Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Status of Solāh

The Immense Status and Significance of Solāt 

Ibn Saleh

 In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

Allāh Almighty made Solāh obligatory upon his prophets and for all his ummah and ordered them to establish and perform it properly; who linked success and felicity to humility in Solāh, Allāh made Solāh as the criterion that distinguishes between Imān and Kufur; and who made it a restrainer from shameful and unjust deeds. Solāh occupies an immense status in Islām and is the most virtuous deedthat is not shared by any other acts of worship. It is the first matter that will be brought to account on the Day of Judgment. Solāh is the first pillar of Islām that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned after citing the testimony of faith, by which one becomes a Muslim.

1 - Solāt Is the Pillar Islām

The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “The peak of the matter is Islām; the pillar is Solāh; and its topmost part is jihad.”

In a hadith of Mu’adz Ibn Jabal (radiyallāhu’anhu), who said: “O Messenger of Allāh, tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from Hell-fire.”

Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “You have asked me about a major matter, yet it is easy for him for whom Allāh Almighty makes it easy. You should worship Allāh, associating nothing with Him, you should perform the Solāh, you should pay the Zakah, you should fast in Ramadhān, and you should perform Hajj to the House.”

Then Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Shall I not show you the Gates of Goodness? Fasting [which] is a shield, Charity [which] extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and the Solāh of a man in the Depth of Night.” Then Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) recited: “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do”. [As-Sajdah 32: 16-17]

Then Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Shall I not tell you of the peak of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allāh.” Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The peak of the matter is Islām; the pillar is Solāh; and its topmost part is jihad.”

Then Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allāh”, and Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.” I said: “O Messenger of Allāh, will what we say be held against us?” Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “May your mother be bereaved of you, Mu’adz! Is there anything that topples people on their faces - or he said on their noses into Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?” 

[At-Tirmidzi: it is sound]. 

In the hadith narrated by Abu ‘Abdullāh Jabir bin `Abdullāh al-Ansari, (radiyallāhu’anhu), who said: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Between a man and syirik [associating others with Allāh] and kufur [disbelief] there stands his giving up Solāh.” [Muslim (82)]

Solāh is second to the Shahādatayn as further proof of the soundness of a person’s belief and as visible evidence of the beliefs that reside in the heart.
The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Islām is built on five [pillars]: the testimony that there is no god but Allāh and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, establishing Solāh, paying Zakah, performing pilgrimage to the House, and fasting Ramadhān.” [Al- Al-Bukhari (8); Muslim (16)] “Establishing Solāh” means the observing solāh in full with all its words and actions, at the “appointed times”, as it says in the Qur’ān: “Verily, As-Solāh is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours” [An-Nisā’, 4:103]

2 - Solāt is Special among Acts of Worship as It Was Enjoined During Mi’raj.

Solāh was not brought down to earth by an angel, rather Allāh wanted to bless His Messenger Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) by taking him up to heaven and addressing him directly concerning the obligation of Solāh. This is something that is unique to Solāh among all the rituals of Islām.

Solāh was enjoined on the night of the Mi’raj: Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) ascent to heaven, approximately three years before the Hijrah. Fifty Solāh per day were enjoined at first, and then the number was reduced to five, but the reward of fifty remains. This is indicative of Allāh’s love of Solāh and its great status.

The following is an epitome of the details of that miraculous event of al-Isrā’ and the Enjoinment of Solāh narrated from the hadiths of Anas bin Mālik  Ibn Nadar al-Khazraji Al-Ansari (radiyallāhu’anhu) (d.93 AH; 714 CE. )

Imām Abu ‘Abdullāh Ahmad bin Mohammed bin Hambal, Abu ‘Abdullāh Ahmad al-Dhuhli al-Shaybani al-Marwazi al-Baghdadi (d. 241,rahimahullāh) recorded from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) told the companions (radiyallāhu’anhum) about the night in which he was taken on the Night Journey (Al-Isrā’). Allāh’s Messenger, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“While I was lying down in Al-Hatim (or in Al-Hijr); someone came to me and said to his companion: ‘The one who is in the middle of these three.’ He came to me and opened me from his throat to below his navel. He took out my heart and brought a golden vessel filled with faith and wisdom. He washed my heart then filled it up and put it back.”

Imām Al-Hafiz Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad bin Isma’il Al-Bukhari (d. 204, rahimahullāh)recorded from Yahya bin Bakar, Yunus, Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri from Anas bin Mālik that Abu Dzarr Al-Ghifari (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated: “Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

‘While I was at Makkah the roof of my house was opened and Gabriel (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zam-zam water.

Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it’.

Imām Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said:

“Al-Buraq was brought to me, and it was a white animal bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. One stride of this creature covered a distance as far as it could see. I rode on it and it took me to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), where I tethered it at the hitching post of the Prophets. Then I entered and prayed two Rak’at there, and came out. Jibril brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk and I chose the milk. Jibril said: ‘You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).’

Then I was taken up to The First Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked: ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Adam, (‘alayhissalam), who welcomed me and prayed for good for me“Welcome to the righteous son and righteous Prophet” [Recorded by Imām Ahmad from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah].

Then I was taken up to The Second Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked: ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw the two maternal cousins, Yahya and ‘Isa, (‘alayhissalam), who welcomed me and prayed for good for me: “Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet” [Recorded by Imām Ahmad from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah]. 

Then I was taken up to The Third Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked: ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Yusuf, (‘alayhissalam), who had been given the beautiful half. He welcomed me and prayed for good for me: “Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet” [Recorded by Imām Ahmad from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah]. 

Then I was taken up to The Fourth Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has his Mission started’ He said: ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Idris, (‘alayhissalam), who welcomed me and prayed for good for me: “Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet” [Recorded by Imām Ahmad from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah].  

Then Allāh’s Messenger, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said that Allāh says:  “And We raised him to a high station” (Maryam, 19:57).”

Then the Allāh’s Messenger, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi w asallam) continues his narration:

“Then I was taken up to The Fifth Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked: ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Harun, (‘alayhissalam), who welcomed me and prayed for good for me: “Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet” [Recorded by Ahmad from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah].  
Then I was taken up to The Sixth Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril. It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked: ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Musa, (‘alayhissalam), who welcomed me and prayed for good for me: “Welcome to the righteous brother and righteous Prophet” [Recorded by Ahmad from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah]. 
Then I was taken up to The Seventh Heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, ‘Who are you’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ It was said, ‘Who is with you’ He said, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked: ‘Has his Mission started’ He said, ‘His Mission has started.’ So it was opened for us, and there I saw Ibrahim, (‘alayhissalam), who was leaning back against The Much-Frequented House (Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur). Every day seventy thousand angels enter it, and they never come back to it again.]  (Jibril) said, ‘This is Ibrahim, greet him.’ So I greeted him, and he returned the greeting then said, “Welcome to the righteous son and righteous Prophet.”

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri said Ibn Hazm told me that Ibn ‘Abbas and Abu Habbah Al-Ansari(radiyallāhu’anhum) used to say: Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) further said: “Then I was taken up until I reached a level where I could hear the sound of the pens.” i.e. the pens of destiny which write down what is decreed to happen.

Imām Ahmad reported from Anas bin Mālik that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)said: Then I was taken to “Sidrat Al-Muntaha (The Lote Tree Of The Utmost Boundary Which None May Pass); and its leaves were like the leaves (ears) of elephants and its fruits were like jugs, and when it was veiled with whatever it was veiled with by the command of Allāh, it changed,and none of the creatures of Allāh can describe it because it is so beautiful. (Jibril) said: ‘This is Sidrat Al-Muntaha’. There were four rivers, two hidden and two visible. I said, ‘What is this, O Jibril’ He said: ‘The two hidden rivers are rivers in Paradise, and the two visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates’.”

Then I was shown “Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur (The Much Frequented House)” [Ahmad from Qatadah from Al-Hasan from Abu Hurayrah] which is like the Ka’bah (Sacred House) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection Day. 

Imām Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Mālik said that Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah  that  Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said“Then I was brought a vessel of wine, a vessel of milk and a vessel of honey. I chose the milk, and he (Jibril) said: ‘This is the Fitrah (natural instinct) on which you and your Ummah will be’.”

Imām Ahmad reported from Anas bin Mālik that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: Then Allāh revealed that which He revealed to me [refers to Surah Al-Fatihah and the concluding ayat of Surah Al-Baqarah]. He enjoined on me fifty Solāh every day and night.”

“Then I entered Paradise, in which I saw nets of pearls and its soil of musk.” [Al-Al-Bukhari from Anas bin Mālik from Abu Dzarr Al-Ghifari].

“And saw the Hell” [Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri]

Imām Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) said that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) further said:

“ I came down until I reached Musa, (‘alayhissalam) [at the sixth heaven] and he said: ‘What did your Lord enjoin on your Ummah’ I said, ‘Fifty Solāh every day and night.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for your Ummah will not be able to do that. I tested the Children of Israel and found out how they were.’ So I went back to my Lord and said, O Lord, reduce (the burden) for my Ummah for they will never be able to do that. So He reduced it by five. ’ 

I came back down until I met Musa, (‘alayhissalam) and he asked me, ‘What did you do’ I said: ‘My Lord reduced my burden by five.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah.’  I kept going back between my Lord and Musa, (‘alayhissalam), and (my Lord) reduced it by five each time, until He [Allāh] said: ‘O Muhammad! These are five Solāh every day and night, and for every Solāh there is (the reward of) ten, so they are (like) fifty Solāh. Whoever wants to do something good then does not do it, one good deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, ten good deeds will be recorded for him. Whoever wants to do something evil and does not do it, no evil deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, one evil deed will be recorded for him.’ I came down until I reached Musa, (‘alayhissalam) and told him about this. He said: ‘Go back to your Lord and ask him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for they will never be able to do that.’ I said: ‘I had kept going back to my Lord until I felt too shy’. [Imām Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Mālik from Mālik bin Sa’sa’ah adds: ‘I accept this and submitted to Him.’ Then a voice called out: ‘My order has been decreed and I have reduced the burden on My servants’.” Similar narrations were recorded by Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Hazm from Anas bin Mālik in the Sahihayn.

 ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) narrated: “Allāh enjoined the solāh when He enjoined it, it was two rak’at only (in every solāh) both when in residence or on journey. Then the solāh offered on journey remained the same, but (the Rak’at of) the solāh for non-travellers were increased.”  [Al-Al-Bukhari (346)]

3 - Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) obligated the Ummah to Emulate His Solāt.

All Muslims should adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) throughout the Solat, following his command. Malik bin Huwairth narrated that Rasulullāh (Sallallāhu’alayhi wasallam) said: “Solāt as you have seen me Solāt…” [Al-Bukhāri (604) and Ahmad]

In relation to above hadith Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) also gave the good tidings to whoever observed Solāt like him that such a person has a covenant with Allāh that He will enter him into the Garden.

Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are five Solāt which Allāh, Mighty and Sublime, has made compulsory: he who performs ablution well for them, performs them at their proper times, and is complete in their ruku’, sujud and humility, he has a guarantee from Allāh that He will forgive him; but he who does not do so, has no guarantee from Allāh: if He wishes, He will forgive him or if He wishes, He will punish him.” [Mālik, Abu Dawūd, An-Nasa’ie, and Ibn Hibban: sahih].

4 – Solāt is the Most Virtuous Deed and Sanctified Moment before Allāh

It was recorded in a Hadith that a man asked the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) what are the most virtuous deed. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied that the most virtuous deed is the Solāh. The man asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) several times. The first three times, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) repeatedly answered: “The Solāh,” Then on the fourth occasion he stated it: “Jihad in the way of Allāh.”  [Ahmad and Ibn Hibban; hadith is Hasan.]

Solāh is a sanctified and holy moment (mauqif) for the worshipper in the presence of his Lord and Deity in truth. He fulfils (by its performance) his covenants, obligations and statements of confession which are contained within and are required by the testimony of Faith: “There is nothing which has the right to be worshipped except Allāh and that Muhammed is His Messenger” By those attestations one becomes a Muslim.

These covenants, obligations and resolutions: among they are those of belief, those of words and those of action; and the explanation of that is as follows:

4.1 - One Who Is Performing Solāt Is Indeed In Contact With Allāh Almighty.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saw some people were observing solāh in the masjid, and they became loud in their solāh. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam was i’tikaf, draw his curtain of his cube and found the people observing solāh and [some] reciting Al-Qur’ān in loud voices. Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The person observing solāh is conversing with his Lord, so let him concentrate on Whom he is in contact with, and do not raise your voices over one another with loud recitation of Al-Qur’ān .” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasā’ie: sahih]

Solāh is a sanctified moment before Allāh thus one should be aware of not doing anything that may offend or disturb those who is observing solāh. These sanctified moments include disturbing those who are reading Qur’ān, observing solāh or dzikirullah in the masjid. It is an evil deed (sayyi’ah) to disturb the people in the masjid by talking about worldly affairs, because this is offensive to them and distracts Muslims from doing acts of worship properly. Disturbing others is not allowed, even if it takes the form of reading Qur’ān, more so if it takes other forms. Ibn Muhairiz said: “Speaking in the masjid is idle talk, except for one who is praying, or remembering his Lord, or asking for help or giving help.” [Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq, part 8, Bab Kalam ‘Ikrimah]

It is not permissible of raising voices while talking when Muslims are performing Solāh. It was reported that As-Sa’ib (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “I was in the Masjid, and a man called me, I turned to him and there was ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu’anhu). And he said: “Bring me these two men”, then I brought them to him. ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) asked: “Where are you from? They replied from the people of At-Ta’if. He said: “If you were from the people of Al-Madinah, I would have hurt you because you raised your voices in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).” [Al-Bukhari]

4.2 - The Takbir Is An Acknowledgement That Allāh Is The Greatest.

The Takbir is an acknowledgement for the worshipper, both in belief and speech that Allāh is the greatest, greater than everything in His Essence, Attributes and in the rights (owed to Him). Among His rights are the obeying of His commands and refraining from His prohibitions in regard to beliefs, acts of worship, characteristics and manners; in all moments and situations.

This acknowledgement penetrates into the various postures of the worshipper during his solāh, from the qiyam to the ruku’, to the sujud, to the verbal confessions he makes, and after that into the submissiveness in action; so there does not remain any moment of heedlessness or inattentiveness and there does not remain in his heart that which pushes out the (awareness of the responsibility of fulfilling) the rights of Allāh upon His servant; whether it is persons, property, money, family or progeny and among His rights are (His) Magnification, Love (for Him greater than for all else), Fear (of His displeasure and punishment), Hope (in His Mercy) and Obedience.

The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would commence the Solāh by Takbiratulihram, saying: “Allāhu Akbar (Allāh is the Greatest)” [Muslim and Ibn Mājah]; and simultaneously would form the Intention in the heart. Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) ordered “the man who prayed badly” to do likewise, and said: “Verily, the Solāh of a person is not complete until he has made an ablution which has included the necessary parts of the body and has then said: ‘Allāhu Akbar’.”  [Tabarāni with a sahih isnād]

Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would also said: “The key to the Solāh is purification; it is entered by Takbīr and exited by Taslīm”. [Abu Dawud, Tirmidzi and Hakim who declared it sahih and Dhahabi agreed. It is given in Irwa’ (no. 301).]

The Takbir (Takbir Intiqal) is also said during every transition of movements except rising from Ruku’ instead saying Tasmi followed by and Tahmid in the place.

4.3 - The Recitation Al-Fātihāh Is Answered By Allāh

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever performs any solāt in which he did not read Ummul Qur’ān, then his solāh is incomplete.” He said it thrice. [Muslim]

In another hadith Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) was asked, “[When] we stand behind the Imām’’ He said, “Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allāh Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

“Allāh Almighty said: ‘I have divided the prayer (Al-Fātihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for’.”

If he says: Bis-millā-hirrah-mâ-nir-raheem (In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)”[1] Alhamdulillāhi rabbil’ālameen (All the praises and thanks be to Allāh, [2] the Lord [3] of the ‘Alameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists).)” [4] Allāh says: “My servant has praised Me.”

When the servant says: “Arrahmā-nir-Raheem (The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) [5]” Allāh says: “My servant has glorified Me.”

When he says:  “Māliki yawmiddeen (The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)” [6] Allāh says: “My servant has glorified Me,” or ”My servant has related all matters to Me.”

When he says: “Iyyaka nâ’budu-wa-iyyaka-nasta-’aeen (You (Alone) we worship, [7] and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).) [8]” Allāh says: “This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.”

When he says: “Ih-dinas-sirātal-mustaqeem (Guide us to the Straight Way.)”  [9] ”Sira-tâl-ladzī-na-an-’amta ‘alayhim-ghayril-magh-dhūbi-’alayhim-waladh-dhãlleen (The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace [10], not (the way) of those who incur Your wrath [11] (i.e. those who knew the Truth, but did not follow it) nor of those who went astray (i.e. those who did not follow the Truth out of ignorance and error).” [12], [13]. Allāh says: ‘This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.’ ’’ [“Dhãlleen” must be recited in six harākat (i.e. Mad Lazim musaqqall) in order the Solāh to be valid.]

[An-Nasā’ie, Muslim ; both Muslim and An-Nasa’ie collected the following wording, “A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.’’] 


1. Islāmic culture requires a man to commence everything with the name of Allāh. If this is done consciously and sincerely, it will surely produce three good results: First, it will keep him away from evil, because the very name of Allāh will impel him to consider whether he is justified in associating His name with a wrong deed or an evil intention. Secondly, the very mention of the name of Allāh will create in him the right attitude of mind and direct him to the right direction. Thirdly, he will receive Allāh’s help and blessing and will be protected from the temptations of Syaitān, for Allāh turns to a man when he turns to Him.

2. The Surah AI-Fātihah is a “Du’ā (Prayer)”. It begins with the praise of Allāh to whom it is addressed in order to teach us the right way of making a supplication. We should not put forward our request bluntly and abruptly without an appropriate introduction. The right way is to acknowledge the excellences and the favors and the high position of the One to Whom we address our prayer. That is why we begin our prayer with the praise of Allāh, for He is the perfection of all excellences and .is also our Benefactor. We pay homage to Allāh to show that we sincerely acknowledge His excellences and also are grateful to Him for His countless favours. It should also be noted that not only Praise is for Allāh but also Praise is only for Allāh. This distinction is very important because it cuts at the root of the worship of any of His creation. As none of them is worthy of praise, none is worthy of worship. No man, no angel, no prophet, no so-called god, no star, no idol, in short none of His creation inherently possesses any good quality. If one has any, it is given by Allāh. Hence the Creator of these qualities alone deserves devotion, worship, gratitude, and none of His creation.

3 The word “Rabb” which has been translated into “Lord”: The actual word used in the Qur’ān is Rabb There is no proper equivalent for Rabb in English language. It means the One and the Only Lord for the entire universe, its Creator, Owner, Master, Organizer, Sustainer, Provider, Guardian, Sovereign, Ruler, Administrator, Organiser, Planner, Cherisher, and Giver of security. Rabb is also one of the Names of Allāh. The word “Lord” is the nearest to Rabb. All occurrences of ”Lord” in the interpretation of the meanings of the Noble Qur’ān actually mean Rabb and should be understood as such.

4. Narrated Abu Sa’id bin Al-Mu’alla (radiyallāhu’anhu): While I was praying in the masjid, Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) called me but I did not respond to him. Later I said, ‘O Allāh’s Messenger, I was praying.’  Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Didn’t Allāh say - Answer Allāh (by obeying Him) and His Messenger when he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) calls you.” (Al-Anfal, 8:24). Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said to me, “I will teach you a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur’ān, before you leave the masjid.” Then Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) got hold of my hand, and when he intended to leave (the masjid), I said to him, “Didn’t you say to me, ‘I will teach you a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur’ān?’” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Al-Hamdu lillāhi Rabbil- ‘alameen [i.e. all the praises and thanks be to Allāh, the Lord of the ‘alameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)], Surah Al-Fātihāh which is As-Sab ‘Al-Mathani (i.e. the seven repeatedly recited Verses) and the Grand Qur’ān which has been given to me.”[Recorded by Sahih Al-Bukhāri, Vol.6, Hadīth No. 1]

5. Although the Arabic word “Rahmān” is in the superlative form and denotes the attributes of beneficence and mercy in the highest degree, even this word fails to express the boundless extent of these attributes of Allāh. Hence another word “Rahīm” of the same root has been added to make up for the deficiency.

6. After saying that Allāh is Beneficent and Merciful, it has immediately been added that He is the Master of the Day of Judgment, so that the qualities of mercy and kindness might not mislead anyone into forgetting that on that Day He will gather together all human beings from the first to the last and require each and every one to give an account of all of one’s acts to Him. A Muslim should, therefore, always keep in view the fact that Allāh is not only Merciful, but He is also Just. He has, however, full authority to pardon or punish anyone He pleases, for He has complete power over everything. Therefore we should have full conviction that it lies absolutely in His power to make our end happy or sorrowful.

7. The Arabic word ‘Ibādah is used in three senses: (a) worship and devotion, (b) submission and obedience, (c) subjection and servitude. Here it implies all the three, that is, We are Thy worshipers, Thy subjects and Thy slaves and We keep these relations with Thee and Thee alone and ”We make none else the object of our worship in all the three senses.”

8. It means, we ask for Thy help because we know that Thou art the Lord of the whole Universe and Thou hast all powers and Thou art the Master of everything. Therefore we turn to Thee for help for the fulfillment of our needs and requirements.

9. (Al-Fātihah, 1:6). Al-Fātihah is a Du’ā seeking Allāh’s guidance. Guidance is of two kinds:

a) Guidance of Tawfiq i.e., totally from Allāh, i.e. Allāh opens one’s heart to receive the truth (from disbelief to Belief in Islāmic Monotheism).

b) Guidance of Irshad i.e. through preaching by Allāh’s Messengers and the pious preachers who preach the truth i.e. Islāmic Monotheism.

Thus, it means, “Showing us the way which may lead us aright in every walk of life and keep us absolutely free from errors and evil consequences and bring us success in the end.” This is indeed the request which the servant of Allāh makes to Him when he begins the study of the Qur’ān. He seeks Allāh to guide him in every aspect of life and save him from the labyrinths of doubt and uncertainty, which result from the lack of true knowledge. The servant also requests the Master to show him the right and the straight way of life from among the many by-paths and crooked ways.

10. The Straight Way for which we are praying is the way which has always been followed by the people favored by Thee and which has always brought Thy favors and blessings. i.e. the way of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (i.e. those followers of the Prophet, who were first and foremost to believe in him, like Abu Bakar As-Siddīq), the martyrs and the righteous, [as Allāh Subhānahu wa Ta’āla said: “And whoso obeys Allāh and the Messenger (Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allāh has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun, the martyrs, and the righteous. And, how excellent these companions are!” (Al-Nisā’, 4:69)].

11. Narrated ‘Adi bin Hatim (radiyallāhu’anhu): I asked Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), about the Statement of Allāh: “Ghairil-maghdhubi ‘alayhim (Not the way of those who earned Your Anger),” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)”They are the Yehuds”. And “Wa-ladh-dhãlleen (Nor of those who went astray),” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied: “The Christians and they are the ones who went astray” [This Hadith is recorded by At-Tirmidzi and Abu Dawūd].

The favored people are not those who go astray and incur the wrath of Allāh, though apparently they might be enjoying the transitory good things of life. The really favored people are those who receive blessings on account of their righteous living. It also becomes clear that by favors are meant those real and permanent rewards, which result from righteous living and from winning the pleasure of Allāh, and not those transitory good things of life which have been enjoyed even by the tyrants and worshipers of mammon and which are being enjoyed even today by all sorts of evildoers who have gone astray from the straightway.

12. It was narrated by ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit (radiyallāhu’anhu) Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever does not recite Surah Al-Fātihāh in his Solāh, his Solāh is invalid.” (This Hadith is recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Vol.1, and Hadīth No. 723).

13. It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu): Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “When the Imām says: Ghairil-maghdhubi ‘alayhim Wa ladh-dhãllin [i.e. not the way of those who earned Your Anger, nor the way of those who went astray (1:7)], then you must say, ãmĩn , for if one’s utterance of ãmĩn coincides with that of the angels, then his past sins will be forgiven.” [This Hadith is recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Vol.6, and Hadith No. 2].

4.4 - The Ruku’ Is The Sign Of Courtesy Of Reverence Done Only To The Allāh.

Ruku’ is the sign of courtesy (ādab) of reverence not offered to anyone else but only to the Allāh, the All-Supreme Creator. Ruku’ is an essential pillar of the solāh. Performing it in an excessive or inadequate manner, whether intentional or unintentional, renders the solāh invalid or incomplete. The word “rak’ah” (cycle; unit) which is used in counting the cycles of solāh is derived from the word “ruku’”. 

The worshipper bends his back and bows his head during it out of obedience, lowliness and humility to his Deity. So by this he fulfils his covenants of being constant in his obedience, carrying out the orders of his Deity, refraining from His prohibitions, ruling by His Syari’ah in happiness, adversity and every other situation. The worshipper returns (to fulfill) these covenants and obligations every time he performs the ruku’ both in the obligatory solāh or the supererogatory.

Whoever bends his back and ruku’ his head in the solāh in obedience to Allāh and after that rebels from some of His commands or shows boldness towards some of His prohibitions due to the calling of his desire or whim, then he has contradicted his fulfillment of this obligation to the extent of the evil of his action.

4.5 - The Adhkār in Solāt Contains the Essence of Tawhid

The various adhkar during the Solāt from the Openning Supplication untill Taslim contains the tawhid: submission, glorification, praising, seeking forgiveness and mercy of Allāh accordance to the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) without adding, taking away or changing anything.

The Tasbih are the statement which the worshipper makes during his ruku’: “Subhāna Rabbiyal Adzeem (How free from every imperfection is my Lord, the Mighty)” and in his sujud: “Subhāna Rabbiyal-a’lā (How free from every imperfection is my Lord, the Highest)”. This is the speech by which the worshipper declares his Deity free from every defect and shortcoming in His attributes, actions and His rights (over His creation). Among His rights is the declaration of His mightiness in every situation, the placing of obedience to Him before obedience to ones soul or parents, leaders and others besides them.

Whoever declares Allāh to be free from all imperfections during his ruku’ and sujud and then shows boldness towards His disobedience when he departed from the solāh, he has reduced or diminished his glorification of his Deity to the extent of his disobedience to Him.

4.6 - Sujud Is the Highest Degree of Obedience and Servitude to Allāh

Sujud is the highest degree of obedience and servitude of man in the Presence of AllāhSujud is the highest degree of obedience and servitude to Allāh; when the worshipper places his noble limbs upon the dust or the earth. The sujud is a covenant in action. It is an obligation due to the absolute obedience owed to the Deity in truth in all situations. There is no exception in this absolute obedience for moments of desire or moments of the whims of the soul (this absolute obedience incorporates all moments and situations).

Sujud is the Pillar of Solāh that doing it improperly, whether intentional or unintentional, will render the solāh invalid. It defines theway of attaining nearness (qurb) to your Lord, Allāh, the All-supreme, and the Highest Authority: “But prostrate and draw near (to Allāh)!” [Surah Al-’Alaq, 96:19] 

Whoever covers his face with dust (due to the performance of sujud) out of extreme humility, then departs from his solāh and returns to the obedience of the soul in disobedience to Allāh, obedience to the creation in disobedience to Allāh and the following of whims in disobedience to Allāh, then he has been false to himself to the extent of his disobedience (or sin). But whoever does that, and then he must repent hastily as the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has said: “All the progeny of Adam (constantly) errs and the best of those who constantly err are those who (constantly) repent” [Narrated by At-Tirmidzi no. 2501, Ibn Mājah no. 4251, Ad-Darimi 2/303 and Ahmad 3/198 with a Hasan sanad from Anas bin Mālik]

Ruku’ and Sujud are repeatedly mentioned together in the Qur’ān: “O you who have faith! Bow down and prostrate yourselves,” [Surah al-Hajj, 22:77] and “You see them bowing and prostrating (in worship).” [Surah Al-Fath, 48:29.]

Accordingly, sujud reflects the symbol of faith in the divine signs“Only those believe in Our signs that, when they are reminded of them, fall down in prostration.” [Surah As-Sajdah, 32:15]  Sujud makes man harmonious and concordant with all of creation in heaven and on earth prostrate and are humble before Allāh: “To Allāh prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth,” [Surah An-Nahl, 16:49] and “And the herb and the tree prostrate (to Allāh).” [Surah Ar-Rahman, 55:6]

4.6.1 - The Closest To The Lord Is While One Is In Sujud So Make A Lot Of Supplications.

The closest that one of you comes to his Lord is while he is Sujud. Hence one should strive hard making a lot of supplications. Most likely, you will be heard.

Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak (rahimahullah) says, “It is preferred for the Imām 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 sajdah to just the glorifications, but he should add some supplications to it. In an authentic hadiths, it is recorded by Ahmad and Muslim that Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The closest one of you comes to his Lord is while he is in Sajdah, (therefore) make many supplications therein’.  And he also said, ‘I have prohibited you from reciting while Ruku’ or Sajdah. During the Ruku’, glorify the Lord. During the sajdah, strive your hardest in making supplications. Most likely, you will be listened to.” 

4.6.2 - Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) Will Identify His Ummah By The Mark Of Sujud On Their Foreheads On The Day Of Resurrection.

It is also sign of the loyal Companions of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was that the effect of sujud could be seen on their foreheads: “Their mark is (visible) on their faces, from the effect of prostration.” [Surah Al-Fath, 48:29]

On the Day of Resurrection, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) will identify his ummah by the mark of sujud that they have on their foreheads. That portion of the earth on which prostration was made will testify to the devotion of man on the Day of Resurrection.

The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no one among my ummah whom I will not recognise on the Day of Resurrection”. They said, “How will you recognise them, O Messenger of Allāh, among the multitude of created beings?” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu’alayhi wasallam) said, “Do you not see that were one of you to enter an enclosure in which there was a jet black [i.e. its colour is pure black, with no other colours mixed with it. (Nihayah)], steed and a horse with a white forehead and legs [The whiteness refers to that part of the horse where chains and bangles are put, including the lower legs but not the knees.]; would you not recognise the latter from the former?” They said, “Of course.” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu’alayhi wasallam) said: “Thus, my ummah on that day will surely have white faces [i.e. the shining of the face due to the light of sujud.], because of sujud, and white arms and feet [i.e. the shining of the parts covered in ablution: the face, hands and feet. The shining marks of ablution on the face, hands and legs of humans are compared to the whiteness of a horse’s face and legs], because of ablution”. [Ahmad, with a sahih isnad; Tirmidzi related a part of it and declared it sahih]

Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu’alayhi wasallam) would also say, When Allāh intends to have mercy on whomsoever he wishes of the people of the Fire, He will order the angels to bring out whoever used to worship Allāh; so they will bring them out, recognising them from the marks of Sujud, for Allāh has prohibited the Fire from devouring the marks of sujud. Thus, they will be brought out from the Fire, for the Fire devours all of a son of Adam except the marks of sujud.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The hadith shows that the sinful from among those regular at Solāh, will not remain the Fire forever; in fact, even those given to missing solāh out of laziness will not remain in the Fire forever.

4.7 - Folding Of The Hands During The Qiyam Is Manifestations Of Humility to Allāh.

Folding of the hands is a manifestation from among the manifestations of humility and defeat in front of the Deity in Truth. Among its implications is subservience to the divine commandments in that one does not move except when commanded and one is not at ease or quiescence except when commanded.

Whoever sought this position of worship for a few moments and after that lets loose the reigns of his soul then he wanders or trespasses (while ignorant of Allāh’s rulings) into the greatest of matters (i.e. sins) and he has fallen into a type of deception.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “We are prohibited from placing the hand on the side during As-Solāh.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

There are two sides of everyone, the left and the right. Since keeping hands on one of them is a sign of arrogance, this is prohibited in Solāh. Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu’alayhi wasallam) said: “Placing the hands on the sides during Solāh is an act of the dwellers of the Fire.” One can, however, do so only if there is such a pain that he is compelled to place the hands there. [At-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi]

4.8 - Khusyu’ and Obedience is a Position of Total and Extreme Submissiveness and Humility in Front of Allāh

Khushu’ is a position of total and extreme submissiveness and humility in front of Allāh in Truth and the quiescence or tranquility of the heart and the limbs. One does not move except where commanded and is not at ease except where commanded. It is an obligation in action due to the necessity of obedience and the abandonment of disobedience to the Deity in Truth.

Whoever discharges this obligation during the solāh then contradicts it, behaves otherwise upon departing from the solāh he has caused diminution or annulment of his Al-Khushu’ to the extent of his disobedience.

4.8.1 - The Humility Is Achieved By The Levels Al-Khushu’.

