HOW MANY RAK’ATS IN WITR? [Hanafi]

[Mufti Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf Mangera]

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 there lie differences of opinion. However, in this chapter we will focus 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’a sufficient for witr?.

There are numerous hadiths which report the number of rak’ats to be performed in witr. However, due to many inconsistencies found in them. It becomes very difficult to formulate an opinion that is in complete agreement woth 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.

In this chapter, various narrations on the witr prayers will be analyzed in-depth in an attempt to establish those procedures of performing witr that are most in conformance with the sunna.

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’i, witr should be performed in the units of one, three, five, seven, nine or even eleven rak’ats. He states in his book Kitaab al-Umm that one rak’a can be performed as witr. However, ‘Allama Qastalani relates in his commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, Irshad al-sari, that Qadi Abu’l Tayyib was of the opinion that it is undesirable [makruh] to perform just one rak’a for witr. (Irshad al-sari 2-259)

Qadi Abu’l Tayyib is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of Shafi’i fiqh and is also one of its main teachers in Iraq during his time. He studied under Imam Daraqutni, and among his students were the likes of Khatib al-Baghdadi and Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi.

Following this, there is a difference of opinion among the Shafi’is 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’a 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 and Ahmad are similar to that of Imam Shafi’i with just a few minor differences. The commentator of sifr al-sa’ada relates an opinion of Imam Ahmad which states that a single rak’a of witr is undesirable [makruh]. According to the Imam, a person must perform some rak’ats before performing the witr. A similar opinion has been narrated from Imam Malik as well. He relates a hadith in his muwatta on the authority of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas in which the Companion is described as performing a single rak’a for witr. Following this narration, Imam Malik states:

Our practice is not based on this, since witr [in our opinion] is atleast three rak’ats. (Muwatta Imam Malik 77)

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

THE HADITHS ON THIS ISSUE

Before looking at the apparently conflicting hadiths, we will first look at those hadiths which clearly state that witr consists of three rak’ats.

1. It is reported from Abu Salama that

He asked Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) regarding the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) during Ramadan. She explained, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would not perform 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].” Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) continued, “I asked, O Messenger of Allah! Do you sleep before you perform witr.” He replied, “O Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart does not.”‘ (Sahih Bukhari 1:154, Sahih Muslim 1:254, Sunan al-Nasa’i 1: 248, Sunan Abi Dawud 196).

In this narration Umm al-mu’minin [Mother of the Believers] ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) mentions that the witr prayer performed by the Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) consisted of three rak’ats.

2. Sa’d bin Hisham (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that,

‘Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) informed him that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not make salams in the second rak’a of witr. (Sunan al-Nasa’i 1:248, Muwatta Imam Muhammad 151)

3. This narration has also been mentioned by Imam Hakim with a slight variation:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would not make salams in the first two rak’ats of witr. (al-Mustadarak 1:304)

Imam Hakim then states “[This Narration is] authentic according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari and Muslim.” ‘Allama Dhahabi agreed with him.

4. The following is another variation of the above narration related by Imam Hakim:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would perform three rak’ats of witr making salams only at the end [in the final rak’a]. This was the practice of the Leader of the Faithful ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) and it is from him that the people of Madina acquired this practice. (al-Mustadarak 1:304).

5. Sa’d ibn Hisham (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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’a]. 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 narrates:

I asked ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha), “How many rak’ats of witr did the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 Abi Dawud 1:200)

In this hadith, the whole tahajjud prayer has been described as witr, whereas in reality only three rak’ats were witr, and the four, six or eight rak’ats were tahajjud. This is the reason why Umm al-mu’minin ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) distinguished the three rak’ats of witr and the various other rak’ats in the above narrations.

7. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Jurayj narrates:

I asked ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) regarding the chapters the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would recite in witr. She replied, “He would recite, ‘Sabbih isma rabbik al-A’la’ [Surat al-A’la] in the first rak’a, ‘Qul ya’ayyuha’l-kafirun’ [Surat al-Kafirun] in the second, and ‘Qul huwallahu ahad’ [Surat al-Ikhlas] along with ‘Mu’awwadhatayn [Surat al-Falaq and al-Nas] in the third.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1:208, Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:106, Sunan ibn Majah 1:82)

Imam Tirmidhi has declared this hadith to be sound [hasan].

8. Imam Hakim has related a very similar narration from ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) through ‘Amra bint ‘Abdul Rahman and has stated it as being in accordance with the strict conditions of both Imam Bukhari and Muslim. ‘Allama Dhahabi has also verified this by stating that the hadith has been transmitred through a reliable chain of narrators. (al-Mustadarak 1:305)

9. Muhammad ibn ‘Ali reports from his father, who narrates on the authority of his father, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), that

the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) rose at night, cleaned his teeth with a siwak [toothstick], and then performed two rak’ats of prayer, then went back to sleep. He again rose,  used the siwak and made wudu’, and thereafter performed another two rak’ats of prayer, [on and on] until he has completed six rak’ats [in this manner]. He then performed three rak’ats witr followed by two rak’ats [nafl]. (Sahih Muslim 1:261, Sunan al-Nas’ai 1:249)

10. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) has also reported the following narration regarding the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) witr prayer:

During the night before dawn, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would perform eight rak’ats [tahajjud] and three rak’ats witr, followed by two rak’ats [nafl]. (Sunan al-Nas’ai 1:249)

11. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would perform three rak’ats witr. He would recite, ‘Sabbih isma rabbik al-A’la’ [Surat al-A’la] in the first rak’a, ‘Qul ya’ayyuha’l-kafirun’ [Surat al-Kafirun] in the second, and ‘Qul huwallahu ahad’ [Surat al-Ikhlas] in the third. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:106, Sunan al-Nas’ai 1:249, Sunan ibn Majah 82)

Numerous other Companions in their narrations have also mentioned the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) recitation of these three surats [chapters] during witr in the above mentioned order:

(1) ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abza (radhiyallahu anhu) (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:298)

(2) ‘Ubay ibn Ka’b (radhiyallahu anhu) (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:300)

(3) ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:106)

(4) ‘Abdullah ibn Abi ‘Awfa (radhiyallahu anhu) (Majma’ al-zawa’id 1:241)

(5) ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) (Majma’ al-zawa’id 1:241)

(6) Nu’man ibn Bashir (radhiyallahu anhu) (Majma’ al-zawa’id 1:241)

(7) Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) (Majma’ al-zawa’id 1:241)

(8) ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) (Majma’ al-zawa’id 1:241)

(9) ‘Imran ibn Hussain (radhiyallahu anhu) (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:298)

(10) Abu Khaytama through his father Mu’awiya ibn Khadij (radhiyallahu anhu) (Majma’ al-zawa’id 1:241)

The narrations of these Companions further support the opinion that witr consists of  three rak’ats.

12. Thabit al-Bunani reports that Anas bin Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who acquired it from Jibril, and Jibril acquired it from Allah Ta’ala. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed the ‘Isha prayer when I was in his company, followed by six rak’ats [nafl], during which he made salams at every second rak’a. Thereafter, he performed three rak’ats witr with salams at very end (Kanz al-‘ummal 4:196)

The great historian and Hadith master Ibn Asakir has narrated this hadith through a reliable chain.

From the above narrations, a number of points are derived: (1) it is established that 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’a.

THE COMPANIONS AND THE FOLLOWERS ON THIS ISSUE

1. Miswar ibn Makhrama reports:

We finished burying Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), when ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhi) 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’a] (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:293 U, Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq 3:20 U)

2. Ibrahim al-Nakh’ay reports that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 was informed that

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would make salams in the second rak’a of witr. Hasan al-Basri informed that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was a greater jurist than [his son], and his practice was to say the takbir and stand from from the second rak’a [for the third without making salams] (al-Mustadrak 1:304)

4. Makhul reports:

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) would perform three rak’ats of witr without salams inbetween (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:295)

5. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) says,

The rak’ats of witr are similar to the daytime witr prayer (i.e. Maghrib) [(Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150, Majma’ al-Zawa’id 2:242U)]

6. Ibrahim al-Nakh’ay reports that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) said:

One rak’a does not suffice for witr (Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150)

7. It is reported from Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) that

Witr is three rak’ats (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:293)

8. Abu Mansur reports:

I asked Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) regarding the number of rak’ats in witr. He replied, “Three rak’ats” (Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar)

9. ‘Ata’ reports that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) said:

Witr is similar to the Maghrib prayer (Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150)

10. Hasan al-Basri reports,

Ubay ibn Ka’b (radhiyallahu anhu) would perform three rak’ats for witr and would make salams only at the end of the third rak’a (Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq 2:294)

11. Abu Ghalib reports that

Abu Umama (radhiyallahu anhu) would perform three rak’ats for witr (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:294)

12. ‘Alqama, the student of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reports that

Witr is three rak’ats (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:294)

13. It is reported that Ibrahim al-Nakh’ay would so:

There is no witr consisting less than three rak’ats (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:294)

14. Abu’l-Zanad reports:

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz designated the 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’l Athar)

15. It is reported that Hasan al-Basri said:

The Muslims have reached a consensus concerning witr being three rak’ats with salams only at the end (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:294)

The reason for quoting the statements of so many Companions and Followers [tabi’in] is that their opinions and practices hold a high status in Islamic law. Whenever a conflict is found between the hadiths concerning a certain issue, the scholars turn to the actions and statements of the Companions to remedy that conflict. The Companions undoubtedly possessed great insight into the reality of these issues, to to them being blessed with the close company of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The scholars therefore hold their opinion in high regard and normally adopt those hadiths which conform to their practice. Likewise the opinions of the Followers are also regarded since they succeeded the companions and were the bearers of their knowledge.

The more prominent Companions like Sayyidina ‘Umar, ‘Ali, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, Anas ibn Malik, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, ‘A’isha, ‘Ubay ibn Ka’b and Abu Umama (radhiyallahu anhuma) all stated in clear terms that witr consists of three rak’ats. Those who came after them, like Ibrahim al-Nakh’ay, ‘Alqama, Abu Ishaq, Qasim ibn Muhammad and others held the same opinion. Even the renowned fuqaha sab’a “the seven great jurists” of the earlier (will follow later), concluded that the witr has three rak’ats . This was such a widely accepted opinion that Hasan al-Basri reported consensus [‘Ijma] on it.

HOW MANY SALAMS IN THE WITR PRAYER?

The Hanafi opinion in this matter is that, like every other prayer, only one set of salams be made in witr. According to this opinion, one must not make two sets of salams and cause the third rak’a to be performed separately.

The opinion of the 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’a separately with another set of salams.

There are a number of reasons which establish the superiority of the Hanafi position on this issue.

(1) None of the narrations mentioned above declare that two sets of salams should be made within the three rak’a 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 the third rak’ats, the narrators would have certainly mentioned it.

(2) The narrations of ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) portray witr to be like any other set of three rak’ats, as they do not mention the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) making an extra set of salams in the second rak’a. It should be noted that ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anhu) is considered as the most knowledgeable person regarding the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) witr prayer. This is due to her close observance of the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radhiyallahu anhu), state that the witr was performed as a single rak’a. Many scholars claimed that Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) never actually saw the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performing the witr prayer, and that his narrations cannot be preferred over those of ‘A’isha and Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhum), both of whom were known to have seen Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performing the prayer.

(4) One narrations states:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited the “incomplete prayer” [butayra’ lit. an animal which has had its tail cut off] – where a person performs a single rak’a as witr.

Although this narration is said to contain some weaknesses, its prohibition of performing witr as one rak’a holds; due to it being authentically transmitted through a number of reliable chains [asnad]. In his Lisan al-Mizan, Hafiz Ibn Hajar 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 hadith have judged ‘Uthman ibn Muhammad to be reliable. Hakim al-Naysaburi has related a narration from him in his Mustadarak and called it authentic, which ‘Allama Dhahabi has verified. Hence, the status of the hadith can be no lower than hasan [sound], and the prohibition mentioned in it of performing one rak’a 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’ud, Ibn ‘Abbas, Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman, Anas ibn Malik, Ubay’ ibn Ka’b (radhiyallahu 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 the numerous collections of hadith; the chapters (on witr) of which are especially replete with the narrations of ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) on witr. Therefore, the sunna method of performing witr would be to perform them as a continuous set of three rak’ats as practised by these great Companions.

(6) In some hadiths, the Maghrib prayer, with 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 Salat – with only one set of salams in the last rak’a.
There is a report which mentions that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited that the witr be performed 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’a] before it. The report does not mean that one must make salams in between and separate the last rak’a from the first two.

(7) The “seven great jurists” [fuqaha sab’a] 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 has related their unanimous opinion that witr should be performed as three rak’ats with salams made only in the last rak’a. The seven jurists were: Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr, Qasim ibn Muhammad, Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd Rahman, Kharija ibn Zayd, ‘Ubaydullah ibn Abdillah and Sulayman ibn Yasar (may Allah be pleased with them all) [(Awjaz al-Masalik 1:434)].

(8) Hasan al-Basri reported a consensus [‘Ijma] on the opinion that witr was three continuous rak’ats without any intervals in between; which means that is 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 the final, rak’a. This was the widely held opinion among the Companions and the Followers (may Allah be pleased with them).

SOME CONFUSING NARRATIONS

1. Sa’d ibn Hisham asked ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) to describe for him the witr prayer of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). She replied:

We 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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’a only, in which He would remember Allah, praise Him, and invoke [du’a] Him. Thereafter he would stand up without making salams abd perform the ninth rak’a, 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. After salams, he would perform another two rak’ats sitting down. So, my son, these were eleven rak’ats.
When the Messenger became of age and heavier, he would perform [only] seven rak’ats, abd his practice in the [final] two rak’ats  would be the same as his earlier practice [of performing them seated]. So these were [in total] seven rak’ats. (Sahih Muslim 1:256)

The apparent wording of this narration suggests that the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) witr prayer was a total of nine rak’ats, in which he would sit only at the end of the eighth rak’a and complete the prayer with salams in the ninth. The hadith then states that this was his earlier practice, for later on he reduced the rak’ats to seven, sitting briefly in the sixth and ending with salams in the seventh.

In Sunan al-Nasa’i, Muwatta Imam Malik and a number of other hadith collections, the same narration has been transmitted through the same chain with the following addition, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would not make salams in the second rak’a of witr.”  In the version of al-Mustadarak, it states, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would perform three rak’ats witr with salams only at the end.” In Musnad Ahmed, it states:

After the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would perform a total of eleven rak’ats at night. Included in this were the witr and the two rak’ats that succeeded it.

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

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

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

(e) He would sit at the end of every second rak’a.

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 Sahih Muslim only states that 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 (radhiyallahu 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 about the witr, she said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would sit without making salams on the eighth rak’a.” This eighth rak’a was in reality the second rak’a of witr, which was being performed after the six rak’ats of tahajjud; then, on the ninth rak’a (the third rak’a of witr), he would make salams and thus completing his witr prayer.

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

This is most like the soundest interpretation for this hadith, as it encompasses all the variations of Sa’d bin Hisham’s narration, and at the same time reconciles the apparent conflicts between them. In summary, the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radhiyallahu anha) narrates:

The Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 hadith describes the witr prayer of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 an implied meaning. The reason for this is that ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) only specified the total number of rak’ats performed by the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) at night and included in it the two rak’ats the two rak’ats of nafl performed sitting down after the three rak’ats of witr. This is what she refers to when she says, “Five of which would be witr” (i.e. including the two rak’ats of witr).

When she says, “he would sit only in the end,” it means that he would not sit for any lengthy period of time during the prayer to make extra supplicarion [du’a’] and remembrance [dhikr] except at the very end. He sat only briefly in every other rak’a to recite the tashahhud. Furthermore, she did not even mention that he made salams in the third rak’a of witr, as it was common knowledge that salams has to be made in the third rak’a. What ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) was referring to when she said, “he would sit only in the end,” was the final sitting of the Messenger’s two rak’ats nafl salah that follpwed his witr. (the Messenger 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would perform the rak’ats of tahajjud standing up or sitting down, and the witr prayer he would always perform standing up, while the two rak’ats following the witr he would mostly perform sitting down. Hence, if the hadith is approached with these points in mind, the apparent meaning of this hadith cannot be taken.

What really happened, they explain, is that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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 (radhiyallahu anha) described his prayer by saying, “he would sit only in the end,” – that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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 (radhiyallahu anha) very clear and dispels the nption that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed a lengthy prayer comprised of many rak’ats, with only one sitting at the end and no sitting postires in between the various postures he performed. The following narration of Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) further corroborates this explanation:

The Messenger of Allah performed eight rak’ats and seven rak’ats in Madina, i.e. Zuhr and ‘Asr [together] and Maghrib and ‘Isha [together] (Sahih 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 the Maghrib and four of the ‘Isha were combined together in such a way that there was no interval between them.

The reason why the 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions (radhiyallahu anhum). In the same way, those narrations which apparently suggest a new method for witr contrary to the normal practice of prayer being a minimum of two rak’ats, will have to be interpreted accordingly and not taken literally.

IS ONE RAK’A SUFFICIENT FOR WITR??

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

Someone asked the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about prayer at night. The Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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’a which will convert what he has performed into witr for him.” (Sahih Bukhari 1:135, Sahih Muslim 1:257)

In another version of this narration it states, “Witr is a single rak’a performed towards the end of the night.” The version in Sunan Ibn Maja states, “The prayer of the night is [performed] in sets of two, and the witr is a rak’a [performed] before dawn.”

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

(a) May Allah Ta’ala bless the great Shafi’i scholar Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, who states in his Fath al-Bari:

It could be contended that this [hadith] is not absolutely clear with regards to the intervals [between the second and third rak’ats of witr]. It is possible that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) intended by his statement, “he should perform one more rak’a,” that this rak’a should be performed together [Mudafatan] with the two rak’ats before it (Fath al-Bari 2:285U)

Hence, the real meaning of this hadith 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’a 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 upto an odd number and thereby be in accordance with the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) statement:

Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rak’a, which will convert what he has performed into witr for him (Sahih Bukhari 1:135, Sahih Muslim 1:257)

(b) The Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding the sacred pilgrimage [haj]:

The pilgrimage is ‘Arafa (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, ibn Maja, al-Daraqutni)

This narration is also not to be taken literally, as it would mean that a person’s pilgrimage is completed by him merely proceeding to the plain of ‘Arafat, standing there for sometime, 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 hadith is only expressing the importance of standing [wuquf] in ‘Arafat, as it is one of the integrals of the pilgrimage; and not that it is an only integral act to be performed for haj.

Similarly, by stating that the witr is one rak’a performed before the end of the time, the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is only defining the distinctive factor between witr and two rak’ats of tahajjud; that adding an extra rak’a to the last two rak’ats of tahajjud would render all three rak’ats into witr, thus allowing the person to fulfill his requirement of witr.

(c) The personal practice of Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), although appearing otherwise from the above hadith, was to perform three rak’ats of witr together; as is indicated in the following narration of Imam Malik:

Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 as being the witr of the day, then it follows that the witr prayer itself should be performed as three continuous rak’ats as well.

In the light of the above, it is very difficult to establish that the witr could be performed as just one rak’a. Hafiz Ibn Hajar relates in his Fath al-Bari that Ibn al-Salah said:

We cannot infer from the narrations of witr, despite their being so many, that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) only performed a single rak’a 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 other narrations that mention the witr as being three rak’ats.

A FINAL QUESTION

After reading the hadiths of this chapter, one might ask why these narrations differ from one another in describing the witr prayer? The answer to it is very simple. There are two types of narrators. Firstly, there are those who refer to the whole combination of the 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 prayers 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 Hadiths on This Issue.” Imam Tirmidhi, quoting the words of Ishaq ibn Rahway [or Rahuya] concludes:

The narrations that state that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 refferred to as witr. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:105)

Imam Abu Muhammad al-Manbaji, a Hanafi jurist and hadith scholar, writes:

One way of reconciling between the [conflicting] narrations is to say that [initially] the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ised to perform one rak’a as witr and even instructed others in this; but his final position was to perform [the witr as] three rak’ats (al-lubab fi’ l-jam’i bayn al-sunnati wa’ l-kitab 1:173).

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the witr should be performed as three rak’a prayer, since that is how, according to the majority of the narrations, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed his witr prayer. These three rak’ats should be performed together without separating the third rak’a from the first two. Performing one rak’a witr has been classified as being an incomplete prayer by the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Evidence of this is the fact that there is no other example of a prayer consisting of just one rak’a 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’a.

Furthermore, it has been made clear that the practice of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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’a to the final set, thuse converting both the last two rak’ats set and the additional rak’a into witr. Surely, this explanation is what the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) intended when he said,

Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rak’a, which will convert what he has performed into witr for him (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:135, Sahih al-Muslim 1:257).

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

I’TIKAAF, LAILATUL QADR & EID UL FITR

[Darul Uloom Sabeelur Rashad]

I’TIKAAF

Ramadaan is a time of Ibaadah to Allah and gaining closeness to Him. Among the many ways leading to His closeness is the act of I’tikaaf. I’tikaaf is to seclude oneself in the Masjid with the intention of I’tikaaf (seclusion) for the sake of Allah.

I’tikaaf can include such seclusion for which the period is fixed as well as when it is not fixed. Based upon this the scholars have considered three types of I’tikaaf; Wajib, Sunnah and Nafl.

Wajib I’tikaaf refers to that essential seclusion in the Masjid which comes into effect through a vow/promise/oath, or as the Qadaa of a Sunnah I’tikaaf which became null. The least period for this type of I’tikaaf is one day and its night, and must be accompanied by fasting of the day with expressed intention.

The Sunnah I’tikaaf refers to that seclusion in the Masjid during the last ten days of Ramadaan which must also be observed along with fasting of the days. It begins before the sunset of the 20th day of Ramadaan, i.e. before the 21st night, and ends when the moon of Shawwaal is seen.

Nafl I’tikaaf refers to optional seclusion in the Masjid for any amount of time. The period is not fixed and fasting is not a condition for its observance.

So long as a person remains in the Masjid with the intention of seclusion as a form of worship to Allah it will constitute I’tikaaf.

I’tikaaf is indeed a great and significant form of worship to Allah for which He bestows an abundance of rewards and benefits. It was also an established practice of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) which he used to perform frequently, especially in the Holy month of Ramadaan. Sometimes, he would even remain in I’tikaaf for the entire month of Ramadaan in order to achieve rewards of Lailatul Qadr and closeness to Allah. This has been mentioned in an authentic Hadith narrated by Abu Saeed Khudri who said that “Rasuulullah (SA) once performed I’tikaaf in a tent (inside the Masjid) for the first ten days of Ramadaan and then extended it to the middle ten days. Thereafter, he put his head out of the tent and said: ‘Verily in search of Lailatul Qadr did I perform I’tikaaf for the first ten days and extended it to the next ten days for the same purpose; then I was told that this night is in the last ten days, so those with me should also continue the I’tikaaf.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

Every year after the Hijrah (migration) to Madinah until his departure from this world, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) remained in I’tikaaf for the last ten days of Ramadaan. In fact, in the last year of his blessed life, he remained in I’tikaaf for the last twenty days of Ramadaan.  This is seen from several Ahaadith as follows:

Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha), the blessed wife of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) relates that, “Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to perform I’tikaaf regularly during the last ten days of Ramadaan until he passed away. Then his wives observed this practice after him.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

It has also been reported by Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) that, “Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed I’tikaaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadaan. In the year he passed away, he observed it for twenty days.” (Bukhaari)

Therefore, in conformity with the continuous practice of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and those after him, the Jurists of Islam have considered I’tikaaf performed in the last ten days of Ramadaan as ‘Sunnah Muakkadah ‘alal Kifaayah’, i.e. an Emphasized Sunnah upon a sufficing basis. Therefore, if at least one sane, adult Muslim, male or female, observes it in a locality, then all the other Muslims would be saved from the sin of neglecting this emphasized Sunnah. If however, no one from the locality performs it, then all would be guilty of neglecting the emphasized Sunnah of I’tikaaf.

The author of Hidaya (an authoritative text on Fiqh) writes, ‘It is correct to say that it is Sunnah Muakkadah because Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) regularly performed I’tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadaan, and doing something with regularity is a proof of it being Sunnah.” (Hidaya Vol. 1 Pg. 229)

The Sunnah I’tikaaf would not be fulfilled for a period less than ten days and must be accompanied with fasting. Therefore, if one remained in I’tikaaf only a few days of the last ten days and did not remain for the other days, the Sunnah will not be achieved. Likewise, if one did not fast in these days whether out of negligence or because of valid excuses like sickness or journey, the Sunnah I’tikaaf will also not be achieved and in both cases it will be regarded as Nafl I’tikaaf.

REWARDS AND VIRTUES

There are many traditions which have mentioned the excellent virtues and benefits of observing I’tikaaf. In one Hadith, Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu anhu) said, “The person performing I’tikaaf remains free from sins, and he is indeed given the same reward as for those who do righteous deeds.” (Ibn Majah)

By remaining in the Masjid, the right atmosphere is created for doing good actions, and at the same time, it serves as a protective shield for the person against the evils and sinful temptations that lurk outside. The one observing I’tikaaf has been prevented, by the Shariah, from performing other good actions out of the Masjid, like Janaazah, visiting the sick, etc. The Hadith gives the good tidings to those in I’tikaaf, of the rewards of these actions in spite of not doing them. This is because the person in I’tikaaf remains in the house of Allah as His guest to engage in His worship, and to seek His pleasure only. As such he does not leave the Masjid for his own needs or desires. Thus Allah, Who is the Giver of rewards to those who engage in actions outside the Masjid becomes pleased with those inside the Masjid in I’tikaaf and may give them the same rewards, out of His great bounty and mercy.

In another narration, it has been reported by Hazrat Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whosoever performs I’tikaaf for a day (thereby seeking Allah’s pleasure), Allah will place three trenches between him and the fire of Hell, the width of each trench being greater than the distance between the Heaven and the Earth.” (Tabrani, Baihaqi, Hakim)

Aisha (Radhiyallahu anha) narrates that Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “If a Muslim performs I’tikaaf with the hope of gaining reward, then all his previous sins are forgiven.” (Dailami)

In another Hadith reported by Hazrat Husain (Radhiyallahu anhu), the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever performs I’tikaaf for the final ten days of Ramadaan, for him is the reward of two Hajj and two Umrahs; and whoever performs I’tikaaf from Maghrib until Ishaa, doing nothing except performing Salaah and reciting the Holy Quraan, Allah will prepare a place for him in Jannah.” (Baihaqi and Tabrani)

Besides these virtues, I’tikaaf creates a bond between a servant and Allah. This has been elucidated by Allaamah Ibn Qayyim as follows: “The basic purpose of I’tikaaf is that the heart gets attached to Allah, and with it, one attains inner composure and self-control; pre-occupation with the mundane things of life ceases; absorption in the eternal reality takes its place. The state is reached whereby all fears, hopes and apprehensions are superseded by the love and remembrance of Allah; every anxiety is transformed into the anxiety for Him; every thought and feeling is blended with the eagerness to gain His nearness and to earn His good favour;  devotion to the Almighty is generated instead of devotion to the world, and it becomes a provision for the grave where there will be neither a friend nor a helper. This is the high aim and purpose of I’tikaaf which is the speciality of the most sublime part of Ramadaan, i.e. the last ten days.”

The similarity of the person in I’tikaaf is like a beggar who has knocked at the door of someone very generous and is determined not to leave and not to stop knocking until he receives what he desires. The author of Maraqiul Falah has mentioned that, ‘what actually takes place in I’tikaaf is that the heart is drawn away from everything else except the Creator, while his soul is actually laid at His door-step.’

Allah, Who is Most Merciful and Relenting, will surely fulfill the needs of His servants, answer their calls, and quench their thirst for forgiveness, rewards and mercy while they are in this state of devotion and worship during I’tikaaf.

While in I’tikaaf, one receives the additional benefits and virtues of: Lailatul Qadr (better than one thousand months in rewards); congregational Salaah (25 to 27 times more reward); performance of Salaah in the first row (great rewards so much so that people would fight for it if it is known); waiting for Salaah before its time and from one Salaah to  the other (angels supplicate for mercy and forgiveness for him); a person’s heart becomes attached to the Masjid (one of those who will be shaded on the Day of Judgement from the burning sun); and it becomes easy to perform other Sunnah and Nafl acts of I’baadah like Tahajjud, Ishraaq, recitation of Quraan, Dhikr, etc., for which there are  special rewards.

PLACE OF I’TIKAAF

I’tikaaf of males must be performed in the Masjid. The most preferred place for I’tikaaf is Al Masjidul Haram in Makka, then Masjid an Nabawi in Madinah, then Masjidul Aqsaa in Jerusalem, then the Jami’ Masjid (main congregational Masjid) in one’s town, then the Masjid with the most amount of worshipers where the five daily Salaah are performed in congregation. If the five congregational Salaah are observed only during the days of I’tikaaf, then I’tikaaf will be allowed in it. To do I’tikaaf in Masaajid in which the five congregational Salaah are not performed even during the days of I’tikaaf is not preferred.

It should be noted that the Masjid refers to the area of the building which was fixed as Masjid by the persons or organization who erected the Masjid and demarcated its boundaries. Any extended hall, annexed building, etc. even under the same roof of the fixed Masjid area will not be considered as Masjid. If one who is performing I’tikaaf goes to that area knowingly or unknowingly, without a valid Shariah excuse, the I’tikaaf is rendered null. It is therefore important for those intending the performance of I’tikaaf to enquire and know the boundaries of the Masjid where he is performing his I’tikaaf.

I’tikaaf by women will be performed in the prayer room/area of their home. If such a place is not fixed then she should demarcate an area fixed for the purpose. It is Makruuh (disliked) for women to observe I’tikaaf in the Masjid.

LAWS PERTAINING TO LEAVING THE MASJID

A person performing I’tikaaf must spend all his time in the Masjid and should not venture outside for even a moment except to fulfill those religious/Shariah and natural necessities which cannot be fulfilled within the Masjid.

The valid reasons for leaving the Masjid which will not nullify the I’tikaaf are as follows:

To answer the call of nature.

One should go to the nearest facility which can fulfill his need. If the toilet is occupied then it is permissible to wait until it is vacant. However to delay unnecessarily after using it  would render the I’tikaaf null. It is permissible to talk briefly, to give or return Salams, to enquire of the sick, on one’s way to and from the toilet without halting for these reasons. It is also permissible if incidentally, on the way, without intent, there was Janaazah Salaah being performed and he joined its performance.

To take an obligatory bath.

It is not allowed to leave the Masjid with the intention of taking a bath for Jum’ah or to refresh or cool oneself. If however one leaves the Masjid for a valid reason, like answering the call of nature, and washes himself or takes a refreshing bath while using the toilet, not taking additional time, it will be allowed.

To make Wudu.

It is not allowed to leave the Masjid for Wudu only for recitation of Quraan since one can read Quraan without touching it. If however, Wudu is performed for the performance of any Salaah, the reading of Quraan by touching it will also be achieved. If facilities are provided inside the Masjid for Wudu then one is not allowed to leave for that reason, but should ensure that droplets do not fall onto the Masjid floor while making Wudu.

To call the Adhaan.

It is permissible for the Muadh-dhin,  as well as for another person desirous of calling the Adhaan, to leave the Masjid to call the Adhaan, but they must return immediately.

For organizing meals.

If no one is available to organize food and drink for the person in I’tikaaf he is allowed to leave, organize quickly his meals, and thereafter return in the Masjid to eat and drink therein. If someone is available then it is not permissible for him to leave. It should be noted that to assist someone in I’tikaaf brings great rewards.

Proceeding to another Masjid.

If Jum’ah is not performed in the Masjid where I’tikaaf is being performed then one in I’tikaaf is allowed to leave for another Masjid in which it is being observed. He must leave his Masjid at such a time that would allow him to reach and perform his Sunnah Salaah at the next Masjid just before the commencement of the Khutbah.

BREAKERS OF I’TIKAAF

Only Wajib and Sunnah I’tikaaf are rendered invalid. Nafl I’tikaaf is not considered null by any act.

–  To leave the Masjid without a valid Shariah reason for even a moment, whether intentionally, unintentionally, by mistake or under compulsion will render the I’tikaaf null.

–    If the fast is broken during the day of I’tikaaf, whether for a valid or an invalid reason, the I’tikaaf will become null. If one forgot that he was fasting and ate or drank something then neither the fast nor the I’tikaaf will be broken, provided that he did not continue eating or drinking when he remembered.

–   Having intimate relationship with a woman/wife with or without emission, as well as kissing, fondling and other such acts which leads to emission will nullify the I’tikaaf.

PERMISSIBLE FACTORS TO BREAK THE I’TIKAAF

The following are factors/reasons which may occur which makes it permissible to break the I’tikaaf. However the Qadaa of it must be performed.

–   To seek medical treatment if a disease emerges which cannot be cured except by leaving the Masjid

–   To save a person who is drowning or burning or to prevent a fire (or other great disasters)

–   To take care of one’s parents, wife or children if they are afflicted with an extreme sickness and have no one to tend to them

–   If one is compelled to leave such as in the case of a government’s warrant of arrest

–   If a Janaazah arrives and there is no one else to perform it.

MAKRUUH (DISLIKED) ACTS WHILE OBSERVING I’TIKAAF

–    To maintain total silence

–    To indulge in waste and idle talks

–   To engage in excessive sleeping so as to waste away the time

–  To unnecessarily pass wind in the Masjid

–    To read books or magazines which are not Islamic in nature

–   To set up the partition for those in I’tikaaf in such a way that it inconveniences others

–  To engage in worldly activities unnecessarily

LAILATUL QADR

THE NIGHT OF POWER

Allah in his infinite mercy has showered his bounties and favors upon the Muslims in the holy month of Ramadaan.

Not a day or night goes by except that Allah multiplies the reward for the one who performs good deeds in this holy month.

From among the special nights of this month, there is one which is known as Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power). A person who engages in  worship on this particular night will be given a reward better than that one who has performed worship for one thousand months.

Allah has named a Surah after this night in the Holy Quraan, and in it He mentions the great virtue of this night when He says: “The Night of Power is better than one thousand months.” (Surah 97.V 3)

Allah has been very kind to the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) whereby because of the virtue and blessings of this night we are able to compete with the previous nations in doing good deeds even though our life span may be shorter.

In this regard, Ibn Abi Hatim has reported from Mujahid that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was told about a person from among the Bani Israeel who used to worship Allah throughout the night and fought in the path of Allah during the day for one thousand months.

Upon hearing this, the Sahabas, (Radhiyallahu anhum) though amazed at the actions of such a devout servant became despondent, as it would have been impossible for them to attain such rewards. Allah then revealed Surah Qadr as a mercy and consolation to the believers that whosoever stands on the Night of Power in the worship of Allah will be given a reward better than that one who worships Allah for one thousand months.

Another great significance of the Night of Power as mentioned in Surah Qadr is that the Holy Quraan was sent down from the Preserved Tablet to the lowest Heaven and then revealed to the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in that very month. On this night, Angel Jibraeel along with other angels descend, making Dua of mercy for those believers whom they find busy in the worship of Allah.

Lastly, Allah mentions in this Surah that on the Night of Power, one will be able to experience a sort of peace and tranquility until the break of dawn, a night of complete goodness having no evil in it.

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whosoever stands in worship on the Night of Power with sincere faith and hope of gaining reward all his previous (minor) sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

The commentators mention about this Hadith that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) exhorts the believers not only to stand in Salaah but also to perform all other types of worship.

Therefore, one who performs worship on this night solely to gain the pleasure of Allah and not for any worldly gain and benefit with the belief and hope that Allah will reward him for his good deeds will Inshallah have his previous (minor) sins forgiven.

It should also be noted at this point that this night does not have any specific form of worship nor does it have a fixed amount. We should therefore exert ourselves on this night in Nafl Salaah, recitation of the Holy Quraan, doing the Zikr of Allah, making Dua etc. to the best of our abilities.

As for the actual date of the Night of Power, it lies only in the knowledge of Allah Ta’aala. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself searched for this night as it is mentioned in a tradition, “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) secluded himself for the first ten nights of Ramadaan. Then he secluded himself for the middle ten nights. Then he raised his head and said, “Verily I secluded myself in the first ten nights of Ramadaan seeking this night. Then I secluded myself in the middle ten nights. Then I was approached and told that it is in the last ten nights.” (Bukhaari)

He (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has also stated in another tradition: “Search for the Blessed Night in the odd nights from the last ten nights of Ramadhan. (Bukhaari)

The scholars are of different opinions as to which night is actually the Night of Power because of the various traditions that have reached them from the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and his Companions (Radhiyallahu anhu). However, it is necessary for us to search for the Night of Power in the odd nights from the last ten nights of Ramadaan as indicated to us from the above mentioned traditions.

One should therefore not think that the Night of Power must be on a particular night but one must search for it, as this is what the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  has taught us to do.

While we do not know which night is the Night of Power, there are some signs given to us by the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in a narration of Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radhiyallahu anhu) reported by Imam Baihaqi, which can give us an indication to it.

They are as follows:

The night will be very quiet and serene.The moon will be bright and radiant.The temperature of the night will be neither too hot nor too cold.No shooting stars will be flung at the Shayateen until the break of dawn.The sun will rise in that morning without any radiant beams of light.

In an authentic tradition Hazrat Aisha (Radhiyallahu anha) said, “O Messenger of Allah, inform me what I should say if I recognize the Night of Power. He said, “Say : Al-laa hum-ma in-naka ‘afuw-wun kariimun tu hib-bul ‘afwa fa’fu an-ni.” (O Allah! You are forgiving. You love to forgive, so forgive me. ) (Imam Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmizi)

We as believers, in trying to find the Night of Power should also say this Dua in abundance acting upon the advice of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) hoping to gain the forgiveness of Allah.

Finally the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said in a tradition, “The one who has deprived himself of this night has deprived himself of everything good. And none is deprived of its good except he who is completely unfortunate.” (Ibn  Majah)

This means that if Allah has given us an opportunity to gain the reward which is more virtuous than eighty-three years and four months, and due to our negligence we are devoid of the blessings of this night, then surely we are from among the unfortunate ones.

May Allah give us the ability to search for and find the Night of Power. Ameen.

EID UL FITR

Eid ul Fitr (Festival of the Breaking of the Fast) is the first day of the 10th lunar month, Shawwaal.  It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadaan.

Eid ul Fitr is one of the two days of festivity in Islam. The other being Eid ul Adhaa. This has been established from an authentic Hadith narrated by Anas (Radhiyallahu anhu) that upon arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  found its people celebrating two days, which were upheld from the Days of Jaahiliya (Ignorance).  The Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from Jaahiliya. Indeed Allah has substituted them for you with what is better, the Day of Sacrifice and the Day of Fitr.” [Ahmad, Abu Daud]

In another Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said referring to Eid ul Fitr: “Certainly for every community there is a day of Eid and this is our Eid”. [Bukhari, Muslim]

The word Eid literally means ‘recurrence’.  Thus Eid is, an occasion, which returns and recurs at specified times with renewed happiness and joy.  Muslims will return to the gathering of Eid with renewed zeal and enthusiasm and Allah returns to His servants with renewed bounties and rewards.

Even the nights which precede the Days of Eid, have also been marked as a time of great virtue and the scholars have considered it Mustahab (desirable) to do lbaa-dah on these nights. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The heart of the person who remains awake (in lbaadah)- during the night of Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adhaa will not die on the Day when hearts will be dead, i. e. the Day of Qiyaamah “[Tibrani]

The Day of Eid follows its night with the blessings, forgiveness and mercy of Allah to His servants who fasted during the day and who stood up at night in prayer.  Allah rewards them immensely for having fulfilled their duties to him by adhering to restraint and guarding against evil; who endeavored in acts of piety and righteousness; who became engrossed in dua, dhikr and recitation of Quraan; who displayed kindness, love and compassion for others, and who spent the month of Ramadaan seeking His pleasure.

The Day of Eid is also spent in thankfulness to Allah.  Muslims will perform the Eid Salaah, which is Wajib (incumbent) and listen to the Khutba (sermon), which is Sunnah (commendable).

To give general charity on this day is commendable and rewarding.  However, Sadaqatul Fitr (Charity of Eid) is Waajib (incumbent) and must be given before the Eid Salaah.  It is especially meant for the poor and the needy so that they too can celebrate Eid.  It becomes binding to be given by all adults for themselves as well as all their dependents when one possesses  wealth beyond his needs for the day.

SOME COMMENDABLE ACTS FOR THE DAY OF EID

To rise as early as possible;

To perform Ghusl (bath);

To use miswaak;

To apply ‘Itr (Halaal, non-alcoholic perfume);

To wear ones best clothes;

To eat something sweet (such as dates) before departing for Eid Salaah;

To give Sadaqatul Fitr before leaving for the Musallah (Eid­ Ghah or Masjid);

To walk to the Musallah.  However, there is no harm in using any means of conveyance if the Musallah is a distance or there is an excuse;

To go to the Musallah using one route and to return by another route;

To recite the Takbeer while going to the Musallah. The takbeer is –

Al-laa hu akbar, al-laa hu akbar, laa ilaaha il-lal­laa hu wal-laa hu akbar, wa lil­laa hil hamd

The Day of Eid is indeed a joyous day and one should beware of his action not to displease Allah.

LITTLE CHILDREN IN THE MUSAAJID

[Majlisul Ulama]

Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Keep your children and insane people away from your Musaajid.

The Musaajid are the Houses of Allaah Ta’ala and they deserve the utmost respect and reverence. We have been created for the worship of Allah Ta`ala, and the highest form of worship is Salaat. The Musaajid are the structures built specifically to execute this highest form of Ibaadat. The sanctity of the Musaajid cannot be overemphasised.

Not only is purity and cleanliness imperative in the Musaajid, they are also abodes of peace and tranquillity.

Little children pose a grave threat to both – the purity and tranquillity – of the Musaajid. It is for this reason that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) expressly forbade their entry.

When the Shariah prohibits an Ibaadat such as thikr and even the Qur’aan Shareef to be recited loudly in the Musaajid, what then can be said of the raucous behaviour created by delinquent children!

A Hadith explains that when people speak (worldly or futile speech) in a Musjid, the angels curse such a person. Do parents who bring their little children into the Musjid desire that the curse of Allah Ta’ala and His angels fall on their children? In fact, the parent are liable for the disturbances created by their children.

It is stated in Al Ashbaah wan Nazaa`ir  that it is HARAAM to bring such children into a Musjid who have no perception of ritual cleanliness and who are themselves impure. If they are not impure and have some perception of ritual cleanliness, then too, it is Makrooh to bring them to the Musjid. [In the vocabulary of the Fuqahaa, ‘Makrooh’ denotes Tahreem. This means that to regularly bring small children (younger than the age of 7, who may even be well-behaved) to the Musjid is Makrooh Tahreemi – in other words – HARAAM).

When a child reaches the age of 7 and he is properly trained (at home) regarding cleanliness and he understands and respects the sanctity of the Musjid, he may be brought into the Musjid, otherwise not!

Children (who qualify to be brought into the Musjid) should also be taught to stand in a separate saff behind the adults. Children who stand amongst the adults, break the saff, thereby causing a deficiency in the Salaat of the adults.

Besides what has been explained above regarding small children, today there is a greater problem than the small children, and that is the unruly behaviours of  baaligh ‘children’ in the Musjid. They show no respect for the Salaat, the Musjid and the musallis. Many teenagers have absolutely no perception of the sanctity of the Musjid, and their parents display no concern for the misbehaviours of their baaligh ‘children’. Despite them being adults in terms of the Shariah, their behaviour at times is worse than the nabaaligh children. It is the incumbent obligation of parents to instil in their children the significance and importance of the House of Allah Ta’ala.

May Allah Ta`ala grant us all the proper understanding of the Deen.

Exposing WikiIslam’s FALSE claim of “mathematical error in hereditary law” of Qur’an

[By Heba E. Husseyn]

The heathens of WikiIslam site have tried a failed attempt claiming that the Qur’anic Verses 4:11-12 elucidating the laws of inheritance are mathematically wrong and do not add up. 

First let me put up the Qur’anic Verses 4:11-12 (Surah An-Nissa) concerning inheritance laws.

“Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a son; and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his mother appertaineth the sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath been paid). Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of them is nearer unto you in usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.”  4:11.

“And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid). And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) have a brother or a sister (only on the mother’s side) then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth, and if they be more than two, then they shall be sharers in the third, after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted) not injuring (the heirs by willing away more than a third of the heritage) hath been paid. A commandment from Allah. Allah is Knower, Indulgent.”  4:12.

Now, I will quote below the childish criticism of the Wikislam liars which is hilarious. Even a child with half a brain would not be as dumbwit as this.  

Quoting them –

“Mathematical Error in Hereditary Laws.

    Wife: 1/8 = 3/24,
    Daughters: 2/3 = 16/24,
    Father: 1/6 = 4/24,
    Mother: 1/6 = 4/24,
    Total = 27/24=1.125 

The total does not equal to 1. This error can never be reconciled in any way.”
Unquote –

Addressing WikiIslam:  What the heck are you talking? The denomination of “1” is never taken as a presumed total for calculating any distribution, and it’s certainly never a presumed standard total for a legacy. How on earth do you expect to calculate the distribution of inheritance without knowing the total assets to be divided among the heirs. The fallacy arises because of WikiIslam’s complete lack of mathematical knowledge. How can you get the balance of the total without deducting the amount of bequest and the debt? Are you completely out of your mind? Even for a simple demonstration, you first need to pick a value for the estate prior to mathematical workings otherwise your workings are bound to be fallacious as in Wiki’s case. And Wiki is attributing its own mistakes to the Qur’an.  

So let us take a few examples demonstrating simple distributions of inheritances within families based on the figures of Quranic Verses 4:11-12 and then check the total of the break-up with the original value of the estate to verify for conformity.

EXAMPLE ONE:

A man who is a widower dies. His modest estate is worth 100,000.  He leaves behind a son, a daughter and a brother. He makes a bequest of 20,000 to his brother. His total debt of 5,000 needs to be deducted from the value of his estate. That makes the balance worth of his estate to 75,000. Daughter gets half the share of the son out of 75,000 which would be 25,000 and son gets the remaining 50,000. Now lets calculate the total and whether or not it tallies with the total worth of the estate.

Bequest       20,000
Debt             5,000
Daughter     25,000
Son               50,000

Total          100,000  –> original worth of the estate as mentioned above.

If there be 2 sons and 2 daughters with the same bequest and same debt, then from the balance of 75,000 each son would get 25,000 and each daughter would get 12,500. Let’s again check the total.

Bequest               20,000
Debt                     5,000
2 daughters         25,000   (12,500 each)
2 sons                   50,000   (25,000 each)

Total                  100,000  –>  original worth of the estate as mentioned above.

EXAMPLE TWO:

A wealthier man dies leaving an estate worth 450,000. He leaves behind a son, 2 daughters, a wife and 2 sisters. He makes a bequest of 15,000 for each of his 2 sisters making the total bequest to 30,000. His total debts amount to 8,000. Balance worth of estate after deducting the bequest and debt is 412,000. The wife is entitled to one-eighth of that total, that is 51,500. That leaves the balance of the estate at 360,500. The 2 daughters are entitled to half the share of the son. Half of 360,500 is 180,250 (total share of both daughters).  Thus, each of the 2 daughters get 90,125. Balance is the son’s share that is 360,500 minus 180,250 = 180,250 (exactly the amount shared by his 2 sisters). Now let’s total up the distribution to see if it tallies with the original worth of the estate which was 450,000.

Bequest               30,000
Debt                     8,000
Wife                     51,500
2 daughters        180,250  (90,125 each)
1 son                    180,250

Total                   450,000

Thus total solidly tallies with the original worth of the estate 450,000 as mentioned above.

If there were 3 or more sisters, then they would be sharers in two-third of the total of 360,500.  So, if there were 3 or more sisters, then we would need to calculate two-third of 360,500 which would be 240,332. Hence 3 or more sisters would share from 240,332.  The son would get the remaining 120,167. Similarly the original total value of the estate would add to 450,000. You can do that calculation yourself. 

If there be 2 sons and 2 daughters, both sons get 225,312 (out of 360,500) that is 112,656 each. Both daughters get the balance of 135,188. Therefore each daughter gets 67,594.  Check the total.

Bequest              30,000
Debt                    8,000
Wife                    51,500
2 daughters       135,188  (67,594 each)
2 sons                 225,312  (112,656 each)

Total                 450,000  –>  Total tallies completely with original worth of estate.

WikiIslam! Learn you primary school maths before you talk next time! 

And now .. some other important points to be kept in mind:

Remember, the figures mentioned in Verses 11 and 12 of Surah An-Nissa are to be taken after deducting the bequest (if any) left behind by the deceased and after the deduction of debt (if any).  The amount of bequest is not specified in the Qur’an. That depends on the will of the deceased. However it’s to be understood that a bequest shouldn’t be unfair which might completely deprive the other heirs. This would particularly apply in the cases of the wealthy who leave behind a substantial estate.   

It’s also to be understood that these figures mentioned in the Noble Qur’an are the standard principles that highlight the basic framework of Islamic inheritance laws. It’s important to know that exceptional situations can (and do) occur concerning the number of heirs and their varying situations that aren’t spelt out in Verses 4:11-12. In all such cases a Muslim is by all means allowed to make suitable decisions exercising their rationale with the help of the standard guidelines in Verses 4:11-12 and the spirit of justice/fairness as also highlighted throughout the Qur’an. For example, a man of modest means dies leaving behind two sons and an asset worth 50,000. One of his sons has a successful career having his own independent assets worth 200,000. The other son is not so fortunate. He is virtually penniless, toils with hard labor, struggles to pay his daily expenses with a meager saving that might not be enough even to pay a bill for a medical emergency. In such a case, the father may decide to give his entire asset of 50,000 as a gift to his son who is financially stretched and he is allowed to do so. It certainly sounds very acceptable in the light of Quranic principles of justice, kindness and fair play. The final Judgment is up to Allah Almighty to be dispensed in the Hereafter. One will have to wait for that with patience and silence.  

Yet there are far more complicated legacies in cases of bigger families and there are any number of excellent legal experts out there who calculate the distribution of inheritances on the lines of Qur’anic figures, accurate to the last penny.   

The very important reason why according to the Qur’anic Law of Inheritance, sons get twice the share of daughters, is because sons have plenty of financial responsibilities, unlike daughters.  These responsibilities include meeting all expenses of their marriage including dowry, supporting their wives and children, supporting elderly parents and dependent siblings.  Contrary to this, daughters have no such financial burdens. Any portion of wealth she inherits or earns is her personal possession with which she’s not obligated to support her dependents, unless she volunteers to do so. Hence, those Muslim men who have gotten deviated enough to overrule the Qur’anic dictate concerning their financial duties, must also voluntarily forgo to claim double the share of inheritance. After all, Allah Almighty has commanded to give males twice the share of females with a specific reason. If some men are not able to handle that specific reason, they cannot simply dismiss their responsibility and move on without any adjustments. That would be getting the cake and eating it too. It would disrupt the entire balance of the structure of this law established by Allah.

Congregational Witr Salaah during Ramadan

Question:

Asalaam u Alaikum
I have heard and read many hadiths that supports praying Witr prayer during the latter part of the night especially after Tahajud,,, however during the Month of Ramadaan the Witr is prayed in congregation after Salaatul Taraweeh. I have seen many people leave the masjid after Taraweeh assuming that they are leaving off the Witr to pray after Tahajud. Can you offer some advice as to the importance of praying Witr in congregation during this month or is it still advisable to leave it off till later in the night..
Jazaak Allah

Answer:

Wa Alaikum As Salam,
Performing Witr in congregation is a specialty of the month of Ramadan, and this is what is more virtuous. From the time of the Sahabahs until today, the Witr Salah has always been performed in congregation during the month of Ramadan. This has been the firm practice of the Sahabahs, the Tabi’een, the atba’ut Tabieen and all the generations of rightly guided scholars after them. Alhamdulillah, until today it is the well established practice in Holy Kaaba and the Prophet’s mosque.

