Mass I’tikaaf as a Means of Deen Coming Alive in The Youth

Question ID: 17732


1. It is argued that Muftis such as yourself don’t live in the real world.

If you pass general fatwa on a website stating that mass I’tikaaf is not permissible, then many of those 300 or more participating in this I’tikaaf will end up at home watching television, because for them, particularly youngsters, the programmed I’tikaaf is probably the only reason they came to the Masjid in the first place, otherwise you would never see them.

Some argue, do you expect a youngster in the west to sit in seclusion for 10 days?

At least, this way, they learn something, e.g. how to recite Qur’an, etiquettes of the Masjid etc.

2. Another argument proffered is that are we not in that age where we can’t stop evil, hence let the lesser of the 2 evils occur via these Molvis who conduct such I’tikaafs? In other words these I’tikaafs are not for people already on Deen, it is for those that are distant.

3. The question that is asked is, what is inherently bad in these I’tikaafs? Lewdness, inequity etc. is not being promoted.

4. If one youngster starts reciting Durood or spends time in the Masjid, which he otherwise wouldn’t have, is that not a good thing to come out of the mass I’tikaaf?

5. What are the alternatives to attract the youth to the Masjid? (The rigours of Tablighi Jamat are too much for many youngsters of today).

6. Many things today in the Deen were not present in the times of Sahabah Radiallahu Anhum, e.g. Darul Ulooms & Darse Nizami courses. Are these then also not Bid’ah as per your previous explanations?

7. If mass I’tikaafs, loud congregational Dhikr in unison in the Masjid become the stepping stone for someone to bring Deen in their lives, what exactly is the issue? It’s not as if these Molvis are using music or explicit haraam means to attract the youth.

8. Programmed I’tikaaf precludes time wasting of even adults. Is this not a good thing?

Please elaborate specifically on each of the 8 queries above.

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Asked on October 5, 2015 8:23 am
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I live in this ‘real world’. We all claim to be from the Ahlus Sunant wal Jamaat. We all cry aloud that we are lovers and followers of the Sunnat. We have and still brand others as Bidatis, dogs from the dogs of Jahannum and despise their nefarious activities.

However when we do exactly what they are doing, then we are earning Thawaanb (reward) whilst they are sinful, deserving of Divine wrath, anger and punishment.
What double standards.

Just a few years recording are available of some Ulema-e-Deoband who branded loud Zikr in unison in the Masjid as Bidat and used the strongest words against it. But, as soon as ‘Khilaafat’ was conferred on, then all became permissible, laudable, praise worthy, reformative and rewardable. Why, what happened. Was Bidat redefined?

Simply speaking these above ‘Ma’shaik’ must tender a firm, valid, public apology to those whom they were branding viciously as Bidatis. Don’t you agree.

Also since ‘we’ are only now doing what those Bidatees were doing many years, which means spiritually they have a head start. How sad.

Furthermore, this scenario denotes our ‘Ma’Shaikh’ have been misleading the masses. So the possibility arises that sooner or later many more innovative practices will stand to be re-classified. Don’t you agree. Get ready to go to Urs, Meelad, Ghyrain Shareed etc. How foolish.

There is one town near Durban where Deobandis built a whole new Masjid just 400m down the road from the existing old Masjid. Why? That old Masjid was having loud Zikr in unison in the Masjid. Now the new one does the same. Who is living in the real world.

I gave a Jumuah talk on the un-Substantiated nature of loud Zikr in unison in the Masjid. During lunch, one person was vocal stating that I was too apprehensive. I replied ‘time will tell’.

However in December of the same year, the very same brother phones me via his cell whilst out in Jamaat.
He stated that they have been asked to vacate the Masjid for 3 hours, and now in the Masjid, they are making Loud Zikr in unison, twirling, dancing, jumping etc. Whilst a flute is been played. He phones to apologize.

Now this has become a common occurrence in many Masjids. Who is living in the ‘real’ world. Smell the coffee. When an un-substantiated act is given preference then it leads to many more non-proven acts.

