Dancing Sufis: an Innovation?

Regarding the Sufis that dance and chant Allah’s names, and recite blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ , their practices have been indeed passed down from the time of the Salaf.

One may argue “yeh but the Prophet sal Allahu layhi wasallam never did it, the main Sabaahah never did” and of course my reply is that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, nor the Sahaabah never forbade it, otherwise you would have to give an evidence of where, then most likely I would get the answer that it is bid’ah and was never done before in the time of the Salaf and I would then argue, “wrong” and narrate to you a well-known incident that happened in the very masjid of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, so let us skip all the long talk and go directly to that.

مسند أحمد – بَاقِي مُسْنَدِ الْمُكْثِرِينَ – ما يقولون قالوا يقولون محمد عبد صالح

عَبْدُ الصَّمَدِ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادٌ عَنْ ثَابِتٍ عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ…اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَيَرْقُصُونَ وَيَقُولُونَ مُحَمَّدٌ عَبْدٌ صَالِحٌ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ…مَا يَقُولُونَ قَالُوا يَقُولُونَ مُحَمَّدٌ عَبْدٌ صَالِحٌ المزيد

Imam Ahmad relates from Anas (RadiAllahu anhu), with a chain of transmission all of whose narrators are those of Bukhaari except Hammad ibn Salama, whois one of the narrators of Muslim,that the Ethiopians danced in front of the Messenger of Allah , dancing and saying [in their language], “Muhammad is a righteous servant.” The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam said, “What are they saying?” And they said,“‘Muhammad is a righteous servant’” (Musnad al-Imam Ahmad. 6 vols. Cairo 1313/1895.Reprint. Beirut:

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam never forbade dancing, not their praise of him. Those who teach such practices are bid’ah and not found within the first three generations are simply the liars of this deen, and the enemies of the people of truth. I ask you all here, not to be from amonst them with the above rhetoric, that most likely you have merely parroted because that’s what you have been taught by some deviant Wahhabi who makes it is daily chore to hate on the Sufis.

It does not matter if the Prophet sal allahu alayhi wasallam or the four main Sahaabah radiyaAllahu anhum did it or not. The fact of the matter is, that it was done in front of them, and was never condemned. So those who condemn are actually saying they know better than the Prophet and the Sahaabah, and are in fact introducing an innovation into the deen by voicing their condemnation as it was not done in the Prophets or the Sahaabah’s time!

A for the accusations made against Shaykh Naazim and Shaykh Hisham Kayybani, I have no time to chase them, may Allah reward them if they are slandered [in which they too often are] and may Allah forgive them if they are mistaken. I have benefited greatly from them both, so I have no right to be picking their faults, especially given the fact they are more pious and God-fearing than me. I do nt want to be a son of Dhul Khuraysarah by raising such objections against people who are apparently higher in rank and do more worship than myself. Besides, the blood of the scholars is poison and I am not going to delve into backbiting Sunni Ulamaa. There is too much of a risk if I am wrong.

People that are guilty of slander cannot walk the Sirat on judgement day, they fall into the depths of hell and Allah keeps them there until they can proof their accusations. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that gambling is haraam, yet Muslims do it commonly without even noticing that they have just gambled away with their salvation. Through one such statement, one may not be able to enter Jannah, this is the gravity of this whole issue.

9 thoughts on “Dancing Sufis: an Innovation?

  1. Asalamu Alaykum Brothers and Sisters. My name is AbderRafee McCamery (formerly Richard McCamery) Muslim now since around 24 Years alhamdu li Lah. I believe that one day in the future insha ALLAH Muslims will no longer dispute is Music or Dance is Haram or Halal. Islam will evolve just by straight logic.
    I will use the example of Christianity (especialy Protestant). I was raised in a very very religious and strict practicing family containing preachers, pastors, evangalists etc. My Mom, Uncles and Aunts were 100% against listening to music, that is to say music labled as soul, dance, jazz, classical, ALL MUSIC which was not “The Spirituals” such as Mahalia Jackson, or other GOSPEL singers. DECADES LATER it has been VERY CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD AND ACCEPTED that MUSIC IS NOT SINFUL IF YOUR LYRICS ARE GLORIFING GOD. Today there is Jazz Gospel, Rock Gospel, Soulful Gospel, so many styles of Gospel for a Christian public. There songs are in praise of God and not ot lust, alcohool, drugs, sex, no no no no nos
    THEY LIFT THERE VOICES AND INSTRUMENTS (all kinds of instruments) IN TOTAL GLORIFICATION TO GOD. INSTRUMENTS DO NOT HAVE SOULS THEY ARE ONLY UTILITIES TO CARRY A MELODY or SOOTH AND RELAX. There is absolutely no comparison with mainstream music played on radio or discotechs, clubs and bars all over the world. The objective is not in seduction between men and women with lustful lyrics, etc. So…If a person grabs their guitar, or sits at their piano and performing a beautiful song if reference to our Prophet (pbh) or expressing his or her devout love for Allah (SWA) or about the beauty of Islam it would be completely ridiculous and absurd to lable this action Haram. So let’s not mix things up, one thing has nothing to do with the other, and ALLAH knows best what is in the heart and our true intentions. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you…eventualy my Mom, Uncles and Aunts ALLLLLLLL enjoyed listening to Gospel singers which they would have never ever imagined listening to twenty or thirty years ago. Radical change from Gospel pioneers the likes of James Clevland, Shirly Ceaser, and Mahalia Jackson, to the now well know Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, and other Christian performers.
    And just a final note: That NEW Gospel music has enabled Protestant Christianity to gain more followers amongst the youth, even once fervent Catholics have switched to become Protestants because the Catholic church has become so sad and humdrum. Only men and women in their sixties, seventies and eighties attend Mass. Islam is soooooo powerful, intriging, and deep that it is the fastest growing religion in the world and will without a doubt be “THE” number one religion in the world. Now I imagine that evolving through this musical delimma will only bring even more youth into the UMMA…..insha Allah.

  2. The Hadeeth from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud Regarding Loud Dhickr

    Adhahabi, said it’s weak and the hadith master of the salaaf as salahin, yahya ibn maeen, said the chain is daeef.ibn Hajar Al asqalaani tears that chain up, The athaar in question, as the second sister says, is fatally weak and Imam Ahmad (r) said it was matruk (forged). What’s interesting is that Sayyidna Abdul Rahman Abdillah ibn Mas’ud, (r) was known to participate in group dhikr.

    This report is inauthentic.

    Al-Darimi in the Muqaddima of his Sunan, narrated from al-Hakam ibn al-Mubarak who narrates from `Amr ibn Salima al-Hamadani.This `Amr ibn Yahya ibn `Amr ibn Salama al- Hamadani is da`if( Weak narrator). Ibn Ma`in saw him and said: “his narrations are worth nothing”; Ibn Kharrash: “he is not accepted; al-Dhahabi listed him among those who are weak and whose hadith is not retained in al-Du`afa’ wal-Matrukin (p. 212 #3229), Mizan al-I`tidal (3:293), and al-Mughni fil-Du`afa’ (2:491); and al-Haythami declared him weak (da`if) in Majma` al-Zawa’id, chapter entitled Bab al-`Ummal `ala al-Sadaqa

    Further, its authenticity was questioned by al-Suyuti in al-Hawi (2:31); al-Hifni in Fadl al-Tasbih wal-Tahlil as cited by al-Lacknawi, Sibahat al-Fikr (p. 25 and 42-43).

    Further, it is belied by Imam Ahmad’s narration in al-Zuhd from Abu Wa’il who said: “Those who claim that `Abd Allah [= Ibn Mas`ud] forbade dhikr [are wrong]: I never sat with him in any gathering except he made dhikr of Allah in it.” Cited by al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (1:457), al-Suyuti in Natijat al-Fikr fil-Jahri bil-Dhikr in al-Hawi, al-Nabulusi in Jam` al-Asrar (p. 66), al-Hifni in Fadl al-Tasbih wal- Tahlil as cited in al-Lacknawi, Sibahat al-Fikr (p. 25).

  3. What did Imam Ash-Shafi’i (d. 204) say about Sufis?

    Imam Ash-Shafi’i said: “I accompanied the Sufis and received from them but three words: their statement that time is a sword: if you do not cut it, it cuts you; their statement that if you do not keep your ego busy with truth it will keep you busy with falsehood; their statement that deprivation is immunity”.

    Reference: (Imam As-Suyuti relates it in “Ta’yid Al-Haqiqa al-‘Aliyya, page 15).

  4. What did Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241) say about Sufis?

    Imam Ahmad said: “I don’t know people better than them.” Someone said to him: “They listen to music and they reach states of ecstasy.” He said: “Do you prevent them from enjoying an hour with Allah?”

    Reference: (Muhammad ibn Ahmad As-Saffarini Al-Hanbali (d.1188) related it from Ibrahim ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Qalanasi. in the book “Ghidha’ al-albab li-sharh manzumat al-adab” Cairo, Matba’at an-Najah, 1324/1906, 1:120).

  5. Pingback: Just a recap of all the articles so far offered at www.thewahhabithreat.com | The Wahhabi Threat

  6. I really enjoy coming to your site.Masallah,keep up good work.I thought i would share this with your readers about music in Islam written by Afroz Ali Founder and President of Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences & Human Development, based in Sydney, Australia. He is a qualified Imam in the Islamic Tradition, having studied under Traditional Islam and received licence to teach in various Islamic Sciences.
    Here is the Imaan response to a question-

    Is music allowed in Islam?

    The question of music is a complex one and there are valid differences of opinion surrounding it. As a quick introductory statement, we as Muslims must realise that understand the Fiqh (Legal Ruling) of any matter is not as simple as quoting a Qur’anic verse or pointing to a Hadeeth. In fact, the Companions, and definitely the two generations following them (Tabi’een and Tabi’ Tabi’een) refrained from quoting from the Sunnah or the Qur’an without proper analysis of many many issues, e.g., linguistic proofs, context of revelation as well as a narration of the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah), absolute and qualified narrations, universality and particularity of verses and narrations, etc. These are deeply developed sciences. The points below are the summaries of rulings based on such a thorough understanding of the Shari’ah, rather than those who simply claim to quote a verse or a Hadith as proof.
    Further, it is also important to note that music and singing are essentially two different things, not mutually exlusive but certainly not dependent of each other. In other words, one does not have to have music to sing, but at the same time they are both musical matters.
    In regards to the question itself, the matter can be broken down into the following categories of assessment, each holding its own ruling and differences of opinion.

    We will start from those matters unanimously agreed upon to be prohibited.

    1. The kinds of singing which are unequivocally prohibited are those which contain the celebration of the material world and includes sexual connotation and that which is also inappropriate in speaking, e.g., swearing, sexually expletive language, and the like. In Fiqh this is usually referred to as Tarab. Almost all Hollywood (and Bollywood…) songs will fit in here.

    2. The kinds of singing which are also unequivocally prohibited, are those that remove a person away from the worship and appropriate presence with Allah, e.g., leading a person to be involved with cross-gender mixing, lazing around (rather than taking a short break to relax from exhaustion. In such cases, as we will see below, there is permission to listen to musical matters that glorify Allah and praise the Prophet), ignoring one’s rights and responsibilities, and the like.

    3. Those kinds of singing which are unequivocally permitted are those which glorify Allah and praise the Prophet. Much can be said about this, but it will be a whole book! So in summary, this is usually taken to be permissible as a respite rather than the norm of “iPod in the ear 24/7″. It is also permissible to have such appropriate singing of happiness (rather than directly about Allah and His Messenger) that soothe the heart in a Halal manner for festivals and weddings. These kinds of singing are usually referred to as inshad and sama’.

    4. Those kinds of singing which are general, and are neither prohibited nor specifically about goodness and happiness (but may be e.g., about politics or environment, etc), the majority of Scholars hold that it is permissible only in its context rather than a habit to listen and enjoy. If it is habituated and leads an individual to ignore their rights and responsibilities, then it is not permitted. Almost all Hollywood and Bollywood songs fit in here.

    Now to music:
    1. The kind of music referred to as malahi are abhorred and prohibited. This kind of music is simply for entertainment for dance, frivolous enjoyment and the like.

    2. Those kinds of music from the duff and similar drums (under the category of ma’azif) are unequivocally permissible. Of course, the songs attached to it must be permissible as outlined above. Further the use of the drums are unequivocally permissible for festivals and weddings and joyous times.

    3. The critical difference of opinion is regarding different kinds of musical instruments; it is incorrect to suggest that all musical instruments are held to be prohibited in Islam. The fact is that the major prohibition of music is because at the time of the Prophet, they very often were used in the context of malahi – (1) above, hence easily claimed that it is prohibited in all circumstances. But this is not the case. As such (and the same for singing with or without music):
    i) If the music is part of glorifying Allah and His Messenger, this is held to be permissible by the majority of Scholars;
    ii) If the music is for entertainment and pastime, it is prohibited;
    iii) If the music is for soothing and serenity of the mind which helps one to remember Allah, as long as it does not remove one from obeying Allah or one’s rights and responsibilities, there is a significant difference of opinion, and is best to minimise such involvement if not avoided. If you saw someone listening to such a musical matter, do not place judgment on them nor force your opinion on others regarding this category.

    In conclusion, avoid all singing, music, gatherings of entertainment, except for gatherings of melodious remembrance of Allah and His Messenger. And, be cautious if singing and music which are of spiritually happiness (not material) and also leads one to remember Allah and only listen sparingly if one could not avoid it at all.
    Insha Allah that gives you a practical set of guidelines and the scope of permissibility as well as definite prohibitions and as such help you to live your life better in the presence of Allah Ta’ala.

    • Salamun alaykum

      I am not a mufti, however I have noticed a few things about this issue.

      even though a great number of scholars are against music, I cannot recall anyone of them explicitly declaring music in general to be haraam. This is most likely because the word music has not been used, and the word haraam has not been used.

      The word they used was the equivalent to song and dance, and instruments and this issue when looked at it by the actual definitions used starts to unfold and branch out even more, allowing room for much interpretation.

      We can find that the songs and dance of the jahiliyyah peoples are strictly forbidden and even punishable by death if these songs are against the deen due to their insulting nature.

      Yet the songs and the dance of the believers was tolerated by the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam on several occasions.

      Likewise, musical instruments, we find that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam spoke against a number of musical instruments, such as flutes, other wind instruments, bells, etc.

      Yet we do find the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam again tolerating some kinds of musical instruments as he lay to rest whilst some people of his house beat drums in celebration,and when Abu Bakr as-Siddiq entered the room, he said “Mizmaaru as-Shaytaan in front of Rasul Allah???” The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wasallam turned over on his side and softly said “Yaa Abu Bakr, leave them be”

      I do not even know the authenticity of the ahaadeeth that mentioned the blameworthy musical instruments. Therefore, I cannot say they are haraam, and I have not seen any scholar explicitly say they are haraam. The most I have seen is the word tahreem and this can mean a prohibition, yet it can also mean that musical instruments are a form of makruh, as in makruh tahreemi, i.e. disliked and close to haram.

      I have not seen anything to concrete the issue.

      Another thing that I have found is that the great Imaam’s condemned music strictly based on that it is part of time wasting. Yet I cannot fully take this position otherwise I would be blaming the Ansaar’s act of greeting the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam upon his arrival to Madinah, and I would be prohibiting something that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam has not been seen nor heard to totally prohibit. In circumstances he tolerated it, and even took some entertainment in it, though he would never sing, dance or use musical instruments himself.

      I do not believe the scholars meant that music in general was totally haraam and Shaytaanic.

      I just say there is more to this issue than we really know and Allah knows best

      wa as-Salam, your brother in Islam

You are welcome to comment and ask a valid questions, however there are a few guidelines and conditions to your comments being approved. Messages like "your a heretic, you do not know what you are talking about, you have no knowledge, you are an enemy of Islam, stupid Sufi" are usually rejected. Consider your words carefully..

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