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Performing Tashahhud Using Sighat al-Khitab (the 2nd Person)

By Imam Rashid Ahmad Gangohi

Translated by Tameem Ahmadi

Question

As-salamu ‘alaykum:

Can the ‘ulama comment on the issue as to why we read al-salamu ‘alayka ayyuhannabiy (peace be upon you, O Prophet) in tashahhud and not al-salamu ‘alannabiy (peace be upon the Prophet) with the sayings of the Islamic jurists and hadith scholars please?

Answer

Qutb al-’Alam Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in his fatawa (legal rulings) concerning the issue of reciting the tashahhud with sighah al-khitab (second person wording):

“…to read in both ways is permissible … but understand this fact that if ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be well pleased with him) changed the sighah (words) [from the second person to the third person] after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) then there is no harm in this, he must have done so due to some expediency (maslaha) he saw therein.

And if a person reads according to the way it was taught by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) then there is also no harm in this because the purpose behind this is hikayah (reiteration of the original utterance of the Messenger [Allah bless him and give peace]).

If one closely observes, one will realize that even in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) people would recite this tashahhud [with sighah al-khitab] from their homes and from far-off places such as Makkah and elsewhere. If it was permissible to recite with sighah al-khitab then, what reason would not make it permissible to do so now? There was no claim of knowledge of the unseen then, neither is there any claim of that now. At that time the angels would convey the salams and now the angels are doing so also.

Therefore there is no need for changing the sighah.

Neither is there a need to make taqlid of some of the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them) in this. [If it was so necessary] the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would have himself ordered that: after I leave this world, it is better for you to change the tashahhud.

Nevertheless, to read with sighah al-khitab is more preferred because it is in accordance with the original way taught to us by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

The reason behind the change brought about by some of the Noble Companions was most likely based on some maslaha (expediency) or out of ijtihad (inference) or due to considering it better and not because it was wajib (compulsory).

It is for this reason that all the jurists, who follow the four Imams, relate the tashahhud with the sighah al-khitab and do not consider changing of the sighah to be necessary.

And Allah knows best.”

(Fatawa Rashidiyya, Kitab al-’Aqa’id; pg.243)

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