I really dislike calling it the “Tablighi Jama’at”, simply because there does exist no sect of that name. It’s the blessed work and responsibilty of every single Muslim. That’s why I’ve until now avoided to post entries or articles making this effort business of a special group.
But it’s none the less important to refuse the false accusations spread by ignorant brother and sisters, so I just found this excellent article defending the means of this effort and the book used Faza’il-e-A’maal.
A brief introduction:
Tableegh literally means ‘to convey’. Contextually, it refers to conveying the message of Islam. This is the sunnah of all the prophets. The most important rule of tableegh is hikmah. Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
ادع إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة
Invite (people) to the way of your lord with wisdom and good counsel.(Verse: 16:125)
Whosoever does tableegh must adopt hikmah. It is only then, that people will understand and accept.
The system conducted by the Tableegh Jama’at was initiated by Moulana Ilyas Saheb (Rahimahullah). He observed that people were too engrossed in their worldly activities and had forgotten the objective for which they had been sent to this world. He realised that they had to free some time from their worldly engagements, to sit and ponder about Allah Ta’ala and their purpose for being sent to this world. Therefore, he started calling people to the masjid, and reminded them about Allah Ta’ala and His greatness. Initially people rebuked him, they discouraged him and used to say that they had no time for all of this; but as time went by, they realised the truth behind it and the need for it, and started joining him in calling others towards Allah Ta’ala. Thereafter, when more people started joining this work, a few guidelines had to be set, to make sure that the work was done in a proper manner. Different time periods of 3 days, 40 days, etc. were set, so that people knew for how long they had to be away, and could make the necessary arrangements for that period.
Their beliefs and objectives:
Those that are engaged in the work of tableegh are from the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. They do not have any beliefs that are exclusive to them. Each one is allowed to follow his own mazhab, as long as he does not move away from the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah.
Their objective is that each and every Muslim adopts the Islamic way in all aspects of life. They do not advice anyone to leave all their daily activities and join this work, but they encourage people to take out some time from their daily engagements so that the rest of the time could be spent in accordance to the teachings of Islam. Spending time in the path of Allah is not the objective of the work, but rather the objective is to adopt the Islamic lifestyle whilst engaged in daily activities, whether one is at home with family or at his work place; spending time in the path of Allah Ta’ala only acts as a means to fulfil this objective.
Proof from Quran and Hadith:
There are numerous verses of the Quran and the Ahadith of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that support the practice of tableegh. Hereunder are a few of them:
From the Holy Quran:
1.ادع إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة
Invite (people) to the way of your lord with wisdom and good counsel.[Verse: 16:125]
2.ولتكن منكم أمة يدعون إلى الخير ويأمرون بالمعروف وينهون عن المنكر
And there has to be a group of people from among you who call towards good and prevent from evil.[Verse: 3:104]
3.ومن أحسن قولا ممن دعا إلى الله وعمل صالحا وقال إنني من المسلمين
And who is better in utterance than the one who called people towards Allah, and acts righteously and says, “I am one of those who submit themselves (to Allah Ta’ala).(Verse: 41:33)
From the Ahadith of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):
4.فقال أبو سعيد أما هذا فقد قضى ما عليه سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول من رأى منكم منكرا فليغيره بيده فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه وذلك أضعف الإيمان
Hazrat Abu Sa’eed (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that he heard Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying, “Whosoever witnesses a forbidden act being committed, he should prevent it by the use of his hands; if he is unable to do so, then he should prevent it with his tongue; if he is unable to do so, he should at least consider it a vice in his heart; and this is a very low level of Iman”. Sahih Muslim Vol.2 Pg.211/2 (Darul Ma’rifah)
5.عن النعمان بن بشير رضي الله عنهما عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال مثل القائم على حدود الله والواقع فيها كمثل قوم استهموا على سفينة فأصاب بعضهم أعلاها وبعضهم أسفلها فكان الذين في أسفلها إذا استقوا من الماء مروا على من فوقهم فقالوا لو أنا خرقنا في نصيبنا خرقا ولم نؤذ من فوقنا فإن يتركوهم وما أرادوا هلكوا جميعا وإن أخذوا على أيديهم نجوا ونجوا جميعا
It has been reported by Nu’man bin Bashir (Radhiyallahu Anhu) that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “There are people who do not transgress the limits (laws) of Allah Ta’ala, and there are others who do so. They are like two groups who boarded a ship; one of them settled on the upper deck, and the other on the lower deck of the ship. When the people of the lower deck needed water, they said, “Why should we cause trouble to the people of the upper deck when we can have plenty of water by making a hole in our deck”. Now, if the people of the upper deck do not prevent this group from such foolishness, all of them will perish; but if they stop them, they will be saved”.
Sahih Al Bukhari Vol.3 Pg.152 (Darul fikr)
One may question that the above mentioned Aayaat and Ahadith only prove the practice of tableegh. They do not prove the manner in which it is coordinated by the Tabligh Jama’at (e.g. specifying the time period of 40 days, stipulating time for ta’lim and gusht, etc.).
The answer to this is simple. There are some commandments in Shari’ah in which the method is not stipulated. For example, it is a commandment of Shariah to acquire knowledge, but the manner in which the Madrasas are established today, is not proven through Quran and Hadith. Up until the recent past, the scholars used to teach in the masjids of their respective towns and villages. The students had to go to different scholars to learn the different sciences. No arrangements of food or boarding were made. However, the zeal for knowledge had decreased as time went by, and the scholars felt it necessary to establish the system of Darul Ulooms (Madrasas) as is established today. Nobody regards such a system to be bid’ah.
Similarly, Shariah has commanded us to do the work of tableegh. This work used to be done on an individual basis. The learned people used to preach the others and prevent them from all vices. As time went on, vice started prevailing, and people had stopped doing the work on an individual basis; therefore, a collective effort had to take place, and rules had to be set up for the work to carry on in order.
The outcome of Tableegh:
Anyone with a sound mind and fair thinking will have no option but to accept that the work of Tableegh has been responsible, to a great extent, in the reformation that has taken place in the Muslim Ummah, in the last few decades. Tableegh Jama’at has played a big role in the establishment of madrasas in the last few years. Similarly, it has influenced many Muslim men and women in adapting their attire and appearance in accordance to sunnah. It acts as a deterrent for the Muslim youth from going to cinemas, night clubs, discothèques, raves and all other places of sin. Cricket players like Sa’eed Anver and pop singers like Junaid Jamshed, who were drowned in sin, have now become the means for spreading Islam. Tabligh Jama’at plays an important role in preaching Islam to those who have even forgotten the kalimah, like those staying in the Kazakhistan, , etc. and the descendants of Arabs staying in South America. Many non Muslims have also accepted Islam through this effort.
Fazail-e-A’mal, A brief introduction:
This kithab was compiled by Hazrath Shaikh Zakariya (Rahimahullah). It consists of Aayaats of the Quran, Ahadith, stories of the Sahabah and stories of the pious predecessors that explain the virtues of good deeds. The object of the book is to encourage the Muslims on doing good deeds, and not to explain any ruling of Shari’ah. Shaikh Zakariya (Rahimahullah) was not the first to write a kithab of this manner, but the likes of this kithab have been written by the authors of the past, like Kithab-u-Zuhd by Abdullah bin Mubarak (Rahimahullah), Fadhaiulul Quran by Imam Shafi’ (Rahimahullah), Al Adabul Mufrad by Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah), Al Targheeb Wal Tarheeb by Ibnul Qayyim Munziri (Rahimahullah), etc.
The role of Fazail-e-A’mal in Tableegh Jama’at:
It is a total misconception that Fazail-e-A’mal is the guide book of Tableegh Jama’at. This book only consists of the virtues of good deeds. The concept of Tableegh Jama’at was not derived from this book, nor is the jama’at dependant on this book to do the work of tableegh. They thought it necessary to stipulate such a book that would encourage people towards good deeds, and this book served the purpose; therefore, the people who join this work are advised to stipulate a specific time for the reading of this book. However, it is not compulsory upon each and every person who joins this effort to read this book. Many of the Arabs who are doing this effort chose to read Riyadu-s-Saliheen instead, and they are allowed to carry on with this work. Similarly, Riyadu-s-Saliheen is also read in many of the masjids in Colombo on certain days of the week. Therefore, it is totally incorrect to regard this book as the guide book of Tableegh Jama’at.
Some objections made against Fazail-e-A’mal:
A common comment made against Fazail-e-A’mal is that some of the narrations mentioned in it are weak and fabricated. This comment is not totally correct, as there are no fabricated narrations in this book. There are dha’eef (weak) narrations in Fazail-e-A’mal. However, it is important to point out that the word dha’eef, literally translated as ‘weak’, is a terminology and should not be understood in its general sense. Its application is based on the rules explained in the sciences of hadith. Moreover, weak narrations are not acceptable only in regards to aqeedah and the rulings of Islamic jurisprudence. Majority of the scholars have accepted weak narrations as far as virtues of good deeds are concerned. Even Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) has brought weak narrations in his book, Al Adabul Mufrad, which shows that he also accepts weak narrations in regards to virtues of good deeds.
Some scholars claim that there are such narrations in Fazail-e-A’mal, especially in Fazail-e-Durood, that prove that the author had beliefs of shirk and believed in the Omnipresence of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). These are false allegations made against the author, who was one of the most prominent scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah.Firstly, such allegations are made mostly by Arab scholars, who are unaware of the difference between the Deobandis and the Barelwis. They regard both these groups to be one, as both of them are from Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, and attribute the beliefs of Barelwis to the Deobandis. It is some of the Barelwis who believe in grave-worshipping and the Omnipresence of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and these beliefs have been attributed to the Deobandis. Some of these Arab scholars, like Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen (Rahimahullah), retracted from what they said after the actual situation was explained to them. Secondly, the author has mentioned references for each and every narration or incident he has mentioned. Therefore, any comments regarding these narrations or incidents should be attributed to the author of the reference provided, as Shaikh Zakariya (Rahimahullah) has absolved himself by giving the reference. Thirdly, most of the incidents mentioned in Fazail-e-Durood are of pious predecessors. It is incorrect to say that these are fabricated Ahadith, as the word Hadith is used for the sayings of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is also incorrect to confirm the beliefs of the author through these incidents, as the object of the author was only to emphasise on the virtues of durood mentioned in them. Moreover, most of the incidents mentioned are dreams, and no rulings of Shari’ah can be derived from dreams. It is farfetched to confirm someone’s faith from a dream, of another person, mentioned in his kithab. Lastly, most of the copies of Fazail-e-A’mal do not have Fazail-e-Durood attached to them, and it is not considered as part of the kithab-reading stipulated by the Tableegh Jama’at.
It is incorrect to compare the Shias, Qadiani, etc. with Tableegh Jama’at as we have clarified above that Tableegh Jama’at is not based on the narrations of Fazail-e-A’mal; and none of the narrations of Fazail-e-A’mal are fabricated.
To end thereof, one should not be misguided with all the false accusations on this jama’at, but rather look at how the Ummah has benefited through this jama’at. We should always supplicate to Allah Ta’ala to show us the right path and save us from the misguidance of Shaitan. Moreover, we should always bear in mind that the pious and the learned amongst the Ummah cannot be unanimous upon something that is false or not part of Islam, as Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has mentioned:
إن الله لا يجمع أمتي أو قال أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم على ضلالة ويد الله مع الجماعة ومن شذ شذ إلى النار
Allah Ta’ala will not unite the Ummah of Muhammed (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) upon misguidance. Allah’s help is with majority. Whoever deviates from them will be thrown into the fire of Jahannum.
Sunan Al Tirmizi Vol.2 Pg.39 (H.M. Sa’eed Company)
A thought provoking act:
How will one account for the many thousands of people all around the world, Arabs and non-Arabs, and of all works of life, be they great Ulama, Muftis, intellectuals or professionals, to be associated with this noble work. They all cannot be wrong. They must have encountered something positive in this work for them to be part of it. The solution is, come within and see for yourself.
And Allah knows best.
Ml. M. Jawed Iqbal (Sri Lankan),
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by: Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah (South Africa)