Where is the proof in the light of Quran and Hadith for going four (4) months, forty (40) days etc in Tabligh.
One who goes out to engage in the effort of Tabligh, engages in a whole array of ‘ibadah (acts of worship). Such as: Salah, Dhikr, Repentance, Quran recital, serving fellow Muslims, visiting fellow Muslims for the sake of Allah, spending ones wealth for Allah’s pleasure, acquiring beneficial knowledge and many others.
Clearly, you will understand that there is no need to prove the permissibility of the above.
The question that many contemporaries raise is: ‘Why is it that people ensure that they go for tabligh for specified times, like for three days, or forty days etc? What is the proof for this?
The answer to this is of two parts;
a) The number of days for which one engages in worship needs no substantiation, since that is not the objective. The objective is the deeds that one engages in during this time. Just like the blessed deed of acquiring knowledge of Islam.
A student enrolls in an institute of higher Islamic learning. His motive is to acquire knowledge. This is among the most noble of all deeds, which needs no substantiation. However, there are many other factors (similar to the one in question) that occur while this individual is engaged in his study. For example:
The institute has set courses that last for a specified period of time; like an entire year, or even several years. Where is the proof for this?
Each year is made up of a few semesters, Is there proof for this?
Most institutes have examinations during the year. Where is the proof for this?
These institutes have specified times for their classes. Is there proof for this?
The logical answer to all of these questions is: There is no need for proof for any of the above, since these are merely adjustments that have made to facilitate smoothness of operation. If these institutes didn’t have any of these systems in place, there would be complete disarray, and it would have been impossible for the institutes to function systematically.
This is exactly the case with the question at hand. The brothers who wish to participate in the effort of Tabligh, agree on a specified amount of time for which they will be participating. This specified time is not the object. It is merely to facilitate a smooth operation of their effort. If they too didn’t agree on a specified time, it would be impossible for them to properly engage in their effort.
Bearing in mind that their object is Tabligh, and not the mere count of days. Therefore, there is no need for further substantiation..
b) Furthermore, the brothers of Tabligh do not state that only if one participates for these specified times (forty days, four months etc), will he be rewarded. If a group agree among themselves to go out in Tabligh for thirty days, for example, there is no objection to that. Many of them spend two full months out as well. (i.e, not forty days, neither four months)
This clearly re-enforces what I’ve said above; these specified times are not the motive. Therefore there is no need for substantiation.
One may argue; why is it that most of the time, these groups (jamats) leave for forty days and four months, and not fifty days and five months for that matter?
The answer to this should be understood in light of the example given above. Why is there a specified period for each course offered in the Islamic institutes of higher learning?
It is because: that is the time frame which is considered most suitable or most beneficial for that particular course.
The same applies to Tabligh; these periods are considered as further enhancements and as most effective when engaging in this particular effort.
The above is sufficient an answer to your query. However, there is no harm in also quoting substantiation for these specific periods (forty days and four months) having effect on a person.
A Hadith in Sahih Bukhari (Hadith: 7454) explains the different stages of embryology and the development of the human foetus in the womb. This Hadith actually specifies forty days for each stage. At the passing of each phase of forty days, the foetus changes, from sperm to blood, to flesh etc..
The Hadith also states that after four months, life is blown into the foetus.
Therefore, if one were to assert that engaging in an effort for one’s own reformation for a period of forty days, this may have an added effect in that effort. If one were to understand this from the above Hadith, it will not be incorrect.
My Honourable Spiritual Mentor, Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi (rahimahullah) after citing this proof states:
‘This narration makes it evident that the forty days plays a great role in Human transformation.’
(Hazrat Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi and the Tabligh Jamat, pg.63)
Shaykhul Hadith, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandehlawi (rahimahullah) has also deduced the same from this Hadith.
(Taqrir Bukhari, part.1 pg.82)
Further, after spending four months, one may experience a greater effect, almost like one is given a new life; his entire life changes for the better. To deduce this from the above Hadith is also not incorrect.
In fact, this is also a proven reality. Hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the world have changed their lives after spending forty days or four months.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar