[Sharh Muwatta Imam Malik – Shaikh Zubair Ali Zai] – Hadith No.48 –:– The Sutra of the Imam is Sufficient (and Equivalent to Being the Sutra) for the Followers

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

The Sutra of the Imam is Sufficient (and Equivalent to Being the Sutra) for the Followers

Ubaydullah Ibn Abdullah Ibn Utbata Ibn Mas’ud: Nine Ahadith

[48] From Malik from Ibn Shihab from Ubaydullah Ibn Abdullah Ibn Utba Ibn Mas’ud that Abdullah Ibn Abas said, “I approached, riding on a donkey, while the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) was leading the people in prayer at Mina, and I was, at that time, nearing puberty. I passed in front of part of the row, dismounted, sent the donkey off to graze, and then joined the row, and no one rebuked me for doing so.”


Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri clarified hearing (this hadith from Ubaydullah Ibn Abdullah Ibn Utba Ibn Mas’ud) in Bukhari (no.1857)


Al-Muwatta (Yahya’s narration 1/155, 156 hadith no.366, book 9, chapter 11, hadith no.38), at-Tamhid (9/20), al-Istidhkar: (no.413)

Transmitted by Bukhari (no.493) and Muslim (no.504) from the hadith of Malik with the same meaning.


1) The Imam’s sutra is the sutra of the followers (those who he is leading and are praying behind him).

2) Putting a sutra in the prayer is sunah mu’akidah. At-Tamhid (4/193) The Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) said, “If any one of you puts anything equal to the back of a saddle in front of you, then what walks in front, no harm would come to him.” (Sahih Muslim (no.499))

3) It is not compulsory to put a sutra in front of you in prayer. Ibn Abas (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “Allah’s Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) was offering the prayer at Mina with no wall in front of him.” (Sahih Bukhari (no.493)) In the explanation of this hadith Imam Shafi’i said, “(He offered the prayer) without a sutra” (Kitabul Ikhtilaf Wal hadith with al-Um (pg.1745), Fath ul-Bari (vol.1 pg.571), as-Sunan al-Kubra of al-Bayhaqi (2/273)) Imam Shu’bi asked his teacher Amr Ibn Marwa (a narrator of hadith): “Was there a spear in front of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam)?” He replied by saying: “No”. (Musnad Ali Ibn al-Ja’d: (no.90) and its chain is authentic, Musnad Abi Ya’la (4/312) hadith (no.2423)) There are also shawahid (witnessing narrations to support this) in Musnad al-Bazaar (al-Bahr az-Khar (11/201) hadith (no.4951)) etc.

4) Yahya Ibn Kathir narrates that, I saw Anas Ibn Malik (Radi Allahu Anhu) in Masjid ul-Haram bury his staff in the ground and pray towards it (using it as a sutra). (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shayba (1/277) hadith (no.2853) and its chain is authentic) It is known from this that if any person performs their prayer by putting a sutra in front of themselves in the Masjid, then this action will be absolutely correct.

5) Hisham Ibn Urwa said, “My Father (Urwa Ibn Zubayr) performed prayer without using the sutra” (Ibn Abi Shaybah (1/279) hadith (no.2871) and its chain is authentic) Hasan al-Basri performed the prayer without a sutra in the desert. (Ibn Abi Shaybah (1/279) hadith (no.2872) and its chain is authentic)

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