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Refuting the Six Foundations of Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh

Al-ʿAllāmah Muḥammd Taqī al-Dīn al-Hilālī

An introduction to the fundamental foundations of the Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh ideology and a breakdown of the incorrectness of each principle.

The foundations and fundamental principles which Muḥammad Ilyās al-Ḥanafī al-Diyūbandī al-Jushtī1 called people towards after the formation of the jamāʿah al-tablīgh are:

  1. The word of goodness: “There is nothing worshipped in truth except for Allāh”
  2. Performing ṣalāh
  3. Knowledge and remembrance
  4. Honouring every Muslim
  5. Sincerity
  6. Travelling in the path of Allāh

The First Foundation

As for the good word “There is nothing worshipped in truth except for Allāh and Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the Messenger of Allāh”, such words hold no benefit except for the ones who say it with their tongues, know its meaning, believe it in their hearts, while enacting everything that it stipulates. For indeed, Abū Bakr and the companions of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) fought the tribe of Banī Ḥanīfah just as they would any disbelieving tribe, capturing their families and wealth while they said: “There is nothing worshipped in truth except for Allāh and Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the Messenger of Allāh,” and fasted, and performed ṣalāh and Ḥajj. They were fought because they refused to pay zakāh to the Khalīfah of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) which is from among the stipulations of the testification “There is nothing worshipped in truth except for Allāh and Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the Messenger of Allāh.” From among its stipulations as well is: enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Also from its stipulations is to love, hate, make allegiances and enmity all for the sake of Allāh. [The Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh] make alleigiances with the enemies of Allāh from the polytheist grave-worshippers and adopters of misguided Ṣūfī ideologies, calling to the innovation of travelling as a form of worship taken originally from the Brāhimī religion2. They refuse to pray the ṣalāh of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) opting instead to only pray the ṣalāh of the Ḥanafī madh`hab contrary to his (صلى الله عليه وسلم)’s ṣalāh.

Additionally, they issue fatāwá and judgements all based on blind imitation which is a form of major shirk. Ibn Kathīr (رحمه الله) mentions in the tafsīr of Sūrah al-Tawbah that ʿIdī ibn Ḥātim (رضي الله عنه) came to the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and found him reciting Surah al-Tawbah. When he came upon the saying of the Most High regarding the description of the Jews and Christians:

اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

“They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allāh (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allāh), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Tawrāh (Torah) and the Injīl (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilāh (God – Allāh) Lā ilāha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).”
(al-Tawbah, 9:31)

ʿIdī said: “O Messenger of Allāh! We never used to worship them.” The Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Did they not use to make permissible for you that which Allāh had made ḥarām which you would then enact? Or make ḥarām that which Allāh had made ḥalāl which you would also enact?” ʿIdī answered: “Yes.” He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “That is your worship of them.”3

al-Ḥafiẓ Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) mentions in his book ‘Iʿlām al-Muwaqqiʿīn’ a multitude of issues in which the opinion espoused by the Ḥanafī madh`hab is contrary to the Sunnah. He also mentions other issues in which he opposed the opinions of the other madh`habs of the Sunnah. Those who choose to adopt these opinions after being fully aware of its contrariness to the Sunnah have taken Abū Ḥanīfah (رحمه الله) as a lord besides Allāh. As for Abū Ḥanīfah (رحمه الله), he has declared himself innocent from this in his saying: “It is impermissible for anyone to adopt our opinions except that they are aware of our sources.” That is, until they know the evidence he used from the Book of Allāh, or the Sunnah, or Ijmāʿ, or correct qiyās to arrive at the opinion he adopted. Thus, it becomes abundantly clear that the first fundamental principle they have adopted is incorrect in so long as they blindly imitate the madh`hab of Abū Ḥanīfah in his opinions surrounding their worship and creed, while adopting mannerisms consistent with Ṣūfi ideologies.

The Second Foundation

As for the second foundation mentioned by Muḥammad Aslam of ‘performing ṣalāh,’ his formulation of the phrase is incorrect. For indeed, Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh simply commands with ṣalāh, not with its proper or correct performance. As the ṣalāh that is prayed contrary to the ṣalāh of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) should not be referred to as having been performed in a correct, proper manner. Rather, such a ṣalāh is encompassed in the saying of the Most High:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ ‎﴿٤﴾‏ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ‎﴿٥﴾‏

So woe unto those performers of ṣalāh (prayers) (hypocrites), who delay their ṣalāh (prayer) from their stated fixed times”
(al-Māʿūn, 107:4-5)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “There is no ṣalāh except with the Opening of the Book.”4 The reviewers of the opinions of the madhāhib have stated that it is permissible, according to the Ḥanafī madh`hab, for a praying person to say ‘Dūsabz’ instead of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah which is the Persian translation of the saying of the Most High:


“Dark green (in colour).”5
(al-Raḥmān, 55:64)

Despite this, ṣalāh is not considered as having been performed correctly or properly with Allāh unless it is performed in a manner consistent with the ṣalāh of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

