Assalamualaikum Mawlana Shaykh Hisham and eshaykh team,

A lot of people ask me why we do the hadrah, and once I heard it was to celebrate the coming of Imam Mahdi A.S, some say its out of love for the Prophet s.a.w. Also the relevance of it, I’d heard some one once say that in the time of the Prophet s.a.w when his companions saw him they would start hopping at a spot, or spinning? something of that sort? could you please explain. JazakAllah


wa `alaykum salam,

In view of his strictness in every matter, Sultan al-`ulama’ al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami (d. 660) is famous for his fatwa allowing sama` or poetry recitals, and the swaying of the body and dancing associated with trances and other states of ecstasy during dhikr. Imam Ahmad related in his Musnad:

`Ali said: I visited the Prophet with Ja`far (ibn Abi Talib and Zayd (ibn Haritha). The Prophet said to Zayd: “You are my freedman” (anta mawlay), whereupon Zayd began to hop on one leg around the prophet (hajala). The Prophet then said to Ja`far: “You resemble me in my creation and my manners” (anta ashbahta khalqi wa khuluqi), whereupon Ja`far began to hop behind Zayd. The Prophet then said to me: “You pertain to me and I pertain to you” (anta minni wa ana minka) whereupon I began to hop behind Ja`far.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami mentions that some scholars have seen in this evidence for the permissibility of dancing (al-raqs) upon hearing a recital (sama`) that lifts the spirit. Al-Yafi`i concurs with him in Mir’at al-jinan. Both of them mention al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam as the chief example of such scholars, since it is authentically reported that he himself “attended the sama` and danced in states of ecstasy” (kana yahduru al-sama` wa yarqusu wa yatawajadu), as stated by Ibn al-`Imad on the authority of al-Dhahabi, Ibn Shakir al-Kutabi, al-Yafi`i, al-Nabahani, and Abu al-Sa`adat.

This permissibility of a type of dancing on the part of the Imams and hadith masters precludes the prohibition of sama` on a general basis, and that of the dancing that accompanies sama` as well, regardless of the reservations of Ibn Taymiyya concerning it which, in the mouths of today’s “Salafis,” do become cut-and-dry prohibitions.

As for particular cases where the dancing may be prohibited, it regards the worldly kind of effeminate dancing which has nothing to do with the ecstasy of of sama` and dhikr. Al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam differentiated the two in his Fatwas:

Dancing is a bid`a or innovation which is not countenanced except by one deficient in his mind. It is unfitting for other than women. As for the audition of poetry (sama`) which stirs one towards states of purity (ahwal saniyya) which remind one of the hereafter: there is nothing wrong with it, nay, it is recommended (bal yundabu ilayh) for lukewarm and dry hearts. However, the one who harbors wrong desires in his heart is not allowed to attend the sama`, for the sama` stirs up whatever desire is already in the heart, both the detestable and the desirable.

[Excerpted and edited from “ON TASAWWUF Sultan al-`ulama’ al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami (d. 660), translated by Shaykh Gibril Haddad.”

See also the Articles “Dancing for Joy for the Prophet” and  “Dancing during Dhikr” at as-Sunnah Foundation website.]


This entry was posted in Halal & Haram, Sufism (Tasawwuf). Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.