Ruling on Sufi's saying Dhikr on certain nights with certain forms

Q: The shaykhs of Sufi Tariqahs (orders) are found in some countries; they give pledges to their disciples, and those who take the pledge should never break it. They decide on nights for congregational Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) with specific names, such as: Allah, Hayy (Ever-Living), Qayyum (the One who sustains and protects everything), or Ah in the form of circles or lines, standing or sitting. They sway to the right and left, and a group of them chant praising the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and the rest of the prophets and righteous people, usually accompanied with drums, tambourines and Mizmar. Some of the attendees pay money known as Nuqtah. Sometimes, there are no tambourines, Mazamir or Nuqtah.The chanters say, "O, Sayyiduna Al-Husayn! Help us! O, Sayyidah (Part No. 2; Page No. 275) Zaynab! Help us! O, Badawy! Help us! O, my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah! Help us! O, Awliya' (pious people) of Allah! Help us!"Some people make a vow to sacrifice a sheep, pay money and so on to Badawy, Al-Husayn, Lady Zaynab or others. A ram might be slaughtered by the shrine of the shaykh whom the vow is made to and the money put in the box at the shrine. Are such deeds permissible or prohibited? Please advise, may Allah reward you of the best.

A: First, the Muslim men and women used to pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on accepting Islam, whether 'Aqidah (creed), sayings or deeds. Allah (Exalted be He) ordered them to obey him in everything he tells them of Qur'an and Hadiths authentically reported to him. He associated obedience to the Messenger (peace be upon him) with obedience to Allah; He even considered obeying the Messenger part of obedience to Allah in many Ayahs of the Qur'an. Allah the Exalted says, And whoso obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allâh has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqûn (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddîq (رضي الله عنه), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are! (Surah Al-Nisa', 4: 69). He also says, He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), has indeed obeyed Allâh, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as a watcher over them. (Surah Al-Nisa', 4: 80). He also says, And obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and beware (of even coming near to drinking or gambling or Al-Ansâb, or Al-Azlâm, etc.) and fear Allâh. Then if you turn away, you should know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to convey (the Message) in the clearest way. (Surah Al-Ma'idah, 5: 92). Allah (Exalted be He) considered following him in what he conveyed to them of the Qur'an and the Sunnah a sign of (Part No. 2; Page No. 276) loving Allah and a reason for which He loves them and forgives their sins, as He says, Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to mankind): "If you (really) love Allâh then follow me (i.e. accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "Obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم)." But if they turn away, then Allâh does not like the disbelievers. (Surah Al-'Imran, 3: 31-32). It is not authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he pledged allegiance to one of his Sahabah (Companions), neither the Rightly-Guided Caliphs nor anybody else, in the way done by the shaykhs of Sufi Tariqahs; by taking the pledge from their disciples to call Allah with certain names such as "Allah", "Hayy" and "Qayyum", and committing to this portion recited with consistency every day and night. They are not allowed to mention any other names of Allah except with the permission of the shaykh; otherwise they would be disobedient and disrespectful to him. It is feared that the servants of the Names of Allah might harm a person who does so for transgressing the limits. In addition, each one of the shaykhs of Sufi Tariqahs is keen on spreading conflict between his disciples and the disciples of other shaykhs, until they have divided religion into different sects; each one of them calling to his own Bid`ah (innovation in religion) and warning his disciples against following the shaykhs of other Sufi Tariqahs or pledging allegiance to them. Such commitments, Allah has sent down no authority for, and were not ordained by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Thus, they represent the saying of Allah, Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allâh, Who then will tell them what they used to do. (Surah Al-An'am, 6: 159). (Part No. 2; Page No. 277) The Prophet (peace be upon him) is not reported to have mentioned Allah with a specific name such as "Hayy", "Qayyum", "Haqq" or "Allah". He did not order us to mention Allah this way, or recite this consistently every night and day. It is also not reported that he warned the believers from showing loyalty to each other, but he ordered them to do so. Allah praises them for this when He says, The believers, men and women, are Auliyâ’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma‘rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden); they perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give the Zakât, and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (Surah Al-Tawbah, 9: 71). It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “None of you will believe until they love for their brother what they love for themselves.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales. Do not look for each other's faults; do not spy; do not be jealous of one another; do not desert (cut your relation with) one another; and do not hate one another. O, Allah's slaves! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!) Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. (Part No. 2; Page No. 278)  Second, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us the merits of gathering to recite, study, and meditate the Qur'an, as he (peace be upon him) said, Any group of people that assemble in one of the Houses of Allah to study the Qur'an, tranquility will descend upon them, mercy will cover them, angels will surround them and Allah will make mention of them to those (the angels) in His proximity Narrated by Muslim. He showed this practically, as he sometimes used to recite the Qur'an when some of his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) were visiting him, so that they hear him and learn how to recite Qur'an in a proper way. Sometimes, he used to ask one of his Sahabah to recite the Qur'an in front of him, as he liked to listen to it from others. It is also authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) said to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (may Allah be pleased with him), "Recite [the Qur'an] to me." He replied, "How can I recite to you while you are the one to whom the Qur'an was revealed?" He (peace be upon him) said, "I like to listen to it from others." He recited to him Surah Al-Nisa', until he reached the part in which Allah says, How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as a witness against these people? At that moment, he (peace be upon him), said, "Hold on!" and he shed tears. Narrated by Al-Bukhari. He (peace be upon him) also used to select suitable times for preaching to them, so that they do not get bored. He used to sit with them in the Masjid (mosque) or anywhere else to teach them the fundamentals of their religion, and sometimes he used to ask them questions so that they interact with him, until he attracts their attention (Part No. 2; Page No. 279) and they become anxious to know the answer. Only then, he tells them the answer, so that they fully comprehend it. It is authentically reported in the narrations of Al-Bukhari and others, from Abu Waqid Al-Laythy (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was sitting in the Masjid along with some people when three people came; two of them stepped forward to the direction of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and one of them went away. One of them stood by the side of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and found a space in the circle where he sat down; the other sat behind the circle; and the third one went away. When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) finished his speech, he said, "Shall I inform you about these three persons? One of them sought refuge with Allah, so Allah gave him refuge; the second one felt shy, so Allah showed kindness to his shyness (and so he was accommodated in that meeting); and the last one turned away, so Allah turned away (His attention) from him. It is authentically reported in the narrations of Al-Bukhari and others, from Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "There is a tree whose leaves do not fall; it resembles a believer. What is it?" `Abdullah said, "I thought to myself that it is a palm tree." Then, people said, "O, Messenger of Allah! Tell us what it is." He (peace be upon him) said, "It is a palm tree." There are other practical instances which show that their meetings with the Prophet (peace be upon him) were dedicated to teaching, preaching and reciting the Qur'an in a contemplative way. It is not known (Part No. 2; Page No. 280) that he (peace be upon him) used to dedicate special days and nights of the week to gather with his Sahabah to remember Allah collectively with one of His Names, while they are standing or sitting in circles or in rows; tottering around like drunken people; or swaying like dancers out of ecstasy at the melodies, the voices of singers, and the sounds of drums, Duffs (tambourine-like instruments without bells) and flutes. Thus, it becomes evident that what the Sufis do nowadays is an innovated Bid`ah and abhorred misguidance, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) says, If a person innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason), these are to be rejected. Agreed upon. Third, saying: "O, Sayyiduna Al-Husayn! Help me! O, Sayyidah Zaynab! Help me! O, Badawy, the shaykh of Arabs! Help me! O, Messenger of Allah! Help me! O, Awliya' (pious people) of Allah! Help me!" and such abominable sayings. This is considered Shirk Akbar (major form of associating others in worship with Allah) which takes a person out of Islam, we seek refuge with Allah from that, because it entails asking the dead for benefit, support, and repelling harm. What is meant by help here is support and aid. Thus, the meaning of "O, Sayyid Badawy! Help me! O, Sayyidah Zaynab! Help me!, etc., is to ask them to bring benefit and remove harm. This is Shirk. Allah (Exalted be He) said after pointing out to His Servants His disposing and subduing of the universe: Such is Allâh, your Lord; His is the kingdom. And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmîr (the thin membrane over the date-stone). If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call; and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) like Him Who is the All-Knower (of everything). (Part No. 2; Page No. 281) Allah considered invoking others to be Shirk. He (Glorified be He) says: And who is more astray than one who calls on (invokes) besides Allâh, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? And when mankind are gathered (on the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become their enemies and will deny their worshipping. Allah (Glorified be He) tells us that those who are invoked beside Him from among the prophets and righteous people are unaware of the invocations of those who invoke them and they do not answer their invocations. Moreover, they will be their enemies on the Day of Judgment and they will deny the worship of those who worshipped them beside Allah. Allah says: Do they attribute as partners to Allâh those who created nothing but they themselves are created? No help can they give them, nor can they help themselves. And if you call them to guidance, they follow you not. It is the same for you whether you call them or you keep silent. Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allâh are slaves like you. So call upon them and let them answer you if you are truthful. He also says: And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allâh, any other ilâh (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kâfirûn (the disbelievers in Allâh and in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful. Allah tells us that whoever invokes others instead of Him as the dead and the like will not prosper due to their disbelief and their invoking people other than Allah. Fourthly: Vowing to sacrifice livestock and spending money in all aspects of goodness are acts of worship. This is because Allah (Exalted be He) praises those who fulfill their vows and promises them rewards and recompenses. (Part No. 2; Page No. 282) Allah (Exalted be He) says: They (are those who) fulfil (their) vows and And whatever you spend for spendings (e.g., in Sadaqah - charity for Allâh’s Cause) or whatever vow you make, be sure Allâh knows it all. Therefore, whoever vows to obey Allah should fulfill their vow, and whoever intends to sacrifice for anyone other than Allah is a Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in worship). It is not permissible for them to fulfill this vow. Moreover, they have to repent from all the types of Shirk. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). "He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims." and Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) Al-Kauthar (a river in Paradise). Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only). Therefore, A Muslim should follow the Qur'an and the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and worship Allah (Exalted be He) with what He legislates. A Muslim also has to be sincere in Du'a' and in all acts of worship as vowing, putting trust in Allah and returning to Him in adversity and prosperity.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.