Sharh as-Sunnah : Lesson 39 : Point 59
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
Imaam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said:
Four takbeers (sayings of Allaahu Akbar) are to be said for the funeral prayer. This was the saying of Maalik Bin Anas, Sufyaan ath-Thawree, Hasan Ibn Saalih, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the Fuqahaa (jurists) and this was the saying of Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam.
This is a mas`alatun far`eeyah (matter of detail). However, he mentioned it here because of the disagreement occurring with regard to it and to make clear the Sunnah in that regard because the book is called Sharhus-Sunnah (Clarification of the Sunnah). And what is famous with the Ahlus-Sunnah W`al Jamaa`ah (People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah) and with the Imaams is that the takbeers that are said over the janaazah (funeral prayer) are four takbeers as occurs in the authentic hadeeth:
“The Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam prayed funeral prayer over An-Najaashee (the ruler of Abyssinia) in the absence of his body and he said four takbeers.”
And most of the ahaadeeth mention four and in some of the hadeeth, there is an addition for five or more. However, that which the Muslims have consensus upon is four and whatever is additional to it is a point of disagreement and the Muslim should not go to that about which there is disagreement and leave aside that about which there is consensus and which there is agreement upon and therefore cause trouble to the people particularly with respect to the Imaams of the mosque; they should not cause trouble to the people because the people are not accustomed to any addition to four. So, if you want to pray over the janaazah more than four takbeers then do it yourself but do not cause trouble to the people and bring them rare and obscure sayings and divergent reports for this is not from the way of the student of knowledge. The students of knowledge should bring harmony amongst the people and not cause trouble to them and they should act upon which there is consensus and restrict themselves to that. This is what is required and this is the intent of the author in mentioning the four because that is what is agreed upon. So, they should not be added to and trouble therefore caused to people in that regard.
His saying, “And it is the saying of Maalik Bin Anas and Sufyaan ath-Thawree and Hasan Ibn Saalih and Ahmad ibn Hanbal,” Maalik ibn Anas is the Imaam of Daarul-Hijrah (the Imaam of the place where the Hijrah was to, meaning the Imaam of Madeenah); Imaam Maalik was one of the four Imaams. And Sufyaan ath-Thawree; he was Sufyaan ibn Sa`eed ath-Thawree, the famous Imaam from the Imaams of fiqh. And Al-Hasan ibn Saalih ibn Hayy; he was from the major Imaams. And Ahmad ibn Hanbal; he was one of the four Imaams.
His saying, “And it was the saying of the jurists; the people of fiqh, Fuqahaa and this was said by Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam,” meaning it is the saying of many of the jurists who are following the Sunnah of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. So, it is not befitting for the student of knowledge to cause trouble with the people with the argument that he knows that there is another saying or another hadeeth with regard to an addition. The scholars used to know that there was disagreement in certain matters but they would not bring this and cause trouble to the people nor would they contradict that which action was upon.
 Translator’s side point: Najaashee died in his own land, nobody prayed over him in his own land so the Prophet was informed by revelation that he had died so led the companions in Madeenah in funeral prayer for An-Najaashee in that different land and said four takbeers over the janaazah.
Reported by Al-Bukhaariyy (1,245) and reported by Muslim (951) from a hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhu.
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
(A Gift To The Reader In Annotation Of Sharh As-Sunnah)
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Transcribed by Saima Zaher.
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
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Sharh-us-Sunnah – Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan – Dawood Burbank [Audio|En]
Related Link: Description of the Funeral Prayer : Shaykh ibn Baaz