Kitab Al-Salaah (The book of Prayer)
Of The Salaat
After introducing the Salaat and discussing its pre-requisites, we
shall now turn to matters pertaining to its actual performance.
Conditions for the Prayer (Shuruud-Salaat)
There are a number of conditions which need to be fulfilled for the
prayer to be valid. These are as follows:
- Acceptance of Islamic Faith - disbelievers are not required
to establish Salaat until they believe in Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala)
and bear witness that there is no god but Allah and bear witness that
Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
- Anniyah - this in Arabic means the intention by heart to
perform the particular prayer.
- Cleanliness - this includes cleanliness of the body, the
clothes and the place where the prayer is to be performed.
- Purification - this refers to the of Wudhu (or Ghusl where it
is required) prior to undertaking the prayer.
- Concealing of the Private Parts - for a man, it is essential
that he be covered at least from the navel to the knees all round,
while, in the case of a woman, her body should be totally covered
except for the face and wrists.
- Facing the "Qiblah" - this means that a person when praying
must face towards the direction of the sacred mosque in "Makkah". Where
a person is not able to locate the direction by himself/herself, the
person may ask another person who may know the direction of the Qiblah.
However, if no one is in sight to guide to the right direction, then,
the person should decide for himself/herself and make the best guess of
the correct direction of the Qiblah, and accordingly, perform the
prayer in that direction even though the guess maybe incorrect. The
prayer performed would still be acceptable (inshaa Allah) in view of
the following verse of the Holy Qur'an:“ Whichever direction you
turn, there is the Presence of Allah” (Qur'an 2: 115).
- Timing - prayers are to be observed in their prescribed
- Sanity and consciousness - prayer is required only from
person of sound mind.
- Ability to distinguish - prayer is required only where the
person (child) is able to distinguish between good and bad, and is able
to understand and appreciate fully what is to be recited, performed
is preferred for children to begin performing the prayer at the age of
seven for it awakens in them the presence of Allah (subhanahu wa
ta'ala) and inculcates in them the habit of praying as an act of
worship and love for 'Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). A child at the age
of 10 is made to understand that prayer is necessarily a part of the
person's daily life and is a solemn duty ordained by Allah (subhanahu
wa ta'ala) on all Muslims, and that failure to perform it is an act of
disbelief (Kufr). Therefore, parents are required to guide their
children to the right path by punishing any of them who at the age of
10 intentionally misses the prayers.
Prophet (peace be upon him), said:“ Order your children to pray
when they reach the age of seven and punish them for not performing it
at the age of ten and separate them (ie. boys and girls) in their beds”
(Reported by Imam Bukhari).
attaining the age of 15, a child is deemed to have reached adulthood,
whereby, he/she is required to perform the prayer. Here below, are some
other signs which may indicate that a child has attained adulthood:
- The growing of pubic hairs.
- Finding traces of semen on the child's clothes and/or bed.
- The start of menstruation, in the case of a girl.
Categories of the Acts of the Salaat
All the acts, readings and supplications undertaken in the course of
the Salaat have different legal weights and implications. They are
categorized as follows:
- Pillars of the Salaat - (Arkanu-Salaat).
- Necessary Duties of the Salaat (Wajibatu-Salaat).
- Preferred Acts of the Salaat. (Sunnanu-Salaat).
We shall now discuss each of these categories in turn.
Pillars of the Salaat (Arkanu-S alaat)
The prayer has obligatory pillars, which must be fulfilled for it to be
valid and these are as follows:
- " Al-Qiyaam " - prayer is to be performed in a standing
position if a person is physically capable.
- " Takbiiratil lhraam " that is saying "ALLAHU AKHAR" at the
commence - ment of the prayer.
- " Al-Fatihah
" - that is reciting
the opening chapter of the Holy Qur'an in every Rakaat.
- " Rukuu " - this is bowing posture whereby the head and the
back are positioned on the same level and both hands are rested on the
knees with the fingers spread apart.
- A requirement to raise the head up from the Rukuu position.
- A requirement to stand up from the Rukuu position in such a
way that the person feels that all his/her backbones are straightened.
- " Sujuud " that is prostrating oneself in such a way that the
following seven parts of the body are firmly placed on the ground: the
forehead together with the tip of the nose, both the palms, both the
knees, the bottom surface of the toes of both feet.
- A requirement to raise the head from the Sujuud position.
- A requirement to sit upright during the pause between the two
- A requirement to take a sitting position for the recitation
of the " At-Tashahucl " (words of witness).
- A requirement to recite the final " At-Tashahud ".
- A requirement to recite the words of supplication for the
Prophet (peace be upon him).
- A requirement to conclude the prayer with the words of peace
" Tasleem ", i.e. " Assalamu Aleykum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatuh".
- A requirement that in fulfilling the above pillars the person
should be in a state of tranquility.
above are the pillars of the prayer, wherein, if any of them is missed,
it is required to repeat the whole Rakaat (Unit) in which the pillar is
omitted, but if, the Takbiirat il - lhraam is omitted, it becomes
necessary to repeat the whole Salaat.
Necessary Duties (Wajibatu-Salaat)
In addition to the above 14 pillars of the prayer, there are also
certain necessary duties which need to be fulfilled in the course of
the Salaat. These are as follows:
- Saying "ALLAHU AKHAR" in the course of the prayer where it is
necessary, e.g. upon commencing Rukuu etc.
- Saying "SUBHANAA RABBIYAL AZIM" when in Rukuu position.
- Saying "SAMI ALLAHU LIMAN HAMIDAH" while resuming standing
position from the Rukuu whether the person is an "Imam" (leader) or is
- Saying "RABBANA WALAKAL HAMD" when resuming the standing
position from the Rukuu after saying the words.
- Saying "SUBHANA RABBIYAL AALA" when in Sujuud (prostration)
- Saying "RABBI IGHFIR LEE" in the sitting pause between the
two prostration of every unit of the prayer.
- Taking a sitting position for the recitation of At-Tashahud
after the first two rakaats (units) of Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha
- Reciting the At-Tashahud (words of witness) after the first
two rakaats (units) of Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers.
- Saying "SAMI ALLAHU LIMAN HAMIDAH". This is required from the
Imam (leader), from the congregation and even from a person who is
above gestures/actions constitute the necessary duties of the prayer
and if one of them is missed unintentionally, then the person is
required to amend the mistake by coming up with the two prostration of
forgetfulness at the end of the prayer. However, if any of these duties
is left out deliberately, then the whole prayer is nullified and shall
require a repetition.
Preferred Acts of the Salaat (Sunna- nu-Salaat)
In addition to the Pillars and Necessary duties already discussed,
there are also certain preferred acts to be fulfilled in the course of
the prayer. These areas are as follows:
- Reciting of an opening supplication (Du'a-al-Istiftaah) after
the "Takbiiratil- lhraam".
- Placing the hands over the chest while the person is in a
standing position with the right hand placed over the left hand.
- Raising of both hands up to the level of the shoulders or
near to the lobes of the ears when saying "Takbiiratil-lhraam",- when
heading for the Rukuu; when resuming standing position from the Rukuu
and when resuming standing position from the first tashahud.
- Seeking the protection of Allah from the cursed Satan (only
at the start of the first rakaat) by saying: "Audhu billahi minas-
shaytani-r-rajiim" which means, "I seek Allah's refuge from the cursed
- Starting the prayer with the silent invocation of Allah
(subhanahu wa ta'ala) by saying: "BISMILLAHI-R-RAHMANI-R-- RAHEEM"
which means, "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful."
- Saying "Ameen" upon concluding the recitation of
- Reciting some chapters or verses of the Holy Qur'an after
Al-Fatihah in the first two rakaats (units) of each prayer.
- A preference that the recitation of Al- Fatihah and of any
other additional readings from the Holy Qur'an are recited in a loud
voice in the first two rakaats of Fajr, Maghrib and Isha prayers.
- A preference that when sitting for the first At-Tashahud and
in between the two prostration, the person rests on his left foot
flattened on the ground while keeping the right foot erect with the
bottom of the toes firmed on the ground.
- A preference to practice At- Tawaruk when sitting for the
final At-Tashahud in the Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers.
"At-Tawaruk" is a mode of sitting, wherein the person protrudes out his
left foot from underneath his right leg, in such a way that the person
does not relax on his left foot.
- Reciting the following supplication, when sitting for
At-Tashahud, in between the supplication for the Prophet (peace be upon
him) and the final words of peace: "Allahumma inii audhu bika min adha
bi jahanama, wa min a dhabiil qabr wamin fitnatil mahyaa wal- ma-mati,
wamin fitnatil masihid-dajaal " which means: "O Lord I seek your
protection from the torment of Jahanam (the hell fire), and from the
torment of the grave, and from the trials of living and dying and from
the trials of the Masiih Addajaal."
above points are the preferred acts of the prayer and all Muslims are
encouraged to preserve these practices because their observance
entities the person great rewards from Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).
However, missing any of them does neither invalidate the Salaat nor
require the two prostration of forgetfulness.