Hanging a shroud on the Minbar in the Masjid as a way for exhorting people

Fatwa no. 20333 All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Last of the Prophets.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' viewed the Fatwa that His Eminence, the Grand Mufty, has received from the head of the branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Ifta', Da`wah and Guidance in `Asir, which was transferred to the Committee from the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. 2197 in 21 Rabi` Al-Thany, 1419 A.H., and to which was attached a letter from the respected Shaykh Fahd ibn Saqr Al-Mudarra`, the judge in Diwan Al-Mazalim (Grievances Court), `Asir branch, which reads as follows:An acquaintance told me about a phenomenon that has prevailed in some Masjids (mosques) in Turayb, where some people hang a shroud on the Minbar (pulpit) in front of the praying people all the time. The speaker explained that this was intended for exhorting people and softening their hearts. This phenomenon is very obvious, and I have made sure of it myself as we have seen this in the major Masjid in Turayb. This urged me to write to Your Eminence as the authority responsible for (Part No. 11; Page No. 35) investigating this matter from the perspective of the Shari`ah (Islamic law), together with considering the Bid`ahs (innovations in religion) that have no basis in Shari`ah that might take place as a consequence of it.

After examining the Fatwa, the Committee replied that the above mentioned action, namely, hanging a shroud in front of the worshippers, has no basis in the Shari`ah, and constitutes a Bid`ah; and any Bid`ah is considered a Dalalah (deviation from what is right). Exhortation must be done through the Book of Allah (Exalted be He) and the Sunnah (acts, sayings or approvals of the Prophet, peace be upon him). Thus, this act must be prevented and the shroud removed.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.