Can I Recite a Prayer from a Weak Hadith?
Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
The hadith containing the prayer, “O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha‘ban, and make us reach Ramadan,” is said to be weak. I want to know the opinion of our imams regarding this hadith. Can this prayer be said expecting that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said this and expecting a reward?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
The wording of the prayer in the hadith is good as it generally conforms to Sacred Law. Reciting this prayer is, therefore, not contingent on the hadith being authentic. Imam Al-Nawawi considered the hadith weak but included it in his Kitab Al-Adhkar.
Still, one should not categorically attribute it to, or believe it to be from, the Prophet [Allah bless him and give him peace], and Allah knows best.
Prayer for Reaching Ramadan
Anas ibn Malik said, “When Rajab began, Allah’s Messenger Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Shaban, and let us reach Ramadan.” [Ahmad; Tabarani; Bayhaqi]
The isnad (narration chain) of the above hadith is weak, and it was classed as weak by Imam Nawawi in Al-Adhkar, Ibn Rajab in Lata’if Al-Ma’arif, Dhahabi in Mizan Al-I‘tidal, and Ibn Hajar in Tabyin Al-‘Ajab bi ma warada fi Fadl Rajab.
The problematic transmitter in question appears to be Za’ida Ibn Abi Al-Raqad. Scholars of Hadith have differed in their classification of him, with varying degrees of weakness. [Dhahabi, Lisan Al-Mizan]
Practicing on a Weak Hadith
In his famous commentary on the Sahih of Imam Muslim, Imam Nawawi explains that hadith scholars have allowed laxity on matters other than legal rulings (ahkam) because these hadiths “have sound bases (usul sahiha) established in Sacred Law (al-sharʿ), known to its scholars.” [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]
Imam Nawawi affirms that one can act on weak hadiths as long as they are not clearly forged and concern non-legal matters like the virtues of actions. Imam Nawawi encourages people to act on any hadith they encounter on the virtues of actions: “Know that it is incumbent on whoever hears something from the virtues of actions to act on it at least once so that [the promised reward] can apply to him… based on the saying of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the authentic hadith, “If I ordered something for you then do what you can of it….” [Nawawi, Kitab al-Adhkar]
Conditions for Practising on Weak Hadith
The three conditions for acting upon a weak hadith as laid out by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (Allah be pleased with him):
- That the hadith not to be “severely weak,” such as a report narrated by a known forger.
- That the ḥadīth “be subsumed under a general principle (asl ‘am)” of Sacred Law and that no more-reliable evidence exists contradicting the hadith in question.
- That the person acting on the hadith does not believe it to be authentic, “so that what the Prophet did not say, is not attributed to him” [Hafidh Sakhawi, al-Qawl al-badi‘ fi al-salat ‘ala al-habib al-Shafi’]
I pray that this benefits
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.