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Sahih al Bukhari – prayer part III

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Introduction to Book eleven

As we said on several occasions when introducing the previous Books of the Sahih, the latter are placed in a completely exact and perfectly comprehensible logical succession: in fact we have the first, second and third Books (the annotated translation of which constitutes the first of the volumes we dedicated to the text of Al-Bukhâri, The Sa-hih. The Introductory Books), which concern respectively the Muhamma-dian inspiration, from which the Islamic Tradition as a whole proceeds, the 'Faith' as ​​an essential operational aspect of Islam , and sacred 'Knowledge' as a founding element of the traditional Islamic building. Below we begin to talk about 'ritual' activity (and therefore primarily the rite of prayer, 5)us salât), as conformity to the divine Order and Principial Orientation, which explains what was implicit in Faith and Knowledge; sixteen are dedicated to prayer

Books of the Sahîh (from the eighth to the twenty-third). Initially we have the four Books (and therefore fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh) dedicated to the various ways in which the faithful 'purify' themselves to access the rite, collected by us in the volume Il Sahîh. Books regarding ritual purification. Therefore in the eighth Book of which the Sahîh is composed, the preliminary conditions of prayer are spoken of (and in particular of the mosque and the orientation of the person praying towards the ili qibla), and in the ninth Book of the "times of prayer": these two Books eighth and ninth are included in our volume entitled The Sahih. The Books concerning prayer (first part). The tenth Book is dedicated to the call to prayer (ulal adhân)': in reality in it we start from the consideration of the adhân for then go as if to implicitly answer the following question: what happens as a consequence of the call to prayer? Here the implementation of what follows such a call is studied in detail, that is, the gathering of the faithful behind the 'Imam and the performance of the salât. Now follow the two Books 11 and 12, the subject of this fifth volume of ours dedicated to the Sahîh, and united by the fact of being dedicated respectively to the only two types of prayers which they validly replace, in well-defined cases , the obligatory salât, although they are carried out in very different ways: the Friday prayer, and the so-called 'fear' prayer, which is carried out mainly in war.

Book 11, on the Friday prayer sall 4l kitâbu l-giumua, where the word giumua indicates both Friday and the particular prayer that takes place on that day), begins (chapter 1) with the mention of the Koranic order, contained in verse 9 of the 62nd Sura, to hasten «to the Remembrance of Allah», and to leave «all buying and selling» when one is called to the prayer «on Friday», which shows the obligatory character of the jumua prayer, which results from an order of God. In the text of the hd. 876 it is said that Muslims are the last - the predecessors', the Day of Resurrection, which is also true regarding the giumua: 'the last' as the last traditional community, and the predecessors' because the institution of Friday as a day characterized by particular sacredness in the week, it is primordial and 'previous' by essence (so that the fact that it comes before Saturday and Sunday is not considered accidental). In fact, Friday is the day on which, according to the Prophet #, our father Adam "was reunited", and on the other hand in the 'Sacred History' it can be seen both as established by the Quraysh (the Arab 'priestly caste') before 'Islam, both as practiced by the Muslims of Medina before the arrival of the Prophet *, and as a consequence of a prophetic order. In other words, like Islam itself which is at the same time very new and primordial, historically determined and timeless, founded in everything on the inspiration of the Prophet # and continually renewed by the intellectual intuition of his holy Heirs, the institution it is no coincidence that the Giumua is described as properly Islamic and at the same time ancestral and shared in principle with the other sacred Traditions, ordered by the Messenger of Allah # and 'intuited' by the first Medina believers; hence the obligatory nature (in the intellectual rather than the prescriptive sense) of the sacralisation of Friday and of the community prayer that takes place on that day (obligatoryness to which chapter 1 is dedicated).

In the chapter 2, Al-Bukhari links, so to speak, the issue of the lack of 'mandatory' participation in the jumua for some categories, such as women and children, to the excellence of the major ablution (Juc gusl) carried out on that day (and linked to it in a very particular way) and in view of community prayer: the fact that the excellence of gusl also remains for women and children shows how here we are not talking about obligations in the prescriptive sense but about institutions of Grace in which divine favor is implicit that man must strive to grasp.

This is followed by a 'section' of the eleventh book composed of six chapters (3-8), a section in which particular aspects of 'excellence' specific to the believer who participates in the giumua are recalled in accordance with the prophetic example: the use of perfume (chap. 3) and ointments (chap. 5), awareness of the sacrificial aspect of ritual participation in Friday (chap. 4), wearing the best clothes (chap. 6), constantly keeping the teeth and oral cavity clean (chapters 7 and 8). Here too we are not dealing with strictly obligatory things, but with aspects, as we were saying, of excellence, without which we cannot reach a profound understanding of Giumuan and fully enjoy its aspects of Grace.

The second part of this eleventh book begins below, in which the development of the chapters takes on a chronological progression, in the sense that an ideal path is generally followed which goes from dawn on Friday to the conclusion of the community prayer, which evidently it is the ritual center of this day. The chap. 9 in fact, if on the one hand it evidently alludes to the beginning of that part of Friday which is centered on the prayer of the Giumua, on the other it acts in a certain sense as a hinge with respect to what precedes, since the recitation of certain Suras and the 'drawing from the spiritual influence AS # baraka) of the Koran are things that are part of those aspects of excellence that were considered in the previous chapters. 3-8.

Since after the dawn prayer the time in which one can move to go to the mosque begins, here follows a series of four chapters (10-13) in which it is considered in particular where one is required to carry out the journey. -mua (chap. 10), when the distance from the mosque (chap. 13) or certain external circumstances (chap. 12) make the obligation to participate in community prayer invalid, and who is required to prepare for the jumua by doing the 'major ablution (chap. 11). In three of these chapters, particular doctrinal aspects are alluded to, but of great relevance for the theme of Book eleven: in chap. 10 the lawfulness of carrying out jumua anywhere (and not just in large centres) refers to the issue of the Imam's responsibility towards those who follow him, an aspect of the chain of responsibility that keeps the human consortium standing from every point of view (this mentioned in hd. 893); in the chapter. 11 clarifies how the major ablution (gusl) must be carried out on the same day of Friday, due to its baraka; in the chapter. 13 finally the argument of the distance from the mosque recalls the theme of when it is really necessary to move to achieve the Synthesis (or giam, from the same root as giumu'a) in Allah, escaping multiplicity.

Below, in the 'chronological' arrangement proposed by Al-Bukhari, after the localization of the giumua and the preparation for it with the major ablution, one cannot fail to consider the time of Friday prayer. In this regard we have two chapters: the first (14) in which we consider the different opinions on the fact of starting the Friday prayer before or after the passage of the sun to the zenith (hence the different symbolisms linked to the two perspectives), and the according to (15) in which speaking of "when it is hot on Friday", Al-Bukhari, rather than dwelling on the topic of the possible postponement of the Giumua due to the heat (which in reality is not at all attested), presents an argument of a mainly symbolic nature, in which the implicit reference to the story of the dramatic confrontation between Anas and Prince Al-Hakam allusively recalls the case of when the blaze of ignorance, oppression or in any case disturbance in Religion is unleashed, which does not it may not have a direct reflection in the giumua itself, the main community rite of Islam.

It logically follows the chapter. 16, on 'walking' to go to Giumua, in reference to the indication in v. LXII, 9: «O you who have Faith: when called to prayer on Friday, hurry to the Remembrance of Allah», where this 'hurry' is traditionally understood as walking, full of Quiet and concentration in Allah, leaving every other occupation. We therefore arrive at the mosque and the first indication is to "do not separate" two believers sitting side by side; if 'interposing' in any way between two people side by side is an act that is generally considered reprehensible due to the fact that it directly evokes 'creating discord' and 'dis-union', it takes on a particularly nefarious character in the context ritual, where it constitutes the exact opposite of the indications relating to 'bringing Unity', and even more so in the giu-mua, because in the first part of the community rite on Friday, when the Imam begins the dbs khutba, Unity is represented not with aligned and compact ranks, but with believers sitting side by side. It could thus be considered that, beyond the 'chronological' arrangement we are talking about, the three chapters from 15 to 17 have their own homogeneity of a symbolic order: in fact in chapter 15 (which is related to what is implemented when "the heat becomes intense on Friday", which as we said alludes to the 'heat' of ignorance, oppression and the profane spirit), they follow the indication contained in the chapter. 16 ('walking' with Quiet towards the mosque) and above all the one contained in this chapter. 17 (do not produce disunity), which both appear to be a response to the need to 'bring' the Giumua towards the freshness of Unity and Knowledge. After the chapter. 18, which deals with the indication not to make a believer sitting in the mosque get up to sit in his place, we are now sitting inside the mosque: it is time to talk about the call to prayer (ulal adhân) for Friday prayer , and 5 chapters are dedicated to it (from 19 to 23), where, apart from the corollary represented by chap. 20 (where the number of muezzins who make the call to prayer is spoken of), the central theme, addressed as if from different angles, is that of the exceptional character of the adhân of Giumua, whose time is not marked by the position of the sun, as in the case of calls to prayer made for normal obligatory prayers, but by the fact that the Imam enters the mosque and sits on the pulpit waiting to deliver the sermon: in chap. 19 explicitly realizes this fact, in chap. 21 talks about how the Imam also repeats the sentences of the adhân, in chapter. 22 it is reiterated that the adhân begins when the Imam sits on the pulpit, and chap. 23 focuses on the contiguity between the adhân and the sermon, which begins immediately afterwards.

And the function of the cap. 23 is also to announce another section of the eleventh book: the one relating precisely to the sermon, which has 11 chapters, from 24 to 34. In it the function and position of the Imam are studied (chapter 24, makes use of a pulpit, chapter 25 must deliver the sermon standing, chapter 28 sits between the two parts of the sermon, chapter 32 stretches out his hands in invocation), the sermon itself (whis khutba, chapter 27 its subdivision into a prologue and in an argument, and various examples of prophetic khutba, chapter 33 may consist of asking for rain), and how the faithful should behave (chapter 26 are addressed to the Imam, chapter 29 listen to the sermon attentively, chapter 34 are silent, chapters 30 and 31 what they should do when they arrive when the sermon has already begun); this is a summary exposition of the section concerning the sermon, the more subtle aspects of which are to be found in the commentary on the various chapters that compose it.

Below, the chapter. 35 (concerning that certain 'hour' of Friday in which the Muslim servant who accords to it while standing in prayer and asking for something from Allah is answered) has a position in the eleventh Book which curiously corresponds to that which such an hour would have in the day of Friday according to one of the most reliable opinions, in the sense that if we consider Book 11 arranged chronologically, and if we establish a close correspondence between the chapters and the hours of the daytime part of Friday, we see this chapter correspond exactly to the moment immediately following the late afternoon prayer: such the subtlety of Al-Bukhari!

The final section of Book eleven follows: in chap. 36 we have an example of how the end of the giumua rite and the return of the faithful to their occupations must absolutely not be confused with a return to the profane way of seeing: those who abandon the Prophet # who is delivering the sermon to go and see a caravan who is arriving in Medina are certainly blamed, while the 12 Companions who remain allow divine wrath not to be unleashed. In the chapter 37 talks about the surrogate prayers to be carried out after the giumu'a (as well as before it), while in chap. 38 the mention of the hadith in which the Companions of the Prophet * who, having finished the giumu'a, stop to eat the soup offered by a woman, recalls the fact that in the Words «And when the prayer» of Friday «is finished, spread yourselves over the earth and seek the Favor of Allah", the search of which we speak is not strictly 'earthly', or 'profane', since, purified at least virtually by participation in the ju-mua, the believer now sees in every his activity is a search for divine favor, including rest (since with it all 'activity' typical of human individuality ceases, while the divine one remains), to which the chapter is dedicated. 39, which constitutes the seal of the eleventh Book, in contrast, one could say, at its beginning, since in chap. 1 spoke of the 'call' to the giumua, which required waking up from weakness and forgetfulness to go and pray.

Book eleven: of Friday prayer

Book twelfth: of the prayer of Fear

page 184

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