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Women attending zikr gatherings and doing bay’ah with a Shaikh

My sister goes to zikr and attends sufi zikrs. She has pledged allegiance to sheikh nazim over the internet. What are your views? 

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.


Zikr has many benefits in this life as well in the Hereafter. Allah states in the Quran: “Remember Allah abundantly, in order that you become successful” (Surah 8: Verse 45). A person can find internal and external peace through zikr. “Only in the remembrance of Allah will your heart find peace.” (Surah 13: Verse 28)

There are many forms of zikr a person can engage in. Many methods have been tried and tested by pious predecessors, which have proved to be beneficial.

Qadi Thanaullah Pani Pati in his “Tafsir Mazhari” has written that there are three types of zikr:

  1. Oral, loudly
  2. Oral, silently
  3. Spiritual, within the heart known as Zikr Qalbi

Zikr Qalbi is that zikr which has nothing to do with words by the mouth and as such cannot even be detected by he Kiram Kaatibeen. Imam Abu Yala narrates quoting Saaidah Aaishah Radiallahu Anha that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said: Zikr Qalbi, which cannot be discerned by the Kiram Kaatibeen, is seventy times superior to other types. On the Day of Judgement mankind will be called to reckoning by Him and the Kiram Kaatibeen will be directed to produce the register of conduct of everybody. The angels will be commanded to re-examine the records to see if any of their good deeds remained unrecorded. They would submit that everything within their reach had been duly put down. Allah will inform them that a good deed, which they could not discern and hence were unable to record, was Zikr Qalbi… (Tafsir Mazhari p.41 v.3)

The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said ‘should I not inform you of the best deed, which will guarantee your salvation in this world as well as in the next.  Listen! Hold fast on the zikr gatherings.’   (Mishkaatul Masabeeh p.67)

Saaiduna Abu Hurayra Radiallahu Anhu reported that the Prophet of Allah, Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam, said, “Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out the people of dhikr. When they find people remembering Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, they call out to one another, ‘Come to what you hunger for!’ and they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the lowest heaven. Their Lord – who knows best – asks them, ‘What are My slaves saying?’ They say, ‘They are glorifying You, proclaiming Your greatness, praising You and magnifying You.’ He says, ‘Have they seen Me?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen You.’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see Me?’ [extra ‘He said’s deleted] They say, ‘If they were to see You, they would worship You even more intensely and magnify You even more intensely and glorify You even more intensely.’ He says, ‘What are they asking for?’ They say, ‘They are asking You for the Garden.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, O Lord, they have not seen it.’” He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would yearn for it even more strongly and seek it even more assiduously and would have an even greater desire for it.’ He says, ‘What are they seeking refuge from?’ ‘They are seeking refuge from the Fire.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would flee from it even harder and have an even greater fear of it.’ He says, ‘I testify to you that I have forgiven them.’ One of angels says, ‘among them is so-and-so who is not one of them. He came to get something he needed.’ He says, ‘They are sitting and the one sitting with them will not be disappointed.’ (Sahih Bukhari p.948 v.2)

Imam Muslim and Imam Ahmad state that when believers assemble for zikr, angels immediately cover them with their wigs and the Grace of Allah descends on them, bestowing consolation and tranquillity.  In return, Allah remembers them in the presence of his Confidants.   (Dalaelus Suluk p.89)

With regards to your question there is nothing wrong in your sister attending zikr gatherings as long as there is no intermingling with men. It is also permissible for women to do Bay’ah with a Shaikh.

Allah (SWA) in the Holy Qur’an has said:

“O Prophet! When believing women come to you to take the oath of allegiance to you, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forgoing falsehood and that they will not disobey you in any just matter-then take their allegiance, and pray to Allah for their forgiveness, for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Mumtahinah v. 12)

It is narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad that Saaidah Salma Bint Qays Radiallahu Anha said, “I came to the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam with many people from the Ansar, and we gave him our bay’ah, our pledge that we would not associate anyone with Allah, we would not steal, we would not commit adultery, we would not kill our children, we would not backbite and we would not disobey. We gave him our bay`ah and we went.”

However, a few things need to be remembered.

  1. The Bay’ah must not be carried out with holding the hands of the Shaikh, for that is haram.
  1. Interaction with the Shaikh is permissible, but should be kept to a minimum and only that is necessary. A female may seek advice from her Shaikh by speaking to him, wring a letter or any other way provided the rules of Hijab are fully observed. Non-observance of the laws of Hijab or being casual is impermissible even with one’s shaikh. If the husband feels that his wife’s communication with her Shaikh should be through him or at least with his knowledge and permission, then this is his right, and the wife should adhere to his wish. At times, this may be more advisable, especially if the Shaykh is relatively young. (Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam Al Kawthari, www.daruliftaa.com)

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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