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Books Section > The Muslim Prayer-Book by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Other Muslim Prayers


The Other Muslim Prayers:


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The Friday Service:

There is no sabbath in Islam, and the number of prayers on Friday is the same as on any other day, with this difference that the specially ordained Friday service takes the place of the Zuhr prayer. It is the greater congregation of the Muslims at which the people of a place must all gather together, as its very name yaum al-jumu'a (lit. the day of gathering) indicates. Though all prayers are equally obligatory, yet the Holy Qur'an has specially ordained the Friday service, and thereat it enjoins all Muslims to gather together: "O you who believe! when the call is made for prayer on Friday, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off all business; that is better for you if you know" (62:9). Any other prayer may be said singly under special circumstances but not so the Friday service which is essentially a congregational service. The service may be held in any mosque whether it be situated in a village or in a town or in a certain quarter of a town, or it may even he held, when necessary, in a place where there is no mosque. It is, however, true that the practice has been for all Muslims, who can do so, to gather together at a central mosque, because the underlying idea is, undoubtedly, to enable the Muslims to meet together once a week in as large a number as possible.

A special feature of the Friday service is the khutba (lit. an address), or a sermon, by the lmam before the prayer service is held.

Any subject relating to the welfare of the community may be dealt with in the khutba. The Holy Prophet is reported to have once prayed for rain during the sermon after somebody had directed his attention to the fact that the cattle and the people were in severe hardship on account of a drought. As regards the 'Id khutba, it is expressly stated that the Holy Prophet used to order the raising of an army, if necessary, in the khutba, or give any other orders which he deemed necessary, in addition to admonitions of a general nature. All these facts show that the khutba is for the education of the masses, to awaken them to a general sense of duty, to lead them into the ways of their welfare and prosperity and warn them against that which is a source of loss or ruin to them. Therefore the khutba must be delivered in a language which the people understand and there is no sense in delivering it in Arabic to an audience which does not know that language. Divine service is quite a different thing from the sermon. The sermon is meant to exhort the people, to give them information as to what to do under certain circumstances and what not to do; it is meant, in fact, to throw light on all questions of life; and to understand a sermon in a foreign language requires an extensive, almost an exhaustive, knowledge of that language. Not so in the case of Divine service, which consists of a number of stated sentences and the meaning of which can be fully understood even by a child, in one month. Moreover, in Divine service the different postures of the body are in themselves expressive of Divine praise and glory, even if the worshipper does not understand the significance of the words. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that the masses should know what the preacher is saying. In fact, the Friday sermon is the best means of education for the masses and for maintaining the vitality of the Muslim community as a whole.

After the first Adhan is called, those gathered say the Sunnah prayers, (2 rak'as); even if a person comes late and the lmam has already started the sermon, the late comer must still perform these two rak'as. The Mu'adhdhin then calls the second Adhan. The Imam then stands up facing the congregation and delivers the khutba. He begins with the Kalima shahada in the following words:

Ash-ha-du al-la ilaha illa-llahu wahda-hu-la-sharika lahu wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasulu-hu; amma ba'du fa 'a’uzu billa-hi minash-shaitan-irrajim. Bismilla-hir-Rahman nir-Rahim.

"I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and messenger, after this I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil. I begin in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful."

The lmam then recites a Qur'anic text on which he wants to address the congregation, who are especially enjoined to remain sitting and silent during the Khutba. The Khutba is delivered in two parts. The lmam after finishing the address, breaks the sermon by a short interval during which he sits down. Then, standing again, he recites the following:

AI-hamdu li-llahi nah madu-hu wa nasta'inu-hu wa nastaghfi ru-hu wa numinu bi hi wa na tawakklu 'alai hi wa na'udhu bi-Ilahi min shururi anfusi-na wa min sayyi'ati a'malina, man yahdi-hi-Ilahu fa-la mudzilla la-hu wa man yudzlilhu fa-la hadiya-la-hu. Allahum-man-sur man-nasara dina Muhammadin sal-lalla-hu alai-hi wa sallama waj-al na-min-hum. Allahum-makhzul man khazala dina Muhammadin sal-lalla-hu alai-hi wa sallam wa la taj-'alna min hum.

