Category Archives: Hanbali Fiqh & Aqeedah

Are Hanbali and Athari Aqeedah the same??

Question: Are Hanbali and Athari Aqida the same?? Was Athari `aqida ever a school like the Maturidi or Ash’ari??

Answer: Inside Islam Athari, Sunni, and Ahl al-Hadith are all synonymous with each other and with each of the Four Sunni Schools in contradistinction with those non-Sunnis that are defined, in Sunni heresiographical discourse, as denying part or all of the Athars (reports) and Hadiths that define the principles and practice of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a.

Inside Sunnism, however, the above terms differ in various ways due to further polemical meanings according to the emphasis desired by the speaker and the guidelines of his own self-definition.

For example, when Ahl al-Hadith define themselves in contradistinction of Ahl al-Raiy then the first term tends to be synonymous with Hanbalis (and Shafi’is) and the second term with Hanafis (and Malikis) although they are all Ahl al-Raiy wal-Hadith in the larger sense since, on the one hand raiy – qualified juridical opinion – is the soul of ijtihad and fiqh without which the Shari’a becomes impaired; and, on the other hand, the source-texts are no less essential to the Shari’a. Hence Imams Abu Hanifa and al-Shafi’is famous saying comparing the muhaddith to the pharmacist and the jurisprudent to the physician.

When defining ‘aqida, the distinctions similarly reflect the self-perceived and self-representating emphases of each school. In this respect the Hanbalis perceive and represent themselves as the most focused of the Sunni Schools on source-texts. In reality, insofar as those Schools are defined by their founding Imams, then all four of them are equally source-text-focused. But most self-definitions of who Ahl al-Sunna are or what Sunna and Jama’a consist in, are actually formulaic responses which are not meant to be all-comprehensive but are part of a timely, practical arsenal to help dispatch deviations to their graves.

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa said: Sunna and Jama’a are defined by loyalty to the Two Shaykhs [Abu Bakr and `Umar as Caliphs], love of the Two Sons-in-Law [`Uthman and `Ali], and [the permissibility of] wiping over leather socks [in ablution]. Yet, elsewhere (as in his Wasiyya and Fiqh al-Akbar) he also made belief in Divine foreordained destiny (qadar) and the un-createdness of the Qur’an as essential, defining articles of Sunni doctrine also. The discrepancy is moot since each definition is dictated by context and the needs of the time in which it was uttered.

Similarly, the emphasis of the Hanbali School on textualism is a legacy of the heroic stand taken by Imam Ahmad in defense of that self-defining principle of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a against Mu’tazilism: We stick to all the authentic reports narrated from the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and his Companions that define his and their way because this is the Prophet’s own definition of the Saved Group. That legacy became embedded in Hanbali discourse and methodology even though there are, in the `aqidas narrated from the mouth of Imam Ahmad by his students, many Ash’ari and Maturidi truisms. This is the strain that a few Hanbalis embraced in their own positively Ash’ari creeds such as Ibn `Aqil, Ibn al-Jawzi, and al-Saffarini.

Al-Saffarini (d. 1188) notably gave the following definition in his Lawami` al-Anwar: Ahl al-Sunna consist of three groups: the textualists (al-Athariyya), whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ash`aris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi. and they are all one sect, the saved sect, and they are Ahl al-Hadith.

Perhaps a more satisfactory expression of the Sunni self-definition of Ahl al-Sunna is given by the great Ash’ari Imam known in absolute terms as the Ustadh: Abu Mansur `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429) in his Farq bayn al-Firaq (The Difference between the Sects). This entire book is in fact an elucidation of the hadith of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, of which the central part says: … and my Community shall divide into 73 sects… At the end of the book he defines Ahl al-Sunna thus:

Those that have completely mastered and codified the principles of belief [=Ash`aris and Maturidis], the Mujtahid Scholars of the four Schools of Law and their followers, the Scholars of hadith that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of Arabic grammar that steered clear of deviation, the Scholars of tafsir that steered clear of deviation, the Sufis, the people making jihad, and the general masses of the Muslims.

Similarly al-Iji (d. 756) in the Mawaqif:

The Saved Group which is excepted from the Prophet’s hadith All of them are in the Fire except one: Those that adhere to what I and my Companions follow – these are the Ash’aris, the Salaf of the scholars of hadith, and [generally speaking] Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a.

While al-Haytami, al-Baydawi, and al-Saharanfuri say: When we use the term Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a, what is meant are the Ash’aris and the Maturidis.

Imam `Abd Allah ibn `Alawi al-Haddad (d. 1132) said:

If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book, the Sunna, and the sayings of the Salaf… you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called Ash’ari, named after the Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs which the Companions and the best among the Successors agreed upon. The Maturidis are the same as the Ash’aris in the above regard.

Answered by Gibril F. Haddad


Ilm Chain of the Hanaabilah

How the Ilm reached in our Hearts…

Al-Basra is where 1 of the 10 Mushaf of Sayyiduna Uthman Ibn al-Affan (radhiyallahu anhu) was sent. Sayyiduna Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) wrapped the black Imamah around the head of his student, Imam Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) and licensed him to teach.

Imam Hasan al Basri (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his student Imam Habib al-Ajami (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Ajami (rahimahullah) did the same thing to Imam Sufyan Ibn al-Uyaynah (rahimahullah).

Imam Ibn Uyaynah (rahimahullah) did the same thing to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah).

Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his son, Imam Salih al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah).

Imam Baghdadi (rahimahullah) did the same to his student Imam Abu Qasim al-Kharaqi (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Kharaqi (rahimahullah) did the same to his student ibn Battah (rahimahullah).

Imam Ibn Battah (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his student Abu Talib al-Ushari (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Ushari (rahimahullah) did the same to his student, Imam Mahfuz al-Kalwazami (rahimahullah).

Imam al-Kalwazani did the same thing to his student Imam Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (rahimahullah).

Imam Shaykh al-Jilani (rahimahullah) did the same thing to his students and successors, Imam Abd al-Rahman Ibn Jawzi, Imam Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi, Imam Muwaffaq-uddin Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (rahimahumullah) and others.

With the exceptions of Imam Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimahullah), all these Imams were Palestinians and this is part of the story of how this strand of Islam spread from Makkah to Medina to Palestine and the whole world.

In sha Allah, I feel all of us who follow this beautiful Madh-hab should know this.

Share it with our brothers and sisters and memorize this.

Via Br. Mohammad Raza Mirza (Hafidhahullah)…

Jumu’ah Salah before Zawaal [Hanbali]

Translated by Mufti Abu Hajira

It is mentioned in Dars e Tirmidhi of Hadhrat Mufti Taqi Uthmani maddazilluhu under the hadeeth:

“…that Nabi salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam used to pray jumu’ah when the sun had declined..”[1]

According to the majority of Ulama’ the meaning of the hadeeth is that Rasulullah salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam would pray jumu’ah right after the Zawaal of the sun (zenith). Hence, the time for Jumu’ah Salah according to the majority is same as that of Dhuhr.

However Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullah and some Ulama’ of Dhahiriyyah view Jumu’ah Salah to be permissible even before the Zawaal. According to them the starting time of Jumu’ah Salah is Dahwatul Kubra’[2].

Their evidence is the famous narration of Sahl bin Sa’d radhiyallahu anhu.

“…we neither used to have breakfast in the time of Rasulullah salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam nor used to have our siesta until after Jumah.”[3]

The reason for their deduction from this narration is the use of the word “al ghada’” which according to linguistics refers to that food which is partaken “after sunrise but before Zawaal”. Hence this hadeeth would mean that the sahaba radhiyallahu anhum used to eat their breakfast before zawaal and after having finished their Jumu’ah Salah. This necessitates that the Jumu’ah must have been much before the Zawaal.

Response to this is that although “al ghada’” linguistically refers to the meal taken before Zawaal, but if someone were to partake their afternoon meal after Zawaal, then that meal can be generally and contextually included under “al ghada’”. An example of this is how Rasulullah salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam mentioned about Sehri (food before Subah Sadiq), “…hasten towards al ghadaa al Mubarak[4]. It can never be deduced from this narration that Sehri can be eaten after sunrise.

Imam Bukhari rahimahullah has mentioned an evidence contrary to the deduction of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal rahimahullah through the narration wherein Sayyidatuna Ayeshah radiallahu anha says, “They used to go after noon towards Jumu’ah, so go after noon in the same manner like them”[5] The usage in this hadeeth is “rawaah” and the word “rawaah” is linguistically specific to leaving after zawaal.

Another strong evidence of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullah is the statement of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Saydan rahimahullah who says, “I witnessed the day of Jumu’ah along with Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and his salah and khutbah was before the mid-day. Then I witnessed the day of Jumu’ah along with ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and his salah and khutbah was just about at the mid-day. Thereafter I witnessed the day of Jumu’ah along with ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and his salah and khutbah was after declining of mid-day and I never saw anyone finding fault with that and negating that.[6]

In response to this Hadeeth Hafiz ibn al Hajar rahimahullah has placed his concern that Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Saydan rahimahullah is da’eef (weak). Hadhrat Shah Saheb rahimahullah has mentioned that this contention of Hafiz ibn al Hajar rahimahullah is not correct. The reality of the matter is that Abdullah ibn Saydan rahimahullah is one of the elder Tabi’een and Hafiz ibn Abd al Bar rahimahullah has included him among Sahabah. Ibn Hiban rahimahullah has mentioned him as thiqqah (strong). Hence, this hadeeth cannot be rejected based on strength of the sanad.

A plausible response to this narration is that mid-day although is a particular time of the day which occurs, yet it can be generalized over a broad range of time period as well. So much so, that sometime after-noon is also metaphorically called mid-day. The intent in the hadeeth in reality is to mention the action of the three Khulafa’ and the sequence in their actions. Hence the reason of mentioning would be that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu would pray Jumu’ah so quickly after the passing of Zawaal, that one could still say that it is not even mid-day (Zawaal). Sayyiduna ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu would pray a bit later such that one would say that it was mid-day at the time. Sayyiduna Uthman radhiyallahu anhu would delay it to the extent that no one would be able to doubt that it is at mid-day.

A similitude of this is mentioned in Sunan Nasa’i where “Sayyiduna Anas radhiyallahu anhu mentions, ‘When Nabi salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam would come home (from a journey) he would not unmount except that he would pray Dhuhr.’ So it was said, ‘even if it were mid-day?’ so he answered, ‘yes, even it were mid-day’.” Now it is obvious that no one takes the meaning that Nabi salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam would pray Dhuhr before the Zawaal or at Zawaal, rather it means that he would pray Dhuhr so early that it would be doubtful whether it is still Zawaal or not. This is the meaning of the narration of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Saydaan rahimahullah.

Dars e Tirmidhi Vol. 1 Pg. 276 – 279



503 – حدثنا أحمد بن منيع قال: حدثنا سريج بن النعمان قال: حدثنا فليح بن سليمان، عن عثمان بن عبد الرحمن التيمي، عن أنس بن مالك، «أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يصلي الجمعة حين تميل الشمس» (سنن الترمذي ت شاكر (2/ 377))

[2] Dahwatul Kubra is the mid-point between Subah Sadiq and Sunset, while Zawaal is the mid-point between Sunrise and Sunset. Since Subah Sadiq marks the beginning of the time of Fajr Salah, it is much before the sunset. While calculating the mid-point between Subah Sadiqh and Sunset, this result will be before the Zawaal. In fact this time delay will be exactly half of the time between Subah Sadiq and Sunrise (i.e. the total time of Fajr Salah of that day).


525 – حدثنا علي بن حجر قال: حدثنا عبد العزيز بن أبي حازم، وعبد الله بن جعفر، عن أبي حازم، عن سهل بن سعد، [ص:404] قال: «ما كنا نتغدى في عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولا نقيل إلا بعد الجمعة» وفي الباب عن أنس بن مالك: «حديث سهل بن سعد حديث حسن صحيح» (سنن الترمذي ت شاكر(2/ 403))


2163 – أخبرنا شعيب بن يوسف بصري، قال: حدثنا عبد الرحمن، عن معاوية بن صالح، عن يونس بن سيف، عن الحارث بن زياد، عن أبي رهم، عن العرباض بن سارية، قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يدعو إلى السحور في شهر رمضان، وقال: «هلموا إلى الغداء المبارك» (سنن النسائي(4/ 145))


903 – حدثنا عبدان، قال: أخبرنا عبد الله، قال:أخبرنا يحيى بن سعيد: أنه سأل عمرة عن الغسل يوم الجمعة، فقالت: قالت عائشة رضي الله عنها: ” كان الناس مهنة أنفسهم، وكانوا إذا راحوا إلى الجمعة، راحوا في هيئتهم فقيل لهم: لو اغتسلتم ” (صحيح البخاري (2/ 7))


1623 – حدثنا يزيد بن الحسن بن يزيد البزاز أبو الطيب , ثنا محمد بن إسماعيل الحساني , ثنا وكيع ,ثنا جعفر بن برقان , عن ثابت بن الحجاج الكلابي , عن عبد الله بن سيدان السلمي , قال: ” شهدت يوم الجمعة مع أبي بكر وكانت صلاته وخطبته قبل نصف النهار , ثم شهدتها مع عمر وكانت صلاته وخطبته إلى أن أقول: انتصف النهار , ثم شهدتها مع عثمان فكانت صلاته وخطبته إلى أن أقول زال النهار فما رأيت أحدا عاب ذلك ولا أنكره ” (سنن الدارقطني (2/ 330))

Istiwa alal Arsh—Where is Allah Ta’ala?

By Jamia Maseehiyyah Ashrafiyyah

The  issue  of  Istiwa  alal  Arsh is  mentioned  in  seven  Surahs, viz.  Surah  A’raaf,  Surah  Yunus,  Ra’d,  Taha,  Furqaan,  Sajdah  and Hadeed.

The  following  Tafseer  of  Istiwa  alal  Arsh appears  in  Tafseer Mukammal Bayaanul Qur’aan under the Aayat in Surah A’raaf:
“Then  He  established  (and  manifested)  Himself  on  the  Arsh  (which resembles  the  Throne  of  a  King,  in  a  manner  befitting  His  Sublime Self).”

This  is  precisely  the  view  of  the  Jumhoor  Salaf [Overwhelming majority  of  the  Former  Ulama], i.e.:  

•  Istiwa is in its  literal  sense.

The  nature  of  the  literal  meaning  is  entrusted  to  Allah  Ta’ala.  Delving in the reality of it is prohibited.

This  prohibition  is  only  logical  because  our  mental  perception  is incapable  of  comprehending  it  [the  reality  of  Allah  Ta’ala’s  Istiwa]. This  is  like  a  person  who  is  born  blind  will  be  advised  not  to  delve  into the  nature  of  colour,  for  the  same  reason  [i.e.  he  is  incapable  of comprehending the nature of colour]. 

And  beware  of  comparing  His  [Allah  Ta’ala’s]  Istiwa  to  your Istiwa,  for  indeed  the  nature  of  an  attribute  differs  in  relation  to  the holder  of  the  attribute.  Zaid  ‘settling’  somewhere  is  not  like  the  mind settling  on  an  issue.  Similarly,  the  length  of  a  stick  is  not  the  same,  i.e. it  does  not  share  the  same  reality,  as  the  length  of  night,  not withstanding  the  fact  that  both  ‘settling’  and  ‘length’  are  in  their  literal sense (in the two examples mentioned). 

When  the  Mustawi  [that  is,  the  Being  Who  has  established  and manifested  Himself  on  the  Arsh]  is  unfathomable  in  His  Essence,  His Istiwa  will  undoubtedly  be  unfathomable  in  reality.  Thus,  there  is  no way  to  judge  One  Whose  reality  is  unfathomable  with  an  entity  whose reality is fathomable. Your Istiwa is inconceivable for Allah Ta’ala.

The safest course is not to discuss this issue and leave the nature of it to Allah Ta’ala.  

The approach of the illustrious Salaf [i.e. Predecessors, Former Ulama] was that the Nusoos [Quraanic Texts and Ahadeeth—here reference is to the allegorical texts] are in their literal senses. However, the nature and essence of it is not known.

Istiwa and Uluw [Loftiness] do not necessitate direction. If direction is declared [for Allah Ta’ala as the deviate Salafis fallaciously claim, that Allah Ta’ala is above on His Throne] then the nature of Istiwa is specified which is in violation to the belief of the illustrious Salaf as they unequivocally state that the reality [of Istiwa] is not known.  

To summarize, there are two dimensions to Istiwa and Uluw:

Declaring direction [for Allah Ta’ala].

Without declaring direction, in fact, declaring no direction. 

The first is the doctrine of the Mujassimah [a deviant sect who subscribe to anthropomorphism] and the second is the doctrine of the Ahlus Sunnah in which the Muhadditheen and Soofiyah both are included. 

Direction [for Allah Ta’ala] is negated traditionally and rationally. In tradition, on the basis of the Aayat: “There is none like unto Him.”  

Rationally, for this reason that direction is created and non-eternal, whereas Allah Ta’ala is pure from the attribute of non-eternity, as the location of non-eternity is also non-eternal.

And,  how  beautifully  did  Imam  Maalik  put  it  when  he  was  asked about  this  [i.e.  Istiwa  alal  Arsh]:  “Istiwa  is  known,  the  manner is  unknown,  delving  into  it  is  bid’at  and  belief  in  it  is  incumbent.”— Marginal  Notes  of  Nibraas  with  reference  to  Sharhul  Fiqhil  Akbar  by Mulla Ali Qaari.

The  bid’at  and  dhalaalat  (innovation  and  deviation)  of  the  modernist Salafis  is  thus  manifest  from  Imam  Maalik’s  statement.  They  have raised  and  dabbled  into  this  issue  without  fear  for  the  delicate  nature  of the  subject,  thus  exposing  their  Imaan  and  the  Imaan  of  innocent Muslims  to  kufr.  May  Allah  Ta’ala  protect  us  from  transgressing  the limits.

This  brings  us  to  the  question:  Where  is  Allah  Ta’ala?  This question  too,  like  the  previous  mas’alah  is  delicate  and  delving  into  it  is unwise.  In  fact,  for  us  who  lack  expertise  in  Shar’i  Uloom to  discuss  the issue  is  fraught  with  perils  for  our  Imaan.  And,  even  if  we  possessed deep  knowledge  of  the  Shariah  and  Islamic  Sciences,  then  too  words lack  the  scope  to  describe  this  as  well  as  all  the  Infinite  Attributes  of Allah Azza wa A’laa. 
The  minimum  requirement  is  that  we  believe  in  the  following:

Allah  Ta’ala  declares:

“East  and  west  belongs  to  Him.  Thus,  wherever you turn, the Face of Allah is there.”

Thus,  the  Face  of  Allah  Ta’ala  is  everywhere.  In  what  way  and  in  which manner is not for our concern. In fact, it is kufr to probe the details. 

Allah Ta’ala declares: 

“Be aware that indeed He encompasses everything.”

Thus,  everything  is  surrounded  and  encompassed  by  Him.  Nothing escapes Him and nothing is beyond Him. This much we believe and it is part of  our  categorical  Faith.  How  He  encompasses  everything  is beyond the limit of our finite minds. 

Allah  Ta’ala  declares:  

“And He is with you wherever you are.”

The  above  Aayat  also  asserts  the  Presence  of  Allah  Ta’ala  to  be everywhere.  We  do  not  know  the  kaif  or  manner  and  nature  of  His presence.  This  is  the  belief  of  the  illustrious  Soofiyah  whom  the Salafiyyah  (Salafis)  target  with  slander.  The  scope  of  this  treatise  does not  permit  a  detailed  rebuttal  of  the  Salafi  slander  levelled  against  the honourable  Soofiyah  and  Mashaaikh  of  Tasawwuf.  Our  purpose  here  is simply  to  provide  the  essential  dalaail  and  basis  for  the  Mathhab  and Maslak  of  the  Hanafiyyah,  Soofiyah  and  Jumhoor  Ahlus  Sunnah  wal Jama’ah. 

Shaikh  Shamsud  Deen  Ramli  Shaafi’i  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  in  his Fataawa  cites  an  incident  of  a  person  who  offensively  questioned  a Soofi  [Saint,  Buzrug]:  “Where  is  Allah?”  The  anti-Mathhab  Madinah University  students  rudely  pose  the  same  question  to  Musallis  in Masjid-e-Nabawi.  The  Buzrug  gave  the  following  apt  reply:  “Be  gone! Are  you  searching  with  your  eyes  where?  Allah  Ta’ala  declares:  ‘And He is with you wherever you are.”

Rasoolullah  (Sallallahu  alaihi  wa  sallam)  said:  “If  you  send  a  rope  down to the bottom-most earth, it will come to Allah.”

The  Hadeeth  clearly  rebuts  the  Salafi  view  of  Allah  Ta’ala  being confined  to  the  skies.  As  stated  earlier,  Allah  Ta’ala  is  free  from  time, place, direction and limit.

Hazrat  Ali  (Karramallahu  wajhahu)  sums  up  the  Aqeedah  [Tenet  of Faith]  of  the  Ahlus  Sunnah  as  follows:  “I  recognise  my  Rabb  with  that which He Himself has made me recognise Him. He cannot be perceived with the senses and He cannot be judged according to humans. He is near in His absence, yet far in His presence. He is above everything, yet nothing will be said to be below Him. He is in front of everything, yet nothing will be said to be in front of Him. He is in everything unlike one thing in another. Thus, Glory to that Being Who is such whilst nothing else is like that.”

A poet said it very beautifully:                                    

“We can think about You, but we cannot fully comprehend You.”

Salafis question Allah Ta’ala’s Omnipresence by disgorging the following profanity: “Is He in the toilet when you are in the toilet?” Allah Ta’ala instructs us to respond to the drivel of the ignoramuses in the following manner:
(Salaam to you! We do not quarrel with the juhalaa.) (Insha Allah we will refute this drivel soon)

In short, Allah Ta’ala’s Presence is everywhere, i.e. He is Omnipresent, in a manner He knows best. 

Fiqh of Taraweeh (Hanbali)

(Taraweeh)  is  a  highly  emphasised  recommended  prayer [1].  It  was  called  that  because after  they  used  to  pray  four  units  they  would  rest  for  a  short  while. [2]  ([it]  is  20  rak’ah) due  to  what  Abu  Bakr  ‘Abdul  ‘Azeez  narrated  in  ‘ash-Shaafi’  on  the  authority  of  Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu)  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  used  to  pray  20  rak’ah  in  the  month  of  Ramadan. [3]  (it  is prayed)  in  units  of  two  (in  congregation  as  well  as  the  witr  prayer) [4]  in  the  mosque  in the  beginning  of  the  night  (after  the ‘isha  prayer)  and  better  to  pray  it  after  its  sunnah (in  Ramadan) [5]  due  to  the  hadeeth  found  in  the  two  saheehs  which  was  reported  by A’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  who  mentioned  that  he  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  prayed  it  for  some  nights  and  they  prayed it  with  him,  then  he  would  not  come  out  and  prayed  it  in  his  house  for  the  rest  of  the month, and  he  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said: “I  feared  that  it  would  become  obligatory  upon  you  and  you would  be  unable  to  perform  it.” [6]  It  was  reported  in  al-Bukhari  that  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) gathered the  people  together  and  were  led  in  the  Taraweeh  prayer  by  Ubayy  bin  Ka’b (radhiyallahu anhu). [7]  Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah)  and  at-Tirimidhi  reported  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said: “Whoever  prayed  with the  Imam  until  he  finishes  will  have  written  for  him  that  he  prayed  for  the  entire night.”[8]  (The  one  who  prays  tahajjud  should  pray  witr)  i.e.  the  one  who  prays  after he  sleeps  (after  it)  i.e.  after  his  tahajjud [9]  due  to  the  statement  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “Make  your  last  prayer  at  night  odd.” Agreed  upon. [10]  (If  one  prays  with  his  Imam) and  prayed  witr  with  him  or  prayed  witr  by  himself,  and  then  wanted  to  pray  tahajjud, should  not  annul  his  witr [11]  rather  pray  without  praying  witr. [12]  And  if  (he  should  make it  even  by  adding  one  extra  rak’ah)  i.e.  added  to  his  witr  which  he  prayed  behind  the Imam; one rak’ah,  then it is permissible.

Moreover,  he  will  attain  the  reward  of  following  the  Imam  as  well  as  making  witr  his final  prayer. [13]  (And  it  is  disliked  to  pray  supererogatory  prayers  between  them) i.e.  between  the  taraweeh  prayers.  Al Athram  reported  that  Abu  Dardaa’ (radhiyallahu anhu) saw  some people  praying  between  taraweeh  and  said:  ‘What  prayer  is  this? Are  you  praying whilst  the  Imam  is  in  front  of  you?  Indeed,  the  one  who  seeks  other  than  our  way is  not  from  us.’ [14]  (But Ta’qeeb  is  not)  disliked  which  is  to  pray  (after  it)  i.e.  after taraweeh  and  witr  (in  congregation). [15]  This  is  due  to  the  statement  of  Anas (radgiyallahu anhu): ‘Do  not return  except  for  some  good  that  you  hope  for’. [16]  Likewise  it  is  not  disliked  to  do tawaaf  between  taraweeh. [17]  It  is  not  recommended  for  the  Imam  to  recite  more  than the  whole  Qur’an  (throughout  Ramadan)  in  taraweeh [18]  unless  the  people  prefer  to increase  upon  that. [19]  Likewise,  it  is  not  recommended  for  him  to  recite  less  than  the entire Qur’an in order to attain the reward of it.


[1] In Ramadan  according  to  the  consensus  of  the  Muslims.  The  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  established  it  according  to  the  hadeeth  of  ‘A’ishah (radhiyallahu anha)  which  will  be  mentioned  soon.  It  is  not considered  to  be  a  newly  invented  matter  by  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).  It  is  also  considered  to  be  from the  manifest  emblems  of  this  religion.  It  has  been  mentioned  (in  importance)  before the  daily  recommended  prayers  due  to  the  Prophet’s  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  performance  of  it  and  his affirmation  of  it,  as  well  as  the  agreement  of  the  companions  that  it  is  to  be  performed in  congregation  according  to  the  command  of  the  rightly  guided  caliph,  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu),  who the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  commanded  us  to  follow  in  his  statement:  “Follow  my  sunnah  and  the sunnah  of  the  rightly  guided  caliphs”.  The  companion’s  performance  of  this  prayer  is  well known  and  has  been  received  by  the  ‘ummah  from  the  early  generations  up  until  today. There  are  also  many  narrations  that  state  the  virtue  of  this  prayer  such  as  the  hadeeth: “Whoever  stood  in  prayer  in  Ramadan  with  iman  and  hope  for  its  reward  will  have  his sins  forgiven.”  (Agreed  upon).  It  is  not  considered  to  be  an  obligation  since  the  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  prayed  it  with  his  companions  for  two  or  three  nights  then  left  it  saying:  “[I  left  it] out  of  fear  that  it  would  become  obligatory  upon  all  of  you  and  then  you  would  be  unable to perform it.”

[2] Some  linguists  stated  that  Taraweeh  is  the  plural  of  Tarweehah,  which  in  origin  is  a name  given  for  the  practice  of  sitting.  Then  it  was  used  to  refer  to  the  sitting  that  takes place  every four units  of  prayer during  the nights of  Ramadan  so  that people  could  rest, or  because  they  used  to  rest  after  every  two  units  of  prayer.  It  was  stated  in  al Misbaah: The  term:  ‘arihna  bis-salaah’  (lit.  soothe  us  by  the  prayer)  means  to  establish  the  prayer. Thus  praying  achieves  a  sense  of  raahah  (repose/tranquillity).  Thus  the  word  taraweeh has  been  derived  from  that  word.  It  (i.e.  Taraweeh)  is  prayed  in  the  month  of  Ramadan. It  was  stated  in  Al  Furoo’:  ‘One  (can)  rest  between  every  4  unit  of  prayer  according to  the  agreement  of  the  scholars,  and  supplicate  therein.  This  was  done  by  the  pious predecessors. However, there is no harm in leaving that.”

[3] This was reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah. However, the chain of narration contains Ibrahim bin ‘Uthman who is considered to be weak according to the agreement of the scholars. Al Bayhaqi narrated in ‘al  Ma’rifah’ on the authority of Saa’ib bin Yazeed who said: ‘We used to pray at the time of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) 20 rak’ah as well as witr.’ Imam an-Nawawi said: ‘its chain of narration is  saheeh.’  Malik  also  reported  as  well  as  others  that:  the  people  used  to  offer  23  rak’ah in  the  time  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  during  the  month  of  Ramadan.  Thus  20  was  the  established practice  of  the  rightly  guided  caliphs.  Al  Qaadhi  said:  ‘There  is  no  difference  of  opinion that  there  is  no  specific  limit  that  one  cannot  go  beyond  or  decrease  from.  Rather  the difference of opinion lies in how much the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) exactly prayed and what he chose for  himself  to  pray.’  It  has  been  reported  from  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  through  multiple  chains of  narration  that  he  did  not  pray  more  than  11  rak’ah  in  Ramadan  or  outside  of  Ramadan, and  according  to  another  narration;  13.  When  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  became  old  he  would pray  9  or  7  rak’ah.  It  was  the  case  that  Imam  Ahmad  as  well  as  well  as  the  majority  of scholars  chose  20  rak’ah  since  the  night  prayer  is  an  act  of  worship  which  its  reward  for  it is  increased  the  more  it  is  performed.  This  is  something  the  scholars  do  not  dispute  over.

[4] i.e.  the  tasleem  is  performed  every  two  rak’ah  due  to  the  hadeeth:  “The  night  prayer should be prayed in units of two.” The witr should be performed with two (sets of) tasleems as  has  already  been  mentioned.  It  is  more  virtuous  to  perform  it  in  congregation  rather than  individually  according  to  the  consensus  of  the  companions  as  well  as  scholars.  It  is however  permissible  to  pray  it  individually.  Malik  and  Shaafi’e  said:  ‘it  is  better  to  pray it  at  home’  due  to  the  narration:  “The  best  prayer  of  a  person  is  at  home  unless  it  is  an obligatory  prayer.”  Al  Baghawi  and  others  stated:  ‘The  difference  of  opinion  lies  in  the case  for  the  one  who  has  memorised  the  Qur’an  and  does  not  fear  becoming  lazy  if  he prayed  by  himself  as  well  as  congregation  in  the  mosque  being  affected  by  his  absence. If  any  of  these  conditions  are  not  met,  than  praying  in  congregation  is  more  virtuous without any dispute.

[5]  Ibn  Taymiyyah  stated:  ‘This  is  according  to  the  agreement  of  the  pious predecessors  and  the  leaders  of  the  Muslims.  It  is  also  called:  Qiyaamu  Ramadan  as  the Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  stated:  “Indeed  Allah  has  ordained  upon  you  fasting  in  Ramadan  and praying  in  Ramadan  (Qiyaamahu  [i.e.  Qiyaamu  Ramadan]  so  the  one  who  fasts  and  prays will  have  his  sins  forgiven.”  As  for  it  being  held  at  the  beginning  of  the  night,  then  this  is because  the  people  used  to  do  this  in  the  time  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  it  will  be  seen  that  they used  to  extend  it  towards  the  end  of  the  night.  As  for  the  statement:  ‘It  is  better  to  pray it  after  its  sunnah’  i.e.  it  is  better  to  pray  taraweeh  after  the  ‘isha  prayer  after  its  sunnah due  to  the  emphasis  of  the  sunnah  of  ‘isha.  It  is  however  permissible  for  one  to  pray  it between  ‘isha  and  its  sunnah,  however  it  is  better  to  pray  it  after  ‘isha’s  sunnah  due  to what  (Ahmad)  stated.  Al  Majd  stated:  ‘This  is  because  it  is  disliked  to  delay  the  sunnah of  ‘isha  beyond  the  preferred  (mukhtar)  time  of  ‘isha,  thus  to  follow  ‘isha  with  its  sunnah is  better.’  Likewise  it  is  permissible  if  one  was  to  pray  it  after  witr  and  before  fajr,  but  it will  not  be  accepted  to  pray  it  before  ‘isha  according  to  consensus.  Ibn  Taymiyyah  stated: ‘Whoever  prays  it  before  ‘isha  has  traversed  the  path  of  the  innovators,  and  once  fajr has  enters,  the  time  for  the  prayer  would  have  elapsed.’  The  (timing  of  it)  as  stated  by al ‘iqnaa’  &  others  is  as  follows:  ‘Its  timing  begins  after  ‘isha  &  its  sunnah,  before  witr  up until the second fajr.

[6] What  is  apparent  is  that  he  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  feared  that  praying  during  the  nights  of  Ramadan in  congregation  would  become  obligatory  for  the  people  due  to  his  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  continual observance  of  the  prayer.  It  was  reported  in  the  saheeh  (i.e.  Bukhari):  ‘On  the  fourth night  the  people  were  unable  to  fit  into  the  mosque’  and  in  the  hadeeth  of  Zayd:  ‘Until  I feared  that  it  would  become  obligatory  upon  all  of  you,  and  if  it  was  prescribed  for  you, you  would  have  not  been  able  to  do  it.’  The  shaahid  (point  of  note)  lies  in  his  statement: ‘They  prayed  with  him  and  he  acknowledged  that’.  He  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  also  said:  “Whoever  prayed with  the  Imam  until  he  finishes  will  have  it  written  for  him  that  he  prayed  for  the  whole night.”  The  companions  used  to  pray  it  in  the  mosque  at  first  in  separate  groups  during his  lifetime  whilst  he  was  aware  of  that  and  acknowledged  what  they  were  doing.

[7] Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah)  stated  that  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu),  Jaabir  and  ‘Abdullah  used  to  pray  in  congregation, and  the  companions  continued  to  do  this.  It  was  also  reported  by  al Bayhaqi  & others  that  ‘Ali  used  to  appoint  an  Imam  for  the  men  and  an  Imam  for  the  women.

[8] This  is  an  encouragement  to  pray  with  the  Imam  (until  he  finishes),  and  is  more  stressed than  an  absolute  sunnah.  If  they  delayed  taraweeh  or  part  of  it  towards  the  end  of  the night  or  extended  the  prayer  to  then  end  of  the  night;  then  that  it  better.  Allah  says: “Verily,  the  rising  by  night  (for  Tahajjud  prayer)  is  very  hard  and  Most  potent  and  good  for governing  (the  soul),  and  Most  suitable  for  (understanding)  the  word  (of  Allâh).”(73:6). This  is  a  time  that  Allah descends  and  says:  ‘Is  there  anyone  in  need  of  something, is  there  anyone  seeking  forgiveness,  is  there  anyone  seeking  to  repent?’ And  it  is  (better to  delay  the  prayer)  during  the  last  ten  nights,  and  Ibn  Taymiyyah  preferred  that  one spend  the  night  in  prayer.  He  stated:  ‘To  pray  some  of  the  nights  in  entirety  has  been reported  in  the  sunnah.  It  was  reported  in  the  two  Saheehs  that: When  the  last  ten nights  entered  he  (saw)  would  spend  the  night  in  prayer  and  awoke  his  family  and tightened  his  waist  wrapper.’  It  was  also  reported  in  at-Tirmidhi  that:  ‘Towards  the  end  of the  month,  he  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  would  call  his  family  and  prayed  with  them  so  that  they  would  fear that  the  time  of  suhoor  would  pass  by  them’  and  the  companions  used  to  extend  their prayers  in  the  last  ten  nights  close  to  the  time  of  fajr  as  was  reported  in  many  narrations. Abu  Dawud  reported  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  ‘To  delay  the  prayer  towards  the  end  of  the night  is  the  sunnah  of  the  Muslims.’  And  Imam  Malik  reported  that  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) commanded Ubayy  and  Tameem  to  lead  the  people  in  prayer  with  chapters  that  were  longer  than 100  verses  (mi’een)  such  that  people  would  lean  on  their  sticks  due  to  the  length  of the  prayer,  and  we  did  not  leave  until  fajr  had  almost  entered.’  He  also  reported  that Ubay  said:  ‘When  we  used  to  finish  from  our  night  prayers  in  Ramadan  we  would  hurry our  servants  in  serving  suhoor  out  of  fear  that  fajr  would  enter.’  Likewise,  the  hadeeth: “Indeed,  the  prayer  towards  the  end  of  the  night  is  witnessed  (mashoodah),  and  that is  better.”  There  is  no  dispute  over  this,  and  likewise  to  depend  on  a  stick  for  the  night prayer is permissible according to the agreement of the scholars.

[9] Tahjjud  is  a  prayer  which  is  performed  at  night  or  after  sleeping  at  night.  Al  Jawhari stated:  ‘hajada  &  tahajjada  means  to  sleep  at  night  and  it  also  means  to  stay  awake.  Thus it  is  from  the  verbs  that  have  opposite  meanings.  From  this,  the  word  the  term  for  the night prayer; tahajjud was formed.

[10]  The  Prophet’s  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  witr  used  to  end  towards  the  end  of  the  night,  and  there  are  many authentic  narrations  that  show  this.  Thus  if  one  does  not  want  to  pray  tahajjud,  should pray witr with the Imam to attain the reward of praying in congregation.

[11]  The  description  of  annulling  his  witr  for  the  one  who  wants  to  pray  more  after  his witr  is  as  follows:  he  prays  one  extra  rak’ah  intending  to  annul  his  witr  and  then  after completing  that  extra  rak’ah  it  would  be  as  if  he  prayed  an  even  (shaf’)  amount  of  rak’ah. Then  he  prays  whatever  he  wishes  in  units  of  two  and  then  concludes  with  witr  with  one rak’ah  due  to  the  narration:  “There  are  no  two  witr  in  one  night”.  A’ishah (radhiyallahu anha)  was  asked about  the  one  who  annuls  his  witr  to  which  she  replied:  ‘He  is  the  one  who  plays  with his  witr,  if  he  wishes  to  leave  the  taraweeh  and  pray  witr  at  the  end  of  the  night  should do that.’

[12]  i.e.  he  should  pray  an  even  amount  of  prayers  until  the  second  fajr,  since  it  has  been established  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  used  to  pray  2  rak’ah  after  witr  and  not  conclude  with another  witr  since  the  1st  witr  sufficed.  This  is  due  to  the  narration:  “There  are  no  two witr  in  one  night.”  Reported  by  Ahmad  &  Abu  Dawud.  This  is  the  opinion  of  the  majority of  scholars  such  as  Malik,  ibn  al  Mubarak,  ash-Shafi’ee,  Ahmad  and  others.  This  narration was  also  declared  authentic  by  at-Tirmidhi  &  others.  This  is  also  because  the  witr  that he  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  has  prayed  was  completed  and  thus  it  is  not  deemed  correct  to  nullify  it  after completing it.

[13]  This  is  also  the  case  if  the  Imam  appointed  somebody  else  to  lead  them  for  that  ra’kah. Thus,  if  the  Imam  finished  the  prayer  the  other  person  will  come  and  lead  the  people  in prayer  for  that  rak’ah  in  order  to  attain  the  virtue  of  praying  in  congregation  as  well  as attaining  the  reward  of  making  witr  the  last  prayer  of  the  night.  And  the  evidences  for the virtue of that have already been mentioned.

[14]  Similar  has  also  been  reported  from  ‘Ubaadah  and  ‘Uqbah  bin  ‘Aamir.  It  was  mentioned to  Imam  Ahmad  (rahimahullah)  that  some  companions  permitted  this  and  thus  replied:  ‘That  is falsehood  (baatil)’.  That  is  the  case  because  it  shows  that  the  person  is  not  content with  the  Imam.  This  all  applies  if  there  was  no  large  gap  been  between  the  prayers;  for example  if  the  Imam  left  the  mosque  or  the  Imam  delayed  part  of  the  prayer  towards  the end  of  the  night,  which  in  that  case;  is  permissible.    As  for the  aforementioned  al  Athram,  then  his  full  name  is  Ahmad  bin  Muhammad  bin  Haani’ at-Taa’ee,  of  the  great  scholars  of  Islam  and  the  author  of  as-Sunan  and  other  works.  He narrated  from  Imam  Ahmad,  ‘Affan  and  others.  Imam  an-Nasaa’ee  narrated  from  him  as well as others. He died in the year 260 AH.

[15]  Al  Majd  and  others  stated:  if  the  prayer  was  delayed  to  midnight  it  is  not  disliked according  to  the  mathhab,  even  if  they  prayed  supererogatory  prayers  after  resting,  or  if they  prayed  towards  the  end  of  the  night.  This  was  explicitly  stated  by  Imam  Ahmad  and his view was chosen by many.

[16]  He  used  to  see  no  problem  with  that  since  it  is  an  act  of  worship,  even  if  they  delayed it towards the end of the night.

[17]  What  is  apparent  is  that  the  sunnah  of  tawaaf  is  also  not  disliked  due  to  what  has  been mentioned.  This  is  the  case  even  if  they  returned  to  it  before  sleep  or  they  did  not  delay it to midnight.

[18]  This  is  in  order  not  to  make  it  difficult  for  the  people.  This  was  stated  by  al  Qadhi  and others.  Imam  Ahmad  said:  ‘He  should  recite  in  the  month  of  Ramadan  that  which  is  easy for  the  people  and  not  make  it  difficult  for  them,  especially  in  the  shorter  nights.  It  was stated  in  al  Ghunyah:  ‘One  should  not  recite  more  than  the  whole  Qu’ran  (throughout Ramadan)  as  it  might  be  difficult  for  the  people  as  well  as  result  in  them  leaving  the prayer,  and  thus  his  sin  will  become  greater.’  It  was  also  said  that  one  should  look  into the  state  of  the  people.  Ibn  Taymiyyah  also  stated  as  previously  mentioned  that  the  best for the one who cannot manage a lot; is to lighten the prayer for him.

[19]  In such a case, it is recommended according to consensus.

[20]  i.e.  the  reward  of  the  khatmah.  Thus  the  people  should  be  able  to  listen  to  the  entire Qur’an  with  him.  Ibn  Taymiyyah  stated  that  to  recite  the  (entire)  Qur’an  in  taraweeh  is recommended  according  to  the  agreement  of  the  scholars  of  the  Muslims.  In  fact,  one of  the  intended  objectives  of  taraweeh  is  to  recite  the  Qur’an  so  that  people  can  listen to  the  speech  of  Allah.  This  is  the  case  since  Ramadan  was  the  month  in  which  the Qur’an  descended,  and  in  this  month  Jibreel  used  to  revise  the  entire  Qur’an  with  the Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  The  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  also  the  most  generous  of  people  and  he  used  to be  even  more  generous  in  Ramadan  when  he  used  to  meet  Jibreel  and  revise  the  Qur’an with  him.  One  should  try  and  finish  the  Qur’an  in  the  last  taraweeh  before  the  rukoo’, and  it  is  recommended  for  one  to  supplicate  after  that  as  was  stated  by  Imam  Ahmad. He  also  used  in  support  of  his  view  that  he  saw  the  people  of  Shaam  as  well  as  Sufyan bin  ‘Uyaynah  doing  that.  It  was  also  transmitted  from  the  people  of  Basrah  that  they used  to  do  that  in  addition  to  ‘Uthman  and  other  companions.  And  there  is  no  harm if  a  person  was  to  raise  his  hands  in  doing  so.  Likewise  many  scholars  recommended that.  Ibn  Taymiyyah  had  a  supplication  for  the  khatm  of  the  Qur’an  which  was  very comprehensive.  He  said:  ‘It  was  reported  that  there  is  a  supplication  that  is  answered  at the  time  of  a  khatmah.  Thus  if  a  person  supplicated  at  the  end  of  a  khatmah  for  himself, his  parents,  his  scholars,  the  believing  men  &  women  etc,  then  that  is  legislated.’  It  is befitting  that  the  one  who  delays  part  of  the  taraweeh  in  the  last  ten  nights  to  do  so  to the  last  part  of  the  night,  so  that  those  who  didn’t  attend  the  first  part  could  attend  the second  part.  Likewise  they  can  begin  another  khatmah  so  that  those  who  attend  the second part of the prayer can listen to the entire Qur’an.