besides in regret and loss.

[poetry not translated]

The master of men (upon him blessing and peace) said: “Whoever innovates in this matter of ours what is not of it, it is rejected.” So when a thing is rejected, from where will goodness come to it? He (upon him blessing and peace) said: “To proceed. Verily the best speech is the Book of Allah, and the best conduct is the conduct of Muhammad. The worst of affairs are their innovations, and every innovation is bid‘ah, and every bid‘ah is misguidance.” He (upon him blessing and peace) said: “I enjoin unto you the fear of Allah, and listening and obedience, even if an Ethiopian slave [is your leader]; for indeed those of you who live after me will see much conflict. Incumbent on you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. Remain steadfast on that, and bite on it with the molar teeth. And beware of innovated matters, for indeed every innovation is bid‘ah, and every bid‘ah is misguidance.”

Since every innovation is bid‘ah, and every bid‘ah is misguidance, what is the meaning of goodness in bid‘ah? Furthermore, the purport of the hadiths is that every bid‘ah eliminates a Sunnah, and eliminating [Sunnah] is not restricted to some . Hence, every bid‘ah is bad. He (upon him blessing and peace) said: “No group innovates a bid‘ah except the like of it from the Sunnah is lifted.” Thus, adhering to the Sunnah is better than inventing a bid‘ah. It was narrated from Hassan [ibn Thabit] that he said: “No group innovated a bid‘ah in their religion except Allah removed the like of it from their Sunnahs, and then He will not return it to them till the Day of Resurrection…

And likewise all bid‘ahs and innovations follow on this pattern because they are additions to the Sunnah, even if only in one aspect, and an addition is abrogation, and abrogation is elimination. Thus, you must restrict yourself to following the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and suffice with imitating the noble companions for they are like stars: whichever of them you imitate, you will be guided. As for analogy (qiyas) and exercising scholarly opinion (ijtihad) it is not bid‘ah at all, because it is a clarifier of the meaning of the texts, and it does not establish an additional matter. So take heed O possessors of intelligence! Peace be on those who follow guidance, and adhere to the practice of the Chosen One – upon him and upon his progeny the best of blessings and the most complete of salutations.”

Imam Mahdi – A Killer of Bid’atees

The frequency and clarity with which Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani condemns ‘Bidah Hasanah’ throughout his letters leaves no ambiguity as to his stance on this issue. Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani re-affirms in the letter below the predictions of some of the classical fuqaha, that the ‘Ulama’ from the Ahlul bid’ah will be amongst the first to confront and slander Imam Mahdi. The Mujaddid mentions the severe manner with which Imam Mahdi will deal with a scholar who practises bid’ah while considering it ‘hasanah’. Unlike the Mujaddids and Ulama-e-Haqq who have been slandered in recent times by the Ahlul Bid’ah, Imam Mahdi will have the power to silence them completely with the sword – the real sword, not just the sword of truth:

“Praise be to Allah and peace be upon His chosen servants. Your esteemed letter sent through Hafiz Baha-uddin has reached [me] and gave [me] much pleasure. How great a bounty it is that the loving ones and devotees be committed with their efforts towards renovating any Sunnah of the Mustafavi Sunnah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and for having fully dedicated themselves to destroying any Bid’ah of the displeasing Bid’ah. Sunnah and Bid’ah are opposed each to the other, the existence of one necessitates the negation of the other. Hence, enlivening the one means deadening the other, and renovating Sunnah necessitates the deadening of Bid’ah, and vice versa.

Now whether they call a Bid’ah good or bad, it necessitates the negation of Sunnah, but perhaps in view of its relative goodness [some] may have labelled it [good], since there is no room for absolute goodness therein, and just as all the Sunnahs are pleasing acts near to Allah, their opposites are pleasing acts near to Satan.

Today, due to wide spread propagation of Bid’ah, these wordings would be hard to bear upon many, but tomorrow they would know whether we are on the right path or they.

It is related that when Hazrat Mahdi during his reign would be giving currency to the Religion and would renovate the Sunnah, an Alim of Madinah who practises Bid’ah whilst considering it as ‘Hasanah’, and who would have added to the Religious practices, would surprisingly say:

“This man has destroyed our religion and has put to death our creed”.

Hazrat Mahdi would order his killing and declare his virtue as vice.

“That is the bounty of Allah bestows upon whom He will, and Allah is the owner of great bounty, ” (Q- 2:156).”

[Volume 1, Letter 255]

“I do not regard any Bid’ah as ‘Hasanah’”

The Mujaddid laments the fact that as we move further away from the time of the Best of Mankind (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) the acts of Sunnah’s are being destroyed, and the acts of Bid’ah are being spread. He mentions that those who pre-occupy themselves with reviving the blessed Sunnah, strengthen the Army of Allah, and those who pre-occupy themselves with innovations under the guise of Bid’ah Hasanah, strengthen the Devil’s Army:

“The happiest, the most fortunate person is he who recovers one of the forgotten sunnats and annihilates one of the widespread bid’ats in a time when irreligiousness is on the increase. We are now in such a time when a thousand years have elapsed after the Best of man kind [Hadhrat Muhammad ], As we get farther from the time of happiness of our Prophet, the sunnats are gradually being covered and, lies being on the increase, the bid’ats are spreading.

A hero is needed who will uphold the sunnats and stop, expel the bid’ats. To spread bid’ats is to demolish Islam. To respect those who make up and commit bid’ats, to deem them great will cause Islam to perish. It is declared in a hadith, “He who says ‘great’ about those who commit bid’ats has helped the demolition of islam”. The meaning of this should be given due consideration on. Utmost energy should be spent in striving for uncovering one Sunnat and annihilating one bid’at. For strengthening Islam anytime, especially when Islam has become so weak, it is necessary to spread the sunnats and demolish the bid’ats.

The former Islamic savants, having seen maybe some beauty in the bid’ats, gave some of them the name of hasana . But this faqir [The Mujaddid is referring to himself] do not follow them in this respect; I do not regard any of the bid’ats as beautiful. I see all of them as dark and cloudy. Our Prophet declared: “All bid’ats are aberration, deviation from the right way”. In such a time as this when Islam has become weak, I see that salvation and escaping Hell is in holding fast to the Sunnat; and destruction of the din is, no matter how, in falling for any bid’at. I understand that each bid’at is like a pickaxe to demolish the building of Islam and all sunnats are like brilliant stars to guide you on a dark night.

May Allahu ta’ala give enough reasonableness to the hodjas of our time so that they will not say that any bid’at is Hasanah (beautiful) or permit any bid’at to be committed. They should not tolerate bid’ats even if they seem to illuminate darknesses like the rising of the sun! For, the satans do their work easily outside the sunnats. In the early times, Islam being strong, the darknesses of bid’ats were not conspicuous, but, maybe, along with the world-wide powerful light of Islam, some of those darknesses passed as bright. Therefore they were said to be beautiful. Whereas, those bid’ats [in reality] did not have any brightness or beauty, either.

But now, Islam having become weak and disbelievers’ customs and even the symptoms of disbelief having become settled [as fashion] among Muslims, each bid’at has displayed its harm, and Islam, without anyone noticing it, has been slipping away.

The bid’ats having covered all the world, this age roosts like a dark night. The sunnats being on the decrease, their lights blink like fire-flies flying here and there in dark night. As the committing of bid’ats increases, the darkness of the night has been increasing and the light of Sunnat has been decreasing. But the increasing of the sunnats would decrease the darkness and increase the light. He who wishes may increase the darkness of bid’at, thus strengthening the devil’s army! And he who wishes may increase the light of Sunnat, thus strengthening the soldiers of Allahu ta’ala! Know well that the end of the devil’s army is calamity, loss. He who is in the army of Allahu ta’ala will attain endless bliss.”

