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Performing an Act of Worship Regularly without Evidence

 
Question:
assalamu alaikum.dear sheikh, I read that 1.it is impermissible to specify a zikr for people to repeat for a specific number of times and in specific place and time without explicit text from the sunnah.2. it’s impermissible to depend on tajriba or experiences of the pious on recommending certain prayers which they found useful or beneficialbut this is contrary to the practices of our past scholars as ibn taymiyya and ibn alqayyim. as he says:”who ever constantly repeat the phrase Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum…everyday during dawn,his heart will be revived”Madarij assalikinit was also reported that he ibn taimiyyah constantly repeat suratul fatiha after fajr prayer.it was also reported that he normally repeat this formula when perplexed by certain matters, “Ya Mu’allima Ibrahim allimni”it was also reported from him that he set side some ayah which he termed ayat assakinah which he normally recited when in distressed.
Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

We are commanded to mention and supplicate Allah as much as possible under any circumstances. This principle is general even in regard to the general mention of Allah that one takes up for himself, and the special supplications that he likes and that are suitable for him [his circumstances]. This is based on the general saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “Choose any supplication you like and call upon Allah the Mighty and Sublime with it.” [Al-Bukhaari and An-Nasaa’i]

The problem remains in allocating a number of repetitions, or a certain time, or a specific place, or a given condition for it, without any Islamic evidence, and doing so regularly and considering it to be a Sunnah that is attributed to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is what is forbidden, unlike if one does so sometimes by himself without taking it as a regular Sunnah.

This is why Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, himself differentiates between taking an unlegislated mention of Allah as a Sunnah and doing it regularly, or teaching people some kind of mention of Allah or supplications that are not legislated [or confirmed in the Sunnah], and consider them [i.e. supplications and Athkaar] as a regular act of worship that they should utter regularly, and between, on the other hand, when a person says sometimes without making it a Sunnah for the people [to follow and perform regularly].

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said:

Undoubtedly, the Athkaar (mention of Allah) and supplications are amongst the best acts of worship. However, acts of worship are Tawqeefiyyah (i.e. determined only by the Quran or the Sunnah) and conditional on following the way of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and are not based on desires and innovations. Yet, the Prophetic supplications and Athkaar are the best of all. No one has the right to legislate for people any kind of Athkaar (remembrances) or invocations that have not been prescribed (by Sharee’ah), and invite people to make them a regular act of worship which they should practice regularly just like they practice the five prayers regularly. In fact, this consists in introducing something into the religion which Allah has not allowed. This is different than the invocations which one may say occasionally without making them a Sunnah inviting people [to follow and act upon]….” [End of quote]

Based on the above, it becomes known to the questioner that what he has quoted about the stance of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, in regard to Thikr (mention of Allah) and supplications do not contradict what he [Ibn Taymiyyah] has determined with the exception of the first example.

With regard to reciting Surah Al-Faatihah as much as possible because it includes praising Allah and supplicating Him, and reciting the verses that are likely to bring tranquility when there is a need for it, then this is considered part of seeking healing from the Quran or Ruqyah. There is nothing wrong with it, as long as one does not restrict it to a certain number or condition and does not practice it as a regular Sunnah.

The matter in the field of Ruqyah and medicine is vast and there is nothing wrong with doing what the scholars and righteous people have experimented.

The same thing applies to supplicating with “Ya Mu’allima Ibraaheem allimni” (O Teacher of Ibraaheem, teach me!) when one finds it difficult to understand something, as this falls under the general supplication and one may supplicate saying whatever he likes and sees suitable for his condition. It is worth mentioning that Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, used to do so following the example of Mu’aath ibn Jabal, may Allaah be pleased with him, as reported about him by Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, in his book I’laam Al-Muaqqi’een.

With regard to the first example, it is the only thing contradicting what is established above. Ibn Al-Qayyim confirmed in his book Madaarij As-Saalikeen that indeed Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, used to do this.

Restricting oneself to saying it (the supplication) 40 times, and allocating the time of doing it to between the ‘Athaan and the Iqaamah [the call for the establishment of the prayer], and setting a certain virtue (or good outcome) of doing this by doing it regularly (which is the revival of the heart); all this lacks special evidence. The general evidences are not enough to legislate this supplication and for considering it to be good and deem it as lawful.

We have not found anything that serves as a special evidence proving this. However, it could be that Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, is of the view that it is permissible to do so based on what Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, called "the experiences of the righteous people". This may be used as supportive evidence for one’s personal actions, provided that one does not do so regularly or consider it a (legislated) Sunnah, just like any confirmed and legislated Sunnah. However, if one does something regularly as if it is an obligatory matter or a confirmed Sunnah, then it is not allowed, as understood from the statement of Ash-Shaatibi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, in his book Al-I’tisaam.

For more benefit on allocating a specific number or time for an act of worship, please refer to Fataawa 374506, 129978, 295030, 198255, 362620 and 89796.

Allah knows best.

 

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