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New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: Sayings and Acts of the Prophet

By Editorial Staff

Prayer is the daily ritual act of worship enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. A constant reminder throughout the day keeps believers mindful of God in the daily stress of life. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.

prayer

“Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).”

Jarir bin `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

“I pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to establish Salah, to pay the Zakah and to have the welfare of every Muslim at heart.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Any Muslim who fails to observe his prayers and has no reasonable excuse is committing a grave offense and a heinous sin.

The Messenger of Allah  said, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).” (Muslim)

Obligatory

The obligatory (fard) Prayer in Islam includes the five daily prayers and the weekly noon congregational prayer; Friday Prayer.

It was narrated that `A’ishah said:

“The first time the Salah was enjoined it was two rak`ahs, and it remained as such when traveling, but the Salah while resident was made complete.” (An-Nasa’i)

Times of Prayer

Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about the times of prayers. He said: The time for the morning prayer (lasts) as long as the first visible part of the rising sun does not appear and the time of the noon prayer is when the sun declines from the zenith and there is not a time for the afternoon prayer and the time for the afternoon prayer is so long as the sun does not become pale and its first visible part does not set, and the time for the evening prayer is that when the sun disappears and (it lasts) till the twilight is no more and the time for the night prayer is up to the midnight. (Muslim)

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever catches up with a rak`ah of the prayer, then he has caught up with the prayer.” (An-Nasa’i)

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “There is no prayer after the morning prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the `Asr prayer till the sun sets.” (Al-Bukhari)

In Congregation

A congregation is an association of men who, animated by the same aspiration, concentrate themselves on a single object and open up their inner selves to the working of a single impulse.

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a salah performed individually.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

The Messenger of Allah said: “If anyone goes out from his house after performing ablution for saying the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for hajj pilgrimage after wearing ihram (robe worn by the hajj pilgrims).

And he who goes out to say the mid-morning (duha) prayer, and takes the trouble for this purpose, will take the reward like that of a person who performs `Umrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in `Illiyyin (the highest levels of Heaven). (Al-Albani)

Friday Prayer

This weekly convention of Friday Congregation is compulsory upon every Muslim man who is required to observe the other five daily prayers and has no reasonable excuses to abstain. It falls on Friday of every week.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Friday prayer in congregation is a necessary duty for every Muslim, with four exceptions; a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person.

Abu Dawud said: Tariq Ibn Shihab had seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) but not heard anything from him. (Al-Albani)

Women’s Prayer at Mosques

One of the wives of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to offer the Fajr and the `Isha’ Prayer in congregation in the mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that `Umar disliked it, and he has great self-respect. She replied, “What prevents him from stopping me from this act?” The other replied, “The statement of Allah’s Messenger: ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slaves from going to Allah’s Mosques’ prevents him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Night Prayer

Many hadiths by the Prophet show the significance as well as importance of the Night Prayer and the merits attributed to those who regularly and properly perform it.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing sawm (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best salah (prayer) next after the prescribed salah is salah at night (Tahajjud prayers).” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing fasting after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best salah after the prescribed salah is salah at night.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Allah, Our Lord, descends (in a manner befitting His Majesty) to the nearest heaven to us of this universe during the last third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone to call upon Me so that I shall respond to him (fulfill his prayer). Is there anyone to ask of Me that I may grant his request. Is there anyone to seek My forgiveness so that I shall pardon him (and forgive his sins)’.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said: “You should pray qiyam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.”(At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

Special Du`aa’

Ibn `Abbas narrated:

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) got up at night to offer the tahajjud prayer, he used to say:  (O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever   is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. (Al-Bukhari)

Midmost Prayer

Zaid ibn Thabit said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to offer the Zhuhr Prayer in midday heat; and no prayer was harder on the Companions of the Messenger of Allah than this one. Hence the revelation came down: “Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer” (Al-Baqarah 2:238). He (the narrator) said: There are two prayers before it and two prayers after it. (Abu Dawud)

Fajr Prayer

Abu Huraira said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A prayer performed in congregation is twenty-five times more superior in reward to a prayer performed by a single person. The angels of the night and the angels of the day are assembled at the time of the Fajr (Morning) prayer.” Abu Hurairah added, “If you wish, you can recite:- “Verily! The recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn (Morning prayer) is ever witnessed (attended by the angels of the day and the night” (Al-Israa’ 17:78)” (Al-Bukhari)

Sunnah Prayer

Narrated `Abdullah Ibn `Umar:

I offered with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) a two rak`ahs prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs after the Zhuhr Prayer, two rak`ahs after Jumu`ah, Maghrib and `Ishaa’ prayers. (Al-Bukhari)

`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) never omitted four rak`ah prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs prayers before dawn (Fajr) Prayer. [Al- Bukhari]

Narrated Hafsah:

When the muezzin pronounced the Adhan for Fajr Prayer and the dawn became evident the Prophet ordered a two rak`ahs light prayer (sunnah) before the iqamah (second call to Prayer) of the compulsory (congregational) prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “There is a salah (prayer) between every Adhan and Iqamah; there is a Salah between every Adhan and iqamah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prohibited Actions in Prayer

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When the Iqamah is called, no prayer should be performed except the obligatory prayer.” (Muslim)

 

 

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Categories
New Muslims Prayer

Muslims Prayer Reduces Back Pain, Eliminates Stress: Study Finds

Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salah. The ritual is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the Qur’an.

Muslims Prayer

The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints.

According to research at Binghamton University, State University of New York, the complex physical movements of the ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly.

The study found that not only does quiet prayer eliminate physical anxiety, but that proper knee and back angles can be an effective clinical treatment.

“One way to think about the movements is that they are similar to those of yoga or physical therapy intervention exercises used to treat low back pain,” said Professor and Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Department Chair Mohammad Khasawneh, who is one of the authors of the paper entitled “An ergonomic study of body motions during Muslim prayer using digital human modeling”.

Acts of Worship

The research used computer-generated human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women to look at the effect on lower back pain.

While the research focused specifically on Islamic prayer practices, similar movements are also found in Christian and Jewish prayer rituals along with yoga and physical therapy.

The paper was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Working with Khasawneh, an interfaith team of Assistant Professor Faisal Aqlan from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Penn State Behrend, Assistant Professor Abdulaziz Ahmed from the Business Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Performance Improvement Consultant Wen Cao from the Department of Operational Performance Improvement at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center were all co-authors of the paper. All three are alumni of the Industrial and Systems Engineering doctoral program at Binghamton University.

Between Prayer and Vigilance

“Physical health is influenced by socio-economic, lifestyle and religious factors. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a strong association between prayer and vigilance about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle,” said Khasawneh.

“Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, while there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction.”

Researchers analyzed statistics based on the movements of computer-generated digital human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women, and models with lower back pain.

Ruku`

The group found that (ruku`) the bowing portion is the most stressful on the lower back, but for individuals with low back pain, using proper knee and back angles during the ritual can reduce pain. The angles are based on individual body shapes.

“The maximum compression forces created during prayer postures is much lower than National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety limits, and the movements can be safely considered a clinical treatment for low back pain, as it requires different movements of the human body on a regular basis,” Khasawneh said.

“Based on the pain level, a combination of back and knee angles can be identified.”

For those with back pain, maintaining exact prayer postures may not be possible. According to Islamic traditions and practices, if individuals cannot stand, they are allowed to pray seated or laying. If they are able to stand, they should maintain correct postures as much as they can.

Sujud

“The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints. It is recommended for these individuals to spend more time in the kneeling posture,” Khasawneh said.

According to the research team, using incorrect angles and movements can increase pain. The team also suggested that further study is needed for physically handicapped individuals, those with more extreme body types and women — especially pregnant women — to find the best movements for these groups. The group plans to further validate the findings with physical experiments using sensors and cameras to track the stresses on the individual body parts during the prayer ritual.

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Source: sciencedaily & independent.co.uk

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Categories
New Muslims Prayer

Step by Step Guide to Prayer

Step by Step Guide to Prayer

Prayer is one of the main and most important pillar in Islam. It is a connection between a person and Almighty Allah, the Creator.

A person should and must pray five times a day as Allah prescribed and made obligatory upon each and every Muslim to pray five times a day.

These five daily prayers are Fajr (Dawn) prayer, Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer, `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer, and –`Isha’ (Night) Prayer.

A Muslim must cover his `awrah (private parts) and what is meant by awrah? It is the part that a person should cover while praying.

For a man, `awrah is from his navel until his knee and this is the minimum requirement for a man to pray. For a woman, a Muslim woman must cover all her body except her face and hands.

As we mentioned in another video, a person must perform wudu’ (ablution) before prayer. After that, a person can offer prayer.

First, a person has to make niyyah (intention) in his heart that he is going to offer a certain prayer.

For example, a person will come and stand making intention in his heart not by saying that I would like to pray so and so prayer and I am in the Masjid to pray so and so prayer.

This comes with the action of going to the mosque to pray a certain prayer.

So, you stand and make intention first.

Second, you have to face the qiblah. What is the qiblah?

This is the direction that each Muslim should face which is the direction of the  Ka`bah in Makkah.

So, after making intention and standing straight with your feet, body and face; a person should put his hand like this above his shoulders or between his shoulders and ears.

So, a person can do like this or like this and then say “Allahu Akbar”

“Allahu Akbar” means Allah is the Greatest because you are standing in front of the Creator, Allah Almighty in the prayer.

After saying “Allahu Akbar”, you put your right hand on the left hand like this. It should be in the middle of your chest, on your chest or below the chest.

That is completely fine and there is no harm in it.

After making the takbirah (Alllahu Akbar) and putting your hands on your chest, you have to recite the opening of the prayer and there many openings for prayer. I am saying opening of the prayer not opening of the Qur’an (Surat Al-Fatihah).

So, first you say “Allahu Akbar” and then you do the opening and there are many openings as we said.

One of the most popular is, “Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta`ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.”

After reciting this short du`aa’, you read the first chapter of the Qur’an, that is Surat Al-Fatihah. The Prophet (peace upon him) said, ” There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book.” (Al-Bukhari)

So again, you raise your hands saying, “Allahu Akbar” and one of the important things is that a person should look downward at the place of (sujud) prostration.

So, “Allahu Akbar” and then looking down, the hands on the chest, reading the opening of the prayer which is “Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta`ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.”

After that, a person should say, “A’udhu billahi minash shaitanir rajim.” Then recite:  “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim.” After that, recite surat Al-Fatihah “Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen. Ar-Rahmaanir-Raheem. Maaliki. Yawmid-Deen. Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een. Ihdinas-Siraatal-Mustaqeem. Siraatal-ladheena an`amta `alaihim ghayril-maghdoobi `alaihim wa lad-daalleen. (Ameen).”

“Ameen” is not part of the Fatihah but it is highly important to say it which means “O Allah, accept my du`aa‘”.

After reciting Surat Al-Fatihah and saying “ameen”, it is also highly recommended that a person read few verses or short surah (chapter of Qur’an). For example, after reading Al-Fatihah, you may read a short surah such as “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim

Qul hu wal lahu ahad, allahus samad, lam yalid wa lam yulad, wa lam ya kul lahu kufuwan ahad.”

After reading the short surah, a person should say “Allahu Akabr” and make ruku` (bowing). Then, one should say, “Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim.”

Both hands or both fingers should hold upon one’s knees by saying “Allahu Akbar” and holding both hands on the knees.

Also, one important thing is that your back and your head should be straight as much as possible.

Your back and your head should be straight as much as possible. Your head should not be down or up rather it should be straight with your back.

Then, you say “Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim.”

After coming back, you should say “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah Rabbana lakal hamd” while raising your hands only one time.

After that, it is very important to know that it is up to you to keep your hands on your chest or to say “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah Rabbana lakal hamd.” and wait for a while and then you go for prostration.

After making ruku`, a person should keep in his mind that he is going to make sujud.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that a person should make sujud (prostration) by all seven parts of the body and these parts are; face including nose, both hands, both knees and both feet.

So, both hands, both knees, both feet that are six parts and face including forehead and nose.

So, you will do “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah Rabbana lakal hamd.” and then you go to make prostration.

“Allahu Akbar”“Allahu Akbar”

After coming from prostration, you should sit like that where your both hands are on your thighs near your knees.

Your right foot should be straight and your left foot should be on the ground.

While sitting, a person should say twice “Rabbighfir li”.

After saying that two times a person should go back to the prostration by saying “Allahu Akbar”.

By that, we completed our first rak`ah that contains your standing, saying “Allahu Akbar”, ruku` (bowing), coming back from ruku`, going to sujud, then coming back from sujud and sitting, going back to sujud again, and then standing up.

You do the same thing during the second rak`ah; you read surat Al-Fatihah, recite any of the short surahs or few verses form the Qur’an, then you go to ruku`, then come back from ruku` saying “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah Rabbana lakal hamd.”.

Then you make sujud and during it you say three times, “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la” and after that you come back and sit.

Then you go back to the second sujud and after that you should sit and finish your prayer if you are praying two-rak`ah prayer as in Fajr Prayer.

