Witr Salah in Makkah and Madinah

Witr Ṣalāh in Makkah and Madīnah

Question

When we visit Makkah and Madīnah in Ramaḍān, should we perform Witr Ṣalāh behind the Imam who does Salām after the second Rakʿah?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Answer

According to the Ḥanafī school of thought, Witr Ṣalāh consists of three Rakʿah with one set of Salām at the end of the third Rakʿah. However, according to the Shāfiʿī, Mālikī and Ḥanbalī schools of thought, Witr Ṣalāh consists of three Rakʿah with Salām after the second Rakʿah as well as after the third Rakʿah. Accordingly, there is a difference of opinion regarding the validity of a Ḥanafī performing Witr Ṣalāh behind an Imam who leads Witr in this manner with two sets of Salām. The dominant position of the Ḥanafī school of thought is that this is not valid[1] because the Salām after the second Rakʿah invalidates the Ṣalāh. However, some Ḥanafī scholars are of the opinion that the Witr Ṣalāh is valid. This view is shared by many of my teachers as well as many Ḥanafī scholars from the past and present. They include:

  1. Imam Abū Jaʿfar al-Hinduwānī[2](d. 362/973)[3].
  2. Imam Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ al-Rāzī[4](d. 370/981)[5].
  3. Qāḍī Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wahhāb ibn Aḥmad ibn Wahbān al-Dimishqī[6](d. 768/1367)[7].
  4. Qāḍī ʿIbn Abī al-ʿIzz (d. 792/1390).[8]
  5. Shaykh al-Islām Sirāj al-Dīn Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar ibn ʿAlī ibn Fāris[9](d. 829/1426)[10], the teacher of ʿAllāmah Ibn al-Humām (d. 861/1457).
  6. Hāfiẓ Badr al-Din al-ʿAynī (d. 855/1451).[11]
  7. ʿAllāmah Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Makkī al-Rūmī known as Ibn Mullā Farrūkh (d. 1061/1651).[12]
  8. Shāh Walī Allah Muḥaddith Dehlawī (d. 1176/1762).[13]
  9. Baḥr al-ʿUlūm Mawlānā ʿAbd al-ʿAlī Laknawī[14] (d. 1225/1810)[15].
  10. Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Muḥaddith Dehlawī (d. 1239/1824).[16]
  11. ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Laknawī (d. 1304/1886).[17]
  12. Shaykh al-Hind Mawlānā Maḥmūd Ḥasan Deobandī(d. 1339/1920).[18]
  13. ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī (d. 1352/1933).[19]
  14. Imam Ahl al-Sunnah Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Shakūr Laknawī (d. 1381/1962).[20]
  15. Muftī Marghūb Aḥmad Lājpūrī (d. 1382/1962), the former Head Mufti of Burma.[21]
  16. Mawlānā Fakhr al-Ḥasan (d. 1393/1973), the famous teacher of Sunan Abī Dāwūd in Darul Uloom Deoband.[22]
  17. Shaykh Muḥammad Yūsuf Binorī (d. 1397/1977).[23]
  18. Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥaq (d. 1409/1988), Peshawar, Pakistan.[24]
  19. Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Rashīd Nuʿmānī (d. 1420/1999).[25]
  20. Mufti Niẓām al-Dīn al-Aʿẓamī (d. 1420/2000).[26]
  21. Mufti ʿĀshiq Ilāhī Bulandshahrī (d. 1422/2001), the former resident Mufti of the Ḥanafīs in Saudi Arabia.[27]
  22. Mawlānā Mujāhid al-Islām Qāsmī (d. 1423/2002) and a group of Indian scholars.[28] This is also the current position of Darul Uloom Deoband.[29]
  23. Muḥaddith al-ʿAṣr Shaykh Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī (d. 1438/2017).
  24. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥafīẓ Makkī (d. 1438/2017).[30]
  25. Mufti Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān Khayrābādī (b. 1352/1933), Head Mufti, Darul Uloom Deoband.[31]
  26. Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAwwāmah (b. 1358/1940).[32]
  27. Mufti Muḥammad Taqī ʿUthmānī (b. 1362/1943).[33]
  28. Mufti Muḥammad Rafīʿ ʿUthmānī (b. 1355/1936).[34]
  29. Mufti Mukhtār Allah Ḥaqqānī, Peshawar, Pakistan.[35]
  30. Shaykh Yūsuf Motālā (b. 1366/1946), Darul Uloom Bury, UK.[36]
  31. Mufti Shabbīr Aḥmad (b. 1376/1957), Darul Uloom Bury, UK.
  32. Mufti Ṭāhir Wādī (b. 1376/1957), Darul Uloom Bury, UK.
  33. Mawlānā Marghūb Aḥmad Lājpūrī (b. 1383/1963), Dewsbury, UK.
  34. Mufti Muḥammad Salmān Manṣūrpūrī (b. 1386/1967), Moradabad, India.[37]
  35. Mufti Shabbīr Aḥmad Qāsmī, Moradabad, India.[38]
  36. Mawlānā Khālid Sayf Allah Raḥmānī (b. 1376/1956), India.[39]
  37. Mawlānā ʿAtīq Aḥmad Qāsmī Bastawī (b. 1373/1954), Lucknow, India.[40]
  38. Mawlānā ʿUbaydullāh Asʿadī, Banda, India.[41]
  39. Mufti ʿAbd al-Qādir Ḥusayn (b. 1376/1957), South Africa.
  40. Mufti Muḥammad ibn Adam (b. 1396/1976), UK.

The preferred opinion is that Witr Ṣalāh in Makkah and Madīnah is valid and should be performed for the following reasons:

  1. The Prophet ﷺ performed Witr Ṣalāh in this manner as well, as narrated in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (990, 993) and other ḥadīth books.[42]
  2. Many companions performed Witr Ṣalāh in this manner including ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿUmar (d. 73/693)[43], ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān (d. 35/656)[44], Abū Mūsa al-Ashʿarī (d. 44/665)[45], Abū Hurayrah (d. 57/676-7)[46]and others[47] (may Allah be pleased with them).
  3. Performing Witr Ṣalāh in this manner has been narrated from great luminaries and scholars including Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn (d. 110/729)[48], Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (d. 110/728)[49], ʿAṭāʾ ibn Abī Rabāḥ (d. 114/732)[50], Saʿīd ibn al-Musayyib ( 94/712-3)[51], Awzāʿī (d. 157/773-4)[52], Abū Thawr (d. 240/854)[53], Mālik ibn Anas (d. 179/795)[54], Muḥammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204/820)[55], Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241/855)[56], Isḥāq ibn Rāhwayh/Rāhūyah (d. 238/853)[57]and others.
  4. There is no narration or historical account that indicates that the companions or their followers would refrain from performing Ṣalāh behind an Imam who held another opinion on a jurisprudential matter such as this one.[58]
  5. Performing Ṣalāh with the large congregation in Makkah and Madīnah is a means of immense reward.[59]
  6. Abstention from performing Witr Ṣalāh in congregation in Makkah and Madīnah is not conducive to unity and could lead to friction and division.[60]
  7. Advising the general public to refrain and walk away from the congregational Witr Ṣalāh could result in many people believing that the other schools of thought are erroneous and that the Ḥanafī school of thought is the only correct school of thought. This also results in disregard for the narrations cited above.[61]
  8. Thousands of people walking away as the congregational Witr Ṣalāh begins would disturb and possibly harm others due to the congestion.
  9. This would also create gaps within rows.
  10. Following another school of thought or a minority view within a school is not impermissible if there is a need to do so, especially when there is no fulfilment of personal desires, as affirmed by Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (d. 1323/1905) in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah (p. 209) and others.[62]

It is therefore advisable for those visiting Saudi Arabia to perform Witr Ṣalāh behind the Imam. Additionally, there is no need to repeat the Witr Ṣalāh as this is contrary to the Prophetic narration that suggests that Witr Ṣalāh should not be performed twice in one night.[63] Similarly, one should follow the Imam and perform the Salām after the second Rakʿah. Equally, if the Imam performs Witr Ṣalāh according to the Ḥanafī method, those behind should not perform Salām after the second Rakʿah and instead follow the Imam even if they are adherents of another school of thought.[64] This is because the Prophet ﷺ has said, “The Imam is appointed so that he is followed.”[65] It should also be borne in mind that the validity of Witr Ṣalāh described above is not restricted to Makkah and Madīnah.[66]

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

9 Jumādā al-Thāniyah 1437 / 19 March 2016 (Updated 20 Dhū al-Ḥijjah 1438 / 11 Sep 2017)

www.nawadir.org

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Footnotes

[1] Tabyīn al-Ḥaqāʾiq (1: 171); Fatḥ al-Qadīr (1: 437); al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq (2: 42, 51); Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 8); Majmūʿah Rasāʾil Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī (3: 342).

[2] Ḥāshiyah Durar al-Ḥukkām (1: 112); Tabyīn al-Ḥaqāʾiq (1: 171); Minḥat al-Khāliq (2: 51); al-ʿInāyah (1: 438); Ḥāshiyah al-Ṭaḥṭāwī (1: 385); Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 8).

Note 1: Several colleagues have contacted me regarding the accuracy of this attribution to Imam Abū Jaʿfar al-Hinduwānī. After reviewing several texts, it is clear that our Ḥanafī jurists have differed in relation to his position. ʿAllāmah Ibn ʿAbidīn (d. 1252/1836) writes in Minḥat al-Khāliq (2: 51), “However, ʿAllāmah Nūḥ Āfindī has mentioned in the Ḥawāshī of al-Durar that whoever has said that consideration in following an opponent is for the view of the Imam according to a group that includes Hinduwānī, this means the view of both the Imam and the muqtadī, not just the view of the Imam as some people misunderstand, because the difference of opinion is in relation to the Imam’s view being considered or not, and not in the consideration of the muqtadī’s view, because its consideration in relation to validity or non-validity is unanimously agreed upon.” A similar view was shared by ʿAllāmah Raḥmatullāh Sindī (d. 993/1585) in Ghāyat al-Taḥqīq (p. 4).

However, ʿAllāmah Ibn ʿAbidīn questions this by citing Imam Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ’s view which indicates that it is not unanimously agreed upon. In Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 8), he suggests that Imam Hinduwānī’s view is that consideration is only for the view of the Imam, contrary to what ʿAllāmah Nūḥ Āfindī suggests. Similarly, ʿAllāmah Shurunbulālī (d. 1069/1659) quotes ʿAllāmah Ibn al-Shiḥnah (d. 921/1515, al-Fawāʾid al-Bahiyyah, p. 113) who suggests that Imam Hinduwānī’s view is that consideration is only for the view of the Imam (Ḥāshiyah Durar al-Ḥukkām, 1: 112). ʿAllāmah Shurunbulālī does not critique this attribution. Similarly, ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī (d. 1352/1933) suggests in Fayḍ al-Bārī (1: 458) that according to ʿAllāmah Nūḥ Āfindī, consideration is for the view of the Imam and the muqtadī. He then writes that this is his personal view and it is not from the salaf (predecessors), implying that this was not Imam Hinduwānī’s view, though this is not explicitly mentioned. Thus, the Witr Ṣalāh in question would be valid according to Imam Hinduwānī based on the understanding of ʿAllāmah Ibn al-Shiḥnah, ʿAllāmah Shurunbulālī, ʿAllāmah Ibn ʿAbidīn and ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī, and invalid based on the understanding of ʿAllāmah Nūḥ Āfindī (d. 1070/1659-60) and ʿAllāmah Raḥmatullāh Sindī. We have been unable to find any statement of Imam Hinduwānī in al-Nihāyah and other commentaries of Hidāyah such as al-ʿInāyah (1: 438) that explicitly affirms or negates either position, although it appears that consideration is only for the view of the Imam according to him. This is also how the scholars of Darul Uloom Karachi including Mufti Muḥammad Taqī ʿUthmānī (b. 1362/1943) and Mufti Muḥammad Rafīʿ ʿUthmānī (b. 1355/1936) have understood his position.

Note 2: The edition of Ghāyat al-Taḥqīq printed in Turkey attributes the book to ʿAllāmah Ḥayāt Sindī (d. 1163/1750). However, this appears to be an error as this book is attributed to ʿAllāmah Raḥmatullāh in al-Kawākib al-Sāʾirah (3: 136), al-Aʿlām (3: 19), Hadyat al-ʿĀrifīn (1: 366) and other sources. Imam Najm al-Dīn al-Gazzī, the author of al-Kawākib al-Sāʾirah, passed away in 1061/1651. Moreover, some of the stringent positions adopted in Ghāyat al-Taḥqīq do not reflect the views and approach of ʿAllāmah Ḥayāt Sindī. It is worth noting in this context that Mulla ʿAli al-Qārī (d. 1014/1605) has critiqued some of the views of ʿAllāmah Raḥmatullāh (see Majmūʿah Rasāʾil, 3: 337).

[3] Siyar Aʿlām al-Nubalāʾ (16: 131); al-Jawāhir al-Muḍiyyah (2: 68); Tāj al-Tarājim (1: 264).

[4] Fatḥ al-Qadīr (1: 437); Tabyīn al-Ḥaqāʾiq (1: 171); al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq (2: 42); Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 8); al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 65).

[5] Al-Jawāhir al-Muḍiyyah (1: 84); Tāj al-Tarājim (1: 96); al-Aʿlām (1: 171).

[6] Manẓūmah Ibn Wahbān (manuscript, p. 4); Ḥāshiyah Durar al-Ḥukkām (1: 112); al-ʿArf al-Shadhī (1: 71); Maʿārif al-Sunan (1: 163; 4: 170).

[7] Al-Durar al-Kāminah (3: 230); al-Manhal al-Ṣāfī (7: 378); Tāj al-Tarājim (1: 198); al-Aʿlām (4: 180).

[8] Risālah Laṭīfah fī Ḥukm al-Iqtidāʾ bi al-Mukhālif (p. 26, 32); Sharḥ al-ʿAqīdah al-Ṭaḥāwiyyah (p. 324); al-Tanbīh ʿalā Mushkilāt al-Hidāyah (2: 652, 663-4). It is worth noting that citing ʿAllāmah Ibn Abī al-ʿIzz or his book does not necessitate endorsing his contentious positions on creed related matters, which is one of the reasons why some scholars suggest he was not a Ḥanafī jurist. However, this is incorrect. He was a Ḥanafī jurist and a Ḥanafī judge, notwithstanding his contentious views, as affirmed in Aqwāl al-Jahābidhah fī Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyah, wherein more than twenty scholars are listed who suggest he was a Ḥanafī. They include Imam Taqī al-Dīn al-Maqrīzī al-Ḥanafī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 845/1442), ʿAllāmah Ibn Qāḍi Shuhbah al-Shāfiʿī (d. 851/1448), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 852/1449), ʿAllāmah Ibn Taghrī Birdī al-Ḥanafī (d. 874/1470), Ḥāfiẓ Sakhāwī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 902/1497), Ḥāfiẓ Suyūṭī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 911/1505), ʿAllāmah Ibn Iyās al-Ḥanafī (d. ca. 930/1523), ʿAllāmah Ibn Ṭūlūn al-Ḥanafī (d. 953/1546), Mulla ʿAli al-Qārī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1014/1605), ʿAllāmah Ibn al-ʿImād al-Ḥanbalī (d. 1089/1679), ʿAllāmah Muḥammad Murtaḍā al-Zabīdī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1205/1791) and Shaykh Muḥammad Yūnus Jownpūrī al-Ḥanafī (d. 1438/2017). In addition, clear examples of his disagreements with Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728/1328) on jurisprudential matters (including on the three-divorce issue) and his defence of the Ḥanafī position are outlined. ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Laknawī (d. 1304/1886) confirms in al-Rafʿ wa al-Takmīl (p. 385) that a person who follows the jurisprudence of Imam Abū Ḥanīfah (d. 150/767) is a Ḥanafī, although he maybe a Zaydi or a Murjite or a Mutazilite in terms of creed. Examples are also found in other schools of thought, for example, Ḥāfiẓ Dhahabī (d. 748/1348) was Shāfiʿī in jurisprudence and Ḥanbalī in creed (al-Fawāʾid al-Bahiyyah, p. 12).

[9] Fatḥ al-Qadīr (1: 437). Mulla ʿAli al-Qārī (d. 1014/1605) in Majmūʿah Rasāʾil (3: 332) appears to defend his view on this particular issue. His personal view on this issue is not explicit and at times appears contradictory.

[10] Al-Ḍawʾ al-Lāmiʿ (6: 109); al-Manhal al-Ṣāfī (5: 394; 7: 193); al-Aʿlām (5: 57).

[11] Ramz al-Ḥaqāʾiq (manuscript, p. 79, Chapter of Witr).

Note 1: Several colleagues have contacted me regarding the accuracy of this attribution to Ḥāfiẓ Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAynī. This is what he has written in Ramz al-Ḥaqāʾiq:

ودلت المسألة على جواز اقتداء الحنفي بالشافعي لا كما قيل: إن رفع اليدين عند الركوع وعند الرفع منه عمل كثير يفسد الصلاة، لأن حد التكثير لا يصدق عليه، ويقال: إنما يجوز اقتداء الحنفي بالشافعي إذا كان محتاطا في موضع الخلاف بأن كان يجدد الوضوء من الحجامة والفصد، وأن يغسل ثوبه من المني، ولا يكون شاكا في إيمانه بالاستثناء، ولا منحرفا عن القبلة، ولا يقطع وتره، قلت: هذا عجيب من هذا القائل لأن الشافعي يقول مثله في حق الحنفي: لا يجوز اقتداء الشافعي بالحنفي إلا إذا كان يحتاط من مواضع الخلاف بأن كان يجدد الوضوء من مس الذكر ومس المرأة وغسل النجاسة القليلة، ولا يترك قراءة الفاتحة ولا الجهر بالبسملة، ولا يترك الطمأنينة في الركوع والسجود، ولا يترك الصلاة على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا … إجابة السلام؟ … ونحو ذلك، والطريق في هذا أن يقال: يجوز اقتداء الحنفي بالشافعي والشافعي بالحنفي وكذا المالكي والحنبلي ما لم يتحقق من إمامه ما يفسد صلاته في اعتقاده [أي اعتقاد الإمام، كذا صرح اللكنوي في فتاويه بالأردية ص ٢١٢ والمفتي محمد تقي العثماني والمشايخ بدار العلوم كراتشي]۔

It is clear from this statement that Ḥāfiẓ Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAynī is refuting the view that it is only permissible for a Ḥanafī to perform Ṣalāh behind a Shāfiʿī Imam if the latter maintains regard for the Ḥanafī positions. Hence, he says, “I say, this is strange.” He would have not expressed his surprise if he agreed with this view fully or partially. Thus, his view as expressed in the final line is that the Ṣalāh of a person is valid so long as the Imam’s Ṣalāh is valid according to the Imam’s belief. The pronoun in the final word is referring to the Imam and not the muqtadī. Otherwise, this would be self-contradictory. This is further supported by the fact that according to Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī, ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him) was of the view that it is necessary for a traveller to shorten the Ṣalāh and it is not merely optional (ʿUmdat al-Qārī, 7: 122). However, despite this, he performed four Rakʿah Ṣalāh behind ʿUthmān (may Allah be pleased with him) in Mina, as outlined below. Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī states, “[He performed Ṣalāh behind him] yes by choice, however, he had no choice whilst following him due to the necessity of following [the Imam].” Thus, it appears that in such a scenario, Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī permits a Ḥanafī traveller to perform the four Rakʿah Ṣalāh behind a traveller who regards this as permissible.

