Lamya's Corner

"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)

2nd Day Of Divine Link: Fiqh Of Salah With Sh. Yasir Birjas [Part 4] May 29, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 8:04 pm

Chapter 3: Adhan and Iqama

Adhan and Iqama—both forms of public announcement of Salah [one to alert that the signs of the start time of Salah has appeared, and the other indicates that the actual performance of the Salah has begun]. These show the value of Salah.

1. What is the adhan? Technical definition: “A specific call and pronouncement, given during the time of prayers, as a notification and an indication to their starting time.”

2. Virtue of adhan: If word got out of the virtue of calling out the adhan, we would see people racing to it. All who listen to the Mua’dhen [person calling out the adhan] or hear him, will testify to him.


Abu Hurayrah (raa) narrates the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “If people would know what is there (as reward) in (calling for) adhan and (praying) in the first row, they would have to draw lots for them (to avoid conflict over them).” [Bukhari]

The Mua’dhen will be honored on the day of judgment for the Prophet (saw) said, “On the Day of Judgment, the Mua’dhins will come having the longest necks.” ‘Longest neck’ symbolizes honor, and may even mean physically so they are recognized among people on the day of Judgment. It is also a sign of beauty, we today talk about long swan like necks in some cultures.

 3. Excellence of Mu’adhen: he is a trustee. In Muslim lands, it is the only job done on time, and if not then he is the only person who will be fired from his job for not doing it.

Abu Hurayrah (raa) narrates the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The Imam is a guarantor, and the mua’dhen is a trustee. Of Allah! Guide the imams and forgive the Mua’dhen’s.” [Abu Dawood and Nisa’]

On hearing the Adhan, we should assume that the Mua’dhen has done his job and called it at the correct time.

4.      The story of the Adhan:

There wasn’t a dire need for it at first in Makkah because the number of Muslims was small. Plus they prayed individually for the most part. But when the Prophet (saw) arrived in Al Madinah , the number of Muslims grew and increasingly so, and out of the convenience of now having a Masjed [Masjed Al Nabee] congregational prayer  in Madinah was regularly performed. Muslims would come to prayer by estimation and because of margins of error sometimes they were too early and sometimes too late.  They would call out “As Salah ul Jami’ah” and whoever heard it would come, and whoever didn’t would miss it. They definitely needed a solution. The Prophet (saw) asked his companions for advice. Some suggested that they blow a horn like the Jews; others suggested that they ring bells like the Christians do in their churches. Others even suggested that they kindle a first like the fire worshippers. The Messenger (saw) was not satisfied with any of these suggestions and waited for someone to come up with a better idea.

One day Abdullah ibn Zayd came to the Messenger and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I had a beautiful dream last night.” “What was the dream you saw?” the Messenger asked Zayd. Zayd answered, “I’ve seen that a man wearing green garments taught me the words of the adhan and advised me to call people with these words.” He then recited the words of the Adhan. The Messenger (saw) recognized that the dream of Zayd was true. Zayd was asked to teach the words to Bilal since he had a more beautiful voice. Bilal stood up and called the Adhan as we know it today, and his voice resounded throughout the city of Al Madinah, and on hearing it Muslims started coming to the Masjed. On hearing it, Umar ibn Al Khattab came running to the Prophet (saw) saying, “O Messenger of Allah, an angel taught me that same words in my dream last night” and the Messenger of Allah said, “Alhamdullilah.” in recognition that it was not a random dreams that Shaytan was involved in. [Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah]

What is the purpose of the adhan? It is calling Muslims to come to salah and hence come to success.

5. The ruling of Adhan: it is not obligatory, but highly recommended [in other words Mustahab] according to the majority of the ulema. Imam Shafi’ee says it is fard kifayyah  [meaning a communal obligation] and hence if no one calls for the adhan in a community then the entire community bears the sin.

6.      Conditions of Adhan:

a)      The call should be given after the start of salah time—please refer to salat start time details here.

b)      To be in Arabic language. [Fact:  The only time it was performed in a language other than Arabic was during the time of Kamal Attaturk who cancelled the Arabic element in Turkey altogether. So much so that he ordered that the Adhan be done in Turkish as well. Today it is done in Arabic language. Clip ]

c)      Adhan should be performed by a Muslim, male who has to believe in these words. What if a non-Muslim offers to call the adan? He is not qualified, as it is not just the words but the actual belief in the words as well. Sisters can do it among sisters only.

d)     To be loud enough for people to hear, so should be called from where people can hear. Today with technology and high tech microphones this is not much of a problem. Only today in the states we are not allowed to call it out in public but is enclosed within the Masjed.

e)      To maintain the order of its statements. What if you make a mistake? Fix it and continue.

f)       To be performed by one individual in it’s entirety. It is not acceptable to split statements of the Adhan between a number of people.

Check these out: This is called Adhan Al Juwab, in which there is a main Mua’dhan and a choir behind him, see clip. This is still done in Syria. In the past, to amplify the sound in a Masjed that was too big, they would have a Mua’dhen for each corner, this second scenario is okay. Here’s another Bida’a. It is important to note that the Adhan is a public announcement and not a public display, and should be performed as it was during the time of the Prophet (saw).

What are the words of the Adhan and what do they mean?






الله أكبر

Allahu Akbar

God is Greatest


أشهد لا اله إلا الله

Ash-had al-la ilaha illa llah

I bear witness that there is no God except the One God.


أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله

Ash-hadu anna Muħammadan rasulullah

I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s Messenger


حي على الصلاة

Hayya ‘ala-salahh

Come to salat (prayer, worship)


حي على الفلاح

Hayya ‘ala ‘l-falah

Come to success


الصلاة خير من النوم

As-salatu khayrun min an-nawm

Salat (prayer, worship) is better than sleep


الله أكبر

Allāhu akbar

God is Greatest


لا إله إلا الله

La ilaha illallah

There is no god except the One God.


Notes on Adhan: In Arabic what is called Af’aal al Tafdheel  is used, which is completely inclusive. When we say  Allahu Akbar [meaning the greatest  it implies that Allah is greater than everything] So, in essence Allah is greater than everything you are doing when Salah time comes. It sets your priority right then and there.

Why is it that you believe that Allah is greater than everyting? Because you bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah.

Come to the Salah? Come to the Falah [Success]? It is not even success—but rather the ultimate and absolute success in this world and the hereafter so the meaning is much more comprehensive than the English translation of the word.

Then again a reminder, that Allah is greater. So remember Allah is greater, and that should translate to, “Leave whatever you are doing and respond to the call for prayer.”

Note: For Salaat Al Fajr another statement is added to remind you to wake up. The statement is “Salah is better than sleeping.”

Q. Are there any other forms of Adhan? In the Maliki format, especially used in North Africa, Libya and parts of Sudan they add Allahu Akbar at the beginning.

8. How many Adhans are there for Fajr Salah?

First opinion: Two Adhans, one before the actual time of fajr [to wake a person up] and one upon the start of Salat al-fajr time [Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmed]

Second opinion: There should be one Adhan for fajr, upon the start of the actual time for fajr [according to Abu Hanifah].

Third opinion:  If there are two Mu’adhins in one locality, then one should call before the actual time, and one for the actual time of fajr [Scholars of Hadith].

9. Etiquettes of Adhan:

a)      Purification: no t obligatory, but is highly recommended.

b)      Face the direction of the Qiblah: No, you do not have to face the Qiblah; you should be facing the people whom you are calling out to. Today we have microphones to amplify the voice. Bilal would call out Adhan at the door, or the roof of the Masjed. Adhan is to call the people, and is not just to fulfill an obligation

c)      Calling from an elevated area: today no need with microphones. When there is no electricity then it is necessary to climb minarets or high/elevated areas to call out the Adhan.

d)     Standing while calling Adhan: Do not have to, but is highly recommended.

e)      Insert index fingers into the ears: Bilal covered one ear with one hand. This is just simply to amplify the voice. This is not a virtue of any kind.

f)       Slowing down while chanting the Adhan: you have to slow down for clarity, don’t kill it. On the other hand, don’t take hours. Average Adhan time is 2 minutes 30 seconds. Should not take longer than the Salaah itself. You need to beautify the Adhan with your voice, if not then give it to someone else.

g)      Follow the rules of Tajweed: observe the rules of tajweed. What if a Mua’dhen doesn’t observe rules of tajweed, is his Adhan still valid? It is valid but does not sound as beautiful. And when you elongate [as in medd in tajweed],  it should not be more than 6.

h)      Turning the face right and left upon saying the two “haya ‘ala . . .’: No,  it does not matter. Bilal did it because he wanted to spread his voice to different directions. You can of course to maintain the Sunnah. Today with the presence of microphones there is no practical need for it.

i)        It is better for the Mua’dhen  who calls the Adhan to call the Iqamah as well

j)        For the listeners to repeat after the Mua’dhen—but remember you should repeat it to yourself, so loud enough for just you to hear and not be a distraction to others.

k)      Adhan should not be interrupted by foreign speech—do not interrupt it to answer a phone call for instance.

l)        People who are in the Masjed should not leave after Adhan has been called unless there is a valid reason, for the delay of the Salah after the Adhan.  But if usual it is disliked to leave. In leaving you are following in the footsteps of Shaytan, who runs and escapes on hearing the Adhan.

