Revive a Sunnah

In the name of Allah
Revive a Sunnah: By Twenty-Five Degrees

Suhayb bin Sinan (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

"The voluntary salah of a man (performed) where people are unable to see him, outweighs the salah (performed) where people are able to see him by twenty-five degrees."

[Musnad Abi Ya'la, 3821 and cited by Ibn Hajar in 'Mutaalib al-Aaliyah', 4/534; see also 'Ikmal al-Ikmal', 3/337 - graded as saheeh in 'Saheeh al-Jaami', 3821]

It is also recorded (in marfoo' form) that the Prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said:

"The superiority of (voluntary) salah of a man (performed) in the house (in contrast) to the salah where people are able to see him, is like the superiority of the obligatory salah over the voluntary." [Tabarani, 'Mu'jam al-Kabeer', 8/46; Ibn Abi Shaybah and others - graded as hasan in 'Saheeh al-Jaami', 4217]

This is from the sunan that is considered forgotten. We know that obligatory salah performed in jama'ah (in the masjid) is superior to the salah performed alone by twenty seven degrees - and here we also have an opportunity to increase reward twenty five-fold by performing voluntary salah away from the prying eyes of people.

Commenting on the first narration, Muhammad as-San'ani (rahimahullah) said in his 'Tanweer Sahr al-Jami' as-Sagheer', vol 7:

- "The voluntary salah of a man" was mentioned here because most men pray in congregation. However, the same ruling applies to women who pray sunnan prayers in their homes.

- "where people are unable to see him…", what is evident from the wording is (that it implies) a masjid that is empty, and a person's home - both are included. [note: by inference, it could include any place where salah is permissible, while being hidden away from the eyes of people]

- "outweighs the salah (performed) where people are able to see him by twenty-five degrees" refers to the degree of the salah or (is equated to) twenty-five salat. The reason for (being given) this status is because voluntary salat were legislated to draw nearer to Allaah, hence, if an act of worship is done in secret, then it became farther from showing off and seeking fame, than acts done publicly. On the other hand, obligatory acts of ibadah were legislated to be carried out in public. Subsequently, these acts and rites help establish the Deen when everyone sees them performed.

Imam Abu Yahya Zakariyah Al-Ansari (rahimahullah) said: "Only the nawafil acts of ibadah were legislated to be practised in the homes. Reason being, this is the farthest away from riya' (showing off). In addition to this, the Angels descend with mercy. The Sunnah acts that are not included are the; Sunnah Al-Jumu'ah, Tawaf, Ihram and Taraweeh in congregation..." [Minhat al-Bari bi Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari, vol. 3]

And Allaah is the source of guidance.


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