Part II: Prayer (As-Salat)
How to Perform Prayer
The Prophet of Islam had instructed his companions: “Pray as you have seen me praying” (). So the way how the Prophet prayed is not only available in the books of his traditions but it was practiced by his companions and since then it is being acted upon by all the Muslims of the world. This method or procedure is being presented step-wise as under:
Prayer of two Rakaahs
1- Facing Qiblah: First make sure that all the pre-requisites of prayer (as mentioned in chapter No. 6) are complete. Then stand up and face your entire body towards the direction of Qiblah (Kaabah at Makah) wherever you are.
2- Sutra (Barrier): If you are praying alone, you should place a stick or a stone in front of you or make wall or a pillar as your Sutra to prevent your prayer being cut off by anyone. This is a warning to others who need to pass before you that they should not pass between you and your Sutra, rather they should pass outside the Sutra. In case of prayer in congregation, Imam should have his Sutra and that would work as Sutra of the whole congregation.
3- Making Intention: Now make intention in your mind as to which of the prayer you intend to perform. If you are praying behind the Imam then include this fact in your intention also.
4- Takbeer-e-Tahreema: Raise your hands up to the level of your shoulders or near to the lobes of your ears with the palms open towards the Qiblah and say Allahu Akbar. Then put your right hand over the left hand and left wrist, and place them both over the chest. Then start your prayer.
5- The Opening Supplication: Start your prayer with the following supplication which is called “Thana” i.e. glorification of Allah:
Sub haa-naka Allahumma wa-bihamdika wa tabaa rakas muka wa ta’aala jadduka wa laa illaha ghayruka
Praise and glory be to You, O Allah! and blessed be Your Name, and exalted be Your Majesty and Glory. None has the right to be worshipped except You.
You may recite any other opening supplication which is confirmed from the Prophet.
6- Ta-awwudh (Seeking refuse of Allah): Then say:
Aa-udhu billahi minash-shayta nir-rajeem
I seek Allah’s refuge from Satan the accursed
7- Tasmiyah (mentioning Allah’s Name): Then say
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
8- Surah-al-Fatihah: Then receipt Surah Fatihah which is the opening (First) chapter of the Holy Qur’an. The recitation of it is compulsory in every Raka’ah of every prayer, as without its recitation, no prayer is acceptable. This Surah is as follows.
Alhamdu lil-lahi rab-bil ‘alameen. Ar Rahman-ir-Raheem. Maliki yaumid-Deen. Iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nasta’een. Ihdinas-Siratal mustaqeem. Siratal ladheena an’amta ‘alyhim. Ghayril maghdubi ‘alayhim waladhdhal-leen. ‘Ameen.
All praise (and Thanks) be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe. The Most Kind, the Most Merciful. The Master of the Day of Judgment. (Our Lord!) You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help. Guide us to the right path. The path of those on whom You have showered Your favours. Not (the path) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray. (Al-Qur’an: Surah 1)
9- Aameen: Then say: Aameen (O Allah! answer or accept It was practice of the Prophet and of his companions to say Aameen after recitation of Surah-al-Fatihah. If you are praying alone, you should say Aameen quietly, but if you are praying in congregation behind an Imam, then you should say Aameen loudly when the Imam finishes recitation of surah al Fatihah in loud voice. The Imam should also say Aameen. When saying Aameen the voice of the whole congregation should resound at the same time. There are many traditions of the Prophet which tell merits and rewards of saying Aameen loudly in congregational prayer. According to a tradition, the Prophet said: The Angels say Aameen when the Imam says Aameen, therefore, you should also say Aameen. Whoso says Aameen and his voice blends with that of Angels, he would be forgiven his sins (Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nisai).
10- Recitation of the Qur’an: After you have completed the recitation of surah al-Fatihah and said Aameen, you are obliged to recite a short Surah of the Qur’an or a passage (or few verses) of a long Surah. We are presenting below three of the short Surahs of the Qur’an which are easy to remember and are popularly recited in the prayers:
Wal-‘Asri. Innal-‘Insaana lafii khusri. ‘Illallaziina ‘aamanuu wa ‘amilus-saalihaati wa tawaasaw bil-Haqqi wa tawaasaw-bis-Sabr.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, The Merciful. By the declining day. Lo! Man is in a state of loss. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. (Al-Qur’an: Surah 103)
‘Innaaa ‘a’-taynaakal-Kawsar. Fa-salli li-rabbika wanhar. ‘Inna shaani-‘aka huwal-‘abtar.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, The Merciful. Lo! We have given thee Abundance. So pray unto thy Lord and offer sacrifice. Lo! It is thy insulter (and not thou) who is without posterity. (Al-Qur’an: Surah 108)
Qul hu-wallahu ‘Ahad. Allaahus-Samad. Lam yalid, wa lam yuulad. Wa lam yakul-la-huu kufuwan ‘ahad.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, The Merciful. Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. (Al-Qur’an: Surah 112)
11- Ruku (Bowing): After completion of the recitation of the Qur’an, you should bow in the position of Ruku saying Allahu Akbar while raising both your hands to shoulder level as you did at the start of your prayer. You should bend in Ruku so that your head and back-level is straight and place your hands with the fingers spread on your knees, taking care that your arms do not touch your body. In the Ruku position you should be calm and say at least three times:
Subhana Rabbi yal Adheem (Glorified is my Lord, the Almighty)
12- Qawmah (Standing after Ruku): Now you should raise your head from the Ruku position also raising your hands to your shoulders or ears, and say the following:
Sami-Allahuliman-Hamida (Allah listens to him who praises Him)
Then return to the standing position and leave your hands on your sides. Then say the following: Rabbana wa lakal Hamd. (Our Lord! All the praise be to You).
13- First Sajdah (Prostration): After Qawmah, move to perform Sajdah on the ground saying Allahu Akbar. Put your both knees, toes of your both feet, palms of your both hands, your nose, and your forehead on the ground. Fingers and toes should point towards Qiblah but do not spread the fingers of the hands. Keep your wrists of the hands and elbows up from the ground and away from your belly, and the belly should also be up from the ground. In Sajdah seven parts of the body must touch the ground: Toes of both feet, both knees, both hands, and forehead with tip of nose. In Sajdah, you should say at least three times: Subhana Rabbi yal A’ala (Glorified is my lord, the Exalted).
14- Jalsah (Sitting after first Sajdah): Then raise your head from first Sajdah (Prostration) saying Allahu Akbar. And sit laying your left foot flat on the ground while keeping your right foot erect and place your hands on your thighs and knees. In the sitting position it is preferred to say: Allahum maghfirlee war-hamnee (O Allah, forgive me and have mercy on me).
15- Second Sajdah (Prostration): Then you are required to perform the second Sajdah saying Allahu Akbar and doing what you did in first Sajdah.
16- Jalsah-e-Istrahat (Sitting for rest): Now raise your head up and sit for a short while as you did in Jalsah (between two prostrations). Then stand up for the second Rakaah since you have completed the first Raka'ah.
17- Second Raka’ah: After standing up for the second Rakaah, fold your hands over your chest and start your recitation by reading Bismillah as you need not read ‘supplication’ or ‘thana’ as you did in the first Raka’ah. After Bismillah, recite Surah al-Fatihah and then passage or chapter of the Quran as you did in the first Raka’ah. Then you complete second Raka'ah by repeating all the acts of your first Raka'ah up to performance of second Sajdah.
18- Qaadah (Sitting at the end of the second Raka’ah): After completing the second Sajdah of the second Raka’ah, raise your head saying Allahu Akbar. You should now sit as you sat between two Sajdahs and read what is called Tashahhud. It is as follows:
At-tahiyyatu lillahi was salawaatu wattayyibaatu, As-salaamu alayka ayyuhan-nabiyyu wa-rahmatu-llahi wa-barakaatuhu, As-salaamu alaynaa wa-ala ibaad ilaahis saaliheen. Ash-hadu an-laa Ilaaha ill Allahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa-rasooluhu.
All greetings, prayers, and good things of life are for Allah. The peace and mercy and blessings of Allah be on you, oh Prophet, May peace by upon us and on righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
When you are saying Ash-hadu alla illaaha ill-Allahu……, you should raise your index finger of right hand slightly and return it to its previous position after you have finished saying it.
If your are performing prayer of two Rakaahs, only then you should recite the following supplication (Darud called Darud-e-Ibrahim) upon the Prophet in this Qaadah:
Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa’alaa aali Muhammadin kama sallayta alaa Ibraheema wa alaa aali Ibraaheema Innaka Hameedum Majeed. Allahumma baarik alaa Muhammadin wa alaa aali Muhammadin kamaa barrakta alaa Ibraheema wa alaa aali Ibraaheema Innaka Hameedum Majeed.
