In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Ever Merciful
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
HomeIntroductionMuslim TelevisionLibraryOnline Store


The Method of Offering Prayer


Normally, Salat should be offered in congregation in a mosque a place dedicated to Divine worship but it may be held anywhere, the only requirement being that the place chosen should be clean.

Before a worshipper commences his Prayer, he should cleanse his body and ensure that his clothes are also clean. He should perform Wudhu and then stand in a row along with other worshippers behind the Imam, the person who leads the Prayer, all facing towards the Ka'aba. The rows must be perfectly straight and the worshippers should stand shoulder to shoulder but in no way in a position to interfere with each other's Prayer. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was very particular about the straightness of rows.

Thus, arranging themselves in rows behind the Imam, each worshipper should then make his intention as to which Prayer he is going to offer and then recite the following:

 

**** Arabic text *****

 

Transliteration:

Inni wajjahtu wajhiya lillathi fataras -samawati wal ardha hanifan wama ana minal mushrikin.

 

Translation:

I have turned my full attention towards the Supreme Being, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and I am not one of those who associate partners with Him.

 

Before the commencement of Prayer, Iqamat, the notice that the Prayer is about to start, is recited.

During the Prayer one should concentrate fully on one's Prayer and remove all other thoughts from one's mind.

The Prayer starts with Takbir-i-Tahreema, i.e; the Imam raises both hands to the level of his earlobes and says Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest). All worshippers do the same. To raise both hands to one's earlobes when reciting Allahu Akbar is to follow the practice (called the Sunnah) of the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. All Muslim schools of thought agree on this. However, there are some Muslim sects who raise their hands to their earlobes more than once in one Rak'at. Thus, in addition to the moment of saying the first Allahu Akbar at the start of Prayer, they also raise their hands while going to Ruku posture from Standing; when reverting to the standing posture; when going to Sajdah and when getting up from Sajdah. Looking at the history of Islam, we find that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has raised his hands more than once during Prayer on several occasions in the early days of his ministry as mentioned in the books of Traditions but this was not his common practice. According to many other Sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he never raised his hands except when saying Takbir-i-Tahreema in the first Raka'at of every Prayer. A Companion of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Hadhrat ^ÑAbdullah ibn Masud, may Allah be pleased with him, is reported to have stated:

Let me show you how the Holy Prophet of Islam, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to offer his Prayer.

Abdullah then offered his Prayer and raised his hands only in the beginning when saying Takbir-i-Tahreema.

After raising his hands to the lobes of his ears and reciting Allahu Akbar, the Imam lowers his hands and folds his chest so that the right arm is over his left arm. The worshipper stands before his Lord an attitude of utmost humility. His hands folded on his chest most respectfully is called the Qiyam, the Standing Posture. However, there are variations in this posture. Some people fold their arms a little lower than the navel while others slightly above the navel and some even a little higher. These are all signs of respect. One should not be so petty minded as to quarrel with others regarding these minor matters. It should also be noted that generally, the Maliki among the Sunnis and the Shia do not fold their arms at all. They leave them straight by their sides. Though no Hadith is available to prove that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has ever done so, yet no one has the right to object and say that the Prayers of such people who do not fold their arms are not valid. After saying Takbir-i-Tahreema, the following glorification called Thanaa is recited individually in silence:

******* Arabic text *********** 

Transliteration:

Subhanakallah-humma wa bihamdika wa tabarakasmuka wa ta'ala jadduka wala ilaha ghairuka.

 

Translation:

Holy art Thou, O Allah, and all praise is Thine; blessed is Thy name, and exalted is Thy state. There is none worthy of worship except Thee alone. (Tirmadhi, Kitab-us-Salat, Ma Yaquoola inda iftahis Salati; Sunan Nisai, Kitabul Iftah, Babul Zikr bainal Salat wa bainal Quirat.)

 

It is also reported in some Sayings that sometimes, the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to recite other verses in place of this glorification but this is the one which is well-known and often recited. The above glorification is followed by Atta'awwuz, which is also recited silently:

 

******Ababic Text****************

 

Transliteration:

A'uthu billahi minash-shaitanir-rajim.

 

Translation:

I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the accursed.

 

After Atta'awwuz, Tasmiah is recited either silently or loudly, by the Imam. The congregation, however, recites it silently. Tasmiah is as follows:

 

******* Arabic text *************

 

Transliteration:

Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim.

 

Translation:

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, ever Merciful.

 

According to the Traditions, on some occasions, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, used to say Tasmiah aloud while on other occasions he recited it silently. Among Muslims, it is generally recited aloud in Arab countries while the Hanafi sect and a large number of other Muslims recite it silently.

The Imam then recites Sura Fatiha. In certain Prayers, e.g., Fajr, Maghrib and Isha'a Prayers, he recites it loudly, while in others, Zhuhr and ^ÑAsr he and other worshippers, following him, recite it silently. When the Imam is reciting Sura Fatiha loudly, the other worshippers should repeat it silently, verse by verse, during the short interval between the verses after the Imam has recited those verses.

 

*******Arbaic Text********************

 

Transliteration:

Al hamdu lillahi Rabbil 'alamin. Ar-rahmanir-Ra him. Maliki yaumiddin. Iyyaka na 'budu wa iyyaka nasta 'in. Ihdinas-sirat al-mustaqim. Siratallathina an 'amta 'alai-him, ghairil maghdubi 'alaihim wa ladhdh alleen.

 

Translation:

All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgement. Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help. Guide us along the right path, the path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings, those who have not incurred Thy displeasure, and those who have not gone astray.

 

At the end of Sura Fatiha, the worshippers say Ameen which means 'O. Allah! Accept our supplications.'

The members of the Maliki, Shafiee and Hanbali sects of Islam say Ameen loudly while the members of the Hanafi sect say it silently. Both forms are admissible. This is not one of those matters which makes Salat valid or invalid. One can adopt whatever method one likes, i.e; to say it aloud or to say it silently. No one else should have the right to object, except when one says it so loudly that other worshippers are disturbed. Thereafter, the Imam recites a portion of the Holy Quran, at least three verses or a short chapter. For example:

 

SURTUL IKHLAS

 

******** Arabic text ********************

 

Transliteration:

Bismillahir-Rahmanir Raheem.

Qul hu wallahu ahad. Allahus-Samad. Lam yalid, walam yulad. Walam yakulla hu kufuwan 'ahad.

 

Translation:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful. Say, He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Independent and Besought of all. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.

 

SURA ALKAUTHAR

 

********** Arabic text ***************

 

Transliteration:

Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim. Inna'taina kal-Kauthar.

Fasalli lirabbika wanhar. Inna shani'aka huwal ' abtar.

 

Translation:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful. Surely We have given thee abundance of good; So pray to the Lord, and offer sacrifice. Surely, it is the enemy who is without issue.

 

SURA ALFALAQ

 

*** Arabic text ******

 

Transliteration:

Bismillahir Rahmanir-Rahim.

Qul a'uthu birabbil falaq. Min sharri ma khalaq; Wa min sharri ghasiqin 'iTha waqab. Wamin sharrin-naffathati fil- 'uqad. Wamin sharri hasidin 'iTha hasad.

 

Translation:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful. Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn. From the evil of that which He has created. And from the evil of the night when it overspreads. And from the evil of those who blow into knots to undo them. And from the evil of the envier when he envies.

 

SURA ALNAS

 

****** Arabic text **********

 

Transliteration:

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Qul a'uThu birabbin nas, Maliki nas, ilahin nas, Min sharril waswasil khannaas. Allathi yuwaswisu fi sudurin nasi minal jinnati wan-nas.

 

Translation:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful. Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind. The King of mankind. The God of mankind. From the evil of the sneaking whispered. Who whispers into the hearts of men. From among the Jinn and mankind.

 

These few Suras of the Quran which we have stated above are only a sample. The Imam may choose any portion of the Quran to recite after the Sura Fatiha.

When the Imam is reciting a portion of the Holy Quran, the worshippers are required to listen to it silently. The Holy Quran says:

 

****** Arabic text *****************

 

Translation:

When the Quran is recited, listen carefully to it in silence, that you may be shown mercy. (7:205)

 

A Companion of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Hadhrat Ibadah ibn Samit, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that once the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, while leading the Fajr Prayer, found it too difficult to recite the verses of the Quran because of the murmur at the back. When he finished his Prayer, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked his companions whether they were reciting the verses of the Quran after him. Their reply was in the affirmative at which the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

'Do not recite the verses of the Quran after the Imam, except the recitation of Sura Fatiha as Sura Fatiha is an integral part of the Saint'.

 

It is essential that every member of the congregation takes care not to cause disturbance to other worshippers and therefore Muslims should take note of the above mentioned Hadith of the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon.

At the end of the recitation, the Imam goes from the Standing position to the bowing position, Ruku, by calling out Allahu Akbar. The other worshippers follow him into the Bowing position. In this posture, the right hand of the worshipper should press the right knee and the left hand the left knee and the upper half of the body from the waist to the head is kept level and horizontal Into the ground.

In the Bowing posture the following Tasbih is recited silently three times or more in odd numbers:

 

***** Arabic text ************

 

Transliteration:

Subhana Rabbiyal 'Azhim.

 

Translation:

Holy is my Lord, the Most Great.

 

The Imam then straightens up and stands with his arms by his sides. When he initiates this movement, he recites Tasmee loudly which is an indication for the congregation that to change the posture from Bowing to Standing.

The Tasmee is recited as follows:

 

***** Arabic text **************

 

Transliteration:

Sami 'allahu liman hamidah

 

Translation:

Allah listens to him who praises Him.

 

In response the congregation follows the Imam and changes posture as well and recite the following which is called Tahmeed:

******* Arabic text ***********

 

Transliteration:

Rabbana walakal hamd, hamdan kathiran Tayyiban mubarakan fih.

 

Translation:

Our Lord, Thine is the praise, the praise which is bountiful, pure and blessed.

 

This position of standing erect ends with the recitation of Tahmeed.

Then the Imam says Allahu Akbar loudly again and leads the congregation into the Prostration position called Sajdah knees on the ground, then the head. In this posture, the knees, hands, nose and the forehead of the worshipper should be touching the ground. The head should be placed on the ground between the two hands. The arms should be away from the ground and away from one's sides. The abdomen should be kept away from the thighs. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said:

When you prostrate before God, you should place your limbs on the ground in the correct manner. In no way should you spread your arms on the ground like the front legs of a dog when it sits. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol. III, p.279; Al-Maktab-al-Islami Li-Taba'awal-Nashr, Beirut.)

 

The fingers are held together pointing towards the Ka'aba. The feet should be planted on the ground so that the toes are bent in the direction of the Ka'aba.

In this posture the Tasbih given below should be recited silently three times at least. If the worshipper wishes to recite it more than three times, he should make sure that the number of recitations are odd and not even:

 

************ Arabic text ****************

 

Transliteration:

Subhana Rabbiyal 'a'la.

 

Translation:

Glory to my Lord, the Most High.

 

Prostration is a posture of utmost humility, submission and helplessness in which a supplicant pours his heart before God Almighty and asks for His forgiveness.

It should also be noted that during the Ruku and Sajdah, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has forbidden the recitation of any Quranic verse. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab-us-Salat, Bab Alnahi an Quirat-ul-Quran fir-Raku was-Sujood.)

The Imam then says Allahu Akbar again, at which he and the congregation raise their heads and then hands from the ground and go into the Sitting position called Jilsa. When sitting in this position, the worshipper spreads his left foot horizontally on the ground and rests on it while his right foot is placed on the ground in a perpendicular position, with the toes facing the Ka'aba. The hands are placed on the thighs with the fingers pointing towards the Ka'aba, very close to the knees. In this position, the following supplication is recited silently:

 

Transliteration:

Allahummaghfir li warhamni wahdini wa 'afini warfa 'ni wajburni warzuqni.

 

Translation:

Lord forgive me and have mercy on me and guide me and grant me security and raise me up and make good my shortcomings and provide for me.

 

After Jilsa, the Imam leads the congregation into a second Prostration by saying Allahu Akbar and, again Subhana Rabbi yal A'alaa is done three times or, if more, in odd number. In every Raka'at of Prayer there are always two Prostrations. At the end of the second prostration, one Raka'at of Prayer is completed. After saying Allahu Akbar once again, the Imam leads the congregation into the Standing posture to commence the second Rak'at which is offered exactly as the first Rak'at.

However, during the second Rak'at, Thanaa (Glorification) and Atta'awwuz are not recited. Thanaa and Atta'awwuz are recited only in the first Rak'at of every Prayer. The Imam recites Sura Fatiha and then some verses of the Holy Quran and completes the Raktat in the same manner as the first. After the second Prostration, he sits down in the same manner as he sat in the position called Jilsa. This Sitting Position, at the end of the second Rak'at is called Qa'dah.

During this position At-tashahud is recited silently, which is as follows:

 

*********** Arabic text **************

 

Transliteration:

Attahiyyatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayibat. Assalamu 'alaika ayyuhan- Nabbiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Assalamu 'alaina wa 'ala ibadillahis- salihin. Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluh.

