THE URS (ANNIVERSARY ON THE DEPARTURE OF A SAINT)
IN PROOF OF URS
The literal meaning of Urs is wedding, and it is for this reason that the bride and bridegroom are called ‘Uroos’. The date of demise of the Friends of Allahعزوجل and Buzurgs is called Urs because, whih the angels who question in the grave (Nakeerain) test the deceased and find him to be successful, they say, “Sleep like a bride who will not be awakened by anyone except for the person who is most beloved to her.” 15.1 – Mishkaat, Baabu Ithbaatil-Qabr
Because these angels have called them ‘Uroos’ on that date, it therefore becomes the day of ‘Urs’,
Another reason is because, on this day, the angels will reveal the beauty and splendor of Rasoolullahصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم and ask him, “What did you say about this man?” He will reply, “He is the Uroos (adorned personality) of all creation. The entire creation has attained splendor through him.” Meeting the beloved is the day of ‘Urs’, and it is for this reason that the day is called Urs.
Urs merely means to visit the grave on the date of demise every year, convey the reward of the recitation of the Holy Quran and give charity. The source of Urs is found in the Ahadith and rulings of the Jurists. Shaami states, “Ibn Abi Shalba رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ stales that the Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم used to go to the graves of the martyrs (Shuhadaa) of Uhud every year.” 15.2 – Vol. 1, Baabu Ziyaaratil-Quboor
Tafseer-e-Kabeer and Durre-Mansoor state, “It is proven that the Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. used to go to the graves of the martyrs every year and make Salaam to them. The four Khulafaa used to also do this.”15.3
Shah Abdul-Azeez Muhaddith Dehlwi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “Secondly, many people gather and, after completing the Quran and Fatiha on the Sheerini, distribute it amongst those present. This part was not practiced in the Holy Prophet’sصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم time or during the era of the Khulafaa-e-Raashideen, but there is nothing wrong in someone doing so. Rather, the deceased attain benefit from the actions of the living.” -Fataawa Azeezia, Pg. 45
Answering Maulwi Abdul-Hakeem Siyaalkoti, Shah Abdul-Azeez Muhaddith Dehlwi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “This taunt is because people are unaware of conditions.
No one accepts anything else to be Fardh except for what the Shariah has classified as so, Yes, attaining barkat from the graves of the pious, reciting the Holy Quraa and Isaal-e-Thawaab and distributing sweetmeats and food to assist them (m thawaab) is good according to the Consensus of the Ulama. The day of Urs appointed to remind people of his demise. Otherwise, on whatever day these acts are done is good,” – Zubdatun-Nasaaih fi Masaailiz-Zabaaih
The literal meaning of Urs is wedding, and it is for this reason that the bride and bridegroom are called ‘Uroos’. The date of demise of the Friends of Allahعزوجل is called Urs because, when the angels who question in the grave test the deceased and find him to be successful, they say, “Sleep like a bride who will not be awakened by anyone except for the person who is most beloved to her.”
Hadrat Shaikh Abdul Qudoos Gangoohi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes to Maulana Jalaaluddin, “The Urs of Peers, according to their method with Samaa wl cleanliness, should be practiced,” – Maktoob. Letter no. 182
Haaji Imdaadulilb Muhaajir Makkir رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ , the Peer of Maulwi Rashid Ahmed and Ashraf Ali Thanwi, notably stresses the permissibility of Urs and, while explaining his practices, رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “The practice of this Feqe (i.e. myself) in this matter is that I make Isaal-e- Thawaab to the soul of my Peer every year. Firstly, Quran is recited, and if there is enough time, Moulood Sharif is read.
Thereafter the reward of this is conveyed.” – Faisla Haft Mas ‘ala Maulwi Rashid Aluned Gangohi also accepts Urs to originally be permissible. He رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہwrites, “There are many things that were permissible originally but were then prohibited at a later time. Gatherings of Moulood and Urs are examples of this. It is known from Arabs that they used to commemorate the Urs of Hadrat Sayed Ahmed Badawi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ on a large scale with much pomp, The Ulama of Medina used to especially observe the Urs of Sayyiduna Ameer Hamza رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ.
Whose grave (Mazaar) was at the mountain of Uhud. In short, Muslims throughout the globe, including the Ulama, pious and especially the people of Madina, used to strictly observe Urs, and that which is good according to Muslims is good in the sight of A1lah عزوجل “-Fataawa Rashidia, Vol.1, Pg. 92
Rationally speaking, holding the Urs of the Saints should also be a good action.
Firstly, the Urs is a celebration of visiting the graves and giving charity. Both of these actions are Sunnah, so how can the collection of two Sunnahs be Haraam? The Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم has said, “I had previously stopped you from visiting the graves. Now, you may definitely visit them. -Mishkaat, Baabu Ziyaaratil-Quboor.
This confirms the permissibility of visiting the graves in every manner. They can be visited daily or annually, alone or in a group. Thus, when someone enplaces his own restrictions to this (e.g. visiting the graves in a group is prohibited, or visiting it after appointing a date for it every year, etc.), it is inconsequential. The practice is permissible with or without specifying a date or day.
Secondly, appointing a date for Urs eases the gathering of people. They gather together and collectively recite the Holy Quran, Zikr, Durood, etc. and, through this, many blessings are attained.
Thirdly, all of the mureeds of a Peer gather on the date of his demise and come to know of each other’s conditions. They meet unceremoniously and love is increased through this.
Fourthly, those who wish to become disciples of a Peer are aided in their search of one because a single gathering of Urs is attended by many Mashaaikh, Ulama and Sufiya. When he sees them, he may commit (bai’t) to whoever he is drawn o.
Even in Hajj and the visiting (ziyaarat) of Madina Sharif are there specifications of dates. The abovementioned benefits are also incorporated in this. I have seen the graves of Deobandi elders. They have no beauty and there is none to make Fatiha or Isaal-e-Thawaab for them. Neither is there any person wanting to attain benefit from them nor is there someone to give guidance to others. This is the result of stopping good works.
OBJECTIONS and ANSWERS TO URS
OBJECTION 1: You believe the person whom you bury to be a Saint (Wali) ud even host his Urs afterwards. How do you know that he is a Wali? We dou’t even know for certain whether a person died a Muslim, so how can the sainthood (wilaayat) of a deceased be known? There have been many pious people who passed away as Kaafirs.
Answer – The visible rulings of life are emplaced after death, so he who was I Muslim in his lifetime will be deemed to be one after death as well. As a resub, Namaaz-e-Janaazah, Kafn, Dafn, etc. will all be completed. Regarding he, was a Kaafir in his lifetime, he will not be given Ghusal, Kafn, etc and his Salaatul-Janaazah will not be made. The command of the Shariah applies to evident. A mere possibility has no credibility. Likewise, he who was a saint in his lifetime is also a Saint after death. If commands of the Shariah are appliede possibilities, then Janaazah-Salaah of Kaafirs should also be read as it is possible that they died as Muslims. While we are at it, we should also bum Muslims after death because it’s possible they didn’t die as Muslims.
Once a Janaazah, which was praised by people, passed before the Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. He said, “It has become Waajib.” Another Janaazah which was spoken badly of passed by him a little later and he said the same thing. When Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ asked him what had become Waajib, Sayyiduna Rasoolullahصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم explained, “Jannat for the first and Jahannam for the second.” He continued, “You are the witness of Allahعزوجل on earth.” 15.8 – Miskhaat, Kitaabu/-Janaaiz, Baabul-Mashyibil–Janaazah
This proves that he who is deemed to be a Friend of Allah (Wali) by the general body of Muslims is also a Wali in the sight of Allahعزوجل. Muslims bring to mouth only that which is established in the sight of Allahعزوجل. Similarly, anything which Muslims think to be thawaab and Halaal is worthy of reward and permissible according to Allahعزوجل because Muslims are the witnesses of Allahعزوجل. The Hadith, “ما راہ المومنون حسنا فھو عنداللہ حسن” establishes this. The Holy Qwan states, “We have made you the just nation so that you may give witness on people.”I5.8a _ Surah Baqarah; Verse 143
A Muslim is a witness on both the Day of Qiyaamat and in the world. In proving the Holy Quran and Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم” to be true, Allahعزوجل presents the testimony of Hadrat Abdullah ibn Salaam رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and other Buzurgs, “و شھد شاھد من بنی اسرائیل علی مثلہ ”- Surah Yusuf. Verse 26
If Prophethood can be proven through the testimony of pious Muslims sainthood can be proven through it even more effectively. Similarly when this testimony can prove the entire Quran, surely it can prove a rule of Shariah more thoroughly.
Note- This question was posed in the Hararn of Makkah Sharif by a Najdi Imam. I gave the same answer to him in a vast gathering. In reply to it, he said, “This is only the quality of the Sahaaba. Whatever they bear witness to is correct because the Quran says “Autum” (You). We are not included in this because we weren’t present with the Sahaaba,” I replied, ‘The very same Mishkaat states at the same place, “Another narration says that the Muslims are Allah’sعزوجل witnesses on earth.” 15.9 This doesn’t have ‘Antum’ in it. Also, all commands of the Holy Quran begin with an address (e.g. “Perform Salaah”, “Give Zakaat”, etc.) and we were not present at the time of the Holy Quran being revealed. Therefore, according to you, we are free from following these commands and only the Sahaaba have to read namaaz, not us.” The Holy Quran and Hadith addresses all Muslims until Qiyaamat. Alharndulillah, this answer angered the Imam very much, but he was unable to answer.
OBJECTION 2: A Hadith states, “Do not make my Qabr an Eid.n 15.10 This proves that people gathering at a grave and having festivities there is prohibited because ‘Eid’ means fair. Gathering and festivities occur in Urs functions. Thus, it is Haraam.
Answer – How do you conclude that ‘Eid’ refers to the gathering of people and that the Hadith means, “Do not gather at my grave. Come individually to it.”? On the day of Eid, people commemorate happiness, decorate homes and enjoy the company of one another in play and amusement. This is what is meant in the above Hadith, i.e.
“When you present yourselves at my grave, be respectful and do not make a noise or have fun and amusement there.” If gathering at the grave was what the Messengerصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was referring to, what about the caravans of people who go to Madina and gather and present Salaam every day after the five daily Salaah?
Discussing the subject of Urs, Haaji Imdaadullah Muhaajir Makki رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہwrites, ‘The correct meaning of this Hadith is that holding fairs at the Qabr, having fun and amusement and making provisions to decorate it are all prohibited. It doesn’t mean that gathering at a grave is impermissible. Otherwise, caravans of people go to Madina to visit the blessed Rauza. This would now become prohibited, and surely this can’t be. Therefore, the truth is that visiting graves, whether individually or in groups is correct. The Hadith may also mean, “Come to my grave as soon as possible. Do not come to it after an entire year like an Eid.” -Faisla Haft Mas ‘ala
OBJECTION 3: In general gatherings of Urs, there is intermingling between men and women, dancing and the singing of Qawaali. In short, the Urs of the Saints are collections of several Haraam acts. This is why it is Haraam.
Answer – The concise answer to this is that that the joining of Haraam things in anything proven to be Sunnah (masnoon) or a permissible action does not make the originality of Halaal change into Haraam. Halaal is Halaal and Haraarn is Haraam.
Allama Shaami رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “Visiting graves shouldn’t be abandoned if impermissible actions take place there (such as the intermingling of males and females) because even with such impermissible actions, preferable actions are not omitted. Rather, it is necessary on the person to visit the graves and prohibit the Bidat. This is supported by the previous rule that going with the Janaazah should not be aborted though there may be women wailing and lamenting (nauha) in the procession.” 15.12- Raddul-Muhtaar, Kitaabul-Janaaiz, Discussion on Visiting the Graves
Prior to the Conquest of Makkah, there were idols in the Kaaba and at Safa and Marwa but Muslims didn’t forsake making Tawaaf because of them. Yes, when Allahعزوجل gave them strength, they eventually destroyed the idols. Today, there is intermingling between men and women in the marketplace, on public transports and in worldly gatherings. In the transports for Haajis at Mina, Muzdalifa and even while making Tawaaf, open intermingling between the two genders can be seen. However, no one rules the original action (Hajj, etc.) to be prohibited because of these things.
There are even shortcomings in Deeni Madrassahs at times. These institutions are not closed due to this.
Similarly is the matter of Urs. Both women going there (in the graveyard) and dancing is Haraam. However, because of these actions, how does the original gathering of Urs become Haraam? The correct approach is to go there, stop these impermissible acts and try to make people understand the values of Islam.
The hypocrite, Ibn Qais, submitted. “Do not take me with in the Battle of Tabuk because the western women of Rome are very beautiful. I fear that they will lead me towards fitna since I am very fond of women,” The Quran however, rejected the excuse in the following manner, “الا فی الفنتۃ سقطوا و ان جھنم لمحیطۃ بالکفرین ”-Surah Tauba, Verse 49
Allahعزوجل did not accept this excuse and classified it as a means of infidelity (kufr) and Jahannam (Refer to Tafseer-e-Kabeer and Roohul-Bayaan). This is the very excuse Deobandis cling to in stopping the gatherings of Urs.
