I read your article on “ADVICE TO THE WORKERS OF TABLIGH JAMAAT”. I myself was in the effort for the past 10 years or so Alhumdulillah. The effort was a means to take me out of darkness of following my desires to obeying Allah (swt). A year or so ago, I started to realize that my islaah was not being done as I liked and I felt I was not growing spiritually as much as I should so I started to look tassawuf and took bayt with a Sheikh.
I went and visited the Shaykh for 3 days when he had a program in another state. I also took my family along. Alhumdulillah, overall the experience was good but I saw practices which bothered me.
1) We would stay up almost till Midnight and talk to the Shaykh and go to sleep very late and in the morning, we’d sleep right after Fajr (I’m speaking only for the murids (I cannot say for Shaykh as he was in a private room)). This practice seemed against the Sunnah.
2) We were praying most of our salats in Jamat, but in the house where the Shaykh was staying. The masjid was 5 mins or less drive. I always thought salat in masjid was more rewarding.
3) I asked the Shaykh if I should continue dawat work like joining taleem, jaula and 3 days jamat, he said I could. Most recently, when we talked over the phone and he advised not to as it could get in the way of doing my zik and asbaaq. He equated it to a student taking a course from multiple universities and never really being able to graduate because of not being focused.
Personally, I like to do both zikr and tabligh as I now realize the importance of both and I have continued to do so by doing weekly jaula, going to zikr mehfils, doing my tasbih and muraqiba, etc. Being in both realms, I see that extremism is an issue amongst some of the people in both efforts which is not good whereupon they look down on the other effort. I was also told by my Shaykh that sitting with other Shaykhs of the same tariqa is not advised as one needs to focus only on one Sheikh. A Murid also told me we should not associate with non-jinsi efforts. But if a Shaykh is coming to visit in town or if there’s a retreat going on few hours away, I don’t see the harm in joining the gathering. Am I following my nafs or really taking actions which will benefit and will help in my islaah?
I am really stuggling to make the right choices. I want to do my own Islaah but also want to fulfill my responsibility of dawat and having fikr of the Prophet (pbuh).
Please advise. Jaza kulla khair and Wessalam.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Before giving pledge (bai’ah) to a Shaykh, one must evaluate carefully to ensure compatibility between the Shaykh and himself. This will enable the murid to derive maximum benefit, Insha-Allah. If one has negative thoughts about his Shaykh then this will only impede his own spiritual progress. As a murid it is your responsibility to develop a spiritual relationship (nisbat) and familiarity with your Shaykh to properly benefit from him. Otherwise the purpose of your bai’ah will be defeated.
1.) The issue you mentioned about the murids staying up late at night and then going to sleep right after Fajr is an administrative issue. You can relate your discomfort to your Shaykh and respectfully seek his wise counsel.
2.) The congregational prayer is an emphasized sunnah and your concerns are correct. However, before jumping to conclusions it would be best to ask the host about the reason why Salah was being offered in the house while the masjid is only five minutes away. He might have a reasonable excuse such as most of the attendees (including yourself) were musafir. We should always have good thoughts (husn al-zann) about our brothers while seeking to clarify with respect (adab) to avoid any misgivings.
3.) The work of tabligh is very fruitful and productive. There is no doubt about it. It would be ideal for a person to engage in both tabligh and tasawwuf to get the benefits of each effort. However, the reason we go to a Shaykh is to have him treat our spiritual maladies just like a doctor treats physical illnesses.
At times the Shaykh might advise the murid to stop engaging in one effort or another for his own benefit. Take the example of an athlete that is injured. His doctor will stop him from training and doing strenuous exercises until he has recovered.
The Shaykh is like the doctor who evaluates what activities might be most beneficial for you at the moment. It doesn’t mean that you are being stopped from ever engaging in tabligh. So in your case if the Shaykh sees that there is a need to stop engaging in tabligh for the time being, you should give him the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, you can convey to him your passion for tabligh, and when the time is right he will allow you to engage in it again so that you derive greater benefit Insha-Allah.
The same thing goes for other programs. Consult with your Shaykh directly and ask him which programs you should or should not attend.
You are correct that sometimes people who are only involved in one type of effort look down upon the other kinds of efforts. This only leads to misunderstandings especially since all these efforts support each other.
We should never look down upon one another because by doing so we are defeating the very purpose of tabligh and tasawwuf. In tabligh, the respect and honor of a Muslim is one of the six main points. Likewise, in tasawwuf the focus is on removing diseases of the heart: arrogance, pride, etc.
If one who is engaged in tasawwuf or tabligh looks down upon a Muslim not engaged in the effort he is engaged in, then he will not be inculcating those qualities for which he is making the effort. This not only negatively affects him personally, but also the community because they will associate that condescending “better than you” attitude with tasawwuf or tabligh.
Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant Mufti, Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.