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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 09: Institution of Prayer (Hadith -- The Traditions)


Chapter 09:
Institution of Prayer (Hadith -- The Traditions):


 

(Note: The superscript-numbers [e.g., intention2] that appear in the text [in pink] refer to the numbers of the explanatory footnotes that appear at the end of each Hadith [Tradition].)


1 Abu Hurairah reported that,
He heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, say:

"Tell me if there is a stream at the door of one of you, in which he bathes five times every day, what dost thou say, will it leave anything of his dirt?"

They said, It would not leave anything of his dirt. He said:

"This is the likeness of the five prayers, with which Allah blots out (all) faults."1 (B. 9 : 6.)

1 This hadith should be interpreted in the light of the Qur'an, which says, as quoted in the heading : "Prayer keeps one away from indecency and evil" (v. 1). By the blotting out of faults is therefore meant curbing the tendency to go against Divine injunctions. The man, who feels himself in the Divine presence five times a day, has his mind purified of all dross, just as the bather is purified of physical dirt.


2 Anas reported,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"When one of you says prayers, he holds confidential intercourse with his Lord." 2 (B. 9 : 8.)

2 That is the essence of prayer; a man should feel when praying that he is alone before his Maker, and he should open his mind to Him in its fullness.


3 Ibn `Abbas said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Gabriel acted as imam for me twice in the (Sacred) House; so he said the Zuhr prayer with me when the sun had declined from the meridian and (the shadow) was the measure of a thong, and he said the `Asr prayer with me when the shadow of everything was the like of it, and he said the Maghrib prayer with me when one who fasts breaks the fast, and he said the `Isha' prayer with me when redness in the horizon had disappeared, and he said the Fajr prayer with me when food and drink are prohibited to one who fasts. When it was the next day, he said with me the Zuhr prayer when the shadow (of a thing) was the like of it, and he said with me the `Asr prayer when the shadow (of a thing) was its double, and he said with me the Maghrib prayer when one who fasts breaks the fast, and he said with me the `Isha' prayer when one-third of the night had passed, and he said with me the Fajr prayer when the dawn was bright. Then he turned to me and said, O Muhammad! This is the time of the prophets before thee, and the time is between these two times."3 (AD., Tr-Msh. 4 : 1.)

3 This is a comprehensive hadith relating to the times of prayer. It further shows that the mode of prayer, the rak'ahs and the time thereof were taught to the Holy Prophet by Divine revelation, as it was Gabriel who led the prayers and the Holy Prophet followed him. Gabriel pointed out the time-limits within which different prayers could be said. The different times thus are : Zuhr--when the sun begins to decline till `Asr; `Asr--when the sun is about midway on its course to setting till it begins to set; Maghrib--after the sun sets till the disappearance of the red glow in the west; `Isha'--after the disappearance of the red glow till midnight (as other hadith show); Fajr--after dawn till sunrise. Where the days are too short, the Zuhr and the `Asr prayers may be combined, and where the nights are too short, the Maghrib and the `Isha' may be combined (h. 6.). Where the days or nights extend over 24 hours, the times of prayer may be fixed in accordance with the times of work and rest. Thus the morning prayer may be said on rising from sleep, the Maghrib and the `Isha' when going to bed, and the Zuhr and the `Asr in the middle of the day's work.


4 Ibn `Abbas reported that,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, forbade prayer after the morning prayer till the sun brightens, and after `Asr till it sets.
4 (B. 9 : 30)

4 The Fajr prayer is the last prayer of the night, and the `Asr the last prayer of the day. As h. 7 shows, these two prayers are given a special importance.


5 Ibn `Umar said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Do not purposely seek in your prayer the rising of the sun or the setting of it."5 (B. 9 : 30.)

5 What is forbidden is the commencing of prayer purposely when the sun is setting or when it is rising. If, however, a man begins his prayer before the setting of the sun, and it begins to set when he is still praying, he should finish his prayer. Similarly in the case of the rising of the sun. The prohibition aims at avoiding resemblance with sun-worshippers.


6 Ibn `Abbas reported that,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said prayers in Madinah seven (rak`ahs) and eight (rak`ahs) Zuhr and `Asr and Maghrib and `Isha'.
6 (B. 9 : 12.)

6 This hadith allows the combining of Zuhr with `Asr prayer and that of Maghrib with `Isha'. According to another hadith (Ah. I, 223), the Holy Prophet did this when there was "neither danger nor rain," and he did this so that "his ummah may not be in difficulty." This shows that the prayers spoken of may be combined in case of danger or rain, and even when there is no such reason. The combined prayers may be said at either prayer time. In combining prayers the sunnah that fall between the two prayers are dropped.


7 Fadzalah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, taught me, and there was in what he taught me (the command) : "And be mindful of the five prayers." He said, I said, These hours are such that I have (other) business to attend to therein, so command me something comprehensive so that when I have done it, it should suffice me. He said: "Be mindful of the two `Asr prayers." This was not known in our idiom. So I said, what are the two `Asr prayers? He said : "A prayer before the rising of the sun and a prayer before the setting of it."
7 (AD. 2 : 8.)