Now, we are going to sit and explain the second tashahud. After finishing the second rak`ah and second sujud, a person should sit like this putting his both palms or hands on his thighs. You will sit on your left foot and you will keep your right foot straight as you see.

After sitting into this position (the position of sujud), let’s say if you are praying Fajr which is only two rak`ahs (two units) you sit like this and point with your index finger towards the qiblah like this. You should say, Al-Tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa’l-salawaatu wa’l-tayyibaat. Al-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha’l-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu. Al-salaamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘ala ‘ibaad-illaah il-saaliheen. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama salayta ‘ala Ibrahem wa ‘ala aali Ibrahem, innaka hamedun majeed. Allaahumma baarika ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama barakta ‘ala Ibrahem wa ‘ala aali Ibrahem, innaka hameedun majeed”.

After this, a person should say “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”….”Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” and by saying tasleem on both sides, you are done with your prayer.

If you are praying Zhuhr, `Asr, Maghrib or `Ishaa’ prayer that are more than two rak`ahs, what will you do?

You will only pray two rak`ahs and after that you will start saying the tashahud: Al-Tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa’l-salawaatu wa’l-tayyibaat… and after saying Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh, you will stand up and then continue praying the third or the fourth rak`ah. Then, you will sit and make the same position and complete your whole tashahud and after that you will finish your prayer by saying “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”….”Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”.

By that, you are done with your prayer.

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Source: E-Da`wah Committee

 

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Categories
New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: The Basic Duty and Pivotal Concept in Islam

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai

Remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. O Believers! Seek help with patience and Prayer. For Allah is with the patient ones. (Al-Baqarah 2:152-153)

Prayer (Salah) being one of the five pillars of Islam is mentioned many times in the Qur’an as an obligatory duty for every adult Muslim. It is to be offered five times a day and certain prerequisites are to be met before offering it.

Praer in Islam

monotheism permeates both the concept and form of prayer in Islam, as it is devoted wholly to Allah.

In the above Qur’anic passage, however, the focus is on the essence or underlying spirit of prayer, which helps one grasp this basic duty and pivotal concept in Islam.

Needless to add, prayer in some form features in every religious tradition. Some of its popular forms are: incantations, spells and devotional acts and rituals. It varies from being silent to vocal, often assuming the form of meditation.

In Christianity, it is prayer to God the Trinity; to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. It may include elements of adoration, confession, intercession, petition or thanksgiving, following the pattern of the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” which Jesus taught his disciples (Matthew 6:9-15, Luke 11:2-4) and other biblical examples of prayer, especially those found in the New Testament epistles and the Old Testament psalms. Use is also made of the prayers of saints and spiritual writers. Posture in prayer varies. Some traditions teach kneeling, some standing, some sitting. Forms and types of prayer also vary.

One True God

By comparison, monotheism permeates both the concept and form of prayer in Islam, as it is devoted wholly to Allah, the One True God.

Like any other Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed the same prayer, bowing and prostrating to Allah.

Furthermore, unlike other faiths which recommend private or public forms of prayer, which usually turn into exercises in inner contemplation or meditation, Islam prescribes prayer as an obligatory duty, to be performed in congregation in a mosque, a particular structure set apart for this specific purpose. It is to be offered at appointed hours and in a particular manner, of which details are to be found in the Qur’an and Hadith, and as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

His Companions faithfully followed the way he said prayers and the same has been the practice of billions of Muslims down the ages. Remarkably, its form and features have remained unaltered all along.  Every Muslim performs it alike at the same hours, regardless of the place of his residence and in the same direction of Makkah.

Both literally and symbolically prayer has been the most distinct bond of Muslim fraternity in all time and place.

Conditions for Prayer

Certain prerequisites must be fulfilled before offering prayer. For example, the washing of some body parts is a precondition for prayer:

O you who believe! When ye rise up for prayer, wash you faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or you have had contact with women, and you find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that you may give thanks. (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

If one is in a state of impurity, one should take a bath,

O you who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when you are drunken, till you know that which you utter, nor when you are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till you have bathed. And if you be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or you have touched women, and you find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving. (An-Nisaa’ 4:43)

Likewise, one should put on clean clothes when offering prayer, O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals. (Al-A`raf 7:31) One should also face the direction of prayer, “And from wherever you go out (for prayer), turn your face toward Al-Masjid Al-Haram”. (Al-Baqarah 2:150)

It is imperative that prayer be said at its appointed hours – at dawn (Fajr), at noon (Zhuhr), in the afternoon (`Asr), after sunset (Maghrib) and in the late evening (`Isha’), (An-Nisaa’ 4:103, Hud 11:114, Al-Israa’ 17:78-80 and Ta-Ha 20:130-132).

