Monday, November 30, 2009

The Sufi Hadra - Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

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. ]


Shaykh Amjad Rasheed:

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