HANAFEE PROCEDURE OF SALAAH
Is it according to Qur’an & Sunnah?
All Praise is due to Allah the Most High. And peace and blessings of Allah be upon His beloved messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions. Ameen.
There is a growing trend of belief amongst our Ahle Hadith and some westernized Muslims that the Hanafites are blind followers of their leader Imam A'zam Abu Haneefa (Rahmatullahi Alayhi). It is believed that the Hanafites follow the rulings of their leader without any knowledge of how they were derived at from the original sources i.e. the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is just another one of their baseless accusations against the Hanafite ulama who are fully knowledgeable of the basis on which the Imam's rulings were given. Imam A'zam Abu Haneefa (RA) himself is quoted in the book Al-Yawaaqeetu wal Jawaahir as saying:
If a person is unable to identify the authority of the Quran and Sunnah which lends support to something which I have held, he should abstain from giving a FATWA on the basis of my saying.
Likewise Qadi Abu Yusuf, Imam Zafar and others are also quoted in the same book as saying:
It is not proper at all for anyone to give a FATWA on our authority unless he knows exactly the source on which we have based our opinion.
Therefore it is not proper for Ahle Hadith and westernized self-proclaimed 'scholars' of today to assume that the Hanafee ulama are "blind" followers of their leader Imam A'zam Abu Haneefa (RA).
There are four most famous Schools of Thought viz. Hanafee, Shafe'i, Maliki and Hanbali. Amongst these four schools, there are certain differences of opinion in the manner of the performance of salaah. Our Ahle Hadith and westernized Muslims target their attacks mainly on the Hanafites. Why only against the Hanafites Allah alone knows. There are three main issues in the performance of salaah by the Hanafites that are being challenged by these "highly intellectual" Ahle Hadith and associated group of Muslims. They are as follows:
1. When performing the salaah with jamaa'ah (congregation) behind an Imam, the Hanafites do not read Surah Al-Fatihah or any surah with the Imam, even when the Imam recites the qiraa'ah silently as in Zuhr and Asr.
2. When performing the salaah with jamaa'ah behind an Imam, the Hanafites do not say 'AMEEN' loudly on completion of the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah when recited loudly by the Imam.
3. The Hanafites do not make the additional RAF'UL YADAIN (raising both hands up to the ears) besides the one in the First Takbeer of any salaah.
The above three acts of the Hanafites are being considered as great crimes (kabaa'ir) committed by the Hanafites. Our Ahle Hadith and westernized Muslim brothers, reading certain translations of Hadith books, come to an immature and unjust conclusion that the Hanafee method of performing salaah is not according to Sunnah. This is a glaring exposition of their inadequate knowledge and understanding of the Ahaadith and hence they are being totally misled. They have distanced themselves away from the essence of the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijmaa of the Sahabas.
Their exposition of gross ignorance prompted me to reveal the facts on which the Hanafites base their arguments. The following arguments will indeed show these Ahle Hadith and westernized Muslims that the Hanafee method of performing salaah is totally in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. Let us look at each one of the above criticism in detail.
1. READING OF SURAH AL-FATIHAH BEHIND AN IMAM IN SALAAH
There is a very great importance of reading Surah AL-Fatihah in salaah. No other surah of the Qur’an is emphasized with such great importance.
HADITH NO 1:
It is reported by Ubaadah bin Saamit (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: 'There is no salaah for him who does not read the Surah Al-Fatihah.'
(Muslim; Tirmidhi; Nisai; lbn Maajah)
For a person who is performing salaah alone, it is WAAJIB for him to recite Surah Al-Fatihah in every rak'ah of salaah. However, the reading of Surah Al-Fatihah in the raka'aat of FARD salaah after the first sitting (Qa'da e Oola) is SUNNAH. This is a general rule and applies even to the Imam leading the salaah in jamaa’ah. All the Fuqaha (Jurists) and Ulama (scholars) are unanimous on this rule.
But the big question is:
Should one read the Surah Al-Fatihah with the Imam in salaah with jamaa'ah?
Should he read the Surah Al-Fatihah only in the Zuhr and Asr salaah when the Imam reads Surah Al-Fatihah and other surahs silently?
From the Hanafee point of view, the prohibition of reading Surah Al-Fatihah with the Imam in all salaah with jamaa'ah is based entirely on the Qur’an and Sunnah. Let us look at the verses of the Qur’an and Ahaadith in support of the Hanafee stand:
VERSE NO 1:
Move not thy tongue concerning it (the Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to recite it. But when We have recited it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated). Nay it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear). (Al-Qiyaamah : 16-19)
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is being guided by the command of Allah which specifically pertains to revelation. When the angel Jibra'eel (AS) used to descend with verses of the Qur’an, Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to get worried about the verses being revealed. He used to memorize them quickly in order to convey them to his ummah in exactly the same form. There was also this fear that some of the words are not left out by forgetting some portions of the verses revealed. It was for these reasons that Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to repeat very quickly with the Angel Jibra'eel (AS). He used to move his tongue at fast pace to repeat as often as he can to quickly retain and memorize the verses. In Verse No 1 above, Allah the Most High orders Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) not to hasten as Allah Himself has taken up the responsibility of ensuring that the verses are subsequently recited correctly and transmitted to mankind successfully.
VERSE NO 2:
High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth. Be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, '0 my Lord! increase me in knowledge.'
It is reported in the Ahaadith that Hazrath Abbas (RA) said: 'In the early stages of revelation, Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to read simultaneously with the Angel Jibra'eel (AS) when verses were being revealed. Verse No 2 quoted above was revealed to alleviate the hardship of memorizing the verses of the Qur’an immediately at such fast pace. Allah the Most High commands Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) not to repeat the verses at such fast pace but listen to the revelation first completely and peacefully.
VERSE NO 3:
By degrees shall We teach thee (the Qur’an) so thou shall not forget. (Al-A'laa: 6)
HADITH NO 2:
Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) said:
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was severely affected by the revelation, and would move his lips. And ibn Abbas said: 'I shall move them for you in the same way as the Messenger of Allah would move them.' And Sa'eed said: 'I shall move them in the same way as I saw ibn Abbas move them.' and he moved his lips. Thereupon Allah the Most High sent down (the revelation):
Move not thy tongue (0 Prophet!) with this to make haste with it. Behold, upon Us rests the putting together thereof and the reciting thereof. (75:16-17).
Explaining this, ibn Abbas said: 'It is for Him to put it together in thy heart and then thou shall recite it.'
And when We recite it thou (but) follow its recitation. (76:18)
Explaining this, ibn Abbas said: '--- and listen unto it and remain silent.'
Thereafter, behold, its manifestation rests upon Us. (76:19)
Explaining this, ibn Abbas said: '--- thereafter, behold, it rests upon Us to make thee recite it.'
And after that, when Jibra'eel (AS) came unto him, the Messenger of Allah would listen, and when Jibra'eel (AS) departed the Prophet would recite it in the way (Jibra'eel) had recited it. (Bukhari: Kitaab-ul-Wahy : 5)
From the above three (3) Quranic verses, it is evident that Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is ordered not to recite the Quran simultaneously with one who recites the Holy Qur’an. What is worth noting is that there are two specific commands in the above-mentioned Quranic verses viz.
1. Maintain silence
2. Listen attentively to the recitation of the Qur’an
Question: If it was forbidden for Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to recite verses of the
Qur’an simultaneously with Angel Jibra'eel (AS), then how can it be permissible for the muqtadi
(followers behind an Imam) to read the Surah Al-Fatihah or any other surah simultaneously with the
Imam? Are there any Hadith reports available which instructs the muqtadi to read the Surah AlFatihah simultaneously with the Imam? Let these self-proclaimed 'scholars' bring forth their proofs
if they are really truthful.
So far, we have noted the commands of Allah directed to Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Now let us look at what his ummah is commanded with:-
VERSE NO 4:
When the Qur’an is being read, listen to it with attention and hold your peace (be silent); so that you may receive Mercy. (Al-A'raaf: 204)
The Prophet's ummah is commanded to listen and maintain silence when the Qur’an is being recited so that it can be respected with great reverence. Here again, there are also two specific commands and they are:
1. Listen attentively
2. Maintain silence
This same two commands were also directed personally to Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as noted in verse numbers 1, 2 and 3 above. It is therefore obvious that these commands can only be obeyed by the ummah when the muqtadi (follower) does not read Surah Al-Fatihah or any other surah behind the Imam. This applies to any salaah performed with Jama'ah behind an Imam irrespective of whether the Imam recites the Qur’an loudly as in Fajr, Maghrib and I'sha prayers or silently as in Zuhr and Asr.
Commenting on VERSE NO 4 above, the world renown Quranic commentator in the Arabic language Shaikh Abu Bakr AL-Jassas (RA) says:
'The reading of the Qur’an with the Imam is prohibited in all salaah performed with Jama'ah irrespective of whether the Imam recites the Qiraa'ah loudly or silently. When the Imam recites the Qiraa'ah loudly, both commands of the verse will apply. When the Imam recites the Qur’an silently (as in Zuhr and Asr salaah), the second command of remaining silent will apply. The reason for this is that we know that the Imam is reciting the Qur’an and therefore we must observe silence as a mark of respect to the Qur’an.' (Ahkaam-ul-Quran)
From these verses and its commentaries by various Quranic commentators (Mufassiroon), a few important facts emerge which are worth noting:
1. When the Qur’an is being recited, everyone is ordered to listen and remain silent.
2. Generally, the reciter of the Qur’an can only be the Imam and those who are commanded to listen and remain silent can only be the muqtadis.
3. The word QUR’AN refers to any verse or verses of the Qur’an. Surah Al-Fatihah is called QUR’AN and any other surah is also called QUR’AN.
4. In VERSE NO 4 above, the followers (muqtadis) are prohibited without any conditions from reading the Qur’an with the reciter. Hence this rule applies to all salaah with Jama'ah irrespective of whether the Imam recites loudly or silently.
5. The unconditional prohibition of reading the Qur’an with the Imam is, in itself, an indication that the recitation of the Qur’an is the sole responsibility of the Imam. His followers are absolved of this responsibility and therefore must listen attentively and maintain silence.
It is indeed sad to hear that our Ahle Hadith "scholars" claim that VERSE NO 4 above was directed to the KUFFAR of Makkah and not to Muslims. They fail to read the many authentic Ahaadith which prove that the Sabab-un-Nuzool (reason or cause of the revelation) was of the time when the Sahabas were reciting the verses of the Qur’an with the Messenger of Allah in FARD salaah. As a result, most commentators have concluded that this verse was revealed in connection with congregational salaah. Some commentators have also included the sermon (khutbah) of Jumu'ah Salaah. Just as it is necessary to remain silent and listen attentively to the qiraa’ah of the Imam in salaah; likewise it is necessary to remain silent and listen attentively to the sermon (khutbah) of the Jumu'ah Salaah.
If this verse was revealed in connection with salaah, then how can it be directed to the Kuffaar of Makkah? Were the Kuffaar also reading the Qur’an in salaah like the Muslims? Can the Ahle Hadith brothers prove this?
It is therefore clear that while the Qur’an is being recited, one must
- listen attentively, and
- maintain silence.
According to the Qur’an, this is a quality and sign of Imaan. Conversely, not maintaining silence and not listening attentively while the Qur’an is being recited is a sign of Kufr. The following is quoted from Tafseer-ibn-Kathir which forms part of the commentary on VERSE NO 4 quoted above:
According to Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA), the followers (muqtadees) of an Imam in any congregational salaah must never recite any qiraa’ah simultaneously with the Imam. This rule applies generally to all congregational salaah irrespective of whether the Imam is reciting loudly (as in Fajr, Maghrib and I’sha) or silently (as in Zuhr and Asr). These jurists have based their ruling on the basis of the many authentic Ahaadith wherein it is stated that the qiraa’ah of the Imam is the qiraa’ah of his followers (muqtadees).
One such Hadith is as follows:
HADITH NO 3:
Nafi' reported: 'When anyone asked Abdullah bin Umar (RA) whether Surah Al-Fatihah should be recited behind the Imam, he would reply: 'If any of you prays behind an Imam, the recitation of the Imam is sufficient for him, and if you say your prayer alone you must recite it.' Nafi' added that Abdullah bin Umar (RA) did not recite it when praying behind the Imam. (Mu’atta : 187)
HADITH NO 4:
Another great evidence found in the books of Ahaadith is that of Abu Bakr's (RA) act of joining salaah with jamaa’ah at the time when Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was already in ruku' (bowing position). With his good intention of not missing the rak'ah with Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Abu Bakr went straight into the ruku' and moved slowly to the saff (row) of the congregation while being in the state of ruku'. When Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was informed about this, he encouraged Abu Bakr's eagerness in not missing the rak'ah with jamaa’ah but forbade him from walking to the saff (row) of the congregational salaah while being in the state of ruku'. However, Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did not ask Abu Bakr to repeat his salaah. (Bukhari; Abu Dawood; Nisai)
Many other authentic Ahaadith (eg. those in the Mu’atta) also substantiate the view that when the muqtadi (follower) joins the Imam while the Imam is in the ruku' position, he attains that rak'ah of salaah.
Question: If the reading of Surah Al-Fatihah was compulsory for the muqtadi (follower) behind the Imam, then how could he really achieve the rak'ah when he joins the jamaa’ah in the ruku' position?
2. SAYING 'AMEEN’ LOUDLY AFTER THE COMPLETION OF SURAH AL-FATIHAH
It is Sunnah to say 'Ameen' after Surah Al-Fatihah for both the reader as well as the hearer. There is no differences of opinion on this issue. But should one say the 'Ameen' loudly or silently? The Hanafee ruling is that it should be said silently. According to the Tafseer ibn Kathir, Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) has based his verdict on the following two verses of the Holy Qur’an:
VERSE NO 5:
Call on your Lord with humility and in private; for Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds. (Al-A'raaf : 55)
VERSE NO 6:
And bring your Lord to remembrance in thy very soul with humility, and remember without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings; and be not of those who are unheedful. (Al-A'raaf : 205)
Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) is quoted in the Tafseer ibn Kathir to have said that
- if the saying of 'Ameen' is considered a du'aa, then it should be said silently in compliance with verse no 5 above.
- if the saying of 'Ameen' is considered as Zikr (Zikrullah), then it should also be said silently in compliance with verse no 6 above.
Likewise, all forms of Zikrullah should also be carried out very humbly and silently as commanded in verse no 6 above.
The saying of 'Ameen' loudly was permitted in the early days of Islam with the sole purpose of educating Muslims. After the revelation of the above verses, these practices were abrogated. Just as talking and greeting with salaams during salaah were permitted in the early period of Islam but are now considered unanimously as abrogated. Unfortunately, our Ahle Hadith and their blind imitating westernized Muslims want to follow every Hadith literally without understanding its reasons and historical background. It is here that we require the expertise of those who had studied the science of Hadith (Muhadditheen) and the Fuqaha (Islamic Jurists) to further explain those Ahaadith reports which apparently seem to be in contradiction with the Holy Qur’an.
3. THE FREQUENT RAISING OF HANDS UP TO THE EARS IN SALAAH (RAF’UL YADAIN)
The frequent raising up of both hands at certain additional points in salaah is recorded in many Ahaadith as the way in which Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performed his salaah. To the contrary, it is also recorded in many Ahaadith that the additional RAF'UL YADAIN was not the practice of the Messenger of Allah. The following Hadith is often quoted to substantiate the view that RAF'UL YADAIN must be done or else it is contrary to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet:
HADITH NO 5:
Abdullah bin Umar (RA) reported: When the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) began prayer, he used to raise his hands up to his shoulders, and when he lifted his head from ruku' he raised them in the like manner and said: 'Sami'allahu liman hamidah Rabbana walak Al-hamd'. He did not raise his hands between sajdahs (prostrations). (Mu’atta : 158)
As mentioned in Mazaahir-e-Haqq (Vol 1 - Kitaab-us-Salaah - page 661) that Shaikh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dahlawi (RA) has elaborated extensively on this Hadith in his book SAFRATUS SA'AADAH. The Shaikh says that there is a very reliable report of Mujaahid (RA) who says that he usually read his salaah for many years behind Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) and Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) never practised the additional RAF'UL YADAIN. Note that this same Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) is also the reporter of Hadith No 5 above. This seems to be a great contradiction. This apparent contradiction is in itself an indication that the Hadith in Bukhari is relating to the early period of Islam which the Prophet originally had practised but was later discontinued.
The following authentic Hadith proves that additional RAF'UL YADAIN was not the practice of the Prophet in his salaah:
HADITH NO 6:
Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (RA) said: 'Come let me read the salaah with you as the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had read it.' Then he read the salaah and made RAF'UL YADAIN once only (at the First Takbeer). (Tirmidhi: 228, Abu Dawood: 743, Nisa Vol 1 P259, Mishkaat : 750)
One point worth noting is that our Ahle Hadith brothers could not find a flaw in the authenticity of this Hadith No 6. They toiled hard to find an excuse to falsify this Hadith and found only one. They say that Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (RA) might have forgotten to make the additional RAF'UL YADAIN. This is just their lame excuse and a big blind guess. From the biographies and life history of the Sahabas, we know very well that Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (RA) was a special attendant of the Holy Prophet. He had always accompanied him on many journeys as well as being at home. He had also accompanied Rasoolullah (SAW) in the Battle of Badr and was always amongst those in the first saff (row) of salaah with the Holy Prophet as the Imam. How can a person of such a high calibre, who had read the salaah with Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) five times daily, ever forget to read the salaah as the Messenger of Allah had read it? Let these Ahle Hadith and their westernized Muslims read the books of Ahaadith sincerely with an unbiased mind so that they can receive the hidaayah (guidance) from Allah the Most High.
In the light of the above Ahaadith reports and Mujaahid’s report of the apparent contradiction in Hadith No 5 and its narrator’s salaah in practice, Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) has concluded that Hadith No 6 is more reliable in this issue. It is reported in Mazaahir-e-Haqq (Vol 1) that Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) had not come across any authentic Hadith with a scholarly chain of narrators confirming the practice of RAF'UL YADAIN. It is thus clearly noted that the Imam was always looking for authentic Ahaadith with a chain of narrators who were great Fuqahaa amongst the Sahabas. This is one of the great principles (usool) of Hanafee fiqh for the simple reason that accepting a Hadith of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as Sahih (correct) can only be done under the condition that it is proved authentic beyond any shadow of doubt. This task can be executed only by those who are well-versed in the science of Hadith. Our Ahle Hadith and westernized Muslim 'scholars' of today do not hold any such qualifications.
Furthermore, there are also authentic reports from the Sihah Sittah books of Ahaadith that Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had also made RAF'UL YADAIN before and after going into each sajdah (prostration). Refer to the following three amongst them:
- Muslim : Hadith No 405 (Vol 1)
- Abu Dawood : Hadith No 734 (Vol 1)
- Nisai : Vol 1 (Chapter of Salaah)
These Ahaadith are recorded in three different books of Hadith and reported by different narrators with Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) confirming that the Holy Prophet made RAF'UL YADAIN before and after each sajdah as well. In spite of such authentic Hadith reports our Ahle Hadith 'scholars' believe that this practice was later abrogated. The Hanafee scholars say that all additional RAF'UL YADAIN were abrogated. If the Hanafites are criticized of not reading their salaah according to Sunnah, then the Ahle Hadith and associated group of Muslims themselves should also be guilty of the same 'crime'.
Question: In the light of the above arguments put forth from the Qur’an and Sunnah, how can anyone conclude that the Hanafee procedure of salaah is not according to Qur’an and Sunnah?
Let these Ahle Hadith and their blind imitating westernized Muslims bring forth their arguments if they are truthful. The greatest tragedy of such 'scholars' is that they have gravely erred in understanding the Qur’an and Ahaadith. In spite of them being so immature in their understanding of Deen, they still have the foolishness to criticize the great Fuqaha. What a useless effort! They are only exposing their own ignorance without any injury to the cause of Islam. Despite such conclusive proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah, our Ahle Hadith and their blind imitating westernized Muslims insist on their great campaign against the Hanafee procedure of salaah. Let them keep their stubbornness aside and become a true Ahle Hadith. Deen for such 'scholars' are only on their lips with challenges and debates without sincerely putting the Deen into their practical lives.
May Allah guide us all in understanding our Deen in its true perspective, and also make this Deen an integral part of our daily life. Ameen.
Abdul Haq Abdul Qadir