The 8 raka’ts dilemma and debacle of the salafi juhala
By Zaheer Mangerah – A Madrasah Student –
I'm sure that by now we are accustomed to the 8 rakaat brigade slinking out of the Masaajid after 8 rakaats. This unfortunately has become a common aberration in many Masaajid throughout South Africa and other parts of the world. Some Masaajid in Johannusburg have actually made a separate parking area for the 8 rakaat gang of deviates. Hence I felt the need to comment on this matter. In reality the matter is quite simple. The complications arise as always from the side of the dim-witted Salafis who can't grasp simple issues of the Shariah.
WHY 8 RAKAATS?
I'm sure this is the question running through the minds of all and sundry who, for the pleasure of Allah, diligently uphold the Sunnah Taraaweeh of 20 rakaats. The reality is that no Aalim on the surface of this earth had declared Taraweeh to be 8 rakaats except a man who popped up in the last century, and who believed that he could interpret Hadith narrations better than the entire fraternity of Aimmah Mujtahideen and Fuqaha from the Sahaabah running all the way down over 1400 years. This person who had deviated from the Way of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah was Albaani, the recent imam of the Salafis.
It is unfortunate that Salafis vigorously try to justify the deviation of their imaams from the Path of the Sahaabah and the Aimmah Mujtahideen. In complete conflict with the Sahaabah and the Ummah, they adamantly adhere to Albaani’s view and audaciously label anyone who opposes his view as one who is "disuniting the ummah", when in fact they are the ones guilty of sowing discord in the Ummah with their baseless 8 raka’t stunt.
Quite hilarious I'd say, the man deviated from the interpretation of every single Aalim and the Ijma’ of this Ummah. When the ummah speaks and opposes his deviation then it is said that we causing disunity?
The main Hadith they present as proof is a Hadith with regards to Tahajjud Salaat which they take out of context and interpret only as Albani had understood. However, they are blind to the fact that Imaam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alayh) himself, from whose Kitaab they obtain their baseless daleel, is proven to having performed 20 Raka’ts.
The books of the Muhaditheen and Fuqaha are replete with discussions regarding Taraaweeh. None of these great authorities of the Shariah related to Taraaweeh the Hadith which Salafis usually quote, as ALL KNEW that the Hadith did not pertain to Taraaweeh, and that it referred to Tahajjud Salaat.
The Ummah always performed 20 rakaat and regarded it to be Sunnah. Some even performed extra as Nafil such as the Maalikis who performed extra rakaats whilst those in Makkah made Tawaaf after every four rakaats hence the people in Madina used to performs 36 raka’ts. However, the Sahabah by consensus deemed Taraweeh to be 20 rakaats, and this elevates the 20 Raka’ts Taraaweeh to the status of Sunnatul Muakkadah.
Imaam Tirmizi (Rahmatullah alayh), died 279 AH, states that Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), Sufyan Thawri (Rahmatullah alayh) and Imam Shafi’i (Rahmatullah (alayh), all accept that Taraaweeh Salaat is Twenty Rakaahs. He quoted Imam Shafi’i as saying that he saw the people of Makkah performing twenty raka’ts. (Tirmidhi, v.1 p.99)
The Muwatta of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullah alayh), reads: “We go by this (twenty rak’ats Taraweeh)....because the Muslims (the Sahaabah) were unanimous about it and saw it to be a good act. It has been reported that Rasulallah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever the Muslims (the Sahaabah) regard as a good act, it is indeed a good act in the sight of Allah as well.”
Hafiz Abu Zur’ah Al-’Iraqi stated, “They (the Ulama) have regarded the approval of the Sahaabah [when Sayyiduna ‘Umar did so] as Ijma’“.
Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari stated that the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) have enacted Ijma’ on the practice of twenty rak’ats. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and many others have also claimed Ijma’ of the Sahaabah on this issue.
SALAFIS BECOME RETARDED WHEN READING THIS HADITH
“You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided Khulafa” (Abu Dawud)
Many other Ahaadith emphasize that the Ummah should follow the Khulafah and more specifically, Shaikhain i.e. Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma).
The errant Salafis say absurdly that it means that we should follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It seems they can't understand simple issues.
Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] equated the Sunnah of his Sahabah to his own Sunnah. Thus he mentioned that out of the 73 sects only the one that holds on to both his way and the way of his Sahaabah would be saved. Since Salafi’ism is a sect of baatil, it’s no wonder that they so abortively justify their conflict with the Ijma’ of the Sahaabah.
Rasulullah [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] said:
“A group of my Ummah shall remain steadfast on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until death or until the Day of Resurrection.”
[Al-Bukhaari, Book 71 no. 3641 Sahih Muslim, no. 1920]
Now on the basis of this Hadith, Taraaweeh of less than 20 raka’ts and the Salafi malpractice of 8 raka’st are manifestly baatil, because from the time the blessed Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) left this world until the last century NO ONE EVER PERFORMED 8 RAKAATS. It was only with the advent of this miscreant Salafi group that it began to be propagated that Taraaweeh is 8 raka’ts. Thus, one does not require intelligence to understand that the innovated 8 rakaats can never be the Sunnah.
TRUTH ON THE TONGUE OF UMAR (Radhiyallahu anhu)
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah has placed truth on Umar’s tongue and heart.” (Abu Dawud)
We ask the Salafis when Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) said with his ‘tongue’ that Taraweeh should be 20 rakaats, was this the Haqq or not? What these Salafis don't understand is that when they negate Ijma’, they automatically imply, like Shiahs, that they and their imaam, Albaani who died just yesterday, have understood the Sunnah better than the Sahaabah. It follows from this implication that the Sahaabah and Taabieen had erred in their Ijma’ of 20 raka’ts. These Salafis are opening the doors of fitnah – the fitnah of blatantly contradicting the Sahaabah in their understanding of the Sunnah, yet Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explicitly said:
“The best of people are my generation, then those who follow after them, then those who follow after them, then there will come after them a people who will be fat, and they will love obesity, bearing witness before being asked to.”(Tirmidhi and Al-Haakim)
These Salafis are in diametric conflict with this clear declaration of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
FURTHER WARNING FOR THOSE NEGATING IJMA’
An old man dressed in woollen garments came to Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) and said: “May I ask a question?” Imaam Shaafi’i gave him permission. He then asked: “What are the Shar’i proofs in the Deen of Allah Ta’ala?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Kitaab of Allah Ta’ala.” He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’ replied: “The consensus of the Ummah.” He then asked: “What is your proof for this?” Imaam Shaafi’i thought for a while. The old man then said: “I give you respite for three days, either you bring me proof from the Qur’aan or seek forgiveness and repent to Allah Ta’ala.” The facial complexion of Imaam Shaafi’i changed. He then went and did not come out for three days. On the third day between Zuhr and Asr, weak and sick, he emerged from his seclusion. As he was about to be seated, the old man appeared, greeted and sat beside him. He then asked for his proof. Imaam Shaafi’i said: “Yes”, and he recited the Qur’aanic verse:
“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is. (Surah Nisa, 115)
The man said: “You have spoken the truth.” The man then left. Imaam Shaafi’i said to those seated around him: “I recited the entire Qur’an thrice daily for three days, until the proof finally dawned upon me.”
It is no wonder that Salafis become blind and deaf to the Haq and can't understand simple concepts because they have contradicted Ijma’. The warning of Allah Ta’ala mentioned in this verse is true. The stated calamity has overtaken the Salafis.
"We shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is."
Allah Ta’ala has abandoned them in their waywardness and deviation, and if Allah does not guide than who can guide one?
Despite all this Salafis will still monotonously ramble on. One should not waist one’s precious time, no matter what ‘daleels’ are put forward. The fact of the matter is that they will never accept the Haqq. Just deliver the message of Haq. It is about such people that the Qur’aan mentions:
"Do you not see those who take their nafs [also their own intellects and reasoning] as gods besides Allah [by giving preference over truth or making that the yardstick] how we lead them astray even though they possessed knowledge; how we sealed their hearts and ears and cast a veil over their eyes? Who can guide them besides Allah? Will you then not take heed?"
May Allah protect us and guide one and all and protect us from becoming part of the 8 rakaat brigade which contradicts the Sunnah of the noble Sahaabah.
THE BASELESS FOCAL DALEEL OF THE SALAFIES
As mentioned earlier on it was clearly proved that for over the past 1400 years, 20 rakaats Taraweeh were considered Sunnah by the Ummah. However, their main daleel which is a misinterpretation shall be neutralized. Hypothetically, we shall assume that the tooth fairy exists and that the Hadith and its interpretation were not known to any Sahaabi or Faqeeh. And that Imaam Bukhari himself became somewhat lacking in vision when he came across this Hadith, and that only Albani was raised up this past century to correct all the Sahaabah and those who followed them with regards to what the true SUNNAH is.
THE MISINTERPRETED HADITH
Narrated Abu Salama Bin Abdur Rrahman (Radhiyallahu anhu):
“I asked Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the Salaat of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) during the month of Ramadan. She said that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never exceeded 11 Rakats in Ramadan nor in the other months. (First) he used to offer 4 rakats. Do not ask me about their beauty and length, then 4 Raka’ts. Do not ask me about their beauty and length. Then 3 Raka’ts.”
Aishah further said: I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Do you sleep before offering Witr salat?’ He replied: ‘O Aishah! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!”
(Bukhari, Book of Tahajjud Salaat, chapter: the Salaat of the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at night in Ramadan and in other months. 2:248)
1. The commentator of al-Sahih al-Bukhari and the erudite Muhaddith, Shaykh Shamsud-Din al-Kermani (d. 786 AH) said: 'In the Hadith (above), the Tahajjud Salaat is meant. Abu Salama's question and Hadrat Aishah's answer concerned the Tahajjud.' He adds further: 'If the Tahajjud prayer is not meant, then this Hadith will be in conflict with the Hadith that states that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) led twenty Rak'ats for each of two nights, and in the case of such clash the Hadith of twenty Rakat's which is affirmative (Muthbit) shall have precedence because according to the principles of Hadith, the affirmative takes precedence over the negative (Nafi)" -- Al-Kawakib ud-Durari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pg 155-156).
Let's for one minute exercise some common sense, we all know and even Salafis agree that Taraaweeh was performed in JAMAAT IN PUBLIC for a number of days before Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] desisted for fear of it becoming obligatory.
Now if it was performed in jamaat and in public what was the need to ask Aishah [Radiallahu anha]? Wouldn’t the number of raka’ts of Taraaweeh have been common knowledge to the Sahaabah? It is quite obvious that the Sahaabi was asking Hadhrat Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the private ibaadat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Sahaabi was not asking her about Taraaweeh which was being performed in public in the Musjid. She confirmed that Rasulullah’s Tahajjud remained 8 raka’ts throughout the year even in Ramadhaan. This Hadith does not refer to Taraaweeh Salaat.
While the deviant Salafis cite Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu), they are either ignorant of his standing practice regarding Taraaweeh or they are conveniently ignoring it, or they attempt to conceal it in a vain bid to justify their 8 raka’t fallacy. Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) himself performed 20 rakaats Taraaweeh like the rest of the Sahaabah. Thus, in a conflict between his words and his practice, the latter takes precedence and is given preference. But the Salafis are too stupid to understand the operation of the principles of the Shariah.
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