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[Sharh Muwatta Imam Malik – Shaikh Zubair Ali Zai] – Hadith No.139 –:– Reciting The Fatiha Behind The Imaam

Itihaf ul-Basim Fi Tahqiq Muwatta al-Imam Malik [Talkhis al-Qabisi] Riwayah Abdur Rahman ibn al-Qasim

Tahqiq, Takhrij, Sharh

Muhadith Zubair Ali Zai

Translated Abu Ubaydah
Translated, Checked & Additional Notes
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari

Reciting The Fatiha Behind The Imaam 

Abu Sa’ib Mawla Of Hisham Ibn Zuhrah: One Hadith

[139] From Malik from Al-‘Ala Ibn Abdurahman that he heard Aba Sa’ib Mawla of Hisham Ibn Zuhrah say I heard Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) say that the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “Whoever offers a prayer in which he does not recite Umm Al-Quran (Al Fatihah), it is deficient, it is deficient, it is deficient, incomplete.” I (Abu As-Sa’ib) said: ‘O Abu Hurairah, sometimes I am behind the Imam.’ He pulled my forearm and said: ‘Recite it to yourself, O Persian! For I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) say: “Allah says: “I have divided prayer between Myself and My slave into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.'” The Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Recite, for when the slave says: All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Rab of all that exists, Allah says: ‘My slave has praised Me.’ And when he says: The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Allah says: ‘My slave has extolled Me.’ And when he says: The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), Allah says: ‘My slave has glorified Me’ . And when he says: You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help (for each and everything), He says: ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.’ And when he says: ‘Guide us to the straight way, the way of those on whom You have bestowed Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray, He says: ‘This is for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’

(The comprehensive Imam and author of this book) Abul Hasan (al-Qabisi) said, “The wording in this hadith has Itirab in from our (Muwatta’s) narrators. Due to this I have used the words of (Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Muhamad Ibn Masrur) ad-Dabagh except for the fact that this is based on the words of Esa (Ibn Miskin) and the manuscript was with ad-Dabagh, and this is the case. 



Al-Muwatta (Yahya’s narration (1/84, 85 hadith no.185, book 3, chapter 9, hadith no.39), at-Tamhid (20/187) al-Istidhkar (no.161)

Transmitted by Muslim (39/395) from the hadith of Malik. (T.N. Narrated by an-Nasa’i (no.909))

1) From this hadith it is known that Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) held the view that it is necessary to recite the Fatiha behind the Imam. In one narration it is mentioned that the student asked Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu), “I am hearing the Imam’s recitation? So he replied, O Persian! Recite (the Fatiha) in your heart.” (Musnad Abi Awanah 2/128, and it’s chain is [Sahih])

Mulla Ali Qari said in his commentary to this, “Recite it quietly, do not recite it loudly.” (Mirqatul Mafatih 2/549 hadith no.823) 

There is a concensus that the meaning of recitation in this hadith is to recite it quietly and not loudly. See Kitab al-Qira’at of al-Bayhaqi (pg no.31) 

Shah Waliullah Dehlawi Hanafi said, “Meaning recite it quietly so that no one else can hear it apart from you.” (Maswa Musafa Sharh Muwatta vol no.1 pg no.106) 

From this it is known that those who say that the reciation is not movement of the lips and it is only reflecting and pondering over the recitation then this is incorrect. Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) said to his student, “When the Imam recites Surah al-Fatiha then you should recite it and finish it before the Imam.” (Juz Qir’at al-Bukhari no.337 and it’s chain is [Sahih] and an-Naymawi the blind follower (Taqlidi) said in Athar as-Sunan no.358 “It’s chain is [Hasan]

It is known from this that recitation is not limited to only contemplating rather it is the physical act of moving the lips whilst reciting quietly otherwise what is the meaning of completing it before the Imam?

Apart from Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) the following Companions and Tabi’in held the view of reciting the Fatiha behind the Imam and also acted upon it:

  1. Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu)                          (Juz al-Qira’ah of al-Bukhari no.51 and it is [Sahih])
  2. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Radi Allahu Anhu) (Juz al-Qira’ah of al-Bukhari no.11, no.105 and it’s chain is  is [Hasan])
  3. Ubadah Ibn Samit (Radi Allahu Anhu) (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/375 hadith no.3770 and it’s chain is [Sahih])
  4. Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu)               (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/375 hadith no.3773 and it is [Sahih])
  5. Anas (Radi Allahu Anhu)                        (Kitab al-Qira’ah of al-Bayhaqi no.231 and it’s chain is [Hasan])
  6. Sa’id Ibn Jubair                                        (Kitab al-Qira’ah of al-Bayhaqi no.237 and it’s chain is [Hasan])
  7. Hasan Basri                                               (as-Sunan al-Kubra of al-Bayhaqi 2/171 and it’s chain is [Sahih])
  8. Amir ash-Shu’bi                                       (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/374 hadith no.3764 and it’s chain is [Sahih])
  9. Abu Mulih Usamah Ibn Umair              (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/374 hadith no.3768 and it’s chain is [Sahih])
  10. Hakam Ibn Utaibah                                 (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/374 hadith no.3766 and it’s chain is [Sahih])

Imam Shafi’i, Imam Awza’i and Imam Bukhari and other than them held the view of reciting the Fatiha behind the Imam and also acted upon it. Therefore saying that it has been aborgated or that it goes against the Qur’an is incorrect. For further details see my book “al-Kawakib ad-Duriyah Fi Wujub al-Fatiha Khalf ul-Imam Fil Bahriyah” and “Nasrul Bari Fi Tahqiq Juz al-Qira’ah of al-Bukhari”

2) The Hadith is also revelation. 

3) The foundation of Salah is the Fatiha meaning without reciting it the Salah is invalid. 

4) The meaning of Hamd and Thana is Surah Fatiha. And other than that from the benefits. 

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