Don’t Look Down On Asalatu Groups – Abdul-Ganiyy Raji
August 12, 2022
We Can Improve Asalatu Groups, We Should Not Condemn Or Underplay Their Role In Islam, this was the summation of the National Da’wah Officer/Secretary, Mission Board Nasrul Lāhi-l-Fātih Society (NASFAT), Abdul-Ganiyy Raji during an interactive session with Lasilkiin.com on his thought over the issue of gathering for the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and chanting of blessings upon Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
He added that several questions such as: Is it good to have an Asalatu group? Can I be a member of an Asalatu group? Does an Asalatu group have a backing in Islam? are few of the questions that linger in the minds of many people, especially Nigerian Muslims.
“Some people look down on Islamic societies founded as Asalatu groups, such as NASFAT, for being Asalatu groups. This is because, according to such people, it is an aberration to call any group an Asalatu group in Islam.”
“Now, the important question to ask is this. How does bringing people together to call upon Allah with the Qur’ān, the Sunnah and meaningful supplications of the earlier pious Muslims become an aberrant practice? I suppose some people tend to portray themselves as being more pious or holier than Prophet Muhammad (SAW).”
“Let us concede, as some people often argue, that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or any of his companions did not establish an Asalatu group. Is there a Qur’ān verse or a Hadith that forbids people from calling upon Allah as a group? There is no such thing in the Qur’ān and the Hadith.
As a matter of fact, we have allusions that are references in the Qur’ān and the Sunnah to collective Dhikr and prayers.
Let me cite two verses from the Qur’ān to drive my points closer home.
“Stick patiently with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and evening, seeking His pleasure, and do not turn your eyes away from them out of your desire for the attractions of this worldly life….” Qur’an 18:28
“Do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and evening, seeking nothing but His Face. You are in no way accountable for them, nor they for you; if you drove the believers away, you would become one of the evildoers” Qur’ān 6:52
The Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) also has resources which allow people to come together for Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and Du’ā’ (prayers or supplications). One important Hadith that comes to mind is the one reported by Abū Hurayrah and related by Muslim about the itinerant angels who look for gatherings where people chant the Names of Allah and call upon Him.
“The Hadith is a long one and I do not think it will serve any appreciable purpose to reproduce the entire body of the Hadith here.”
We cannot make a blanket or reckless condemnation of the workings or activities of Asalatu groups without first verifying if they operate in line with the Qur’ān and the Sunnah. We can only criticize an Asalatu group that engages in practices that are at variance with the core tenets of Islam.
We all know that Islam categorizes all practices of human beings into Wājib (Obligatory/Mandatory), Madūb (Recommended) Mubāh (Permissible), Makrūh (Reprehensible) and Harām (Forbidden). No one can convincingly establish that an Asalatu group that calls upon Allah, empowers its members and propagates Islam falls under Harām or Makrūh.
While I may not be able to speak for all Asalatu groups, I can confidently say that NASFAT (Nasrul Lāhi-l-Fātih Society) is one group whose leaders and members are committed to the teachings of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah. The operations of the Society are guided and dictated by what Allah says and what Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said. Members who come for worship at designated times and places come to call upon Allah. They never invoke any being other than Allah. The supplications with which they call upon Him are traced to the Qur’ān and the Sunnah.
It is safe to aver that well-organized, well-managed and disciplined Asalatu groups fill an important void and serve a vital purpose in Islam, particularly at a time such as this. We can continue to offer workable suggestions that enhance the operations of Asalatu groups and position them to serve Islam and the Ummah in a more effective way, but we cannot characterize them as unwanted groups in Islam. That will amount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
National Da’wah Officer/Secretary, Mission Board
Nasrul Lāhi-l-Fātih Society (NASFAT)