Questions and Answers About Prayer and Dhikr
All answers were supplied by Salih Cotton.
Can standing dhikr be done at anytime or does it need to start after maghrib?
If it works for your schedule it is better to wait until after maghrib but not required. We tried following that practice last year and people stopped coming because it became too late. One possibility is to start the teaching earlier and then do the dhikr promptly when it comes in. but if it becomes inconvenient I vote for holding it when people are willing to come. It is better to do it than not have the people. Sidi did start sometimes before maghrib. When he was in the mood he would start right after finishing whatever teaching he gave.
What are the protocols for men and women leading prayer and dhikr?
The protocols of the adhan (call to prayer), leading prayer and leading dhikr have been discusses with Sidi many times over the years.
A group of women praying:
It is preferred that a man do the adhan if one is available. If one is not available the adhan is not done. In such an instance a woman would do the iqamah (second call). A woman leads the prayer. She would lead from within the first line, not in front of the line(s). She would stand either in the middle of the first line or to the very left of the first line.
A group of men and women praying:
A man does the adhan. A man leads the prayer.
A group of women doing dhikr:
A woman leads the dhikr.
A group of men and women doing dhikr:
It is preferred that a man lead the group, although on occasion at the Shadhiliyya Sufi Center when, for instance, Aisha is doing the teaching prior to the dhikr, Aisha may also lead the dhikr.
Who can lead dhikr?
To lead a dhikr a person should have been made a teacher by Sidi and have received permission to lead dhikr by one of the Muqaddams. This presupposes that the person has had some training in leading dhikr.