In the present day, there are numerous Haraam practices in weddings. These actions destroy Muslims and make them sinners, However, no one rules Nikah to be Haraam and stops it because of what goes on within them.
Today, the general and popular method of Qawaali (wherein dirty stanzas are sung, sinners and Amrads (boys without beards) gather and in which Ruqs (spiritual movement) is made only on the beauty of voice) is totally Haraam. However, if all of the conditions of Qawaali are first met by the reciters and listeners and then it is hosted, it cannot be called so. Eminent Sufiya have ruled Qawaali to be permissible for those who are worthy (Ahl) of listening and reciting it, not for those who aren’t.
The source of this is the following Hadith: A slave girl was beating a daff (small tambourine) in front of the Holy Messengerصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم . When Hadrat Abu Baler رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ came to the Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم‘s court, she continued beating it and didn’t stop even when Hadrat Uthman رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ arrived, When Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ arrived, however, she stopped beating it, placed it on the floor and sat down. The Noble Messengerصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم then said, “O Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ , Shaitaan fears you!” – Mishkaat, Kitaabul-Fadhaail- Baabu Manaqibi Umar'”
One may ask: is beating the daff the practice of Shaitaan or not? If it was, was the Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, Hadrat Abu Bakr رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and Hadrat Uthman رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ feared by Shaitaan? What meaning will the saying of Rasoolullahصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم have? The answer to this is before Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ arrived, this action was not a Shaitaanic act but was leading towards one. When Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ did arrive, it became a Shaitaanic act and was stopped.
This is why the Sufiya have emplaced 6 conditions on Qawaali. One of the conditions is that anyone who isn’t worthy of it should not be in its gathering. Otherwise, Shaitaan will join in it just as how he joins the gathering of a meal wherein a person doesn’t recite “Bismillah” before eating. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the rank of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ was less. Rather, the character and method of each Sahaabi was different. Some of them were drawn towards adherence while others were immersed in the emotion of love. This is why the effects which they produced were different. If a Ghaus or Qutb began eating without saying “Bismillah”, Shaitaan also joins in the meal. This is in no way disrespect to the Ghaus or Qutb.
Shaarni states, “الۃ اللھو لیست محرمۃ لعینھا بل لقصد اللھو منھا الا تری ضرب تلک الالۃ بعینھا احل تارۃ و حرم اخری و فیہ دلید لساداتنا الصوفیۃ الذین یقصدون بسما عھا امورا ھم اعلم بھا فلا یبادر المعترض بالانکار کی لا یحرم برکتھم فانھم السادۃ الاخیار” – Vol. 5, Kitaabul-Karaahiyat
Under the ayat, “ومن الناس من یشتری لھو الحدیث” Tafseeraat-e-Ahmadiya has thoroughly researched Qawaali. At the end of his study, Mulla Jeewan رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ rules that it is permissible for those who are worthy of it (Ahl) and Haraam for those who are not. He then رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “و بہ ناخذ لانا شھدنا انہ نشاء من قوم کانوا عرفین و محبین لرسول اللہ و کانوا معذورین لغلبۃ الحال و یستکشرون السماع للغناء و کانوا یحسبون ذلک عبادۃ اعظم و جھاداکبر فیحل لھم خاصۃ انتھی ملخصا”- Tafseeraat-e-Ahmadia
Speaking about the Qawaali in gatherings of Urs, Haaji Imdaadullah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, ”The opinion of Scholars is that Qawaali is allowed if its conditions of permissibility are found and if the factors which prohibit it are removed. Otherwise, it is not.” -Faisla Haft Mas’ala
Maulwi Rashid Ahmed has also stated, “Listen to Qawaali that is free from music.
Song is permitted if the reciter is not a concentration of mischief and if whatever he reads doesn’t go against the Shariah. If whatever is read is in accordance to the rhythmic beat of music, then there is no problem.” – Fataawa Rashidia, Vol. I, Pg. 61
In short, Qawaali, with its conditions, is permissible for the person who is worthy but prohibited for the person who isn’t, Allama Shaami رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ has listed 6 conditions for Qawaali,
1. The gathering must be free from Amrads (boys without beards) and the entire congregation should be people who are worthy (Ahl) of it, not those who are not.
