MAKROOHAT OF THE SALAT (UNDESIRABLE ACTS DURING PRAYER)
These are acts which are undesirable, and are below the dignity of the Prayer. Prayer should always be offered with a consciousness that one is standing before one’s Lord. The Makroohat are:
- To fiddle with one’s clothing.
- To glance sideways or to the sky.
- To keep the eyes closed.
- To offer Prayer without any head dress.
- Not to place one’s feet with toes towards the Qibla during Prostration or to lift the feet from the ground in this position.
- To start Prayer when one is hungry whilst food is laid on the table.
- To continue the Prayer in spite of an urge to go to the toilet.
- To pray in a cemetery while facing a grave.
- To offer Prayer in very tight clothes so that one feels uncomfortable during the Prayer.
- To pray in an unsuitable environment, e.g., in a stable, goat’s pen or in a noisy market place.
- To stand with one’s weight shifted on to one leg alone or to do things which are below the dignity of the Prayer.
- To pray in an open place without a Sutra. A Sutra is an object placed before the worshipper to mark the boundary of his Prayer.
- To nod when someone says Assalamo Alaikum during the Prayer.
- To pray without washing one’s mouth after eating.
- To change the order of Suras in the Prayer, i.e; to recite Suras which come later in the Quran in the first Rak’at and the Suras which appear earlier in the Holy Quran, in the follow ing Rak’at.
- To place hands under the forehead while in prostration.
- To rest one’s belly on things during prostration.
- To spread one’s forearms on the ground while performing Sajdah.
- To recite Quranic verses during Ruku or Sajdah.
- To go ahead of the Imam, i.e; to go into the next posture before the Imam.
Note 1: A worshipper is allowed to remove or kill any harmful insect in case he finds it close to where he is praying.
Note 2: The place of worship should be neat and clean and the air, as far as possible, should be free of any unpleasant odour. Every Muslim is enjoined to respect the dignity of the Prayer even if he is not praying himself. No one should in any way, e.g. by words of mouth or by his action, cause any worshipper discomfort or distraction. That is why it is not allowed to cross the path of a worshipper. This means that one should wait until the worshipper finishes his Prayer.
ACTIONS WHICH MAKE PRAYER NULL AND VOID
The following acts are incompatible with Prayer and invalidate Prayer if done:
- When the ablution lapses.
- Eating or drinking while offering Prayer.
- To speak or to respond to anyone during Prayer.
- To laugh during Prayer.
- To turn the face to the right or to the left while praying.
SUJOOD-US-SAHV i.e; PROSTRATIONS OF CONDONEMENT
If a person commits a mistake during Prayer, which affects the validity of the Prayer, e.g; if he is in doubt whether he has offered the prescribed number of Raka’at, the Prostrations of condonement are necessary.
The Prostrations are offered after the recitation of At’tashahud, and Durood, and other prescribed prayers in the Final Qa’dah of the Prayer. Thus, after saying Allahu Akbar, two prostrations are performed, in which Subhana Rabbi yal A’alaa is recited, then the Imam reverts back to Qa’dah position and says Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah turning his face towards the right and then towards the left, to mark the end of the Prayer.
If the Imam commits such a mistake which can be condoned by the Prostrations, then the whole congregation will have to perform those Prostrations of condonement, But if one of the followers commits a mistake while following the Imam, he is not required to perform the Prostrations of condonement.
If there is a doubt as to how many Raka’at have been performed, then one should observe the rule of certainty, i.e; if the doubt is whether one has offered three or four Raka’at, for instance, one should offer the fourth Rak’at to be on the safe side though one might have offered it before.
PRAYER DURING SICKNESS
The performance of Salat is of prime importance in Islam. A sick person who cannot stand for Prayer, should offer his Prayer while sitting; and if he cannot even sit, he should offer his Prayers while lying down. If he cannot bow down or prostrate, he is allowed to make symbolic gestures to that effect, and if he is so sick that he cannot move his head or hand, he can fulfill this obligation by making gestures in his mind.
SALAT DURING A JOURNEY
If a person is travelling by any means of transportation which precludes his standing up for Prayer, nor can he get off from the vehicle, he can offer his Prayer while seated and the condition of facing towards the Qibla would not be mandatory in this situation. He should face in the direction in which the mount, vehicle, boat or airplane, etc., is moving, if possible.