The great Jurists and Muhaditheen of the early period have unanimously agreed that performing Witr Salah in congregation in Ramadan is more virtuous and more superior than performing it at the latter part of the night (after Tahajjud Salah).

This does not contradict the words or actions of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) but in reality it is in accordance to what the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did, as was seen and understood by the Sahabahs (Radhiyallahu Anhum). For indeed, it is morally unacceptable for any Muslim to assume that the Sahabahs would have agreed on any matter that contradicted or opposed the teachings and practices of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

The amount of rakaats that the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed on the nights were known and witnessed by the Sahabahs. They were there with him in his Salah. They saw what he did and were fully aware of how many rakaats he performed in congregation. It was with this full understanding and knowledge of the practice of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that the Sahabahs unanimously held on to the performance of 20 rakaats of taraweeh as well as the Witr Salaah in congregation. If this act of theirs was in opposition to the practice of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), then they would have been corrected by others who would have reprimanded them for changing the Prophet’s practice. However, no one not even the wives of the Prophet, his sons-in-law, his grandchildren, daughters, family members or devout followers opposed or spoke against the 20 rakats of taraweeh with Salaah Al Witr in jamaah. It is based on this Ijma of the Sahabahs, it is inferred that 20 rakats of taraweeh Salaah along with the performance of Witr Salaah in jamaah is in accordance to that which was endorsed by the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). It is for this reason; the early jurists of Islam have clearly stated that in the month of Ramadan, it is more virtuous to perform the witr Salah in congregation.

In the regard, the famous book of Fiqh, Nurul Idhaah states,

‘And a person’s witr Salaah in congregation in Ramadan is more virtuous than performing it individually at the latter part of the night, as stated as the preferred verdict of Qazi Khan’.

While commenting on the above statement, the great jurist and author of Mariqi’ul Falaah states,

‘the performance of the witr in congregation is virtuous because of the fact that since congregation is allowed for it, it becomes virtuous (to do it in this manner,) and also due to the fact that Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) used to have the witr performed in congregation……………and in ‘Al Fath’ and in ‘Al Burhan’ (both of which are sound and authentic books of Islamic Jurisprudence), it is evident that the opinion of the grand jurist Qazi Khan is preferred since the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed the witr salaah in congregation with the sahabahs, and then he explained his reason for leaving it out since he feared that standing by night in Ramadan may become essential upon them. The righteous Khalifahs also performed witr Salaah in congregation.’  [Mariqiul Falaah].

Similarly, the great jurist Allama Khwarzimi (rahimahullah) has written,

‘and in Ramadan, the correct and sound opinion is that witr in congregation is more virtuous because Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) used to have the witr performed in congregation.’ [Al Kifayah].

The recent scholar and jurist expert Mufti Syed Abdur Raheem has also stated,

‘During the time of Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), Ubai bin Kaab (Radhiyallahu anhu) and other sahabahs used to lead 20 rakaats of Taraweeh Salaah. From that time until today, the practice of the (Salafus Saliheen) Pious Predecessors and the latter scholars have always been to perform witr in congregation in the month of Ramadan. Hence, for those who are performing Tahajjud Salaah, it is more virtuous (for them) to perform the witr salaah in congregation.’ [Fatawa Rahimiyyah Vol 4 Pg. 421]

In view of all these quotations and explanations, it becomes evident that in the month of Ramadan, it is more virtuous for one to perform the witr salaah in Jamaat.

And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan

Darul Uloom Trinidad & Tobago

WHEN DOES ZAKAAT BECOME FARDH UPON A PERSON??

Q: UPON WHOM IS ZAKAAT FARDH AND WHEN DOES ZAKAAT BECOME FARDH UPON A PERSON??

Answer by Jamiatul Ulama, Northern Cape:

The conditions for Zakaat to be Fardh (Obligatory) upon a person are as follows:

➡A person has to be a Muslim. (Kuffaar do not have to give Zakaat)

➡A person has to be free. (Today slavery does not exist. When slavery existed, Zakaat was not Fardh upon slaves)

➡A person has to be sane. (Zakaat is not Fardh on insane people)

➡A person has to be Baaligh. (Zakaat is not Fardh on those that have not yet attained puberty – immature persons)

➡A person needs to be the owner of the Zakaat Nisaab. (Nisaab is the minimum amount which a person must have for Zakaat to be Fardh upon one’s self. One needs to contact the Ulama in order to find out what is the Nisaab amount. A person who has less than the Nisaab amount, does not have to pay Zakaat. The
Zakaat Nisaab is the value of 612 grams silver)

➡The Nisaab must be over and above one’s basic needs and debts. (If a person has the Nisaab amount after deducting his basic expenses, but he has a debt which if deducted, would make him/her have less than the Nisaab amount, then Zakaat is not Waajib upon such a person)

➡After owning the Nisaab amount, a year has to pass for Zakaat to be Fardh upon the owner of the Nisaab amount. (A person got the Nisaab amount, but he did not have it for a full year, for example he had on 1 Muharram the Nisaab amount, but at the end of the year 30 Zul Hijjah, he did not have the Nisaab amount, it is not Fardh upon such a person to discharge Zakaat. Always remember that one’s year begins when one has the amount of Nisaab.)

Further Reading: Guide to Zakah – Understanding & Calculation

Refuting the Christian Barking that Ramadan Fasting has Pagan Roots

Question: If Ramadan was a pagan festival in pre-Islamic Arabia, why was it included in Islamic rituals by Allah in the Qur’an?

Answer: First things first; Ramadan is not a festival. Was never a festival. It is and traditionally was an entire month dedicated to fasting in one form or another, always aimed at spiritual purification. Earliest references to fasting in authentic tradition are from Moses (Musa alayhissalaam) and Mary (Bibi Maryam alayhissalaam) and David (Dawud alayhissalaam). This fasting was not limited to Ramadan, though.

Secondly, many Quraysh, the pre-Islamic nobles inhabitants of Makkah were known to fast during Ramadan. Many Arab tribes had similar tradition. This shows that fasting has been observed there since the time when Abraham (Ibraheem alayhissalaam) made Ishmael (Isma’eel alayhissalaam) to settle in the Arabian peninsula and it also proves that fasting is the practice of the Prophets and has nothing to do with Paganist Philosophies, its rather the pagans who had adopted the practice of fasting from the monotheistic teachings.

So, we agree that,

1. Fasting is antique and not unique to one faith or region.

2. Fasting during Ramadan was observed by Pre-Islamic Arabs and Jews and Christians.

Qur’an prescribed Ramadan as month for obligatory fasting for believers, thus giving us a time and protocol for fasting. Clear orders were revealed in Chapter 2: Verses 183

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous

The verse clearly says, Al-Lazeena – Those people before you” not people of any particular faith. This indicates that Qur’an recognized the existence of fasting before Islam. Of course, Islam gave fasting a clear goal – To Become Righteous

As an additional point, pagans; the pre-Islamic people in Makkah also observe Hajj, they prayed in their own way to the Ka’abah and did many charitable deeds. Islam did not come to abolish a culture. Islam gave humanity a clear direction for every action and deeds.

Peace!

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