Chapter Eight: Tashahud and concluding Salat
Tashahud and ending the prayer, in the light of the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (s)
The Tashahud under discussion is the one recited at the end of the Salat, the Ahl’l Sunnah call this ‘Sitting in Altahyaat’.
So what is the correct way to end a prayer? This issue is another point of contention between the Shi’a and Sunnis. According to the Sunnah of Prophet (s) that has reached us through Imams of Ahl’ul Bayt (as) one commences Salat by loudly reciting Takbeer, and ends by admitting the greatness and supremacy of Allah (swt), by reciting Takbeer thrice after Tashahud. We do not turn right and left while paying Salam, instead we recite Takbeer three times after Tashahud. Our act is proven by Sahih Bukhari, namely during the days of Holy Prophet (s) prayers were ended with the recitation of Takbeer.
We read in Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 12, Number 803, Chapter ‘Characteristics of Prayer’
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
I used to recognize the completion of the prayer of the Prophet by hearing Takbir.
Similarly we read in Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1209:
Ibn ‘Abbas said: We used to know that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had finished his prayer when we heard the takbir (Allah-O-Akbar).
We deem this being the same Takbeer that is recited by the Shi’a at the end of Salat and this act is verified by the Sunnah. Sunni tradition is that the Imam of Prayers turns right and left and pays Salam in a loud voice so that in can be heard by those in the end rows. In Shi’a Fiqh the Imam of the prayer pays Salam in Tashahud and then loudly recites Takbeer thrice and the followers understand that the prayer has ended.
We will now discuss that why do not the Shias do not turn to their sides while paying “Salam”. To support our stance there is a tradition from Sunan Abu Daud in which Holy Prophet (s) holds Abdullah ibn e Masud’s hands and teaches him the recitation of Tashahud.
We read in Sunan Abu Daud – Chapter Prayer (Kitab Al-Salat): Details of Commencing Prayer Book 3, Number 0965:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas’ud:
Alqamah said that Abdullah ibn Mas’ud caught hold of his hand saying that the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) caught hold of his (Ibn Mas’ud’s) hand and taught him the tashahhud during prayer.
He then narrated the (well known ) tradition (of tashahhud). This version adds: When you say this or finish this, then you have completed your prayer. If you want to stand up, then stand, and if you want to remain sitting, then remain sitting.
In the Urdu translation of this tradition, in Sunan Abu Daud, Maulana Waheed uz-Zaman writes in the footnote:
“From this tradition it is evident that the word Salam is not obligatory as it is said by Abu Hanifa.”
Sunan Abu Daud, volume 1, page 403, chapter of Tashahud, tradition # 957, translated by Maulana Waheed uz-Zaman, published by No’mani book store, Lahore.
A similar tradition can be located in Sahih Tirmidhi as well that at the conclusion of Salat, before paying Salam if an act is performed to indicate that the person is no longer offering prayers, the prayer is valid.
Sahih Tirmidhi, volume 1, page 181.
Imam Ibn Hazm stated in his famed work Al-Muhala, Volume 4 page 260:
“Reciting Takbir after ending each prayer is well liked”.
Allama Abdul Rehman al-Jazeeri in his research book of jurisprudence, after quoting the above mentioned tradition of Holy Prophet (s) teaching Abdullah ibne Mas’ud the recitation of Tashahud, writes:
“Once you have said this (Tashahud) the prayer is complete, now it is up to you whether you stand up or you keep sitting. Hence Holy Prophet (s) has not ordered the recitation of the word “al-Salam” in order to complete the prayers. ”
Al-Fiqha ala Madahib al-Arba’a, volume 1 page 375-376, translated by Manzoor Ahsan Abbasi, published by Charity (Aoqaaf) department, Lahore
Since the Holy Prophet (s) has not ordered the recitation of the word al-Salam when conclusing prayers, therefore we would urge the Ahl’ul Sunnah to follow the Sunnah, or at least quit criticizing Shi’a.
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