Category Archives: Hanafi Fiqh

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

Question: 
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

Question:
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)?

Answer:
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]

Question:
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?

Answer:
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

Advertisements

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

Translation

‘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).”

Meaning

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.

Authenticity

‘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

Translation

‘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)

Authenticity

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.

Comment

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

Translation

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.”

Comment

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

Authenticity

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.

HOW MANY RAK’ATS IN WITR? [Hanafi]

[Mufti Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf Mangera]

WITR HAS BEEN noted to be one of the most complex issues of prayer. There are approximately seventeen aspects concerning the witr prayer around which there lie differences of opinion. However, in this chapter we will focus on the following three issues: (1) How many rak’ats is the witr prayer? (2) How many salams in the witr prayer? (3) Is performing one rak’a sufficient for witr?.

There are numerous hadiths which report the number of rak’ats to be performed in witr. However, due to many inconsistencies found in them. It becomes very difficult to formulate an opinion that is in complete agreement woth the literal meaning of each narration. It is therefore necessary to interpret some of these narrations in order to harmonize their meaning with other similar narrations.

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

HOW MANY RAK’ATS IS THE WITR PRAYER?

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

THE VARIOUS OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE HADITHS ON THIS ISSUE

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

1. It is reported from Abu Salama that

He asked Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) regarding the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) during Ramadan. She explained, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would not perform more than eleven rak’ats, neither in Ramadan nor out of it. He would perform four rak’ats, and do not ask of their beauty and length; followed by another four; and do not ask of their beauty and length; after which he would perform three [witr].” Aisha (radhiyallahu anha) continued, “I asked, O Messenger of Allah! Do you sleep before you perform witr.” He replied, “O Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart does not.”‘ (Sahih Bukhari 1:154, Sahih Muslim 1:254, Sunan al-Nasa’i 1: 248, Sunan Abi Dawud 196).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), after completing the ‘Isha prayer, would enter his home and perform two rak’ats, followed by another two more lengthier than the first. Thereafter, he would perform the witr prayer without any interval in between [i.e. without salams in the second rak’a]. He would then perform two rak’ats sitting down with the bowing and prostration also sitting down. (Musnad Ahmad 6:156).

6. ‘Abdullah ibn Qays narrates:

I asked ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha), “How many rak’ats of witr did the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) perform?” She replied, “Four with three, six with three or eight with three. He would not perform more than thirteen rak’ats for witr or less than seven.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1:200)

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

7. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Jurayj narrates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Thabit al-Bunani reports that Anas bin Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) addressed him saying:

O Thabit! Take this from me, for you will not hear it from anyone more trustworthy than myself, since I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who acquired it from Jibril, and Jibril acquired it from Allah Ta’ala. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed the ‘Isha prayer when I was in his company, followed by six rak’ats [nafl], during which he made salams at every second rak’a. Thereafter, he performed three rak’ats witr with salams at very end (Kanz al-‘ummal 4:196)

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

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

THE COMPANIONS AND THE FOLLOWERS ON THIS ISSUE

1. Miswar ibn Makhrama reports:

We finished burying Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), when ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhi) remembered that he had not yet performed witr. He stood up and we formed rows behind him. He lead us in three rak’ats and made salams only at the end [in the third rak’a] (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 2:293 U, Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq 3:20 U)

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

I would not neglect the three rak’ats of witr, even if I were to receive red camels in exchange (Muwatta Imam Muhammad 150)

In those times red camels were considered valuable assets.

3. Hasan al-Basri was informed that

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

4. Makhul reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Abu Mansur reports:

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

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

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

10. Hasan al-Basri reports,

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

11. Abu Ghalib reports that

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

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

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

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

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

14. Abu’l-Zanad reports:

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz designated the rak’ats of witr to be three  based on the ruling of the jurists, with salams to be made only at the end (Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar)

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

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

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

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

HOW MANY SALAMS IN THE WITR PRAYER?

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

The opinion of the other scholars is that the musalli [person praying] should first perform two rak’ats and then, after terminating them with salams, perform the third rak’a separately with another set of salams.

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

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

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

(3) Some narrations, which have been reported from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), state that the witr was performed as a single rak’a. Many scholars claimed that Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) never actually saw the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performing the witr prayer, and that his narrations cannot be preferred over those of ‘A’isha and Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhum), both of whom were known to have seen Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performing the prayer.

(4) One narrations states:

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

Although this narration is said to contain some weaknesses, its prohibition of performing witr as one rak’a holds; due to it being authentically transmitted through a number of reliable chains [asnad]. In his Lisan al-Mizan, Hafiz Ibn Hajar has related this narration through a strong chain under the biography of ‘Uthman ibn Muhammad, one of its narrators. With the exception of ‘Uqayli – known for his extreme strictness in the criticism of narrators (even though his criticism here is only of a mild nature) – most scholars of hadith have judged ‘Uthman ibn Muhammad to be reliable. Hakim al-Naysaburi has related a narration from him in his Mustadarak and called it authentic, which ‘Allama Dhahabi has verified. Hence, the status of the hadith can be no lower than hasan [sound], and the prohibition mentioned in it of performing one rak’a separately will stand as a strong command [see Fath al-Mulhim 2:309]

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

(6) In some hadiths, the Maghrib prayer, with contains only one set of salams at the end, has been called “the witr prayer of the day.” Therefore, “the witr prayer of the night” should also be offered like the Maghrib Salat – with only one set of salams in the last rak’a.
There is a report which mentions that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited that the witr be performed like the Maghrib prayer. What this actually means is that one should not perform the witr alone, like Maghrib, without performing any dual set of rak’ats [Shuf’a] before it. The report does not mean that one must make salams in between and separate the last rak’a from the first two.

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

(8) Hasan al-Basri reported a consensus [‘Ijma] on the opinion that witr was three continuous rak’ats without any intervals in between; which means that is was a widely accepted view.

These points make it easy to conclude that the witr is indeed three rak’ats with a single set of salams to be performed in the third, and the final, rak’a. This was the widely held opinion among the Companions and the Followers (may Allah be pleased with them).

SOME CONFUSING NARRATIONS

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

We would prepare his siwak [toothstick] and water for his ablution [wudu’]. Allah would have him wake up during the night whenever He willed, and the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would clean his teeth with the siwak and complete his ablution. He would then perform nine rak’ats and would sit on the eighth rak’a only, in which He would remember Allah, praise Him, and invoke [du’a] Him. Thereafter he would stand up without making salams abd perform the ninth rak’a, then he would sit down, and [again] he would remember Allah, praise Him, and invoke Him. He would then make the salams [loud enough] for us to hear. After salams, he would perform another two rak’ats sitting down. So, my son, these were eleven rak’ats.
When the Messenger became of age and heavier, he would perform [only] seven rak’ats, abd his practice in the [final] two rak’ats  would be the same as his earlier practice [of performing them seated]. So these were [in total] seven rak’ats. (Sahih Muslim 1:256)

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

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

After the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had performed the ‘Isha prayer, he would enter his home and perform two rak’ats, followed by another two lengthier than the first. He would then perform witr without any interval in between, after which he would perform a final two rak’ats seated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The version in Sahih Muslim only states that the total number of rak’ats performed, without offering much detail as to how they were performed in connection with the tahajjud prayer. The reason for this is that ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) was specifically asked about the witr prayer and not about tahajjud. Hence, she did not feel it was necessary to provide any details about the rak’ats of tahajjud performed before the witr. So, providing details about the witr, she said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would sit without making salams on the eighth rak’a.” This eighth rak’a was in reality the second rak’a of witr, which was being performed after the six rak’ats of tahajjud; then, on the ninth rak’a (the third rak’a of witr), he would make salams and thus completing his witr prayer.

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

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

2. ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) narrates:

The Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prayer at night would be thirteen rak’ats, five of which would be witr; and he would sit only at the end.

The apparent wording of this hadith describes the witr prayer of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as being a continuous set of five rak’ats. However, just as in the previous narration, the apparent meaning in this narration  is not to be taken as an implied meaning. The reason for this is that ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) only specified the total number of rak’ats performed by the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) at night and included in it the two rak’ats the two rak’ats of nafl performed sitting down after the three rak’ats of witr. This is what she refers to when she says, “Five of which would be witr” (i.e. including the two rak’ats of witr).

When she says, “he would sit only in the end,” it means that he would not sit for any lengthy period of time during the prayer to make extra supplicarion [du’a’] and remembrance [dhikr] except at the very end. He sat only briefly in every other rak’a to recite the tashahhud. Furthermore, she did not even mention that he made salams in the third rak’a of witr, as it was common knowledge that salams has to be made in the third rak’a. What ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) was referring to when she said, “he would sit only in the end,” was the final sitting of the Messenger’s two rak’ats nafl salah that follpwed his witr. (the Messenger would only sit for an extended period of time in the final sitting of his last set of two rak’ats nafl salat).

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

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

This makes the above narration of ‘A’isha (radhiyallahu anha) very clear and dispels the nption that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed a lengthy prayer comprised of many rak’ats, with only one sitting at the end and no sitting postires in between the various postures he performed. The following narration of Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) further corroborates this explanation:

The Messenger of Allah performed eight rak’ats and seven rak’ats in Madina, i.e. Zuhr and ‘Asr [together] and Maghrib and ‘Isha [together] (Sahih Muslim 1:246)

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

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

IS ONE RAK’A SUFFICIENT FOR WITR??

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

Someone asked the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about prayer at night. The Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The prayer at night should be performed in sets of two. Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rak’a which will convert what he has performed into witr for him.” (Sahih Bukhari 1:135, Sahih Muslim 1:257)

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

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

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

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

Hence, the real meaning of this hadith is that a person should perform the tahajjud prayer in sets of two throughout the night, and upon reaching the end of his vigil [qiyam al-layl], he should add an extra rak’a to the final set of two and make it three rak’ats. This way, the rak’ats of his tahajjud and witr prayer will add upto an odd number and thereby be in accordance with the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) statement:

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

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

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

This narration is also not to be taken literally, as it would mean that a person’s pilgrimage is completed by him merely proceeding to the plain of ‘Arafat, standing there for sometime, and then returning home without even entering into pilgrim sanctity [ihram]. This is obviously not a valid interpretation since it has neglected many integral aspects of the worship. In actuality, the hadith is only expressing the importance of standing [wuquf] in ‘Arafat, as it is one of the integrals of the pilgrimage; and not that it is an only integral act to be performed for haj.

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

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

Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would state that the Maghrib prayer is the witr of the day (Muwatta Imam Malik 77)

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

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

We cannot infer from the narrations of witr, despite their being so many, that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) only performed a single rak’a for witr (Fath al-Bari 2:15)

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

A FINAL QUESTION

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

As opposed to this, the second type of narrators do not refer to all of the rak’ats as being witr, but rather describe the tahajjud and witr prayers separately in terms of the number of rak’ats performed for each. Hence, they do not leave any room for speculation. The majority of the second type of narrations state very clearly that the witr consists of three rak’ats. Examples of this can be found above in the section titled “The Hadiths on This Issue.” Imam Tirmidhi, quoting the words of Ishaq ibn Rahway [or Rahuya] concludes:

The narrations that state that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed thirteen rak’ats witr actually mean (as Ishaq says) that he performed thirteen rak’ats including the three rak’ats of witr, and [it follows from this] that the whole night prayer was refferred to as witr. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:105)

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

Furthermore, it has been made clear that the practice of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was to perform witr at night after the tahajjud prayer. He would perform the tahajjud prayer in sets of two rak’ats until the time of Fajr drew close, at which time he would add an extra rak’a to the final set, thuse converting both the last two rak’ats set and the additional rak’a into witr. Surely, this explanation is what the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) intended when he said,

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

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

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.”

THE FATWA OF THE HANAFI MATH-HAB

(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.

THE SHAAFI’ MATH-HAB

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.”

THE ‘FATWA’ OF MORONS

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.

THE INITIAL PERMISSIBILITY AND THE ULTIMATE PROHIBITION

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. 

SEPARATE FACILITIES FOR WOMEN AT THE MUSAAJID??

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.

The Sunnah Prayer of Fajr

[Mufti Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Yusuf]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) laid great emphasis on the sunnah prayer of Fajr, saying, “it is more superior than the world and everything within it” (Sahih Muslim 1:251). Likewise there are a number of narrations from which the importance of this Sunnah prayer can be understood. This means that a person should ensure that it is performed prior to the fardh prayer, since no sunnah prayer is permissible until after sunrise, once the fardh prayer of Fajr is performed.

So what is one to do if he arrives late to the masjid for Fajr, and finds the congregational salaat about to begin or already in progress? On the one hand, he remembers the emphasis regarding the sunnah prayer of Fajr, yet on the other, he knows the Hadith of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stating that once the call to commence (Iqamah) has been made, only the fardh prayer  should be performed. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

Once the call to commence (Iqamah) is made for the prayer, there is no prayer except the fardh prayer (maktuba) [Sahih Muslim 1: 247]

The worshipper (musalli) is unsure of what to do in this situation. Should he hurry and perform the sunnah prayer, then catch up with the imam for the fardh prayer, or should he abandon the sunnah prayer altogether and join in the congregation? There is a difference of opinion among the scholars on this issue.

THE VARIOUS OPINIONS

One opinion is that it is necessary for this person to immediately join the congregation for the fardh prayer, and that it is no longer permissible for him to perform the sunnah prayer during the congregational fardh prayer, just as in the ruling for other prayers.

Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik are of the opinion that the person should attempt to perform his sunnah prayer, as long as he think he can complete it quickly and join in the fardh prayer before it ends, i.e. even if he catches only the last sitting. This means that he must be confident of not missing the congregation completely, otherwise ge should leave performing the sunnah and join the congregation; because, technically speaking, the congregational fardh prayer is more important.

One point to remember, however, is that once the congregational prayer begins, the sunnah prayer should not be performed where the main congregation is in progress. It should not be performed outside the main prayer-hall (masjid) area.

Another view of some Hanafi scholars is that a person should only attempt to perform the Sunnah prayer if he feels confident of acquiring atleast one rak’ah behind the imam. This means that he must be certain of catching up with the imam before he stands up from the bowing (ruku’) of the second rak’ah of the fardh.

This difference of opinion is only concerning the two rak’ats sunnah of Fajr, and there is no controversy regarding the sunnah in other prayers. All the scholars are unanimous that once the congregation for those prayers commences, no other sunnah prayer is permissible, because although the sunnah prayers in them are important, they are not as emphasized as the sunnah of Fajr. Also, if a person happens to miss the sunnah prayer of Zuhr for instance, he can make it up after the fardh, since it is not a prohibited time for it.

IMPORTANCE OF THE SUNNAH PRAYER OF FAJR

1. Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha)  said,

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was not as regular in any supererogatory prayers (nafl) as he was in the two rak’ats before Fajr. [Sahih Muslim 1:251]

2. Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha) said,

I did not observe the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) hasten towards any supererogatory (nafl) prayers as fast as he would to perform the two rak’ats before Fajr. [Sahih Muslim 1:251]

3. Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha) reports that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

The two (sunnah) rak’ats of Fajr are more superior than the entire world [Sahih Muslim 1:251]

4. Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) reports that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding the two (sunnah) rak’ats at the break of dawn:

They are more beloved to me than the entire world. [Sahih Muslim 2:251]

5. Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

Do not abandon the sunnah rak’ats of Fajr, even if horses trample over you. [Sunan Abi Dawud 1:186, Athar al-Sunan 1:224]

All the above hadiths explain the significance of and emphasis placed on the sunnah prayer of Fajr. Since the Sunnah rak’ats of other prayers are not as greatly emphasized as the sunnah of Fajr, they are treated differently.

THE COMPANIONS AND FOLLOWERS ON THIS ISSUE

There are also many other rigorously authenticated hadiths which confirm that the Companions of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) attempt to complete their sunnah prayer prior to joining the congregational fardh prayer of Fajr if it had already commenced.

1. Imam Tahawi reports from Nafi’:

I wakened Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for the Fajr prayer, while the prayer had already commenced. He arose and performed the two rak’ats (sunnah first). [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar 1:375]

2. Abu Ishaq says,

‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Musa related to me from his father regarding the time Sa’id Ibn al-‘Aas called them. He has called Abu Musa, Hudhayfa and ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud before the Fajr prayer. When they departed from him, the congregation had already begun, so ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) positioned himself behind a pillar in the masjid and performed two rak’ats sunnah first, then joined the congregation.  [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:374]

3. Abu ‘Uthman al-Ansari reports:

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) arrived while the imam was leading the Fajr prayer. Since Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) had not yet performed the two rak’ats (sunnah), he performed them behind the imam (i.e. separately), then joined in the congregation. [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:375]

4. Imam Tahawi has transmitted a report from Abu’l Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu):

He would enter the Masjid while everybody would be in rows performing the Fajr prayer. He would first perform his two rak’ats in a corner of the masjid, then join everyone in the (fardh) prayer.  [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:375]

5. Abu Uthman al-Nahdi says,

We would arrive at (times to the masjid were) ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) (was the imam), not having performed the two rak’ats (sunnah) of Fajr. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would have already started the prayer, so we would first perform our two rak’ats at the rear of the masjid, then join in the congregation. [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:376]

6. ‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Musa (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) arrived will the imam was leading the Fajr prayer. He performed the two rak’ats (sunnah) behind a pillar, as he had not yet performed them. [Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 1:444]

7. Haritha Ibn Mudrib says,

‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhum) left Sa’id Ibn al-‘Aas (after visiting him). The congregation (for Fajr) had just begun. So ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu)  performed two rak’ats (sunnah), then joined in the prayer with everyone else. As for Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhu), he joined in the row immediately thereafter. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2:251]

8. Abu Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu) regarding the Sunnah of Fajr

Yes, By Allah! If I ever enter (the masjid) and find everyone in prayer, I proceed to a pillar of the masjid and perform two rak’ats quickly; then I join the congregation and perform my Fajr with them.  [Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 1:443]

9. Abu Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu), according to another reports, states,

I (sometimes) approach the people while they are standing in rows performing Fajr. I perform two rak’ats (sunnah) then I join them. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:251]

10. It is reported regarding Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu),

He would sometimes join in the congregation (immediately) and at other times he would first perform his two rak’ats at one side of the masjid. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:251]

11. Sha’bi narrates regarding Masruq:

He entered the masjid to find the people engaged in the Fajr prayer. Since he had not yet performed the two rak’ats (sunnah), he performed them at one side, then joined the congregation in prayer. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:251, Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 2:444]

12. It is reported that Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) had instructed,

When you enter the masjid and find the imam in prayer and you have not yet performed the two rak’ats of Fajr, perform them (first); then join the imam (in the fardh prayer). [Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 2:445, Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar 1:376]

These are just some of the many hadiths wgich highlight the practice of the Companions and Followers. A great jurist (faqih) like ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu), as well as many other prominent Companions, such as Abu Darda’ and Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhum), would first the two-rak’ats sunnah of Fajr and then proceed to join the main congregation. Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah), a prominent follower (tabi’i) who requires no introduction, orders in clear words that the sunnah prayers be performed before joining the congregation.

OTHER REASONS FOR THE HANAFI OPINION

(1) The emphasis regarding the sunnah of Fajr is far greater than that of any other sunnah prayer. It has been ordered that the sunnah of Fajr be performed even if there is a danger of horses trampling over the person. Due to this emphasis, there should remain no doubt as to why the Hanafis excluded the sunnah prayer of Fajr from the command of the Hadith that informs us of only fardh prayers being permissible when the congregation begins.

(2) It is sunnah to make a lengthy recitation of the Qur’an during the fardh of Fajr. Hence, it is possible that one could quickly perform his two rak’ats sunnah first and then join in with the imam during the first rak’a, or the second rak’a, or just before the imam makes the salaam. This is normally difficult in other prayers where a relatively shorter recitation is made and the number of rak’ats recommended before them is four.

(3) In the above Hadith, the command regarding the impermissibility of any non-fardh prayer at the time of congregation cannot be taken as a general command encompassing all prayers. If it was an absolutely general command, then it would also be prohibited for someone to perform the sunnah prayer in his house once he was aware that the congregation had commenced in the masjid. However, many scholars have permitted that the sunnah prayer be performed at home, even though the congregation may have already begun in the masjid. Consequently, this leaves no room to ceiticize the Hanafi school for excluding the sunnah of Fajr from the prohibition. Many other scholars have also not taken the command to be an absolutely general one.

(4) The word ‘maktuba’ has been used in the hadith to describe the fardh prayer. The general meaning of this word includes the missed [qada’] prayers also, which indicates that it would be permissible to perform the missed prayers even after the congregarion has begun. However, some scholars do not allow this. From this, it is understood that the hadith (see beginning of the article) is not taken literally, just as its command is not taken in a general sense.

After mentioning these points, it could be concluded that the Hanafi school has reconciled both types of hadiths by saying that the person should only perform the sunnah prayers first if he feels he can acquire that congregational-fardh prayer before it ends. Otherwise, he should enter immediately into the congregation with the imam. In this way, the person benefits by attaining the reward of the sunnah prayer of Fajr and also the reward of performing the fardh salat in congregation.

ONE MORE POINT TO REMEMBER

At times, some narrations are quoted which explicitly exempt the fardh sunnah from the command of the hadith (which mentions the impermissibility of prayer once the congregational fardh prayer has commenced). However, those narrations are usually weak, and have neither been used  as a basis for the Hanafi position nor as evidence to prove the Hanafi opinion against other opinions.

Likewise, there are some narrations which specifically indicate that the sunnah rak’ats of Fajr are included in the prohibition of the hadith. The narrations mention details of a Companion confirming with the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “Are the sunnah rak’ats of Fajr also invalid if they are performed after the congregation has begun?” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) answers him in the affirmative  saying, “Yes!, they are also invalid.” These narrations, being even weaker than the others, will not stand as evidence  to strengthen the other group’s opinion.

The Waajib Fist-Length Beard

[Majlisul Ulama]

QUESTION

A Mufti, namely, Mufti Abdullah al Mahmudi, in an article/fatwa says  that according to many Hanafi  Ulama it is permissible to trim the beard to less than one fist-length. This is a new version of the mas’alah as it has hitherto  been known to us. Please check the fatwa and comment, especially on the following section:

“However, many Hanafi Ulama  have considered trimming the beard shorter than a fist’s  length to be permissible as there  is no explicit prohibition for  trimming the Beard under a fist’s  length in the original Hanafi texts. It was only Imam Ibnul Humam (D.861) and those who came after him like Allamah Ibn  Abideen Shami who declared it to be Haraam in the Hanafi Madhhab
Furthermore,. no mention of  prohibition has been recorded in  the original Hanafi texts from Imam Abu Hanifah himself, nor  from Imam Abu Yusuf,  Muhammed or Zufar  (Rahimahumullah). Also, the Hadith emphasizes the  lengthening of the Beard but has  not explicitly prohibited  trimming it. Infact, in Kitabul  Aathaar of Imam Abu Yusuf, the following narration is recorded:

Translation: Imam Abu Yusuf  narrates from Imam Abu Hanifah, who narrates from Hammad who narrated from Ibrahim an Nakha’i (Rahimahullah) that he said:  “There is nothing wrong for a man to trim his beard as long as he  does not imitate the people of  Shirk” (Kitabul Aathaar by Abu Yusuf, Pg:235)

Based on this, many Hanafi  Ulama are of the opinion that if  one does trim his Beard under a  fist’s length, he will not be sinful  as long as one does not shave it  off completely. All Hanafi Ulama  are unanimous that the Sunnah  and recommended length of the beard is that it should be a fist’s length all around.”

Answer (By Majlisul Ulama)

The moron, jaahil ‘mufti’ maajin does not name some of the  ‘many Hanafi Ulama’ who believe  that trimming the beard less  than a fist length is permissible.  His argument presented in  conflict with the more than 14  century unanimous Ruling of the fist-length beard is baseless. He  displays his liberal leanings and  lack of understanding of the mas’alah with his corrupt and convoluted opinion.

Who are the Hanafi Ulama who  believe that it is not sinful to cut the beard to less than a fist-length, and that such a  sinn er  will not be a flagrant faasiq?  Perhaps he has in mind moron  ‘ulama’ of this age. But their  views have no validity in the  Shariah. There is Ijmaa’ the Hanafi Math-hab on the fist of length  beard and that it is haraam to cut/trim it to a size less than  a fist-length.

His claim that trimming shorter than a fist  length is only the view of Ibnul Humaam (died 861 Hijri), is the  product of his convoluted opinion. There is not a single  Hanafi Faqeeh who had held the  view of permissibility of the  ‘shorter’ length. Since the time  of the Sahaabah, the practice  was the fist length. The practical  example of the Sahaabah and  which example all the Hanafi  Fuqaha adopted, is the clearest and strongest evidence for the Ijmaa’ of the Math-hab on this issue. It is the height of  stupidity to contend that the prohibition was initiated by Ibn  Humaam. There is not a single Hanafi Faqeeh in any age who  had averred a contrary opinion.  The opinion of the liberal morons  of our time are devoid of Shar’i substance, and have no validity  in the Shariah.

The maajin mufti’s claim: “there  is no explicit prohibition for trimming the beard under a fist’s  length in the original Hanafi texts”, is a portrayal of his jahaalat. When there is Ijmaa’of  all the Ulama of former times and later times, on this prohibition, the explicitness is glaringly conspicuous. No Aalim of Haq and no evil aalim of former times had ever understood that it was permissible to cut the beard shorter than a fist length. Not even the ulama-e-soo’ of former times held the corrupt opinion which this maajin ‘mufti’ is propagating in stark conflict with the Ijmaa’i stance of all our Ulama. 

Ibn Humaam (Rahmatullah alayh) was not a mufti maajin. If his explicit statement in this regard  had been erroneous, there would have been numerous Hanafi Ulama of his age and subsequent ages who would have refuted his contention. But there is not a single Hanafi Faqeeh or Aalim from his time and thereafter, who had ever refuted or even contested the mas’alah as stated by Ibn Humaam. This ‘mufti’ maajin appears to be the first mujrim or one of the liberal mujrimeen of this age who propagates the haraam view of permissibility of cutting shorter than a fist length. 

There is not a single Math-hab which holds the corrupt opinion propagated by the maajin character. On the contrary, the other Math-habs, prohibit even any type of beard-cutting. According to the other Math-habs, cutting to even a fist length is haraam. They do not consider the fist-length Hadith sufficiently sound for permitting any kind of cutting. 

The mas’alah as it appears in Faidhul Baari –Sharah Saheehul Baari, is:   

“Verily, they (the Fuqaha) have differed regarding the beard. What is afdhal (better)? It has been said that cutting that which is in excess of a fist is afdhal as is mentioned in Kitaabul Aathaar of Imaam Muhammad. And, it has been said that I’faa’ mutlaqan (leaving it to grow  unrestrictively) is afdhal. But to cut it less than a fist length is  haraam Ijmaa-an (i.e there is a consensus on prohibition) among the Aimmah (Rahim ahumullaahu ta’ala).”

Should the explicit statement in  Faidhul Baari be accepted or the stupid, haraam view of the ‘mufti’  maajin of this day? Did this unbaked maajin ‘mufti’  understand the mas’alah better  than Allaamah Anwar Shah  Kashmiri (Rahmatullah alayh),  Author of Faidhul Baari wherein  he explicitly mentions Ijmaa’ on the hurmat of cutting shorter than a fist length? 

In all the Kutub it is explicitly  mentioned that cutting the beard is only when it is longer than a  fist length. No one has ever  advocated cutting less than a  fist length as the moron ‘mufti’  alleges baselessly.

“Al-Kaaki said: ‘The length of the  beard is the extent of a qubdhah  (fist-length) according to us  (Ahnaaf). Whatever is in excess  of this (qubdhah), its cutting is  incumbent (waajib)…” (Al Binaayah)       

Cutting only the ‘excess’ is  permissible. The excess is more  than a fist-length. Explaining  this fact further, it is stated in Nukhbul Afkaar: “The Salaf  differed regarding the limit for    (its length to grow ) Among them are those who have not placed  any limit (on its growth) except  that it should not be grown for the sake of shuhrat (fame/attracting attention/pride and  the like). (For then) he should cut from it. Maalik has disliked  excessive lengthening. Among them (i.e. Fuqaha) are those who  limit it to a qubdhah. Thus, the  excess over a qubdhah should be  removed. Among them are those  who regard it reprehensible  (Makrooh Tahrimi) to remove  anything from it except in Hajj and Umrah.”

“Abu Haamid said: ‘There is difference regarding the length of the beard. It has been said that if a man cuts from his beard the portion beyond his qubdhah, then there is nothing wrong with it. Verily, Ibn Umar and a Jamaa’at of the Salf-e-Taabieen had done so (i.e. cut off the excess below a qubdhah). Ash-Sha’bi and Ibn Sireen preferred this.  Al-Hasan and Qataadah said: ‘Leaving it (to grow) is more preferable)……..” 

It should be palpably clear that the difference of opinion among the Fuqaha is applicable to only the excess below one qubdhah. There is no difference regarding the prohibition of cutting less than a fist-length. There is Ijmaa’ of all authorities of all Math-habs that such cutting is haraam. 

In Durarul Hukkaam Sharh Ghuraril Ahkaam, it is mentioned:  

“Cutting from the beard less than a fist-length as is the practice of some westerners and hermaphrodites, no one (among the Ulama/Fuqaha) had permitted it.    

Regarding lengthening the beard, Muhammad narrating from Imaam Abu Hanifah said: ‘It should be left (to grow) until it is thick and abundant. Cutting from it is Sunnah in that portion in excess of a qubdhah.” 

Imaam Muhammad narrated Imaam Abu Hanifah’s statement in which he explicitly states that cutting applies to only the ‘excess’, not to anything else as the maajin ‘mufti’ hallucinates. ‘Sunnah’ in the context means the incumbent practice for adoption. It does not mean permissibility for discardence. The Fardh Salaat is also ‘Sunnah’ in the meaning of it being the practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is not a practice of Islam to shorten the beard to less than a fist length. There is not a single authority of Islam since the inception of Islam, who has ever advocated the permissibility of shortening the beard as the moron ‘mufti’ promotes. 

In Ghaayatul Bayaan, the noble Author, Qiwaamuddeen Itqaani (died 758 Hijri) states:   

“Regarding I’faaul Lihyah (lengthening the beard), there is difference of the people (i.e. of the Fuqaha). Some said that it should be left to grow (unrestrictedly) without cutting or clipping. That in reality is the meaning of I’faa’. Our Ashaab (i.e. the Ahnaaf) said that I’faa’ is to leave it to grow until it is thick and abundant, and cutting it is Sunnah and that is that a man should hold his beard in his fist and cut  that portion which is  more than it (his fist). So has Muhammad narrated in Kitaabul Aathaar narrating from Abu Hanifajh. This is what we accept.” 

In An-Nihaayah Sharh Al-Hidaayah, it is mentioned:   “According to us (the Ahnaaf), the length of the beard is the extent of the qubdhah (fist). It is incumbent to cut that portion more than this………..In his Jaami, Abu Isaa said: ‘Lightening the beard is from the good fortune of a man.” 

It is the height of folly, capable from only a jaahil masquerading as a mufti, to interpret or misinterpret the term khiffah (lightening) to mean a licence to shorten the beard  less than a qubdhah. The extent of shortening is prescribed in all the Kutub of the Shariah

It is said in Raddul Muhtaar:   “Regarding cutting from it whilst it is less than this (i.e. fist-length) as some westerners and hermaphrodites do, no one (among the Fuqaha) has  permitted it.”

This negation is not attributed  to only Ibnul Humaam. It states explicitly that “no one”  has ever  permitted it. It is only this  upstart ‘mufti’ maajin of our  time who is abortively  attempting to peddle the idea  that ‘cutting more than a fist  length’ was a permitted practice since the inception of Islam. But his baatil is manifest.

The qubdhah stipulation which  is the limit for cutting stated unanimously by all the Fuqaha  since the inception of Islam, is in fact the explicit prohibition for  cutting shorter than a fist length. It is therefore absolutely moronic to aver that “no mention of prohibition has been recorded in  the original Hanafi texts.” The moron ‘mufti’  displays  extraordinary jahaalat in his baseless conclusion. The lack of understanding in the sphere of Ifta of this ‘mufti’ is  staggeringly lamentable. He  portrays complete ignorance of the consequences of the  technical designations with  which the Fuqaha have clothed the Ahkaam  of  the Shariah.   

Mustahab and Sunnat in their  technical sense do not mean a  free license for the discardence  of the ahkaam. Acts of such  technical appellation remain  practically and literally Waajib  irrespective of the negation of  the technical/Fiqhi meaning of   Wujoob. For example, while    facing the animal towards the  Qiblah at the time of Thabah is  not technically designated Waajib, it remains practically Waajib to  face the animal towards the  Qiblah. The emphasis of    practical Wujoob is such that  Sahaabah would  refuse to  consume the meat of an animal  which had been intentionally  turned away from the Qiblah.

Similarly, whilst there is no  explicit prohibition of hanging an animal upside down, Sanha-MJC  style when effecting Thabah, only morons and those who have  sold their souls to Iblees, contend that it is permissible to hang the chickens upside down when  slaughtering. The  permanent Shar’i method – the Sunnah method – is in fact the explicit prohibition for any other method. Thus deliberate discardence of technical Mustahab without valid reason, is gravely sinful and haraam. If the discardence is motivated by an attitude of insignificance, scorn or disdain, it will be termed Istikhfaaf which is kufr. If the discardence is the consequence of a lackadaisical attitude or monetary greed as is the case with the carrion halaalizers, it will be Fisq provided they believe in their hearts that their action is haraam. If  they halaalize the haraam kuffaar method with which they  have displaced the Sunnah method, then such discardence will be kufr

The permanent Sunnah practice is Waajib irrespective of the technical categories to which the Fuqaha have assigned the Ahkaam. Ibnul Mulaqqeen states in his Al-I’laamu bi Fawaaid Umdatil Ahkaam:

“From the Hadith is gained the difference between Tanzeeh and Tahreem prohibition….And that (difference) in the Urf of the Sahaabah is related to Ilm. However, with regard to amal (practice), they did not differentiate in it. But they would totally abstain from Makrooh Tanzeehi and Tahreemi. Whoever has investigated their actions, statements and the principles of the Shariah will find the issue to be so.”  [Vol.4, page 468] 

Explicit prohibition is not reliant on explicit words. The explicit Sunnah method is in fact adequate for the explicit prohibition of the method/style which is at variance or in conflict with the teaching of the Shariah. Thus, the ‘mufti’s’ interpretation of ‘lack of explicit prohibition’ on the basis of which he halaalizes   the kabeerah sin of cutting the beard shorter than a qubdhah is the  effect of gross jahaalat.

Then, advertising his gross jahaalat the maajin ‘mufti’ presents a statement from Kitaabul Aathaar of Imaam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullah alayh), which reads:  

“There is nothing wrong for a man to trim from his beard as long as he does not imitate the people of shirk.” 

On the basis of his understanding or misunderstanding of this citation, the maajin ‘mufti’ concludes:

“Based on this, many Hanafi  Ulama are of the opinion that if one does trim his beard under a fist’s length, he will not be sinful as long as one does not shave it off completely.”

The Ummah is incremently being deprived of genuine Ulama. With the departure of the true Ulama, there remain only flotsam characters who are bereft of  understanding, hence  they disgorge  such  corrupt and convoluted  gutha fatwas which distort and mutilate the Shariah thereby misleading the ignorant and the unwary. 

If the interpretation by the maajin ‘mufti, given to Imaam Abu Yusuf’s statement had to be correct, it will follow that even a telescopic beard, short of complete facial barrenness, will also be permissible, and a haraam goatee beard with the sides bare will also be permissible. Only total shaving will be prohibited. In terms of his logic, besides the factor of Tashabbuh bil kuffaar, there is absolutely no restriction on  trimming/cutting the beard in any way. This baatil conclusion is the effect of the wholesale chicanery which the moron ‘mufti’ has perpetrated regarding Imaam Abu Yusuf’s narration. 

In his presentation of Imaam Abu Yusuf’s narration from Kitaabul Aathaar, the Haatibul Lail  ‘mufti’ maajin is guilty of three shaitaani acts of chicanery: 

(1) Concealing the Haqq. While he mentions the narration of Imaam Abu Yusuf  in which appears the term ‘ya’khuthu’ (he takes, meaning, cutting/trimming), the ‘mufti’, in order to bolster his  corrupt opinion based on misinterpretation, conveniently  ignores four Hadith narrations accompanying the  narration on which he basis his convolution. 

(2)  He ignores the explicit tafseer of the term ‘ya’khuthu’ mentioned in the Ahaadith which he has concealed, believing that his deception will go undetected. 

(3) He presents his misinterpretation in diametric conflict and rejection of the Ijma’ of the Ummah on this issue. 

Chicanery No.1

The Ahaadith which he has concealed are the following:

(a) Yusuf narrates from his father who narrates from Abu Hanifah from Naafi’ from Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma): “Verily he (i.e. Ibn Umar) used to  ya’khuthu’ (cut) from his beard.”

(b) Yusuf narrated from his father from Abu Hanifah from Al-Aithan, from Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma) that verily he (Ibn Umar) used to hold with the fist on his beard, then ya’kuthu (cut) from it the portion which exceeded the qubdhah (fist).”

(c) Yusuf narrated from his father from Abu Hanifah from Naafi’ from Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma): ‘He (Ibn Umar) used to ya’khuthu (cut) from his beard. (d) Yusuf narrated from his father from Abu Hanifah from Naafi’ from Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma) that…………he (Ibn Umar) used to ya’khuthu (cut) from his beard.”   

These four narrations accompany the narration cited by the maajin ‘mufti’, but whose concealment  he deemed expedient for peddling his fallacy. 

Chicanery No.2

In the narration cited by the ‘mufti’, appears the very same word ya’khuthu (he cuts), and this narration is the very next one, No.1041, whilst its tafseer, viz., “He would cut the portion which  traversed  the qubdhah”, appears in Hadith No.1040, just one line above the narration which the maajin ‘mufti’ had ripped from its context. 

Narration No.1039 in the same section, also mentions that Hadhrat Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma) would cut (ya’khuthu) from his beard. The limit of the cutting is explicitly stated in narration 1040, which is the qubdhah (fist). Furthermore, this limit of cutting (ya’khuthu) is explicitly stated in numerous kutub of the Shariah, and this is the view on which there exists Ijmaa’ of the Ahnaaf, without a single voice of dissent since the inception of Islam to this day.  The ‘many Hanafi Ulama’ who allegedly differ, have not been named by the maajin ‘mufti’ – not a single one. Liberals of our era have no significance, for they all belong to the Hufaalah class of ulama-e-soo’.

It is inconceivable that Imaam  Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullah alayh)    had a meaning other than qubdhah for the cutting (ya’khuthu) when he, himself  presents Hadhrat Ibn Umar’s  qubdhah limit practice in substantiation of the  permissibility of cutting the  beard when it has exceeded the  fist length.

It should be noted that Imaam  Abu Yusuf and all Hanafi Fuqaha  of every age of Islam have cited  Hadhrat Ibn Umar’s practice of cutting to the limit of qubdhah in  negation of the view of the Shaafi’ Math-hab in its  interpretation of the term I’faa’  (to lengthen). ‘Rasulullah  (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had  ordered I’faa’ of the beard.  According to the Shaafi’ Fuqaha, the I’faa’ (lengthening)  has to be unrestricted, cutting  anything therefrom being  haraam. However, the Ahnaaf  Fuqaha interpret I’faa’ restrictively. The practice of  Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar and  of other Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum), explicitly permits  cutting, hence precludes the Shaafi’ view of unrestricted I’faa’.

The Hanafi Fuqaha also cite the  practice of Hadhrat Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu  anhuma) in  prescribing the permissible limit  of cutting. Thus, the argument    among the Fuqaha of the two  Mathhabs is on the term I’faa’. While  according  to  the  Shaafis, I’faa’ is mutlaq (unrestricted),  the Hanafis say that it is  muqayyad (restricted) with the qubdhah length. This is the  actual meaning of Imaam Abu  Yusuf’s statement of the  permissibility of cutting (ya’khuthu) from the beard. He    specifies that the cutting should  not be in emulation of the    people of shirk who also kept  beards which entail restricted I’faa’ ,hence they would cut their  beards. The Yahood keep beards  longer than qubdhah , and  perhaps other people of shirk  also do, hence the warning that  when restricting I’faa’, it should  not be in imitation of the kuffaar.  It NEVER means to cut and shorten to less than a fist length.  This is a satanic inspiration. 

The maajin ‘mufti’ has attempted with his own baatil ta’weel to negate the explicit tafseer of the term ya’khuthu mentioned by Imaam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullah alayh) in his Kitaabul Aathaar

Chicanery No.3

The third satanic act of fraud perpetrated by the Haatibul Lail ‘mufti’ is his reckless and stupid opposition  to the Ijmaa’ of all the Hanafi Fuqaha of all ages, and his  ludicrous attempt  of  attributing the prohibition to Ibnul Humaam of the 8th century and to Ibn Aabideen of the 12th century. If  Ibnul Humaam had been the first Faqeeh to have  issued the Fatwa of prohibition as the ‘mufti’ hallucinates or  stupidly presents, then  most certainly there would have been many Hanafi Fuqaha who would have contested his Fatwa. But not a single Hanafi Aalim or Faqeeh had ever breathed a difference since his era to this day. This upstart maajin ‘mufti’ of today is the first moron who has stupidly ventured what no Faqeeh has ever stated. 

In the entire history of Islam since its inception to this day, there has never been any difference of opinion among the Authorities – the Fuqaha, Muhadditheen and the Ulama-e-Haqq – regarding cutting the beard less than a qubdhah. The difference is confined to only I’faa’ (lengthening). According to the Ahnaaf, I’faa’ is restricted with qubdhah, while according to the Shawaafi and also others, I’faa’ is unrestricted, that is the beard must be allowed to grow irrespective of the length it reaches. 

Imaam Abu Yusuf’s statement regarding akhth (cutting), applies to the qubdhah  length, and to substantiate this,  are the practices of the Sahaabah, notably Hadhrat Ibn Umar, Abu Hurairah and also of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi  wasallam). Less than a qubdhah is hallucination inspired by Iblees.

It  is observed that the maajin  ‘mufti’ has designate himself “ al-Mahmudi” ostensibly relating  himself to Hadhrat Mahmudul Hasan Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh) whose compilation of Fataawa is known as Fataawa  Mahmudiyyah. This  ‘mufti’  should have consulted Fataawa  Mahmudiyyah to ascertain the  view of his patron, Hadhrat    Mahmudul Hasan. In Fataawa  Mahmudiyyah, Hadhrat Mahmudul Hasan says:

“Keeping a beard is Waajib. It is  haraam to shave or cut it prior to  it having reaching the prescribed  limit…….Cutting the beard is of the practices of the Ajam (non- Arab kuffaar). Today it is a salient feature of many of the  people  of shirk and  idolaters such as the English, Hindus and those who  have no morality in Deen ….(Mirkaat) 

Cutting in it (the beard) is  Sunnat, and this is that a man should hold his beard with his  hand, and cut off that portion  which is longer than a fist. So  has Muhammad narrated in  Kitaabul Aathaar from Imaam  Abu Hanifah. And this is what  we adhere to….Muheetus Sarakhsi, Tahtaawi.” (Vol.6)

In the Hadith Shareef, it is  explicitly said: “Increase the  beard; lengthen the beard; make  abundant the beard.” The  (axiomatic) demand of these  terms is that there should not  have been a limit to increasing  the beard (i.e. it should be  allowed to grow unrestrictively),  and that cutting (anything whatever) should have been totally impermissible. But, the  amal of  the Sahaabi narrator of  the Hadith was to cut the  portion of his beard in excess of  one fist length. Imaam  Muhammad has narrated this Hadith in Kitaabul Aathaar, and  he has stated that this is the  Math-hab of Imaam Abu Hanifah
It is not narrated from any  Sahaabi that the beard was cut  before it reached one fist  length….It is thus known that  this is what the Sahaabah had  understood from the Hadith    (pertaining to lengthening and  cutting the beard). On this is  enacted Ijmaa’. Thus, to interpret  the Hadith in any way in conflict  with the understanding of the  Sahaabah is not permissible. (This is precisely what the maajin ‘mufti’ is guilty  of). Such a  meaning (as peddled by the  maajin character) cannot be the  meaning (intended by) Nabi  Akram Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam. On the contrary, it is  the meaning fabricated by the  mind of the one who presents  such a meaning which is a  fabrication thrust on to the  Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu  alayhi wasallam). For this there is severe warning of punishment.   For such a person, is the warning  of Jahannam.

It is mentioned in Durre-Mukhtaar that NO ONE (i.e. no  one among the Fuqaha)  has    averred  that  it  is  permissible  to  cut  the beard  bef ore  it  has  reached  one fist length.. It is  self-evident that since the  command is to lengthen the  beard, cutting will be nugatory of it, and conflicting with the command is sinful. Those who  cut before the beard has reached  one fist and content themselves  with short-cropped beard or little  more than this, should present the hadith proof for such cutting.”  (Vol.5)

The Shar’i limit of the beard is  one qubdhah (fist). Imaam Muhammad has narrated this in  Kitaabul Aaathaar with its Sanad. It is mentioned in Fathul Qadeer,  Durre Mukhtaar and in other Kutub of Fiqh to cut before the  beard reaches one fist or to cut    it to less than one fist is not permissible by anyone (of the  Fuqaha). No one has stated that  this is permissible. This is in the  category of Ijmaa’” (Vol.1) 

No one has ever said that cutting the beard before it has reached one fist or to cut it less than a  fist–length is permissible. This shaving and cutting are  tashabbuh with aliens (kuffaar).  It is also self evident that such a  person’s testimony is not  acceptable nor is he an aadil.”. (Vol.14) 

These explicit Fatwas of Hadhrat  Mufti Mahmudul Hasan, as well as the fatwas of all our Akaabir  Muftis and Ulama, categorically  damn and reject the haraam  rubbish disgorged by the maajin ‘mufti’ who relates himself to  Mufti Mahmudul Hasan with the appellation, ‘al Mahmudi’.  There  is not a vestige of  proof for the haraam view of permissibility for  cutting the beard less than a qubdhah.

We have dealt with  mild severity with the  propounder of the haraam opinion in view of the notriety of his fraud and falsehood. His crime is of the gravest proportions. He has  attributed falsehood to all the Hanafi Fuqaha prior to the 8th century, including Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Abu Yusuf and  Imaam Muhammad (Rahmatullah alayhim). Furthermore, he has  rejected the unanimous view  of  all our Akaabuir Ulama, and he  has fabricated the despicable lie  of the prohibition having been  fabricated by the illustrious Ibnul  Humaam (Rahmatullah alayh) of  the 8th century, when in reality  Ibnul Humaam was merely  narrating the official and the  only one Ijmaa’ee view of the  Ahnaaf which has been  transmitted to him down the centuries by way of authoritative Naql (Narration).

Prawn “Halaalizing” Obsession

Question:  Please view the article which Mufti Taqi wrote on the  issue of prawns (shrimps). Are  prawns a fish, hence halaal?

Answer by Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai: 

It appears to us that prawn addiction induces prawn  hallucination which constrains the honourable Muftis to view  this perennial issue irrationally in order to fabricate permissibility by hook or crook.

There is absolutely no doubt in  the principle which the Hanafi  Math-hab has adopted for the  hillat (being halaal) of  sea  animals. There is no ikhtilaaf  (difference of opinion) among  the Hanafi Fuqaha in holding the  view that only samak (fish) is  halaal.. Whatever samak is, there  is unanimity of our Fuqaha that  only samak is halaal. To  understand the meaning of  samak (fish) there is no need for  dictionaries nor for zoologists.  One only needs to have some    sane brains – brains which have  not become corrupted by carrion consumption and addiction to  crabs and prawns.

No person whose brains are not    deranged will say on physical  viewing that a crab is a fish. If a  prawn is ‘fish’, then a crab too is  ‘fish’. There is no difference  between a crab and a prawn. The  basic difference is only in the  size of the two creatures. It is  meaningless, in fact, moronic to  say that a big crab/lobster is  haraam and a small crab/lobster  (prawn) is halaal. As long as  la  person is not physically blind  and not mad, he will give a 100%  correct fatwa  if he sees a prawn/ shrimp.

Confusion has been created by  citing from Hayaatul Haiwaan.    Allaamah Dameeri does not say  that ‘Al-B(P)rawn samakun’, nor  does he say: “Al-Jheengha  samakun.” He says: “AR-RUBAYAAN SAMAKUN SAGHEERUN.”  We fail to unravel  the conundrum which says that  rubayaan is prawns/ shrimps.  From whence did they gain the  idea that rubayaan is prawns?  Rubayaan is tiny fish which could  be sardines or the even smaller  than sardine type of fish which  people eat in African countries  and in Bangladesh.

We are not interested in the Shaafi’ definition of ‘samak’. We  are Hanafis and we say that what  is not fish to us is haraam. A fish  is what our brains and eyes tell  us is a fish. The definition of the  zoologists while helpful in  deciding a sea animal which we  have never seen nor are aware  of, is not of decisive importance.  Thus, if the zoologists, for  example, say that whales and  dolphins are fish, we shall say  that these animals are haraam  because our brains and eyes tell  us that they are not fish, but are  mammals. So what Makhzan    says is of no consideration if our brains and eyes issue the ruling    that a crab is a crab and not fish.

Mufti Taqi Sahib is in error for  saying: In Hayaatul hayawaan it  is written that prawns are a type  of  fish.” This is not stated in  Hayatul Hayawaan as mentioned  above.  The word prawns does  not appear in the kitaabs, nor  the term jheengah, the Urdu  equivalent.  What is the daleel  for the claim that rubayaan is  prawns? No one doubts the  reality of prawns simply because  of the name. No one says that  prawns are not fish on account  of the word ‘prawn’ as implied by Mufti Taqi.  We  don’t say that hake is not fish because of the word hake nor do we negate   Red Roman and Marlin being fish  on the basis of the terms Red  Roman and Marlin, nor do we say  that shark is not a fish because    of the term shark. We say prawns  are not fish because prawns are a kind of crabs (sartaan). Those  who say that prawns are not  crabs, should devote some time,  not to studying the books of  zoology, but to physically put a  crab alongside a prawn, then    compare the two and seek a fatwa from their brains and eyes. That  is  what Hadhrat Khalil Ahmed  Sahaaranpuri (rahmatullah alayh) did.

If we see and examine an eel, our  brains and eyes will be able to  determine whether it is a fish or  any other sea animal. Regardless  of what has been said about it,    our brains and eyes are sufficient  to determine what exactly the  animal is. We are not in need of  the fatwas of the zoologists for  this determination.   

We do not agree with the view  that a fish does not have specific  characteristics. It simply must  have specific characteristics.  Some of its characteristics are  common to all sea animals, and    some are specific to it (i.e. fish).  Whatever the characteristics may  be, our brains and eyes are  sufficient adjudicators to make a determination without the   opinions of the zoologists and the guesswork of our Ulama who  have issued the fatwa of permissibility without having seen with their naked eyes what a prawn/shrimp is.

As for the urf  (custom in vogue)  argument, it is a deception.  Those communities addicted to  consuming prawns, e.g. the  Bangladeshi and Gujerati  Muslims, have been eating prawns since time immemorial. They  consume prawns because they  were born into the world of   prawns. They simply followed the dietery practices of their  forefathers. From birth they  discovered every person eating  prawns. They eat prawns not  because they say that these  creatures are fish, but because  they grew up eating prawns fully  understanding the difference  between prawns and fish. Thus,  they don’t say that prawns are  fish. They say that prawns are  jheengha and fish is machli. It is  only in very recent times that it  has been dinned into the ears of  people that prawns are  consumed because they are fish.

If in an urf consuming rats has  become an accepted practice or  consuming dogs, then such urf  will not render rats and dogs  halaal on the basis of the  argument that dogs are like sheep because a number of characteristics in sheep are to be  found in dogs as well. Thus, such  consumption of dog meat will not render the canine ‘beef’ and ‘mutton’ halaal.

The argument that the view of  Aimmah Thalaathah (Imaam  Maalik, Imaam Shaafi’ and Imaam  Ahmad Bin Hambal –  rahmatullah alayhim) has  introduced takhfeef (mitigation/extenuation/relaxation in  rigidity) on this issue is not valid.  Is there takhfeef for Hanafis in  bush-rat meat because this is the  ‘urf’ of Maalikis? Is fox-meat tolerable for Hanafis because it is  permissible for Shaafis? In short,  to understand whether a prawn  is a fish or some other species of  aquatic animals, simply utilize the  bounty of your eyes. You need  not sap any energy from your  sensorium to understand that prawns, crabs and lobsters are not fish. Was-salaam.

We have also put up more detailed articles regarding the Hanafi view on Aquatic foods in the following link:

1. Shrimps–Halaal Or Haraam? (Hanafi View)

2. The Animals of the Ocean and the Hanafi Dalaa’il (Proofs)