Praise be to Allah.
The purpose for which we were created is to worship Allaah alone with no partner or associate, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)”
Allaah has not left us each to choose his own way of worship, rather He has sent His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and revealed His holy Book, to show people the way and guide them. So there is nothing that is worship and goodness and guidance that Allaah loves, but it has been explained by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
No two Muslims dispute that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the best and most pious of mankind, the one who worshipped Allaah and turned to Him the most. Hence the one who is truly guided is the one who follows his path and walks in his footsteps.
Adhering to the path of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not something that is optional, rather it is an obligation that Allaah has enjoined upon His slaves, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). And fear Allaah; verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment”
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated that every innovated kind of worship would be rejected and thrown back at the one who does it, no matter what it is. He said: “Every action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] will be rejected.” Narrated by Muslim, 1718, from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her).
No deed will be accepted unless it is done sincerely for the sake of Allaah and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This is what is meant by the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):
“that He may test you which of you is best in deed”
Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyyaad said: (This means) that which is most sincere and most correct. They said, O Abu ‘Ali, what most sincere and most correct? He said: If a deed is not sincere and not correct, it will not be accepted. If it is correct but is not sincere, it will not be accepted unless it is both sincere and correct. Sincere means that it is done for the sake of Allaah and correct means that it is in accordance with the Sunnah.
Whoever wants to attain the pleasure of Allaah, he has to adhere to the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). All paths to Allaah are blocked, except this path, the path of His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was compassionate towards his ummah and cared deeply for them, he did not leave anything good without explaining it to them. So whoever today invents an act of worship, dhikr or wird and claims that it is good, is accusing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – whether he realizes it or not – of not conveying the religion as Allaah commanded him to do. Hence Imam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Whoever introduces any innovation into Islam claiming that it is good is implying that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) betrayed the message entrusted to him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”
So whatever was not part of the religion of Islam at that point should never be part of the religion of Islam today.
The Sahaabah, Taabi’een and imams issued many warnings against innovation.
Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan said: Every act of worship which the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do, do not do it.
Ibn Mas’ood said: Follow and do not innovate, for the religion is complete. Adhere to the old way (i.e., the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Sahaabah)
The question which should be put to the one who invented this dhikr is:
Did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) do this? Did the Sahaabah do this?
The obvious answer is that reciting these soorahs these number of times – 100 times or 7 or 79 – is something that was not narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or from any of his companions. The same is true of the du’aa’s recited in this manner for the number of times mentioned.
It should be said to this innovator: do you think that you have discovered something good that was not known to the Prophet or his companions?
Or do you think that you or your shaykh have the right to introduce new laws and to define news dhikrs and when they should be said and how often they should be repeated, just as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had that right?
Undoubtedly both of these are manifest misguidance.
Let us think about the report narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood by al-Daarimi in his Sunan, according to which Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said to ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood: “O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, I have just seen in the mosque something new that I was not sure about, but I think I have not seen anything but something good, praise be to Allaah.” He said, “What was it?”
He said, “You will see it tomorrow.” He said, “I saw some people in the mosque sitting in circles waiting for the prayer. In every circle there was a man and in their hands were pebbles. He would say, ‘Say Allaahu akbar one hundred times,’ so they would say Allaahu akbar (takbeer) one hundred times. Then he would say, ‘Say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (tahleel) one hundred times, so they would say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah one hundred times. Then he would say, ‘Say Subhaan Allaah (tasbeeh) one hundred times,’ and they would say Subhaan Allaah one hundred times.”
He said, “What did you say to them?”
He said, “I did not say anything to them. I was waiting for your opinion.”
He said, “Why did you not tell them to count their bad deeds and promise them that none of their good deeds would be lost?’ Then he went away and we went with him, until he came to one of those circles. He stood over them and said, “What is this that I see you doing?”
They said, “O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, these are pebbles with which we count the takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh.”
He said, “Count your bad deeds, for I promise you that nothing of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O ummah of Muhammad, how soon you have drifted into the way of doom even though the companions of your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) are still alive amongst you, and his garments and the vessels he used are still not worn out or broken. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, either you are following a way that is more guided than the way of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or you are starting a way that is the way of misguidance.”
They said, “By Allaah, O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, we did not intend anything but good.”
He said, “How many of those who intend good never attain it.”
Not everyone who seeks or intends good attains it and is guided to it. Not every act of worship is accepted, unless it is in accordance with the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
This denunciation by Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) puts an end to the argument presented by innovators, because they always say, “What reason can there be not to recite dhikr, prayers and Qur’aan? We only intend good and to draw closer to Allaah.”
It should be said to them: Worship must be something that is prescribed in sharee’ah in essence and in its form and the manner in which it is done. If a specific number is prescribed in sharee’ah then no one has the right to go beyond that, and if no number or way is specified then no one has the right to invent a limit for it, because that implies that one is assuming the role of a lawgiver.
This is further supported by the report narrated from Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib (may Allaah have mercy on him). He saw a man praying more than two rak’ahs after dawn had come (i.e., Fajr), and he told him not to do that. The man said, “O Abu Muhammad, will Allaah punish me for praying?!”
He said, “No, but He will punish you for going against the Sunnah.”
Look at the understanding of this great Taabi’i, may Allaah have mercy on him. That is because the regular Sunnah is to pray only two rak’ahs after the dawn has come, not more than that, then to pray the obligatory prayer of Fajr.
A similar report was narrated from Imam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him). A man came to him and said: “O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, from where should I enter ihraam?”
He said, “From Dhu’l-Hulayfah, from where the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered ihraam.”
He said, “I want to enter ihraam from the Mosque, from near the grave (meaning the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)).”
He said, “Do not do that, for I fear fitnah (trial, affliction) for you.”
He said, “What fitnah is that? It is just a few miles I am adding.”
He said, “What fitnah is greater than your thinking that you have found something good that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) failed to do?! I heard that Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
‘And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad’s) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them’
This is the understanding of the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and Imams. As for the people of bid’ah, they say, “What fitnah? It is only dhikr and prayer and a few miles by which we seek to draw closer to Allaah.”
No wise person should be deceived by the words of these people, for the Shaytaan has made their deeds appear attractive to them, and they hate to go against their shaykhs and the leaders of their tareeqahs.
Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Bid’ah (innovation) is dearer to Iblees (Satan) than sin, because a person may repent from sin, but not from innovation.
It should be noted that no one ever invents a bid’ah but he forsakes thereby a Sunnah that is equal to it or greater than it. Hence those who favour innovated dhikrs are the most ignorant of people about the Prophet’s dhikr which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) persisted in reciting. You will rarely find any of them who says in the morning and evening, Subhaan-Allaah wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah) one hundred times; or Asbahna ‘ala fitrat il-Islam wa kalimat il-ikhlaas wa deeni nabiyyina Muhammad sall-Allaahu ‘alay wa sallim wa millati abeena Ibraaheema haneefan wa maa kaana min al-mushrikeen (We have awoken on the fitrah of Islam and the word of sincerity and the religion of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the religion of our father Ibraaheem, pure monotheism, and he was not of those who associate others with Allaah); or Asbahna wa asbah al-mulk Lillaahi Rabb il-‘Aalameen. Allaahumma inni as’aluka khayra hadha’l-yawm fa-thahu wa nasrahu wa noorahu wa barakatahu wa hudaahu, wa a’oodhu bika min sharri ma fihi wa sharri ma ba’dahu (We have awoken and dominion belongs to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. O Allaah I ask You for the good of this day and its goodness, support, help, light, blessing and guidance. And I seek refuge with You from the evil of what is in it and the evil of what comes after it): or Subhaan Allaah ‘adada khalqihi, Subhaan Allaah ridaa nafsihi, Subhaan Allaah zinata ‘arshihi, Subhaan Allaah midaada kalimaatihi (Glory be to Allaah the number of His creation, Glory be to Allaah as much as He is pleased with, Glory be to Allaah the weight of His Throne, Glory be to Allaah the extent of His words).
And there are other dhikrs with which you may be content, from the books that contain the dhikrs for the morning and the evening, etc.
The point is that it is not permissible to join your parents in these innovated dhikrs and say them the number of times you mention.
With regard to what you mentioned about Soorat al-Feel and throwing stones when saying tarmeehim (striking them), this is a myth and is nonsense. It is not permissible to do this or to seek to draw closer to Allaah by doing it. How many enemies did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) confront, and he did not pray against them in this manner. There is the fear that this is a way of drawing closer to the devils and seeking their help.
With regard to the belief that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was light (noor), there is no basis for this and it was not narrated either in the Qur’aan or saheeh Sunnah. Allaah has told us that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was a human being like us, except that Allaah favoured him with revelation and the message. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah (God i.e. Allaah)’”
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I am only a human being like you. It is revealed to me that your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah (God — Allaah), therefore take Straight Path to Him (with true Faith Islamic Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe to Al‑Mushrikoon (the polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah)’”
Some of the extreme Sufis believe that he was light, and that he was the first thing created by Allaah, and that the rest of creation was created from his light. This is a lie and is misguidance for which they have no evidence apart from a false, fabricated hadeeth.
We ask Allaah to help you and your parents to avoid innovation and its people.
And Allaah knows best.