O Allah! Send Your Mercy upon Muhammad and upon family of Muhammad as You sent Your Mercy upon Ibrahim and upon Family of Ibrahim, certainly You are the Most Praiseworthy and Most Glorious. O Allah! Send Your blessings on Muhammad and Muhammad’s family as You sent Your Blessings on Ibrahim and on Ibrahim’s family, certainly You are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious.
After reciting the above supplication, recite either of the following two supplications:
Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil akhirati hasanatam wa qina azab-an-nar.
Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of fire. (Al-Qur’an: 2:201)
Rabbijalnee muqeemas salati wa min dhurriyyatee rabbana wa taqab bal du’a. Rabba naghfirlee waliwalidiay ya walil mumineena yawma yaqumul hisab.
My Lord! Make me and my offspring regular in establishing prayer; Our Lord! And accept my supplication. Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day when the account (of deeds) is cast. (Al-Qur’an: 14:40-41)
After Tashahhud and Darud and Supplication you should conclude your prayer by saying the following greetings turning your face first to your right side and then to your left side:-
As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatu-Allah
(The peace and mercy of Allah be on you)
Thus you have completed your prayer of two Rakaahs of Fard (such as Fajr Prayer). If you are offering two Rakaahs of Sunat or two Rakaahs of Nafl, procedure is the same as above.
Prayer of three Rakaahs
If you are offering prayer of three Fard Rakaahs (such as Maghrib), then stand up after Tashahhud (without reciting Darud and Supplication) from the Qaadah of second Raka’ah, saying Allahu Akbar and raising your hands to shoulders or ears. Complete third Raka’ah like the second Raka’ah (but without reciting Qur’an after Surah al-Fatihah). At the end of third Raka’ah sit in Qaadah (which is called second or last Qaadah) and recite Tashahhud and Darud and Supplication and conclude your prayer with greetings as you did in case of prayer of two Rakaahs mentioned above.
Prayer of Four Rakaahs
If you are offering prayer of four Fard Rakaahs (such as Zuhr, Asr, or Isha), then do not sit in Qaadah after the third Rakaah (as you did in Maghrib prayer), rather stand up for the fourth Rakaah. Complete fourth Raka’ah like third Rakaah and at the end sit in Qaadah. Recite Tashahhud, Darud and Supplication and finally conclude your prayer by pronouncing greeting on both your right and left sides as you did in prayer of two Rakaahs mentioned above.
If you are performing Sunat prayer of four Rakaahs, then you will also recite Surah or a passage of the Qur’an in third and fourth Raka’ah after surah al-Fatihah.
Supplications after concluding prayer
It was usual practice of the Prophet to offer supplications (Du’a) after concluding his prayers. Many such supplications are available in books of Hadith which you can memorize and recite. Some of these supplications which are very popular are as under:
(1) a) Say: Allahu Akbar () aloud once: (Allah is the Most Great).
b) Then say: Astagh firullah () three times: (I ask Allah to forgive me).
c) Then say: Allahuma antas Salam wa min kas Salam, tabaarakta yaa Dhaljalali wal Ikram.
Oh Allah! You are the peace, and from You is the peace. You are blessed, oh Possessor of the Glory and Honour.
(2) Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: All the sins of a person would be forgiven, may they be equal to foam of the sea, if he says:
a) Subhan Allah () (Glorified is Allah) 33 times;
b) Al-Hamdu lillah () (All praise is for Allah) 33 times;
c) Allahu Akbar () (Allah is the Greatest) 33 times, and
d) To make it hundred, he says:
Laa Ilaaha Illa-Allaahu wah dahu laa shareeka lah; Lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay in Qadeer.
There is no God but Allah. He is alone, and has no partner. To Him is the sovereignty and to Him belongs all the praise. And He has full authority over everything. (Muslim).
Instead of (d) of (2) above, you can repeat (c) of (2) above 34 times to make it hundred or you can only say
(3) You should memorize Verse 255 of Surah 2 (known as Ayatul Kursi) and also last three Surahs of the Quran (Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falak and An-Nas) and invoke Allah with them. They have many rewards.
(4) If you remember the supplications of the Prophet and the pious persons that are given in the Qur’an, you can invoke God by them.
(5) If you do not remember any Supplication, Ayat or Surah, you can invoke God in any language you know asking for His blessings, favours and mercy. God has knowledge of every thing seen or unseen and He knows every language.
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