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Meaning of Hadith relating to the heat & cold of Jahannam

Question

Please provide a brief explanation to the following Hadith

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said,

“In very hot weather delay the Zuhr prayer till it becomes (a bit) cooler because the severity of heat is from the raging of the Hell-fire. The fire of Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another. So Allah allowed it to take two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari 536, 537)

 

Answer

‘In very hot weather delay the Zuhr prayer till it becomes (a bit) cooler’

The reason for this directive is so that there could be more people attending the Zuhr salah, if it is offered in the cooler period, in comparison to if it was offered in the extreme heat.

Many Fuqaha (jurists) have understood an overriding principle from the above Hadith (and its likes) that the time for the congregational salah will be adjusted within its permissible timings to suite a larger congregation.

 

‘because the severity of heat is from the raging of the Hell-fire.’

This part is explained further by Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) in the next few sentences:

 

‘The fire of Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another.’

The ‘complaint’ of Jahannam; was it a verbal one or an understood one?

Several Muhaddithun (Hadith Masters) have written that since nothing is out of the Power of Allah ‘azza wa jall, this can be understood as a verbal complaint for which Almighty Allah would have given Jahannam the ability.

 

‘So Allah allowed it two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer.’

These two breaths that Allah Ta’ala allows Jahannam to exhale. One being in summer, and through this exhaling the heat of the world is obviously dramatically affected, and as a result, the heat within Jahannam is lowered.

 

The breath in the winter is understood in two ways;

One group of classical Hadith commentators have accepted this on its apparent meaning. That is: that when Jahannam exhales in winter, it exhales from a cold region within Jahannam. Therefore this cold that emerges therefrom, affects the climate in the world proportionately.

The writer concurs with this explanation.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 537 & ‘Umdatul Qari, Hadith: 537)

Click here for more on ‘the cold area of Jahannam’

 

Another group of Hadith commentators state that this breath in winter is actually an inhaling rather than exhaling. They state that Jahannam actually inhales air from our atmosphere during our winter, thereby draining it from its heat, and leaving us in the cold.

(Fathul Mulhim, vol.4 pg.328, Hadith: 1408)

This also explains the last part of the Hadith in question:

‘The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold.’

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar