Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “The worst of matters are innovations (new-fangled practices) in the Deen. Every innovation is Bid`ah; every Bid`ah is deviation and every deviation is (destined) for the Fire (of Jahannum).” [Sunan Nasai]
Hadhrat Aisha (radhiallahu anha) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever innovates into our Deen that which is not in it, is rejected.” [Bukhari Shareef]
Over the last few decades, amongst the evil innovations that have crept into our Deen and practiced by Muslims, including the ‘learned’, is that of Hifz Graduation Jalsahs accompanied by feasts. When a person completes memorising the Qur`aan Majeed, then he has taken upon himself a great responsibility. Memorising the Qur`aan Majeed is but one tiny cog in the great machination of one’s Deeni progress and journey to the Aakhirat. The rewards for memorising the Qur`aan Majeed are great and the act itself is meritorious. Allah Ta`ala has promised many bounties for those who learn and study the Qur`aan Majeed. However it should be kept in the mind that the mere memorisation of the Qur`aan and learning to practice upon it are worlds apart!
Whilst memorising the Qur`aan alone (even without understanding it) is meritorious, practicing upon it is incumbent. Hadhrat Sheikh Zakariyyah (rahmatullahi alaih) mentioned in Fazaail A`maal that some scholars said that there may be people who recite the Qur`aan Majeed without realising that they are invoking curses upon themselves. One may recite certain Aayaat where Allah Ta`ala curses people for certain actions and the reciter may also be guilty of that sin. The Qur`aan Majeed also curses the reciter when he recites Aayaat that he is guilty of not practicing upon. For example, the Qur`aan Majeed instructs us to hold on to whatever Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has taught and refrain from what he has forbidden, but the reciter may be guilty of not practicing on the Sunnat.
It is generally accepted and understood by the Fuqahaa that the rewards promised for the Haafiz (and his parents) apply jointly to his memorising AND practicing on the Qur`aan Majeed – not ONLY to memorising! In fact, the Ahaadith that extol the benefits of learning the Qur`aan Majeed can apply exclusively to those who study and practice on the Qur`aan Majeed even if they have not made Hifz. It does not apply exclusively to those who only memorise it. And if they act in conflict with the commands of the Qur`aan Majeed which they have memorised, then the special benefits are denied to them.
How many ‘huffaaz’ today can claim that they are truly Haafiz of the Qur`aan? How many know their Hifz from start to finish without any error and with immaculate Tajweed (which is a compulsory requisite of Tilaawat)? Even if we find rare examples of persons whose Hifz and Tajweed are flawless, would they be amongst those who practice on the Qur`aan? Such fortunate persons would obviously not project and advertise their expertise and accomplishment by announcing and gloating to all and sundry by way of a Jalsah or wasteful invitations to feasting. Such a person would be a Wali of Allah Ta`ala.
On the other hand, we have the rest of those who ‘complete’ their Hifz – and that too with a very deficient memorisation – who want the world to know they have become ‘haafez’. They themselves are so far from the Deen and their parents even further from the Sunnah, yet they seek to advertise their deficient ‘accomplishment’. They are so far from the Deen that they have the audacity to innovate these Bid`ahs of Jalsahs and feasting. It’s almost as though they realise that besides these accolades they want people to shower them with in this world, they stand to get nothing in the Aakhirah!
Can any ‘haafez’ in reality even consider himself a Haafez in the true sense of the word when Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “The example of a man who has memorised the Qur’an is like that of a hobbled camel. If he remained vigilant, he would be able to retain it (with him), and if he loosened the hobbled camel it would escape.” In other words, constant effort must be made to retain the Qur`aan in memory, lest it escapes. Committing the Qur`aan Majeed once to memory is no cause for celebration. This is merely the beginning of a lifelong effort to sustain and retain the Treasure of Hifz. Yes, true cause for celebration will only be at the time of death and in Qiyaamah where the practicing Haafez and his parents will be lauded with accolades. The only time for a Haafez to rejoice will be when he witnesses the fruits of his efforts and his rewards in the Aakhirah.
When an act is done solely for the Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala, a true believer does not seek to advertise his Deeni accomplishments. His reward is with Allah Ta`ala alone. Advertising any Deeni accomplishment or progress reeks of insincerity! A Muslim does not seek worldly accolades and praises for his Deeni efforts. In fact, a true student of Deen never regards himself as ever having accomplished anything regardless of how much he has toiled in studies. A true student of Deen knows that whatever he has learnt or accomplished in Deeni Ta`leem is not even a drop in the ocean of knowledge!
When this applies to one who has actually achieved some Deeni progress, what justification do the ‘huffaaz’ of today have in announcing their ‘completion’? The Jalsahs basically comprise of pompous misleading orators who extol the virtues of true Ilm-e-Deen giving the poor youngster who completed his ‘hifz’ and his parents the misconception that they have now earned their ticket to salvation!
Those Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) who were given the glad tidings of Jannat in this world by Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) never rested on this knowledge and they did not cease in their striving for Allah Ta`ala’s Pleasure. Their worry and concern for the Aakhirah only increased and their efforts improved proportionately.
They never held Jalsahs and feasts in commemoration of the glad tidings! Compare this to our ‘huffaaz’ of today. After that notorious Jalsah, they only degenerate morally and become bloated with pride. In fact, most youngsters today who may have ‘memorised’ the Qur`aan Majeed, are ignorant of even the basic masaail of Tahaarat and Salaat! You will hear many people comment that amongst the worst of youth we see nowadays – those with the haraam hairdos, driving around with music blaring, clean shaven, committing all sorts of public misdemeanours, etc. – are none other than the so-called ‘huffaaz’!
MISCONCEPTION REGARDING HADHRAT UMAR’S (radhiallahu anhu) PRACTICE
Just like most innovations in our beautiful Deen, the miscreants seek to justify their Bid`ah by citing imaginary ‘proofs’ that are inapplicable. They only prove thereby their ignorance.
People seek to prove their haraam feasting on the occasion of completion of ‘Hifz’ by citing the slaughter of a camel by Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) when he completed Surah Baqarah. Unfortunately their ignorance originates from those misguided molvis who perpetuate this Bid`ah by quoting this incident from the life of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu).
Before studying the incident of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) we need to clarify the view that this feasting is Haraam. Firstly, this occasion of feasting is unwarranted because the reason people are being fed is to ‘celebrate’ the completion of ‘hifz’ and to celebrate the ‘haafez’. This title itself is a misnomer, because as outlined earlier, their memorisation of the Qur`aan Majeed is extremely deficient. The participants of the bid`ah jalsahs are misled by a false demonstration of the imagined expertise of the fake ‘haafez’. A true Haafez of the Qur`aan is one who in addition to having mastered the Qur`aanic Text, practices on it’s tenets, precepts, commands and prohibitions, and also infuses in himself the spirit of Zuhd which permeates the entire Qur`aan Shareef.
Also, people of affluence who are not in need of the food are invited. Their freezers, fridges and pantries are stacked with varieties of food while those who are truly in need of being fed are generally ignored. Instead of diverting the funds to starving Muslims elsewhere, the money is wasted for achieving name and fame. There is no affinity between the Qur’aan Majeed and the wasteful feeding of gluttons.
Secondly, these feasts are generally hosted in halls and venues of vice.
Thirdly, women are also invited, bringing with them the curse of Allah Ta`ala and His angels.
HADHRAT UMAR (radhiallahu anhu) SLAUGHTERS A CAMEL
To properly understand and comprehend this exclusive event, which was never practiced before or after by any Sahaabi or Salaf, we need to firstly look at the context in which it is discussed in the Kutub.
In Tafseer Qurtubi, this incident is mentioned under the following: “Chapter: (discussing) Studying and understanding the Kitaab of Allah, and the Sunnat of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). (Also discussing that) Indeed it was easier for the predecessors to practice on it (the Qur`aan Majeed), than to memorise it.”
It is further mentioned under the same topic, “Indeed Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to recite to them (Sahaabah) ten Aayaat. They would not proceed further to the next ten (Aayaat) until they learnt (not memorised, but understood) and practiced on them.
(A Sahaabi) states, ‘He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would teach us the (words of the) Qur`aan and (also how to) practice upon it, at the same time.’
Abdur Razzaaq reports from Ma`mar from A`ta ibn Saa`ib from Abi Abdir Rahmaan Sulami, who said, ‘We would learn (study) ten Aayaat from the Qur`aan, (but) would not learn the next ten Aayaat, until we recognised its halaal and haraam, and its commands and prohibitions.’ It is mentioned in Muwatta Maalik that it reached him (Imaam Maalik) that Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) tarried with Surah Baqarah for eight years, studying it.”
[NOTE: Here it is mentioned that the son of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) took 8 years to study Surah Baqarah, BUT there is no mention anywhere that he also followed his father’s example and slaughtered a camel!]
Mirdaas bin Muhammed abi Bilaal Al-Ash`ari states, ‘Maalik reported from Naafi` from Ibn Umar, who said, ‘Umar learnt (not memorised) (Surah) Baqarah over a period of 12 years. When he completed the Surah, he slaughtered a camel.’
Abdullah Ibn Mas`ood (radhiallahu anhu) said, “It was difficult for us to memorise the words of the Qur`aan, but it was easy for us to practice upon them. Indeed those who will come after us will find it easy to memorise the Qur`aan, but it would be difficult for them to practice upon it.”
Mujaahid reports from Ibn Umar, who said, “The senior companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) from amongst the pioneers of this Ummat, would not memorise the Qur`aan Majeed except a Surah or similar (to a Surah). However they were blessed with practicing on the Qur`aan. The children and blind ones from the latter part of this Ummat would recite the Qur`aan Majeed but they will be deprived of practicing upon it.”
It will be noted from the above that, firstly, Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) did not memorise Surah Baqarah, but rather he studied it and practiced upon it. He mastered its meanings and cultivated in himself the spirit and the Taqwa exhorted in the Surah. His slaughtering of a camel was in appreciation to Allah Ta`ala that after 12 years, he finally completed the study of the Surah and practiced it in totality.
It is most significant that he did not organize an ostentatious jalsah to cater for gluttony, riya and takabbur. It should be salutary for the votaries of these haraam jalsahs that not a single of the numerous Huffaaz among the Sahaabah and the Salfus Saalaheen had ever organized a jalsah to celebrate the achievement of the Ibaadat of Hifzul Qur’aan.
For those who wish to use Hadhrat Umar’s (radhiallahu anhu) episode as proof, should carefully consider the quality of their ‘hifz’ and also compare what they understood of even a single page of the Qur`aan Majeed. In fact, the true Haafez will be averse to any celebration or any other stunt to display his Ibaadat. It is between him and Allah Ta’ala.
If anyone can claim to have achieved what Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) had achieved, then they should have a camel slaughtered in emulation of his act and distribute the meat amongst the poor and not feed the rich bloated with detestable obesity! Nowhere is it mentioned that Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) had the camel cooked or that he invited all and sundry to a feast. Sharing food with the poor is in itself an act of Ibaadat, not so, inviting overstuffed rich people to a specially catered event!
Besides this one incident of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu), it is not mentioned anywhere that any Sahaabi or any among the Salafus Saaliheen followed this example. In fact, no person to date, can claim to have understood even a single page of the Qur`aan Majeed as Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) had understood Surah Baqarah! It therefore follows that none can claim to qualify in following this example of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu). However, there is nothing to prevent someone giving Sadqah in privacy without ostentation to the poor in appreciation of having achieved any Ni’mat of Allah Ta’ala. For expressing Shukr to Allah Ta’ala for a bounty, there is no need for a jalsah. In fact, these ostentatious jalsahs of israaf and riya are nugatory of Shukr.
Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) most certainly did not stop at only Surah Baqarah. He progressed further in his understanding of the Qur`aan Majeed and in making hifz. Did he then slaughter a camel after every Surah that he completed? Did he organize a jalsah or slaughter a camel or even a goat when he had completed Hifz of the Qur’aan Majeed? Did any other Sahaabi follow this example? Not even his own son, Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) emulated his father in this act of charity. It is clear that this act of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) was never designed to be a Sunnah to be followed by others. It was a spontaneous and a personal act of Shukr which was the result of his extreme joy at having accomplished the feat of understanding this long Surah.
What similarity can there ever be between this great achievement of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) and the extremely deficient memorising of the Qur`aan of anyone in these times, to warrant a jalsah which has no resemblance to even the slaughtering of a camel and it’s the distribution of the meat to the poor? The ‘proof’ cited is therefore baseless and ludicrous.
We do concede the merit of following a practice of a Sahaabi. However, overstepping the limits of the Shariah is not permissible. If a personal practice of a Sahaabi was not adopted by any other Sahaabah nor by any among the Salafus Saaliheen nor by the Ummah, then it will be perfidious of us, fourteen centuries after the event, to introduce it as a ‘sunnah’ or a custom to be observed at whim and fancy. By so doing, it will be implied that the entire Ummah from the age of the Sahaabah down Islam’s 14 century corridor, had erred by having abandoned what had to be observed.
Sadaqah in general, without ostentation, for Allah’s Pleasure and for expression of gratitude, is exhorted by Islam. There is no objection for this practice. But to fabricate a specific custom of ostentation, waste and pride in the guise of imitating a Sahaabi’s personal act is an inspiration of Shaitaan, and the shaitaaniyat is compounded when the custom such as these confounded jalsahs, has utterly no resemblance to the personal practice of the Sahaabi who is cited as the ‘proof’ for the bid’ah. What resemblance is there between an ostentatious, wasteful jalsah and the private slaughtering of a camel and distribution of the meat to the poor?
THE AUSTERITY OF HADHRAT UMAR (radhiallahu anhu)
The austerity and firmness of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) are known to every Muslim. So firm and steadfast was he on Deen, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said that even shaitaan avoided crossing paths with him.
Ibn Mulaykah (radhiallahu anhu) said: “On one occasion Utbah ibn Farqad spoke to Umar about his food. Umar said: “May you be distanced from me! Should I eat good food in my worldly life so that I can enjoy myself?”
The proponents of Jalsahs, partying and gluttonous feasting who misuse the name of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) and mismanipulate his act of Sadaqah to justify their waste and Bid`ah should reflect carefully on this statement of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) and compare it to their functions. Would he condone their functions of waste, pomp and show?
Once, his son, Hadhrat Abdullah (radhiallahu anhu) managed to save up a small sum of money to by some ghee. He invited his father, Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) for a meal. When Hadhrat Umar arrived and saw the ghee in the meat, he stood up and left because in his opinion, the ghee in the meat was israaf (waste). This was his zuhd and austerity. Those who baselessly present Hadhrat Umar’s camel-sadaqah, should also exhort and practice the type of austerity/zuhd for which Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) was proverbial.
It has been mentioned that the clothes of Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) were covered in patches. When he passed away, he only possessed two sets of clothing. Why do the Jalsah Bid`atees not follow these examples of the Great Khalifah?
When Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) was stabbed in the Musjid, and he was in his final moments, people rallied around him to assist. In this state, Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) noticed a villager with his izaar (lower garment) below his ankles. Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) admonished the person saying, “Lift your izaar, O youngster!” Today even the molvis, shaikhs and muballigheen are hideously careless regarding this Sunnah which is Waajb. Yet they audaciously present the Camel-Sadaqah episode which no one in the entire Ummah from the age of the Sahaabah had emulated.
The Companions of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) paid attention to even the minutest Sunnat of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). How much of attention do these Bid`atees pay to the length of their trousers and to the many other Sunnah acts? And yet when they host these haraam hifz Jalsahs and feasts, they have the audacity to say, “Hadhrat Umar slaughtered a camel!” Alas! What hypocrisy!!!
The concept of hifz of Qur`aan is not new to Islam. Had it not been for all the huffaaz throughout the ages, the Qur`aan Majeed would not have reached us. It is Allah Ta`ala’s way of safeguarding the words of His Kalaam. Besides hifz of Qur`aan, the Muhadditheen in the early ages of Islam would memorise Ahaadith. A Haafez of Hadith would not merely memorise a few dozen Ahaadith, neither a few hundred, nor a few thousand. A person would only be classified as a Haafez of Hadith when he had memorised hundreds of thousands of Ahaadith. We should also keep in mind that the Ahaadith they would memorise were not merely the text of the words stated by Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) but it would include the entire sanad (chain of narrators). Most of the huffaaz of Hadith would also be huffaaz of the Qur`aan. Besides them, there were millions of huffaaz of Qur`aan throughout the annals of Islamic history. Not a SINGLE incident has EVER been recorded of any one of these huffaaz of Qur`aan or Hadith hosting a Jalsah or even feeding people on the occasion of ‘completion’. There were countless of those huffaaz who were most deserving of accolades and occasions to celebrate their achievements because their accomplishments in these fields were truly great achievements. But not a SINGLE one celebrated with a Jalsah or feast.
EVIL GAINING TRACTION
Exactly in keeping with the modus operandi of shaitaan, the perpetrators of Bid`ah are never satisfied with just one consistent haraam act. They must degenerate into another and another until they find themselves completely immersed in deviation. May Allah Ta`ala guide them out of their sinkholes of bid`ah and dhalaal.
Recently in Benoni, the chieftains of ignoramuses – the Ulama-e-Soo – have introduced a Hifz Jalsah for a girl! Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raajioon.
The depths of error and evil into which the Ulama and masses have sunk nowadays are lamentable. Their minds have truly become so convoluted that they can no longer distinguish right from wrong; left from right, halaal from haraam!!!
Modesty has always been one of bastions of Islamic Morality. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Every religion has its distinctive characteristic, and the distinctive characteristic of Islam is modesty.” In fact, even the kuffaar females of yore practiced modesty. Even the kuffaar women would dress modestly and they used to remain in their homes. Nowadays they have changed and – lo and behold – our copycat Muslims have to follow them into their lizard-holes.
Hadhrat Saeed Khudri (radhiallahu anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We Asked: ‘O Rasulullah! Do you mean Jews and Christians?’ He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied: ‘Who else?’” [Saheeh Muslim]
Not only is the concept of Hifz Jalsahs and feasts alien to Islam, the thoroughly distasteful haraam act of hosting a Hifz Jalsah for a girl exceeds all bounds of immorality and depravity.
Not only are these people satisfied with challenging Allah Rabbul Izzat by shamelessly putting a girl on show, they are now challenging Him by doing it right in His House!!! Although they advertised separate venues for men and women, the ‘main’ program with the miscreant ‘molvi’ who gave the talk was held in a Musjid! Regardless of the mock ‘separate venues’, the jalsah remains haraam, and the participation of the men and women is haraam.
That woeful day is not far off when they will have the girls reciting right there in the Musjid, in front of all and sundry. This is not far-fetched. May Allah Ta`ala save this Ummat, but the time is soon when the deviant ulama-e-soo will allow women to perform Salaat in the Musaajid alongside men. Then they will allow girls to complete their ‘hifz’ at the mimbar! This event in Benoni is a precursor to that fateful day!
The very Qur`aan Majeed that the faasiqah supposedly memorised was not evidence enough for all to glean lesson from:
· The Qur`aan Majeed orders women to remain glued to their homes
· The Qur`aan Majeed instructs women not to make public displays of themselves
· The Qur`aan Majeed instructs women not to speak to men in alluring tones
· The Qur`aan Majeed instructs women to be as unobtrusive and silent as possible
· The Qur`aan Majeed speaks of at least 24 women, but only mentions one by name.
The notice advertising this haraam function shamelessly mentions the girl’s name. Islamic modesty dictates that a woman’s name and voice are part of hijab and needs to be concealed and disguised. Ulama have written that even basic items like a woman’s shoes should be concealed from the sight of strange men, lest his heart becomes diseased with lust. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih) has stated that it is not permissible for a man to immediately sit in the same chair upon which a strange woman sat. When our Deen and the Fuqaha have exercised so much caution against lewdness and immodesty, how can it be acceptable to advertise the name of a girl? To add fuel to that fire, this advert was shamelessly placed inside the Musaajid!
Allah Ta`ala clearly addresses the wives of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and thereby all Muslim women in His Kalaam, “If you keep your duty to Allah, then be not soft in speech (i.e. do not speak in alluring tones to men), lest he in whose heart is a disease (of lust) should be moved with desire.” In this Aayat, Allah Ta`ala makes manifest the desire that lurks in the hearts of men. If they can be excited and aroused by the voice of women, they will also be attracted by the mere mention of a female’s name.
It boggles the mind how these molvis – bandits of the Deen and snatchers of Imaan – can ever initiate such events. By what stretch of imagination can they justify this obscenity? They have truly lost their way.
Alas! Modesty has left the hearts of those people in Benoni. They have given birth to this new filthy and lewd fitnah of Girl’s Hifz Jalsahs. The faasiqah ‘haafizah’ and her parents should hang their heads in shame for the disgrace they heaped on themselves in the Eyes of Allah Ta`ala and His Malaaikah. As for the molvis and trustees of the Musjid who allowed this obscenity to take place in their midst and under their watch, all are mal’oon and depraved.
They have acted out the Hadith where Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said that when modesty leaves you, then (you will) do as you please.
May Allah Ta`ala guide this Ummah to return to the Siraatul Mustaqeem and may He keep us safe from the traps of shaitaan and nafs.