This month is also called “Rabi’ul-’akhir”. No specific function or worship has been prescribed by the Shari’ah in this month. However, some people take the 11th of this month as the anniversary of Shaikh Abdulqadir al-Jilani the great sufi and one of the most pious persons of our history.
On this assumption, these people cook some special types of meals and distribute them among their acquaintants. Some of them believe that this practice pleases the soul of the Shaikh and he will help us in fulfilling our worldly needs or in reaching our mundane or spiritual goals. This practice is totally baseless for a number of reasons: Firstly, it is not historically proved with certainty that the Shaikh died on the 11th of this month. Some historians claim that he died on 9th and some of them hold that he died on 17th. Secondly, even if it is proved that he had died on 11th of this month, the observation of anniversaries is not recognized by the Shari’ah, as we have explained it with more details earlier while discussing the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. Thirdly, if the practice is based on the belief that the soul of the Shaikh will be pleased by it and will help us in our worldly affairs, it is totally an erroneous idea and may amount to ‘shirk’. Fourthly, even if these acts are performed for the purpose of ‘Isal-al-thawab only, there is no reason why a specific date is fixed for this purpose, and why the people not observing it are blamed and reproached. Fifthly, the ‘Isal-al-thawab’ can be conceived where an ‘ibadah (act of worship) is done like sadaqah, but here in this practice normally the meal is distributed among the well-off relatives or friends and not among the poor. It means that there is no intention to perform an ‘ibadah. Sixthly, if some mundane benefits are sought by this practice, no thawab is supposed to be achieved. How can it be an act of ‘lsal-al-thawdb? In short, looked at from any angle, this custom does not fit in the recognized principles of Shari’ah. Therefore, it should be abandoned in any case. It must be remembered, however, that what we have said does not mean that one cannot make an ‘lsal-al-thawab to the Shaikh Abdulqadir Jilani. In fact the ‘isal-al-thawab is a recognized practice in Shari’ah. It becomes more commendable if it is done in favour of a pious person, like Shaikh Abdulqadir Jilani. But it should not be restricted to a particular date or a particular act. A Muslim can make ‘isal-al-thawab to the Shaikh any day and through any act of worship, like salah, fasting, charity etc.
Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani