Somebody told the Prophet (peace be upon him): “I stoned the Jamrahs after nightfall.”

He said: “There is no problem with it.”

This is part of an authentic hadîth related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî. It indicates that there is flexibility in the timeframe for stoning the Jamrahs during Hajj.

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of this flexibility.

Stoning the Jamrahs at Night

A pilgrim is allowed to carry out the ritual of stoning at night. This was the opinion of `Abd Allah b. `Umar and the one adopted by the Hanafî school of thought. The opinion is also found in the Mâlikî and Shâfi`î schools.

This ruling was adopted by the Muslim World League during its inaugural session under the chairmanship of Sheikh `Abd al-`Azîz b. Bâz, at the time when crowding at the Jamrahs had become a serious problem.

The evidence for this ruling is where somebody told the Prophet (peace be upon him): “I stoned the Jamrahs after nightfall.”

He said: “There is no problem with it.”

The man said: “I shaved my head before offering my sacrifice.”

Again the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no problem with it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1723)]

Stoning the Jamrahs before Dawn

The pilgrim may also stone the Jamrahs on all the days before the Sun reaches its zenith. This opinion is narrated from Ibn `Abbâs. It was the view of Tâwûs, Muhammad al-Bâqir, and one of the two opinions narrated from `Atâ’. The view is also related from Abû Hanîfah, but is not the one adopted by the Hanafî school of thought. The view was adopted by Ibn `Aqîl and Ibn al-Jawzî from among the Hanbalî scholars and by the Shâfi`î scholar al-Râfi`î.

Contemporary scholars who have adopted this view include `Abd Allah b. Al Mahmûd, Mustafâ al-Zarqâ’, and Sâlih al-Bulayhî, among others. This view was also confirmed by `Abd al-Rahmân al-Sa`dî.

They cite as evidence a hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) made a concession for the herdsmen to stone the Jamrahs at night or at any hour of the day they wished to do so. [Sunan al-Dâraqutnî (2/276)]

There is weakness in this hadîth’s chain of transmission. There are corroborative narrations from Ibn `Abbâs and Ibn `Umar, but neither of these is free from weakness.

Ibn Qudâmah writes in al-Kâfî (1/195): “This applies to everyone who has an excuse like sickness or fear for oneself – or for one’s wealth as was the case with those herdsmen – since they all come under essentially the same meaning.”

They also cite the hadîth related by `Abd Allah b. `Amr b. al-`As that during the Farewell Pilgrimage, people came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Minâ and asked him about a number of different situations.

One man came and said: “I did not realize what I was doing, and I shaved my head before sacrificing my animal.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Sacrifice the animal. There is no difficulty.”

Another man came and said: “I did not realize what I was doing, so I slaughtered my camel before stoning the Jamrah.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Stone it. There is no difficulty.”

Whatever problem the people came to him with regarding what they performed early or postponed of the Hajj rites, he told them: “Do so. There is no difficulty.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (83) and Sahîh Muslim (1306)]

Another argument in favor of this ruling is that there is no clear-cut evidence prohibiting the stoning of the Jamrahs before the Sun reaches its zenith. There is nothing in the Qur’ân and Sunnah that explicitly says so. Such a restriction is not a matter of juristic consensus, and it is not supported by juristic analogy.

With respect to the Prophet (peace be upon him) having stoned the Jamrahs after the Sun’s decline from its zenith, that is the same as his remaining at `Arafah from after the time of the Sun’s decline from its zenith up until sunset. It is well-known that the time for visiting `Arafah is not restricted to this timeframe. The timeframe for `Arafah extends throughout the night.

If it were prohibited to carry out the ritual of stoning in the morning, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have made sure to expound upon the prohibition when he answered that pilgrim’s question about throwing the stones before slaughtering his camel. It is not permitted for the Prophet to withhold an explanation about a matter of religion at the time when that explanation is needed.

Then we have Allah’s words: “Remember Allah during the appointed days.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 203]

The ritual of stoning is one aspect of this remembrance. We see this in `A’ishah’s statement: “The tawâf around the House, walking between Safâ and Marwah, and stoning the Jamrahs were prescribed merely for the remembrance of Allah.” [Sunan al-Dârimî (1780)] This means that the entire day is allotted for carrying out these remembrances, which includes the throwing of the stones.

`A’ishah’s statement is almost a decisive verdict on the matter, if we think about it. Her statement was cited as evidence by `Abd al-Rahmân al-Sa`dî among others.

Then there is the answer Ibn `Umar gave when he was asked about the time of throwing the stones. He said: “When your leader throws his stones, then you do so.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1746)] If he had considered the timeframe to be restricted to after the Sun begins to decline from its zenith, he would have said so much to this questioner.

Postponing the Stoning of the Days of Tashrîq until the Last Day

Except for the stoning that is carried out on the day of `Id, a pilgrim may postpone the stoning of the Jamrahs up until the last day. This is supported by the hadîth narrated by `Asim b. `Adiyy that Allah’s Messenger permitted the camel herders to encamp for the night outside of Minâ and to stone on the Day of Sacrifice (i.e. the day of `Id) and then to stone for the next day and the day after that together, and then to stone on the day of departure. [al-Muwatta’ (815), Sunan al-Tirmidhî (955), Sunan Abû Dâwûd (1975), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3079), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (3037)]

Therefore, it is permissible for pilgrims in a situation comparable to that of those herdsmen – like those who are engaged in work that they cannot leave unattended and those who are encamped a difficult distance away from the Jamrahs – to postpone their stoning until the last of the days of Tashrîq.

What is not permitted is to postpone the stoning until after the thirteenth day of Dhû al-Hijjah, which is the last day of Tashrîq. As long as the pilgrim stones the Jamrahs before then, he will be doing so on time. All three days of Tashrîq are like a single day.

This is the view adopted by the Shâfi`î and Hanbalî schools of thought, as well as by the Hanafî scholars Abû Yûsuf and Muhammad b. Hasan, and their opinion is the one that has been adopted by the Hanafî school of thought. It has also been adopted by al-Shinqîtî.

Postponing the throwing of the stones in this way can be done to avoid the overcrowding and the difficulties and death that the overcrowding causes. This is one of the greatest possible justifications for doing so. The lives of the people are certainly more deserving of protection than the livestock those herdsmen were granted their concession to protect.

We must never forget that safeguarding life is one of the five universal principles that all scholars agree must be taken into consideration in matters of Islamic Law.