Q. I read a Hadith in which it is stated that the Prophet (SAS) said dhikr should be read 33 in all i.e. 10, 10, 10 and 3. We read 33, 33 and 34. Please explain the Hadith and advise what is the correct procedure.
A. There is a hadith in which it is mentioned that there are blessings and rewards for one who recites after Salaah, Subhanallah 10 times; Alhamdulillah 10 times; and Allahu Akbar 10 times (as mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawood).
There are also ahadith that mention about the virtues and blessings for one who recites after Salaah, Subhanallah 33 times; Alhamdulillah 33 times; and Allahu Akbar 34 times (as mentioned in Sunan Ibn Majah).
Another hadith has Allahu Akbar 33 times along with the recitation of La ilalha illallah wah dahu laa sharee ka lahu lahul Mulku wa lahul Hamd wa hu wa ala kulli shain Qadeer (as mentioned in Sahih Muslim).
Another hadith mentions Subhanallah 33 times; Alhamdulillah 33 times; and Allahu Akbar 33 times (as mentioned in Sahih Al Bukhari).
The above mentioned traditions are not opposing to each other but they have highlighted the different amounts of Dhikr which can be made and these will carry different amount of blessings and virtues. Hence, whatever one recites (in whatever number) one will receive the blessings for it. To recite any of the above will suffice for making Dhikr after Salaah. However, whoever recites more will receive more rewards. (Kitabul Fatawa vol.3 pg.108).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan