Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Category: Fasting

On Imaams Leading the Night Prayer whilst Reading from a Mushaf


Questioner: During the night prayer is it allowed to read the Quraan from a copy of the mushaf?

Al-Albaani:

And all good is in following those who preceded us
All evil in the innovations of those who came after

Imagine yourselves right now praying the night prayer in the time of ’Umar, who would be leading you? Ubaiy ibn Ka’b.

Questioner: We don’t have an Ubaiy with us.

Al-Albaani: That’s why we must produce an Ubaiy.

Questioner: Until we do, what should we do?

Al-Albaani: Such a method [of holding and reading from the mushaf] will not bring about an Ubaiy or even half an Ubaiy, for this reason, I remind you of the famous hadith, “Keep refreshing your knowledge of the Quraan, for by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, it is more inclined to escape than a camel from its rope,” keep refreshing your knowledge of the Quraan.

Those people who lead the prayers in the mosque [while reading] from a mushaf, and [I mean] no offense [here] and with respect for any Imaam who leads the people in prayer from a mushaf—I don’t say that these people are lazy [but] I say that at the very least they didn’t carry out this Prophetic order, “Keep refreshing your knowledge of the Quraan.” What does, “keep refreshing,” mean? It is explained in the remainder of the hadith.

If a haafidh does not repeat what he has memorized from the Quraan day and night, it will escape from him just as a runaway camel does from its rope. It is well known amongst camel herders that parallels are coined about a camel’s disposition, such that you have sayings such as, ‘[So and so] is more spiteful than a camel,’ for camels are extremely spiteful, [likewise they are] greatly prone to escaping, even cutting their ropes no matter how strong they may be. That is why addressing the Arabs, camel herders, he  said, “it is more inclined to escape from the breasts of men than a camel from its rope.”

So if Muslims don’t give due care [to memorising the Quraan]and this is a communal obligation, if some people carry it out others don’t need to[if they don’t give due care] then they will be forced to read from the mushaf.

Were the Salaf as-Saalih like that? Of course not.

So, we must produce students who memorise the Quraan and recite it well, and who subsequently lead the people in prayer even if they are young children and those who pray behind them are old men, because priority is given to the one who has memorized it and not the scholar.

For this reason, many times Iand you can see that I am in my eighties nowwill pray behind the youth, because they have memorized more of the Quraan than me, doing so as an implementation of his saying , “The people should be lead by the one who is most well-versed in recitation of the Book of Allaah. If they are equal in recitation, then they should be led by the one who is most knowledgeable of the Sunnah. If they are equal in their knowledge of the Sunnah, then they should be led by the eldest.” Where was I [in this ranking]? In third place [i.e., the eldest]. “If they are equal in age, then they should be led by the one who emigrated first.”

So, the people should be lead by the one who is most well-versed in recitation of the Book of Allaah. So during taraaweeh the people must be lead by the one who is most well-versed in recitation of the Book of Allaah.

And when I say this I know that there could be young children who have memorised more than grown men, but these young children might not pray properly, [but] following this path and implementing this hadith is a legislated way to teach some of these children who have memorised the Quraan the [correct] method of praying, such that they pray it in congregation and lead the people in it, doing so proficiently as ordered by the Messenger of Allaah .

In conclusion I remind you of the hadith of a young boy from the Companions whose name was ’Amr ibn Abi Salamah, his father Abu Salamah was one of the earliest people of the Ansaar to believe in Allaah’s Messenger before he migrated to Medinah. These Ansaar used to go to Makkah on ’Umrah in order to meet the Prophet and to learn what new legislated rulings had been revealed to him. So one time his father travelled and then he and some of the elders from the Ansaar came back with a new ruling which the Prophet had taught them, which was to pray in congregation. Prior to that they would pray individually, so they came back with this new ruling, to pray in congregation, the Prophet having taught them this hadith, “The people should be lead by the one who is most well-versed in recitation of the Book of Allaah …”

[This young boy] ’Amr said, “So they looked around Medinah and didn’t find anyone more well-versed in the recitation of the Quraan than me, nor anyone who had memorised more than me,” and ’Amr’s age was between seven and nine, that’s what is mentioned in the narrations, i.e., at the most he was nine years old, so he said they put him forward to lead them in prayerelderly, grown men with beards praying behind a young boy of nine years at the most.

And as is mentioned in the hadith he was wearing a mantle, i.e., a loincloth made out of a heavy, velvety material. When he would prostrate it would raise up above him, and the women were praying behind the men as is the Sunnah, and some of his ’awrah would show. And so this boy had barely given salaam from the prayer when a woman called out from behind the men, “Won’t you cover the buttocks of your reciter from us?” The boy went on to say, “So they bought a thawb for me, and I had never been so happy with anything before as I was with that thawb.”

Thus, we must give due care to memorizing the Quraan and copying our Salaf as-Saalih.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 694.

On Holding the Mushaf Whilst Praying Taraweeh Behind the Imaam


Questioner: Is it allowed for someone who is following the Imaam in prayer, especially in taraweeh, standing behind the Imaam obviously, [is it allowed for him] to hold the mushaf [while praying] behind the Imaam so that he can look at it?

Al-Albaani: No, no that is not from the Sunnah.

Questioner: If he does it, is his prayer valid [though]?

Al-Albaani: His prayer is valid.

Questioner: But in opposition to the Sunnah?

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 679.

On Extending the Du’aa al-Qunoot in Witr


 

Questioner: Okay, is it allowed for the du’aa al-qunoot … because in the sunnah it is reported as being before the rukoo’, if we do it after the rukoo’  that would be …

Al-Albaani: … that would be following ’Umar etc., but the sunnah is dearer to us.

Questioner: Yes, doing it before the rukoo’ is better?

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: Okay, if we added an [additional] supplication to the du’aa al-qunoot which has been reported [in the Sunnah], is it allowed? The du’aa al-qunoot well-known as, ‘Allaahummahdini fi man hadaita …,’  if I add other supplications to that of my own accord?

Al-Albaani: No, it’s not allowed, except rarely.

Questioner: Only rarely.

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 326.

Also see here.

Dividing the Night Prayer into Two Sessions During the Last Ten Days of Ramadaan


 

Questioner: What happens these days, O Shaikh, during the last ten days of Ramadaan, where they split the prayer, the night prayer [tarawih], into two, [praying ten rak’ahs] at the start of the night [after ishaa] and [then ten more a few hours later] at the end [‘qiyaam al-lail’], this having become something permanent?

Al-Albaani: It’s an innovation.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 719.

Al-Albaani On Whether Long Fasting Hours Should Be Shortened—Part 2


See part one here.

Questioner: Fasting in countries where the day is long, more than twenty or twenty-two hours, some people say that it is permissible to fast according to the closest country to them.

Al-Albaani: Why do they say that?

Questioner: They’re going according to the hadith of Dajjaal …

Al-Albaani: And does that hadith

Questioner: They are performing qiyaas

Al-Albaani: Qiyaas of what to what?

What is better than that is for you to ask, ‘What is the correct opinion on this issue?’ [And] in order to facilitate the correct opinion which I will soon mention, [I ask]: is it possible for someone whose fast is twenty hours to do it, is it possible or not? This is the first thing.

Secondly, the sun rises where they are and sets, does it not? …

If the question were: what is the ruling [concerning people for whom] it is [constant] daylight for six months, as is the case in a certain country, and where after these six months, what takes its place? Night for six monthsit is here that what you alluded to earlier in terms of the qiyaas of forty days as in the time of Dajjaal [comes in to play], a day which will be like a year, another like a month, and the rest of his days will be like your [normal] days.

Okay, but your question was, [and] I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, … … if it wasn’t unintentional then [I say to you that] using the hadith of Dajjaal here is not possible because [in the case of those people who have a long day and have to fast long hours] the sun does [actually] rise and setthe most that can be said in this circumstance is [to ask] whether those who are required to fast [those] twenty hours can actually do it?

The answer, in my opinion, is that they can, and this is a general answer, maybe some of them can’tfor now we’re talking about those who can, it’s not allowed for these people to be given a fatwa that they are to fast in accordance with the hours of the country closest to them, bearing in mind the fact that this issue [of the hours] will differ from country to country and does not have a set yardstick by which to go … but [in contrast is] His Saying, “Fear Allah as much as you are able,” [Taghaabun 64:16] which is a precise, unabrogated principle.

So if the fast is sixteen hours long in some countries and shorter in others, the ruling doesn’t vary as regards the obligation of fasting due to the number of [such] hours being long or shortthus the regulating principle is that: if they see daybreak [fajr] they stop eating, and when they see the sun setting, they eat, this is what is obligatory on them.

And what may come to one’s mind is not said here, i.e., ‘That this is akin to oppression,’ far be it, because in response we will say that they will get their due in days to come, where instead of fasting twenty hours they might be fasting for ten, as is the [cyclical] nature of seasons.

Thus, the ruling is that whoever is able to is obligated to fast.

It is not allowed for them to align themselves to another country for the rising and setting of the sun.

And I believe, through personal experience, that a person has the strength and power, if he responds favourably to legislated rulings, to fast day and nightnot only to fast for twenty hours and eat during four, no, rather that he fasts day and night continuously [without eating at all], indeed some of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ wanted to fast continuously without a break so the Prophet ﷺ forbade them from doing so, to which they responded, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! You fast continuously without a break.’ So he said, ‘I spend the night while my Lord provides me with food and drink.’

So if there are people who are able to carry out an unlegislated fast, which is to fast continuously night and day without a break, then it is more fitting that they are able to do this [normal] fast if their country according to the legislation obligates them to refrain from eating at daybreak and to eat at sunset, this is possible.

And I myself, since some of you may have read in my books, fasted for forty days not having any food or drink except a few sips of water. You all know through everyone’s experience that whoever eats a lot drinks a lot, and that whoever stays hungry and doesn’t eat doesn’t long for water except for only a very little which will keep him aliveand this is how I was for forty days, nothing entered my stomach except for very, very little water, so how can I not fast … [a normal fast which is long] … especially with the kinds of iftaar which we have been tested with nowadays, i.e., what we lost in the day we have there in the iftaar.

For this reason, I hold it to be a glaring error in such an instance where the sun can be seen rising and setting that we turn to [the timings of] another country.

As for the other situation where there is no day or night … and this is present in the North Pole a lot, then for this circumstance we say that they fast according to the nearest possible country to them, it is possible to say this [in such a situation]. And it is possible here that we take the hadith [of Dajjaal] concerning the prayer times, “You must make an estimate of its extent,” … because they [at the poles] have a day which is very, very long at half a year, and a long, long night for the other half, so it is possible to say that they make a moderate estimate, for example, and fast for twelve hours only … as for where the sun rises and sets, then it is not allowed.

Fataawa Jeddah, 3.

Al-Albaani On Whether Long Fasting Hours Should Be Shortened


Questioner: The Muslims in Sweden, a European country, in Ramadaan they have only three hours to eat after opening their fast, i.e., the sun sets at ten o’clock and rises at one.

Al-Albaani: Where?

Questioner: In Sweden.

Al-Albaani: In Sweden, yes.

Questioner: Yes there are Muslims …

Al-Albaani: Yes … yes ma’roof.

Questioner: They only have three hours during which to eat, and they fast for twenty-one, so they find it difficult. One brother told me that some people gave them a fatwa that they can start and break the fast according to the time in Makkah, so this fatwa ya’ni

Al-Albaani: I don’t hold … I don’t hold this fatwa to be correct. Since we can flip the situation and say that a season will come where the situation will be the opposite, where they will fast for three hours or thereabouts and they will be able to eat for the remainder of those twenty four hours, clear?

Questioner: I don’t think …

Al-Albaani: Have you studied any geography?

Questioner: No, only a little.

Al-Abaani: Do you know that the sun, ya’ni, is hidden in the North Pole for half the year such that they don’t see it, and in the other half it’s the opposite of that totally, are you aware of that or not?

Questioner: My hold on geography [is weak], O Shaikh.

Al-Albaani:  So you don’t know that, it is something well-known.

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: And [then] between this and that [i.e., between the North and South poles] you have seasons in those countries, ya’ni, in the two poles you have night for half the year and day for half, [it is] in such a situation [that] the question as to what should be done is posed.

But those who are closer to us, [closer] to the equator, the closer they get to us the more uniform time becomes for them, you know that at the equator day and night are totally equal?

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: Yes, but it changes totally the higher or lower you go, so that you get a period in those countries where instead of the twenty or twenty-one hours they fast and the three hours they can eat, about half a year later it’s the total opposite of that.

That’s why I say to them your account is being accumulated in terms of what is coming [i.e., a time will come when your fast will be very short], and I do not give them a fatwa that they should fast according to [the timings of] their neighbouring countries, because the [following] aayahs apply to them: And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night], [Baqarah 2:187] in contrast to those we told you about in the North Pole who do not see the sun at all, there is no morning, no ’ishaa, nothing, [it is] these people [who] estimate the value as has been clearly stated in the authentic hadith about the Dajjaal in which the Prophet ﷺ upon informing his Companions that the Dajjaal would be there for how many days? Thirty or forty?

Questioner: Forty.

Someone else: Forty days.

Al-Albaani: Forty days. One of his days will equal a year, the next a month, the third a week and the rest will be like these days of yours. The question arose as to how they should pray [during that time]? He said, “You must make an estimate of its extent.”

So, making an estimate in that long year, what will the Muslims want to base that estimate on? On what they were accustomed to.

Now with the presence of watches it is very easy for them to estimate … if we supposed that the Muslims had a year-long dark night such that day and night were combined [into one], which happens at the two poles as we mentioned, in such an instance they have to make an estimate.

As for every country in which the sun can be seen setting and rising, and what that results in in terms of fajr­—then these people have to fast even if the duration of the fast seems long to them, and our Lord عز وجل says in the Noble Quran: And if Allaah had willed, He could have put you in difficulty, [Baqarah: 2:220] [but] He didn’t will difficulty for us, alhamdulillaah.

If such a situation does occur in some countries then soon enough they will get copious amounts of ease in place of that increased discomfort [when the day becomes short and their fasting becomes easier].

This is my answer and it is correct, inshaa Allaah.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 237.

See part two here.

The Fast of ’Aashuraa and Responding to an Invite


Questioner: Ustaadh, supposing that it’s ’Aashuraa, the fast of [the Day of] ’Aashuraa, and a person close to you has called you over for lunch, if you don’t go, he’ll get upset, so should you take up his invite or complete your fast?

Al-Albaani: If you don’t go he’ll get upset?

Questioner: He’ll get upset.

Al-Albaani: Go, but if there’s no harm [in not going] and he won’t get upset then he supplicates for him and completes his fast.

Questioner: So ’Aashuraa is like other optional acts of worship.

Al-Albaani: Optional, but it has special merit.

Questioner: Responding to an invite is regarded as being obligatory?

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: When a Muslim invites you then you must respond to his invitation, so the thing which is obligatory is given precedence over that which is optional.

Al-Albaani: That’s it, but if he accepts the excuse then he supplicates for him and asks Allaah to forgive him, if he doesn’t accept [his refusal] then he goes.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 25/2.

An Abandoned Sunnah When Opening Fasts


 

“From Anas in marfoo’ form, ‘He used to open his fast with fresh dates before he would pray and if there were no fresh dates then he would open it with dry dates and if there were none then he would take a few sips of water.’

The Imaam said, ‘The purpose of me mentioning this hadith whilst being brief in a discussion of its chain of narration is only to remind people of this Sunnah which most of those who fast have neglected, especially during common invitations in which all manner of delicious and pleasant food and drink is prepared, but as for fresh dates or at the very least dry dates then they have no mention, and even worse than that is their neglect of breaking the fast with some sips of water—so glad tidings for whoever is from those, ‘who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allaah has guided, and those are people of understanding.”” [Az-Zumar 39:18]

As-Saheehah, vol. 6/2/821.

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