Question # 337: In India, we believe that whoever prays forty prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque, he or she will be safe from the hell fire, so whoever goes for Hajj makes it a point to do this. Is this correct?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The hadith “Whoever prays forty prayers in my Mosque, missing no prayer, it will be recorded that he is safe from the Fire, is saved from punishment and is free of hypocrisy.” is a da’eef (weak) hadith and cannot be taken as proof or relied upon. On the other hand, the hadith “Whoever prays for forty days with the congregation, always being present for the first takbeer, it will be written that he will be safe from two things: he will be safe from the Fire and safe from hypocrisy.” is a hasan (sound) hadith and this applies to any mosque (and not just al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah or al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah) where prayers are offered in congregation. Nevertheless, the weak hadith mentioned above should not undermine the virtue of praying in the Prophet’s mosque. In fact, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, except al-Masjid al-Haraam…”

Long Answer: A hadith was narrated by Ahmad from Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), who is reported to have said, “Whoever prays forty prayers in my Mosque, missing no prayer, it will be recorded that he is safe from the Fire, is saved from punishment and is free of hypocrisy.” This is a da’eef (weak) hadith. This was mentioned by al-Shaykh al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah, who said: It is da’eef. He also mentioned it in Da’eef al-Targheeb and said, it is munkar (a kind of weak hadith).

Al-Albani said in his book Hujjat al-Nabi (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that it is an innovation (bid’ah) to visit Madinah and tell the visitors to Madinah to stay there for a week so that they will be able to offer forty prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque so that they will be free from hypocrisy and saved from the Fire.

Al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “With regard to the widespread idea that the visitor should stay for eight days so that he can offer forty prayers in the Mosque is wrong. Although it says in some hadiths, “Whoever offers forty prayers therein Allah will decree that he is safe from the Fire and free from hypocrisy,” this hadith is da’eef according to the scholars and cannot be taken as proof or relied upon. There is no set limit for visiting the Prophet’s Mosque. If a person visits for an hour or two, or a day or two, or for more than that, there is nothing wrong with that.” (Fatawa Ibn Baaz)

Instead of this hadith we should look at the hasan (sound) hadith narrated by Tirmidhi concerning the virtue of always being present for the opening takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) of prayer in congregation. It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Whoever prays for forty days with the congregation, always being present for the first takbeer, it will be written that he will be safe from two things: he will be safe from the Fire and safe from hypocrisy.” (Classed as hasan by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)

The virtue mentioned in this hadith is general and applies to any mosque where prayers are offered in congregation, in any land; it does not apply only to al-Masjid al-Haram [in Makkah] or al-Masjid al-Nabawi [in Madinah] in particular.

Based on this, whoever consistently prays forty days in congregation in which he is present for the first takbeer, it will be recorded that he will be safe from two things: safe from the Fire and safe from hypocrisy, whether the mosque is in Madinah, Makkah or anywhere else.

[Nevertheless, the weak hadith mentioned above should not undermine the virtue of praying in the Prophet’s mosque. In fact,] … in the report narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Majah from Jaabir (رضي الله عنه), that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, except al-Masjid al-Haraam, and one prayer in al-Masjid al-Haraam is better than one hundred thousand prayers elsewhere.” (This hadith was classed as sahih by al-Mundhiri and al-Busayri. Al-Albani said: Its isnad is sahih according to the conditions of the two Shaykhs [al-Bukhari and Muslim].

(The above reply is based on various answers provided by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam