The Friday congregation prayer (Salaat-ul-Jumaat) is compulsory for men, as Almighty Allah says,
“O you who have believed, when (the adhan) is called for the prayer on the day of Jumaat (Friday), then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.” (Quran, 62:9)
The Prophet (pbuh) also said, “Let some people stop avoiding attending the Friday prayer, or Allah will stamp a seal on their hearts. Then they will become of those who are heedless.” (Muslim)
Shortening the obligatory prayers (Qasr-us-Salaat) means to perform two rakats instead of four rakat for the noon prayer (salaat-udh-Dhuhr), the afternoon prayer (salaat-ul-Asr) and the late evening prayer (salaat-ul-lshaa’) l reciting Surat al-Fctcttihah in addition to another surah of the Quran. There is no shortened form of the dawn prayer (salaat-ul-Fajr), which always consists of two rakats, nor of the sunset prayer (salaat-ul-Maghrib), which invariably consists of three rakats.
Jayammum is an Arabic word which means ‘to turn to, to aim at, to head for, to intend’. The relevance of the term in the Islamic Law [sharee’ah] is that when water is either not available or when its use is likely to cause harm one should ‘turn to’ clean earth with the intention of offering salaah and other acts of worship which require wudhoo. Toyammum is, therefore, a symbolic ablution. It is a way of obtaining purification when water is not available.
If there is only an individual present (one ma’moom), the ma’moom must station himself to the right of the prayer leader (imam); he must not stand behind him or on his left,
If they are a congregation (jamaah), that is to say, if there is more than one ma’moom, they should stand behind the imam. Hence, if the male followers are two or more, they stand behind the imam. If the group is made up of men and women, the men stand behind the imam while the women stand behind the men. If there is only one man and one woman, the man stands beside the imam on his right, while the woman stands behind them.
The ma’moom is not allowed to pray alone behind a row; otherwise, his prayer will not be valid.
Dhikr, or remembrance of Allah, is equivalent to awareness of His Presence. We are commanded in the above-mentioned famous Inadeetln of the Prophet (pbuh) to pray as if we are actually seeing Allah before us: ‘for, though you see Him not, yet He sees you.’ Awareness of Allah’s Presence and of being seen at every moment of our lives is, in fact, a contemplative virtue. Islam requires us to be active as well as contemplative!
The First Pillar of Islam
The importance of the prayer cannot be over-stressed in Islam. In fact, it is the first pillar of Islam that the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned after mentioning the testimony of faith, by which one becomes a Muslim. It was made obligatory on all the prophets and on all the peoples.
Salah is an Arabic word which lexically means dua, or supplication. Its legal meaning refers to, among other things, the set of recitations and movements such as standing, bowing and prostrating in a certain manner in response to Allah’s command to perform it and seeking to get closer to Him.
The Importance of the Prayer
The prayer is the first deed about which one will be questioned on the Day of Judgment. If one’s prayer is sound and acceptable, then one will certainly achieve eternal success and eternal happiness. However, if one’s prayer is incorrect, incomplete or corrupt in some way, one will not be successful on that day.
The two prostrations for forgetfulness are normally offered to make up for the shortcomings that occur due to forgetfulness or error There are three cases where these prostrations are required: addition, deletion and doubt.
If one omits a necessary element because of forgetfulness, validity can be restored by performing the prostrations of forgetfulness (sujud as-sahw), but if the omission is deliberate, the salah will be null and void.
Islam: Allah does not accept the actions of non-Muslims.
Sanity, This means that one has to have a sound mind, not mad.
Reaching the age of puberty: children, however, must be ordered to pray at the age of seven.
Purity: Allah’s Messenger said, “Allah does not accept salah without purity.” Muslim) This includes purity of the body, the clothes and the place where one intends to pray.
The Time: Salah is due only when its time has started.
Covering the awrah, or the parts of the body that have to be covered: The awrah of a man is all that is between the navel and the knees, and that of a woman is every part of her except the face and hands.
Having the intention in the heart to perform the prayer.
Facing the Qiblah: This means facing the direction of the Ka’bah in Makkah.
The Times of the Obligatory Prayers and the Number of their Rak’ahs
The obligatory prayers are five in number. They are:
The dawn prayer (salaat-ul-Fajr): consists of two rak’ahs, starts with the coming of dawn until the sky starts to become yellowish. The time for the Fajr prayer lasts until sunrise.
The noon prayer (salaat-udh-Dhuhr): consists of four rak’ahs, starts from after midday until mid-afternoon, when an object’s shadow is about the same length as the object itself.
The afternoon prayer (salaat-ul-Asr): consists of four rak’ahs begins from the time when the length of one’s shadow is equal to one’s height, until the sun begins to change colour before sunset. The time of Asr prayer lasts until just before sunset.
The sunset prayer (salaat-ul-Maghrib): conssts of three rak’ahs begins immediately after sunset. The time of the Maghrib prayer lasts until the twilight disappears. The twilight is the soft glowing light tom the sky when the sun has already set.
The late evening prayer (salaat-ul-Isha): consist of four rak’ahs, begins with the disappearance of the twilight and continues up to half the night.
Allah the Almighty says, “Prayers have been prescribed for the believers at set times.”
(Surah an-Nisaa 4.103)
Here, Alan commands Muslims to perform the prayer (salah) at its prescribed times. In fact, the prayer was the first obligatory duty upon the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers. It will also be the first action Allah the Almighty will question us on the Day of Judgement. Indeed, the salah is the supporting pillar of Islam. If someone believes it is not obligatory and abandons it, he becomes a disbeliever. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The covenant between us and them (i.e. the disbelievers) is the prayer; so if anyone abandons it he has become a disbeliever” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee and An-Nasaa’ee)