The Qunūt’l-Nāzilah

What is it?

It was a specific supplication performed by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) at times of difficulty, strife and/or war for the Muslim nation. It is called “Qunūt” because this supplication is only made during the standing position in one’s Salāh, similar to the other more well-known Du‘ā Qunūt’l-Witr.

What is its ruling?

It is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah, only at times of crisis for the Nation. Imām al-Nawawi said, “The correct and well-known position as per the majority of the scholars is that if some problem occurs then one performs the (Qunūt) al-Nāzilah, such as some crisis, a plague, etc… and when there is no crisis then it is not done.”

A tiny number of scholars even considered it an obligation such as narrated by Ibn ‘Abd’l-Barr from Yahya b. Sa‘īd.

It is narrated in Sahīh al-Bukhāri that the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) supplicated against the tribe of Lahyān, Ri‘l, Dhakwān and ‘Usayyah after they treacherously murdered the seventy Qurrā’ sent from the Ansār to teach them the Qur’ān. Anas b. Mālik (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) explained that the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) was never seen to have grieved so much as he did at this and supplicated against them for a whole month in the Fajr prayer.

It is also authentically narrated by al-Bayhaqi (2/210) that ‘Umar (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) did the same against his enemies from the Christians during the wars, in the Fajr prayer.

Thus it is a well established means for help against the enemies and oppressors of the Muslims and should be practised as much as possible.

Who should do it?

There are three main positions of the ‘Ulemā: that the Muslim leader should do it, that the Imāms of the Masājid should do it in the congregational prayers, and finally that every single person should do it themselves in their own prayers. The final position was narrated from Ibn Taymiyyah only.

What is agreed upon is that it should be in the obligatory prayers only, and in the absence of proper Muslim leaders of our countries then it should be the way of the Imāms of the Masājid to offer this supplication and for the rest of the community to attend and reply with “Amīn” as much as possible.

Which prayers should it be said in?

The various ahādīth and narrations from the Sahābah on the matter show that the Qunūt’l-Nāzilah was performed in all of the five daily prayers, other than the Jumu‘ah prayer – many scholars disliked that it should be done because of the lack of evidence therein and thus it is not practiced by the Muslims. As for the rest of the prayers then as Anas (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) narrates in Bukhāri that it was done in both the Maghrib and Fajr prayers. Barā’ narrates the same in Sahīh Muslim.

So if one is to grade those prayers in which the narrations are most common, then the Fajr prayer is the most, then the Maghrib and ‘Ishā, then Dhuhr and the least is the ‘Asr prayer. Yet, it is not right to just insist on limiting the du‘ā to only one prayer but if there are logistical reasons for this then this is not a problem. The Ahnāf along with some of the other scholars restricted the du‘ā to the Fajr prayer only.

It is permissible to make this supplication both before and after the Rukū‘, although to do it after seems stronger.

What is the manner of the du‘ā?

The Qunūt’l-Nāzilah is a du‘ā similar to the Qunūt’l-Witr in that the Imām reads it out loudly with the followers saying “Amīn” behind him, except for some of the Ahnāf who prefer that one doesn’t say anything. The majority of the scholars followed the narration of Ibn ‘Abbās (radhy Allāhu ‘anhumā) as narrated with a good chain by Abu Dāwūd in his Sunan (1231) that:

قَنَتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَهْرًا مُتَتَابِعًا فِي الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَالْعِشَاءِ وَصَلَاةِ الصُّبْحِ فِي دُبُرِ كُلِّ صَلَاةٍ إِذَا قَالَ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ مِنْ الرَّكْعَةِ الْآخِرَةِ يَدْعُو عَلَى أَحْيَاءٍ مِنْ بَنِي سُلَيْمٍ عَلَى رِعْلٍ وَذَكْوَانَ وَعُصَيَّةَ وَيُؤَمِّنُ مَنْ خَلْفَهُ

The Messenger of Allah (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) made Qunūt for a continuous month in the Dhuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Ishā and Fajr prayer at the end of each prayer when he would say “Sami‘a-Allāhu liman Hamidah” after the final Raka‘ah, he would then supplicate against some of Banu Sulaym, Ri‘l, Dhakwān and Usayyah. Those behind who were following would say, “Amīn!

The Imām should read the du‘ā out aloud whether the prayer itself is a “loud” prayer (i.e. Fajr) or a “silent” prayer (i.e. ‘Asr) as derived from the ahādīth of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) when he made du‘ā against his enemies.

Ibn Hajr said, “It seems apparent to me that the wisdom in the Qunūt’l-Nāzilah being legislated during the standing position as opposed to being in the Sujūd position despite the fact that the Sujūd is the place of response (to one’s du‘ā) as in the authentic narration “The closest one is to his Lord is when he is in prostration” as well as the fact that we are generally commanded to make supplication therein, is that the objective of the Qunūt’l-Nāzilah is for the follower (Musallī) to share in the du‘ā of the Imām, even if it just by saying “Amīn.” Thus, they reached consensus that it should be read out aloud.” (2/570, al-Fath)

The Imām and the followers should raise their hands in du‘ā during the Qunūt although some of the Ahnāf differed, wishing to follow the correct principle that all movement should be minimised as well as subsidiary supplications and raised voices during the du‘ā which is being performed in an obligatory congregational prayer.

Yet the narration of Anas (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) collected by Imām Ahmed (11953) which has a hasan chain states, “I saw the Messenger of Allāh in the Fajr prayer with his hands raised up supplicating against them (the murderers).”

What is the wording of the du‘ā?

The wording of the du‘ā should be specific and to the point. It is not correct to use this du‘ā opportunity to make standard ad‘iyah as found in the normal Witr prayer or in the Jumu‘ah khutbah such as “Allahumma Ihdinā fī mun hadayta, wa ‘āfinā fī mun ‘āfayta…”. This is a very common mistake, along with Imams making long, beautiful and emotional home-made supplications that were not seen from those pure and special ones before us who were in a greater need than us and who achieved a more perfect response from Allah jalla wa ‘alā.

Rather what is narrated from the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) are supplications specific and appropriate to the problem at hand. It is allowed to name and curse the enemies and attackers specifically as mentioned above in the narration of Bukhāri. It is recommended to not elongate the du‘ā but rather it is short and succinct and in following the Sunnah is complete success, as narrated by Imām Muslim when Anas (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) was asked about the Qunūt, he replied, “Yes, a short and simple one (yasīr) after the Rukū‘”.

Thus, a few scholars even mentioned that the normal ending of this du‘ā with the sending of salāms upon the Messenger should be avoided so as to differentiate this unique Qunūt from the du‘ā of Witr. Likewise, one should be careful not to mix and match words that call upon Allah’s punishment and power and yet address Him jalla wa ‘alā as the Kind and Gentle.

It is permissible to utilise variant wordings against the enemy in our du‘ā, with using that which was once uttered by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) the best of all, but choosing that which is appropriate to the setting. An example as narrated in the Sahīh of Bukhāri (2744) would be:

اللَّهُمَّ مُنْزِلَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُجْرِيَ السَّحَابِ وَهَازِمَ الْأَحْزَابِ اهْزِمْهُمْ وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ

O Allah! Revealer of the Book! Mover of the clouds! Destroyer of the Confederates! Destroy their enemies and support us against them!

Another narration in Bukhāri (762) states that he (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said:

اللَّهُمَّ أَنْجِ الْوَلِيدَ بْنَ الْوَلِيدِ وَسَلَمَةَ بْنَ هِشَامٍ وَعَيَّاشَ بْنَ أَبِي رَبِيعَةَ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اللَّهُمَّ اشْدُدْ وَطْأَتَكَ عَلَى مُضَرَ وَاجْعَلْهَا عَلَيْهِمْ سِنِينَ كَسِنِي يُوسُفَ

O Allah! Save Walīd b. al-Walīd, Salamah b. Hishām, Ayyāsh b. Abi Rabī‘ah and the weak ones from the Believers! O Allah! Destroy Mudhar and afflict them with years like the years of Yusuf!”

This key du‘ā edited for our scenario today would read:

اللَّهُمَّ أَنْجِ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اللَّهُمَّ اشْدُدْ وَطْأَتَكَ عَلَى عدونا وَاجْعَلْهَا عَلَيْهِمْ سِنِينَ كَسِنِي يُوسُفَ

O Allah! Save the weak ones from the Believers! O Allah! Destroy our enemies and afflict them with years like the years of Yusuf!”

Reflect my brothers and sisters upon the fact that in this last narration of Bukhāri, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) resorted to the Qunūt’l-Nāzilah because three, yes just three of the early Muslims (al-Walīd b. al-Walīd the brother of Khālid b. al-Walīd, Salamah b. Hishām and Ayyāsh b. Abi Rabī‘ah may Allah be pleased with all of them) were trying to escape Makkah under the control of the Quraysh and make Hijrah to the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) in Madīnah.

If such a supplication of sincerity and effort was done by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) for just these three Muslims and a few others amongst the weak in Makkah, what then do you think is upon us concerning the thousands of men, women and children who are having their blood spilt in defence of the Holy Land?!

Also, an important note about who the du‘ā is being directed against. Some commentators like to criticise when Muslims supplicate against entire people such as for example in our situation today saying something like “O Allah, destroy Israel! Destroy the Jews!” despite the fact that we know of course that Israel has many good people against the occupation and the fact that there are many peace-loving Jews who are against the Zionist terrorists that are causing such oppression and genocide in the Holy Land.

Although it is indeed better to be specific in one’s du‘ā, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) supplicated against Mudhar in this above narration of Bukhāri, which is basically encompassing not only the entire tribe of Quraysh of whom some were not involved against the Muslims but also subsidiary tribes such as Qays as well! Yet, as mentioned by Ibn Hajr in al-Fath (18/190), there is an assumed word (hadhf mudhāf) missing here i.e. “aggressive polytheists” so what the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) actually meant was the kuffār of Mudhar” yet he just restricted himself to saying Mudhar.

This proves that one can sometimes make general references in their du‘ā against their enemies but intend specific criminals and aggressors amongst them without necessarily having to specify them.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah jalla wa ‘alā give victory and patience to the Mujāhidīn resisting the forces of terror and occupation, both now during this immediate battle and then during the long war of resistance for many years to come against these Zionist criminal occupiers. May He jalla wa ‘alā accept our Shuhadā’ and accept all our supplications, amīn Yā Rabb’l-‘Ālamīn.

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10 thoughts on “The Qunūt’l-Nāzilah

  1. May Allah reward all the efforts of our brothers and sisters for doing whatever they can at this difficult time. I pray Allah blesses the gathering at Makki Masjed – our thoughts and duas from down under are with you.

    Idriss, bro’, as usual you hit the nail on the head. No deed, done for the sake of Allah should be belittled.

    Umm Maymoonah, your point about raising people’s awareness is also spot on. In our small muslim community here in NZ, the majority of the people have no idea as to what is going on. We are organising to sell food at Jumuah inshAllah, but don’t expect to raise more than £25 (if that!). But the point is that we want to highlight the plight of our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Yes, it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but we pray Allah accepts it from us, ameen.

    AE, jazakAllah for clarifying the issue of Qunut.

    Wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah.

  2. Slm All,
    I’ve taken the quote below from the article on Islam21c by Sh. Haytham, so is it permissable for us to curse then?

    He would supplicate out aloud and in the Fajr (early morning) prayer he would say: “Oh Allah, curse so and so”, cursing some tribes of Arabs until Allah revealed: “Not for you is the decision whether He turns in mercy to (pardon) them or punish them; they are the evildoers.”

    Jzk khr

  3. Would the genuine questioner please not ask inappropriate questions on this forum nor compromise the sister to answer any more this is not your place to ask and would you refrain from further questions and if Abu Essa could you please take his remarks from the forum along with this one as well jazak Allah khair! And please keep to the topic relating to the subject without getting personal on those who merely come to read and add to the discussion. Thank you this is requested by the sister

    • Follow up question: What does a sister do if she wants to offer this supplication? Is it something that is meant just to be done in jamah, or are women allowed/encouraged to do this on their own as well.

  4. Pingback: Palestine « ~Battle For Hind~

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