Issues Regarding Supplicating In the Prayer

“…and what is commonly narrated from Ahmad is that one should not supplicate in the prayer except with those supplications that are specifically legislated and narrated from the Prophet, as al-Athram said:

“I asked Ahmad: “With what should I supplicate after the tashahhud?” So, Ahmad said: “With what is narrated.” So, I said to him: “Did the Messenger of Allah not say: “…then let him choose from the supplications whatever he wishes…”?” Ahmad said: “He chooses from the narrated supplications whatever he wishes,”” – and this is the meaning of the words of Ahmad.

And I have previously clarified some of the principles regarding this, because of His Saying: {“Verily, Allah does not love the transgressors…”} [al-A’raf; 55], and because not all forms supplication are allowed. Rather, from the supplications are those that constitute excessiveness and transgression, and are forbidden, and the supplications which are legislated contain no transgression. Transgression in supplication can sometimes be in the form of excessive wording, and can sometimes be in regards to the meaning, just as one of the Companions explained to his son when some said: ‘O Allah! I ask You for a white palace in the right section of Paradise if I enter it,’ and another said: ‘I ask You for the Paradise, its palaces, and its rivers, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire, its chains, and its shackles.’ So, the man said to his son: “My son! Just ask Allah for Paradise, and seek refuge with Him from the Fire, as I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “There will be in this nation those who are excessive in supplication and purification.”“

And transgression can occur in regards to worship and zuhd, and the statement of Ahmad regarding limiting oneself to the narrated supplications is a good one, as the point is to make a supplication that is loved by Allah, not just supplicating for the sake of supplicating, as from the supplications are those that are forbidden.

So, if it is said that the supplications that are allowed outside of prayer are also allowed during the prayer – such as one asking for a house, or a beautiful slave girl – it is then asked: who even said that such types of supplications are legislated outside of the prayer, and that such wordings do not constitute transgression and excessiveness? Here, it should be said that the supplication that is mustahabb is that which is legislated, as istihbab of a particular act is determined by the Legislator. So, whatever He has not specifically legislated is not mustahabb. Rather, it constitutes legislating in the Religion that which Allah did not allow, and supplication is the greatest aspect of this religion.

However, if one supplicates with something that he does not know is mustahabb, or knows that it is allowed without being mustahabb, his prayer is not invalidated due to this, as prayer is invalidated due to the speech of the people, and supplication is not from the speech of the people. Rather, it is just as if one were to praise Allah in a wording that was not specifically legislated, and this was reported from some of the Companions during the time of the Prophet, and he did not reprimand them for praising Allah in a manner that was not legislated at that time. Rather, one would only be deprived of the reward if they were to supplicate like this.

And from the supplication is that which is makruh without invalidating the prayer, as well as that which would invalidate the prayer, and supplications can be divided into five types:

– those that are legislated, and these include the wajib and mustahabb;
– those that are mubah (allowed) and are not mustahabb, and these do not invalidate the prayer;
– those that are makruh, and these do not invalidate the prayer, and are like if one were to turn his face in the prayer, say the tashahhud during the standing, or recite the Qur’an during the sitting;
– those that are forbidden, and these invalidate the prayer, as they are considered to be human speech;

So, this is an analysis of the statement of Ahmad, as the prayer is not invalidated by making a supplication that is not narrated from the Prophet. However, it is not mustahabb to do so, as nothing can be mustahabb that is not legislated. He also clarified that the choice given is from those supplications that are legislated, and that the legislated supplications can be in the form of the exact wording, or they can be in the form of the general meaning, provided that the Prophet did not restrict the supplication to just one wording, as in the case of the Qur’an.”

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 22/231-232]

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Ruling on Christmas & New Year

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), “And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…” [al-Furqaan 25:72]

As regards the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending them.

This aaayah itself praises and commends (those who do not witness falsehood), which has the meaning of urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals because they are called al- zoor (falsehood).

It indicates that it is haraam to do this for many reasons, because Allaah has called it al-zoor. Allaah condemns the one who speaks falsehood [al-zoor] even if no-one else is harmed by it, as in the aayah forbidding zihaar [a form of divorce in which the man says to his wife

“You are to me like the back of my mother”], where He says (interpretation of the meaning): “… And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie [zooran]…” [al-Mujaadilah 58:2].

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… So shun the abomination of idols, and shun lying speech (false statements) [al- zoor].” [al-Hajj 22:30].

So the one who does al-zoor is condemned in this fashion. In the Sunnah: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came [to Madeenah] and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play. He said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the Jaahiliyyah.”

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha] and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr].” (Reported by Abu Dawood).

This indicates clearly that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) definitely forbade his ummah to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar, and he strove to wipe them out by all possible means. The fact that the religion of the People of the Book is accepted does not mean that their festivals are approved of or should be preserved by the ummah, just as the rest of their kufr and sins are not approved of. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to great lengths to command his ummah to be different from them in many issues that are mubaah (permitted) and in many ways of worship, lest that lead them to be like them in other matters too. This being different was to be a barrier in all aspects, because the more different you are from the people of Hell, the less likely you are to do the acts of the people of Hell.

The first of them is: The hadeeth

“Every people has its festival, and this is our festival” implies exclusivity, that every people has its own festival, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers)…” [al-Baqarah 2:148] and “… To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way…” [al-Maa’idah 5:48].

This implies that each nation has its own ways. The laam in li-kulli [“for every”, “to each”] implies exclusivity. So if the Jews have a festival and the Christians have a festival, it is just for them, and we should not have any part in it, just as we do not share their qiblah (direction of prayer) or their laws.

The second of them is: one of the conditions set out by ‘Umar ibn al- Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) and agreed upon by the Sahaabah and by all the Fuqaha’ after them is: that those of the People of the Book who have agreed to live under Islamic rule (ahl al-dhimmah) should not celebrate their festivals openly in Daar al- Islam (lands under Islamic rule). If the Muslims have agreed to prevent them from celebrating openly, how could it be right for the Muslims to celebrate them? If a Muslim celebrates them, is that not worse than if a kaafir does so openly?

The only reason that we forbade them to celebrate their festivals openly is because of the corruption involved in them, because of the sin or symbols of sin. In either case, the Muslim is forbidden from sin or the symbols of sin. Even if there was no evil involved apart from the kaafir feeling encouraged to celebrate openly because of the Muslim’s actions, how can a Muslim do that? The evil involved (in their festivals) will be explained below, in sha Allaah.

Al-Bayhaqi reported with a saheeh isnaad in Baab karaahiyat al- dukhool ‘ala ahl al-dhimmah fi kanaa’isihim wa’l-tashabbuh bihim yawmi nawroozihim wa maharjaanihim (Chapter on the abhorrence of entering the churches of ahl al-dhimmah on the occasion of their New Year and other celebrations): From Sufyaan al-Thawri from Thawr ibn Yazeed from ‘Ata’ ibn Deenaar who said: ‘Umar said: “Do not learn the language of the non-Arabs, do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on their feast-days, for the wrath (of Allaah) is descending upon them.”

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.”

It was reported with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Usaamah: ‘Awn told us from Abu’l-Mugheerah from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr: “Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

‘Umar forbade learning their languages, and even entering their churches on the day of their festival, so how about doing some of the things they do on those days, or doing things that are a part of their religion? Is not going along with their actions worse than learning their language? Is not doing some of the things they do on their festival worse than just entering upon them? If divine wrath is descending upon them on the day of their festival because of what they do, then is not the one who does what they do, or a part of it, also exposed to the same punishment? Do not the words “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals” mean that we should not meet them or join them on those days? So how about the one who actually celebrates their festivals? ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr clearly stated:

“Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

This implies that the one who joins in with them in all of these matters is a kaafir, or that doing this is one of the major sins (kabaa’ir) that will doom one to Hell; the former meaning is what is apparent from the wording.

He mentioned – and Allaah knows best – the one who lives in their land, because at the time of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr and the other Sahaabah, they used to forbid open celebration of kaafir festivals in the Muslim lands, and none of the Muslims imitated them in their festivals; that was possible only when living in the lands of the kaafirs.

‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) refused to even acknowledge the name of their festivals which were exclusively theirs, so how about actually celebrating them?

Ahmad mentioned the meaning of the reports narrated from ‘Umar and ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with them) on this topic, and his companions discussed the matter of festivals. Imaam Abu’l-Hasan al-Aamidi said: the one who is known as Ibn al- Baghdaadi said in his book ‘Umdat al-Haadir wa Kifaayat al-Musaafir: “It is not permitted to attend the festivals of the Christians and Jews. Ahmad stated this in the report of Muhannaa, and his evidence for that is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…’ [al-Furqaan 25:72].

He said: (This is) al-Sha’aaneen and their festivals. He said: The Muslims are to be prevented from entering upon them in their synagogues and churches.”

From Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, p. 183.