Q: What exactly is the 3 days, 40 days and 4 months tabligh program? Is it found in any Hadith?
A. It is mentioned in Hadeeth that a person who does an action sincerely for forty days will receive Hikmat (wisdom) which will flow from his heart to his tongue (Kashful Khifaa V2 P224).
It is also recorded in a Hadeeth that a person who performs Salaah with Jamaat for forty days without missing Takbeer Oelaa will receive two protections; a) protection from the fire and (b) protection from hypocrisy (Tirmidhi V2 P7).
So the amount of forty days and its benefits are mentioned in Hadeeth. Based on such Ahaadeeth, it is hoped that if a person goes with the Tableegh Jamaat for forty days continuously, he will receive the blessings of a forty day practice.
Although they encourage the figures of three days, four months, etc. they are not saying that it is compulsory (Waajib), nor Sunnah. It is part of a system devised for the benefit of the participant. The objective is not the amount of days; the objective is personal reformation and developing Divine proximity. If your doctor tells you to take a medication for three days, it is not an issue of Sunnah but of benefit from the medication in three days learnt from the experience of others. In the same way, the elders of the Tableegh Jamaat, after experience, have suggested these amounts of days and this is totally permissible.
Allah Ta'aala knows best.
Moulana Yusuf Laher
Checked by: Mufti Siraj Desai
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