Zikr-e-Habib: A beloved remembered


TahajjudIshraqTarawih, ablution: On the prayers of the Promised Messiahas

M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
Old image of Qadian 1

Tahajjud and Ishraq prayers

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra MA said:

“My mother [Hazrat Amma Janra] told me that the Promised Messiahas used to offer two types of nawafil besides the five daily prayers. Every so often, the Promised Messiahas would perform (two or four rak‘aat) of Ishraq prayer [a voluntary prayer offered after the sun has risen], and the second [type of nawafil] were the (eight rak‘aat) of Tahajjud prayer which he used to offer regularly except for when he would be extremely unwell. […] In the final days of his life due to weakness, the Promised Messiahas used to perform Tahajjud while sitting.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, narration 3)

Hazrat Dr Mir Muhammad Ismail Sahibra said:

“In 1895, I had the opportunity to observe the entire month of Ramadan in Qadian. During that month, I offered Tahajjud prayers (meaning the Tarawih prayer) behind Huzooras.

“The Promised Messiahas had a habit of offering the Witr in the early part of the night while he would offer eight rak‘aat of Tahajjud prayer – divided into twos – during the latter portion of the night, wherein he regularly used to recite Ayat-ul-Kursi (from ‘Allahu La Ilaha Illa Hu’ to ‘Wa Huwal Aliyyul Azim’) in the first rak‘at and Surah al-Ikhlas in the second rak‘at. In ruku‘ and sujud, i.e., while bowing down or in prostration, he would often recite ‘Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyumu Birahmatika Astagheeth’ [O Living and Self-Subsisting God, I seek Your help through Your mercy]. He used to recite this in a way that I could easily hear his voice.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, narration 320)

Tarawih and Tahajjud

One person asked whether, during Ramadan, the Tarawih prayer should be offered as eight rak‘aat [units of salat] in congregation in a mosque before going to bed or should it be offered alone at home by waking up in the latter part of the night?

The Promised Messiah, peace and blessings be upon him, replied:

Tarawih Prayer is not a separate prayer. In reality, to offer the eight rak‘aat of Tahajjud Prayer in its earlier time is called Tarawih. Both forms mentioned in the question are permissible. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has done it both ways. But most of the time, the practice of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was to offer this prayer in the latter part of the night at home, alone.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, pp. 24-25)

Someone asked about the Tarawih prayer, that if it is Tahajjud then what is your view about twenty rak‘aat [units of salat] because Tahajjud is only eleven or thirteen rak‘aat, including the Witr.

The Promised Messiahas said:

“The everlasting sunnah [practice] of the Holy Prophetsa is only the eight rak‘aat and he used to offer them at the time of Tahajjud, and this is the preferred method. However, it is also allowed in the earlier part of the night as well. In one narration, it is stated that the Holy Prophetsa offered them in the earlier part of the night. Twenty rak‘aat were introduced later, but the sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa was indeed that which has been stated earlier.” (Ibid., p. 143)

One gentleman wrote a letter to the Promised Messiahas the gist of which was: (1) How to perform the obligatory prayer? (2) What is the verdict regarding the Tarawih prayer, and what is the rule for performing the obligatory prayer during a journey? and (3) He also made a request for prayers for some personal matters.

In reply to this, the Promised Messiahas wrote:

As-salamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. [Peace be upon you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.]

“Prayer is that which is offered, but it should be offered with pathos and humility. And you should supplicate profusely in the obligatory prayer for your spiritual and physical well-being, even if you do so in your own language.

“I will pray for your debt, insha-Allah [God willing]. Keep reminding me. I will also pray for you to have a son.

“To offer two rak‘aat during travel is the sunnah [practice of the Holy Prophetsa]. Tarawih is also sunnah. Observe it, and sometimes offer it at home by yourself because Tarawih, in reality, is Tahajjud and not a new prayer. Perform the Witr prayer whichever way you do it now.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, p. 30)

With regards to offering salat in one’s own language, the Promised Messiahas clarified that it does not mean that one should abandon the Quranic words or the Prophetic prayers, which are in Arabic. Rather, in addition to these, “during salat, one should (also) supplicate in one’s own language, because supplicating in one’s own language generates complete passion [….].” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5 [1988], pp. 54-55)

Otherwise, Huzooras said:

“The speech of God Almighty ought to be recited in its language. There is a blessing in it, whether one understands it or not, and one ought to recite the transmitted supplications as they came from the Holy Prophet’ssa blessed tongue. This is a sign of love and respect.” (Al Badr, 23 & 30 January 1903, p. 4)

Ablution and mash

Hazrat Syed Mir Inayat Ali Shah Sahibra narrated:

“The Promised Messiahas came to our Mohalla [neighbourhood] Sufian with his associates. A large number of people followed him. Soon after arriving, the Promised Messiahas offered the Asr prayer in the mosque of Mohalla Sufian. Among those who accompanied him included Maulvi Musa Sahib, father of Maulvi Abdul Qadir Sahib. While performing ablution, as the Promised Messiahas was wearing woollen socks, he did mash [make passes with the hands on both feet on top of the socks]. Maulvis were watching him. They started to exchange discussions on whether it was permissible or not [to do mash on woollen socks]. Inside the mosque, the late Maulvi Musa Sahib asked the Promised Messiahas [if he did mash]. The Promised Messiahas answered in the affirmative. Huzooras was requested to lead the prayer, but he ordered the late Maulvi Abdul Qadir Sahib to be the imam of the prayers. The Promised Messiahas stayed there for three days. He used to lead the Fajr prayer himself. Sometimes, Huzooras would also lead prayers in the common room.” (Register Riwayat-e-Sahaba [unpublished], Vol. 1, p. 110)

Congregational prayer with Hazrat Amma Janra

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra MA said:

“Dr Mir Muhammad Ismail Sahib told me, ‘On several occasions, I saw that the Promised Messiahas, while leading prayers at home, would make Hazrat Umm-ul-Momineen [Amma Janra] stand on his right side as muqtadi [the one following in prayer].

“‘However, it is generally known in jurisprudence that, even if a woman is the only muqtadi, she should not stand side by side with the man [imam]. Rather, she should stand behind him separately. On the other hand, a sole man acting as a muqtadi should stand on the right, beside the imam.

“‘When I asked Hazrat Umm-ul-Momineenra about it, she confirmed that [she used to stand beside Huzooras as a muqtadi]. However, she added that the Promised Messiahas also told her that he sometimes felt light-headed while standing, so she should pray right beside him [in case he needed physical support].’” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, narration 696)

Combining prayers

The Promised Messiahas said:

“Just as one fulfils the obligations owed to God, so too one should accept the relaxations that are afforded by Him. Where obligations are prescribed by God, it is God Himself who gives exemptions as well.

“One may observe that even I benefit from the relaxations given by God. I have been combining the prayers for about two months now. This is because I am ill and also heavily engaged in writing my commentary on Surah al-Fatihah. By combining the prayers in this way, a prophecy related in the Hadith تُجْمَعُ لَہٗ الصَّلٰوةُ is also being fulfilled that when the Messiah appears, the prayers will be combined for him. This hadith also establishes that the Promised Messiah will not lead the congregation in prayer; rather, someone else will lead the prayer, and that he will combine the prayers out of consideration for the Messiah. As such, this is exactly what happens. On certain days when my illness is severe and I am unable to come to the mosque at all, the prayers are not combined. It seems from the words of this Hadith that the Noble Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stated, by way of affection, that the prayers will be combined for the sake of the Messiah. We ought to show honour and respect for the prophecies of the Noble Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. We should not view them with an air of disregard. It would be a grave sin for us to look at the prophecies of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with contempt. God Almighty has Himself given rise to such conditions, due to which the prayers are being combined for this long. If the prayers had been combined for only a few days, this would not have constituted a sign. I revere each and every word and letter spoken by the Noble Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 3, p. 107)

Hazrat Hakim Din Muhammad Sahibra said:

“During my stay in Qadian Dar-ul-Aman [Abode of Peace], I observed that the Promised Messiahas used to combine the prayers on the following occasions in this sequence, […] i.e., Asr with the Zuhr prayer and Isha with the Maghrib prayer:

1. On the day when he would be busy writing a book or engaged in finalising an important announcement.

2. When he would be unwell.

3. When it would rain heavily and the streets of Qadian were full of mud.

4. While travelling.” (Register Riwayat-e-Sahaba [unpublished], Vol. 13, p. 23)

Shortening prayers

A question was presented to the Promised Messiahas:

“Should one shorten the prayers even if one travels only three kos [a kos is approximately 2 miles] on a journey?”

The Promised Messiahas answered:

“Yes. One should carefully examine his intent. In all these issues, one should carefully observe taqwa [righteousness]. Everyday travel in relation to your work is not a journey. A journey is when one undertakes a specific travel and leaves his home only for that purpose, and it is commonly considered a journey. I go for a walk every day for a couple of miles, but this is not a journey. On such an occasion, one should take into account his conscience and if it gives the verdict without any unease that it is a journey, then he should shorten [the Prayer].

“One should follow the dictum اِسْتَفْتِ قَلْبَك (‘Take the verdict of your conscience’ [Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal]). Even in the presence of a thousand fatwas, the satisfaction of the heart of a believer with all its pure intention is a wonderful thing.”

It was submitted that people have different circumstances – some do not consider nine or ten kos to be a journey, for others even three to four kos is a journey.

The Promised Messiahas said:

“The sharia has not trusted these points. The noble Companions[ra] [of the Holy Prophetsa] have considered three kos to be a journey.”

It was submitted:

“Your Holiness! Do you shorten the Prayers when you go to Batala?”

The Promised Messiahas said:

“Yes, because that is a journey. What I say is that if a doctor or an administrator travels to several villages as part of his tour, he cannot add up all his travel and call it a journey.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, p. 120)

Hazrat Hakim Din Muhammad Sahibra said:

“I observed that once, the Promised Messiahas went to testify in front of the Tahsildar Sahib Batala in a case (probably civil) where the Zuhr and Asr prayers were not only combined but shortened as well and two rak‘aat of each prayer were performed. The Prayers were offered in the garden called Anarkali located in front of the Tahsil and Batala police station.

“In the same way, when the Promised Messiahas would stay in Gurdaspur while I was there during the Karam Din case, he used to shorten the prayers. Moreover, when the Promised Messiahas would have to return on the same day [of the hearing], he would shorten the prayers and combine them as well. Once, when he travelled to Gurdaspur, the Promised Messiahas had to stay for about fifteen days due to the Karam Din case. Every day, it seemed that we would return, but the magistrate would again fix the date of appearance [in court] for the next day. Consequently, the prayers were shortened for around 15 days.” (Register Riwayat-e-Sahaba [unpublished], Vol. 13, pp. 23-24)

Prayer in the forest

During his stay in Ludhiana, the Promised Messiahas following his usual practice would regularly go for walks. Once in the forest, it was time for Asr prayer. It was submitted that it was time for [Asr] Prayer. Huzooras said, “Very well, we will offer [salat] here.” Consequently, Maulvi Abdul Qadir Sahib led the prayer there [in the forest]. (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 1, p. 237)

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