DESCRIPTION OF THE SALAT (PRAYER).


DESCRIPTION OF THE SALAT (PRAYER).

 

HOW DOES A MUSLIM EXECUTE THE FAJR PRAYER IN GROUP IN THE MASJID (MOSQUE).

 

   The FAJR prayer is the first of the compulsory prayers in a day and night . We are going to explain its obligations and its prophetic traditions .

 

The time of this prayer starts when a light rises at the sky horizontally not vertically . Its time lasts until the usual sunrise . We can depend on the prayer schedule to know the beginning and end of each prayer .

 

When it is due time for the fajr prayer , the mo'adhin (caller for prayer) calls for the fajr prayer , raising his voice with these words :

 

''Allaho Akbar , Allaho akbar'' (God is Greatest . God is Greatest) .

 

''Ashhado an la ilaha illa Allah , Ashhado an la ilaha illa Allah'' (I bear witness that there is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah . I bear witness that there is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah.

 

''Ashhado Anna Mohammadan rasoulo Allah , Ashhado Anna Mohammadan rasoulo Allah''(I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger.I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger.)

 

''Hayya ala Assalat , Hayya ala assalat''(Come to the prayer, Come to the prayer.)

 

''Hayya ala 'lfalah , Hayya ala 'lfalah ''(Come to success , Come to success) .

 

''Assalato khayron mina annawm , assalato khayron mina annawm''(Prayer is better than sleep . Prayer is better than sleep)

 

''Allaho Akbar , Allaho akbar''(God is Greatest . God is Greatest) .

 

''La ilaha illa Allah''(There is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah.)

 

   When the Muslims hear the adhan (the call for prayer) , they must leave their works and go to accomplish the salat in the mosque so that Allah praises them in the Qur'an when He says :'' [36 Such niches are] in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings . 37 [Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about -38 That Allah may reward them [according to] the best of what they did and increase them from His bounty. And Allah gives provision to whom He wills without account '' (Annour).

 

When a Muslim goes for prayer , he should wear suitable clothes , and if he could use some perfume , it would be better . A lot of scholars say that if a Muslim gets into the mosque and the compulsory salat hasn't yet started , he shouldn't sit down until he accomplishes two rak'as called ''mosque greeting'' . For the prayer of the FAJR , these two rak'as are at the same time ''sunna of the fajr '' ( prophetic tradition of the fajr ) that the prophet peace be upon him used to do even if he were in travel .

 

Muslims wait for each other in the mosque . While waiting , some of them recite some of the Qur'an , others make some invocations , other ones remember Allah , still others wait silently for the group to increase . In all the cases , the angels make invocation s for those who are waiting for the salat to begin .

 

After that , the mo'adhin (caller for prayer) calls for the prayer in a quicker way than the adhan . He says these words :

Allah is Greatest, Allah is Greatest.

I bear witness that there is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger.

Come to the prayer, come to success.

Prayer is to begin, prayer is to begin.

Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest.

There is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah

 

   Muslims stand in a straight row side to side facing the Qibla in Makkah . The row must be straight , no one should be a step ahead . They all stand side by side , and shoulder next to the other on the right and on the left . Also the feet should be one next to the other without a gap between them . The row should be totally complete before starting another one . If a row is not complete , a Muslim should not go back and start another row , he should complete the unfinished one .

 

The imam stands alone in the middle before the first row facing the Qibla . He puts before him anything which is about twenty five centimeters high ; it is called ''the sutra'' (barrier) , or he should stand in front of a wall so that nobody walks between him and the barrier and make him lose his concentration . The people behind the imam do not need to put a barrier in front of them because the imam is considered a barrier for them .

 

The imam says : ALLAHO AKBAR (God is Greatest) . He raises his hands near his shoulders and ears while he is raising his voice with the takbyr which is called : ''Takbyrato Al Ihram'' . When the imam says : ''Allaho Akbar'' , the people behind him raise their hands and say the same but with a low voice .

 

The imam puts his right hand on the left wrist and forearm . A lot of scholars say that the person in prayer can put his hands on his chest or lower than that . The people behind the imam put their hands like him , and they look at the place of their prostration .

 

The imam and the people behind him recite some invocations silently saying : Sobhanaka Allahomma wa bihamdika , wa tabaraka ismoka , wa taala jaddoka , wa la Ilaha ghayrok '' which mean :''O God , Glory be to you , and Praise be to You . Blessed be Your Name , High be Your Power , There's no god except You'' . Any one who says these words will be rewarded , but if he doesn't say them , it is alright .

