‘How Salaat is Performed’
How The Salaat Is Performed
Having known in detail all the different acts of the prayer, i.e. its pillars, necessary duties and preferred acts, we shall now discuss in brief how the Salaat is performed following the example of the Prophet ﷺ , and in due regard to his famous saying:“ Salluu kama raeytumunii usali” (Transmitted by Al-Bukhari) which means: “Perform your prayers in the same manner you have seen me doing.” We shall discuss the performance of each prayer in its proper perspective.
Performance of Fajr Prayer
Number of Rakaat: Two
Qur’anic recitations in this prayer are made in a loud voice by the Imam in a congregation prayer and by whoever prays alone.
1. The person turns towards the direction of the Qiblah, (the sacred Mosque at Makkah), intending by heart to perform the Fajr (Dawn) prayer. Note: The person should not pronounce his/her intention openly because neither the Prophet ﷺ nor his companions used to utter their intention for prayer. Thus, pronouncing the intention in a loud voice is an innovation.
2. The person then raises both hands up to the level of the shoulders or near the lobes of the ears, pronounces the “Takbiiratil-Ihraam” by saying “ALLAHU AKBAR” and places both hands over the chest with the right hand over the left. By reciting the “Takbiiratil- Ihraam”, the person thus, resolves for prayer and enters into a state of worship and is thenceforth required to call to mind the majesty and glory of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and to dedicate his intentions, recitations and actions to Him (subhanahu wa ta’ala) alone until the end of the prayer. While praying the person is required to direct his eyes downward at the spot of prostration.
3. The person then recites in a low voice an opening supplication for the prayer. Here below are three of the supplications which the Prophet ﷺ used to practice and the Muslim is exhorted to memorize at least one of them for recitation each time a prayer is performed:
a. “SUBHANAKA ALLAHUMMA WA BEHAMDIKA WATABARAKA ISMOKA, WATA’ALA JADDOKA WALA ILAHA GHAYROKA”, which means: “Praise and glory be to Allah. Blessed be Your name exalted be your majesty and glory. There is no god but You.”
b. “ALLAHUMMA BAI’D BAYNI WA BAYNA KHATAYAYA KAMA BAADTA BAYNA-AL-MASHRIKI WAL MAGHRIBI. ALLAHUMMA NAQQINIY MIN KHATAYAYA KAMA YONAQA-AL-THOWBO-ALABYADO MIN-AL DANASI. ALLAHUMMA IGHSILNIY MIN KHA- TAYAYA BIL-MAI, WATHALJI,’ WALBARAD” which means: “O Lord, separate me from my sins as You have separated the east and west. O Lord, cleanse me of my sins as the white robe is cleansed from dirt. O Lord, wash away my sins with water, snow and hail”.
c. “WAJAHTU WAJHIYA LILLADHII FATARA-AL-SAMAWATI WAL-ARDHI HANIIFAN MUSLIMAN WAMAA ANA MINAL MUSHRIKIINA, INNA SALATII WANUSUKII WAMAHYAYA WAMA-MATII LILLAHI RABBIL’ALAMIINA LAA SHARIKA LAHU WABIDHALIKA UMIRTU WA ANA MINAL-MUSLIMIINA”. which means: “I turn my face to Him Who created the heavens and the earth, as a true believer and a Muslim, and nay, am I one of the polytheists. Truly, my prayer and my sacrifices, my life and my death, all belong to Allah, Lord of the worlds, Who has no partner. This I am commanded, and I am of those who submit to His Will.”
4. The person then seeks the protection of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from the cursed Satan by saying, “A’UDU BILLAHI MIN-ASHAYTAN-IRRAJIIM “.
5. The person then silently invokes Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) by saying: “BISMIELLAH ARRAHMAN ARRAHIIM “, which means, “In the name of Allah, the all Merciful, the all Compassionate “. The person immediately thereafter recites “ALFATIHAH” (opening chapter of the Glorious Qur’an) in due regard to the following saying of the Prophet ﷺ :“Prayer without reciting the Al-Fatihah is invalid” (Reported by Imam Bukhari). Upon completion of the “Al-Fatihah” the person says “Ameen” loudly.
6. The person then recites chapters or verses from the Holy Qur’an.
Note: If the person is praying with a congregation behind an Imam, (leader) he/she would apply Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, and would listen to the Imam reciting the “Al- Fatihah” loudly and upon the Imam completing its recitation, the person along with the rest of the congregation would say “Ameen” loudly after which, the person would apply No. 5 in a low voice. The person thereafter may not need to recite Qur’anic passages himself but should pay attention to the Imam’s recitation.
7. Then, the person proceeds to “Rukuu” (bowing) position raising both hands up to the level of the shoulders or near the lobes of the ears saying “ALLAHU AKBAR”. While in this position, the person is required to exercise serenity and tranquility positioning the head and back on the same level, putting both hands on the knees with the fingers spread and saying the following words for at least three times: “SUBHANA RABBIYAL A’ZIM “, which means “Glorified is my Lord the Great”. In addition, while in Rukuu position, it is also advisable to say:“SUBHANAKA ALLAHUMMA WA BIHAMDIKA, ALLAHUMMA EGHFIRLII “, which means “Glory be to Thee, O Allah, and praise be to Thee, forgive me my sins “.
8. Then, the person raises from the “Rukuu” position lifting both hands up to the level of the shoulders or near the lobes of the ears saying: “SAMI AALLAHU LIMAN HAMIDAH”, which means “Allah listens to him who praises Him”. The person then, immediately recites the following supplication while still standing: “RABBANA WA LAKA AL HAMDU HAMDAN KATHEER’AN TAYYIBAN MOBARAKAN FEEHIY MILA’S – SAMAWATI WA MILA’ ALARDHI WA MILA’MA BAYNAHOMA WA MILA’MA SHIATA MIN SHIYIN BAAD”, which means “Our Lord, praise be to Thee only, praises plentiful and blessings as to fill the heavens, the earth, and what is in between, and fill that which will please Thee besides them”.
However, if a person following an Imam in a congregational prayer is not able to complete the above supplication it suffices to say: “RABANA WA LAKA ALHAMD”.
It is also advisable for the Imam, the follower or one who prays alone to add further the supplication here below: “AHLU THANAA’L WALMAJDI A-HAQU MA QAALA ALABDU WAKULUNA LAKA ABD, ALLAHUMMA LA MAANI’A LIMA ADEYTA WALA MU’DIYA LIMA MAN’ATA WALA YANFA’UDHAL-JADDI MINKAL JADD”, which means “You Allah who deserves all praises and all glory, Your praising is the best and most true of whatever Your servant can say, we are all Your servants. Our Lord, no one can ever deprive anything of what You have bestowed and no one can ever give anything of what You have deprived.”
9. The person thereafter proceeds to prostration saying: “ALLAHU AKBAR” and touching the ground with the knees first before the hands if possible. However, if not possible, the person may touch the ground with the hands before the knees.
In view of the above prophetic tradition, we quote here below some of the supplications and private prayers which the Prophet ﷺ used to say while in prostration:
10. The person thereafter raises up the head from prostration saying “ALLAHU AKBAR”, and sits up resting on the left foot flattened on the ground while keeping the right foot erect with the toes of the right foot firmed on the ground. While in this position, both palms are to be placed on the knees and the person recites the following supplication:
“RABIYA IGHFIRLII, WARHAMNII, WAHDINII, WAJBUR-NII, WARZUQNEE, WA’A FINEE”, which means: “O my Lord, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, console me, provide for me, and heal me”.
11. The person prostrates again saying “ALLAHU-AKBAR” and repeats what was done in the first prostration.
12. The person then raises the head from the second prostration saying “ALLAHU AKBAR”, and takes a sitting pause similar to the pause between the two prostrations. This is a pause for rest and it is recommended to take such a pause, although there is no harm if omitted. That is the end of one “Rakaat” (unit).
13. The person thereafter, says ALLAHU AKBAR and stands up for the second Rakaat which is performed in the same manner as the first Rakaat whereby the person comes up with all the actions and recitations from Nos. 5 up to 11 as discussed above.
14. Upon completing the second prostration as discussed in No. 12 above, the person takes a sitting for the “AT- TASHAHUD” (words of witness) and while in this position, the fingers of the right hand are to be placed close-fisted except the index finger which the person uses to point out as an indication for monotheistic belief although, the person may as well keep both the little and the ring fingers closed, while rounding the thumb and middle finger in a ring-shaped form and uses the index finger to point out as a sign for monotheistic belief. It has been related that the Prophet ﷺ , practiced both these methods and it is advisable to practice the first method at times and the other method at other times. The left hand is placed on the left knee with the fingers kept open.
After sitting as discussed above, the person recites the AT-Tashahud (words of witness) as follows:
“AT TAHIYYATU LILAHI WASALAWATU WATAYYIBATU ASSALAMU ALAYKA AYUHAN-NABIYU WA RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATUHU ASALAMU ALAYNA WA ALA IBADI-L-LAHI-S-SALIHIYN. ASH-HADU ANLA ILAHA ILA LAHU WAHDAHU LA SHARIKA LAHU WA ASH-HADUANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDUHU WA RASUULUH.
“Greetings, prayers and our good deeds are for Allah. Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be on you O Prophet. May peace be upon us and on the devout slaves of Allah. I testify that there is no god but Allah (the person when reciting this testimony points out the index finger as a sign of monotheistic belief) and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.
ALLAHUMMA SALLIY ALA MUHAMMAD WA ALA AALI – MUHAMMAD, KAMA SALAYTA ALA IBRAHIMA, WA AALA AALI IBRAHIM. INAKA HAMIDON MAJID. WA BARIK ALAA MUHAMMAD WA ALAA AALI MUHAMMAD KAMA BARAKTA ALA IBRAHIMA WA ALAA AALI IBRAHIM, INAKA HAMIDON MAJID ” which means,
O Lord, bless Muhammad and his family as You blessed Ibrahim and his family. You are the Most-Praised, The Most Glorious. O Lord, bestow Your grace on Muhammad and his family as You bestowed it on Ibrahim and his family. You are the Most-Praised, the Most- Glorious”.
It is recommended to add to the above reading the following supplication in which the person asks for Allah’s protection from four evils:
“ALLAHUMMA INII AUDHU BIKA MIN ADHABI JAHANNAMA, WA MIN ADHABIL QABR. WAMIN FITNATIL MAHYAA WAL-MAMATI, WAMIN FITNATIL MASIHID-DAJAAL “. which means: “My Lord, I seek Your protection from the torment of Hell, from the torment of the grave, from the trials in lifetime and after death, and from the impostor Masihid-dajaal”. The person may also make further supplications to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) asking for prosperity both in this life and in the life hereafter, and to bestow His favors on his parents and other Muslims. This was the confirmed practice of the Prophet ﷺ as reported by Ibn Massoud (may Allah be pleased with him).
15. Having completed the At-Tashahud the person terminates the prayer by saying two times: “AS-SALAMU ALEYKUM WA RAHMATU-LAAH”, which mean: ” Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you”, turning the face first to the right and then, to the left. That is the end of the Fajr prayer.
Performance of the Dhuhr Prayer
Number of Rakaat: Four.
Qur’anic recitations in this prayer is made in a low voice by the Imam (leader), the followers or whoever prays alone.
1. The first two Rakaats of the Dhuhr prayer are performed in the same manner as the two Rakaats of the Fajr prayer with regard to Nos. 1 up to 14. However, in the case of Dhuhr prayer, the sitting in No. 14 represents the first Tashahud in which case, the person is required to recite only the first part of the words of witness up to “..WA ASHADU
ANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDUHU WA RASUULUHU”. Meanwhile, it is preferred
that, for the Dhuhr prayer, the Qur’anic recitations after the Al-Fatihah are of medium length (i.e. neither too short nor too long).
2. Upon concluding the recitation of the first part of At-Tashahud in No. 14, the person, instead of proceeding to action No. 15 (of the Fajr prayer), stands up for the two remaining Rakaats of the Dhuhr prayer which are also performed in the same manner as the first two.
3. Upon performing No. 12 in the fourth Rakaat, the person sits for the final At- Tashahud and comes up with full recitation of the same as in No. 14 of the Fajr prayer. The person then proceeds on to No. 15 and thus, concludes the prayer.
Performance of the Asr Prayer
Number of Rakaat: Four.
Qur’anic recitations in this prayer are made in a low voice by the leader (imam), the followers, or whoever prays alone.
It is performed similar to the Dhuhr (Noon) prayer in all respects.
Performance of the Maghrib Prayer
Number of Rakaat: Three.
Qur’anic recitations in this prayer is made loudly in the first two rakaats by the leader (imam) or by whoever prays alone.
1. The first two Rakaats of this prayer are performed in the same manner as the first two Rakaats of the Dhuhr prayer. However, the person praying behind an Imam in a congregation is required to listen to the Imam’s recitation of the Al- Fatihah, in the first two Rakaats. Upon the Imam’s completion of the Al-Fatihah, the person says Ameen with the rest of the congregation and then recites Al-Fatihah silently by himself. The person thereafter, may not need to recite Qur’anic passages himself but should pay attention to the Imam’s recitation. Meanwhile, Qur’anic recitations in this prayer after the Al-Fatihah by the Imam (or by whoever prays alone) may be either long or short passages of the Holy Qur’an.
2. Upon raising the head from the second prostration of the second Rakaat, the person sits down for the first At-Tashahud and recites the first part of the words of witness (i.e.: up to …. WA ASHADUANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDUHU WA – RASUULUHU).
3. The person thereafter stands up for the performance of the third and last Rakaat of the Maghrib prayer and upon raising the head from the second prostration of this third Rakaat, the person sits down for the final At-Tashahud and recites the words of witness in full.
4. The person then concludes the prayer by the “Tasleem” (i.e. action No. 15 of the Fajr prayer).
Performance of the Isha Prayer
Number of Rakaat: Four.
Qur’anic recitations in this prayer is made loudly in the first two Rakaats by the Imam and by whoever prays alone.
This prayer is performed in the same manner as the Dhuhr (Noon) and the Asr (Afternoon) prayers. However, when praying behind an Imam, the person is required to listen to the Imam’s recitation of the “AL-FATIHAH” in the first two Rakaats. Upon the Imam’s completion of the Al-Fatihah the person says Ameen with the rest of the congregation and then recites Al-Fatihah silently by himself. The person thereafter may not need to recite Qur’anic passages himself but should pay attention to the Imam’s recitation.