By Mujlisul Ulama
BID’AH IN OUR RANKS
Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) once commented that “Bid’ah is not confined to qiyaam and meelaad, etc.” When the term bid’ah is mentioned, people generally understand it to be a reference to practices such as meelaad, qiyaam, urs, grave-worship and the like. Besides these ‘old’ acts of bid’ah, shallow-minded Molvis in our ranks, i.e. the Ahl-e-Deoband, too have introduced a number of new acts which come within the purview of Bid’ah.
Any act adorned with a Deeni façade which changes or displaces Masnoon practices or which prevents people from acting in terms of the Sunnah is Bid’ah which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) branded accursed and rejected.
One such new-fangled act introduced by Molvis in our rank is their over-eagerness to deliver lectures on the occasion of Jumu’ah. In many places the lecture delivered on Fridays spawns several evils. Although these evils are of a grave nature, the superficial or outward ‘deeni’ veneer, namely, the bayaan (lecture) has blurred the mental vision of both the speaker and the majority of the musallis. It is by means of superficial and deceptive ‘deeni’ practices bid’ah – that shaitaan succeeds to deflect many people from Siraatul Mustaqeem – the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Immediately after the first Athaan of Jumu’ah, the Molvi Sahib leaps on to the mimbar or he stands up to acquit himself with his vocal prowess. The evils which this practice has generated are:
♦ Preventing arriving Musallis from performing the Sunnat of Tahyatul Musjid.
♦ Preventing Musallis from performing the four raka’ats Sunnatul Muakkadah.
♦ Interfering with the peace and solitude of Musallis who desire to engage in Thikr or Nafl Salaat while waiting for the Khutbah.
♦ Distracting those who ignore the implied compulsion to sit and listen. Some Musallis ignore the lecture and proceed with the Masnoon acts of ibaadat. But the talk distracts their attention and ruins the Khushu’ (concentration) of their Salaat.
In some places this bid’ah has degenerated to the level of compulsion (wujoob). Musallis are indirectly and at times directly prohibited from Tahyatul Musjid and the Sunnatul Muakkadah Salaat. They are constrained either by direct prohibition or by stupidly glaring eyes of the cronies of the Molvi Sahib, to desist from executing the Masnoon duties commanded by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Then to soothe their conscience, the innovators allow Musallis a couple of minutes before the Khutbah to hurriedly perform their Sunnatul Muakkadah Salaat. As far as Tahyatul Musjid is concerned, the Bid’ati Molvi Sahibs attach no significance to this important Salaat. Their action displays the belief of greater importance for their lecture than for the Masnoon Salaat.
The permanent abandonment of Tahyatul Musjid, preventing Musallis from performing the four Sunnatul Muakkadah raka’ts after the Athaan and the hurried performance of these four raka’ts just before the Molvi Sahib jumps on to the mimbar are acts classified as Bid’ah Sayyiah (evil innovations). Even before all the Musallis have completed their hurried performance of the Sunnatul Muakkadah, the Molvi Sahib is on the mimbar beginning the Khutbah.
Musallis are under no Shar’i obligation to forgo Tahyatul Musjid and to desist from the Sunnatul Muakkadah Salaat. It is not incumbent to listen to the bayaan, but it is incumbent to perform Tahyatul Musjid and the four Sunnatul Muakkadah of Jumuah. There is no goodness in bid’ah. There is only spiritual darkness in innovation which is a powerful snare of Shaitaan.
ANOTHER new innovation in some places is to begin a bayaan or a lesson immediately after the Fardh Salaat, especially after the Fajr Salaat. As soon as the Imaam terminates his Dua, he commences his bayaan/tafseer, etc. displaying total lack of consideration for the ibaadat engagement of Musallis.
Some musallis walk out in frustration while others fearful of the imprecating and reprimanding stares of cronies (dumb and dense mureeds) of the establishment, remain seated pretending to listen and digest the sermon. Remember that imposed sermons serve no benefit. The words flit out from the ears and do not penetrate the hearts.
It is unjust and not permissible to disturb Musallis and disrupt their ibaadat by imposing on them unwanted talks regardless of the merit of the bayaan itself. If the Molvi Sahib wishes to conduct a bayaan programme immediately after Fajr Salaat, he should move to the back of the Musjid. Those who are keen and sincere to learn will follow him and sit in his bayaan. No one will then be under pressure nor will anyone be constrained to sit and listen with a heart palpitating with frustration and agitation. Furthermore, the Molvi Sahib will be able to gauge the extent of interest the musallis show for his talks. Generally, only a handful will sit for the bayaan if the pressure is not applied. It is despicable to imprison people in the manner in which Molvis and Imaams are guilty of. They bring disrespect to the lofty status of Knowledge by imposing it on those whose hearts rebuff it.
When the limits prescribed by Allah Ta’ala are transgressed, the consequences are bid’ah and evil. Disrupting the ibaadat practices of individuals is evil and haraam. It is a flagrant transgression of the limits of Allah Ta’ala. A Molvi by virtue of his knowledge has no licence to impose on others his lectures thereby disrupting their peace and interfering with their ibaadat.