On The Prayer for Forgiveness [Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ] · How Authentically Established is It? · Part Four
by The Albaani Site
See here for part three.
Questioner: How authentically established is Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ?
Al-Albaani: The scholars have differed greatly over the ḥadīths about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ, where you have some saying that it is fabricated and others saying it is authentic, and the reason for such severe differing goes back to two issues:
The first is that this prayer has in fact not been reported with an authentic chain of narration with which it can established.
The second is that it differs from all of the legislated prayers in its form, so it is irregular [shāḏ] in this aspect—those who said it was fabricated did so based upon these two realities: that it has no authentic chain through which it can be established and that the wording itself goes against [the form of] all of the established prayers in the the Sunnah.
But those who said it is authentic or at the very least ḥasan said that: [yes], it is true that this ṣalāh, or that this ḥadīth about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ, does not have an independent authentic chain of narration—but it does have many paths of narration, and one of the principles of the scholars of ḥadīth is that a weak [ḍāʿīf] ḥadīth is strengthened when it is reported through many paths of narration, and this ḥadīth does have many such paths, this is from one angle.
And from another angle it has been established that one of the Salaf, i.e., ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak who was one of the major Shaikhs of Imām Aḥmad, used to hold that it should be prayed, and so he would pray it, and it is unlikely for an Imām such as him to act on a ḥadīth which he didn’t regard as being established.
So when we look at all this, that the ḥadīth about the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ has been reported through chains which strengthen one another, in addition to the fact that ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak used to pray it, one feels at ease about the ḥadīth being authentic and as a result the correctness of it being prayed is established.
And because of that the doubt which I mentioned earlier when quoting those who say it is not authentic is answered by saying that it is not a condition that a prayer has to be similar to others—because we know that there is a [another] prayer [which I will now mention] authentically established by agreement of the scholars which differs from all of the prayers at a time where the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ is in agreement with them all in this aspect [which I will now clarify]: when I say a prayer which differs from all of the [other] prayers I am referring to the eclipse prayer. We all know that the eclipse prayer has two rukūʿs in each rakʿah and two sajdahs.
So [simply] by virtue of the fact that bowing is legislated twice in one rakʿah in the eclipse prayer it has opposed all of the well-known prayers in this regard, because there is no other prayer where bowing is legislated twice in one rakʿah, so is this … is the presence of such a point of difference in relation to the five prayers and others a cause for its authenticity to be disputed?
The answer is no.
Because Allaah can ordain whatever He wants for His servants in terms of prayers and how they are to be performed.
So the lesson to be taken is not that a form of worship has to have others that are like it but rather that it is established through [those] paths of narration through which all acts of worship are established.
So when we put aside this aspect of the critique, i.e., the criticism of the actual wording of the [ḥadīth] about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ, and we turn back to the chains of narration [isnād] and we understand that they strengthen each other, in addition to the fact that one of the Salaf acted on it, [when we consider all of this] no valid argument criticising the manner in which this prayer is performed holds weight.
And thus the statements of those who say that the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ is established rise up, which in turn establishes [the Sunnah of] praying it at the very least once in your lifetime as mentioned in the ḥadīth and at the most once every day.
This is my answer to this question.
Fatāwā Rābigh, 5.