Q: Some brothers in
claim that they are Salafi Muslims (those acting upon the views of Salaf [righteous predecessors]) but
they always hold sessions for Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) on Thursdays after the `Asr (afternoon) Prayers.
They think the time after `Asr Prayer is a suitable time, if not the most suitable time, for Dhikr. As to the manner in which they perform Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), it is as follows: One of them sits in front of the group and starts saying "Allah" in a loud voice. Other people repeat after him in a lower voice. Then he says, "Subhan Allah" (Glory be to Allah) or "Al-Hamdu-lillah" (Praise be to Allah), and so on, and they repeat after him. These brothers think that in this way they are purifying their souls. They quote some of the Hadiths that encourage holding sessions of Dhikr to justify this practice. What is the ruling on them?
If the case is as you have mentioned, these people are not Salafis. Their practice does not belong to
Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) either. In fact they are committing Bid`ah (innovation in religion). Dhikr in the manner you have mentioned is not authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the Sahabah (Companions) (may Allah be pleased with them). The Prophet (peace be upon him) (Part No. 2; Page No. 531) said,
He who innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) (commits sin) and these are to be rejected.
As for the Hadith that encourages sitting in sessions of Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), they refer to joining sessions of religious knowledge.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.