Reading Soorah al-Kahf on Fridays is from the Sunnah

Few days ago, one of our brothers - Jazahullahu khayran - sent an email containing the view that: It is not from the Prophet's Sunnah to read Soorat al-Khaf on Friday, because - according to the mail - the hadith on it is not authentic. This post is part of my response to the brother's mail:

With regards to reading Soorat al-Kahf on Fridays, many of the leading researching scholars – past and present - including Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee and Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah shower blessings on them) have ruled that it is from the Sunnah acts of that day. In his comment on the subject, Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen said: “It is from the Sunnah to read Soorat al-Kahf on Fridays.” [Sharh al-Mumti’ 2/277]. He also said: “It is encouraged to read it (i.e. Soorat al-Kahf) on Friday either before the Prayer or after it.” [Sharh al-Mumti’ 2/278].

They have based their position on the hadith of Aboo Sa’eed (radiya Allahu anhu) that: “Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on Friday; Allah will grant him light between the two Fridays.” Reported by an-Nasaaee, al-Bayhaqee, al-Hakim and others in the Marfoo’ form (i.e. as a narration directly from the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]). It has also been reported by ad-Daarimee, an-Nasaaee, at-Tabaraanee and others in the Mawqoof form (i.e. as a statement from the companion [radiya Allahu anhu]). In his detailed analysis of the different chains and wordings of the report, Imam Al-Albaanee graded the Marfoo’ form Saheeh (authentic) based on other corroborating routes of the same hadith. He also graded the Mawqoof form as Saheeh. [Irwaa al-Galeel 3/93-95].

Some among the earlier scholars (such as Imam an-Nasaaee and then Ibn Qayyim) gave preponderance to the Mawqoof form agreed to be authentic over the Marfoo’ form which has routes with some weakness. However, rather than giving preponderance, Imam al-Albaanee harmonized them and averred that the preferred Mawqoof form itself has “a ruling of a Marfoo’ hadith since that is not from the matters that could be spoken of (by a companion) from his own opinion.” [Irwaa al-Galeel 3/94]. And it is a well-known rule among the scholars of hadith that, “from the Marfoo’ narrations are those reported by a companion from the things he could not have said from personal opinion and which are not from the matters of juristic deduction.” [Tadreeb ar-Raawee pg 154 – Ayman ash-Shabraawee’s editing]. In the hadith under study, Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree could not have been ascribing such reward for reading Soorat al-Kahf on Friday from his personal opinion. Dr. Rif’ah Fawzee Abdul-Muttalib gave the same conclusion in his checking and editing of Imam al-Qurtubee’s work, at-Tidhkaar fee Fadl al-Adhkaar pg. 360. And that is the correct position – Allah willing.

Additionally, Imam al-Albaanee – may Allah shower blessings on him – gave further evidences that even the slightly weak routes of the Marfoo’ form are supporting evidences for the Mawqoof form so that it has the ruling of a Marfoo’ report. [Irwaa al-Galeel 3/94]. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen – rahimahullah – gave a similar explanation to affirm that the narration is Saheeh in [Sharh al-Mumti’ 2/278].

Other earlier scholars like Imam ash-Shaafi'ee, al-Hakim, an-Nawawee, Ibn Quddamah, Adh-Dhahabee have upheld the hadith. In his comment, Imam ash-Shafi'ee said: "I like that Soorat al-Kahf is read on the night or day of Jum'ah based on what has been reported pertaining to it." [al-Umm 2/432 - published by Daar al-Wafaa and Dar Ibn Hazm]

So, reading Soorat al-Kahf on Fridays is authentically ascribed to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

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