Fiqh-us-Sunnah
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Fiqh 1.120: Obligatory acts of prayer, Saying the Opening Takbir and Beginning the Prayer

Ali reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The key to prayer is purity. What puts one into its inviolable state is the takbir, and the tasleem releases one from it."

As to the authenticity of the report, it is related by ash-Shai'i, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi, who called it the most authentic report on this topic. Al-Hakim and Ibn as-Sakin consider it as sahih. The takbir consists of saying Allahu akbar. Abu Hameed reported that when the Prophet stood for prayer, he would stand straight, raise his hands and say, "Allahu akbar."

This is related by Ibn Majah, and in the Sahihs of Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban. Al-Bazzar related something similar to it, but with a chain that is sahih according to Muslim's criterion. 'Ali and others also reported this.

Fiqh 1.120 a: Standing During the Obligatory Prayers

One must stand during the prayer, if at all possible. Says Allah, "Guard and preserve the prayers and the mid-most prayer, and stand for Allah with devotion." Reported 'Umar ibn Hussain, "I had some physical problem, so I asked the Prophet, upon whom be peace, about the prayer, and he said, 'Pray standing; if you are not able to; pray sitting, if you are not able to; pray (while lying) on your side." (Related by al-Bukhari.) Most scholars say that one should not put his feet together while standing in prayer.

For voluntary prayers, one can pray sitting even if he can stand, but one who stands receives a larger reward than one who sits. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The prayer of one who sits is half of the prayer." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

If one can not stand, he may pray according to what he is capable of doing, as Allah does not burden a soul beyond its ability. He will get a complete reward for the prayer. Abu Musa reported that the Prophet said, "If a slave (of Allah) is sick or travels, he will get a reward for those acts similar to what he would get if he was healthy and at home."

Fiqh 1.120 b: Obligatory acts of prayer, Reciting al-Fatihah in Every Rak'ah of the Prayer

There are many authentic hadith which state that it is obligatory to recite al-Fatihah in every rak'ah. Thus, there is no difference of opinion on this point. Some of these hadith are:

'Ibadah ibn as-Samit related that the Prophet said, "There is no prayer for one who does not recite the opening of the Book al-Fatihah)." This is related by "the group."

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, "Whoever prays a prayer and does not recite the opening chapter of the Qur'an has not prayed correctly." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim.) Ad-Daraqutni also recorded a hadith with a sahih chain with almost exactly the same wording.

Said Abu Sa'eed, "We were ordered to recite the opening chapter of the Qur'an and what (else) was easy (for us)." This is related by Abu Dawud. Al-Hafez and Ibn Sayyid an-Nass consider its chain as sahih.

In some of the narrations dealing with the prayer's incompleteness, it states, "And then recite the 'Mother of the Book' (al-Fatihah)," and he said, "And do that in every rak'ah."

It is confirmed that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited al-Fatihah in every rak'ah of every prayer, obligatory or superogatory. Since this is an act of worship, we can only follow what he did. And the Prophet said, "Pray as you have seen me pray." (Related by al-Bukhari.)

Fiqh 1.121: Obligatory acts of prayer, Bismillah

The scholars are agreed that the bismillah (the words "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful) is a verse in Surah al-Naml, but they differ over whether or not it constitutes a verse of every surah. There are three opinions on this point:

1 It is a verse of al-Fatihah and of every surah of the Qur'an. Therefore, it is to be recited with al-Fatihah during those prayers that are said aloud or quietly. The strongest support of this opinion comes from the hadith of Na'em al-Mujammir who said, "I prayed behind Abu Hurairah and he recited, 'In the name of Allah...' and then he recited al-Fatihah." At the end of the hadith, he is quoted as saying, "By the One in whose Hand is my soul, I have done what resembles how we prayed with the Messenger of Allah."

2 It is a verse by itself and was revealed to demarcate different surahs. It is allowed to recite it with al-Fatihah (in fact it is preferred), but it is not sunnah to recite it aloud. Anas said, "I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman, and they did not recite it aloud."

This hadith is related by an-Nasa'i, Ibn Hibban and at-Tahawi with a sahih chain according to the criterion of the two Sahihs.

3 It is not a verse of al-Fatihah or of any other surah. It is disliked to recite it aloud or quietly during the obligatory prayers, but not for the superogatory prayers. This opinion, however, is not strong.

Ibn al-Qayyim has reconciliated the first and second opinions by saying, "Sometimes the Prophet would recite it aloud, but most of the time he would say it quietly and not aloud."

Fiqh 1.122: Obligatory acts of prayer, One Who Cannot Recite Properly

Says al-Khattabi, "Basically, one's prayer does not suffice if he does not recite al-Fatihah. If one can recite neither al-Fatihah nor other portions of the Qur'an, he should recite at least seven verses of a similar meaning from the Qur'an. If he can not learn any part of the Qur'an (due to some innate inability, poor memory, or because it's a foreign language), he should say the tasbeeh (Subhaan Allah - Glory be to Allah), the tamheed (al-Hamdu lillah - All praise is due to Allah), and tahleel (La ilaha illal-lah - There is no God except Allah). It is related that he said, "The best remembrance after the speech of Allah is Subhaan Allah, al-Hamdu lillah, La ilaha illal-lah and Allahu akbar." This is supported by Rafa'ah ibn Rafa', who narrated that the Prophet said, "If you have something from the Qur'an, recite it. If not, then say the tamheed, takbir and the tahleel and then bow."

This hadith is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa'i and al-Baihaqi. The former considers it as hassan.

Fiqh 1.122 a: Obligatory acts of prayer, Ar-Ruku' (Bowing Down)

There is a consensus on the obligatory nature of the ruku'. Says Allah, "O you who believe, bow down and prostrate yourselves.. ." The position of ruku' is established by bending over, putting one's hands on one's knees, and remaining in that position until he attains "calmness." In another hadith the Prophet said, "Then bow until you attain calmness while your are bowing." Abu Qatadah related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The worst pepole are the thieves who steal part of the prayer." He was asked how this was done, and he replied, "He does not complete his bowings and prostrations," or he said, "He does not straighten his back during his bowings and prostrations."

As to its authenticity, the report is related by Ahmad, at-Tabarani, Ibn Khuzaimah and al-Hakim, who consider its chain as sahih.

Abu Mas'ud al-Badri reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The prayer of one who does not straighten his back in his bendings and prostrations is not accomplished." This hadith is related by "the five,'' and Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, at-Tabarani and al-Baihaqi, who consider its chain as sahih, while at-Tirmizhi grades it as hassan sahih.

Knowledgeable companions act according to the principle that a person is to make his back straight during his bowings and prostrations. Huzhaifah saw someone who did not straighten his back during his bowings and prostrations, and told him, "You have not prayed. And if you were to die, you would not die in the way of Allah and His Messenger." (Related by al-Bukhari.)

Fiqh 1.123: Obligatory acts of prayer, Standing Erect After the Bowing

This is based on Abu Humaid's description of the Prophet's prayer: "He would raise his head from his bowing, then stand straight until all of his backbones returned to their places." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

'Aishah related that when the Prophet raised his head from bowing, he would not prostrate until his back was straight. (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, "Allah does not look at the prayer of a person who does not straighten his back between his bowings and his prostrations." (Related by Ahmad. al-Munzhiri considers its chain as good.)

Fiqh 1.123 a: Obligatory acts of prayer, Prostration

We have already stated the Qur'anic verse dealing with this obligatory act. The Prophet explained it in a hadith by saying, "Then prostrate until you attain calmness in your prostration, then rise (and sit) until you attain calmness in your sitting, and then prostrate until you gain calmness in your prostration. The first prostration, sitting afterwards, the second prostration and calmness during all of these acts are obligatory in every rak'ah of every obligatory or superogatory prayer.

Fiqh 1.124: Obligatory acts of prayer, How to Attain Calmness

The "calmness" comes from sitting in the position until the bones are set and still. Some scholars say that, at a minimum, this would take as long as it takes to say one Subhaan Allah.

Fiqh 1.124 a: Obligatory acts of prayer, Bodily Parts That Touch the Ground During Prostration

These parts are: the face, hands, knees and feet. Al-'Abbas ibn 'Abdul-Mutallib reported that he heard the Prophet say, "When a slave (of Allah) prostrates, seven bodily parts prostrate with him: his face, his hands, his knees and his feet." (Related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari.) Said Ibn 'Abbas, "The Prophet ordered us to prostrate on seven bodily parts and not to fold back the hair or clothing: the forehead, the hands, the knees and the feet." In another wording, the Prophet said, "I have been ordered to prostrate on seven bodily parts: the forehead, and he pointed to his nose, the hands, the knees and the ends of the feet." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) In another narration, he said, "I have been ordered to prostrate on seven bodily parts and not to fold back the hair or clothing: the forehead, the nose, the hands, the knees and the feet." (Related by Muslim and an-Nasa'i.)

Abu Humaid reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, he placed his nose and forehead on the ground. This hadith is related by Abu Dawud and at-Tirmizhi who said, "The scholars act according to this: a person prostrates on his nose and forehead." According to some scholars, if one prostrates on just the forehead without the nose touching the ground, it will still be sufficient. Others say that it would not be sufficient until his nose touches the ground.

Fiqh 1.124 b: Obligatory acts of prayer, The Final Sitting and Recital of the Tashahud

The Prophet's practice illustrates that when the final sitting of the prayer has been made, one must recite the tashahud at that time. In one hadith, he said, "When you raise your head from the last prostration and sit for the tashahud, you have completed your prayer."

Says Ibn Qudamah, "It has been related that Ibn 'Abbas said, 'We used to say, before the tashahud was made obligatory upon us, 'Peace be upon Allah before His slaves, peace be upon Gabriel, peace be upon Mikhail.' The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, 'Do not say, 'Peace be upon Allah,' but say, 'Salutations to Allah.' This proves that the tashah ud was made obligatory, although before it was not."

The most authentic report concerning the tashahud is Ibn Mas'ud's, who said, "When we would sit with the Prophet in the prayer, we would say, 'Peace be upon Allah before His slaves, peace be upon so and so.' The Prophet said, 'Do not say peace be upon Allah, for Allah is peace. When one of you sits, he should say salutations be to Allah, and the prayers, and the good deeds, peace be upon us and upon Allah's sincere slaves (if you say that, it applies to all of Allah's sincere slaves in the heavens and the earth). I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.' Then you may choose whatever supplication you desire." (Related by "the group.")

Says Muslim, "The people are in agreement over the tashahud of Ibn Mas'ud, and the companions do not differ over it." At-Tirmizhi, al-Khattabi, Ibn 'Abdul-Barr and Ibn al-Munzhir all agree that Ibn Mas'ud's hadith is the most authentic one on this topic.

Said Ibn 'Abbas, "The Messenger of Allah used to teach us the tashahud like he taught us the Qur'an. He would say, 'Salutations, blessings, prayers and good deeds for Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and the sincere slaves of Allah. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger." (Related by ash-Shaifi, Muslim, Abu Dawud and anNasa'i.)

Says ash-Shaifi, "Different hadith have been related about the tashahud, but that one is the best in my opinion, for it is the most complete. Al-Hafez states, "Ash-Shaifi was asked about this choice and the tashahud of Ibn 'Abbas, and he replied, 'I have found it to be the most encompassing. I have heard it from Ibn 'Abbas (through) authentic (chains). To me, it is more complete..."

There is another form of the tashahud that Malik chose. In al-Muwatta, it is stated that 'Abdurahman ibn 'Abdul-Qari heard 'Umar ibn al-Khattab teaching the people, from the pulpit, this tashahud: "Salutations to Allah, purifications to Allah, the good deeds and prayers be to Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and Allah's sincere slaves. I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger."

Commenting on the stature of such hadith, an-Nawawi says, "Those hadith concerning the tashahud are all sahih. Hadith scholars are agreed that the strongest of them is the hadith of Ibn Mas'ud, and then the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas. " Ash-Shaf'i said that any tashahud one uses will suffice, for the scholars agree that every one of them is permissible."

Fiqh 1.126: Obligatory acts of prayer, The Salaam (Peace Be Upon You and the Mercy of Allah) at the Prayer's End

Saying the salaam at the end of the prayer is obligatory. 'Ali related that the Prophet said, "The key to prayer is purity. One enters into its inviolable state by the takbir and leaves it by the salaam."

As to its authenticity, the report is related by Ahmad, ash-Shaf i, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi who said, "That is the most authentic report on this topic and the best."

'Amr ibn Sa'd related that his father said, "I saw the Prophet making the salaam on his right side and on his left side until I could see the whiteness of his cheeks." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, anNasa'i and Ibn Majah.)

Reported Wa'il ibn Hajr, "I prayed with the Messenger of Allah. He would make the salaam on his right side by saying, 'Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah." In Bulugh al-Maram, Ibn Hajr says that Abu Dawud related it with a sahih chain.

It is obligatory to say one salaam, and it is preferred to say two. Ibn al-Munzhir comments that all scholars agree that making only one salaam is permissible. Ibn Qudamah writes in al-Mughni, "There is no clear text from Ahmad that states that two salaams are obligatory. He only said, 'Two salaams are the most authentic act from the Messenger of Allah.' It is permissible to say that this is the regualtion, although it is not obligatory, and others have the same opinion. This is also pointed out in another of his statements where he said, 'Two salaams are more loved by me. But 'Aishah, Salamah ibn al-Aku' and Sahl ibn Sa'd narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, made only one salaam." We can reconciliate these differences by stating that it is sunnah to say two salaams, but it is obligatory to say one. This is the consensus that Ibn al-Munzhir mentioned, and we have no option to reject that. Says an-Nawawi, "It is the opinion of ash-Shaifi and most of the early and later scholars that it is sunnah to say two salaams." Malik and a group of scholars say that only one salaam is sunnah. They adduce this from a weak hadith that can not be used as a proof. If something of this nature had been confirmed from the Prophet, the act was probably done just to show that it is permissible to say only one salaam. Scholars are agreed that only one salaam is obligatory. If one makes only one salaam, he should turn to his right for the first one and to the left for the second one. He should turn until his cheeks can be seen from behind. That is the most authentic form and it is said, "If one says the two salaams to the right or to the left while facing forward, or the first one on the left and the second one on the right, then his prayer would still be valid and he would have fulfilled the act of the two salaams. But, he would have lost the virtue of how they are to be performed."

Fiqh 1.129: Sunnah acts of prayer

The prayer also has certain acts which are sunnah. It is preferred that the person performs them to get their reward.

Fiqh 1.129 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, Raising the Hands

This must be done at the beginning of each prayer's takbir. Says Ibn al-Munzhir, "All scholars agree that the Prophet raised his hands at the beginning of his prayer."

Commenting upon this report, Ibn Hajr says, "The Prophet's raising his hands at the beginning of his prayer has been narrated by fifty companions, inluding the ten who were given the tidings of Paradise. " Al-Baihaqi related that al-Hakim said, "I do not know of any sunnah other than this one which is accepted by the four rightly-guided khalifahs, the ten companions who were given the tidings of Paradise, and other companions scattered across many lands." Summing up his evaluation of the report, al-Baihaqi says, "And it is as our teacher Abu 'Abdullah has said."

Fiqh 1.129 b: Sunnah acts of prayer, How to Raise the Hands

Many narrations have been recorded concerning this subject. Many scholars have chosen the following forms: the hands are raised to the shoulders with the fingertips parallel to the button of the ears. Says an-Nawawi, "This is how ash-Shaifi combined the hadith (on this question), and the people found it to be good." It is preferred that one extends the fingers while raising the hands. Abu Hurairah said, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood for prayer, he would raise his hands (with them being) open." (Related by "the five," except for Ibn Majah.)

Fiqh 1.130: Sunnah acts of prayer, When to Raise the Hands

One must raise the hands at about the same time he makes the takbir. Nafa' related that when Ibn 'Umar would begin his prayer he would say the takbir and raise his hands. The Prophet also did this. (Related by al-Bukhari, an-Nasa'i and Abu Dawud.) He also reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would raise his hands upon making the takbir until they were parallel to his shoulders or close to that. (Related by Ahmad and others.)

As for raising the hands just before the takbir, Ibn 'Umar reported, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood for prayer, he would raise his hands until they were parallel to his shoulders and would make the takbir. (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) A hadith from Malik ibn al-Huwairith has the wording, "Make the takbir and then raise your hands." (Related by Muslim.) This implies that the takbir comes before the raising of the hands, but Ibn Hajr says, "I have not met anyone who holds that the takbir comes before the raising of the hands."

It is preferred to raise one's hands while going to bow and upon coming up from the bow

Twenty-two companions narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did so. Reported Ibn 'Umar, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood to pray, he would raise his hands until they were the same height as his shoulders and then he would make the takbir. When he wanted to bow, he would again raise his hands in a similar fashion. When he raised his head from the bowing, he did the same and said, 'Allah hears him who praises Him.' (Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and al-Baihaqi.) Says al-Bukhari, "He would not do that when he was going to prostrate nor when he came up from his prostration." Al-Bukhari also says, "He would not raise his hands between the two prostrations." Al-Baihaqi has the addition, "He did not stop doing that until he met Allah." Ibn al-Madini said, "In my opinion, that hadith is a proof for the whole creation. Whoever hears it must act by it. There is nothing wrong with its chain." Al-Bukhari wrote a pamphlet on this topic, and related from al-Hassan and Humaid ibn Hilal that the companions used to (perform their prayers) in this manner.

On the contrary, the Hanafiyyah say that one should only raise his hands at the beginning. This is based on the hadith of Ibn Mas'ud, who reported, "I prayed with the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and he raised his hands only once." This is a weak opinion, and many hadith scholars have criticized this report. Ibn Hibban, though, said that this is the best report.

The people of Kufah narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did not raise his hands upon bowing or rising. But, in fact, this is a very weak statement, for it contains many defects and is therefore invalid. Even if we accept it, as at-Tirmizhi did, it does not invalidate the authentic and well-known hadith mentioned earlier. The author of at-Tanqih says that perhaps Ibn Mas'ud forgot that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, raised his hands. Az-Zaila'i writes in Nasb ar-Rayah, quoting the author of at-Tanqih, "It is not strange that Ibn Mas'ud may have forgotten that. Ibn Mas'ud forgot some things from the Qur'an that the Muslims after him never differed about, and those are the last two surahs of the Qur'an. He forgot how two people are to stand behind the imam, that the Prophet prayed the morning prayer on the Day of Sacrifice (during the hajj) at its proper time, how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, combined his prayers at 'Arafah, the position of the forearms and elbows during the prostration, and how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited, 'And Him who created the male and the female.' If it is possible that Ibn Mas'ud forgot all of these things concerning the prayer, is it not possible that he also forgot about raising the hands?"

Nafa' related that when Ibn 'Umar stood for the third rak'ah, he would raise his hands, an action which he ascribed to the Prophet. (Related by al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i.) While describing the Prophet's prayer, 'Ali said that when he stood from the two prostrations, he would raise his hands until they reached his shoulders and make the takbir.

Women have to do this the same way. Says Ash-Shaukani, "Know that this sunnah is to be done by men and women. There is no proof to show that there is any difference between them on this point. There is also no proof to show that they are to raise their hands to different levels."

Fiqh 1.131: Sunnah acts of prayer, Placing the Right Hand upon the Left

This is a preferred act of the prayer. There are twenty hadith from eighteen companions and their followers on this point. Said Sahl ibn Sa'd, "The people were ordered to place their right hand on their left forearm during prayers." Commenting on this, Abu Hazm says, "I do not know if he ascribed this to the Prophet." This hadith is related by al-Bukhari, Ahmad and Malik in his al-Muwatta. Al-Hafez maintains, "Its ruling is considered to be from the Prophet, upon whom be peace, as it is implied that the one who ordered them to do so was the Prophet." He also related that the Prophet said, "All prophets have been ordered to hasten the breaking of the fast and to delay the (pre-fast dawn) meal, and to place our right hands on our left during prayer."

There is also a hadith from Jabir which says, "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, passed by a man praying with his left hand over his right, and (the Prophet) pulled them away and put his right over his left." This is related by Ahmad and others. Evaluating its chain, an-Nawawi says, "Its chain is sahih. Ibn 'Abdul-Barr holds, "Nothing has reached me different from that. It is the opinion of most companions and their followers." Malik mentioned it in his al-Muwatta and states, "Malik never stopped doing it until he met Allah."

Fiqh 1.132: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Position of the Hands

Al-Kamal ibn al-Hamam is of the opinion, "There is no authentic hadith stating that one must place the hands under the chest or below the navel. According to the Hanifiyyah, the hands are to be placed below the navel, and the Shafiyyah say below the chest. Ahmad has two narrations corresponding to these two opinions. The correct position is somewhere in the middle - to be equal." Observes at-Tirmizhi, "Knowledgeable companions, their followers and those that came after them believed that one should put his right hand over the left during prayer, while some say above the navel and others say below the navel..." Nevertheless, there do exist hadith that the Propet, upon whom be peace, placed his hands on his chest. Reported Hulb at-Ta'i, "I saw the Prophet, upon whom be peace, praying with his right hand over his left upon his chest above the elbow." This is related by Ahmad and at-Tirmizhi, who grades it as hassan.

Reported Wa'il ibn Hajr, "Once when I prayed with the Prophet, upon whom be peace, he placed his right hand over his left upon his chest." The report is recorded by Ibn Khuzaimah, who considers it as sahih, and by Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i with the wording, "Then he put his right hand over the back of his left wrist and forearm."

Fiqh 1.132 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Opening Supplication

It is preferred for the person to begin his prayer with one of the supplications that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to begin his prayers. This occurs after the opening takbir and before the recitation of al-Fatihah. Some of the supplications that have been related are:

1 Reported Abu Hurairah, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, made the opening takbir, he would be quiet for a little while before his recitation. I asked him, 'O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, why are you quiet between the (opening) takbir and your recitation? What do you say (at that time)?' He said, 'I say, O Allah, make the distance between me and my sins as far as you have made the distance between the East and the West. O Allah, cleanse me of my sins as a white garment is cleansed of dirt. O Allah, purify me from my sins by snow, rain and hail." (Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.)

2 Reported 'Ali, that when the Prophet stood for prayer, he would make the takbir and then say, "I have turned my face to the one who created the heavens and the earth as a sincere submissive (person), and I am not one of the polytheists. My prayers, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. That is what I have been ordered and I am of those who submit. O Allah, you are the King and there is no Lord besides You. You are my Lord and I am Your slave. I have wronged my soul and You are aware of my sins, so forgive all of my sins. No one forgives sins save You. Guide me to the best character. No one can guide to the best of that save You. Turn me away from its evil, and no one can turn me from its evil save You. At your beck and call, all the good is in Your hands and evil is not to You. And I am for You and to You are the blessings and the exaltedness. I seek your forgiveness and return unto You." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, at-Tirmizhi, Abu Dawud and others.)

3 It is related that 'Umar used to say, after the beginning takbir, "Glory be to You, O Allah, and to You is the praise. Blessed is Your name and most high is Your honor. There is no Lord besides You." This hadith is related by Muslim with a broken chain. Ad-Daraqutni traces it back to the Prophet and back to 'Umar.

Commenting on it, Ibn al-Qayyim says, "It has been authenticated that 'Umar began with that in the place (of the preceding prayer) of the Prophet, upon whom be peace. He would recite it aloud and teach it to the people. And owing to that fact, it is considered to have its source with the Prophet, upon whom be peace. For that reason, Imam Ahmad says, "I act by what has been related from 'Umar. If a person begins with something that has been related, it is good."

4 'Asim ibn Humaid asked 'Aishah how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, began his late-night prayers. She replied, "You have asked me about something that no one before you has asked. When he would stand for prayer, he would make the takbir ten times (after the opening takbir), and then say 'Al-hamdu lillah' ten times. He would then ask forgiveness ten times, and then would say, "O Allah, forgive me, guide me, provide for me, sustain me and give me refuge from a constraining place on the Day of Resurrection." (Related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.)

5 'Abdurahman ibn 'Auf asked 'Aishah how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, began his prayer when he would pray during the night. She said, "When he would get up during the night, he would begin his prayer with, 'O Allah, Lord of Gabriel, Mikhail and Israfil, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Seen. You will judge between Your slaves concerning matters wherein they differ. Guide me to the truth in those matters wherein they differ by Your permission, for You guide whom You will to the straight path." (Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, anNasa'i and Ibn Majah.)

6 Nafa' ibn Jubair ibn Mut'am related from his father who said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say in his voluntary prayer, 'Allahu akbar kabeera' three times, 'al-Hamdu lillah katheera' three times, 'Subhanallahi bukratan wa asila' three times, and then 'O Allah, I seek refuge in You from Satan the accursed and from his pricking, spittle and puffing.' I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, what are his pricking, spittle and puffing?' He said, 'His pricking is the insanity by which he takes the children of Adam. His spittle is arrogance, and his puffing is (evil) poetry." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban.)

7 Ibn 'Abbas related that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, got up for the night prayer, he would say, "O Allah, to You is the praise. You are the support of the heavens and the earth and whatever is therein. To You is the praise. You are the light of the heavens and the earth and whatever is therein. To You is the praise. You are the Truth. Your promise is true. The meeting with You is true. Your speech is true. Paradise is true. Hell-fire is true. Your prophets are true. Muhammad is true. The hour is true. O Allah, to You have I submitted, and in You have I believed. In You I put my trust, and to You do I come. For You do I dispute, and to You is the judgement. Forgive me my earlier and later sins, and what has been private and public. You are the predecessor and the successor. There is no god except You. There is no lord other than You. There is no power or might except in Allah." This hadith is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Malik. In Abu Dawud's version, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said that after the opening takbir.

8 It is a preferred act for the one in prayer to seek refuge from Satan between his opening supplication and his Qur'anic recitation. Allah says, "When you recite the Qur'an, seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan." In the preceding hadith of Nafa' ibn Jubair, the Prophet is reported to have said, "O Allah, I seek refuge in you from Satan, the outcast." Said Ibn al-Munzhir, "It has been related from the Prophet, upon whom be peace, that he would say, 'I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the outcast' before reciting."

9 It is sunnah to say ,"I seek refuge in..." silently. In al-Mughni, it states, "One should say the seeking of refuge silently and not aloud, and I do not know of any difference of opinion on that point." But ash-Shaf'i was of the opinion that one may choose between saying it silently or aloud in those prayers recited aloud. It has been related that Abu Hurairah recited aloud, but this report has a weak chain.

10 The seeking of refuge is to be done in the first rak'ah only. Reported Abu Hurairah, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would get up for the second rak'ah, he would begin with 'al-Hamdu lillahi, rabb ul-'aalimeen', without having any period of silence." (Related by Muslim.)

Speaking of it, Ibn al-Qayyim says, "The jurists differ over whether or not that is a time to say, 'I seek refuge...' But they agree that it is not a place to make the opening supplication. On the former point, there are two opinions, both of them related from Ahmad. Some of his companions concluded that either the prayer is only one recitation, so it is sufficient just to seek refuge once, or that each recital is a recital by itself that requires the seeking of refuge. They do not dispute the fact that the opening supplication is for the whole prayer. It is sufficient to seek refuge only once, as it is apparent from the authentic hadith." Then he mentions the preceding hadith of Abu Hurairah, and says, "It is sufficient just to make one opening supplication, since there is no real break between the recital of the prayer. The only thing that is between them is the remembrance of Allah, and so on. Therefore, it will be considered as one recital. Ash Shaukani has the final word, and says, 'It is best just to do what has been related from the sunnah, and that is to seek refuge in the first rak'ah only."

Fiqh 1.136: Sunnah acts of prayer, Saying 'Ameen

It is sunnah for everyone to say 'ameen after reciting al-Fatihah. The word ameen is not part of al-Fatihah, but rather a supplication meaning, "O Allah, respond (to or answer what we have said). It should be said aloud in the prayers where the recital is aloud, and quietly in the prayers where the recital is silent. Said Na'eem al-Mujamir, "I prayed behind Abu Hurairah and he said, 'In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,' then recited al-Fatihah, and closed it with 'ameen. The people also said 'ameen. After the prayer, Abu Hurairah said, 'By the One in whose Hand is my soul, I have followed the prayer of the Prophet."

Al-Bukhari mentioned this hadith in mu'allaq from while others, such as an-Nasa'i, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and Ibn as-Siraj related it. Al-Bukhari records that Ibn Shihab (az-Zuhri) said, "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, would say, 'ameen."

Says 'Ata, "'Ameen is a supplication." Ibn az-Zubair and those behind him would say 'ameen and the mosque would ring with their voices.

Reported Nafa', "Ibn 'Umar did not encourage the people to say it aloud, nor did he discourage them. I have heard him report that." Reporting on this same subject, Abu Hurairah said, "When the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, would recite, '...Not with those with whom You are displeased and not of those who have gone astray,' he would say, 'ameen such that those close to him could hear him." (Related by Abu Dawud.) Ibn Majah's version is, "Until the people in the first row would hear him, and the mosque would ring with the sound." Al-Hakim also relates this hadith, and says that it is sahih according to the criterion of al-Bukhari and Muslim. Al-Baihaqi calls it hassan sahih. Ad-Daraqutni considers it as hassan.

A similar report from Wa'il ibn Jubair says, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, recite, '...and not of those who have gone astray,' and then say 'ameen, and make it long with his voice." This was related by Ahmad. Abu Dawud has it with the wording, "And he would raise his voice with it." At-Tirmizhi classifies it as hassan and states, "More than one knowledgeable companion and those who followed them have said that a person should raise his voice while saying 'ameen and not make it silent." Ibn Hajr holds that the chain of this hadith is sahih. Reported 'Ata, "I have found two hundred companions of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, in this mosque and when the imam recited,'...and not of those who have gone astray,' I heard them say 'ameen."'Aishah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, 'The Jews do not envy you for anything more than they envy you for the salutations and the saying of 'ameen behind the imam." (Related by Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

It is preferred to say 'ameen along with the imam, and not before or after him

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, When the imam recites, '... not of those with whom You are angered nor of those who have gone astray,' you should say 'ameen. If this corresponds to when the angels say it, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven." (Related by al-Bukhari.) He also reported that the Prophet said, "When the imam recites, '...not of those with whom you are angered nor of those who have gone astray,' then say 'ameen (along with the imam), for the angels say 'ameen and the imam says 'ameen. If his 'ameen corresponds to the 'ameen of the angels, he will have his previous sins forgiven." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i.)

Fiqh 1.137: Sunnah acts of prayer, Qur'anic Recitation after al-Fatihah

It is sunnah for the person to recite a section of the Qur'an after al-Fatihah during the two rak'ah of the morning prayer and the Friday prayer, and the first two rak'ah of the noon, afternoon, sunset and night prayers, and in all of the rak'ah of the superogatory prayers. Abu Qatadah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would recite al-Fatihah and some surah in the first two rak'ah of the noon prayer, and only al-Fatihah in the last two rak'ah. Sometimes he would recite some verses. The first rak'ah's recital would be longer than the second. That was how it was done in the afternoon and morning prayers. This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and by Abu Dawud, who adds, "We think he did that in order to allow people to catch the first rak'ah."

Jabir ibn Sumrah reported that the people of Kufah complained about Sa'd to 'Umar, causing 'Umar to dismiss him and replace him with 'Ammar. They had many complaints about Sa'd, even claiming that he did not pray properly. 'Umar sent for him and said, "O Abu Ishaq (Sa'd), these people claim that you do not pray properly." Sa'd replied, "By Allah, I prayed with them in the same manner that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, prayed with us, and I never shortened it in any way. I would lengthen the first two rak'ah of the night prayer and shorten the last two." Said 'Umar, "This is what I expected of you." He sent him back to Kufah with one or two people to ask the people of Kufah about him. All of the people praised him until they went to the mosque of the tribe of 'Abs. A man named Usamah ibn Qatadah, also known as Abu Sa'da, stood and said, "Since I am under oath I must inform you that Sa'd never accompanied the army, did not distribute the booty justly, and was not just in his legal verdicts. Sa'd then said, "I pray to Allah for three things: O Allah, if this slave of Yours is lying and stood only for show, then give him a long life, increase his poverty and put him to trials." Years later, when Usamah was asked how he was doing, he would answer that he was an old man in trial due to Sa'd's supplication. 'Abdul-Malik (one of the narrators) said that he had seen the man afterwards with his eyebrows overhanging his eyes due to old age, and he would tease and assault the young girls along the paths. (Related by al-Bukhari.)

Said Abu Hurairah, "A recitation should be done in every prayer. What we heard from the Prophet, upon whom be peace, we let you hear. What he was silent about, we are silent about with you. If one does not add anything to al-Fatihah, it is sufficient. If one does add something, it is good." (Related by al-Bukhari.)

Fiqh 1.138: Sunnah acts of prayer, How to Perform the Recital after al-Fatihah

This may be done in any of the following manners: Said Al-Hussain, "In the fighting at Khorasan we had three hundred companions with us, and one of them would lead the prayer, recite some verses from the Qur'an and then bow." It is related that Ibn 'Abbas would recite al-Fatihah and some verses from al-Baqarah in every rak'ah. (Related by ad-Daraqutni with a strong chain.) Al-Baihaqi narrates from 'Abdullah ibn as-Sa'ib that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited al-Mu'minun in the morning prayer, and when he came to the part which refers to Moses, Aaron or Jesus, he would cough and bow." 'Umar read in the first rak'ah 120 verses from the seven long surahs (Mathnawi). Al-Ahnaf read al-Kahfin the first rak'ah and Yunus or Yusufin the second, and said that he prayed the morning prayer with 'Umar (and he recited them). Ibn Mas'ud read forty verses from al-Anfal in the first rak'ah and a surah from the ten short surahs (Mufassil) in the second. Qatadah reported about a person who read one surah in two rak'ah or repeated the same surah twice, and then commented: 'It is all the Book of Allah." 'Ubaidullah ibn Thabit related that Anas said, "One of the helpers (Ansar) led the people in prayer at (the mosque) of Quba'. Before he began his recitation he would always recite, 'Say: He is Allah, the One,' until he finished that surah, and then he would recite another surah. He did that in every rak'ah. They said to him, 'You begin with that surah, but we don't find it sufficient until you add another surah to it?' He said, 'I will not stop doing so. I like to lead you in the prayer with that. If you don't like it, I will leave (leading you in the prayers).' They thought that he was the best among them, so they didn't want someone else to lead them. They referred the matter to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and he said, 'O so and so, what has kept you from doing what your companions have asked you? Why do you keep reciting that surah in every rak'ah?' He said, 'I love that surah.' The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, 'Your love for that surah will cause you to enter Paradise." A man from the tribe of Juhinah reported that he heard the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recite, "When the earth quakes," in the morning prayer in both rak'ah. And the man said, "I do not know if he forgot that he had recited it or if he did it on purpose." This hadith is related by Abu Dawud. The chain has nothing in it that can be criticized.

Fiqh 1.139: Sunnah acts of prayer, Recitation after al-Fatihah

Here we shall mention what Ibn al-Qayyim learned about the Prophet's recitation following al-Fatihah in different prayers. He commented, "When the Prophet finished al-Fatihah, he would sometimes make a lengthy recitation, and sometimes a short one if he was travelling or similarly engaged. But most of the time, he made a recitation of intermediate length.

Fiqh 1.139 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Morning Prayer

He would read from sixty to one hundred verses during the morning prayer. Sometimes he would read surah Qal; ar-Rum, at-'Takwir, or az-Zilzal in the last two rak'ah. While travelling, he would sometimes read the last two surahs of the Qur'an. Sometimes he would read the first portion of al-Mu'minun until he would reach the story of Moses and Aaron in the first rak'ah, and then he would cough and bow. On Fridays he would read Alif; Lam, Mim, Tanzil as-Sajdah, or ad-Dahr in their complete forms. He did not do what many people do today, which is reciting part of this surah and part of another. Many ignorant people think that it is best to recite something with a prostration on Friday morning. But this is just plain ignorance. Some scholars dislike that one should read a surah with a prostration due to this ignorant thought. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to recite these two surahs because they contained reminders of man's creation, the return unto Allah, the creation of Adam, the entry into Paradise and Hell-fire, and other matters that did or will specifically occur on a Friday. Therefore, he would recite them on Friday to remind his companions of the events of that day. He would recite Qaf, al-Qamr, al-A'la and al-Ghashiyyah on days of great importance like Friday, the 'Id days, and so on.:

Fiqh 1.140: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Noon Prayers

He would sometimes make this recitation lengthy. Abu Sa'eed even once said, "While he was standing in the noon prayer, one could go to al-Baqi'e and take care of some matter, return to his family, make ablution, return, and still find the Prophet, upon whom be peace, in the first rak'ah due to the length of his recital." (Related by Muslim.) He would sometimes recite all of Alif, Lam, Mim, Tanzil, or al-A'la, or al-Lail, or sometimes al-Buruj or at-Tariq.

Fiqh 1.140 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Afternoon Prayer

This would be half the length of the noon prayer recitation if that recitation was long or the same length if it was short.

Fiqh 1.140 b: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Sunset Prayer

The Prophet would recite different surahs in the sunset prayer on different days. Sometimes he would recite al-A'raf in the two rak'ahs and sometimes at-Tur or al-Mursilat. Says Abu 'Umar ibn 'Abdul-Barr, "It is related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited al-A'raf or as-Saffat or Ha-Mim Dukhan or al-A'la or at-Tin or the last two surahs of al-Mufassil. All of that is related through authentic chains. " Marwan ibn al-Hakim used to do this, and when Zaid ibn Thabit objected to it he said, "What is wrong with you that you always recite one of the short surahs from al-Mufassil during the sunset prayer? I have seen the Prophet, upon whom be peace, reciting a long chapter therein." Marwan asked, "And what is a long chapter?" He answered, "Al-A'raf." This hadith is sahih. Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi related it. An-Nasa'i records that 'Aishah said, "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, read al-A'raf during the sunset prayer and he divided it between the two rak'ahs." To always recite a short surah from al-Mufassil is an act that differs from the sunnah, and this is what Marwan ibn al-Hakim did.

Fiqh 1.141: The Recitation in the Night Prayer

In the night prayer, the Prophet would recite at-Tin, and he taught Mu'azh to recite ash-Shams, al-A'la, al-Lail, and so on. He objected to Mu'azh reciting al-Baqarah at that time. After the prayer, he (Mu'azh) went to the tribe of 'Amr ibn 'Auf, and when part of the night had passed, he repeated his prayer, and recited al-Baqarah there. On being informed about him, the Prophet said to him, "Mu'azh, are you one who puts people to hardships?''

Fiqh 1.141 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Friday Prayer

He would recite alJumu'ah, al-Munafiqun or al-Ghashiyyah, in their complete forms, or al-A'la and al-Ghashiyyah. He never recited just the ending of some surahs which began with "O you who believe..." surah alJumu'ah). Those who insist on doing so every Friday are not following the sunnah.

Fiqh 1.141 b: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Recitation in the Two 'Ids

He would recite Qafor al-Qamar completely, and sometimes al-A'la and al-Ghashiyyah. The rightly guided caliphs did the same. Once Abu Bakr read al-Baqarah in the morning prayer until the sun was about to rise. They said, "O successor of the Messenger of Allah, the sun is about to rise." He said, "Had it risen, you would not have found us negligent." 'Umar would recite Yusuf, an-Nahl, Hud, al-Isra' and similar surahs. If reciting long surahs was abrogated, it would have been known to the khalifahs or to those who may have criticized them. Muslim records from Jabir ibn Sumrah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, recited Qaf in the morning prayer, and that his subsequent prayers during that day would be shorter. Umm al-Fazhl heard Ibn 'Abbas recite al-Mursilat and she told him, "O my son, that recital reminded me of that surah. It was the last one that I heard the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recite, and he read it in the sunset prayer." That is one of the latest actions that we have from him.

Given the above, we may now interpret the Prophet's hadith, "O you who lead the people in prayer, be easy on them," and Anas' statement, "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, conducted the prayer very lightly, though it was complete." 'Easiness' or 'lightness' is a relative term. We must return to how the Prophet behaved to understand and follow his example correctly. It is not to be determined by the whims and desires of those who are present for prayer. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, did not order the people to differ from his practice, even though he knew that behind him were the aged, weak and people with needs to tend to. He performed his prayer in the same manner that he asked others to pray--'light' or 'easy'. If his prayers were somewhat long, they were still easy compared to how long he could have made them. The guidance that he came with and practiced is the one that decides our affairs and disputes for us. This is supported by the hadith recorded by an-Nasa'i and others in which Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, ordered those who lead prayers to be 'easy' by reciting as-Saffat. Therefore, a surah the length of as-Saffat is part of what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, meant when he said that the imams should be easy on the people.

Fiqh 1.142: Sunnah acts of prayer, Reciting a Specific Surah

The Prophet, upon whom be peace, did not confine his recitation of the Qur'an in prayers to some specific surahs, (except for the Friday and 'Id prayers). Concerning the other prayers, Abu Dawud has recorded a hadith from 'Amr ibn Shu'aib from his father on the authority of his grandfather who said, "There is no separate surah, large or small, except the ones I heard the Prophet recite while leading the people in one of the obligatory prayers. He used to recite the entire surah in two rak'ahs, or just the initial part of the surah. It has not been recorded from him that he would recite from the middle or the end of the surah, nor that he would recite two surahs in one rak'ah during the obligatory prayers. He would, however, do so during voluntary prayers. Said Ibn Mas'ud, "I know the surahs the Prophet used to recite together in one rak'ah: ar-Rahman and an-Najm, al-Qamar and al-Haqqah, at-Tur and azh-Zhariyat, al-Waqi'ah and Noon, and so on." But this hadith does not tell us if this was during obligatory or voluntary prayers. The latter is more probable. He rarely recited one surah in two (both) rak'ahs. Abu Dawud records that a man from the tribe of Juhainah heard the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recite the complete surah az-Zil~al twice in both rak'ahs of the morning prayer. The man commented, "I do not know if he did this out of forgetfulness or if he recited it twice intentionally."

Fiqh 1.143: Sunnah acts of prayer, Lengthening the First Rak'ah of the Morning Prayer

The Prophet, upon whom be peace, would make the first rak'ah of the morning prayer longer than the second. At times, he would continue to prolong his recitation until he heard no more footsteps (of the people coming to catch the prayer). He made the morning prayer the longest of his (obligatory) prayers. This is because its recitation is witnessed by Allah and the angels. It is also stated that it is witnessed by both the angels who record the daytime deeds and those who record the nighttime deeds. Whether it is Allah and His angels or His angels alone who witness that time, or does it continue until the morning prayer is over or until the sun rises cannot be said with certainty, though both of the statements are correct.

Furthermore, since the morning prayer has the least number of rak'ah, the recitation is prolonged to compensate for it. It is prayed right after sleep. As such, people are well rested. Also, it occurs before they have engaged themselves in their livelihood and other worldly affairs. The spirit as well as the body is responsive to the words of Allah. This makes the recital easier to ponder over and comprehend. Also, prayer is the basis and the first of all works. Therefore, it is preferred to prolong the recital of the morning prayer. This would be recognized by one who is familiar with Islamic law and its aim, purpose and wisdom.

Fiqh 1.144: Sunnah acts of prayer, How The Prophet Would Recite the Qur'an

He would draw out his voice over the long vowels, pause at the end of every verse, and elongate his voice with the recital. This ends the section that has been taken from the writings of Ibn al-Qayyim.

Fiqh 1.144 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, What Is Preferred to be Done During the Recitation

It is sunnah to make one's voice beautiful and nice while reciting the Qur'an. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Beautify your voices with the Qur'an." He also said, "He is not one of us who does not chant the Qur'an," "The one with the best voice with the Qur'an is the one that when you hear him, you feel that he fears Allah," and "Allah never listened to anything like he listened to his Prophet chanting the Qur'an with a beautiful voice."

