By S. Abdullah Tariq
Q.I. What is the difference between a Sunni Jamaat and a Tabligi Jamaat?
(Syed Haroon Rasheed, Bangalore)
Q. II. I have some doubts, which I would like to clarify. I belong to a Sunni family. At my home, all my relatives offer Namaz regularly and so do I, But one thing I will want to know is, what is the actual difference between Sunni Jamaat and the Tabligi Jamaat. All my friends are from Tablig Jamaat. They do not offer “Fatiha”, while I do. They say it is not necessary or not needed. Please clear this concept. Regarding Muhammad (Pbuh), they consider him as an ordinary man like us, which I do not like. Even they say that one should not go to graveyards or to ‘Mazars’ of other ‘Ambias”. They don’t offer Salaam after “Juma” Namaz. I would like to know, is it necessary, if not why? One more thing I would like to know is that, whenever we hear or say name of “Muhammad” (Pbuh), We kiss our thumbs and place them over our eyes. Why do we do so? I want the answer in detail please.
(Syed Mustafa Hussain; Pusad, Dist. Yavatmal)
Ans. Sunni Jamaat is not the name of any one Jama’at. A majority of Muslims all over the world are called Sunnis. For some years, the people of Bareilavi sect have started laying more emphasis on the word Sunni, implying thereby, their claim that only they are the true Sunnis. Consequently, in some parts of the country, Bareilavis are being called as Sunni Jama’at. Bareilavis owe their allegiance to Maulana Ahamad Raza Khan of Bareilly. Since his demise Bareilly (in state Uttar Pradesh) has been a nerve centre of propagation of the late Maulana’s thoughts. His grandson, Maulana Akhtar Raza Khan Azhari is his present successor.
Tablighi Jama’at is a group of people engaged in the reform of the Muslim community through a six-point formula introduced by Maulana Mohammad Ilyas. They recruit voluntary preachers from among Muslims by inspiring them to devote a specified number of days in the cause of Tabligh (among Muslims). The Jama’ats centre is a Mosque in Nizamuddin (N.Dlehi), from where jama’ats of volunteers are delegated to different parts of the country and abroad. These Jama’ats operate from Mosques of their influence.
Although almost all the Muslim Jama’ats throughout the world have some minor or serious differences (often at loggerheads), with each other, the conflicts among the followers of these two groups are more pronounced than among other groups. There are probably two main reasons for this. (i) Both of them wield a vast influence in this country besides many other countries and (ii) Commanding sway over masses, most of the followers of these two groups are uneducated.
Fatiha is the name commonly ascribed to Eissal-e-Sawaab. IT is neither Far’z nor Wajib. Eisal-e-Sawaab (donating its Sawaab to a deceased after doing a good deed like reciting Qur’an and Darood or feeding the hungry) is only Mustahab ( a good deed which is not obligatory), according to all scholars of repute. Those who insist upon others joining in Eisaal-e-Sawaab, convert a good deed into Bid’at (making those things obligatory in Deen which were not made compulsory by Shariah). Bid’at is a grave sin. Even an extremely virtuous act can become a Bid’at by transgression. Imam Malik never put on shoes in Madina, and he always used to go out of Madina to relieve himself. It was his gesture of respect for the land, where the holy Prophet (Pbuh) once lived. This great act of devotion and love for the Prophet (Pbuh) would become a Bid’at and a sin if a group of people start insisting that walking barefoot in Madina is a necessary sign of love for the Prophet (Pbuh). On the other hand, those who oppose Eisaal-e--Sawaab also commit transgression as a number of Sahih (authentic) Hadiths explicate its importance for the benefit of the deceased at the stage of Barzakh (the transitionary stage of the deceased before the Last Day).
How can a Muslim say that the Prophet (Pbuh) was an ordinary man like us? There seems to be a communication gap between you and your friends. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was a human being, as were all the other Prophets. Only a human being can become a model for the other human beings. The Qur’an expounded. “Say: If there dwelt on earth, the angels, walking about in peace and quiet, We would have sent forth to them an angel from heaven as an apostle.” (17:95)
The Prophets felt pain and hunger like other human beings. They felt tiredness after hard work. They needed sleep like others. They required consolation after the disappointments and rejections. Unless informed by Allah on special occasions, they did not know about the plots and conspiracies of their tormentors. Had angels or Gods or some other creatures come as Prophets in the garb of human beings, the people could have argued that as they were other beings in the bodies of men, they could sustain the tests and hardships of life, while it was impossible for the ordinary human beings to be righteous in the wake of such trials. In all these respects and the like, the Prophet (Pbuh) was like all the other human beings. However, he was no ordinary man. He received the Almighty’s revelation. He was a model for all others in morals and righteousness. He was bestowed with extraordinary signs from the Lord so that the disbelievers could be warned. He was called to heavens to observe the realities of the transworld, which are Ghaib (concealed) to us. He could see and talk to the spiritual creatures that we cannot. He was given knowledge of a number of things that are Ghaib (hidden) for ordinary human beings. How can the tutor and educator to the humankind from the Lord Almighty be equated to ordinary men?
Your friends probably are referring to the following Qur’anic verse, when they say that he was a human being like us.
“Say I am but a ‘Bahsar’ (a mortal human) like yourselves (with a difference that) the inspiration has come to me.. “ (18:10)
Your friends may be referring to his likeness to us in aforesaid human needs. Nevertheless, the choice of words to describe this requires caution so as not to commit disregard to the status of Prophet-hood.
Visiting the graveyards, is a Sunnah and the Prophet (Pbuh) recommended it to us for our remembrance of the mortality of this world and for asking forgiveness for the dead. The graves of the all the earlier Prophets are unknown to us but visiting Prophet Muhammad’s grave and offering Darood and Salaam over there, has been strongly recommended to us in Hadiths. Similarly, visiting the Mazars of other saints is very beneficial for one’s own remembrance. You must definitely visit their graves as often as you can to offer supplication for them and to get the inspiration from their pious lives they led while they were living. What your friends must be opposing might probably be the Bid’ats committed by the ignorant on the Mazars. Circumambulation of their graves akin to Ka’abah, bowing heads in reverence to the graves or asking them to help the callers is Shirk, an unforgivable sin. Mufti Maulvi Amjad Ali Bareilavi, a famous Mufti of the Bareilavi sect, in one of his Fatwa writes. “Women are strictly forbidden to visit the graves of saints or even ordinary graves. Kissing a grave is forbidden. Circumambulation of any place except Ka’abah is not permitted in any circumstances. Prostration before a grave with the intention of paying reverence is Haram. If prostration is for worship, then the person who bows before the grave becomes ‘Kaafir’ (P.99, Vol.16, Bahaar-e-Shariat)
Maulana Ahamd Raza Khan, in his renowned work, ‘Fatawa-e-Rizvia’, has repeatedly passed the same Fatwas.
Salaam to the Prophet (Pbuh) is offered in the sermon of the Friday prayer, during the Friday prayer itself and in Dua’ after the prayer. There is no precedent of offering Salaam in congregation after the Sunnat and Nafil prayers, during the Sahaba or Taabi’een era. The Sunnah which most Sahaba followed, is to go home after the Far’z Namaz of Friday and offer Sunnat and Nafil Namaz at home. Salaam or Durood at any time is good but insisting upon others doing what the Prophet did not order or the Sahaba did not practise, amounts to a Bid’at. Please look at what Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Bareilavi himself decreed in this regard; “After the Sunnat and Nafil prayers, on Fridays, the recitation of Fatiha or offering supplication by the Imam in congregation has not been reported anywhere. Hence this practice is avoidable.” (Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan, in “An-Nafaaesul-Maghoobah, P.46)
Kissing thumbs and taking them to the eyes, after the name of the Prophet (Pbuh) is spoken, is a gesture of love and respect of the highest order. But, once again, if a group of people adopts this practice, believing that it is binding on them, it becomes Bid’at, as it is not a part of Deen propagated by the Prophet (Pbuh) and practised by Sahaba.
Q. (i) Is it necessary for a Muslim to belong to a particular School of Thought?
(ii) If the Almighty has given us the best name “Muslim”, then is it not a sin to give other names to ourselves?
Mohd. Amin Dar; KSA.
