teacher and student


Raja'ib and other prayers
salâh times
Taqwiyat al-Iman on prostration
Addendum On Prostration
nafl at fajr time?

Questions On Salâh
Raja'ib and other prayers

NN wrote in a message

Wa `alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah:

1) Lailat ar-Raja'ib

The night of the first friday of this holy month - is this based on anything authentic, even if not as far as the Nabi SAW -then to the salaf us salaheen?

No, it is based on a spurious report as shown by Imams al-Nawawi and Ibn `Abd al-Salam in their fatwas.

Many ulema have stressed the virtue of this month and recommend nafil ibadat, such as fasting and prayer. However, is there a particluar prayer such as on the first Friday night of this month?

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) in his al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq mentions a narration attributed to the Prphet SAW through Salman (RA) of prayer in the mid of this month with 10 cycles - is this a recommended practice?

Extra nafl, including fasting, and good deeds are recommended in the sacred months generally speaking, and Rajab is one of them, but unspecifically of date and number. The Ghunya is a book filed with blessings and light, as are Qut al-Qulub and Ihya' `Ulum al-Din, all three of which list certain devotions pertaining to each Islamic month, but an isnad-reliable book on the same subject would be Lata'if al-Ma`arif by Ibn Rajab. Nevertheless, prayer is an absolute good as established in the Qur'an and Sunna, and this was Imam Ibn al-Salah's argument in his lone defense - among the hadith Masters - of Salat al-Ragha'ib and other similar prayers.

2) Salat-ul-Khair

I have heard that some have said to perform a 100 rakats on Lailatul Barat ( the mid of Shaban ) is virtuous then some have rejected saying the traditions are spurious. However, then people like Imam Ghazali (RA) & Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (RA) have been attributed to recommend it, even al-Hasan Al Basri (RA) - did they?, please can you bring me the truth and your recommendation.

Al-Suyuti says in "Haqiqat al-Sunna wal-Bid`a aw al-Amr bil-Ittiba` wal-Nahy `an al-Ibtida`" (1405/1985 ed. p. 58):

"As for the night of mid-Sha`ban, it has great merit and it is desirable (mustahabb) to spend part of it in (supererogatory) worship. However, this must be done alone, not in congregation."

3) Is it permissible to refer to Sheik Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) as 'Al Gawth-ul -azam' ? What is the view and practice of the ahl-ul-sunna-wa-jammat?

I have no knowledge of a reliable Scholar of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a past or present who prohibited such a title.

4) I now understand that the wisal of some great awliya kareem is refered to as 'urs' due to a beautiful tradition in sunnan Ibn Majah - likening to the awakening of a bride for the pious in the grave. Can you explain with evidence is it permissible to hold an annual 'urs' of a sahaba (RA) or other awliya as long as no neglect of fard/wajib/sunnat amal? what has been the practice through time of the ahl-ul-sunnah in respect of this through time?

The term `urs, although an Arabic word for marriage, is not known in the above sense in the Arab world to my knowledge. Such celebrations are usually called Mawlids, the practice of which is allowed and encouraged from East to West with the conditions you mentioned. The life of Barzakh is a reality as are the God-given benefits and blessings of the righteous in Barzakh. The evidence for this can be read in the specialized books such as Sharh al-Sudur by al-Suyuti and al-Ruh by Ibn al-Qayyim. WAllahu a`lam.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©


salâh times

if due to work schedule one is unable to pray asr salaah, is one allowed to pray the asr salaah at zuhr time with zuhr salaah. would it be better to make qadha of the asr salaah after maghrib. what is the earliest that asr salaah can be prayed in relation to zawwal time?

One is not allowed to pray the `asr Salat at Zuhr time together with Zuhr on such grounds. Work is not one of the circumstances the Shari`a considers an excuse for a dispensation in joining prayers. To join prayers in the manner described on the grounds of work, does not fulfill the obligation to pray `Asr in its time and one still has to pray it. If one does not, then he must make Qada' at the earliest time possible and he will have committed a sin. The earliest that `Asr Salat can be prayed is when the shadow of an object is at least equal to the object.


Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©


Taqwiyat al-Iman on prostration

In reply to the following:

that sujood to a grave is not part of any Islamic etiquette of visiting the grave be it any Prophet, Awliya Allah or commoners like us. It is plain shirk.

I had said:

The first sentence is correct. The second is dangerous fanaticism.

Since then I read the following in the Darussalam (Ryadh) English translation of Taqwiyat al-Iman (p. 97):

If someone maintains that making a prostration to a creature was permissible in the earlier religions, for instance, the angels prostrated to Adam (as) and Prophet Jacob (as) prostrated to Prophet Joseph (as) and hence there is no harm if we make a prostration to a saint as a token of showing our respect to him. We must remember that such a thing proves and confirms one's Shirk and thoroughly deprives him of faith.

Note that the author of the above lines:

(1) confuses Laws with Religion. The Divine Laws or Dispensations may be put in the plural, but the Religion of the Prophets and Messengers is One - Islam - and it is impermissible to treat it as several religions.

(2) attributes to the Prophets of Islam an act which today "confirms one's Shirk and thoroughly deprives him of faith." This attribution is of course blatant kufr.

But I can see better from what well the author of the original lines had drunk.

Another passage of this Taqwiyat al-Iman (p. 138-139) with the heading "Prostration to Allah and paying due respect to a Messenger" states:

The Prophet was sitting with a group of Muhajirin and Ansar. A camel came walking all the way / to the Prophet and prostrated before him. Upon observing this spectacle, his Companions said: "O Allah's Messenger! The animals and trees prostrate before you! And as long as they do it, we are more rightful in doing this to you (i.e. to prostrate before you)." The Prophet answered: "You must worship your Lord and pay due respect to your brothers." (Musnad Ahmad)

It means that all the human beings are brothers to one another. The one who is the most elderly and the most pious is an elder brother. We should respect such a person just like our elder brother. Allah is the Rabb of all and therefore, we should worship none but Him alone. Thus we understand that all the people who are close to Allah, regardless of whether they are Messengers or saints, are none but the helpless slaves of Allah, and are our brothers, and as long as Allah has bestowed on them marks of greatness, they are like our brothers and we are instructed to obey them.

Below is the correct translation of the hadith quoted from Musnad Ahmad:

The Messenger of Allah was in the midst of a group of the Muhajirin and Ansar when a camel came over to him and prostrated before him. Seeing this, his Companions said, "O Messenger of Allah! the beasts and trees prostrate to you, and it is even more right that we should prostrate to you." He replied, "Worship your Lord, respect your brother, and if I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone, I would order woman to prostrate to her husband; and if he were to command her to heave rocks from a yellow mountain to a black mountain and from a black mountain to a white mountain, she should do it."

This specific hadith is weak for several reasons. First of all, its chain comes only through `Ali ibn Zayd ibn Jud`an and al-Dhahabi said he is too weak to accept a ruling of halal and haram on the basis of something narrated only through him - let alone `aqida or iman. Second, Ibn Majah's and and Ibn Abi Shayba's narration of the same hadith with the same chain does NOT contain the clause Worship our Lord and respect your brother." Lastly, `Affan ibn Muslim, Ahmad's Shaykh together with `Abd al-Samad al-Tannuri, explicitly states "akhbarana al-ma`na" - "he narrated to us the meaning" - i.e. he warns that this hadith was conveyed to them (by Hammad ibn Salama) paraphrased and not in its actual wording.

Still, every clause of this hadith is confirmed or strengthened separately by other narrations which I will list in a separate posting insha Allah, *except* for the clause "Worship your Lord and respect your brother" from which some people attempt to infer a ruling or an appellation pertaining to the Prophet or to Prophets in general.

Nevertheless, even if we were to consider the chain strong and the wording authentic, it would not have the meaning that the author of Taqwiyat al-Iman claims, due to many reasons:

1. The Prophet said "your brother" and he neither used the plural nor said "your big brother."

2. The Prophet is not necessarily referring to himself. Rather, it makes more sense that he is saying: worship belongs to Allah while every human being is deserving of respect, in the sense established by the hadith: "You all come from Adam (as)."

3. There is no actual prohibition of prostrating to him in this particular hadith. He only says to "worship Allah and respect our brother," alluding to the fact that prostration can denote both worship and respect, although human beings are too honorable to prostrate to other than Allah Most High.

4. Even if it were authentic, the sentence "Worship your Lord and respect your brother" would actually be a Prophetic nass explicitly distinguishing between the two types of prostration: the prostration of worship and the prostration of respect, not a stipulation that we are permitted to call the Prophet our brother or our big brother; even less a proof that the prostration of respect is shirk.

5. In the more authentic version of this hadith with a sound chain from Anas in Musnad Ahmad, Musnad al-Bazzar, and elsewhere, he merely states: "It is not appropriate (la yasluh) that any human being should prostrate to another human being." If it were shirk he would have emphasized it and not used the understatement "it is not appropriate."

6. In yet another authentic hadith where Mu`adh prostrates to him , he says: "What is this, Mu`adh?" Then after hearing Mu`adh's explanation he simply orders: "Do not!" Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Abi Awfa by Ibn Majah and Ahmad and from Mu`adh ibn Jabal by al-Bazzar and Ahmad with chains of trustworthy narrators as per al-Haythami (4:309) and by al-Hakim (4:172=1990 ed. 4:190) who declared it sahih. as per the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim, al-Dhahabi concurring. The Prophet neither called it shirk nor asked Mu`adh to reiterate the shahada, contrary to the claim that such a prostration <>

7. Nor did the Prophet call it shirk when Qays ibn Sa`d affirmed his desire to prostrate to him as narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan in the "satrap" hadith recently posted, nor did he ask him to reiterate the shahada.

8. In a highly authentic hadith he referred to himself as the Master (Sayyid) of all human beings, and Allah Most High in His Book forbids us to call him in the same way as we call one another.

9. Are we to call the wives of the Prophet "our mothers" while we call him "our brother"?? and are we to call Sayyidina Ibrahim our father, and sayyidina Adam also, but Sayyidina Muhammad "our brother"? A ridiculous and truly impious notion.

10. The whole gist of this narration is to stress that men are custodians over creation deserving of its respect beginning with their wives, but due to their cruelty have become unworthy of this recognition from their wives and even their beasts of burden, although the Prophet has stressed that it would not be excessive for a wife to give her husband the respect that a prostration connotes, even an undeserving wrongdoer. In fact, an analysis of the entirety of the narrations in this chapter - forthcoming - indicates that the main issue stressed by the Prophet here is the respect of wives for their husbands, not the status of the prostration to other than Allah Most High.

These are some reflections that come to mind upon a quick reading of this book, and Allah knows best.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©


Addendum On Prostration

A followup on my post "Taqwiyat al-Iman on Prostration"

Imam al-Dhahabi wrote in the compendium of his shaykhs entitled Mu`jam al-shuyukh (1:73) in the entry devoted to his shaykh Ahmad ibn `Abd al-Mun`im al-Qazwini (#58):

Don't you see that the Companions, in the excess of their love for the Prophet, asked him: "Should we not prostrate to you?" and he replied no, and if he had allowed them, they would have prostrated to him as a mark of utter veneration and respect, not as a mark of worship, just as the Prophet Yusuf's brothers prostrated to Yusuf u. Similarly the prostration of the Muslim to the grave of the Prophet e is for the intention of magnification and reverence. One is not imputed disbelief because of it whatsoever (la yukaffaru aslan), but he is being disobedient [to the Prophet's injunction to the Companions]. Let him therefore be informed that this is forbidden. Similarly in the case of one who prays towards the grave.

Hajj Gibril


nafl at fajr time?

The time for night-time nafl is from after the `Isha prayer until Fajr enters, all of it being called Qiyam al-Layl. The most meritorious time for `Isha prayer is the first half of the night and the most meritorious time for night-time nafl - what is usually called tahajjud and is a regular Sunna mu'akkada - is the last third, after sleeping first. It is offensive (makruh) to stay up all the way from `Isha to that time or stay up late after `Isha so as to routinely doze through tahajjud and/or Fajr. I am not aware that Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim - hafizahullah - ever missed tahajjud and Fajr Salat in Jama`a with all its awrad (dhikr and supplications) since the time I have known him although I have seen others miss them routinely.

There is no nafl from the moment Fajr enters its time, except the two Sunna rak`ats which are at the top of the list of "stressed regular Sunna prayers" (rawatib al-sunan al-mu'akkada) and should not be neglected even at the time of travel. However, at the time of Iqama of Fajr it is no longer allowed to initiate the two Sunna rak`ats and their time is gone for those present.

There is no nafl after the Fard either, until after sunrise at which time Duha is prayed - between 2 and 12 rak`ats. What is sometimes called Salat al-Ishraq or Shuruq is actually the Duha prayer, which is Sunna mu'akkada and extends until the time of Zuhr. Its best number is 8 rak`ats and it is even more stressed for those who missed praying tahajjud at night.

However, if one was up praying then hears the Fajr adhan or realizes Fajr has just entered and has not yet prayed Witr - also a top regular Sunna mu'akkada and wajib in the Hanafi madhhab -, it is allowed to pray it at that time as narrated in the Muwatta'.

Note: In the Shafi`i madhhab, it is preferred to pray the "nafl with an immediate cause" (nawafil al-asbab), namely, tahyyat al-wudu' and tahiyyat al-masjid, at all times without offensiveness, including (a) after Fajr before Shuruq and after `Asr before maghrib; (b) at sunrise, noon, and sunset, which two sets of times may be respectively offensive and forbidden in other madhhabs due to different understandings of the same evidence, which is not explicitly worded. And Allah knows best.

Hajj Gibril

and also:

A couple of things: Mawlana Shaykh and all our mashaykh pray salat al-ishraq shortly after sunrise, THEN pray salat al-Duha at around 10 or 11. Here you are saying something completely different, something I've only heard from Salafis; why? The comment "although I have seen others miss them routinely" seems inappropriate.

Dear Brother:

I am not aware of what you've heard or not heard Salafis say and it doesn't really matter, does it? What matters is the fiqh and its sources according to the Schools of Ahl al-Sunna, of which knowledge you and I stand in need. What conforms with it or not among this or that sect or in our minds does not amount to a helpful judgment if only it were relevant in the first place. But if you must, then you may complain to your nafs's content that I sound Salafi , after I've blackened thousands of pages refuting them with or without your approval.

As for what Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim - Hafizahullah - "and all our Mashayikh" do, they pray Salat al-Duha at Shuruq time AND later. As I said, what is called Salat al-Shuruq is another name for Salat al-Duha, and the time for the latter is from sunrise to before Zuhr. You've embraced names and balk at whoever tries to understand the thing being named; while Mawlana - if you but knew - has not left either of these two ends of morningtime - Duha- except he built it up with worship, reserving the greater part of that same worship for the preferred time, nearer to Zuhr.

As for the comment "although I have seen others miss them routinely" seeming inappropriate, I am glad that this at least means it is accepted as accurate. But I am sad that it is perceived as an undue criticism of those who sleep (including myself) - although they are excused by the Law - rather than praise of Mawlana's vigilance and `azima. The saddest thing of all is a one-sided sense of propriety and there is definitely no merit in sleep.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©


see also:
•   Salat al-Duha



latest update: 2012-07-03
* living ISLAM – Islamic Tradition *