The humility is not achieved when one feels bored or goes to extremes and perform solāh non-stop. It is achieved by the levels Al-Khushu’ (attentiveness) and Al-Khushu’ is in itself a branch of knowledge which is an essential to be acquired. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) revealed about the signs of the Day of Judgment, as reported by Abu Ad-Darda’ (radiyallāhu’anhu), who said: We were with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) looked at the sky and said: “This is a time when knowledge is abandoned by people, so that they cannot do anything. Then the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: If you want, I can tell you about the first branch of knowledge that will be abandoned by people; it is humbleness in Solāh. You may enter a big masjid but you do not see one man in a state of humbleness.” [At-Tirmidzi]

Scholars categorized humility in the solāh into three levels of al-khushu’: humiliation before Allāh, feeling awe of Allāh, and happinessbecause of being in the presence of Allāh: – Humiliation before Allāh.

The humility in Solāh is reflected by the series of movements and adhkar from TakbiratulIhram to Salam. We observe ruku’ and kneel down into sujud only to Allāh. These movements are manifestations of humiliation which should be shown only to Allāh. Humiliation requires that you feel that you are weak and that Allāh is the Powerful, the Rich, and the Almighty. Ibn ‘Ataa’illah As-Sakandari in his “Al-Hikam” said: “The tree of humiliation stems from a seed of neediness”. When you feel you are in need of Allāh, a state of humbleness is produced. - Feeling the Awe of Allāh.

The higher level is to elevate you from the stage of humiliation to the stage of feeling in awe of Allāh Subhānahu wata’ala and His Might. Allāh Subhānahu wata’ala says: “Whenever the messages of the Most Gracious were conveyed unto them [the prophets], they would fall down before Him, prostrating themselves and weeping”. (Maryam 19: 58) This is the level of feeling in awe of Allāh which might lead to crying. And Allāh Subhānahu wata’ala says:”Allāh bestows from on high the best of all teachings in the shape of a divine writ fully consistent within itself, repeating each statement [of the truth] in manifold forms [a divine writ] whereat shiver the skins of all who of their Sustainer stand in awe: [but] in the end their skins and their hearts do soften at the remembrance of [the grace of] Allāh. Such is Allāh’s guidance: He guides therewith him that wills [to be guided] whereas he whom Allāh lets go astray can never find any guide”. [Az-Zummar 39: 23]

One of the Companions (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that he watched the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as he was performing solāh. He said that he heard a whistling sound from the chest of the Prophet resembling the sound of a boiling kettle as he was weeping. [Abu Dawud] - The Happiness Of Being In The Presence Of Allāh.

The best state of humility or humbleness in solāh is to find you happy and pleased because of being in the presence of Allāh. So you actually feel happy and elated when you recite the Qur’ān, mention Allāh or praise Him. This is the highest level of humility in solāh. Angels descend from the heavens to listen to you and a state of tranquility prevails. Bear in mind, however, that when Allāh takes you to a level of happiness in your solāh, this will be out of His Grace not because of your deeds.

There are means that one could follow in order to ascend to that level, by Allāh’s Grace. Among these means is to reflect upon the meaning of the Qur’ān, and feeling humble by calling to mind how great Allāh is.

The three levels mentioned above may be expressed in various forms of worship, not only in solāh. The level of submission (Islām) to Allāh is the outward work. In solāh, it is performing the actions of the solāh by standing, kneeling down and prostration. In charity, it is giving out money. In fasting, it is the abstaining from eating and drinking. In pilgrimage, it is circumbulating around the Ka’bah, going between the two hills of As-Safa and Al-Marwa, and offering the sacrifice.

4.8.2 - The Level of Imān Is the Work of the Heart.

The basic task of the heart is to believe in Allāh, His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, the Day of Judgment, and that Allāh created all things to come, good or bad. All this leads to a wider meaning of the rituals. So, Solāh is not only about kneeling down and prostration, but it is about humbleness, feeling awe of Allāh, and happiness as well. 

Charity is not merely an act of giving money; it is about having mercy upon the poor and indifference about the world. Fasting is not only about abstaining from food and drink; it is also about patience, mentioning Allāh, thankfulness, and meditation. Pilgrimage is not only by tawaf around the Ka’bah, going between the two hills of As-Safa and Al-Marwah and offering the sacrifice, it is also about remembering the Hereafter, uniting with fellow believers, and following the steps of the prophets and messengers.

4.8.3 - The level of ‘Ihsan Entails Worshiping Allāh As Though You Are Seeing Him

The next is the level of ‘Ihsan that entails worshiping Allāh as though you are seeing Him and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you. In relation to remembrance of Allāh, Ibn ‘Ataa’illah As-Sakandari (rahimahullāh) said in his ‘Al-Hikam’ that the level of attentiveness (khusu’) would entails the level of submission to Allāh, i.e., you have to be attentive to when you recite the Qur’ān or when you indulge in the act remembrance of Allāh. The level of being present with Allāh entails the level of Imān, i.e., you reflect on the meaning so you feel awe; the greatness of Allāh.

The level of ‘ihsan is reached when you absolve that everything else around you is absent; you are not paying attention to what  goes around you, but you are presented, communicating fully to Allāh Almighty in the manner you are seeing Him and He is observing you.

4.9 – The Repetitive Obligation and Covenants.

Whatever is repeated in every rak’ah from among the obligations and covenants in speech such as the repetition of his praises, requesting of guidance to the straight path, the path of those who have blessings bestowed upon them, not of those upon whom is anger and they are the Jews and whoever is like them, nor of those who are astray and they are the Christians and whoever resembles them, and the likes of what is said in the tashahhud and the meanings of the various verses and supplications that are repeated in the solāh.

In summary, every movement, every moment of ease, every statement and every action during the solāh, be it an obligation, covenant, resolution or confession from the worshipper in front of his Master and Deity in Truth, which he repeats in every rak’ah, whether it is in the obligatory or supererogatory, makes free his heart, tongue, limbs and feelings from associating partners with Allāh. He is a Muslim, in submission to Him. He gives for His sake, takes for his sake, acts for His sake, abandons for His sake. He loves for his sake and hates for His sake. The proof for this truth is the saying of Allāh:  “And establish the Solāh. Verily the solāh prevents the obscene and evil deeds” [Surah Ankabut, 29:452]

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The example of the five solāh is as the example of an abundant flowing river by the side of the door of one of you. He washes every day from it five times.”[Narrated by Muslim, no. 667)

Therefore the position and importance of your solāh and establish as it should be truly established and gain happiness from it as Allāh desires for you. I ask Allāh that he guides us all and has mercy upon us, verily He is the All Hearer, the Responder.

5 - Allāh Erases Sins By Means Of Solāh

Allāh, the Exalted, says: “Verily, As-Solāh prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e., great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil, wicked deed).” [Al-Ankabut, 29:45]

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: I heard the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying, “Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?” They replied, “No soiling would leave on him.” He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “That is the five (obligatory) Solāh. Allāh obliterates all sins as a result of performing them.”[Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This Hadith tells us about the merit and benefits of the performance of the prescribed five daily Solāh, performing them will wash off one’s sins, but this is true of only such Solāh which is performed in accordance with Sunnah, i.e., punctually in exactly the manner showed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), and not of that which is offered at will in one’s own way.

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The similitude of the five (obligatory) Solāh is like a river running at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day.”[Muslim].

Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: A man kissed a woman. So he came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and informed him about it. Then Allāh revealed this Ayah: “And perform the Solāh, between the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds efface the evil deeds (i.e., minor sins).” (Hud, 11:114) The man asked the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) whether this applies to him only. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “It applies to all of my Ummah.”[Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

“Between the ends of the day” means Solāh Fajr and Maghrib. Some people think it refers to ‘Isha’ solāh while some think it means the Solāh Maghrib and ‘Isha’. “In some hours of the night” means the Solāh Tahajjud. This Ayah of the Qur’ān has been quoted here to stress that Solāh is an act of great virtue and expiation of sins, but only for minor sins because the major sins will not be pardoned without sincere repentance.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “The five (daily) Solāh  and the Friday (solāh) to the Friday (solāh) expiate whatever (minor sins) may be committed in between, so long as major sins are avoided.”[Muslim].

This Hadith elucidates that the minor sins committed during the interval of the five prescribed Solāh and in the period intervening between one Jumu’ah and the other are pardoned with the performance of the five-time prescribed Solāh and the solāh Jumu’ah , provided one does not commit major sins which are not forgiven without repentance. Sins like Shirk (associating someone with Allāh in worship), disobedience of parents, false oath, false evidence, encroachment on an orphan’s property, calumny against chaste women, etc., fall in the category of major sins and will not be forgiven by means of Solāh only.

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: I heard Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying, “When the time for a prescribed Solāh is due and a Muslim performs its Wudhu’ and its acts of ruku’ and sujud properly, this Solāh will be an expiation for his past sins, so long as he does not commit major sins, and this applies for ever.”[Muslim]

This Hadith stresses the importance of performing Solāh with all its essential prerequisites, i.e., Wudhu’ and concentration of mind. Such a Solāh will expiate the sins.

6 - Solāh Is The Last Part Of Religion To Be Lost, And If It Is Lost The Whole Religion Is Lost.

It was narrated that Jabir Ibn ‘Abdallāh (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Between a man and shirik [associating others with Allāh] and kufur [disbelief] there stands his giving up Solāh.” [Recorded by Muslim (82)]

It is the last thing that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) recommended to his nation before he died, saying, Solāh, Solāh and what your right hand possesses.” It will be the last thing taken away from the religion. When it perishes, Islām will perish. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:  “If Islām was stripped away, piece by piece, people would hold tight to the next one. The first thing taken would be ruling and governance, and the last thing would be Solāh.” (Related by Ibn Hibban from the hadith of Abu Umamah) 

7 - Allāh Strongly Warns Those Who Tamper With Their Solāh Or Are Heedless.

Hence the Muslim should be keen to perform the Solāh on time, and not be lazy or take the matter lightly. Allāh says: “So woe unto those performers of Solāh (hypocrites), those who delay their Solāh (Solāh from their stated fixed times)” [Al-Ma’un, 107:4-5]

And Allāh Almighty warns those who cause their solāh to be lost by saying: “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Solāh  [i.e. made their Solāh to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell” [Maryam, 19:59]

- Solāh Is The First Thing For Which A Person Will Be Brought To Account On The Day Of Resurrection.

Solāh is the first Pillar Of Islām that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) mentioned after mentioning The Testimony Of Faith, by which one becomes a Muslim. It was made obligatory upon all the prophets and for all peoples.

Solāh is the first matter that will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment.  ‘Abdullah Ibn Qart (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said “The first act that the slave will be accountable for on the Day of Judgement will be Solāh. If it is good, then the rest of his acts will be good. And if it is poor, then the rest of his acts will be evil.” [At-Tabarāni]

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The first deed for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his solāh. If it is good then he will have prospered and succeeded, but if it is bad then he will be doomed and have lost. If anything is lacking from his obligatory solāh, the Lord will say, ‘Look and see whether my slave did any voluntary solāh, and make up the shortfall in his obligatory solāh from that.’ Then all his deeds will be dealt with likewise.” [An-Nasa’ie, 465; At-Tirmidzi, 413 and others; Classified as sahih]

The importance of the Solāh is the most important aspect is one’s relationship to Allāh, that is, one’s faith (imān), God-consciousness (taqwa), sincerity (ikhlas) and worship of Allāh (‘ibadah). Therefore, if the Solāh are sound and proper, the rest of the deeds will be sound and proper; and if the Solāh are not sound and proper, then the rest of the deeds will not be sound and proper, as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated.

A proper solāh performed with true remembrance of Allāh and turning to Him for forgiveness, it will have a lasting effect on the person. After the solāh, his heart will be filled with the remembrance of Allāh. He will be fearful as well as hopeful of Allāh; he will not want to move from that lofty position to one wherein he disobeys Allāh. The overall affect is described in the Qur’ān: “Verily, man was created impatient, irritable when evil touches him and niggardly when good touches him. Except for those devoted to Solāh those who remain constant in their Solāh…”  [Al-Mārij, 70 19-23].

The Allāh’s forgiveness and pleasure on the Day of Resurrection is closely related to the solāh. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allāh has obligated five Solāh. Whoever excellently performs their wudhū’, perform them in their proper times, completes their ruku’, sujud and Kyushu’ has a promise from Allāh that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allāh. He may either forgive him or punish him.” [Mālik, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Nasā’ie and others; according to Al-Albāni, it is sahih. Al-Albāni, Sahih Al-Jāmi, vol. 1, p. 616] 

Kyushu’ in the solāh is where the person’s heart is attuned to the solāh. This feeling in the heart is then reflected on the body. The person remains still and calm. His gaze is also lowered. Even his voice is affected by this feeling in the heart. For more details on this concept (as well as the difference between it and khudhu’ [See:  Muhammad Al-Shaayi, Al-Furūq Al-Laughawiyyah wa Atharahā fi Tafsīr Al-Qur’ān Al-Karīm (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ubaikān, 1993), pp. 249-254.] 

8.1 – The Nawafil Observed Before or After the Obligatory Solāh Is All Rewarding

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) narrated that The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu’alayhi wasallam) has said: “Whoever is regular with twelve rak’at of Solāh Sunnah, Allāh will build a house in Paradise: Four raka’āt before Solātul Dzuhur, two after it, two after the Maghrib, two after ‘Ishā’ and two before the Solāh al-Fajar.”  [It was also recorded by the group; At-Tirmidzi classified this hadith is Hasan Gharib]

This Hadith tells us the merits of Solāh Sunnah (Nawafil Solāh) and holds promise of Jannah for those who make it a practice. 

Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) anhu) reported:  “I performed along with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) two rak’at of Nawafil Solābefore Solātul Dzuhur and two after the Dzuhur, and two after the Solāh al-Juma’ah, and two after the Solāh Maghrib, and two after the Solāh ‘Ishā’.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

There are two kinds of Nawafil which are performed before or after the obligatory prayer. Firstly, those were frequently observed by theAllāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). According to the present Hadith, their total comes to ten rak’at while in other Ahadith their total is twelve or fourteen rak’at. They are called Sunnah Mu’akkadah or As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib that is, the Rak’at which are proved from the saying and practice of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and which were performed by him usually. Secondly, such Nawafil which were not done regularly by Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). It is called Sunnah Ghair Mu’akkadah and are said to be Optional prayers. In any case, Nawafil have great importance in creating a special link between the worshipper and Allāh, and for this reason the believers do not neglect them. But their status in Syari’ah is of Nawafil the performing of which is rewarding and omission of which is not sinful. One thing that should be borne in mind in respect of As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib or Mu’akkadah is that it is better to perform them at home. This was the usual practice of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), and this is what he ordained the Muslims.

Abu Umamah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrates that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allāh does not listen to anything from His slave as He does to the two rak’at (of Nawafil Solāh) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant’s head as long as he remains in Solāh [Ahmad and at-Tirmidzi, As-Sayuti grades it sahih]. 

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reported: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) never omitted four Rak’ah Solāh before the Solāh Dzuhur and two rak’ah nawafil Solāh before Solāh Fajr.”  [Al-Al-Bukhari]

This Hadith tells us the practice of the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in respect of four Rak’at Sunnah of Dzuhur Solāh and two of Fajar Solāh. He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa allam) used to perform both regularly. Such Rak’ah is called Sunnah Rawatib or Sunnah Mu’akkadah (the Emphasized Sunnah).

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reported: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not attach more importance to any Nawafil Solāh than the two rak’ah of Solāh before Solāh Fajar.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This Hadith tell us about the special preparation which the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to make for performing the two rak’ah of Fajr Solāh.

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “The two rak’at before the Fajar Solāh are better than this world and all it contains.” [Muslim]. Another narration goes: “The two Rak’ah before the Fajar Solāh are dearer to me than the whole world.”

This Hadith tells us the merits of the two rak’ah of Fajar nawafil Solāh, and one should not show any slackness or negligence in offering them.

‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “There is a Solāh between every Adzān and Iqāmah; there is a Solāh between every Adzān and Iqāmah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The two Adzān here means Adzān and Iqamah, as has been elucidated by Imām An-Nawawi. That is, offering of two rak’at between Adzān and Iqāmah is Mustahabb (desirable). It comes in the category of Ghair Ratiba or Ghair Mu’akkadah Nawafil. These Nawafil can be performed after the Adzān of every Solāh before the congregation stands for the obligatory Solāh.

Many Ahadith mentioned the virtues of Nawafil Solāh. Ibn Mālik Al-Aslami (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Ask (something).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” TheAllāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: “Then help me by making many sujuds (i.e., supererogatory Solāh).”[Muslim]

The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Prostrate as much as you can, because whenever you prostrate, Allāh elevates your rank by a degree and wipes out a sin from your record [Muslim]; “Whenever a servant prostrates to Allāh,Allāh writes a reward for him, wipes out one of his sins and elevates his rank by one degree; so prostrate as much as you can” [Ibn Mājah] ; “Solāh is the best thing that one can do, so perform as many as you possibly can” (At-Tabarāni); “Two light rak’at which you may think as insignificant to add to you deeds, it is better for you than possessing the whole world”[Ibn Al-Mubārak]

9 - Those Observe Solāh Are the Successful

In the Qur’ān Allāh follows up the Solāh with the remembrance of Allāh

 “Lo! Worship preserves (one) from lewdness and iniquity, but verily, remembrance of Allāh is more important.” [Al-Ankabut, 29: 45];

 “He is successful who grows and remembers the name of his Lord, so Solāh” [Al-’Ala, 87: 14-15]

Sometimes He mentions Solāh along with zakah: “Establish Solāh and pay zakah” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 110).

And at times, with patience“Seek help in patience and Solāh” [Al-Baqarah 45];

And with Hajj: “So Solāh unto your Lord and sacrifice” [Al-Kawthar, 108: 2]; “Say: Lo! My worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allāh, Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. This am I commanded, and I am the first of those who surrender (unto Him)” [Al-An’am 162-163].

At other times, Allāh begins the acts of piety with Solāh and ends with them, as in the verses about the Mi’araj (ascension to heaven): “Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their Solāh,” [Al-Mu’minūn, 23: 1-2]; “And who pay heed to their Solāh. These are the heirs who will inherit Paradise. There will they abide” [Al-Mu’minūn, 23: 9-11]. 

10 - Allāh Explains How To Solāh during Fear, Safety or Wartime

The importance of Solāh  is so great that one is ordered to observe it while travelling or not, while one is safe or in fear: Be guardians of your Solāh  , and of the mid-most Solāh  , and stand up with devotion to Allāh. And if you go in fear, then (Solāh) standing or on horseback. When you are safe, remembers Allāh, as He has taught you that which (heretofore) you knew not” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 238-239]. 

“And when you are among them and lead them in Solāh, let a group of them stand [in prayer] with you and let them carry their arms. And when they have prostrated, let them be [in position] behind you and have the other group come forward which has not [yet] prayed and let them Solāh with you, taking precaution and carrying their arms. Those who disbelieve wish that you would neglect your weapons and your baggage so they could come down upon you in one [single] attack. But there is no blame upon you, if you are troubled by rain or are ill, for putting down your arms, but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.

And when you have completed the Solāh, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] Solāh. Indeed, Solāhas been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [An-Nisa’, 4: 102-103]. 

11 - Who Must Perform Solāh?

Solāh is obligatory upon every sane, adult Muslim. ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The pen is raised for three (meaning: there is no obligation upon three): one who is sleeping until he wakens, the child until he becomes an adult, and one who is insane until he becomes sane.”  [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasā’ie, Ibn Mājah, and Al-Hakim, who grades it sahih’ At-Tirmidzi classifies it as Hassan.] 

Although it is not obligatory for a child to Solāh, it is a must that his guardian orders him to do so when he is seven, and he should beat him if he does not Solāh after he reaches the age of ten. A minor should practice Solāh until he reaches puberty. ‘Amr Ibn Shu’aib (radiyallāhu’anhu) related from his father on the authority of his grandfather that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Order your children to Solāh when they reach the age of seven. Beat them (if they don’t perform Solāh) when they reach the age of ten. And have them slept separately.”  [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Al-Hakim; the latter grades it sahih]. 

12 - The Number of Obligatory Solāh

Ibn Mahyraiz narrated that ‘Ubadah Ibn As-Samit (radiyallāhu’anhu) he heard the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) say: “Allāh has laid five Solāh upon His slaves. Whoever fulfills them and does not miss any of them will have a pact with Allāh that He will let him enter Paradise. Whoever does not come with them will have no pact with Allāh. If He wishes, He may punish him, and if He wishes, He may forgive him.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasā’ie and Ibn Mājah]

In one version it states, “Or one who comes with a deficiency in them or who degrades their duties.” 

Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaidullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that a bedouin with unkempt hair came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and said, “O Messenger of Allāh, inform me of what Allāh has made obligatory on me as regards Solāh.” He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Five Solāh, unless you do others voluntarily.” He asked the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to inform him about fasting, and he said, “The fast of Ramadhan, unless you do others voluntarily.” Then he asked him about charity...and the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) informed him of the Islāmic legislations. The bedouin then said, “By the One who has honored you, I shall not voluntarily add anything to it, nor shall I be deficient in what Allāh has ordered me to do.” The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) then said, “He will enter Paradise if he is truthful (to what he said).” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim] 

13 - Solāh Is Performed At the Appointed Times Allāh Strongly Warns Those Who Disregard Their Solāh

Establishing Solāh means performing Solāh in full with all its words and actions, at the appointed times, as it says in the Qur’ān. Allāh Says: “Verily, as- Solāh is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours” [An-Nisā’, 4:103]

Muslim should be keen to perform the Solāh on time, and not be languid or take the matter lightly. Allāh says: “So woe unto those performers of Solāh (hypocrites), those who delay their Solāh (prayer from their stated fixed times)” [Al-Ma’un, 107:4-5]

Allāh warns those who cause their Solāh to be lost by saying:  “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Solāh [i.e. made their Solāh to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell” [Maryam, 19:59]

14 - Solāh Requires Allāh’s Guidance

As Solāh is one of the most important acts in Islām, and thus it requires a special guidance. Prophet Ibrāhim (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) asked Allāh to give him descendants who abided by their Solāh: “My Lord! Cause me and (some) of my offspring to remain constant in Solāh. And O our Lord! Accept my supplication” [Ibrahim, 14: 40]. 
15 - Ignorance of Solāh And Denying Its Obligation Is Seen As Disbelief.

