Wednesday, 10 November 2010

surah al mulk ayat 1 : seek success only from Allah

ayah 1, surah mulk , Shakiel Humayun

Virtues of Surah al Fatihah

Virtue of al fatihah, by Shakiel Humayun

Virtues of Surah al Fatihah

A man came to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), embraced Islam then returned to his people. On his way there were a group of men who had with them a mad man in iron manacles. The group said, that they heard that the travelers friend (i.e. Prophet Muhammad) had something good with him and so he exorcised the mad man with Surah al Fatiha, and he was cured. As reward they gave the traveler 100 sheep. He then returned to the Prophet and narrated the story. The Prophet asked if he did anything other than recite al-Fatiha, he said no. So the Prophet said that while these people make their livelihoods out of false incantations (i.e. worshipping false idols) the traveler earned the 100 sheep through something lawful; so he could keep the sheep.
[Abu Dawud 3398/a]

Abu Sa'id Ar-Rafi' bin Al-Mu`alla (radiAllahu anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "Shall I teach you the greatest Surah in the Qur'an before you leave the mosque?'' Then he (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), took me by the hand, and when we were about to step out, I reminded him of his promise to teach me the greatest Surah in the Qur'an. He (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "It is `Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil Alamin (i.e., Surat Al-Fatihah) which is As-Sab` Al-Mathani (i.e., the seven oftrepeated Ayat) and the Great Qur'an which is given to me.'' [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) reported that when Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) asked Ubayy ibn Ka’ab (radiAllahu anhu), "Do you want me to teach you a Surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Torah, the Injeel, the Zabur, nor the Qur'an?", and also asked what he recited in his prayers. He replied Umm-ul Qur’an (Surah Fatihah) the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) proclaimed, 'By Him in whose dominion my soul is, nothing like it has been revealed in the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms, or the Qur’an and it is seven of the oft-repeated verses in the Mighty Qur’an which I have been given' [at-Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim says that this hadith is Sahih on the conditions established by Imam Muslim (Tafseer Mazhari 1:30)]

Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (radiAllahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said 'Rejoice in the two lights brought to you which have not been brought to any prophet before you': al-Fatihah and the last verses of Surah al- Baqarah (2: 2854), (said an angel to the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him) [Muslim].

Ambari in his ‘Kitabur-Rad’ through his own chain of narrators has mentioned from Mujahid ibn Jabr (rahmatullahi alaih) that Iblees the accursed of Allah Ta’ala lamented on four occasions: first when he was cursed; secondly when he was cast out of Heaven to the Earth; thirdly when Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was given the Prophethood; fourthly when Surah Fatihah was revealed and it was revealed in Madinah. Once the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was traveling when he disembarked and began walking alongside a companion. He asked him, 'Shouldn't I tell you the best part of the Qur'an?' then he recited 'Alhamdu lilahi rabil alameen' (Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds). [Hakim 1/560; Dhahabi]

Abu Saeed al-Khudr’i narrates that while on a journey we halted at a place. A girl came to us and said: "The chief of this tribe has been stung by a scorpion and our men are not present, is there anybody amongst you who can recite something upon him to treat him?" Then, one of our men went along with her although we did not think that he knew any such treatment. However, our friend went to the chief and recited something upon him and the chief was cured. Thereupon, the chief gave him thirty sheep and gave us all milk to drink. When he returned, we asked our friend: "Did you know anything to recite upon him to cure him?” He said: “No, I only recited Umm al-Kitab (i.e. Surah al-Fatihah) upon him.” We said that do not do anything until we reach Madinah and ask the Prophet regarding this (practice and reward-whether the sheep were lawful or not for us). Upon reaching Madinah, we narrated this to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), whereupon he remarked: “How did he come to know that Al-Fatihah can be used as a cure? (Rasulullah said this in astonishment) Distribute your reward amongst yourselves and allot a share for me as well. [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Ibn 'Abbas said, "While Jibril (alayhis salam) was sitting with the Prophet, he heard a sound above him and raised his head. He said, 'This is a door of heaven which has been opened today and which has never been opened before today. An angel descended from it.' He said, 'This is an angel who has descended to earth who has never descended before today.' He gave the greeting and said, 'Give the good news of two lights which you have been given and which no Prophet before you was given: the Fatiha of the Book and the end of Surah al-Baqarah (2). You will not recite a letter of them without being given it.'" [Muslim, Riyad as-Salihin by Imam an-Nawawi]

