Praying “Salah”

Five Daily Prayers

Salat, the obligatory Muslim prayer, is done at appointed times, fixed in relation to the sun’s position throughout the day, and fluctuates depending on the season. The time of Fajr, the morning prayer, begins at dawn and ends at sunrise. The time of Zuhr, the midday prayer, begins immediately after the sun crosses the high noon point and begins to descend. The Asr prayer begins in the late afternoon when the sun descends halfway between high noon and sunset. The time of the Maghrib prayer begins immediately after sunset. The Isha prayer begins after dusk has completely disappeared, giving way to total darkness of the night.

 

Fazail-I-Salat (Merits of Salat): After reciting Kalima (announcing the oneness of Allah  and witnessing that Mohammad  is Allah’s messenger), Salat is the second pillar of Islam. It provides us the best opportunity to communicate directly with Allah  and to worship with the complete submission of heart, soul, mind and body to the will of Allah. This is the best form of Allah’s Dhikr (remembering Allah). We often become very busy in our daily life, and Salat provides us a moment to pause and remember Allah. Along with remembering our Creator, it also prevents us from indecent acts as noted in the Qur’an;

“And perform Salat, Indeed Salat prevents one from shameful and indecent acts”.[1]

We are closest to Allah  during our prayers. This point is stressed by Prophet Mohammad  who said, “Worship your Lord as if you see Him during worship, and if you cannot do that, then worship as if He sees you.”[2]

During our prayers, we can express our needs directly to Allah. Salat also gives us the opportunity to evaluate our past actions and prepare for the future. It teaches us punctuality and discipline that is important both for an individual and a community. Performing our Salat in a congregation is recommended as it develops love and understanding for each other. This congregation may be at home with the family, in the Masjid with community or any place where community people can gather. This helps create the feelings of brotherhood.

Conditions for performing Salat: Since Salat links us directly with our Creator and our loved one, we have to prepare ourselves to perform Salat. That preparation is called the conditions for performing Salat. Those conditions are as follows;

Fard (obligatory) acts of Salat: [3] If for some reason, one misses a fard act of a Salat and then remembers it, he/she should repeat the Salat. Fard acts are as follows;

Wajib (Required) acts of Salat:[5] If someone forgets a wajib act and then remembers later in the Salat, by performing Sajda Sahw, Salat will be acceptable. The Wajib acts are as follows;

Sunan (Sunnah) Acts of Salat: One should try to pray all the sunnah acts in Salat in order to make salat beautiful. However, if one leaves out sunnan acts in a Salat, it does not invalidate Salat. There is no need of Sajda sahw also. Some of these acts are Mustahibaat (preferred way) of Salat also and it is difficult to differentiate them. However, we should always try to pray Salat with enthusiasm and beauty by performing Sunna acts. Sunnan acts are as follows.

Mufsidat-I-Salat (Acts that Invalidate Salat): There are certain acts that are prohibited during Salat. Any one of those acts will invalidate the Salat and one should repeat the whole Salat. Those acts are as follows;

Steps of Reading Four Fard Salat: These steps are given here in order to remember the compulsory acts during Salat.

“Glory and praise is for You Oh Allah and Your name is full of blessings and Your Highness is the wisest and there is no one to worship except You.”

Subhanaa Rabbi-yl-Azeem (Glory to my Lord, the Great) three times. This is called Tasbeeh of Rukuh.

“All the greetings and prayers are for Allah, Oh Prophet, Salaam and Allah’s blessing and mercy on you. Peace be upon us and all the good people of Allah. I witness that there is no one to worship but Allah  and I witness that Mohammad  is His servant and messenger.”

“Allah Humma Salle Ala Mohammadiyon Wa Ala Ale Mohammadin Kama Sallaita Aala ibraheema Wa Ala Aalay ibraheema inna Ka Hameedum Majeed. Allah Humma Baarik Aala Mohammadiyon Wa Ala Ale Mohammadin Kama Barakta Ala ibraheema Wa Ala Ale ibraheema inna Ka Hameedum Majeed

 “Oh Allah, send your blessings on Mohammad  and his family as You sent blessing on Ibrahim (A) and his family. Indeed You are the most Praiseworthy and Glorious. Oh Allah, send your grace on Mohammad  and his family as You sent your grace on Ibrahim (A) and his family. Indeed You are the most Praiseworthy and Glorious.”

“Oh my Lord, make my family and me regular in our Salat. Oh my Lord, accept my prayers (Dua). Oh my Lord, forgive me and my parents and all the believers on the day of judgment”.

At this point the Salat is complete. One can recite more supplications and do extra tasbeeh.

Mustahibbat (Admirable acts) and Makroohat (undesired acts) of Salat (Acts that make Salat excellent and/or deficient): There are certain acts during a Salah which are not obligatory, but transform a Salah from the level of the routine fulfillment to an excellent rank. These acts are called  Mustahibbat of Salah. Most of the Mustahibat (admirable acts) are Sunan acts of Salah and are difficult to differentiate. Similarly many acts that are close to Mufsidaat (acts that invalidate salat) are also called Makroohaat.

Some of the admirable acts are as follows:

Praying Salat by keeping these factors into consideration enhances the quality of Salat. Acts opposite to these admirable ones are called Makroohaat (undesired acts).

[1] Surah 29 (Al-Ankboot), Ayah 45,

[2] Hadith Bukhai.

[3] In some schools of thought, Wajic acts are considered as Fard as well.

[4] In some schools of thought, making intention is considered as Fard whereas in Hanafi School it is considered as a condition for Salat.

[5] There is some variation of Wajib and Fard acts depending upon different Schools of Thought.