acts of prayer, Qur’anic Recitation after al-Fatihah
It is Sunnah for the person to recite a section of the Qur’an after al-Fatihah during the two rak’ah of the Morning Prayer and the Friday prayer, and the first two rak’ah of the noon, afternoon, sunset and night prayers, and in all of the rak’ah of the superogatory prayers. Abu Qatadah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would recite al-Fatihah and some surah in the first two rak’ah of the noon prayer, and only al-Fatihah in the last two rak’ah. Sometimes he would recite some verses. The first rak’ah’s recital would be longer than the second. That was how it was done in the afternoon and morning prayers. This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and by Abu Dawud, who adds, “We think he did that in order to allow people to catch the first rak’ah.”
Jabir ibn Sumrah reported that the people of Kufah complained about SA’d to ‘Umar, causing ‘Umar to dismiss him and replace him with ‘Ammar. They had many complaints about SA’d, even claiming that he did not pray properly. ‘Umar sent for him and said, “O Abu Ishaq (SA’d), these people claim that you do not pray properly.” SA’d replied, “By Allah, I prayed with them in the same manner that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, prayed with us, and I never shortened it in any way.
I would lengthen the first two rak’ah of the night prayer and shorten the last two.” Said ‘Umar, “This is what I expected of you.” He sent him back to Kufah with one or two people to ask the people of Kufah about him. All of the people praised him until they went to the mosque of the tribe of ‘Abs. A man named Us amah ibn Qatadah, also known as Abu Sa’da, stood and said, “Since I am under oath I must inform you that Sa’d never accompanied the army, did not distribute the booty justly, and was not just in his legal verdicts. SA’d then said, “I pray to Allah for three things: O Allah, if this slave of Yours is lying and stood only for show, then give him a long life, increase his poverty and put him to trials.” Years later, when Us amah was asked how he was doing, he would answer that he was an old man in trial due to Sa’d’s supplication. ‘Abdul-Malik (one of the narrators) said that he had seen the man afterwards with his eyebrows overhanging his eyes due to old age, and he would tease and assault the young girls along the paths. (Related by al-Bukhari.)
Said Abu Hurairah, “A recitation should be done in every prayer. What we heard from the Prophet, upon whom be peace, we let you hear. What he was silent about, we are silent about with you. If one does not add anything to al-Fatihah, it is sufficient. If one does add something, it is good.” (Related by al Bukhari.)
Sunnah acts of prayer, How to Perform the Recital after al-Fatihah
This may be done in any of the following manners: Said Al-Hussain, “In the fighting at Khorasan we had three hundred companions with us, and one of them would lead the prayer, recite some verses from the Qur’an and then bow.” It is related that Ibn ‘Abbas would recite al-Fatihah and some verses from al-Baqarah in every rak’ah. (Related by ad-Daraqutni with a strong chain.) Al-Baihaqi narrates from ‘Abdullah ibn as-Sa’ib that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited al-Mu’minun in the morning prayer, and when he came to the part which refers to Moses, Aaron or Jesus, he would cough and bow.” ‘Umar read in the first rak’ah 120 verses from the seven long surahs (Mathnawi). Al-Ahnaf read al-Kahfin the first rak’ah and Yunus or Yusuf in the second, and said that he prayed the Morning Prayer with ‘Umar (and he recited them). Ibn Mas’ud read forty verses from al-Anfal in the first rak’ah and a surah from the ten short surahs (Mufassil) in the second.
Qatadah reported about a person who read one surah in two rak’ah or repeated the same surah twice, and then commented: ‘It is all the Book of Allah.” ‘Ubaidullah ibn Thabit related that Anas said, “One of the helpers (Ansar) led the people in prayer at (the mosque) of Quba’. Before he began his recitation he would always recite, ‘Say: He is Allah, the One,’ until he finished that surah, and then he would recite another surah. He did that in every rak’ah. They said to him, ‘You begin with that surah, but we don’t find it sufficient until you add another surah to it?’ He said, ‘I will not stop doing so.
I like to lead you in the prayer with that. If you don’t like it, I will leave (leading you in the prayers).’ They thought that he was the best among them, so they didn’t want someone else to lead them. They referred the matter to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and he said, ‘O so and so, what has kept you from doing what your companions have asked you? Why do you keep reciting that surah in every rak’ah?’ He said, ‘I love that surah.’ The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, ‘Your love for that surah will cause you to enter Paradise.” A man from the tribe of Juhinah reported that he heard the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recite, “When the earth quakes,” in the Morning Prayer in both rak’ah. And the man said, “I do not know if he forgot that he had recited it or if he did it on purpose.” This hadith is related by Abu Dawud. The chain has nothing in it that can be criticized.
Sunnah acts of prayer, Recitation after al-Fatihah
Here we shall mention what Ibn al-Qayyim learned about the Prophet’s recitation following al-Fatihah in different prayers. He commented, “When the Prophet finished al-Fatihah, he would sometimes make a lengthy recitation, and sometimes a short one if he was travelling or similarly engaged. But most of the time, he made a recitation of intermediate length.
Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Morning Prayer
He would read from sixty to one hundred verses during the Morning Prayer. Sometimes he would read surah Qal; ar-Rum, at-’Takwir, or az-Zilzal in the last two rak’ah. While travelling, he would sometimes read the last two surahs of the Qur’an. Sometimes he would read the first portion of al-Mu’minun until he would reach the story of Moses and Aaron in the first rak’ah, and then he would cough and bow. On Fridays he would read Alif; Lam, Mim, Tanzil as-Sajdah, or ad-Dahr in their complete forms.
He did not do what many people do today, which is reciting part of this surah and part of another. Many ignorant people think that it is best to recite something with a prostration on Friday morning. But this is just plain ignorance. Some scholars’ dislike that one should read a surah with a prostration due to this ignorant thought.
The Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to recite these two surahs because they contained reminders of man’s creation, the return unto Allah, the creation of Adam, the entry into Paradise and Hell-fire, and other matters that did or will specifically occur on a Friday. Therefore, he would recite them on Friday to remind his companions of the events of that day. He would recite Qaf, al-Qamr, al-A’la and al-Ghashiyyah on days of great importance like Friday, the ‘Id days, and so on.
Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Noon Prayers
He would sometimes make this recitation lengthy. Abu Sa’eed even once said, “While he was standing in the noon prayer, one could go to al-Baqi’e and take care of some matter, return to his family, make ablution, return, and still find the Prophet, upon whom be peace, in the first rak’ah due to the length of his recital.” (Related by Muslim.) He would sometimes recite all of Alif, Lam, Mim, Tanzil, or al-A’la, or al-Lail, or sometimes al-Buruj or at-Tariq.
This would be half the length of the noon prayer recitation if that recitation was long or the same length if it was short.
Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Sunset Prayer
The Prophet would recite different surahs in the sunset prayer on different days. Sometimes he would recite al-A’raf in the two rak’ahs and sometimes at-Tur or al-Mursilat. Says Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-Barr, “It is related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited al-A’raf or as-Saffat or Ha-Mim Dukhan or al-A’la or at-Tin or the last two surahs of al-Mufassil. All of that is related through authentic chains. “Marwan ibn al-Hakim used to do this, and when Zaid ibn Thabit objected to it he said, “What is wrong with you that you always recite one of the short surahs from al-Mufassil during the sunset prayer? I have seen the Prophet, upon whom be peace, reciting a long chapter therein.” Marwan asked, “And what is a long chapter?” He answered, “Al-A’raf.” This hadith is Sahih. Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi related it. An-Nasa’i records that ‘Aishah said, “The Prophet, upon whom be peace, read al-A’raf during the sunset prayer and he divided it between the two rak’ahs.” To always recite a short surah from al-Mufassil is an act that differs from the Sunnah, and this is what Marwan ibn al-Hakim did.
The Recitation in the Night Prayer
In the night prayer, the Prophet would recite at-Tin, and he taught Mu’azh to recite ash-Shams, al-A’la, al-Lail, and so on. He objected to Mu’azh reciting al-Baqarah at that time. After the prayer, he (Mu’azh) went to the tribe of ‘Amr ibn ‘Auf, and when part of the night had passed, he repeated his prayer, and recited al-Baqarah there. On being informed about him, the Prophet said to him, “Mu’azh, are you one who puts people to hardships?’’
To be continued