[A BAYAAN BY Hadhrat Mufti Sa’eed Palanpuri Sahib (Shaikhul Hadith of Daarul Uloom Deoband), delivered at Darul Uloom Zakariyya]
“…..The second topic is Ijtimaa’i (congregational) and Haiat Ijtimaa’i (specific/peculiar form of congregation adopted for thikr). Ijtimaa’ of Thikr (congregation of Thikr) is mentioned in numerous Ahaadith. One is: “Whenever people gather to make the Thikr of Allah Ta’ala, the Malaaikah enshroud them…” This is Ijtimaa’
What is Haiat Ijtimaa’? I saw this Haiat-Ijtimaa’ in the UK. There is a Maulana Isma’eel Wadiwala over there. He is a very pious person; a buzrug. I saw his halqahs (gatherings); a very pious gathering, something to be viewed. Then Maulana would say: “Laa Ilaaha Illallaah” prompting everyone to repeat in chorus, “Laa Ilaaha Illallaah”. Then all of them in unison would chant: “Laa Ilaaha Illallaah”. This is Thikr in a specific congregational form (Haiat-e-Ijtimaa’i Thikr). This is what Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) condemned and this type of Thikr is not correct.
On the other hand we have Thikr of a congregation, i.e. khalwat dar anjuman (individual practice in a gathering). For instance, we all are sitting and individually engaged in Thikr. Each person is occupied with his own Thikr; this one with his, that one with his. This is termed khalwat dar anjuman; and this Khalwat dar Anjuman Thikr is Thikr of a congregation (Ijtimaa’i Thikr). This is masnoon. (Musallis sitting in a Musjid engaging silently in their respective thikr, dua, tilaawat and Nafl Salaat, come within the scope of individual Thikr in congregation mentioned in the Nusoos- The Majlis) This is (documentations of the Shariah), whilst the peculiar/specific congregational form of Thikr was condemned by Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu).
Our Hadhrat Maulana (This is a reference is to Mufti Radhaul Haq Sahib and his book promoting Halqah Thikr in the Musaajid Translator.) criticized Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood in his kitaab. I read it yesterday. Hadhrat’s criticism was distasteful to me. (It is in fact extremely distasteful and shocking since it is a criticism directed at one of the most seniorSahaabah who had the closest association with Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam- The Majlis)
Hadhrat (i.e. Maulana Radhaul Haq) criticised Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) [see: Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu Anhu) and the Incident of Halqah Dhikr] on the assumption that he did not understand this mas’alah (of Halqah Thikr). Laa haula walaa quwwata illabillaah! If Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) never understood this mas’alah then who else is there to understand it? The two examples which Hadhrat (i.e. Maulana Radhaul Haq) proffered in condemnation of Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu), viz. tatbeeq (placing the hands together between the knees in Ruku’) and the Imaam positioning musallis to his right and left are not correct.
How is it possible for Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) who was the Companion of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on journey and at home, indoors and outdoors, one who kept the pillow, miswaak, shoes and water (for Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to be unaware of how to make Ruku’ and how to position two musallis!!! How is it possible for one who enjoyed constant companionship in journey and at home; that Sahaabi whom Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) allowed entry into his home without taking permission, saying: “My presence at home is sufficient for you to enter without formalities”, one who enjoyed such close contact, not knowing glaring aspects of Salaat!!! (Indeed such an idea is preposterously absurd-The Majlis) Some suitable interpretation has to be offered.
Similarly, Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood’s condemnation (of Halqah Thikr) was justified condemnation; it was condemnation of the peculiar congregational form of Thikr (which had been innovated -The Majlis). He did not condemn the gathering for Thikr. (Mark and understand the important difference -The Majlis) Gathering for Thikr is substantiated by the Qur’aan and Hadith. People get together and engage in individual Thikrullah; every person on his own; Khalwat dar Anjuman. They sit together, whilst each one occupies himself with his own work. This is permissible on the basis of the Nusoos. It is proven from the Qur’aan and Hadith. However, a peculiar form of congregational Thikr, like I have mentioned about Hadhrat Maulana Isma’eel Saheb of the UK, was condemned by Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood.” (At this stage, Mufti Radhaul Haq raised an objection).
Mufti Radhaul Haq: Hadhrat! You said that I criticised Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mas’ood. What I wrote was that it was his personal view.
Mufti Sa’eed Palanpuri: That in fact is criticism. What you had written is in fact criticism. It has nothing to do with personal view. It is conspicuously obvious that a Sahaabi who had such close association with Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), could not have been unaware of salient and obvious aspects of Salaat? How can that be possible? You will have to offer some interpretation for this. You will have to proffer a plausible explanation.
Mufti Radhaul Haq: Then we will put it down to azeemat. It was a matter of azeemat for him.
Mufti Sa’eed Palanpuri: No! It was not even azeemat. The reality of it is that preservation of all the Ahaadith is compulsory. Understand this discussion well. Preservation of all the Ahaadith is compulsory. However, Hadith is not hujjat (Proof in the Shariah); Hujjat is the Sunnah. There is a difference between Hadith and Sunnah. Hadith is: Maa udheefa ilan Nabiyyi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) min qualin aw fi’lin aw sifatin aw taqreerin (a statement or an action or an attribute condonation by silence ascribed to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This is Hadith.
And Sunnah is: At-Tariqatul Maslookatu Fid Deen or (an standard practice in the Deen). Thus, that which was attributed to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is Hadith, not necessarily a Sunnah. Those Ahaadith which speak of an action of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) done to merely evince permissibility, are Ahaadith, not Sunnah practices. Take the once-in-a-lifetime instance of passing urine standing. It is not Sunnah and, hence Muslims do not urinate standing (although reported in the Hadith).
The specific, isolated action of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was due to some exigency. These are Ahaadith, but they are not the Sunnah.
Now, preservation of all the Ahaadith is necessary, but practice will be on the Sunnah. It is for this reason that after Kitaabul Imaan etc. in Mishkaat the chapter of Al’Itisaamu Bil Kitaabi Was-Sunnah (Holding Steadfast onto the Qur’aan and the Sunnah) is mentioned. The wording is not Bil Kitaabi Wal Hadith (With the Kitaab and Hadith).
Further, read the entire chapter of AlI’tisaamu Bil Kitaabi Was-Sunnah. There are six Ahaadith mentioned. Each one exhorts holding steadfastly onto the Sunnah. There is not a single Hadith in it which instructs holding firmly onto Hadith. None of the six Hadith speaks of this.
The virtues of memorizing Hadith, preserving Hadith, transmitting Hadith are cited (in the Kutub of Hadith). However, in so far as steadfast practical adherence is concerned, the word “Sunnah” invariably appears. For this reason we are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, not Ahlul Hadith.
There is a group known as Ahlul Hadith. They feast on every Hadith. Once, Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) came with his grand daughter (to the Musjid). He performed Salaat carrying her. They called Ahlul Hadith) also come to the Musjid with their children. The children run in between the Saffs, jump and play around. When questioned they are quick to cite the Hadith. Simpletons! The Hadith merely indicates permissibility occasioned by need.
Sometimes it is possible that a person is in the fields with a child. To leave the child sitting aside is potentially dangerous. Someone may abduct the child. A wild animal may prey on the child. Or a woman may have a child with no one around to look after the child. What must she do? In this situation she can perform her Salaat whilst carrying the child. It is not permissible for her to allow her Salaat to become qadha. The only condition required is for the child’s body and clothes to be clean.
Thus, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) practically demonstrated this on one occasion for the benefit of all mothers and fathers of this Ummah. He never did this to encourage bringing children to the Musjid. If you happen to bring your kids to the Musjid then seat them one side. Don’t leave to run helterskelter in between the saffs. Was this theway of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), like these ghair muqallids who read Salaat carrying their kids and then let them loose to run wildly between the saffs wreaking havoc to everyone’s Salaat? (Justifyng their action they say): “It comes in the Hadith,” Where does it come in the Hadith to let children run a racquet in the Musjid? Do just as it comes in the Hadith (i.e. when there is a need to bring a child to the Musjid then bring the child, at the same time overseeing the behaviour of the child in the Musjid).
Be that as it may, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) carried out many actions to demonstrate certain masaa’il. Consider what would mothers have done had Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) not practically shown what to do when a person has a child and there is potential danger to the child? Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) demonstrated that the child should be carried, and l in that state Salaat should be performed. There should not be amal-katheer (excessive action). The child is in one’s arms. When going into Ruku’, put the child down to stand next to one. Then lift it up again.
In any case, there is a difference between the Sunnah and Hadith. The Sunnah is: At-Tariqatul Maslookatu Fid Deen (the authoritative and standard practice in Deen). Hadith is of general import. And that was that age. Today, all the Ahaadith are preserved in the kutub, even the mansookh (abrogated) Ahaadith. The Mansookh Ahaadith are also Hadith, but they are not the Sunnah.
In the first era of Islam, however, the whole collection of Ahaadith had to be committed to memory. The mode of writing was not in vogue. Now, if it was a case of memorizing just a statement it does not register in the mind as it should. If, however, it was backed by practice, then based on the practice a person remembers the statement.
Once, a Sahaabi called out five Takbeers in Janaazah Salaat. People enquired after the Salaat. Hadhrat Anas said that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said five Takbeers. After the burial as people were returning he (Hadhrat Anas) said: “Remember this action of mine. Remember these five Takbeers which I called out.”
Once, Hadhrat Maalik Bin Huwairith went to a certain Musjid. The people requested him to lead the Salaat. He replied: “One of you lead the Salaat. And I will inform you why I am not going to lead the Salaat”. He then related to them the Hadith: “Whoever visits a people he should not lead the Salaat. Rather, one of them should step forward to perform the Salaat”.
Students pose a question here that the Hadith does draw an exception when permission is granted. And here they even requested Hadhrat Maalik to be the Imaam in Salaat? Why did Hadhrat Maalik not perform the Salaat as Imaam then? The answer is that Hadhrat Maalik did not lead the Salaat so that people may remember the Hadith through this incident. A happening facilitates remembrance.
The same is the case with Rafa’ Yadain (lifting the hands during Salaat). There was Rafa’ in the Salaat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). It is not, however, Sunnah.
Aameen loudly was also part of the Salaat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as a means of teaching the Ummah. When the age of the senior Sahaabah passed by and the age of the junior Sahaabah came people started to forget those Ahaadith. The junior Sahaabah gave practical effect to those Ahaadith for the sake of preservation. However, everything new is appealing; some people started regular practice of those acts. The age of the Mujtahideen came (and some among them) gave those practices the status of Sunnah. Such differences do occur.
Similarly, tatbeeq (placing the hands between the knees in Ruku’) was part of Rasulullah’s Salaat. Hadhrat Sa’d Bin Waqqas’s statement that it is mansookh conveys that it was part of Salaat.
There are two people; two muqtadis and no place to stand in front or behind, or not just two but ten and no place either in front or at the back, then how should they stand? Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood explained the mas’alah that in this case, not only if there happens to be just two muqtadis, even if there are ten muqtadis they could stand to the right and to the left of the Imaam. And that action of Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood which Hadhrat Sa’d commented of being a former practice of the Sahaabah, Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood carried it out for students of the Deen to remember it. The action will thus be instilled into their minds. This is the reality of that practice, otherwise it just cannot be accepted that a Sahaabi who had permission to enter the home (of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam) at all times and whose title was, “The keeper of the pillow, water and shoes”, was unaware of the manner of making Ruku’. How can that be possible? If Ibn Mas’ood did not know then no Sahaabi in the world knew.
And if he did not know how to stand in Salaat then no Sahaabi knew. Such a view is erroneous. A suitable explanation has to be searched for. There must have been some reason for him to do so. And the condemnation he levelled was not at a gathering of Thikr; his condemnation was directed at the specific form of congregational Thikr, and his condemnation was correct.
Question: In Pakistan Hadhrat Maulana Ihtishaamul Haq would recite Laa ilaaha Illallaah, whereupon the whole gathering would repeat in chorus.
Mufti Sa’eed Sahib: This is that peculiar form of congregational Thikr which Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) censured. I have mentioned that in the UK Maulana Isma’eel Wadiwala also makes Thikr in this fashion. (Maulana Ehtishaamul Haq’s peculiar act of thikr is not a daleel. His personal practice being in conflict with the Shariah, has to be set aside. The attempt was made to even scuttle the action of Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood. By what stretch of logic then is Maulana Ehtishamul Haq’s personal practice proffered as Shar’i proof? –The Majlis)
The Thikr of our Akaabir was khalwat dar anjuman. Each person would be engaged in his own Thikr. No one had anything to take from another.” [End of Maulana’s Bayan]
Loud Dhikr and the Arguments of Ahle Shirk
(Maulana Sarfaraz Khan Safdar rahimahullah)
The thikr of Allaah Ta’ala is one great act of ibaadat. To make dua (supplicate) is also a noble deed and means of gaining proximity to Allaah Ta’ala. However, all this has to be done in the manner which the Shariah has ordained. Wherever the Shariah has ordained that thikr be made loudly, like on the days of Tashreeq or the Talbiya of Hajj, then it will be Sunnah to make it loudly on these occasions. However, where the Shariah has not ordained thikr be made loudly, then on those occasions it is best to make is softly. In this way will the object of the Shariah be fulfilled. The same ruling applies to dua.
