بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdir Razzaq the former teacher in the Haraam of Mecca, and a teacher at Darul Hadith requested Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Mua’limee to write a research paperabout this issue.
The Evidence for this subject:
Shaykh Abdur Rahman mentioned that the first issue of argument is the fact that standing for the obligatory prayers is a must . Imam Al-Bukhari in his book [ reading in the Prayer] “Standing is must according to the Quran and the Sunnah. Allah said: “ And stand before Allah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salat (prayers)].”[2:238]
Narrated `Imran bin Husain:
had hemorrhoids, so I asked the Prophet (ﷺ) about the prayer. He said, “Pray while standing and if you can’t, pray while sitting and if you cannot do even that, then pray lying on your side.”[ 1117].
This is some of the evidence that Imam Al-Bukhari mentioned that supports standing for the prayer being an obligation for the Imam and those following him. Moreover, Imam Al-Bukhari mentioned evidence that Fatihah is to be read, and thelatecomer has to make up what he missed.
In a summary, the issue of differing in whether or not catching the Ruku is considered catching the prayer or not is based on the five pieces of evidencefrom the Sunnah.
1-Abu Hurairah reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying; when you come to pray while we are prostrating ourselves, you must prostrate yourselves, and do not reckon it anything (rak’ah) he has been present at the prayer.[ Abu Dawud in his Sunnan#893]
2- The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Whoever catches a Rakah while the Imam is in Ruku before he straightens his back has caught the prayer. [ SunanAd-Daraqutni#1/346,347, Ibn Khuzaymah 1595]
3- The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:”Whoever catches up with a Rak’ah of the prayer, then he has caught up with the prayer.”[Al-Bukhari 850/Muslim607]
4- Abu Bakrah said that he came to the mosque when the Prophet (ﷺ) was bowing. So I bowed outside the row (before joining it). The Prophet (ﷺ) said; May Allah increase your eagerness! But do not do it again.[Al-Bukhari 783]
5- Imam Al-Bukhari mentioned that a large number of the companions considered catching the Ruku catching the prayer and there wasn’t any known differing among them in this issue and the majority of the scholars followed them in this issue.
These were the proofs that Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Mua’limee took from Shaykh, Al-Imam Al-Bukhari [may Allah have mercy on them both] for his discussion. There were a total 4 ahadith for this topic and Shaykh Abdur Rahman explained them all in detail;
Hadith explanation by Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Mua’limee
- Abu Hurairah reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying; when you come to pray while we are prostrating ourselves, you must prostrate yourselves, and do not reckon it anything (rak’ah) he has been present at the prayer.[ Abu Dawud in his Sunnan#893]
The isnad for this hadith is
Abu Dawud——Muhammad ibn Yahya Fari— Sa’eed ibn Al-Hakam—Nafi’ ibn Yazeed—Yahya ibn Abi Sulayman—Yazid ibn Abil ‘Attab and Ibn Maqbari—Abu Hurayrah….
Yahya ibn Abi Sulayman solitarily narrated this hadith on Yazid ibn AbilAttab and Saeed Al-Maqbari. Imam Al-Bukhari said that Yahya was Munkar Al-Hadith, and there wasn’t any evidence that Yahya heard hadith from Yazid or Al-Maqbari. Imam Al-Bukhari and Ibn Madani considered this a breakage in the chain.
Shaykh Abdur Rahman mentioned that Abu Hatim, Al-Bayhaqi and Ath-Thahabbi all considered Yahya ibn Sulayman weak in hadith as well.Moreover, he mentioned that Ibn Khuzaymah mentioned this hadith in his Sahih collection and mentioned he stated: “I don’t know Yahya for having a praise or a criticism, but I only mentioned the hadith because no scholars differed over it.
The conclusion of this hadith with Shaykh Al-Mua’limee was it was unacceptable from Yahya who only himself, narrated this hadith,and although Abu Dawud mentioned this hadith in his Sunan, with the condition of only mentioning hadith suitable as proof, then perhaps Abu Dawud mentioned it as it wasn’t a rejected Hadith on this topic; as the majority of jurists accepted this act and considered catching the Ruku; as catching the prayer.
- The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Whoever catches a Rakah while the Imam is in Ruku before he straightens his back has caught the prayer. [ Sunan Ad-Daraqutni#1/346,347, Ibn Khuzaymah 1595]
The isnad for this hadith is;
Ibn Khuzaymah—Essa ibn Ibrahim—Ibn Wahab—Yahya ibn Humaid––Qura ibn Abdir Rahman—Ibn Shehab—Abu Salamah ibn Abdir Rahman —Abu Hurayrah….
Yahya ibn Humaid is the only person who narrated this hadith on Qura ibn Abdir Rahman on Ibn Shehab[Az-Zuhri].Imam Al-Bukhari mentioned the Yahya ibn Humaid was unknown and that no one should rely on his hadith. Also, Imam Ad-Darqutni graded Yahya as being a weak narrator. Imam Ibn Yunis mentioned this hadith in his book, The history of Egypt, and said this was the only hadith the Yahya ibn Humaid was known for and that it had many breakages in the chain.
Also in the chain is Qura ibn Abdir Rahman and Imam Ahmed and Abu Zur’a both mentioned that he wasmunkarul Hadith.
Another issue with this hadith was the extra wording ‘before he straightens his back…”
The 3rd hadith is collected in the Muwatta of Imam Malik and is authentic;
- The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever catches up with a Rak’ah of the prayer, and then he has caught up with the prayer.
This hadith unlike the previous one mentioned that whoever catches up with with a Rak’ah of the prayer has caught up with the prayer and the wording, “ Before he[the Imam ] straightens his back” wasn’t mentioned. Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Mua’limee mentioned that Imam Malik and group of Imams collected this hadith by way of Zuhri. The extra wording is meaningless.
The meaning of the hadith, “Whoever catches up with a Rak’ah of the prayer, and then he has caught up with the prayer.” Implies that if a person catches one rakah from Fajr then he has caught it, and the one who catches one rak’ah from any prayer of the five has caught that Salah.
- Abu Bakrah said that he came to the mosque when the Prophet(ﷺ) was bowing. So I bowed outside the row (before joining it). The Prophet (ﷺ) said; May Allah increase your eagerness! But do not do it again.
This hadith is authentic. Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Mua’limee said there were some discrepancies about the saying of some Imams, “ If Abu Bakrah didn’t consider catching the Ruku as catching the prayer then why did he hasten to do so?”
It’s very well possible that he didn’t want to lose out on the reward of praying with the Prophet [ﷺ] instead of missing the Ruku’. This is the kind of good thoughts we should have about the companions.
The 2nd argument scholars bring from this hadith is the Prophet [ﷺ] agreed with Abu Bakrah’s action and didn’t order him to complete his prayer or redo it. This isn’t a strong argument as the wording in Al-Bukhari reads, “May Allah increase your eagerness! But do not do it again.” Those word signal the Prophet[ﷺ] was praising Abu Bakrah for his eagerness, and he telling him not to do it again shows he[ﷺ] didn’t want Abu Bakrah to miss out coming to the prayer in tranquil, non-rushing state.
In the narration of Abu Dawud its reported, When the Prophet (ﷺ) finished his prayer, he said: which of your bowed without the row, and then went to the row? Abu Bakrah said; it was I.[#684]
If we examine this extra wording in the hadith found in Abu Dawud and the wording in Al-Bukhari then it’s possible that the Prophet[ﷺ] waited until everyone finished their prayers, and after he finished his he made Thikr.Moreover, there’s no solid evidence on which Rak’ah that Abu Bakrah caught. It could have been the 1st or the 2nd. With this the Prophet knew his companions would stand up and complete their prayers, so he waited and then asked,”Who from you bowed outside the row..”
In summary, there are some narrations that show all the companions didn’t consider catching the Ruku’ catching the prayer. Abu Hurayrah said: “ Your Rak’ah isn’t counted until you join the Imam standing before Ruku’
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri said: None of you should go into Ruku until you’ve read Al-Fatihah.”
Imam Ali Ibn Al-Madeeni said: Those who consider it’s not obligatory for those following behind the Imam to read Al-Fatihah say catching the Ruku is catching the Rakah of that prayer. Others who say it’s a must for those praying behind the Imam to read Al-Fatihah say that joining the Imam while he is in Ruku isn’t considered catching the prayer.
Abu Hurayrah said: Read Al-Fatihah silently to yourself and don’t count a Rak’ah of the prayer until you’ve joined the Imam while he’s standing [before going into ruku.]
It outwardly seems to be a contradiction when we say catching the Imam in Ruku is catching that Rak’ah of the prayer ,for the command of reading Al-Fatihah and standing. The majority of the scholars say catching the Imam while he’s bowing is catching that Rakah of the prayer;however, is this enough to make a specific ruling for the text that says Al-Fatihah is must, and it’s a must to stand for the prayer when one has the ability to do so!
Nothing from the commands of the prayer are dismissed unless there is a legitimate reason acceptable by the Shari’ah. Those who come late to the prayer often times are just lazy. And when they arrive they don’t do the Takbir except when the Imam does it. Also other come late for the reason they were fiddling with their clothes. I don’t deny the majority of the scholars for this issue have strong evidence, but for me, it’s better to pray a complete prayer as the text specified.i.e the obligation to read Al-Fatihah and start the prayer off standing.