I have always been brought up with the Deobandi school of thought, however my I have friends from a barelvi background who celebrate the mawlid, the prophets birthday, go to niaz gatherings where food is blessed and going to a place whereby a hair supposedly the prophets is displayed and zikr is performed.
I have tried to explain to them that non of the above was practiced in the time of the prophet or the salafs, but was added later on, however what is the evidence that can be provided to them as many believe that the prophet comes to the gatherings they conduct. Also is there any proof of kissing the thumbs and the eyes during azaan when the prophets name is mentioned?
Can you please let me know. I have tried to explain to them, but having an official view would be beneficial.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
You raise two issues in your question:
1. Attending Barelwi gatherings
2. Kissing the thumbs during Azaan
1. As Muslims, we display the highest love and respect for Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam).
Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
حدثنا يعقوب بن إبراهيم قال حدثنا ابن علية عن عبد العزيز بن صهيب عن أنس عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم (ح) وحدثنا آدم قال حدثنا شعبة عن قتادة عن أنس قال قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم : ( لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب إليه من والده وولده والناس أجمعين )
“None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his children and mankind in its entirety.” (Bukhari 1/14 and Muslim 1/49)
Shariah strictly prohibits all forms of innovations, false practices and beliefs.
Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
2550 - حدثنا يعقوب حدثنا إبراهيم بن سعد عن أبيه عن القاسم بن محمد عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت
: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ( من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس فيه فهو رد )
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islaam), it will be rejected” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari 7/146, Dar Ibn Katheer)
The celebration of the mawlid, Niaz and Urs are innovations (Bid’ah) having no basis in Deen. Neither were they the practice of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم , the companions, tabi’een, pious predecessors or the Ai’mmah Mujtahideen celebrate this occasion.
The great scholar, Allamah Anwar Shah Al-Kashmiri (May Allah Ta'ala be pleased with him) has said regarding Mawlid,
العرف الشذي شرح سنن الترمذي - (2 / 82 مؤسسة ضحى للنشر والتوزيع(
وأحدثه صوفي في عهد سلطان إربل سنة ( 600 ) ، ولم يكن له أصل من الشريعة الغراء
“A sufi innovated it in the era of Sultan Irbil around the year 600 A.H, and it does not have any basis in our pure Shariah.”
Historians state that the first person to introduce the innovation (bid'a) of celebrating the Milad was the ruler of Irbil, Muzaffar ad-Din ibn Zain al-Din. This was six centuries after the period of prophet hood.
Allaamah Muizzuddin Hasan Khwaarzimi (rahmatullah alayh) states in his book, Al-Qawl al Mu’tamad,
“The Ruler of Irbal, King Muzaffar Abu Saeed Kaukari, was an irreligious and prodigal king. He ordered the scholars of his time to act according to their opinions and discard the practice of following any school of law. A group of learned men inclined towards him. He (this king) organized Mawlood sessions during the month of Rabi al Awwal. He was the first king ever to introduce this practice.”
Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (May Allah Ta'ala have mercy on him) has commented on him,
لسان الميزان - (4 / 296مؤسسة الأعلمي للمطبوعات – بيروت)
وكان ظاهري المذهب كثير الوقيعة في الأئمة وفي السلف من العلماء خبيث اللسان أحمق شديد الكبر قليل النظر في أمور الدين متهاونا
“He was a follower of the Zahiri school of thought and often slandered the scholars and the scholars of the past. He possessed an evil tongue and was stupid, self-conceited, lacked insight in religious matters, and looked down upon religion.” (Lisan al-Mizan, 4/296)
There are various impermissible practices and beliefs that occur within such Barelwi Mawlid, niaz, urs gatherings:
1. Considering such gatherings to be necessary
2. To regard such gatherings to be more important than a Fardh
3. To fix specific dates for such gatherings
4. To have the belief that Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) attends such gatherings and observes all the activities of such gatherings and is omnipresent (Hazir Wa Nazir).
Such a belief is totally impermissible and polytheistic. Only Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is omnipresent (Hazir Wa Nazir). This is an independent and exclusive quality of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) which can never be shared with anyone.
The correct belief is that the Durood and Salwaat recited upon Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) are conveyed to Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) via the medium of the angels.
حدثنا محمد بن يوسف ثنا سفيان عن عبد الله بن السائب عن زاذان عن عبد الله بن مسعود قال قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : ان لله ملائكة سياحين في الأرض يبلغوني عن أمتي السلام (سنن الدارمي 2/409؛ عربي)
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalaam) said: “Verily, Allah has angels that travel the Earth and convey my Ummah’s salutations to me” (al-Darami)
عن ابن مسعود أيضا عن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم قال: (حياتي خير لكم تحدثون ويحدث لكم ووفاتي خير لكم تعرض علي أعمالكم فما رأيت من خير حمدت الله وما رأيت من شر استغفرت الله لكم) رواه البزار بإسناد جوده الحافظ العراقي وصححه الحافظ الهيثمي والجلال السيوطي والشهاب القسطلاني (الأحاديث المنتقاة، ص 91؛ جوامع الكلم)
The Prophet (SalAllahu Alahi Wassalaam) said: "My life is good for you [since] you commit acts and its verdicts are given to you [through me]. And my death is [also] good for you [since] your deeds are presented to me. I praise Allāh for the good I see and I ask Him for your forgiveness for the evil I see" (al-Ahādīth al-Muntaqāh, Pg. 91)
It is clear and evident that Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) does not hear the Durood recited upon him directly nor does He attend such gatherings where Durood is recited upon him.
5. Generally, various fabricated narrations (Madhoo’at) are mentioned in such gatherings which are totally impermissible.
6. Generally, women also attend such gatherings leading to intermingling of the genders.
There are various other incorrect and impermissible activities perpetrated in such filthy and impure gatherings.
2. When the Mu’azzin says “Ashadu Anna Muhammadun Rasool Allah”, one should repeat the exact wordings of the Mu’azzin without any additions or alterations. This is the teaching of Rasullullah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). We should always follow the Sunnah of Rasullullah (Sallallahu ALayhi Wa Sallam).
The practice of kissing one’s thumb and rubbing it on one’s eyes after “Ashadu Anne Muhammadan Rasool Allah” in the Azaan has been documented in the Hadeeth as follows:
من قبل ظفري ابهامه عند سماع أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ في الأذان أنا قائده و مدخله في صفوف الجنة
“He who kisses the finger nails of his thumb when hearing Ashadu Anna Muhamman Rasool Allah, I shall admit him into Jannah”
Allamah Shawkani (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) has classified the above Hadeeth as Mawdhoo (fabricated). 
Allamah Ibn Abidin Shami (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) quotes “There is no authentic Marfoo Hadeeth regarding this practice”
Mulla Ali Qari (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) has quoted the same Hadeeth with a slight variation as follows:
مسح العينين بباطن أنملتي المسبحتين بعد تقبيلهما عند سماع قول المؤذن أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله مع قوله أشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله رضيت بالله ربا وبالإسلام دينا وبمحمد صلى الله عليه وسلم نبيا
“ Rasullullah (Sallallahu ALayhi Wa Sallam) wiped his eyes with the inner portion of his fore fingers after kissing them when hearing the Mu’azzin saying “Ashadu Anna Muhammadun Rasool Allah together with Ashadu Anna Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasuluhu, Radhitu Billahi Rabba wa Bil Islami Deena wa Bi Muhammad Sallallahu ALayhi Wa Sallam Nabiyya”
Mullah Ali Qari (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) has classified the above Hadeeth as Mawdhoo (fabricated).
It is evident from the above explanation that the practice of kissing one’s thumb and rubbing it on one’s eyes after “Ashadu Anne Muhammadan Rasool Allah” in the Azaan is a fabricated and baseless practice having no status in the Shari’ah.
There are many other impermissible and sinful elements found in the beliefs and practices of the Barelwis. You should advise your Barelwi friends on the impermissibility of such practices in the most diplomatic and wise manner.
You may read the following books for more information on the practices and ideology of the Barelwis:
1. 'Mutala’ah Barelwi' by Dr. Allama Khalid Mahmood
2. 'Who Are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa' by Mufti AH Elias
3. 'Deoband Se Barelwi Tak' by Moulana Abu Awsaf
4. 'Barelwi Fitna ka Naya Roup' by Muhammad Arif
5. Tajalliyyate Safdar by Hadhrat Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar Saheb
6. Ilme Ghaib by Hazrath Qari Muhammed Tayyib Saheb
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
Durban, South Africa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.