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The Sufi Hadra

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

[French version at the bottom]

What is the ruling regarding the Sufi hadra in the Shafi’i school?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


[m: The hadra is a form of group dhikr where the attendees most often stand in a circle. Depending on the particular Sufi order, it can contain elements such as singing, dancing, and music.]


The ruling on an issue derives from its conceptualization.[1] Whatever has been decisively proven as impermissible is not permitted, and whatever has been decisively proven as permissible is permitted. If the hadra contains something impermissible, like the free-mixing of marriageable men and women in way that is conducive to temptation or unrestrained looking at the unlawful, then attending it is forbidden. Similarly, if [m: the hadra] includes the playing of musical instruments like the kubah (a drum that is wide at each end and narrow in the middle), mizmar ([m: a wood wind instrument similar to the flute]), lute (Ar. ‘ud), and similar musical instruments, then attending it is forbidden. As for the duff ([m: a shallow drum, like a tambourine but without the metal jingles]) and drum that is wide at both ends and the middle, they are permissible in our school for men and women, during weddings and at other times. If the hadra is free from forbidden elements and combines the remembrance of Allah Most High, praising Him as He deserves, and lauding the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), then all of this is fundamentally recommended in Islamic law according to the consensus of Muslims, as is clear. If movement is added to this, as some Sufis do, there is no harm in it, because dancing is permissible for men and women in our school as long it doesn’t contain effeminate or licentious movements as wicked and shameless people do. Otherwise, [m: if it contains such prohibited movements], it is forbidden. Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, the last muharrir [2] imam of our school, was asked about Sufis dancing during their ecstasy and he upheld their practice. In part, he says, “it is permissible to stand and dance during gatherings of remembrance [m: of Allah] and audition according to a group of great scholars, among them being Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Abdussalam.” (Fatawa Hadithiyya, p. 298)

Al-Jalal As-Suyuti, the imam and hadith master, was asked about the Sufi dance: is it permissible to repudiate those who do it? He replied that it was not permissible to repudiate them and that the one who repudiates is mistaken. He narrated this from a group of scholars (al-Hawi li’l-Fatawi).

The upshot is that if one wishes to do this [m: (i.e., attend a hadra)] while observing the above-mentioned rules, it is not permissible to repudiate him because, at worst, this matter is differed upon. It is not permissible to repudiate one who does [m: an act that is differed upon], as Imam Al-Ghazali (Ihya), An-Nawawi (Sharh Sahih Muslim), Al-‘Izz Ibn Abdussalam (Shajarah Al-Ahwal Wa Al-Ma’arif), other others point out [m: in the parenthesized texts].


[m: [1] The ruling on an issue derives from its conceptualization is a maxim of classical logic. It means that before one can pass judgment on an issue, one has to properly understand it.

[2] A muharrir imam is one who authoritatively identifies the strong and weak positions within the school. ]

French Version

La Hadra Soufie

Rponse du shaykh Amjad Rasheed.

Quel est le statut de la hadra soufie dans l’cole Shafi’ite ?

[La hadra soufie est une forme de dhikr en groupe o les participants sont le plus souvent debout, en cercle. En fonction de l’ordre soufie, elle peut contenir des lments tels que des chants, des danses et de la musique.]

Le statut juridique dpend du contexte. [1] Tout ce qui a t prouv comme tant interdit n’est pas permis, et tout ce qui a t prouv comme tant permis l’est. Si la hadra contient des lments interdits, comme le mlange entre hommes et femmes trangers d’une manire qui puisse mener la tentation et des regards indcents, alors y assister est interdit. De mme, si on y [dans la hadra] joue des instruments interdits comme le kubah (un tambour large ses extrmits et troit au milieu), le mizmar ([un instrument en bois comparable la flte]), le luth (‘ud en Arabe), ainsi que d’autres instruments du mme type, alors y assister est interdit. Quant au duff ([un tambour mince, ressemblant au tambourin mais sans cymbale en mtal]) et les tambours larges la fois aux extrmits et au milieu, il est permis aux hommes comme aux femmes d’en jouer d’aprs notre cole, durant les mariages et d’autres circonstances. Si la hadra est exempte d’lments interdits et comprend le rappel d’Allh – qu’Il soit exalt tel qu’Il le mrite – et l’loge de Son Prophte (paix et bndictions sur lui), alors tout cela est clairement recommand par la Loi Islamique d’aprs le consensus des Musulmans. Si on y ajoute des mouvements, comme le font certains Soufis, il n’y a pas de mal cela, car danser est permis aux hommes et aux femmes dans notre cole tant qu’ils ne contiennent pas de mouvements effmins et licencieux comparables ceux des gens gars et sans pudeur. Autrement [(Si la hadra contient de tels mouvements)], elle est interdite. L’imm Ibn Hajar al Haythami, le dernier imam muharrir [2] de notre cole, a t interrog propos des soufis qui dansent durant leur extase et il a soutenu leur pratique. Il a dit : “Il est permis de se mettre debout et de danser durant les runions de rappel (d’Allah) et d’audition d’aprs un groupe de savants parmi lesquels Shaykh al Islam Ibn Abdussalam.” (Fatawa Hadithiyya, p. 298)

Al-Jalal As-Suyuti, l’imam et matre du hadith, a t interrog sur la danse soufie : est-il permis de rejeter ceux qui s’y adonnent ? Il a rpondu qu’il n’tait pas permis de les rejeter et que celui qui agissait ainsi se trompait. Il l’a rapport d’un groupe de savants (al-Hawi li’l-Fatawi).

La conclusion est que si quelqu’un souhaite le faire [(c’est–dire assister une hadra) en observant les rgles susmentionnes, il n’est pas permis de le rejeter car, au pire, le sujet fait objet de divergence. Il n’est pas permis de rejeter une personne qui fait [un acte sur lequel il y a divergence], comme l’ont dit l’imam al Ghazali (Ihya), An-Nawawi (Sharh Sahih Muslim), Al-‘Izz Ibn Abdussalam (Shajarah Al-Ahwal Wa Al-Ma’arif) et d’autres.


[1] Le statut d’une chose dpend de son contexte est une maxime de logique classique. Elle signifie qu’avant de passer un jugement sur une question, il faut la comprendre correctement.
[2] L’imam muharrir est celui qui a l’autorit suffisante pour identifier les positions fortes et faibles au sein d’une cole.

Amjad Rasheed
Amman, Jordan
(Traduit par Hamza Karamali et Moustafa Elqabbany)

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