Q&A (Fatwa)

#270: Ruling on Holding the Mushaf in Tarāwīh and Eating after the Adhān


Assalam alaykum waramotulahi wabarakatuhu,

I welcome u all to the blesses month Ramadan.
My questions are as follows;
1. What’s the total number of Tarawih can someone observe both after Ishai and during Sahur?
2. can someone hold Quran during the Tarawih prayers??
3. Can someone finishes his/her food when heard the adhan while eating Sahur ???
Pls ur response is very important.
Ramadan Kareem


Wa alaikum salaam Wa Rahmatullah Wa barakatuh

1. Total number of rakah to observe for taraawy.

As regarding the number of rakah for taraawiy or voluntary night or witr, prayers generally, the strongest of narrations upon which there has been discuss are two;
a. The night prayer is two two, and if you fear the occurrence of fajr, pray one rakah. Bukhari and Muslim.
b. The hadith of Abi salamah where he asked Aisha radiallahu Anna about the prayer of the rasul in Ramadan and she replied that he alaihi salam does not exceed 11 rakaat either in Ramadan or other than in Ramadan. Bukhari and Muslim

Both ahadith are not strange to the scholars and they have understood them in the following ways;

Al sarkhasi one of the prominent imams of the Hanafi madhhab said;
With us, it is 20 units without witr. (Al mabsut 2/145)

Ibn Qudama said, what is chosen with respect to imam Ahmad is 20 units,
This was the same statement with at thawri, Abu hanifa and Shafi’i.
Imam Malik said 36 units. (Al mugni 4/31)

From amongst the reasons why these scholars have mentioned above 11units might be because they see it as a flexible issue of which one must not be too strict about.

Because in deriving rules from the text, the statements of the Prophet alaihi salam are usually preferred above his actions when there seem to be a contradiction and it’s difficult to join both.

ولذا اشتهر عند الأصوليين قولهم: دلالة القول مقدمة على دلالة الفعل عند وقوع التعارض وتعذر الجمع بينهما.
And the hadith of Ibn Umar has made it open ended. And they see it wrong to peg the number with the hadith of Aisha because, the main work of the rasul alaihi salam was to guide the people. And it will be wrong to say that he alaihi salam gave an incomplete information to one whom is not even known amongst the companion. Because the narration was not specific as to who asked the question in the hadith of Ibn umar.

So it’s a very simple issue that one should not be unnecessarily strict about. We follow the Sunnah based on the understanding of the pious predecessors.

Based on this we say, if you happen to be praying in a masjid in which 20 units are observed, you pray with them. If you happen to be in where 11 are observed be patient with them.

This preserves the unity of the Ummah than migrating from one masjid to the other in search of the masjid that implements what you are convinced about.

The one thing that cannot be disputed is that both, all the imams mentioned above are fully aware of both narrations. However, this is their understanding of the hadith. The Ramadan is a month of unifying the hearts. Such unnecessary strictness can and has caused disunity.

However, if those strict about the units being 11 say that the prophet alaihi salam has said in a hadith; pray as you have seen me pray.

This hadith is not explicit in its meaning and cannot be used as a justification of restricting the units. This is because it could mean pray as you have seen me pray in form, ie how the every unit is properly done. And ironically, this hadith of pray as you have seen me pray was said by the prophet regarding the form and style and not regrading number of units.

This was the understanding of imam Bukhari based on the various chapters under which he transmitted this hadith. And he also narrated it in adab Al mufrad. Imam Al Bayhaqi also in his sunan, likewise at tabarani, darqutni, ibn khuzaima, and others.

Thus we advice flexibility in this affair.

Regarding the second question, can someone hold Quran during tarawhi prayers?

It depends on if the person in question is the imam or just a member of the congregation.

If he is the imam, there is nothing wrong with that because of the action of Aisha radiallahu anha, when she asked dhakwan to lead her in qiyamu Ramadan while reading from a mushaf. Bukhari mentioned it in an affirmative manner in his sahih.

However reading from memory is better if the imam has memorised. And if he hasn’t, it will be better to get one who has memorised among the congregation to lead.

If the person is not the imam and just a member of the congregation, it’s also allowed if he is asked by the imam to use it to correct him. This is still based on the hadith of Aisha above. But if there is no need for that such that there are others that have memorised behind the imam or there are enough that have taken up that responsibility, then it is preferable not to hold onto it because of still the same hadith of Aisha above. She did not have to hold another mushaf. For not holding a mushaf in such a situation where there is no need for it, brings about more humility in salah and reduces unnecessary actions that would have arisen when a mushaf is been held.

Regarding the third question of refraining from eating when the call for the true fajr

This issue arises from the hadith of Abu Huraira transmitted by Abu Dawood which says; if anyone of you hears the call while the bowl is in his hand, he should not drop it until he has fulfilled his need from it.

And Ahmad 10251, Abu Dawood 2350

Regarding it’s authenticity, the scholars of hadith have differed. For example, sheikh Abdul Aziz Al khudair says it chain stops with Abu Hurayrah. Abu Haatim ar raazi said it is not authentic.
The reasons for these scholars ruling on the hadith as inauthentic is because of a lot of reasons;
Hamad is alone in his narration of this hadith from amroo bin Alqamah, the difference in narration of the same narrative on the authority of hamad, the mistake of hamad in another chain of the hadith.

While sheikh Albani declears it sahih in sahih Abi Dawood.

Secondly, the narration is not clear cut as it can take other authentic meanings like;
The azan meant could be the azan of Bilal who is known to make the first call. And this will be in line with a clear hadith in which the prophet permitted eating and drinking when Bilal makes his call. And this meaning also coincides with the clear Verse which forbids eating and drinking when it is certain that the true fajr has surfaced.

Allah says; and eat and drink until the white thread (of fajr) becomes distinct from the black thread (of the night) . Al Baqarah 2;187
The hadith of the prophet alaihi salam transmitted in Al Bukhari with the meaning of; so eat an drink until Ibn umm maktoom gives the call to prayer…
And the hadith; there are two dawns, the first one does not make it haram to eat or make it permissible to pray, but the second makes it haram to eat and permissible to pray. Sunan Al Bayhaqi.

Thirdly, if the narration refers to the second call, then it will be contradicting the verse of the Quran and a hadith of the prophet of which there is no difference regarding it’s authenticity.

Based on the clear evidences of which there is no doubt, we will say, stop eating and drinking only when it becomes clear to you that the real dawn has surfaced. If you are sure that the adhan coincides with the real dawn, then you should desist from eating and drinking. For leaving a doubtful matter to one which is not doubtful is more safeguarding to the deen and honor.

And Allah knows best.

Jazaakumullah Khairan
Baarakallahu feekum!

Answered by Abu Hafs
2nd Ramadan 1438A.H



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