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The Importance And Virtues Of Salah (Prayer)

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 9th November 2010 14:34
The Importance Of The Sunnah Salah

A person who leaves out the Sunan-e-Muakkadah Salaah out ofcarelessness, or habitually leaves them out, is considered a Faasiq (open transgressor). The following ruling is written in Tahtaawi, "A person who leaves out Sunan-e-Muakkadah is a Faasiq, a person who denies it is an innovator, and it is stated in Talweeh that leaving it out is close to Haraam." (Malfoozhaat Faqeehul Ummat, Vol. 1, Part 4, Pg. 16)

Based on the above, it is not permissible to leave out the Sunan.


The Virtues Of The Sunnah Salah

Umm Habibah (radiallahu anha) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) saying, "A house will be built in Jannah for every Muslim who offers twelve Rak`ah of optional Salat other than the obligatory Salat in a day and a night (to seek the Pleasure of Allah).''
[Muslim]

Tatawwu` means to offer more Nawafil (optional prayers) on one's own after performing the Faraid (obligatory prayers). Thus, this Hadith tells us the merits of optional prayers and holds promise of (Jannah) for those who make it a practice. These 12 Rakaats have been specifically enumerated in another narration as: 2 Rakaats before Fajr, 4 Rakaats before Zuhr, 2 Rakaats after Zuhr, 2 Rakaats after Maghrib, and 2 Rakaats after 'Isha.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salalm) said, "The first of man's deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. If any shortcoming is found in the obligatory Salat, the Glorious and Exalted Rubb will command to see whether His slave has offered any voluntary Salat so that the obligatory Salat may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner.''
[At-Tirmidhi]


The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Fajr Salah

A'isha (radiallahu anha) related that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said about the 2 rak'ahs before Fajr: "They are dearer to me than the whole world." [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said: "Do not leave the two rak'ahs of Fajr, even if you are being attacked by cavalry." [Abu Dawud]

A'isha (radiallahu anha) said: "I have never seen him (The Prophet - salallahu alayhi wa salam) more in haste to do a good deed than he was to do the two rak'ahs before the Fajr (salah)." [Muslim]

A'isha (radiallahu anha) also narrated: "The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) would pray the two rak'ahs before the dawn (fajr) salah in my house so quickly that i wondered if he had recited the Fatihah in them or not." [Bukhari]

A'isha (radiallahu anha) further reported that: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) after reading al-Fatihah would recite Surah Kafiroon and Surah Ikhlas. [Abu Dawud]

The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Zuhr Salah

Umm Habibah (radiallahu anha) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said, "Whoever observes the practice of performing four Rak`ah before Zuhr prayer and four (2 sunnah, 2 nafl) after the Zuhr prayer, Allah will shield him against the Fire (of Hell)."
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

This Ahadith mean that a person who follows this course of practice, will die as a Muslim and will not remain in Hell for ever like the Kuffar (infidels) unless Allah has forgiven all his sins for him and would, as a result, save him from Fire altogether. That is, Almighty Allah will not let him live in Hell for ever. According to some Ahadith, the fire of Hell will not touch him, which also amounts to saying that he will not be kept in Hell for all eternity. If a Muslim is liable to punishment, his stay in Hell - for a few days or weeks or months depending on the nature of his sins - is not a contravention of such Ahadith because he will ultimately be released from Hell and brought to Jannah. "Allah will shield him against the Fire'' should not be taken to mean that a Muslim will not be sent to Hell no matter what he does. If Almighty Allah does not forgive him in the very first instance, he will have to suffer the torment of Hell as long as He would like and then he will be sent to Jannah.

`Abdullah bin As-Sa'ib (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) used to perform four Rak`ah prayer after the declining of the sun before Zuhr prayer and would say, "This is an hour at which the gates of heaven are opened, and I like that my good deeds should rise to heaven at that time.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) used to perform the four Rak`ah Sunnah of Zuhr prayer when the sun started declining. In fact, except for `Isha' prayer, he would perform every Salat at its early hours.

The phrase "the gates of heaven are opened'' means that the good deeds that people do are lifted to the heavens at that time.

`Aishah (radiallahu anha) reported: If the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) could not perform four Rak`ah before Zuhr prayer, he would perform them after it (i.e., after the obligatory prayer).
[At-Tirmidhi]

This Hadith tells us about the preparation which the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) used to make for performing the Sunnah. Every Muslim should, therefore, make full preparation for performing Sunnah. If one is unable to perform it before the Fard prayer, then one must do it afterwards.


The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Asr Salah

Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said, "May Allah have mercy on a man who performs four Rak`ah before the `Asr prayer.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

The `Ulama' have stated that these four Sunnah of `Asr prayer are Ghair Mu'akkadah (non-emphasised but praiseworthy to perform). Its importance is however evident from the fact that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) prayed for mercy on those who performed these Sunnah.


The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Maghrib Salah

After Maghrib it is sunnah to pray 2 Rak'ahs. It is narrated by Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma) that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) would not miss them. It is preferable to recite after al-Fatihah Surah Kafiroon and Surah Ikhlas. Ibn Masood (radiallahu anh) said: "I cannot count how many times i heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) recite, in the two rak'ahs after Maghrib and in the two rak'ahs before Fajr: Surah Kafiroon and Surah Ikhlas."

There is no sunnah salah before Maghrib. Tawus narrated: "Abdullah Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه was asked about the two rak'ahs before Maghrib. He answered, "I have not seen anyone in the time of the Prophet (saw) praying them." [Abu Dawud]

Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman said: "I asked Ibrahim about the salah before Maghrib, he forbade me from this and said: "The Prophet (SAW), Umar رضي الله عنه, and Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه did not pray it." Imam Muhammad رضي الله عنه said: "We adhere to this. When the sun sets there is no salah on janazah or any other salah before the salah of Maghrib. And it is the opinion of Abu Hanifa رضي الله عنه."


The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Isha Salah

The sunnah after Isha is 2 rak'aat.

Performing 4 Rak'aat Before Salaat al-Isha is considered mustahab. Hadrat Sa'eed Ibn Jubair (radiallaahu 'anh) narrates that the Sahaabah (radiallaahu 'anhum) used to regard the performing of four rak'aat before the fard of 'ishaa as mustahab. [Qiyaamul-Layl of Marwazi pg.58]

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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 12:05
4 Rakaats Before Salaat al-Isha

Hazrat Sa'eed Ibn Jubair (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) used to regard the performing of four rakaats before the fardh of isha as mustahab.

[Qiyaamul-Layl of Marwazi pg.58]
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 12:19
abu mohammed wrote:
4 Rakaats Before Salaat al-Isha

Hazrat Sa'eed Ibn Jubair (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) used to regard the performing of four rakaats before the fardh of isha as mustahab.

[Qiyaamul-Layl of Marwazi pg.58]


جزاك اللهُ خيراً
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 14:35
This is just my way of looking at the Sunnah Salah, I hope it makes sense.

There is a common way that the Prophet (SAW) prayed his Sunnah in the same number of rakaats before the Fard, and after the Fard prayer, he would pray differently, i.e. if 4 fard, then he would pray 2 sunnah. The only exception was at the times when Salah is not allowed.

For example.
2 Fard of Fajar. Therefore 2 sunnah before it, as no salah can be prayed after it. (Same number of rakaats as the Fard before the Fard)

4 Fard of Zohar. Therefore the same number of Rakaats before it, i.e. 4 sunnah. After 4 Fard, he would pray a different number of rakaats, i.e. 2 sunnah. (Same number of rakaats as the Fard before the Fard)

4 Fard of Asr. Therefore he would pray the same number of rakaat before it just like Fajar and Zohar, i.e. 4 Sunnah, and no salah can be prayed after it. (Same number of rakaats as the Fard before the Fard)

3 Fard of Maghrib. therefore he would pray no Sunnah before it (in his later years) as it is not allowed, but would pary a different number of rakat as sunnah but no more than the actual Fard salah.

4 Fard of Esha. Therefore, the same number of Rakaat before the Fard and a different number of rakaat as the Sunnah, i.e. 2 Sunnah. (Same number of rakaats as the Fard before the Fard)

There is a set pattern in the way the Prophet would pray his Sunnah before and after the Salah. This is the method adopted by the Hanafi school as far as I know.

The recommendation of performing either two or four rakats before Isha is established by the general Prophetic recommendation to pray before each obligatory prayer (with the exception of Maghrib, because of the specific command to hasten its performance without delay). [Kasani, Bada'i` al-Sana'i`; Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa'iq; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Nawawi, al-Majmu`]

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Between each set of calls to prayer [i.e. between each adhan and iqama] is a prayer." He repeated this three times, and then said, "For whoever wishes to do so." [Bukhari and Muslim from Abd Allah ibn Mughaffal (Allah be pleased with him)].
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 23:21
The Importance Of The Obligatory (Fard) Salat

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Guard strictly (the five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (i.e., the best prayer - `Asr).'' (2:238)

"But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat, then leave their way free.'' (9:5)

Ibn Mas`ud (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam): "Which act is the best?'' He (SAW) said, "As-Salat at their fixed times.'' I asked, "What next?'' He (SAW) said, "Being dutiful to parents.'' I asked, "What next?'' He (SAW) said, "Striving (Jihad) in the way of Allah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Every Salah should be performed at its proper time. Deliberate delay in performing is wrong. The ultimate result of deliberate delay is that one becomes sluggish and begins to ignore and neglect it by force of habit, which is obviously very dangerous.

Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said, "Islam is based on five (pillars): testifying that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad (PBUH) is His slave and Messenger; performing of Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat); the payment of Zakat; performing Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House [of Allah (Ka`bah)]; and Saum (fasting) during the month of Ramadan.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In this Hadith, Islam has been compared to a building which rests on five pillars. As a building cannot stand without its foundation, similarly, Islam cannot exist without these pillars. For this reason, he who denies any one of these obligations is a disbeliever, and he who neglects any of them due to slackness or want of attention is a sinful and impious Muslim.

Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said, "I have been commanded to fight against the people till they testify La ilaha illAllah (There is no true god except Allah) and that Muhammad (PBUH) is His slave and Messenger, and to establish As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and to pay Zakat; and if they do this, then their blood and property are secured except by the rights of Islam, and their accountability is left to Allah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Here the word "An-Nas'' translated `the people' in the Hadith stands for those who associate others with Allah in worship.

