Is method of saying salah (prayers) and number of raka’hs for each salah mentioned in Imam Malik’s Maw’tah which is considered to be the first book of Hadith? When was the method and number of raka’h for salah first written down in any book? Was it Bukhari, Muslim or any other book? I am just wondering what is the basis of claim of people who derive salah from hadith and not from the established sunnah of prophet (pbuh).
As far as I found in Malik, Bukhari and Muslim, these are the points I can make:
Number of Rakats of the obligatory daily prayers are not mentioned in a categorical way in any of these books, although it isÂ possible to understand the number of rakats of some of the daily prayers from some of the ahadith.
Specifically in Muwatta of Malik things on prayer are much briefer than the other two books.
Only the number of rakats of non-obligatory prayers or special prayers (like prayer of Kosoof and Khossof – eclipse) are categorically mentioned.
The method of reading prayers are not given in a clear cut way in any of these three books. Often the reports are suggesting different details.
I do not know any one who has come to understand how to pray merely by reading a book of Hadith. Many will say that they have learnt this from ahadith but when you delve into it you will see that in fact they have learnt the basics from their school or their father, etc. and then later they have looked into ahadith to learn the details (that are not really part of Sunnah).
Incidentally, the fact that almost all people learn their prayers from their previous generation (and not books of Hadith) is one of the strongest evidences to support our view relating to the source of Sunnah.
March 16, 2004