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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 10: Prayer-Service (Summary of the Chapter)

Chapter 10:
Prayer-Service (Summary of the Chapter):

Every prayer-service consists of two, three or four units (h. 1), the unit being called a rak`ah (lit., an act of bowing) which consists of qiyam (standing) ruku' (bowing of the head and body), sajdah (prostration) and jalsah or qa`dah (sitting), in the order in which they are mentioned. These are all the worshipful positions which a man can adopt, and they are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in different places, not of course in this order (vv. 3-7.) It will be noted that after giving the number of rak`ahs in a particular prayer it is added, "and after it two rak`ahs" (h. 1). This latter is the supererogatory part (nafl), which is said singly and is commonly known as sunnah (the Prophet's practice), as distinguished from the congregational prayer which is called maktubah (obligatory) (H. vii : 4), and is commonly known as fardz. There is perfect agreement in the whole Muslim world as to the number of rak`ahs in the congregational service. In the case of prayers consisting of four fardz rak`ahs, the number of rak`ahs is halved when journeying, while the sunnah may be dropped altogether (v. 2 ; h. 32). A full description of the different postures of the rak`ahs-- a practical revelation to the Holy Prophet (H. ix : 3)--and the arrangement in which they follow each other are given in h. 3. Further details relating to these postures are contained in hh. 4-7.

Every posture or change from one posture to another is connected with some kind of dhikr,* and the man who prays should know its significance (v. 1 ; h.8). The most frequently occurring dhikr in prayer is the takbir (magnifying), i.e., the utterance of Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest). These words are uttered first when a man begins the prayer-service and then on every change from one position to another, except when he rises from ruku` (h. 9). An additional dhikr after rising from ruku` is mentioned in h. 19. After the first utterance of Allahu Akbar, one or other of the dhikrs mentioned in hh. 10, 11 is uttered in a voice audible to oneself only. The latitude given in this matter shows that any other prayer may be added. It is, however, with the Fatihah that the service really opens (h. 12). It is so essential lot prayer, that without it no prayer is acceptable (h. 13). The recital of the Fatihah is followed by Amin, which should be uttered in a loud voice when the Fatihah is a loud voice (h. 14). In the first two rak`ahs the Fatihah is followed by the recital of any portion of the Holy Qur'an (hh. 15, 16). There are many forms of dhikr for ruku` and sajdah (hh. 17, 18), to which any prayer in any language may be added, especially in sajdah in which state a person is enjoined to make most petitions, as he is nearest to God when he humbles himself most (h. 21). In fact, the whole of the prayer-service is a petition to the Divine Being, and any prayer may be addressed in any position, so much so that the Holy Prophet used to address prayers even when reciting the Holy Qur'an (h. 18). Special intercessory prayers were offered on rising from ruku` (h. 20). A prayer is also addressed in the respite between the two sajdahs (h. 22). Prayers are also offered in the sitting position (hh. 23-26). But like a petitioner who takes advantage of an opportunity for being heard, some sort of dhikr is resorted to even after the prayer is finished (h. 28, 29). The service ends with taslim (h. 27).

Some points of minor importance are added at the end. The first relates to the procedure to be adopted when a mistake is made through forgetfulness (hh. 30, 31) ; the second to prayer when journeying and to the duration of the journey (hh. 32, 33).

* Dhikr means literally remembrance, and in relation to prayer it includes all utterances regarding the praise and glorification of God, recitations from the Holy Qur'an and supplications to God.



Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 10: Prayer-Service (Summary of the Chapter)


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