Errors in Solāh that Should Be Avoided
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-'ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger.
Solāh is one of the most important pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) warned that the first thing man will be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection is solāh.
Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, "I heard the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saying:
“The first act of worship man shall be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection is solah. If it was performed correctly , man shall certainly succeed and prosper, if it is not, he shall certainly lose and fail. If, however, man's solāt was incomplete, the Lord, the Exalted, would say (to His Angels), "See if my slave performed supererogatory (nawafil) solāh to make up what he had missed of the obligatory solāh. The rest of man's deeds will be reckoned in the same manner” .
Buraidah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The covenant  which is between us and those (who embrace Islām) is solāh. Whosoever neglects it, becomes an unbeliever” .
On the other hand, Allāh has prepared great rewards for the believers who observe solah and are particular about it. Perfect solah effaces sins. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Have you considered, a river running by the door of you in which he bathes five times a day; would any of his dirt stay on him? They said "None of his dirt would stay on him." The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said So does Solāh; therewith Allāh eliminates sins” [5.]
Therefore, it is very important to be regular on Solāh, and perform it correctly. One may perform solāh according to the way he was taught by the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) that only who must be followed.
The traditions quoted in every issue of Ad-Deen an-Nasīhah, are authentic. Everyone should hold to the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), doing otherwise would expose himself to destruction.
There are some common errors committed by Muslims in their Solāh. These errors must be avoided in order Allāh would accept this act of worship and reward us for it.
1) Wearing pants, or garments that hang below the ankles.
This is one of the sins. Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “There are three people whom Allāh shall not speak to on the Day of Resurrection, nor shall he look at them, nor shall he purify them, and they shall have a painful torment: One whose garment hangs down below his ankles, almanān, and (a merchant) who sells of his merchandise by means of false oath”.
Some people think that wearing clothes that hang below the ankles is not a sin if they abstain from doing so while praying only. Others think that wearing such a garment is a sin only if it is worn out of pride; otherwise, they believe there is no harm in doing so. However, the above and many other traditions indicate clearly that wearing clothes that hang below the ankles (for men) is a grave sin regardless of whether such garments are worn out of habit or pride. There are other authentic traditions that emphasize wearing clothing that hangs below the ankles out of pride entails harsher punishment. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The part of the garment which hangs below the ankles is (punishable by) Fire (on the Day of Resurrection)” .
It is common to see brothers folding up the hems of their pants for prayer. However, as soon as prayer is completed, they unfold their pants. The belief that wearing garments that hang below the ankles is prohibited during solāh only is a misconception commonly held by many Muslims. Such Muslims are unaware that the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) forbade praying with folded clothes . Based on this prohibition, scholars have agreed that praying with folded sleeves or pants is unlawful.
2) Consuming food of bad smell such has garlic or onion, or smoking  before coming to solāh.
Angels and the praying people are bothered by offensive smell. On the contrary, one should wear perfume, if available before coming into mosques. Jabir bin Abdullah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: He who eats from the smelly plant [garlic or onion], let him come not near our mosque; the angels are bothered by that which bothers men .
3) Proceeding to mosque for solāh with brisk walk, or even running for fear of missing part of the solāh.
This may disturb those who are already in prayer. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When solāh has already started, do not walk quickly to join in. Proceed calmly and reposefully; then join in whichever part you catch up, and complete whichever part you missed (i.e., soon after the imām ends the solāh)” .
4) Articulate Takbīr al-Ihram when joining solāh while rukū'.
Many of those who come late to the mosque and join in prayer which is already in progress, rush to take the same posture, while people are in rukū', and say takbīr al-Ihram, or the opening takbīr of the solāh while ruku’ for fear of missing that raka'ah. Takbīr al-Ihram is to be pronounced when one is standing upright, only.
5) Articulate the niyyah in audible voice.
The seat of the intention is the heart. Mumbling words such as "I intend to perform solāh such solāh or such number of raka`at, or I intend to fast, or do such act of worship or another," just before starting observing solāh is a bid`ah which was practiced neither by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) nor his companions, nor by their followers.
Uttering the above words of niyyah allows shaitān to put irrelevant words in the mouth of the person who utters the niyyah. Do you remember at one time or another that once you stood up for Solāh Dzuhur and discovered yourself saying, "I intend to perform solāh four raka`at of `Ishā’," or when you were standing for Solāh Asar you made your intention to perform Solāh Fajar instead? This confusion is from shaitān. Had you kept silent, shaitān would have no chance of confusing you.
6) Neglecting raising the hands in the opening takbīr of solāh and before and after rukū', and upon standing up for the third raka`ah.
`Abdullah bin `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, "I saw the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) raising his hands to the level of his shoulders, upon starting solāh, and before bending for rukū' and when he stood up again” .
Raising hands with every takbīr, subsequent to the first takbīr in janazah, `Eid or rain solāh is not recommended. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to put his hands on his chest (while standing in prayer) .
7) Neglecting the opening du`ā of solāh, ta’awwudz, and basmalah.
T'a`awwudz is saying "Aūdzu billahi min ashshaitān ir-rajim" and basmalah is saying "Bismillāh hirRahmān irRahīm."
8) Neglecting praying facing a sutrah.
The sutrah is an object, such as a wall, or a post, which a person faces while praying. Or any other object which a person places to serve as a sutrah, by putting it on the ground in order that no one may cross in front of him while praying. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Pray facing a sutrah, and let no one cross in front of you while praying. If he insists, then prevent him by force because he is accompanied by shaitan” .
And he (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When one of you prays facing a sutrah, let him pray close to it so that shaitān may not be able to nullify his solāh” .
The above tradition indicates clearly that shaitān crosses in front of a praying person who performs solāh without a sutrah, causing his solāh to be null and void without being aware of it. Even if one performs solāh in an open field, he should place a sutrah in front of him.
Allāh says: (Verily) He (the shaitan) and his own people see you while you do not see them .
9) Reluctance to stand in the front line in congregational solāh.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Were people to realize the value of making adzān (the call for solāh), and the great reward (for doing so) and the virtue of standing in the first line (in congregational solāh), and had no choice but to make a draw (to decide who makes adzān or stands in the first line) they would have justifiably done so. And were people to know the significance of coming early to (congregational) solāh, they would have raced with one another (to reach the mosque first). And if they were to know the great reward (for coming to mosque) for solāh Isha' and Fajar, they would have come even if they had to crawl (i.e. even if they were disabled, they would have come crawling for fear of missing its great reward.)” .
10) Gazing upward during solāh, or looking at the imām, right or left.
This may cause loss of concentration. We are commanded to lower our gaze, and look at the point at which the head rests during sujūd. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) warned: “Let those who raise their gaze up during solāh stop doing so, or else their sights would not return to them. [i.e. lose their eyesight]”. (Muslim)
11) Leaving gaps in lines of congregational prayer.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded: “Straighten your lines, level your shoulders and block the gaps. Shaitān passes through [line] gaps” .
12) Reciting Surah al-Fatihah fast without pausing after each verse.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to pause after each verse of this surah .
13) Fidgeting during solāh, or looking at a watch or fiddling with one's fingers, clothes or moving feet or other parts of the body restlessly.
All of this diminishes the reward for solāh. Submissiveness is a condition of acceptance of solāh. Allāh's command signifies: And stand [in solāh] to Allāh submissively .
14) Holding the Qur`an and reciting from it by the muqtadi in congregational prayer to check the imām's recitation.
This act distracts the person who is doing so and prevents him from concentration. It is a dispraised act during solāh.
15) Racing with the imām, or moving with or before him in congregational solāh.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Move not before the imam does. When the imām says. Allāhu akbar, you say, Allāhu akbar. When he says, waladh-dhāllīn' you say, āmīn. In another narration, he said: Surely the imam is there to be followed” . He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) also said: “Does not the one who raises his head before the imam does fear that Allāh would transform his head into a donkey's head” .
16) Lowering the head excessively, or pushing it up, and arching the back during rukū'.
The head must be kept in normal position, while the back must be straight during rukū' to form with legs a right angle.
17) Sticking the arms to the sides of the body, in rukū' or sujūd, and sticking the belly to the thighs in sujūd.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Let not one of you support himself on his forearms (in sujūd) like the dog. Let him rest on his palms and keep his elbows away from his body” . The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to keep his arms away from his body during rukū' and sujūd that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen .
18) Praying while part of the back is exposed.
This happens to those who wear tight and short shirts or tight pants; when they bow or prostrate part of their backs are exposed. Such part of the body is awrah, or the part which must be covered always. Exposing part of the back during solāh renders solāh null and void.
19) Neglecting ta'mīn (to say 'Āmīn) loudly when the imām recites the concluding verse of Surah al-Fātihah, "waladh-dhāllīn".
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded: “When the imām says, 'waladh-dhāllīn', say 'Āmīn', because the angels also say, 'Āmīn', and the imām says, 'Āmīn'. He whose āmīn coincides with the āmīn of the angels, Allāh forgives his past sins” . In another narration, the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: Then say, 'Āmīn', Allāh loves you” .
20) Resting only the tip of the head on the floor during sujūd.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “I am commanded to prostrate on seven bones the forehead and the nose, the two hands [palms], the two knees, and the two feet” . Applying the above command necessitates resting the forehead and the nose on the ground during sujūd.
21) Hasty performance of prayer which does not allow repose and calmness in rukū' or sujūd.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saw a man who did not complete his rukū' [bowing], and made a very short sujūd [prostration]; he said: “If this man dies while praying in this manner, he would die upholding a religion other than the religion of Muhammad.” Abu Hurairah, (radiyallāhu`anhu), said: “My beloved friend, Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) forbade me to perform postures of prayer copying the picking of a rooster; (signifying fast performance of prayer), moving eyes around like a fox and the sitting like monkeys (i.e. to sit on thighs)” .
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “The worst thief is the one who steals from his own prayer. People asked, 'Messenger of Allāh! How could one steal from his own prayer?' He said: By not completing its rukū' and sujūd” .
To complete rukū' is to stay in that posture long enough to recite 'Subhāna rabbiyal Adzīm' three times, slowly, and 'Subhāna rabbiyal-‘ala' three times, slowly, in sujūd. He also announced: “He who does not complete his rukū' and sujūd, his prayer is void” .
22) Sitting in tawarruk position in the last raka`ah of Fajar and Solāh al-Juma`ah.
It is praiseworthy to take tawarruk position only in the last raka`ah of Solāh Dzuhur, Asar, Maghrib and `Ishā’. Tawarruk is described in Sahih al-Bukhari as resting the body, during sitting position, on the left thigh and putting the left foot under the right leg, while setting the right foot upright; and supporting the body by the left hand with which the left knee is grasped. See the accompanying diagram, which was hand-drawn (not copied) after looking at "The Reliance of the Traveler."
23) Moving the two palms upon saying, 'Assalamu ‘alaikum warahmatul-lāh' to end prayer.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saw some of his companions doing so. He objected: “Why do I see you moving your hands like the tails of wild horses. They never did that again” .
24) Counting tasbīh with the left hand.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to count tasbīh on the fingers of his right hand after solāh. `Abdullah bin Amr (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, (There are) two good deeds, any Muslim who does them shall enter Jannah but few are those who do them: to say, "Subhānallāh" ten times, and "Alhamdulillah" ten times, and "AllāhuAkbar" ten times. And I have seen the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) counting them on his hand. lbn Qudamah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his right hand for tasbīh .
The above hadīth indicates clearly that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used only one hand for counting tasbīh. No Muslim with sound mind would imagine that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his left hand for counting tasbīh. `Aishah, (radiallāhu`anha), said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his left hand only for Istinjā', or cleaning himself after responding to the call of nature. He never used it for tasbīh. Yasirah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded women to count tasbīh on their fingers.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “They (the fingers) will be made to speak, and will be questioned (on the Day of Resurrection.)”
The above hadīth indicates that it is preferable to count tasbīh on the fingers of the right hand than to do so on masbahah (rosary).
25) Shaking hands with other praying people right after fardhu prayer is over, saying, 'taqabbala-llah', or 'haraman'
This is a bid`ah which was never practiced by the Prophet's companions or their followers, (radiyallāhu`anhum).
26) Raising hands for duā' soon as prayer is over.
This was not the practice of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). The Sunnah is to start with dzikir soon after solāh is over. Thawban (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) concluded his solāh, he would beg forgiveness from Allah [i.e Astaghfirullāh! (I beseech Allāh for forgiveness,] thrice and then would recite: "Allāhumma Antas-Salāmu, wa minkas-salāmu, tabārakta ya Dzal-Jalali wal-Ikram (O Allah, You are the Grantor of security, and security comes from You. You are Blessing, O You Who have majesty and nobility)!'' (Imam) Al-Awza`ie, one of the narrators of this Hadith, was asked: "How forgiveness is to be sought?'' He answered: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to say: `Astaghfirullāh! Astaghfirullāh! (I beseech Allāh for forgiveness, I beseech Allāh for forgiveness)'.'' .
The best forms of duā’ are those authentically related to the Prophet, (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). Insha' Allāh, we will publish the authentic duā’ masnūn, soon.
27) Walking away right after taslīm, at the end of solāh, and neglecting dzikir.
Dzikir is reciting Subhānallāh 33 times, Alhamdulillāh 33 times Allāhu Akbar 33 times, reciting Lāilāha illallāh 10 times reciting ayat al-Kursi [i.e. verse 255 of surah 2, al Baqarah], or other authentic dzikir.
28) Crossing in front of a person performing solāh.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) warned: “Were the one who crosses in front of a praying person to know the consequences of doing so, he would have waited for forty better than to cross in front of him”. The forty cited in the hadith may be days months or even years. Only Allāh knows best.
29) Neglecting solāh when one is sick or ill.
Solāh is one of the most important pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) never neglected it during his sickness, nor while combating enemies. Solāh must be performed regardless. If one cannot perform ablution for one legal reason or another, then he must perform dry ablution tayammum by patting with his palms a dusty surface, then wiping the face and hands. If he cannot stand up in the Solāh, he may perform Solāh while sitting or lying down on his side. Otherwise, it is enough for him to perform Solāh by moving his eyes up for rukū' and down for sujūd, and complete the rest of the prayer postures in the same manner.
30) Praying in a graveyard.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: Solāh not in graveyards, nor sit on graves .
The format of Solāh is enjoined by the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). No imām or a scholar has the right to alter it by adding to or deleting from it. There is no book of authentic hadith or Prophetic tradition reporting that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded men to pray in one way, and women in another. He commanded: “Solāh as you saw me performing Solāh” . The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) did not differentiate between men and women in prayer.
Some scholars opine that it is better for women to gather themselves in sujūd. As everybody knows, prayer is an act of worship, and like every other act of worship, there must be a textual proof for it in the Qur'an or the authentic Sunnah. Let us pray to Allāh, extolled be His glory, seeking His forgiveness, and asking him to guide us to the straight path. Āmīn.
It should be borne in mind that performing prayer correctly means performing it in accordance with the traditions only, not according to the madzhab to which a person adheres.
Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidzi.
This tradition refers to the covenant which Allāh has taken from Muslims, through His Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and made mandatory on them praying five times a day. Neglecting salah is apostasy.
Sunan an-Nasā'ie and Sunan Ibn Mājah
Almanān is a person who gives out gifts only to reproach the recipient for what he has given him.
Sahih Muslim. The above hadīth refers to a merchant who swears falsely that he is not making a profit in his merchandise or that it cost him too much in order to convince the customer to buy it.
It must be borne in mind that smoking is harām, and that smoking just before coming to mosques is even worse.
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
Al Bukhari, Abu Dawūd and others.
 Al-A’raf, 7.27
Imam Ahmad and others.
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Imam Ahmad and at-Tayalisi
At-Tabrāni and al-Hakim
Abu Dawūd and others.
Abu Dawūd & an-Nasā'ie
Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim and others
[Via Quran and Sunnah Society]