The Bid'ah of Congregational Adhkaar; a Rebuttal to Ibn Taofeeq, the Unguided Tharthaar

Sunday 23-Dec-2018, 2:42AM / 1783

Written by Aboo Khadeejah al-Atharee 
Uploaded: Sunday,  15th Rabeeul Akheer 1440AH / 22nd Dec., 2018CE

All praise is due to Allaah, may He exalt the mention of the noble Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam), his household, his companions and those who follow the path of Salafiyyah till eternity, aameen.

Jaabir bn Abdillaah narrated, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: 

and the most hated and the most distanced person to my sitting on the Day of Resurrection shall be the tharthaar (the talkative, the blab), the mutashaddiqq (the wit, joker) and the proud person. [Tirmidhee #2018, Saheeh al Jaami #2194.]

It is the tradition of the people of bidah to hide under the Sunnah/Salafiyyah to perpetrate their evil innovations in the Deen. The lowly people of bidah who defend falsehood with all rigor need to be rebutted as a naseehah obligation to the Ummah. In the following lines Insha Allaah, we shall expose the lies, ignorance, text twisting, blind following in an article written by one faceless hizbi, Ibn Taofeeq Abdul Azeez on his Facebook page and being spread by his cohorts and inadvertent followers to support the bidah of congregational adhkaar

We should all know that, anyone can claim to following the Quran and the Sunnah but the area where the lies of the people of innovation are exposed is in the understanding of the Salaf concerning their claims.

It is pertinent that Ibn Taofeeq and his likes know that the correctness of the statement of scholars should be based on their conformity with the texts of the Quran and Sunnah and the understanding of the Salafus Saalih. He has to be taught also that we are not to align behind every statement without looking at their succinct conformity with the understanding of the Companions.

Hudhayfah bn al-Yamaan (radhiyal Laahu 'anh) said: 

Every act of worship not practised by the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam), do not worship Allaah with them. [Islaahul Masaajid by al-Qaasimee (p. 25), Hajjatun Nabiyy by al-Albaanee (p.100)] 

Al-Imam at-Taymee did say: if you would take to the permissive stances of every scholar, you will become an embodiment of all evil. (Jaamiu Bayaanil ilm: #1068.)

Therefore, that he deliberately quotes only the scholarly statements which supports his bidah stances is not a big deal with those who are students of beneficial knowledge. This by Allaah - has manifested in him as his social media accounts reveal. We seek Allaahs safety from misguidance.

From the title of his article:

"YOU CAN MAKE YOUR ADHKAAR IN CONGREGATION, CONGREGATIONAL ADHKAAR IS SUNNAH." 

This is a bogus claim as he was unable to establish that with evidences. Let us teach him a glimpse of Salafiyyah in this regard as follows:

CONGREGATIONAL ADHKAAR IS A SINFUL INNOVATION

Allaah commanded:
????????????? ???????????? ??????????? ??? ????? ???????????
So remember Me, I will remember you. And be grateful to me and do not deny me. (Baqarah: 152)

He also said:
????????? ??????? ??? ???????? ?????????? ????????? ??????? ????????? ???? ????????? ???????????? ??????????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????????????
And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech in the mornings and in the evenings. And do not be among the heedless. (al Araaf: 205)

The Quran explains itself here. From the first verse, there is a general commandment to remember Allah, the second verse made a prescription of the manner with which the remembrance of Allah is to be made: within yourself and without being apparent in speech,  that is, without raising your voice [Qurtubee, 4/305].

Al-Imam Hasan al Basree said while explaining the verse; Allaah mentioned His slave whom He is pleased with - Zakariyaah: 

and when he called his Lord a private call [that is, in supplication.] (Maryam: 3) [Ibn al-Mubaarak in az-Zuhd] 

Imaam as-Sadee interprets the phrase (fee nafsik) within yourself to mean: sincerely and in seclusion. [Tafseer as Sadee (p. 293)] 

The Companions (radhiyalLaahu anhum) who witnessed the revelation of the verses and their likes had the following understanding:

Umar bin al-Khattaab 

Abu Uthman an-Nahdee narrated: a worker wrote to Umar: here are a people who gather to pray for the Muslims and the leader.

Umar wrote back to him: bring them to me. Umar then instructed the gateman: prepare some whips. And when they entered upon Umar, he descended upon their leader and flogged him with the whip. [Ibn al-Waddaah in al bidau wan nahyu anhaa (p. 19), Ibn Abee Shaybah 8/558, #6242]

Abdullah bn Masood [and the rest of the Companions living then]

Amr bn Salamah narrated:

We were sitting by the door of Abdullah bn Masood before lunch, so that if he came out, we could walk with him to the Masjid.

Abu Moosaa al-Asharee came and said: Has Abu Abdur-Rahmaan come out yet?

We said: No.

So, he sat down with us, waiting for him to come out, and when he came out, we all gathered towards him, and Abu Moosaa said:

O Abu Abdur-Rahmaan! A while ago, I saw something in the Masjid, which I disliked. But, Alhamdulillaah, what I saw, was nothing but good.

He said: What was it?

Abu Moosaa said, If you live longer, you will see it too.

Then Abu Moosaa said, I saw a group of people, sitting in circles waiting for the prayer. In every circle there was a man and in their hands were small stones and he would say:

 Say: Allaahu Akbar 100 times and they would say Allaahu Akbar 100 times. 

Then, he would say, Say laa ilaaha illAllaah 100 times and they would say laa ilaaha illAllaah 100 times and he would say, Say SubhaanAllaah 100 times and they would say SubhaanAllaah 100 times.

Abdullaah ibn Masood said, So what did you say to them?

He said: I did not say anything to them, rather I waited for your opinion [or I waited for your command].

He said: Why did you not command them to count their bad deeds [i.e. seek forgiveness from your deeds] and guarantee them that their good deeds would not be lost?!

Then he walked and we walked with him until he reached one of those circles and he stood there and said, What is this that I see you doing?

They said: O Abu Abdur-Rahmaan! These are nothing but small stones with which we are counting, saying Allaahu Akbar, laa ilaaha illAllaah and SubhaanAllaah .

He said, Count your sins; I guarantee that you will not lose anything of your good deeds! Beware, O Ummah of Muhammad! How quick you are to your destruction!

Here we are, the Companions of your Prophet abundant, everywhere and here is his clothing which has not been thrown away and his utensils have not been broken. I swear by Him in Whose Hand is my soul, you are either an Ummah more rightly-guided than the Ummah of Muhammad or you are opening the door of misguidance.

They said; We swear by Allaah, O Abu Abdur-Rahmaan, we did not intend anything but good.

He said: How many a time a people intend good but will never achieve it. Verily the Messenger of Allaah narrated to us, Indeed there will be a people who read the Quraan but it does not pass beyond their throats. I swear by Allaah; I do not know perhaps most of such people are from amongst you.

Then he went away.

Amr bin Salamah said, We saw some of those sitting in those circles fighting on the Day of Nahrawaan, along with the Khawaarij. "
[Recorded with the above wordings by ad Daarimee (1/ 68-9), shorter versions of it occurred with Ahmad in al Musnad (1/404), Muslim (1/109-17) and authenticated by Imaam al Albaanee in as-Saheehah (5/11).]

I (al-Atharee) say: in this athar is a clear proof that congregational adhkaar is absolutely a sinful innovation in the Deen and as such, it leads to greater misguidance, may Allaah protect us.

The likes of IbnTaofeeq have sought to say that the athar is weak or that it is negating adhkaar generally as mentioned by Abdul Fattah Abu Guddah (the wayward sufi) in his verification of Sibaahatul Fikr (pg. 25). To those, we say you have lied and made a baseless claim to support the bidah of congregational adhkaar.

Imam Abu Haneefah

He said: Verily, raising the voice with Allaahu Akbar is basically a form of bidah since it is a form dhikr. The Sunnah concerning dhikr is to make them silent.

[Badaaiis Sanaai by al-Kaasaanee, the Hanafi Jurist (2/99)] 

Imam Maalik

Ibn Wahb said: I asked Maalik: What is your opinion about a set of people who gather to recite a whole chapter (of Quran) in unison. He condemned and criticized it and said: This is not the manner with which people (the Companions) do recite; they only recite to someone who listens to it. [al-Madkhal by Ibn al-Haaj (1/91)].

Harb said: Maalik condemned the people of Shaam who do gather to recite a whole surah with one voice raising their voices with same. [Ibn Rajab in Jaami al Uloom (p. 418)]

Imaam Ahmad bn Hanbal

Fadhl bn Mihraan said: 

I asked Ahmad bn Hanbal: there is a group of people with us who congregate for supplication, to recite Quran and to make dhikr to Allaah; what is your opinion about them? He replied: they should read (the Quran) from the Mus-haf, he should remember Allaah on his own and he should learn about the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah.

I asked him; should I then forbid him? He said yes. [Aadaabush Shareeah by Ibnul Muflih (2/75)]

Imaam ash Shaafiee

Al-Azraee said: 

Imaam Ash Shaafiee interpreted the hadeeths that permit raising of voice as having to do with learning sessions. [Islaahul Masaajid by al-Qasimee (p.114)].

Imaam Yahyaa Ibn Maeen 

Fadhl bn Mihraan said: 

I asked Yahya bn Maeen: there is a group of people with us who congregate for supplication, to recite Quran and to make dhikr to Allaah; what is your opinion about them? He replied: they should read (the Quran) from the Mus-haf, they should supplicate after the prayers and they should remember Allaah on their own.

I said: I do have a brother who participates in that, he said: forbid him. I said, he will not accept that, he said: admonish him. I said, if he will not accept that, should I dissociate myself from him? He said, yes! [Aadabush Shareeah by Ibnul Muflih (2/75)]. 

The list is endless but we will take sufficiency with the above for now Insha Allaah.

Concerning his saying:

Indeed, ignorance is a deadly virus.,

I (al-Atharee) say, Yes, and you are infested with that virus [of your ignorance about the way of the Salaf and] of the bidah you labor to support.

Concerning his Saying:

The whole issue comes back to the Islamic ruling of congregational Azkar to which it is not a reprehensible act, which cannot be used to determine who is Ahl Sunnah or not.

I (al-Atharee) say, The people of bidah are known with their acts of bidah. So when someone is known to be adamant on form of bidah, we reprehend him and his bidah. Our Rabb instructed in the verse stated above: 
????? ?????? ???? ?????????????
And do not be among the heedless. [al-Araaf: 205] that is, shun them and their heedlessness and obstinacy.
 
Concerning his saying:

And the act of fixing periodical time for permissible religious activities is the prerogative of the individual or the group provided it is not within a prohibited period. "

I (al-Atharee) say, While commenting on the athar of ibn Masood mentioned above about the illegality of the congregational adhkaar, Shaykh al-Albaanee said: 

I have brought the hadeeth from the story of the people in circles because there are lessons in it for the Sufis and those who performs congregational adhkaar as opposed to the Sunnah. what is detested in their gathering is the manner of congregation which is never legislated during the time of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) [Silsilatul ahaadeethis Saheehah  (5/11)].

Concerning his saying:

Even lectures is (sic.) a form of Azkar which has no fixed periodicals (sic.) during the time of the Prophet, but the companions and later scholars began to fix periods. It is then not condemnable if they fixed monthly or weekly lectures?

I (al-Atharee) say, in a bid to establish this bidah, he is bringing a qiyaas maal faariq (a non related analogy). The dhikr of admonition is never time/place bound. Allah says: 

????????? ???? ???????? ??????????
So admonish if the admonition should benefit. (al-Alaa: 9)

Meanwhile,  the dhikr of remembering Allaah has prescriptions as in the verse above (al-Anfaal: 205).

Concerning his saying:

Among the proofs for the permissibility of group remembrance is what Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah, and Bayhaqi narrated from Abu Hurayra (Rodiya Allahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (solla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

1: Allah says: I am as My servant thinks of Me, and I am with him when he makes remembrance (dhikr) of Me. If he makes remembrance of Me to himself, I make remembrance of him to Myself. If he makes remembrance of Me in a gathering, I make remembrance of him in a gathering better than it.

I (al-Atharee) say, Imaam Ibn Rajab said:

And the majority of the scholars have employed these hadeeths which point to congregation for the remembrance of Allaah as proofs for gathering to teach/learn the Quran. He then stated the above hadeeth among the evidences. [Jaamiul Uloom wal Hikam (pp. 418-20).]

Imaam Ibn Hajar said in his fataawaa: 

Az Zarkashee said: The Sunnah concerning all adhkaar is to make them silently except talbiyyah (as in hajj and umrah). [Islaahul Masaajid by al-Qaasimee (p.114)]

Concerning his saying:

2: Imam al-Jazari (Allah have mercy on him) said in his Miftah al-Hisn al-Hasin:

 this hadith indicates the permissibility of group remembrance.

3: Imam As-Suyuuti said:

group remembrance can only be out loud, so this hadith indicates its permissibility.

4: After this hadith, Imam Lakhnawi, a Hanafi jurist, quotes thirty nine(39) other hadiths of the Prophet (solla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) that indicate the permissibility of group remembrance.

He then quotes numerous Hanafi authorities, including al-Bazzazi, Abd al-Haqq al-Dahlawi, Khayr al-Din al-Ramli, and others, who said that group remembrance is permitted.

He concludes by stating, as for loud remembrance (dhikr), the hadiths permitting it are numerous, as are the reports (from the Companions and early Muslims), and we did not find a single proof clearly indicating that loud remembrance is impermissible or disliked.

The hadith experts, Shafi`i jurists and some Hanafi jurists [including most late authorities in the school] also permitted it.

For reference of this, check : Sibahat al-Fikr. Pages 44-58.

5: This is also the position adopted by al-Tahtawi and Ibn Abidin, the two foremost references for fatwa in the Hanafi school, and there is no consequential disagreement about the permissibility of group remembrance in the Shafi`i school; it is the recorded position of al-Nawawi, Ibn Hajar, al-Subki, Ibn Daqiq, Ibn Abd al-Salam, al-Khalili, and their other imams.

I (al-Atharee) say, The writer called Ibn Taofeek had a mindset before seeking evidence. As such,  he is only concerned about getting the statements of scholars who have permitted the congregational Dhikr by all means without seeking to know whether they are referring to the ones done in unison or not, or whether they have denounced the position before they die or not, or whether some of them are staunch Sufis who will always want to support Sufism or that they just fall into error.

What we have mentioned above suffices to disregard the claims in Sibaahah and others. Do the Companions have such understanding? Let them not turn Islam to the Deen of the Christians and Jews who disregard the understanding of their predecessors to take the statements of their pastors and monks as their Deen.

Ibn Abdis Salaam (d. 660AH), an-Nawawi (d. 676AH), Ibn Daqeeq (d. 702AH), As Subki (d. 771AH), Ibnul Jazari (d. 833AH), Ibn Hajar (d. 852AH), Tahtawi (d. 1231 AH), Ibn Abidin (1252 AH) and Al-Laknawi (d. 1304 AH) are those scholars he mentioned. Without even scrutinizing their statements one after the other to dismiss some of the claims (as we found a negating remark to his claim in the statement of Ibn Hajar as above and in a number of places in adhkaar of Imam an-Nawawee too where his claims were negated), the oldest of them lived five hundred years after the demise of the last companion to die. Yes! Salafiyyah taught us to trace all these. Let's ask, are the Companions better to be followed or those who came several centuries after them?

Concerning his saying:

It should be noted that when it comes to the legal ruling of a particular human act, it is our duty to see what the legal experts of Islam, the jurists of the four schools, said about the matter. Any matter that they deemed permitted may not be criticized by the common person or deemed wrong, for they are the inheritors of the Prophet (solla Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and they fulfilled the duty of operationalizing (sic.) the sunnah of the Beloved of Allah.

I (al-Atharee) say, we have stated the position of the four Imaams vis; Abu Haneefah, Maalik, Ahmad and ash-Shaafiee who have negated the congregational adhkaar as above, so this point is against you yaa saah.

Then, the Companions inherited the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) before the four Imaams, why wont you prefer the position of the companions. Will you force the bidah of TMC on every Muslim? Nay!


Concerning his saying:

Other Narrations Related to Group Remembrance (Dhikr):

6: Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, solla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. 

Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) in the earth. When they find a gathering of remembrance, they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the heaven. Allah asks them, From where have you come? They reply, We have come from Your slaves who are glorifying You, praising You, proclaiming Your oneness, asking of You and seeking refuge with You. He says, and He knows better than them, What are they asking Me for? They reply, They are asking You for the Garden. He says, Have they seen it? They reply, No, our Lord. He says, How would it be if they were to see it? Then He asks, and He knows better than them, What are they seeking refuge from? From the Fire, they reply. He asks, Have they seen it? No, they reply. Then He says, How would it be if they were to see it? Then He says, I testify to you that I have forgiven them, I have given them what they ask Me for, and I give them the refuge which they ask of Me. They say, Our Lord, among them is a wrongdoer who is sitting with them, but is not one of them. He says, I have forgiven him as well. The one sitting with these people will not be wretched.
 [Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim].

7: Abu Hurayra reported from Abu Said al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
There are no people who remember Allah without the angels surrounding them, mercy covering them, tranquility descending on them, and Allah mentioning them to those who are with Him.
 [Muslim, al-Tirmidhi].

8: Muawiya reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went out to a circle of his Companions and asked,
 What is it that has caused you to sit together? They answered, We have sat down to remember(azkar)Allah and praise Him. He said, Jibril came to me and reported to me that the angels are boasting about you.
 [Muslim, al-Tirmidhi]

9: Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
 Allah Almighty has angels who travel about seeking out gatherings of remembrance (dhikr). When they come to them, they encircle them.
 [al-Bazzar]

10: Anas also reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
When you come upon the meadows of the Garden, graze in them. He was asked, What are the meadows of the Garden? Circles of remembrance (dhikr) he replied. [al-Tirmidhi]

I (al-Atharee) say, the above ahaadeeth are employed as evidences for making Dhikr generally and for gathering for learning and admonition. This is the position of the Companions and those who came after them as stated above.

Abul Abbas Ahmad al-Qurtubee said while commenting on hadeeth 7 above:

Those who permit the recitation of Quran in congregation with one voice has employed the hadeeth as a proof as it is done here in Morocco. However, some of our scholars have condemned that and they opined that it is bidah since the Salaf never recited in that manner. The hadeeth is rather interpreted as meaning that everyone in the congregation recites on his own or that he recites to another person who corrects him. [al-Mufhim alaa Saheeh Muslim, 9/424 via faslul Maqaal Ahmad an-Najaar (p. 64)]

Concerning his saying:

The scholar Ibn Allan, commentator on al-Adhkar, said that this hadith means, When you pass by a group remembering Allah, do the remembrance (dhikr) they are doing or listen to their remembrance. They are in the meadows of the Garden now or ultimately.

The Almighty says, For him who fears the Station of his Lord there are two Gardens.(suratu Rahman:45)
Reference: al-Futuhat al-Rabbaniyya alal-Adhkar al-Nawawiyya.

I (al-Atharee) say, this does not in any way support your claim of the permissibility of making congregational adhkaar.

Concerning his saying:

"12: In his gloss, Ibn Abdin said about remembrance of Allah in a group, Imam al-Ghazali compared doing remembrance alone and the remembrance of a group to the call to prayer (adhan) of someone alone and the call to prayer of a group.

He said, As the voices of a group of callers to the prayer (muadhins) reach further than the voice of a single caller, so the remembrance of a group has more effect on one heart in lifting dense veils than the remembrance of a single person.

I (al-Atharee) say, The impact of Sufism and philosophy on imam al-Ghazaali (rahimahul Laah) is not farfetched to those who have a glimpse of the knowledge of Sunnah. So, its not strange that he would support congregational dhikr using the above philosophy without proofs from Allaah.


