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In the hours before dawn “they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness”

As-Sa‘di  said:“And in the hours before dawn”, which is just before dawn “they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness”.

So they made their prayer last until the time just before dawn, then they sat, concluding their night-time worship (qiyaam al-layl) by asking Allah, may He be exalted, for forgiveness, in the manner of a sinner seeking forgiveness for his sins.

There is a special virtue in praying for forgiveness in the time before dawn that is not present at any other time, as Allah, may He be exalted, says describing the people of faith and obedience (interpretation of the meaning):

“and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of the night” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:17].

Tafseer as-Sa‘di p. 809 – تفسير السعدي 


For anyone who is going through a hard time

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said,

If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah,

  • will appoint for him a way out of every distress anda relief from every anxiety, and
  • will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.”

— Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) [Abu Dawud].

Does the disbeliever have to shave his head if he becomes Muslim?

Does the disbeliever have to shave his head if he becomes Muslim?


Praise be to Allah Firstly: 

It is narrated in a number of hadiths that the disbeliever is to be instructed to shave his head if he becomes Muslim, but none of these hadiths are saheeh.

Imam ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq as-San‘aani said in his Musannaf (10/317): Ibn Jurayj told us: I was informed, from ‘Uthaym ibn Kulayb, from his father, from his grandfather, that he came to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said: I have become Muslim, and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Shave off the hair of disbelief.”

It was narrated via ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (15432) and by Abu Dawood in his Sunan (356).

This isnaad is da‘eef jiddan (very weak), because it includes three unknown narrators: the Shaykh of Ibn Jurayj, who is not named in the isnaad, ‘Uthaym ibn Katheer and his grandfather Katheer ibn Kulayb.

In fact it was said that the shaykh of Ibn Jurayj in this isnaad is Ibraaheem ibn Abi Yahya, whose hadith is to be rejected and who was subject to criticism by the majority of muhadditheen.

Please see: al-Jarh wa’t-Ta‘deel (2/125) and Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb (1/158)

Ibn al-Qayyim said: With regard to this Ibraaheem, there was consensus among the hadith scholars that he is weak – apart from ash-Shaafa‘i only.

End quote from Tuhfat al-Mawdood (p. 170)

Ibn ‘Adiyy said: What Ibn Jurayj said in this isnaad, “I was informed, from ‘Uthaym ibn Kulayb” means that Ibraaheem ibn Abi Yahya is the one who narrated it to him, and he mentioned him by his kunyah, not his full name.

End quote from al-Kaamil fi Du‘afa’ ar-Rijaal (1/361)

Ibn Taahir al-Maqdisi said:

The man whom he mentioned by his kunyah is this Ibraaheem, who is da‘eef jiddan (very weak), and he narrated it from ‘Uthaym ibn Katheer ibn Kulayb.

End quote from Dhakheerat al-Huffaaz (1/457)

Ibn al-Qattaan said: Its isnaad is extremely weak, in addition to the interruption indicated by the words of Ibn Jurayj, “I was informed.” That is because ‘Uthaym ibn Kulayb and his father and grandfather are majhool (unknown).

Would that the matter stopped there, but there are further reservations about this hadith because some of the hadith scholars said: With regard to Ibn Jurayj, who said “I was informed from ‘Uthaym ibn Kulayb”, it was only narrated to him from ‘Uthaym ibn Kulayb by Ibraaheem ibn Abi Yahya, who is known to be da‘eef, and there were other concerns regarding his religious commitment.

End quote from Bayaan al-Wahm wa’l-Eehaam (3/43).

The commentators on Musnad al-Imam Ahmad said: ‘Uthaym ibn Kulayb was named after his grandfather, whose full name was ‘Uthaym ibn Katheer ibn Kulayb al-Hadrami. Many people narrated from him, and he was mentioned by Ibn Hibbaan in ath-Thiqaat.

Adh-Dhahabi said in al-Kaashif: He was trustworthy. Al-Haafiz said in at-Taqreeb: He is majhool (unknown). We have not come across any biographical details of his father, but the rest of its men are thiqaat (trustworthy). End quote.

There is corroborating evidence for this hadith in the hadith of Waathilah ibn al-Asqa‘, which was narrated by at-Tabaraani in al-Mu‘jam as-Sagheer (2/117) and al-Mu‘jam al-Kabeer (199) via Mansoor ibn ‘Ammaar: My father told us: Ma‘roof Abu’l-Khattaab told us: from Waathilah ibn al-Asqa‘: When I became Muslim, I came to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and he said to me: “Do ghusl with water and lotus leaves, and shave off the hair of kufr (disbelief).”

At-Tabaraani said: Nothing was narrated from Waathilah ibn al-Asqa‘ except via this isnaad, which was narrated only by Mansoor ibn ‘Ammaar. End quote.

Al-Haythami said: Its isnaad includes Mansoor ibn ‘Ammaar the preacher, who is da‘eef (weak).

End quote from Majma‘ az-Zawaa’id (1/283)

This report was also classed as da‘eef by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in al-Talkhees al-Habeer(2/168)

There is a second corroborating report that was narrated by at-Tabaraani in al-Mu‘jam al-Kabeer (19/14) via Qataadah ibn al-Fadl ibn Qataadah ar-Rahaawi, from his father: the paternal uncle of my father, Haashim ibn Qataadah ar-Rahaawi, told me, that his father said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and became Muslim.

He said to me: “O Qataadah, do ghusl with water and lotus leaves, and shave off the hair of kufr (disbelief).”

Al-Haythami said: It was narrated by at-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and its men are thiqaat (trustworthy).

End quote from Majma‘ az-Zawaa’id (1/283(

It was classed as da‘eef by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in at-Talkhees (2/168)

Shaykh al-Albaani said: It is clear to me that al-Haafiz was correct in classing its isnaad as da‘eef, and that his shaykh al-Haythami was mistaken in classing its men as trustworthy, because in doing that he relied on Ibn Hibbaan, who narrated all of that from Haashim ibn Qataadah ar-Rahaawi and al-Fadl ibn Qataadah ar-Rahaawi in his book ath-Thiqaat (5/503 and 7/317).

It is well known that Ibn Hibbaan was lenient in classing narrators as trustworthy, especially when these two men are only known in this isnaad.

End quote from Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (6/1181).

However, Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) favoured the view that this hadith is hasan, based on these corroborating reports.

But what appears to be the case is that the view of al-Haafiz ibn Hajar and other scholars, that this hadith is to be classed as da‘eef, is more likely to be correct, as its isnaads are not free of weakness and cannot be strengthened.

Among the prominent scholars who classed this hadith as da‘eef are:

Ibn Taahir al-Maqdisi, in Dhakheerat al-Huffaaz (1/457)

An-Nawawi in al-Majmoo‘ (2/154)

Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid in al-Imam (1/417)

Adh-Dhahabi in Tanqeeh at-Tahqeeq (2/264)

Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer in Irshaad al-Faqeeh (1/34)

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in at-Talkhees (2/168)

As-Suyooti in al-Jaami‘ as-Sagheer (1580)

Al-Mubaarakfoori in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (2/529)

Ash-Shawkaani in al-Fath ar-Rabbaani (9/4507)


The majority of scholars regard it as mustahabb for the disbeliever, when he becomes Muslim, to shave his head. See: al-Mawsoo‘ah at-Fiqhiyyah (18/101)

As-Sindi said:

They interpreted this command as meaning that it is mustahabb (recommended) and said: It is recommended, when the disbeliever becomes a Muslim, to remove his hair by shaving or cutting it, but shaving it is preferable.

End quote from Haashiyat Musnad al-Imam Ahmad (8/292)

An-Nawawi said:

It is recommended for the disbeliever, when he becomes Muslim, to shave off the hair of his head. This was stated by ash-Shaafa‘i in al-Umm. End quote from al-Majmoo‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab (2/154)

In fact some of them said that it is recommended to shave off all hair on the  head and body, except the beard.

In Haashiyat al-Bujayrami ‘ala al-Khateeb (1/253) it says:

It is Sunnah for him also to remove all hair from his body, including the head and otherwise, because of the report narrated by Abu Dawood: “Remove the hair of disbelief” – except the beard of the male. End quote.

Ibn Qudaamah said:

It is recommended for him to remove his hair, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed a man who became Muslim: “Shave your hair…” At the very least, this command indicates that it is recommended (mustahabb).

End quote from al-Mughni (1/153)

In Kashshaaf al-Qinaa‘ (1/153) it says:

It is Sunnah to remove his hair, so the head should be shaved, if he is a man, and the pubic hair and armpit hair should be removed in all cases. End quote.

Some of the scholars are of the view that what is meant in this hadith – assuming that it is saheeh – is shaving off hair in cases where it is worn in a style that is unique to the disbelievers; hence it is called in the report “the hair of disbelief”.

Al-Qarraafi said:

What it refers to is that which is a style that is symbolic of disbelief; otherwise the people used to enter the religion of Allah in crowds without shaving their heads.

End quote from adh-Dhakeerah (1/305)

Al-Mubaarakfoori said:

What is meant by the hair of disbelief is hair worn in a style that was a sign of disbelief for the disbelievers. Such styles vary from one land to another.

The disbelievers of India and Egypt had a spot on the head where the hair would grow long and they would never cut it or shave it; if they wanted to shave their head, they would shave all of it except that spot.

End quote from Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (3/183)

It says in ‘Awn al-Ma‘bood (2/15):

It does not mean – and Allah knows best – that everyone who becomes Muslim should shave his head, in the sense that shaving the head is required just as ghusl is required.

Rather the fact that the hair is mentioned in conjunction with disbelief (“the hair of disbelief”) indicates that the hair should be shaved off if it is worn in a style that is a sign of disbelief for the disbelievers… According to the apparent meaning, this refers to a sign that distinguishes between disbelief and Islam. End quote.

Ash-Shawkaani said:

There is no report to suggest that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed anyone who became Muslim, among the senior Sahaabah, to shave off his hair, or that he issued such instructions to any of those who became Muslim later on, apart from this man. Nevertheless, the hadith mentioned which speaks of shaving the head is da‘eef, as the scholars have explained.

End quote from al-Fath ar-Rabbaani (9/4507)

With regard to the apostate, we have not come across any scholar who stated that it is recommended for him to shave off his hair if he becomes Muslim again. We have not come across anything in the reports either to suggest that if the apostate becomes Muslim again, he is to be instructed to shave off his hair.

What appears to be the case is that he is different from the one who was originally a disbeliever, despite what we have mentioned about the difference of opinion concerning the one who was originally a disbeliever.

Perhaps if it is said that if an apostate remains an apostate for a long time, during which his hair grows and can be described as being the hair of disbelief, or his hair is worn in a style that is a symbol of disbelief, as is mentioned with regard to the symbols of the disbeliever – if it is said that in such a case he should be instructed to shave off his hair, like the one who was originally a disbeliever, and unlike the one whose case is not like that, who has been an apostate for only a short time – perhaps if we say this, there may be some validity in this point of view, in sha Allah.

Al-‘Ayni said:

The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) only issued instructions to shave off excess hair in order to clean it and remove the hair that grew during the time of disbelief.

End quote from Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood (2/183)


There is no saheeh report from the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) to suggest that the one who becomes Muslim should be instructed to shave his head. The hadiths that speak of that are not free of weakness, even though some later scholars classed them as hasan.

The majority of scholars regard it as recommended for the one who becomes Muslim to shave his head, and some of them are of the view that this ruling only applies to the one whose hair is worn in a style that is exclusive to the disbelievers. In this case – only – he is to be instructed to shave it off. This view is most likely to be correct.

For more information, please see the answer to question no. 14051.

And Allah knows best.

Islam Q&A

Whoever has many sins and wishes for those sins to be removed.


The rewards of repentance are: purity of heart, erasing of sins, and increasing of hasanaat (good deeds).


Our faith sometimes weakens and we become overwhelmed by our desires.

The shaytaan makes sin attractive to us, so we fall into things that Allah ‘azza wajal has forbidden. Now the question is not whether or not you will sin, because mistakes are in fact part of our nature.

The question is: what will you do after you’ve sinned?

The Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you did not commit sin Allaah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sin then pray for forgiveness. [Muslim]

It’s time to learn the secrets of an effective repentance!

In this week’s Jumuah Special you’ll discover the virtues of tawbah (repentance), in this life and the next, and its relation to your productivity. You’ll also boost yourself with some practical tips on how to move on after you’ve sinned, insha’Allah!

In this week’s central ayah Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa instructs us:  O you who believe! Turn to Allaah with sincere repentance! [Quran, 66:8]

Repentance— an Opportunity!

The concept of tawbah is amazingly beautiful and unique in Islam. We don’t confess to any intermediary; we turn to our Creator directly.

Allah al-Ghaffaar opened the gate of repentance to Himself and commanded us to turn to Him. This is an amazing combination! The fact that we can repent at any time and the fact that Allah gave us the knowledge of how to repent is a great rahmah (mercy).  Tawbah is an opportunity!

The Wisdom Behind Repentance

Do you recognize this pattern? You commit a sin and then you feel bad afterwards, so bad that your guilt makes you feel down and so low that you feel you can’t be forgiven— so why repent?

If you’ve done something so wrong, you must be a terrible person, right? Wrong! There’s a major difference between being a bad person and doing something bad. Allah (swt) gave you the chance to repent and insha’Allaah your sin will even be transformed into a good deed! Isn’t that amazing?

Recognizing your mistakes and sins, feeling ashamed of violating Allah’s trust, and making the promise to Allah never to do it again are the three conditions of your repentance being accepted. The most important thing about tawbah is that it doesn’t mean you sit down feeling sad and guilty, dwelling on your sin. It means that whenever you sin, you grab the chance to get back up and do better!

What Repentance Brings to YOU

Let’s look at some rewards sincere tawbah brings to you.

Repentance brings success.
If you go on a path forbidden by Allah (swt), you choose to miss out on Allah’s mercy, rewards, help, and protection. But at the moment that you sincerely repent, you can be assured of His help in your life.

Allah tells us …And beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful. [Surah An-Noor, 31]
Examples of success are: wealth, children, and increased productivity and blessings, as Allah says in Surah Hud, ayah 52:  And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain, and add strength to your strength, so do not turn away as Mujrimoon (criminals, evil doers, etc).

Repentance keeps you away hardship.
The more we sin, the more we can be deprived of Allah’s blessings and the more trials we might have to endure. Tawbah can give us a way out of our troubles in life, as Allah says:  See they not that they are put in trial once or twice every year (with different kinds of calamities, disease, famine)? Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it). [Quran, 9:126]

Repentance earns you Allah’s love.
Do you know that repentance is one of the most beloved acts of worship to Him? Allah says: … Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.[Quran, 2:222]

Repentance makes you feel happy.
cleans your heart. It makes you feel lighter, just as the burden of sin makes you feel heavy. Just say to yourself: who is there to stop me from turning back to Allah?

Repentance leads to forgiveness!
Isn’t this what you wanted? Can you imagine Allah forgiving all your sins? Do you think this is an unreachable goal? The rewards of repentance are: purity of heart, erasing of sins, and increasing of hasanaat (good deeds). Both the Quran and the ahadeeth are clear that those who repent sincerely to Allah, acknowledging their sins, and commit to not return again to those sins will have their sins forgiven. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: If the servant acknowledges his sin and repents, then Allah accepts his repentance.

Homework: Practical Steps to Take When You’ve Sinned

1. Meet the conditions: 1, 2, and 3.
Repentance is returning to Allah, giving up sin and hating it, regretting falling short in obedience to Allah, and being determined not to do that sin again. If one of these three is missing, then your repentance is not sincere. If the sin has to do with the rights of another person, then there are four conditions: the three mentioned above plus restoring the rights of that person, like returning money and property.

2. Don’t worry about waswaas.
Based on the above, if these conditions are met by the person who is repenting, then there is the hope that his repentance will be accepted, by Allah’s leave. After that he should not worry aboutwaswaas (whispers) suggesting that his repentance is not accepted, because that is from theshaytaan and is contrary to what Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have told us— repentance is accepted if it is sincere.

3. Follow up repentance with good deeds.
I once listened to a lecture and it really changed my life. The shaykh said that whenever we do a bad deed we should make sure to follow it up with as many good deeds as possible. You committed a sin, so give charity, help someone else, focus on reading the Quran— anything good. If this is your formula in life, insha’Allah you will succeed.

Allah says:  Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. [Quran, 2:160]

So whatever bad you do, don’t stay down— get up and throw yourself on good deeds!

4. Pray the repentance prayer.
If following up a bad deed with a good one can change your sins into good deeds, what deed is better than prayer? Ali’ said that Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them, told him  that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: There is no servant who commits a sin and then he  purifies himself (wudoo’) and then prays two rakaahs and then seeks forgiveness of Allaah except that  Allaah forgives him.

Allaahu akbar! This is a forgotten sunnah! You can pray this prayer anytime in the day or night and you should pray it as soon as possible after your bad deed.

Extra: tell others about this prayer and earn the rewards of reviving a sunnah, insha’Allah!

5. Make use of the six hours!
The Prophet said: The Scribe on the left delays registering the sin of a Muslim for six hours. If he repents (within these six hours), and seeks Allah’s forgiveness, they drop if off. If he doesn’t, they write is down as a single sin. [at-Tabarani] So evaluate your deeds every six hours, four times a day, and benefit from this amazing mercy of Allah!

A Breath-taking Scene in the Hereafter

Remember the central ayah of this week: O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! The ayah continues. Allah tells you what you can get when you stop being passive, down, and sad:

It may be that your Lord will expiate from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) the Day that Allaah will not disgrace the Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe with him. Their Light will run forward before them and (with their Records Books of deeds) in their right hands. They will say: ‘Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us [and do not put it off till we cross over the Siraat (a slippery bridge over the Hell) safely] and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things. [Quran, 66:8] 

Praying you will benefit,

Khawlah bint Yahya, United Kingdom

THE AYAH JOURNAL, Qur’an & Productivity is a global project with the exciting goal to inspire every Muslim worldwide to open the Qur’an every day, pick one ayah, and apply it to your own life by making acting on the ayah your mission for the day. Let’s bring back the message of the Qur’anto our daily life! Check and follow us on for vibrant Qur’an & Productivity tips.

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Dawah - For The Sake of Allaah

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