The Third Foundation

As for the title of ‘knowledge and remembrance’ that they have given to their third fundamental, its meaning is unclear. ‎This is because knowledge may be beneficial or useless, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to seek refuge from knowledge that does not benefit.6 The knowledge of the Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh is an example of knowledge that holds no benefit. As for remembrance, only the forms that are unadulterated by innovation will be accepted by Allāh. As for forms that are mixed with innovation, they all represent forms of misguidance.7 In an authentic narration, Ibn Waḍḍāḥ narrates that ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (رضي الله عنه) heard of a group of people gathering in a Kūfī masjid. One of them would say: “Make tasbīḥ [i.e., say subḥanallāh] one hundred times” so they would do so and count using stones they held in their hands. Then they would say: “Hallilū [Say Lā ilāha illā Allāh] one hundred times,” so they would do so. Then they would say: “Kabirū [say Allāhu Akbar] one hundred times,” so they would do so. ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (رضي الله عنه) donned al-Burnus which is a type of hooded garment that obscures the face and extends to the forearms. He entered their place of gathering and sat with them. When he had seen their actions with his own eyes, he raised the hood from his face so that they may know him. He said: “O people! I am Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. By Allāh! You people have superseded the companions of Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in your knowledge or you have concocted an oppressive innovation.” One of them replied: “O Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, we have not superseded the companions of Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in knowledge, nor have we concocted an oppressive innovation. Rather, we are only a people who seek to engage in the remembrance of our Lord.” ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (رضي الله عنه) replied: “Nay, by the One in whose Hands the soul of Ibn Masʿūd resides! You have superseded the companions of Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) or concocted an oppressive innovation. Woe to you ‘O Ummah of Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)! How you hasten towards your own destruction! These are his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) vessels that have not even been shattered, his clothes still moist, and you have already innovated in his dīn that which you have innovated.”8 He ordered that they be removed from the masjid. They retreated to the highlands of Kūfah where they built a masjid. In it, they continued to engage in the same form of remembrance they had engaged in within the masjid of Kūfah. So ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd ordered that the masjid they built be destroyed.

This masjid was the first zāwiyah [a small part of a mosque erected for innovation] in Islām. The people of innovation do not suffice simply with a mosque, rather they build in addition to it these zawāyá for the purpose of practising innovation.

The Fourth Foundation

Their fourth fundamental is ‘honouring every Muslim.’ This is correct except that they do not implement it except with those who engage in the same innovation of travelling in the way of Allāh [according to them]. As for the ones who choose not to engage in this travel, they hold strong feelings of hatred and enmity towards them.

The Fifth Foundation

Their fifth principle is termed ‘sincerity’. This is also unclear. Sincerity must rightfully be for Allāh, His messengers, His books, the Imams of the Muslims and their common folk.9 If they were to behave with sincerity to these classes, it would have been correct. However, they only show amiability and advise those who believe in their innovation and take part in it.

The Sixth Foundation

Their sixth principle named by Muḥammad Aslam is ‘travelling in the way of Allāh.’ This name is quite perplexing. Do they mean by this travelling from ʿArafah to Muzdalifah [i.e., during Ḥajj]? Or is it the type of travelling concerning which Allāh says:

انفِرُوا خِفَافًا وَثِقَالًا وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

“March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allāh.”
(al-Tawbah, 9:41)

They are not referring to this or that. Rather, they mean by it the Brahimī travelling that we have been forbidden from engaging in by the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Travelling was never part of this religion at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) or the Rightly Guided Khalifs. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) travelled to Ṭāʾif with his ward Zayd ibn Ḥārithah, turning towards their prince and calling him to Islām. He answered him in a most despicable way. He lined the foolish among them before him who then pelted him with stones until he bled from his honourable legs. Despite this, he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) never ordered a single person from Makkah to travel with him [henceforth]. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to travel to the markets of the Arabs, like Ẓī al-Majāz without ordering anyone to accompany him. His uncle and enemy of Allāh, Abū Lahab, used to follow him. When he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would invite the people to the religion of Allāh, Abū Lahab would say to them: “This is my nephew and he is a liar so do not believe him.” Mālik (رحمه الله) said: “Whoever invents in Islām an innovation that he believes has goodness has claimed that Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has cheated in the delivery of his message. This is because I have heard Allāh say:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُم

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you”
(al-Māʾidah, 5:3)

So whatever was not part of this religion on that day shall never be a part of it today.” Travelling was never part of the religion in the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) except as a part of the religion of the Brāhimī people and their ilk. It shall, therefore, never be a part of this dīn.

How significant are they as a source of trickery and misguidance! So return to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh. In it there is success and safety from the evils of this worldly life and the hereafter.

[1] Muḥammad Ilyās: the founder of Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh (1303-1362 AH). Born in Kandahla, a town located in the Indian state of Utar Pradesh.
[2] Brāhimiyyah: A form of the Hindu religion that believes in detachment from this worldly life as a way of uniting with Brahmā who they identify as being the creator. Widely adopted by people in India and Nepal starting from the fifteenth century BC until today. This belief has no known originator. Their most apparent belief is rejection of all prophethood although they believe their religious figures are connected to Brahmā and that their followers must return to them on occasions of marriage, death, and during any form of worship. See ‘Adyān al-Hind al-Kubrá’: 37.
[3] Ḥasan: narrated by al-Tirmidhī 5:259. Graded Ḥasan by Shaykh al-Albānī in Gāyat al-Marām: 6.
[4] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 756 and Muslim: 394. Opening of the Book refers to Surah al-Fātiḥah.
[5] See ‘Sharḥ Sunan al-Tirmidhī’ 22:2, ‘Sharḥ Mukhtaṣir al-Kharqī’ 70:11 and 47:11 by ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Khuḍayr.
[6] Authentic: narrated by Muslim 6906.
[7] Authentic: narrated by al-Lālikāʾī 1:92
[8] Authentic: Narrated by al-Dārimī: 211 and graded authentic by Shaykh al-Albānī in Silsilah al-Ṣaḥiḥah: 2005 and Shaykh ʿAbd al-Muḥsin al-ʿAbbād in ‘al-Hath ʿalá Itibāʿ al-Sunnah’ pg. 49.
[9] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 55

Source: al-Sirāj al-Munīr:12-16
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 18, 2024
Edited: February 23, 2024

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