In the early days of Islam, the Zhuhr ‘Asr and Isha’a congregational Prayer services had only two Raka’at, just like Fajr Prayer but subsequently they continued to be of two Raka’at length only for a person who is on a journey. In normal circumstances, the number of Raka’at were doubled. Hence, normally, one has to perform four Raka’at Fardh each, for Zhuhr, ‘Asr and Isha’a Prayers while a traveller offers only two Raka’at for each of the above mentioned Prayers.
If a traveller reaches a place where he intends to stay less than 15 days, then this concession will apply and he will shorten his Prayers as mentioned above.
However, this concession does not apply to the Fardh part of the Fajr and Maghrib Prayers.
If a person is staying with a close relative whose house he regards as his own, e.g; his parents’ home, the home of his in-laws, or a religious headquarter such as Makkah, Madina, Qadian or Rabwah, etc., he can shorten his Prayer as outlined above but it would be preferable for him to offer the full four Raka’at as applicable.
While one is on a journey, the Sunnat part of every Prayer is dropped, with the exception of the Vitr Raka’at in the Isha’a Prayer and the two Raka’at Sunnat of the Fajr Prayer.
To offer Nawafil during a journey, i.e; optional Prayers, are entirely up to each individual.
Moreover, it is also permissible to combine two Prayer services during a journey. Zhuhr Prayer can be joined with the ‘Asr Prayer and can both be offered either at the Zhuhr Prayer time or at ‘Asr Prayer time. Similarly the Isha’a Prayer can be joined with the Maghrib Prayer and can be offered either at Maghrib Prayer time or Isha’a Prayer time.
If travellers are offering their congregational Prayer behind an Imam who is a local inhabitant, they have to follow the Imam and offer four Raka’at for Zhuhr, ‘Asr and Isha’a Prayers. The rule of concession would not apply in that case. But if the person leading the Prayer, i.e. the Imam, is a traveller, then he will shorten his Prayer accordingly and the travellers in the congregation will also finish their Prayer with the Imam, while those who are not on a journey will stand up when the Imam has recited the salutations to mark the end of Prayer and complete their Prayer.
SALAT DURING DANGER (SALAT-UL-KHAUF)
It is permissible to shorten one’s Prayer when one is facing life-threatening danger, e.g., war. The act of Q’Asr, which means shortening of Prayer, can be applied to Prayer in eleven different ways that have been mentioned in the Holy Quran and in the Traditions. In essence, when heavy fighting breaks out in the battlefield, or one anticipates a surprise attack from the enemy, or if the army is forced to take up positions in trenches, Prayers are shortened because of the intensity of the situation. If the situation permits one to offer two Raka’at, one should offer two Raka’at, otherwise one Rak’at would be acceptable. In case it is too dangerous to offer Prayer in congregation, individual Prayers should be offered but if the situation does not allow even this, then one can offer Prayer while on the move, on foot or on a mount, whether or not facing the Qibla. If the danger is even of a greater degree, the Prayers can be offered through mere gestures, or by declaring the intention to pray and with a few gestures reciting some portion of the prescribed verses. It is also permissible to combine several Prayers at a time during such conditions. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul-Maghazi, Bab Ghazwah Khandaq, Sahih Muslim, Kitab-us-Sa-tat Bab Salat-ul-Khauf)
QADA (MISSED) PRAYERS
If one misses the timely performance of a daily Prayer service, e.g; due to forgetfulness, falling asleep, or becoming unconscious, etc., then such missed Prayers, when offered later on, are known as Qada Prayers. One has to offer the obligatory part of the Prayer services which have been missed. Whenever a person realises that he has missed the obligatory Prayers or Prayer, he should offer them immediately keeping in view the natural sequence of those Prayers.
Some religious leaders have given decrees that one may offer one substitute Prayer to compensate all Prayers missed in one’s lifetime. They have coined the term Qada -i-Umri for it. Because of such teachings people have become less attentive in the observance of Prayers.
Prayer is the daily sustenance of the spirit. How can a person stay hungry for ten years and then eat ten years worth of food in one go? It, therefore, demeans the institution of Prayer to suggest that a person may neglect the duty of offering Prayer all his life and then simply offer Qada-i-Umri one day to compensate the loss. This is not the teaching of the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
According to Islamic jurisprudence, if someone has missed a Prayer knowingly and deliberately, no Qada can compensate that and the Prayer is lost for ever, but the true judge in such cases is God Almighty.
