Responding to “Jazaak Allaahu Khayran” by Saying “Wa Antum fa Jazaakum Allaahu Khayran”

In the Name of Allaah…

The following message has been making its rounds in a number of email lists and message boards this year:

THE BEST REPLY TO THOSE WHO SAY “JAZAK’ALLAHU KHAIR”?

“Wa Antum fa Jazakumullahu khayran” which means “And you too, May Allah reward to with good.”

When Usayd ibn Hadayr رضي الله عنه said to the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salam): “O Messenger of Allah جزاك الله خيرا (Jazak’allahu khayran)!” The Prophet said: ” وَأَنْتُمْ فَجَزَاكُمُ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا (Wa Antum Fa Jazakumullahu khayran.. And you too, May Allah reward you too with good)!”

[Albaani has said that the Hadeeth is Saheeh in al-Saheeha 3096, al-Ta’leeqaatul hisaan al Saheeh ibn Hibbaan 6231]

I have responded (at least three times) with the following reply:

Take your knowledge from the scholars, not unqualified or unknown writers on the internet.

I read Shaykh Al-Albaanee’s discussion of the hadeeth (Saheehah #3096), which includes detailed mention of the defects of the hadeeth, and its not clear to me that the hadeeth is even acceptable. [This is updated below.] Nor did he say anything about this being a legislated response to “jazaak Allaahu khayran”.

Secondly, we don’t take just any conversation that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was engaged in and then derive legislated responses to phrases. If this hadeeth is authentic, then he responded with what he wanted to say at that time, not intending to legislate that wording as a fixed answer for “jazaak Allaahu khayran.”

How do we know this? Well, we are Salafee. We simply look to the Companions, the Taabi’oon, and the imaams of the Salaf and the scholars of Islaam to see if anyone understood this. This is a foreign concept to me. I don’t know of anyone who ever mentioned this. Nor did my shaykh, Muhammad Baazmool, when he answered a question on the topic. [see this]

In the age of databases, we cannot allow just anyone to search “jazaak Allaahu khayran” and start deriving rulings from any results that pop up!

Our scholars took the time to write books about the manners of speech, like Ibn Abee Shaybah, al-Bukhaaree, al-Bayhaqee, and other scholars of the Sunnah included a section on manners in their larger books of Sunnah. I don’t know of anyone who ever said this. So I lean towards believing its just a result of the “Shaamilah” [database] scholar era, or the “Shaykh Google” era, where people use databases who are not qualified to work with the evidences they find.

While ignorant people have electronic access to volumes of hadeeth sources, will we allow our Deen to be subject to whatever rulings they derive from hadeeth, even if it means creating new Sunnahs that our Salaf never heard of?! The concept is disastrous, and may Allaah protect us.

Be warned of saying something you have no Salaf for!

And Allaah knows best.

[End of earlier response]

And now I would like to add some important points regarding the authenticity of the quoted report:

[1] While all of the chains are individually flawed, the hadeeth is authentic, as the different chains can be used to collectively strengthen each other. [Detailed mapping of the chains in Arabic] This is the conclusion of Shaykh Al-Albaanee in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah (#3096), as quoted.

[2] Imaam Al-Bukhaaree knew about this hadeeth and did not use it to establish the claimed Sunnah of responding to “jazaak Allaahu khayran” with “wa antum fa jazaakum Allaah khayran” in his al-Adab al-Mufrad. He collected the hadeeth in his Taareekh (8/349). In addition, Imaam at-Tabaraanee and Haafith al-Bayhaqee also reported this hadeeth, yet neither of them used it to establish this assumed “Sunnah” practice in their books of supplications.

[3] Shaykh Al-Albaanee himself was devoted to reviving abandoned Sunnahs, and yet he did not mention anything about this during his discussion of the hadeeth, nor was it known to be his practice to respond to “Jazaak Allaahu khayran” in such a specified way.

[4] The hadeeth shows the Sunnah of responding to kindness with kindness, not that it legislates a specified response for the phrase “Jazaak Allaahu khayran.”

[5] After further searching, I still have not found any scholar of the past or present who made such a claim of specification.

Thus, I once again stress the need to understand the sources of our Religion, the Quran and the Sunnah, as our Salaf understood them, and not how anyone with a hadeeth database tries to apply them. And Allaah knows best.

Written by: Moosaa Richardson

36 thoughts on “Responding to “Jazaak Allaahu Khayran” by Saying “Wa Antum fa Jazaakum Allaahu Khayran”

  1. Asalamu Alaykum Moosa,

    Could you bring this hadith to the ulema and ask them what they make of it? While yes you may not have found a scholar who commented on it, a) that doesnt mean a scholar hasnt commented on it, or b) perhaps they dont know of this hadith yet. I remember once on salafitalk you relayed some information from a shayk that saying ya Allah or something to that effect in dua was a bidaa. Then a brother relayed a hadith that proved this to be false. Correct me if im wrong, but I remember that issue vaguely. The point is, could you run it by an alim and see what they make of it. Jazkallah khairan.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaam wa rahmatullaah. I don’t believe our Salaf understood there to be a set response. They would respond with normal speech, as they would respond to most other supplications. And Allaah knows best.

      • Jazaak Allaahu khairan for the fast reply.
        I just came across this speech by Shaykh [Al-‘Allaamah al-Muhaddith] ‘Abbad hafidhahullah and an article by Shaykh Maher hafidhahullah in relation to this.
        http://www.ajurry.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19130
        I appreciate if you can share the benefits from this too, at least in summary. Baarakallaahu feek.
        [Distinction in titles added by admin for clarity.]

        • I’ve already researched the matter, and I’ve come across those passages. As mentioned, I’m already aware that our scholars do not know any basis for a specific response. Adding more names of scholars and students who do not know any grounds to specify, after mentioning the early imaams of the Sunnah, like al-Bukhaaree, does not add anything more decisive to the issue, and Allaah knows best.

          Again, for us to consider something an established “Sunnah” (a religious habit, a continual practice, an intended action for a specific occasion in order to gain nearness to Allaah by way of it) would need clear evidence, understood and practiced by the Companions and the early Salaf.

  2. Asalamu alaykum,

    Correct me if I’m wrong Moosa, but ithere are all kind’s of narrations that mention what the Prophet sallalhu alayhi wasalam use to do. For instance, he would lay on his side after praying Fajr nawafil prayer. I still think it would be best to bring this to a scholar and see what they make of it. I’m not a student of knowledge or anything, but when I read Riyadh As Saliheen and Adab Al Mufrad many narrations state what he did and nothing more. Arent we encouraged to follow his ways?

    • wa ‘alaykas-salaam. Exactly, Ibn Bassam (may Allaah bless you), he “used to” lay on his side, which was a continual practice, noted in the books of Sunnah, like in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree: باب الضجعة على الشق الأيمن بعد ركعتي الفجر “the Chapter of His Laying on His Right Side after Two Rak’ahs before Fajr”.

      On the other hand, the hadeeth in question here mentions one single exchange, no wording that indicates any regular practice, and someone wishes to extract a constant practice from it, something not noted by the scholars who collected it. Additionally, the books of du’aa’ and manners contain the narrations to say “al-hamdulillaah” as well as narrations to respond with “yarhamuk Allaah” as well as the response to that. These books preserved the details of what we are to take as a steady practice in Islam, as well as detailed responses to others’ behavior. This “reply” (wa antum…) is not mentioned there, nor is the hadeeth placed in those books to imply this as a legislated practice.

      The Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) spoke with religious rituals that are to be followed, and he also spoke with regular every-day customary speech as well, which was not intended to be “legislative”. Taking the latter as something legislative ultimately lands us in innovation – taking something as Deen which he did not take as Deen, and thus worshipping Allaah with something that he did not worship Allaah with. And Allaah knows best.

      • Jazakallah khairan for the clarification. I am by no means knowledgable, at the same time we dont blindly follow anyone. So dont take any questions/comments/remarks I may have as hostility, as it may appear on here (emotion and tone obviously cant be expressed through the internet). Another question I may have is this: would it be blameworthy to still say wa antum jazakallah khairan? As we read how ibn Umar use to follow the prophet very carefully. Also, you mentioned how there are multiple chains of the Prophet responding this way.I know you mentioned each chain is weak, but do they each refer to same event or different instances? Since that would give us more insight how often the Prophet used to respond this way.

        A side question, I live in the USA. I want to make hijrah, and I might have a job opportunity in Qatar. Is there resources there to learn islam? Jazakallah khairan.

        • Your comments and questions are welcome, Ibn Bassam. Regarding your first question: Based on what has preceded, there is nothing wrong with saying that phrase, as it is a good Arabic phrase. It is better, as Shaykh al-‘Abbaad said, than just “wa iyyaak” because it is more clear.

          Regarding your mention of Ibn ‘Umar and his strict following of everything the Messenger did (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), then this is true, but think carefully about some of the most specific things he did, like going out of his way to sit under a tree that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) sat under once? Did the scholars say that his action shows a Sunnah to be followed by the rest of the Ummah, or that he was excused due to his deep dedication to following every footstep of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam)? Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned the latter in a detailed discussion of the meaning of ittibaa’ (following). He noted a very precise distinction between following anything the Prophet did in any situation (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), and attempting to draw near to Allaah with an action that the Messenger did not do to draw near to Allaah. He mentioned the delicate issue of following a Sunnah outwardly, but opposing the (same) Sunnah by intention, meaning: He took shade under that specific tree because it was the closest and most convenient place to take shade at the time. He did not go out of his way to seek that tree. So when someone might track down a specific tree to take shade under it because it was a place the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) actually rested, did the follower match the actual action inwardly and outwardly in this case, when he goes out of his way to find a specific tree, something that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) did NOT do? Perhaps some portions of Ibn Taymiyyah’s “Qaa’idah ‘Atheemah” can be translated on this topic, as they are amazingly insightful and relative to this topic. And Allaah knows best.

          • Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh Akhi Moosa. Jazaak Allaahu khayran for all your efforts you put forth in spreading the correct understanding of Islaam. I have benefited from alot of your works. Akhi do you have an English link I could refer to in regards to Ibn Taymiyyah’s discussion of the meaning of ittibaa’ ?, As I would like to read a little more on this issue. Again Jazaak Allaahu khayran. Abu Asiyah

          • Assalamu alaykum. BarakAllahu feek Moosa. Can you give us some resources, including Ibn Taymiyahs where we can look into this topic in detail.

      • Jazaakumullaahu khayraa. To clarify the point made at the end of the comment by Abul-`Abbaas above here is a very beneficial article about distinguishing between a) Sunnahs that are taken as Deen through which Allaah is worshipped and b) Sunnahs which were everyday customs:

        http://www.salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=9&Topic=6415

        Author: [Shaykh] Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaaniyy
        Translator: Rasheed Barbee

        [slightly amended by admin]

        • wa jazaak. While that article is highly beneficial, it is important to note the difference between that discussion and this one. That discussion is about his established continual practices and the concept of categorizing them into what he did to worship Allaah and what he did as normal customs of his place and time (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace). This discussion is about a matter of one single exchange, which we do not have any grounds to assume was a continual practice in the first place. However, if one understands that article, that even clearly continual practices may not be considered legislated acts of worship, then it should be even easier to understand why one exchange in one conversation is even more unlikely to establish a regular practice of ritual worship. And Allaah knows best.

  3. JazkAllaumma khayran brother.
    What is the best way to reply back to after JazkAllaumma khayran and could you give the meaning please.

    May Allaah azza wa jala reward you

  4. Asalaam alaykum warahmatullaah

    Alhadulillaah. Its a beneficial discussion. May i please add a question as the point of differentiating sunnah from a custom appeared. Some one has urged to me that there are no islamic names but we have arabic names that can be good or bad. That means we are not obligated to use arabic names. I am a bit confused taking into consideration that prophet said that beloved name in front of Allaah are Abdullaah and Abdurrahman. Can brother Moosa or anyone else clarify this.

  5. JazakAllaah khayr Ustadh for this post, it shed some light on this issue. Just a quick question: If a person says to you “jazakAllaah khayr” in a grammatical sense, can we reply “wa inta fa jazakAllaah khayr” or would it still be “wa intum fa jazakumullaah khayran”?

    • I would suggest reading the article again, Abaa Mundhir. In general, if you said “wa antum…” to an individual or a group, its OK. If you said, “wa anta…” to a group, its incorrect linguistically.

  6. Assalāmu’alaikum Ustādh. HayākAllāh. From this article, some of our brothers have derived an erroneous conclusion and I was hoping you could clarify. What is proven from your article is that this particular reply “wa antum fajazākallāhu khayran” should not be SPECIFIED or made HABITUAL in terms of it being considered a legislated Sunnah reply. However I believe there is no problem with using it every once in a while and mixing it up with other replies like “wa iyyākum”, ‘wa antum” etc. Am I correct in this? Some brothers however have derived from this article that its sort of impermissible to use this reply AT ALL. That’s not correct is it? In fact whenever someone uses this reply, they quickly link to this article almost as a sort of censure against using the reply at all. Please clarify.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Yes, your understanding is correct, may Allaah bless you. This point has been touched on in other comments above. And Allaah knows best.

  7. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh
    Please could you clarify how we are to use these phrases:
    1. JazaakAllaahu khayraa (Do we say this when someone does us a favor, which we haven’t asked for?)
    2. BaarakAllaahu feek (Do we say this when someone does us a favor which we have asked for?)
    3. Maa shaa Allaah (when something good happens, but not when describing something static? So we wouldn’t say you are intelligent ma shaa Allaah?)
    When we see something that amazes us, we ask Allaah to bless it. Do we do this by saying:
    4. Allaahumma baarik, Baarakallaahu lak, Baarakallaahu alayhi etc. Does this protect from the evil eye?
    So are these correct:
    You are intelligent, baarakAllaahu feek.
    That bag is beautiful, Allaahumma barik.
    I made £1000 today maashaaAllaah laa quwwata illaa billaah.
    My brother bought a house BaarakAllaahu alayhi.
    The sea is beautiful subhaanAllaah/ labbaik innal aish aishul aakhirah?

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

      1. Whenever you wish to thank any Muslim for anything in general. It is the best show of thanks.
      2. Whenever you see any Muslim with anything that impresses you (to repel ‘ayn), or whenever you want a Muslim to be blessed by Allaah, in general.
      3. Whenever you see something favorable, most importantly when connected to yourself.
      4. Yes. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) taught us to repel our possible ‘ayn by asking for barakah. Any of the phrases you mention accomplish this.

      All examples you have mentioned are fine. The last one, specifically, was something recommended by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, while there is some differing over the narration used to support it. However, all the phrases you have mentioned in all those situations are good, and Allaah knows best.

      • Sorry, yes we ask Allaah to bless them, but I am still confused whether ‘ma shaa Allaah’ is correct linguistically in these types of examples

        • I do not know of any evidence that indicates that saying “Maa shaa’ Allaah” about what impresses you repels the evil eye. I only know of asking Allaah for blessings for that person/thing. And Allaah knows best.

    • In a real conversation, are you going to just walk away, or stare at him/her saying nothing? I don’t understand. Respond to people when they talk to you, its good manners.

  8. Assalamualikum وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

    It’s ironic that I had to google the response for جزاك اللهُ خيراً to reach here. So if I do take your advise, then I am indeed a part of “Shaikh Google”.

    Secondly, when I read only the article and not the explanation in the comments, I felt it is abhorring to use وَأَنْتُمْ فَجَزَاكُمُ اللَّهُ

    It took several questions from people for the beauty of the message you tried to convey in the article to really unfold.

    If I were you, I would redo the article and present it in a more nuanced manner. Some seekers of knowledge may not read thru every comment and may take a wrong view of what you wrote.

    The response of وَأَنْتُمْ فَجَزَاكُمُ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا even if said only once by our Prophet PBUH doesn’t bring it on par with other innovations for you to club it together with statements like “Taking the latter as something legislative ultimately lands us in innovation – taking something as Deen which he did not take as Deen, and thus worshipping Allaah with something that he did not worship Allaah with”

    Stay nuanced. And, accept that your work on this or any other website is part of Shaikh Google,

    جزاك اللهُ خيراً

    • وعليك السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

      Thank you for the advice. I will try to go back and re-organize the content, introducing some of the clarification that was achieved through the discussion.

      The fact that our website shows up in Google results means: We exist on the web, nothing more. Taking that non-fact as something significant, or a point of irony, or perhaps even a proof that we should google our Islamic questions and go wherever google leads us would be absolutely disastrous in reality. The Muslims have split into many sects and many calls to deviation, and YES they have websites and google rankings. On top of that, there are non-Muslims who set up websites using Islamic terms and arguments stemming from the Quran and Sunnah, inviting people to apostate from Islam. So take the guidance Allaah has given you very seriously, thank Him truly, and protect yourself from misguidance. May Allaah give you success.

  9. السلام عليكم ورحمةالله وبركاته

    Really an insightful reminder to all of us. May Allaah’s mercies and blessings be upon you Ustadh. I often used to think how can a person get a joyish moment upon finding some رجال in some softwares. These plateform softwares are driving us away from searching and to feel the real essence of books under a proper and recognized teacher. The moment one uses the button, they got everything on their screen. This may help in a sense, but it will definitely not give us an etiquettes and manners of seeking knowledge.

    بارك الله فيك، وأسأل الله جل وعلا أن ينفعنا

  10. Assalamu alaykum
    In light of recent events I have become more aware of different groups in the Middle East, not only the likes of ISIS and All Qaeda etc.
    What is the ruling on such groups? They fight and claim to be Muslim yet they are in different groups etc.
    I am unsure what to think in a way. I don’t support terrorism etc.
    I don’t support ISIS etc

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. They are Khawaarij, as our scholars have stated unanimously, without the slightest wavering or differing, wal-hamdulillaah. Our Religion requires us to hate them and fight against them sternly. Mohammed, please go to this website and invest some significant time studying the extremely important topics there: http://www.islamagainstextremism.com And Allaah knows best.

  11. Assalaamu alaikum.
    Is it permissible to say : و جزاك ?
    Many people say it and I don’t know if it is correct or not.
    Barak Allahu fikum

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Any phrase of normal speech is perfectly fine in response, like “wa jazaak” or anything similar. And Allaah knows best.

  12. Assalamu Alaykum Ustaadh,

    From a grammatical point of view isn’t it incorrect to say “Jazakallahu Khayr”? Shouldn’t it be “Jazakallahu Khayran” if your speech continues afterwards or Jazakallahu Khayraa is you stop?

    Baarakallahu Feek

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