Subh’s Qunut in a Hanafi Madrasah

Question:

asslamalakium warahmatullahi wabarakatu,

I’m a Shafiie student whose studying at a hanafi madrash, and it so happens that I end up leading salahtul fajar in my madrash when the imam is not present, and therefore omit reading the qunoot fearing fitnah of the muqtadis and the masjid following the hanafi fiqh what should i do in this matter?

Answer:

Linguistically, the word qunut means to stand. Imam Muslim relates an example of this on the authority of Jabir who said, “The Prophet Muhammad was asked about which prayer is best, and replied, ‘the one with the longest qunut.’” (Muslim 756) al-Azhari mentions that here the word qunut refers to standing.

According to the fuqaha, qunut is the name of a supplication in the prayer that is read while standing. In Kashf al-Satr ‘an Sunniyat al-Qunut fi al-Fajr, Dr. Hasan Hitou writes that all of the fuqaha consider that qunut is confined to three instances:

1) qunut in the dawn prayer,

2) qunut in the last rak’ah of witr, and

3) qunut in all prayers due to nawazil.

Dr. Hitou goes on to mention, that according to the Shafi’i School the qunut is performed in the three instances mentioned above, as follows:

1) after i’tidal in the second rak’ah of dawn prayer,

2) in the final rak’ah of witr after i’tidal during the second half of Ramadhan, and

3) after i’tidal in the final rak’ah of every prayer for nawazil.

In Minhaj al-Talibin, Imam al-Nawawi says,

ويسن القنوت في اعتدال ثانية الصبح

“And the qunut is recommended in the second i’tidal of the dawn prayer…”

There is no difference of opinion in our School over its recommended nature. Furthermore, the fuqaha of our school count the qunut among the prayer’s major sunnah acts (ar: ab’ad). The term ab’ad, refers to those recommended acts that call for the forgetfulness prostration when left. Again in Minhaj, Imam al-Nawawi lists qunut from amongst the ab’ad.

When one leaves out any of the ab’ad from the prayer, either intentionally or forgetfully, it is recommended to prostrate for forgetfulness. As for the regular sunnah acts of prayer, like the dhikr in ruku’, etc., the forgetfulness prostration is not performed when such are omitted.

In my research, a report from our jurists saying that one should leave out the qunut due to a fear of fitna has not been discovered. Note, leaving out the qunut will not nullify your prayer, but will leave it deficient. Moreover, that deficiency is repaired by means of the forgetfulness prostration. Perhaps, more controversy could be anticipated from performing a forgetfulness prostration according to our School in front of a Hanafi congregation.

It comes in Rawdah, that the qunut being audible or inaudible is an issue of wajhayn. The relied-upon [al-asahh] is audible and its muqabil is inaudible. With that, some transmit a minimal wording for qunut, that would make standing in i’tidal is shorter. Perhaps, this be better than leaving out this important act altogether.

If you are merely shy to read it due to leading a congregation who differs with you, then you should research the proofs in support of our School’s view to increase your confidence in our position. The Shafi’i School has based their stance on hadith evidence, and more than being a mere view in the School, qunut in fajr is the Prophet’s sunnah.

And, Allah Most High knows best

Sidi Mahmud Adams