One who is not observing Solāh and denying its obligation is seen as a disbeliever and places the person outside the religion of Islām. All scholars agree on this point on the basis of several hadiths. 

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Between a person and disbelief is discarding Solāh.” [Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidzi and Ibn Majah] 

Buraidah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The pact between us and them is Solāh. Whoever abandons it is a disbeliever.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasā’ie and Ibn Mājah] 

‘‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-’Aas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) one day mentioned the Solāh and said: “Whoever guards and observes his Solāh, they will be a light and a proof and a savior for him on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever does not guard and observe them, they will not be a light or a proof or a savior for him. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be with Qarun, Fir’aun, Haman and Ubayy ibn Khalf.” [Ahmad, Tabarani and Ibn Hibban: Its chain is sound] 

Thus, one who does not Solāh will be with the leaders of the unbelievers in the Hereafter makes it evident that such a person is an unbeliever.

Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimallāh) says: “The one who does not Solāh may be preoccupied with his wealth, kingdom, position or business. If one is kept away from his Solāh by his wealth, he will be with Qqarun. One whose kingdom keeps him away from Solāh will be with Haman, and one whose business keeps him away from Solāh will be with Ubayy Ibn Khalf.” 

But ‘Abdullah Ibn Shaqiq Al-’Aqeely says: “The companions of Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not consider the abandonment of any act, with the exception of Solāh, as being disbelief.” [At-Tirmidzi and Al-Hakim] 

Muhammad Ibn Nasr Al-Mirwazi says: “I heard Ishaq say, ‘it is authentic (that) the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) (said or ruled): ‘One who does not Solāh is an unbeliever.’ ‘It is from the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) himself that one who intentionally does not Solāh until the time for the Solāh is over is an unbeliever’.” 

Ibn Hazm says, It has come from ‘Umar, ‘Abdurahman Ibn ‘Auf, Mu’az Ibn Jabal, Abu Hurayrah and other companions that anyone who skips one obligatory Solāh until its time has ended becomes an apostate. We find no difference of opinion among them on this point.”  This was mentioned by Al-Munzhiri in ‘At-Targheeb Wa Attarheeb’. Then Al-Munzhiri comments, “A group of companions and those who came after them believed that an intentional decision to skip one Solāh until its time is completely expired makes one an unbeliever. The people of this opinion include ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, Mu’az Ibn Jabal, Jabir Ibn ‘‘Abdullah and Abu Ad-Darda’. Among the non-companions who shared this view were Ibn Hanbal, Ishaq Ibn Rahwaih, ‘Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak, An-Nakhā’ie, Al-Hakim Ibn ‘Utaibah, Abu Ayyub As-Sakhtiyani, Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi, Abu Bakar Ibn Abu Shaibah, Zuhair Ibn Harb, and others.” 

Some hadiths make it clear that such a person should be killed.

Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘The ties of Islām and the principles of the religion are three, and whoever leaves one of them becomes an unbeliever, and his blood becomes lawful: testifying that there is no God except Allāh, the obligatory Solāh , and the fast of Ramadhān.” [Related by Abu Ya’la with a Hassan chain] Other narration states: “If anyone leaves one of them, by Allāh he becomes an unbeliever and no voluntary deeds or recompense will be accepted from him, and his blood and wealth become lawful.” This is a clear indication that such a person is to be killed. 

Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu)  related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “I have been ordered to kill the people until they testify that there is no god except Allāh, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh, and they establish Solāh  and pay the zakah. If they do that, their blood and wealth are protected from me save by the rights of Islām. Their reckoning will be with Allāh.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim] 

Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu’anha) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “There will be rulers over you who will do good and evil things. Whoever hates these (latter) acts will be innocent of them. Whoever denies them will be safe, but (not) one who accepts and follows them.” They asked, “Should we kill them?” He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Not if they Solāh.” (Related by Muslim) Therefore, he made it unlawful to kill even an unjust ruler who observes his Solāh. 

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that ‘Ali, while he was in Yemen, sent the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) some gold, which he then divided among four people. A man said, “O Messenger of Allāh, beware of Allāh.”  The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Woe to you. Of all the people of the earth, am I not the most dutiful in being aware of Allāh? Khalid Ibn Al-Walid said, “O Messenger of Allāh, shall I kill him?” He said, “Perhaps he is one of those who Solāh.” Khalid said, “How many people say with their tongues what is not in their hearts?” The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “I have not been ordered to look into the hearts of people, or to rip open their bellies.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In this hadith also, is given as the reason for not killing a person. It is understood, therefore, that not observing Solāh would have resulted in the person’s killing. 

Even though the preceding hadith clearly rule that one who discards Solāh becomes an unbeliever and should be killed, many early and later scholars, excluding Abu Hanifah, Mālik and Ash-Shafi’ie, believe that such people become evildoers who must repent. If such a person does not repent, he is to be killed, that being the prescribed punishment, according to Mālik, Ash-Shafi’ie and others.

Abu Hanifah maintains that such a person is not to be killed, but must be given a minor punishment and confined until he performs Solāh. They say the hadith that calls such people unbelievers refer to those who deny the Solāh, and so on. They say that any other interpretation is contradicted by other texts. For example, Allāh says: “Lo! Allāh does not pardon one who gives Him partners. He pardons all save whom He wills” [An-Nisā’, 4: 116].

There is also a hadith related by Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) in which the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Every prophet has a special supplication that is answered. Every prophet hastened to make his supplication, but I concealed mine and will use it for my nation on the Day of Resurrection. It will be granted-Allāh willing-to whoever dies without associating any partners with Allāh.” [Ahmad and Muslim]

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The person who will be the happiest due to my intercession is the one who says, ‘There is no god but Allāh’ sincerely from his heart.” [Al-Al-Bukhari]

Ash-Shawkani says, “The truth of the matter is that he becomes an unbeliever who is to be killed for his unbelief. The hadith authenticates that Islāmic law calls one who does not observe Solāh is an unbeliever. It has also put the performance as the barrier between a believer and an unbeliever. Abandoning Solāh means he may be called an unbeliever. We need not concern ourselves with arguments presented by those of the opposing opinion. We can say to them: It is not impossible that some types of unbelievers may obtain forgiveness or may have a right to intercession, such as the unbelief of those who Solāh to (our) Qiblah. Nevertheless, the fact remains that they commit some sins which the Islāmic law views as unbelief. To turn to the other narrow interpretations is just redundant.” 

16 – The Solāh in Congregation Is Superior to a Solāh Performed Individually

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) reports that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Solāh in congregation is superior to a solāh performed individually by twenty-seven degrees.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim] 

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reports that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The solāh  of a man in congregation is twenty-five times more superior (in reward) to his solāh  in his house or market - and this is because he makes the wudu’ and perfects it and goes to the masjid with the sole purpose of performing the solāh . He does not take a step without being raised a degree and having one of his sins erased. When he prays, as long as he does not lose his wudu, the angels keep on praying [for him] ‘O Allāh, bless him. O Allāh, have mercy on him.’ And he is considered in solāh as long as he is waiting for the solāh.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim, and it are presented in al-Al-Bukhari’s wording]. 

According to Ubayy bin Ka’ab, (radiyallāhu’anhu) the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “If the people come to know of the great rewards and benefits of the congregational Solāh, they would never stay back but would rush to the masjid for it. The first row merits the highest reward. Two persons praying together merit a greater reward than the same are praying individually, and the rule being that the bigger the congregation the higher it’s worth in the Sight of Allāh.” [Abu Dawud]

17 - The Virtue of the First Row in the Solāh.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:  “If the people knew what was in the Adzān and the first row (of the Solāh in virtue), and that they could not get it save by drawing lots, they would draw lots. If they knew the reward for praying the noon Solāh early in its time, they would race to it. And if they knew the reward for the night and the morning Solāhs in congregation, they would come to them even if they had to crawl.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and others]

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Allāh and His angels send down blessings upon those who Solāh on the right side of the rows” [Abu Dawud and Ibn Mājah].

Abu Umamah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allāh and the angels send down blessings upon the first row.” The people inquired, “O Messenger of Allāh, and upon the second row?” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) again said, “Allāh and the angels send down blessings upon the first row.” The people asked again, “O Messenger of Allāh, and upon the second row?” Finally he said, “And upon the second row.” [Ahmad and At-Tabarāni]

18- The Times of the Solāh

Each Solāh has its own particular time at which it must be performed. Allāh Says: “Solāh at fixed hours has been enjoined upon the believers” [An-Nisā’, 4: 103]. 

The Qur’ān itself points to these different times.

Allāh says: “Solāh at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night. Lo! Good deeds annul evil deeds. This is a reminder for the mindful” [Hud, 11: 114], “Establish Solāh at the setting of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital) of the Qur’ān at dawn. Lo! The recital of the Qur’ān at dawn is ever witnessed” [Al-Isrā’, 17: 78], and “Celebrate the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting. Glorify Him some hours of the night and at the two ends of the day that you may find acceptance” [Ta-Ha, 20: 130]. 

This verse specifically refers to the dawn Solāh and the afternoon Solāh, as it is recorded in the Sahīhayn. Jarir Ibn ‘Abdullah Al-Bajali (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “We were sitting with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and we looked at the moon on a clear night. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘You will see your Lord as you see this moon, and you will not be harmed by seeing Him. So, if you can, do not let yourselves be overpowered in the case of Solāh before the rising of the sun and its setting,’ and he recited the above verse.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Those are the times of the Solāh that the Qur’ān mentions. From the Sunnah, we have the following: 

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:  “The time of the noon Solāh is when the sun passes the meridian and a man’s shadow is the same length as his height. It lasts until the time of the afternoon Solāh. The time of the afternoon Solāh is until the yellowing of the sun (during its setting). The time of the evening Solāh is as long as twilight. The time of the night Solāh is to the middle of a night of medium duration. And the time of the Morning Solāh is from the appearance of the dawn until the time of sunrise. When the sun rises, abstain from Solāh, as it rises between the horns of Satan.” [Muslim].

Jarir Ibn ‘Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the angel Gabriel came to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and said to him: “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh the noon Solāh when the sun had passed its meridian. He then came to him for the afternoon Solāh and said, “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh the afternoon Solāh while the length of a shadow of something was similar to the length of the object. Then he came at sunset and said, “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh the sunset Solāh when the sun had just disappeared. Then he came at night and said, “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh the night Solāh when the twilight had disappeared. He came again when dawn broke (and they Solāh the Morning Solāh). Then Gabriel came on the next day at noon and said (to the Allāh’s Messenger), “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh the noon Solāh when the length of the shadow of something was close to the length of the object. Then he came for the afternoon Solāh and said, “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh when the shadow of something was twice as long as the length of the object. Then he came at the same time (as the previous day) for the sunset Solāh, without any change. Then he came for the night Solāh after half of the night had passed (“or,” he said, “one-third of the night”). Then he came when the sky was very yellow and said, “Stand and Solāh,” and they Solāh the Morning Solāh. Then Gabriel said, “Between these times are the times for the Solāh.” [Ahmad, An-Nasa’ie, At-Tirmidzi, Al-Al-Bukhari observes, “It is the most authentic report concerning the times of Solāh.”] 

19 - The Time for the Solāh Dzuhur

The previous two hadith make it clear that the noon Solāh begins when the sun passes its meridian and it continues until an object’s shadow is approximately the same length as the object itself. If it is extremely hot, it is preferred to delay the noon Solāh until it is cooler. This is done in order to retain the humility and awe of the Solāh. If this is not the case, it should be Solāh early in its time. This opinion is based on the following hadith: Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “If it was extremely cold, the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would Solāh early. If it was extremely hot, he would wait for it to cool down.” [Al-Al-Bukhari] 

Abu Dzarr Al-Ghifari (radiyallāhu’anhu) related: “We were with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) on a journey. When the caller to Solāh wanted to make the Adzān, the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said ‘Let it cool down.’ This happened two or three times, until we saw the shadows of the hills. Then the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The extreme heat is from the fragrance of Hell. If the heat becomes extreme, delay the Solāh until it becomes cool.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

However, this delay does have a limit. Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani (rahimahullāh) in his Fathul-Bāri said: “The scholars differ over how long one may wait to let the temperature cool. Some say, ‘Until the shadow of an object becomes an arm’s length,’ or ‘Until the shadow becomes one-fourth of one’s height.’ Others say one-third or one-half, and so on. Its ruling is according to its basic principle, and it changes with different circumstances, provided that the Solāh is not delayed until the end of its time.” 

20 - The Time for Solāh ‘Asar

This Solāh begins in the afternoon when the shadow of an object is of the same length as the object itself, and continues until the sun sets. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever catches one rak’ah of the afternoon Solāh   before the sun sets and then Solāh the remainder of the Solāh   after the sun has set has not missed the afternoon Solāh .” The best and most preferred time to Solāh the afternoon Solāh ends when the sun becomes yellowish on the horizon. This is implied by the preceding hadith of Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhum). To delay the Solāh until the sun becomes yellowish, although it is permissible, is greatly disliked, unless there is some need to do so. Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that he heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) say: “The following is the Solāh  of the hypocrite: he waits until the sun is between the horns of Satan, then he gets up and Solāh s four quick rak’ah, and he does not remember Allāh therein save a little bit.” [Related by “the group,” except for Al-Al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah] 

An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) says in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, “Our companions (the Shāfiyyah) hold that the afternoon Solāh time can be divided into five categories: the most virtuous time, the preferred time, the allowable time in which there is no disliked aspect, the allowable time that contains some aspect of dislike, and the time that is due to some excuse or necessity. The most virtuous time is at the beginning of the permissible time. The preferred time is until the shadow of an object is twice the length of the object itself. The permissible time without any aspect of dislike is from the time the sun becomes yellowish. The permissible time with some aspect of dislike is from the time the sun becomes yellowish until the setting of the sun. The time of excuse or necessity begins, in fact, at the time of the noon Solāh for one who is to combine the noon and afternoon Solāh, due to travelling or rain. If the afternoon Solāh is made during any of those times, it has been fulfilled properly. If all of those times pass and the sun has set, then one must make up the Solāh.” 

On a cloudy day, it should be Solāh earlier in its time. Buraidah Al-Aslami (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported, “We were with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) during a battle and he said, “Hasten in Solāh  on a cloudy day, for one who misses the afternoon Solāh   has destroyed all of his works.” [Ahmad and Ibn Majah] 

Of the subject, Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) says, “Leaving the Solāh is of two types: leaving it completely and never Solāh (which destroys all of one’s deeds), and leaving it during a particular day, which destroys all of the deeds of that day.” 

21 - The Afternoon Solāh Is the “Mid-Most” Solāh

Allāh Says in the Qur’ān: “Observe and guard the Solāh and the mid-most Solāh, and stand with total submission to Allāh.” Authentic hadith have made it clear that the afternoon Solāh is the “mid-most” Solāh. 

‘Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said on The Day of Al-Ahzab (The Battle of the Clans), “May Allāh fill their graves and houses with fire, as they kept us preoccupied from the “mid-most” Solāh until the sun had set.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim; Muslim, Abu Dawud and Ahmad have “the afternoon Solāh” inserted after “the mid-most” Solāh.”] 

Explaining the context of this hadith, Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “The idol-worshippers kept the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from the afternoon Solāh until the sun had become reddish and yellowish. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “They kept us preoccupied from the “mid-most” Solāh, the afternoon Solāh --may Allāh fill their bellies and graves with fire.” [Ahmad, Muslim, and Ibn Majah] 

22 - The Time for Solāh Maghrib

The time for the sunset Solāh begins with the disappearance of the sun and lasts until the red twilight ends. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The time for the sunset Solāh is when the sun has disappeared and the twilight has not gone.” [Muslim] Abu Musa (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that a man asked the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) about the time of Solāh, and he mentioned the hadith which states that he ordered the sunset Solāh when the sun had set and, on the next day, he performed Solāh it when the red twilight was ending and he said, “The time (for the sunset Solāh) is between these two times.” 

An-Nawawi (rahimallāh) says in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, “It is the opinion of the research scholars of our companions (the Shāfiyyah) that ... it is allowed to delay it as long as it is twilight. It is allowed to begin the Solāh at any time during that period. There is no sin in delaying it from its earliest time.” Concerning the earlier quoted hadith in which Gabriel led the Solāh and Solāh the sunset Solāh at the same time on both days, it only shows that it is greatly preferred to perform the sunset Solāh as early as possible. This point is made clear by some other hadith: 

As-Sa’ib Ibn Yazid (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “My nation will always be along the natural path as long as they Solāh the sunset Solāh before the stars appear.” [Ahmad and At-Tabarāni] 

Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Solāh the sunset Solāh when the fasting person breaks his fast and when the stars are about to appear.” [Ahmad]

Rafa’ Ibn Khadīj (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated : “We Solāh  the sunset Solāh   with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  and one of us would leave (afterwards) and would still be able to see where he shot his arrow, (because there was still so much light left in the sky).” [Muslim]

In Sahih Muslim it is recorded from Salamah Ibn Al-Aku’ (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would Solāh the sunset Solāh when the sun had set and disappeared (behind the horizon). [Muslim]

23 - The Time of Solāh Ishā

This Solāh begins when the red twilight disappears and continues up to half of the night. ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reported: “They used to observe the night Solāh between the disappearance of the twilight and the final third of the night’s beginning.” [Al-Al-Bukhari]

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “If it were not to be a hardship upon my nation, I would order them to delay the night Solāh  until a third or a half of the night had passed.” [Ahmad, Ibn Majah and At-Tirmidzi, who said it, is sahih.]

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “Once, we waited for the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) to lead the night Solāh   until half the night had passed, at which time he came and Solāh  with us. He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Stay in your places of sitting while the people have gone to their places of lying down (for sleep), for you are in Solāh as long as you are waiting for the Solāh. If it were not for the weakness of the weak, the illness of the ill and the need of those who have needs, I would have delayed the time of this Solāh to a half of the night.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Mājah, An-Nasā’ie and Ibn Khuzaimah, Its chain is sahih].

The hadith describes the best time to Solāh. As for the allowable time and the time due to need, it lasts until dawn.

Abu Qatadah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “There is no negligence in sleeping, but the negligence lies in not Solāh a Solāh until the time of the next Solāh has come.” [Muslim]

This hadith shows that the time of every Solāh continues until the beginning of the time for the next Solāh, except for the Morning Solāh, as all scholars agree that its time lasts only until sunrise. 

24 - Delay Is Preferred In Solāh ‘Ishā

It is most virtuous to delay the night Solāh until the end of the preferred time for it, which is half the night. ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reported: “One night the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), Solāh the night Solāh after most of the night had gone and most of the people in the masjid had fallen asleep. Then Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) came out, Solāh, and said, “This would be the proper time if it were not a hardship on my nation”.” [Muslim and An-Nasa’ie]

The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not do this on a regular basis, as he heard that it would be a hardship on his nation. He would take into consideration the situation of those in the masjid. Sometimes he would hasten in performing the Solāh and at other times he would delay it.

Jabir (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would  observe  the noon Solāh  during the hottest time of noon, the afternoon Solāh when the sun was clear, the sunset Solāh when the sun had gone down, and the night Solāh he would sometimes delay and sometimes hasten if he found people gathered (in the masjid). If he noticed that they were lingering, he would delay it. He would observe the morning Solāh while it was still dark.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim 

25 - Sleeping Before the Solāh ‘Isyā’ Is Forbidden

One should not sleep before the night Solāh, nor have discussions after it. Abu Barza Al-Aslami (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) loved to delay the night Solāh (which was called darkness, Al-‘Atmah) and he hated sleeping before it and talking or discussions after it. [Related by “the group”]

In another saying by ‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ud, it is reported, “The Allāh’s Messenger ordered us not to talk after the night Solāh.” [Ibn Mājah] 

The reasons behind this are: sleep may make a person miss the night Solāh in its best time, or it may cause him to miss the congregational Solāh, and talking and socializing afterwards would cause one to misappropriate a time from which he could greatly benefit. If one wants to sleep and has someone to wake him up, or he is discussing a beneficial matter, then it is not disliked. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would discuss with Abu Bakar some of the affairs of the Muslims during the night, and I was with him.” [Ahmad and At-Tirmidzi, who said it is Hassan]

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “I slept in the home of Maimunah one night when the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was there. I watched to see how the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) Solāh during the night. He talked with his wife for a while and then slept.” [Muslim] 

26 - The Time of Solāh Fajar

The time of the Solāh Fajar begins with the true dawn and lasts until sunrise. It is preferred to perform Solāh early in its permissible time. Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) Solāh the Morning Solāh in the darkness (of the dawn). Another time, he observes Solāh when the dawn was shining (or glowing). Then after that, he always Solāh in the darkness (of the dawn) until he died.” [Abu Dawud and Al-Baihaqi; its chain is sahih]

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) said, “Believing women would observe the Morning Solāh with the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) being enveloped in their clothing. They would return to their homes after the Solāh and no one could recognize them due to the darkness (of the dawn).” [Related by “the group”] 

Rafa’ Ibn Khadīj (radiyallāhu’anhu) related a hadith in which the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Make the morning Solāh at daybreak, as your reward will be greater.” In another version it states, “Make the Morning Solāh at the shining (time of the dawn), as your reward will be greater.” [Related by “the five”; At-Tirmidzi and Ibn Hibban grade it as sahih]

It refers to the time that one finishes the Solāh, not the time when one begins it. That is, one should make the recital long so that one is in Solāh until the dawn becomes “shiny.” This is what the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to do, for he would recite between 60 and 100 verses. It also means to make sure that the dawn has come. 

27- Performing One Rak’ah during the Time of Solāh

Whoever catches a rak’ah of Solāh before its time has expired has caught the entire Solāh in its time. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever catches one rak’ah of the Solāh has caught the Solāh.” [Related by “the group”] This refers to any of the Solāh. 

Al-Bukhari has recorded, “Whoever of you catches one prostration of the afternoon Solāh before the sun has set should complete his Solāh. If one of you catches one prostration of the Morning Solāh before the sun has risen, he should complete his Solāh.” Here the meaning of prostration is rak’ah. The clear meaning of the hadith is that one who catches one rak’ah of the morning or afternoon Solāh should complete the Solāh even if the sun is setting or rising, also those are times in which it is not liked to Solāh. If one rak’ah is performed, then the Solāh is to be completed and the obligation of Solāh will have been fulfilled, although it is not allowed to intentionally delay those Solāh until such times. 

28 - Sleeping Through or Forgetting the Solāh

In the case whoever sleeps through or has forgotten to Solāh a certain Solāh should Solāh it when he wakes up or remembers the Solāh.

Abu Qatadah (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that sleeping through the Solāh time was mentioned to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and he said: “There is no negligence in sleep, but negligence occurs while one is awake. If one of you forgets a Solāh or sleeps through its time, then he should Solāh it when he remembers it.” [An-Nasā’ie and At-Tirmidzi, it is sahih] 

Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever forgets a Solāh should Solāh it when he remembers it, and there is no expiation for it save that.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

‘Imran Ibn Husain (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “We went with the Allāh’s Messenger during the night. When the last portion of the night came, we became tired and fell asleep. We did not wake until we felt the heat of the sun. Some of us tried hurriedly to purify ourselves. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) ordered us to be calm. Then we rode on until the sun had risen and we made ablution. He ordered Bilal bin Rabah (radiyallāhu’anhu) to make the call to Solāh, and then observed two rak’ah before the (obligatory) Morning Solāh. Then we stood and Solāh. We said, ‘O Allāh’s Messenger, should we not repeat it tomorrow in its proper time?’ Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Would your Lord the Most High forbid you from interest and accept it from you?’”  [Ahmad and others] 

29 - The Times in Which the Solāh Are Prohibited

It is forbidden to Solāh after the Morning Solāh until sunrise and from sunrise until the sun has completely risen to the length of a spear above the horizon, and when the sun is at its meridian until it moves slightly to the west, and after the afternoon Solāh until the sun sets. 

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “There is no Solāh after the morning Solāh until the sun rises.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

‘Amr Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that he said: “O Allāh’s Messenger, inform me about the Solāh.” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Perform the Morning Solāh and then abstain from Solāh until sunrise and the sun has completely risen, for it rises between the horns of Satan. That is when the unbelievers prostrate to it. Then Solāh, as your Solāh will be witnessed and attended to until the shadow of a spear becomes less than its length. At that time stop Solāh, for at that time the hell-fire is fed with fuel. When the shade comes, you may Solāh, for your Solāh will be witnessed and attended (to by angels) until you Solāh the afternoon Solāh. Then abstain from Solāh until the sun sets, for its sets between the horns of Satan, and that are when the unbelievers make prostrations to it.” [Ahmad and Muslim] 

‘Uqbah Ibn ‘Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “There are three times during which the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited us from Solāh or burying our deceased: sunrise until the sun has risen (some distance), when the sun is at its meridian, and when the sun is setting until it has completely set.”  [Related by “the group,” except for Al-Al-Bukhari] 

30 - Opinions of the Jurists Concerning Solāh after the Morning and Night Solāh

Most scholars agree that one can make up missed Solāh after the morning or afternoon Solāh. This is based on the word of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam): “If someone forgets the Solāh, he should perform Solāh when he remembers it.” [Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim] 

Concerning Nawafil Solāh, the following companions disliked such Solāh during those times: ‘Ali, Ibn Mas’ud, Abu Hurayrah and Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhum). ‘Umar used to beat those who offered two rak’ah after the afternoon Solāh (in the presence of other companions), and was not rebuked. Khalid Ibn Al-Walīd also used to do this. That tabi’een who disliked such Solāh was Al-Hassan and Sa’id Ibn Al-Musayyab. Abu Hanifah and Mālik also disliked such Solāh. 

Imām Ash-Shafi’ie (rahimahullāh) reasoned that Solāh at such times are allowable if the person has a reason for that Solāh (the Solāh of Salutation to The Masjid, or the Solāh after one performs the Wudhu’, and so on). Ash-Shafi’ie uses as a proof the fact that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), Solāh the two noon Sunnah rak’ah after the afternoon Solāh. 

The Hanbaliyyah say that it is forbidden to perform Solāh during such times even if one has a reason to do so, except in the case of the two rak’ah for the circumambulation of the Ka’bah. This is based on the hadith from Jabir Ibn Mut’am (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “O tribe of ‘Abd Manat, do not prevent anyone from circumambulating this house (the Ka’bah) or from performing Solāh therein at any time they wish.” [Abu Dawud, An-Nasā’ie, At-Tirmidzi and Ibn Majah, At-Tirmidzi and Ibn Khuzaimah credit it sahih] 

31 - About Solāt at Sunrise, Sunset and While the Sun is at its Meridian

The Hanifiyyah are of the opinion that Solāh during such times is not valid, regardless of whether the Solāh was obligatory or voluntary, or if one was making up a Solāh or fulfilling a requirement. But, they make an exception for the afternoon Solāh of that particular day and the funeral Solāh (if the funeral is at any of these times, the funeral Solāh is still to be made). They also permit the prostration in response to Qur’ān recitation if the respective verses were recited at such times. Abu Yusuf also makes an exception for voluntary Solāh on Friday while the sun is at its meridian. 

The Shāfiyyah say that voluntary solāh which are not offered for a particular reason are disliked at such times. But obligatory solāh, voluntary solāh because of some occasion, voluntary solāh on Friday when the sun is at its meridian and the Solāh of the circumambulation of the Ka’bah are all permissible at such times without any disliked aspects. 

The Mālikiyyah say that voluntary solāh during sunrise and sunsets are forbidden, even if there is some occasion for them. The same applies to a Solāh that was vowed, prostration owing to Qur’ānic recitation, and the funeral Solāh (unless they fear some decay or alteration in the deceased). But they always allow Solāh, voluntary or obligatory, at the time when the sun is at its meridian. Al-Baji wrote in his commentary to ‘Al-Muwatta’, “In al-Mubsut it is related from Ibn Wahab that Mālik was asked about Solāh at mid-day and he said, ‘I found the people performing Solāh at mid-day of Friday. Some hadith do not consider it desirable (to Solāh at such times), but I do not stop the people from performing Solāh. I do not like to Solāh at that time because it is not desirable to do so.” 

The Hanbaliyyah say that no voluntary Solāh should be made during such times, regardless of whether or not there is a reason for such Solāh, and regardless of whether it is Friday or not, save for the Solāh of salutations to the masjid on Friday (they allow this without any dislike for it while the sun is at its meridian or while the Imām is making his address). They also say that the funeral Solāh is forbidden at that time, unless there is a fear of alteration or decay in the corpse. They allow the making up of missed Solāh, the vowed Solāh and the Solāh of the circumambulation of the Ka’bah (even if it is voluntary) at any of these three times. 

32- Voluntary Solāh at Dawn before the Morning Solāt

Yasar, the client of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu), said, “Ibn ‘Umar saw me while I was performing Solāh after the dawn had begun, and he said: ‘The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) came to us while we were Solāh at this time and he said, ‘Let your witness reach those who are absent that there is no Solāh after (the beginning of) the dawn except two rak’ah.” As to its place in the corpus of hadith, it is recorded by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. Although the hadith is weak, its numerous chains strengthen each other. 

We can conclude from this that it is disliked to make voluntary Solāh further than two rak’at when the Fajar has begun. This was stated by Ash-Shawkani. Al-Hassan, Ash-Shāfi’ie, and Ibn Hazam say voluntary Solāh are permissible at that time without any aspect of dislike. Mālik openly allowed Solāh during that time for those who missed the voluntary solāh during the night due to some excuse. It is mentioned that it reached him that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, Al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad, and ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amar Ibn Rabi’ah would observe the Witr Solāh after the dawn had begun. ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu’anhu) said, “It does not bother me if they make the Iqāmah to Solāh while I am Solāh Witr.” Yahya Ibn Sa’id reported, “‘Ubadah Ibn As-Samit (radiyallāhu’anhu) was the imām for the people. One day he went to the Morning Solāh Fajar the muazzin made the Iqāmah for the Solāh. ‘Ubadah kept quiet until he performs the Witr Solāh and then he led them in the Solāh Fajar.” Sa’id Ibn Jubair reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) slept (one night), woke up and told his servant, “Look to see what the people are doing.” (By that time he had lost his eyesight). The servant returned and told him that they were dispersing from the Solāh Fajar. Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) then stood, perform Solāh Witr and observe the Solāh Fajar. 

33 - It Is Disliked to Preoccupy Voluntary Solāt While the Iqāmah Is Being Made

If the Solāh has already started, it is disliked to preoccupy one’s self with voluntary Solāh. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “If the Solāh is beginning, there is no Solāh save the obligatory one.” In another narration it states: “Save for the one for which Iqāmah has been made.” [Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasā’ie and Ibn Mājah] 

‘Abdullah Ibn Sarjis (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported, “A man entered the masjid while the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was leading the Solāh Fajar. The man performed solāh two rak’ah at the side of the masjid and then joined (the congregation) behind the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). When the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had completed the Solāh, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “O so and so, which of the two Solāh do you count -the one you performed by you or the one you Solāh with us?” [Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’ie]

The hadith indicates Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) objected to this act, but Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not order him to repeat his Solāh. This shows that such a Solāh is valid but disliked. 

Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: “I was performing Solāh while the muazzin was making the Iqāmah. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) pulled me and said: ‘Do you observe Solāh four rak’at for the Solāh Fajar?’” [Al-Baihaqi, At-Tabarāni, Abu Dawud, At-Tayalisi and Al-Hakim, who said it, is sahih according to the criterion of Al-Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. 

Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saw a man perform nawafil solāh two rak’at of the Solāh Fajar while the Muazzin (Caller to Solāh) was making the Iqāmah. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) touched his elbow and said: “Shouldn’t this be before that?” [At-Tabarāni; Al-’Iraqi says it is good] 

This hadith indicates that the Nawafil Solāh be done before the Iqāmah.

And Allāh Almighty knows best.

[Excerpted from: 1.Fiqh-As-Sunnah, Vol. 1: “The Solāh” by Sayyid Sābiq via, 2. Al-Solāh by Dr. Al-Tayyaar, p. 16; Tawdeeh Al-Ahkam by Al-Bassam, 1/371; Tarikh Mashru’iyyat Al-Solāh by Al-Balushi, p. 31 via Islām Q&A Fatwa No 33694 ; 3. “He Came to teach you Your Religion”, 1997, Al-Basher Via Islām.Com; 4. “Al-Khushu’ Fis-Solāh by Ibn Rajab”, translated by Amjad ibn Muhammad Rafiq via ISOKC]

All About Solāt

4. Al-Wudhu’ ; 5. Tayammum;
29.   Solāh al-Jumu`ah; 30. The Sanctified Hour of Jumu’ah.

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