Prayers – Advanced


(part 1 of 2) Description:  The lesson will teach the “essential components” of the daily ritual prayer ( salah ) and acts that invalidate t...

(part 1 of 2)

Description: The lesson will teach the “essential components” of the daily ritual prayer (salah) and acts that invalidate the prayer.
·       To learn the arkan of salah.
·       To learn five acts that invalidate the salah.
Arabic Terms
·       Salah - the Arabic word to denote a direct connection between the believer and Allah. More specifically, in Islam it refers to the formal five daily prayers and is the most important form of worship.
·       Rukn - (plural: arkan) essential component; a pillar without which something cannot stand.
·       Qiblah: The direction one faces during the formal prayers.
·       Surah – chapter of the Quran.
·       Hadith - (plural – ahadith) is a piece of information or a story. In Islam it is a narrative record of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.
·       Tashahhud – the saying “At-tahiy-yatu lil-lahi…. Muhammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh.” in the sitting position of the prayer.
·       Wudoo – ablution.
·       Wajib - (plural: wajibaat) obligatory.
The scholars categorize different actions and sayings of the prayer into essential components (arkan), obligatory acts, and recommendations.
Prayers-Advanced.jpgThe difference between a rukn (essential component) and a wajib (obligatory act) is that arukn cannot be waived, whether one omits it deliberately or by mistake, rather it must be done. A wajib (obligatory act) is waived if one forgets, and it can be compensated for by doing the prostration of forgetfulness (will be discussed later).
In this lesson we will first learn the arkan(essential components).

Essential Components (Arkan) of Salah

1. Saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ at the beginning

The Prophet said to a person who prayed incorrectly, “then face the qiblah and sayAllahu Akbar.[1]

2. Reciting Surah al-Fatihah

The Prophet said,  “There is no prayer for someone who does not recite the Opening of the Book (Surah al-Fatihah).”[2]

3. Standing during obligatory prayers if one is able to do so

Based on the verse, “and stand for Allah with devotion.” (Quran 2:238)
Also, the Prophet said, “Pray standing; if you are not able to; pray sitting, if you are not able to; pray (while lying) on your side.”[3]

4. Bowing

This is based on the Prophet’s saying to the person who prayed incorrectly,  “then be at ease until you are at ease in bowing.”[4]
And remaining in that position until you attain "calmness."
Speaking about the importance of this matter, he said, “The worst people are the thieves who steal part of the prayer.”  He was asked how this was done, and he replied, “He does not complete his bowings and prostrations,” or he said, “He does not straighten his back during his bowings and prostrations.”[5]
“The prayer of one who does not straighten his back in his bowings and prostrations is not accomplished.”[6]

5. Rising up from bowing

This is based on the hadith, “then rise till you are standing straight.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

6. Prostration

This is based on the hadith, “then prostrate till you are at ease in prostration.”

7. Sitting between the two prostrations

This is based on the hadith, “then rise up till you are at ease sitting.”

8. Attaining calmness

A person prayed too fast without attaining calmness. The Prophet disapproved his speed and said, “you did not pray.”
Attaining calmness means that each body part assumes the appropriate position before one moves from one position to another.

9. Reciting the final tashahhud

This will be done in the final sitting of the prayer. The words of the tashahhud were taught by Prophet himself.  Ibn Mas’ud said, a companion of the Prophet, said, “Before it was made obligatory to say the tashahhud, we used to say, ‘Peace be upon Allah, and peace be upon Gabriel and Michael.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Do not say that but say, ‘All compliments are for Allah…’”[7].

10.   Sitting to recite the final tashahhud

This will be the final sitting of the prayer.

11. Sending blessings on the Prophet after the final tashahhud

This is to be done after reciting the final tashahhud.

12. Saying ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa-Rahmatullah’ to conclude the prayer

In an obligatory prayer it has to be said twice, however in a voluntary prayer or in the funeral prayer it is sufficient to say it once.

13. Order

All the “essential components” of salah need to be performed in the correct order.

Acts That Invalidate the Prayer

There are certain acts that if done, would invalidate the prayer. What that means is that a person has to start over the prayer from the beginning.

1. Being certain that you broke the wudoo

A man complained to the Messenger of Allah about feeling something  (in his abdomen) in the prayer. The Prophet said, “Do not turn away (from salah) unless you hear a sound or notice a smell.”[8]
This does not mean you only turn away from salah when you hear a sound or notice a smell. As long as you are sure you broke wind and passed gas, your wudoo is broken and  you must make it again and start the prayer from the beginning.

2. Intentionally not performing a rukn or prerequisite of prayer without a valid excuse

This is based on the Prophet saying to the man who did not pray properly, “Go back and pray for you have not prayed.”[9]
Similarly, the Prophet told a person who had not washed a portion of the top of his feet to repeat wudoo and the prayer.[10]

3. Intentionally eating or drinking during prayer

Muslim scholars agree that a person who eats or drinks intentionally during a prayer must repeat it.

4. Intentionally speaking something not due to what is needed for prayer

The Companions Zaid ibn al-Arqam said, “We used to speak during the prayer. A person would speak to the person on his side during the prayer. This was until, ‘Stand before Allah with obedience.’(2:238) was revealed. We were then ordered to remain silent and forbidden to speak.”[11]

5. Laughing during the prayer.

Muslim scholars agree that laughing invalidates the prayer.

[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[3] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[4] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[5] Hakim
[6] Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, Tabarani, Baihaqi
[7] Nasai
[8] Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud
[9] Bukhari, Muslim
[10] Abu Daud
[11] Bukhari, Muslim

Prayers - Advanced (part 2 of 2)

Description: The second lesson will discuss the obligatory, recommended and disliked acts of salah.
·       To learn the wajibaat of salah.
·       To learn some of the recommended acts of salah.
·       To learn seven disliked acts in salah.
Arabic Terms
·       Salah - the Arabic word to denote a direct connection between the believer and Allah.  More specifically, in Islam it refers to the formal five daily prayers and is the most important form of worship.
·       Ruku’ - the bowing position in prayer.
·       Imam - someone who leads the prayer.
·        Tashahhud – the saying “At-tahiy-yatu lil-lahi….  Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh.” in the sitting position of the prayer. 
·       Takbir – uttering “Allahu Akbar”.
·       Wajib - (plural: wajibaat) obligatory.
·       Sunnah - The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.
·       Rakah - unit of prayer.
·       Surah – chapter of the Quran.

Obligations (Wajibaat) of Salah

They are those acts that have to be performed in the prayer.  If a wajib is leftintentionally, the prayer is invalidated.  However if it is left  unintentionally then “two prostrations of forgetfulness” must be performed to make up for it.  This will be covered in more detail in a later lesson.
The following are the obligations of the prayer:

1.  Saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ when moving from one position to another

The Prophet used to say Allahu Akbar every time he went down or rose.[1]

2.  Words while bowing (ruku’)

To say: ‘Subha-na Rabbi al-Adheem’ (Exalted and perfect is my Lord, the Great) once.  To say beyond that is a recommended act.

3.  Words upon standing up from ruku’

The Prophet said, “When he (the imam) says:
Sami-Allahu li-man hamidah (Allah hears the one who praises him),
then you all say:
Rabba-na wa lakal-hamd (To our Lord is all praise and thanks).“ (Agreed upon)
Both these are to be said when you are praying by yourself.  However when you are praying behind an imam then you only say ‘Rabba-na wa lakal-hamd.

4.  Words while prostrating

To say: ‘Subha-na Rabbi al-A’ala’ (Exalted and perfect is my Lord, the All-High) once.  To say beyond that is a recommended act.

5.  Supplication between two prostrations

To say ‘Rabbig-fir lee’ once.  To say beyond that is a recommended act.

6.  First Tashahhud

To recite the first tashahhud.  This takes place in the first “long sitting” of those prayers which are more than 2 units. 
Once, the Prophet forgot the first tashahhud, but he did not repeat the prayer, instead he made up for it with the “two prostrations of forgetfulness.” This shows that this is a wajib act; if it were an “essential component”, then prostration of forgetfulness would not have been sufficient.

7.  Sitting to recite the first Tashahhud

To sit to recite the first tashahhud.   

Recommended Acts of Prayer

The following are some of the recommended acts of prayer:

1.  Opening Supplication

It is only to be said in the first rakah.
The most common prayer is the following:
Subhaana-kallaa-humma wa biham-dika, wa tabaa-ra-kasmu-ka, wa ta’aa-laa jad-du-ka, wa laa ‘ilaa-ha ghay-ruk.”
(You are Glorified, O Allah, and Praised; Your Name is blessed; Your Majesty is Exalted, and none has the right to worshipped but You).  (Abu Daud). 

2.  Seeking Refuge in Allah

It is to be said in the first rakah by simply saying,
Aa’oodhu billahi min ash-Shaitan nir-rajim
‘I seek refuge with Allah, from the Devil, the Rejected One.’

3.  Saying ‘Ameen’

The word ‘Ameen’ is not part of Surah al-Fatihah, but rather a supplication meaning, “O Allah, respond.”
It is to be said after reciting Surah al-Fatihah.
The Prophet said, “When the imam says Ameen, you should say Ameen.  If this corresponds with when the angels say it, then he will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”[2]

4.  Reciting a portion of the Quran after reciting Surah al-Fatihah in the first two units

You can recite any portion of the Quran.  For example you can recite short chapters such as Surah al-Ikhlas, Surah al-Falaq, or Surah an-Naas.

5.  Supplicating after sending blessings on the Prophet in the final sitting of the prayer

One can say:
Allaahumma ‘innee ‘a’oothu bika min ’athaabil-qabr, wa min ‘athaabi jahannama, wa min fitnatil-mahyaa wal-mamaati, wa min sharri fitna-til-masee-hid-dajjaal.”
(O Allah!  I truly seek refuge with You from the punishment of the grave, and from the punishment of the Hellfire, and from the trials of living (meaning the trials of this life and temptations a person faces) and dying (it means either the trial at the time of death or the punishment of the grave), and from the evil [trials] of the Anti-Christ.).[3]

6.  Raising one’s hands

To raise one’s hands when saying the opening takbir, when bowing, and rising from the bowing and when standing from the first “long sitting” (where one recites the first tashahhud).

7.  Putting the right hand over the left upon the chest

To put the right hand over the left upon the chest.[4]

8.  Looking at the place of prostration

To look at the place of prostration.[5]

9.  Turning the face to the right and left at the conclusion of prayer

To turn the face to the right while saying ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa-Rahmatullah’ and likewise for the left. 

What is Disliked in Salah?

Disliked acts are just that, disliked.  They do not invalidate the prayer, but a person should try to avoid them as much as possible so as to not reduce the reward of his prayer.

1.  Looking around in salah without any need to do so

Looking around without any reason reduces concentration and focus.  If it is for some need then it’s permissible.  For example, a woman with a crying baby for whom she is afraid may turn to her baby.

2.  To place hands on your waist

“The Messenger of Allah forbade a man should pray with his hands on his waist.”[6]

3.  Praying when food has arrived or is ready or when one is suppressing the urge to urinate or defecate

The reason is that a person cannot concentrate or focus on salah in such a case.

5.  Fidgeting

Fidgeting is disliked as is everything that distracts one from prayer and concentration.

6.  Shutting the eyes

You may close your eyes if that will help you concentrate better when you are around distractions.

7.  Placing forearms flat on the ground

This is while when one is prostrating.

[1] Tirmidhi
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[3] Saheeh Muslim
[4] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Malik, Ibn Khuzayma
[5] Hakim
[6] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim



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Jama Masjid: Prayers – Advanced
Prayers – Advanced
Jama Masjid
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