Question: How is it to arrange a Shabeena for several (about 10) Huffaaz? They are invited to read a few Juz each of the
Qur’aan in one night to make a Khatam? Is this permissible? May one participate in such ibaadat? Is it permissible to invite the public for such a programme? How is it to have tea and snacks after every two or four raka’ts to keep up the energy levels and to be refreshed? Did Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) or the Sahaabah ever indulge in such a practice?
Ibaadat is only what existed during the era of the Salafus Saaliheen – the era of Khairul Quroon. Whatever was fabricated in the form of ibaadat after this epoch is bid’ah. The Qur’aan Majeed was of primary importance in the sphere of Ibaadat in the lives of the Sahaabah. The main acts of Ibaadat of the Sahaabah and the Salafus Saaliheen were Tilaawat and Nafl Salaat. Yet, there is not found in their lives any Ijtimaa-ee(congregational) form of Nafl Salaat or of Tilaawat. These were private acts. The more privacy attached to these acts, the greater will be Ikhlaas, and the converse is true. A congregational form detracts from Ikhlaas. Besides this fact, if there was any merit in making khatam in group form as explained, the Sahaabah would have been the very first to have enacted it. Generally, congregational forms of ibaadat other than the confirmed Masnoon forms, were shunned by the Sahaabah. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) had expelled from the Musjid a group who was engaging in Tahleel, Tahmeed and Takbeer in congregational form. A Sahaabi who was a guest by another Sahaabi narrated that his host would engage in Tilaawat the entire night without him (the guest) being aware, so silently would he recite. The emphasis is on Ikhlaas. Congregational form is nugatory of Ikhlaas. The dividing line between Ikhlaas and riya/ujub and Ikhlaas is at times extremely fine and blurring. Sometimes Auliya also are mistaken and fail to discern this dividing line. A sure sign of a form of Ibaadat being unacceptable is when its form differs from the pure and simple form which existed during Khairul Quroon. On the basis of this brief introduction, the answers to your queries are:
1) It will not be permissible to invite Huffaaz to participate in the congregational ‘shabeena’ form. There never existed any congregational shabeena act of ibaadat among the Sahaabah.
2) Inviting the public to such an act aggravates the prohibition. It will become a merrymaking function. In Islam there are no ibaadat programmes. Ibaadat is a private, individual act which, as far as possible, must be concealed and remain a secret between the bandah and his Rabb. It should always remain a secret communion between the Mahboob and the Muhib. A public display is in total negation of this secret bond of Muhabbat between the Mahboob and His Muhib.
3) Tea and snacks aggravate the ‘ibaadat’ even more. It will be a mere display and a merrymaking get-together devoid of the Ikhlaas which is necessary for Maqbooliyat.
4) Most certainly Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahaabah , Taabieen and Tab-e-Taabieen never ever engaged in any such shabeenah or congregational recitation of the Qur’aan Majeed. The Salafus Saaliheen who were addicted to making numerous khatams monthly would do so in such secrecy that their acts of ibaadat would become known only by stealth. One person hid himself one night to see how Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh) spent the night. From his position of concealment, he discovered that in two raka’ts, Imaam Saahib completed the whole Qur’aan Majeed. But this was during the night time, in privacy when no one was present. It was a secret communion between the slave and His Master. Never should we originate an ibaadat act whose form is not the form which has been reported to us from Khairul Quroon.
FROM THE MAJLIS VOLUME 26 NUMBER 01