The Superiority of Salah

Date: 5th December 2014; 11th Safar 1436

Allah has clearly mentioned to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was sent as a blessing for the whole Universe. It is mentioned in the Quran:

And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayah 107 (21:107) Translation: Muhsin Khan

And to His most favourite Prophet, Allah has given his Ummah His greatest honour which is the Salah.

Throughout the Holy Quran, Allah has commanded us and advised us based on several issues. These commands may up to around five hundred ayahs, teaching us several etiquettes. For example like speaking the truth, maintain modesty, avoid sin, promote goodness, give charity, restrain from adultery, observe Ramadan, perform Hajj, etc. Allah sent Angel Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) for all the necessary revelations. Like when fasting during Ramadan was made Farz on Muslim Ummah or giving Zakah was made obligatory. But for one special duty Allah called upon Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and made him travel all the way where no man, angel nor any jinn travelled. Salah was prescribed for the Ummahs of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and this was never prescribed on any other Ummahs of any other Prophets. So we are in fact the blessed nations among all mankind to be a part of his Ummah.

Salah was formalised during the Miraj where the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and Allah (Subḥānahu Wa Ta’Ala) had a conversation among themselves. This was indeed the greatest moment of Islamic history.

One Hadith says:

Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The closest that a servant is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.”

Reference: Sahih Muslim

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) loved his Ummah so much that when Allah appointed fifty prayers per day for his Ummah, he reduced it to only five. A section of a larger Hadith mentions:

It is narrated on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (Radi Allahu Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: …Then Allah revealed to me a revelation and He made obligatory for me fifty prayers every day and night. Then I went down to Moses (peace be upon him) and he said: What has your Lord enjoined upon your Ummah? I said: Fifty prayers. He said: Return to thy Lord and beg for reduction (in the number of prayers), for your community shall not be able to bear this burden as I have put to test the children of Isra’il and tried them (and found them too weak to bear such a heavy burden). He (the Holy Prophet) said: I went back to my Lord and said: My Lord, make things lighter for my Ummah. (The Lord) reduced five prayers for me. I went down to Moses and said: (The Lord) reduced five (prayers) for me, He said: Verily thy Ummah shall not be able to bear this burden; return to thy Lord and ask Him to make things lighter. I then kept going back and forth between my Lord Blessed and Exalted and Moses, till He said: There are five prayers every day and night. O Muhammad, each being credited as ten, so that makes fifty prayers. He who intends to do a good deed and does not do it will have a good deed recorded for him; and if he does it, it will be recorded for him as ten; whereas he who intends to do an evil deed and does not do, it will not be recorded for him; and if he does it, only one evil deed will be recorded. I then came down and when I came to Moses and informed him, he said: Go back to thy Lord and ask Him to make things lighter. Upon this the Messenger of Allah remarked: I returned to my Lord until I felt ashamed before Him.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Hadith Number 0309. Chapter: Night journey of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to Heaven and the prayer made obligatory.

Allah has given us blessing ten times for every good deeds. This was done to promote goodness inside us.

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu), The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Whoever sends one Salah upon me, Allah will send ten upon him.”

References: Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami at-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Nasa’i

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at the time of his death, did not ask the Sahabis to take care of his sole bloodline, Fatimah (Radi Allahu Anha). He did not ask the Sahabis to take care of Hasan and Hussain (Radi Allahu Anhum), who were to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) flowers in the world. Instead he was more concerned about his Ummah as a whole and also worried over our Salah. Hadith says:

Umm Salamah (Radi Allahu Anha) said: “The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said during his death-sickness: “Guard your prayers and watch over what your right hands possess.” He continued to repeat these words until he was unable to talk.”

Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah

Commenting on this Hadith, As-Sindi (Rahmatullah Allaih), said: “The words “Guard your prayers” mean maintain them, take care of them and do not be negligent of them. “What your right hands possess” means pay the due Zakah on the wealth that you possess. It could also refer to the rights of servants and the kind treatment that is due to them, as this terminology is commonly used in the Quran. “Until he was unable to talk” means that he kept on repeating these words until he was so ill that it could not be understood if he was saying it or not.”

Such a Prophet we were fortunate enough to receive but how unfortunate to see people abandoning their Salah continuously without care.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (Radi Allahu Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The first thing among their deeds for which the people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be prayer. Our Lord will say to His angels, although He knows best, ‘Look at My slave’s prayer, is it complete or lacking?’ If it is complete, it will be recorded as complete, but if it is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether my slave did any voluntary (nafl) prayers.’ If he had done voluntary prayers, He will say, ‘Complete the obligatory prayers of My slave from his voluntary prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be examined in a similar manner.”

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 864; Classed as Sahih by Shaykh al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 770.

On the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As (Radi Allahu Anhu) that one day the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) spoke to his Sahaba about Salah and said:”Whoever observes it regularly, it will be a source of light, authoritative proof and a means of salvation to him on the Day of Resurrection, and whosoever does not observe it regularly, it will not be a source of light, authoritative proof and a means of salvation to him on the Day of Resurrection and on that day he will join the company of Pharaoh, Haman, Qarun (Korah) and Ubay ibn Khalaf.”

References: “Musnad” of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih) with a good Isnad (chain of narrators). Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 169; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on heart-softening narrations, no. 2721.

When we pray, we actually converse with our Lord, so this needs to be taken seriously because it is a matter between us and our Creator.

One Hadith says:

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) reported that Allah Almighty says: “When my slave says in his prayer: ‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds,’ I say: ‘My slave has praised Me’ When he says: ‘The Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgment,’ I say: ‘My slave has glorified Me.’ When he says: ‘You Alone we worship and your Aid we seek,’ I say: ‘This is between Me and My slave.’ When he  says: ‘Show us the Straight Path,’ I say: ‘This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants.”‘

Reference: Sahih Muslim

Allah promises us to guide us as long as we guard our Salah. All the parts of our body needs to focus when we read Salah.

When we stand to pray we need to stand straight in a row. This is one of the most important etiquettes when performing Salah. Hadith says:

It was narrated that Anas bin Malik (Radi Allahu Anhu) said: Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Make your rows straight, for straightening the rows is a part of completing the prayer.”

References: Sunan Abu Dawood, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Ibn Majah

When performing a Sujood or Ruku, there are plenty of us who tend to stick their arms to the sides of the body. Furthermore, many of us also stick our belly to the thighs in Sujood. Hadiths say:

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: ‘Let not one of you support himself on his forearms (in Sujood) like the dog. Let him rest on his palms and keep his elbows away from his body.’

Reference: Sahih Muslim

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to keep his arms away from his body during Ruku and Sujood that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen.

References: Sahih Muslim

When we prostrate, seven parts of our body needs to touch the ground. Hadith says:

Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu), that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “I have been commanded to prostrate on seven bones: the forehead – and he pointed to his nose – the hands, the feet and the ends of the feet (i.e., toes).”

References: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 812 & Sahih Muslim, Hadith 490

According to the Hanafi Fiqh, the correct view is to lie down on the knees placing them on the ground at first then the hands and forehead. This is what corresponds to the Shari`ah. When one rises up, one is to raise their face, then the hands and then stands up which is the legal way that agrees with the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

When we sit for Tashahhud, the sitting position at the end of the second, third or fourth rakah (depending on the type of Salah) needs to be uniform as in the Iftirash position.

The Hanafis state that the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), for the greater part of his life, sat in the iftirash position for all sittings [qa‘da] of his prayer, and Imam Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah Allaih) has stated it to be the practice of the majority of scholars. Hadith states:

Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) stated in his narration: It is a Sunnah of prayer that you keep your right foot standing and fold the left one.

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 1:114

During Tashahhud, the forefinger should be raised while reciting ‘Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah and should be lowered while reciting ‘ill-Allaah ’. The Hanafis say that the finger should be raised when saying “Laa (no)” in the phrase “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah)” and it should be lowered when saying, “ill-Allaah (except Allaah).”

Reference: Sunan Bayhaqi Vol 2, p132, Musnad Ahmad Vol 2, p119

In Shaykh Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias’s Taleemud-Deen, under the Sunnats of Salah its written:

  • To turn the face first to the right then to the left when making salaam.
  • For the Imaam to make intention for all the people following him, the angels and the pious jinn.
  • For the person following the Imaa to include the Imam in his intention whenever he is standing. If he is directly behind the Imam he should include him in both the salams together with the people, angels and the pious jinn.
  • For a Munfarid (one performing Salaat alone) to only intend for the angels in his salam.
  • To say the second salam in a softer tone than the first.
  • The salam of the Muqtadi (follower) and the Imam should be simultaneous, (not after it).
  • To begin the salaam from the right side.

After completing Salah, we can go for a lot of Dhikrs and Duas which will increase our blessings.

One Hadith states:

Thauban (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) concluded his prayer, he would beg forgiveness from Allah thrice and then would recite:

“Allahumma Antas- Salamu, wa minkas-salamu, tabarakta ya Dhal-Jalali wal-Ikram

Translation: “O Allah, You are the Grantor of security, and security comes from You. You are Blessing, O You Who have majesty and nobility!”

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Book 16, Hadith 8

Another Hadith states that:

On the authority of Warrad, the freed slave of Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah, it is reported that he said: Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah recited to me from a letter to Mu’awiyah: “The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to say, at the end of every obligatory prayer:

‘La ilaha illallahu wahdau la shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shay’ in Qadir. Allahumma, la mani’a lima a’ataita, wa la mu’tiya lima mana’ta, wa la yanfa’u thal-jaddi minkal-jadd.’

Translation: ‘None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, Alone, without partners. His is the Dominion and all praise is due to Him and He is Able to do all things. O Allah! There is none who can deny what You have given. And there is none who can give what You deny. And no fortune can benefit its owner against you’”

References: Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith 844 and Sahih Muslim Hadith 593

Reciting Ayatul-Kursi regularly after every prescribed prayers have an immense reward.

Hadith states:

Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The one who recites it after each of the obligatory prayers, then death will be the only thing preventing him from entering Paradise.”

Reference:Ibn Hibban. This Hadith has been graded Sahih.

Additional amls include:

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: Recite Surah al-Ikhlas and two last Surahs of the Qur’an, in the morning and evening three times, and it will suffice you for everything .

References: Sunan Abu Dawood and Jami at-Tirmidhi

Ma’qal ibn Yasser (Radi Allahu Anhu) reports the the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as saying; “He who recited the last three verses of surah al-Hashr in the morning after saying; “A’oodhu Billaah is-samee’ il-‘aleemi min as-Shaytaan ir-rajeem ” three times (I seek refuge with Allaah, the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, from the accursed Shaytaan) for him Allah will appoint seventy-thousand angels to beseech mercy for him until the evening, and if he dies the same day he will be given the status of a martyr, and if he recites the verses in the evening the same will be done for him till morning”

References and Note: Imam Tirmidhi (2922) said: “This narration is strange, and we do not know any other route except this.” It was also reported in Musnad of Imam Ahmad (19795), al-Darimi (2/458), al-Baghawi in his Tafsir (7/309) and graded as “Da’eef” by Shaykh al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih), Al-Dhahabi (Rahmatullah Allaih) in ‘Mizan al-‘Itidal’ (1/632) said the Hadith is ‘Gharib Jiddan’, very strange. It needs to be highlighted that if someone happens to read these verses during those specified times without believing it to be part of the sunnah or carrying extra merit it would be permissible. The discouragement lies in thinking that this particular action carries merit that is authentically established by the Sha’riah.

Ka`b bin `Ujrah (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “There are some words, the reciters of which will never be disappointed. These are: Tasbih [saying `Subhan-Allah’ (Allah is free from imperfection)], thirty-three times, Tahmid [saying `Al-hamdu lillah’ (praise be to Allah)] thirty-three times and Takbir [saying `Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is Greatest)] thirty-four times; and these should be recited after the conclusion of every prescribed prayer.”

Reference: Sahih Muslim

Reported by Abu Hurayrah (Radi Allahu Anhu) from the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): “Whoever glorifies Allah (says Subhan Allah) thirty-three times immediately after each prayer, and praises Allah (says Al-hamdu Lillah) thirty-three times, and magnifies Allaah (says Allaahu akbar) thirty-three times, this makes ninety-nine, then to complete one hundred says:

‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer’

Translation: ‘There is no god except Allaah Alone, with no partner, His is the power and His is the praise, and He is Able to do all things’

– his sins will be forgiven even if they are like the foam of the sea.”

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 939

All these alms should be practised by all of us, we may not be able to practise them all but we should know that everything we do in life should bear the intention of pleasing our Lord.

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