To go to bed soon after the Isha’a Prayer and to get up in the late hours of the night for the observance of the optional Tahajjud Prayer is a source of great blessing. Although it is not obligatory, it is very strongly emphasised by the Holy Quran. It has always been the practice of the pious people to perform this Prayer regularly in order to gain Allah’s special favours. The time for Tahajjud Prayer finishes when the time for Fajr Prayer starts. The supplications made during Tahajjud Prayer are granted acceptance by God Almighty readily. It is also a vehicle for achieving nearness to God, because at that hour, one gives up sleep and forsakes the comfort of one’s bed, to fall prostrate before one’s Lord. Tahajjud Prayer consists of eight Raka’at. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, always offered Tahajjud Prayer, dividing it into two Raka’at units. He used to recite long passages from the Holy Quran in the Qiyam position and prolong Ruku and Sajdah with supplications. His Tahajjud Prayer was followed by three Raka’at of Vitr Prayer. Thus he used to offer eleven Raka’at every night before dawn.
Taraveeh Prayer is the special Prayer ordained for the month of Ramadhan. It has to be performed each night during the month of Ramadhan. It is in fact offered at Tahajjud time. The observance of Taraveeh Prayer after the Isha’a Prayer was allowed during the caliphate of Hadhrat Umar, may God be pleased with him, to enable such people, who for unavoidable reasons could not perform Taraveeh Prayer at Tahajjud time to still offer this Prayer. However, it is preferable to offer this Prayer in pre-dawn hours. The recitation of long passages from the Holy Quran during the Taraveeh Prayer has been in vogue among Muslims, following the practice of the Companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Taraveeh Prayer consists of eight Raka’ats, but one can offer as many as twenty or more Raka’at if one wants to. It seems appropriate to take a little rest each time after offering four Raka’at.
PRAYER WHEN SOLAR AND LUNAR ECLIPSES OCCUR
The solar eclipse is called Kusoof and the lunar eclipse is called Khusoof. This visual change in the heavenly bodies reminds the faithful that just as the sun and the moon appear to have lost their light to a considerable extent during the eclipses, so can various kinds of spiritual ills result in a reduction of the spiritual light that illuminates the believer’s heart. Only God’s mercy can protect one from such a spiritual eclipse. Hence a two Raka’at Prayer is precribed on the occasion of solar or lunar eclipses as a reminder to believers that they should seek God’s blessings and God’s mercy if they want to scale spiritual heights.
The inhabitants of a town or city offer two Raka’at in congregation, either in a mosque or outside in the open. Sura Fatiha and long passages from the Holy Quran should be recited aloud in this Prayer. In every Rak’at, two Ruku‘ are performed. After the recitation of some passages of the Holy Quran, a Ruku should be performed, then the Imam should go back in Qiyam position and recite some other passages from the Quran and then go into Rake or the second time. Some Traditions even tell us that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, performed three Ruku in one Rak’at. Then the Imam should go into Sajdah position. Lengthy supplications should be made in Ruku as well as in Sajdah of this Prayer. At the end of the Prayer, the Imam should deliver a sermon, in which he should draw the attention of people to the subject of asking forgiveness from God Almighty and he should discuss ways and means of reforming society.
PRAYER TO INVOKE RAIN
When there is a drought due to lack of rain, people might invite the mercy of God Almighty by gathering in an open field for Prayer, during the day. The Imam should wear a sheet of cloth as his outer garment and lead a two Raka’at Prayer. The recitation in this Prayer should also be aloud. After the Prayer, the Imam should lead the congregation by raising his hands in Prayer and he should recite the following:
******** Arabic text ***********
Allahummas qina ghaitham mughitham muree’am murree-an-nafi-an ghaira dhaarin, ‘ajilan ghaira ‘ajil. Allahummasqi ‘ibadaka wa bahaimaka wanshur rahmataka wa ahyi baladakal mayyita. Allahummasqina, Allahummasqina. (Sunanu Abi Dawud, kitabus-salah)
It is a Prayer to seek guidance from God Almighty when one intends to embark upon any important task or project, e.g; trade, journey, marriage, etc. The matter may be religious or otherwise. The purpose of this Prayer is also to seek God’s help so that the outcome of the task in hand is successful.
A two Rak’at Prayer is offered, before one goes to bed at night, in which Sura Fatiha is followed by Sura Al-Kafiroon in the first Rak’at and Sura Fatiha followed by Sura Ikhlas in the second Rak’at. During Qa’dah position after reciting At’tashahud, and Durood and some other Prayers, the following should be recited:
******* Arabic text *****************
Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika wa astaqdiruka biqudratika wa as’ aluka min fadlikal ‘azhim. Fa innaka taqdiru wala aqdiru, wa ta ‘lamu wala a’lamu wa anta ‘allamul ghuyub. Allahumma inkunta ta’lamu anna hathal amra khayirn li fi dini wa ma ‘ashi wa ‘aqibati amri faqdirhu li wa yassirhu li thumma barik li fih. Wain kunta ta ‘lamu anna hathal amra sharrulli fi dini wa ma ‘ashi wa ‘aqibati amri f‘Asrifhu ‘anni w‘Asrifni ‘anhu, waqdir liyal-khaira haithu kana thumma ardini bih.
This sequence of Prayer recitation is derived from the practice of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
SALATUL HAJAAT- i.e; PRAYERS OFFERED WHEN IN NEED OF HELP
This Prayer is performed when one is in need or in difficulty. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said that whoever is in need of something, should perform Wudhu and then say two Rak’at of Prayer. After the Prayer, one should recite Thanaa or glorification and praise of God Almighty, Durood and then recite the prayer given below. It is hoped that the particular need will be fulfilled and God would show the way for the achievement of that goal.
***** Arabic text **********
La ilaha illallahul Halimul Karim, Subhanallahi Rabbil ‘arshil ‘azhim. Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘alamin. As’ aluka mujibati rahmatika wa ‘azaima maghfiratika, walghanimata min kulli birrin wassalamata min kulli ithm. la tada li thambanilla ghafartahu wa la hamman illa farrajtahu wala hajatan hiya laka ridhan illa qadaitaha ya Arhamar Rahimeen.
This Nawafil (optional) Prayer consists of two phases; offering two Raka’at when the sun has risen for a while but not enough to have heated up the environment. Once the latter has occurred, this is the second phase, in which one may offer four or eight Raka’at. The first phase is known as Salat–ul-Ishraq and the second Salat-ul-Zoha. It has also been named Salat–ul-Awwabeen.
In some Traditions, however, the six Raka’at Prayer offered in between Maghrib and Isha’a Prayers is called Salat–ul-Awwabeen.
When it seems that someone is approaching his time of death, the recitation of Sura Yaaseen (Ch. 36 of the Holy Quran) is recommended. The reason for this choice is that the topics dealt with in this Sura are of a nature which alleviate the suffering of the person concerned and give him a kind of spiritual comfort. One should also recite, in low but audible tone, the Takbeer, and Kalima Shahadah near the person concerned. Once the person dies, all those who are present and all who come to know of the death later, should recite:
** Arabic text ********
Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji ‘un.
The body should be bathed in the following manner:
Fresh or lukewarm water should be used to wash the body three times. The practise of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was to put some leaves of a Beri tree in the water for washing the dead body. First of all, those limbs, which are washed during normal Wudhu (Ablutions) should be washed though it is not required to pour water in the mouth or nostrils to clean them or to wash the feet. Next the body should be washed, first the right side and then the left. Private parts of the body should remain covered by a cloth. Men alone can bathe male persons and women alone can bathe female persons. The body should then be wrapped in a shroud, which normally is made of an inexpensive white cloth.
The shroud for men consists of three pieces of cloth; a top sheet to cover the top part of the body, a bottom sheet to cover the lower part and a large sheet to cover the whole body from head to feet.
For a female, however, two additional pieces of cloth are used, one for her chest and the other for her head. Islam instructs that one should arrange the burial with utmost simplicity.
A martyr does not need either bathing or the shroud to wrap his body. He should be buried in the clothes he was wearing at the time of death.
After bathing and wrapping the body in a shroud, the body should be carried on shoulders to the place where the Funeral Prayer is to be performed. The Funeral Prayer is held in the open or in a place built for that purpose called Janaza Gah. Those present for the funeral service should arrange themselves in rows behind the Imam. The number of rows should be odd. The Imam should occupy a position ahead of the first row and in the middle, with the body of the deceased resting in front of him. The position of the dead body should be such that the right side of the body should be towards the Ka’aba.
The Imam commences the Prayer by saying Allahu Akbar, i.e; Allah is the Greatest, loudly. The followers say the same in a low tone. The Imam then recites Thanaa and Sura Fatiha silently. He then says Allahu Akbar without raising his hand. The followers say Allahu Akbar too but in a low tone. Then, the whole congregation recites Durood silently. After that the Imam says Allahu Akbar for the third time audibly and the particular prayers for the deceased as given below, are recited. The Imam then says Allahu Akbar for the fourth time and, turning his face towards the right says Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, And turning his face towards the left repeats the same to mark the end of the Prayer.
The followers, too, say Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, in a low tone and also turn their faces to the right and left.
There is no Ruku or Prostration in the Funeral Prayer. Funeral Prayer in absentia can also be offered for a deceased person, specially for prominent people or in a case when few Muslims have offered the original Funeral Prayer. To offer a Funeral Prayer for a Muslim is obligatory for the body of all Muslims. It is called Fardh-i-Kifaya. Thus if only a few people offer the Funeral Prayer they are deemed to have done it on behalf of all Muslims. The rest of the Muslim Community is therefore absolved from the obligation of performing the Funeral Prayer.
If the deceased is an adult, male or female, the following Prayer is recited:
****** Arabic text **********************
Allahumaghfir lihayyina wa mayyitina wa shahidina wa ghaibina wa saghirina wa kabirina, wa Thakarina wa unthana. Allahumma man ahyaitahu minna fa ahyihi ‘alal Islam, wa man tawaffait-tahu minna fa tawaffahu ‘alal-Iman. Allahumma la tahrimna ajrahu wala taftinna ba’dah.
PRAYER FOR A DECEASED MALE CHILD
**** Arabic text *************
Allahummaj’alhu lana salafan wa faratan, waj’alhu Iana ajran wa thukran,waj’alhu lana shafi’an wa mushaffa’a.
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Allahumj ‘alha lana salafan wa faratan wa dhukhran wa’ mushffa’ah.
The grave may be prepared either as a dug up area which contains a further niche land inside for the body to rest on or it may be just a dug up area. However, it is essential for the grave to be wide and spacious. In extreme cases more than one body can be buried in one grave. If the burial at a particular location is meant to be temporary, or if the burial ground is likely to be affected by flood waters, then it is permissible to use an iron or wooden box for the corpse so as to protect the body from decaying too early.
The body must be lowered into the grave with care and caution.
The following should be recited when the body is being lowerd into the grave:
*********** Arabic text *****************
In the name of Allah and with his blessings, upon the path set by the conduct of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.
As the body is placed in the grave, the sheet wrap should be loosened a bit at the opening and the face tilted a little towards the Qibla. Some bricks or stone slabs should be used to cover the niche (Lahd) and then sand or loose earth should be heaped. The following should be recited on this occasion:
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Minha khalaqnakum wa fiha nu idukum wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra.
When the burial ceremony is complete, a brief silent congregational Prayer with raised hands should be made for the forgiveness of the deceased. Then the mourners should leave the cemetery reciting the following:
******** Arabic text ********************
Assalamu ‘alaikum wa inna insha Allahu bikum la-lahiqun.
It is commendable for the near and dear ones, or neighbours, to provide meals to the bereaved family for one time at least.
One must not give in to any superstitions. The condolences and conditions of bereavement should be maintained for three days. After that life should come back to normal. However, the period of bereavement as applicable to the widow of the deceased is four months and ten days. According to the Holy Quran, this is a period to stabilise her mentally and emotionally as women are under a great stress, more so than men in this situation, and they need protection from those who sometimes exploit their helplessness by sympathising at the time when such women are more vulnerable. During this period, a widow should not leave her house except for unavoidable needs. In case the woman is the only earning hand in the family and she has to keep up her job obligations, then she is allowed to go out for the purpose of performing her essential professional responsibilities, without socialising herself.
She may further abstain from wearing make-up, dressing up festively, using perfume or taking part in festive ceremonies. This period should be spent by her in the remembrance of Allah and with patience and gratitude to her Creator.