"All praise is due to Allah; we praise Him and we beseech Him for help and we ask for His protection and we seek refuge in Allah from the mischiefs of our souls, and from the evil of our deeds; whomsoever Allah guides, there is none who can lead him astray and whom Allah finds in error, there is none to guide him. O Allah! help those who help the religion of Muhammad (the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him!) and count us among them. O Allah! disappoint those who try to disgrace the religion of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and do not make us of those."

The lmam then recites the Durud or al-sala'ala-Nabiyy, and then the following Qur'anic verse (16:90):

Inn-al la-ha ya'mu-ru bil-ad-li wal'ih-san-ni wa'i-ta'i-zil qur-ba wa yan-ha 'a-nil fah-sha'i wal-mun-ka-ri wal bagh-yi ya-'i-zu-kum la'al-la-kum ta-zak-ka-run. 'I-ba-dal la-hi uzku-rul lah-ha yaz-kur kum wad-'u-hu yas-ta-jib la-kum wa-la-dhik-rul la-hi ak-bar.

"Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion. He admonishes you that you may be mindful. O servants of Allah, remember Allah. He will remember you; call on Him. He will answer your call. And verily remembrance of Allah is greater than everything."

After the sermon is finished, the iqama is pronounced and a congregational service of two rak'as is held, in which the lmam recites the Fatiha and a portion of the Qur'an in a loud voice, as he does in the morning and evening prayers. This is the only obligatory service. Two rak'as (sunna) are said after the service has been finished. There is not the least authority for saying Zuhr prayer [The origin of this practice is in the wrong impression that Friday service can only beheld in a city or under the Muslim rule. As a matter of fact, as already shown, it may be held in a city or in a village or anywhere else. So also the condition that it can only be held under Muslim rule is simply absurd. The Quran and the Hadith place no such limitation on the Friday service or on any other service.] after the Friday service, which in fact takes the place of Zuhr prayers.


The `Id [Eid] Prayers:

There are, in Islam, two great festivals having a religious sanction, and in connection with both of them a congregational service of two rak'as is held, followed by a khutba or sermon. Both these festivals go under the name of 'Id which means a recurring happiness, being derived from 'aud meaning to return. The first of these is called the 'Id al-Fitr, and it follows ramadan, the month of fasting, and takes place on the first of Shawwal. The other is 'Id al-Adzha and it takes place on the 10th of Dhu-l-Hijja, the day following the day of pilgrimage.

The preparation for 'Id is similar to the preparation for the Friday service. One must take a bath, put on one's best clothes, use scent, and do everything possible to appear neat and tidy. The gathering in the 'Id should preferably be in an open place, but, if necessary, a mosque may also be used for holding the Divine service. An open space is preferable on account of the size of the congregation, which a mosque might not be able to hold. No adhan is called out for the 'Id prayers nor an iqama for the arranging of the lines. Though women take part in all the prayers and in the Friday service, they are specially enjoined to be present at the 'Id gatherings, for the Holy Prophet is reported to have said "the young girls and those that have taken to seclusion and those that have their menses on, should all go out (for the 'Id ) and be present at the prayers of the Muslims." The time of 'Id prayers is any time after sunrise and before noon.

The 'Id service consists only of two rak'as in congregation. The Imam recites the Fatiha and a portion of the Holy Qur'an in a loud voice, as in the Friday service. As already noted, there is neither adhan nor iqama for the 'Id prayer, but there is a number of takbirs [The calling aloud of Allahu Akbar] in addition to those that are meant to indicate the changes of position. On the best authority, the number of these additional takbirs is seven in the first rak'a and five in the second, before the recital of the Fatiha in both rak'as [As stated above, the number of additional takbirs given here is on the best authority available. A difference of opinion does, however, exist on this point. But much importance should not be attached to these matters. Some people say four additional takbirs in the first rak'a and three in the second, in the latter case before going to ruku'. The hadith, however, on which this is based, is not reliable.]. The takbirs are uttered aloud by the Imam one after another as he raises both hands to the ears and then leaves them free in the natural position. Those who stand behind him raise and lower their hands similarly.

The 'Id sermon is delivered after the Divine service is over. As regards the manner and the subject dealt with, it is similar to the Friday sermon, except that it is not necessary to break it up into two parts by assuming the sitting posture in the middle of it. It was the Holy Prophet's practice to address the women separately, who were all required to be present whether they joined the service or not.

While celebrating the great 'Id festivals, a Muslim not only remembers God (by attending the service) but he is also enjoined to remember his poorer brethren. The institution of a charitable fund is associated with both 'Ids. On the occasion of the 'Id al-Fitr, every Muslim is required to give sadaqa Fitr (lit. the Fitr charity) which amounts to three or four seers of wheat, barley, rice or any other staple food of the country, per head of the family, including the old as well as the youngest members, males as well as females.

The payment is to be made before the service is held, and it is obligatory (fardz). Like zakat, the Fitr charity was an organised institution, as expressly mentioned in a hadith: "They gave this charity to be gathered together, and it was not given away to beggars."

The principle of gathering the Fitr charity has now been abandoned by the Muslims, and the result is that a most beneficial institution of Islam for the upliftment of the poor and needy has been thrown into neglect, and the money which could strengthen national funds is merely wasted.

'Id al-Adzha also furnishes an occasion for the exercise of charity. Every Muslim who has the means is required to sacrifice an animal [One goat or one sheep suffices for one household; in the case of a cow or a camel, seven men may be partners.] after the prayers are over, and this not only makes the poorest members of the community enjoy the festival with a good feast of meat, but national funds for the amelioration of the poor or the welfare of the community, can be considerably strengthened if the skins of the sacrificed animals are devoted to this purpose. In addition to this, in places where the numbers of sacrificed animals is in excess of the needs of the population, the surplus may be refrigerated or dried and sold, and the proceeds thereof used for some charitable object


Tahajjud and Tarawih Prayers:

The Tahajjud prayer which is said during the latter half of the night consists of eight rak'as divided into a service of two at a time, followed by three rak'as of witr. To make it easier for the common people, witr prayer, which is really a part of Tahajjud, has been made a part of 'Isha or night prayer, and therefore, if the witr prayer has been said with 'Isha, Tahajjud would consist of only eight rak'as. But if there is not sufficient time, one may stop after any two rak'as. The Holy Prophet laid special stress on Tahajjud in the month of Ramadzan, and it was the Tahajjud prayer that ultimately took the form of Tarawih in that month. The Companions of the Holy Prophet were very particular about Tahajjud prayer, though they knew that it was not obligatory, and some of them used to come to the mosque during the latter part of the night to say their Tahajjud prayers. It is reported that the Holy Prophet had a small closet made for himself in the mosque and furnished with a mat as a place of seclusion wherein to say his Tahajjud prayers during the month of Ramazan, and on a certain night, when he rose up to say his Tahajjud prayers, some people who were in the mosque saw him and followed him in prayer, thus making a congregation. On the following night, this congregation increased, and swelled to still larger numbers on the third. On the fourth night the Holy Prophet did not come out, saying he feared lest it be made obligatory and that it was preferable to say the Tahajjud prayers in one's own house. Tahajjud, except for these three days, thus remained an individual prayer during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, the caliphate of Abu Bakr, and the early part of the caliphate of 'Umar. But later on, 'Umar introduced a change whereby this prayer became a congregational prayer during the early part of the night, and was said after the 'Isha prayer and this prayer has received the name of Tarawih.

It is now the practice that the whole of the Holy Qur'an is recited in the Tarawih prayers in the month of Ramadzan. But to recite it in a single night is against the express injunctions of the Holy Prophet. The number of rak'as in the Tarawih prayers seems, at first, to have been eleven, being exactly the number of rak'as in the Tahajjud prayers (including of course three witr rak'as). It is stated that 'Umar at first ordered eleven rak'as, but later on the number seems to have been increased to twenty rak'as of Tarawih and three rak'as of witr, making a total of twenty-three.


Prayer or Service for Rain:

It is reported that on a certain occasion when there had been a long drought, someone requested the Holy Prophet, while he was delivering the Friday sermon in the mosque, to pray for rain, as both men and cattle were suffering severely, and in response, the Prophet raised his hands and prayed to God for rain.

Similarly he is reported to have prayed to God when there was excess of rain. On another occasion, however, he is said to have gone out into the open with the congregation, and to have prayed for rain and then performed two rak'as of prayer in congregation, reading the Fatiha in a loud voice, as in the Friday service.


Service during Eclipse:

A prayer service of two rak'as was held by the Holy Prophet during an eclipse of the sun. The service differed from the ordinary prayer service in that there were two qiyams and two ruku's in each rak'a.

After the first qiyam there was a ruku' as in the ordinary service, though of a longer duration, and then a qiyam followed again in which a portion of the Holy Qur'an was recited; this was followed by a second ruku', after rising from which, the sajda was performed as in the ordinary service; the recitation being in a loud voice, as in the Friday and 'Id prayers. There is also mention of a khutba (sermon) having been delivered after the service.


Service on the Dead:

A Divine service is held over the dead body of every Muslim, young or old, even of infants who have lived only for a few minutes or seconds. When a person dies, the body is washed with soap or some other disinfectant and cleansed of all impurities which may be due to disease. In washing the dead body, the parts which are washed in wudzu are taken first, and then the whole body is washed. It is then wrapped in one or more white sheets, and scent is also added. In the case of martyrs, or persons slain in battle, the washing and wrapping in white cloth is dispensed with. The dead body is then placed on a bier or, if necessary, in a coffin, and carried on the shoulders to its last resting-place as a mark of respect; though the carrying of the body by any other means is not prohibited. The Holy Prophet stood up when he saw the bier of a Jew pass by. This he did to show respect to the dead, and then enjoined his followers to stand up as a mark of respect when a bier passed by, whether it was that of a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

Following the dead body to the grave and taking part in the Divine service held over it is regarded as a duty which a Muslim owes to a Muslim, and so is also the visiting of the sick. Technically, taking part in Divine service is called fardz kifaya, which means that it is sufficient that some Muslims should take part in it. Women are not prohibited from going with the bier, though their presence is not considered desirable, because being more tender-hearted than men, they may break down by reason of their grief. The service may be held anywhere, in a mosque or in an open space or even in the graveyard if sufficient ground is available there. All those who take part in the service must perform wudzu. The bier is placed in front; the lmam stands facing the middle of the bier and the people form themselves into lines according to the number of those who take part, facing the Qibla. The general practice is to have three lines at least. If the number of people is very small, there is no harm if they form only a single line. The service starts with the takbir (saying Allahu Akbar), with the pronouncement of which hands are raised to the ears and placed in the same position as in prayer. After the takbir, istiftah (see p. 11) and the Fatiha are recited in a low voice by the lmam as well as those who follow. Then follows a second takbir without raising the hands to the ears, and the dhikr known as as-sala `ala Nabiyy recited in a low voice. The third takbir is then pronounced in a manner similar to the second takbir, and a prayer for the forgiveness of the deceased is addressed to God. Different forms of this prayer are reported as having been offered by the Holy Prophet, and it seems that prayer in any form is permissible.

The following is the most well known:

Allah-umma-ghfir li-hayyi-na wa mayyiti-na wa shahidi-na wa gha-'ibi-na wa saghiri-na wa kabiri-na wa dhakari-na wa untha-na; Allah-umma man ahyaita-hu minna fa-ahyi hi 'ala-I-Islami wa man tawaffaita-hu minna fatawaffa-hu 'ala-I-imani; Allah-umma la tahrim-na ajra-hu wa la taftin-na ba'da-hu.

"O Allah! grant protection to our living and to our dead and to those of us who are present and those who are absent, and to our young and our old folk and to our males and our females; O Allah! whomsoever Thou grantest to live from among us, cause him to live in Islam (submission) and whomsoever of us Thou causest to die, make him die in faith; O Allah! do not deprive us of his reward and do not make us fall into a trial after him."

Another prayer runs thus:

Allah-umma-ghfir la-hu wa-rham-hu wa 'afi-hi wa-'fu 'an-hu wa akrim nuzula-hu wa wassi' madkhala-hu waghsil-hu bi-l-ma'i wa-th-thalji wa-l-baradi wa naqqi-hi mina-I-khataya kama naqqaita-th-thauba-l-abyadza mina-d-danasi.

"O Allah! grant him protection, and have mercy on him, and keep him in good condition, and pardon him, and make his entertainment honourable, and expand his place of entering, and wash him with water and snow and hail and clean him of faults as the white cloth is cleansed of dross."

The prayers for the deceased are followed by a fourth takbir, after which comes the taslim as at the close of prayers. A similar Divine service may be held in the case of a dead man when the dead body is not present. When the service is finished, the bier is taken to the grave and buried. The grave is dug in such a manner that the dead body may be laid in it facing Makka. It is generally between four and six feet deep, and an oblong excavation is made on one side, wherein the dead body is to be placed. This is called the lahd. The dead body is made to rest in the lahd facing the Qibla. If the dead body is contained in a coffin, the lahd may be dispensed with. The following words are reported in a hadith as having been uttered by the Holy Prophet when placing a dead body in the grave:

Bi-smi-llahi wa bi-Ilahi wa 'ala sunnati Rasuli-llah.

"In the name of Allah and with Allah and according to the sunna of the Messenger of Allah."

The grave is then filled in and a prayer is again offered for the dead one and the people then depart. The funeral service of a child is similar to that of one who has reached the age of discretion, except that in the prayer after the third takbir the following words are recited:

Allahu-mma-j'al-hu la-na faratan wa salafan wa ajran.

"O Allah! make him for us a cause of recompense in the world to come and as one going before and a treasure and a reward."


Birth Rites:

The formalities that are required at the birth of a child are very few. The most important of these is the calling out of adhan in a low voice in the right ear and the calling out of iqama in the left ear of the new-born infant. The hair of the head is shaved off on the eighth day after birth and at the same time, if the parents can afford, one goat is sacrificed in the case of a daughter and two in that of a son, the flesh being distributed among relatives and friends. This is called `aqiqa. Circumcision or the removal of foreskin is resorted to in the case of a boy preferably at an early date. The practice of circumcision dates back to the days of Abraham and is now recognised by medical opinion as a remedy for many diseases.


Marriage Sermon:

According to the Islamic law marriage is a sacred contract between the husband and the wife; it is expressly called a covenant in the Holy Qur'an (4:21). A contract can only be made by the consent of the two contracting parties and it is necessary that the husband and the wife should "agree among themselves in a lawful manner" (2:232). Hence the first requisite of marriage is that each party should satisfy itself as to the desirability of choosing the other as a partner in life.

The second requisite of marriage is that the husband should settle a dowry (called the mahr) on the wife. It is described as "a free gift" from the husband to the wife given at the time of marriage (4:4). The amount of dowry depends upon the circumstances of the husband and the position of the wife. No limit is placed upon the mahr. It may be as low as a ring of iron according to a hadith, and it may be as high as a heap of gold according to the Holy Qur'an (4:20).

The third requisite of marriage is a public announcement relating to it, attended with the delivery of a khutba (sermon) which gives the marriage a sacred character. The sermon should begin with tashahhud which runs as follows:

AI-hamdu li-llahi nahmadu-hu wa nasta'inu-hu wa nastaghfiru-hu wa na'udhu bi-Ilahi min shururi anfusi-na wa min sayyi'ati a'malina, man yahdi-hi-Ilahu fa-la mudzilla la-hu wa man yudzlil hu fa-la hadiya-la-hu; wa ashhadu al la ilaha illa-llahu wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan 'abdu-hu wa Rasulu-hu.

"All praise is due to Allah; we praise Him and we beseech Him for help and we ask for His protection and we seek refuge in Allah from the mischiefs of our souls, and from the evil of our deeds; whomsoever Allah guides, there is none who can lead him astray and whom Allah finds in error, there is none to guide him; and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger."

After the tashahhud, the following four verses of the Holy Qur'an are recited, viz., 3:102; 4:1; 33:70, 71. These verses remind man of his responsibilities in general, and the middle one lays particular stress on the obligations towards women. They run as follows:

Ya ayyuha-Iladhina amanu-ttaqu-llaha haqqa tuqati-hi wa la tamutunna illa wa antum Muslimun.

"O you who believe! be careful of your duty to Allah with the care which is due to Him and do not die unless you are Muslims."

Ya ayyuha-n-nasu-ttaqu Rabba-kumu-Iladhi khalaqa-kum min nafsin wahidatin wa khalaqa min ha zauja-ha wa bath tha min huma rijalan kathiran wa nisa'a; wattaqu llaha-Iladhi tasa'aluna bi-hi wa-I-arham; inna-llaha kana 'alai-kum raqiba.

"O people! be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single being and of the same created its mate; and spread from these two many men and women; and be careful of your duty to Allah by whom you demand one of another your rights and to the ties of relationship; surely Allah watches over you."

Ya ayyuha-lladhina amanu-ttaqu-Ilaha wa qulu qaulan sadidan yuslih la-kum a'mala-kum wa yaghfir la-kum dhunuba-kum wa man yuti'i-Ilaha wa Rasula-hu fa-qad faza fauzan 'azima.

"O you who believe! be careful of your duty to Allah and speak the right word; He would put your deeds into a right state for you, and forgive you your faults; and whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle, he indeed achieves a mighty success."

The sermon of course must expatiate on these verses and explain to the audience the mutual rights and duties of husband and wife. At the conclusion of the sermon is made the announcement that such and such a man and such and such a woman have accepted each other as husband and wife, and the dowry is also announced at the time.

The man and the woman are then asked if they accept this new relationship, and on the reply being given in the affirmative, the marriage ceremony proper is concluded. In the Indo-Pak subcontinent the consent of the woman is generally obtained through her father or other guardian or relation. After the expression of consent by both parties, the whole audience raises its hands and prays for the blessings of God on the newly wedded couple. The words of the prayer as reported in Hadith are:

Baraka-Ilahu wa baraka 'alaika wa jama'a baina-kuma bi-I-khair.

"May Allah shower His blessings and may He bless you and unite you two in goodness."

To this may be added any other prayer for the welfare and prosperity of the couple, or prayers of a general nature for the welfare of all. Generally dates or sweets are distributed before the audience disperses. The marriage is generally followed by a feast called the walima.


Slaughtering Of Animals:

All animals that are allowed as food, excepting fish and other water-game, must be slaughtered in such a manner that blood flows out, and the following words should be pronounced at the time of slaughtering: Bi-smi llahi Allahu Akbar, i.e., "In the name of Allah -- Allah is the Greatest."

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Books Section > The Muslim Prayer-Book by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Other Muslim Prayers

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