Tablighi Jamaat and taking Bai’ah.

Q. What is the opinion of the Darul Uloom on the Tablighi Jamaat. As I want to take part in the activities that these brothers do 3 days etc. but another brother in the mosque told me that they are a misguided sect and he referred me to the website where indeed they are listed as misguided. But this is where I need the opinion of Mufti Waseem as I respect his opinion very much and admire the way he answers questions in a logical sequence. Also could you clarify the issue of taking bayah as this also puzzles me.

A. The Tablighi Jamaat is involved in a great effort by propagating Islam, and is a very noble work. The main objective of this Jamaat is to revive the true spirit of Islam on the lives of the Muslims. It is for this reason; we see that they sacrifice their time and money to traveling to different places only to meet the Muslims and remind them about their true religion. When one looks at the state of the Muslims, the dire need will be seen for this sort of effort. Those who are involved in this noble effort do not seek any worldly or material gain from anyone. The only desire is to see the Muslims returning back to the beautiful religion of Islam. Many other groups and organizations may also be involved in one effort or another, however, the extent to which the Tablighi Jamaat is working for Islam is admirable. They go to the homes of the Muslims, reaching out to them. They invite them to perform their five times daily salaah. They appeal to the males to visit the masjid and to practice the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS) by keeping the beard and living their lives as Muslims. They exhort the sisters to dress properly by wearing the hijaab and niqaab. They instill in the hearts of the Muslims, the importance of Islam and they try their best to bring some sort of reform and change in the lives of Muslims. The brothers reflect a lot on the sacrifices made by the beloved Prophet (SAS) and the blessed companions and appeal to the Muslims to make similar sacrifices. They ensure that all their practices are in accordance to the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS). They stay away from the politics of organizations and do not condemn anyone, or attach stigmas to their names. The brothers try their best to emulate the blessed life of the Prophet (SAS) and try to use the same way, approach, wisdom and understanding that the Prophet (SAS) used in his dawah.

Alhamdulillah, through the sincere efforts of this Jamaat, thousands of people have accepted Islam, and thousands of Muslims have started to live their lives as true and sincere Muslims. These statements which I have made are based upon my personal experience and observation. They are based on my association with the work and also what I have witnessed, having visited the centers (Markaz) for this effort.

As for the statements which have been made against the Tablighi Jamaat and posted on different sites, they are filled with falsehood and fabrications which are far from the truth. People who have no knowledge about the effort, and have not spent any time with the brothers have written wrong statements against the work and have also made false allegations. These writers have not even visited the main centre (Markaz) where activities are held, and in their ignorance, have written misleading statements regarding the Jamaat. These writers are not able to substantiate these allegations with any proof.

I have read many of these articles and have found them to be totally baseless and unfounded. False accusations have been levied against the founder and the past scholars who have associated with the Jamaat, out of blind following some Muslims have quickly digested these misguided statements, considering then to be the truth. In reality, the truth is far from what the critics have stated. May Allah save us from this Fitna.

Many sound Ulamah (scholars) have refuted these allegations and have shown the good works and sound position of the Tabligh Jamaat. Insha Allah, in time, I will also respond to the false hood that is being propagated.

With respect, to the aspect of taking Bai’ah, this is permissible and is within the teachings of Islam. It is evident that the companions took Bai’ah for different matters/reasons and hence, it remains a permissible act in Islam.

The reality of Bai’ah, is basically a ‘pledge of allegiance’ that one makes to another person. This is done when one makes a promise to another one that he will remain steadfast and constant in doing something or in refraining from something. As Muslims, it is understood and known with certainty that by uttering the sacred Kalimah we have pledged our allegiance to Allah and His Prophet (SAS).This is immediately understood from one’s utterance of the sacred Kalimah and by being a Muslim. However, notwithstanding this, it is evident that the blessed companions (Sahabah) took Bai’ah from the Prophet (SAS) for different matters.

An example of this Bai’ah is found in Sura Al Mumtahinah of the Holy Quran in which it is stated, ‘O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bai’ah (Pledge), That they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit illegal sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey you in good, then accept their Bai’ah, and ask Allah to forgive them. Verily, Allah is Off forgiving, Most Merciful’.

From this verse, it is evident that although the Muslim women had already accepted Islam and they were informed of their duties to Allah, yet they came forward to formally make a pledge (promise) to the Prophet (SAS) to uphold their duties as Muslims and to refrain from all that which is sinful as highlighted in the above verse.

The practice of taking Bai’ah is in essence the same as mentioned above. It comes about when one wishes to reform himself as a Muslim, and needs the guidance of one whom he considers being pious and righteous, and who is obedient to Allah and His Prophet (SAS). With this as his objective, he simply makes a promise to the one that he has chosen to associate with to be obedient to Allah and His Messenger (SAS) in all matters, and that he will refrain from all that which is unlawful and sinful. The only reason for doing this, is for ones own self rectification, so that he can achieve closeness to Allah and follow the path of the true servants of Allah.

Associating with the pious and righteous is indeed a command from Allah, and a believer is required to do so for his own benefit. In this regard, Allah says, ‘O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful’. (9:19)

Based on the meaning and message of this verse Muslims tries to associate with the pious and righteous with the hope of learning one’s sinful ways and actions, and achieving an inclination to inculcate good habits, practices and righteous actions. It is quite true to say as a Muslim one is required to fulfill the commandments of Allah by doing all that which is good and refraining from the unlawful and sinful, and there is no need to take a Bai’ah from another person. However, while this is what is required from a Muslim, reality proves otherwise. We see daily, that Muslims are involved in every type of wrongdoing and sinful action. Muslims are openly neglecting the commandments of Allah and are very far away from the Sunnah of the beloved Messenger of Allah (SAS). Muslims go to the extent of even propagating Haram/unlawful practices and have become opposers of the religion of Allah. In this environment, we see that those who see that those who take a Bai’ah from one who is known to be pious and righteous, by making a verbal promise to follow the commandments of Allah and leave off the sinful actions, (we see that) these individuals make a change in their lives and rectify themselves, they begin to fulfill the commands of Allah and become conscious of their deeds and actions. This deep consciousness and awareness comes on account of the verbal promise/pledge which they have made to another person who they look up to (on account of his total adherence to the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS) ).

This pledge/promise (Bai’ah) is not something extra that is being done. In fact, it is simply an expression of one’s intent which is in the heart of every Muslim to be fully obedient to Allah and His Messenger (SAS). However, seeing that the individual has made a verbal promise, he feels committed in his heart to uphold it, and he feels guilty of having gone against his promise when he opposes it. It is for this reason; we find that some Muslims may reform themselves faster when they make a verbal promise to do good by taking a Bai’ah from a pious and righteous Scholar of Islam.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan