In the previous edition, I discussed the four permissible forms of التَّوَسُّلُ with proofs from the Qur’ān and Sunnah. It is necessary to mention some other forms of التَّوَسُّلُ that people make, some of which are harām and lead to sin, while some lead to kufr and shirk.
i. Seeking Tawassul with the honour of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم (Or any other Prophet)التوسل بجاه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بغيره من الأنبياء
As Muslims, we strongly affirm and uphold the honour of our noble Prophets from Ādam to Nūh, to Ibrahim, to Mūsā to Īsā, to Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be on them all), without any exception or differentiation. In fact, whoever holds or believes that any of these Prophets or all of them has no honour in the sight of Allāh has committed an avt of kufr (disbelief).
However, the question is, “can we seek Tawassul with their honour?”. That is, can one say any of the following:
* Ubangizhi, ina rokonka don girma/daraja Annabi Muhammadu (Hausa);
* Soko, mi ye tan wo gwa ebo chinwan/alubarika Annabi Muhammadu o (Nupe);
* Ọlọhun, mó fi ọlá/alubarika Annabi Muhamma bẹ ó or wó ọlá Annabi Muhamma (Yorùbá);
* Jaumirawo am mido torama gam daraja burnado takle (Fulfulde);
* اللهم إنا نسألك بجاه أو ببركة النبي محمد (Arabic);
O Allah! I ask thee with the honour/blessings of Prophet Muhammad;
The answer is capital NO. Why? There are two reasons for this:
One: There is no credible evidence from the Qur’an or Sunnah to that effect;
Two: It is not the way of our pious predecessors from among the Sahābah and the subsequent generations of Muslims, who the Prophet ﷺ described as خير الناس (the best of people).
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As explained in the previous edition, Tawassul is a form of ibādah, the base rule of which is التحريم (forbidden) until there’s a clear evidence permitting it. Thus, since we find no provision in the authentic sources of legislation in Islām permitting it, it becomes imperative for every sincere Muslim to abandon it.
However, I have to clarify a few ahādīth here which are often cited to promote Tawassul with the honour of the Prophet ﷺ:
i. There’s a popular Hadīth among Muslim clerics and preachers that Prophet ﷺ said:
تَوَسَّلوا بِجاهي فإنَّ جاهي عند الله عظيم/عريض
“Seek Tawassul with my honour, for my honour with Allāh is great.”
Shaykh Al-Albānī رحمه الله said concerning this hadīth:
وهذا باطل لا أصل له في شيء من كتب الحديث البتة، وإنما يرويه بعض الجهال كما نبه على ذلك شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية رحمه الله.
“This statement is false and unfounded. It cannot be traced to any book of hadith at all. It is only being related by some ignoramuses as explained by Shaykhul Islām ibn Taimiyyah (may Allāh have mercy on him).”
There’s no single scholar of hadīth science, past or present that has authenticated the attribution of this statement to the Prophet ﷺ. This is why it has not been recorded in any of the magnum opuses of the prophet’s tradition. It is a fabricated hadīth, and cannot be used as a basis for legislation in Islām.
ii. The second hadīth often cited in this regard is the following:
قال الحافظ في الفتح ” وروى بن أبي شيبة بإسناد صحيح من
رواية أبي صالح السمان عن مالك الداري وكان خازن عمر قال أصاب الناس قحط في زمن عمر فجاء رجل إلى قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال يا رسول الله استسق لأمتك فإنهم قد هلكوا فأتى الرجل في المنام فقيل له ائت عمر… الحديث.
” Says Al-Hāfidh bn Hajar, “Ibn Abī Shaybah reported via an authentic chain from the narration of Abi Sālih As-Sammān from Mālik Ad-Dārī… ‘The people experienced drought during the time of Umar, so a man went to the grave site of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said,” O Messenger of Allāh, seek rain for your Ummah, for they have been destroyed. So the Prophet ﷺ appeared to the man in his dream and said to him, “approach Umar.”
In critiquing this hadīth, Shaykh Al-Albānī رحمه الله wrote:” This hadīth can be faulted in three ways:
One: Its chain of narration is questionable. In it is found Mālik ad-Dār whose integrity suffers serious credibility problems because his character is shrouded in mystery (مجهول الحال). Furthermore, the clearance by ibn Hajar for its chain is only up to to Abū Sālih as himself had indicated.
Two: The text of the hadīth contradicts the manner of seeking rain as taught by the Prophet ﷺ. It is established in the Sunnah that whenever there was drought, a group of Muslims should gather themselves and observe the صلاة الاستسقاء prayer for seeking rain. If this narration were correct, of what use will be such recommended Salāt henceforth?
Three: The text of the hadith indicates that the man did not do التَّوَسُّلْ with the Prophet, rather he did الاستغاثة (seeking assistance and succor) with him. In Islām, it is an act of kufr and shirk to seek assistance with the dead. (This shall be discussed in detail in the next edition titled: THE SHIRK OF ISTIGĀTHAH).
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Shaykh Al-Albānī wrote:
ليس فيها التوسل بالنبي بل فيها طلب الدعاء منه أن يسقى الله أمته، وهذه مسألة تتعلق بالطلب منه بعد وفاته ولم يجوزها أحد من علماء السلف الصالح.
“There’s no indication in the narration that he did Tawassul with the Prophet ﷺ. Rather, he sought prayer from him that Allāh should send down the rains on his Ummah. This issue is related to seeking supplications from him after his demise which none of the scholars of the past approved of.”
ii. Seeking Tawassul with the Awliyā (saints) and Sālihūn (righteous servants of Allāh); either dead or alive: It is equally common in our society to hear people making Tawassul with the Awliyā and Sālihūn . It should be noted that this carries the same ruling of impermissibility as making Tawassul with the Prophet ﷺ. Thus, it is wrong to use ‘ola awon baba/shehu’ as Tawassul to Allāh. One should stick to the permissible forms Tawassul earlier explained.
Shaykhī bn Bāz رحمه الله said:
شرك أصغر، وهو التوسل بجاه فلان، وبفلان، كالتوسل بجاه النبي محمد، أو بجاه الأنبياء، أو بجاه الشيخ عبد القادر، أو بجاه أبي بكر، أو عمر، أو بذواتهم أسألك بعمر، أو بعثمان، هذا من التوسل الذي هو منكر، وهو يسمى شركاً أصغر، وهو من وسائل الشرك الأكبر، هذا من وسائل الشرك الأكبر
“It is a form of minor shirk to make Tawassul with the honour of anyone, such as making Tawassul with the honour of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, or the honour prophets, or Shaykh AbdulQādir, or Abūbakr, or Umar. Or making Tawassul with their personalities (such as saying) ‘I ask you with the personality of Umar or Uthmān. This is detested form of Tawassul, and it is a monor shirk, as well as a means to the major shirk. It is a means to the major shirk.”
Other forms of impermissible Tawassul include: making Tawassul with one’s parents, the graveyards of saint; the Holy Land; Angel and other creatures of Allāh: living or non-living.
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Rather than make Tawassul with the saints and righteous people, what should be done is to make Tawassul with their supplication. That is, it is permitted to approach a righteous person, and seek that he/she prays for one. It is narrated in an authentic report that:
أن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه كان إذا قحطوا استسقى بالعباس بن عبد المطلب رضي الله عنه، فقال: “اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّا كُنَّا نَتَوَسَّلُ إِلَيْكَ بِنَبِيِّنَا صلى الله عليه وسلم فَتَسْقِينَا، وَإِنَّا نَتَوَسَّلُ إِلَيْكَ بِعَمِّ نَبِيِّنَا فَاسْقِنَا”، قَالَ: فَيُسْقَوْنَ
“Whenever drought occurs during the time of Umar, he sought for rain with (the Du’ā) of Al-Abbās bn AbdilMuttalib (may Allāh be pleased with him). He said, ‘O Allāh! We used to seek Tawassul to You with (the Du’ā) of our Prophet ﷺ, and you do answer us. Now, we seek Tawassul to you with (the Du’ā) of the uncle of our Prophet ﷺ.’ He(the narrator) said, ‘and they were given rain.’
In another narration, : “فقال عمر للعباس رضي الله عنه: قم فاستسق وادع ربك”
‘Umar said to Al-Abbās, ‘stand up, and seek rain for us, and invoke your Lord.’
In conclusion, it is incumbent upon the Muslim to stick to what is permitted in matters of the Dīn, to avoid falling into harām and shirk.
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
Reflections on Sūratu Yūsuf: Lessons For Everyday Life (2)
Beware of People’s Fake Emotions
Emotions can be tricky and deceitful. Don’t fall for it by being hasty in judging people rightly or wrongly. In verses 11-14, Prophet Ya’qūb’s children played a fast one on his emotions by faking affection for their brother, Yūsuf عليه السلام. They promised to protect him while concealing their evil intentions behind their smiling faces and fake promises. People are not to be trusted based on their cosmetic facial expressions.
Before accepting information from anyone or trusting them, one must apply extreme caution and circumspection. This is why Allāh subhānahu wa ta’ālā says in the Qur’ān:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
“O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.” (49:6)
Apart from faking emotions to persuade their father to release Yūsuf to them, they equally came back home shedding crocodile tears as though they had done nothing wrong! Allāh says:
وَجَاءُوا أَبَاهُمْ عِشَاءً يَبْكُونَ
“At nightfall they came to their father weeping” (12:16)
Knowing so well that their father will never believe them (he actually sensed their plot even before he released Yūsuf to them), they stained Yūsuf’s shirt with blood of lamb (but they forgot to tear the cloth to indicate a wild attack. So Ya’qūb knew that they were lying).
وَجَآءُوۡ عَلٰى قَمِيـۡصِهٖ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍؕ قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَـكُمۡ اَنۡفُسُكُمۡ اَمۡرًاؕ فَصَبۡرٌ جَمِيۡلٌؕ وَاللّٰهُ الۡمُسۡتَعَانُ عَلٰى مَا تَصِفُوۡنَ
“And they brought Yūsufs shirt, stained with false blood. Seeing this their father exclaimed: “Nay (this is not true); rather your evil souls have made it easy for you to commit a heinous act. So I will bear this patiently, and in good grace. It is Allāh’s help alone that I seek against your fabrication.” (12:18)
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It is reported that one day, a woman came to the court of Shuraih al-Qādī to report a case and was crying profusely. Shuraih was unmoved. It was said to him, don’t you see her crying? He replied, “the brothers of Yūsuf came weeping even though they were liars.”
Thus, one must always seek the truth before judging matters, just as one shouldn’t be too quick to believe or trust just anyone based on appearance or eloquence in speech. The Messenger of Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
رَسُول اللَّه ﷺ قَالَ: إِنَّمَا أَنَا بشَرٌ، وَإِنَّكُمْ تَخْتَصِمُونَ إِلَيَّ، وَلَعَلَّ بَعْضَكُمْ أَنْ يَكُونَ أَلْحَنَ بحُجَّتِهِ مِنْ بَعْضٍ؛ فأَقْضِي لَهُ بِنحْوِ مَا أَسْمَعُ، فَمَنْ قَضَيْتُ لَهُ بحَقِّ أَخِيهِ فَإِنَّمَا أَقْطَعُ لَهُ قِطْعَةً مِنَ النَّارِ مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.
“I am a human being, and yu bring to me, for (judgment) your disputes, some of you perhaps being more eloquent in their plea than others, so I give judgment on their behalf according to what I hear from them. (Bear in mind, in my judgment) if I slice off anything for him from the right of his brother, he should not accept that, for I sliced off for him a portion from the Hell.”
When Prophet Dāwūd was approached by two litigants, he was moved by the accusations by the complainant that he totally forgot to take the plea of the defendant before hitting the gavel.
It is this important that one looks beyond facial appearances and cosmetic emotions when dealing with people, lest one fall into their traps and evil machinations. Even when choosing partner for marriage, it is important to be thorough and meticulous lest one mistakes the devil for a saint!
“It is not the eyes that matters; but what is behind the eyes.”
Patience is Beautiful
There’s a popular adage in my mother tongue that says, “hankuri man ama wun zo yin jin” (patient is though sweet, but difficult to do). In verses 18 and 83, prophet Ya’qūb عليه السلام displayed the rarest of all virtues. His calmness and composure in the face of provocation by his children is legendary. When they came back with Yūsuf’s blood stained shirt, claiming that a wolf had devoured him while they were away hunting, he knew that they were lying. How can a wolf devour him without a scratch on his cloth? Not even their crocodile tears could deceive Ya’qūb into buying their conspiracies. His response simply was:
قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا ۖ فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ ۖ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ
“No! Your souls must have tempted you to do something evil. So I can only endure with beautiful patience. It is Allāh’s help that I seek to bear your claims.”
However, despite his founded suspicion, and knowing the evil that his sons are capable of doing which was why he was so reluctant to release Yūsuf to them in the first place, Ya’qūb restrained himself from cursing them. It was a difficult thing to do, considering his extreme love for Yūsuf. But not even this shattering heartbreak could make him lose his temper and curse his own children. Rather, be resorted to seeking Allāh’s help to rectify his affairs and theirs, too.
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In verse 83, when they brought him the news of Bunyamin’s (Yūsuf’s kid brother from the same mother who Ya’qūb equally loves more than their siblings) detention in Egypt over the charge of theft of the king’s weighing cup, Ya’qūb equally maintained his calmness and decorum. It was the second time his most beloved sons would go missing in mysterious circumstances. Yet, the only thing the heartbroken father could say was:
قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا ۖ فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ ۖ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَأْتِيَنِي بِهِمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
He cried, “No! Your souls must have tempted you to do something evil. So I’m left with nothing but beautiful patience. I trust Allāh will return them all to me. Surely, He Allāh, is the All-knowing, All-Wise.”
Indeed, Ya’qūb was right. The brothers maliciously gave the Chief Minister (Yūsuf) a fabricated proof that nailed Bunyamin when they said:
قَالُوا إِنْ يَسْرِقْ فَقَدْ سَرَقَ أَخٌ لَهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ
(To exonerate themselves) Yūsuf’s brothers said, “If he has stolen, so did his (full) brother (Yūsuf) before.” (verse 77)
Parents especially have a great lesson to learn here. At all times, they must restrain themselves and refrain from uttering bad statements and laying curses on their children. Because of Ya’qūb’s patience, Allāh not only rectified his once upon a time wicked children, but He equally bestowed prophethood on their children and grandchildren, referred in the Qur’ān as the الأسباط.
Note: Contrary to popular opinion among some of the local scholars here, the majority of the mufassirūn are of the view that apart from Yūsuf, no other son of Ya’qūb was a prophet. Shaykhu’l-Islām bn Taimiyah rahimahuLlāh said:
الذي يدل عليه القرآن واللغة والاعتبار أن إخوة يوسف ليسوا بأنبياء، وليس في القرآن، وليس عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم -، بل ولا عن أصحابه خبر بأن الله – تعالى -نبأهم، وإنما احتج من قال أنهم نبئوا بقوله في آيتي البقرة والنساء \”والأسباط\”، وفسر الأسباط بأنهم أولاد يعقوب، والصواب أنه ليس المراد بهم أولاده لصلبه بل ذُرِّيَّتُه، كما يقال فيهم أيضاً \”بنو إسرائيل\”، وكان في ذريته الأنبياء، فالأسباط من بني إسرائيل كالقبائل من بني إسماعيل.
“What is established by the Qur’ān, Arabic language and sound logic is that Yūsuf’s brothers were not prophets. There’s no indication in the Qur’ān, or in prophetic traditions or statements of the Sahābah that Allāh sent revelations to them. Those who make this claim interpreted the word والأسباط which is found in Sūrah Baqarah and Nisā’ to mean “and the children of Ya’qūb”. The correct view is that what is meant by this word are his progenies and not his blood children…”
Allāh commands parents to exercise patience with their children. In Q.64:14, He says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“O believers! Surely among your wives and your children there are some who are your enemies: so beware of them. But if you pardon, overlook and forgive their faults, then know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Then, in the next verse, He offered some words of consolation and caution, saying:
إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
“Your wealth and your children are but a trial. It is Allāh with Whom is the greatest reward.”
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Prophet Ibrāhīm’s father, despite being an idolator and enemy of Allāh is another great example in this regard. In spite of his hatred for his son’s obstinacy and opposition to his idolatrous ways, he never cursed him. In fact, when his frustrations with Ibrāhīm reached the crescendo, the only thing he said was:
قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا
“He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ibrahim (Abraham)? If you stop not (this), I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely before I punish you.” (19:46)
Being impatient with one’s children has disastrous consequences. From being deprived of prosperity and success in this world, it may land the children in Allāh’s wrath and punishment in the hereafter. The Messenger of Allāh said:
رضا الله في رضا الوالدين وسخط الله في سخط الوالدين
“Allāh’s is pleased (with one) when his parents are pleased (with him), and He is angry (with one) when his parents are angry (with him).”
As parents, we must continue to pray to Allah to rectify our children. There’s nothing beyond rectification for Allāh. A righteous parent’s prayer for his wayward children will be accepted by Allāh. We must refrain from haboring hatred and evil for our children no matter how of bad character they may be. This is because, as the Yoruba adage goes, “one’s child cannot be so bad as to make one throw him out for lion to devour.”
A child who turns out bad as a result of his parent’s curse is not only useless to himself but to his parents as well. In the end, no one will hand over his righteous and prosperous child to you. You will have to live with the sorrow and woe. And even if you have two dozens of children and one turns out bad, you still will not be able to live with the disappointment and frustration. Allāh says,
وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ ۗ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ بَصِيرًا
“And We have made some of you a trial for others. Will you then not be patient? And your Lord is All-Seeing.” (25:20)
To be continued…
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
Reflections on Sūratu Yūsuf: Lessons For Everyday Life (I)
1. Dreams have implications and consequences
Categories of Dreams
What To Do With Dreams/Nightmares
Parents Must Not Prefer A Child to the Other
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
‘Aqd and Walīmatu’ n-Nikāh in Perspective
The word ‘aqd (عَقْدٌ plural عُقود) literally means ‘a bond’, ‘a covenant’ or ‘a contractual agreement’ between two or more people . In Qur’ān 5:1, Allāh says, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ “O believers! Fulfil your contract obligations…” A trade contract between a seller and a prospective buyer is an ‘aqd. Similarly, a business agreement between two partners (as in partnership business) is also an ‘aqd.
When prefixed to ‘Nikāh’, as in عقد النكاح ‘aqdun-Nikāh’, it connotes a ‘marriage contract/solemnization’. It’s a simple religious rite performed by the father of the prospective bride, his designate or her male guardian (mainly from her biological father’s family or her son, according to the ترتيب الأولياء sequence of guardians). It requires no ceremony or pomp. It’s simply an acceptance of marriage proposal by the prospective groom. زَوَّجْتُكَ بِنتِي فُلانَةَ “I’ve married my so and so daughter to you”, or any other expression that implies consent. In other qords, it’s a contract of ‘offer and acceptance.’
Walīmah (وَلِيمة) on the other hand connotes ‘a feast’. It’s defined literally as,
اجتماع مجموعة من الأشخاص الذين يعرفون بعضهم جميعاً أو يعرفون أحد الأشخاص في هذه الدعوة لتناول الطعام، غالباً بغرض الاحتفال أو لهدفٍ آخر
“A gathering of a group of people who are known to each other or who know one of the congregation for the purpose of eating food. Mostly, such occasions are as a result of celebration or for some other reasons..”
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When prefixed to Nikāh, as in Walīmatu’n-Nikāh (وَلِيمة النكاح) or (وليمة العِرس), it implies, ‘a wedding feast’. In contemporary usage, it’s otherwise known as wedding reception.
