Qunūt in dawn prayers
Qunūt in dawn prayers is an established prophetic tradition. The majority of the pious Predecessors from among the Companions of the Prophet , their successors, and later scholars upheld its validity.
How the Prophet made qunūt
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Prophet made qunūt for a whole month asking Allah to punish [the tribes of Ra'l and Dhakhwan] and then ceased to do so. He continued to observe qunūt in the dawn prayer until his death" [This hadith was reported by a large group of hadith scholars who declared it authentic as did al-Nawawī and others].
The opinion of some schools of jurisprudence
In the dominant opinion of their schools, Shafi'i and Maliki scholars have adopted the same opinion mentioned in the hadith. According to them, it is categorically recommended to make qunūt. They interpreted what has been reported concerning the abrogation of qunūt or its prohibition as only applicable to the qunūt whose supplications are made against a specific group of people, or person. Thereby, qunūt, in the general sense, was not prohibited nor abrogated.
The hadith scholar, Abu Bakr al-Hazimi, wrote in Al-I'tibar fi Bayan Al-Nasekh wal Mansukh min Al-Athar (vol. 3, pp. 90-91): "There is a difference of opinion concerning making qunūt in the dawn prayer. Most of the Companions, Tabi'in (Successors)and later scholars upheld qunūt's observance." Advocates of this opinion include:
The rightly guided caliphs: Abu Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them all).
The Companions: 'Ammar Ibn Yaser, Abu Ibn Ka'b, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, 'Abdulrahman Ibn Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Huraira, al-Bara` Ibn 'Azeb, Anas Ibn Malik, Abu Halima Mu'adh Ibn al-Harith al-Ansari, Khafaf Ibn Ima` Ibn Rakhda, Wahban Ibn Saifi, Sahl Ibn Sa'd al-Sa'di, 'Arfaga Ibn Sharih al-Ashga'i, Mu'awiyyah Ibn Abu Sufyan and 'A`isha.
Those Muslims who lived at the time of the Prophet but who did not meet him:Abu Raja` al-'Attardi, Suwaid Ibn Ghafla, Abu 'Uthman al-Nahdi and Abu Rafi' al-Sa`egh.
The Tabi'in: Sa'd Ibn al-Musaib, al-Hasan Ibn Abu al-Hasan, Mohammed Ibn Sirin, Aban Ibn 'Uthman, Qutada, Tawus, 'Ubaid Ibn 'Umayer, al-Rabi' Ibn Khuthaym, Ayub al-Sakhtayani, 'Ubaida al-Salamani, 'Urwa Ibn al-Zubair, Ziyad Ibn 'Uthman, 'Abdul Rahman Ibn Abu Layli, 'Umar Ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz and Hamid at-Tawil.
The imams and scholars: Abu Is-haq, Abu Bakr Ibn Mohammed, al-Hakem Ibn 'Utaiba, Hammad, Malik Ibn Anas, the people of Hijaz, al-Awza'i, the majority of the people of Sham, al-Shafi'i and his students, al-Thawri (two reports) and many others.
Some scholars have held a different opinion, maintaining the impermissibility of observing qunūt in dawn prayers. Some of them maintained that qunūt in dawn prayers was originally permissible though this permissibility was later abrogated. They supported their opinion with a number of hadiths which they misconstrued to imply its abrogation."
Another group of scholars maintained that qunūt during the dawn prayer is conditioned with the presence of afflictions and trials that befall Muslims. Consequently,it is not allowed in their absence. This is the opinion of the Hanafis and Hanbalis.
There is no contention on the permissibility of making qunūt in the dawn prayer at times of afflictions and trials; the contention concerns its observanceat times of adversities during the other prescribed prayers. Some scholars such as the Malikis restrictqunūt to the dawn prayer. Others, such as the Hanafis, maintain that it is permissible in the rest of the audible prayers. In the correct opinion of their school, Shafi'i scholars maintained thatqunūt is permissible in all of the prescribed prayers at times of affliction. Scholars have maintained that afflictions that call for qunūt's observance include epidemics, drought, torrential rains damaging buildings or crops, fear of an enemy, and the capture of a scholar.
In brief, scholars have differed on the permissibility of making qunūtin the dawn prayer in the absence of afflictions and trials. However, they maintained that the observance of qunūt at such times is permissibile and recommended in dawn prayers, though they differed on its observance during the other prescribed prayers. There is no doubt that the Muslim community is beset with catastrophes, epidemics and attacks launched by other nations against it. All of these require supplicating Allah in abundance to free us from the grip of others, return our lands and please His Prophetwith the victory of his community and return of its sanctuaries, for Allah is All-Near, All-Answering.
Some scholars hold that qunūt is to oberved during the entire period of an adversity and must not be restricted and this calls for the permissibility of its observance in dawn prayer. However, the impermissibility is only made by those who maintain that, during an asdversity, qunūt is to be observed for not more than one month or 40 days.
Muslims who follow the opinion of the scholars who restrict qunūt's observance only to times of afflictions are not to accuse others who perform it in dawn prayers at all times, of innovation in religion. When the Hanbali scholar and luminary Ibn al-Qayim adopted the opinion of limiting the observance of qunūt to only times of affliction, he explained the position of the scholars who maintained this opinion and said, "They do not repudiate the action of those who observe it at all times. They do not deem it disliked or an innovation, and its doer does not contravene the sunnah. Moreover, they do not repudiate the action of those who object to its observance at times of affliction and do not consider its omission an innovation or that the person who does not observe it as contravening the sunnah. Whoever observes qunūt has done well and whoever does not has also done well" (Zad Al-Mi'ad. Vol. 1, p. 275).
Those who make qunūtin the dawn prayer follow the opinion of the followed scholars who employed ijtihad and who we have been commanded to follow based on the words of Allah the Almighty,
Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know. [An-Nahl, 43]
Those who follow other scholars whose opinion on this issue they deem right are not entitled to deny the other's right to observe qunūt. This is because of the legal axioms that state, 'Objection is not for issues where there is a difference in opinion' and ''One legal interpretation does not nullify another'.
Allah the Almighty knows best.