Is it authentically proven that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said ‘Allahu Akbar’ after every Taslim of the five daily salahs? Is it a standing sunnah to do so as many Imams do not do so?
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhuma) reports that we (the children and those in the back rows) would know that the (fard) salah was terminated when we would hear the recital of the takbir.
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 841-842 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1316-1318)
Most of the Hadith commentators have explained that this does not mean that it is sunnah to recite Allahu Akbar loudly after every salah. In fact Imam Ibn Battal (rahimahullah) states that all the famous madhabs (schools of fiqh) are unanimous that it is not sunnah to raise the voice when saying this takbir.
(Sharhun Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1316, Fathul Mulhim, Hadith: 1326. Also see Fathul Bari, Hadith: 841)
The reasons for their interpretation are many. Some are mentioned below:
a) In one version Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhuma) says: ‘this was the practice in the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam).’
The commentators explain that this shows that the practice was abandoned by the time Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhuma) quoted this. If it was a recommended sunnah, at least he himself would have not allowed this to be abandoned.
b) Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) concludes that this was done initially to actually teach the congregation what to recite. Therefore it was later abandoned.
c) Saying Allahu Akbar (as in the narration) does not necessarily mean reciting Takbir just once loudly. It could be that when reciting the three famous dhikrs after salah (Subhanallah 33 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times) it is possible that they would commence with reciting Allahu Akbar 34 times before reciting the other two.
When a Hadith is declared authentic, it does not mean that one is allowed to automatically practice upon it. There could be many reasons which actually cancel out the apparent ruling in the authentic Hadith at hand, as is the case above. Therefore, the ‘Ulama have always discouraged people from drawing their own conclusions by directly referring to Hadith books, without proper understanding of the standpoint of the Fuqaha (Jurists).
(Refer to Atharul Hadith for a detailed discussion on this, pg.80-111)
See here too for more on this.
Lastly, you are encouraged to refer to a reliable Mufti/Darul Ifta for further details regarding the juristic ruling on this.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar