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Proof Of Sufi Practices Of Zikr


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Question: Does one find similar Sufi practices and twice a day gatherings for Zikr, during the Qurun-e-Thalatha (the period of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) till Tab’a Tab’aeen i.e. approximately the first 300 years of Islam), renowned for its goodness. If not, wouldn’t these fall in the category of bidah (heretic innovations)?

 

 

Answer:

1. MEANING OF BID’AH

Firstly, the meaning of bidah must be clearly understood. Any aspect of Shariah existing in the first 300 years of Islam (Qurun-e-Thalatha) is Sunnah and anything outside its pale is bidah. The existence of any article of Shariah, according to the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, depends upon the explanations of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him), termed as Hadith, and not on any intellectual interpretations. Its validity will depend on its chain of transmission. The explanation may be explicit, implicit or inferred. Any of these types will prove the admissibility of the article and thus the article will be considered to have existed even if any of its details are not outwardly manifest. Thus, if any article is proved to be valid in entirety, it will be enforceable with all its details, even if a part thereof did not manifest itself during the first 300 years of Islam. And if such a part of basic article unfolds itself ever after, it will be taken as Sunnah and not as bidah.

 

The various forms of explanations or Hadith include the sayings of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him), his actions, his resolves and his intentions. However, Azkar is a Sunnah which is amply proved in the first 300 years of Islam. The Sufi practices having their origin in the Book and the Sunnah, though the details have been derived therefrom by the Mashaikh (plural of Shaikh) subsequently will become part of Sunnah because the means and the methods are considered as extensions of the aims and objectives.

 

 

2. RELATIONSHIP WITH ALLAH

Secondly it must be understood that Ta^alluq-bi-ALLAH (relationship with ALLAH), Nisbat-bi-ALLAH (connection with ALLAH) and Tawajjuh-ila-ALLAH (attention towards ALLAH) form part of His commands, ordained as such, though in different dimensions. The lowest level is mandoob (appreciable) and the highest is that of Fardh (obligatory). There are hundreds of the verses of the Quran and Ahadith (plural of Hadith) which prove that these have been ordained. In short, the essence of Shariah is that a human being’s concern or relationship with his wealth and family should be of protection, and with ALLAH that of worship and obedience. Anyone who ponders over the Quran and the Ahadith can find hundreds of verses and explanations of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) which clearly enjoin this concern or relationship and forbid an intimate concern with everything else.

 

Abu-al-Moghith-al-Hussayn-Ibn-Mansur-al-Hallaj-Radi-Allahu-Anho2.png

 

 

3. OUR REAL OBJECTIVE

Thirdly, it must be remembered that ALLAH’s Commandments and their contents are the real objectives. All means, methods and resources employed for their accomplishment would also be taken as part of His Commands. Take the example of ablution for Salah. Although the real objective is the latter, yet it depends on the former. Now obtaining water for ablution will become mandatory because it is the means to attain cleanliness. Similarly one requires to cover certain parts of the body during Salah. Therefore, procurement of suitable dress as its means will also become mandatory. Likewise, all the means and methods adopted by the Mashaikh in connection with Zikr ALLAH, which is the real objective, will be regarded as its components and will not be termed as bidah. These will not be taken as Ihdath-fi-Deen (anything new in the Deen) but as Ihdath-li-Deen (something new for the Deen). A medical practitioner may prescribe and change medicine according to the age of the patient and weather conditions because his real objective is to restore the health of his patient. Similarly, the real objective of Azkar (plural of zikr) is Ta’alluq-m`a-ALLAH (concern or relationship with ALLAH) and Tawajjuh-ila-ALLAH (attention towards ALLAH). If this can be achieved by any method, the adoption of such a method shall also become mandatory.

 

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Or for example, to uphold ALLAH’s will and purpose, is an objective and Jihad (fighting for His cause as distinct from war) is one of the means towards this end. The procurement of modern weapons for Jihad i.e., the tanks, guns, airplanes etc. will become obligatory. Such can effort will not be considered a bidah on the plea that the use of only sword and spear is a Sunnah and these weapons were not found in the time of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) or the Qurun-e-Thalatha. It is quite clear that the real objective being Jihad, all the means acquired for this purpose will be mandatory and cannot be termed as bidah.

