NIAZ and Zikr Rifai.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by
We r small but sizable community of Sunni Muslim (Memons) based here in Mombasa, Kenya. Our community organizes annually two out of some events (rituals) NIAZ n ZIKR Rifai whereby the community members are all invited to attend.
Please get me clarification on the following event organised by the Jamat, and kindly explain and confirm its religious importance. And what blessings are derived therefrom. According to my understanding NIAZ is food specifically served for the poor and the needy and in Zikr Rifai I do not see any important in effect. Please find below the specimen invitation circular for one of the event.
(1) Niaz
(2) Zikr Rifai.
The annual ceremony of the ZIKRULLAH (ZIYARA) to commemorate the anniversary of the great saint SAYYID AHMED REFAI AL-KABIR will be held at Memon Villa on Saturday 15th June 2013 06th Shaaban 1434 A.H, at 8.30 p.m. sharp. All the members of the Jamat (Gents and Ladies) are cordially invited to attend in time and be blessed.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

(Fatwa: 1098/1105/M=9/1434)

The Zikr Rifai looks like Urs. If it is performed on the pattern mentioned above, it is bid’ah (innovation in religion). Likewise, doing Niaz with the specification of date, day and feeding it to the poor or doing Fatiha before the food is not acceptable. Yes, if the poor are fed or isal-e-sawab is done without the specification of date and day, then it is a cause of reward. As per the Shariah, it is unlawful to celebrate anniversary of any wali:
فیجب أن یحذر مما یعملون علی رأس السنۃ من موتہ ویسمونہ حولاً فیدعون الأکابر والأصاغر ویعدون ذلک قربۃ وھي ضلالۃ ۔۔۔ ولیس إلا بدعۃ ضلالۃ ۔۔۔ فھذہ الأحوال والأعراس لا تکاد تخلو عن ارتکاب المحرمات فضلاً عن المکروھات (تبلیغ الحق 8/7)
مقرر کردن یوم عرس ثبوت آں از حضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم وخلفائے راشدین وائمہ اربعہ نرسیدہ (مأۃ مسائل مؤلفہ شاہ محمد اسحاق بحوالہ فتاوی محمودیہ 5/436)

Allah knows Best!

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband

This answer was collected from the official ifta website of Darul Uloom Deoband in India.

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