Individual and congregational dua.

Q. Is there any masla that states individual acts of ibaadah must be subduded for congregational acts of ibadah in the masjid, eg. (If the imam makes dua after salaat and some individuals choose to do individual zikr instead of joining with the Imam.) If so can you provide some sort of evidence for this matter.

A. There is no such principle like this, except where there is a requirement of the Shariah. For example when the Iqamah has been called and the Farz Salaah is about to begin, one is not allowed to be engaged in individual optional acts of worship. Similarly, when one has presented himself for the Juma or Eid khutbahs and these have started, it would not be permissible for one to engage himself in individual optional acts of worship. The Shariah’s requirement in these cases is that one must respond to the collective act of Ibadah which has been mandated in Islam.

With respect to the Imam making dua after Salaah, then this is not part of Salaah and it is not mandated. As such, one cannot be forced to join with the dua. One may do his individual action at that time since the Salaah has been completed. However, seeing that the act of supplicating to Allah is a virtuous one and saying ‘Ameen’ to the dua of others have been encouraged in Hadith, it will be good for one to join in the dua of the Imam. In this manner, when the dua of the Imam is accepted by Allah, those who joined in the dua, their’s will also be accepted. It is for this reason, the Prophet (S.A) told the followers in Salaah to say ‘Ameen’ to the Imam, when he completes his recitation of Sura Fatiha by saying, ‘Wa ladh dhaaleen’. The reason is that the ending part of Sura Fatiha is a dua and for the quick acceptance of this dua, the angels say ‘Ameen’, hence, the followers should also say ‘Ameen’, which means ‘O Allah accept this!’

Additionally, it is evident in Sahih Al Bukhari that when the Prophet (S.A) was requested to pray for rainfall by a person, he lifted his hands and all the companions lifted their hands, although he did not tell them to do so. (Bukhari – Book of Supplications)

Here it is evident that the Companions (Sahabahs) saw the Prophet (S.A) lifting his hands for dua and they all joined in it, although there was no directive from him nor was it an essential part of the Ibadah which they were engaged in.

Similarly, once the Prophet (S.A) came to a few companions who were making dua and when one offered his supplication, others said Ameen to it. The Prophet (S.A) joined the group and also said Ameen to their supplication. (Recorded by Tabarani in Al Awsat and Al Baihaqi in his Sunan. Ibn Hajar said the chain is good.)

From the above, it is established that one should say ‘Ameen’ to the supplication of others. In this respect, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘No group assembles, one of them supplicating while others say Ameen, except that Allah answers them’. (Tabarani in Al Kabeer, Hakim has recorded it in Al Mustadrak and graded it as Saheeh (sound). Al Haithami has narrated it in Majma’uz Zawaa’id and stated, ‘the narrators in its chain are those of Al Bukhari and Muslim except for Ibn Lahia, who is good in his narrations’).

This hadith establishes the fact that collective dua is closer to being accepted by Allah than individual dua, since others will be saying Ameen to the dua, and by doing so, they are pleading with Allah to accept this dua. It is for this reason, the great scholar, Imam Al Jazari wrote in his Al Hisnul Haseen, among the etiquettes of dua, ‘let the supplicant and the listener say Ameen’. It is also worth mentioning that on the commentary of verse 89 of Sura Yunus in which Allah said to Moosa and Haroon, ‘Your supplications have been accepted’, the Companions and the pious predecessors have stated that the manner of this dua was that Moosa (A.S) supplicated while Haroon (A.S) said ‘Ameen’. (Narrated from Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), Abu Huraira (R.A), Abul A’liya (A.R), Ikramah (A.R) and many others from among the great and reliable commentators of the Holy Quran – Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

Aswad Ibn Hilal Al Muharibi said, ‘When Umar (R.A) was made the Caliph, he went on the mimbar and said, ‘O people! I am going to supplicate to Allah, therefore say Ameen. (Narrated by Abu Nu’aim in Al Hilyah; Ibn Sa’ad in Tabaqaat).

While it can be said that dua after the Farz Salaah by the Imam is not mandatory or Sunnah and one does not have to join in that dua, it can equally be said that dua after the Salaah is not haraam and impermissible. In fact, the act of making dua is a very great act and it can be done at anytime, moreso after the completion of a great act of Ibadah like Salaah.

Many traditions have given clear guidelines, showing that:
(i) making dua after Salaah is approved
(ii) lifting the hands for duas is approved
(iii) others joining the dua and saying Ameen to it is approved.

With respect to the first point, it is authentically reported that Abu Umama (R.A) said, ‘It was said, ‘O Messenger of Allah which dua is more answered (and accepted)?’ He said, ‘The dua made in the middle of the last part of the night and that which is made after the Farz Salaah’. (Recorded by Imam Tirmizi who said ‘it is a good hadith’.)

This hadith shows that the time after the Farz Salaah is a very good time for duas. As such, one cannot be discouraged from doing so when he wishes to do it. In the above tradition, although some scholars have stated, that the word in the hadith refers to ‘the end’ of salaah and not ‘after’ the salaah, many scholars have disapproved of such explanation and have pointed out that the Arabic word ‘Dubur’ used in the hadith refers to after Salaah and not at the end when one is still in Salaah.

Another tradition from Mughira bin Shuba (R.A) states that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) used to make dua after his salaah’ (Imam Bukhari in Tareekh Al Kabeer). In another tradition Fadhl bin Abbas (R.A) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘The optional salaah is in twos, you should do the tashahud in every two rakaats and should show devotion and sincerity and your neediness towards Allah. You should then lift the hands in dua towards your Lord facing the inside of your palms towards your face and say ‘O my Lord, O my Lord’ and whoever does not do so he is like this and that’. (Recorded by Imam Tirmizi, Imam Nasaai and Ibn Khuzaima in his Saheeh).
Having recorded this tradition Ibn Khuzaima writes, ‘this hadith explains the aspect of lifting one’s hands. It states that the hands should be lifted and duas should be made to Allah saying ‘O my Lord, O my Lord’. It is therefore clear that this refers to the act of making dua to Allah after one has completed salaams, since it is not established from the Sunnah that the Prophet (S.A) lifted his hands while in tashahud for salaah. The hadith is very clear in showing that the Prophet (S.A) requested a person to perform two rakaats and then lift his hands to make dua by beseeching and begging Allah’ (Saheeh Ibn Khuzaima)

Another tradition states that Um Salma narrates that when the Prophet (S.A) made salaams in the Fajr prayer he used to say, ‘Allahumma Inni as’aluka ilman naafi’an wa rizqan waasi’an wa amalan Mutaqabalan’. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah)

Abu Huraira (R.A) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) once lifted his hands after making salaams and while turning to the Qiblah said, ‘O Allah, release Waleed bin Waleed and Ayash bin Rabi’ah and Salma bin Hisham and the weak Muslims who do not have any strategy nor do they have any path to be guided from the hands of the unbelievers’. (Recorded by Hafiz Ibn Katheer in his famous Tafseer)

Another tradition shows that once Abdullah bin Zubair (R.A) saw a man lifting his hands and making dua before he completed the salaah. He said to him, ‘the Messenger of Allah never used to raise his hands for dua until he completed from his salaah’. (Recorded by Tabarani – Hafiz Al Haithami said in Majma’uz Zawa’id that all the narrators are reliable and trustworthy).

With respect to the lifting of the hands for dua, this is also evident from authentic traditions. In this regard Salman (R.A) has narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘No people (group) raises their hands (palms) towards Allah, asking from Him, except that it is a right upon Allah to place in their hands what they have requested’. (Tabarani in Al Kabeer. Hafiz Haithami in Majma’uz Zawa’id has stated that the narrators are sound and reliable).

It is also narrated from Abu Bakr (R.A) in a Marfoo tradition that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Ask Allah with the inside of your palms and do not ask Him with the back of your palms’. (Recorded by Tabarani – Hafiz Al Haithami said in Majma’uz Zawa’id that the narrators are sound narrators except Ammar bin Khalid Al Wasiti. However, he is ‘Thiqa’ – reliable).

Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) has narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘When you make dua to Allah (that is when you supplicate to Allah), then supplicate with the inside of your palms and do not supplicate with the back of the palms. When you are finished then wipe both palms on the face’. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood. Shaikul Islam Abul Fadhl bin Hajar has stated in his ‘Amaali’, ‘this hadith is good (hasan)’.

The act of making dua therefore, has been encouraged in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A). The Prophet (S.A) has also encouraged one to lift his hands for dua and open them. He has stated that Allah does not return the hands empty. As such, when the Imam makes dua after Salaah, he is actually supplicating to Allah for the entire congregation. He is asking Allah to bless everyone and forgive their sins and to accept the good they have done. When duas are made in this manner the Prophet (S.A) has encouraged others who are listening to say ‘Ameen’ to such duas.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan