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Salah (Arabic: صلاة ṣalāh or ṣalāt; pl. صلوات ṣalawāt) is the practice of formal worship in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Shiʿi Islam and of the seven pillars of Mustaʿlī Ismailis. Salah is a ritual worship, having prescribed conditions, a prescribed procedure, and prescribed times. Some of them are obligatory, with a few dispensations for those for whom it would be difficult. For those whom it is physically difficult they can perform Salah in a way suitable for them. To perform valid Salah, Muslims must be in a state of ritual purity, which is mainly achieved by ritual ablution, (wuḍūʾ), according to prescribed procedures.
Salah consists of the repetition of a unit called a rakʿah (pl. rakaʿāt) consisting of prescribed actions and words. The number of obligatory (fard) rakaʿāt varies from two to four according to the time of day or other circumstances (such as Friday congregational worship, which has two rakaʿāt). The minimal, obligatory rakaʿāt may be supplemented with acts that are optional but are considered meritorious.
For Muslims of the Sunni and Ismaili Mustaʿlī persuasions, obligatory salah is prescribed at five periods of the day. These are measured according to the movement of the sun. These are: near dawn (fajr), after midday has passed and the sun starts to tilt downwards / Noon (dhuhr or ẓuhr), in the afternoon (asr), just after sunset (maghrib) and around nightfall ('isha'). Under some circumstances ritual worship can be shortened or combined (according to prescribed procedures). In case a ritual worship is not performed at the right time, it must be performed later. Muslim doctrine permits ẓuhr (ظهر, "noon") and ʿaṣr (عصر, "afternoon") prayers to be performed in succession.
"Salah" (ṣalāh)is an Arabic word whose basic meaning is "bowing, homage, worship. prayer". In its English usage the reference of the word is almost always confined to the Muslim formal, obligatory worship described in this article.
Translating salah as "prayer" is not usually considered precise enough, as "prayer" can indicate several different ways of relating to God; personal prayer or supplicatuon is called duʿāʾ (literally "call") in Islamic usage.
Muslims themselves use several terms to refer to salah depending on their language or culture. In many parts of the world, including many non-Arab countries such as Indonesia, the Arabic term salah is used. The other major term is the Persian word namāz (نماز), used by speakers of the Indo-Iranian languages (e.g., Persian) Turkish and Bosnian.
The chief purpose of Salah in Islam is to act as a person's communication with and remembrance of God. By reciting "The Opening", the first Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an, as required in all daily worship, the worshipper can stand before God, thank and praise Him, and to ask for guidance along the Straight Path.
In addition, daily worship remind Muslims to give thanks for God's blessings and that submission to God takes precedence over all other concerns, thereby revolving their life around God and submitting to His will. Worship also serves as a formal method of remembering Allah, or dhikr.
In the Qur'an, it is written that: "The true believers are those who feel fear in their hearts when God is mentioned. And when His Revelations are recited to them, they find their faith strengthened. They do their best and then put their trust in their Lord." 
"To those whose hearts, when God is mentioned, are filled with fear, who show patient perseverance over their afflictions, keep up regular prayer, and spend (in charity) out of what we have bestowed upon them." 
The Ahadith provide further details; as for example, when the Qur'an refers to three daily prayers (suras 11:114; 17:78–79; 30:17–18 and possibly 24:58), while the five daily prayers stipulated by the later Ahadith have been adopted by Muslims.[not in citation given]
Abu Huraira radiyallahu ʿanhu narrates that I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?" They said, "Not a trace of dirt would be left." The Prophet added, "That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds."
Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet Muhammad said, "Allah does not Listen to anything from His servant as He does to the two rakahs (of prayer) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant's head as long as he remains in prayer." (Tirmidhi and Ahmad) As-Suyuti considers it sahih."
In Al-Muwatta, Imam Malik ibn Anas says: "It reached me that the Prophet said: '(Try to) keep to the straight path although you won't be able to do so completely; and know that the best of your deeds is salah, and only a (true) believer preserves his wudhu.'"
Abu Dharr (radiyallahu ʿanhu) narrates that once Muhammad came out of his house. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off the trees. He caught a branch of a tree and its leaves began to drop in large number. At this he remarked, 'O, Abu Dharr! when a Muslim offers his salat to please Allah, his sins are shed away from him just as these leaves are falling off this tree.'(Ahmad)
Sabrah ibn Ma'bad Al-Juhani reported: Muhammad said, "Teach a boy Salat when he attains the age of seven years, and punish him (if he does not offer it) at ten."
Abu Huraira narrated: Muhammad said, "The angels keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for anyone of you, as long as he is at his Mu, salla (praying place) and he does not pass wind (Hadath). They say, 'O Allah! Forgive him, O Allah! be Merciful to him."
Umm Farwah narrates that Muhammad asked which is the best of the good deeds. He said, "To offer Salat at the beginning of its prescribed time." From Abu Dawood
Abu Huraira said: The best rows for men are the first rows, and the worst ones the last ones, and the best rows for women are the last ones and the worst ones for them are the first ones.
Uthman bin Affan narrates that Muhammad said, "He who performed wudhu for salat and performed it properly and then went on foot to offer the obligatory salat and offered it along with the people or in congregation or in the masjid, Allah would forgive his sins."
Abu Darda narrates that Muhammad said, "If three persons in a village or a forest do not offer the congregational salat, then shaitan fully overpowers them. So make it obligatory on yourself to offer salat in congregation. For undoubtedly the wolf eats only the stray goat."
The Islamic worship (salat) practiced by one Muslim may differ from another's in minor details, which can affect the precise actions and words involved. Differences arise because of different interpretations of the Islamic legal sources by the different schools of law (madhhabs) in Sunni Islam, and by different legal traditions within Shia'ism. In the case of ritual worship these differences are generally minor, and do not necessarily cause dispute. It is important to note the reason why Sunni Muslims have a basic agreement on the necessary part of the Salah. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad practiced, taught, and disseminated the worship ritual in the whole community of Muslims and made it part of their life. The practice has, therefore, been concurrently and perpetually practiced by the community in each of the generations. The authority for the basic forms of the Salah is neither the hadiths nor the Qur'an, but rather the consensus of Muslims. Differences also occur due to optional (recommended rather than obligatory) articles of prayer procedure, for example, which verses of the Qur'an to recite. Shia muslims pray in a more complicated way from sunni muslims, for example, at the end of the prayer, shias raise their hands three times, reciting allah hu akbar and sunnis just look at the left and right shoulder saying salams
This compulsory act of worship is obligatory for those who meet these three conditions:
There are five elements that make Salah valid:
The place of worship should be clean. In a few cases where blood is leaving the body, Salah is forbidden until a later time. Women are not allowed to pray during their menses nor for a period after childbirth, and this gave rise to a quote of Muhammad's "Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?"
Islam advises that Salah be performed in a ritually clean environment. When worshipping, the clothes that are worn and the place of prayer must be clean. Both men and women are required to cover their bodies (awrah) in reasonably loose-fitting garments. The well-known adage or hadith by al-Nawawi that "purity is half the faith" illustrates how Islam has incorporated and modified existing rules of purity in its religious system.
Before conducting Salah, a Muslim has to perform a ritual ablution.
The minor ablution is performed using water (wudhu), or sand (tayammum) when water is unavailable or not advisable to use for reasons such as illness.
"O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful."
More specifically wudhu is performed by Muslims by washing the hands, mouth, nose, arms, face, hair, ears,(often washing the hair is merely drawing the already wet hands from the fringe to the nape of the neck) and feet three times each in that order. (It is not obligatory to wash the hair three times, once is sufficient, and men must also wash their beards and mustaches when washing the face).
The person should be conscious and aware of the particular Salah that is being offered, whether it is obligatory, if it is a missed (qadha) worship, performed individually or among the congregation, a shortened traveller's worship etc. The explicit verbalization of this intention is not required, though it can be helpful. The person should think his worship to be the Last Worship so that he may perform the best he can.
سُبحَانَکَ اللّٰھُمَّ وَ بِحَمدِکَ وَ تَبَارَکَ اسمُکَ وَ تَعَالٰی جَدُّکَ وَ لَا ِالٰہَ غَیرُک Subhaanak-Allaahumma, wa bihamdika, wa tabaarakasmuka, wa ta'aalaa jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruka.
If you say it more than three times, you should recite an odd number and recite the same amount for sajdahs... Allah gives more reward for this
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Prayer in congregation (jama'ah) is considered to have more social and spiritual benefit than praying by oneself. When praying in congregation, the people stand in straight parallel rows behind the chosen imam, facing qibla. The imam, who leads the congregation in salat, is usually chosen to be a scholar or the one who has the best knowledge of the Qur'an, preferably someone who has memorised it (a hafiz) . In the first row behind the imam, if available, would be another hafiz to correct the imam in case a mistake is made during the performance of the salat. The prayer is performed as normal, with the congregation following the actions and movements of the imam as he performs the salat.
Upon entering the mosque, "Tahiyyatul masjid" may be performed; this is to pay respects to the mosque. Every Muslim entering the mosque is encouraged to perform these two rakats.
When the worshippers consist of men and women combined, a man is chosen as the imam. In this situation, women are typically forbidden from performing this role. This point, though unanimously agreed on by the major schools of Islam, is disputed by some groups, based partly on a hadith whose interpretation is controversial. When the congregation consists entirely of women and pre-pubescent children, one woman is chosen as imam.
When men, women, and children are praying, the children's rows are usually between the men's and women's rows, with the men at the front and women at the back. Another configuration is where the men's and women's rows are side by side, separated by a curtain or other barrier, with the primary intention being for there to be no direct line of sight between male and female worshippers, following a Qur'anic injunction toward men and women each lowering their gazes (Qur'an 24:30–31).
The fard as-salat are the five compulsory daily prayers, the Friday prayer (jumu'ah), and the funeral prayer (janazah). Nonperformance of fard as-salat renders one a non-Muslim according to the Hanbali Sunni School, while for the other Sunni schools it renders one a sinner. The denial of its compulsory status, however, is agreed upon by all Sunni schools to render the denier outside the fold of Islam. Fard prayers (as with all fard actions) are further classed as fard al-ayn (obligation of the self) and fard al-kifayah (obligation of sufficiency). Fard al-ayn are those actions that are obligatory on each individual; he or she will be held to account if the actions are not performed. Fard al-kifayah are actions obligatory on the Muslim community at large, so that if some people within the community carry it out no Muslim is considered blameworthy, but if no one carries it out all incur a collective punishment.
Men are required to perform the fard salah in congregation (jama'ah), behind an imam when they are able. According to most Islamic scholars, performing prayers in congregation is mustahabb(recommended) for men, when they are able, but is neither required nor forbidden for women.
Muslims are commanded to perform prayers five times a day. These prayers are obligatory on every Muslim who have reached the age of puberty, with the exception being those who are mentally ill, too physically ill for it to be possible, menstruating, or experiencing postnatal bleeding. Those who are ill or otherwise physically unable to offer their prayers in the traditional form are permitted to offer their prayers while sitting or lying, as they are able. The five prayers are each assigned to certain prescribed times (al waqt) at which they must be performed, unless there is a compelling reason for not being able to perform them on time.
Some Muslims offer voluntary prayers (sunna rawatib) immediately before and after the prescribed fard prayers. Sunni Muslims classify these prayers as sunnah, while Shi'ah consider them nafil. The number of raka'ah for each of the five obligatory prayers as well as the voluntary prayers (before and after) are listed below:
|Name||Prescribed time period (waqt)||Voluntary before fard1||Obligatory||Voluntary after fard1|
|Fajr (فجر)||Dawn to sunrise, should be read at least 10–15 minutes before sunrise||2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2||2 Raka'ah 2||2 Raka'ah||—||—|
|Zuhr (ظهر)||After true noon until Asr||4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2||4 Raka'ah||4 Raka'ah4||2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2||—|
|Asr (عصر)||Afternoon.5&6||4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkdah||4 Raka'ah||4 Raka'ah||—||—|
|Maghrib (مغرب)||After sunset until dusk||0 Raka'ah||3 Raka'ah||3 Raka'ah||2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2||2 Raka'ah3|
|Isha (عشاء)||Dusk until dawn6|
it is makrooh to read Isha after midnight
|4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah||4 Raka'ah||4 Raka'ah||2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah,2|
3 Raka'ah Witr
Sunni Muslims also perform two raka'ah nafl (voluntary) after the Dhuhr and Maghrib prayers. During the Isha'a prayer, they perform the two raka'ah nafl after the two Sunnat-Mu'akkadah and after the witr prayer.
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Salat al-Jumu'ah is a congregational prayer on Friday which replaces the dhuhr prayer. It is compulsory upon men to perform it in congregation, while women may perform it so or may perform dhuhr salat instead. Salat al-Jumu'ah consists of a sermon (khutba) given by the speaker (khatib) after which two raka'ah are performed. There is no Salat al-Jumu'ah without a khutba.
Wajib As-salat are compulsory, non-performance of which renders one a sinner. However, the evidence of the obligation is open to interpretation, with some of the madhab saying it is obligatory while others saying it is optional. To deny that a fard salah is obligatory is an act of disbelief while denying the obligation of a wajib salah is not disbelief. There are some who believe that as the 5 prayers are obligatory, it automatically renders all other prayers optional.
Sun'nah sal'ah are optional and were additional voluntary prayers performed by Muhammad — they are of two types — the Sun'nah Mukkaddah, those practiced on a regular basis, which if abandoned cause the abandoner to be regarded as sinful by the Hanafi School and the Sun'nah Ghair Mukkaddah, those practiced on a semi-regular practice by Prophet Muhammad about which all are that their abandonment doesn't render one sinful.
Certain sunnah prayers have prescribed waqts associated with them. Those ordained for before each of the fard prayers must be performed between the first call to prayer (adhan) and the second call (iqama) which signifies the start of the fard prayer. Those sunnah ordained for after the fard prayers can be performed any time between the end of the fard prayers and the end of the current prayer's waqt. Any amount of extra raka'ah may be offered, but most madha'ib prescribe a certain number of raka'ah for each sunnah salah.
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Nafl salat (supererogatory prayers) are voluntary, and one may offer as many as he or she likes almost any time. There are many specific conditions or situations when one may wish to offer nafl prayers. They cannot be offered at sunrise, true noon, or sunset. The prohibition against salat at these times is to prevent the practice of sun worship.
Witr is performed after the salah of isha'a (dusk). Some Muslims consider witr wajib while others consider it optional. It may contain any odd number of raka'ah from one to eleven according to the different schools of jurisprudence. However, Witr is most commonly offered with three raka'ah.
To end prayers for the night after isha'a, the odd numbered raka'ah must have the niyyah of "wajib-ul-Lail", which is mandatory to "close" one's salat for that day.
Shi'ahs offer this as a one raka'ah salah at the end of salatul layl (the night prayer), which is an optional prayer according to some shi'ah scholars, and a wajib (obligatory) prayer according to others. This is to be prayed any time after Isha, up until fajr. The best time to pray it is the last third of the night (the night being divided into three, between maghrib and fajr of that night). It is considered highly meritorious by all shi'ah Muslims, and is said to bring numerous benefits to the believer, mainly gaining proximity to Allah. There are various methods of salatul-layl's performance, including shorter and longer versions, in the longer version the believer must perform 8 nawafil salat, in sets of 2 raka'ah each, then they must pray a 2 raka'ah salah called 'salatul shafa'ah' this is to include surah nas after surah fatihah in the first raka'ah and surah falaq after surah fatihah in the secound raka'ah, and unusually no qunut (a du'ah recited before going into ruku' of the secound raka'ah of most prayers performed by shi'ahs) It is after this that the believer performs salatul witr, it's long method being - Starting with takbiratul ehram, then surah fatihah, then surah ikhlas, then surah falaq, then surah nas, then the hands are raised to recite qunut, upon which the believer can recite any du'a, however there are many recommended du'as for this purpose. Within qunut, the believer must pray for the forgiveness of 40 believers, then further prayers are read where the believer asks for forgiveness for himself a certain number of times using specified phrases and amounts of times to repeat those phrases. The believer then completes the salah in the usual way, by completing his qunut, reciting takbir whilst rasing his hands, going into ruku' and reciting the usual phrase for that, then returning up right and reciting takbir whilst doing so and upon being upright recites 'sami allahu liman hamida' (verily Allah has heard the one who has praised him) thereupon the believer recites takbir whilst raising his hands and goes into sajda. He recites the proscribed phrase in sajda rises, recites takbir whilst rising and then again whilst returnin to sajdah, then rises with takbir again and recites tashahud and salam, thus ending this prayer. It is then optional to recite certain other du'as and dhikr (remembrance of Allah through certain phrases and some of his names being repeated) It is then recommended to perform and sajdah ash-shukr (prostration of thanks) and to then recite ayatul kursi (verse of the throne) and then perform another sajdah ash-shukr.
Eid salat is performed on the morning of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. The Eid prayer is most likely an individual obligation (fard al-ayn) and Niyyah for both Eid salat is made as Wajib, though some Islamic scholars argue it is only a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah). It consists of two raka'at, with seven (or three for the followers Imam Hanafi) takbirs offered before the start of the first raka'ah and five (or three for the followers of Imam Hanafi) before the second. After the salat is completed, a sermon (khutbah) is offered. However, the khutbah is not an integral part of the Eid salat. The Eid salat must be offered between sunrise and true noon i.e. between the time periods for Fajr and Dhuhr.
