[Mufti Muhammad Taqi’ Usmani d.b]
This month is also called “Rabi ul-‘Aakhir”. No specific function or worship has been prescribed by the Shariah in this month. However, some people take the 11th of this month as the anniversary of Shaykh ‘Adb al Qadir al-Jilani (rahmatullah alayh), the great sufi and one of the most pious persons of our history. On these assumption, these people cook some special types of meals and distribute them among their acquaintants. Some of them believe that this practice pleases the soul of the Shaykh and he will help us in fulfilling our worldly needs or in reaching our mundane or spiritual goals.
This practice is totally baseless for a number of reasons:
Firstly, it is not historically proved with certainity that the Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh), died on the 11th of this month. Some historians claim that he died on 9th and some of them hold that he died on 17th.
Secondly, even if it is proved that he had died on 11th of this month, the observations of anniversaries is not revognised by the Shariah, as we have explained it with more details in a separate post on Rabi al Awwal.
Thirdly, if the practice is based on the belief that the soul of the Shaykh will be pleased by it and help us in our worldly affairs, it is totally an erroneous idea and may amount to shirk.
Fourthly, even if these acts are performed for the purpose of Isal al thawaab only, there is no reason why a specific date is fixed for this purpose, and why the people not observing it are blamed and reproached.
Fifthly, the Isal al thawaab can be conceived where an ‘Ibaadah (act of worship) is done like Sadaqah, but here in this practice normally the meal is distributed among the well-off relatives or friends and not among the poor. It means that there is no intention to perform an ‘Ibaadah.
Sixthly, if some mundane benefits are sought by this practice, no thawaab is supposed to be achieved . How can it be an act of Isaal al-thawaab?
In short, looked at from any angle, this custom does not fit in the recognised principles of Shariah. Therefore, it should be abandoned in any case.
It must be remembered, however, that what we have said does not mean that one cannot make an Isal al-thawaab to the Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani. In fact the Isaal al-Thawaab is a recognized practice in Shariah. It becomes more commendable if it is done in favour of a pious person, like Shaykh ‘Abd al Qadir al-Jilani. But it should not be restricted to a particular date or a particular act. A Muslim can make Isaal al-Thawaab to the Shaykh any day and through any act of worship like salah, fasting, charity etc.