Establishing the Authenticity of Ibn Mas’ud’s Denigration of Congregational Chanters of Dhikr


Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem

Introduction: Some people belonging to The Muslim Congress [TMC] – an Ikhwaanul-Muslimoon offshoot in Nigeria, in the face of a barrage of criticisms of some of the warped thoughts and ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood in Nigeria and beyond, have come with some spurious and unfounded claims that the popular narration from Abdullaah bn Mas’ud - rahimahullaah - where he chastised some noisy chanters of words of remembrance [Dhikr] in the masjid of Kufah during the heydays of Islam, is not authentic simply because it contradicts the Qur’aan and Sunnah!

The Ikhwaanee apologists can be very unreasonable. Nobody subscribes to the ways of The Muslim Brotherhood unless he becomes a misfit.

Inshaa Allaah this little article intends to quash that claim and emphasize the fact that the event was an historical fact and not a fabrication. And that the people affected by the purport of the narration in the present time should take a cue and desist from the heretical practice of chanting words of remembrance noisily and congregationally as it is well-known with the people in TMC and others.

The text of the narration:

أَخْبَرَنَا الْحَكَمُ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ أَنْبَأَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ يَحْيَى قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبِى يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ : كُنَّا نَجْلِسُ عَلَى بَابِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ قَبْلَ صَلاَةِ الْغَدَاةِ ، فَإِذَا خَرَجَ مَشَيْنَا مَعَهُ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ ، فَجَاءَنَا أَبُو مُوسَى الأَشْعَرِىُّ فَقَالَ : أَخَرَجَ إِلَيْكُمْ أَبُو عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بَعْدُ؟ قُلْنَا : لاَ ، فَجَلَسَ مَعَنَا حَتَّى خَرَجَ ، فَلَمَّا خَرَجَ قُمْنَا إِلَيْهِ جَمِيعاً ، فَقَالَ لَهُ أَبُو مُوسَى : يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ إِنِّى رَأَيْتُ فِى الْمَسْجِدِ آنِفاً أَمْراً أَنْكَرْتُهُ ، وَلَمْ أَرَ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ إِلاَّ خَيْراً. قَالَ : فَمَا هُوَ؟ فَقَالَ : إِنْ عِشْتَ فَسَتَرَاهُ - قَالَ - رَأَيْتُ فِى الْمَسْجِدِ قَوْماً حِلَقاً جُلُوساً يَنْتَظِرُونَ الصَّلاَةَ ، فِى كُلِّ حَلْقَةٍ رَجُلٌ ، وَفِى أَيْدِيهِمْ حَصًى فَيَقُولُ : كَبِّرُوا مِائَةً ، فَيُكَبِّرُونَ مِائَةً ، فَيَقُولُ : هَلِّلُوا مِائَةً ، فَيُهَلِّلُونَ مِائَةً ، وَيَقُولُ : سَبِّحُوا مِائَةً فَيُسَبِّحُونَ مِائَةً. قَالَ : فَمَاذَا قُلْتَ لَهُمْ؟ قَالَ : مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ شَيْئاً انْتِظَارَ رَأْيِكَ أَوِ انْتِظَارَ أَمْرِكَ. قَالَ : أَفَلاَ أَمَرْتَهُمْ أَنْ يَعُدُّوا سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَضَمِنْتَ لَهُمْ أَنْ لاَ يَضِيعَ مِنْ حَسَنَاتِهِمْ. ثُمَّ مَضَى وَمَضَيْنَا مَعَهُ حَتَّى أَتَى حَلْقَةً مِنْ تِلْكَ الْحِلَقِ ، فَوَقَفَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَقَالَ : مَا هَذَا الَّذِى أَرَاكُمْ تَصْنَعُونَ؟ قَالُوا : يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ حَصًى نَعُدُّ بِهِ التَّكْبِيرَ وَالتَّهْلِيلَ وَالتَّسْبِيحَ. قَالَ : فَعُدُّوا سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ فَأَنَا ضَامِنٌ أَنْ لاَ يَضِيعَ مِنْ حَسَنَاتِكُمْ شَىْءٌ ، وَيْحَكُمْ يَا أُمَّةَ مُحَمَّدٍ مَا أَسْرَعَ هَلَكَتَكُمْ ، هَؤُلاَءِ صَحَابَةُ نَبِيِّكُمْ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- مُتَوَافِرُونَ وَهَذِهِ ثِيَابُهُ لَمْ تَبْلَ وَآنِيَتُهُ لَمْ تُكْسَرْ ، وَالَّذِى نَفْسِى فِى يَدِهِ إِنَّكُمْ لَعَلَى مِلَّةٍ هِىَ أَهْدَى مِنْ مِلَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ ، أَوْ مُفْتَتِحِى بَابِ ضَلاَلَةٍ. قَالُوا : وَاللَّهِ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ مَا أَرَدْنَا إِلاَّ الْخَيْرَ. قَالَ : وَكَمْ مِنْ مُرِيدٍ لِلْخَيْرِ لَنْ يُصِيبَهُ ، إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- حَدَّثَنَا أَنَّ قَوْماً يَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرْآنَ لاَ يُجَاوِزُ تَرَاقِيَهُمْ ، وَايْمُ اللَّهِ مَا أَدْرِى لَعَلَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ مِنْكُمْ. ثُمَّ تَوَلَّى عَنْهُمْ ، فَقَالَ عَمْرُو بْنُ سَلِمَةَ : رَأَيْنَا عَامَّةَ أُولَئِكَ الْحِلَقِ يُطَاعِنُونَا يَوْمَ النَّهْرَوَانِ مَعَ الْخَوَارِجِ

Al-Imaam Abu Sa’eed ‘Uthmaan bn Sa’eed ad-Daarimee narrated: Al-Hakam bn al-Mubaarak narrated to us, he said ‘Amr bn Yahyaa said: I heard my father narrating from his own father: ‘We were sitting by the door of Abdullaah bn Mas’ud before the morning prayer, whenever he comes out we would come out with him to the Masjid. But Abu Musa al-‘Ash’aree came suddenly and said: ‘Has Abu AbdirRahman come out to you?’ We said: ‘No.’ He then sat as we sat until he came out. When he came out we all stood up to him, Abu Musa then told him [what he had in mind]: ‘O Father of ‘AbdurRahman, I saw something in the masjid a short while ago; something I found reprehensible, I never had an opinion – and praise to Allaah – except goodness.’ He said: ‘What is it?’ He replied: ‘If you live on, you will see it…I saw some people in the masjid sitting in circles awaiting the Salaah, there was upon every circle a man [leading them], there were pebbles in their hands, the man would say: Say Allaahu-Akbar 100 times, and they would say it. He would say again: Say Laa-ilaa-ha illa-llaah 100 times and they would say it. He would say: Say Subhaa-naLlaah 100 times and they would say it.’ He [Ibn Mas’ud] said: ‘What did you tell them after that?’ He replied: ‘I did not say anything to them; I was waiting for your view and what you would rule about them.’ He said: ‘Why didn’t you inform them to rather count their sins and guarantee them that none of their good deeds would become waste?’ He then went there and we went with him until we arrived where those circles were, he stood upon them and said: ‘What is this I see you doing?’ They said: ‘O Father of AbdurRahman, these are just pebbles with which we count Allaahu-Akbar, Laa Ilaa-ha Illa-Llaah and Subhaana-Llaah.’ He said: ‘You should rather count your sins; I can assure you your good deeds will not be wasted. What is wrong with you, O Ummah of Muhammad, how swift is your destruction! These are the Sahabah of your Prophet everywhere. These are his cloths that have not worn out so also his vessels not yet broken. By swear by He in Whose Hands is my soul, you are upon a way [you assume] is more guided than the way of Muhammad or that [you accept] you have opened the doors of misguidance.’ They said: ‘By Allaah, O Father of AbdurRahman, we have only intended good.’ He said: ‘How many people will intend good and will never attain it; indeed the Messenger of Allaah –sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam – told us of some people that will recite the Qur’aan and it will not go beyond their throats. I swear by Allaah, I fear if the bulk of them are not from you.’ Then he left. ‘Amr bn Salimah said: ‘We saw the majority of those people of circles striking us with their swords alongside the Khawaarij in the Battle of Nahrawaan [fought by Alee bn Abee Taalib against the Khawaarij].’

Sunan Ad-Daarimee: Vol.1, 68-69.

Commenting on an aspect of the hadeeth that goes thus: ‘Some people that will recite the Qur’aan and it will not go beyond their throats,’ al-Imaam Muhammad NaasirudDeen al-Albaanee –rahimahu-llaah – said in As-Silsilah As-Saheehah, Vol.5/11 inter alia: ‘[The hadeeth] was recorded by ad-Daarimee…via two routes, one from ‘Amr bn Yahyaa bn ‘Amr bn Salimah al-Hamdaanee who narrated: My father narrated: He said: My father narrated: ‘We were sitting by the door of Abdullaah bn Mas’ud before the morning prayer…’ I say [that is, ash-Shaykh al-Albaanee]: ‘The context brought by Ad-Daarimee is more complete except that his own version does not contain the statement: ‘they will leave Islam…’ this chain is Saheeh... [‘Amr bn Yahyaa] was reported to have many trustworthy persons reporting from him. There is a report from Ibn Maeen that he said about him: ‘Saalih.’ The same thing was said about his father, Yahyaa: ‘Yahyaa bn ‘Amr bn Salimah al-Hamdaanee or Al-Kindee, he reported from his father and Shu’bah, Ath-Thauree, al-Mas’udee, Qais bn Ar-Rabee and his son, ‘Amr bn Yahyaa all reported from him.’ There is no mention of jar’h or ta’deel about him but the fact that Shu’bah reported from his is sufficient as a ta’deel…as for ‘Amr bn Salimah, he was a thiqah as mentioned in Tahdheeb… the hadeeth also has another route in Musnad, and it got some additional notes there while the isnaad is jayyid.

It has also come in many of the hadeeth of a group of Sahabah as recorded by Muslim in his Saheeh [3:109-117] but I gave a special attention to this one here because of the story of Ibn Mas’ud with the People of Circles, there are some lessons therein for the people of turuq [Soofiyyah] and people of congregational Dhikr opposing the Sunnah.

Those people when he criticised them for what they were upon they too accused him of forbidding them from dhikr from its basis! Forbidding from dhikr is kufr which no Muslim in the world will ever do. What is however reprehensible is what people have attached to it in terms of forms and groupings that were not legislated from the time of the Prophet –sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam, if not, what did Ibn Mas’ud condemn in those people in circles?’ It is nothing but their gathering in a particular day and making counts of dhikr in a manner that had not come [in the Sharee’ah]…added to that is that the Sunnah from the Messenger of Allaah – sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam – in saying the Tasbeeh is using the anaamil [tips of the fingers]…

Another lesson is that it is not a matter of quantity of Ibaadah but how conformed it is to the Sunnah, and how farther from Bid’ah, Ibn Mas’ud has made reference to this in another statement whereby he said: ‘Being economical upon the Sunnah is better than making strivings in Bid’ah.’

Another lesson is that a small act of Bid’ah can lead to a bigger one. Can’t you see that the people in the circles became part of the khawaarij whom were killed by the Righteous Khaleefah, Alee bn Abee Taalib? Will anyone take heed?’

End of quote.

Will TMC and its cohorts take heed?

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