Surahs that the Prophet Used To Recite Together: al-Nawawi

Imam Muslim included the following narration in his Saheeh in the midst of a number of hadith narrations related to the prayers:

جَاءَ رَجُلٌ يُقَالُ لَهُ نَهِيكُ بْنُ سِنَانٍ إِلَى عَبْدِ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ كَيْفَ تَقْرَأُ هَذَا الْحَرْفَ أَلِفًا تَجِدُهُ أَمْ يَاءً مِنْ مَاءٍ غَيْرِ آسِنٍ أَوْ مِنْ مَاءٍ غَيْرِ يَاسِنٍ قَالَ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَكُلَّ الْقُرْآنِ قَدْ أَحْصَيْتَ غَيْرَ هَذَا قَالَ إِنِّي لأَقْرَأُ الْمُفَصَّلَ فِي رَكْعَةٍ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ هَذًّا كَهَذِّ الشِّعْرِ إِنَّ أَقْوَامًا يَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرْآنَ لاَ يُجَاوِزُ تَرَاقِيَهُمْ وَلَكِنْ إِذَا وَقَعَ فِي الْقَلْبِ فَرَسَخَ فِيهِ نَفَعَ إِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الصَّلاَةِ الرُّكُوعُ وَالسُّجُودُ إِنِّي لأَعْلَمُ النَّظَائِرَ الَّتِي كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقْرُنُ بَيْنَهُنَّ سُورَتَيْنِ فِي كُلِّ رَكْعَةٍ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ فَدَخَلَ عَلْقَمَةُ فِي إِثْرِهِ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ

A man named Nuhayk ibn Sinan came to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood and said, “Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, how do you recite this letter – as an alif of a yaa’? Is it

مِّن مَّاءٍ غَيْرِ آسِنٍ

… of unstagnant water … [47:15]

or is it

مِنْ مَاءٍ غَيْرِ يَاسِنٍ

… of un-stagnating water … [compare to 47:15]”

Ibn Mas’ood replied, “And you have memorized the entire Qur’an except for this?” He replied, “I recite all of the Mufassal surahs in a single raka’ah.” Ibn Mas’ood said, “Rushing through it like poets rush. There are some people who recite the Qur’an but it does not pass beyond their throats. But if it were to reach the heart and take hold within it, then it would have an effect. The best parts of the prayer are the rukoo’ and the sujood. I am well-acquainted with the pairs of similar surahs that Allah’s Messenger used to recite together in a single raka’ah.” Then ibn Mas’ood stood up to leave and ‘Alqamah followed behind him.

[Saheeh Muslim #822]

In his famous explanation of Saheeh Muslim, Imam al-Nawawi wrote the following commentary on this hadith:

قوله للذي سأل ابن مسعود عن آسن : ( كل القرآن قد أحصيت غير هذا الحرف ) هذا محمول على أنه فهم منه أنه غير مسترشد في سؤاله ، إذ لو كان مسترشدا لوجب جوابه وهذا ليس بجواب . ـ

Ibn Mas’ood response of “And you have memorized the entire Qur’an except for this?” to the man who asked about the wording of the ayah could be interpreted as ibn Mas’ood sensing that this person wasn’t asking in good faith. For if the person had legitimately wanted an answer to that question, he would have pressed for an answer rather than the non-answer that he received.

قوله : ( إني لأقرأ المفصل في ركعة فقال ابن مسعود : هذا كهذ الشعر ) معناه : أن الرجل أخبر بكثرة حفظه وإتقانه ، فقال ابن مسعود : تهذه هذا ، وهو بتشديد الذال ، وهو شدة الإسراع والإفراط في العجلة . ففيه النهي عن الهذ ، والحث على الترتيل والتدبر ، وبه قال جمهور العلماء . قال القاضي : وأباحت طائفة قليلة الهذ . ـ

Regarding the man’s statement of, “I recite all of the Mufassal surahs in a single raka’ah”: In other words, this man was telling him how much he had memorized and how well he had memorized it. So ibn Mas’ood said, “rushing through it …”, for the wording he used refers to a very fast pace, to the point of disservice. This indicates that such rushing is not permitted, and that one should instead strive to recite at a measured pace with contemplation. That is the position of the majority of scholars, though al-Qadhi mentions that a small group have permitted such rushing.

قوله : ( كهذ الشعر ) معناه في تحفظه وروايته لا في إسناده وترنمه ؛ لأنه يرتل في الإنشاد والترنم في العادة . ـ

The statement, “… like poets rush,”, that is, how the rush when memorizing and practicing it, not when teaching it or performing it for others, for it is their custom to recite in at a measured pace when performing or chanting for others.

قوله : ( إن أقواما يقرءون القرآن لا يجاوز تراقيهم ولكن إذا وقع في القلب فرسخ فيه نفع ) معناه : أن قوما ليس حظهم من القرآن إلا مروره على اللسان فلا يجاوز تراقيهم ليصل قلوبهم ، وليس ذلك هو المطلوب ، بل المطلوب تعلقه وتدبره بوقوعه في القلب . ـ

Regarding ibn Mas’ood’s statement, “There are some people who recite the Qur’an but it does not pass beyond their throats. But if it were to reach the heart and take hold within it, then it would have an effect.” The meaning here is that there are some people whose only share of the Qur’an is that it passes across their tongue, without ever going beyond their throats in order to arrive at their hearts. That is not what one should aim for. Rather, one should aim to connect with the Qur’an and to ponder it through it reaching one’s heart.

قوله : ( إن أفضل الصلاة الركوع والسجود ) هذا مذهب ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه ، وقد سبق في قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ( أفضل الصلاة طول القنوت ) وفي قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ( أقرب ما يكون العبد من ربه وهو ساجد ) بيان مذاهب العلماء في هذه المسألة . ـ

As for his statement, “The best parts of the prayer are the rukoo’ and the sujood,” this was the position of ibn Mas’ood – may Allah be pleased with him -, and we have already discussed the Prophet’s statement, “The best part of the prayer is a long standing”. And you will find an explanation of the different positions of the scholars on this matter under our explanation of the Prophet’s statement, “The slave is closest to his Lord when he is in sujood.

قوله ( لأعلم النظائر التي كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقرن بينهن سورتين في ركعة ) وفسرها فقال : ( عشرون سورة في عشر ركعات من المفصل في تأليف عبد الله ) قال القاضي : هذا صحيح موافق لرواية عائشة وابن عباس أن قيام النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان إحدى عشرة ركعة بالوتر ، وأن هذه كان قدر قراءته غالبا ، وأن تطويله الوارد إنما كان في التدبر والترتيل ، وما ورد من غير ذلك في قراءته البقرة والنساء وآل عمران كان في نادر من الأوقات .ـ

Then there is his statement, “I am well-acquainted with the pairs of similar surahs that Allah’s Messenger used to recite together in a single raka’ah.” And ‘Alqamah provided more detail about this elsewhere by saying, “Twenty surahs – all of them mufassal surahs – in ten raka’at, in they order that they are arranged in the Mushaf of ibn Mas’ood.”

al-Qadhi said: This is correct, and matches with what has been relayed from ‘A’ishah and ibn ‘Abbaas that the night prayer of the Prophet used to be eleven raka’at, including witr, and that that was his typical amount of recitation, and that the reports about the long amount of time that he would spend in night prayer was a result of the contemplation and measured pace of recitation that he used. As for other narrations mentioning that he recited surah al-Baqarah and al-Nisaa’ and Aal ‘Imran, then this was a rare occurrence.

وقد جاء بيان هذه السورة العشرين في رواية في سنن أبي داود : الرحمن والنجم في ركعة ، واقتربت والحاقة في ركعة والطور والذاريات في ركعة ، والواقعة ونون في ركعة ، وسأل سائل والنازعات في ركعة ، وويل للمطففين وعبس في ركعة ، والمدثر والمزمل في ركعة ، وهل أتى ولا أقسم في ركعة ، وعم والمرسلات في ركعة ، والدخان وإذا الشمس كورت في ركعة ، وسمي مفصلا لقصر سوره وقرب انفصال بعضهن من بعض . ـ

A list of the twenty surahs mentioned in this report is found in a narration in Sunan Abu Dawud:

al-Rahman [55] and al-Najm [53] together in one raka’ah

al-Qamar [54] and al-Haqqah [69] together in one raka’ah

al-Tur [52] and al-Dhariyat [51] together in one raka’ah

al-Waqi’ah [56] and Noon [68] together in one raka’ah

al-Ma’arij [70] and al-Nazi’at [79] together in one raka’ah

al-Mutaffifeen [83] and ‘Abasa [80] together in one raka’ah

al-Muddathir [74] and al-Muzzammil [73] together in one raka’ah

al-Insan [76] and al-Qiyamah [75] together in one raka’ah

al-Naba’ [78] and al-Mursalat [77] together in one raka’ah

al-Dhukhan [44] and al-Takweer [81] together in one raka’ah

And the mufassal surahs [surahs 50-114] are called mufassal due to their short size and because of how frequently one ends and another begins.

[Sharh Saheeh Muslim 3/176]

See also: How the Prophet Would Recite the Qur’an

See also: How the Sahabah Used to Divide the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: What to Recite in the Prayers: Sheikh bin Baaz

See also: The Great Merits of Reciting the Qur’an with Contemplation: ibn al-Qayyim

4 thoughts on “Surahs that the Prophet Used To Recite Together: al-Nawawi

  1. Pingback: How the Prophet Would Recite the Qur’an | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: How the Sahabah Used to Divide the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: What to Recite in the Prayers: Sheikh bin Baaz | Tulayhah

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