Fatwa: # 15294
Category: Daily
Country: South Africa
Date: 1st June 2007


A Magazine called; al-Ibaanah (no. 3/April 96, pp. 39) quoted their late scholar, Badiud-Din as-Sindi as claiming that Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam al-Shaybani preferred 11 rak'ahs!


A Magazine called; al-Ibaanah (no. 3/April 96, pp. 39) quoted their late scholar, Badiud-Din as-Sindi as claiming that Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam al-Shaybani preferred 11 rak'ahs! He claimed:


   "Rather, what is apparent from looking into al-Muwatta of Imam Muhammad (one of the main students of Abu Haneefah) is that Abu Haneefah's madhhab was to pray eleven rak'ahs.   So Imam Muhammad includes a chapter in al-Muwatta (p. 110), stating:  'Chapter:  Establishing the Night Prayer in the month of Ramadhaan, and the virtues contained in it.'   Under this chapter he relates four ahaadeeth.  The first, third and fourth narrations do not make mention of any specified number of rak'ahs for the Taraaweeh Prayer, rather they just mention the excellence of establishing Prayer in congregation and the excellence of the night Prayer in Ramadhaan.   However, in the second narration eleven rak'aat is mentioned.  Then Imaam Muhammad said (p. 111):  "And we take all of this." ... Thus, he has shown that his madhhab is eleven rak'ahs, and this can only be the madhhab of Imam Abu Haneefah - rahmatullaah alayhi - as well."


What is out answer to this claim? I have checked the Muwatta and the narration is really in there.


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

Firstly, there are two types of night prayers mentioned in the ahadith of Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم):

  1. Tahajjud

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to perform in different parts of the night.

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to perform it alone.

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to perform it through out the year.

  1. Taraweeh

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to perform it earlier in the night.

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to perform it only in Ramazan.

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) performed it with congregation at times, and at times performed it alone, so that it does not become compulsory.

The second hadith mentioned in the chapter refers to tahajjud prayers. It is mentioned in the hadith that Aishah (Radiyallahu Anha) said, “The messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would not pray more than eleven rak’ahs, neither in Ramadan nor any other month”. This proves that Aishah (Radiyallahu Anha) was talking about the tahajjud of Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and not taraweeh, as there is reference to other months in the hadith.

Secondly, Imam Muhammed’s (Rahimahullah) relating a hadith does not prove that it is his mazhab, as it is the practice of a honest Muhaddith to relate those hadith he has heard with the proper chain of narrators, whether it confirms with his mazhab or not. Therefore, it is not correct to deduct the mazhab of a Mujtahid through his kithabs of hadith, but rather understand his mazhab through those kithabs explaining the rules of fiqh.

Al Hakim Al Shaheed wrote a kithab named Al Kafi in which he gathered the six famous kithabs of Imam Muhammed (Rahimahullah) known as Usool. Shamsul Aimmah Sarakhsi wrote a commentary on Kafi and named it Al Mabsoot, which is therefore one of the most authentic kithabs regarding Hanafi fiqh. It is stated in this Mabsoot that there are twenty rakaats in taraweeh according to the Hanafi mazhab.

( الفصل الأول في عدد الركعات ) فإنها عشرون ركعة سوى الوتر عندنا

Al Mabsoot Li Al Sarakhsi Vol:1 Part:2 Pg:131 (Daru Fikr)

Moreover, it is very important that one studies the basic principles of Islam by a reliable scholar of Islam before reading any kind of Islamic literature; as an incorrect understanding of a text, or an incorrect interpretation by another scholar could be a cause of misguidance.

And Allah knows best


Ml. M. Jawed Iqbal,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa

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