Question 91 : Aslamwalkom shiekh aslam,
I have a question regarding this hadith below, Are we to assume that Abu Said Al-Mualla was praying sunnah??
or that you have to come, when ordered by the prophet even if you are praying salah??
Barakkalhu feek shiekh Aslam and May Allah increase you in knowledge and wisdom ameen!.
Volume 6, Book 60, Number 226 :
Narrated by Abu Said Al-Mualla
While I was praying, the Prophet passed by and called me, but I did not go to him till I had finished my prayer. When I went to him, he said, “What prevented you from coming?” I said, “I was praying.” He said, “Didn’t Allah say” “O you who believes Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His Apostle.” (8.24) Then he added, “Shall I tell you the most superior Sura in the Qur’an before I go out of the mosque?” When the Prophet intended to go out (of the Mosque), I reminded him and he said, “That is: “Alhamdu-lillahi Rabbil-‘Alamin (Surat-al-fatiha)’ which is the seven oft repeated verses (Al-Mathani) and the Grand Quran which has been given to me.”

Answer :

Walaikumussalam Br Hubzz Legese

I will quote first what Ibn Hajar (r) wrote in FathulBari in explanation of this hadith which answers this question and then i will add a little after that in case if it needs further clarification.

تنبيه: نقل ابن التين عن الداودي أن في حديث الباب تقديما وتأخيرا، وهو قوله ” ألم يقل الله { استجيبوا لله وللرسول } ” قبل قول أبي سعيد ” كنت في الصلاة ” قال: فكأنه تأول أن من هو في الصلاة خارج عن هذا الخطاب قال: والذي تأول القاضيان عبد الوهاب وأبو الوليد أن إجابة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في الصلاة فرض يعصي المرء بتركه، وأنه حكم يختص بالنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قلت: وما ادعاه الداودي لا دليل عليه، وما جنح إليه القاضيان من المالكية هو قول الشافعية على اختلاف عندهم بعد قولهم بوجوب الإجابة هل تبطل الصلاة أم لا.

Brief summary of what Ibn Hajar wrote above is that it is compulsory to reply to the Prophet (s.a.w) even if it is during prayer and it is a sin not to do so but this is specific and special only to reply to the Messenger of Allah (as he is the Messenger of Allah)! This is the opinion, said Ibn Hajar, of Malikis and Shafiees, except that the Shafiees then discussed whether the prayer is broken while interrupting the prayer to talk to the Prophet (s.a.w) or not broken/invalidated. Ibn Hajar also mentioned that another scholar called Dawudi understood that answering the Prophet is only while not in prayer but Ibn Hajar disagreed as the hadith is clear that it is even while in prayer. That is end of brief summary of what Ibn hajar wrote above, quoted in Arabic.

So from that we see that:
– According to Shafiee and Malikis, it is compulsory to repond to the Messenger of Allah if he called us during the prayer. This is for both fard and non fard Salat. This makes sense firstly because it is what the Prophet (s.a.w) showed in practice in the hadith. Secondly because responding to him is responding to Allah whose message the Prophet is conveying to people thus must interrupt the prayer for Allah to listen to another command from Allah. Third because the Messenger of Allah whatever he tells us of religion is to bring further life to our lives and thus interrupt the prayer which is also for life for the immediate command of the Prophet for the life it brings from Allah.

– As for whether it breaks our prayer if we answered the Prophet or not, scholars had two opposing views on that as it is not specified. Given it is of practical importance to our lives, we need to see what is strongest of the two views most consistent with rest of verses, hadith and their understanding. It seems that like with any interruption to prayer, if it is a brief interruption momentarily and it is not inconsistent with purpose of prayer, then it does not invalidate the prayer. If it is longer interruption than a monentary one, then whether it is consistent with prayer or not, the prayer has been interrupted with something else and thus the prayer is invalidated and a new one should be commenced after the interruption. The fact that the interruption is for Allah as a duty is what allows us to interrupt and renoves the sin but as for the ebadah then it had to be broken for a more important ebadah and makes sense it is invalidated.

I hope this answers the question and Allah knows best.