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The Prayer

Prayer is the second pillar of Islam. It is obligatory on every Muslim, male or female. It is a tie between the slave and his Lord.  It trains us to be

disciplined and to be on time when we have something to do. In addition, it pleases Allaah because He enjoined us to perform it. Allaah said:

"When you have finished prayer (the prayer - congregational), remember Allaah standing, sitting down, and lying down on your sides, but when you are free from danger, perform the prayer. Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours." [Quran 4:103]  

Before performing Prayer, a Muslim must perform ablution and his clothes and body should be pure. In addition, Prayer itself should be performed in a pure place.

  • Prayer draws us nearer to Allaah

The Prophet, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, received all Islamic obligations and commandments from Allaah through the Angel of Revelation, Jibreel (Gabriel), except for Prayer. It is the only act of worship that Allaah directly commanded His Prophet to perform on the night of Israa` and Mi`raaj (Night Journey and Ascension to Heaven). This is attributed to the fact that Prayer is highly esteemed and a noble act of worship in a Muslim's life. Through Prayer, a Muslim transcends worldly limitations and aspires to attain the Mercy of Allaah where he feels he is very near to Him. 

Allaah says (what means):

"Fall prostrate and draw near to Allaah!" [Quran 96:19]

The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, said: "A slave is nearer to his Lord when he is in prostration so increase supplications in prostration. (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, also said: "Seven people will be shaded by Allaah under His shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His. They are: … a man whose heart is attached to the mosque (who offers the five compulsory congregational prayers in the mosque) …" (Al-Bukhaari)

The first thing a Muslim will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment is Prayer. If his Prayer was properly performed, the rest of his acts of worship will be considered correct. On the other hand, if his Prayer was unsound, the rest of his acts of worship will be considered as being also unsound.

  • Prayer is the only pillar of Islam that a Muslim performs in all circumstances:

Prayer is the cornerstone of the Islamic religion. If a person establishes it, he establishes all pillars of the religion, but if he disregards it, he actually disregards all pillars of the religion. It is the only pillar of Islam that a Muslim must perform regardless of the circumstances he may be in. For example:

  • A Muslim may not have money and hence no Zakaah is due on him.

  • A Muslim may be sick and therefore unable to fast.

  • He may not be able to perform Hajj.

* Yet for Prayer, it must be performed regardless of one's condition:

  • A sick person who can not stand up to perform Prayer may perform it while he is sitting down.

  • If still one cannot sit down, he can perform Prayer while lying on one of his sides.

  • If one cannot stand up to perform Prayer because an enemy or a wild beast is chasing him, he can perform it while riding his horse whatever the direction he may take and he can move his head instead of bowing and prostrating.

  • During battles, Muslims must perform Prayer

  • all according to their abilities

  • even if they are encountering their enemies. They should perform Prayer regardless of the place where they are or the direction they are taking. Again moving the head slightly is an alternative to bowing and prostrating.

  • Obligatory Prayer

A Muslim must perform five Prayer during the day and night with a total number of rak`ahs of 17. Such Prayer are:

1.Al-Fajr (Dawn) Prayer: two rak`ahs

 2.Ath-Thuhr (Noon) Prayer: four rak`ahs

3.Al-Asr (Afternoon) Prayer: four rak`ahs 4.Al-Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer: three rak`ahs

5.Al-Eshaa' (Night) Prayer: four rak`ahs

 

  • Virtues of the five prayers

Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated:

 'I heard the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, say: "If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day, would any dirt remain on him?" They said: 'Not a trace of dirt would be left.' 

The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, added: "That is the example of the five daily Prayer with which Allaah removes evil deeds." (Al-Bukhaari)

This noble Hadeeth urges the Muslims to continue to perform the enjoined Prayer on their due time in order to purify them from sins and violations and give them the chance to ask Allaah for reward and forgiveness.

  • Loud recitation of Prayer vs. Inaudible Recitation of Prayer

- The Prayer where the Glorious Quran is recited aloud are the morning, sunset, and evening Prayer.

- The Prayer where the Glorious Quran is not recited aloud are the noon and afternoon Prayer.

  • Congregational Prayer

The Prophet, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, urged the Muslims to perform Prayer in congregation. When the time for Prayer is due, a person would call Aathaan for the Prayer, and the Muslims will come from everywhere. When Prayer is established, the Imaam will step forward with other people behind him in organized rows. The Imaam starts with the opening takbeer (saying Allaahu Akbar). The people performing Prayer say Allaahu Akbar but quietly and they follow the Imaam in all he does. The reward of Prayer in congregation is twenty seven times greater than that of a prayer offered alone.

  • Friday Prayer

This is the Prayer offered on Friday at noon. It consists of two rak`ahs in which the Imaam recites the Holy Quran loudly after he has delivered the two Friday sermons with a notably short interval in between. This Prayer is obligatory on men who are neither traveling nor ill. It is not obligatory on women, sick men, or travelers. All of them should perform the noon Prayer instead.

  • The benefits of regularly performing Prayer:

Regularly performing the five Prayers has great benefits for the Muslim both in this world and in the Hereafter. These benefits include:

  • Acquiring good morals such as honesty, trustworthiness, and gratitude to parents because Prayer prevents the Muslim from committing sins.

  • Obedience and discipline

  • Keeping one's body clean and his/her appearance neat

  • Sincerity in performing and perfecting acts of worship on time

  • Patience in facing the hardships and burdens of life

  • The preconditions of a legally acceptable Prayer

A Muslim's Prayer is not legally acceptable unless the following preconditions are met:

  1. The Muslim's body and clothes should be ritually pure. The same ruling applies to the place where he/she prays.

  2. He must perform ablution beforehand.

  3. He must cover his `Awrah (parts of the body Islam commands to cover)

  4. He must face the direction of the Qiblah.

  • How to pray?

Allaah enjoined us to perform Prayer and the Prophet, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, taught us how to perform it.

 The Prophet sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam said: Pray as you have seen me praying. (Al-Bukhaari)

If you would like to pray, do the following:

- Stand up straight while facing the direction of the Qiblah

- Intend to pray (in your heart) and utter the opening takbeer saying 'Allaahu Akbar' with your hands raised to the level of your ears.

- Place the palm of your right hand on the left one over your chest and recite the beginning supplication.

- Recite chapter Al-Faatihah in each rak`ah, and after that (in the first two rak`ahs) recite whatever you want from the Glorious Quran.

  • Obligatory acts of Prayer

  • Intention and the opening takbeer

  • Standing up for Prayer if the person is able to do so

  • Reciting chapter Al-Faatihah

  • Bowing once in each rak`ah and standing up straight after it

  •  Prostrating twice in each rak`ah and sitting down between the two prostrations for a little while

  • Final sitting for reciting At-Tashahhud (an invocation in which the two testimonies of faith are recited) and invoking supplication on the Prophet, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam

  • Turning one's face to the right with the intention of ending the Prayer saying "Assalaamu 'alaykum wa-Rahmatullaah."

  • Tashahhud

Tashahhud is an obligatory act of Prayer that should be recited while sitting after the second rak`ah of each Prayer. It should also be recited in the final sitting in Prayer. Its wording is as follows: 

At-tahiyyaat lillaah was-salawaatu wat-tayyibaatu. As-salaamu `alayka ayyuha an-nabiyyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu, as-salaamu `alaynaa wa `ala `ibaadillaahi as-saaliheen. Ash-hadu allaa ilaaha illallaah wa ahs-hadu anna muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh.

All greetings, prayers, and all good things are due to Allaah. May Allaah exalt your mention, O Prophet, and Allaah's peace be upon us and upon Allaah's upright slaves. I testify that none is worthy of worship but Allaah and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

In the last rak`ah after finishing the tashahhud, a Muslim should invoke Allaah's supplications and mercy on the Prophet, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam. He should say: Allaahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala aali Muhammadin kamaa sallayta `ala Ibraaheema wa `ala aali Ibraaheema, wa baarik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala aali Muhammadin kamaa baarakta `ala Ibraaheema wa `ala aali Ibraaheema fi al-`aalameen; innaka Hameedun Majeed.

O Allaah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and his family as You did exalt the mention of Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem. Verily You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. O Allaah, bestow favors upon Muhammad and Muhammad’s family as You granted favors to Ibraaheem and Ibraaheem’s family. Verily You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.

 

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