Ladies Singing Praises to the Awliya'

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

A follower of the Tijaniyyah thariqa’ from Senegal asked regarding the permissibility of ladies singing praises to Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.).  They sing nashyid in Wolof.  The question is, is it permissible to sing in praise of the awliya’ and is the practise in accordance with Sacred Law?  The following answer is adapted from Ustadz Fakhruddin Owaisi at-Tijani’s response.

She has asked a few questions.  Firstly, this practice described is not a command of the Tijaniyyah Thariqa’ or of Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.).  We are not obliged to follow it.  It is a Senegalese cultural practice.  African people, especially women, like to sing.  What better to sing about than their guiding shaykh.  All nations sing about their heroes.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) allowed the girls of Madina to sing about their heroes of Yawm Bu’ats, as mentioned in the swahih books of hadits.

Secondly, praising the awliya’ of Allah (s.w.t.) is the Sunnah of Allah (s.w.t.) and His Prophet (s.a.w.).  In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (s.w.t.) Praised awliya’ such as Maryam (q.s.), Luqman (q.s.), al-Khidhr (a.s.), Dzu al-Qarnayn (q.s.) and Aswhab al-Kahf (q.s.), and even suwar are Named after them.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) praised many of his swahabah and even tabi'in like Uways al-Qarni (r.a.), and they are awliya’.  Furthermore, he (s.a.w.) said, “Rahmah Descends at the mention of the pious.”  It should be noted that al-Khidhr (a.s.) is also recognised in other thariqa’ and some scholars as a prophet.  Uways al-Qarni (r.a.) is considered by many shuyukh as a swahabah because although he never physically met the Prophet (s.a.w.), he was spiritually present.  In any case, it is a moot point since in a sense, they are all awliya’.

The third issue would be about the women singing in front of men.  This is discouraged, but not necessarily prohibited.  If it is a group of properly-clad older women singing spiritual songs, in the presence of their mahram, it would be acceptable.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) once allowed an old woman to beat the duff in front of him and the swahabah, in a famous incident.


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