10. The dua after the Adhan: Say it in Arabic, so memorize it—here is a translation of the dua “O Allah Owner of this perfect call and Owner of this prayer to be performed, bestow upon Muhammad al-wasilah [a station in Paradise] and al fadilah [a rank above the rest of creation] and send him upon a raised platform which you have promised him. Verily, You never fail in Your promise. “

Is speaking during Adhan permissible? It is not Haram to do so, but not recommended. It is recommended that you say the dua after Adhan.

11. What is Iqamah? “Iqamah is the call to stand up in order to establish the salah.” It is often called “another Adhan” but only you don’t repeat the lines as you do in the Adhan, but just say each line once, although this is a point of difference between scholars as will be discussed in the next point insha Allah.

12. What are the words of the Iqama? By unanimous agreement, the statement of the Adhan should be repeated in the Iqama and the statement “qad qamat is-salah” [the time for the establishment of the salah has come] should be added to it after saying “hayya ala-l-falah”

Scholars differ on the number of times each statement is repeated in the iqamah, holding three opinions:

First opinion: to repeat the statement of the adhan once each, and the statement “qad qamat is-salah” twice [Shafi’I and Ahmed].

Second opinion: Same as the first opinion except that the statement “qad qamat is-salah” should be pronounced once [Malik].

Third opinion: The iqamah should be like the Adhan in repeating each statement twice including the statement “qad qamat is-salah” [Abu Hanifah].

Q. Can we call Iqama while walking? Yes it is a practical call, and not ritualistic.

13. When should the people stand up for Salah? The people in the Masjed should stand up and line up upon seeing the imam entering the prayer area to perform the Salah.  Bilal used to say the Iqamah the moment the Prophet would come to lead the prayer.

14. Scenarios related to the Adhan and Iqama:

a) Can the Adhan be given before the beginning of the Salah time? Yes, for Fajr and Jumuah.

b) Can a blind person call the Adhan? Yes, why ever not.

c) Should an individual praying alone call the Adhan and Iqama? Yes, they can but they don’t have to. Why would they even want to? Well, for some people it helps get them into the mood for Salah.

d) Should a person who enters a Masjed after the congregational Salah is over call the Adhan and Iqama? No. But if it is a different congregation  then  Iqama is enough.

e) Is it permissible to use the new universal Adhan system? In Amman / Jordan this system is in place. This system unifies the Masajed and uses a radio to broadcast the Adhan called out live [remember it is not pre-recorded. It is impermissible to pre-record and then flip a switch at the time of the Adhan]. The virtue of Adhan will eventually die out if it is used everywhere, so it is better to call out the Adhan.

f) Which is better, reading the Qur’an or repeating after the Mua’dhen? Repeating after the Mua’dhen is better as it is only done at specific times of the days.

g) Should the Adhan be used for anything besides the Salah? Yes, it also alerts the community to matters of relevance. It is even called out during Ruqyah  as Shaytan and the Jinn run away, it can also be called out in the corners of the house for the same reason.

h) Does the Iqama nullify the nafl salah?  If someone enters the Masjed and started praying the sunnah for duhr for instance, according to Abu Hanifah, that person should continue until finished even if they are going to miss a raka’a of the fard salah.  The Ulema claim that the following hadith  means that it does not nullify the Salah, but it is not right to continue,  “When the Iqama has been called, there should be no other prayer except for the obligatory one.” So, according to this opinion if you are at the beginning of the salah and know that you will not catch takbeerat al ihram, then leave the salah. If you can finish the salah before the imam starts the obligatory salah or you are able to catch the first raka’a , then go ahead and finish it. You can pray Tahiyyat Al Masjed especially during Jumuah, while the Adhan is going on.

Savor the Sweetness

1)      In non-Muslim countries that don’t respect order, time, etc. the Adhan is the only organized and punctual part of their lives. If anything, this shows that Ibadaat [forms of worship] teach etiquettes.

2)      Non-Muslims who visited Muslim lands are amazed by the Adhan, indeed it is among their most memorable experiences.

3)      Adhan makes a land a Muslim land.

4)      It should be the first thing that child hears when they are born. Why? Is a speculation. A child can hear voices while it is in the womb, and so the mother should read Qur’an to it often and should repeat the Adhan. So, when they come out, they find it familiar when the Adhan is performed in one ear and the Iqama in the other. Check out this document from Tuhfat Al Wadood أحكام الطفل في الصلاة (1) on the ruling for children here [Arabic Only, please let me know if you find a translated version]

5)      Adhan has a profound meaning, that goes beyond just the sound of it.

Action Item

  1. Memorize the words of the Adhan and Iqama

  2. Listen to an expert Mu’adhen over the internet—here are some examples Video 1 , Video 2 , Video 3

  3. Practice the chanting of the Adhan and Iqama

  4. Ask a learned person or the Imam to check your Adhan style for you.

  5. Go to your local Masjed before Salah time, and take permission to give the Adhan.


Beautiful Video called Islam 101 by Fawzi Yahya May 25, 2011

Filed under: Recommended Lectures — lamyaalmas @ 7:10 am

2nd Day Of Divine Link: Fiqh Of Salah With Sh. Yasir Birjas [Part 3] May 23, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 10:28 pm

Chapter 3: Time of Salat

Salah Times

How can you recognize the times of Salah?

1. Each Salah has a specific appointed time

Verdict: It has been established by unanimous agreement that the five daily prayers should be performed at their respective appointed times.

Allah (SWT) says: “. . . but when ye are free from danger, set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” [4:103]

Ubadah ibn as-Samit narrated, the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times.” [Malik and Ahmed]

2.      Times of each Salah

Ibn Abbas narrated that the angel Jibril led the Prophet to teach him the prayer times. On the first day he prayed all the prayers at the beginning of their respective times and on the second day he delayed the prayers until just before the end of their times for all prayers except maghrib where he instead prayed it on both days at the same time, and then said: ‘. . .  the time of each Salah is between these two times.” [Tirmidhi]

This hadith offers us the options of praying anytime between the two timings—we have times and windows within which we can perform each prayer.

Abdullah ibn Amr in Al ‘Aas narrated the Messenger said, “The time for Duhr prayer is from when the sun has passed it zenith and a man’s shadow is equal in length to his height, until the time for ‘asr comes. The time for ‘asr lasts until the twilight has faded. The time for ishha last until midnight. The time for subh [fajr] prayer last from the beginning of the pre-dawn so long as the sun has not yet started to rise. When the sun starts to rise, then stop praying, for its rises between the two horns of the Shaytan.” [Muslim]

What are these times and and windows for each prayers?

  1. Salaat Al Duhr

The start time: by unanimous agreement, duhr start when the sun declines from its zenith. So, the sun moves from the east, then hits the center of the sky, and when it declines from the center [zenith/meridian] of the sky towards the west that is when the duhr prayer starts. If you are standing, your shadow will be stretching towards the west, and will shrink.

When does the window of opportunity to pray duhr during its appointed time end? It ends when the shadow is the height of the object plus the excess/extra shadow. Excess shadow in Arabic is called “Dhel Al Zawaal”. [This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars Malik, Shafi’I and Ahmed]

2nd opinion of Abu Hanifa—regarding when the duhr prayer window of opportunity ends is when the shadow of the object is is twice that of the object. The hadith that they rest their case on is that of Abu Hurayrah who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “When it is hot delay the dhuhr salah till it cools down, for the intensity of heat is from the exhalation of hell.” [Bukhari and Muslim] So, according to this opinion, delaying duhr prayer is better.

When is the preferable time to pray duhr? Delay it in the summer and hasten with it in the cooler seasons.

Anas narrated “The Messenger used to hasten with duhr Salah when the cold intensifies [in winters], but when the heat intensifies [in the summer] he would pray it in cooler times.” [Bukhari]

Prohibited times to pray duhr:  Prohibited time is the when the sun is at its zenith/meridian/center of the sky.  Some even delay the adhan until it is cooler—if it is in climate that is favorable and you are in an atmosphere that is comfortable then it is preferable to do it as early as possible.

[Q. Some Masajid fix the time for Salat al-duhr for the congregational prayer/jama’ah. So can we pray at the beginning of its time, or should we wait unitl the jama’ah time? If you are at work for instance, and you can pray at the early time then do so. If you can still make it to the congregational prayer as well, then do so and pray it again]

2.     The time of ‘asr salah

Start time: by unanimous agreement the time of ‘asr begins when the time of duhr ends at the end of the duhr salat, depending on either of the opinions of when the duhr ends.

[Q. Can we switch between the schools of thought for convenience? No!  You need to maintain an opinion based on evidences, unless you do not have a specific affiliation with a specific school of thought in which case just follow the congregation or the opinion of the majority of scholars.]

End time: It lasts as long as the sun has not set, i.e. until it has not reached the horizon. The moment the sun hits the horizon you have missed it.

Abu Hurayrah [raa] narrated that the Messenger of Allah [saw] said, “He who has caught [prayed] one rak’a of ‘asr before the sun set has caught his ‘asr.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Time of prohibition: when the sun is on the horizon and is setting. If you start before it reaches the horizon—by about one inch [one spear] before it hits the horizon you can continue  your salaah. If you can’t actually see the sun then you can estimate based on the calendar. Estimate to the best of your ability as possible. If you are able to catch one raka’a before the sun hits the horizon, you should as Abu Hurayrah narrated, the Prophet (saw) said, “He who has caught [prayed] on rakah or ‘asr before the sun set has caught his ‘asr.” [Bukhari]

Preferable time for ‘asr:  the earliest the better [opinion of Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmed], and Abu Hanifa is of the opinion to delay it has long as the sun has not changed its color.

3.      The time of Maghrib Salah

The start time: by unanimous agreement, the time of al maghrib begins when the disc of the sun has completely set, i.e. when sun is completely below the horizon. Note:  the glare does not matter even though it is bright [there’s a glare], what matters is that the actual disc of the sun is completely below the horizon.

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abi Aufa “We were traveling with Allah’s Apostle and he was fasting, and when the sun set, he said to (someone), “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Will you wait) till it is evening?” The Prophet again said, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is still daytime.” The Prophet said again, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” So, he got down and carried out that order. The Prophet then said, “When you see night falling from this side, the fasting person should break his fast,” and he beckoned with his finger towards the east.

Video 1 [time lapse of sun setting—time of prohibition of performing Salah is when sun hits the horizon [at 0.17 seconds in the video] and while it sets]

Video 2  [at 0.46 seconds you can see the glare as the sun has completely set—this is when Maghrib starts, refer to the hadith above narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Abi Aufa]

The end time:

First opinion [Malik, Shafi’i]: Maghrib has no extended time after the sun has set, just enough time to perform wud’u, adhan, iqamah, and five rakahs [3 fardh, and 2 sunnah]—around 15-20 minutes in length.

Ibn Abbas, “…except maghrib where he instead prayed it on both days at the same time.” [Tirmidhi]

Second opinion: Maghrib ends when the twilight disappears from the horizon. But scholars differed over the actual twilight. For this they had two opinion:

1. The read twilight according to Shafi’I in the old madhab, and Ahmad and the muhaditheen and the majority of people today

“…maghrib time lasts until the evening glow disappears,” [Abu Dawood]

“…the last tme for maghrib is when the horizon becomes dark.” [Abu Dawood]

Abdullah ibn ‘Amr [raa]: “…the time for maghrib last unitl the twilight has faded.” [Muslim]

2. The white twilight, according to Abu Hanifah

As the glow starts to disappear, it turns orange to red, and then as the red twilight dissipates, there is a white twilight which looks like a belt above ht horizon. Above the white twilight is a blue twilight which is a mixture between blue, purple and white.

Videos: Twilight    and Horizon [focus on how the colors in the horizon change after sunset, this is called the twilight]

The preferable time: by unanimous agreement, right after sunset.

Recommendation: sometimes the companions would pray two rakahs sunnah before maghrib after the adhan. This is preferable. The Prophet (saw) said, “Pray before maghrib, pray before maghrib, pray before maghrib. For whoever wishes.” You can pray them either in the masjed or home.

4. Time of Isha Salah

About this prayer, Abu Hurairah (Raa) narrated that the prophet (saw) said: “No Salat (prayer) is heavier (harder) for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the Isha prayers, but if they knew the reward of these Salat (prayers) at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they have to crawl.”

Why? Because you are fighting , in the case of fajr the comfort and warmth of the bed, and in isha you are fighting sleep. Buraidah (raa) reported: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Convey glad tidings to those who walk to the mosque in the darkness. For they will be given full light on the Day of Resurrection.” [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]

Start time: by unanimous agreement, it starts after the twilight disappears –but as we have seen with Salat al maghrib there is a different of opinion regarding the twilight that marks the end of al maghrib and beginning of isha.  According to Imam Malik,  the end of al maghrib does not constitute the beginning of isha, rather there is a buffer zone. It starts when it is dark [dark twilight] and the stars can be seen [if the sky is clear].

The end time:

First opinion: Abu Hanifah who says, as long as the dawn has not risen yet. So, ends when Salat Al Fajr begins.

Second opinion: Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmad say it is until the first third of the night or the first half [which is the strongest opionion], and as necessity until fajr time.

Q. What is half of the night? Does it mean midnight? No. Calculate the time from sunset until fajr and then divide by half—where the half point falls at is the first half of the night.

The preferable time/s:

First Opinion: Shafi’i is of the opinion that the best time is to perform it at the beginning of its respective tims.

Second Opinion: Abu Hanifah, Maalik, and Ahmad are of the opinion that it is best to dealy the isha to just before one third or half of the night has passed. As evidence they use the hadith by the prophet (saw) when he delayed the Isha to the extent that the companions slept in the masje. When he saw them he came out and prayed isha and said, “This is the time for salat al isha except I do not want to create hardships for my ummah.”

Abu Hurayrah narrated, the Messenger said: “If was not afraid of creating hardship I would have ordered to delay isha to just the first third or half of the night.” [Tirmidhi and Nisa’i]

When there are less worshippers the value of the worship goes up [like fasting in summer rather than winter]. But if delay means poor quality, then early is better.

Q.Which is better for me for Isha—to delay it or pay in congregation in the masjed? Of course in congregation in the masjed.

5. Fajr salat

Starts: When the true dawn starts not the false dawn [check out this video about false dawn]. The false dawn occurs when the sun has not yet hit the horizon so what you see is but the reflection of the sun rays. The true dawn is when you see the white thread in the horizon, you will see it on this video at 0.11 seconds.  More information False and True Dawn.

Here is a picture of false dawn.

Another picture of false dawn from National Geographic.

Picture of true dawn: 

Time of prohibition: Can’t pray when the sun has started to come up in this video it starts 0.11 seconds into the video . You have  missed fajr if you pray at this time, and it will be considered Qada—make up [which has to be performed after the sun has completely risen].

Preferable time:

1)      First Opinion Al Ghalas: darkness of Fajr, so early hour of Fajr time when it is still kind of dark. In other words, although bright in the horizon it is not bright outside. [Malik, Shafi’I, and Ahmad]


Abu Musa narrated, “He [the messenger of Allah (saw)]offered fajr salat at daybreak when the people could hardly recognize one another.” [Muslim]

Jaber narrated: “…and fajr He (the messenger) used to offer it during Ghalas time (when it was still dark).” [Bukhari and Muslim]

2)      Second Opinion Isfar:  Brightness of the fajr, when it is bright enough you can see [Abu Hanifah]


Rafi’ bin Khadeej narrated the Messenger said, “Pray Fajr during Isfaar time, for its greater for your reward.” [Tirmidhi]

What is the reason for this difference of opinion regarding preferable times? Because the  prophet (saw) practiced both depending on the crowd in the masjed. If he saw them rush, he would rush, and if they came slow he would delay. Furthermore, in winter it is convenient to start early as the day is short, whereas in the summer delay as the day is long.

Forbidden Time of Salaah

These times are forbidden for Salat except for the fard salawat.

Ubadah ibn ‘Amir narrated, “there are three times at which Allah’s messenger used to forbid us to pray or bury our dead: when the sun begins to rise till it is fully up, when the fun is at its height at midday till it passes the meridian, and when the sun darws near to setting till it sets.” [Muslim]

Abu Sa’d al-Khudr narrated, “I heard the messenger of Allah saying: “No salah is to be offered after the morning salah until the sun rises, or after ‘asr salah until the sun sets.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

1)      After fajr : after your salaat al fajr you  cannot pray until after sunrise. “There should be no salah performed after fajr until the sun rises.” If you pray salat al fajr, then do not pray anything else until the sun rises.

2)      When the sun rises: you cannot pray the sunnah or make qad’a for the sunnah while the sun is rising, but you have to wait until the sun has fully risen and is a spear length from the horizon.

3)      When the sun is at the zenith[middle of the sky]: this is 5-10 minutes before duhr. Even salat al duha should be prayed during this time either, but must be prayed before this time.

4)      After asr: no salah [after your asr salah] when the sun has hit the horizon, is setting.  Only after it has completely set, can you pray. Exception is if there is a need like Tahiyyat Al Masjed [two units offered when you enter into the Masjed—not applicable to a Maslah]  or Istikhara [prayer requesting guidance] but should be avoided if it is the prohibition time. Abu Sa’eed al-khudri prophet (saw) said, “No salaat is to be offered after the morning salat until the sun rises, or after asr saat unitl the sun sets.” (Bukhari and Muslim)—this is according to Shafi’i madhab.

5)      When sun is setting:  while the sun is sinking behind the horizon. The prophet (saw) said, “The Shaytan goes in the direction o fthe sun so that it rises or sets between his two horns and those who prayed to the sun prayed in the direction of the Shaytan.”

 Note: by unanimous agreement all scholars do not dispute that praying during sunrise and sunset is prohibited even if it is Fardh [like ‘qada of obligatory prayer] or Nafl like Tahiyyat Al Masjed.

Why are there forbidden times to pray in our religion? Prophet (saw) did not give us a specific reasons but scholars could hardly prevent themselves from speculating on the issue. Among the interesting interpretation that scholars have come up with, always open to dispute of course, is that it prevents Muslims from living the life of monks—a monastic life, dedicated to worship only. Islam is a religion that calls for a balance in the spiritual and worldly—so not praying at specific times points to the relevance of tending other things, like interacting with  family. Everything ought to be given its right. Also, another interpretation is that the actual sunrise and sunset are specific time when idol worshippers prostrate to the planets and the sun and we have been prohibited from resembling them.

Scenarios for times of Salat

  1. Countries where the visibility  of the twilight becomes confusing, and the day and night time become irregular, when do they pray isha and fajr? Consider the following video for instance video 1  and video 2 to further illustrate the question insha Allah.

In places like Scandinavia the sun may be present for four months, and there is no distinction between night and day. There are three opinion on this topic:

  • The people are not obligated to perform the salawat, meaning they only pray the ones that they have distinguish the signs for in this case in the video—duhr and asr. This is a radical opinion, but the evidence for it is very strong, but does not necessarily mean it is the right one.

  • Most  acceptable opinion among people is that they follow the closest region that is normal [in the sense that they have the signs for the five daily prayers] and follow their timings.

  • What about if people do not have access to technology? They need to estimate the time for the 5 prayers, and distribute them evenly. Evidence is the hadith of Ad-Dajjal, the prophet (saw) said, “The first day of his arrival will feel like an entire year. The second will be like a month. Then like a week and the rest of his day will be like ours.” The companions asked how they will make the salah during that time, and the Prophet (saw) said, “Estimate.”

2)      If someone prays Salah before its beginning time for convenience would it be acceptable?

No, this is not acceptable. He can make up for it, but praying before the time of the prayer has started is not permissible.

3)      If someone delays her salah until her period starts, is she accountable for that salah?

It is hard for a sister to know the onset of her period, she goes by dates of course but there is always a margin of error. No, she is not accountable unless she delays it to the very last minute when the window of opportunity for a specific salah closes.

4)      If a woman [student of working] becomes pure from her period during the time of one the prayers but was unable to shower until later during the day, or later that night, is she accountable for this delay?

If it will not cause hardship to her, then she should make up for those missed prayers.

5)      Is it still obligatory to perform a fard salah, even during the prohibited times?


Savor the Sweetness of the time of salah:

1)      Salah was divided throughout the day and the night so that you don’t feel bored.

2)      Wisdom of following the times of salat to prevent it from being a routine—you become conscious of the value of your salat so you’re always on top of the changes of time and seasons.

3)      You will find this spiritual break when you really need it, it’s a time out for relief, to seek help, assistance and strength. Even to relieve yourself from the stress of life. Remember to always ask for strength for your salah.

4)      Our religion is a balanced religion, between daily and spiritual activities.

Action Item

  1. Try to observe the sun for two full days

  2. Wake up early before fajr, and watch for the white thread

  3. Use an object to mark the shadows throughout the day, to determine the beginning of the time of each salah.

  4. Use that same object next day to determine the end of time of each salah

  5. Watch as the sun goes down , and praise your Lord as you see the variation in the colors through the horizon.

  6. Can you identify the end of maghrib and beginning of isha according to the difference opinions.

    Q. Did you wake up for fajr today? If not then why? possible answers death by snooze, slept late, did not make the intent to get up etc.

     Q. Devise a plan to help others wake up for fajr. Be creative.

    More videos for you to enjoy: 

    1)  Video of the sun’s movement in 24 hours: Video 1  Video 2 

    2) See if you can tell through looking at the time lapse of day and night in this video and identify, false dawn, true dawn, glare at Maghrib, twilight and white twilight 

    3) Time lapse of four days of sunrise and sunset 


2nd day of Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah with Sh. Yasir Birjas [Part 2] May 19, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 2:09 pm

Number of Fard Salat

There are five obligatory prayers

Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah: “A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Apostle and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah’s Apostle said, “You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).” The man asked, “Is there any more (praying)?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil prayers (you can).” Allah’s Apostle further said to him: “You have to observe fasts during the month of Ramad, an.” The man asked, “Is there any more fasting?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, but if you want to observe the Nawafil fasts (you can.)” Then Allah’s Apostle further said to him, “You have to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity).” The man asked, “Is there anything other than the Zakat for me to pay?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, unless you want to give alms of your own.” And then that man retreated saying, “By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this [he was asking about the minimum].” Allah’s Apostle said, “If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Fajr (Dawn prayer): Two Rak’as. This Salah is called salat as-subh

Dhuhr (Noon prayer): Four Rak’as [first prayer, in congregation silent ]

Asr (Late Afternoon prayer): Four Rak’as [silent in congregation]

Maghrib (Sunset prayer): Three Rak’as

Isha (Night prayer): Four Rak’as

What is the secret behind the number of prayers [Salawaat] being 5 [5 in number and 50 in rewards]? Why are they spread out during the day?

Note: no scholar would be able to say exactly why they are five, and why are spread out during the day, so what we have are speculations. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. If we don’t know the wisdom then it is to test our obedience to the orders and commands of Allah (SWT).

The first Salah is Duhr [noon prayer] right when the sun moves out from the center of the sky—when you need a break to get some energy, and recharge from having worked since the morning to get you through the rest of the day. Then the second is Asr [late afternoon] right when  we are finished with our daily obligations– farmers are leaving their field, we are leaving work [offices, schools etc]—and we praise Allah for getting us through work. Then comes Al Maghreb which is the end of day [end of daylight] and it is filled with anxiety and nervousness of the darkness of the night, so we pray to calm ourselves down and be in the protection of Allah (SWT). Then  Comes Al Isha late at night, and it is a good ending to our day before we go to sleep, and before our souls are taken by Allah (SWT) [second death]. And then the fifth and last is Salat Al Fajr, and it is beginning of a new days and we praise Allah for having woken us from sleep [after taking our souls] and we ask for the blessings for the new day ahead, and charge ourselves to go out to the world and perform our duties and obligations, while still in remembrance of Allah and in His protection.

Another interpretation by scholars is:

The ingredients that make up a human being consist of 2 components—body and soul. If there is a body without a soul then you are a corpse—and indeed after someone dies, they are no longer mentioned by name but rather it is said “Where was the body found?” Likewise, a soul without a body is a ghost, a spirit.

The body is created from dirt—and its main source is the earth. And based on this if you would like to nurture and sustain this body, you would have to look for the same source to sustain it—the earth. Imagine if someone wants to nurture their bodies through meditation, spiritual retreat without eating for instance? That would not be logical.  And how many meals are the average per day? 3 main meals but doctors recommend 5 small meals a day [some people cheat of course and eat more than that and snack in between of course]  So likewise, the body needs the physical component of prayer to nourish its body—and that is 5 times a day.

The Prophet (saw) told us that the soul is from the heavens. When the fetus is developing in the womb, after 120 the angel comes and breaths the soul into the baby and write down four things. So, knowing that if the soul comes from the heavens—how can it be sustained? It’s sustenance has to come from the same source—food for the soul is not Soul Food as we know it down on earth, that kind of food is a stomach experience. So, we need something heavenly, and by the way music isn’t. You can get high on music, but it isn’t heavenly. Your divine link with Allah (SWT) is your heavenly experience. You worship Allah as if you see him [with the eyes of your heart], and although you do not see him with your own eyes you are certain that he sees you. So, if your body needs 3 meals—on average– to sustain itself, then your soul needs:

“ Establish regular prayers – at the sun´s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading of Qur’an: for the prayer and reading  of the Qur’an in the morning carry their testimony.” [Israa:78]

You can also have snacks [Nafl/involuntary/Sunnah] prayers in between, when you are spiritually hungry.  So these prayers strengthen your spiritual growth. If you don’t pray five times a day, your soul can barely function.

Also, prayers/Salawaat organize your life. You wake up and renew your relationship with your Lord at the beginning of the day, in the mid day you need a soul snack, in the Duhr you want to praise Allah (SWT) to help you get through the atrocious day, and then Maghreb you are anxious with what the night brings, and then Isha is the end to your day and praise Allah for giving you life that day, and you end your day on a good note before your soul is taken temporarily.

Why are some prayers performed out loud in congregation, and some silent?

Living in postmodern world we have technology and our lives our different now because we stay up longer than those of the past. In the past, they lived natural lives—so they woke up with the rise of the sun and slept with its setting. You will realize that those prayers that are during the day when we and others are busy, the prayers are done silently so that others are not disturbed. Those that are done out loud in congregation are those prayers that are performed in the dark. If you are praying behind an Imam in Subh [Fajr], Isha and Maghrib  his loud recitation awakens you and helps you focus on Salah [of course in the obligatory prayers that are done out loud, the first two Raka’as you follow the reading of the Imam] in the last two or one [in the case of Al Maghrib] you do on your own.

Why are there 3 Raka’as in Al Maghreb prayer? Witr means odd number, so Maghreb is the Witr of the day. All of these are interpretations of the scholars, are open for  debate.

What is the ruling on Witr salat? It is performed after Salaat Al Isha [at the end of the Salawat of the day]. And the word Witr in Arabic means ‘odd number’ [i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7 etc.] . 2 opinions on the ruling on this prayer:

  • First opinion: It is a recommended Sunnnah—Sunnah Mu’akadah [this is by Maalik, Shafi’ee, and Ahmed].  Sunnah Mu’kadah—means that it is highly important and recommended but not obligatory. So not performing it won’t hold a person accountable, but will cause them to lose great rewards. The Prophet (saw) never missed it or skipped it, whether he was resident or travelling. Interestingly, he skipped the Sunnan when travelling but never the Witr. Missing it is a shame.


Abu Tamim al-Jishani relates that ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas was addressing the people during a Friday Khutbah and he said: “Abu Basra related to me that the Prophet said: ‘Verily, Allah has added a prayer for you, and it is the witr prayer. Pray it between salatul ‘isha and salatul fajr.'” Abu Tamim said: “Abu Dharr took me by my hand and we went in the mosque to Abu Basra and [Abu Dharr] said: ‘Did you hear what ‘Amr just said from the Messenger of Allah?’ He answered: ‘I heard it from the Messenger of Allah!”‘

‘Ali says: “The witr prayer is not required like your obligatory prayers, but the Prophet would perform the witr prayer and say: ‘O you people [followers] of the Qur’an, perform the witr prayer, for Allah is one and He loves the witr.'” [ Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhi]

Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah record that Al-Mukhdaji [a person of the Kinana tribe] heard from one of the Ansar, nicknamed Abu Muhammad, that the witr prayer is obligatory. He went to ‘Ibadah ibn as-Samit and mentioned to him what Abu Muhammad had said. ‘Ibadah observed: “Abu Muhammad is mistaken for I heard the Messenger of Allah say: ‘Five prayers are ordained by Allah for his slaves. Whoever fulfills them properly without any shortcoming, he will have a pact with Allah that He will admit him into paradise. Whoever does not do them, he will have no pact with Allah, and if He wills He may punish him and if He wills He may forgive him.'”

Ijtihad: Witr can be performed while one is riding his camel and obligatory Salah cannot be performed that way [today in a car for instance].

  • Second opinion [Abu Hanifah]:  It is Wajeb [obligatory]. In the theory of law he makes a distinction between level of Wajeb [obligatory] and Fardh is highest obligation—and Wajeb is compulsory but not obligatory. Fardh has to be established by Qur’an or Mitawater Hadith.  So sees it in such a light that if a person misses it when he can peform it, then he is sinning. Plus it doesn’t show a good character, and go to the extent of saying that his testimony is not accepted.

Savor the Sweetness of the Five Salah:

1)      Five spiritual meals vs. three nutritious meals

2)      Acts as frequent reminders of the purpose of life, which is worshipping Allah (SWT)—a believer who finds himself awake any time of the night, is mindful of the time wonders if it is time for Fajr prayer.

3)      Are effacers of the sins committed through the day and night. Abu Hurayra (raa) narrated, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) saying, ‘Suppose one of you had a river running at his door, and he washed from it five times a day: would any dirt remain on him?’ They (the companions) said, ‘No dirt will remain on him.’ He [the Prophet] (saw) said, ‘That is the likeness of the five prayers. Allah remits sins with them.’” [Bukhari and Muslim]

4)      Life organizer and self-discipline tool: We have gadgets today to finish tasks on time. We don’t need them if we are regular with our Salah’s. When we go shopping for instance, if we care about Salaah it will limit how long one stays there. When you’re driving on the highway, asr time is coming to an end, you start panicking so you force yourself to get off the highway so you become prompt in fulfilling your duties. Whatever the task, if you maintain your Salaah, you will be happier in your life. Nowadays, time is so fluid, it is not organized. If you truly maintain Salah on time—not those who zip prayers in one file—truly see organization to their lives.

5)      Building a strong social structure for the Muslim community:  mentioned earlier about being in the Masjed regularly and you recognize absence of Muslims, recognize their hardships and can offer help, and you see each other as one family.


2nd day of Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah with Sh. Yasir Birjas [Part 1]

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 12:48 am

Part 1: Salatul Faridah [the Five Obligatory Prayers]

Ubada ibn us-Samit narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions [wudu is part of perfecting your Salah so don’t rush in it—no splashing—you have to perfect it], prays them in their proper times [that is during their respective times, not out of your convenience. They have to be performed within the window of time allowed you. Go out of your convenience to perform them], completes their bows, prostrations [you have to perfect the actions associated with it] and khushu` [Khushu` is concentration in the prayer is where the person’s heart is attuned to the prayer. 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] has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him.” [Recorded by Malik, Ahmad]

A person who does what is described in the above hadith has a promise from Allah (SWT) to forgive his sins. But whoever does not, or views it as an obligation that needs to be done and over with, then does not have this promise of forgiveness. He may be forgiven and maybe not. Allah (SWT) says in:

“So woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their prayers ” [Ma’un: 4-5]

You will be asked about both the quantity and quality of your Salah.

Chapter 1: The Value of Salat

1)      The main pillar of Islam:

Mu’adh ibn Jabal “The Prophet said: The uppermost level of the matter is al-Islam [submission to Allah—so you listen and obey]. Its pillar is Salah and its hump is al-jiad” [Tirmidhi]

Salah is it’s pillar: what happens to a building missing pillars, it will undoubtedly collapse.  And if one pillar is missing it will be unreliable structure, anyone in it will feel uneasy. A building is considered well maintained when its 5 pillars are there.

2)      The first obligation after Shahadah is Salah: The Prophet (saw) sent Mua’dh ibn Jabal to Yemen and said, “You are going to a people from the People of the Book. So let the first thing that you call them to bear the testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.If they accept that from you, then inform that Allah has made it obligatory upon them 5 daily prayers in a day and a night. If they accept that from you, then inform that that Allah has obligated on them a charity ( Zakat ) that is taken from the rich and given to the poor.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Raises the question? Should we immediately ask the person who has just become Muslim to pray right away. Yes, but gradually since it takes time to learn.

3)      It was prescribed in the heavens, during the magnificent journey [Al Isra wa al Mi’raj]: Salah is the only obligation that we know, that the Prophet (saw) was commissioned to appear in person before Allah to receive its command. Nothing else was prescribed other than this one form of worship, which shows how important a command it is.

4)      Allah gave the Messenger the obligation of Salah directly, without any intermediaries: The command was received with no mediator—not even Jibreel—Allah (SWT) spoke to the Prophet (saw) and ordered him to perform the five daily prayers directly.

5)      A public call: the Adhan was made to remind of it. It is the only act of worship that there is a public announcement for, every day, 5 times a day. In the US we don’t hear it since we are not allowed to broadcast it. But in other Muslim nations thousands of minarets make a public announcement for Salah. Today we have digital or electronic Muadhens at homes. Why the public announcement? Because the public needs to be notified about it.

6)      Purification act is stipulated prior to its performance: you cannot make Salah except if you purify yourself—either by taking a full shower [major hadath], or performing ablution [minor hadath]. It is the only Ibadah that you cannot perform except with purification. If you break your purification during Salah, you have to stop , perform ablution and then come back and start over.

7)      Its obligation is maintained regardless of being in state of travel, fear or sickness: If you are travelling are you no exempt for performing Salah, you shorten it and combine. If you are sick you still need to perform Salah—it is commonly known that in hospitals Muslim patients ask for trays of dirt for Tayamum, and ask for beds to be moved to face the Qiblah. Non-Muslims are amazed about how dedicated and devoted they are to Salah. They are not forced, but feel an urge and desire to maintain their prayers on a regular basis despite their struggles with their health. Actually at such times prayer is the best thing to do to get closer to Allah.

8)      The first matter of account on the Day of Judgment is Salah: 2 things you will asked, of them the first is Salah, and in another hadith is blood. The scholars asked why these two especially?  The first is ones relationship with Allah which is through your Salah, and the second is your relationship with people [hurting others]. So, it’s an open book exam—you already have the questions and the answers are in the manual. All you have to do is take action.

“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the Salah. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.”[al-Tabarani]

9)      The best of all deeds of worship:

Bukhari narrates on the authority of Abdullah ibn Mas’iud (ra): “I asked the Messenger of Allah (saw) which deed is most beloved to Allah (swt)”. He (saw) said: “Salah at it’s appointed times”. Then Abdullah (ra) asked: “and then what?” he (saw) said: “Then kindness to parents”, then he (ra) asked: “and then what?” he (saw) said: “Jihad in the way of Allah”.

 In another narration of the same hadith,  “to perform salah at the beginning of its appointed time [not just within the window but as soon as that window of opportunity opens up]”

Accountability for Salah

 To be accountable for Salah a person should be:

1) Be a Muslim, man or woman:  You have no right to tell a non-Muslim to come over and pray. If they so choose out of curiosity , and wanting to experience Salah come and join the Muslims while they pray, but you do not obligate them to pray. Are the commandments of Shariah obligated on non Muslims? Some scholars said yes. Others said even if they are they are not valid because they do not confess that there is one God.

2) Have reached the age of puberty: That is after a woman’s first cycle, and a man’s first wet dream. If it is delayed, at 15 regardless of whether there is a physical manifestation of puberty according to the characteristic features of each sex, we consider them of the age of puberty. Narrated Ibn `Umar: “That the Prophet inspected him on the day of Uhud while he was fourteen years old, and the Prophet did not allow him to take part in the battle. He was inspected again by the Prophet on the day of AlKhandaq (i.e. battle of the Trench) while he was fifteen years old, and the Prophet allowed him to take Part in the battle” [Bukhari]

3) Be in the state of sound mind: So one is exempt if one loses his/her faculties, permanently or temporarily until they recover. That is until they are able to recognize what they perform. Aisha (raa) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “The pen has been lifted for three: the insane until he regains his sanity, the child until he reaches puberty, and the sleeper until he wakes up.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

What is the ruling on the Salah of a child?

They are not obligated, until they reach puberty however you can teach them and train them at an early age. Children by nature like to imitate their parents. So, it is okay if they do part of Salah or do it off and on at the age of 6 and 7. You can also incorporate reward and punishment until they are 10 years old so they understand that they will be held accountable when they are adults.  This is ensure that when they are adults they can do it on their own Insha Allah. Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Asr, narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Command your children to make salah when they become seven years old, and spank them for it (salah) when they become ten years old, and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.” (Abu Dawud)

Ruling of neglecting/abandoning Salah

Two categories:

1)      Consciously neglecting Salah by denying its obligation: that is that they don’t acknowledge the obligation of salah. Eg. say things like, “It’s the 21st C, we’re in America, get with the times.” This is an act of Riddah [apostasy]. This is provided that there person knows the severity of his decision and it is not merely out of ignorance [as is the case with some families who neglect to teach their children about the obligation of Salah here in the states].  Scholars say this person leaves the fold of Islam because he/she is denying a pillar of Islam.

Exemption: a new convert who has no support system to teach her/him to perform Salah–they are  Muslim.


But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.” [9:11]


Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his neglect of the prayer.” [Muslim]

2)      Neglecting Salah out of laziness or other reasons without denying its obligation: so they say things like, “Please make dua for me. I wish I were like you.” They are not denying the obligation but say one day they hope to be among those who establish prayer. They know they should but they don’t. Regarding these there are 2 opinions:

  • This person is considered Muslim, but he/she is committing a major sin. Category they belong to is Fisq [disobedience], and is called Faseq [disobedient]. What they are committing is an act of disobedience, and Allah has the right and power to either forgive them or punish them.

  • Another opinion is that they are out of the fold of Islam, since they willingly chose to leave and abandon their religion. Why? Because most important obligation on a Muslim, what makes a Muslim is this connection with Allah (SWT).

It was narrated that Buraydah ibn al-Husayb (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved (become a kaafir).’” (It was narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah).

A person who prays once in a while belongs to this category.

Savor the Sweetness of the Status of Salah

1)      Every day you have a promise from Allah to forgive you, maintain your Salah:  Salah is a golden opportunity for forgiveness, and it is available every single day, and if you miss it then I feel sorry for you. You are bound to misbehave either early in the day or late in the day.

2)      Your Salah is the best capital you have to offer on the Day of Judgment, so increase your investment: It is the best capital, you can invest in a lot of things but most important capital that you invest for the Hereafter is your Salah. Remember you will be stopped at stations in the Hereafter, and the very first one will be an investigation of your Salah log.

3)      Salah is a unique form of creating a Muslim identity, carry your bade wherever you go: Today, the airport is a scary place to pray, but when you find someone prostrating in the corner while performing Salah you feel an immediate connection with them. Solution to problem of racism, foot by foot, shoulder to shoulder, people of different social status , all in line–no front seats, backseats, VIP. When someone is missing in the Masjed, you realize right away and go and check on them. You feel a bond with other Muslims. But if Muslims don’t come to the congregational prayer, you can’t tell what they are going through.

4)      Salat was prescribed in the Heavens: it’s the divine link


The Prophet (saw) said: “The Prophet (saw) said: “Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted has said: ‘I have divided the prayer between Myself and My slave, into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.” When the slave says ‘Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has praised Me.’ When the slave says, ‘The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has extolled me.’ When the slave says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgement,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has glorified me.’ When the slave says, ‘It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help,’ Allaah says, ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’ When the slave says, ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the path of those whom You have favoured, not the path of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go astray,’ Allaah says, ‘All these are for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’ ”  [Saheeh Muslim] Mentioned recitation of the fatiha, say it, Allah responds to you as you recite it. You have communication with Allah, you recognize his superiority over you, and you ask him for your deeds.

Action Item

Oftentimes we talk to others about Salah, holding a whip to their back and frequent talk about the hellfire. So:

  1. Target a friend or relative whom you love so much and fear for their akhirah

  2. Talk to them about Salah

  3. Do your best to help them value, and learn how to do their Salah.

  4. Share the reward with them. You don’t want them to miss one Salah, do you?


Stages of Salah in Islam [Part 3 Free Friday of Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah with Sh. Yasir Birjas] May 18, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 12:33 am


For more details on the material covered in Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah please refer to Ibn Hajer’s Bulugh Al Maram. You can download the book for free by clicking here [go to contents and it is the second book after ‘Purification’ and YES, it’s in English]. Here’s another site that offers the book  here

In Islam, Salah [prayer] went through a number of stages before it was finalized in the form that we have today. So, let’s go through these stages Insha Allah.

Stage 1: The 2nd or 3rd year of the Message

The obligation of Salah was received early in the Prophetic mission. When the Prophet (saw) received the message he was ordered to establish and perform prayer. After 40 days, Al Mudather and Al Muzamel were also revealed ordering him (saw) to stand up and perform prayer.

  1. Two prayers, one in the morning and one in the evening:

When prophet, received first revelation , he was immediately ordered to establish and perform prayer. Al Mudther and Muzamel were revealed 40 days after the first revelation, and in both the Prophet (saw) was asked to stand up and perform Salah. The format of the prayer was not specific, but the times were. They were two prayers, one in the morning and one in the evening.

“Patiently, then, persevere: for the Promise of Allah is true: and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and celebrate the Praises of thy Lord in the evening and in the morning.” [40:55]

  1. The first Qiblah was towards Jerusalem. The Prophet (saw) and his followers were instructed to face the direction of Jerusalem in Salah, and this continued for 15 years of the Prophet’s mission. Indeed, he (saw) prayed more towards Jerusalem than he (saw) did towards Makkah.

“ . . .  We appointed the Qibla to which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.” [2:143]

Was the form of Salah as we know it today? We don’t know. We don’t have much detail of how prayer was performed during that period of time, but we do know that it was performed two units [rak’as] at a time. We also know that Salah went through stages until it was finalized in the format we know today.

Stage 2: The Night Prayer

1. Night prayer [Tahajjud] was made obligatory upon the Prophet (saw) and the believers. So, imagine being asked to stand up in prayer for the most part of the night—so for instance 6 out of 8 hrs of the night. And this was every single night for a whole year, for Allah (SWT) says:

“O thou folded in garments! Stand (to prayer) by night, but not all night,- Half of it,- or a little less, Or a little more; and recite the Qur´an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” [73:1-4]

3. The abrogation of the obligation of the Night Prayer [Tahajjud]. The Prophet (saw) and his followers continued in this strenuous vein, until the companions came to the Prophet (saw) and complained that it was very hard for them. We are talking here about every single night, so you can’t blame them. Allah (SWT) the Merciful, revealed this ayah offering them relief:

“Thy Lord doth know that thou standest forth (to prayer) nigh two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so doth a party of those with thee. But Allah doth appoint night and day in due measure He knoweth that ye are unable to keep count thereof. So He hath turned to you (in mercy): read ye, therefore, of the Qur´an as much as may be easy for you. He knoweth that there may be (some) among you in ill-health; others travelling through the land, seeking of Allah´s bounty; yet others fighting in Allah´s Cause, read ye, therefore, as much of the Qur´an as may be easy (for you); and establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls ye shall find it in Allah´s Presence,- yea, better and greater, in Reward and seek ye the Grace of Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [73:20]

With this ayah, night prayer became an optional prayer. But old habits die hard, and the companions did not quit but continued their legacy with the Night Prayer—and we have so many wonderful examples of their stories with this great form of worship. When Aisha (raa) was asked about the Prophet’s night prayer she said:

“Have you not read the Surah, (O you wrapped up.). Verily, Allah made standing at night (for prayer) obligatory at the beginning of this Surah. So the Messenger of Allah and his Companions stood for an entire year during the night (in prayer) until their feet swelled. Allah held back the revelation of the end of this Surah for twelve months. Then, Allah revealed the lightening of this burden at the end of this Surah. Then, the standing for night prayer became voluntary after it used to be obligatory.” [Ahmed and Muslim]

Stage 3:  3 years before Hijra/ 5 years before Hijra [depending on year of Isra wa al Mi’raj]:

In the first three years the Prophet (saw) and the companions would pray in secrecy, then Allah commanded the Prophet to go public with the message and so some companions prayed in public. It was a huge challenge—some were beaten, tortured, others almost killed. It was very hard, even for the Prophet (saw)—his neck was stepped on while he was prostrating, and the insides of a slaughtered camel was place on his back as well.  Yet, they all endured the trials in devotion to Allah (SWT).

Things would yet get worse for the Muslims.  Makkans resigned to boycott the Prophet and his entire clan. To enforce this boycott they sent the Prophet (saw), his clan, and followers to a concentration camp where they remained for 3 years. Conditions were dire. Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas describes their condition inside the concentration camp: “I went out one night to relieve myself. Whilst I was urinating I heard the rustling noise coming from where I was urinating: it was a piece of dry camel skin. So I picked it up, washed it and then seared it and put some water on it. (I ate it) and found strength from it to last another three days.” When the boycott was over, the Prophet’s (saw) uncle died, and with that he lost his staunchest supporter. So, he (saw) set out to Al Taif [the second largest city and clan—Thaqeef—after Makkah/ Quraysh] to ask for support. He went with high hopes and expectations but left Taif disappointed. Not only did they reject his message and request for support, but they also lined up their fools and children to pelt the Prophet (saw) out of their city. The Prophet (saw) was heartbroken, indeed Aishah (raa) said: “I asked the Prophet [saw] if he had ever experienced a worse day than Uhud. He answered that he had suffered a lot from those people (the idolaters) but the most painful was on the day of ‘Aqabah. I went seeking support from Ibn ‘Abd Yalil bin ‘Abd Kalal [leader of Taif], but he spurned me . . .” Worse still when he went back to Makkah he had camp outside for three days. He could not enter his own city, or his own home. Leaving Makkah was one thing, returning to it was another. Mut’am ibn Adi, a non Muslim leader with ten sons, offered him protection to enter his own city again.

At the lowest point of the Prophet’s (saw) career came the journey of Al Israa wa Al Mi’raj [Note: The journey to Al Taif was a humbling experience for the Prophet (saw), and he wasted no time in showing humility in front of Allah (SWT) in his famous dua, in which he blamed the fact that Islam was not progressing because of nothing short of his (saw) own faults. If a finger were to be pointed, he (saw) did not hesitate to point it at himself and only himself.  In the midst of such a low state, Allah (SWT) raised him to heights unimaginable in a journey of a lifetime, so as to give him and his Ummah the opportunity take on five daily journeys to Allah (SWT) through Salah –5 daily Mi’raj’s to Allah (SWT) ]. It was an exhilarating experience at a time when airplanes didn’t exist, let alone spacecrafts. The Prophet (saw) reached a station in the heavens even Jibreel (as) didn’t. And behind a curtain of light, our Prophet (saw) spoke to Allah (SWT) directly—no intermediary or interpreter needed.

  1. The five daily prayers

Allah (SWT) prescribed 50 prayers on us until the were finally reduced to 5. In the hadith of Annas:

“. . . Then Allah revealed what He revealed to me. He then made obligatory for me fifty prayers every night and day. I began my descent until I reached Moses who asked me: ‘What has your Lord made obligatory for your community?’ I said to him, ‘Fifty prayers.’ He then said, ‘Return to your Lord and ask Him to reduce them, your community will not be able to bear that. I know the people of Israel from long experience and I have tested them.’ I then returned to my Lord and said, ‘O Lord, make things lighter for my people’. He then reduced it by five prayers for me. I then returned to Moses and he said to me, ‘Your community will not be able to stand that. So return and ask Him to make things lighter.’ I kept going between my Lord and Moses until Allah said, ‘O Muhammad, there are five prayers every night and day. Each prayer is equal to ten prayers making them equal to fifty prayers. Whoever intends a good deed and does not do it, there will be written for him a single good deed. If he does it then there will be written for him ten good deeds. Whoever intends an evil deed and does not do it then there is nothing written against him. If he does it then there is written for him one evil deed.’  I then descended until I reached Moses and informed him of what had occurred. He then said to me, ‘Return to your Lord and ask Him to make things lighter.’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace then said, ‘I have returned to my Lord until I felt ashamed before Him.” [Sahih Muslim]

Musa (as) was a tough man. He grew up in the palace of Pharaoh, and was a general.  He (as) was the only one asked to see Allah (SWT). Are 5 prayers unbearable as Musa (as) says? We believe it, because Musa (as) said it.  It is bearable—it’s a lot but it is possible.

Why five prayers? It’s like going to the gym on a regular basis and carrying weights. With each visit you add more weights and watch as you muscles strengthen, or you lose weight. Likewise, with the 5 prayers a believer grows spiritually stronger.

2. Times o the five daily prayers

 Ibn Abbas narrates, “The angel Jibril led the prophet, to teach him the prayer times. On the first day he prayed all the prayers at the beginning of the respective times and on the second day he delayed the prayers until just before the end of their times for all prayers except maghrib, where he instead prayed it both days at the same time, and then said, ‘…the time of each salah is between these two times.’”  [Tirmidhi]

3. Prayers were two rak’as only:

Aishah (raa_ narrated, “The prayer was prescribed as consisting of two rak’as both when one was resident and traveling. The prayer while traveling was left according to the original prescription, and the prayer of one who was resident was enhanced.” [Abu Dawud]

4. Talking during Salah was allowed—so for instance if someone arrived late for the Salah he could ask the person next to him which rak’a they were on. Zayd ibn Arqam narrated: “We used to talk while engaged in Salah suring the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger, and one would talk with his companions regarding his needs in Salah till this verse was revealed: ‘Guard strictly the Salah especially the middle Salah and stand before Qaniteen [silently with obedience].” [Bukhari and Muslim]

“We used to gives salams to Rasulullah (saw) while he was standing in Salah and he would respond to us. When we came back from being with An-Najashi [in Abyssinia] we would give him salams and he would not respond to us. So we said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah! We used to send salams upon you while you were in Salah and you would respond [why have you stopped]?” And so He (saw) said, “In Salah, one is occupied [i.e. with Quran, dhikr etc.].” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Mu’awiyyah ibn al Hakam said: “I was praying behind the Messenger of Allah and someone in the congregation sneezed. I said [to him]: ‘May Allah have mercy upon you.’ The people then stared at me, showing their disapproval of my act. I said: ‘Woe to me, why do you stare at me so?’ They started to strike their hands on their thighs and when I saw that they wanted me to become silent, I was angered but said nothing. When the Messenger of Allah finished the prayer – and may my father and mother be ransomed for him, I found no teacher better than him either before or after him – he did not scold, beat, or revile me but he simply said: ‘Talking to others is not seemly during the salah, for the salah is for glorifying Allah, extolling His Greatness, and reciting the Qur’an.'” [Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa’i]

Stage Four: 2nd Year after Hijra

5. Quiblah was changed towards Makkah:

Al Bara bin Azib narrated, “ Allah’s Messenger offered his prayers facing Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) for sixteen or seventeen months, but he wished that he could pray facing the Ka`bah (at Makkah). The first prayer which he offered (facing the Ka`bah) was the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer in the company of some people. Then one of those who had offered that prayer with him, went out and passed by some people in a mosque who were in the bowing position (in Ruku`) during their prayers (facing Jerusalem). He addressed them saying, `By Allah, I bear witness that I have offered prayer with the Prophet facing Makkah (Ka`bah).’ Hearing that, those people immediately changed their direction towards the House (Ka`bah) while still as they were (i.e., in the same bowing position). Some Muslims who offered prayer towards the previous Qiblah (Jerusalem) before it was changed towards the House (the Ka`bah in Makkah) had died or had been martyred, and we did not know what to say about them (regarding their prayers towards Jerusalem). Allah then revealed: (And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e., the prayers of those Muslims were valid)) (2:143).” [Bukhari]

What is the significance of the change in direction of the Qiblah?  Many scholars gave their interpretations. Among them is that when Prophet Ibrahim (as) asked Allah (SWT) to make of his offspring Prophets and Messengers, he was granted Ismail and Ishaq (as) Ismail (as) the eldest  was sent down to Makkah today. Ishaq remained in as did his son Jacob (as) from who came the 12 clans of Bani Israel. During their time, they were a great nation by the testimony of Allah (SWT).  But the greatness in the eyes of Allah (SWT) is guaranteed only righteous actions—and not based on blood. After a long legacy, and closer to the time of Prophet Essa (as) they failed to carry on the legacies of the Prophet (as)  and hence were stripped of their title.   They remained Prophet-less for 500 years after Essa, after which Muhammad (saw) was commissioned in Makkah. He was still from the line of Ibrahim (as), so when the Qiblah was changed it was an indication of sealing the deal. The torch now moved from the hand of Bani Israel to the followers of Muhammad (saw).

Savor the Sweetness of Salah in Islam

–          As Muslims we follow in the step of righteous nations before us in Salah

–          We are the only nation today that adheres to the original form of salah. Indeed in the world today, the Salah we perform today is undoubtedly associated with Islam by others.

–          Allah is the most Merciful that he prescribed Salah gradually. We should seek to teach it to our kids in the same manner.

–          Quiyam al Layl is most powerful spiritual retreat, hence Allah (SWT) prescribed it to the early Muslim and consequently they could move mountains.

–          The change of the Qiblah was an indication t0 the significance of this Ummah.

–          We do as little as five prayers but we get rewards for 50—such a lucrative business.

–          May Allah reward  the companions for enduring the hardships of performing Salah when it was the most difficult so that they could establish Salah as we know it today.

Action item:

1)      Try to practice Quiyam al Layl during one of the weekends as long as you can afford.

2)      Repeat that a few times

3)      Write your feelings about how much the Sahaba had to endure during those early times of Islam in regards to establishing Salah.

Examples of different types of Salah:

  1. Fard Salah: the five obligatory Salah;  Friday Salah

  2. Wajib Salah: Eid prayer; witr prayer

  3. Nafl Salah: Rawatib [regular Sunnah that you add to obligatory Salahs]; Tasabih

  4. Congregational Salah: Taraweeh; Istisqa’

  5. Individual Salah: Duha; Shuruq

  6. Prayers performed with no specific sabab [occasion or cause]: Nafl Mutlaq; Qiyam ul Layl

  7. Prayers performed for specific sabab [occasion or cause]: Al Istikharaa; Khusuf and Kusuf.

Savor the Sweetness of the different types of Salah:

1)      As we love variety and freedom of choice, Allah (SWT) gave us various ways of praying to Him.

2)      We ought to fulfill our individual worship, as much as we care about our congregational ones

3)      The individual prayers are no less important than congregational ones.

4)      In the voluntary forms of Salah are those who wish to compete with one another, let them compete.

5)      We have many needs in this life, and Alhamdulilah there are many forms of Salah that we can perform for each need.

6)      What a blessing is the Salah that is performed because of a specific cause. It reminds us to remember Allah (SWT) in all occasions, and consolidates the fact that the lines of communication with our Lord are always open—7 days a week, nights and weekends, holidays included.

We conclude with this hadith:

 It is reported on the authority of Anas b. Malik that he said: “We were forbidden that we should ask anything (without the genuine need) from the Holy Prophet. It, therefore, pleased us that an intelligent person from the dwellers of the desert should come and asked him (the Holy Prophet) and we should listen to it. A man from the dwellers of the desert came (to the Holy Prophet) and said: Muhammad, your messenger came to us and told us your assertion that verily Allah had sent you (as a prophet). He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He told the truth. He (the bedouin) said: Who created the heaven? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Allah. He (the bedouin again) said: Who created the earth? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Allah. He (the bedouin again) said: Who raised these mountains and who created in them whatever is created there? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Allah. Upon this he (the Bedouin) remarked: By Him Who created the heaven and created the earth and raised mountains thereupon, has Allah (in fact) sent you? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. He (the Bedouin) said: Your messenger also told us that five prayers (had been made) obligatory for us during the day and the night. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He told you the truth. He (the bedouin) said: By Him Who sent you, is it Allah Who ordered you about this (i. e. prayers)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. He (the Bedouin) said: Your messenger told us that Zakat had been made obligatory in our riches. He (the Holy Prophet) said. He has told the truth. He (the bedouin) said: By Him Who sent you (as a prophet), is it Allah Who ordered you about it (Zakat)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. He (the Bedouin) said: Your messenger told us that it had been made obligatory for us to fast every year during the month of Ramadan. He (the Holy Prophet) said: He has told the truth. He (the Bedouin) said: By Him Who sent you (as a prophet), is it Allah Who ordered you about it (the fasts of Ramadan)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. He (the Bedouin) said: Your messenger also told us that pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House (of Ka’bah) had been made obligatory for him who is able to undertake the journey to it. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. The narrator said that he (the Bedouin) set off (at the conclusion of this answer, but at the time of his departure) remarked: ‘By Him Who sent you with the Truth, I would neither make any addition to them nor would I diminish anything out of them. Upon this the Holy Prophet remarked: If he were true (to what he said) he must enter Paradise.” [Sahih Muslim]


History of Salah/ prayer [Part 2 Free Friday Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah with Sh. Yasir Birjas] May 17, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 2:37 pm

We can trace the history of Salah as far back as our Father Adam (as), but we aren’t going  that far—but rather back to Prophet Ibrahim (as).

1)       We’re going to back to Prophet Ibrahim (as), who leaves his baby son Ismail (as) and wife Hajer in a barren valley in Makkah in fulfillment of Allah’s (SWT) command so that they may establish regular prayer. Allah (SWT) says:

 “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.” [14:37]

Was his prayer like ours? Was it in Arabic? We know that Ibrahim (as) did not speak Arabic but Aramaic.  Yet, we have indications of his prayer in the Bible:

“And Abraham fell on his face and God talked with him, saying . . .” [Genesis 17:3 and 17:17] Description is of prostration.  Indeed, when priests when promoted to high positions, they perform certain positions.

2)      During the time of Isma’il (as) as expressed in Surat Maryam aya 55 Allah (SWT) described him as establishing prayer:

“He used to enjoin on his people Prayer and Charity, and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.” [19:55]

3)      During the time of Prophets Musa (as) and his brother Harun:

“We inspired Moses and his brother with this Message: “Provide dwellings for your people in Egypt, make your dwellings into places of worship, and establish regular prayers: and give glad tidings to those who believe!” [10:87]

In the Bible:

“And Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped” [Exodus 34:8] which suggests a sequence of actions: looking down, making ruk’u [bowing down] or sujood [prostration].

“And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.” [Number 20:6]. The suggests a congregational prayer.

4)      After Musa (as) and during the time of Bani Israel when Allah (SWT) promises to remain by their side as long as they establish prayer:

“Allah did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we appointed twelve captains among them. And Allah said: “I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity, believe in my messengers, honour and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or rectitude.” [5:12]

From the Bible:

“And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all people answer, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands and they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” [Nehemiah 8:6]

“And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and did worship.” [Joshua 5:14]

“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.” [Chronicle 20:18]

5)      During the time of ‘Essa (as)—Maryam and her son ‘Essa (as) were from Bani Israel, so she has  Jewish legacy and hence was praying as they did. In Surat Al Imra ayah 43 Allah (SWT) says:

“O Mary! worship Thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.” [3:43]

This translation is a rough one of the word “Qunoot” which means “standing for a long time [as long as possible, even hours] in devotion” in Arabic. The ayah also suggests that they used to pray in congregation, in a specific format, like we do today.

And ‘Essa (as), who spoke in the crib and came to continue the message of the Prophets before him, was also commanded to perform Salah [prayer]:

“And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;” [19:31]

In the Bible:

“And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fall on his face and prayed, saying . . .” [Mathew 26:39]

“And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were so afraid.”  [Mathew 17:6]  As we can see, the prayer sounds familiar to us Muslims who prostrate to Allah (SWT).

Note: Isn’t it strange nowadays the Jews and Christians find our prayer strange—if anything it points to the fact that they don’t know much of their own prayer as it appears in their books either intentionally or unintentionally.  Indeed, eastern Christians still maintain many of the same characteristics of prayer as we Muslim know it, and make the claim that it was western Christians and Jews who completely changed the characteristics of prayer in the original sources.

Here are some videos:

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

 Video 4

Question: What did Salah look like pre-dating Islam?

a)      Praying in the House of Allah:

 Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma´il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).” [2:125]

b)      Praying in the Mihraab, a special private/secluded area for clergy to perform acts of worship. Today, the Mihrab is the chamber in from of the Imam. Prophet Zakariyyah (as) received the glad tidings of his son Yahya (as) while he was praying in the ‘Mihraab’.

“While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous.” [3:39]

In the story of Prophet Dawud (as) when the two angels disguised as disputing parties came to ask him to litigate between them:

 “Has the Story of the Disputants reached thee? Behold, they climbed over the wall of the private chamber;” [38:21]

c)      Praying in the house, as when Allah (SWT) of Musa and his brother Harun (as) to make their houses into places of worship and establish prayer:

“We inspired Moses and his brother with this Message: “Provide dwellings for your people in Egypt, make your dwellings into places of worship, and establish regular prayers: and give glad tidings to those who believe!” [10:87]

Today people designate one area of the house as their place of worship.

d)     We learn from the history of Salah that their prayers included standing

e)      Salah included Ruk’u [bowing gown]

f)       Sujood [prostration]:

“Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): ‘Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).’” [22:26]

Only Allah knows if it is the same as we do it today, but we know that they did prostrate.

g)      Congregational prayer:

“O Mary! worship Thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.” [3:43]

h)      Establishing dhikr [remembrance in Salah]. Allah (SWT) commanded Musa (as) to make Salah solely for Him:

“Verily, I am Allah: There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only), and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.” [20:14]

i)        Take shoes off was traditional. Today Muslims can pray with their shows on if they like, except in places of worship:

 “Verily I am thy Lord! therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa.” [20:12]

Savor the sweetness of the history of Salah:

  • Muslims were not the first or only people who performed Salah, rather they are carrying and continuing its legacy.

  • Actions of Salah are universal, not exclusively Islamic. Salah is a how one humbles oneself to Allah.

  • Actions of Salah suggest and represent humility, humbleness, and a sign of devotion.

  • Some Salah related rituals might be different from what we do today.

Action item:

–          Start a dialog with a non-Muslim friend over the concept of Salah or prayers

–          Discuss with them the meaning and actual format of Salah.

–          See how much do they know about the Salah of their Prophets.

Suggested reading: Philip Jenkins The Lost History of Christianity