[Maktoobaat Volume 2, Letter 23]

“They Consider their Peers as Helpers” Which is “Shirk in Ibadaat”

In the following letter, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani explicitly brands as Shirk, an act that resembles worship of other than Allah, despite the perpetrators, who are Muslims, claiming that their intentions were purely for Allah:

Volume 3, Letter 41

“Those animals that are offered on the names of the buzrugs [awliya] and they are slaughtered at the grave of the buzrug [awliya], according to the fiqhi [jurisprudent] ruling such acts are included as being amongst shirk [polytheism]. A great deal of discouragement from such acts has been recorded. Such offerings are in the same category as those which are made in the name of some jinnaat.

According to the Shariah such acts are prohibited and counted as shirk…Abstinence is also very necessary from such acts which bear resemblance to shirk. There are various ways of taking vows on the name of Allaah Ta`ala. What is the need for slaughtering an animal when taking a vow? Also for combining this slaughter with that which is made in the name of some jinnaat? There is a similarity between this is and the worship of jinnaats…

Included in such vows [which are made in the names of other than Allaah Ta`ala] are those rozas [fasts] which women keep, on the names of their peers [shaykhs]. For the iftaar of those rozas [fasts] they stipulate all special types of treats. They even specify a particular day for the roza. They combine their object and desire with the fast. Through the waseelah of these fasts they ask of their needs from their peers [shaykhs]. And they consider their shaykhs to be their helpers and solvers of difficulties [in the time of distress] through these fasts. This is shirk in ibadat…

One should clearly understand the gravity of making waseelah in the Ibaadat of anyone other than Allaah Ta`ala. When the evil and iniquity of this heinous sin becomes manifest, then the women aver that they kept the roza for Allah Ta`ala but they intended the thawaab [reward] for the peer [shaykh]. This is a glaring falsity. If they were true to their word, then why do they specify a particular day for the roza? And why do they stipulate all sorts of special and specific food for the Iftaar?”

The View of Shah Waliullah

Another Mujaddid from the same region who has gained widespread acceptance by the Ummah, Shah Waliullah (rahmatullahi alayhi) , made numerous statements similar to the one above by Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani. Merely changing the intentions behind acts that resemble worship, does not detract from the reality that they amount to abominable transgressions of the Deen. He highlights several times throughout his works, the lamentable state of the Muslims in his time and their involvement in acts of Shirk:

“Seeking Needs Through the Dead with the belief that they are merely a means….is KUFR”

Shah Waliullah states unambiguously that even with the belief that the dead are merely a means, to ask one’s needs from them is an act of Kufr:

“And you should know that seeking to fulfill needs (hajat) through the dead with the belief that they are [merely] a means to fulfillment, is disbelief (kufr) which must be avoided; the Kalimah Shahadah regards it as prohibited, but nowadays people are excessively involved in these things.” (Al-Khayrul Katheer)

“A Sin More Grievous Than Murder and Adultery” – To Request Needs at the Graves of the Righteous

Shah Waliullah states:

“All who go to the land of Ajmer or to the grave of Salar Mas’ud or those that resemble them in order to request [to fulfil] a need, it is indeed a sin more grievous than murder and adultery. Its likeness is not but the likeness of those who worship the creation or like those who call on Al-Lat and Al-’Uzza. However, we do not [unequivocally] declare disbelief [upon them] due to the absence of a text from the Lawgiver in this specific matter. All who assign life to the dead and request their needs from them, ‘his heart is surely sinful’ (Qur’an, 2:283), and [this act] is included in His statement (Exalted is He), ‘that is iniquity’ (Qur’an, 5:3)…(Al-Tafhimatul Ilaahiyyah)

“One of the Greatest Diseases in This Age is Their Worship of Their Shuyukh”

Shah Waliullah identifies worshipping of the Shaykhs as one of the greatest diseases of his age. Many centuries on, closer to the End of Times, this disease is no doubt far more acute today:

“The definition of associating (shirk) [partners] with Allah (Glorified is He) in worship is glorifying (ta’zim) other than Allah, intending thereby to come closer to Allah (Exalted is He) and salvation in the Final Abode. One of the greatest diseases in this age of ours is their worship of their shuyukh when [they are] alive or [worship] of their graves when [they are] dead. The ignorant [Muslims] imitate the disbelievers of India [i.e. Hindus] in worshipping their idols [which is] amongst their [ritual] acts. The definition of associating [partners] with Allah in seeking help (isti’anah) is to seek one’s need from another while believing he has the power to accomplish it by applying [his] powerful will (sarf al-iradah al-nafidhah), like curing the sick, giving life and death, giving provision and creating a child, and other things that are contained in the Names of Allah (Exalted is He). The definition of associating [partners] with Allah in supplication (du’a) is to mention other than Allah (Glorified is He) while believing this action of his will benefit him in his afterlife or in coming closer to Allah, just as they mention their shuyukh when waking up in the morning…” (Al-Tafhimatul Ilaahiyyah)

Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani on the “Kufr” of Singing and Dancing for “Zikr”

In the following letter, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani states that the object of Tasawwuf (the Sufi path) is nothing but to produce conviction in the beliefs of the Shari’ah and to facilitate the observance of its rules. He explains that unlawful means adopted by some “Sufis” such as Samaa’ (organised singing sessions) and Raqs (‘sufi’ dancing), are a kind of temptation with which Allah tests men. As is true for all true Sufis, the Mujaddid’s strictness on the Shariah and his intolerance of opinions that he deems to be contrary to the Shariah, is quite evident here:

“After one has acquired right beliefs and subjected oneself to the rules of the Shari’ah, one should, if Allah so wills, enter the path of the Sufis. But one should not pursue it in order to get something over and above the beliefs and the practices of the Shar’, or acquire something new. The purpose of following the Sufi way is to gain a conviction in the objects of faith that cannot be weakened by the doubts of a sceptic or shaken by the remarks of an objector. The conviction which is founded on arguments is not firm, and one who pursues reasoning does not attain certitude.

‘Know that it is through the remembrance of Allah that one acquires the peace and satisfaction of the heart.’

This is the object of the Sufi tariqah regarding belief. Regarding the practices of the Shar’, the object is to make their performance easy and spontaneous, to remove sluggishness, and to subdue the carnal self. Likewise, the purpose of the Sufi Suluk is not to see the forms and images of transcendental realities, or behold colours and lights; they are nothing more than play or fun. Material forms and physical lights are not less interesting if one wants to have fun; why should one leave them and run after spiritual forms and lights, and take up austere and difficult practices for that purpose? Forms, these or others, and lights, physical or spiritual, are all created by Allah. He transcends them altogether; they are nothing but His signs and proofs.

What should I say about Samaa (organised singing sessions), or performing Raqs (full bodily rhythmical movements), or entering into a trance, or inducing Wajd (ecstasy)! All the states and experiences which are produced by unlawful means are, in my view, a kind of temptation with which Allah tests men. People whom Allah gives latitude in this way, undergo these states, experience union, and have revelations and visions in terms of the forms of this world. The mystics of Greece and the Brahmin saints of India had all these experiences. The sign of the validity of an experience is, first, that it agrees with the doctrines of the Shari’ah and second, that in order to have it one does not commit anything which is forbidden or which is doubtful. Know that Samaa’ and Raqs are but frivolous games…

One day I was in the presence of my Shaykh in a meal gathering. Shaykh Kamal, who was one of the sincere ones of my Shaykh, uttered “Allah” loudly at the beginning of the meal in His Eminence’s presence. This severely displeased His Eminence to the degree that he reproached him harshly and said that he should be asked not to come to the meal gathering. And I have heard our Shaykh saying that Hazrat Khwajah Naqshband went to the Khanqah of Hazrat Amir Kulal with a group of the ulama of Bukhara in order to prevent him from doing the loud zikr. The ulama told him that loud zikr is a bid’ah and that he should shun it. He answered that he would not do it any more.

When the great ones of this path make so much exagerration in preventing the loud zikr, then what can be said regarding the Samaa (hearing religious singing), Raqs (full bodily rhythmic movements), wajd (ecstasy) and tawajud (raptures). The states and ecstasies that stem from means contrary to the Shariah, to the Faqir, fall under the category of Istidraj (divine deception) that lead step-by-step to ruin. States and longings (ahwal va adhwaq) come in the hands even for the people of istidraj or people who practice occult that lead them step-by-step to ruin. They see the unveilings of tawhid (kashf-i tawhid). And they see [God] unveiled in the mirror that is the forms of the world and they also identify Him with those forms.