Says an-Nawawi, "It is sunnah for anyone who is reciting the Qur'an, whether he is praying or not, to ask Allah for His blessings when he comes to a verse of mercy. When he comes to a verse (describing) punishment, he should seek refuge in Allah from Hellfire, punishment, evil, from what is hated, or he may say, "Allah, I ask You for well-being, etc." When he comes to a verse that glorifies or exalts Allah, he should say, "Glory be to Allah," or "Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds," and so on. Huzhaifah ibn al-Yaman is reported to have said, "I prayed with the Prophet, upon whom be peace, one night, and he started reading al-Baqarah. I said to myself, 'He will bow after one hundred verses,' but he continued. Then I said, 'He will complete it and bow,' but he moved to recite very slowly al 'Imran and then an-Nisa'. When he came to a verse glorifying Allah, he would glorify Him. If he came to a verse that mentioned a request, he would request it. If he came to something that (one should) seek refuge from, he would seek refuge." This was related by Muslim. Among the Shafiyyah, the glorifying, requesting and seeking refuge should be done during the prayer and at other times. The imam, followers and one praying by himself should all do so, for they are supplications that one should say, like 'ameen. It is preferred that when reading, "Is not Allah the most conclusive of all judges?" / at-Tin:8 / one should say, "Certainly, and I am one of the witnesses to that. When one reads, "Is not He (who does so) able to bring the dead to life? / al-Qiyamah:40 /, he should say, "Certainly, and I bear witness (to it)." When one reads, "Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High," ( al-A'la: 1 ), he should say, "Glory to my Lord, the Most High." That should be said during prayer and otherwise.

Fiqh 1.145: Sunnah acts of prayer, When The Prayer is to be Aloud or Subdued

It is sunnah to recite aloud in the two rak'ah of the morning and the Friday congregational prayer, in the first two rak'ah of the evening and the night prayer, in the two 'id prayers, the prayer for eclipses, and the prayer of asking for rain. The recital should be subdued during all of the noon and the afternoon prayer, during the last rak'ah of the evening prayer, and during the last two rak'ah of the night prayer. Concerning voluntary prayers, those made during the days should be subdued, while those made during the night can be either loud or subdued.

Fiqh 1.145 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, It is best to be moderate in one's recital

One night, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, passed by Abu Bakr when he was praying in a very low voice, and he passed by 'Umar who was praying with his voice raised. (Later), when they were together with him, he said, "O Abu Bakr, I passed by you and you were praying in a very low voice." He said, "O Messenger of Allah, the one who I was praying to could hear me." And he said to 'Umar, "O 'Umar, I passed by you and you were praying with a raised voice." He said, "O Messenger of Allah, this was to stop the drowsiness and to drive away Satan." The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "O Abu Bakr, raise your voice somewhat. And 'Umar, lower your voice somewhat." (Related by Abu Dawud and Ahmad.) If one forgets and recites aloud when he should be silent or vice-versa, there is no blame upon him. If one recalls the correction while he is doing the mistaken act, he may change to the correct way.

Fiqh 1.146: Sunnah acts of prayer, Reciting Behind an Imam

One's prayer is not accepted unless al-Fatihah is recited in every rak'ah. But, one who is praying behind an imam is to keep quiet while the imam is reciting aloud, as Allah says in the Qur'an, "When the Qur'an is recited, listen and remain silent that you may attain mercy." The Prophet, upon whom be peace, also said, "When the imam makes the takbir, (you too) make the takbir. When he recites, be silent." (Related by Muslim.) One hadith states, "Whoever is praying behind an imam, the imam's recital is his recital. If the imam reads quietly, then all of the followers must also make their own recital. If one cannot hear the imam's recital, he must make his own recital.

Commenting on this subject, Abu Bakr al-'Arabi says, "What we see as the strongest opinion is that one must recite during the prayers in which the imam's recital is subdued. But, during the prayers where the imam recites aloud, one may not recite. This is based on the following three proofs:

1 This was the practice of the people of Madinah,

2 it is the ruling of the Qur'an, as Allah says, "When the Qur'an is recited, listen and remain silent," and

3 this is supported by two hadith: one from 'Imran ibn Hussain states, 'I know that some of you compete with me (in my recital...),' and 'If it is recited, you should listen.' The preceding hadith is the weightiest position according to the following argument: If one cannot recite along with the imam, then when can one recite? If one says, 'While he is silent,' then we say, 'It is not necessary for him to be silent,'7 so how can something that is obligatory be dependent on something that is not obligatory? But we have found a way in which the person may 'recite' with the imam, and that is the recitation of the heart and of concentrating on what is being recited. This is the method of the Qur'an and the hadith, and the way the worship has been preserved. It is also part of following the sunnah. One is to act by what is the strongest (opinion). This was also the choice of az-Zuhri and Ibn al-Mubarak, and it is a statement from Malik, Ahmad and Ishaq. Ibn Taimiyyah supports it and shows it to be the strongest opinion.

Fiqh 1.147: Sunnah acts of prayer, Making the Takbir upon Moving from Position to Position

It is sunnah to make the takbir upon every rising, lowering, standing or sitting, except when one comes up from bowing, in which case one should say, "Allah hears him who praises Him." Reported Ibn Mas'ud, "I saw the Messenger of Allah make the takbir upon every lowering, rising, standing and sitting." This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi, who called it shaih.

Says at-Tirmizhi, "The companions of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, including Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'Ali and others, acted according to this hadith, as did their followers and the majority of the jurists and scholars." Abu Bakr ibn 'Abdurahman ibn al-Harith reported that he heard Abu Hurairah say, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood for prayer, he would make the takbir while standing. Then he made the takbir while bowing. When coming up from the bowing, he would say, "Sami'Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears him who praises Him). While standing, he would say, "Rabbana lakal-hamd (Our Lord, to You is the praise)." Then he would say, "Allahu akbar" when he would go down for the prostration, when he raised his head, and when he stood from his sitting after the two prostrations. He did that in every rak'ah until he finished the prayer. He prayed in that manner until he left this world." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud.)

'Ikrimah said to Ibn 'Abbas, "I prayed the noon prayer in al-Butha behind a foolish old man. He would make twelve takbirs by saying it when he prostrated and when he raised his head." Ibn 'Abbas said, "That is the prayer of Abu al-Qasim (the Prophet)." (Related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari.) It is preferrable to start the takbir when one begins one's changing of position.

Fiqh 1.147 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Manner of Bowing

When one bows, one's hands must reach one's knees. It is sunnah to make the height of the head equal to that of the hips. The hands should be supported by the knees and should be apart from one's sides. The hands should be open upon one's knees and thighs, and the palms should be flat. It is reported that 'Uqbah ibn 'Amr would bow with his arms separated, his hands on his knees, and his fingers opened beyond his knees. He said, "This is how I saw the Messenger of Allah pray." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i.)

Abu Humaid reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, bowed, he would be straight, his head neither up nor down (with respect to his hips), and he would place his hands on his knees as if he was holding them." (Related by an-Nasa'i.)

Muslim records 'Aishah reporting that when the Prophet bowed, his head would be neither risen nor lowered, but rather between those two positions. Said 'Ali, "If you put a cup of water on the back of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, while he was bowing, its contents would not spill." This is related by Ahmad. Abu Dawud recorded it in his Kitab al-Muraseel.

Said Mus'ab ibn Sa'd, "I prayed next to my father. I joined both of my hands and put them between my thighs (while bowing). He stopped me and said, 'We used to do that, but were later ordered (by the Prophet) to put our hands on our knees."' (Related by "the group.")

Fiqh 1.148: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Remembrance of Allah During the Bowing

It is preferred to remember Allah with the following words, "Subhana Rabiyy al-'Azheem (Glory to my Lord, the Great.)" Reported 'Uqbah ibn 'Amr, "When 'Glorify the name of your Lord, the Great,' was revealed, the Prophet told us, 'Do so in your bowings." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others with a good chain.

Reported Huzhaifah, "I prayed with the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and while bowing he would say, 'Subhana Rabiyy al-'Azheem." (Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, at-Tirmizhi and Ibn Majah.)

The phrase Subhana Rabiyy al-'Azheem wa bihamdihi has been related through a number of chains, but all of them are weak. Ash-Shaukani maintains, "The different chains support each other. It is perfectly acceptable for one who is praying to limit himself to Subhana Rabiyy al-'Azheem or to add one of the following:

1 'Ali reported that while bowing, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, would say, "O Allah, for You have I bowed, and it is You that I have believed in and to You have I submitted. You are my Lord. My hearing, sight, marrow, bones and nerves and what is carried by my feet are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and others.)

2 'Aishah reported that while bowing and prostrating, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, would say, "Glorified and Holy are You, Lord of the angels and the souls."

3 Reported 'Auf ibn Malik, "I prayed with the Messenger of Allah one night. He recited al-Baqarah and while bowing said, 'Glory be to the One of Omnipotence, the Master of the dominions, of grandeur and of honor."' (Related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi and an-Nasa'i .)

4 'Aishah said that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, bowed or prostrated, he would often say, "Glory and praise be to You, O Allah, our Lord. O Allah, forgive me." This was how he applied the Qur'an. (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.)

Fiqh 1.149: Sunnah acts of prayer, What Is Said Upon Rising From Bowing and Standing

It is preferred for the one who is praying, whether he be the imam, follower or praying by himself, to say, "Allah hears him who praises Him," upon coming up from the bowing. When he is standing straight, he should say, "Our Lord, and to You is the praise," or "O Allah, Our Lord, and to You is the praise." Abu Hurairah reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, rose from bowing he would say, "Allah hears him who praises Him," and while standing (straight) he would say, "Our Lord, and to You is the praise." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Al-Bukhari records in the hadith from Anas, "When he says, 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' you say, 'O Allah, our Lord, and to You is the praise." Ahmad and others record a hadith from Abu Hurairah in which the Prophet, upon whom be peace, is quoted as saying, "When the imam says, 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' you say, 'O Allah, our Lord, and to You is the praise.' If one's statement corresponds to that of the angels, all of his previous sins will be forgiven." The Prophet said, "Pray as you have seen me pray." This applies to all of his glorifying and praise statements, even if the person is following the imam. The answer to those who say, 'One should not combine both of these sayings' ('Allah hears him...' and 'O Allah, our Lord...') but only say the one of praise, has been given by an-Nawawi who said, "Our companions say that the mentioning of the command, 'And you should say, O Allah, our Lord...' is in conjunction with 'Allah hears him who praises him.' But the Prophet, upon whom be peace, only mentioned the statement, 'O Allah, Our Lord, to you is the praise,' because they had already heard the statement, 'Allah hears him who praises Him' aloud from him. It was his sunnah to say that phrase aloud, but they did not hear him say, 'Our Lord, to You is the praise' because he said it in a subdued voice. They knew the Prophet's words, 'Pray as you have seen me pray,' and knew that it was to be taken in the general sense without any restrictions. They used to say, 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' and therefore there was no need for the Prophet, upon whom be peace, to order them to say it again. But they did not know, 'Our Lord, to You is the praise,' and therefore he ordered them to say it."

The two phrases are the least that one should say while standing. But one may add any of the supplicatory words mentioned in the following hadith:

1 Said Raf ah ibn Rafa', "One day we prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace. When he raised his head from bowing, he said, 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' and a man behind him said, 'Our Lord, to You is the praise, as much as it can be and as blessed as it can be.' When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, finished the prayer he said, 'Who said that phrase earlier?' A man said, 'I did, O Messenger of Allah.' The Prophet said, 'I saw more than thirty angels chasing after you to see who would record it first."' (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Malik and Abu Dawud.)

2 'Ali reported that when the Prophet raised his head from bowing he would say, "Allah hears him who praises Him, and to You is the praise filling up the heavens and the earth, what is between them and filling up whatever You wish in addition to that." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmizhi.)

3 'Abdullah ibn Abu 'Aufa reported that when the Prophet raised his head from bowing he would say, "O Allah, to You is the praise filling up the skies and the earth and filling up whatever You wish in addition to that. O Allah, purify me with snow, hail and cold water. O Allah, purify me from sins and cleanse me from them as one cleans a white garment from filth." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.)

4 Said Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would say, 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' he would (also) say, 'O Allah, to You is the praise filling up the skies and the earth, and filling up what You wish in addition to that. You are the One who is worthy of praise and glory. This is the most correct statement that a slave could make. And we are all slaves unto You. There is no one who can prevent what You have given. And there is no one who can give what You have prevented. No one can benefit from fortune (in the face of) Your fortune."' (Related by Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Dawud.)

5 It has also been authentically reported from the Prophet, upon whom be peace, that after saying "Allah hears him who praises Him," he would say, "To my Lord is the praise, to my Lord is the praise," until he would be standing for as long as he was bowing.

Fiqh 1.151: Sunnah acts of prayer, How To Prostrate

Most scholars prefer that one place his knees on the floor before his hands. Ibn al-Munzhir related this from 'Umar an-Nakha'i, Muslim ibn Yasar, Sufyan al-Thauri, Ahmad, Ishaq and other jurists including Ibn al-Munzhir himself. Abu at-Tayyeb said that most jurists agree with this. Ibn al-Qayyim said, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prayed, he would place his knees (on the floor) before his hands, then his hands, his forehead and nose. This is what is authentic and has been related by Shuraik from 'Asim ibn Kaleeb on the authority of his father from Wa'il ibn Hajr who said, 'I saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, while prostrating, placing his knees (on the floor) before his hands. Upon getting up, he would raise his hands before his knees. I never saw him do otherwise." Malik, al-Auza'i, Ibn Hazm and Ahmad maintain that it is preferred to place the hands down first and then the knees. Says al-Auza'i, "I saw the people placing their hands on the floor before their knees." Ibn Abu Dawud comments, "That is the statement of the people of hadith." There is also a difference of opinion concerning how one should stand up from the prostration after the first (or third) rak'ah. Some say one should raise the hands from the floor first while others say that one should raise the knees first.

It is preferred for the one who is prostrating to follow the following points:

One should place one's nose, forehead and hands upon the floor

They should be separated from the sides of the body. Wa'il ibn Hajr reported that when the Messenger of Allah prostrated, he would place his forehead between his palms and separate his arms from the sides of his body. (Related by Abu Dawud.) Abu Humaid reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, he would place his nose and forehead upon the floor, keep his arms away from his sides, and place his hands parallel to his shoulders. This is related by Ibn Khuzaimah and at-Tirmizhi, who called it hassan sahih.

One should place one's hands parallel to one's ears or shoulders

As both of these acts have been related. Some scholars combine these two acts by placing the ends of the thumbs parallel to the ears and the palms parallel to the shoulders.

One should have one's fingers together and stretched out

AlHakim and Ibn Hibban record that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, bowed he would have his fingers separated and when he prostrated he would keep his fingers together.

One should have one's fingers facing the qiblah

Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Humaid that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, his fingers would be neither spread out nor clasped together, and his toes would be directed toward the qiblah.

Fiqh 1.152: Sunnah acts of prayer, The length of time of the prostration and what is to be said therein

It is preferred for the one who is prostrating to say Subhana Rabiyy al-A'la (Glory to my Lord, the Most High). 'Uqbah ibn 'Aamr related that when, "Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High" was revealed, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Do so in your prostrations." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim. Its chain is good.

Huzhaifah reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, he would say "Subhana Rabiyy al-A'la. " This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi, who called it hassan sahih. It is a must that one not repeat these sayings less than three times during the bowings and prostrations. Says at-Tirmizhi, "The scholars prefer the one bowing or prostrating to make the glorifications at least three times." According to the majority, the minimum that is sufficient for the prostrations or bowings is one glorification. We have already mentioned that "calmness" is obligatory, and this requires a time of at least one glorification.

According to some scholars, the complete glorification is ten. This is based on the following hadith: Sa'eed ibn Jubair related that Anas said, "I have not seen anyone being more similar to the Prophet's prayer than this boy ('Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz). We estimated the number of the glorifications that he made during his bowing to be ten and in his prostrations also to be ten." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i with a good chain.

Commenting on the subject, ash-Shaukani says, "Some hold that this proves that the complete (number of) glorifications is ten. The more sound opinion is that an individual who is praying may offer as many glorifications as he wishes. There are authentic hadith that state that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, elongated his glorifications during prostrations. The imam may also do so if he knows the followers will not get tired by making it longer."

Says Ibn 'Abdul-Barr, "It is a must that every imam should be easy (by not making the prayers too long) as has been ordered by the Prophet, even if he knows that those behind him are strong, because he does not know what may have happened to them and what needs they may have to tend to."

Ibn al-Mubarak maintains, "It is preferred for the imam to make five glorifications. Therefore, all the people behind him would be able to make (at least) three. It is preferred that one not limit his remembrance during the prostrations to just the glorifications, but he should add some supplications to it. In an authentic hadith, it is recorded that the Prophet said, 'The closest one of you comes to his Lord is while he is prostrating, (therefore) make many supplications therein.' And he also said, 'I have prohibited you from reciting while bowing or prostrating. During the bowing, glorify the Lord. During the prostrations, strive your hardest in making supplications. Most likely, you will be listened to." This was related by Ahmad and Muslim.

Many hadith are related on this topic, including:

1 'Ali reported that when the Prophet prostrated he would say, "O Allah, to You have I prostrated, in You have I believed, and to You have I submitted. I have prostrated my face to the One who created me and formed me in the best of forms. He is the One who gave it hearing and sight. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators." (Related by Ahmad and Muslim.)

2 While describing the Prophet's late night prayers, Ibn 'Abbas said, "Then he would go to pray and during his prayer or prostration, he would say, 'O Allah, place light in my heart, in my hearing, in my sight, on my right, on my left, in front of me, behind me, above me, below me, and make me light." Reported Shu'bah, "Or he said, 'And make for me light." (Related by Muslim, Ahmad and others.)

Talking of light, an-Nawawi observes, "The scholars say that asking for light for all organs and sides means (asking) to have the truth and guidance made clear for one's self. He asked for this so that there would be no deviation or misguidance left in him."

3 Reported 'Aishah, "I once noticed the Prophet missing from his place of sleep. I felt over his place with my hand and found him prostrating. He was saying, 'O Lord, give my soul God-consciousness and purify it, for You are the best of those who purify. You are its Guardian and Protector." (Related by Ahmad.)

4 Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would say while prostrating, "O Allah, forgive all of my sins, the small and large, the first and last, the public and private." (Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud and al-Hakim.)

5 Reported 'Aishah, "One night I missed the Prophet from his bed. I looked for him and found him praying. He was prostrating, his feet were in an upright position and he was saying, 'O Allah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your anger. I seek refuge in Your granting of well-being from Your punishment. I seek refuge in You from You. The praise cannot encompass You and You are as You have praised Yourself." (Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i.)

6 She also reported that one night he was missing and she suspected that he had gone to another one of his wives. She found him while he was bowing or prostrating, and he was saying, "Glory be to You, O Allah, and to You be praise. There is no god besides You." She said, "May my father and mother be sacrificed for you. I thought you were doing something and you were doing something else." (Related by Muslim, Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.)

7 While prostrating the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would say, "O Allah, forgive me (those things that I have been) mistaken in or ignorant, and the action that I have been extravagant in, for You are more knowledgeable of them than me. O Allah, forgive me my serious mistakes and my joking mistakes, my mistakes (that I was unaware of) and of my intentional mistakes, and everything of that which I have done. O Allah, forgive me my past sins and later sins and what was private and what was public. You are my God, and there is no god except You."

Fiqh 1.154: Sunnah acts of prayer, Sitting Between the Two Prostrations

It is sunnah to sit "spread out" between the two prostrations (to put the left foot down and to sit upon it and to keep the right foot upright with the toes pointing toward the qiblah). 'Aishah reported that the Prophet would lay out his left foot and keep his right foot upright. (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) Ibn 'Umar reported that it is from the sunnah to keep the right foot upright, with its toes pointing toward the qiblah, and to sit upon the left foot. (Related by an-Nasa'i.) Reported Nafa', "When Ibn 'Umar prayed, he would face the qiblah, even his shoes." (Reported by al-Athram.) In the hadith of Abu Humaid, in which he described the prayer of the Prophet, he stated, "Then he would lay down his left foot and sit upon it until all of his bones were in place, and then he would go to make the prostration (again)." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi who classified it as sahih.)

It has also been related that ifa'a (laying out both feet and sitting upon one's heels) is a preferred act. Comments Abu 'Ubaidah, "This is the statement of the people of hadith." Abu az-Zubair related that he heard Tawus say, "We asked Ibn 'Abbas about ifa'a, and he said, 'It is sunnah to do so.' We said, 'We think it to be too harsh for the man.' He said, 'It is a sunnah of your Prophet, upon whom be peace." (Related by Muslim.)

Ibn 'Umar reported that when the Prophet rose from the first prostration, he would sit upon his toes. He used to say, "That is from the sunnah." Reported Tawus, "I saw the 'Abdullahs ('Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar and 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubair) sitting with their feet laid flat." The last two reports were related by al-Baihaqi. Talking of its authenticity, Ibn Hajr says, "Its chain is sound."

Concerning iqa'a--sitting with the buttocks on the ground and with the thighs straight on the ground--it is disliked by all scholars. Said Abu Hurairah, "The Prophet prohibited us from three things: pecking like a rooster (making the prostration very quickly), sitting like a dog (iqa 'a), and not turning one's whole head like a fox." This is related by Ahmad, al-Baihaqi, at-Tabarani and Abu Tala with a hassan chain. It is preferred for the one who is sitting between the two prostrations to put his right hand on his right thigh and his left hand on his left thigh with the fingers stretched out and directed toward the qiblah. The fingers should be slightly separated and should not go beyond the knees.

Fiqh 1.156: Sunnah acts of prayer, Supplications Between the Two Prostrations

It is preferred to make one of the following supplications between the two prostrations. One may repeat them more than once if one wishes to do so. An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded that Huzhaifah reported that between the two prostrations, the Prophet would say, "O Lord, forgive me." Abu Dawud recorded from Ibn 'Abbas that while prostrating, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would say, "O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, grant me well-being, guide me and provide for me."

Fiqh 1.156 a: Sunnah acts of prayer, The Sitting of "Rest"

This refers to a quick sitting that one makes after the second prostration of the first and third rak'ah. The scholars differ over this regulation due to the differing hadith. Says Ibn al-Qayyim, "The jurists differ over this act. Is it a sunnah of the prayer that one should perform, or is it only done due to some necessity? There are two statements on this question and two narrations from Ahmad. Said al-Khallal, 'Ahmad referred to the hadith of Malik ibn al-Huwairith regarding the intermediate position of rest (between the two prostrations). He said, 'Yusuf ibn Musa informed me that Abu Umamah was asked about standing up (in the prayer) and he said, 'It should be done on the tops of the feet according to the hadith of Rafa'.' In the hadith of Ibn 'Ajlan there is no proof that he would stand on the tips of his feet. Many of the companions and others who described the prayers of the Prophet did not mention this sitting, except in what is related by Abu Humaid and Malik ibn al-Huwairith. If it was part of his guidance, he would always do it, and those who described his prayers would have mentioned it.

The fact that he may have done so does not necessarily make it one of the sunnahs of the prayer, unless he did it as a regular practice for the people to follow. Otherwise, he may have done it out of some need to do so, and this would not prove that it is a sunnah of the prayer.~"

Fiqh 1.157: Sunnah acts of prayer, Sitting for Tashahud

One should sit for the tashahud and place his hands in the following manner:

1 Ibn 'Umar reported that when the Prophet sat for the tashahud, he would place his left hand on his left knee and his right hand upon his right knee, and he would form a ring like (fifty-three) and point with his index finger. In another narration it is reported, "He would close his hand and point with his index finger." (Related by Muslim.)

2 Wa'il ibn Hajr reported that the Prophet would place his left palm on his left thigh and knee. He would place the end of his right elbow upon his right thigh and would then close his right hand, forming a circle. In another narration it states, "He would make a circle with his middle finger and thumb and point with his index finger. Then he would raise his finger, and (Wa'il) saw him moving it to make supplications." (Related by Ahmad.) Explaining the hadith, al-Baihaqi says, "The implication of 'he would move it' is that he would point with it, not that he would continue to move it." This would be in agreement with the narration of Ibn az-Zubair who reported, "The Prophet would point with his finger while supplicating, and he would not move it." This is related by Abu Dawud with a sahih chain. An-Nawawi also mentioned it.

3 Reported az-Zubair, "When the Prophet sat for tashahud, he would place his right hand on his right thigh and his left hand on his left thigh. He would point with his middle finger, and would not look beyond his pointing." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim and anNasa'i.) This hadith shows that one is to place the right hand on the right thigh without closing the hand (making a fist), and that he is not to look beyond his pointing.

The preceding three hadith are all authentic, and one may act by any of them.

One should point with one's right index finger, bending it a little, until one says the salaams at the end of the prayer. Reported Numair al-Khaza'i, "I saw the Messenger of Allah sitting in the prayer with his forearm along his right thigh. His index finger was raised, curved (or bent) a little, and he was supplicating." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Ibn Khuzaimah with a good chain.

Said Anas ibn Malik, "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, passed by Sa'd while he was making supplications (and using) two fingers. The Prophet said to him, 'Just one, Sa'd"' This is related by Ahmed, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i and al-Hakim.

Ibn 'Abbas was asked about a man who pointed with his finger while supplicating, and he said, "This is sincere devotion." Says Anas ibn Malik, "That is imploring." Mujahid maintains "Doing this hinders Satan." According to the Shai'iyyah, one points with the finger only once, when saying "except Allah" in the statement bearing witness. The Hanifiyyah raise the finger in the denial part of the statement (there is no god) and put it back down during the confirmation part (except Allah). The Malikiyyah move the finger to the left and right until they finish the prayer. The Hanbaliyyah point with the finger every time they mention Allah, as a reflection of the oneness of Allah, and they do not move it.

Fiqh 1.158: Sunnah acts of prayer, Sitting for the First and Second Tashahud

When Abu Humaid described the prayer of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, he said, "When he sat after two rak'ah, he would sit upon his left leg and keep his right foot upright. When he sat for the last rak'ah, he would pull over his left foot and put his right foot upright (over the left foot) and sit upon his entire posterior." (Related by al-Bukhari.)

Most scholars say that the first tashahud is sunnah

This is based on the hadith of 'Abdullah ibn Buhainah who reported that once the Prophet stood during the noon prayer when he should have sat ( for the first tashahud). When he finished the prayer, he made two prostrations. He made a takbir for each prostration (and it was) while he was sitting before he made the tasleem. He made those two prostrations because he had forgotten to sit (for the first tashahud). (Related by "the group.")

In Subul as-Salaam, it is stated that this hadith proves that one who forgets the first tashah ud must make the prostrations of forgetfulness. The Prophet is, however, reported to have said, "Pray as you have seen me pray." This would point to the first tashahud being obligatory, and one would have to do some act to make up for it. But, this also proves that it is not obligatory, for if one misses an act that is obligatory, the two prostrations of foregetfulness are not sufficient to make up for it. That is what Ibn Hajr says in Fath al-Bari.

Says Ibn Batal, "The proof is that the two prostrations due to forgetfulness cannot replace something that is obligatory. If one forgets the opening takbir, they will not replace it. In the case of the tashahud, it is a remembrance that is not said aloud and it is not obligatory." Some say otherwise, because the Prophet used to perform it and, as such, he let others follow him in performing it after he found out that they were leaving it intentionally. But there is some doubt about this argument. Those who say that it is obligatory include al-Laith Ibn Sa'd, Ishaq, ash-Shaf'i and the Hanafiyyah. At-Tabari argues that it is obligatory because originally only two rak'ah and the tashahud were obligatory. When they were made longer, the original obligations were not done away with. Therefore, it is still obligatory.

It is preferred to make the first tashahud quickly

Reported Ibn Mas'ud, "When the Prophet sat after the first two rak'ah, it seemed as if he was (sitting) on hot stones." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, at-Tirmizhi and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmizhi grades it as hassan and says, 'Ubaidah (ibn 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud) did not hear (hadith) from his father. He also says, "The scholars act according to this hadith. They prefer that one should not sit too long after the first two rak'ah, and that he should not add anything to the tashahud."

Says Ibn al-Qayyim, "It is not reported from the Prophet that he would say prayers upon himself or his family during the first tashahud. Nor would he seek refuge from the torment of the grave or the Hell-fire, or from the test of life, death and of the false Messiah. Those who say such supplications are deducing their arguments from the general application (of the supplications and the word tashahud), but the correct position is that their proper place is in the last tashahud.

Fiqh 1.160: Sunnah acts of prayer, Prayers upon the Prophet, Upon Whom Be Peace

In the last tashahud, it is preferred for the person to say prayers upon the Prophet in one of the following manners:

1 Reported Mas'ud al-Badri, "Basheer ibn Sa'd said, 'O Messenger of Allah, we have been ordered to make prayers upon you. How are we to do it?' The Prophet was quiet and then said, 'Say, O Allah, shower blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as you showered blessings upon the family of Abraham. And grant favors to Muhammad and to the family of Muhammad as you granted favors to the family of Abraham in this world. You are the Praiseworthy and Glorious.' And make the salutations as I have taught you." (Related by Muslim and Ahmad.)

2 Reported Ka'b ibn 'Ajazah, "We said, 'O Messenger of Allah, show us how we are to make salutations and prayers upon you.' He said, 'Say, O Allah, shower blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as you have showered blessings upon the family of Abraham. You are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious. O Allah . grant favors to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you granted favors to the family of Abraham.''

The salutations upon the Prophet, upon whom be peace, is a preferred act and is not obligatory. This contention is based on a hadith recorded by at-Tirmizhi (who said it is sahih), Ahmad and Abu Dawud from Fizhalah ibn 'Ubaid who said, "The Messenger of Allah heard a man supplicating in his prayer and he did not make the prayers on the Prophet. The Prophet said, 'He has hastened.'

Then he called him and said, 'When one of you prays, begin with the praise and lauding of Allah. Then make prayers upon the Prophet, and supplicate whatever you wish of Allah." The author of al-Muntaqi says, "This is a proof for those who say that the prayers upon the Prophet are not obligatory, because he did not order the one who did not do it to repeat his prayer. This is supported by his statement to Ibn Mas'ud, after mentioning (only) the tashahud, 'Then choose whatever you wish to ask (of Allah)." In his comments on this hadith, ash-Shaukani observes, "In my opinion, there is no confirmed proof that it is obligatory."

Fiqh 1.161: Sunnah acts of prayer, Supplications After the Last Tashahud and Before the Tasleem

It is preferred for the person to supplicate after the final tashahud and before making the final salutations (that end the prayer). The person may ask for whatever he wishes of the good of this life and the hereafter. Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, taught him the tashahud and then said, "Then choose whatever you wish to ask (of Allah)." (Related by Muslim.)

Supplications are preferred acts in general, regardless of whether they are reported from the Prophet or not, although supplications authenticated by the sunnah are better. Some of these are:

1 Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, "When one of you finishes the final tashahud, he should say, 'O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the torment of the Hell-fire and the grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the trials of the false Messiah." (Related by Muslim.)

2 'Aishah reported that the Messenger of Allah would supplicate in his prayer, "O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave, from the trials of the anti-Christ, and from the trials of life and death. Allah, I seek refuge in You from sin and debt." (Related by Muslim and al-Bukhari.)

3 'Ali reported that when the Prophet prayed, the last thing he would say between the tashahud and the tasleem was, "O Allah, forgive my past and later sins, what was in private and what was in public, and what I have been extravagant in. You are more knowledgeable of it than I. You are the Promoter and the Retarder. There is no god except You." (Related by Muslim.)

4 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported that Abu Bakr said to the Messenger of Allah, "Teach me a supplication that I may use in my prayers." He told him, "Say, O Allah, I have wronged my soul a great wrong and no one forgives sins except You, so forgive me with such forgiveness that only comes from You and have mercy on me. Verily, You are the Oft-Forgiving, the Oft-Mercful." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

5 Hanzhalah ibn 'Ali said that Muhjan ibn al-Adra' related to him that the Prophet entered the mosque while a man was just about to finish his prayer. The latter made the tashahud and said, "O Allah, I am asking You, O Allah, the One, the Only, the Absolute, who begets nor is begotten, nor is anyone like Him, to forgive my sins, for You are the Forgiving, the Merciful." The Prophet then said three times, "He has been forgiven." (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.)

6 Shaddad ibn Aus reported that during his prayer, the Prophet would say, "O Allah, I ask You to confirm me in the affairs, to keep me on the correct path, to make me thankful for your blessings and excellent in Your worship. O Allah, I ask You for a tranquil heart and truthful tongue. O Allah, I ask You for the good of what You know, and I seek refuge in You from the evil of which you are aware, and I ask Your forgiveness from what You know." (Related by an-Nasa'i.)

7 Said Abu Mijlaz, " 'Ammar ibn Yasar led us in the prayer and he made it very short. The people blamed him for that and he told them, 'Did I not complete my bowings and prostrations ... and did I not supplicate therein what the Prophet used to supplicate, saying, 'O Allah by Your knowledge of the unseen and Your power over the creation, let me live if You know that living is best for me, and let me die if You know that dying is better for me. I ask You (to forgive me) for fear of You in what is not seen and what is seen, to make my speech truthful while angry or pleased, and to have the same aim in poverty and riches. Grant me the pleasure of looking to Your face and of the longing to meet You. I seek refuge in You from a harmful loss and from the trials of a misguider. O Allah, embellish me with the beauty of faith, and make us of the guided of the guiders." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i with a good chain.

8 Abu Saleh related from one of the companions that the Prophet said to a man, "What do you say in your prayer?" He said, "I say the tashahud and then I say, 'O Allah, I ask of you Paradise and seek refuge in You from Hell-fire.' But I cannot murmer as good as you or Mu'azh (as eloquent as you are)." The Prophet said, "We ask concerning Paradise and the Hell-fire." (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.)

9 Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet taught him to say this supplication: "O Allah, bring our hearts together and make our relations good. Guide us to the paths of peace and bring us out of the darkness and into the light. Keep us away from lewdness, both hidden and open. O Allah, bless us in our hearing and our sight, in our hearts, our wives and our offspring. Turn unto us, for You are the Oft-Turning, the Oft-Merciful. Make us thankful for Your blessings and complete it upon us." (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.)

10 Said Anas, "We were sitting with the Prophet and a man stood up and prayed. When he bowed and made the tashahud, he would supplicate, 'O Allah, I ask of You, for to You is the praise. There is no god except You, the Giver without question, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. O Sublime and Honorable One, O Living and Sustaining One, I ask of You.' The Prophet said to his companions, 'Do you know who he made his supplication with?' They said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, he supplicated Allah by His greatest name. If one supplicates by that name, it will be listened to. If he asks by it, it will be given." (Related by an-Nasa'i.)

11 'Umair ibn Sa'd said, "Ibn Mas'ud used to teach us the tashahud of the prayer and then he would say, 'When one of you finishes the tashahud, he should say: O Allah, I ask you for all good, that which I am aware of and that which I am not. I seek refuge in You from all evil, that which I am aware of and that which I am not. O Allah, I ask you for the good that your devoted servants asked for. I seek refuge in You from all evil, that which I am aware of and that which I am not. O Allah, I ask you for the good that your devoted servants asked for. I seek refuge in You from the evil that your devoted servants sought refuge for. Our Lord, give us the good of this life and the good of the Hereafter.' He said, 'No prophet or righteous person supplicated for anything except that it is contained therein." (Related by Ibn Abu Shaibah and Sa'eed ibn Mansur.)

Fiqh 1.164: Sunnah acts of prayer, Words of Remembrance and Supplications After the Tasleem

It is sunnah for the person to use a number of words of remembrance and supplications which have been related from the Prophet. The many reports include the following:

1 Reported Thauban, "When the Prophet would finish his prayer, he would seek Allah's forgiveness three times and then say, 'O Allah, You are the peace, and from You is peace. You are filled with good, O Sublime and Honorable One." This is related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari. Muslim has the addition, "Waleed said, 'I asked al-Auza'i, 'How did he seek Allah's forgiveness?' He said, 'By saying, 'I seek Allah's forgiveness, I seek Allah's forgiveness, I seek Allah's forgiveness."

2 One day the Prophet took Mu'azh ibn Jabal's hand and said to him, "O Mu'azh, I love you." Mu'azh responded, "May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah, I love you." Then the Prophet said, "I advise you, O Mu'azh, say at the end of every prayer, 'O Allah, aid me in Your remembrance, Your thanks, and in perfecting Your worship." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim, who said it is sahih according to al-Bukhari's and Muslim's criterion. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, "Do you strive your utmost in making a supplication? Then say, 'O Allah, aid us in making Your remembrance, in giving You thanks and in perfecting Your worship."

3 Reported 'Abdullah ibn Zubair, "When the Prophet made the tasleem at the end of the prayer, he would say, 'There is no god but Allah the One. There is no partner with Him, to Him belongs the sovereignty and to Him is the praise. He has power over all things.

There is no might or power save with Allah. We do not worship any but Him. To Him belongs the fortune, the grace and the best praise. There is no god except Allah, and religion is sincerely for Him even if the disbelievers abhor it." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim. )

4 Al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah reported that the Prophet would say at the end of every obligatory prayer, "There is no god except Allah, the One. There is no partner with Him. To Him is the dominion and the praise. He has power over all things. O Allah, none can withhold what You have conferred, nor can one confer what You have withheld. A fortune does not benefit its owner against You." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

5 Abu Umamah reported that the Prophet said, "For whoever recites the verse of the throne al-Baqarah:244 at the end of every prayer, nothing will prevent him from entering Paradise except that (he must) die (first)." (Related by an-Nasa'i and at-Tabarani.)

'Ali reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Whoever recites the verse of the throne at the end (after) of every obligatory prayer will be in Allah's protection until the next prayer." This is related by at-Tabarani with a hassan chain.

6 Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet said, "Whoever glorifies Allah after every prayer thirty-three times, and praises Allah thirty-three times and extols Allah's greatness thirty-three times and then says, 'There is no god except Allah, the One. There is no partner with Him. His is the dominion and His is the praise, and He has power over all things,' is forgiven, even if his sins are as abundant as the foam of the sea." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud.)

7 Ka'b ibn 'Ajrah related that the Prophet said, "There are certain statements which, if one were to utter or observe them at the end of every obligatory prayer, one would not be dismayed. (They are) glorifying Allah thirty-three times, praising Allah thirty-three times and extolling His greatness thirty-four times." (Related by Muslim. )

8 Sumayy reported from Abu Saleh on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the poor emigrants went to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said, "The wealthy have gotten the high ranks and everlasting bounties." The Prophet said, "Why is that?" They said, "They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast. (But) they give in charity and we do not give in charity. They free the slaves and we do not free the slaves." The Messenger of Allah told them, "Shall I teach you something by which you may overtake those who surpass you, by which you will surpass those who will come after you, and none will then be better than you except if he does what you do?" They said, "Certainly, O Messenger of Allah." He told them, "Glorify Allah thirty-three times, praise Him thirty three times, and extol His greatness thirty-four times." So I returned to Abu Saleh and told him what they had said. He took my hand and said, "Allahu akbar, subhaan Allah, al-hamdu lillah, Allahu akbar, subhaan Allah, al-hamdu lillah..." until all of them reached thirty-three." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

9 The Prophet would say each of the following twenty-five times: Subhaan Allah, al-hamdu lillah, Allahu akbar and La ilaha illa Allah, wa ashadu anna la shareeka lahu. Lahu al-mulk wa lahu al-hamd wa huwa 'ala kulli shaian qadeer (There is no god except Allah, the One. He has no partner. His is the dominion, His is the praise, and He has power over all things.)

10 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "There are two characteristics which, if one observes them, will cause him to enter Paradise. They are very easy actions, but very few perform them." The people said, "What are they, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "To praise Allah, extol His greatness and glorify Him at the end of every obligatory prayer ten times each. When one goes to bed, he should glorify Allah, praise Him and extol His greatness one hundred times each. Those are, in total, only 250 actions of the tongue, yet they are equal to 2500 on the scale. Does any of you commit 2500 sins during one day and night?" They asked, "How come those easy actions are performed by so few?" He said, "Satan comes to one during his prayer and reminds him of such and such need, and he fails to say the (above). He comes to him in his bed and makes him sleep so that he can not say them." 'Abdullah said, "I have seen the Messenger of Allah counting them on his fingers.'' This is related by Abu Dawud and at-Tirmizhi, who called it hassan sahih.)

11 It is related from 'Ali that he and Fatimah were seeking a servant to make their work easier. The Prophet refused and said to her, "Shall I tell you of something better than what you have asked for?" They said, "Certainly." He said, "These are words that were taught to me by Gabriel, peace be upon him. Glorify Allah at the end of every prayer ten times, praise Him ten times and extol His greatness ten times. When you go to bed, glorify Allah thirty-three times, praise Him thirty-three times and extol His greatness thirty-four times." Said 'Ali, "By Allah, I never neglected to do what the Messenger of Allah taught us."

12 'Abdurahman ibn Ghanim reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever says, 'There is no god but Allah, the One. There is no partner with Him. His is the dominon and His is the praise. In his hand is all the good. He gives life and death, and He has power over all things,' ten times after the sunrise and dawn prayer, before turning away and lifting his leg, will have written for him for each repetition ten good deeds, and will have erased for him ten evil deeds. He will also be raised ten degress, will be protected from every plot, and he will be protected from the outcast Satan. No sin will lead to his destruction except idolatry, and he will be the person with the best deeds, surpassed only by the one who does more and says more than what he has said." This is related by Ahmad and at-Tirmizhi, but without "In His hand is all the good."

13 Muslim ibn al-Harith reported that his father said, "The Messenger of Allah said to me, 'When you pray the morning prayer, before you talk to anyone say, 'O Allah, I seek your protection from the Hell-fire' seven times. If you should die on that day, Allah will record for you protection from the Hell-fire. When you pray the sunset prayer, say before you speak to anyone, 'O Allah, I ask Paradise of You. O Allah, I seek Your protection from the Hell-fire' seven times. If you die during that night, Allah will record for you protection from the Hell-fire." (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.)

14 Al-Bukhari and at-Tirmizhi related that Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas used to teach the following words to his children, "The Messenger of Allah would seek refuge at the end of every prayer (by saying), 'O Allah, I seek refuge in you from cowardice. I seek refuge in You from miserliness, I seek refuge in You from senility, and I seek refuge in You from the trials of this world, and I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave."

15 Abu Hatim related that the Prophet would say, upon finishing his prayers, "O Allah, make my religion, which encompasses all of my affairs, good. O Allah, make this world of mine in which I live good. O Allah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your anger. I seek refuge in Your pardoning from your vengeance. I seek refuge in You from You. None can withhold what You have conferred, no one can confer what You have withheld. No possesser of fortune can benefit from his fortune against you."

16 Abu Dawud and al-Hakim recorded that at the end of every prayer the Prophet would say, "O Allah, give me well-being in my body. O Allah, give me well-being in my hearing. O Allah, give me well-being in my seeing. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from disbelief and poverty. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave. There is no god but You."

17 Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i recorded, with a chain containing Dawud at-Tafawi who is a weak narrator, from Zaid ibn Arqam that the Prophet would say at the end of his prayers, "O Allah, our Lord, Lord of everything. I bear witness that You are the Lord, You are One, You have no partner. O Allah, Our Lord, Lord of everything. I bear witness that Muhammad is Your servant and Messenger. O Allah, our Lord, the Lord of everything. I bear witness that all of your worshippers are brethren. O Allah, our Lord, Lord of everything. Make me and my family sincere to you during every moment of this life and the Hereafter. O Sublime and Honorable One, listen and respond. Allah is the greatest of the greatest, the light of the heavens and the earth. Allah is the greatest of the greatest, Allah is sufficient for me and He is the most blessed guardian. Allah is the greatest of the greatest.''

18 Ahmad, Ibn Shaibah and Ibn Majah recorded, with a chain that contains an unknown narrator, from Umm Salamah, that the Prophet would say after the tasleem of the morning prayer, "O Allah, I ask of You beneficial knowledge, sufficient provisions, and acceptable deeds."