I would like to know what the significance of a washeq is.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

I would like to know what the significance of a washeq is. Is there an equivalent in main stream Islam. I know one similar prayer is the tarawih but are ther other such long prayers that can be prayed on other significant nights. For example on the first of rajab and certain days in shabaan abd ramzan bohras pray washeq. Should this be avoided if one wants to avoid comitting Biddah. Also can we make the intention to pray a long prayer(say 24 rakaats) just for extra sawaab. 

 

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Answer:

 

Washeq Bida

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Before we address the concept of ‘washeq’ prayers as prayed by a particular sect in Islam, it is important to understand the concept of what exactly is considered and termed as ‘bida’ or innovation in Islam, and why this concept of ‘bida’ is so hated by Allah Subhanah that it brings upon His curse upon those who practice it.

 

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4515  Narrated by Ali ibn AbuTalib

That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: “If anyone introduces a ‘bida’ (innovation in religion), he will be responsible for it.   If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces a ‘bida’ (innovation in religion),  he is cursed by Allah,  by His Angels, and by all the people.”

 

Sahih Muslim Hadith 1885     Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah

That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon:  “The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran;  and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws).  The most evil affairs are the ‘bida’ (innovations),  and every ‘bida’ is an error.”

 

It is our solemn belief as believers in Allah and the Last Day that there is none who walked on this earth who worshipped Allah Subhanah better than the Noble Messenger of Allah, Mohamed ar-Rasool Allah (saws).  There is not an act of worship which pleased Allah Subhanah which the Messenger of Allah (saws) did not perform and endorse and teach the believers. 

 

Thus if one were to introduce a new act or type or system of worship which was not performed, nor endorsed, nor taught to the believers by the Noble Messenger of Allah (saws), then it would imply that the people who introduce and practice this ‘new’ type or system of worship love and fear Allah more than the Messenger of Allah (saws), or that they know more than the Messenger of Allah (saws)! 

 

Thus, in layman terms, any act of worship which is not specifically endorsed by the Messenger of Allah (saws) would have to be a ‘bida’ or a new innovation; and thus every innovation in the deen of Islam would be a grave error and a heinous sin.

 

Your Question: I would like to know what the significance of a washeq is.

If one studies the Quran and the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws), there is absolutely no prayer termed as ‘washeq’ in these two sources of Truth.  Thus, it becomes obvious that this act of worship was not introduced by Allah and His Messenger (saws), but rather some self-proclaimed ‘priests’ or ‘holy-men’ have introduced this new concept in the religion of Islam! 

 

Since the Messenger of Allah (saws) neither introduced the ‘washeq’, nor practiced it, nor endorsed it, nor did he (saws) teach this system of prayer to the believers; it has to be, without an iota of a doubt, the work of someone other than the Messenger of Allah (saws): and thus, it would constitute a ‘bida’ (innovation), and as declared by the Messenger of Allah (saws)… ‘The most evil affairs are the ‘bida’ (innovations),  and every ‘bida’ is an error.’

 

Your Question: Is there an equivalent in main stream Islam.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no equivalent of this type of ‘washeq’ prayer in mainstream Islam!  For argument’s sake, even if there was, our criteria of determining the Truth should never be what the others are doing…but rather what is the guidance declared in the Quran and the Sunnah. 

 

If the act is endorsed by the Quran and the Sunnah, then it would indeed be a form of worship; but if the act, regardless of what it is and how extensively it is practiced, is not endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws)…it would indeed constitute a form of ‘bida’, and every ‘bida’ should be avoided and rejected by those who sincerely fear Allah and the Last Day.

 

Your Question: I know one similar prayer is the tarawih but are ther other such long prayers that can be prayed on other significant nights.

The ‘Tarawih’ prayers of Ramadan were performed by the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself, and there is ample evidence of its authenticity in the established Sunnah.

 

It is reported by Abu Hurairah  that the Prophet (saws) would encourage people to perform the special prayers during Ramadan without commanding them as obligatory and he (saws) said: "Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadan [tarawih] with a firm belief and hoping for reward, all of his previous sins would be forgiven."

Related by Muslim and Bukhari.

 

Hadrat Aisha (r.a.) reported that The Prophet offered salah (tarawih) in the mosque and many people prayed with him. The next day he (saws) did the same and more people prayed with him. Then the people gathered on the third night but, the Prophet (saws) did not come out to them.  In the morning, he (saws) said to them: 'Surely I saw what you did, and nothing prevented me from coming out to you, save that I feared that it [tarawih prayer] would be made obligatory upon you.' And that was during Ramadan."

Related by Muslim and Bukhari.

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.393         Narrated by Zaid bin Thabit

The Prophet (saws)  took a room made of date palm leaves mats in the mosque.   The Prophet (saws)  prayed in it for a few nights till the people gathered (to pray the night prayer (Tarawih) (behind him.)  Then on the 4th night the people did not hear his voice and they thought he had slept,  so some of them started humming in order that he might come out.  The Prophet (saws) then said, "You continued doing what I saw you doing till I was afraid that this (Tarawih prayer) might be enjoined on you,  and if it were enjoined on you, you would not continue performing it.  Therefore, O people! Perform your prayers at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is what is performed at his home except the compulsory (congregational) prayer.”

 

It is also true that during the reign of Hadrat Umar, Hadrat Uthman, and Hadrat Ali and all the people prayed the Taraweeh of twenty rak'at, and this is the opinion of the majority of the jurists of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools. At-Tirmidhi says: "Most of the people of knowledge follow what has been related from 'Umar and 'Ali and other companions of the Prophet, [i.e., that they prayed Taraweeh of] twenty rak'at.  And this is the opinion of al-Thauri, Ibn al-Mubarak, and ash-Shaf'i.  And so I found the people of Makkah praying twenty rak'at."

 

Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 2.28

It is allowed to pray tarawih of the month of Ramadan in a congregation just as it is allowed to pray them on an individual basis. The majority of the scholars, however, prefer to pray them in congregation. The Prophet (saws) himself led the tarawih prayers in congregation with the Muslims for three days, but he (saws) discontinued since he (saws) feared that it would be made obligatory.

 

Your Question: but are ther other such long prayers that can be prayed on other significant nights.

Other than the superogatory ‘tarawih’ or night prayers of Ramadan, there are no other prayers of ‘significant nights’ which have been endorsed by the Messenger of Allah (saws). 

 

It is important to note here that it is absolutely permissible for a believer, in his individual capacity to offer as many prayers as and when he wishes to do so and earn his reward from Allah Subhanah. 

 

But to invent a system of praying a particular number of rakahs, in a particular formation, in a particular way, or on a particular or specific day or night, etc. is what would make this effort a ‘bida’ or an innovation!   Thus instead of earning a reward for his efforts, the person introducing the innovation and those who follow the innovation will both earn the severe Wrath and Anger of Allah Subhanah!

 

Your Statement: For example on the first of rajab and certain days in shabaan abd ramzan bohras pray washeq.

If one applies the simple criteria for determining whether an act is a part of worship earning rewards from Allah or an ‘innovation’ earning His displeasure, one would easily be able to differentiate between worship and ‘bida’.

 

Taking the cue from your examples, ask yourself these questions to determine whether these prayers would be accrued as worship or ‘bida’ in the Court of Allah Subhanah:

 

Q:. Is there any evidence in the authentic Sunnah wherein the Messenger of Allah (saws) ever prayed or encouraged a ‘special’ formation of prayer on the first of the month of Rajab?

A: NO!

 

Q:. Is there any evidence in the authentic Sunnah wherein the Messenger of Allah (saws) ever prayed or encouraged a ‘special’ formation of prayer on certain days of the month of Shaabaan?