Mu`adh (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) sent me as a governor to Yemen and (at the time of departure) he instructed me thus: "You will go to people of the Scripture (i.e., the Jews and the Christians). First of all invite them to testify that La ilaha ill Allah (There is no true god except Allah) and that Muhammad (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is His slave and Messenger; and if they accept this, then tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five Salat (prayers) during the day and night; and if they accept it, then tell them that Allah has made the payment of Zakat obligatory upon them. It should be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor; and if they agree to it, don't take (as a share of Zakat) the best of their properties. Beware of the supplications of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Jabir (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said, "Between a man and kufr (disbelief and paganism) is the abandonment of Salat (prayer).''
[Muslim].

Buraidah (radiallahu anh) reported: Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said, "That which differentiates us from the kuffar (disbelievers) and the hypocrites is our performance of Salat. He who abandons it, becomes a kafir (disbeliever).''
[At-Tirmidhi].

He who will be having the quality of Islam and will be particular in performing Salat regularly, will raise a wall between himself and Kufr. He who does not perform Salat after coming to the fold of Islam, does not have a frontier which separates him from infidelity. Leaving Salat is like demolishing the wall that separates Islam from Kufr. Thus, we learn from this Hadith that leaving Salat is Kufr. Some `Ulama' are of the opinion that this injunction is for one who believes leaving Salat is permissible whereas the one who leaves it because of slackness is not a Kafir. Some scholars, however, think that if such a person does not repent, he is liable to Hadd, i.e., death punishment. There are other `Ulama' who think that rather than death punishment such a person should be subjected to corporal punishment till he starts offering Salat.
This Hadith makes the importance of Salat in Islam abundantly clear.

Shaqiq bin `Abdullah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) did not consider the abandonment of any action as disbelief except neglecting Salat.
[At-Tirmidhi].

The opinion of the Companions of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) was based on the information contained in the Ahadith which have been mentioned above. They did not take the Ahadith which interpreted the leaving of Salat as Kufr mere scolding or reproof. They considered slackness and negligence in Salat as Kufr and apostasy and regarded Salat a symbol of Islam.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salalm) said, "The first of man's deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. If any shortcoming is found in the obligatory Salat, the Glorious and Exalted Rubb will command to see whether His slave has offered any voluntary Salat so that the obligatory Salat may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner.''
[At-Tirmidhi].


Women Performing Salah In The Masjid


Statements of the Fuqahaa

1) Allaama Ayni رضي الله عنه says, 'The fatwa in this age is that women are forbidden from attending all Salaah, be it during the day or the night and regardless of whether the women are young or old. The word of the author (of Kanzud Daqaa'iq) "jamaa'at" includes the Jumu'ah Salaah, the Eid Salaah, Istisqaa Salaah and even attending lectures, especially the lectures of ignorant people who pose as Ulema only to acquire material gains and fulfil their desires.' (Ayni's commentary of Kanz, Volume 1, Page 40)

2) Durrul Mukhtaar (Volume 1, Page 529) states, 'Because of the evils of the times, the Fatwa issued is that it is Makrooh for women to attend the Masjid even for the Jumu'ah Salaah, the Eid Salaah and lectures, even though it be old ladies and at night.'

3) Fataawaa Aalamgeeri (Volume 1, Page 56) states, 'The Fatwa nowadays is that it is Makrooh for women to attend all Salaahs in the Masjid because of the evils of the times, as stated in Kaafi.'

4) Bahrur Ra'iq (Volume 1, Page 358) states, 'Women may not attend the Jamaa'ah Salaah because of Allaah's words, 'and remain glued to your homes,' and because Rasulullaah (saw) said in the Ahadeeth that for a woman to perform her prayer at home is better that performing it at the masjid.'

Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu anha) narrates that if Nabi (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) knew what the women are doing he would have prevented them from the Masjid just as the women of Bani Israaeel were prevented.' (Bukhari vol. 1 p. 120)

After quoting this statement of Hadhrat 'A'isha (radiallaahu 'anha), the commentator of Bukhaari, Imaam Ayni (rahmatullaahi 'alaih) says, 'As for today (855 A.H.), we seek Allaah's protection from it!' (Umdatul Qaari, as quoted in Kifaayatul Mufti, Volume 5, Page 392)

He also adds that if Hadhrat 'A'isha (radiallaahu 'anha) had to see the fashions and evils that the women of his day had started, she would have been even more opposed to women attending the Masaajid.

If this was the situation in the 9th century of Islaam, what can be said about today?

During the Khilaafah of Hadhrat Umar (radiallaahu anh), when evils started to manifest themselves, he and the eminent Sahabah (radiaallahu anhum) of the time had the proclamation made that women should not attend the masjid. This was approved by all the Sahabah (radiallaahu anhum).

Badaai'us Sanaa'i (Volume 1, Page 157) states, 'It is not permissible for young women to attend the masaajid because of the narration from Hadhrat Umar (radiallaahu anh) stating that he prevented young women from the masaajid. This is because women leaving the home leads to the spread of evil, and anything leading to such evil is haraam.'

In his commentary of Bukhaari, Allaama Ayni (rahmatullaahi alaih) quotes a narration stating that Hadhrat Abdullaah ibn Umar (radiallaahu anhuma) used to stand in the Masjid on fridays and throw pebbles at women to drive them away from the masjid. (Volume 3, Page 228)

Hadhrat Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (radiallaahu anh) so used to drive women away from the Masjid on fridays, telling them, 'Go away! Your homes are better for you.' (Targheeb wat Tarheeb, Volume 1, Page 190)

(From Fataawaa Rahimiyyah, Volume 2)
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 23:23
The Excellence of As-Salat (The Prayer)

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha' (i.e., great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil, wicked deed).'' (29:45)

Abu Huraira (radiallahu anh) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) saying, "Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?'' They replied, "No soiling would left on him.'' He (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said, ''That is the five (obligatory) Salat (prayers). Allah obliterates all sins as a result of performing them.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

[bThis Hadith tells us about the merit and benefits of the performance of the prescribed five daily Salat, performing them will wash off one's sins, but this is true of only such Salat which is performed in accordance with Sunnah, i.e., punctually in exactly the manner showed by the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam), and not of that which is offered at will in one's own way.

Jabiru (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "The similitude of the five (obligatory) Salat is like a river running at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day.''
[Muslim].

Ibn Mas`ud (radiallahu anh) reported: A man kissed a woman. So he came to the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) and informed him about it. Then Allah revealed this Ayah:
"And perform the Salat, between the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds efface the evil deeds (i.e., minor sins).'' (11:114) The man asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) whether this applies to him only. The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said, "It applies to all of my Ummah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

"Between the ends of the day'' means Fajr and Maghrib prayers. Some people think it refers to `Isha' prayer while some think it means the Maghrib and `Isha' prayers. "In some hours of the night'' means the Tahajjud prayers. This Ayah of the Qur'an has been quoted here to stress that Salat is an act of great virtue and an expiation of sins, but only for minor sins because the major sins will not be pardoned without sincere repentance.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said, "The five (daily) Salat (prayers) and the Friday (prayer) to the Friday (prayer) expiate whatever (minor sins) may be committed in between, so long as major sins are avoided.''
[Muslim].

This Hadith elucidates that the minor sins committed during the interval of the five prescribed Salat and in the period intervening between one Jumu`ah and the other are pardoned with the performance of the five-time prescribed Salat and the Jumu`ah prayer, provided one does not commit major sins which are not forgiven without repentance. Sins like Shirk (associating someone with Allah in worship), disobedience of parents, false oath, false evidence, encroachment on an orphan's property, calumny against chaste women, etc., fall in the category of major sins and will not be forgiven by means of Salat only.

`Uthman ibn `Affan (radiallahu anh) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) saying, "When the time for a prescribed Salat is due and a Muslim performs its Wudu' and its acts of bowing and prostration properly, this Salat will be an expiation for his past sins, so long as he does not commit major sins, and this applies for ever.''
[Muslim].

This Hadith stresses the importance of performing Salah with all its essential prerequisites, i.e., Wudu' and concentration of mind. Such a Salah will expiate the sins.


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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 13:30
The Excellence of waiting for As-Salat (The Prayer)

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Everyone among you will be deemed to be occupied in Salat (prayer) constantly so long as Salat (the prayer) detains him (from worldly concerns), and nothing prevents him from returning to his family but Salat.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

As long as a person sits in mosque waiting for Salat, all his time is reckoned as being in the state of Salat and so eligible for reward.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The angels supplicate in favour of one of you so long as he remains in the place where he has performed Salat (prayer) in a state of Wudu'. They (the angels) say: `O Allah! Forgive him, O Allah! Have mercy on him.'''
[Al-Bukhari]

This Hadith has inducement for sitting in the place where one has performed Salat, provided one keeps his Wudu' intact, when a person does so, angels pray Allah to forgive him and have mercy upon him.

Anas (radiallahu anh) reported: Once the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) delayed the night prayer (`Isha') till midnight. He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) turned to us after Salat (prayer) and said, "The people slept after performing their Salat, but you who waited, will be accounted as engaged in Salat throughout the period of your waiting.''
[Al-Bukhari]

We learn from this Hadith that it is an act of merit and reward to sit and wait for the Imam and the Jama`ah (congregation) and one who does so will be treated as one who is engaged in Salat.


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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 14:32
Witr

The ruling of witr (according to the Hanafi madhab) is that it is wajib (necessary), and thus sinful to leave. [Haskafi, al-Durr al-Mukhtar]

This is because of many hadiths of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) in which he most emphatically emphasized the witr prayer. [Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir]

Among these hadiths: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said,

"Witr is a duty, so whoever does not perform witr is not of us," and he repeated it three times.
[Abu Dawud and Ahmad; the hadith is sound, as discussed by Zayla`i in Nasb al-Raya (2.112) and`Ayni in `Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari (7.11);]

"Allah is Witr (single, odd) and loves what is Witr. So perform Witr prayer. O followers of Qur'an, observe Witr (prayer).''
[At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]

"Make Witr prayer the last of your Salat at night.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

"Perform Witr prayer before dawn.''
[Muslim]

"Hasten to perform the Witr prayer before dawn.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

"He who apprehends that he may not get up in the later part of the night, should observe the Witr prayer in the first part of it; and he who is certain to get up in the last part of it, he should observe Witr at the end of the night, because Salat at the end of the night is attended (by the angels), and that is better.''
[Muslim]


How Many Rak'at In Witr?


Witr has been noted to be one of the most complex issues of prayer. There are approximately seventeen aspects concerning the witr prayer around which lie differences of opinion. However, we will focus mainly on the following three issues: 1) How many rak'ats is the witr prayer? 2) How many salams in the witr prayer? 3) Is performing one rak'ah sufficient for witr?

There are numerous hadiths which report the number of rak'ats to be performed in witr. However, dues to many inconsistencies found in them, it becomes very difficult to formulate an opinion that is in complete agreement with the literal meaning of each narration. It is therefore necessary to interpret some of these narrations in order to harmonize their meaning with other similar narrations. Various narrations on the witr prayer will be analyzed in-depth in an attempt to establish those procedures of performing witr that are most in conformance with the Sunnah.

(1) How Many Rak'ats Is The Witr Prayer?

The first discussion is concerning the number of rak'ats that should be performed for witr.

The Various Opinions

According to Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih), Witr should be performed in units of one, three, five, seven, nine, or even eleven rak'ats. He states in his book Kitab al-Umm that one rak'ah can be performed as witr. However, 'Allama Qastalani (rahmatullahi alaih) relates in his commentary of Saheeh al-Bukhari, Irshad al-Sari, that Qadi Abu'l-Tayyib (rahmatullahi alaih) was of the opinion that it is undesirable (makrooh) to perform just one rak'ah for witr. [Irshad al-Sari 2:259]

Qadi Abu'l-Tayyib (rahmatullahi alaih) is regarded as one of the greatest cholars of Shafi'ee fiqh and was also one of its main teachers in 'Iraq during his time. He studied under Imam Daraqutni (rahmatullahi alaih), and among his students were the likes of Khatib al-Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alaih) and Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi (rahmatullahi alaih).

Following this, there is a difference of opinion among the Shafi'ee's as to how the rak'ats of witr should be performed. One opinion is that during Ramadan, three rak'ats should be performed with one set of salams, and in other months with two sets - one in the second rak'ah and the other in the third. Another opinion states that one set of salams should be made if the witr is being performed in congregation, and two sets if it is being performed individually.

The opinions of Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahmatullahi alaih) are similar to that of Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih) with just a few minor differences. The commentator of Sifr al-Sa'ada relates an opinion of Imam Ahmad (rahmatullahi alaih) which states that a single rak'ah of witr is undesirable (makrooh). According to the Imam, a person must perform some rak'ats before performing the witr. A similar opinion has been reported from Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) as well. He relates a hadeeth in his Muwatta on the authority of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas (radiallahu anh) in which the Companion is described as performing a single rak'ah for witr. Following this narration, Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) states: "Our practise is not based on this, since witr (in our opinion) is at least three rak'ats." [Muwatta Imam Malik, 77]

The above review of opinions can be concluded as follows. According to Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih), witr can be performed in any number of odd rak'ats, ranging from one to eleven. Imam Ahmad's (rahmatullahi alaih) main and more popular view is that the witr be performed as one rak'ah and the rak'ats performed prior to it be considered as Qiyam al-Layl or Tahajjud (night-vigil prayer) [al-Mughni]. Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) also does not recommend performing a single rak'ah for witr. He recommends that at least three rak'ats be performed. Imam Abu Hanifa's (rahmatullahi alaih) opinion is simply that witr should be performed as three continuous rak'ats with two sittings - one in the second rak'ah and the other in the third - with salams to be performed in the final sitting only.

The Ahadeeth On This Issue

Before looking at the apparently conflicting ahadeeth, we will first look at those ahadeeth which clearly state that witr consists of three rak'ats:

1) It is reported from Abu Salama (rahmatullahi alaih) that: he asked 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) regarding the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) during Ramadan. She explained, "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would not peform more than eleven rak'ats, neither in Ramadan nor out of it. He would perform four rak'ats, and do not ask of their beauty and length; followed by another four, and do not ask of their beauty and length; after which he would perform three (witr)." 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) continued, "I asked, 'O Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)! Do you sleep before you perform witr? He replied, 'O 'A'ishah! My eyes sleep, but my heart does not.'" (Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:154, Saheeh Muslim 1:254, Sunan al-Nasa'i 1:248, Sunan Abi Dawood 196]

In this narration, Umm al-Mu'mineen (Mother of the Believers) 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) mentions that the witr prayer performed by Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) consisted of three rak'ats.

2) Sa'd ibn Hisham (radiallahu anh) relates that 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) informed him that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not makes salams in the second rak'ah of witr. [Sunan al-Nasa'i 1:248, Muwatta Imam Muhammad 151]

3) This narrations has also been mentioned by Imam Hakim (rahmatullahi alaih) with a slight variation: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would not make salams in the first two rak'ats of witr. (al-Mustadrak 1:304]

Imam Hakim (rahmatullahi alaih) then states, "[This narration is] authentic according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari (rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Muslim (rahmatullahi alaih)." 'Allama Dhahabi (rahmatullahi alaih) agreed with him.

4) The following is another variation of the above narration related by Imam Hakim (rahmatullahi alaih): The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform three rak'ats of witr making salams only at the end (in the final rak'ah). This was the practise of the Amir al-Mu'mineen (Leader of the Faithful) 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anh) and it is from him that the people of Madinah acquired this practise. (al-Mustadrak 1:304)

5) Sa'd ibn Hisahm (radiallahu anh) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), after completing the 'Isha prayer, would enter his home and perform two rak'ats, followed by another two more lengthier than the first. Thereafter, he would perform the witr prayer without any interval in between (i.e. without salams in the second rak'ah). He would then perform two rak'ats sitting down with the bowing and prostration also sitting down. [Musnad Ahmad 6:156]

6) 'Abdullah ibn Qays (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates: I asked 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha), 'How many rak'ats of Witr did the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) perform?' She replied, 'Four with three, six with three, or eight with three. He would not perform more than thirteen rak'ats for witr or less than seven.'" [Sunan Abu Dawood 1:200]
In this hadeeth, the whole Tahajjud prayer has been described as witr, whereas in reality only three rak'ats were witr, and the remaining four, six, or eight rak'ats were tahajjud. This is the reason why Umm al-Mu'mineen 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) distinguished between the three rak'ats of witr and the various other rak'ats in the above narrations.

7) 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Jurayj (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates: I asked 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) regarding the chapters the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would recite in witr. She replied, 'He would recite Surat al-'Ala in the first rak'ah, Surat al-Kaafiroon in the second, and Surat al-Ikhlas along with the Mu'awwadhatayn (Surat al-Falaq and Surat an-Nas) in the third.' (Sunan Abi Dawud 1:208, Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:106, Sunan Ibn Majah 1:82]
Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih) has declared this hadeeth to be sound (hasan).

8) Imam Hakim (rahmatillahi alaih) has related a very similar narration from 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) through 'Amra bint 'Abd al-Rahman (rahmatullahi alaih) and has stated it as being in accordance with the strict conditions of both Imam Bukhari (rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Muslim (rahmatullahi alaih). 'Allama Dhahabi (rahmatullahi alaih) has also verified this by stating that the hadeeth has been transmitted through a reliable chain of narrators. [al-Mustadrak 1:305]

9) Muhammad ibn 'Ali (rahmatullahi alaih) reports from father, who narrates on the authority of his father, 'Abdullah Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhuma), that: the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) rose at night, cleaned his teeth with a siwak (toothstick), and performed two rak'ats of prayer, then went back to sleep. He again arose, used the siwak and made wudu', and thereafter performed another two rak'ats of prayer, (on and on) until he had completed six rak'ats (in this manner). He then performed three rak'ats witr followed by two rak'ats (nafl). (Saheeh Muslim 1:261, Sunan al-Nasa'I 1:249]

10) 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) has also reported the following narration regarding the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) witr prayer: During the night before dawn, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform eight rak'ats (tahajjud) and three rak'ats witr, followed by two rak'ats (nafl). [Sunan an-Nasa'I 1:249]

11) 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform three rak'ats witr. He would recite Surat al-'Ala in the first rak'ah, Surat al-Kaafiroon in the second, and Surat al-Ikhlas in the third. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:106, Sunan al-Nasa'I 1:249, Sunan ibn Majah 82]

Numerous other Companions (radiallahu anhum) in their narrations have also mentioned the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) recitation of these three surats (chapters) during witr in the above mentioned order:

(1) 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abza (radiallahu anh) [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:298]

(2) Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh) [Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah 2:300]

(3) 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiallahu anh) [Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:106]

(4) 'Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa (radiallahu anh) [Majma' am-Zawa'id 1:241]

(5) 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh) [Majma' al-Zawa'id 1:241]

(6) Nu'man ibn Bashir (radiallahu anh) [Majma' al-Zawa'id 1:241]

(7) Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu anh) [Majma' al-Zawa'id 1:241]

(8) 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) [Majma' al-Zawa'id 1:241]

(9) 'Imran ibn Husayn (radiallahu anh) [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:298]

(10) Abu Khaythama (rahmatullahi alaih) through his father Mu'awiyah ibn Khadij (radiallahu anh) [Majma' al-Zawa'id 1:241]
The narrations of these Companions (radiallahu anhum) further support the opinion that witr consists of three rak'ats.

12) Thabit al-Bunani (rahmatullahi alaih) reports than Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu anh) addressed him saying: "O Thabit! Take this from me, for you will not hear it from anyone more trustworthy than myself, since I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), who acquired it from Jibreel (alayhisallam), and Jibreel (alayhisallam) acquired it from Allah (azza wa jal). The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed 'Isha prayer while I was in his company, followed by six rak'ats (nafl), during which he made salams at every second rak'ah. Thereafter, he performed three rak'ats witr with salams at the very end." [Kanz al-'Ummal 4:196]

The great historian and hadeeth master Ibn Asakir (rahmatullahi alaih) narrated this hadeeth through a reliable chain.

From the above narrations, a number of points are derived: (1) It is established tat witr is three rak'ats; and (2) that the three rak'ats are to be performed together and concluded with salams at the end of the third rak'ah.


The Companions (Sahabah - radiallahu anhum) And Followers (Tabi'een - rahmatullahi alaihim) On This Issue

1) Miswar ibn Makhrama (rahmatullahi alaih) reports: We finished burying Abu Bakr (radiallahu anh), when 'Umar (radiallahu anh) remembered that he had not yet performed witr. He stood up and we formed rows behind him. He lead us in three rak'ats and made salams only at the end (in the third rak'ah). [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:293, Musannaf 'Abd al-Razzaq 3:20]

2) Ibraheem an-Nakh'ay (rahmatullahi alaih) reports thah 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anh) said, "I would not neglect the three rak'ats of witr, even if I were to receive red camels in exchange." [Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150]
In those times red camels were considered valuable assets.

3) Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) was informed that: 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) would make salams in the second rak'ah of witr. Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) was informed that 'Umar (radiallahu anh) was a greater jurist than (his son), and his practise was to say the takbeer and stand up from the second rak'ah (for the third without making salams). [al-Mustadrak 1:304]

4) Makhool (rahmatullahi alaih) reports: 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anh) would perform three rak'ats witr without salams in between. [Musannaf ibn abi Shaybah 2:295]

5) 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh) says, "The rak'ats of witr are similar to the daytime witr prayer (i.e. Maghrib)." [Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150, Majma' al-Zawa'id 2:242]

6) Ibraheem an-Nakh'ay (rahmatullahi alaih) reports that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh) said, "One rak'ah does not suffice for witr." (Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150]

7) It is reported from Anas (radiallahu anh) that, "Witr is three rak'ats." [Musannaf ibn abi Shayba 2:293]

8) Abu Mansoor (rahmatullahi alaih): I asked Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhma) regarding the number of rak'ats in witr. He replied, 'Three rak'ats.' [Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar]

9) 'Ata (rahmatullahi alaih) reports that 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) said: "Witr is similar to the Maghrib prayer." [Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150]

10) Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) reports: Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh) would perform three rak'ats for witr and would make salams only at the end. [Musannaf 'Abd al-Razzaq 2:294]

11) Abu Ghalib (rahmatullahi alaih) reports that, Abu Umamah (radiallahu anh) would perform three rak'ats for witr. [Musannaf ibn abi Shayba 2:294]

12) 'Alqamah (rahmatullahi alaih), the student of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh), reports that, witr is three rak'ats. [Musannaf ibn abi Shaybah 2:294]

13) It is reported that Ibraheem an-Nakh'ay (rahmatullahi alaih) would say: "There is no witr consisting of less than three rak'ats." [Musannaf ibn abi Shayba 2:294]

14) Abu'l-Zanad (rahmatullahi alaih) reports: 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Azeez (rahmatullahi alaih) designated the three rak'ats of witr to be three based on the ruling of the jurists, with salams to be made only at the end. [Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar]

15) It is reported that Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) said: "The Muslims have reached a consensus concerning witr being three rak'ats with salams only at the end." [Musannaf ibn abi Shaybah 2:294]

The reason for quoting the statements of so many Companions (radiallahu anhum) and Followers (rahmatullahi alaihim) is that their opinions and practises hold a high status in Islamic Law. Whenever a conflict is found between the ahadeeth concerning a certain issue, the scholars turn to the actions and statements of the Companions (radiallahu anhum) to remedy that conflict. The Companions (radiallahu anhum) undoubtedly possessed great insight into the reality of these issues, due to them being blessed with the close company of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). The scholars therefore hold their opinion in high regard and normally adopt those ahadeeth which conform to their practise. Likewise the opinions of the Follower (rahmatullahi alaihim) are also regarded since they succeeded the Companions (radiallahu anhum) and were the bearers of their knowledge.

The more prominent Companions like, Sayyidina 'Umar, 'Ali, 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood, 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, Anas ibn Malik, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, 'A'ishah, Ubay ibn Ka'b, and Abu Umamah (radiallahu anhum) all stated in clear terms that witr consists of three rak'ats. Those who came after them, like Ibraheem an-Nakh'ay, 'Alqamah, Abu Ishaq, Qasim ibn Muhammad, and others (rahmatullahi alaihim), held the same opinion. Even the renowned fuqaha' sab'ah, "The seven great jurists" of the earlier period, concluded that witr was three rak'ats. This was such a widely accepted opinion that Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) reported consensus (ijma') on it.

(2) How Many Salams In The Witr Prayer?

The Hanafi opinion in his matter is that, like every other prayer, only one set of salams should be made in witr. According to this opinion, one must not make two sets of salams and cause the third rak'ah to be performed separately.
The opinion of other scholars is that the musalli (person praying) should first perform two rak'ats and then, after terminating them with salams, perform the third rak'ah separately with another set of salams.

There are a number of reasons which establish the superiority of the Hanafi position in this issue:

1) None of the narrations mentioned above declare that two sets of salams should be made within the three rak'ah prayer. On the contrary, many of them have stated that the three rak'ats are to be performed continuously without any break in between. It is quite evident that if there had been an interval in between the second and third rak'ats, the narrators would have certainly mentioned it.

2) The narrations of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) portray witr to be like any other set of three rak'ats, as they do not mention the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) making an extra set of salams in the second rak'ah. It should be noted that 'A'ishah (radiallahu anha) is considered the most knowledgeable regarding the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) witr prayer. This is due to her close observance of the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) witr prayer while at home, where he was habitually performing it. Hence, without further debate, her explanation that witr consists of three rak'ats should be accepted.

3) Some narrations, which have been reported from 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma), state that witr was performed as a single rak'ah. Many scholars claim that Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) never actually saw the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performing the witr prayer, and that his narrations cannot be preferred over those of 'A'isha and Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhum), both of whom were known to have seen Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performing the prayer.

4) One narration states: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) prohibited the 'incomplete prayer' ("butayra", lit. an animal which has had its tail cut off) - where a person performs a single rak'ah as witr.
Although this narration is said to contains some weaknesses, its prohibition of performing witr as one rak'ah holds; due to it being authentically transmitted through a number of reliable chains (isnad). In his Lisan al-Mizan, Hafiz ibn Hajr (rahmatullahi alaih) has related this narration through a strong chain under the biography of 'Uthman ibn Muhammad, one of its narrators. With the exception of 'Uqayli - known for his extreme strictness in the criticism of narrators (even though his criticism here is only of a mild nature) - most scholars of hadeeth have judged 'Uthman ibn Muhammad to be reliable. Hakim al-Naysaburi has related a narration from him in his Mustadrak and called it authentic, which 'Allama Dhahabi has verified. Hence, the status of the hadeeth can be now lower than hasan (sound), and the prohibition mentioned in it of performing one rak'ah separately will stand as a strong command. [see Fath al-Mulhim 2:309]

5) Many of the elect Companions, like 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, 'Ali ibn abi Talib, ibn Mas'ood, ibn 'Abbas, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamam, Anas ibn Malik, and Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anhum), all performed witr with only one set of salams at the end of the salat. Some of their narrations have been mentioned above and others can be found in numerous collections of ahadeeth; the chapters (on witr) of which are especially replete with the narrations of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) on witr. Therefore, the Sunnah method of performing witr would be to perform them as a continuous set of three rak'ats as practised by these great Companions (radiallahu anhum).

6) In some ahadeeth, the Maghrib prayer, which contains only one set of salams at the end, has been called 'the witr prayer of the day.' Therefore, 'the witr prayer of the night' should also be offered like the Maghrib salah - with only one set of salams in the last rak'ah.

There is a report which mentions that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) prohibited that the witr be perform like the Maghrib prayer. What this actually means is that one should not perform the witr alone, like Maghrib, without performing any dual set of rak'ats (shuf'ah) before it. The report does not mean that one must make salams in between and separate the last rak'ah from the first two.

7) The 'Seven Great Jurists' (fuqaha' sab'ah) all agreed that the witr was to be performed as three rak'ats with salams only at the end. These seven jurists would be consulted by the people on various issues, and whatever the majority of them agreed on would be accepted as the legal ruling (fatwa). In his book, Imam Tahawi (rahmatullahi alaih) has related their unanimous opinion that witr should be performed as three rak'ats with salams made only in the last rak'ah. The Seven Great Jurists were: Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr, Qasim ibn Muhammad, Abu Bakr ibn 'Abd al-Rahman, Kharija ibn Zayd, 'Ubaydullah ibn 'Abdillah, and Sulayman ibn Yasar (radiallahu anhum). [Awjaz al-Masalik 1:434]

8) Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) reported a consensus (ijma') on the opinion that witr was three continuous rak'ats without any intervals in between; which means that it was a widely accepted view.

These points make it easy to conclude that the witr is indeed three rak'ats with a single set of salams to be performed in the third, and final, rak'ah. This was the widely held opinion among the Companions (radiallahu anhum) and Followers (rahmatullahi alaihim).


Some Confusing Narrations

1) Sa'id ibn Hisham (rahmatullahi alaih) asked 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) to describe for him the witr prayer of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). She replied: "He would prepare his siwak (toothstick) and water for his ablution (wudu'). Allah would have him wake up during the night whenever He willed, and the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would clean his teeth with the siwak and complete his ablution. He would then perform nine rak'ats and would sit on the eighth rak'ah only, in which he would remember Allah, praise Him, and invoke (Du'a) Him. Thereafter, he would stand up without making salams and perform the ninth rak'ah, then he would sit down, and (again) he would remember Allah, praise Him, and invoke Him. He would then make the salams (loud enough) for us to hear. So, my son, these were eleven rak'ats. When the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) became of age and heavier, he would perform (only) seven rak'ats, and his practise in the (final) two rak'ats would be the same as his earlier practise (of performing them seated). So there were (in total) seven rak'ats." [Saheeh Muslim 1:256]

The apparent wording of this narration suggest that the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) witr prayer was a total of nine rak'ats, in which he would sit only at the end of the eight rak'ah and complete the prayer with salams in the ninth. The hadeeth then states that this was his earlier practise, for later on he reduced the number of rak'ats to seven, sitting briefly in the sixth and ending with salams in the seventh.

In Sunan al-Nasa'ee, Muwatta Imam Malik, and a number of other hadeeth collections, the same narration has been transmitted through the same chain with the following addition, "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would not make salams in the second rak'ah of witr." In the version of al-Mustadrak, it states: "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform three rak'ats witr with salams only at the end." In Musnad Ahmad, it states: "After the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had performed the 'Isha prayer, he would enter his home and perform two rak'ats, followed by another two lengthier than the first. He would then perform the witr without any interval in between, after which he would perform a final two rak'ats seated."

The following points come to light after studying the various transmissions of this narration:

(a) At most, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform a total of eleven rak'ats at night. Included in this were the witr and two rak'ats that succeeded it.

(b) Three rak'ats out of the eleven were witr.

(c) He would sit in the second rak'ah of witr without making any salams.

(d) After witr, he would two rak'ats seated.

(e) He would sit at the end of every second rak'ah.

From these points we learn that the various narrations concerning witr are indeed describing the same procedure of performing witr. The reason why they appear to be conflicting is due to the different words used in most of them.

The version in Saheeh Muslim only states the total number of rak'ats performed, without offering much detail as to how they were performed in connection with the tahajjud prayer. The reason for this is that 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) was specifically asked about the witr prayer and not about tahajjud. Hence, she did not feel it was necessary to provide any details about the rak'ats of tahajjud performed before the witr.

So, providing details on the witr, she said, "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would sit without making salams on the eights rak'ah." This eighth rak'ah was in reality the second rak'ah of witr, which was being performed after the six rak'ats of tahajjud; then, on the ninth rak'ah (the third rak'ah of witr), he would make salams and thus complete his witr prayer.

It was common knowledge at that time that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) always performed his tahajjud prayer in sets of two; so 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) did not provide any detail about them and this mentioned the total number of rak'ats together. Lastly, she ended by saying that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform yet another two rak'ats seated after performing the ninth rak'ah, bringing the total number of rak'ats to eleven.

This is most likely the soundest interpretation for this hadeeth, as it encompasses all the variations of Sa'd ibn Hisham's narration, and at the same time reconciles the apparent conflicts between them. In summary, the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform the tahajjud prayer in sets of two, as stated in the above-mentioned narration in Musnad Ahmad (and probably all other narrations on tahajjud); and thereafter perform the three continuous rak'ats of witr, with salams made only at the end. After the final salams, he would then perform two more rak'ats sitting down.

2) 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) narrates: The Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) prayer at night would be thirteen rak'ats, five of which would be witr; and he would sit only at the end.

The apparent wording of this hadeeth describes the witr prayer of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) as being a continuous set of five rak'ats. However, just as in the previous narration, the apparent meaning in this narration is not to be taken as the implied meaning. The reason for this is that 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) only specified the total number of rak'ats performed by the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) at night and included in it the two rak'ats of nafl performed sitting down after the three rak'ats of witr. This is what she refers to then she says, 'five of which would be witr' [i.e. including the two rak'ats of nafl).

When she says, 'he would sit only at the end,' it means he would not sit for any lengthy period of time during the prayer to make extra supplication (du'a') and remembrance (dhikr) except at the very end. He sat only briefly in every other rak'ah to recite the tashahhud. Furthermore, she did not even mention that he made salams in the third rak'ah of witr, as it was common knowledge that salams had to be made in the third rak'ah. What 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) was referring to when she said, 'he would sit only at the end,' was the final sitting of the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) two rak'ats nafl salat that followed his witr (i.e. the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would only sit for an extended period of time in the final sitting of his last set of two rak'ats nafl salat).

Some Hanafi scholars have explained this narration in a slightly different way. They state that it is known that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform the rak'ats of tahajjud standing up or sitting down, while the two rak'ats following the witr he would mostly perform sitting down. Hence, if the hadeeth is approached with these points in mind, the apparent meaning of the hadeeth cannot be taken.

What really happened, they explain, is that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), according to his normal routine, performed the witr along with the tahajjud prayer standing up and then sat down to perform the two nafl rak'ats. 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) described his prayer by saying, 'he would sit only at the end' - that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), after having performed the first eleven or so rak'ats (tahajjud and witr) standing, sat down and performed the last two rak'ats of nafl. She states that he sat down to perform the last two rak'ats of nafl after having performed all the other prayers standing up. [see Darse Tirmidhi 2:210-220, Fath al-Mulhim 2:219]

This makes the above narration of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) very clear and dispels the notion that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed a lengthy prayer comprised of many rak'ats, with only one sitting at the end and no sitting postures in between the various rak'ats he performed. The following narration of Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) further corroborates this explanation: 'The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed eight rak'ats and seven rak'ats in Madinah, i.e. Zuhr and Asr (together) and Maghrib and 'Isha (together).' [Saheeh Muslim 1:246]

No scholar has taken this statement to imply that each of the four rak'ats of Zuhr and 'Asr, and the three of Maghrib and four 'Isha were combined together in such a way that there was no interval between them.

The reason why scholars have disregarded such an interpretation is because it suggests a new method of prayer that is inconsistent with the normal method of prayer used regularly by the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions (radiallahu anhum). In the same way, those narrations which apparently suggest a method for witr contrary to the noral practise of prayer being a minimum of two rak'ats, will have to be interpreted accordingly and not taken literally.

(3) Is One Rak'ah Sufficient For Witr?

'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) narrates: Someone asked the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) about prayer at night. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, 'The prayer at night should be performed in sets of two. Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rak'ah which will convert what he has performed into witr for him.' [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:135, Saheeh Muslim 1:257]

In another verison of this narration it states, 'Witr is a single rak'ah (performed) towards the end of the night.' The version in Sunan ibn Majah states, 'The prayer of the night is (performed) in sets of two, and the witr is a rak'ah (performed) before dawn.'

Some scholars have deduced from these narrations that the witr is a single rak'ah to be performed on its own separately. This deduction however does not bring out the real meaning of this hadeeth as all the characteristics of prayer have not been taken into consideration. The following points should be considered:

(a) May Allah (azza wa jal) bless the great Shafi'ee scholar Hafiz ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, who states in his Fath al-Bari: "It could be contended that this (hadeeth) is not absolutely clear with regards to the intervals (between the second and third rak'ats of witr). It is possible that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) intended by his statement, 'he should perform one more rak'ah,' that this rak'ah should be performed together (mudafatan) with the two rak'ats before it." [Fath al-Bari 2:385]

Hence, the real meaning of this hadeeth is that a person should perform the tahajjud prayer in sets of two throughout the night, and upon reaching the end of his vigil (qiyam al-layl), he should add an extra rak'ah to the final set of two and make it three rak'ats. This way, the rak'ats of his tahajjud and witr prayer will add up to an odd number and thereby be in accordance with Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) statement: 'Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rak'ah, which will convert what he has performed into witr for him.' [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:135, Saheeh Muslim 1:257]

(b) The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said regarding the sacred pilgrimage (Hajj): "The Pilgrimage (Hajj) is 'Arafah." [Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Daraqutni]

This narration is also not to be taken literally, as it would mean that a person's pilgrimage (Hajj) is completed by him merely proceeding to the plain of 'Arafat, standing there for some time, and then returning home without even entering into pilgrim sanctity (ihram). This is obviously not a valid interpretation since it has neglected many integral aspects of the worship. In actuality, the hadeeth is only expressing the importance of standing (waquf) in 'Arafat, as it is one of the integrals of the pilgrimage (Hajj); and not that it is the only integral act to be performed for Hajj.

Similarly, by stating that the witr is one rak'ah performed before the end of the night, the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is only defining the distinctive factor between witr and the two rak'ats of tahajjud; that adding an extra rak'ah to the last two rak'ats of tahajjud would render all three rak'ats into witr, thus allowing the person to fulfil his requirement of witr.

(c) The personal practise of Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma), although appearing otherwise from the above hadeeth, was to perform three rak'ats of witr together; as is indicated in the following narration of Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih): 'Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) would state that the Maghrib prayer is the witr of the day.' [Muwatta Imam Malik 77]

If the Maghrib prayer (which everyone agrees is three continuous rak'ats) has been stated a being the witr of the day, then it follow that the witr prayer itself should be performed as three continuous rak'ats as well.

In light of the above, it is very difficult to establish that witr could be performed as just one rak'ah. Hafiz ibn Hajar (rahmatullahi alaih) relates in his Fath al-Bari that ibn al-Salah (rahmatullahi alaih) said: We cannot infer from the narrations of witr, despite their being so many, that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) only performed a single rak'ah for witr. [Fath al-Bari 2:15]

Hence, any narration which states that the witr prayer was anything but three rak'ats cannot be taken literally. Instead, it has to be analyzed and suitably interpreted so as to draw out its true meaning and harmonize it with the other narrations that mention the witr as being three rak'ats.


A Final Question

After reading the ahadeeth, one might ask why these narrations differ from one another in describing the witr prayer? The answer to this is very simple. There are two types of narrators. Firstly, there are those who refer to the whole combination of night prayer (tahajjud) and witr as being witr, and do not mention any distinction between the two. They state only the total number of rak'ats the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed at night, since it was common knowledge anyway that the final three rak'ats of the tahajjud prayer would be set aside for witr. Hence, they include the whole night-vigil (tahajjud) prayer when mentioning the witr prayer. Examples of this can be found above in the section titled 'Some Confusing Narrations.'

As opposed to this, the second type of narrators do not refer to all of the rak'ats as being witr, but rather describe the tahajjud and witr prayer separately in terms of the number of rak'ats performed for each. Hence, they do not leave any room for speculation. The majority of the second type of narrations state very clearly that the witr consists of three rak'ats. Examples of this can be found above in the section titled 'The Ahadeeth On This Issue.'

Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih), quoting the words of Ishad ibn Ibraheem Rahway (or Rahuya), concluded: 'The narrations that state that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed thirteen rak'ats witr actually mean (as Ishaq says) that he performed thirteen rak'ats including the three rak'ats of witr, and (it follows from this) that the whole night prayer was referred to as witr.' [Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:105]

Imam Abu Muhammad al-Manbaji (rahmatullahi alaih), a Hanafi jurist and hadeeth scholar, writes: 'One way of reconciling between the (conflicting) narrations is to say that (initially) the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to perform one rak'ah as witr and even instructed others in this; but his final position was to perform (the witr as) three rak'ats.' [al-Lubab fi al-Jam'I bayn al-sunnati wa'l-kitab 1:173]

Conclusion

In conclusion, the witr should be performed as a three rak'ah prayer, since this is how, according to the majority of the narrations, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed his witr prayer. These three rak'ats should be performed together without separating the third rak'ah from the first two. Performing one rak'ah witr has been classified as being an incomplete prayer by the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Evidence of this is the fact that there is no other example of a prayer consisting of just one rak'ah in Islamic Jurisprudence. Hence, the witr prayer should be performed continuously just like the Maghrib prayer and not on its own as a single rak'ah.

Furthermore, it has been made clear tht the practise of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was to perform witr at night after the tahajjud prayer. He would perform the tahajjud prayer in sets of two rak'ats until the time of Fajr drew close, at which time he would add an extra rak'ah to the final set, thus converting both the last two rak'ats set and the additional rak'ah into witr. Surely, this explanation is what the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) intended when he said, 'Them when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rak'ah, which will convert what he has performed into witr for him.' [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:135, Saheeh Muslim 1:257]

And Allah, the Exalted, knows best.

[Fiqh al-Imam, Mufti 'Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf]

http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/626_02-12-2010/how-many-rak%27ats-in-witr%3F.html
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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 14:37
Salat al-Duha

Abu Dharr (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of everyone of you. Every utterance of Allah's Glorification (i.e., saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying La ilaha illAllah) is an act of charity; and enjoining M`aruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding Munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two Rak'ah Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).''
[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu alnh) reported: My Khalil (the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)) directed me to fast three days of each month, and to observe two Rak`ah Duha (optional prayer) at forenoon, and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

`A'ishah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to perform four Rak`ah of Duha prayer (at the forenoon) and would add to them whatever Allah wished.
[Muslim]

What is the time of Duha prayer? Is Duha prayer and Ishraq prayer one and the same? There is a difference of opinion on these issues. Some people think that Duha and Ishraq are two different names for one and the same prayer, and this is performed soon after sunrise. While others think that the earliest time of Duha prayer is soon after sunrise and the last is a little before the sun begins to decline. The one performed in the early hours is called Ishraq prayer, while the one performed in the late hours is called Duha prayer. Some people say that the two Rak`ah performed at the time when the sun is at a height of a lance in the sky is Ishraq, and the one, comprising four Rak`ah, performed when the sun covers one fourth of the sky is Duha. (For more details, see Miratul-Mafatih, a commentary of Mishkat Al-Masabih, Chapter Duha prayer).

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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 14:55
The Excellence of Salat al-Jumu'ah (The Friday Prayer)

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Then when the (Jumu`ah) Salat is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah (by working), and remember Allah much: that you may be successful.'' (62:10)

Salman (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "If a man takes bath on Friday, (or) purifies himself as much as he can with Wudu', oils his hair, applies whatever perfume available in his house, sets forth for the mosque, does not separate two people (to make a seat for himself), performs Salat what is prescribed for him, remains silent when the Imam speaks, his (minor) sins between that Friday and the following Friday will be forgiven.''
[Al-Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who takes a bath on Friday, like the bath for ceremonial purity, and then goes (to the mosque), he is like one who offers a camel as a sacrifice to seek the Pleasure of Allah; and he who comes at the second hour is like one who offers a cow to win the Pleasure of Allah; and he who comes at the third hour is like one who offers a ram with horns (in sacrifice); and he who comes at the fourth hour is like one who offers a hen; and he who comes at the fifth hour is like one who offers an egg. And when the Imam ascends the pulpit, the angels (who write the names of those who come to the mosque before the coming of the Imam) close (their record) in order to listen to the Khutbah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Samurah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "It suffices to perform Wudu' properly for the Friday prayer; but it is better to take a bath.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhum) reported: We heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying (while delivering Khutbah on his wooden pulpit), "Either some people (i.e., hypocrites) stop neglecting the Friday prayers, or Allah will seal their hearts and they will be among the heedless.''
[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The five daily (prescribed) Salat, and Friday (prayer) to the next Friday (prayer), and the fasting of Ramadan to the next Ramadan, is expiation of the sins committed in between them, so long as major sins are avoided.''
[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "If anyone performs Wudu' properly, then comes to the Friday prayer, listens to the Khutbah (religious talk) attentively and keeps silent, his (minor) sins between that Friday and the following Friday will be forgiven, with the addition of three more days; but he who touches pebbles has caused an interruption."
[Muslim]

One should listen to the Khutbah quietly with full attention. One must avoid toying with anything (such as straws, one's watch, etc.) as this is a useless exercise, which will doubtlessly deprive one of the Friday reward.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday. On that day Adam was created, he was admitted to Jannah, and he was expelled therefrom.''
[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said while talking about the merits of Friday, "There is a time on Friday at which a Muslim, while he (or she) is performing Salat and is supplicating, will be granted whatever he (or she) is supplicating for.'' And he (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) pointed with his hand to indicate that this period of time is very short.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Aus bin Aus (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Among the best of your days is Friday. On that day pray to Allah to exalt my mention frequently, for your such supplications are presented to me.''
[Abu Dawud]

The auspiciousness of time further enhances the merits of virtuous deeds, as is evident from the stress on reciting more and more salutation on the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) on Friday.

The most well-worded is "Ibrahimi salutation'' because the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) himself taught it to his Companions. The salutation is: Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala ali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala Ibrahima, wa `ala ali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidun Majeed. Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala ali Muhammadin, kama barakta `ala Ibrahima, wa `ala ali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidun Majeed.

"Oh Allah! Sned prayers on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad, just as you sent prayers on Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem. Indeed you are full of praise and majesty. Oh Allah! Send blessings on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad just as you sent blessings on Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem. Indeed you are full of praise and majesty."


See also:

Jumu'ah (Friday) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/du-aas-supplications/5854/jumu-ah-%28friday%29.html

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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 15:02
Desirability of offering Nawafil (Voluntary or Optional) Prayers at Home

Zaid bin Thabit (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "O people! perform your (voluntary) Salat (prayers) in your homes because the best Salat of a man is the one he performs at home, except the obligatory Salat.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Observe part of the [Nawafil (voluntary)] Salat (prayers) in your homes. Do not turn your homes into graves.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Jabir (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "When you have finished your (Fard) Salat (prayer) in the mosque, you should observe some of your (Sunnah and Nawafil) Salat at home; Allah will bless your homes because of your Salat (in your homes).''
[Muslim]

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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 15:06
Inducement to Perform Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid (Upon Entering the Mosque)

Abu Qatadah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "When anyone of you enters the mosque, he should perform two Rak`ah (of voluntary prayer) before sitting.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Jabir (radiallahu anh) reported: I came to the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) when he was in the mosque, and he said to me, "Perform two Rak`ah prayer.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


Prayer During The Jumu'ah Khutbah


The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) has instructed that whenever a person enters the masjid, he should perform two rak'ats of prayer before sitting down. This prayer is called tahiyyat al-masjid [greeting of the masjid], and it is a sunna prayer.

However, these two rak'ats are not to be performed at times in which prayers are undesirable [makruh]. Islamic law has designated the following times as undesirable:

(1) after the Fajr prayer until sunrise;
(2) after the 'Asr prayer until sunset;
(3) from the beginning of sunrise until the sun is a spear's length above the horizon [i.e. when a distance equal to the sun's diameter appears between the sun and the horizon];
(4) from the time the sun is at its highest point in the sky until it moves on
[istiwa']; and
(5) from when the sun turns yellow before sunset until after it has set.
Hence, it is recommended to perform the tahiyyatal-masjid upon entering the

masjid at any time other than these disliked times. There is however one other
exception to this general rule. Since the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) forbade any form of prayer or conversation during the Friday sermon [khutba], it is not allowed that a person perform the tahiyyat al-masjid upon entering the masjid while the sermon is in progress. This is the opinion of the Hanafis and many others.

Some scholars state that a person entering the masjid at such a time should still perform a set of two rak'ats prior to sitting down and listening to the imam's sermon. They go as far as designating it a desirable act even at that time.

The following is a discussion regarding this very issue. It seeks to determine the exact procedure a person should follow when he enters the masjid during the Friday sermon. The evidence used by the Hanafi school to establish the impermissibility of performing salat while the sermon is in progress will be presented first; after which we will analyze the few seemingly contradictory narrations that are used to prove the permissibility of prayer in this time.


The Qur'an On This Issue

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"So when the Qur'an is recited, listen to it and remain silent, that you may receive mercy." (al-Qur'an 7:204).

This verse was revealed concerning salat (and, according to some opinions, concerning the sermon too). Now, since the sermon has been likened to prayer and since the verses of the Qur'an are recited in it, the command of this verse shall apply to the sermon as well; which means that a person would have to observe silence during the sermon and listen attentively to what is being said. This also means that the person should not occupy himself in prayer during the sermon.

It is related from 'Umar (radiallahu anh) that the two sermons on Friday are equal to two rak'ats of prayer. This is probably why the rak'ats of Friday prayer are only two, whereas the rak'ats of Zuhr are four. He states: "The sermon is equivalent to two rak'ats; therefore, whoever misses the sermon should perform four rak'ats [of Zuhr] instead." (Musannaf lbn Abi Shayba 2:128, Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq)

It should be remembered that this was his personal view, and the ruling of the majority of scholars is that a person should still join the two rak'ats Friday congregation with the imam even if he happened to miss the sermon.

Since the sermon is similar to the prayer, it could be concluded from this that one should also remain silent and listen carefully while the sermon is in progress, just as one would while in prayer. The wisdom behind disallowing all forms of prayer, remembrance [dhikr], supplication [du'], and even enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong [amr bi'l-ma'ruf and nahy'an al-munkar] -which is permissible on all other occasions-is due to the fact that if a person engages in tahi'yat al-masjid or any other activity while the sermon is in progress, he will not be able to listen attentively to the imam's sermon.

The Hadiths On This Issue

1) Abu Hurayra (radiallahu anh) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever says, "Remain silent," while the imam is delivering the sermon, he has nullified [his reward]." (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:114)

2) Abu Hurayra (radiallahu anh) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam): "When you say, "Remain silent," to your companion on Friday while the imam is delivering the sermon, you have nullified [your reward]." (Sahih Muslim 1:281, Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar)

Since merely reminding another person to keep quiet during the Friday sermon has been prohibited by these hadiths, it follows that tahiyyat al-masjid, which is a supererogatory [nafl] action, must also be disallowed while the Friday sermon is being delivered. The following hadith further clarifies this deduction:

3) 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) narrates that he heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) say, "When one of you enters the masjid to find the imam on the pulpit [delivering the sermon], then no prayer or conversation [is permitted] until the imam finishes." (Majma' al-zawa'id 2:184)

This hadith in itself may have been classified by some as being defective due to the narrator in its chain, Ayyub ibn al-Nahik. There is mixed criticism about him. Some scholars of hadith have called him trustworthy, while others have called him weak. However, despite this, there are many other aspects which bolster its acceptability. Ibn Abi Shayba has related some other narrations of Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) (the narrator of this hadith) which would indicate that Ibn 'Umar's personal opinion and practice was in conformance with his narration. This adds strength to his narration.

One of the principles of hadith [usul al-hadith] is that any narration supported by the constant practice of the Companions (radiallahu anhum) and Followers (rahmatullahi alaihim) will acquire enough strength to be used as evidence. This means that the message of the above hadith, despite the criticism leveled at its chain, can be accepted. The fact that there are many other rigorously authenticated [sahih] hadiths that relay the same message as the above hadith makes it even more legitimate to use as proof. We will see in the following paragraphs that this opinion was not an isolated one but was rather the opinion of numerous Companions and Followers.

4) It is related from Salman al-Farsi (radiallahu anh) that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "A person who performs the ritual bath [ghusl] on Friday, attains as much purity as he can, applies oil or some scent found in the house; then departs for the masjid and does not force two people apart [to sit between them]; and performs as much prayer as Allah has willed for him, and then maintains silence while the imam speaks, will have all his sins from the present Friday to the next forgiven." (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:122, Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar 1:369)

5) A similar narration of Abu Hurayra (radiallahu anh) in Sahih Muslim has the following variation: [...] and performs what has been ordained for him, then observes silence until the imam finishes his sermon... (Sahih Muslim 1:283)

6) Another narration of Abu Hurayra and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiallahu anhuma) contains the following variation: [...] and performs what Allah has ordained for him, then observes silence when the imam appears... (Sunan Abi Dawud 50 U)

7) Nubaysha al-Hudhali (radiallahu anh) narrates from the Messenger of Allah: "When a Muslim performs ghusl [ritual bath] on Friday, approaches the masjid without inconveniencing anybody; and if he finds that the imam has nor yet appeared, he engrosses himself in prayer for as long as possible; and if he finds the imam present, he sits silently and listens attentively until the imam completes the Friday prayer..." (Musnad Ahmad)

Imam Haythami states regarding the above hadith that "Imam Ahmad has narrated this hadith and its narrators are those of Sahih al-Bukhari except for the shaykh [teacher] of Ahmad, who is trustworthy." (Majma' al-zawa'id 2:171)

None of the above hadiths mention that it is virtuous or even permissible to perform prayer once the imam has appeared for the sermon. The reason why this has been prohibited is due to the musalli's inability to attentively listen to the imam's sermon and to the verses of the Qur'an he is reciting.

The Companions (Sahabah - Radiallahu anhum) And Followers (Tabi'een - rahmatullahi alaihim) On This Issue

1) It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas and Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhum) "that they disliked any prayer or conversation on Friday once the imam had appeared [to deliver the sermon]. (Musannaf lbn Abi Shayba 2:124)

2) It is narrated from Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu anhuma) that he would remain in prayer on Friday, and when the imam would appear he would stop praying. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:124)

3) 'Uqba ibn 'Amir (rahmatullahi alaih) has been reported as saying that prayer while the imam is on the pulpit [minbar] is a disobedience [ma'siya] (Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar 1:370)

4) It is narrated from Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (rahmatullahi alaih) that a person [who enters the masjid on Friday while the imam is delivering the sermon] should sit down and not engage himself in any prayer. (Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar 1:369)

5) It is narrated from Khalid al-Hadhdha' (rahmatullahi alaih) that Abu Qilaba (rahmatullahi alaih) arrived while the imam was delivering the sermon. He sat down and did not perform any prayer (Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar 1:369)

6) Abu Malik al-Qurazi (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that the "sitting" of the imam on the pulpit [minbar] signals an end to all prayer, and his "sermon" [signals an end] to all talking. (Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar 1:370)

7) Ibrahim al-Nakh'ay (rahmatullahi alaih) says, 'Alqama (rahmatullahi alaih) was asked, "Do you speak while the imam is delivering the sermon or after he has arrived [to deliver it]?" He said no (Sharh Ma'ani 'l-athar 1:370)

8) It is related from Mujahid (rahmatullahi alaih) that he disliked to pray while the imam was delivering the sermon (Sharh Ma'ani 'l- athar 1:370)

Another important point is that the angels have also been reported to wrap up their registers as soon as the sermon begins. The following hadiths reveal that as the imam begins his sermon, the angels put away their records in order to listen to the sermon.

9) There is a narration of Abu Hurayra (radiallahu anh) in Sahih al-Bukhari, as well as in other collections, regarding the angels recording the names and times of the worshippers arriving for the sermon on Friday. Towards the end of this hadith, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) says, "Thereafter, when the imam appears, the angels wrap up their records and begin to listen to the admonition [dhikr]." (Sahih Muslim 1:283, Sahih al Bukhari 1:127, Sunan al-Nasa'i 205)

10) A narration from Abu Umama (radiallahu anh) states: "When the imam appears, the records [of the angels] are put away." (Majma' al-zawa'id 2:177)

11) A narration from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiallahu anh) states: "When the muezzin calls for prayer [adhan] and the imam sits on the pulpit, the records [of the angels] are wrapped up, and they enter the masjid listening attentively to the admonition [dhikr]." (Majma' al-zawa'id 2:177)

12) In his commentary on Sahih Muslim, Imam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) has stated that the same (i.e. that no prayer during the sermon) was the practice of 'Umar, 'Uthman, and 'Ali (radiallahu anhum). (Sharh Sahih Muslim 1:288)

13) Allama Shawkani (rahmatullahi alaih) states that the great hadith master Zayn al-Din 'Iraqi (rahmatullahi alaih) has related the same practice from Muhammad ibn Sirin, Qadi Shurayh, Ibrahim al- Nakh'ay, Qatada, and Zuhri (rahmatullahi alaihim).

14) Ibn Abi Shayba (rahmatullahi alaih) has also reported this opinion from Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, Mujahid, 'Ata', and 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr (rahmatullahi alaihim).

These narrations highlight and further establish the position of the Hanafis on the issue of prayer during the Friday sermon. Their opinion is that it is impermissible to perform salat while the sermon is in progress.


Analyzing The Seemingly Contradictory Hadiths

1) Jabir (radiallahu anh) narrates: Sulayk al-Ghatafani (radiallahu anh) arrived on Friday and sat down while the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was delivering the sermon. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ordered him to stand and perform two rak'ats and to make them short. (Sahih Muslim 1:287)

This hadith is used by those who claim that it is permissible to perform two rak'ats during the sermon. This however is very difficult to accept due to the following reasons:

(a) This hadith cannot stand as evidence for prayer being permissible at the time of the sermon, because it speaks of a lone and isolated incident. It was only once that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ordered somebody to rise and perform two rak'ats during the sermon. In fact, there are a number of narrations which state that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ordered people to sit down during the sermon.

There is one hadith about a desert Arab [a'rabi] who had come to Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to complain about drought, then had appeared a week later to complain about heavy floods. This person arrived during the Friday sermon, but the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not command him to perform two rak'ats.

Anas (radiallahu anh) narrates: A person entered [the masjid] on a Friday from the door opposite the pulpit upon which the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was delivering the sermon. He faced the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, properties have been destroyed and the pathways blocked. Pray to Allah that he send us rain." The narrator says that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) raised his hands and prayed, "O Allah, grant us rain." It began to rain, and, by Allah, we did not see the sun for a week. Thereafter, the person arrived through the same door the following Friday while the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was delivering the sermon. He faced the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, property have been destroyed and the pathways blocked. Pray Allah to to stop the rain." (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:137)

Another narration tells us that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) once observed a person during the sermon who was hurrying over people's shoulders. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) told him: "Sit, for you have inconvenienced [the people]." (Sunan al-Nasa'i 207, Abi Dawud)

It is quite clear that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not order him to perform any prayer, but told him to sit down quickly. In another narration of Jabir (radiallahu anh) it states: [On one occasion] the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) positioned himself on the pulpit and said, "Be seated." Ibn Mas'ud (radiallahu anh) [who had just entered] sat down instantly by the door of the masjid. When the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saw him he said, "Come forth, O 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud." (Sunan Abi Dawud 156)

Again, the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not order him to perform prayer, but instead told him to come forth and sit. A hadith in Sahih Muslim states:
'Umar (radiallahu anh) was once delivering the sermon when 'Uthman (radiallahu anh) arrived. 'Umar (radiallahu anh) admonished him for not having performing the ritual bath [ghusl], but did not order him to perform any prayer. (Sahih Muslim 1:280)

None of these incidents indicate a command for prayer while the sermon is in progress. In fact, they instruct that one should sit down while the imam is delivering the sermon, which proves that the one occasion on which the
Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ordered Sulayk al-Ghatafani (radiallahu anh) to stand and pray was due to another reason. The hadith of Sulayk therefore cannot be used to prove the desirability of prayer during the Friday sermon.

The full account of Sulayk al-Ghatafani's incident is as follows: Once, while the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was sitting on the pulpit waiting to begin the sermon, a Companion named Sulayk ibn Hudba al-Ghatafani (radiallahu anh) who had on very torn and worn clothing entered the masjid. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), after seeing his poverty-stricken state, ordered him to stand and pray. He did this so the other Companions could also observe his condition. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) remained silent until he had finished his prayer; then, after seeing that the other Companions had taken a look at him, he encouraged them to contribute to him, which they did with open hearts. One can clearly see that this was a very special circumstance, in which the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ordered Sulayk to stand up and pray so that his condition would become known to the Companions. Consequently, this command cannot be classified as generally applicable as it was issued only once to this particular Companion.

(b) The above explanation should be sufficient to understand the true nature of the
incident. Another explanation mentioned by some scholars is that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) gave the order to pray before commencing the sermon and then waited silently until the Companion had completed his prayer. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not recite or say anything while Sulayk prayed, as is understood from a hadith in Sahih Muslim: "Sulayk al-Ghatafani (radiallahu anh) entered the masjid on Friday while the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was sitting on the pulpit [and had not yet stood for the sermon]." (Sahih Muslim 1:287)

It is a proven fact that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would deliver his sermons standing. Hence, for him to be sitting down (as the narration states) means that he had not yet begun the sermon; so Sulayk's (radiallahu anh) prayer was not performed during the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) sermon but before it. This point is further substantiated by Imam Nasa'i's (rahmatullahi alaih) inclusion of this narration under a chapter entitled, "Chapter on Prayer Before the Sermon." This clearly indicates that according to Imam Nasa'i (rahmatullahi alaih), this incident took place before the sermon had begun.

(c) There are some narrations, however, which indicate that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had already begun the sermon when Sulayk (radiallahi anh) entered. The meaning of these narrations is that he was just about to begin the sermon when Sulayk (radiallahu anh) walked in.

(d) There are also other narrations which mention that Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) interrupted his sermon and remained silent until Sulayk (radiallahu anh) finished his prayer. The narration in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba contains the following words: "The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), when ordering the Companion to perform two rak'ats, discontinued his sermon until he had finished the two rak'ats." (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:110), and the narration of Daraqutni contains the following words: "Anas (radiallahu anh) narrates that a person from the Qays tribe entered while the
Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was delivering the sermon. The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) told him to stand up and perform two rak'ats and discontinued the sermon until the person completed his prayer."
(Sunan al-Daraqutni 2:15 U)

This means that the Companion had completed his salat and was no longer
engaged in it while the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was delivering his sermon.

(e) Yet another explanation for this incident is that, since the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had interrupted his sermon and begun to converse with him, the prohibition of talking or praying was lifted and Sulayk (radiallahu anh) had to no longer adhere to the command "remain silent and listen." Therefore, for him to perform two rak'ats while the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) remained silent (and waited for him) was permissible. Ibn al-'Arabi (rahmatullahi alaih) has offered this explanation and considered it most accurate.

(f) It has been already mentioned that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)
ordered Sulayk (radiallahu anh) to rise and perform the prayer so as to expose his poverty- stricken state in front of the Companions. In this regard, a narration in Sunan al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa'i from Abu Sa'id (radiallahu anh) states: "A person entered the masjid in a shabby state." (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:93 U, al-
Nasa'i 1:208 U)

(g) Another point that should not be overlooked here is that for the two rak'ats to be considered tahiyyat al-masjid, they must be offered immediately upon entering the masjid and prior to sitting down. However, we find in some versions of this narration that Sulayk (radiallahu anh) had sat down upon his arrival, after which the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had instructed him to stand and pray. The narration in Sahih Muslim states: "Stand up and pray," (Sahih Muslim 1:287) and another narration states: "Sulayk (radiallahu anh) sat down without praying, and the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) asked him if he had performed two rak'ats? He replied that he had not, so the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ordered him to stand up and perform two rak'ats. (Sahih Muslim 1:287)

This proves that he was ordered to stand up and pray in order to reveal his
condition to the other Companions.

When the above points are taken into consideration, it makes it quite difficult to claim that tahiyyat al-masjid was permitted at the time of the sermon. The incident of Sulayk (radiallahu anh) was a unique and isolated one, and not one instructing the whole Umma to pray at that time, especially when there are other narrations that clearly prohibit its performance.

2) Another seemingly contradictory narration is as follows: Jabir (radiallahu anh) narrates that once while the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was delivering the sermon he said, "When you [enter the masjid] and find the imam delivering the sermon... or [he said] "[...] and find that the imam has arrived [for the sermon], you should perform two rak'ats." (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:156)

This is another narration that is used to establish the desirability of tahiyyatal-
masjid at the time of the sermon. The same words are narrated by Imam Muslim (rahmatullahi alaih) in his Sahih as part of the narration of Sulayk al-Ghatafani (radiallahi anh) (Sahih Muslim1:287)

It can be said that this narration is in contradiction with the command of the Holy Qur'an and many other rigorously authenticated hadiths that have already been mentioned above. Many explanations have been offered in order to remove the conflict between this hadith and the hadiths of prohibition. One explanation is that the phrase, "delivering his sermon," in the narration, actually means, "about to begin the sermon" (i.e. the imam was sitting waiting to begin the sermon). This is one way of reconciling the narrations so that no contradiction remains.

Otherwise, the second way to deal with this issue is to leave it as an independent rigorously authenticated narration in conflict with the other rigorously authenticated narrations of prohibition; and determine, in the light of the principles of hadith [usul al-hadith], which of the narrations are more superior and stronger.

The result of such an analysis would be that the hadiths of prohibition presented by the Hanafis are stronger for a number of reasons:

(a) The narrations used by the Hanafis are of a prohibitive nature (i.e. they prohibit the prayer at a particular time), whereas this narration (hadith 2) is of a permissive nature. One of the principles of hadith [usul al-hadith] is that when there is a conflict between hadiths, a hadith prohibiting something is considered superior to one that permits it. Therefore, since the hadiths presented by the Hanafis are of a prohibitive nature, they are considered superior to those hadiths which are of a permissive nature (i.e. hadith 2).

(b) The narrations of prohibition presented by the Hanafis are more in harmony with the implications of the above mentioned Qur'anic verses, which prohibit anything that would distract a person from listening to the sermon.

(c) The narrations presented by the Hanafis are substantiated by the practice of
many of the Companions (radiallahu anhum) and Followers (rahmatullahi alaihim), as has been previously detailed; whereas this narration, if taken as an independent narration, is only supported by the lone narration of Sulayk (radiallahu anh).

(e) There is greater caution in acting upon the hadiths prohibiting tahiyyat al- masjid at the time of the sermon than upon those permitting it, since tahiyyat al- masjid is not considered an obligatory prayer in any opinion. While holding it permissible, neglecting it would not be considered a sin. However, if one were to pray during the sermon while holding the view that it is prohibited, he would be considered sinful for going against what is believed to be a prohibition.


Conclusion

Many narrations state that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had discontinued his sermon while Sulayk (radiallahu anh) performed his prayer. What would happen today if many people began to arrive late, and worse still, all at different times (as is to be observed nowadays in the masjids)? How many times and for how long would the imam remain silent, and when would he be able to complete the sermon?

The Hanafis have taken all these aspects into consideration in forming their opinion. They have adhered to the hadiths of prohibition and have answered and explained all the seemingly conflicting narrations. Their view has also been fully substantiated by the statements of various Companions (radiallahu anhum) and Followers (rahmatullahi alaihim).
Therefore, we can safely conclude that after taking all the above points into consideration, it will be prohibited to perform two rak'ats of tahiyyat al-masjid after the imam has started his sermon.

[Fiqh al-Imam, Mufti Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf]

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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 15:19
Excellence of Standing in Prayer at Night

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And in some parts of the night (also) perform the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e., recite the Qur'an in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer - Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)). It may be that your Rubb will raise you to Maqam Mahmud (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection).'' (17:79)

"Their sides forsake their beds...'' (32:16)

"They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Rubb (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope].'' (51:17)

`A'ishah (radiallahu anha) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: "Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?'' He said, "Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

`Ali (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) visited me and Fatimah (radiallahu anha) one night and said, "Do you not observe prayer (at night)?''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Salim bin `Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattab (radiallahu anhum) reported, on the authority of his father, that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "What an excellent man `Abdullah is! If only he could perform optional prayers at night.'' Salim said that after this, (his father) `Abdullah slept very little at night.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

`Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh) reported: Mention was made before the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) of a man who slept throughout the night till morning. The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) remarked, "He is a man in whose ears Satan urinated.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "When any one of you sleeps, Satan ties three knots at the back of his neck. He recites this incantation at every knot: `You have a long night, so sleep.' If he awakes and remembers Allah, one knot is loosened. If he performs Wudu', the (second) knot is loosened; and if he performs prayer, (all) knots are loosened. He begins his morning in a happy and refreshed mood; otherwise, he gets up in bad spirits and sluggish state.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

`Abdullah bin Salam (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "O people, promote the greetings, feed (the poor and needy) and perform Salat when others are asleep so that you will enter Jannah safely.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The best month for observing Saum (fasting) after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best Salat after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night.''
[Muslim]

`A'ishah (radiallahu anha) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would sleep during the early part of night and stand in Salat during the latter part.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

`Abdullah bin `Amr (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "The Salat which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud (alayhisallam); and As-Saum (the fasting) which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud. He used to sleep half the night, get up to perform Salat for one-third of it, then sleep through the remaining one-sixth of it; and he used to observe Saum on alternative days.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Jabir (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) was asked: "Which Salat is the best?'' He replied, '' The best Salat is that in which Qiyam (the duration of standing) is longer.''
[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "When one of you gets up at night to perform (Tahajjud) prayer, let him start Salat with two short Rak`ah.''
[Muslim]

Jabir (radiallahu anh) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying, "Every night there is a special time during which whatever a Muslim asks Allah of any good relating to this life or the Hereafter, it will be granted to him; and this moment comes every night.''
[Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "May Allah show mercy to a man who gets up during the night and performs Salat, awakens his wife to pray and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face (to make her get up). May Allah show mercy to a woman who gets up during the night and performs Salat, awakens her husband for the same purpose; and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.''
[Abu Dawud]

Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "When a man awakens his wife during the night and they both perform two Rak`ah Salat together, they are recorded among the men and women who celebrate remembrance of Allah.''
[Abu Dawud]

If the husband and wife are praying together then the wife should stand behind the husband.

`Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "If anyone falls asleep and therefore fails to observe his Hizb (share) or part of it, if he observes it between the Fajr and the Zuhr prayers, it will be recorded for him as though he had observed it during the night.''
[Muslim]

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#14 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 15:27
The Excellence of Optional (Taraweeh) Prayer during Ramadan

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who observes optional prayer (Tarawih prayers) throughout Ramadan, out of sincerity of Faith and in the hope of earning reward will have his past sins pardoned.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to urge (the people) to perform (optional Tarawih) prayer at night during the month of Ramadan. He did not order them or make it obligatory on them. He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whosoever performs (optional Tarawih) prayers at night during the month of Ramadan, with Faith and in the hope of receiving Allah's reward, will have his past sins forgiven.''
[Muslim]


Also see:

1) The Number Of Rak'ats In Taraweeh

2) Tarawih - Proof for 20 rak'ats

3) The Truth About The Number Of Rak'ats In Taraweeh



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#15 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 15:29
The Excellence of Performing two Rak'ah of Voluntary Prayer after Ablution

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to Bilal (radiallahu anh) "Tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e., one which you deem the most rewarding with Allah) you have done since your acceptance of Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your shoes in front of me in Jannah.'' Bilal (radiallahu anh) said: "I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make Wudu' (or took a bath) in an hour of night or day, I would immediately perform Salat (prayer) for as long as was destined for me to perform.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
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