Correspondence between Mufti Taha Karaan and Ml Yaqub Abdullah regarding Sujud


Mufti Mohammad Taha Karaan

30 October 2014

Ml Yaqub wrote

as-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa RahmatuLlah,

Imam al-Haramayn in his Nihayah (2, 163) mentions first an issue qawlayn; considering which limbs must be placed down onto the ground in sujud. Thereafter, he brings up the issue of the exposure of certain limbs in sujud as another issue; also an issue of qawlayn. It seems from this that the issue of which limbs must be placed on the ground for a valid sajdah and the exposed of them in sujud are distinctly separate issues.

Imam Ghazzali explains the two issues likewise, both being issues of qawlayn. (Fath al-Aziz, 1, 520) Commenting on Imam Ghazzali’s words Imam Rafi’i says:

Imam Nawawi considers placing the seven limbs on the ground as obligatory. And, the conflict that you mentioned between him and Rafi’i seems apparent. In his Tahqiq (108) he says bi wujub hi ‘ala al-madhhab. In Sharh al-Muhadhdhab he says inna hu al-Arjah fi al-dalil wa al-mukhtar al-sahih. He indicates that Imam Shafi’i leaned towards this tarjih in his Umm. It does seem like Imam Shafi’i goes that way in hisUmm (1, 99) wherein he says fa in sajada ‘ala zahri kaffayhi. Also, Tabari held this view; so did Abu Nasr al-Maqdisi and Shaykh Abu Hamid. In the asl of Rawdah the tarjih is given to it not being obligatory, and Imam Nawawi in the ziyadah again states his view; that in fact it is obligatory. (1, 256) He continued to express this opinion in his Minhaj; and the commentators such as Khatib Shirbini, brought forth explanations of the evidence. Such as the hadith of Bukhari and Muslim:

In Sharh Sahih Muslim (4, 208) Imam Nawawi comments on this hadith again mentioning the issue of what must be placed on the ground qawlayn. And subsequently, mentions the issue of exposing them asqawlayn. He says in this text that with the relied-upon opinion being the seven limbs touching the ground, then still the knees and the hands do not need to be exposed.

Here I noticed an interesting wording, wherein Imam Nawawi says:

Anyway maybe you have some insights into this wording? I am taking in from it that a portion of each limb suffices for the sujud.

I noticed that Imrani in his Bayan (2, 219) cites Sahib al-Furu as holding the opinion that sujud on the zahirof the feet is sufficient. Be that as it may, most seem to shy away from that stance.

For example, Khatib Shirbini (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1, 260) maintains that the batin of the toes must be what touches the ground. Defining that to be what is opposite to the zahir of them or a harf from them. I read into his mention of zahir and harf, that the top portion of the toes i.e. the side that generally has a toenail and the tips of the toes. Bujayrami commenting on Khatib (2, 178-79) mentions that the toes are considered even if only a portion from one of the toes on each foot.

I have two questions that came from this reading. The first, some modern day footgear could hinder thebatin of the toes from touching. Like for example, steel-toed work boots or heavy winter boots. If the footgear would hinder any portion of the toes from touching, so would this be problematic to praying in them?

The second question is that Sahib Kifayat al-Akhyar seems to contend that Imam Nawawi’s opinion is theazhar according to him whilst the azhar according to Imam Shafi’i is what Rafi’i opined. Are their other post- Nawawi scholars who went this way?



Ml Taha replied

Wa `alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh

In the case of hard inflexible footwear I am of the opinion that the footwear itself should be regarded as a kind of extension of the foot itself. Since it is sufficient to place the atraf of the toes on the earth, placing the tips of such shoes, too, should suffice. But have not seen any naql on the issue.

I think you may have misread the text of Kifayat al-Akhyar. What I see him mentioning is simply that the azhar according to Rafi’i is that placing the hands, knees and feet is not wajib, while according to Nawawi it is wajib. He does not make reference to an azhar according to Imam Shafi’i.

I am not aware of any of the Muta’akhkhirin siding with Rafi’i on the issue. However, Shirwani quotes something from the hashiyah on Tuhfah by Sayyid ‘Umar Basri (student of both Ibn Hajar and Ramli) in which a question mark is placed on the applicability of the hadith on the strength of which Nawawi’s tarjih rests.

I would add here that Nawawi’s tarjih rests not only upon the hadith, but also upon the fact that Imam Shafi’i himself appears to have given preference to the qawl that Nawawi prefers. We generally state that in cases of ikhtilaf it is to the Shaykhayn that we look for tarjih, and that in assigning tarjih the Shaykhayn are guided either by quwwat al-dalil or by akthariyyah. This statement, while by and large correct, does happen to be somewhat elliptical, in that it overlooks another important rule of tarjih. The rule I refer to is that which Sayyid Umar’s students, Ibn al-Jammal, states in his treatise of taqlid, Fath al-Majid. He writes (and I quote from a copy of the book which we are presently editing):

Ml Yaqub wrote

wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

JazakaAllah khayran. After reopening Kifayah I realized that I did misquote from it. AstaghfiruLlah.

After reading the passage that you sent I would like to clarify. If Imam Shafi’i himself gave tarjih to something, so then his tarjih would take preferance over that of Shaykhayn?


Ml Taha replied

Yes you have understood the passage correctly. However, in my exprience it rarely happens that Imam Shafi’i actually pronounces tarjih. Where one is able to discern chronological sequence (as in instances of qadim- jadid) the sequence in itself becomes an implicit form of tarjihi, in the sense that the former is repealed by the latter. However, explicit tarjih by Imam Shafi’i is something I don’t think commonly occurs. This probably explains why it is rarely mentioned by those who discuss the rules of tarjih.

As for your question specifically, whether the tarjih of Imam Shafi’i would take precedence over the tarjih of the Shaykhayn, I have at the moment no statistics nor examples to substantiate an answer, but what would theorise is that the Shaykhayn’s trjih would (hopefully) fall in line with that of Imam Shafi’i, invariably. At any rate, it is a phenomenon worth studying.

I have just now inspected the text from al-Umm to ascertain whether we have an actual case of tarjih by Imam Shafi’i on this point. The case in question is one of the very few cases in which Imam Shafi’i states two qawls at the same place; normally the two qawls are found in different works, or stated in different parts of the same work, implying chronological separation. The phenomenon of stating two qawls at the same place occurs in only a handful of cases. The only indication of tarjih I see in this instance is where he states, after the first of the two qawls:

I have read the text very hastily so I might have missed something. Knowing Imam Shafi’i’s devotion to hadith, I think it would be fair to say that this from him is in fact a form of tarjih.

However something else caught my eye as I was scanning through this text. He discusses the issue of the feet actually touching the ground where the person happens to be wearing khuffs or sandals.

The first section in red says that one should not make sujud in sandals since in this case the sandals would come between his feet and the earth. This, however, is merely what is preferable and not necessary as shown firstly by the fact that the previous sentence starts with ب ح أ, (I prefer), and secondly, the second section in red states clearly, in substantiation of the validity of the salah where the knees are uncovered for sujud, that sujud is sometimes made in leather socks and sandals without the actual feet touching the ground.

If one couples this with the fact that salah was commonly made (even ordered by RasuluLah sallaLLahu `alayhi wasallam to be made) in sandals, and that no command to remove the sandals was ever given, despite the fact

that sandals form a substantial barrier between the feet and the ground, I think it gives credence to what I stated about the shoe being regarded as an extension of the foot.