The Fear Prayer

Al-Muwatta' of Imam Malik

by Imam Malik ibn Anas
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

11.0 The Fear Prayer

11.1 The Fear Prayer

1 Yahya related to me from Malik from Yazid ibn Ruman from Salih ibn Khawwat from someone who had prayed (the fear prayer) with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on the day of Dhat ar-Riqa'* that one group had formed a row with him and one group had formed a row opposite the enemy. He then prayed one rak'at with the group he was with, and then remained standing while they finished by themselves. They then left and formed a row opposite the enemy, and then the other group came and he prayed the remaining rak'at of his prayer with them, and then remained sitting while they finished by themselves. Then he said the taslim with them.

* Famous raid in which constant sentries had to be established.

[Bukhari & Muslim]

2 Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Sa'id from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad from Salih ibn Khawwat that Sahl ibn Abi Hathma related to him that the form of the fear prayer was that the imam stood with a group of his companions, while another group faced the enemy. The imam prayed one rak'at with them, including the prostration, and then stood. He remained standing while they completed the remaining rak'at by themselves. They then said the taslim, left, and formed up opposite the enemy while the imam remained standing. Then the others who had not prayed came forward and said the takbir behind the imam and he prayed one rak'at with them, including the prostration. He then said the taslim, while they stood up and prayed the remaining rak'at by themselves. Then they said the taslim.

3 Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi' that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, when asked about the fear prayer said, "The imam and a group of people go forward and the imam prays a rak'at with them, while another group, who have not yet prayed, position themselves between him and the enemy. When those who are with him have prayed a rak'at they draw back to where those who have not prayed are, and do not say the taslim. Then those who have not prayed come forward and pray a rak'at with him. Then the imam leaves, as he has now prayed two rak'ats. Everyone else in both groups stands and prays a rak'at by himself after the imam has left. In this way each of the two groups will have prayed two rak'ats. If the fear is greater than that, then the men pray standing on their feet or mounted, either facing the qibla or otherwise."

Malik said that Nafi' said, "I do not believe that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar related it from anyone other than the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace."

[cf Bukhari 4261]

4 Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Sa'id that Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not pray Dhuhr and 'Asr on the Day of the Trench until after the sun had set."

[In Muslim]

Malik said, "The hadith of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad from Salih ibn Khawwat is the one I like most out of what I have heard about the fear prayer."