Learning Centre

Reciting Fatiha Behind The Imam

Reading Fatiha Behind the Imam

Those who adhere to the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifah believe that when an individual performs salaah alone then, it is wajib to recite al-Fatiha, but when one is praying behind the Imam then, al-Fatiha should not be recited, whether the Imam is reciting loudly or quietly. The evidence available from the Qur’an and Sunnah are as follows:

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it.”

[Surat-ul-A’raaf: 204]

Hafidh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

The Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam said: The Imam’s recitation is enough for the followers.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Al Fatiha]

The position taken by those who adhere to this madhab, is that it is impermissible to recite behind the Imam in any salaah.

There are people who believe that we should recite behind the Imam even when the Imam recites loudly or quietly. Their evidence is from the Hadith, in which the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said:

The Salaah of the person who does not recite Al-Fatiha, is not accepted
[Bukhari Muslim Kitabul Saklah Chapter Wujub-ul-Qiraat]

Rather than reciting this in isolation, when we read other sources of Islamic Law, we can establish that the meaning of this Hadith is that it is essential to recite Al-Fatiha when praying Salaah alone. Some people have also established from the above Hadith that it implies that the recitation of al-Fatiha in every rakaah is fard compulsary.

It is also worth mentioning that this Hadith is established from a single narration, so an action cannot be proved to be fard from such type of narration. There is proof from Qur’an and Sunnah which supports the view that if someone reads any part of the Qur’an in the Salaah, the Salaah will be accepted.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Recite the Qur’an (in Salaah) that which is easy for you

[Surat-ul-Muzzammil: 20]

If surat-al-Fatiha was fard then, the verse would have stated this explicitly. There is also another Hadith which states that the Prophet taught a man how to perform salaah, yet he [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] did not mention Al-Fatiha.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim write [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] was sitting in the masjid and a man came and performed salaah. The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] ordered him to perform salaah again. When he finished, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] told him again to perform Salaah. The man said “This is the best way that I can perform salaah. Teach me a better way.” The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said “When you stand, say takbir then recite from the Qur’an whatever is easy for you.”

[Bukhari & Muslim, baabu wujoob-il-Qiraah]

Imam Darral Qutini writes [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said that whoever joins the salaah with the Imam in ruku (before the Imam stands straight), that ruku will not have to be repeated.

[Daar Qutini chap Adrak Imam Qabl al Rakooh]

If the recitation of Surat al Fatiha was fard, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] would have told the man to recite al-Fatiha first and then to recite any other part of the Qur’an which was easy for him. Also the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] would not have said that the ruku of the person, who joins the Imam while the Imam is in rukoo, does not have to be repeated. In such a case Al-Fatiha is missed. If Al-Fatiha was fard, the person joining the Salaah at rukoo would have had to repeat his Salaah– simply because a fard was missing.

Alama Sa’eedi writes:

The meaning of the above debated Hadith is similar to the following ahadeeth:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that

“whoever lives close to the masjid and does not pray in the masjid his salaah is not accepted.”

There is another Hadith, which states that if a person makes wudu and does not recite Bismillah, the wudu is invalid. There is also another Hadith stating that a person is not Muslim if his neighbour sleeps in a hungry state. Another Hadith states that if a person does not fulfil their promise then, he is not a Muslim. Of course, the person who doesn’t fulfil their promise is still a Muslim, and in the same way, if someone doesn’t recite Al-Fatiha in salaah, his salaah is still accepted but without full Excellency. If this wasn’t the case, the Prophet should have said: “The salaah of the one who does not recite al-Fatiha is false.”

[Sharh Muslim Baab Wujoobe Qiraat] By Allama Sa’eedi

There is a further explanation of this Hadith, which we shall touch upon later, InSha’Allah. We accept that there are scholars who hold the view that people should recite al-Fatiha behind the Imam. The scholars have also written books on this subject.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

Some scholars say that Al-Fatiha should be recited behind the Imam. The scholars of Hadith say this opinion is weak. Qur’an and authentic Hadith and the opinion of the early Muslims (salaf) is with those scholars who say that Al-Fatiha should not be recited behind the Imam.

[Tanaww Ibaadaat, Page 76 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Hania say there should be no recitation behind the Imam during any Salaah. This is more accurate because Imam Shafi has one opinion which is similar to this.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Araf verse 204]

Surley, after reading such statementsit should suffice to understand which position is in accordance with the Prophets [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] command of “pray as you see me pray.”

Whoever decides to embark on their own research on this subject, will find it difficult not to arrive at the same conclusion of Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir.

Let us now examine the evidence of the people who insist that they should recite behind the Imam.
Essentialiy, they claim that there are three Ahadith which state that the Prophet said that we should recite behind the Imam. In fact, there is not a single Hadith in which the Prophet has commanded us to recite behind the Imam. As we have seen thus-far there is proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah to suggest that we should NOT recite behind the Imam.

Let us examine the three narrations which have been put forward.

The first narration is from Ali bin Abdullah from Sufiyan from Zuhri from Mahmood who reported that:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that the salaah of whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha is not complete.

[Bukhari Muslim Baabu Wujoob-il-Qiraa’h]

Those who recite behind the Imam put forward this Hadith as their evidence to recite Surah al-Fatiha in every salaah behind the Imam. There is no word in this Hadith that proves that Al-Fatiha should be recited behind the Imam. If we take the literal meaning of reciting behind the Imam, then this narration would go against the Qur’an and authentic ahadith. The actual meaning of this narration is that when a person is praying alone and does not recite al-Fatiha then, his salaah is not complete. This is the actual opinion held by narrators of this narration. The following proves this.

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Ma’mar reported from Zuhri that the Prophet Muhammad said that the salaah of the person who does not recite Surah Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an is not accepted.

[Muslim, Bab al Qira’]

Imam Muslim’s narration confirms that this Hadith is for the person who is praying alone because, when a person prays alone he reads Surah Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an. Even the people who recite Al-Fatiha behind the Imam they, do not say that there should be another part of the Qur’an recited. So it is clear that this Hadith is for those people who are praying alone.
An objection raised
Imam Bukhari narrated a narration from Sufiyan which is about the wujub of only reciting Al-Fatiha and Imam Muslim narrates from Ma’mar a Hadith which says that the person’s prayer is not accepted if they do not recite Surah Al-Fatiha AND another part of the Qur’an. We prefer Sufiyan’s narration over Ma’mar’s because Sufiyan is more reliable.

This objection can be cleared easily by looking at what the books of al-jarhu-wat-ta’deel say about the quality of Hadith narrators.
Imam Dhahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

Imam Yahya bin Mo’een was asked by his students, who had memorised more of Imam Dhahabi’s narrations, as to whom he prefered. He replied: “Imam Ma’mar. “Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that Sufiyan heard Ahadith from Imam Zuhri at a young age, so this is why, when he reported Ahadith from Zuhri, he made mistakes in 20 of them.

[Tahzeeb ut Tahzeeb, Meezaan ul- ‘itidaal, biography of Sufiyan and Ma’mar]

This reference proves that Ma’mar’s narration is more authentic than Sufiyan’s narration.

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Sufiyan sometimes committed Tadlees [which means that when he narrated some of the Hadith, he made out that he heard it directly from Zuhri, but he had actually heard it from someone else who in turn heard it from Zuhri]. One day, Sufiyan was sitting with his students and he told them a Hadith, which he was narrating from Zuhri. One of the students questioned: “Did you hear this directly from Zuhri?” Sufiyan paused and said: “No, I heard it from Abdul Razzaq, who heard it from Ma’mar, who heard it directly from Zuhri.”

[Iftisaaru Uloom il Ahadith, Baab ut Tadlees, by Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

This reference, proves that Sufiyan at times committed Tadlees, but Ma’mar did not. Someone may say that Sufiyan’s narrations are prefered over Ma’mar’s, even if Ma’mar is more reliable concerning Zuhri’s narrations than Sufiyan. This claim is dealt with below.

Sufiyan’s narrations prove that we should read Al-Fatiha even if we are praying behind an Imam

The answer is No. Let us examine what Imam Zuhri and his other students, Imam Malik and others, (including Sufiyan,) understood from this narration. The main narration comes from Imam Zuhri then his students, Imam Malik, Sufyan, Yunus, Ma’mar, Auzai’ee and others narrate this narration.

Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]

Sufiyan narrates from Imam Zuhri that the Hadith that a prayer of the person who does not recite Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an is not accepted is meant for the person who is praying alone. Imam Zuhri says that when the Prophet used to lead the prayer loudly the people used to recite behind him. This narration is from Imam Zuhri, narrated by Sufiyan, Ma’mar, Abdullah bin Muhammad, Auzai’ee, Abdur Rahman bin Is-haaq, Yunus, Usama and Imam Malik.

[Abu Dawud, Baab Tark ul Qiraa’h Khalf ul Imam]

From this we can prove that the Hadith concerning nullification of the prayer, of the one who does not recite Al-Fatiha in their prayer is meant for that person who is performing salaah alone, and not behind the Imam. This is what Imam Sufiyan, his teacher and colleagues understood by this narration. This Hadith is found in two versions; One version is narrated by Sufiyan, this concerning just reading Al-Fatiha – (this is without any clarification.) The other version is that the persons prayer is not accepted who does not recite Al-Fatiha AND another part of the Qur’an. This narration comes from Sufiyan, Ma’mar and others. The second narration is an explanation of the first one. Imam Sufiyan himself explained that this narration is for that person who is performing salaah alone.

More evidence supporting the recitation behind the Imam
Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Someone asked Abu-Hurairah “What do we do when we are behind the Imam, should we recite Al-Fatiha or not?” He answered “Recite it in your heart.”

[Muslim Baab Wujube Qiraat]

The people who recite behind the Imam take evidence from this narration by saying that reciting Al-Fatiha behind the Imam is fard as Abu-Hurairah said that it should be recited in the heart. These words are neither from Allah nor the Prophet, but are the words of Abu-Hurairah himself. In Bukhari, Muslim, and other books of Ahadith, there is no such narration, which says that when you are behind the Imam you must recite Al-Fatiha in your heart. There are, however, narrations, which say that when the Imam is reciting Al-Fatiha one should listen to it.

Imam Muslim writes in Sahih Muslim:

Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that when the Imam recites, listen and stay quiet.

[Muslim Baab ut Tashahhud]

How is it possible that Abu-Hurairah is contradicting his own narrations? The actual meaning of Abu-Hurairah’s words concerning reciting in the heart is to contemplate its meanings. This is the true meaning which does not go against the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Qadhi Shawkani writes (Imam Qurtubi has also written something similar):

The word “Nafsaka(Your self)” means to think about the meaning.

[Fath ul Qadeer, under Surat ul-Araf, Aayah 203]

Imam Nawawi writes [that]:

Some Maliki scholars have explained Abu-Hurairah’s words about “reading in the heart”, as to think about the words of Al-Fatiha, because if you read something in the heart it cannot be called recitation because recitation is actually when one reads from the tongue. So it is only called recitation when the tongue is actually moving. The proof of this is that all the scholars say when a woman is in an impure state she cannot recite with the tongue, but she can think about the meaning in her heart.

[Shara Muslim Baab Wujoobe Qiraat]

From the above we can see that Abu-Hurairah’s words do not mean to recite behind the Imam but rather they mean to think about the meaning in the heart.
The status of the words of the companions
It is said that the words of Abu-Hurairah prove that recitation behind the Imam is fard. This objection can be easily cleared, as the words of the companions cannot prove something to be fard, wajib, halal or haraam. (The Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet can only prove this), particularly when the words of the companion contradict any Hadith that, the companion have himself or herself reported. The words of the companions are normally proof of something when there is nothing related to it, (from the Qur’an and Sunnah).

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

The words of the Sahaba cannot prove anything to be fard, wajib, halal or haraam, especially when words go against authentic Hadith. So when the words go against the Hadith it is not necessary for Muslims to follow it. There is a narration saying that Abu-Hurairah used to wipe his neck during wudu. We know that to perform this wiping is against Sunnah. This is why groups of scholars criticise those people who wipe the neck during wudu.

[Kitab ul Wasila Baab Hadith ul Ama]

After Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement one cannot prove that reciting Al-Fatiha behind the Imam from Abu-Hurairah’s words.
More evidence supporting recitation behind the Imam
Imam Abu-Dawud writes [that]:

Ubada bin Samid reported: Once we prayed Fajr behind the Prophet, He experienced difficulty in his recitation. When he finished praying he asked “Maybe one of you was reciting behind me”. We said, “Yes”. The Prophet said “Do not recite anything behind me except Al-Fatiha”. Narrated by Muhammad bin Is-haaq, Muqhool, and Naf’e from Ubada.

[Abu Dawud Baab ul Qiraat Fi Salaah]

From this narration, one cannot prove that the recitation behind the Imam is necessary. Here are some reasons for this.

1) This narration opposes the Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith, which say that one should not recite behind the Imam of (which we have mentioned but a few above);

2) This narration is very weak. The reason for this is that the narrators of this Hadith have been criticised by the scholars of Hadith;

3) Abu-Dawud, who collected this Hadith, wrote a second chapter in which there is the full explanation of this Hadith. When we read the full explanation we can see that we should not recite behind the Imam, and

4) The narrator of this narration himself never recited behind the Imam.

The narrator of this Hadith

Abu-Dawud writes [that]:

Muqhool sometimes got this narration confused because sometimes he said he got the narration from Ubada and sometimes that he said he heard it from Naf’e and sometimes he said he heard it from Mahmood.

[Abu Dawud Baab Qiraa’ah Khalful Imam]

The other narrator of this Hadith is Naf’e who is unknown.

Imam Dahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

Naf’e only ever narrated one Hadith (which was the one above). This is the reason why Imam bin Abdul barr says that he is unknown. Imam Bukhari and Imam Abu Hatim never mentioned Naf’e’s name in their books. Ibn Habban said that Naf’e’s narration is weak, but he was not a liar.

[Mizan ul Ittadeel Tahzeeb al Tahzeeb biography of Naf’e bin Mahmood]

The other narrator of this narration is Muhammad bin Is-haaq, who was very knowledgeable in Islamic history but very weak in narration of Hadith.

Imam Dhahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

The scholars of Hadith have different opinions about Muhammad bin Is-haaq. Yahya bin Mo’een says that he is authentic but his narration of Hadith is not good. Ali Ibn Madini says his two narrations are unknown. Nasai said that he is not strong in the knowledge of Hadith. Imam Dar Qutni said that his Hadith cannot be used as evidence. Imam Abu Bakr said that Muhammad bin Is-haah was Qadri. Imam Hashaam and Imam Salaiman said that he was a liar. Imam Malik said that he is a liar and is a Dajjal. Abdullah bin Mubarak said, “I saw Muhammad bin Is-haaq in Masjid ul Haif, I did not go near him because people might have said that I have wrong beliefs like him.” Imam Ahmad said “When he narrates Hadith, he narrates Hadith from those people whom he never met. Imam Yahya bin Sa’eed says “I bear witness that Muhammad bin Is-haaq is a liar. He has narrated one thousand Hadith’s which no one else has narrated.” Imam Bukhari never wrote any Hadith that was narrated by Muhammad bin Is-haaq. No one can use his narration of Hadith as evidence for halal and haraam. But there are a few people who praised him like Imam Shoba.

[Mizan ul I’tidaal, Tahzeeb ut Tahzeeb, Tazkarat ul Huffaaz, biography of Muhammad bin Is-haaq]

We can see that the majority of scholars have criticised Muhammad bin Is-haaq so how can we use his narration as evidence?

1) Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]:

One day the Prophet [May Allah blss him and grant Him peace] was leading the prayer. After he had finished praying he said “Perhaps some of you were reciting behind me?” The followers said “Yes”. The Prophet said “That was why I was facing difficulty in reciting”. Abu Hurairah, Imam Zuhri and Imam Auzai’ee said that after this advice from the Prophet everyone stopped reciting behind the Imam.

Abu Dawud Baab Man al Qiraat]

From this narration, we can see that people used to recite behind the Imam but stopped it afterwards.

2) Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]:

Naf’e reported: One day, Ubada and I, performed salaah behind Abu Naeem, Ubada was standing besides me. He recited behind the Imam. When the salaah was over, I asked him “Why, when the Imam was reciting loudly, did you recite behind him?” He told me about the Hadith that has been mentioned above.

[Abu Dawud Baab Qiraat Khalful Imam]

From this, we can see that Naf’e (who is the narrator of the Hadith) did not recite behind the Imam, and nor did the other people who were there. Secondly, it is proved that Ubada was reciting Al Fatiha loud enough so that the next person could hear him. So the people who use this Hadith as evidence should only recite loud enough so that the next person can hear them. If everyone recites loudly behind the Imam it would sound like similar to the “Amin” said in unison. So these are the reasons why this narration cannot be used as evidence, we also know that, there are authentic Ahadith that say when, the Imam is reciting, you should listen to it. So how can we leave the authentic Hadith and follow the weak Hadith?

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

To listen to the recitation of the Imam is mentioned in the Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith. The whole Ummah agrees on this. All the companions say that when the Imam recites Al-Fatiha or any other Surah it is fard to listen and to stay quiet. Imam Shah’s saying is also like this. This is the reason that the knowledgeable Shafi scholars like Imam Qadri and Imam Abu Muhammad say that if the Imam is reciting loudly, and someone recites behind him, that person would be denying the Qur’an, Sunnah and the opinion of all the companions.

[Tanow al Ibadaat Page 87 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

After Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement, no one can say that recitation behind the Imam is fard and that the one who recites behind the Imam his salaah will not be accepted.
Evidence from the Qur’an for not reciting behind the Imam
Allah says in the Qur’an:

“When the Qur’an is being recited, listen to it and be silent”

[Surah Araf verse 204]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir explains the meaning of this verse as follows:

You should remain quiet when the Imam is reciting Qur’an loudly in the fard salaah. There is a Hadith in which the Prophet said, “When offering Salaah behind the Imam you should recite takbir when he recites takbir, and when he recites Qiraat you should remain quiet”.

There is also another narration:

Abdullah Ibn Masud heard some people reciting Qiraat behind the Imam and said to them “What is wrong with you? Why are you not obeying the Qur’an?”

This implies that when the Qur’an is being recited remain quite. Imam Zuhri states that this verse was revealed because one man used to recite behind the Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam. Abu Hurairah said that before this verse, was revealed people were in the habit of reading behind the Imam aloud in salaah Fajr, Maghrib and Isha salaah and when this verse was revealed they stopped this practice.

Imam Zuhri says that in the salaah, where the Imam recites loudly, you should not recite behind him because the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for you, even if you cannot hear. But there were some people who thought that they could recite behind the Imam if his voice did not reach them, but I (Ibn Kathir) say that this is wrong, no one should recite behind the Imam, whether his voice reaches them or not. This is because Allah says in the Qur’an

“When the Qur’an is being recited, listen to it and remain quiet”.
A group of scholars say the following:
Imam Ahmad and Abu Hanifah say that a person should not recite Qiraat behind the Imam in any Salaah, because the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] stated that the Imam’s reciting is sufficient for the followers.

Imam Shafi has two opinions on this subject:

1) A person should recite Qiraat behind the Imam

2) A person should not recite Qiraat behind the Imam.

I (Ibn Kathir) say that the second opinion is correct as it corresponds with the Qur’an.

Imam Bukhari states that a person is entitled to recite Qiraat in every salaah behind the Imam weather the Imam recites quietly or loudly, but the Sahaba and Tabieen say that it is essential to listen to the Imam and remain quiet. This is the opinion held by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ibn Jubair, Ibn Masud, and many other great Sahaba and Tabieen.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Araf verse 204 By Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

Imam Tabari writes [that]:

This verse was revealed about salaah, but some scholars say that the verse is not for salaah but is also for the Jumma and Eid Khutbah. The companions agree with this. Ibn Masud, Abu Hanifah, Imam Zuhri, Zaid, Ibn Musaib, Hasan Basri, Ubaidh, Ata, Dhahak, Ibrahim, Nakhai, Qatada, Shabi (who had seen 500 of the Prophets companions), Sadai all hold this opinion.

[Tafsir Tabari, Surah Araf verse 204 by Imam Tabari]

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal says that the whole Ummah has agreed upon the fact that the verse which states “When Qur’an is recited, listen and remain quiet”, was revealed for salaah, and all scholars agree that it is not essential for the Muqtadi (follower) to recite but he should stay quite and listen. This opinion is authentic because it is in line with the Qur’an.

[Fatawah Ibn Taymiyyah Volume 2 Pages 143, 168 and 412 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

From the tafsirs of Hafidhh Ibn Kathir and Imam Tabari it is clear that the verse from Surah Araf was revealed for salaah. The Sahaba and Tabi’een also agreed on this. It may still be said that the Sahaba and Tabieen, who say that this ayah was revealed for salaah, made a mistake. To remove this doubt, Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathir were quoted. These are the names of the people who along with other great scholars have passed the deen down to us. When these people interpret any verse of the Qur’an, they say that their interpretation is authentic and any other opinion is useless. This is because of their knowledge in the Islamic Sciences.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

The Tabi’een gained knowledge from the Sahaba and settled in different places. The people of Makka had the most knowledge in Qur’anic Tafsir because Ibn Abbas once lived there, and his students gained knowledge of Tafsir from him. An example is Mujahid who was the most knowledgeable in interpreting the Qur’an. Imam Shafi, Ahmed and Bukhari used to prefer the Tafsir of Mujahid over others. Indeed, Mujahid was the “sign of Allah on this earth”. Students of Abdullah Ibn Abbas were Ata Ibn Rubah, Ikrima, and Sa’eed bin Jubair.

In Kufa Abdullah Ibn Masud taught the people the knowledge of the Qur’anic Tafsir. They, and their students, had great knowledge in the field of Tafsir.

In Madina, Zaid bin Salaam had the most knowledge of the Qur’anic Tafsir. This is the reason why Imam Malik’s quotations of Tafsir are from Zaid bin Aslam. Hasan al-Basri, Musrooq, Qatadah, and Abu Aliya, who were also great scholars of Tafsir.

[Usool ut Tafsir p21, 66 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Mujahid, Ikrima, Ata, Hasan Basri, Musrooq, Sa’eed and Abu Aliya had great knowledge of Tafsir but Mujahid was the “Proof of Allah on this earth”. Sufiyan ath Thawri used to say that if Mujahid’s Tafsir had said such and such a thing then futher research is useless as his Tafsir is sufficient.

[Muqadama Tafsir Ibn Tafsir by Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

Therefore, if anyone should state that Surah al Araf’s verse was not revealed for salaah, his statement can be ignored. This is because this opinion would be against the Sahaba and Tabi’een. This is proved from the above statements.
Not reciting Qiraat behind the Imam, evidence from the Hadith
Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Abu Musa Ashari reported that the Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam taught us how to perform salaah, and said “First straighten the rows, then one person should become Imam, then follow him, when he says takbir say takbir and when he recites, remain quiet.”

[Sahih Muslim book of Salaah Chapter Tashahud, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Nayl ul Awtaar, Kitabul Qiraat, Muhallah Ibn Hazm Chapter Salaah]

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

My student, Abu Nasr, asked me if the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah in which it says “…when the Imam recites, stay quiet…” is authentic. I (Imam Muslim) said “Yes, it is authentic.”

[Sahih Muslim Chapter Tashahhud]

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Zaid bin Thabit was asked if a person should recite behind the Imam, he in reply said “Behind the Imam there is no Qiraat”

[Sahih Muslim Chapter Sujud e Tilawah]

Imam Malik writes [that]:

Jabir reported that if a person performs Salaaqh and fails to read Surah Al-Fatiha, his Salaah is nullified, but if he is behind the Imam then his Salaah is valid.

[Muatta Imam Malik Chapter Majati Umal Qur’an]

Imam Malik further writes [that]:

Nafi (who was a famous student of Ibn Umar) reported that when anyone asked Ibn Umar: Should a person recite Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam, he used to reply that the Imam’s reciting of Surah Al-Fatiha is sufficient for you. Ibn Umar did not read Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam.

[Muatta Imam Malik book of Salaah Chapter Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Ahmad writes that Ibn See’reen asked Ibn Umar “Should I recite Al-Fatiha behind the Imam?” He replied that the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for you.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Ibn Umar].

Imam Ahmad writes [that]:

Jabir bin Abdullah reported that the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] said that the Imam’s recitation is the persons recitation who is reading behind him.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Jabir bin Abdullah].

Ibn Majah also wrote this Hadith in his book of salaah. In Ibn Majah’s narrative chain, there is a person called Jafar who is considered weak.

Imam Ahmad writes [that]:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam said that the Imam is selected to be followed and when he says takbeer you say takbir, when he goes into raku you go into raku, when he goes into sajdah you go into sajdah, but when he reads Qiraat you remain quiet.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Abu Hurairah also Nasai Nayl al Awtaar Muhalla Ibn Hazm Chap of Salaah Kitabul Qiraat, Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah volume 2 Page 144].

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reports [that]:

Abu Darda reported that one day the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] told us (and I was the closest to the Prophet) about recitation behind the Imam. He said that the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for the Muqtadi.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Abu Darda].

Imam Tirmidhi writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that instruction from the Hadith that states, “…Salaah is not accepted if Surah Al-Fatiha is not read…” is for that person who is reading alone.

[Tirmidhi Chapter of Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Abd al Razzaq (who was a great teacher of Imam Bukhari and Muslim) writes [that]:

Ali said that he who recites Qiraat behind the Imam goes against nature. One person asked Ibn Musood whether he should recite behind the Imam, Ibn Musood replied “No”. Zaid bin Aslam reported that the Prophet had prohibited a person from reading Qiraat behind the Imam.

Abu Is-haaq said that Ibn Masood’s students did not recite behind the Imam. Abaidullah asked Jabir bin Abdullah whether he recited behind the Imam at Zuhr and Asr? He replied “No”?

[Musanaf Abdul Razzaq Chapter on Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Abdul Razzaq, who died in 221H, was neither a Hanafi nor Abu Hanifah’s student. No one can say that Imam Abdul Razzaq made up the narration to support the Hanifi position, so it should be accepted that this narration is not fabricated.

Imam Ibn Abi Shaiba writes [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] said that for any person, who recites behind the Imam, my wish is that fire should be placed in his mouth.

Nafi, Zahid bin Aslam, Ibn Umar, Jubair and Said Ibn Jubair say that there is no Qiraat behind the Imam whether he reads aloud or reads quiet.

[Musanaf Ibn Abu Shayba Chapter on Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Ibn Abi Shayba, who strongly opposed Abu Hanifah, had written a full chapter against Abu Hanifah. In the same book he wrote the above narration without criticism. If this narration had not been true then, he would have rejected them it or criticised them it. Also, because he has not criticised this reports, it is proof in itself that the narration had taken place. No one can say that he had fabricated these narrations in order to support Abu Hanifah.

Imam Dar Qutini writes [that]:

The Prophet said that there is no recitation behind the Imam. Ali says that a person who recites Qiraat behind the Imam has gone against Sunnah.

[Dar Qutni Chapter on Qiraat]

Dar Qutni was also opposed to Imam Abu Hanifah, and tried to tamper with ahadiths, which supported the Hanafi School. He did not critisise the above, true narrations, which means that the above narrations are authentic.

Imam Dahabi writes [that]:

One man was performing Salaah behind the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] and was reciting. The person next to him tried to stop him with certain signals or signs. When the prayer had finished, they went to the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] and told their case. The Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam said the Imam’s Qiraat is sufficient for the followers.

[Talqis Mustadrak Chapter on Salaah by Imam Dahahbi].

The book, Mustadrak, is written by Hakim. In this book there are all sorts of narrations both authentic and fabricated. Imam Dhahabi has, in his book, examined every Hadith to see whether it is authentic. Imam Dhahabi’s above Hadith has been recorded as authentic; therefore, there can be no doubt about this Hadith.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

When the Imam recites loudly it means that the Muqtadi should listen. This is the reason that the Imam recites loudly so the Muqtadi can say Amin with him. When the Imam recites quietly, they do not say Amin with him. If the Imam should recites and the Muqtadi’s also recites, this will mean that the Imam has been given the order to recite to people who do not want to listen to the Qiraat. This is the same as saying to a person to do a speech to a nation that does not want to listen to it. This is such nonsense that Islam does not permit it. There is a Hadith, which states that when a ­­­­Khutba is being read and a person is talking, it is as though a pile of books is loaded onto a donkey. This is similar to a person reciting Qiraat behind the Imam in the audible prayers.

[Fatawah Ibn Taymiyyah Volume 2 Page 147 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah].

So now it should be clear, without any doubt whatsoever, with all that has been mentioned and all the evidence to support the claim that when the Imam recites qiraat the Muqtadi should stay quiet and listen – for the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for the Muqtadi.

The Ruling of the Jumu‘ah Prayer on the Day of Eid in Light of Textual Evidence

As the day of ‘Īd draws near, the exuberance and joy of Muslims becomes increasingly manifest. After devoting an entire month to fasting, worshiping, and other religious obligations, a believer embraces the joyous occasion of ‘Īd al-Fitr spiritually uplifted and reformed. It is with immense grief, however, that during such blessed days we witness reoccurring episodes of futile quarreling in many Masjids, thus stripping the atmosphere of the unity greatly needed in our times. What makes the matter more disheartening is that these arguments too often ensue regarding issues wherein there exists a legitimate scope for differences in Islāmic jurisprudence. A common example, which by now has become somewhat of a cliché, is the issue of moon-sighting, or more sardonically put, “moon-fighting.”

With the possibility of ‘Īd al-Fitr happening this year on the blessed day of Jumu‘ah, there comes along an important question in respect to Islāmic jurisprudence: will a person be absolved from performing the Jumu‘ah prayer due to performing the ‘Īd prayer?

As was witnessed on numerous occasions, issues of such a nature serve as a pretext for the unlearned to quarrel and exhibit their intolerance and ignorance. The excerpt before you is a section from I‘lā al-Sunan of the great Hadīth scholar Mawlānā Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmānī pertaining to the issue at hand.[1]

The author discusses the various evidences on the subject while cogently substantiating the view of the majority (that is, the view of three of the four schools of Islāmic law and even the view of the Literalist school [2]) that one is not exempted from performing the Jumu‘ah prayer by virtue of performing the ‘Īd prayer. Nevertheless, according to Imām Ahmad, one will be exempted and therefore the matter will stand as expressed by ‘Allāmah Zāhid al-Kawtharī: Thus, the follower of evidence is not allowed to depart from restricting the dispensation (of not praying Jumu‘ah due to the ‘Īd prayer) to the people of the village…

However, a Hanbalī muqallid is excused for following what is documented in the books of his madhhab, even though the issue may be weak in terms of evidence, as is the ruling for anyone who adheres to the followed Imāms. [3] In order to make the article more reader friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in several places. Select passages from an article on the subject by ‘Allāmah Zāhid al-Kawtharī were added in the footnotes.[4] These passages and the translator’s footnotes were placed in square brackets.

The Ruling of the Jumu‘ah Prayer on the Day of ‘Īd in Light of Textual Evidence By Mawlānā Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmānī
Translated by Muntasir Zaman


  1. It is narrated from Ibn Shihāb that Abū ‘Ubayd, the freed slave of Ibn Azhar, said, “I was present for ‘Īd with ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān. He came and prayed, and when he finished he gave a sermon saying, “Two ‘Īds have been joined together for you on this day of yours. If any of the people from al-‘Āliyah (an area outside the city of Madinah) wish to wait for the Jumu‘ah they may do so, and if any of them wish to return, I have given them permission.

    Narrated by Mālik in his Muwatta’.[5] Al-Bukhārī cited this chain of transmission under the chapter “Fasting on the Day of al-Fitr.”
  2. Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad informed us, he said: Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Uqbāh narrated to me from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz who said, “Two ‘Īds were joined during the era of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), so he said, ‘Whoever from the people of al-‘Āliyah wish to remain back, let him remain back comfortably.’”

Imām al-Shāfi‘ī narrated it,[6] and its chain is sound and mursal. The teacher of the Imām is weak according to the majority, but reliable according to him and Hamdān ibn al-Asbahānī. Ibn ‘Uqdah said, “I thoroughly examined the narrations of Ibrāhīm, and he is not munkar in Hadīth.” Ibn ‘Adī said, “It is as he said.” (Tahdhīb) [7] Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Uqbah is from the narrators of Muslim and is reliable. (Tahdhīb) [8]

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, the Amīr al-Mu’mīn, is from the greatest of the Successors, and the mursal report of his likes is accepted and a proof according to us. There is an uninterrupted Prophetic (marfū‘ mawsūl) narration which is restricted to people of al-‘Awālī (plural of al-‘Āliyah) narrated by al-Bayhaqī from the narration of Sufyān ibn ‘Uyaynah from ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Rufay‘, from Abū Sālih, from Abū Hurayrah, and its chain of transmission is weak” (al-Talkhīs al-Habīr).[9] When a mursal report is supported by an uninterrupted narration even if it is weak, it is unanimously taken as evidence, as mentioned earlier several times.

Commentary In al-Muwatta’, Imām Muhammad said, “‘Uthmān only gave concession to the people of al-‘Āliyah, as they were not from the city. And this is the opinion of Abū Hanīfah.”[10] ‘Uthmān issued this statement in the presence of the Companions.[11] Therefore, if the concession was inclusive of both the people of the village and the people of the city, as Ahmād ibn Hanbal opines, then they would have objected to his specific reference to the people of al-‘Āliyah. Thus, it is established that the concession is restricted to those upon whom Jumu‘ah is not mandatory and therefore Jumu‘ah will not be abandoned due to ‘Īd. How could this be the case (i.e. how can Jumu‘ah be abandoned due to ‘Īd) when the obligation of Jumu‘ah is proven from the Qur’ān and consensus, and it is mandatory upon the people of the city? As such, it is impermissible to relinquish the obligation from them by that which is inferior except by a definite piece of evidence (nass qat‘ī) similar to it. However, this will be an attempt to accomplish the impossible because the reports which Ahmad (Allah be pleased with him) adduced as proof to absolve the people of the city from Jumu‘ah due to ‘Īd are solitary reports (āhād) with the possibility of being specific to the people of the village and outskirts. Among them is what Ibn Mājah narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Two ‘Īds have joined together on this day of yours. Whoever wishes, it has sufficed him for his Jumu‘ah. We will observe Jumu‘ah, if Allah so wills.”[12] Al-Sindī said, “In al-Zawā’id it is mentioned: the chain of transmission is authentic and the narrators are reliable. Abū Dāwūd narrated in his Sunan from Abū Hurayrah via this chain of transmission.”[13] In al-Talkhīs al-Habīr, it is mentioned: In its chain is Baqiyyah who narrated from Shu‘bah, from Mughīrah al-Dabbī, from ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Rufay‘, from Abū Sālih via this route. He was corroborated by Ziyād ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Bakkā’ī from ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, from Abū Sālih. Al-Dāraqutnī preferred the mursal version for the narration of ‘Abd al-‘Azīz from Abū Sālih. Likewise, Ahmad preferred the mursal version. Ibn Mājah reports it from Abū Sālih, from Ibn ‘Abbās instead of Abū Hurayrah. This is an error which he himself notified.[14] Even if we accept its authenticity as a Prophetic statement, the explanation is that the people from the village would congregate for the prayer of the two ‘Ids in a manner other than what they would for other prayers, as is the custom. It would be burdensome for them to wait for the Jumu‘ah prayer after completing the ‘Īd prayer. Thus, when the Messenger of Allah (pace and blessings be upon him) completed the prayer of ‘Īd, his announcer proclaimed, “Whoever among you wishes to perform Jumu‘ah, then he may do so. And he who wishes to return, let him return.” This was addressed to the villagers who congregated there. The proof for this is he clearly said, “We will be observing Jumu‘ah.” The intent of the plural (We) is undoubtedly the people of Madīnah. Therein lies a clear indication that the address in his statement “Whoever among you wishes to pray” was to the villagers and not the people of the city. This is supported by the aforementioned mursal report of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Azīz in the text wherein he states, “Two ‘Īds joined during the era of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), so he said, ‘Whoever from the people of al-‘Āliyah wish to remain back may comfortably do so.” In the narration of ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Rufay‘ from Abū Sālih, from Abū Hurayrah it is similarly restricted to “the people of al-‘Awālī.” We explained earlier that the combination of a mursal and uninterrupted report is definitely suitable for adducing as legal proof; notwithstanding the permissibility of proposing a possibility (al-ihtimāl) by means of a weak report as well. Hence, it is incorrect to deduce from the apparent generality in the words of the narration of Ibn Mājah and Abū Dāwūd “Whoever wishes, it will suffice him for Jumu’uah” that the people of the city are absolved from Jumu‘ah due to ‘Īd, because this is possibly specific to the people of the village. This is supported by the words “We will perform Jumu‘ah” and by the mursal report of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz and the uninterrupted report of Abū Hurayah which restricts it to them. Thus, when there exists a possibility, deduction is invalid. In light of the aforementioned, the following statement of the erudite scholar al-Shawkānī in Nayl al-Awtār is disproven, “Indeed the statement of ‘Uthmān does not specify the statement of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).”[15] You have seen that we did not specify the Prophetic narration except by another Prophetic narration. When it is possible to specify a solitary report by means of the indication of reason, custom, and analogy-as it is established in legal theory, then specifying it by means of a statement of a Companion is possible to a greater extent. This is because a Companion is most knowledgeable regarding the intent of the Prophet, especially according to those who regard the statements of the Companions as proof. This is the answer to what the five[16] except for al-Tirmidhī narrated, and Ibn Khuzaymah authenticated,[17] from Zayd ibn Arqam (Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) performed the ‘Īd prayer and then gave concession for Jumu‘ah, so he said, “Whoever wishes to pray, let him pray.”[18] The words “Whoever wishes to pray, let him pray” is specific to the people of the village and outskirts because of what we mentioned. It is mentioned in al-Talkhīs al-Habīr, “Ibn al-Madīnī authenticated it[19]…Ibn al-Mundhir said, “This narration is unproven; Iyās ibn Abī Ramlah, the narrator from Zayd, is unknown.” I say: al-Hākim authenticated it in al-Mustadrak and al-Dhahabi in his abridgment.[20] It is strange that they authenticated it whereas the chain of transmission contains Iyās ibn Abī Ramlah, who is unknown. In Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb, al-Hāfiż writes: ‘Uthmān ibn al-Mughīrah al-Thaqafī narrated from him. Ibn Hibbān mentioned him in al-Thiqāt (this will not remove the jahālah [being unknown] from him, for Ibn Hibbān has a particular methodology in accrediting unknown narrators, as we have mentioned several times). Ibn al-Mundhir said, “Iyās is unknown.” Ibn al-Qattān said, “He is as he mentioned.”[21] Likewise, in al-Mizān al-Dhahabī declared him as unknown.[22] In al-Taqrīb, it is mentioned, “He is an unknown narrator from the third category.”[23] As you can see, none besides ‘Uthmān ibn al-Mughīrah narrated from him. He has no one else narrating from him, and no other narration is known from him save this one narration. Such a person will definitely be classified as an unknown narrator. A person is only regarded as a known narrator according to the Hadīth scholars when two reliable people narrate from him. In view of this, will their authentication be anything apart from an arbitrary judgement and underpinning for their legal opinions? If we were to authenticate the Hadīth of such an unknown narrator, the Hadīth scholars would have retorted harshly; Allah is sought for assistance. Yes, if Ibn Hibbān authenticated it, we would not argue because he has a particular methodology in accrediting unknown narrators. Some people said: Thus, it is gathered that the narration of Zayd was authenticated by Ibn al-Madīnī the teacher of al-Bukhārī[24] and the Imām of Imāms Ibn Khuzaymah, and it was narrated by al-Nasa’ī who remained silent about it.[25] Those who did not authenticate it did not produce any evidence. What can serve as a stronger evidence than the fact that only one person narrates from Iyās ibn Abī Ramlah? He narrates only one hadith, and he is alone in its transmission. Whoever claims that the narration is authentic, let him present one reliable narrator from him besides ‘Uthmān ibn al-Mughīrah al-Thaqafī, so that he no longer remains unknown due to two people narrating from him. Otherwise, how can authentication be accepted when the narrator is unknown, as al-Dhahabī did? This is because in his Mizān he classified Iyās as an unknown narrator, and then he authenticated his narration in Talkhīs al-Mustadrak. This is despite the opponent not being able to benefit from his authentication, because the statement of the Prophet “Whoever wishes to pray (Jumu‘ah), let him pray” was specific to the people from the outskirts due to the evidence mentioned earlier. So understand this well, and do not be among the negligent. The Hanbalīs also deduce from what Musaddad and al-Marwazī narrated regarding the two ‘Īds and it has been authenticated as mentioned in Kanz al-‘Ummāl,[26] and what al-Hākim narrated in al-Mustadrak and he authenticated it according to their (al-Bukhārī and Muslim) condition, which al-Dhahabī confirmed, from Wahb ibn Kaysān that he said: Two ‘Īds were joined in the era of Ibn al-Zubayr. He delayed coming out until the day was bright. Thus, he gave a sermon and then descended and prayed two raka‘āt. (Thereafter, Ibn al-Zubayr and) The people did not pray Jumu‘ah. Some people criticized this and it was mentioned to Ibn ‘Abbās, so he said, “He achieved the Sunnah.” They mentioned this to Ibn al-Zubayr who said, “I saw ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb practice in a similar manner when two ‘Īds were joined in his era. Al-Nasa’ī narrated it and remained silent about until the words “the Sunnah.”[27] In Nayl al-Awtār, it is mentioned, “The narrators are narrators of al-Sahīh.” Abū Dāwūd narrated it and remained silent about it.[28] Al-Nawawī said, “The chain is sound (hasan)” as mentioned in Nasb al-Rāyah.[29] In (Sunan) Abī Dāwūd, it is also transmitted from ‘Atā’ ibn Abī Rabāh that he said: On the day of ‘Īd on Jumu‘ah, Ibn al-Zubayr led us in prayer in the beginning part of the day. Thereafter, we went for the Jumu‘ah prayer, but he never came, so we prayed individually. At the time, Ibn ‘Abbās was at Tā’if. When he came, we mentioned to him what had transpired. He said, “He achieved the Sunnah.” Al-Zayla‘ī said, “Al-Nawawī said: Its chain meets the prerequisites of Muslim.” In one of his narrations “He combined both of them, so he prayed them as two raka‘āt in the morning. He did not pray anything else besides these two until he prayed ‘Asr.” In Nayl al-Awtār, it is mentioned, “Its narrators are narrators of al-Sahīh.”[30] The above incident cannot be used as evidence (to show that the ‘Id prayer suffices for Jumu’ah). This is because all the congregants unanimously objected to Ibn al-Zubayr’s action, and not a single Companion approved of his action except for Ibn ‘Abbās. An issue that is not recognized by the majority of people during the era of the Companions, but rather is objected to by them, cannot be the basis to nullify a unanimously accepted obligation. It is evident that Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn ‘Abbās (Allāh be pleased with them) were young during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), so it is possible that they did not hear the Prophet’s announcer proclaim, “Whoever among you wishes to pray, let him pray, and whoever wishes to return, let him return” which was addressed to the people of the village. Hence, they did not grasp the intent of this proclamation and thus they took it as a general ruling for the people of the city as well. Consequently, Ibn al-Zubayr combined Jumu‘ah and ‘Īd, and Ibn ‘Abbās said regarding it, “He achieved the Sunnah” i.e. he is correct in what he heard from the announcer of the Prophet ‘Whoever wishes to pray, let him pray’ according to what he understood. As for the statement of Ibn al-Zubayr “I saw ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb do the same when two ‘Īds were joined,” it is possible that ‘Umar did that due to an excuse known to the people and unknown to Ibn al-Zubayr because of which they objected to him and they did not object to ‘Umar. Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that Ibn al-Zubayr would do the same as he did and the people recognized it from ‘Umar but objected to him. Furthermore, all that has been narrated regarding this from Ibn al-Zubayr does not indicate that Jumu‘ah should be abandoned because of ‘Īd, but rather the most that it proves is that he prayed Jumu‘ah before zawāl when the two ‘Īds were joined. This is because on that occasion he delivered the sermon before the prayer whereas the sermon of the ‘Īd prayer is unanimously after the prayer. This is also because of what is narrated by Abī Dāwūd “He combined both of them, so he prayed them as two raka‘āt.” Therefore, it is incorrect to deduce from it the concession to abandon Jumu‘ah because of the ‘Īd prayer, but rather the most that is understood from it is the permissibility of bringing the prayer of Jumu‘ah before zawāl on the day of ‘Īd. As such, the discussion now returns to the timing of the Jumu‘ah prayer, which we have already dealt with earlier. We have proven that the Hanbalīs in fact have no proof in what they deduced for the permissibility of performing the Jumu‘ah prayer before zawāl. Rather, it is established from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that its timing is after zawāl. There is also no proof for them in the report of Ibn al-Zubayr as well because this only shows that bringing the Jumu‘ah prayer before zawāl is specific only to the occasion of two ‘Īds joining, and they do not express such specification. Furthermore, there is no evidence in the statement or action of a Companion when it conflicts with the saying and practice of the Prophet, especially when it is known that the people objected to the action of Ibn al-Zubayr and rebuked him for it. This is in spite the view of the Hanbalīs that when ‘Īd happens on the day of Jumu‘ah, those who were present for the ‘Īd prayer will be absolved apart for the Imām. According to them, he will not be absolved unless there are no congregants with whom he can perform the Jumu‘ah prayer. This is because of the statement of the Prophet “and indeed we will be observing the Jumu‘ah prayer,” and because if he were to abandon it, then the observance of the Jumu‘ah prayer will be prevented in respect to those upon whom it is mandatory and those who wish to observe it even though they are absolved. Ibn Qudāmah mentioned this in al-Mughnī.[31] The action of Ibn al-Zubayr is in opposition to the consensus as he did not perform other than the two raka‘āt prior to zawāl until he prayed ‘Asr despite the presence of those with whom he could have performed the Jumu‘ah prayer. ‘Atā’ said, “We then went for the Jumu‘ah, but he did not come out, so we prayed individually” as mentioned earlier. In Subul al-Salām, al-Amīr al-Yamānī writes: Al-Shāfi‘ī and a group are of the opinion that the Jumu‘ah prayer cannot be opted out as a concession i.e. after the ‘Īd prayer, on the basis that the evidence for the obligation of Jumu‘ah is general for all days and the aforementioned narrations and reports are not suitable to specify it due to weakness in their chains of transmission. I say: Ibn Khuzaymah authenticated the narration of Zayd ibn Arqam, and no one criticized it. Thus, it is suitable to specify because generality (‘ām) can be specified by solitary reports. It is already known that the narration of Zayd ibn Arqam has Iyās who is unknown. Ibn al-Mundhir said, “This narration is unproven; Iyās ibn Abī Ramlah, the narrator from Zayd, is unknown.” Ibn al-Qattān said, “It is as he said.”[—]because according to us the definite generality (al-‘ām al-qat‘ī) cannot be specified by solitary reports. Moreover, according to us, the narration of Zayd is restricted to the people of the outskirts due the statement of ‘Uthmān, the mursal report of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, and the uninterrupted Prophetic narration via Abū Hurayrah. And when there exists a possibility, deduction is invalid. After mentioning the report of Ibn al-Zubayr “Indeed two ‘Īds were joined in one day, so he combined them both by praying them as two raka‘āt in the morning and he did not increase upon it until he prayed ‘Asr,” al-Amīr al-Amānī writes: The view that the Jumu‘ah prayer is the original (obligation) on its day and Zuhr is a substitute substantiates the validity of this opinion. This is because when the obligation of the original falls with the possibility of performing it, the substitute falls. The commentator (Sharf al-Dīn al-Maghribī) supported the view of Ibn al-Zubayr. I say: it is clear that ‘Atā’ informed that Ibn al-Zubayr did not come for the Jumu‘ah prayer. This is not explicit proof that he did not pray Zuhr at his home. Hence, it is incorrect to be certain that the view of Ibn al-Zubayr is that the Zuhr prayer is not necessary on the day of Jumu‘ah when it is ‘Īd [upon those who performed the ‘Īd prayer], due to the possibility of him praying at home. Rather, the statement of ‘Atā’ that they prayed individually i.e. Zuhr, indicates that no one is of the opinion that it is no longer necessary. It cannot be said that his intent was they prayed Jumu‘ah individually, because it unanimously accepted that it will only be correct in congregation. Furthermore, the opinion that the original (obligation) on the day of Jumu‘ah is the Jumu‘ah prayer while Zuhr is its substitute is disapproved. Rather, Zuhr is the original obligation which was mandated on the night of al-Isrā’ while the obligation of Jumu‘ah was afterwards. Moreover, if Jumu‘ah is missed Zuhr becomes unanimously obligatory, so Jumu‘ah is a substitute for Zuhr. We have established this in a separate treatise.[32] After mentioning the mursal report of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz and the report of ‘Uthmān, Imām al-Shāfī‘ī writes in al-Umm: When the day of al-Fitr is on the day of Jumu‘ah, the Imām will perform the ‘Īd prayer at the time when praying is permissible. He will then grant permission to those who were present with him, apart from the people of the city, to return to their families if they wish and not come back for Jumu‘ah. They have the choice of remaining back until they perform the Jumu‘ah prayer or returning after leaving if they are able to in order to perform the Jumu‘ah prayer. If they do not do it, there is no problem, if Allah wills. This is not permissible for any of the people of the city i.e. to abandon the Jumu‘ah prayer, except with a valid excuse even if it is the day of ‘Īd. Similarly, if it is the day of al-Ad-hā, the ruling will not change so long as it is a city wherein Jumu‘ah prayer can be observed and ‘Īd prayer can be performed. The people of Minā will not perform the prayer al-Ad-hā and Jumu‘ah because it is not a city.[33] This indicates the necessity of a city for the obligation Jumu‘ah according to al-Shāfi‘ī as well and that it is not obligatory upon the people of the village according to him, so understand this. In the commentary of al-Hidāyah by al-‘Aynī it is mentioned: Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said, “The view that Jumu‘ah and Zuhr drop due to the ‘Īd prayer is an abandoned and marginalized view and will not be regarded. The interpretation is that it is addressed to the people of the village and those upon whom Jumu‘ah is not obligatory.[34] And Allāh the Exalted knows best, and His knowledge is most complete. [1] Al-‘Uthmānī, I‘lā’ al-Sunan, vol.8, pp.92-99 [2] See: al-Kawtharī, Maqālāt, p.157 [3] Ibid, p.164 [4] Al-Kawtharī, Maqālāt, pp.156-164 [5] p.63 [6] P.44 [7] Vol.1, p.159 [8] Vol.1, p.145 [9] Vol.1, p.46 [10] p.136 [11] [Al-Kawtharī writes (p.161), “This ruling cannot be perceived by reason. Hence, the narration of ‘Uthmān will have the status of a Prophetic narration.” [12] P.203 [13] [Al-Būsīrī, Misbāh al-Zujājah fī Zawā’id Ibn Mājah, pp.788-789] [14] Vol.1, p.146 [15] Vol.1, p.164 [16] [In Bulūgh al-Marām, when Ibn Hajar says, “Narrated by the five” it refers to Imāms: Ahmad, Abū Dāwūd, al-Nasa’ī, al-Tirmidhī (who in this case was excluded) and Ibn Mājah. See his preface to Bulūgh al-Marām] [17] [However, prior to narrating the hadith in reference, Ibn Khuzaymah said, “If the narration is authentic (in sahh al-khabar) for I do not know regarding Iyās ibn Abī Ramlah any accreditation or criticism” (Sahīh Ibn Khuzaymah, vol.2, p.359). When Ibn Khuzaymah uses expressions such as “in sahh al-khabar,” he indicates towards his uncertainty regarding the authenticity of the narration. See: al-Suyūtī, Tadrīb al-Rāwī, vol.1, p.115] [18] As cited in Bulūgh al-Marām vol.1, p.183. [Al-Kawthari writes (p.160), “In the chain is Isrā’īl ibn Yūnus who Ibn al-Madīnī and Ibn Hazm classified as weak. Although the two Shaykhs (al-Bukhārī and Muslim) have selectively narrated some of his hadith, this is not from their selection.” [19] [Al-Kawtharī writes (p.161), “As for the authentication ascribed to ‘Alī ibn al-Madīnī, it is a misunderstanding of the authentication of Abū Mūsā al-Madīnī for all that is contained in Musnad Ahmad-and this narration is transmitted therein. The scholars of Hadīth have refuted this view of Abū Mūsā…”] [20] Vol.1, p.288 [21] Vol.1, p.388 [22] Vol.1, p.131 [23] P.20 [24] [See the above quote of al-Kawtharī] [25] [Al-Kawtharī writes (pp.160-161), “The silence of al-Nasa’ī and Abū Dāwūd only indicates that it is suitable for consideration according to them if it is transmitted via another chain. Where is the suitability for consideration from the suitability of deducing as legal proof, especially when it conflicts with what is established from the Qur’ān, abundantly transmitted Sunnah, and inherited practice?”] [26] Vol.4, p.337 [27] Vol.1, p.236 [28] Vol.1, p.417 [29] [Al-Kawtharī writes (p.163), “Regarding ’Abd al-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far in the chain of al-Nasa’ī (from Wahb ibn Kaysān), although Muslim selectively narrates some of his hadith, al-Thawrī has classified him as weak, Ibn al-Madīnī accused him of qadar, and Abū Hātīm said about him, “Indeed, he will not be used as proof.” Therefore, his hadith will not be suitable for legal proof just as the addition in al-Mustadrak that Ibn al-Zubayr said, “I saw ‘Umar practice in a similar manner” will not be suitable because it is via the route of the same ‘Abd al-Hamīd al-Ja‘far.] [30] Vol.3, p.164 [al-Kawtharī writes (p.162), “There is a difference of opinion regarding Asbāt ibn Nasr in this chain: Abū Nu‘aym classified him as weak and Abū Zur‘ah objected to Muslim for transmitting his hadith, and Ahmad was undecided about his matter. Ibn Hajar said, “Truthful, errs often, narrates strange reports.” Muslim’s selection of some of his narrations, apart from the route of Muhammad ibn Tarīf (as is the case here), does not indicate that he unconditionally meets the prerequisite of Muslim as is evident from Shurūt al-A’immah al-Khamsah (p.62). And al-A‘mash is a mudallis and he used the expression ‘an (i.e. from the authority of)…] [31] Vol.2, pp.212, 213 [32] Vol.1, p.164 [33] Vol.1, p.212 [34] [Al-Kawtharī (p.158) quotes Abū al-Walīd al-Bājī (al-Muntaqā, vol.1, p.317) as saying, “Ibn Wahb, Mutarrif, and Ibn Mājishūn related from Mālik that it (permission for the people of the village) is permissible…and that is the view of Abū Hanīfah and al-Shāfi‘ī.” He then quotes (p.158) Ibn Hazm al-Zahirī (al-Muhallā, vol.3, p.303) as saying, “When ‘Īd happens on a day of Jumu‘ah, the ‘Īd prayer will be performed and then the Jumu‘ah prayer definitely. Any report that goes against this is unauthentic… Abū Muhammad (Ibn Hazm) said: Jumu‘ah is obligatory and the ‘Īd prayer is voluntary; a voluntary act cannot nullify an obligatory act.”]

This article was taken from https://ahadithnotes.com/2015/07/10/the-ruling-of-the-jumuah-prayer-on-the-day-of-id-in-light-of-tex…

Can Qadha (missed) Prayers be Performed Instead of Sunnah Prayers?

Can qada (missed) prayers be performed instead of sunnah prayers?
Can a person who has to perform qada prayers perform sunnah prayers?

The Answer: A person who misses a prayer without having a legitimate excuse is regarded to have made a mistake and committed a sin. Therefore, a person who has missed a prayer has to perform it as soon as possible. Performing missed (qada) prayers is fard just like performing fard prayers. When a person performs a missed prayer later, he is regarded to have paid his debt. He also has to repent and ask for forgiveness for the sin to be forgiven.

It is more appropriate to perform qada prayers instead of nafilah (supererogatory) prayers about which there are no hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh). However, according to Hanafis, it is not appropriate to perform qada prayers instead of nafilah prayers about which there are hadiths. The following decree is present in Hanafi fiqh books:  

It is more important and more appropriate to perform qada prayers than to perform nafilah prayers except the sunnahs of five daily prayers, duha, tasbih, tahiyyah al-masjid and awwabin prayers. That is, those sunnah and nafilah prayers are not abandoned to perform qada prayers.”1

Above all, the sunnah prayers performed before and after fard prayers are complementary to fard prayers and they are means of intercession (shafa’ah) of the Prophet (pbuh). Therefore, a person who has missed his prayers should perform those prayers in order to be freed from debt; on the other hand, he should perform the sunnah prayers in order to show his commitment to the Prophet (pbuh).

It is the view of Hanafi madhhab; however, according to the other three madhhabs, it is not permissible but haram for a person who has to perform qada prayers to perform nafilah or sunnah prayers.

According to Malikis, it is haram for a person who has to perform qada prayers to perform nafilah prayers. However, it is permissible to perform the sunnahs of the five daily prayers and tahiyyah al-masjid.

If such a person is engaged with performing other prayers, for instance, tarawih prayer, he will gain rewards but he will be regarded to have committed a sin because he postpones the qada prayers.

According to Shafii madhhab, it is abominable (makruh) for a person who has to perform qada prayers to perform the sunnahs of the daily prayers and other nafilah prayers till he performs his qada prayers because it is necessary to finish performing qada prayers as soon as possible. 

According to Hanbali madhhab, it is haram for a person who has to perform qada prayers to be engaged in nafilah prayers. However, it is permissible for him to perform witr prayer and sunnahs of five daily prayers. However, if he has to perform a lot of qada prayers, it is better for him to be engaged in qada prayers instead of sunnah prayers. However, the sunnah of the morning prayer is excluded; it is necessary to perform it.2

In conclusion, it cannot be said that a Hanafi person will be responsible if he performs qada prayers instead of sunnah prayers. To say that it is not appropriate or not better to perform qada prayers instead sunnah and nafilah prayers does not mean that “it is not permissible to perform qada prayers instead sunnah prayers.”

However, if a person does not have to perform many qada prayers it is better for him to perform one qada prayer after each fard prayer. Besides, it should not be forgotten that there are hadiths informing us that God Almighty will complete the incomplete fard prayers with sunnah prayers on the Day of Judgment.

Footnotes: 1. Mawlana ash–Shaykh Nizam. al-Fatawal-Hindiyya. (Bulaq: Matbaa al-Amiriyya, 1310), 1:125; Ibn Abidin. 1493; al-Madhahibu’l-Arbaa, 1:492; Halabi as-Saghir, p.349.

2. al-Madhahibu’l-Arbaa, 1:492.
Source: http://www.questionsonislam.com

Collective Dua after Prayer

Collective du’a after Prayer, Raising hands while making dua and wiping the face afterwards.

Raising the hands in dua: This is proven from the Sunnah and there is nothing forbidden or contradictory in the Shariah to it.

Abu Musa Ashari (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) made a dua, and I saw him raise his hands, until I could see the whitness of his armpits. (Bukhari)

Wiping the hands on the face after Dua: This is proven from the Sunnah and there is nothing forbidden or contradictory in the Shariah to it except for scholars say that it shouldn’t be done inside of Salah (or in Qunut within Salah).

Musaa Muhammad ibn Al-Muthannaa and Ibraahim ibn Ya’qub and more than one stating that Hammaad ibn ‘Eesaa Al-Juhani narrated to us from Hanthalah ibn Abi Sufyaan Al-Jumahiy from Saalim ibn Abdullah from his father (Abdullah ibn Umar) from Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radhiya Allahu ‘Anhu) who said that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when raising his hands  in du’aa, would not put them down until he had wiped his face with them. (Tirmidhi)

Collective dua of the Imam and Muqtadi (follower) after Salah: There is no evidence in the Sunnah for it and since it is disruptive to late-comers of Salah (who are trying to complete their Salah) & in our times people have started considering it compulsory and a part of Salah; it should be be avoided. Mufti Ibraheem Desai (DB) advises:
The ulama should first educate their congregation on the sunnah method of Adhkar after salah and gradually inform them that the congregational dua is not compulsory and was not practised at the time of Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam).Get the congregation to first understand that congregational dua is mubah and not compulsory. Do not condemn the practice without educating the congregation. This will lead to fitna.

Raising the hands in dua:

باب ‏ ‏رفع الأيدي في الدعاء ‏ ‏وقال ‏ ‏أبو موسى الأشعري ‏ ‏دعا النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏ثم رفع يديه ورأيت بياض إبطيه
Abu Musa Ashari (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) made a dua, and I saw him raise his hands, until I could see the whitness of his armpits. (Bukhari)
وقال ‏ ‏ابن عمر ‏ ‏رفع النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يديه وقال اللهم إني أبرأ إليك مما صنع ‏ ‏خالد
Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) raised his hands and said, “O Allah! I ask your protection for what Khalid has done”. (Bukhari)
قال أبو عبد الله ‏ ‏وقال ‏ ‏الأويسي ‏ ‏حدثني ‏ ‏محمد بن جعفر ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏يحيى بن سعيد ‏ ‏وشريك ‏ ‏سمعا ‏ ‏أنسا ‏ ‏عن النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏رفع يديه حتى رأيت بياض إبطيه ‏
Anas (RA) also narrated that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) raised his hands until I saw the whiteness of his armpits. (Bukhari)

Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) said, “As of Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) raising his hands in dua, then this has been narrated in so many Ahadeeth which cannot be counted. (Arusi, p212)

Wiping the hands on the face after dua:

Narration of Umar Bin Khattab (RA) in Tirmidhi:
حَدَّثَنَا ‏ ‏أَبُو مُوسَى مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ‏ ‏وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ ‏ ‏وَغَيْرُ وَاحِدٍ ‏ ‏قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا ‏ ‏حَمَّادُ بْنُ عِيسَى الْجُهَنِيُّ ‏ ‏عَنْ ‏ ‏حَنْظَلَةَ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ الْجُمَحِيِّ ‏ ‏عَنْ ‏ ‏سَالِمِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ‏ ‏عَنْ ‏ ‏أَبِيهِ ‏ ‏عَنْ ‏ ‏عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ ‏ ‏رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ‏ ‏قَالَ ‏كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏ ‏صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ‏ ‏إِذَا رَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ فِي الدُّعَاءِ لَمْ يَحُطَّهُمَا حَتَّى يَمْسَحَ بِهِمَا وَجْهَهُ ‏
Musaa Muhammad ibn Al-Muthannaa and Ibraahim ibn Ya’qub and more than one stating that Hammaad ibn ‘Eesaa Al-Juhani narrated to us from Hanthalah ibn Abi Sufyaan Al-Jumahiy from Saalim ibn Abdullah from his father (Abdullah ibn Umar) from Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radhiya Allahu ‘Anhu) who said that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when raising his hands  in du’aa, would not put them down until he had wiped his face with them.
Verdict of Imam Tirmidhi (RA):

قَالَ ‏ ‏مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ‏ ‏فِي حَدِيثِهِ ‏ ‏لَمْ يَرُدَّهُمَا حَتَّى يَمْسَحَ بِهِمَا وَجْهَهُ ‏ ‏قَالَ ‏ ‏أَبُو عِيسَى ‏ ‏هَذَا ‏ ‏حَدِيثٌ صَحِيحٌ  غَرِيبٌ ‏ ‏لَا نَعْرِفُهُ إِلَّا مِنْ حَدِيثِ ‏ ‏حَمَّادِ بْنِ عِيسَى ‏ ‏وَقَدْ تَفَرَّدَ بِهِ وَهُوَ قَلِيلُ الْحَدِيثِ وَقَدْ حَدَّثَ عَنْهُ النَّاسُ ‏ ‏وَحَنْظَلَةُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ الْجُمَحِيُّ ‏ ‏ثِقَةٌ وَثَّقَهُ ‏ ‏يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الْقَطَّانُ
At-Tirmithi continues, “This hadith is Sahih ghareeb1, we do not know it save from the hadith of Hammad ibn ‘Eesaa, and he alone narrates this [from Hanthala]. He has few hadith and the people reported from him. And Hanthalah ibn Abi Sufyaan al-Jumahiy is thiqah (highly trustworthy), and he was declared thiqah by Yahyaa ibn Sa’id Al-Qattaan.”
(1) Meaning narrated by one person – as is the nomenclature of the scholars of hadith
Verdict of Al-Hafidh Imam Ibn Hajr Asqalani (RA) in Bulughul Maram:
Al-Hafidh Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani (RA), Author of the one of the most trusted commentaries of Saheeh Bukhari narrates this Hadeeth in Bulughul Maram and then writes:
وَلَهُ شَوَاهِدُ مِنْهَا:
There are other traditions which support this narration, of which are:
حَدِيثُ اِبْنِ عَبَّاسٍ: عَنْ أَبِي دَاوُدَ . وَمَجْمُوعُهَا يَقْتَضِي أَنَّهُ حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ .
The Hadeeth narrated by Ibn Abbas (RA) related by Abi Dawud and others. Put together, they confirm that it (this Hadeeth) is Hasan.
Verdict of  Shawkani (RA) in Nawlul Awtaar:
Imam Shawkani (RA) accepts this narration as Hasan in Mawlul Awtaar

Verdict of  Shaykh San’ani (RA):
Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Sanani (RA) wrote a commentary of Bulughul Maram (printed by Darus-Salam publications, Riyadh KSA) in which he writes:
وفيه دليل على مشروعية مسح الوجه باليدين بعد الفراغ من الدعاء
…And it (this Hadeeth) contains a proof for the legitimacy of wiping one’s face with the hands after making du`a.
Verdict of  Nawab Sideeq Hasan Khan (RA):
Shaykh Nawab Sideeq Hasan Khan (RA) accepts this narration as Hasan in commentary of Bulughul Maram.
Verdict of  Shaykh Abdullah Al-Bassam:
Shaykh Abdullah Al-Bassam mentions in Taudeehul Ahkaam (his commentary of Bulooghul Maraam) that this Hadeeth has supporting Narrations which strengthen each other, thus the Hadeeth gains strength from these routes and a number of scholars have chosen this position that it is Hasan (Authentic) and from them is Ishaq Ibn Rahwaiyya (RA) (an early scholar of Hadeeth) and Imam Nawawi (in one of the positions which he has adopted), Imam Ibnul Hajr Asqalani (RA), Al-Munawi (RA) in Faidul-Qadeer Fi Sharhil Jami As-Sagheer (commentary of Jami As-Sagheer of Imam Jalul-ud-deen Suyuti (RA), Imam Shawkani (RA) and others.
Verdict of  Shaykh Bin-Baaz (RA):
Shaykh Bin-Baaz (RA) in his Ta’leeqat of Bulughul Maram comments that in the chain of this Hadeeth is Hammaad ibn ‘Eesaa Al-Juhani whom scholars have declared weak and Shaykh Ibnul Hajr Asqalani (RA) has also followed them and declared him weak in “Tahdhib al-Tahdhib” to the 9th degree; yet he has declared this Hadeeth Hasan and this must be due to Shawahid (supporting Narrations).
Narration of Ibn Abbas (RA) in Abi Dawud:
حَدَّثَنَا ‏ ‏عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ ‏ ‏حَدَّثَنَا ‏ ‏عَبْدُ الْمَلِكِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ أَيْمَنَ ‏ ‏عَنْ ‏ ‏عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ يَعْقُوبَ بْنِ إِسْحَقَ ‏ ‏عَمَّنْ ‏ ‏حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ ‏ ‏مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ كَعْبٍ الْقُرَظِيِّ ‏ ‏حَدَّثَنِي ‏ ‏عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبَّاسٍ ‏
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏ ‏صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ‏ ‏قَالَ ‏ ‏لَا تَسْتُرُوا الْجُدُرَ مَنْ نَظَرَ فِي كِتَابِ أَخِيهِ بِغَيْرِ إِذْنِهِ فَإِنَّمَا يَنْظُرُ فِي النَّارِ سَلُوا اللَّهَ بِبُطُونِ أَكُفِّكُمْ وَلَا تَسْأَلُوهُ بِظُهُورِهَا فَإِذَا فَرَغْتُمْ فَامْسَحُوا بِهَا وُجُوهَكُمْ ‏
قَالَ ‏ ‏أَبُو دَاوُد ‏ ‏رُوِيَ هَذَا الْحَدِيثُ مِنْ غَيْرِ وَجْهٍ عَنْ ‏ ‏مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ كَعْبٍ ‏ ‏كُلُّهَا وَاهِيَةٌ وَهَذَا الطَّرِيقُ أَمْثَلُهَا ‏ ‏وَهُوَ ضَعِيفٌ ‏ ‏أَيْضًا
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) :The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not cover the walls. He who sees the letter of his brother without his permission, sees Hell-fire. Supplicate Allah with the palms of your hands; do not supplicate Him with their backs upwards. When you finish supplication, wipe your faces with them.”
Abu Daawud says, “This hadith is is reported from other directions (of narration) from Muhammad ibn Ka’ab, all of them containing weakness (waahiyah), and this path (tareeq) is an example of that. It is Dha’if (weak) as well.”
This is a weak Hadeeth but previously stated it has been used by many including Imam Ibnul Hajr Asqalani (RA) to strengthen the overall status of Ahadeeth on this subject.
Mursal of Imam Zuhri (RA) and action of Taba’een:
وفي مصنف عبد الرزاق 2/247 : عن معمر عن الزهري قال : كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يرفع يديه عند صدره في الدعاء ثم يمسح بهما وجهه
Narrated by Abdur-Razzaq (RA) in his Musnaf [2/247] that Mumar (RA) narrated from Zuhri (RA) that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) was raising his hands upto his chest for dua and then wiping them on his Chest.
قال عبد الرزاق : وربما رأيت معمرا يفعله وأنا أفعله 

Abdur-Razzaq (RA) then says that indeed I saw Mumar (RA) doing this (wiping hands on the face after dua) and I also do it.
وهذا مرسل صحيح والمرسل حجة عند الجمهور وغير حجة عند الشافعي
This is a Mursal Saheeh and acceptable according to Jamhoor (majority) except for Imam Shaf’ae (RA).
Action of Great Faqih Ishaq Ibn Rawiyah (RA):
The great Muhadith Faqeeh Ishaq ibn Rahawayah approved  action on these Ahadith as quoted by Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Marwazi : “I saw Ishaq liking action on these Ahadith” (Qyam Al-Layl p 232)
Action of Hasan Al-Basri (RA):
Imam Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Marwazi narrates from Mu’tamar that he saw Abu Ka’b Abd Rabihi ibn Ubayd Al-Azdi, the author of Tahrir, invoking raising his hands and then he was wiping them on his face after finishing. I asked him why he was doing and he answered that Hassan Al-Basri was doing this. (Qyam Al-Layl p 236) 

Imam Ahmad was asked about wiping hands on face in Witr and he answered : “It is narrated from Al-Hassan that he was wiping them on his face in his invocation” (Masail Imam Ahmad from narration of ibn Abdillah v 2 p 300)
Some translations and references taken from http://seekingilm.com/

Collective dua of Imam & Muqtadi (the follower) after Salah:
Question: Many Mosques are used to make du’a after prayer which is bid’at according to your fatwa because it replace the sunnat and that’s not good however the Mosque I go we pray fard salaat after that everybody recites silent for their own Ayatul kursi, 33x Subhan Allah etc. if everybody is done and there are sunnat prayers that is going to be prayed then everybody does that first if it’s like Asr after fard there is no sunnat then we again make collective du’a which is AFTER the sunnat du’a which everybody does after fard prayers so is this still bid’at ? Because we make the sunnat by saying the du’a silent everybody for their own but after we make again collective du’a.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
In the recent past the issue regarding dua after salah has been the subject of many discussions. Below is a brief explanation on this issue.  This issue could be divided in four parts:
1.           Dua after salah.
2.           Raising the hands in dua.
3.           Adhkaar and dua’s to be recited after salah.
4.           Collective dua.
The subject of debate relates more to the fourth topic. Therefore, hereunder we shall discuss the first three topics very briefly and then elaborate on the fourth point.
Dua after salah:
Our illustrious Fuqaha have clearly mentioned that it is mustahab to make dua after salah. There are many narrations that support this. Below we shall just mention one such narration:
تتمة في الأمور المتعلقة بالفراغ من الصلاة فمنها الدعاء قال الشرنبلالي في نور الإيضاح ثم يدعون لأنفسهم و للمسلمين رافعي أيديهم ثم يمسحون بها وجوههم السعاية 2/257 سهيل اكيدمي لاهور
Maulana Abdul Hayy Lucknowi (RA) mentions: “From amongst those actions that should be done after salah is to make dua. Allama Shurunbulali (RA) mentions in Nurul Idah: then (after salah) they (the musali’s) whilst lifting their hands should make dua for themselves and for the general Muslim public. After dua they should wipe their hands over their faces.” (al Si’aya 2/257 Suhail academy)
عن أبي أمامة قال : قيل لرسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أي الدعاء أسمع ؟ قال جوف الليل الآخر ودبر الصلوات المكتوبات  قال هذا حديث حسن ترمذي 2/187 سعيد
“Abu Umamah (RA) narrates that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) was asked: Which dua is most heard? Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) replied: The dua made in the last third of the night and the dua after Fardh salah.” (Tirmidhi 2/187 H.M Saeed)
Raising hand in dua:
Maulana Abdur Raheem Rewari (RA) mentions that there is consensus (ijma sukooti) that whilst making dua one should raise his hands. (al Nafais al Margouba 44)
قال الشيخ محمد أنور كشميري إنما الرفع كمال في السنة تحصل السنة به و بغيره فلا سبيل إلى تبديع من رفع و لا إلى تجهيل من ترك (النفائس المرغوبة 31) مير محمد كتب خانـ
“Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA) mentioned: Raising the hand in dua is perfection in following the sunnah, the sunnah (of dua) could also be attained without raising the hands. Therefore there is no reason to call the one who raises his hands an innovator. Likewise there is no reason to call the one who does not raise his hands an ignorant person.” (al Nafais al Margouba 31)
Adhkaar and dua’s to be recited after salah:
و بهذه الاخبار اجمع العلماء على استحباب الذكر بعد الصلوة
“Maulana Abdul Hayy Lucknowi (RA) mentions that there is consensus amongst the Ulama that it is mustahab to make zikr after salah.” (al Si’aya 2/260 Suhail academy)
1 )   عن ثوبان مولى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان إذا انصرف من صلاته استغفر ثلاثا وقال اللهم أنت السلام ومنك السلام تباركت يا ذا الجلال والإكرام مسلم 1/218مكتبة تهانوي
Thawban (RA)  narrates that when Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  used to finish salah He صلى الله عليه و سلم used to recite Istighfaar thrice and then recite:
« اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ السَّلاَمُ وَمِنْكَ السَّلاَمُ تَبَارَكْتَ ذَا الْجَلاَلِ وَالإِكْرَامِ »
“O Allah You are peace and from You is peace. Blessed are You o the being of Majesty and Honour”
 2)  قال حدثني أبو الزبير قال سمعت عبد الله بن الزبير يحدث على هذا المنبر وهو يقول كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا سلم يقول لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له له الملك وله الحمد وهو على كل شيء قدير لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله لا إله إلا الله لا نعبد إلا إياه أهل النعمة والفضل والثناء الحسن لا إله إلا الله مخلصين له الدين ولو كره الكافرون مسلم 1/218
Abdullah bin Zubayr (RA) reports that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)   after making salam would recite:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَا نَعْبُدُ إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ أَهْلَ النِّعْمَةِ وَالْفَضْلِ وَالثَّنَاءِ الْحَسَنِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ
“There is no deity but Allah, He has no partner, for Him is the kingdom, for Him is all praise and He has power over all things. We do not worship except Him, the Being of bounty, virtue and praise. There is no deity but Allah with sincere devotion to Him even though the disbelievers detest it.”
 3 ) قال سمعته من عبدة بن أبي لبابة وسمعته من عبد الملك بن أعين كلاهما سمعه من وراد كاتب المغيرة بن شعبة قال
كتب معاوية إلى المغيرة بن شعبة أخبرني بشيء سمعته من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا قضى الصلاة قال لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له له الملك وله الحمد وهو على كل شيء قدير اللهم لا مانع لما أعطيت ولا معطي لما منعت ولا ينفع ذا الجد منك الجد مسلم 1/218
Mughira (RA) narrates that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)   used to recite after Salah:
»لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ اللَّهُمَّ لاَ مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَلاَ مُعْطِىَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ وَلاَ يَنْفَعُ ذَا الْجَدِّ مِنْكَ الْجَدُّ «
“There is no deity but Allah, He has no partner, for Him is the kingdom, for Him is all praise and He has power over all things. O Allah none can prevent what You give and none can give what You prevent and no wealthy persons wealth can benefit from You.”
4) عن عائشة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان إذا جلس مجلسا أو صلى تكلم بكلمات فسألته عائشة عن الكلمات فقال إن تكلم بخير كان طابعا عليهن إلى يوم القيامة وإن تكلم بغير ذلك كان كفارة له سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أستغفرك وأتوب إليك سنن النسائي – (ج 1 / ص 196)
Aisha (RA) narrates the after every salah or gathering Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to recite some dua. So I asked Him (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) as to what He صلى الله عليه (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) recites? Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) replied if the gathering was of good this dua seals it and if the gathering was other than good it is a means of atonement.
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْكَ
“Glory O Allah and all praise, I seek Your pardon and return to You.”
 5 ) عن عقبة بن عامر قال أمرني رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن أقرأ المعوذات دبر كل صلاة سنن النسائي   (ج 1 / ص 196) قديمي
Uqba (RA)  reports that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) ordered me to recite Surah Ikhlas, Surah Falaq and Surah Nas after every salah.
 There are many other dua’s and tasbeehat to be recited after salah, for example Ayat al Kursi, Tasbeeh Fatimi etc but we shall suffice on the above mentioned narrations.
Congregational dua:
At the outset it should be understood that congregational dua in itself is not prohibited. Due to external factors, as will be mentioned scholars have decreed that it should not be done regularly. It is the responsibility of the Ulama and learned scholars to educate the general public regarding the view point of our pious predecessors regarding this masla.   
قال الشيخ انور كشميري رحمه الله تعالى
و اما الامور المحدثة من عقد صورة الجماعة للدعاء كجماعة الصلوة و الانكار على تاركها و نصب امام ثم ائتمام به فيه و غير ذلك فكل ذلك من قلة العلم و كثرة الجهل و الجاهل اما مفرط او مفرط و الله الموفق للصواب (النفائس المرغوبة 31(
Maulana Anwar Shah Kasmiri (RA) mentions: “As for the innovation of making congregational dua like the congregation of salah, condemning the one who leaves it out, appointing an imam then following him etc is all this is due to lack of knowledge and extreme ignorance.”
Maulana Anwar Shah Kasmiri (RA) mentions:

و اعلم ان السنة الاكثرية بعد الصلاة الانصراف الى البيوت بدون مكث الا بقدر خروج النساء و كان في الاذكار كل امير نفسه و لم يثبت شاكلة الجماعة فيها كما هو معروف الان (دعاء بعد الفرائض 13(
“Every person could make his Adhkar after salah as he wish. Doing it in congregation, as is common nowadays is not an established practice.”
At another place he also mentions:
ولیعلم انّ الھیۃ الاجتماعیۃ برفع الایدی المتعارفۃ فی العصر بعد المکتوبۃ نادرۃ فی زمانہ علیھ السلام
95 دعا بعد الفرائض 22 العرف الشذی  
Know very well that congregating and raising the hands as is a common practice was unknown in the time of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
نعم الادعیۃ بعد الفریضۃ ثابتۃ کثیراً بلا رفع الیدین وبدون الاجتماع
دعا بعد الفرائض 22 العرف الشذی      
Yes, Dua after Fardh is established but individually, not in congregation.
غیر انّھ یظھر بعد البحث والتحقیق انّھ وان وقع ذلک احیاناً عند حاجات خاصۃ لم تکن سنّۃ مستمرۃ لھ صلی اللھ علیھ وسلم ولا لصحابۃ رضی اللھ عنھم والاکان ان ینتقل متواتراً البتۃ۔ فان ما یعمل بھ علی روسِ الاشھاد کل یوم خمس مرّات کیف یحمل ذکرہ فلا یکفی العموم فی مثل ھذہ المواقع الخاصّۃ
124/3 دعا بعد الفرائض 22 معارف السنن
Maulana Yusuf Binori (RA) mentions: “Even though at times congregational dua took place but this was not the common regular practise of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) nor of the Sahaba (RA). It only took place on special occasions (like when in war, Istasqaa etc.). Had it been practised (regularly) it would have been narrated by many narrators. An action carried out five times a day in public, how is it possible that no one mentions it? General Ahadeeth cannot be used to prove something at a specific times.
مولانا فیض اللھ مفتی اعظم بنگلہ دیش
چھارم یہ کہ بعد فرائض ھمیشہ سب لوگ اکھٹے لگ کر جماعت کی شکل میں ھاتھ اٹھا کر دعا کرے شریعت غراء میں ایسی دعاء کا اصلاً و قطعاً کوئی ثبوت نھیں ہے نہ تعامل سلف سے نہ احادیث سے خواہ وہ صحیح ہوں یا ضعیف یا موضوع اور نہ کسی فقہ کی عبارت سے یہ دعا یقیناً بدعت ہے۔
)دعا بعد الفرائض ص 14بحوالہ احکام الدعوات المروجہ12(
Mufti Faydhullah (RA) mentions: “The fourth method of making dua is that after the fardh salah everybody makes dua in congregation whilst lifting their hands. This has totally no basis in the Shariah. It is not established from the practices of our pious predecessors, neither is it established from any Hadeeth, be it Saheeh, Da’eef or even Maudhoo’ nor is it established from the writing of any Jurist. Most definitely this is an innovation.”
مفتی محمد ابراھیم صادق آبادی
باقی رھا کسی فرض نماز کے امام و مقتدیوں کا مل کر اجتماعی دعاء کرنا یہ بھت بعد کی ایجاد ہے پورے ذخیرہ احادیث میں کوئ ایک روایت بھی اسکی تائید میں نھیں ملتی نہ حضرات صحابہ و تابعین یا ائمہ مجتھدین رضی اللہ اجمعین سے اسکا کوئ ثبوت ملتا ہے۔ اسکے برعکس صحیح احادیث مذاھب اربعہ کا اجماع اور عقلِ سلیم  دعاء انفرادی کا فضیلت پر شاھد ناطق ہیں۔
)دعا بعد الفرائض ص 15(
Mufti Muhammed Ebrahim Sadiqabadi (RA) mentions: “The Imam and muqtadi’s making congregational dua is an innovation which took its roots longer after the time of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). From the whole treasure of Ahadeeth, there is not even one narration to support this. Neither is there any reference of this from the Sahaba (RA), Tabiee (RA) or A’immah Mujatahieen (RA). To the contrary sound narrations, consensus of the scholars of all four madhabs and sound reasons gives preference to individual dua.
مروجہ مفاسد پر نظر کی جائے تو کسی مذھب و مشرب میں اسکی اجازت نھیں ہو سکتی ہے ، بعض مفاسد یہ ہیں :
(الف) صرف امام دعا کرے اور مقتدی اسپر آمین کہتے رہیں تو ایسی صورت بنتی ہے کہ گویا امام صاحب اللہ اور بندوں کے درمیان واسطہ ہیں
(ب) پھر عادت عام اماموں کی یہ ہے کہ قرآن و حدیث کے عربی جملوں سے دعا مانگتے ہیں اور عام حا لت یہ ہے کہ اکثر تو خود امام بھی نییں سمجھتے کہ ان جملوں میں ہم اللہ سے کیا مانگ رہے ہیں
(ج) ایک مفسدہ یہ ہے کہ مشترک حاجات و ضروریات کے علاوہ ہر شخص کی کچھ خاص ضروریات ہوتی ہیں۔ ۔ ۔ اور امام صاحب اپنے رٹے ہوے بول بول رہیں ہیں وہ بیچارا جھراً قھراً اس پر آمین کہ رہا ہے ۔ اس لئیے مناسب صورت یہ ہے کہ ہر شخص اپنی ضروریات کیلئے جس زبان کو سمجھتا ہو اس میں دعا کرے
(ر) سب سے بڑا مفسدہ یہ ہے کہ امام بآواز بلند دعائیہ کلمات پڑھتا ہے اور عام طور پر بہت سے لوگ مسبوق ہوتے ہیں ، ان کی نماز میں خلل آتا ہے یہی وجہ ہے کہ رسول اللہ ﷺ اور صحابہ و تابیعن ائمہ دین رضوان اللہ علیھم میں کسی سے یہ صورت منقول نہیں کہ وہ دعا کریں اور مقتدی صرف آمین کہے۔
خلاصہ یہ کہ طریقہ مروجہ قرآن کے بتلائے ہوے طریقہ دعا کے خلاف ہے اور رسول اللہ ﷺ اور صحابہ کرام کی سنت کے بھی خلاف ہے۔ اس لئیے عام حالات میں اس سے اجتناب کرکے امام و مقتدی سب آہستہ دعا مانگیں، ہاں کسی خاص موقعہ پر جہاں مذکورہ مفاسد نہ ہوں کوئی ایک شخص جھراً دعا کرے اور دوسرے آمین کہیں تو کوئ مضاہقہ نہیں۔ (احکام الدعا ص ۱۰ ۔  ۱۳)
Mufti Shafi (RA) said: “Looking at the negative effects of congregational dua, no madhab or school of thought can possibly give permission for it. Some of its negative effects are:
1)      When the imam makes dua and the followers say ameen it appears as though the imam is the linking rope between Allah Ta’ala and his servants.
2)      The habit of many imams is to read the dua in arabic, and in most cases the imam himself does not understand what he is asking from Allah Ta’ala.
3)      One of the wrongs that are found is that besides the common needs of the people, each person has his own individual needs. The imam is singing his previously memorized words and the crowd is saying “ameen”, that is why the most preferable way is that each person makes his own individual dua, and ask for his needs in the language that he understands.
4)      The greatest wrong is that the imam reads the words of dua loudly while most of the time there are late comers still completing their salah and they are distracted in their salaat. That is why it is not narrated from Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) nor from the sahabah (RA)  nor from the tabieen that collective dua after salah was made.”
“The conclusion is that the habitual way of dua is against the manner of dua taught to us by the Quran and Sunnah, and is contrary to the lifestyle of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and his companions (RA). Therefore, in normal cases it should be abstained from. The imam and the congregation should make their own silent individual duas. Yes, if a special occasion comes about and these harms are not found then there is no harm to make loud collective dua.
مولانا عبد الحق لکھنوی: یہ طریقہ جو زمانے میں رائج ہے کہ سلام کے بعد امام ہاتھ اٹھا کر دعا کرتا ہے اور مقتدی اس پر آمین آمین کہتے ہیں آنحضرت  ﷺ کے مبارک زماے میں نہ تھا جیسا کہ امام ابن القیم رحمه الله تعالى نے زادالمعاد میں تصریح کی ہے۔
Maulana Abdul Hai Lucknawi (RA): As for congregational dua, as is common nowadays where after salam the imam raises his hands and makes duas and the muqtadi’s says Ameen, this practice was not found in the time of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) like how Ibn Qayyim (RA) has mentioned.
احسن الفتاوی:
دعا مروجہ کا تجزیہ:
0)  عوام اسے سنن صلوۃ میں سے سمجھنے لگے ہیں
1)  اس قدر التزام ہونے لگا ہے کہ تارک کو حدف ِ ملامت بنایا جاتا ہے۔ اگر کوئ امام اس طریقہ پر دعا نہ کرائے تو اسے علیحدہ کر دیا جاتا ہے۔
2)  اخفاء کی افضلیت پر اجماع کے باوجود جھراً پر اصرار کیا جاتا ہے ۔
ان وجوہ کی بنا پر نمازوں کے بعد عام مساجد میں دعا کا مروجہ طریقہ ختم کرنا چاہئے اور علماء کو اس طرف زیادہ توجہ مبذول کرنا چاہیئے۔
۔ ۔ ۔ اس لئیے اءمہ مساجد پر لازم ہے کہ جھر کی رسم کو تو بالکل ختم کر دیں اور اجتماعاً سری دعا سے متعلق بھی مقتدیوں کو یہ تبلیغ کرتے ہیں کہ یہ طریقہ سنت سے ثابت نہیں اس لیئے اس کا زیادہ اہتمام نہیں کرنا چاہئے۔ ۔ ۔ رسول اکرمﷺ روزانہ پانچ بار علانیہ باجماعت نماز ادا فرماتے تھے اگر آپ نے نماز کے بعد اجتماعی دعا فرمائی ہوتی تو اسکو کوئی متنفس تو نقل کرتا مگر ذخیرہ حدیث میں اسکا کہیں نشان نہیں ملتا اگر اسکا استحباب تسلیم کر بھی لیا جائے تو التزام بھر صورت بدعت ہے۔
(احسن الفتاوی ج ۳ ص ۶۵ ۔  ۶۶)

Mufti Rasheed Ahmed Ludhyanwi (RA) says:
The experiences regarding the habitual dua:
1)      People began regarding it as sunnat of salah.
2)      The common people began holding so firm onto it, that they regard the person who omits it worthy of being rebuked. If an imam does not do it in this way he is discharged from his leadership.
3)      Despite the consensus of opinion regarding silent dua being the best , still too loud dua is insisted upon.
Based on these reasons the habit of loud dua after the salaat should be banned from the masajid, and the ulama should give more attention to this. It is incumbent upon the imams of the masajid to eradicate the custom of loud dua and to propagate to the congregation that collective dua is not a sunnat. It should therefore not be given so much importance. Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  performed the five daily salaat with the congregation in front of all. If he ever did the dua with the congregation someone would definitely have narrated it. But that is not the case. In the treasures of ahadith there is not the slightest sign of it. Even if it is accepted to be a mustahab, to make it permanently is a bidat. “
On been questioned regarding the congregational supplication after the Fardh Salaah in a loud tone Mufti Taqi Uthmani Saheb (DB) answers as follows:
“Congregational supplication; is never reported to be performed by the Holy Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  in the manner explained in your question. It appears from the relevant ahadeeth that in the days of the Holy Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  he used to pray on his own; even after salah. But at the same time there is no clear injunction in the Holy Quraan or in the Sunnah which prohibits such congregational supplications. In view of both these aspects, the correct position is that the congregational supplications are neither a sunnah nor something prohibited. It is only one of the several permissible ways of performing supplication.
However, if somebody takes this congregational method as obligatory or as a sunnah of the Holy Prophet e: then this wrong concept will render this practice a n bidah ” (innovation), hence impermissible, because a practice which was not obligatory or a sunnah at the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  cannot be held as such after him. It will be a self-coined addition to the prescribed ways of worship, which is termed as bid’ah in the words of the Holy Prophet t!!t and is strictly prohibited.
“In the light of this principle, if the congregational way of supplication is adopted only for the convenience for the audience, without taking this particular manner as an obligatory method or a sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  it is quite in order in the Shariah. But if this method is observed with a belief of its being obligatory or a sunnah, it is not allowed” “It is noticed that where congregational supplications are permanently observed, it sometimes creates an impression that such collective supplications is a necessary part of the salah, since this impression is not correct, as discussed earlier, it is advisable to avoid congregational form of supplication at frequent occassion s, and to educate the people about the correct position as mentioned above. “
(Contemporary Fatawa Pg 32 – 33 )
قال الشیخ عبدالحق دھلوی رحمه الله تعالى : ما معناہ ۔ واما ھذا الذی تعورف فی بلاد العرب والعجم (ای فی عصرہ) من ان ائمۃ المساجد والموتمین یدعون بعد السلام مجتمعین ، یدعو ائمۃ والموتمین ، فلم یکن ذلک من من ھدن النبی ﷺ ولم یرد فی ذلک ۱ی حدیث ووانما ھی بدعۃ استحسنت ۔
(عماد الدین ۳۹۷)
Sheikh Abdul Haq Delhwi (RA) said: “This habit which is common in both the Arab and non Arab world that the imams of the masajid and the congregation make collective dua, the imam recites the dua and the congregation says ameen, this is not from the practice of Nabi ﷺ and is not substantiated by any hadith. It has been regarded as a bidat hasana.
قال الشیخ العلامۃ المحدث المحقق مولانا خلیل احمد سھارنپوری رحمه الله تعالى : واما ما یفعلھ بعص العوام من رفع الیدین فی الدعاء عند دعا الجماعۃ من اءمۃ الشافعیۃ والحنفیۃ بعد الصلوۃ فلا وجھ لھ ولا عبرۃ بما جوزہ ابن الحجر المکی (عماد الدین ۳۹۸ بحوالہ بذل المجحود ج ۳ ص ۱۳۸ )

Sheikh AlIamah al Muhaddith al Muhqqiq Maulana Khaleel Ahmed Sahanpury (RA) said: “There is no reasonable proof for lifting the hands when the shaft or hanafi imaams make dua after salah. And there is no regard of the permissibility given by Ibn Hajar al Makki (RA).
اعلاء االسنن:
ولا حجۃ لھم ایضاً فیما ورد من الترغیب العام فی الدعا بعد کل صلوۃ فرضا او نافلۃ ، فانھ لیس فیہ ان یکون ھذا الدعاءباالجتماع والنتظار ، ولا فیما قالھ الشربنلالی فی نور الایضاح و شرحھ بعد قولھ: القیام الی ادا ء السنۃ التی تلی الفرض متصل بالفرض مسنون ما نصھ : و یستحب للامام بعد سلامھ ان یتحولھ الی جھۃ یسارہ لتطوع بعض الفرض ، و یستحب ان یستقبل بعدہ و یستغفرون اللہ ثلاث ، ویقروون المعوذات و آیۃ الکرسی و یسبحون اللہ و یحمدونھ و یکبرونھ ثلاث و ثلاثین ثم یدعون لانفسھم و للمسلمین رافعی ایدیھم ، الاخ ۔ ۔ ۔ فانھ لا دلالۃ فیھ علی قراءتھ کل ذلک والدعا ء بعدھا مجتمعین ، وان یفعل ذلک کلھ فی المسجد ، فان الصیغہ الجمع لا تستدعی الاجتماع والاصطحاب اصلا ، نص علی ذلک الاصولیون ، فمعنی کلامھ ان المسلمین ینبغی لھم قراءۃ الاوراد الماثورۃ بعد المکتوبات بان یاتی کل واحد بھا علی حلۃ ، و یدعوا کل احد بعدھا لنفسھ للمسلمین ، لان شربنلالی نفسھ قد نص قبل ذلک علی ان الافضل بالسنن اداوھا  فیما ھو ا بعد من الریاء ، واجمع للخصوص ، سوائفی بیتھ او غیرہ۔
(اعلاء االسنن ج ۳ ص ۲۰۲ ۔ ۲۰۷ )
Maulana Zafar Ahmed Thanwi (RA) mentions: “And there is no proof for them (those who permit congregational dua) in those narrations which are narrated with regards to the general encouragement of dua after salah, be it fardh or nafl salah, because there is no mention that this dua should be with the congregation and that one should wait for it. There is no proof for them also in what Allamah Shurunbulali (RA)  has said and explained in Noor-ul-Idhaah that to stand immediately after the fardh salah for the respective sunnah salah is sunnah. He said it is mustahab for the imam after making salaam to turn towards his left for the nafl salah after fardh. It is mustahab that he faces the people after that whilst they all read istighfaar 3 times, muawazaat (surah al-falaq and surah an-naas), ayatul kursie, subhaananallah, alhamdulillal and allah-u-akbar 33 times each, thereafter they will make dua for themselves and for all Muslims at large with their hands raised up…there is no proof in this that they should all read this, make dua collectively and do it in the masjid because the plural tense does not denote upon congregation at all, as the jurists have clarified. Therefore the meaning of his words would be that all Muslims should carry out this prescription after the faradh salah individually thereafter each one should individually make dua for himself and all muslims at large. Shurunbulali (RA) has himself clarified that it is best to perform the sunnah salah in a manner which keeps one far away from pride, which is more conducive to sincerity, be it at home or elsewhere.
قد راج فی کثیر من البلاد الدعا بھیءۃ الجتماءیۃ رافعین ایدیھم بعد الصلوۃ المکتوبۃ ولم یثبت ذلک فی عھدہ ﷺ و بالاخصّ بالمواظبۃ ۔ نعم! ثبتت ادعیۃ کثیرۃ بالتواتر بعد المکتوبۃ ولکنّھا من غیر رفع الایدی ومن غیر ھیءۃ الجتماءیۃ 
( دعا بعد الفرا ئض  ۲۳ معارف االسنن ۳ ۔ ۴۰۹)
At another place he mentions: “In many places congregational duo after the fardh salah whilst raising the hands has become common. This was not found in the time of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  especially when it is done persistently. Yes, many duas have been established, but it is without lifting of the hands and without being in congregation.”
یہ جو رواج ہے کہ سلام پھیرنے کے بعد دعاء میں بھی مقتدی نماز ہی کی طرح امام کے پابند رہتے ہیں ۔ حتّی کہ کسی کو جلدی جانے کی ضرورت ہو تو بھی امام سے پہلے اسکا اٹھنا برا مسجھا جاتا ہے۔ یہ بالکل بے اصل ہے بلکہ قابل ِ اصلاح ہے ۔ امام اور اقتداء کا رابطہ سلام پھیرنے پر ختم ہو جاتا ہے اسلئے دعاء میں امام کی اقتداء اور پابندی ضروری نہیں۔ چاہے تو مختصر دعاء کرکے اما م سے پہلے اٹھ جائے اور چاہے تو اپنے ذوق کے مطابق دیر تک دعاء کرتا رہے۔
( دعا بعد الفرا ئض  ۲۵ معارف االحدیث ۳ ۔ ۳۱۸)
Maulana Manzoor Numani (RA) mentions: “The practice whereby after salam the muqatdi follows the imam like in salah to such an extent that even if a person is in a hurry and he still considers it unacceptable to leave before the imam; has no basis and needs to be rectified. The link between the imam and muqtadi ends with salam therefore it is not necessary to follow the imam in dua. If he wishes he could make a short dua and leave before the imam and if he wishes he could make a long duo as he wishes.”
رسول اللہ ﷺ اور صحابہ و تابیعن ائمہ دین رضوان اللہ علیھم میں کسی سے یہ صورت منقول نہیں کہ وہ دعا کریں اور مقتدی صرف آمین کہے۔
خلاصہ یہ کہ طریقہ مروجہ قرآن کے بتلائے ہوے طریقہ دعا کے خلاف ہے اور رسول اللہ ﷺ اور صحابہ کرام کی سنت کے بھی خلاف ہے۔ اس لئیے عام حالات میں اس سے اجتناب کرکے امام و مقتدی سب آہستہ دعا مانگیں، ہاں کسی خاص موقعہ پر جہاں مذکورہ مفاسد نہ ہوں کوئی ایک شخص جھراً دعا کرے اور دوسرے آمین کہیں تو کوئ مضاہقہ نہیں۔ (احکام الدعا ص ۱۰ ۔  ۱۳)
Mufti Shafi (RA) mentions: “The muqtadi only saying ameen has not been narrated from Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) nor the Sahaba (RA), tabieen or uama. In short this method goes against the teachings of the Quraan, the sunnah of Rasuullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and the sahaba (RA).  In such conditions the imam and muqtadi should make silent dua.”
اب رہی یہ بات کہ دعاء میں امام جھر کا التزام کرے اس طرح سے کہ اس کے خلاف کرنے والے کو مطعون کیا جائے اور اس کی مخالفت کی جائے تو ایسی صورت میں ان کی موافقت کی جائے یا مخالفت؟ عرض ہے کہ قواعد فقیہھ میں غور کرنے سے معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ جو کام مستحب ہو اور لوگ اسکو سنت مقصودہ یا واجب سمجھنے لگیں ، تو اسکو منع کیا جاے ، فقھ میں اسکی چند نظیریں ملتی ہیں ، پہلی نظیر سجدہ شکر کی ہے کہ کسی نعمت کے حاصل ہونے پر  سجدہ شکر بجا لانا حدیث سے ثابت ہے مگر پھر بھی امام ابو حنیفہ نماز کے بعد اس کو مکروہ فرماتے ہیں اور اسکی وجہ بقول علامہ شامی صرف یھی ہے کہ  اس میں احتمال ہے کہ عوام اس کو سنت مقصودہ یا واجب نہ سمجھیں۔ چناچہ درمختار علی ھامش للشامیۃ میں ہے لکنّھا (ای سجدۃ الشکر) تکرہ بعد الصلوۃ لان الجھلۃ یعتقدونھا سنۃ او واجبۃ وکل مباح یودی الیھ فمکروۃ قال الشامی وما یفعل عقیب الصلوۃ فمکروہ لان الجھال یعتقدونھا سنۃ او واجبۃ وکل مباح یودی الیہ مکروہ (شامی جلد اول ص ۵۲۴ بحث سجدہ شکر)
اس سے صاف معلوم ہوتا یے کہ جو کام واجب یا سنت نہ ہو بلکہ مستحب یا مباح ہو اگر یہ احتمال ہو کہ عوام اسکو واجب سمجھ لیں گے تو اس سے منع کیا جائے گا وہ مکروہ ہو جاتا ہے ۔ اسی طرح دعاء جھری بھی زیادہ سے زیادہ جاءز ہو سکتی ہے پھر اسکا التزام اس قدر کہ خلاف ہی نہ ہو بلکہ مزید برآں یہ کہ خلاف کرنے والے پر نکیر اور اعتراض کیا جاے یہ علامت اس کی ہے کہ اس کو اعتقاداً یا عملاً واجب خیال کرتے ہیں اسکا ترک ضروری ہے۔
(ملفاظات ص ۱۵۳ ۔ ۱۵۴)
Maulana Moseehullah Khan (RA) mentions: “As for a situation where people persist on loud dua and condemn those who leave it out, then should one follow this practice or not? By pondering over the rules of shariah, if we find any action being mustahab and people consider it to be sunnah or wajib then such actions should be prevented. Many examples of this are found in the books of fiqh. The first example is sajda shukr i.e. making sajda upon receiving any bounty from Allah Ta’ala. Although this has been established in the hadeeth then too Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) mentions that it is makrooh. According to Allamah Shami  (RA) the only reason for this is the possibility of people considering it to be wajib. . .. It is clear from this that if the possibility of considering any permissible or mustahab act as wajib then such acts should be prohibited. In a similar manner loud dua at most could be permissible. Holding on to it in such a manner that the opposite does not take place at all and condemning the one who leaves it out are signs to show that it has been taken as wajib. Therefore it is necessary to leave it out.”
اس مضمون کو مکمل کرنے کے بعد تفسیر روح المعانی میں مندرجہ ذیل عبارت ملی جس میں تصریح ہے کہ مساجد میں بالخصوص بلند آواز سے دعاء کرنا بدعت ہے (یعنی دین میں ایسی بات پیدا کرنا جو شرع سے ثابت نہیں ۔ کل بدعۃ ضلالۃ و کل ضلالۃ فی النار ۔ یعنی ہر بدعت گمراہی ھے اور ہر گمراہی دوزخ میں لے جانے والی ہے )  وہ عبارت یہ ہے:
وتری کثیراً من اھل زمانک یعتمدون الصراخ فی الدعا خصوصاً فی الجوامع ولا یدرون انھم جمعوا بدعتین رفع الصوت فی الدعاء و کون ذلک فی المساجد
“After compiling the above I found the same thing mentioned in Tafseer Roohul Ma’ani, namely that loud dua especially in the masjid, is an innovation. It is mentioned in a Hadeeth “Every innovation is means of misguidance and every misguidance leads to hell.” The text of Ruhul Ma’ani is: You will find many people in your era making loud dua especially in the big masjids not realising that they have combined two innovations the first of raising the voice and the second it being in the masjid.”
سوال: نماز کے بعد جو دعاء امام کے ساتھ مانگتے ہیں اس میں آمین کہنا چاہئے یا جو مرضی ہو دعاء مانگے؟
جواب: جو دعاء چاہے مانگے یہ ضروری نہیں کہ امام کی دعا پرآمین کہے۔
(فتاوی دارلعلوم ج ۲ ص ۲۰۱ بحوالہ ردالمحتار باب صفۃ الصلوۃ ج ا ص ۳۸۹)
Question: Should one say amen to the dua made by the imam after salah or can one make his own dua?
Answer: One can make whatever duo he wishes. It is not necessary to follow the imam.
الفروق مع ھوامشۃ ۔ (ج ۴ ۔ ص ۴۹۱) دارالکتب العلمیۃ
کرۃ مالک و جماعۃ من العلماء رحمھم اللہ لاءمۃ المساجد والجماعات الدعاء عقیب الصلوات المکتوبات جھرا للحاضرین فیجتمع لھذا الامام التقدم فی الصلاۃ وشرف کونھ نصب نفسھ واسطۃ بین اللہ تعالی و عبادہ فی تحصیل مصالحھم علی یدہ بالدعاء و یوشک ان تعظم نفسھ عندہ فیفسد قلبھ و یعصی ربھ فی ھذہ الحالۃ اکثر مما یطیعھ
“Imam Malik (RA) and a group of other ulama opine that it is makrooh for the imam to make loud dua for those present as this will lead to the imam being the leader of the salah and he will also become the link between Allah Ta ‘ala and his bondsmen in them attaining their needs.”
الام ۔ (ج ۱ ص ۱۲۷) دارالمعرفۃ
واختار للامام والماموم ان یذکرا اللہ بعد الانصراف من الصلاۃ ویخفیان الذکر
Imam Shafi (RA) mentions: “I prefer for the imam and muqtadi to make zikr after salah and they should make it silently.”
فرض نماز کے بعد دعا کی کیفیت کیا ہونی چاہیئے؟
س: بعض امام صاحب ہر نماز کے بعد دعاء عربی میں مانگتے ہیں۔ کیا اردو میں مانگ سکتے ہیں یا نہیں؟ نیز یہ بھی بتائیں کہ دعاء مختصر ہونی چاہیئے یا لمبی؟ 
ج: فرض نماز کے بعد دعاء مختصر ہونی چاہیئے اور آہستہ کی جانی چاہیئے اپنے اپنے طور پر جس شخص کی جو حاجت ہو اس کیلئے دعاء کرے عربی الفاط ہمیشہ بلند آواز سے نہ کہے جائیں۔
(Aap Kay Masail 2/272)
Maulana Yusuf Ludhwani (RA) upon being asked the method of making duo after salah replied as follows:
“After fardh salah the dua should be short, carried out individually and softly. Every person should ask for his own needs. The Arabic dua’s should not be always read out loud.”
یستجب فی الدعاء اخفا ء و رفع الصوت بدعۃ (دعا بعد الفرائض ۳۱ فتاوی سراجیۃ ۷۲)
Allamah Sirajud Deen (RA) mentions: “Loud dua is an innovation.”
واضح رہے کہ آجکل فرض نمازوں کے بعد یہ دعاومناجات جو مشھور ہے جس میں امام و مقتدی سب مل کر ہاتھ اٹھاتے ہیں۔ امام دعاء کرتا ہے اور مقتدی آمین آمین کہتے ہیں شروع اور بیچ بیچ میں بلند آواز سے اللھم آمین کہتے ہیں اور ختم ہونے پر اللھم آمین یا ارحم الراحمین وغیرہ کہتے ہیں اور اسکو نماز کی مناجات کہتے ہیں یہ آنحضرت  ﷺ ، خلفاے راشدین اور اءمۃ مجتھدین سے قطعاً ثابت نہیں۔ اس بارے میں کوئ بھی کسی قسم کی حدیث ثابت نہیں نہ صحیح نہ ضعیف نہ موضوع ۔ چناچہ تتبع و تلاش کرنے والے حضرات پر پوشیدہ نہیں۔
(دعا بعد الفرائض ۳۳ احکام الدعوات المروجۃ ۱۴ )
“It should be noted that the common practice after fardh salah whereby the imam and muqtadi congregate and lift their hands and the imam makes dua and the muqtadi says ameen has definitely not been established from Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  nor the Sahaba (RA). No hadeeth has been established in this regard.”
ھمارے زمانے کے اءمۃ مساجد کو اللہ تعالی ھدایت فرما دیں کہ قرآن و سنت کی اس تلقین اور اسک ھدایت کو یکسر چھوڑ بیٹھے۔ ہر نماز کے بعد دعاء کی ایک مصنوعی سی کاروائی ہوتی ہے۔ بلند آواز سے کچھ کلمات کہے جاتے ہیں جو آداب دعاء کے خلاف ہونے کے ساتھ ان نمازیوں کی نماز میں بھی خلل انداز ہوتے ہیں جو مسبوق ہونے کی وجہ سے امام کے فارغ ہونے کے بعد اپنی باقی ماندہ نماز پوری کر رہے ہیں۔ غلبہ رسوم نے اس کی برائی اور مفاسد کو ان کی نظروں سے اوجھل کر دیا ہے۔
(معارف القرآن ۔ ج ۳ ص ۵۷۸)
It is mentioned in Ma’ariful Quran: “May Allah guide the imams of our masajid. They left the teachings of the Quran, sunnah and practices of our pious predecessors. After every salah superficial dua takes place, in raised voices which besides going against the etiquettes of dua it also causes disturbance in the salah of the late comers.”
دوام کو منع نہیں کیا جاتا التزام اعتقادی یا عملی کو منع کیا جاتا ہے۔  التزام اعتقادی یہ ہے کہ اس کو ضروری سمجھے اور التزام عملی یہ ہے کہ اس کے ترک پر ملامت کریں۔
(امداد الفتاوی ۔ ج ۵ ص ۳۰۸)
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) mentions: “Continual practice on something is not prohibited. However, dogmatically obligating something on oneself or pragmatically is prohibited. Dogmatic obligation is considering something necessary and pragmatic obligation is when one condemns those who leave it out.”
و روی ابن جریر عن ابن جریح ان رفع الصوت بالدعاء من الاعتداء المشار الیھ بقولھ تعالی انھ لا یحب المعتدین۔
(روح المعانی ج ۸ ص ۱۳۹ )

Ibn Jarir (RA) narrates from Ibn Jurayj (RA) “Raising the voice in dua is a form of transgressing the limits as indicated to by the verse verily Allah does not love those who transgress the bounds.”
عبد الفتاح ابو غدۃ
نعم اذا قال احد بسنیۃ خصوص ھذہ الھیئۃ الترکیبۃ والتزامھا مع انکار علی من ترکھا فذاک خطا لا یقر علیھ
(ثلاث رسائل فی استحباب الدعاء ۳۷)
Sheikh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (RA) mentions: “Yes if anybody considers this (congregational dua whilst raising the hands) as a sunnah and persists on it and condemns the one who leaves it out, then this is incorrect and unacceptable.”
And Allah knows best Wassalam
M. Ishaq E. Moosa, Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darullftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah

Zabiha-Meat Madness

In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth
There is no doubt that there is great confusion regarding the permissibility of meats in certain countries, especially in the United States, and regarding what is lawful and what is unlawful to consume. Adding to this confusion are some of the terms used in the process.

Halal and Zabiha

Once while dining at a person’s house in the US, the host pointed out to a guest from the UK that a particular dish on the table was zabiha and that another was halal. The bewildered guest had never heard of the term zabiha used in this context. Literally, zabiha (more accurately written, dhabiha) means “slaughtered animal.” Was not all halal meat, the guest wondered, supposed to be slaughtered according to a particular rite, and thus qualify as zabiha? Why was the host then calling one dish zabiha and the other “only halal”? Could it be that zabiha meant something else? Maybe it was a Judaic or Christian term and this meat had been purchased from a non-Muslim source. Or did it mean super- or ultra-halal meat of sorts, or perhaps signify some kind of organic meat? One of the local guests clarified, explaining that some people in the US use the term zabiha for meat slaughtered by a Muslim. This was to differentiate it from meat that many purchase from the regular markets under the assumption that it is from the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) and thus halal even though not hand-slaughtered by a Muslim.

Meat in the US and the People of the Book

Many people assume that the United States—and, for that matter, Canada, the UK, and many other European countries—are Christian nations. This is erroneous. Although many of the inhabitants of these countries profess to be Christian, this affiliation of theirs does not extend much past a personal or perhaps communal level. On the state level, these countries are openly secular, promote separation of church and state, and would hardly accept being labeled Christian nations. Some Muslim scholars from abroad, many of whom are not accurately informed of the religious composition of the US, sometimes pass the fatwa that the meat in the United States is lawful, citing that the country is Christian. No doubt, meat slaughtered by a Christian or Jew in accordance with the injunctions of their scriptures cannot be considered impermissible, as Allah has made it lawful in the Qur’an: “And the food of those who have been given the Book is permitted to you” (Qur’an 5:5). However, carelessly purchasing or eating meat from any source in the US with the excuse of being in a Christian country and thus eating the meat of the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) is a gross error in judgment born out of ignorance of the true circumstances.

When purchasing meat from a regular grocery store, it is generally impossible to learn whether the slaughterer was a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Baha’i, atheist, or, for argument’s sake, Muslim; and even if it is theoretically possible to find out, the informational costs and bureaucratic barriers are too prohibitive for it to be feasible. If we then make the venturesome assumption that the slaughterer is a Christian or a Jew, the adherence of these, especially the former, to the laws of slaughter laid down in their scriptures is tenuous, as a few moments’ examination of practicing Christians and Jews will show. There are, furthermore, numerous documented reports of eyewitness accounts of animals being stunned or shot and allowed to die before actually being put to the knife, thus rendering them dead before slaughtered—in a word, carrion. The US Department of Agriculture sometimes appoints representatives to watch for cadavers and remove them from the processing line, but how regular this practice is and how diligently the appointees carry out what they are commissioned to do does not inspire great confidence.

The evidence of abstaining from that which is indubitably unlawful needs no repeating. But we are faced here with a doubtful situation. In the first place, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the odds of finding lawful meat in US markets are slim, and probability that leans heavily in favor of one conclusion or another is recognized by Islamic law in matters of practice that bear an element of social significance, such as the food consumed by tens of thousands of Muslims. And in food-related matters, we learn from Islamic law that when the scale of surety tips toward the side of doubt, lawfulness is held in check until we can substantiate it beyond any doubt.

In general, we must be wary when confronting an issue in which uncertainty clouds the path to finding the sure ruling; we should err on the side of caution in such affairs. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Leave what puts you in doubt in favor of what does not” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi), cautioning Muslims of the doubtful. From another hadith, we learn a great wisdom behind this cautiousness that every Muslim ought to exhibit: “What is lawful is clear, and what is unlawful is clear. And in between the two are doubtful matters [whose rulings] many people do not know. He who guards against the doubtful safeguards his religion and honor, and he who falls into the doubtful falls into the unlawful, just as a shepherd who grazes his flock around a preserve will likely soon graze them in it. Indeed, every king has a preserve, and the preserve of Allah are the things he has declared unlawful” (Sahih al-Bukhari). Therefore, abstaining from something whose permissibility cannot be established is, with little or no exception, the best path to take.

Muslims Must Demand Better

It is necessary for Muslims to bear a sense of responsibility to their faith and accountability before Allah by demanding better of themselves and not settling with unlawful and doubtful foods. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A body that has been nourished by the unlawful will not enter Paradise” (Shu‘ab al-Iman). This is, therefore, a serious issue for Muslims.

Countries such as Zimbabwe, where the Muslims have been very particular about the halal-meat issue since they first migrated to the country, have made great progress in meat production. Beef from Zimbabwe is exported to the UK and other countries. On my visit to Zimbabwe, I was told by a member of the Council of Muslim Theologians (Jamiatul Ulama) that it had become a requirement in the Zimbabwe meat industry that all animals be slaughtered according to Islamic rites.

The concept of supply and demand should be kept in mind: if there is a demand, there will be a supply. Allah willing, if there is a demand for an extensive range of halal meat products in the US and other lands where Muslims compose a minority of the population, a servant of Allah will rise to satisfy that demand. As it has happened so far, halal-meat stores have had to shut down for lack of patronage from local Muslims, who prefer to purchase from their local supermarkets under the flimsy pretext that we have just discussed.

Returning to the popular terminology we introduced in the beginning, any meat that can be considered truly halal—that is, lawful for a Muslim to consume—is not just that it be cow meat or chicken meat or something other than pork, but that the meat be what is now in the US dubbed zabiha, which means, albeit inaccurately, that all the requirements of Islamic slaughter be fulfilled.

It is, furthermore, unfair, unreasonable, and childish to label the notion of zabiha and all the requirements it today represents as a concoction of Indo-Pakistani culture, which is the current attitude for many Muslims in the US. Granted, the fault for the misusage of this term and the consequent confusion of those like the British brother we met earlier, arguably lies with this group. But the requirements underlying it are anything but Indo-Pakistani. If we go to Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Malaysia, and West Africa, where Muslims are decidedly not Indian or Pakistani, we see these same laws upheld by Muslims who take lawful meat consumption seriously. Eating zabiha—or, we should say, halal—meat is the duty of every Muslim, period.

Our Responsibility

What, therefore, is the responsibility of Muslims living in a country like the US, where there is great confusion regarding the meat issue? What is one to do when invited to eat with friends and family who may not be very particular about their eating habits or may follow another opinion? Is one allowed to even ask of the source of their meat?

It is necessary for Muslims to ensure that what they eat is lawful. They therefore have to do their best to ascertain that the meat served in a home or bought in a store has come from a properly slaughtered animal.

Many raise the good point that excessively doubting the meat another Muslim sells or serves at home is a display of petulance that does not befit a Muslim and that inspires deep mistrust among Muslims. We must indeed think well of Muslims and give them the benefit of the doubt. But this does not mean that Muslims should cross into the territory of imprudence and naïveté. If ignorance and confusion about some matter of Islam are the prevailing conditions in a community of Muslims, ought we not tread carefully and act with a sense of caution, lest we be taken into doing something wrong by someone ill-informed? In the matter of slaughtered meat in particular, inquiry into the source of some meat is uncalled-for if we know, either with complete certainty or overwhelmingly convincing evidence, that a particular community or region or nation of Muslims follows the rules of animal slaughter laid down by Islamic law. But when the state of Muslims is such that there is sheer ignorance about or great laxity in adhering to such laws; when a community can’t figure out what it means to be halal and what it means to be zabiha (or what these words even mean in themselves); and when the number of opinions about what makes meat lawful is as great as the number of those who opine; how can we so readily accept that the meat Muslims offer us is doubtlessly lawful? To be fair, this is not to attack the intentions of Muslims. Whenever we can, we must always give Muslims the benefit of the doubt in that they are well-meaning and do not try to serve unlawful meat to their brothers in Islam. And, admittedly, there remains yet an immense dearth of sources of Islamic knowledge, in the form of scholars or books written by scholars, to educate the Muslims about such matters. Nevertheless, until Muslims become more conscious about the Islamic rulings on the weighty matter of lawful meats, we must be cautious and prepared to inquire kindly of our Muslim brothers as to where their meat comes from.

In opposition to this claim, some bring forth the following verse of the Qur’an: “O you who believe, do not ask about things that, if revealed to you, may cause you trouble” (Qur’an 5:101). To quote this verse in this context, however, betokens a deep misunderstanding of its intent. This verse was revealed when some companions asked questions whose answers would, at best, have done them no good and, at worse, have caused them personal grief. The commentaries of Qur’an cite incidents where they asked personal questions bearing little importance to others, and they sometimes heavily burdened Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) with a large number of such inquiries. But the source of the food we consume, in a time when few are well-informed of Islamic dietary laws, is of no little importance in the life of a Muslim. To know that food from a doubtful source is unlawful would in fact do him much good. This verse, therefore, is not a suitable argument against inquiring into the food other Muslims present to us.

It is necessary that a Muslim do his best to ensure—by asking if necessary but without falling prey to excessive doubt—that the meat he is offered is truly halal, in the correct sense of the word. It is not simply enough to say Bismillah on a piece of meat to make it lawful. The narration often quoted in this vein pertains, as many scholars have explained, to a time when the meat was predominantly known to be slaughtered correctly. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was showing them that, in such a situation, it is not necessary to inquire into the matter, but that one should maintain a positive opinion about the one offering the meat. As for the instruction to “mention the name of Allah and eat,” it does not, as worded in the narration, conclusively imply that mentioning His name before eating makes unlawfully slaughtered meat lawful. When does a Muslim ever eat that he should not recite the name of Allah before doing so?

On a practical level, it is sometimes difficult to determine how reliable a meat source is, and equally difficult to summon the courage and tact necessary to ask a Muslim host where his meat is from without being insulting. Here are some ways to go about overcoming these hurdles.

What to Do When Invited for a Meal

When doubtful or unsure about a person’s source of meat, one can take the following steps:

1. If possible, it is usually best to go directly to the host at the time of receiving the invitation or close thereafter (but well before the date of invitation), and politely inform him or her, without being judgmental about his or her practices, that you have some strict dietary limitations regarding meat. Inform them of butchers you trust. If the meat does not come from these sources, and the host is not willing or able to obtain meat from these certified stores, let him know that meat is not a necessary part of the meal for you and that you would be perfectly satisfied with alternate options, such as vegetable and fish dishes. Let them feel that you are eager to accept their kind invitation and enjoy their company, and that, for you at least, the importance of the gathering is in being together, not the type and variety of food served.

2. If it is difficult to approach the host, perhaps because one is not on intimate enough terms with him, then ask in an appropriate manner someone who may know where the host buys his meat. As much as possible, this should be done in an indirect and subtle manner, so as not to raise too much suspicion or throw the matter out of proportion.

3. Volunteer to purchase the meat for the host, and buy it from your trusted source. In the US in particular, many people are particular about what they eat and strictly adhere to certain self-imposed dietary restrictions, so many hosts are quite accommodating. For example, some people are on a low-carb diet, some are vegetarian, some are lactose intolerant, some allergic to nuts, and many hosts are willing to go out of their way to serve a cuisine that suits the needs of their guests.

Finding a Halal Meat Store or Restaurant

The matter of halal meat is further confounded by finding a meat market or restaurant that offers truly halal products. Incidents of dishonesty in some of these establishments, especially in major US cities, have most unfortunately cast doubt on whether they serve what they claim to. Some methods for finding the right store are as follows:

1. Make an earnest effort to ask around and see if some reliable and pious people in the community can provide some verification about a particular meat supplier or store or restaurant. Ask the scholars of the area, who are careful about what they eat, where they purchase their meat.

2. Speak to the store owner. Normally, they are quite open to revealing their suppliers, policies, etc. And why should they not be, if they are not doing anything wrong? Resistance to answer these reasonable questions is a good way of gauging the honesty of a store that claims to sell lawful meat. Ask them who their suppliers are, and then ask reliable scholars in the area for verification regarding the suppliers. Unfortunately, not all store owners are forthright; some have even been found to purchase a small amount of meat from a reliable source to gain certification and then stock a large amount from unreliable or completely non-halal meat suppliers.

3. Sometimes there are organizations that certify meat providers. Ask reliable scholars in the area if these organizations’ certifications are trustworthy.

4. Sometimes large companies that are well established and can provide their own certification in writing (for instance, that all their meat is from hand-slaughtered animals) may be trusted. However, beware of vague statements like “slaughtered according to Islamic rites,” as they could be following some unreliable, unscholarly sources, or “mechanically separated chicken,” which in many cases means machine-slaughtered, as opposed to hand-slaughtered, chicken.

5. If possible, team up with a few others and find a farm or abattoir willing to sell you a cow, goat, lamb, or other animal that you may slaughter yourself. Meat stores sometimes provide the cutting service of the meat for a very nominal charge.

It is not unclear that this issue is difficult to grapple with, but, as is the case with such issues, it is also a very serious one. These pieces of advice are not exhaustive and simply cannot cover the effectively infinite number of difficult scenarios one might face. The easiest method to follow is probably to ask a reliable scholar, preferably in the area, to provide some guidance for one’s specific situation and, if possible, to inform you of someone trustworthy. If a person has tried their utmost in this regard, and the meat still turns out to be not what is claimed, the sin rests on the shoulders of the one who is deceitful. Allah is forgiving but expects that His slaves put in their share of toil. As long as we are not complacent with making little or no effort, Allah will, we always hope and pray, overlook failures that are beyond our ability to avoid.

The Past

If someone has the misfortune of having consumed unlawful meat in the past, whether because he or she simply did not know the importance of the matter or did not have a proper understanding of what meat truly qualifies as lawful, there comes to mind the agonizing question, do I really have to stop eating such meat? In a word, yes. But, like so many things, the matter is not that simple. Learning that one, having thought for a long that he has been doing nothing wrong, has in fact been doing something against Allah’s commands, can be a very shocking discovery that creates despair in the heart. It is not surprising or unreasonable that a sincere Muslim feel as if he or she can’t turn back or be forgiven for having done something wrong for such a long time. But those who have this feeling should take comfort in that they are one of a large club of individuals who have this very same problem—which is to say, all of mankind. There is no human being who cannot root around in his bygone days and find some bugaboo, of whatever kind, that haunts his life, some transgression against Allah that he feels can never be forgiven.

But anyone can take consolation and smooth out the matter by remembering the vast and incomparable mercy of Allah, so oft-mentioned in the Qur’an, as in the following verse: “Say, O my slaves who have committed [sins in great] excess against their souls, never despair of the mercy of Allah! For, indeed, Allah forgives sins, one and all. Indeed, He is the All-Forgiving, the Mercy-Giving. So turn back often to your Lord, and submit yourselves to Him” (Qur’an 39:53–54). One must not then let Satan trick him into thinking that he has irreversibly crossed the point of no return; the only one who can shut the door of mercy on an individual is the individual himself, for so long as one seeks the forgiveness of Allah, Allah will be there to listen to his plea. Those who have made this mistake in the past can rectify it and let their former errors, with the mercy of Allah, vanish with the days that have passed. One must, therefore, repent to Allah Most High, feel remorse over his actions, and resolve never to revert to them in the future.

And Allah Almighty knows best.

By Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
Zamzam Academy

Don’t Be Stingy: Give

“In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth. “
One Shaykh Mustafa Sadiq al-Rifa’i of Egypt writes in his book ‘The Destitute’:
“As long as there is matter in this world, or material need, either real or imagined, there will be poverty in the world. As long as people have desires for which they compete or which they elevate by means of their rivalries, there will be envy. As long as in the unseen there are days and there are hopes, and in the physical world there is destitution and there is envy, then there will be longing”.

What are the challenges we face when it comes to our wealth? Often when we speak to others or try to give a sermon or advice we try to emotionally create a feeling in the hearts of people to make them generous and openhearted, mentioning stories of orphans, those struck by calamities and the like. However, if we lived in a world in which people were truly considerate to others, who gave without being asked and did not have this sense we see of violence and enmity towards others, then maybe we would already live in a world where we would have been able to alleviate poverty. Despite the fact that our religion enshrines the fair distribution of wealth, religion is only as good as the manner in which people adhere to its teachings. We learn and are affected much more by the practices of the people around us than what they say or what they claim to believe – what we assimilate and do and practice is based on what we see others doing. If we see a world of limited compassion and giving, we will regard this as normal and set this as a benchmark for our behaviour. When we see someone else having purchased a new bag, a new suit, a new operating system or a new car, then we develop the idea in our minds that this is also something that we desire and should aim to acquire. We emulate one another, and very few people actually think for themselves in this regard.

Israf is spending beyond what is required, beyond what is needed from our religious injunctions and from human decency, while on the other hand there is taqtir, not spending at all and not spending properly when it is required. These are both extremes that need to be analysed and understood.

Sakha (generosity) and jud (openhandedness) are described by ‘Allama Nahlawi as malakatun fi al-nafs, a faculty within the self of the human being, a natural human trait and inner calling within us that encourages us to spend what has been given to us by Allah, and to give more than that which is necessary to give. This may be accompanied by various intentions, whether to gain reward or perhaps to be known as a generous person. The latter can often be seen amongst famous people when they wish to renew their standing amongst the populace, to be seen as philanthropic and compassionate. The Arabs would compete fiercely in this kind of generosity, slaughtering their biggest, most prized animals for their guests and leaving their lights on at night to inform of their hospitality and welcome to travellers who needed to take rest somewhere at night – some would even try to build their houses on high hills to make their houses as lighthouses for those travelling. To want this attribute in oneself is not necessarily a bad thing, as wanting to be generous can simply be for oneself to know that one has this noble characteristic and to strive for this attribute, and it does not necessarily mean that one is trying to show off. Another intention for which one may give of their wealth is to purify the nafs and to rid oneself of bukhl (miserliness), which is a trait that can only be removed by giving.

We aim to make small changes in our character, so to spend a lot in the way of Allah at one time is a very effective way to break this trait. However, when we start to give, we must take into consideration that we do not go to the other extreme, of spending extravagantly and becoming of those who are taken advantage of due to our foolish and careless open-handedness to anyone and everyone. Allah most High says: “Indeed the wasteful are brothers of the devils” (Qur’an 17:27). The people referred to in the ayah who do tabdheer (excessive spending) are those who squander their wealth, buy extravagant things and use their money foolishly without proper consideration. Many people in this day and age are compelled to buy the newest and latest things, however we find that the satisfaction of the purchase is very short-lived. We enjoy the new item for a matter of minutes before the novelty wears off and are drawn to something else. Even this temporal enjoyment fades and becomes weaker with each purchase as our means to buy and spend keeps growing, and as everything we see around us constantly bombards us with the message to buy this and to buy that.

Conversely, ithar is the highest level of generosity. This is when we spend and give preference to others even out of the wealth that we have need for. A verse was revealed concerning a particular Sahabi (Companion) who demonstrated this deep level of sakha (generosity) and reliance upon Allah most High: “They give [others] preference over themselves, even if they too are poor” (Qur’an 59:9). This Sahabi offered to feed a guest of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) despite the fact that he knew he did not have enough even for his family. He instructed his wife to set the children to bed and sat to eat with the guest. However he asked his wife to turn out the light so that he could give the little food he had to his guest and sat in the dark without eating himself, so that the guest was unaware of the situation and believed him to be eating with him.

This companion was in such a situation that he could demonstrate this highest level of sakha. However for us, it is highly unlikely that we will find anyone living in such a state that they do not even have the few morsels they would need to feed their family for the day. When we speak of charity and generosity, we are talking about giving only out of a small section of our surplus wealth. Particularly in the West, we find ourselves engrossed in a mentality of having to save for our retirement. We find ourselves fretting about our finances despite the fact that we have over fifty times what we essentially need for our daily bread. We earn as if we are worried that we will suffer some calamity and will never be able to work again, thus needing to be able to live from what we have amassed so far for the rest of our lives. We have very little reliance on Allah and are drawn to constantly invest in this dunya. However, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) has clearly told us that the way of reliance is best: “If you were to rely upon Allah with the reliance He is due, you would be given provision like the birds: They go out hungry in the morning and come back with full bellies in the evening” (Tirmidhi). Allah most High is well aware of us and has the absolute ability to help us, provided we rely upon Him with the correct understanding of what this reliance involves.

When we look to the third world, we see a much greater disparity between the life of the rich and the poor. In India for example, large swathes of the population subsist on a very simple, hand-to-mouth kind of lifestyle. Despite our lives of luxury compared to this, Allah most High has given us the tools to live with patience and gratitude wherever in the world we are, whatever situation we are in, whomsoever we are surrounded by, and we need to demonstrate these noble attributes in all situations. It is narrated from ‘A’isha that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The friend of Allah (wali) has been predisposed to two things: generosity and good character” (Abu al-Shaykh).  These two are requirements for anyone seeking wilaya with Allah. One can only be generous if he has reliance on Allah. We love our wealth and we don’t want to let it go as we do not have that kind of reliance. This may be the very thing that is holding us back and preventing us reaching the level of wilaya with Allah most High.

How do we get rid of this bukhl and miserliness? The scholars suggest to us to read the books of hadith about the consequences and punishments of greed and miserliness, to ponder over them and to instill in ourselves a sense of fear and shame. Furthermore, we can read about and long for the rewards of those who are generous and spend in the way of Allah. We can also try thinking about someone who we see to be more miserly than ourselves. Think about how you regard their attitude, how their behaviour and actions make you feel – this kind of character is held in contempt by us and leaves us with a negative feeling. Through self-reflection we realise that we too will be seen like this by others and do not wish to have these traits within us, thus we need to actively get rid of them. To this end, we should try to give on a regular basis – perhaps weekly. Maybe if this is difficult and you will forget, you can easily set up a direct debit for £30 or £50 where money will automatically come out of your account to a set charity, but we should also try to physically give with our own hand from time to time. It is mentioned in various hadiths that spending in the way of Allah removes a bad death, and removes poverty – how amazing is the promise of Allah!

As well as bukhl towards others, we also have to address the issue of israf (wastefulness) and tabdheer (extravagance) upon ourselves. We are forbidden to spend money on things such as gambling, haram items and the like. However even in those things which are permissible, we should also take care not to spend beyond what is deemed as socially acceptable, for example, buying excessive food which will go to waste. Furthermore, an even worse form of stinginess is to not even spend on yourself, due to the love of your money and wish to hoard it, which prevents us from things such as going for ‘umrah due to a desire to amass this wealth. We must aim for i’tidal, the way of moderation and balance between these extremes. Indeed in the Qur’an Allah most High states: “And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate” (Qur’an 25:67).

May Allah give us tawfiq and open our hearts to follow these advices, and to actively go out and spend in the way of Allah.

By Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf
Zamzam Academy

Can you perform Jumuah Khutbah in English?

The issue of offering the khutbah in English has become a very contentious one. In order to fully understand the matter, we suggest you read Mufti Taqi Usmani’s book  -The Language of The Friday Khutbah. We have extracted excerpts from his fatwa which you may read below. We edited and reworded certain areas of the fatwa for the sake of brevity.

You will notice that Mufti Taqi Sahib has classed a non-Arabic Khutbah as Gumraahi, i.e. Deviance, straying away from the Deen.

I would first like to write a few words from myself.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

English Khutbah is quickly becoming a trend in U.K. as well. Those who deliver the Jumu’ah Khutbah in English are thought to be moderate scholars, whilst those who deliver it in Arabic are taken as backwards.

By Allah, such masaail have become a tragedy for the Muslim Ummah. Never has the Ummah been through so many tribulations. May Allah have mercy upon us and guide us towards the truth.

The irony is that the English khateebs are extremely short-sighted and fail to understand that this is a deliberate attempt by those who oppose Islam to undermine and wipe out the Arabic language; and thereby annihilate the Islamic culture and heritage from its roots.

It also seems an attempt to disconnect the general public from the real scholars. Any layman can stand on the pulpit and start with “Ladies and gentlemen……” As for Salah they can recite Surah Kawthar and surah Ikhlas, enough to fulfil the requirement. No need for a Mufti or a Shaykh, let alone a hafiz or a pious god fearing imam.

Having travelled to certain parts of the world where Khutbah is delivered in English, I have noticed how far those communities have drifted away from the Deen. Alhmadulillah, wherever I have had to lead a Jumu’ah, I make a condition that I will first speak in English, and after the second Adhān there won’t be a single word of English, just pure Arabic khutbah according to the Sunnah.

It is amazing that some people tend to criticize Imam Abu Hanifa Rahmatullāhi ‘Alayh and his Fiqh. However, when they have a personal interest, they claim to take his point of view. Why don’t they provide a Sahīh Hadith from Sahīh Bukhari or Sahīh Muslim to prove the legality of non-Arabic Khutbah?

Furthermore, Imam Abu Hanifa Rahmatullāhi ‘Alayh never permitted Khutbah in a foreign language on a regular basis, rather his view was that if no one in the community knew Arabic, and the khutbah was delivered in a foreign language, the Jumu’ah prayer would be valid, though Makrooh Tahreemi. The other three imams (Malik, Shafiee, and Ahmed Rahmatullahi Alayhim) say that the Jumuah would not be valid. A community in which there is no Arabic speaker, should perform 4 rak’ats Zohr Salah and get someone to learn Arabic before the next Friday so he can give khutbah in Arabic in the following Jumuah.

Nowadays, even the Arab Imams have begun to deliver the Khutbah in English. A friend of mine told me that in some Masaajid of the Middle East, the Imam delivers the khutbah in English, even though majority of the congregation are Arabs.

In fact, we have heard that in the Haram of Makkah Mukarramah, they have installed translators on the first floor by the King Fahd gate. People have to wear some headphones while the Jumu’ah Khutbah is taking place so they can understand what the Imam is saying. This is totally against the spirit of the Jumu’ah Khutbah. We have been instructed to maintain our composure, remain silent and avoid excessive movements during the khutbah. It is better that we pay attention to the Khateeb, rather than put headphones on and take them off and talk during this procedure. One Hadith says that “If one was to say to the other “keep quiet” while the khutbah is taking place, his reward is wiped out.” If we want people to understand the khutbah, we should encourage them to learn Arabic. After all many, (even non-Muslims), learn Arabic for worldly purposes like working in an Arab country.

I hope and pray that the speakers who love to offer Khutbah in English come to their senses. The whole week is at their disposal for English speeches. They can give English lectures over the weekends.

Why corrupt a form of worship which is set by Allah most high and His beloved Rasul Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam? Is there an element of name and fame in delivering the Khutbah in English? If that is the case, then this is Riyaa (ostentation), a minor Shirk which should be avoided.

If some khateebs do want to give English lectures on Friday, they can do so before the Adhān, as is the custom in many Masaajid, and it has been practised throughout the history of Islam. One should not be hasty in labelling that as Bid’at, because speech before Adhān is not bid’at.

Bid ‘at is something which is innovated after the best of generations, which has no basis in Qur’an, Sunnah & Salafe Saliheen, and the aim of which would be to corrupt the Deen. So It can never be claimed that delivering an English speech before the Adhān is a bid’ah, because lectures before Jumuah prevailed in the best of generations. Tameem Daari Radiallahu Anhu, used to deliver such speeches in Masjide Nabawi, during the time of Sayyiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu, and that was with the permission of Sayyiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu. Same is reported from Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah Radiallahu Anhu.

May Allah give us insight in to our Deen. May Allah bless with correct understanding of matters. May Allah protect the Ummah from all Fitnas. Ameen.


Now we put forward mufti Taqi saheb’s research in to the matter. He writes:

“It is one of the basic requirements of the Friday prayer that it should be preceded by a Khutbah (sermon) delivered by the Imam. It is Wajib (mandatory) for Muslims to attend the Khutbah from the very beginning. Being a part of the Jumu’ah prayer; it has some special rules and traits which distinguish it from the normal lectures given on other occasions. One of these special traits is, that like the prayer (Salah), it is delivered in Arabic. All the Muslims have been delivering the Khutbah of Friday in no language other than Arabic, even where the audience does not understand it’s meaning.

It was in the present century for the first time that the idea of delivering the Khutbah in other languages emerged in some Muslim societies where majority of the audience could not understand Arabic properly. The intention behind this change was that without letting the people understand its contents, the Khutbah can hardly be of a meaningful use for the general people who are addressed by it. Conversely, if Khutbah is delivered in a local language, a very useful message can be conveyed through it every Friday and it can serve as an effective medium for educating people in a wide area of Islamic teaching…

Apparently, the argument seems to be very logical. That is why it has found currency in the countries far from the centres of deeper Islamic knowledge. But before we accept it on its face value, we should first examine it in light of the Holy Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, the practice of his companions, and the juristic views adopted by different schools of Islamic jurisprudence…

But at the same time, we notice that while leaving a wide spectrum of education and preaching open to any language convenient for the purpose, Islam has specified some limited functions to be performed in Arabic only. For example, it is mandatory for every Muslim to perform his five times prayers (Salah) in Arabic. Likewise, Adhan is the call for attending the congregation of Salah. It is addressed to the local people. But it is made obligatory that it is pronounced in Arabic. Its translation into any other language is not acceptable. Similarly, while performing Hajj we are directed to read Talbiyah in Arabic. While greeting each other, we are obligated to say “Assalamu Alaykum” in the exact Arabic words. “Peace Upon You” an exact translation of Assalamu Alaykum” cannot fulfil the requirement of the recognised (masnoon) greeting. While commencing an important work it is desirable to say, “Bismillah al-Rahman, al-Rahim”. These specific Arabic words may be translated into English or any other language easily understood by the speaker and the addressee but it will always be preferable to recite the original Arabic words…

The emphasis on exact Arabic words in some such matters is not based on any bias in favour of the Arabic language, because Islam has always been proponent of inter-nationalism rather than nationalism. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has himself eradicated the prides based on race, colour and language. He announced in his landmark sermon of his last Hajj that:

“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab”.

However, for being an internationally united Ummah, the Muslim should have some common features, especially in the ways of their worship. The modes of worship which require some oral recitations have, therefore, been prescribed in a manner that all recitations are carried out in one common language, regardless of the linguistic affiliation of the reciters. Arabic has been selected for this purpose, because it is the language in which the Qur’an was revealed and in which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam addressed the humankind…

Therefore, to resolve the issue of the language of Khutbah we will have to examine whether the Khutbah of Friday is a form of worship or it is an ordinary lecture meant only to educate people.

The following points may help in knowing the correct position in this respect:

1. It is established by authentic resources that the Khutbah of Friday is a part of the prayer and stands for two Rak`at of prayer. Sayyiduna Umar Radiyallahu Anhu the second caliph of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam says:

‘The Khutbah has been prescribed in lieu of two rakats. Whosoever fails to deliver Khutbah must pray four rakat.’

2. The Holy Qur’an has named the Khutbah as Dhikr in the following verse:

“O! Believers, when there is a call for Salah on Friday, rush for the Dhikr of Allah and leave trade”. (al-Jumu’ah: 9)

Here the word ‘Dhikr’ stands for the Khutbah, because after hearing the Adhan, the Salah (prayer) does not start immediately. What starts after Adhan is Khutbah. That is why the Holy Qur’an did not say, ‘When there is a call for prayer, rush for the prayer”, rather it has said, “When there is a call for prayer, rush for the Dhikr of Allah. This is sufficient to prove that the Holy Qur’an has used the word ‘Dhikr’ for the Khutbah. Dhikr means ‘recitation of the name of Allah’ as against ‘Tadhkir’ which means ‘giving advice’, ‘to educate’ or ‘to admonish’. This is a clear indication from the Holy Qur’an that the basic purpose of Khutbah is Dhikr and not the Tadhkir and that it is a part of the worship rather than being a normal lecture.

3. At another place, the Holy Qur’an has referred to the Khutbah of Friday as “the recitation of the Holy Qur’an”. The Holy verse says:

“And when the Qur’an is recited before you, listen to it carefully and be silent, so that you receive mercy”. (al-A’araf: 204)

According to a large number of commentators the recitation of the Qur’an in this verse refers to the Khutbah delivered before the prayer of Jumu`ah. Here again the word of recitation is used for the Khutbah which indicates that it is very similar to the recitation of Qur’anic verses during performing prayers.

In a number of authentic Ahadith also, the Khutbah of Friday has been referred to as Dhikr. For example in a Hadith reported by Imam al-Bukhari the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has said:

“Because when the Imam comes out (to deliver Khutbah) the angels gather to listen to the Dhikr”. (Saheeh al-Bukhari v. 1, p. 121)

In another narration, the same principle has been established in the following words:

“Because when imam comes out (for Khutbah) the angels close their books (recording the noble deeds) and listen to the Dhikr (i.e. Khutbah)”. (Sahih al-Bukhari V.1, p. 127)

Based on this particular characteristic of the Khutbah of Friday it is admittedly subject to certain rules, such as being required to remain quiet for the duration of the khutbah.

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has emphasized on this principle in the following words:

“If you speak during Khutbah on Friday, you commit absurdity.”

“Whoever says to his friend while Imam is delivering Khutbah on Friday ‘keep quiet’ commits absurdity.”

4. The Khutbah has been held as a prerequisite for the Friday prayer. No Friday prayer is valid without a Khutbah. All the Muslim jurists are unanimous on this point. Had it been a normal lecture for the purpose of preaching, it would have nothing to do with the validity of the Jumu`ah prayer.

5. It is admitted by all that the Khutbah must be delivered after the commencement of the prescribed time of Jumu’ah prayer. If the Khutbah is delivered before the prescribed time it is not valid, even if the prayer is offered within the prescribed time. In this case, both the Khutbah and the prayer will have to be I repeated. (al-Bahr al-Ra’iq v. 2 p. 158)

This strictness about the time of the Khutbah further confirms that it is a part of the Salah and is subject to the similar rules as rules provided for Salah.

6. If the Imam confines himself to the Hamd (praising Allah) and Salah (Durood) for the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam and to reciting some verses from the Holy Qur’an, and making some Du’a (supplication) and does not utter a single word to preach or to educate people, the Khutbah is held to be valid and the Salah of Jumu`ah can be offered after that. Had the purpose been to educate people, it would have been the main ingredient of the Khutbah to say at least a few words for this purpose without which it should not have been a valid Khutbah. Sayyiduna Uthman (May Allah be well pleased with him) delivered his first Khutbah (after he assumed the charge of Khilafat) exactly in this fashion and did not say a single word for the purpose of preaching. Still his Khutbah was held as valid. It was in the presence of the Sahabah, but not one from them challenged the validity of such a Khutbah.

This is again a clear proof of the fact that the basic purpose of the Khutbah is Dhikr and not Tadhkir. Being a part of the Jumu’ah prayer, it is a form of worship and not basically a method of preaching and education.

All these points go a long way to prove that, unlike normal lectures or sermons, certain rules peculiar to Salah have been prescribed for the Khutbah of Jumu’ah. It is in this context that it has been held necessary that it should be delivered in Arabic only. Just as Salah cannot be performed in any language other than Arabic the Khutbah of Jumu’ah too, cannot be delivered in any other language. That is why the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam never tried to direct his companions to deliver the Khutbah in the local language where the audience could not understand Arabic. Even the audience of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam sometimes included non-Arabs, but he never tried to get his Khutbah translated by an interpreter like he did while he spoke to foreign delegations…

After the demise of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam the noble companions conquered a vast area of the globe. Even in the days of Sayyiduna Umar Radiyallahu Anhu, the whole Persia and a major part of the Roman Empire was brought under the Muslim rule, and thousands of non-Arab people embraced Islam, so much so that the majority of the Muslims living in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Egypt were non-Arabs. These new converts were in desperate need of being educated in their own language, so that they may acquire proper knowledge of the basic Islamic rules and principles. It was not the age of printing, publishing and modern audio-visual instruments, therefore, the only source of acquiring knowledge was the personal contact. Still, the companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam never thought about delivering the Friday Khutbah in the local languages, nor did they ever arrange for an interpreter to get it translated simultaneously. One cannot argue that the Sahabah could not speak the local languages, because a large number of them, were either non-Arab by origin, like Salman al-Farisi, Suhayb al-Rumi, Bilal al-Habashi Radiyallahu Anhu or has, learnt the local languages, like Zayd bin Harithah Radiyallahu Anhu.

It was universally accepted that, like the Salah and Adhan, the Khutbah of Friday must be delivered in Arabic, and it is not permissible to deliver it in any other language, even when the audience are not able to understand Arabic, because it is basically a form of Dhikr or worship, and not a source of education. If the audience understand Arabic, it can also serve a secondary purpose of educating them, but it is not the basic ingredient or the exclusive objective of Khutbah.

The Rulings of the recognised jurists:

This position is unanimously held by all the four schools of the Islamic jurisprudence. Their specific rulings are reproduced below:

Maliki School
The Maliki scholars are very specific in declaring this rule. Al-Dasuqi, the well-known Maliki jurist, writes:

“And it is a condition for the validity of Jumu’ah that the Khutbah is delivered in Arabic, even though the people are non-Arabs and do not know the Arabic language. Therefore, if there is nobody who can deliver Khutbah in Arabic properly, the prayer of Jumu’ah is not obligatory on them (in which case they will offer the zuhr prayer)”…

Shafi’i School
Similar principle has been accepted by the Shafii jurists also. Al-Ramli is one of the famous Shafii jurists of the later days who has been relied upon by the Muftis of Shafii School. He writes:

“And it is a condition (for the validity of Khutbah) that it is delivered in Arabic. This is to follow the way of the Sahabah and their descendants. And to learn Arabic (for the purpose of delivering Khutbah) is Fard al-Kifayah, therefore, it is sufficient that at least one man learns it… But if no one learns it, all of them will be sinful and their Jumu’ah prayer will not be acceptable. Instead, they will have to perform Zuhr prayer………

Hanbali School
The Hanbali School is no different from the main stream of the Muslim scholars. They too are of the belief that the Khutbah must be delivered in Arabic. However, they say that if nobody is found who can deliver it in Arabic, then in that case only the Khutbah may be delivered in some other language. But so far as there is a single person who can speak Arabic, it is necessary that he delivers it in Arabic, even though the audience do not understand its meanings. Al-Buhooti, the renowned jurist of the Hanbali School, writes:

“And the Khutbah is not valid if it is delivered in any language other than Arabic when somebody is able to deliver it in Arabic. It is like the recitation of the Holy Qur’an (in prayer) which cannot be done in a non-Arab language. However, the Khutbah in any other language is valid only if nobody can deliver it in Arabic. Nevertheless, the recitation of the Holy Qur’an (as a part of the Khutbah) is not valid except in Arabic. If somebody cannot recite in Arabic, it is obligatory on him to recite a Dhikr instead of a verse of the Holy Qur’an, like in Salah (the person who cannot recite the Qur’anic verses is required to make Dhikr).”

Hanafi School
The Hanafi School of Islamic jurisprudence also agrees with the former three schools in the principle that the Friday Khutbah should be delivered in Arabic and it is not permissible to deliver it in any other language. However, there is a slight difference of opinion about some details of this principle. Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, the two pupils of Imam Abu Hanifah are of the view that a non-Arabic Khutbah is not acceptable in the sense that it cannot fulfil the requirement of Jumu’ah prayer, therefore, no Jumu`ah prayer can be offered after it. Rather, the Khutbah must be delivered again in Arabic without which the following Jumu’ah prayer will not be valid. However, if no one from the community is able to deliver an Arabic Khutbah, then only in that case a non-Arabic Khutbah may fulfil the requirement based on the doctrine of necessity. The view of Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, in this respect, is close to the views of Imam Shafii and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal.

Imam Abu Hanifah, on the other hand, says that although it is Makrooh Tahreemi (impermissible) to deliver Khutbah in a non-Arab language yet if someone violates this principle and delivers it in any other language, then the requirement of Khutbah will be held as fulfilled and the Jumu`ah prayer offered after it, will be valid…

Some people misunderstood the position of Imam Abu Hanifah in this matter from two different angels:

Firstly, some writers claim that this view represents the earlier position of Imam Abu Hanifah and he had, later on, withdrawn from it and had concurred to the view of his two pupils.

This statement is not correct…

The second misconception with regard to the position of Imam Abu Hanifah in the issue of Khutbah is that some people have misinterpreted his view to say that a non-Arabic Khutbah is quite permissible according to Imam Abu Hanifah.

This is again a wrong statement. Imam Abu Hanifah does not hold it quite permissible to deliver Khutbah in a non-Arabic language. He holds it “Makrooh Tahreeman”, a term almost analogous to ‘impermissible’, which means that it is not allowed to deliver Khutbah in a language other than Arabic. However, if somebody commits this Makrooh (impermissible) act, his Khutbah will not be deemed as void, and the Jumu’ah prayer performed after it, will be valid.

It must be noted here that all those who have allowed some exceptions to the general rule have done so only when a capable person to deliver Arabic Khutbah is not available. But no jurist has ever allowed such a concession to a situation where such a capable person is available but the audience do not understand Arabic. Conversely, each one of them has clearly mentioned that the rule will remain effective even when the audience do not understand the meaning of Khutbah…

It should be remembered that all these juristic rulings were given at a time when Islam had spread all over the world, and the Muslim community was not confined to the Arabian Peninsula; rather Millions of the Muslims belonged to non-Arab countries who did not know Arabic. In the beginning of the Islamic history even Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other Northern countries of Africa were non-Arabs. Their residents did not know Arabic. Moreover, Iran, India, Turkey, China and all the Eastern Muslim countries are still non-Arabs and very few of their residents know Arabic. The need for their Islamic education was too obvious to be doubted…

Still, their consistent practice throughout centuries was that the Khutbah of Jumu’ah was always delivered in Arabic. No one from the non-Arab audience has ever raised objection against it, nor did the leaders of the Muslims ever try to change its language. They knew that there are many other occasions to deliver lectures in the local language to educate people, but the Khutbah of Friday, like Salah, has some peculiar characteristics, which should not be disturbed…

It is not correct to assume that the additional lecture (before adhaan) has no precedent in the earlier days of the Islamic history. In fact, it is reported by several authentic sources that Sayyiduna Umar Radiyallahu Anhu had permitted Sayyiduna Tamim al-Dari Radiyallahu Anhu to give a lecture sermon in the masjid before Sayyiduna Umar Radiyallahu Anhu comes out to deliver the Khutbah of Friday[1].

This practice of Sayyiduna Umar Radiyallahu Anhu reveals two points; firstly, that such an additional lecture is permissible, and secondly that this additional lecture is meant exclusively to educate people, while the formal Friday Khutbah has other elements, otherwise it was needless to have an additional lecture for education while both were in Arabic…

It is sometimes argued that even if the Khutbah is delivered in a local language, it is always started by some Arabic words containing Hamd (praise to Allah swt) and Salah (prayer for Allah’s blessing) for the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam and at least one verse from the Holy Qur’an. This much is enough for fulfilling the necessary requirements of a valid Arabic Khutbah. After this necessary requirement, the rest of the Khutbah may be delivered in any language.

But this argument overlooks the point that it is a Sunnah that the Arabic Khutbah is followed by the Jumu’ah prayer immediately without considerable gap between the two. Therefore, this practice, too, is not in harmony with the masnoon way of delivering a Khutbah.

Our brothers who insist that the Friday Khutbah must be delivered in a local language are requested to consider the following points in the light of the foregoing discussion:

1. The consistent practice of the Ummah throughout centuries has been to deliver the Friday Khutbah in Arabic even in the non-Arab countries. Why should the contemporary Muslims deviate from the consistent practice?

2. Khutbah is a part of the Jumu`ah prayer, hence a mode of worship. The modes of worship are not open to our rational opinion. They have certain prescribed forms which must remain a permanent act and should never be changed through our rational arguments. Once this door is opened in one form of worship, there is no reason why other forms are not subjected to similar changes. The argument in favour of an Urdu or English Khutbah may open the door for an Urdu or English Adhan and Salah also on the same analogy. The ways of worship are meant for creating a sense of obedience and submission. A Muslim is supposed to perform these acts as an obedient slave of Allah, without questioning the rationality of these acts, otherwise throwing stones on the Jamarat of Mina or rushing across Safa and Marwah are all apparently irrational acts; but, being the slaves of Allah, we have to perform these acts as modes of worship. This is exactly what the word ‘Ibadah’ means. Any alteration in these ways on the basis of one’s opinion is contrary to the very sense and philosophy of ‘Ibadah’ or worship.

3. All the recognised schools of Islamic jurisprudence are unanimous on the point that delivering Friday Khutbah in Arabic is obligatory. Most of the jurists have gone to the extent that in case the Khutbah is delivered in any other language, no Jumu`ah prayer offered after it is valid. Some others (like Imam Abu Hanifah) hold the non-Arabic Khutbah as valid in the sense that the Jumu’ah, prayers offered after it, is not void, yet at the same time they hold this practice to be impermissible, which means that the impermissibility of a non-Arabic Khutbah is a point of consensus between all the recognized schools of Islamic Fiqh…

A deviation from such a consensus can hardly render a service to the Muslim community except to create differences and disputes between them. It may be seen that practically, this deviation has divided Muslims and their mosques into two groups. Even if it is accepted for the sake of argument that the non-Arabic Khutbah is permissible, it is at most permissible and not obligatory, and if a permissible act may cause disunity among the Muslims, the greater interest of the Muslim Ummah requires that it should be abandoned.

[Extracts from Mufti Taqi’s Fatwa]

It can be seen from the above fatwa that it is extremely important that we hold firmly to the way of our pious predecessors. May Allah Ta’ala reward Mufti Taqi Sahib for his fatwa and give us all the ability to be a unified ummah. Ameen.

[1] Note: This narration may be found in al-Isābah Fi Tazkirat as-Sahabah. A similar narration can be found regarding the practice of Abu Hurayra (Radhiyallu ‘Anhu) in Mustadrak Hakim: 3/585. Allāmah Dhahabi has classed this Hadīth as authentic.

Shaykh Abdul Raheem hafizahullah

Is Allah everywhere or is he on the throne?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The short and simple answer to the question is that Allah Most High exists beyond time, space, location and ‘physical’ direction; He is where He has always been.

Before detailing the above answer, it is important to realize that the issue ‘where is Allah?’ was never debated or made a matter of great dispute by the Companions (sahaba) and early Muslims (salaf). We seldom find within classical teachings of mainstream Muslim scholars that people went around asking and debating where Allah Most High is! And aside from the hadith of Sahih Muslim in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked the slave-girl (jariya) “Where is Allah?”, there seems to be no other text of the Qur’an and Sunna in which this question is asked. As for the hadith of the slave-girl, it has its own specific context, which will be explained later on, insha ‘Allah.

The reason for this is simple: We have not been commanded to identify the exact ‘physical location’ of Allah; rather our responsibility is to recognize Allah (ma’rifa), build a strong relationship with Him, affirm His exaltedness (tanzih), affirm His Oneness (tawhid), learn about His attributes (sifat), worship Him, obey His commands and abstain from His prohibitions. Beyond that, there is no Islamic obligation to know where Allah Almighty exactly is; neither is it possible for the meager intellects of us created beings to fully grasp the reality and majesty of our Creator. We have not even fully understood the reality of our souls, bodies, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the sky, and so forth; then how are we expected to comprehend the essence (kunh) of the Almighty.

As such, it is important to note – at the outset – that we should avoid:  

1 arguing about this topic,  

2 considering it a fundamental part of belief (aqida), and  

3 being hasty in declaring others as disbelievers or deviants if they happen to hold a different viewpoint. We should steer clear from trying to grasp the reality of Allah, and suffice by understanding that the human intellect is very limited in its reach.  

We must see our inability to fully understand Allah as being from our weakness and imperfection as humans. This will bring about a deeper sense of slave-hood and neediness towards the One who is in need of no one.

Sadly, however, we live in a time where some Muslims constantly debate this issue and behave as though it is a fundamental part of one’s faith. They waste theirs and others’ precious time arguing for long periods about an issue that will not be questioned about on the Day of Judgment. As a result, much more important aspects of deen are neglected. Islamic forums and discussions are filled with arguments, counter-arguments, refutations, attacks and never ending debates about this one topic. Many are left confused and bemused with the whole experience, and some have even left Islam altogether due to their inability to fully comprehend this issue.

As such, the first advice for my dear brothers and sisters – of whichever persuasion – is to take a step back, relax and not become over emotional about the issue at hand. Thereafter, with cool headedness, realize that this issue is not a foregone conclusion and that there is room for ‘valid’ disagreement and thus ‘agree to disagree’. By doing so, we would save ourselves and others from falling into major sins and even disbelief.

To proceed with the answer: The central point of belief (aqida) with respect to Allah Most High – alongside affirmation of His Oneness (tawhid) – is His transcendence (tanzih), which has a clear Qur’anic basis and is unanimously agreed upon. Tanzih refers to affirming, in absolute and emphatic terms, that there is no similitude between Allah and His creation. Allah does not resemble His creation in any way, and there is no creation that is similar to Him in any way. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him, as He is different from all created beings.

Allah Most High says about Himself, “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.” (Qur’an 42:11)

And He Most High says in Surat al-Ikhlas, “And there is none like unto Him.” (Qur’an 112: 4)

This central belief has been outlined in almost all of the classical manuals on Islamic Creed. For example, Imam al-Nasafi (Allah have mercy on him) states, “He [Allah] is not a body (jism), nor an atom (jawhar), nor is He something formed (musawwar), nor a thing limited (mahdud), nor a thing numbered (ma’dud), nor a thing portioned or divided, nor a thing compounded (mutarakkab), and nor does He come to end in Himself. He is not described by quiddity (al-mahiyya), or by quality (al-kayfiyya), nor is He placed in a space (al-makan); and time (al-zaman) does not affect Him. Nothing resembles Him; that is to say, nothing is like unto Him.” (See: Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani & Najm al-Din al-Nasafi, Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, P: 92-97)

To believe that Allah Most High resembles His creation in any way, or attribute human forms and qualities to Him (anthropomorphism/tashbih) constitutes disbelief (kufr). Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy in him) states in his famous reference work on Muslim beliefs, “Anyone who describes Allah as being in any way the same as a human being has become an unbeliever. All those who grasp this will take heed and refrain from saying things such as the unbelievers say, and they will know that He, in His attributes, is not like human beings.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, article 34)

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) states, “Whosoever thinks that Allah has a body made of organs is an idol-worshipper… Whosoever worships a body is considered a disbeliever by the consensus of all the scholars – both the early scholars (salaf) as well as the late ones (muta’akhirun).” (Iljam al-Anam an ilm al-Kalam, P: 6-8)

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “We are unable to comprehend Allah Most High. Whatever occurs in one’s mind [regarding Allah’s appearance], Allah is other than that, for Allah says: ‘But they shall not encompass Him with their knowledge.'” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117)

Abu ‘l-Fadl al-Tamimi al-Hanbali says, “Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) condemned those who said that Allah is a body (jism)… since the term jism/body linguistically is used to indicate things that have length, width, depth, and a compound nature. (See the footnotes to Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 118)

As such, this basic and central aqida in Allah’s transcendence is the only requirement from a believer (along with general affirmation of all of Allah’s attributes), and would be sufficient for one’s salvation. Thereafter, there is no need for a simple believer to scrutinize the technical details of Allah’s attributes, and there is definitely no need for disputes and arguments. Most Muslims – if not all – deny that Allah resembles His creation, thus argumentation and haste in declaring others as disbelievers must be avoided. Yes, if one clearly believes that Allah is ‘physically’ in a location or that He has organs – such as hands, feet, face, etc – that are similar to His creation, or one gives Allah attributes of created things, then that would entail disbelief.

Beyond Time and Space

Part of this central point of aqida is recognizing that Allah Most High is not confined to time (zaman) and space (makan), since He is the creator of both and absolutely free from needing anything (ghaniyy) that He has created. “Surely Allah is independent of all the worlds.” (Qur’an 29:6) He is not to be described with having a form, body, limits, directions and a material existence that occupies a particular space or location. Limiting Allah to time and space implies likening Him to His creation, because the one who exists in a physical place would, by nature, be a body; thus attributing a body to Allah.

Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) says, “Allah existed when there was no place, and He is now where He has always been [i.e. without place].” (Al-Farq bayna al-Firaq, P: 333)

Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy on him) states, “He (Allah) is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions like all the created things.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Point: 38)

It is stated in Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa, “Allah is an entity unlike any other entity. The meaning of [Allah being a] entity [unlike any other] is that He is without body (jism), substance (jawhar), or accident (arad). He has no definition/limit, no opposite, no equal, and no peer…” (See: Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117-120)

Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah be pleased with him) also states in his Al-Fiqh al-Absat, “If it is asked, ‘Where is Allah?’ It will be said to him that Allah Most High existed when there was no place, before creating the creation. And Allah Most High existed when there was no ‘where’, no creation, nothing; and He is the Creator of everything.” (Al-Fiqh al-Absat, P: 21)

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “Allah Most High does not reside in a place from the places and neither in a time from the times, because place and time are from the created things whilst Allah Most High has existed eternally when nothing from the created things were in existence with Him.” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117)

Qadi Abu Ya’la al-Hanbali says, “Indeed, Allah Most High is not to be described with [residing in a] place.” (Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih, P: 43) Based on this, it is erroneous to say that Allah Most High is ‘physically’ in the sky or above the heavens on His Throne. Likewise, it is wrong to say that He Most High is ‘physically’ everywhere and in everything. The reason, as explained above, is that these things are created and limited. The Throne and heavens are restricted entities, and space is an area restricted within six dimensions. Allah Most High cannot be confined to things He has created, such as the heavens and the Throne. He is the creator of time and space, and thus is exalted beyond both.

Furthermore; sitting, standing, rising over, ascending, descending, climbing, etc are all characteristics of created bodies, whilst Allah is pure from having any attributes of created things attributed to Him. Allah is not in need of a place in order to exist. Imam al-Tahawi sums this up by saying, “He [Allah] is independent of the Throne and that which is beneath it.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Point: 50)

Dealing with texts whose meanings are not decisively known (mutashabihat)

There are certain texts in the Qur’an and Sunna which indicate that Allah Most High is in the sky or above the heavens upon his Throne. For example:  

a “The All-Merciful istawa [literal meaning: positioned Himself] upon the Throne.” (Qur’an 20:5) 

b “Have you become fearless of Him who is in the sky if He makes you sink into the earth, and it starts trembling at once?” (Qur’an 67:17)  

c Mu’awiya ibn al-Hakam relates, as part of a long hadith, that he came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and asked various questions about hispractices before Islam. From among the questions he said that he had slapped his slave girl, and whether he should free her. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked that she be brought before him, and then asked her, “Where is Allah?” She replied, “In the sky (fi ‘l-sama).” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked, “Who am I?” She replied, “You are the Messenger of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Free her, for she is a believer.” (Sahih Muslim 537 and others)  

d Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Our Lord ‘yanzilu [literal meaning: descends]’ every night to the closest heavens…” (Sunan Tirmidhi 2414)  

Conversely, there are other texts which indicate that Allah Most High is everywhere and All-Encompassing. For example:  

e “No secret consultation takes place between three, but He [Allah] is fourth of them; nor between five, but He is sixth of them; nor between fewer than that or more, but He is with them wherever they may be…” (Qur’an 58:7)  

f “Indeed, We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” (Qur’an 50:16)  

g “When My servants ask you about Me, then [inform them that] I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me…” (Qur’an 2:186)  

h “Allah encompasses everything.” (Qur’an 4:126)  

i “He is with you wherever you are…” (Qur’an 57:4)  

These types of texts are known as mutashabihat i.e. their meanings are not decisively known by us. Their outward apparent meanings indicate location for Allah Most High or a similitude between Allah and His creation, and thus they go against the fundamental ‘agreed-upon’ belief in Allah’s transcendence (tanzih), mentioned in unequivocal verses such as “There is nothing like unto Him.”

The question that arises, then, is how do you deal with such texts?  

1 The most precautious and mainstream position in this regard is of the early Muslims (salaf), which includes the majority of the Companions, their followers (tabi’un), the majority of hadith scholars (muhaddithun), the four main Imams and the major scholars of their schools (Allah be pleased with them all). Their view is that the outward purport of such texts is not intended, and only Allah knows the real meanings of such texts; thus they consign their meanings completely to Allah Most High without attempting to interpret them – either literally or figuratively. This is known as the position of tafwid.  

It means that we fully believe in the texts, but owing to the fact that their meanings have not been decisively established and that they apparently contradict the decisive texts, we consign the knowledge of their reality to Allah Most High, and avoid delving into them. We understand that they have meanings befitting Allah, but it is impossible that they would have physical meanings, since they do not befit Allah; such as places, shapes, limbs, movements, sitting, colors, directions, smiling, laughter, and other meanings which are not permissible to be attributed to Allah.

As such; we affirm the words indicating location and Throne for Allah, and also those which indicate Him being everywhere. However, we cannot comprehend the reality of Allah being on his Throne and neither can we comprehend the reality of Him being everywhere – although we fully negate that Allah is ‘physically’ in the heavens/on his Throne (tashbih), and also negate that He is ‘physically’ everywhere in everything (hulul). This is what the early scholars meant when they said regarding such texts, “Pass them by as they are, without asking how” (amirruha bi la kayf). (Some of the scholars from this group, however, interpret the second type of texts which indicate that Allah Most High is everywhere by saying, He is everywhere by His Knowledge, His Seeing, His Hearing and His Power).

This position of tafwid is based on the following verse of the Qur’an: 

“He [Allah] is the One who has revealed to you the Book [the Qur’an]. Out of it there are verses that are muhkamat [of established meaning], which are the principal verses of the Book, and some others are mutashabihat [whose definite meanings are unknown]. Now those who have perversity in their hearts go after the mutashabih of it, seeking [to create] discord, and searching for its interpretation [that meets their desires], while no one knows its interpretation except Allah; and those well-grounded in knowledge say: We believe therein; all is from our Lord. Only the men of understanding observe the advice.” (Qur’an 3:7) 

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) said in his Kitab al-Wasiyya, ‘We agree that Allah performed istiwa [literal meaning: positioned Himself] upon the Throne without Him having any need for it or resting on it. He is the Guardian of the Throne and all besides the Throne. If He were in need [of the Throne], He would not have been capable of bringing the universe into existence and administrating over its affairs, like the created beings [for created things are in need, and the one in need of others cannot create the universe]. If He [Allah Most High] was in need of sitting or settling [on the Throne], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High? In effect, He is transcendent of all of this.’ (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar P: 126-127) 

Mulla Ali al-Qari further states, “How fitting is the response of Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) when he was asked about istiwa. He said, ‘istiwa is known [i.e. we know and accept that it has been mentioned in the Qur’an, because in another narration Imam Malik said, ‘istiwa is not unknown’], the ‘how’ (kayf) is unknown [this has also been transmitted as ‘the how is not comprehensible’], asking about it is an innovation, and belief in it [i.e. accepting it to be part of revelation] is obligatory.’ This is the way of the early scholars (salaf) and the safest path, and Allah knows best.” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar P: 127) 

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) said, when asked about Allah’s istiwa on the Throne, “He performs istiwa upon the Throne, however He wills and as He wills, without any limit or any description that can be made by any describer.” (Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih, P: 28) 

Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) would simply say regarding the mutashabihat texts, “I believe in what has come from Allah as it was intended by Allah, and I believe in what has come from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) as it was intended by the Messenger of Allah.” (Ibn Qudama, Dhamm al-Ta’wil) 

Imam Sufyan ibn Uyayna (Allah have mercy on him) says, “All that Allah has described Himself with in His Book; its explanation is its reciting and keeping silent about it.” (Bayhaqi, Al-Asma’ wa ‘l-sifat 2/158)   

2 The second position concerning such texts is of some later scholars; such as Imam Ibn Taymiya, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim and others (Allah have mercy on them). They also consign the knowledge of what is meant to Allah, but in a slightly different manner. They are of the opinion that we must affirm the apparent literal meaning that has been expressed in the text (tathbit), but then consign its details to Allah Most High. So for example, in relation to the verse of ‘istiwa’, we must believe in and affirm the apparent meaning which is ‘elevation’ and ‘rising over  the Throne’. However, the modality (kayfiyya) of this ‘elevation’ or ‘rising’ is unknown, but it is certainly not like the rising of created things. (As for the second type of texts, they clearly interpret them by saying that Allah is everywhere by His Knowledge, His Seeing, His Hearing and His Power).   

The key difference between this position and the previous one is that in the case of the former, one recites the mutashabih text, accepts it to have been revealed by Allah, believes in it and affirms ‘whatever’ is intended by Allah through it, and then remains silent about it without saying whether the literal or figurative meaning is meant (pass them by as they are without asking how). In the latter position, however, after recital and acknowledgement of the text, one affirms that the apparent literal meaning is what is meant, but the details of this apparent meaning is only known by Allah. There is a very subtle difference between the two viewpoints! 

Even though this (latter) view – in of itself – can be considered acceptable, it can also potentially be highly dangerous, especially in our times. This is due to two reasons: 

Firstly; the human intellect is very limited, and thus it is very difficult for it to comprehend Allah being above the heavens upon His Throne without some sort of bodily figure coming to mind. The early Muslims had strong faiths, and may have been equipped to negate any thought of a bodily figure occupying a throne. This cannot be said for every simple believer today. In life, we are accustomed to only experiencing created things; and thus it may be difficult to fully realize the transcendent nature and majesty of Allah Most High – if we were to say that He is upon His Throne. 

Imam Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani expresses this point in a very beautiful manner. He states that Allah’s attributes of ‘istiwa’, ‘elevation’ and ‘nuzul [descending] to the heavens’ are all eternal (qadim), for He is eternal with all His attributes; whereas there is a consensus that the Throne and everything surrounding it is created. As such, Allah Most High had the attribute of ‘istiwa’ and ‘nuzul’ even before He created the Throne and the heavens. So where was His ‘istiwa’ before creating the Throne, and upon what did He do ‘nuzul’ before creating the heavens and the sky? Therefore, the way you envisage Allah’s ‘istiwa’ upon the Throne and His ‘nuzul’ to the heavens before the creation of the Throne and the heavens, envisage it in the same manner after their creation. (Al-Yawaqit wa ‘l-Jawahir) 

Secondly, the discourse of the early Muslims was mainly in the Arabic language. As such, both approaches in consigning the mutashabihat texts to the knowledge of Allah seemed similar. The advocates of the first approach would, for example, merely recite the word ‘istawa’ and say “I affirm this istiwa as intended by Allah” and leave it to that, whilst those who took the second approach would also recite ‘istawa’ and then say that the meaning of this is literal ‘istiwa’ but in a manner befitting Allah. The difficulty arises when the word ‘istawa’ is translated into another language. If the second approach is taken, then one would translate it in English by saying “the meaning of this is that Allah rose over the Throne” and the like. This is when the thought of a bodily figure and human-like attributes come to mind. 

This also explains why the advocates of both approaches use the same evidences and statements of early Muslim scholars, such as the four Imams, in justifying their view. Using only the Arabic medium, it can be difficult to distinguish the clear difference between the two approaches. 

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa states in his Al-Fiqh al-Absat, “He who says that I do not know if my Lord is in the sky or the earth has indeed committed disbelief… Similarly, he who says that He is on His Throne, but I do not know whether the Throne is in the sky or the earth [has also committed disbelief].” (Al-Fiqh al-Absat, p: 14) 

This quote of Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) is misunderstood by some, and incorrectly used to prove that the Imam believed in affirming a direction and location for Allah! The reality is that Imam Abu Hanifa was amongst the very early Muslims (salaf), and his position was in harmony with the mainstream popular opinion of that time – which is ultimate tafwid, as it is clear from his statements quoted earlier; such as, “If He [Allah Most High] was in need of sitting or settling [on the Throne], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High?” However, the Imam was also against figurative interpretation of the mutashabihat texts, and firm on the position of consigning the meaning to the knowledge of Allah. 

As such, followers of Imam Abu Hanifa and commentators of his works have explained what he meant by the above text. They state that the reason why Imam Abu Hanifa declared a person who says these two phrases a disbeliever is because they contain attributing a direction and location for Allah. (See: Isharat al-Maram min Ibarat al-Imam, p: 168) Imam Izz al-Din ibn al-Salam says that the reason why Imam Abu Hanifa declared such a person a disbeliever is that by using such words, one suggests a place for Allah; and whosoever believes that Allah has a place is an anthropomorphist. (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar P: 115) 

Thus, Imam Abu Hanifa’s intention is not to prove that the heavens and the Throne are places for Allah, and the clearest evidence for this is the aforementioned saying of the Imam himself, “If He [Allah Most High] was in need of sitting or settling [on the Throne], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High? In effect, He is transcendent of all of this.” And Allah knows best.   

3 The third position in regards to these mutashabihat texts is that their apparent literal meaning is impossible for Allah; thus the texts will be interpreted figuratively/metaphorically in a manner befitting Allah, yet without affirming it with certainty since other meanings could also be correct. This position was held mainly by scholars of later generations (khalaf), who were forced to take this stance in order to safeguard the iman of the masses, since people were not satisfied with merely consigning the knowledge of mutashabihat texts to Allah, and thus began to understand them literally and read into meanings that do not befit Allah Most High.   

This position is known as the position of ta’wil. Ta’wil means to interpret, make sense of, assign a meaning to, and give an interpretation or explanation to a particular text or phrase. For example, interpreting the saying “the King defeated the enemy” that the defeat occurred at the hands of the King’s army and not the King himself. 

This is also a valid and acceptable view according to the vast majority of scholars as long as it remains within the boundaries of the Arabic language and spirit of Shari’ah. Even some early Muslims (salaf), including some of the Sahaba such as Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), made ta’wil in some of the Qur’anic verses and hadiths, and the reality is that at times we have no choice but to assign figurative meanings, otherwise they will contradict the decisive and emphatically established texts (muhkamat), leading to many contradictions in the Qur’an and Sunna. 

For example, Imam al-Bukhari (Allah have mercy on him) interprets the verse “There is no god but He. Everything is going to perish except His wajh [literal meaning: face]” (Qur’an 28:88) by saying that the word ‘wajh’ means ‘mulk’ or ‘dominion.’ He also quotes another interpretation, “that which was done solely for the sake of Allah [i.e. righteous actions].” Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, in his Fath al-Bari, quotes Abu Ubayda as saying that the word ‘wajh’ in the verse means the ‘majesty (jalal)’ of Allah. (See: Fath al-Bari with Sahih al-Bukhari 8/641-642) 

Similarly, in regards to the hadith of Bukhari and Muslim wherein the attribute of Allah ‘dhik (literal meaning: laughing)’ has been mentioned, Imam Bukhari is quoted as saying that it means, “Allah’s mercy.” (Bayhaqi, Kitab al-Asma’ wa ‘l-Sifat, p: 433) 

In Surat al-Qalam, Allah Most High says, “On the Day when the saq [literal meaning: shin] will be exposed…” (Qur’an 68:42) Likewise, in the hadith of Bukhari, it is stated, “Our Lord will expose his saq [literal meaning: shin].” Many scholars from the salaf and khalaf; such as Abdullah ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Qatada interpret the term ‘saq’ with various different explanations. (See: Imam al-Bayhaqi’s Al-Asma’ wa ‘l-Sifat, p: 323) 

Imam Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) relates in his masterpiece Al-Bidaya wa ‘l-Nihaya quoting Imam al-Bayhaqi from his Manaqib through a sound chain that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) interpreted the verse, “And your Lord shall come” (Qur’an 89:22) to mean, “His recompense (thawab) shall come.’ (Al-Bidaya wa ‘l-Nihaya, 10/327) 

There are countless other examples of this, but the above should suffice, insha’Allah. 

Accordingly, scholars of later generations interpreted the mutashabihat texts which indicate Allah’s physical elevation above the heavens, and Allah being positioned in the sky or upon His Throne with various explanations. For example:   

a Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari states in his well-known exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur’an, “Allah made himself exalted over the heavens with the exaltation of sovereignty and power, not that of dislodgment and movement.” (Tasir al-Tabari 1/430) 

Others who interpret the verses of ‘istiwa’ figuratively include: Imam al-Bayhaqi, Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni, Imam Raghib al-Isfahani, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Imam Abu ‘l-Faraj ibn al-Jazi al-Hanbali, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Imam al-Baydawi, Imam al-Nasafi, Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Imam Ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi, Imam al-Suyuti and others (Allah have mercy on them all). They state that ‘istiwa’ does not mean Allah’s physical elevation over the Throne; rather, it refers to elevation of rank, status and dominion, and Allah’s subjugation of the Throne that is without a beginning like all of the attributes of Allah.   

b In regards to the verse of Surat al-Mulk [“Have you become fearless of Him who is in the sky…”], the great Maliki exegete (mufassir) Imam al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on him) says in his twenty-volume commentary of the Qur’an, Al-Jami’ li ahkam al-Qur’an, “It is said that the meaning of the verse is, have you become fearless of Him whose power, authority, Throne and dominion is in the sky. The reason for specifying the sky – despite His authority being universal – is to assert that a God is One whose power is [also] manifest in the heavens, and not [only] one whom people venerate on the earth. Some others said that it refers to the angels, and some said that it refers to angel Jibra’il who is entrusted with punishing people. I [Qurtubi] say that the verse could mean, “Have you become fearless of the Creator of those in the sky…” (Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, tafsir of 67/17, 18/141)   
Imam al-Qurtubi further states in the commentary of the same verse, “The more exacting scholars hold that “in the heavens” is similar to Allah’s statement “Journey in the earth”, meaning over the heavens; but [not over it] by way of physical contact or spatialization, but by way of power (qahr) and control (tadbir). Another position is that it means, “Have you become fearless of Him who holds sway over (ala) the heavens” just as it is said, “So-and-so is over Iraq and the Hijaz”, meaning that he is the governor and commander of them. The hadiths on this subject are numerous, rigorously authenticated (sahih), and widely known, and indicate the exaltedness of Allah; only an atheist or a stubborn ignoramus would deny them. Their meaning is to dignify Allah and exalt Him above what is base and low, and to characterize Him by highness and grandeur, not by being in places, particular directions, or within limits, for these are the qualities of physical bodies. The hands are only raised towards the heavens when one supplicates because the sky is from where divine revelation descends and rain falls, the place of purity and the wellspring of the purified ones from the angels, and that the deeds of servants are raised to it; and over it is His Throne and His Paradise; just as Allah has made the Ka’ba the direction (qibla) of supplication and prayer. And also because He has created all places and has no need of them. He was in His beginning-less eternality before creating space and time, when there was no place or time, and is now as He was.” (Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, tafsir of 67/17, 18/141)   

Similarly, Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, “Al-Qadi Iyad said, ‘There is no disagreement among any of the Muslims – their jurists (fuqaha), their hadith scholars (muhaddithun), their theologians (mutakallimun), their polemicists (nuddhar) and their ordinary followers (muqallidun) – that the texts which outwardly indicate that Allah is in the sky – for example, the statement of Allah Most High, “Have you become fearless of Him who is in the sky if He makes you sink into the earth?” (Qur’an 67:17) – are not to be taken literally; rather, according to them all [that is, all the Muslims and experts of every field of Shari’ah as mentioned above], they are to be interpreted figuratively.'” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim)   

c In regards to the hadith of the slave-girl whom the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked, “Where is Allah?”, and she responded by saying, “In the sky”, Imam Nawawi states, “This is one of the hadiths which deal with the attributes [of Allah]. There are two positions with regards to them, both of which have been discussed repeatedly in the chapter of faith (iman). The first position is to believe in them without delving into its meaning (tafwid); while maintaining categorically that there is nothing like unto Allah Most High, and that He transcends the attributes of created things. The second position is to interpret them figuratively (ta’wil) in a manner that befits Him. Those who hold this [latter] position [of figurative interpretation] say that [in the present hadith] the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) intention was to examine her to see whether or not she was one of those who worshiped idols that are before them, or one of those who believed in the Oneness of Allah and maintained that Allah alone is the creator, disposer, and one who effects [all things] – for He is the One that when a person supplicates to Him, he turns [his attention, or hands] towards the sky; just as when a person performs Salat, he faces the Ka’ba. [What is mentioned in the hadith] is not because Allah is restricted in the sky, just as He is not restricted in the direction of the Ka’ba. Rather, it is because the sky is the direction (qibla) for supplication (dua’), just as the Ka’ba is the direction (qibla) for the ritual prayer. So when she said that “He is in the sky”, it became known that she was one of those who believed in the Oneness of Allah, and not a worshipper of idols.” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim)   

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary on Mishkat al-Masabih in relation to this hadith, “Al-Qadi Iyad al-Maliki said, ‘By asking this question, the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) objective was not to ask about Allah’s location (makan), for verily He is above and beyond space, as He is above and beyond time. Rather the intent of his question to her was to find out whether she was a believer in His oneness (muwahhida) or someone who associated partners with Allah (mushrika), because the unbelievers of the Arabs used to worship idols, and each tribe used to have a specific idol in its midst which it worshipped and aggrandized; and it may be that the simple-minded and ignorant ones among them did not know any other object of worship than that idol. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) meant to determine what she worshipped. When she said, ‘In the heavens’ – and another narration says that she made a sign towards the heavens – it was understood that she was a believer in tawhid. His objective by this line of questioning was the disowning of the gods of the earth, which are the idols; not the establishment of the heaven as a location for Allah. Allah is greatly exalted from the sayings of the wrong-doers.'” (Mirqat al-Mafatih)   

Furthermore; Imam al-Ubbiy in his commentary of Sahih Muslim, Shaykh Muhammad al-Shanqiti, Imam Abu Bakr ibn al-Furak in his Mushkil al-Hadith, Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi in his commentary of Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Imam Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanbali in his Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih, Imam Abu ‘l-Walid al-Baji, Imam al-Baydawi, Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki and countless other classical scholars also state that the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) objective by the question was not to ask regarding the physical location of Allah (makan), but about His rank and status (makana); and the slave-girl’s response was not intended to describe Allah physically being in the sky, rather to express His tremendousness (adhama), superiority, nobility and elevation of status and rank. There are so many quotes of the Imams in this regard such that it is difficult to reproduce them here. 

As such, this group of scholars interpreted all such texts which indicate Allah’s physical elevation over the heavens and Throne by giving figurative meanings. Similarly, many of them interpreted the second type of texts which indicate that Allah Most High is everywhere by saying, He is everywhere with His knowledge, assistance and the like. Interpreting both types of texts is acceptable and valid as long as it remains within the known parameters of language and Shari’ah. Just as it is valid to interpret texts indicating Allah being everywhere or with His creation, it is likewise permitted to interpret the texts indicating Allah being above the heavens on His Throne. Sadly, some people consider the interpretation of ‘Allah above the heavens/upon His Throne’ texts to be deviation, yet they see no problem in interpreting the ‘Allah with His creation’ texts! This is an unjust approach. If interpreting the second type of texts is not deviation, then interpreting the first type of texts is also not deviation. Consistency demands that we hold the same stance with both types of texts.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, the central point of aqida which every Muslim must firmly believe is of Allah’s transcendence (tanzih) – that is to say, Allah Most High is above and beyond having any resemblance with His creation. He Most High is not to be described with limits, organs and other such characteristics belonging to created things; and is not confined to time and space. “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.” (Qur’an 42:11) This much belief is sufficient for an average Muslim to attain salvation, insha Allah. 

Thereafter; with regard to the texts describing Allah to be everywhere or with His creation, most classical and later scholars interpret them to mean that Allah is everywhere with His knowledge, seeing and hearing; and this is not the real point of contention. Accordingly, one may interpret these texts, or consign their meaning to the knowledge of Allah. However, one must not believe that Allah Most High is ‘physically’ everywhere, since space is created whereas Allah is pre-existent and eternal. 

As for the texts describing Allah to be in the heavens/sky and above His Throne – which are the real point of contention, and apparently go against the above core belief in Allah’s transcendence – one may adopt any of the following positions; and all of them are valid positions and none of them can be considered outright deviation:   

a Consigning their meanings and details completely to the knowledge of Allah. This position, known as tafwid, was chosen by the majority of early scholars (salaf), and by far the best and safest approach.   

b Affirming their literal meanings (tathbit) – with emphatic rejection of a similitude between Allah and His creation – and then consigning the modality (kayfiyya) of such texts to the knowledge of Allah. This position, chosen by scholars such as Imam Ibn Taymiya, can be risky for an average believer.   

C Interpreting such texts figuratively in a manner that befits Allah. This is known as ta’wil, and was chosen by some later scholars.   

None of the above three standpoints can be considered deviation or departure from the Ahl al-Sunna wa ‘l-Jama’ah. One of my respected Shaykhs, Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) states in his monumental commentary of Sahih Muslim, “All four positions [he mentioned one other position which can be incorporated in the three I have mentioned) are feasible. Large numbers of verifying scholars have taken every one of these positions, since the important thing in creed (aqida) is declaring Allah to be beyond having a similitude [with His creation], and not negating His attributes (ta’til); and every one of these four paths is firmly convinced of this. The difference between them is not a difference in creed, for indeed the creed is declaring Allah beyond tashbih and ta’til; it is only a difference of opinion in expressing that creed and basing them on the texts. So not one of these paths is entirely baseless or absolutely misguided, even if theoretical debates and arguments have not ceased to run between them for many centuries. Occasionally, exaggeration and excess occurred in them from the various sides, and occasionally one of them steered in the direction of trespassing the limits of moderation, but the truth is that the basis of the dispute is nothing but a judgmental (ijtihadi) dispute, akin to the differences of the jurists in juristic matters which are open to interpretation. For this reason, outstanding scholars of the Umma, adherent devotees to the Book and the Sunna, of whose being from the people of truth and from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah is not in doubt, took every opinion from these four opinions. 

It is apparent that the path of the majority from the predecessors (salaf) was tafwid, and this is the safest, most prudent and most in accordance with His statement (Most High), “No one knows its interpretation except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: we believe therein'” (3:7) (Takmila Fath al-Mulhim 5/379-80) 

The famous late Jordanian scholar of immense knowledge and wisdom, Shaykh Nuh Ali Salman al-Qudat (Allah have mercy on him) expresses the same stance in his commentary of Jawharat al-Tawhid. He states that all the various positions of the scholars are close to one-another, since they all agree that Allah Most High does not possess human-like attributes. Thereafter, whether one consigns the meaning completely to the knowledge of Allah, or interprets the texts figuratively, or affirms the literal meaning but negates anthropomorphism (tashbih), it is all part of affirming Allah’s transcendence. As such, there is no need to fuel hostility and enmity between Muslims – especially at a time when Muslims have to combat the enemies of Islam. (See: Al-Mukhtasar al-Mufid fi sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid, p: 91) 

As such, all classical scholars agree on ensuring that the basic doctrine of Allah’s transcendence is preserved; they merely differ in the manner in which this is realized. Some perceive Allah’s transcendence in absolute tafwid, whilst others see it in interpreting the texts figuratively, and some others see it in affirming the literal meaning but with ’emphatic rejection’ of Allah being similar to His creation. 

For example, Allah’s attribute of ‘yad’ has been mentioned in various texts of the Qur’an and Sunna. ‘Yad’ linguistically, as we understand it, refers to the hand of a created being. However, all the groups agree and emphatically deny that Allah has a hand like that of a human, thus they all preserve the central belief in Allah’s transcendence. Thereafter, whether we say “Allah knows best what ‘yad’ means” or “it refers to Allah’s assistance, etc” or “it means a hand but certainly unlike the human hand”, it does not undo the central aqida outlined in the verse, “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.” (Qur’an 42:11) 

Therefore, debates and heated arguments about this issue must be avoided, and we should learn to ‘agree to disagree’. No group should enforce their viewpoint on the other group, and no group has the right of claiming to be on the ultimate truth. Sadly, we live in a time of religious extremism and fanaticism. Some of us very easily term others as anthropomorphist (mushabbiha), whilst others consider tafwid, ta’wil and everything else besides affirming the literal meaning (tathbit) to be outright deviation and even disbelief! This implies declaring countless Imams and giants of this Umma as deviated, since most of them either chose the path of tafwid or ta’wil. May Allah protect us, Ameen. 

Indeed, the following positions are absolute deviation and may well even take one out of the fold of Islam:   

a Believing (may Allah protect us) that Allah is ‘physically’ in the heavens or ‘physically sitting’ on His Throne like created beings, known as anthropomorphism (tashbih). Sitting, standing, coming into contact, separation, moving from one place to another, etc, are all characteristics of created bodies from which Allah is pure.   

b Believing that Allah Most High is ‘physically’ everywhere and ‘physically’ with His creation and in every space. This is known as hulul.   

c Rejecting and denying the non-decisive (mutashabihat) texts concerning the attributes of Allah altogether. This is known as ta’til.  

The above is what I have learnt from my teachers, especially Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him). It is what I consider and accept as the truth in the matter, and feel is the most balanced observation, Insha Allah. May Allah protect us all and bring about harmony and love between us, Ameen Ya Rabb.   And Allah knows best 

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

When to stand up during Iqamah

When should the muqtadis[1] stand up for salah in congregation? Should they stand before the iqamah begins, when the iqamah begins or when the words hayya ‘ala al-falah are reached? The answer to this question lies in the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the Noble Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)

(1) Sayyiduna Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) would render the adhan for Zuhr after zawal (i.e., when the sun reaches its zenith or midway point). He would not say the iqamah until the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerged from his quarters. When he emerged and he saw him, the iqamah would begin. (Muslim)

(2) The people would stand for salah in preparation for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The people would take their place in the prayer rows (saffs) before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) stood up from his place. (Muslim)

(3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) says that once they stood up for salah and straightened the rows even before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerged from his quarters. (Muslim)

(4) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told the Companions: “Do not stand for salah until you see me”. (Al-Bukhari)

(5) Ibn Shihab narrates that the people would stand up for salah when the muezzin would say Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar. The rows would be straightened before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) reached his place [to lead prayer]. (Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq)

(6) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would stand up from his place when Sayyiduna Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) would say: “qad qamat al-salah“. (Majma’ al-Zawa’id) These are six narrations describing the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

The first narration explains that the general habit of Sayyiduna Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) was to keep an eye on the quarters of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). When he emerged from his quarters, Sayyiduna Bilal would commence the iqamah. ‘Allamah Zurqani in his commentary of the Muwatta of Imam Malik and Qadi ‘Iyad in Sharh al-Shifa have mentioned the above-mentioned explanation. The words of ‘Allamah Zurqani: “Sayyiduna Bilal would await the appearance of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
As soon as he saw him, he would begin the iqamah; and this was even before most of the people saw him. The people would stand as they saw him. He would not stand in his (Allah bless him and give him peace) position until the rows were straightened.” (Sharh al-Zurqani, 1:214)

The second and third narrations substantiate that the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would usually stand up when the iqamah started and would begin straightening the rows.

Explaining the words “straightening the rows” in the third narration, Imam Nawawi writes in the commentary of Sahih Muslim: “There is an indication (in the words ‘straightening the rows’) that they considered this a Sunnah.

The ‘ulama are unanimous on the merits of straightening the rows.” (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 5:103) The fourth narration is indicative that at times Sayyiduna Bilal would commence with the iqamah even before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerged from his quarters and the Companions would stand up and prepare the rows when the iqamah started.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) for some reason got delayed in emerging from his quarters so he advised them not to stand before he came out. Obviously this was to save the people from the inconvenience of waiting while standing for a long period of time.

The words “do not stand until you see me” means that do not stand until I emerge from my quarters. It is also indicative that there is no harm in standing as soon as he emerged from his quarters.

The fifth narration explains the common routine; Sayyiduna Bilal would commence with the iqamah when he saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerging from his quarters and the people would stand up as soon as the iqamah commenced and begin straightening the rows.

The sixth narration makes clear that at times the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would be present in the masjid well before the commencement of salah. In this case he would stand up for the salah when the muezzin said qad qamat al-salah. It seems that in this case the Companions stood up when he stood up.

The common factor derived from these narrations is that when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not present in the masjid beforehand but would come out from his quarters, Sayyiduna Bilal would commence with the iqamah as soon as he emerged from his quarters and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would stand immediately on hearing the iqamah and straightened their rows and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) never forbade this practice. Yes, he did discourage them from commencing the iqamah and standing up before his appearance from his quarters and this was because of his consideration for them, and if done, it is termed makruh tanzihi (slightly disliked) by the jurists [because of his discouragement].

Practice of the rightly-guided Caliphs
(1) Sayyiduna Nu’man ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would straighten our rows when we stood up for salah and only said the takbir (i.e., Allahu Akbar) for salah after we were straight [in the rows]. (Sunan Abu Dawud)

(2) Sayyiduna ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would appoint people to straighten the rows. He would not begin the salah until he was told that the rows were straight. Imam Tirmidhi has recorded this narration and he has also written that this was also the practice of Sayyiduna ‘Ali and Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them both). (Nayl al-Awtar, 2:187)

The first narration explains the method of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the second narration the method of Sayyiduna ‘Umar, Sayyiduna ‘Ali and Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them). They would also themselves check on the rows and would not begin the salah until they were satisfied that the rows were straight, i.e., there were no gaps in-between the rows and all were in a straight line. They would not begin the salah until then. This is possible when the people stand up for salah from the commencement of the iqamah, as mentioned in the narrations above that this was the usual procedure of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). If they had stood when the muezzin said hayya ‘ala al-salah or hayya ‘ala al-falah or qad qamat al-salah, and thereafter the straightening of the rows took place, the salah would have been delayed for a long period after the completion of the iqamah, which is unanimously condemned by the ‘ulama.

Rulings of the jurists The jurists (fuqaha) have included this issue under the heading Adab al-Salah, i.e., Etiquette of Salah. Etiquettes are those factors that if a person leaves them out, he is not committing a makruh (disliked) act nor is he worthy of reproach. Fulfilling the etiquettes is best but to reproach a person who fails to fulfil them is not permissible and in fact a bid’ah.

The following is recorded in Al-Durr al-Mukhtar: “The salah consists of a few etiquettes. No sin is incurred by leaving them out nor is reproach like leaving the Sunan al-Zawa’id but to act upon them more virtuous.” (Al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1:477) Regarding the views of the mujtahid Imams, Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in the commentary of Sahih Muslim: “According to Imam Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) and a group of scholars, it is mustahabb (recommended) not to stand up until the muezzin has completed the iqamah.

Qadi ‘Iyad has related from Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) and from many ‘ulama that it is mustahabb to stand up when the muezzin commences the iqamah. Sayyiduna Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) would stand up when the muezzin said qad qamat al-salah and Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) is of the same view. The view of Imam Abu Hanifah and the ‘ulama of Kufah is the people should stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-salah.” (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 5:103)

The details of the Hanafi madhhab are recorded in Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah (or Fatawa Alamgiri): “If the muezzin and the imam is not the same person and the imam and muqtadis are in the masjid, the imam and muqtadis will stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-falah, according to our three ‘ulama (Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammed) and this is the correct view. “If the imam is outside the masjid and he enters from behind the rows, each row [of muqtadis] will stand when he passes that particular row. This is the opinion of Shams al-A’immah Al-Halwani, Al-Sarakhsi and Shaykh al-Islam Khuwahar Zadah.

If the imam enters the masjid from the front, the people will stand as soon as they see the imam. They will not stand before he enters the masjid.” (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, 1:57).

The following is recorded in Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’: “The qiyam (standing) is for the purpose of salah [in Congregation] and it is not possible without the imam. Thus, standing [without the presence of the imam] is not beneficial. If the imam enters from the front of the masjid, the people will stand as soon as they see him because when he enters he will directly proceed to the place of leading the salah (imamah). If he enters from the back of the masjid [from behind the rows], the correct view is that each row [of muqtadis] will stand as he passes the particular row, for by his passing of each row it becomes valid for that row to follow him in salah. It is as if the imam is already on his place [in front of them] for each row passed.” (Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’, 1:200)

Imam Malik himself has expressed his view in his compilation Muwatta in reply to a question: “Imam Malik was asked when is it necessary for the people to stand for salah. He replied: ‘I have not heard of any definite ruling regarding this, but I suppose that this is according to the strength of the people. For, among them are those who are heavy and those who are light-bodied. All of them are not the same [and cannot stand at the same time]’”. (Muwatta Imam Malik, 2:96)

The views of the four Imams have been mentioned above. The summary is as follows: According to Imam Shafi’i it is mustahabb to stand after the completion of the iqamah. According to the statement of Qadi ‘Iyad, the view of Imam Malik is that it is mustahabb to stand from the commencement of the iqamah. But according to the statement in Muwatta, there is no fixed ruling for this and people should stand up according to their ability, respectively. A heavy-bodied person takes longer to stand up compared to a light-bodied person. A sick person also takes longer to stand up. A light-bodied person can stand up quickly.

The view of Imam Ahmad is to stand when the muezzin says qad qamat al-salah. The details of the view of the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifah is explained in Fatawa Alamgiri and Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’ (above). If the imam and muqtadis are present in the masjid, then according to the reliable narration, they should stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-falah. If the imam is entering from outside then there are two scenarios: (a) if he is entering from the front of the masjid, the muqtadis will stand upon seeing the imam and (b) if the imam enters from the back of the masjid, each row will stand as he passes it.

Where the Hanafi madhhab is explained in Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq that if the imam and muqtadis are present in the masjid before time, the imam and muqtadis will stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-falah, the following reason is furnished: “It is better to stand up on the words of hayya ‘ala al-falah because these words carry an instruction [to come to success]. Therefore on these words a person will make an effort and hasten [towards success]”. (Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 1:321)

This implies that those who are of the opinion that it is mustahabb to stand at hayya ‘ala al-falah and qad qamat al-salah because of the instruction contained in it, consider it against etiquette to still be seated thereafter but do not consider standing up before these words to be against etiquette, because standing before these words are said is also hurrying [towards success] on a greater level.

Thus, those who consider it mustahabb to stand at hayya ‘ala al-salah are not saying that to stand before it is contrary to mustahabb, but to remain seated after those words is against etiquette, for this will be against hastening towards obedience. After pondering it will be realised that the four Imams are unanimous on two aspects: (a) The differences of opinion is based on better and best and not a matter of impermissibility and blameworthiness (makruh). Thus, no one has the right to object or oppose anyone in this regard.

The followers of the four madhhabs do not oppose each other in this matter. (b) The consensus of the Companions, Followers (tabi’un) and unanimity of the four Imams proves that it is wajib (compulsory) to straighten the rows which should be attained before the salah commences and this can be easily achieved when the people stand up at the commencement of the iqamah.

According to Imam Malik, there is no harm if the weak and the ill stand up a bit later. The essence of this is as follows: When the Imam and muqtadis are present in the masjid before time, it is best to stand at hayya ‘ala al-falah and qad qamat al-salah according to Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and according to Imam Shafi’i after the iqamah is complete. According to Imam Malik, at the beginning of the iqamah and the general practice of the rightly-guided Caliphs and most Companions substantiate this view.

Thus, the ruling of Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab is that to stand up at the beginning of the iqamah is not only mustahabb but wajib. Not one of the four Imams have ruled that it is necessary for the imam to first sit on the place of prayer to reprimand those who are standing and to consider those standing wrong.

It is not the madhhab of any Imam to consider standing from the beginning as makruh or to or to think ill of or to insult such people. The authentic views of the Hanafi madhhab has been mentioned in Fatawa Alamgiri and Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’ which have been approved by Shams al-A’immah al-Sarakhsi and other Hanafi scholars.

No one among the Hanafi scholars in their books, commentaries and fatwa compilations have written that it is makruh to stand from the beginning except in the narration of Al-Mudmarat which has been related by Al-Tahtawi. No one else has said that it is makruh, and how could they say so whereas standing from the beginning [of the iqamah] has been proven from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), the rightly-guided Caliphs, the other Companions and Followers.

The distance of the feet in salah

Many Ahadeeth have been narrated about the straightening of the rows and they include a number of different expressions to emphasise this point, such as the following narrations:

1) Sayyiduna Anas (ra) narrates that the Prophet (saw) said, ‘Pull your rows together, keep them close and keep your necks in line, for by He in Whose hands rests the soul of Muhammad, indeed I see the shayateen entering the gaps in the row as though they are small sheep.'[1]

2) Sayyiduna Nu’maan ibn Basheer (ra) says, ‘The Prophet (saw) turned his face to the people and said thrice, “Straighten your rows.” (He then said), “By Allah, you will straighten your rows or Allah will make your hearts differ.”‘ (Sayyiduna Nu’maan ibn Basheer (ra) continues), ‘I saw each man join his shoulder with the shoulder of the person next to him, his knee with his knee, and his ankle with his ankle.’ [2]

This is one of the hadiths put forward as evidence by those who assert that each person’s feet should be joined with the next person’s during congregational prayer. Some of them are overly particular about this, so much so that if someone standing next to them happens to draw in their feet, these people would adjust their legs even further just to maintain foot contact with thier neighbour. They continuously critisize those who do not leave a wide gap between their feet, as though the sunnah method is only what they claim.
In vain, however, are their attempts to use the above hadith and other similar hadiths to establish that joining the feet in salat is necessary [wajib]. This is true for a number of simple reasons:

(1) The words which actually describe the joining of the feet are not the words of the Messenger of Allah (saw), but are rather the words of the narrator. Hence, this portion of the hadith is not a direct statement from the Messenger (saw) himself [marfu’], but rather the narrator’s description of the reaction of the Companions to the Messenger’s (saw) warning. Hence, it becomes quite clear that the Messenger (saw) did not command the joining of the feet together.

(2) The hadith of Nu’man ibn Basheer (ra) merely tells us about the behaviour of the Companions before the prayer began. In other words, the observed behaviour of the Companions was to join their ankles, kneews, and shoulders together prior to the prayer’s commencement. Nowhere in the hadith does it indicate that this posture was maintained throughout the prayer.

(3) If, for the sake of argument, we were to accept that the joining of the feet was maintained throughout the prayer, a number of questions arise. One such question is whether the feet should be joined together in all postures of the prayer or only during the standing posture (qiyam). If the answer is that it is required only during the standing posture, then the next questions are: ‘What is the evidence for that?’ and ‘Why is this arrangement confined to the standing posture only and not required ina ny other posture?’ If the answer is that it is necessary in all postures of prayer, then the question is: ‘How will people in each row go about joining their feet and shoulders together while in prostration or in the sitting posture?’ Clearly it would be quite impossible to achieve this.
Moreover, if the counter-argument is that it is only necessary to have the feet together while in qiyam (standing) because of its difficulty in the other postures of prayer, then the reply is that it is also very difficult for a row of people to ensure that this joining arrangement is maintained between them during the standing posture as well.

(4) Based on the above mentioned hadith, if it is deemed necessary to join the shoulders and feet together, then why have the knees been excluded from this ruling? In the above narration, the Companions joined their knees together as well. It should therefore follow that the joining of the knees also be treated as an obigatory act throughout the prayer. However, one must be warned that standing even for a short while with one’s knees joined to the next person’s knees can be quite painful. This is even impossible in some cases, when there is a significant size difference between two people standing besides one another.

(5) Another interpretation of the above hadith offered by some scholars is that the narrator Nu’man ibn Basheer (ra) only intended to show how the Companions attempted to form extremely straight rows at the instructions of the Messenger of Allah (saw), and not that they actually joined their feet, shoulders, and ankles together. It is for this reason that the title of this chapter in Sahih al-Bukhari, ‘Chapter on the Joining of the Shoulders and Feet Together While Forming the Rows,’ has been classified by Hafiz Ibn Hajar (ra) as an exaggeration. He writes in his commentary, Fath al-Bari, that: ‘(Imam Bukhari’s) reason for choosing this specific title to exaggerate (mubalagha) the importance of straightening the rows and filling gaps in between.'[Fatha al-Bari 2:247]

It is deduced from this statement that the above-mentioned naration is not to be taken literally. Imam Shawkani, who is constantly reffered to by those who prefer not to follow a school of though in Islamic Jurisprudence, also does not take the hadith’s literal interpretation. He writes in his Naylk al-Awtar: ‘[This statement] means: place the parts of the body [shoulders, etc] in line with each other, so that the shoulder of each person performing prayer is in level with the shoulder of the next person. This way everyone’s shoulders, knees, and feet will be in a single straight line.’ [Nayl al-Awtar 3:65]

In clear words, he indicates that the actual reason for joining the shoulders and other body parts, was to straighten the rows and not because the joining itself was an obligatory act.

(6) Anas (ra) has also stated in a narration of Ma’mar, which Ibn Hajar has recorded in his Fath al-Bari, that: ‘If I were to attempt this [joining the shoulders and feet together] with anybody today, they would scurry away like restive mules.’ [Fath al-Bari 2:247]

It is apparent from Anas’s (ra) statement that even the Companions did not continue this practise after the death of the Messenger of Allah (saw). If it had been a continuous action of the Messenger (saw) [sunnah mustamirra], the Companions would never have abandoned it, let alone speak of it in such a manner.

(7) Once it is established that the primary reason for the Companions joining their feet together was to achieve perfect order in their rows, it can be easily understood that this joining of the feet is not required any longer, since, in most of the masjids and places of worship today, the lines are well marked on the carpets, marble, and floor coverings. By standing together with their heels on the markings, the worshippers will automatically come together in perfectly straight rows. Hence, there is no need to be overly critical and go around ensuring that everyone’s feet have been joined together.

3) Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (ra) reports that the Prophet (saw) said, ‘Straighten your rows, for indeed I see you from behind my back.’ Sayyiduna Anas (ra) says, ‘We would join our shoulders and feet with the shoulders and feet of the person next to us.’ [3]

[1] Ahmad 13324, Abu Dawood 667 and Nasa’i 815
[2] Ahmad 17962, Abu Dawood 662, Ibn Kuzaimah 160, Ibn Hibban 2173 and Daraqutni 1080
[3] Bukhari 692

The Various Opinions
We will begin by stating some of the opinions of the Hanafi school on the issue of feet position in prayer. In all, there seems to be two dominant opinions found in the Hanafi texts. The first of these calls for a gap of four fingers to be left between the feet of a person when he is praying. This opinion is found in Imam ibn ‘Abidin’s authoritative commentary on ‘Allama Haskafi’s al-Durr al-Mukhtar, where it states: ‘The gap to be left between a person’s feet should be equal to that of four fingers of the hand, because this [amount] is very effective in creating [the posture of] submission and humility [sought in prayer].’ [Radd al-Muhtar 1:299]

Leaving a gap equal to four fingers has been described by the jurists (fuqaha) as being the superior method, as it sometimes proves quite uncomfortable to stand with legs spread wide apart for an extended period of time. This discomfort makes concentration difficult and often results in the loss of focus and devotion in the prayer.

The second method according to the Hanafi school can be understood from the following. In Ma’arif al-Sunan, a commentary of Sunan al-Tirmidhi by the late hadith scholar ‘Allama Yusuf Binnori, it is stated that there is no mention, among authentic hadith narrations, of a stipulated amount of space to be left between one’s own feet during the prayer. For this reason, it could be concluded that the sunnah method of positioning the feet in prayer is whatever distance a person finds convenient and comfortable while praying. [Ma’arif al-Sunan 2:298]

A hadith is reported in Sunan al-Nasa’i which states that: “Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (ra) saw a person standing in prayer with his two feet together [i.e. touching each other] and judged it to be against the sunnah. He advised the person that if he had practised murawaha it would have been more preferable.”[Sunan al-Nasa’i 1:142]

The Arabic word ‘murawaha’ usually means to stand on one foot and then the other, alternating between them as one becomes tired. However, another meaning of ‘murawaha is to leave a slight gap between the feet, and this seems to be the most probable meaning of this word in referance to the above narration, since the person had been standing with his feet together. If we take this latter meaning of the term ‘murawaha’, the hadith means that Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (ra) instructed the person to maintain a small gap between his feet, since the sunnah was not to completely join the feet together (nor to keep them so far apart).

From the above, we learn of the flexibility of the Hanafi school on this issue. It would therefore be permitted for a person to stand with a gap between his feet equal to or greater than the width of four fingers.

In determining the opinion of the Shafi’s on this issue, a careful study of their literature reveals that their most popular view is that a person should maintain a gap equal to one hand span between his feet [Nihayat al-Muhtaj 1:347]. However, it is recommended in al-Anwar, another text on Shafi’i fiqh, that the gap should only be four fingers – as is one view of the Hanafis. Furthermore, the great Shafi’i scholar Imam Nawawi concludes: ‘It is undesirable [makruh] to join the feet together; it is preferable [mustahab] to keep some distance between them.’ [Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 3:266]

In total, we have three opinions of the Shafi’i school: (1) a gapequivalent to one hand span; (2) a gap of four fingers; and (3) as much a gap as the person deems necessary. The first opninion is particular to the Shafi’i school, whereas the the latter two opinions are common to both the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools.
One has probably noticed by now that not a single opinion meantions that a person’s feet must be joined together with the feet of the adjacent person(s). If indeed this was the correct and sunnah way of standing in prayer, it would have undoubtedly been accepted as such.

Individual Prayer
A noteworthy point to mention now is that many of those who assert that the feet be joined together are normaly observed widening their feet even during their individual prayers. In fact, on many occasions, they widen them beyond shoulder width. Even if they consider the joining of the feet in congregational prayers to be necessary, it does not mean they must also widen their feet beyond shoulder width. The reason for this is that if everybody stood shoulder to shoulder and joined their feet together, the gap between the two feet would only be as wide as the shoulders. It would be quite impossible to spread them any more and still maintain shoulder contact.

Another reason why one should not overspread his feet suring individual prayer is that the above-mentioned hadiths only describe the Companions joining their feet while in congregation. Hence, these ahadeeth cannot be used as evidence for the widening of the feet during individual salat.

In the end, we can conclude, without fear of contradiction, that those who insist on joining the feet together have failed to comprehend the true meaning of the ahadeeth, and, as such, do not have any strong evidence to support their position. It is not possible to follow the Qur’an and Hadeeths by always employing verbatim translations, which is the methodology of the Literalists (Zahiriyya), whose many views majority of scholars have not accepted. The grave consequences of following this type of methodology is quite apparent.

Indeed, it is important to come together during prayer, but this is normally achieved by joining the shoulders together (which has been ordered in ahadeeth) and standing with the heels on the lines. It is virtually impossible not to leave any gaps at all as some people insist. Is it too difficult to understand that when someone attempts to fill in the gap between his and the next person’s feet, he opens a gap between his own feet?

Therefore, the Sunnah method would be to either leave a space of approximately four fingers between one’s feet or any such gap through which one can achieve a comfortable and humble posture. During the congregational prayer, each person must ensure that he is close enough to the next person as to touch shoulders and that his feet are on the marked lines so that the whole congregation is ordered and comprised of straightened rows.