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22322: The difference between setting an appointed time for lessons and setting an appointed time for qiyaam al-layl

We hope that you can advise us. Is setting an appointed time each week for giving religious lectures or holding study circles a form of reprehensible bid’ah (innovation), on the grounds that that seeking knowledge is a form of worship? The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not set appointed times for this act of worship. Following on from that, if a group of brothers agree to meet in the mosque on a particular night each month to perform qiyaam al-layl, is that bid’ah? Please quote the evidence (daleel) (concerning that).

Published Date: 2001-08-14

 Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked this question, and he replied as follows: 

Setting aside a regular day for giving lectures or holding a study circle is not a reprehensible bid’ah. Rather it is permissible, as it is permissible to set aside a day in schools and institutes to study fiqh, tafseer, etc. Undoubtedly seeking Islamic knowledge is a form of worship but setting aside a particular day for it is something which is dictated by our circumstances. It is in our interests to set aside a specific day for that so that people will not be put in a difficult position. Seeking knowledge is not an act of worship which is linked to a specific time, rather it is to be done at times which are convenient. But if a special day is set aside and is regarded as being solely for seeking knowledge, then this is bid’ah. 

With regard to a group agreeing to meet on a specific night for qiyaam al-layl, this is bid’ah, because it is not prescribed for a group to perform qiyaam al-layl together. But if this is done occasionally and unintentionally, as happened in the case of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him), this is OK. 

From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 208
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