Assalaamu 'alaykum. On one website I've read that Sh. al-Albani said that the Prophet (may people and blessings of Allah be upon him) allowed a new muslim to pray only twice a day. However I can't find it any more. Could you mention this narration and explain it, if possible?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Perhaps the questioner is referring to what Shaykh Al-Albaani mentioned in some of his books, like ‘Ath-Thamar Al-Mustataab fi Fiqh As-Sunnah wal-Kitaab’ where he mentioned that it is permissible for the rulers to accept the conversion of a non-Muslim even if he did not agree to offer all the five daily prayers, using as evidence the Hadeeth of Nasr ibn ‘Aasim that a man among them came to the Prophet and he became a Muslim on condition that he would only pray two prayers, and the Prophet accepted that from him. [Ahmad] Shaykh Al-Albaani said that its chain of narrators is Saheeh (sound) according to the criteria of Imaam Muslim.
Some scholars are of the view that this is probably specific to the Prophet as he knew by revelation that that man would pray all the prayers, whereas anyone other than him would not know. When the Prophet sent Mu’aath to Yemen, he ordered him to call them to pray five daily prayers.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about this Hadeeth as follows: “O Shaykh, it was reported in Musnad Ahmad that a man came to the Prophet to pledge allegiance to him on condition that he would only pray two prayers per day, and the Prophet accepted his pledge of allegiance. The scholar who reviewed the book said that its chain of narrators is good. We would like you to clarify this Hadeeth to us, may Allaah bless you?" He replied: “The scholars differed in opinion about whether this Hadeeth is Saheeh (sound) or Dha’eef (weak). Those who said that it is Dha’eef, then they have spared us the explanation. As for those who said that it is good, or Hasan, then its meaning is that the Prophet was told the same thing in another Hadeeth and he said: If they convert to Islam, they will pray. The Prophet accepted this from him (that man) because he knew that if he truly becomes a Muslim, then he will pray, but would we say the same thing to someone in our time who wants to enter Islam with this condition? Then, by Allaah, I have some reservations about this, because when the Prophet said: If he converts to Islam, then he will pray, then this could be from the knowledge of the unseen which Allaah revealed to the Prophet whereas we do not know the unseen. It is for this reason that the Prophet ordered Mu’aath to call them to five daily prayers, and if they accept it, then to inform them that Allaah enjoined upon them charity. This is evidence that we have to say: five prayers.” [End of quote]
In our view, the meaning of the Hadeeth is not that he will be permitted to pray two prayers only after his conversion to Islam, but that this is accepted from him at the beginning and then if he embraces Islam, he will be ordered to pray the remaining prayers. This is accepted from him at the beginning as a way of softening his heart to embrace Islam; Ibn Qudaamah said in Al-Mughni: “Imaam Ahmad was asked about a man who embraces Islam with the condition that he would only pray two prayers. He said: His conversion to Islam is valid, and he will be accountable for five prayers...” [End of quote]
We find some similarities to this in the Sunnah of the Prophet . For instance, the author of Muntaqa Al-Akhbaar (i.e. Abu al-Barkaat Majd ad-Deen ibn Taymiyyah, the grandfather of Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah) mentioned the above Hadeeth under the title "The validity of Islam with a defective condition".
Wahb said: I asked Jaabir about Thaqeef when they pledged allegiance, and he said that they set a condition to the Prophet that they will neither pay Zakah nor make Jihaad, and that he heard the Prophet saying after this: They will pay Zakah and they will make Jihaad.” [Abu Dawood]
Also, Anas reported that the Prophet said to a man: Become a Muslim, and he replied: I find myself reluctant. The Prophet told him: Become a Muslim even if you are reluctant.” [Ahmad]
Besides, Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i reported from Hakeem that he said: I pledged allegiance to the Prophet on condition that I do not bow [make Rukoo’] in prayer but that I just recite in prayer [while standing] and then prostrate without Rukoo’. All of these Hadeeth reports are evidence of what we have said previously that the Prophet did so as a way of encouraging them to embrace Islam and not taking into account those defective conditions; rather, if they enter Islam Allaah will guide them to submit to the entire religion.
Ibn Rajab said in Jaami’ Al-‘Uloom wal-Hikam after mentioning all these Hadeeth reports: “Imaam Ahmad considered all these Hadeeth reports and said: Embracing Islam with a defective condition is valid, and it is clear that this applies to a non-Muslim to soften his heart towards Islam.” [End of quote]
Allaah Knows best.
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