Prayer – Salah
Salah is the second pillar of Islam. It is the most important form of worship which is obligatory upon every grown-up conscious Muslim, male or female.
Allah says in Surah An Nisa 4:103
Establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.
The Prophet ﷺ said: Islam is to testify there is no true god but Allah and Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish prayer, to give charity, to fast the month of Ramadan, and to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to the House, if one can find a way. [Sahih Bukhari]
Why We should Pray
Salah has been prescribed five times a day. We pray salah as it is a commandment of Allah, brings us closer to our Creator, and it guards against evil acts and indecency. Allah says in Surah Ankaboot, 29:45
Recite, [O Muḥammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.
▪ What are the benefits
Islam lays a lot of stress on cleanliness. For the performance of Salah special care is taken to ensure cleanliness of the body, clothes, and the place of prayer.
As mentioned in Surah al Maida, 5:6
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.
Cleanliness is the first condition for praying salah. It can be achieved through, wudhu and ghusl and if water is not available or scarce or a person cannot use water due to some illness, then tayammum (dry ablution) may be performed.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “Perform Tayammum and that will be sufficient for you.” [Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
Intention as with all other acts is the first step for Tayammum. Then recite bismillah. Tayammum is performed by striking both the hands in clean dry soil, or any dusty surface. Shake off any excess dust, wipe the hands up to the wrist and then wipe the face.
A person must have an intention for each prayer.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “”Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” [Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
o Types of Salah
▪ Fard (obligatory)
There are three types of fard prayers:
Sunnah prayers are the ones that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ regularly performed in addition to the obligatory and wajib prayers. They are of two types:
▪ Wajib (required)
The term Istikhaarah linguistically originates from the Arabic word khair. It means to seek that which has khair, that which entails goodness. Istikhaarah is consulting Allah and seeking His guidance, wisdom, and goodness in our matters.
Imam Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah rA narrated: The Prophet ﷺ used to teach us the way of doing Istikharaah in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job, he should offer a two rakaat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ
“O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not, and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this matter [mention the matter here] is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter, then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this matter [mention the matter here] is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter, then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me and make me satisfied with it.”
Decision making over a matter consists of three steps. To begin with we must use our intellect, evaluate all the options available to us, take into consideration our current situation, examine and research the matter at hand.
The next step is to consult people of knowledge and experience in the area pertaining to our matter. This is also called Istishaarah. Once we have come to a final decision after carefully going through the first two steps, the third and final step is Istikhaarah. Now that we have come to a decision and want Allah to place khair in it, it is time to pray two rakah, make the dua of istikhaarah and go forth with the decision.
Istikhaarah can be done for anything big or small. Changing jobs, moving from one city to another, considering a marriage proposal, enrolling into a university etc. When doing Istikhaarah we ask Allah, if it is good for us then allow it to take place and if it is bad for us, then take it away from us. Subsequently, we implement our decision knowing that Allah will facilitate the path we have chosen if there is khair in it for us. However, if that decision is not good for us, He will block that path, thereby protecting us from harm.
Jummah salah (Friday prayer) is obligatory upon every sane, grown-up Muslim except for women, travelers, and sick people.
It is mentioned in Surah Al Jummah, 62:9
O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumuʿah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.
Jummah salah is offered in congregation like the Eid prayers. It is obligatory to listen to the khutbah (sermon) presented by the Imam of the masjid. The sermon serves as a spiritual and educational instruction to the attendees. After that, two rakah prayer is offered with the imam.
o How we should pray
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” Hence a believer follows his example. Following are the steps required to offer a two rakah prayer:
o What Nullifies Salah
Things that nullify salah are as follows:
o Makrouh (disliked) actions in prayer