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Islamic Formal Ritual Prayer;
By NewtonStein, of Cambridge Theological Seminary
"Salah!" (Salaah) is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its supreme importance for Muslims is indicated as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam and of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Shi'a Islam.
Salah is a ritual prayer, having prescribed conditions, a prescribed procedure, and prescribed times.
Performing salah is obligatory for all adult Muslims, with a few exceptions for those for whom it would be difficult.
* To perform valid salah, Muslims must be in a state of ritual purity, which is mainly achieved by ritual ablution according to prescribed procedures.
The place of prayer should be clean. In a few cases where blood is leaving the body, salah is forbidden until a later time.
* Salah consists of the repetition of two or more units of a prescribed sequence of actions and words. One complete sequence is known as a raka'ah (pl. raka'āt).
* The number of obligatory (fard) raka'āt varies according to the time of day or other circumstances (such as Friday congregational prayers).
* The minimal, obligatory raka'at may be supplemented with good deeds which are optional, but are considered meritorious. There are also dispensations from some or all of the prescribed actions for those who are physically unable to complete them.
* In all cases, the prescribed words of the prayer remain obligatory.
* For Sunnis, salah is prescribed at five periods of the day as part of tradition, which are measured according to the movement of the sun. These are:
just before dawn ('fajr', about 5:00am), noon ('dhuhr', about 12:00 noon), late afternoon ('asr', about 3:00am), just after sunset ('maghrib', about 6:00pm) before bedtime ('isha'a', about 9:00pm).
* Under some circumstances prayers can be shortened or combined (according to prescribed procedures).
* In case a prayer is skipped, it must be made up later.
However, certain 'Shia fiqhs' and 'Quranists' pray 3 times a day. 'Sufis' often perform 'Dhikr' repetitive chants after the conclusion of prayers.
"Salah" is an Arabic word whose basic meaning is "supplication". In its English usage the reference of the word is almost always confined to the Muslim formal, obligatory prayer described in this article.
Translating "salah" as "prayer" is not usually considered precise enough, as "prayer" can indicate several different ways of relating to God.
In the past salah has been called “the contact prayer”, “the obligatory prayer”, “the formal prayer”, and so on, but normal academic practice in English is now to refer to the prayer by the Arabic term.
Muslims themselves use several terms to refer to salah depending on their language or culture.
In many parts of the world, including many non-Arab countries such as Indonesia, the Arabic term salah is used.
The other major term is 'namāz', used by speakers of the Indo-Iranian languages (e.g., Persian, Bengali, and Urdu), the South Slavic languages, Albanian languages and Turkic languages.
The related Pashto term 'lmunz' is used by Pashtuns. (namāz and lmunz derive from the Hebraic-Indo-Aryan root 'namas' (नमस्) meaning 'to bow or prostrate'.)
Purpose and importance
The chief purpose of prayer in Islam is to act as a person's communication with God. By reciting "The Opening", the first chapter of the Qur'an, as required in all prayer, the worshipper can stand before God, thank and praise Him, and to ask for guidance along the Straight Path.
In addition, the daily prayers remind Muslims to give thanks for Allah's blessings and that Islam takes precedence over all other concerns, thereby revolving their life around Allah and submitting to His will. Prayer also serves as a formal method of remembering Allah, or dhikr .
In the Qur'an, it is written that: "The true believers are those who feel emotional pain in their hearts, for sadness of disappointing ALMIGHTY GOD by violating His commands, when God's Name is mentioned.
when His Revelations are recited to them, they find their faith strengthened. They do their best and then put their trust in their Lord." [Qur'an 8:2]
"To those whose hearts, when God is mentioned, are filled with emotion, who show patient perseverance over their afflictions, keep up regular prayer, and spend (in charity) out of what has been bestowed upon them." [Qur'an 22:35]
Prayer is also cited as a means of restraining a believer from social wrongs and moral deviancy. [Qur'an 29:45]
According to a hadith in the collection Sahih Bukhari, the prophet Muhammad considered salah "the best deed".
Differences in practice
The prayers (salat) practiced by one Muslim may differ from another's in minor details, which can affect the precise actions and words involved. Differences arise because of different interpretations of the Islamic legal sources by the different schools of law (madhhabs) in Sunni Islam, and by different legal traditions within Shi'ism.
In the case of prayers these differences are generally minor, and do not necessarily cause dispute.
It is important to note the reason why Sunni Muslims have a basic agreement on the necessary part of the Prayer. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad practiced, taught, and disseminated the worship ritual in the whole community of Muslims and made it part of their life. The practice has, therefore, been concurrently and perpetually practiced by the community in each of the generations.