7 The hadith does not mean that only two prayers are sufficient. It only lays stress on their special importance. Or, perhaps, the man found it difficult to attend the congregational prayer five times daily, and he was told to be mindful specially of these two prayers and not to miss them in congregation.


8 Jabir reported that,
`Umar ibn al-Khattab came on the day of the Ditch
8 after the sun had set, and he began to abuse the disbelieving Quraish. He said, O Messenger of Allah! I could not manage to say the `Asr prayer until the sun was about to set. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said: "I call Allah to witness that I (too) have not said it." Then we got up towards Buthan, and he performed ablutions for prayer, and we too performed ablutions for it, and he said the `Asr (prayer) after the sun had set, and after that he said the Maghrib (prayer).9 (B. 9 : 36.)

8 Also known as the battle of Ahzab or Confederates, which took place in 5 A.H.

9 When the prayer-time is missed unavoidably, it may be said even after the time for it has passed.


9 Anas reported on the authority of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, (who) said:

"Whoever forgets (the saying of) a prayer, let him say the prayer when he remembers it; there is no atonement for it but this, `Establish the prayer for My remembrance'." 10 (B. 9 : 37.)

10 A long hadith is narrated by Bukhari, showing that when sleep overcomes a person, and he misses the prayer at the right time, he should say it when he gets up (B. 9 : 35).


10 Abu Barzah reported that,
TThe Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, disliked sleeping before the `Isha' (prayer) and conversation after it.
11 (B. 9 : 23.)

11 He disliked it, because one who went to sleep before he said the prayer might miss the prayer altogether; and because he wanted prayer to be the last act before going to bed, so that he should go to bed with a prayerful mind.


11 Anas said,
`A'ishah had a figured curtain of red wool, with which she had covered a side of her apartment. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Remove from us thy curtain, for its figures come before me in my prayers." 12 (B. 8 : 15.)

12 In order to apply the mind fully to prayer, it was necessary that there should be nothing, even in the environment, which should lead the mind away from it. That is also the reason why the mosque should be a simple structure.


12 `A'ishah said,
I asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, about casting side glances in prayer. He said:

"That is a snatching from the prayer of the servant, which the devil snatches away be deceit."13 (B. 10 : 93.)

13 Casting side glances would undoubtedly divert the attention from prayer, and this is not desirable. This is called a snatching away by the devil.


13 Zainab, wife of `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud, said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said to us:

"When one of you goes to the mosque, let her not use scent." 14 (M-Msh. 4 : 23.)

14 This order is also meant as a precaution against distraction. But scent was recommended on Fridays on account of the larger gatherings.


14 Abu Qatadah said,
While we were saying our prayers with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, he suddenly heard noise of (running) people. When he finished the prayer, he said,

"What was the matter with you?"

They said, We were hastening for the prayer. He said:

"Do not do so; when you come to prayer, you should be perfectly calm; then whatever part of it you overtake, say (it with the imam), and complete the part that has escaped you."15 (B. 10 : 20.)

15 Everything which disturbs the calm of mind, should be avoided, as this would be inconsistent with a peaceful attitude. Muslims need a calm atmosphere within and without the mosque, and this is the reason why they resent music before mosques.


15 Ibn `Umar said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"When one of you is taking food, let him not hasten until he satisfies his need, even though the iqama for prayers has been recited." (B. 10 : 42.)


16 Jabir said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, used to say his prayers on his riding camel in whichever direction it turned with him; but when he intended to say the obligatory prayer, he got down and faced towards the Qiblah.
16 (B. 8 : 31.)

16 This could be done in the case of a camel or a horse. A man who is in a boat or in a railway carriage should turn his face to the nearest direction to Qiblah in the first instance, but he is not required to continue changing the direction as the boat or the railway changes its direction.


17 Abu Hurairah said,
A man got up before the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, and asked him about praying in one garment. He said :

"Can every one of you get two garments?"

Then a man asked `Umar, and he said, When Allah gives ample, then you should use amply; a man wore his garments, a man prayed in a waist-wrapper and an outer garment, in a waist-wrapper and a shirt, in a waist-wrapper and a cloak, in trousers and outer garment, in trousers and a shirt, in trousers and a cloak, in knickers and a cloak, in knickers and a shirt, and I think he said, in knickers and an outer garment." 17 (B. 8 : 9.)

17 A man must be decently dressed according to his means. Any dress, that is regarded as decent in society, is looked upon as decent for prayers.


18 Abu Juhaim said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Did the passer in front of one who is praying know what burden is on him, it would be better for him to wait for forty (days) than that he should pass in front of him." 18 (B. 8 : 101.)

18 This is forbidden, because by so doing a man would distract the attention of the person who is praying. The Holy Prophet set up a sutrah--a spear or a staff, etc--in front of him when praying in an open place (B. 8 : 90).

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 09: Institution of Prayer (Hadith -- The Traditions)

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