Answers to Everyday Issues – Part 68: Hadith about a battle between Muslims and other nations, rak‘at of Zuhr prayer


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Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues – which Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes – is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit.

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Hadith about a battle between Muslims and other nations

A lady from Sierra Leone wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating, “It is mentioned in a hadith that the Day of Judgement will not come until Muslims engage in battle with the Jews, who will hide behind rocks and trees. The rocks and trees will call out, ‘O Muslims, a Jew is hiding behind me; come and kill him.’ However, the ‘Gharqad’ tree will not do so because it is the tree of the Jews. Please, could you explain the meaning of this hadith and what is meant by ‘Gharqad’?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 16 October 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“In your letter, you mentioned a hadith that is narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairahra in Sahih Muslim, and its text is as follows:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ الْيَهُودَ فَيَقْتُلُهُمْ الْمُسْلِمُونَ حَتَّى يَخْتَبِئَ الْيَهُودِيُّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْحَجَرِ وَالشَّجَرِ فَيَقُولُ الْحَجَرُ أَوْ الشَّجَرُ يَا مُسْلِمُ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ هَذَا يَهُودِيٌّ خَلْفِي فَتَعَالَ فَاقْتُلْهُ إِلَّا الْغَرْقَدَ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْ شَجَرِ الْيَهُودِ

“Allah’s Messengersa said:

“‘The Hour (of Resurrection) will not be established until Muslims fight the Jews, and Muslims will kill them. The Jews will hide behind stones and trees, and the stone or tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me; come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.’ (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-fitan wa ‘ashrati s-sa‘ah, Bab la taqumu s-sa‘ata hatta yamurra r-rajulu bi qabri r-rajuli fa yatamanna ‘an yakuna makana l-mayyiti min l-bala’)

“The Holy Quran and Hadith contain many parables, the true meanings of which cannot be grasped if taken literally. Therefore, to understand the reality of these matters, one must interpret them, and the best to know the interpretations of the sayings of Allah Almighty and His Messengersa are the Prophets and other chosen ones of Allah, whom Allah, out of His grace, teaches these interpretations. Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

ھُوَ الَّذِيۡۤ اَنۡزَلَ عَلَيۡکَ الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡہُ اٰيٰتٌ مُّحۡکَمٰتٌ ھُنَّ اُمُّ الۡکِتٰبِ وَاُخَرُ مُتَشٰبِہٰتٌ فَاَمَّا الَّذِيۡنَ فِيۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ زَيۡغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُوۡنَ مَا تَشَابَہَ مِنۡہُ ابۡتِغَآءَ الۡفِتۡنَةِ وَابۡتِغَآءَ تَاۡوِيۡلِہٖ وَمَا يَعۡلَمُ تَاۡوِيۡلَہٗۤ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ وَالرّٰسِخُوۡنَ فِي الۡعِلۡمِ يَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اٰمَنَّا بِہٖ کُلٌّ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ رَبِّنَا  وَمَا يَذَّکَّرُ اِلَّاۤ اُولُوا الۡاَلۡبَابِ

“‘He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book; in it there are verses that are fundamental — they are the basis of the Book — and there are others which are allegoric. Wherefore, those in whose hearts is perversity pursue such thereof as are allegoric seeking to create confusion and to pervert their meaning, and none knows the meaning thereof except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge; these last affirm: We believe in it, all of it is from our Lord (and, indeed, none takes heed except those gifted with understanding).’ (Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ch.3:V.8)

“In the same chapter of Sahih Muslim where the aforementioned hadith is mentioned, several other ahadith are also narrated, which we must interpret in some way or another. Otherwise, their literal words would not make sense; for example, the destruction of the Kaaba by a man with short shins from Abyssinia; the herding of people with his staff by a man from Qahtan before the establishment of the Hour; and governance by a person named Juhjah before the end of days and nights, among others. Similarly, there are many ahadith whose meanings we must understand through interpretation.

“The hadith you have enquired about discusses the war between Muslims and Jews before the establishment of the Hour of Judgement. Similarly, in the same chapter of Sahih Muslim, there is mention of Muslims fighting the Turks before the establishment of the Hour. Additionally, it speaks of battles with a nation that wears shoes made of hair, a nation with faces like shields, and a nation with small eyes and flat noses, indicating conflicts with various nations. Contrary to this, a narration in Sahih al-Bukhari also conveys that, in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Prophetsa, for the second advent and renaissance of Islam, the spiritual son and true servant of the Holy Prophetsa, the Muhammadan Messiah, was to be raised, and he was to put an end to religious wars. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-anbiya, Bab nuzuli ‘isa ibni maryam)

“Based upon this command of the Holy Prophetsa the Promised Messiahas also advised Muslims to abstain from this so-called Jihad and warned of their defeat in such warfare, should they disobey the command of the Holy Prophetsa. Hence, in his poetic discourse, he states:

“‘Abandon now the thought of religious warfare, O friends,

“‘For war and combat are now forbidden for the faith.

“‘The Master of Both Worlds, the Chosen Muhammadsa, has declared:

“‘Jesus the Messiah will halt all wars.

“‘When he comes, he will bring peace along,

“‘He will utterly erase the sequence of conflicts.

“‘Meaning, it shall be an era of peace, not of war,

“‘People will forget the craft of arrows and guns.

“‘Yet, those who proceed to fight even after this command,

“‘Will suffer a severe defeat at the hands of the disbelievers.’ (Zamimah Tuhfah-e-Golarwiyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, pp. 77-78)

“And, indeed, it is unfolding just as described, with those who are defying the explicit guidance of the Holy Prophetsa facing defeat.

“The Holy Quran and the Prophetic ahadith illuminate, as clearly as the light of day, that the emergence of this Muhammadan Messiah was to occur in the Latter Days, conjoined with the moment of Resurrection. Furthermore, it is evident that the Antichrist [Dajjal], whom all Prophets have forewarned their nations against and about whom the Holy Prophetsa has similarly cautioned his Companions, was also to manifest in the epoch of the Muhammadan Messiah. It was this very Muhammadan Messiah who was to bring about the demise of that Dajjal. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-fitan wa ‘ashrati s-sa‘ah, Bab dhikri d-dajjali wa sifatih; Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-fitan, Bab dhikri d-dajjal)

“Thus, on one hand, certain ahadith recount the engagements of Muslims with various nations in wars during the final era, while on the other, they speak of the cessation of wars in the era of the Promised Messiahas. We cannot take these ahadith at their apparent meanings, as, in that case, they would present a contradiction. Consequently, we are compelled to interpret one of these aspects. Upon examining the current final epoch, it becomes evident that, unlike the early days of Islam, where battles were waged with the sword due to religion, in these Latter Days, Muslims are not engaged in religious warfare with swords or firearms against any nation. Instead, various religions and nations are levelling diverse allegations and launching attacks on Islam and its Holy Foundersa in this way.

“Therefore, the reconciliation between these two categories of ahadith can be understood in the following manner: In this final era, Islam was not to engage in physical warfare with swords or any weapons. However, the trial [fitnah] of Dajjal, which is an aberrant faction primarily arising from the Jews and Christians, was to confront religion, particularly Islam, in such a manner as to estrange the world’s nations from faith. Its aim was to be to widen the gulf between the Almighty and His creation, endeavouring to sever the spiritual connection. To achieve this, it was to levy various accusations against all religions, with a specific focus on Islam — the chief of all faiths. This onslaught [fitnah] was to strive to instil aversion towards religion in the hearts of the people.

“In response to this fitnah of Dajjal, Allah the Exalted was to send the most ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa and Jariullah fi hulali l-Anbiya [Champion of Allah in the mantle of the Prophets], who was to champion the cause of religion with cogent arguments and evidence. He was to instil in people’s hearts a love for religion and the spiritual system of God Almighty. With divine support, he was to unveil the reality of this fitnah of Dajjal to the populace. Those who embrace the path of this Muhammadan Messiah were to be the means through which Allah the Almighty was to establish a spiritual caliphate dedicated to the defence of Islam. These [khulafa] were to endeavour to draw people nearer to God Almighty by employing the teachings of the Holy Quran, Muhammadsa al-Musfata and his spiritual son. In adherence to their Master and Guide, they were to confront the menace of Dajjal with sound arguments and evidence.

“In this spiritual battle, the nations involved, whether from Europe, America, or Africa, despite their mutual differences, were to collectively endorse the fitnah of Dajjal. These very nations are, in essence, the ‘Gharqad’ tree, which fosters the fitnah of Dajjal by lending support through every permissible and impermissible means, thus providing it sanctuary.”

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Rak‘at of Zuhr prayer

A missionary from Canada wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating, “Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has mentioned in Tafsir-e-Kabir that there are four units [rak‘at] before the Zuhr prayer and four afterwards, but one may also offer two sets of two instead. However, the book Fiqh-e-Ahmadiyya mentions that there are four rak‘at before the Zuhr prayer and two rak‘at of sunnah after the obligatory [fardh] prayer. Guidance on this matter is being sought.”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 11 November 2022, gave the following reply to this question:

“The crux of the matter is that there exist diverse traditions concerning the number of rak‘at for the sunnah prayers offered before and after the obligatory [fardh] units of the Zuhr prayer. Hence, narrations from Hazrat Aishara, recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, state that the Holy Prophetsa used to offer four rak‘at before the Zuhr prayer and two afterwards. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-jumu‘ah, Bab ar-rak‘atayni qabla z-zuhr; Sahih Muslim, Kitab salati l-musafirina wa qasriha, Bab jawazi ‘an-nafilati qa‘iman wa qa‘idan) Furthermore, in Sunan at-Tirmidhi, there is also a narration by Hazrat Alira, stating that the Holy Prophetsa would perform four rak‘at before the Zuhr prayer and two afterwards. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab as-salah, Bab ma ja’a fi l-arba‘ qabla z-zuhr) Likewise, in Sunan at-Tirmidhi, there is also a narration from Hazrat Aishara that whenever the Holy Prophetsa was unable to perform four rak‘at before the Zuhr prayer, he would offer them after Zuhr. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab as-salah, Bab ma ja’a fi r-rak‘atayni ba‘da z-zuhr) Additionally, in Sunan at-Tirmidhi, there are also narrations from Hazrat Umm Habibahra that the Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘Whoever offers four rak‘at before Zuhr and four after it, Allah will render him forbidden to the Fire.’ (Ibid.) In addition to these narrations, Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim also transmit from Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra that the Holy Prophetsa used to offer two rak‘at before and two after the Zuhr prayer. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jumu‘ah, Bab at-tatawwu‘ ba‘da l-maktubah; Sahih Muslim, Kitab salati l-musafirina wa qasriha, Bab fadli s-sunani r-ratibah qabla l-fara’id wa ba‘dahunn)

“Upon reviewing all these ahadith collectively, it becomes evident that the Holy Prophetsa generally offered four rak‘at before the obligatory units of the Zuhr prayer and two rak‘at afterwards. This consistent practice of the Holy Prophetsa is corroborated by members of his household [ahl al-bayt]. However, there were occasions when the Prophetsa performed two rak‘at before and two after Zuhr in the mosque, as observed by some Companions, like in the account of Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra. However, Hazrat Aishara has also narrated that if the Prophetsa was unable to perform four rak‘at before Zuhr, he would make them up afterwards. Thus, it is plausible that the Prophetsa might have performed these sunnah prayers at home, in light of his teaching that, ‘Apart from the obligatory prayers, the best prayer a person can offer is the one performed in his own home.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-adhan, Bab salati l-layl)

“Thus, the consistently observed sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa regarding the rak‘at of the Zuhr prayer, which has been transmitted to us through the enduring practice of the ummah, is that the Holy Prophetsa used to perform four rak‘at before the four obligatory units of Zuhr prayer and two rak‘at afterwards. Although, there are some varying narrations concerning these rak‘at in the Hadith literature.

“The Promised Messiahas, who is the Just Arbiter [Hakam Adl] of this era, has provided us with foundational guidelines concerning the ahadith of Allah’s Messengersa, articulating this matter with great clarity:

“‘Ahadith are categorised into two sections; the first comprises those ahadith that have been thoroughly safeguarded by the enduring tradition of the ummah, that is, ahadith that have been strengthened and rendered unequivocally authentic by a decisive, robust, and unquestionable chain of lived practice. This encompasses all fundamental aspects of the religion, including rituals, contractual duties, social transactions, and the decrees of the steadfast sharia. Therefore, such ahadith have undeniably attained a level of absolute certainty and proven authenticity. The strength attributed to these ahadith is not derived from the scholarly discipline of the Science of Hadith per se, nor is it an intrinsic attribute of the ahadith themselves, nor does it emanate solely from the trustworthiness and reliability of the narrators. Instead, this strength has emerged through the blessed and beneficial continuity of lived practice. Consequently, I regard these ahadith, to the extent that they are bolstered by this enduring tradition, as possessing the status of certainty.

“‘On the other hand, there exists a segment of ahadith that do not connect to this enduring tradition and are accepted based merely on the support of narrators and their perceived veracity. I consider these ahadith to be speculative at best, serving as potential grounds for constructive conjecture. This is because the method of their acquisition does not ensure absolute and definitive proof but is susceptible to various complexities.’ (Al-Haqq Mubahasa Ludhiana, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 4, p. 35)

“Thus, the practice of the Holy Prophetsa regarding the sunnah prayers of Zuhr is as I have previously described: the Holy Prophetsa typically performed four rak‘at before Zuhr and two afterwards. However, if for some reason he was unable to perform the four rak‘at before, he would make up by performing the four rak‘at after Zuhr.

“Islamic jurists [fuqaha] have distinguished the voluntary prayers [nawafil] of the Holy Prophetsa into two categories: Sunnah mu’akkadah and sunnah ghayr mu’akkadahSunnah mu’akkadah refers to those voluntary prayers that the Holy Prophetsa consistently performed, whereas sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah refers to those he occasionally omitted. Accordingly, the jurists have classified the four sunnah prayers before the obligatory [fardh] units of Zuhr and the two following them as sunnah mu’akkadah, and the additional two sunnah prayers performed afterwards as sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah.

“The Holy Prophetsa spent his days and nights in abundant voluntary prayers and supplications before God Almighty. Hence, he consistently encouraged his Companions to engage in voluntary prayers and frequent remembrance of Allah at various times. Specifically, regarding the sunnah prayers of Zuhr, he motivated the Companions by stating that whoever preserves four rak‘at before and four after the Zuhr prayer, Allah the Almighty will forbid the fire upon him. The jurists have deemed these four sunnah prayers following the Zuhr prayer as recommended [mustahabb].

“From a jurisprudential standpoint, four rak‘at before the obligatory Zuhr prayer and two rak‘at afterwards are considered sunnah mu’akkadah. Additionally, two more rak‘at following these are regarded as sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah. It is also mustahabb to perform four rak‘at instead of two after Zuhr. However, if someone has prayed only two sunnah rak’at instead of four before Zuhr, they can perform four rak’at together after Zuhr, either jointly or as two sets of two.

“Thus, the instructions provided in Tafsir-e-Kabir and Fiqh-e-Ahmadiyya are both valid; a person can expect reward from Allah Almighty according to the manner in which they perform their prayers.”

(Compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London and translated by Al Hakam.)

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