2. The intention of the reciter (Qawaal) should be sincere. He shouldn’t intend taking compensation for his recital.
3. The congregation should not have the intention of eating and amusement when coming to it.
4. Without true Wajd (spiritual concentration), no one should stand up.
5. The verses shouldn’t contradict or go against the Shariah.
6. An Ahl (one worthy of Qawaali) is one who does not feel the strike of a sword to the body in the state of Wajd.
– Raddul-Muhtaar, Vol. 5, Kitaabul-Karaahiyat
He further writes, “Some Sufiya state that an Ahl of Qawaali is he who hasn’t eaten for seven days and, if there is both food before him and Qawaali, he leaves the food and goes for the latter.” -Ibid
This discussion of mine doesn’t mean that the popular gatherings of Qawaali in today’s times are Halaal or that people should listen to such things. Rather, I have heard people of the opposition swear the eminent and elder Sufiya merely on the grounds of Qawaali. They believe it to be Haraam like fornication. So, we submit to them – do not listen to Qawaali but don’t dishonor those Auliya who have listened to Samaa. Qawaali is an elixir for sickness. He who is sick should drink this medicine and he who doesn’t should not. Hadrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ states, “Neither do I do this nor do I reject it.” I have heard people say, “The Hadith has censored music. Therefore, the sayings of Khwaja Ajmeri رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and Imam Ghazzali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ have no credibility against the narrations. They were all sinners.” Allahعزوجل Forbid!
This is indeed very hurting to them. We have discussed this objection very concisely.
OBJECTION 4: If this rule is correct (that by the inclusion of Haraam things in a Halaal action, the action doesn’t become Haraam), it implies that Taazia Daari, fairs of idol-worship, cinema, etc. are all allowed because there is definitely a permissible act somewhere in them. Why don’t you say here too that going to cinemas, Taazia Daari, etc. is not Haraam, only whatever is bad in them is? Also, the Jurists state that to attend the Waleemah that has dancing and music at the time of feeding is prohibited despite the fact that it is Sunnah to accept and attend an invitation. It has become Haraam due to Haraam acts incorporated within it. Similarly is the case of Urs.
Answer – Here there are two things to understand,
1. One is an action of Haraam being included and joined within Halaal,
2. The other is to join that which is Halaal with Haraam.
Whenever Haraam becomes part of something Halaal (in the manner that the Halaal cannot be done without it). or when Halaal is done through the Haraam, its classification of Halaal doesn’t remain and in this situation the Haraam will make the Halaal also become Haraam.
If Haraam isn’t included in the Halaal but sometimes occurs with it and sometimes without, then this Haraam will not cause the original Halaal to become Haraam.
The Urs (Anniversary on the departure of a Saint)
An example of this is clothes and water touched by urine. The urine didn’t become part of the clothes but did become part of the water it touched. This causes much variation in ruling. There are many Haraam things joined with Nikah, traveling, etc.
However, these Haraarn things have not become part of these Halaal doings, in the manner that without them, Nikah, etc. will not be classified to be so.
Wastage, music and impermissible fairs of amusement have entered Taazia Daari to the extent that these things have become a part of it. In other words, no Taazia Daari, etc. is free from these things and, if it was, it wouldn’t be classified as Taazia Daari. However, if a person builds a duplicate of the Mazaar of Karbala and keeps it at home without burying it or performing these other Haraarn acts, it is allowed because making a representation of inanimate objects is permissible. Alhamdulillah, dancing, etc. has not entered Urs gatherings and there are many functions that are free from these prohibited acts but are still called Urs. The Urs Sharif of Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ at Sirhind Sharif is absolutely free from these practices. Generally, people commemorate the Urs of Irnam-e-Azam, Imam Zainul-Aabideen, etc. رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ only with lectures by the Ulama and the distribution of food.
Also, accepting every invitation is not Sunnat. Accepting the invitation of a minor (Naa-Baaligh), of the home of the deceased or of the wealthy that have amassed only Haraarn, is not permissible. Similarly, to accept the invitation of a Waleemah that has music and dancing especially at the time of feeding is prohibited.
This is in contrast to the visiting of graves because it is Sunnah under any circumstance. Invitation does not become Sunnah after the mixing of Haraam actions within it, but visiting the grave is Sunnah unconditionally, so it doesn’t become Haram. This can be understood by the ruling of t asking pat in burial under any circumstance. Even if prohibited acts are performed there, the Sunnah is not Haram. This is a very delicate difference that needs to be understood.