Although Saahibain (Imaams Abu Yusuf and Muhammad) had preferred that on some occasions thikr be made loudly, and Imaam Ibn Hazm (rahmatullah alayh) and other Sufiya had preferred on most occasions that Thikr be made loudly, they all, nonetheless, never censured those who did not do so, or ever called them ‘Wahaabis’. Nevertheless, if we cast a glance at the proofs, then the truth of the matter is that the best form for thikr and dua is that it be made softly. This is the view and opinion of Imaams Abu Hanifah, Shaafi’, Maalik and Ahmad bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayhim). When all the four Imaams are unanimous on the same ruling, then one can be pretty certain that the Haqq is on their side.
If nowadays, loud thikr is preferred and practiced and on the other hand silence is maintained regarding the opposite view, that is one issue, but the moot point of contention here is that those who do not participate in loud thikr are branded as ‘Wahaabis’, etc., etc. and vile epithets are being hurled. Nowadays, people only regard you as a Muslim and part of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat if you participate in loud-group thikr. If you join in then you are a Sunni, otherwise you are a ‘wahaabi’. It is for this reason that this Mas’alah requires further dilation and study. We will briefly present some proofs.
Allaah Ta’ala states, “And make Thikr of your Rabb in your hearts, humbly, with fear and without loudness in speech.” [Para 9, Surah A’raaf, Aayat 24]
Elsewhere, Allaah Ta’ala says, “Call unto your Rabb with humility and fear. Indeed He does not love those who transgress the limits.” [Para 8, Surah A’raaf, ruku 7]
In these noble Aayaat, there are two conditions for thikr and dua. One is that thikr and dua be made with utmost sincerity, humility, modesty and meekness, and the second is that it be made with softness, because Allaah Ta’ala does not love those who transgress the limits. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once came across some Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) making thikr loudly. On that occasion he admonished them saying, “O People! Have mercy on your souls. Indeed you are not calling out to a deaf one neither to one who is not present. Indeed you are calling out to The One Who Listens and is close by. He is with you.” [Bukhaari, vol. 2, page 605 / Muslim, vol. 2, page 346]
From this narration we realise that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) preferred soft thikr by preventing them from making loud thikr. In this regard, Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh) states, “In this narration (is proof) for it being Mustahab to lower the voice with thikr, as long as there is no need to raise it.” [Sharah Muslim, vol. 2, page 346]
Haafidh Ibn Katheer (rahmatullah alayh) states that Imaam Ibn Hazam Zaahiri (rahmatullah alayh) [passed away 456 A.H.], etc. regarded as Mustahab the recitation of loud thikr after Salaat, but, “Ibn Battaal (rahmatullah alayh) said that the ruling of the four Math-habs is to the contrary (i.e. that it is not Mustahab).” [Al-Bidaaya wan Nihaaya, vol.1, page 270/ Also in Haashiya of Bukhaari, vol.1, page 116]
The proof of Imaam Ibn Hazam (rahmatullah alayh) and others lays in the narration of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu), “Indeed raising of the voices in thikr upon completion of Fardh Salaat was in vogue amongst the people during the era of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).” [Muslim, vol.1, page 217]
Hadhrat Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh), explains this narrations thus, “Ibn Battaal and others have narrated that the Aimmah of the Math-habs, which most people follow (i.e. the four Imaams) and others also, are unanimous that it is not Mustahab to make loud thikr and Takbeer. Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) explains this narration of Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) thus that the loud thikr was only made for a short duration of time, in order to teach the masses. It was not done perpetually.” [Sharah Muslim, vol. 1, page 217]
This view appears most correct and balanced. If this was not the case, then it would most certainly have been the constant practice of all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) to make loud thikr, and also a high-ranking Sahaabi like Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) would not have castigated the group of people making loud thikr in the Masjid and he would not have told them that they are brining darkness upon the Ummat right in the midst and presence of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), by introducing this bid’ah. This loud recitation was done by Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as a means of teaching the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum), just like he would recite ‘Bismillah’ loudly, to teach them. These acts were not carried out subsequently. To perpetuate these practices is bid’ah, as reported by Ibn Mughaffal (radhiyallahu anhu). Similar is the case with the mas’alah of loud thikr. Allamah Halbi Hanafi writes, “It is reported from Abu Hanifah that to raise the voice in thikr is bid’ah, which is in diametric opposition to the Aayat of Allaah Ta’ala, ‘Call unto your Rabb…’” [Kabeeri, page 566]
It is abundantly clear from this text that it is the view of Imaam A’zam (rahmatullah alayh) that to make thikr loudly is both, in conflict with the Aayat of Allaah Ta’ala and also a bid’ah. It is indeed a shame that the perpetrators of this bid’ah label others ‘Wahaabi’, and that they deem loud thikr as a sign of the Ahle Sunnah. Laa Howla Wa Laa Quwwata.