It is preferable and more rewarding to pray in congregation, (Al-Baqarah 2:43 and al-Nisa’ 4:102).

Some other conditions governing prayer are that Allah’s excellent names and attributes be mentioned and a portion of the Qur’an be recited in prayer.

Furthermore, the Qur’an recitation should be in a distinct tone, (Al-Israa’ 17:110, Al-`Ankabut 29:45 and Al-Muzzammil 73:4).

An extensive account of these and other norms to be observed during prayer feature in standard works on Muslim theology and jurisprudence.

The passage we are concerned with here examines only the spirit of prayer defining what it is, its components and its benefits for man. For its better appreciation this passage should be read together with the following Qur’anic extracts which bring into further relief the objectives and essence of prayer:

Successful are the Believers, those who humble themselves in Prayer. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1-2)

And seek (Allah’s) help in patience and Prayer. Surely it is hard, except for those who fear Allah. (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Those who pray, they are constant in their Prayer, and in whose wealth there is a portion for the beggar and the poor. They testify to the Day of Judgment and are fearful of their Lord’s punishment. (Al-Ma`arij 70:23-27)

Woe be to such performers of Prayer, who are negligent of their Prayer, who aim to be seen and who withhold even common items from others. (Al-Ma`un 107:4-7)

The ayah cited at the outset opens with the exhortation that man should remember Allah.

Since He is man’s Creator, Sustainer and Benefactor par excellence, it is perfectly in order that man’s mind and heart be filled with the thought of His majesty, glory and numerous favors.

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The article is an excerpt from Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s book “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

A Beginners Guide to Prayer in Islam

By Editorial Staff

We, as Muslims, have to purify ourselves before offering prayer. Therefore, a Muslim is required to follow certain purification procedure known as wudu’ (ablution). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah does not accept prayer of anyone of you if he does hadath (passes wind) till he performs the ablution (anew). (Al-Bukhari)

Point the index finger straight in the direction of the qiblah and move it through the recitation of the Tashahhud.

But before ablution, you have to perform Istinja’ whenever one passes impurity from any of passages (front & back). One can use either stone (tissue in modern times) or water. To perform it with water is preferred.  The best is to combine both water and tissue, first by wiping with the tissue and then washing.

How to Perform Istinja’

First it is preferred to use toilet paper three times. If Istinja’ is being done on a hot day, then the person should start from the front to the back and then from the back to the front and the third time from the front to the back. If Istinja’ is being done on a cold day, then he should begin from the back to the front.

The female would always wipe first from the front (part closest to the vagina) wiping towards the back, and with the second stone (tissue) wiping from the back to the front and so on.

Then, one should wash both his/her hands in case of any impurity that could be on the skin.

After that, one should pour water over the anus area and rub the area using the inner part of one’s fingers. One should continue until all the impurity and smell is removed. (Nur Al-Idhah, pp. 27-30)

This completes the first step of purification that precedes the prayer. Now, you are ready to perform ablution

Wudu’ or ablution means using clean and cleansing water on certain parts of the body.

How to Perform Ablution

1- Make intention (niyyah) to perform ablution for prayer.

2- Say, “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah).

3- Wash both hands up to the wrist three times and make sure that water has reached between fingers.

4- Take a handful of water; rinse your mouth three times and spit it out every time.

5- Inhale water into your nostrils and then exhale it, three times.

6- Wash your face three times from one ear to the other, and from the forehead to the chin.

7- Wash both your arms up to the elbows, starting with the right and then the left three times.

8- Wipe over head with your wet palms from the top of the forehead to the back of the head.

9- Wash the front and back of your ears by using your index and thumb fingers.

10- Finally, wash both feet to the ankles starting from the right, making sure that water has reached between the toes and all other parts of the feet.

Note: You do not have to repeat ablution unless it is nullified.

Note: Hadath refers to what emanates from the body of wind, urine, stool, seminal fluids, menstrual blood or post-natal bleeding.

 How to Offer Prayer in Islam

There are five obligatory prayers that are offered at certain times during the day and the night. They are called Fajr (Dawn) prayer, Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer, `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer, and `Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer. These five daily prayers become obligatory once a person converts to Islam.

After performing ablution, make sure that you are covering your `Awrah (what is between navel and knees for male, and the whole body including the head except the face and hands for female). You have to make sure that your clothes and the place of prayer are free from impurities.

Now You Are Ready to Pray;

  • Make the intention in your heart for the prayer you want to pray.
  • Stand up right and face the Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah).
  • Raise your hands to your shoulder or ears level and say in a moderate voice “Allahu Akbar” which means Allah is the greatest.
  • Place your right hand over the left on your chest. Look downward at the place of prostration.
  • Recite the opening supplication in the first rak`ah only, “Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta’ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.” It means, “O Allah, how perfect You are and praise be to You. Blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your majesty. There is none worthy of worship except You.”

Then recite, “A`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaitan Ar-rajim.”

Then, recite, “Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-rahim.”

  • Recite Surat Al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter of the Qur’an).

“Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil-`alamin, ar-rahma nir-rahiem, maliki yawmiddin, iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nastain, ihdinas-siraatal mustaqim, siraatallazina anamta alaihim, ghairil maghdoobi alahim wa ladalin.”

  • Bend down and place your palms on your knees (ruku`) while your head and back are straight. Look downward at the place of prostration. Then recite silently, “Subhana Rabbiyal `Azhim” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) three times.
  • Stand up from bowing (ruku`) and say, “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah” (Allah hears the one who praises Him). Then say, “Rabana Walak Al-hamd (Our Lord, Praise be to You), just one time.
  • Prostrate and place your forehead, nose, palms, knees, and toes on the floor (sujud) while saying, “Allahu Akbar”. Then say, “Subhana Rabbiyal Al-`Ala” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest) three times.
  • Rise from prostration while saying, “Allahu Akbar”. Sit on your left foot and place your right foot upright, and place your palms flat on your knees. Then say, “Rabb ighfir li” (O my Lord! Forgive me.)
  • After that, make another prostration in the same manner

Now, you complete one rak`ah (unit of prayer). Stand up while saying “Allahu Akbar” and perform another rak`ah. Do it in the same manner as you did the first one, but without reciting the opening supplication.

  • After the second prostration of the second rak`ah, sit on your left foot and place your right foot upright. Place your palms on your thighs with all fingers together in a fist except the index finger. Point the index finger straight in the direction of the qiblah and move it through the recitation of the Tashahhud:

“At-Tahiyatu lillahi Was-Salawatu Wat-Tayyibatu. As-Salamu `alaika ayiuh-annabiyu wa-rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Assalamu `alaina wa`ala ibadil-Lahi As –Salihin. Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa-ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluh.”  

It means:

“All respect, worship and all glory is due to Allah alone. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you. Peace be on us and on those who are the righteous servants of Allah. I testify that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger”.

  • In the three-rak`ah prayer (as in Maghrib) or the four-rak`ah prayer (Zhuhr, `Asr and `Ishaa’), after performing the second rak`ah and the first tashahhud, stand up while raising your hands and say, “Allahu Akbar” and perform another rak`ah. In case you are performing a four-rak`ah prayer, you perform two rak`ahs after the first
  • In case of Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, after offering two rak`ahs and reciting tashahhud, you recite “Allahumma salli `ala Muhammad wa-`ala aali Muhammad kama sallaita `ala Ibrahim wa-`ala aali Ibrahim innaka Hamidun Majeed, wabaarik `ala Muhammad wa `ala aali Muhamad kama barakta `ala Ibrahim wa `ala aali Ibrahim innaka Hamidun Majeed.”

It means:

“O Allah! Praise Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as You Praised Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. And send blessings on Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as you sent blessings on Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.”

  • After that, you turn your face the right side saying, “As-salamu `alikum wa Rahmatullh” (peace and mercy of Allah be upon you) and then to the left repeating the same words.
  • In case of the three-rak`ah prayer (as Maghrib), you recite the full tashahhud and make tasleem after the third rak`ah.
  • In case of the four-rak`ah prayer (Zhuhr, `Asr and `Ishaa’) you recite the full tashahhud and make tasleem after the fourth rak`ah.

Times and Number of Rak`ahs of Each Prayer

Name Rak`ahs Time
Fajr (Dawn) Prayer Two From dawn to sunrise.
Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer Four From noon until mid-afternoon.
`Asr (Afternoon) Prayer Four When the shadow of a vertical stick equals its length to sunset.
Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer Three From sunset to the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky.
`Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer Four From the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky to dawn.

 

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