Delaying Zuhr Prayer in Intense Heat

Delaying Zuhr Prayer in Intense Heat


Hadīth

(This write-up is prepared by the Hadith Cell of Jāved Ahmad Ghamidi)

روى أحد من الصحابة رضي الله عنهم: كنا مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر فأراد المؤذن أن يؤذن الظهر فقال له أبرد ثم أراد أن يؤذن ثم قال له أبرد ثم أراد أن يؤذن فقال له أبرد حتى ساوى الظل التلول فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم فإذا اشتد الحر فأبردوا بالصلاة

It is reported by one of the companions: "We were on a journey with the Prophet (sws). [At the normal time of the afternoon prayer,] the caller for the prayer started preparing to give the call for the afternoon prayer. Seeing him, the Prophet said: 'Allow it to cool down.[1]' Then, some time later, the caller once again started preparing to make the call. The Prophet (sws) once again said: 'Allow it to cool down.' Then once again, he started preparing for the call and the Prophet (sws) once again directed him to wait saying: 'Allow it to cool down.' Till the time that the shadows of the hillocks became the same size as that of the hillocks themselves.[2] Then, [after offering the prayer,] the Prophet said: 'Indeed scorching heat is [a worldly manifestation[3]] of the raging of hellfire[4], therefore, when the heat intensifies, cool your prayer down.[5]'"

Notes on the Text of the Narrative

This narrative or a part of it, with some variations, has been reported in Bukhārī (nos. 511, 603 and 3085), Muslim (no. 616), Tirmadhī (no. 158), Abū Dā'ūd (no. 401), Ibn Mājah (nos. 678, 679 and 681), Ahmad Ibn Hambal (nos. 21413, 21479 and 21573), Ibn Khuzaymah (nos. 328 and 394) and Bayhaqī(nos. 1902 and 1903). The preferred text, except where otherwise specified, is the one reported in Bukhārī (no. 603).

The word الظهر (the afternoon prayer) has been taken from Bukhārī (no. 511).

In some narratives, as in Tirmadhī (no. 158), the referred caller for the prayer has been named as Bilal (rta).

In some narratives, as for instance in Bukhārī (no. 511), the sentence كنا مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر (we were with the Prophet (sws) on a journey) has been omitted.

In some narratives, as for instance in Bukhārī (no. 511), the words فأراد المؤذن أن ... فقال له أبرد (the caller for the prayer started preparing… the Prophet once again directed him to wait saying: "allow it to cool down") have been replaced with أذن مؤذن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الظهر فقال أبرد أبرد أو قال انتظر انتظر (the caller appointed by the Prophet announced the prayer, at which the Prophet called out: "cool it down, cool it down" or "wait, wait…").

In some narratives, as for instance in Bukhārī (no. 511), the phrase حتى ساوى الظل التلول (till the time that the shadows of the hillocks became the same size as that of the hillocks themselves) has been reported as حتى رأينا فىء التلول (till we saw the shadows of the hillocks) and in some other narratives, as in Bukhārī (no. 3085), as حتى فاء الفىء يعني للتلول (till the shadows – that is, of the hillocks – had spread).

In some narratives, as for instance in Tirmadhī (no. 158), the words فأراد أن يؤذن (then he started preparing for the call) have been replaced with فأراد أن يقيم (he started preparing gather the congregation).

The words إن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم فإذا اشتد الحر فأبردوا بالصلاة (indeed, scorching heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire, therefore, on severely hot days, cool your prayer down) have been taken from Bukhārī (no. 511), except that Bukhārī (no. 511) the words فأبردوا بالصلاة (therefore cool your prayer down) – as reported in Bukhārī (no. 3085) – have been reported as فأبردوا عن الصلاة (cool it down by staying away from prayer).

In some narratives, as in Tirmadhī (no. 158), it is also mentioned that the Prophet (sws) stood up and offered his prayer at the time when people could visibly see the shadows of the hillocks. The relevant words of the narrative read as:

فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أبرد في الظهر. قال حتى رأينا فيء التلول ثم أقام فصلى. (The Prophet (sws) said: "cool off in the case of the afternoon prayer." [He kept delaying] till the time that we saw the shadows of the hillocks. Then he stood up and offered his prayer).

The same subject matter has also been reported without the background of a journey or the caller's initiative to start the call for prayer, giving the impression that the Prophet (sws) directed the people to delay the zuhr prayer, while not being on a journey, on a hot day. The narrative follows:

روي أنه قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا اشتد الحر فأبردوا بالصلاة فإن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم

It is reported that the Prophet (sws) said: "Cool down the prayer [by delaying it], in intense heat, for indeed scorching heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire."

This narrative or a part of it, with some variations, has been reported in Bukhārī (nos. 510, 512, 513 and 3086), Muslim (nos. 615 and 617), Mu'attā Imām Mālik (nos. 27, 28 and 29), Tirmadhī (no.157), Nasā'ī(nos. 500 and 501), AbūDā'ūd (no. 402), Ibn Mājah (nos. 678, 679 and 681), Ahmad Ibn Hambal (nos. 7130, 7245, 7468, 7602, 7816, 8205, 8568, 8887, 9094, 9115, 9181, 9324, 9956, 9957, 10513, 10600, 11508, 11514, 11515, 11590, 18332, 18333 and 23128), Sunan al-Dārimī(no. 1207) Ibn Hibbān(nos. 1506, 1507 and 1510), Ibn Khuzaymah (nos. 330 and 331), Sunan al-Kubrāof Nasā'ī(nos. 1487, 1488, 1489 and 1490) Bayhaqī(nos. 1897, 1899, 1900 and 1901), and Abd al-Razzāq (no. 2049) Abū Ya'lā (nos. 1309, 4656, 4949, 5258, 5871, 6074 and 6314) and Humaydī (no. 942). The preferred narrative is the one reported in Bukhārī (no. 512).

In some narratives, as in Muslim (no. 615), the phrase إذا اشتد الحر (when there is intense heat) has been replaced by إذا كان اليوم الحار (when the day is hot).

In some narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal(no. 10600), the narrative has alternatively been reported as: أبردوا عن الصلاة في الحر (cool it down by staying away from prayer during summers).

In Muslim (no. 615-d), the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: إن هذا الحر من فيح جهنم فأبردوا بالصلاة (indeed, this heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire, therefore, cool down the prayer).

In some narratives, as in Bukharī (no. 513), the phrase أبردوا بالصلاة (cool your prayer down) has been reported as أبردوا بالظهر (cool the afternoon [prayer] down) and in some other narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 18333), as أبردوا بصلاة الظهر (cool the afternoon prayer down). In some other narratives, as in Bukhārī (no. 510), the phrase has been reported as: أبردوا عن الصلاة (cool it down staying away from prayer). In Muslim (no. 615), the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: أبردوا عن الحر في الصلاة (cool down, staying away from the heat, in the case of prayer), while in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 8205), these words have been replaced with: أبردوا من الحر في الصلاة (cool down from the heat in the case of prayer).

In some narratives, as in Ibn Mājah (no. 679), the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: أبردوا بالظهر فإن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم (cool down the afternoon prayer, for indeed the severity of heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire). In Ibn Khuzaymah (no. 331), these words have been reported as: أبردوا الظهر في الحر (cool down the afternoon prayer during summer) and in Abu Ya'lā (no. 1309) as: أبردوا بالظهر في الحر (cool down the afternoon prayer in summer) and as أبردوا بالظهر في شدة الحر (cool down the afternoon prayer in the severity of summer) in Abu Ya'lā (no. 4949). While in Ibn Mājah (no. 681), the whole narrative is reported merely as أبردوا بالظهر (cool down the afternoon prayer), omitting all other parts of the preferred text.

In some narratives, as in Nasai (no. 501), the words فإن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم (for indeed the severity of heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire) have been reported as: فإن الذي تجدون من الحر من فيح جهنم (for indeed what you see of the heat is [a manifestation] of the rages of hellfire). In some other narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 8887), these words have been replaced with فإن حرها من فيح جهنم (for indeed the heat of the summer is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire) and in Ahmad ibn Hambal (no. 1504) by إن الحر من فيح جهنم (indeed heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire). While in some narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 9181), these words have been replaced with فإن فيحها من حر جهنم (indeed, the raging of the heat is [a manifestation] of the heat of hellfire).

In some narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 8567), the phrase من فيح جهنم (of the raging of hellfire) has been reported as من فور جهنم (of the fury of hellfire), and in some other narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 11508), as من فوح جهنم (of the rage of hellfire). In some other narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 10600), the phrase has alternatively been reported as من فيح أبواب جهنم (of the rages of the doors of hellfire).

In some narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (no. 7467), the saying of the Prophet (sws) has been reported with a minor variation as: إن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم فإذا اشتد الحر فأبردوا بالصلاة (indeed the severity of heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire. Therefore, when the heat [of summer] intensifies, cool down your prayer).

In some narratives, as for example in Bukharī (no. 512), the following words are added to the reported saying of the Prophet (sws): واشتكت النار إلى ربها فقالت يا رب أكل بعضي بعضا فأذن لها بنفسين نفس في الشتاء ونفس الصيف فهو أشد ما تجدون من الحر و أشد ما تجدون من الزمهرير (The hellfire complained to its Lord and said: "Lord, parts of me eat away my other parts. At this, God permitted her to take two breaths: one breath in the winters and the other in the summers. What you find severest in summers and that you find freezing cold in winters are in fact these breaths of the hellfire), which apparently seems to be an erroneous addition on the part of one of the narrators to the reported saying of the Prophet (sws).

In some narratives, the narrator has specified that the Prophet (sws) and the Muslims with him used to offer zuhrprayer soon after the midday. This alternative text of the narrative is as follows:

كنا نصلي مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صلاة الظهر بالهاجرة ولم يكن يصلي صلاة أشد على أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم منها فقال لنا أبردوا بالصلاة فإن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم.

We used to offer the afternoon prayer with the Prophet (sws) soon after midday. No other prayer was harder upon the companions of the Prophet (sws) than this one. Then the Prophet said to us: "Cool your prayer down, for indeed the severity of the heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire."

This narrative or a part of it, with some variations, has been reported in Ibn Mājah (no. 680), AbūDā'ūd (no. 411), Ahmad Ibn Hambal(nos. 18210, 21635), Ibn Hibbān(no. 1505) Nasai's Sunan al-Kubrā (no. 357) and Bayhaqī(nos. 1907 and 1992). The preferred narrative is the one reported in Ibn Mājah (no. 680).

The words ولم يكن يصلي صلاة أشد على أصحاب رسول الله صلى عليه وسلم منها (No other prayer was harder upon the companions of the Prophet (sws) than this one) have been reported in Abū Dā'ūd (no. 411).

In some narratives, as in Abū Dā'ūd (no. 411), the words

فنزلت: ﴿حافظوا على الصلوت والصلاة الوسطى﴾ وقال إن قبلها صلاتين وبعدها صلاتين (at that time, the words "Guard all your prayer, especially the middle prayer" were revealed. And the narrator says that there are two prayers before it – that is, the afternoon prayer – and two prayers after it.) have been added after the sentence: ولم يكن يصلي صلاة أشد على أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم (no other prayer was harder upon the companions of the Prophet (sws) than this one).




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