All praise is due to Allāh, the One who hears the secret and whispered speech, and provides relief from calamity and misfortune.
Peace and blessings be upon the Chosen Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), his family and all of his Companions.
The catastrophic situation Muslims are going through in Syria in general and Aleppo in particular these days compel Muslims all over the world to support them in every possible way. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said
“A Muslim is the brother of a fellow-Muslim. He should neither commit oppression upon him nor ruin him, and he who meets the need of his brother, Allāh will meet his needs, and he who relieved a Muslim from hardship Allāh will relieve him from the hardships to which he would be put on the Day of Resurrection, and he who did not expose (the follies of a Muslim) Allāh would conceal his follies on the Day of Resurrection”.
Du’ā is the least we can offer to those oppressed people
Amongst the most important and effective ways of supporting the Syrians in general and the people of Aleppo in particular is to make Du’ā to Allāh to aleviate their hardship, grant them victory and help them be rid of that dictator sooner rather than later. One of the important forms of Du’ā is ‘Qunūt’, the rules and mannerisms of which is briefly explained below:
1 – What is meant here by Qunūt is to supplicate collectively to Allāh, Mighty and Magnificent, in obligatory congregational prayers to relieve a calamity that has afflicted a group of Muslims.
2 – The main evidence for this type of du’ā is the Qunūt of the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) for one full month, when he supplicated against some Arab tribes who had betrayed and killed the Qur’ān reciters that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had sent to them. Similarly, he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) supplicated that Allāh save some of his Companions from the plots of the Quraysh. Both these narrations are found in the two famous authentic books.
Abu Hurayrah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) reported, that whenever the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) wanted to supplicate against someone, or for someone, after he would stand up from ruku, he would say, “Allāh hears him who praises Him, to you is the praise”, he would then say:
“Oh Allāh, save Al-Walid ibn Al-Walid, Salamah ibn Hashim, Iyash ibn Abi Rabi’ah, and the oppressed believers. Oh Allāh, put hardship and pressure on the tribe of Mudar and give them years of famine like those during the time of Yusuf.”
He would say this aloud. In some of his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) Fajr prayers he would say:
“Oh Allāh, curse so and so”, cursing some tribes of Arabs until Allāh revealed:
“Not for you is the decision whether He turns in mercy to (pardon) them or punish them; they are the evildoers.”
3 – Qunūt takes place after ruku in the last rak’ah of all the obligatory prayers, whether the prayer is a silent or loud prayer when performed congregationally, in Jamā’ah, There is no harm if it be confined only to the loud prayers since there is no specific evidence concerning this, as such the matter is flexible.
4 – Qunūt can commence with supplicating against the oppressors without mentioning the praises of Allāh and there is no harm in this, indeed it seems to be closer to the practice of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the narrations previously mentioned. Were one to commence with praising Allāh, there is no harm in this due to the generality of his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) saying,
“If anyone makes du’ā, let him start with praising Allāh, then invoking salāh on the Prophet, then supplicate for what he wishes.”
The same applies to invoking salāh upon the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) – the matter is flexible.
5 – We should not start this Qunūt by using the Qunūt of Witr prayer which starts with “Allāhumma ihdina fi man hadayt…” because this, assuming that it is authentically reported for the Qunūt of Witr prayer, is mentioned in a specific context and not a general way. The Qunūt for calamity is a completely different situation and different mannerisms are reported for it.
6 – It is recommended to limit the du’ā to the calamity and not to prolong it by mentioning other things. This in compliance to the practice of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).
7 – Du’ā should be pronounced loudly by the Imām, and those who follow him should respond by saying “āmīn” after those statements that contain requests.
8 – If the specific calamity passes, the Imām should stop performing this Qunūt in the prayers.
9 – You must follow the Imām whom you pray behind when he makes Qunūt, even if you do not agree with this opinion. This is because following the Imām in that which does invalidate the prayer is obligatory. Qunūt, in the view of those who do not allow it, does not invalidate the prayer; the difference is whether it is a Sunnah or not.
10 – We advise the Muslims to leave off going to extremities in the Qunūt by beautifying it with poetic words. We should try to employ the supplications of the Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) which were concise and comprehensive.
11 – We must make supplication sincerely and reflect on its meaning in our heart. This is the means for it to be answered by Allāh. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
“Know that Allāh will not answer a supplication arising from a negligent and heedless heart.”
I urge Imāms in the UK and other European Counties to practice this important way of supporting Muslims in Syria and Aleppo until they overcome this calamity. We ask Allāh (alone) by His Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes to remove the Muslims’ calamities in every place. He is the One able to do so, the All-Capable.
This is what comes to mind here. Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet, Muḥammad, upon his family and all his Companions.
13 Rabi al-Awwal 1438 = 13 Dec 2016.
Notes: Recorded by Imām Muslim.  Bukhāri and Muslim  Sahīh al-Bukhāri  Al-Qur’ān 3:128  Reported in Tirmidhi and Musnad of Imām Ahmad.