A: NO!

 

Q:. Is there any evidence in the authentic Sunnah wherein the Messenger of Allah (saws) ever prayed or encouraged a ‘special’ formation of prayer (other than the late night ‘tarawih’ prayers) on the 19th, or 21st, or 23rd, or 29th or any other specific night in the month of Ramadan?

A: NO!

 

Q: Is there even an iota of evidence in the authentic Sunnah if the Messenger of Allah (saws) ever prayed or encouraged the ‘special’ prayers taking of the Prophet’s names (nabi na naam) on the last Friday of Ramadan; or the fasting of the whole month of Rajab? Or the ‘thum washeq’?  Or the washeq of ‘moti sawa laat’? Or the gathering and wailing of Moharram? Or the gathering and feasting of every urs, and every milad of the selected pious slaves of Allah?  etc. etc.!!!

A: NO!!! 

 

When the Messenger of Allah (saws) did not introduce, nor endorse, nor perform, nor teach these ‘special’ acts of worship, who is it that has assumed this right of Allah and His Messenger (saws) and has illegally and without right taken upon himself to  introduce these ‘burdens of bida’ upon the believers???

 

Sahih Muslim Hadith 1885     Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah

That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon:  “The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran;  and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws).  The most evil affairs are the ‘bida’ (innovations),  and every ‘bida’ is an error.”

 

Your Question: Should this be avoided if one wants to avoid comitting Biddah.

Beloved Sister in Islam, Allah and His Messenger (saws) have made the deen of Islam extremely simple and easy to follow….it is the introduction of these ‘evil’ burdens of ‘bida’ by unscrupulous and self-proclaimed priests and holy men which complicate the beautiful deen of Islam to such an extent that people stop practicing the deen because they are unable to fulfill all its ‘innovated’ obligations! 

 

There is no end to the introduction of ‘bidas’ by those who have illegally and without any authority from Allah taken the right to introduce them!  These unscrupulous and self-proclaimed ‘holy men’ and ‘priests’ will introduce one every day to subjugate the people to their whims and fancies; until one day the burden of following the ‘bida’ becomes so heavy that the person stops practicing even the true and simple religion as introduced by Allah and His Messenger (saws)! 

 

It is this very evil of the multitude of ‘bida’ burdens and introductions by the Priests and the Rabbis that took the Jews and the Christians away from the true religion; until in His Sublime Mercy and Grace the Merciful Lord appointed Mohammad ar-Rasool Allah (saws) to guide mankind back to the deen or way of life approved by Allah.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verse 157:

(So,  now mercy has been assigned to those) who follow this Messenger (Mohammad (saws)),  the Gentile Prophet,  whose mention they shall find in the Torah and the Gospel with them.   He enjoins them to do good and forbids them from evil;  he makes pure things lawful for them and impure things unlawful;  he relieves them of their burdens and frees them from the shackles (of the innovated rites and rituals) that bound them.   For this reason,  those alone who believe in him,  support him, succour him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him shall attain true success.

 

It indeed would be a pity if after being guided aright, the Muslims fell in the same trap of the unscrupulous and self-proclaimed ‘priests’ and ‘holy men’ who introduce ‘bida’ upon ‘bida’ until the following of the religion becomes an unbearable burden; and instead of being guided by Allah and His Messenger (saws), they follow the whims and fancies of unscrupulous and self-proclaimed ‘holy men’, whose only mission is to further their own importance and take men away from the True Path of Allah Subhanah!

 

That is when the day will come when one will see more people gathered to follow the ‘bida’ of praying ‘washeq’ rather than the obligatory ‘fajr’ prayer!  That is when more will people will attend the ‘washeqs’ than the obligatory ‘Jumua’ prayer!  That is when people believe that there is more reward in visiting Karbala and Najaf than Makkah and Madinah!  That is when the shrines and tombs of the ancestors of the self-proclaimed ‘holy men’ will be grander and more attended than the Masjids or Houses of Allah!  That is when the books written by man (Nahjul Balagha, Daim-ul-Islam, Munajaat, Marseeyahs, Saheefahs, etc.) will be more recited, understood, obeyed, and followed than the very Book of Allah Subhanah!  That is the day when men will consider an honor to be recognized as ‘abde-syedna’ (slaves of syedna) rather than ‘Abd-Allah’ (Slaves of Allah Subhanah, the Lord of the Worlds!)!!!!!

 

Your Question: Also can we make the intention to pray a long prayer(say 24 rakaats) just for extra sawaab. 

One may remember, praise, and worship the Lord as much as one wills or is easy for them and Allah is our witness, they shall have their full reward with their Lord Most Gracious. 

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imran verses 190-198:

190    Behold!  In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding.

191    Men who celebrate the praises of Allah: standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides; and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): "O Our Lord!  Mot for naught hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee!  Give us salvation from the penalty of the fire.

192    "O Our Lord!  Any whom Thou dost admit to the fire truly Thou coverest with shame, and never will wrong-doers find any helpers!.

193    "O Our Lord!  We have heard the call of one calling (us) to faith `Believe ye in the Lord' and we have believed.  O Our Lord!  Forgive us our sins, blot out from us our iniquities, and take to Thyself our souls in the company of the righteous.

194    "O Our Lord!  Grant us what Thou didst promise unto us through thine Messengers, and save us from shame on the Day of Judgment: for Thou never breakest Thy promise."

195    And their Lord hath accepted of them and answered them: "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you be he male or female: ye are members one of another; those who have left their homes or been driven out therefrom or suffered harm in My cause or fought or been slain; verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities and admit them into gardens with rivers flowing beneath; a reward from the presence of Allah and from His presence is the best of rewards."

196    Let not the strutting about of the unbelievers through the land deceive thee:

197    Little is it for enjoyment; their ultimate abode is Hell: what an evil bed (to lie on)!

198    On the other hand for those who fear their Lord are gardens with rivers flowing beneath therein are they to dwell (for ever); a gift from the presence of Allah and that which is in the presence of Allah is the best (bliss) for the righteous.

 

There is absolutely no harm in praying any number of rakahs one wishes to offer as worship to their Majestic Lord; but to limit them to a specific number or to pray them only on a specific or ‘special’ nights  when not endorsed by the Messenger of Allah (saws) is when it will become a ‘bida’ in the sight of Allah Subhanah.

 

Praying a few or even only two rakahs in the night will earn the person a huge reward from Allah Subhanah; but obeying the ‘holy men’ and praying their innovated formation of ‘washeq’ will earn the severe displeasure and wrath of the All-Mighty Lord!  The voluntary fasting of even only one day at any time of the year (other than the obligatory fasts of Ramadan) will earn the person a huge reward from Allah Subhanah; but obeying the ‘holy men’ and their innovated formation of fasting the whole month of Rajab will earn the severe displeasure and wrath of the Lord of the Worlds!  Visiting a sick or elderly relative and saying a kind word to them will earn the person a huge reward from the Lord Most Gracious; but traveling hundreds of miles to visit the tomb or shrine of the ancestors of the ‘holy men’ on their urs or milad, will definitely earn the person the displeasure and wrath of the Majestic Lord! 

 

Thus in conclusion every act of worship endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws), however small and insignificant it may seem, will earn the person a huge reward in the Presence of their Gracious Lord; and Allah is our witness, every act of worship that originates from ‘bida’ and thus not endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws) will bring nothing but ruin and misery to the person in the Just and Supreme Court of Allah Subhanah on that Inevitable Day! 

 

If one trusts,  obeys,  and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws),   one can be assured of never ever being misled;   but if one believes,  obeys and follows any other guidance,  other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws),  one can be assured of being led astray.  

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

Burhan

 

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