A Brief Analysis of Some Aḥadīth Reported about Winter

Shaykh Musa Shaleem Mohammed

A discussion on authentic and inauthentic aḥadīth about the winter season.
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The books of Aḥadīth are filled with reports about winter, and in this article, we will attempt to briefly analyse some of these reports, especially those that may be inaccessible to the Non-Arab community. Our analysis will focus primarily on:

  1. Analysing and investigating the authenticity of these reports.
  2. Analysing and investigating their meaning, even though most of them are extremely clear, then deriving some short benefits.

As for the investigation into these reports’ authenticity, then you will deduce upon this article’s conclusion that not all of these reports are authentic; rather, some are authentic, and others are inauthentic. Thus, I have divided this article into two sections: Inauthentic and Authentic Aḥadīth.

As for the investigation into these reports’ meaning, then you will see that they, authentic or inauthentic, cover an array of different topics and issues.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The fire complained to its Lord saying: ‘O Lord, some parts of mine have consumed the others,’ so it was allowed to take two exhalations, one exhalation in winter and the other one in summer. That is why you experience extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter.”

Reported by al-Bukhārī (538) and Muslim (185)

Section One: Inauthentic Aḥadīth

Ḥadīth Number 1:

The Prophet (ﷺ) was reported to have said: “Because of their mercy, the angels become ecstatic when winter elapses as this is a difficult time for the poor Muslims.”

Reported by al-Tabarānī in Al-Muʾjam al-Kabīr (11171), and Shaykh al-Albānī deemed it inauthentic.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

Regardless of a poor person’s religion, surviving winter is quite challenging, since a poor person is more exposed to winter’s harsh weather than anyone else, as they may not have stable or reliable shelter or they may not have extra clothing to protect themselves from the bitter cold. However, surviving winter is even much more challenging for a poor Muslim who has to make wuḍūʾ, ghusl and istinjā regularly using cold water as he may not have access to warm water or have the means to heat tap water. And even though this Ḥadīth is weak, it does not negate this fact.

As for the angels becoming ecstatic upon winter’s termination since this is a difficult time, especially for poor Muslims, then this knowledge is from ʿilm al-ghayb which we accept once the source is authentic, and this is not the case here.

Ḥadīth Number 2:

Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) allegedly said: “Winter is the spring of the believers. Its nights are long so he can pray, and its days are short so he can fast.”

Reported by Aḥmad (11716) and al-Bayhaqī in Al-Sunan al-Kubrá (8456). Shaykh al-Albānī graded it inauthentic, and this is al-Bayhaqī’s wording.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

During winter’s harsh weather, many animals become skinny since food becomes scarce. However, when spring arrives, these animals become robust once again as food now becomes abundant. Therefore, spring provides this opportunity for them to regain their size.

Similarly, winter for the believer in some ways is like spring for the animals, since the believer can spend winter’s long nights in worship and winter’s short days fasting. Therefore, winter provides an ideal opportunity for the believer to grow spiritually.

Ibn Rajab (رحمه الله) explains:

Indeed, winter is the spring of the believer because during that time he enjoys himself in the gardens of obedience to Allāh and wanders in the fields of worship, and his heart strolls along in devotion to the acts of worship facilitated within it, just like the animals revel in the pastures of spring so they gain weight and the condition of their bodies improve.” (Laṭāʾif al-Maʿārif, pg. 326)

Therefore, this simile is accurate, even though the aforementioned Ḥadīth itself is weak. Consequently, the salaf seized this opportunity and encouraged others to do so.

Abū Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) would say: “Shall I not direct you to an easily acquired booty?” They said: “Certainly”; so he said: “Fasting in the winter is an easily acquired booty.” (Laṭāʾif al-Maʿārif, pg. 326)

ʿUbayd ibn ʿUmayr (رحمه الله) would say when winter approached: “O people of the Qurʾān! Your night has been prolonged for recitation, so recite, and your days have been shortened for fasting, so fast.” (Laṭāʾif al-Maʿārif, pg. 327)

Ḥadīth Number 3:

Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) was reported to have said: “The hearts of Ādam’s children soften in winter because Allāh—the Most High—created him from clay which softens in winter.”

Reported by Abū Nuʿaym in Al-Ḥilyah, vol. 5, pg. 216, and Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it.

Ḥadīth Number 4:

ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها) was reported to have said: “When summer came, the Prophet (ﷺ) liked to emerge from his house on a Friday night. However, when winter came, he liked to retire to his house on a Friday night.”

Reported by al-Bayhaqī in Al-Shuʿab (8456), and Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it.

Ḥadīth Number 5:

Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said allegedly:

O Mu‘ādh! When winter arrives, perform Fajr in the darkness of dawn. Lengthen your recitation, but do not overburden the people so they tire. However, when summer arrives, perform Fajr when there is a fair amount of light, since the night is short and people are asleep. Therefore, grant them respite so they can catch the prayer on time.

Reported by al-Bagawī in Ṣharḥ al-Sunnah, vol. 2, pg. 199 and Abū Nuʿaym in Al-Ḥilyah, vol. 8, pg. 249. Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it, and this is al-Bagawī’s wording.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

This Ḥadīth contradicts many other Aḥādīth as these Aḥādīth clearly state that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) would always perform the Fajr prayer when the morning was still dark.

ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها) narrated: “Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to offer the Fajr prayer when the morning was still dark, and not only were the men incapable of recognising the believing women, but the believing women were even incapable of recognising each other.” (Reported by al-Bukhārī (872))

Shaykh al-Albānī (رحمه الله)—commenting on this Ḥadīth—said: “Regardless of the season, Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) would always perform the Fajr prayer when the morning was still dark. This Ḥadīth (i.e. the Ḥadīth of Muʿādh) contradicts this.” (Silsilah al-Aḥādith al-Ḍaʿīfah, vol. 2, pg.372)

This Islamic tradition continued until the time of ʿUmar (رضي الله عنه). However, ʿUthmān (رضي الله عنه) started to perform Fajr when there was light because ʿUmar (رضي الله عنه) was stabbed during the darkness of Fajr.

Mughīth ibn Sumayī (رضي الله عنه) said: “I prayed Fajr with ʿAbdullāh ibn Zubayr (رضي الله عنه) in the darkness, and when he said the taslīm, I turned to Ibn ʿUmar (رضي الله عنهما) and said: ‘What is this prayer?’ He said: ‘This is how we prayed with Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ), Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنه) and ʿUmar (رضي الله عنه), but when ʿUmar (رضي الله عنه) was stabbed, ʿUthmān (رضي الله عنه) delayed Fajr until there was light.’” (Reported by Ibn Mājah (671), and Shaykh al-Albānī deemed it authentic.)

Ḥadīth Number 6:

The Prophet (ﷺ) allegedly said:

Six characters are from goodness:

  1. Fighting Allāh’s enemies
  2. Fasting in the summer
  3. Having patience when calamity strikes
  4. Avoiding arguments, even though you are right
  5. Being punctual for the prayer on a cloudy day
  6. Performing wuḍūʾ properly during winter

Reported by al-Bayhaqī in Al-Shuʿab (2500) and others, and Shaykh al-Albānī graded it inauthentic.

Ḥadīth Number 7:

The Messenger (ﷺ) allegedly said: “Whoever performs wuḍūʾ properly during the severe cold will receive a double reward.”

Reported by al-Tabarānī in Al-Muʿjam al-Awsaṭ (5366), and Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

While there is no specific authentic Ḥadīth highlighting the virtue of performing wuḍūʾ thoroughly during winter’s harsh weather, there is, however, a general Ḥadīth that supports this.

Abū Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) reported: “Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: ‘Should I not tell you how Allāh erases a man’s sins and elevates his ranks?’ They said: ‘Tell us, Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ).’ He responded: ‘Performing wuḍūʾ thoroughly, especially during difficult circumstances.’” (Reported by Muslim (251))

Therefore, whoever performs wuḍūʾ properly during winter’s harsh weather will receive a greater reward, since doing this at such a time is difficult.

Ḥadīth Number 8:

Anas (رضي الله عنه) was reported to have said:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever wishes to perform Jumuʿah must perform ghusl.” When winter came, we said: “O Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ), you have commanded us to perform ghusl for Jumuʿah, but winter has arrived, and we are very cold.” He said: “Whoever performs ghusl has done well, and whoever did not do so is not blameworthy.”

Reported by Ibn ʿAdī in Al-Kāmil (2456), and Shaykh al-Albānī declared it weak.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

Most scholars view performing ghusl on Friday optional, and while this Ḥadīth supports this view, it is weak. The upcoming Ḥadīth also supports this view. The Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Although performing wuḍūʿ for Jumuʿah is sufficient, making ghusl is better.” (Reported by Abū Dāwūd (354), al-Nasāʾī (1380), al-Tirmidhī (497) and others, and Shaykh al-Albānī authenticated it.)

Others view performing ghusl on Friday mandatory, since the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Every person who reached the age of puberty must perform ghusl on Friday.” (Reported by al-Bukhārī (879), Muslim (846) and others)

Ḥadīth Number 9:

Anas ibn Mālik (رضي الله عنه) reported: “When the Prophet (ﷺ) was fasting during the summer, he would only break his fast when we brought him moist dates and water. He, however, would only break his fast during the winter when we brought him dried dates and water.”

Reported by al-Tabarānī in Al-Muʿjam al-Awsaṭ (3861), and Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it.

Ḥadīth Number 10:

ʿUmārah ibn Ghurāb’s aunt (رضي الله عنهما) allegedly asked ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها): “What should a menstruating woman do if she and her husband share a bed?” ʿĀʾishah (رضي الله عنها) replied:

I will relate to you what Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) did. One night, he returned home and I was menstruating. He went to the place of his prayer (i.e. inside the house) and did not see me until he felt cold, but I fell asleep by that time. He said: “Approach me.” I said: “I am menstruating.” He said: “Uncover your thighs.” I, therefore, uncovered my two thighs. Then he put his cheek and chest on my thighs and I leant upon him until he became warm and fell asleep.

Reported by Abū Dāwūd (270), and Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it.

Ḥadīth Number 11:

Anas (رضي الله عنه) narrated:

Hail fell, so Abū Ṭalḥah (رضي الله عنه) said: “Feed me some of this hail.” He then began eating some of it, even though he was fasting in Ramaḍān. I said: “Aren’t you fasting?” He responded: “We purify our stomachs with this hail, and it is neither food nor drink”. I visited Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) to inform him about this. He said: “Take it from your uncle.”

Reported by Aḥmad (13971), al-Ṭaḥāwī (1864) and others. Shaykh al-Albānī weakened it, and this is al-Ṭaḥāwī’s wording.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

Avoid eating hail as it consists primarily of water which breaks the fast. Shaykh al-Albānī (رحمه الله) said: “I do not believe that any Muslim who is alive today would say that consuming hail would not break the fast.” (Silsilah al-Aḥādith al-Ḍaʿīfah, vol. 1, pg.150)

Ḥadīth Number 12:

The Messenger (ﷺ) was reported to have said:

If a person says on a hot day: “There is none worthy of worship except Allāh. Today is extremely hot. O Allāh, protect me from Jahannam’s heat.” Allāh says to Jahannam: “One of my slaves is seeking protection from your heat, so bear witness that I have saved him from your heat.”

Conversely, if he says on an extremely cold day: “There is none worthy of worship except Allāh. Today is extremely cold. O Allah, protect me from the cold of Jahannam.” Allāh says to Jahannam: “One of my slaves is seeking protection from your intense cold, so bear witness that I have saved him from your intense cold.”

Reported by al-Bayhaqī in Al-Asmāʾ Wa-al-Ṣifāt (387) and others, and Shaykh al-Albānī deemed it inauthentic.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

Although this supplication is inauthentic, there are several authentic supplications that a Muslim can utilise to protect himself from Jahannam and its fire.

The Messenger (ﷺ) said: “If anyone asks for Jannah three times (i.e. he says: “O Allāh, grant me Jannah”), Jannah will say: ‘O Allāh, admit him into Jannah.’ And if anyone asks to be saved from Jahannam three times (i.e. he says: “O Allāh, save me from Jahannam”), Jahannam will say: ‘O Allāh, save him from Jahannam.’” (Reported by Ibn Mājah (4340), al-Nasāʾī (5521) and al-Tirmidhī (2572), and Shaykh al-Albānī authenticated it.)

Ḥadīth Number 13:

Ibn ʿAbbās (رضي الله عنه) narrated: “The Prophet (ﷺ) prayed in one garment, and he used its ends to protect himself from the hot or cold floor.”

Reported by Aḥmad (2320) and al-Tabarānī in Al-Muʿjam Al-Kabīr (11521). Shaykh al-Albānī and Shaykh Aḥmad Shākir weakened it, and this is al-Tabarānī’s wording.

Short Benefit(s) and Commentary:

Although this Ḥadīth is weak, utilising a prayer mat to avoid the floor’s harsh temperature and surface is allowed.

Anas (رضي الله عنه) reported: “We used to pray with Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ), and we would place the end of our clothing where we prostrated because of the intense heat.” (Reported by al-Bukhārī (385), (542), (1208) and Muslim (620), and this specific wording is found in al-Bukhārī (385).)

This Ḥadīth also proves that wearing gloves on a cold day while praying is allowed as it proves that the worshipper’s limbs does not have to touch the bear floor.

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Published: January 23, 2022
Edited: February 4, 2022

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