Salat al-Istikhaarah is a prayer performed when a Muslim needs guidance on a particular matter, such as whether they should marry a certain person. In order to perform this salah one should perform a normal two raka'at salah to completion. After completion one should say a du'a called the Istikhaarah du'a. The intention for the salah should be in one's heart to perform two raka'at of salah followed by Istikhaarah. The salah can be performed at any of the times where salah is not forbidden.
The salah must be performed in the Arabic language.
In certain circumstances one may be unable to perform one's prayer within the prescribed time period (waqt). In this case, the prayer must be performed as soon as one is able to do so. Several Ahadith narrate that Muhammad stated that permissible reasons to perform Qada Salah are forgetfulness and accidentally sleeping through the prescribed time. However, knowingly sleeping through the prescribed time for Salah is deemed impermissible.
When travelling over long distances, one may shorten some prayers, a practice known as qasr. Furthermore, several prayer times may be joined, which is referred to as Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn. Qasr involves shortening the obligatory components of the Dhuhr, Asr, and Isha'a prayers to two raka'ah. Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn combines the Dhuhr and Asr prayers into one prayer offered between noon and sunset, and the Maghrib and Isha'a prayers into one between sunset and Fajr. Neither Qasr nor Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn can be applied to the Fajr prayer.
There is no reference to Qasr during travel within the Qur'an itself; the Qur'an allows for Qasr when there is fear of attack, but does not forbid it for travel in non-hostile circumstances.
During the ritual salah prayer, if a person forgets to do one of the actions of prayer he can make up for certain actions by performing two sujud at the end of the prayer. This can only be done if specific types of actions are forgotten by the person praying.
The concept of Quranist Salat Timings has been discussed in Hujjat Allah Al-Baligha (Arabic/Urdu) by Shah Waliullah. He said that there are 3 Salat timings (prayers) instead of the 5 Salats (prayers).
The numbers of regular Salat mentioned by their respective names in Arabic in the Qur'an are three as follows:
According to Quranists[clarification needed], the three leftover Salat are not mentioned in Qur'an by their specific Arabic terms. Therefore, they should be prayed giving reference to Hadith of Muhammad.
Salat Timings of Qur'an are mentioned, in particular three salat times are described  and that they are recorded in a written document. The Qur'an states that you should interrupt any activity you were previously doing to pray, as this betters the individual. Also noted is the volume at which the salat should be uttered, somewhere in between spoken aloud and spoken in a low tone.
The time for performing middle or Salat Al-Wusta can be observed from the moment the sun begins its descend from its highest point in the sky (duluk al shams) until sunset but before the darkness of the night (ghasaq al-layl) starts to set in.
'Duluk ash-shams' can also mean 'sunset.' It literally means 'the rubbing of the sun.' The most accepted meaning is that this means the apparent rubbing of the sun with the horizon at sunset. Although, the meaning of a declining noon sun can also be found in Classical Arabic sources. Literally, it can imply a meaning of both sunset and dawn in its meaning of a sun making apparent contact i.e. 'rubbing' with the horizon.
The Qur'an, if we take the understanding of 'a declining noon sun' implies that the time of the Middle prayer ends with sunset.
Some Quranists however believe that there are only two Salat, dawn and dusk including the times of night close to these two periods.
Some groups like Ahl Al-Quran (www.ahl-alquran.com) and The Submitters believe that the 5 Salat as they are practiced by Muslims today were passed down from Abraham generationally through the Arabs and the Children of Israel, to then be inherited by those who adopted the Quran (and rejected by most Jews and Christians), as a ritual of the religion of Abraham.
Some extreme elements totally disavow prayer altogether through different interpretations of the word salat. In one reportedly obscure source, claimed to be a Slavic/Arabic dictionary (source of the report is from www.free-minds.org) the word is reported to mean 'Obligation.' Some see the word salat as a derivation of the root 'wasala' (defined as to connect/arrive) and one of its corresponding nouns 'silah', meaning connection. The word does have a meaning of 'to follow close behind' (See Lane's Lexicon) but other meanings not based on Classical Arabic dictionaries, which stray from the concept of prayer, have been proposed for the word within Quranist circles. However, the Quran itself was most definitely not composed by Muhammad in pure classical Arabic, but shows many borrowings and calques from the Aramaic, and, especially, Syriac languages and Jewish and Christian holy materials written in those languages, so, with recourse only to classical Arabic vocabulary, an understanding of the infamously dense, and in places incomprehensible—according to the rules of classical Arabic—Quran will invariably fall short or be incorrect.
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