The philosophers of Greece and the Yogis and Brahmans of India share these experiences. The criterion of the authenticity of the states is conformity with the knowledge of the Shariah along with abstaining from the perpetration of unlawful and doubtful matters. Know that Samaa and Raqs fall in reality under amusements and fun. The verse: “And among men is such a one who buys frivolous tales.” [31:6] has been revealed in order to forbid singing (Ghinaa). Hence, Mujahid, the student of Ibn Abbas, and one of the great Tabi’ees said that what is intended by ‘frivolous tales’ is singing. And it comes in Madarik that ‘frivolous tales’ means nightly talks and singing. Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas’ud would swear that these mean singing, and Mujahid said that the words “And those who bear not false testimony,” [Qur’an 25:72] of Him Azza Wa Jal, refers to those who do not attend singing sessions.

And it has been related by the Imam of guidance Abu Mansur al-Maturudi that whoever says “well recited” to a Muqri (professional reciter of the Qur’an) of our age, has committed Kufr, his wife becomes separated from him, and Allah nullifies all his good deeds.

It is related by Abu Nasir al-Dabusi on the authority of Qadhi Zahiruddin al-Kharzami that whoever hears a song from a professional singer, or someone other than him, or watches an unlawful act, while considering it good, with or without conviction, becomes apostate immediately due to invalidating a dictate of the Shari’ah – and he who nullifies a dictate of the Shari’ah does not remain a believer according to all the Mujtahids, and Allah does not accept his good deeds and renders naught all his good deeds. We seek refuge in Allah from that.

The verses of the Qur’an, Ahadeeth, and rulings of the jurists regarding the unlawfulness of singing and hearing songs are too many, to such an extent that counting them is burdensome. If a person brings forth an abrogated tradition or an anomalous narration regarding the permissibility of singing, then he should not be relied upon – since no jurist has in any time and age given the ruling of permissibility of singing, or has regarded Raqs (full bodily movements) and foot-pounding as lawful, as has been mentioned in the treatise Multaqat by al-Imam al-Hammam Dhiya Uddin Shaami.

No practice of any Sufi is an argument to decide that which is lawful or unlawful. Will it not be sufficient that instead of reproaching them we pass over their actions and leave them to the judgement of Allah Ta’ala? This is a matter in which the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Abu Yousuf or Imam Muhammed should be considered authoritative rather than the practice of Abu Bakr Shibli or Abul Hasan Nuri. The half-baked Sufis of our day have taken Samaa and Raqs as an accepted religious rite and raised it to the level of divine service. These are persons who have taken their religion for sport and pastime”

From the foregoing reports it becomes apparent that he who considers an unlawful deed commendable, exits the Muslim community and becomes apostate. Then it should be realised what an enormity it is to show respect towards a gathering of Samaa or Raqs, rather even considering them acts of virtue and worship. Praise and thanks be to Allah, that our seniors were not afflicted by such things and kept us followers free from the following of such matters.”

[Vol 1, Letter 266]

A Risalah by Ibrahim al-Halabi (d. 960) [author of Ghunyat al Mutamalli and Mulataqa Abhur] on dancing for “Zikr”, demonstrates with unambiguous quotes from the Fuqaha, and other evidences that there is Ijma of all Four Madh-habs, that the customary dancing of the “Sufis” for Zikr is completely Haraam. Even the few Fuqaha who appear to have permitted dancing, condemn dancing if it is intentionally induced, as opposed to outside one’s volition (i.e. unintentional wajd), and if it is made a habit (adah) out of, as the pseudo-sufis of his time had done. Factors of prohibition such as bending the body like women do, are only further aggravating factors. If there are isolated and anomalous rulings that explicitly and unambiguously permits organised and intentionally induced dancing sessions for “Zikr” or “getting closer to Allah”, then it would not affect this ijma. A translated summary of this excellent Risalah will be forthcoming on ReliableFatwas insha-Allah.

To be continued….

Leave a Reply

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