Hadhrat Mullah Ali Qaari (rahmatullah alayh) states, “It has been reported from some of our Ulama that to raise the voice in the Masjid, even if it be for thikr, is Haraam.” [Mirqaat, vol. 2, page 470]
You have noted that Imaam Ibn Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) regards loud thikr as a bid’ah, and that it has been reported from Mullah Ali Qaari as being Haraam. However, Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khaan (the mubtadi Molvi) avers, “The opposition say it (loud thikr) is Haraam, and they employ various tactics to prevent it. One of their ploys is to say that loud thikr is a bid’ah, that it is contrary to the principles of the Hanafis…” [Jaa-al Haqq, page 329]
Let us now be fair—who exactly has referred to it as being a bid’ah and Haraam? Do you now brand Imaam A’zam and Mullah Ali Qaari also as part of your opposition? Are they also amongst those who employ various tactics to prevent loud thikr? Come to your senses and give an unbiased reply.
Imaam Nawawi writes, “There is no difference of opinion that dua be made softly.” [Sharah Muslim, vol. 1, page 311]
Imaam Sirajuddeen Hanafi and Mullah Ali Qaari (rahmatullah alayh) state, “Softness is Mustahab in dua, and to raise the voice in dua is a bid’ah.” [Fataawa Siraajia, page 72 / Moudo’aat-e-Kabeer, page 17]
All these references are as clear as daylight insofar as their import is concerned. This view is the better one and closer to the spirit of the Shariah.
Now remains the one reference made by Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khaan which he cites from Shaami that,“The Mutaqaddimeen and Muta-akhireen are unanimous that it is Mustahab for a group to make loud thikr in a Masjid, provided it does not disturb one who is sleeping, performing Salaat or reciting Qur’aan Majeed.” [Jaa-al Haqq, page 332]
This is most certainly not worth paying any attention to, because firstly, when the Qur’aan Majeed and Hadith Shareef have explicitly forbidden loud thikr, then can the action and statement to the contrary of any person be used as a proof? Secondly, all four Imaams of Fiqh have stated that loud Thikr is not Mustahab and Imaam Saheb has labelled it a bid’ah. He also further states that this is contrary to the explicit Command of Allaah Ta’ala. When all four Imaams are unanimous on the impermissibility of loud thikr, how then can there be unanimity on its permission? Are the Aimmah-e-Arba’a not amongst the Mutaqaddimeen?
Thirdly, even the Ulama-e-Muta’akhireen are not unanimous on loud thikr being Mustahab. The Ulama of all four Math-habs have objected to it. Even the Sufiya are not unanimous regarding it. Look at the Maktoobaat of Mujaddid Alfe Thaani (rahmatullah alayh). In similar vein study the kitaabs of other Fuqahaa, Ulama and Muhadditheen on this subject. This mas’alah will not be resolved unless one studies it with an open an unbiased mind.
Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khaan citing from Sheikh Muhammad Saheb Thaanwi (rahmatullah alayh), “Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would recite Tasbeeh and Tahleel in a loud voice, after Salaat, with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anha).” [Jaa-al Haqq, page 330]
This proof is also not very weighty, because, firstly, if this narration cannot be proven to be authentic via the normal channels of Hadith Usools, how then can it be used as a proof? Secondly, if it can be proven to be authentic, then too, we can present the explanation of Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) which he gave for the narration of Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) that this was only done as a means of teaching, and it was only carried out for a limited period and not continuously. If it was done continuously, then the Aimmah-e-Arba’a would never have ruled that loud thikr is not Mustahab. This is an obvious fact, which cannot be disputed.