Ruling on ‘aqd and walīmatu’n-nikāh
According to the Shari’ah, ‘aqdun-Nikāh is a compulsory rite, for it’s the only activity that confers legality on marriage contracts. This is the express meaning of the words of the Most High, فَانْكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ “Marry them with the permission of their family…” (4:25). This is explained by the hadīth of our mother, Ā’ishah (may Allāh be pleased with her), that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:
” أيما امرأة نكحت بغير إذن وليها فنكاحها باطل فنكاحها باطل ، فنكاحها باطل
“Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian (waliyy), then her marriage is invalid.” (He repeated it three times.)
As for the Walīmatu n-Nikīh, then, it’s ruling is that it’s Sunnah (a recommended act), and not obligatory. Ibn Qudāmah, rahimahuLlāh said in Al-Mughnī:
لا خلاف بين أهل العلم في أن الوليمة سنة في العرس مشروعة، لما روي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أمر بها وفعلها. فقال لعبد الرحمن بن عوف، حين قال: تزوجت: أولم ولو بشاة.. إلى أن قال: وليست واجبة في قول أكثر أهل العلم.
“There’s no difference of opinion among the scholars on the Waleematu n-Nikaah being a Sunnah (non-obligatory act) based on the report that the Prophet ﷺ said to ‘Abdurrahmān bn ‘awf, after the latter informed him about his marriage, “organize a feast, even if it’s with just one sheep”. (Ibn Qudāmah thus continues discussion on this matter) until he said, and (the walīmah of nikāh) is not compulsory in the view of most of the scholars.”
Simply put, while ‘aqdun-Nikāh is compulsory and inevitable, the Walīmatu’ n-Nikāh is not.
Who organises the walīmatu’n-nikāh?
Organizing the wedding feast is primarily the duty of the groom at his convenience (time and place). In the hadīth of ‘Abdurrahmān bn ‘awf cited earlier, the instruction was clearly directed at him. The Prophet ﷺ said, “May Allāh bless you. Organise a walīmah even if it is with (serving the meat of) just a sheep.”
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Note: ‘Abdurrahmān bn ‘awf was one of the wealthiest Muslims at the time. So the Prophet’s ( ﷺ) emphasis ‘even if with the meat of just a sheep’ was meant to indicate that he doesn’t need to necessarily expend much to organise the feast.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymīn, rahimahuLlāh said: “It (the walīmah) is prescribed for the husband, because the Prophet ﷺ said to ‘Abdurrahmān ibn ‘Awf: “Give a walīmah,” and he did not tell his in-laws to do that. And because the blessing is greater for the husband than for the wife, because he is the one who sought the woman; it is very rare for the woman to seek the man.”
Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 12/321
It’s important to emphasize this point because majority of Muslim parents (the brides’ especially) seem not to know/jettison this Sharī’ah. They assume that it’s their right to dictate the when and how a wedding feast should take place, and often put a lot of burden on their son-in-law. This mentality needs to change if indeed we desire a blissful marital life for our daughters. There’s no harm if there’s a joint agreement between both families on this issue, but to assume a draconian position, bullying the groom into taking forceful decisions is repugnant to justice, good conscience and natural laws.
When can the Walīmah be organised?
The most appropriate time for organizing the Walīmatu n-Nikāh is immediately after consummation of marriage. That is, after the first sexual intercourse between the newlyweds. Shaykh bn Taimiyyah rahimahullāh said:
ووقت الوليمة في حديث زينب وصفته تدل على أنه عقب الدخول.
“The time for organizing the walīmah, according to the hadīth of Zaynab bint Jahsh (one of the prophet’s wives) is after consummation.”
وجاء في مغني المحتاج: والأفضل فعلها بعد الدخول لأن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يولم على نسائه إلا بعد الدخول. انتهى…
“Its also mentioned in ‘Mughnī al-Muhtāj’ of Al-Khatīb Ash-Sharbīnī, ‘and the most appropriate time to organize the walīmah is after consummation because the Prophet ﷺ never arranged a walīmah for any of his wives until after consummation.”
وفي مختصر خليل في الفقه المالكي: الوليمة مندوبة بعد البناء، قال في الشرح الكبير على مختصر خليل: والمعتمد أن كونها بعد البناء مندوب ثان فإن فعلت قبله أجزأت.
Similarly, it’s mentioned in ‘Mukhtasar al-Khalīl’ (a principal book on Mālikī fiqh), “The walīmah is prescribed after consummation.” It’s stated in ‘Ash-Sharh al-Kabīr, a commentary on Mukhtasar al-Khalīl’, “the position of the Madh-hab is that the walīmah should come after consummation. However, if it were done before then, that suffices.”
What next for couples after ‘aqd?
These days, one of the issues I’m dealing with is that of failed marriages after ‘aqd and before walīmah as a result of minor disagreements or loss of interest due to infatuation and lust. Some couples have disagreed over the legality or otherwise of living together before the walīmah is done or being in ‘Khalwah (seclusion without a third party) and having sexual intercourse. There are also cases of whether or not the lady will observe any iddah in case they got separated before consummation since they haven’t had the walīmah.
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Recently, I’ve heard of so many instances where the walīmah was delayed for months or even years after ‘aqd with spouses losing interest in each other. In between the ‘aqd and walīmah, some have found love elsewhere; some have had petty disagreements and irreconcilable differences and decided to call it quit.
One of the major causes of disagreements is whether or not couples can start being together in seclusion without the lady’s mahram. Some parents insist that their daughters cannot stay with their suitors after the ‘aqd until the walīmah is done. But the question is, can we still consider two lovers as strangers to each other after ‘aqd?
The Sharī’ah is very clear on this issue. What constitutes marriage and confers legitimacy of consummation on the couples is the ‘aqd by the bride’s father, his designate, or her guardian. As soon as the offer and acceptance had been done, he is permitted to be in seclusion with her and to enjoy her sexually and otherwise (with or without walīmah).
In the event that they separate after ‘aqd, and before consummation, there’s no ‘iddah (waiting period of 3 menstrual courses after divorce) on her. She’s also entitled to half of the mahr promised to her, if such agreement is reached. And if such agreement has not been reached, then, she’s entitled to some benefits based on what he can afford. But if it has been consummated, then, she will receive her full mahr and will do the ‘iddah. (Q. 2:236-237).
Admonition to parents and guardians
In this world of deceit and lies, where no one can absolutely be trusted, parents and guardians, and indeed bachelorettes live in serious dilemma as to which to follow between consummation before walīmah and after it. This fear is necessary to avoid being scammed by irresponsible brothers who ‘taste and dump’ sisters just a few months after marriage. Indeed we have heard about marriages that only lasted 4-7 months before Talāq. This is why most parents insist on waleemah before consummation.
However, I think that the only solution to this dilemma a return to the Sharī’ah, and not by trying to outsmart it. We have also witnessed wedding ceremonies of the rich and influential where millions of naira were spent on the reception, and which did not last but for a few months/years. And because the Sharī’ah implores us to be simple does not mean that we should be stupid.
The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “If there comes to you one with whose character and religious commitment you are pleased, then give (your daughter or female relative under your care) to him in marriage…”. The onus is thus on the parents/guardians to make due diligence (note: not “checking it” with soothsayers) on their prospective son-in-law before consenting to the marriage. They should ask everyone that knows something about him; his siblings, friends, neighbors, colleagues, anyone. The family should designate a responsible and wise person to carryout a secret investigation about him. It may take months, but it surely guarantees that their daughter is not going into the wrong hands.
A sister told me last month that she’s afraid of leaving her two year old marriage because she acted against her father’s advice not to marry the brother (I don’t really know the reason for his objection as she never told me). Now, she’s tired of the marriage but fear what her father will say. Another said that after the ‘aqd, she realized that the guy only acted saint, that he lied his way into her heart. Now, she wants out, what should she do?
In conclusion, let’s all be sincere in all that we do, and stop embarrassing Islām. Do not delay your walīmah unnecessarily lest Shaytān causes dissent between you during the waiting period. Try ro make your walīmah simple, and affordable. Remember, wedding is just an event, marriage is the reality.
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
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