Concerning his saying:

13: In his Hashiyya, al-Tahtawi says: al-Sharawi states that scholars, both early and modern, agree that it is recommended to remember Allah Almighty in a group in the mosques and elsewhere without any objection unless their remembrance aloud disturbs someone sleeping, praying, or reciting the Quran, as is confirmed in books of jurisprudence.

14: Therefore, saying the Adhkaar in congregation is sunnah and permitted, attend such blessed gatherings, your Adhkaar is your shield against your enemies, ensure the etiquettes(Aadab) of adhkar, louding of the voice too much(till it causes disturbance to those near the center or house)is not permitted, drumming and dancing to Adhkaar is not permitted, the Adhkaar you must chant must be the permitted ones, narrated from the Prophet or that with good meanings devoid of extremism, legalizing a certain number to chant is not permitted.

I (al-Atharee) say, what we have stated above suffices as rebuttal to these claims too.

Concerning his saying:

There are still a lot of evidence permitting Adhkaar in jamaa'ah, I only mention few fearing this epistle may be too long.

I (al-Atharee) say, for further reading on the topic and responses to many of the misconceptions about this discuss, refer to Itisaam by Imaam ash Shaatibee, ash Sharh wal Ibaanah by Ibn al-Battah, al-Adhkaar by Imaam an-Nawawee, al-Baaith by Abu Shaamah, Iqtidaaus Siraatal Mustaqqeem by Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Madkhal by Ibnul Haaj, Fataawaa Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Lumau by at-Tarkimaanee, al-Ibdaa by Ali Mahfoodh, Islaahul Masaajid by al-Qaasimee, al-Amr bil Ittibaa by as-Suyootee, and several others  for further reading on the topic. [Refer to all of the above in Tasheehud-du'aa by Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd (p. 90) ed. Daarus Salafiyyah,  Kano.] 

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: 

The truth is that which the first generation of Muslims were upon since the time of the prophet and his companions. The proliferation of the position of the people of falsehood after them is immaterial. [Ighaathatul Lahfaan, 1/114]

Concerning his saying:

You can play with your eeman and give the Jinns an entering point while condemning what will uplift the eeman.

So, once someone fails to engage in the bidah of congregational adhkaar, the Jinn enters? Rather, it is the adhkaar of bidah such as the congregational adhkaar that invite the Jinn. We seek Allaahs protection.

Conclusion:

The verses of the Quran, the practices of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) and all of his companions (radhiyalLaahu anhum) establish that it is an innovation in the Deen to make adhkaar in congregation. The scholars of old from the time of the taabioon till the time of the four aimmah of madhaahib profess it is bidah. The majority of the scholars of Sunnah of old and the present time safe some of the scholars of Soofiyyah and other heretical ideologies uphold that the congregational adhkaar is an innovation in the Deen of Allaah.

The most senior scholars of Sunnah of this era hold that congregational adhkaar is an abominable bidah. 

This is the position of the likes of Shaykh Abdurrahman as-Sadee, Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh al-Uthaymeen, Shaykh al-Albaanee, Shaykh Yahyaa an-Najmee, Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd, Shaykh Sulaymaan Aal Shaykh and several others and as contained in several of the verdicts of the Standing Committee of Saudi Arabia.

Honestly, in our time, the  congregational adhkaar is a permanent emblem of the people of bidah and only the people of Sunnah kick against it. 

My sincere naseehah to Ibn Taofeek and his likes is to create time for learning with which they will be able to break the shackles of partisanship (hizbiyyah) and blind following that deter them from gaining beneficial knowledge as we inherited from the righteous Salaf.

May Allah accept this as being done solely to seek His Face and keep the rewards for me till the day when neither wealth nor fame will avail a soul of any goodness or fortune except he whom Allah grants a tranquil mind. Aameen.

Was sallalLaahu alaa nabiyyinaa muhammadin wa alaa aalihi wasahbihi ajmaeen.

Abu Khadeejah al-Atharee
Ede, Osun State, Nigeria.

Further Reading: