3. Tijani’s Confusion about the salutation appearing after ‘Ali’s name in Sahih al Bukhari

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3. Tijani’s Confusion about the salutation[1] appearing after ‘Ali’s name in Sahih al Bukhari


Tijani says:


One day while I was talking to my friend I asked him to answer me frankly, and the following dialogue took place:

I said: You place Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and may He honour him, at the same level as the prophets, because whenever I hear his name mentioned you say “Peace be on him”.

My friend: That is right whenever we mention the name of the Commander of the Faithful [Imam Ali or one of the Imams of his off-spring we say “Peace be upon him”, but this does not mean that they are prophets. However, they are the descendants of the Prophet, and Allah has ordered us to pray for them, therefore we are allowed to say “May Allah bless them and grant them peace” as well.

I said: No brother, we do not say “May Allah bless him and grant him peace” except on the Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and on the Prophets who came before him, and there is nothing to do with Ali or his descendants, may Allah be pleased with them all, in this matter.

(Then his Shia friend cites some proofs against his statement and later says to Tijani :) “What do you think of al Bukhari?”

I said, “He is a great Sunni Imam and his book is the most reliable book after the book of Allah [the Qur’an].”

Then, he stood up and pulled “Sahih al Bukhari” from his library and searched for a particular page he wanted and gave it to read: “We have been informed by so and so that Ali [may Allah grant him peace] …” I could not believe my eyes and was very surprised to the extent that I thought it was not “Sahih al Bukhari”, and looked at the page and the cover again, and when my friend sensed my doubtful looks, he took the book from me and opened another page, it read: “Ali ibn al Husain—may Allah grant them peace…” After that I could only say to him, “Glory be to Allah.” He was satisfied with my answer, so he left the room and I stayed behind thinking, reading those pages again and making sure of the book’s edition, which I found had been published and distributed by al Halabi & Sons Co. in Egypt.

(Then Tijani said):O my God, why should I be so arrogant and stubborn, for he gave me a tangible reasoning, based on one of our most reliable books, and al Bukhari was not Shi’i at all, in fact he was a Sunni Imam and scholar. [2]


Our comment:

Before expounding on the multiple views among the Ahlus Sunnah on a secondary issue such as this, I would like to draw the esteemed reader’s attention to the fact that Tijani’s own narrative is a testament to his ignorance. Tijani speaks about being arrogant and stubborn in the beginning. It appears that it was not arrogance or stubbornness, rather a case of ignorance. He was discussing matters that he was unqualified to discuss. It is extremely hard to believe that he began his journey of enlightenment from a position of neutrality because his ignorance of a simple detail in Sahih al Bukhari—which is evident to novice students who study the text, let alone experts who have poured over it in significant detail—indicates that he was unprepared for the tidal wave of Shia propaganda that was about to hit him. His abandoning the school of the Ahlus Sunnah was inevitable if he was to study the material for himself since he would be clearly unaware of the unfaithful representation of history, and the forgeries in the hadith presented. Any acknowledgement of stubbornness and arrogance is accounted for during his enlightenment since he ignored seeking professional help and attempted to study these texts with the guide of Shia propaganda.

The Ahlus Sunnah differs about the ruling of independently invoking salutations upon others besides the Prophets ‘alayh al Salam.

The view of Malik, al Shafi’i, and al Majd ibn Taymiyyah from the Hanbalis is one of prohibition. Their argument is that Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:


To say al Salah upon anyone other than the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is not correct. Instead, Istighfar is (seeking forgiveness) for the Muslims, male and female (is what one is meat to say).


Ahmed ibn Hanbal, and most of his adherents, the likes of al Qadi, Ibn ‘Aqil, and al Sheikh ‘Abd al Qadir, consider it permissible. They cite what has been narrated from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he said to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “Sallat Allah ‘alayka!”[3] (May the mercy and salutations of Allah be on you)

Al Nawawi, the authoritative jurist of the Shafi’i school, says:


The correct opinion—which the majority is upon—is that it is Makruh, Karahat al Tanzih (discouraged), because it is the symbol of the people of bid’ah.[4]


Therefore, it is originally permissible. Also, they agree that it is permissible to say it for others besides the Prophets ‘alayh al Salam in a secondary capacity, i.e. after having said it for the Prophets ‘alayh al Salam. In other words, it may be said in the manner mentioned below, since it is prescribed in a sound ahadith that we are required to do so in the Tashahhud. Similarly, the early Muslims were recorded as having done so outside of the salah.[5]


اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰى مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ عَلٰى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ أَصْحَابِهِ وَ أَزْوَاجِهِ وَ ذُرِّيٰتِهِ وَ أَتْبَاعِهِ

O Allah! Send al Salah upon Muhammad and family of Muhammad, and his Sahabah, and his wives, and his progeny, and his followers.


From this we understand the permissibility of conferring this mode of salutation for any person as long as it does not become a symbol, as the Rafidah do with ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. So if any scholar, or author, convers Salat and Salam upon ‘Ali, it does not necessarily mean that he is a Shia. Furthermore it is not proven beyond doubt that al Bukhari singled out ‘Ali and his sons with the Salat and Salam. Tijani’s citing the publication of Babi al Halabi is not much of an argument since Sahih al Bukhari has been extant before al Halabi and his publishing house were established. It is highly possible that the addition of salutations upon ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was done by later scribes as this does not interfere with the integrity of the text of Sahih al Bukhari.

If one refers to different editions of the text as well as some of the manuscripts, the terms “‘Alayhi al Salam” are found in some and in others “Radi Alla ‘anhu” radiya Llahu ‘anhu is used for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

The issue at hand has been dealt with by the most prolific commentator of al Bukhari, al Hafiz ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani. When the issue of conferring Salat and Salam to others besides the Prophets ‘alayh al Salam came to his attention he mentioned the difference of opinion among Ahlus Sunnah on this issue:


This hadith has been cited to prove the permissibility of saying the salah for other than the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam because of his words, “and upon his family”. Those who prohibit respond by saying its permissibility is restricted to when it is said after it is said for the Prophets (as explained previously), and that it is prohibited to say it individually (for other than the Prophets). The proof for the prohibition is that it has become a symbol of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and therefore no one should share it with him. For that reason no one says, “Abu Bakr salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,” even if its meaning is not problematic. However, one can say, “Salla Allah ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala Sadiqihi, aw Khalifatihi.’” In a similar manner no one says, “Muhammad ‘Azza wa Jall,” even if its meaning is not problematic, as this type of praise has become uniquely used for Allah and therefore no one should share in it.

There is no proof for the person who permits sending salah individually (for other than the Prophets) in Allah’s words, “and invoke (Allah’s blessings) upon them,” or in the Prophet’s words, “O Allah! Send salah upon the family of Abu Awfa,” or in the statement of Jabir’s wife, “Send salah upon me and my husband,” and Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “O Allah! Send salah on the both of them,” because all of that was from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the owner of a right may share it with whom he wishes. However, someone else may not share it without his permission and his permission has not been confirmed concerning that.

The view of prohibition is stronger when one takes into consideration that saying the salah for other than the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has become a symbol of the people of deviation who say the salah for those who they glorify from the Ahlul Bayt and other than them.

(The question then is) That prohibition: Is it Haram or Makruh or Khilaf al Awla (the worse of two permissible options)? Al Nawawi relates those three views and validates the second.

Ismail ibn Ishaq narrates in his book Ahkam al Qur’an with a good sanad from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ‘Aziz that he wrote, “As to what follows: There are people who seek the work of the world with the work of the hereafter, and there are people from the story-tellers who have innovated the salah for their leaders in the same manner that salah is for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, when this letter of mine reaches you then command them to let their salah be only for the Prophets and their supplications for the Muslims; and let them say everything besides that!” Then he narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas with a reliable sanad that he said, “Salah upon anyone other than the Prophet is not correct. Rather, Istighfar is for the Muslims, male and female.”

Abu Dharr mentions that the command of the salah for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam occurred during the second year after the hijrah. There is a weaker opinion that says it occurred during the night of Isra’.[6]


As you can see Ibn Hajar did not bring up al Bukhari saying ‘alayhi al Salam for’Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu at all; which indicates that al Bukhari did not use the term of salutation and that it was of the addition of some of the latter scribes.


NEXT ⇒ 4. Tijani’s claim that the four Schools of Fiqh are traced back to Jafar al Sadiq 

[1]  Referring to the words: ‘alayh al Salah wa al Salam or ‘alayh al Salam, usually said after the mention of a Prophet of Allah S.

[2]Then I was guided, p. 29-31

[3]  Refer to Majmu al Fatawa, vol. 22, p. 472-474

[4]Al Adhkar by Imam al Nawawi, p. 176

[5]  Op. cit. p. 177; See also Masa’il min Fiqh al Kitab wa al Sunnah by ‘Umar al Ashqar, p. 62-63

[6]Fath al Bari, vol. 8, p. 394-395