Category Archives: Hanafi Fiqh

The Evolution Of Hanafi Fiqh, And The Sanad

This article was originally taken from:

[This lecture is an excerpt from “Legacy of Abdullah ibn Masood” by Sheikh Riyadh Ul Haq d.b, trancription done by brother Seifeddine-M]

Many people with little knowledge give the perception that Imam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) came out of nowhere, and people following his interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah are in error. This can easily be refuted by Ibn Abidin’s (rahmatullahi alaih) statement, he gives the analogy of the evolution of the Hanafi fiqh as bread, he says: 

“Abdullah ibn Masood (radiallahu anh), who sowed the seeds of this knowledge, was one of the greatest and best learned ones of the Sahaba (radiallahu anhum). Alqama (rahmatullahi alaih), his disciple, watered these seeds and turned them into crops, and Ibrahim Nakha’i (rahmatullahi alaih), his disciple, reaped the harvest, that is, gathered the pieces of this knowledge together. Hammad Kufi (rahmatullahi alaih) threshed it, and his disciple, Imam A’zam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullahi alaih), ground it, that is, he classified the knowledge into sections; Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullahi alaih) made dough from it, and Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani (rahmatullahi alaih) baked it. Muslims have been eating the morsels prepared in this procedure.” 

Another claim which this article answers is, why do you only follow one man, surely he can make mistakes? The short answer being, that it is not only one man, he had a circle of 40 top scholars. Some times the opinion of his students are taken and sometimes his. 

Why the Hanafi fiqh is associated with the Sahabi ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu). I did say in the beginning that this partly true, but its not entirely true, in the sense that the Hanafi fiqh is not just based on ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu)’s ahaadeeth or his sayings and fatawa. But he does play a very integral and important role. 

On one occasion it was reported to Sayyidna ‘Ali (radiallahu ‘anhu) that Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu) had given a fatwa about a question of meerath (inheritance). When Sayyidna ‘Ali (radiallahu ‘anhu) had heard the fatwa he said, ‘May Allah have mercy upon ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood. Indeed he was a Faqeeh (jurist).’ 

Masrooq was a famous Tabi’ee. And al-Sha’bi was another famous Tabi’ee. Tabi’ee is a successor to the Sahabah (radiallahu anhum). Al-Sha’bi (a famous muhaddith) says himself that, ‘I saw more than five hundred Sahabah (radiallahu ‘anhum).’ And al-Sha’bi says of Masrooq that, ‘I have never seen anyone more eager and more zealous in his search for knowledge, than Masrooq.’ 

And Masrooq was one of the leading students of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu). And not only Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu), Masrooq travelled all over the Islamic World at the time, and learnt from Umm al-Mu’mineen ‘A’isha Siddeeqa (radiallahu ‘anha), to the extent that its been related that Masrooq was actually been adopted by Umm al-Mu’mineen ‘A’isha Siddeeqa (radiallahu ‘anha). Meaning, not adopted as a child, but because of her love for him respect for him, and his zeal for learning. And because of the respect and the service that he offered to Umm al-Mu’mineen ‘A’isha (radiallahu ‘anha). She treated him as her own son. 

Masrooq also learnt from ‘Umar ibn al-khattab (radiallahu anh), and many of the Sahaabah in many different cities. The same Masrooq says, after having studied under so many Sahabah (radiallahu ‘anhum), and having been treated as a son of Umm al-Mu’mineen ‘A’isha Siddeeqah (radiallahu anha), he says, ‘I have found the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to be like pools of water. Some of them are pools that irrigate one man. There are pools that irrigate two men. There are pools that quench the thirst of three men. There are pools that quench the thirst of ten men. And their are pools, that if all of the people of the world were to come to them, they would be able to irrigate them and quench their thirst. And ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood was one of them.’ 

The same Masrooq also says that, ‘Of all of the Sahaabah (radiallahu ta’aala anhum), the knowledge of all of the Companions is distilled and condensed and reaches the peak, in six people. Sayyidna ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Sayyidna Abud-Darda, Sayyidna Ubay Ibn Ka’b, and Sayyidna Zaid Ibn Thaabit (radiallahu ta’aala anhum).’ And then Masrooq says, ‘Of all of these six people, the knowledge of these leading six Sahabah is condensed and distilled in only two people, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (karamallahu wajhah), and ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ta’aala ‘anh). 

Now, Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu) had thousands of students. Many of them were leading Imams of their time. But probably the most famous was Alqama. And this Alqama, he wasn’t a Sahabi, but he was a student of Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Ma’ood, and other senior Sahabah. He was a very close companion and attendant of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anh). He would wait on ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, so much so that ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhy) himself said, ‘Whatever I know, Alqama knows.’ Allahu Akbar. What a testimony on behalf of a non-Sahaabi by a Sahaabi. 

Alqama also had thousands of students. Probably his most famous student, who inherited the treasure of knowledge from the thousands of Sahaaba resident in Kufa, and in other areas also, was Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee. Tawoos relates, that ‘I once asked my father that why do you go to Alqama, and not the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)? When the Sahaba are present, why do you go to Alqama for your knowledge?’ So his father replied to him,‘Because I see the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) themselves refer to Alqama for knowledge.’ 

And this Alqama, as I said, had thousands of students. But probably his best student, and most famous, and the Imaam recognised by all, was Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee. And Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee himself was a Tabi’ee. He saw a number of Sahabah and learnt from them. And, Allahu Akbar, what can be said of Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee. The same Sha’bee who said he has seen more than five hundred Sahaba radiallahu anhum, when Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee (rahmatullahi alaih) passed away, he said to the people after the Janaazah that,‘You have buried the greatest jurist, and the greatest faqeeh of mankind.’ So someone asked al-Sha’bi, ‘Was Ibraheem an-Nakha’i a greater jurist than even Hasan of Basra?’ Meaning Imam Hasan al-Basri (rahmatullahi alaih). Sha’bi (rahmatullahi alaih) replied that, ‘Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee was a greater jurist than even Hasan of Basra, than all of the people of Basra, than all of the people of Kufa, than all of the people of Shaam, and all of the people of Hijaaz.’ And then he said,‘May Allah have mercy on Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee, for he grew up in a household of fiqh, and he learnt the best of fiqh from his family,’ because he was from the Nakha’ee family. His maternal uncle was Aswad bin Yazeed bin Qays an-Nakha’ee. He was one of the leading students of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood and Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab. 

And, his uncle’s uncle was Alqama. And he was also from the Nakha’ee family. So he had two great people to look up to, Alqama and Aswad, and they were the leading students of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu ‘anhu), ‘Umar Ibn Khattab, Sayyidna ‘Ali, and others. 

So al-Sha’bi said, ‘May Allah have mercy on Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee, he grew up in a house of fiqh, and he mastered fiqh, and he gained the best of fiqh. And then he would sit with us and he gained the best of hadeeth. And he combined the best of hadeeth and the best of fiqh. When I mourn his loss I mourn the loss of knowledge.’ 

Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee was asked that, ‘Who should we refer to after your death?’ He said, ‘Hammaad.’ And Hammaad was a leading jurist, a leading scholar of hadeeth and fiqh, of knowledge. He became Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee’s successor, because Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee himself said that after me refer to Hammaad. And, after the death of Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee, the scholars of Kufa appointed Hammaad Ibn Abi Sulaymaan as their Shaykh and their leader. And Hammaad Ibn Abi Sulaymaan, his most famous student, and his leading student, was none other than Nauman bin Thaabit Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah). 

Now this is the chain, and when Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) used to sit and discuss the masaa’il of deen, he wouldnt just take his opinion. Many ‘Ulamaa’ have recorded in their books, that Imam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) had a consultant of forty men. And these forty men would sit with him and discuss the masaa’il of deen. Sometimes they would deliberate on one mas’ala for three days. And only when they were satisfied and more or less agreed on that issue would they record it in the book as a mas’ala of fiqh. It wasnt just one errant, or abitrary opinion of one man. 

And who were the forty, Allahu Akbar! Of the forty who used to sit with Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) were the leading students of the whole of the ‘Ulamaa’ of Kufa. And amongst Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih)’s students, one alim writes in one of his books, about the group forty who would sit with Imaam Abu Haneefah and who would be consulted by Imam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih), and who would deliberate with him on these matters of religion, he says they were ‘The greatest of the greatest.’ And it included Imam Abu Yusuf, Dawood at-Ta’i, Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Shaybani, Imam Zufar, Imam Hasan, and many others. 


The ‘Hanafi Stance’ Regarding The Black Magic Spell Cast on the Prophet ﷺ

By Bassam Zawadi

It is claimed by some that the so-called Hanafi stance on the story of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is that its a concoction and an insult to the  Prophet’s stature.  

The vast majority of Muslim scholars  have accepted this story to be true  however and have argued that it does nothing to impugn the Prophets  character, or his status as the  Messenger of Allah.

Muslim scholars have offered two lines of proposed assessments of the story. 1) What happened to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a form of illness and this is not impossible for Prophets, nor does it impugn their character and prophethood. This doesn’t affect the  reliability of his deliverance of the message, which is what Allah’s promise  for protection ultimately ensured to secure, and 2) The magic only affected the Prophets (peace be upon him) limbs and organs, but it did not affect his heart, beliefs  and intellectual capacity to convey the revelation being sent to him (i.e. it only had  a significant affect on him on the outside, but not in the inside).  

Secondly, its not true to characterize  the rejection of this incident as a Hanafi stance just because a few Hanafi  scholars may have rejected the story.  An example being Abi Bakr al-Jassas who may have likely done so due to his  Mutazilite inclinations. Regardless of  what motivated his rejection of the  story, al-Jassas doesn’t speak on behalf of the entire Hanafi school!. Rather, we find that the Hanafis have either accepted this story  as either true or narrated it without objecting to it.  Below we present at least five examples of these Hanafi scholars.  