See what happened to the church goes. In order to appease the youth as you want to do, they progressed from chorus singing to clapping and singing, then from piano to band. Then to dancing and anything and everything.
The above are just a few general words. For any reasonable Muslim it will surely suffice.
In one Masjid in Durban, 500 used to sit for Itekhaaf. It costs 500,000,00 Rands to maintain this merry making.
At any given time in non-fasting time, pizzas, tikkas, ice-cream, biryani, fruit salad, fruit, samosas, etc. were been devoured.
The authorities realized that this is becoming a party.
They just implemented two things.
1) Fill a form.
2) Make arrangements for your own food.
50 Made Itekhaaf (2015), who is living in the ‘real world’.

In another Masjid, 250 sat. It costs 250,000,00 Rands minimum to feed them. Besides on daily basis via social media the women are instructed prepare so many hundred samosas, moons, bajyas, pies, spring rolls and lot of other savories for the ‘guests’ of Allaah, who are quite hungry.

May I ask ‘who is living in the real world’. Is this not a merry making party, full of wastage. Where there is need to feed the truly hungry and cloth the naked.

In another Masjid, Mutakafeen are spending thousands of dollars to make Itekhaaf under a particular Sheikh.

1) You have not understood the principle of ‘the lesser of the two evils’. Firstly the translation and implication has been grossly dis-texted. It is the lesser of the two permissible things at that given time. That what you calling for i.e. Mass Itekhaaf is not even properly proven according to valid Shaari proofs. So how can it even be considered in the equation?

2) Some can be said, that let our youth go to Urs Meelad etc. so that at least they will be away from T.V. and all that you state. Why not? The same answered that you render apply to mass Itekhaaf.

3) Those that promote Urs, Meelad, Qawalli etc. also clearly state that there is no lewdness, equity therein. So again the same rebuttal works both places.
Understand that this mass Itekhaaf, in itself is not proven. The Sahabah (R.A.), the Ta’bieen, the Fuqaha, the Muhaditheen then the Mufassireen, the Mutaklameen did not do it, did not promote, did not encourage it. This has just started in the last 20/30 years. Is this Sharia? Is this part of Deen? So what about the call to practice on the Quraan and Sunnat?

4) The promoters of Bidat advocate exactly what you say.
They say, even if one reforms, ‘Kam ban Kiya’ – ‘Job has been accomplished’. This reasoning is like stealing from the rich to feed the poor or steal 10 containers and give one to the ‘Peer Sahib’.

5) By a method to fulfill a required activity becoming difficulty, one does not abandon the act itself. Performing a Fardh Hajj cannot be abandoned because the temperatures are 45c plus. Fasting cannot be postponed or cancelled because the hours are too long (in places like England) can necessary Jihaad be abandoned because of the difficulties, should one abandon going to Fajr Salaat with Jamaat saying it is too cold and one cannot leave the warm bed. If one has to utilize your strain of thought and methodology of reasoning then a new version of Islaam will emerge.

Sahabah (R.A.) from Makkah and the surrounding areas did not go to spend time under the Best of Creation, Chief of all the Ambiyaa (A.S.), Imaam of all the Ambiyaa (A.S.), Sheikh of the Shukooyk, Hadhrat Muhammad (S.A.W.).
What has happened to our ability to understand simple matters. Understand what has been written well.

Yet in another Masjid, the Sheikh wants the females from other countries to spend time with him. He now wants them to face him. So that they see him, draw spiritual Barakaat from him. This has already been set in motion.

Who is living in the real world?

6) You have not understood our previous explanations.
First the act itself has to be proven then if it has any limitations, restriction and methodology then those have to be adhered to.
For example, Zikr is proven. But as per the hadith of Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Mas’ood (R.A.) restrictions are proven. Thus adhering to the limitation, Zikr should be done.
Here, mass Itekhaaf, itself is not even proven. Please, do not tell me a few pious did so. Shariat is not based on the ‘Tafaroodaat’ (exceptions) of the seniors. Otherwise a un-recognizable Shariat which is away from the main stream will emerge.

