The Imaam said, “[What is meant by] exhorting a dying person to say Laa ilaaha illallaah at the time of death [i.e., the talqeen] is not that the shahaadah be mentioned in his presence and that he [just] be made to hear it—rather it is that he be directed to say it—in opposition to what some people think, and the proof is the hadith of Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, ‘That Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ visited a man from the Ansaar, and said, ‘O maternal uncle! Say, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah!’ So he said, ‘[Am I] a maternal or paternal uncle?’ So he said, ‘A maternal one.’ He said, ‘Is it better for me to say, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah?’’ So the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Yes.’”
Ahkaamul-Janaaiz, p. 20.
The Imaam said, “… alhamdulillaah, but I will tell you something in addition to that too, the reality is that every beginner student of knowledge, and I used to be one—and maybe I still am—…”
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 458.
The Imaam said, “The brother here also reminded [us of] another calamity common amongst those who pray and which is in opposition to the Sunnah: Al-Baraa ibn ’Aazib, may Allaah be pleased with him, said that when we would pray behind the Prophet ﷺ we would not prostrate until we saw that the Prophet ﷺ had placed his forehead on the ground.
Nowadays after saying, ‘Sami’Allaahu liman hamidah, Rabbanaa wa lakal-Hamd,’ the Imaam will barely have said, ‘Allaahu Akbar,’ except that the people [behind him] will have fallen down into prostration with him—this is a mistake.
He would say, ‘Allaahu Akbar,’ and when he was seen to have finished going into prostration and had placed his forehead on the ground, it was then that the row behind him would start to go into prostration with him ﷺ.”
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 183.
Questioner: I heard a Sufi shaikh mention a hadith, or what he thinks is a hadith, that the Prophet ﷺ came back from an expedition with some of his Companions, and some of them got together and stood in a circle, each one holding the others hands, remembering Allaah. And then Mu’aawiyah ibn Abu Sufyaan passed by them and said, ‘What is this play?’ To which the Prophet ﷺ replied, ‘On the contrary, this is the remembrance of Allaah.’ The shaikh never mentioned any of the well known sources [as to where this hadith came from], so is this [in fact] a hadith or …?
Al-Albaani: And it is right that he never mentioned a source for it—because a person can’t give what he doesn’t have [in the first place], this hadith has no basis. And it behooves the student of knowledge who is discerning regarding his religion that whenever he hears a hadith from someone, he says, ‘Bring your proof if you are truthful … where did you get this hadith from? Is it in the two Saheehs? Is it in the four Sunans? Is it in the ten musnads? Is …? Is …?’ and so on.
And he [i.e., the Sufi shaikh] will, without doubt, be unable to produce it because no such narration exists—and it is known that in order to support their deviation from the religion these Sufis hang on to flights of fancy, i.e., they attach themselves to delusions which have no reality.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 83.
Questioner: We’ve heard that you say that letting the beard flow is just like letting the garments hang below the ankles?
Questioner: That is your stance?
Questioner: That means that whatever is in excess of a fistful is haraam?
Al-Albaani: We’ve spoken about that before.
Questioner: That it is haraam to let the beard flow in excess of a fistful?
Al-Albaani: Yes, we said it is haraam, a newly invented matter, i.e., an innovation in the religion.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 527.
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?
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.
Questioner: When someone fasts Mondays and Thursdays, is that better or the fast of Dawud?
Al-Albaani: What do you mean by better?
Questioner: Better, superior, which is better?
Al-Albaani: Is what better?
Questioner: Fasting Mondays and Thursdays or the Fast of Dawud [which was to fast one day on and one day off].
Al-Albaani: No, the Fast of Dawud [is better], do you have textual proof that fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is better?
Al-Albaani: Thus, an invalid question, since you don’t have a text which states that fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is better but, on the contrary, there is a text stating the opposite of that.
The sum of my research comes to the conclusion that it is possible that we, the followers of Muhammad ﷺ, [it is possible that] when we fast one day on and one day off, that at the same time as such a fast being the Fast of Dawud it is also possible that it is better than the Fast of Dawud ﷺ, how so?
Because it is possible that in Dawud’s legislation ﷺ there wasn’t a prohibition against fasting four days of Eed, in fact it is possible that he never had Eed al-Adhaa or Eed al-Fitr, and maybe he never had the prohibition against fasting on Fridays—we have such prohibitions, so whoever combines implementing what he has been ordered with and stopping at what he has been prohibited from is better than a person who limits himself to doing what he has been ordered with alone.
And so we, when we add to this method of fasting one day on and one day off, which is the Fast of Dawud, [when to that we add] keeping away from the days which have been forbidden [to fast], like Fridays and Saturdays, our fast will be better than continuing to fast one day on and one day off.
And if the fasting day falls on a Friday and it had not been preceded with a [fast on] Thursday, this would not be better, i.e., continuing to fast according to the madhhab of Dawud ﷺ [would not be better here, because you can’t fast a Friday on its own], what is better is to proceed to fast according to the madhhab of Muhammad ﷺ in which there are orders and prohibitions, so whatever we are ordered with, we follow, and whatever we are forbidden, we refrain from.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 144.
“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.
The Imaam said, “Today many people are extremely distant from his guidance ﷺ in all acts of worship, including funeral rites, due to their turning away from studying knowledge, especially the science of hadith and the Sunnah, and due to them devoting themselves to materialistic knowledge, and working to gather wealth.”
Ahkaamul-Janaaiz, p. 11.
Questioner: Is it allowed for the Imaam of a mosque or a daa’ee, who leads the people in the mosque for taraweeh … between the rak’ahs there’s a break in which he reminds them of certain issues, for example, about performing the prayer well and following the Prophet ﷺ, and alerts them to certain innovations or acts of shirk, yes, alerts them [to such things], ya’nee?
Al-Albaani: The answer is that it is [both] permissible and not permissible: if he is alerting or warning them, ordering or prohibiting them about something incidental then it is a must.
As for making it something structured and customary, [where] between every four rak’ahs, for example, or more or less than that, the Imaam gives a lecture, then this is in opposition to the Sunnah.
If it is about something unexpected then it is waajib to alert them about it, as for taking that to be something structured, then the taraweeh prayer is an unmixed act of worship in which the Muslim turns to Allaah عز وجل with all his limbs, core, mind and heart, this is the goal of the qiyaam in Ramadaan.
As for having sittings between two or four rak’ahs as something structured, then that was not from the Prophet’s guidance ﷺ.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 656.
Questioner: O Shaikh of ours, if you would … sometimes, maybe a small [child] who has not reached an age where he can differentiate [between right and wrong], asks to go to the mosque to pray, what is the ruling? Does the father allow him since he has not reached the age where he can yet differentiate? [Does] he allow him to pray, to go to the mosque with him?
Al-Albaani: I thought you were going to ask [whether] it’s allowed for the father to take him without him having asked.
Questioner: No, in my opinion he doesn’t take him with him since he hasn’t turned seven yet …
Al-Albaani: I thought you were saying: is it allowed for the father to take his son to the mosque without the son having asked to go. What do you think, is it allowed or not?
Questioner: In order to pray or just to go to the mosque?
Al-Albaani: [Choose] whichever one you like.
Questioner: … if it’s to pray … something else …
Al-Albaani: Isn’t him going to the mosque to pray more fitting than anything else?
Questioner: [If he’s] less than seven …
Al-Albaani: This is what we’re discussing.
Al-Albaani: You know, O Ustaadh, that the early Salaf, at the head of whom was our Prophet ﷺ, used to allow their children to enter his mosque ﷺ.
And you’ll remember the story which one of the Companions narrated, [in which he stated] that one day he was praying ’Asr behind the Prophet ﷺ, and the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ prolonged the prostration during some of it, prolonging it to an extent which was not customary, so this Companion raises his head to make sure his Prophet ﷺ is okay, he feared that he may have passed away—when to his surprise he sees a strange sight, he sees him in prostration, and al-Hasan and al-Hussain … so the Companion feels at ease [that the Prophet ﷺ is okay] and falls back into prostration.