Some contemporary scholars are of the view that the pronoun in the final sentence of Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī quoted above refers to the muqtadī, suggesting that a Ḥanafī muqtadī can pray behind a non-Ḥanafī Imam so long as it is not established with certainty that he did something that violates the Ṣalāh according to the Ḥanafī muqtadī’s position. This however contradicts with Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī’s own surprise at the view he cites earlier that it is only permissible for a Ḥanafī to pray Witr behind a Shāfiʿī if he gives regard to the differences of opinions which include not breaking his Witr with a Salām. The response to this is that Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī’s surprise is targeted at the view which suggests that it is only permissible for a Ḥanafī to perform Ṣalāh behind a non-Ḥanafī if the latter gives due regard to the Ḥanafī stance on all the issues of contention irrespective of whether those issues violate the muqtadī’s Ṣalāh or not. The counter response is that the examples cited by Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī, after which he expresses his surprise, all violate the Ṣalāh at least according to the proponents of this view (see al-Bināyah 2: 501 and Majmūʿah Rasāʾil Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī 3: 328 for criticisms of the Qiblah and Īmān points) and therefore he is not merely expressing surprise at the view because it does not take into account whether the action of the Imam violates the Ṣalāh according to the muqtadī or not. The understanding of Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī’s aforementioned quote is also how ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Laknawī (d. 1304/1886) and the respected Muftis of Darul Uloom Karachi have understood it (see appendix below).

Ḥāfiẓ Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAynī has also discussed this issue of performing Ṣalāh behind an Imam of another school of thought in al-Bināyah (2: 501). He quotes from various books and presents the different views of the Ḥanafīs and other scholars without explicitly expressing his own opinion. He quotes al-Muḥīṭ and Imam Abū Bakr al-Rāẓi in relation to the scenario in question of Witr and does not endorse either position. A few sentences thereafter, there is a reference to the Witr Ṣalāh being invalid if the Imam ‘breaks it’ with a Salām, and it is not clear who is being quoted. This appears to be a continuation of the quote from al-Fawāʾid al-Ẓahīriyyah although it could be a quote from earlier commentaries on Hidāyāh such as al-Nihāyah and al-ʿInāyah (1: 438). Whilst it could be argued based on this quote that he is inclined, in al-Bināyah at least, to the dominant Ḥanafī position, this is not conclusive.

Note 2: Ḥāfiẓ ʿAynī’s aforementioned quote has been re-examined in light of what has been written in al-Qawl al-Sadīd and also Majmūʿah Rasāʾil of Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī (3: 326, 329, 332), and it appears that the pronoun is most probably referring to the muqtadī although this is not definitive. We therefore have no hesitation in retracting this attribution and thank the colleagues for bringing this to our attention. This detailed footnote has been retained here for the benefit of those who may wish to review the matter in the future. His position in ʿUmdat al-Qārī nevertheless provides a basis for permissibility as outlined below.

[12] Al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 49, 63).

[13] Ḥujjat Allah al-Bālighah (1: 270); al-Inṣāf fī Bayān Asbāb al-Ikhtilāf (p. 108).

[14] Rasāʾil al-Arkān (p. 108).

[15] Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir (7: 1023).

[16] Fatāwā ʿAzīzī (p. 230; 356, 430); Maʿārif al-Sunan (2: 331).

[17] Majmūʿah al-Fatāwā (p. 212); Sharḥ al-Hidāyah (2: 34); ʿUmdat al-Riʿāyah (2: 392).

[18] Fayḍ al-Bārī (1: 458).

[19] Fayḍ al-Bārī (1: 458; 2: 532); al-ʿArf al-Shadhī (1: 70); Maʿārif al-Sunan (1: 161; 2: 331).

[20] ʿIlm al-Fiqh (2: 240); Marghūb al-Fatāwā (2: 425).

[21] Marghūb al-Fatāwā (2: 445-7, 467).

[22] In Shaʿbān 1438, the Shāfiʿī scholar Mawlānā Ṭāhā Karaan of South Africa informed me during his visit to the UK that his father Mawlānā Yūsuf Karaan (d. 1436/2015) once visited Darul Uloom Deoband in the month of Ramaḍān where he led Witr Ṣalāh in accordance with the Shāfiʿī method with a Salām after the second Rakʿah and also recited the qunūt supplication after rukūʿ. Some students objected to this after the Ṣalāh had completed. Mawlānā Fakhr al-Ḥasan (d. 1393/1973), the famous teacher of Sunan Abū Dāwūd, commented: “Bewuqūf, yeh bhee sunnat hey” (Fool! This is also Sunnah). The Ṣalāh was not repeated.

[23] Maʿārif al-Sunan (1: 163; 2: 331; 4: 170).

[24] Fatāwā Ḥaqqāniyyah (3: 242).

[25] Adab al-Ikhtilāf fī Masāʾil al-ʿIlm wa al-Dīn (p. 87). Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAwwāmah (b. 1358/1940) narrates that when Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Rashīd Nuʿmānī was asked regarding this in Ramaḍān 1408/1988, he said, “If Imam Aḥmad was standing leading the prayer as Imam would you perform behind him?” Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAwwāmah concurs with this.

[26] See footnote 29.

[27] Fatāwā Qāsmiyyah (8: 115); Anwār Manāsik (p. 389); Albalagh Magazine (Sep 2002/Rajab 1423, p. 35); Marghūb al-Fatāwā (2: 471).

[28] Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 32).

[29] For the Darul Uloom Deoband Fatwa refer to the appendix (click here). Although the Fatwa does not mention who has endorsed it, it is our understanding that the Fatwā was endorsed by Mufti Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān Khayrābādī (b. 1352/1933). It is worth noting that he has at least five Fatwas in Fatāwā Ḥabībiyyah (3: 382-391) dated between 1405 and 1418 Hijri which prohibit Witr behind an Imam who leads with two Salāms. However, there is a Fatwa (3: 383) dated 1420 Hijri wherein he has provided some flexibility by mentioning that some Ḥanafī scholars have permitted performing Witr behind a Ḥanbalī to avoid confusion so long as the muqtadī does not perform the first salām. This Fatwa was approved by Mufti Niẓām al-Dīn al-Aʿẓamī (d. 1420/2000) and others.

[30] Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥafīẓ Makkī would encourage others to perform Witr Ṣalāh behind the Imams in Saudi Arabia and would caution against repeating it.

[31] See footnote 29.

[32] Adab al-Ikhtilāf fī Masāʾil al-ʿIlm wa al-Dīn (p. 87).

[33] The Fatwa approved by a group of scholars from Darul Uloom Karachi is available in the appendix and is downloadable from the following link: Darul Uloom Karachi Fatwa Regarding Witr in Haramayn. Also see Inʿām al-Bārī (4: 204).

[34] Ibid. Also see Anwār Manāsik (p. 389).

[35] Marghūb al-Fatāwā (2: 435). We have been unable to identify his year of birth.

[36] A Shāfiʿī student led Witr Ṣalāh in Darul Uloom Bury throughout Ramaḍān a few years ago according to the Shāfiʿī method in the presence of many scholars and luminaries including Shaykh Yūsuf Motālā.

[37] Kitāb al-Nawāzil (4: 562); Fatāwā Qāsmiyyah (8: 115).

[38] Fatāwā Qāsmiyyah (8: 115); Kitāb al-Nawāzil (4: 562); Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 181); Anwār Manāsik (p. 389). We have been unable to identify his year of birth.

[39] Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 136); Kitāb al-Fatāwā (2: 330).

[40] Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 68).

[41] Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 82).

[42] There are also authentic narrations that suggest that the Prophet ﷺ and many companions performed Witr Ṣalāh without a Salām after the second Rakʿah.

[43] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (991). Mufti Muḥammad Taqī ʿUthmānī (b. 1362/1943) writes in Inʿām al-Bārī (4: 204), “I like the view of Ibn Wahbān better, and I say that if ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿUmar (may Allah be pleased with them) was an Imam, would you not perform [Witr] Ṣalāh behind him and perform it separately?” Shaykh Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (d. 1346/1927) writes in Barāhīn Qāṭiʿah (p. 7), a book written under the instruction of Mawlānā Rasḥīd Aḥmad Gangohī (d. 1323/1905), “One Rakʿah of Witr is present in ṣaḥīḥ (sound) ḥadīths, it is endorsed by ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿUmar, Ibn ʿAbbās and other companions [may Allah be pleased with them], and it is the position of Mālik, Shāfiʿī and Aḥmad. Therefore, the author’s vilification of it, is a vilification on them all.”

[44] Sunan al-Bayhaqī (3: 36); Muṣannaf ʿAbd al-Razzāq (4653).

[45] Muṣannaf ʿAbd al-Razzāq (4672).

[46] Muṣannaf ʿAbd al-Razzāq (4672).

[47] Sunan al-Bayhaqī (2: 32); al-Mughnī (2: 100); al-Majmūʿ Sharḥ al-Muhadhdhab (4: 22).

[48] Mukhtaṣar Kitāb al-Watr (p. 20).

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid; al-Mughnī (2: 100).

[51] Al-Mughnī (2: 100).

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid; al-Majmūʿ (4: 24).

[54] Al-Mudawwanah (1: 212); Mukhtaṣar Kitāb al-Watr (p. 20).

[55] Al-Umm (1: 164); al-Majmūʿ (4: 24).

[56] Sunan al-Tirmidhī (461); Mukhtaṣar Kitāb al-Watr (p. 20); al-Mughnī (2: 100).

[57] Ibid.

[58] This point has also been made generally in Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā (20: 365; 23: 375), al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 49), Ḥujjat Allah al-Bālighah (1: 270), al-Inṣāf fī Bayān Asbāb al-Ikhtilāf (p. 108), Fatāwā ʿAzīzī (p. 230, 356, 430); Fayḍ al-Bārī (1: 458; 2: 532), al-ʿArf al-Shadhī (1: 70) and Maʿārif al-Sunan (1: 161; 2: 331). In fact, the opposite appears to be the case as illustrated by the following:

First, it is narrated that Imam Abū Yūsuf (d. 182/798) performed Ṣalāh behind the caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd (d. 193/809) despite the fact that the caliph had blood extracted via cupping and did not perform ablution. When an objection was raised Imam Abū Yūsuf said, “Subḥānallāh! [This is] the leader of the believers. Indeed, abandoning Ṣalāḥ behind Imams for such a reason is from the hallmarks of the innovators such as the Rāfiḍah and Mu’tazilites” (Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, 20: 365; 23: 375; also see al-Tanbīh ʿalā Mushkilāt al-Hidāyah, 2: 664; Ḥujjat Allah al-Bālighah, 1: 370; Fatāwā ʿAzīzī, p.356; Fayḍ al-Bārī, 1: 457; 2: 533; Maʿārif al-Sunan, 1: 162; Adab al-Ikhtilāf, p. 86; ʿIlm al-Fiqh, 2: 240; Marghūb al-Fatāwā, 2: 426). ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī (d. 1352/1933) explains that this is because the jurists have a difference of opinion regarding this and therefore it cannot be claimed that the Ṣalāḥ of the Imam is void according to Allah.

Second, Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241/855) was once asked regarding the ruling on ablution after cupping and he said it is necessary. He was then asked, “If the Imam does not perform ablution, should I perform Ṣalāḥ behind him?” He replied, “Subḥanallāh! Would you not perform Ṣalāh behind Saʿīd ibn al-Musayyib and Mālik ibn Anas” (Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, 20: 366; al-Mughnī, 2: 141; al-Qawl al-Sadīd, p. 166; Ḥujjat Allah al-Bālighah, 1: 370; Maʿārif al-Sunan, 1: 162, 2: 333; Adab al-Ikhtilāf, p. 86; ʿIlm al-Fiqh, 2: 240; Marghūb al-Fatāwā, 2: 427). More recently, a similar statement was made by Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Rashīd Nuʿmānī, as outlined in footnote number 25. Mufti Muḥammad Taqī ʿUthmānī also made a similar statement, as outlined in footnote number 43.

Third, it is narrated that once Imam Abū Yūsuf (d. 182/798) led Jumuʿah Ṣalāḥ and was later informed that there was a mouse in the water of the Hammam from which he had taken a bath. He suggested that the Ṣalāḥ is valid according to those who act on the ḥadīth of qullatayn (two large containers) (Fatāwā al-Nawāzil, p. 18; al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī, 3: 187; al-Qawl al-Sadīd, p. 104; Ḥujjat Allah al-Bālighah, 1: 370; al-Fawāʾid al-Bahiyyah, p. 116; Uṣūl al-Iftāʾ wa Ādābih, p. 211). This notwithstanding the fact that the Ṣalāh was invalid according to him, as mentioned in al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 106) and al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī (3: 187), although ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī (d. 1352/1933) suggests in al-ʿArf al-Shadhī (1: 70) that the Ṣalāh could have been valid according to him due to another reason. It is true that according to Jawāhir al-Fatāwā, as quoted in al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 107), Imam Abū Yūsuf adopted the qullatayn view for a period of six months. However, the narrative clearly indicates that this incident is not of this period, and this is explicitly affirmed in al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 106, 108) and also in al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī (3: 187) which is authoritative. Moreover, there would have been muqtadīs who did not adhere to the qullatayn view. However, there is no record that Imam Abū Yūsuf instructed them to repeat their Ṣalāh.  [Note: Fatāwā al-Nawāzil is a book attributed to Faqīh Abū al-Layth Samarqandī (d. 373/983). However, my colleague Dr Abdurrahman Mangera’s PhD thesis (p. 8) suggests that the published version is not the Nawāzil of Faqīh Abū al-Layth Samarqandī].

Fourth, when ʿUthmān (d. 35/656) (may Allah be pleased with him) performed four Rakʿah Ṣalāh in Minā, ʿAbd Allah ibn Masʿūd (d. 32/652-3) (may Allah be pleased with him) disagreed with this and said, “Truly to Allah we belong and truly to Him we shall return.” He then said, “I performed two Rakʿah with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ in Mina and similarly with Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq, may Allah be pleased with him, and with ʿUmar, may Allah be pleased with him. I wish I had my share of the two Rakʿah acceptable than the four Rakʿah” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 1084). Various explanations have been provided by scholars regarding the practice of ʿUthmān (may Allah be pleased with him) including that he may have been planning to reside in Makkah. However, ʿAllāmah Khaṭṭābī (d. 383/993), ʿAllāmah Ibn Baṭṭāl (d. 449/1057), Imam Nawawī (d. 676/1277) and others are of the view that according to ʿUthmān (may Allah be pleased with him), it was permissible for a traveller to pray four Rakʿah (Aʿlām al-Ḥadīth, 1: 626; Sharḥ Ibn Baṭṭāl, 3: 72; Sharḥ Muslim, 5: 204; Fatḥ al-Bārī, 2: 564, 570). What is clear is that ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him) strongly disagreed, and despite this performed Ṣalāḥ behind ʿUthmān (may Allah be pleased with him). Contrary to the view of most commentators, ʿAllāmah ʿAynī (d. 855/1451) suggests in ʿUmdat al-Qārī (7: 122) that according to ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him), it is necessary on a traveller to shorten his Ṣalāh (as is the Ḥanafī position), not merely recommended. Despite this, when ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked why he performed Ṣalāh behind ʿUthmān (may Allah be pleased with him) although he did not agree with him, he replied, “Division is evil” (al-Āthār of Abū Yūsuf, 147; Muṣannaf ʿAbd al-Razzāq, 4269). ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī uses this ḥadīth to affirm that such jurisprudential differences should not prevent a person from performing Ṣalāh behind someone who adheres to another school. Some Shāfiʿī scholars have also used this ḥadīth to affirm this point and mention that Imam Shāfiʿī would perform Ṣalāḥ behind the Imams in Madīnah and Egypt (al-Qawl al-Sadīd, p. 159).

Fifth, Shāh Walī Allah Muḥaddith Dehlawī (d. 1176/1762) writes in Ḥujjat Allah al-Bālighah (1: 270) regarding the companions and their followers, “And some of them would perform ablution due to cupping, bleeding and vomiting and some of them would not perform ablution due to this, and some of them would perform ablution due to touching the private parts and touching women with lust and some of them would not perform ablution due to this.” He further writes, “And despite this, they would perform Ṣalāh behind one another.” Similarly, Mulla ʿAli al-Qārī (d. 1014/1605) writes in one of his treatises published in Majmūʿah Rasāʾil (3: 323), “And this is how the rest of the companions were, they were Imams, and no one disputed in relation to performing Ṣalāh behind them despite that they differed in the field of transmission and understanding.” He further writes, “And for this reason the pious predecessors would pray behind the sinners such as Yazīd, Ḥajjāj and Ziyād and all the leaders of oppression and perversion.” He adds, “So despite all this, they did not permit abandoning the congregation and this was to protect from division between the Muslim congregation, because of what has come [in ḥadīths] that congregation [and unity] is mercy and division is punishment, and the verse refers to this, “And hold on firm to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided” (Qurʾān, 3: 103). And the practice continued on this in the time of Abū Ḥanīfah, Mālik, Shāfiʿī, Aḥmad and all the mujtahidūn. Thus, it is not narrated from any of the Imams that he prevented performing behind an opponent from the people of the faith (Muslims). This is because of their lack of certainty that they are definitely on the right and that others are definitely on the wrong. Rather they all exerted themselves in the matters of faith.” Similarly, the great Ḥanbalī scholar Imam Ibn Qudāmah (d. 620/1223) writes in al-Mughnī (2: 141), “As regards the opponents in furūʿ (branches of jurisprudence), such as the followers of Abū Ḥanīfah, Mālik and Shāfiʿī, then Ṣalāh behind them is valid and not disliked. Aḥmad has explicitly mentioned this, because the companions and the followers and those who came after them continued to perform behind each other despite their differences in furūʿ. So, this was the Ijmāʿ (consensus).” Similarly, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Muḥaddith Dehlawī (d. 1239/1824) writes in Fatāwā ʿAzīzī (p. 430), “The Ṣalāh of a Ḥanafī behind a Shāfiʿī, Mālikī and Ḥanbalī is all permissible, because there is no difference among them in uṣūl (fundamentals). This ruling is established from the reliable ḥadīth and jurisprudence books. However, some scholars of mā warāʾ al-nahr (Transoxiana) because of their limited understanding have prejudice and they discuss this. Their statement is worth rejecting, it is against the ḥadīth and jurisprudence, this is their [own] ruling based on their reasoning, it is definitely not worth listening to or considering. In the blessed city of Makkah, the practice has continued until now that people from all four schools perform Ṣalāh behind people from other schools. If this is not the ruling, then what difference will remain between the position of the Ahl al-Sunnah and the Khilāfiyyah sect. According to the people of the Sunnah and the muḥaqqiqūn (experts) from among all the jurists, ḥaq (truth) revolves within the four schools.”

These examples and quotes affirm that the companions and their followers would perform Ṣalāḥ behind each other irrespective of their differences of opinion. The report in al-Nawāzil (PhD Thesis, p. 120) outlining the concerns of Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī (d. 199/815) regarding the validity of his Ṣalāḥ behind Hishām ibn ʿUrwah (d. 146/763-4) should not be misunderstood because the view of ‘water from water’ is an isolated view which was not adopted or practiced by anyone after the era of the Ṣaḥabah (Fatḥ al-Bārī, 1: 399); Hishām ibn ʿUrwah did not practice it either, though he transmits the narration (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 293) which was probably the cause of Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī’s concern. It is perhaps for this reason, ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī makes a distinction in Fayḍ al-Bārī (1: 458; 2: 533) between those issues that rarely occur and those issues that occur more frequently and where there is widespread difference of opinion among the companions. Thus, it is worth noting in the specific context of the assertion ‘There is no narration or historical account that indicates that the companions or their followers would refrain from performing Ṣalāh behind an Imam who held another opinion on a jurisprudential matter such as this one’ that Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī is not a tābiʿī and the ‘water from water’ issue is not comparable with the Witr issue where there is a mainstream difference of opinion. In addition, Imam Abū Yūsuf’s status is higher than that of Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī, who is accused of being a Jahmī and a leader of the Murji’ah, who would dislike the sunan notwithstanding the fact that he was a famous faqīh and a qāḍī and his views are quoted in our Ḥanafī texts (al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā, 7: 263; al-Majrūḥīn, 1: 250; Tārīkh Baghdad, 8: 218; Tārīkh al-Islām, 4: 1098; Mīzān, 1: 574; Lisān, 3: 246; al-Jawāhir al-Muḍiyyah, 2: 265; al-Ṭabaqāt al-Saniyyah, p. 263; al-Fawāʾid al-Bahiyyah, p. 68). It is also worth noting that Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī did perform Ṣalāh behind Hishām ibn ʿUrwah prior to receiving assurances, although one could argue this does not contradict the dominant Ḥanafī position due to lack of certainty.

It is also worth noting that our respected Mufti Raḍāʾ al-Ḥaq (b. 1369-70/1950) appears to cite and concur with the view of a contemporary scholar that Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī was liar and fabricator and therefore his transmission from his teacher Imam Abū Ḥanīfah is not acceptable (Badr al-Layālī, 1: 236). However, ʿAllāmah Kashmīrī suggests that he was ṣadūq (truthful) and his transmission of al-Fiqh al-Akbar is reliable (Maʿārif al-Sunan, 4: 136). He adds that Imam Ibn al-Mubārak (d. 181/797) would revere him due to his knowledge and piety and Ḥāfiẓ Dhahabī (d. 748/1348) described him as “ʿAllāmah, with a great status, however, extremely weak in the recording of ḥadīth” (Mīzān, 1: 574). Generally, character discernment specialists describe him as weak but not a liar or fabricator. A person must remain objective and impartial when attempting to prove or disprove a point that appears to contradict a person’s belief or research. Thus, although it would have been easy to dismiss Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī as a fabricator and liar, the objective position is that he was a weak transmitter of ḥadīth, an expert in jurisprudence, a devout person, however, with extreme Murjite beliefs. Similarly, it would have been easy to dismiss this narrative based on the gap between Faqīh Abū al-Layth Samarqandī (d. 373/983) and Abū Muṭīʿ al-Balkhī (d. 199/815). There is no chain or source provided and the narrative starts with “And it is mentioned from Abū Muṭīʿ that he said.” However, there is no need to dismiss narratives solely because of such reasons and consistency must be applied when treating narratives irrespective of whether they support or oppose one’s position. This should be noted in the context of some of the narratives outlined above.

[59] Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 32).

[60] Al-Tanbīh ʿalā Mushkilāt al-Hidāyah (2: 666); Fatāwā Ḥabībiyyah (3: 383); Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (13: 32); ʿIlm al-Fiqh (2: 240); Marghūb al-Fatāwā (2: 427). Also refer to Naṣb al-Rāyah (1: 328). It is worth noting in this context the advice of the Prophet ﷺ who is reported to have said, “Perform Ṣalāh behind every pious and sinful person” (Sunan al-Dāraquṭnī, 1768; al-Sunan al-Kubrā, 6832). There are similar narrations in Sunan Abī Dāwūd (594) and other books, however, all these narrations are defective (Ibid, Naṣb al-Rāyah, 2: 26). The meaning of the narration is nevertheless correct as affirmed by the practice of ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿUmar (d. 73/693) (may Allah be pleased with them) who would perform Ṣalāh behind Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf (d. 95/714) (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 1660; 1653), who has been described as a fāsiq (sinner) by Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1449) (Fatḥ al-Bārī, 3: 512) and others. Similarly, Anas ibn Mālik (d. 93/711-2) (may Allah be pleased with them) said in relation to the location of Ṣalāh during the days of Ḥajj, “Do as your leaders do” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 1653). In fact, the Prophet ﷺ explicitly said, “They (referring to the leaders and Imams) will lead you in Ṣalāh. If they lead it correctly, for you [and them is reward], and if they err, for you [is reward] and for them [will be sin] (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 694).

[61] Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī (d. 1323/1905) affirms in Fatāwā Rashīdiyyah (p. 209) that all the schools of thought are ḥaq. ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Laknawī (d. 1304/1886) writes in al-Siʿāyah (2: 300), “And each of them is on the Ṣawāb (right).” Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Muḥaddith Dehlawī (d. 1239/1824) writes in Fatāwā ʿAzīzī (p. 230), “According to this faqīr (referring to himself), these groups are all on the ḥaq, and it is definitely not the position of this faqīr to give preference to one group over another group in such a way that it gives the impression that the other group is mistaken, or that the other group’s ḥaq is regarded as deviant or wrong. [I] regard all as being compliant with the Qurʾān and Sunnah. In relation to the differences among them, this faqīr knows that in reality this is because of a difference in the understanding of the Qurʾān and Sunnah. Each mujtahid is muṣīb.”

Ḥakīm al-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thānawī (d. 1362/1943) once said, “Nowadays, this illness is widespread amongst the people of the truth that they compare the schools of the mujtahids in such a way that it gives the impression that the other schools are invalid. For example, they will give preference to the Ḥanafī position on an issue in such a way that it gives the impression of the Shāfiʿī position being invalid. So, I do not like this method, this method is extremely dangerous and harmful” (Malfūẓāt, 7: 117). Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thānawī also said, “In differed upon issues, one should not regard one side as definitively right and the other side as definitively wrong, because sometimes the reality is disclosed at the time of death. At that moment, think if what was thought to be wrong transpires to be correct. At that moment, Satan gets an opportunity to seduce, in that perhaps this is the condition of all your definitive [beliefs], until a doubt is created in Tawḥīd and Prophethood. Thus, in such a condition, there could be fear of losing faith” (Malfūẓāt, 12: 67).

ʿAllāmah Ṭaḥṭāwī (d. 1231/1816) writes in his commentary on al-Durr al-Mukhtār (1: 33) in relation to the statement cited in al-Ashbāh wa al-Naẓāʾir (3: 236) and other books, ‘Our position is correct with the possibility of it being incorrect, and the position of our opponent is incorrect with the possibility of it being correct’, “And the meaning of this is that the position which our Imam has adopted is correct according to him with the possibility of it being incorrect, as every mujtahid [often] makes a correct decision and often errs in the same matter. And in relation to us, then each of the four [Imams] are correct in their ijtihād. Thus, when asked about his school, every follower will say this statement echoing the status of his Imam who he follows, and this does not mean that every muqallid (follower) is required to believe that the other mujtahid who he does not follow has erred.” Thus, it is not necessary for a muqallid to believe that the other schools of thought have erred (also see Adab al-Ikhtilāf, p. 144). The primary source of ʿAllāmah Ṭaḥṭāwī’s statement is al-Qawl al-Sadīd (p. 53-63) wherein the text is more detailed and has been taken into account in the translation.

Imam Ahl al-Sunnah Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Shakūr Laknawī (d. 1381/1962) writes in ʿIlm al-Fiqh (2: 240), “Some scholars like the authors of al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq, al-Durr al-Mukhtār, Mullā ʿAlī Qārī and others, and likewise some Shāfiʿī scholars have adopted the third view (permissibility of performing Ṣalāh behind an Imam from another school if the latter maintains regards for the muqtadī’s position). However, this is not correct. It is as thought the ḥaq (truth) is confined according to these people in one school. In reality, this view has no proof and is worthy of being detested. If this view is acted upon then, there will be severe disunity amongst each other and there will be severe difficulty.”

[62] See Majālis Ḥakīm al-Ummah (p. 290); Uṣūl al-Iftāʾ wa Ādābih (p. 204, also see p. 142); Fiqh al-Buyūʿ (1: 8); Inʿām al-Bārī (6: 318). This principle has been cited specifically in this context by Mawlānā ʿUbaydullāh Asʿadī (Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith, 13: 82).

[63] Sunan Abī Dawūd (1439); Sunan al-Tirmidhī (470); Sunan al-Nasāʾī (1679); Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah (2: 84); Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Khuzaymah (1101); Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān (2449); Musnad Aḥmad (16289; 16296).

[64] Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728/1328) writes in Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā (23: 382), “If he leads three Rakʿah jointly (without a Salām), he (the muqtadī) should do the same. And if he separates, he should also separate. Some people prefer for the muqtadī to join (not say Salām) when his Imam separates (by saying Salām), however, the first [view] is more correct.” However, according to many of the Ḥanafī scholars listed above, the Ḥanafī muqtadī should not say the first Ṣalām.

[65] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (378).

[66] Refer to footnote 22 and Marghūb al-Fatāwā (2: 444).

Finally, two points are worth noting. First, ʿAllāmah Bīrīzādah (d. 1099/1688) appears to be inclined in ʿUmdat Dhawī al-Baṣāʾir (1: 440) that Witr Ṣalāh is permissible behind an Imam who does two Salāms, though this is not explicit. He has also written two treatises entitled al-Aqwāl al-Marḍiyyah fī Ḥukm al-Iqtidāʾ bi al-Mukhālif and Radd Qawl al-ʿAnīd bi al-Iqtidāʾ bi al-Mukhālif fī al-ʿĪd. The manuscripts of both these treatises are available in the Rampur Raza Library in India. These treatises are likely to shed more light on the issue and outline his position one way or the other. We are in the process of obtaining the manuscripts and shall provide an update in due course, with the help of Almighty Allah. Second, it is mentioned in al-Aṣl (1/120) that the Ṣalāh of a muqtadī who has performed ablution behind an Imam who has performed Tayammum is invalid if the muqtadī was aware of the availability of water. In this scenario, the Ṣalāh of the Imam is valid but the Ṣalāh of the muqtadī is invalid. The difference between this and the Witr scenario is that according to the muqtadī, ablution is an absolute requirement and water is available, and there is no difference of opinion regarding the obligation of using water. Thus, ʿAllāmah Sarakhsī (d. ca. 490/1097) writes in al-Mabsūṭ (1/120), “His Ṣalāh is void because he has believed the Ṣalāh of his Imam to be void.” In the Witr scenario, given the difference of opinion, there is no need or requirement for the Ḥanafī muqtadī to believe that the Imam’s Witr Ṣalāh is void, as outlined above. In fact, it would be wrong to believe with certainty that the Imam’s Ṣalāh is void. It is worth noting that even in this ablution and tayammum scenario, Imam Zufar (d. 158/775) suggests that the Ṣalāh of the muqtadī is valid because the Imam’s Ṣalāḥ is valid and therefore the analogy with an Imam who leads without ablution or tayammum is incomplete, because in this scenario the Ṣalāh of the Imam is void unlike the first scenario. Imam Zufar’s position is also one narration from Imam Abū Yūsuf (d. 182/798), as mentioned by ʿAllāmah Sarakhsī. However, the ẓāhir riwāyah is that the muqtadī’s Ṣalāh is invalid.