Ans: (i) : No right thinking Muslim can ignore the services and contribution of the great Fiq’h scholars. The Qur’an orders us to follow them (Men of authority in their respective fields) in all such matters on which different authorities of a particular field are unanimous. But if the authentic authorities differ on a subject, that issue should be referred to Qur’an and Hadith for guidance. There is no room for choice in this matter. This is a very specific and clear cut order of Almighty Allah.
“O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and the persons of authority among you. But if you differ about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day. That (only) is the best (course) and a just interpretation.” [4:59]
Swearing allegiance to a particular scholar with such ardour that the followers become a sect is against the spirit of Islam. The great Fiq’h scholars never advocated it themselves. The Holy Qur’an denounces the sectarianism in no uncertain words; “Cling one and all to the Rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves..” (3:103)
“Be not like those who became divided and opposed to one another after clear signs have been given them. For them is a stern chastisement.” (3:105)
“Have nothing to do with those who have split up their religion into sects. Allah will call them to account and declare to them what they have done.” (6:159)
How can the Muslims, the believers in One God, His Message the Qur’an and followers of the Prophet whose every word and action is recorded in history, be divided to become sects. The Qur’an says that it is Mushrikeen (those who ascribe partners to Allah who become divided to the extent of becoming sects.
“...And be not of those who associate others with Allah, those who split up their religion and became sects, each exulting in its own belief.” (30:31-32)
(ii) It is not a sin to identify oneself by adding prefixes to the word Muslim, provided the prefixes do not amount to sectarianism. Nevertheless, you are right when you question the justification or wisdom of adding prefixes like Shia, Sunni, Hanafi, Deobandi etc. Allah has named us just Muslims in Qur’an. “.. It is He who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (revelation) so that the Messenger may be a witness for you.. “ (22:78)
Adding names before the word, Muslim, is not proper at least in the sense that it shows we are not content with the name given to us by Allah. At least I never like to be called a Sunni Muslim. The Prophet and his foremost four Caliphs were neither Shia nor Sunni. They were just Muslims. Much after Hazrat Ali, a group started calling themselves, ‘Shian-e-Ali’ (the Shias or sect of Ali). It is the tragic part of history that the rest, in response or as a reaction, did not think it sufficient to call themselves mere Muslims. They added ‘Ahle Sunnat Wal-Jama’at’ with their names which later became Sunni. Let us pray we again become just Muslim, nothing less, and nothing more, as Allah has preferred this name for us.
Q. A couple had problems in their marriage, in the very first year itself. The husband gave an oral Talaq, in writing in his own hand (and not pronounced by voice) which is reproduced as follows: “I ... do hereby state and declare as follows;
1) That I had entered marriage (Nikah) performed under the “Islamic Shariah” with...
2) That due to incompatibility between the partners (myself and my wife), I have decided to annual my marriage with my wife by means of ‘Oral Talaq’
3) That this means of Oral Talaq has been pronounced by me well in accordance with the requirement of the Islamic Shariah.
4) Of my own free will I have handed over the Mehr of rupees one lakh and one only.
5) I do hereby confirm what I have stated is true and correct.
In the presence of the following witnesses on the ... Sd/- Witnesses.
On the face of the above Oral Talaq, on completion of one month period of the Iddat, the husband claims that he pronounced only one Talaq, and that his intention is not to annual marriage completely, and instead wants to reconcile with his partner.
The other partner is also for reconciliation.
But the main problem is, that in addition to the “Talaq Nama” there is another settlement paper prepared by an advocate, and signed by the parties concerned, including the husband, which states as follows;
1. The marriage (Nikah) solemnized between.. to be dissolved by the bridegroom, giving irrevocable Talaq and thereby snapped the matrimonial tie.
2. The Talaq given by Mr. .. has been accepted by the Bride and their side.
3. The BG has to day handed over the Mehr amount of Rs. 1,00,002, by cash to the Bride’s father in pursuance to the Talaq given by him.
4. Hence the marriage between.. is hereby dissolved and they cease to be husband and wife from this day onwards and both of them become independent from the matrimonial tie and free to lead their life on their own.
5. Both the parties agreed that they will not interfere in each other’s affairs henceforth under any circumstances.
The husband says it is only one Talaq, and he has no intention to proceed with the other two and that he is sorry to have created such a situation.
Whereas, the wife’s father feels that having used the words ‘irrevocable’ and ‘snapping the matrimonial ties’, and ‘cease to be husband and wife’, the whole thing is a closed affair, i.e., ‘Talaq-e-Mugalizah’ has taken place. Though he is equally keen that re-conciliation is the best course, however, he would like to know the correct position, lest it contravenes the injunctions of the Shariah. Kindly let us know the correct position.
i) As can be seen in the minutes the meeting (Settlement deed) in para I, the husband says that it is an ‘irrevocable Talaq and thereby snapped the matrimonial tie.’ And another para IV, it says, ‘... marriage is hereby dissolved and they cease to be husband and wife from this day onwards and both of them become independent from the matrimonial tie and free to lead their own life.’ Do the two paragraphs say something contrary to what the “Talaq Nama” says and is not the settlement deed prepared by the advocate, to be interpreted as “Talaq-e-Mugallizah”? Which one is to be taken as correct and enforced?
Q. ii) Can ‘written Talaq Nama’ written by husband himself, be taken as ‘Talaq’ as only single Talaq.
Ans: If you abide by the Qur’anic procedure of ‘Talaq and those Hadiths which are Marfoo’ [those Hadiths whose chain of narration goes up to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)], the husband in the aforesaid case gave only one ‘Talaq, even if he used the word, ‘irrevocable’ in writing. On the other hand if you are trying to find a way out for the estranged couple, from within the boundaries set by the Fiq’h schools, then also there is room for reconciliation.
“Narrated the son of Rukanah that Rukanah pronounced ‘Battah (Irrevocable) Talaq’ to his wife Suhaimah and then informed the Prophet (Pbuh) and swore by God that he intended to give one Talaq only. The Prophet (Pbuh) asked him if he swore by God that he intended only one Talaq. Rukanah replied that by God he intended only one Talaq. The Prophet (Pbuh) permitted him Ruj’at (reconciliation)”. (Abu Dawood, Tirmizi, Ibne Maja, Darami)
According to Imam Shafai’ Battah Talaq’ (when the word “Talaqs’ has not been used), is equivalent to one Raja’i, Talaq, provided the husband’s intention was to give one Talaq only.
According to Imam Abu Hanifa, the word ‘Battah; enforces one ‘Bayan Talaq’ irrespective of the intention, Bayan is that Talaq, after which the couple can rejoin with a fresh Nikah.
When the husband did not pronounce the Talaqs thrice, not has he said or written that he was giving “Three Talaqs’, Irrevocable is equivalent to Battah instead of Mughallizah Talaq. So, according to Imam Shafa’i they can reckon without even a renewal of Nikah, while Imam Abu Hanifa allows them reconciliation with the renewal of Nikah.
Tell them, however, while bailing them out that our welfare lies in following the procedures laid down by Qur’an and Sunnah in all matters. Had he adopted the Qur’anic procedure, then all concerned and related persons would have been spared the agony they underwent.
Q. I am a Muslim boy of age 22 and want to marry a Marwadi girl whose age is 26 and more over, she is divorcee. We both love each other and want to unite. She is even ready to accept Islam by doing the rituals, so do suggest me whether this marriage will be accepted in Islam and should my parents accept her. (E.K)
Ans. If she pronounces, Islam, the Shariah allows you to marry her on her apparent proclamation. You must, however, remember that Allah knows everything. Only a pretence of acceptance through some rituals may deceive others but not Him who knows what is inside hearts and who judges deeds by their intentions.
Q. I am a Muslim boy of 28 and I am in deep love with my elder sister’s daughter. We cannot live without each other. So we have decided to marry. According to my friend, Islam does not permit marriage between myself and my elder sister’s daughter, is the Nikah between us permitted or not? (XXX. Chennai).
Ans. Nikah with the daughter of your real sister is forbidden vide Qur’an 4.23. Ask Allah’s forgiveness for the sin you committed by wishing to marry her while you were ignorant.
Q. Was there no shadow of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)? Some Maulvis, especially those of the Bareilly sect assert that there was no shadow of the body of the Prophet (Pbuh). If so, what is the source of this claim?
Nasir Husain; Jaora, M.P.
Ans: These are baseless claims, which are not substantiated by any authentic tradition.