 

 

4. WHAT IS EHSAN?

Fourthly, Ehsan has been described as part of Deen in Hadith-e-Jibreel and it is obligatory for Muslims to acquire Ehsan. Indeed it is not only a part of Deen, but its very essence and Deen remains imperfect without it. The reality of Ehsan has been explained by the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) in these words: “Worship ALLAH as if you see Him and if you do not, be sure that He sees you”. The said Hadith-e-Jibreel describes three components of Deen, that is, Imaan, which is the basis or the root, ‘Amal (actions) which is the tree, and Ehsan which is the thamar (fruit). If someone forsakes Ehsan, it will be like the Salah of a person, who offers only two rakat fardh in the Maghreb (sunset) prayers. It is obvious that his prayer will not be valid. Similarly, leaving Ehsan will amount to abandoning a vital component of Deen, which shall render it imperfect.

 

 

5. EHSAN’S LEVEL OF SAHABAH (COMPANIONS, MAY ALLAH BE PLEASED WITH THEM ALL)

Fifthly, it must be remembered that in the days of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him), a certain level of Ehsan was attained in his blessed company by everyone, after fulfilling the basic religious obligations. This level was so high that even the greatest of the aulia cannot attain to the level of a junior most Companion (the greatest of all Companions being Abu Bakr-as-Siddique, May Allah be pleased with Him). After the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him), the need for a deliberate effort (in the form of Sufi practices) was felt to acquire this important part of Deen, which is actually its quintessence.

 

 

QURANIC EVIDENCES OF ZIKR IN ASSEMBLY

Now, as for twice a day zikr assembly, following Quranic verses provide the authority:

 

 

(1) IT WAS WE THAT MADE THE HILLS DECLARE, IN UNISON WITH HIM, OUR PRAISES, AT EVENTIDE AND AT BREAK OF DAY AND THE BIRDS GATHERED. (38: 18-19).

This reality is confirmed by true kashf. In the collective zikr, Divine Lights acquired by the participants are reflected on each other which drive away evil effects, invigorate the heart, and strengthen the resolve. As for the effects of zikr, these can only be experienced and cannot be described in words.

 

 

(2) AND DO YOU (O READER:) BRING YOUR RABB TO REMEMBRANCE IN YOUR VERY SOUL WITH HUMILITY AND AWE, WITHOUT LOUDNESS IN WORDS, IN THE MORNING AND EVENINGS, AND BE NOT YOU OF THOSE WHO ARE HEEDLESS. (7: 205).

This verse ordains Zikr-e-Qalbi, because awe is related to the heart and not the tongue. Further, the zikr is ordained for both the morning and the evening. Anyone who does not do Zikr-e-Qalbi falls in the category of the forgetful or heedless. There cannot be a greater loss than being heedless about ALLAH, and the consequent imperfection in the Deen hardly needs any elaboration.

 

 

(3) RESTRAIN YOURSELF ALONG WITH THOSE WHO CRY UNTO THEIR RABB AT MORN AND EVENING. (18: 28).

Though frequent zikr is enjoined under all circumstances, this verse emphasis engagement in formal zikr at two times every day. Now here is a Hadith about collective zikr

 

 

(4) THERE IS NO GATHERING ENGAGED IN ALLAH’S ZIKR WHICH IS NOT SURROUNDED BY THE ANGELS AND COVERED BY ALLAH’S MERCY, PEACE AND TRANQUILITY DESCENDING ON IT. IT IS SUCH A BLESSED ASSEMBLY THAT NO PARTICIPANT IS DEPRIVED OF THE BARAKAH ATTENDING IT.

This proves collective zikr beyond any doubt. Its rewards, like patronization by the angels, ALLAH’S mercy and peace of the heart are received by every participant. Yet another Hadith mentions the angels in search of zikr assembly. Wherever they find one, they summon other angels also to avail the opportunity of attending it.

Edited by Khak e Paa e Saif
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