Question # 131: AsSalaam Aliekum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barkatahu; I want to know about the Salat Tasbeeh. Some people consider the hadith relating to it right and practice Salat Tasbeeh. Some people do not follow it. I want your view on it. In case the hadith relating to it is right than why the others consider it wrong and in case the hadith concerning it weak or wrong that why the other consider it right. Thanks

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 scholars have differed over the permissibility of Salat al-Tasbeeh in Islam as there is difference of opinion concerning the soundness of the related hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas. The scholars, who are of the view that the hadith is da‘eef (weak) or mawdoo’ (fabricated), consider Salat al-Tasbeeh, a bid’ah (innovation). Moreover, none of the imams of the four madhahib spoke of it, except Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who although regarded the hadith as da‘eef, considered it permissible as according to his madhhab, virtues deeds can be added from da’eef ahadith. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said that there is a great deal of goodness and barakah (blessing) among the nafl (voluntary) acts, which are proven to be prescribed in Islam, so one should be content with that and there is no need to pursue which is the subject of differences of opinion and doubts. Finally, according to Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Salah, those who pray should not impose it on those who do not approve of it and vice versa.

Long Answer: There are ahadith concerning Salat al-Tasbeeh which are attributed to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and which were classed as hasan by some of the scholars, but may scholars said that they are da’eef (weak) and that this prayer is not prescribed in Islam.

[The hadith that prescribes Salat al-Tasbeeh:] ‘Ikrimah reports from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdal-Mutalib: “O ‘Abbas, O Uncle, shall I not give you, shall I not present to you, shall I not donate to you, shall I not tell you ten things which, if you do, Allah will forgive your first and last sins, past and present sins, intentional and unintentional sins, private and public sins? The ten actions are: pray four rak’at, reciting in every rak’ah al-Fatihah and a surah. And when you finish the Qur’anic recitation of the first rak’ah, say, while standing, ‘Subhanallah, al-hamdulillah, wa Ia ilaha illallah, wa Allahu Akbar‘ fifteen times. Then make ruku’, and while you are in ruku’, say the same ten times; then stand, and say the same ten times. Then go down and make sajdah, and while you’re in sajdah, say the same ten times. Then sit after the sajdah, and say the same ten times. Then make sajdah, and say the same ten times. Then sit after the second sajdah, and say the same another ten times. That is seventy-five [repetitions of the phrases J in each rak’ah. Do that in each of the four rak’at. If you can pray it once a day, do so. If you cannot, then once every Friday. If you cannot do that, then once a year. And if you cannot do that, then once in your life.” This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah in his sahih, and at-Tabarani. About this hadith al-Munzhiri says: “This hadith has been related through many chains and from a number of companions. The best of them is this one from ‘Ikrimah. A group of scholars have graded it to be sahih, including al-Hafez Abu Bakr al-‘Ajari, (al-Munzhiri’s teachers), Abu Muhammad ‘Abdurrahim al-Misri, and Abu al-Hassan al-Maqdisi.” Ibn al Mubarak says: “The tasbeeh prayer is a greatly desired act and it is desirable that one should punctually observe it and never neglect it. (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

[However,] the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) differed as to whether Salat al-Tasbeeh is prescribed in Islam. The reason for this difference of opinion concerning it is the difference of opinion concerning the soundness of the hadith which speaks of it. The prominent scholars are of the view that it is da‘eef (weak). [Their opinions are as follows:]

  • The Standing Committee was asked about Salat al-Tasbeeh, and they answered: “Salat al-Tasbeeh is a bid’ah (innovation) and the hadith concerning it is not proven, rather it is munkar. Some of the scholars mentioned it among the mawdoo’ (fabricated) ahadith. (See Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)
  • Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said it is a fabrication, and he said that none of the imams recommended it. He (may Allah have mercy on him) spoke the truth, because whoever examines this prayer will find that it is odd in the way it is performed… Moreover, if it were prescribed, it would have been something that was reported in many reports because of its great virtue and reward. Since there are no such reports and none of the imams described it as being recommended, we know that it is not proven. The oddness in the way in which it is performed is as described in the hadith narrated concerning it, which says that it is to be performed once every day, or once every week, or once every month, or once every year, or once in a lifetime. This indicates that these reports are not sound; if it were prescribed, it would be something to be done on a regular basis, and one would not be given such a variety of options. On this basis, people should not do this prayer. And Allah knows best.  (Fataawa Manaar al-Islam) He further said in Majmoo‘ al-Fatawa:  The best of the reports narrated about these prayers is the hadith about Salat al-Tasbeeh, which was narrated by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi, but nevertheless none of the four imams spoke of it; in fact, Ahmad regarded the hadith as da‘eef, and these prayers are not mustahabb.
  • Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni: With regard to Salat al-Tasbeeh, Ahmad said: I do not like it. It was said to him: Why? He said: There is nothing sahih (authentic) about it, and he waved his hand as if dismissing it.
  • Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Majmoo‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab: Al-Qadi Husayn, and the authors of al-Tahdheeb and al-Tatimmah said: Salat al-Tasbeeh is mustahabb (desirable), because of the hadith narrated concerning it. But this view of it as mustahabb is subject to further discussion, because the hadith in question is da‘eef (weak), and it involves changing the regular format of the prayer, so it should not be done without a hadith (to support it). Al-Tirmidhi said: More than one hadith was narrated from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) concerning Salat al-Tasbeeh, but not many of them are sahih. And al-‘Aqeeli said: There is no proven hadith about Salat al-Tasbeeh.
  • Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Salat al-Tasbeeh is not prescribed, because the hadith is da’eef (weak). Imam Ahmad said there is no sound evidence for it. (Fataawa Manaar al-Islam) He further said in in Majmoo‘ Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen: What seems more likely to be correct in my opinion is that Salat al-Tasbeeh is not sunnah (from the prophetic teachings), and that the hadith about it is da‘eef. This is for several reasons:
    • The basic principle concerning acts of worship is that they are disallowed unless there is proven evidence that they are prescribed.
    • The hadith is mudtarib (weak); there is a difference of opinion concerning it for several reasons.
    • None of the imams regarded it as mustahabb.
    • If this prayer was prescribed, the ummah would have narrated a report concerning which there was no doubt and it would have been well known among them because of its great benefit. Moreover, it is not like any other act of worship, because there is no act of worship in which so much choice is given that it may be done once every day, or once in a week, or once in a month, or once in a year, or once in a lifetime. Because the weak hadith states that it is of great benefit and because it is not like any other act of worship, yet it is not well known and was not transmitted, we know that there is no basis for it, because if an act of worship is different from other acts of worship, and if it were of great benefit, people would pay attention to it and transmit it, and it would be popular and well known. Because that is not the case with regard to this prayer, we know that it is not prescribed. Hence none of the imams regarded it as mustahabb, as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said. Among the nafl (voluntary) acts which are proven to be prescribed in Islam there is a great deal of goodness and barakah (blessing) for the one who wants more, so he should be content with that which is proven, and he has no need of that which is the subject of differences of opinion and doubts.

According to Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Salah: “There is difference of opinions among scholars, many scholars say it is permissible and furthermore, it is recommended, some scholars say it is not permissible while some other scholars say it is not recommended but it is permissible… specifying a certain time to offer Salat al-Tasbeeh is bid’ah… Among the scholars, who say that is it not recommended but yet it is permissible is Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal – although according to him the hadith is da’eef, it is permissible to add virtues deeds from da’eef ahadith in accordance with his madhhab. So those who pray should not impose it on those who do not approve of it and those who do consider this hadith da’eef should not make a big deal out of it as great number of scholars like Shaykh Al-Albani consider the hadith sound” (Video Lecture by Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Salah)

(Portion of the above reply is based on various answers 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