and conditions exist regarding the offering of Prayers. They are as follows:
of Intention: The intention to perform a Prayer must be made prior to
the beginning of the Prayer.
- The Prayer should
be offered within the fixed time allotted for that particular Prayer.
However, it should be remembered that if one fails to perform a Prayer
in time due to some compelling reasons, that Prayer can be offered whenever
one remembers it. However, it should not be offered at forbidden times.
At the time of
the revelation of Islam, there was no information available to the
then populated world that in the future, such regions of the world
would be discovered where days run into other days continuously and
nights run into nights continuously as compared to a normal 24-hour
day, making both days and nights of much longer duration. For example,
for people at the Poles, daylight lasts for 6 months at a time.
The question arises
that if the timings for Prayer and fasting, etc., are associated with
the duration of sunlight, with the rotation of the earth and the relative
position of the sun and moon, how could one determine the timings
of Prayer and fasting in extreme Southern and Northern areas where
the duration of days and nights are longer than twenty-four hours?
It should be noted that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah
be upon, replying to a question from a Companion explained that in
those areas where the days and nights are of longer duration as compared
to the normal 24-hour day, Muslims should offer their Prayers by measuring
time in accordance with the normal length of a day.
- One should be
clean in body and, as far as possible, in mind and spirit also. Cleanliness
here is a term which means:
- The body should
be clean from all filth.
- If one has
answered the call of nature and has been to the toilet, one should
wash oneself properly so that all remnants of faeces or urine have
been properly washed away.
- After conjugation,
whether ejaculation has taken place or not or when, in whatever
manner, ejaculation has taken place, for instance during sleep,
cleanliness would mean not just washing oneself partially, but a
full bath becomes essential.
- A full bath
is also essential for women after menstruation, and after post-parturition
bleeding (bleeding following childbirth).
- The place and
mat of Prayer must be neat and clean.
- The body must
be properly covered during the Prayer.
- Qibla Direction:
All Muslims must face towards the Ka'aba. Qibla means
facing the Ka'aba in Makkah, the first House of worship built
All Muslims throughout
the world should always face the general direction of the Ka'aba
during every Prayer. However, during a journey and when travelling, if
one fails to determine the direction properly or when one is unable to
face towards the Ka'aba because of illness, for it is beyond one's
capacity to do so, then one is not obliged to face towards the Qibla.
Also, when on a journey, riding on a mount, train, boat or plane, one
should say one's Prayers facing in the same direction towards which one
is moving, or indeed any convenient position will be acceptable.
The word ablution
applies to washing some parts of the body preparatory to the performance
of Prayer. This is a prerequisite which must be fulfilled, otherwise the
Prayer will not be considered valid. The Hadith clearly instructs that
one should wash one's hands three times with water and then clean one's
mouth by rinsing with water three times. Then, the nose should be internally
cleaned by pushing a little water into the nostrils three times. And then
the entire face should be washed three times. After this, the whole of
the forearm up to and including the elbow should be washed three times
each, starting with the right.
Then, having wetted
the hands with some water again, a pass should be made over the head with
both hands, palms downwards with thumbs outstretched so that almost the
whole head is covered by this in a passing motion. At the end of this
motion, the ears should be cleaned with the tips of the forefingers. The
forefinger of the right hand is used for the right ear and the forefinger
of the left hand is used for the left ear. The finger tips move along
the crevices and grooves of the outside ear and are dipped slightly into
the earholes. After passing the finger tips around the grooves of the
external ear and dipping them into the earholes, all fingers are joined
together and the hands are inverted so that the palms now are facing outwards.
With the back of the hands, a pass is made from the nape of the neck to
the front of the neck. Lastly the feet should be washed up to the ankles
inclusive, three times each, again beginning with the right. If for some
reason, the limbs are washed just once, or twice, during the ablution,
the ablution is still complete, even though the best form of ablution
is that which we find in the established Sunnah of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which is to wash the
limbs three times. Thus the ablution is completed.
It is essential that
the following prescribed prayer be recited for ablution:
minat-tawwabina waj'alni minal mutatah-hirin.
O Allah make
me of those who seek forgiveness and make me of those who are cleansed.
This is ablution in
normal circumstances when one is healthy and the use of water is not medically
inadvisable, and where clean water is easily available. In case of illness
or non-availability of water, there is a simple substitute for ablution
in the following form which is called Tayammum.
If a clean dusty surface
or a solid surface is available, one should pat the surface with the open
palms of both hands, then make a motion with both hands, passing them
over the back of each other successively, as if one is washing them, and
then pass them over one's face. This is only a token ablution to remind
one that whenever possible, proper ablution should be performed.
It is essential that
one should offer Prayer while one's ablution is intact. If one's ablution
remains intact then even with one ablution, more than one Prayer can be
performed. This means that the state of ablution is necessary when one
performs Prayer but for each Prayer repetition of ablution is not necessary
if the previous ablution is still valid.
FACTORS WHICH RENDER
AN ABLUTION INEFFECTIVE
- Passing wind.
- Urination even
if a drop has passed out.
- Passing stool
in however small quantity.
- Sleeping, dozing
off to the degree that if one were without a support, one would not
be able to keep balance.
- Menstruation and
ejaculation, which have already been discussed earlier.
- About vomiting
and bleeding, opinions are divided but minor bleeding from any part
of the body by an ordinary cut, etc., or throwing-up of a little food
during belching should not be counted as bleeding and vomiting. Otherwise,
after vomiting and bleeding, ablution should be performed again.
If after ablution,
one puts on socks, then it is not essential to wash one's feet for the
following 24 hours when one performs ablution. Instead, one should wet
one's hands and after shaking off the excess water, one should make passes
with the hands on both feet on top of the socks. This should be considered
an alternative to the washing of the feet. This permission is extended
to three days during a journey.
SOME NOTEWORTHY DIFFERENCES
OF OPINION AMONG DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF JURISPRUDENCE
According to Shi'ah
jurisprudence, the feet are exempted from washing and only the passes
as mentioned before are enough, whether one is wearing socks or not. According
to some more rigid schools of thought like the Wahhabies, ordinary
socks, whether they be woollen or cotton are not enough. Socks have to
be made of thin leather which is impervious to dust and moisture, etc.,
in order to avail of such concession.
According to some
other schools, this attitude is too strict and makes one slave to superficialities
which is not in the true spirit of Islam. The Holy Prophet, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, described the spirit of Islam by saying:
Indeed it is
a religion of ease.
(Bukhari - kitabul iman)
The Ahmadiyya Muslim
Community agree with this. They consider the best policy is to apply common
sense. So, if a pair of socks are thick enough to protect one's feet from
dirt and filth, the question of which material they are made of does not
Taking a bath is always
encouraged and promoted in Islam. Islam emphasises not only the cleanliness
of the soul but also that of the body. In some situations however, it
has been made a prerequisite to the offering of any formal Prayer. The
following are the conditions which necessitate taking a bath and where
ablution alone is not enough.
1. IN CASE OF WOMEN
- After each menstruation
when the flow of blood has completely stopped.
- After childbirth
when the bleeding has finally stopped.
these bleeding periods, women are not required to perform formal Prayers.
2. MEN AND WOMEN TOGETHER
- After seminal
ejaculation or orgasm, whether resulting from conjugation or from any
other cause. The same applies to night discharges during sleep.
- Sexual contact
between man and woman, even without ejaculation and however brief it
- All non-Muslims
who become Muslims are also obliged to take a bath and start a new,
fresh life as a Muslim.
WHERE A BATH IS ESSENTIAL
Every new born child
must be bathed, and also the body of every person who has died should
be bathed before the Janazah Prayer. However, for those who are
martyred or killed during war or murdered in any way, an exception is
made and they are not bathed.
Apart from the occasions
when bathing becomes necessary, the taking of a bath every Friday, on
the celebrations of Eid and just before performing Hajj were strongly
emphasised by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him.
It is interesting
to note that the Holy Founder of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be
on him, used to take a bath in the following manner:
He would start bathing
by performing Wudhu, i.e; ablution, but not including washing of
the feet which he would do at the end. Then he would pour water at least
three times on the right side of his body, followed by three times on
the left. He bathed so meticulously that every pore of every part of his
body was washed thoroughly.
In all such conditions
where bathing becomes obligatory, one can neither perform Prayer without
bathing nor enter the mosque, nor recite the Holy Quran. Exception is
made for women during their periods as far as the reading of the Holy
Quran is concerned. They can read the Holy Quran but are advised not to
touch it with their bare hands.
Water to be used for
ablution and bathing should be clean and salubrious. Stagnant or polluted
water may not be used. However, when salubrious water is not available
and people are forced to use whatever water is available, the same can
also be used for ablution and bath.
During Prayer, one's
body should be decently covered, particularly the private parts and the
areas around them. In case of men, this can be defined as an area of body
beginning from the navel down to the end of the knee-cap. As far as women
are concerned, they should cover their entire body, including their arms
but excluding the hands and feet. However, when praying at home or among
other women, they do not have to cover their faces.
COVERING THE HEAD FOR MEN
According to most
schools of Jurisprudence, men should cover their heads when praying. But
the Malikis and a few others do not consider this necessary.
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