The sama’

Once a Shadhili inidividual invited Shaykh al-Arab wal-A’jam Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah mohajir Makki (may Allah have mercy on him) and his close companion for dinner. Hadhrat Haji sahib accepted on the condition that there must be sama’ (audition) accompanied with it.

Some of his close scholar (ulema) companion were reluctant to go and excused themselves out. However, Hakim al-Umma accompanied Hadhrat Haji sahib without any hesitation. While the companions were discussing this issue amongst themselves, Hakim al-Umma reiterated that he was going to attend this event, indeed. If Hadhrat Haji sahib was going what questions other could have. None of them was more pious then him.

At the event prior to meal being served, the (Shadhili) Shaykh’s companions stood up in a circle and one of them started to recite a Divine Name. Others chanted the same in chorus. The person leading this is called the munshid. After a while all became silent and munshid recited some poetry related to Divine Love. It was in a simple but very pleasant tone. The munshid was an old person. After it they recited another Divine name similarly. In summary, this sama’ was a very fine, pleasant and enjoyable event.

After its completion Hadrat Haji sahib inquired, ‘Did you enjoy?’

Hakim al-Umma replied affirmatively that, ‘Hadhrat indeed it was very enjoyable’.

Hahdrat Haji sahib then said that, ‘This is (in reality) the sama’. Some of our companions were uncomfortable with it for no definite reason. I had purposefully asked for this condition (sama’) just to show what are it limits.”

Ashraf us Sawanih, volume 1, page 262-3

1 thought on “The sama’

  1. 'abd Post author

    A brother emailed me: I have a question about this post on the Shadhili hadra. This incident from Maulana’s biography as well as Maulana’s fatwa in Imdad al-Fatawa (5:151-155) suggests that Maulana Thanwi was of the view of jawaz for the hadra. Is this correct?

    Some people are vehemently opposed to this, and exert a lot of efforts in order to prove that Maulana Thanwi did not consider it ja’iz. Their primary argument is that the contemporary Shadhili hadra is different from what Maulana Thanwi saw and what Maulana gave fatwa upon. What do you say to this?

    The reply:
    Being a Shadhilli it is best that you ignore these issue and focus on the path itself.

    There are various modes of zikir done by the sufis. They consider them neither sunna nor mustahib. They use them as a medicine to remove the ghaflah/heedlessness. As no one has any issues with using paracetmaol for headache or aspirin for muscular pain, similarly, they should not fuss over sufic zikir. Personal experience or expert opinion should satisfy them. Permissibilty of use exists. No one considers it to be wajib, sunna or mustahib!

    “Ziya us sulook” by Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah mohar Makki (may Allah have mercy on him) has detailed accounts of various methods of sufic zikir. One of them (zikir e Haddadi) is the recitation of ism-e-zaat or kalimah tayyiba (I forget) while standing and swaying forwards and backwards with hand movements, etc.

    The thing that is troubling about the present hadra (which is quite complex than the simple one described in this post) is: Being open to all. That is, it is general public event. Most of the time with sama’accompanied by duff/drums.

    Sufic zikir is only effective for the salikeen who are treading the path. And aslo for them it is a medicine. A prelude to the real zikir. It is not a sunna or mustahib form of zikir. It remains unclear that what benifit will those achieve who are not treading the path from it?

    Also, there are criteria for listening to sama’, which are generally ignored in this public event. Are most of us capable enough to understand the classical sufic poetry and apply it to The Divine Reality appropriately? Senior well-versed saliks may but general layman may lose his eman in this feat!

    Also, use of instruments is a fiqhi issue differed upon.

    Hadhrat Hakim al-umma ra’a “Haq us Sama” is a remarkable read in this context. It draws information form senior Shuyukh, like Suharwardi, Ghazali, Mehboob-e Illahi (may Allah have mercy on them). Please, read it. It is available freely online somewhere.

    Please, do not be offended on this rambling thoughts. Ignore them. They are from someone inept in this field. However, please, do try to make dua for this lowly writer.


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