In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
“May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You”
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam ‘ala Rasulillah
As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu
Prerequisites of the Prayer
– Imran Ayub
Taken from Islamic Studies Book 3, by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips; slightly edited (some extra references were added)
The follow are conditions which must be fulfilled before performing salah. If any of them is missing, the Salah is then considered invalid.
1. Taharah (Cleanliness)
Taharah is the name used to refer to the Islamic form of cleanliness, which has its own particular set of requirements.
Hammam b. Munabbih, who is the brother of Wahb b. Munabbih, said: This is what has been transmitted to us by Abu Huraira from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and then narrated a hadith out of them and observed that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “The prayer of none amongst you would be accepted in a state of impurity till he performs ablution.” [Sahih Muslim, Book 002, Number 0435]
The conditions of Taharah must be established in three areas for this prerequisite to be considered fulfilled:
1.1 Taharah of the Body
The body has to be cleaned of all traces of faeces and urine by using toilet paper or water, or preferably both, after using the toilet. One should then be in a state of purity obtained through one of the following means: wudu, ghusl, or tayammum. This state of purity for males remains intact unless broken by one of the following seven factors: defecation, urination, breaking wind, easting camel’s meat, deep sleep in the lying position, ejaculation of semen or sexual intercourse [In the case if women, menses, post-childbirth bleeding and orgasms instead of ejaculation of semen.] the first five of these necessitate only wudu, but a ghusl can take its place while the last two necessitate a ghusl, and wudu cannot take its place. Tayammum takes the place of either wudu or ghusl if water is absent, and must be renewed for each fard (compulsory) Salah performed at its proper time.
The evidences of the above:-
1.1a Defecation, Urination, & Passing wind
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “The prayer of a person who does ,Hadath (passes, urine, stool or wind) is not accepted till he performs (repeats) the ablution.” A person from Hadaramout asked Abu Huraira, “What is ‘Hadath’?” Abu Huraira replied, ” ‘Hadath’ means the passing of wind from the anus.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 137]
1.1b (Deep) Sleep
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “If anyone of you performs ablution he should put water in his nose and then blow it out and whoever cleans his private parts with stones should do so with odd numbers. And whoever wakes up from his sleep should wash his hands before putting them in the water for ablution, because nobody knows where his hands were during sleep.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 163]
1.1c Sexual intercourse
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “When a man sits in between the four parts of a woman and did the sexual intercourse with her, bath becomes compulsory.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 5, Number 290]
1.1d Camels meat
The hadeeth of Jaabir: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked, “Should I do wudu’ after eating camel meat?” He said, “Yes.” The person said: “Should I do wudu’ after eating mutton?” He said, “If you wish.” (Narrated by Muslim, 360)
Narrated Aisha: Fatima bint Abi Hubaish used to have bleeding in between the periods, so she asked the Prophet about it . He replied, “The bleeding is from a blood vessel and not the menses. So give up the prayers when the (real) menses begin and when it has finished, take a bath and start praying.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 317]
Narrated Aisha: A woman asked the Prophet about the bath which is take after finishing from the menses. The Prophet told her what to do and said, “Purify yourself with a piece of cloth scented with musk.” The woman asked, “How shall I purify myself with it” He said, “Subhan Allah! Purify yourself (with it).” I pulled her to myself and said, “Rub the place soiled with blood with it.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 311]
1.1f Post-Childbirth Bleeding
Al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The scholars among the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), Taabieen and those who came after them are agreed that the woman who is bleeding after childbirth must refrain from praying for forty days, unless she sees the tuhr (clear discharge indicating that the nifaas is over) before that, in which case she should do ghusl and pray.”
If maniy (fluid emitted at the point of climax) comes out of a woman without intercourse, she has to do ghusl. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded women to do ghusl if they notice water (fluid), as was reported by Malik in al-Muwatta’ (1/51), and by al-Bukhari (282) and al-Nasa’i (1/114) from Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: Umm Sulaim, the wife of Abu Talhah, came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Allah is not too shy to tell the truth. Does a woman have to do ghusl if she has an (erotic) dream?” He said, “Yes, if she sees water (fluid).” In this hadeeth, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded women to do ghusl if they see water, i.e., maniy
1.2 Taharah of Clothes
Any najasah (impurity) which falls on clothes or undergarments should be washed away before Salah can be performed with them on. The najasah according to Islamic Law, which could fall on clothes are: faeces, urine, blood, and semen. If there us some najasah on the bottom of one’s shoes, it would be sufficient to scrape it off for them to be considered clean enough to make Salah in.
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri has said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prayed with us one day. Whilst he was engaged in the prayer he took off his shoes and placed them on his left. When the people saw this, they took off their shoes. When he finished his prayer he said, Why did you take your shoes off? They said, ‘We saw you taking your shoes off, so we took our shoes off.’ He said, Verily Jibreel came to me and informed me that there was dirt – or he said: something harmful – (in another narration: filth) on my shoes, so I took them off. Therefore, when one of you goes to the mosque, he should look at his shoes: if he sees in them dirt – or he said: something harmful – (in another narration: filth) he should wipe them and pray in them. [Abu Daawood, Ibn Khuzaimah & Haakim, who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi and Nawawi agreed. The first one is given in Irwaa’ (284)]
1.3 Taharah of the Place
The area on which one intends to perform salah should be free from najasah as far as can be determined. An area on which people have walked on is not automatically considered impure unless the presence of one or more najasahs is observed (by sight of smell).