 

Translation:

All Salutation is due to Allah and all Prayer and everything pure. Peace be upon thee, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings; and peace be on us and on all righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.

 

It should be noted that while reciting At-tashahud, when the worshipper reaches the phrase Ashhadu alla ilaaha ilalaho, he should raise the forefinger of his right hand and should drop it back as soon as he has recited it. It is written in the Books of Traditions that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to close the fingers of his right hand leaving the thumb and the forefinger out free, placing the hand on the right knee and rising the forefinger while reciting Ashhadu alla ilaha illal laho and dropping it to its original position as soon as he had recited it. The fingers of the left hand would remain straight on his left knee.

After reciting At-tashahud, the invocation of blessings on the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, called Durood and some other prayers are recited silently.

 

DUROOD

 

********** Arabic text ******************

 

Transliteration:

Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa 'ala ali Muhammadin, kama sallaita 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala ali Ibrahima innaka Hamidum-Majid. Allahuma barik 'ala Muhammadin wa 'ala ali Muhammadin kama barakta 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala ali lbrahima innaka Hamidum-Majid.

 

Translation:

Bless, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as Thou didst bless Abraham and the people of Abraham. Thou art indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.

Prosper, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as Thou didst prosper Abraham and the people of Abraham. Thou are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.

 

The invocation Durood is followed by a short prayer or prayers, some of which are given below:

 

********* Arabic text ****************

 

Transliteration:

Rabbana atina fiddunya hasanatan wa fil akhirati hasanatan waqina athabannar. (2:202)

 

Translation:

Our Lord, bestow on us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and shield us from the torment of the Fire.

 

********* Arabic text *********************

 

Transliteration:

Rabbij 'alni muqimas-Salati wamin Thur-riyyati. Rabbana wa taqabbal du 'a. Rabbanaghfir li waliwalidayya wal lil-mu'minina yauma yaqumul hisab. (14:41-42)

 

Translation:

My Lord make me observe Prayer, and my children too. Our Lord! Bestow Thy grace on me and accept my prayer.

 

****** Arabic text ******************

 

Transliteration:

'Allahumma inni a 'uThu bika minal-hammi- wal-huzni, wa a 'uThu bika minal ajzi wal kasli, wa a'uThu bika minal-jubni wal- bukhli. Wa a'uTh bika min ghalabatid-daini wa qahrir-rijal. (Abu Dawud, Kitabus-salah,babulis-ti'adhah).

 

Translation:

O Allah I seek Thy protection against problems and anxieties, and I seek Thy protection against helplessness and shiftlessness, and I seek Thy protection against cowardice and miserliness, and I seek Thy protection against indebtedness and the tyranny of people.

 

***** Arabic text ***********

 

Transliteration:

Allahum-ma inni zhalamtu nafsi zhulman kathiran wa la yaghfiruTh-dhunuba illa anta,faghfir lee maghfiratan min 'indika wa arhamni innaka antal Ghafoorur Raheem.

 

Translation:

O Allah I have been unjust to myself and no one grants pardon for sins except You; therefore, forgive me with Your forgiveness and have mercy on me. Surely You are the Forgiver, the Merciful.

 

******** Arabic text *************

 

Transliteration:

Allahumma inni a 'uThu bika min 'athabil-qabri wa a'uThu bika min fitnatil-masihid- dajjal. Wa a'uThu bika min fitnatil mahya wa fitnatil mamat. Allahumma inni a'uThu bika minal ma'thami wal maghram.

 

Translation:

Allah I seek Thy protection from the punishment of the grave, and I seek Thy protection against Dajjal, the architect of disorder and trials, and I seek refuge with You from afflictions of life and death. O Allah I seek Thy protection from sins and from being in debt.

 

After reciting one or more of these prayers, the Imam turns his face towards the right and says Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, i.e; peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah, and then turns his face towards the left and repeats Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, to mark the end of the Prayer. The congregation does same. If the Prayer which is being performed is not of two Raka'at but is a three or four Raka'at Prayer, then sitting in the Qa'dah position at the end of the second Rak'at, is shortened and the worshipper recites only up to and including At-tashahud. Having recited At-tashahud, the Imam says Allahu Akbar indicating the end of the second Rak'at and the beginning of the third Ra'kat, 0 and assumes the Qiyam posture, completes the third Rak'at exactly as he has done the second. The whole congregation follows him. If the Prayer is of three Raka'at, for example Maghrib Prayer, then after the second prostration of the third Raktat, the Imam sits in the Qa'dah position, recites At-tashahud and Durood and some other prayers silently and says Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, marking the end of the Prayer. The whole congregation follows his movements and recite the same silently.

If the Prayer is a four Raka'at Prayer, like Zhuhr, 'Asr and Isha'a, the Imam does not assume the Qa'dah posture at the end of the their Rak'at, but leads the congregation immediately into the Qiyam of the fourth Rak'at. It is only after the second Prostration of the fourth Rak'at that the Imam sits in the Qa'da position. In this Qa'dah which is called final Qa'dah, recite Durood and prayers after At-tashahud. They then end the Prayer by saying Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah while turning their face towards the right and to the left as explained earlier. The following points should be noted:

  1. If it is the final Qa'dah, At-tashahud and Durood and some other prayers are recited. If it is not the final Qa'dah, only At-tashahud is recited and after saying Allahu Akbar the next Rak'at is started.

  2. If the Prayer being performed is a two Raka'at Prayer, the Qa'dah after the second Rak'at is the final Qa'dah.

  3. If it is a three Raka'at Prayer, the Qa'dah at the end of the third Rak'at is the final Qa'dah.

  4. If it is a four Raka'at Prayer the Qa'dah at the end of the fourth Rak'at is the final Qa'dah.

     

INDIVIDUAL PRAYER

Even if Prayer is not offered in congregation but offered individually, it is offered exactly in the same way as when led by an Imam, except that whatever the Imam recites loudly, is not recited loudly by the individual worshipper. He recites everything silently, without raising his voice. For example, when he recites Sura Fatiha, or says Allahu Akbar, Same Allahu leman Hameedah and Assalamo Alaikum, he recites all of these silently.

 

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER

Every Muslim is required to offer the Fardh part of his Prayers in congregation. Mosques are built for the purpose of congregational Prayers. A Hadith tells us that the reward of a Prayer offered in congregation is twenty-seven times more than that offered individually.

The Imam should be chosen by the congregation, keeping in mind that to the best of their knowledge, he is a pious person and the most well-versed among them in the Holy Quran. The Imam can also be appointed if there is a regular religious authority, e.g., a Khalifa. Whoever is chosen or appointed as Imam must be followed in the Prayer even if somebody thinks that the appointed person is not worthy of it. For those people who doubt the worthiness of an Imam, the following instructions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, should suffice:

 

****** Arabic text *************

 

Transliteration:

'An Abi Hurairata qala: Qala Rasulullahi sallallhu 'alaihi wa sallam: AsSalatul maktubatu Wajibatun khalfa kulli Muslimin, barra kana au fajiran wa in 'amilal kabair. (Sunanu Abi Dawud, aljuz'ul-awwal, kitabus-salah)

 

Translation:

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah, on whom be peace, related that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stated: To offer Fardh Prayer behind any Muslim Imam is essential, whether he is a pious person or a sinner, even if he had committed a grievous sin.

 

If, at the prescribed time for the Prayer services, two or more Muslim males find themselves together somewhere, away from an established mosque, they are not allowed to offer the Fardh part of that Prayer service individually, but are required to do so in congregation. When only two Muslims come together for Prayers, one of them leads the Prayer. They stand together so that the 2nd person stands on the right side of the Imam.

Sometimes, a man performs his Prayer at home while a female member of the family likes to join him. In that case, she should stand on his left. In the case where two Muslim males are offering their prayer in congregation worshippers arrive, they should arrange themselves in a row so that the Imam remains in the middle. In normal cases when three or more Muslims offer their prayer in congregation, the Imam should stand in front, all facing towards the Ka'aba. In exceptional cases however, the Imam can also stand in the middle of the first row along with other worshippers.

According to some schools of thought, there should be at least two persons in the last row behind the Imam. These schools of jurisprudence even permit gently pulling someone from the last row so as to form a new row with two persons instead of one.

Other schools discourage this act, as it not only causes disturbance to the person who is gently pulled but also to others who are already engaged in prayer.

[ Previous ] [ Next ] [ Contents ]



Copyright © by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 1995-2001. All rights reserved.
15000 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring MD 20905
If you have questions, comments or suggestions, email at info@alislam.org
or call 1-800-WHY ISLAM  between 8AM and 5PM USA PST