Some Repercussions of Innovated Gatherings for Prayers

We now hear in our lands, things like “Muslims Pray for the Nation”, by way of gathering Muslims in a field to collectively pray for deliverance from hard times, something which lacks evidence in the Book of Allah and the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as explained by our pious predecessors (rahimahumullah). Instead of seeking repentance from our Lord – as individuals and people -, eschewing injustice, being fair to one another in dealings and conscious of Allah in every circumstance, and actually supplicating to Allah to guide aright the rulers and scholars and those in-charge of the affairs of the people generally, some of the people have resorted to such innovated Prayer Conferences.

Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaanee (rh) had said: “It is not prohibited to supplicate for the removal of fast spreading disease outbreak; that does not basically contradict preordainment. But as for gathering for that purpose – as during Prayers for Rain -, then that is Bid’ah! [See: Badhl al-Maa’oon pg. 328].

He – may Allah shower blessings on him – also said, “Were it allowed in the Sharee’ah, it would not be unknown to the pious predecessors and then the Fuqahaa of the cities and their followers in the subsequent generations. No hadeeth or athar has reached us or neither is any such view documented from any of the Fuqahaa. The words of Du’aa and the circumstance of the supplicating person has perculiarities and little-known issues such that every occurrence has its own as applicable to it. But what must be relied upon in that is Ittibaa’ (following authentic narrations); giving deductive reasoning (as proof) has no place in it.” [Badhl al-Maa’oon pg. 330]

Some evil consequences of similar Prayer Conferences in the Islamic history have been documented by the scholars:

1. Imam al-Munabbaji (rahimahullah) reported that: There was serious disease outbreak in the year 764AH in Damascus. After condemning the people’s gathering in a place and their praying and loudly raising their voices for Allah to remove the ravaging illness, Imam al-Munabbaji (rh) mentioned that in the 749AH disease outbreak, the people went out to the open ground including the eminent people in the city and prayed, asking for assistance. But the disease outbreak rather worsened afterwards and spread more even though it was rather only light before their gathering for the Prayers. [See: Badhl al-Maa’oon by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaanee, pg. 329]

2. After mentioning the incidence in (1) above, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaanee (rh) said, “This happened in our own time too when the first disease outbreak occurred in Cairo on 27th Rabi’ Aakhar 833 AH. Then the number of those who died daily was less than forty. So they went out to the open lands on 4th Jumada al-Ula after announcing 3 days of fasting.” He continued, “They gathered and prayed – and raised their voices - and stayed there for sometime and then returned home (after Dhuhur). Before the month ended, the number of those who died daily in Cairo was more than 1000 and later, it increased!” “Large amount of fish and turtles were also found dead and thrown out from the Nile and Bark. Likewise, large number of antelopes and wolfs were found on the lands…”

He also recorded that, “Among the things of wonder was that, 40 people were on a ride on their way to the open field (for the prayers); they had not reached Maymoon when they all perished! 18 hunters gathered in a place and on the first day, 14 of them died and the other 4 prepared their funeral. Later, 3 of them died and when the fourth (and the remainder among them) got them to the graveyard, he died too!” [See: Inbaau al-Gumar by Ibn Hajar 3/437-438].

We ask Allah the Exalted to ease our affairs as individuals and those of the entire Ummah. May He rectify us and set our affairs straight; forgive our sins and not bring us difficulty due to the misdeeds of others: You Alone we ask for protection and wellbeing and on You Alone we place our trust and reliance. Amin.

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