Very often the following question is posed to many people: "Do you follow the Deen of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) or the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)?" "Obviously the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)," comes the instant reply. The second question is then posed: "Why then do you call yourself a Hanafi?" The person not well versed is perplexed by this question. Doubts are then created in his mind. He soon starts gradually drifting towards the abandoning of taqleed i.e. following one of the four illustrious Imaams viz. Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Imaam Shafi'i (R.A.), Imaam Malik (R.A.) and Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (R.A.).
By means of the type of questions that have been mentioned above, a deliberate attempt is made to create a misconception in the minds of the unwary — that if you are a Hanafi, you are following the Deen of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), NOT the Deen of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This is an absolute fallacy. Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Imaam Shafi'i (R.A.) and the other Imaams did not invent any Deen of their own. They strictly followed the one and only Deen — the Deen of Islam brought by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Their followers are hence also following the same Deen — the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
The question that arises here is that why then should one follow any of the four Imaams? This can be answered by posing a counter-question: "Do you know all the various laws of Deen? Are you capable of extracting and deriving the laws pertaining to wudhu, salaah, zakaah, etc. directly from the Qur'an and Hadith? Do you know which Hadith has abrogated another? Do you have the ability to reconcile between the various Ahadith which apparently contradict each other? Do you know which verses of the Qur'an are general in their application and which verses are qualified by other texts? etc., etc." If one does not have the knowledge of these aspects, then one definitely does not have the ability to derive the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith. In that case the following aayah applies directly to oneself: "Ask those of knowledge if you do not know." (43:7) Hence when we do not have the enormous amount of knowledge and expertise that is necessary to derive the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith, we have opted to follow one of those great people who had attained that distinguished mastery in this field, among whom is Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.). Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) is a Taabi'i (one who has seen a Sahabi). He attained the knowledge of Hadith from approximately 4000 ustaads. His piety was such that for 40 years he performed fajr salaah with the wudhu of Isha salaah (i.e. he did not sleep the entire night) [Tareekhul Baghdad]. His knowledge, brilliance and righteousness was such that all the great scholars of his time attested to his mastery. Thus one can be well assured that such a person is absolutely capable of deriving the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith.
Another reason for adopting one of the Imaams as a guide is the following aayah of the Qur'an: Allah Ta'ala says: "And follow the path of those who turn to me" (31:15). In order to "turn" to Allah Ta'ala, two aspects are basic requisites — knowledge and practicing according to that knowledge. In this regard the four Imaams were in an extremely high category. Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) was regarded by various Ulama of his time as being the most knowledgeable of the people of that era (footnotes of Tahzeebut Tahzeeb vol. 1 pg. 451). Makki bin Ibrahim, who was one of the renown ustaads of Imaam Bukhari (R.A.), was a student of Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.). Imaam Abu Hanifa (R.A.) compiled a book of Hadith entitled "Kitaabul Aathaar" from among 40,000 Ahadith. Thus those who follow such a guide can be satisfied that they are strictly following the commands of Allah Ta'ala and His Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
At this point somebody may ask: "If all the Imaams deduced the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith, how is it possible for them to differ on various aspects?" In order to understand the reality of these differences, we will have to go back in history right upto the time of the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum).
Once Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had just returned from a battle when he ordered the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) to immediately proceed to the place of Banu Quraizah — a clan of Jews who lived on the outskirts of Madina Munawwarah. The purpose was to lay a siege upon them for having broken the pact that they had made with the Muslims. In order to impress the urgency of the matter upon the Sahaaba (R.A.), Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said to them: "None of you should perform your salaah al-Asr except in Banu Quraizah."
While the Sahaaba (R.A.) were still en-route, the time of Asr arrived. Some Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) felt that they should perform their Asr immediately. They regarded the instruction of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as actually being a command to proceed very swiftly to their destination. It did not imply that the Asr salaah could not be performed en-route. They thus performed their salaah there. Another group of Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum.) viewed the instruction literally. They therefore continued and only performed their Asr salaah after having reached Banu Quraizah. Later when Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was informed about this, he did not rebuke either group. [Sahih Bukhaari]
Thus we find that the difference arose from a point of interpretation. However, this difference of interpretation is only entertained when it comes from a person who has in-depth knowledge of Deen and has attained a mastery in the Qur'an and Hadith and the other related aspects. At times a difference of opinion occurs due to the different narrations that are found with regards to a particular aspect. One Imaam gives preference to one narration on the basis of various criteria while the other Imaam, in the light of his knowledge, prefers the other narration. This is basically the manner in which these differences occur. However, just as Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did not rebuke either of the two groups in the incident mentioned above, similarly since the Imaams have attained the status of a mujtahid (one who is capable of deriving the laws directly from the Qur'an and Hadith), they will not be blame worthy even if they have erred. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "When a haakim (ruler) passes judgement, and after having exerted his utmost effort he arrives at the correct solution, he gets a double reward. And if he errs after having exerted his utmost ability, he gets one reward." (Bukhari vol. 2 pg. 1092). Ibn al-Munzir (R.A.) while commenting on this Hadith writes that a ruler will only get this reward if he has thorough knowledge and in the light of his knowledge he passed judgement. (see footnotes of Sahih Bukhari; ibid). The four Imaams had the ability and necessary knowledge to practice ijtihaad. Thus they fall under the ambit of this Hadith.
Another point that often comes up is the following: Why is it necessary to follow one Imaam only? Why can one not follow a certain Imaam in one aspect and another Imaam in another aspect? The simple answer to this is: On what basis will one pick and choose, especially since one does not have the knowledge required to derive the laws. Thus one will not be in a position to evaluate the deductions of each Imaam. Hence it will obviously be on the basis of what suits one. This is nothing but following one's desires — regarding which Allah Ta'ala has issued severe warnings in the Qur'an. Following one's desires sometimes even leads a person to kufr. Thus great jurists of latter times, among them Shah Waliullah (R.A.), have reaffirmed that it is wajib for the masses to follow one Imaam only.
Here one more point needs clarification with regards to the authenticity of Ahadith. The general masses are made to believe that a Hadith is only authentic if it is related in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. This is a misconception. The authenticity of the Hadith is based on its chain of narrators, irrespective of whether it appears in any one of the Sihah Sitta (the famous six authentic compilations of Hadith) or in any other compilation besides these. Imaam Muslim has written in his muqqadama (introduction to Sahih Muslim) that he has not recorded every authentic Hadith in his Sahih. Actually, according to Imaam Bukhari and imaam Muslim, there are more authentic Ahadith which are not recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim than the number of narrations contained in these two books. The Hanafi madhhab is derived directly from the Qur'an and Hadith, like all the other madhhabs. However, to truly appreciate the conformity of the Hanafi madhhab with the Hadith, one will have to undertake a thorough study of the following books of Hadith: (1) Sharah Ma'anil Aathaar (2) Aljawharan Naqi (3) Nasbur Raayah (4) I'la as-Sunan (5) Bazlul Majhood (6) Fathul Mulhim (7) Awjazul Masaalik (8) Aathaarus Sunan, etc
It has already been explained above that the differences between the Imaams are based on the different narrations or the difference of interpretation. However, all the Imaams have their proofs from the Qur'an and Sunnah. Thus it is the duty of every person, while strictly following his Imaam, to respect and honour the other Imaams and their followers. Nevertheless, in this belated age there are many people who have cast aside the following of any of the four Imaams completely. Instead, while claiming to follow the Qur'an and Hadith directly, they in reality have begun to follow the interpretations of (make taqleed of!) some modern day ghair muqallid (one who has abandoned taqleed). However, coupled with this they often will be found denigrating the followers of an Imaam and classifing them as people following the Deen of Imaam Abu Hanifa and others — not the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). They make themselves out as being the only ones who follow Hadith while all others are regarded as being contradictory to the Hadith. Many people have become entrapped in this propaganda. Thus this book sets out to explain proofs of specifically those aspects regarding which the Hanafis are generally made a target of abuse. The purpose is to simply bring to the attention of the unwary person that he is following the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam.) — not some other Deen. This book is not intended to create a climate of debate and argument. As already explained, all the Imaams have their proofs. It is hoped that by the means of this book the baseless propaganda against those who follow one of the four illustrious Imaams will be halted in its tracks.
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "Whoever performs wudhu and makes masah over his nape, he will be saved from wearing a necklace (of fire) around his neck on the the day of judgement". The famous commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Allamah Ibn Hajar Asqalaani (R.A), writes in his book Talkheesul Habeer (vol. 1: p.92) that this narration is Sahih. Allamah Shawkani (R.A.) has also affirmed this in Naylul Awtaar (vol. 1, p.204).
It is not permissible to make masah over ordinary socks (cotton, woollen, nylon, etc. — i.e. all socks other than leather socks) in wudhu. There is no authentic narration sanctioning this practice. In the commentary of Tirmidhi, Tuhfatul Ahwazee, the famous Ahle Hadith scholar Allamah Mubarakpuri, has written that this practice of making masah on woollen, cotton, nylon socks and socks made from similar materials is not established from any authentic Hadith (vol. 1, pg.333). Many other high ranking scholars of the ghair muqallid sect (those who do not prescribe to taqleed) have refuted this practice and declared it as impermissible. (see fatawa Nazeeriah; 1:423)
Hazrat Abu Huraira (radhiallahu anhu) narrates: "When the length of your shadow (from the sun) is equal to your height then perform the zuhr salaah. When the length of your shadow becomes twice your height, perform the asr salaah. Perform the maghrib salaah when the sun has set. Perform the esha salaah before one-third (1/3) of the night passes. And perform the fajr salaah while it is still dark." [Muwatta Imaam Maalik vol.1, pg.8, Hadith 9]
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said: "When the heat becomes very intense (after mid-day), then delay the zuhr salaah until it cools down, for verily the intensity of the heat is from the effects of Jahannam". [Sahih Muslim, Hadith 615]
It was the noble habit of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) that he used to delay the performance of asar so long as the sun remained white and clear. [Abu Daud; Waqtul Asr]
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "Perform the fajar salaah when the sky brightens at the time of dawn (i.e. before sunrise) since this is a means of earning greater reward. [Tirmidhi, Hadith 154]
Imam Tirmidhi explains that the majority of the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) used to perform fajar salaah at this time (i.e. when the sky had brightened up).
The muazzins of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Abu Mahzoora (radhiallahu anhu) and Thaubaan (radhiallahu anhu) also used to call out the azaan and iqaamah in the above mentioned manner (i.e. by saying the words twice).
Allaamah Shawkani (R.A.) has affirmed the authenticity of the above narrations in Naylul Autaar, (vol.2. pg.24.)
Ibn Umar (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) wore a white hat. (Tabarani — Allama Suyuti has classified this Hadith as highly authentic: see Sirajul Muneer; v.4, pg.112). It is written in Fataawa Thunaaiyya vol. 1, pg. 525), and in the Fatawaa of the Ahle Hadith Scholars (vol. 4 pg.291) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) always used to keep his mubarak head covered during salaah. In the same books it is also mentioned that to intentionally remove the headgear (hat) and perform salaah bare-headed is contrary to the sunnah. (vol. 1, pg.523.)
Hazrat Qataada (radhiallahu anhu) relates that he saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performing his salaah. He relates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to lift his hands until they were in line with his earlobes. [Sahih Muslim, ch. on Istihbaabur Raf’, Hadith 391]
The above-mentioned method of tying the hands is also related by Hazrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu).
Imaam Tirmidhi (R.A.) states that the majority of the Sahaba (radhiallahu anhum) also used to recite Bismillah softly.
Allah Ta’aala says: "When the Qur’an is being recited then listen attentively and remain silent so that mercy will be showered upon you".
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, Abu Hurairah, Abdullah Ibn Abbas and Abdullah Ibn Mughaffal (radhiallahu anhum) state that this verse of the Quran was revealed with regards to the Khutba (of Juma’ah) and with regards to Salaah. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 pg. 281]
The dictates of this verse of the Holy Qur’an is that when the Imaam recites the Qur’an aloud, the followers should listen attentively, and when he recites softly, the followers should remain silent.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "When you begin your congregational prayers, straighten your rows. Thereafter when the Imaam says the takbeer (i.e. when he says Allahu Akbar aloud) you must also say the takbeer. However, when he begins the recital of the Qur’an, you must remain silent. And when he recites walad daul leen then you should say Aameen". By performing your salaah in this manner Allah Ta’ala will love you." [Muslim; ch. on tashahhud]
(A similar Hadith has been narrated by Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu)-Imaam Muslim has attested to its authenticity; ibid).
It is reported from Hazrat Ataa Ibn Yasaar (radhiallahu anhu) that he questioned Hazrat Zaid Ibn Thaabit (radhiallahu anhu) concerning reciting Qira’at with the Imaam. Hazrat Zaid (radhiallahu anhu) answered: "There is no recitation of the Glorious Qur’an in any salaah behind the Imaam". [Sahih Muslim, chapter on Sujood-ut-Tilaawah, Hadith 577]
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) used to repeatedly say: "Whoever performs salaah behind the Imaam, the Imaam’s qiraat suffices for him". (Sunan Baihaqi; chapter on not reciting qiraat behind the Imaam — Imaam Baihaqi (R.A.) has stated that this Hadith is Sahih.)
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) was asked: "Must the muqtadi recite behind the Imam?" He replied that the qiraat of the Imaam is sufficient for the muqtadi. But if he performs salaah individually, then he must recite qiraat. It was the practice of Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) also that he would not recite surah fatiha behind the Imam. (In Aathaarus Sunan (Vol. 1 pg.89) this Hadith has been classified as sahih).
Hazrat Jaabir (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that the one who does not recite sura fatiha even in one rakaat, his salaah is not valid. However, if he is behind an Imam he must not recite surah fatiha. (This Hadith has been classified as hasan — Tirmizi - ch. on not reciting behind the Imaam). It is on the basis of this Hadith that Imaam Tirmidhi (R.A.) has narrated from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (R.A.) [who was the teacher of the ustaad of Imaam Bukhari (R.A.)] that the narration "Whoever does not recite surah fatiha his salaah is not complete" refers to one who performs his salaah alone. It does not include the muqtadi (Jami’ Tirmidhi, ibid). In the above Hadith it is very clearly mentioned that the muqtadi must not recite sura fatiha.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "Do not hasten before the Imaam! When he says the takbeer, then you should do the same. When he recites Walad da ul leen, then you should say Aameen. When he makes ruku’ then you should make ruku’. And when he says sami’-Allahu liman hamidah then you should say Allahumma Rabbana wa lakal hamd". [Sahih Muslim, Hadith 415]
With regards to the saying of Aameen this narration is very clear and explicit. Like in the case where the Imaam says Allahu Akbar and sami’-Allahu liman hamidah aloud, but all the followers say "Allahu Akbar"and "Rabbana lakal hamd" softly. In the same manner when the Imaam recites "walad daul leen" aloud, the followers should say Aameen softly. It is also reported from Abu Ma’mar that Umar (radhiallahu anhu) used to say: "The Imaam will recite four things softly-Ta’awwuz, Bismillah, Aameen and Rabbana Lakalhamd" (Aini Vol. 1 pg. 620)
Hazrat Jaabir Ibn Samurah (radhiallahu anhu) relates that once Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) came out of his house towards us and said: "Why is it that I see you all raising your hands as though they are the tails of stubborn horses. Be tranquil in salaah". [Sahih Muslim, Hadith 430]
This hadith alone makes it clear that those narrations which mention the raising of the hands (during the salaah) were narrated prior to the prohibition of this practice.
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (radhiallahu anhu) said: "Shall I not show you the manner in which Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performed his salaah?" Thereafter he performed the salaah but he did not raise his hands except at the beginning (of his salaah). [Tirmidhi, Hadith no.257] This Hadith is classified Hasan. Ibn Hazm (R.A.) has declared it as sahih. Ahmed Shakir (R.A.) has also declared it as sahih.
It is related that Hazrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) used to raise his hands at the time of the first Takbeer (during his salaah). Thereafter he did not raise them. [Sunanal Bayhaqi](The commentator of Bukhari Shareef, Allaama Ibn Hajar, Allaama Zayla'i and Allaama ‘Aini (R.A.) have said that this narration and its chain of narrators is Sahih)
One should take note of the fact that the practice of Hazrat Umar, the remaining Khulafa-e-Raashideen, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and many more Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhu) was the same, that they only raised their hands at the time of the first takbeer. Imaam Tirmidhi (R.A.) also states that this was the practice of a great number of the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum).
In a narration from the ibn Sahl (radhiallahu anhu) it is mentioned that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said the takbeer and simultaneously went into sajdah. Then he said the takbeer and simultaneously stood up erect without sitting. [Abu Daud, Hadith no. 966]Imaam Bayhaqi (R.A.) has recorded in his Sunan that this was the practice of Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiallahu anhu). Allaama Zayla'i (R.A.) has recorded in Nasabur Raayah that the same procedure was the practice of Hazrat Umar, Ali, Abdullah Ibn Zubeir and Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (radhiallahu anhu). (vol. 1, pg. 289)
Likewise Allaamah Turkumaani has recorded in Jauharun Naqi regarding several Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) that it was their practice that after the first and third rakaat they would stand up straight from sajdah without sitting. (vol. 1, pg. 125)
"All oral, physical and monetary worship is due to Allah alone. Salutations to you ‘O Nabi, and the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you. Peace be upon us and upon all the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that none is worthy of worship besides Allah and that Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is his servant and messenger.)Thereafter he would choose from the supplications whatever he wished."
[Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 402; Sahih Bukhari, chapter on Tashahhud].
It is narrated that when Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to sit down to supplicate, (to recite tashahhud) he used to place his right hand on his right thigh and his left hand on his left thigh. He would indicate at the time of reciting the shahadah by raising his index finger. He would also join the ends of his thumb and middle finger (thereby forming a circle). [Sahih Muslim, chapter on the description of sitting-Hadith no.579]
(trans: O Allah shower your mercy upon Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the family of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as you have showered your mercy upon Ibrahim (A.S.) and the family of Ibrahim (A.S.). Behold, you are Praiseworthy, Glorious. O Allah shower your blessings upon Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the family of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as you have showered your blessings upon Ibrahim (A.S.) and the family of Ibrahim (A.S.). Behold, you are Praiseworthy, Glorious.
It is narrated that Abdullah Ibn Zubair (radhiallahu anhu) saw a man raising his hands and making dua before completing his salah. When the person had completed his salaah, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Zubair (radhiallahu anhu) went up to him and said: "Verily, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to only raise his hands and make dua after completing his salaah" (the narrators of this Hadith are all trustworthy — Majmauz Zawaaid, vol. 1, pg. 169).
It is also mentioned in the Fataawa of Ahle Hadith (vol. 1, pg.190) as well as in Fataawa Nazeeriyyaa (vol. 1, pg. 566) that in the light of the Sharia, the dua after salaah is an authentically established practice and it is mustahab to do so.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said: "Whoever performs four rakaats before the fardh of zuhr and four rakaats after it, Allah Ta’aala will make him haraam upon the fire of Jahannam". [Tirmidhi, Hadith no. 428]
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said: "May Allah show mercy upon that person who performs four rakaats before the fardh of asr". [Tirmidhi, chapter on the narrations regarding the four rakaats, Hadith no. 430]
Hazrat Abu Ma’mar (radhiallahu anhu) has said that the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) used to consider 4 rakaats after the Fardh of maghrib to be mustahab. [Qiyaamul-Layl of Marwazi pg.58]
Hazrat Sa’eed Ibn Jubair (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) used to regard the performing of four rakaats before the fardh of isha as mustahab. [ibid. pg.58]
Hazrat A’yesha (radhiallahu anha) is reported to have said (with regards to the tahajjud salaah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): "He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) never used to perform more than eleven rakaats, whether in Ramadhan or out of Ramadhaan. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would perform long rakaats in two units of four rakaats each with such excellence and devotion which cannot be described. Thereafter he would perform three rakaats of witr salaah". [Sahih Muslim, chapter on salaatul layl, Hadith 738]
Hazrat Aasim (radhiallahu anhu) narrates: "I inquired from Hazrat Anas Ibn Malik (radhiallahu anhu) concerning the qunoot of witr. He affirmed its occurrence in the witr salaah. Then I asked whether it should be recited before the ruku or after it. He replied: "It should be recited before the ruku". I then informed him of a certain person who had heard him (Hazrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) saying that it should be recited after ruku. Hazrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) most vehemently denied this". Furthermore he said: "Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) recited the qunoot after the ruku for only one month.(referring to the qunootun naazilah)" [Sahih Bukhari, chapter on qunoot before ruku].In Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah it is mentioned that for this very reason the Sahaaba-e-Kiraam (radhiallahu anhum) used to recite the qunoot before ruku.
Allaama Ibn Hajar (R.A.) writes in his commentary on Bukhari, Fath al-Bari that after analysing all these narrations we learn that it was the normal practice to recite the qunoot before ruku.
However on certain occasions (such as the befalling of a calamity, etc.) the qunoot would be recited after ruku. (vol. 1, pg. 291)
Hazrat A’yesha (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to perform three rakaats witr without making salaam in between (i.e. after two rakaats.) [Zadul Ma’aad, pg.110]
Allama Ibn Hajar (R.A.) writes in Fathul Baari, the commentary on Sahih Bukhari, that Hazrat Ubay Ibn Ka’b, Hazrat Umar, Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Anas Ibn Malik (radhiallahu anhum) used to make salaam at the end of three rakaats witr, not in between. (vol. 1, pg. 291)
It is narrated that once Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (radhiallahu anhu) reached the masjid whilst the Imaam was leading the salaah of fajr with the congregation.
Hence, since he had not as yet performed the two rakaats sunnah of fajr, he stood behind one of the pillars of the masjid and performed it (while the jama’ah was in progress). Thereafter he joined the jamaat. [Majmauz-Zawaaid, vol. 1, pg. 75]
This was also the practice of Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abu Dardaa and Uthmaan (radhiallahu anhum).
In the Muwwatta of Imaam Malik (R.A.) it is narrated that this was also the practice of Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu).
It is narrated that one night during Ramadhaan Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performed salaat al-tarawih in the masjid. A group of Sahaabah joined him during his salaah. The following night the same happened as the previous night except that the number of followers had increased considerably. Hence on the third (or fourth) night Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did not come out to the masjid to perform salaat al-tarawih with the people. The following morning he said to them: "Indeed I had seen your eagerness (to perform the tarawih behind me), but for the fear that this salaah will be made fardh (compulsory) upon you during Ramadhaan, I did not come out to join you in the tarawih". [Muslim, Hadith no.761]
Hazrat Yazeed Ibn Ruman (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that during the khilaafah of Hazrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu) the Sahaabah used to perform twenty rakaats tarawih and three rakaats witr salaah (with jamaat). [Muwwatta Imaam Maalik, chapter concerning standing in salaah during Ramadhaan]
During the khilafah of Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) tarawih with jamaat was not in vogue. The practice of performing twenty rakaats with jamaat in every night of Ramadhaan and the completion of the entire Quraan began only during the the khilaafat of Hazrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu). All the Sahaabah present had agreed upon this practice. From then onwards including the Khilafah of both Hazrat Uthmaan and Hazrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) upto this day the Muslim Ummah (at large) has followed this practice.
Twenty rakaats tarawih is also performed in both the Masjids of Makkah and Madinah upto the present time. However, it is tragic that in recent times a group of people have conflicted with the consensus of the Sahaabah (radhiallahu anhum) and the rest of the Ummah with regards to the number of rakaats in Tarawih salaah.
Hazrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (radhiallahu anhu) was asked regarding the number of takbeers that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to say in both the Eid salaahs. He replied: "He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to say four takbeers (in every rakaat), in the same way as he used to say the takbeers in the salaat al-Janaaza". Hazrat Hudhaifa (radhiallahu anhu) also confirmed this practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). [Abu Dawud, Hadith no. 1153]
Imaam Tirmidhi (R.A.) has also recorded several narrations of similar meaning from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud and other Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiallahu anhum).
It is narrated that Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar and Abdullah Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) would perform Qasr salaah and that they would also make iftaar (i.e. they would not fast) whenever they travelled the distance of four burud. Four burud is sixteen farsakh i.e. 48 miles. [Bukhari, chapter regarding the distance upon which one will perform Qasr salaah].
It is mentioned in Fataawa Thunaiyya that the majority of the Muhadditheen say that 48 miles is the correct distance of Shar’i travel (safar). Nine miles is incorrect. (vol.1, pg.482)
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) stated that whoever intends to stopover at any place along his journey for fifteen days (or more), he should perform his salaah fully (i.e. he should not perform Qasr salaah.) [Tirmidhi, Hadith no. 548]
It is established from several ahadith that the saff (row) should be absolutely straight and no gaps should be left between the musallis (worshippers). However, some people insist on spreading their feet and standing in such a manner that their ankles touch the ankles of their neighbour. What is the reality of standing in this fashion?
Those who stand in this way base their practice upon a hadith narrated by Nu’maan bin Basheer (radhiallahu anhu). He says: "Once Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) faced us and said: "Straighten your rows". He repeated this thrice. He then said: "By Allah, you must most certainly straighten your rows or else Allah Ta’ala will disunite your hearts". Hazrat Nu’maan bin Basheer (radhiallahu anhu) says: "I then saw the people joining together their shoulders and ankles". [Abu Dawood, Sahih ibn Khuzaima]
The concluding statement of Hazrat Nu’maan (radhiallahu anhu) is also reported in Sahih Bukhari.
However, upon analysing this hadith, several points come to light: Firstly, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) never commanded the joining of the ankles. No hadith has yet been found wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) himself instructed the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhu) to join their ankles. The Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhu) had themselves adopted this manner in order to fulfil the command of straightening the saff. Secondly, this hadith clearly mentions that Nu’maan bin Basheer (radhiallahu anhu) saw the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhu) doing this PRIOR to the commencement of the salaah. There is no mention of this position being maintained even after the salaah had commenced. Therefore we find that great muhadditheen such as Hafiz ibn Hajar (R.A.) and Allama Shawkani (R.A.) have regarded this as an extreme measure which was occasionally adopted by the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhu) to ensure that the saff is straight.
In fact, a hadith of Hazrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) makes it absolutely clear that this practice was merely a measure adopted BEFORE the salaah to ensure the straightening of the saff. He says: "If I had to do that (join the ankles) with anyone of them (the taabi’een) today, they would run like wild mules". [Fath al-Bari, vol.2, pg.176]
This simply means that the taabi’een severely disliked that anybody should join their ankles with them. Several points are understood from this: Firstly, Hazrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) had stopped doing this completely. Had this been a sunnah and not just a manner of ensuring that the saff was straight, it is impossible that Hazrat Anas (radhiallahu anhu) would have left it out merely upon somebody disliking it.
Secondly, the taabi’een would never have disliked it if they had observed many of the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) continuously practicing upon this. It was only due to the fact that they had not generally observed the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) adopting this procedure that they disliked it. Hence this makes it crystal clear that the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) had only occasionally adopted this practice to ensure the straightening of the saff. It was not a sunnah in itself, otherwise they would never have left it out.
It has already been made clear that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) never himself instructed the joining of the ankles, nor is there any mention of the Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) having maintained this position even IN salaah.
However, if for a moment we do accept that this position must be adopted during the course of the salaah as well, the question is: In which posture of salaah must this position be maintained? Must it be maintained during qiyaam, ruku, sajdah and qa’dah or in only some of these postures? If one says that the ankles should be joined only in the qiyaam posture, on what basis were the other postures excluded? If it is argued that it is difficult to do so in ruku and sajdah, the same could be said for qiyaam, since to stand with one’s feet spread apart is naturally awkward and hence it presents a certain amount of difficulty and uneasiness for many people. In short, this practice is not established as a sunnah of salaah. It was merely adopted initially by the Sahaaba (radiallahu anhum) BEFORE the commencement of salaah to ensure that the rows are straight.And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best