The Basics Before Starting the Salah

Date: 21th November 2014; 27th Muharram 1436

After two days In Shaa Allah, the month of Muharram will end. This is one of the sacred months for the Muslim Ummah. For that, we need to increase our amount of amls. It was proven from the Prophet (saw.) that the best fasting after Ramadan is fasting in the month of Muharram. Hadith says:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (rah.) said: The Messenger of Allah (saw.) said: “The best fasting after Ramadan is the month of Allah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.”

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1163.

As a result, we are expected to increase our good deeds and also forbid evil for the remaining time of this month. The main discussion about this week’s sermon will be the basic rulings we should follow when performing Salah.

After a person has gained Imaan, he must perform Salah. This is one Ibadah, a Muslim can never abandon. Allah took Prophet Muhammad (saw.) on his night’s journey on mirage so as to tell him about the importance of Salah. So we need to understand the true importance of Salah. Prophet (saw.) traveled across the seven heavens, he crossed the Sidratul Muntahar so as to receive Allah’s command of performing Salah five times per day. But the question lies how can we reap the benefit of our Salah. Our knowledge needs to be perfect if we wish to get our Salah accepted by Allah (swt.).

Performing Salah correctly has its immense reward. Hadith states that:

Hazrat Zaid bin Khalid Johani (rah.) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (saw.) said: “Whoever offers two rakats of prayer and makes no mistakes, then whatever his previous sins, they will be forgiven (minor sins).”

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (r.)

The minor sins get erased if we perform Salah correctly but the Kabira ones only get erased if we do Tawbah. A person needs to hasten to make repentance because any time he make die and person must not die with his major sins unforgiven.

First rule of a Muslim is to perform Salah when the waqt comes and one should make sure to pray in congregation. Hadith states:

The Prophet Muhammad said, “Three matters should not be delayed: Salat when its time comes, burial when the funeral has arrived, and the marriage of a single woman when a man of equal status has proposed.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi

Secondly, a person must and this is a must perform either wudu or ghusl based on his state of impurity. This Hadith notes down the importance of performing a proper wudu:

Narrated Muhammad Ibn Ziyad (rah.): I heard Abu Huraira (rah.) saying as he passed by us while the people were performing ablution from a utensil containing water, “Perform ablution perfectly and thoroughly for Abul-Qasim (the Prophet) said, ‘Save your heels from the Hell-fire.'”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari Book 4, Hadith 166

When a person is subjected to a major impurity, he should perform ghusl. There are three farz of ghusl:

There are three fards in Ghusl.

1) To wash mouth with water as it should reach all the parts internally. From lips to the base of throat. If not fasting gargle. If there is anything stuck in between teeth; it should be removed before Ghusl or the Ghusl will not be completed.

2) To wash inside of nose with water. Water should be pulled hard enough all the way to the soft part of the base of nose. If there is any dry phlegm inside the nose it must be cleaned and if a the nose is pierced water should be forced into the hole or the Ghusl will not be completed.

3) To wash the body once from head till the bottom of feet. The water must pour over body. Every strand (hair) and skin of the body must get wet. Even if a single strand or a small portion of skin is not washed the Ghusl will not be completed.

Thirdly, the thing which we all should be aware of is to wear proper clean clothes while performing Salah. The Quran says:

O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of ) the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).

Surah Al-A’raf, Ayah 31 (7:31) Translation: Muhsin Khan

One Hadith states that:

The Prophet Muhammad (saw.) said: Wear your best clothes for Salat. Allahu ta’ala is the worthiest of those for whom one adorns oneself.

Reference: Bayhaqi

For men, the dress code must include these criterias:

  1. The dress for the men should be such that it covers from the navel to the knees at least.
  2. The shoulders should not be left uncovered.
  3. Salat can be prayed if one garment of it covers the body from the knees as well as the shoulders.

The Prophet Muhammad (saw.) said: “None of you must pray in a single garment of which no part comes over the shoulder:”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim

If, however, the garment is not long enough to cover the shoulders then parts of the body between the navel and the knees should at least be covered

The dress of the woman should be such that it covers her whole body, from head to feet leaving only the face and the hands uncovered. Prayer offered in transparent clothing is not valid. Also tight fitting clothing which shows the shape of the body should be avoided.

One important issue which needs to be discussed is about the shorts which is popular among young men. A man must cover himself from the navel to the knees, failure to do so will result in Kabira sin.

If one does not follow the proper dress code during Salah, his/her Salah will not be accepted.

Wearing full sleeved clothing is highly recommended among the men, nowadays we see that males tend to wear short sleeved clothing and come to the masjid. This has been termed as Makruh by the Ulamas. For women only the face and palms are allowed to be disclosed, other parts of the body should be covered while performing Salah. Sometimes we see women wearing sari and performing Salah, if that sari permits the visibility of the shape of her body, her Salah will not be accepted by Allah.

Another important issue is that one should never perform Salah before the waqt. Allah says in the Quran:

Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 103 (4:103)

As far as praying on board means of transportation is concerned, then it is possible to pray there so long as the necessary conditions of prayer are fulfilled, or else one can wait until one gets out of the vehicle. If waiting means that the time for the prayer will pass, then you should pray in the best way that you can. Let us assume, for example, that you are in a car or train where there is no place to pray, you cannot stop and pray at the side of the road, and the time for that prayer is running out. In such a situation, the Muslim should pray in the best way that he can, even if he is sitting in his seat and even if he is not facing the Qiblah.

An exception to be above is naafil (supererogatory) prayers offered when riding a camel, which is permissible even if one cannot get down or if one is not facing the qiblah. This is known from the report of Ibn ‘Umar (rah.). The Hadith goes like this:

Narrated by Ibn Umar (rah.), who said: “The Prophet (saw.) used to pray when travelling on his camel, no matter which direction it was facing, and he would gesture with his head to indicate the movements of the night prayer, apart from the obligatory prayers, and he would pray witr on his camel too.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 945

The first most important thing in Salah is the intention or the Niyah. Now, what mistake people do before performing Salah is that they go on reciting the duas of “Nawayatu Aan…” which is in fact not required. The Niyah, comes from the heart.  We make Niyyah right at the time when we leave for the Masjid for Salah and it is really not necessary for us to make any special dua to specify to Allah that we are about to begin our Salah. However, it is best to keep in mind which kind of Salah we are praying, in all of the waqts- Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha, we must must which Salah we are intending to pray, that is a part of the Niyah. Our Niyah must be more of a spiritual kind than vocal so it is ideal to go straight to Salah when we intend to pray. After making the Niyah, upon the recitation of Takbeer-e-Tahreema (Allahu-Akbar) we begin our Salah. Suppose the Masbooq (Latecomers in Salah) comes right at the time of the ruku, they must perform the Takbeer-e-Tahreema and then recite Allahu-Akbar once more before going to ruku.

Regarding the fact when we aim to pray while sitting, one should note that sometimes, if we just be more determined than of course we can pray by standing. For those who are unable to stand out of illness do have the permission to stand. It is mentioned in one Hadith:

Narrated by Imran Ibn Husayn (rah.) who said: I had haemorrhoids, and I asked the Prophet (saw.) about praying. He said: “Pray standing; if you cannot, then sitting; and if you cannot, then lying on your side.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 1050

No matter what happens, each and every one of us must never abandon Salah.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab have mentioned: “Hold on to your salah, because if you lose that, you will lose everything else.”

I (the Imam) would like to end the Khutbah with this message. When a child turns seven he/she should be trained into performing Salah. That way the child will always be dutiful to Allah and also the parents will attain success in raising that child. One Hadith says:

Sabrah bin Ma`bad Al-Juhani (rah.) reported, Messenger of Allah (saw.) said: “Teach a boy Salah (the prayer) when he attains the age of seven years, and punish him (if he does not offer it) at ten.”

References: Sunan Abu Dawud & Jami At-Tirmidhi

Furthermore, Prayers for forgiveness offered by both sons and daughters of the deceased bring great benefits.

The Prophet (saw.) said: “A man’s status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask, ‘How did I get here?’ He will be told, ‘By your son’s duas (prayers) for forgiveness for you.”

References: Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 3660 & Sahih al-Jami, Hadith 1617

Any parent’s or guardian’s duty is to teach a child our beautiful Deen. That will ensure that the child will learn proper at the early age and will never go astray. May Allah grant us with righteous children, Ameen.


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May Allah reward us for our dedication towards Islam, Ameen. Let’s all be a part of a well-refined Muslim Ummah!

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