Abu Sulaiman says that once a group of Companions were in an expedition (ghazwa) when they happened to come across an epileptic person, who was unconscious. One of the Companions recited Surah Al-Fatiha and blew in his ear. The epileptic person immediately cured. When Sayyidana Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was informed of this, he said: “It (Surah Al-Fatiha) is “The Mother of the Qur'an” (Umm al-Qur'an) and is a cure for every disease.” [This narration has been recorded by Ath-Thua’lbi from Abu Sulaiman, who narrated it from Muawiya bin Saleh (radhi Allah anhu), Tafseer Mazhari 1:31]

Sa’ib (radhi Allah anhu) bin Yazeed says that Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) recited Surah Al-Fatihah and blew it on me. To safeguard me against calamities, Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) recited this Surah and put his blessed saliva in my mouth.
[At-Tabraani narrated this tradition in 'Al-Awsat', Tafseer Mazhari 1:31]

Anas (radhi Allah anhu) said: “When you recite Surah Al-Fatihah and Surah Al-Ikhlas upon lying on your bed, you will be safeguarded and should become fearless of every thing except death.”[Narrated by Baraa', Tafseer Mazhari 1:31]

The Prophet said, 'Whoever mastered the first seven (chapters or verses) from the Qur'an is a pontiff'. [Hakim 1/564; Dhahabi]

The Prophet said, 'The mother of the Qur'an are the seven oft repeated verses'
[Bukhari 4704]

It is narrated from Jabir (radhi Allah anhu) that Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “O Jabir, shall I inform you about the best Surah revealed in the Qur'an?” Jabir said: “O Messenger of Allah, please inform me.” Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “It is Fatiha tul Kitab.” Jabir adds: “And I think that Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said that Al-Fatiha is a cure for every diseases.” Jabir is also reported to have said: “Fatiha tul Kitab is a medicine for every disease except death.”[Recorded by Al-Khal’i in his Fawa’id, Tafseer Mazhari 1:30]

The Prophet said, 'In the Fatiha of the Qur'an, there is a cure for all maladies(illnesses)' [Darimi 3236, also narrated by Ad-Darmi in his Al-Masnad and Al-Bayhaqi in Shu’bul Imaan, Tafseer Mazhari 1:30]

Surah Al-Fatihah is equivalent to two thirds of the Qur'an[Al-Bayhaqi and Al-Haakim, Tafseer Mazhari 1:31]


Meaning of Surah Al Fatihah & its Names : Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Al Fatihah

Meaning of Al Fatiha & its Names

This Surah is called Al-Fatihah, that is, the Opener of the Book, the Surah with which prayers are begun. It is also called, Umm Al-Kitab (the Mother of the Book), according to the majority of the scholars. In an authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«الْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبَ الْعَالَمِينَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَأُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَالسَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ»

(Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin is the Mother of the Qur'an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur'an.)

It is also called Al-Hamd and As-Salah, because the Prophet said that his Lord said,

«قَسَمْتُ الصَّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ، فَإِذَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ:الْحَمْدُدِلله رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، قَالَ اللهُ: حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِي»

(`The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants.' When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,' Allah says, 'My servant has praised Me.')

Al-Fatihah was called the Salah, because reciting it is a condition for the correctness of Salah - the prayer. Al-Fatihah was also called Ash-Shifa' (the Cure).

It is also called Ar-Ruqyah (remedy), since in the Sahih, there is the narration of Abu Sa`id telling the the story of the Companion who used Al-Fatihah as a remedy for the tribal chief who was poisoned. Later, the Messenger of Allah said to a Companion,

«وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ أَنَّهَا رُقْيَةٌ»

(How did you know that it is a Ruqyah)

Al-Fatihah was revealed in Makkah as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Abu Al-`Aliyah stated. Allah said,

﴿وَلَقَدْ ءاتَيْنَـكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي﴾

(And indeed, We have bestowed upon you the seven Mathani) (seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatihah) (15:87). Allah knows best.

Surah Al-Fatihah and the Prayer

Al-Fatihah and the Prayer

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

«مَنْ صَلَى صَلَاةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا أُمَّ الْقُرْآنِ فَهِيَ خِدَاجٌ ثَلَاثًا غَيْرُ تَمَامٍ»

(Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur'an, then his prayer is incomplete.) He said it thrice.

Abu Hurayrah was asked, "[When] we stand behind the Imam'' He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say,

« قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: قَسَمْتُ الصّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِي وَإِذَا قَالَ:

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: أَثْنى عَلَيَّ عَبْدِي، فَإذَا قَالَ:

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: مَجَّدَنِي عَبْدِي وَقَالَ مَرَّةً: فَوَّضَ إِلَيَّ عَبْدِي فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]، قَالَ: هذَا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ، فَإِذَا قَالَ:

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ ]، قَالَ اللهُ: هذَا لِعَبْدِي وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ»

(Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.' If he says,

[الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ]

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.)

Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.' When the servant says,

[الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ]

(The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.)

Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.' When he says,

[مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ]

(The Owner of the Day of Recompense.) Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me,' or `My servant has related all matters to Me.' When he says,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.) Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.' When he says,

[اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ ]

(Guide us to the straight path. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.').''

These are the words of An-Nasa'i, while both Muslim and An-Nasa'i collected the following wording, "A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.''

Reading Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Al Fatihah

Reading Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Al Fatihah Part 1

Reading Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Al Fatihah Part 2


Reading Al Fatihah Behind the Imam

Those of us who adhere to the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifah believe that when an individual performs salaah alone then, it is wajib to recite al-Fatiha, but when one is praying behind the Imam then, al-Fatiha should not be recited, whether the Imam is reciting loudly or quietly. The evidence available from the Qur’an and Sunnah are as follows:

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it.”

[Surat-ul-A’raaf: 204]

Hafidh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

The Prophet SAW said: The Imam’s recitation is enough for the followers.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Al Fatiha]

The position taken by those who adhere to this madhab, is that it is impermissable to recite behind the Imam in any salaah.

There are people who believe that we should recite behind the Imam even when the Imam recites loudly or quietly. Their evidence is from the Hadith, in which the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said:

The Salaah of the person who does not recite Al-Fatiha, is not accepted

[Bukhari Muslim Kitabul Saklah Chapter Wujub-ul-Qiraat]

Rather than reciting this in isolation, when we read other sources of Islamic Law, we can establish that the meaning of this Hadith is that it is essential to recite Al-Fatiha when praying Salaah alone. Some people have also established from the above Hadith that it implies that the recitation of al-Fatiha in every rakaah is fard compulsary.

It is also worth mentioning that this Hadith is established from a single narration, so an action cannot be proved to be fard from such type of narration. There is proof from Qur’an and Sunnah which supports the view that if someone reads any part of the Qur’an in the Salaah, the Salaah will be accepted.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Recite the Qur’an (in Salaah) that which is easy for you

[Surat-ul-Muzzammil: 20]

If surat-al-Fatiha was fard then, the verse would have stated this explicitly. There is also another Hadith which states that the Prophet taught a man how to perform salaah, yet he [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] did not mention Al-Fatiha.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim write [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] was sitting in the masjid and a man came and performed salaah. The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] ordered him to perform salaah again. When he finished, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] told him again to perform Salaah. The man said “This is the best way that I can perform salaah. Teach me a better way.” The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said “When you stand, say takbir then recite from the Qur’an whatever is easy for you.”

[Bukhari & Muslim, baabu wujoob-il-Qiraah]

Imam Darral Qutini writes [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said that whoever joins the salaah with the Imam in ruku (before the Imam stands straight), that ruku will not have to be repeated.

[Daar Qutini chap Adrak Imam Qabl al Rakooh]

If the recitation of Surat al Fatiha was fard, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] would have told the man to recite al-Fatiha firstand then to recite any other part of the Qur’an which was easy for him. Also the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] would not have said that the ruku of the person, who joins the Imam while the Imam is in rukoo, does not have to be repeated. In such a case Al-Fatiha is missed. If Al-Fatiha was fard, the person joining the Salaah at rukoo would have had to repeat his Salaah– simply because a fard was missing.

Alama Sa’eedi writes:

The meaning of the above debated Hadith is similar to the following ahadeeth:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that

“whoever lives close to the mosque and does not pray in the mosque his salaah is not accepted.”

There is another Hadith, which states that if a person makes wudu and does not recite Bismillah, the wudu is invalid. There is also another Hadith stating that a person is not Muslim if his neighbour sleeps in a hungry state. Another Hadith states that if a person does not fulfil their promise then, he is not a Muslim. Of course, the person who doesn’t fulfil their promise is still a Muslim, and in the same way, if someone doesn’t recite Al-Fatiha in salaah, his salaah is still accepted but without full Excellency. If this wasn’t the case, the Prophet should have said: “The salaah of the one who does not recite al-Fatiha is false.”

[Sharh Muslim Baab Wujoobe Qiraat] By Allama Sa’eedi

There is a further explanation of this Hadith, which we shall touch upon later, InSha’Allah. We accept that there are scholars who hold the view that people should recite al-Fatiha behind the Imam. The scholars have also written books on this subject.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

Some scholars say that Al-Fatiha should be recited behind the Imam. The scholars of Hadith say this opinion is weak. Qur’an and authentic Hadith and the opinion of the early Muslims (salaf) is with those scholars who say that Al-Fatiha should not be recited behind the Imam.

[Tanaww Ibaadaat, Page 76 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Hania say there should be no recitation behind the Imam during any Salaah. This is more accurate because Imam Shafi has one opinion which is similar to this.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Araf verse 204]

Surley, after reading such statementsit should suffice to understand which position is in accordance with the Prophets [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] command of “pray as you see me pray.”

Whoever decides to embark on their own research on this subject, will find it difficult not to arrive at the same conclusion of Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir.

Let us now examine the evidence of the people who insist that they should recite behind the Imam.

Essentialiy, they claim that there are three Ahadith which state that the Prophet said that we should recite behind the Imam. In fact, there is not a single Hadith in which the Prophet has commanded us to recite behind the Imam. As we have seen thus-far there is proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah to suggest that we should NOT recite behind the Imam.

Let us examine the three narrations which have been put forward.

The first narration is from Ali bin Abdullah from Sufiyan from Zuhri from Mahmood who reported that:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that the salaah of whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha is not complete.

[Bukhari Muslim Baabu Wujoob-il-Qiraa’h]

Those who recite behind the Imam put forward this Hadith as their evidence to recite Surah al-Fatiha in every salaah behind the Imam. There is no word in this Hadith that proves that Al-Fatiha should be recited behind the Imam. If we take the literal meaning of reciting behind the Imam, then this narration would go against the Qur’an and authentic ahadith. The actual meaning of this narration is that when a person is praying alone and does not recite al-Fatiha then, his salaah is not complete. This is the actual opinion held by narrators of this narration. The following proves this.

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Ma’mar reported from Zuhri that the Prophet Muhammad said that the salaah of the person who does not recite Surah Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an is not accepted.

[Muslim, Bab al Qira’]

Imam Muslim’s narration confirms that this Hadith is for the person who is praying alone because, when a person prays alone he reads Surah Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an. Even the people who recite Al-Fatiha behind the Imam they, do not say that there should be another part of the Qur’an recited. So it is clear that this Hadith is for those people who are praying alone.

An objection raised

Imam Bukhari narrated a narration from Sufiyan which is about the wujub of only reciting Al-Fatiha and Imam Muslim narrates from Ma’mar a Hadith which says that the person’s prayer is not accepted if they do not recite Surah Al-Fatiha AND another part of the Qur’an. We prefer Sufiyan’s narration over Ma’mar’s because Sufiyan is more reliable.

This objection can be cleared easily by looking at what the books of al-jarhu-wat-ta’deel say about the quality of Hadith narrators.

Imam Dhahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

Imam Yahya bin Mo’een was asked by his students, who had memorised more of Imam Dhahabi’s narrations, as to whom he prefered. He replied: “Imam Ma’mar. “Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that Sufiyan heard Ahadith from Imam Zuhri at a young age, so this is why, when he reported Ahadith from Zuhri, he made mistakes in 20 of them.

[Tahzeeb ut Tahzeeb, Meezaan ul- ‘itidaal, biography of Sufiyan and Ma’mar]

This reference proves that Ma’mar’s narration is more authentic than Sufiyan’s narration.

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Sufiyan sometimes committed Tadlees [which means that when he narrated some of the Hadith, he made out that he heard it directly from Zuhri, but he had actually heard it from someone else who in turn heard it from Zuhri]. One day, Sufiyan was sitting with his students and he told them a Hadith, which he was narrating from Zuhri. One of the students questioned: “Did you hear this directly from Zuhri?” Sufiyan paused and said: “No, I heard it from Abdul Razzaq, who heard it from Ma’mar, who heard it directly from Zuhri.”

[Iftisaaru Uloom il Ahadith, Baab ut Tadlees, by Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

This reference, proves that Sufiyan at times committed Tadlees, but Ma’mar did not. Someone may say that Sufiyan’s narrations are prefered over Ma’mar’s, even if Ma’mar is more reliable concerning Zuhri’s narrations than Sufiyan. This claim is dealt with below.

Sufiyan’s narrations prove that we should read Al-Fatiha even if we are praying behind an Imam

The answer is No. Let us examine what Imam Zuhri and his other students, Imam Malik and others, (including Sufiyan,) understood from this narration. The main narration comes from Imam Zuhri then his students, Imam Malik, Sufyan, Yunus, Ma’mar, Auzai’ee and others narrate this narration.

Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]

Sufiyan narrates from Imam Zuhri that the Hadith that a prayer of the person who does not recite Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an is not accepted is meant for the person who is praying alone. Imam Zuhri says that when the Prophet used to lead the prayer loudly the people used to recite behind him. This narration is from Imam Zuhri, narrated by Sufiyan, Ma’mar, Abdullah bin Muhammad, Auzai’ee, Abdur Rahman bin Is-haaq, Yunus, Usama and Imam Malik.

[Abu Dawud, Baab Tark ul Qiraa’h Khalf ul Imam]

From this we can prove that the Hadith concerning nullification of the prayer, of the one who does not recite Al-Fatiha in their prayer is meant for that person who is performing salaah alone, and not behind the Imam. This is what Imam Sufiyan, his teacher and colleagues understood by this narration. This Hadith is found in two versions; One version is narrated by Sufiyan, this concerning just reading Al-Fatiha – (this is without any clarification.) The other version is that the persons prayer is not accepted who does not recite Al-Fatiha AND another part of the Qur’an. This narration comes from Sufiyan, Ma’mar and others. The second narration is an explanation of the first one. Imam Sufiyan himself explained that this narration is for that person who is performing salaah alone.

More evidence supporting the recitation behind the Imam

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Someone asked Abu-Hurairah “What do we do when we are behind the Imam, should we recite Al-Fatiha or not?” He answered “Recite it in your heart.”

[Muslim Baab Wujube Qiraat]

The people who recite behind the Imam take evidence from this narration by saying that reciting Al-Fatiha behind the Imam is fard as Abu-Hurairah said that it should be recited in the heart. These words are neither from Allah nor the Prophet, but are the words of Abu-Hurairah himself. In Bukhari, Muslim, and other books of Ahadith, there is no such narration, which says that when you are behind the Imam you must recite Al-Fatiha in your heart. There are, however, narrations, which say that when the Imam is reciting Al-Fatiha one should listen to it.

Imam Muslim writes in Sahih Muslim:

Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that when the Imam recites, listen and stay quiet.

[Muslim Baab ut Tashahhud]

How is it possible that Abu-Hurairah is contradicting his own narrations? The actual meaning of Abu-Hurairah’s words concerning reciting in the heart is to contemplate its meanings. This is the true meaning which does not go against the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Qadhi Shawkani writes (Imam Qurtubi has also written something similar):

The word “Nafsaka(Your self)” means to think about the meaning.

[Fath ul Qadeer, under Surat ul-Araf, Aayah 203]

Imam Nawawi writes [that]:

Some Maliki scholars have explained Abu-Hurairah’s words about “reading in the heart”, as to think about the words of Al-Fatiha, because if you read something in the heart it cannot be called recitation because recitation is actually when one reads from the tongue. So it is only called recitation when the tongue is actually moving. The proof of this is that all the scholars say when a woman is in an impure state she cannot recite with the tongue, but she can think about the meaning in her heart.

[Shara Muslim Baab Wujoobe Qiraat]

From the above we can see that Abu-Hurairah’s words do not mean to recite behind the Imam but rather they mean to think about the meaning in the heart.

The status of the words of the companions

It is said that the words of Abu-Hurairah prove that recitation behind the Imam is fard. This objection can be easily cleared, as the words of the companions cannot prove something to be fard, wajib, halal or haraam. (The Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet can only prove this), particularly when the words of the companion contradict any Hadith that, the companion have himself or herself reported. The words of the companions are normally proof of something when there is nothing related to it, (from the Qur’an and Sunnah).

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

The words of the Sahaba cannot prove anything to be fard, wajib, halal or haraam, especially when words go against authentic Hadith. So when the words go against the Hadith it is not necessary for Muslims to follow it. There is a narration saying that Abu-Hurairah used to wipe his neck during wudu. We know that to perform this wiping is against Sunnah. This is why groups of scholars criticise those people who wipe the neck during wudu.

[Kitab ul Wasila Baab Hadith ul Ama]

After Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement one cannot prove that reciting Al-Fatiha behind the Imam from Abu-Hurairah’s words.

More evidence supporting recitation behind the Imam

Imam Abu-Dawud writes [that]:

Ubada bin Samid reported: Once we prayed Fajr behind the Prophet, He experienced difficulty in his recitation. When he finished praying he asked “Maybe one of you was reciting behind me”. We said, “Yes”. The Prophet said “Do not recite anything behind me except Al-Fatiha”. Narrated by Muhammad bin Is-haaq, Muqhool, and Naf’e from Ubada.

[Abu Dawud Baab ul Qiraat Fi Salaah]

From this narration, one cannot prove that the recitation behind the Imam is necessary. Here are some reasons for this.

1) This narration opposes the Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith, which say that one should not recite behind the Imam of (which we have mentioned but a few above);

2) This narration is very weak. The reason for this is that the narrators of this Hadith have been criticised by the scholars of Hadith;

3) Abu-Dawud, who collected this Hadith, wrote a second chapter in which there is the full explanation of this Hadith. When we read the full explanation we can see that we should not recite behind the Imam, and

4) The narrator of this narration himself never recited behind the Imam.

The narrator of this Hadith

Abu-Dawud writes [that]:

Muqhool sometimes got this narration confused because sometimes he said he got the narration from Ubada and sometimes that he said he heard it from Naf’e and sometimes he said he heard it from Mahmood.

[Abu Dawud Baab Qiraa’ah Khalful Imam]

The other narrator of this Hadith is Naf’e who is unknown.

Imam Dahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

Naf’e only ever narrated one Hadith (which was the one above). This is the reason why Imam bin Abdul barr says that he is unknown. Imam Bukhari and Imam Abu Hatim never mentioned Naf’e’s name in their books. Ibn Habban said that Naf’e’s narration is weak, but he was not a liar.

[Mizan ul Ittadeel Tahzeeb al Tahzeeb biography of Naf’e bin Mahmood]

The other narrator of this narration is Muhammad bin Is-haaq, who was very knowledgeable in Islamic history but very weak in narration of Hadith.

Imam Dhahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

The scholars of Hadith have different opinions about Muhammad bin Is-haaq. Yahya bin Mo’een says that he is authentic but his narration of Hadith is not good. Ali Ibn Madini says his two narrations are unknown. Nasai said that he is not strong in the knowledge of Hadith. Imam Dar Qutni said that his Hadith cannot be used as evidence. Imam Abu Bakr said that Muhammad bin Is-haah was Qadri. Imam Hashaam and Imam Salaiman said that he was a liar. Imam Malik said that he is a liar and is a Dajjal. Abdullah bin Mubarak said, “I saw Muhammad bin Is-haaq in Masjid ul Haif, I did not go near him because people might have said that I have wrong beliefs like him.” Imam Ahmad said “When he narrates Hadith, he narrates Hadith from those people whom he never met. Imam Yahya bin Sa’eed says “I bear witness that Muhammad bin Is-haaq is a liar. He has narrated one thousand Hadith’s which no one else has narrated.” Imam Bukhari never wrote any Hadith that was narrated by Muhammad bin Is-haaq. No one can use his narration of Hadith as evidence for halal and haraam. But there are a few people who praised him like Imam Shoba.

[Mizan ul I’tidaal, Tahzeeb ut Tahzeeb, Tazkarat ul Huffaaz, biography of Muhammad bin Is-haaq]

We can see that the majority of scholars have criticised Muhammad bin Is-haaq so how can we use his narration as evidence?

1) Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]:

One day the Prophet [May Allah blss him and grant Him peace] was leading the prayer. After he had finished praying he said “Perhaps some of you were reciting behind me?” The followers said “Yes”. The Prophet said “That was why I was facing difficulty in reciting”. Abu Hurairah, Imam Zuhri and Imam Auzai’ee said that after this advice from the Prophet everyone stopped reciting behind the Imam.

[Abu Dawud Baab Man al Qiraat]

From this narration, we can see that people used to recite behind the Imam but stopped it afterwards.

2) Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]:

Naf’e reported: One day, Ubada and I, performed salaah behind Abu Naeem, Ubada was standing besides me. He recited behind the Imam. When the salaah was over, I asked him “Why, when the Imam was reciting loudly, did you recite behind him?” He told me about the Hadith that has been mentioned above.

[Abu Dawud Baab Qiraat Khalful Imam]

From this, we can see that Naf’e (who is the narrator of the Hadith) did not recite behind the Imam, and nor did the other people who were there. Secondly, it is proved that Ubada was reciting Al Fatiha loud enough so that the next person could hear him. So the people who use this Hadith as evidence should only recite loud enough so that the next person can hear them. If everyone recites loudly behind the Imam it would sound like similar to the “Amin” said in unison. So these are the reasons why this narration cannot be used as evidence, we also know that, there are authentic Ahadith that say when, the Imam is reciting, you should listen to it. So how can we leave the authentic Hadith and follow the weak Hadith?

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

To listen to the recitation of the Imam is mentioned in the Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith. The whole Ummah agrees on this. All the companions say that when the Imam recites Al-Fatiha or any other Surah it is fard to listen and to stay quiet. Imam Shah’s saying is also like this. This is the reason that the knowledgeable Shafi scholars like Imam Qadri and Imam Abu Muhammad say that if the Imam is reciting loudly, and someone recites behind him, that person would be denying the Qur’an, Sunnah and the opinion of all the companions.

[Tanow al Ibadaat Page 87 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

After Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement, no one can say that recitation behind the Imam is fard and that the one who recites behind the Imam his salaah will not be accepted.

Evidence from the Qur’an for not reciting behind the Imam

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“When the Qur’an is being recited, listen to it and be silent”

[Surah Araf verse 204]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir explains the meaning of this verse as follows:

You should remain quiet when the Imam is reciting Qur’an loudly in the fard salaah. There is a Hadith in which the Prophet said, “When offering Salaah behind the Imam you should recite takbir when he recites takbir, and when he recites Qiraat you should remain quiet”.

There is also another narration:

Abdullah Ibn Masud heard some people reciting Qiraat behind the Imam and said to them "What is wrong with you? Why are you not obeying the Qur’an?”

This implies that when the Qur’an is being recited remain quite. Imam Zuhri states that this verse was revealed because one man used to recite behind the Prophet SAW. Abu Hurairah said that before this verse, was revealed people were in the habit of reading behind the Imam aloud in salaah Fajr, Maghrib and Isha salaah and when this verse was revealed they stopped this practice.

Imam Zuhri says that in the salaah, where the Imam recites loudly, you should not recite behind him because the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for you, even if you cannot hear. But there were some people who thought that they could recite behind the Imam if his voice did not reach them, but I (Ibn Kathir) say that this is wrong, no one should recite behind the Imam, whether his voice reaches them or not. This is because Allah says in the Qur’an

“When the Qur’an is being recited, listen to it and remain quiet”.

A group of scholars say the following:

Imam Ahmad and Abu Hanifah say that a person should not recite Qiraat behind the Imam in any Salaah, because the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] stated that the Imam’s reciting is sufficient for the followers.

Imam Shafi has two opinions on this subject:

1) A person should recite Qiraat behind the Imam

2) A person should not recite Qiraat behind the Imam.

I (Ibn Kathir) say that the second opinion is correct as it corresponds with the Qur’an.

Imam Bukhari states that a person is entitled to recite Qiraat in every salaah behind the Imam weather the Imam recites quietly or loudly, but the Sahaba and Tabi'een say that it is essential to listen to the Imam and remain quiet. This is the opinion held by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ibn Jubair, Ibn Masud, and many other great Sahaba and Tabi'een.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Araf verse 204 By Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

Imam Tabari writes [that]:

This verse was revealed about salaah, but some scholars say that the verse is not for salaah but is also for the Jumma and Eid Khutbah. The companions agree with this. Ibn Masud, Abu Hanifah, Imam Zuhri, Zaid, Ibn Musaib, Hasan Basri, Ubaidh, Ata, Dhahak, Ibrahim, Nakhai, Qatada, Shabi (who had seen 500 of the Prophets companions), Sadai all hold this opinion.

[Tafsir Tabari, Surah Araf verse 204 by Imam Tabari]

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal says that the whole Ummah has agreed upon the fact that the verse which states “When Qur’an is recited, listen and remain quiet”, was revealed for salaah, and all scholars agree that it is not essential for the Muqtadi (follower) to recite but he should stay quite and listen. This opinion is authentic because it is in line with the Qur’an.

[Fatawah Ibn Taymiyyah Volume 2 Pages 143, 168 and 412 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

From the tafsirs of Hafidhh Ibn Kathir and Imam Tabari it is clear that the verse from Surah Araf was revealed for salaah. The Sahaba and Tabi’een also agreed on this. It may still be said that the Sahaba and Tabi'een, who say that this ayah was revealed for salaah, made a mistake. To remove this doubt, Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathir were quoted. These are the names of the people who along with other great scholars have passed the deen down to us. When these people interpret any verse of the Qur’an, they say that their interpretation is authentic and any other opinion is useless. This is because of their knowledge in the Islamic Sciences.

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