“In the Hanafi Madh-hab, they tend to delay the fajr until it is a little bit light before sunrise of course… This is against the majority of the scholars and this is against the sunna of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).”
This “Shaykh” declared the Hanafi practice, in no uncertain terms, as contrary to the Sunnah. But, what evidence do the Hanafis use for this practice?
I checked out the most basic of the Hanafi books such as al-Ikthiar (volume 1 page 44) and I found that the Hanafi scholars based their view on ahadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Al-Tabarani and Imam Ahmad.
If you look at Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, you will see chapter 117 called “Narrations about delaying the fajr until it starts to get lighter ( ﺑﺎﻟﻔﺠﺮ ﺍﺍﻟﺴﻔﺎﺭ ﻓﻲ ﺟﺎﺀ ﻣﺎ ﺑﺎﺏ .“(al-Tirmidhi narrates a hadith (number 154) on the authority of Rabi’ bin Khadeej who said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “Delay the fajr towards the end of its time [when it starts to get lighter] for there is more reward”.
Al-Tirmidhi goes on to say that this hadith was also narrated by Shu’ba and [Sufyaan] al-Thawri from Muhammed bin Ishaaq. It is also narrated by Muhammed bin Ajlaan on the authority of Aasim bin ‘Umar bin Qatada. There are also other ahadith regarding this subject from Abu Barza Al-Aslami, Jaabir and Bilal. al-Tirmidhi said this is a fair and authentic hadith (haadha hadithun hasanun saheeh).
Imaam Anwar Shah Kashmiri has more to say on this subject in his commentary on Jami’ al-Tirmidhy called “Al-Urf al-Shadhy” on page 177 of volume 1. It can be found here.
In addition, Al-Hafidh al-Suyuti al-Shafi’i included the above hadith of al-Tirmidhi among the mutawatir hadith (unanimously authentic) in his booklet called “Al-Azhaar al-Mutanathira fi al-ahadith al-mutawatira” as was recorded by the author of I’ila al-Sunan volume 2 page 24. His brilliant research can be found here.
In summary, the Hanafi scholars’ point of view is based on multiple narrations (see Nasb al-Raya of Hafidh al-Zaylai volume 1 pages 304-313 for more details.):
1. Hadith of Rabi’ bin Khadeej narrated by al-Tirmidhy. He declared it a fair and authentic hadith (haadha hadithun hasanun saheeh). Al-Hafidh al-Zaylai, Al-Muhaqqiq al-Kamal bin Al-Humaam agreed with al-Tirmidhy. Al-Hafidz Al-Suyuti declared this hadith mutawatir (unanimously authentic).
2. Al-Nasa’i narrated a hadith similar in meaning and he did not comment on its authenticity. Al-Hafidh Al-Zaylai declared the chain authentic (I’ila al-Sunnan volume 2 page 24-25)
Now, how can someone declare a practice based on a mutawatir (unanimously authentic) and a saheeh (authentic) hadith (not to mention the rest of the evidence) to be against the sunnah? Even if the “Shaykh” believes that hadith is not mutawatir but only authentic (saheeh), I still cannot fathom how a “Shaykh” would dismiss all of the above evidence and label the Hanafi practice as “contrary to sunnah.” Just like his teacher, this Shaykh never even bothered to glance over the Hanafi books before he gave his fatwa. One wonders if these people really believe it themselves wholeheartedly when they say they are following the daleel (evidence). How can someone claim they are following the daleel when time and time again we see that they do not collect all the evidence in a given subject before they make up their minds? They are either delusional or dishonest. I cannot think of a third possibility, can you?
(The from a book of Dr. Sadi Kose).