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Books Section > The Muslim Prayer-Book by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Five Daily Prayers
The Five Daily Prayers:
by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib
The Muslim Prayer-Book
I. Regulation of
For a Muslim his prayer is his spiritual diet, of which he partakes five times a day. Those who think that it is too often should remember how many times daily they require food for their bodies. Is not spiritual development much more essential than physical development? Is not the soul more valuable than the body? If food is needed several times daily to minister to the needs of the body, is not spiritual refreshment at the same time badly needed? Or, if the body would be starved if it were fed only on the seventh day, has not the soul been actually starved by denying to it even the little which it could get after six days? The founder of Christianity himself emphasised this when he said "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What Christ taught in words has been reduced to a practical form by the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
It may be noted that while other religions have generally set apart a whole day for Divine service, on which other work is not to be done, Islam has given quite a new meaning to Divine service by introducing prayer into the everyday affairs of men. A day is not here set apart for prayer, and in this sense no Sabbath is known to Islam. Islam requires that a Muslim should he able to disengage himself from all worldly occupations and resort to his prayers, even when he is most busy. Hence it is also that Islam has done away with all institutions of monkery, which require a man to give up all worldly occupations for the whole of his life in order to hold communion with God. It teaches that communion with God may be held even when man is most busy with his worldly occupations, thus making possible that which was generally considered impossible before its advent.
But while Islam has given permanence to the institution of prayer by requiring its observance at stated times and in a particular manner, it has also left ample scope for the individual himself to select what portions of the Holy Qur'an he likes and to make what supplications his soul yearns after. General directions have no doubt been given, and on these the whole of the Muslim world is agreed, for these directions were necessary to secure regularity, method, and uniformity, but in addition to these, ample scope has been left for the individual to give vent to his own feelings before the great Maker of the universe. As regards the time and mode of prayer, the following directions will be sufficient for the information of the ordinary reader.
II. Times of
The saying of prayer is obligatory upon every Muslim, male or female, who has attained to the age of discretion. It is said five times a day as follows:
1. Salat al-Fajr, or the morning prayer, is said after dawn and before sunrise.
2. Salat al-Zuhr, or the early afternoon prayer, is said when the sun begins to decline, and its time extends till the next prayer. On Fridays, the Friday service takes the place of this prayer.
3. Salat al-`Asr, or the late afternoon prayer, is said when the sun is about midway on its course to setting, and its time extends to a little before it actually sets.
4. Salat al-Maghhrib, or the sunset prayer, is said immediately after the sun sets.
5. Salat al-`Isha, or the early night prayer, is said when the red glow in the west disappears, and its time extends to midnight. But it must be said before going to bed.
When a person is sick or on a journey, or when there is rain, the early afternoon and the late afternoon prayers may be said in conjunction, and so also the sunset and early night prayers.
Besides these five obligatory prayers there are two optional ones. The first of these is the Salat al-Lail, the tahajjud, or the late night prayer, which is said after midnight, after being refreshed with sleep, and before dawn. This prayer is specially recommended in the Holy Qur'an. The other is known as the Salat al-Dzuha, and it may be said at about breakfast time. This is the time at which the two `Id prayers are said.
III. Wudzu or
Before saying prayers it is necessary to wash those parts of the body which are generally exposed. This is called wudzu, or ablution. This ablution is performed thus:
1. The hands are cleansed, washing them up to the wrists.
2. Then the mouth is cleansed by means of a toothbrush or simply with water.
3. Then the nose is cleansed within the nostrils with water.
4. Then the face is washed.
5. Then the right arm, and after that the left arm, is washed up to the elbow.
6. The head is then wiped over with wet hands, the three fingers between the little finger and the thumb of both hands being joined together.
7. The feet are then washed up to the ankles, first the right foot and then the left.
But if there are socks on, and they have been put on after performing an ablution, it is not necessary to take them off; the wet hands may be passed over them. They should be taken off, however, and the feet washed once in every twenty-four hours. The same practice may be resorted to in case the boots are on, but it would be more decent to take off boots when going into a mosque.
A fresh ablution is necessary only when a man has answered a call of nature or has been asleep.
In cases of intercourse between husband and wife, ghusl or washing of the whole body is necessary.
When a person is sick, or when access cannot be had to water, what is called tayammum is performed in place of wudzu or ghusl. Tayammum is performed by touching pure earth with both hands and then wiping over with them the face and the backs of the hands.
The adhan [Azan] (call to prayer) is called out at the prayer time, five times daily. It consists of the following sentences, uttered in the order given in aloud voice by the crier standing with his face to the qibla [Footnote: Qibla means the direction towards which one turns his face. The Muslims are required to turns his face, towards Ka' bah, the sacred House as Makkah, when saying their prayers. All mosques are built so as to face the Ka'bah.] with both hands raised to his ears:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
"Allah is the Greatest" (repeated four times).
Ashhadu al la ilaha illa-llah.
Ashhadu al la ilaha illa-Ilah.
"I bear witness that nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah (repeated twice).
Ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasulu-Ilah,
Ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasulu-Ilah.
"I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" (repeated twice).
"Come to prayer" (repeated twice, turning the face to the right).
"Come to success" (repeated twice, turning the face to the left).
"Allah is the Greatest" (repeated twice).
La illaha illa-llah.
"Nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah".
The following sentence is added in the call to the morning prayer after hayya 'ala-l-falah:
"Prayer is better than sleep" (repeated twice).
When the call to prayer is finished, the crier as well as the hearers make a petition in the following words:
Allahum-ma Rabba hadhihi-d-da 'wati-t-tammati wa-s-salati-I-qa'imati ati Muhammada-ni-l wasilata wa-l-fadzilata waddarajata-rrati'ata wa-b'athhu maqqmam mahmudan-illadhi wa'adta-hu.
"O Allah! Lord of this perfect call and ever-living prayer, grant to Muhammad nearness and excellence and raise him to the position of glory which Thou hast promised him."
The service consists ordinarily of two parts, one part, called the fardz [Fardz, means literally what is obligatory.], to be said in congregation, preferably in a mosque, with an lmam leading the service; the second part, called sunna [Sunna means the Prophet's practice.], to be said alone. But when a man is unable to say his prayer in congregation, the fardz may be said like the sunna, alone.
Each part consists of a certain number of rak'as as explained further on.
The Fajr, or morning prayer, consists of two rak'as (sunna) said alone, followed by two rak'as (fardz) said in congregation.
The Zuhr, or early afternoon prayer, is a longer service consisting of four rak'as (sunna) said alone followed by four rak'as (fardz) said in congregation and followed again by two rak'as (sunna) said alone.
In the Friday service held at the time of Zuhr, which takes the place of the sabbath of some other religions, the four rak'as (sunna) said alone and the four rak'as (fardz) said in congregation are reduced each to two, but the fardz are preceded by a sermon (khutba).
The 'Asr, or the late afternoon prayer. consists of four rak'as (fardz) said in congregation.
The Maghrib, or the sunset prayer, consists of three rak'as (fardz) said in congregation, followed by two rak'as (sunna) said alone.
The 'Isha, or early night prayer, consists of four rak'as (fardz) said in congregation followed by two rak'as (sunna), said alone, again followed by three rak'as (witr) said alone.
The Tahajjud, or late night prayer, consists of eight rak'as (sunna) said in twos.
The Dzuha, or the before-noon prayer, may consist of two or four rak'as.
The 'Id prayer consists of two rak'as (sunna) said in congregation, being followed by a sermon or khutba.
When a person is journeying, the sunna are dropped in every one of the prayers except the morning prayer. and the four rak'as (fardz) in each of the Zuhr, the 'Asr and the 'Isha prayers are reduced to two. When one is aware that his stay at a particular place in his journey will be ten days or more, the complete service should be performed (opinion, differ on the length of stay at a particular place).
When there are two or more persons, they should form a jama'a, congregation [Footnote: The whole Muslim body that can assemble to one place, both men and women, must gather at the appointed time, pray and glorify God, and address their petitions to Him in a body. All people stand shoulder to shoulder in a row, or in several rows, as the case may be, their feet being to one line, and one person, chosen from among them and called the Imam, which means leader, leads the prayer and stands in front of all. If, however, there are women in the congregation, they form a row by themselves at the back, and after the congregational prayer over the men are not allowed to leave their places until the women have gone out. The distance between the leader and the first row, or between the different rows, is such that the persons in each row may be able to prostrate themselves, so that their heads may be almost at the feet of the front row. This distance would generally be four feet. The smallest number of people that can form a congregation is two, one leading the prayer and the other following, and these two stand together, the lmam a little ahead, say about six aches, and standing to the left while the follower stands on the right. If a third person joins while the prayer is thus being led, either the Imam moves forward or the person following moves backward, so that the two who follow form a row. The people who stand behind are called muqtadun or followers, and the discipline is so perfect that the followers are bound to obey the Imam, even though he may make a mistake, though they have the right to point out the mistake, by pronouncing the words subhan-Allah (glory be to Allah). This amounts to a hint that God alone is free from all defects, such being the meaning of the word subhana. It is however the judgement of the brain which is the decisive factor, and the followers, after giving the hint, must still obey him.], one of them acting as the lmam, or the leader; but when a person is alone, he may say the fardz alone, as he does the sunna.
Two chief features of the Muslim congregational service are that the service may be led by anyone, the only condition being that he should know the Qur'an better than the others, and that he should excel the others in righteousness and in the performance of his duties towards God and His creatures. The second is that not the least distinction of caste or rank or wealth is to be met with in a Muslim congregation: even the king stands shoulder to shoulder with the least of his subjects.
To announce that the congregational prayer is ready, the iqama is pronounced in a loud voice, though not so loud as the adhan. The sentences of the adhan are also the sentences which form the iqama, but with two differences. Those in the adhan are with the exception of the concluding la ilaha ill-allah repeated twice, the starting Allahu Akbar alone being pronounced four times; but in the iqama all these sentences may be uttered only once. The second difference is that after hayya 'ala I-falah, the following sentence is uttered twice:
"Prayer is ready."
The additional words of the morning adhan do not find a place in the iqama.
As regards the service itself, the Imam reads aloud the Fatiha and the portion of the Holy Qur'an that follows the Fatiha in the morning prayer and the first two rak'as of the sunset and early night prayers, while in the remaining rak'as and in all other prayers, these are repeated in a low voice audible only to the reciter; the takbirs and all other dhikr announcing the change of position are, however, uttered in a loud voice in all congregational prayers.
VII. What Constitutes One
As already remarked, each prayer consists of several rak'as of fardz, or fardz and sunna. One rak'a is completed as follows:
1. Both hands are raised up to the ears in a standing position with the face towards the qibla, while the words Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest of all) are uttered, and this is called the takbir tahrima.
2. Then comes qiyam. The right hand is placed upon the left over the breast or a little lower while the standing position is maintained, and the following prayer called istiftah is that which is generally adopted:
Subhana-ka-llahu-mma wa bihamdi-ka wa tabaraka-smu-ka wa ta'ala jaddu-ka wa la ilaha ghairu-ka.
"Glory to Thee, O Allah, and Thine is the praise, and blessed is Thy name, and exalted is Thy majesty, and there is none to be served besides Thee."
The following is a longer prayer:
Inni wajjahtu wajhiya li-Iladhi, fatara-s-samawati wa-l-ardza hanifan wa ma ana mina-l-mushrikin. Inna salati wa nusuki wa mahyaya wa mamati li-Lahi Rabbi-I-'alamin; Ia sharika la-hu wa bi-dhalika umirtu wa ana mina-I-Muslim-in. Allahu-mma anta-I-Maliku la ilaha illa anta, anta Rabbi wa ana 'abdu-ka, zalamtu nafsi wa-taraftu, bi-dhanbi fa-ghfir-li dhunubi jami'an la yaghfiru-dh-dhunuba illa anta; wa-hdi-ni li-ahsani-I-akhlaqi la yahdi li-ahsani ha-illa anta wa-srif 'anni sayyi'a-ha la yasrifu sayyi'aha illa anta.
"Surely I have turned myself, being upright wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth and I am not of the polytheists. Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds, no associate has He; and this I am commanded and I am one of those who submit. O Allah! Thou art the King, none is to be served but Thee; Thou art my Lord and I am Thy servant; I have been unjust to myself and I confess my shortcomings so forgive Thou all my shortcomings, for none forgives the shortcomings but Thou. O Allah! guide me to the best of morals, none guides to the best of them but Thou, and turn away from me bad morals, none can turn away bad morals but Thou."
Either of the above prayers is followed by the word:
A'udhu bi-Ilahi minash-shait ani-r-rajim.
"I seek the refuge of Allah from the accursed devil."
After this the Fatiha, the first chapter of the Holy Qur'an, is repeated, and this is the most essential part of the prayer, being repeated in every rak'a. It runs thus:
1. AI-hamdu li-Ilahi Rabbi-l 'alamin.
3. Maliki yaumi-d-din.
4. lyya-ka na'budu wa iyya-ka nasta'in.
6. Sirata - lladhina an'amta 'alaihim.
7. Ghairi-l-magh dzubi 'alai-him wala-dz-dzallin.
"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
2. The Beneficent, the Merciful.
3. Master of the Day of Requital.
4. Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
5. Guide us on the right path.
6. The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed favours.
7. Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray."
At the close of the above is said Amin -- i.e., Be it so. Then any portion of the Qur'an which the worshipper has memorised is recited. Generally one of the shorter chapters at the close of the Holy Book is recited [Note: The Quranic prayers quoted further on may serve to same purpose.], and the chapter termed al-Ikhlas is the one recommended for those who are unacquainted with the Qur'an. This is as follows:
1. Qul huwa-Ilahu Ahad.
3. Lam yalid wa lam yulad.
4. Wa lam yaku-Ilahu kufuwan ahad.
"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. Say, He, Allah, is One.
2. Allah is He on Whom all depend.
3. He begets not nor is He begotten.
4. And none is like Him."
3. Then saying Allahu Akbar, the worshipper lowers his head down, so that the palms of the hands reach the knees. In this position, which is called Ruku' the following words expressive of Divine glory and majesty are repeated at least three times:
"Glory to my Lord the Great."
4. After this, the standing position is assumed with both arms at the sides, with the words:
"Allah listens to him who praises Him:"
"Our Lord! to Thee is due all praise."
5. Then the worshipper, saying Allahu Akbar, prostrates himself, the toes of both feet, both knees, both hands, and the forehead touching the ground. This is called the sajda and the following words expressing Divine greatness are uttered at least three times:
"Glory to my Lord, the most High."
The following is an alternative form for the above-mentioned dhikr in ruku' or sajda:
Subhana-ka-Ilahu-mma Rabbana wa bi-hamdi-ka Allahu-mmaghfir li.
"Glory to Thee, O Allah our Lord! and Thine is the praise; O Allah! grant me protection."
6. Then, with the utterance of Allahu Akbar comes the jalsa, a short rest in a sitting posture, the outer side of the left foot and the toes of the right one, which is in an erect position, touching the ground, and the two hands are placed on the two knees. The following prayer is offered in this condition:
Allahu-mma ghfir-li wa-rham-ni wa-hdi-ni wa 'afi-ni wa-rzuq-ni wa-rfa-ni wa-jbur-ni.
"O Allah! grant me protection and have mercy on me and guide me and grant me security and grant me sustenance and exalt me and set right my affairs."
7. Then, with the utterance of Allahu Akbar follows a second sajda in the same manner and with the same prayers as the first sajda.
The position of sajda is one of utmost humility and the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "The servant is nearest to his Lord when he is in a state of sajda , so be frequent in your supplications to God in that condition." Any petition or any prayer to God may be made in sajda or in any other posture.
8. One rak'a is finished with the second sajda. The worshipper then rises, saying Allahu Akbar, and assumes a standing position for the second rak'a and beginning with the Fatiha finishes it in the same manner as the first.
9. When the second rak'a is completed, the worshipper assumes a sitting posture as in jalsa. This is called qa'da, and in this position the following prayer, called at-tashahhud, is offered:
At-tahiyyatu li-Ilahi wa-salawatu wa-t-tayyibatu; as-salamu 'alaika ayyuha-n-Nab-iyyu wa rahma-tuIlahi wa barakatu-hu; as-salamu 'alai-na wa 'ala 'ibadillahi-s-salihin. 'Ashhadu alla ilaha illaIlahu wa ashhadu 'anna Muhammadan abdu-hu wa rasuluh.
"All services rendered by words and bodily actions and sacrifice of wealth are due to Allah. Peace be on thee, O Prophet! and mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that none deserves to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle."
The forefinger of the right hand is raised during the pronunciation of the last sentence.
10. If this is only the intermediate sitting in a prayer of three or four rak'as, the worshipper saying Allahu Akbar stands up after the above-mentioned dhikr, but if it is the final sitting, whether in a prayer of two or three or four rak'as, the following dhikr called As-sala 'ala-n-Nabiyy or Darud [Darood], is added:
Allahu-mma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa ala ali Muhammadin kama sallaita 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala ali lbrahima inna-ka Hamidum Majid. AIIahumma barik 'ala Muhammadin wa 'ala' ali Muhammadin kama barakta 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala' ali Ibrahima inna-ka Hamidum Majid.
"O Allah! exalt Muhammad and the true followers of Muhammad as Thou didst exalt Abraham and the true followers of Abraham; surely Thou art Praised, Magnified. O Allah! bless Muhammad and the true followers of Muhammad as Thou didst bless Abraham and the true followers of Abraham; surely Thou art Praised, Magnified."
11. The following prayer is then added:
Rabbi j'al-ni muqima-s-salati wa min dhurriyyati Rabba-na wa taqabbal du'a; Rabba-na- ghfir-li wa li-walidayya wa li-l-mu'minina yauma yaqumul-hisab.
"My Lord! make me and my offspring keep up prayer; our Lord! and accept my prayer; our Lord! grant protection to me and my parents and to the believers on the day when the reckoning will take place."
This may be followed by any other prayer which the worshipper desires. That suitable for almost every person occurs in a hadith:
Allahu-mma inni a'udhu bi-ka mina-l-hammi wa-l-huzni wa a'udhu bi-ka mina-l-'ajzi wa-l-kasali wa a'udhu bi-ka min-al-jubni wa-l-bukhli wa a'udhu bika min ghalabati-d-daini wa qahri-r-rijal; Allahu-mma-kfi-ni bi-halali-ka 'an harami-ka wa ghni-ni bi-fadzli-ka 'am-man siwa-ka.
"O Allah! I seek Thy refuge from anxiety and grief, and I seek Thy refuge from lack of strength and laziness, and I seek Thy refuge from cowardice and niggardliness, and I seek Thy refuge from being overpowered by debt and the oppression of men; O Allah suffice Thou me with what is lawful, to keep me away from what is prohibited, and with Thy grace make me free from want of what is besides Thee."
12. The concluding dhikr in the sitting posture is taslim, or the utterance of the following words:
As-salamu 'alai-kum wa rahmatu-Ilah.
"Peace be on you and the mercy of Allah!"
These words are uttered first turning the face to the right and again turning it to the left.
The witr are the three rak'as which are generally altered at the end of the 'Isha or Tahajjud prayers, and in the third rak'a of witr before going to ruku' or after rising from it, the following prayer, called the Qunut, is offered:
Allahu-mma-hdi-ni fi man hadaita wa 'afi-ni fi man 'afaita wa tawalla-ni fi man tawallaita wa barik li fi ma a'taita wa qi-ni sharra ma qadzaita inna-ka taqdzi wa la yuqdza 'alai-ka, inna-hu la yadhillu man walaita tabarakta Rabbana wa ta'alaita.
"O Allah ! guide me among those whom Thou hast guided, and preserve me among those whom Thou hast preserved, and befriend me among those whom Thou hast befriended, and bless me in what Thou hast granted and save me from the evil of what Thou has ordered, for Thou dost order and no order is given against Thy order: surely he is not disgraced whom Thou befriendest, blessed art Thou our Lord! and highly exalted."
Another form of Qunut is the following:
Allahu-mma inna nasta'inu-ka. wa nastaghfiru-ka, wa nu'minu bi-ka, wa natawakkalu 'alai-ka wa nuthni 'alaika-l-khaira, wa nashkuru-ka wa la nakfuru-ka, wa nakhla'u wa natruku man yafjuru-k; Allahu-mma iyya-ka na'budu wa la-ka nusalli wa nasjudu, wa ilai-ka nas'a wa nahfidu, wa narju rahmata-ka wa nakhsha 'adhaba ka inna 'adhaba ka bi-l-kuffari mulhiq.
"O Allah! we beseech Thee for help, and seek Thy protection and believe in Thee and rely on Thee and extol Thee and are thankful to Thee and are not ungrateful to Thee and we declare ourselves clear of, and forsake, him who disobeys Thee.
"O Allah! Thee do we serve and for Thee do we pray and prostrate ourselves, and to Thee do we betake ourselves and to obey Thee we are quick, and Thy mercy do we hope for and Thy punishment do we fear, for Thy punishment overtakes the unbelievers."
IX. Dhikr after
There is no reference in any hadith to the Holy Prophet raising up the hands for supplication after finishing prayers, as is the general practice, but some kinds of dhikr are recommended:
Astaghfiru-llaha Rabbi min kulli dhanbin wa'atubu ilai-hi.
"I seek the protection of Allah, my Lord, from every fault and turn to Him."
Allahu-mma' anta-s-Salamu wa min-ka-s-slamu, tabarakta Rabbana wa ta 'alaita ya dha-l-jalali wa-l'-ikram.
"O Allah! Thou art the Author of peace, and from Thee comes peace; blessed art Thou, O Lord of Glory and Honour!"
La ilaha illa-llahu, wahda hu la sharika la-hu, la-hu-I-mulku wa I-hamdu wa huwa 'ala kullishai'-in qadir; Allahu-mma la mani'a Ii-ma 'a'taita wa la mu'tiya Ii-ma mana'ta wa la yanfa'u dha-l-jaddi min-ka-I jaddu.
"Nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah. He is One and has no associate; His is the kingdom and for him is praise, and He has power over all things. O Allah! there is none who can withhold what Thou grantest, and there is none who can give what Thou withholdest, and greatness does not benefit any possessor of greatness as against Thee."
To these may be added the ayat-ul-Kursiyy (Holy Quran: 2:255) [The ayat-ul-Kursiyy may also be recited in prayers after the Fatiha.] which gives a sublime description of Divine grandeur:
Allahu la ilaha illa hua-al-Hayyu-l-Qayyum; Ia ta'khu-dhu-hu sinatun wa la naum; la-hu ma fis-samawati wa ma fi-I-ardz; man dha-lladhi yashfa'u 'inda-hu illa bi idhni-hi; ya'lamu ma baina aidi-him wa ma khalfa-hum wa la yuhi-tuna bi-shai'im-min 'ilmihi illa bi-ma sha'a; wasi'a kur-siyyu-hu-s-samawati wa-l-ardz wa la ya'udu-hu hifzu-huma wa huwa-l-'AIiyyu-I-Azim.
"Allah is He besides whom there is no God, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting by whom all things subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them and they cannot comprehend anything, out of His knowledge except what He pleases; His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not and He is the most High, the Great."
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