Read the last chapter of ‘Path of Sunnat’ by Moulana Sarfaraaz Khan (A.R.) then your queries about Darul Ulooms, syllabus will automatically disappear.
However, the Darul Uloom was ‘Darul Arkam’ on Mount Safar, in Makkah then at Saffa in Madinah.

The syllabus was the Quraan and Sunnat, the teacher was none other than Hadhrat Muhammad (S.A.W.), the examiner was Allaah, the test was on Imaan, and the Sahabah (R.A.) passed with flying colors.
Getting the certificate of Jannat and Pleasure of Allaah.

Ilm and seeking thereof has been proven. The creation of syllabus and Darul Uloom is for sheer organizational purposes.
First you, with the Sheikh, with the relative Darul Ifta of the Sheikh prove via valid Shaari proofs ‘mass Itekhaaf’ then talk of the methodology.

You putting the cart before the horse, you washing before passing stool or urine, you talking methodology and its logics before proving the act itself.
Understand well.
7) Extensive works have been written proving that loud Zikr in unison in the Masjid is not proven. There is no goodness in acting on something that is not proven.
Therein there is no goodness, no blessing, no spiritual progress, no Barakaat, no Thawaab (reward) and no positive move towards Sunnat.
As stated it has to lead to dancing, chanting, flute playing, drum beating in the Masjids. In fact, wait for more.

To follow ‘baatil’ (false/error) is ‘baatil’ (error).
Erroneous activity can never produce good results.

Now we can expect:-

1) Official congregational gatherings for Salaat and Zikr as part of night vigil in the Masjid;
2) Islaahi night vigil in the Masjid;
3) Performance of Nafl congregational Salaat for the entire night;
4) Women will make Itekhaaf in the Masjid and;
5) Tasawwuf will become a fine tuned professional sophisticated clandestine commercial enterprise and racket;
6) Corruption of pure Tassawwuf;
7) Mureeds will be paying their ‘Sheikhs’;
8) Only the wealthy will be allowed around the ‘Sheikh’;
9) Every ‘Sheikh’ will innovate his own proximity method;
10) Competition between Sheikhs, Khanqahs, Silsilahs, Mureeds will be the order of the day;
11) Canvasing for Mureeds will take place like how one canvasses for votes.

8) My respected Brother, ‘washing time’ has been proven.
Emailing translation of article by Mufti Abdur Rasheed Ludhanvi (A.R.) – Sahib-e-Ahsaan-ul-Fatawa which answered your point 8 in detail.
[ Gathering in the Masjid on Auspicious Nights]

(extracted from Ahsanul Fataawa, vol. 1, page 371-373)
By Mufti Abdur Rashid Ludhanvi (Alahi Rahma)

Question: What is the esteemed opinion of the Ulama-e-Kiraam regarding the now customary gathering of people in the Musaajid on the nights of the two Eids, 15th Sha’baan, the last ten nights of Ramadhaan and other auspicious nights, to recite Qur`aan Majeed, make Thikr, etc. ? Some Musaajid even make special arrangements for the delivering of lectures on these nights. What is the Shar`i status of these actions?

Answer: There are three scenarios regarding the performance of Ibaadat in the Musaajid on these nights:

1). This is when people come to the Musjid informally without any special arrangement, and engage in tilaawat, Thikr, etc. This is permissible, but it is more meritorious and rewarding to perform Nafl Salaat and make tilaawat at home. In fact, there is even more reward to perform these acts of Ibaadat at home than in Musjid-e-Haraam (Makkah Mukarramah) and in Musjid-e-Nabawi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). In this regard, it is stated in a hadith, “It is reported from Zaid bin Thaabit (radhiallahu anhu) that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The (Nafl) Salaat of a person in his home is more rewarding than his Salaat in my (this) Musjid, except The Maktoobah (Fardh Salaats).’” [Abu Dawood]

“It is also reported from him that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The best Salaat, is the Salaat of a man in his home, except The Maktoobah.” [Narrated by all besides Ibn Majah-Nailil Autaar]

2).This is when special arrangements are made for coming to the Musjid. This is a bid`ah. The reason for this is that when special arrangements are made for coming to the Musjid for Nafl Salaat, it implies a greater reward for its performance, and this is tantamount to altering the Shariah. This is in clear conflict to the blessed words of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who clearly stated that there is greater reward in performing Nafl Salaat at home as opposed to the Musjid.

3). When special arrangements are made on the auspicious nights, where people gather at the Musaajid to either perform extra Nafl Salaat or where a lecture is given, are also acts of Bid`ah. The gravity and evil of this Bid`ah is even greater than the previous one (i.e. No.2 above). The one evil is as outlined above. The second evil is that Nafl acts of Ibaadat are executed in congregational form, which is prohibited in the Shariah.

Some people complain that there are too many distractions at the home, where the children make a noise, etc. which prevents proper concentration and meditation. This is a shaitaani deception. The actual import of khushoo’ (concentration and meditation) is to execute the Ibaadaat in accordance with the Sunnat. When an act of Ibaadat is carried out in accordance to the Sunnat, then Khushoo’ and khudhoo’ is also accomplished. If the act is carried out contrary to the Sunnat, then regardless of what concentration there is, it will not be regarded as khushoo’. It is worth considering that our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) executed his Tahajjud and other Nafl Salaats with great diligence and consistency at home and he also regarded this performance at the home to be more meritorious than in a Musjid. Today, we say that we cannot find concentration and khushoo’ at home! This is clearly a shaitaani deception. It is reported in the Ahaadith that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to perform his Nafl Salaat in his room, whilst Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) had her feet stretched out beside him. When he (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would make Sajdah then he would touch her feet whereafter she would move it aside. When Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would stand up for the second Rakaat, then Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) would once again stretch out her feet. The nights were dark; there was no lamp, the room was so small that if one person was lying down, there was barely space for another to make Sajdah comfortably. The Musjid was so close to this room, that as soon as one stepped out of the room, one would be stepping into the Musjid. And then also, we are referring here to none other than Musjid-e-Nabawi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), whose great virtue is well-known. Notwithstanding this, the blessed action of our great Benefactor (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), was that he preferred to perform his Nafl Salaat in his room, instead of the Musjid (owing to the greater virtue of performing Nafl at home).

Besides this, people aver that if Salaat is performed in isolation at home, then sleep overcomes one faster than if it were performed in the Musjid in congregation or if one is listening to some lecture in the Musjid. In this congregational form, they say, there is greater chance of engaging in many forms of Ibaadat with more ease than doing it at home, where one will barely be able to achieve even half of what can be executed at the Musjid.

Understand well! The objective of making Ibaadat does not lie in its quantity. The entire reward and objective of Ibaadat is based on its manner of fulfilment. That little Ibaadat which is carried out in accordance to the Sunnat is countless times more beneficial and rewarding than that which is done contrary to the Sunnat. The Sunnat method is this that as long as one’s disposition (health, alertness, etc.) allows, one should engage in Nafl Ibaadat, and as soon as one becomes tired and sleepy, then rest should be taken. In this regard it is reported in a Hadith, “Hadhrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) once entered the Musjid and found a rope tied between two pillars. He asked, ‘What is (the meaning of) this?’ The Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) replied, ‘This is for Zainub. When she gets tired (whilst performing Nafl Salaat), she leans on it and it give her support.’ He said, ‘Untie it! You should perform (Nafl) Salaat whilst alert, and when you get tired or sleepy, then take rest.’” In another Hadith it is stated, “Then you should sit down.” [Muslim]

“It is also reported from Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallahu anha) who said, ‘Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) once came to me whilst there was some lady with me. He asked, ‘Who is this?’ I replied, ‘This lady does not sleep, she (continuously) makes Salaat.’ He said, ‘That much (ibaadat) is binding on you, which you are able to carry out. I take an oath in Allaah Ta’ala’s Name that Allaah does not tire when you tire, and the best (path in) Deen for you is that upon which you are constant.’ It is reported in another Hadith from Aishah (radhiallahu anha), ‘Take from acts of Ibaadat that which you are able to carry out, I take an oath in the Name of Allaah Ta`ala, Allaah does not get tired when you get tired.’” [Sheikhain]

And Allaah Ta`ala knows best.