After he ﷺ gave salaam to end the prayer, they said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! You prostrated in the prayer and prolonged it …’ so he ﷺ said, ‘My son was riding on my back and I did not want to disturb him …’ this boy went to the mosque for the prayer, he was, as you said, not at an age where he was able to differentiate—reminding those who pray, whether men or women, not to bring their children with them to the mosque, was not part of his ﷺ guidance.
In fact, he used to endorse them doing that in opposition to the well-known hadith whose chain of narration is not authentic, ‘Keep your infants, your insane, your evil ones and your buying and selling away from your mosques …’, even though the last part of the hadith is authentic, proven to be so by other authentic hadiths, as is not hidden from you, inshaa Allaah.
The point being, he ﷺ never used to prevent them [from bringing their children to the mosque], in fact, he used to endorse it, in fact, he had a ruling specific to it: [where] he took into consideration the feelings of the mothers who used to pray behind him in salaah, and whose children were crying, the Prophet ﷺ [even] while he was calling upon his Lord, would take note of the fact that there was a woman praying who had her child with her, and so, ‘I stand in prayer, then I hear a child crying, so I make my prayer brief because I do not want to cause hardship for his mother.’
Thus, he would shorten the lengthy recitation, which was a habit of his ﷺ, in order to free up a mother for her child. He ﷺ could have done the same as many of the ignorant Imaams do and have said, ‘Why do you bring your children to the mosque, disturbing us?’ and so on—he ﷺ did nothing of the sort.
So based upon this, it’s more fitting that a child, if he were raised with an Islamic upbringing, and then longs to go to the mosque, even if it were [just] to play, even if it were [just] to play, if he asks to go with his father to the mosque then the father should fulfill his request, since it will get him used to going to the best of all places, [the place] about which the Prophet ﷺ was asked [the following question]: ‘What is the best of all places and the worst?’ and so he ﷺ answered, ‘The best of all places are the mosques, and the worst are the markets.’
So if a child was raised like that, and then wants to go to the mosque instead of the streets or alleys, then this is a blessing and very pleasing news.
So the father, in fact, the mother, should take advantage of this phenomenon and facilitate the way for him to go to the mosque. Thereafter if he, and there is no doubt that this will happen, does something while playing or having fun which is not becoming in the mosque—and what play do you want which is greater than the Chief of Mankind ﷺ being taken as something to [climb and] ride on [as al-Hasan and al-Hussain did]—and even then he didn’t rebuke him, in fact he carried out a ruling specific to it [i.e., he prolonged the prostration], just like he had there [in that other instance I mentioned, when he shortened the prayer upon hearing a child cry, out of concern for the mother].
If this were done today there would be shouting from all corners of the mosques, ‘You made the prayer too long for us, O Shaikh … the boy, why did you bring the boy [to the mosque]?’
They don’t know the guidance of the Prophet ﷺ, they don’t know his kindness and compassion for his Ummah, and Allaah spoke the truth when He said, ‘… for the believers [he is] full of pity, kind, and merciful.’ [Tawbah 9:128]
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 668.
Questioner: [When someone enters the mosque does he give salaam to the people around him only or should he raise his voice] so that everyone can hear him?
Al-Albaani: I hold the first situation [to be correct], because the basic principle regarding someone who enters the mosque is that he does not disturb anyone, so if he must give salaam—and [indeed] he must—then to those around him.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 250.
The Imaam said, “Someone who falls asleep or who forgets [to pray witr] can pray it after Fajr, i.e., [he prays it] at the time he remembers it. As for someone who knows, then the time for his witr ends with the appearance of fajr, and this is obvious and clear.”
Irwaa al-Ghaleel, under hadith no. 422.
Questioner: We’re aware that there are detailed hadiths which have been reported concerning letting the beard flow, and what is apparent from them is that they are an order [to do so] and an obligation, and we know the hadith of ’Abdullah Ibn ’Umar [where it is stated], ‘… that when he would perform Hajj or ’Umrah he would trim some of his beard,’ so is this a proof for the permissibility of trimming the beard, whether that be more than a fistful or from either side?
Al-Albaani: This issue has no connection as to whether it is obligatory to let the beard flow or not, but rather as to whether it is allowed to trim the beard [in the first place] or not, correct?
Al-Albaani: The narration of Ibn ’Umar, if you are holding on to it [specifically] in connection with him [trimming his beard while] being on Hajj or ’Umrah, then that has an answer [specific to it], but if you are not holding on to that narration regarding that, then there is an answer for that [too], which of the two aspects do you mean?
Questioner: The aspect … he said, ‘… when he would perform Hajj or ’Umrah …’
Al-Albaani: Okay, if this restriction, ‘… when he would perform Hajj or ’Umrah …,’ is taken away, does the topic [at hand] change in your view?
Questioner: As long as there is no other proof, yes, the topic changes in my view.
Al-Albaani: Ya’nee, if it is established that Ibn ’Umar used to trim his beard even when not on Hajj or ’Umrah, ya’nee, the problem is over? I don’t think so [i.e., that should be the end of the argument but I don’t think that that will be the case with you].
Questioner: The problem wouldn’t be over for me, O Shaikh!
Al-Albaani: That’s what I thought, even though that was what you were talking about.
Questioner: Yes, O Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: Okay, so, for the sake of benefit, I say: it has been established [both that he trimmed his beard] with the restriction [of him doing so on Hajj or ’Umrah] and generally, i.e., he used to trim his beard when on Hajj or ’Umrah and also when not on Hajj or ’Umrah, what I understand from you is that it is as though you want to say: is it allowed to curtail the general order of the Prophet ﷺ to let one’s beard flow based upon the unrestricted action of Ibn ’Umar or [in other words] without [restricting it only to] Hajj and ’Umrah, I think that is what your question is, isn’t it?
Questioner: Yes, that is my question [now], initially though it was about the restriction [of doing it during Hajj or ‘Umrah.]
Al-Abaani: Yes, for that reason here is a quick benefit [I will mention to you], it has been reported with the check [that it was done during Hajj or ’Umrah] and it has been reported without that restriction too. So it has been reported from Ibn ’Umar that he would do that during Hajj or ’Umrah and also when not on Hajj or ’Umrah.
And take as another point of benefit that it has been reported from others apart from Ibn ’Umar too, yes, and this is something which in reality has remained hidden from many of the people of knowledge and excellence, and for that reason they forbid practising people from cutting their beards since they want to stop at the general meaning given in the text, “Trim the moustache and let the beard grow,” and this is [in fact] the [foundational] principle, i.e., that a Muslim stops at a general or unrestricted text, and does act contrary to it by using a restriction or limit [to its generality] except with a proof.
So now, I hold that the proof is on our side in terms of restricting it, and [through] the action of Ibn ’Umar, and not specifically that he did it during Hajj or ’Umrah, even though this helps us along half the way, since those who say that the order [in the hadith] is to be carried out in its generality and unreservedly do not [even] allow one to trim one’s beard whether during Hajj or ’Umrah, [is that] clear?
So I say, Ibn ’Umar’s action here is a proof, and that is due to the following:
To understand the restriction [given to the general meaning of the hadith] by Ibn ’Umar’s رضي الله عنه action we have to bring to mind a reality that is connected to the aforementioned hadith, “Trim the moustache and let the beard grow,” [and that reality is] that Ibn ’Umar is one of its narrators. And here a fiqh principle comes in to play which the people of knowledge point out on numerous occasions when they debate with each other in matters in which they differ, they say, ‘The narrator [of a hadith] knows more about what he is narrating than others,’ and this is a sound statement, taken from some hadiths, such as his saying ﷺ, ‘An eyewitness sees what someone who is absent doesn’t,’ and there is another narration [which states], ‘Being informed is not like seeing [for yourself].’
And the reason for this hadith is that the Prophet ﷺ related the story of Musaa ﷺ and his brother Haaroon on one hand and the people on the other, that when he went to consult his Lord تبارك وتعالى, and left his brother in charge of the Jews and the Children of Israel, they made a calf, an image having a lowing sound, so when Musaa came back and he told him of the news, the vigilant sense of religious honour didn’t overcome him until he saw [what had happened], and when he did so he ﷺ said, ‘Being informed is not like seeing [for yourself],’ and this is true, self-evident, natural, and well known amongst people practically and through experience.
So when this is the case, Ibn ’Umar, as we all know, lived with the Prophet ﷺ for years and he heard this hadith from him. So in my opinion if Ibn ’Umar knew by seeing him ﷺ that he never trimmed his beard at all, it would be impossible that Ibn ’Umar would take a single hair from it, due to it being known that he was the most avid of the Companions in following him ﷺ, even in some issues which other people may reproach him for, and I think this is something you are all aware of.
So if a glorious Companion, part of whose biography I just mentioned now, someone who was the most eager of the Companions in emulating the Prophet ﷺ—if he didn’t see or hear something from him ﷺ which at the very least would have opened the way for him to trim it, he never would have done so, is that clear?
If we add to that the fact that some of the Salaf like Abu Hurairah, Ibrahim an-Nakha’i and so on, used to do that too, [they] used to trim their beards, and then add to that those who, I don’t say I know … but those who use the general meaning of the hadith, saying, ‘No one reported from any one of the Companions that they used to trim their beards,’ [in reply] to them we say, ‘No, they did, and those who did so are so and so and so and so and so and so,’ they now have to prove the opposite to us, and that is, as the Arabs say, nigh on impossible [the Shaikh used an Arabic proverb here: دون خرط القتاد—‘Before one can attain it, he has to strip the tragacanth of its leaves by grasping each branch and drawing his hand down it: i.e., he has to perform what will be extremely difficult if not impossible.’]. [And] what is the opposite [which they must prove]? That they never used to trim it, all they have is the absence of knowledge, and the people of knowledge have a very sound statement which they make, ‘The absence of the knowledge of something does not necessarily equate to its non-existence.’
So the fact that I, Zaid, Bakr and ’Amr don’t know any one of the Companions who used to trim his beard doesn’t mean that none of the Companions [actually] did, this is not knowledge this is ignorance, [since] it could [either] be this or that, but one of these two possibilities has [actually] been reported as we just mentioned from Ibn ’Umar, Abu Hurairah and others from the Pious Predecessors.
And I recall that Ibrahim an-Nakha’i relates, and as we know Ibrahim was one of the Taabi’in, he related that they used to trim their beards—and this is a very important narration [in this issue].
Based upon this we are able to say that the Prophet’s ﷺ order to let the beard flow is not unrestricted and all-encompassing, because it has been practically established by those who carry weight in both knowledge and in their following that they did not implement this hadith unrestrictedly.
Through this example and others I stated in many pieces of research, and this [point] is, in fact, a very important knowledge based principle, whoever understands it will have comprehended tens of issues which [people’s] minds err in correctly grasping, in terms of whether or not they are allowed in the legislation, so I say: ‘It is not allowed to act upon the general meaning of every general text which was not acted upon in a general manner.’ Is this statement clear or not?
It will not be hidden from all that there are many parts to a general text, so then [a person] wants to use this general text to prove one of those parts, because it is either forbidden or legislated by way of what? [By way of that] text which is general in meaning—so coming to such a conclusion based on a general text is not allowed in many instances when using it to come to that conclusion includes a part which was acted upon or not acted upon, it is in light of this that we should use the general [meaning] as a proof or [conversely] not use the general [meaning] as a proof, which is the case in point at the moment.
And we are able to bring other examples, some of which take place in our lives nowadays, and others which [do not take place in our lives nowadays but which] we give to serve as an example in order to clarify this principle.
An example before us is this general order, “Trim the moustache and let the beard grow,” which is used to show that it is not allowed to trim it at all, but through practical examples we were shown that it was, so: we do not take this general ruling because that which opposes it has been established, i.e., trimming [what exceeds a fistful].
Sometimes you have the total opposite: a general order is used to show the legislative legitimacy of a particular act of worship, an act of worship which has not been relayed to us from the people of worship of old and so [in such a situation] it is not correct to use the generality of the text to come to that conclusion, for if we did we would have agreed with all of the innovations that innovators do, since any innovation on the face of the earth—especially if it is categorised according to what Imaam Ash-Shaatibi calls additional/secondary innovations [al-bid’ah al-idaafiyyah]—it is not possible except that this innovation will have a proof from the Book and the Sunnah, yet along with that we [still] say that it is an innovation.
Now I will bring you a practical example and another which I will make up in order to make this principle understood. You all know, since you’ve performed Hajj and ’Umrah many times, that there are many worshippers, [there] and here too, who we now see placing their right hand on the left after raising their heads from rukoo’, [is that] clear? This holding of the hands after rukoo’ which some Shaikhs who have their standing in knowledge do, what is their proof? A general text, they in no way at all have a hadith [which states] that when the Prophet ﷺ would raise his head from rukoo’ he would place his right hand over his left in prayer, there is no such hadith at all, there is however a general hadith, ‘When he would stand for prayer, Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ would place his right hand over his left,’ [so] they said, ‘… stand in prayer …’ this includes the first standing, the second, [in fact] any standing which is after the rukoo’—this is where a general text has been used to come to a conclusion, likewise, for example, other hadiths [general in nature which they use as proofs], that, ‘We, the company of prophets, have been commanded with three things …’ one of which was, ‘… and to place our right arms on our left arms during prayer.’ They said: this is unrestricted and so includes the first time one stands and the second time after the rukoo’.
We hold that this conclusion is very weak, why? Because this was either carried out practically by the Salaf, at the head of whom is Muhammad ﷺ, or it was not. The person who claims that it was done practically is like those who use a general text as a proof: they have to establish that the Prophet put his hand on his chest after raising his head from rukoo‘—and no such text exists at all.
Those who do not do that do not need to establish that he didn’t do it, why? Because acts of worship are restricted, ‘I have not left anything which will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it,’ so if the Prophet ﷺ put his hands there in this place it would have been relayed to us just as it was concerning the first place … if the Prophet ﷺ used to put his hands there in the second place it would have been reported to us just as putting the hands there in the first standing was, so if placing the hands there in the second standing was not transmitted then this is a practical proof which the Muslims carried out [showing] that the Prophet ﷺ never used to do it.
So using general proofs to come to conclusions, whether they are sayings of the Prophet, which are [obviously] strongest [in establishing proof], or statements of the Companions, which are less [authoritative than the statements of the Prophet ﷺ], since the statements of the Prophet ﷺ are more precise and definitive than that of a Companion … … this is a clear example of what we were explaining, or does anyone have a question or something they are unclear about before we move on to the next example … yes?
Questioner: Regarding how much is to be trimmed, he limits himself to what is in excess of a fistful?
Al-Albaani: Yes, when he holds his beard, whatever is under the fistful, those hairs, it is permissible for him to cut them.
Questioner: From both sides?
Al-Albaani: From both sides if they are more than a fistful. Maybe someone has another question too?
Questioner: Others apart from Ibn ’Umar narrated [this hadith], they never limited it to a fistful or anything else, so is it allowed for us to trim even more than a fistful or do we restrict ourselves to what Ibn ’Umar did?
Al-Albaani: No, we stop at what Ibn ’Umar did, because he has a distinction which is that he is the narrator of the hadith.
Questioner: This is a strong principle, Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: Yes, I’ll give you an example which will make the issue even clearer. Many times on such occasions I say: if a group of people entered a mosque at dhuhr or ’Asr time, and they wanted to pray the Sunnahs that are prayed before these prayers, that which occurs today and which is correct is that each person will pray the Sunnahs in a spot on their own.
So if someone [now went and] had an idea, upon seeing this group of people entering the mosque and praying on their own [he thinks]: why [is each one praying] alone? ‘Come together, Yaa Jamaa’ah, why have we split our prayer up when the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Allaah’s Hand is over the Jamaa’ah,’ and, ‘The congregational prayer is more superior to that of a person praying on his own …’’ to the end of the hadith, ‘… and he ﷺ said, ‘A man’s prayer with another man is greater in reward than his prayer alone. And a man’s prayer with two other men is greater in reward than his prayer with one other man …’’ and so on, ‘… Come and let’s pray together as a Jamaa’ah,’—would you say this Jamaa’ah is legislated or not? All of you in unison will say, ‘No, it isn’t.’ Okay, is there a [textual] prohibition against this prayer? There isn’t, there isn’t a prohibition, the Prophet ﷺ didn’t say, ‘Do not pray the Sunnahs in Jamaa’ah.’
But I will say, I will say in my own particular way: the Prophet ﷺ did prohibit it. But the common folk don’t share in understanding this prohibition, in fact, not all of the elite [i.e., scholars etc.] share in understanding it, only some to the exclusion of others.
And it is from here that the discord concerning good and bad bid’ahs came about, because those who say that there is [such a thing as] a good bid’ah understood the [following] statement of the Prophet ﷺ, ‘Every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire,’ to mean that it is restricted: i.e., [they incorrectly understood that the statement is not general but restricted and means] that not every bid’ah is misguidance.
Ya’nee, this is one of the strangest areas of discord that has arisen in the Ummah. So we are [from] those whom Allaah has helped, through His Grace and Mercy, to understand this most great principle which the Prophet ﷺ laid down in general gatherings, in his sermons on Fridays and elsewhere, saying, ‘And every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire,’ we have understood this to be unrestricted and all-encompassing.
When a person comes to us with the example I just gave to you now, ‘Come and let’s pray [the Sunnah prayers] together in congregation,’ this goes with [i.e., deceives] the people of innovation, ‘Why, Yaa akhee, do you criticise us? Allaah said, ‘… ask [Allaah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allaah to grant him] peace,’ don’t they disapprove of us like that?
So this example which I gave to you just now deceives those people who did now ground themselves on this great principle, ‘And every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire,’ as for us then the issue is not dubious to us, and all praise is due to Allaah, [for] we say that praying Sunnahs in congregation is an innovation.
Okay, going back to our previous question [about praying the Sunnahs before an obligatory prayer in Jamaa’ah], is there a prohibition concerning it? There isn’t, there isn’t a prohibition concerning it as they understand or as they want, but his statement ﷺ is enough for us, ‘And every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire,’ and the hadiths in this regard are well-known.
Thus, in the same way in which we reproved this [praying of the Sunnahs in] Jamaa’ah, the proofs for which were [those] general [hadiths], [in the same way] we say: this act of worship, if, in fact, it was an act of worship, the Salaf would have preceded us in it, just as we were saying that if placing the hands [on the chest] in the second standing were legislated and if the general proofs which they use included [placing the hands on the chest in] this place [then the Salaf would have preceded us in it], so when they didn’t our answer and stance is just like our statement concerning praying the Sunnahs in congregation, i.e., if that were included in the general proofs, they would have carried that out, clear?
Thus, ‘… let the beard grow …,’ this is a general text—but was implementation of this general text carried out? The answer is no. Why? Because we have textual evidence from the Salaf while [at the same time] not having that which opposes them. So the deduction that cutting what is in excess of a fistful is permissible stands correct for us through the proof of the narrator of the hadith, Ibn ’Umar and whoever from the Salaf followed him in that.
And [all] praise is [due] to Allaah, Lord of the worlds.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 267.