 

There are other invocations like :

1- ''Allaho Akbar Kabyran , wa alhamdo lillahi kathyran , wa sobhana Allahi bokratan wa Asylan '' which mean : (God is really Great , Much praise be to God , Glory be to God morning and evening )

2- Alhamdo lillahi hamdan , kathyran , tayyiban , mobarakan fyh . which mean : (Praise be to Allah , a praise which is abundant , good and blessed)

3- Etc...

 

It is recommended that the worshiper changes the invocations so that he applies the prophetic tradition and because it is motivating to vary the invocations . So if there are many invocations for a certain position , it would be better to vary them as the prophet peace be upon him did . The worshiper may repeat only one invocation all his life if he likes .

 

The worshipers listen carefully to the imam recitation .

 

The imam starts his recitation by saying :''A'udho billahi mina achaytani ar Rajym'' (I take refuge in Allah from the cursed Satan) , then he says :''Bismi Allahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahym'' (In the name of Allah , the Clement and the Most Mercifyl) . A lot of scholars say that the Ta'awudh and basmalah , are pronounced by the imam in a very low voice without raising his voice . Then he raises his voice when he recites the Fatiha , which is : ''2 Alhamdo lillahi rabbi al'alamyn , 3 arrahmani arrahym , 4 maliki yawmi addyn . 5 Iyyaka naabodo wa Iyyaka nasta'yn . 6 Ihdina assirata almostqym . 7 Sirata alldhyna An'amta 'alayhim ghayri almaghdoubi alayhim wala addallyn .'' :(1 In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.( 2 ) [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds -( 3 )The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,( 4 ) Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.( 5 ) It is You we worship and You we ask for help.( 6 ) Guide us to the straight path -( 7 ) The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray . When the imam says ''Wala addallyn'', people behind say with a loud voice :''Amyn'' (amen) , which means accept our prayer .

 

A lot of scholars say that the people behind the imam when they say ''Amyn'' , they should recite the fatiha with a very low voice even if the imam starts reciting the next chapter .

 

When the imam finishes reciting the fatiha , he starts reciting some of the Qur'an . The Fajr salat is the one , among the five ones , where the imam recites longest . But he shouldn't make it so long to such extent that people give up coming to the group salat in the mosque , because among the people are the old , the weak , the one who has no time . Also he shouldn't make it so short like a crow who pecks the grains with its beak . It should be a length agreed upon by wise people .

 

When the imam finishes reciting , he says ''Allaho Akbar'' (God is Greatest) , then he bows . The optimum is to bend correctly (not to raise nor to lower the back or the head ) . He holds his knees with his hands for sometime until he is quiet , then he says :'' Sobhana Rabby Al Athym'' ( Glory be to my God , the Great) . He may repeat it three times if he likes , or he may repeat it as much as he wishes without being too long for the worshipers .

 

There are other invocations for the kneeling , such as : ''Sobhanaka allahomma rabbana wa bihamdika . Allahomma ghfir ly'' (Glkory be to You O Our Lord . O lord , forgive me)

 

The worshipers behind him do the same ; they bow and glorify God . They always follow the imam ; they never precede him or do the action at the same time with him in the kneeling , prostration , standing or sitting . They must do the action after him .

 

The imam raises his head from bowing until he stands completely and each bone comes back to its place , then he says :''Sami'a allaho liman hamidah'' (God hears those who praise Him) . All the worshipers raise their heads like the imam and say :''Rabbana laka alhamd'' (O God ! Glory be to You) . If anyone wants to add some of the accredited dhikr, he can , but he shouldn't stay longer while the imam is changing from one situation to another in the salat .

 

The imam prostrates saying :''Allaho Akbar'' (God is Greatest) . He prostrates on his seven bones which are : (the feet , the knees , the hands , and the forehead and the nose) . He shouldn't put his forearms on the floor as a dog does when it sits with its arm on the floor . He should separate his parts from each other in a normal way (his forearms from his arms , and his arms from his body) , and he puts his hands on the floor near his ears and shoulders .

 

He says in his prostration :''Sobhana rabbiya al'aala'' (Glory be to My Most High God). , then he asks whatever he wants . The best invocations are those said by the prophet peace be upon him , such as :"O God ! Forgive all my sins , the smallest and the biggest , the first and the last''. The worshipers do the same as their imam ; they prostrate on their seven bones , and separate their parts from each other on condition not to hurt each other . On the contrary , they should be supple and soft to each other . They say in their prostration : ''Sobhana rabbiya al'aala'' (Glory be to My Most High God). , then they ask whatever they want .

 

The imam raises his head from prostration and says : ''Allaho Akbar'' . He sits on his left foot and dresses his right foot upright towards the Qibla . This sitting is called :''the sitting between the prostrations''. He puts his hands on his knees near his thighs . Then he says : ''Rabbi ghfir ly , Rabbi ghfir ly'' (Forgive me , My Lord . Forgive me My Lord!). The worshipers do the same ; they raise their heads from prostration with takbyr , they sit , and say the same words .

 

The imam prostrates another time saying :''Allaho Akbar'' (God is Greatest) . He does in his second prostration what he did in the first one . The worshipers do the same .

 

The imam raises his head from the second prostration saying : ''Allaho Akbar '' (God is Greatest ) , and he stands on his feet , ready for the second rak'aa in which he will do exactly the same as what he did in the first , but it is a little shorter . The worshipers behind him stand up from their prostration for the second rak'aa and do the same as the first one .

 

   When the imam finishes the second rak'aa , as he straightens from the second prostration saying : ''Allaho Akbar'' (God is Greatest) , he doesn't stand up on his feet , he sits the final sitting which is called ''witness sitting'' ; he sits as he sat in between the two prostrations . He recites the ''Tahiyyat'' (the greetings) silently . He says : ''Attahiyyato lillah , wa ssalawato attayyibat'' (Greetings are to God , and so are prayers and the good things ) . ''Assalamo Alayka Ayyoha annabiyo wa rahmato Allahi , wa barakatoh'' (Greetings are to you O prophet and so are God's mercy and blessings ) . ''Assalamo alayna wa ala ibadi allahi assalihyn'' (Peace be on us and on the good ones of God's servants) . Then he points with the forefinger saying :''Ash-hado Anna la ilaha illa Allah , wa Ash-hado anna Mohammadan abdoho wa rasouloh" (I testify that there is no god except Allah , and I testify that Mohammad is His servant and messenger ). Then he recites the Ibrahim's prayer saying : ''Allahomma salli ala Mohammadin wa ala ali Mohammad kama sallayta ala Ibrahim wa ala ali Ibrahim'' ( O god ! Pray upon Mohammad and upon Mohammad's family as You prayed upon Ibrahim and Ibrahim's family) '' Innaka hamydon majyd'' (You are Praiseworthy and Glorious). ''Allahomma barik ala Mohammadin wa ala ali Mohammad kama barakta ala Ibrahim wa ala ali Ibrahim'' ( And bless Mohammad and Mohammad's family as You blessed Ibrahim and Ibrahim's family) . '' Innaka hamydon majyd'' (You are Praiseworthy and Glorious). Then he makes as many invocations as he likes . The best invocations are those recited by the prophet peace be upon him , such as :

 

1 - O Allah ! I take refuge in You from the torment of the grave , the torment of Hellfire , from the trial of life and death and from the trial of the Masyh Ad-Dajjal (charlatan)

 

2 – O Allah ! Help me to remember You , to Thank You , and to worship You very well .

 

3 – O Allah ! I have done a lot of wrong to myself , and no one forgives the sin but You . Allow me a Mercy from You and forgive me ; You are the Forgiving , the Merciful .

 

4 - Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.

 

5 - ....etc .

 

He chooses what invocations he likes , but there is no problem if he doesn't do any invocation .

 

The worshipers behind him do the same like him ; they sit when he sits , when he recites the ''Tahiyyat'' they recite it , when he prays on the prophet they do the same and then they ask God whatever they like .

 

Then the imam turns his face completely to the right and he says : ''As Salamo alaykom wa rahmato allah'' (May peace and God's Mercy be upon you ) , then he turns with his face completely to the left and says : ''As Salamo alaykom wa rahmato allah'' (May peace and God's Mercy be upon you ) .

 

The worshippers behind him do the same ; they pronounce the peace on the right and on the left .

 

Thus their prayer is finished , praise be to Allah . The People who want to remember Allah and recite the post prayer invocations can do it , the others who want to leave immediately after the prayer are free to leave right after pronouncing the ''salam'' (peace)

P.S.

   The group prayer is not compulsory for women , but if they come for group prayer with the Moslems , they must be free from menstruation , purified with ablutions , not doing any perfume . A lot of scholars say that worshipping women should wear clothes that cover all their bodies except the face , the hands and feet . But if there were men , strangers , women should cover everything .

 

Women should stand in a row at the back of the mosque . The farther they are from men , the better it is . The best women rows are the back ones , and the worst ones are those in the front . As for men , their worst rows are in the back and the best rows are in the front .

 

Women pray exactly like men ; they do all the prayer positions . They neither squat nor cross their legs , nor differ from men except that they lower their voices when they say :''amen''





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