Addition by Mufti Elias:

Moreover these days the matter worsens when there is extensive “Taadihi” (Calling) which is not proven in the Shariat. This “Calling” which establishes its ‘Bidat’ status is done via posters, leaflets, Radio and T.V. announcements.
Further congregational night vigils are not also proven in the Shariat. In fact according to the Hanafi Scholars congregational Nafl Salaat is Makrooh Taharmi.
Further – these night gatherings in the Masjids eventually lead to waste of time in feeding procedures and totally unnecessary groupings of gossiping, backbiting, and slandering, also in many instances promoting personality projection and over lauding of ‘heroes’.
One should rather properly execute those actions which conform to the Shariat; although it be better than indulging in superficial quantity which is contrary to Shariat and tantamount to Bidat.
May Allaah Ta’ala protect us in these times when bidat is promoted under the guise of gaining proximity to Allaah Ta’ala.

P.S. Read, circulate and print.
1427 – 2006

I have tried to be brief, concise and precise.

The statements and actions of the pious, no matter who they are or where they come from are NOT Shaari proofs.

Without been emotional prove via Shaari proof or accept that there is no valid Shaari proof for ‘Mass Itkehaaf’.

It has become showbiz,
merry making,
avenue for wasting money,
a place where Bidat is officially perpetrated,
Sheikh projecting platform,
area where over talking,
over eating,
and over sleeping takes place,
inconvenience to general regular Musallees occurs,
role of the Masjid undermined and the
original purpose of Itekhaaf is utterly defected.
Itekhaaf is for seeking out the night of Qadr.
This to be done by adopting seclusion in the Masjid aided by talking less, eating less and sleeping less. Via preserving the sanctity, sacredness and Role of the Masjid.
All the above is not present in mass Itekhaaf today.
Also the whole system and schedule of the women fold is disrupted totally. They instead of making some Ibaadat they are instructed daily to prepare a list of savory under the pretext of earning reward.

Moreover, in some circles the Mureeds are led to believe that via the ‘Tawajju’ of the ‘Hadhrat’, he (the Hadhrat) can see what is in the hearts of the Mureeds.
Furthermore, soon, the Hadhrat will like to cast his special ‘tawajju’ on the ladies when they are in front of him, seeing him.

In some set ups, plans are the way to modify the sanitary system so that a bath tub be installed for Hadhrat who can dip whilst in Itekhaaf for he feels hot due to his constant rapid spiritual elevation.

One thing will lead to another. Wait and see. Who is living in the ‘real’ world?

The 4th President of Iran (1989-1997) encouraged whilst in office ‘Muta’ (temporary marriage) keeping the plight of youth in mind, like your good self. Is it valid? Why? He shares the same concerns for the youth as you.
Both, you and him are wrong. Why? Mass Itekhaaf and Muta are not proven as per Shaari proofs. Thus both lead to corruption of Shariat.

Then what is the solution? Understand the next line properly.
The parents are responsible for their children not the Ulema.

May Allaah grant us proper understanding of Shariat.

A.H. Elias (Mufti)
May Allaah be with him.

This fact is so conspicuous that it constrained the illustrious Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) to comment: “I pondered about I’tikaaf and the abstention of the Sahaabah from it despite the fact that they were devoted followers of the Sunnah.” The Fuqaha confirm that the great majority of the Sahaabah did not observe I’tikaaf.

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Answered on October 18, 2015 1:07 pm