1)  Abi Ja’far at-Tahawi (d. 321 A.H.) narrates two ahaadeeth mentioning the incident of the Prophet having a  spell casted upon him and after that  proceeds on to argue that black magic  has remained a real part of our world  up until the time of the Prophet, and  consequently remains so up until ours as well…. [Sharh Mushkil al-Athaar, (al-Risaala, 1st edition, 1994; edited Shuab al-Arna’ut, Volume 15, pp.179-181]

These two ahadeeth indicate that  black magic remained existing until the time the Prophet (peace be upon him) was influenced by black magic. If it (i.e. black magic) remained until that time, then its existence even after that is possible as well.


2)  Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333 A.H.) in his commentary of the Qur’an makes  mention of the incident without any  display of criticism or rejection of it. In fact, he mentions it as a valid opinion  when it comes to explaining the  historical context of the revelation of Surah 113 and even goes further to demonstrate that the story serves as a proof for the prophethood of  Muhammad (peace be upon him) because the story demonstrated that he was able to overcome this trial…


But according to us fi maa QEELA  [regarding what had been said], i.e. that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was influenced by magic, there are two means of demonstrating his Messengership and Prophethood:

One of them is that, that the Prophet knew via revelation about the black  magic spell casted on him. For this was done secretly, and no one could have known about it except via revelation.

Secondly: The recitation of the Quran  quashes the effect of magic, just as the  staff of Musa (peace be upon him)  destroyed the effect of Pharaohs  tricks. [Taweelat Ahlussuah, (al-Risaala, 1st edition, 2004; edited  by Fatima Yusuf), Volume 5, p. 543]  

Some have tried to suggest that when al-Maturidi says fi  maa  Qeela, that he is using Qeela as a seeghat tamridh in order to signify that the opinion regarding the veracity of this story is weak. However, its very critical  that  one pays close attention to not only the methodology of al-Maturidi, but also the context itself. The word Qeela which literally translates to it was said, could actually be used to mean just that (i.e. relaying what has been said about a certain matter).

Dr. Majdi Baslum in his introduction to the commentary of al-Maturidi (Taweelat Ahlussunnah) says that al-Maturidi commonly uses Qeela to either eliminate the isnad or to simply present a list of opinions about a matter before he proceeds on to  critically assess each one of them. In other words, al-Maturidi would often use Qeela in the basic linguistic sense of it. And when we look back at his  comments on the incident of the  black magic spell cast on the Prophet  (peace be upon him), we precisely  see that  this is how he is using it. Its difficult to read the Qeela here as a  seeghat tamridh without imposing it upon the text and even if we assume for the sake of argument that this is indeed the case, what is crystal clear is that al-Maturidi had no theological objections to the story itself. On the contrary, he  saw it as a potential positive argument for the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him).  

3) Abi al-Layth as-Samarqandi  (d. 373 A.H.) in his Quranic  commentary explains the historical context of Surah 113:5 to be referring to the story of the Prophet being affected by Labid the magician…


Allah All-Mighty said: And from the  evil of an envier when he envies 
[113:6], meaning from all envy. He intends by this Labid ibn Asma the Jew [Bahr al-Uloom, (Dar al-Kutub al-Iliah, Beirut, 1st edition,  1993), Volume 3, p. 526-527]

4)  Abi al-Barakaat an-Nasafi (d.710  A.H.) similarly in his commentary on the Qur’an also accepts the validity of the story. [see: Madaarik at-Tanzeel wa-Haqaaiq at-Taweel, (Dar al-Kalim  at-Tayyib, Beirut; edited by Yusuf Ali Bidaywi, 1st edition, 1998), Volume 3, pp. 700-701]

5)  Badrul-Deen al-‘Aini (d. 855 A.H.) in his commentary on Saheeh al-Bukhari refers to those who reject the  story as “heretics” (mulhideen) and  refutes the theological objection to the story by demonstrating that it had no  implications on  Muhammad (peace be upon him) in terms of his role as the Messenger of Allah…[see: Umdat  al-Qaari,  (Dar al-Kutub al-Iliah, Beirut; edited by Abdullah Mahmoud Abdullah  Umar, 1st edition, 2001),Volume 15, p.135]


It was narrated that Aaishah (May Allaah be pleased with her) said: A spell was put on the  Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) until he imagined that he had done a thing when he had not done it. – Of course none of this entails that there was a compromise on the ability to convey revelation.

Some heretics objected to the hadeeth of Aisha. They said: How can the magic  affect the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), whilst magic is kufr and an action of the devils? How can its harm reach the Prophet (peace be upon him)  while he was under the protection of Allah and Allah supporting him with  the angels, and the revelation was protected  from the devils? And I answer: That  this objection is invalid, for Allah said to His Messenger: Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the daybreak. [113:1], until He says: in knots [113:4], and Blowers: are those magicians who  tie knots. None of this entails that the  effect of this was permanent or that it affected him internally or his capacity  as a Messenger. Rather, the effect of the magic is similar to what a sick  person gets affected by when he  gets a fever or pleurisy, such as weakness in speech or minor delusion. Then this disappeared and Allah quashed the plots of the magician. There is a consensus regarding the Prophets infallible ability to convey revelation. [Umdat  al-Qaari, (Dar al-Kutub al-Iliah, Beirut; edited by Abdullah  Mahmoud Abdullah Umar, 1st  edition, 2001),Volume 15, p. 135]

In a nutshell, we observe that its absolutely false to say that the Hanafi  stance is to reject the story of the black magic spell casted on the Prophet (peace be upon him). Its shoddy scholarship to take isolated opinions of individual scholars and use that to paint a stance on an entire school of thought. 

Hanafi Stance On Combining Two Prayers

By Mufti ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf

THERE ARE HADITHS which state the the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would combine two obligatory [Fard] prayers together while travelling. The hadith explain how he would alight from the back of the animal and perform Maghrib followed by ‘Isha, and then resume his journey. There is a difference of opinion regarding the interpretation of these hadiths, i.e. exactly how he performed the two prayers together.

The Hanafis offer the following explanation. Although the Messenger of Allah ﷺ performed the prayers one after another, he actually performed each prayer in its own time. For example, when combining Maghrib and ‘Isha, he would stop a short time prior to  the end of Maghrib and would perform the prayer. Then as soon as the time of ‘Isha would enter, he would perform ‘Isha and then resume his journey.

Other scholars offer the explanation that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would perform both Maghrib and ‘Isha in the time of ‘Isha (i.e. after the Maghrib has expired).

The method offered by the Hanafi school of performing the first prayer toward the end of its time and the second prayer immediately after, at the beginning of its time, is known as jam’ al-suri or “apparent combining” in the terminology of the jurists [fuqaha’]. The method of performing two obligatory [fard] prayers in one prayer time is known as jam al-haqiqi or “real combining.”

There are many hadith which describe combining two prayers. According to Hanafi scholars, the most suitable explanation is that of jam’ al-suri, wherein each prayer is performed in its own time. The Hanafi approach in explaining this issue is in total agreement with the Qur’an and hadiths, both of which emphasize each prayer being performed in its own stipulated time. On the contrary, the jam’ al-haqiqi approach leads to great conflicts between the Qur’an and hadiths.

By the end of the chapter, it will become evident that the Messenger ﷺ never combined two prayers together by actually moving one into the time of the other. It is also important to remember that performing Maghrib and ‘Isha in the time of Maghrib, and Zuhr and ‘Asr in the time of Zuhr, is known as jam al-taqdim or “advanced combining.” Since one of the prayers is performed before its time. Combining them at the time of the later prayer is known as jam’ al-takhir or “delayed combining,” because of of the prayers is delayed from its specific time.

One opinion is that it is permissible to perform jam’ al-haqiqi if one is undertaking a hurried journey. The second opinion is that jam’ al-haqiqi is permissible when undertaking any type of journey; whether it be hurried or relaxed. For some, it is also permissible in the event of heavy rainfall, and some state that it is also permissible in the event of illness.

The view of Imam Abu Hanifa is quite simple. According to him, the Jam’ al-haqiqi method is not permissible except at ‘Arafat (during the pilgrimage), where advance combining takes place between Zuhr and ‘Asr, and at Muzdalifa, where the pilgrims perform delayed combining between Maghrib and ‘Isha. The practice of advanced and delayed combining at these two places is established through the consensus of scholars. Hence, the Hanafis do not permit jam al-haqiqi except in these two instances. They have interpreted the hadiths which mention the combining of two prayers to be Jam al-suri’. This type of combining is permissible at all times, as there can be no doubt concerning the permissibility of two prayers performed in their own times.

1. Allah says,

“Verily, the prayers is enjoined upon the believers at fixed hours (times)”   [al-Qur’an 4:103]

This means every prayer has an appointed time with a beginning, prior to which the prayer is not valid, and an ending, after which the prayer is not to be delayed; otherwise it will become a qada’ or missed prayer. Hence, this verse indicates the importance of performing each prayer in its own time.

2. Allah Ta’ala says,

“Guard strictly the [five obligatory] prayers”  [al-Qur’an 2:238]

This verse is also quite clear about performing prayers at their appointed times and not delaying them.

3. Allah Ta’ala says,

“So woe unto those worshippers [hypocrites] who are negligent in regards to their prayer” [al-Qur’an 107:5]

4. Allah Ta’ala says,

“Then, there succeeded them a posterity who gave up prayers”   [al-Qur’an 19:59]

According to a group of scholars, the words, “who gave up prayers”, mean those who delay the prayers beyond their stipulated times.

In short, these verses of the Qur’an verify that delaying any prayer is undesirable and extremely disliked. Delaying the prayer has been portrayed as the trait of the hypocrites [munafiqin]. For this reason, the hadiths, which seem to inform that the Messenger ﷺ delayed prayer, must be interpreted in a way that corroborates these verses, in order ro remove the notion of undesirability from the Messenger’s ﷺ practice. The only way this can be achieved is by taking the combining mentioned in them to mean “apparent combining.” Now we will look at a few hadiths which are quite explicit in their prohibition of taking a prayer out of its time.

1. Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger ﷺ said:

Combining two prayers together without any valid reason is from the major sins (kaba’ir) [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:459, al-Ta’liq al-sabih 2:124]

Thus, combining prayers would not be permissible even in the event of a journey or a rain, just as other major sins are not made permissible in such circumstances.

2. It is narrated from ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) that

he wrote to the people [around the Islamic world] prohibiting them from combining two prayers together. He informed them that combining two prayers is a major sin [al-Ta’liq al-sabih 2:124]

3. ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

I never observed the Messenger of Allah ﷺ perform any prayer out of its time except at Muzdalifa. He combined Maghrib and ‘Isha at Muzdalifa [Sahih al-Bukhari 1:227, Sahih Muslim 1:417, Sharh Ma’ani’l-athar 1:164]

4. In another narration Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) states:

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ combined two prayers while on a journey. He would combine Maghrib and ‘Isha by delaying Maghrib until just before its expiry time and performing ‘Isha immediately as its time entered [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:458]

5. ‘Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) narrates:

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, while on a journey, would delay Zuhr and perform ‘Asr early and delay Maghrib and perform ‘Isha early [i.e. perform each prayer in its own time]. [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar 1:164, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:457]

6. It is related that Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) said,

I performed eight rak’ats together [four of Zuhr and four of ‘Asr] and seven rak’ats together [three of Maghrib and four of ‘Isha] with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. One of the narrators says, “I asked Abu’l ‘Sha’tha, “I assume he delayed Zuhr [to the end of its time] and performed ‘Asr as soon as it entered, and delayed Maghrib [likewise] and performed ‘Isha [early]. He replied, “I also think the same” [Sahih Muslim 1:246, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:456]

This Hadith from Sahih Muslim is very precise in its description of combining two prayers. The method described by the narrator is Jam al-suri’.

7. Imam Abu Dawud has transmitted the following report:

The muezzin of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) informed him it was time for prauer. Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) instructed him to continue on a journey. When the red of sunset (shafaq ahmar) had nearly disappeared, he got off from his mount and performed Maghrib. Then he waited until the red had completely dissappeared and performed ‘Isha. He then said, “Whenever the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was in a hurry for some reason, he would do just as I uave done.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 1:178]

As we can see, the method of combining mentioned in the above hadiths is none other than that of jam al-suri’. It is an agreed upon method that no one disputes. How can there be an objection to two prayers being performed together in a way that does not cause them to be performed either before their stipulated time or after it? Undoubtedly, this is not only the safest method of combining two prayers, but it is also the most suitable way to explain the hadiths on the subject of combining.

It is also common knowledge that the Fajr prayer should not be performed before its time or intentionally delayed beyond it. Similarly, other prayers should not be performed out of their stipulated times either, especially not while considering it to be a sunna. This indicates that the sunna method of combining two prayers is jam’ al-suri, as has also been substantiated through the Qur’an and hadiths. This is the Hanafi opinion in this issue.

If it were permissible to practice jam’ al-haqiqi in the event of travel or illness, then why it is confined to some prayers only? Why is it not permissible to perform all the prayers of the day together in the morning before departing on a journey? The reason for this is quite simple. The practice of combining mentioned in the hadiths is not to be taken as Jam’ al-haqiqi but as jam’ al-suri, wherein each prayers remains in its own time, but all prayers are performed one after another.

In the following, we will analyze some hadiths that are normally presented to establish the permissibility of jam’ al-haqiqi.

1. Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

Whenever the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would undertake a hurried journey, he would combine Maghrib and ‘Isha. [Sahih Muslim 1:24]

This narration is sometimes used to prove the permissibility of “real combining,” whereas it just mentions that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ combined two prayers and does not mention that jam’ al-haqiqi was performed. The Hanafis have explained that the Messenger ﷺ performed “apparent combining” and not “real combining,” since the former is the method agreed upon by all scholars.

In this hadith, since Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) does not mention the actual method of combining, we turn to hadith 7 above – also a narration of Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) – where he expounds on the method of combining prayers. The method he describes in that narration is none other than jami’ al-suri, so it will be taken as a commentary for this narration.

2. Nafi’ reports,

Whenever ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had to travel in a hurry, he would combine Maghrib and ‘Isha after the red twilight of sunset disappeared. Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) stated that whenever the Messenger ﷺ was forced to travel in a hurry, he would also combine Maghrib and ‘Isha. [Sahih Muslim 1:245]

3. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

Once the Messenger ﷺ had to travel quickly due to some emergency in his family. He delayed Maghrib until the red twilight had disappeared, then got off his animal and combined the two prayers. Thereafter, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) informed everyone that this was the practice of the Messenger ﷺ whenever he had to travel in a hurry. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:124]

These two hadiths seem to be in apparent conflict with the opinion of the Hanafis. However, in reality, if they are understood correctly, they would be found to be in total agreement. This is due to the following reasons:

(a) Firstly, there are two types of shafaq or twilight:, one is the redness (ahmar) seen in the sky after sunset and second is the whiteness (abyad) that remains for a short while after the redness disappears. ‘Allama ‘Ayni states:

It is possible that the twilight refer to in the narrations is the red one. (In the Hanafi school) there are two views regarding the expiry of Maghrib time. Some say it ends when the redness disappears, and others say it ends when the whiteness disappears. Therefore, if the Messenger ﷺ performed both prayers immediately after the redness had disappeared, it means he performed Maghrib during the whiteness, i.e. within its stipulated time (according to the view that Maghrib ends after the whiteness has disappeared), and he also performed ‘Isha within its stipulated time, (according to the view that Maghrib ends with the disappearance of the redness after which ‘Isha begins. [‘Umdat al Qari 3:568]

(b) Another explanation, mentioned in al-Ta’liq as-Sabih, is that these hadith has been mentioned with various differences. Some contain the additions, “the redness was close to disappearing.” This indicates that one of the narrators may have become slight confused regarding the exact wording due to the various reports, so he finally reported it in the words, “after the redness had disappeared,” according to its speculation. This means that in reality it was just prior to the ending of the red twilight that the Messenger ﷺ performed Maghrib, which means it was jam’ al-suri.

(c) Another reason for preferring jam’ al-suri is that is the hadiths of Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) on this issue are inconsistent and do not maintain a fixed expression, it would be more preferable to regard hadith 7 above (also narrated by him) as the commentary for the various transmissions of his report. That hadith makes it clear that the method of combining used by the Messenger ﷺ was “apparent combining.” Hence, the combining mentioned in the remaining hadith of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar will also be considered to be “apparent combining.”

4. Mu’adh (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates

during the expedition of Tabuk, whenever the Messenger ﷺ would set out before the sun declined from its meridian, he would delay Zuhr and perform it  just before its expiry time with ‘Asr, and when he would depart after noon he would perform ‘Asr early by combining it with Zuhr (i.e. Zuhr by the end of its time and ‘Asr as soon as it entered), then he would continue his journey. Whenever he would depart before Maghrib, he would delay it and perform it with ‘Isha (i.e. in their respective times), and if he set out after Maghrib he would perform ‘Isha early by combining it with Maghrib. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:124, Sunan Abi Dawud 1:178]

The following points have been made about this narration:

(a) ‘Allama ‘Ayni states regarding this narration:

This hadith was rejected by Imam Abu Dawud, and it is also reported from him that there is no clear hadith to be found concerning the performance of a prayer before its stipulated time.

(b) Another problem is the strong criticism of Husayn Ibn ‘Abdullah, a narrator in this hadith’s chain, by the hadith experts (muhaddithin). Ibn al-Madini says, “I have abandoned his reports.” Imam Ahmad states, “He has defects.” Ibn Ma’in calls him weak (da’if); and Nasa’i says, “His narrations have been rejected.”

(c) Even if the hadith were accepted for a moment to be authentic, it would still be considered as describing jam’ al-suri for various reasons. It is indicated in the hadith that the Messenger ﷺ would delay the first prayer to the end of its time and perform the second one imnediately thereafter in its own time. The following two narrations of Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) suggests the same explanation:

The Messenger ﷺ performed Zuhr and ‘Asr together and Maghrib and ‘Isha together without (being in the state of) fear or travel.

The Messenger ﷺ performed Zuhr and ‘Asr together and Maghrib and ‘Isha together without (being in the state of) fear or rain. [Sahih Muslim 1:246]

These narrations speak of the Messenger ﷺ combining the prayers even though the circumstances was not of fear, rain or travel. These are the main three circumstances under which one can perform jam’ al-haqiqi according to many scholars besides the Hanafis.

So was he performing jam’ al-haqiqi, as some like to say, even though none of the valid reasons for doing so were present? The correct explanation we could offer here is that these narrations of Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), as well as the other narrations on this issue, do not speak of the Messenger ﷺ performing jam’ al-haqiqi at all; but rather to his performance of jam’ al-suri.

It could be safely concluded that the Hanafis have followed a safe path in explaining the hadiths in this issue. Their explanation does not contradict the hadiths or Qur’anic verses that strictly enjoin that prayers be performed in their own times. They interpret the hadiths of combining to be based on jam’ al-suri, wherein two prayers are performed one after another – the first prayer at the end of its time and the second prayer immediately thereafter, at the beginning of its time. This seems to be the safest and the most uncontroversial approach to adopt in light of the many narrations on this issue.

One the other hand, taking the various narrations to be based on jam’ al-haqiqi – wherein one prayer is intentionally delayed and performed in the time of the other, or the later prayer is performed in advance during the time of the earlier prayer – will cause these hadiths to contradict the verses and hadiths that encourage prayers to be performed in their own times. Furthermore, those who allow jam’ al-haqiqi have also stated that it is superior not to combine the two prayers but to perform them separately in their own respective times.

Imam Abu Hanifa’s View on Six Fasts of Shawwal & the Mufta Bihi Position of the Hanafi Madh-hab

A  senior  Mufti  says  that  the  6  Shawwaal  Fasts  are  Makrooh.  He  cites  Imaam  Abu  Hanifah  (Rahmatullah  alayh)  as  proof  for  this  view.  Please  comment.

Answer (Mujlisul Ulama): 
The  senior  Mufti  Sahib  is  short-sighted.  His  Ilm  is  superficial,  hence  he  could  muster  up  the  audacity  to  decry  a  practice  which  is entrenched  in  the  Math-hab  since  fourteen  centuries.  He  did  not  stop to  reflect  on  the  fact  that  it  is  the practice  of    all  our  Akaabireen  and  of  all Math-habs.

Secondly,  every  ruling  of  the Hanafi  Math-hab  is  not    necessarily  the  view  of  Imaam  Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullah  alayh).  There  are  many  issues    on  which  Imaam  Abu  Hanifah  has  a  contrary  view  to  the Mufta  Bihi  version  which  could  be  the  view  of  Imaam  Abu  Yusuf  (Rahmatullah  alayh)  or  of  Imaam  Muhammad  (Rahmatullah  alayh)  or  of  both.  For  example,  Aqeeqah, according  to  Imaam  Abu  Hanifah (Rahmatullah  alayh),  the  Qur’baani  has  displaced  Aqeeqah.  However,  this  is  not  the  Fatwa  of  the  Math-hab.

Thirdly,  Imaam  Abu  Hanifah  stated  the  Makrooh  view  for  the six  fasts  at  a  time  when  it  was  being  considered  Waajib.  

What is Mufta Bihi??

The literal meaning of Mufta bihi is ‘the view in which fatwaa is given on’.

Basically, in every Madh-hab we have countless Fuqaha. At times, those who reached the status of Ijtihaad within a Madh-hab differ from others. For example, in the Hanafi Madh-hab, we have an elite student of Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him) – (Imam Muhammad, for example) – differing with him. Since the student too is a Mujtahid, there are times when a Mufti will pass verdict in accordance to the view of that student. That view becomes the Mufta Bihi (the view upon which verdict is given). If the verdict is passed on the view of Imam Abu Hanifa, then that is Mufta Bihi.

On a side note, this proves that a Madh-hab is not the work of one individual, rather it is the combined effort of thousands of scholars.

Frameworks for issuing a ruling in the Hanafi Madh-hab

The Hanafi Fiqh is mainly based on the masā’il rendered to us by Imam Abu Hanifah and his two students, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (also known al-sāhibayn). What will the fatwa be based on in masā’il, wherein there is disagreement between Imam Abu Hanifah and his two students (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad)?

There are two opinions expressed:

Opinion. 1
The opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah will ALWAYS be given preference over that of his two students. ’Allama Siraj al-Dīn writes in Fatāwa Sirajiyyah:

“The ruling unconditionally is given upon the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah, then of sāhibayn (when both students have agreed upon something), then of Imam Abu Yusuf, then of Imam Muhammad, then Imam Zufar and then of Hasan bin Ziyad. It has been assumed that if a disagreement is between Imam Abu Hanifah on one side and the two students (together) on the other side, then the Mufti will have an option. HOWEVER, THE FIRST OPINION (of preference to Imam Abu Hanifah) IS MORE CORRECT.

Opinion. 2
The ruling is rendered upon the opinion of any (Imam Abu Hanifah or his students and not necessarily only upon that of Imam Abu Hanifah) as deemed appropriately (following the principles of Fiqh).

Response to the first opinion:

There are several masā’il wherein earlier jurists gave ruling upon the opinion of sāhibayn on the basis of their strong proofs. [Al-Hāwi al-Qudsi].

The fatwa was also sometimes given based on the opinion of the imam who was considered a greater authority than others in that particular area, such as, Imam Abu Yusuf in qadhā and shahadah, Imam Muhammad in inheritance (zawi al-arham) and Imam Zufar in 17 masā’il. [Radd al-Muhtār]

The opinion expressed by sāhibayn is, in fact, one of the opinions narrated by Imam Abu Hanifah himself. (Thus, the opinion of sahibayn does not also in any way contradict the taqleed of Imam Abu Hanifah) [Ibn ‘Abidin]

There are many fiqhi works which include disagreements in their books but have not clearly stated upon the opinion of whom is the ruling given. In such cases, what principle should be applied to give preference to one opinion over the other?

In principle, the fatwa must be given on that which is highlighted as ‘mufta bihi’ position (upon which fatwa is given) by accepted authorities (ashāb al-tarjih).

However, if no such expression is explicitly found in any of the reliable books, then the Mufti will consider many factors before rendering a fatwa on one of the valid opinions in the madh’hab: the difference in stage (tabaqah) among the jurists who may have differed in their preference, customary practice (‘urf), the state of the people, that which falls under the category of ‘need’, that which is the most practical for people, that which is stronger in proofs and other factors [Al-Durr al-Mukhtār].

And only Allah knows best
Mufti Hanif Patel

Proofs for the Hanafi Procedure of Salat al-‘Id

[By Mufti Zameelur Rahman]

Hadith One: A Sahih Marfoo‘ Hadith

Near the end of his Sharh Ma‘ani al-Athar (2:371, Maktabah Haqqaniyyah), Imam al-Tahawi (d. 321 H) narrates:

علي بن عبد الرحمن ويحيى بن عثمان قد حدثانا قالا: ثنا عبد الله بن يوسف عن يحيى بن حمزة قال: حدثني وضين بن عطاء أن القاسم أبا عبد الرحمن حدثه قال: حدثني بعض أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال:

صلى بنا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم عيد، فكبر أربعا أربعا، ثم أقبل علينا بوجهه حين انصرف، فقال: لا تنسوا كتكبير الجنائز، وأشار بأصابعه وقبض إبهامه


‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman and Yahya ibn ‘Uthman narrated to us, they said: ‘Abd Allah ibn Yusuf narrated to us: From Yahya ibn Hamzah, he said: Wadin ibn ‘Ata’ narrated to me that al-Qasim Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman narrated to him, he said: One of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) narrated to me, he said:

“The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed with us on the day of ‘Id, so did takbir, four [in the first rak‘ah] and four [in the second], and then he turned to us with his face when he finished and he said: ‘Do not forget, [the takbirs of ‘Id are] like the takbir of janazah.’ And he gestured with his fingers and clutched his thumb (signalling the number four).”


The “four” takbirs of the first rak‘ah mentioned in this narration includes the opening takbir (takbirat al-iftitah) as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) drew a comparison with the takbirs of Janazah in which one of the four takbirs is also of the opening  takbir. Furthermore, the four takbirs in the second rak‘ah  includes the takbir said when going into ruku‘. Hence, the additional takbirs are in fact six. This meaning is clear from other narrations, some of which are reproduced below.


‘Allamah Badr al-Din al-‘Ayni (d. 855 H) said about this narration: “And this is a sahih chain and its narrators are trustworthy.” (Nukhab al-Afkar, 16:442)

Here is a brief analysis of the narrators in the chain:

‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn al-Mughirah al-Kufi (d. 272 H), the shaykh of al-Tahawi, known by the agnomen “‘Allan,” was also a shaykh of Imam al-Nasa’i, and he is trustworthy (thiqah). He was declared “trustworthy” (thiqah) by Ibn Yunus and is mentioned in al-Thiqat of Ibn Hibban (Tahrir al-Taqrib, 3:49). ‘Abd Allah ibn Yusuf al-Tinnisi (d. 218 H) is an undisputed Madinan Hadith authority, whose narrations are found in Sahih al-Bukhari, and the Sunans of Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasai. He is one of the most reliable transmitters of Malik’s Muwatta’ (Tahrir al-Taqrib, 2:288-9). Yahya ibn Hamzah ibn Waqid al-Hadrami (d. 183 H) is thiqah and his narrations are found in all six of the famous hadith collections (Tahrir al-Taqrib, 4:82). Al-Wadin ibn ‘Ata’ ibn Kinanah (d.156) is at least saduq (reliable) if not thiqah. Ahmad, Ibn Ma‘in, Abu Zur‘ah, Ibn Shahin, al-Dhahabi and others declared him thiqah. Although some critics said he is weak, this was due to his beliefs associated with qadar (predestination), which does not detract from his strength as a hadith narrator (Tahrir al-Taqrib, 4:59-60). Al-Qasim ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Dimashqi (d. 112) was a companion of the famous Sahabi, Abu Umamah al-Bahili, and he is thiqah, described so by al-Bukhari, Ibn Ma‘in, al-Tirmidhi, Juzjani and others (Tahrir al-Taqrib, 3:171). Although the Sahabi in this chain is unknown, this does not affect the authenticity of the chain as all Sahabah are trustworthy and reliable by consensus of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah.

Imam al-Tahawi said after narrating the above hadith:

هذا حديث حسن الإسناد وعبد الله بن يوسف ويحى بن حمزة والوضين والقاسم كلهم أهل رواية معروفون بصحة الرواية

“This is a hadith with a hasan chain. ‘Abd Allah ibn Yusuf, Yahya ibn Hamzah, al-Wadin and al-Qasim are all people of transmission, recognised for authenticity in transmission.” (Sharh Ma‘ani al-Athar, 2:371)

Salafi scholar, Al-Albani, said after quoting this statement of al-Tahawi, “It is as he said.” (Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah, no. 2997)

Hadith Two: The View of Major Sahabah

‘Abd al-Razzaq al-San‘ani narrates in his Musannaf:

عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن أبي إسحاق عن علقمة والأسود بن يزيد قال:

كان ابن مسعود جالسا وعنده حذيفة وأبو موسى الأشعري فسألهما سعيد بن العاص عن التكبير فى الصلاة يوم الفطر والأضحى، فجعل هذا يقول: سل هذا، وهذا يقول: سل هذا، فقال له حذيفه: سل هذا – لعبد الله بن مسعود – فسأله، فقال ابن مسعود:

يكبر أربعا ثم يقرأ فيركع ثم يقوم فى الثانية فيقرأ ثم يكبر أربعا بعد القراءة


‘Abd al-Razzaq from Ma‘mar (ibn Rashid) from Abu Ishaq (al-Sabi‘i) from ‘Alqamah and al-Aswad ibn Yazid, he said:

Ibn Mas‘ud was sitting and next to him was Hudhayfah (ibn al-Yaman) and Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, whereupon Sa‘id ibn al-‘As asked these two (i.e. Hudhayfah and Abu Musa) about the takbir in the Salah of the day of Fitr and Adha. So this one began to say, ‘Ask this one,’ and this one to say, ‘Ask this one.’ Then Hudhayfah said to him: ‘Ask this one’ – [pointing] to ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud. So he asked him. Ibn Mas‘ud said:

“One does takbir four times and then he recites, then he bows, and then he stands in the second (rak‘ah) and he recites, and then he does takbir four times after recitation.” (Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq, no. 5687, 3:293-4, al-Majlis al-‘Ilmi)


This is a very strong chain of narration, with all the narrators being known hadith authorities, found in all six of the famous hadith collections.


This proves ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud prayed in the way described in the above hadith, and he issued fatwa on it. And major Sahabah agreed with him. It is also established in other narrations that Ibn Mas‘ud’s students, like ‘Alqamah, Aswad, Masruq and others, would also pray in the same way.

Hadith Three: A Clearer Description

If there is some confusion and ambiguity in the above descriptions regarding the tabkirs, the following hadith makes the procedure completely clear:

Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates:

حدثنا وكيع عن سفيان عن أبي إسحاق عن عبد الله بن أبي موسى…أن أميرا من أمراء الكوفة…بعث إلى عبد الله بن مسعود وحذيفة بن اليمان وعبد الله بن قيس فقال: إن هذا العيد قد حضر فما ترون؟ فأسندوا أمرهم إلى عبد الله، فقال:

تكبر تسعا: تكبيرة تفتتح بها الصلاة‘ ثم تكبر ثلاثا، ثم تقرأ سورة، ثم تكبر ثم تركع ثم تقوم فتقرأ سورة ثم تكبر أربعا تركع بإحداهن


Waki‘ (ibn al-Jarrah) narrated to us from Sufyan (al-Thawri) from Abu Ishaq (al-Sabi‘i) from ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Musa…that an emir from the emirs of Kufah…sent for ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman and ‘Abd Allah ibn Qays (i.e. Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari) and he said: ‘Indeed ‘Id has come, so what is your opinion?’ They deferred their matter to ‘Abd Allah, and he said:

“You do nine takbirs: one takbir  with which to open the Salah, and then you do three takbirs, and then you recite a surah, and then you do takbir  and then you bow, and then you stand (in the second rak‘ah) and you recite a surah, and then you do four takbirs and bow with one of them.”


This is a very clear description of the Hanafi procedure of Salat al-‘Id.


Again, this is an authentic chain. ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Musa is a very senior Tabi‘i whose narrations are found in Sahih Muslim, and he is thiqah (Taqrib, no. 3547).

Concluding Remarks

Further Support

Furthermore, there is an authentic narration in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (no. 5757) that ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, the great Makkan Sahabi, also prayed in this way.

Hadiths on the Other Opinion of “Seven and Five” Takbirs

Finally, Imam al-Tahawi criticises all the narrations that say the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed “seven and five,” as they all have problematic narrators in the chains like Kathir ibn ‘Abd Allah, ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Thaqafi and Ibn Lahi‘ah, and some have inconsistency (idtirab) in the chain. And he says the narration above (hadith one) is free of these defects that are found in those narrations that mention “seven and five.”

Furthermore, the narration above (hadith one) also contains a verbal instruction from the Prophet (peace be upon him) i.e. his saying, “Do not forget, four like the takbirs of Janazah.” And it is known that a verbal hadith is given priority over ones that only describe a practice.

Hadiths on the Position of ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud in this Ummah

Another important fact that gives support to the Hanafi method is that it was championed by the eminent Sahabi, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud (may Allah be pleased with him). Consider the following two narrations:

Al-Hakim narrates in his  Mustadrak (3:319) with his chain that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

رضيت لكم ما رضي لكم ابن أم عبد

“I am pleased for you with what Ibn Umm ‘Abd (i.e. Ibn Mas‘ud) is pleased for you.”

Al-Hakim said it is sahih and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. Muhammad ‘Awwamah analysed the chain and showed it is authentic (footnotes to Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 17:193) Al-Albani also deemed it authentic (Silsilah Ahadith Sahihah, no. 1225).

And the Prophet (peace be upon him peace) said:

وتمسكوا بعهد ابن أم عبد

“Hold fast to the instruction of Ibn Umm ‘Abd (i.e. Ibn Mas‘ud).”

It was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, al-Tahawi, Ibn Abi Shaybah and others. Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut stated it is a “sahih hadith” (footnotes to Sharh Mushkil al-Athar, no.1224)

This, therefore, is a validation from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself to follow the verdicts and teachings of ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud.


[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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


‘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.


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).


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.

The Impermissibility of Women Attending the Musaajid

[Jamiatul Ulama, Northern Cape]

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) said:

“The best Salaat of a woman is her Salaat in the innermost recess of her home.”

Upholding the Prohibition  decreed by Hadhrat Umar Ibn  Khattaab (radhiyallahu anhu), the Khalifah of the time, Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) said:

“If Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) saw what the women  have introduced (by way of mischief), he would most certainly prohibit them from the Musjid.”


(1) Tabyeenul Haqaaiq, Vol. 1,  pages 139  and 140: “They should  not attend congregations, i.e. in  all Salaats, whether they (the  women) are young or old. This is the verdict of the Mutakh-khireen  (Fuqaha of the Ahnaaf) because  of the rise of fasaad in our times.  …….The accepted verdict in our  age is prohibition for all (Salaats)  because of the change in the  times. Precisely for this reason  did Aishah (radhiyallahu anha)  say: “If Rasulullah had seen of the  women what we have seen, then  most assuredly he would have  forbidden them from the Musjid  just as the women of Bani Israaeel  were prohibited. Women have  introduced (in their lives)  adornment, perfume and wearing  jewellery. It was for this reason  that Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  had forbidden them (from  attending the Musjid). The  changing of the ahkaam because  of the changing of the times  cannot be denied, e.g. it is  permissible to lock the Musjid at nights in our age (whereas originally this was not permissible).”

(2) Mabsoot of Imaam Sarakhsi,  Vol. 16, page 37: “Verily, during  the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Abu Bakr  (radhiyallahu anhu) women used  to attend jama-aat (for Salaat). However, Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) prohibited this, and he was correct (in so doing).”

(3) Al-Ikhtiyaar Ta’leelil Mukhtaar,  Vol. 1, page 139: “During our times nothing of it (i.e. whether the women attending the Musjid  are young or old) is permissible  because of the fasaad of the  times and the rampancy of immorality.”

(4) An-Nihaayah: “Our Fuqaha  base the prohibition of women attending the Musjid on the prohibition declared by Hadhrat  Umar Ibn Khattaab (radhiyallahu  anhu). When he discerned the  fitnah (mischief) which women had initiated, he forbade their emergence.”

(5) Allaamah Aini (rahmatullah  alayh) of the 8th century says: “If Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) could observe the innovations and evils  which the women of this age (i.e.  the 8th century of Islam) have introduced, her rejection (of  women attending the Musjid),  would be more vehement. The  interval between the era of  Aishah’s rejection and  Rasulullah’s time is very little.  The wrongs which the women during the time of Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha) had  introduced were insignificant  compared to the evils which they have introduced during this age (i.e. the 8th century).”

(6) Al-Muheetul Burhaani:  “The  Ruling is prohibition for all  Salaats because of the spread of  fitnah of the age.”

(7) Al-Jauharah: “The verdict  (Fatwa) today is prohibition of  women’s presence (in the Musjid)  for  all Salaat because of the prevalence of mischief.”

(8) Munazzal: “The Fatwa today is  that it is forbidden for women to  attend the Musjid for all Salaats because of the appearance of fitnah.”

(9) Al-Kifaayah: “The Fatwa today  is prohibition of females  attending (the Musjid) for all  Salaats because of the spread of fitnah.”

(10) Mufti Kifaayatullah states in  his treatise, The Prohibition of  Women Attending Gatherings and Public Lectures: “The Ruling  of our Companions is that which  the author of Badaius Sanaai has said. In this there is a consensus  of opinion that a woman cannot  attend Eid or Jumuah Salaat. In  fact, she is prohibited from  attending any/all Salaat (in the  Musjid). This ruling is based on  the Qur’aanic aayat: ‘And remain resolutely in your homes…’. The  emergence of women from their homes is a cause of fitnah.” It is  further stated in Badaai: ‘Women  are not allowed to attend Salaat  with Jamaat. The proof is in the  narration of Hadhrat Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) wherein he  prohibited women from emerging from their homes.”

(11) Fataawa Alamghiri, Vol. 1,  page 93: “The Fatwa of these  times is that it is impermissible  for women to attend (the Musjid) for any Salaat because this is an era of social decay and fitnah.”

(12) Bahrur Raa-iq, Vol. 1, page  380: “Women should not attend  the Jamaat (Salaat) in view of the aayat: “And remain resolutely in  your  homes…’ and the Hadith of  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that the Salaat of a  woman in the innermost corner  of her home is better than her  Salaat in the courtyard of her  house, and her Salaat in the  courtyard of her house is better  than her Salaat in the Musjid, and  her home is better for her than  the Musjid. The author of Kanzud  Daqaaiq has mentioned in Kaafi  that the Fatwa of this era is  impermissibility for women to  attend any/all Salaat (in the  Musjid) because of the prevalence of immorality.”

(13) Allaamah Badruddin Aini  states in Sharah Kanz: “Women, be they young or old, are prohibited from attending the  Musjid for Jamaat Salaat because  this is an era of social decay and immorality.”

(14) Ad-Durrul Mukhtaar, Vol. 1,  page 397: “It is not permissible  for women to attend Salaat in congregation, whether it be  Jumuah or Eid or a lecture, even  if she is old and even if it is night  time. This is the final ruling on this issue. Due to the state of immorality, this ruling has been given.”

All the kutub of the Hanafi Math-hab register a firm, resolute  uncompromising prohibition on  women attending the Musjid for  Salaat or for lectures in this era  of fitnah and fasaad – evil and  immorality of men and women.  The Prohibition is based on the  Dalaa-il of the Qur’aan and  Sunnah. Only morons and immoral liberals of this age deny this irrefutable reality of the Shariah.


It will be prudent to state the  Shaafi’ view as well. Miscreants  and morons have an evil habit of misleading people by ascribing  falsities to the Shaafi’ Math-hab.  The Shaafi’ Fuqaha are just as vehement and resolute in prohibiting women from the Musjid as the Hanafi Fuqaha.

(1) I’aanatut Taalibeen, Vol. 2,  page 5: “Yes, it is Makrooh (i.e.  forbidden) for women of  adornment to attend the Musjid  with males because of the Hadith  in Bukhaari and Muslim narrated  from Aishah (radhiyallahu anha)  who said: ‘If Rasulullah (sallallahu  alayhi wasallam) had to see what  women have initiated (today),  then most certainly he would  prohibit them from the Musjid  just as the women of Bani Israaeel  were prohibited.” And this prohibition is on account of the fitnah in it (in their emergenc  from their homes to attend the Musjid). The text of Sharh states:  ‘It is Makrooh (reprehensible and forbidden) for a woman to attend  Jamaat of the Musjid if she is young even if she dons shabby  (unattractive/old) garments, and  even if she is not young, but with her there is something of beauty  or the fragrance of perfume.’ And  it is the duty of the Imaam or his representatives to prevent them (from the Musjid).”

(2) Al-Iqnaa li Shurabeeni, Vol. 1, page 164: “It is Makrooh for the women of beauty (adornment) to attend (the Musjid) with males  because of the Hadith of Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha) narrated in  Bukhaari and Muslim…………..”

(3) Al-Majmoo’, Vol. 4, page 172: “When a young woman or even an old women who can be a cause of  lust, intends to attend the Musjid, it is Makrooh for her. It is also Makrooh for her husband or wali to allow her (to attend the Musjid). If it is such an old  woman who is not desirable (i.e.  she is not a cause of lust for  others) and if there is no mafsadah (fitnah/mischief) either  for her or for others, then it is  preferable for the husband to  allow her if she seeks permission.  But if he refuses (to give  permission) then it is not haraam  for him (to refuse).”

(4) Al-Majmoo’, Vol. 5, Page 13: Explaining the prohibition, it is  said: “ …..and because the fitnah  and the ways of evil in these times are abundant contrary to the initial era (of Islam).”

(5) Kifaayatul Akhyaar, Vol. 1,  page 149: “If Rasulullah  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had  to see what women have  introduced, he would most  certainly prohibit them from the  Musjid just as the women of Bani  Israaeel were  prohibited.’  This  then is the Fatwa of Ummul  Mu’mineen in the best of ages.  Then what should be (the fatwa)  in this corrupt time of ours?  Verily many others (Fuqaha)  besides Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) had also prohibited women from  attending the Musjid – others, e.g. Urwah Bin Zubair  (radhiyallahu anhu), Qaasim,  Yahya Ansaari and Maalik… And  this (difference of opinion regarding women’s attendance)  applied to that (early) age. But  during this era of ours, not a  single Muslim will hesitate to  prohibit women except a ghabi  (an ignoramus/moron whose  brains are dense) who lacks  understanding of the deeper  wisdom of the Shariah. He seeks  proof from the zaahiri daleel (i.e.  he looks at only the text/the  words) without understanding  its meaning………….The correct version is resolutely Tahreem (i.e.  it is haraam for women to attend  the Musjid). And the Fatwa is according to it.”

(6) Haashiyataan, Vol. 1, page  222:  “…..the likes of young  women of adornment or old  perfumed women, and it is  haraam for a married woman to  go to (the Musjid) without the  permission of  her husband, and it is haraam for him to permit her because of fitnah from her or on her.”

(7) Bujairmi alal Khateeb, Vol. 2,  page 107: “Women should not  attend Jamaat (in the Musjid) whether they are young or old  because of the spread of fasaad  (evil, immorality). …..The fatwa  today is on prohibition for all …..This includes (the daily) Jamaat  Salaat, Eid, Istisqaa and  gatherings of lectures, especially  the lecture programmes of the  juhhaal (the cardboard muftis and  paper molvis) who masquerade as Ulama whilst their motive is carnal lust.”


In the Shaafi’ kitaab, Kifaayatul  Akhyaar, Vol.1, page 149, the  opinion of morons is vehemently criticized. The author, Ibn Hajar  Haitami (rahmatullah alayh)  citing the famous Hadith of  Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) which constitutes a fundamental basis for the decree of Prohibition, states: 

“If Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) had seen what women  have introduced, then most assuredly he would prohibit them  from the Musjid just as the  women of Bani Israaeel were  prohibited.” (Then he comments):  ‘This, then is the fatwa of Ummul  Mu’mineen during Khairul Quroon  (the Best of Ages – the Age of  the Sahaabah). Then what should  it be during this corrupt age of  ours? (i.e. many centuries after  Khairul Quroon with immorality  on the ascendancy). Others  besides Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) too have stated the prohibition of women attending the Musjid.

Among them are Urwah Bin Zubair (radhiyallahu anhu), Qaasim, Yahya Ansaari, Maalik, and Abu Hanifah once then at another time he gave permission (for old women duringFajr, Maghrib and Isha). Similarly, Abu Yusuf prohibited it. This (prohibition) with some  differences applied to that age  (the Khairul Quroon). However,  with regard to our age (i.e. the  8/9th century), no one among  the Muslimeen will hesitate in  (the fatwa) of prohibiting women,  except a moron lacking in the  understanding of the subtleties  of the Shariah. Verily he (the  moron) argues (and seeks proof)  with the literal text and he applies it literally without understanding  its meaning and without taking into account the wisdom (and understanding) of Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha). …..And, the  Fatwa is on this (i.e  prohibition).  And Allah knows best.”

Ibn Hajar Haitami (rahmatullah  alayh) has made it abundantly  clear that only a moron – a  person with a dense brain whose  intellectual channels are clogged  with stupidity – looks at the text  and simply ascribes to it a literal  effect in terms of the apparent  meaning. He is blind to the many  factors  and circumstances which  fetter the text of the Hadith. The  density of his brain precludes the  moron from understanding the  Fatwa of Wisdom issued by  Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu  anha) and the wisdom of Hadhrat Umar’s prohibition, and the verdicts of the Mutakh-khireen Fuqaha of all Math-habs

Ibn Hajar states in his famed Al-Fataawal Kubral Fiqhiyah, Vol. 1,  page 204, which we reproduce  here for the benefit of all:

“It is appropriate in our age (i.e.  the 8th century) to categorically  decree haraam the emergence of  young and adorned women  because of the abundance of  fasaad (mischief/vice/immorality). The factor which made lawful  (female) emergence during the Khairul Quroon (the age of Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi  wasallam), the Sahaabah and Taabieen) has most certainly  disappeared, and also has  disappeared (what is mentioned  in the Qur’aanic verse): ‘They (women) should not reveal their  beauty and they should lower  their gaze.” And, similarly is it  with the men. The evils of female  emergence now is categorical.  Then there has been mentioned  what Hadhrat Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha) said  (regarding prohibition of women  attending the Musjid)……….And,  no one will hesitate in  prohibiting women (from the Musjid and emerging from the home in general) except a ghabi who is a jaahil, and who lacks  ability in understanding the  subtleties of the Shariah …………The correct verdict is  categorical Tahreem (i.e. haraam  for women to come to the Musjid), and this is the Fatwa. And, this in a nutshell is our (Shaafi’ Math-hab).”

Thus, according to Hadhrat Ibn  Hajar Haitami Shaafi’  (rahmatullah alayh) and  according to all the Fuqaha of all  the Math-habs, the one who calls  for women to attend the Musjid,  especially in this immoral, libertine age of zina, fisq and  fujoor, is a ghabi, a jaahil, one  who is dim and dense in the brains and due to these  intellectual maladies is unable to  understand the deeper meanings  of the Shariah.


A Clinching Ruling of the Shaafi’ Math-hab

Ibn Hajar Haitami (rahmatullah alayh), the eighth century authority of the Shaafi’ Math-hab has elaborately presented this Prohibition in Al-Fataawal Fiqhiyatul Kubra. He has argued the case from all angles, and has resolutely confirmed the  prohibition for all categories of  women on account of the confirmed fitnah. The pandemic  of fitnah has been incremental  and there is no hope of it receding. Extracts from his lengthy detailed elaboration are as follows:

“With regard to the statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from the Musjid”, and similar other Ahaadith on this topic, it is  obvious that this permission is  regulated by conditions which the Ulama have explained. These  conditions have been obtained  from the Ahaadith. They are: The  woman must not be perfumed  nor adorned with jewels which make sounds. Her garments  should not be attractive. There  should be no mingling with males. The woman should not be young  or like a young woman who can  be a cause of fitnah. There  should be no fear of mischief in  the road. ……..If even one of  these conditions is lacking, then she will be prohibited (from going to the Musjid or anywhere else).

The condition for permissibility of emerging is the non-existence of fitnah and this is obvious. When emergence is haraam (because of fitnah), then prohibiting (women) is Waajib (on the husband or the guardian).

Furthermore, the statement of Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) reinforces prohibition, for she said: ‘If Rasulullah (sallallahu  alayhi wasallam) had seen what  the women have introduced, he  would prohibit them from the Musjid just as the women of Bani Israaeel were prohibited.’

What she (Hadhrat Aishah-  radhiyallahu anha) had deducted  is supported by the statement of  Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh),  viz., ‘The fataawa (verdicts) for people will be in accordance with the immorality which they have introduced.’ The meaning of Imaam Maalik’s statement is what Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) had intended. In other words, if a person introduces such an act for which the Principles of the Shariah dictate a decree other than the decree which had existed before the innovation, then a new decree will be applied according to what has been introduced, not in accordance with what had existed prior to the introduction. ………..

This is supported by her Hadith  narrated by Ibn Maajah: ‘While  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was seated in the Musjid an adorned woman  entered the Musjid walking  proudly showing off her beauty  in the Musjid. Then said  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam): ‘O people! Forbid your women from wearing garments  of beauty and from pride in the  Musjid, for verily, Bani Israaeel  were cursed when their women dressed beautifully and swaggered in the Musaajid.’

When a woman emerges only in  this manner, she shall be prevented. …… (The prohibition)  is further supported by the  statement of Ghazaali in Al-Ihya.  He said: ‘It is Waajib to prohibit  women from attending the  Musaajid for Salaat, for gatherings of knowledge and  thikr when there is fear of fitnah, for verily Aishah (radhiyallahu  anha) had prohibited them. It  was then said to her: ‘Verily,  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) did not prohibit women from jamaa-aat (gatherings in  the Musjid).’ She then said: ‘If  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) had known what the  women have introduced after him, he would most certainly have prohibited them.’

The statement of Ibn Khuzaimah  who is among our Akaabir (senior) Ashaab supports this: ‘The Salaat of a woman in her home is superior to her Salaat in the Musjid of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) despite it being equal to a thousand Salaat. This means the Salaat of men, not of women. Therefore, when it (her Salaat in her home) is superior (than even 1000 Salaat of men who perform in Musjid Nabawi), then the motive which brings her out of the home is either riya (show) or pride, and this is haraam.

Among the worst evils is the  mingling of the ignoramuses  among the masses. Men with  their wives with exposed faces  mix with other men during Tawaaf. Also among the evils is  what the women of Makkah and  others do when they intend to  perform Tawaaf and enter the  Musjid. They adorn themselves and use very strong perfume  which can be smelt from a distance. With this they distract  the attention of the people, and  this constitutes a cause for  attracting gazes towards them,  leading to different kinds of moral corruption. We supplicate  to Allah to guide the rulers to  eradicate these evils, Aameen!  Now ponder! You will find the  situation categorically  demanding prohibition even with  regards to Tawaaf when women  perpetrate acts leading to fitnah.  Thus, this situation further  supports what she (Hadhrat Aishah –radhiyallahu anha) had  said earlier.………. (In view of the  appalling moral decadence) how can prohibiting her not be  incumbent……..and how can it be  said that emergence (from the  home) is permissible for her. This cannot be in the Shariah.

Among the haraam acts is their  (women’s) brushing against men  in the Musjid and the road. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) said: “It is better for a  man to brush against a mud-soiled pig than his shoulders  brushing against a woman who is  not lawful for him.” Narrated by  Tabaraani.….. Therefore if you say:  ‘What, do you prohibit women  from the Musaajid, places of Eid  Salaat and visiting the quboor  besides the Qabar of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? My  response is: ‘How is it possible for me not to say so when there is consensus on this (prohibition)  because of the non-existence of  the conditions of permissibility  for khurooj (i.e. emergence from the home to attend the Musjid, etc.). And that (the conditions  for permissibility) during the age  of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam) were piety and moral purity.’

Among the Mutaqaddimeen, the two noble and illustrious Shaikhs and Imaams: Shaikh Taqiuddeen Al-Haseeni and our Shaikh  Alaauddeen Muhammad Bin  Muhammad Bin Muhammad Al-Najjaari May Allah cover them  with His mercy – have (also) stated this (as explained above).  That which both these illustrious  Shaikhs have stated is adequate  for a person who abandons his  desire. Some have inferred that  the view of Tahreem (i.e. haraam  for women to attend the Musjid)  and the claim of consensus on  prohibition are in conflict with  the (Shaafi’) Math-hab. But it is  not so. On the basis of what I  explain from the kutub of the  Math-hab, etc. their purpose is  clarified, and it explains that  there is no conflict (with the Math-hab) in what they have said.
That which they (the two  illustrious Shaikhs) have said is  that, verily, the Fatwa in this age  is the prohibition of women’s  emergence (from their homes to attend the Musjid, etc.). None, but a moron subservient to his  base desires will hesitate in this  (i.e. in accepting that it is  prohibited for women), for verily,  the ahkaam change with the  changing of the people of the  age. This is the correct version according to the Ulama of the Salf and Khalf of the Math-habs.

Tahaawi said that the command  for their emergence was in the  initial period of Islam so that the Muslims may appear large in  number in the eyes of the enemies. It is mentioned in Sharh  Ibn Daqeequl Eid: ‘Verily, in that  time (the initial period of Islam)  the people of Islam were in  numerical inferiority, hence there  was a need to emphasize the  emergence of women and (even)  the females of khudoor (young girls who remain within their  homes)….. It is mentioned in  Musannaf of Ibnul Attaar that  going to the Musjid in the  darkness at the time of safety  from harm and fitnah, was  permitted during the era of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and  for a while during the time of the  Sahaabah. Thereafter this  (emergence from the homes to go  to the Musjid) was prohibited  because of the (fitnah) which  women had introduced such as  adornment, perfume, and their  mischief with men. Then he (the  Author of Musannaf) mentioned the Hadith of Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) in which appears the  prohibition of females. ……………It  is appropriate (i.e. necessary) for a man not to aid his wife or any  woman under his jurisdiction to  emerge from her home.………. This (i.e. their attending the Musjid in the initial period of Islam) has been prohibited for other eras because in their attendance there are many acts of haraam corruption.

And, he (i.e. Imaam Ghazaali) said  in Al-Ihya: ‘It is Waajib to prohibit  women from attending the Musaajid for Salaat and  gatherings of thikr when there is  fear of fitnah. These then are the  different views of the Ulama according to the changing times.

When there is the incidence of  fitnah, then (their attendance) is  haraam without any doubt. The meaning of fitnah is zina and its  introductory steps such as  looking (at females), privacy with  them, touching, etc.

At the time of the prevalence of  haraam acts, the correct view is  absolute haraam, and a Faqeeh  does not hesitate in this (i.e. in  issuing the fatwa of haraam).  ………………….The correct version is  that the Fatwa is absolute prohibition.” (Al-Fataawal Fiqhiyatul Kubra)

It is significant that Ibn Hajar  Haitami (rahmatullah alayh) has  branded the rejecter of  prohibition a moron (ghabi).    Only morons attempt to utilize  their corrupted intelligence to  cancel ahkaam of the Shariah which have existed since the earliest age of Islam and which all the Authorities have confirmed.

The differences of the early  Fuqaha are restricted to ‘old  women’ – old grandmothers –  who are beyond the age of  marriage and who do not  constitute fitnah for even old  men. This is clearly stated in the  kutub of the Shariah. As far as  young, middle-aged and such old  women who flaunt beauty and adornment or exercise an  attraction are concerned, there is  consensus of the Fuqaha of all  Math-habs that it is not  permissible for them to attend the Musjid. However, the moron  deceptively labours to confuse  people with this slight difference.  After the Khairul Quroon era, the  prohibition was extended to even  old women because of the fitnah  of the times – the fitnah of the  women and the fitnah of the men.
As far as the present age – the  15th Islamic century/the 21st  century of the Christian era – is  concerned, immorality is total.  Moral depravity, shamelessness,  lewdness, abandonment of  hijaab, etc. are the order of the  day. Under no circumstances will  it ever be permissible for women to attend the Musjid in these times. The position is worse in  the Haramain Shareefain. The  rulers being immoral are  permitting the perpetration of  immorality and fitnah right inside  the sacred precincts of the Holy  Musaajid. The evil is appalling,  particularly during Tawaaf. The  authorities have grossly failed in  their obligation of maintaining strict segregation and separation of Tawaaf times for the sexes. 


Question: A Mufti in the U.S.A. while acknowledging that the Shariah has prohibited women  from the Musjid is of the view  that in the present age women  are all over in the public.  Therefore separate Salaat facilities at the Musaajid should  be set aside for them. He says  that the Ulama who are against  this are extreme. Please comment.

Answer by Majlisul Ulama:

The advice which the mufti proffers regarding the   construction of separate facilities for females at the Musaajid is extremely short-sighted and not  permissible. This Deen of Islam  was revealed, completed and  perfected more than fourteen  centuries ago. There is no room  for changing the masaa-il of  Islam to accommodate deviation  and what has been impermissible  since the time of the Sahaabah.

Today among the Yahood there  remains not a semblance of the  Shariah of Nabi Musa (alayhis  salaam), and among the  Christians not a semblance of the  Shariah of Nabi Isa (alayhis salaam). The reason for this total  loss of the Shariats of the  previous Ambiya (alayhimus  salaam) is the policy of   subjecting their respective  Shariats to an evolutionary process which permits perennial  change, distortion,  misinterpretation, mutilation and  transmogrification of the Laws  of Allah Ta’ala. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a licence to interpret and distort the religion in terms of their fanciful  reasoning and nafsaani demands.

But, by the fadhl of Allah Ta’ala  Islam will not be extinguished  because Allah Ta’ala has created a  mechanism to protect the  originality and pristine purity of  this Deen, and that mechanism is  the institution of the Ulama-e-Haqq whose obligation is to act  as the watchdogs of the Divine Shariah.

The proposal to open up the Musjids or to establish separate Salaat facilities attached to the Musaajid for ladies because they  are already wandering in public is  a deception of shaitaan. Such  deceptions of shaitaan are termed Talbeesul Iblees. Shaitaan  approaches ‘scholars’ – shallow -minded ‘scholars’ whose hearts  and minds are anchored to the dunya, and who submit and make  subservient the Shariah to  worldly expediencies – such expediencies which are haraam, and grips them in his tentacles.  Instead of issuing the Shariah’s  ruling for the expediency, the  endeavour – the haraam  endeavour – is to distort and  mutilate the Shariah to conform to the development.

Thus, the endeavour is to give  recognition and confer permissibility to female  participation in public life by  twisting the Shariah’s prohibition  of females attending the Musjid into a confounded ‘permissibility’  which in reality is a haraam  ‘permissibility’. It is illogic and  haraam to change a ruling of the  Shariah simply because women  are participating in public life, shoulder to shoulder with males.  Our reaction should be the  opposite. The prohibition to attend the Musjid should be more  emphasized and women should  be educated and castigated for  their emergence from their homes in emulation of their western counterparts. Their  haraam emergence and participation in public life should  be condemned regardless of  whether they accept or reject. It  is downright stupid and not  permissible to argue that since    women are participating in  brothels, we should open up the  Musaajid for them for Salaat.

The presence of women in public  malls, etc. is not grounds for  transforming a haraam practice  into a permissible one. On the  contrary, the liberal muftis who  are trying to make women’s  emergence acceptable, should  rather fulfil their obligation of  Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil  Munkar by education and propagation to inform women  that their participation in public life in the domain of males is haraam.

If a woman has degenerated to  the level of mingling with the  opposite sex and participating  fully in public life as mentioned  by the ‘mufti’ in his corrupt fatwa, then what prevents her from  performing her Salaat in a corner  of the mall or in the office where  she works or in a corner on the  pavement? In fact, we (males) do exactly so. We perform Salaat no  Musjid nearby. Now if a woman    acts like a man and emerges from  her home to mingle with the  opposite sex in public, then she  too can perform Salaat in the  public as men do.

The entire day she spends in  public. Suddenly when Salaat    time arrives then she will make it  Qadha or forgo it rather than  perform it in the public which she  has made her ‘home’. It is indeed  preposterous and unjust to  charge the prohibition sits with  extremism for preventing women  from the Musjid, when the  women are in fact practising  haraam extremism by being in  public, then aggravating their  haraam extremism and sins by  abstaining from Salaat and  making it qadha simply because  there is no Musjid nearby or no  ladies facilities. Since they have  chosen the haraam practice of  public participation, they should perform their Salaat also in the public.

All the arguments in favour of  women’s facilities are the effects  of Satanism. Shaitaan whispers    his shaitaaniyat into the brains  of moron ‘muftis’ who have a  concept of churning out ‘halaal’  fatwas from haraam acts. Two  haraam acts do not equate to a  halaal act. Thus, the act of female  intermingling is haraam. The act  of  women attending the Musjid  is haraam. These two cannot be fused into a halaal.

By legalizing women’s facilities at  Musjids, the practice will become  entrenched. It will be become a  permanent feature of the  Shariah’s landscape in the same  way as the Yahood and the  Nasaara have made all their  haraam interpolations integral  parts of their respective religions.
The liberal ‘muftis’ who are acting as the representatives of women  in the public, despite acknowledging the reason for the Sahaabah preventing women  from the Musjid, believe that it is  allowed today when the same  dangers have multiplied manifold  in this age of immorality. We  cannot simply resign ourselves to  accepting female intermingling in  the public domain. We must and shall continuously castigate their  evil regardless even if not a single  woman accepts the naseehat of  the Shariah. Our obligation is  only to deliver the clear Message  of the Deen. Hidaayat is the  prerogative of Allah Ta’ala. He  guides whomever He wills, and  He leaves to stray whomever He desires. Our duty is only to guard  the purity of Islam. And, this  obligation demands rejection of  the new-fangled contaminated,  corrupt ‘fatwas’ of the shallow-minded, modernist ‘muftis’ who  are bereft of Khauf-e-Ilaahi  (Divine Fear). It seems that they  believe that they are not going to  die, hence their audacity in  churning out corrupt ‘fatwas’  which only mislead people further  into corruption and moral degeneration.

The errant ‘mufti’ cites the ‘classical’ Fuqaha as if the fatwa  which they had issued was  personal opinion which could be  set aside. He acquits himself as if  the ‘fitnah’ which was and is the  basis for the prohibition, no  longer exists in the present age,  hence he subtly attempts to  restrict the prohibition with what  he describes as “the context in  which the Fuqaha were giving  such verdicts” . Any Muslim of  intelligence who has no shaitaani objective will understand that the “context of the Fuqaha” exists today to a far greater degree to warrant an emphasis on the prohibition. Nothing has developed since the era of the “classical” Fuqaha to warrant a relaxation or amelioration in the  strict fatwa of prohibition. On  the contrary, the fitnah has multiplied manifold.

Arguing in favour of female emergence in conflict with the unequivocal prohibition announced in the Qur’aan and Ahaadith, the liberal ‘mufti’ says:  “The need to emerge out of the house was not like the need we  have in today’s complicated world.”  This is utterly fallacious.  Zina may not be justified nor  mitigated by arguing that the  times of our era differ vastly from  the time when the prohibition was revealed. Such arguments are satanic. The ‘context’ is the same.  Nothing has happened to the  ‘context’ to justify the forging of  a new ‘fatwa’ on an issue in which  the “context” has only worsened.  Furthermore, even if the ‘context’ changes for the better, the prohibition can never be mitigated or relaxed until the day of Qiyaamah because never is it possible for an age such as the age of the Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the  Sahaabah to be resurrected. The ‘fitnah’ which had already developed during the age of the Sahaabah and on which basis the  prohibition was enacted by Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  and the Sahaabah, will not be ameliorated. That fitnah is in a  constant incremental state of worsening.

The liberal mufti very ignorantly  avers that it is “unfair” to prevent  women from the Musaajid in view  of them already being all over the  show and the market places, etc. Thus, he advocates relaxation of  a Shar’i prohibition on the basis  of haraam acts perpetrated by  women. In other words, he confers acceptance and  respectability to women in the streets and market places, hence  the doors of the Musaajid should  be thrown open for them. The  consequence of this stupid,  lopsided satanic logic is nothing  other than the introduction of  the fitnah into our last bastions  of piety, namely, the Musaajid.  The “scholar of piety” who had  advocated this stance, is  extremely short-sighted and  shallow in his knowledge, hence  he ventured this stupid opinion. This very same logic could be  extended to prostitutes in a brothel. In terms of this lopsided  logic emanating from warped  brains, it follows that the  Musaajid should open their doors  for prostitutes to perform Salaat  since they are already on the  streets and in the vice dens plying their haraam abominable trade. The current ‘complicated world’ is  not valid grounds for women’s  emergence. In fact, the contrary  is valid. That is, due to the evils  of the current ‘complicated world’, the need for women to remain  indoors is greater than the need which had existed during the age of the Sahaabah.

He further tries to justify females  going to the Musjid by saying:  “…at times there may be a  genuine need for women to go  out to the Mosques, such as    when travelling…..” This reasoning is deceptive, and another example of Talbeesul Iblees. Firstly, he has been compelled to confess and  concede that the need for  women to emerge from their  houses is restricted to “times of  genuine need”. Such need had  always existed since time  immemorial. Despite their  emergence during times of    genuine need, the prohibition  had remained in force for the  past fourteen centuries.   Womenfolk in our communities  had always emerged from their  homes when there was genuine  need. When this happened, Allah  Ta’ala always made arrangements  for their Salaat to be performed  on time in privacy. 

Genuine need is not prowling in  the malls, market places and  working in factories and offices.  Genuine needs are visiting  relatives, close friends, etc. They  will perform Salaat at the homes  of the people whom they visit. If    they visit for any other valid  reason, they can perform Salaat  wherever they happen to be. But,  the reality is that there is never a  need for qadha, and never such a  situation where they cannot find facilities for Salaat. Their  necessary emergence is seldom, while in this age, their emergence  is an abundance of haraam. And,  for this haraam, the prohibition  may not be abrogated.

Thus, the stance of those who  prohibit women from the Musjid  is never ‘extreme’. It is tantamount to kufr for branding a  Hukm of the Shariah as being ‘extreme’. Every ruling of the Shariah is moderate and designed    for the welfare and best interests  of the Ummah. The miscreant  ‘mufti’ who has branded the  Ulama who prohibit women from  the Musjid as being ‘extreme’ is  implying that the ruling of the  Shariah is ‘extreme’. He should  repent for such denigration of  the Shariah. He plods the path of  baatil and dhalaal.