The authority for the basic forms of the prayers is neither the hadiths nor the Qur'an, but rather the consensus of Muslims . Differences also occur due to optional (recommended rather than obligatory) articles of prayer procedure, for example which verses of the Qur'an to recite.
The compulsory prayer is obligatory for those who meet these three conditions:
* are Muslim in personal profession and identity; * are of sound mind; * are ten years of age or older (beginning at age seven is recommended).
There are five elements that make a prayer valid:
* Confidence of the time of prayer. Being unsure invalidates even if the time turns out correct. * Facing the 'qibla', with the chest facing the direction of the 'Ka'ba'. The ill and the old are allowed leniency with posture. * Covering the 'awrah' (Prayer cloth) * Clean clothes, clean body, clean place of prostration. * Pure from 'hadath' (wudu, tayammum, ghusl) * Praying in front of a 'sutrah'.
Preparation: Cleanliness and dress
Islam advises that the prayers be performed in a ritually clean environment [Qur'an 5:6]. When praying, the clothes that are worn and the place of prayer must be clean. Both men and women are required to cover their bodies ('awrah') in reasonably loose-fitting garments.
The well-known adage or 'hadith by al-Nawawi' that "purity is half the faith" illustrates how Islam has incorporated and modified existing rules of purity in its religious system.
'Wudu', 'Tayammum', and 'Ghusl';
Before conducting prayers, a Muslim has to perform a ritual ablution.
The minor ablution is performed using water ('wudhu'), or sand ('tayammum') when water is unavailable or not advisable to use for reasons such as illness.
'Wudhu' is performed by Shi'a and Sunni Muslims according to the instructions of Allah given in the Qur'an [Qur'an 5:6]:
"O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith; Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful."
More specifically wudhu is performed by Sunni Muslims by washing the hands, mouth, nose, arms, face, hair, ears, (often washing the hair is merely drawing the already wet hands from the fringe to the nape of the neck) and feet three times each in that order. (It is not obligatory to wash the hair three times, once is sufficient, and men must also wash their beards and mustaches when washing the face) though there are several differences in way wudhu is performed between the four accepted Sunni madhabs.
A Muslim raises his hands to recite 'Takbeeratul-Ihram' in prayer
All verbal parts of the prayer, apart from the voluntary personal prayer, must be spoken in properly pronounced Arabic. Not following the correct sequence invalidates the prayer. There are 13 articles:
 Having intention for prayer
The person should be conscious and aware of the particular prayer that is being offered, whether it is obligatory, if it is a missed ('qadha') prayer, performed individually or among the congregation, a shortened traveller's prayer etc. The explicitly verbalization of this intention is not required, though can be helpful.
It is done simultaneously with  takbeeratul-ihram (below).
The person should think his prayer to be the Last Prayer so that he may perform the best he can.
By rising the hands up to the shoulders, fingers slightly apart, saying (God is The Greatest) is the start of the prayer.
 Standing right
For the able-bodied, leaning or not standing upright invalidates prayer. If one is incapable of standing, one may sit, lie on the right side, lie on the left side, lie on one's back or as one is able to do.
 Reciting Al-Fatiha
Recitation of Al-Fatiha is obligated for every raka'ah then With Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim (In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious the most merciful)
Reading another surah after Al-Fatiha is also obligatory for the first two raka'ah for all obligatory prayers, however it is required in all raka'ah of supererogatory
Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
«مَنْ صَلَى صَلَاةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا أُمَّ الْقُرْآنِ فَهِيَ خِدَاجٌ ثَلَاثًا غَيْرُ تَمَامٍ»
('Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur’an, then his prayer is incomplete.') He said it thrice.
Umm Al-Qur'an (literally means the mother of the Qur'an) here refers to Al-Fatihah ("The Opening"), which is the Qur'an's opening surah.
When standing behind the imam, also one should recite the fatihah. This prescription is based on the following hadith.
Abu Hurayrah was asked, "[When] do we stand behind the imam? He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.'
When he my servant says, [الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ] (All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.)
> > Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.'
When the servant says, [الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ] The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
> > Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.'
When he says, (The Owner of the Day of Recompense)
> > Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me,' or `My servant has related all matters to Me.'
When he says, You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.)
> > Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.'
When he says, (Guide us to the straight path. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray),
> > Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.').
These are the words of An-Nasa'i, while both Muslim and An-Nasa'i collected the following wording, "A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.'
There are many other 'hadiths' on this subject. Therefore, reciting 'Al-Fatihah', during the prayer by the 'imam' and those praying behind him, is required in every prayer, and in every 'raka`ah'.
As for the reading of 'bismillah' in the prayer, there are some different views whether this is necessary or not or should it be aloud or silently.
It is also recommended saying 'Amin' (O Allah! Accept our invocation) after recitation of Al-Fatihah.
Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded, that Wa'il bin Hujr said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah recite, [Not (that) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray], and he said `amin' extending it with his voice.
Abu Dawud's narration added, "Raising his voice with it. At-Tirmidhi then commented that this hadith is hasan and was also narrated from `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud.
Also, Abu Hurayrah narrated that whenever the Messenger of Allah would recite, [غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ] (Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), He would say amin until those who were behind him in the first line could hear him.
Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the addition, "Then the masjid would shake because of (those behind the Prophet ) reciting amin. Also, Ad-Daraqutni recorded this hadith and commented that it is hasan.
'Ruku' is bowing the body until the palms are on the knees. Ruku should be such that when a person is bowing, his back should be erected at an angle at which poured water may not fall from it (means at 0' back w.r.t 270' legs)
Stopping means all major body parts including arms, wrists, head, legs stop - as long as saying "sub'han-Allah". If the body still moves, stopping is not done. An additional option is to read 3 times (Glory to my Lord, the Most Magnificent Most Praiseworthy).
 'I'tidal' and stopping
'I'tidal' is standing again after ruku'. While the body is raising up, an additional option is to read سمع الله لمن حمدهAllah Listens to him who praises Him). During standing, an additional option is to read ربنا لك الحمد ملء السموات وملء الأرض وملء ما شئت من شئ بعد(Our Lord, to You is due all praise...). The body must stop as long as saying "subhanallah" Then after that say "Allah Akbar" (Allah is the Greatest) and raise hand to the shoulders as person did previously at the start and then go to sajda.
 Prostration [Sajdah]
Prostration involves putting the following parts of the body - the bare forehead, both palms, both knees, the base of the toes of both feet - on the place of prostration. The forehead must be bare; a covered forehead invalidates prayer. An additional option is to read 3 times سبحان ربى الأعلى و بحمده (Glory to my Lord, the Most High Most Praiseworthy). There are two prostrations, the second being performed after sitting between two prostrations (as  below).
 Sitting between two prostrations
During the sitting between the two prostrations, an additional option is to recite: " Allahummaghfirli, warhamnii, wajburnii, warfa'nii, warzuqnii, wahdinii, wa'afinii, wa'fu'annii" Oh Allah Forgive Me, Have mercy on me, ...
 Final Tashahhud
At-tahiyyatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibatu was-salamu 'alayka ayyuha Annabiyyu warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Assalamu 'alayna wa 'ala `abadillahi assaliheena Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah Wa Ash-hadu anna Mohammmedan 'abduhu warasuluhu. Shia version: Tashahhud Rule 1109 by Ayatullah Sistani,
In the second unit of all obligatory prayers, and in the third unit of Maghrib prayers and in the fourth unit of Zuhr, Asr and Isha prayers, one should sit after the second prostration with a tranquil body, and recite tashahhud thus:
"Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wahdahu la sharika lah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan 'Abduhu wa Rasuluh, Alla humma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad". And it will be sufficient if one recited the tashahhud this way: Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu was ash hadu anna Muhammadan Sallal lahu Alayhi Wa Aalihi Abduhu Wa rasuluh. It is also necessary to recite tashahhud while offering Witr (in Namaz-e-Shab) prayers.
Salam in the prayers Rule 1114 by Ayatullah Sistani, While a person sits after reciting tashahhud in the last Raka'at, and his body is tranquil, it is Mustahab to say: Assalamu 'alayka ayyuhan Nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Then he should say: Assalamu Alaykum and as a recommended precaution add to it Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh. Alternatively, he can say: Assalamu Alayna Wa Ala Ibadi llahis Salihin.
But if he recites this Salam, then as per obligatory precaution, he must follow it up with saying: Assalamu Alaykum. Translation of Tashahhud and Salam Al Hamdu lillah, Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wahdahu la sharika lah (All praise is for Allah, and I testify that there is none worth worshipping except the Almighty Allah, Who is One and has no partner). Wa Ashhadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluh (And I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger).
Alla humma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad. (O Allah! Send Your blessings on Muhammad and his progeny). Wa taqqabal shafa'atahu warfa' darajatahu (And accept his intercession, and raise his rank). Assalamu 'alayka ayyuhan Nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh (O Prophet! Allah's peace, blessings and grace be upon you!).
Assalamu 'alayna wa 'ala 'ibadil lahis salihin (Allah's peace be on us, those offering prayers - and upon all pious servants of Allah). Assalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. (Allah's peace, blessings and grace be on you believers!)
 Sitting for final Tashahhud
The final Tashahhud must be done while sitting.
 Greetings for Prophet Muhammad and for Prophet Abraham
Required portion: At least by saying اللهم صلى على محمد. Allaahumma salli 'alaa Muhammadin O Allah, bless our Muhammad
Allaahumma salli 'alaa Sayidina Muhammadin wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Muhammadin Kamaa sallaita 'alaa Sayidina Ibraaheema wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Ibraaheema Innaka hameedun Majeed Alaahumma baarik 'ala Sayidina Muhammadin wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Muhammadin Kamaa baarakta 'alaa Sayidina Ibraaheema wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Ibraaheema Innaka hameedun Majeed
O Allah, bless our Muhammad and the people of Muhammad As you have blessed Abraham and the people of Abraham.
O Allah, be gracious unto Muhammad and the people of Muhammad As you were gracious unto Abraham and the people of Abraham.
Surely you are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious.
 First greeting
Greeting "peace be upon you" to the right side. At least with السلام عليكم, at best السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
[13 Second greeting
Greeting "peace be upon you" to the left side. At least with السلام عليكم, at best السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
This section does not cite any references or sources.Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2008)
Salat is performed in "units" of prayer called raka'ah. The 3rd to 8th articles listed above makes one raka'ah. These are repeated for every raka'ah. At the last raka'ah, the rest 9th to 12th articles is completed.
(Note: For more than 2 raka'ah prayers, an additional option is to sit for Tashahhud on the second raka'ah.) Different salat have different numbers of prescribed raka'at.
The salat must be performed with sincere devotion (khushoo), otherwise it is considered invalid. Prayers are performed facing the direction of qibla (i.e. towards the Kaaba in Mecca), to the best estimation of the musallee if there is no certain way to determine the correct direction.
The musallee begins the prayer by standing in qiyaam, facing qibla and silently reciting the niyyah (intention to pray) for the specific salat he is about to make. He then raises his hands and speaks aloud the takbir.Important positions during salat.
For fard as-salat, the first raka'ah commences with the optional recitation of one of the opening supplications followed by the first chapter of the Qur'an, al-Fatihah. For subsequent raka'at and other types of prayers, each raka'ah commences with al-Fatihah. During the first two raka'ah, following the recitation of al-Fatihah any other chapter or several verses of the Qur'an are additionally recited (qira'at) while in the standing position before the musallee moves into the bowing position (ruku').
After one raka'ah is complete (and on every subsequent odd raka'ah), the musallee returns from the prostrate position (sujj-ud ) back to the standing position to begin another raka'ah. On every second raka'ah, he first moves from sujj-ud to an upright sitting position (jalsa) and recites the first portion of a supplication known as the tashahhud, before returning to the standing position to begin the next raka'ah.
On the final raka'ah the musallee moves to the jalsa from the sujud position and recites the complete tashahhud. Sunni Muslims then conclude the prayer by turning their face toward the right shoulder and then toward the left shoulder, each time saying a salutation to all the world on the right of them and the same salutation to all the world on the left of them. It is like one has returned from the court of their Master and these are the good tidings they have brought back for the world by saying 'Peace to you and mercy of Allah'.
After the prayers are completed it is common (but not compulsory) for Muslims to offer a supplication (du'a) to God. This supplication, which essentially gives Muslims an opportunity to ask God for forgiveness and blessings, can be offered in any language.
Types of prayers
Prayers may be classified into four categories of obligation: fard, wajib, sunnah, and nafl.
The fard as-salat are the five compulsory daily prayers, the Friday prayer (jumu'ah), and the funeral prayer (janazah). Nonperformance of fard as-salat renders one a non-Muslim according to the Hanbali Sunni School, while for the other Sunni schools it renders one a sinner. The denial of its compulsory status, however, is agreed upon by all Sunni schools to render the denier outside the fold of Islam.
Fard prayers (as with all fard actions) are further classed as fard al-ayn (obligation of the self) and fard al-kifayah (obligation of sufficiency). Fard al-ayn are those actions which are obligatory on each individual; he or she will be held to account if the actions are not performed. Fard al-kifayah are actions obligatory on the Muslim community at large, so that if some people within the community carry it out no Muslim is considered blameworthy, but if no one carries it out all incur a collective punishment.
Men are required to perform the fard salah in congregation (jama'ah), behind an imam when they are able. According to most Islamic scholars, performing prayers in congregation is obligatory for men, when they are able, but is neither required nor forbidden for women.
The five daily prayers
Display showing prayer times in a Turkish mosque.I Fajr, II Dhuhr, III Asr, IV Maghrib, V Isha'a
Muslims are commanded to perform prayers five times a day. These prayers are obligatory on every Muslim who have reached the age of puberty, with the exception being those who are mentally ill, too physically ill for it to be possible, menstruating, or experiencing post-partum bleeding.
Those who are ill or otherwise physically unable to offer their prayers in the traditional form are permitted to offer their prayers while sitting or lying, as they are able. The five prayers are each assigned to certain prescribed times (al waqt) at which they must be performed, unless there is a compelling reason for not being able to perform them on time.
Some Muslims offer voluntary prayers (sunna rawatib) immediately before and after the prescribed fard prayers. Sunni Muslims classify these prayers as sunnah, while Shi'ah consider them nafil. The number of raka'ah for each of the five obligatory prayers as well as the voluntary prayers (before and after) are listed below:
Name; Time (waqt); Before fard1; After fard1; > Sunni Shi'a Sunni Shi'a
Fajr (فجر) Dawn to sunrise should be read before 10–15 minutes before sunrise 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 2 Raka'ah 2 2 Raka'ah — —Dhuhr (ظهر) After true noon until Asr 4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 8 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah4 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 —Asr (عصر) Afternoon.5&6 4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkdah 8 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah — —Maghrib (مغرب) After sunset until dusk 3 Raka'ah 3 Raka'ah 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 4 Raka'ah3Isha'a (عشاء) Dusk until dawn6
it is makrooh to read Isha after midnight 4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah,23 Raka'ah Witr 2 Raka'ah,3&7
Sunni Muslims also perform two raka'ah nafl (voluntary) after the Dhuhr and Maghrib prayers. During the Isha'a prayer, they perform the two raka'ah nafl after the two Sunnat-Mu'akkadah and after the witr prayer.
1 According to Shia Muslims, these are to be performed in sets of two raka'ah each, This is not the case for Sunni muslims.
2 According to Sunni Muslims, for the Sunnat Raka'ah there is a difference between Sunnat-Mu'akkadah (obligatory) and Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah (voluntary). The Sunnat-Mu'akkadah was prayed by Muhammed daily. This was not the case for the Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah.
3 Mustahab (praiseworthy) to do everyday. (Shias)
4 Replaced by Jumu'ah on Fridays, which consists of two raka'ah.
5 According to Imam Abu Hanifa, "Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes twice its height (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Dhuhr)." For the rest of Imams, "Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes equal to its length (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Dhuhr)." Asr ends as the sun begins to set.
6 According to Shia Muslims, 'Asr prayer and 'Ishaa prayer have no set times but are performed from mid-day. Zuhr and 'Asr prayers must be performed before sunset, and the time for 'Asr prayer starts after Zuhr has been performed. Maghrib and 'Ishaa prayers must be performed before midnight, and the time for 'Ishaa prayer can start after Maghrib has been performed, as long as no more light remains in the western sky signifying the arrival of the true night.
7 According to Shia Muslims, this prayer is termed nawafil.
8 Further information on the usage of the word "Esha" (evening) see:[Qur'an 12:16][Qur'an 79:46].
Salat al-Jumu'ah is a congregational prayer on Friday which replaces the dhuhr prayer. It is compulsory upon men to perform it in congregation, while women may perform it so or may perform dhuhr salat instead. Salat al-Jumu'ah consists of a sermon (khutba) given by the speaker (khatib) after which two raka'ah are performed. There is no Salat al-Jumu'ah without a khutba.
Wajib As-salat are compulsory, non-performance of which renders one a sinner. However the evidence of the obligation is open to interpretation, with some of the madhab saying it is obligatory while others saying it is optional. To deny that a fard salah is obligatory is an act of disbelief while denying the obligation of a wajib salah is not disbelief. There are some who believe that as the 5 prayers are obligatory, it automatically renders all other prayers optional.
Sun'nah sal'ah are optional and were additional voluntary prayers performed by Muhammad — they are of two types — the 'Sun'nah Mukkaddah', those practiced on a regular basis which if abandoned cause the abandoner to be regarded as sinful by the Hanafi School and the 'Sun'nah Ghair Mukkaddah' those practiced on a semi-regular practice by Prophet Muhammad which all are agreed upon that its abandonment doesn't render one sinful.
Certain sunnah prayers have prescribed waqts associated with them. Those ordained for before each of the fard prayers must be performed between the first call to prayer (adhan) and the second call (iqama) which signifies the start of the fard prayer. Those sunnah ordained for after the fard prayers can be performed any time between the end of the fard prayers and the end of the current prayer's waqt. Any amount of extra raka'ah may be offered, but most madha'ib prescribe a certain number of raka'ah for each sunnah salah.
Nafl salat (supererogatory prayers) are voluntary, and one may offer as many as he or she likes almost any time. There are many specific conditions or situations when one may wish to offer nafl prayers. They cannot be offered at sunrise, true noon, or sunset. The prohibition against salat at these times is to prevent the practice of sun worship.
Witr is performed after the salah of isha'a (dusk). Some Muslims consider witr wajib while others consider it optional. It may contain any odd number of raka'ah from one to eleven according to the different schools of jurisprudence. However, Witr is most commonly offered with three raka'ah.
To end prayers for the night after isha'a, the odd numbered raka'ah must have the niyyah of "wajib-ul-Lail", which is mandatory to "close" one's salat for that day.
Eid salat is performed on the morning of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. The Eid prayer is most likely an individual obligation (fard al-ayn) and Niyyah for both Eid salat is made as Wajib, though some Islamic scholars argue it is only a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah). It consists of two raka'at, with seven (or three for Imam Hanfi) takbirs offered before the start of the first raka'ah and five (or three for Imam Hanafi) before the second. After the salat is completed, a sermon (khutbah) is offered. However, the khutbah is not an integral part of the Eid salat. The Eid salat must be offered between sunrise and true noon i.e. between the time periods for Fajr and Dhuhr.
Salat al-Istikhaarah is a prayer performed when a Muslim needs guidance on a particular matter, such as whether they should marry a certain person. In order to perform this salah one should perform a normal two raka'at salah to completion. After completion one should say a du'a called the Istikhaarah du'a. The intention for the salah should be in one's heart to perform two raka'at of salah followed by Istikhaarah. The salah can be performed at any of the times where salah is not forbidden.
Dr. Muhammad Hedayetullah, scholar in comparative religion, in his book Dynamics of Islam (2006), stresses that even though salah is compulsory, flexibility in the specifics is allowed depending on the circumstances: For example, in the case of illness or a lack of space, a worshipper can offer salah while sitting, or even lying down, and the prayer can be shortened when travelling. The salah must be performed in the Arabic language.
In certain circumstances one may be unable to perform one's prayer within the prescribed time period (waqt). In this case, the prayer must be performed as soon as one is able to do so. These prayers performed after the prescribed waqt are called qada. It is not permissible to deliberately miss performing the salat within its waqt with the intention of performing it afterwards.
Hadhrat Jaabir narrates that Muhammad said: "The distinguishing factor between kufr and Imaan is the deliberate neglect of Salaat." (Muslim). It is preferred to read the Qada salaat in the order you missed them. i.e. if you missed both zohr and asr, when you read the qada namaaz, you should read the qada zohr before the qada asr. However, this is not a fardh act, it is just preferred.
Qasr and Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn
When travelling over long distances, one may shorten some prayers, a practice known as qasr. Furthermore, several prayer times may be joined, which is referred to as Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn. Qasr involves shortening the obligatory components of the Dhuhr, Asr, and Isha'a prayers to two raka'ah. Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn combines the Dhuhr and Asr prayers into one prayer offered between noon and sunset, and the Maghrib and Isha'a prayers into one between sunset and Fajr. Neither Qasr nor Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn can be applied to the Fajr prayer.
There is no reference to Qasr during travel within the Qur'an itself; the Qur'an allows for Qasr only when there is fear of attack.
Prayer in congregation
Prayer in congregation (jama'ah) is considered to have more social and spiritual benefit than praying by oneself. When praying in congregation, the musallees stand in straight parallel rows behind the chosen imam, facing qibla. The imam, who leads the congregation in salat, is usually chosen to be a scholar or the one who has the best knowledge of the Qur'an, preferably someone who has memorised it (a hafiz).
In the first row behind the imam, if available, would be another hafiz to correct the imam in case a mistake is made during the performance of the salat. The prayer is performed as normal, with the congregation following the actions and movements of the imam as he performs the salat.Women's prayer hall in Khadija Mosque, Berlin
Upon entering the mosque, "Tahiyyatul masjid" must be performed; this is one of the rites of the mosque. Every Muslim entering the mosque is encouraged to perform these two rakats.
When the worshippers consist of men and women combined, a man is chosen as the imam. In this situation, women are typically forbidden from performing this role. This point, though unanimously agreed on by the major schools of Islam, is disputed by some groups, based partly on a hadith whose interpretation is controversial. When the congregation consists entirely of women and pre-pubescent children, one woman is chosen as imam.
When men, women, and children are praying, the children's rows are usually between the men's and women's rows, with the men at the front and women at the back. Another configuration is where the men's and women's rows are side by side, separated by a curtain or other barrier, with the primary intention being for there to be no direct line of sight between male and female worshippers, following a Qur'anic injunction toward men and women each lowering their gazes (Qur'an 24:30-31).
The concept of Quranist Salat Timings has been discussed in Hujjat Allah Al-Baligha (Arabic/Urdu) by Shah Waliullah. He said that there are 3 Salat timings (prayers) instead of the 5 Salats (prayers).
The numbers of regular Salat mentioned by their respective names in Arabic in the Qur'an are three as follows:
1. Salat Fajr (Dawn Prayer) [Qur'an 24:58] 2. Al-Salat Al-Wusta ( The Middle Prayer) [Qur'an 2:238][Qur'an 17:78] 3. Salat Isha’a (Night Prayer)[Qur'an 24:58]
According to Quranists, the three leftover Salat are not mentioned in Qur'an by their specific Arabic terms. Therefore, they do not consider them to be obligatory. Salat timings according to Quranists and other minorities
Salat Timings of Qur'an are mentioned, in particular three salat times are described [Qur'an 11:114] and that they are recorded in a written document. [Qur'an 4:103] The Qur'an states that you should interrupt any activity you were previously doing to pray, as this betters the individual. [Qur'an 6:9] Also noted is the volume at which the salat should be uttered, somewhere in between spoken aloud and spoken in a low tone. [Qur'an 17:110]
The middle or Salat Al-Wusta can be observed from the moment the sun begins its descend from its highest point in the sky (duluk al shams) until the darkness of the night (ghasaq al-layl) starts to set in, which is at sunset.[Qur'an 17:78]
'Duluk ash-shams' can also mean 'sunset.' It literally means 'the rubbing of the sun.' The most accepted meaning is that this means the apparent rubbing of the sun with the horizon at sunset. Although, the meaning of a declining noon sun can also be found in Classical Arabic sources. Literally, it can imply a meaning of both sunset and dawn in its meaning of a sun making apparent contact i.e. 'rubbing' with the horizon.
The Qur’an, if we take the understanding of 'a declining noon sun' implies that the time of the Middle prayer ends with sunset.[Qur'an 38:32]
The Fajr (Dawn) Prayer starts when the first thin ray of light is observed in the sky[Qur'an 2:187] [Qur'an 52:49] and ends at the first "taraf" (terminal) of the day, or sunrise [Qur'an 11:114]
Some Quranists however believe that there are only two Salat, dawn and dusk including the times of night close to these two periods.
Some groups like Ahl Al-Quran (www.ahl-alquran.com) and The Submitters believe that the 5 Salat as they are practiced by Muslims today were passed down from Abraham generationally through the Arabs and the Children of Israel, to then be inherited by those who adopted the Quran (and rejected by most Jews and Christians), as a ritual of the religion of Abraham.
Some extreme elements totally disavow prayer altogether through different interpretations of the word salat. In one reportedly obscure source, claimed to be a Slavic/Arabic dictionary (source of the report is from www.free-minds.org) the word is reported to mean 'Obligation.' Some erroneously see the word salat as a derivation of the root 'wasala' (defined as to connect/arrive) and one of its corresponding nouns 'silah', meaning connection.
The word does have a meaning of 'to follow close behind' (See Lane's Lexicon) but other meanings not based on Classical Arabic dictionaries, which stray from the concept of prayer, have been proposed for the word within Quranist circles.
Virtues of Salat in ahadith
The Ahadith provide further details; as for example, when the Qur'an refers to three daily prayers (suras 11:114; 17:78–79; 30:17–18 and possibly 24:58), while the five daily prayers stipulated by the later Ahadith have been adopted by Muslims..[not in citation given]
Abu Huraira RadiyAllahu `anhu narrates that once Muhammad asked his companions, 'Do you think that dirt can remain on a person bathing five times a day in a brook running in front of his door?' 'No', replied the companions, 'No dirt can remain on his body.' Muhammad remarked: 'So, exactly similar is the effect of salat offered five times a day. With the grace of Allah, it washes away all the sins'.(Bukhari, Muslim)
Abu Umamah narrates that the Muhammad said, "Allah does not Listen to anything from His servant as He does to the two rakahs (of prayer) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant's head as long as he remains in prayer." (Tirmidhi and Ahmad) As-Suyuti considers it sahih."
In Al-Muwatta, Imam Malik ibn Anas says: "It reached me that the Prophet said: '(Try to) keep to the straight path although you won't be able to do so completely; and know that the best of your deeds is salah, and only a (true) believer preserves his wudhu.'"
Abu Zar RadiyAllahu `anhu narrates that once Muhammad came out of his house. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off the trees. He caught a branch of a tree and its leaves began to drop in large number. At this he remarked, 'O, Abu Zar! when a Muslim offers his salat to please Allah, his sins are shed away from him just as these leaves are falling off this tree.'(Ahmad)
Sabrah bin Ma'bad Al-Juhani reported: Muhammad said, "Teach a boy Salat when he attains the age of seven years, and punish him (if he does not offer it) at ten." (Abu Dawood)
Abu Huraira narrated: Muhammad said, "The angels keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for anyone of you, as long as he is at his Mu,salla (praying place) and he does not pass wind (Hadath). They say, 'O Allah! Forgive him, O Allah! be Merciful to him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith #436)
Hasan ibn Ali narrates that Muhammad stated: "He who recites Ayatul Kursi after obligatory salat, is in the protection of Allah til the next salat." from Tabarani, Majma uz-Zuwaid
Umm Farwah narrates that Muhammad asked which is the best of the good deeds. He said, "To offer Salat at the beginning of its prescribed time." From Abu Dawood
Abu Hurairah narrates that Muhammad said, "The first row of salat amongst the men is most rewarding and the last is the least; whereas the last rows of salat amongst the women are most rewarding and the first the least." from Muslim
Uthman bin Affan narrates that Muhammad said, "He who performed wudhu for salat and performed it properly and then went on foot to offer the obligatory salat and offered it along with the people or in congregation or in the masjid, Allah would forgive his sins." from Muslim
Abu Darda narrates that Muhammad said, "If three persons in a village or a forest do not offer the congregational salat, then shaitan fully overpowers them. So make it obligatory on yourself to offer salat in congregation. For undoubtedly the wolf eats only the stray goat." from Abu Dawood.....
Muslim Prayer Bump:
Devout Muslims sometimes develop a prayer bump, which is caused by the friction of rubbing one's forehead against the ground for a long period of time.
* Sabr (Islamic term)
* Al Ghaffar
1. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:41
2. ^ Abdal Hakim Murad. "Understanding the Four Madhhabs". http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/newmadhh.htm. Retrieved 25 May 2010
3. ^ Al-Mawrid
4. ^ a b c Ismail Kamus (1993). Hidup Bertaqwa (2nd ed.). Kuala Lumpur: At Tafkir Enterprise. ISBN 9-839990-20-9.
5. ^ Amatullah - Eritrea (2006-05-03). "When Should Children Be Encouraged to Fast? - IslamonLine.net - Ask The Scholar". In Group of Muftis. Living Shariah. [ttp://www.islamonline.net/ IslamOnline.net]. http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503543608. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
6. ^ Questions and Answers on the Sutrah, by Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen
7. ^ An-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths
8. ^ http://www.sistani.org/local.php?modules=nav&nid=2&bid=59&pid=2958
9. ^ http://www.sistani.org/local.php?modules=nav&nid=2&bid=59&pid=2959
10. ^ http://www.sistani.org/local.php?modules=nav&nid=2&bid=59&pid=2963
11. ^ "Understanding Salat" from Albalagh
12. ^ "Ruling on Eid prayers". Islam Question and Answer. http://www.islamqa.com/index.php?ref=48983&ln=eng. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
13. ^ "Islam Today". Islam today. http://www.islamtoday.net/english/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=871&main_cat_id=25.
14. ^ Hujjat Allah Al-Baligha (Arabic / Urdu) by Shah Waliullah / Shah Wali Ullah
15. ^ http://debate.org.uk/topics/history/debate/part1.htm
16. ^ Rules of Namaz
* Concerning the wisdom in the specified times of the five daily prayers, Author Bediüzzaman Said Nursi
* Muhammad Hedayetullah (2006). Dynamics of Islam: An Exposition. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1553698425.
* "When to Perform the Daily Prayers". pray-in-time.org. http://pray-in-time.org. Muslim Prayer Time and Calendar
* Muhammad Naasir ad-Deen al-Albaani. The Prophet's Prayer Described. University of Southern California Muslim Students' Association. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/pillars/prayer/albaani/prayer_1.html. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
* "Salah: Step by Step Instructions, According to Qur’an and Sunnah". interactiveislam.com. http://www.interactiveislam.com/elessons/salah/. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
* "Rules of Namaz". majalla.org. http://majalla.org/books/law/rulesnamaz.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
* "How to Perform the Daily Prayers" (PDF). Al-Islam.org. http://al-islam.org/nutshell/files/prayers.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-03. How to pray according to Shi'a Ja'fari School of law
* "CyberSalat". studyislam.com. http://www.studyislam.com/isp/jsp/downloads.jsp. A reference for description of how to perform Salat.
* "Beginners guide to performing Islamic prayers". howdomuslimspray.com. http://www.howdomuslimspray.com. Detailed Instructions for Performing Islamic Prayers
* iPhone app "alQibla" for worldwide prayer timings and qibla direction from anywhere on earth
* Contact Prayer (Salat) time calculator
* Prayer times for cities the world over
* English translation of Salah and How to Pray
* Determining time of Salah anywhere
* Determining salat times during an air journey
* The Five Pillars
* "The Prophet's Prayer"
* Various articles related to different rulings on Salah
* Salat presentation in video, including how to perform salat in detail
* Worldwide prayer time calculation
* Qur’an and Science
* Salat times according to location
* Salaah: Complete interactive online guide
* Living as a Muslim
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