In this article, we will show through clear evidence that it is forbidden (Haram) to attend gatherings that promote Bida’a among Muslims, and those guests who fear Allah should not participate in such events.
The Correct Basis for Unity:
Contrary to the common belief, it is not the intention that counts in all matters pertinent to the actions of a Muslim. It is equally important whether the action adheres to Sunnah and is consistent with the aims of Shari’ah. It is reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others that the Prophet said “Any action that is not (done in accordance to) our actions is rejected (not accepted)”. This Hadith, which clearly build the acceptance of any action on its adherence to Sunnah without reference to the intention, is considered by many scholars to equal half of Shari’ah, as it complements the other Hadith which factors in the Intention of the doer.
There are many quarrels about building unity amongst Muslims. But Allah gave us the clear answer in the Quran. He commanded us to unite on the right path, not simply to unite while our hearts are divided. He said:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا
“And hold fast, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), all together, and be not divided among yourselves”. A’al Imran 103
Allah clearly mentioned the “Rope of Allah” before “all-together” for a purpose. The Rope of Allah has to be carefully observed before the call for unity takes place. Uniting Muslims on the wrong path has never been the way of the Sunnah, the righteously guided Caliphs, the Companions, their predecessor, or the Salaf. We refer the reader to the article about unity, entitled Yes to Unity, No to Bida'a, for further details on this subject.
However what we want to establish here is that any action done by a Muslim must adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet and be consistent with the aims of Shari’ah. The Prophet said “Whoever departs from my Sunnah is not from among my Ummah”.
Bida’a destroys Unity of Muslims:
Some times, Du’aat (people of Da’wa) has been deceived into participating in such gatherings. Clearly, they either do not know who their names are being published next to, or they were misled about the purpose of such gatherings.
We have to make sure that no one that calls for Sufism, counterfeit Salafis, or other Bidaa’s is an active participant in such gatherings. For more details about counterfeit salafis in our book, and for Sufism please refer to:
- What is Sufism,
- A Reply to a Lecture by a famous Sufi,
- Bida'a, Can it be good?,
- Misguided Sufi Orders & their masters,
- Uncovering those who accept, adopt and promote Sufism,
- Parallels between Sufism and Christianity
The issue here is that promoting individuals of known Bida’as and showing respect to them has dire consequences in the Here-After. Imam Al-Shatibi said in his foremost book on Bida’a, “Al-Ietisam” :
“No Worshiping acts such as prayers, fasting, giving charity, or any other type of good deed is accepted with Bida’a. The person who sits to a stray person of Bida’a is denied the protection of Allah , and is left to fend evil by himself. The person who walks to their gatherings and respects them is a helper in destroying Islam”.
“ …Sitting with them reflects respect to them, which is against how we should treat them; Shari’ah commands that we despise, humiliate and other ways to demean them. Hence, Islam is destroyed when people disregard the commands of Islam and do the contrary of them”.
Imam Al- Shatibi continued:
“…Walking to the gathering places of such people of Bida’a contributes to destruction of Islam in two additional ways:
It makes the ignorant Muslim think that they hold truth, and hence, follow them instead of Sunnah and leading him/her astray.
Honouring a person of Bida’a gives the impression that it would be acceptable to establish Bida’a in other ways as well.”
The Prophet clearly related this meaning in a Hadith related by A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her): “Whoever honours and dignifies a person of Bida’a, effectively he/she is helping in destroying the religion of Islam”.
Someone can argue, but those people of Bida’a talk about general subjects and do not promote their Bida’a in these events? So what is the harm in listening to them?
The answer is:
Imam Al-Shatibi established that attending their gatherings is a sign of honour and respect to them, which the Prophet forbade us from doing.
Of course, the people of Bida'a do not promote their Bida'a (for the most part) in these events, because their purpose to gain acceptance among the masses. Then they can spread their Bida'a at their own time and pace when ignorant Muslims attend their private classes.
It is inevitable that they will reek of the stench of Bida’a!! It is like body-odour or a bad-itch, it cannot be held completely in check. They have to say something that is against the Sunnah of the Prophet .
No one, including Shaytan (Satan), speaks of falsehood all the time. Allah has said:
"وزين لهم الشيطان ما كانوا يعملون" الأنعام 43
“...and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them”. Al-A’anam 43.
This was repeated 4 times in Quran to establish the fact that stray people, including Satan, do not introduce falsehood and misguidance without wrapping them in a manner that is acceptable to people. Such speeches surely contain points of the truth, but only to be a cover of the poison that is injected into it.
People attend these events to learn (for the most part). The majority have little or no education in Shari’ah to distinguish right from wrong. So how exactly will they be able to distinguish when one of these speakers promotes their Bida’a? If they are able to distinguish, they would not be there in the first place!
What is the content of these gatherings?
Do people really gain genuine knowledge at these events? Or is it simply a gathering, like a concert, that people attend, feel good about and then go home feeling good about themselves. Is this true revival of the Ummah?
The vast majority admit that they do not learn very much at these events. The topics are very general and details are rare. Because of the huge number of people who attend these events (10,000 last year) and their varying ages, levels of education and background, the topics have to be very generic and general in order to serve everyone’s need.
It has really become a big event to socialize and meet people that one hasn’t seen in months or years. The problem is that all of them are lead to believe that they are being obedient to Allah in attending this events and they are mislead into believing that this will bring about change to our Ummah; not to mention that they are being polluted by Bida’a directly or indirectly. In fact, many people attend simply due to peer-pressure. They feel like they would be ostracized and scrutinized if they opt not to attend.
This is in addition to the many mistakes that occur in such events in particular. The most prevalent besides what we mentioned previously is the lack of adherence to Islamic etiquettes and mannerisms. The promoters often hold the opinion that "the ends justify the means". So they are willing to break many rules or allow much bad behaviour to go unchecked in order to attract the youth. They fail to realize the implication that people come to believe that this behaviour is acceptable. Mixing between men and women, clapping and yelling, screaming young girls who want to "touch" or get the autograph of speakers, or take a picture with others are all but some of the behaviours that are allowed. This is all allowed in the spirit of "at least they are Muslim idols", it sure is better than them screaming after Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. These are now "Halal" Pop-stars. The emphasis is no longer on Iman, knowledge and learning.
Is this an environment that an adherent Muslim wants to find himself or his family in?
What are the consequences of such events?
One of major Principles of Jurisprudence that is a critical principle in the methodology of Ahlul Sunnah is “Looking into the Intentions and Considering the Consequences” (النظر في المقاصد و اعتبار المآلات). When we examine the consequences of these events, we realize that there are sever consequences that cannot be ignored and must be considered by every Muslim before he/she attends such events.
The majority of the “good speakers” have little or no formal education in Shariah. Although, they are at best Da'eis (people of Da’wa), they are presented as "Scholars"!! Contrary to popular belief, many of them are not scholars by any stretch of the imagination (we purposely didn’t mention those people who adopt a certain Bida’a because they of course can not be considered scholars of Sunnah). The titles “Shiekh” and “Iman” are shamefully used so loosely with these individuals.
Common Muslims come to accept them among the ranks of scholars. This is a disaster because common Muslims take their personal opinions as Fatwas, which they use in their daily life without resorting to true scholars for genuine knowledge. Not only that, but there are those who come to only accept Fatwas from these speakers claiming that they have the best understanding of our reality in the West and hence have the most accurate Fatwas to reflect this reality.
Moreover, these events developed its reputation by inviting certain well-known guests and getting their endorsements (such as those mentioned earlier). However, the equation has been turned around: now people think that whoever speaks at such events must be a well-known “Scholar”!! This fact is only deepened by making the event more-and-more grand: such as hosting it in major locations.
One very subtle consequence that many fail to realize is: Where will the common well-intentioned Muslim turn to after the gathering to get more knowledge of Islam? Many of those good speakers (who follow Sunnah) or at least not entrenched in Bida'a) come from overseas:
They speak and leave. The common Muslim will turn to the locals of North America for more knowledge. Those are the Bida'a promoters who are waiting with open arms to take people away from the path of Sunnah. So in essence, these event helps to increase the People of Bida’a and decrease the people of Sunnah, which only leads to revival of Bida'a not the Sunnah.
What is the "alternative"?
So what is the alternative? Many would, and rightfully so, criticize us if we do not offer a viable alternative.
Our Ummah needs a revival of “Body” and “Spirit”. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are dying in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya and other parts of the World. The puppet systems that are in power in the Islamic World are collaborating with those who attack Islam to keep the Ummah under oppression. Our Ummah is facing a new crusade and only true revival (not superficial), with God’s Will, will protect us and our children against this attack.
We must turn to the Sunnah of the Prophet , the righteously-guided Caliphs, and their successors who followed in their steps. The Prophet said: “I left with two things that if you hold firm to, you will never go astray: the Book of Allah and my Sunnah”. And he said in another Hadith “… follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the righteously-guided Caliphs after me. Hold firmly to it and bite on it with your teeth (meaning to be steadfast on it). And be aware of the newly-invented matters [in religion], because every newly-invented matter is a Bida’a and every Bida’a is a misguidance.”
This is the path to success and the path to true revival and unity of our Ummah. Muslims should learn about the Sunnah of the Prophet and about their Deen and not be superficial in seeking quick-fixes and “band-aid” solutions that covers the true reasons for the weakness of the Ummah. True revival is a long process that needs a sincere intention, effort and sacrifice. Genuine Muslims should not feel lonely on this long road because they have the Prophet , his companions and the well-established scholars of our Ummah on their side. Do not be fooled by the thousands that follow every new fad.
In conclusion, based on the above evidence and in response to those who asked us about the permissibility of attending such events: the Fatwa in attending such gatherings is that it is “prohibited” (Haram). these are the events of “Dirar”, which is similar to “Masajid Al-Dirar” (Mosques of Mischief) that Allah mentioned in Al-Tawba 107
وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًا بَيْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِمَنْ حَارَبَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا الْحُسْنَى وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ
"And there are those who put up a mosque by way of mischief and infidelity, to disunite the Believers, and in preparation for one who warred against Allah and His Messenger aforetime. They will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good; but Allah doth declare that they are certainly liars"
Muslims have to understand the danger of such practices and avoid those who organize and promote such events to spread Bida’a, even if they swear that they only mean good.
 " فاعلموا أن البدعة لا يقبل معها عبادة من صلاة و لا صيام و لا صدقة و لا غيرها من القربات . و مجالس صاحبها تنزع منه العصمة و يوكل إلى نفسه ، والماشي إليه و موقره معين على هدم الإسلام ، فما الظن بصاحبها وهو ملعون على لسان الشريعة ، ويزداد من اللّه بعبادته بعداً ؟! و هي مظنة إلقاء العداوة و البغضاء ، و مانعة من الشفاعة المحمدية ، ورافعة للسنن التي تقابلها ، و على مبتدعها إثم من عمل بها ، و ليس له من توبة ، و تلقى عليه الذلة و الغضب من اللّه ، و يبعد عن حوض رسول اللّه ، و يخاف عليه أن يكون معدوداً في الكفار الخارجين عن اللّه ، و سوء الخاتمة عند الخروج من الدنيا ، و يسودُ وجهه في الآخرة يعذب بنار جهنم ، و قد تبرأ منه رسول اللّه ، و تبرأ منه المسلمون ، و يخـاف عليه الفتنة في الدنيا زيادة إلى عــذاب الآخـرة ".
فلقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام : ( من أحدث حدثاً أو آوى محدثاً فعليه لعنة اللّه والملائكة والناس أجمعين ) الحديث . فإن الإيواء بجامع التوقير ، ووجه ذلك ظاهر لأن المشي إليه (انظر كيف جعل المشي الى المبتدع ضلالة ، وافهم ! إذ إذ ذلك هو حضور مؤتمراتهم !!) والتوقير له تعظيم له لأجل بدعته والشرع يأمر بزجره وإهانته وإذلاله بما هو أشد من هذا، كالضرب والقتل ، فصار توقيره صدوداً عن العمل بشرع الإسلام ، وإقبالاً على ما يضاده وينافيه ، والإسلام لا ينهدم إلا بترك العمل به والعمل بما ينافيه .
وأيضاً فإن توقير صاحب البدعة مظنة لمفسدتين تعودان على الإسلام بالهدم :
إحداهما: التفات الجهال والعامة إلى ذلك التوقير ، فيعتقدون في المبتدع أنه أفضل الناس ، وأن ما هو عليه خير مما عليه غيره ، فيؤدي ذلك إلى اتباعه على بدعته دون اتباع أهل السنة على سنتهم . (سبحان الله ! أليس هذا التوقير هو المشي إلى مؤتمراتهم وحضورها ؟؟!!)
والثانية : أنه إذا وُقِّرَ من أجل بدعته صار ذلك كالحادي المحرض له على إنشاء الابتداع في كل شيءٍ .
فتحيا البدع وتموت السنن ، وهو هدم الإسلام بعينه، وعلى ذلك دلَّ النقل عن السلف زيادة إلى صحة الاعتبار ، لأن الباطل إذا عمل به لزم ترك العمل بالحق كما في العكس ، لأن المحل الواحد لا يشتغل إلا بأحد الضدين .
 Refer to Sufi Institutions and programs.