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The history of Hajj


The history of Hajj

One of the things on which there is scholarly consensus among all the Muslims, ancient and modern, past and present, is that Hajj or pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allaah is one of the five pillars of Islam, as proven in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) and others. 

It is well known that Hajj, like other acts of worship, involves special actions, and each of these actions must be done in the prescribed manner, such as entering ihraam from the meeqaat, tawaaf, saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah, standing in ‘Arafah, staying overnight in Muzdalifah, stoning the Jamaraat, slaughtering the sacrifice, and the other well-known actions of Hajj. All of these actions should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There are very many ahaadeeth which describe the Hajj of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); these have been compiled by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad and by al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer in his book al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah; these scholars have also explained the rulings derived from these ahaadeeth. The Muslim should pay attention to learning these rulings and acting upon them. 

Then we should remember that the basic purpose of the actions of Hajj is to establish the remembrance of Allaah, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Then when you leave ‘Arafaat, remember Allaah (by glorifying His Praises, i.e. prayers and invocations) at the Mash‘ar-il-Haraam. And remember Him (by invoking Allaah for all good) as He has guided you, and verily, you were, before, of those who were astray.

Then depart from the place whence all the people depart and ask Allaah for His forgiveness. Truly, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.

So when you have accomplished your Manaasik [rituals of Hajj], remember Allaah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance. But of mankind there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!’ and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter… 

And remember Allaah during the appointed Days. But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him, if his aim is to do good and obey Allaah (fear Him), and know that you will surely be gathered unto Him”

[al-Baqarah 2:198-203] 

And it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “Tawaaf around the House and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah and the stoning of the jamaraat were only prescribed so that the remembrance of Allaah may be established.” It was classed as mu’allaq by al-Bayhaqi (5/145) and narrated as a marfoo’ report, although there is some weakness in it. 

So the Muslim venerates the rituals of Hajj because Allaah has commanded him to venerate them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Thus it is and whosoever honours the Symbols of Allaah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts”

[al-Hajj 22:32] 

Al-Bukhaari (1610) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) kissed the Black Stone and said, “Were it not that I had seen the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kissing you, I would not have kissed you.” 

Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, whilst discussing and explaining the actions of Hajj:  

“The background to these rituals is no longer present but the rulings remain in effect. These rituals may be confusing for some who see them and do not know the reasons for them, so they may say, ‘This does not make sense.’ I have explained the reasons for them as far as narrated reports go, now I will explain to you the meanings behind them. 

Note that the basis for acts of worship is something rational and comprehensible, which is the submission of the slave to his Lord and obedience to Him. Prayer involves humility and submission, which is is what is meant by the word ‘ibaadah (worship). 

Zakaah involves kindness and helping the poor, so its meaning is clear. 

Fasting means suppressing the desires of the self so that it will be obedient to the One Whom it serves. 

By honouring the House and going there, and establishing a sanctuary (Haram) around it are acts of veneration. Arriving there unkempt and disheveled is like a slave turning to his Lord in humility and submission, and that is clear. A person feels at ease performing rituals that he understands, and that motivates him to do them, but to achieve full submission there are some rituals that a person may not understand, so he will not be at ease and will not comprehend them. In this case the only motive is to obey the commands of Allaah. This is a greater form of humility and submission.”

See Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1.285-286). 

If this is understood, then much of the history of the actions of Hajj before the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not known to us. In this case it does not matter if we do not know. And there are some things concerning whose history a few indications are narrated in some texts; we will mention some of these here: 

1 – When was Hajj enjoined? When did Hajj begin? 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj)”

[al-Hajj 22:27] 

Ibn Katheer says in his commentary on this verse (3/221): 

This means: Proclaim (O Ibraaheem) the Hajj to the people, calling them to come on pilgrimage to this House which We have commanded you to build. It was mentioned that he said, “O Lord, how can I proclaim it to the people when my voice does not reach them?” He said, “Call and We will convey it.” So he stood in his maqaam (station) – or it was said, on the rock, or on al-Safa, or on Abu Qubays (a mountain) – and said: “O people, your Lord has taken a House, so come to it on pilgrimage.” And it was said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice could reach all parts of the earth and those who were still in the wombs or in men’s loins also heard, and everything that heard him, cities, nomad encampments and trees, and everyone whom Allaah has decreed should perform Hajj until the Day of Resurrection responded, (saying) Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. This is the summary of what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, ‘Ikrimah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and others among the salaf. And Allaah knows best. 

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1/354) narrated something similar, but more briefly, and he attributed it to the narrators of Seerah.  

This has to do with the history of the enjoining of Hajj before the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). With regard to the enjoining of Hajj in Islam, there is some scholarly difference of opinion concerning that. It was said that it was enjoined in 6 AH, or in 7 AH, or in 9 AH, or in 10 AH. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) was certain that it was enjoined in 9 or 10 AH. He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Zaad al-Ma’aad:  

“There is no dispute that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not perform Hajj after he migrated to Madeenah apart from one Hajj, which was the Farewell Pilgrimage. And there is no dispute that that occurred in 10 AH… When the command to perform Hajj was revealed, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) hastened to perform Hajj with no delay. Because the enjoining of Hajj came at a later stage, in 9 or 10 AH, one might say, How can you prove that the command to perform Hajj was delayed until 9 or 10 AH? We would say that the first part of Soorah Aal ‘Imraan was revealed in the year of delegations (‘aam al-wufood), during which the delegation from Najraan came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he made a treaty with them regarding their paying the jizyah, and the (ruling on) jizyah was revealed in the year of Tabook, 9 AH, when the first part of Soorat Aal ‘Imraan was revealed…” 

Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer (2/4/92): Hajj was known to the Arabs. When Islam came, they were told about something they already knew and what was enjoined upon them was something they were familiar with…”

2 – Tawaaf around the House 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“and We commanded Ibraaheem (Abraham) and Ismaa’eel (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I‘tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)”

[al-Baqarah 2:125] 

This verse indicates that tawaaf around the Ka’bah was known at the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him). 

3 – Raml 

Raml means walking quickly with short steps. This is Sunnah for men but not for women during the tawaaf of arrival (tawaaf al-qudoom), which is the first tawaaf performed when one arrives in Makkah. 

How did raml begin? 

Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (2/469-470, 1602) and Muslim also narrated (2/991-992, 1262) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came with his companions and the mushrikoon said, “There have come to you people who have been weakened by the fever of Yathrib. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded them to walk quickly (raml) in the first three circuits… According to another report, he said, “Walk quickly so that the mushrikeen will see that you are strong.” 

4 – The water of Zamzam and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah. 

Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (6/396-397, 3364) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:  

Ibraaheem brought Haajar and her son Ismaa’eel when she was still breastfeeding him, to a place near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he left them there and left with them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ismaa’eel’s mother followed him saying, “O Ibraaheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look at her. Then she asked him, “Has Allaah commanded you to do this?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not forsake us,” and went back while Abraham proceeded onwards. When he reached al-Thaniyah where they could not see him, he turned to face the Ka’bah, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayer:  

“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks”

[Ibraaheem 14:37] 

Ismaa’eel’s mother went on breastfeeding Ismaa’eel and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismaa’eel) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of al-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from al-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached al-Marwa where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between al-Safa and al-Marwa) seven times.  

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This is the (origin of) the people’s saa’i (walking) between them between them (i.e. al-Safa and al-Marwa).” When she reached al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she said to herself “Shh!” and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, “O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” Then she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), until water appeared. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it. 

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him)  said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismaa’eel! Had she let Zamzam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” And he said: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people’…” 

Ibn al-Jawzi said in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (2/47): “This hadeeth explains the reason why it is called Zamzam, because when the water flowed, Haajar tried to control it (zammat-ha). The linguist Ibn Faaris said: Zamzam comes from the words zamamtu al-naaqah (I reined in the camel). 

5 – The standing at ‘Arafah 

Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi (883) narrated that Yazeed ibn Shaybaan said: We were standing in ‘Arafah in a place far from the mawqif [where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood]. Ibn Mirba’ al-Ansaari came to us and said, “I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who says to you: ‘Stay where you are (for it is also the place of standing), for you are standing in the area where your father Ibraaheem stood.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1688. 

Many of the actions of Hajj stem from the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), but the mushrikeen introduced some innovations which were not prescribed. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sent, he opposed them in that and explained what was prescribed for the actions of Hajj. 

This is a brief look at the history of Hajj and the history of some of its rituals. For more information you could refer to the book of al-Haafiz ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) which is called Mutheer al-‘Azm   al-Saakin ila Ashraf al-Amaakin – the whole of the first volume and the beginning of the second volume. 

And Allaah knows best.

Seriousness of Debt in Islam – Punishments and Supplications


 

Seriousness of Debt in Islam - Punishments and Supplications

 
Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

The fuqaha’ define dayn (debt) as an obligation to be fulfilled, as it says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (21/102). The linguistic meaning of the word dayn (debt) in Arabic has to do with submission and humiliation. The connection between the shar’i meaning and the linguistic meaning is clear. The debtor is a prisoner, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Your companion is being detained by his debt.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3341; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. 

Secondly:

 Islam takes the matter of debt very seriously and warns against it and urges the Muslim to avoid it as much as possible. 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his prayer: “Allaahumma inni a’oodhi bika min al-ma’tham wa’l-maghram (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from sin and heavy debt).” Someone said to him: “How often you seek refuge from heavy debt!” He said: “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (832) and Muslim (589). 

Al-Nasaa’i (4605) narrated that Muhammad ibn Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: 

We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah!  What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 4367.  

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) refrained from offering the funeral prayer for one who had died owing two dinars, until Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) promised to pay it off for him. When he saw him the following day and said, I have paid it off, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Now his skin has become cool for him.” Musnad Ahmad (3/629); classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in al-Khalaasah (2/931) and by Ibn Muflih in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah (1/104).  

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari (4/547):  

This hadeeth indicates how difficult the issue of debt is, and that it should not be undertaken except in cases of necessity. End quote. 

It was narrated from Thawbaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 

“Whoever dies free from three things – arrogance, cheating and debt – will enter Paradise.” 

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1572); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi. 

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 

“The soul of the believer is suspended because of his debt until it is paid off.”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1078). 

Al-Mubaarakfoori said in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (4/164): 

The words “the soul of the believer is suspended” – al-Suyooti said: i.e., it is detained and kept from reaching its noble destination. Al-‘Iraaqi said: i.e., no judgement is passed as to whether it will be saved or doomed until it is determined whether his debt will be paid off or not. End quote. 

It was also narrated that many of the salaf warned against debt: 

It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: 

Beware of debt, for it starts with worry and it ends with war. Narrated by Maalik in al-Muwatta’ (2/770). 

In Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaaq (3/57) it says: 

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: 

O Humraan, fear Allaah and do not die in debt, lest it be taken from your good deeds when there will be no dinars and no dirhams. 

Thirdly: 

These stern warnings about debt only came because of the negative consequences to which it leads both on an individual level and on a community level. 

With regard to the personal level, al-Qurtubi said in al-Jaami’ li Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (3/417): 

Our scholars said: It is a disgrace and a humiliation because it preoccupies the mind and makes one worried about paying it off, and makes one feel humiliated before the lender when meeting him, and feeling that he is doing one a favour when accepting a delay in payment. Perhaps he may promise himself that he will pay it off then break that promise, or speak to the lender and lie to him, or swear an oath to him then break it, and so on. Moreover, he may die without having paid off the debt so he will be held hostage because of it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The soul of the believer is held hostage by his debt in his grave until it is paid off.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1078. All of that undermines one’s religious commitment. 

With regard to the community level, specialists have described the negative consequences and the danger it poses to the economy, for example: 

1-    Desire for immediate gratification with no thought of the future

2-    Lack of responsibility and self-reliance

3-    Poor distribution of wealth 

In order to understand these negative consequences better, please see the study by Shaykh Saami al-Suwaylim entitled Mawqif al-Sharee’ah al-Islamiyyah min al-Dayn (6-11).  

Fourthly: 

Based on the above, the scholars have stipulated three conditions for debt to be permissible: 

1-    The borrower should be determined to repay it.

2-    It should be known or thought most likely that he is able to repay it,

3-    It should be for something that is permissible according to sharee’ah. 

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed (23/238): 

The debt for which a person will be kept out of Paradise – and Allaah knows best – is that for which he left behind enough to pay it off but he did not leave instructions to that effect, or he was able to pay it off but did not do so, or he took the loan for some unlawful or extravagant matter and died without having paid it off. 

As for the one who took a loan for something lawful because he was poor, and he died without leaving behind anything to pay it off, Allaah will not keep him from Paradise because of it, in sha Allaah. End quote. 

Fifthly: 

In the Sunnah there are a number of du’aa’s which specifically seek the help of Allaah in praying off debts. They are: 

1 – It was narrated that Suhayl said: Abu Saalih used to tell us, when one of us wanted to sleep, to lie down on his right side and say: 

“Allaahumma Rabb al-samawaati wa’l-ard wa Rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azeem, Rabbaanaa wa Rabba kulli shay’in, Faaliq al-habb wa’l-nawa wa munzil al-Tawraati wa’l-Injeeli wa’l-Furqaan, a’oodhu bika min sharri kulli shay’in anta aakhidhun bi naasiyatihi. Allaahumma anta al-awwal fa laysa qablaka shay’un, wa anta al-aakhir fa laysa ba’daka shay’un, wa anta al-zaahir fa laysa fawqaka shay’un wa anta al-baatin fa laysa doonaka shay’un. Iqdi ‘annaa al-dayna wa aghninaa min al-faqri (O Allaah, Lord of the seven heavens and the exalted Throne, our Lord and Lord of all things, splitter of the seed and the date-stone, Revealer of the Tawraat and the Injeel and the Furqaan [Qur’aan], I seek refuge in You from the evil of all things You shall seize by the forelock [have total mastery over]. O Allaah, You are the First so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are al-Zaahir [the greatest and highest] so there is nothing above You, and You are al-Baatin [aware of the subtlest secrets] so there is nothing closer than You. Settle our debt for us and spare us from poverty).”

He narrated that from Abu Hurayrah, from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Narrated by Muslim (2713). 

2 – It was narrated from ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a mukaatib (slave who had entered into a contract of manumission) came to him and said: “I am unable to pay off my manumission; help me.” He said: “Shall I not tell you some words which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me? And if you have debt like the mountain of Seer, Allaah will pay it off for you. He said: ‘Say: Allaahumma akfini bi halaalika ‘an haraamika wa aghnini bi fadlika ‘amman siwaaka (O Allaah, suffice me with what You have permitted so that that I have no need of that which You have forbidden, and make me independent of means by Your bounty so that I have no need of anyone besides You).’”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2563) who said: This is a hasan ghareeb hadeeth. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi. 

3 – It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:  

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered the mosque and saw an Ansaari man whose name was Abu Umaamah. He said: “O Abu Umaamah, why do I see you sitting in the mosque when it is not the time for prayer? He said: Worries and debts, O Messenger of Allaah. He said: “Shall I not teach you some words which, if you say them, Allaah will take away your worries and pay off your debts?” He said: Yes, O Messenger of Allaah. He said:

“Say, morning and evening, ‘“Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-hammi wa’l-hazani, wa a’oodhi bika min al-‘ajzi wa’l-kasali, wa a’oodhu bika min al-jubni wa’l-bukhli, wa a’oodhi bika min ghalabat il-dayn wa qahri al-rijaal (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, and I seek refuge with You from incapacity and laziness, and I seek refuge with You from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek refuge with You from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men).” 

He said; I did that, and Allaah took away my worry and paid off my debt. 

Narrated by Abu Dawood (1555). Its isnaad includes Ghassaan ibn ‘Awf; al-Dhahabi said: he is not strong. Hence Shaykh al-Albaani classed the hadeeth as weak in Da’eef Abi Dawood. But the du’aa’ mentioned – “Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-hammi wa’l-hazani…” – is proven in al-Saheehayn in a report other than this story of Abu Umaamah.

And Allaah knows best.

The virtues of Qiyaam (prayer at night) during Ramadaan


 

The virtues of Qiyaam (prayer at night) during Ramadaan

 

Praise be to Allaah.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to encourage us to pray at night in Ramadaan, without making it obligatory. Then he said, ‘Whoever prays at night in Ramadaan out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.’ When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died, this is how things were (i.e., Taraaweeh was not prayed in congregation), and this is how they remained during the khilaafah of Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him), until the beginning of the khilaafah of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him).”

‘Amr ibn Murrah al-Juhani said: “A man from Qudaa’ah came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! What do you think if I testify that there is no god except Allaah, and that you, Muhammad, are His Messenger, and I pray the five daily prayers, and fast in the month (of Ramadaan), and pray at night in Ramadaan, and pay zakaah?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever dies on that will be among the siddeeqeen (those who tell the truth) and the martyrs.’”

Laylat al-Qadr and its timing

The best of its nights is Laylat al-Qadr, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays at night during Laylat al-Qadr {and manages to “catch” it} out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.”

According to the most correct opinion, it is the twenty-seventh night of Ramadaan. Most of the ahaadeeth state this, such as the hadeeth of Zurr ibn Hubaysh, who said: “I heard Ubayy ibn Ka’b saying – and it was said to him that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said: ‘Whoever follows the Sunnah will ‘catch’ Laylat al-Qadr!’ – Ubayy (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: ‘May Allaah have mercy on him, he did not want people to take it for granted and only stay up to pray on one night. By the One besides Whom there is no other god, it is in Ramadaan – he was swearing without a doubt – and by Allaah, I do know which night it is. It is the night in which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to pray (qiyaam). It is the night the morning of which is the twenty seventh, and the sign of it is that the sun rises on that morning white and without rays.’”

In another report, this was attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). (Reported by Muslim and others).

Praying qiyaam in congregation

It is allowed to pray qiyaam in congregation, indeed it is better than praying individually, because this is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did himself and explained its virtues. Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We fasted Ramadaan with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he did not lead us in qiyaam at all until there were only seven days left, when he led us in prayer until a third of the night had passed. When there were six days left, he did not lead us in qiyaam. When there were five days left, he led us in prayer until half the night had passed. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I wish that you had continued until the end of the night.’ He said, ‘If a man prays with the imaam until he finishes, it will be counted as if he prayed the whole night.’ When there were four nights left, he did not lead us in qiyaam. When there were three nights left, he brought together his family, his wives and the people, and led us in qiyaam until we were afraid that we would miss al-falaah. I asked, ‘What is al-falaah?’ he said, ‘Suhoor. Then he did not lead us in qiyaam for the rest of the month.’” (Saheeh hadeeth reported by the authors of Sunan).

The reason why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not continually lead the people in praying qiyaam in congregation

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not lead them in qiyaam for the rest of the month because he feared that it would then become obligatory, and they would not be able to do it, as is stated in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah reported in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere. Following the death of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), that fear was no longer a factor, because Allaah had completed the religion. The reason for not praying qiyaam in congregation during Ramadaan no longer applied, and the previous ruling, that congregational prayer is something prescribed in Islam, remained in effect. So ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) revived the practice, as is recorded in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere.

Women can pray qiyaam in congregation

Women can attend the prayers too, as is stated in the hadeeth of Abu Dharr referred to above. Indeed, it is permissible to appoint an imaam just for them, apart from the imaam of the men. It was proven that when ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) gathered the people to pray qiyaam, he appointed Ubayy ibn Ka’b to lead the men and Sulaymaan ibn Abi Hathmah to lead the women. ‘Arfajah al-Thaqafi said: “ ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to command the people to pray during the night in Ramadaan, and he would appoint an imaam for the men and an imaam for the women. I was the imaam for the women.”

I say: this is fine in my view so long as the mosque is big enough so that they will not disturb one another.

Number of rak’ahs of qiyaam

The number of rak’ahs is eleven, and it is preferable in our opinion not to exceed this number, following the practice of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because he never did more than that in his life. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was asked about how he prayed in Ramadaan. She said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never prayed more than eleven rak’ahs (of qiyaam), whether during Ramadaan or any other time. He would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray three.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others).

 A person may do less than that, even if it is only one rak’ah of witr, because of the evidence that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this and spoke about it.

With regard to him doing it: ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was asked how many rak’ahs the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray in witr? She said, “He used to pray four and three, or six and three, or ten and three. He never used to pray less than seven, or more than thirteen.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, Ahmad and others).

With regard to him speaking about it, he said: “Witr is true, so whoever wishes can pray five, and whoever wishes can pray three, and whoever wishes can pray one.”

Reciting Qur’aan in qiyaam

As regards reciting from the Qur’aan during qiyaam, whether in Ramadaan or at other times, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not set a limit or state what was too much or too little. His recitation used to vary, sometimes it would be long, at other times short. Sometimes in every rak’ah he would recite the equivalent of ‘Yaa ayyuha’l-muzammil, which is twenty aayaat; sometimes he would recite the equivalent of fifty aayaat. He used to say, “Whoever prays at night and reads one hundred aayaat will not be recorded as one of the negligent.” According to another hadeeth: “…and reads two hundred aayaat, will be recorded as one of the devout and sincere believers.”

When he was sick, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the seven long soorahs in his night prayers, i.e., al-Baqarah, Aal ‘Imraan, al-Nisaa’, al-Maa’idah, al-An’aam, al-A’raaf and al-Tawbah.

In the account of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan praying behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), in one rak’ah he recited al-Baqarah, al-Nisa’ and Aal ‘Imraan, and he recited them in a slow and measured tone. It is proven with the soundest (most saheeh) of isnaads that when ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) appointed Ubayy ibn Ka’b to lead the people in praying eleven rak’ahs in Ramadaan, Ubayy used to recite aayaat by the hundreds, so that the people behind him would be leaning on sticks because the prayers were so long, and they did not finish until just before Fajr.

It is also reported in a saheeh account that ‘Umar called the readers during Ramadaan, and told the fastest of them to recite thirty aayaat, the moderate ones to recite twenty-five aayaat, and the slowest ones to recite twenty aayaat.

However, is a person is praying qiyaam by himself, he can make it as long as he wishes; if others agree with the imaam, he may also make it as long as he wishes. The longer it is, the better, but a person should not go to extremes and spend the whole night in qiyaam, except on rare occasions, following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who said: “The best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad.” If a person is praying as an imaam, he should make it only as long as is easy for the people behind him, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any of you leads the people in prayer, let him make it short, because among them are the young and the old, the weak, and those who have pressing needs. But if he is praying alone, let him make it as long as he likes.”

The timing of qiyaam

The time for praying qiyaam is from after ‘Isha until Fajr, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has added one more prayer for you, which is witr, so pray it between Salaat al-‘Isha’ and Salaat al-Fajr.”

Praying at the end of the night is better, for those who can manage it, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever is afraid that he will not get up at the end of the night, let him pray witr at the beginning of the night, but whoever feels that he will be able to get up at the end of the night, let him pray witr at the end of the night, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed [by the angels???], and that is better.”

If it is the matter of choosing between praying in congregation at the beginning of the night and praying alone at the end of the night, it is preferable to pray with the jamaa’ah, because that is counted as if one had prayed the whole night through.

This is what the Sahaabah did at the time of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him). ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd al-Qaari said: “I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab to the mosque one night during Ramadaan, and saw the people scattered throughout the mosque, some praying individually, and some praying in small groups. He said, ‘By Allaah, I think that if I gathered all of them behind one reader it would be better.’ So he resolved to do that, and he gathered them behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b. Then I went with him on another night, and the people were all praying behind their reader, and ‘Umar said, ‘What a good innovation this is. What they sleep and miss – meaning the latter part of the night – is better than what they are doing,’ – the people used to pray qiyaam at the beginning of the night.”

Zayd ibn Wahb said: “‘Abd-Allaah used to lead us in prayer in Ramadaan, and he used to finish at night.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade praying witr as three rak’ahs, and explained this by saying: “Do not make it resemble Salaat al-Maghrib.” Therefore the person who wants to pray three rak’ahs for witr must find a way to make it different (from Maghrib). There are two ways he can do this: either by giving salaam after the first two rak’ahs, which is the best way; or by not sitting after the first two rak’ahs (i.e., praying three rak’ahs non-stop). And Allaah knows best.

Recitation during three rak’ahs of witr

It is Sunnah to recite Sabbih bi ismi Rabbika al-‘A’laa in the first rak’ah, Qul Yaa ayyuha’l-Kaafiroon in the second rak’ah, and Qul Huwa Allaahu ahad in the third rak’ah. Sometimes Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-Falaq and Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-Naas may be added as well.

It was reported in a saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) once recited one hundred aayaat of Soorat al-Nisa’ in one rak’ah of witr.

Du’aa’ al-Qunoot

A person may also humble himself before Allaah by reciting the du’aa’ which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to his grandson al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him), which is:

“Allaahumma’hdinee fiman hadayta wa ‘aafinee fiman ‘aafayta wa tawallanee fiman tawallayta wa baarik lee fimaa a’tayta wa qinee sharra maa qadayt, fa innaka taqdee wa laa yuqdaa ‘alayk. Wa innahu laa yadhillu man waalayta wa laa ya’izzu man ‘aadayt. Tabaarakta Rabbanaa wa ta’aalayt. Laa majaa minka illa ilayk (O Allaah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, pardon me along with those whom You have pardoned, be an ally to me along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless for me that which You have bestowed. Protect me from the evil You have decreed for verily You decree and none can decree over You. For surety, he whom You show allegiance to is never abased and he whom You take an enemy is never honored and mighty. O our Lord, Blessed and Exalted are You. There is no refuge from You except with You).”

Sometimes one may send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and there is nothing wrong with adding other du’aa’s that are known from the Sunnah.

There is nothing wrong with reciting Qunoot after rukoo’, or with adding curses against the kuffaar, sending blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or praying for the Muslims in the second half of Ramadaan, because it is proven that the imaam used to do this at the time of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him). At the end of the hadeeth of ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Ubayd al-Qaari mentioned above, it says: “… They used to curse the kuffaar in the middle, saying, ‘Allaahumma qaatil al-kafarata alladheena yasuddoona ‘an sabeelik wa yukadhdhiboona rusulak wa laa yu’minoona bi wa’dik. Wa khaalif bayna kalimatihim wa alqi fi quloobihim al-ru’b wa alqi ‘alayhim rijzaka wa ‘adhaabak ilaah al-haqq (O Allaah, destroy the kuffaar who are trying to prevent people from following Your path, who deny Your Messengers and who do not believe in Your promise (the Day of Judgement). Make them disunited, fill their hearts with terror and send Your wrath and punishment against them, O God of Truth).” Then he would send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and pray for good for the Muslims as much as he could, and seek forgiveness for the believers.

After he had finished cursing the kuffaar, sending blessings on the Prophet, seeking forgiveness for the believing men and women and asking for his own needs, he would say: “Allaahumma iyyaaka na’bud wa laka nusalli wa najud, wa ilayka nas’aa wa nahfud, wa narju rahmataka rabbanaa wa nakhaafu ‘adhaabak al-jadd. Inna ‘adhaabaka liman ‘aadayta mulhaq (O Allaah, You do we worship, to You do we pray and prostrate, for Your sake we strive and toil. We place our hope in Your Mercy, O our Lord, and we fear Your mighty punishment, for Your punishment will certainly overtake the one whom You have taken as an enemy.” Then he would say “Allaahu akbar” and go down in sujood.

What should be said at the end of witr

It is Sunnah to say at the end of witr (before or after the salaam):

“Allaahumma innee a’oodhu bi ridaaka min sakhatika wa bi mu’aafaatika min ‘aqoobatika, wa a’oodhu bika minka. La uhsee thanaa’an ‘alayka, anta kamaa athnayta ‘ala nafsik (O Allaah, I seek refuge in Your good pleasure from Your wrath, and in Your protection from Your punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot praise You enough, and You are as You have praised Yourself.”

When he gave salaam at the end of witr, he said: “Subhaan il-Malik il-Quddoos, subhaan il-Malik il-Quddoos, subhaan il-Malik il-Quddoos (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy), elongating the syllables, and raising his voice the third time.

Two rak’ahs after witr

A person may pray two rak’ahs after witr if he wishes, because it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this. Indeed, he said, “This travelling is exhausting and difficult, so after any one of you prays witr, let him pray two rak’ahs. If he wakes up, this is fine, otherwise these two rak’ahs will be counted for him.

It is Sunnah to recite Idha zulzilat al-ard and Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon in these two rak’ahs.

 

From Qiyaam Ramadaan by al-Albaani

 

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