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Saturday, December 31, 2016
Qunut and witr, II
Whilst I was posting my first PDFs here I'd found a reference to a Ubay codex with sura(s) of qunut and witr. I had no idea what these terms meant, so I did some hasty research. From that I went down a rabbit hole of hadith and ended up at the du'a of qunût which is said in the Witr prayer. At the time I had some interest in para-Qur'anic prayer and poetry; two of those projects ended up in The Arabs and Their Qur'an. But in that season's rush, I couldn't do enough with Ubay's suras and this du'a. So I abandoned the adventure.
A real scholar is picking back up on Ubay's qunût-and-witr, doing real scholarship this time. We are not, yet, permitted to cite this scholarship directly. What I can do, and will do here, is to carve off what I found in 25 March 2010 on "the du'a of qunût spoken in the Witr" from that day's post, and to repost it here.
UK Answers still has the text up:
O Allaah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those whom You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, nor is he honoured who is Your enemy. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted. There is no place of safety from You except with You
This du'a is not a sura, and was never intended as one. It turns out to be a real prayer which I can find in the Hadith. Using the `Âlamiya system, I see it in Abu Dawud 1214, Tirmidhi 426, and Nasa'i 1725; all from Qutayba b. Sa`d. Abu Dawud claims that Ahmad b. Jawwas and Qutayba both got it from Abu'l-Ahwas. And then Nasa'i 1726, from the jurist Ibn Wahb. Ibn Maja 1168 got it (as usual) from Ibn Abi Shayba. Ahmad 1625 from Waki`.
These strands all cluster around the transmitter "Abu Ishaq", or at least his son Yunus. Yunus then claimed to have got it from a Basran, Burayd (d. 144 AH) son of Abu Maryam Malik b. Rabi'a al-Saluli. (Burayd is a good Basran name; Abu Musa al-Ansari's own son was known as Abu Burda.) Tabari (tr. Landau-Tasseron as v. 39, 128) thought the Burayd < Abu Maryam chain more interesting for apocalyptic material. This du'a, or something like this, was well-known in the 'Abbasid period - at least in Iraq. It's odd that Bukhari and Muslim ignored it, but not unprecedented for ancient material that cast doubt on post-'Abbasi Sunnite legalism.
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