Thursday, 14 December 2006

Zikr - Loud or Silent ? / Individual or Congregational ?

The amal of congregational and collective zikr is an issue which must be addressed according to the Laws of Shari'ah. This posting intends to explain this InshaAllah.

To begin - "Zikr" in Islamic terms refers to the Remembrance of Allah SWT.

The Qur'an highlights the importance of zikr:

"O You who believe! Remember Allah abundantly..." (Surah Al-Ahzaab)

The importance of Zikr has also been highlighted in Ahadith. In one hadith, the Sahabi, Abdullah ibn Busr RA narrates that one person once asked the Prophet SAW:

"O Rasulullah SAW, the laws of Islam are many, inform me of only one thing that I may follow (i.e. I may put greatest importance and stay steadfast on)."

Rasulullah SAW replied:

"Keep your tongue moist in the Zikr of Allah." (Ibn Majah: Volume 4: Page 244)


Abu Hurairah RA narrates in one Hadith Qudsi (Divine Hadith) that Rasulullah SAW said - that Allah Ta’ala said:

"I deal with my slave according to the thought he has of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers me individually, I remember him individually." (Riwayat Bukhari)


Anas bin Malik RA narrates that Rasulullah SAW said:

"No group of people gather to make Zikr of Allah Ta’ala with sincerity except that a caller from the skies announces after the Zikr. Leave in the condition that you have been forgiven of your sins and your evils being converted to virtue." (Musnad Ahmad, No. 9864)

*Note: Zikr above also refers to congregational sittings where the name of Allah is glorified and the greatness of Allah is described - this includes Da'wah gatherings and Ilmi gatherings.


Abu Hurairah RA narrates that Rasulullah SAW said:

"When you pass the Gardens of Paradise, pluck the fruits."

Rasulullah SAW was asked:

"What are the Gardens of Paradise Ya Rasulullah (SAW)?"

He (SAW) replied:

"The Masaajid (the mosque)."

He (SAW) was asked about plucking its fruits, he (SAW) said:

"Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Laa Ilaaha illaallaah and Allaahu Akbar." (Riwayat Mishkaat)


Abdullah ibn Abbas RA narrates that loud zikr after Fardh Salaat was the practice during the time of Rasulullah (SAW). (Bukhari: Volume 1: Page 116)


The special types of Zikr conducted by certain Ulama are not exactly proven from the Qur'an and Ahadith but they are not prohibited too. These types of Zikr are adopted as a spiritual remedy and for spiritual upliftment.

To understand this, let us explain by analogy. Some foods are consumed for medical purposes and administered by a Physician as a physical remedy. Similarly, Zikr is also administered by spiritual mentors according to the spiritual needs of the individual.

A child in the basic Madrasah is taught Nourani Qaaidah (similar to Muqaddam in Malaysia) to enable him to recite the Qur'an. Just as no proof is required for the specifics of administering medication and teaching Nourani Qaaidah, similarly, as long as there is no express or indicative prohibition in Shari'ah, it will be permissible, just as administering medication and teaching Nourani Qaaidah are permissible.

However, in order to avoid imitating a musical chorus, the gathering should not make Zikr in unison.

From the aforegoing discussion, apart from Zikr being encouraged and meritorious from the jurisprudence and administrative point of view, the specific types of Zikr in the mosque, at most is Mubaah (permissible) and the Shar’ee principles surrounding a Mubaah act must be adhered to.

Nevertheless, to personally indicate that collective loud zikir is an injunction in Deen will tantamout to Bid'ah - i.e. a cursed innovation. Thus the awareness and alertness of us Muslims to be ever steadfast in the implications of Mubaah practices, especially nowadays, when lack of understanding of Deen persist. This is the importance of us being in contact with the Ulama and being active in the work of da'wah. 'Ilm and Da'wah destroys Bid'ah and Batil. InshaAllah.

Thus, it is not correct to impose or prohibit one another from a Mubaah (permissible) act. Imposing will be purporting the act to be compulsory and prohibiting it will be purporting it to be prohibited. Any Mubaah act being purported as compulsory or prohibited projects an incorrect and unbalanced view, thus, creating the possibility of distortion in Deen. Therefore, those participating in programmes should not regard the specific programme as Fardh, Waajib or Sunnah or should not impose on others to participate. Similarly, those who do not participate should not condemn those participating in programmes.

Secondly, the Mubaah act should not be of any inconvenience to another person. It should not disturb a person performing Solat, reciting the Qur'an or a Mu'takif (a person in I'tikaf) sleeping in the mosque.

THE BEST has also been established in Ahadith:

Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas RA reports that Nabi SAW said:

"The best Zikr is that one which is recited softly, and the best sustenance is that one which is sufficient (for one’s necessities).” (Musnad Ahmad & Baihaqi)


Since disturbing others could lead to disputes - the Masjid's trustees / committee members should efficiently exercise their authority in regulating such affairs. Just as it is Mubaah to recite the Qur'an audibly in the Masjid, the reciter would be restricted to do so during the congregational Solat. Similarly, Zikr programmes are Mubaah and must be regulated by the Trustees in order to avoid any possible disputes. The Aalim and his followers are bound to respect the administration principles of the Masjid and if they do not abide by the principles set out by the Trustees, the Trustees can terminate such programmes. Such restriction will not fall within the parameters of oppressing and restricting one from taking the name of Allah in the Masjid as the Trustees will not be prohibiting them from performing their Fardh Solats and remembering Allah therein.

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