2. Satr (Covering)
The awrah (islamically defined as private parts) of both the male and female should be properly covered prior to performing salah. The awrah of the male is the part of the body between the navel and the knee, not including the navel or the knee [refer to Sahih Bukhari, Volume. 1, chapter 12]. For Salah, however, the shoulders should also be covered if sufficient cloth is available.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “None of you should offer prayer in a single garment that does not cover the shoulders.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 355]
Prayer in pants which hud and expose the shape of the private parts is also not acceptable unless a loose shirt covering the area is worn.
Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) prohibited us to pray in a single garment without crossing both its ends (over the shoulders), and he also prohibited us to pray in pants without wear a cloak (over it).” [Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1, p. 126, hadith number 594, authenticated by al-Albaani]
It should also be noted that males are not allowed to wear garments which hang below their ankles, and that prayer in such garments may not be accepted.
Narrated AbuSa’id al-Khudri: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: “The way for a believer to wear a lower garment is to have it halfway up his shins and he is guilty of any sin if it comes half way between that and his ankles. But what hangs below the ankles is in Hell” [Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, p. 771, hadith number 3449, authenticated by al-Albaani]
For women, the awrah includes all of her body except her face and hands up to the wrists.
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) turned his attention from her. He said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it is not fitting that any part of her should be seen except this,” and he pointed to her face and hands. [Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, p. 774, hadith number 3458, authenticated by al-Albaani]
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: “Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a khimar (headscarf covering the hair, ears neck and bosom)”. [Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1, p. 126, hadith number 596, authenticated by al-Albaani]
The Female awrah also includes the tops of her feet. When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told his companions to raise their lower garments well above their ankles, his wife, Umm Salamah asked, “What about woman,O Messenger of Allah?”, He replied, “Let her lower it a palm’s width.” Umm Salamah inquired, “But her feet will be exposed.” He responded saying, “A forearm’s length, then, but no more.” [Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, p. 776, hadith number 3467, authenticated by al-Albaani]
3. Dukhul al – Waqt (Entrance of the time)
Every Fard (compulsory) prayer has a time period within which it must be performed under normal circumstances in order for the salah to be considered valid. Therefore, the beginning time for the intended salah has to have come before the salah may be performed. Under certain conditions, certain salahs may be performed before or after their time periods, along with the preceding or following salah. But under normal circumstances, no salah is allowed prior to its time period and one performed after its time periods is considered Qada (the making up for a missed salah).
The evidences of the above:-
3.1 Salah on time
“So woe unto those performers of Salât (prayers) (hypocrites), Who delay their Salât (prayer) from their stated fixed times,” (Al-Ma’un 107: 4 – 5)
3.2 Salah before/after the prescribed time
In certain situations, you can shorten or combine salah. And this may lead to you not actually praying the prescribed time, but the salah is still valid. Here are two examples of this:-
“And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten your Salât (prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may attack you, verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies.” (An-Nisa 4:101)
Anas reported: When the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) intended to combine two prayers on a journey, he delayed the noon prayer till came the early time of the afternoon prayer, and then combined the two. [Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1513]
4. Istiqbal al – Qiblah (Facing the Kabah)
When salah is to be performed, under normal conditions, one should determine the general direction of the Ka’bah and face it.
Abu Hurayrah related that Allah’s Messenger said: “What is between the east and the west is Qiblah (direction of prayer).” [Sahih Sunan at – Trimidhi, Vol. 1, p. 109, hadith nos. 282 – 283, authenticated by al-Albaani
Ibn ‘Umar was also reported to have said, “If you put the West on your right and East on your left, whatever is between them is qiblah, whenever you seek to face it.” These statements were made in Madinah, to the north of Makkah, indicating that as long as one faced southwards, it was sufficient. Consequently, once a reasonable determination has been made and the direction of the qiblah has been set in a masjid, there is no need to constantly change the angle of prayer each time a more accurate compass is introduced. However, when one is in Makkah and can see the Ka’bah, it must be faced directly, otherwise, one would then be deliberately praying in a direction other that the one ordained by Allah.
5. Niyyah (Intention)
Before salah is performed, the intention to do so should be firmly placed in the mind in order to avoid distraction which could lead to one’s mind being elsewhere while one’s body goes through the motions of prayer. If one prayer salah without the intention of pleasing Allah, He will not accept it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said,
“Deeds are according to their intentions and each man will get what he intends.” [Sahih Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 203, hadith no. 789]
A person whose mind wanders during the salah will have his reward reduced according to the shortcoming in his attentiveness. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:-
“A person finishes his salah, and only a tenth of it is recorded for him, or a ninth, or an eight, a seventh, a sixth, a fifth, a fourth, a third or a half.” [Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1, p. 203, Hadith number 789; Reported by Imaam Ahmad; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1626]
The expression of one’s intention aloud and according to the certain formulas is not necessary and is, in fact, an innovation in religion (bid’ah). There are no recorded authentic statements of intention, nor was it the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his companions to audibly express their intentions for salah.
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Our Lord! grant us good in this world
and good in the hereafter,
and save us from the chastisement of the fire